Friday, August 29, 2008

Good Times

Ok, ya got me - after being tagged twice by Jen, I guess I'm "it" this time.

Tree of Happiness Meme - Six Things That Make Me Happy

1. Mr. Tall. My boyfriend makes me very happy. After years and years of shitty shitty boyfriends, finally, a keeper.

And, for my keeper, I made him these Charger Socks for his Size 12 foot:
We had only been dating a couple of months last year when his birthday rolled around, and I decided to forgo conventional knitting wisdom, and knit him something - socks, harmless enough. I found Yarn Magnet's Etsy shop, specializing in sock yarn for sports teams. I neglected to notice that Yarn Magnet was located in Canada until after I paid the bill, and while I tapped my toe waiting for the yarn to arrive, his birthday loomed near. So, instead of knitting a pair of socks, I knit Cobblestone in five days, or whatever ridiculous time period it was. The sock yarn did arrive, sometime around Halloween, and the birthday socks became Christmas socks, that became Valentine's Day socks, that became Memorial Day Socks, and finally, Opening Day Socks. Go Chargers! (er, cough, EAGLES!)

2. My niece and nephew. I can't tell you how entertained I am by these little buggers, my niece particularly, since she's at that particularly precocious age. One of her favorite games is doctor. Me, not my favorite game - she gets right in my face, close talking and all - but whatever. So, she examines me, and the diagnosis - I have a crab in my ear. A crab? Yes, a crab. As she begins to get out her extraction instrument (the leg of her Hairspray doll), my mom walks in - "You know Aunt Wendy doesn't like doctor." "I know," she says, "But Aunt Wendy is being a good sport." Love it - just the little things like that!

3. Yarn. Especially my yarn.
I love my stash. I love to visit my stash. And, I have been enjoying protecting my stash with one of my birthday presents from Mr. Tall (see Happiness Point 1 - he cares about my yarn too!), a Foodsaver vaccuum sealer! All of my yarn, once at the mercy of those nasty moths that seem to roam free in my house, is now protected from all insect enemies.

4. A Cup of Coffee and the Sunday Times. A good cup of coffee, any day, to me is like chocolate (or crack). And the Times? For $6.00 you get the NYT Book Review, the NYT Magazine, a window into the NY theater scene, and the marriage announcements of John McCain's middle class (i.e. those in that $5 million bracket). Can't beat that bargain!

5. The beach. And Crabs. They go hand and hand for me. A day on the beach, from sun up to sunset, and then hardshell crabs on the pier. This was my birthday - and along with a bottle of wine - it made me very happy.


Monday, August 18, 2008

The Beast is Slayed

Everyone can breath a sigh of relief - the cat hair scarf project is over.

I wish I could say that I took a stand on behalf of all knitters of taste and esthetic sensibility - that I told this strange man that his scarf looked like cat barf, and in the name of all that is good, and lovely, and right with knit garments, I was refusing to knit another stitch. But,I went the easy route, and told him that Mr. Tall was horribly allergic to it, and I just couldn't keep it in the house. He took it very well, and seemed to see a lightbulb of sorts - "hmmm, I guess I would have to be careful wearing it, I couldn't wear it around anyone allergic to cats." I was disappointed, although not surprised, that he didn't just say, "oh, that's not what I thought it would be at all - that's horrendous," but I guess that was too much to hope for. Whatever. At least I'm no longer contributing to this complete knitting affrontery.

So, I've sort of been involved in the Ravelympics. I say "sort of" because I really don't have that gold medal spirit, or attitude, for that matter. First, I didn't start a new project - I just chugged along on a WIP, for the WIP Wrestling event. I've been test knitting a Manos sweater for Courtney. Big bummer of a competitive project, because it just never even had a chance of "qualifying" - a. I started it without having the whole pattern, b. because it's test knitting, there were a few glitches to be worked out, which stalled the project, and c. it's a really big sweater. And, I can't photograph it - what's the point of posting at the finish line, if everyone can't go ooooo, aaaaaahhhhh!

I have the back, and half a front done of the Mystery Manos Cardigan, and I treated myself to casting on a second Ravelympics project - the Rectangle Stole from Blue Sky Alpaca.
Originally, I had been planning to knit the new Eunny Jang bias stole in the Fall IK, but, after reading the pattern, it just seemed like a pain in the butt. The lacey faggoting is one strand of chosen yarn, but the garter ridges are formed with three strands held together. Eh, I don't love it that much that it's worth the hassle of winding off extra balls of yarn. This simple Rectangle Stole, on the other hand, is sooooo easy. If I had cast on during the opening ceremonies, I certainly would be in the homestretch now.

The yarn is Noro Silk Garden Sock - and as you can kind of see in the picture, there's a subtle, natural colorway striping going on. At first I couldn't decide if I liked it, or if it just looked like dirty yarn, but I decided I like it, and I think it's going to be yummy for fall. I haven't had any Noroesque problems with the yarn - no breaking, no knots, no straw or other foliage. But, alas, after the nice treat of casting on, it's back to the Manos sweater for the remainder of the games.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Beauty and the Beast

Ah, summer! Time for the beach, time for reading murder mysteries (In the Woods, The Likeness, by Tana French - highly recommended beach/poolside reads), drinking white wine spritzers, and, um, not so much knitting, or blogging for that matter. I'm sure as we head into Labor Day, I'll return to my regularly scheduled programming (speaking of programming though - I've been catching up on last seasons Mad Men - watch it!).

So, first the beauty, my lace kick has continued. I finished the Melon Shawl from Victorian Lace Today, in a lovely summer shade of green Handmaiden Sea Silk.
I love this color for the melon stitch, because to me, the tiny bundles do look like little green melons, and that makes me smile. Ah summer - the simple things!
The six row repeat is super simple, easily memorized, and pretty hard to screw up. The version in the book is knit in Kid Silk Haze, a yarn that has never inspired me, and the one time I knit with it, drove me out of my mind for my complete inability to unknit it. So, I went with the silky Handmaiden, and I love it, and now I find myself rethinking all of the patterns in the book that are all fuzzed up with the dreaded Kid Silk. I'm even contemplating knitting that frou frou fluffy feather and fan cape in something smoother, more merino. Crazy.
On a bit of a sad note, I did spend about three hours knitting this scarf/stole in the emergency room of Jefferson Hospital. Mr. Tall was out riding his bike when a car side swiped him - AND KEPT ON GOING! Poor Mr. Tall, all 6'4" of him sprawled out on the sidewalk, at 19th and Lombard. Conveniently, I was at the pool (20th and Lombard), having the day off, and I went with him to the hospital. Luckily, he managed to walk away with a bunch of scraps, and a badly bruised butt - ouch! While we were hanging at the gurney in the hallway waiting for his tests to come back, I knit, he writhed in pain, and, wouldn't ya know it, every nurse who walked by - did they stop to ask him if he was comfortable? did he need some water? was he in pain? Oh, no - it was, what is that you're making?!? ooo, can I see that? Oh, is that crochet? Ah, can you show me how to do that? Priorities in the er - go figure.

Anyway, Mr. Tall is perfect again, and my melon scarf was a huge hit - especially with my mother, who has now put in her order for her very own, in an orangey red colorway. Uch. Now, I'm happy to knit for my mom, and I can hardly refuse to accomodate her request, it is her 70th birthday coming up after all. But, gosh I hate knitting the same thing twice. And, I'm getting jammed up with obligation knitting, uch. I'm doing some testing knitting for Manos, a gigantic sweater, that has to be done by the end of the month (which was very convenient for the Ravelympics, since I'm on a deadline anyway), and then there's this . . . the beast.

This creepy little man at the pool approached me last year about knitting a scarf for him - out of his cat's hair. He had been saving his cat's hair for 12 years, until he felt he had enough to send it to a mill to be spun. At the time, the hair wasn't spun yet, and I was like, yeah, sure, whatever. I figured, once he go the "yarn," that would be the end of his scarf idea.

Nope. Yes, my friends, that skein above is actually cat hair. First thing this summer, he approached me again about the project. I said I would have to see the yarn. A week later, there was the yarn - three shades of cat brown. It looked eh, I figured - fine, I'll do a garter stitch scarf, lengthwise, with brown gradations, no biggie. But, that's not what he had in mind. He came into Rosie's, plopped down, and went through every pattern book in the store, until he settled on a honeycomb stitch. He doesn't really have enough yarn for that, so I started to swatch a lattice stitch -

Don't adjust your monitor - those pictures are not blurry, or out of focus in anyway - THEY ARE JUST HIDEOUS AND DISGUSTING. The more I knit, the more it felts, the more matted it becomes, and the more it resembles a wet cat - now that's something you really want to wrap around your neck. And I have to knit it? The cat is still alive - he can just throw him out in the rain, and then cuddle up to him on the sofa.

Now the dilemna - continue on, and charge him beaucoup bucks, or for the sake of good taste, do I just give the whole revolting, sicko project back - so he, and the very much alive cat, can both snuggle up to the wound up skeins and be satisified with that.

I guess there comes a time in every knitters life when they have to decide where to draw the line, when to knit a project that has nothing to do with their own knitting needs. Some projects that I knit, I would prefer not to - baby gifts, reknits, finishing for my mom when she knits those heinous acrylic baby blankets for Hadassah. But, just because I don't want to, doesn't necessarily create any moral dilemna - gifts are a good thing, and there's a place in this world for acryllic. Then, there's the knits I do for money/store credit - the test knits. These knits, although not on my personally priority meter, are all well designed, and are adding to the modern knitting library. Easy enough. But, now, am I a K&A knitter (as in, cough, Kensington and Allegheny) if I sold my knit soul to the cat and knit it's hair?

Do I cross the cat hair line?