Sunday, November 19, 2006

Thanks Amy!

I know this is a non-knitty issue, but it's directly related to my knitting time and energy, so I'm posting about it.

Amy is right: I need to change my definition of exercise and health. So so so right. I eschewed advice from others, but I took her words to heart. All I need are some comfortable clothes (which I have), decent shoes (which I have), and somewhere to walk (which I have). Doesn't take much more than that.

We're leaving to visit the ILs, and I packed my exercise clothes. And DD's stroller. Out we go! It's time to enjoy the crisp South Carolina air. Since this is a quasi-vacation (part work, mostly vacation), and I'll be surrounded by helpers with DD, I'll have the time and mental space to exercise. It will be nice. I'm really looking forward to it.

As for knitty issues:
My version of Grumperina's Sharkif isn't that much different than hers. As it turns out, moving the middle cable four rows down from the end cables isn't that noticable. In fact, I know I'm doing it and can't really tell. What it does do, however, is avoid super long stretches (9 rows - OK, it's not that long but long enough) of plain-er stitches. Cabling is fun, so doing the middle cable on rows 3 and 7 just mix it up a bit more and keep it interesting.

FIL's scarf is going well. I think I have about 6" (of 60"). My goal is to give it to him before we leave from our visit with them.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

My first planned modification

NOTE: All credit goes to Grumperina for this pattern! I am using her Sharkif pattern and modifying it to suit my interests, but she deserves all the credit for this stunning pattern.

Here is my first graphed and planned modification. I like the Sharkif, but I wanted to see what it would look like with the middle cable twist staggered with the border cables. I haven't swatched this yet, so I might abandon it, but I wanted to give it a go.

Here's my first ever knitting graph. I used excel to create this - very easy!

First: I think the needles are too big, so I'm going to go down to 5.0 mm. The fabric is very loose and I don't think it will hold up well for a scarf or for a man's scarf.

Second: I dislike the k1, p1 (it's an effective and attractive pattern; I just hate knitting it), so I did the pattern for 5 st instead of 7.

Third: It's really not good to start a cable immediately following a CO row, so I moved the first cable row from R1 to R3 and moved the cables on R5 to R7.

We'll see how this works.

An FO!

An FO!

It only took me two weeks to make Grumperina's Sharkif (and only 4 weeks to learn how to pronounce it, and I still mess it up sometimes). I LOVE this scarf - I finished one for my grandfather and am starting another for my FIL. I think this pattern is so well suited for a large man (big and tall, not fat in these men's cases).

I finished the first one using Zara burnt orange merino on size 4.0 mm. The fabric came out a little stiffer than I like, so for this next one I'm using Zara chocolate brown merino on size 5.5 mm. I think I'll like the drape a lot better on the larger needles.

Finally the orange merino found a good home. Here is the list of things it tried to be:
* cardigan from YGG
* sweater for DD
* Tempting II from knitty
* (another sweater for me from knitty that I can't remember)

I thought the yarn was cursed even though it was the squishiest, softest yarn I've knitted with in a long time. It held its spring really well despite all the ripping and reknitting, and after a long soak overnight, it's now drying peacefully and looking just gorgeous.

All of the ends are woven in, and I just need to add fringe.

Two weeks, you might ask. TWO WEEKS? THAT LONG!?!

Well, keep in mind I work 50+ hours a week in a very full and consuming career (as opposed to a job that I leave behind at the end of the day), commute over 2 hours a day, have a child and a husband, and manage to knit. So, in all I'm pretty happy with how fast it went. I was able to memorize the repeats after about 2 of them, and I just used a row counter to keep track of what row pattern I was on.

On another note, I have given up exercising all together. This depresses me. Exercise helps me manage the natural depression I have (since before kindergarten, so there's no "curing" it). It helps me feel invigorated and fit. It helps me feel mentally and emotionally clear. I love sweating.

My friends and colleagues tell me to "just do it." As a one-time gym rat (for years), I know it. But the only options I have are to get up before 5 AM. I know that the advice people give is well-intentioned, but I have talked with DH on end about this, and schedule-wise it's just impossible. I used to get up before 5 to hit the gym, but since having DD, it's been harder and harder, and when I do make it to the gym, all i can think about is stopping so I can feel better. My WOs suck at 5 AM.

Another part of me is OK with this change. It doesn't feel long-term to me. I lost about 40 lbs around 5 years ago now, and I've stuck with healthy eating and exercising for a long time. Right now life is pinched, and something has to give. As important as it is, sleep is more important to me. I can function without exercise. I cannot function without sleep. I've known some rare breeds of people who can EXCEL - not just function but EXCEL! - on less than 5 hrs sleep every day. I'm not one of those. I need a full 8 hours if I can get it, 7 at least.

So, after DD is potty trained and starts to be a little more self-supportive, I have a strong sense I'll have some space to start up again. For now, it just feels overwhelming.

But I still miss it.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

A meme

I'm not so up on the memes. I like reading them but don't post them all that often. But I like this one. I'm a no-bones-about-it kinda person, though I can be long winded. (As I explained to my boss in my 3-mo review yesterday, if you knew the unfiltered thoughts in my head, you'd fire me. Or disown me. Or hate me. Or generally avoid me at all costs. So, I'm long-winded in an attempt to stall long enough to find diplomatic words to express the rather nasty thoughts in my head without actually sounding so nasty.) But really, I'm actually quite short and snippy.

That was long. Longer than it needed to be.

Anyhoo, thanks to Rabbitch for this one.

Use only one word to answer each item:

1. Yourself: bitchy
2. Your boyfriend/girlfriend (spouse): academic
3. Your hair: blah
4. Your mother: eager
5. Your Father: distant
6. Your Favorite Item: yarn
7. Your dream last night: zilch
8. Your Favorite drink: alcoholic
9. Your Dream Car: indifferent
10. The room you are in: multipurpose
11. Your Ex: forgotten
12. Your fear: inadequacy
13. What you want to be in 10 years? impervious
14. Who you hung out with last night? hubby
15. What You're Not? comfortable
16. Muffins: banana
17. One of Your Wish List Items: relaxation
18. Time: elusive
19. The Last Thing You Did: read
20. What You Are Wearing: jeans
21. Your Favorite Weather: crisp
22. Your Favorite Book: sudoku
23. The Last Thing You Ate: yogurt
24. Your Life: intolerable
25. Your Mood: sullen
26. Your best friend: missing
27. What are you thinking about right now? work
28. Your car: aging
29. What are you doing at the moment? working
30. Your summer: fleeting
31. Your relationship status: comfortable
32. What is on your TV? nothing
33. What is the weather like? damp
34. When is the last time you laughed? dunno

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Calling for HELP!

I'm in search of good sock pattern books. Any suggestions? I'm hitting the knitting blogs I love to read for ideas, but I've only found a few.

I really like Potomus (SP?) but am also really dying to do more cables (has anyone ever said that??) now that I learned Grumperina's trick. I have Knitting Soars on Two Circular Needles, and I like the few patterns she has in there, but I'd love something with a nice pattern. I keep admiring Grumperina's socks - I just need to take the time to dig through her blog posts and find the sources of her patterns (knowing, of course, that she often changes the patterns to get them to her liking, and I won't have those notes).

So, please let me know of your suggestions!!

Friday, November 10, 2006

Dear Escalator Man

To the dick on the escalator this morning who - when I asked him to move so I could walk up the escalator - responded, "Use the stairs" and refused to let me by ...

Since when did getting on an escalator paralyze you? Are you a cripple?

That's OK, dear cripple. I understand taking your aggressive frustrations out on strangers. It's better than keeping that anger pent up and taking it out on your wife or your kid. And please don't kick the dog, either.


So did I say this to Cripple Escalator Man? No - I would have, but what stopped me was my employer. Yup, the job. Every potential person out there is a client or coworker or funder or on the board. So I'm just as passive aggressive in posting this message here instead of letting these words leave my lips and enter his ears.

This incident really makes me so perplexed. In DC - our lovely (and I'm sincere in using that word) capitol - people stand on the right and walk on the left. It's lovely. It's systematic. It's expected. It works!

In NYC, a place with a ba-zillion people, there are no escalator rules. Why? Of any place, NYC needs it the most! How many people are on escalators at any one time? A LOT! Some simple rules, some simple etiquette, would make the whole thing work so well. And not only that, but you'd be able to pick out the tourists from the natives. OK, it's pretty easy to do that already, but there are some cases. In DC, I could always tell the tourists because they didn't know the rules of living and functioning in an urban place.

OK, now I have to work. Good thing I didn't have my knitting needles with me, or I might have stabbed him (that's a joke, internet police).

Thursday, November 09, 2006

I'm tired . . .

I'm tired. Really tired.

Not sick and tired. It's not a rant. I'm just tired.

Been working to help the rug-rats that Amy writes about (sorry, I'm too tired for links tonight - look in the right hand list and you'll find her last but not least), though in a completely different part of the country (and no, I'm not a teacher, but I help teach the teachers).

Anyhoo, here's some knitty updates -

- is it sacrilege to say I don't like the jaywalker pattern? I LOVE Grumperina's site (again, too tired to link to it), and I'm even knitting Sharkif, but I don't think I'm a big fan of the jaywalker.

- which brings me to another point - I AM a big fan of CABLES thanks to Grumperina. I LOVE her no-CN method for doing cables, and I'm a convert. Gimme more!

- Sharkif is going well, but I'm using a yarn that I've frogged about 5 times. First it was a cardigan that I ripped because the pattern was wrong and when I wrote the authors they were so goddamned pissy about it I said fuck it and ripped the thing out (and also refuse to go back to their yarn store). Second it was ... ah cripes, I don't care what it was. Point is, it is no longer, so why do I want to remember what it isn't? It's TIRED yarn, too. It's merino and lusciously springy, but I'm just not happy with the fabric on the size 4.00 mm needles I'm using. It's stiff. But, the days to Christmas are fast approaching, and there's no turning back. Granddad is getting that scarf with THAT YARN!

- DD's beautiful intarsia sweater is sitting waiting for the sleeves to be knit. I think I dislike intarsia - I'm not a German knitter like Julie at Samurai (yeah, in the list), and I am slow. Plodding. Putz-ing around knitter. So, it sits.

And I'm working. Like not the hours the day-traders work or the wall-street types who live a block from me in the big fancy houses and buy their children silver teething rings from Tiffany's (it's true - go look on their gawd-awfully designed website) but long hours for me. Long hours for a non-profit. I get paid well, I think, especially for a non-profit. But LOOOOOONNNGGGGGG hours.

And I'm working from home a lot more now, too, which means work gets even longer hours from me (no commute and no getting-ready time to eat into my work day) and I have no knitting time (no more 2 hour train commute). And when I do take the train into the office? I work. ;(

At least I *like* my work. And I like the people I work with. That's a blessing.

But I'm still tired. So good night. ;)

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Words of encouragement

I got the socks when I got home last night and I LOVE THEM!! You did a phenomenal job!! The pattern is great. They fit perfectly--snug, but not tight. I love the pattern. It was neat how the lighter colors formed stripes. I can see how it must have been fun to knit them, watching as the color striations emerge!

Thank you for making me your guinea pig!!

This is why I knit for other people. What a nice email note from my dear friend for whom I knit socks. The first pair I ever knit. I hope my mom and family like the socks I make them.