Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Oh, and one more thing

I just realized how messed up it is that in my "6 weird things" meme I note how I'm a stickler for the rules (I really do screech at the top of my lungs at drivers who break the law). How can I be a stickler for the rules when I am SO LAZY when it comes to fixing knitting mistakes? How can that be? Maybe I should become a law-breaking driver and channel my rule abiding tendencies towards knitting. Hm...

Believe it or not, Progress!*

I'm back to knitting on the train. More like, I'm back to taking the train. Working at home (WAH) definitely has its pros and cons:

1. I can work in my jammies all day long if I want. Nice, kind of (see Con #1). Jammies are for jammies, though. For lounging on Saturday or Sunday. For snuggling when it's cold and snowy (thank god we finally got some of that this season). For making pancakes with your 2 year old who loves to stir. For opening Christmas presents in. But work? Nah, it just doesn't have the same vibe and appeal. But it sure lets me get a lot more work done to avoid an hour of start-to-finish getting ready.

2. I can use a dry cleaning service and (a) not worry the driver is coming into my house and possibly stealing things and (b) not worry that my clothes will be stolen because I locked the door to keep the driver out. (we don't have an easy hiding spot) Writing this makes me feel really paranoid. But I live in NJ, outside of NYC. In less than 12 mos, we had 6 packages stolen. Christmas presents, birthday gifts, clothes and toys we ordered for DD. Six. So, I'm not leaving my suits and DH's beloved Hugo Boss suit out for some jerk to swipe ("Swiper, No Swiping!" won't work). So, working at home lets me avoid having an errand to run on the weekend -- I LOVE that the drycleaner comes to me FREE OF CHARGE! Luvely.

3. I can exercise in the middle of the day if I want and not have to worry about going back to work sweaty. (I've actually tried lunch-time WOs in several jobs. They worked then because the gym was nearby my work making for a really quick commute [sometimes it was IN my work]. But now, there's no gym near my work, so when I'm in the office, my only workout time is FIVE AM. Have you ever worked out -- hard workout, like running, full body strength, etc -- at FIVE AM? It SUCKS! Those people who say, "Ah, I love my morning exercise" must do yoga and sleep through half of it, or something, because hard, pounding WOs at 5 AM usually leave me with a headache. Sad, because the same WO at 5 PM leaves me feeling refreshed (and ready to eat a side of beef, which I don't feel so bad doing because I worked out hard). Anyway, mid-day workouts are the best.)

4. I don't have to pack a lunch. (I hate packing a lunch. I hate carrying a lunch. So why do it? A budget, of course. And also because bringing your own lunch has health benefits -- I know exactly what's in it, portion size, etc. But I hate hate hate bringing my lunch and snacks. One time, a guy on the train looked in my bag and said, "Wow, you have enough in there for a picnic." I wish I had responded, "Wow, and if you were cuter I might just share with you, but instead if we get stuck on this train, you can wither and die from starvation." But in all honesty, I deserved his crack. I carry half a grocery store with me to work.)

1. I can work in my jammies all day long if I want. (See Pro #1)

2. Sometimes a day will pass when I don't step foot outside. Yeah, I'm kind of embarrassed about that. But it happens, and sadly more than I care to admit especially when I work several days in a row at home. But you get to working, you get bogged down, you have email after email, task after task, and all in the comfort of your own home where everything is at your fingertips, and voila, in you stay. Scary.

3. I don't have to pack a lunch and end up grazing all day. Not good, especially when Pro #3 is more a wish than actuality. At least with the half-grocery store in my bag it's only HALF the store. When I'm at home, it's the equivalent of 2 stores worth of food, I swear. Dangerous. Dangerous.

and the worst ...

4. I lose my train knitting time! 45 min one way of blissful, uninterrupted knitting time. This morning the train was 30 min delayed, so I got a nice 1h15m chunk of time. When everyone else groans in response to the conductor saying, "We're behind a disabled train and face a 30 min delay," I just keep knitting, a sly smile creeping over my face.

The drawback to train knitting, however, is occasionally people think that because you're a knitter, you're a talker. And not only a talker, but a nice person to begin with. A friendly person. A homey person who cares about the world's woes and wants to make it right by knitting it special huggy.

I'm not that kind of knitter.

I'm a NJ to NYC commuter through-and-through. Leave me the fuck alone.

This morning, some weirdo guy (obviously a tourist, and probably half retarded at that) tried to strike up a conversation. "Wow, I bet you knit a lot of sweaters on the train." Mumble mumble mumble. "Not really, sweaters are too bulky." "What? I didn't hear you." "Ah, sweaters are too much to lug around. This is a sock." "OH WOW! I bet you keep your whole family outfitted in those!"

Yup. I knit $20 pairs of socks for my entire family to wear day-in and day-out.

OK, maybe the guy wasn't retarded. At least my account above doesn't convey his retardedness. But really, I thought I was talking to Ronald McDonald with feathered grey hair and no makeup. The guy was goofy, which a silly puddy grin stretched ear-to-ear, smacking gum at 8 in the morning, and chatting up a storm with everyone around him. Er rather, talking to himself because no one would talk back to him.

I'm rambling.

I'm very tired tonight but am trying to beat an 8 PM bedtime. AH! 9:00. I'm off to la-la land.

* I was going to write this post all about the progress I've made on DH's second sock, but spent the entire time droning on and on. Suffice it to say I'm finally on the foot and in for the home stretch. If I take the train a few more times, I'll have that puppy done and a nice $20 pair of socks on my beloved's feet.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007


So I ripped the sock back to the leg part, leaving about 3" of leg (including co and ribbing), and knit it longer and redid the heel flap. I had to stop there. Penance for my lazy ways.

The 6 Weird Things posts have been raging through the knitting blogosphere, and I'm trying to think of 6 weird things. I can think of 6 (600000) lame things I do. Or 6 lazy things. 6 gross things. 6 indifferent things. But 6 weird things. Hm. Here's a go --

1. My favorite color is yellow, but I can't imagine yellow on any clothing or accessory. No scarf, no bag. God forbid yellow cars except taxis. Just children's rooms or kitchen decorations. Chic french country (though I couldn't imagine having it in my house -- I love the style in others' houses). Still, I love yellow to no end.

2. I am a sane, law-abiding driver, but I get furious at stupid, law-breaking drivers (and they are in abundance where I live). So furious, in fact, I yell and scream at the top of my lungs. I don't think that in and of itself is so weird, but the fact that I'm a stickler for following the rules but lose it at the drop of a hat of another driver not following the rules, even going to far as to challenge other drivers in a fighting match, is pretty weird, I think.

I love to drive 10 or miles UNDER the speed limit when people tailgate me.

In fact, it's not just driving. But I get insanely furious (maybe I need anger management) at even small infractions. I believe so much in the rules, that when people break them I just fall apart.

3. I love sugar wafer cookies. The cheap-o kind. Chez Rae is stocked with organic, decadent foods from Whole Foods and other specialty stores. We spare no expense on food. Prefer expensive wine. Expensive chocolate. Expensive flour, for crying out loud. But those cheap, yucky sugar wafers? Love them. I've never actually brought them into the house (DH would never let me live it down), but my mouth waters for them every time I see them in the convenience store across the street from work. I ALMOST bought a package on Monday but I knew I would feel guilty afterwards.

4. I can't abide drinking, eating, or even really breathing after other people. The last one is a toughy, I know, as essentially all air is recycled breath to some extent. But even with DH, even after having some intimate time together, I can't stand the thought of drinking or eating after him. I hear of parents who finish off their kids' meals (probably secretly), but I can't do this because the thought of putting DD's saliva in my mouth is revolting. Utterly revolting.

5. I majored in literature in college and wanted to go into publishing. If I could have found a job to pay me for analyzing literature, I would have tried out for it in a heartbeat (other than getting a PhD). But now I can't read a novel to save my life. I have no interest in reading any novels right now. I don't think I burned out on them per se, but I just don't see the point. Non-fiction yes. Politics, history, theory and analysis, issues. Knitting. Child rearing. Yes. But fiction, no. Not at all.

6. I love to see how long my toenails will grow. I think that's pretty weird (and gross at the same time). I usually cut them when my toes start hurting in my shoes, or I switch to sandals. I dunno what the interest is. Maybe it's because my fingernails won't grow to save my life, but my toenails grow like weeds. Thick and strong. I've never gotten them to curl under, but I have had them actually cut the neighboring toe before. That was painful.

Tag, you're it!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

One whole day of knitting gets me ...


I spent the whole day knitting (the whole day for me is about five hours, after getting ready for the day, reading a bit, taking care of some business, taking some time out to eat, and wrapping up in time for DD and DH to get home).

I was determined to knit an anklet sock for DH's Grandmother, who is turning 95 this month! We are travelling through many states to celebrate this momentous event, and I wanted something special for DD's "Gan" (Gan, DH's grandmother, chose this name).

My ingredients? None other but the rockin Socks that Rock. The hank I was saving for myself. The hank that is a lovely and vivid display of pinks, chocolates, and greens. Stand up colors. Shout out colors. Colors that scream, "Boomin Granny!" 95 is something to stand up and shout about, and this yarn fit the bill.

Thing is, time and materials were against me -- the party is this weekend. We have to factor in family time, flying time, prep time, work time. The clock is ticking. Next were the materials -- I actually didn't get enough yarn to make a full and proper pair of socks. This is my first hank of STR after Cara raved about them. This was bought before I ever finished my first pair of socks and thus had a bit of sense about how much is needed.

But I was determined to overcome both.

I hunted around for different patterns. I tried different needles. I finally decided for a hobbled together pattern from multiple patterns:

* picot edge cast on
* simple rib for keeping the sock up
* an anklet length to account for the shortage of time and materials
* a basic St st after the rib to the toe, to make for faster knitting
* the traditional heel of sl p-wise, [k1, sl]* repeat, end k1
* knitting through the back loops of the picked up st, as promoted by Grumperina
* a simple rounded toe

All was well. All was swimmingly well. I worked out the gauge. I did the picot CO. I knit the simple, effective, and lovely rib border. I switched to St st. Measured to make sure the anklet heel started in the right place. Made it through the heel. Made it through picking up the gusset st. And then discovered mistakes.

Two mistakes that, to even a non-knitter, were unavoidable:

1. an extra st (or so I thought), which I lazily tried to hide in a k2tog, only to discover later on I had counted wrong, which I lazily tried to hide by doing a simple m1, only to discover later on a horrible glaring scar in the front of the foot where the unnecessary dec and then inc appear. An unavoidable scar from these two lazy mistakes. A scar which is unforgivable given how it came about.

2. a sloppy decrease line along the gusset where I accidentally dec in two back-to-back rows instead of dec one row, k one row even, dec next row, etc. Not so bad, I suppose. But again, I discovered this early on and decided, lazily, to keep plodding. Bad mistake. Even to a non-knitter, this line is now crooked, as if it went on a bender and, well, got bent.

And finally, a third insult. The fatal flaw. The guillotine of it all (because, after all, I could rip all of this out and fix the mistakes) -- the anklet is Too. Short.

Even for an anklet, with the heel, it's just not long enough for a proper anklet.

How the Mind of the Lazy Works

Mistake 1: "What is one little mistake? I won't make it again. This will be the only slight flaw. No one will notice."

Mistake 2: "Oh, another mistake? Ah, shhhhh. I'll hide it. It's striped yarn. It's a short sock. No one will notice."

Mistake 3: "Ack. Another? What's up? AHHH!! Look at the clock! Must keep knitting."

Mistake 4: "Ah fuck."

It's not all doom-and-gloom, I know, but the clock is still ticking. A whole day wasted on stupid, simple mistakes. Gan may just have to get these toasty goodies late. Hopefully DD's gifts will overshadow it all: the handmade card, handmade bracelet, and the tape of DD singing. Hopefully, the love and handmade care of a 2 1/2 year old will cover it all up.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

"To update or not to update?" That is the question.

Blogger is encouraging me to update my site to the new blogger style. With all of the hooplah and problems I've heard about the updates, I think I'll wait it out. I love being on the cutting edge of technology -- knowing about the cool new products, capabilities, and wars that are out there -- but I am happy to sit on the sidelines until things are tested, cleaned up, perfected, and stable before adopting them myself. So it goes with the new apple iPhone. You won't see one in my pocket for quite awhile, though I have to admit they're the darnedest coolest thing I've seen since the Nano.

In any case, I need to update my sidebar and knitty info! I have some almost-FOs of 2007 to share:

* a baby kimono for MIL's friend (I'm still bristling at knitting it because I knit ONLY for blood relatives, but MIL really wanted this, so I went ahead for her)
* 1 sock for DH from Knitting Vintage Socks (it's a gorgeous pattern! I love it)
* a baby sweater to have for "that" time (we're of the age during which everyone is procreating, and it never hurts to have a last minute gift on hand)

I'm anxious to start a bunch of other projects, but I refuse until I'm done with these. The finishing always does me in -- I just hate it. And despite scouring the book of knitting finishing techniques, I still don't know how to effectively weave in the ends to save my fucking life. Those ends are the bane of my existence, popping out at the mere glance of them. And those beautiful knitters who finish perfectly -- Grumperina, Yarn Harlot, All Things Heather, and I an only assume Samurai Knitter (though I don't think I've seen the inside of Julie's work) -- kill me every time. How in the world did you learn to finish?? I don't know how to do it effectively despite really trying.

And my camera is still busted. DD is growing leaps and bounds every day, so we gotta get that thing fixed. Hold on, I'm looking up the site info now ....

OK, I'm now at least $127 poorer to get this thing fixed, but at least I should post pics soon.

Back to work.