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June 17th, 2008

09:47 am: Opal Handpainted sock in progress
This is a test with the Opal sock.

June 9th, 2008

08:03 pm: Gearing up for the Tour

Early bike
Originally uploaded by cristinad61
Well, today I signed up for Ravelry's Tour de France knit-along, and I'm really excited about taking part. I'm going to go for the Yellow Jersey -- but it took me quite some time to settle on that, and I still haven't decided what my project will be.

Last month it seemed a brilliant idea to knit Eiffel. I picked out the yarn and began swatching. But then it occurred to me that a project with such an intricate stitch pattern might keep my eyes more on my knitting than on the actual race, and that just doesn't work for me. I want to watch the race while I knit!

So, maybe something a bit simpler, like lots of stockinette, and yet not too simple.

And then I had to settle on the jersey -- Yellow, Green, or Polka Dot. No big challenges, for the reason mentioned above, so King of the Mountains is out, at least for this year. I'd really like to finish up my project as the race pulls into Paris . . . but knowing me, I'll end up getting all stressed out and not enjoying the process. So I guess the Sprinter's jersey will have to wait.

Since this IS my very first KAL, I decided I'd take it easy on myself this year and just enjoy being in the peloton. So it's the Yellow jersey for me, at least this time around. Maybe next year I'll be ready for more of a challenge.

Current Location: home
Current Mood: exhaustedexhausted
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June 1st, 2008

08:24 pm: Zombie Knitting
I should know by now that it's useless for me to try to knit when I'm very tired. Even the simplest stitch patterns wind up FUBAR -- and of course I can't figure out for the life of me where I went wrong. After getting totally frustrated, I either end up throwing the knitting across the room or frogging the whole thing and telling myself I'm a idiot, a complete moron, and that I couldn't knit my way out of a paper bag.

A couple of weeks ago it was the Razor Cami, and tonight it was the Oragne hat. I've got the exact right number of stitches, I'm knitting the second row of the chart. All the math is correct, it should come out perfectly even . . . but it doesn't. I've counted my stitches eight times, tried accounting for every single stitch as I check it off on the chart, and it's just. not. working. Aaargh!! Only one thing left to do: put it away for the night.

Which is why I've been uploading a few more photos to Flickr and doing a little bit of blogging.

Tomorrow I'll be phoning Knit Picks' customer service. I've had my Options set for 14 months now and I LOVE them. I use them constantly, even when I'm not knitting in the round, and I've never had any of the problems I sometimes read about in knitting forums.

I have heard that their CS is awesome, and I guess I'll be finding out for myself now. The threads in one of my Size 6 tips have become stripped, so I can't tighten the tip onto the cable. I noticed it was loose as I was working on my Oragne hat. A bit disappointing, but I've already gotten a lot of use out of these tips.

I may as well also mention to KP that I've got one cable that's a little wonky. Not sure when or how it happened, but a few months ago I noticed that the plastic cable has begun to pull out of the metal bit. It's not causing me any real trouble while knitting but does make me a little nervous since I'm not sure when it might decide to pop out.

Still, considering the heavy use that I give my Options -- I use them pretty much exclusively and I knit every single day, no exaggeration -- they're holding up beautifully, and I expect to get many more years of use out of them in the future.

Current Location: home
Current Mood: sleepysleepy
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May 19th, 2008

10:06 pm: Looking Forward Just A Little Bit

Tug o' war!
Originally uploaded by cristinad61
I keep seeing images of the Eiffel Tower today! I’m watching part of Project Runway (third season), and of course I watched part of the Giro d’Italia on Versus yesterday, so I’m very much in mind of the Tour de France coming up oh so soon and the possibility of my attempting to knit Eiffel for my KAL project.

As to the yarn, I haven’t washed it yet, I’m still in the midst of my gauge swatch, which I will then measure, wash, and remeasure, hoping that the yarn will “bloom” once the oil is out of it. I must remember to be careful what I choose to wash it with; I read some info on one of my forums a few days ago about Woolite and shampoo, etc, regarding the alkalinity versus acidity of various products and what effect they have on wool.

There’s also the issue of the complexity of the pattern, which I haven’t studied yet. I’d hate to get partway through −− or one or two inches in, like with my recent attempt at the Razor Cami −− and realize I’m over my head.

And yet another potential problem occurred to me this morning. I intend to knit every project I do from here on out in Continental unless there’s some reason I just can’t do it. And my proficiency in conti knitting is quite fair, I believe. I have no trouble whatsoever with knitting or with purling, and even though my technique may not be completely perfect it’s smooth and reasonably fast.

BUT −− I haven’t yet gotten to the point where I can form my stitches by feel and without looking at what I’m doing. I’m able to do this very easily when I knit English, since I’ve been doing that technique for so much longer. But since I have to, for the most part, keep my eyes on my work while knitting/purling conti, that means less time with my eyes on the TV screen . . . which means I’ll actually see less of the race this year than I would expect. And that to me is not a happy thought.

I have been trying to practice to some extent while I work on my current projects, but I have a feeling this is a feat which takes time and repetition to master, and I’m not sure I’ll be fully prepared by the first week of July.

Todays photo -- Buster (the big black boy on the left), Pinkie (smaller black dog on the left), and Gabby (with her back to the camera) happily playing tug-of-war at the lake last summer.

Current Mood: amusedamused
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May 14th, 2008

08:56 am: My Real Goth Quiz results . . .
Your Result

Elite Goth You're definitely a dark lord with an attitude and you love it. This isn't a "phase" or a fashion-choice. This is a lifestyle that you love and it's never going away.

Weird. I took this silly quiz, wasting time instead of working, and when I finished, it showed me the above results (along with a graphic) and the option to post it to my LJ blog. Okay, great!

Except what actually popped up in the LJ was a different graphic and a message that said "You are not Goth." What kinda con is that?!

So I just copied the REAL results and pasted them here. Whatever.

March 31st, 2008

11:04 pm: Celebrate the sun
Spring is arriving little by little, and that means, for one thing, more sunny days for my dogs to enjoy outdoors.

Gabby especially is a sun bather; I think that's a definite characteristic of pit bulls. Every pit bull I've been lucky enough to share my life with has shown an absolute genius for locating the most comfortable spot in the yard for lounging and soaking up as much sun as possible.

Sometimes it seems the only thing that gets a bull dog through the shivery cold winter is a stubborn hope that the sun will come back, just for her. On cloudy days Gabby will stare at me as if to say, "Well? What did you do with my sunshine?"

The first even-slightly-warm day of the year is her opportunity to find her spot and stay there until she's overheated and panting. And then nothing pleases her more than trudging back inside the house for a nice, long, cold drink of water -- and right back out the door to do it all again.

March 19th, 2008

12:21 pm: On Poetry
Scrambling to finish my work, due today. It’s just past noon and I’m still typing. Then I have to listen and proof it.
My FIL's newest book of poetry arrived in today’s mail. I want to absorb everything he’s written and learn. Even though the way I learned to write is different, I believe that he’s successful and he’s doing it “right” because he IS doing it −− writing. His voice is true, much truer than mine ever was . . . except for my earliest poems, the ones that have been lost.
I was listening to the Stitch Stud’s podcast last night while washing dishes and he described a contest he’s having and giving away yarn as a prize. It’s a poetry contest, and even though I haven’t examined the details, as I listened to him I felt the urge to take part. Of course I’d love to win some yarn, but even if I didn’t, I’d like to write something I feel good about.
And now that "Oklahoma Sounds" is here it seems to reinforce that urge. I feel good about my knitting, but I still need to write . . .

March 18th, 2008

12:17 pm: La Tour Eiffel

Originally uploaded by cristinad61
Reading Claudia’s Blog I see she’s begun knitting Eiffel, a beautiful top, pattern from Knitty. It’s inspired by the Eiffel Tower, of course, and originally knit in a DK/Sport weight hemp.

This may be a crazy idea (the pattern is rated “Tangy”) but I’m thinking that it might be a good project for the Tour de France KAL. I’m thinking I must have something in my stash to sub (nothing against knitting with hemp whatsoever, except that it’s pricey, I don’t need to be buying more yarn, and apparently the dye is prone to fade in the stuff recommended in the pattern), maybe my Dilthey-Wolle, coned stuff from Colourmart, or something else. Just a thought, or two.

Of course I’ve got plenty of other projects percolating on the back burner -- like the lacey version of Deep Breath to name only one.
Not sure what weight the Maura is, but the Colourmart stuff (angora/wool) is DK, 11 wpi. Ah, when I start thinking about all the great yarn I have stashed away and temporarily forgotten, I just want to dive into it and start knitting like crazy!!

I was nearly done with sleeve #2 of the Pinwheel Sweater last night but decided to rip it back about four inches; I wasn’t satisfied with the color progression and the way it matched sleeve #1. I got a bit smug there a few days ago and just knit away without paying close attention. Tonight I noticed the very abrupt shift from indigo to black and the segue to aqua didn’t match. Tried to ignore and failed. Oh well −− it’s not that big a deal, and I want to be truly satisfied with the project when I’m done, no excuses or apologies. After all, I’m MAKING this, it should be done just the way I want it.

Current Location: Chained to my desk
Current Mood: sleepysleepy
Current Music: Parole Board
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March 8th, 2008

10:02 am: New knittin' stuff!

New knittin' stuff!
Originally uploaded by cristinad61
I visited Babetta's Yarns for the very first time yesterday -- now I'm wondering why I waited so long!

It was only the second time I'd ever stepped inside a true LYS. Several months ago I ventured over to Frog Pond Knits, just before it went out of business, but that was a very different experience. It was my very last chance to go there, and I was hoping for some serious bargains (I bought 4 skeins of Cascade Luna in Boysenberry which are still sitting in my stash).

Having read tons of posts on Ravelry about other people's negative LYS experiences, I wasn't quite sure what to expect -- but I was greeted with a friendly hello as soon as I stepped in the door. I felt completely comfortable browsing through the whole store, and that's saying a lot, given my social anxiety disorder. The owner (I'm assuming she was the owner) was busy behind the counter, answering the phone, chatting with one or two regular customers, and winding some yarn into balls, but after a while she found time to approach myself and the other browsers and ask if we needed any help. All of us were perfectly content to just walk around drooling at all the beautiful yarns!

I went in with the intention of buying one skein of Cascade 220 to knit a slouchy beret for my mum, but of course it didn't turn out that way. Instead of the 220, which was very nice, I opted for three skeins of Plymouth Baby Alpaca Worsted. I've never knit with it before, so I'm looking forward to the experience.

And one other thing -- I bought my very first Addi Turbos! I'm a dedicated Options user, but when I saw the 40" circs in Size 8 I couldn't help myself. I'm nearly finished with Elann's Adult Pinwheel Sweater and I'm knitting it on two 32" circs. One is my Options needle, and the other is a Boye interchangeable. The Boye is okay but a little stiff, so I replaced it with the Addi, and WOW. I can see why people love them so much. I noticed the tips are not quite as sharp as the Options' tips, but that's not a big deal.

Well, I did buy the issue of Knit 'n Style with the Yarn Harlot article, but I swear that's all I bought. At least this time -- I definitely plan on going back. Maybe I'll even become one of the regulars!

February 28th, 2008

12:18 pm: What a way to wake up!

Pinkie at Folsom Lake
Originally uploaded by cristinad61
The first thing I saw this morning when I opened my eyes was the youngest of our three dogs, Pinkie, staggering around the house, barely able to walk, let alone stand. She was clearly in distress; she wanted to go outside to do her business but could barely manage. I panicked of course -- my first thought was that she'd had a stroke and that we were going to have to euthanize her. She's 12 - 1/2 years old, but all of our dogs are in surprisingly good health for their ages, and the thought of losing even one of them . . . well, we don't have kids, but our dogs are a major part of our family and always have been.

I phoned the vet and made an appointment for her, then I got her to lie down and rest until it was time to leave. In the meantime I had read on the internet something that reassured me -- it said that even when a dog does have a stroke, they can usually recover and deal with it better than we humans can. So, okay, not necessarily a death sentence, I can deal with this. Of course I was also doing some praying.

By the time we got to the vet (which is only about five blocks from our house) Pinkie was walking perfectly normally! She was excited about getting to GO, didn't matter where. The vet looked her over and didn't see any serious signs. Cookie appetite fully intact, and Pinkie was acting as if nothing had even happened.

So maybe it was a TIA, who knows. Without doing a CT scan or an MRI -- talking mega bucks here -- it's kind of hard to say. We discussed it and decided to wait on doing any blood work, but I'll be keeping a close eye on her, and if it happens again the tests will be unavoidable.

We love our dogs so much, it can be a hard call sometimes on whether to spend a ton of money (which you may or may not have available). We've done the diagnostic route in the past on Gabby, Pinkie's mom, and in that case it didn't really tell us anything we didn't already know. I think it's really important not to rush the decision. Of course you want what's best for them, but if you're going on adrenaline and fear, you might make a choice that later on seems foolish.

Thankfully, for the moment Pinkie's doing fine. I know the day is coming when that won't be the case; so the important thing now is to give our pets as much time and love as we possibly can. That means more to them than anything money can buy.

Current Mood: relievedrelieved
Current Music: Theme from "Monk"
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