Friday, January 25, 2008

Jumping on the wagon


I cast on last night, and have been enjoying the mostly mindless knitting. The yarn is two different colors of Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sport. I've had a single skein of this (color Buck's Bar) hanging out in my stash forever. I've tried to knit it up at least 4 or 5 times, and I've not been able to find something that worked with it - too much pooling, it looked too girly, too pink - whatever. It just wasn't me. Most recently, I had tried starting a feather and fan scarf with it, which helped, but there was just too much rainbow-like pooling. So I succumbed to the inevitable, ordered a skein of Black Purl, and have been going with it. Much better. It's rather purple, and a little moody, but I like the colors much better this way. The Chevron Scarf (Last Minute Knitted Gifts, everyone has knit one already) is actually a pretty fun way to play with colors. I can understand why people have knit at least one, although the pattern is not the most exciting knitting out there. It's good for TV and for commuting.

Monday, January 21, 2008

In search of a knitting renaissance.

I think I've gotten stuck in a knitting rut. I knit socks almost exclusively last year, or at least for several months worth. It got a bit dull. I'm midway through 3 socks right now, and I'm not especially excited about any of them. The one that's getting the most attention is a simple striped sock in Trekking, but only because I knit round and round on it while reading or watching TV.
Exciting, isn't it? I feel the same way. Actually, I like the sock, and I'll happily wear a mismatched stripy pair pretty happily, but it's not mind-altering knitting.

Cat Bordhi's new book is pretty cool though, speaking of mind-altering. I'll go back to her patterns, and I even knit one of the sample socks, but I forgot to take a photo. Plus I want to make a second one, as a baby gift for an unknown recipient. I do think the letter stitchmarkers she suggests are a good idea, as she structures her patterns in kind of a bizarre way.

I've moved on to working on sweaters, primarily cardigans. Here's where things get tricky. I know that a plain sweater is something I'm most likely to wear, and will be the most flattering on me. And I love cardigans, especially in this climate. But I have a tendency to stall out.


All I have to do is knit that last button band, with buttonholes, sew up the underarms, and presto change-o, I'll have a finished sweater. It will need blocking, but that's not an issue. Not even an evening worth of knitting (ok, planning the buttonholes might be a bit of an adventure, but even so... And Tangled Yoke, which last looked like this:

Still essentially looks the same, as long as you imagine a longer plain knit section. At some point I need to start the sleeves, but I can't find my dpns right now. Whoops.

I'm thinking a lace project is in order. I have a giant hank of multi-colored Helen's Lace that's been marinating in stash for a while. Juno Regina looks like a nice project to use it on, even though I know it's going to flash and pool, especially in the straight portion. However, I think I can deal with it, as the final product looks like something I might actually consider wearing over a black shirt with jeans.

In other news, I had a horrible day in the lab today. Anything that might conceivably go wrong went wrong, but on the bright side, I didn't tell anyone off. Small victories.

I'm either going to go knit or wind yarn, I haven't decided which. I ordered some lace Addi's recently, and I'm holding off on starting knitting lace until I get them in. After which, I think it's going to be Juno Regia and then Ene's Scarf, maybe Trellis (attempt number 1000) later. Who knows. Tomorrow is another day. One can only hope it's a better one.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

So what have I been up to? Now with less fiber.

  • In December, I started running. I've been doing the ubiquitous Couch to 5K program. I'm in week 6, which is the farthest I've ever made it in this program before. I owe that to two things - first off, running outside instead of on a treadmill, and secondly, the availability of a podcast, so I can just concentrate on what I'm doing, and not have to track the time. I'm really enjoying it. I've found that the running is doing a lot to improve my mood and control my anxiety, even though I'm also discovering that I am in need of some new gear. Namely running tights, as my calf muscles become miserable when they are cold. My biggest realization is that I am old, and I don't recover well. However, I was pretty excited when I realized I ran 2.6 miles the last time I went out. Not bad considering how sedentary I've become in recent years. This is a great site for tracking a walk or run, btw.
  • I'm trying to read books again. This sounds strange, but when you spend a large percentage of your life reading technical articles and textbooks, searching for more things to read, and writing technical articles yourself, it's really easy to go home and try to turn off your brain. I'd fallen into the habit of watching too much TV. Now I'm just trying to finish some of the books I pick up. The first book finished this year was The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove by Christopher Moore. It wasn't remarkable, and in fact was a very silly and fluffy read, but that's what I could manage. I'm also reading The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova and Quicksilver by Neal Stephenson. Yes, I typically read several books at once. Just like I knit...
  • Work. There's been a lot of it. It hasn't been going so well, frankly. I'm a research scientist by trade, and I've spent most of the last year trying to get a method to work. I finally got it, but then I couldn't boost the sensitivity enough that I could make the method work for what I wanted it to do, which means that we had to re-evaluate my project. This also means that I have spent a year not generating useful data, and that, my friends, is depressing to a research scientist. As much as I know I am not my data, or my publication record, and that those should not be tied to my self esteem, it still is amazingly challenging to stay optimistic in the face of hard work for naught. The good news is that I've switched projects, and now I have a new method that's not working...
  • I've even gone out to see 2 movies in the past few months. We found a cool theater here, and I've now seen both Juno and Hotel Chevalier in the theater. Plus, I went out to eat at a real restaurant both times! The movies were good. The restaurant I went to before Juno was very good - a French Moroccan place - and I will definitely be going back. The TiVo is pretty full of stuff to see as well, and if the Packers weren't in the playoffs, I'd watch a movie tomorrow night.
  • I've missed Jon and Steven a lot. I'm rather bummed that the writers strike is still ongoing. But, that also means that I've used Netflix more, and have been watching Freaks and Geeks (excellent, but painful) and Babylon 5. Yes, I am a nerd, and darn proud of it.
  • I also have another confession - I'm a bit of a news junkie. Following the political race has been fascinating, and despite not really loving any of the candidates, I've spent a lot of time following the news. I've also repeatedly gotten a recommendation for "Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me" which I listened to for the first time in lab today. I loved it. Now that I've got my laptop connected for wireless at work, I'll be listening to a lot more NPR in the lab. I also like Science Friday. Told you I was a nerd.
I can't think of anything else at the moment, and I want to read for a little while before I fall asleep. The Historian is sitting next to me, so that's probably going to be my choice. I'm reserving judgment until I'm done with the book, but I will say that it has been keeping me entertained for a little over 100 pages so far.

So maybe I was a little hasty

I miss my blog.

I probably should have just stopped posting for a while, but in a lot of ways it feels better to have a fresh start. Much of the past 2 years have been rough for me, and I've needed some time to regroup. I miss my online friends, and that need is competing strongly with my need for relative privacy.

There are going to be some differences this time around. I'm not joining any webrings. I'm not making any promises about how often I will or will not post. I don't need more responsibilities in my life right now, and if I feel like the blog is becoming an obligation, I probably will stop again. And I may be posting less about knitting, and more about whatever strikes me.

There has been knitting lately, and I have some photos to take sometime this weekend.
But right now, I have coffee to drink and a book to finish.

If you're out there - hi. I've missed you.