Wednesday, November 29, 2006

alpaca goodness

There's something about buying yarn that makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

I bought 5 balls of this in lavender. That's a bit over 1000 yards, should be more than enough to knit Blaze.

Of course, that means I have at least one sock and one hat to finish knitting first. Nothing quite like a little pressure.

I'm over halfway done the leg of Tina's sock and started the last big chart for Ryan's hat, having bought myself bamboo addis. I'm thinking I should have gotten the metal addis, to make this go a bit faster, but I'm pretty sure that I'll end up using the needle for socks later and I love the bamboo for the socks. Ah well, live and learn. It means I can buy more needles later, right? Or demand the knitpicks options set... for Christmas.

Here's Tina's sock, next to the first one. So far, they are matching very nicely. I'm not sure what, exactly, will happen when I get to the heel, but Tina won't care if they don't match. In fact, she would prolly enjoy it if they don't match.


And Ryan's Hat:

As you can see, the hat is starting to get a little big for even Eeyore. I don't have any larger stuffed animals, so I'll have to start taking pictures using Ryan as the model. We'll see how that goes.

I'm ready for Christmas break, minus the 25 page paper that is hanging over my head, making mean faces.

(Ah, I so love Opera as a web browser. Never mind that I have to check e-mail with FireFox, but if I look at a preview of my post and accidentally click on a picture, when I hit the back button to my post-editing window, all the text comes back! YAY Opera for not losing my text!)

In other computer dorky news, I discovered a new computer lab on campus today. All the computers in the lab run Linux. I don't really know linux, but I was able to log on, sign on Gaim, open firefox and bring up a website with the Middle English version of Canterbury Tales, and play a few games. Best part? The lab, with some 20 computers, was empty for most of the hour+ I spent there. The person in there when I got there left within 5 minutes and someone else showed up right as I was leaving. I have discovered the perfect spot to do homework and knit while on campus. Woohoo!

I supposed I should now do homework (and knit!) while at home, too. Drat.

Monday, November 27, 2006

I found myself internet-less over break. My laptop's internal Ethernet adapter died last spring and I forgot to take home my USB adapter. My dad bought me a new one, but I could NOT get it to work. (I really really really hate Linksys products. Just throwing that out there.) I spent more time with Linksys customer service than I did working on my paper.

How's the paper, you ask? Um.. I have 3.5 pages out of an 8 page paper. I have yet to include any of the 6 required sources. In fact, I think I might only have found 4 sources so far. Or rather, by doing what my professor TOLD ME TO DO, I found a whole BUNCH of sources. I just can't get my little paws on a copy, since half those journals are no longer published and so forth. I'm almost at the point where I'd pay per-article on YWES just to look at a few of those.

I've always been pretty good at taking a line from a source and twisting it to my purpose. I just know that I shouldn't really do that, even if I say things like "So and so argues this, but really, they are missing THAT major point."

Unfortunately, fortunately, I figured out that I really only need a 75 on this paper to receive an A in the class. And that's giving myself a little breathing room on the final (which should be very very easy) and attendance (have missed only one class) and quizzes (have done very very well). For an A-, I just need a 70. Somehow, I think I can manage at least a 70. I hope.

Problem? That takes away any motivation to actually work on this paper. And if the paper is supposed to be 8-10 pages, how short do you think I can get away with? 7.5 pages? That's what I'm hoping.

So, tomorrow, I shall lock myself in the library after classes, with a couple copies of the Chaucer Review and pound out a paper. Hopefully in time to come home and watch Gilmore Girls and House. It is kinda my only homework for Tuesday, so, shouldn't be that bad.

But then.. this weekend, I head back to the library and write my list-serv paper for Hist 490. Then, I have three weeks to write my 25 page paper for Hist 401. And Eng 302's final paper isn't due til the Thursday of Finals Week and I'm thinking that paper won't be so very bad. We'll see.

There wasn't much knitting over break. There was much reading and riding and being at the barn and realizing that my mother is not a happy person and that I really dislike my sister. Not much sleeping, a lot of laundry.

And since no one likes a picture-less post, I present Tina and I:


And the thing my father made me take pictures of on Thursday. Cause Thanksgiving is never complete without rusting machines:

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Circular needles are not always your friend

I'm at the point where I need to do the increases for the next chart for Ryan's hat.


As you can see, the hat now fits Eeyore better than Sheldon. I'm only supposed to increase to 187 stitches, but I'm not sure that will fit Ryan's head. I've got the hat on circular needles now, but I still can't get a good idea of how well this hat is going to fit him. I'm thinking I'll increase to 204 stitches, enough for one more chart repeat, and hope that fits Ryan's head. Or I could just measure his head. Hrm...

I measured his head and checked my gauge. Gauge is 8sts/inch, his head is 23 inches. 187/8= 23.375.  So... If I follow the pattern, it should work out.  The math says it will.  Dare I trust the math?

I am HATING the circular needle I am using. It has a very NOT smooth join and I have to move every stitch over the bump. Plus, it is part of a needle kit and the tips keep unscrewing themselves from the cable which results in problems.

But, since I have circular needles for the hat, I have my dpns for Tina's other sock, which I cast on during Breakfast at Tiffany's which I watched, rather than the Eagle's game, since that game wasn't broadcast in this part of the state. NOT COOL. I figure the cuff, at least, will fit her. Right? Right.


I developed and ripped open a blister on Thursday, on my left ring finger.  Not too bad, but it healed a bit while my hand was relaxed, so stretching my hand hurts.  And also, knitting kinda hurts, since I wrap the yarn around that finger and the yarn keeps catching on the ragged bits of skin.  Ouch.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

I need a bigger needle

Second, the knitting:

Hat looks like this:



Can you see the big, huge, not cool mistake? How bout now?


I'll go back and fix it with duplicate stitch or not, and see if Ryan ever notices. I'm thinking duplicate stitch.

I like the way my snowflake pattern turned out, even if it does look a bit like a cross. And Ryan's Catholic, so he won't be offended. Now, another band of the first pattern, then I have to create another snowflake pattern. Then... we see who/what it fits. The hat has gotten big enough that Sheldon's beak was one of the reasons it stayed on top of his head, but I imagine that made seeing a little difficult for him. Maybe Eeyore will be a better model next time.

And the sock, you ask?


And on my foot:


Plain, boring sock... jazzed up a bit with cat paw motifs that I keep messing up.

overdrive

First, the whinning:

I'm in a weird mood that I can't shake. I'm thinking it is called "stress" and is related to the five major papers I have to write between now and Christmas. For a total of 50 pages. (Let's stop and consider that, blog entries aside, I ALWAYS have trouble making page requirements. I am concise. Perhaps TOO concise, but let's not make any hasty judgments, shall we?)

I plan on locking myself in the library tomorrow, as my second class is canceled and I skip the third one anyway, since my professor likes to think "reading power-point slides out-loud" is equal (or better than) lecturing, aka, actually teaching. And I'd be fine with the reading of the slides and whatnot, but for one thing. He posts them all online. I can read on my own, thankyouverymuch.  

Uh, so, back to library, yes? Library, with books and notebooks and laptop and finishing the paper on Emma. Went to office hours today, managed to flesh out my idea, expand on a really interesting point. My printer is still broken and thus, my writing process is also still broken. (I print a rough draft and sit with it in front of me as I open a new word document and re-write it, re-organize it, etc.) Really cramping my style, yo. And I want to have this paper done and handed in by Friday.

So that I can lock myself in the library this weekend, minus the Michigan State game, and crank out some pages for my Chaucer paper, for which I shall write a 6 source annotated bibliography tomorrow, while in the library. But I can't remember if I can get wireless signal while actually IN the stacks and that might make things a tad difficult, what with the finding of online sources and such. Blargh. We shall see.

In addition, my field trip to Harrisburg for Thursday was canceled. I have a 25 page paper hanging over my head, making mean faces and taunting me. I am ignoring it 'til other papers are due, such as Emma, Chaucer, and the list-serv topic one.

In theory, I have all of this under control. So why can't I manage to fall asleep when I go to bed?

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Grrr

 Here's the current state of the sock:


I decided to go with the "Eagle's Flight" pattern, available here. I really like the pattern, and it was easy enough to adapt it to my gauge (of 10 sts per inch. No, seriously. Look:



and I'm only using size 1s, people. And I don't think I knit THAT tightly.)

However, I'm not sure the pattern is really showing up with the dark yarn.


So I think I'm gonna end up frogging this and trying for another lace pattern, maybe
this one but I'm not sure it will work with 80 stitches, rather than 60.

Luckily, I do have a yarn that will work well with the Eagle's Flight pattern. (However, that yarn is supposed to be used for socks for my mother. I guess she'll be getting another pair of patterned socks...)

I might just try to come up with a pattern of my own. Maybe cables? Lace?

Thursday, November 9, 2006

If it looks like a duck...

The problem with rechargeable batteries is that you need to recharge them.   My camera turns itself on when you plug it into the computer and I forget to turn it off.  Which wastes a lot of batteries.

Which I never realize til I turn my camera on and see "Change the Batteries" flash on the screen before my camera turns itself off.

I figured out the increasing for Ryan's hat.  I needed 34 stitches on each needle so I just spaced increases between three and four stitches and counted to make sure I'd have the right number.

And then I charted my very first Fair Isle pattern.  It's a snowflake, of a sort, and I don't think it obeys Fair Isle rules since I have stretches of 7-8 stitches of one color only.  But, I don't care.  It looks nice and Ryan didn't hate the pattern.



Here's Sheldon, modeling the hat. Oddly enough, the hat is still too small for a duck stuffed with PVC beads. I'd say this might be a problem, but I'm getting gauge and I have yet to finish four charts. And if it really is too small, I can just add another chart at the bottom. Or rip out a couple of charts, increase a bit more, fiddle around with charts, and so forth. It'll work.

And the sock, modeled by Sheldon:

I think it is a tad too small.  But then, he has big feet.



Ah, yes.  It fits Eeyore and he's quite a bit bigger than Sheldon.  Proof that the duck has big feet and that I'm at least somewhat crazy, since I have my stuffed animals modeling knit projects and so forth.

Perhaps bedtime is in order.

Wednesday, November 8, 2006

Uh oh

Help me out here.  Pattern for Ryan's hat tells me that with 108 stitches on my needles, to increase as follows: "[(K4, m1) 6 times, k3, m1] around. 136 sts (34 sts on each needle)"  I read that as k4, m1, k4, m1, k4, m1, k4, m1, k4, m1, k4, m1, then k3, m1 the rest of the way around.

That gives you something like 142 stitches.  (4x6 = 24.  108-24 = 84.  So, over the remaining 84 stitches, you increase every three stitches, for a total of 28 increased.   The math, it does not add up.)  And I've sat here, counting off stitches, making notes.  And really, I don't see how this is supposed to work.

Am I supposed to k4, m1 all the way around the hat?  That'll give me 135 stitches.  I need 136, for a repeats of a 17 stitch pattern.  k4, m1 most of the way around, with one or two k3, m1 seems to be my best bet.

I could be reading this completely the wrong way, I'm aware of that.  And as I think of different ways to check my math, I keep coming up with different numbers and so forth.  (And to think, I took calc and advanced linear algebra for FUN.  And did well in those classes!)

Tonight, I shall solve this problem.

Since I don't seem to be able to NOT have a sock on the needles, I cast on in Opal's Dreamcatcher, color 1235, a bunch of blues with short runs of white.  I'm trying toe up socks this time, using Judy's Magic Cast On from Knitty.com.  I started with 20 stitches and then remembered, I have wide feet.  So I ripped it all out and started again with 40 stitches.  Haven't gotten far enough yet to know if that'll work, but that's ok.  This pair of socks is for me, and thus, does not count.

Though, I really need to get a few more sets of DPNs or attempt socks with circular needles.

And since I never managed to post a picture of the finished Lorna's Laces socks, here ya go:

Lesson learned? It is hard to take good pictures of your own feet. But, I am very happy with the socks.
Used Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock yarn, color 201, Yellowstone.
Made up my own pattern of 2x2 rib, garter stitch shortrow heel, stockinette foot, and normal shortrow toe. They didn't take that long to knit, I know I wore them out the same night I finished them, some Thursday evening, about Oct. 19th.

Monday, November 6, 2006

I finished Tina's sock last night! I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out, but am not sure it will be long enough for her feet. She'll have to try it on at Thanksgiving. If it needs to be a bit longer, then maybe the stripes will look better on the toe. As it is, they seem a bit funky.


I also completely ripped out Ryan's hat. The fabric was too stiff and tight and also, not quit making gauge. I figure it is a hat, I can MAKE the charts and stuff work out to fit his head. Plus, it didn't take me all that long to knit what I had. And since I finished Tina's socks, I have my set of size 2 DPNs to work with, rather than my size 1s. And I don't want to start Tina's other sock til I know the first one actually fits.

I've got a new plan in mind. I want to knit at least 7 rows/rounds on all projects on needles a week. For Ryan's hat, I want to finish at least one chart a week (and some of those charts have 15-16 rows). That way, I might actually finish things in a decent amount of time.

And also, not stress about them.

I've got enough stress going on, what with an 8-10 research/analytical paper for my Chaucer class due in, oh a week and a half. And I haven't started it yet. That's not the worst part - I haven't picked my topic yet and I've got to clear that with my professor before I hand in the paper. He did change the due date, a bit. If you don't have a final paper ready for the 16th, you can hand in an annotated bibliography and turn the paper in the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. But I also have an 5 page paper due the Wednesday before Thanksgiving due for my honors class. I'm worried about that one and yet, not. She gave us a huge speech about how no one is going to get into grad school or law school cause our papers all SUCKED. And then she handed them back out to panicking students. I managed an A-, but I'm now worried about the improvements I need to make on the next paper. Any one have any ideas for a paper topic for Austen's Emma?

Other than that, an exam next week, a trip to Harrisburg, other such fun and excitement.

Friday, November 3, 2006

the search is on

After Ryan's hat, I want to knit something large-scale for myself. I'm thinking sweater, since I've decided that I need to stop wearing hoodies all the time. (To demonstrate the extent of my hoodie-wearing habit, realize that a friend in photo club with me has ONLY pictures of me in a hoodie, wearing glasses and with hair in a pony tail. He has some 50 shots of me and tends to only take 2-3 shots of me at any one event. Two years, about 25 separate events, and I'm found wearing the SAME THING EVERY TIME.)

So, yes. A sweater. For me. That is warm, since I am Queen of the Cold. I'm looking for something fitted-ish, classic in style or at least not crazy enough to only be able to wear it for one year, and not overly hard to knit.

I've been debating Blaze from knitty.com. However, I'm pretty sure I'd want to add long sleeves and I'm not sure if that would work with the 16-round pattern. And I can't figure out what size to knit. I fall right between sizes small and medium and have a long torso, so I tend to add length to anything I knit. I suppose I could knit a few more rounds of plain ribbing, without the zig-zag at the bottom. And I might be able to add half a repeat as well. Hrm, ponder.

I also really like this cardigan, but I tend to have issues with buttoned sweaters uh, gapping. And I think this one would have the same problem.

Wendy's Somewhat Cowl, long sleeved version, is another option that I rather like. Not sure I could afford the suggested yarn, however.

Any other suggestions? The Sexy-Little-Knit-Along has some great ideas, but I find it VERY hard to search the blog to find the patterns that they have suggested and/or have knitted in the past.