Saturday, September 21, 2013

Road Tripping

Good day!  So, I work four nights on and four nights off at my day job, which means that even though I'm completely zombified for 50% of my life, I have an odd amount of spare time.  Well, sometimes I use that big chunk of time to catch up on life, paperwork, and whatever else needs attention.  Other last week...I went on a road trip.

I drove to California.  Stayed for maybe fifteen hours.  Then flew back.

But the great thing about road trips is you can knit little things when you stop, so I did.  I finished that green scarf in the last post, and I also started and finished the Half Dome from in 2006...Jesse Loesberg, you're cute AND you're a great designer!  Here is my installment of the hat with, if I do say so myself, a pretty flawless mattress stitch.  See, the hat is knitted flat.  Would you ever guess I sewed the sucker up if it weren't for the rolled brim to see the underside of the seam?

I had a dear friend pick me up from the airport and bring me to my car, but of course my car was at work, so there was a bit of an unexpected (duh...I actually SHOULD have expected it) hiccup there.  No worries, though...I felt accomplished for finishing two knitting projects on my days off.

Never mind the fact that I also own a real estate investment company, and there is PLENTY of work to be done on that front.  But whatever...that stuff will get done also.  Since I don't have a choice and all real estate stuff know...deadlines and a legal expectation of customer service.

So now I'm designing the socks that I hope will make the yarn-dyer famous (yes I'm serious), and I went back to the Asymmetrical Tunic from Vogue Knitting's 30th Anniversary issue.  I have the two short pieces done, and I have started the first of the two long pieces.  The pattern is actually perfect for me, because it's knit in eight pieces and then sewn together in this cool, unique construction at the end.  While I won't ever agree, I've been accused (that's the wrong word...more like it has been suggested to me) of having ADHD because of my penchant for doing sixty things at once, and just finishing them on my own time.

Little teeny bursts of knitting, and feeling like I finish something every time I bind off on a piece?  Sign me up!

Meanwhile, I have a new place I love to hang out in the house, but Bluto will do all he can to prevent the place from being as happy as possible.  Basically, I have this purple chair and mismatched ottoman that I bought on Craigslist, and it's in the kitchen between two huge windows.  Great place to knit, neighborhood-watch, listen to Pandora (my favorite stations are Sara Evans, Doobie Brothers, Debbie Gibson, and the Grateful Dead), and basically chill out.  Until Bluto gets involved.

See, Bluto likes sitting in the chair as well.  I am used to sharing a chair with this dog, of course...if you have followed my blog, you have no doubt seen that he sleeps on me in the red chair...but this chair is half the size of the other one.  He sits behind me, and his fat ass pushes mine right to the edge of the chair so he can stalk birds and squirrels in the back yard.  Suddenly, knitting a cable pattern with five different charts, all with a different number of rows, becomes a challenge.  Bluto just sits peacefully for ten seconds, and then licks my face for no reason and completely out of nowhere.  Here is the evidence:

It doesn't matter what I'm doing...he feels the need to sit there.  Sometimes he brings Kong, which he then drops, and of course freaks out and runs over me to retrieve it because that's what Kong does to dogs.

My column will be picking up again in a few days...this week is particularly stressful, but a lot will be better after that.  I have one more property to buy, the home-situation thing is semi-resolving, and then I'll be able to nap with the best of them and be fresh to get some work done.  Until then, I have pretty much given up getting everything done.  I just don't have the mental energy.  But I will.  So I shall knit.  Oh, and finally, as I was wrapping this up to publish, Bluto stopped chewing on my hair long enough to just sit peacefully for a photo.  See?

I'll keep publishing the progress of the Vogue's really beautiful even in pieces!  I hope it looks that great when I sew it...this may be one of those instances where I cash in a favor and say, "Umm...friend...can you put this thing together?  I'll f*** it up."

Friday, September 6, 2013

Humidity and Wool

Good evening, everyone...I'm sitting in my little nook in the kitchen, wishing my house would sell and wishing I could get a renter for my condo, and contemplating Life In General.  I have so many secrets to share, but I can't, for a few reasons:

1.  I work for a big, big company.  While I'm not doing anything that would ever jeopardize my job, I don't want to every say anything that could be misinterpreted by the higher-ups in a public forum.  So there are those secrets relating to things that don't directly have to do with the job, but people tend to get the wrong idea about whatever they want.
2.  There are some things I promised not to talk about.

So here I am, knitting some easy stuff and designing a bit.  The "knitting some easy stuff" part comes in the form of a scarf.  See, even though it's currently 82 degrees and humid (at almost ten o'clock at night), it will soon be scarf season.  And I love scarves.  Wearing them, knitting them, encouraging others to get their freak on with them...all of it.  So I have temporarily replaced the garter-stitch squares in my passenger seat with scarves.  Here is the first one, made out of Laines du Nord Prancer (replaced by Romeo; one ball gets you a comfy, decent-length scarf):

This yarn is brightly colored, not wool-itchy, lofty, and has enjoyable color changes.  What's not to like, I ask you?  Oh...and the needles are the Clover needles from the set I won at Wool and Company (as if Lesley weren't fabulous enough without prizes).  The pattern is just moss stitch (meaning two rows of K2P2 ribbing, and then reverse K2P2 ribbing for two rows), so I can whip this sucker out while I wait for the Bensenville train and never get lost in the pattern.  Score!

Then, even though I said I was going to take a break, I decided to get my design on and try my hand at a pair of socks.  I knitted the gauge swatch for both the heel and the instep, and busted out my US2 Knitter's Pride Cubics for the first time.  Before I go any further, I'd like to say I'm a huge fan of these needles.  The only struggle I have had is that I am a death-grip knitter, so tightening the first stitch on a new needle is more difficult when the needle shaft is square instead of circular.  All is well, though.

The problem is me.  I'm an idiot.

Usually I design projects that, if I were ever to get discovered (or, you know, submit my designs to a publication and actually be fortunate enough to have them picked up), would end up in Knit Simple or another publication which appeals to the masses.  Anyway, I busted out the pencil and graph paper, started writing stuff down, got a very solid image in my head, and then I started knitting.

The reason I'm blogging right now is because I thought K1P1 ribbing for, like, ever was a good idea.  It is not.  At least it's not for someone who has the attention span of a stoplight, such as myself.  The thing is, this yarn is just begging to be made into something awesome.  If my design turns out to be only okay, the yarn on its own will make it awesome.  It can be purchased through Sam Boice, owner of The Wool Dispensary.  I bought the yarn at Yarn Con and I chose Useful Irradiant in Danse Du Ventre.  There are sparkly threads and rich cool pinkness and a great hand and...I could go on and on.  The yarn is great, Sam is great, and it will not only do my pattern will make it great.  

Either way, though, these socks are going to be a labor of love for anyone who decides to knit them.  I am purling in unnecessary places, ribbing in unnecessary places, probably patterning in unnecessary places when I get there...drrrrrr...

Here is the yarn.  Stunning, right?

Finally, after helping out Knot Just Knits and introducing myself as the Plot Twist Shell pattern designer during the Chicago Yarn Crawl, my mom saw my design and decided she wanted one made for herself.  I had already made two of them, so I asked Elizabeth if she would make one for my mom and call it even for working for her, and she agreed.  My mom is not a fan of wool because it makes her itchy, so I told her to go into the yarn shop and pick out what she liked.  She went into Knitche and, to hear her tell it, her head fell off her neck from all of the choices and she had to be mopped out the door, too overwhelmed to make a decision.

But she did...she chose Misti Alpaca Chunky in Natural Cream (because if anyone knows my mother, she's one of those teeny people that can get away with wearing off-white and not look lumpy, fat, or even generally's unfair).  Elizabeth did a great job on the sweater but I was amused at how much heavier it was than the one I made in Eco+, and even the one I made in Queensland Kathmandu.  It, well, it weighs as much as my mother.

I'm going on a road trip next week, so hopefully I'll knit more than two rows of K1P1 ribbing on these freaking socks.  Maybe...if I'm feeling extra-saucy...I can make it all the way down to the heel.  Hell...a girl can dream...

By the way, if you know anyone in Chicago who would like to buy a house or rent a condo, send them the hyperlinks in this sentence and send them my way.