Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Mail Call!

This post will be sans pictures, because I do not have the patience right now to take 13 pictures and have 2 turn out, upload them to the computer, decide which ones to use (despite the majority crappiness), upload them to Blogger, wait 20 minutes for that to finish, then rearrange them, composing all the while, so that pix and text flow nicely together. Not gonna happen today, kay? Later.

To set the scene: It's bleeding cold today. Not cold as in only getting to 45, not cold as in staying in the thirties all day--cold as in the high is below 30 degrees Fahrenheit. Just lovely. The fountain in front of one of the dorms has frozen--there are icicles. On the fountain. Anyway--cold. I suffered through walking to Logic this morning, riding three-fourths of a mile to history, and dealing with pedestrians on my way to and from German, and I finally came home after English. It was 3:30 by now, and I was starved, so I decided (after setting my bras to soak, because there's only so long anyone can go without doing some semblance of laundry) to get pizza from the Cate.

I came downstairs and around the corner, and decided on the spur of the moment to check the mail. After all, I was expecting two packages, and the campus post office is on the way from my dorm to the Cate eating area. Sure enough, there was a pick-up slip in my box! When I got to the post office, I pulled out my ID and pink slip at the same time, and the guy behind the counter said,

"Hey, I think there might be two packages for you! Lemme check while you sign and date the slip." Sure enough, he came back with two packages and another slip. "The slip for this one got put in [other dorm] by mistake. If you'll sign and date this one too....."

I happily carried my packages over to Cate, ordered my pizza, and sat down gloat--er, open the mail. First, I opened the box, which contained a scrumptious skein of Yarn Love, Juliet base, colorway Robin Hood, a whole passel of Mint Truffle Kisses, and a sweet little Happy Holidays card. After I oohed and ahhed over that for a suitable length of time, I opened the envelope, which was, to say the least, crammed full. Its contents were a handful of Kisses with meltaway centers and two cowls, both Poinsettia by Anne Hanson--one, green Cascade 220, the other, cream Alpaca with a Twist.

The first package was a prize from YarnTails AKA Brandy, for winning a blog contest--the yarn is gorgeous, Brandy, and I can't wait to eat the mint Kisses!--and the second was from my partner in the Plurk cowl swap, zbaerenlovesme AKA Robin. Robin was concerned after knitting the first, green, cowl, that it might be too long, and possibly scratchy, and so she very sweetly knit me another! I love them both, Robin--the alpaca is so soft, and the wool, while a little on the tall side, is perfect for days like today, when even I, the die-hard non-scarf-wearer, wish I had something to cover my face. As it so happens, the green cowl is just long enough to come up to my nose and stay put reasonably firmly. It's amazing how much warmer I was wearing it home--either the bit of wool around my neck really made a huge difference, or the cowl magically made the wind drop. Either way, I'm totally crediting the cowl! ;-)

Monday, November 16, 2009

Ah, college.....

College is seriously interfering with the blogging time, but it does supply plenty of material! Today, I'm going to post a version of Little Red Riding Hood, which was an in-class exercise during English today. It's completely unedited, and I didn't finish the story (though I got to the climactic moment), so be warned.

Riff on the LRRH fairy tale
by Constance

This morning I decided to bring Grandma some of her favorite cookies, and Mama as always warned me to stay on the path and not to talk to strangers.

"You never know when a friendly person may turn out to be some sort of predator," she warned me, like she had a million times.

"Yes, Mama, I'll be very careful," I answered like I had the other million times.

Well, my definition and her definition of careful don't precisely coincide. I mean, it's not like I go looking for strangers to pour out my life story to, but Mama raised me to be polite. So people just spontaneously come up to me and ask me things (I don't know why), and I answer them. It's the polite thing to do.

On this particular walk to Grandma's, I was walking sedately along the path and singing to myself, and suddenly a wolf, who looked just like my dog, only bigger, popped his head out of the bushes.

"Where are you going, little girl wearing red?" he asked sweetly.

"I'm going to my grandma's house, sir," I replied. It always pays to be polite to people with large, sharp teeth. "It's just down the road--quite a small cottage, but most comfortable! She made my cloak; don't you like it?" I twirled, to show it off. "I love my cloak, with its pretty red hood, and I never take it off!"

"And what are you taking her, little girl?"

"I'm taking her some of her favorite cookies! Mama only baked them this morning."

"It sounds delightful, little girl! Enjoy your visit to your grandma's, and I hope I will see you soon!"

"Goodbye, sir! It was very nice talking to you!" I called after him, and then continued my walk.

When I arrived at Grandma's house, imagine my surprise to see a very hairy, very toothy grandma cuddled into bed.

"My, Grandma, what big eyes you have," I said doubtfully.

"All the better to see you with," Grandma said raspily.

"My, Grandma, what big teeth you have," I added, even more doubtfully.

"All the better to eat you with!"

That of course is not the end of the story, but it's as far as I got with it. Just in case you are anxious about the end, both Grandma and Little Red Riding Hood survive, being rescued by the lumberjack, and I'm not sure about the wolf. He did eat Grandma, after all.......

After writing the story (that represents about 20 minutes of class period), JM had us read our stories aloud and discuss how each used rhetorical devices to produce remarkably different stories from the same few plot points. After I read mine, the instant response from my classmates was that I should be a professional storyteller, because I actually read the story like it was people talking and interacting, not in a monotone. ::laughs::

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

How nice of you to say

This evening, I had the dubious honor of being cussed at for being a law-abiding citizen--the first time a truly nasty action was directed as me as a road cyclist.

"Why don't you stay on the bleepin' sidewalk?!" shouted a young man from a passing car.

For the same reasons you don't, sir. I am a wheeled vehicle whose slowest safe speed is considerably faster than most pedestrians can walk, and the more often I am in the midst of slow-moving crowds (and I spend most of my time on a college campus, the definition of slow-moving crowds), the greater chance I have of wrecking and injuring myself and/or other people. Plus there is the minor detail that sidewalks do not go everywhere I need to go.

I'm a law-abiding citizen, keep to the right and clearly signal when I move left or intend to turn. I stop at the same stop signs as every car, and I am easy to pass because I keep as far right as possible without endangering my tires with the road debris swept to the curb (unless I am turning left, in which case I have signaled). But people still find it necessary to yell at me, beep their horns while going round me, and, in one instance I can only describe as idiotic, pull up in the right lane even though they are turning left, because I am already in the left lane like THE LAW-ABIDING CITIZEN THAT I AM.

People have no idea what it is like to be carless. For me, I either walk or ride my bike. There is no third option--I don't even have a driver's license. There's theoretically a bus system in Norman, but I doubt there's a stop near Boyd & Berry (where my local church is) at 6:30 and 9 Wednesday night. Or at 10 o'clock and 12:15 Sunday morning. So I follow the law while taking city streets, which is whenever I can, because I hate driving through crowds of people--and to the clueless young man in the white car, I say sincerely,


Saturday, September 19, 2009

Teaser and a Learning Experience

These three pairs of socks (yes, they are all pairs, even if they aren't pictured as pairs) have something in common, and I bet you can't guess what it is...... And yes, that's all I'm gonna say.

Learning experiences. Don't you love them? Aren't they just your favorite things to encounter when you're going about your business?--No, really, no one does--they're messy and painful and frequently the lesson isn't obvious. I appear to get more than my share of them, though--like yesterday when I got the point firmly sent home that I should not bike down the east edge of Adams Hall/Price Business College. It was quite literally messy and painful, too......

::flashback:: I am riding as safely as I can, from German to English Comp. I'm in a bit of a hurry, because this is my only ten-minute break between classes, and during it I have to ride across three-quarters of campus. (That is not as bad as it sounds--the trek takes 8 minutes on a bad day on my bike, and five on a good day, plus we had let out a little early.) On the east side of Adams Hall, there is an ornamental garden which is very geometric, with completely square corners (and thus the walkways around them are also abrupt angles), and there are always many people walking in the area. Earlier in the semester, I had run smack into a person (who sadly was not looking where he was going--it was not my fault, I could not possibly swerve or I would hit someone else) on one of the narrow paths through a portion of the garden, so I was warily keeping to the wider main paths. Friday, though, even on the main paths there were not many people, yet somehow a pair was standing just at the corner of the path I needed to turn on...... oh well, swing wide to miss them--crash! Head-on collision with one of those anvils disguised as a mountain bike.

We were neither much the worse for it and instantly start off again, wincing at the bruises. But I got only half a pedal-turn before I realized (damnation!) my chain had popped off! Well, I must fix it--good thing I'm a little early.--Yes, yes, I'm fine, but my chain popped off, I answer a kind inquiry as I bend to begin fixing it.

I was still 5 minutes early to English Comp, so I had time to smear my fingers liberally with alcohol sanitizing goop and wipe it off with a tissue, taking most of the grease with it, and I have an impressive bruise on my inner thigh (the size of my heel!) and a smashed finger that bled a little under the nail, but the more lasting result of my collision is the resolve to never ride down the east side of Adams Hall again, but only the west. It will not cost me much time--it may not even cost me any--and I will have a much smaller chance of more crashes and bruises.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Uni geht sehr gut

...... and in English, that's "uni/university/college is going very well." Since I basically have a day off from homework (one essay to read and one review sheet to complete, and that's all that has to be done tomorrow), I figured that I would tell you a bit about my college experience! Since, ahem, I've been at college a full month Sunday, and a month in class as of the 24th......

I got a compliment from my German professor yesterday--we were doing an exercise in class, and after my answer she asked as always, "Is it right?" ::silence:: "Of course it's right; she has almost not missed anything in this class yet." --blush-- That is naturally exaggeration, but it is true that I always get more than 80% on my homework (she doesn't normally grade homework, it's a satisfactory/unsatisfactory deal--quizzes, tests, & papers are all that is graded), and that after getting a 92% on the third quiz I thought, "I must work harder on this"...... I tested into third-semester German, and could possibly have been even the semester above, but it is well.

Apart from German (which is my major; a life-goal of mine is to be multi-lingual, to really master at least one language besides my native English), I'm in Botany, Ancient Near East History, English Comp and Intro to Logic. Botany I'm perpetually ahead in the readings for; my professor likes his students to read the material after lecture, so we can focus on what he focused on in class, but he got slightly off-sync from his syllabus, so that he's covering some portion of the topic for last class still in this class. Like today he should have moved on to the anatomy of roots and leaves, but instead we are still on DNA & Mitosis (Tuesday's subject, officially), because we spent part of last Thursday still talking about Cytology, and that was because the Tuesday before we spent the beginning of class on Morphology. And so on and so on. So I am ahead in my reading--I read last night the portion that goes with what we discussed this period. Botany for Non-majors is definitely a fun class--I do not have particular trouble keeping up with the prof, either, though he does talk quite fast.

Ancient Near East History, besides being an absurdly long name for a class, with too many capitals, is also fun--it is interesting to compare his teaching style with my Botany professor's. They both use Powerpoint extensively, but that is more or less the end of the similarity. He also talks very quickly, but he's harder to take notes from because he's much less outline driven, plus a great deal of what he says is commentary on pictures of artifacts and the like that he sprinkles through. I tend to write down whatever strikes me as important, and try not to copy down his slides word for word. For one thing, he posts his Powerpoints on an OU website, and for another, if I can remember it in my own words, it's more likely to stick.

English Comp is, well, an English class. It's rather like (so far, at least) a course I took in high school called Critical Reading--there are four sections to this particular English Comp, the first of which is Scholarly Discourse. So we are reading and discussing and writing papers on scholarly essays, all of which have controversial subjects like literacy, equality in education, and so on. It's a bit of a hard class for me, since I am more or less 180 degrees from most of these writers--some of them, I actually feel that the more I think about the essays, the farther I get from the point, because the stance makes no sense to me. But we have an excellent teacher/discussion moderator (it's a discussion class, so he spends little time lecturing), so that makes it more bearable. We have I think only one or two, perhaps three, more weeks before we turn in the Scholarly papers and move on. Despite being harder on me than my other classes, it is also enjoyable, for the most part.

What left--ah, yes, Intro to Logic. I have a schedule chock-full of fun classes this semester, evidently, because this is another! A lot of students take Logic as a way to get out of College Algebra; I have no such mean motive, but am sincerely interested in the mechanics of logic, and always have been. :-D My professor deliberately set it up so that those who get it quickly can skip class Friday, and then he can concentrate on those who are having trouble. Me, I still have to go to class Friday, but need only do something very minimal. The goal is to get 40 points every week, which sort of acts as attendance & participation; I have 35. This is one class that actually stretches me, especially in symbolization of sentences and their manipulation (which is where we are now)--I think very logically and in a fairly straight line when I'm actually arguing something (though when just talking, I can do random with the best of them......), but manipulation of symbols is perhaps not my strongest point.

The hardest part of college is probably getting up in the morning, every morning, even though I go to bed earlier now than I did at home!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Three Rules

I have decided that I have three basic rules for looking and feeling my best.

1. I always look cute, no matter what I'm wearing or what I feel like. It's amazing--once you decide this, it's true. Always. If you don't find fault with your appearance, almost no one else will, either.

2. Dangly earrings improve every outfit and mood. Because c'mon. Self-evident! Actually, this goes for anything dangly or shiny--a necklace, earrings, bracelets, rings--wearing the pretties gives a lift to any day.

3. I am always right. Even when I'm wrong, I'm right anyway, in some way. This I think is a basic rule of womanhood.

Obviously, these are sex-specific rules (get your mind out of the gutter. "Gender" is a grammatical term that I don't like and use only for grammar--too clunky), but I am not qualified to speak for the other half of the population. So guys? You'll just have to find your own rules.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


My roommate and I have the same bedspread. Proof:

My decorating style is rather minimalist......

.......while hers is more heavy on the stuffed animals (they're really soft. Really really. Stuffed animals for grown-ups.).

Here is evidence that we really have the same lime green/aqua blue reversible comforter (reversed from each other because c'mon. Who wouldn't?):

And here, because I love my yellow sheets, is a more accurate picture of the buttery-golden goodness.--I might have a tiny yellow fixation right now.......

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Rhetorical Question

How much of a novice does one have to be, to deflate one's tires with a new pump, instead of inflating them?

As far as I know, no permanent damage has been done, though it did take me all the way across campus to realize that that was why it was handling funny..... Next weekend when I'm back in Tulsa (oh, yeah, school's been in for a week, so I'm in Norman; it's fun--maybe I'll dedicate a post to that tomorrow), we'll take it to Tom's for a tune-up, since I need headlight/rear reflectors since it's my transportation now instead of recreational/exercise vehicle.

Cheers! I'll be a better blogger sometime next century, kay? Too busy with school right now.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

A Little Bit Jasmin

A post about customer service will always make me think of Jasmin, one half of The Knitmore Girls. And this is sadly a post about customer service--not of stellar service, either from a specialized small business or large company, but of really excellent cake, presented just a little awry.

It's been my sister's birthday celebration this week, and to cap it off, we got a cake from our favorite local bakery. As always, they delivered a fantastically pretty cake--no misshapenness, no misspellings, a gorgeous delivery of Mom's requested color palette. There is never any CakeWrecks fodder from here.

It's the details that are bothering Mom--the details like not having the cake stuck to the plastic doily with frosting, which meant that the cake slid, and smooshed gently against the back of the box. And the detail of the box being not quite tall enough, and gently flattening some of the roses. It's a beautiful cake, like every other we've gotten there, but the details are not quite right. True that being smooshed doesn't make it less delicious, but--

This is what makes or breaks a small business. Being excellent in the details will provide you with fantastically faithful customers; being fantastic overall, but getting the details wrong, will send some customers someplace a little less expensive--perhaps to get cakes that aren't quite as delicious, beautiful, or perfectly executed, but where the employees prop the lid up if the box isn't quite tall enough.

Edited to add: They outdid themselves despite it all--scrumptious chocolate cake, and possibly the best buttercream I have EVER tasted. Yum.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Miscellania (pic heavy)

Look, look--Ice Queen is finished!

The lace is growing--really. You might have to trust me on this one.

I got fiber Saturday--isn't it pretty? Sorry about the plastic bags; a certain kitty finds fiber almost as irristible as plants. The color is pretty accurate despite that, amazingly! The very mossy color is a baby camel/silk blend--deliciously soft; the bright green and blue is four ounces of Falkland, and my next spinning project; the muted fall colors is painted on grey Merino--yummy! The camel/silk and Merino are both upwards of 3.5 oz, but not quite 4 oz. The Etsy seller is FeltStudio UK, and she has an incredible amount of stuff, which is all amazing! She's added tencel since I bought my swag, there's superwash Merino and Merino/Tencel in addition to Falkland and Merino, there's luxury rovings like my camel/silk and beautiful batts! She even sells handspun yarn if your piece of cake isn't the raw (ish) fiber.

This is a baby sampler braid that the seller very kindly included; isn't it cute?

I spun it yesterday on my pretty Golding spindle. It's a bit thick and thin, but very pretty and fine. I'm impressed at how much better I can spin on a delicate spindle. But of course the true test will be whether I can keep it up for 4 oz together.........

Sunday, July 19, 2009


Mom has been invalid-ish recently; she had surgery last Friday, and while it was fairly minor in that she was home the same day, any surgery is going to affect what you're capable of accomplishing for some weeks. This means that for the past week, the gruntwork of keeping up the house has largely been on my shoulders. Now Mom is up and around and feeling better, which means she is also noticing everything about the house which hasn't been done.

Understand that I am not blogging about this in self-defense. Mom is realizing almost for the first time just how much I do, so this is actually the first time I haven't felt guilty about what I haven't done, when we go through this cycle of Mom not being able to take care of the house (most often because she's working), then looking at it and saying, 'because I haven't done it, it hasn't been done.' Nor am I blogging it in accusation, or saying that I do everything and it isn't fair. This is purely about the balance of my own life, and if that is selfish, so be it. (My blog, after all.)

Mom brought this up herself, last night--I do a lot of the stuff around the house. I am laundress; meal planner; grocery assistant; chef ordinaire and baker extraordinaire (translation in my world: I do lots of cooking and almost all the baking); I am scullion the nights I don't cook dinner; I fetch and carry for Mom; I am cat wrangler; I moonlight as in-house tech support for Mom (I don't know much, but I do what I can well). All this while contributing to the tidiness of the main portions of the house, keeping up with three active hobbies (knitting, spinning, and biking), practicing a demanding instrument, still having high school coursework, and continuing to eat, sleep, bathe, read, and go out in public. In short, I do enough for three normal people, and the fact that I don't manage to do everything perfectly is less remarkable than the fact that I have a life that is remotely balanced! I need reminded sometimes--often, in fact--that I do a lot, because it's too easy to focus on what isn't done still.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Wake up!


Sleepy Cinnabars (human) sticks hand over edge of bed, cat rubs head on hand. Hand is hastily withdrawn as Cinnabar (cat) nips at it.

*yawn* If you want more pets, rotten, get up on the bed--I know you can.

Cinnabar promptly lands, complete with sharp, hooky claws and the feline faculty for putting entire weight on one paw, on Cinnabars's arm.


Cinnabar paces around head. Head squints at clock, is faintly horrified at the figures 6:55. Hand is again held up for cat to rub on; hand again avoids nibbling teeth. Cinnabar purrs louder; Cinnabars attempts to decide whether she wants crunchy (kibbles) or wet food (nummies). Cinnabar advances to starfish paws on the human's side; Cinnabars notices the other feline presence hovering in the hall and decides on nummies. Cinnabars reaches for watch and glasses case; Cinnabar watches narrowly. Cinnabars puts on glasses and reaches for rings; Cinnabar rubs face on glasses.

Cinnabars finally gets up--7:00 on the dot. Gets to end of bed, then softly calls Cinnabar, who is in the middle of the vacated sheets. Cinnabar gladly follows to kitchen, where nothing more eventful occurs than nummies being put down for both cats.

Cinnabars goes back to her room, where she attempts a bit of reading in bed. No later than 7:10, Cinnabar is concentrating on her from beside the bed. Cinnabars tries to ignore her, on the grounds that she has been fed already. Cinnabar demands attention with a patient (not!) chirrup. Cinnabars expostulates. Cinnabar is imperturbable. Cinnabars gets up, and Cinnabar leads her to the kibble dish. Cinnabars attempts waving a string; Cinnabar stares at the kibble dish. Cinnabars gives up and puts kibbles in the dish for Cinnabar, who purrs as she eats.

--In case you were wondering why my screen name is Cinnabars everywhere, this is why. It's the possessive of Cinnabar.--

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

A Study

A tale, perhaps, of two desks. A Hyde of desks, and--well, perhaps that would be pushing the metaphor too far.

Here you observe the first desk, a marvelous display of entropy (and this, mind you, is after I picked up the camera, and a small bag that had been covering that only bare scrap of desk there at the front!). My desk is...... not exactly the epitome of tidiness most of the time. You might say.

And here is the grand transformation, after the application of effort for perhaps ten minutes. It is not clear, you note--if you have a sharp eye for that sort of thing you can see much the same stuff round the edges--but with relatively little effort, I think I could now work at my desk! *sounds of shock, amazement, gratified murmurs* I could even put my violin case there, so I was not taking up the entire foot of my bed with it, and feel thus capable of picking it up at odd moments, without having to set it up every flippin' time!

I expect Mom will be thrilled--it still probably can't count as an anniversary present. Sigh. (Tomorrow evening, maybe, sister? We could at least get them a card, and cute plushies.......)

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Link Makes Noise *grin*

This is my current favorite Weird Al song, and is particularly apposite given all the furor about Michael Jackson's recent demise. It is, and must be, a link, because embedding is disabled for this video--but totally worth 5 minutes on YouTube.

A warning: if you have not heard Bad, by Michael Jackson, it verges on the uncomfortable, being essentially fat jokes (I am probably over-sensitive on this point--I watched it without having heard the song it's a parody of, and I am profoundly uncomfortable with poking fun *at people* [though I poke fun all the time]. So my first reaction may not be the best gauge). But if you have heard Bad, and especially if you have watched the music video for Bad--O.M.G. hysterical. As a matter of fact, if you watch the original music video immediately after the parody, I can almost guarantee that you'll laugh out loud.

Weird Al is probably the greatest parodic genius ever, and most certainly the greatest parodiest I have ever encountered (is parodiest a word? It is now, at least). Carol Burnett comes close, perhaps--have you ever seen Went with the Wind? Go, watch it now--it's on YouTube. Anyway, he is partly so fabulous because he copies not only meter and line (while completely changing the sense), but also he satirizes the singers, and the videos, nearly as perfectly (some things have to be changed, necessarily, to make the jokes, but he never derails the copy for the sake of the joke).

In short, Weird Al is really funny, and you can spend hours on YouTube, minion of evilness, watching the 25 or so authorized videos (which are not all songs), as well as the scads and zillions of shaky concert home videos and attempts at home to Be Weird Al.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

When playing an instrument

--particularly an instrument, a touchy delicate instrument such as the violin--slowing down and calming down work wonders. Not that I would speak from personal experience of needing to slow down or relax or anything, of course.

I worked on the Insani-stocking today, and finished the gusset. No pic, I'm feeling lazy, but also quite pleased. I also worked on the Exchequered ::glances at scarf, blinks:: I knit at least an inch, more like 1.5. Once again, I prove that things do not grow when you knit on them with the power of your mind, but only when you knit with your hands. My perspicuity astounds me.

Speaking of my violin (yes, we were, paragraph before last. Mostly, anyway), there is a story behind me learning violin. (Surprise!) My great-grandfather, better known to me as Gramps, was a professional jazz musician early in his career, before becoming a knife sharpener, and later a show horse breeder.--Not really a stick-to-one-thing kind of family, I suppose; Dad's had one career but dozens of hobbies.....--In time, Gramps died, during one horrible October two years ago, and since Aunt Bev, his daughter and musical child (as opposed to Grandpa Bob, who was a machinist and half deaf at 64) lives in Colorado, the violin came home with my family. Last November it went in to the local music shop and checked out beautifully, so it came home and Mom & I set up my first lessons with a marvelous violin teacher who has been teaching for over 20 years (and has never had a beginning student with a violin this nice).

Happy Fathers Day, Gramps. I'm taking care of your violin.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Momentous News

Lord help us, I'm really going to college.

This, this looks much more like it is supposed to.

And finally, just to prove that I have in fact been working on my Baroque socks. Hey look--another heel!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

That Story I Promised You.....

Plus some soap, and a pretty.

This is that extraordinary heel, that I took on faith as "more than usually magical" (I think those were my words). I should have known better.

But even after 20-odd socks, there are still heels which I have not knit, and I thought this would probably be like the Dutch heel--mysterious and particularly well-fitting.--Here, you observe, are the picked-up gussets. Note the curious slope to the heel.--I picked up the gusset, began to knit, then realized that the instructions did not tally with the number of stitches I needed. (I did not actually swear. Recall that I still live with my mother.) A long, painful tinking and readjustment, so that I could decrease the gusset on the bottom of the foot, where it would be easier, work better, and I could actually decrease enough to fit my foot.

I have currently knit less than 1/2 inch of gusset (you see, here, my current progress). I started picking up the gusset stitches, my camera tells me, June 2nd. Even allowing for a weekend lost to tinking, I should be well down the foot!

This angle, though, may show the difficulty a trifle better. Note the bulge. You do not, by the instructions, knit short rows anywhere in the heel. While decreasing in the middle, you knit to the end, every row. This creates a certain bulginess, which alas is not duplicated anywhere in the heel of my actual foot. (Or perhaps I should say Blessed be God.) So, for almost two weeks, I've been not ripping the heel of this stocking, and re-knitting it so it actually fits my foot. Instead I've been knitting Baroque, and very pretty it looks, though I don't have a photo to show you (no reason--just haven't thought of it, and Lord knows there are enough pictures in this post already).

I think I have finally found the difficulty--she is rather vague in her phrasing, so I took "decrease in the center (knitting to the end every row) until you have 7 small panel stitches in the center, then decrease on either side of this small panel" to mean, Keep knitting to the end of every row after you have the small panel in the center, while she meant (and certainly seems to have knitted), After you have the small panel, knit 7 st in pattern, decrease and turn--thus eating up one st on the edge per row, and forming a flap like a Dutch heel. As this is more or less the solution I had decided on, I feel considerably vindicated. But even that isn't going to make ripping out this d*ned gusset and heel much more pleasant. *sigh* Motivating music required! (And if you are wondering how I can possibly have misread the pattern that badly, or if you are simply consumed with curiousity about the source of my trials, the PDF is here, the charts here, and the designer's site is here.)

Oh, yes, and I knit this as well, while I've been avoiding the stocking heel of doomy doom-doom--it's a soap sweater, a necessity in my bathroom, since there is a drip that wears away the soap in double time, no matter where in the shower caddy I put it. Things I would do differently next time include knitting a real round toe, instead of a befuddled mish-mash of round and wedge, knitting a bag with a drawstring instead of trying to decrease for the other end, and knitting the thing in thicker yarn, or doubling it, because in fingering weight the accursed item took more than a week. I'm reasonably happy with it despite all that, though. It will no doubt do what I intend it to--be a washcloth-cum-soap-saver--and that admirably.

And the pretty! I have a new spindle, despite having no fiber to spin on it (I undoubtedly will get some presently, but I have no stash at the very moment). It's a Golding 2" brass ring, solid (obviously), out of Lignum Vitae or ironwood. I confess from the picture on the site I was expecting something of more walnut hue, but since I loooove green, and also since Mom looked it up (we were both dying with curiousity at the cryptic citing of Lignum Vitae) and mentioned that it commonly turns green when finished, sometimes with black accents. So they may have just had one which was all black accent in the photo.

I will say, spindles are a treat to photograph, even ones that are an elusive green tint combined with a dark oak shaft, compared to yarn. My camera is not very good anyway, and softness defeats it utterly--it simply hates to focus on items without clear edges.

My new spindle. I has a happy. :-)

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Good blogging will commence.....

.......sometime after the next blue moon. I was going to wait to post until I could show you all the more-magical-than-normal heel. Aforesaid heel is still not progressed to a point that would suitably show the transformation, though, because after starting the gusset Friday night (remembering to take Before pics), I spent Saturday and Sunday (well, it would have taken me less time, except for some other stuff which I'll talk about in a minute) tinking the few rows of gusset, and this evening I finally rearranged stitches to my satisfaction. The instructions are vague, I hadn't thought much about this crucial stage, and the pattern at the sides would be tricky to decrease in, NOT to mention one (I think) actual lapse of logic. I'll go into it all in detail at sometime that isn't after ten o'clock at night. So I'm decreasing on the bottom of the foot, which appears to be working better. Cautious optimism appears indicated.

Rest assured that when the heel looks really like a heel, pictures and extended commentary will follow on their heels. (And if it doesn't, it will be an interesting and probably funny story. But! Optimism!)

I had come to the conclusion that I needed to frog right before leaving for some hours Saturday afternoon & evening, so I managed to get perhaps a needle tinked, then tinked a little more after returning. The next morning, though, I worked a bit on my poor abandoned needlepoint scene (yes, I *do* go in heavily for the womanly arts.....), then dashed out of the house (with knitting; do not distress yourselves) to help Mom with manning a rest stop for Tulsa Tough. Aforesaid being a pretty big thing in biking, as Tulsa events go. There are criterion races (with, I understand, handsome cash prizes), as well as two days of endurance rides, from 50K to 100 miles. Mom and I were helping at a rest stop--food, water, and medical assistance--the last rest stop, on the 100 mile route. We had relatively few bikers, since it was not only the longest route, but the second day and a hot, windy one at that. I got to be the early alert system, watching for bikers to come over the rise and ringing my cowbell (Official Enthusiasm Generator) like mad as the signal for the others to dash out to the road with water, sports drinks and mister. The mister, a garden variety spray bottle, was especially nice! (The nurse on station was quite generous with the misting.)

Overall it was quite uneventful, except that somehow three bikers got behind the "last" biker, and we only caught them because the station before us mentioned that they had seen three bikers as they pulled out--those three had missed the two stops before us, and had to stop at convenience stores instead. They ended up catching a ride into town, after their "moral victory" 100 miles (our rest stop was 99 miles into the route--because of a detour, they started the timer late, so the route continued for almost 9 more miles). Tough as nails, those three--one didn't even intend to ride 100 miles, but only (!) 100K--and they even had a pretty decent final time!

I'll talk more about knitting later--it's much too late and I should be in bed.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Woe and Despair

Gnashing of teeth and tearing of hair; woe is me and lackaday and sorrow.

The Kiila socks. You remember them? Brown, invariably blurry in pics? SKA May mystery? I don't know if I mentioned--I'm knitting them in tandem--first the one on two circs (Knit Picks Harmony 16", BTW--love 'em), then the one on cheap-o Susan Bates DPNs. I have knit the gusset on both, and turned the heel and started the heel flap on one, and--

They are too short. By a lot. (This happens, inevitably, whenever I knit socks in tandem--I think the universe may be trying to tell me something.) Like, seven-point-two-five inches of sock for a ten-point-five foot. Ain't gonna happen. And the difference between the medium gusset, which I am knitting, and the large gusset is 4 rows. Uh. Yeah. Bye-bye gusset, hello extra one-to-two inches of sock before gusset.

But not now. Kiila is in timeout, because when you're blazingly angry and vindictive and despairing is a wonderful time to rip projects back (not). If you need me--I'll be casting on Baroque.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

What a Difference a Shot Makes

My visit to the doctor yesterday concluded with me being prescribed antibiotics and a steroid shot.  I don't know which it was, but I feel much better today!  (I had some variety of crud, probably from never-cleared-up allergies since I've had the same symptoms 4 times in three months.)  I'm coughing more, :-( so biking probably isn't the best of ideas. :-( :-(  A funny aside about the doctor visit--I was knitting, of course, and my project was Ice Queen (this might be a good moment to mention that it isn't as Day-Glo as the pic last post represents--it's a very soft, girly-girl pink).  So Dr. R comes in, comments on my knitting ("We're in trouble if you're allergic to wool," he says) and we get on with the visit.  Before the nurse came in to administer my steroid shot, he popped back in, evidently for the sole purpose of asking what the yarn was.  Definitely a nice doctor.

This is the Garden Gate sock (by the way? Fall '08 knitty. Exchequered is Spring '06)--I have a couple more inches, maybe 2.5, after the heel, but apart from that, this is probably the best pic I'm gonna get for a while. You can see it's not the best yarn for stranded knitting--Tofutsies is beautiful, and soft, and I think I picked the best colors for contrasting that I possibly could, but both yarns are tweedy, and both yarns occasionally have two plies of a light color--so inevitably, sometimes the light, low contrast stretches of each yarn will occur in the same section of knitting for both colors. I think I put that as clearly as possible; I hope so. It's easy to see, hard to explain.

Speaking of Exchequered, this was the only decent picture I got out of five. And it isn't that fabulous, I know. Exchequered is my first foray into double knitting. It features on my project page as "Armguards Reincarnate", because I had promised to knit my sister armguard out of this yarn, and they got knit, and ripped, and knit, and recharted, and knit, and then they languished. So she finally released me from making armguards, per se, in the hopes of actually getting a knitted item in the foreseeable future. This is the result. (Speaking of which, she's going someplace that she'll need a scarf in September..... I'd better get on that.)

This is the FrankenSweater. No links, because it's of my own devising. I know it looks like a scarf now, but eventually, that will be a shawl collar. I'm thinking I'll do the rest of the sweater in neutrals--there's a fabulous sale at the moment at Joann's, so since I'm using Paton's Classic Wool, I'll be buying the rest of the yarn for Frankie this week.

And this is the Greyflower, except it's more tan. I am knitting it according to a recipe on the TsockTsarina's blog, in every particular except that I'm knitting it in laceweight instead of a light-ish fingering. It will almost certainly be longer than the Tsarina's, given that I intend to knit until I run out of yarn and I currently have, oh, about half the yarn left still. You can see from the second shot that it's a substantial length already--between 36 & 48 inches, unblocked--I think I'll hit Lisa's recommended minimum length of 80 inches, blocked, easily.

That's the roll call, then, of projects I'm knitting at the moment, complete with pictures and links. I'm thinking I'll start Baroque soonish--soon enough to qualify for a SockDown! May entry on Sock Knitters Anonymous--out of a lovely green Panda Silk, but I'll concentrate some more on Kiila first. TTYS!

Edited because I forgot, this time, one I remembered last time--Erste Pullover, the Aspen Top-down Sweater from Knitting Classic Style.

I remembered to take a pic, at leat..... I know it looks really long and thin, but that's mostly because it's a sweater in 1 by 1 twisted rib. I mean, there are some cables, yes, but basically, 1x1 rib. I did knit the body an ootch longer than specified, because I wanted to be sure it wouldn't gap (I hate sweaters that ride up, with a passion), but only a couple inches.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

So, Knitting, I suppose.....

I have a few WIPs........ perhaps more than 'a few', even.  Starting with the ones I've worked on in the last couple days, there's Ice Queen, Kiila (rav link), the Yarnissima sock that's the May mystery sock for Sock Knitters Anonymous (my favorite Ravelry group), and the Certifiables (AKA the Eleanora di Toledo stockings, AKA the Insani-stockings).  These all I have current pictures for.

They aren't the best pics, because a) I have a really crappy camera and b) all of this stuff is even harder to photograph than my other projects.  Every picture of Kiila came out blurry, except the one with flash, which was washed out and didn't show the cable anyway. Sigh.  Apart from these, I have the Garden Gate socks (knitty '06? Definitely knitty), a stole based on a TsockTsarina recipe (I linked to the post in my rav projects page...... I'll see if I can come back and edit with links for the non-Ravelers), my first sweater, the Aspen sweater from Knitting Classic Style by Veronik Avery, the FrankenSweater, a mock-up of my own devising (not very far along yet) and Exchequered, another knitty pattern.

I must scoot--I have a doctor's appointment this afternoon.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Beginning

All right. I have caved. For more than 18 months, I've had a Ravelry account, for more than 8, a Plurk account (for those that don't know, Plurk is a micro-blogging site like, and I have finally run into something that I don't have a Rav forum for (yet), and cannot describe in 140 characters or less, but really want to talk about.  (I'm Cinnabars both places.)

But first, a word from our sponsors a bit about me.  I am an obsessive knitter--I've been knitting since January 2006 (more or less), and obsessively knitting since--well, that's harder to pin down.  It probably began when the Yarn Harlot came to Oklahoma--one of my local librarians knits, and she went, and was talking about it, and I discovered the blogisphere, and obsessive knitters.  From there, and after discovering socks (you can make a whole project for $20!), it was a downhill ride, and oh! such fun! (I'll talk about my current projects later.)  I've picked up two more obsessions over the past year, too, making my life one with healthy, balanced obsessions ;-)--violin and biking.  I've always loved music and singing, and whenever I display it, I am told that I have a very nice voice, but I had no formal music training before last November. I've been learning violin since then (yes, as my first instrument; I can't do anything the easy way), and I'll talk more about how that began later.  Bicycling began--either this time last year, or around September--when I began talking about wanting to ride a century the next year. When I still wanted a bike, and to be fit enough to ride centuries (100 mile rides, FYI) in December, Mom decided I should get my bike.

And here we come to the crux of the matter, the spur to begin blogging. I began to ride, a bit, in January, but for the most part gave it up for the indoor exercise bike after I aggravated my respiratory system into some nasty coughs.  I also admitted to Mom that I wasn't comfortable enough on my bike to ride well, and she said, in the acute way moms have, that I needed practice, and a riding partner to ground me in the basics.  The weather is finally nice enough that we can borrow Dad's truck, drive down to River Parks, and spend a good portion of the day biking, getting comfortable with our gears and our bikes generally--we'll make a Friday date of it. But meanwhile, let's try out the bikes on the least busy portion of our nearby streets.

So yesterday, Monday, we go and try out our bikes on a non-busy street and the quiet rec center parking lot off it.  And I discover that I have been avoiding turning, and also that when forced to turn, I don't do it well (no doubt why I've been avoiding it).  As far as I know, I have never properly turned on a bike--I remember biking a lot when I was six or seven, and going fast, but I have no clear memory of turning, apart from taking the entire street to do so after riding really fast down the steepest drive in our neighborhood.  For the most part, I seem to remember, I stopped, manhandled the bike around manually (which was one of those anvils in bike form called childrens' mountain bikes, and was a lot more stable than the beautiful, sleek road demon I have now), and then tore off as fast as possible.  So. Whenever you learn a new skill, there are bumps in the idyllic path of knowledge.  True for math, knitting, and turning a bike.  Start with the fact that turning a bike is completely counter-intuitive (even if you know the principles of acceleration, and have taken Physics--they're the EXACT OPPOSITE of what you want to do), and combine it with my tendency to slow down when I'm trying something new (both physically and mentally), and you have panic attacks, short vision, and wipeouts.  Let's just say that I was blessedly aimed at curbs bordering grass both times I wiped out.

Oh, you wanted more detail?  The first wipeout, on Monday, was avoidable--I had nearly completed a good, sweeping turn, but I couldn't go past the curb at the speed I was going, so instead of pedaling hard and letting the bike stabilize and just miss the curb, I squeaked, froze, and ended up sprawled in the grass.  The second was avoidable also, but I would have had to start earlier--I turned into the parking lot too sharply, and was headed straight at the curb down into the park.  Once again, instead of keeping my turn and pedalling (so that it was just possible I might have avoided the wipeout, but then again, I might have fallen on the parking lot), I panicked and this time slammed on the brakes.  I cannot express the brilliance of this.  I damaged myself quite a bit more on the second wipeout (fortunately, Mom had bowed out of this ride and wasn't actually witness), and apparently it looked quite spectacular, because a party down in the park sent a delegation up to check on me.  Toll from the first--a small bruise that I only noticed when I was trying on a sock, afterwards.  Toll from the second-- an impressive bruise on the shin that included a blue knot early in the proceedings, a scraped elbow complete with grass stains, and a jolted neck and shoulder that are both much better after an application of ice, thanks for asking.

Okay.  The knitting's going to have to wait.  I'm gonna shower--I hurt all over again (but less so) after this recital.