Saturday, November 14, 2009

Back to normal

There's a chance that the new yarn--the product of the day that magically cheered me up--has moths in it. It's been quarantined to the freezer for the week. (Did I mention that part of what made me so happy was that I was really excited to work on this project right away?)

And since I spent the evening knitting with it, they could be anywhere in my my other yarn is magically in jeopardy as well.

I'm going to go figure out a different way to de-stress, now that I'm officially too afraid to knit.

Yarn Carnival

As a college student, I very rarely experience what I would call a "full" day. Days full of class, or (more often) days filled with reading and writing, yes. Days in which I'm too busy to brush my hair or eat more than popcorn (bless you, you sweet self contained microwaveable food), certainly. But days in which I wake up early, spend several hours roaming between different events and errands, then return home happy (if a little worn down)--those are few and far between. (I traffic in mental exhaustion--the likes of which keeps me shuffling through thesis research and grad school applications rather than writing blog posts--so admittedly, my sense of physical exhaustion is a wee bit warped.)

Today, because of a concurrence of wonderful events, was such a day.

I was up by 8 (a full 3 hours and 15 minutes before our campus expects a Saturday morning to begin) for the fourth annual AIDS walk (warning: there is a short video). This is my third walk, but Daniel's first, so I was excited about registering early and getting a good place in the walking order. A good friend of ours was in charge of leading the walk this year so I figured we'd start out near him--however, he'd been told to set a brisk pace (as there are usually a few walkers who want to finish quickly), so I assumed that (being so very out of shape) I'd eventually fall behind.

We were clipping along, and somehow (I suspect the Wii Fit was involved) I was keeping up. When we reached the first point in which the route gets confusing (we turn off of a well designated road into a neighborhood with lots of turns), we glanced behind us and realized that of the 500+ walkers signed up, there were only 9 of us keeping pace. The rest of the walkers were so far back that they were almost out of site--we had at least 150-200 feet of clearance, and made me feel pretty darn good.

Because of our speed, we made it back to the dorms just after 10 and had a small breakfast and a very important Twitch hydration hour. Then....we went to the yarn carnival.

I've had a rough couple of weeks populated by all manner of disappointments and set backs; the kind of days which the Yarn Harlot labels as "the universe seeking balance" and which (when put together in such an unrelenting sequence) tend to leave me curled up in a corner petting yarn and muttering to myself.

On Thursday evening I serendipitously stumbled across news of a new yarn store in the area which would be celebrating its Grand Opening today, and well....I lost my shit a little bit. I started jumping up and down, and counting yarn points (ask me in another post), and begging Daniel to let me go. It seemed like the perfect thing to cheer me up--brand new yarn in a brand new home, with sales and give-aways. And because I'd just gotten the news, I didn't even have to wait long!

As I slogged through Friday (and some more "balance"), I kept the yarn store grand opening in the back of my head....and it began to swell to epic proportions in a worrisome way. I have a tendency to get my hopes up. I do it often, and I always chastise myself afterward, but apparently I'm a very slow learner. Last weekend we'd attending a "season tasting" (yes, shudder at the name, it was gross---but we were promised delicious free food) at a local grocery store, and I'd built up hopes of finding it a magical autumnal fairy land, with slices of pumpkin pie and cider, and good cheer and fellowship of man and blah blah Charlie Brown blah. It was (as you probably guessed it) nothing of the sort. It was a crowded, overly hot, mess filled with rude patrons who shoved past you or rolled over your toes with their carts as they made a bee line for the last of the stuffing or the 1 inch cubes of pumpkin pie.

So when I started talking about how wonderful the Yarn Store Grand opening was going to be, I think Daniel got a little worried. I started by talking about the yarn selection--would they have Malabrigo? What about the Handmaiden I'd been hunting in the wild for a few months? By midday I was speculating over the what sort of entertainment there would be (other than, of course, the fondling of a multitude of beautiful soft precious glorious yarn)--the internet had hinted at demonstrations, and famous knitters, and music and snacks and maybe even contests.

By the evening I was gone. I envisioned what can only be described as a yarn carnival--with Yarn streamers festooning the ceiling, balloons out front, and an impromptu silk tent in the parking lot. There would be yarn ball jugglers and calliope music and friendly clowns making balloon animals dressed in wee sweaters. There would be acrobats doing ball winder tricks, and free samples from yarn vendors, and maybe (just maybe) a bit of magic--not too much, we wouldn't want to over shadow the yarn.

As we pulled up to the quiet shop front this afternoon--sans clowns, acrobats, and jugglers--I could feel the foreboding welling up in my stomach.

But after spending an hour and a half at the actual yarn store grand opening (which was filled with beautiful yarn, nice and mostly polite knitters, and a few door prizes), I realized that I hadn't swelled my hopes to high.

Who needs a yarn carnival? I just would have ended up inside the store fondling yarn anyways--and this way there were no creepy clowns or jugglers getting the yarn dirty.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Bet you thought I was gone for good

I don't think I've taken a day off from knitting since the day I learned how to use string and sticks to make beautiful ( least interesting) things. Even when I don't have yarn in my hands, there's a good chance that at least some part of my thought process is devoted to a skein somewhere. (Generally a skein that has yet to make it into my stash....much to the chagrin off everyone involved.)

Unfortunately, this means that knitting often takes precedence over my other non-academic activities (it would probably displace the academic ones as well if not for the fact that I learned how to knit while reading). For the past few weeks I've been busy preparing for my final year of college: cleaning my dorm, reading for my thesis, and losing sleep while I worry about my future. Most of my spare moments involve squishing yarn or sleeping--and sadly, I haven't focused enough of my attention on blogging.

Hopefully now that the semester is settling into a pattern, I'll be able to eke out more time for frequent posts.

But for the moment, there's a beautiful skein of Tosh Merino waiting for me.

*squish, squish*

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Apparently it's compulsion

Knitting is a deceptively stressful hobby. At first, the act of knitting--rhythmic wrapping of yarn, repetition of motion, and complete occupation of generally twitchy hands--is relaxing. It lulls a person into believing that all projects are soothing--but when one delves farther into the world of skeins and dpns, this tranquil facade slips away.

There are patterns that require constant tinking back, perhaps willfully encouraging a knitter to lose her mind.
Yarns that are on an unholy quest to blind and debilitate all who are drawn by their siren call.
Needles that gleam and promise faster knitting, only to drop hundreds of stitches from their shiny, high-polished, heartless tips.

Yet these insidious fiends are not the worst plague awaiting in a knitter's stash.
Deadlines far outstrip their brethren in malice, for only deadlines can turn a normal, relaxing project into a shudder inducing, panic inspiring jumble of knots and sticks.

Deadlines have many attacks:
Last minute pattern Snafu's
Overestimation of knitting ability
The dreaded three yards short syndrome
and of course,

After succeeding with the last minute Trilobite hats, one would think that I--being a moderately sensible Twitch with a healthy respect for the maintenance of my mental faculties--would have avoided all knitting deadlines until the Christmas knitting season really flares up (so.....August?).

However, I'm apparently a glutton for stress.

I don't know if I've posted about the Wonky Scarf--I might have been waiting for pictures. It is a simple garter stitch striped cotton scarf worked out of mysterious yarn that Daniel's parents brought back from Italy for me a few years ago. Luckily enough, I happened to have a few skeins in Gryffindor colors, so I decided to go the way of loving girlfriends and force my boyfriend to dress up for the Harry Potter premiere.

This decision, of course, was made without knowledge of my impending adventure--in the flurry of preparing for said adventure, the half-finished Wonky scarf was swept aside.

Yesterday, the magnitude of my mistake hit me: with less than 36 hours to go, I had to knit a whole half a scarf--the first half of which took me a week.
Momentarily, I considered accepting defeat--especially considering that my knitted accessory for the evening--my beautiful Ravenclaw beret--was MIA, and jealousy of the Wonky scarf would run high at the premiere.

You can probably guess what happened next.

I dashed out to Michaels, bought two skeins of Vanna's Glamour (Sapphire and Platinum), and a hook, and I started crocheting in the car.

Finishing my Sparkly Luna Lovegood Hat and the Wonky scarf before this evening? Why not. I'm sure I'll find a time turner or something.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

So little time...

Well, it's soon to be bon voyage to the stash once more.

In little more than 32 hours, I'll be winging away on a new adventure--one that happily requires a little knitting. So far I've made one hat (Trilobite!) for myself--and I've started another for Daniel. If I'm lucky, I might be able to get one more done before it won't matter.

That said....I have a great deal of knitting to which I must return.

Regular blog posts will hopefully recommence after my life stops being quite so interesting.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Like a toddler with a room full of shiny objects

As you can easily see, there are still no pictures on the blog. Shameful, yes. Unwarranted, only if you have never felt the borderline obsessive (ha, borderline) joy of returning to a copious and beautiful yarn stash.

In honor of our being reunited, I decided to attempt a minor stash dive--a difficult and dangerous maneuver in which I perch precariously on the far side of my bed and open up all the various boxes that comprise a portion of the stash. A full stash dive--which would involve both shifting my room in order to access bins and braving the inner depths of my closet--is not recommended at this time. The minor dive, however, was fruitful enough.

I harvested no less than five skeins of malabrigo, and nearly wept for joy as I inspected the haul: three skeins of worsted (in purple, green, and a beautiful pink/brown/green which sounds ridiculous and looks like paradise) and two skeins of dark blue lace weight. The lace weight has been partially wound and bagged up to become a Tilli Tomas Mystique shawl. I also balled up the pink/brown/green with the thoughts of maybe making a Trilobite hat, though this is pending the opinions of my readers...

Unfortunately, winding both balls proved to be even more laborious: having been in the stash for a Very Long time, they had felted and grown finiky from the lack of my direct adoration. The experience has inspired me to attempt to knit All of the remaining malabrigo in my stash as soon as possible--with the exception of the superwash socks, but we'll see.

This could prove to be a very interesting summer.

Monday, June 22, 2009

I can almost smell it

My conspicuous absence and my separation from the stash are almost at an end.

This week has been lovely: I've enjoyed the summer sun, gotten together with two of my favorite people (coincidentally both readers of the blog...not that their reading it has anything to do with their status as "favorite people"), knit quite a bit of a very wonky scarf (it's story will be song by the bards...or you know, posted when I set up my camera), and resisted the temptation to buy yarn from ESK.

I sadly succumbed to a little temptation while I was here. On the second trip to Michael's (can you see where my mistake was?) I found some acrylic self patterning yarn. It's cunning little stripes and delicate spotted pattern defeated my will power; I bought a skein. Four dollars of temptation wouldn't look so bad...except for two reasons:

-Daniel bought two skeins of the same type of yarn in green and brown. He wants a "camo" scarf.

-I fully intend to plead with my loved ones for the permission to buy some special yarn for the trip that shall not be typed. If I type it might not happen...and I really want it to happen.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

This place makes me nervous

I'm on the first of what will be a series of trips this summer--which means two things: my blog posts will be erratic, and I will have limited access to yarn. The latter aspect frankly makes me a little anxious.

Generally, I'm never farther than 30 feet away from a variety of yarn for more than a few hours. For some unknown reason, this summer I've agreed to several trips that will not only take me away from my ample stash, but will also make the acquisition of more yarn very difficult (I can hear all those who love me and wish to preserve my sanity...err, I mean bank account heave a great sigh of relief).

Perhaps half way through the week I will find a Michael's--just to look (and pretend that I could knit the yarn at will) and maybe fondle.

Then maybe when I get home I will begin looking into self help groups.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

A hush runs over the Knitting community

There's an electric buzz in the air and my fingers have the urge to abandon poor Surfie for unknown glory. It's not my normal knitterly fickleness; this is a special brand of wanton abandon.

The new Knitty is up.

I haven't even looked at the patterns yet (lies, I saw the crab pattern while I was making the above link, but that doesn't really count does it?) but I look forward to the new Knitty with the sort of all consuming, heart stopping joy of a child before her birthday.

I had another post planned today (it even turned out to be weirdly relevant to my day, given that I had a swimsuit breakthrough today), but....

the new Knitty is up.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Twitch Knits III: Revenge of the Shrug

The DIC Shrug got its revenge this evening. After a fortifying day of exercise and reading, I decided to settle into the sunshine chair (a squooshy chair located right by the window), watch a little Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, and get to picking up those stitches. Everything was zipping along until my dad asked me to close the window--but even then I figured I'd be fine. It wasn't as idyllic, but I still had some light to work by and the movie was so funny--how could I deny him a better viewing experience?

A few hours later, and I've realized the mistake. Somewhere after the first forty of the 182 stitches I picked up, I got off of the double rib pattern. Also, somehow--despite careful counting and a great deal of patience--I picked up a number that can not possibly be 182 stitches. If it were 182 stitches, I would have do some wiggling to make the pattern work.
Yet the appropriate wiggling made the edging wonkier than it was before.

However, all this wonky-ness did not catch my attention until a row and a half later. At first, my natural reaction was (as a wise, wise knitter once told me) to just keep on knitting and pretend nothing had happened.

This quickly proved to be a bad plan, leaving me with a wierd mish-mash instead of lovely, defined ribbing.

The appropriate swearing ensued and I dug a crochet hook out of my needle binder.

After an hour I had everything in order--plus I can now boast that I'm completely adept at dropping and picking up stitches.

But I've confined the shrug to it's ziploc bag once more--it needs to take a long hard look at it's recent behavior before I let it try to cozy up to me again.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Get off my back... stinkin' shrug.

I can feel you watching me everywhere I go, but smothering will get you nowhere buddy. Just ask the Mystique pattern that keeps "bumping" into me as I try to clean the unholy sty that I occasionally call a bedroom. Familiarity breeds contempt, and the more you harangue me about finishing (or casting on--I'm looking at you Mystique) the more appealing the non-demanding Cinched Waist top becomes.

Picking up the number of stitches that you keep insisting I need to requires fortitude...and possibly some liquor...or an incredible, yet non-consuming movie. Maybe I'm exaggerating--you're not really asking for much. But in a world recently filled with Malabrigo Sock, how can you expect me to stay focused?

Speaking of, I have to get back to my busy schedule of staring at the Mal and wondering which pattern is worthy of it.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

A day without yarn

Well, if I'm being honest with myself I could never survive a day without yarn. My conspicuous absence yesterday (it was conspicuous--I have followers now! *yarny dance*) stemmed from the fact that I'd spent 6 hours at the mall helping my dad. The local mall was hosting a "hurricane expo"--this being Florida and all--and my father's office was invited not only to man a booth, but also to give intermittent presentations. However, complications meant that for a good part of the day, my mom and I were manning the booth--causing me to kick myself for not having the foresight to pack a project.

Also, someone needs to alert the mall that they've made a serious oversight: they have absolutely no craft stores.

To celebrate getting through a day filled with false smiles, talking to strangers, and carrying heavy objects, I devoted myself to finishing the back of the DIC Shrug. This morning I hit ribbing once more, meaning that if I work my tail off I might be able to finish the shrug in just over a week.

Unfortunately, between the mall and the shrug I've been unable to devote any time to uploading pictures. I would promise their impending addition to the blog--but I sense you're begining to doubt me.

Friday, June 5, 2009

YAY! Someone's reading this!

(hug) to Jamie!

I'm still working on pictures; hopefully they will be up by the end of the weekend!

In other news, I took yesterday off from the KAL in order to cast on with some of the acrylic yarn I found in my stash. I'm making the Cinched Waist Top by Vladimir Teriokhin from Vogue Spring/Summer 2006. I think I found enough Simply Soft Brite in Rose Violet to make the top--and maybe even add some extra frill, or longer sleeves. I decided it would be easier to give into temptation and knit a few inches of the corset waist--then get back to the DIC Shrug.

Don't tell Surfie.

Thursday, June 4, 2009


My resolve has already cracked.

This morning, my mom offered to take me to the awesome local yarn store--the Knit and Stitch. I initially declined: I knew the temptation that lurks in Cocoa Village, and I didn't want to put myself in danger of breaking the yarn diet. However, I decided to check the store's newsletter anyways. (I told myself that I wanted to check the class schedule...yeah right.)

All it took was the phrase "shipment of Malabrigo sock yarn" and we were in the car. Well...actually, we had to wait for a thunderstorm to pass--during which time I convinced myself that I only wanted to meet the yarn. I'd never seen it in person, and it's always good to feel a yarn for future reference (that sounds oddly dirty--but we'll ignore the potential psychological ramifications).

In the car I decided that if they had any of the three colors that I'd been stalking at Eat.Sleep.Knit (indiecita, solis, and terracotta) I would buy one skein--but that was all I was allowed.

When I arrived, I found what I really should have anticipated: a decimated Malabrigo sock section. They'd had all the colors in at the begining of June, but they'd sold faster than water and bleach right before a hurricane (why do we need the bleach for a hurricane? Really, someone tell me).

But amongst the wreckage: five skeins of terracotta. I know own two of them.

However, I'd like to believe that the knitting gods don't really mind: as a sign of good faith, they graced me with a free knitting pattern for a beautiful shawl.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

What was that about an honors college?

So I frequently have moments when I realize that I've missed something obvious. For example, during my first blog post, when I substituted "darn" for my usual colorfully unladylike vernacular it took me three paragraphs to realize that it wasn't just a nicety to my potential readers (if I have readers), it was also a pun.

Or the fact that every few months I realize that the Stitch (copyright Disney) key chain I attached to my needle binder is oddly appropriate, though completely unintentional. (Maybe my subconscious loves indulging in puns when it knows I'm not looking?)

For the ESK DIC KAL (eat.sleep.knit dream in color knit-along; if no one is reading I might as well use abbreviations) I decided to continue my new habit of recklessly flying in the face of instructions--instead of knitting flat, I'm knitting in the round. I tried to think through the problems this might pose to the project as a whole and decided it would be fine.

Last night I noticed something strange going on with my shrug--the sleeves had lovely little stripes going in quick succession, but the back of the shrug was knitting up into bigger stripes and blocks of color. I'm ashamed of how long it took me to figure out my knitting phenomena. Eventually it hit me: knitting in the round for the sleeves caused different color alignments than knitting flat for the back.

In recognition that I'm a darn idiot, I will leave you with this:

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Good Behavior is encouraged

Despite manifold temptations from my favorite online yarn store (see the links to the right), I've been a good girl and I've stuck to my yarn diet. I've watched as skein after skein of my favorite yarns have arrived in new colors, and my favorite colors have waltzed in on new yarns. Each time I feel my addiction leap forward, I try to remind myself of next years tuition. I may have money for the minute, but in a few months I really and truly need to be an adult--a transition that will be so much easier if I stop acting like a spoiled brat and start the maturation process now.

It might also help that I'm having recurring nightmares about trying to pack up all of my stuff and move out of my dorm.

The universe has smiled on my attempts to be a realistic and sensible person--a fact that hit home today.

So far I've had very nice evaluations (my college doesn't rely on a grade system--but trust me, written evaluations might make you miss a good old anonymous GPA), but today I received a doozy. It's always satisfying to do well in a difficult course--especially when the teacher is at times scant with her praise. I believe that this good (okay, great) evaluation is cosmically connected to my trying to reign in my wild yarn accumulating ways.

But even better than getting a good evaluation:

While I was cleaning my death corner (a corner of my room that is notoriously avoided during other cleaning sprees because it is more or less a black hole of doom devouring all the odds and ends that I'm never sure what to do with) I discovered yarn that I don't remember purchasing.

Really pretty yarn. Enough to make a sweater with.
Who needs to buy yarn, when you can discover it for free?

For once I'm glad that there's more room to clean...who knows how many potential sweaters may be hidden in there?

Monday, June 1, 2009

It's not you, it's me

Dear Surfie,

It's not that I don't love you...I just think that we need to take a break. You probably saw me this afternoon, working on the Dream in Color shrug with it's tantalizing lace pattern and sultry color variegation. It's not that I want it more--I signed up for that knit-a-long before I even met you. You don't want me to back away from a commitment do you? What kind of knitter would that make me?

Please just give me a week, and I promise I'll come back to you. I'll knit you for the rest of the summer...but maybe we'll do some double dates.

I miss you, painstaking stitches and all,

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Still no pictures...

However, at this point Surfie is still just an endless ring of's probably better that you are spared having to stare at so many tiny, uniform, unchanging green stitches.

If I lose my mind this week, I will probably be able to blame the stockinette. I've invited this madness though; I could have chosen the worsted-weight lace hoodie but oh no, I had to have the filmy laceweight.

Late tonight I finally hit a decrease row. I am perhaps only 2288 stitches away from the beginning of the lace chart and I can feel the excitement growing. (Can you hear's the sweet siren call of yarn overs and 8 stitch repeat sections!)

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Personal Growth

I've always had a fondness for instructions. When it came to legos, I was no fly by the seat of my shorts kid, creating random blobs of interlocking mess. If I bought the kit, I darn well made the kit. I never messed with the alternate suggestions: I wanted the jet plane, not the robot with the random propeller on it's back or the race car with cumbersome and non-aerodynamic design features.

I was forever searching out new instructions: I tried my hand at almost every Lisa Frank or Klutz craft that I could cajole my mother into buying (I'm sorry Mom) and spent the long lonely summers between moves learning to make beaded necklaces and about four dozen different kinds of friendship bracelet.

As a teenager, I discovered that yarn was the gateway drug into a whole world of instruction--I could peruse patterns to my infinite pleasure, learn how to block and swatch. I was dumbfounded and awestruck by the endless lists, and I greedily devoured patterns. I took everything as written--okay, I may be guilty of shortening sleeves and adding stitches to hems--but for the most part patterns came out intact.

Given this life long courtship of anal retentiveness, you will understand why last night represented an important turning point in my life as a knitter.

For two months, I've been coveting the Apres Surf Hoodie, wistfully eyeing yarns and dreaming of flitting about in its wispy glory. The only thing that stood in the way of my lace hoodie joy was my undying loathing of sewing---the sheer number of seams made me weak at the wrists. However, I was going to choke back the bile that inevitably rose at the thought of so much sewing, bolster myself with the fantasy that somehow this sweater was the key to having a succesful and fulfilling summer, and soldier forth.

But then...I realized what a terrible idea this actually was. While I'm all for discipline and fortitude and conquering my knitting weaknesses--it would be absolute crap. I would never finish it. It would languish in my knitting bag comparing notes with Flutter Sleeve Cardi that I cast on last summer. Together they would curse me to infinite yarny doom, their soft whispers haunting me in the night and plaguing me as I admire patterns on Ravelry.

It may be too late for Flutters, but Darn it--Surfie shall live. I'm throwing caution to the wind, and knitting in the round.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go find some instructions for putting pictures on this blog.