I googled myself, which is a completely vain endeavor, I know. There wasn't a single result that pointed to me. I don't know how I feel about that. I don't have a Paris Hiltonish need for fame, but I was a little surprised. Maybe it's time to renew my professional listings. Of course, that would imply that I'm doing anything in my chosen field.
My last post generated the offer of a camera (yay!) and fatherly advice to switch browsers. Well, I am using Firefox now, having finally lost patience with Safari. The jury is still out. Yes, there are some websites that I can visit that wouldn't work with Safari, and I have more options in my Blogger dashboard. I am having some serious problems with the windows involved in updating the aforementioned listings. Maybe I will have to use Safari for some things and Firefox for others.
I have been dragging lately. Part of this is sleep deprivation. I stay up way too late. Clearly, my chosen profession matches my sleep schedule. Except lately, I've had a lot of need for early mornings. Well, I haven't needed them, but they've happened. Please, please, please do not ever call me before ten AM unless you are certain that I will be awake. I cannot have an intelligent conversation when I am awakened by a phone call. Also, it doesn't generate a lot of goodwill towards the caller.
The local PBS and NPR stations are in their usual fundraising fervor. I appreciate that they are heavily dependent on charity for their operating expenses. I work for an arts non-profit; I understand. Still, I am a little disgusted with the way they go about it. They're trying to come up with 10% of their annual expenses by the end of the month. That scares me on their behalf, even though it creates excellent urgency. Note that it doesn't scare me enough to send them any money. I've been off the local PBS lately. Their programming has changed its focus away from my interests (adaptations of Willa Cather novels, all things British, WWII histories, et al). Or maybe my interests have changed. One of my coworkers asked me today if I had read an article in the NY Times yesterday. I used to read the Sunday Times every week, in a ritual that would put those high church types to shame. I read it all, worked the crossword for hours, and drank heaps of tea or coffee, depending on the weather. I don't think that I've read the Sunday Times in over a year. What happened? When did my life become so quotidien? I have more interesting occurrences, but not regular ones, than I did back then. I've got a lot more stamps in my passport these days, but the every day has gotten to be so dull.
Speaking of dull, I'm making scarves again. Since I haven't done them in so long, the monotony of the knitting feels refreshing. Zen like, really. I don't have to pay attention to a 1x1 rib scarf. I don't have to count stitches or make any armholes. There's nothing challenging. Next I will complain about how I do not challenge myself. I made a great, hard to photograph scarf for my cousin Stephen. He doesn't read this blog, so I needn't worry about removing the element of surprise. The scarf is a 1x1 ribbed scarf, fifteen stitches wide, with slipped stitch edges, knit on size seventeen needles. I am quite pleased with the combination of Manos yarn, in the Bing Cherry color, and luscious dark brown Blue Sky Alpaca Alpaca and Silk yarn. The brown of the alpaca yarn really pops the cherry tones in the Manos, as well as lending it a tweedy, masculine look. I've got a skein of each left over, so I could make an identical scarf for someone unlikely to run into Stephen. As Stephen lives in London, the list is rather long.
I'm working on a similar scarf now (no picture to prevent later recognition by intended recipient) in Malabrigo and Madil Kid Seta. The Malabrigo is in the Emerald Green colorway, and the mohair a punchy, light citrus green. Held together, they have a lemon lime effect. Many knitters substitute Malabrigo for Manos, as they're both hand dyed South American wools. After working these projects back to back, I don't see many other similarities. They're both gorgeous, but the yarns are made from completely different types of wool. Manos del Uruguay is a sturdier yarn, though given to more dramatic thick and thin variations. Malabrigo is very loosely spun, more like Lamb's Pride, and it's just dying to felt. I'll still knit with it again. I've got a fair amount of it stashed away for another Classy Drug Rug (for me, I'm not feeling very charitable about sweater knitting these days). All this scarf knitting allows me to procrastinate a little on finishing the RYC raglan sweater. My mother gave me a quick crochet lesson when I was dead tired, so that's no longer an issue. I've even got the sleeves and placket sewn to the body. Next is that crocheted edging and knitting the neckline ribbing. Not rocket science, but the project isn't exactly portable now that it's 95% of a garment.
Well, I promised myself I'd go to bed by one AM tonight, so I am going to sign off for now. You can insert your own Cinderella joke here.


Things are almost done with the Jemima raglan sweater, by Anna Bell. I was feeling pretty smug until I read the instructions for the placket. Yes, I know that I should read the entire pattern before I start. I scanned it, so I missed the crochet part. You see, I don't crochet, so I tried to con my mom into doing it. She saw through my ploy. Well, I'm thinking of doing an i-cord edging instead, incorporating buttonholes, but have also emailed the designer for her advice. Will keep you updated.
So, I'm back on the Suss Fishnet wrap top. It looks like I'm knitting a blanket. It feels like I'm knitting a blanket. The top is knit from side to side, with very long sides to be tied in the front. I've knit eighteen inches so far, and am nowhere near the armhole. Sigh. I know that if I start a new project now, these two will idle for some time. Also, the desired project uses the needles on which the Suss wonder currently resides. Not that that's stopped me before, but it is a bit of a deterrent. I'd post a pic, but every time that I try, Safari crashes.
I'm tired. I walked all the way up to Oak Street (and beyond the end of Mag Mile) yesterday, to go to a button shop. That's a long walk. Well, walking there was not bad. Walking back was awful. I got some beautiful laser etched buttons and did some window shopping at Anthropologie, Urban Outfitters, and a chi-chi travel store. The travel store had a Holga kit, which was very cool. I've been thinking of taking a Holga with me on my trip, to do all kinds of arty images of old Montreal and all of the churches. Well, I'm not going to buy it there. They wanted $80 for it. The camera retails for $22.50. So their roll of tape, single roll of film, and instruction manual are worth $57.50? Ha! The whole day left me feeling cranky and curmudgeonly. The air show was this weekend, so there were hordes of people walking around the city. Also, loads of amateurs making a racket on the train, so it wasn't the restful trip that I needed at the end of that walk. I don't care if you don't ride the train regularly, you should know that swinging from the railing and standing on the armrests, straddling the aisle is not cool. Maybe I'm still feeling a little cranky.


Okay, I'm a hypocrite. I've been on a yarn diet so that I can save up for my trip to Montreal next month. I've resisted temptations such as sales fliers from local yarn shops, invitations to trunk shows, new yarn catalogs, and my mother's repeated invitations to join her at the Stitches Midwest yarn market (a veritable Ali Baba's cave of yarn). I didn't crack. I'm sure that my mother would have loved my company and enabling on several recent trips to the LYS. I couldn't bear the temptation. Well, I finally gave in. I got an email from Webs in Northhampton featuring closeout prices on Auracaunia Nature wool. How could I resist that? Fortunately, it wasn't a grand spending spree. The sale was so excellent that I spent $30 and got enough yarn to make a cardigan. Still, I felt a wee bit guilty after all the yarn diet talk. Well, people cheat on diets. Here's a pic of the too tempting fiber. It has excellent yardage, calling for only six skeins for an adult large cardigan. And I love the color. I must be on a green kick these days, since I just bought a pair of scissors with handles almost the same shade. It looks very similar to another of my sales bargains, some alpaca blend yarn from the same manufacturer that I snapped up this spring. They do tone on tone vareigation really well.
Things are moving along lickety-split on the Anna Bell raglan sweater. Maybe it would move a bit quicker if my right hand weren't tired after a long day at work. I tend to not put my sad little bic pen down when I'm not using it, as a sort of motion efficiency move, and end up grasping it like Bob Dole for hours on end. This does not make my hand happy. It doesn't make me very happy either. The job is lousy enough already without giving myself carpal tunnel syndrome! That's a positive attitude, eh?
I went to see Mitch in Seussical last weekend, which was excellent. I sat next to his little sister, who screamed like one of the girls on the Ed Sullivan show when the Beatles were on during the curtain call. I doubt that I would have gone to see the show on my own, but I really enjoyed it. The lighting design was amazing. The sound, I don't know. We had amazing seats, but that area isn't really covered by their speakers. That space would be tricky to mix, especially considering where they stuck the mixing position.
I also had a chance to catch up with Shannon, who has been quite busy with summer stock. Well, not really stock, since she gets to sleep in her own bed, but very busy. We had dinner before the show and headed over to Fado for a nightcap. This all made for a very long day, but I had an excellent time,


Netflix weekend

What did I do this weekend? Knit and watch my DVDs from Netflix. I didn't even leave the house on Friday. What a liberating feeling. You'd think that once I got my car back from the mechanic that I'd want to go everywhere I haven't been able, but I stayed home and finished two sweaters. Two sweaters in two days. Not too shabby.
Well, they were both so close to being done. The Giotto jacket just needed its collar done and a bunch of ends run in. I was surprised at how long the jacket is when I tried it on, but it's not hideous. I'm really glad that I shortened the sleeves by an inch, as they're a shade too long still. Do women in Wales have ridiculously long Mr Gadget arms? Normally, I would flaunt a just finished project with a couple of wearings, but it's too muggy. I'm knitting out of season now, which is a bit strange. I'll have loads to wear once the weather turns!
The second sweater is the Lasso camisole, which also turned out to be surprisingly long. It looks like I knit myself a minidress. Now, I am not a mini anything kind of gal (except Mini Coopers, since they must be a snap to parallel park) and haven't worn shorts in this millennium. That camisole will never be worn as a dress. It didn't look that long in the picture, I thought crossly while trying it on, then recalled the metric to imperial measure conversion errors that I found in the pattern. Their sample wasn't this long. Well, I'm not going to unravel it now, but that would explain why I needed an extra skein! When dealing with any pattern, but especially converted ones, it's a good idea to double check the math. Maybe I'll wear this to work tomorrow...
Since I finished two projects, it seemed safe to start a new one. So, I've cast on for a wonderful contrast edged raglan sweater by Anna Bell. The yarn is RYC Cashsoft DK, a cashmere and wool blend yarn that I bought in the sad little yarn department at Liberty of London. The body is a beautiful, soft cornflower blue with pale pistachio edging. I'm already halway through the raglan decreases on the back. I chalk that up to large needles (I'm using 10 1/2s when the pattern calls for a size 8. I must knit so much tighter than the designer) and many hours in front of the telly.
This week, I've made a real return to my Netflix watching after months of having the same DVDs out. I think that sort of behavior accounts for their profits. So, in the past three days, I have watched To Catch A Thief, A Man and A Woman, and Being Julia.
Though I am a big Hitchcock fan, I liked that one the least of the three. Still, a great film. I adore Cary Grant. Very good extras on the DVD as well.
A Man and A Woman is probably best known to Americans for its unfortunately-adopted-as-Muzak theme. It's an amazing film. I'm beginning to outgrow my love of the New Wave, with all of its weird jump cuts and jittery editing. I get it, but a little goes a long way. Still, all of the cuts during the love scene make it quite compelling, and the director doesn't show his hand until the very end. I don't think that I would have liked this film when I was younger. A love story about previously married people in their 30s wouldn't appeal to a young audience. An American director would turn it in to a cute comedy if it were made today, but it was handled so beautifully by Claude Lelouche. A sophisticated, beautiful film.
I had Being Julia for a long time before I watched it. It turned out to be the perfect Sunday morning diversion. Wonderful acting, beautiful art direction, and a bit of an artful conceit in the form of the ghost of an acting teacher. Had it been made a different year, Annette Bening would have won an Oscar for her performance. Well, you know the appeal of the backstage drama.
I also had time to do a bit of reading, Two new issues of the big knitting mags hit the newsstand this week: Interweave Knits and Vogue Knitting. Frankly, the projects in Vogue were ghastly. I love their editorial work. VK does great trend forecasting and links between the collections and hand knitting. I love the way they style their layouts. I only liked a couple of the patterns, and am unlikely to make either. I love the brushed mohair pullover, but the yarn made by a South African women's collective costs a king's ransom when bought in quantities large enough for a garment. And I love fairisle, but I'd rather buy it than make it myself.
Yes, I've revealed myself as a project knitter. I'm not the kind to make unbelievable lace stoles or intricate Scandinavian color work sweaters. I'm not a process knitter. I enjoy knitting, but I'm in it for the finished goods. Therefore, I don't challenge myself as much as I should. I'm capable of much more. Maybe this is a life metaphor. My mom is the kind of knitter who can happily work on a lace shawl for three years and seriously asked how many sweaters I need when I told her I'd like to make six finished pieces a year. How many sweaters do I need? I don't even know where to begin!
In Interweave Knits, there is a mohair funnelneck sweater that caught my attention. Seems that I need a mohair pullover if two of them caught my fancy. The IK one is made of Colinette Mohair. Naturally, I would buy it from my trusted source in Staffordshire. I'm not sure that I could point out Staffordshire on a map. A visit to Wikipedia reveals that it is in the Western Midlands. That makes it so much clearer, doesn't it?
Between the two magazines, I got to see a lot of the new fall ads. The yarn manufacturers are trying to hoist a lot of ugly yarns on an unsuspecting public. VK is asserting a return of 80s styles. Please god, no. Sweaters in the 1980s were horrible-- lots of big shoulder pads, dropped shoulders, and weird intarsia. The Cosby sweater is a product of the 80s. Enough said? Does this mean that stirrup pants are due for a comeback? Oh, and they're showing a lot of chunky cables. Fishermen and Irlandais abound. I like a good cable, but a couple of the sweaters were just too much. They had more cable than the sound engineer at a rock festival. Sigh. I also saw that one of the yarn companies has picked up Anna Bell's Sgt. Pepper style jacket for their ads. Very cool.
There's also a new issue of Bitch on the stands now. I'm about a third of the way through it now. Excellent as usual! I should really resubscribe to Bitch (it's a feminist zine, not a porno mag) and Bust. Just like I should give money to NOW and read Ms. Magazine. I really loved Ms. for a while, but just drifted away from it. I don't know if I changed or it did. I've decided not to read Jane anymore. I'm not exactly a Jane Pratt fan, but the magazine has really changed since she left. Yeah, I wanted it to be Sassy grown-up, like the initial hype. It never really was, but seemed like it could be for a while. Now, totally not. Oh well.

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