I'm tired, so tired

I'm tired of knitting. Don't ever quote that back to me, or I'll punch you, but it's true. I hate knitting on a deadline and I've got a bunch of them looming over my head. I've also got the added stress of being on probation at work. The new boss is intent on forcing everyone out, so we've got the threat of pink slips hanging over our heads like the sword of Damocles. Naturally, he assured us that exactly the opposite was true, but actions speak louder than words, eh? I've got a lot of tension in my life. My mother thought that was a knitting pun when I said it earnestly last night.

About the prezzies: I've knit one sock and started on the second. It's been ages since I last knit a pair of socks, so I've had to consult the knitting reference books. Not that I was ever too sharp on starting a kitchener stitch seam. Maybe, at my leisure, I'd like to knit myself a couple of pairs of socks. I've got a few balls of Lorna's Laces sock yarn in a drawer....
I started on the scarf, for an unnamed cousin, to break up the monotony of tiny, circular knitting. It's knit on number eleven needles, which are anything but small. Not a super exciting project, but I think I can get it done in a timely fashion. I just feel that I can't not knit. I apologize for the double negative, but idle hands seem wasteful at the moment.
I was screensucking the other day when I found the solution to an old UFO. A couple of years ago (which is nothing in the world of craft UFOs, I've been told), I knit up the body of a color block raglan pullover in a rich, subtly variegated navy wool. I planned to make the sleeves a complementary green color that can only be described at goose shit green. The pattern wasn't for contrast color sleeves and my estimates off, so I didn't have enough yarn to finish. I bought a limey yarn instead that just wasn't right and the project fell into neglect. Well, Webs had the yarn in question on sale. It was a coup de foudre. I can knit up a couple of sleeves in a hurry and have that project finished in no time. That is, once the birthday season is over. Oh, and the manufacturer doesn't call it goose shit green, but rather lima bean. A matter of semantics.
Inspired by stories all over the net about an intrepid knitter who made a pair of Charlie Card mittens, I finally broke down and got a Chicago Card, after years of resistance. I don't quite approve of the CTA having my credit card info, but the reduced fare is a real incentive. Also, it's kind of Star Trekky to pay your fare through RFID. It arrived with surprising speed and now I understand why everyone complains of their fragility. It doesn't make sense to use cards that become brittle and snap in the cold in Chicago. It's cold here about six months out of the year! I kept telling my friends that the Oyster Card in London is much better made, comes with a case, etc. Well, I decided to put my Chicago Card in the Oyster case to protect it and in removing the Oyster card, discovered that it is made from the same card stock. I guess I'd never removed it from its case before.
Well, back to the salt mines. A few good DVDs just arrived from Netflix, so I can veg out and knit in front of the telly. Oh and the Oscars are tonight, but I suspect that they're not good kntting programming. Too much suspense. Still, I won't miss the In Memoriam reel, even if it means putting down the needles for ten minutes.


Coffee Coffee Coffee

My life has been immeasurably improved by the new coffee maker with timer and sleek, brushed aluminum travel mug. Coffee in the morning: it's still a novelty. It's a civilizing as a drink after work. Maybe I should say the novelty is making coffee at home instead of standing in line at Intelligentsia. I've appropriated this mug, a gift from a former roommate, from its former duty as loose change receptacle. It is perfect for a classic cafe au lait, as it is the size the French call a bowl. I'm drinking a bowl of coffee, trying to get my head ready for the day.

I'm suffering from knitting interruptus. No, I haven't injured my arm again. It dawned on me that about half of my relatives and friends are pisces. This means a lot of present knitting, as I am presently not buying gifts. I was moving along lickety-split on my Jemima sweater. The sleeve didn't feel like the usual sisyphean task. I looked forward to wearing it before it became too warm out. Well, I need to whip up four presents in the next couple weeks, so it's no personal knitting at the moment. The first, and biggest, is a pair of socks for my grandmother. She dropped a very obvious hint about her desire for a new pair of socks. She's a former knitter, so she does know how much work this entails. I am generally resistant to hints such as these, but when one of my favorite LYS ladies at Loopy told me that I can knit a pair of socks in a week, I caved. I'm already doing the heel decreases on the first sock. In the back of my mind, I feel that I should be working on the sock now... The other gifts will be a couple of hats (no hints) and a scarf in Colinette Tagliatelli. I just can't figure out what to do with that yarn, but I'll work it out. Maybe I'll knit it on the bias. hee.

I had a bit of a stash panic attack the other day. I have so much yarn. When will I knit all of these projects? I dreamt that I could knit like Mrs Weasley in the Harry Potter books, with the needles magically knitting on their own in a big circle around me. There is time for all things, I know, and not everything needs to be knit right now. The problem is, projects keep finding me. Like this fabulous cable collared short sleeve sweater, Wicked from Zephyrknits.

BTW, it wouldn't be possible to make a snow angel like the model here. The weather has finally warmed up here in Chicago. It's above freezing! There's even been a wonderful, warm wind blowing. Who knows how long this will last, but I am determined to enjoy it while it lasts. I've recently had my hair cut into a fabulous, flapper-y graduated bob, which blows around in the wind in an excellent, fun way that my longer hair just did not.
My savvier readers (like my Dad) know that I have one of those many March birthdays I was just whining about. This leads to the popular question, what do you want for your birthday? I don't know. I've been too busy transforming myself into a blithe spirit to think about that. There are some practical things that I could really use, like a new pair of cans for my ipod. The earbuds that ship with the ipod are short lived. I'd like to upgrade to the In-Ear Headphones that Apple sells, having dismissed out of hand the Bose ones that are advertised all over the El. Another thoughtful gift might be a needle case for all of my circular needles. Lexie Barnes has some cool ones, and there are others made by disadvantaged women in Vietnam, etc. Or there's the classic Lush gift certificate. You might ask me at just the right moment and get a more creative answer, but there it is.
Speaking of circular needles, Joann Fabrics (I know, I know) is having a sale on all their Clover Takumi circs. I bought a full set for $60! If you've been thinking of filling in the gaps in your needle case, now is the time to do so! They've also got free shipping through Sunday. Details on their website. Well, it's time to finish up that bowl of coffee, knit a bit of sock, and catch up with the ladies on The View. Oh, and get ready to go to work. Meh.


I've been to a marvellous party

This week has been a sort of drawn out emotional affair. My much adored, incredibly spirited boss decided to leave the company and Thursday was his last day. Tuesday night, the night of a veritable blizzard, we took him out for dinner at a local Cajun place. The weather was so fierce that we felt like Hillary climbing Everest just trying to navigate the unplowed streets on foot. At one point, we even formed a human chain to weather a fierce headwind. There is no such thing as a gentle breeze during a Chicago winter. You would think that the rotten weather and emotional state would make for a downer of an evening, but it was the best time that I've had in ages. I'm really going to miss the former boss, even though I only started working there a few months ago. I'm very grateful that he hired me when I was totally burnt out and brought me into the wonderful, dysfunctional family of our department.
I'm multitasking at the moment. I'm making sweater soup. It's like Duck Soup, but without the Marx Brothers and has a lot more alpaca. I put the first sweater in for a soak and headed off to my trusty Mac to check my email. When I returned to add a dash of Woolite, all of the water had mysteriously drained from the tub and there was a cat standing over the sweater. He was remarkably unconcerned when I reseated the stopper and turned the water on. He watched its slow approach and only fled when his feet got wet. He must have been attracted to the wet wool smell, though he is possessive of the bath tub. I got up today and felt full of energy. Quickly, I seized upon the idea of washing a few long-neglected sweaters. The alpaca, for example, has never been blocked. The manufacturer claims that it has good stitch definition, but what that yarn does is make my stitches look all wonky, despite all efforts at calm, even knitting. It will block out. I fear that my enthusiasm in this endeavor will quickly outstrip flat places to lay out the sweaters. I'll probably wash out the Debbie Bliss Cashmerino again, since the last effort didn't really unkink it. I don't usually feel so industrious on Saturdays.


Another Manic Monday

It wasn't really manic, but I did come strolling into work five minutes late as the new boss was introducing himself. Eek. This happened, I maintain, because of the snow. I couldn't make the absolutely early enough to make a good impression train because my car was covered in snow. Maybe I would have anticipated that if I hadn't been busy making yarn ramen out of an abandoned WIP in black acrylic Phildar yarn. I know, acrylic, ick, but it has a great hand, I already have it, and it's treated with some sort of anti-microbial agent. Really, I'm not too worried about the first impression because one of my coworkers later showed up with a giant cheeto handprint on her shirt, directly over one of her breasts. I actually considered for a minute if the handprint was hers or someone else's, but either way, it looked bad.
In other news, I started working on another Jemima. I'm being a bit firmer with my gauge this time around, as the first one is a bit slouchier than I would like. It probably just needs a good wash and block. The new one has a medium grey edge and opulent red (almost maroon) body, and is unlikely to have been made from the same pattern as the first, pastel model. I think hematite buttons will be just the thing for it.


It's been ages since my last post. You see, I've been ill. That seems overly dramatic. I didn't take to my bed or anything, but maybe I should have. The past couple of weeks, I've felt enervated. My sinuses hurt, all I wanted to do was sleep. Then I came down with a wicked head cold, which was really the last thing I needed. I've got that winter malaise. It's really fucking cold here in Chicago. That's not a surprise this time of year, but I really feel that it is leeching the energy right out of me.
I took this photo at the last opening night party at work. This chandelier had caught my eye before as I'd walked past the bar, but I'd never gone inside to get a better look. They have a metal finish on their ceiling as well as dramatic plate glass windows, so the chandeliers make a real statement. That was the only cool thing about the party. It was the first day of the no energy fortnight, so I wasn't up to partying into the wee hours. But I managed to take a couple of striking pics on my camera phone before dashing off to meet my train.
My good friend Willie came to visit last weekend, which was highly excellent. We did all sorts of fiber related activities, made the obligatory trip to the Lush store, and generally had a good time. I did feel a bit of civic guilt that his visit coincided with the coldest week of the year. Still, it was good. The perfect combination of activity and lolling about. We took in a show (awful--thank god I got industry tickets), ate some damn fine corned beef sandwiches, and did a lot of knitting.
I should really get some sort of kickback from Lush for the number of people I've introduced to their fabulousity. Willie quickly was kitted out in all sorts of good products after a trip to their Armitage store, and my Mom made a winter defense shopping trip to their store in Macy's yesterday. I'm pretty well stocked, thanks to a hint from my favorite Lush clerk that they were going to raise their prices. Damn that lousy exchange rate! Of course, having a national surplus and recently tapped oil reserves would make for a strong Canadian dollar. Ours, however, sinks like a flan forgotten in the fridge. I'm trying to decide if I want to continue to henna my hair. I love the way that the henna looks, but I've developed some trashy looking roots since I stopped using commercial dye. The henna makes for a fabulous red, but it doesn't lighten my hair. I'm considering spending the better part of a day at the Aveda Institute getting them to "fix" my hair. I need a hair cut and I should really do something to address the two tone look other than knitting a bunch of hats.
I just knit a Le Slouch by Wendy Bernard in Kathmadu tweed, in a sort of moss green color. I love it so much I immediately began knitting another one in some mystery CTH yarn my Mom gave me. Le Slouch is very cozy (possibly because of the 5% cashmere in Kathmadu) and hides a multitude of hair sins. Since I whipped out the two cozy Drug Rugs, I've occupied myself with a few smaller projects. I find this humorous, considering the number of large projects I've got stashed. Oh well, they can wait a bit longer. On the subject of my stash: I'm not bold enough to flash my stash like the other knitbloggers. It was hard for me not to have a good laugh when Willie referred to my stash as "that little collection of leftover bits of yarn". I don't include my oddballs when I mentally inventory the stash, and there's nothing little about my collection. I'd like to knit from my stash as much as possible this year (and not just because I'm wickedly broke at the moment), but new projects keep finding me. Damn that interweb and all of those sales emails from the yarn shops!

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