Yes, my blogging is sporadic and that's probably how it will be for a month or so. I work most of my waking hours. Most people can say that, but it burns me out to get up and go straight to work, only to come home much later and go straight to bed. I need a little free time that isn't carved out of my sleep schedule.

When my boss attempted to entice me into working on my day off (ha!), I declined. I finally got my hair trimmed, as it was looking quite shaggy. I even went to a real hairdresser instead of hair modeling for the cut. I wanted less stress and less time in the chair. I was in and out in less than an hour and I love the cut. It even looks good unstyled, the true sign of a good cut, and especially good for me considering that I often do not style my hair before going to work. Pic when I don't have raccoon eyes.

So, I've been looking at my knitting through rose-colored glasses. I put in a whopper of an order to my favorite online yarn store: enough for five sweaters. At the rate that I am knitting now, they'll be ready to wear to the 2016 Olympics (with last minute finishing on the El). So, what did I buy?
* Black Cascade 220 wool, to make a Chicknits Ariann cardigan. Low priority project, ordered because they had C220 on sale. It's almost never marked down.
* White Cascade 220 wool, to make a Chicknits Scoop du Jour cardigan. See reasons above.
* Black Blue Sky Alpaca Cotton, to make Wendy Bernard's Tomato from No Sheep for You. Probably the first project that will made, due to weather and gauge considerations.
* Black Silky Wool, to make Wendy Bernard's Not So Shrunken Cardigan (available on her website). I'm really enjoying working with this yarn on another project and could really use a little black cardigan.
* White Cotton Fleece (a cotton/wool blend) to make Zephyrstyle's Rusted Root. Adorable! Moderate amount of lace!

I also had a cast-on delusion this morning. I was so excited to finally find a cute pattern at the right gauge for my long-ignored cone of black mercerized cotton, that I cast on and worked a couple of lace rows on the train. This is not a good combination, tired commuter and new lace pattern. And in black! I'm such a masochist. I tore it out.

A side note on the coned yarn: one of the reasons that I hadn't found a project for this yarn is that I wasn't sure how much of it was on the cone. So, I decided to throw it on the deli scale at work and do some math. I innocently called the store to ask them the weight of the cone itself. They refused to tell, saying that it weighs "almost nothing". It's made out of cardboard, not crepe paper. To that lousy customer service, I say fuck you, I'm never spending another cent in your store. Not even if you were selling cones of cashmere for a dollar. I weighed it on the kitchen scale and guestimated the weight of the cone. I think that I have about 1500 yards.

In non-knitting news, I went to the last ballet in my subscription tonight. It was amazing. I was a little sad that it was the last one of the year, but I remain firm in my resolve not to renew for next year. I'm just not interested in seeing any of the programs next season. Still, it was nice to end the season on a high note (small pun: one of the pieces featured music by Robert Fripp and a strobe light).

Not much else going on at the moment. I've got to get to bed in order to hit the road around eight tomorrow morning. I'd forgotten that there was an eight in the morning, too, until recently.



Sorry for the big gap between posts. I've been working on a sleep deficit almost as large as my student loan debt and, well, blogging hasn't been a priority. Now that I've gotten a solid eight hours' sleep for the first time this month, I'm up to an update.

I've got a new job! I love it! It's the attainment of a small dream (no, I didn't dream of working as a cosmetics rep when I was a small girl, but it's something that I've wanted to do for the past few years), which is very satisfying. The job in question is with a company of which I was a loyal customer and big fan. They have a great corporate culture and liberal sample and employee discount policies. Yay. They also had two days of training at 7 am this past week, also known as that time of day when Kirstin is asleep. This endeavor has also required the purchase of new clothes, since it's got the typical retail dress code. All the shop windows feature lovely, floaty, fun pastel colors now when all I want is black and white. Sigh. I'll just have to keep an eye out for good pieces and maybe knit a few things.

Now that I am working two jobs, I have a bit less leisure time. So, less knitting progress has been made than you might think. The second Jemima has become my current sweater. I'm wearing like it's going out of style, since spring may return at any moment. My weather widget says that the high today will be 62, but the low 32. How exactly do you dress for that? Also, the temp in the office is always Goldilock's adventure: too warm or too cold.

I've made a lot of progress on my other projects, but haven't finished either. You may recognize that black and white pic above from a previous post. It's the little shrug that caught my eye on Knitonthenet.com. I substituted Malabrigo two-ply bulky yarn, which is unbelievably soft but less pilly than their single worsted weight yarn. The pattern called for three balls of Rowan Little Big Wool, which has very short yardage, so I figured that I'd be safe with two balls of the Malabrigo. Ha. I had just enough to knit the piece and will have to scrounge for something to sew it up.

Here's an in-progress shot of my silky wool cropped cardigan. This is a prime example of making decisions as a knitter. I really just used the pattern as a departure point. I substituted the yarn, played with the size and armholes, and decided to omit the twiddly ties. You can see, in the pic, the hem of the sweater, which took me a good hour to sew. Might as well do it right the first time, eh? And, no, my hair is not that color.

Hmm... what else? I got my patterns in the mail from Lettuce Knit in Toronto, which include hand written corrections. Adorable!

Despite the staggering sleep debt, I went out on Saturday night. It turned out to be a good choice. Brina and I met for dinner, then went to see Blood Diamond at Lookingglass. It was excellent. Amazingly well done. Kind of made me sorry that I gave their telemarketer the brush off about the season. Hee. Well, not really. Still, I highly recommend going to see Lookingglass shows, which is rare praise.

Well, I must go slather myself in free products and pick out an outfit with colors in it for a retail-free afternoon. It reminds me of a remark one of my mom's friends once made to me, "Oh, I didn't recognize you in colors". I did not appreciate that at the time.


Love Your Inner Gearhead

So maybe I'm not in such a hurry to make summer knits. It's cold. Cold enough that one of my friends asked me today, by way of greeting, "Are you happy that you can still wear your sweaters?". Well, yes, because I am a real sweater person, but snow in April kind of freaks me out. It even caused one of my coworkers to shriek when she saw big fat flakes floating past our big office window. The cold was accompanied by piercing wind that nearly blew my hat off and caused me to think very unkind things about the CTA while waiting on an exposed platform for a train.
Not much else going on. I got some work done on the cropped cardigan during my commute, but I hesitate to do much more before trying it on. That is one advantage to knitting from the top down, being able to try it on in progress. I am a wee bit concerned about the pattern not replacing any stitches for the sleeves. I plan to tinker with that part.
When I got home from work, there was a little package waiting for me from my Dad. He sent me a pair of Sennheiser earbuds for my birthday. I tried them out right away. HOLY SHIT are they FANTASTIC! I'd been using a sad pair of Apple earbuds (no diss to Apple, but the earbuds they package with ipods are underpowered), and riding the volume level around 60%. That drains the battery faster and also makes me think about long-term effects on my money-making ears. When I gave the new buds a spin, with Regina Spektor's Better, I set it at 30% (less than half of the previous volume). They sound so much better, like wearing a pair of studio cans instead of earbuds. Oh, and they don't make my head/ears oddly sweaty like cans do. They even came with different sized sleeves, for different sized ear canals. Those German engineers think of everything! This new audio development makes me want to listen to my entire music library anew. That would take me like two weeks, so I'll have pick and choose, I guess.


No pics today

The most cursory search of the house has not turned up any AA batteries for the camera, so you'll have to wait for pictures of the excellent, newly finished Jemima. It fits better than the first one that I made, which makes me wonder if I made the wrong size that time or was not as attentive to my gauge as I should have been. The new Jemima has bracelet length sleeves, which I prefer as I am short. Most patterns are designed for tall people with gangly arms, I've decided, so I always play with the sleeve length. J#2 also features the excellent squarish buttons on its placket, as shown in a previous post.
The stitching salon is no more. I will really miss that place, even though I had not been dropping in as often as before. The last day was Saturday. There wasn't even a closing party (clearly, it wasn't run by theatre people). I wore J#2 for the first time that day, after so many lunch hours spent working on the sweater there. Sigh. There's been talk of an informal lunch hour knitting group at the Cultural Center, but it's not the same...
I am awash in new knitting books. That is not a complaint. I recently had a birthday. I received a few Borders gift cards. Now, what would a knitter buy at Borders? Knitting books, of course (and an impulse purchase paperback, the new issue of Bust magazine, etc.)! So, I have recently acquired Fitted Knits by Stephanie Japel, No Sheep for You by the excellent Amy Singer, and the Yarn Harlot's new book (which is strictly about knitting culture and contains no patterns, alas).
Fitted Knits contains a number of interesting patterns. I've already cast on one of them (hee! This does not count as startitis since I just finished a project! I'm allowed!), a short little jacket to be worn over my new plaid cotton dress. It's darling. See, this is where a photo would be excellent. The dress has an empire waist which actually fits under my bust and not in some weird limbo area, and is in a muted yet sophisticated palette of pastels. I chose Silky Wool yarn in cedar, which is a kind of coppery color that my mom says is very similar to my hair color at present. I am doubtful. It's just flying off the needles at 4.5 stitches to the inch, which is such a relief after 7 stitches to the inch on Isabella!
I also really love a lacy tank top featured towards the front of Fitted Knits. I'm not a big lace person, but I've decided to challenge myself more in my knitting this year. Maybe I love this because I'm a sucker for spring/summer knits at this time of year.
No Sheep for You contains very good advice about swatching, fiber properties, etc. The gearhead side of knitting, as it were. The patterns are also very cool, though the sizing on many of them leaves a lot to be desired. I love Intoxicating, a silk mosaic sweater that walks the fine line between ugly and cool. The back and front have different patterns, which I do not like. Of course, I could always just make two fronts.
Just as I was thinking that I do not need more yarn (ha!), feeling pretty serious about stash reduction, I got an email from Webs in Northampton about their anniversary sale. They even have Cascade 220 on sale, which never gets marked down. Oh dear, oh dear. Things have a way of finding me. Like that dog that followed me home from school, I just happen to keep finding sales, new projects, other knitting endeavors. I was idly reading my regular knit blogs today, when I saw this shrug:
the belle shrug, by Laura Chau of cosmicplutoknits and Lettuce Knit in Toronto. She is apparently one cool lady. I'd seen another pattern of hers that I liked on her blog a few months ago, a cabled cardigan, but wasn't exactly thrilled with the whole mail order thing. Pretty funny, considering how much e-commerce is involved in my knitting. So, I broke down and called them today and ordered both. In for a penny, in for a pound, right? Except I don't know how much the patterns cost because in my excitement, I forgot to ask. Whoops. The shrug might be made as a birthday present for my mom, but it would also be a great cover up for summer garments in the office. The cardigan is obviously not a summer garment, but it is my kind of sweater. I love big, cozy sweaters. This is another of Laura's designs, the C4, knit from the top down in alpaca. Ooh! I feel like i could fall into a knitting coma just contemplating all of these things!
And if all of that isn't enough, there's also a new issue of knitting on the web up on their website. There is really only one pattern that I like this time around, but it is perfection. Again, it's a shrug.
It's knit flat and then joined to make the sleeves, which is super, super easy. And super cute.

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