Lazy day

Today was the perfect day off. I rested. I watched Law and Order reruns. I knitted. I am content.

I went to the local Borders, coupon in hand, to snap up a sock book I've been eyeing for a while, Favorite Socks by Ann Budd. Now that I've got so much sock yarn in my stash, it only makes sense to have patterns other than "plain old sock" at my disposal. Right now, I am working on a couple of socks of my own design. I'm making a pair of socks for Lewis's birthday out of Dream in Color Smooshy, in that questionable Chinatown Apple pictured in a previous post. I am knitting from the toe up (makes the long foot seem more manageable), with twisted stitch cables in an alternating turn pattern. They look really strange flat, but look good on the foot. The other pair also features 2 stitch cables, but without the staggered twists. I am using Lorna's Laces in their new color, Envy. It's shades of green, which I like on paper but not quite in the wool. I'm not sure why. They're a gift.

I also gave knitting advice to my aunt. She's going to knit a top down sweater for my uncle Bill and wanted advice about the yardage required. I felt so useful, like when I was in girl scouts. Most knitters like to help, since we're all a bunch of nerds (or even Harry Potter loving nerds, hee!), so I didn't mind work related questions. I might give her the yarn requirement estimator for Christmas.

If you're one of my Ravelry friends, you might notice that I finally got around to updating my stash. Far fewer yarns without pictures now. So, my day was far less lazy than it would seem.


The Pancatron

This morning, I got out of bed at 6 am. The sun wasn't even up yet. That is very rare for me, but I had good reason: I had a date with the Pancatron. My grandfather is active in the local Kiwanis chapter, so I volunteer to flip pancakes most years at their annual fundraiser, Pancake Day. It's kind of like a revival without the religion. Most people in town attend, and people who have moved away come back to eat pancakes in a big, smoky tent with their neighbors. Most people dress for comfort and look like they've just woken up. The pancatron is an unusual device. It is the griddle upon which massive quantities of pancakes are cooked, as well as a system of conveyor belts that carry the plates of pancakes to the hungry masses. It's like something out of mid-century science fiction, perhaps because it was invented in the 1950s. I almost always flip pancakes. I actually had to wait until I was tall enough to reach the conveyor belt above the griddle (which is still questionable, so I wear my "tall" clogs). What I fail to remember every year is that in cooking the pancakes, I cook myself as well. It was hot as hell over that fire, and I turned about three shades of red. It was enough to elicit comments from strangers, but I was okay. I just needed a long, Lush-filled shower, and a cool drink.

I saw many of my former classmates, and have decided that most of the people who stayed in the suburbs now have children and are unattractive. That seems like a vast generalization, but I was surprised at how, well, suburban they looked. Not that I am a great fashion plate. I also had the pleasure of eating with two generations of female relatives and engaging in plenty of theatre gossip with a former mentor. I had a good time, but now I feel like taking a long, long nap.

Even though I work in a yarn store, I am still excited by the arrival of the fall yarn catalogs. Knitpicks and Webs arrived the same day. I am contemplating purchasing a couple of store patterns from Webs, though I'm not up for any project acquisition at the moment. I did break down and buy some yarn from Knitpicks to make Juliet, from Zephyrstyle. It looks just like a sweater that I admired at Urban Outfitters. I had an attack of knitter's guilt (ie, I can knit that myself) and liberal guilt (I know what causes UO's owner supports with his profits, and I don't want my money going to any of them), so I'll be knitting a knock off in Cadena. This was largely influenced by Knitpicks sending me a free color card for Cadena the last time I ordered needles from them. I also had a good laugh at the Lion Brand catalog. I don't know how I got on their mailing list, as I am unlikely to knit with any of their yarn any time soon. I'm also not in the market for a pompom tree.

In other knitting news, I want to wish Lisa and Willie a hearty congratulations for finally getting their Ravelry invites. Now do you understand what all of the fuss is about?


Doomsday Delayed

Like all things CTA related, the "doomsday" fare hikes and service cuts have been delayed. I'm a cynic, so I believe that it will happen in November, in spite of all the funding patches and hot air coming out of Springfield.

I'm a little less cynical about things in my personal life these days. I recently managed to buy three pairs of pants without killing anyone. I've been booking gigs lately, which is a great way to get out of a funk.

I worked a load-in the other day for a touring show. It reminded me of why I don't work at a roadhouse. I was called for sound, but most of what I did involved moving platforms, taping things to the ground, etc. General stagehand stuff. I wasn't expecting to do engineering or anything, since it was a load in. Let's just say I've been spoiled by sit-downs and resident gigs. I don't think I'll do any more calls at that house.

Also job related--I quit my job at the tony cultural institution. It wasn't in a huff. There was no "take this job and shove it" speech. It was bittersweet, like high school graduation. I miss my coworkers there, but it was really time for me to move on. Fortunately, I had a really awesome job lined up elsewhere--a yarn shop! When I got the call, it was all I could do not to run out of my office screaming like someone whose name has just been called on The Price is Right. I'd been job shopping for a while and feeling a little down about it. I just finished my first week there and I really enjoy it. It's retail, but not like that cosmetics job I had before. I don't feel like some kind of evil yarn pusher (just an enabler. hee!).


For the past several months, for unknown reasons, a trade journal has been emailing me their monthly newsletter. Calling them a trade journal is really generous, actually, since the magazine used to be the in-house for a student theatre organization. They're really trying to market themselves to industry professionals, and this apparently includes sending me lots of emails. Every time that I have received one, I have requested to be removed from their list. Every time, the unsubscribe message has bounced back to me. Argh. This time, I actually looked at the address in the link and saw that it was wrong. Now, I don't think that the people in question are clever enough to deliberately do that, and you'll see why later in the story. After several months of their community theatre level crap, I was pretty pissed. I went to their website and emailed the web admin, using strong words. This prompted three further messages from them, suggesting that the messages were being forwarded to me. Anyone that knows me knows better. I emailed back, explaining the faulty email address in their unsubscribe link. Today, I got an email about my *faculty* email address. You can imagine the post office sigh I let out when I read that email. It looks like I'll have to block all email from them with my spam blocker. Reading their crap is cutting into my Ravelry time!


Doomsday Nears

I don't mean to sound like one of the crazy people who preach about the end of the world in the park. I'm referring to the CTA doomsday, which is set to come down this upcoming Sunday. I took the bus today and got a memo from the president of the CTA, along with a list of all of the cuts that will be made. It's all too depressing. See my previous post for political rant on this subject. Why isn't public transportation treated seriously in this country? I understand the American love affair with the car, the size of the country (in comparison to little European states), etc., but this seems really unreasonable. Why is public transport the redheaded stepchild of our infrastructure?

I'm also cranky because I faced some train delays today, wholly unrelated to the CTA. One of the Metra trains hit a car, and the power had to be cut off to extract the car from the tracks (and presumably the driver). This caused a big backlog during late rush hour. Fortunately, I wasn't in a hurry and had my Picovoli to work on. Ha. The Picovoli is turning out to be a real pain in the ass. First I accidentally made a moebius strip, then I messed up the waist shaping. I decided to knit without a net and boldly attacked the sleeves without a pattern or any kind of schematics. This, in retrospect, was a mistake. My first clue should have been when my mother said that it had never occurred to her to knit a sleeve that way. I decided to do short rows to turn the very short cap sleeve/very wide strap into a breezy flutter sleeve. I proceeded to go about this in exactly the wrong way. This also involved two rows of single crochet to stabilize the edge. The outcome is ug-o-lee, and when I have the energy, I will tear it out. I was in such denial as I was working on it that I even declared a love for the look of the crocheted edge. I don't think I even fooled myself with that one!

I made a little list of all of my sock yarn while I was bored today. I am a woman obsessed. I can safely say that I do not need to buy any more sock yarn for a while. Fortunately, I missed the Loopy Ewe's sneak-up today (I was at work, without internet access), therefore avoiding the temptation to stash any more fiber. I have a shipment of two "hiatus" colors from Socks that Rock, and then I am truly done. This time I meant it. Check out my Flickr button to see the sock yarns in my collection.


Don't Worry. It really pisses me off when people say that to me, because it can be so condescending. Like, don't worry your pretty little head about some valid concern that you have. I'm a worrier, okay? There have been a couple of instances when I've been told not to worry recently at work and it has me very worried. Worried about looking for a new job. No, I don't think that I'll get fired (touch wood), but I've been thinking about moving on for a while now. It's all such a drag that I want to pull the covers up over my head and only come out for issues of the New Yorker or yarn.

Speaking of yarn, my stash is out of control. It has taken on ridiculous proportions. The main reason for this is Stitches, aka when Kirstin bought enough yarn for the whole year. There have also been things bought on the interweb. I got in a wee bit of trouble when three packages showed up in one day. In my defense, only two were yarn. I've got to go on a yarn diet and I'm serious this time. I know, you've heard it before. If you had a peak at my stash on Ravelry, though, you'd understand the reason for my consternation.

I also recently declared a no new projects policy, then quickly broke it. So, I'm adding some fine print. Socks don't count. I finished my Jitterbug socks and quickly started on a pair of socks in Dream in Color Smooshy yarn. The label says that it is Chinatown Apple color, but much *internet research* leads me to believe that it's Strange Harvest. I'm thinking of giving the resulting socks to a friend. I've really got to befriend more people with small feet! I'm on a real sock binge at the moment, so I think the sock exemption is necessary. This might be as successful as my "smoking in Europe or while drunk does not count" policy, but we'll see.

Today, I was watching the travel channel and knitting, when a program about Stockholm came on. I really had no idea that Sweden was so beautiful! That comment probably has the Norwegian ancestors spinning in their graves, but Stockholm seems much lovelier than I'd expected. It probably doesn't hurt that they shot the program in the summer. So, Scandinavia goes on my mental travel list. I've already seen the ancestral home in England, so maybe I should learn more about the other places in the family tree.

All the while, I worked on the Picovoli. It's almost done, and I cannot tell you what a relief that is. If I had to tear anything else out of this yarn, it would have turned to permanent yarn ramen. It's good yarn, and not a hard pattern. I think it just needed a bit more attention that I gave it. For example, I noticed that the shaping in the back is wonky. Not lumpy or zigzagged, but the darts both run in the same direction instead of being mirrored. At this point, I really don't care. Yarn abuse? Maybe. I am making an artful ribbed edging around the hem so that it doesn't roll up and make a donut around my waist. I'm also going to crochet around the neckline to stabilize it, and make little sleeves. I tried it on today to assess the length and was really pleased with the sweater. It is very similar to a t-shirt, but somehow looks more sophisticated. That's probably the sheen of the cotton and tencel blend yarn.

Not everything has been a drag lately. I won at bingo again. I gave most of my winnings away, keeping a little stash of Smarties for myself, and giving Bianca a pair of light up glasses. They could easily go from library to rave and look implausibly good on her. Who knew that yellow plastic novelty glasses could look good?

The next day, I was off to brunch with Lisa and the Loopy anniversary party. There was quite the turnout at the party. Knitters can't resist a sale that also features free wine and cake. There were a lot of other Ravelry peeps there, as well as Franklin. I can't believe that he isn't on Ravelry yet, especially considering that his blog has its own Ravelry fan group. Franklin was fairly busy with his 1,000 Knitters shoot, but I had a chance to talk to him for a while. He even remembered me from the yarn tasting at the start of the summer, which gave me a dorky thrill. If you don't read the Panopticon, I highly recommend it. I spent most of the evening sitting in front of a wall of Manos del Uruguay. It sounds like a wallflower move, but I got to talk to a lot of people. You see, I was sitting next to the wine.

I didn't drink any of the wine, but I was still exhausted the next day at work. Did you know that I work Saturday mornings? Or that I am not a morning person? Too much partying the last couple of days really drained my battery. Maybe it was a yarn fumes hangover. I can't party like a rock star anymore.



No, not my stepmother. The ancient Greek. I'm going through a Penelope cycle. That Picovoli pullover that I've been knitting off and on for weeks? Well, I was almost done with the waist shaping when I realized that I'd screwed up my row count on the decreases. I knit a lot of rows that I didn't need to there, and made a very gradual waist. That's no good.
Feeling disgusted by the Picovoli, I decided to knit my Jitterbug socks for a while instead. I'm on the second sock, which is known to be difficult. My difficulty? I dropped a stitch while doing the short row heel. For non-knitting readers, that is very bad. Even worse? I didn't notice until I finished the heel. Well, there's an hour plus of knitting torn out in a minute. I'm not really ticked about it, though. I just need to pay closer attention to what I'm doing. Every third row does not mean every fourth, and all of those stitches are in the heel for a reason.
I'm having a bit of an off day. The workmen painting the house finally returned, so they're making lots of noise outside. Who knew that painting was so noisy? And I can't curl up with a book or take one of my infamous naps because I am blocking a sweater on my bed. It is damp and smells like a wet dog. At least Winston hasn't attacked it or lain down upon it this time... maybe I should go check.

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