Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Just Call Me a Sweater Girl

I am no longer intimidated by sweaters! I have now completed two sweaters. One was supposed to be for a baby, but it fits a teddy bear quite nicely. The second sweater is posted in the pictures below. This one is made from Lion Brands' Homespun yarn in Regency. My son picked out the yarn himself and tells me that the sweater is, "really comfortable." With an appreciative audience like him, I'm bound to keep at this. The sweater pattern (free from Michael's website) was easy. If I were to do it again, I would make the body longer and I would definitely buy more yarn. Three skeins just barely made it to finish the pieces and I had to use other yarn to finish sewing up the seams. Luckily I had some other Homespun that was close enough to work.

Here it is, one hooded sweater for one great kid! Posted by Hello

Side view of hooded sweater. Posted by Hello

Monday, March 28, 2005

Things That Bug Me (Items 27-28)

27. What is it with instructions that skimp on yarn quantities? I am nearly finished with my second sweater. I have been very careful not to waste yarn, yet I am left with just barely enough to sew up the seams. This pattern calls for the same amount of yarn for an adult S as for a child's 10-12. Trust me, there is no possible way that the adult size will work with only three skeins!

28. What is so hard about making the label markings clear so that a knitter can get skeins in the same dye lot??? I was just ready to sew on the sleeves on what would have been my second sweater when I discovered that the sleeves and the body were definitely made from different dye lots of yarn. The labels were very confusing. The numbers for dye lots seemed to be the same, but the printing was somewhat different. Luckily, I have extra yarn so that I can make two sweaters. Unhappily, I currently have two half-sweaters.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Create a Living Will

Do it now. That is perhaps the biggest lesson from the Terry Schiavo case. There are sites online to make it easier or you can pick up software to help. Just do it.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

After three trips through the washer (I have a front loader), here it is! This was easy and great fun. Now I'm dreaming of ideas for the next one. Posted by Hello

Here is my bag just minutes before I took a deep breath and plunged it into the washing machine. Posted by Hello

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Finally, here is my very own guilty pleasure. Now that I have 4+ inches on the sides knitted, I am very happy with the selection. Posted by Hello

Here is the object of my obsession on Friday. This stuff is even more gorgeous in person! Posted by Hello

Here is a close up shot. This is a simple basketweave pattern with seed stitch border. It still needs blocking, but it was exciting to finish Posted by Hello

Here is my contribution to the Red Scarf Project! Posted by Hello

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Guilty Pleasures

I try not to be a yarn snob. I try not to be a snob at all. Still, there are some things that are guilty pleasures. One of those is the yarn that I'm using for my latest project. I picked up some Noro Big Kureyon at my local yarn shop. This stuff is the very essence of Femiknit Mafia's essay on how knitting is becoming such a classist hobby. I am absolutely appalled at the money I spent on this yarn (US$19 per hank and I bought two). Still, it will be gorgeous when finished. It was a splurge and I know that there are a lot of knitters out there who can't afford splurges like that.

Generally, I use much less expensive yarns. My last three projects were all done in various Lion Brand yarns purchased on sale. I actually enjoy working with WoolEase and simple keyhole scarves with Fun Fur are quick $4 gifts.

In a way, the Big Kureyon is exacting a toll. This stuff requires me to let go of any illusion of control. I can control my stitches, but I absolutely cannot control how the project will turn out. This yarn is variegated in the extreme. The base colors are blue and green, but there are bits of red, yellow, and even pink. The weight varies from skinny to fat and I'm frankly worried about the end result. This engineer mindset that I have leads me to prefer control and exact, geometric patterns. Knitting is, of its nature, less exact than some of my other hobbies. This yarn is requiring me to embrace the beauty of randomness. We shall see how well that goes!

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Benefits of Obsession

I am obsessive. There, I said it. All those who know me are rolling their eyes and exclaiming, "No kidding!" The real problem here is that I keep getting rewarded for my obsessive nature so I have no incentive to change. I owe much of my standing in my profession to my attention to detail and my willingness to get jobs done that no one else is willing to tackle.

On the home front, my obsessive nature gets me into trouble, but can still be quite rewarding. I am now a knitter. Well, I still have beginner standing, but I do knit. Being obsessive means that I rip out my errors instead of leaving them in as curiosities. It also means that I stay up too late getting down to the last error when I find it at 11:00 p.m.

Today, being obsessive meant that I went shoulder deep into yarn during a quest. I visited a new (to me) yarn shop and wandered through crowded aisle upon crowded aisle of glorious fibers. Wools, acrylics, and cottons all called to me. At first, I stayed focused on my stated goal. I wanted a particular bulky wool in a color that would be acceptable to my four year old niece. I found the exact yarn specified in the instructions in a delightful pink. After this success, I found the sock yarns and picked up two skeins of blues on which to learn the art of sock making.

Next, I turned my attention to finding yarn for a scarf. I wanted something variegated in a nice, soft blend. I don't need wool's warmth in Southern California, but I wanted something bright. I finally succumbed to the call of the Noro yarns. I just couldn't resist the Noro Silk Garden blends, but which one to choose? None caught my eye until I saw two sample scarves that were knitted in #43. This is a gloriously bright mix of orange, pink, blue, and purple that just begged to come home with me. My joy was short lived as the owner of the shop wandered by, shook his head, and said that he didn't think they had any more of that colorway. Of course, I would pick a discontinued color! Undaunted, I continued to search the bins of Silk Garden, sure that some other color mix would beckon. In the bottom bin, I found one lonely skein of #43. This was beyond cruel! I needed three skeins and there would be no way I could do this crossing dye lots even if I could find other sources. I continued my quest and wandered into the bins of Kureyan. Suddenly, my hand found a bag of yarn. I slowly brought it out to the light, could it be? Yes! I had found a bag containing two skeins of Silk Garden #43! I held my breath, not daring to check the dye lots. Finally, summoning all my courage, I looked. Obsessive nature wins again! I scored three skeins of a discontinued color all in the same dye lot!

Stay tuned as the saga continues.....

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Governator Schmuvernator, Just Do Your Job!

While stuck in a nice sigalert this morning, I had ample opportunity to listen to several stories on my local NPR station, KPCC. One of the stories that did more to raise my blood pressure than the traffic jam was a story about how my esteemed Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, is fed up with waiting for the state legislature to act on his budget reform proposals so he is taking the cause to the people. So, instead of working with the legislature to introduce well-developed reforms that might actually fix the budget problems without gutting needed programs, Arnold is pushing for a boat load of propositions all to be put on yet another special election ballot. The last thing that California needs is another special election.

Even if we ignore the cost of the third state election in four years (as if we could), it is impossible to ignore the onslaught of special interests. Oh, wait, yes, I would include Arnold in that description. Yes, Governor, as much as you decry special interests, you are one. You are only one voice in the state. Unfortunately, you are a very loud voice with a very fuzzy message. You are a real flip flopper. Oooooo, did that hurt? Ask the teachers about your reforms. Go ahead, ask.

The concept behind California's propositions is a good one. It allows many voices to be heard who might not otherwise get noticed. The problem is that the voices that really get heard are the ones hiding in the shadows. The propositions that make it onto the ballot are backed by very powerful people who do not always want to be associated with the new laws. Worse, the propositions are usually poorly worded and make for a mess of inconsistent and overlapping decisions.

Arnold, get back to Sacramento and do the job for which you were elected. Part of the job is to work with those legislators who you so easily dismiss.