Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Look What I Have...


I finally received my yarn!!! This stuff has been a long time in coming, let me tell you! Let's recap, shall we?

March 15: Placed order and paid for nearly $130 of yarn from a woman who was having a sale in her online shop based out of Texas.
March 19: Realized that because of some error on PayPal's web page, my address had never been changed from an old Pittsburgh, PA address I had lived at for 10 months during grad school. (They somehow managed to change my bank account correctly though. Imagine that.) Consequently, my yarn was sent to Pittsburgh and I had to wait several weeks for it to be sent back to TX.
April 17: Received notice that the package had made its way back to the seller in TX, and that it would be re-sent to me ASAP.
May 1: After waiting another two weeks and paying for shipping a second time, my yarn arrived. Only half of the order was in the box. Only 13 out of the 15 skeins I had ordered. Notified the seller, who tried to claim that she had packed the original order in its entirety, and the box must have been "compromised" during shipping.
May 14: Received an email from the seller telling me that she had re-ordered the colors I wanted from Berroco, and would send them out ASAP. Oh, and she found the 4 skeins of one color that she was so sure she had packed in the original box. I am told the wait will be 10 days.
May 27: Received an email from the seller claiming that Berroco was shipping things veeeeery sloooowly.
July 7: After checking in with the seller several times, received an email stating that she had the yarn, but had other things to take care of first before she could get it in the mail to me.
July 23: FINALLY received my yarn order!!!

Let's look at this another way. Since March 15, I have done the following: (includes only major, out-of-the-ordinary items)

- Completed a full-time, graduate-level internship and all coursework for graduate school.
- Researched, wrote, and submitted my Masters Thesis
- Graduated from graduate school.
- Worked a temp job for a month.
- Hunted for, found, and moved into a new apartment in a new city.
- Logged N number of hours looking for a job in the new city. (Where N = an integer equal to the number of hours it takes to become completely frustrated and depressed about the lack of appropriate jobs, plus 5 hours/week for extra effort.)

Or, in terms of knitting projects I have started and completed:

- 1 Hooded Baby Sweater
- 1 Wobbly Circles Tote
- 1 Desperate Hausfrau wig
- 1 Hanami Stole
- 1 Under the Hoodie sweater
- 1 Space Helmet
- 1 Hallowig
- 1 Something Red sweater
- 1 Cathedral Purse
- 1 Twig Lace Cap
- 1 Mini Clapotis
- 1 pair Nereid Fingerless Gloves
- 3 Lizard Ridge squares
- 1 Soleil tank top
- 95% of 1 Auburn Camp Shirt
- 60% of 1 B-Side Cardigan

And to think--I ordered this yarn as an early graduation present to myself so I could have something to knit in between working on chapters of my thesis! Oh, and I couldn't find any sign of the 25% off coupon the seller promised to include in the package, either. This woman is nothing if not consistent.

P.S. Whenever I leave a comment on someone else's blog and they send me a reply, I always think that's just the sweetest thing ever (not necessary, but really sweet)! I can't tell you how many replies to comments I have sent out, but apparently Blogger does not support these replies. I only know this because I sent a lengthy reply to one of my brother's replies, and he never received it. So...sorry if you never got anything from me. I did reply to you, honest! They just got shuffled off into the internet ether. :(

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Knitting Frenzy

My B-Side is still going well. I'm done with the body, and only have the sleeves left to do, and then the big collar thingy, and I'm all done! I'm Magic Looping the sleeves (is that a verb?) so I only have to stick them into the armholes at the end. I would just pick up sleeves around the armhole and knit them down, but I don't really know how to do all the fancy sleeve-top shaping to get that to work, and it's actually easier this way without having to deal with an entire sweater body flopping around. :)

I did end up making the sleeve holes larger than the pattern called for, however (using measurements from some other sweaters of mine), so I'll have to deal with that when I get to it. Because my gauge seems to be different in the round than when I knit flat, I finished up half a sleeve before I decided that it was just too tight (what is it with me and sleeves that are too tight???), so I frogged the whole thing and started over with sleeves that are a couple sizes larger. I have only gotten through the cuff of the first one so far, so I hope it works.

In more exciting news, I got the books I ordered from the Interweave hurt book sale! They came much faster than I was anticipating, and they're all in good shape, too! (Certainly no worse for wear than books that have been pawed over at a bookstore.) I'm super excited about No Sheep For You, because I could stand to learn more about non-animal fibers and how to work with them, and it has some cute patterns, too. Knitting Little Luxuries is a book I have browsed through before, but never liked enough to pay full price for. Knit So Fine and Wrap Style are both books that piqued my curiosity, but which I am sure I would never have purchased otherwise. But now I have 4 new books to add to my shelves and I'm very happy about that! :)

I'm also super excited about this new addition to our living room: a new armchair! The Brain and I have been married for over a year and a half now, and since we were both in our late 20s when we got married, we each already had an apartment full of furniture of our own. This is our first official furniture purchase together, and we both love it! It's SUPER soft, with just the right combination of squooshy and firm. It is wide enough to curl up on and read a book and just be super comfy. We both like it so much that last night we had to compromise over who got to sit in it!

In other news, there is a relatively new knitting group down here that is meeting up tonight. I'm going to try to head out and check it out, even though I'm not normally a group knitter, and my previous experience with a knitting group didn't go so well. Does anyone else have good/bad experiences with knitting groups? I've never really been a joiner, and one side of my brain keeps trying to talk me into going while the other side keeps giving me reasons not to. There is also some track racing going on at the velodrome that The Brain is going to, and I like watching those, too, so I'm up in the air about this. If I end up making it, I'll give a full report next time. ;-)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

No Picture Post. :(

I don't think the yarn lady reads my blog because I don't register any hits from Texas, but the same day I published my last post, I got an email telling me the yarn was set to go in the mail. It did, yesterday, and she even sent me the confirmation number. Hopefully I will get that yarn sometime this month.

I have been working on my B-Side like a maniac! Last night I split for the armholes and I was almost done with the neck increases on one side today when I ran into a slight problem--the decreases run into the cable. Boo! I'm knitting the 36" size, and I seem to remember an email sent out about some of the larger sizes having this problem, so it was fixed in the errata. I'm using the super-most-up-to-date-flaw-free version of the pattern so I'm thinking the mistake is all mine. I'm kinda bummed and don't really feel like figuring it out, so perhaps I'll start up my Gretel tonight and pick the B-Side back up tomorrow.

So here's a question: does anyone else have the same Ravelry queue overload problems that I seem to have? My queue is nearly on its 12th page, and there is no way I could ever knit all of those things in my entire lifetime. Mostly I just put things up there as I find them if I think they're cute, and if I ever need to find a hat or cardi or whatever pattern, I can look through them and find one I want to make immediately. It just seems that my queue is inordinately long and starting to get unwieldy. Has anyone else piled on more than they can ever hope to handle?

That's really all the news I have for now. Hopefully next time I will have solved the problem with the B-Side and will have some pictures to show too--I really like how it's turning out!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Can't Stop Knitting the B-Side!

I'm serious. I am totally addicted to this sweater, and I have no idea why. I mean, it's super cute in its simplicity, which I love. It's knit flat in one piece on a circular needle, which I love. It's all stockinette except for that one section of cables, so it's like a treat when you get to the end of the row...all of which I love. OK, I guess I do have a few ideas about why I'm addicted. It's perfect TV knitting, and I have been doing a lot of that lately because The Brain had a root canal yesterday and was in horrible pain all weekend, so...we didn't do anything but sit on the couch for several days straight. Sure, I could have done stuff without him, but it's so rare that we get to spend that much time together and hey, I wasn't complaining about having to sit and knit! I have now gotten about twice as far on the sweater since the picture was taken.

Last Thursday my brother, who is in town visiting a friend of his, and I went on a yarn crawl. It was super fun, and a way to check out some LYSs with someone else who also knits. Since his friend lives in Spring Valley, the first place we went was Two Sisters and Ewe, out in La Mesa. (See how I sound like I totally know where any of these places are? All lies.)

The shop was having a week-long sale, which inspired me to pick up a pair of Addi Lace needles. I haven't used them yet, but I'll give a full report later. I also may have made off with a few balls of Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran. I think I was feeling a little guilty because when my brother and I first got to the shop we were all giggly and maybe gushing over the Noro and the new Brown Sheep without mohair, and we may have been petting some Misti Alpaca Chunky with a little too much fervor. The shop lady came over to offer her help, but she seemed a little agitated and I did not really feel welcome. Even when we both bought stuff, I got the feeling that we were intruding on her quiet sanctuary. Meh. Whatever. I'm sure I'll be back there once in a while--they have a nice selection of yarns. It's just a bit too far away to make the drive worthwhile.

Next up, we stopped at a small place the name of which I don't remember, and which didn't have a nice selection anyway. Everything in the store seemed to be about 10 years old, and the owner had a little dog that wouldn't leave us alone (HATE that!)...but it was funny watching it jump up and down trying to grab my brother's butt.

We went on over to The Needleworks next, and I have to admit that I wasn't expecting much (no reason), but it was a surprisingly cute shop. I can't even remember most of the yarns they had there--it seemed to be a mix of nice yarns, old reliables, and some not-so-nice yarn (read: the fugliest novelty yarn I have ever seen). They did have the nicest display of patterns books and magazines I have ever seen though, and I was super excited to find Norah Gaughan, Vol. 3 and Berroco #279. Score!

We had a couple more shops on the list, but decided to skip them because we were tired of driving around and we had both spent all the money we had anyway. We just headed back to my place for an afternoon of knitting and chatting before meeting up with his friend and The Brain for Thai food. All in all, a fun day!

Update: For those of you following the neverending saga of my missing yarn, the woman FINALLY emailed me back last week (responding to my two emails informing her of my new address). She informed me that she already has my yarn, but that she is so busy "putting out fires" that it will take her a few more days to box it up and drop it in the mail. This was a week ago, ladies and gentlemen, and I have yet to get a confirmation from her that she has, in fact, put my yarn in the mail. I find this a little troubling because on her shop's website, she brags about her fast shipping times because she buys postage at home, and packages get picked up daily from her home. Oh, and she was also a bit confused about exactly what she was sending me in this shipment, and needed me to remind her. WTF?!?!?!?!? But I am in luck, because she is including a 25% discount code for her online yarn shop, "in the event you'd ever like yarn to actually arrive like it's supposed to". I swear, if she didn't live several states away, I would be pounding on her door in the middle of the night, demanding the yarn I paid for BACK IN MARCH!!!!!

OK, I'm done ranting. I just really want my yarn, ya know?

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Apropos of Nothing

I once had a friend who always spoke to her husband in baby talk. It was very uncomfortable for those of us in the same room, yet she never seemed to notice that anything was odd about it. Calling your significant other "sweetie" or "honey" is one thing, but asking them in a drippy, lilting voice, "Do you want me to bring home a piece of pie from the restaurant? Would you like that? What kind would you like? You can have whateeeeeever kind of pie you want! Would you like me to bring...cherry pie? Or...strawberry cream cheese?" and on and just plain weird. If you are guilty of these infractions when other people are present, PLEASE for the love of all things holy and good: CUT IT OUT!!!

I'm really not sure why memories of that couple popped into my head today, because I have mostly been working on knitting projects. To start with, I finished off my Soleil tank top.

Pattern: Soleil, from Knitty Spring 2005
Yarn: Rowan Handknit Cotton, Color 305 (a pale purple)
Needles: Size 7, Knit Picks Options
Size: S (33-35")
Mods: I added an extra repeat of the lace pattern at the bottom, since other people on Ravelry kept saying it was too short. I also added about half an inch to the body. In the was still too short for my liking. It will probably look fine over some of my higher-cut shorts or skirts, but not over my everyday lower-cut jeans.

Technically, it's not quite finished because I still have to add the single crochet trim around the neckline and arm holes, but I tried to figure out how to do that and got stumped. I'm hoping my brother can help me figure it out tomorrow when we hang out together. He doesn't know that yet though. :)

So...last night when The Brain and I were walking to a local pizza place for dinner, this ginormous bee came zooming at me out of nowhere and jabbed his rear into my thumb! Seriously, I have never seen a stinger that huge--at first I didn't even know what it was, it was so big! The Brain said it had a fluffy white thing on the end of it too, so who knows--maybe I got stung by some mutant cotton ball? I have only been stung by a bee once before and my leg was swollen and itchy for over a week so I was a little nervous about what this might do to my hand. It's actually not too bad today. It's a little swollen and red and itchy and achy, but it's better than the alternative--my dad is deathly allergic to bees--he's an epi-pen-carrying, medalert-bracelet-wearing member of the club. I'm glad that all I have to deal with is a little pain...and that I can still knit, of course.

So, what to knit now that the Soleil is finished? Well, my Addis came in the mail today! YAY! (Btw, sorry for the crappy photography. I wish I could make excuses and say that my camera is crappy, or that I just don't have good natural light today. But the truth is that I'm just a crappy photographer. I'm over it.) Now I can start swatching for my B Side. Then, when my swatches are done and being soaked and dried (see what a good swatcher I am?), I can plug away on my Auburn Camp Shirt and finish that off. It means winding up another skein of laceweight (ugh), but I'll survive.

I love that the Addis say "KNIT FASTER with the amazing ADDI TURBO". It kind of reminds me of old circus barkers or something. Not to disparage what is clearly a superior product, but something about it seems quaint and old timey.

Some people (and by "some people" I clearly mean my brother, who was my only commenter) left a comment asking what I am planning on using my silk laceweight for. I have a plan for that, but I'm going to save it for another post. Can't give all my secrets away at once, you know!

All right, that's enough blathering from me for today. I'm off to do some mad swatching!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008


The window guy is here right now fixing all the blinds in the apartment. Apparently when the previous tenants moved out, they hung up all the vertical blinds they had taken down while they lived here and didn't do a very good job. There are 16 (!) windows in this place, which means a lot of blinds. There were 21 blades missing, blades put in backwards, not enough screws installed to hold the blinds up, etc. So the guy is here fixing all their mistakes, even though we'll probably take the blinds down too, and put up our own curtains. I really wish I knew how to sew because then I could get exactly what we wanted, instead of being at the mercy of the sizes and fabrics offered at IKEA and Target. *sigh* Oh well. I'll live.

A few months ago, I traveled home to Minneapolis to visit the fam for the weekend. I decided to put my iPhone to good use and load up some knitting podcasts for the trip. Since I didn't know anything about what might be good, I loaded up the Knit Picks podcast, since they always have links at the bottom of their promotional emails. Let me warn you about this if you're not already a podcast listener: starting on one is like a gateway drug. It will lead you down a dangerous path if you're not careful.

I liked the Knit Picks podcast well enough. Kelley Petkin, the host, is very friendly and organized and I think she's a great interviewer for her guests because she is very conversational and energetic. Well, that podcast led to other podcasts and, just like with blogs, I find myself adding new ones to my list all the time. The only problem is that I am so anal that if I find a good podcast, I have to go back and listen to ALL the episodes, starting from the first one. This takes a good bit of time so I don't have all that many on my list...yet.

In addition to the Knit Picks podcast, I also listen to Stash and Burn (my favorite!), Cast On (with Brenda Dayne...excellent), Y Knit (infectiously fun), Sticks & String (very melodic and soothing), and Shifting Channels (which is a TV podcast by one of the girls from Stash & Burn, and since I'm an entertainment media junkie I find it interesting). If you have any others to recommend, let me know!

These are nice to load up on my iPhone and listen to while I'm knitting. Since I'm still on the job hunt, I have more knitting time than maybe I would like, but I'm making good use of it. :) I've been listening to so many podcasts lately that I bought a set of speakers this weekend at Target. They're not the cutest things ever, but they work well and they were cheap...just what I needed!

My brother is in town this week on a trip with a friend of his, and I'm excited to see him! I haven't seen him in about a year, and I figured that if I can nab him away from his friend for a few hours it would be a good time to explore some of the local yarn shops that I haven't been to yet. I'll keep you posted. :)

Monday, July 7, 2008

Look Ma, I'm Blogging!

Dude, I know it's been forever. But I was packing and moving and all that jazz and I'm super excited because we found the perfect place in San Diego and now that we're all moved in and settled, the biggest thing is to find a job. Easy, right? HA!

This apartment is the most perfect place I have ever lived in. It's near the center of everything, it's in a small building (only 4 units), it has more than enough room for all our stuff (plus storage space for the stuff we want to keep out of the way), and...I love it! We have been slowly getting settled in, which meant marathon trips to IKEA and Target yesterday, but we plan on staying in one place for several years (for once), so we want it to be nice and homey. This was the 10th time I have moved in 8 years and I am more than ready to stay put for a while!!! We have been doing a lot of wandering around the Hillcrest area (love!), and have found perfect places for brunch, used book buying, hair cutting, etc. It's so nice to live in an area where there are actually sidewalks and places that are open past 10 PM.

Anyway, enough about that. I have also been getting some knitting done in my absence. I am really close to being done with my Auburn Camp Shirt, but I realized one thing after I moved: I have hardwood floors now, so stretching things out and pinning them to the carpet isn't going to work any more. :( I have to order some mats to go under my treadmill so I'll probably just order a few more to use as blocking squares, but I plan on getting a real blocking board sometime soon. I am just really bad at making straight lines and measuring things correctly, so I think that is the best solution all around.

I also whipped up a pair of Nereid Fingerless Gloves out of the skein of Curious Creek Wasonga I had in my stash. I love fingerless gloves. I don't knit socks, so I think they're the perfect little project for all that pretty sock yarn, and I find them very useful because I get cold all the time.

I also found a project to make out of the Rowan Handknit Cotton my brother sent me. I'm making the Soleil tank top and it's going very quickly. I'm not a huge fan of cotton yarn, but the color is pretty and hey, it was free! I like the way it is looking so far...I just hope I have enough yarn to finish it!

I'm aching to get started on my B Side Cardigan. I have the pattern and the yarn, but I'm just waiting on my new Addis to show up in the mail. When I first started knitting 3 years ago, the LYS lady recommended using Addi Turbos so I bought a couple pairs and used those for my first few projects, until I realized that you can't knit everything on size 8 needles. I was in grad school at the time and didn't have enough money to buy a ton of Addis, so I ordered the Knit Picks Options set and was very happy with those for a while. But now, the needles are getting discolored and they have very obviously lost most of their finish because yarn doesn't slide across them like it used to. They also have dents and scrapes in them, from knitting with cotton yarns or knitting too tightly. The cables pop out of the screw ends from time to time and I am tired of ordering replacements, and the fittings aren't perfect so yarn catches on the joins a lot. In short, I was happy to have the flexibility of the Options set, but I would really like to knit with better needles.

So...I have decided to slowly start replacing my current set with Addis, and I ordered two needles so I can do my swatches for the B Side and knit with those. I'm just waiting for them to get here in the mail so I can start knitting!

Speaking of waiting for things to show up in the mail...guess who hasn't sent me my yarn yet? That's right--I'm still waiting for the order of Berroco Ultra Alpaca that I paid for in MARCH!!! I'm beginning to wonder if this woman skipped town because I have sent her two emails over the past two weeks to let her know what my new address is and ask her if she has heard anything about the yarn shipment (she ordered more yarn from Berroco, then told me they were shipping things "really slowly"...that was on May 14). I'm giving her until Thursday (a week from my last email) in case she's out of town on vacation or something, but then...I don't know what. Does anyone happen to know anyone who works at Berroco and can confirm that they are, in fact, taking several months to ship yarns to their retailers? Seems kind of far-fetched, no?

In the meantime, I have been petting this: