Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Birthday Surprises

Also titled: Why I Love My Husband

Yesterday was my birthday. I am now Officially Old plus one. Except that I don't feel old. And I'm not depressed about my age, just the fact that I have no career right now. I'm blaming that one on the economy. If the economy wasn't horrible, I would have a career (hopefully one that I enjoyed) and life would be just peachy.

Besides, how can you be depressed about your birthday when your husband surprises you with a Year of Lace?!?!? The Brain, and here I have to give him a lot of credit because he has historically been not the best gift-secret keeper, signed me up for the Year of Lace over a month ago and never ever gave it away!!! Not even when I bemoaned the passing of the sign-up deadline, or sighed around the apartment one evening after learning that there were still a few spots left, or even when I was depressed about my lack of a job because I could have signed myself up for the club if I had the income at my disposal. (You heard that right--for a brief period of time, I actually wished I had a job not so that I could actually use my education or have a fulfilling career, but so I could buy yarn. I'm hoping a job will come soon and knock that out of my head.)

I am so excited about this club, I hardly know what to do. The first shipment comes in March and I cannot wait. Do I have the best husband, or what?

I will have a knitting update soon. Promise!

Project Update

Haha! Here is a post I wrote a month ago and then for some reason never published...I was probably planning on including pictures or something. Here it is, more for archiving purposes than anything else. The projects I talk about are all finished at this point!

So, what do you do when you are obsessed with a large lace project for three weeks straight, and then you finish it? You look around frantically for the next project to lose yourself in, of course. Finishing a big project that you love is kind of like finishing a novel that you love. It's hard to cope without having that project or book to turn to in your free time, and you don't think any other project or book could possibly be as engrossing as the one you just finished. In fact, you kind of go through the stages of grief once it's gone:

Denial: My project is still over there by the couch, waiting for me to pick it up. I can't be finished with it because it has been part of my life for so long!

Anger: How can I be done with that project?!? It was so large and challenging--it was supposed to last me forever! I hate all other projects!

Bargaining: I will trade all of my old Ultra Alpaca for another evening of working on that project. Just let me not be done and I'll knit for charity for the rest of the year!

Depression: If I can't knit on that project, I don't want to knit anything ever again. Life is so unfair, and it's not worth looking at other yarns if I can't have the one I want.

Acceptance: Well, if I have to be done with that project, I'm going to make my next project that much better/bigger/complicated/fun!

So that was the plan. But instead of better/bigger/complicated/fun, I opted for the hidden enjoyment of a stash-down project. See, I have five skeins of Ultra Alpaca in the Ocean Mix colorway, which is a very pretty, deep blue/green color that is absolutely wrong for me. I do not look good in blue/green, no matter how pretty I might think it is. I spent a couple of evenings online, trying to find something to make with it and I finally, grudgingly (because I didn't even want to knit with the yarn) settled on Harper, from Pop Knits. And guess what happened? I fell totally in love with the yarn and the project! I think it is super pretty, and I can't wait to finish it and throw it on over a black t-shirt and jeans. Score one for stash-down!

But that's not all! My progress on Harper was stalled by my continued fascination with lace knitting. I actually volunteered to test knit someone's shawl pattern! I told her I could have it done in two weeks, and that was over a week ago. I'm halfway through Chart 5 of 6, so I'm nearing the end, but it's a faroese shawl knit from the neck down, so each row gets longer and longer as I go. Right now, a row takes about 15 minutes to complete, but I can see that getting up to about 20 minutes pretty soon. Still, it's a very pretty pattern and I'm quite happy with it. I haven't asked the designer's permission, so I'm not going to post photos, but I'm sure I will be able to when it's done.

Finally, I received a knitting request from my 18 year old brother who is a theater and dance major in college. I don't think I need to tell you how excited I am to be knitting knee-high legwarmers for a 6'3" boy in the Fruit Punch colorway. Needless to say, progress is rather slow right now.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Chugging Along

Phew! Things have been rather busy here lately. It looks like the job market is going to pick up soon, and I've been keeping busy generating momentum on that front. I had lunch on Friday with a new contact in the theater world down here, and he gave me some more leads to follow up on so hopefully things will start looking up.

In knitting news, I totally finished my Autumn Arbor stole last week! I didn't get a chance to block it out until last night, but I was wearing it all over my cold apartment this morning and it's warm and snuggly and pretty and I love it. I did end up having enough yarn to do 8 repeats on each side, so it ended up being 12 inches longer than it should have been, but there was plenty of yarn left over. After a lifetime of things being too short, I never consider extra length to be much of a problem. :) I don't have any modeled shots yet, but I'll try to get some this weekend.

This was the first stole I have done in which I had to graft two pieces together. It came out pretty well, I think. I was careful to graft the two halves together very loosely, and then go back with a small crochet hook to tighten them up to the proper tension, so they match the rest of the stole. Unfortunately, there was a stretch of very light-colored yarn near the end of my grafting so it looks a little out of place, but I didn't care enough to do anything about it. This stole is for me and me alone, and it's perfect enough for me! :)

That stole knocks a ton of yards off my count. Only 19224 to go for the year! Unfortunately, after not adding any yarn to my stash since before Christmas, I did order some sale yarn and it all came in the mail today. I'll post more about that another time. But again, the point is not really to get rid of all my yarn, but to use up old yarn that's been sitting there for a while. So far so good!

Also, as an aside, has anyone else been trying to find copies of that new magazine, The Knitter? Cookie from Shut Up and Knit said she found a copy at her local Barnes & Noble, so of course I ran out there this weekend. Did they have any copies? NO...and they didn't have it in their system, either. In fact, they had old issues of IK out so I'm not really holding my breath with this branch. :( You know what's probably going to happen is that I will eventually find a copy after months of trawling through book stores and driving longer and longer distances in search of this elusive magazine...and it will totally suck. Anyone lucky enough to have a copy care to prove me wrong? How is it?

ETA (by suggestion of Julie): Here's a link to a little preview of the magazine. It is a British publication, but the publishers also have an office in California, so I see no reason why it would not be readily available here. In fact, Mason Dixon Knitting had a little contest about it last month, but ever since then I haven't heard or seen anything about it.