Thursday, July 30, 2009

July Round-Up

How is it that my little brother can go on vacation, come back, and still have more blog posts than I do? I'll tell you why, and it's very simple: I'm a sucky blogger this month. There! Alert the presses! :)

Things have still been up and down this month: The Brain is definitely getting a 10% pay cut, and they're saying that the education budget will be even worse next year. Everyone who was eligible has already taken early retirement, they are cutting course offerings and raising class sizes, and now they have a pay cut. What's next? Layoffs. Talk about a brain drain! I'm sure other states will be more than happy to take the high-quality educators that California doesn't want (and the chancellor has made it very clear that lecturers are preferable to PhD-holding, tenured faculty members because they're cheaper). But that's my bitterness talking.

Less bitterness! More knitting!

It has been a busy month as well, with some more top-secret projects making their way into my life. One involves knitting a sample sweater for a designer's pattern and I am really loving it. The yarn (Classic Elite Fresco) is soooo soft and light and just a dream to work with! It's in the perfect shade of silvery gray. I will definitely have to make one of these for myself, too.

My youngest brother was in town last week from MN and we had a blast running all over San Diego doing all the things you can't do up in the Twin Cities: mainly, swim in the ocean, seal-watch, drive into the mountains, walk around at night without mosquito spray, etc. It was a blast! I also took some time to get some FO photos from projects that have been sitting around for a while. Yay!

Pattern: Little Birds, by Ysolda Teague
Yarn: Jamiseon's Shetland Spindrift
Size: 34"
Mods: Added one repeat of the pattern to the body of the sweater (lengthwise), and two repeats to the sleeves.
Final Thoughts: This was my first large-scale stranded project, and I really liked the challenge. I feel that my stitches were even (blocking helped!) and the final product looks OK. But, the fit is a bit strange on me. I don't know if it was the added length, but the front pieces are angled funny and tend to hit right outside my boobal area, which gives the sweater the effect of looking too small. Also, the high ribbing at the bottom makes it appear as though I have no waist. I assure you, I do...if only because there is no way my waist could be as wide as my hips. (Thanks, Mom!)

Pattern: Laminaria, by Elizabeth Freeman
Yarn: Claudia Hand Painted Yarns Silk Lace
Mods: None
Final Thoughts: I love this pattern, I love this yarn (thanks, little brothers!), I loved knitting every second of this shawl! It was challenging to block because the star stitches seem to make the lace want to stretch in every direction imaginable. I feel as though it turned out too wide, and not long enough. But I hate blocking just enough to not care enough to do it over. I still love it though and am very pleased with the end result.

Pattern: Wisteria Garden Shawl, by Amy Swenson
Yarn: Zen Yarn Garden Sea Lace
Mods: None
Final Thoughts: This was the second installment in my Year of Lace membership. I really love getting new yarn in the mail that I may never have tried on my own, and this was one of those shipments. I'm not a fan of the color, but that's no big deal. I can donate this to Knit for the Cure. At least it will go to a worthy cause instead of draped from a hanger in my closet with my other lace things!

Pattern: Miss Lambert's Shetland Pattern for a Shawl, by Jane Sowerby
Yarn: Malabrigo Lace in Stonechat
Mods: Added 5 repeats to the body to make it wider
Final Thoughts: This was my mindless TV knitting project for the last few months. It was a very simple pattern in very soooooft yarn, and I'm a little sorry to have finished it. But there is always more Malabrigo to be had, so I don't feel too bad!

Sorry to have foisted these FOs on you all at once. I'll try to have a more entertaining blog post next time! :)

Friday, July 3, 2009

A Better Week (?)

Hey all! Thanks for all the commiseration on my last post. Bad days suck, and bad weeks suck even more! Thankfully, this past week made up for it:

On Monday, I was able to drive up to LA to meet with members of my grad school class. They had postponed the dinner until I was able to make it! I had a lot of fun seeing them again, and we spent several long hours discussing all their H*ollywood careers and lives in the past year. I didn't make it back home to San Diego until 2:30 in the morning, but it was totally worth it.

On Monday and Tuesday The Brain and I were treated to front row seats at a drug raid across the street. Federal agents and armored trucks and explosives and circling helicopters, oh my! These pictures were taken at 6am on Monday after a bullhorn woke the neighborhood by telling these people to come out with their hands up...followed by a loud explosion as the SWAT team blew in the door and ran inside with their guns and dogs. The entire house was circled by a SWAT team, guns drawn. But no further drama ensued. They hauled a couple guys out...guys who were still wearing their rubber gloves. Who knew that in such a nice neighborhood, we had a meth lab right across the street?!?

Also on Tuesday: I got my second Year of Lace shipment in the mail and cast on right away! I'm already about halfway done. The yarn is Zen Yarn Garden Sea Lace: a 70/30% blend of superwash merino and seacell. The pattern is called the Wisteria Garden Shawl, and it was designed by Amy Swenson. I think the yarn is fabulous, although it's not a color I would have chosen for myself. The pattern is quite simple, but I like that I can just breeze right through it. I seem to have a lot of yarn to go though...I'll probably end up with a lot left over.

The remainder of the week seemed to glide past in a series of days in which nothing even remotely interesting happened. This was fine with me, of course, because I did not need any more drama! The Brain was excited to discover that he has today (Friday) off, as he is certainly in need of some stress-free days himself. We decided to make this weekend a great one, to make up for a crappy couple of weeks. We started it out right by sleeping in this morning, and I was all ready to enjoy the beginnings of a fabulous three days when I got this in the mail:

The universe certainly has a way of keeping balance, doesn't it?