Friday, June 30, 2006

Socks are DONE.

I finally finished the socks for my sister's birthday on Monday. I cast off about an hour before I headed to her house to give them to her.
finished sister socks
toe-up, 2 at the same time, magic loop
needles: addi turbo circular size 2
plain foot with a K3 P1 ribbed cuff - didn't really use a pattern.
yarn: ONline Supersocke 100 in City Color

I'm still not crazy about the colorway, but overall they came out ok. They are shorter than I wanted. I really wanted to finish the entire ball of yarn, but I ran out of time to knit any more!
I tried a new (new to me) stretchy bind off that I found here. It's a sewn cast-off. It was much stretchier than my usual cast-off, so I was pretty happy with it. There was no tight cast-off edge cutting off my circulation, for once!

My sister really likes them and even wore them the night I gave them to her.

Now that the socks are done, I am back to working on my sheep puppet. I love knitting this!

It's currently a SCARY HEADLESS SHEEP!
Headless Sheep
I'm trying to decide if I like my color choices. I kinda think that I either needed to give him a beige head, or I should have made him have brown paws to match the brown head. But hopefully I will be content with it the way it is. I love love love knitting two handed fair isle. It's challenging and interesting. I'm already contemplating a second sheep. There are three other patterns to choose from!

I did a little blocking on it, just to make sure it would eventually fit on my hand. I soaked the body in a little Eucalan wash and then stretched it over a glass candle holder. It worked really well. I really need to block out the paws too, but I think I'll wait till I get the head finished and then block the whole thing. The directions suggest using a wooden darning egg on the head. Raise your hands... how many of you have a wooden darning egg on hand? Yeah, my hand is down too. I do however have these heavy hand-blown glass ornaments that a friend made for me. They may just be the perfect sheep head size!

This has been my hospital knit. Every time I go to see my dad he asks how the sheep is coming along. The finished sheep will definitely be travelling to the hospital.

On my way (well, sort of "on the way") to the hospital today, I went into Alexandria and went to Spring Water Fibers. I had never been there before. I am proud to say I didn't buy anything. Then I went to Knit Happens where I ran into Holly, who I met at Lolly's Knit Day on the Mall. The first thing I saw when I walked into the shop was the Koigu shelf. Yeah, um... I didn't quite make it out of there empty handed!
Pretty Purple Koigu!

It's July 1st! A new Project Spectrum month! I needed purple Koigu! Really.. I did! (I can rationalize most anything.)

I'm thinking the sheep will probably be done in the next two days or so. So I think purple Koigu socks may need to occur. I still haven't successfully finished a pair of Jaywalkers, so that may be my pattern of choice. I've become a big fan of the "two socks at the same time" method, so if I can actually figure out the toe-up version, I will attempt those soon.

I am looking forward to Knit Night on Monday. I haven't seen some of you people in way too long!

Friday, June 23, 2006

Slowly getting back to normal

My show is OPEN! I am done with hateful tech weeks! (at least till August!) Hooray!!!!

Opening went really well. We are doing "Buddy" which is the Buddy Holly story. Really stupid script, but kind of a fun show. It has definitely grown on me this week. When I saw a rehearsal for the first time, I didn't really like it, but it's gotten better. And it's a good summer show - light and fluffy. There were 200 or so kids in the audience last night and they LOVED it. It will be interesting to see how it goes tonight - no kids groups, all adults. I predict that we are going to get lots of complaints that the show is too loud. The sound is currently TERRIBLE. Hopefully it will get better, but who knows. Sound has always been a problem at our theatre. It's never very good. And in this show, the actors are playing instruments live on stage - guitar, bass, drums, more guitars... loud, loud, loud! The sound guys are having a hard time getting a good balance between the live music and the vocals.

Lighting went fine. No major train wrecks, though I was ready to punch my lighting designer at the end of the show last night. Instead of saying "nice job Coleen!" after the show, she started bitching at me for something completely stupid. Sooooo did not need that. Fortunately, the director came up and said "nice job Coleen!" soon after that!

After the show, I went out with a couple of friends for a much needed margarita. It was so nice to just hang out, have a little cocktail, and have a good time. I actually relaxed a little for the first time in two weeks.

I'm so glad tech is over. The past two weeks have been so incredibly stressful between my dad, other family issues, and tech. I'm very ready for life to go back to "normal."

sooo....Knitting content....

I'm almost done with the socks for my sister's birthday.
almost done
sister sock

I really don't like this colorway at all. I like it on the skein, but not knit up. Hopefully my sister will be ok with it! I can't wait to be done with them so I can go back to working on my sheep puppet! I kind of want to use up all of the yarn for these socks so I don't have any extra of that yarn sitting in my stash haunting me with it's ugliness, but at the same time, I want them finished soon!

Well, I hope you all have a great weekend! I am extremely jealous of some people who are escaping to the beach soon! I will be driving to the hospital and working all weekend, but it's all good because - I am DONE with tech!!!!

Saturday, June 17, 2006

In the past week, I have spent a fair amount of time in my car traveling to and from the hospital to visit Dad. This has become an opportunity to catch up on some of my Podcasts, including the popular Cast-On by Brenda Dayne. (For the record, I am a girl who LOVES her Ipod. It is one of the greatest inventions EVER.)

In Episode 27, Brenda does an essay about "the church of knitting." She talks about how she finds solace, peace, and insight in the act of knitting creation. Knitting as a spiritual practice. Without getting into a big discussion about the ever volatile subject of religion, this piece really spoke to me. It has been an intensely stressful week. Where I have found peace, where I have found comfort - has been in my knitting. The calm it brings to me is immediate. The quiet click of my needles, the repetitive motion of looping the yarn over, the act of creating have all been very good for my soul this week. As I sit in the hospital, I knit as I keep my dad company. When I'm home worrying about things, knitting helps me relax and focus. If I had not had my knitting at the theatre this week, I am certain that there would have been a lot of actors standing in the dark. So, knitting is my church, my little respite from the world. I like how that sounds.

My hospital project has been my sheep puppet. I so love working on this. I haven't done fair isle in a while and I had forgotten how much I enjoy it. I am holding the yarn in both hands - one color in each hand- knitting continental with my left and throwing with my right. I have yet to find a comfortable way to hold the yarn in my right hand. I'm basically holding a small clump of yarn in my hand and throwing it. Even though it's a little awkward, it's kind of working for me.

Here is my progress so far:
Sheep puppet

The inside floats...
puppet floats

I am quite pleased with this, but of course there are a few issues. This puppet is a little on the tight side. It just barely fits over my hand. (gauge? What gauge??) So, I am hoping that some serious blocking will loosen it up a bit and make it wearable. (do you 'wear' a puppet?) Depending on how this turns out in the end, I am contemplating entering it in the Howard County Fair. I have to decide whether to enter the sheep puppet or the chicken - you can only enter one toy. So, I guess I'll have to wait and see how the sheep turns out. I also need to figure out if can enter one knit toy and one crocheted toy as they are two different categories. It looks like you can only enter one toy, period. But I'll double check on that. I made a crocheted elephant last year that could possibly go to the fair too.

My other project of the week is this:
sister socks
Socks for my sister's birthday present.

As much as I really want to work on the sheep, these have to become my top priority knit as my sister's birthday is in a little over a week. Since I really didn't have any sock yarn in my stash to choose from (cough, intense sarcasm here.) I stopped at StitchDC and bought this yarn. It's called ONline Supersocke 100 in City Color. I had never heard of it before. I can't decide how I feel about the colorway. It's looking a little too camouflage-y to me. But the different shades of blue are pretty and perfect for June Project Spectrum of course. (Not really intentional, but a nice bonus!) Hopefully my sister will like them, despite the fact that they will be a little too warm to wear in June!

I'm not really following any specific pattern yet - just a basic toe-up, two at the same time. I haven't quite decided what I want to do with the leg/cuff. I'll probably do just a simple 2x2 rib all the way up the leg, but I am open to suggestion. I just don't want a busy pattern that will compete with the colors.

Did you all see the exciting news over at MamaE? A KNITTING CRUISE!!! How cool is that??? You can get all the dish over at her site. I am seriously contemplating this - it sounds so awesome. But I may wait till the Fall 2007 trip. We shall see!
Check it out!!!!

And finally, I saw that I have two new subscribers on Bloglines. Welcome!!! I hope all you lurking subscribers will come out and say hello one day!

Have a great weekend everyone.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

I had a very Yarn Harlot moment today. I was visiting my Dad at the hospital. He was sound asleep, so of course, I was knitting. A woman came in and asked me what I was working on. She wanted to see the picture and the yarn and everything. Finally she said "I don't think I could ever do that, it seems so complicated!"

She was a neurologist.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Crazy wonderful day

poodle with horns

What a glorious Saturday. First of all, the weather around here has been spectacular. Cool and sunny in the middle of June. It's crazy! Saturday's weather was perfection.

I dragged myself out of bed Saturday morning (sooo tired after tech week.) and met up with Amie and Eunny at Panera. We piled into my car and headed for the wilds of Pennsylvania to The Mannings.
The Mannings

Much hilarity ensued in the car. (And despite all the rumors going on out there, I did not stuff Erin and Cheryl in my trunk. Really, I didn't!) Who knew you could sing Amazing Grace to the tune of the Gilligans Island theme? Try it - it's scary! Who knew you could knit a sweater that would remind people of parts of the anatomy you would probably rather not be reminded of?

At the Mannings, we met up with Erin and Cheryl (who were not in my trunk.)

The Mannings was having their 38th annual Spinning Seminar. None of us had ever been there before. It is freaking amazing. It is this beautiful farm on the banks of a river. A gigantic building houses tons of YARN!
wall o' yarn YARNmore yarn
Room after room after room - filled with yarn. It was intoxicating. I felt dizzy. My pictures above do not do it justice. I didn't even get a picture of the wall of Koigu!

There was all kinds of fiber

A room full of weaving looms and the highlight - a room full of spinning wheels. Now, I am not a spinner (despite concerted efforts to convert me!) But I was with a bunch of people who thought they had all died and gone to heaven when they saw all the spinning wheels.
Erin spinningEunny spinningAmie spinningspinning

They had a BLAST trying out all the wheels. Definitely worth the trip! I got a kick out of watching my friends fall deep under the spell of all the wheels.

While the spinners spun, I explored the building. There was so much to look at and fondle. And of course there was purchasing. The very first thing that caught my eye when I walked in the building, was this:
sheepy puppets!
How cute are these puppets??? I must make one!!
So of course, I then had to wander the store looking for yarn to make them. I also found this:
Another cute sheep pattern I have seen this pattern before, but I finally broke down and bought it. So cute. (I'm on a toy kick, can you tell?)

The two patterns necessitated the purchase of this:
the mannings haul

After the wallet was depleted, I decided to wander outside to check out all the festivities. There were many demonstrations going on. I participated in a "Wool Walking." (I'm not in the picture, though my empty chair is...)

wool walking

It is basically hand felting done by a group. That huge bolt of fabric is sopping wet woven wool in a big circle. You pick up a section, pound it on the table, and then pass it to the person next to you. All of this is done in rhythm to a song. The woman in the green skirt was singing folk songs as we did this. She said that the most felting occurs during the first song, after that, it's a little more subtle. It was pretty amazing to see how much it had shrunk after one song.

After the wool walking, I sat on the grass and cast-on for my sheep puppet. It was so nice to sit in the sun, watch all the people and knit. Does it count for Knit in Public Day that I knitted in a place where the public was a bunch of other fiber junkies?

Here are some other sites from my day at the Mannings.

spinners Spin Day
very big wheel! barn cat
critters Angora goat

I can't wait to go back.

Friday, June 09, 2006

I got the blues
I got the blues

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Busy busy busy busy

I haven't been able to post in a bit because I have been trapped in a darkened theatre all week long. I am in tech week (I love that Wikipedia has a definition of tech week!) and yes, it's hellish. For those of you who have never done theatre, tech week is (like wikipedia says..) the week before the opening of a show where all the technical elements are added. I, of course, am working on the lights. My job during tech week is not terribly difficult, but it can be brain numbing. I sit in front of the light board for hours on end while the lighting designer says things like "channel 22 at 65, I want fixture 3 pointed over there in lavender, bring channel 8 up 5 points." I then have to program all of this information into the light board. I am extremely fast at programming but it still takes hours and hours and hours. Then in the evening, all the actors come in and we run through the show. Lots of stopping and starting, working out problems, trying to get things working correctly, hoping no one gets hit by falling pieces of scenery or squished by the ill-functioning turn table on stage. 14 hours later, I get to come home, sleep and then head back for more. I tried to take some pictures of the disaster zone at the theatre, but they all came out very dark.

Monday during the day, I was at the board with nothing to do for a few minutes. I started mindlessly tapping on the light board - basically fidgeting. The lighting designer looked at me and said "you really are a little ADD, aren't you?" (which I've been telling her for EVER.) I said "I'd be less ADD if I had my knitting." "Well where is it? Get it out. You're driving me crazy with all this tapping!" Haaaa! Official permission to knit while programming! Like I said, I'm extremely fast at programming - so as long as I'm able to keep up with her shouting things at me, she doesn't care if I knit. Especially if it keeps me from fidgeting during down time! You can imagine the glee I experienced when the tech director gave me grief for knitting and I was able to say "The lighting designer insisted!"

So, I've been working on my potomoose. Probably not one of my wiser ideas - I've made a few mistakes since I can't give it my full concentration. But I'm going to pretend the mistakes aren't there and keep going. None of them are horrendous, so I can live with them.
Pomatomus 2 progress
The big problem is that I made the heel too long. But I really really don't want to fix it.

Here's a blurry closeup of my stitch markers that I made. (only 2 of MANY that I made)stitch markers

Because of my excessive amount of time at work this week, I've been a little remiss in posting about some fun stuff that came in the mail recently. Last week, I received a postcard for May from my Project Spectrum Postcard Swap Pal Lucy.
Project Spectrum May postcard
I love all the green butterflies!

On Monday, after an endless day at the theatre, I came home to find a fabulous treat in my mailbox. I got my yarn from my Dye-O-Rama pal! Yay!!! The lovely Lelah sent me this:
browns and blues

I love it. It's really pretty shades of robin's egg blue and pale brown. (looks grey in the pic, but it's more of a brown) As a little bonus, she also sent me some of her own handspun.handspun
Isn't it beautiful?? She's not really sure of the yardage, but I think I'll play with making a hat with it. Or maybe I'll just pet it for awhile!

Many thanks to Lucy and Lelah for brightening up my dreary tech week!

I do have something to look forward to this week (besides tech week being over!) My show opens Friday night and then on Saturday, I am going to the Mannings in PA with some of the Sucky Knitting Girls (see sidebar) for their Spinning Day. I still haven't figured out how to use my spindle, but I've always wanted to go to the Mannings and this is a perfect excuse. (not that I needed an excuse!)

Ok, it is 1:40 a.m. Why am I still awake?