Jaywalker Update

Just a quick post today, mainly for record-keeping purposes and to keep me in the running for the Jaywalker KAL.

Obviously, this pattern has been vexing me. I suppose I should expect difficulties with a pattern named Jaywalker: someone who is willfully breaking the law.

Anyway, I did get one sock finished over this past weekend (yay for me!) and the second one is cast on. Not much done on sock #2 right now, but I will keep working diligently.

Jaywalker_progress_Jan_31

Am I a dork?

Am I a dork because I got excited about receiving an email from Wendy of Wendyknits? (She responded to a comment I left via email.) Am I a dork because I use the word dork?

I’ve been spending more time blogging and looking at (mostly knitting) blogs lately and I’m struck by the level of artistic talent out there. I’m referring to the skills that go into not just writing but also designing visually appealing blogs; good (if not great) photography and graphic design, and; fabulous knitting.

Me, well, I’m a dork, remember? I never went to art school. I learned to color within the lines and to draw stick people, trees, and turkeys by outlining my hand. I can appreciate good design when I see it, but I’m damned if I know how to do so myself. I’m not visually clever. I would never refer to myself as artistic at all.

I am in awe of you people!

Insubordination

How. Dare. You.

Who do you think you are, Jaywalker?

Let’s get this straight: I’m the knitter.

If it weren’t for me, you wouldn’t even be here.

You better straighten up and fly right, buster. Or else.

Sure. Like you’ve never talked to your knitting this way. Or at least you’ve wanted to. Admit it.

Buttons

It occurred to me that I have no buttons on my blog. So, I’m out to remedy that today. I mean, what’s a blog without buttons, right? It seems so…naked, right?

1. As previously noted, I’ve been working on the Jaywalker sock pattern. I noticed that Cara has added me to the Jaywalker Knitalong site, so I’m officially in the KAL now. Woohoo! (Hard to believe I’m the only Linda, but it looks that way for now.)

Jaywalker KAL

2. For the past two years I’ve been a donor to Doctors without Borders, and therefore sort of a member of Knitters without Borders. I say “sort of” because I never emailed the Yarn Harlot and let her know that I’ve been donating. Today I remedied that, and am now honored to be officially eligible to put up a TSF button.
Knitters without Borders

3. I sent the Yarn Harlot a “twofer” email and signed up for the Knitting Olympics at the same time. I’ve been thinking a lot about this decision and I believe I’m ready for the challenge. I will be competing for Team USA by knitting my first pair of gloves. I had thought about doing something else, but decided that the gloves would be enough of a challenge AND I would be making progress on completing one of the two pairs I promised to do after Christmas (one pair for my mother, and the other pair for my stepfather).

2006 Knitting Olympics4. This has to be the sickest or slickest (depending on your viewpoint) “along” yet:

Buy More Yarn! I’m competing against masters here in…buying yarn. Since I really need more of it. Right.

Jaywalker Update

Here’s where I was earlier tonight…

Jaywalker_progress_Jan_25And now, several hours later, I am back to just picking up the gussets. I had somehow ended up with a LARGE float of yarn across the heel and had to tink back about 10 rows. Actually, Jamie did most of the tinking for me. Thanks to the knitting gods for giving me such talented friends!

Stylin’

Well, I made it back from Cleveland in one piece and I finally got my pedicure, too. Woohoo!!

Even though I was in a nice, comfy hotel, I slept poorly Friday night. I was quite exhausted when I made it back home, but still had to keep some appointments and commitments. So, it was no surprise when I fell asleep in the chair during my pedicure. I roused briefly to give my approval of a polish color and again when the woman finished up and told me I’d need to give it about 10 more minutes to dry. No problem; I awoke about 15 minutes later and groggily put my socks and shoes on. The ladies at the spa could really tell I needed the rest, apparently.

I knitted on my Jaywalker sock last night for a little while. I haven’t been getting a lot done on the sock this weekend, so I’m not posting any more “in progress” photos. More importantly, I’ve tried it on a few times and I think it will fit just fine this time. I’m nearly ready to work on the heel. I know this may sound a bit weird, but I think I’ll run a life line through the stitches just before I start the heel. I plan on using some reinforcing yarn like I did on attempt #1, and I’m a bit concerned that may contribute to making the sock really tight. When I use reinforcing yarn it really makes for a sturdy heel, but some flexibility is sacrificed.

Today Jamie and I went to Loopy Yarns together. It was a fun outing that involved lots of yarn fondling and a stop at a coffee shop for some caffeine and a bit of knitting. While I did get the needles I needed at Loopy (ostensibly the reason for the excursion), I was also happy to pick up this new knitting bag.

Namaste_knitting_bagDoesn’t it look professional and stylish? After my second business trip in as many months and with a third coming up soon, I’ve realized I have to do something to make it easier to deal with the TSA regulations limiting a person to only two carry on bags, including a purse or briefcase. I usually tote my laptop around in a backpack when I’m traveling to and from the office. However, the backpack doesn’t have much extra room, and I’m just not comfortable with carrying my cash, credit cards, and IDs on my back.

I’ve noticed that many of the women professionals are carrying totes similar to the one above as their purse/laptop bag. It will fit under the seat in front of you on the airplane, you can easily slip the laptop in and out of the bag at security check points, and you can fit your entire purse (if it’s a small to medium sized one) or wallet in it, too. In my case, I can also slip in some travel knitting! When I’m not traveling for work, I can fill the entire bag with knitting projects. Yay!

Serious Stuff

Mark and I watched Vera Drake while I knit last night. It was a very powerful and well-acted movie set in 1950’s England. Vera “helps girls” who find themselves “in trouble” (in other words: with an unwanted pregnancy.) Today as I sit here catching up on my blog-reading, I find out that it’s Blog for Choice Day.

I’m pro-choice and quite disturbed by the slow and steady erosion of a woman’s right to choose in so many states. The PBS program Frontline took an indepth, frightening look at the strategy of anti-choice rights groups in a recent documentary. Follow the link and view it online if you haven’t seen it yet; it’ll open your eyes to the amazing tactics by these groups.

When I was just out of high school, one of my friends had an abortion. She was 18 years old and while she was seriously dating a guy, she wasn’t ready to have a child. After she had the abortion, she told me she could understand why some people are against it and that no woman should go through such an experience. I was shocked that this friend would suddenly become anti-choice.

It took some time and much questioning for it to become clear that she hadn’t exactly changed her mind, but the experience had affected her so deeply that she came very close to doing so. Only a few months later she intentionally became pregnant. She and her guy married, had two children, and eventually divorced.

While I’ve never had to make this choice, I’m glad that I can. And I’m glad that other women in my state can, too. We should be able to make a choice about something that affects our bodies and our lives. Enough said.

Temporarily Delayed

Greetings from Cleveland! Here I sit, in a hastily booked hotel room, experiencing a second quiet night by myself. I should be at home right now, getting ready to enjoy a bottle of wine and some homemade pizza with my husband. That’s my usual Friday night, and I like it very much. But the weather is not cooperating.

Today I was working in Cleveland on a project. As I was walking out of the office this afternoon, I received a call on my mobile phone. The charming robot voice informed me that my flight had been cancelled and that I was successfully re-booked on another flight…one that leaves early tomorrow morning. After a 30 minute consultation with a corporate travel agent getting apprised of the situation in Chicago airspace, it was confirmed that this was my best option. So, here I sit back in the hotel I so enjoyed last night. Hey, at least I have a comfy bed and I’m not trying to sleep in the airport, right?

I’m wondering if this has something to do with my pedicure. I’m convinced that I’m totally doomed when it comes to getting a pedicure. Recall that I was supposed to enjoy a pedicure last Monday, but it had been accidentally double-booked. That was actually my second attempt to schedule one within the past month. The first one couldn’t happen due to scheduling conflicts, too. So, I booked a pedicure for 8 AM Saturday morning. My flight from Cleveland won’t get me back into Chicago by 8 AM. I’ve had to reschedule yet again!

My Jaywalkers are likewise delayed. Here’s where I was Wednesday night.

Jaywalker_in_progress_1Making great progress, eh? Yep, until I attempted to try it on. Now, I had heard that these socks could be snug, but they were wayyyy too snug. It was a testament to the resilience of the Socks that Rock yarn that I was able to s-t-r-e-t-c-h it over my heel in the first place. So, I had to rip it out. *sniffle*

I had been working the sock on my US 1 (2.25 mm) double point needles, exactly as called for in the pattern. My pattern gauge was spot on. My stockinette stitch gauge was…well…a bit smaller than called for. So, I decided to rip back to the ribbing (which seemed just fine), then increase to the stitch count for the larger size and work on. I also decided to give the 2 circular technique a try with US 1 Addi Turbos. (Thanks to Rachael for demystifying this technique for me at Tuesday night’s Stitch n’ Bitch!)

While travel can be a pain in the *ss at times (like when you get stuck out of town on a Friday night when you should be at home snuggling with your husband and pets), it is great for working on knitting. All that sitting at the gate and on a plane gives one lots of time to knit. So, I was able to get several inches into attempt #2 on Jaywalker. Last night in my hotel room, I tried it on. Not snug at all! But…now it was too loose. So…I ripped it out again. Completely out.

I cast on again at the smaller size. I knit the ribbing on the 2.25 mm DPNs. Then, I switched to the Addi Turbos, which are actually 2.5 mm. (Yes, I was a bit surprised to see that clearly marked on the package…2.5 mm, not 2.25 mm.) I’m hoping that the little 1/4 of a mm difference will make the stitch gauge a bit looser. We’ll see. So now, I’m just now getting going again on attempt #3. Let’s hope the third time’s a charm in this case.

Jaywalker_progress_2

Jaywalking along

I’m making decent progress, aren’t I? I can’t help but feel that I should have more than this done, though.

Yesterday I had a lot of errands to run, so I got in less knitting than I wanted to. Today was a holiday, so I didn’t have to go to the office. I was hoping to spend a nice chunk of the day knitting, but it didn’t work out that way. (Of course!)

The plan for today was to take Hannah to the veterinarian in the morning, start dinner in the slow cooker, then finish the heel on Jaywalker sock #1. I wanted to have the heel finished and the gussets picked up by the afternoon. I wanted the sock all set up for some easy knitting while I was relaxing at the spa this afternoon enjoying a pedicure. This was to be my treat for the day.

Alas, today was one of those days where nothing quite worked out as planned.

There were little chores to do at home that I hadn’t counted on. But, I did manage to get the heel finished in time to make my spa appointment. Then, I arrived at the spa only to find out that there had been a scheduling error. Somehow, my facial and my pedicure had been scheduled in the same time slot an hour hence. Nothing could be done to fix it, so I left to run a few errands and came back an hour later for my facial. No way to knit and get a facial at the same time, so sock #1 is a little less developed than I’d hoped.

Damn. I had really hoped to have enough done that I could try it on and admire my sock knitting prowess and my pedicure. That would have made a nice photo for the blog, eh?

Random Stuff

  • Brokeback Mountain just won the Golden Globe award for best drama. Quite the tear-jerker, and very deserving of the award.
  • This weekend, we rented Grizzly Man, a documentary about Timothy Treadwell and his “mission” to protect a population of grizzly bears in Alaska. I’m still thinking about this movie and highly recommend it.

Something in the air?

I regularly check out certain blogs. You can see the list of them over there on the right. So, did one of them mention something about a Jaywalker Knit Along? I don’t think so. It seems that I have stumbled onto the latest knitting fad all on my own.

Jaywalker socks in progress What you see here is a Jaywalker sock in progress with Socks that Rock in the Red Rock Canyon colorway. I swear I had no idea that there was a HUGE knit along for Jaywalker, and that knitting Jaywalker — especially in Socks that Rock yarn — seems to be the current fad in the knitting world.

Really, I had no idea. Seriously. Honestly. I didn’t know.

Could it be a subliminal thing? Could I now be so attuned to the knitterly vibes of the universe that I was influenced to start this pattern and to use the STR yarn?

Here’s the story as I see it:

I was a good girl and finished knitting Mark’s felted slippers Thursday night. I seamed the slippers on Friday during a conference call where I only had to be in listen mode. So, by Friday night I thought I deserved a reward for being so concientious and finishing up a project. (True, I still have to felt the slippers, but when I felt I sit in a chair near the washing machine and knit away on another project while the machine is doing it’s work.)

As previously posted, I’ve been craving sock knitting. (That just sounds so weird…most people crave things like chocolate, ice cream, or potato chips. Me, I crave sock knitting.) And ever since I saw the Jaywalker sock pattern, I’ve been wanting to try it. (I can see from the date stamp on the paper that I actually printed out the instructions on October 28, 2005. I was ahead of the curve at that point, but I was apparently side-tracked.) So, last night I decided to cast on for Jaywalker. I just had to decide which yarn to use.

By now, I have lots of sock yarn options in my stash: a few skeins of Lion Brand Magic Stripes (not my fave, but OK for general use); 2 small skeins of Elann’s brand of sock yarn; 2 large hanks of Cherry Tree Hill sock yarn that I picked up during vacation (from Knit Happens in Alexandria, VA); 2 small hanks of Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock (from Loopy Yarns here in my hometown of Chicago); one large hank of Schaefer Anne (picked up at Close Knit in Evanston, IL); a large skein of Trekking XXL; and…several large hanks of Socks that Rock purchased from The Fold in November and December.

I piled up all the these yarns on the guest bed. I gazed at them. I fondled them. Then, I decided “what the hell” and grabbed a hank of Socks that Rock. I wound it up and I cast on last night. I knit the ribbing and a couple of the pattern rows, and then I went to bed.

Today, I had a bit of running around to do, but I brought my knitting just in case. In the course of having a coffee while waiting for a shop to open and later getting a flat tire replaced, I carved out another hour and a half of knitting time. You can see the result in the photo above. (You can also see how the colors seem to be pooling. Hmmm…I’ve wondered exactly what pooling is. Now I’m experiencing it for myself and I think I get it. Oh, well.)

I was so eager to start knitting socks that I didn’t bother to do a gauge swatch. (I rarely have a problem with gauge on socks, though. Somehow, they usually work out for me.) I was a bit concerned that I would run low on STR. (I agree with Yarn Harlot that pattern writers should specifiy how much yarn they actually used, not just the total yardage of the number of units needed.) So, this afternoon I Googled “jaywalker socks that rock” thinking I may luck out and find that someone had posted on a blog a friendly tip on how much STR I’d need. Wow, was I surprised with what came up.

Check out the KAL link at the top. If you’re diligent and read through it a bit, you’ll see that there is a random drawing for several skeins of STR if you join the KAL and complete a pair of socks before February 14. I can do that.

I think I’m about to join my first Knit Along.

Looking Up


The above photos were taken on my recent trip to Washington, D.C. These were taken in the Library of Congress building, a gorgeous structure and a venerable institution. I just loved the Library of Congress and took oodles of photos of it, including a few shots of the elaborate ceilings.

For a while there, I was really in a low place. Only now, as the situation is improving, am I aware of just how low I was. I’m not one to bitch and moan a lot online (I assume there’s enough of that going on, so no need to add my angst), so it may not have been too apparent here. However the fact that I stopped posting entirely for about a month was a major clue that something was wrong.

I’m feeling a lot better now and life (work, home stuff, personal stuff, etc.) no longer seems totally overwhelming. I’m seeing my therapist every week now, am slowly getting back into an exercise regime, and…well…I started taking anti-depressants about two weeks ago.

I have mixed feelings about going on anti-depressants. I can’t help but feel it’s some sort of cop out. On the other hand, I must be able to function enough to do my job and carry on with normal daily activities. And thanks to the meds, I’m able to do that now.

Oh, and just to show how “up” I’m feeling, I have to post a link to this goofy photo from the Cute Overload website. It sure got a laugh out of me!

Linda gets cultured

I went to the opera last night. Well, la de da! Up until last night, I was pretty much an opera virgin. I’d watched one opera on television many years ago when the local PBS station aired Madame Butterfly. But, I’d never been to an opera in person. Nor have I listened to opera music very much.

My neighbor had a couple tickets she got from her uncle, who was too sick to use them. So, off we went to a performance of The Magic Flute.

Frankly, I’m not really into musicals or dramatic performances that include singing. I’m sort of a grouch about it, I guess. I mean, sure, I regularly break into song during critical points in my day….rrrriiiiiggghhhhttttt….Although I tease Mark all the time about his insistence on “plausibility” in movies and entertainment, I guess I have some “plausibility” issues, too. I really don’t see people singing about their feelings as very plausible, which is why I don’t do musicals, as a rule.

Nonetheless, I actually really wanted to see The Magic Flute. I knew the storyline was not based on an awful tragedy, and that it had elements of comedy to it, too. (I’d picked up this much about it from watching the movie Amadeus.) So, I figured it would be a good introduction to opera for me.

By intermission, after only 3 Acts out of 11, I was shaking my head and wondering what sort of awesome drugs Mozart must have been high on when he wrote this opera. It was fun and entertaining, but required MAJOR amounts of suspension of disbelief. I guess I’d have to say it was a good thing, overall, but I’m sure glad Mark wasn’t with me.

Oh, and although I didn’t dress up super duper fancy-schmancy, I did wear the Lotus Blossom shawl. Of course!

On the needles

No change in my WIPs: Katrina Rib, Fibertrends Felted Slippers for Mark, and swatch for gloves. I’m not knittin’ up a storm lately, can you tell? I should have Mark’s slippers finished — I mean felted and with the leather soles on ’em — by the end of this weekend. I have a nice long weekend coming up, so that’s the plan at least.

As for the other two projects…well, I’m still on the first sleeve of Katrina Rib, but only have about 5 more inches of knitting left on it. So, if I’m motivated and diligent, I’ll be ready to start sleeve #2 during my commuting next week.

The hang up is…I really, really want to knit some socks instead of any of these things. I am craving some sock knitting badly. (I couldn’t help thinking last night about how great it would have been to have a sock in my purse to work on during intermission.)

I’ve been purchasing lots of nice sock yarn lately, and some good sock knitting books, and I’d really like to start working with them. Then again, there are plenty of awesome online sock patterns, too. Hmmm…I think some Jaywalker sock knitting is a strong possibility…

My girls and my WIPs

When I was in high school I worked on the Yearbook one year . While I had no problems at all in writing stories, I always had difficulty coming up with headlines and succinct captions for the photos. Every time I think about starting a blog entry, it seems like I spend about 10 minutes thinking about what I’m going to title the entry. I guess I still haven’t increased my headline skills. *sigh*

My girls

As I was looking through the photos on my camera, I noticed that I’ve collected a few nice ones of “my girls.” (I’m referring to the dogs, Hannah and Sadie, and the cat, Fiona. Mark is the token male in this household.) Actually, there are only photos of Sadie and Fiona today. But, to be fair, Hannah has already had some recent photos posted. As Fiona’s main play buddy, Hannah has gotten captured in plenty of photos with her.

I took this photo of Sadie late one evening just after Thanksgiving. Sadie with Mark's toothbrushThat’s Mark’s toothbrush in her mouth. No, Sadie hadn’t suddenly become intensely interested in oral hygiene. I think Fiona must have knocked Mark’s toothbrush off the sink during her revels and Sadie picked it up and started chewing on it. She destroyed it pretty thoroughly, too, as you can see below. Sadie with the remains of Mark's toothbrush
Well, even if Sadie hadn’t totally destroyed it, it’s not as if Mark would have used this toothbrush again anyway. I usually have one or two spare toothbrushes around, but for some reason I’d fallen a bit low on supplies. Poor Mark had to make do with the old toothpaste-on-a-finger deal until the next day, since it was too late to go to the store to get a new one.

I don’t know what it is about the holidays this year, but they seemed to “inspire” my girls for some reason. As Christmas rolled around — and the veterinarian’s office closed for the extended holiday weekend — I started noticing some odd behavior in Fiona.

She was frequently rolling around on the floor and making cute little noises. She would then get into this weird sort of crouch and start sort of waddling across the floor. Most of the time, she’d waddle towards Hannah. Then, Fiona would thrust her behind in Hannah’s face. In typical dog fashion, Hannah was game to take a sniff, but was pretty clueless about Fiona’s real intentions. Yes, Fiona was experiencing her first heat. And, that was Fiona’s ONLY heat, too.

Fiona's spay incisionShe was spayed this week. See her little incision? She’s apparently a precocious kitty, because this wasn’t supposed to happen for another month.

During her “episode” she wasn’t entirely focused on finding a gentleman friend, though. She still found time for some more typical mischief.

typical cat knitting accident Silly me. I left some knitting out one night. Any knitter with a cat has to have experienced this at one time or another. Thank goodness it was easily picked up again.

My WIPs

January 8 works in progress I’ve been having problems with my knitting lately. I can’t seem to focus on or get excited about any of my WIPs. On the left, is a slipper for Mark. This is actually a holiday gift that I didn’t even start until well after the holidays.

In the middle is my Katrina Rib. Yep, I’m still plugging away on it, but notice that I have progressed to working on a sleeve. Techically, I could be done with this project already, but I decided that I wanted to make 3/4 sleeves instead of the cap sleeves in the original pattern. So, I have hours more of 3X3 rib left to go.

Lastly, the project on the small set of DPNs is not the beginnings of a sock, but a swatch. Eventually, this will likely be gloves for my stepfather. I say eventually because I’m not convinced that I want to make my first pair of gloves in such a fine gauge.

To be totally honest, I’m not sure I really want to make these gloves at all. See, I feel like I was tricked into making these gloves and am a bit resentful about it.

As I noted in my last entry, I’ve been feeling pretty overwhelmed lately. So, to maintain some semblance of sanity, I decided to do very little holiday gift knitting this year. I knit up those roses and I had purchased yarn a few months ago to make Mark his slippers, but I had already given Mark a combination anniversary/holiday gift in October so it wasn’t a requirement to finish the slippers for the holidays. I’m making him slippers because he needs a new pair for the winter.

Just after Thanksgiving, there was an agreement made with my mom and sister that there would be no holiday gift exchange this year amongst the adults. Some of my family members are on a pretty tight budget, so this is a practical way of not having anyone feel bad. Then, late on December 23, my sister called me up to say that she had purchased a gift for my mother and wanted to split the cost with me.

So, here’s roughly how that conversation went between us.

Me: “What happened to the no gifts deal this year?”
Sister: “Well, Mom really needed this.”
Me: “OK, I’ll split it with you. But what about [stepfather]? Won’t that be uncomfortable that we don’t have a gift for him?”
Sister: “Oh, I made him something already.”

The phone conversation then ended and I started spewing many ugly words. Just a couple weeks previously, my sister had casually commented that she had a holiday gift for me that she had purchased before the “no gifts” deal was set. Now, here it was, just a few hours left for me to shop, and I find out that I will be the “bad daughter” if I don’t show up with a gift for my stepfather.

What could I do? I made up a “Knit Certificate” offering to knit him an item such as a hat, scarf, gloves, or mittens. And, since it became clear there would be gift exchange amongst all the adults this year, I made up a “Knit Certificate” for my sister, too. (Although I really felt more like whipping her up a batch of Exlax-laced goodies instead. Oh, well. She wouldn’t have eaten them anyway. She’s always on a diet.)

I’m not sure why I added the gloves and mittens to the list, since I’ve never made any before. But, there it is. The reason why I am embarking on making my first pair of gloves, I mean. On the positive side, at least I’ll be increasing my skills, right?

Mark really had a good assessment of the situation, though. He said that next year we won’t fall for this again. Damn straight.