KIPing with the Canes

Last night I had the good luck to be able to go to an NHL game.  The museum was accepting a donation and so we got a block of seats for whoever wanted to go.  I brought Chris with me, who might have had even more fun than I did (didn't hurt that we could actually see things from our seats).

Our team lost, but not without putting up a good fight, including a rarely seen penalty shot.

He shoots, he's blocked!  The crowd went absolutely nuts.

There was a lot of knitting related fun as well.  I dressed for the cold that hockey rinks are known for and I think Andrea and Chris are now having a competition to see just how much or little knitwear they can find me in.  I can't help it if an alpaca sweater and a knitted jacket were perfect for the occasion.  I should have dug out  a pair of mitts, though, because by the end my fingers were a little too stiff with cold to keep working on my Time of My Life socks.  You'd think no one at work ever saw me knitting on my lunch break or had noticed the brightly colored knit socks I wear every day. But I got almost all of the cuff done!


One More Tic On the Checklist

I love Mondays.  I know I'm the exception to the norm, but my work schedule usually means that I am working most of my hours Thursday thru Sunday, making my weekends harried and exhausting.  I work at the tutoring center on Mondays, but Monday morning is like my gift to myself.  I let myself sleep in, I generally try to do some laundry, and I try to push myself to go a little farther or longer on my run.

Today I didn't actually get any laundry done, but I finished my Christmas shopping and then worked on the thesis some more.  The big moment of the day?  When I got home from work to an email letting me know that my formatting has been approved.  This is a huge relief because I have been stressed about getting that right since I started this process two and a half years ago.  Yeah, there's the original research, the writing, and I still have to properly defend the thing next week, but as of today the graduate school has given me the green light to  pursue graduation in three weeks. 

In celebration I am taking a break from the defense writing and curling up with my knitting, some tea, and the most recent of my library for Kindle acquisitions.  I might finish the body of Cria tonight.  Or I might just go to bed before midnight for once.


FO: Attraction on the Moors

Did you know that mismatched socks is a thing now?  I had no idea when I put this yarn on my wishlist that it was the latest trend.  My sister is working her pediatrics rotation this semester and just laughed at me when she saw me working on these socks.  Evidently all the kids on campus as well as the little ones she sees at the health department are sporting mismatched socks this season.  Even our little boutique gift shop at the museum has succumbed to the madness, selling socks in packs of three coordinating but unmatched individual socks.  But I always argue that the knitters are ahead of the trends (cowls and shawls are huge this season, and who among us hasn't seen a million patterns in our books and magazines in the past several years).

I love the concept of these socks.  The yarn and pattern (OppAtt Socks) are both from Barking Dog Yarn, who dyes the skeins in two coordinating colorways and sells them in sets, enough yarn for one sock of each color.  The set I picked is Catherine and Heathcliff, one of my favorite tragic couples.  I've been very outspoken in the past about how much I do not enjoy Jane Austen.  I've given her books a try, read parts of several, and of course have seen the movies (the one exception is Sense and Sensibility.  Colonel Brandon covers a multitude of sins).  But my heart remains with the gothics, particularly the Bronte sisters, whose books I devoured in my more melancholy high school days.

These socks were just as tempermental as the pair from whom they take their name.  The first sock was a real exercise in how to efficiently rip back.  The first time through I started the heel on the wrong side of the sock and it was only obvious once I started the foot patterning. rip  Then I got halfway through the heel only to realize I had twisted some stitches in an obviously wrong direction.  riiip And then after I had reknit I realized that the sock felt so long because it really was and I had started on the foot patterning while actually knitting the leg! RRRIIIPP!

But after all of that, I think the result was worth it.  I subbed in a short row toe and heel a la Nutkin because I really enjoy how the short row heel fits my foot and take a lot of satisfaction from the short row toe. I've already worn these socks several times to work.  Hand knit socks seem to have become a standard part of my wardrobe and I finally have enough pairs to get me through a standard work week provided I do my hand washing once a week (yes, I still hand wash my socks).  The fabric in these is a little on the warm side, but my feet are naturally cold so I'm sure this will be a boon once we get actual cold weather around here.

In the end, I think these socks have really found each other.  They gave me fits and went into time out several times, but the final product exhibits just the amount of quirk I demand from my wardrobe.


FO: Autumn Melody

I hope everyone had a lovely holiday, even if you don't celebrate American Thanksgiving.  I got to go stay Wednesday night with my family at my cousin's house the town over from where I lived during the first two years of grad school.  It was a whirlwind trip, and I had to drive back Thursday night for work on Friday, but it was nice to see my family and check in on my aunt and uncle.  The rest of the holiday has been a whirlwind of work and assorted panicky moments spent staring at a blank notebook, preparing for my defense next week.  I've been seriously clinging to my more simple knits lately.

One not so simple knit that I finished up before the aforementioned computer disaster was my Autumn Melody, knit out of Brooks Farm Solo Silk.

I bought this yarn at SAFF with the last of my yarn money.  I really wanted something that looked like fall but was at a loss until I found this.  It's got some unrecognizable numerical name, but the color is absolutely perfect.  It is dominated by orange and yellows, but also has hints of less obvious colors, including purple.

To knit up this yarn I really wanted something with leaves that would showcase the colors and reflect the foliage for which my region is best known.  The Blue Ridge Parkway is a dominate part of the geography back home and tourists come from all over to see our mountains ablaze with color.  I ended up returning to a pattern that I knit at the beginning of the year in another Brooks Farm yarn.  You can see some similarities, but Autumn Melody looks almost nothing like New Year Flame, both of which are variations of Rose Beck's Unique Melody pattern.  This pattern is representative of what Rose Beck has become known in the knitting community, clearly written with so many customizable options that one can choose from a variety of yarns and sizes.  For Autumn Melody I chose to knit something more akin to a stole, four motifs wide and six body repeats long.  It was a fairly quick knit, very addictive, and used all but a tiny scrap of the yarn.

I've already gotten a lot of use out of it as both a shawl and a drapey scarf.  I never seem to want to knit actual scarves, but I forget how much I enjoy wearing this style.  I'll have to look into making some more as a break from the more typical triangular shawl.


Smash Hit

I can't tell you how excited I am to be posting tonight.  My sudden absence from the internet had nothing to do with my lack of enthusiasm for the blog and a lot to do with what happened two weeks ago, a disaster only I could successfully pull off.

As you know I have been slaving away on my thesis for what feels like an eternity.  Two weeks ago I finally reached the point in my editing and formatting when I just had to admit that I was done.  For real.  Barring typos and formatting problems, I am actually done and am now supposed to be preparing to defend this monstrosity in two weeks.  So I converted it to a pdf, printed out the form I had to sign, made frantic phone calls and emails to ensure that my paperwork was all in order, and emailed it to my committee.

Not even an hour after this, the unthinkable happened.  My computer broke.  Again, let me back up for a moment.  The entire process of writing this thesis has been rife with computer problems.  Last Thanksgiving I had to borrow a friend's laptop to write my final papers on because mine was so overheated that the Best Buy guy told me the only way to make it work would be to run it out of the refrigerator.   After I got that fixed, the keyboard crapped out and I wrote the first chapter of my thesis without many of the necessary keys because there was no way I could go without my laptop while writing.  Other problems cropped up over the next year.  I wrote with an external keyboard, had to turn the entire computer off and on again to access the internet, gave up listening to music on the computer itself, and basically became confined to whatever odd setup I could rig for a computer that had to have three things attached in order to make it work.  I dealt with all of this because a computer is so integral to the thesis process and I did not feel I could go without it for long enough to get everything fixed.

Then, when the end was finally in sight, the computer slipped off of the stool I had balanced it on and cracked the screen.  This was beyond the last straw and so I packed my baby up and with the help of my flatmate Andrea, took it to the Geek Squad to mailed away to a repair center.  Last week I got a call letting me know that my warranty did not in fact cover accidentals and so it would cost almost $400 to repair the computer.  But, when I picked up the computer today I found out that this was only the screen and the rest of the computer has been repaired.  So I am currently using only the top half of my screen, but I am able to use all of the other parts of the computer that I have not had access to for over a year.  I will still be able to make any necessary edits to my thesis, and more importantly, I am able to blog again!

Fortunately for us all I have not finished anything since the great computer crash of 2011, an event which hearafter will only be spoken of in hushed tones, lest the irony be too evident to avoid the inevitable hysterics. I'm leaving tomorrow for a whirlwind Thanksgiving, but when I get back you can expect all new posts about my Autumn Melody and the Attraction on the Moors socks.

This Thanksgiving I'm thankful for the ability to type on my computer and access new podcast episodes.  Hope you have a lovely holiday!


Paranthetical Socks

Thank you to everyone who expressed sympathy regarding my neck yesterday.  I am still pretty sore today, but I have regained a lot of mobility and am actually sitting fairly comfortably, which is always nice.  I also only work a few hours this afternoon at my second job, so I have not had to stand all day, which seems to have helped.  Instead I have been doing something truly terrifying, reading my thesis straight through.  I got through the first 50 pages this morning before I felt like throwing it out the window.  I'll try to brave the last few chapters tonight.  The thesis isn't scary because it is bad, I am actually tentatively proud of it, but the thought that everything I have done academically for the past two and a half years (really since high school when I decided that this is what I wanted to do with my life) boils down to a little under 100 pages of text is rather unnerving at times.

Aside from the ability to laugh without dying from pain, my morning was also brightened by the arrival of a lovely package.

This is a skein of Unwind Yarn Company's Luxe Sock in the colorway Lake Lure.  Dana, who is the owner of this fine Etsy shop, is one of the hosts of the Just One More Row podcast (I met her and Brittany at SAFF.  Lovely women) and offered up a coupon code to the listeners for the month of October.  Because of SAFF I decided to put off purchasing until the end of the month so that I could have full use of my yarn budget for the event.  And I am so glad I waited.  I originally had my eye on her Faded Graffiti colorway, but someone else bought it.  But!  I got an awesome skein.  Not only does it have 10% cashmere and 10% nylon (I've never tried any cashmere blends and I am afraid to use blends without nylon for socks), but it is also named after one of my hometown's local landmarks (at least I think it is)!  Lake Lure is in the same county as the town in which I grew up, and I have spent a lot of time out there.  Tourists love to go hang out on the man-made lake, and it was the filming location for Dirty Dancing and Last of the Mohicans.

Chris and I on his first visit

I am fantasizing about knitting this up as the Darjeeling socks from Knitter's Book of Socks (birthday present from an amazing friend).  I'm in fact so psyched about this project that I am pretty sure I shall be frogging another sock project to make room for it on the needles.

Now, before I frog, I want to say that I love the Hummingbird socks.  Pretty much all of the patterns in Knitter's Book of Socks are projects I want to make.  The Hummingbird socks are billed as the perfect project for verigated yarn because the patterning moves the color vertically as well as horizontally.  I'm just not so sure that it works for this skein of Miss Babs.  It is striping too perfectly, which is somewhat annoying in such a pretty lace pattern.  Plus I don't have the mental capacity right now for a pattern that requires full attention to the chart, so I'm gonna rip them out and put the yarn to good use as something else.  Maybe as Trillian?


Postcards from the Couch

It's been one of those days in which you should probably never blog because you know you're so snippy or grouchy or what have you that you know anything you say will go out into the universe uncensored and come back to bite you sometime in the future.

You ask why?  Because at around 3 this morning I woke up in dreadful pain completely unable to move.  Evidently I wrenched my neck, and so have spent the entire day barely able to move my head.  I should probably go soak it in the bath, but I find baths dreadfully boring.  And I'm not a fan of candles either, so all those tv shows and movies in which the female protagonist enjoys a nice soak with a good book are just lost on me.  If I'm going to enjoy a glass of wine and a good book it's not going to be where the pages can get water-stained or I can risk being drowned by an angry ghost or water demon.

So rather than a bath I'm sitting stiff and unmoving on the couch watching Breakfast at Tiffanys on Netflix.  A little Audry always soothes the soul.  Though I doubt I'll be trying to climb out a window any time soon.

And there is knitting of course.  I keep wanting to cast on more and more, but I did finish a sock yesterday.  I then declared myself the Kitchener Stitch Master and decided that this was the career for me.  I was born to kitchener stitch.

I'd apologize for the bad quality of this photo of sock #2, but I rather like it.  The color is pretty accurate and it blacks out all the background, namely the pile of trash that really must be taken out.  I was going to do so today . . .

Ah, well, another time perhaps... As long as the trash doesn't rise up and try to take over the apartment.


FO: Twisty Frosted Violets

It may be counter-intuitive, but it appears that the more I have to write, the more knitting I do.  Now, a lot of this knitting is tied to some tragic, melodramatic socks, but that's a story for another day.  Today it is a crisp cold morning in North Carolina, and I am sporting a brand new hat!

Twisty Violet Cap by Kate Oats in Yarn Love, Frosted Mulberry

I bought the kit to make this hat while at SAFF, and really enjoyed knitting it.  What attracted me was the lovely twisted brim, and despite the fact that I had decided to take a break from hats, I knew I had to knit it.

I originally intended to knit the medium slouchy size, but at the last minute decided to do just the medium, so it has the stitch count of the slouchy but the pattern repeat number of the regular.  The women in my family have notoriously larger heads, so I often knit a slightly larger size to be sure it fits.  The resulting drape of the worsted weight fabric is quite lovely.  I may have found a tiny error in one of the last rows of the chart, but the  pattern is so intuitive that it was an easy fix and it is entirely possible that I slipped up somewhere along the way because the pattern was so well written.

The window pane style pattern is absolutely stunning and a nice departure for my recent leaf obsession.  Mom actually discussed this with Kate when we were in her booth and we came to the consensus that it really is all the fault of Alana Dakos, whose recent pattern sale resulted in an overdose of leafy hat knitting on my part.

This was my first experience knitting with Yarn Love and I was extremely pleased.  Not just because the yarn base is called Anne Shirley either!  I definitely have another skein on my wish list to knit the matching mitts (again, the braided brim! I can't get enough).  I actually have this fantasy of using my leftovers to make a headband of some sort.  We shall see.