So This is Shetland

I wasn’t going to write a blog post today — I have a house to clean, a book to write, and I had to go and be a real person with a real life this morning, so I wasn’t planning on blogging. Those are all really good reasons why I shouldn’t blog, but the real reason, the real reason that I know in my inner most deepest soul, I couldn’t find batteries for my camera, and they died earlier.

There is, as always, a story there. I was wearing skinny jeans (there’s a story there too, yesterday I was wearing them as I went all about town running errands and things, and it was raining cats and dogs and freezing cold. Then I had to work at the bookshop and do that in wet skinny jeans — and boy, I thought those things were uncomfortable when they were dry!) And I wanted to show you that I was, well, pulling them off pretty well. (Proud of that — no pain no gain.) So I slid out of my knitting chair and hoisted myself into a yoga position that I swear is one person always from being a page out of The Karma Sutra. I don’t know the Sanskrit word for it, but it is pretty much a shoulder stand. (I couldn’t be a normal person and stick my legs out in front of me.) My camera is old and the battery gauge thing doesn’t really work. So there I am, legs in the air (which is a whole lot harder when you can’t use your hands) trying to work a camera. It would turn on, but it didn’t have the energy to take the picture. So I’m fiddling with the camera and doing some pain breathing thing which is bullshit as far as pain managing is concerned. All proved to be fruitless though. You will have to take my word for it, and be sure that, my legs look great.
(I am sure that you are all crushed that I’ve not starting putting pictures of my legs on the internet.)

So, there’s the story of why my camera is dead. However I do have this built-in camera thingy on my new computer, which really freaks me out because I sometimes think some Russian is watching me knit while I watch Netflix and then getting all sweaty at the thought of all that wool . . . just slipping through my fingers . . . click click . . . so much wool . . . that warm sweater . . . that warm sweater.

Anyway, I figured out how to work the camera on my computer. You hit the space bar. The one with a picture of a camera on it. Hard that. Well, I figured out that while it can take pictures, it can only take shitty pictures. So shitty pictures is what you get — better than nothing I guess. It doesn’t help that the world outside today is a sodden grey mass of mushy death devoid of sun.

I just thought of this, but I’m knitting the Traditional Shetland Shawl, and it’s so wet and cold and miserable outside — just like Northern Scotland is. Odd that.

 

picture000

I have done better.

Anyway, what you have there what I’ve been spending a lot of my knitting time on. Edged in a brown sawtooth edging, then some feather and fan, before falling to the white fate of most shawls on the plain garter stitch center square. This is the Traditional Shetland Lace Shawl — which is such a terrible name, I’ll call it TSLS, just to save on typing. I call it a shawl, but it’s going to be so big that it’ll be more of a blanket than anything else. The white is a soft Angora/Wool/Nylon blend (I think) that provides a sharp contrast to the less-than-delicate Shetland.

This garter stitch is a wonderful mindless thing, and I’ve found it helpful to always have it within arms reach of me at all times while baby tending. The rocking motion often puts him to sleep and I get a few rows done — win, win. (Though those are both my wins  — I get a sleeping baby AND knitting done. You can’t beat that unless I can figure out a way to do the dishes with my feet while I do all of this. )

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Monday

Oh, boy, long time no see. Geez, I’m away from the blog for a few days and it suddenly feels like I’ve practically overrun with things that I must tell each and every one of you this second in painfully detailed sentences that use more comas than really necessary. I think the list format is about ready to spring forth.

1. I was sick. Yup, I had the flu again. This time it was . . . a lot better. It was intense as the last one, but it was over a lot quicker, and didn’t really include the sore throat, merely feeling like you’re about ready to pass out after a few minutes in a vertical position. Friday was the lost day, I was in bed asleep almost all day, the only time I was out was when I had to watch the baby for a few hours. I have never been so grateful to get a baby to sleep. (I have discovered, through careful experimentation, (And take note mothers) that Sex and the City after about twenty minutes will put a baby right out. Clip and Save!)

2. Due to aforementioned Flu and working all day Thursday, I only knit about four rows on my knitting. I’m at the point on my current shawl where a row is 220 stitches, so four rows is really a lot more than it sounds. And I’ve got to knit 220 rows, to make it a square. I’m at, after a weekend of knitting, about 24 rows. I must work on this. This will take a while. (I think that this one will be more of a blanket than a shawl.)

3. I have more or less finished up all that needs to be done on my Diamond Aran. That was one thing that I got done this weekend. Pictures maybe to follow if I can teach the infant how to use a camera. Anyway it’s done. I’m more or less ambivalent about it. It’s done, for good. I don’t think that I’ll really wear  it much, the shoulders kind of stick out in a British Soldier dress uniform sort of way. If that makes sense. It likely doesn’t. But the damn thing is done. That is all that needs to be said.

4. I started the Shaded Aspen Leaf sweater. Boy color work — I’d forgotten what that does to the wrist. And how long it takes, and what a pain in the ass it is, and how you have to pay attention to it every single second otherwise you get off track and then the universe starts to melt at the edges. Oh, but it is so much fun — it hurts so good. (I’ve always said that I am destined to be a masochist. Anyway.) I’ve knit about three rows on it. I’m a little “ah” about this one.

Steeking Porn!!! (I can only imagine my spam!)

The armhole cut edge

 

The armhole outer edge

The armhole outer edge

the finished neck

the finished neck

The neck cut edge

The neck cut edge

I did some cutting up of my knitting a few days ago. This isn’t an activity that I frequently indulge in, so really, a smarter person than I would have thought to take a few pictures of it, what with it not being something that I often do. But I didn’t, forgive me — I have stresses. Anyway, the steek happened, but there is no documentation of it, aside from the cut edge of my knitting. Above are all the finished shots — at least till I do a few more things to it.

In this sweater, I think that I have learned the secret to the perfect steek. I’ve done them before, so there was little that was new, but still, running your beautiful knitting through a machine that is temperamental at best is a bit of a nerve wracking activity. Anyway. The first one I went slow because I was a little nervous, and of course ended up with a wavy and winding seam. But the next time, I just let the machine go (I floored that bitch!) and zoomed down the next seem. It was straight and narrow as could be. So, whomever said “Haste makes waste” was not a person who cut up their knitting.

And I also, because you are supposed to do two rows of machine stitching I did one in a light zig-zag and I think that I like it a little bit better. Let that be a clip and save.

Also, to beat this subject into the ground. Try the V-neck in the round. It is so cool. You knit the sweater in the round, and when you get to where you want the neck to be you make decreases at the center of the front with steek stitches in the center and decrease till you’ve gotten rid of about six inches worth, and then work it straight till your done. There is the big pouch in the center of the sweater and it looks so awkward till you cut it and then it opens up to a beautiful V-neck. This is certainly something that I’ll be doing again.

I hope to have everything done in a few days.

Now that this is done I’m thinking about what it is that I should tackle next. I’m thinking that the Shaded Aspen Leaf sweater would be a good one to do next. That would serve as a great companion to the upcoming stretches of garter stitch on my Shetland sweater. Any suggestions?

Oh, and one more thing.

 

 

Skinny Wheels

Last night in a fevered session of knitting (that’s knitting quickly, not sick knitting, which is nearly the exact opposite.) I finally, finally bound off the Diamond Aran. Finally. However, this doesn’t mean that I’m done with it, it really is about the exact opposite of that. Here’s a brief list of what to do.

Sew and cut the steeks. I’m feeling excited, instead of dreading it. Like I said in a blog comment the other day, “After the first steek it’s really all downhill.” And that’s true. The first one I was so nervous. (And these were crochet steeks, because I didn’t have the guts to run my poor knitting through that mean old sewing machine.) Then the next ones I were still pretty nervous, but this point I’m actually looking forward to doing it. I may even take it with me to knitting to persuade some of the other’s that it’s perfectly fine to cut knitting, even favorable in some circumstances. But I also may be too impatient to wait for that — my money’s on that one.

Knit the sleeve caps — it’s a vest but I still want them to have a finished edge.

Knit the collar — easy peasy.

Weave in the ends — boring, but there’s not a lot of them

Wash it — hardest part is finding a place to dry it. (I’ve got my trunk clear, but that means that I’ll have to add “Keep the white cat off my blue sweater” to this list.

All in all, not bad, not bad at all.

In other news I’m starting to thinking about spinning once more. (Having an infant in the house will make you want to make yarn — who knew?) I took a look at my little old wheel, played with potential ways to fix it, and couldn’t find one that would make the wheel turn (which is kind of an important part) and make the part stay on. So we’re back to just knitting for a little while. (I’m looking into buying another one. )

I’m wearing a pair of skinny jeans today. I don’t know why — maybe I want to show off my new (ish) thin legs. (I’ve had the thin legs, and everything else, for a while, but I’ve just recently felt it okay to start showing it off. I’ve kept that 40 pounds of for a while now, and I don’t think that it’ll come back. However I also know, that the minute, the very second that I let my guard down and let that piece of pizza pass over my lips, I’ll be that fat kid sitting in the back of the class room again.) These things are much more uncomfortable than they look, and impracticale to boot. I can’t carry more than a phone and a few dollar bills without feeling like I’m about ready to blow out of them. (And they also fit tightly in man places. I’ve made a few funny faces today, and I could maybe sing Opera now.) These pants are not made for people who have to sit, walk, bend, lift, clean, cook, or go to the bathroom. I have to do all of those things today. (I’ve done a lot of them really.) However my legs look great and feel so snug. I know what I’m wearing tomorrow. (I can forego cooking and cleaning. They don’t interfere, much, with knitting.)

Cozy day

Yesterday’s blog time was taken up by being an idiot. I know a woman who was hiring a new person in her field of work, and she thought that I would be perfect for the job. (She said she liked my spirit. Heaven help her.) So, she told me to go to the place and apply for the job (I have a job, but it’s a sucky job and I get fired in about two months, I’m unreasonably exited to be unemployed again.)

So I trotted up there, and dear god it’s far. I thought it would be about two miles from my house, which is far and a bit of a walk, but nothing I can’t do. (Those who are from around here, she said it was on Great Oaks Trail. She neglected to tell me that it was all the way down by Leatherman road.) So I walk two miles, turn down the road I was supposed to be on and start walking. And I keep walking, and walking and walking, then, when my legs start to feel a little like jelly I was finally there. Then the bitch at the front desk wouldn’t let me sit down inside to fill out the application, so I sat down outside to do it, because there was no way in hell I was walking back there if I didn’t have to. Then I get up to go home, and decided to go another way, just for interest, there was an intersection nearby and I didn’t figure it could possibly any longer then the other way. There was one of those little blue signs indicating a hospital nearby, so I thought,” Well the hospital is a bit of a walk, but no further than going the other way, and at least is would be a different walk.”

Despite having lived in this town for MY ENTIRE LIFE, I didn’t realize how very far that walk is. It took me about two miles to get to the Hospital (where I nearly checked myself in just so I could sit down) And I still had miles to go too. And for a large part of this walk there were no sidewalks, so I was traipsing through ditches and cornfields for miles and miles.

Anyway, I don’t know why I told you that, just sharing I guess.

Today is Saturday, so I’m just lazing about the house. I took a shower and got dressed, but I still need to go and do some laundry, but I did do the dishes. I’m sitting on my little old trunk now, but the window where the light is good. The snow is starting to softly fall, and the furnace purrs away. The week’s bread got baked yesterday, and I’ve changed the sheets. I’m thinking about making some tea and I’m home alone. Oh, there is nothing better than being home alone, after having been around people for so long.

There’s the current state of the Aran. It’s sitting under my legs right now. Just as predicted I’ve ran out of the blue. I’ve still got a little left, but I’ll save it for the end and hopefully use it to tie the colors together. We’ll see.

This thing (And you can tell I’m getting tired of something when I start calling them, “that thing”) is nearing done, thankfully. It’s a pretty sweater, but you know, you can only do so much of this sort of thing. Please remember that I’ve already knit this pattern once, plus this sweater’s earlier rip back, so I think it’s only a little fitting that I’m just a little sick of it.

I really am only just a little sick of it. I’m fine, at least for now, to continue knitting it, but I’m also ready to be done for now. I’m hoping, if all does according to plan, to have this thing off the needles by next week.

And you want to know what I plan to do next?

The Shaded Aspen Leaf Sweater!!!

Or maybe not.

Books

The other day, I was bemoaning to a friend about the lack of blog content. This friend is not a blogger, doesn’t read this blog, doesn’t knit and is only interested in mine in sort of an abstract way. (I’m not done with him yet.) Anyway, even though this friend knows little about the ways of knit bloggers, he suggested that I try writing about my reading

Wa? What?

He seemed to think it was a good idea. I thought less so about it, but I promised him that I would at least think about it, and I did. Granted, I thought about the reasons I’ll not be doing it, which probably was not the way that he wanted me to think.

For one reason, I don’t really read that much. That’s not true. I read tons. I read every day, day in day out, the only think that I love more than reading is knitting. I always have a book in my backpack (read: man-purse.) and I use it too. I read at work, I read at the library, at the coffeehouse, on my couch, before bed, all the time. (You could sub knitting in for reading in that last sentence.)

But the thing is, I have reading guilt. I always read, but still feel like I don’t do enough of it. I feel like I should spend ever spare second reading, that it is something I love, therefore I should spend every possible second with my nose in a book in order to deserve the title of bookworm. (I oddly enough don’t get any guilt for not knitting.) I feel like I don’t read, simply because it’s taken me months, about two, to finally power through Lady Chatterly’s Lover. Never mind that I’ve read many other books in that time, I still feel guilty for not reading that one specific book. (There are several others too though, which is where most of the guilt comes from.)

Then there’s more. Not only do I not go fast enough through the books I’m currently reading, but I also feel back for the many, many books I’ve got upstairs that I haven’t read, and probably won’t read for years. I always say that my library is there simply in case I want to read any of those books, but I still feel guilty for having so many books that I haven’t read. (Seriously, there are well over 100 that I haven’t read. Probably closer to 200) The choice, when I do get to start a new book, is always dizzying in its potential.

(And remember I work in a used bookshop, with very reasonable prices, Books come home every week.)

Then I have even more guilt (I swear I should be Jewish) for choosing the books that I have over those that I haven’t. The unopened ones are still hopeful to be wonderful, engrossing books, while the ones that I’ve read, while good books, they are nowhere near as divine as I thought they’d be. I feel so silly for wasting my time with the books I am reading, when I could be enjoying the ones I’m not. (Never mind that they are all entertaining.)

Then you’ve also got my literary tastes. I am a lit snob. If it doesn’t have Dickens or Austen on the cover then I won’t touch it. (Or at least admit it.) (I actually avoided Dickens for a while due to my weird hipster sensibilities. Try to remember Garret, if that many people like something, chances are that there’s a reason for that. Except for 50 Shades of Grey, even I can’t explain that one.) And while I do read a great many of the classics, (a lot of which are still new to me in my youthful ignorance) I do actually occasionally read books by authors who aren’t dead!!!! I know, shocking.

You’ve also got my weird thing about never revealing some things about myself. I know anybody who knows me is probably laughing their ass off right now — but yes, I am holding back. I feel like I’m giving away some part of my soul by telling people about the books I read. I hate it when people ask me “What are you reading?” Then I have to tell them and then tell them what’s happening, because they’ve certainly never read it, and how should I know what happens, I’m not done yet. The  books you read form a part of you like nothing else does, and by telling people about the books your read, you are making a statement about yourself that nothing else can make.

See how deep this well of crazy runs. If there’s a book I want at a library or a bookstore and I can’t find it, I won’t ask a librarian or a bookseller to help me because I don’t want them to know what I’m reading — even if it’s a perfectly normal book. I don’t know what’s wrong with me either.

The bitter sting

The ultimate burning irony, which is just another fuck you from the universe, is that I may, MAY, not have enough yarn to finish the Diamond Aran. (You all know that that means I won’t have enough.) I would have probably had just enough to finish the narrow version in of it, the one with only three diamonds. But this one is wider, so therefore it will take me more yarn. (I know, it sounds simple, but you have no idea how long it takes to realize this.) I’m hoping to maybe get off with just doing the finishing trims with a contrasting color, but I may have to do contrasting shoulders as well. (The fact that this keeps happening to should be some kind of a tip off to plan better.)

I’m thinking a nice black would go well with the Navy. They would compliment each other,  but would still be two different things. (Of course, I have no black yarn. I’ve got every other color under the sun, but black. Don’t ask me how this happens, I don’t think that I really want to know the answer. )

I’ve finally paid off my library fine. This thing has been on my record for quite a while now, and it’s nice to be debt free. They had a half off all late fees thing for the month of February, and while I won’t pay forty dollars, I will pay twenty. (I know, so cheap it hurts.) And the best part is, I can check out library books once more. The downside, I need more books like I need a new hole in the head.

See, I have to talk about my library fines to entertain you all. I live to serve.

(I got my type writer working in case you care. Then, about half a paragraph later I got to the end of my ribbon. Do you know how hard it is to find a type writer ribbon?)