Crunch Time

Now is that time that upperclassmen refer to as “crunch time” and I can see why. I had two exams this week, a presentation, and a paper due. Plus last weekend Halloween was celebrated here in Kent, and Kent is known in this part of Ohio as being famous for its Halloween. So, I’ve been running on empty here for a little while, as evidenced by Monday night when I kept falling asleep on a friends bed. He got mad at me and kept throwing a pillow at me to wake me up. What was wrong with me falling asleep on his bed? I fall asleep lots of places these days. 7 Ideas is a particularly great class to sleep in, because the room is so dimly lit. There was one day I kept trying to doze off, but every time I would have to write something down I supposedly looked like I was being asked to perform some monumental task. Even as I write this now I’m starting to feel the feathery fingers of sleep close in around me. I must fight them, because tomorrow morning, at 7:45 I have a presentation due.

But even in the midst of these yawning, I am getting some kind of knitting done.

picture066Over there is the first, maybe half, of a set-in-sleeve v-neck in the round. (If you are aren’t a knitter, trust me, that’s a big deal.)

It’s actually even bigger of a deal for me, as I don’t have the instructions to add in the V-neck because Elizabeth said something like “To put the directions for the V-neck in with the set-in-sleeve would gum up your instructions to an intolerable degree.” I think she just didn’t want to type it up. (Remember what typing was like in 1979. It was only marginally faster than rubber stamping.)

Well, call me stubborn, but I want a v-neck. I’ve done the V-neck in the round, and it was devilishly simple, so it shouldn’t be to difficult to stick in in these directions. (Famous last words.) The set-in-sleeves are supposed to be a difficult thing, but I really don’t think they will be — or at least no more than the Saddle-shoulder. Once you get that you’re just decreasing in different directions, it’s really just a matter of  following directions.

The yarn is Knit Picks Wool of the Andes, in Opal Heather — if that means anything to you. (And yes this was Birthday Yarn  .) And let me tell you, that picture does not do that color justice — it’s impossible to find a picture that can really capture this stuff (And one where I don’t look like a stoner. Believe me, I DON’T HAVE THE TIME TO SMOKE POT!) It’s sort of a blue-gray, but looks almost teal in some lights, and looks almost green in some, and can look like it has purple in it. So really, this is not exactly a definitive color, which I think will help to give me that whole mysterious quality that I so crave.

It is knitting up beautifully, and is sailing along at five stitches to the inch. This is all plain stockinette, hence the progress. (It’s really easy to knit while reading text books, just saying.)

I’ve met with my Faculty Adviser now, and she’s essentially told (and shown) me how many things that my Academic Adviser has done wrong. For instance, I can wait until the fall to take a language (Italian here I come), told me to try and test past the College writings, and told me how I can add two minors with only taking about 6 more classes over the course of two years. (I like the idea of a writing minor — considering that’s what I actually want to do.) And I also like the idea that I am so close to not having any 7:45 classes next semester. I can taste it. I can’t wait for it. I want it so bad. It doesn’t help that the days where I don’t have a 7:45, I have a 9:15, which is still a touch early. But I feel like the 9:15 is my “late class” so I can stay up late — so really I don’t get any more sleep on those days than I usually do.

And that’s it for now.

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Another Jiving Saturday evening

The roommate is gone for the weekend, so this means that this weekend is the first real weekend that I’ve had a taste of adulthood. (i.e. not sharing an elongated closet with another person) When he first left I felt sort of like I was flouting in the face of authority by doing things that I wouldn’t do when he was around (even though he has no authority whatsoever) I was all, “Look at me I’m naked!” Then I got to the point where I was used to him not being around. My laundry didn’t dry all the way, so I draped the still damp stuff on the desk and dresser he wasn’t using. I sat in his chair. And while he gets home tomorrow I’m starting to wonder if he would just leave if I got rid of all his stuff. (I’m not going to.)

I also learned that I really need to have his presence here. Devin is a good roommate, keeps to his side of the room, he’s clean and goes to bed relatively early (and doesn’t bitch when I come home at two a. m. or when my alarm goes off at seven). However, he is really annoying. It’s nothing that he does on purpose, but there is just some part of his personality that bugs the shit out of me. His personality just wears on me. As a result of this, I don’t really spend that much time in my room — because he’s there. However, this turns out to be a good thing, because I go out, see friends, that sort of healthy thing that we all need to do. But this weekend has been different. I’ve left this room only a handful of times, mostly for food or something. I’ve gotten a lot of work done though.

I turned off the heating and or AC today, and in Ohio it’s a toss up which one you’ll be using, and opened up the window. It’s been cold today — the high in the fifties, which really is my sort of weather. I curled up under warm things today and did that thing where you make coffee and wrap your hands up around the mug. I watched a little bit of TV. I knit. I did the weekend thing. (Aside from Algebra.)

There’s another nice thing about Devin being here. I sleep naked (sorry if that was a bit much for you, I assure you, it pertains to the story). When I first got here, I tried to do the pajama thing, but I just couldn’t. They got all twisted up and I woke up as a ball of sweat. I just couldn’t. So then I tried to do the shirt and underwear. I couldn’t do that either, I just couldn’t, I don’t know why. I tried the underwear thing and long story short, I ended up with nothing on. I put some underwear and a T-shirt by the side of the bed, and that’s the first thing that I reach for in the morning. It works out pretty well, because I don’t want Devin to see me naked. But since he’s not here, I just got up. I really had to pee this morning so I grab my key and step out into the hall way, and lo and behold I start walking for the bathroom, realizing then that I’m not wearing anything. Thankfully no one saw me, but it still really just shows how having an audience will affect your behavior.

Today brought me over the hump. What hump? If you are a regular reader, these photos may enlighten things.

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There you can see Lloie’s Jerkin, a simple garter stitch vest with very loose instructions put in Knitting WorkshopThis pattern is so simple that you really don’t even need a pattern to do it — if you really wanted to you could make one up on your own. It’s a garter stitch vest. Think about it.

I did think about it, and while the boat neck is a good look on some — even me some of the times, I really did want to make this as wearable as possible. So I shaped the neck. About six inches short of the wanted neck on the front(the sweater is made in one piece and then divided for the back and fronts), cast off about five stitches (I didn’t write this down) and then on every other subsequent row work a decrease about five times. Then knit till it’s long enough — which is about an inch shorter in the back, to make it fit nicely.

When I first started knitting this, I thought that it was going to be one of those that I just made because they were in KW, not ones that I actually wanted to wear (oddly enough those are the ones that I wear most really). But now that I’ve finished it, I’ve been wearing it all day. And it really looks good on me too. The colors in it (blue and green) are the same colors as my eyes are (my eyes change color depending on what I’m wearing) and wearing these two colors together, so close to my face, blends them perfectly. I am suddenly bewitching. And it’ll look good with most of my clothes, about 80% of which are black. (It’s slimming.)

The yarn is from an old sweater of mine that I got to thin to wear comfortably (I love that, too thin.) I loved that sweater, and I was sorry to see it have to go. But it’s been replaced by this one, which is another welcome addition to my closet. (And I actually have a closet here!) I actually think I took a picture of that old sweater before I took it out.

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And now I’m at less than 10 projects to go in KW. I don’t even really have the words to describe the way that this feels to me. I feel both fulfilled and empty at the same time. And I feel comforted by it, by Elizabeth and knitting in general, and I also feel confident. See, a huge buffet of emotions. (I’m going to keep this short and do a big long moody introspective post when I finish this thing for good — which is starting to look like it may actually happen.

I remember when I first started working on this. I made up the list with all the projects in it, and I remember thing just how very many of them that there were. All those sweaters, at the time, I think there were more sweaters in there than I’d made in my knitting life. Let me do a quick count of them . . .  15 sweaters, plus 16 vests, shawls, baby sweaters and a few other things. I remember thinking about how many of them that I had left to do, and now that I’ve done most of it, I feel like it’s so small. Most of the things that seemed so hard when I read the directions were actually super simple once everything was one the needles. I’m proud of that, and you know what, my Midwestern upbringing isn’t supposed to let me say this, but I’m proud of myself. I’ve worked hard to get to this point. I’ve been through a lot, both in life and in knitting to get here, and now, I finally feel like I’m starting to get to where I need to be.

And now I’m done. My neighbors are being super loud and annoying tonight (these walls are paper thin and have no insulation) so I’m going to spend the next twenty or so minutes banging up against the wall and moaning. It’ll be fun.

Applied I-cord

Well, I’ve been a little busy bee here recently. This weekend contained a quick run to my parents house — which is usually painful for college age children, but this one was even more so. Not only were things, well, off, my sister has taken to sleeping in my room recently. She asked and I consented, because I felt sorry for her, what with being really pregnant (at the time) and the fact that I wasn’t using it, (so really, she could have gotten away with not asking). It seemed like a nice thing at the time, but really, in hindsight, it was a really, really, bad idea. She promised not to touch my things, which was pretty quickly blown to hell based on the state it was in. She’d been smoking, so it reeked, and there were a few empty glasses, and a plate with some food on it that was at least a day old. (Of course, I don’t think I’ve room to talk on this. I’ve got a cup of tea on my desk that’s been there so long it’s growing mold. I put some hand sanitizer in it on a friend’s dare, and am going to wait a day or two to see what happens.)

But the worst part was the yarn. Oh, my yarn. I had it very precariously perched on some shelves and whatnot. A thin and bendy person (that would be me) could easily move around them. However, a not so thin and not so bendy person couldn’t. There was yarn all over the floor and out of it’s bags, and shoved into corners. I took a bunch home (Kent) with me, for protection, and I had to fight the urge to bring all of it. (Now that I realized that I have a lot more space than I really do have I feel like I can bring in all sorts of things. Every time I go to my parent’s house I always bring something back.

One of the things that I brought back with me this time was a bit of blue cotton to edge the Jerkin in. (I don’t know what is with cotton and me these days.) I actually brought back the blue and some cream colored cotton, but the cream (which was my first choice) looked awful, so I ripped it out and started again. The blue looks great, and will match my eyes, and as luck would have it, my shorts for today.

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See, can you see that little stripe of blue going around the edge? That’s the applied I-cord. (Can you see the belly too? God, I need to cut back on the beer.) (That was a joke, but the belly isn’t laughing.) I think it looks nice, and I am even more excited because I am so close (so close) to being under ten. Ten!!!! Can you believe that?

The little yellow thing you see is a rubberband that I tied into the fabric of the sweater so that way I know which side I should put the buttonholes on. (Yes, I am that scatterbrained.) You will note how that one is being saved for last, simply because the I-cord buttonholes, which are really clever, are also a pain in the ass to make. (You have to do math and count the whole way up the edge.) (And also, the buttonhole formula is the only time that I’ve ever had a need for Algebra in my entire life.  Just saying Kent State.) (But I should be done with math by the end of this academic year so Woo Whoo!)

Since I have to think to work on this, progress will be minimal here for a little bit. I apologize in advance.

Monday

Well, I’ve a got a few things to say.

First of all, it’s cold here.  I am not going to say that it’s really cold, because I know what really cold is, but i will say that it is pretty cold. Or at least it was this morning. I’m glad that I’d taken the roommate’s suggestion and wore something warm. I would have gone back up for something warm. I am a big wimp when it comes to temperature, and I really am not looking forward to tomorrow morning, when I’ll be walking about two hours earlier. (Read: Two hours colder.) Which is a shame because I will be in a super bad mood, considering that this will be prior to eight a. m. (I am not a morning person in the deepest and truest sense of the word. I am a bitch before eight. Hell, before nine.)  However, sitting on my bed, with the window open, it really feels nice.

Second of all, I heard something that is of particular interest to me. The other day I was listening to a podcast that had Meg Swanson as a guest. (If you care to listen, go to schoolhouse press’ homepage and there is a link on the sidebar.) This makes it already of interest to me, but while she was on there, she said something, I don’t know if I believe (but hope to god is true), but Meg herself said it. (Would someone listen to it so that way I don’t think I made it all up.

They are planning to do an updated version on Knitting Workshop. This means that there will be color pictures, a new introduction, and actual directions. Can you believe that too? I couldn’t. Of course the brutal irony is that it probably won’t be done till long after I’m done with Elizabeth, but it will still be of a great interest to me. And it really shows that the book, published in 1981 (?) is still relevant today, (They wouldn’t be spending that much time and money if it wouldn’t be worth it.) And no, I haven’t been contacted to write the new introduction. (They are missing out let me tell you. That would be the longest introduction in the history of introductions.)

Well that is kind of my biggest news. In other words I’m still puttering along here. I got a 100 on an exam last week. I got a 96 on my math final. I got an 84 on another exam, so I’m doing pretty well by the way of grades.

In the field of knitting, I am doing pretty well. I’m about done with the jerkin. (It doesn’t have sleeves, don’t get excited.) I’m pretty happy with this, though it will have to wait till this weekend when I’ll be running home overnight, and will be able to pick up something from the stash that would work. (That’s the problem with living in a cubicle with another person, one really doesn’t have the space to stash those little bits and bobs that come in so handy in times like this.)

The Gansey is coming along, but not at the pace that I would prefer it. I’m almost to the armholes. Once again, the gussets are adding more length to it than I would have liked, but that doesn’t mean that I’m done knitting them. I’ve already started them, so I’m committed at this point. Other than that little snafu, it’s moving alone well enough. My prejudiced against Gansey patterns turned out to be unfounded, because I’m loving the knitting of this one, which is odd because the old one was like being water-boarded. Maybe it’s the knitting in the round thing, or the fact that this one takes some kind of a metal capacity to knit.

I’ve finished another hat. This was a while ago, but it’s drying right now. It says “Grant” which is a good thing, because, you know, it’s for Grant.