26 October 2009

trying to find shoes. and jeans. but socks are done!

Sigh. I dropped by the thrift store today because I wanted to find something for my Halloween costume. My husband and I are going as Captain Hammer and Penny, and for Penny, I just figured I could go for the trendy-nerdy-hipster look and I'd be good. And I wanted to get jeans for the outfit. I rummaged through the jeans a bit, and then gave up. I'm between sizes right now. One size is too small, and the next size up is too big, at least in one brand. And I didn't want to try on more pairs because I was tired and wanted to go home. I'll just do the costume with trousers instead of jeans (although my only pair of jeans is getting too big; I tend to wear them at home or while house-cleaning). I buy clothes at the thrift store because I'm more likely to find things I actually like there than at the mall (and I loathe the mall). Also, it's usually cheaper. And I'm recycling clothing. I looked at shoes, too. I should go to an actual shoe store (which, sadly, would entail going to the mall), and see if I can find something. I've got a couple of pairs of practical, nice-looking shoes (brown and black) that I've had for over five years and they are starting to come apart. The problem is that the shoes at thrift stores (some of which are quite nice and barely worn) all seem to have tall, chunky heels, which make me trip and cause my back to hurt. Or if they are flats, they're really flimsy and my feet would get wet every time I wore them in this climate. So I'm unsure as to whether I can actually find what I'm looking for. We shall see. I might go and endure the mall on Thursday.

I finished the Wonderland Socks today, finally. I used up all of the white and probably almost half the skein of the blue. I finished the ribbing at the top in blue because I ran out of white and it seemed absurd to buy an entire skein of yarn to finish 6 rounds of ribbing. They are comfy but slide down more than I'd thought. They're still too big around the ankles, despite the decreases. The pair that's up next is the "Lace and Cable Socks" from Socks From the Toe Up, in Berroco Ultra Alpaca Fine. I spent a while struggling with the Turkish cast-on tonight, and I think for now I'm just going to go with what I've been doing for the toes. The Turkish cast-on seems to work better on circs, and I don't have a set small enough.

Well, I'd best be going. I need to sleep soon. Turns out sleeping regularly is really good for me. Who knew?

23 October 2009

Sometimes, it's really annoying when that class you hated back in undergrad and nearly failed actually proves useful. Drat you, logic!

Although, remembering that 'iff' means 'if and only if' is kind of handy.

22 October 2009


Last week, I had one of those disaster mornings. I was up late finishing something for school (it was one of those readings that was difficult to read and then to condense into 2-3 pages), so when I finally went to bed at 3:30 in the morning, I knew I wouldn't get much sleep. So then I collapsed into bed for a few hours. My husband gets up at 5, thereby waking me up at five, and then again at six when he leaves, and he resets the alarm for me to get up at 7. I often get up and hit the snooze button a couple times. When I did this that Friday morning, I managed to sleep as I did so, and not realize that I'd hit the button a few too many times. I woke up fifteen minutes after I was supposed to live. Since my bus was leaving in ten minutes, there was no way on earth, unless I could teleport, that I would be able to get to class on time. In a hurry, I grabbed my homework, put on clothes, and ran out the door without even stopping for a cup of tea. I made it for the next bus, which leaves almost ten minutes after my class starts. Of course, I realized, once I was outside, that I'd put my shirt on inside-out. I was late for class, crept in, and took the last seat left and sat there for the last half of class with my coat on, to hide the inside-out shirt. After class, I went to the bathroom and turned my shirt the right-side-out, and after my next class, ran and got myself some coffee. And after that, my day got much better, and finished by being pretty good after all. And today I plan to get the assignment for tomorrow done early enough that I will sleep properly tonight.

Oh, the Rusalka Mitts are finished, and I will post pictures once I figured out how get the &*%$# door-thing for the battery compartment open so I can give it new batteries. They are pretty and I don't want to take them off.

18 October 2009


The craft store doesn't like me. How else to explain the lack of bugle beads in the colour, shape, and size that I want? Instead of iridescent bugle beads, I have golden glass seed beads, which look wonderful, but take longer to sew on.

Other than finishing the rest of the beading on the mitts, they are finished. They are soft, and warm, and very pretty, and the beads will make them even prettier. I will have pictures when they are finished.

16 October 2009

reminiscing: fire

Several years ago, I and one of my best friends had moved into our first apartment. It was on-campus at our university, and it was very small. A studio apartment, with high ceilings (which I believe are meant to make you think you have more space, but really make you feel like they're cheating you, since it would be so easy to install a small loft for storage). There was a cramped bathroom, and I swear, the clothes' closet was bigger than the kitchen. My roommate, E., calls small kitchens "one-butt kitchens." This was, at most, a half-butt kitchen. It was so narrow that you could not open the oven and the fridge at the same time, since they were across from each other. There was a shallow kitchen sink with no dividers (there are no dividers in the sink in my current apartment, but the sink is sizable).

Anyway, it was our first apartment, and while I remember it rather fondly, since it was my haven that year when I was horribly stressed and unhappy, I also remember that it was very small and crowded and that the next apartment we moved into, a one-bedroom smaller than the one where my husband and I live now (and we don't live in a big apartment), seemed huge in comparison.

But there are some stories about it. This one happened maybe a month or so after we'd moved in.

Since this was an apartment in a school building, there were rules. "No boys after 11 pm" was technically a rule, but since, as students in apartments, we were under no supervision, we broke that one a lot. "No candles" was a big one. I love candles, and when I moved into a building that allowed smoking, some of the first things I unpacked were candles and incense. We followed that rule because of the smoke detector. It went off once when we made toast. However, it did not go off when we fried fish and burned it and the entire room was filled with smoke. And it didn't go off this time, either.

E.'s then boyfriend (now fiance, soon-to-be husband), Peter, would come over a lot. He lived off-campus, so our apartment was his home-away-from-home. One afternoon, he was making Kraft Dinner and E. was at her computer and I was at mine, both of us working on homework (or possibly reading webcomics, not sure which). Peter isn't the greatest cook in the world (he once whipped cream to put on top of a pie and then asked me, "Hey, does whipping cream have sugar in it?" "No, you have to add it," I said, and he started scraping whipped cream off of the pie to remedy the lack of sugar), but he is better than some. Which is why I was surprised to hear, coming from the corner where the kitchen was, "Oh, hey. There's flames!"

I hurry over to find flames dancing from the little cavity beneath the burner. He's just staring at them. I sensibly grab a pot lid and cover the fire. No fire alarm, flames go out, we're good. And E. and I shake our heads, and tell stories about how her boyfriend set our stove on fire while making Kraft Dinner.

I've since set potholders on fire, but not the stove. I do hate electric stoves, though. I really want a gas stove again someday. On one of those, flames mean it's working properly.

12 October 2009

yarn sale

The yarn sale at out at 88 Stitches became a part of a plot to get my best friend engaged this weekend. She and I dropped my husband and her boyfriend off somewhere and went to the yarn sale, where we had to stay until I got texted and notified that they were ready. E. knits, but I'm trying to get her to knit more. She got some Noro yarn for a hat, and some sock yarn. I browsed a lot longer, since I'd gotten a text message telling me that they weren't ready yet. So, while we browsed, she spotted a copy of a book she knew that I wanted, and got it for me as a belated birthday present. She's getting a really nice pair of handknit socks for her birthday (I would knit her something from the book, but I won't have time between now and November to knit an entire shawl).

Well, we finally got the okay to leave, so off we went. I got to hide in the bushes a ways away while he made a long speech (he's a writer, he likes words), so I couldn't eavesdrop, but it was apparently very romantic. They are now, finally, officially engaged, with a shiny ring to prove it. I'm really happy for them, and even more grateful that I don't have to stuff those rose petals down Peter's throat (since I threatened to do so if he didn't propose to her this weekend, given that this was planned earlier this summer, and due to a number of unforeseen events, had to be postponed until October).

Anyway, back to the yarn sale. The book was Knitted Lace of Estonia, by Nancy Bush. It is a wonderful book. I plan to start small, though. The Raha Scarf is nice, and I can commit to it sometime in the next couple of months without worrying about how much time it'll take me. I already have one lace shawl on the needles at the moment, and I'd like to finish it first before starting on a new lace project.

I spent a while at the store petting the cashmere. I've recently learned to appreciate just how soft cashmere is. I can't afford to knit everything out of cashmere, nor would I wish to, since I love wool, but it is beautiful, especially when paired with silk.

I ended up with a few balls of yarn, none of them cashmere (my husband told me to buy as much yarn as I wanted, so I was actually quite restrained, given his advice). I have two balls of Sandnes Garn Sisu, one red, one black, to knit a pair of fingerless mitts with (I am rapidly becoming addicted to fingerless mitts and socks. Things that come in pairs. Wonder what that says about my personality), in order to learn stranding properly. There's a skein of Ultra Alpaca Fine, also in red, for E.'s socks. And two balls of Panda Cotton, also for socks, but in blue, gree, and purple (seeing a theme here? all I bought was sock yarn). I have only knit socks with wool or alpaca, so I wanted to try a cotton. And bamboo-cotton sounded like fun.

And that's about all. I have two pairs of socks on the needles, a pair of mitts, and a lace shawl. When I finish one of these things, I get to start on E.'s socks, and when I finish another, I get to start my cardigan.

11 October 2009

books, pumpkins, and other stuff

I like to read. In spite of all the reading I do for school, I still want to read other books. At the moment, I'm lost in Buber's I and Thou. It is fascinating, although I can't help but wish that I knew German. It feels like it might be more poetic in the original. I'm not really sure why I like philosophy so much, since it's frequently over my head, but I do. I love it.

I also just finished Frank Schaeffer's memoir, Crazy for God, which was really good (he has a way with words). I have his novel, Portofino, on hold at the library now.

The Rusalka Mitts are turning out to be very pretty. I was hanging out at school on Friday and knitting with a friend. He called the yarn I'm using "the yarn of the gods." I think I agree with him there. It is fabulous yarn. The first mitt is nearly finished.

The first Wonderland Sock is done, the second has been started. I've worked a bit on a pair of socks which are a Christmas gift, and I even worked through a repeat on my lace shawl. Oh, this last week, since I had to go to the doctor, twice, which meant a several hour bus ride into downtown, I did the owl cable version of Fetching. I was knitting frantically on the bus, trying to figure out if I had enough yarn. I didn't. So the thumbs are a different colour. I added crochet edgings to make the thumbs fit in better. So I have green mitts with orange accents. Very autumnal, sort of a green leaves becoming orange concept.

We did Thanksgiving today with my husband's family. I made the pumpkin pies. I really should have gotten another pumpkin at the farmer's market. I think the one here goes until the end of October, and they ought to have more squash. Then I can cook it down and freeze some of it for the winter.

Well, I was going to stay up a bit and write, but I can't concentrate anymore. Tomorrow I will write about the trip I took to a yarn sale which, in a roundabout way, helped with a friend's engagement. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

04 October 2009

V-Con! (and a new spindle!)

Yesterday, we went to V-Con. After an hour or so on the bus and the SkyTrain, we arrived, paid our entrance fee, and wandered around. I wore my Jayne hat. I didn't feel like doing a costume, but wearing a Jayne hat, while wandering around with a partially knitted blue and white sock in hand does indicate that one is a geek of some sort.

I'm a webcomics geek, a sort of gaming geek (mostly by association, since my husband's a gaming geek), and a sci-fi geek of sorts (limited to Star Trek, Stargate, Joss Whedon series, and Zenna Henderson novels). I don't really read manga or watch anime, I'm not into Star Wars (although the 501st were there and that was pretty cool), and I don't dress up like a pirate wench (there were a few of those lugging a cardboard cutout of Jack Sparrow everywhere, including into the women's bathroom). So, oddly enough, I felt just a little out of place there. Maybe it was because I neglected to bring my cloak (although, since my cloak is green and blue plaid wool, and actually practical to wear, it might not have fit in all that well, since everyone else's was black and light-weight). Or it could have been due to my typical reaction to large crowds of strangers. I get quieter than usual, and shy.

I did have a lot of fun, though. We went this year mostly because Ryan Sohmer and Lar deSouza of LFG and Least I Could Do were there. I read Least I Could Do more than LFG these days (I like LFG, but since I'm only a gamer by association, it's perhaps not quite as funny to me as it is to J.). The author/artist of Goblins was also there, which I don't read, but J. does. So now we have an LFG book and a Goblins book. And I have a picture of Sohmer holding my sock. Thanks again for letting us take a picture!

We went to the game room and I got to play a round of Race for the Galaxy with the new expansion pack (J. just got the expansion pack last week and I hadn't gotten a chance to play it with him yet). I came in third in a five-player game. Then J. played Pandemic and I went to hang out and knit before the webcomics panel. That was fun (the panel, I mean). It was fascinating to hear what they had to say. My former roommate and I had briefly debated doing a webcomic a couple years ago. She'd do mostly drawing and I'd write (she can write but I can't draw well, so the storyline would have been a joint effort). Never got farther than the conceptual stage, though. It would be fun, but I doubt either of us has the time to commit to it.

So, my husband's souvenirs from V-Con were the books. Mine were the above picture of Sohmer with the sock, and this:

I bought this from Gaukler Medieval Wares, which had a booth at the Con. The whorl is a cast reproduction of a medieval spindle whorl. They also had actual medieval, Byzantine, and Roman spindle whorls (which, of course, exceeded my price range, but it was lovely to drool over them). I'd been looking for a shawl pin, and was at their booth when I spotted this. Then I forgot about the shawl pin (I have the ability to find fiber arts stuff just about anywhere--if it's there, I will find it--whether it's fiber, yarn, spindles, or fabric). I gave it a try when I got home, and while I'm not quite used to working with a bead-whorl spindle yet (as it handles a bit differently), I am happy about the yarn I'm getting from it. I love my Turkish spindle, but the finest I can spin on it, without the thread breaking, is probably at least twice as thick as what I can get on this. The plan is to practice with some of the Clun Forest for now, and then spin the merino I bought a while ago into either lace or fingering weight.

Here's a close-up of the whorl.
J. asked me if I'd bought a wand when he saw it.

Progress is being made on the Wonderland socks. I've had to edit a few rows of the tail out to make the socks the length that I want. I'm almost to the end of the tail. Then comes the ribbing, the bind-off, and the cast-on for the next sock. I also have the yarn for the cardigan the Tuesday knit night is doing as a knit-along. I've swatched, but I should cast on for that soon. The only planned change is to add pockets.

I also am checking out a webcomic I hadn't read before. Wasted Talent. So far, I like it.

01 October 2009


Since I'm procrastinating reading a chapter on Galilean phonology, I've decided to share something with you. A picture of pretty yarn.

I wish I could share its softness and absolute gorgeousness via the picture. This was the best one out of about twenty pictures (my camera had an off day, plus I'm still getting used to a digital camera).

This is a 50g skein of Handmaiden Fine Yarn Swiss Mountain Cashmere and Silk. I've been drooling over Handmaiden yarns for a while now, but I usually can't afford them. I really want to try the Seasilk, but that's almost sixty dollars for a single skein (granted, there is a lot of yarn in that skein). Anyway, one of the knitting groups I'm a part of did a yarn swap. It was a Magic Ball yarn swap, where you wrap little objects up in the ball of yarn. We picked names and then, based on a sheet of suggestions, picked out yarn, a pattern, and what to wind up in the ball. The amazing girl who got my name chose this yarn. I'm going to knit Rusalka with it, which is a fingerless glove pattern by Robin Melanson. It's beautiful, and while it was designed for the Seasilk yarn, this is a terrific substitute. I was thrilled to get this yarn. The colours are vivid and the yarn is soft. I just want to pet it. I've never knit with cashmere before. And the yarns with silk in them only had a small percentage of silk.

I haven't even knit with it yet, and I'm a convert to Handmaiden. Beautiful, beautiful stuff. I won't be able to buy it often, but it's worth saving up for a special project.