Archive for September, 2006

Evan and I have been out of town, traveling, having super awesome friends visit, and so on for the entire month of September.  We’re exhausted.  I’ve been super snappish with my darling husband, especially when I was trying to frantically finish the sock shown below before heading out to the knitting group I have been trying to go to in order to have someone in the area other than my husband with whom to interact.

I started this sock for the second sock syndrome swap, where you knit one sock and mail the remaining yarn and pattern to a partner, who completes the second sock and then has a lovely pair of socks to wear.

I have really been wanted to try out the patterns in Anna Zilboorg’s book, “Socks for Sandals and Clogs,” and so I picked out the Sirius sock pattern and jumped right in.  I had never knit toe-up socks before, so it took me a couple of tries to get the sock started.  The sock is also constructed using a technique I’d never done before, where you knit the foot, then the heel, graft them together and then knit the leg.  The back of the leg also has a complex bobble pattern, so I had to check the pattern over and over again as I was knitting it.  I finally finished, cast off the sock and couldn’t get the darn thing to fit over my foot.  I ripped it out and tried again using the stretchy cast off method described here.  It was even worse.  Around this time, the cats, sensing my frustration with this process, grabbed the ball of yarn I was working with and chased it around the room.  I ripped the cast-off out again, taking about ten rows with it and ultimately used a variation of this technique, where I made a new stitch after every stitch.  It worked (thank goodness) and I now have a sock to send my pal.  I hope she is a better knitter than I am, however, as I am not sure I would wish the first attempt of this sock on anyone (I’m sure the second time through would be much easier).  If you are my sock pal and you are reading this, I’m very sorry.  The sock is very cute though.

sirius sock

The socks were knit with Bearfoot yarn by Mountain colors.  The colorway is winter sky.

I also finished the socks of doom for sock wars last weekend.  Less than twenty-four hours passed from the cast-on Friday night (coming home on Bart from a Toshi Reagan concert that I went to with a friend from work), to the kitchener of the second sock.  My fastest socks ever.  I “killed” my victim on Wednesday and now I am awaiting her unfinished socks.  I had entirely predicted my early demise in this contest, but so far I am still alive.

The socks were knit using Zara, a super soft, machine washable merino wool.  The color is number 1717.


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Sockret Pal Questions

The basics:

How long have you been knitting?  I started knitting in 2003, after taking a class.

Do you consider yourself a beginning sock knitter, an intermediate, or have you been doing this so long you could probably knit a pair in your sleep?  I would say that I am an intermediate, although I just finished a very complicated sock for my second sock syndrome swap partner without too many headaches.

The measurements:

I have wide feet.  They measure 9.25 inches around and 9.5 inches long (7 1/2W)

(fiber related) Favorites:

What colors do you love?  I really love all colors, although I hate it when swap partners say this, as it doesn’t give a lot of direction.  I wouldn’t mind something that was in neutral colors, like brown, beige, cream, gray, black, but on the other hand, I really like color.  I guess that I’m easy to please.  If you like it, I probably will.

Do you prefer solids or variegated?  I have a bunch of variegated yarn, which means that I love it.  For doing more complex patterns, I would love to have some semi-solid or solid colored yarn.

What fibers do you most love to knit with?  As pretty much everyone says, I like knitting with soft yarn.  .

Who do you consider your favorite yarn vendors?  I’m not sure if this question means brands of yarn or places that sell yarn.  The two places I am most likely to buy yarn from are Nine Rubies (my LYS) or little knits.  I also buy yarn from knitpicks (doesn’t everybody) and elann. As far as specific sock yarn brands go, I’ve enjoyed knitting with Mountain colors Bearfoot yarn, Trekking and Schaeffer Anne.  I have a couple of skeins of STR, Lorna’s Laces, Austermann Step, and Art Yarns in my stash that I have really enjoyed feeling, but I haven’t had a chance to knit with yet.

What projects (other than socks, of course*S*) do you most enjoy knitting? I would say that almost all of my knitting is gift knitting.  Even if I intend to keep something for myself, I end up giving it to someone that admires it.  The two area that I would like to venture into but haven’t yet are fair isle and lace knitting.  I’d love to knit a lace shawl at some point, but haven’t figured out which would be a good starter lace project.


What fibers can you not stand to knit with?  Anything that is super squeaky on my needles…mostly because I hate the noise/feeling of the squeak.  If I am knitting something that I will need to rip out a bunch, yarn that tangles on itself a bunch can be annoying.  I will pretty much knit with anything.

To wear?  I can wear any fiber.

What colors would you never wear?  As far as socks go, I’ll wear any color.  If it is something that is worn near my face, probably no oranges or yellows.

The Tools:

Plastic or Metal?  I prefer metal to plastic.

Bamboo or wood?  I prefer bamboo over wood (especially really pointy bamboo).  The wood needles that I own seem to get dull over time.

Circs or Straights?  I knit mostly on circular needles, my socks are done on two circulars.

DPNs or Magic Loop?  I don’t particularly like knitting with dpns, and I haven’t tried magic loop, although I would like to.

Are there any knitting accessories you don’t have in your collection but would like?  Pins for blocking, any of that wool wash stuff.  Can you tell I never block anything?

The Extras:

Do you have a wish list? Nope.

Do you like sweet, sour or salty? All of them.  Chocolate is always good.

Do you have any allergies your pal should know about? Does my allergy to grass pollen impact this?  Probably not.

Favorite scents?  My favorites are typically fruity/baking smells over floral scents.

Scents you can’t stand?  Most incense.  I once ate some tums that had been stored with my mother-in-laws incense burner.  The most horrible taste ever.

Do you collect anything (other than yarn and knitting toys of course)?  I have lots of insect, fish, and cat things.  I also collect magnets.

When is your birthday? November 28, 1977

Do you spin?  Nope.
Dye your own yarn?  Not yet, but I would like to do so at some point.
Your favorite author/band/vacation spot, anything you think will help your pal know you better…  My favorite author is David Sedaris.  If you know authors along the lines of David Sedaris (humorous, sarcastic people who write about themselves and their crazy families) please, please point me in the direction of that writing.  I am completely addicted to This American Life.  I love art museums, hot chocolate, extremely stormy/foggy weather.  I hate sushi, but I love how it looks.  I’d love to go to Europe again, especially the English and French countrysides.  I love to bake, especially treats for other people.
Also, I just bought these shoes in the cordovan color and would love to get/make socks that go with them.  Something of a chocolate cherry persuasion, perhaps?

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September 21, 1997

All day today, I’ve been bugged by the date.  Something about it made me feel like I was missing something. I checked my work calendar numerous times and couldn’t come up with anything.  Finally around 6 p.m. I remembered and called Evan.  I told him how something about today’s date was bugging me and that I had finally remembered what it was.  On this date, nine years ago, Evan and I declared ourselves a couple.  In the first couple of years we were together, we took the time to celebrate the day, but once we were engaged we figured that our wedding anniversary would trump this anniversary.  I guess in someways we were right, but nine years wow.  We were youngins then (both 19) and most people wouldn’t have thought those baby-faced TEENAGERS would still be together today?  I’d like to think that even then, however, I had a glimmer of our future together, when I would be married to both Evan and his hair (which really is an organism all its own).

I would have loved to post pictures from then, but pictures of that era are forever trapped on the worst storage device ever designed…zip disks. Bah…

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Funky Scarf?

I hate, hate, hate to gauge swatch and I figured that I didn’t really need to do so if I was knitting a scarf. So I knitted along on my project for my funky scarf pal, but after felting, the scarf seems a bit short and wide (without wrapping, it hits about my waist), rather than the long and thin I predicted from the photo of the completed scarf on the pattern. Plus, I knit the brooch for it (the pink flower) and I kind of hate it. Plus, it just doesn’t seem that funky. I would appreciate any honest feedback. I still have time to knit something different.

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Last week, I went to a work retreat where I had to give a talk in front of 200+ people. Anyone that knows me in real life, knows that I get super, super nervous about any public speaking event. In high school, I loved public speaking. I was more than willing to give blathering, unrehearsed speeches to the masses, like the one I gave to the entire student body about the huge amount of garbage the school produced in a day and how we needed to recycle. I think that my lack of fear resulted from some combination of not really caring what most of my high school peers thought of me and thinking that I had some awesome, unique voice.
Somewhere in the transition between high school and Reed, I started getting freaked out about public speaking. Suddenly, I was surrounded by a ton of really smart people, people whose opinions I actually cared about, people that actually had interesting perspectives. Probably because of the insecurities brought on by being away from home for the first time in such an intense learning environment, I started getting completely freaked out about public speaking. It got to the point that I actually threw up before giving any sort of talk.
In grad school, I developed coping skills (mostly giving so many talks that I eventually got numb to the process), but when I found out a couple of months ago that I would have to give a talk on my group’s research to a major cross section of the researchers and important people at my company, I started getting nervous. As the date of the retreat approached, my coping skills were put to the test as I waited for a visit from “Christa, the anxious vomit fairy”.

While I’m sure it would make much better blog fodder if I had ended up puking on the stage in front of everyone, I am happy to say that the talk went well. My boss did say, however, that he thought I might faint during the first five minutes or so, but I figure no vomit = good talk.* Right?

The rest of the retreat was more enjoyable. I had a great time getting to know my new co-workers in a more relaxed and socially lubricated setting. I also got to see a red tailed hawk, a super cute family of raccoons, the ocean and, my one true love of living in the bay area, the fog.

* I love writing language equations. My fifth grade math team had t-shirts made that said 4 NOITs = US. No one got it. (We were too frugal to pay for the K and W.) My other favorite is Two = One and One = None. These were the words of wisdom from my friend, the Rhodes Scholar, that he said repeatedly as he packaged up his stuff to ship to England. He put all of his items in plastic bags, before packaging them in boxes to be mailed. Two plastics bags for each item, as Two = One and One = None. Evan and I were going to have it engraved in our wedding rings, but it wouldn’t fit.

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I wanted to write a little bit about my trip to Oregon last week. I’d been feeling really homesick and it was good to see both the friends and family I had been missing. What was especially interesting was that we spent a couple of nights over the weekend staying at Evan’s parents house in Medford and a couple of nights staying in a bed and breakfast in Eugene, and despite the fact that I’ve never lived in Medford, our time there felt much more like being at home.

Highlights of the trip:

  • Shoe shopping with one of my grad school friends. Because I am no longer a graduate student, I can actually afford to buy nice shoes. Very exciting.
  • Seeing my showingly pregnant pal Dr. YiKeS and giving her a crash course in knitting before having a long lunch with the ladies.
  • Our splendid bed and breakfast in Eugene. The C’est la Vie Inn is an old Victorian that has been gorgeously updated both inside and out. The proprietor is a wonderfully warm (but not in your face) woman that grew up in Paris, so there are many French touches throughout the Inn.
  • Touring Southern Oregon Wine Country with my in-laws and my two brothers-in-law. While there, we discovered a Schmidt Family Vineyard, which had only been open for a week. Their wine was really good and their gardens were splendid. We especially liked their chardonnay and syrah. My father-in-law, a notorious syrah hater, bought two bottles.
  • A long dinner at the Jacksonville Inn. This is Evan’s family’s stand-by special occasion spot and I guess having three of the four kids home at one time was a special occasion. The Bush family stayed here while visiting Southern Oregon awhile back. The next morning they published pictures of the cottage where they stayed. The breakfast items were all sitting out on the kitchen table and I remember thinking, “Just because you’re the president, doesn’t mean that you don’t have to put the milk back in the fridge when you are done with it?”
  • Hanging out in Evan’s parents backyard, home of Brutus, the koi. He actually climbs out of the water to go after food.

I really enjoyed our time in Oregon. I thought that it might make me miss living there, but, if anything, it just reinforced to me that my life and my home are very much in California now. It was sooo good to get home on Monday night.

I’m going to a work conference (leaving tomorrow) with (gasp!) no internet, so I’ll be out of commission until at least mid-week.

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What have I been knitting?

I’ve been plugging away on various knitting projects.

I knit this baby tart hat and passed it on to my friend, Dr. YiKeS.  Instead of the yarn called for in the pattern, I used Rowan Cotton/Wool.  The pink was a leftover from my first pair of socks, although I bought a spare ball just in case, so I ultimately ended up where I started as far as stash busting goes.  It was fun to knit, except I really dislike the K3 together part of the pattern.  Plus I should have done a gauge swatch in the bobble pattern, rather than stockinette, as it is larger than newborn size.   Oh well.

tart hat

I completed the bottom band of the Samus cardigan.  I haven’t had the gumption however to start picking up all the 200 or so stitches required to start actually knitting the sweater.

After completing the dad socks, I starting knitting a pair for my brother.  I did a couple new things, including an eye of the partridge heel and the pointed toe.  I didn’t account for the fact that the pointed toe is longer than the typical toe that I knit, so the socks came out humongous Evan size rather than my brother’s normal foot size.  Rather than rip out the toe and start over, I’ve decided to just finish the pair for Evan and knit a different pair for my brother.  (Can you tell I hate ripping stuff out?)  I also finally finished the first sock I started when we were visiting Yosemite.  These socks are for me, so they are a very odd pair.

I have also been plugging away on my project for the Funky Scarf Swap.  So far, other than the color, it’s not looking very funky, but it will be.  Between now and when Sock Wars starts (September 22) I have to finish this up.  I’d also really like to complete the sock for my second sock syndrome swap partner before then.  I’d better get aknittin’.

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