Thursday, December 22, 2005

Power

So, I can't sleep. I suspect it has something to do with nerves and the holidays and going on vacation but not really going on vacation from work just leaving the brick and mortar of my office for the case of a laptop. For the record, it is 5am; I’ve been up since 4am, went to bed at 12:30 am. This is an accident waiting to happen.

While I have mentioned my serious need for a lot of sleep before, I am not sure you can truly appreciate how ugly it gets when sleep does not happen. I am a 9 hours of sleep a night kind of girl. Always been that way. Used to be more tolerant of restless nights, it was relatively easy for me to bounce back. Getting older, for me, has meant that I really cannot do without. How ugly can it be? You know the 2-year old in a line at the grocery? Tired and pissed off and throwing a Grade A Tantrum with the harried mom at his side? I'm the 2-year old. Having kids is going to be great for me; we'll all be in strict competition for the Whiner of the Year award.


Rob and I started our official Christmas Week (a little something like Birthday Week) last night with Elisa and Mike. Yay, the Christmas giving season has finally commenced! I love giving gifts when I am able to find "the perfect gift." It is such a joy. This time of the year can be difficult, finding That gift with a deadline and a crowded American Capitalist Machine is not easy and sometimes not fun. For these kids, it was fun.

We spent the better part of the evening at one of our favorite watering holes talking and laughing and talking. And, the best part, I was a recipient of, among other things (including some handmade stitch markers and um, Lorna's Lace sock yarn (Elisa clearly doesn't have a sock yarn buying problem, I swear)), a hand knit piece of clothing. And you know what? This is the first time I have ever received a piece of hand knit clothing. A one-skein wonder. I am in love. Who knew? I woke up this morning at ass crack and HAD to put it on. Wearing a hand knit is like taking all of the power in the world and funneling it through your body. You can do anything in a hand knit. Yarn has been manipulated into a structure that now envelops your body. Anything is possible.


This is exactly the attitude that I took last week when I was faced with a computer that was beeping at me. Incessantly. It then turned all goopy and blacked out on me.


For some background here: my father is an engineer and all things nerdy. He has built all of my computers from day one. Every so often we are surprised with another version of blah, blah because we just have to have blah, blah. A home built computer is sometimes a fickle thing. It has a personality and you learn that all beeps are not the end of the world and things happen and actions must be taken and since dad is hundreds of miles away the fate of the computer rest in your "I am the daughter of an Engineer" hands. Daughters of engineers will totally get what I am saying here. It's like some sick genetic blip in the system. No matter how un-engineer like you are, you are still capable (whether you're willing to admit it to yourself or not) to at least pretend to think like one.

Faced with a dead computer and all the pieces to fix it (we knew it was dying, we were well armed) I had to step up to the plate, clear the kitchen table and perform serious computer operations that involved lots of grunts, oh shits!, and man, do I wish I was better at reading the directions that dad specifically wrote up from his MEMORY of what the inside of our computer looks like.

How did I ever get through this you ask? I went into my bedroom and put on every item in the house that I had hand knit. Socks, scarves, sweater, and hat (the gloves were a bit cumbersome and abandoned at the get go.) The no-sweat pants are still on the needles, which is really too bad. I am clearly going to be one happening girl when those are done.

I figure if I can make these things out of a string of fleece then I can surely repair a silly computer that beeps and turns black on me. And, you know what, through the power of the hand knit, and my trusty assistant (Robby) I was able to operate on my computer. The most amazing part - when we were through it worked. Not all the pieces fit back in the case (not my fault) but it does work!!!

I urge you to feel that power next time you need a bit of a boost. I think you'd be shocked on how much it gives you.



Things may be spottier than usual over here at Bookish Girl Central. We are traveling quite a bit over the holiday season. If you see me in airports, rest stops or strange southern counties say HI! Someday Robby and I will have to document one of our trips to Western Kentucky. Pure comedy.

I wish you and yours Happy Holidays! To me, this time of the year is about the Magic of it all, the time of giving, and the joy in the world. There are lights and love and warm evenings in front of fires where everyone slows down enough to feel the love around them. That is Magic. Enjoy it!

In closing...to answer the debate raised in the comments. I pick Morelli AND Ranger. Dang!

Google-fu yielded this photo slide show of a real tour of the fictional/based on real life setting of the Plum books. Hilarious. Truly.
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Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Death threats make the baby Jesus cry. **

Yay! You are all officially nerds, some are even literary nerds. I have to admit that I've read a shit load of books. However, few of them appeared in that so called, "How bookish are you" quiz.

Here's my quiz:

How much time to you spend knitting a PROTOtype for the tetrahymena (which you all spelled correctly in your comments...go team?)

A - zero hours
B - When is Christmas again? Cause I spent 4 hours
C - four days

Canya guess which one I would pick?


The Prototype which is now a dog toy:



As you can see we have a start here. I have never knit spherical object before. So, I knit it with any ridges or fur just to get the feel of the mechanics. What I learned:

1. Decreasing and increasing looks wonky.
2. Ribbing will be incredible difficult to keep consistent for the above reason.
3. Something meaning to look like an eggplant/pear will really look like a circle. Must exaggerate the shape.
4. Felting would make this a lot easier.

The last item, I think, is the kiss of mercy. Today I purchased Green Lamb's Pride and some eyelash yarn/string. These two items will get to know one another on a brief visit to my knitting basket. The visit will last as long as it takes me to finish the three baby sweaters I have going, the shawl for my mom I haven't started AND all of the wrapping paper.


** While I think that the situation behind the need for this sentence (as described here on the Harlot's blog) is deplorable, I have to admit that this phrase has kept me giggling for the past 24 hours.



ETA: You know what else makes the baby Jesus cry? Bad spelling. Bad spelling makes the baby Jesus cry. So sorry.
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Monday, December 19, 2005


How Bookish Are You?

While I define 'bookish' to be a bit looser than, one who know a lot about the Western canon of literature, this quiz was fun for me! Mostly because I got a 50%. Teehehe, I guess I'm operating under a false nom de plume.

Or, maybe not...

My friend Chad, the stripped glove recipient, is a scientist in the throes of his post-doctoral stint at a University out West. I decided, today, that I am going to knit him a funny science object for Christmas (note here that he will get his Christmas gift from LAST year sometime next week.) Surely, that bookish quiz must be wrong... I am clearly a big fat nerd.

I will be knitting a tetrahymena. Or an eggplant/pear with hairs on it. My neighbor, who is also a Scientist, suggested making it into a pencil case. Genius! If I get real motivated maybe I could even knit the insides. A simple little organism with only a few "important" components.

On the off chance that someone else out there is as deranged as me I did the obligatory google-fu to determine if there was already a pattern written for a knitted tetrahymena. Imagine this - there is not?! How can there not be a demand for such perverse whims of the mind?

We will start with a knitted eggplant and also try the knitted pear. Eyelash yarn may be involved, I am not sure, we are flying by the seat of our pants, going all out here at Bookish Girl, pulling out all of the stops - Watch Out!

Should I start a knit-along?
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Wednesday, December 14, 2005

I woke up at 4 am yesterday and could not fall back asleep. I got up and paid bills. Whew-eee. Same thing this morning - except it was the fat cat that woke me and I wasn't able to get up. I. do. not. do. well. without. sleep.

I had to write a mean letter to someone at work today. That made me feel even grumpier. So, today on this here blog we have a special feature. Please feel free to send me any additional items...

Things that are keeping me from blowing my top today:

The Flying Spaghetti Monster Hat. - I gots to learn me some crochet....or alter the damn pattern. (via Fussy)

A Vacation from Marriage and the sailor who knits in it!

Pandora - Internet Music the way that you want it!!!

Knit Cast and Cast-On Podcasts - I'm a total nerd and I love it!

The New Yorker on Audible.com - Never had time to read it before, now I can listen.

Gmaps Pedometer - Did you know that my walk from the bus to my buidling is 0.3 miles?


-~-

ps - Kat, can you send me your email? I would love your sock!!
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Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Chunky Tut

Thank you for the fine compliments on the scarf. Do you believe it is the first scarf that I have knit for myself? And, to answer the question, how did Rob feel about a yarny wedding gift? My man is so fine he did not even blink an eye. He did, however, forbid yarn on the honeymoon. Honestly, I did not mind a bit. Small sacrifices, you know?



High on my selfish knitting (Christmas? When? What? Who's talking? Where is that voice coming from?) and lured by the yarn stores of New York City and Rowan Chunky Print I decided to knit myself a hat. Easier said than done.

Hat for Wendy


Progress?


My head is big but the hat is bigger, rip and reknit baby.



Alas, success.


The yarn is Rowan Chunky Print (100% Wool, 109 yds, 100g colorway Shriek SH0081, purchase at Seaport Yarn (site not working at publication), $13.50) I made up the pattern using size 11 needles. I normally push up a needle size from the recommended because I knit tightly. For this hat I wanted a tighter gauge (tighter gauge = warmer hat.) The yarn is think and thin and I was afraid holes would come out. It took me two tries, the result was totally worth it. A quick knit (each version took me a night) and this yarn is yum. The colors and cute, the fabric is soft and it is holding up really well!

My favorite part? The pom-pom of course. My first pom, ahhh.. Everyone needs a little pom in their life.

The ornament in the back of that last picture? That is me - age 3. How cute am I? I loved that necklace I'm wearing. I am pretty sure I was talking to my dad on the phone, he was at work. Although, that may not be true, because he usually was the one taking pictures, not my mom. I'll have to ask. I made this ornament for my mom when I was a wee one. It is mounted on a canning jar top with felt and yarn to hold it on the tree. My mom has this wonderful tradition of giving us an ornament each year. She has done this since I was very little. Her idea was that this would give us lots of ornaments to populate our own trees with! This year is the first year that I have had them. Rob and I had so much fun going through them as we decorated. This was his favorite.


Bookish Wendy, 1979

-~-

Awhile back someone left me an anonymous comment with a question about The Big Sack sweater. If you are still looking for help please let me know. I cannot trace emails from comments, especially when they're anonymous. ;)



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Monday, December 12, 2005

SSS but not lack of SEX

I've been thinking about SSS lately and the resultant Single Sock. I've also been thinking about SEX, but that is another post.*


I'm a newer sock knitter. I really enjoy the process as well as the finished project. I have finished 4 socks, of these four socks I only have one pair. Math problem? No, I'm a good little Scientist who Does not Use her formal Math Education for Anything other than Knitting and Balancing Budgets. One retro rib sock, one Dorchester Yarn sock (sidenote: the second will be finished soon), and two red sox. Hmmm, that leaves one sock that is without a partner in life and worse, a foot to wear them. A Single Sock.


Some of the less conventional among us may decide that the defintion of a pair of socks would read something like this:

Pair of socks
origin**: the word sock is derived from the Latin word succous which was then bastardized by those Old English Norman Invaders to sukkos, and finally twisted into socke by the Middle English Shakespearan crew, ed. note: the irony of the similarity between succous and what I yell when the sock pisses me off is not lost on me)
def: A pair of socks are nothing more than two sock shaped objects that fit on each of one's feet. Matching color sceme optional.

Unfortunately the sock knitter who suffers from SSS but not lack of SEX may not know someone who defines a pair of socks with such a loose definiton. Someone who throws caution to the wind and runs willy nilly through the world with two different color feet. Fortunately for me I have a sister who does.

My little sister is a soul unto herself (does this sentence even mean anything? It certaily sounds like it should.) The Sister is intent on creating her own little revolution limited to the confines of her feet. To her it represents a giant middle finger to social conventions, the 40 hour work week, and the "you must look semi normal to succeed in the world" axiom (I choose to listen to the Beastie Boys while dressed in a suit, we all have our revolutions.) The Sister has all of the semi-normal stuff working...until you get to her feet.

I love her feet and want to wrap them in socky hand knit yarn goodness. However, I cannot do it alone.

If you are a sock knitter who suffers from SSS but not lack of SEX and you are without a friend/family member/partner who exhibits reckless behavior with their foot coverings please, do not fret. The Bookish Girl has come to the rescue:



If you have a single sock without a home and, due to SSS, is unable to fulfill its true purpose in life please feel free to donate the Single Sorry Sock to the cause. Leave a comment, remembering that unless you list an email I can't find you, or email me at bookishwendy at gmail dot com (replace the at and dot with the appropriate symbols, eliminate the spaces and wham! you have my email address) and I will send you a self addressed stamp envelope to transport the sock safely and effortlessly. The Sister is not a knitter but will love any and all socks that come her way with reckless abandon (size 7.5-8 shoe) regardless of the socks wonkyness or lack of wonk. Furthermore, I will not have to brave the crowds to find a Holiday Gift which will leave me with more time to knit my heart out. For that, I will be forever grateful.

If you have someone in your life that subscribes to the alternate definition of socks or perhaps someone who just needs a little rebellion in their life I would encourage you to gift your single sock away. It will surely be well loved and you will feel so much better knowing that your SSS did not prevent a Single Sock from reaching its full potential.

* I love the warning on this definition. Those knitters are a wild bunch.

** Origin from Wikipedia please note that this article has sub-headings such as, "Criticisms" and "Socks in Popular Culture". I love Wiki)


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Sunday, December 11, 2005

Me. Me. Me.



I recently tackled a project that has been on my to knit list for over a year. Two woman from my knit group, Kris and Barbara, gave me Exquisite Little Knits by Iris Schreier & Laurie J. Kimmelstiel and Art Yarns Super Merino Colorway 105 for a wedding gift.

First of all, I love that I get yarn for a wedding gift. This was a simple knit that I did for myself. All me. Me. Me. Me. It only took me a year and a half to get to it. At this rate, the knit list is obviously going to grow a lot faster than projects are finished.

For this yarn, I choose a pattern from the book, The Flying V scarf. I have knit up two of Iris Schreier's patterns. She has really cool designs - ingenious and fun with just enough challenge to keep you interested.

The yarn is so yum and squishy and soft. The scarf stretched quite a bit with use. I wonder if it is the yarn or the pattern? No matter...I love them both all the same.

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Monday, December 05, 2005

If you get Caught between the Moon and NYC...

Way, way, back in the summer (before snow storms and lightening storms happened at the same time) a woman from Elisa's and my work asked us if we would be interested in renting a Peter Pan Luxury Coach (aka: A Bus with a Video Player) to go down to NYC for the day. Leave at 6 am return at 2 am. It did not take us long to say Hella! Ya! (Hella is Elisa's wine filled version of Hell Ya!), this proves to me that we are not as old or farty as we think we are.

About 0.2 seconds later we sent an email out to the Boston Knitter Crew To Whom We Are Acquainted (BKC, a distant relative to the TGKWB) challenging them to take Manhattan (Standard Bookish Girl Disclosure: if you did not get the email, please do not take offense. We only sent it to those that we knew in person (thankfully an ever expanding circle.)) As you well know this is a hectic time of the year, fa la la, and many could not come with. The few, the proud (Elisa and Kellee), and the crazy (Me!) ventured out at ass-crack (official time of the crazy) in the morning last Saturday. We hobbled onto the bus and promptly started knitting socks.

Three hours later we were in Macy's checking out all of the Holiday place settings on the fake tables, marveling that Hush Puppies can look cool, and laughing at the Santa-Land Diaries and the Christmas Scene that so inspired David Sedaris.

Kellee and Elisa in front of Macy's




An hour later we were greeted and hugged by Cara who is, by far, the best NYC tour guide in the world. Elisa, Kellee and I had few wants for the day, we had all been to NYC before and really, the weekend after the tree lighting is not the best time to be sight-seeing. Our Luxury Coach Driver, Chris, told us that NYC will see 30,000 tour buses during the 48 hour weekend. Thank goodness the city was built to absorb people.

Elisa and Cara in Bryant Park


Here is Cara with her list. The list of Yarn.


Kellee contemplating her Chipotle


We are extraordinarily lucky to have a plethora of wonderful knitting stores here in Boston. However, NYC is lucky to have a plethora of unusual knitting stores and notion stores. Like a store that has ribbon, lots of ribbon, ribbon up and down the walls. And fur, and feathers, and more ribbon. Ah, heaven.

Kellee in Habu Textiles

We soon met up with Marne. Marne is one of my best friends. we lived together in college and she is an extraordinary knitter. She was exercising a surprising sense of self control in the yarn stores. It was fun and weird to see my virtual world and real world collide. I think they melded nicely. Marne mocked the blogging and the knitting but I am pretty sure we won her over with our wicked ways.

We ran around a lot, we laughed a lot and we had a great time. I loved traveling with these fools and truly enjoyed their company.

Our day ended with a mad dash to a restaurant that Cara had chosen. Elisa had gotten caught under a pile of Cherry Hill Tree Sock Yarn,


Cara had forgotten her purchase in the yarn store and the cab driver just wasn't NYC enough for us - so, we were late. We pretty much fell into the Restaurant, loaded down and giddy and there was Kay waiting for us at a table with a bottle of wine. Have you ever seen a more welcome sight?

Did you know Kay's fingers are blue? Why didn't I get a picture of this?


We ate. We drank. And we ate warm chocolate cake. Cara very sweetly accompanied us back to our bus pick up location. We had feared the bus would leave without us as we were late. Thankfully others were later. We had a wonderful time chatting it up on the bus ride home. Kellee and Elisa are the best kind of travel companions. Not only because our interests are the same (if you can believe, the interests go beyond fiber) but because they are honest and open and truly fun!


Once again the kindness of these knitting blogging people has me blown away. The click of personalities and the underlining feeling of warmth is really incredible. It sounds kitschy but it's true. I've already started looking at airfare for another trip down there. New York City is an incredible place and I adore the people that live there.



Go see Cara's Warm Hand Warm Heart Post and Elisa's Alcohol Keeps Lying to Me Post for their travelogue...

PS - I am trying to get better about taking pictures during my adventures. Now, I just have to get better about posting them in a timely manner....

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Friday, December 02, 2005

Continuing on with the discussion of how I never finish anything why don’t we discuss these mittens.



"Why they are finished!" You say.

They were a Christmas gift for Juli's husband LAST YEAR. At that point in time we had one mitten that was not sewn up. Juli and Chad came to Boston in early June (where the picture below was taken.) Juli received both of her finished mittens (that were a Christmas gift) and I gave Chad the one mitten and told him the other would come soon.



We have a loose definition of soon over here. It is kind of like "or so" time. Like, I'll see you at 4 o'clock "or so". The "or so" gives you at least a 30 minute window on either end. Which is very important when you are married to a SOUTHERNER and is apparently very important when you can't finish anything. Come to think of it, I used to be a Finisher. I would finish the pants off any body any day. Now, not so much, the only thing that changed?

The start of a relationship with a Southerner who is very slow and not always direct about getting things done.

Hmmm, coincidence?

For those of you interested in the knitting:

The pattern is Kate Gilbert's. The link to Kate's site and the yarn info is on my sidebar. The stripe pattern corresponds to Chad's birthday. Eleven strips of one color for the month, one strip for the day...etc. This is a fun way to personalize a knit, get a little variety in your strips, and (best of all) still have some logic involved.



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