flexagon: (racing-turtle)
Introducing... my third sweater! This one is special; it's what I started knitting for. I wanted to have a cabled, patterned wool sweater, and when Chia taught me to knit and gave me two giant cones of natural-colored wool I figured I was all set. :)

Unfortunately, by the time I knew enough to start the design process I had learned a lot of clever tricks, ALL of which went into this sweater. End result: it took me nine months and countless hours, but it's done now, and it seems to impress the hell out of other knitters. It's funny, because I didn't mean to go meta with my knitting in any way, and I don't want to be a knitter's knitter. I just wanted a pretty and cabley sweater that I could respect in the morning. So anyway, success!



Five more pictures, including bonus shot with Nala )

I love my sweater!! But my advice to you is that if you want one like it, don't learn a damn thing about knitting or about sweater design, lest you become spoiled like some people I could name. Just go to an Irish imports store or something and pay a couple hundred dollars for one; it's a good buy. Seriously.
flexagon: (1upcake)
I'm knitting again. I hadn't done it for weeks because I was somewhat stuck on a technical problem. It's funny how an inch or so of progress is enough to let me see a pattern progressing and get excited about it again... and it's nice to be making something tangible.
flexagon: (Default)
Friends who are moving are sending me delicious, tempting links. Oh, how I would love an Oxford Gossip Bench. Alas, no place to put one, but what a cool name for a piece of furniture.

Though I'm not putting in new money right now, I redeemed some credit today over at www.kiva.org... so here's good luck to Noella Talifilemu who is buying baking equipment, Nak Naem who is buying piglets, On Yen who is buying fishing nets, and Maulalo Salatielu who is also a baker -- she's just buying ingredients, which is not my usual thing, except that she's in business for herself at 20 and has no children (you go, girl). With apologies for the cultural/national stereotyping, I seem to be developing a soft spot for both Samoans (the loan amounts are small) and Cambodians (they so often pose as couples, and tend to be cute together). Isn't it strange that I'm helping two Samoan women but I know I can't point to Samoa on a map? My mother would think the map matters -- I bet she knows physically where every one of her Kiva loans have gone -- and I can't explain either of our positions on the issue.

I'm having great knitting successes, but getting a little worried that the yarn-cone I'm knitting with is barely shrinking after most of a sweater has come off it. I have another cone even bigger than the first. What do I have to do to destroy it, hmm, knit a car-cozy? Or maybe I'll use it for the latest design I'm drooling over:



You can see it better on the flickr page, which is doing a pretty good job of preventing a hotlink of the full image despite my viewing its source.

Oh, yes -- the cold is on its way out. Farewell, virus, I'm back to my energetic self. My quads are KILLING me after yesterday's squats though. It's not entirely fair, considering that I did do squats the week I was sick, and only slacked off by 20 pounds. I guess that was enough to save my ass (and I say that very literally), but for quad maintenance I need the brutality that only comes from yoga.
flexagon: (Default)
I never posted about my last day at work before the long, long vacation I'm trying to recover from. It was a good day -- actually, it was a great day, I hesitate to admit just how scintillating I found it. In short:
  • I was working with UI stuff
  • I was hacking up a demo, and realized 2 of my tasks fit together really well, and so hacked up a double demo, by 1:30
  • Social stuff -- got to sing carols in the lobby! Let's not forget the snowstorm.
  • People were interested in my demo, so I spent the afternooon in a tight feedback loop responding to little requests for changes. I felt productive. It was awesome.


Now, hmm, well, after that delicious little reclusionfest I don't feel like working at all, but beyond that I have no idea how to feel. Emotionally I think I'm just coasting. I don't really understand why this team likes my work (so far) any more than I understand why my last team didn't. It seems all too random. I do my work, some people expect a lot, others expect less, or else they happen to value different things. I've gotten in the habit of feeling anxious and sad, but at the same time it's hard to even remain interested. I've got my resume and career website all updated, and 401(k) matching at its legal maximum, so I can be peaceful.

In other news, I finally understand how knitting can be an expensive hobby. You just have to buy hand-painted chunky baby alpaca and make really simple patterns using large needles. Yeah, not my usual thing at all, but I lost my scarf, so what was I supposed to do? :)
flexagon: (Default)
I have show-and-tell today: I finished knitting another sweater. This one took only half the time my last one took, going from yarn to done in a speedy 3.5 months. :) It's made of 100% bamboo, which is heavy, shiny and drapey... I love how it feels when it's on.





All pictures of the project
Detailed FO post in my knitting blog

I like my general policy of only posting finished objects to LJ, but, obviously, sweaters do not just spring full-formed from my forehead every few months. I spend a fair bit of time on this, not just knitting but also reading stitch dictionaries, design books, Ravelry, and, lately, a lot of graph paper.

My next project is special, a self-designed Aran sweater... which, not incidentally, is what I started knitting for. I just didn't know when I started that it would take me a year and a half to work up to making such a thing, much less that tons of people knit for many years without ever feeling up for it.

Fools and engineers rush in where angels fear to tread, right? Swatching has begun. FO post in, oh, probably a year.
flexagon: (Default)
Hmm. I feel like I have something nice going on in my life besides trying to remember the Bellman-Ford algorithm for my three-hour final exam tomorrow.

But what is it? What could it be?



Ohhhhh, I remember. It's that I'm done knitting my sweater! Right! Hey, everyone, check out my sweater.



Ooh, hot stuff. Hot, I say.



The extra motif on the sleeves is a pattern mod, probably the best one I made:



And now for an action shot. One, two, three, HANG OUT WITH KITTIES!



More details will appear on my knitting blog later. Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] heisenbug for being my photographer. :)
flexagon: (Default)
What does Santa bring you? Santa brings books to me and [livejournal.com profile] heisenbug. Santa brought All Cats have Asperger Syndrome, Animals in Translation, Star Wars: A Pop-Up Guide to the Galaxy, Geek Love, This is Your Brain on Music, Musicophilia, Dying Inside, Quo Vadis... but my favorite was, wait for it, Flexagons Inside Out. Thank you, [livejournal.com profile] heisenbug, you make me smile.

Dinner was beef stew along with a bean-and-mushroom dish from my newest cookbook, the Veganomicon. It was pretty tasty, and despite several people telling me the beef-and-vegan combination was weird, um, no it isn't. First, people eat vegetable dishes (often vegan) in the same meal with with meat ones all the time. There's basically nothing more normal than that. Second, the beef stew was mostly plant-based itself, with only one non-plant ingredient out of six. All in all, the only bad thing is that we ran out of bowls and spoons, since we were just finishing up a big batch of chili when we started cooking all this. The mushroom/bean dish has a lot of thyme, and of course the mycoprotein from the mushrooms, and is savory as all get-out. I'd definitely make it again.

And I'd definitely play Dvonn again, even though I can't seem to win it.

Today was chore day, undecorating, feeding and walking other people's critters, and going to the bank to get my interest rate bumped up since I now have an actual lump of coal money in my savings account there. By way of incentive, I explained to the nice young man that if this could be done, I would close out another account elsewhere and put more coal in there. And that led to a longer discussion, culminating more or less in "yes, [livejournal.com profile] flexagon knows what she is doing". Ah, the nice young men who try to be helpful despite the fact that they're seeing about 1/8 of a situation. I left him, went to Starbucks, and finished knitting up a tiny sock for the sock blocker key chain Chia gave me for Christmas.

I am reminded that someone has basically wrecked our garage door, and something should be done. Like religion, I find my brain just won't focus on it. Unlike religion, though, to my displeasure, I can not-care about the garage all I please and I'll still have a garage.
flexagon: (Default)
Hey, life sucks, I have a cold
walkin' out the door seems way too bold
here's a couch, think I'll lie on it
for hours and hours and knit knit knit.



you got it babe, I finished a sleeve
though every three rows I had to sneeze
my kleenex supply is gettin low
can't panic about it, I'm movin too slow

I'm sleepin and dreamin, yeah turn out the lights
twenty-four hours in the last two nights
some fitness folk think it's good to rest
let's put that theory to the test

it's almost time again for the nightly drill;
8:00 is bedtime, hand me that Nyquil.
flexagon: (Default)
I had people over for a craft night last night. I love having people over... there were 8.5 people there at the fullest point, doing everything from literary criticism to musical composition (some knitting, some dreamcatcher making and some beading occurred as well). It was basically old friends plus Apples, who I would perhaps like to be be old friends with someday, and of course the Galica who is simply not old enough to be old friends with. The hot spiced cider crossed all boundaries and was the most popular attendee of the evening. All in all, it got bigger than I thought it would and went better than I thought it would (I mean, I wasn't even the one who started the late-night acro!) and maybe I'll have another one after the holidays. (I'll probably still be working on the same sweater, too, though I got over 3" of the sleeve done last night and that gives me some hope for the future. What would it take to get that much done every weekend day? And how depressing is it that the same amount of knitting will be about 1" worth when I'm working on the front and back of the thing? Agh.)

Here's some yoga progress for those who are interested...Scorpion pose through the ages )

I would SO LOVE to experience this with feet-to-head. I'm not sure I can do it safely, but today I may try to do this in such a way that I can lean the whole thing forward, shins on a wall, and get more leverage toward the final pose. (What's the worst that can happen, I drop myself on my throat? Eh, I'm sure that doesn't hurt.)

Weightlifting before that, though. And coffee before that.
flexagon: (Default)
Everyone say hi to my first (and maybe last) pair of hand-knitted socks! Together they are FO #3.



Want more? I posted about them in more detail on my knit-blog, and I took a bunch of pictures, some of which involve both socks AND cats.

My main gripe about socks is that they take forever, and I won't even know whether I like them as socks until it gets cold enough to wear them. I learned a ton of things though -- these were my first experience with provisional cast-ons, lace, short-row shaping, tubular bind-off, and k1p1 ribbing (highly enjoyable, the hands get into a nice jazzy swing. It may sound weird, but I could have kept knitting the cuffs for a long time). Kind of a long list, in retrospect. I'm not quite sure why I decided to do these before starting a sweater... there's a sweater I'm in love with, which I already have yarn for and have already swatched for and thought about a lot... I think it had something to do with job-hunting stress, back when I was too freaked out all the time to enjoy reading on the bus. Anyway, I've had it with the small projects. Sweaters are the whole reason I decided to learn to knit, and it's time to make one already.
flexagon: (Default)
I am knitting a hat, and for some reason everyone around me seems to be THRILLED by this.

Fussy upstairs neighbor (sounding delighted): "Well this is new! How lovely."
Financial advisor: "No way, that's the first thing you've ever made? It's beautiful."
Doctor: "Well aren't you clever! Very even gauge. That's what my mother always used to say, which is part of why I never was any good at that."
Coworker: "Wow, that's amazing, I wish I could knit."

I am not taking these things as compliments. Why, you ask? Because they are delivered in the tones I would expect from counselors in a halfway home of some kind.

"Isn't it wonderful that Angel has started to knit! That will give her a nice creative outlet to take her mind off the withdrawal symptoms and losing the baby."

"Oh yes... creative, and calming too. I think it's very nice. What is she making, a hat?"

I heard once about a guy who was knitting on the bus and people assumed he was an ex-con who was knitting as part of a prison program. It seems people assume I'm knitting as therapy. Well guess what... I'm actually doing it so that I will be armed with two pointy things at all times. The voices in my head told me that was a good idea, and they were right about the alien plot so I'm trusting them this time too.

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