ambersweet: Enter the secret garden of my heart... (Open the gate)
Suddenly I've been really productive, which is good, because I'm running out of time between now and Christmas.

A lot of knitting. )

So a couple of you suggested, in response to my last post, that I should write a book. I don't know that I'm up to book level yet, but what I'm thinking about actually doing is starting a blog. In it, I would talk about emotional honesty, and healing the damage caused by bad relationships, and building healthy ones, and knitting (and crochet and spinning and weaving). Because for some reason, the crafting and the counseling are plied together in my thoughts - maybe because I came to them together, and maybe just because I needed one to work my way into and through the other. There's just something about knitting, the act of making something real, that just is satisfying in a soul-deep way. Like meditation, with yarn. And meditation brings all sorts of people to new realizations.

I don't pretend I have all the answers, but if I can use my experience to help a few people, well, that's what it's there for. Teaching, and sharing, so we can all grow together.

The name I'm considering (thanks to [personal profile] finch's suggestion) is Ripping Back, which both the knitting term for undoing rows of stitches to fix an error, and what you need to do to expose yourself in a way that honesty is possible. You have to rip back the shields, and the masks, and the facade that is the "cult of okay." So this will be a blog about admitting mistakes, working to fix them, and progressing from there, both in the emotional and the knitting sense.

What do you guys think? Would you follow me elsewhere?
ambersweet: Link holding a chicken! (Friday Chicken)
This week, it has been crazy, and it's somehow Friday once again.

Success: the research paper was completed and submitted on time. One final left, and I'll be done.

Semi-success: finished the third finger of Beer Glove #1. I'd probably finish it completely tonight, except that I apparently don't have the pouch with my yarn needle with me. Tomorrow for that.

Total WHEN KNITTING ATTACKS kind of fail: the Rainbow Crone scarf. Guys, I hate knitting with this yarn SO MUCH. It twists like crazy, folds, it's slippery as shit, and completed stitches further down the scarf have LITERALLY fallen out. I don't even know how this is POSSIBLE. So, no more Rainbow Crone scarf until I figure out how to fix this problem. Maybe I'll crochet with it instead, so I at least don't have to worry about dropping stitches.

I mentioned earlier in the week that I completed the second pattern repeat of the Argyle State University scarf, and I haven't touched it since then, because the paper, it was eating my soul.

More rows on Ribbed Sock #2, as well, because it's something I can do while roleplaying like the Friday chicken.

There was a lot of stress in the last week, but I handled it really well, all things considered. I was sort of spastic, but, again, able to finish the paper on time. I'm feeling good about graduating; I need to work on my resume and cover letter this weekend and apply for that job.

There's probably more but I'm trying not to get killed right now. How's everyone else?
ambersweet: Yellow crocheted project, in progress (Crochet)
Rather than trying to kill myself writing a novel on top of a full schedule of work, classes, and an internship, I decided to attempt posting every day during November. I actually did this! Well, more or less. I didn't manage to post every single day, but this is the 36th post for November 2010. I talked about knitting a lot, wrote some fic, ranted about stuff, and really had a lot of fun. It feels like a good habit to have, so I'm going to try and stick with it through December and into the new year.

Random knitting updates: I have a full pattern repeat completed on the Argyle State University scarf, and I'm a lot more comfortable with working the pattern, so it's going faster. Work on the Beer Gloves continues apace; I'm about to start in on the fingers. I was in class when I hit that point, and I didn't want to break out the book, so I cast on and worked about half an inch on Ribbed Sock #2. I don't remember if I mentioned this, but I bound off the Seafoam Shawl (again). I picked up this gorgeous silver yarn (Loops and Threads Dewdrops in the Onyx colorway) - it has sequins. I know, right? She wants fringe, and I'm also going to do a crochet edging along the top to make it a little bigger. A friend of ours had a baby, so I also had a minor crochet interruption to make a baby hat. It's going to look like a One Up mushroom when it's done (three spots to go); I'll post pictures.

I didn't get anything done over the weekend, which means I'm going to have to write a six-page paper and put together a ten-minute presentation between now and 1:30 Thursday. THIS WOULD BE EASIER IF I DIDN'T FEEL LIKE MY MIND WAS STUFFED WITH WOOL ROVING. And me without a spinning wheel. Not that I'd know how to use it if you handed it to me, but you know, the principle of the probably very incoherent thing. Anybody want to write a paper on Navajo storytelling styles or do a presentation on captivity narratives for me?

Yeah, me neither.

Also, this thing where I wake up ridiculously early on Tuesday morning is getting old. So not very excited about going to work in an hour.
ambersweet: Making it up as I go along. (Mature pink scarf)
So I was staring at the Beer Gloves pattern on the train this morning, fucking around with the part I was confused about, when suddenly I had a blinding revelation and was able to proceed. Sometimes knitter shorthand is annoyingly vague.

I got through a complete repeat of the cable pattern, around to the next row that requires cabling, decided I didn't want to attempt to cable without a needle on the train, and therefore switched to the Seafoam Shawl (which I don't carry around much any more because it's too big and heavy) and did another row. Possibly two? I wasn't quite counting.

Fighting with the Argyle State scarf last night I discovered that I had the wrong number of stitches somehow, so I'm going to have to rip back and try again. "Ripping back" at this point involves frogging exactly two rows, so better now than later. But I have several rows of the pattern written out and I'm getting the hang of working with two balls of yarn at once, so I have high hopes for my ability to succeed on the second attempt.

As to why I hate Thanksgiving? You know the guy who decided that we needed to keep the shit that comes out of and off of the turkey INSIDE the turkey, so that some poor woman has to reach into the cold cavity and pull out the neck, then flip the damned thing over and pull out a squishy damp package of giblets? Yeah, he's the reason I hate Thanksgiving. They don't do this with chickens. They don't do it with spare ribs, either pork or beef; they don't do it with London broil or lamb chops or ANYFUCKINGTHING ELSE. WHY must holiday festivities be preceded with "Step 1: molest a turkey?" Why can't they package this shit OUTSIDE the turkey for the handful of weirdos who see it as something other than garbage? These organs are dead, gentlemen: I DO NOT WANT THEM. Send them to Recycling.

In other news: this is the weirdest thing I've seen all day. Weirder than this and much weirder than this. (That last one? Involves Colin Firth as a sex kraken. And Eames with a tuba. I have no idea.) I saw all three of those images in rapid succession, starting with the tuba.

OMG.

Nov. 22nd, 2010 09:30 pm
ambersweet: Hardcore knitters do it with DPNs. (Pink sock)
I just cabled without a cable needle. This is sort of like tightrope without a net, except that the only thing that will fall are stitches. SALVAGING DROPPED STITCHES IS NO FUN. However, I WAS SUCCESSFUL!

I was told it was exhilerating.

It's very true.
ambersweet: Ramona Flowers with blue hair drinking coffee (Ramona - coffee (blue))
At least I hope not, because I certainly don't have one. Except that I'm going to talk about knitting, because what else do I talk about ever.

Working on the Beer Gloves, and having some problems with the sizing, so I went poking around until I found someone else who had already resized them and I'm starting the second cuff with her adjustments in mind. If I like how it turns out, I'll rip out the first cuff and redo it; if I don't, I'll figure something else out. Knitting! It is a giant game of trying to figure it out as I go. I'm not thrilled with the way the pattern is written, and I'm thinking about writing it out in the way that I wish it were written. But I am lazy, so I might just make notes directly in the book. We shall see. If nothing else, the chart for the palm is driving me insane and I'm not sure I like how it looks finished (based on pictures I've seen), so I may get rid of that section anyway, or alter it a little. ([personal profile] crankyoldman, are you in love with the textured palm?)

Did some thrifting today, but didn't really find anything cool. Took a stack of books and miscellaneous stuff down to Bookman's and picked up the first and third book in Holly Black's faerie trilogy; I really liked the second, Tithe. Normally I don't read out of order but apparently the first one is mostly unrelated? (At least [personal profile] nepenthe told me so. If this is not true I blame her. XD)

We also went to two different yarn stores looking for the yarn for my boss's scarf; The Fiber Factory had Cascade 220 in a gold that I liked (California Poppy), but they only had one skein of burgundy, so we went up to Tempe Yarn & Fiber. They ALSO only had one skein of burgundy! So I ended up getting that skein and then trekking back to TFF to pick up the other. They're different dye lots, but Fred at TYF assured me that Cascade's dye lots were very consistent, and they look the same to me. So it's all good. I also picked up a darning egg, so I can darn [personal profile] finch's favorite socks, so he will no longer be heartbroken.

Afterwards, we went to a very nice coffee shop for some quality NaNo write-in time for [personal profile] finch and some quality homework-and-yarn-balling time for me. This week on Women and Crime: more reasons for me to hate the justice system! This time, it's inadequate health care, and how mandatory drug sentencing hurts children. I'm normally not into the Think of the Children!!! arguments, but when you have a non-violent first-time offender serving fifteen years for smuggling drugs for somebody else, and she has a toddler when she goes to jail? The person who's going to be suffering the most will be that totally innocent child, who cannot possibly understand why her mommy won't be coming home again.

As I certainly can't do anything about the inadequacies of the justice system tonight, I'm going back to knitting. The Beer Gloves, I can help.
ambersweet: Go ahead! Panic! Do it now and avoid the June rush! (Go ahead! Panic!)
Wow, another Friday already? Which means it's time for the Friday Chicken. Chicken!

(For those of you who've played Zelda games, and who've chased chickens around? That's totally why the Friday Chicken amuses me so much. That mini-game in Ocarina of Time and Windwaker where you had to find all the chickens was the BEST MINI-GAME EVER. Throwing chickens, what more could you possibly want out of a video game?)

I'm still doing pretty darn good on all fronts. This week was a tired week, as revealed by my going home and falling asleep on Wednesday, and then taking a (much shorter) nap on Thursday before work. That probably had a lot to do with the fact that I woke up at 9 AM on Thursday because of Wednesday's marathon sleep session, but I needed it and I gave it to myself. Today I'm feeling pretty good, jazzed about going to [personal profile] starfleet's show tonight and meeting [personal profile] nightmachinery.

That glorious green sparkly sweater I bought at the thrift shop over the weekend matches my flowered skirt; I think I've found a new favorite outfit. Incidentally I discovered that I look really good in green. Shallow, but still a plus, and clothes make me excited.

I am glorying in my knitting; I worked on [personal profile] crankyoldman's Beer Gloves on the train, and I'm almost done with the cuff. Magic loop technique is breathtakingly easy, it would be easier if the joins on my bamboo needle wasn't so fussy and I'm pretty sure it's a little faster than fussing with DPNs. I have a couple of projects in the queue, enough to keep me busy, and every single one has a new technique. (Magic loop! Stripes! ARGYLE!)

I wrote a surprise paper, because I thought the due date was next week, but I'm pretty satisfied with it. I gave myself permission to panic about the surprise paper, and then I didn't need to, which was totally awesome.

I'm feeling happy and satisfied and working hard without being overwhelmed, which is fantastic.

Stumbling blocks?

- End of semester panic. That looming fear that it'll soon be over and I need to find a job in this economy and I won't be able to, even though I have actual concrete plans about what to do. Focus on concrete plans! I can always temp, if it comes down to it. I am a star and there is a job waiting just for me if I'm ready for it.

- I'm irrationally worried that I'm going to get myself in over my head and disappoint someone. Acknowledge that this worry is irrational, think about new tasks before taking them on, don't be afraid to say no, and don't make promises.

- Irrational Yuletide fear that I won't like my assignment or won't be able to do it. I think that's related to stumbling block #2. Don't borrow trouble, I'm not going to worry about the assignment before I have it, and last year's terrified me but I did a fantastic job with it. So.

Goals! Last week and next week, here we go:

- I read one chapter for my end-of-semester paper, so basic goal met. +!This weekend I need to do my Women & Crime reading and the reflection, read Bighorse the Warrior and write a journal, and put together some thoughts on "The Man Who Plugged In" (which shouldn't be hard, since I wrote a paper on it!) so that I can facilitate the discussion for Women as Healers. Goal: Get all that done, read two chapters for end-of-semester paper. Bonus goal: Write the critical essay for English.

- I didn't hit my grad school goals. Goal for this week: hit that goal for last week.

- I added to the Seafoam Shawl and finished Ribbed Sock #1. ++! Goal: finish the Seafoam Shawl (again). Bonus goal: Finish Beer Glove #1.

- Bonus overall goal: find/create a Friday chicken icon!

Three goal points for this week! That's something to be excited about.

So that's my Friday chicken. How's yours?
ambersweet: Hardcore knitters do it with DPNs. (Pink sock)
As I said, my Knit Picks package arrived, and the yarn is beautiful, and I've started on [personal profile] crankyoldman's Beer Gloves. I'm using the Magic Loop technique for the first time, which is a lot less confusing than it seemed to be before. Time will tell whether I'm going to stick with it or go back to double-pointed needles. I am one of those strange people who doesn't have a problem working with DPNs, probably because I'm an insanely tight knitter. Anyway, I had a couple of false starts - the first start cast on beautifully, but I used the number called for in the pattern, and I did a couple of rows and went, "That is WAY too big," so I cut ten stitches, which was an odd number when divided in half (that doesn't work well when you're doing a 2X2 rib), so I dropped two more and then proceeded to use the tail for the working yarn for the first row, so I had to pull it all out anyway and then decided that was too small, so I added four back. I've done a round and it looks good, so I'm going to keep going and try it on again in a couple of rounds to make sure it works. Fortunately Cendri and I have similar sized hands (tiny, with long fingers), so as long as they fit me, they should be fine on her.

The most challenging part of this pattern is going to be adjusting it from Man Size to Tiny-Handed Lady size, I think. I've got a couple of inches of ribbing to do before I have to worry about if or whether I'm going to adjust the cable size.

The other exciting knitting-related event was my boss picking the pattern he wants for the scarf he's commissioning from me, and giving me the materials down payment. Amusingly, it's another pattern from the book that the Beer Gloves comes from - an Uncle Argyle Scarf from Son of Stitch 'N Bitch. It's a great pattern book in general, a mix of knit and crochet projects for male recipients. I have several patterns in the book tagged to make for [personal profile] finch, and the Uncle Argyle Scarf was one that I loved that he didn't. So I'm excited for the opportunity to make it, and my boss seems to have a genuine appreciation for handknits that you don't usually see in a) non-crafters and b) men.

So, on the agenda for this weekend is a trip to at least one LYS (Local Yarn Store) to see if I can find some Cascade 220 in Gryffindor my college's colors. My life, it is so difficult.

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