Sunday, October 31, 2010

Tuesdays are (still supposed to be) for Weaving

As we all know, Tuesdays are for weaving around here.  I failed for a couple of (read: a month of) Tuesdays in a row there, but headed back last week to actually get working on my tweed sampler.  This thing is going to look uber ridiculo by the end because I am testing out different kinds of yarn and patterns and all the yarn is in different, garish colors.

Mom, I'm going to give this to you when it's done to hang up on the wall with the rest of your woman-made art.  You are welcome!!

Miss Maybelle has been out for the month tending to her daughter and brand new granddaughter.  I am relying on the generosity of my more experienced classmates to pull me out of hot water when I mess up.  So far the mess ups have only been twisting my edge warps on the right side (I think that fixed itself) and the fact that my piece doesn't look a thing like the other girls' who is working on a sampler (I think we warped the looms differently...I think I am ok).

In other news, Adam and Sean made me dinner after class.  I heart you two and your amazing cooking!

Squash, sweet potatoes, pork tenderloin, apple sauce, salad, beer bread.  YUM!!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Knitting Inspiration: Yarn Bombing

Neat hair
Cool ride
Even Cooler Ride
Lace fence
Body Parts

Public Transportation
Are you in awe of knitting yet?

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Gauntlet's Gone Wrong

Folks!  There is a new knitting store in DC.  It's called Looped Yarn Works, and it is in Dupont Circle.  That's right, I have a yarn store dangerously close to where I live and work.  They have a Thursday knit-night that I hope to attend regularly.  And I may have been there (*cough*several times*cough*) already to check out their selection and (shamefacedly) buy some yard for a new project I am making called the EZ 100th Anniversary Camping Half Circle.  We all know mine is not going to turn out like the picture (and we all know it is going to take me a year to do...much bigger than the last piece of lace I knit and with much smaller yarn, too), but we can pretend, right?

In other news: FML.  I finished the gauntlets I was making my sister just in time for her birthday, but was that a chore or what!
My little sister Janey claims she loves them.  So did her roommate, so I might have to make another pair so there is no roommie jealousy going on out there
I actually ended up making the first one (with a couple of mistakes that I am trying hard to ignore despite my OCDishness since no one but an avid where's waldo player would notice the mistakes), making the second one, tinking** it back after making half of it because I did the cables wrong, reknitting the second one, realizing (after I had already cast off while working on the gauntlet in the car from Iowa back to Chicago last weekend) that I had knit the pattern COMPLETELY and utterly wrong, knitting a third one perfectly, and then tinking the second one backto make a pair of short gauntlets. 
Short gauntlets.  Mildly ugly in this picture, but much better when they are actually on the hands.  I gave them to my friend at work who comes from Las Vegas and has no cold weather gear. 
Realizing (again, after almost completely done) that it wasn't going to work, and then tinking it back it again and reknitting it again with slight alterations since I didn't have enough yarn.  Woah.  After all that I have a pair of long gauntlets and a pair of short ones. 

Long one.  You can see the cable detailing a little better.
Short one.  Same as the long one only with two repeats instead of four.  And no mistakes (despite the ripping out a bunch of times, I really only messed up on the first one I made)
And have memorized the pattern.  And hope to never make one of these thing ever again (that's a lie...with a memorized pattern, everyone is getting these for out).

**  "tink" is the word "knit" backwards. So when I "tink something back" that means I am knitting backwards, or unknitting.  Also known as "driving JoAnna absolutely bonkers."

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Weekend Update: Iowa

First off, here are some fun Facts about Iowa (from Wikipedia):
  • Iowa is located in the Midwestern United States, an area often referred to as the "American Heartland." 
  • It derives its name from the Ioway people, one of the many American Indian tribes that occupied the state at the time of European exploration.[5] 
  • Iowa is often known as the "Food Capital of the World",[7] ] 
  • Iowa has been listed as one of the safest states in which to live.[9] 
  • Des Moines is Iowa's capital and largest city.

Here is my own list of "You know you are an Iowan when":
  • You care more about where people are from (a.k.a. where their family is from) than what they do
  • You do not bat an eye if a salad doesn't actually contain any vegetables (in fact, it may be made entirely of jello, and/or a pear covered in shredded cheddar cheese)
  • You say pop
  • Salt and pepper (oh, and maybe a little garlic salt or A1 Steak Sauce on occasion) are the only spices you need
  • You know the different between a cow, a bull and a steer
  • You know how many ears of corn grow on one stalk
  • The smell of hog reminds you of road trips
If you couldn't tell, I spent last weekend in Iowa.  My dad met me and The Boy in Chicago (a two hour flight for us, a 12 hour train ride for him) and we drove to Waterloo, Iowa (4-5 hour car ride).  First stop was at the farm of our family friends.  I have been going out to the farm since I was a baby (I apparently watched Halley's Comet shoot by there as an infant...this is not something I remember, but I will be something like 78 years old next time I will have the opportunity to take a look).

On the farm they have horses, chickens, lots of barn cats (about 20 currently....there were 40 last time I came.  Sooooo many cats), a dog, sheep and

a steer!!!  (note: for those of you that are not from Iowa, a steer is a male cow who has been neutered.  A bull is a male cow who has not.  Now you know).
Sheep!  I learned many things about sheep.  I think I will cheat and talk about that in another, less lengthy post.
On Sunday, we headed back into town for the annual Smith Family Picnic.  A couple of notes about the picnic:
  • If you don't know the date or the time of the picnic, shame on you.  No one will tell you.  Even if you ask, all they will tell you is "the weekend closest to Aunt Ruthie's birthday at the warmest part of the day, at the place it was last year."  Good luck with that one, outsiders!
  • It is actually the Tjebkes family picnic.  My great-grandmother Sarah Dietz was an orphan in New York who got sent to Parkersburg, Iowa on the Orphan train (basically they shipped city kids out to the Midwest as free farm labor to their adoptive way to solve a social problem, I guess).  She met a man with the last name Dietz, who helped produce eight daughters before he died before the youngest was born.  My great-grandma lived to be 100.  Her eight daughters (my grandma and my great aunts) all lived around Waterloo, carrying on family traditions like this picnic.
  • They've been bringing the same can of beans for the last who-knows-how-many years.  The first year, someone brought a can of beans but no one had a can opener.  So the next year they brought the same can of beans, but again, no one remembered to bring the can opener.  Now they bring that same can of beans every year asking "anyone bring a can opener?"  Everyone shakes their heads mock-sadly and says, "darn it, must have forgotten it." 
My great aunt Emmaline (my grandma's twin sister) makes carmel corn.  We all roast hotdogs and smores. 
Mmmmm hot dog...
 We walk around the park.
This elephant statue has been in the park as long as I remember.  It used to be blue, but it looks like the flooding and old age has gotten to him.  Also, I think I used to ride on his back.  I could not figure out how to get up there by myself, and we determined that I am too big to be lifted up there.

And we take a family picture.
Oh, what a small, motley crew.  One of the eight daughters.  Three of the six grand kids.  Three of the countless cousins.  Two great grand kids.  Assorted spouses/others.  There are 244+ people in the family (I know this because we all have a number...I am number 136) and this is who is still around to come to the picnic.  Do we look related?
Other things I did this weekend:
  • Messed up a knitting project. More on that later.
  • Freaked my dad out (dad: if you are reading this and disagree with the following, do feel free to let me know). I legit believe my father thinks I am a raging feminist crazy person. I think he realizes he raised me this way and it is his fault, but still gets strangely quiet when I went I go all fiery about the practice of taking business associates out to gentleman's clubs, rape culture, and the sexism/racism found in the Benevolent and Protective Order of the Elks (that is actually what they are called. Look it up). It is the same silence I got from my aunt in Atlanta a couple weeks ago when I talked about doctors "slut-shaming" young female patients. I should probably learn to tone it down around my family/anyone who hasn't learned to take me with a grain of salt/everyone.
  • Went bowling and scored the best game of my life.  I am afraid to tell you the score for fear that you will realize how terribly bad at bowling I really am (despite my huge love for it).  I will say, though, that I got a TURKEY!!! (three strikes in a row).  With a hot pink, eight-pound, kids' bowling ball, no less.  I rock.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Store Bought Knits

Spotted all kinds of great knits at Target, similar to the stuff I've been working on lately.

These little gauntlets (apparently even more people wear them than I thought...):
Wrist-length, fingerless mittens and gloves.  Cable-knit.

This crazy hood thing:
Fair Isle knit.
Cable-knit hat:
These are most like the gauntlets I'm making:
More cables.  Elbow length.
And these which are also similar:
More elbow-length cable knits.
However, mine are 100% wool, hand knit with love.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Weekend Update: Apples of My Eye

What does that phrase mean anyway: apple of my eye?

Anyhoo...Apple Fest 2010.  Went to Larriland Farms this weekend with some lovely people to pick apples.  Got 10 pounds of apples (no, I don't think that is too many.  I had 20 pounds last year....) and a pumpkin.  And a jug of cider.  And some apple fritters and a cup of hot cider that were consumed immediately.

I made five of those pounds of apples into applesauce almost immediately (let me tell you how annoying that was without the apple peeler this year.  Ebeth: get yourself back to DC and make my life whole again).  The house smells of cinnamon and apples.

Also this weekend:

I went to Crafty Bastards, the Washington City Paper Craft Fair....oh yes I did!  I bought the most expensive skein of yarn I have ever owned from this lovely lady who is raising pygmy goats on a four-acre farm in MD.  I enjoyed her story (told in an extremely entertaining flat affect) and her yarn so much that I had to have some.

100 yards of sheep/goat wool, sparkles and other fun things.

I can't bring myself to ruin the perfectness of how the yarn looks by itself by knitting it into something.  Trying to decide whether it is appropriate to just wear the skein as a scarf.  Actually, that's a lie.  I wore it as a scarf to work today.
I call this self-portrait "Pale self in khaki cubicle with beautiful scarf"
It smells like sheep/goat which smells a little like hay which smells like a petting zoo.  So basically, I smell like a petting zoo today.  And I find it very comforting...

Monday, October 4, 2010

Throwing Down the Gauntlets

So, gauntlets are real things.  Like, people wear them.  Like, real people who have never, ever in their life been knights in shining armor, or any kind of knight at all (shiny or otherwise).  Never, ever, did I think that I would so desire to wear gauntlets, let alone knit them, but then I saw this.  And then this.  And then I was like, hey, my hands get a little chilly when I type.  And wouldn't it be cool to still be able to dial my phone while wearing hand coverings this fall?  And now I am knitting this:
A top secret surprise Christmas present.  Does the yarn remind you of anything?

And this:
My first cable pattern (unless you count the failed caplet experiment...which I don't).  Another, less top secret present.

And this:
This is soon to be the same pattern as the above gauntlets, only elbow length.  My stop-freezing-my-hands-off-in-this-crazy-cold-weather gift to myself.

Gauntlets...not just for jousting.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

BISIO Update: October

I had a bit of a posting issue last week, and the "Recent Knitting Projects" post looks like it went up on Monday instead of Wednesday.  If you missed it, please go back and read it 'cause I made some pretty stuff recently.

Grad School:  Folks, this sucks.  I mean, really.  I have letters of recommendation writers lined up.  I have accounts set up with LSAC (the online application center for law schools), SOPHAS (the online application center for schools of public health), and Columbia University (who spitefully refuses to be part of SOPHAS).  I have uploaded my resume, begun to enter information is all 12 separate applications I have to fill out (despite the common app that will supposedly make the process easier), and have written a pretty uninspiring personal statement that I now get to rewrite a thousand times.  Sigh...

Sheep to Sweater:  I am going to Iowa in a week for the annual Smith Family Picnic (more on that later, I promise).  Iowa, the land of farms and, in turn, farm animals.  I am convinced that I can find a kindly farmer who will let me hang out with their sheep for a while. However, the folks we are staying with informed my dad that they sheared their sheep in July (JULY?!?!?!), and that they probably don't need a new haircut for another year or so.  Pft! 

Additionally, knitting blogs that normally make me so happy have started to make me feel super insecure.  Rationally, I understand that very few people are into knitting as much as I am.  In the larger scheme of things, there are probably more blogs and experts on any other topic in the world than there are on knitting.  And knitting is a relatively young craft (compared to spinning and weaving that is.  Only about 1000 years old), and people are coming up with new ways of doing things all the time.  And yet, reading blogs and books and seeing the cool things that people have designed, I feel like everything in the knitting universe has already been said and done and accomplished.  Thank goodness I have other skills to fall back on, right?

Doula: One of the coordinators of the volunteer doula program that I am part of is leaving.  I am going to step up to help out as part of a three-woman team to keep the program in tip-top shape.

I have ideas....