Sunday, January 25, 2009

A Knitting Meme

It has been a draining weekend, and I still don't have any good pictures of the Christmas Cardigan so I'm going to post a quick knitting meme, and head to the couch for some podcasts and the toes of Hubby's socks. I got this list from Saffron Knits.

Mark with bold the things you have knit, with italics the ones you plan to do sometime, and leave the rest.
I-cord cast on
Garter Stitch
Knitting with Metal Wire
Stockinette stitch
Socks: top-down
Socks: toe-up
Knitting with camel yarn
Mittens: Cuff-up
Mittens: Tip-down
Hats: Top-down
Hats: Cuff-up
Knitting with Silk
Moebius band knitting
Participating in a KAL
Drop Stitch Patterns
Knitting with Recycled/secondhand yarn
Slip Stitch Patterns
Knitting with banana fiber yarn
Domino knitting
Twisted Stitch patterns
Knitting with Bamboo yarn
Two end knitting
Charity knitting
Knitting with soy yarn
Toy/Doll clothing
Knitting with circular needles
Baby items
Knitting with your own hand-spun yarn
Graffiti Knitting
Continental Knitting
Combination Knitting
Designing knitted garments
Cable stitch patterns
Lace Patterns
Publishing a Knitting Book
Participate in an exchange
Teaching a child to knit
American/English Knitting
Knitting to make Money
Knitting with alpaca
Fair Isle Knitting
Norwegian Knitting
Dyeing with plant colors
Dyeing spinning fiber
Knitting items for a wedding
Household items
Knitting socks (or other small tubular items) on one or two circulars
Knitting with someone else's hand-spun yarn
Knitting with DPNs
Holiday related knitting
Teaching a male how to knit
Knitting for a living
Knitting with cotton
Knitting smocking
Dying Yarn
Knitting art
Knitting two socks on two circulars simultaneously
Knitting with wool
Textured Knitting
Kitchener stitch
Knitted Flowers
Knitting with beads
Long Tail CO
Knitting and purling backwards
Machine Knitting
Knitting with self patterning/self striping/variegated yarn
Stuffed toys
Knitting with cashmere
Knitting with synthetic yarn
Writing a pattern
Knitting with linen
Knitting for preemies
Tubular CO
Free-form Knitting
Short rows
Cuffs/fingerless mits/arm-warmers
Knitting a pattern from an online knitting magazine
Knitting on a loom
Thrummed knitting
Knitting a gift
Knitting for pets
Knitting with dog/cat hair
Hair accessories
Knitting in Public

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Four More Inches (A Christmas Cardigan Update)

A couple weekends ago, I finished all of the major pieces, and was getting excited about seaming everything up and making sure it fits. Here you can see the pieces all laid out ready to start going together.
Those of you more experienced than me, can probably already see a problem, but we'll get to that later. Since this is really my first major undertaking of seaming, I thought I should do a little research. I found a guide to finishing in my Spring 2008 Interweave Knits. It said I had to seam up the shoulders first, add anything that has to be added (in this case button bands and the collar), and then, I could seam up the sides and arms. I got over my disappointment of knowing that I wouldn't be able to try it on this weekend and grafted the fronts to the back.I was proud of my grafting job, but wasn't very happy with the way it looked. Grafting looks like stockinette, and my very textured and cabley cardigan did not look it's best with a stockinette join. I pushed on anyway because I knew that the collar would cover it up. By the end of that weekend I had the button bands almost done, and I finished them up last weekend.When I went to pick up stitches for the collar, something struck me as odd. I should have been picking up well over 100 stitches, and with the space I had, if I really squeezed them in there, I could get maybe 20. I pulled out my Sweaters 101 book in hopes of finding an answer. My problem was how I had set my pieces out that very first time. Compare that first picture to this one.I had set my pieces together as if they were set in sleeves, but I was really working with raglan. So, last weekend I ripped the old shoulders out (which I was ok with since I didn't like how they looked anyway) and made new shoulders that included the sleeves. Then I picked up the stitches and got started on my collar. I now have about three and a half more inches of collar to go before I bind off, then I'll pull together all the seams, and then I think it will be finished. I am pretty confident that I'll finish the collar this weekend, and since I have tomorrow off, maybe the seams. I'm not certain about that, but I have some great podcasts to listen to and a beautiful snowy day to watch outside my window so I should get really close.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Mooched Abbreviated

I have no idea why I was so gabby in that last post. For those of you who don't want to read novellas about the boring bits of my life, here is the abbreviated version.

Follow me on Twitter.

Donna was right, BookMooch rocks.


Before I begin, I want to share with you my twitter info. Now that I have spent a couple weeks commuting to my new job, I am confident when I say, I probably will not be blogging during the week. There might be a random shared link, or a YouTube video, but I don't plan on creating any content unless I have the day off. The time that I have at home during the week is limited, and as much as I've been enjoying blogging more often, it is more important to me that I sit down for a healthy dinner and spend some time with my husband. That said, I am still really interested in staying virtually in touch throughout the week, so I've decided to give twitter a try. It allows me to quickly share ideas and experiences. I've been using it for over a week, and the content is without a doubt more mundane, but it is also more diverse than this blog has been. I've updated about work, knitting, commuting, and food. I've imported the RSS feed into my side bar, so you can see what I've been tweeting from this page. Otherwise, you can follow the RSS feed on any reader you use. The easiest option (especially for those of you who are already using Twitter) is just to follow me through that site. So, here I am:

A year ago is probably about the time that the idea of us moving to New York really started sinking in. The decision had been made, our families had been informed, and the geographically specific hunt for jobs and an apartment began. Prior to this decision, Hubby and I had an unspoken understanding that we would live in a house. We never talked about it as a plan, but rather when we'd talk about money or something similar, it would always contain the undercurrent that our expectations were to buy a house in the future. Moving here has thrown all of those expectations out the window. We may still own, but the time frame in which it happens has been pushed way back. The concepts that I have associated with my future home since I was a kid, like a yard and an attic, are dwindling. Replacing them are ideas of doormen and elevators.

The worst of these changing expectations is space. As I think about how much I would like to move across the river, I'm starting to feel like I am never going to have any of it ever again. It doesn't bother me too much, because honestly, how much space do I need. And, as long as what I have is allotted properly (ie enough space to cook in the kitchen instead of some huge random hallway) then I should be fine. When this really becomes a problem, is when we consider STUFF. Since we've both lived our whole lives expecting a certain amount of space, we have collected plenty of stuff to fill it. We have boxes full of souvenirs from our travels, memorabilia from our childhood, and nicknack's that we have no idea where they came from.

I have firmly entered the mindset of getting rid of stuff, but there are still two barriers that I find myself running into. The first is, "We should save that for our kids." Both Hubby and I have a problem with this phrase. I have stuffed animals, games, and photo albums. He has his stuff from the military, games, and whatever is still stored in his parents garage. Holding on to things that are deteriorating from improper storage in the hopes that someday people who currently don't exist will want to see them is a whole different blog post (or series of counseling sessions since I'm not a historian or archivist). So, I'll skip ahead to barrier number two: Books.

We both love books. All three of our past apartments have been lined with overflowing bookshelves. With the new digital readers coming out, I've heard a lot of arguments about why people want books, and ironically most of them don't apply to me. I don't like being surrounded in bookshelves. I don't care about what they say about me. In fact, most of the arguments that I hear for books leave me wanting to hang more photos. There are three reasons that I like having the books that I've read: I reread, I reference, and I share. If it were not for those, I'd happily get rid of every book I finish.

While I am certainly not ready to get rid of all of my books, I've done some serious mental preparation, and I'm ready to get rid of some of my books. The original plan was to take them to a used bookstore. The area where Hubby's parents live is covered with the type of bookstore I had in mind. I started looking for one near our apartment or my office to unload on and hopefully pick up a couple cheap paperbacks to read during my commute. To my surprise, I couldn't find one. I found plenty of used bookstores, but none of them had that mass market mentality that I was looking for. The ones I found all boasted rare and unusual books. The plan to take them to a store instead of just donating them to a library was because I'm excited catching up on some fiction reading now that I'm not in school. I was hoping for credit to the store to pick up some light reading for on the bus. First editions of classics are not what I'm looking for.

After some frustration about not finding the store I wanted, and a few jokes that we had enough books on our own if Hubby wanted to call the franchise up and start one nearby so it would be convent to me, I remembered Donna talking about some website that used the post office to accomplish what I'm looking for. Sure enough in my bookmarks was the link to BookMooch.

I signed up last weekend and put up a half a dozen books just to check it out. I ended up losing my entire Saturday because my books were mooched faster than I could post them. I wrapped up the books that were requested and pulled out another box to post some more. By Monday morning, I had 13 books packaged up and ready to be sent off. I wasn't expecting this kind of response, so I was not prepared with padded envelopes. I took a tip from EcoEtsy and wrapped them up in pages from magazines that were headed to the trash. They were fun packages to make, and I was having a great time. The best part of it all is that we now have one less box of books to move. I just have to resist the temptation to mooch faster than I can read.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

2008 Archies

The Archies is a list of my top things in the world from 2008. For more details you can check out the origin of the Archies from back in 2006. You can also check out my list from 2007 and Donna's (the creator's) 2008 list. If you do look at my last year list, you'll notice that some of mine are repeating. They really are just that important.

2008 Archies

The Kahlers and the Krolls

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

New Jersey

Hillary Clinton
Barack Obama
The Moth
Neil Gaiman
Mobius Strips

Neil Patrick Harris


Baby booties

Tina Fey
Knit Picks
Interweave Knits
Times Square
Michale Phelps
Kermit the Frog

Muppet News Flash
My First Virtual Symposium

and a few that would have made my list this year or other years, but are separated because they won't have the opportunity to make my list again.

Studs Turkel
George Carlin
Kermit Love
Heath Ledger

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Resolutions of 2009

I am not much of a resolution maker. In the past, I've found myself in a rut waiting for the day that my life was going to change. It may have been New Year's or as soon as I finished whatever was currently consuming my life. Other things I would just wait to start until Monday. Every time New Years and Monday would come and go without my life changing or anything being easier. I realized that I was just using these 'opportunities' as reasons to procrastinate. So now, I generally believe that everyday is an opportunity to do things right (or wrong). I'm not against resolutions. In fact, I think that they are a great way to build a support and accountability network for those particularly tough changes. I've just found that the resolutions that I would make are things I've been trying to do anyway.

This year, the start of a new job coincides nicely with the holiday. It, and the changes that are happening because of it are the real catalyst for my resolutions, but I want to join in the fun, so I am going to talk about them as 2009 goals anyway.

Resolution #1 -- Bedtime
I have tried most of the resolutions that seemed to be standard, or popular every year. I've resolved to diet, workout, manage my time better, be more organized, and all the others that are related. What I've found that it always comes down to is sleep. I'll skip working out because I'm too tired to get up early or I am exhausted from a full day. I'll opt for fast food, or skip eating all together because I am rushed from over sleeping or too tired to want to stand in the kitchen. My thinking is clearer when I've slept and I always feel more productive (no matter how much I've gotten done) when I don't feel like I've been dragging through my tasks. So, I am going to set and maintain a bedtime. I was doing pretty good at this resolution while I was in grad school last year, but I lost it when I changed timezones and now that I have a new job, it is time to reset.

Resolution #2 -- Be Fiber Conscious
Now that I have joined the professional working world, I have a bit more financial freedom. I can now approach shopping as an educated consumer rather than a skimping student. While I am not yet a fiber snob, for the next year I am going to try to buy only natural fibers. This is hopefully going to extend beyond my knitting and into all of my purchases. The United Nations has declared 2009 the International Year of Natural Fibers, and think they did so for good reason. Not only is is good for the earth, it supports economies worldwide. I expect buying natural yarns to be the easy part of this resolution. The difficult part is going to be learning what other changes I can make. A bad example (since I know I will not be buying a car in 2009) but a cool factoid is that there are using a hemp substitute for fiberglass in some cars. Another difficult aspect (especially since I probably will be buying new work cloths this year) is going to be resiting adding any lycra or nylon to my wardrobe.