Friday, October 26, 2012

Because what's a knitting blog without knitting?

The field trip to natural stitches yielded quite a stash of Louet Gems sport weight.  Pictured below is a poorly photographed start of Kathy Zimmerman's Welcome Back, Old Friend.  It's a slow knit, mostly because I am not at all interested in trying to frog cables.  I'm hoping the sport weight wool will make this wearable some day.

Re: that field trip to Natural Stitches.  The first time we went (a year ago) I had no plans. Actually my only plan was to pick up whatever yarn happened to strike my fancy.  I got some nice yarn.  I used most of it (except for the 5.000.000 yards of Lorna's Lace Helen's Lace)  Occasionally I buy laceweight yarn as if you could rip one of those out in a weekend.

This time I was quite smug.  I spent the week before the trip taking note of which patterns I knew I wanted to dig into, and the amount and type of yarn I would need for each.  While I would say that I was mostly successful (the Louet Gems a prime example), something happened when I was looking at the Madelintosh sockweight (by the way does anyone EVER make socks out of that?)  

Somehow I convinced myself that I really needed to make not one but three different versions of Color Affection, so I purchased 9 different fabulous skeins of Madelinetosh sock yarn.  Hello allowance- goodbye allowance! (and then some.)  The truth of the matter is that I neither have nor had any intention of making Color Affection.  It was merely the vehicle for purchasing more of that gorgeous yarn. Bad Knitter.  Bad Bad Knitter.  Someday you'll see this yarn but it deserves more than a crappy nighttime photo.

Also regarding purchasing yarn with the planning process.  It's more than a little ridiculous/hilarious that while in the midst of that great store I was convinced that I would have time to knit 2 vests, a severely cabled sweater, several pairs of mittens, three color affection shawls and three intarsia Christmas stockings before I made it back  next year (or sooner.)  Let's just say that if that really happens, I am one Bad Ass Mo Fo Knitter.

And finally in the category of "Welcome to Middle Age,"  My favoritest KnitnightGina brought me an early birthday present last week.  Two pairs (varying strengths) of reading glasses.   She says she looked for the ugliest ones she could find for which I am grateful.  The more garish (I prefer that to ugly) they are, the less likely I'll be to lose them.  So far I only need them for dark yarn and lace weight but I felt like it was an initiation into the "hey you're like us club."  And also a fabulous early birthday present.

As for the birthday, it is still a week and a half away and that Mr. Sophanne cracks me up.  The trip to the symphony was the Best Present Ever.  I have no need for anything else. HOWEVER...

Mr. Sophanne didn't want to go to the casino alone last weekend.  He said "here's $100, it can be your birthday money, let's go to the casino."  And by birthday money he secretly means "birthday money so that you will gamble at the casino money."  I was not a big winner but I didn't mind so much, I had no attachment to that cash.  Spending it at the casino was almost a present to him. 

He handed me the same amount last night (after he had his name drawn and was a winner) and said "you shouldn't spend your birthday money at the casino." So I'm "up" again and instead of going to the casino, I'll be going to a ceramic painting place tomorrow that is donating 10% of the proceeds to a breast cancer fundraising team which is money MUCH better spent.

Because what's a blog without adorable dog pictures

I've got some catching up to do.  So I thought I'd start out by distracting you with some gratuitous but adorable dog photos.  Every now and then the girl likes to pretend she's still puppy sized and she cuddles up to Mr. Sophanne while he's working on his laptop.

This moment is less special and more usual.  Under the covers with her ice cream cone.  Just like me after an episode of Sleep Eating.  Why oh why does he continue to buy drumsticks? I love the left eye leering sideways and the paw over the cone.

We were experiencing difficulties with our camera and Mr. Sophanne wanted to take a few test shots.  Mostly I wanted to edit out the fact that we don't have a mattress pad on the bed and the fact that the sheet is always undone  but I yam what I yam and that's a pretty adorable picture.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Devoted Husbandry

Here we see Mr. Sophanne watching the third quarter of the Mountaineer Game, dressed and ready to leave IN THE MIDDLE OF IT to go hear the Pittsburgh Symphony.

And here I am in front of Heinz Hall, waiting for things to begin.

What a performance.  

I don't listen to much music.  When you hear the sounds I hear all day long, it's necessary to sort of "clear the palette."  By the time the palette is cleared the evening/weekend is usually over and it's back to work.

The thing that makes music music is that you can't express what it says or does with words.  If you could, there would be no need for it.  The part of me that wants to share the experience with you is piling words upon words of boring description.  The part of me that has any sense at all knows I might as well just say, "It was Awesome." and leave it at that.  I will add though, that tears fell uncontrollably from my eyes for the first five minutes because the sounds were so beautiful.

And, while we did have directions to get there, I managed to navigate Mr. Sophanne in and out of the city without any back tracking, illegal u-turns or traffic citations.

Friday, October 12, 2012

I wouldn't mind it if only...

the doctor would believe me and there was something I could do about it.

I've been having weird physical responses to the world lately.  The worst of which is a "just below the surface" itchy skin but also includes, sweating all day, hands trembling, dry mouth, brain fog that includes impeded ability to multitask, and more.

The general practitioner says "you're too young."  I say "hey buddy, just because I look so youthful and just because YOU'RE a man and older than me does NOT mean that I am too young.

If you wonder what might be causing such physical symptoms, you need only to go here.

All of this stuff is on the "it's personal, you don't share that shit with people" side of life but that boat's done sailed and I'm glad for it because I could really use some psychological support here.

I know many of you women blog friends are older and wiser than I- or have mothers who are older and wiser.  If you'd care to share what you know of the experience and how you managed or didn't manage in the comments, maybe someone will be directed here and feel comfort and compassion.

It's hard to write clever posts when your skin is crawling, which mine has been for the last month.  There was some temporary relief with prednisone (alas it had issues of its own) but as soon as I was done, the skin crawling began again.

As for the brain fog and multitasking, I take comfort that while I was once brilliant at that, I am now within the standard deviation which likely makes a lot of the people around me who think slower than I do most content.

Next month I will be 47.

In other news, the tickets are purchased and tomorrow night we go to the Pittsburgh Symphony.  While I am incredibly happy to be hearing Mozart's Requiem performed live, today I am primarily concerned with sitting still through the itchies and not having emotional overload as a result of the beauty of it.

If ever you knew something and were thinking about commenting and sharing what you know, today would be a great day to do it-


Saturday, October 06, 2012

Things that make me happy today

There are 2, no wait, 3, no wait, FOUR FIVE things making me happy this evening.

Thing #1- the weather.  I am so glad to have cool air surrounding me.  It's the first time in 2 months that I haven't broken into an unintentional sweat.  TMI?  Well, it means a lot to me.

Thing #2- My birthday present from Mr. Sophanne. Next Saturday we are going to hear the Pittsburgh Symphony do Mozart's Requiem.  This piece moves me like no other.  Mr. Sophanne was not excited about going to the symphony.  He was, however, glad to be making me as happy as happy can get.  Aunt of Sophanne says he'll fall asleep and snore.  I am crossing my fingers that he is moved by the experience and wants to do it again but I am not holding my breath.  If I get comfortable driving, Aunt of Sophanne and I will go to future events instead.  If driving means I get to go then comfortable I will get.  Aunt of Sophanne is hoping he'll snore.

Thing #3-  Knitting friends gathered for dinner and a trek to Natural Stitches, my favorite yarn store.  This time around, I looked at patterns and didn't buy as many random skeins of yarn.  That did not stop me from random skeins of Madeline Tosh sock yarn that I pretended to be gathering to make a couple of Color Affections.  Also garnered was enough Louet Gems sport weight to make Welcome Back Old Friend by Kathy Zimmerman and some chunky Lamb's Pride to try another Meg Swansen  Shawl Collared Vest.  I've made two and maybe this time I can get it "just right."  Can you guess which of these last three patterns is the most self-deluding?

Thing #4- The progress of the stockings.  The first attempt using fair isle ended up being a clumpy mess.  I switched to intarsia and things seem to be a little smoother.  Based on what I've seen online, blocking will work small miracles and this sample is pre-blocked.  I went for duplicate stitches on the tractor details.  It looks a little rough but I think it will look great from a distance.

Thing #5- As I was remembering the things I was happy about today, I had to keep adding on to the list and I completely forgot about the fact that the DMV (which was supposed to be open today) was closed because they get TWO days off for Columbus Day?  Seriously?  I'm thinking it's a right wing conspiracy to keep Pennsylvania voters from getting those i.d. cards- thankfully we don't need them this year.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

What to do while avoiding conflict...

Conflict? Not a big fan. Doesn't matter if I'm involved or not. Right wing rhetoric? Also extremely opposed. I thought I wanted to watch the debates but I was mistaken. Mr. Sophanne refused to repeat the good/bad lines but I have a feeling it will be harder to miss the salient points than it will be to see them.

Wanting to make the most of the evening, I swatched cascade for the stockings. Option a was a single strand with a size 4 needle. It's pretty sturdy fabric but likely wouldn't stand the years if it accidentally becomes an heirloom. Option b, Double strands on size 8 needles may be not so easy on the hands but makes a much sturdier knit.

I had to create my own tractor graph after all. The Finnish one was too large. Not interested in getting off my arse to look for graph paper, I bought a cross stitch design app and went to town. The only thing cooler than graph paper is an app with graph paper. I'd like to pretend that I'll now become rocking out stranded knitting mitten designer but as Chris Farley said in those SNL skits, that's another one of those things I'm never going to do.

The picture below is the top of the stocking. The red below the tractor is place for the little fellers names. The rest of the stocking will be like the green at the top with a yellow toe and heel. I'd really like for them to have that braided thing at the top ( the cross the strands business that has an alternating herringbone in green and yellow look) but the idea of doing that on three separate stockings sends chills down my spine. (but it could be a family treasure she says to herself...) hmmm... Maybe I can trick one of the knit nighters who have more patience to do it for me., or at least give me advice.

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

More things to know

I have no essay in my head.  I learned some stuff at knit night.  If you want to skip the funny stuff and go straight to the "I know knitting I can help" section of this post, jump down to ***

1.  Armadillos are the primary source/carrier of leprosy.

2.  Necrotizing fasciitis (flesh eating disease) is treated with penicillin which is sometimes hard to come by when there is a syphilis epidemic.

3.  While herpes is more prominent in the northeast, syphilis is the main STD in Florida.

4.  There is a reflex test that doctors give to newborns which involves lifting a baby resting on a table up by the arms and letting go of them to watch their arms flail to be sure they have the instinct of catching themselves.  (the baby is not completely lifted just up at the arms.)

5.  It's fun having a friend in medical school.

6.  Trying to pick up provisional stitches in laceweight yarn sucks.

7.  When a knit night friend suggests a pre-field trip adventure, you feel like Sally Field- she likes me, she really likes me- so busy being happy about the possibilities you remain blissfully ignorant of how pathetic your life must seem.

Some school adventures for anyone who might come here for that.

My favorite moment this week occurred in 5th grade where we sang The Lion Sleeps Tonight and accompanied ourselves on xylophones.  There really is no way to describe the looks on kids faces when they hear chord progressions/harmonies that they are making (presumably for the first time for most.)  I can only imagine that it is something similar to the cavemen discovering fire.  For real.

My most hilarious moment of the day was all about me not remembering names.  When we get this far along in the school year the progression usually looks something like me calling a kid by the wrong name and immediately realizing I was wrong (often by the crestfallen look on a kid's face) and then immediately calling her by the right name.

Today, however I was given a break.  After I inadvertently referred to Emily as Elizabeth and corrected myself, Emily said, "you probably called me Elizabeth because we have the same shoes."  I felt like I dodged a bullet on that one when I said, "You're absolutely right."

And hey- if I haven't said it lately, thanks for reading my blog.

***the stocking is in the design mode.  The tractor pattern dictates that I have 80 stitches around.  As I see it, in order to make the sturdiest sort of stocking I can either a) use worsted weight on a size 5 or 6 needle, or b) use two strands of worsted weight on say a size 10 needle.  I will eventually test out both of these methods but if you have any opinion or knowledge to share, that would be great.