July 2007

I have a new friend!

I found him at Maido in SF yesterday, while I was shopping for stuff for my KVVS pal.  I found some stuff for her too that she is just gonna love.  I tried going to Artfibers for yarn, but they are only open from 2-4pm on Sundays, and I was too early.  I did get myself to Imagiknit though…I hadn’t been there in ages.  I bought a yellow ball of Plymouth Encore for the color bar blanket (if I just buy 10 different colors one at a time it won’t seem as bad), and an awesome green skein of Colinette Jitterbug sock yarn, which I had never seen before.  Yarn and tiny Japanese goodies makes for a great shopping haul.

I also spun a little more of this dark brown corriedale I got awhile ago.  It’s really hairy and not very soft, but I think it’s really good for practicing on.  I hadn’t spun for about a month.  Maybe I should start doing Spinning ___days like some bloggers.  I’m not going to get very far if I hardly ever do it.  The good news is, I was deviating a little from the park & draft technique, and actually managing to draft a bit while the spindle was going.  I am trying to spin this stuff somewhat thin, so I can try plying with it.  I keep seeing people doing awesome things with their spindles, and I want to be able to do some lovely hand-painted roving justice.

I’m really grateful to be getting paid for sitting in this office at UC Berkeley and doing next-to-nothing, but something about it is giving me horrible headaches.  I have been getting them more often even outside of work.  This a problem that plagues my mother so I know it’s something I’m going to have to live with.  I really think I should get some yoga videos or something (since I can’t afford to go to classes regularly) because I really hate taking (increasingly strong) painkillers every single day.  I think today’s dose is finally kicking in, though.


The past week was full of ups and downs.  These were mostly related to my job/financial situation.  I didn’t work all last week, and all my calls with the temp agency were disappointing.  So I took matters into my own hands and slogged through Craigslist job postings.  I didn’t have must hope of hearing back, but I felt a little productive anyway.  I guess I must have become good at writing cover letters at some point in the past few months, because I got not one, but two responses!  I set both interviews for Monday.  They went fairly well, but I won’t hear about them until next week.

So I was feeling heartened, but still extremely stressed out about my financial situation, and not knowing when I would next have money coming in.   On Tuesday, though, my temp agency called me with a job at UC Berkeley…starting Wednesday!  I’m working in the Office of the Vice Chancellor of Research.  Sounds fancy, huh?  It’s only for 13 days, but it’s money.  And if I do happen to get one of the jobs I interviewed for, I can start right after this one ends.

It’s fun being here at UCB.  It’s making me think seriously again about Grad school and what I should study.  Lots of interesting things here, especially if I want to go on the Ph.D track.  In leiu of my renewed enthusiasm in academia, I’ve finally started reading Edward Said’s Orientalism.  It’s pretty much required reading for myself, and I’m ashamed it’s taken me this long to get around to it.  And, in my extreme nerd-dom, I’m planning on writing it up on a sister blog.  We’ll see if that actually happens.

Well, you’d think with a whole week of not working that I might have time to blog.   I guess I’ve been distracted though, consumed with searching out some form of employment.  No good news from the temp agency, but I’ve been combing craigslist for options and I actually managed to land an interview for Monday!  I also have visited my preferred Alameda coffee spots and today I talked with the managers at my favorite one.  I feel that things went well, but I don’t want to jump to conclusions.  That would only be a few hours a week, but some cash flow is better than none.  And it’s clearly the best coffee place in Alameda, so it would be a dream come true.

I’ve also been lazy about blogging because I’ve been lazy about taking pictures.  But I got my act together, so let’s talk about socks.

I finished my Charades!  They were done on Saturday, so they took just over three weeks.  I’m happy they are done and they are very comfortable!  Officially my first pair of socks just for me.

Pattern: Charade
Yarn: Hello Yarn Tough Sock, in Swiftly
Needles: 2.5mm KP dpns
Mods: minor sizing changes, like lengthening the heel flap and foot.

 After completing the Charades, I started my mom’s Wyverns.  Since I took this picture, I’ve actually finished the first sock.  It wasn’t easy, though.  The toe and the foot were easy enough.  It was my first time doing a short row toe, which turned out ok after a few tries.  I want my joins where the wraps were to look really neat.  However, this came to be a problem when I got to the heel.  The bottom of the foot and the heel are in ribbing.  I could have changed it to stockinette, but I really liked the look of the ribbing.  The wrapping method linked to from the article didn’t really do it for me on the ribbing.  So I looked up some others, and ripped out at least 3 or 4 times before I finally settled on this one.  The result isn’t perfect, but it’s ok for now.  I finished up the ankle-length cuff and bound off.  The bind off looks really nice, but I’m concerned it could be slightly too tight.  But these socks are a little small for me, cuz they’re for my mom.  Maybe I will use the sewn bind off on the next one, and if it’s world’s better, I’ll redo the first one.

After this one-sock experience, though, I’ve gotta say, I don’t think short-row toes and heels are for me.  Well, the toe is ok, and I might use that again, but I’m not that thrilled with the heel, and for reasons beyond the ribbing and wrap problem.  But I’m trying something new.  For now, I still prefer cuff-down, heel flap socks.

I also joined Mystery Stole 3, but I’ll talk more about than when I’m a bit more caught up.  I’ve only finished Clue 1 (I did start late), and Clue 4 was released today.  Good thing we have two weeks for this one!  Hopefully I can get on track.

I finished my Clementine Shawlette!  This was such a wonderful project.  It was really quick, and great for TV knitting, because the 4-row repeat is extremely easy to memorize and keep track of.  Three strands of Misti Alpaca Lace is like knitting with heaven.  The color and the drape of this shawlette is just too beautiful for words.  And I know it is just absolutely perfect for my grandma.

The specs:
Pattern: Clementine Shawlette, by Michele Rose Orne, from Interweave Knits, Spring 2007
Yarn: 3 strands of Misti Alpaca Lace held together
Needles: Knit Picks Options US4
Mods: Pretty much nothing.  I made sure the grafting took place after two rows on each side of stockinette lace; the resulting effect is that there is a slightly wider flat area where the pieces are grafted.  As per the pattern, the eyelets do not continue through that grafted area.  It is noticeable, but I like the way I did it.  I just wanted something that would fit with the piece, even if it stood out a bit.

I am really happy with this project.  I wish I could send it to my grandma now, but I want to wait until the weather is a little more appropriate.  She lives in Montana, so there will be plenty of opportunities for her to wear it this winter.

So, I joined Summer of Socks 2007.  I have made a few pairs of socks in the past, but all of the successful ones were gifts.  I made a single Jaywalker after xmas, but I really hate how the yarn feels so I didn’t even bother making the second.  Anyway, I decided I needed some socks of my own, and this would be great motivation to do it.

We started on June 21st (summer solstice), and I cast on for Charade, with my recently purchased Hello Yarn tough sock.  I mostly knitted this first sock at work.  I had a really hard time getting myself to cast on for the second over the weekend, instead wanting to start a different sock.  But I was disciplined.  Now that I’m a few inches into the cuff of number 2, I know I won’t start another until this one is finished.

Part of the reason I had such a hard time resisting the urge to start a different sock is because I went yarn shopping over the weekend.  Since I was doing socks, I thought it was high time I get that red Panda Cotton I’ve been obsessing over, to make my mom some warm-weather appropriate socks.  After acquiring the yarn, it was really hard not to use it right away.  But I really needed to mull over possible patterns for a bit, and I’m glad I am not (yet) falling victim to second-sock syndrome.  I think I have decided on the Wyvern Socks.  They fit my requirements for this sock plan: toe-up, ankle length, and somewhat lacy.  I can’t wait to get started.

While I was staring at the turning tower of sock yarn in Article Pract, I also found this:

Such a pretty color, and I’ve been wanting something a hand-dyed semisolid like this.  Maybe it will be Pomatomus, but for now, I’m content to just admire it.

And in my sock-phoria over the weekend, I decided it was high time I start photographing some of my stash for Ravelry.  So I pulled out any and all ‘sock yarn’ I could find, even if it’s ultimate purpose will not be for socks.  And so I give you, my modest sock yarn stash.