Knitting goddess · Ravelry · start-itis

Eureka!

While searching Ravelry’s pattern, project, and yarn databases for ways to get rid of all that fugly Bernat Boa Fur yarn I acquired from the boss, it hit me…..CAT BED! I noticed a number of Ravelers had made Kitty Pi beds using a pattern from WendyKnits. Turns out the pattern is free online – wow. While Wendy’s pattern calls for Noro Big Kureyon and felting it, the yarn I’m going to use won’t felt (I’ll just follow the directions for increases, using the needles called for by my yarn, and quit when the bed reaches as appropriate size). I will instead attempt to dump not only the Bernat but also other large amounts of fugly yarn that I have acquired.

Like four big balls of Lion Brand cotton craft yarn in bright red, gifted to me by my mom who bought it all for Raggedy Ann and Andy doll hair and then decided she needed a different kind. And couldn’t find the receipt. And realised she’d already wound up one of the skeins into a ball and lost the ball band…so she gave it all to me.

I don’t think the cats would mind a bright red bed with brown fur on the edges as long as it padded their perch. I think I might put this one on the rocking chair when I’m done with it (the cats first bed, my second knitting project, is on top of the bureau so they don’t scratch the finish with their kitty claws).

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new books (yay) · new yarn · random · Ravelry · start-itis

Yarny Saturday

I made a trip to the LYS to return a left-over skein of Cashmerino from the beret project and came home with two more skeins of sock yarn (another each of Kureyon and Bearfoot) and a yarn swift/reeling machine, depending on how you classify that. It was a little more expensive than I thought it would be ($58) but Edyie swears by that brand and I’ve been promising I would buy myself one after the last yarn-winding debacle. So, yay.

The purchase of more yarn also prompted an afternoon of cleaning out my office/spare-room closet. Talk about scary, over-stuffed, and disorganized. Eeek. I decided to take the remainder of my binders to work (they’re full of class notes which might see more action in my work office than at home in the closet), decided I really don’t need the extra sewing machine that Mom thought I should keep “just in case your grandmother’s breaks” (ha!, maybe Mom can ask if there’s a charity through the church that could use one), and pitched about three garbage bags full of old boxes, packaging, obsolete computer stuff, and a manual for my twelve-year-old graphing calculator (which, if I could find it, I’m pretty sure it doesn’t work anymore). I also made a side-project of cleaning out the bottom of the linen/hall closet (packed with about 800 disposable razors from some idiot company who thought the AXS house in town was a sorority – oops – and left us about 4,000 promotional razors; the girls in the Fraternity divvied up the boxes); the room I gained in there allowed me to relocate the Spot-Bot from the front closet along with all the steam cleaning products from the office closet (and the pet stain-fighting spray bottle which was buried under the pile of razors). As a result of the de-packratting process I actually have empty space on the shelf in my closet and I was able to re-arrange the storage containers to actually make better use of them.

I then sat down to attempt an update to my Ravelry account. Now, Flickr and I still have an ongoing disagreement about whether or not it will upload my photos, but I was able to get most of my open projects into my Ravelry queue, updated my stash of yarn with all my sock yarn (at least the yarn I’ll admit to – I gained back a storage box while cleaning and promptly filled it with the cheap yarn I’m too ashamed to admit I own and can’t find a use for), linked up my projects with my stashed yarn, linked my projects with my blog posts, and updated my knitting book library.

That took a whole pot of Earl Grey. What shall I do with the remainder of the afternoon before I go to work at 6pm (it’s now 4pm)? With a headache….guess I’ll pop a Tylenol, make a salad for dinner, put my reading glasses on and knit. I have several projects I should finish.

Oh, and Happy Valentine’s Day everyone. I’ll be wallowing in my date with my knitting.

Current book-in-progress: I bought a new book last night – Sex with Queens (hey, the same author wrote Sex with Kings and that was very interesting)
Current knitted item: Hmmmm, what shall I pick – I have red socks, that dratted scarf that I managed to finally make some headway on, a linen evening clutch, and a lacy top….
Current movie obsession: I need to finish John Adams (which is awesome, btw) but I’ve been watching the ITV Sense and Sensibility again
Current iTunes loop: My Chill Tracks Playlist on Shuffle (lots of John Mayer, Amy Winehouse, and Sara Bareilles)

new yarn · secret knitting · start-itis

Knitting Day!

I made today a knitting day because I needed a day of “finish-itis” not “start-itis” – but it had an inauspicious start. I hit up the LYS after fighting my way through the psycho Hawkeye-Nittany Lions fans (football game started at 2:30pm) so I could reach the other side of town. I got yarn to make a slouchy hat for myself (because I always have trouble due to the fact that I usually have my hair pinned up in the winter) and I got some more sock yarn. Noro has sock yarn, go figure!

I also got some Eucalan to send with my secret items.

After I got home from my bookstore shift I sat my little self down in front of the television and did what I do best – knit while watching college football. I had two choices – Okie State vs. Texas Tech or Notre Dame vs. Boston College. I really don’t care about the Big 12 outcomes but I have no love for Notre Dame so I settled down to knit like a demon and watch BC pound ND into the ground.

I finished my yellow secret item (came out looking pretty nice, finally), seamed up the test for a brimmed cap (which must have a pattern error because the underside of the brim is longer than the top – it looks like of stupid so I’m not going to make a nice version) and knit a couple of inches on my variegated scarf. Tomorrow I’ll start my cap – I got some pretty white Cashmerino.

Oh, and the Hawkeyes won. 24-23 over the #3 Penn State Nittany Lions – first win over a top 5 team since 1990. Hot damn.

start-itis · stuff I read

I’ve been productive!

Really. I have. Ok fine, I’ve played a lot of PackRat, too.

As many of you know, I have a little start-itis problem with books and knitting projects, books being the major problem. I recently made a list of all the books I recently started but didn’t finish yet:

The Green Knight by Iris Murdoch
Feather Man by Rhyll McMaster
Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond
Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer
The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski
The Dead Father by Donald Barthelme
Villette by Charlotte Bronte
Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh
The Library at Night by Alberto Manguel
How to Read Novels Like a Professor by Thomas Foster
The Time-Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
Why We Read Fiction by Lisa Zunshine
The Elegant Universe by Brian Greene
The Millenium Problems by Keith Devlin
How Beautiful it is and How Easily it Can by Broken by Daniel Mendelsohn
The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson
Grendel by John Gardner
Swann’s Way by Marcel Proust (now, that one I haven’t started recently but it seems that everytime I try to read it I have to re-start)

And I’m sure there are others I missed. I decided to try and make a bit of a dent in the pile. I finished The Time Traveler’s Wife first; Niffenegger has an interesting concept in the narrative thread of the book. It is vaguely linear, with view-points by both Claire and Henry which gives each character a great deal of depth. I only had a few bones about the ending – I thought it was trite and lacked a good emotional punch (I’d gotten invested in those characters then it seemed Niffenegger just ran out of steam). I also polished off How to Read Literature Like a Professor which is a really easy-to-read book; I plan to yoink a bit of his insights about Iris Murdoch (I think he’s got a soft spot for her). Next up was How Beautiful it is and How Easily it Can be Broken which is a book of criticism by Daniel Mendelsohn, a collection of his work from various New York sources. Mendelsohn has a great writing style, educated, reflecting his post-graduate work in Classics but not obviously trying to be remote and obscure. Some of the best essays were either reviews of new productions/adaptation of classical Greek drama or were reviews of movies thinly based on Greek epic or drama. A very enjoyable book. Guns, Germs, and Steel was an easy polish-off; I didn’t have much left and the book had run out of steam and was merely re-capitulating earlier points (it was good up until that point).

I then trimmed down Feather Man (caught back up with the “Book Explorers” for BNBC); FM is a first novel by a very respected poet in Australia. Although the novel does have some unsettling subject matter the author writes beautifully about Sooky’s vision of her own world as she grows up in 1950s Brisbane. I’m trying not to read too far ahead of my group in The Green Knight because it’s harder to keep track of everything when I’ve read through the novel.

I have The Dead Father and Trainspotting in my bag today; I’ll see what I can do about those (The Dead Father is really, really hard to follow because it is so incredibly far into the post-modernist style). I will sit down this weekend, biting the bullet, to finish Breaking Dawn; it just isn’t as interesting as the first three books in the series so I might as well be done with it (there are 200 pages left).

Current book-in-progress: I’m really trying to read a bit of criticism for The Green Knight (thankfully, there isn’t very much)
Current knitted item: Finishing second pair of booties (must be done by baby shower on October 12) and I’m doing a few more “surprise” items
Current movie obsession: Velvet Goldmine (though since I’ve been busy reading I haven’t been watching anything besides the morning news)
Current iTunes loop: Lucy Woodward is Hot…and Bothered (excellent jazz/lounge-sounding album)

cats · new yarn · start-itis · weather

Snow again

Yet again this winter I am stuck in my house. Not because the roads are terrible – they aren’t great, but they aren’t blown shut – but because it has taken all day for the snow removal team to show up and plow the lot. I tried to get out around 3:15pm to go to the store (Mother Hubbard’s cupboard is a little bare) and that worked not so well. It took two neighbors to help me get the car back in the garage. And lots of shovelling. Three of us were trying to get out, one in particular because he needed to go to the drugstore because his kids were sick. We shovelled and shovelled and the guy with the 4×4 was able to finally get traction so he went to the drugstore for the other neighbor. I do actually have nice neighbors some days.

They are just now plowing the lot (4:30). Sigh. Maybe I can go to the store later.

We were supposed to have book group tonight and decided that we would postpone for a week, given that three people were coming down from Cedar Rapids and they got more snow than we did. So next week we’re having a joint book-Oscar party. Yum.

In anticipation for what was tonight’s party I bought a coffee table. Yay – I’d been looking for one for a while and finally found one (at Kmart) that didn’t break the bank. I still had to put it together, though. Pain in the butt. Looks pretty nice. I have a picture of the cats laying on it before I even got the drawers finished since I obviously purchased the item so they have yet another flat surface to inhabit.

I also indulged in my yarn buying habit. Another skien of Mountain Colors Bearfoot (sock yarn, mmmmm) and four skiens of really gorgeous Cascade Pastaza Paints in a red variegated color. The cats chewed a hole in my red scarf so I have an excuse to make a new one, only slightly better and maybe a hat as well.

Since I’m stuck at home I guess I’ll read and organize the yarn stash. It’s starting to become unruly. A little coffee, some yarn, music, good book. Decent evening.

Current book-in-progress: The Club Dumas (I totally did not know this book was the basis for the Johnny Depp movie The Ninth Gate); after that dream I’m trying to finish more books than I start and that’s really, really hard for some reason
Current knitted item: Well…..I’m still working on the blue socks but I started my new scarf (going to make it similar – half moss stitch, half something else with a reversible pattern)
Current movie obsession: I’m still working on the IPTV Northanger Abbey but I developed a minor obsession with Sense and Sensibility again (Kate Winslet might be the most beautiful woman ever)
Current iTunes loop: I’ve been on a pretty hard-core John Mayer kick today; his music seems to warm up a dreary day

movie star drool · new books (yay) · start-itis

NaBloPoMo

So I guess this is National Blog Posting Month…is this new? Or have I just been living under a virtual rock? Don’t even ask what I thought when I saw the abbreviation. My friends Kate and Beth are doing this so we’ll see how far I get this month.

So, daily update:
1. I had to be my boss on a conference call (she’s on vacation); guess I did OK. I’ve picked up the active surveillance in the MICU so that should make them happy because they don’t like the other RA who was doing surveillance.
2. I’m going to Dance Gala tonight! Merde for all the dancers.
3. I’ve been reading too much Shakespeare and not enough of anything else I’ve previously started reading. See? Startitis again.
4. I indulged my pen/marker addiction at Dick Blick (I was going to say Hi to Jordan, too, but she doesn’t work on Thursday, boo).
5. I bought too many books yet again. Purchased two academic titles to help with my Joyce reading, Finnegan’s Wake (stop snickering, I mean it), a couple of Harold Bloom books, and another Portable Professor course about Walt Whitman. Someday I will get Ulysses, Finnegan’s Wake, and In Search of Lost Time finished. Quit laughing. You’ll wet your pants.
6. I was inadvertently a bad friend this week. I’m sorry.

Current book-in-progress: Lies My Teacher Told Me, revised edition; The Almost Moon which isn’t nearly as bad as the reviews said it was; Classics for Pleasure; and, oh, whatever else strikes my fancy
Current knitted item: Tank (work really sucks up my time), trying to start the scarf, and I did wind up some yummy sock yarn…..
Current movie obsession: Kenneth Branagh’s 1995 adaptation of Hamlet; it’s beautiful, has a great cast, and Kate Winslet is perfect

parents · start-itis · Xmas knitting

Minor Confession

I still call my parents and tell them my grades. Guess I still like to get that pat on the head (who knows, I might even get dinner out of it – traditional rewards for earning good grades in the Ward household consist of going to a swanky restaurant sans younger siblings).

Now, I’m going to strut a little….got an “A” in my Modern American Fiction class. I think this is a good accomplishment for someone with two science degrees trying to go back for a grad lit degree – the brain definitely has to rewire itself for this to work. I also scraped a “B” out of my incomplete from last semester. Party!!!!!! I was pretty convinced I was going to receive an “F” out of sheer spite since I had avoided the professor for the better part of three months.

Current book-in-progress: Lots of them! The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid, The Book of Air and Shadows by Michael Gruber, The Secret of Lost Things by Sheridan Hay, and A Temple of Texts by William Gass (and many more)
Current knitted item: Serious start-itis since semester ended. Yes, I still have Eeyores. And a Christmas stocking to finish. But…I got this awesome knitting book Fitted Knits with about 10 patterns I want to knit. So I started the two-color shrug (mine is light blue and royal). I also keep trying to knit socks, which is a disaster since I can’t get the toe cast-on to work correctly. I’m also making a surprise for our Harry Potter party at the store (Shhhh!!!)