Thursday, August 29, 2013

His Lordship Says: Step Away from the Distraction Box

I'm happy to say that the reason I missed posting yesterday is NOT because I had a headache. Isn't that nice? In fact, I was out knitting and didn't get home until 9, at which time I made the (unusually mature) decision to ride the bike instead of blogging. Who would ever have predicted that? But I want this pair of socks to take much less time (by which I mean fewer months, since the number of hours will be the same) than the first pair of bike socks did.

There was also some serious Carlos time last night and tonight, since his lordship is not all that amused when I stay out late (or when I go out at all, if it comes down to it). He would prefer his time be spent like this, with many attendants to his many itches. Unfortunately for him, that doesn't happen; we come closer when my mother visits, but otherwise, he suffers through life with a single lackey. Poor boy.
Is that sarcasm? Are you trying to be funny?

Because if you are, I will give you the Ears of Annoyance you so richly deserve.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Time for the Big Reveal! Secret Knitting Unveiled!

I kept blog silence when I first saw a certain knitting pattern, because I knew at once I wanted to make it for my brother, who has been known to read the blog. I didn't specify what pattern I was buying yarn for when I wrote about going up to Coveted Yarn in the spring, for instance, since I wanted it to be a surprise.

However, by late May, it was killing me not to tell you how I loved writing "start squid" on my to-do list! And on the fourth of July, I really wanted to put on Facebook, "Watching the concert and fireworks, knitting a squid. As one does." And at some point, I made a note that, "It's hard not to get the yarn caught in the tentacles."

Yes, I knit a squid for my brother for his birthday. I started it before my trip to Florida, and worked on the "pouch" part on the plane: first half flying down, second half flying back.
Then it was time to move on to the legs (make 8).
Join together, start up the head, and pause to knit together with the pouch.
Finish the head, and viola! Meet Octavian.
To unveil him fully:

Isn't he awesome? If I do say so myself. He lives in the pouch; then when you pull him out, the pouch goes up into the head as "stuffing". Such a clever pattern! Just amazing how some people think of things. I'm just tickled by how he came out, and as my brother also likes him (he e-mailed a picture of himself with Octavian on his head, so, yeah), that is what we call a win, all around.

In current knitting news, I was working on my aunt's shawl at stitch and bitch last night, and accidentally went one repeat farther than I meant to in the set-up section. As I saw it, I had two options:
  • Tink back through the two rows. Easy to do, but at over 300 stitches, not really what I think of as fun, per se.
  • Keep going and make the set-up section a bit larger. Not something I have a problem with at the concept level, but the math! In order to not screw up my stitch count for the next section ... let's see, the repeats in the next section are of 14 stitches ... and each set-up repeat adds 6 stitches ... wait ... that doesn't add up...
So I put it aside to consider, and worked on a sock instead. Only today did a third option occur to me: keep going, but instead of knitting the yarn-overs when I get to them, as I usually would, drop them instead. This will mean I added two rows of plain stockinette between the set-up and chart A, but I think that will look just fine, and it's by far the easiest solution. Hooray for seeing door number three.

Now, I did in fact cast on the next bike sock last night, on the bike, and I'd better get going if it's going to get its innings tonight.

Monday, August 26, 2013


I​ wanted to take that all-the-socks picture ​yesterday to take advantage of the rare state known as "all the socks are clean," but I did it knowing that it was only going to be the status quo for a moment in time. The purse sock is more than halfway down the foot of the second sock, so it won't be much longer*, but the bike sock? Finished it last night, thank you, all but the kitchener (which I choose not to do on the bike; even I have limits, but I did it tonight). It took months, but at last, I have a completed pair of "these were knit completely on the bike" socks: yay! Pictures, of course, to come; we're heading into the time of year when I do the majority of my photography on the weekends, for light reasons, though of course tonight, it's for "I just got home from stitch and bitch" reasons. ​
*And I'm already thinking about which yarn comes next.​ I'm not exactly embarrassed at how many choices I have, but, well...

And after all, that may only be 20 hours over 10 months, which isn't so terribly much to brag about, but it's 20 hours I'd rather have been doing almost anything else, so points to me. And I have the next yarn ready to cast on tonight, so if you'll excuse me? ​I have to get on the bike.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

A Really Nice Weekend. Honestly. Waiting for the Other Shoe to Drop.

What a nice weekend. The weather's been good, I've both had some fun and done some of those round-the-house things that never go away, cuddled the kitty ... it's all good, particularly because the head has cooperated. Hooray for no migraine!

So much to say that I don't know where to start. I think I'll fall back on the photos to direct me.

First, just because it's pretty, I finished another washcloth.
As you can see (from the bottom up), I started out doing very regular intervals of K1 P1 and then P1 K1, whereas I finished (mostly done Monday night, when I was coming down off that headache) doing three rows, five rows, and screwed up rows. Classic bipolar nature of my head, illustrated in cotton.

Next, Carlos on Friday, looking as though an extra leg got into the picture somehow. How is that comfortable?

On Saturday, I had a little day trip with a friend. We met kind of in the middle so we could drive up to the north shore together. We were meeting at a Starbucks, and I got there early, and sat in the sun with a silly drink and my knitting and anticipation, and was pretty much perfectly content. It was a good feeling.

First stop, of course, Woodman's! In honor of my dad's birthday, which it was, we drove the way he used to, along route 22 (which is not the most direct, but it sure is pretty.) Although that's not strictly true: it was our first intended stop, but on the way we were passing the yarn store in Essex, Hooked Knitting, that I went to on the yarn crawl, and went in, just because (Mount Everest, you know). They were new at the time of the crawl, and have really expanded the selection since then, with some lovely stuff that I fondled but was able to put down. I did buy some stitch markers, since I had just read that triangular markers can be easier to use, and wanted to try it. Plus, you know, you like to buy at least a little something. Support the fun little yarn stores everywhere.

Lunch was delicious, if that doesn't go without saying, and it was nice enough weather to eat outside. I didn't take any pretty scenery pictures, but I did have to get this shot inside.
I was much struck by this sign, as I have a shirt at home with some can-I-get-them-out butter stains. Sigh.

Then it was on to our main destination: the new location of Coveted Yarn, which moved recently (still in Gloucester). The new place is nice! It's a bit bigger, and a lot more open. Light, bright, easy to see just how overwhelmingly much yummy yarn they have. Two thumbs up.

I did not buy this yarn:
Though it amuses me to think about what one would make with it. I mean, look at it!
Anyway, what I did buy was this: Frog Tree Periboo, a yarn I have bought before though not yet knit with. And, I know, white.
 I'm making a shawl for my aunt, and from her suggestion of black or white, I chose white.
This is nice yarn! It's got a good squish to it. Which I know, because I started last night. See? Look, it's non-secret knitting! Hooray!
Instead of swatching, I'm starting the pattern to see how it feels. At first I wasn't sure but that I'd want a larger needle size. I kept going, though, to see, and I like it, so we're off!
See how big it got? A few few hours of knitting and coffee with a friend this afternoon, and it's like a miracle. This is the set-up part: soon, pattern fun will start. (I mean, I am using a pattern, this one, but it gets more ... well, more something. I don't want to say fiddly, that sounds bad, and intricate isn't quite right either. Getting tired. Words fail me.)

The yarn was also on sale, which was a pleasant thing, though it wasn't marked down as much as the other yarn I got: three skeins of Ella Rae Amity in yellow, for $3 a skein instead of $6. No planned purpose yet, but it's nice yarn (I used it for the twins' sweaters, remember?) and will come in handy for something. And it's machine wash! I wouldn't be surprised if this became a baby blanket, one day.
Next up are these little cuties, which I did not knit. My friend made us some cat toys! Wasn't that nice of her?
Carlos dutifully sniffed them...
And then proved that he is as contrary as any cat, and ignored them. (Don't worry, they're been played with since!)
The weather was beautiful yesterday, so much so that after I dropped my friend back at her car, and was driving home past a park by a lake, I stopped and sat in the sun, knitting, for half an hour. So beautiful! I am so grateful for every day of it ... I am not sick of summer yet, and it's waning, it's waning.

Today, as well as many other more standard accomplishments, I did something I've been thinking of doing for a while, and laid out all my socks at once.
This isn't all I've ever knit, but it's most of them, and in chronological order (from top left across, then center across, then bottom across). Soon there will be two more pair joining them! And it's clear that my next purse socks should not be with blue, right?

Don't they look pretty in the drawer, too?
I have a couple of pair that have popped a heel, meaning if you stop by my place unexpectedly, you might find me wearing one each of very different socks, while I plan to re-purpose their mates:
See, the heel?
Not so strong. Not enough, anyway!

Carlos, meanwhile, was not amused so much when I came to kiss him, and brought the camera back to photograph Her.
Seriously, though, how often do I see her so relaxed?
And lacking the bug-eyed look of fear?
Be that as it may.
I don't believe I care for your attitude.
Don't let it happen again...

Friday, August 23, 2013

Mostly Yarn Thoughts

As I had my nice, normal evening last night*, I was a little sad at how happy I was about it, if you follow the twisted thought process. It should have been nothing to notice, just an average evening. But too many of my evenings aren't average--on Wednesday night I managed to accomplish One Thing (boxing up my brother's birthday present to mail), and I was so proud of myself, fighting through the headache to get it done. Compare that with a night where I made chicken salad and wound some yarn and blogged and knit and biked--whoa, look at all that!
*And I feel almost normal today, though it teased me a while this afternoon: mostly, though, just some residual soreness/tenderness at the back of the skull, to remind me of what could happen. Charming.

And yes, I biked. The sock is into toe decreases! And this is the second sock, meaning that the pair is close to being done. I'm very excited to finish my first pair of knit-entirely-on-the-bike socks; it's funny how that motivation is working for me, whereas when I tried the same thing a couple of years ago, it didn't work for long. This time, I want to be able to say, "These were knit only while I rode the exercise bike! They are the embodiment of 20 hours of exercise!"

One of the yarns I wound last night is for the next pair of bike socks: it's the dark grey skein of Sock Dreams I got at Rhinebeck last year (when my color choices were that or grape kool-aid--this year, Periwinkle Sheep will be my second stop, so I get more color options), which will be perfect for bike knitting right under the good lamp. I also wound a skein of BFL I got at Rhinebeck, for which I am planning a shawl of my own. I want to incorporate some autumn leaves (since the colors are so right for that) into this shawl pattern, the Garden View Shawlette. We'll see if I can make it be like I'm imagining it. I want it deeper, for one thing, and I think three leaves worked into the body. We'll see.

Link, link, link tonight! I will leave you with this picture I took of Carlos last night. He wanted me to come to bed earlier than I was ready, so he gave up and came to me instead--and draped himself over my arm, so I couldn't really do anything. He's not stupid, this guy.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

I Fought the Headache...

And we all know who won, right?

​This month I've gone off the pill to see if that will lower the raised blood pressure that has my PCP all hot and bothered. At this point, as I start to suspect that being off the pill may be the reason for the increased number of headaches I've been having lately*, I feel like telling the PCP to take a flying leap ... but I'm trying to be patient.
*It can't be to blame for all of them, as it's only been a couple of weeks, but, you know...

It's hard. Very hard. How do I weigh the problems the high BP may bring down the road against the definite, absolute pain of the headaches right now?

So, yeah, that's where I was last night: whining and rocking and generally being miserable. Today was better in the morning, a bit worryingly worse again in the afternoon, mostly better now, though not all clear. I'm so tired of it: the number of headaches had been improving, but for each of the four weeks before this one, I've had two headache-impacted days; this week I'm on three days and it's only Thursday, and it suuuuuuucccckkkkkkssss. Other head thoughts:
  • ​Arguing with my head during a migraine makes about as much sense as arguing with a toddler who Is Not Tired! It takes energy and gets me nowhere.
  • ​One of my coworkers is on the phone All The Damn Time, and while I understand it's part of his job, there are times (generally headache-correlated times) when I just want to say to him, "Could you shut the fuck up? Just for one day?"
In happier thoughts, I realized today that it's six weeks to the start of the regular season! Camp opens in less than three weeks, rookie camp sooner than that. Hockey again!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Not Much, but hopefully amusing

Today was not a particularly crazy day, but this makes me laugh, so up it goes.
I also like this. So random tonight!
In the meantime, if you love comics (print or web) and have two minutes, watch this trailer for what looks like a very interesting documentary about them:

I'd watch it; wouldn't you? (There's a whole website, if you want to sign up for more.)

Monday, August 19, 2013

Get Ready for Pictures!

​I had a headache this morning (mild through moderate and into aura, which was pretty weird, and finally into storm-blew-through tired and wobbly), and looking back at all the recent Monday* headaches I've been having is making me wonder if I'm subconsciously more stressed by this job than I consciously think I am. It's actually six of the last eight Mondays that I've had at least a mild headache, and that's not good.
*I'm already looking forward to having Monday off in two weeks. Come on, long weekend!

A possible contributing factor for the last few weeks (though not months) is that I've been waiting for official word on something, something that the editor-boss mentioned as a change we would be making, a change that I very much do not agree with (either the change itself or the reason for it). If it actually happens, I think it will be the last straw, the point at which I start job searching again (ugh). No job is perfect, no company is perfect, but when enough of the table legs wobble, the situation becomes untenable, and we're approaching that point. Now, maybe the division head will say no, in which case good, but if not, well. Ugh. Fingers crossed.

Speaking of wobbly table legs, I called the insurance this morning about the lab work snafu, and 22 minutes* later, she is resubmitting the claim since as it turns out, yes, the lab should be a participating provider, yes it should. OK then; now we wait (again), since the claim? takes 20-25 business days. Nice scam, insurance, isn't it? I could feel my blood pressure going up when she told me that the lab, the one I found on their website, was not a participating provider.
*Mostly on hold while she "researched it further".

Happier thoughts! I had such a nice afternoon with friends yesterday, down on the Mass/Rhode Island border (lunch in Westport, which is MA, then shopping and beach walking in Little Compton, which is RI). It wasn't a traditionally beautiful day, but nice enough that we could eat lunch outside, and though it sprinkled on us while we beach-walked, the weather wasn't really all that bad. I even found a few pretty shells, which is not always the case on our northeast beaches.
Large and small! And really crappy pictures, since I just realized I didn't take one of them yesterday. Oh well!
Even in the rain, I love the beach. The sky, the water, the birds, the patterns in the sand.

Surprise! Yarn store!
It was really nice. I narrowly escaped without an armload.

Fun art gallery:
 This is a lamp!

Door knocker!

Trees, being artistically strangled by vines

Architectural detail on the house that would be ours if the world worked as it ought.
​And its view, too.
Just a beautiful day, in spite of the lack of sun.
Please, sir, may I have another?