Sunday, July 29, 2007

Oh no... an enabler!

We delivered my mother-in-law Verna to her plane last night at LAX without incident after a pleasant day visiting folks in Los Angeles, then made our way back to San Diego. It was somewhat luxurious to have two hours to just talk to each other in the car, though I did spoil that a bit by falling asleep towards midnight. And there was a package waiting for me when I got home! That woke me up a bit (admittedly, not for long).

Earin (to be known as "Earin the Enabler") has sent me a prezzie. Look, 7 skeins of Noro Kureyon, a big skein of Cascade 220 and a cool bag pattern!

I really did NOT need to cast on for anything new. I have lots of UFOs/WIPs to get back to, and I had just polished off Verna's socks while we were driving around Los Angeles. (Stupidly, I forgot to take pictures of them, so you'll have to take my word for it that the second one came out just fine.) But!!! how can you resist a pattern like this?

Strangely, the pattern calls for you to take your Noro Kureyon apart. You separate out all the color transitions and then use the bits. So now my sofa is a huge mess. I'm blaming that on Earin too.

It's very odd, but also addictive. I'd had a bit of prejudice against Noro because it always seems scratchy to me, but the Kureyon turns out to be not at all scratchy to knit with. I'm being naughty, avoiding the million things I should be doing (Rob turned out to have to work today — Sunday — so I thought I'd make it into Chore Day, but...). Thank you, I mean curse you, Earin! ;-)

Yay. Yarn.

Friday, July 27, 2007

A little... crochet?

Yup. I haven't crocheted in over a year — pretty odd after a lifetime of it! — that's how taken in I have been by the knitting. But when you want to make your mother-in-law a replacement water-bottle holder (replacing the one she left behind at the Wild Animal Park) and you want it to be both fast and strong (and you don't have a machine that will felt), you crochet. I used one 50-gm skein of Trendsetter Scoubi Du (50% cotton/50% acrylic) — about 95 yards, and used probably all but 2 yards. I rarely crochet to a pattern; this was made up as I went along. I made it large enough to fit a big bottle, but it's posing with a coffee cup in it at the moment.

Little commercial here, but it's warranted: all you spinners and needle-felters, get your butts over to my friend Fuzzarelly's Etsy shop... she has got the most gorgeous merino, silk and angora batts! The purple and gold is out of this world, it makes me want to learn to spin. I think the angora is from her own bunnies. I'm sadly allergic to angora, but man it is soft stuff to pet. So go get some of your own to stroke!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Oops. I really have been knitting.

I just haven't been blogging all that much, nor being very regular about reading/commenting on y'all's blogs. Sorry about that. The new job is pretty full on at the moment, because there are so many transition activities on top of the new stuff, and we're still trying to squeeze out some time with my mother-in-law, whose visit is nearing an end. She leaves Saturday! It's hard to believe we've spent three months together. Though it'll be nice to have the house back to ourselves, I'll miss Verna. She is a sweetie.

Anyway, so yes, I have been knitting. I finished my mom's socks, but they are looking a bit dilapidated, owing to the fact that they're both (even the second one, which I made longer) too short, and have to be re-toed.

And I have made lots of progress on some socks for Verna! She is pretty excited at the idea of custom socks. She wanted fairly loose and roomy socks, while I like my socks snug, so even though I wear a US 9C and she wears about a 7 1/2 B, her socks are also 56-stitch-ers, they do not have any ribbing on the foot (that felt too tight to her), they have a cuff designed to be fairly loose, and they are longer than mine.

It was my brother's 40th birthday on Monday, and we did a lot of celebrating this weekend, including a family lunch at my parents' house and a dinner at a restaurant on Monday night. And on Sunday, we went on a V.I.P. tour at the San Diego Wild Animal Park. It was pretty cool! We saw some great animals, including these beauties:

Next, I hope to finish the Jo Sharp pillow (abandoned in the heat, about 40% done) and make ME some more socks from the last full Fixation balls in my stash:

Monday, July 16, 2007

Back among the living, I think.

It's been a strange adjustment. While I thank you for the congratulations on the new job, no congratulations are really in order. Our department was taken over by another department, no one was laid off, and I was placed into a new job by forces outside my control. I've been spending the last week trying to get a handle on the parameters of the new job — which is in many ways unlike anything I've ever done before.

But I have been knitting! Not much, admittedly. I started this pair of socks, a birthday (oops) gift for my mother (her birthday is 4th of July) around July 1. The first sock is a little short, so I will rip back the toe and lengthen it. It's an original design again, this time with a little fake "granny square" lace inset on either side just above the ankle.

I'm a little mystified reading my own notes from the first sock, so hopefully the second one is identical. I guess we'll see! This, again, is Fixation. April, I'm sorry. I'll have to make it up to you somehow. I know it hurts you to look at all this Evil Yarn. But it's summertime and I cannot bear my wool at the moment.

Since I know folks are curious (many e-mails and comments), here is some information about my new job. Skip it if you are easily bored or not familiar with IT jargon! It's clearly marked off by lines. Just skip to the kitty pics, I won't be offended.

The new job is Manager of Infrastructure Coordination and Outreach for the department of Administrative Computing and Telecommunications. It looks like my staff will be organizing training, outreach, and focus groups, and facilitating communication between ACT's technical staff and customers. I'll be helping coordinate projects across ACT and be involved in the development and rollout of IT policy. I have four employees, all creative type folks.

What I was before was Manager of Network Services and Support for the Office of Network Operations. I managed the managers of the Help Desk, the Hostmaster, the (e-mail) Postmaster, Active Directory, ResNet, Exchange, and Research and Development (programmers). I had 5 direct reports, and oversaw a department of about 30 people. Most of them were technical types.

So, lots of change and challenge. At first I was dismayed, because the new position seems a lot smaller in scope than the old one, but I am working hard to make lemonade out of lemons. Hopefully, I can prove myself and grow this new position to be exciting too. I have some very talented staff and hey, quality is better than quantity, eh? ;-)

Okay! Now that all that boring stuff is over, I am going to waste your time with pictures of my lonnnnnngggggg kitty, because I have no further knitting to show off.

You can tell it's summer, huh!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Out of circulation for a few days

I have a new job. I'm not quite sure what it entails, yet, so I guess I'll learn in the next week or so. Meanwhile, I'll be really busy with meetings and so on. So I'll just leave you with a picture of my niece in her new summer top, the one I made earlier this year. I had to redo it with a loose neck (with a cutaway corner, too) in order to get it to fit over her head.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Presenting... Laguna Seca!

Laguna Seca (the name means "dry river") is a recreation area near Monterey, California where some friends and I saw the Grateful Dead back in 1988 or so. The parking lot was a shimmering sea of tie-dyes, and in fact I set up a little parking-lot "booth" (=squat spot on the ground) and sold some of my tie-dyed T-shirts for the first time at that concert. My friend Karen was there, and when I went to make her some birthday socks, I thought of that concert and the tie-dyed glory of it all and I got me some multicolored yarn and I went to work. The result, as modelled by Karen:

The Cascade Fixation did look wild in the ball, but it's wilder knitted up. I designed the pattern with alternating bands of a stockinette-based rib with bands of a slip-stitch pattern-based rib, so it's got some mosaic effect to blur the striping a little bit. Plus, the heels on a super-colorful yarn like this look great in Eye of Partridge. I recommend this pattern for your wildest yarn. You can knit this up in any sock yarn for which you get 7 spi (or modify it as needed, of course. The pattern requires that your total # of stitches divide evenly by 6).

The pattern for Laguna Seca is available as a PDF in the sidebar. Enjoy!

I really need to offer my gratitude to trek for paving the way and teaching me how to knit Fixation with her fabulous patterns. Though this pattern is in no way copied from trek's, her patterns were definitely an inspiration to me.