January 27, 2010

Stockinette and swatches

It seems like ever since we got back to Texas, I've constantly felt like saying, "It's already ____day already?!" Time goes so much faster when you've actually got things to do, even if they're mostly things around the house. And my mind has been going in so many directions that it's almost always a struggle to keep focused on one thing for long.

So I haven't gotten a ton of knitting done this week. The sweater is coming along, but it's just plain, mindless stockinette so far, which makes it even harder to focus for long. So I'll be glad when it's time for sleeves. I should start looking for buttons soon, too.

The other thing I started last night is that I was swatching for something I'm designing myself. I've had this idea in my head for months, and never got around to trying it. So last night I felt like starting something new. Maybe it's all the stockinette, or maybe I've looked at my queue on Ravelry so often that I've gotten bored with it, but I didn't feel like starting anything I'd had planned. So I started something new! Truly new! Very exciting. Maybe by next week I'll have more that just a swatch done. Maybe I'll have pictures of an actual original design!

January 22, 2010

Dance-y brain

Today I'm feeling inspired.

I ate leftover potato-leek soup that I made on Wednesday. I've been cooking more lately, because I like cooking, and I've had the time, being unemployed, and it's cheaper than eating out too much. So I've been trying to cook more and more. The soup came out wonderfully. It's good with toast. I'll have to make it again sometime.

I'm trying to drink more water. I never drink enough, and I've tried and tried to drink more. Maybe one day I'll get myself in the habit. I am a work in progress.

I've been reading lots of blogs. Especially this one called A Beautiful Mess. I love her stuff, and it's hard not to get inspired by her blog posts. One of them, in fact, is the reason I started on a wee little painting yesterday (remember when I talked about those? I'm still at it), and I'm letting my brain dance around and bubble up with more ideas for those. I'm letting my brain dance around with all sorts of things. This is the reason I think I'll go to the art store soon. I want some paint markers. Being a writer, a lot of my art ideas encompass words and type and wordplay, and I don't yet trust my hand at doing lettering with a paintbrush. I'll keep experimenting and practicing with a brush, but in the meantime, paint markers sound like a good investment.

Which is why it's a good thing that I have a temp position lined up for Monday. Yay for income! It won't be much, since it's only a one day thing, but I'll take it! And in the meantime, I'm still putting myself out there and trying to find a good job. Fingers still crossed.

Especially if it'll allow me to do more of these inspired types of things I want to do. It's been good for me, trying to do as much as I can with as little as possible, but eventually a girl's gotta get her some paint markers.

January 21, 2010


Today I saw two foxes in my back yard. They just trotted through, and this one hung out for a little bit, until the cats saw him and got all nervous. Then they both moved on. I don't think I've ever seen foxes outside of the zoo, actually.

Today I went to dance class, too. Tap and jazz. At the studio I went to from first grade until I graduated high school. I'm going to be all kinds of sore tomorrow. That's ok. It's worth it. Just about anything would be worth it, to get back into dancing all the time again.

January 20, 2010

Productiveness! Finally!

Like I said before, it's been a good week for finishing things. I finished the Clandestine socks, but didn't bother to take more pictures of them. I will, but they're done, and I weaved in the ends and everything. I was weaving in ends on all sorts of things. First were the socks. Second was this:

I made a tea mitten! The pattern is from Elisabeth Kleven of Knits Vehemently, and I love how it turned out. It is a little silly that I made a tea cozy for the pot that I can't currently use, as I don't have a tea strainer that fits through the top. But I'll get one soon, since I need to order more loose tea anyway. I'm totally out of my favorite tea, from Tealuxe! Their caramel creme brulee is delicious. So I'll get a new strainer then. I had one, but I accidentally put it through the garbage disposal. Whoops.

I do have another tea cozy in mind for the pot I actually use these days, but I already had that yarn in my stash, so that's what got knit first. So eventually, I'll get around to knitting useful things again.

In other news of finishing things, I did get this done:

Yay! It's a functioning mug cozy! And I like how it came out. I still have some of that yarn leftover, though, so I'll have to find even more small projects like this. And finally, my most exciting bit of knitting news:

I've started another sweater! It's Sarah Sutherland's Kaleidoscope, done in Three Irish Girls sock yarn. The colorway is called Roisin, and I've been drooling over this yarn for months on end. It took me hours just to pick this yarn out in the first place, and even then I had to call my mom and ask what she thought. It probably won't be the last yarn I buy from them, either. All their colorways are gor-freaking-geous. Gorgeous. So. My little six inches of sweater may not look like much yet, but it will. This is one of those projects where I wish it was done already, because I can't wait to wear it! Yay sweater!

January 17, 2010

Of finishings and startings

It's been a decent week, as far as getting things done go. I finished and sent off the first of my grad school applications, finished three knitting projects- weaving in ends and sewing on buttons and everything, sent out plenty of resumes and job applications (though it won't feel like enough until I've gotten a job), and cooked a lot.

But I only finished one book.

I got through the last of Reading the OED yesterday, and it seemed like it got more and more fun, the closer it got to the end. The writer's anecdotes and comments and reflections on reading that monstrous tome got a little bit more mad, and even more interesting, so that by the time I got to the end, I must admit, part of me really did want to go read (at least some of) the OED myself. Not the way he did, straight through A to Z, but in a more relaxed (less insane) way.

In other news, I'm almost done with Four Letter Word, which means it'll be going back to the library soon. I had been idly thinking I'd browse around and get more books when I go, but maybe not. I cleared out space to make a desk for myself this week, and I put all the books I've been meaning to read there, and now they're all looking at me, silently waiting for me to read them. I have been craving some fiction, and there are several greats there. Maybe it'll be Italo Calvino's If On a Winter's Night a Traveler. Or maybe Sense and Sensibility. But there's also Price and Prejudice and Zombies, my Christmas present from my best friend.

I wonder which it'll be, when the time comes to start.

January 13, 2010

Catching up on the knitloviness

Knitlove! And sadly, even in all this time I've had to knit, there's only three things to update. Because I got lazy and didn't get a picture of the fourth one.

That fourth one was Mom's Christmas scarf. The super secret Christmas knitting was Yarn Zombie's Isobel Scarf, done in gorgeous Koigu yarn. It was my first Koigu, and far from my last, I can already tell. But anyway, the scarf was finished in time, and blocked and presented, and Mom loved it! She took off the scarf she was wearing (because my mom loves scarves) and replaced it with this one. So I think it was a hit. Eventually I'll get a picture.

Onto the things I do have pictures of.

The first is this mug cozy:

It's Jenny Raymond's Patty Cozy, or at least it will be one day when I get around to putting on the final touches. I thought it was a cute pattern, and I happened to have leftover Malabrigo and a button, so I made it. Or part of it, anyway. It still needs a loop and the button sewn on. These things would take me about fifteen or twenty minutes, if I would just sit down and do it. But I haven't yet. Meh. I will.

Now! The things I've been spending most of my knitting time on. My very first Cookie A. socks! They're the Clandestine socks, from the fall 2009 Knitty, and I'm loving them. I finished the first one in eleven days. The second one isn't going quite as fast, but I'm ok with that. I'll be glad when they're done, though, and I'm getting close. Two more lace repeats and the toe, a little finishing work, and they're done! They are super pretty, too. And they've been sort of a learning process, in regards to my lace tolerance. I've learned that knitting while listening to a podcast or audiobook seems to work fine, but for whatever reason, I can't knit while watching a movie. Even a movie I've seen a billion times. I tried knitting through "The Princess Bride" the other night, and I screwed up more in that one lace repeat than throughout the rest of these socks. Go figure.

And finally... my Hermione hat. It's actually called Hermione's Cable and Eyelet Hat, from JL Yarnworks' blog. I had this yarn that I had been knitting into mitts, but even though I'd loved the pattern, I wasn't crazy about how mine were coming out. I don't know why, but they just weren't working for me. So after literally a year of waffling and carrying around this UFO (Un-Finished Object, for you non-knitting muggles), I finally made a decision and frogged it, and turned the yarn into this hat. Yay! I love it. It's a little, tiny bit too long, but I love it anyway. I just have to either wear it pushed back on my head, or fold up the brim in front, and the good news is that it looks cute either way!

It just figures that we've already had our cold snap for the year, and it's back up into the sixties, and I probably won't be able to wear it until next year. Whatever. I'll be so cute in my hat next year.

Now I get to figure out what to knit next! It's very exciting.

January 12, 2010

Where has my brain gone? I must have left it in my knitting bag.

I had every intention of doing a knitting update today, but then we went to Best Friend's house, and ended up spending the rest of the day there, and didn't leave until after midnight.

So I was feeling all guilty that I said I was going to get back into blogging more regularly again.

And then I realized today was Tuesday. I am aware it's after midnight, so it's technically Wednesday already, but I haven't been to bed yet, so it still feels like Tuesday. And Wednesdays are when I was doing the knitting posts. So I'm not late at all. There will be a knitting update tomorrow (aka, later today).

Good night.

January 10, 2010

The triumphant return of...

Booklove! Finally. And there is much to report.

So. Since my last post (before Christmas, seriously? It felt like it was just a couple of days ago), there has been a flurry of reading.

I finished Lost in a Good Book, which was great. Jasper Fforde has an incredible imagination, and what seems like a pretty deep working knowledge of great literature. I can't help but wonder if he is truly that knowledgeable on these things, or if he has to look them up as he goes along. To be honest, it results in fun, funny books, so I'm happy either way. Even if you haven't read any of his books, you should go check out his website, Fforde Grand Central. Most of it does tie into the Thursday Next series, so if you think you might be interested, take a look.

After I finished that, I re-read a book from my youth (she said, as if she were in fact much older and wiser than her actual age of twenty-three), Patricia Wrede's Talking to Dragons. It's the fourth and last of her Enchanted Forest series, and for reasons I couldn't explain even if I tried, it's my favorite of the four. I've always loved the way she plays with the fairy tale conceits and cliches in these books. Every time Boy-Creature tries to call me a princess, I get this urge to make him sit down and read them immediately, so he can see just what kind of princess I am. Cimorene is a fantastic female role-model, as are Morwen and Kazul, for that matter. One of these days I will make him read those.

The reason I read that, though, instead of finishing The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, is because it was usurped by my mother. She stole my book and started reading it, and then wouldn't give it back the whole time I was visiting her. Sadly, though, she didn't have time to finish it before we came back to Texas, and I wasn't about to leave it with her when I hadn't finished it either. And I was reading it first! So there!

So I've finished it since coming back. And it was incredible. Boy-Creature just kept asking me if it deserved the Pulitzer, and I think I can safely say it did. I mentioned before how the history and pop-culture were so skillfully twined together. It only got better and better. It's an absolutely stunning story. This is one of those books I'll still be telling people to read years from now, I can tell. Go read it, even if you're not particularly interested in comic books, or WWII history. I'm not, and I loved it. Go read it.

And now that that's done, I went back to the library. I got Four Letter Word: Invented Correspondence from the Edge of Modern Romance, which is a book I heard about awhile ago on Neil Gaiman's blog, and I had been meaning to track it down ever since. When I just happened upon it at the library, I grabbed it without a second's thought. I'm only a little ways into it, but I'm enjoying it so far. It's amazing how many things "love letter" can mean. So much more than just "How do I love thee?"

The other thing I got was a collection of short stories by Julie Orringer called How to Breathe Underwater. Boy-Creature immediately approved of my choice, because the cover photo shows three young girls swimming in a river in their underwear, and he says one of them looks like me. She kinda does (which I did not admit to him), but that's not really the point. The stories are the point, and the stories were very, very good. From the very first, very gripping story, I was enrapt. I finished them all within two days. My favorite was the story from which the book takes it's name, "The Isabel Fish."

So that's where I stand now, reading Four Letter Word while Happy Alchemy and Reading the OED are still trailing behind as well. Maybe by next week I'll be onto something entirely new. What a lovely thought. I wonder what I'll read next?

January 8, 2010

New Year's non-list

It's that time of year when everyone is making lists. I kind of like lists, but I'm still amazed when I think of how rampant they are right now, with all the best and worst of 2009 lists, the resolutions, the wishes for 2010, and so on. It's hard not to get pulled along with it.

I haven't really made any new year's resolutions for several years now. In part, I think, because the last few years have felt so busy that an actual list seemed superfluous, on top of all the goals I was already working on. This year is much the same. The things I want for this year are the same sorts of things I wanted last month, and last year. While my free-with-purchase Half Price Books calender (this month featuring polar bears) is nice, it doesn't change much.

In a lot of ways, 2009 felt like a kind of wasted year to me. While I was, in the most general sense, happy and healthy, I didn't accomplish much. I did read a lot of books, and finish a fair amount of knitting, but that doesn't feel like enough to me. I didn't create anything this year that was entirely my own. And I think that's the main thing I want to aim for in this next year.

This is something I've been musing on for some time now (although truthfully, it's always- ALWAYS- in the back of my mind). A big part of the inspiration has been coming from Miss Violet's blog (of Lime and Violet fame). She herself is really fascinating to me. I've been coveting her energy and creative drive since I started listening to the podcast. In the latest podcast alone, she discussed having dyed LOTS of yarn, designing knitwear, and making her own artisan bread and cheese from scratch. And she has a day job. She does not sleep.She drinks Starbucks intravenously.

Her blog lately has been all about finishing as many projects from 2009 as she could, bringing as little unfinished business into the new year as possible. Lately, she is a whirlwind of getting things done. And I envy that. Which is why I have a large to-do list directly to my right. There's so much to do, both business-y type things that need to get done, as well as things I want to get done. Which, in my opinion, is the best kind of to-do list. It can't be all work and no play.

Speaking of work, the applying for jobs has begun in earnest now that we have internet at the house again. Hopefully I'll find something before too long, as the expenses are starting to weigh on me a little. It helps that we finally have internet at the house again, so I can get back on the ball both with applying for jobs, and with grad school applications. That's been the best part of this week, is finally feeling like I'm getting actual things done again.

And I plan to continue to do so, in all areas of my life. Including this blog. As of coming home after New Years, my life is officially off holiday time and back to normal. So it's time to get back to posting. Which means more booklove (expect an update tomorrow!), more knitlove, and more of my little bits of nonsensical wonderfulness that I find out there in the world.

Here's hoping I find enough of it to fill this entire year. Welcome to 2010, my lovelies!