Saturday, July 12, 2008

Moving Along

Things here at chez Hendryburnswood (our last names make a neat little sentence, don't they?) are progressing nicely. I have put my money where my mouth is, as the saying goes, and am looking for another job. I am tired, absolutely tired, of being taken advantage of again and again. And so, I'm leaving. Just as soon as I find a job that doesn't pay me by commission, expect me to travel the great state of Pennsylvania selling insurance/bank accounts/beauty products door-to-door, or require more hours and less pay than my current job. I have time, I have skills. I can be picky, right? I'll keep you all posted, and any stray good-employment-opportunity vibes you want to send my way would be appreciated.

In other news, the sock. I adore this pattern. It's so easy. Have I mentioned how easy it is? Cause it's pretty simple. And yet, I only have the cuff done. I'm about to start the heel (i trimmed off a pattern repeat or two, just to make sure i don't run out of yarn two inches away from the toe of my second sock. i honestly believe that that would kill me. and everything around me.) and hopefully that goes as easily as the rest. I feel slightly bad for taking out almost an inch of sock, but I'd rather have slightly shorter socks that are complete than one long sock and one leg warmer with a foot and no toes. One of these days, I'm going to have to break down and just buy a small digital scale. I think it'll help cut back on the guesswork by a ton. And think of all the fascinating new neuroses I can amuse my roommates with! Yarn in the freezer? That ain't nothin'.

Visiting Aunt Joan was...good. Better than I'd expected, as I'd prepared myself for the worst, and we weren't--quite--there yet. My aunt looks better than I'd expected, in terms of color and her lips being purple rather than blue, but that was the first time in all my many years that I've seen her without her hair done. She's still got spirit, though. She insisted on showing the socks Momolla made her off. She loves them so much, I think I'll have to make her a pair or two, as well. I'd give her the ones I'm making now, but they're not machine-friendly, and she'd need something a little lower-maintenance.

Short post today, gotta go clean my house a bit and move all the furniture away from our windows. The landlady is springing for new glass and screens and pulleys, so we can open our (original to the hundred-year-old house) windows and let some air in. The nice window man is coming on Monday, so I'd like to have things in order by tomorrow night. It won't happen, but it sure is nice to dream. I hope the rest of your weekend is smooth and sweet and gently productive.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Shameless Yarn Pornography distract you all from the length of time it's been since I posted last. There have been unreasonable amounts of work, and I have been ridiculously exhausted after them, so the Internet has been mostly a fond memory for me. However, I am marshalling my forces, and posting pictures of yarn in the sun (there is no sun here today, they were meant for a post last week. my neighbors think i'm pants-off nuts, taking pictures of yarn on my front steps. in broad daylight. and this used to be such a nice neighborhood.), and WIPs in the gloom (thunderstorms and rain for the forseeable future. seriously, like the next eight days. and this weather started last week. i love pennsylvania.)

These luscious darlings were my sock yarn options for my Tour de France Knitalong project. Decisions, decisions. I love them all. There are a couple of skeins of Trekking in there (far left and far right), plus some Claudia handpainted (the electric blue and black third from left), as well as some lovely Knittery yarn (second from left. i am almost afraid to knit with it, it's so soft and gorgeous. but i am not at all afraid to pet it. a lot.) and some plain blue in a wool/cotton blend (right smack in the middle) as well as some Heirloom Australian yarn (behind its exuberant blue cousins) In the end, Jim was the tiebreaker for me, and he chose the perfect yarn. I am making lacy mock cable socks made from Happy Spider yarn in Forecast. You can see it there, smushed in between all the blue, fourth bundle from left. The colors are amazing. It's variegated, not striping, and I just love looking for what will come next.

This is a dead easy sock pattern. After one repeat, I had it memorized. And it flies by! It probably means I'm simple, but I love watching the little mock cables take shape. And it's so easy, I'm not scared to take it to work and knit when I have down time. That should help with the whole speed thing, eh? These were cast on Saturday night, in accordance with the rules, and I already have a good two inches done. I know, not a lot, but for me, slowest of the slow knitters, that is a ton! We won't discuss how long the bribe socks have been on the needles.

And look! It even fits over a foot! We are not taking chances with this sock, oh no. We have ten days to finish it, and so there can be no frogging.

I have determined that after a spinning wheel and an mp3 player that isn't dead, I am going to have to buy a new camera. That's because mine just doesn't do closeups. And what fun is posting knitting pictures if you can hardly see the stitch pattern. What? No, it's not my lack of photography skills. It's totally the camera. Yes. Definitely. Very much the fault of the equipment. Trust me on this one. What? You beg to differ? Well, what's that over there?

More yarn? Yes? Look at the pretty yarn. I have no idea what this is. Momolla sent it up here with me for a bribe for Colleen, thinking she would enjoy the bright colors, but I stole it from her. Coll got some gorgeous alpaca as a bribe, though, so don't feel too terrible for her (i learned that trick from mom. bribe with gorgeous, soft yarn and a person can't help but knit.) . She's making a one-row scarf out of it, and her work looks really good, especially since her first efforts at knitting had inexplicable holes. The crispness of this picture is lousy, too, but you can really see the colors. They're bright, practically jewel-toned, and just a joy to knit with. At this point, mindless knitting is my friend, which is why I am making another one row scarf. Of course, I'm paying attention to tension on this one, so it's mostly the same width (no design features on this one. honest.). See? I can learn. The hard way. The scarf is on the back burner for the time being, since I'm determined to get these socks done in time. I'm not sure what will become of either project once it's finished, I think they might both end up as gifts. The Happy Spider yarn was a gift, and it seems oddly right to pass on the Australian Fiber Fairy love.

This is not so much a picture of the yarn, as a picture of where I knit. Yup. I sit on my little butt in my big, cozy bed and knit. If I'm feeling whacky, I listen to a recorded book while I knit. I'm still very slowly working my way through all nine million hours of the Mists of Avalon. Worth every minute, too. What a great re-telling of the Arthurian legend. If you haven't read it or listened to it, give it a shot. Davina Porter reads the version I'm listening to, and I tell you, she's magic. The words just seem to have more power and imagery when she speaks them. And all the awesome names just roll right off her tongue.

This is George. George is the alpaca who lives with me, and is related (distantly. he swears they're no closer than third or fourth cousins at least twice removed) to Kate's fiber-thieving friend. He sleeps on the bed with me and Jim so that he can be close to the yarn basket, which has its share of alpaca fuzz (who doesn't sleep with their yarn at the foot of the bed?). He says it makes him feel closer to home. I take him at his word, for now. But if the fiber-y goodness starts to wander off, he and I both know who's the prime suspect.

In totally non-knitting related news, Jim and I spent the Fourth of July with my parents having a barbecue. There was grilling (dadumms loves his shiny new grill. loves. it.) Notice that when asked to "smile for the blog" Dadumms actually does...

...and swimming. This is the face Momolla makes when you tell her "smile for the blog!" Sweet, no? And there was eating. My goodness, there was eating. Shrimp and chicken kabobs, pasta salad, corn, pitas, some tuna steaks, and mini brownies to fill in the cracks. Jim and I left feeling even more stuffed than usual. And of course the company was great. It's always a pleasure to visit my family again. I find myself in the odd position of thinking of two different places as home. The house here is definitely home. It's where I live, it has a big part of my heart. And yet, the house and neighborhood where I grew up and where my family lives still pops into my head as "home" when I think about it.
"I miss that town/I miss their faces
You can't erase/You can't replace it
I miss it now/I can't believe it
So hard to stay/Too hard to leave it "

--Nickelback "photograph"

And, for your viewing pleasure, a rare picture of Jim sans obscene gestures towards the camera. I figured out the trick to getting him to not flip me off whenever I pull out the camera. I just threaten his life a little bit, and he behaves long enough to get one picture without obscenities.

I'm heading down to Jersey soon to pick Kate and maybe Momolla up to visit my Aunt Joan at the hospital. I want to see my aunt (actually my great aunt), but I know that if I do, it's going to ruin all my carefully crafted denial. My Aunt Joan and Aunt Elsie have been my two grandmothers throughout my life. For a variety of reasons, I've never been close to my biological grandparents, and because of these two ladies, I have never felt that to be a bad thing. They're two more of the strong women I keep telling you all I'm surrounded by. They're in their eighties now, I think, but until just recently, they've acted half their age. Aunt Joan has a lot of heart and other health problems, though, and we're afraid she won't be with us much longer. Aunt Elsie has just had a pacemaker put in, and she moves like an old lady now. I've been able to ignore these thoughts until now, because I haven't been letting myself realize them. But we go see Aunt Joan today, and I do believe it will break my little heart. See? Mindless knitting is good.

At any rate, it's time for me to go shower and get ready to go. Once we visit my aunt, Kate and I are going to do a little shopping. I got my Bush Money check recently, and some of it needs to go towards retail therapy. I hope your week is short, productive, and fun. And if it can't be, I hope that you get to knit lots and eat good quality chocolate.
"There will be time to murder and create,
And time for all the works and days of hands"
--T S Eliot