darkemeralds: A young woman circa 1945 is intent on her knitting. Caption "Knitting For Victory" (Knitting)
It was nearly midnight when I closed the last stitch and wove in the single remaining yarn-end on my blue-violet cardigan last night.

I put it in the hand-wash cycle with a little Woolite Dark, and by 1:00 a.m. it was pinned out on the blocking board, where it's continuing to dry in shape today.

completed blue-violet hand knit cardigan pinned to a blocking board


All that's left is to sew on the buttons:

Nine bright silver disk buttons on a background of blue-violet handknit fabric


The fit is reasonably good--not as great as I'd hoped, but certainly wearable. I learned so much from this pattern, though, that the next sweater should come closer to a custom fit.

Now, on to the Neon Yellow Hoodie of High Visibility.
darkemeralds: Dark Emeralds in red glasses (Default)
It's probably a coincidence, but following Friday's migraine-aura-neurotransmitter-cascade-hangover-hormonally-induced-brainstorm*, my brain shifted gears.

Detail of bright yellow knitting


This is only sort of a knitting post. I think it's about creativity. )
darkemeralds: Naked woman on a bike, caption "I don't care, I'm still free" (Bike Freedom)
1. Suddenly it's summer here in Stumptown. I got double-bridged on my way to work this morning: some river traffic going downstream caused the Steel Bridge to lift, so I made my way to the Hawthorne just in time for a barge heading upriver to raise that span. The bike traffic backup was considerable.

Pretty day for being stuck mid-bridge, though )
darkemeralds: Purple patent leather Doc Martens against a multi-colored carpet with the title True Colors (True Colors)
I tried to knit this:
A handknit raspberry-colored ribbed and fitted buttoned cardigan
(Arpeggio by Maria Leigh on Ravelry)


It appealed to me because its design embodies a high order of complexity. Everything about it is difficult and demanding--the stitch, the construction method, the shaping, the sizing, the finishing. It's hard to cast on, hard to bind off, and unforgiving for every row in between.

I thought I could do it, but I couldn't. Everything difficult about it was, for me, actually impossible.

Like a lot of things in my life, this isn't REALLY about knitting at all. )
darkemeralds: A young woman circa 1945 is intent on her knitting. Caption "Knitting For Victory" (Knitting)
Today I'm knitting. Knitting is part of my Big Plan For Self-Improvement In 2012.

It's taken years, but I've finally accepted that "self-improvement" doesn't mean changing what I am. It means being better at what I am.

Well, what I am, among other things, is a craftswoman, and I like knitting. So I've decided that 2012 is the year I become as good a knitter in reality as I am in my imagination

This is only nominally a post about knitting. )
darkemeralds: A young woman circa 1945 is intent on her knitting. Caption "Knitting For Victory" (Knitting)
Ravelry is a fantastic internet resource, and I spend inordinate amounts of time there, but it lacks the space to ruminate on knitting in general. So excuse me, non-crafters, while I do that here.

Seams, madam? )
darkemeralds: Photo of a microphone with caption Read Me a Story. (Podfic)
My week's vacation has been filled with good things: long bike rides in bright, cold sunshine, lots of knitting, a visit to my good friend [personal profile] roseambr (who is housebound following some foot surgery), a session with a spiritual healer, and some really good reading.

I knit Stephen King into my new fisherman sweater. )

I made significant progress on my current knitting project, a pale-gray Aran-style cardigan, while listening to 11-22-63 (that is a really hard title to hold in the mind!), and now Jake Epping/George Amberson, the Yellow Card Man, and the tail-fins of 1950s American gas-guzzlers are entwined in the moss-stitch and cables of the left sleeve.

It's cold and sunny again today and I'm going out in a few minutes to treat myself to a pedicure.

Then I'm gonna start on Death Comes to Pemberley. I'll get back to non-fiction next week.
darkemeralds: A young woman circa 1945 is intent on her knitting. Caption "Knitting For Victory" (Knitting)
It's been a fairly hellatious (or is it hellacious?) seven weeks at work, with many hours of much-bitched-about unpaid overtime and one or two moments of dubious sanity, but it's over in a couple of hours, so yay! I do hope to get caught up with everyone as my crazed schedule abates a bit.

Meanwhile, I'm here in the World's Tallest Basement on a freezing Saturday night, waiting for my toes to thaw and counting down to the exciting moment when the patched system comes back online for final checkout. Which should be in about one minute.

Here I Am


As if in celebration of my impending freedom, the postal carrier today brought me goodies!

O Frabjous Day


(The knitting for men will not involve any of the yarns in the box--I'm not that unkind. Those yarns are for MEEEEEEEEEE!)

So when I get home tonight, I plan to play with my new toys.
darkemeralds: A young woman circa 1945 is intent on her knitting. Caption "Knitting For Victory" (Knitting)
I got myself into a ridiculous bind with my last knitting project. It was so difficult that even without the brain-fog that's been assailing me, I would have needed hours of uninterrupted concentration just to get it properly started. I simply don't have that--not the hours, and not the concentration.

So I started a simpler project, a nice Aran cardigan with big fat easy cables, and it's straightforward enough to work on while I listen to a book. My odds of accomplishing both knitting and reading in what little spare time I've got have just gone up considerably.
darkemeralds: A young woman circa 1945 is intent on her knitting. Caption "Knitting For Victory" (Knitting)
I've spent part of my four-day weekend at Sock Summit 2011. It's a convention for people who knit socks.

I'm not a sock knitter (or wearer, for that matter), and am only a marginal knitter, and I live just up the street from the Oregon Convention Center, so my participation was pretty casual, and I can't give much in the way of insider rapture.

But as a general craftswoman I can say that Sock Summit is a very impressive thing. I took a specialized class ("Cast On Cornucopia") on Thursday, and today I had a chance to wander around the vendor market; both experiences confirmed that creativity is absolutely going off the charts.

People are putting new materials to ancient uses (carbon fiber knitting needles! Plastic drop spindles printed on 3D printers!), and pushing out the boundaries of labor-intensive manual processes like hand-painting fleeces. You can knit with a range of fibers unimagined by the average American knitter thirty years ago (bamboo! hemp! yak!). You can accurately replicate socks worn by 12th century peasants in Norway, and socks worn by rich gentleman-golfers in 1890, and silk stockings from a Constantinople lady's wardrobe in 1500.

And here's the thing: there's not a craft or hobby being practiced today that isn't experiencing the same kind of explosion of creativity, digging into the past, borrowing from the future, leveraging technology, and spreading ideas across the world.

So although I managed to escape the show floor with only one purchase, a handmade wooden tabletop swift of truly elegant simplicity and functionality, I came away absolutely loving life in the 21st century, and glad to be alive in such an exciting time.
darkemeralds: Naked woman on a bike, caption "I don't care, I'm still free" (I Don't Care)
I never quite realize how much stress I'm under until I get a break from it (or until I start getting overdraft notices, take your pick). I took Friday off to make the three-day holiday weekend into four, and oh, the sense of healing!

Rich days )

1I'm enjoying it. It's the kind of slow-unfolding story with slow-building suspense that I particularly admire.
2This one in this wool.
3Ironically, we were discussing writer's block.
4I don't even get to work at 8:30
5It was fabulous, pan-fried in a bit of butter and balsamic vinegar with dill and salt.
darkemeralds: Dark Emeralds in red glasses (Default)
Tra-la-la. I'm at work on a Sunday morning because I just couldn't bring myself to come in on a dry Saturday. Somehow, yesterday, between sleeping till the crack of 10:30, and having a typically revelatory conversation with [personal profile] ravurian that lasted through the middle of the day, and writing, as a result of said conversation (thank you, R!) a couple of brilliant-if-I-do-say-so-myself paragraphs of the new novel, and a mad bout of wool-winding (not, as [personal profile] ravurian himself would say, a euphemism: I was frogging some unsuccessful knitting projects and putting the yarn up for another day, and to say that I became a bit obsessed with the balls my new ball-winder makes would be to state the case mildly), and knitting practice swatches for my hyacinth Arpeggio, and watching Sherlock, it was suddenly 3:00 a.m. and not only was my Saturday gone, but also three hours of my Sunday.

So anyway.

Here I am in my gray cubicle at 11:30 on a rainy (OMG rainy again) Sunday morning. And yet still procrastinating. I couldn't find the light switches, and of course this is the World's Tallest Basement, so it's not as if light pours in at the tiny and widely-spaced windows near one of which my desk is not situated, so I'm in the gloom with a desk lamp and the comforting glow of my high-productivity dual monitors. And we don't run the HVAC on weekends, so I've got my little hot-flash fan running. And we also don't open the garage on weekends, just to inconvenience those pesky Sunday terrorists, so Eleanor O is parked down on the porch instead of safely indoors.

And Eleanor O is wearing all her baskets because as soon as I'm done procrastinating and I get an ass-covering-modicum of work done, I need to go to Trader Joe's, New Seasons, Fred Meyer and Sally Beauty Supply to buy all my crap for the week, and then stop at my mom's to drop off Sherlock, because fandom knows no age limits and she's a huge Bendy fan and bought the DVD as soon as it came out. For the subtitles. Uh huh.

So anyway.

Work. I can do this. I can! I focus my mind, and as I do, I begin to remember what the hell task I'm supposed to be accomplishing. It's coming to me now...
darkemeralds: RayK and Fraser in the snow, caption "My Freeze Ray" (Freeze Ray)
Hello! Come in! Have some tea with me. I just made a pot.

God, I'm tired! You wouldn't think working an extra hour or two a day would make that much difference, would you? But it does. So I've been unwinding by knitting in front of the tube, half-watching episodes of Due South. Oh, look! We're up to "Some Like It Red"! Paul Gross in a drag is fun every time.

*sips tea* Oh, that's lovely. Milk? Sugar? Here you go.

I had the pleasure of reading and commenting on an older story of [personal profile] ravurian's last night, and though it has rocked my orbit a little and made me reconsider the word "writer" in relation to myself, I also feel challenged by his virtuosity to discover something more authentic in my own words.

We've agreed to write "single-breath" stories (one unbroken exhalation of words, without prior self-editing) to one another's prompts, and my problem at the moment (besides lacking the time to write) is simultaneously wanting and trying not to write to impress the prompter, which results in...self-editing! Before a word goes on the screen.

*waves at [personal profile] ravurian*

Work will slow down again in another few days and I might resume living in my right mind. Meanwhile, here, have another cup of tea while it's hot.

Variegated wool knitting yarn by Noro of Japan, in shades of olive, pink, purple and charcoal
Yarn I'm knitting a skirt out of [/random]
darkemeralds: A young woman circa 1945 is intent on her knitting. Caption "Knitting For Victory" (Knitting)
A very, very long time ago, I began knitting a cardigan for a skinny boyfriend. You know, the "maybe this is serious" moment when the relationship is probably doomed.

It was, and I put the knitting away, occasionally running across it in a decluttering stint during the intervening fifteen years, and squinting sideways at it as one does at some glaring, uncomfortable sight.

But a couple of months ago I joined Ravelry and was moved to log all my stashed yarns and all my works in progress, and the boyfriend sweater turned out to be 75% complete and in perfect, un-mothed, un-musty condition. So I took it up again, and I finished it last night.

I stuck girly pink buttons on it, rinsed and blocked it, and put it on this morning for the near-freezing ride to work. Warm, comfortable, and considerably less hassle than the boyfriend.

Cardigan

Those who've been reading my journal for any length of time may note that this is the first picture of me you have ever seen here. This is...some kind of milestone.
darkemeralds: Manga-style avatar of DarkEm with caption Hee (cartoony me)
I have had the most splendid day!

First of all, I slept a long time. Second of all, when I woke, there was SUNSHINE! Real sunshine, through real gaps in the Venusian cloud cover. It was gorgeous.

And third of all, I had a terrific online chat with [personal profile] ravurian, and it has left me with that unique, specific good feeling that comes from a long and engaged conversation with a new friend.

The sun, astonishingly, continued to shine, so fourth of all, I went out on Eleanor O, and determined that as long as I don't exert myself into actually-aerobic levels of pedaling, this lung condition is almost sort of not a problem.

A few errands and a visit to my mom later, I came home and, fifth of all, finished sleeve number one of a positively ancient WIP cardigan, while watching The Two Towers and Return of the King. (Note: you may keep your Viggo and your Orli and even your Karl Urban, and just leave me with David Wenham.)

And then, even though it clouded up and rained some more, the clouds parted to reveal SUPER MOON, and it is lovely. Sixth of all.

Oh, and I've lost 42 pounds. \o/

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