Burnout imminent

I have said it before and I’ll say it again – I took on at least one thing too many this semester.

Right now I am meant to be writing up an article critique that is due tomorrow (and is also the midterm for one of my classes). I still have a lecture to watch for my online class. There is a manuscript due in about 3 weeks. Maybe 2 weeks. I’m not really sure at this point. Plus I will have grading for the TA position next week. And all I really want to do is knit.

Made it through the first full highlighter repeat. #dyeabolical #knitting #seenfromspace

This project is my current obsession. It’s a scarf (pattern is Another Way) out of my Dyeabolical highlighter minis (mine are super sized) and an undyed hank of the same base – Super Ego. How can you look at these colors and not be happy? I blame Ann. Anything neon is all her fault. KNIT KNIT KNIT.

I should be working on this critique, but it’s not gelling in my head. I can pick apart an article with the best of them, but there’s a section where I need to come up with possible explanations for their null results and UGH. I am not feeling it. Maybe tomorrow I can do it with a fresh brain (you know, one that DIDN’T have chocolate donuts for dinner).

I really wish I would have watched that lecture for the other class during Spring Break, though. It’ll also wait until tomorrow.

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Yarn Harlot in St. Louis

Back in 2006, Rachel was working at Knitorious & decided to start a knit night there. I was living with Mindy at the time and we spent a lot of time hanging out at the house and knitting (and eating a lot of macaroni & cheese. I’m pretty sure we could have single handedly kept Kraft in business during those 2 years). I had also just gone through a breakup, so I needed to get out of the house & I wasn’t really going willingly. Mindy had to practically drag me out of the house (I hate meeting new people on account of being socially awkward and an introvert) and she did the legwork to find knitting groups for us to test out & one fateful Wednesday we walked over to Knitorious (which was close enough to her old house to walk to) and went to knit night. I’m not sure what it was about that first knit night, but we kept going back. And now it’s been 8 years of knit nights and friends I never would have known otherwise.

Which explains how I found myself on Tuesday night hanging out with the knitters of St. Louis at Left Bank Books for Stephanie Pearl-McPhee‘s book reading and the Knitorious pre-event reception. Of course, we talked to Stephanie for like 2 minutes & I said “we started our blogs on the same day!” and we chatted ever so briefly about that before I ran out of things to say and went all introvert and ran away.

Before I get to the reading, I have to show you Ann‘s awesome sweater. We kept joking that you could see her from space, but OMG it was bright. Awesome, but SO VERY BRIGHT.
Ann
This is essentially her own design – she took a crocheted sweater that she had started, but that just wasn’t working and transformed it into this neon work of art by knitting the sides & arms.

Anyway, after sitting for a bit and knitting, the room filled up and Stephanie came out to talk.

Yarn Harlot - Stephanie Pearl-McPhee

People, she was funny. I was crying from the laughing. She told us why she can’t go back to Memphis (which is a hilarious story that involves baking soda that sounded like bacon soda). She told us about preparing for the tour and the readings, about talking to her publicist and saying that she had no idea what she’d talk about. When her publicist suggested that she READ something, Stephanie said that she spent at least 30 seconds figuring out what she should read. “Neil Gaiman? He’s pretty good. Or David Sedaris, he’s a little rough but I can make it work…” until she realized that, of course, she should read from HER book. And then she read us a story about a persistent porch dwelling skunk.

Thanks to the pre-event reception, I had my book signed early & didn’t need to wait in line for it, so no photos of me with her. But I like to think I now collect signed editions of books (I have a few from various people because I love books).

Just hanging out with the Yarn Harlot.

TENTH BLOGIVERSARY!!!

Thursday (January 23) marks 10 years since I started blogging. I would love to do some wrap up of the last 10 years, but I don’t have time right now with my exams coming up on February 5th. (Short version – 2nd Masters degree, started a PhD program, started knitting, life, friends, family, and birthdays.)

So, let’s do a little 10 years of blogging giveaway instead – this is mostly for the yarny folks, but there’s a little something for the non-crafters, too.

These prizes all come from my personal stash of yarn and stuff, so let’s take a gander at them below.

Yarntini Concord
1 skein Yarntini Merino/Nylon Fingering in Concord (2009 Summer Sock Club) + random selection of 5 (or more) stitch markers from my collection

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1 skein Dyeabolical Strong Arm Skinny – Seymour Krelborn (Showtunes Sock Club 2011) + random selection of 5 (or more) stitch markers from my collection

PC120558
1 skein Socks That Rock Mediumweight in Rooky + random selection of 5 (or more) stitch markers from my collection (there are 2 skeins pictured, but only one of them is part of the giveaway).

Untitled
Monster Notions case & stitch markers with British curse words

Owls
Your choice of 2 of these 4 little owl guys I crocheted last year.

Comment below and I will use a random number generator to pick a winner for each prize. Make sure you mention if you are NOT a knitter or crocheter – don’t want to send you yarn if you can’t use it, but you’ll be in the running for the notions case (can also be used as a pencil case) & owls.

You have until Midnight Central Time on Thursday, January 23 to get your entries in. I’ll choose the winners on Friday sometime. Be sure to leave your email address in the comment field so I can contact you if you are a winner. Good luck!

FO: Dyeabolical Skew Socks!

People, I do not know where the time has gone. The holidays have come & gone, Christmas break is over, and the spring semester started this week. I have so much to talk about (cake! frosting! knitting!), but my written exams for grad school are in 3 weeks, so I’m a little stressed out.

Let’s talk ever so briefly about my semester: I’m taking 2 of the 3 written exams for my PhD program on Feb 5, still working full time (though using much vacation to get through the semester), TAing a research class, taking 2 classes, and writing a manuscript with my mentor that’s due early April. It sounds insane when you write it all out and I’ve had it on my mind during the school break – I should study, I should work on this, I should do that. So, naturally I knit a lot instead. In fact, I spent so much time on the second sock one day that my arm and hands were sore.*

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Speaking of the socks, there is something magical about the Skew pattern. I had it in my queue (with this yarn earmarked for it) for a few years, but I was convinced that I would work on this sock & then it wouldn’t fit. I was afraid that I would need to somehow compensate for my size 10 feet. The reality is that I just had to knit a few extra rows on the foot (which is easy to do) and not worry about the width of the sock – they fit great!

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The magic part is the heel – you increase for it at the center of the round and then do a bit of origami (the designer’s term) to get the heel formed, kitchener a few stitches and BAM – sock heel. I LOVED IT.

For me, one of the best things about these socks was that they were simple enough to knit while watching tv or chatting with friends, but not so simple that I was bored. You have to pay just enough attention to what you’re doing for them to be interesting. And how great is this yarn? It’s Dyeabolical Strong Arm in Wicked Garden (both base & color are sadly discontinued, but allow me to pimp out Rachel’s other yarns – any of her variegated colors would be a great match for this pattern). This was one of the first colors (maybe THE first color) that I helped name, so naturally it had to be mine. I just can’t believe it took me so long to knit it up. There are more details on the ravelry project page.

And, in what may be a record for me in sock knitting, I finished these (and another pair to be discussed later) both in the same year I cast on for them. I know this doesn’t sound like a big deal for most folks, but socks are generally my “I don’t know what to knit” projects, so they wind up being WIPs a lot longer than other projects do.

Yay new socks! My first few pair are slowly felting themselves to death, so I definitely need to be getting more of them knit to keep my feet toasty.

*These socks. Once you get past the heel, it’s just a bit to decrease your mini-gusset. Then once you start the short rows, you don’t want to stop in the middle of them. Then it’s just like 10 rows of ribbing at the top and you’re done! I knit half the second sock in a day. It’s no wonder my arm was sore.

Knitting 2013

I only completed 18 knitting projects this year (compared to last years 25), two of those were completed in the last week.

Knitting 2013

We have here:
5 pair of fingerless mitts
4 pair of socks*
4 scarves/shawls
2 hats
1 partial sweater (re-knit the yoke & created my own neck shaping, so it counts)
1 baby sweater
5 wee owls (crocheted, actually, but they still count).

*I started and finished two pair of socks in the 2013. This is actually quite the accomplishment for me. The others were both very long-term projects.