Popularity contest

It’s a little weird to me, the randomness of which patterns are instant favorites and which ones aren’t.  I added three new designs to my ravelry journal, Draper, Element, and Ondula, and it was fascinating to see which one skyrocketed to the top.

The immediate winner was Draper, a triangular shawl (or scarf, I included instructions for two sizes, booyah) I designed for Shibui while really taking their design aesthetic into consideration – i.e. modern, clean lines, simple yet sophisticated.  The result with a nontraditional bit of lace that is designed using the traditional top-down construction of the Shetland islands:

Draper (shawl)

Now, don’t get me wrong. I love this design. I am so proud of it that I could burst. Lindsay (our cover girl) came to me many months ago with a pretty simple request – to design a triangular shawl that could be knit with two+ skeins of Staccato and look amazing in one of the handpainted colorways.

The idea I had was ‘gradient’.  It seemed very modern and, well, different.  Start with a little stockinette and then one repeat of the lace pattern – a geometric motif with a slight chevron, perfect for variegates- then follow it with an even larger section of stockinette and two repeats of the lace, etc etc.  Strangely enough, the idea totally worked.

Draper (shawl)

In fact, the result was nothing short of miraculous, considering I’d never designed a triangular lace shawl before (this did feel a little like jumping in the deep end at first) and that the design actually came out the right size and looked, to me, beautiful.

I mean, wow. How the heck did that happen?

I think I’m going to have to go with magic, since the odds were so far against the first try coming out perfectly.  And, let me tell you, that sample was knit from a pattern I wrote from a swatch and it was the test knitting portion of this experiment.  Talk about blind faith and a little bit of crazy.

I’m not bragging; really, I’m not.  I’m just surprised that this was the favorite of the three on ravelry.  I mean, if the average person had to pick between a tunic/ dress, a scarf, and a lace shawl for wearability, I’d have thought the tunic/ dress would be a shoo-in.

Apparently not.  Of course, I have to admit that Draper is my favorite of the three, too.  But I’m a lace fiend and probably ‘tetched’ in the head.  Especially since I’ve promised myself that I can knit another one out of Staccato in ‘Poodle Skirt’ for me and me alone… once I’ve finished the other samples I have OTN (sigh).

This is all a very long and rambling way of telling you that people are surprising – and that I appreciate it.  It’s nice to know that all that effort wasn’t in vain.  Tomorrow I’ll try and blog a bit about the other designs; which, although not favorites, are still very much beloved by me :)

wet and wild

Gawd, I’m tired. This was going to be a nice, long post. But now it’s going to get shortened a bit. I spent the day working on the latest Newsletter (and the upcoming Holidays one), so coherency isn’t my strong suit right now.

Anyway. On Wednesday, Opus and I met up and started off towards the coast. We were warned (sort of) that there was going to be inclement weather and decided that it shouldn’t be a problem. Yeah. I was panicking slightly when we cross bridge after bridge along US 26 and US 101 that were just a foot (maybe less!) from being washed out. Freaky and not at all settling.

The long-standing wip silk pullover helped a lot:
silk-on-the-road

I knit and knit and knit as Opus drove and probably got 5″ done. Which is also a bit freaky when one considers the gauge.

We finally arrived at the Oregon Coast Aquarium and were delighted by Oddwater. It was really cool how the exhibit also displayed some fantastic locally-blown and sculpted glass art within the tanks.

Opus showed some eels her traveling sock:

eels-socks

Which actually lured them out of their glass vase for a bit.

And, while this photo didn’t come out, I love the psychedelic quality of the composition:

psychadelic

The Sea Horse tank, which also had some wicked Starfish.

In another hall we had fun petting sting rays:

petting-stingrays

Which were surprising slimy to the touch. Really weird. Though the Sea Anemone in another tank was even weirder – it’s tentacles were sticky and it’s sides a cross between velvety and slimy. I didn’t even try the Sea Cucumber, though Opus did. Urk. It looked like a giant slug.

Anyway. I tried to get a picture from the Passages of the Deep exhibit, but it was impossible. We dashed across the Aquarium in pelting rain, but it was worth it. Opus hadn’t seen it yet. The walkways in the building/ exhibit are giant transparent tubes that pass through enormous tanks, so you can watch the fish and eels and sharks swim above, below, and around you. It’s one of my favorite parts of the Aquarium.

In any case, the Manta Rays are my favorite species in the tanks, so I made a sad attempt to photograph one above my head:

blurry-manta

Well, I tried. Here’s a much better photo.

Ack, it’s past my normal bedtime.  I am tiiired.  Was going to write some more, but it’ll have to be done later.  Night night.

shame shame shame

I’m beyond embarrassed at this point by how bad a blogger I’ve been (Emm’s eyes are doing MUCH better, btw). In my defense, I’ve been doing the work of 2 people and preparing for the departure of THREE more coworkers(!!!). One for Maternity Leave (dammit), one for a vacation in another state (waaaah!), and one for school – which I don’t begrudge (much). I’m just slightly panicking, is all.

To cope with all this added stress and confusion, I’ve been knitting every spare moment I can… in some mad, subconscious, effort to lower my blood-pressure or something. I’m even beginning to wonder if I’m knitting in my sleep, because random wip’s are showing large leaps of progress that I don’t remember making. Of course, it could be knitting blackouts…

Not good to think about, really. Moving on. I finished my first skif sweater. It took 3 broken needles (sewing machine ones, not knitting), since I was out of Ball Point needles and even the Denim ones I got weren’t up to the task! Eventually, though, persistance won out as it usually does and I can now add this to my list of 2008 FO’s:

skif-bb-front1

skif-bb-back

If you want actual specs for it, I’m gonna have to refer you to my ravelry notebook.

I also finished these, my Fortress of Solitude socks (c’mon, the name just fit):

P418-socks1

Again, gonna send ya to the ravelry notebook for the details. Sorry. It’s just easier that way. On top of finishing those, I have two sweaters, a baby hat, an adult hat, three pairs of socks (no, wait, four) and… well, a Renaissance costume… in the works. But that’s not knitting and is neither here nor there right now. In other news, I received some BEAUTIFUL yarn from Penny and immediately had a wicked plan for it that is already being implemented, mwahaha.

I also got my prize from Lorna’s Laces for winning 3rd Prize in their design competition. They also sent me three copies of the pattern, and I stole a pic from their site:

architect's sock

My Architect’s Sock. So weird to actually see it knit up by someone else in a completely different color on the actual pattern.

And, in slightly non-knitting news – I went to Patrick’s Commencement today. You’ll all remember Patrick as the model for my Columbia Fisherman’s Pullover. And for those of you females out there salivating (I know you are! I got emails last time), he doesn’t play for out team, girls.

Anyway. He text’d me on Thursday, I think it was, to make sure I was coming. I panicked, said I would and penciled it in (this is the state of my life now, sadly). I even brought a travelling sock, to commemorate the occasion:

Sock at PSU Commencement

And was ecstatic to get a picture of him just after he had ‘walked’:

Patrick at Commencement

(Terrisa and I screamed like banshees to get his attention for a couple of quick photos.)

It was great, even with 90F+ weather. The Interim President of PSU even (rather gallantly) offered to make no speech in exchange for a standing ovation. I liked him. Good man. The service was short, sweet and perfectly to the point. I heartily approved.

After that, we all went out to lunch (great fun that lasted for far longer than I had scheduled for, eep!) and had to rush home. I had planned to meet Laure in Beaverton at 3:30, but just barely made it home at 4:00. She agreed to come to my place instead and work with me here.

See, some months ago, Laura convinced me to join her Historical Recreation Guild and participate in this year’s Shrewsbury Renaissance Faire – because I spin and knit and would be a great asset or something. I (somewhat) foolishly agreed, thinking it would be fun and forgot about it almost immediately after.

With the Faire in less than a month, I need to make a costume very quickly and… well, not panic. I won’t panic. I’m not panicking. Honestly. Even though I’m 4 yards short of boning (guess how I found that out tonight?) and haven’t even started on my blouse or skirt.

I need to go and knit something.

things, they are a’changing

After a hellish day – catching up with 4 sick-days worth of work is never easy – I was nearly in tears when I found a parcel on my step. FluffyKnitterDeb, fellow admin and mod of Sock Knitters Anonymous, sent me a cheer-up gift:

Margarita Socks

A pair of socks knit using this month’s Mystery Pattern for Sockdown: Ravelry!

Where she gets the time to organize the group (I’m completely AWOL, I admit it) and knit mirco-gauge socks, I never will know. But I am deeply grateful for the thought and effort she put into them. Thank you, Debi! I might just wear these to work tomorrow.

Let’s see. We’re painfully overdue for an update, but… well, I’m in the midst of some crazy sh!t and don’t know where to start. I’ll just go over what’s taking up the most of my attention:

We’re officially another pair of hands short at work as of today. Details will be released later, when I can articulate fully.

We’re about to be another pair of hands short when J goes on Maternity Leave.

Now, those two things would be enough to make me panic were it also not for the fact that (deadline fast approaching) the Knit Purl Sock Club still hasn’t sold out. I’m beyond the panic stage. Admittedly, we’ve sold over half the spots, so that’s good. But, eep! If anyone has any suggestions, I’d love to hear them.

Open application for Berkeley Business School begins on August 15 and I don’t have anything ready.  Now, even if I were to get accepted (not counting on anything), the term I’m applying for is Fall 09.  Time, at least here, is on my side.

I’m also behind on my New Designs schedule and can’t see the floor of the laundry room.

Someone, please, kidnap save me.

(I can even pay you in yarn.)

What I’ve been killing myself over.

Okay, in all honestly, one of the things I’ve been killing myself over:

badge

Contacting designers and dyers and graphic artists.  Choosing colors and pattern ideas and … er, I’ve lost track.  I have several folders full of correspondence and brainstorming and heaven knows what else.  But, woot!, it’s done and been up since Friday and we’ve already sold 1/4 of the spots available :D  (I am admittedly occupying one of those spots)

Life is goood.

Inexplicable knitting behavior

Yesterday was a strange, yet glorious, day. It was the second day of the Blue Moon scavenger hunt and there were knitters all over town making the Muggles confused. I got presented with more tea and hot chocolate than I could drink.

Making it even weirder, I helped both Terrisa and Jenni “hunt”, mostly be taking photos of them. We managed to amuse quite a group at The Annex, when we got the bartender to pose with a McMenamins beer and Terrisa’s traveling sock (she’ll probably be posting about all this here, eventually). We even managed to pick up some goodies for the Harlot before we went to see her at the World Forestry Center:

  • 2 McMenamins beers
  • 1 lb of Stumptown coffee, ground up for hotel drips (the Harlot informed us that she knew how to make a coffee filter from toilet paper when the coffee fumes overcame her)
  • a Cacoa sampler
  • 4 skeins of Shibui yarn
  • 1 ShibuiKnits pattern by a local designer (me, actually, but I take no credit for it going into the package)

The MAX actually had a couple of knitters on their way to the event, so we got to freak out the Muggles a little bit more. Terrisa and I met up with K, a knitter friend from No Mean Feet!, who was having a Pre-Harlot event that was loads of fun. Hint: it involved YARN. I love knitters.

I forgot to take pictures of the 3 skeins of STR Lightweight in “Knitters Without Borders” I got with my book – I bought 1 of the skeins for the SKA’s upcoming International Event. Bad me, no photo. I’ll take one later. I wanna make knee-highs with the other 2.

From there we went into the crowd, and got seats:

crowd

Over 300 knitters in one place – it was fantastic! There was actually enough seating this time because Blue Moon put on the event, not some Muggles at Powells. Stephanie, of course, gave a wonderful talk about all sorts of things, which I shan’t tell you – you need to see her in person. It’s totally worth any trip. Really.

Next was the really, ah, inexplicable part. Terrisa and I got it into our heads to do something… different. To keep Steph from freaking out, we gave her our bribe and asked for the normal things:

an autograph…

signing-book-4

a photo with my traveling sock…

Harlot-sock

And a group photo…

knitting-angels

Which, oh yeah, is where our inexplicable knitting behavior came in. Terrisa wanted to get Stephanie to pose with us in the traditional Charlie’s Angels line-up. I stipulated that it had to be knitting-themed. Instead of guns, Terrisa has her traveling socks. Stephanie had her sock in place of a hand radio. And I held a skein rather than karate-chopping. In the background you can see Bob straining to hold our “fiery backdrop” up, which was really the shop’s Big Bad Baby Blanket. It didn’t quite fit.

I thought the crowd was going to die, they were laughing so hard. Hell, I was laughing my @ss off. Hopefully we didn’t scare Steph permanently away from Portland.

All in all, it was a lot of fun. And explained why I got home near midnight and was half dead when I went in to work today. After maybe 6 hours of sleep and a long day with bad weather I got home this evening and was greeted by a tree on my lawn, blocking the path to the house and the sidewalk. After climbing over it, swearing a lot, and getting into the house, I took this to prove what a weird thing life can be:

Yay. Luckily, the Urban Forester, whomever he is, came by and fixed it whilst I took a nap. Thank goodness.

a-surprise

So now everything is (mostly) back to normal and stuff. I kind of don’t know where to go with this post now. Yesterday was fantastic, today not so much. That about sums it up. I’ll post some yarn and WIP shots later, honest. I’ve finished the first of the Distracted socks :) The Harlot is holding it’s mate IP.

the crazy place

At 6:38 AM I looked at the clock this morning and finally accepted the situation: I was NOT going to finish Project #3 on time. I had knit through the night (while watching 8 movies back to back on my laptop, locked in my room with Coke and candy to keep me going) and it still wasn’t finished.

Bitter disappointment settled in my stomach. Along with numb realization that The Photoshoot was starting in 2 hours and I would not have a sweater ready for it. That, more than anything else, was embarrassing. I’d never missed a deadline like this so badly.

Admittedly, getting thoroughly sick threw off my plans a bit.  But that seemed like a sad excuse… the situation is unacceptable to my inner OCD-freak.

I looked down at the UFO to end all UFO’s and finished the row I was on, carefully packed it up and got around to find the studio for the shoot. I still had to drop off another project and explain (albeit poorly) that there would be no men’s sweater today.

And that was that.

In retrospect, now that I’ve slept and ate something with protein and vitamins, I can only wonder at my own insanity. Or hubris. I can’t tell which it was, yet. I was so certain yesterday that I’d be able to finish in time. I have no idea why such a foolish notion overcame me or how I didn’t spot the scheme for as insane as it was a bit sooner.
I mean, really. I lost my voice on Saturday night and didn’t get it back until yesterday afternoon. I spent most of Friday and Saturday in a state of miserable semi-conciousness (knitting away fiendishly, btw*). It makes me wonder if this wasn’t part of some perverse cosmic plot: get the girl her dream job but then strike her down at the perfect moment to make her look like a total flake.

(sigh)

Oh, well.

And, you know what?, I’ve made a decision. I spent my birthday too sick to move and working on a project doomed to fail. My SIL offered to share her b-day, Dec 8th, with me and I’m going to take her up on that offer. I have no idea what I’m doing but, this Saturday, I’m going to do something for myself.

Suggestions, of course, are always welcome. And, now, I shall go and work on a felt swatch for ShiBuiKnits. I’ve promised them a felted scarf (yes, I know, I know), and just can’t look at Project #3 right now. I spent over 12 hours on it last night, we need a break from one another.

I also need to wind that sock yarn so I can CO those test socks (also useful for Sockdown: December!), and then I can have traveling sock photos for a short time.

*Another sign of insanity – who in their right mind would have touched, or even MODELED, something so germ-infested? I’m going to have to soak the darn thing in hot soap and water to make it something HAZMAT wouldn’t determine dangerous. And that’s also not considering the sheer number of mistakes I made while on the DayQuil and had to correct later.

another thing to scratch out.

w00t!

My joyfulness? I turned in Project #2 and it was well loved, and I was happy. And a little embarrassed by all the compliments. Opus mocked me. I went “pfft” to her and then silenced her with a bribe involving handspun lace yarn.

Anyway. I’ve promised, uh, 2 more design sketches for next week. On top of the men’s sweater that’s due (with pattern!) on Nov 15. Sooo… now I just need to write a pattern and knit a sweater in 2 weeks.

Don’t give me that look. I knit an adult sweater during Dead Week one term… when I had Latin, Greek, and 400-level Art History keeping me from sleeping. It can be done.

I’m thinking of sending along the Project #2 pattern tomorrow, just to have it done. I’ve proofed it so many times in the past few days that there’s not much else I can do.

Other, not-man’s-sweater, progress? I sent off the Discworld Swap package (yesh!), and Stephie’s Jaywalkers and Crimson’s shamefully late Wacky Ducky Contest prize. Yes, I suck when it comes to mailing things on time, if ever.

Also:

offset-wraplan-progress

Baby T’s offset wraplan is coming along. I’m almost to the ribbing at the hem. Then I just have to knit the sleeves, collar, and buttonbands. By next Saturday. Again, why are you looking at me like that? It’s a baby sweater. It can be done.

Ooh! And see that feather right there?? Emperor Fabulous left that on our patio this afternoon. Yes, I washed it. Is it down or is it a feather? Who can tell?

I also finally figured out my Socks for Maggie. They’re coming along nicely, esp. as traveling socks. Now, all I need to do is CO my November sockdown socks and I’ll be set for being on schedule for the Terrible Deadlines. I think. Oh, no, wait. Handspun Swap. Right-io. I also need to spin 4 oz of sock yarn by Nov 15. Wow, I’m going to be stressed for the next fortnight.

You might want to give Portland a wide berth.

Deadlines.

As I walked home from the bus stop this afternoon, still euphoric from my meeting with Kristin (pattern editor of ShiBuiKnits), I had to stop. Full. Stop. It finally occurred to me that I just might have over-scheduled myself again…

My deadlines list for the next two months:

  • Oct 29, 2007: Send-out date for the Fall-ing For Pratchett Swap. [I’ve already started knitting!]
  • Nov 7, 2007: revised Clara cloche and pattern must be turned into ShiBuiKnits. [pattern’s half-way done]
  • Nov 15, 2007: Modern Fisherman’s sweater and pattern must be turned into ShiBuiKnits AND the send-out date for the Fall Handspun Swap (WTH was I thinking??). [uh, I’ve swatched for the Fisherman’s sweater and more-or-less chosen the fiber for the Handspun Swap]
  • Nov 30, 2007: Socks for Maggie must be knit and sent in. [I have sock yarn? … lots and lots of sock yarn?]

Not to mention that I have a job interview tomorrow that I give myself 50/50 odds of getting. Oh, and I simply must finish Stephie’s jaywalkers (so close!!), the diamondback socks for Mum, and Tegan’s off-set wraplan. Should be a piece of cake.

Right. Breathe. This is good, right? The Swaps are fun and good karma. So are the socks for Maggie (which are going to include either cables or be from a Nancy Bush pattern, to fit the Sockdown: October! requirements). And the ShiBuiKnits contracts? Well, I’m still blissful over them. They want the “samples” and patterns done by mid-November, so they can have them published and ready for the TNNA Winter Tradeshow.

I can do it. I just won’t get to knit a single thing for myself in the next 2 months.

But, hey, I’ve got 12 skeins of ShiBuiKnits Merino/ Alpaca sitting on my bed, soft and luxurious, waiting to be knit up. Life’s not that bad ^_^

I can’t believe I did that

I finished Clara today, and managed to take one semi-decent photo of it. Even so, you still can’t see most of the brim shaping. Photographing one’s own head is really quite tricky…

Clara 1.0

As I went back into the house to upload the photo to flickr, I checked ravelry. Bless the internet and ravelry. I was so lucky that I caught Moirae‘s message, asking if I’d be at Terry Pratchett’s book signing tonight. After taking a moment to process her question, I shrieked in horror. I thought he was coming to Portland on the 28th, not the 26th.

So, at 5:10 pm, I dragged my brother out the door with me (I never would of heard the end of it otherwise), left a message on Opus’ machine, and dashed to catch a bus to connect with the MAX.

We actually made it to Powell’s on time (6:54 pm) and I even managed to snag one of the last copies of his new book, Making Money. Knowing Mum was going to be really disappointed she missed this, I asked him to inscribe the book to her. I’ll grab a paperback copy for myself later. I did get him to sign my copy of Small G-ds (my favourite Discworld novel, I am a Classicist), and a book for some random guy who didn’t get there in time to buy the new one.

I also managed something slightly crazy I think Stephieface will appreciate. I’ve been working on a pair of Jaywalkers for her all month (she just had her fourth baby, she deserves a pair of pretty handknit socks IMHO), so the first thing I grabbed on the way out of the house was them and my digicam – hoping to convince Mr Pratchett to pose with my “traveling socks”*. He did.

hmm...

He refused to pose with a smile, opting instead to scrutinize them, but hey…

huh?

He held the socks!!!

His manager-guy was very chatty and made several knitting puns, making me feel a little less like a freak. Maybe they’ve gotten this kind of request before? Since there were about 100 people in line behind me, I thanked him and dashed away and tried not to look embarrassed. I am proud of the fact that I carry traveling socks with me. It’s just hard to explain it to the Muggles.

After that, Opus and Emm and I went to dinner and caught the MAX home. We also caught the very-nearly last bus home. Whoo. What a frenetic night.

And then a kitty tried to come home with us. Literally. She followed us from the bus stop. Emm had to gently nudge her away with his foot as she tried to come in the front door. Weird.

I’m going to go and sit and read. I have a new book that’s whispering sweet nothings to me.

*The reason Emm decided to come with me: he wanted to see me ask Mr Pratchett to hold the traveling socks. I have a feeling this is going to become a family joke very, very soon.