Trouble with Trebles

This blog is to keep track of my knitting, other craft projects, and the weird bits of life that don't fit anywhere else.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Riding the Bus

"Everyone wants to ride with you in the limo, but what you need someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down." - Oprah Winfrey

I confess, I am a bad Californian. I don't have a car, and I often ride the bus. I only live a couple miles from work and using the bus system is free with my University ID, so I figure it makes sense to take advantage of public transportation. When I tell people that I use public transit the usual reaction is shock and dismay with a smattering of pity, particularly in this California car culture. They are particularly flustered when I tell them I actually LIKE riding the bus. As a psychologist public transit provides an opportunity for naturalistic observation of my fellow humans. Rarely does the bus disappoint. Just the other day, as I walked on the bus a fellow in the front flashed a handmade sign that read "Impeach President Bush." I'm not sure that he will get much traction in his crusade on the local bus system, but you never know. I have to admit that the seriousness of his message was somewhat hampered by his attire. He was wearing what appeared to my keen eye to be a handknit, orange fun-fur hat, complete with earflaps, worn in 75 degree weather no less. As I said, the bus rarely disappoints.

This past weekend, the husband and I availed ourselves of public transit and took the metrolink into LA. Our destination? It depends on who you ask. The hubby wanted to see the tourist sites of the city and wander around a bit. I wanted to hit a fancy schmancy LA yarn shop. Anne facilitated this by giving me detailed information about which trains to take to get to a couple shops near Union Station. Then she told me that Black Sheep Knittery was having a 50% off sale. What could be better?

We had a great day in the city. We went to the Grand Central Market, Angels Flight park, walked around the fountains in the financial district, and browsed Olvera Street. Here are some photos:

More importantly (for knitting blog purposes, anyway), I got some lovely new yarn and patterns at Black Sheep:

What you see here is 8 balls of Cashsoft DK in a silvery sage (sorry about the bad photo), the new issue of Rebecca, and some sock needles. I also got a new bottle of Kookaburra wool wash and a book on how to remove stains. Actually my husband picked out the last two items (I guess we know who does the laundry in our house!). Frankly, this shows a remarkable amount of restraint on my part. Almost no one left the shop with under $100 worth of yarn, some spending as much as $300. My spending was slowed by the realization that I don't really have room for any of it, and I might actually have to turn the yarn into bedpillows to make a place for it (do you think it would be too lumpy? could I leave the ball bands on?). Now I've just found out that Suzoo's is having an April Fool's Day sale. What's a yarn addict to do? (do you think anyone would notice if I replaced the futon mattress with yarn?)

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Monday, March 26, 2007

A Little Monkey Business

Lately I've been working on a lot of monkeysexual projects, and I'm not just talking about the monkey socks in Knitty. What's a monkeysexual you say? It's a word that we love and have been using quite frequently of late (I don't just mean the royal we either. There are others using the word, but they may prefer to keep their identities hidden at this point in time). What does it mean you ask? Well, it can mean just about anything you want it to. Personally, I can think of any number of things that could be described as monkeysexual. It's just the word you need to describe that odd situation which previously defied description.

Not to brag or anything, but I think my latest FO is extremely monkeysexual. Yes, you heard right, I actually finished something! (how monkeysexual of me, don't you think?) It's an actual item of knitted clothing that looks and fits just the way I'd hoped.

Yarn: Lorena DK (40% wool/60% acrylic) in burgundy, Unger Aries (45% wool/55% acrylic) in light gray, Wool-Ease worsted in oxford gray
Pattern: V-necked vest from Vogue Knitting, Winter 2005 issue
Changes: I added a single crochet edge around the neckling to prevent rolling
Yardage: about 700 yards of the burgundy, and a small amount of both grays
Needles: US size 6
Start/End Date: Started on February 10, 2006 (knitting olympics) and finished seaming on March 16, 2007
Notes: I made the size medium and it seems to fit quite nicely. This was a fairly easy and fast knit. The main reason it took so long to finish was that I set it aside last May and didn't get to it again until the end of January. I've also been extremely busy this semester and haven't had much knitting time. (Why, oh why, did I assign so many papers?)

I hope this inspires you to be a little more monkeysexual in your own life.


Monday, March 19, 2007

As Long As It Doesn't Itch

"I base most of my fashion taste on what doesn't itch." - Gilda Radner

A couple weeks ago my local knitting group had a fantastic yarn swap, hosted by the wonderful Anne from Crafty Diversions (she's know as the "crafy McGuyver" in our group). The swap had a Bollywood theme, with appropriate attire encouraged. I completely forgot about the dress-up component, but Ann had a full stock of lovely Saris, etc. for us all to wear. We were a lovely, colorful bunch. The Indian food was also fabulous. Knitters appear to be excellent cooks.

The point of a yarn swap, I am told, is to get rid of yarn for which you have no use and exchange it for yarn that you can use. However, I seem to have missed the memo and came home with much more yarn than I brought. I did donate a bunch of acrylic yarn that seemed unsuitable for baby blankets to Project Linus, and traded a couple ends of some nice stuff for things I found more useable. However, as we got towards the end of the swap I just couldn't resist all those sad little abandoned skeins, left without a home. They looked so unloved. So, I took them in and gave them a new home. Below you can see most of my colorful acquisitions.

I got 2 skeins of yellow cotton ease, 2 balls of pastel hand dyed wool, bright pink Sears brand mohair (any thoughts as to how old that is?), 2 skeins lavender in some soft blend, 1 partial skein of a soft, blue, loopy yarn, and 4 balls of orange cotton. I did pass on some yarns, honest! There were several more colors and brands of mohair that I didn't take, for example. Why is it that people are always trying to get rid of mohair? Maybe people always buy too much, or only realize they are sensitive to it's major fuzziness partway into a project? I am hoping the pink will make a fun lacy shrug, like the Reading In Bed Shrug in the latest Interweave Knits. If not, it will make a repeat appearance at next year's yarn swap. I also took all the blue and purple fun fur that people were giving away, for which I have fun plans. Just a heads up, I will be posting a new FO soon, once I weave in ends and do the seaming!


Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Thirty-Four Years and Counting

"Time and Tide wait for no man, but time always stands still for a woman of thirty." - Robert Frost

This past Monday celebrated my 34th year. Ever notice how we become more coy about describing and sharing news of our birthday as we get older? Children are always happy to remind you of their birthday. When I was kid I always wanted a surprise party. How cool to have all your friends secretly plan a big party in your honor! Growing up in a rural area, however, makes the surprise party a bit more difficult. Where do you hide everyone's cars in the middle of nowhere? What kind of excuse will get you to drive 30 minutes each way to town just so the party can be set up while you're away? How will the cows react to all that ruckus?

I finally got my wish for a surprise party after I moved to a larger city as an undergraduate. My friends fooled me really well, too. A couple days before my birthday I showed up at my friend's house unshowered, wearing sweats and my glasses to do laundry. As I walked in everyone jumped out and yelled "surprise" just like in the movies. It was at that moment that I realized why most people don't care much for surprise parties. All photographic evidence of that event has been discretely destroyed.

Generally, I don't see much point in making too much of a fuss over my birthday. I do sincerely enjoy the celebrating and the gifts (who doesn't?), but having moved 14 times in the last 11 years I am often in a new place where I don't know that many people or I'm too busy to really take the time to celebrate. I assumed that this year would be the same, but I was absolutely wrong. It seems that knitting really does bring people together. First, I'd like to thank Jennifer for the wonderful card! Even though we've never met it real life, I am always excited to check on your blog to see how you're doing. I was pleasantly surprised and touched that you took the time to send a card. I also want to thank my colleague and friend Jenn for a lovely lunch and the new knitting books. One can never have too many knitting books, right? And yes, you can borrow them. ;) Finally, I want to thank all my wonderful friends from All Things String, the local knitting group, for going out to dinner on Monday on such short notice. Anne, Rachel, Zona, and Aubrey, thank you for a wonderful end to a lovely day! And you'll be happy to know that this year I even showered!

I haven't had much of a chance to take photos, but here is a preview of some of my loot from a recent Yarn Swap. Yes, it's fun fur, but I want to make the "monster slippers" from SnB Nation so I am making an exception to my no fun fur policy.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Just Try and Stop Me!

"The questions isn't who is going to let me; it's who is going to stop me." -Ayn Rand

My birthday is coming up soon (March 12), prompting me to start thinking about what gifts I want. I narrowed it down to three main areas:

1. Needles
2. Pattern books
3. More yarn (natch!)

To make sure I get exactly what I want (always very important, especially when it comes to crafting supplies), I filled my Knitpicks cart with the items I wanted and then left it open on our home computer for the hubby to find. Yes, I'm really that subtle. I was able to show what for me is a vast amount of restraint and only got these items:
Knitpicks Options needle set and Knitpicks Sierra, a bulky wool yarn, in grape.

You may be wondering, what it someone in southern California going to do with bulky wool. I've been anxiously reading all the buzz regarding Wenlan Chia's new book "Big City Knits" and have put it on my Amazon wishlist. I have mixed feelings about the book, and have added and deleted it from my wishlist 3 times. Apparently, the sizing is limited to very small sizes, but others argue that the chunky knits are meant to stretch and are designed with a fair bit of negative ease. Either way, I love, love, love her designs. As it turns out, I already have a couple of her patterns from knitting mags, including the Vogue Winter '05 issue which has the vest pattern I've nearly completed. Thus, the grape Sierra is for this baby:Not only is it a cool design, but a hoodie is really practical for winter in California!

Friday, March 02, 2007

Less Paperwork

"What the world really needs is more love and less paperwork." - Pearl Bailey

I feel like I haven't blogged in forever and the reason is the paperwork: testmaking, papers, assignments. What they don't tell you in grad school is that academia is full of paperwork. I thought I was going to get to hang out with students discussing theories, designing experiments, and contemplating the meaning of life. Instead, I'm filling out yet another form for our field trip next week and creating a study guide for the next exam. Perhaps once I'm done with my paperwork I will have a couple minutes left for theorizing. Maybe this is why there are so many crappy theories?

I have had a little time, very late at night for knitting. I am pushing to finish my Vogue vest before it's too warm to wear it. From today's weather one might think that it is already too late, but there will probably be a few more cold days even here in southern California. As you may remember the back is completely done, and I am now very close to finishing the front. I can already taste the victory of completion! Now if only I could make a sweater that takes less than a year to finish.

I thought I'd include a few fun photos of my non-crafting activities (they are few, but they do exist). Last weekend the hubby and I went to the LA Zoo, which is under construction while they build some exciting new exhibits. Despite the construction, there were still some great animals to see: