Sunday, March 30, 2008

I have nothing better to do...

The Martian Death Crap II: Zombie Boogaloo has me on the couch still, looking a little blue around the edges. And since I called in sick to work, again, I am just gonna have to amuse myself in a non-athletic sort of way.

Unravel

Thanks to my commenter in the last post who pointed out that it IS possible to pull out, reknit and regraft a toe.

pick up

A good excuse to watch more Battlestar Galactica.

getting ready

Besides, it's like, totally therapeutic.

purl knit

or something.

halfway there

Didn't take long.

toe!

And it means I can keep my new Fleece Artist socks for myself. Which I really wanted to do. Now to cast on #2. I am halfway to socky nirvana.

Slow down. Enjoy the journey.

bad view

Not the best view ever.

pillars heel

Hard to photograph your own foot and heel. But, isn't it a perfectly lovely heel? Love how the cables run down it and snug it up to fit just right. Now that I've done a cabled/patterned heel flap, I wonder why they ever seemed so intimidating.

Because I am an impatient knitter, I tend to knit things just a little short sometimes. I just want to get to the next section and mix it up a little. I bargain with myself "Ok, just half an inch more...." and sometimes I am a little optimistic. And wrong. Sometimes I forget how huge my feet are. Well, darnit, this sock was no exception. Looks like these are going to be a gift for someone with a slightly smaller foot than mine. I know just the person would would appreciate them, too. They aren't unwearable, they just need a scootch more room to fit the way I like them. Nothing more heartbreaking than all that work and realizing you won't enjoy the finished project.

Some things I need to remember when knitting socks for myself:

1. My toes are stupidly long.
2. My feet are stupidly long.
3. My heels are stupidly long.
4. I have feet like a jackrabbit.
5. Knitting patterns are not written for people with jackrabbit feet.
6. Make them longer. Every time. Shut up. Just... make them longer.
7. That's not long enough. Knit another half an inch.
8. Put the sock down and pick up something else if you are not going to knit that half an inch more. Do NOT...I said do NOT start the toe yet. Put it down.
9. Calm now? Great. Knit another half inch.
10. Jackrabbit feet. Live with it.

pillars gusset

I knit the pattern as written for a size 9-10 foot, but went up to #2 needles and I think if you used smaller needles you might have to add pattern repeats around the ankle. At least one, maybe two. I know I would. This pattern fits VERY snugly because of the cabling. Probably not a bad idea to swatch for gauge or at least try it on a lot and make sure it fits while you're making it.

pillars gusset

I am officially now in the camp of Fleece Artist LOVE. I think what makes this particular colorway insanely fabulous is really the colorplay and subtle variegation. I really like how they all work together.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Pillars cuff

Martian Death Crap II: Zombie Boogaloo continues to kick my arse. Enough so that it took me a few tries to cast this on and get the ribbing count right. However, I've got everything sorted and it's coming along fine.

Probably not going to be the fastest knit in history but it sure is purty...

pillars cable macro

Pillars Of Atlantis socks, in Fleece Artist 2/6 Merino sock yarn, "Blue Lagoon"

Or... just Ravel it!

Today we give thanks for matzoh ball soup and the awesome boyfriends who bring it to the ailing knitters, for inhalers and for azithromycin.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Two posts in one day? She must be sick.

Well I am. Martian Death Bug II, Zombie Boogaloo, to be exact. And man is it no fun. I actually don't feel so bad as long as I'm flat on my ass. The minute I get up and do anything, fuggedaboutit.

I did manage to knock out the second Broadripple, so now I have a pair. And the toe on #2 is beautifully Kitchenered, thanks to this link here which someone hunted up for me in comments a few posts ago. Thank you! I'd forgotten this site existed. Some of us learn better by watching and then doing. I'm definitely one of those folks. It's hard to make heads or tails of a picture in a book.

Broadripple top

I love STR but I don't love the way it pools - sometimes I can't find a stitch count/needle size/pattern that ensures a nice even striping action. These striped beautifully on the first go but were too tight. Making them larger completely buggered up the striping. That's ok, I still love them, I just think the ripple pattern would have been awesome if the striping had worked out better.

Broadripple side

I think the pooling is probably in large part why I adore Tina's very wild colorways in the skein, but tend to almost always prefer the semi solids and watercolor waves when knit up.

I have a skein of Fleece Artist in "Blue Lagoon" that I am currently carrying around with me, trying to find the right pattern. Those will be May's socks. Blue, for May Showers.

FA-blue lagoon

You know you are a Knitter when...

I have a friend who has been resisting the siren call of knitting for a few years now. Who finally picked up needles and yarn against her better judgement, and got hooked. A friend who, I don't think, will ever look back to her days as a NON knitter with anything but a vague sense of "What was I thinking?"

Like all beginners, she is maybe a little unsure of actually calling herself a knitter yet, because she is still learning some very basic things. She's afraid that she lacks some basic, fundamental know how that separates knitters from players. Maybe she is afraid we'll all look at her and say, "Nuh uh." if she tries to assert that she has a place in the club.

I'm here to tell you, she's got a place in the club.

Girlfriend was knitting in her living room last night when gunfire erupted across the street. Her boy was yelling at her to get down and what did Girlfriend do? Before she stopped, dropped, and rolled? She calmly finished the few stitches that were left in her row, because she might drop a stitch on the way down to the floor. While the bullets were flying. I'd like to also point out that this was beaded knitting and she had to seat a bead on one of those stitches while all this hullaballo was in motion. And she worries that she's not a Knitter???

I don't think she has to worry. She's one of us, all right. God help her.

I am now hunting for Kevlar yarn and have a vague idea of knitting her an Aran flak vest.

no knitters were harmed in the making of this anecdote

Friday, March 21, 2008

Broadripple 1 of 2

Broadripple, one of two!

Confession: I totally fudged grafting the toe. Probably because I've never done the freaking Kitchener stitch before and after attempting it here I wanted to throw something out the window. Repeatedly.

On sock two of two, I will take it to my LYS and beg them to teach me to Kitchener a sock toe properly.

Learning and growing, learning and growing, I am a learning and growing knitter, right... new skills are important.

Broadripple 1 of 2

That said, I absolutely LOVE this heel and the pattern is really fast and fun, so the knit as a whole has been enjoyable.

Speaking of wanting to throw things out the window? The Friday Night Knitter's Club didn't exactly go out the window, but it did hit the wall with a resounding smack. I was so disappointed. Anyone who has been wanting to read it, I will send you my copy for free if you want it, just drop a comment - it may be more to someone else's taste than it was to mine!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

the stupid continues

Today's public school drama involved my daughter's PE teacher forcing her to do jumping jacks even though she told him she had a bad headache and was diagnosed with migraines and could she please walk laps instead. "NO." he said, then forced her to do jumping jacks until she had to run to the bathroom to throw up. Because the jumping jacks, in the bright sunlight, triggered the migraine that she'd been trying to hold off. Then? He refused to let her go to the nurse until one of his aides took pity and took her anyway. I had to come get her and she missed another day of school, including the academic classes she needed to attend today to get homework packets and makeup work turned in. All because someone needed to prove he's the boss of his PE class.

Yeah, ok Big Man. You've got a huge one all right. And you pick on little girls and make them cry, too. We're all in awe of your sheer damned manliness.

When I phoned to complain about this, her counselor told me that the only way we can get her exempt from PE is if she "breaks something." To say that I went ballistic is an understatement.

My daughter then offered to break her arm, if that would help.

Fortunately, she won't have to resort to that - I finally think I found the right combination of people to email. I went over some heads and it seems like now I've struck the right note, I've cited legal statutes, I've pointed out that she has an IEP we can amend, and I did so to the right people, FINALLY. We're finally in compliance with the truancy review board, so the nasty letters have stopped. We may have action. We may have resolution. Or at least, improvement. Fingers crossed, please!! The school nurse is in our court, the IEP coordinator is scheduling an emergency meeting and hopefully these things will help.

We started her on a new beta blocker to try to get this under control, as the med we'd had her on previously was not helping. Fingers even more crossed that perhaps this is the magic bullet.

I need this to be over and sorted. I'm pulling my hair out. It's taking a terrible toll on everyone, especially my daughter. I'm lucky to still have my job.

Sometimes life isn't fair, and you just go on and make do. And try to make it better. And you knit a lot, just because that helps.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

the daily fiber

except not exactly "daily" because this has been languishing on the Kromski for about a month.

Yep, it's February's fiber, Plums and Berries from Smoky Mountain Fibers. I'm about half done with this luscious little bump that is thus far spinning up in shades reminiscent of the juicy middle part of a nectarine or maybe a peach.

plums and berries

Gotta finish spinning up the other half of the bump and then I will ply that too. It wants bathed in woolwash and perhaps some conditioner, perhaps a little bit of abuse and then a nice long hang on the washline. There is still a lot of energy in that there yarn - it'll relax a bit after I wash and beat it. Bloom and soften. Then it might want to be a pair of socks. The three plies will give it a little more structure than my usual two ply handspun attempts, which thus far seem to be better suited to soft lacy things.

I spun the singles on my Kromski and then navajo plied them off the bobbin using my Schacht Hi Lo spindle. I can two ply on the wheel just fine, but haven't developed the knack of making three ply yet. I honestly still prefer my spindle for plying as a rule and feel I get better, more consistent results when using it.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

F is for.... well it's for Fiber, of course, but it is also for Fearless.



Fierce, Fabulous, and Female.



I am referring to the L.A. Derby Dolls of course, and they are so totally my pick for "F" this week. Women athletes competing hard, full contact, freaking fantastic!



Except I don't think it counts, simply because these aren't pictures and I didn't take them. That's ok. I guess we'll just call "F" a twofer and I'll dig up some actual pictures tomorrow. For now, enjoy the view. It's Fine.

And go catch a roller derby match if you can possibly find one in your area. Support some local athletes who are all about having Fun and looking Fly while doing it!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

*****SPOILER!!!*****

Or...

WHY I LOVE MARCH!

Because March seems to be a Sock Club month. RSC is shipping this week, Seven Deadly Spins arrived yesterday, Spinning Bunny is shipping this week, and today's mail brought TEMPTED YARN!!!

So I was rearranging some fiber bins, like ya do, and my oldest walks in to the room. Stops, looks at the fiber and says, "Well... I'm not going to say that you've acheived SABLE, but I'd say that's at least half the stash you'll need to exceed your life expectancy." and then walked out.

*sniffle*

She knows the lingo.

I'm so proud.

Starting to think about which clubs I want to save for next year and budgeting accordingly. Any sock clubs you just can't live without?

Also? Tempted. Whose club I will jealously maintain my spot in, until she chooses not to have a club any longer!

Tempted-Love Bites macro

It's really hard to get reds and blacks to photograph true, with or without a flash. This picture does NOT do the yarn justice. Ms. Tempted's yarns are beyond compare!

Friday, March 14, 2008

seven deadly spoilers Just a warning that a little further down in this post there will be a picture of my kit from the Seven Deadly Spins Club and if any of my fearless blog readers are in that club also, I don't want to spoil it for 'em. I think everyone got theirs, but you know... manners is manners and I aim to be mannerly!

So we'll start with Broadripple.
Broadripple redux

Which I have frogged entirely and reknit with some additional pattern mods and much gnashing of teeth.

The pattern was written to be knit up with 56 stitches, on #3 needles. Since I was using STR mediumweight, I figured that'd be fine. It was, if a little tight, until I got to the instep. At which point, not so much with the fine. It was way too tight. So I wept and gnashed and frogged the entire sock (sitting in traffic at eleven on a Sunday night, on the way to Highland Park to pick up Daughter #1's antibiotics from the place she'd left them that morning, argh.) and cast back on (sitting in more traffic on the way home from Highland Park, waiting for the CHP to clear an accident, at about eleven forty five on a Sunday night.)

Boy am I glad I did. I ended up knitting it as written (and now wish I'd kept the ribbed top, I liked how it looked better) but added 2 stitches per needle - hiding the two extra stitches on each side of the "ripple" section. It works just fine.

The striping is not as even and nice as it was with the original attempt, there is a little pooling and more of a spiral around the sock going on, but it's acceptable.

The other mod I made to the pattern was I extended the heel flap about 10 extra rows. I think it'll give me enough room in the instep, as the gusset will be longer. The heel is a lovely slipped stitch affair that I think is very pretty in this yarn. I'm not sold on the top down/flap heel at all and still totally prefer to knit toe up, but it'll do. I'm trying to shake myself out of my sock rut and knit patterns the way the designers intended with heels and toes that require me to learn new skills.

slipped heel

Love the Broadripple pattern, but it definitely seems to be written for someone with very tiny feet! I think I'd actually like to try it out in STR heavyweight, knit on 4's, but as written. Would be a nice pair of house socks.

And then... there's the Seven Deadly Spins Club package for March.

Sock yarn... jellybeans... mini sock blocker... needle protectors... patterns... a pen... and did I mention, the jellybeans? And honestly, just look at that sock yarn. OMG. Gluttony. The package is "Gluttony" and all that color, yes, it really is.

Seven Spins

I'm trying to not buy yarn much at all this year because of all those aforementioned doctor bills, so for the most part I'm just enjoying the clubs I signed up and paid for last year. It's enough to feed my inner yarn ho, but let me save some money. I'm not gonna say Yarn Diet because I always fail miserably at that? but, I'm trying.

And when Yarn Club comes with jellybeans, well that's just EPIC WIN.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Incredible frustration with the 500 lb gorilla.

I know I've mentioned that my youngest is experiencing some ill health lately, and we have been fighting with our school district about it. I think yesterday I threw in the towel and gave up. Or at least it feels like I did.

My youngest suffers from what we're pretty sure is "chronic daily headaches" which is usually just a really bad headache but triggers into a migraine 2-3x a week. She has a headache every. single. day. without fail. She is never not in pain. We are trying various medications and treatments but thus far nothing has clicked for us to prevent this. We are on the medication carousel of experimentation.

Naturally, it's translated to some missed school. A LOT of missed school. We have 17 absent days this year and some of those are being treated as truancies by her school district. That's our fault, btw, the truancies - she didn't get doctor's notes in on time and I didn't check up to make sure she'd handed them in - now they can't go back and clear them. But beyond that, we have enough absences that a note from me is no longer considered adequate, and so we must have a doctor's excuse any time she is kept home from school. Policy dictates. Stupid policy. If we don't have the doctor's note, it's truancy and the next step is prosecution.

With no health insurance and migraines that keep her home at least once, usually twice and sometimes even three days in a week, one can imagine how all those visits to the doctor are adding up. Then add in all the days of missed work with no pay so I could take her to the doctor. We've started sending her to school with the headaches, just so she'll be marked present in homeroom. For some reason, if she's marked present at day's beginning and then sent home by the nurse, then even if she misses the rest of the day, she's not "truant." Usually she starts throwing up from the extreme pain around her first period, goes to the nurse and is back home in bed by 9:30 - but nobody is squawking about that up at the school because it means they get their ADA money so it's not counted as "missing school" in their books.

Baffling.

We're doing our best.

I've been fighting and fighting and I am tired. Yesterday I got a phone call from my kid, who was hiding in a bathroom with an illicit cell phone, in tears, because the nurse was refusing to let her phone me and kept sending her back to class. She had a migraine. Couldn't stop vomiting. We don't keep her medication at school because it knocks her out for several hours - she can't take it and go back to class. They don't want her taking it in school and then sleeping in the nurses office. Ok fine, but then let her come home, right? Seems obvious to me.

I think what irritates me the most, no, what enrages me the most is that my child was denied access to a parent. That's never okay.

Yesterday I realized that the school district is a 500 lb gorilla and I cannot win. Worst of all, my child cannot win. I can't win this fight. They have more resources, more time, and they just don't care. So fine. They win. We're out of options. I can't face prosecution. We've made so many mistakes in this process, failing to document things adequately, failing to insure that Em got those notes in - now we're 4 months from the end of the year and kind of screwed. By our own mistakes as much as by the district's stupidity. I own that, sure. Don't like it, but I own it. I've never had a chronically ill child before - it's a learning curve.

I just wanna know...

When did school administrators become more important than the parent?

Since when is a parent's word not good enough to excuse a sick child?

What in the hell is up with this bureaucratic nightmare that the public school system is becoming?

Why do they seem content to allow her to fail, as long as they get their state money? I've already been told that they are passing her on to the 9th grade even if she flunks every class due to her illness. That doesn't seem right to me. Of course I don't want her held back, but, she's going to go into the 9th grade behind and at a disadvantage and they're sort of... FINE with that.

The only people who aren't fine with it are her teachers - bless her teachers, who are working with us via email and allowing her to make up work and learn as best she can. Her marvelous teachers, who are just quietly supportive of her and trying their best to be helpful.

I've already mapped out which classes she'll need to repeat in 9th grade and she'll probably get some time at Sylvan or a similar tutoring center this summer, just so she's got some parity with her fellow freshmen in the fall.

Did I mention, I'm baffled?

It was somewhat ironic to me this week when the state supreme court upheld that homeschooling is illegal law. I'll be watching that battle with interest as it moves into appeal. Not that I want to homeschool, but with our system as broken as it is, you'd think the state would be trying to create more options for families, not less.

Back to your regularly scheduled knitting now... thanks for listening!

Sunday, March 09, 2008

broadripple ankle

Naturally life is not complete with out socks on the needles, right?

Broadripple Socks
Knitty, Summer 2003
Socks that Rock mediumweight "Love In Idleness"

pattern mods:
1x1 twisted rib top
1x1 twisted rib on heel flap

Friday, March 07, 2008

Done!

Falling feet

Falling in Love socks
Magknits February 2007
Tempted Yarn's "Pin Up Girl" Dec. 2007 sock club selection

Falling side

Mods:
I used a figure 8 cast on for the toe, and added two extra stitches between the purl stitch/cable sections traveling up the side of the leg - added after turning the heel. This gave me a little more room, which was necessary. If I knit it on larger needles with heavyweight yarn, I'd take the stitches out probably, but as written it stood to be a little tight in the yarn/needles I chose.

Falling toe

This was an absolutely delightful knit. The yarn is squishy and a wonderful true red and the pattern repeat was easy to memorize and fast.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Abandon everything.

"This much we know: God is failing.

Or more accurately, God is mutating. Changing. In flux. Becoming perhaps slightly less appealing as a dogmatic force of rigid closed-minded sit-down-and-shut-up paternal scowling and becoming perhaps more fluid, interesting, dynamic, unspecified, something you actually want to take into your heart and into your mouth and lick until you find the rich, creamy center and then define that taste for yourself, blissfully independent of what your parents or priest or president tells you, until you reach that point of deeper knowing where you can't help but go a-ha."


Want more? Mark Morford will give you more...

Also, while we're abandoning outdated memes and diving into the juicy center of what is real and true and healthy and good for us, how about rethinking health and well-being at any size? Kate Harding over at Shapely Prose wants YOU to submit to the new and improved BMI project! I have friends who have had the lap band, who have had surgeries, who have dieted, who are fat and skinny and in between, and you know, what I am about is acceptance at any of those places. In being healthy, which I don't necessarily think is always linked to an arbitrary set of numbers. I have friends for whom, getting surgery literally saved their lives and man I am so grateful for it and for their continued existence on this planet. I have friends who are, by the numbers, obese, and yet are healthier than some skinny people I know.

I just think, it's time to rethink health and how we look at, talk about and treat our bodies. My vote is for "with love, at any size." to start. Where you go from there, from that point of love, that is really a deeply personal journey and yours to choose and make. Nobody has the right to judge it for you.

Heady stuff for a Wednesday.

And also because I am a crazy cat lady, there's this.





Tuesday, March 04, 2008

ABC's and 123's

Well, D and E actually, and 2 in one post.

D is for Dia De los Muertos and all the little skully odds and ends that I collect for it that live all over my house during the rest of the year when it isn't November 1st.

muertitos
play dead
tango


This being only a fraction of the delightful collection of skullyliciousness that graces Casa De Yarnpirate, of course!

And then there's E which is for Evil.

honey looking


Wait, no, I actually meant those shiny glass objects which avert the Evil Eye. Of which there is also an extensive collection, Chez Rotten Kittens Local #27.

kitchen eyes


I am currently voiceless and continue to incubate the Crap Virus From Hell, but fortunately have the next 3 days off work and do not plan to do anything but rest, drink soup, watch as many episodes of How Clean Is Your House as I can, (omg Kim and Aggie = best guilty pleasure evar) and squirt the cats with the Bottle Of God, since I can't actually yell at them to stop being naughty.

Oh, and knit. I'm gonna do that too.