Tuesday, February 28, 2006

LiteBright?

Ladies and Gentlemen:

My Gold Medal!


Now that the Knitting Olympics is over, I feel like there isn't much to talk about, but then I remember that there was a blog before these Knitting Olympics and there is ALWAYS something to talk about. The two intense exams that I had right after the Olympics is over and I feel a sense of peace. Spring Break starts - for me - tomorrow at 2pm. I will be going home on Thursday and can't wait to be with my family again. You all already know how I love my family - my newly knitting sister, my yarn-winding father, and my I-like-watching-others-knit-but-I-don't-actually-knit mother (I still love you mom).

The other day when I was having a Knitting Breakdown, I went on eBay and decided to search for yarns having heard from my roomie, that it was a good place to find good deals. She was right! I decided I was going to teach myself something new and take my time knitting it, really enjoy it. I'm going to teach myself how to do lace. I found this beautiful laceweight hand-dyed merino yarn. I'm going to make a lace shawl out of it. It is shipping from the United Kingdom for a total price with shipping of $10.43!!! That's a ball of 400 yards. I was rather impressed with my purchase. I also learned that eBay is a great place to find good deals on knitting needles. Many people sell them as full sets for aroun $30. That's a great deal when your getting 12 pairs of needles. However, I did find one not so great finding on ebay. A pair of knitting needles. "What's so bad about a pair of knitting needles?" you ask. Knitting needles are NOT supposed to glow. I love knitting. I am OBSESSED with knitting. BUT, I would never, I repeat NEVER buy these needles no matter how bad I wanted to knit during some concert I paid $50 for a ticket. I was appalled at this invention. I apologize if you own this little gadget.

I've already started a new knitting project - a scarf for my mom. It's made in a grey tweed Cascade 220 yarn. I'm doing it in a k2,p2 thick ribbed pattern. It's gonna be really cute. My mom is gonna be the hotest thing around! I've got many projects lined up: lace scarf, purse for Laurel, mom's scarf, etc.

So much to knit, so little time...if only I didn't have so much school work. If only I could be paid to knit full time. If only I lived in a dream world.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Sing it Sister!

Luke 2:13 "Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying..." HALLELUJAH! SHE DID IT!!!!!

Okay, maybe that's not EXACTLY how the passage in Luke goes, but my goodness that's how I feel right now. I feel like running around campus screaming at everyone I see and shaking my purse in their face. "I finished the Olympics. I really really did!" I'd yell and then run off to the next person in sight. But its cold outside so there probably aren't that many people outside to yell at. Besides, why yell at all them when I can scream and shout my excitement to you!

Yesterday evening I realized I would have enough time. I didn't know if I would have enough yarn. After having two catastrophes of getting that darn novelty yarn tangled up I didn't know if I'd be able to free enough of the black yarn to finish it. I did. I threw it in the wash as soon as I weaved in those ends and it is complete. What do you think? My roommate says she thinks its her favorite with the red one I did for Meg as the runner up. Feel free to leave a comment to let me know which one you like best.

I did not stop knitting all day yesterday. I had the two balls of yarn stuck under my armpits (Lovely, I know! But a girl's gotta do what a girls gotta do!) walking wherever I needed to go. The knitting went everywhere with me - even to the Sweaty-Toothed Madmen show (our campus's improv comedy club that my funny roomie is involved in!). Although it was hard to laugh while knitting, I managed. The hands furiously knitted away until 3:30 in the morning when Erin finally talked some sense into me. I went to sleep and when I woke up this morning the knitting went right back in my hands (which isn't actually that unusual). I didn't set it down until I finished and put it in the wash to be felted.

While I did manage to study a bit while knitting (don't worry Mom, I'm still focusing on school work) I suppose the real Olympic challenge will be to see how I do on my two mid-term exams on Monday and Tuesday since a lot of my time this weekend was devoted to knitting and not studying. Wish me luck!

Thursday, February 23, 2006

I think I can...

I think I can... but I have very high doubts of knowing I can. The Knitting Olympics ends in 2 Days, 16 hours and counting...and I am not anywhere close to finishing my 3rd felted purse. The first two knitted and felted up real quick and easy. This third purse, this DARN purse, the purse that I was so looking forward to knitting has become the bane of my existince.

After I posted my last entry, I cut the tangled mess, setting it far away from my knitting, and set the good-not-yet-tangled yarn in my knitting bag to be started the next morning. So I started it and it was going wonderfully until I realized that after casting on mid-project for the handles, I tangled the rest of the already knitted piece around it. I continued to knit, ignoring this problem, hoping it would just go away. It didn't. And with the comfort of a friend at my side, I took apart my knitting olympics project for the second time. But, as I was unraveling the beginnings of this purse the yarn got tangled AGAIN! I stood up from where I was working, grabbed the little box of chocolates that my mom had given my for Valentine's Day, took the comfortor off my bed and curled up to watch the REAL olympics while I mourned my purse. If I do knit it, it will be in all black.

I HATE those stupid novelty yarns. That darn yarn is most of my problem. It's not the first time that a novelty yarn has caused the destruction of other knitting projects. I bought TWO novelty yarns once to knit together for a scarf. It was going to be beautiful! BAD idea! That tangled yarn is sitting in a pile somewhere in my house. I don't want to see it ever again. Mom, if you see it, throw it away before I see it... there will be quite a ruckus if I see it first. I don't think I'll make it. If anything, I have so much tangled yarn (I don't even want to look at it right now) that I won't have enough yarn in the end to finish this project. Maybe I can find more somewhere.

I feel like Sasha Cohen who did excellent Tuesday night in the Women's Short Program (just like I did so well getting the first two purses finished). But then today in practice she pulled her groin muscle and fell twice during her long program (just like I had to unravel my project twice). Perhaps, I'll still win the silver medal. Is there a silver medal in the Knitting Olympics?

I just want the gold medal!

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

I've Made a Mess

I am finally beginning to feel the pressure of the knitting olympics. The closing ceremony is in 4 days 14 hours and counting. Spring break is in 7 days and counting! But with the end of spring break means mid-term exams = and I have TWO REALLY BIG ONES the Monday and Tuesday following the end of the knitting olympics (It is sad to think that this wonderful challenge will come to an end). So here is where I need to try to really balance knitting with school work (which really should be my top priority despite what other knitters may think).

Four days? Do-able? Normally, I would say yes. Today, I say no. This last purse is just not working for me. After much difficulty, I finally obtained the correct sized needles for the purse I was going to make in the Felted Knits book I bought the other week. I began working on it this evening, but it was not coming together. My mind seems to be somewhere else lately, not sure where exactly. I really wish she (my mind) would have left a note before deciding to pack her bags and go on a vacation. Not to mention that this is the worst time that my mind could have choosen for a vacation (I really hope its a temporary vacation. I really miss her!) ANYWAY, so I retreated to my laptop to try to find a better pattern online that would fit my fancy as well as that of my aunt whom this purse is for. I found one. I started to get into a better mood with this new found pattern and was on a roll, when I realized somewhere along the way I wrapped my yarn around my project so that it was folded over (no idea if that makes any sense to anyone else). So, being tired/frustrated/irrational I pulled all 3 inches of it out - not a lot, I know, but I was not happy. And soon ended up with this mess... Yeah... not happy!

On a better note, I had dinner with Meglet tonight. We had made quick plans yesterday when we ran into each other at the library and I completely forgot. I got an email this evening from her that was reminding me of our plans. We went to our favorite resturant Not Your Average Joes. I also gave her the lovely purse I made for her. She LOVED it (if you couldn't tell by this HOT picture of Meg with her new found lover - the red purse). They truly are a lovely pair.

I will not be taken down by the knitting olympics. I will show Stephanie Pearl-McPhee that I am a spectacular Knitter (with an uppercase "K"). I will win gold. I will do wonderfully on my two exams. I will succeed.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Son of a Knitter...

Or rather Sister of a Knitter... cause my sister learned how to knit this weekend! You don't understand how exciting this is! I tried to teach her once before and it just didn't work. Maybe it was because it was 2 AM or she just didn't have the interest then, but me as the teacher and her as the student just was not working that night. What made her change her mind? Let me recall the events of yesterday:

I went home for the weekend to see my lovely family (which you already knew from reading my previous entry). Since my time was limited we got up real early to begin our fun-filled day of errands - real early meaning 9:00am. We went to the mall arriving at 10am and were heading home by 11:30. We decided to stop off at Stitch n Time... the local yarn store. Laurel and Dad stayed in the car, hoping to speed up the process of Mom and I perusing the store. We quickly found what we needed (yarn for a scarf for Mom!) and off we went. Having to run errands in another part of the state, and knowing of a yarn store there that we had yet to visit, we decided to stop. It's a wonderful shop in Fairfield (for those of you who live in Connecticut) called KnottyGirl (pretty clever, huh?). Laurel and Dad decided to join us this time and it wasn't long before Laurel had found some beautiful yarn that she wanted ME to make into a scarf. But already having my projects for the knitting olympics as well as a whole list of projects for after the olympics planned, it would be summer before I started this scarf. And then... she suggested that she knit this scarf! HALLELUJAH! That night we wound the yarn (with the wonderful yarn winder and swift that the lovely Joyce let me borrow) and got to the teaching part. And this time WE SUCCEEDED! Isn't she cute, concentrating so hard?!

On another note, being home I was able to felt THREE purses. They came out wonderfully. The Cascade Pastaza yarn that the green purse was made with felts beautifully with a really neat texture. The red one I think may be my favorite. It is for Meg, my freshmen year roomate/blogging expert. Hopefully I made it big enough so she can carry all her essentials in it. The pink one (named the Elephant purse by Laurel) came out better than I had thought it would. It was an order for someone I didn't know so I hope they like it as much as I liked making it. I will begin my last placed order/last part of my knitting olympics project tomorrow. I haven't actually decided which pattern I want to go with. It's for my Aunt and she said to surprise her with the pattern. I'm considering a pattern in the new felting book I bought the other day.

Oh, possibly the most exciting part of the weekend: Dad winding my yarn. He insisted that I needed help. I think he enjoyed turning the crank a little too much (I love you Daddy!). He was kind enough to look on ebay.com for yarn winders and swifts so that I can one day own one. Although I do very much appreciate Joyce letting me borrow hers.(Does anyone know anything about swifts made out of maplewood? What's the best kind of wooden swift to buy?) He may not look happy in this picture, but I promise you that he is loving it! I think we may have yet another knitter emerging from our family tree...

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

To Knit or Not to Knit

This is obviously not the question! This answer is obviously clear... TO KNIT! - which seems to be all I'm doing lately (although I'm still keeping up with my school work miraculously). With the Knitting Olympics ending in 10 days 18 hours and counting, time is slowly disappearing. In order to stay on schedule I need to finish the first of the purses tonight. I've got seven more rows and then I need to knit the handles which won't take too long. I think I can do it!! Here's a picture of it shown on top of my beautiful Vera Bradley duffel bag that I got for Christmas from my wonderful Mom! OH! I get to go home this weekend! I am so excited. For those of you who don't know me, I love my family. And while I am fan of being away at school, I can't stay away forever. We've got an fun-filled weekend with ordering in Chinese food and shopping at the top of our list (with maybe even a little bit of yarn shopping)! So I plan of leaving the felting of this purse for this weekend when I will be able to do it without paying a $1. Oh, the joys of being able to go home! I love you Mommy (and Laurel)!

So yesterday, was Valentine's Day and since I (and the rest of my apartment) didn't have a valentine to celebrate with we went to see Brokeback Mountain! I mean, what better than some gay cowboys and a bunch of single Christian girls celebrating the worst holiday ever?! I went because it was something to do. I knew it had been nominated for a lot of grammies, but wasn't dying (hehe) to see it. After seeing it, I realized why all those nominations were going to Brokeback Mountain. It is an amazing movie, and a much better love story than most Chick-flicks. It was so good, that Franklin Habit quoted one of his friends as saying, "We just came from the movies. He was trying to knit a sock during Brokeback Mountain and he cried so hard the damn thing felted." Can you imagine how hard you'd have to cry to FELT a sock?! And while I personally didn't cry (I did get teary-eyed), I can tell you it was that good of a movie. I really recommend it to all. BTW, Franklin's Blog is wonderful, I suggest if you are reading my blog you should read his also.

I discovered podcasts. More importantly, I have discovered that there is a world of knitting podcasts, and I believe that I have only begun to discover all of them that are available to me. I've downloaded 4 different knitting related podcasts - so far. My favorite is Cast-On by Brenda Dayne, but I have barely begun to look at the others (You can find her episodes on her website or on itunes). Since many of them are 45 minutes to an hour long and since I don't have this amount of time to just sit and listen to a podcast, I have still to look at the different ones that I have downloaded. I have also been enjoying About Time with Whit Larson - especially since she was so fortunate to be able to do an over-the-phone interview with THE YARN HARLOT concerning the Knitting Olympics. It was really interesting to hear Stephanie (that's her real name) talk about her super idea of the knitting olympics.

Oh my goodness, here I am writing away on my blog (my second favorite past-time) and the clock is clicking. I need to finish this purse (my first favorite past-time). There are only four more hours left in the night...

Friday, February 10, 2006

Faster, Higher, Stronger

Citius, Altius, Fortius aka Faster, Higher, Stronger is the motto of the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino, Italy. It is also the motto for the 2006 Knitting Olympics, both of which begin today!
These two creatures are the mascots of the 2006 Winter Olympics. Neve is a gentle, kind and elegant snowball. Gliz is a lively, playful ice cube. Although the Knitting Olympics may not have as cool of a mascot as Neve and Gliz, we are superior to the Winter Olympics in that we have over 4000 Olympians registered. (There are ONLY 2400 people in the Winter Olympics). I am officially signed up with my co-Knitting Olympians - the second of two Aileen's listed. The other Aileen is from Ireland. I hope to complete the three of the purses I received as orders for my olympic project. The yarn for them came the other day so I am all set to begin. Oh! If you are participating in the Knitting Olympics (officially registered or not) please let me know. I'm curious who took up the challenge. And if you are taking up the challenge, please make sure you raise your right hand and say the Knitting Olympics Athletes Pledge:

I, a knitter of able hands and quick wits, to hereby swear that over the course of these Olympics I will uphold the highest standard of knitterly excellence.
I will be deft of hand and sure of pattern, I will overcome troubles of yarn overs and misplaced decreases. I will use the gifts of intelligence and persistence (as well as caffeine and chocolate) and I will execute my art to the highest form, carrying with me the hope for excellence known to every knitter.
I strive to win. To do my best, and to approach the needles with my own best effort in mind, without comparing myself to my fellow knitters, for they have challenges unique to them.
While I engage in this pursuit of excellence and my own personal, individual best, I also swear that I will continue to engage with my family in conversation, care for my pets, speak kindly with those who would ask me to do something other than knit, and above all, above every stitch thrown or picked, above every cable, every heel stitch, every change of colour, I swear this:
That I will remember that this is not the real Olympics, that I'm supposed to be having fun and that my happiness and self-worth ride not on my success.... but on my trying.
Let the games begin!

On a separate note, I went into Boston this weekend and bought a felted pattern book by Beverly Galeskas. It has some really neat projects in it. I can't wait til I have some time to make everything in it! Perhaps over Spring Break (which is in 27 days!). By then the knitting olympics will be over, and hopefully that means that my 3 purses will be finished. I'll have to think about what I'll want to start then - 'cause heavenforbid my hands be without knitting needles for very long. In the mean time I must focus on the ultimate challenge of felting three purses in 16 days... roughly 5 days per purse, but one must factor in homework and work, etc. Do-able? I sure hope so!

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Holy Yarn!

Today was a normal day - classes, homework, gym, doing my daily check to see if the Yarn Harlot had updated her blog. And much to my delight she had updated her blog! While reading her latest blog entry, I came to the realization that knitting is the COOLEST activity ever (I have come to this realization before). Do you remember the Knitting Olympics that I mentioned in my first blog entry? Well, according to the Yarn Harlot, the Knitting Olympics has more participants than in the actual Winter Olympics taking place in Italy. The Winter Olympics has 2400 participants. According to the official librarian of the knitting olympics, there are more than 2500 participants signed up for the Knitting Olympics!!!!!
In additon, the Knitting Olympics have been getting mass media attention. MSNBC wrote an article mentioning the Knitting Olympics and NPR's The World dedicated a whole article to the Knitting Olympics! If you are participating, don't forget that the opening ceremony is this Friday, February 10th. If you want to participate and haven't signed up yet you can do so at the Yarn Harlot's site by this evening. But I'd encourage you to participate even if you don't sign up. My goal is to knit three purses before the end of the olympics. In the mean time I have one purse to start and finish before the 10th. Wish me luck! I've already completed 2 purses already. I will be posting pictures of those soon, I promise!

Oh, I sent out a little Valentine Gift to my two cute 2nd Cousins today (pictures will soon come of those, but I don't wanna spoil it for them since their mom reads my blog). Moe, I want to see pictures of the girls with them!

I've gone crazy with my knitting. My roommate told me that my knitting habits have gone from chronic to terminal. Isn't this a good thing?

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Gosh Yarn It!

So I am officially the nerdiest knitter ever! I was sitting in my Historical Geography class this morning -- we're studying the geography of Biblical times -- and I realized as we were going over the surrounding Geo-political entities of Israel that I was thinking about this topic, but I was also thinking about how these geo-political entities related to knitting! You are probably wondering what possible connections there could between the geo-political entities of Israel and the knitting that you and I both know so well. Well, here it goes... We were asked to turn our Bibles to 2 Kings 3:4 which is talking about the King of Moab. It reads as follows: "Now Mesha king of Moab raised sheep, and he had to supply the king of Israel with a hundred thousand lambs and with the wool of a hundred thousand rams." My first thought was not why is the King Mesa giving the king of Israel all these lambs, but rather it was "Imagine all the wool (and thus yarn) one hundred thousands lambs and one hundred thousand rams could produce!!!!" I would have been one happy knitter if I were the king of Israel! I imagine 100,000 sheep and rams would look like this picture, but multiplied by a lot!!

It doesn't end here! We moved on to talk about the geo-political entity of Phoenicia. Did you know that the name Phoenicia comes from the greek word phoinix, meaning purple red? The reason for this names was the famous purple red dye of the Murex snail that was produced in this region. And then I thought, that purple red dye would go awfully well with those two hundred thousand lambs and rams that the king of Israel had! The king of Israel needed to meet the king of Phoenicia, whoever he was!