Monday, August 28, 2006

one way train to tantrumville

Beaverslide Aran-
On friday morning i had a sweater that was too wide. Now i have a sweater that is too wide, too long, and really stinky. I tried really hard to make sure i blocked it to the same length it was before (the perfect length), but now it is about 5" longer in the body AND the sleeves. I left it too damp to dry well (and to make things worse it rained in MA all weekend ) so now its musty and gross.
[walk away. breathe deep. pour a glass of wine. calculate the risk of putting the sweater in a hot load of wash for a few minutes.]

This is how much knitting one can get done during a funny-bad action-horror movie. I laughed. I screamed. I shouted at the screen. I knit really fast.

And this is the stupid-silly that happens after you see said funny-bad action-horror movie with your friends:

Snake in a Sock!! With needles for fangs! wearing a french market bag/beret? i don't know. Obviously i forked a bunch of brain cells with the $10.50 that i paid to see that damn movie. (it was still fun.)

Friday, August 25, 2006

wet sweater, check it and see...

(got a fever of a hundred and three.... wet sweater, do you know how to dance? ok i'll stop)

Here is my very very wet but very very nearly finished Beaverslide Blue/Green Aran!! can i get a woohoo??

I desperately tried to block it a few inches smaller in the chest, but i'm not keeping my hopes us. I'm so in love with the softness and color of this yarn. Which makes me even more disappointed that the fit is so huge.

We're going out of town for the weekend, so i thought it would be a good opportunity to leave the sweater to peacefully dry for a few days. Big Orange said "how are you going to keep the kitties from sleeping on it while we're gone?" HAHAHAH. there is no keeping the kitties off of wool sweaters. i gave up on that little farce years ago. they are going to sleep on it once its dry-ish. c'est la vie.

I'm trying to be mature, but if i don't like the fit of this sweater when i get back on monday, i just might have to throw a tantrum. the world is warned.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

current projects update

As mentioned awhile ago, i'm trying to figure out a useful (for me at least) way to use David Allen's Getting Things Done system for craft projects. It has been very helpful in getting other aspects of my life on track, but crafts (in particular knitting and quilting) don't seem to lend themselves well to this system. This is mainly because the system revolves around breaking every project down into short, simple, do-able steps called the "Next Action". This is awesome because instead of having a monster on your to-do list (i.e. File Taxes) you break it down into manageable chunks (i.e. Pick up tax booklets @ library). I found this immensely helpful because i have a serious problem with procrastinating on projects that seem huge and overwhelming.

But back to crafting! I find this hard for knitting. Sure the beginning is easy: "pick pattern for cardigan" and "swatch for needle size". The end is easy "bind-off collar" and "sew in ends". Its the middle that kills me... how can you possibly make "keep knitting until its done" into smaller chunks? sure, i can say "knit arm" or "knit back", but its hard to break it down any more than that. And quilting? "sew 58 pattern squares" seems a little daunting! I welcome suggestions.

So while thinking on this a lil' while, i'm going to start listing my Next Actions for each current and stalled project. Mostly in the hopes that i will get a mental jump start and want to finish those stalled items (olympic sweater that needs finishing?! aran that JUST needs a new neckline??).

here's a taste of what i've been knitting lately (mostly during the trip):
a) the left front of my Starsky cardigan. Its in desperate need of some blocking! not good for knitting on the plane, but great for layovers and horrendously long waits (like 5 hours waiting in LAX.)
The sleeves were done during my west coast trip in may, and the right front is now started. i love me some progress.
Next Action: continue with right front.

b) a simple toe-up sock (wendy's. always.) in my own handpainted yarn. I call the color Ranier Cherries. I name most of my colors after food. go figure.
socks are perfect knitting for planes, so you don't annoy the piss out of your row-mates.
Next Action: cast off. start sock two.

c) crocheted zig-zag scarf in the superest, softest handspun from Woolarina Kate. Crocheting is also great for planes. except that i kept flicking my feeding yarn to pull it out of the skein every few stitches, which apparently annoyed my neighbor. even though i was being very careful not to invade his space. oh well.
Next Action: Well this wasn't really a project. but i might rip it out and make something else with the yarn. still deciding.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

the politics of... ooooh feeling good.

I may be a day late and a dollah short on passing this link along, but check out this great post on the Politics of Knitting in Public. The thoughts here really hit home for me, as a science grad student. I often wish i could knit during weekly seminars. I'm not bored by them, but its more that knitting would help me pay attention better. I know for a fact that when my hands are busy knitting, its easier for my brain to remain focused on a conversation (or presentation or movie). There are many studies that support this, and any teacher of students with ADHD would agree.

And yet, there is no way that i could actually knit during seminar without being frowned at. The professors would definitely think i was not paying attention, was a less dedicated student, or didn't care about the topic. i try to pay attention, but usually end up distracted and end up fidgeting with my coffee cup for 40 minutes out of the hour.

The same goes for down-time in the lab. Every scientist knows that you have lots of little waiting periods throughout the day. 10 minutes here spinning samples, 5 minutes there waiting for a buffer to mix. Its not enough time to do something else, but would be the perfect time to whip out a sock and knit a row or two. But that is WAY frowned upon. People would rather see you browsing web comics or playing sudoku than knitting. Because if you're knitting, you are obviously NOT paying attention to anything else. blah!

thoughts from other knitting scientists? How is the culture at your school/job? How could we change it?

Monday, August 14, 2006

we're baaa-aaack!

Whoa! its been a few days, and i am still overstimulated from our trip to TV-land. It was simultaneously exhausting and yet exhilerating. I won't relay every second of the trip, because Sarah already beat me to the punch! Do go and read her travelogue, its quite an epic adventure. Here are some random thoughts in no particular order...

1) We had bad luck with LAX going both directions. my mother suggests that i don't fly there anymore because it must be ME who is causing the problems. har.

2) Other crafters who are ramping up for your filming in the next few weeks: MAKE EXTRA STEPOUTS. i can not stress this enough. more than your producer asked for, more than you think you are going to need. We thought we were really prepared, and we didn't have enough step outs. its still took 4 hours to film each episode, when they had scheduled only 2.5. And we got most of our takes the first time. Crafting really takes more time than any of the film crew anticipated. (they are all aboslute dolls, but the director and most of the crew put together couldn't sew on a button if they needed to.)

3) Allison Whitlock is awesome. She's tall, beautiful, clever, crafty, talented, etc etc. You have to be over-the-top smiley and energetic on screen, and she is a pro. I was endlessly amused that when the cameras start rolling, she'll turn and say "we're smiling, we're chatting... (turn to camera) Hi, i'm Allison Whitlock..." I'm sure i will look like a buffoon, because i was absolutely mesmerized by her perfectly white teeth.

4) i have a million times more respect for anyone in the tv or film industry now, even idiotic tv personalities like Kelly Ripa. I used to think she was a ditz, but now i completely respect how much talent it must take to film a LIVE television show without cussing, picking your nose, or saying "ummm" too much. and smiling the whole time! major respect.

5) the set is just amazing. I want to move into that set and live there. Its the nicest craft room any imaginary person could want. And the sewing machine!!! holy cow, its a ridiculously expensive bernina quilting machine (that i almost broke a few times. no stress!) it purrrrrrs as it sews. It's almost like this...
me: sewing machine?
Bernie: Yes, Dharia?
me: I'd like to sew this seam now.
Bernie: Absolutely Dharia. Would you like me to end needle up or needle down? Would you like some coffee with that?

my machine at home:
me: Sewing machine?
Singer: Duh... huh?
me: i'd like to sew this seam now.
Singer: Maybe. ummm... but first i need to cough up a hairball. come back in an hour.

6) television is an alternate reality. Its so weird, wild, and crazy. People are rushed all day long, the producers put out constant little fires, the prop guys run to target to buy a microwave 10 minutes before filming. You have a microphone on so the crew can hear everyone you say, even if you just talk into space. Allison has a little earpiece where they can give her direction while she's filming. That helps her ask really insightful questions, or ask about things you forgot to mention. Which is awesome because i was so nervous i forgot to say a few keys things (especially in the segment on dyeing wool).

7) the cameramen hate Lefties. Because the camera on a boom is over your left shoulder, so if you cut/poour/point with that hand you block his shot. So the director kept having to say "stop, can you put that down and pour with your right hand?" That was ok. The next day i had to sew and cut fabric. The rotary cutter they gave me was a) dull and b) set up to be righty only. So i had to cut right handed, with a dull blade, on top of being ridiculously nervous and my hands were shaking. oy vay!

8) after our second day of filming, we ran into the gals from Austin Glitterati at our hotel: Caro, Marisa, and Jennifer. They were super fun and awesome to meet in person. I really love meeting other craft/knit bloggers in person. they are always so nice and kind! We had dinner with them and told them (probably horrified them) all about our two days.

Well that's all for now. I'm sure i'll remember more over the next few days. If you click on any of the pictures you should be taken to this Flickr Pool of everyone's photos from filming UT. check them out!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

did it make me stronger?

How to torture an ADD-crafter in 3 easy steps:

1) have her make some thing cool, unique, and spontaneous.

2) have her write out detailed instructions for said spontaneous thing that was made without any real pattern or plan.

3) Great! you're almost there. Now make her do the item 7 more times! oh, and don't forget that each step-out needs to be identical to the first.

yeah. just shoot me. I have enough trouble finishing things the first time! making the same exact thing (or pieces of the same thing) 7 times was the most grueling mental torture i've been through in a while. [I am tempted to say that it may have been competition for qualifying proposals in horrific pain!]

The felines "helped" by keeping each step-out warm while i worked on the next.

This post may not make any sense at all. we are here in CA, had a really long and tiring day of filming. I have so much i want to post about! but i am simultaneously exhausted and overstimulated. I desperately need to sleep but i'm not sure i can. iyeeeee!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

hello Terror, so nice to meet you.

t minus 5 days 'til we leave for california to film Uncommon Threads. i was ok before, but now the unholy terror has set in. I am still finishing my step-outs. I don't have any nice clothes. I need a haircut and a manicure. The producers told us to wear more makeup than normal, and "definitely wear foundation". hrm... i wear lipstick approximately 5 times per year. If i'm getting really wild and crazy i'll dig out my mascara and eyeliner. Foundation? i can't even remember the last time i wore full makeup! crappity crap.

But the fear really goes deeper than that. The clothing, hair, and makeup are just the surface of it. Why am I showing people how to dye wool? I've never taken a class, i just do it the way that i've worked out on my own. for all i know, i am doing it all wrong! and sewing? I only do what my grandmother taught me when i was 13. what qualifies me to be demonstrating that to everyone with cable? Lady Linoleum over at Monster Crochet has summed it up far better than i ever could. give it a read.

Last friday i came home to find a HUGE box on my front steps. It was wool from Zeilingers that i dropped off with them during NHS&W. Originally 3 fleeces, given to me by another AWW member. I thought i would be able to wash the fleece myself, but after a year of it sitting in a closet, i gave up that idea. I dropped off 21 lbs of icky, oily, muck and got 16 lbs back of fluffly, scrumptious, off-white merino roving! yaaaay. That seals it. cleaning fleece is my cut off. I will happily dye it, card it, spin it, and knit it. but i have no interest in washing it myself.

I had to immediately spin up 2 bobbins, no dye at all. I plied them last night and plan to knit a nice scarf and hat to give to Trish as a thank you for the nice fleece.