Oct 18, 2011

It is knit.

A week ago, I was ready to write a blog post about finishing my Lions socks and moving on to my next project. A week ago, I was so proud of myself for working my butt off on those socks, sticking to my FO plan. A week ago, I was happy and carefree. 

A week ago, I got a call from my dad that my brother had died. My sweet, kind, loving little brother. My brother, who had tortured me as a kid (there was an incident involving my pillow and a dead cockroach which still sticks in my mind), and had turned into a great and loyal friend. My brother, who was so very excited about coming to visit me this Thursday - going to a football game, apple-picking, going camping, hanging out watching Buffy. 

When I heard the news, I was pretty much broken for an hour or so. Then, in order to keep from breaking down completely, I picked up my knitting. Not just any knitting, but the scarf I had started back in March as a Christmas present for my brother. Mark has always been a joy to knit for, as he really appreciated everything, from a little cork person ornament to a Futurama brain slug to his Jayne hat (Firefly) last year. Any knitted gift he would show off, use and treasure. Last Christmas, he asked for a scarf for the next year. We agreed that he needed a Doctor Who scarf (as worn by Tom Baker). We had grown up watching the show in England, and he had convinced me to start watching the new series, which I am now obsessed with, so the choice seemed pretty obvious. I had about a foot done as of last week; I had knitted on it a bit here and there, but hadn't really gotten too far. So when I heard the news, I picked it up, and just started knitting. I knitted and knitted, allowing the garter stitch to hypnotize me and calm me. I kept thinking "I can't rip this out. I can't give it to someone else. I can't leave it unfinished. It's for Mark, it always was, and still is." 

On the flight to Boulder, I knitted, drank some scotch and cried. Once in Boulder with my parents, I continued to knit. I would stay up until the wee hours of the night knitting, because I knew that, to quote Buffy (which Mark and I both love), "I have to do these things, 'cause when I stop, then [he's] really gone." By Monday, the day of Mark's funeral, I had over five feet finished. A half-hour before we left for the funeral home, I bound off and wove in the ends. I have never felt such finality in finishing as I did at that moment. I placed the scarf at my brother's side in his casket. There are no photos of the scarf, and I am ok with that. It was for him, for no one else but him. The process, that was for me. So it seems appropriate that the only photo I have of the scarf is of it in process.

The service was beautiful and brutal. I still have trouble believing that he is really gone. Anyone who knew him, even just a little, knew that he was an incredibly special person, a true gentle soul. He was a better person than I am, by far. He cared so much about others, and truly and unconditionally loved his family and friends. I know he would've done anything I asked of him (and yes, I sometimes took advantage of that... did I mention how much a better person he was than I?). I guess he was just too good for this world. He will be missed, more than I can put into words. 

Oct 9, 2011

FO Finishing Frenzy!

The frenzy is only anticipated at this point. But I am confident that finished objects will be flying through the air any time now.

I have a pretty consistent cycle of working on/starting/finishing projects. It goes like this:

1. Cast on one project, all kinds of excited, work on it feverishly and monogamously
2. Get about half-way through above project, spot a new "must have" pattern or receive a new yarn that absolutely positively must be played with IMMEDIATELY!
3. Project adultery is a slippery slope, more and more projects cast on, until all needles are occupied.
4. *optional* purchase more needles, cast on more projects
5. work on all projects here and there, ignore a couple more than others
6. get frustrated and depressed that I haven't finished anything in SO LONG
7. dedicate myself to finishing projects, focusing on one at a time, until all WIPs are done!

I have just started #7. I currently have 3 pairs of socks, 3 shawls and one scarf on the needles. The blanket of death doesn't count. That's a lot to get done, and I am working really hard to NOT cast on anything new until I get shit done. I do have some Christmas gifts that need making, but I think I can take a shark bite out of my WIPs before I have to deal with those...

My current focus is a pair of socks that I had wanted to have finished before football season. Um... yeah. Anyway, they'll be done before we go to the Lions game we have tickets to in December - it's like my subconscious knew I'd fail in my finishing goals when I was making decisions on which game to go to. My subconscious is kind of an asshole.

I finished one sock the other day:

I love these socks (or more accurately, this sock). This is the absolutely scrumptious String Theory Colorworks Continuum (80% merino, 10% cashmere, 10% nylon), in the Pluto colorway. I love Caitlin's self-striping yarns. They knit up beautifully, the bases are lovely and the colors are great. She's also super nice about custom and special orders, which is so very nice for a yarn hoar like me.

I'm knitting them magic loop on ChiaGoo bamboo needles, which have to be the best bamboo needles I've ever used. Normally, I really dislike knitting with bamboo needles. The tips are often too dull, and the damn things feel like they could snap at any time. These ones, which I bought to bring on the flight to/from Europe, are pretty spectacular for bamboo. They don't do that scary bendy thing that leads to nightmares of stitches tumbling off of splintered needles, and the tips are decent. And of course they have the lovely ChiaGoo cables. I'm not saying these will be my #1 needles or anything, I'm still devoted to metal, but for bamboo, not bad.

So now I am going to go work on Lions sock #2 and watch some Toddlers & Tiaras to feel better about my life choices. Husband questions why I watch this show, but these types of reality shows exist only to make viewers feel superior, and non-viewers to feel even more superior. So to those of you who judge me for watching, fuck you, you're just as bad!

Oct 2, 2011

damn comments issues

I am told that there have been issues trying to post comments; I am fairly sure that I have fixed the issue with the damn thing - people should be able to comment now.

Oct 1, 2011

sock yarn blanket = ultimate expression of love

Husband and I have an ongoing 'thing' of trying to convince each other that we love each other more. I scored major points by having "I love you more" engraved on the inside of his wedding band. But then, he doesn't give me crap about buying shit loads of yarn, so I guess we're kind of even. I have a pretty consistent ace in the hole though. If ever the man needs proof that I love him (more), I just point at the huge pile of mini skeins of sock yarn and the in-process nugget of ridiculousness known as the sock yarn blanket.

I started this sucker in January. I thought: "Hey, I've got piles and piles of sock yarn. I also have lots of sock yarn leftovers. Is there any way I can convert these things into a GIANT PAIN IN MY ASS?" Ok, so the little mitered squares are actually pretty painless to knit. They're quick, there's a little bit of interest to them, and no purling or seaming. I am sure you're asking what the big fucking deal is then, right? Well, it's the husband. The only thing he has ever requested I make him is a blanket. a KING SIZED blanket. If you're not familiar, a kind sized blanket = THE SIZE OF TEXAS. I tried it in worsted, but it was too heavy and boring. I tried it again in worsted with a different pattern; again, too heavy and boring. So then I decided to do the sock yarn blanket. It would provide a ready excuse to buy more sock yarn, allow me to knit with all sorts of different yarns and colors, and would provide a little bit of instant gratification. Sounds like a good deal, right? Well, let's do some math.

My squares are about 2 inches square.
king blanket = 110" x 96" - so let's just say 100" x 100"
100" divided by 2" = 50 squares
50 x 50 squares = 2500 squares


That is a fucking ton of squares. Now, I have already decided that he is NOT getting that large a blanket. He is getting a 48 x 48 square blanket. So only 2304 squares. Much better. (you can't tell, but I'm rolling my eyes right now.) The idea is to make 16 12x12 square blocks and then (ugh) seam them together. It'll make knitting them easier, as I don't have to haul around a giant blanket, and maybe I'll get to 12 blocks and he'll think that's good enough. How far have I gotten, you ask?

Yup. One block. Just finished it the other day. Now, I'm pretty damn proud of myself for finishing this first block. It looks great, I'm not bored, and it'll be a good weight. Oh yeah, and husband digs it (as if he would be stupid enough to say otherwise...).

How 'bout some more math?

If I knit one square a day, how long will it take me to finish this blanket? Well, 2304 divided by 365 = 6.3 years.

6.3 years

Oh, and I am not knitting at that pace. My goal is to have it done by our 7th anniversary (we just celebrated our first). It's the "wool" anniversary, so it's fitting (I am REALLY looking forward to that anniversary, btw).

Even so, that's a fucking long time to be working on a damn blanket. Clearly, I love him more.