Friday, December 28, 2007

In which I recount

  1. your best FO of the year
    Without a doubt, my Mystery Stole (Charcoal Swan). I'm still somewhat amazed that I went from a laborious garter-stitch kitchen-cotton baby kimono (which I love, don't get me wrong) in June of 2006 to a six-foot lace-weight short-rowed stole in June (July...August...September...October...) of 2007
  2. best FO of the year made by a blog you link to
    I don't link to any blogs (should I?) but the two knitters' accomplishments I most admire are: Deb Barnhill's 52-pair plunge and Toni's non-buying-stuff-for-a-month.
  3. best yarn you tried
    Winner: Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran. I wish it were more affordable...
    Runners Up: Zephyr Wool Silk (laceweight) and Panda Wool (bamboo/wool sock yarn)
  4. best new book/mag/pattern of 2007
    book: New Pathways for Sock Knitters by Cat Bordhi. I just enjoy reading it for the way it makes me think about knitting. I have it on my bedside table.
    magazine: I bought my first issue of Interweave Knits in 2007, so that counts for me.
    pattern: Cat's Coriolis Sock. So simple, so beautiful, so adaptable.
  5. best new knitting technique or gadget you tried in 2007
    Cheap and genius: Using blue painters' tape to mark my place in a complex chart or pattern.
    Medium and genius: KnitPicks' Options Needles
    'Spensive and genius: Knitting.
  6. top 5 inspirations–what five things inspired you the most over the past year?
    ...A Cardigan for Arwen in the winter '06 IK...
    ...Elizabeth Zimmermann's writing voice and the way I imagine knitted items growing organically from the needles when I read her books...
    ...Designer Annie Modesitt's unflinching account of her family's trials (Annie, if you are reading this, I am in awe of your courage as a wife, mother, writer, knitter, and designer)...
    ...Alice Starmore. I read Aran Knitting and it changed my life--I'd buy it if I ever had a spare $150 hanging around (damn you, eBay)... own need to learn and grow as a knitter and thinker and writer...
  7. designer who most amazed & inspired you throughout the year
    Stefanie Japel. Ever since I saw this sweater in the spring 2007 IK, I was hooked on her simple and stylish top-down designs.
  8. knitting resolutions for 2008–what’s next for you and your blog?
    Well...a man-size sweater for hubby...a me-size sweater for me...socks from my new Noro! Sock! Yarn!...continuing to refine my own skills...possibly the next Mystery Stole? And I'd like to learn to knit either combination or continental. Blog resolution Numero Uno: Pictures must rejoin the Knitsmith-Wordpurl experience! And I'd like to get some of the articulate and thought-provoking posts that occur In My Head out onto my virtual page.

Monday, December 17, 2007

In which I make gifts

I was just reading this post from Posie Gets Cozy (is it weird that I want to move to Portland and beherbestfriend?) and laughing about men. Because men think they're so easy to buy for and they are so hard to buy for and it is almost Christmas and I have Not. One. Idea what to purchase for my everloving spouse.

That said, I am loving the slipperclogs I'm making for my parents. I know I'm late to the clog party (8 million pairs showcased on ravelry can't be wrong) but I'm amazed at how quickly they are working up. I started on Thursday night and, four days later, already have one (blue and green, mens M) done for Dad and one (red and brown, womens M) done for Mom. Since they won't be here until the 26th or 27th, I think this technically means that I am ahead in exactly one thing in my life. And, this week, I'll take it.

Deets: The ubiquitous Fibertrends clog pattern, size 13 Addi Turbo needle (ouch, that added to the bottom line of this gift), Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride Bulky, colors Blue Flannel and Christmas Green for Dad, Red Hot Passion and Sable for Mom. Mr. D helped me pick the colors--he's such a champ. The pattern calls for double-stranding worsted weight, but my yarn store lady (Dee Dee at Apple Yarns, love her!) recommended the bulky. More Cost Effective. Half The Balls To Fuss With. Sign Me Up.

Gee, Santa, will you bring me a new computer so I can save some photos for the blog, please? And, while you're at it, bring a spare gift for M because I'm fresh out of romantic yet practical ideas.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

In which I pester Santa

Dear Santa,

I guess it's a bit late to be sending off my wish list, but, as you know, in my struggle to be a "good girl" this year I seem to be lacking one important commodity: time. Is it too late to write to you?

No? Thanks so much. Have I mentioned you seem to have lost a few pounds?

Anyway, Santa, what I really want this year is an extra 3 or 4 hours in the day. Or maybe just a bank of hours to use in a discretionary fashion. You decide. OK?

What will I do with these hours?

Well, I hadn't really thought in depth about how 'd spend them. And, Santa, to be perfectly honest, I'd like to say I'd use them for all sorts of responsible things like bill paying, bathroom cleaning, and flowerbed weeding. But you know me too well to believe that.

Mostly I think I'd use them for knitting, reading, playing with the kids, and hanging out with my husband. On days before posting grades I'd probably use them for emergency essay-reading time; on days before we have company there'd probably be some crazy housecleaning action.

Yes, I know that the list I e-mailed to my family was full of knitting books and DVDs. The problem is, Santa, that I don't have TIME for the DVDs or the knitting books without the hours. And you're the only supernatural person I know.

No you're right, God and Jesus count, too. And Christmas is still part of their jurisdiction, I know.

But somehow I suspect that Jesus would ask me to look at the mote in my own eye, first, before requesting a special beam from him. Jesus would probably say, Dana, my beloved daughter, those minutes that you spend on e-mail or Blogger or the New York Times--those are the minutes that you could use for this stuff that you say is your priority. And for every hour you lie awake discontented about your life, you could spend an hour getting your life in order. And for every hour you procrastinate on grading, my dear one, you could be grading for an hour and going home with a clear conscience. And every second that you walk past that mess could be a second you use to stop and clean it up.

I agree, Santa, I think Jesus gives great advice. It's just that it's a little harder to hear than a jolly Ho-Ho-Ho-here-you-go!, you know?

This is the problem with grown-up letters to you, Saint Nick...the things you bring don't scratch my itches any more. It seems like what will really help me this Christmas is to give myself a few gifts. And that's a lot more work than unwrapping a box.

But if you could tuck season 5 of Buffy into your big red bag--that'd be awesome.


Thursday, December 13, 2007

In which I rethink

Well, clearly daily blogging isn't for me this tim of year. There have been two days I haven't even come close to my home computer...and we are firewalled out of blogger at work (probably a good idea).

4x week?

Sunday, December 09, 2007

In which it snows

It was raining and pouring the other it's snowing.

28 degrees F is very cold for my area. Drivers do not know how to cope, unless they are very competent (like my spouse, who despite being a wet-sider does not seem to equate snow with imminent vehicular destruction and death) or grew up in a snowy climate, like myself or my mother-in-law. (We grew up in Spokane and Minnesota, respectively.)

I realize, though, when it snows here how much I miss actual winter. considering I no longer ski, it shouldn't make that big of a difference in my everyday life, but it does. I miss the serenity...the quitness...the remembrance that humans are not all-powerful...the fun, the cold, the boots, the wet mittens, the sledding, the snowmen, and the just plain everydayness of stomping your feet when you come inside, grateful for warmth.

So now the question is: will we have school tomorrow? After last school year's record seven snow days (due to major snows after thanksgiving then our big wind storms and power outages in December), the district made some scheduling changes. But we are still likely to go out at a moment's notice...

Thursday, December 06, 2007

In which it rains and pours

You've probably seen the news about all of the flooding here in Western Washington. It hasn't affected my area much, though I have seen some uncharacteristically horrendous downpours this past two weeks. We get a lot of steady and light rainfall here, usually accompanied by wind, but nothing like the torrential, soaking storms we used to see when we lived in Houston.

(Incidentally, Houston and Seattle get about the same amount of annual rainfall. It's true! The Internet says so!)

Along with the weather, this has been a week of extremes here in my household.

Extreme sickness: Baby E has the rotavirus, which has put us on a diarrhea carousel. (Sorry for the yucky metaphor there.) She missed daycare on Friday, Monday, a half day yesterday, and I'm home with her again today. It's nothing dangerous, we just have to watch for dehydration, and today she finally seems to have kicked it. (Cross your fingers.) On Monday I spent most of my afternoon and evening helping my sister-in-law who came down with some sort of horrible virus herself and needed to be put on an IV at the student health center and then at the emergency room. I am taking my vitamin C and hoping to make it through until December 21st when for two blessed weeks I can get as sick as I want to and not miss work. Which brings me to:

Extreme use of sick days: So for every day a baby can't go to day care, a mom or dad has to stay home. I'm burning through my sick days like a champ, going on 2.5 this week. (Um, why did I want to go back to work?) I think I'm averaging a half sick day per week for the school year, all but one of these for my kids. Thank goodness for a union job and 12 + 2 sick days! And thank goodness for my new sub I discovered who is actually an English teacher! Makes me feel better (slightly) about being gone. I'm trying to see the time as a blessing--how often do Baby E and I get time just to hang out and do girly stuff like go shopping? (Yes, I know, she's only 1. But it's still fun.) Today since she was feeling better we took care of some Christmas errands, heading out to my LYS and JoAnn. Where I experienced:

Extreme pattern and yarn overload: The winter Knitty came out today! And I bought the winter IK today whilst at Apple Yarns (my subscription lapsed). I was literally gasping over some of the designs. Wow. There are SO MANY I want to make! SO MANY...sigh...
I petted the yarn for a while at AY and ordered the Felted Clogs pattern (my folks want slippers for Christmas--will I make the deadline??) and then E and I wandered down to Footworx on a mission to get my Harley-riding father-in-law a pair of manly wool socks. And I experienced:

Extreme sticker shock: Um, SmartWool socks are expensive. I'm sure they're great and all, but if I'm going to pay $18 for a pair of socks, I at least want the pleasure of KNITTING them. Or they should be made of gold. But that's what he wants, and I don't realistically have time to knit him a manly-colored pair, so I ordered them and swallowed my knitterly pride. Maybe for his birthday.

All right, I am extremely behind on the household chores I thought I'd get done today, so here I go off to make the most of my unexpected day. The sun has come out for the first time in weeks and I am glad to see it...I'm thinking laundry, then vacuuming, then time out for some knitting and a movie.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

In which I draft

I posted post #101 the other day. (Yes, I'm bad at marking significant dates.) That is, I THINK I did...but as I scrolled through my post manager, I noticed something odd: TONS of draft posts that never saw the light of day.

I'm a perfectionist, and as such have a hard time not being perfect at things. Knitblogging without hard drive space, for instance, is driving me nuts! No pictures, as I must have said a thousand times before on here, equals boring bad knitblog equals me not wanting to blog and then missing the blog and then feeling like a blog poseur for having a blog that gets updated approximately as often as my husband will relent and purchase new underwear. That is, not fricking often.

At the same time, I want this to be more than my knitblog. Because progress photos and lists of purchases, especially when time is tight so progress is geologically slow, and money is tight so purchases are nonexistent--well, that would be ONE BORING KNITBLOG.

So here's my end of 2007 resolution: post daily until the end of 2007, pictures or no. Try to make posts interesting (don't you hate those blogs that say things like, "There wasn't anything blogworthy this week" and then proceed to blah blah blah about minutae, but not in an interesting or thought-provoking way? Those disappear from my favorites pretty fast.)

So posts will be interesting, blogworthiness will be conjured from the depths of my most creative self.

And there are 2.5 weeks until winter break!!

Monday, December 03, 2007

In which I organize randomness

Jody tagged me for the "seven random things" meme. And I am blatantly diverting her tag and substituting another meme instead.

As Inigo would say, "Let me 'splain."

I just can't figure out anything INTERESTINGLY random! I haggle with myself and wrinkle my nose and say, "no, not random enough," and, really, the life of a 31-year old English teacher holds little randomness beyond the weird theories my students concoct as to who is actually the father of Hester Prynne's baby. (It's DIMMESDALE, people! Foreshadowing! Sheesh!) So, sorry, Jody, I just can't think of anything random. Well, I can think of Things Random, I just can't think of Interesting Things.

In college, my friend Jane and I used to say, being the J's we were (see Myers-Briggs) that we couldn't do spontaneity unless it was planned. So, in the spirit of Planned Spontaneity, I present to you Organized Randomness:

Four jobs I have had in my life:
1. Toy store salesclerk
2. Resident Advisor in a dorm
3. Marketing copywriter
4. English teacher and yearbook adviser (yes, "-er" is correct, check your AP stylebook)

Four movies I would watch over and over:
1. When Harry Met Sally
2. Pride and Prejudice (Colin Firth/Jennifer Ehle)
3. The Empire Strikes Back
4. Moulin Rouge

Four places I have lived:
1. Spokane, WA
2. Bellingham, WA
3. Houston, TX
4. Manhattan, KS

4. Four shows that I watch:
1. Lost
2. The Office
3. How I Met Your Mother
4. Anything on HGTV

Four places I have visited:
1. Vancouver, BC
2. New Orleans, LA
3. Prague, Czech Republic
4. Perdido, Alabama

People who e-mail me (regularly)
1. my mom
2. best friend Robbie
3. (how do they KNOW what I like to read?)
4. my sister Megan

Four of my favorite foods:
1. Pad Thai
2. Starbucks soy mocha
3. chicken and rice
4. lasagna

Four places I would rather be right now:
1. my family's cabin on Lake Pend Oreille in Idaho
2. in bed, sleeping, for 10-12 uninterrupted hours
3. New York City
4. in a comfy chair in a coffeeshop, drinking the aforementioned soy mocha and knitting

Things I am looking forward to in 2008:
1. Getting our VW camper spiffed up and taking a long road trip in July
2. having a bit more spending money now that I'm back at work, the car's almost paid off, and Christmas will be over
3. Knitting my husband a sweater
4.Reading Hamlet with my 10th graders

(side note: looking ahead to 2008 already? yipes!)
(side note 2: I have seen this meme before in various incarnations, but this particular list was inspired by Knits With Cats, which I randomly clicked to today. How fitting.)