Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Trick or treat

Trick or treat?

I placed an online order with a Big Box electronics retailer for in-store pickup of two CDs. The e-mail notifying me that my items were ready to be picked up included an eye-catching guarantee. I would receive my order within a minute of giving the clerk the e-mail printout or get ten dollars knocked off my purchase. This sounded like a nice marketing gimmick, but come on, there's no way they instituted this policy if there was a decent chance of them returning ten bucks to customers.

But who knows what mischief ghouls and goblins might be up to on Halloween? Why, my order was nowhere to be found at the in-store pickup station! It only took a few minutes for someone in the warehouse to run it up to the front of the store, but that guarantee is for sixty seconds, bub! I asked about it, but the clerk said that the computer didn't indicate I qualified. (Conveniently, he didn't start the clock until he swiped my card through the machine, which was also after he had located my order.) He told me to call the toll-free customer service line if I wanted to check into it.

I did, I did. The customer service representative told me that I should have been given ten dollars off; however, the matter had to be handled at the store. I returned to the point of purchase a few hours later armed with my explanation of the situation and prepared to stand my ground. I was shocked that I faced no resistance and was handed a well-worn ten dollar bill.

Two new CDs for $5.99 and, more importantly, a victory with customer service...

Judgment: TREAT

I got a flu shot at the campus health center. I had received one for free every year while employed there...until last year. They reversed course and offered them at no cost again this year.

Judgment: TREAT

I arrived home to find a package sitting on my doorstep. I wasn't expecting anything, although awards season screener DVDs have started to show up already. Ooh, what goodness did today bring? The mailing label indicated that the box came from the studio's home video division. I didn't recall requesting anything, and even when I do, I rarely get it. How exciting to get something unsolicited. Inside was an advance copy of the commercial DVD for I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry. They've got another thing coming if they think I'm watching that again.

Judgment: TRICK

I went to knit night at a LYS again. It was anticipated that fewer people would be in attendance since Beggar's Night actually coincided with Halloween, but not counting the owner, there was only one other person in the shop when I entered. She was there for a lesson and was taken to another room. Two more women showed up, though, so I had some company for knitting and chatting. A nearby tea shop owner was closing early. She dropped off some piping hot tea, and the LYS owner provided some scones. I got a lot of knitting done and was able to introduce myself better than last week's position of needing project salvaging.

Judgment: TREAT

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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

A knitting confession

I have a knitting confession to divulge.

I know there aren't hard and fast rules about this sort of thing, but I expect I'm violating the natural order of how projects should be knitted. It isn't something I do with everything I knit. I can't recall it ever causing problems for me, but I may just be biding my time until the day when it catches up with me and has me weeping with regret at my foolishness.

The reason I bring it up is because I've done it again while working on the Ruggles Reversible Scarf. I was tempted to do it shortly after I joined the second ball of yarn to the project, but I was able to muster some self-restraint. Last night I could wait no longer and went ahead and did something that would horrify knitting teachers.

I sewed in all the ends I had on a work in progress.

Granted, it was just three ends. I was tired of the lengthy dangler from my long tail cast on getting in the way. The two where I joined skeins were less irritating, although one was uncomfortably short because I was convinced I could get one more row out of the skein. (Since I did, I guess I was right...but not by much.) It was the reason I held off as long as I did. I figured I ought not to weave it in too early in case I needed to frog in that area. I'm enough past it now that I deemed it worthy of weaving in.

I don't like having a lot of ends to weave in at the end of a project. I probably developed a greater distaste from having eleven scarves worth of them to deal with at once as the holiday approached last year. Weaving in along the way reduces the amount of time spent on this less favorite yet essential task while I'm flush with satisfaction at a job (hopefully) well done. Is that so wrong?

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Monday, October 29, 2007

Supermarket sweep

Rather than post minutiae about knitting a scarf, I'll luxuriate in the daily blogging freedom that is the meme. Jenn tagged me for the last shopping trip meme:
The purpose of this meme is to inspire some reflection about how we shop and what we purchase. The idea isn't that consumption itself is somehow bad, but that we all could probably stand to put a little bit more thought into what we buy. And, of course, it's supposed to be fun. So here goes!

Pick a recent shopping trip -- for clothes, shoes, groceries, doesn't matter. The only guideline is that it will be easier to play if you purchased at least a few things. Now tell us about your purchases.
Are you ready to see what I put in my grocery basket last week?

1. What are you proud of?

I'm pleased that I found good deals on some items that also took care of multiple meals. I had no intention of buying bison burgers, but 40% off a delicious and leaner meat that tastes like beef was too good to pass up. I'd never prepared this at home before--read: put bison burgers in a cast iron skillet--but it wasn't like I needed to do anything different. I also got 40% off one of Meijer's prepared meals--orange teriyaki chicken with jasmine rice--but more on that in the next question.

2. What are you embarrassed by?

I know my way around the kitchen and like to cook, so I was embarrassed to get a meal-to-go. I don't always have time to prepare proper meals, and I feel like I haven't been eating as well lately. In that sense, I shouldn't be ashamed of getting something that required no more elaborate preparation than being put in the oven or the microwave. And man, was it good.

3. What do you think you couldn't live without?

Food, obviously, although I suppose I didn't need to get what I got. But who cares what this answer is since I wrote what I could have lived without and then discovered during proofreading that I answered the question incorrectly. Here's my original answer to a misread question...

I could have lived without the clog remover, although the stench emanating from the garbage disposal whenever the water would run in that side of the kitchen stink was essential to eliminate, in my opinion. (Because I feel like I need to defend myself on this one, I've done a pretty good job of keeping my new place clean. Praise to the dishwasher! So I don't know why the garbage disposal was backing up and smelled like something died in it.)

While I'm on the topic of clog removers, it would have been a lot easier to have purchased what I needed if the labels said "safe for kitchen sinks!" or "garbage disposal-friendly!" At least I knew that I couldn't pour just any old drain opener into the sink. I had to scan the directions on several bottles before finding one that wouldn't eat the pipes or destroy the garbage disposal.

4. What did you most enjoy purchasing?

I came away with a nice haul from the food department. I ate well for the days thereafter.

5. What were you most tempted by? (This last one may or may not be an actual purchase!)

I confess that I was weak when it came to the Pepperidge Farm Amaretto Milano cookies. I polished off the entire bag in less than 24 hours.

Thanks for the tag, Jenn! I suppose I have to tag some others, so how about Donia, Jennifer, Ruth, and Karen?

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Sunday, October 28, 2007

Picture day

Here I am modeling the ribbed beanie. From all appearances I'm ready to go cat-burgling or whaling.

Do you have any idea how many attempts are required to take a decent enough photo of the top of one's head? Several.

I include this photo since it's the best representation of the blacker than black yarn. The picture doesn't have enough nose room to earn above the fold placement.

This is the Lorna's Laces yarn I'll be using to make a similar hat for one of my brothers. To my eyes it looks darker than it appears in the photo.

And in a shocking twist, that's all I have to say today. Oh, except there's this tidbit that I've forgotten the last few days... I won second place (and a set of stitch markers) in my International Scarf Exchange 5 group's contest.

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Saturday, October 27, 2007


Ribbed Beanie (PDF)

Yarn: Adrienne Vittadini Bianca (100% extrafine merino wool; bulky)
Color: Black (0600)
Needles: US 8 circulars
Stitches: 80

Not the most dynamic photo, I know. I'll try to take one of it being worn tomorrow. The few outdoor snapshots weren't very good, the product of me being in a hurry and the overcast sky not being suitable for photographing a black hat. Hopefully the sun will peek out and give me something to work with.

It was a good day for wearing a hat. I would have donned it this evening if I would have remembered to take it with me. I hurried out of my apartment to see Lars and the Real Girl without picking it up. The movie, set in a wintry Wisconsin, has plenty of knitted items on display and had me thinking if perhaps I just need to find another type of hat to knit to solve the ear-covering issue. (Yes, I was noting how the characters were wearing their hats. See what you people have done to me!) There is a key scene in which three women are comforting the main character. One is knitting (continental style, just like me!), another is casting on to crochet, and the third is doing cross-stitch.

Lars and the Real Girl is a sweet little film, the kind of quirky regional character study that doesn't get made much in independent cinema these days. It also struck me as distinctly midwestern in the people and their environment. Yes, it's about a guy who wheels around a life-size sex doll he believes is his girlfriend, but somehow it's not as outrageous as it sounds. I found it to be a humorous and fairly moving portrayal of loneliness, introversion, and grief.

Since I was in the neighborhood, I skipped over to Nationwide Arena to nab a cheap seat for the early evening Blue Jackets game. Mission accomplished, I headed to the North Market for some knitting time.

After purchasing a small pumpkin spice coffee and vanilla drop cookie at Mozart's Bakery, I found a comfortable spot on the second floor to work on my International Scarf Exchange 5 scarf. I wasn't in a particularly busy corner, but I did get asked a question by a passing knitter. She seemed to think that what I'm making looks complicated. I assured her that it isn't. It's going to sound funny for me to say it, but I'm getting the impression that a lot of knitters just need more confidence in themselves. I don't see myself as being exceptionally skilled at knitting, just willing to try what I don't know and work at it.

I didn't plan to knit in the arena before the game, although I wouldn't have minded the option. It wasn't a choice for me to make tonight, though. The security woman said I couldn't bring in my backpack. She didn't even look inside. Backpacks are verboten! Which is funny since I've brought it in before without it even being searched and carried in my currently out of commission messenger bag on several occasions. (And it's not like security was doing a bang-up job. Someone in my row smuggled in a can of pop, which is the sort of thing they're usually trying to nab.)

It was more the principle of the matter that irritated me than being unable to bring it in. Purses are permitted, and I'm sure there had to be some bigger than the backpack I was toting that got security's approval. Don't get me started. There's a rant about "security" you'll probably get when I fly in a month.

Anyway, it was a good day. The movie was one of the better ones I've seen in awhile. The Blue Jackets won. (Best start ever!) I had some peaceful public knitting. Guess I hit the trifecta today.

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Friday, October 26, 2007

Hats off

The hat is finished!

Pictorial evidence will have to wait another day, but I assure you that it is done. I got the help I needed at the LYS, although I felt ashamed/guilty about going that route. I have no idea what the etiquette is in these situations. I did purchase the yarn there, and I bought some more during today's visit. I imagine that opinions on this vary quite a bit, but I'm curious what you all think is appropriate.

It took me longer than expected to knit the last few rounds. Decreasing on circular needles got tricky since I went all the way down to five stitches. An accidental yarn over picked up when sliding stitches around created a problem, and I drew the last stitches together in a way that didn't exactly thrill me.

Still, I like how it looks overall, even though I wish I had knit more. The pattern says to knit until it's six and a half inches long and then decrease. I knit until it was about eight, but it still won't quite pull all the way over my ears. I wouldn't want my ears being vulnerable to the cold. That's how you catch the creeping crud, right? I think my glasses are getting in the way, so next time I'll knit it nine inches long before decreasing. Whatever the case, the hat totally has me set for cat-burgling. Now all I need is a Grace Kelly lookalike to assist me with the jewel heists.

The yarn I bought today will be put to use for a Christmas gift hat. I got Lorna's Laces Shepherd Worsted in pewter, which is on the pricier side of my yarn purchases. It got me to thinking how hand-knit items, which were once a necessity, are now a luxury. Factoring in the cost of yarn and labor, even at the piddly minimum wage, there's simply no way most people would pay what it would cost for me to make this hat. That's not even accounting for profit margin or a knitter's skills and tools. I suppose that makes gifts like this even more valuable.

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Thursday, October 25, 2007

Faraway, so close

I am reverting into the newbie knitter of a year ago. Until last night it had been awhile since I made mistakes I couldn't fix myself. Now I have a two day streak.

I want to finish this hat so much. I'm four decrease rounds from being done, but I made another critical error for which I'm in need of being bailed out. I understand the difference between right side and wrong side on circular needles. I've had to catch myself from knitting the wrong way a couple times, but I've been on the ball and saved myself unnecessary grief...or so I thought. One of those instances was the round on which I've stopped a few stitches from the end.

Per the instructions I knit the first four stitches and knit the next two together. Garter stitch was showing up on the right side of the stockinette. Relieved that I noticed my mistake, I undid the stitches. The un-k2tog stitches looked like they might need to swap places on the needle. I pulled one over the other and then went on my merry way knitting in the right direction. These two stitches didn't look right when I got around to them, so I had them switch positions and continued to follow the pattern.

All was not well, though. It looked like there was a bigger gap than normal below those troublesome stitches. I undid them and examined the spot. It still appeared that there was a noticeable hole where one shouldn't be. I unknit again and intentionally dropped the first stitch where the problem was visible. My thinking was that somehow I'd inadvertently got a stitch turned around or in the wrong location. This technique would rectify the matter, or so I hoped.


At this point I decided that the problem must be with the k2tog stitches preceding the ones I'd been attempting to repair. I undid the k2tog, a scary endeavor every time in my experience, and came to some harebrained conclusion that I ought to drop one or both of these and pick them back up. I think you can tell that this scheme didn't work either.

Exasperated, I vowed not to inflict any more damage and set the project aside. I'll drop by where I bought the yarn and plead for assistance--OK, I won't make that much of a show--so I can finish what is an otherwise good-looking project, if I may say so myself.

I was told at knit night that I should be using a longer cable for magic loop, if magic loop is even necessary. (I think it is.) I can see how a 32" cable would make the knitting easier, but when I cast on and knit the first few rounds, I didn't even have magic loop in mind. It just sort of happened until I made the active choice to look up the technique and put it to use. I've learned that I shouldn't keep pushing the stitches on the right needle down onto the cable while I'm knitting. It just makes knitting the remaining stitches more difficult. Once that discovery occurred, magic loop has presented few problems, not counting the self-inflicted ones.

Come hell or high water, you'll be seeing this hat as an FO on Friday. If it weren't for my side trip to the land of stupid knitting mistakes, it would be done right now.

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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Knit night

The fates conspired against me to finish the hat today. Lunchtime interruptions thwarted my knitting behind my closed office door. A pal instant messaged me. I was perfectly happy to chat, so that's a knitting discontinuation I don't mind at all. One of my brothers called me, which happens almost never, especially at work. He wanted to talk about my holiday flight options when he could have replied to my simple e-mailed question. (Getting a straight answer out of my family members can be quite a chore.) Before I knew it, lunch was over, and I needed to advise a student about her future.

Almost as soon as I got home from work I sat down to finish the first skein of yarn for the hat. I figured I could knit one more round before needing to join another. Midway through the round I was having a little trouble moving the stitches around on the needle. I then proceeded to pull several stitches off the needle on accident. I thought that I salvaged most of them--not the best assumption when working in the dark with black yarn--and took out a crochet hook to deal with the others. I managed to undo the damage except for two stitches. Defeated, I decided that I would suck up my pride and and let my request for help be my introduction at knit night.

Yes, this secret knitter went to a knit night at a LYS. It had been mentioned in a discussion thread on a local Ravelry group's forum. I thought it might be interesting to check out. Making my entrance with a messed up project was not what I had in mind, but you know what they say about the best laid plans.

The main area was filling up quickly, so the owner had me go to another room for more space to clean up my knitting mistakes. Another Raveler recognized me--needless to say, I tend to stand out in these crowds--and joined us in this side room. The knit shop's owner got everything straightened out, including some of the stitches I thought I had saved but hadn't quite. Additionally, one of my Options needles was coming loose and snagging the yarn. Might that have been the instigator for this temporary knitting tragedy?

I finished the skein and tried the hat on because I was fearful that the blasted thing wouldn't fit. It might be a smidgen on the tight side, but that's for reassessing later. Best to put the hat aside and work on it another day.

I was smart enough to bring the scarf, my other WIP of the moment, so I still had something to work on. By this time the three of us in the side room joined everyone else in the main area. It was nice to be in the company of other knitters. I didn't feel too awkward or get the impression that I was imposing. That being said, I stayed relatively quiet, which is how I am in unfamiliar surroundings or until I'm drawn out. I was content to listen and knit the scarf. Before I knew it, almost two and a half hours had passed.

The screening schedule is due for an awards season steroid injection, so it's hard to say how often I'll be able to make it to this knit night. I'd like to go back regularly if I can. Although knitting is a solitary activity, it is very much about community. My knitting community has been mostly virtual, so it would be nice to have a little of that offline too.

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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The secret ingredient

I've been wanting to bake something for awhile, but it wasn't until tonight that I fired up the mixer. I have to give a hat tip to Jenn for bringing my attention to this cupcake recipe. I followed her slightly modified version and also excluded (yikes) the whipped cream and doughnut on top. I used a large muffin pan and the regular chocolate chips I had on hand. I made a glaze, but I don't think that it's needed. One of these hot from the oven is terrific.

Baking reminds me of my paternal grandmother Lova, and it's not just because I have her KitchenAid mixer. She cooked a lot, whether it was making cookies and pies that my brothers and I would enjoy after school or preparing meals every Tuesday night for the Rotary meetings at church. I can remember the homemade noodles laid out to dry on almost every surface in her tiny kitchen and in another room. Returning to college or where I lived post-college almost always meant being sent off with an individual sized pie or a small pan of apple dumplings. She was not a talkative woman. She best expressed her love with what she produced from her oven and how she doted on us boys.

She lived a small town block from us in the home her husband built. The white house with the red and white aluminum awning was across the street from the grain elevator, the family business that my grandfather also built. I assume she was actively involved in the business when he was living. I know she was after he died some time in the 1960s. Even into her 70s she was doing the books, waiting on customers, and carrying feed bags to their cars and trucks.

I never knew either of my grandfathers--both had passed before my parents met--and my maternal grandmother Ruth died when I was in second grade, I think. I can remember her, but she lived a couple hours away. Obviously I didn't see my mom's mother as often as my dad's, who was the only babysitter we ever had and someone I probably saw on a daily basis.

My brothers and I spent plenty of time at her house. We would hide in the basement pantry where jars of home canned items lined the shelves and knock pool balls around on the pool table with fallen cushions. In the wood paneled attic we would flip through The New Book of Knowledge collection and my dad's old Bowman baseball cards. And of course we would raid the kitchen for whatever she made or the red hots tucked away in a cabinet.

She was a quilter. I can clearly picture her sitting in the basement under a naked light bulb working on a quilt, something I imagine she spent many evenings doing. I don't remember ever seeing her knit, but in my own knitting I feel a connection to her as a fellow crafter. I feel like I understand what it must have meant to her to make quilts for my brothers and me, her only grandchildren. I'm sure that she would have been surprised that I enjoy knitting. I expect it would have tickled her too.

Thanks to Donna for the remembrance of her grandmother and inspiring this post. This turned out to be a lot harder to write than I anticipated. Memories are powerful things. She's been gone for three years, and it's in writing this that I realize how much I still miss her.

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Monday, October 22, 2007

Works in progress

Hooray for magic loop. I am really pleased with the way the hat is coming along, and the magic loop method deserves a lot of the credit. If I'd been knitting this on dpns, I expect I'd have ladders in it. As it stands, this is looking like something someone might actually pay for.

The long tail cast on gives the hat a neat edge, and the k6, p2 ribbing makes for a nice design. I want to have the hat finished now. The knitting of it is taking longer because the last stitches are exceptionally tight on the needle and don't like to slide as easily as the rest. I'm slightly concerned that the hat might not be big enough. It's pretty stretchy, though, so it should be fine. Heaven forbid the day when I make something that must fit. I have a feeling that much anguish will result.

The scarf is also showing good, if a bit slow, progress. I'm not worried about finishing it in time to send to my International Scarf Exchange 5 pal, but knowing how the last couple weeks haven't been the most productive knitting-wise, the fear whispers to me. I'm not completely in love with the pattern. Having already scrapped one pattern and frogged this a couple times to obtain the proper width, I think I'm stuck with what I've chosen. It's nothing against the pattern. I just think I may get bored with it.

It's less than a month until my airport and airplane knitting endeavor, but it won't be done to eat up time waiting on standby for a flight. I found out that my sister-in-law will be switching jobs. Naturally, when she leaves the airline, she loses the reduced travel rate benefit that extends to family members. I knew she was looking, so this wasn't unexpected news. It might have been fun to play The Amazing Race mini-game of "will I squeeze onto this flight?", but since I would have had zero persuasive power in the matter, it would have lost a lot of the luster. Knowing that I won't face several hours of waiting is kind of a relief. Plus, I won't have to abide by the airline's dress code for the program, although I suppose I'd accept wearing less comfortable shoes to save eighty bucks.

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Sunday, October 21, 2007


It was a year ago today, eight days after first picking up the needles, that I started Knitting Confidential as an outlet for my excitement as a new knitter. Just like I couldn't anticipate how much knitting would come to be a part of my everyday life, little did I know how important this blog would become to me. I have no doubt that I am a changed person because of both.

Writing serves a dual purpose. It's a way to communicate and share with others. Many times I've voiced my surprise that what I'm writing is of interest to anyone else, but I suppose I shouldn't be. Whether it's films, novels, songs, or blogs, I like art based in personal expression. (No wonder I'm sympathetic to auteur theory.) So do many others, I'm sure. I'm not so bold to call what I'm doing here "art", but I get why readers come back. Despite the pseudo-anonymity of my writing, I've tried to be open and let you know who I am. I appreciate blogs where the writers grant the privilege of peeks into their lives. I'm guessing that is an attraction along with the knitting content.

While I love my faithful readers and the interaction that has grown in the writer-reader relationship, I'm writing for myself too. This has been a self-discovery process, due in no small part to the sheer magnitude of my posting. One year of blogging has yielded 343 posts. Most of those skipped days came before I set out to blog practically every day in 2007. (The last day I missed posting here may have been in March.) I've learned a lot about myself and been given confidence by many of you from the simple act of banging out words on a regular basis.

Honestly, sometimes I'm embarrassed after the fact by stuff I've written. It has more to do with what I've chosen to write about than how I've written about it. I think there are times I come off as cranky and whiny, which is only natural over the course of a year, but I still feel guilty about it. Yeah, I'm working on it.

Whether this is your first time reading this blog or you've been here from the start, thanks for visiting. (And, of course, thanks as well to those of you who fall between those poles.) I feel fortunate to have gained the friendship and advice you've offered to me for no reason more than you read whatever I have to say. I expect I'm getting the better end of that deal. I'll keep pushing myself to give you a reason to come back day in and day out.

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Saturday, October 20, 2007

Magic loop

I've been alternating between two projects today. The restarted Ruggles Reversible Scarf #1 is coming along nicely. It didn't occur to me when I cast on again that I used the long tail method. I like how it looks, though, and it has produced a squarer edge than I've tended to knit. (It's not been unusual for one or both sides of the scarves I've made to have more of a bell shape.) I'll have to check if there's something akin to a long tail bind off.

As for the ribbed beanie (PDF), I ripped it out this morning and cast on again tonight. I messed up on the first row and tried to compensate. I split the first stitch when joining, so I had an extra at the end. Knitting two together didn't take care of the gap that was forming. I'd also been having difficulty knitting it in the round. The 24" cable is just a hair too long to knit it comfortably.

In addition, the cable was poking out awkwardly and stretching the space between two stitches. It was as though the project was telling me the solution: magic loop knitting. I've heard about the technique and got a demonstration at a LYS in Arkansas, but it didn't click with me then. I'm not sure why; the Knitting Help video was easy to follow.

I cast on again and have been using magic loop to knit with less trouble. It's possible when more is done that I might be able to knit regularly in the round. Either way I think I'm good to go on this project. The weather isn't dictating a need for the hat yet, but I'm really eager to complete it.

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Friday, October 19, 2007

Yarn shop crawl

After a week absorbed in work, it was good to take the day off with some time carved out for knitting. I found a hat pattern (PDF) that I wanted to make for myself, so that was as good of an excuse as any to go to Temptations in search of yarn. I told the employee what gauge I needed, and off she led me to browse the plentiful options in the shop. I didn't have a particular color in mind. I figured I'd know it when I saw it. I settled on two balls of Bianca by Adrienne Vittadini in black. It's nice, soft stuff that should make a comfortable hat.

I had awhile before the movie I was going to see, so I decided to swing by Heavenly Creations. I hadn't been to this LYS before and didn't even know about it until I came across a mention on Ravelry. I wandered around the shop and then asked if the women knitting in the middle of the store, including the owner (I think), minded if I joined them. (Of course I was welcome. I was feeling a little gun-shy because of a Ravelry forum thread or two where objections to male knitters were voiced.)

The two older women seemed intrigued about how I got into knitting. I shared my story and some FO photos on my camera. Although these women fit what would have been my assumption of knitters--librarian grandmothers--I got the sense that I've been knitting longer than they have. They were quite impressed with the pictures of some of my work and speed in knitting the scarf. It amused me that I may have known more about knitting. Although I was able to sit and knit for only a half hour, I had a really good time.

I wasn't feeling so swift by mid-afternoon. A scratch at the back of my throat indicated that I better put the brakes on any other running around for the day. I cast on for the hat, but the yarn is stretched tightly on the circs. I really don't want to knit it on dpns, but I'm using the 16" cable and finding that it may be slightly too long. I haven't knit much. I needed a nap at 8:30 tonight, and I'm probably better off making a decision on how to continue when I'm less tired.

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Thursday, October 18, 2007

How to disappear completely

You'll have to excuse me for one more day of essentially knitting-free blogging. After another day of double digit hours at the office, I'm not exactly peppy. So, no knitting tonight. The good news is that I'm not going to work on Friday, although ostensibly I'm doing some kind of work in heading to a couple movies. (I missed all six screenings this week, if that tells you how busy I was. A Wilco concert and hockey game were responsible for two I didn't see, which wasn't so bad.)

For a brief moment this afternoon I realized how isolated I've become, especially in the last couple weeks. As you know, this summer my office moved to a building that is on campus by virtue of it being part of the school, but it isn't in all practical considerations. There's the main campus, and then there are those of us in the two departments off in our own satellite building.

I got a call that something was needed in the middle of campus right now, so I delayed the bigger priority work to take care of this still important but quick task. Walking back to the work vehicle I saw how beautiful campus looked as the golden hour approached. Then it hit me. I haven't seen campus for most of the quarter. Most of my day is spent in stale air and artificially lit boxes--my office and the control room--and plenty of that is spent alone or in rushed interactions. Hey, I didn't say it was an uplifting realization, although it was nice to glimpse the sun's natural light draping the trees and bouncing off the main building.

Anyway...I cannot wait to have some time to sit down and knit. I feel like part of my daily routine has been missing, and I'm beginning to wonder if I'm falling desperately behind in making Christmas gifts. This week and last have been bracing reminders of why I took up the craft.


Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Hal Gurnee's Network Time Killers

Alas, dear readers, I have had no time to knit for three consecutive days, and my brain is pretty well fried at this late hour. Busy doesn't begin to describe this week.

I've been paging through forum threads on Ravelry in hopes of finding some kind of knitting-related inspiration for today's post, but no blogging lightning bolts have struck. I have a couple topics in mind, but I prefer to save them for when I'm sharper mentally and can do them justice. My brain activity at this point would be best represented by a dull hum, kind of like the sound of the refrigerator running.

With that being the case, I declare this a delurking day for those so inclined to pipe up. I also welcome reader questions that I can answer at my leisure--translation: when stuck for something to write about and it's getting late--and my discretion. If you were wondering, yes, it's totally shameless, and yes, I'm beyond caring since I'm ready to go to bed.

I'd still like to make this otherwise pointless entry worth the price of admission, so I close with something to add a hint of seasoning to this flavorless stew.

Earlier this week I was told, "It is easier for you to think in pictures than in words. You tend to express yourself poetically." I'm not sure that the first part is true, although there is some truth to it. The second part is rather nice. Of course, I might be more flattered if this hadn't been printed on the slip of paper in a fortune cookie that came with Monday's lunch.

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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Will comply

What was I thinking when I considered skipping Wilco's Columbus concert date in support of their latest album Sky Blue Sky? I'd seen them four times--not to mention lead singer Jeff Tweedy solo once--and never been disappointed. Tonight's sold out concert made me glad I wised up and bought a ticket before it was too late. Wilco was on fire this evening.

If it matters, I might as well tell you that there will be no knitting related content today other than I considered taking the scarf with me to keep me occupied while I waited. I didn't. I took the newspaper instead, although it's indicative of how busy I've been yesterday and today that I accidentally brought Monday's edition.

So, the concert... The only misstep the band took was a literal one. At the start of the show guitarist Nels Cline took a spectacular tumble on the way to his spot on stage right. He wasn't injured, most likely because the band understands the importance of wrist awareness, and it paid off with a banana peel being brought onto the stage for the encore. Good one, guys.

From reworked opener "Sunken Treasure" to the pop-rock blast of closer "Outtasite (Outta Mind)", Wilco tore through a two-hour set that drew more songs from Being There than I expected. "Handshake Drugs" climaxed with a roar of guitars that sounded like (and nearly felt like) standing in front of a jet engine. I thrilled to the recognition of what sounds like a circular saw tickling piano wires near the start of "I Am Trying To Break Your Heart" and Cline's ripping solo on "Impossible Germany". "Spiders (Kidsmoke)", in which I heard some Byrds overtones for the first time, provided a blazing conclusion to the first encore.

I realize the whole encore business isn't spontaneous, but tonight's audience would have earned the two encores with its thunderous approval for the six-piece band's performance. The crowd was loud when Wilco left the stage and louder when they returned. And why not? These were professionals at the top of their game.

Not even my great luck in sitting a row behind and just to the side of the only three people in the back of the balcony who wanted to express their appreciation throughout the show so everyone would know could ruin the experience. Standing despite no one else in the section doing so? Check. Randomly screaming "woooooooooo!" in the middle of songs? Check. Singing along loudly and out of key? Check. Bad dancing, flailing arms, and clapping hands? Check. The word "douchebags" was directed their way by more than a few people, which only emboldened their expression of true fandom...until they left early in the first encore. I'll never understand.

I enjoyed opening act Andrew Bird's forty-minute set--he joined Wilco to play violin during "Jesus, Etc."--and umm, that's all I have to say about that.

Great show. Back to knitting or something more on topic tomorrow.

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Monday, October 15, 2007

The eyes have it

As someone who supposedly knows what I'm doing in my field, it amuses me to no end how students often think they can slip something by me and my colleagues. Their worldview is so limited. If they wouldn't notice the mistakes, then surely no one more experienced will. (Truth be told, I think I held this attitude with piano lessons a lot longer than I should have.) Shot out of focus? Tripod not balanced? Bad edit one-thirtieth of a second long? Yep, I saw that.

In most cases I don't think such errors are left in because of laziness or arrogance. They're learning and haven't developed the eyes (and ears) to catch all the slip-ups made while they were shooting and editing. They can't be expected to see as well as those of us who have spent years looking at video, not that we hold them to the same standard out of the gate. (It's downright baffling what some students don't see, though.)

The same applies to knitting. I've learned the hard way that there is no "cheating" when it comes to the needles and yarn. That mistake in the previous row isn't going to be fixed by attempting to compensate for it in the next row. Nope, if there's something wrong, better to correct it as soon as possible than leave it alone and create a bunch of additional work later on. You'd think I would know this by now, but my bullheaded need to make progress in the short term sometimes overrules my perfectionist side to fix whatever I know is wrong and will bug me down the line.

For instance, there's my latest WIP. I haven't frogged the scarf I'm knitting for International Scarf Exchange 5 because I haven't picked it up since Friday. (There's been no time for knitting today.) It's a perfect example of something where I could tell that the width seemed too narrow yet I talked myself into believing that the scarf would magically become wider in time. If I'd reversed course after an inch or two rather than acknowledging the reality after four or five, I would be better off.

I don't have the keen eye of a longtime knitter, but I'm getting there. Being able to spot my mistakes means that I'm advancing as a knitter. It also gives me an appreciation for those who could see what I couldn't when I was learning and encouraged me rather than point out every little error. Sometimes you need to be given the freedom to mess up alongside receiving gentle corrections. I'd do well to remember that when I'm the evaluator in class tomorrow.

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Sunday, October 14, 2007

A quick FO

Knitted Newborn Hat

Yarn: Caron Simply Soft Tweed (96% acrylic, 4% rayon; worsted weight)
Color: White and Grape
Needles: US 8 dpns
Stitches: 54

I've done shockingly little knitting in the past week. Too busy, too know how it goes.

A baby project is a good cure for instant FO gratification, so last night I went searching for yarn to make a couple gifts for Ruth's new bundle of joy. It took more browsing than I expected to find the colors she likes--c'mon mass retailers, are purple and orange that uncommon?--but eventually I found some that I liked.

I forgot to get metal dpns, although I didn't know at the time that I would need them. I intended to knit the hat with my Knit Picks Options, but as I would discover, the cables are too long. I checked my FO info and saw that I previously made this same pattern on dpns, not circs. Bamboo US 8 dpns were all I had. I think that bamboo has been slowing me down, so I
held off knitting until I could purchase some metal needles today.

I was happy to find that I haven't forgotten how to do the long tail cast on. Until now every hat I've made had the same cast on I learned at my first lesson. That explains why all those hats haven't been as stretchy for that cast on row. (See, socks taught me a good lesson.)

After a couple false starts, including one when I knit the tail, I got on track and whipped out this FO in no time. The last time I knitted this hat I didn't account for the differences in knitting flat versus in the round. While it hardly took a rocket scientist to make the proper adjustments, I'm happy that I figured out what I needed to do. I'd rather not have as many stitches on the needles to draw up as the pattern suggests, so I made another alteration to the pattern. I added two more decrease rows following the natural order of stitch reduction indicated in it.

The next challenge: finding time to knit during what will be an insanely busy week.

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Saturday, October 13, 2007

My knitting year

On this date one year ago I learned how to knit. I had no idea what I was getting myself into, but I sure am glad I asked to be taught. Knitting has made a big difference in my life this past year. There's been a lot of change, some good and some not, and more stress than I would rather have had. Through it all, it was comforting to be able to turn to needles and yarn to relieve whatever was weighing me down. The simple act of knitting contains more power than is visible on the surface.

I feel like knitting has helped bring out the best in me. I believe I've become more generous, patient, and considerate. I know that knitting has encouraged me to slow down and take time for myself. I've gained more confidence and comfort in my own skin. That last bit definitely comes as a surprise. In those early months as a knitter I felt extremely self-conscious about venturing into a hobby that most people, myself included, associated as a diversion for women (and old women at that). By pushing myself to knit in public on my own I found some peace in accepting who I am and not worrying so much about how I think others might perceive me.

My creative side has been challenged in knitting and writing. Sometimes those two overlap, sometimes they don't. Knitting helped release the words for a particularly fruitful writing period several months ago. I did a lot of self-reflection before, but blogging about knitting, or blogging with knitting as the impetus, has helped me see some things about myself.

Knitting has introduced me to new friends and connected me to a community that I'm happy to be a part of. I can't say enough nice things about the wonderful people I've met online and offline because of knitting. You've welcomed me unconditionally and, to my amazement, taken interest in whatever I've had to say in this space. I hope you know how much that means to me.

Here's to many more years of knitting and the happiness it brings.

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Friday, October 12, 2007

Price check

What is anything worth? There is common agreement on acceptable prices for some items and wildly different opinions about the monetary value of other things, but I suppose one has to be an economic theorist (or more of one than I am) to understand what numbers work and don't.

It's a topic worthy of consideration on a day that saw me make what I consider a ridiculous sum of money for three hours of freelance videography. The opportunity was presented to me a week ago. In setting up the deal I tossed out a number that I knew other people in the company didn't blink at when putting together a proposal for a different project. Obviously they didn't think it was as outrageous of a price as I thought it was. All the better for me. Who doesn't like to be handsomely paid for short, easy work?

Nevertheless, I felt a little guilty about it. Not so guilty that I slashed my rate, mind you, but guilty that I didn't deserve it. I accomplished the task required of me, and apparently my price was well within what the market will bear. The thing is that I don't place the value of my abilities as high as the client did. So who's right? Is either of us?

Of course, I've been giddy over this mini-windfall ever since it dropped in my lap. It's probably safe to say that compensation of this sort won't come along often. The last time I did anything remotely like this was three years ago, but it required a lot more time and effort.

For that matter, I was even able to knit while "on the clock". There's usually a lot of down time in video production, so I brought the scarf with me in the event that I would be sitting around until the interview subjects arrived. Sure enough, for about thirty minutes of the three hours I was free to do as I pleased. I plunked myself down in a chair to the side of the milling conference attendees and knitted. I had forgotten to print out the pattern and bring it along, but I thought I remembered how it went.


I wasn't off by much, but as the saying goes, close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades. It looks fine. I could probably get by with the error uncorrected; however, I've decided that the mistake is leading me to do what I knew needed to be done to the scarf. I should rip it all out. Going by the yarn's stitches per inch, I cast on thirty stitches to get the width I was aiming for. It has turned out about an inch shorter than I hoped. I didn't want to frog it, but now I have a good excuse for doing just that.

In the end it's worth doing because frogging is the price I'm willing to pay. I can't explain why it is an acceptable cost fifteen rows later. Ripping out earlier wouldn't have been as expensive. I guess we value some things more when in a pinch.

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Thursday, October 11, 2007

Time in the hive

If the sign of an honest day's work is being tired when you leave, then I've earned my keep this week, today in particular. (A ten and a half hour work day without lunch will do that, I suppose.) While the work load has picked up this week, partially because we're still dealing with major problems that should have been resolved months ago, I put some of the blame on the blessing/curse of the short week. Getting Monday off was nice, but by Tuesday afternoon any relaxation in reserve was long gone.

The stress relieving qualities is why I took up knitting, right? Yes, yes, yes. So, what do I do when I feel too worn out to pick up the needles? How does that itch to knit get scratched? I'd rather not abandon it during the week and only work on projects over the weekend, but that's how this week and last have played out for the most part. I've been feeling too busy. For Pete's sake, I've intended to get my contribution to the Red Scarf Project in the mail for at least a week and come up short.

OK, now that I've used this time to blog and take a few breaths, perhaps I can try to do one repeat for the scarf. But the weekend minutes better watch out. I'm going to fill as many of those as I can with needlework.

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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Knitting weather

A couple days ago the high slipped past 90. Today the high lingered around 56. Talk about an abrupt change.

No complaints here, though. It's nice to have a temperature that feels appropriate for the date on the calendar. Fall is my favorite season, so I won't be sad to say goodbye to these summery days.

I ended up getting home from work earlier than expected, so I took the extra time to go for a walk in the brisk late afternoon. I don't always exercise with my iPod in tow, but the chill in the air felt like the perfect accompaniment for taking my first listen to Radiohead's In Rainbows. The band's music conjures a future of metal and glass, burbling LEDs, and large, vacant spaces. It's the soundtrack for gray, cold days just like today.

The workout reinvigorated me, but after a hot shower and a quick, warm dinner, I felt like sinking into the furniture and hibernating. Duty called, though. Having skipped a screening the previous evening, I figured I ought to get out to see Dan in Real Life. I would have preferred to hang around the apartment, watch the hockey game, and knit the scarf, but I am still able do that now that I've returned from the film.

It feels like knitting weather, so I shouldn't be surprised that I'm ready to settle in at home with needles and yarn. I've finished one repeat for the Ruggles Reversible Scarf, which bears more than a passing resemblance to the Asherton Reversible Scarf. As you can see, the scarf isn't much yet, but it is the right project for the right time.

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Tuesday, October 09, 2007


Despite what I said yesterday, I am not making the Midwest Moonlight Scarf for my International Scarf Exchange 5 pal. What caused such a quick reversal? Trying to knit it.

The pattern looked like something I could handle. Since I tend to underestimate what I'm able to knit, I should have been set. An hour of wrestling with the pattern was enough to convince me that perhaps I'd be better off doing something else.

For one thing, it didn't look like I expected. Somehow I thought it was more like a modified basketweave. I suppose it is, but there are holes created by yarn overs that form some of the square-like shapes. I wasn't thrilled with how those were turning out.

The bigger culprit for me abandoning this project was the knitting itself. I'm using DK weight yarn, which I've never used for a scarf. I was having a lot of trouble getting the needle into the stitches to knit two together and ssk. Since there are eight of those in every other row, save for the three knit rows at the beginning and end, this scarf would take me an eternity to knit. A generous estimate would peg the scarf knitting time at 25 hours. More realistically it might be upwards of 35 or 40. I don't mind putting in the time but not if I'm going to be frustrated every other row.

So this pattern will return to my Ravelry queue, and I will begin work on something that should generate less aggravation. The Ruggles Reversible Scarf moves to the front of the line. I think my pal will like it better anyway. I feel certain that I'll be happier making it.

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Monday, October 08, 2007

Holiday knitting

Diagonal blanket

Yarn: Lion Brand Homespun (98% acrylic, 2% polyester; bulky)
Color: Williamsburg
Needles: US 11 circulars
Stitches: increased to 168
Size: 48" square

The first Christmas present is finished! On Columbus Day, no less!

I am thrilled that the math worked out. Adding 42 more stitches to the 36" square pattern produced another foot, making this a good size for adults. If you're interested in adapting the pattern, it took five skeins to make a blanket this big.

I'm amazed I completed this project in essentially two weeks. The Knit Picks Options needles sped up the process some, but I can't overlook my laser-like focus on the blanket. I had very few problems in knitting it, although there was a late mistake today that looked like it might throw off the yarn over border on one side. It isn't all that noticeable, especially since the most problematic spot was patched when I wove in the ends. I'm really happy with how this turned out except for one thing you can probably see in this next photo.

What is going on with the color? To my eyes it looks like there are five distinct shades. I didn't notice it as dramatically without the benefit of photography, but I could still tell that there is a difference in color. The obvious explanation is that I erred in buying the yarn and ended up with five unique dye lots. Nope. I checked the labels when I bought the yarn, and I looked at them again today. Everything is the same.

I don't know that the color shift is as apparent if the blanket is in one's lap. I will not contend that it ruins the item. That being said, I'm kind of steamed that five skeins, supposedly from the same dye lot, aren't consistent.

With this project out of the way, I turned my attention to International Scarf Exchange 5. I scoured Ravelry for a good pattern, tracked down the book containing it at the library, and went to a LYS for help in finding the proper yarn. My pal wanted natural fiber, something I haven't worked with much. I brought the book with me into Temptations and explained what I wanted. It wasn't long before I was directed to The Alpaca Yarn Company's offerings. I chose the Classic Alpaca line in prairie green.

The store employee helped me figure out how to adapt the pattern for a scarf not as wide as suggested. Knitting it at ten inches wide would have meant purchasing a fifth skein, not to mention adding a lot more time to the project. The yarn is DK weight, so I have a feeling I'll be working on this awhile.

I cast on for the Midwest Moonlight Scarf from Scarf Style. After five rows I had one stitch too many. Rrrrrrrip! With plenty of k2tog and yo, it should be interesting to see how much this scarf tests my patience. I don't know how good I will be at undoing those stitches when necessary. No problem, right? It's just a new challenge.

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Sunday, October 07, 2007

This and that

Knitting on the blanket continued unabated today. Got up, went to church, knitted a couple hours, took a nap during Sunday football, went to Starbucks to knit for an hour and a half, took a break, and knitted some more. I finished the fourth skein and am using the fifth and final. I don't think I can knit the rest tonight, but I'm confident that I'll have an FO to show off tomorrow.

Honestly, I have no idea how I've been able to knit it so quickly. Two weeks? This is a square foot bigger than the baby blankets I knitted. Both of those required lengthy breaks from knitting and were knit over a month or more. I've had laser sharp focus on this project. Did I mention that it's looking great?

A discussion thread on a certain knitting site I've been raving about reveals that Knit Picks Panache and Decadence look like they're being phased out. I thought Panache was terrific for a scarf I made. It was certainly something I wanted to use again. How common is it for yarns to be discontinued? It appears that this will be the first yarn casualty in my knitting life. Here's hoping Knit Picks replaces it with something equally as nice.

In an infrequently updated item on knitting in films, add The Jane Austen Book Club and Lust, Caution to the list. Kathy Baker's character is regularly seen knitting in the former. I don't think it's a spoiler that she isn't the only club member enjoying the hobby by film's end. There are tangles of a whole other sort attracting attention to Lust, Caution, but as far as knitting goes, Wang Tei's character is seen engaging in the needlecraft in a play within the film. I think it's safe to say this is the only place where you will get that information on Ang Lee's latest.

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Saturday, October 06, 2007

One track mind

Knit, knit, knit, knit, knit, knit, knit.

I didn't get a lot of knitting done this week, but I've dedicated myself to working on the blanket with the hope of finishing it Monday. I'm on the fourth skein of yarn and have decreased to 126 stitches. With an aggressive push for the rest of tonight, tomorrow, and the Monday holiday, I think I can finish the blanket in the next couple days.

Surprisingly I'm not sick of knitting it. Other projects are calling out to me, but I've been content to knit this basic item. I'm pleased that the blanket appears to be the size I am aiming for. The pattern is for a baby blanket. I added 42 increases with the intention of making it 48 inches square. A rough measurement of a completed side has me in the vicinity of what I want.

The third skein slowed me down. Loose fiber was bunching up on the yarn, so I had to keep pushing it down so it wasn't knitted into the project. It slid off when I got to the end of the skein. Lately the stitches seemed tighter on the needle, but I'll attribute that problem to letting the blanket hang and thus pulling on the stitches. Getting the needle where it needs to be is easier now that I'm bunching up the blanket in my lap.The temperature in the mid to high 80s doesn't help with working on something that's better for cooler weather, but I guess it isn't too big of a deal since I've been inside in the air conditioning, crazy as that is for Ohio in October.

The better part of the morning was spent updating my Ravelry profile. I added some books and my May FOs. I still have a lot of work until everything is accounted for, but I'm really enjoying the organizing.

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Friday, October 05, 2007

Jackets time

There was talk of a record high for the unseasonably warm day here. It was more like what it should be for baseball or early season football than what one would associate with the beginning of hockey season. Regardless, the NHL schedule began for the Columbus Blue Jackets, and I started the long weekend.

I got downtown two hours before the puck dropped and strolled north on Front Street to get some supper at the North Market. I saw the train hauling coal and took the picture at the top of the post. This seemed like exactly the sort of thing to photograph for a hometown tourist entry. I guess I am also a little fascinated by once dominant technology that has largely faded into the background. Trains are still in regular operation, but surely they aren't employed at a rate they once were. Aside: I can't explain why, but hearing a train's whistle in the distance is something I find comforting.

I made the rounds at the North Market before settling on a freshly made calzone, which I chased with a Thai chili ice cream cone from Jeni's Ice Creams. Normally I'm not so gastronomically adventurous, but Jeni's has a sterling reputation for its unique and delicious flavors. The ice cream has a base made from Columbus' own Krema Peanut Butter and is mixed with toasted coconut, cayenne, and coconut milk. It's very creamy and, most assuredly, very fattening. The creamy peanut butter gives way to some heat at the back of your throat from the cayenne. Good stuff.

I did not sample the chocolatier's wares. Apparently just looking at all that sugar caused the camera to go into a diabetic fog and lose focus. Front and center you can see buckeyes of the edible variety. For those who don't know, buckeye candies are peanut butter fudge dipped in chocolate to resemble the poisonous nut.

Healthier fare abounds too. After all, this is a local market. Since it was almost 6:00 p.m., it was time to head over to the arena.

The team's nickname derives from the state's history with the Union Army. The club is embracing the historical angle this year. A fife and drum corp was on hand. (You can partially see them on the right toward the back.) A replica cannon was installed inside for firing during the team's entrance and when the Blue Jackets score goals. A bugler dressed in Union garb played a song to rally the crowd.

U.S. figure skating champion Todd Eldredge has no Civil War connection that I'm aware of, but he performed as part of the pre-game show. Having watched plenty of Olympic figure skating on TV but never seeing it in person, I have to say that I was impressed with his short program. But then it was time for some different kind of skating...

The hometown team has not had a winning season in its short existence, but for one night it seemed like the sky was the limit for what the new year might bring. They shredded the defending Stanley Cup champion Anaheim Ducks. In all fairness to the opponent, they played two games in London, England and one in Detroit within the past week, so I have a feeling they might be road weary. Still, the Jackets played with an intensity that was pretty rare last season. All four goals were scored at the end where I was seated. I was kind of surprised how celebratory yells roared from me when they posted their two first period goals. Talk about blowing off steam.

Although Nationwide Arena was the site of my first solo knitting in public, I didn't bring it with me today. The blanket was far too bulky to bring. I bought a six game package, so there will still be other opportunities for knitting before hockey games.

By the time the game was over I figured it was already too late to catch all of the Arcade Fire concert across the street. The only taste I got was hearing a couple lines sung while I drove by Lifestyle Communities Pavilion. (What has corporate sponsorship wrought? It's a good venue, bu that name is awful, awful, awful.) Even without seeing one of the (supposedly) best live bands currently touring, it was a fun night and a terrific way to get the weekend going.

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Thursday, October 04, 2007

Down the rabbit hole

This week has kept me busy, but I sure don't feel like I have anything to show for it. And then hours disappeared as I found myself in a state of Ravelry. So this is what they mean by Web 2.0.

I forced myself to log out a little while ago. I could spend the rest of the evening adding things to my profile and still have plenty of updating and exploring to do. The site isn't a time suck; it's a black hole. (OK, technically it isn't since one can emerge from Ravelry but cannot escape a black hole. Hey astronomers, it's called a metaphor.)

I hope that those responsible for creating Ravelry are able to make it work financially for them. It's a brilliant idea that provides organization this knitter sorely needs. I've been occupied with adding my FOs, UFOs, and WIPs. I have so much to do to get up to speed. It's a good thing that I've been doing a lot of similar documenting through this blog. I can only imagine what kind of a nightmare it would be to recall all that information from the recesses of my brain. I haven't even started looking for patterns. Guess what I'm going to be doing over the long weekend Columbus Day is giving me?

The irony of Ravelry is that the hours I've spent playing around there have taken away from actual knitting. Note to self: step back from the computer and pick up the needles.


Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Ravelry revelry

I'm in!

Watching the Ravelry invite line ahead of me shrink but not quite reach me was like counting down those long, final hours until Christmas as a child. Only 29 were in front of me when I left for a screening of The Heartbreak Kid. (I usually like the Farrelly brothers' work, but I wasn't feeling this one.) I was tempted to stay home but didn't. Would I get to join all the cool kids when I got home? Yes!

I should have been prepared for my first obstacle--choosing an unchangeable user name--but I hadn't given it any thought. I didn't want to use my real name, for obvious reasons. The thought of coming up with a new, unique name made my head hurt, especially with the knowledge that I'll be stuck with it forever.

I would have used my blog name--the secret knitter (including the article and written in all lowercase, to be specific)--but I was thwarted by space constraints and the inability to have spaces. While I would prefer to have the determiner with the name, I don't like how "thesecretknitter" looks, so I've gone with "secretknitter". (No silly underscores for me, thank you.) I don't foresee changing my nom de blog, so it makes the most sense.

Now that I'm in, I don't know where to begin. Setting up one's profile requires some heavy duty organizing, something I won't mind doing but which I have no patience for this evening. I think I know what I will be spending the better part of Thursday night doing, though.


Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Up, up, and away?

I need your advice. The week of Thanksgiving I will be flying--and boy will my arms be tired. *rim shot*

Sorry, that was too good to pass up.

Anyway, I'll be flying and likely having a lot of time to knit. I mean more than one might ordinarily have. Because there's nothing I enjoy more in life than having as many possible things being uncertain, I am taking a risk and flying standby. My sister-in-law works for an airline. One of her benefits is allowing family members to fly for reduced rates. The catch, of course, is that there is no guarantee of a seat. If the plane is full, I'm out of luck until there is a flight with an opening.

The price difference between this option and buying a ticket on another airline is significant enough that I'm willing to take the chance. If I have to wait awhile, no problem. You know how I feel about airports. Better yet, I can knit until my heart's content. I will be relaxed and look oh so wise.

Here's where I need your help. I know that knitting needles are permitted on planes, but what advice do you have for transporting knitting supplies? Do you carry on all of it or just what you'll need during the flight? Scissors? Have you had knitting-related problems with security? Is it better to have an aisle or window seat to maximize knitting space? (I'm guessing aisle is better, but maybe this is a counterintuitive scenario.) Is there anything I ought to know not covered in these questions?

To make this standby situation even more interesting, it is possible this option might get taken out of the mix. If my sister-in-law were to change employers between now and then, this cheaper standby route becomes unavailable to me. So, in an attempt to save a decent chunk of money, I could end up paying more.

And I claim not to be adventurous...

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Monday, October 01, 2007

September knitting progress report

The second half of the year swoon continues as far as productivity is concerned. September brought just one FO. Shame on me. Maybe a shift to cooler weather and the imminent holidays will kick me into gear again.

On the needles or in some stage of completion: two "secret projects" still awaiting crochet work and back stitch to finish them off, one dishcloth, one baby sock awaiting a better companion, one sock for me awaiting a companion, one finished sock that must be ripped out entirely, and one blanket. The backlog is getting ugly.

In the past month I've moved up almost ten thousand spots in the great countdown to Ravelry acceptance. At least there was progress somewhere.

Past progress reports: January, February, March, April, May, June, July, and August