Monday, July 23, 2007

the weekend of loose ends

The great undoing
Originally uploaded by jacquichris
i am not a woman of UFOs. i am a woman of completion. but for almost ten years, i have had the mother of all UFOs heavy round my neck. here it is.

my doom - delightful frogs nestled in a bed of reeds and sunny yellow algae.

for reasons that no longer are clear to me, i decided to would be fun to handquilt this beast. i would do a stippled pattern in the border of my boggy paradise and outline individual frogs in a bright green to contrast on the underside. unfortunately, i had no appreciation at all for the gaping suck that is handquilting. one can easily spend days toiling away for a few square feet progress. until this last weekend, my goal was to complete this bast**d in time to be wrapped within for cremation.

this weekend, that all changed. after unboxing my new Singer, sewing Bear a new bed and rice bags for backs, shoulders and eyes, i screwed up my courage and attacked the UFO with seam ripper clenched tightly in hand. with Travy's help, it took less than six hours till the handquilting was no more than a bad dream. i'll need to baste the layers and then on to the wonder of machine quilting.

Shermie the sheepie
Originally uploaded by jacquichris
Wednesday i got my first lesson in spinning. my new colleague Linda sent me home with her spare wheel - an Ashford Traditional with lazy Kate - and rovings from her sheep Shermie. my first work was a mess, between basic muscle memory problems and accidental dislodgement of the Scotch tension. in addition, her wheel had last been used for demonstrations at a pioneer-type festival and the spools were clouded with bits of work from a number of spinners. i plied the spools off to make a clean start and am much happier with my results this weekend. its not particularly thin but it is much more consistent. between social engagements and other loose ends, i did not have nearly as much time as i would have liked to play, but i do feel i have a better understanding of the process.

Fatal alpaca
Originally uploaded by jacquichris
speaking of process, in excited anticipation of fleeces generously offered by Cathy, i have been busy learning about washing fleece. being a treehugging radical, i of course have a front loader so the logistics have been a titch complicated. Linda had given me a fleece from her alpaca Cy, which i carefully washed, spun with my washer* and teased out to dry. with all the kettles burbling and a 'wet dog' smell, it seemed a little reminiscient of Fatal Attraction.

*it has a drain and spin option so i can spin without agitation. :)

then, in the midst of all the burbling, what should arrive but a big box of fleecey fun! thank you SO MUCH, Cathy!!! i can't wait to get it clean.

finally, i did get a little knitting done on both the Britannia and the MS3. photos will have to wait for my next post. it is bedtime and then some!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

clickaclacka clickaclacka

Mystery stole, clue 3
Originally uploaded by jacquichris
daily doing continues to be a bear here. i have never ever in my entire work experience had such a negative start to a job. ironically, i continue to adore the faculty and think in my heart of hearts that it will be wonderful if i can just hang on to my humor a bit longer. it is so ridiculous that i cannot even begin to explain the situation. what, one might ask, can a girl do to maintain equanimity in such rough seas?

the answer, of course, is knit.

i have taken to lace knitting with relative ease, especially given my current mental abstraction. it certainly helps that MS3 is so beautifully designed. by midday Saturday, Clue 3 was realized before me, all shiny and elegant and soft. i keep her fluffed up beside me on my desk to provide emergency pets. i know she looks a little uneven in the photo, but i keep her wadded up most of the time so the cats don't nest on her...

Socks galore
Originally uploaded by jacquichris
with yarn in hand for two lolly summer sweaters, i had motivation indeed to get down below my three project limit.

ker-pow! Travy stripey socks, be done!

the stripey socks look a bit peculiar, i know, when their ribs suck in but Travy finds them quite fab indeed. i went with a simple K2, P2 rib and knit it up using more screamin' Opal on US 2s. (Travy likes loud socks.) the second of my Roza socks continues as well, growing a bit with each morning meeting.

readers playing along at home will recognize that that drops my active project count to TWO. without fanfare or fuss, i swatched Knit One, Crochet Too Angora Soft for Britannia. quite surprisingly, i was right on gauge. Friday i cast on and knit up the first couple inches of the back rib. Saturday, suspicious the slight uneven quality of my early stitches might be the result of Friday's cocktail hour, i frogged it and started over. turns out the yarn is just a titch irregular and i am not.

Britannia sweater
Originally uploaded by jacquichris
behold the first skein's worth of work in glorious Orange Julius orange!

i am mix and matching different pattern bits to better suit my frame. it will be interesting to see how things shake out...

alrighty, well, it is time to get back to gettin'. all these grants won't write themselves. sigh.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

picture pages, picture pages,

Socks and more socks
Originally uploaded by jacquichris
come on get your picture pages.
come on get your crayons and your pencils....

okay, maybe not exactly. i have been slogging away most of the day on grant proposals, guidelines and deadlines. my eyes are shot and my arms cranky so i am not particularly up to typing, but i did want to post some knit updates.

as you can see, i am a bit past halfway there on the two pairs of socks currently in play. impressively, i have managed to not cast more socks on needles.

Mystery stole!
Originally uploaded by jacquichris
the MS3 is coming along quite well. the yarn i picked out is Alpaca with a Twist Fino in 'purple' and i am using US 4s. i am about halfway through the second Clue. i can't imagine that it is true, but the center panel almost looks like a big spider right now! i wasn't sure how i would like the beading but it isn't too much of a pain and adds a nice touch. i haven't done a KAL before and thus far am finding it quite entertaining.

in other news, after a long hiatus, there may be a sweater project on the horizon... i just have to finish one of the pairs of socks first. (three simultaneous projects is my cutoff threshold.)

Monday, July 09, 2007

a Monday of a Monday

my life as it stands now...

i am supposed to be at work, but i can't get in the hospital because my ID does not have the right permissions.
- Solution: Walk in through Large Animal Receiving and convince them to let me through.

i am supposed to be in my office, but i can't get in the door because i have no key. (note: someone moved my officemate's stuff off the second desk- and informed him he was getting an officemate- so i could at least move my boxes out of the car.)
- Solution: Borrow master key from Maintenance to get in each day. Unlock door and scurry back with key before they need it.

i am supposed to be writing grants, but i have no computer.
- Solution: Bring my own computer and plug into network. [Nope. Network won't accept me.]
- Solution B: Work from home. Ignore boyfriend and dog rolling around on floor like toddlers playing while trying to write high-level scientific grant.

i am supposed to be responsive at all times by phone and page, but they inputed an incorrect number into the directory.
- Solution: Patiently wait for bitchyself-righteous informative secretary to stop chiding me for 'ignoring my phone' and then politely point out that 'Number not in service' message is not equivalent to 'Doctor doesn't care.' Request they either fix the directory, call my personal cell or send carrier pigeon.

i am supposed to be monitoring and responding to work emails in a timely fashion, but the mail quota is incorrectly set so low that i go over quota roughly every three emails and an empty mailbox is at 45% of quota.
- Solution: Delete email every 5 minutes and empty trash. Wait patiently for computer guy to return to work to fix tomorrow... or sometime.

i am supposed to be receiving forms for proofing and completion in my mailbox, but i have no mailbox.
- Solution: Look confused instead of aggravated when people keep telling me to watch for [insert noun] in my box, and then gently suggest things be left on random counter for me to find after i point out i will not have a mailbox till the 15th.

have i mentioned recently that i hate moving?

Sunday, July 01, 2007


okay, maybe not so much a complete-a-thon as a start... i had hoped to have more to show by now what with two days of brutal orientation hell under my belt, but day two did not really allow for knitting during the mind-numbing sessions. i have also been somewhat scattered and frantic, creating a Plan B on the fly since my office partner did not know he was getting an officemate and is currently out on family emergency. Travy and i were able to rebuild the home office yesterday so i could get to work on a grant that's deadline is looming.

so what can i share? first- i finished the Preemie receiving blanket. of course, i haven't a baby lying about to model it so i pressed a toy from my childhood into service. the blanket is crocheted in a simple 5 dc shell pattern with a size G hook. the yarn, Redheart TLC Baby, was less hideous than normal for Redheart. the blanket is waiting for a couple of buddies so it can be mailed off to charity (elephant not included).

Fish socks!
Originally uploaded by jacquichris
i have also finished the do-over on my Pomatomus socks (US 2s, Jitterbug yarn, colorway Monet). okay okay, the photo is blurry but the flash kept interfering with the color accuracy! i am also past the gusset shaping on the first of my Roza socks and on the first of Travy's next pair of simple ribbed socks.

and now? after working madly all day on above mentioned grant proposal, my arms demanded a break. during said break, i found myself lured into committing to MS3. although generally more of a 'spirit of the law' type when it comes to food recipes and the like, i have devolved into a complete scofflaw with regard to my yarn color selection for this project. it is recommended, for compliance with the secret theme, that the yarn be in either the white or black family. laceweight, and yarn store for that matter, selection here in Knoxville is sparse but i did not want to wait for an online purchase and get too far behind the pack so i ended up with a rich pinky coral yarn (photo to follow in next post). beads were even more of a struggle to procure but success was mine at last. i hope to cast on the gauge swatch tonight.