Sunday, October 12, 2014

Finished Object (Finally!)

Well, I said that I was going to post again this weekend with pictures of my recently finished Pointelle Socks and I actually am doing so for a change.  I also have a couple of pictures from Spring Awakening rehearsal.  Can you believe that I actually accomplished all that I said I was going to do?  Yeah, I'm shocked too.

Alrighty, so let's start with the Pointelles.  Here are some of my favorite shots of the lovelies (there are a LOT more on my Ravelry project page, however).

Can you tell I'm proud of both the socks and my photos?  Well, I definitely am.  My friend, Sarah, and I went to a park near my house during golden hour to take these photos.  Here's a shot of the park that I'm super proud of.

Spring Awakening rehearsals are still going well.  We did a lot of cleaning and refining this week and will continue to do so this next week.  And then we have a week of run-throughs and finally the Sitzprobe with the band.  So excited.  Here are a couple of shots from rehearsal.

Warm-up game.  Some strange thing that had something to do with bunnies...

My iPad ready to take line notes with my blocking script behind it.

Rehearsing the song "Totally Fucked".  That's Melchior in the middle with Herr Knochenbruch and Fraulein Knuppeldick flanking him.
And, just because there aren't enough photos in this post already, my first self portrait (that's worth publishing anyways) with my new camera.

Hope everyone is having a lovely weekend!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

I'm Back!

Well, hi there!  You probably thought I died (or maybe just that I gave up on the whole blogging thing, which is much more plausible).  It's been over a month since my last blog post -- so much for that whole posting once a week thing!  Truth be told, working two shows at the same time while still trying to perform my "real" job at least adequately takes a lot out of a girl.  Anytime that I wasn't at work, at rehearsal, or at a show I could not force myself to get in front of a computer.  Instead, I knit, cuddled my dog, and self-medicated with what some might consider copious amounts of wine.

So, strap-in (or press the eject button now), because this is going to be a rather long and wordy post with a smattering of pictures and not a whole lot of knitting news.

First-up, I closed Journey to the West last Saturday after an extremely smooth run.  There were no real tragedies or anything that ever caused us to have to stop the show or send the audience home (which I consider a success).  We had some props malfunction onstage once or twice, however.  Our bird from our "bird on a rod" prop fell off the rod near the end of the show which resulted in looking like the poor thing had dropped dead downstage right.  Luckily, it didn't fly into the audience which is what I had always been afraid would happen since I saw that prop (I actually had a nightmare about that).  During our second to last performance, our nine-pronged fork (which was a large pitchfork-looking thing made out of wood and painted to look like bones) broke in half right before it was presented to the Monkey King.  Thankfully, Monkey King is supposed to reject it as an inferior weapon, so he just went with it as an even bigger excuse to reject the thing.  Those were really the only two memorable whoopsies from the whole thing, which is pretty amazing.  All in all, it was a fantastic and awesomely fun run (even if we did have rather small houses almost every  My cast and crew were simply amazing and I couldn't have asked for a better group of people to work with -- I miss them already!

How about some pictures?  You got it!

The Director giving notes to Tripitaka before the show.

Peach Girls!

One of our Ensemble Women having her makeup done by her own daughter.  Say it with me...Aw!

Sharpie-ing shoes - this happened a lot during the run.  Everyone's shoes really took a beating.

Our Monkey King getting his hair painted.

Be forewarned before attempting to read anything in the picture below that it contains some adult innuendos.

Funny and awkward things said during rehearsal and backstage.  Started by our Guanyin and added to by everyone.

Despite what a great run we had, I have to admit, I am pretty excited to be working on only one show again.  I think my dog is pretty happy about it too.  Rehearsals for Spring Awakening are going pretty well so far.  I hadn't worked on a musical for about 6 years and I'd forgotten just how many more moving parts are involved when doing a musical as opposed to a straight play.  You need separate rehearsal time for music, choreography, and blocking/scenework, which is difficult to do when you're a small community theater and only have four three-hour rehearsals per week.  We've had to add in some extra Saturday rehearsals to compensate.

It's starting to come along, though.  We finally combined the choreography, vocals, and staging together for the first time last Friday in a stumble-through.  It went much better than I thought it would!  We still have a lot of work to do (especially with some of the vocals...some songs are still...rough).  There's a lot of technical things I need to start work on like figuring out set changes and tracking microphones, but I'm pretty relaxed about the whole thing at this point.  We'll see how I feel in two weeks when we're about to go into tech week, though.  Now, if I can only get our boys to quit accidentally breaking the school chairs during Bitch of Living before the props mistress kills me (or them...or all of us).

On the knitting front, I finished my Pointelle socks for the September SKA Sockdown on Sunday, but I haven't had a chance to take them out for a photo shoot yet.  Maybe this weekend.  I also started carrying around a pair of Monkeys in my bag so I could knit in the green room at Journey while I was waiting to give calls.  Pointelle is much too difficult of a pattern to travel with what with all its lace charts.  Monkeys are perfect for traveling -- easily memorized but still entertaining enough that I don't start gnawing on the yarn.  They're still in my bag in case I have any downtime before Spring Awakening rehearsals (or for when we're just doing vocal rehearsals), but progress has certainly slowed down there.  I'm sure they'll get much more attention once SA opens.

I'll try and get some entertaining pictures of SA rehearsals this week when I'm not busy doing line notes, correcting blocking, or doing set changes.  And I'm going to try and take my Pointelles out for a shoot (I have big plans for how awesome these photos are going to be....we'll see).  So, I may be posting again this weekend if that works out.  I'm also going to try to start posting more photos in general (not just of knitting) so that I can improve my photography skills.  Again, a lofty goal....I'll do my best!

Friday, September 5, 2014

It Finally Came Together!

I remember when I was a little girl, I once asked my mother why on earth, if childbirth hurt so incredibly much, would a woman ever willingly go through it more than once?  She replied that even though the process was painful, once you saw your baby for the first time, all that pain was forgotten, and all that mattered was the new life you held in your arms.

For me, tech week (also known as hell week) is like that.*  For those that don't know, tech week is when we take the actors, the stage, the props, the set, the set changes, the lighting, the sound, the costumes, etc. and mash them all together in the span of a few days.  It's a week full of long nights and frayed nerves.  It's painful.  It can still be fun to see all the puzzle pieces start to fit together, but it's stressful and hard too.  But then, on opening night, when you finally officially present that work to the world, all of that pain slips away, and all that's left is the wonderful piece of art into which you've put your sweat and tears (and sometimes blood).  One of the best feelings that I have ever experienced is watching my actors bow during curtain call on opening night.  I am full of love and pride for them and all who were involved making that little piece of magic.

This last week was (technically still is) my tech week for Journey to the West, and, let me tell you, it lived up to the hell week name.  The load-in that was supposed to take one day, took two.  The cues weren't written by the first night we were supposed to run, so we didn't (did a quick change rehearsal instead).  During our first run on stage, an actor fell while trying to get offstage.  The same actress was in the emergency room the next night (for something unrelated to her fall).  And those are just the highlights.  But, then, last night, it all came together, like it always does.  I saw the light at the end of the tunnel, and I simply can not wait to show this gorgeous play to our audiences.  It's going to be brilliant.

I wish I had pictures of the production to show, but I don't have any time to take them.  If our lighting designer allows me, I may post one or two of the 600 plus pictures he took.  But, in the mean time, I DO have knitting pictures!

As promised, here is the picture of my finished Ameliorate mitts that I made for my friend.  These are the first pair of mitts I have made, and I'm really happy with them!  (I'm also pretty happy with the picture, although I'm open to constructive criticism on how to make it better.)

My Superhero Socks for Sarah, on the other hand, are in time-out.  I was trucking along all the way past the heel, when I decided I should make sure they were going to be big enough.  Sarah's foot was available for testing, and the sock failed.  Way too small.  I looked at the measurements in the pattern (probably should have done that before) and realized the Small (the size I usually knit for Sarah) was going to be way too small - fancy that.  I can't bring myself to rip them out yet, so time-out it is.

In the meantime, I cast on for the September SKA Sockdown (the mirrored challenge) with Pointelle. I haven't had much any time to knit this week, but I did make surprisingly good progress with the time that I had on Labor Day. 

This is my first time knitting lace this complex, so I decided to give the KnitCompanion app a try.  If you haven't checked this thing out, and you have an iPad or Android tablet, you are missing out.  It has helped me immeasurably with reading this chart.  I don't think I would be doing near this well without it.

I'm not sure I'll actually finish these socks in time to complete the challenge, what with starting rehearsals for Spring Awakening on Monday and still doing shows for Journey to the West on the weekends.  But, they're a joy to work on when I do have time!

Alright, this is another long winded post (I guess we should all just get used to that).  I'm off to go prepare for our final rehearsal night.  If you're still reading, I hope you have a lovely weekend!

*Please note that I in no way mean to degrade childbirth by comparing it to theater.  This is simply the best metaphor I could think of. 

Monday, August 25, 2014

She's Got That Crazed Look In Her Eyes...

That she would be me.  We are exactly one week away from beginning tech week for Journey to the West, and I am starting to feel the pressure.  The actors are doing a bang-up job, and they truly amaze me.  But with over 160 props, 4 pages worth of quick changes, 245 light cues, and around 150 sound cues, the thought, "Oh my god, how is this all going to come together?" keeps popping into my head.  It's OK, though.  We haven't yet gotten to, "Oh my god, this isn't going to come together", and I honestly don't think we will.  We're just at that stage where we haven't gotten our real props and haven't seen all the costumes.  I'm maintaining (I think) a calm veneer around my cast and director, but inside I'm feeling a wee bit crazed.

We had our OpenStage company picnic yesterday (immediately following a four hour paper tech during which we did not finish going through the whole show) which was a blast.  It was my first time going, and I was nominated for what the company calls OPUS awards - for best technical support for the season.  I didn't end up winning, but I did get a big compliment from the announcer.  He said that Denise (one of the founders and producers of OpenStage) told him that I was the only stage manager that she had ever been scared of.  I also had a lot of people come up and tell me that they had voted for me and they were sure I would win next year.  It made me extremely happy to even be nominated!

Because of how crazed busy I've been, I haven't gotten in a whole lot of knitting time.  My July Rockin' Sock Club kit came, and I started the Shazaam Socks.  This is my first time doing any type of colorwork, and I think Intarsia was a good way to introduce me to it.  Had a false start that required ripping back to the cuff but now it's looking great!  I keep petting the little lightning bolt area of it and smiling with pride.  The Ameliorate mitts for my friend are finished (not in time for her birthday but very close), just need to get some pictures of them.  Speaking of which, guess what I finally talked myself into!

Yes, I fully recognize the irony of taking a picture of a fancy DSLR with an iPhone, by the way.  It's a Nikon D3200, and in that picture it has an 18 - 55mm VR lens on it.  I also bought a 35mm fixed lens with a maximum aperture of 1.8.  It's going to be perfect for taking knitting pictures (once I finally have the time to do such a thing).  I would promise that next time, I'll have lots of pictures and FOs to show off, but I highly doubt that will happen what with me living at work and rehearsal for the next two weeks.  

So, until I'm able to get proper knitting pictures with my fancy new toy, I leave you with the cutest picture I have ever taken of my dog, Maddie (also the first picture I took with the new camera).

Monday, August 11, 2014

I'm Still Here

Well, I guess that whole posting once a week thing is just not going to happen when I'm eye-deep in a show.  I just don't have any time to take pictures of what I'm knitting, but I am indeed knitting.  In fact, I have a FO to show off - my Sandshore Cardi!

Pardon the not-so-great photos.  I'm still trying to figure out how best to model knitwear and I had just returned home from a very long and crazy rehearsal which may be why I look a little crazed in the picture below.  I actually finished it last Tuesday but didn't have the time (or someone to take the pictures) until yesterday.  It seriously flew by - took me a total of 10 days.

I'm pretty happy with it, although I do vacillate throughout the day on whether I think it's breezy-and-beachy-big or if it's just too big.  I've had multiple friends tell me that no, it doesn't look too big and it is just breezy and beachy, but they are my friends so maybe they're just trying to spare my feelings.  Either way, I've worn it every day since I finished it (I'm actually wearing it now) so I guess that means I like it enough to not rip out and knit one size least, not yet.  Anyone have an opinion?

After I finished my Sandshore, I started working on some fingerless mitts (Ameliorate by Hunter Hammersen) for a friend's birthday.  I don't have any pictures of those in progress, however.  They're going quickly as well.  The right one is done and I started on the left last night.  That makes two projects in a row that aren't socks!  But don't worry, the obsession isn't over and I have a pair lined up for right after the mitts are done.

As for my other obsession, we're three weeks away from tech week for Journey to the West and it's getting crazy.  Good crazy, but crazy.  There are over 160 props in this show which is kind of insane to deal with when you have a stage management team of one (that would be me).  I've also started working on an entrance and exit plot for the costume designer, dressers, makeup designer, and hair designer.  There are boatload of fast changes (some you-have-about-30-seconds-to-change type of fast changes).  The En/Ex plot helps identify those and will help our dressers know exactly where they need to be to facilitate those changes.  

I think it will all work out, though, and hopefully I won't end up in the fetal position after tech week (in the privacy of my own home of course - no stage manager would ever assume the fetal position in front of her cast or crew).  And, because I said I would take more pictures of rehearsal, here it is (iPhone picture and quickly shot but still here).

Speaking of fetal positions, I think I'm going through a quarter-life crisis.  I'm not actually in the fetal position or anything, but I have been thinking a lot about where I want my life to go.  I have a wonderful life currently.  I live near friends and family in one of the most beautiful cities in the United States.  I have a good very well-paying job that is also flexible enough to allow me to do my theatre work.  I own my home, and am generally secure and content.  However, part of me wants to sell the home, quit my current job, and move to New York City to try and stage manage professionally.  Crazy, right?  The thing is, theatre really is my true passion, and my dream would be to someday stage manage on Broadway.  So, I could very easily spend the rest of my life safe and content, or I could take a major chance that could end in total disaster or could be the best thing I've ever done.  

Realizing that this could very well be a temporary insanity sort of thing, I'm not making that decision anytime soon.  I'm going to give myself a year (plus, I'm already committed to shows through next April).  If, after a year, I'm still feeling this desire, I'm going to take a very hard look at making this move.  I couldn't even write the words "I will go" in that last sentence because the whole idea really scares the pants off me.  But, if no one ever did something crazy that scares the pants off them, nothing great would happen, right?

Monday, July 28, 2014

Something Other Than Socks...

But first, let's talk about socks :-).  I finally finished my Down the Rabbit-Hole socks last Friday night!

I think I'd become spoiled with all the available knitting time I had during my break from working on shows, and I'd grown accustomed to being able to finish a pair of socks in a week.  So, it felt like these socks took forever...even though, realistically, they took a little over three weeks (and both socks involved false starts and had to be ripped back).

I like them a lot....but I'm not in love with them, I have to say.  They're a wee bit tight (not so tight as to be unwearable), and the toes are slightly different (one of them has an extra set of traveling stitches right at the tip of the toe and some of the dark teal color).  Despite these little foibles, I'm still charmed by the design of these and the self-striping yarn.  I can't say I'll make more striped socks for myself (not really my style), but I have requests from both friends and family so it looks like self-striping yarn and I will be meeting again!

And now for the not socks part of this post that the title promised.  Since the socks were finally done, I allowed myself to cast on for my Sandshore Cardigan Saturday morning!  Yipee!  Obviously that whole being a polygamous knitter thing didn't pan out....anyone else out there like me?  Or am I just some weird breed of knitter that finds it impossible to have multiple projects on the needles and actually work on them all?

I actually had a lot of free time this weekend, for a change, so I was knitting like a fiend.  That, combined with the fact that this an extremely fast knit anyways, means that by the end of Sunday night, I was already past the horizontal mesh stripe on the back.  Looking at where the mesh stripe was going to land on my cardigan, I was worried I'd missed a whole chunk of knitting.  Other Ravelers' pictures made it appear that the stripe was much farther down the back than mine seemed like it was going to be.  I re-read the pattern at least 10 times to find what I missed, but as far as I could tell, I'd done everything right.  So, I decided to try the sucker on, and it looked just fine (I think...), so I'm forging ahead. 

I'm super excited about this cardigan!  I love the way that it's turning out, especially the mesh panel down the back, which, like many other Ravelers, I am centering.  My OCD can't deal with the asymmetrical version (not that it isn't lovely, it's just not for me).  I'm optimistic that I'll be done with it in two weeks or so (provided I get my knitting time on the weekends).  

Not a whole lot crazy or new in my theatre world in the past week or so.  We finished staging the entire show, and the director has started working on where his sound design and where he wants the lighting designer to put light cues (he is a bit controlling when it comes to design work).  So far, there are 105 sound cues and 250 light cues -- I'm going to be a busy little SM calling this show, which I love!  

I'm getting very nervous about the prop tracking for this show.  The Monkey King (yep, Monkey King) has a staff that is normally 3 inches long that he keeps behind his ear, but he is able to magically change it into a full length staff...onstage.  Now, if you're a big Regional Theater or Broadway Theater, maybe that's not so bad.  You may have access to IATSE crew members to staff the show and cool things like traps and fly systems.  And while I think the community theatre scene here in my city is top-notch, we don't have access to any of those things.  I suppose we could have built some traps in the platforms, but we're having enough trouble just getting board ops, I don't know who we would have put in them to man them.  Anyhow, it's going to be an interesting problem to solve and once the actors get their scripts out of their hands and start carrying props....well, we'll start identifying and solving some of these problems.

But, we're only three weeks into rehearsal so I'm not too stressed yet.  I just keep reminding myself that it's not brain surgery, and we'll figure it all out like we always do -- one of the many magical things about theatre.  I'm going to try and start taking more pictures of rehearsal so the theatre part of my posts will be more than just ramblings.

As always, if you're reading this, I hope you are having and continue to have a wonderful week!

Monday, July 14, 2014

It Starts...

There is going to be a serious lack of knitting pictures in this post as I had no time to take any within the last week.  I suppose I could wait to post anything until I do have some knitting pictures, but I'm starting to feel blog-guilt as I failed to meet my self-imposed schedule of posting once a week.  I may be the only one reading this, but if I don't force myself to stick to my schedule this blog will follow many other started-and-forgotten-about projects into a black hole never to be seen again.

I finished the first of my Down the Rabbit Hole socks and am just about an inch past the cuff ribbing on the second.  They're coming along more slowly than my last few pairs of socks.  With my schedule lately, knitting time has gone from "you have all evening to knit, you'll get these socks done in a week" to "you have maybe an hour to knit if you're lucky and to do that, you need to ignore the dog who has been alone all evening."   This always happens when I'm working on shows -- the only time to knit for more than thirty minutes or an hour is on Saturday.  It's worth it, though.  Knitting is definitely a passion (see blog header), but theatre probably trumps it.  If I go too long without working on a show, I start to feel empty; I was definitely pushing my limit with this last break.

Of course, now that I have significantly less time to knit, I am about to start another project (that makes 3 WIPs total).  So much for that whole monogamous knitter thing, huh?  Remember the Bayside Pullover that I was so smitten with?  Well, it's been sitting untouched for weeks now (at least it's under my glass table where I can see it instead of at the bottom of my knitting basket).  Sadly for Bayside, a newer, sexier summer project caught my eye.  The Sandshore Cardigan by Alicia Plummer was featured on Ravelry, and the moment I saw it, I knew I had to have it.  That sounds exactly what I said about Bayside, I know, but I really really need it this time....really really.  My lustful desire for this cardigan was so strong that I almost immediately forked over a large chunk of money to buy the Quince & Co. Kestrel yarn (yep, in the exact same colorway as shown on the pattern page).  I tried to force myself to wait -- to think about and evaluate whether this was a good decision or not, but there was no resisting the pull.  It got so bad that I was distracted at work.  In the end, I decided to buy the yarn if only to save my job.  (A tad over dramatic maybe, but what do you expect from a theatre geek?)  I checked the package tracking this morning, and the yarn should be in my mailbox by the time I get home from work.   I absolutely can not wait to cast on this gorgeous and very seductive project.  Unfortunately, I'll have to as I won't even have time to wind a skein before I have to head to rehearsal.  But they say anticipation is the best part, so maybe the waiting will just make the cast on even better.

Choreography rehearsals started for Journey to the West last week and regular rehearsals started yesterday.  The choreography rehearsals were especially fun for me as I got to step out of my Stage Manager shoes and into Dancer shoes to stand in for someone who was absent.  It's been a couple of years since I've danced any sort of choreography (I was a dancer for 15 years) and it was just wonderful.  Friday evening was spent taping out the intricate set.  It took us about 3 and a half hours and almost 3 rolls of spike tape.

This is a view of the Stage Right corner - the set is so massive that there was no way I could get the whole thing in one shot.

Last night's rehearsal was blocking at breakneck speed.  For anyone who doesn't know, the Stage Manager is responsible for writing down all movement done on stage, which is called "blocking."  I had a hand cramp by the end of the four hours, and I'm pretty sure all the actors felt like they had just lived through a tornado.  I'm starting to get a sense of just how complex this show is going to be.  It's a bit intimidating, but I love a challenge so bring it on, baby!

My parents came up this last weekend to celebrate my birthday (my actual birthday isn't until Wednesday, though) which ate into my already limited knitting time even more.  But, they're worth it too.  We had a lovely visit, a large part of which was spent finishing up work on my Steampunk-inspired basement.  We hung up a few things, fixed some curtains, and, best of all, got the kegerator working!  Guess who's having a birthday party this Friday!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Come Together

It's almost the beginning of a lovely, long holiday weekend, and I am having trouble focusing on anything remotely having to do with my actual work (testing software).  I'm muddling through it, but, then again, I'm also writing this blog entry while I'm waiting for things to load.  My college roommate is visiting me this weekend from out of state so I'm working from home for a half day today, and then I think we'll head out to one of the many microbreweries here in town.  I may bring a sock to knit on, just in case of an emergency.  You know how it is.

I finished off my Quite Contrary socks last Friday and I love them!  They ended up being a teeny bit tight on my feet, so I think I'm going to give them to my Grandmother for Christmas.  I'm pretty sure she's going to adore them.

Quite Contrary Socks in BMFA Socks that Rock Lightweight (Forget-Me-Knots)

I posted a few questions in the Ravelry Group forum for the Rockin' Sock Club about this pattern and then posted the above picture in the same forum.   The response that this photo got actually made me blush!  Everyone was so complimentary.  The pattern designer even decided to make it one of the featured pictures on the pattern page!  Squee!  

On that note, I have recently realized just how much I was missing out on by not being more involved in groups and forums on Ravelry.  I've been on Ravelry for years now but had really only used it to find patterns and keep track of my projects.  Now that I'm actually starting to get involved with the community, a whole new world has opened up to me.  I don't really have any knitter friends, so being able to talk and share with all the lovely knitters on these forums is truly a blessing.  Maybe a bit of a curse too as my queue continues to grow exponentially...

I joined in on another Sockdown in the Sock Knitter's Anonymous group.  One of this month's challenges is to knit a pair of socks with a pattern designed to show off self-striping yarn.  I've had some KnitPicks Felici (Splash) in my stash for a few months so this was the perfect time to try it out.  This is the first time that I've used self-striping yarn, and it's magical!  I don't understand how it works, but I am constantly thrilled every time a new stripe starts.  I keep talking about it to the aforementioned non-knitter friends, and they just smile and nod while looking at me like I might be safer in a padded room.

I decided on the pattern Down the Rabbit Hole and am loving it.  A few hours after the above photo was taken however, I realized that I had different numbers of stitches between my traveling stitches.  I couldn't figure out where I'd made the mistake so I had to rip back to the ribbing and start over.  I think this actually ended up being a good thing as I decided to try a different way of cabling without a cable needle for the traveling stitches, and I'm much happier with the way try #2 is looking.  In case anyone is interested, I'm using method D described in this article.

In non-knitting news, last weekend was full of festivals.  On Saturday, me and a bunch of friends headed down to the Colorado Renaissance Festival.  My parents started taking me to this festival when I was 3 years old.  I have gone every year since (save for one where I was stage managing a show out of state).  I look forward to it all year and it didn't disappoint!  It was a day full of friends, huzzahs, corsets, and beer.  

That's me in the front on the right....the short one.

On Sunday, I attended the Colorado Brewer's Festival where I sampled some very delicious microbrews.  Let me tell you, if you ever visit Fort Collins, aim for the Brewer's Festival weekend.  There were 100+ beers there from breweries all over the state.  There's also live music, shopping, games, and rides.  Makes for a truly wonderful day!

No real theater news to speak of this week, which is probably good as this is getting long (as usual).  We start choreography rehearsals for Journey to the West this next week so I'm sure I'll have more to talk about soon!

If anyone is reading this, I hope you have a wonderful Independence Day!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Everything's Alright

I'm going to change up my normal posting order this week and start off with a follow-up from my last post.  If you're reading this and you're not interested in theater drama, keep scrolling to find the knitting.  In that previous post, I described very vaguely that there was a situation going on with people involved in my next mainstage show, Journey to the West.  It's rather too long of a story and probably not that interesting of one to actually describe the events that led to said situation in detail.  We'll just leave it at "some guy" was dating "two other gals" (one of whom was me - we weren't exclusive so I did not care about the other gal) and a "different gal" found out and was hurt by that information.  Because she was hurt, that "different gal" was considering quitting working on Journey as she didn't think she could work with one of the "two other gals" (not me, the other one...for some reason).  However, after the "different gal" had a few days to calm down, she decided that she would be able to work with the two other gals as a professional and we're all moving on.  Phew!

In non-drama theater news, I finished running the Reader's Theatre production of Other Desert Cities.  It's a great show - if you ever have a chance to see it, I'd recommend it.  We're getting close to starting rehearsals for Journey so I started getting my SM book together and wrote the first draft of the props list last weekend.  I can tell you without a doubt that it is the weirdest props list I have ever written.  I actually had to include "Poles with babies in cages attached (9)" on there.  I'll give you a second to re-read that.  Yep, babies in cages....not my idea.

Ok, so on to knitting stuff.  I finally have a FO to show off - Liz's Rainbow Monkey Socks are cast off, finished, and blocked.  Since her feet are much larger than mine it was hard to get a good picture (her feet weren't available), but here's what I did get.

They are super soft and stretchy and I think she will really like them.  I did love working with the Araucania Huasco other than the fact that if it was warm, the yarn that was resting over my forefinger for tensioning was leaving a little blue stain-line.  When I washed the socks, the color didn't seem to bleed much either in the sink or on the towel, so hopefully she won't have a problem.

As soon as I cast those bad boys off, I immediately cast on for the May Rockin' Sock Club socks, Quite Contrary Socks.  They have a very different sort of construction from normal cuff-down socks so I had some trouble with misinterpreting a few instructions and got myself confused and frustrated.  Fortunately, the lovely ladies on the Ravelry RSC forum helped me out and I am now done with the first sock!

I also entered these into the Sock Knitter's Anonymous Ravelry Group's June 2014 Sockdown contest.  For anyone who doesn't know, they don't actually judge your socks other than to make sure they meet the criteria of the challenge and the general rules.  All you have to do is cast-on a sock that meets one of the month's challenges and then cast it off (and post photos) within the given time frame and then bada-bing bada-boom, you're entered into a drawing for a variety of prizes varying from yarn to stitch markers to patterns and more.  I've never done any sort of contest like this, but so far it's fun!  I added a ridiculous amount of patterns to my queue just because I made the mistake of looking through all the other entries - they're gorgeous!  Anyone else fall prey to this trap?

I have totally slacked on my Summer Breeze Pullover - I got past the raglan increases and separated the sleeves.  Then, I promptly set it down and have not picked it up since.  There are two reasons (I think) for this behavior.  First, I had to get Liz's socks done before this coming Saturday when I'll see her at the Renaissance Festival (and I really wanted to have a FO to show on here). Second, I am obsessed with getting these Quite Contrary socks completed.  I got the first one finished in 3 days which is a new record for me!

Lastly and briefly cause this is getting really long, I finally stopped by another LYS near me, The Loopy Ewe (also an online store) last Friday.  It's a lovely, bright, friendly store with a seriously huge amount of yarn.  I spent about 45 minutes petting all the yarn I could and finally forced myself to leave.  Surprisingly, I managed to escape with only 1 hank of yarn - Handmaiden Casbah Sock yarn in the Tourmaline colorway.  The picture makes it look slightly more blue and less green than it is in real life.  I think it's destined for some Christmas socks for my Mom (maybe Treebeard Socks?).

Okay, I think I've gone on enough for this week.  Hopefully, I won't be a slacker like last week and will actually post again within a week.  Then maybe I wouldn't have so much to say!  If anyone is reading this, I hope you have a lovely week full of yarn and/or theater!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Drama Queen

Well, I have no FOs to show this week, unfortunately.  I hoped that I would have Liz's Rainbow Monkey Socks done, but, alas, I am only on the heel flap of the second sock.  I finished the first sock at about 11 PM the night before I flew to California (I really wanted to get it done so I could cut my yarn and rewind it to make my cake smaller and more easily portable).  My cousin's wedding was lovely, despite being stuck outside in 95 degree weather for an hour and a half in a long dress.  My cousin was very handsome and my new cousin-in-law was a gorgeous bride.

My cousin (the Groom) and Me
I got quite a bit of knitting done on the airplane rides while listening to the audiobook of The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood (read by Claire Danes).  I have a list called "1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die" that I found years ago, and every time I'm not sure what to read I turn to it.  The Handmaid's Tale has been on the top of that list for me for a long time, and I'm enjoying it very much, even if it does make me cringe frequently.

The biggest knitting news I have this week is that I went on a bit of a Webs shopping spree last week.  I needed some circular needles with a 32" cord and 16" cord for my Summer Breeze pullover, so I got those....along with two sets of super cute strawberry stitch markers from Lantern Moon, some DPN stitch holders, and some Knitter's Pride Nova Cubics size 1 DPNs.  The next day, I again fell prey to Webs' marketing emails and saw that they had more Araucania Hurasco in discontinued colors on closeout (yeah, almost 50% off) and I bought 3 hanks.  Below, I have tried to capture the total damage.  My sock yarn stash is starting to get a bit out of control...maybe I'll just put these new hanks in a vase on my dining room table like some kind of knitter modern art.  That makes sense, right?

This week's exciting news has to do with my theater life rather than my knitting life.  Anyone who has been involved with theater knows that a theater community, be it large or small, usually ends up being an incestuous dating pool.  It's like an episode of Dawson's Creek -- everyone dates everyone else.  That's just the way it goes; we're all around each other all the time and, frequently, we're the only people we hang out with.  I won't go into details or mention names in the off chance that any of the involved parties ever reads this.  Let's just say that because of this everyone-dates-everyone business, the proverbial s*** hit the fan this past Tuesday in regards to Journey to the West.  I can't go into much more detail at the moment because there are still conversations happening (I think).  Once the situation is resolved (or as resolved as it's going to get) perhaps I'll go into more detail.

I suppose I should end that vague little anecdote with a lesson learned, but really, there is no lesson to be learned here.  That's the way theater works.  I suppose, if anything, the lesson to be learned is that even though everyone dates everyone, everyone also needs to be careful of everyone's feelings and tread lightly.  But, theater is full of dramatic people (duh), and every so often this sort of thing is going to happen.  Hopefully, after a few days, everyone will cool down, and we can all move on in our happy little, albeit dysfunctional, theater family.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Play the Field

I'm usually a very monogamous knitter...not because I think it's shameful to have two or even twenty projects on my needles; it's because I simply do not possess the ability to have two patterns in my head at once.  Every time I've tried to start multiple projects, I end up only working on one, and the other slowly drops further and further down in my knitting basket until it's been so long since I've worked on it that I have absolutely no clue where I left off (my Corona sweater is a prime example of this....haven't touched the thing in over 8 months).  The end result is me frogging the project and feeling guilty for my lack of ability to multi-task.  But....I'm trying again.

I was happily committed to my Monkey socks for Liz when I came across an old blog post by Audry over at Bear-Ears talking about her Rocky Coast Cardigan from Coastal Knits.  I took a look at the patterns in the book and WHAM!  I knew I had to have the Bayside Pullover...and I had to have it this summer.  I tried to convince myself to wait, but after a day of restraint, I knew I couldn't take it any more.  So I headed off to my LYS and bought two cakes of Anzula Breeze.

Now, I know the pattern calls for a fingering weight 4 ply yarn and this is a 2 ply laceweight so I was a good little knitter and knitted a gauge swatch.  Surprisingly, my gauge was too big on US 4 needles.  I stepped down to US 3, and it's still a little bit big (half a stitch).  Therefore, I'm knitting the XS and hoping for the best....there's no way all these decisions are going to bite me in the butt big time, right?  If anybody actually reads this and sees major problems (other than the obvious gauge danger) with my yarn choice, please feel free to point those out to me before it's too late.

All my gauge worries notwithstanding, I'm forging ahead.  Because of the yarn and the needle size, the stitches are very open which is exactly what I want - an open, breezy pullover that can show off a cute cami underneath.  I've been on the lookout for a pullover like this for awhile now - let's just hope it turns out the way I'm imagining it.  I'm a bit nervous, to tell the truth.

As for being a polygamous knitter, it's actually going well so far.  Both patterns are simple, easily memorized, and it's easy for me to spot where in the pattern I am.  I knit on the pullover until I can't take the stockinette anymore and then switch over to the Monkeys.  I'm going out of town for my cousin's wedding this weekend, so that's a great time to just work on the Monkeys and get those done since I don't want to lug the sweater with me (not that it's big enough yet to really qualify as being luggable).  We'll see how this goes in the weeks to come...

In theater news this week, we had our first production meeting for Journey to the West and I got to see the set model for the first time.  It's going to be absolutely epic....and I'm going to be glow taping it for an entire day (so many stairs!).

Designed by Peter Anthony
The production team is fantastic and I can't wait to start seeing the costume, makeup, and hair designs.   While at the warehouse for the meeting, I realized that I have committed myself to working in one of the worst possible locations this summer.  You see, I have an extreme and irrational fear of miller moths.  This summer in Colorado is supposed to be one of the worst moth seasons we've had in years - and I'm going to be in a porous warehouse that I already know is infested with these horrific things.  Ah, the things I do for the love of theater.  Hopefully I can make it through and still maintain the respect of my cast....

Lastly, I just have to mention my discovery this week.  My musicals station on Pandora has been playing songs from Next to Normal for a long time, but I finally decided I wanted to listen to all of them in order while following along with the synopsis on Wikipedia.  Let me tell you, I was practically crying at my desk by the end of it, I was so moved.  I've been listening to it pretty much nonstop ever since and I bought the script so I can read the whole thing.  It has definitely secured it's place as one of my favorite musicals.  I desperately hope that I can work on it someday.

Here's a clip of Aaron Tveit (Gabe) singing "I'm Alive" (one of my favorite songs) in the original Broadway production.  I tried to find a video for "Light" (the final song that almost made me cry at my desk) but couldn't find a legal good one.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Rhapsody in Blue

Rhapsody is defined as "an effusively enthusiastic or ecstatic expression of feeling."  And what else is a hand-knitted gift other than an ecstatic expression of feeling?  Most of us don't knit for just anyone - we knit for those we truly care about.  For us, knitting is one of the best ways to express our feelings towards another.  Every single one of the hundreds or thousands of stitches contains our love and affection.

Newborn Vertebrae in KnitPicks Stroll Tonal (Pacific)

As I was knitting my Baby Blue Cardigan (renamed from plain old Baby Cardigan), not only did I think of all the good times that I had with the soon-to-be parents, but I imagined the good times they will have with their little one.  I may never get to meet the little guy (they live out of the state now), but I like to think that he will be happy and warm in the little cardigan I knit for him.  If I'm lucky, maybe it'll appear in a family picture! I realize since this is made for a newborn, he won't be in it for long, but I'm OK with that.  It was just too cute to pass up. 

I'm mostly happy with it, although there are things that I would change if I had more time.  First, as you can see in the pictures, the yarn pooled like crazy!  Especially on the back.  I could have cut the yarn to break this up, but for whatever reason (I'm blind, maybe?), I didn't.  

The only other thing that bugs me is that when I picked up the stitches for the body ribbing, I missed picking up the cast-on and cast-off rows so there is a slight jag going from the bottom ribbing to the body ribbing (you can see this in the top picture, but you may not want to).  Probably not something anyone but knitters would notice, but it does sort of make my right eye twitch.  But, overall, I'm happy with it, and I hope that my friends and their little boy will be happy with it too.

And now, I'm back to my sock obsession and have cast on another pair of Monkeys for my friend, Liz (this will be my third pair).  Although, I have to say it's going to be hard to give these away; the yarn is so gorgeous (it's the Araucania Huasco from my previous yarn-gushing post).  These were originally going to be Show-off Stranded Socks because of the Yarn Harlot's post about how great they were for variegated yarn.  However, I could not get my Knitter's Pride Dreamz DPNs to slip the YO stitch over without significant amounts of concentration and cursing.  I still want to make those, but I'm going to need some pointier needles first.  Any suggestions? 

In theater news, we're still spinning up for Journey to the West and sent out the rehearsal schedule last week.  And, let me tell you, it's been a bit of a nightmare.  We have a cast of 15 and that, combined with the fact that this is community, not professional, theater has been a real problem for scheduling.  There was a boatload of conflicts (and one or two temper tantrums) to deal with, and the director even had to re-cast one of the main roles due to unsolvable conflicts.  The battle between Sunday afternoon or evening rehearsals is still being waged even now.  It will all get resolved eventually, but's been crazy.  That's theater for ya!

Tonight, I plan on getting back on my old exercise routine of P90x.  Before I got heavily involved with theater again, I did P90x 6 days a week and was in great shape.  It's pretty much impossible to maintain that when I'm doing a show, so I have about a month and a half to try and make up for some lost time.  So, schedule tonight: P90x, shower, cook, then knit for a few hours.  Oh!  And watch the premiere of So You Think You Can Dance!  Sounds like a good night to me!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Another One Bites the Dust

After being freed from the bondage of the brown behemoths, I (of course) immediately cast on another pair of socks.  And, lo and behold, when I'm not knitting size 12 socks that I don't particularly like, I can crank out a pair in just a little over a week.  That may be slow compared to some knitters, but that's pretty good for me, especially when I'm usually only knitting for maybe three hours a day if I'm lucky.  So, have a looksy!

Pattern: Paua Socks
Yarn: Socks that Rock Lightweight (Mad as a March Hare)

These are Paua Socks knit with the March yarn shipment from the Rockin' Sock Club.  These are meant to be a gift for one of my close girlfriends (who has bigger feet than I do which is why these look a bit big).  I'm glad that I decided to gift these, because even though I really enjoyed the pattern and the yarn, I can't say that I would ever wear these socks myself.

They're a bit too crazy both pattern-wise and color-wise for me.  They've had their bath and dried and are now patiently sitting in my yarn closet (yes, I have a yarn closet in my living room) waiting for their owner to come and pick them up.  She's house and dog sitting for me here in just a couple of weeks so this really was perfect timing.

And now for something completely different - not socks!  I've cast on the Newborn Vertebrae which is meant to be a baby shower gift for a couple of friends who are expecting a boy.  I'm still getting over the idea that the soon-to-be Daddy is going to be responsible for another life.  Don't get me wrong, he's a fantastic guy (hence the fact that he is a friend), but I knew him during his crazy college phase, and it's just bizarre to imagine that person actually being a parent.  In any case, I got through the raglan increases last night only to realize that I'm short a stitch on one of the arms!  I looked and looked and couldn't find where I missed an increase....going to go take another look now and hopefully the mistake isn't too far back (if I can find it at all).   If I can't, I think I'm just going to keep trekking and I'll figure out a way to get the right number of stitches later....hopefully.

No real theater news this week - still on a break.  Starting to gear up for the next big one - Journey to the West.  First production meeting is in two weeks followed by the first Read-Thru the week after (same week I'll be rehearsing, teching, and opening the Reader's Theatre of Other Desert Cities).  But, for now, it's just me and my needles and watching a whole lot of Supernatural.  I just can't get enough of those two sexy men!