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!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Ding, Dong! The Witch is Dead!

BFF Socks by Cookie A. in
madelinetosh Sock "Whiskey Barrel".
Nice leg hair, eh?
And by "The Witch", I mean my "Manly Socks".  And by "Dead", I mean "gone-from-my-life-forever-thanks-be-to-god".  I officially finished them (meaning weaving in ends and blocking) this past Saturday (in plenty of time to give them to Andy before Game of Thrones Sunday).  But, the Thursday before was when I really felt like celebrating.  When I finished that lovely and magical Kitchener stitch (it never ceases to amaze me and I actually really enjoy doing it...provided no one tries to talk to me during the process) to close the toe, I could barely contain my joy.  I texted people who really could probably care less, I posted an announcement to be frank, I almost knocked on my neighbors' door just so they could celebrate with me.  I eventually got myself under control, tossed them in the sink for a good soak in Soak, then proceeded to start winding my Rockin' Sock Club April shipment of yarn.

Andy received his socks as soon as he got to my house on Sunday, and, yep, all the pain and anguish effort of knitting those giant socks was worth it.  He was so excited and kept telling me the entire night how soft and warm his feet were (it was snowing on Sunday....yes snowing in May....not that uncommon here but I'm still shocked and dismayed every time it happens).  I've already gotten requests from other guy friends for socks, but the experience of knitting those enormous brown things is still too raw....maybe someday I'll forget (kinda like childbirth...or so I hear).

Couple of self critiques on these.  They're slightly too big for him, wearable, but a little large...I was estimating as best I could and was maybe a 1/2 inch off.  I don't like the toe - I actually ended up doing my Kitchener with 12 sts on each side instead of 12 total so they look really flat and kinda weird.  They're the same colorway but very obviously a different dye lot.  I toyed with the idea of switching between the leftovers from my first hank and the new one for the second sock but decided that would 1.) kill me and 2.) not matter because they would still look different.  All in all though, I was OK enough with them to gift them and the recipient loved them (he doesn't know any better) so all's well that ends well, right?  Right.

In other news, I've been reading lots of other knitting blogs for awhile now and I'm always jealous of the gorgeous pictures of yarn, projects, and notions everyone seems to be able to take.  So, I started reading up on cameras and photography.  I almost convinced myself to buy a DSLR, but I got a hold of myself and instead went with a Canon Powershot S110.  It's not a DSLR by any stretch of the imagination, but it's a big improvement over my iPhone.  I can shoot in manual mode and control the aperture, shutter speed, and ISO.
KnitPicks Hawthorne "Sunnyside"
 So, Friday after work, I had a little photo shoot with all the yarn mentioned from my previous blog post so I could get all that into my Ravelry stash.  These pictures make me so happy!  I still have a lot to learn about photography, but I just love that I got the background to blur without having to do any post processing.  Whoopee!

Araucania Huasco "#5 Green Brown Turquoise"
Much better picture than in the last post!

"Paua Socks" in Socks that Rock Lightweight
"Mad as a March Hare"
I started my Paua Socks for the Rockin' Sock Club.  These are going to one of my closest girlfriends, Kristina.  I cast on the first sock on Saturday morning and I'm already on the toe of that sucker.  That's pretty fast for me!  Should be done with that one tonight.

No real updates for theatre since I'm on my break.  Worked Debut Theatre's staff show last Wednesday which was a bit crazy since I was having to manually bounce between two of the cues programmed for the Debut Players' show and manually bring up one of the dimmers for blue lights.  Still, I had a good time and it was fun to watch.  Tricia from Bas Bleu sent an email asking if I could house manage The Woman in Black and I said I would if she couldn't find anyone to cover a couple of nights, but I really wanted to take full advantage of my break.  Plus, I loathe dislike house managing with the fire of a thousand suns quite a bit so probably a good thing to avoid if I can.

Phew!  That was long....but I guess it was a pretty exciting week!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Some yarn is too beautiful to knit

About two weeks ago, I fell off the wagon...and hard.  I hadn't procured any new yarn since the 4 hanks of madelinetosh and Sweet Georgia sock yarn that my dog, Maddie, gave me as a Christmas present.  Isn't she sweet?  Oh wait....she gave me three hanks for Christmas and then I bought myself four more in January because it was snowy and cold and....I'm weak.   Anyways, the point is, I hadn't increased my sock yarn stash (or general yarn stash) for 3 months, which, I think, is rather impressive.  (This, of course, doesn't include the March shipment of yarn from the Blue Moon Rockin' Sock Club since I technically paid for that back in January, right? Right.)  I was so proud of myself and had promised myself that I wouldn't buy any more sock yarn until I had completed the socks that my current stash was destined to become.

Then, it happened.  It started with just a simple order of madelinetosh Sock in Whiskey Barrel that I actually needed to finish the socks that never end.  But then....oh then...I got the email from Webs advertising some yarn for their 40th anniversary sale and I couldn't help but buy two hanks of Araucania Huasco....that was April 17th.

Then, not 5 days later, I got another email from them.

Araucania Huasco #8 - Purple, Teal, Royal, Fuschia
 This time, they were advertising a closeout on Misti Alpaca Hand Paint Sock and, again, I couldn't resist it.  I mean, it was almost 50% off!  You'd have to be heartless to resist buying at least one....and, thank goodness, I managed to keep myself to just one.

The next day, somehow (I really can't remember what happened), I ended up on KnitPicks and saw their new line of Hawthorne sock yarn....that was $10.99/hank!  What??  So....I bought 4 hanks.  And I still have two on my wishlist that aren't available yet.  Oh, and while I was at it, I bought two skeins of Felici sock yarn that was being discontinued.

All in all, that means that over a period of 6 days, I bought 8 100g hanks of yarn (I'm combining the two Felici 50g skeins into 1 100g hank in my head...same difference right?).  Le sigh....

Anyways, besides feeling the need to confess my relapse, the reason I'm mentioning all of this is that I've realized I may never knit some of that yarn.  Particularly the Araucania Huasco.  And that's not because I may just never get to may actually be a choice to never knit it.

It looks so beautiful as it is - gorgeously painted and twisted into the hank in such a perfect way as to show all the vibrant and rich colors.  They're like two pieces of artwork.  In fact, I'm sort of using them as such right now....they're on display on the shelf under my glass coffee table along with some select other pieces of yarn artwork that I just can't bear to hide in my yarn closet.

Araucania Huasco #5 Green Brown Turquoise
I did buy this yarn with the intent to knit it, but sometimes I'm terrified of ruining its beauty.  What if I pick the wrong pattern and it ends up pooling/flashing in some horrible way?  Or what if the colors just end up muddy and the whole vibrancy disappears into a sock that looks like the dog ate something that made her sick?  Yes, I could always rip it out and try again.  But, to be honest, I'm not entirely sure how to even go about picking patterns for yarn with this many color changes.  I'm totally open to suggestions!

The good news is that it will be awhile before I even need to contemplate this conundrum.  There are at least 5 other hanks in the queue that already have destinies.  So, for now, I will be happy to look at these through my glass table and sigh with contentment and wonder at their beauty.

As for my theatre life, Tempest is closed.  It was a super fast strike and wonderful last show.  But, I was so happy to see that projector go away.  Once we got the projections and QLab working together, we were golden, but getting that to happen was akin to getting a bunch of 5 year olds who just ate birthday cake to sit and quietly watch a movie.  Lots of lessons learned from that, though!

Auditions for both of my theatres have been going on the past two weekends.  One of the shows I'm stage managing next season, Journey to the West, has been cast (and I know the cast list) but I can't mention it to anyone until after it's posted.  And, man, is it hard to keep secrets from your friends when you know if they were/weren't cast for the parts that they wanted!  Spring Awakening has final final callbacks (yes, the final callbacks after the final callbacks) tomorrow night so I should know that one soon too.

So excited for both shows but realizing that my "break" is shorter than I thought (about 10 weeks if I don't include the week I'm working on a Reader's Theatre production).  Hopefully by the time that rolls around, I'll be ready to be busy again.  But, for now, I'm looking forward to extra knitting time, some exercise time (eventually, I swear), and seeing friends time.

And now, I'm off to go continue to knit the never-ending, utterly boring, brown, ginormous sock from hell....never again.