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.