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!