Sunday, August 31, 2008


Gnarled Oakwoods is done! This ended up feeling like a bit of a marathon, but an enjoyable one. The vine pattern in the middle of the stole never quite managed to make sense to me, so I had to invoke a reasonable amount of concentration to execute it. This meant that I didn't work on it nearly as often or as long as I could have.

I can't recommend this enough. Seriously. The pdf I bought from the Twist Collective is fab. As an extra special bonus, there are no mistakes in the charts, so no worries about getting into the weeds without a map! Kind of sad to be commenting on the fact there's nothing wrong with a pattern, but, hey, I struggled through the technical abomination that was the Spicy Fitted Tee from Fitted Knits, so I know all about errata.


Still no passport for A, but fate has proven that's not necessarily a bad thing. Chances are, we'd have booked tickets on this
airline, even though I had my suspicions they were a bit dodgy - their tickets were half the price of any others. So, we dodged a bullet on that one.

To return to my adventuring obsession mentioned in a few posts back, I discovered this documentary online about Reinhold Messner. I want to go the the Dolomites. And I want to live in a castle as well. I draw the line at climbing Everest without oxygen, though. In fact, I'm so unfit I'd probably have to have oxygen to get me to the top of a flight of stairs!

On the same website I also saw another documentary about Timothy Treadwell, the bear man of a few posts back. Gave me another, perhaps more pragmatic and less sympathetic view of his life. Snagfilm is a really good resource for little things like that. We don't have cable, so we watch a lot of online content - only from legit sites, I have a thing about the dodgy ones. Ive been reading that many companies are going to meter bandwidth usage, with some limits being set as low as 2G per month. Seems like we may end up with a big broadband bill in our future.

Edited to add: In yet more other news, we now have a fire burning in the canyon at the back of us. Joy! Fires: yet another reason to worry about the future of Southern California. It's kind of windy today, and we've not had rain in recent history, so the firefighters are on it with much gusto. Doesn't seem like it'll be too troublesome, but I'm not making any predictions after last year's fires.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Plodding Onwards

Well, knitting continues - one of the constants in life, I'm finding. There might be chaos everywhere, but I can still knit and purl myself into something resembling serenity.

I've finally finished the first half of Gnarled Oakwoods.

That's a close-up of the transition between the two main patterns. It's really pretty, but it's not really mindless knitting.

In other news - there is no news. Still no passport for A, so no firm plans to move yet. This is getting old.

Meanwhile, we're starting to say goodbye to the people we've got to know here. I had a farewell trip to the theatre last weekend with my book group. We've been getting together to discuss books that have been banned, or that people have attempted to have banned. It's been very interesting and has made me read things I would never have picked up before.

We went to see a version of a book that we read a few months ago. Big River is a musical (not my usual cup of tea), with roots in our city, so we thought it quite fitting. What made it interesting was that it was a youth company that were putting it on. Wow, they were so professional, although I suppose that's to be expected in Southern California.

I've just invested in a huge pile of knitting books and patterns to bring back to the UK. A thread on Ravelry clued me into the fact that the Barbara Walker stitch dictionaries might be harder/more expensive to come by in the UK. I get them out of the library all the time, so I decided to fork out for a full set from the Schoolhouse Press. Also, rather ambitiously, I've decided to put my mind to knitting something I've admired for years, Spider Queen. I can see it hanging from my wall in black. I'm not deluding myself; this is a project that will take a very long time, and a very large amount of effort. We'll see how daunted I feel when the chart arrives in the mail.

Sunday, August 3, 2008


I can't stop, I'm compelled to knit. I've finally found a project that holds my attention for more than 2 rows. It's Gnarled Oakwoods from the Twist Collective. I'm really enjoying this. I've promised myself that I'll finish the first half of this (it's grafted together), and then I'll revisit Ellis.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Anxiety Explosion

Before I begin the catalogue of my woes, Helen, I'm reading The Sea, The Sea right now. I tried to get Under The Net from the library, but, alas they don't have a copy.

The title says it all, really. Various circumstances are conspiring to make our exit from the US as difficult as possible, and as a result my anxiety levels are through the roof right now. The worst difficulties are with A's UK passport - her US one was no hassle, it arrived 6 days after sending off for it. She still doesn't have her British one. This has all sorts of knock-on effects; we can't book tickets, R can't hand in his notice at work, we can't give notice on our house, we can't arrange definite dates for the handover of our Edinburgh flat etc etc.

The most visible result of this turn of events is that I've retreated into that wonderful psychological state, denial. I could bore you with all the details of how I'm managing to pretend I'm not going to have to organise a trans-continent-trans-Atlantic move within the next 6-8 weeks. Instead, I'll stick to knitting, because even that seems to be affected by my frame of mind.

Exhibit A:

This is Ellis from Norah Gaughan 2. It is only in need of the collar and finishing. It's made using Knitpicks ( oh, how I will miss thee, why don't you ship internationally?) Shine worsted in ebony. I'm not going to mince my words - the charts that made up the peplum for this sucked my will to live. 88 rows of 5 charts. Including row 49 which had 2 mistakes in it, and which took me about 3 years to figure out. I thought it was going to be a quick little mindless knit, but I'm afraid it's never going to fit together in the final finishing. Despite my moaning, I thought this looked really good in the picture in the pamphlet. I pictured myself pottering around the house in my new waistcoat deheading the geraniums, just like the model. Unfortunately, I look nothing like the model, and I've never even owned a waistcoat before. After all this procrastinating about finishing it, I hope I wear it at least once.

Exhibit B:

This is a scarf using my own very overspun handspun. The pattern is from Victorian Lace Today. I can't quite remember the name of the pattern, but it's one of the easy lace scarfs.

Exhibit C:

This is going to be a Print O The Wave Stole by Eunny Jang from her old website. The way the PDF chart is designed has not taken my extreme stage of sleep deprivation into account, so my brain is finding it difficult to see the correct length of the pattern repeat. I think I'm giving this one up for now.

Exhibit D:

I promise, this is the last one for the moment. In real life, there are another two projects also cast-on, but I'm too ashamed to fully publicise the fact. This is going to be Gnarled Oakwoods from the newly minted Twist Collective. There were several patterns there that made me stop, think, and evaluate whether I had time to knit them. It's nice to see different models of business in action too.

So there we have it. I think the cast-on fever I have neatly sums up my attention span at the moment. Time to focus and take deep breaths.