Thursday, December 18, 2008


Finished the headband for Emily, woo-hoo!

I finished and blocked it last night, added the cords tonight, and I think it looks nice, although it still seems quite big. I think it's smaller than the last one, but I can't compare them side to side because Sheila's is already on it's way to Maryland. So now I have something to give to the person I will actually be spending Christmas with, even though it's going to be a half-ass Christmas of us waking up in some hostel in Saigon, saying Merry Christmas, and running off to eat some delicious Vietnamese food and possibly going to the beach (depending on exactly how warm it is there). I leave tomorrow after work, so this is none too soon. Um, as you might have guessed (oh, omniscient imaginary reader), I have not gotten to Aashima's other glove. Aashima, Brenda, and Katie will all be getting their presents late. With any luck, however, I will be able to present Katie's to her in Hong Kong just before New Year's, as I am on my way back to Japan, but since I don't know how much actual knitting I will be doing in Vietnam, that's just a hopefully.

So, the FO Details!:

Name: Christmas Head Thing #2, for Emily of Kagoshima-ken, my Xmas traveling companion.
Pattern: Bamboozled, by Random Cyn.
Yarn: Diakeito Dia Tasmanian Merino Lame, in the lavender-pink. This photo finally shows the purplish color! All the others just look pink and I was wondering if I'm crazy.
Needles: Bamboo size 5 DPNs with a cap stuck on one end.
Finished Measurements: 15" long, knitted part, 32 1/2" long total; just over 3" at widest part, just over 1" at ends.
Pattern Mods: None.
Knitting in Public/Movies Watched While Knitting: Started it during the Nightmare Before Christmas the other night at Jon's house, but it was kinda dark and not good for my eyes.
Number of times frogged: Well, I ripped back a few rows at one point when I realized I forgot to do the cable twist at the end of the first diamond. Then there was some confusion with forgetting to yarn over and having to do some very fancy needlework to figure out where the hell to fix it, but I think just the once.
Things I Would Change Next Time: For this yarn, the smaller needles, I think.

Later: I just tried it on and I look like a Bulgarian barmaid. Hopefully Emily will not.

In other exciting news, I got the book I ordered on CSS and HTML! Yea! Now I can have a nice website! Yes, after I told everyone I know not to ship me anything for Christmas because I didn't want to ship anything at home, I went and ordered myself some books. But I'll probably donate some of these when I leave, and you shouldn't donate gifts. Of course, I won't get around to reading the book or being able to implement any changes until January, but I hope that this site will soon look sort of decent. If this coming January is as slow as last January was, I may just read the damn thing and fool around with the site at school. Not that I'm complaining about how cake my job is. Nooooooooo, sirree. And then I will have some practical background knowledge for school. Right? Let's hope so.

By the way, I highly recommend the site I use to order books, Better World Books. They ship internationally for a good rate, they have used books available all from one place (unlike Amazon, where they all come from individual sellers and you pay shipping separately), they ship carbon neutral, and proceeds benefit literacy efforts around the world. If you live in the US, shipping is free. Their new book prices are slightly higher than Amazon, but if you live in the US, the free shipping is golden, and if you live in a non-English-speaking country such as Japan, they are still cheaper than or the shipping from Plus they contribute to a good cause (one I particularly support) and they are pretty green. Of course, you should still try to buy from your local new and used book stores and support those good people, but when they don't have what you need (or don't exist near you), try this place.

Oh, and in case you're wondering, the cards and gifts for Christmas are 90% sent. Just a couple small packages to mail and I'm waiting on a couple of addresses. Since I leave tomorrow, this is simply adequate.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Almost there...

Right, well, it's been a while, but it is a busy time of year. This is the one part of the year when I actually work a lot at work. Christmas lessons, my friends. I could go on for a while about how I don't really feel like I'm doing much of anything besides reinforcing the existing stereotypes of Christmas in America, but I just don't have the energy. I will tell you that I've had a few moments where I've wished I was Jewish, just so that maybe the kids would realize that not everyone puts up a Christmas tree and sings "Last Christmas." But anyway...

Knitting. I haven't been doing it like I should, but then I haven't been doing anything like I should. Half of the Christmas gifts are still sitting here next to me on the heated carpet, decidedly unsent. The Christmas cards aren't even printed yet. They were all supposed to be sent out last week!

But today I put a little extra effort into not being such a lazy-ass, and finished the first of Aashima's gloves. I also cast on and have about two inches of Emily's headband. Chussie's blanket is now a good 10" long, though I have accepted that it will not be done for Christmas and have told her as much. I also went ahead and admitted that the proportions will not be quite appropriate for four cats, and I have promised to do better when I'm back in the States. Now I hope I can force myself to finish the thing in January, before it gets relegated to the Maybe One Day pile.

The glove for Aashima looks pretty nice, I think. I did the thumb a bit longer than usual, and I like it. The yarn is a bit thin, so even having been knitted on the size 6 needles, the finished glove is a little snug on me. Aashima is several inches shorter than me, though, so let's hope she's got smaller hands. Actually, though, I think they would be fine even on me, so I'm sure they'll be good. I think the yarn feels nice, too.

The headband for Emily is being done in the leftover Diakeito from Robin's gloves. I'm using the size 6 rather than 7 needles, and it's a bit loose but nice. It has to be finished by Friday, since I leave after school for Fukuoka, where I will meet up with Emily, and Saturday we fly to Vietnam. That means I need to finish the knitting by Tuesday at the latest so I can block the thing. That also means that I won't get to do anything for Brenda before I leave, since I will be lucky to finish the headband and the other glove for Aashima. Katie's gloves will have to be done in Vietnam and then I can give them to her when we meet up in Hong Kong just before New Year's. That's the idea, anyway.

Yarn Harlot had some very good advice about Christmas knitting in her blog. This year, since I've been being to selfish and spending all my limited money on traveling, I really haven't had a lot to dedicate to Christmas. I thought knitting would be the perfect solution - still give things to people, but spend more in time and effort than in money. Alas, it hasn't really worked out so well. Next year I'll know better. Also, next year I will be in grad school, with any luck, and will not have to pretend like I have enough money for gifts or time for knitting.

Sorry, imaginary reader, for a terribly overdue and still generally terrible blog entry. This is also likely to be the last one until January, what with all the jet-setting. But in January, when I am not tearing my hair out over more grad apps and financial aid concerns, I will also be cracking down on my Grand Geek Knitting Design Project, the whole reason this blog exists and has this name.

And maybe there will be yarn in Vietnam. Why not?

Monday, December 1, 2008

Where We See Yet Again My Shining Brilliance

At last, an update. You were starting to worry, weren't you?

(yes, I love talking to my imaginary friends)

Took me a while to update because once again, I am having technological issues. For a geek, I am remarkably computer-retarded. For a geek with an Apple computer, I have the IQ of pond scum. As I mentioned previously, my computer is full. I got a temporary reprieve by learning how to actually delete photos, instead of just thinking I'd deleted them, but I'm still a little too full to do very much. Since I love to take photos with my stupidly-huge megapixel camera, this creates a problem. Now, the solution according to some dude on the Apple support forums was to buy an external hard drive, clone my internal drive, and then boot from the external until I could get around to buying a new and bigger internal drive. This I tried to do, buying a 500 GB external HDD, eventually, and cloning my current drive. Then I tried to boot from the external, and this is when I discovered the crucial point I had overlooked when I went to buy the external HDD: firewire. I bought a drive with a USB connection, and apparently, that makes it unbootable. (@*$^#%^!&*!)#*#^&$. So I'm right back where I was before, except now I have a useless $100 external HDD. Also, it turns out that I could have just bought a firewire enclosure and a new internal drive and cloned my old one directly to the new one without doing this stupid external nonsense. As an added move to tick me off, I can't buy music from the iTunes store, because I live in Japan and my debit card is from America. Apple sure is trying really hard to make me not spend any more money on them.

Anyway, I deleted enough photos over the weekend to upload more, although a video I very much wanted to upload wouldn't. And then I forgot to take a picture of my newest project. Dolt!

The Xmas Nebraska Hat is done, yea. The yarn was not pleasant to work with, although I think it's fine in the hat. As for the hat itself, I don't love it. The pattern is not my perfect hat, but I'm not sure how much had to do with the yarn I ended up using. I did end up casting on the 100 stitches the pattern calls for, after realizing that the 90 stitches I first had just didn't look nice, but I think the ideal would be in between. Since the pattern needs multiples of ten, that wouldn't have worked anyway. The hat feels too big, even though it fits fine, as you can see on the head of my neighbor, Geoff. It's definitely a little long - the pattern tells you to knit for 20 cm, which when I stopped to convert to inches seemed a bit long, but I figured she knew better than me and kept going. In the end, I started the decreases before 20 cm, and I still think it's too long. Then the decreases themselves just don't look as nice as I want them to. That might be me, but I definitely think that the second k2t in the pattern should be a ssk instead.

FO details:
Name: Christmas Nebraska Hat, for Stu in NYC
Pattern: That Chocolate's Gone Straight to Your Ribs Hat, by Leonie Connellan
Finished Meaurements: Forgot again, next time!
Yarn: ¥100 stuff from Daiso, wool/acrylic blend, in red and white.
Needles: Clover bamboo size US #8s, 16" circular.
Pattern mods: Not in the end.
Number of Times Frogged: Once, when I already had a good two or three inches, so I could cast on the proper number of stitches.
Knitting in Public: Um, no.
Next Time I Would Change: Definitely a different yarn, one not so scratchy. Probably a smaller needle. Definitely shorter by a couple centimeters. Decrease differently - k2t on the wider rib first, then a ssk. Also take the advice of Norma in her blog about ribbed hats regarding color changes. Hers looks way nicer than mine. Live and learn.

Now, about the knitting that is not-so-finished. The Diamond and Smocked has been done away with. Bad yarn choice for the pattern. I did the swatch and enjoyed the yarn and the color and even knitting the pattern, but it just didn't look right. So I finished off the swatch and went straight into the Basketweave pattern. I wanted to make it bigger than the pattern size, so I decided to add some pattern repeats. In my head, it went something like this:

"Okay, it says cast on 158 stitches. 7 stitch borders, pattern repeat in multiples of 8. So, add 8 to 158, that's 164. Plus 8 is 172, plus 8 is 180. Okay, cast on 180." Bam, I cast on 180.

Maybe you saw the glaring flaw in there, but I certainly didn't see it until it was time to start the pattern (ten rows in), when all of a sudden I thought, is this a 7 stitch border on each side, or is it 14 stitches? I started doing the math in my head and suddenly nothing was adding up. I looked back at the pattern, I re-counted my stitches, and then it hit me: 158 + 8 does not equal 164. It equals 166. I was missing two stitches. So now I have a 6-stitch border on each side.

Otherwise, it's going fine. I'm alredy bored and the thing is barely 4 inches, but hey. It looks nice, although the yarn is a little dark for the pattern, but seriously what pattern can you do with a yarn this dark? Lace, really, or stockinette. Then there's the fact that I might run out of yarn, in spite of my ten skeins. The first skein gave me 2 3/4", so assuming that each additional skein will give me 3" (I did a fairly substantial swatch of the D&S), that'll get me to just under 30" x 33", assuming my measurement of the bottom taken in the car yesterday was accurate. All of that's not to mention that this was a silly project to attempt anyway, because she specifically asked for a blanket for her four cats that would match her living room, and I heard: Christmas gift! Find pattern! Here's one, and even though it's baby-sized, I'll make it a little bigger and all will be well! Um.

Note to self: when people request a knitted something, they can pick a pattern or an exact color, not both. And if they've actually requested a knitted something, you should give them that something, not something else that you've decided would be better. Sigh. I think the kitties will be disappointed.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

How To Avoid Studying Japanese

Rather than be productive at work today (I only taught one class), I've been amusing myself on the internets. Here are some of my favorites from the day:

Seriously, I was crying with laughter (contained, mostly silent laughter) in the teachers' room. Then there were these:

funny pictures of cats with captions
more animals

funny pictures of cats with captions
more animals

funny pictures of cats with captions
more animals

funny pictures of cats with captions
more animals

funny pictures of cats with captions
more animals

And I can't stop! Aaaaaaaahhh!

Friday, November 21, 2008



Here are the pics for the lovely finished Diakeito Fetching for Robin. I think they turned out quite nice. I didn't screw up very much (you might notice the slight difference in length here - difference in tension? an extra row somewhere? I have no idea), and they look very sweet. The yarn is nice, not itchy, feminine and pretty without being obnoxiously so. They are quite tiny, though - here they are shown on Katie, a five-foot-tall Asian, and they fit nicely. Since Robin is a five-foot-tall Texan, I'm still assuming all will be well. Then the question remains, will she actually wear them?

FO Details:
Name: Christmas Gloves, pair #2 for Robin in LA
Pattern: Fetching, by Cheryl Niamath
Finished Measurements: Whoops, forgot to measure - will go back and edit this later...
Yarn: Diakeito Dia Tasmanian Merino Lame in color #604, a slightly lavendar pink with sparkly bits in it. A bit splitty and much finer than the label claims, but lovely. I still have a bunch left in the first skein, maybe even another glove's worth.
Needles: Clover Bamboo DPNs in size 5 in US size 5.
Pattern mods: The now-standard extra cable twist at the end, two extra stitches on each side of thumb which get decreased in the next row, and I didn't bother with the funky extra-stitch cast-off. I just did a regular bind off.
Number of Times Frogged: It's been a while now, but I think just the one thumb, once. It's a dang miracle.
Knitting in Public: None, weird. These gloves were clearly flukes.

Last night was all about the frogging. First I ripped out the "swatch" for the Diamond and Smocked, because once I got into the pattern stitches I had clearly cast on a completely random number of stitches, and I immediately got completely confused. So I ripped all of that right back out, and then sat down and figured out how many stitches to cast on for a proper swatch, which will then give me an idea of how many stitches I will want to cast on for the blanket. It will also be good to do an actual swatch so I can figure out how the heck to do that funky wrap around thing in the tenth row.

I really do like this Vittoria yarn so far. It's surprisingly soft and a nice color. Regardless of whether it's just so nice in comparison to the Nebraska Hat yarn that is ripping up my cuticles or whether I've talked myself into liking it because I couldn't find anything else, it's fun to work with. But now we'll have to see all about the how much and how's it look with the full pattern and can I even do this pattern. I've already gotten screwed up on which row I'm on and how many stitches are even on the needles and will I be decreasing at any point? There's no key for the w.r. n and w.o.p. listed on the pattern, but I read in someone's blog that it's just a fancy way of saying yarn over, which makes sense but when will I decrease? It might help if I'd actually read the pattern all the way through...

And then I brought the Nebraska Hat over to Jon's to work on while watching the UK Office. It was finally long enough to actually try on, and since Katie was already modeling the gloves for me, I had her try on the hat, too. And while it fit, it just looked too stretched. I didn't like it. Bleah.

Thus, the Nebraska Hat got frogged, and I cast on 100 stitches, like a real knitter. The slight difference in needle size is obviously not enough to make up for a 10% reduction in width. Dolt. This time I will also make an effort to carry up the different colors properly rather than letting them hang out with their wangs out.

Oh, Christmas knitting, how will I ever complete thee?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Updates in Knitting and My Bladder

You know, I spend waaaaaaay too much time on the internet. Mostly when I am at junior high, but also in general.

I guess I should have left the blog entry I did yesterday until today, because I've basically had nothing to do. Oh, there's still plenty I could and probably should be doing, but that's not what I've been doing. Instead, I've been surfing the net, checking on all the knitting blogs I discovered from reading the Yarn Harlot's post the other day where she was talking about the Noro Striped Scarf. I clicked on all those people she listed as having done it and then bookmarked those pages to check out later, which was today. And then I ended up adding most of them to my following list. My following list is now ridiculous. I mean, I didn't add all of them - bad grammar or writing immediately got the boot, and ones that looked to be too much about random stuff and not enough about knitting didn't get added here, although I may still check up on a few because I also read a few blogs that are actually about something other than knitting (mostly belonging to friends) - but all in all I added approximately one metric ton of blogs to my reading list.

On the one hand, this is fine, because not everyone updates every day, and I do have a fair amount of free time, especially when I am at junior high and have no classes, such as today. It's interesting to read the personal internet diaries of strangers, if creepy from a certain perspective. It gives me more blogs to comment on, so that eventually, someone might actually read this blog. Not that I'm ready for this blog to be read by hordes of strangers just yet, but one or two might be nice. Also, the huge number of hours I've spent goofing off on the internet in the past year has improved my typing, gotten me familiar with a number of aspects of this whole Web 2.0 thing of which I previously knew nothing about, and killed loads of time I would have otherwise spent doing nothing.

On the other hand, this internet obsession is bizarre and destructive. Starting next August, I will have to rejoin the real world. No more spending hours on end reading about other people's knitting projects, looking at pictures and playing word games on Facebook, obsessively adding yarns to my Ravelry stash, reading article after article on Cracked, obsessively listing books and comparing libraries on Library Thing, or getting caught up on four years worth of web comics. I am melting my brain with all of this useless stuff.

On the last hand, at the same time as I won't be doing all of that, I won't be listening to other people talking about me in a foreign language right in front of me. I keep hearing my name amidst a bunch of Japanese words I don't understand off to my left. It's driving me crazy.

Right, so, I'm adding the box that lists my other web obsessions, in case you get as bored as I do (if you're reading this, you really must do).

Last night I worked on the Nebraska Hat some more, but started getting bored already. This might have something to do with the fact that it was so cold in my apartment that my fingers hurt, and knitting was difficult. I decided to finally cast on for the Diamond and Smocked Blanket for Reidy, to give myself a bit of a break. After going to two more yarn stores this weekend and not finding anything that seemed like a better choice than the yarn I'd already bought, I figured it was time to plunge on in. I looked at the pattern and prepared to cast on to the foot-long size 6 needles I used for the Christmas Head Thing, then took a closer look at the pattern and realized that this blanket was supposed to be three feet wide. Um, whoops. So...out came the 24" size 6 circular. Not great, but better. So I cast on the 137 stitches the pattern calls for, then thought about three feet wide. Not very wide, really, for an adult and/or three cats - Reidy has said this is for her/her cats, and since I'm matching this to her living room, I assume it will stay on the couch and possibly be a lap blanket. I just hope she realizes it's not going to be an afghan, because I do not have that in me right now.

I remembered seeing something in someone else's notes on Ravelry for this blanket where they mentioned casting on an additional number of stitches for an extra column. I looked it up and saw that purlygirly had added 38 stitches. I thought, hmm, I should add two columns. That's a total of 213 stitches, then. I looked at the remaining tail of my cast-on - no way. Then I thought, do I really want to take all of these off and then cast on another 213? Um, no. Then I hit on the brilliant idea of a swatch. Of course! That's what I'm supposed to do anyway! So I cast on 48 stitches (enough for a column and a five stitch on each side border, theoretically), and started the seed stitch.

Seed stitch, it turns out, is a pain in my ass. But I was pleasantly surprised with the acrylic and mysterious Vittoria. It's quite soft, or at least much better than the almost-as-cheap acrylic I'm using for the Nebraska Hat. So we'll see how all this turns out.

Also, while I was in the second yarn shop for the weekend, not finding anything I'd rather use for the Diamond and Smocked, I felt really guilty about having been in this yarn shop numerous times and not purchased anything. I decided I needed to buy some yarn to assuage this guilt. Yes, I agree that this was a pretty flimsy excuse to buy more yarn, since even though I am a foreigner who stands out pretty dramatically in Yatsushiro, it's unlikely that they have a log in this store to keep track of my purchase-less visits. It's Japan, though, so who knows? In any case, I bought two small skeins of fingering weight wool, black and teal, that I'm going to use for wrist-bands, possibly to cover the tattoo I'm thinking of getting sometime before I leave this country. I thought the yarns were the same, but obviously I didn't look closely enough, since the kanji are clearly different. I couldn't find either yarn on Ravelry, and even when I had my Japanese teacher translate the labels for me and I found one of the same brand and name, it has different length and weight. Should I add these to the Ravelry database? I'm not sure I have a good enough grasp of the yarns themselves to attempt it. I wouldn't want to mislead anyone, or get it wrong, or whatever vague worries I have about trying something and having it not be perfect. Maybe if the label were in English...

Dammit, now I gotta go pee again. Drinking gallons of hot green tea is a decent solution to the cold, but the frequent trips to the icebox squat toilet are a significant down side.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

I'll Just Finish This Before the Hypothermia Kicks In...

Finished the Christmas Head Thing and Robin's Fetching, and started Stu's Nebraska Hat!

The head thing is nice enough, but huge. Here it is being modeled by Brenda. I like the pattern and all, even with my wonky tension, but it's just so big I'm not sure if it's a practical wear. Was that just the yarn and needles? I felt like the yarn was thin enough, but maybe no. Now I'm wondering about making one for Emily. Maybe I should do something else for her. Anyway, FO details:

Name: Christmas Head Thing, #1 for Sheila in DC
Pattern: Bamboozled, by Random Cyn
Finished measurements: 15 1/2" long in body, 33 1/2" long with the twisted cord ties. 3 3/4" wide at its widest point, 1 1/2" wide at the narrow ends. See? Almost four inches across the top of your heaad? Doesn't that seem excessive?
Yarn: Patons Decor in New Lilac, the remnants of a scarf. Definitely less than 100 yards, as the pattern promised.
Needles: Size 6 bamboo needles I got for ¥100 (just under $1 US, yo!) at the new crafty store in Jusco. They're more than 12" long, which was silly for this project but will come in handy later, I'm sure.
Pattern mods: None, for once. I mean, yeah, I screwed up the pattern and didn't y/o properly for half of it, but that doesn't count.
Number of times frogged: Only once for real, when I took out a couple of inches after doing the pattern a little too incorrectly, and then once where I undid just one row. Sweet!
Knitting in Public: Not really, just the car on the way to Costco.

Robin's gloves look pretty good. I just need to get Katie to model them for me and you'll get a good picture. I'll save the FO info for that.

The hat is easy-peasy. I started it last night while I ate dinner and watched a terrible movie: Cyborg Soldier. I got the DVD for free, along with a DVD for a Steven Seagal movie, by commenting on the Great White Snark's blog. The Seagal movie, KillSwitch, was so incredibly terrible it wasn't even funny. No, I mean, I didn't even enjoy making fun of it because it was so bad and had the most mind-boggingly terrible ending I've seen in ages. Cyborg Soldier was a cinematic gem in comparison. Anyway, already more than an inch on the hat and it's pretty relaxing. I thought I had knit this pattern before but it turns out not, because I don't have the right needle size and the one I did was 2x2 rib, where this is 4x2x2x2. The pattern calls for a 4mm size, 40 cm long circulat, and I'm using a 16" size 8, because that's what I have. So I only cast on 90 stitches instead of a hundred, and when I get a bit more length I'll try it on.

And oh my God is it freezing in my apartment right now. My fingers are going numb and I swear I feel a draft against my ear, the only other part of me that isn't covered in fleece or knit blanket. Oh, for some insulation! Why, Japan, why don't you have any insulation in your houses? Maybe I could stuff some of the acrylic cotton from the Stripey Zo around the windows...

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Abusing myself = no knitting.

Once again, a busy weekend with very little knitting. How on earth am I going to get these gifts done?

On Saturday I did actually get something done on the headband while in the car on the way to Costco. Living in backwoods Japan means that a few of what I consider the staples of Western food are missing. Cheese, for instance, and proper hot dogs or pasta sauce. One can technically buy both of those things at any old grocery store in Yatsushiro, but they taste nothing like what I think they should taste like. The cheese is that plastic-y sandwich slice stuff (but not as good), the hot dogs all taste like frozen breakfast sausages (as if nobody ever realized that meats with the same shape might have different tastes), and the pasta sauce seems to all be missing important ingredients such as garlic, basil, and oregano. Enter Costco, which is just like the Costco at home except it carries futons instead of beds, has entirely too much J-pop in the music section, and has gigantic raw prawns with their heads and legs attached in the seafood section. It has plenty of proper cheese, hot dogs, and pasta sauce, although this time around they didn't have the mega-sized Prego I bought last time, so I had to settle for something that cost more yen for less sauce, and isn't even as good. In any case, it takes about two hours to get there, and I can't drive (no car, expired int'l license), so I got a fair amount of Sheila's headband done in the car, and I only got a little teasing for it. There were a few moments when Elissa's driving gave me visions of stabbing myself through the eyeball with the needles, but it was fine.

As for the headband itself, I'm just not sure. It's a very nice pattern, and I have finally gotten the hang of it, but my tension is clearly off. I've been following the chart, and the whole thing is a somewhat complicated set of knits, purls, slips, yarn overs, k2ts, ssks, etc., all one right after the other. It makes for a cool headband, by there seems to be a vast difference between the tension of my knit stitches and my purl stitches, usually not so obvious in stockinette or regular cabling where there is enough space for things to work themselves out in between pattern changes. But this pattern has me switching things up every two or three stitches, or less, so the whole thing looks sloppy as hell. This is the first time I've ever done ssk, too, and now I finally understand it. I've seen it in patterns before without knowing what it meant, and I kept wondering how just slipping something is supposed to decrease anything. I looked it up in my trusty Knitting Answer Book, though, and a small dim lightbulb went off. Duh. But it turns out that I was still screwing things up for a while, anyway - the pattern calls for alternating a yarn over, k2t with a ssk, yarn over on every right side row, so that you get a pattern of alternating holes, like this:


I'd show you an actual picture, but I haven't taken one yet. The only reason I have the one above is that I hurriedly snapped one this morning before I came to work, knowing it was the only time I'd get a chance to blog for the next undeterminate number of days. You can see that the lighting is all wacked out, because the blue pillow is purple and the lilac headband looks pink (the sun was barely over the mountains and the light was lovely and orange and turned my colors weird).

Anyway (geez, distracted much?), this means that you have to wrap the yarn one way on one row (because you will be knitting next) and the other way on the other row (because you will be purling next). Then on the wrong side row, you're supposed to be purling the y/o stitches, except I was purling wrong on one kind of y/o, so my holes didn't appear on that row, giving me this for the first few inches of the piece:


Because I am a dolt. I figured it out and started doing it the correct way, then decided that no one would notice the messed up part because there's more of a pattern to the whole thing anyway, as you'll see when I can post proper (that word keeps coming up today) pictures. THEN I managed to do this a few inches later:


And that I could not handle. I had finally gotten the hang of the pattern, wasn't looking at the chart, and guess what else I was doing? Watching a movie, of course. Friday night Katie and I watched Atonement (such a great movie, one of the best book adaptations I've ever seen) and Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium (goofy but entertaining), and so naturally I screwed up my knitting. Spent the first part of the car knitting on ripping back to that and fixing it. Then I had left the key to the chart at home so wasn't sure how to start the decreases and had to stop, and the whole damn trip took about four hours longer than it needed to because we had to go into the city and that was clearly a mistake.

Now I'm almost done, already started the decreases and everything. I'd like to finish tonight, but I can't promise that because I will be here at school late again with the final practice for the prefectural English recitation concert (thank god! I can't take any more "Iz zat ze Maori lawnguage?" "or "My name is Janet Blaun" [should be Brown] - I love these kids dearly, but I seriously can't take it anymore), and then I should really get to the gym. Yeah, suck. But I did the 3,333 steps (why, you ask? what an excellent question. I don't know) on Sunday, an all-day, completely exhausting excursion that is the other reason I didn't knit more this weekend, and my legs are still so incredibly stiff that getting down my extremely steep stairs first thing in the morning is torture. But hey! I climbed a mountain completely via staircase. In November. When I haven't worked out in oh, forever. Dolt.

Robin's Fetching is still sitting thumbless in a corner, but I bought the yarn for Aashima's Fetching and Reidy's Diamond and Smocked blanket, I think. I'm not sure about the yarn for the blanket - I got ten skeins for ¥500, and it's 100% acrylic, not even in the Ravelry database. Clearly not high-quality stuff, but she has said that this blanket is for her cats. And she wants either bright royal blue or sour apple green (to match her living room, apparently - !!!), and this yarn fits the blue bill. Still, I think she deserves something nicer, so the jury is still out. Maybe I'll do the acrylic blanket for the kitties in a different pattern, and do the Diamond and Smocked in something nicer. Yeah, in all my spare time. Of which I used to have plenty, as I recall, before the Winter Term ALT Busywork kicked in. Sigh.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

A Bit of My Old Life, Preparing for the New

I had a very busy weekend, and so did very little knitting.  This is a preview of next year, I'm sort of hoping, because what I was busy with was mostly Graduate School Applications.  I'm only sort of hoping this is a preview because, while I obviously hope to get into the grad school of my choice, I also hope, futilely I'm sure, to still have time to knit once I start.

There was also a Halloween party on Saturday, 
where I was able to re-indulge in another geek craft - special effects make-up.  And oh my God have I lost it.  I mean, yes, I have only the smallest fraction of my old make-up kit with which to work, and not all the proper materials or tools, but still.  It's been a year and a half since I've done any professional make-up, and it shows.  But I gave myself 
a bullet hole and stab wounds that didn't look bad, despite the extremely obvious lack of liquid blood (whoops), and made some bruises on one friend's face that weren't terrible.  The zombie make-up I did for another friend was only "eh", though.  Fine for a Halloween party in backwoods Japan where it's going to be pretty dark the whole time anyway, but not great.  Other make-up artists would not have been impressed.  But, well, I'm done with all of that, and while I shouldn't let all the old skills I paid so dearly to acquire fade away, who really cares?  Sorry for the terrible pictures, btw, but I didn't get around to taking any until it was dark.  And then I was kind of, um, drunk.

Then the rest of the weekend was Graduate School Applications with a few rows here and there while I waited for something to upload or download or print out or whatever.  Last week I managed to do most of the first glove for Robin in the Daikeito yarn.  It's practically a lace weight, even though Ravelry says it's a sport, so I went down to the 5 DPSs, and it was very small.  I worried it wouldn't fit, so held off doing the thumb until I could have my tiny neighbor Katie (about Robin's size) try it on.  She tried it on on Tuesday night, praising the yarn (maybe I'll change her intended gift now) the whole time, and it fit just fine.  She's a non-knitter, and once again a non-knitter expressed confusion at the lack of fingers on the glove.  But she did live in Canada, so I guess she's entitled to want fingers on her gloves.  Robin, however, lives in Los Angeles, so I think it will be fine.  And it does look nice.  I tried to do the thumb that night, but I let myself experiment with picking up more stitches and decreasing in funny places and it looked terrible, so I frogged the thumb and put the glove aside.
While I was waiting for Katie to get back from Kyoto to try on the glove, I cast on the head band thing for Sheila.  This is my first time knitting from a chart like this, and I'm not gonna lie, it was a pain in the butt at first.  It's still a pain in the butt, actually, because I prefer to take my glasses off when I knit, and that means I have to keep stopping, picking up the chart, and holding it up to my nose to see what the hell I'm supposed to be doing.  Breaks the rhythm somewhat.  But if I put on my glasses to knit I will eventually get a headache.  So bummer.  And I first cast on the variegated Patons Decor for the headband, because I want to use it, and it's pretty, and I only have one skein of the stupid stuff.  About twenty rows in, however, I realized that it was completely wrong for this pattern.  I mean, there's all this complicated (to me) pretty stitching, and this nice cabling, and it got completely lost in this dark variegated Thing.  So I frogged it, and started last night in the Patons Decor leftover from a scarf I did ages ago (that I hate - it's stockinette and rolls like anything and is dull and sits in a drawer upstairs, likely to be donated to the second-hand shop when I leave).  I have two partial skeins, the Lilac and the Sage Green.  I started this second attempt in the Lilac, which looks nice, but I have no idea if I'll have enough yarn.  Naturally, I couldn't be bothered with a gauge swatch and how would you do that for this pattern, anyway?  So here's hoping, and I'll do the second head band, for Emily, in the green.  Also, I think the yarn is just a wee bit thick for this needle size - it looks fine, but knitting with it is kind of awkward, and also since I only have size 6s in DPNs, the needles are very short.  Maybe for the next one I'll switch up to the 7s I have somewhere.

Huh, just occured to me - if I run out yarn, I could always unwind the scarf upstairs, right?  Hmm, Idea!

Yeah, I was watching Hot Fuzz the other day while recovering from Graduate School Applications.

Oh, and I just can't help saying how very extremely freakin' happy I am about the results of the Presidential election.  So very, very happy.  Things can change, people, they really can!  Yippee!  Okay, I'm done.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Feeling Vaguely Tech-Savvy

Not that I am at all tech-savvy.  I am not far from hopeless, actually.  What saves me is the ability to follow idiot-proof directions, and to sometimes tell when directions are not idiot-proof enough.

I added those snazzy progress bars just now (yes, when I should have been doing something else, such studying Japanese or emailing my mother - but these look cool!), following instructions from Ravelry.  It was a pain, not so much because the technical aspects were hard for me (all I did was copy and paste), but because the specific idiot-proff directions I needed were surprisingly difficult to come by.  Here is the thread that actually helped me the most, and I found it after much floundering in the more obvious help areas.  The step 1 and step 2 to which the thread refers can be found here, and I found that through here, eventually.  The wiki help page was surprisingly unhelpful for the progress bars, I found, and in fact it ceases to make sense at all halfway through.  The We Heart Progress Bars group was where I found the actual help, and not through the many lengthy threads where everyone already seemed to know exactly what they were doing and only had a code problem somewhere further down the line.  

So now there's that goodness going on.  Now I just need to figure out how to put the icon that lets all my imaginary readers know that a link goes to Ravelry.

Oh, yeah, and Happy Halloween!  My favorite holiday.  Already had some of my students come up to me and say "Trick or treat!" for stickers.  Little darlings.  They have some Halloween stuff in Japan, but mostly in the form of decorations, like something else for the all the Martha Stewart types to latch on to.  There isn't really any trick-or-treating or haunted house business, which is sad cause those are my favorite parts.  So in an effort to bring some cultural exchange, I'm giving stickers in return for the kids to spout something else they don't clearly understand.  Hey, man, it's an uphill battle.

Scary movie night again tonight!  I put together the little treat bags M sent, hoarding some of the pumpkins for myself, and I'll try not to screw up my knitting while watching and stuffing my face.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

"Glove" must be short for "Grrr... love."

Okay, I really need to be in bed, to start with.  But I took a nap this afternoon, which always feels delicious when I do it, but then when I go to bed and stare at the ceiling that night, and struggle to wake up the next morning, it always turns out to have been a rotten idea.  So I'm doing this quickly so I can go stare at the ceiling.

I finished the first pair of Xmas gloves, finally.  Rather a trial.  After the heartbreak of the other night,  I gamely cast on again, did most of it yesterday, and then finished tonight.  Of course, I managed to screw up SEVERAL MORE TIMES.  (the excessive use of caps regarding these gloves should should how ticked I am at myself, since I personally hate reading type like that).  First I did an extra row or two on the thumb, and had to go back and unravel it a bit.  Then I realized that I must have done an extra row between the two cables at the top, but there was no way I was going to go back and fix it.  Possibly if it bugs me enough when it's actually time to send them I will redo it, otherwise I'm hoping Jess won't notice.  The above picture also demonstrates one of the downsides of living alone: being both model and photographer for pictures of gloves is a bit tough.

So the details:
Name: Christmas Gloves, pair #1 for Jess in NYC
Pattern: Fetching, by Cheryl Niamath
Finished measurements: just under 7" long, thumb is 1/2" from base to edge, about 6" around when not being worn.
Yarn: Hamanaka Exceed Wool Fl in color #213, a dusky rose/mauve type color.  I used up most of the skein, maybe 5-10 yards left.
Needles: KA Bamboo DPNs in US size 6.
Pattern Mods: Added an extra cable repeat (lengthwise) at the end before binding off.  I'm not sure whether the first glove only got three rows before the extra cable or if the second glove got five rows, but I was aiming for four rows in the ribbing after the last cable row called for in the pattern, then the extra cable, then four more rows, bind off.  Also, I followed a recommendation from someone in the Fetching group on Ravelry to pick up four stitches on each side of the thumb rather than two, then k2t twice on each side on the next row.  It does help a bit with the holes that show up.
Number of times frogged: 3, counting each separate instance of ripping out (bottom of 2nd glove, attempted graft and entire 2nd glove, thumb of 2nd attempt of 2nd glove)
Important Lesson About Life and Knitting Learned In Process: Just because I've done a project once or twice before does NOT mean I can turn off my brain when doing it again.  Especially if I expect to give it as a present to someone I love.  Doing so only leads to mucho, mucho frustration, and possibly to throwing things.
Knitting in Public: Cast on and started in the common room of the Sora House in Naha, worked a couple of inches in a Starbucks in Naha, finished most of that glove at the Yats Fireworks, and cast on and worked some of the other glove (first time around) at the Yats Board of Education.

I think they look pretty good, excepting the slight boo-boo at the top in differing lengths.  And they're finished!  God, if I have this much trouble with the rest of my Xmas knits, about three people will be getting presents this year.  Sigh.

But I did cast on the next pair while I was waiting the six years it took for this picture to load to iPhoto and then to Flickr.  I'm going down a needle size because the yarn is thinner, but I think it will be okay because Robin is tiny and has small hands.  Emphasis on "I think" it will be okay. Given my current track record, the gloves will probably land in poo somewhere along the line and size won't matter.

Monday, October 27, 2008

[Insert Expletive of Choice] Christmas Gloves

So.  Yesterday I was talking about thumbs, and I finished those last night and was feeling quite happy about having finished the first pair of Christmas Gloves, another present to check off the list.  Yea!

Then I tried them on.  Both, at the same time, which I had not yet done.  And I thought to myself, Huh, the right one feels different.  I look more closely.  This is when I discover that on the first glove I knit, I did an extra cable repeat at the beginning that I FORGOT TO DO ON THE SECOND GLOVE!!!!!!!!!


I really hate frogging.  Avoid it like the plague unless I'm within the first inch or two or a project.  I had FINISHED this one.  DONE THE THUMB.  AAARRGGHH!!!

This is what I get for knitting while watching movies.  Actually, I'm not entirely sure when this major brain fart happened.  I realized last night that I had neglected one knitting in public spot for these gloves, because I actually cast on and did the first bit at work on Friday.  Yeah, work.  I don't usually do much at work, so there's loads of discreet goofing off, but this was the first time I'd actually started knitting, so I was nervous.  All the teachers left junior high to go to some meeting (naturally, they forgot to tell me until that morning. they forget to tell me stuff about 50% of the time, though that's just a guess because, um, obviously I don't always know when they forget to tell me things), and since that was when my computer was totally full and I couldn't do anything with it, I left and went to the Board of Education, which is where we always go when there's no school and we still have to sit somewhere and look like there's a reason we're getting paid.  Sorry, run-on sentence.  Anyway, I decided to cast on the second glove since it's small and I was only going to be there for an hour and a half, anyway.  There was hardly anybody there either, not even the big boss, so I was safe.  But maybe not, since I effed up so badly.  It also could have been that night, during scary movie night, when I finished most of the rest of it watching Alien.  

In any case, big boo-boo.  So, I discover this last night while watching Aliens, and start thinking about how to fix it.  In retrospect, the obvious choice would be to unravel the bottom of the longer glove, but instead I ultimately decided to cast on and knit the first cable on one set of needles, then unravel the beginning of the shorter glove and graft the two together.  Sounds simple, right?  Well, relative to redoing the whole thing, anyway.  But it turns out that unraveling ribs from the bottom is way trickier then unraveling from the top.  I don't know what the hell I do to my purl stitches, but it was a total bitch to undo them, and I ended up unraveling a whole extra row I hadn't intended, because I couldn't get the right number of stitches from what I was unraveling.  Then I was going to attempt to knit them together last night, but it was getting late and I knew I'd be a zombie if I stayed up too late, plus I was still watching Aliens on the laptop and I wanted to watch that video of kitchener stitch again before I started, but there was no point stopping the movie when I was ten minutes from the end.  So I put it aside and said "Get away from her, you BITCH!" right along with Ripley (I love that movie), then went to bed.

And tonight... heartbreak.

I had to frog the whole [see title of blog] glove.  It is now in several wound bits of yarn on the arm of my couch.  I could cry.  I'm going to bed.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Thumbs the Word

So, here is the Stripey Zo, all pictured up for your viewing pleasure.  Well, sort of.  I'm having trouble getting the other pics up. Bleah.

This makes blog #6 for this project, which is a bit silly.  Most people on Ravelry finished this thing in about five minutes flat.  I took more than a month and had to go on and on about it all over the internet.  But, at least he's cute.  I'm very pleased.

So, while I was waiting for the second picture to NOT load just now, I finished the thumb on one of the first pair of Xmas Gloves, the dusty rose pink ones for Jessica.  I finished most of the rest of glove one while waiting for the fireworks to start last weekend, and the other glove was done this week, mostly Thursday and last night while watching scary movies at a friend's house.  

Knitting while waiting for the fireworks was funny to me - I kept wondering what the Japanese people around us must have thought.  Three of us showed up way early to secure a good spot for one of the most awesome fireworks display one can see (it's a competition for professional fireworks people), so there were three foreigners sitting in a large field of Japanese people, and I'm there knitting.  Do they think, Oh, look at that foreigner doing something normal! or maybe, What?! Foreigners know how to knit? or maybe, Quit playing that damn disco music! because I brought my iPod speakers?  Doesn't matter.  One of my students saw me, though.  He came running by, stared for a few seconds, said "Suge!" (cool! or wow!) and wandered off.  Then he proudly told the teacher what he saw when I was in that class this week.  Good thing he did, 'cause I never recognize them out of their uniforms.

Anyway, I joined the Fetching group on Ravelry, since it seemed the thing to do, and saw what others have done to combat the big ol' holes that appear when you pick up the thumb stitches. I decided to try the picking up extra stitches and then decreasing on the next round. And... I'm still not completely pleased, but it seems better than the last pair, and I'll try to fudge it with the sewing up. That means one thumb and ends weaving to go on this pair, and that's Xmas knit #2 owarimashita. That's finished to you lay people. Let's look at the totals, shall we?

Christmas Knitting Tallies:
WIPs: 1
FPs: 1
Knitting in Public:
   Stripey Zo: train to Kumamoto, dentist's office
   Xmas Gloves: Naha hostel, Naha Starbucks, Yats Fireworks Fest

Oh, and it turns out that at least a portion of the computer full problem was solved when I emptied the internal trash in iPhoto. Why iPhoto has to have a separate trash can that does NOT get emptied when one empties the main garbage can, I do not know, but I felt like a real dolt when someone on the Apple help forum told me this. I have never, in the three years I've owned and extensively used the photo application with this computer, emptied that trash. There were 3995 items in it, and emptying it bought me about 8 gigs of space. Sigh. Dolt. I'll still have to get an external hard drive, but at least it bought me some time. I am even more afraid of grad school now, though, since it is once again clear that I am no computer genius. Well, you do what you can.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Stripey Zo is Done, Done, Done!

I love knitting, I really do. But towards the end of a project with any level of complexity, there is always a time when I start to hate it. The seaming, sewing, blocking, making it all look put together part is by far my least favorite part. By the time I was finishing this little guy, I was calling him the Little Bastard. But he's done now, and he's so incredibly adorable that he is completely forgiven for the pain he put me through.

As I mentioned, I barely finished the ears. I had to take apart the crochet attempt to finish the second one, but all turned out well. I was able to sew the ears to the head with the tails from the bind-off, and there was even plenty left over to attach the legs and body. After the various ear fiascos that made me believe crocheting requires some special ability I lack, I thought sewing would be easy. No. The first leg was fine, but after that it became an exercise of knitting yoga. And the head! I attached it a bit and thought, hey, that's fine, but he flopped around like a movie corpse. Since I was listening to some NIN at the time, I considered leaving him as a head-banging elephant (he keeps good time), but then I recalled that this was being given to a two-and-a-half year old. So I tried again, and while he is definitely a bit crooked, he is just plain adorable. Oh, and no eyes yet, but I kind of like him this way. I'll look for some buttons this weekend and see if anything strikes me.

Name: Stripey Zo (btw, "zo" with a long 'o' means elephant in Japanese)
Pattern: Elephante, by Susan B. Anderson
Finished measurements: 5 and 1/2" tall, 6" long, and 6" from ear to ear.
Yarn: Used up the last of my Patons Classic Merino in Good Earth, which I was only guessing at 3/4 of a skein, or 167 yards. I didn't weigh or measure, so that's only an estimate.
Needles: Clover Bamboo size 5 dpns.
Stuffing: Some sort of acrylic stuffing I got at the ¥100 store. No pellets.
Pattern mods: I used the knit ear pattern posted by BettyBoops in her project notes.
Knitting in Public: The train to Kumamoto and the street outside the dentist.
Cuteness Level: Off the scale.

Now, as for why there are no pictures. Sigh. My computer is full. My beautiful, trusty, never messes up Powerbook G4 purchased on credit at the beginning of my make-up career, is full. And I don't know what the hell to do with it. It totally sucks. I have the Halloween video clips on the camera as well as the Stripey Zo pics, and nada. They may as well be on the moon. It's one of those fun aspects of digital technology that makes me pause - none of it physically exists except as tiny switches until you do something with it. Pictures, patterns, all that knowledge - it's intangible until you suddenly have a picture in your hands or an elephant on your table. But anyway, I posted a question to the Apple support forums and expect to get an answer soon. I know that is likely to involve buying some sort of external hard drive, and that sounds like a pain in the ass. Quite frankly, I'm nervous about doing it, but since my next career will certainly require far more computer knowledge than I currently possess, I'm sure it will be good for me. But in the meantime, no new pictures. You'll have to imagine it. However, I promise to provide pics as soon as they are available.

Just make sure you imagine cute.

Sunday, October 19, 2008


Finished the ears, with just barely enough yarn!  Woo-hoo!  Pictures tomorrow, but I just had to say that they're finished.  Thanks, Betty Boops!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Damn Your Ears!

I cannot get the Elephante ears.  I watched the designer's video about fifty times, pausing and doing it along with her, consulting my one measly book on crochet, making at least four attempts on some spare yarn (hard to tell how many cause I kept frogging), and THEY ALL SUCKED.  I'm sure it's not the pattern or the yarn or the designer or anything but ME.  They would not lie flat, not a single one, no matter how loosely I tried to do it or which awkward part of the stitch I crocheted into (since at one point I suddenly had a seizure of doubt that I'd been doing the whole thing wrong all along - since I tried several ways, my technique is unverified but it was all the same result), they all turned into a cone with a big lumpy bottom, and they were all too small.  I even wasted some of my project yarn making up the best one I could, going two extra rounds (and increasing accordingly) to make it bigger, and it was pointless.  It was still conical (so that when I folded it in half, as the pattern instructs, it was a freakin' triangle), still not the right size, and still super lumpy in the middle where I made the ring around the joined chain of four.  And I also just didn't like the way it looked, the way the stitches looked in comparison to the rest of the little guy.  When Ms. Anderson did it, it looked great.  When I did it, it looked like crap.

I did the crochet part, which is at least a step in the right direction for growing as a craft geek, but crimony.  It's just not going to work.  Now, of the 572 people who are doing or have done this project on Ravelry (as of just now), I know that some of them noted the knit patterns they improvised for the ears, but do I really want to go back through all of those to find one?  Or will I just improvise a half-assed one of my own?  Sigh.  I really wanted this thing DONE already so I could move on and focus on the rest of my Christmas knitting, including the gloves and figuring out the Diamond and Smock pattern that my friend has finally chosen.  And the fireworks are tomorrow, so I'll have plenty of time to work on the gloves, but this stupid Zo will still be at home, sitting there on my couch being incomplete, taunting me.

It is especially ridiculous when you consider that my godson, for whom this thing is intended, has already received a far more fabulous elephant from me.  I gave him this Goliath for his birthday in June, in the hope that he will one day remember me as an awesome godmother in spite of my lengthy absence.  But he can hardly sleep with that one, can he?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Christmas Knitting Begins

Technically, it began when I started the Stripey Zo, which is for my godson, but now it has started in earnest with the beginning of the first of several pairs of Fetching for friends.  Now, I love knitting these gloves - they are quick, easy but interesting, and pretty.  But I finished my pair a while ago and am not sure if I will ever actually wear them.  Yet here I am planning on pairs for three of my friends.  Am I thinking more of them or myself?  Well, myself, obviously.  But since I will be spending Christmas in Vietnam without a single member of my family within three thousand miles, they can suck it up and accept a thoughtful hand-crafted gift that they damn well better feel too guilty to throw out.

So I began this first pair of gloves in a Naha, Okinawa hostel.  I was waiting for my phone to charge so I could wander off, and I cast on.  Naturally, some chick about my own age wanders in and acts all astonished at me.  She politely asked what I was doing and I answered pleasantly enough.  She had kind of a creepy vibe, though, and she didn't seem to know what to say, so I volunteered that Japan had all kinds of great yarn.  She replies, "Who knew?" and I thought myself, "Duh, knitters and crocheters everywhere."  I have hereby resolved not to say "Who knew?" to people when it's clear that plenty of people knew besides myself.  Anyway, I continued knitting the next day at a Naha Starbucks, and didn't get any reaction at all.  

That brings the Christmas Knitting tallies so far to this:
WIPs: 2
FPs: 0
Knitting in Public: 
Stripey Zo - train to Kumamoto, dentist's office
Xmas Fetching - Naha hostel, Naha Starbucks

Also, while in Okinawa I did not end up seeking out any yarn shops.  I posted to the Knitters in Japan forum kinda late and never got any responses (bummer), so I didn't know where to go, and I really didn't need to be spending money on that anyway.  Nevertheless, yarn found me. While attempting to browse the Tsuboya Pottery area, but finding only one store that just had the same kinds of shiisa as everyone else, I wandered back to the shopping arcades.  Down one little street, rather far off Kokusai-dori where most of the tourists, especially foreigners, were conspicuously absent, I found the saddest little craft store you've ever seen.  There were some tables with stuff outside, and a fair number of 80's-era buttons on one wall, but most of the shop was empty.  Shelves with maybe a scrap of fabric, drawers of thread that mostly empty and covered in dust.  I mean, it was like a going-out-of-business sale on it's last day, but I feel certain that they weren't intentionally going out of business.  The only yarn they had was this Hamanaka Garcon (not in Ravelry) stuff I bought for ¥105, and some fingering weight stuff that was an odd shade of yellow.

I also went ahead and got the size 1 dpns for those bab
y booties topping my queue that I'll need to get around to before Sheila is due.  The old lady who worked there was giving me the evil eye at first (tall white woman, likely American, wandering around desolate Okinawan store and getting evil eye from old Japanese lady is not surprising), but then she seemed so happy that I bought stuff.  I'd like to think that I impressed her with my polite Japanese, but let's not get too carried away.  I'm sure she was just glad when I paid and left.

But for real, no more yarn!  How on earth will I save anything for grad school when I'm buying ¥100 yarn every time I turn around?

And the geek knitting project I am YEARNing to start is still so far away.  Sigh.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

The First Entry, With Nothing To Say

Right.  Here it is: my knitting blog.  

I haven't actually knit anything in a few days, so there isn't too much to enter here. I have several works in progress, of course, as one can see on Ravelry, but I really can't justify spending very much time on them right now, as I am currently in the process of applying to grad school. But soon the application part will be largely over, and there will be holiday knitting to do, so there is plenty to come. In fact, there is probably too much to come, as the whole reason I'm starting this blog is to cut down on the novels I'm writing in the notes section of my projects on Ravelry. There's just a lot to say.

In any case, the project I am most immediately attempting to finish is the Stripey Zo, but the crochet ears are proving a bit too much for me right now. Hence the avoidance.

As there is more time and more knitting, so will there be more blogging.