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.