Tuesday, October 31, 2006

So Long, Socktoberfest

Today is the last day of Socktober-
fest and I didn't finish my socks. I am sad about it. I had plenty of time. I had motivation. But I didn't have wrist ability, apparently. I thought giving knitting a break for a few days would let it heal. Of course, I did sneak a few rows here and there. But I know there were at least three days in a row when I did not knit. I should probably go to the doctor. But I am afraid he'll say that I can't knit for months. I've had periods of time where my neck was sore for a few weeks, or my lower back. And eventually the pain went away on its own. I was kinda hoping that would happen for my wrists. I suspect the problem is my desk; while my wrists are straight when I type, my arms, from the elbow to the wrist, are angled up. So now I am hoping if I get a new desk, that will help. And I won't need to go to the doctor and be told no knitting.

Bummed. There is so much I want to work on!

Other than being sad about lack of knitting, I had a nice weekend. On Sunday, I went to the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire with my friend L. It was the last day for their faire. Last year, we also went on the last day. I really like the Penn faire. First, it was a beautiful day: cool and crisp with a gorgeous moon the whole way home. It goes until 8:00, and at this time of year, got nice and dark.

The grounds seem bigger than the Maryland faire, but that could just be cause I don't know the Penn one as well.

There seem to be a few more vendors; several are just in tents. And there is more stuff to buy in the middle price range. At the Maryland faire, there is a lot of really expensive stuff and cheap stuff (that looks cheap), but not a lot in between. I got a pretty blue necklace, a pair of "genie" pants and an ankle bracelet.

The last two will be good for bellydance. The Penn faire has a ton of vendors w/ bellydance stuff. It's funny that the faire in the middle of Amish country has more bellydance stuff than the MD one.

The Penn faire was also a lot less crowded than the MD one. Though, it was the last day, so it is hard to compare. I hope next year, we can go before the last day.

It was about a two hour drive from my place in northern Baltimore. Sadly, it can take that long, or longer to get to the MD faire in Crownsville on busy days.

Also, at the Penn faire, we seemed to talk to more people. The MD faire seems a bit clique-y and extreme. For example, at the MD faire, there are the really hard core faire people who hang out at the pubs and have "faire" names, have scary facial piercings and get married there, etc., and at the other end, the families there for the day and frat boys oggling cleavage. L and I dress up, but not in an obsessed, everything has to be historically accurate way. Just cause it's fun and cause curvy girls look hot in bodices. The Penn faire seemed to have more people dressed up, but more like us, less extreme. And we just seemed to strike up conversations with more people. But who knows what it is like earlier in the season. That is why I need to do research next year! :)

I felt sad when it was over; no more Faire until next August. But ... one of the vendors told us about a winter faire in New Jersey called Wicked. It's more of an adult faire, no kids allowed. Hmmm, that could be fun in a good bawdy way, or it could be scary (in a bdsm way). Maybe both. :) I don't know if I am enough a faire dork to travel overnight.

Oh, the coolest thing about the Penn faire was all the handknits we saw! It seemed every other girl had on a knitted shawl or harm warmers or hats. Very cool.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Still no Knitting

Thanks for all the comments about my wrist. It feels OK today, but was still sore yesterday. And I haven't been knitting. I have no idea what I did. It is probably from typing or something. But last night, I couldn't even clap when we saw Hem (again, yes twice in one week. We are officially groupies. But it was their last show for awhile because Sally, the singer, is pregnant. And it was an amazing show. More later). So, I instead of clapping I sort slapped my thigh w/ my left hand. Ouch.

Yesterday, we took the day off and spent the day in D.C. We drove down to Falls Church, then took the metro into the city. I was very excited for this excursion, mostly because I got to see the sloth bear baby. (Inspired by Coleen's post a few weeks ago, I brought my camera.) Last year, Geoff and I went to the zoo in December and it was great: no crowds, the male tiger was roaring (and he was again yesterday. We were there at 4:00 both times, maybe that is near his feeding time?). We saw the pandas, but not the baby. But a few months ago, I read an article about the sloth bear baby, Balawat. The article mentioned how everyone was panda crazy, but that the baby panda, while cute, was really pretty boring. It just sleeps and eats bamboo. We did see him doing that yesterday, and I admit it was pretty cute (as evidenced in the top picture). So I can understand the fuss. And one of his parents was pretty cute too.

But the article also mentioned that there was a baby sloth bear that wasn't really that cute, but had a cuter personality because it would play with a ball and run around, etc. And ever since I read the article (in August??) I have wanted to see the baby sloth bear. For the past week, I have been talking about the sloth baby nonstop. I even made up a stupid song about seeing the sloth bear baby. G thought I was crazy. I just really wanted to see Balawat. And I finally did. And he was cute! Kind of ugly cute, but cute. He was sleeping with his mother all curled up right next to the glass when we arrived, which was very cute, but I wanted to see him playing. So we went to the rest of the zoo and came back to the sloth bears around 4:00 and they were up, eating bugs out of rocks, climbing on branches and just being cute. I loved it!

The sloth bears live in the zoo's new Asia Trail, which just opened and it is really nice.

We also saw a cool fishing cat that seemed about to catch a fish at any moment but probably spent the entire day like that and a family of adorable river otters.

After the zoo, we headed over to U Street and went to the Saloon so G could get some rare beer and I could have some real apple schnaps. Yum! Then we had dinner across the street at Dukem for an Ethiopian dinner. Double yum.

After dinner, we hopped back on the metro to Falls Church and the State Theater for Hem.

My brother arrived safely in China and is already having adventures. I may post stories from him from time to time. I find it terribly funny that my beer-pong playing brother will be teaching future monks.

Today I am off to a measuring party, a la the book Big Girl Knits. Someday, I'll make a sweater.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Safe Travels, Brother

Today my younger brother Andy is off to Tibet for the next several months on a service project. He'll be teaching English to the young monks-in-training: little boys who will someday be monks. I am really excited for him, but a little nervous too. It is so far and seems so remote. But he's probably going to have email so it won't be much different than him being in Wisconsin. Except he'll be in Tibet, where they have rabid dogs. OK, I'm being dramatic. He's going to be fine. And I really am excited for him and proud of him. I just can't help feeling big sisterly and worry a little bit.

But he needs adventure and I can understand that. I had my year abroad years ago. Course I only went to France where there aren't rabid dogs (at least not many) but plenty of guys who pinch. And then almost two years ago, I decided to leave Madison, where I had lived for 10 years, and move to Baltimore, basically on a whim. It helped that I was moving in with best friend L here. Having a good friend helped make it an adventure and not scary.

Luckily, Andy isn't going alone either. He's got his girlfriend, who also happens to be our sister-in-law. We have some tangled relationships in our family. So anyway, Andy and Katch are off to Tibet together. Good luck guys and have fun! I'll miss you.

Oh, yeah, that's Andy in the blue. Yes, he is playing beer bong. And yes, it was at my wedding. I did not play. But my brothers, they could compete professionally. Sorry, dude, don't think you'll find beer bong in Tibet. But knowing you, you'll find a way with the local barley beer.

Monday, October 16, 2006

This Is Why There Is No Progress on My Sock

Ouch! My wrist was swollen and sore last night. And I didn't knit much this weekend. I was too busy poking around Annapolis and at the Ren Faire. I knit like two rows last night and had to put it down.

But after a day wrapped, it is feeling a little better. I am going to stop by Riteaid on the way home from my bellydance class to get some proper wrist guards, or at least more tape.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

More Knit Spotting

It happened again. G pointed out a hand knit item to me. Yesterday we were at the Hem show in Annapolis (and FYI, DO NOT go to Annapolis when Navy is playing AND there is a boat show; but the show was worth the terrible traffic). He noticed before I did that the violinist was wearing a pair of pink arm warmers. They were cute and increased (my already very great) desire to knit them. As soon as I finish the sock. But I also want to make a sweater for myself and a couple of Christmas presents. But the arm warmers would surely go fast! And I really want them.

Friday, October 13, 2006

This is Funny

It's a knitted turkey. A knitted turkey that is knitting. Makes me laugh every time I look.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Don't Know What to Call This Ramble

Recently, G and I were out to dinner. A woman being seated at the next table was wearing an interesting knitted sweater or shrug. I looked at it for a minute, trying to decide if it was handmade. G looked too, tilted his head, and sort of whispered "knit?" "I don't know; it might be crochet," I replied. But then I smiled and realized that he had recognized a (possibly) hand-knit item!

My hobby is sneaking in on him, whether he likes it or not! Actually, I think he'll be quite happy w/ my hobby when I make him a pair of socks. He's already been eying mine.

He is actually quite supportive: He cooks when I go to my knitting groups and doesn't say anything about my stash enhancement. (OK, he cooks even when I don't go; we've got a system: he cooks when I go to knit and I cook when he works late. And we take turns the rest of the time. It's my turn tonight and I am trying out the crock pot we got as a wedding gift. I am totally winging it, so I hope it tastes good!)

I think it is interesting how our partners' or friends' habits can become our own. While I don't think that G will ever actually knit himself, it has obviously made an impression on him that he now notices people's knits in public! I am trying to think of a way that I've picked up something he does. I do watch more football than I did before. But I used to watch football w/ my five brothers a lot. I just don't like to watch it alone. So my football interest just stayed dormant for a few years. He doesn't really have hobbies (other than reading and we both always did that). The closest thing is that he likes to see a lot of live music and he likes to quiz me on what classic rock or classic metal, etc. band is on the radio or commercial. I usually fail. He did get me into Hem (and now we're going to see them on Saturday AND next Friday; I am so excited!).

I do find myself going to more beer bars that I used to. And he comes to the Ren Faire with me. He came to see Shakira with me in D.C. last August and I told him I'll see Kiss the next time they tour. He watches Project Runway with me and if we can ever figure out when it's on, I'll watch the Gene Simmons "family jewels" show on A&E.

But, I know he wouldn't watch The Bachelor with me. And I'm not going to see any Led Zeppelin tribute bands perform. I've been reading some of the books on his shelf, but I don't expect (and frankly don't want) him to read my Nora Roberts collection. But I know he'll read the antique edition of Anne of Green Gables (that he got me for Christmas last year) to any future kids we might have. He wants us to take a ballroom dance class but thank god he's not interested in bellydance (other than watching me dance, of course!).

I guess what I am trying to say, very poorly, is that it's great when you share things with your partner and try the things that they like. It doesn't make G "whipped" that he recognizes knitting or watches Dancing With the Stars with me. And I can still be a proud feminist who knits while she watches football. Spending that time together is the important thing. But just as important, I think, is that we don't HAVE to always be together and don't have ALL the same interests.

It's a pretty simple conclusion, I guess. Probably didn't need a big, long post. I swear, I logged on just to tell the funny story about G and the sweater. It was going to be one paragraph, max. This is not the first time a quick post turned into a long ramble. And I call myself an editor. Gheesh.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

A Finished Sock

At last, my finished sock. I finished this on Sunday (perfect timing as it was the first day of Soctoberbest!). It has some mistakes: There is a hole in the ribbing, holes at the top of the heel flap where I failed to pick up stitches, and the toe is funky. While working the foot, the number of stitches on each needle got mixed up and when I started decreasing for the toe, I didn't think it mattered. As I got closer to the end, I realized that my decreased were not going to result in equal stitches on the last two needles in order to kitchener. But it turns out I had double the amount of stitches on the back needed that I had on the front needle, so I while working the back needle, I pretended two stitches were one. I was so close the end that I didn't have the heart to rip out the entire toe and it seemed to work. I maybe could have made the foot a tiny bit longer; I will on the second sock.

And good news, I started the second sock right away. I want to finish this pair in October!

Close up of the toe and foot:

And see how much bigger this foot is than a store-bought sock!

So, with half a pair done, I can respond to Lolly's sock history questionnaire:

When did you start making socks? Did you teach yourself or were you taught by a friend or relative? Or in a class?
I started swatching for socks in April. I realized my size 3 needles were too big, so I went to size 2s, still too big and ended up w/ 0s. I started my sock in July or August. I learned from Silver's online tutorial.

What was your first pair? How have they "held up" over time?
I am halfway done w/ my first pair. I hope they hold up.

What would you have done differently?
Finished sooner! :) Well, I would try to avoid the mistakes mentioned above.

What yarns have you particularly enjoyed?
I am using Regia Cotton Color (thanks to my Tea Swap pal, Sarah HB!). I enjoyed it. I am looking forward to starting my second pair w/ some Trekking I bought months ago.

Do you like to crochet your socks? or knit them on DPNs, 2 circulars, or using the Magic Loop method?
I knit my sock on size 0 bamboo Crystal Palace DPNs and really enjoyed working with them, even though I got a callous on my left pointer finger. I was terrified that I would break one, but so far, haven't! I am thinking of ordering the knitpicks metal DPNs.

Which kind of heel do you prefer? (flap? or short-row?)
I liked the flap heel. Haven't tried short row yet.

How many pairs have you made?