Archive for May, 2006

“Insane laughter in the corner of the class…”

Wednesday, May 31st, 2006

“Share it!”

Once again, an enjoyable comment from my anthropology professor. Actually, my classes were funny today in general. We were talking about proverbs in my religion class today. (Intro to the Old Testament). First some non-biblical embellished “proverbs”:

“Be yourself..would you say that to Al Capone?”

“Early to bed and early to rise, and your girl goes out with other guys”

Then the ones from the bible that we were giggling about. And no, these are probably not word for word, just what I have in my notes.

“the one who troubles his household will inherit the wind”

“a sluggard buries his hand in the dish, and never even brings it back to his mouth.”

(And this one for Moom =D )

“a wife’s quarreling is a continual dripping of rain”

Indeed.

Uh…right. I went to the yarn store today. It’s true. I’m a horrible person. It’s the end of the quarter, I get my paycheck, and what is the first thing that I do? That’s right, unnecessary damage. (Well…the “unnecessary” is debatable. As is “damage”. For me it was totally necessary. Let’s not discuss this.)

Don’t worry, I’m on a strictly lace weight and sock yarn regime. Here are the lace weights.

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The green is Fare Baruffa 100% extra fine merino, +/- 1460 yds. The blue is Skacel Merino Lace, 100% fine merino wool, +/- 1375 yds. The green is (as hinted by the “extra”) slightly finer, and a tiny bit softer. This is also demonstrated by the yardage difference, as both are 100 g. I am 90% sure that I am going back for the second skein of green, so that I can make a large shawl with them. It is interesting then that I was careful to hide it in the back of the cube for no apparent reason…I guess my subconscious knows me a little better than I know it.

Oh, go on. I can’t possibly pass up a chance to show a close-up of merino laceweight. And yes, it is very very fine.

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Emily is feeling very inquisitive and happy. Here are the sock yarns!

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The more colorful one is Fortissima Colori Socka Color, color 06. The darker one is Trekking XXL, color 66. I have heard so much about Trekking, but this is the first time that I have met it in person. Emily approves. Commendable job, Germany!!

Yes, in fact I do have plans for this yarn. Later, I swear. More importantly, I got them from a pretty little shop in Portage (just outside of Kalamazoo) called Stitching Memories. They had quite a decent selection of yarns, and many colors of most. That’s especially good, as summer is not the best time for yarn stalking. It is easier to sneak up on in the winter when the yarn stores are stuffed to the brim with various surprises. I guess I have to admit though, it’s nice in the summer when there is less competition.

Finally, a word on my “yarn diet”. Sock yarns and lace weights are perfect. They are significantly less expensive (for an entire project) than sweater yarns, etc… They do not take up very much space in The Stash. This keeps my spending *and* storage space to a minimum.

I am excited to only have three class sessions left in the quarter!! After that, I have reading to finish and two finals to take, and I’ll be done. It is hard to focus when I know that in eight short days I’ll be back in Ann Arbor.

So many people I know talk incessantly of “escaping” and “going as far away as possible”, but I can’t understand. Despite their constant declarations of “having done everything that there is to do there”, I can never quite believe them. There is always something new to do, and especially after living in Kalamazoo for a year I believe that there are few places in which you could be luckier to live.

At any rate, no complaints here. I am looking forward to being able to walk downtown at night alone and not be terrified that someone is going to mug me or worse. (No Moom, I *do not* walk alone at night here. I don’t even walk alone past The Sneak’s house anymore, even when it is light out. So stop worrying, I can see you and I’m not stupid.)

Time to go read and write. *sigh*. Have a lovely Thursday everyone!!

Text

Tuesday, May 30th, 2006

Isn’t that a good word? I thought so too. Another one is “rapid”. If you want to know though, my overall favorite sentence fragment is “A smattering of crooked ducks”.

Hmm… A smattering of crooked ducks that orate rapid quacks of text.

Eh, I don’t think I’ll ever leave behind the original fragment. Go ahead, say it!

“A smattering of crooked ducks”

No, really. Say it like you mean it. It’s the best feeling. Actually, it’s downright dangerous. You’ll keep saying it until everyone around you wants to kill you.

Or maybe it’s just me.

Another favorite word, strangely, is “linguistics”.

It’s hard for me to say what I really like about words (and linguistics in general). I think it’s mostly the texture of different words, and all the amusing little combinations of sounds. The possibilities are endless, and certainly always amusing. It’s so easy to make a horrible mess with a single innocent substitution.

Who is to say?
The first element of linguistics that I remember liking is that you can take any word and say it once, and it means something. If you take the same word and keep saying it over and over for a minute or two, it loses all sense of meaning. It is just a random string of sounds that we attach to something. Okay, so I’m not entirely sure that falls under the study of linguistics, however that is what I choose to call it until someone comes up with something better and tells me so. =D

That is an idea that first occurred to me in the time of Dark Walk. When I was little, I had trouble calming down and sleeping. Moom would take me outside and walk up and down the sidewalk for a while. We would usually stop at the corner and look at the moon. That is how I learned about the “hazy moon”, which is one of my earlier memories. I think I was old enough to walk on my own when I started playing with words, though. I believe I started with the word “leaf”.
I also enjoy the components of different dialects and accents. I’m not going to say a lot about that because I only know what I hear and analyze on my own. It’s something I would love to take a class about. It’s interesting to listen to what parts of language are stressed through different accents. Some focus on vowels, some on consonants. Some play with both. Some have a verbal focal point far back in the mouth, some far forward, and some actually outside of the mouth entirely.

Dialect refers to word choice, and accent to the stresses, tones, and patterns. And linguistics, from dictionary.com;

linguistics

n 1: the scientific study of language 2: the humanistic study of language and literature [syn: philology]

Amanda has gone home. But she left me with this!

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A wallet for my birthday (in April), from an art school in North Carolina! With a mouse on it! It it absolutely too perfect.

We went to the beach yesterday and got sunburned, and I was too lazy to post. But hey, today you get to hear about my faulty knowledge of linguistics. =D

It has been sooo hot here. The overwhelming oppression of humidity and sweat has turned a group of perfectly attractive girls into a bunch of hooligans.

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This is Nikki, Amel, Rosaleigh, Jessie, and my mouse. I was taking the picture. =D You can already see that they are lovely, but just wait. On a cooler day I’ll take a picture of us how we actually look.

I have to go read. And if I don’t post in the next three minutes, it’s going to be May 31st instead of the 30th. With that said, this is my knitting two days ago. I’ve made only a little progress, but have worked on other things.

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Tadaa!! I have decided to add some cable sections to the sides, too! More on that later.

To the books!

Quite an exciting day, for a one-woman Yarn Duck

Sunday, May 28th, 2006

Emily is not a sheltered duck. She likes to investigate, and make friends with everyone who comes in. However, yesterday was the first time since becoming a Yarn Duck that she has met another knitter.

Imagine her surprise when…yes that’s right.
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Emily investigates foreign socks. Opal petticoat on size 2.5mm. needles, made by Amanda!

Emily is strictly a one-woman Yarn Duck, however:

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The socks have met with Emily’s approval. Very nice.
We had breakfast at The Crow’s Nest, where I embarrassed The Sneak by taking pictures of my food.

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I couldn’t help myself. It’s too good *not* to post a picture. Banana bread french toast. If you need a reminder as to how I feel about this, go back about three posts.

On another note, I’m sure most of you have heard about podcasting by now. Will you be surprised if I tell you that there are knitting podcasts? Well, there are.

The first knitting podcast was Knitcast by Marie Irshard, and next was Cast-On by Brenda Dayne. I know that there are at least five now, although I’m assuming there are more out there that I don’t know about. I don’t have that much time to keep up with them while I’m at school though.
That is actually where I heard about the Seacell yarn. Knitting radio. =D For those of us who are off our rockers (and have cooler socks than you), it is very enjoyable. You can listen to knitting talk wherever you are!
I’m in a food coma, and we have movies to watch. Let the adventures of Smarty-smary-braggy-pants and Ms. Eyes-are-larger-than-stomach-had-to-loosen-skirt-to-accomodate begin.

Sneaky.

Saturday, May 27th, 2006

Well, I guess she’s not called The Sneak for nothing. She really does have a funny way of sneaking off without a trace whenever I actually need her for something.

On the other hand, it is perhaps slightly presumptuous of me to assume that I can use her car when I want to in the first place…

My plan for today was to sneak off with The Sneak’s car and go to a yarn store (or three, depending on how my sense of direction was feeling today). I know it’s rather hard to believe, seeing as I’ve lived here since September, but I have not yet made it to one single yarn store in Kalamazoo.

Although I think it really fits quite well by definition, here is the real way in which The Sneak got her title. I know it’s not nearly as exciting as whatever you imagined, but I really just enjoy the linguistics (and effects) of going “YOU SNEAK!!”. This eventually just became “Sneak, can you get me toothpaste when you go to the store?” “Sneak, I don’t want to do my work!” “Sneak? I’m really sleepy and there are couches having a dance party in the room upstairs.”

Moving on.

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How silly. Of course I couldn’t resist the silk. Emily is resigned (it doesn’t take much persuading with silk) and has taken to carrying the ball around on her neck.

The pattern..can develop as I go along. I started with a provisional cast on of 102 stitches on a 2.75 mm. needle, knit nine or ten rows, knit the cast on row together with the live stiches to make a hem, and worked it straight to 2 cm. Now I am decreasing toward the waist. See how professional I am? I haven’t even decided whether this is the front piece or the back piece yet. Let’s not talk about that.

Silk tends to grow when you wash it, so I actually made a little swatch for this project. And washed it.

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The swatch is the bit at the bottom with the ruffly edges. Those are because I started out on a 3.25mm. needle for about six rows like the label recommended, then switched to a 2.5mm. for about six rows, then finally switched to the 2.75mm. The first fabric was looser than I wanted, and the middle fabric was nice but not drapey enough for a shirt. The top section was a nice mix, with the solid visual effect and some of the stitch memory of the 2.5mm. fabric, and some of the drapey effect of the 3.25mm. fabric.

Now, even the non-knitters reading this can see that..uh..I didn’t go about swatching in a logical manner. At all. Why put the smallest needle size in the middle? It pulls the whole thing in and makes it impossible to measure accurately without some very creative placements of the feet. Yes it’s funny, I do seem to avoid a lot of subjects about why I do things, have you ever seen a dancing couch?

Seriously though, I was more concerned with the texture than the gauge when I was trying needle sizes. Technically a gauge swatch should measure 5″x5″ so that you can easily measure across 4″x4″ in the middle. I kind of cheated. (That is an understatement, as I have never knitted a full-sized swatch in my life. Don’t take my advice, but it can be overlooked. I swear.)

It will work out, I promise. The fabric is light enough that it shouldn’t stretch that much lengthwise when I wear it (as is a concern with cotton and heavier weights of silk), and I actually reached the recommended gauge on the 2.75mm. needle after swatching. It remained the same after I stretched it in every possible direction for about ten minutes, then back into shape.

I realize that if you can’t knit, none of this really makes that much sense. Tough cookies. However, here is a knitting thing that might actually be interesting to you.

http://handmaiden.ca/yarn_seasilk.html

A fiber that releases vitamins when it comes into contact with your skin? Intriguing. Apparently this still works after multiple washings, too. Hmm. Apparently this yarn is actually nicer than pure silk. Anyone up for a quest this summer?

I have to go.

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Yeah, you wish you had a snout too. Amanda is here!!

Indecisive

Friday, May 26th, 2006

With eight rows left to go on undisclosed project #1, I have to decide what to start next. This is somehow always a problem. In case you hadn’t noticed, I am terrible at making decisions.

So, I sent Emily into The Yarn Basket for an alternative option to the sock yarn from the last entry.

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The Yarn Basket is Emily’s house, although she tends to spend most of her time on my desk where people can admire her. (Uh…let’s not talk about The Yarn Basket right now, okay? It makes me nervous.)

Back to the point. I’ve made kind of a lot of socks lately so she came back with this.
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Three balls of Artfibers Hana Silk, color# 9. It is actually a little more purple than it looks here, although you get the idea from the little purple bits that are slightly more visible in the picture below.
hana.jpg

One nice thing about Artfibers, (or at least this yarn, I’m too lazy to check the others right now and I can’t remember) is that the label tells you how many yards make one square foot of fabric at a particular gauge. Handy, or rather it would be if I knew the surface area of my torso.

At first I was thinking of making a lace scarf, but then I realized how many lace shawl pattens I have bookmarked on my computer. Never mind!

I have 662 yards, or nearly 4.8 square feet if I use the gauge on the label. That seems like approximately enough to cover my torso, with short sleeves.

The question is, unidentified silk project or socks? Any votes? I can’t promise I’ll wait for them though, as eight rows will not take very long on this project.

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Emily would like to point out that I have a rather disgraceful collection of nearly finished projects and that she made a valiant effort by bringing them to me for consideration, but that I refused to listen to her good advice about finishing things and actually made a comment about “having no yarn”.

Before you laugh so hard you asphyxiate, read the Yarn Harlot‘s philosophies on knitting. In one of her books she has a detailed description of the “I have no yarn” phenomenon, why it occurs, and its effects. I sent her books home with Moom the other day, so I can’t tell you exactly where.

One thing that I am grateful for is having a small and pretty college campus. It is easy to get anywhere quickly, because the whole thing is about five minutes across. One thing I am *not* grateful for, however, is that fact that I have one of the four double rooms on campus that has only one window.

As of now I am doing the “I only have to live in a crap room with no air circulation or natural light for thirteen more days” dance.

Next year I am in the good dorm on the top floor. To me the top floor is good, as it will no longer sound like couches are having a dance party in the room above me. Or elephants. Of course, the fact remains that all the other corner rooms have three windows and we have two..but I’m not going to complain, especially as I am done with community bathrooms.

I would like to know who has a grudge against me though, as I’m probably the only person on this campus who really cares about the windows. And probably the only person who opens them at night in the winter. Yes. Why don’t you just ask about winter clothing. Go ahead, ask.

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It is officially the weekend! I am going to go sit on the quad with a book, with the half-hearted hope of actually getting something accomplished for once. And as a final note..uhm…well..I think it’s time for me to go. Goodbye! *door closes*
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Meet Emily.

Thursday, May 25th, 2006

Emily!.jpg
The Yarn Duck.

What’s that? Oh sorry, for a second I thought you were laughing at me. No? Good. At least we’ve got that straightened out.

As you can see, Moom has figured out pictures. However, I am slightly technologically illiterate as of now, so I can’t for the life of me figure out how to make them bigger. I’ll go back later when I know how, and make them a decent size. Sorry Emily! And sorry to all of you reading, squinting at the little duck and going “..what??” Never mind, I figured it out.
Next question.

How is Emily a Yarn Duck?

esocks!!.jpg
Like this! *Now* you may laugh. I finished these socks about a week ago, so here is the first finished project picture. They are made of Mountain Colors Bearfoot, colorway yellowstone.

Once I figure out how, I’m going to make a page for each project and link them in the sidebar. If you want, I’ll also embarrass myself by photographically documenting my yarn stash and posting it. I’ll probably have to write a disclaimer to avoid being interrogated by the yarn police, though. Some people just don’t understand the value of a good resource pool, once they realize how much money goes into it. (And some people just want my yarn stash. Back off, you know who you are!!)

As of now, it looks like this

eyarn1.jpg
will be my next project. That is subject to change at a moment’s notice though, as my yarn basket is still at school with me. Mouse More socks, also Mountain Colors Bearfoot. Colorway Alpine. (Freudian slip, by the way.)

Wow! Moom, Sam the archaeologist, and The Sneak are having a party in the comments! They have already discussed my next point for me.

“my favorite anthropology quote of the day was ‘some ethnicities are like spaghetti stains you can’t get out’ meant in the most politically correct of ways.” –The Sneak

I was also confused at first, but I assumed that it was meant in the context of racial inequality and/or the inability to escape a stereotype. The issue was clarified; it is meant to come from the eyes of the state, and in the context of language.

That makes it an even more interesting concept though, as language in some cultures can actually free people from the binds of ethnicity. For example, in the book we are reading in my anthropology class, Assault on Paradise by Conrad Phillip Kottak, Kottak talks about a Brazilian coastal fishing villiage called Arembepe.

In Arembepe in the 1960s and 70s, there were more than forty different words to describe the difference ethnicities found within the area. If you asked the same person which they belonged to at two different times, you would quite often receive two different answers. Ethnicity was a flexible genre of classification. This goes along perfectly with Sam’s comment:

“and some say ethnicity is simply situational and self-defined, essentially the opposite of a stain”

While still supporting The Sneak’s context of a linguistic argument. I think a big reason why this is possible, in the context of state language versus social language, is that Arembepe during this time period did not have an organized political system. (*edited to add* – I think this is important because government and the institutions within it, in my experience, are usually what force us to choose an ethnicity and stay with it. Look at the college applications, etc… In Arembepe, it was possible for full siblings to belong to separate ethnicities.) But I digress. I think the book is really interesting, so if I don’t stop now I might go on for another few pages.

We are not far enough in the book for me to let you know if that particular ethnic custom still applies, but I’ll get back to you next week if anyone expresses interest in knowing.

The Sneak and I actually have the same professor right now, and it’s funny how often we learn similar things between our classes. I have an Intro class, and I believe hers is about language mostly? (Sneak? help!) One week, we even had the same reading on linguistics. We figured it out when one of us mentioned a “sound house” and the other went “wait…you read that too??”

In case you’re wondering about the origin of “The Sneak”, I’ll see what I can do about names this weekend. Don’t get your wool in a tangle.

I didn’t realize when I started this that I had so much to talk about. I am trying to keep things down to a reasonable length. You are all free to read selectively, especially in terms of the knitting. I am not sure yet how often I’ll be posting, but until I have a decent start on the whole project I’m trying for every day.

And a special thanks to Emily, she’s a wonderful Yarn Duck so far!!

“How many ipods do you need to survive?”

Wednesday, May 24th, 2006

*sniffle…sniffle…ah..AH-CHOO! stumble stumble flop*

I have a cold. It’s not actually that bad, but it is making me incredibly sleepy. My only question is, where was it last winter? We all know what my winter clothing habits are like, so now in the spring this is completely out of the blue. Go figure. A nap–and far too much tea–later, I am just awake enough to drag myself around and write papers. *pause…sniiiff…* Okay. Onward.

So, how many ipods *do* you need in order to survive? That was a comment from my anthropology professor this morning, referring to industrialization. I personally found it hilarious to think of multiple ipods attached to each person, barely preventing them from certain and impending death. However, I was also the only person in the room laughing…Oh well. But then I actually started to think about it. No, really. Next time you come into contact with a high school, just take a few minutes and walk around the halls. How many students are walking around with headphones? Is it social isolation? Are they trying to make a statement? Are they simply listening to music? Or maybe it really is the life support of my generation. It’s an phenomenon worth pondering, if I ever finish the other things I need to do first.

On an entirely different note, yesterday morning Moom came to take The Sneak* and I to The Crow’s Nest for breakfast/lunch. (Aside–If you are ever in Kalamazoo, go to The Crow’s Nest for breakfast. Get the banana bread french toast. You’ll die of happiness. If you don’t, get a box and bring it to me so I can. Instead of syrup they have this spread that is less sweet, but melts a little. It’s perfect. *swoons*) The point of this story, before I get really off-track discussing food and whatnot, is that the waitress who served us has a daughter named Mouse. Surprise, I’m not the only one! The difference is that I chose my name at one-and-a-half, while the other Mouse was stuck with it by her mother’s doing. Maybe she’ll feel better, knowing that she’s not alone in the world.

Please keep in mind that Jeremy would apparently like to be referred to in the future as..uh..”Precious Jem”, if we are to go by his comment. Right. The worst part is that he asked me how to spell precious, and I told him. Stupid, stupid, stupid. Lest this incident gives the impression otherwise, I should probably add that he is a brilliant writer and has no trouble with spelling.

Finally, thanks for all the comments. I’m not sure I have that many interesting things to say, and I do have the unfortunate tendency to wander off the original point rather frequently. Perhaps it’s worse this time as I didn’t quite have a point to start with. Like I said in the first post, if you’re bored don’t waste your time here.

Have you made it to the end? Congratulations, I’m impressed!! Knitting should follow withing a few days, once I get the pictures to work. *poof! disappears!*

*The Sneak: My older sister Lizzy. Once again, don’t bother to ask about the names.

Top Secret

Tuesday, May 23rd, 2006

Uh..surprise? The top secret project is unveiled!
This is a personal website that I intend to use as a tracking devise for my assorted craft pursuits (mainly knitting, but also sewing, beading, etc…), as well as for random bits about life in general. It is for me, not you, so please keep that in mind as you are reading. That means if you have anything bad to say about me, my opinions, my projects, my mother (hi moom!!), or anything else related to this website, you can go waste your precious time elsewhere. That is a warning. Be civil in the comments my ducks, or else.
By the way, Moom processed all my drawings and primitive attempts at photshop in order to put this whole thing together. Go to her blog (ababsurdo.com) and tell her how much you like it!! We are still working out some kinks to make the original design fit into wordpress, so some of my lovely blue boxes are missing. Look out for those. Also thanks to Valdemort (my cousin. =D No comments about the weird names my family calls each other, you hear?) for suggesting the name. We wanted the URL “mousenest”, but it was unavailable.
Soon I intend to start posting pictures of things, but just now I’m coming up on the end of the quarter and need to finish all my schoolwork. Tough cookies. You’ll get pictures of what I’m working on now, and I hope that eventually I can go back and log earlier finished projects. Another hope for this is that it will encourage me to finish things I start in a timely fashion. I also forbid anyone from pointing out the previous statement when it all comes crashing down around a sorry pile of broken DPNs.
All clear? *nods* good.
With all that said, I had a rather strange revelation concerning this the other day. If you think about it, the nature of a “top secret project” is that absolutely no one is allowed to know that it even exists until it is revealed. What fun is that? When you unveil it no one knows that it was ever secret in the first place, and all the plotting and scheming was for nothing. Sorry to all the people I taunted by mentioning it and refusing to tell, but it increased my enjoyment (and hopefully yours) immensely. And hopefully you’ll all learn a thing or two about knitting along the way.