Impressive Sleevage

One of the coolest things about sweater knitting is when you hit the point that it actually looks like a sweater, not just a giant piece of fabric.  The Gramps Cardigan is a bottom-up raglan, which is a construction that I really should use more.  Most of the stuff I knit is top-down, seamless, and if it has buttons they are worked in as you go.  This one is bottom-up AND has a picked up  button band and shawl collar.  I know this construction is also technically seamless, but it has a lot more structure than a lot of top-down stuff.

Even though I already have most of my sweaters for the year picked out based on my stash, I think this is something I need to try more often -- knitting a construction that makes me uneasy.  Who knows, maybe it will lead to even more brave attempts.  Like, say, colorwork?

I am glad that I decided to knit the sleeves before the rest of the sweater.  Made the giant swaths of pattern repeat a lot more interesting because I knew when I reached a certain point I could jump ahead in the pattern.  It was like this little secret in the back of my mind.   Even though I did do all the work of knitting the sleeves, it was like I got to cheat.  At this point everyone else has to go dig up more needles and knit the sleeves, but not me!  No, I got to just pull them out of the bottom of the bucket I keep my sweater knitting in and slide them right on.  The increase in wow factor in going from sweater body to sweater with sleeves is pretty significant.  Andrea was out of town for a few days when I attached the sleeves, so when I pulled it out last night to work on during Once Upon a Time she was aptly impressed.

Now to make as much progress as possible before the Great Cowl KAL begins today.


Week of Fun

It's been a crazy week of fun.  I just dropped my dear friend Taryn (she of the My Little Pony cocktail recipes) off at the airport for her flight home and am just beginning to process the amount of fun we had this week.

Here are some of the highlights:

Knitting at the North Carolina Museum of History

And spinning!

Evidently hanks of yarn in the 1800s were much larger than modern skeins.  Unless maybe you are buying Miss Babs' Yowza.


And crafting.  I did a lot of cabling . . .

. . . and Taryn cross-stitched a masterpiece.  I have to say, I'm a little jealous.

It was a ton of fun.  Taryn and I haven't hung out this much since school, and I wish she could have stayed longer.  Hopefully I'll be able to hike down to Atlanta some time.  I miss having friends outside of my apartment.


Knitting ADD

The other day I described myself to a coworker as having knitting ADD.  She was asking what had happened with some socks she had seen me work on on a previous day and when I told her they were at home waiting to be knit on again she just shook her head and laughed.  It seems that having multiple works in progress is something that is frowned upon by your average non-knitter.  Just like having extra yarn is seen as obsession rather than preparation.

But here's the thing.  If you're privileged enough to be in a first world country, then you probably have more of a lot of things than you can use at one time.  You have extra food that you don't plan to eat all at once (and probably several things of leftovers that are arguably meals in progress).  You might own movies, which you really can't watch all at one time.  You even own more clothes than you can reasonably wear at one time.  So why should I not have more projects than I can knit at one time.  After all, this is a leisure activity, so I should do what I want if I have the resources.  It's not ADD, it's getting the maximum enjoyment out of my sticks and string.

At least this is what I tell myself as I cast on another sweater.


Friday Wedding Update: Week 28

I'm sorry I have been so low on posts this week.  It's just that after working my third holiday weekend in two months I was in danger of writing posts about bad customer behavior or how I almost got run over by a car and a Christmas tree in the same hour.  My happy just was not at the forefront of my creative mojo, so I retreated into work and my knitting and lots and lots of Charmed episodes.

But it's time for this week's progress report on operation Rutabaga 2012, and I have actually done some work (most of it today).  It is hard to work on the planning when I feel like I am operating in a vacuum.  Chris is still in school and so has not really been available for strategic planning sessions and plus, as the bride, it really is up to me to do most of the heavy lifting.  Overall I have felt very supported in this process by everyone involved, but at the end of the day the real decision making is up to me, and that's a little scary.

It's no secret that we are trying to do this as cheap as possible.  The area that is making this difficult currently is the reception.  What do you serve for food?  Is there anyone who could help out?  How many people are we having to feed and what are the expectations?  Since the wedding is on a Friday night the timing has worked out that we really do need to serve some sort of dinner.  I am not really into big elaborate meals, and I have no intention of hiring a caterer.  I just don't have that kind of funding.  So today I sat down with a notebook and did some free association and word mapping exercises that I used to do when I got stuck working on research.

I started with the main concept.  No, not "cheap", but rather the feel of the wedding.  It's a small country church and based on my dress and current flower ideas (more on that later), I'm aiming for "storybook".  So, what food seems like it would be at a small country wedding in a fairy tale.  For some reason the first word that popped into my head was "chutney", which really makes no sense.  But from there I moved to cheese and once I got on the idea of cheese plates it all sort of spiraled from there.  When I was a kid my parents would do family movie nights that involved picnicking on the living room floor munching on nice cheese, crackers, grapes, and apple slices.  Those have always been some of my favorite meals, and in my mind they are tied to stories like Pirates of Penzance (my original pirate loves -- go watch the video, I'll be here when you come back) or The Jungle Book.  It just makes sense to take that memory and build a menu around it, because in the end that's really what this is going to be -- a reflection of the past 23 years of my life, honoring that, and celebrating the beginning of a new chapter.

And, as has become my mantra when I'm stuck making decisions, it's my wedding.  Even if I don't get to eat the food myself I still have to pay for it.  If people don't like it they can do something different when they get married (that sounds really mean, but sometimes you just have to stop considering everyone else or nothing will get done).


Down the Rabbit Hole

So... have you seen the new Whimsical Little Knits?  I know, right?!  It's, like, so awesome and pretty and it has that whole whimsical thing going for it... It's pretty much the cat's meow of accessory collections.

This is the conversation I imagined having with my knitting bff.  The one who keeps up with Ravelry and indie designers.  The one I essentially do not have in my corner of the world.  One day that will change, but that's beside the point.

Anyway, back to Whimsical Little Knits 3.  It dropped like an atomic bomb on the knitting community the other night.  I was just sitting there on the couch, knitting on my sweater, when suddenly Ysolda tweeted a link leading to the preorder of WLK3.  A link I immediately jumped on with much flailing and enthusiasm.  And then I found out that not only was it a preorder, but that the digital copy was immediately available for download.

I don't remember much after that, just a blur of flailing and yelling and casting on.  All I know is that I barely slept that night and somehow the rest of the yarn needed for that second Kristi sock I still need to knit is now becoming this:

Roisin was released last year in Interweave Accessories, but I somehow managed to resist and wait for WLK3 instead.  I'm so glad I did.  I'm trying to track down the yarn I need to knit Hendreary.  A hat with a giant button motif?  How can I refuse?


The Joy of a Well-Tended Arch

As a sock knitter, it could be implied that I like my feet.  But if you actually spent time with me you would assume that I don't.  I don't moisturize, paint my nails, or do any pedi-spa type stuff.  And I certainly don't buy myself nice shoes.  My mother raised me on the principle that our feet are important.  They are what connect our bodies to the ground and carry all of our weight.  This was especially important for me to learn as a kid because I inherited my father's flat feet.  And when I say flat I mean it.  If I go barefoot or wear shoes with little to no support my arch completely disappears.  Luckily for me, my mom recognized this and made sure to send me to school or outside to play in well-made shoes.  The added benefit of this is that well-made shoes last a long time.

Exhibit A:

You may recognize these shoes from previous FO posts.  They were the first shoes I bought for myself back in high school when our lovely uniform committee decided that navy blue shoes were no longer allowed and we could only wear black or white.  I can remember going to the shoe store and trying on everything that was solid black (solid white with khakis and my crazy socks would just look stupid) and finally deciding on these, buying them with a good chunk my summer savings because I knew I would wear them every day for at least the next year.

Fast forward six years and I am still wearing them consistently.  My current job requires me to wear closed toed shoes and to frequently stand most of the day, which eliminates most of my other shoe preferences.  Mom came to visit a few weeks ago and realized that the shoes were probably passing their wearability point and so bought me a new pair as a graduation gift.

Five years on the market and Keen has only improved their offerings.  I love these shoes (Harvest MJ).  Seriously, I can't stop talking about them.  They are completely different from what I had originally wanted, but they are so much more fun.  The bright colors go well with the environment I work in and the arches only took one day to break in.  I've worn them for several days straight with no problems.  I'm not a big shoe purchaser (which is why Mom thought to buy me these as a gift, because they are not something I would splurge on myself when I have other shoes in the closet), but these are so nice I may save up for another pair to have in the rotation.

And they go well with hand knitted socks!  My size US 8.5 feet fit comfortably with enough wiggle room that I can wear the socks I make, which just adds to the color fun.  Everyone has been commenting on them.  Though that might just be a side effect of wearing the same shoes every day for six months.  In any case, I highly recommend them if anyone is looking to invest in a good wearable shoe.  There are a lot of varieties to choose from, including many more practical hues if you're not as colorful as I tend to be.


Friday Wedding Update: Week 29

This post is not about the release of Whimsical Little Knits 3 that went live last night.  It is not about the fact that I flailed about frantically and immediately cast on with yarn that was already half a pair of socks, meaning I'll have to buy more.  It is most certainly not about the fact I stayed up till almost midnight knitting on said item, though I was mostly ripping out.  No, this post is about a little even I like to call Rutabaga 2012.

In exactly 29 weeks (yes, I counted) I will be getting married.  It's a scary thought that has often sparked a whirwind of panic when I think about the fact that I have done nothing about the food, the order of ceremony, purchasing rings, etc.  I have this really long check list that really doesn't fully apply to me because, frankly, I'm not spending a lot of money on this.  Both Chris and I are extremely broke and though my parents are helping with much of the financial expense, I am too budget conscious to let them spend much.

What most people probably find amusing about this is that I have been engaged for almost 13 months, but until a few weeks ago I had absolutely no interest in working on my wedding.  I was too focused on school and trying to find a job that would cover my rent to really care about the finer points of florists, photographers, and my adamant stand against djs.  But then it hit.  About 12 hours after graduation I suddenly cared.  A lot. Which is good because I now have less than six months to plan and execute this sucker.

But fear not.  I have thrown myself into wedding planning with more than a little gusto.  My mom and sister came up for two days before new years and within about 30 hours we had tried on and purchased my dress as well as both bridesmaid dresses.  Having the bridesmaid dresses gave me a color scheme.  Having the wedding dress has given me theme influencing ideas.  I have no pictures to offer because Chris often reads the blog and the one thing I have been very particular about is that he know nothing about my dress.  I took no pictures of my own and my mom took it home so that he won't stumble upon it when for some unknown reason I send him to my closet to find a pair of shoes because I'm stranded somewhere and have a gala to get to (hey, a girl can dream).

In the past week I have also confirmed a photographer (so far the most expensive part of the wedding, but I know it'll be worth it), figured out what to do about flowers (more on that later... I hope), and gone with Chris to create a registry at Target (fun, but not nearly as fun as everyone leads you to believe).  Next on the list is to create a wedding website and figure out a headcount for the guest list.  Are you not just dying to know more?  Yeah, me neither.  Who knew there was absolutely so much to do.  I'm sure you'll hear more about the stuff I've decided to cut out in the days to come as the crazy truly starts to sink in.


Geektastic Thursday: Pretty Little Award

If you were not on the internet last night you may not have heard news -- Pretty Little Liars won the People's Choice Award for best cable drama!  Yep, that's right, I'm a fan girl and I am so glad that this show is getting the recognition it deserves.  The show returned two weeks ago with a bang that left glass in my hair and Andrea and I both yelling at the tv "No!" and "I knew it!" at the same time.  And nothing beats a show that gets us to yell at the tv all night.

I am a recent PLL devotee, as of last summer.  Soon after we moved in to our apartment Andrea sat me down in front of the tv, queued up the pilot, and thus began our obsessive rewatch.  There was no turning back.  The writing is smart -- very very smart, actually -- and the plot is the perfect balance of outrageous teenage drama and chilling paranoia.  The idea that A is always watching and always waiting to turn your every move against you is just brilliant.  It takes all of the pressure of high school and amplifies it to the point that actual high school seems to be no big deal.

My only complaint about the return of the show has been the serious lack of knitwear.  Season one was filled with so much -- Spencer's crazy sweaters, everyone's hats, Aria's crazy fashion choices -- that it seemed to reach the level of actual knitting porn (Hey, this scene has no knitting in it. WHAT? NO KNITTING? Quick, put Aria in a ridiculously chic knit belt!).  In the past two weeks we've only been treated to one knit beret.  I hope this is not a sign of things to come, because if Spencer stops making her own clothes I may cry.  The next time one of them is in the hospital they should take up knitting to pass the time rather than digging around in the morgue.

Back to the serious stuff,  I want to point out that it is about time Pretty Little Liars got some recognition from the establishment.  It really is the best show targeting a young adult market on the air today.  Glee may claim that it is addressing issues for today's youth, but Pretty Little Liars actually deals with them.  Bullying, peer pressure, broken homes, and being gay in high school.  It's all there and addressed with a realistic candor that, frankly, is very refreshing.  And it is all dealt with by characters who are growing up to be strong, independent young women.  It just can't get any better, right?


Miscrossed Sleeves

My current favorite WIP to work on when home is the Gramps Cardigan, a design by Kate Oates.  I bought the pattern during her Black Friday sale and have to say, I am really enjoying it.  I am using Knit Picks Wool of the Andes in Opal Heather which has turned out to be a much softer wool than I had thought it would be.  I decided to try something new and not only knit the sleeves first, but also knit them two at a time.

I finished these on Saturday.  Like most knitters I am not a big fan of sleeve knitting, so it's exciting to have that part already out of the way.  The back and fronts are knit seamlessly and then the collar and button band are picked up.  I love having cables to knit again.  I had started out knitting without a cable needle, something I do a lot because of my socks, but I've discovered that in this case I prefer to have one around.  Makes things look much more even.

And yes, that is a miscrossed cable there.  I started the sleeves the night before my defense.  I noticed the mistake early on but decided to leave it.  It's a nice reminder of what I have conquered.



Last night I laid to rest Martin, beloved and seriously annoying mouse.  Martin led a good long life, living with me for over a year with his squeaky wheel.  To the best of my knowledge Martin was a year and a half old when he died, which is a good long life for a food mouse.  He was buried in the dumpster along with George, the Christmas tree, and took with him his favorite sock and his prized squeaky wheel.

Martin came to live with me on my 22nd birthday.  He was the child of terror and was confused as to how to behave around humans.  Mostly he just hid from me.  See, Martin was originally intended to be food for my brother's pet snake.  But somehow Martin escaped in the van on the way home and spent hours eluding my family until my sister found him doing battle with one of the cats.  She took him hostage and refused to give him back, but because she lives in a dorm she couldn't take him with her and so the crazy thing came to live with me.

Martin and I had an interesting relationship.  I'd buy him food, change his litter, and let him live in an old sock.  In turn he'd smell bad and run on his wheel in the middle of the night so that it made the most horrendous squeaking noise.  But we grew fond of each other.  Our real bonding moment came the day I got so annoyed with him that I spontaneously yelled at him in Russian rather than my intended English.  He froze and looked up at me in a sort of understanding.  That's when it hit me.  Martin was no ordinary food mouse, he was a Russian speaking food mouse!  From that time he became my little myshka and I became the insane person who had a pet mouse she only spoke to in a foreign language.  But we were a good pair.

I wish I had a picture to post of Martin, but he hated cameras in a way only the Amish can truly respect.  So instead I'll just say good bye, moya malenkaya myshka.


Wrong Frakking Apartment

I totally meant to start the Friday Wedding Updates this week, but my car decided that it felt unloved.  Evidently if I spend the money to repair a problem with the computer I need to spend an amount equal or greater on Glinda.  She decided to throw a tantrum on Friday and suddenly activate her check engine light for no apparent reason, the car equivalent of a three year old suddenly falling on the ground crying with no visible cause.  It's just confusing and scary as anything.  Fortunately Glinda is in no danger of exploding, but it took a lot of running around after work to make sure I can get her fixed tomorrow.  Here's hoping she matures a bit more as she ages into the second half of her second decade.  It really is time for her to put her priorities in order.

So after fun car craziness on Friday (hopefully not to be continued in the expensive car craziness sequal tomorrow), I came home for smoothies and tv night with Andrea.  We watch a lot of the same tv shows, often together.  We especially watch our creepy tv shows together, which is why we were in the middle of The Secret Circle when someone tried to open our door.  Being the deductive individuals we are and understanding that even with our limited mathematical skills we can still count to two, we immediately took action.  The oh my gosh someone is breaking into our apartment kind of action.

Let me preface this by saying that we live in a very nice apartment complex and do not have a need to constantly fear someone breaking in to our apartment.  There was that one incident in which the maintenance man came in while I was in the shower, but at least the leak in the kitchen sink was fixed by the time he left and we both had a funny story to show for it.  It should, however, be abundantly clear by this point that Andrea and I are paranoid individuals.  And when I say paranoid I mean that the one time I decided to try taking a bath last month I brought in the rock salt as a precaution to slow down angry spirits if I needed to get out the door.  So when I say we took action, it isn't just a peak out the window and see if someone's out there kind of thing.

To my memory the following took a total of twenty to thirty seconds (which I acknowledge is far too long if serious danger presented itself.  We may be enacting drills to improve this):

1) Random sound of door knob trying to turn.  I jump off the couch and go look out the peephole, taking care not to actually touch the door and alert anyone to my proximity.  I see a strange man.

2) I whisper to Andrea that said strange man is outside our door and we race to the end of the hall where she hands me the Jackle (a prop replica knife from Buffy that is seriously sharp) and I run back to the door.

3) Man is still standing there and then appears to lean something against the door and walks out of my field of vision.

4) I glance behind me and see Andrea standing there with her costume props of an airsoft rifle and giant sword, one in each hand, pointed at the door.  I wish I had taken a picture.

5) Man is back at the door.  He still has not knocked but he also hasn't tried the knob again so I decide not to confront him with our stabbing implements.  Suddenly the door across from ours opens and I hear a lot of noise and the dogs start barking.  I hear a woman call to the man, who picks up his stuff and goes in.

6)  I start laughing hysterically.

Apparently our neighbor had someone over but did not tell him which door was hers.  The current theory is that she told him the door was open and that is why he tried to just come in without knocking.  I can only imagine what would have happened had we opened the door.  The sight alone would probably terrify anyone, not because we're intimidating but just because it is probably scary that we would be that quick to arm ourselves.  At least it's nice to know that we are prepared, even if it is just another way we weird out the neighbors.  Honestly, I'm just glad I was knitting on my sweater and not a pair of socks.  I would have no qualms about whipping my Hiya-Hiya's into action, but it would have been a big tangle to clean up afterwards.


Miraculous Computery Goodness

Tonight is a very special night.  And not just because of the return of The Vampire Diaries and The Secret Circle.  And not even because Heather Hogan just posted her Pretty Little Liars recap, which is usually reason enough.  No, tonight is the night my computer was reborn.

In the past year and a half my computer has suffered numerous problems.  The fan shorted out, then the internet stopped connecting, the headphone jack broke, the keyboard decided to stop using key letters, like "r" and "c" (oh yeah, my first draft of my thesis was missing these letters.  Can you imagine how that went?), and then, the screen cracked.  It's been a dismal time for my computer and me, but honestly I guess that's what I get for naming my computer after my favorite Dollhouse doll.  They're always a little broken.

Yesterday the last piece of a working computer arrived in the mail.  My new screen.

Thankfully I live with a techie genius.  First she dismembered it.

And then she tore it to pieces.

And then . . . magically . . . it came back together.  And it is beautiful.


FO: Time of My Life Socks

Oh look at the pretties!

These are my Time of My Life Socks (Cat Bordhi's Darjeeling from The Knitter's Book of Socks).  I had a lot of fun knitting these as my lunch break socks at work, but I'm having even more fun wearing them.

The appeal of this design is the deceptive simplicity of them.  This is my first Cat Bordhi pattern and I have to say I am understanding everyone's praise of her genius.  The arch expansion and heel construction are pretty genius.  Unfortunately it's still a little baggy on my heels.  My current theory is that I have really narrow heels, which is why I love short row heels so much.

But it was still really fun to learn a new technique.

The real joy of these socks is the yarn.  I bought this from Unwind Yarn Company during a sale and it does not disappoint.  The twist holds up well to my crazy tinking needs.  Some yarns start to fluff up after a while, but I didn't have that problem. This was also my first time knitting socks out of a cashmere blend and they are just as soft and cozy as promised.  Add in some lovely splashes of color and this really is an awesome yarn to work with.

Because I tend to knit shorter socks I have almost half a skein leftover.  I'm not sure what I'm going to do yet, but I'm thinking yoga socks.  It is finally getting cold here and I'd like to be able to keep my feet warm without wearing out my regular socks.  We'll see what I come up with.



Today's post is just a small bit of housekeeping.  I promise I'll post my final FO from 2011 tomorrow (hint: it's more socks!).   In two weeks Faithfully Geeky will have its third year anniversary.  I started this blog my last semester of college as a way to chronicle my growth as a knitter, and it has gone through fits and starts as I tried to continue blogging my way through grad school, language school, and the many many projects I made on the way.

Don't worry, this is not a good bye or a change of location.  I have loved keeping this blog, but I don't think I have expressed that very well.  There have been times when I have been so busy I let the blog slide and didn't update for months on end.  So I've decided that it is time to refocus my efforts and to assure this I'm going to try some new things.  This has nothing to do with the new year but is driven by the fact that I have found myself in a much different place in my life than I was last year and so want to change things up to bring a better product.

First up,  I'm going to start planning more.  I often plan out posts in my head, but I never actually write out a schedule, which is odd, because I am very much a schedule driven person.  I start each day by making a mental to-do list and have an obsession with writing everything down in my planner (you never know when you'll have to testify as to where you were three years ago on Jan 3 at 9am).  In an effort to bring better quality to the blog I am going to do this.

Also, I am going to allow myself to write posts that deal more with my personal life.  It's hard to find a balance when this is, after all, a personal blog.  It may center around knitting, but my life does influence the way a lot of my knitting turns out.  This is nothing extreme and will not be like keeping a diary.  I'm going to start by doing a Friday wedding update.  If you don't want to read about it, you can skip those posts, but for those who care I am getting married the first Friday in August and this will be a fun way to count down through the planning insanity.

The last change I'm going to make is a complete no-brainer.  I'm going to return to some of my geeky roots. This blog has the name it has for a reason, but I often leave out the real geeky part of my personality.  Part of this is because for much of the time I have been running this blog I was involved in geek-related podcasts and so got most of my chatter out there.  However, I am currently podcast-less and I am starting to feel the void, so look out for some sort of weekly geek obsession in the near future.

I'm making these changes in the hopes that I can better improve this space.  My only resolution for the new year involved spending more time writing, an activity I really miss now that I am out of school.  Hopefully you will stick with me into this new phase of Faithfully Geeky.   I have some of the most awesome readers in the world, and want to honor that with a more serious approach to the blog.

Ok, now back to my normal random insanity.

Eva secures uncooperative kitty.


Nothing New Here

Happy new year!  I hope everyone had a fun new year's eve.  I rang the new year in the way I love best -- sound asleep.  I know, I'm lame.  But we had a crazy week at work and I was tired.  Plus as a student my measure of time has always been August, rather than January.  I'd say this year is different since I graduated, but I'm getting married in August, so it's still the milestone month for me.

I wasn't going to do a year in knitting review because I have just been too caught up in crazy wedding planning, but last night I was struck by the need to leave no loose ends from 2011.  Obviously I could not finish all my lingering WIPs, but I did pick one.  My Vampire Academy Cowl only needed the ends woven in, so I took the loose end thing literally and finished it off.

This makes for 40 FOs in 2011.  Which is a lot more than I thought I would knit.   According to my Ravelry notebook this makes for:

7 pairs of socks
2 scarves
8 hats
5 cowls
6 shawls
4 small random gifties
and 7 (!) sweaters

Excuse me while I pat myself on the back.  One of my biggest knitting goals this year was to knit things I actually liked.  I did some major frogging this year and I think I really learned that truth.  If I don't like it now, I won't wear it later.

I don't have any real knitting goals for 2012.  I know I'll be knitting somethings for the wedding, though I'm not sure what exactly they will be.  Mostly I plan to just continue as I have.  It's been a pretty lean year for me financially, and that won't be changing any time soon.  I'm going to keep stashing when I have the funds and not feeling guilty for the occasional splurge.  If there's one thing I know now that I didn't know last year, it's that the stash can save my sanity.  It's ok to add to it because it, like a savings account, is a measure of security when the yarn money runs out.