Friday, March 28, 2008

Still alive..

Yes, still alive, just haven't finished anything in, well, a while. What can I say? Law school and pizza servitude have a tendency to eat one's brain and time. This week was the first time that I'd had a day off in close to a month.

That said, things are still happening on the knitting front. I thought I had nearly finished my Basalt tank, but not it's appearing there are *tremble* gauge issues. Which is a nice way of saying that it's going to be far, far too big on me (the fact that I've lost weight since I started it doesn't help... stupid pizza shop). However, I'm still rather fond of it, and am going to avoid frogging it if possible. If it comes out stupidly big, I might try and add sleeves to it and make it a jumper-type thing. We shall see.

Bought yarn yesterday, like the filthy depraved person I am. Among purchases was some Noro Silk Garden, and some lovely Filatura di Crosa Centolavaggi - lace weight whatnot in a beautiful teal blue colour. I haven't decided what to do with the Noro yet; I've got a few ideas kicking around, but more than anything else, I just wanted to buy some because I was bothering to make the trek out to WoolBaa - the shops that are not out of my way don't carry it, so this way I'll have some if any appropriate patterns grabs my attention. The other I bought because I'm itching to knit some kind of big, lacey thing. I've only made small forays into the world of lace so far, but found it immensely enjoyable when I did, so I figured it was about time. Thinking of making a Kiri shawl, or something along those lines...

Writing is still happening, albeit at a slower rate since uni went back (not all that surprising really, I guess). I'm 27k into the follow on, and sometime this week I'm going to go back and start reworking the draft of the first one. I haven't touched it for around a month now, except for referring back to the final chapter now and then just for continuity stuff, but I've started making a mental list of stuff that I already know needs fixing. *happy sigh* I love writing, so much fun.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Hat-ness and new yarn!

Well, Richard's hat is now finished, though I think it's going to end up being a hat for me, because I honestly don't think it would fit him and his giant teenage boy type head. Here it is on me, anyway:

I look like some kind of cartoon character in this picture... Sorry about the blurriness... what can I say, but I suck at photos (especially ones taken of myself in the bathroom mirror).

Anyway, this means that I have successfully wrangled colour work for the first time. And had to do it with a self-designed thing, because I am stubborn and overly ambitious. Well, it worked anyway, or at least the colourwork part did. However, the top shaping fell victim to my short attention span, and my lack of botheredness when it comes to maths. So the decreases are bizarrely random and weirdly spaced, and it's a little too short. Methinks I shall refine the design a little (change the colourwork pattern so it's worked over a saner number of stitches, or at least one that's more easily divisible for decrease purposes, and make it a little bigger) and then make another one for the brother dear. Since I do still owe him a hat. Oh well, it's still thirty-odd degree weather here, so I'm sure he can wait a while longer...

Anyway, still beavering away on the Basalt tank. I picked up stitches with no issues (for some reason, I'm still deathly afraid of it, one button band and half a log cabin later), and am now happily working my way through hexagon two.

Oh, and I have shiny, shiny, lovely yarn.

I ordered some Merino/Cashmere sock yarn from The Knittery earlier this week, and was beginning to wonder why it hadn't arrived yet (it didn't have to travel very far, and the website had implied that it would be there within a day or so - which had passed). I got home yesterday from a three hour lecture all cranky because my bank account was overdrawn again and I had blisters on my toes that were as big as the toes themselves (or very nearly anyway), hoping that my shiny nice yarn would be waiting for me. There was no yarn...

Anyway, so I cheered myself up in other ways (other ways in this instance being eating cheese on toast and Lindt chilli dark chocolate, reading some Michael Moorcock, watching Lady Chatterly and knitting some more of my Basalt tank - all fine things), and then at about 11pm Chris got home. When I was just going to bed not long after this he said "By the way, a package came for you the other day. It's in the car, because I keep forgetting to bring it in". So, while I was languishing and yarnless (okay, not yarnless, but without this yarn), my beloved Merino Cashmere 4ply was going for pizza scented joy rides in Chris' car.... Right...

Anyway, we finally got there!
I bought two skeins, one in Moonlight (the bottom one) and the other in Earth, and they're... just... so... pretty.
I should not be allowed to own things as pretty as this:

*swoons*. And they came with a Chuppa Chup in the package!
I'm thinking I quite like The Knittery...

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Hexagons and blatant silliness (oh, and Noro)

Behold, I have hexagons on the brain. In other words, I finished my first Basalt tank hexagon and got tired of taking sensible photos of it that actually showed it properly. Seemed like a good idea at the time (this may have been due to the fact that I was actually running a fever and was generally not totally with it), and maybe it was; you can actually see the colour a lot better in this shot than in the others I took. Also, you can see some of my books. I can make out Atwood's The Blind Assassin and The Mammoth Book of Zombies just to the side of my right eye. Awesome.

Well, anyway, whatever it was that was trying to eat my immune system continued on its rampage today, so I pulled a sickie and did not vend pizza. This meant there was time for knitting and writing, the fine and all-consuming pursuits that they are.

First thing is first: THE FIRST DRAFT IS FINISHED! I'm not normally one for the good old caps lock button, but do think that in certain circumstances, using it can be justified - and finishing the first draft of one's story/novel/drivelly thing I've been writing definitely falls into the justified category. Yep. Finished. All 105,353 words of it (yes, I need to cut stuff, I'm aware of that). Written in a little over two months, which I think is a damn good effort.

I know I blather on about this, whereas if we're being realistic, I'm sure that the story isn't actually all that good, and chances are that it will never actually see the light of day in any kind of book form. But the thing is, I am really, really bad at finishing the things that I start. Just look at my Ravelry notebook for proof of this (although the scary thing is that I'm actually pretty good as far as knitting is concerned). I've spent the last few years starting stories, thinking about them, but never getting more than a few thousand words down on paper (well, in Microsoft Word anyway).
But at the start of this year I got tired of being this way about everything, so I decided I would write a properly structured, novel length story. I figured I would do a little bit every day until it was done (the fact that it's only taken two months is testament to my erratically addictive personality). And you know what? I did. And this means so much to me, beyond what anyone else might think of what it was I wrote. I am still appalling bad at finishing things. But I have now finished this, and that is a truly awesome thing.
What's more, I loved doing it. I think I've already said here that writing as kept me going in this period of job suckfulness and drudgery. That's still true. But I've loved the writing itself, and loved it totally independent of what it might do in the future. I may try and clean it up and send it off to some poor unsuspecting agent. I might not. But whatever happens, I am so glad I wrote it, simply for the pleasure of writing. I loved the way that the story fluctuated, the way that the characters would turn on me and staunchly refuse to do the things I had in mind for them because they had other ideas, the way that ideas would suddenly swoop down on my unsuspecting brain while I was walking to the train station. I even grew to appreciate the ebb and flow of the writing process; sometimes I wanted to write until my brain shrivelled up, and other times it was "no, not happening today, so there". It's all good to me. And I suspect that this is good thing.

Anyway, enough about that. And back to hexagons :D (one track mind, me?). Finished the first one, am just getting started on the second, and so far it's tremendous fun. I don't know if I'll still be so pleased about them when I'm on hexagon no. 7, but here's hoping.

Here is wee baby hexagon no. 1. He pleases me no end. I can't believe I'm going to say this, but I even enjoyed sewing the seam. Yes, you heard. Though I suspect that might be due to the yarn; I've never sewed a seam in cotton before, and it's so much better because you can actually tell what the hell you're doing because the yarn is less hairy.

And, because I'm feeling camera happy today, here is a photo of the Noro Kureyon that I definitely didn't buy on Wednesday:

And see that red mark on the wrist of yours truly? That, boys and girls, is why we need to be very careful around the pizza oven door when it is broken. Two weeks ago I would not have taken this photo for fear of grossing everyone out, but all the blisters have healed now, so I figured it was all good. I mean, honestly, what is the point in hurting yourself if you can't show it to everyone? (yes, I am one of those strange people who show off bruises - I'm so fishbelly white that mine always look worse than they are too)

Back to uni tomorrow. We now return you to law school drudgery... Note to self; bring hexagons in case of emergency (or very boring Corporations Law lecture)...

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Idiocy and new verbs

Stupid Melbourne weather. It decides to crank out a cold day to celebrate the end of summer, and what happens? We all get sick, that's what happens (and by all, I mean me and about three other people I know... so 'all' might be a slight exaggeration, but so what...). So, just before uni goes back, I'm all sniffly and gross. Hurrah.

Anyway, because I'm sick and disoriented, I'm being a little bit of an idiot at the moment. I should be writing, I should be wanting to write, but instead I would rather hexagon. Yes, I have proclaimed hexagon to be a verb. Perhaps that should be 'hexagonning'. I quite like that. I've started knitting the Basalt tank from Knitting Nature, so there's going to be a lot of hexagonning around here for the next while. It's lots of fun so far; it's one of those patterns where you look at it and are totally unsure of whether it's going to actually look decent on you. But it looks like it will be fun to knit if nothing else, and even if it doesn't look good on me, I'll settle for unusual looking. Anyway, where was I? Ah yes, hexagonning:

Behold the fruits of the hexagonning! I'm liking the yarn as well (Jo Sharp Soho Summer DK Cotton); I went and raided Woolbaa (I definitely didn't buy Noro while I was there either) for it, and I'm glad I made the trip. It's nice to knit with, the colour is lovely (much darker in real life than in this picture), and it wasn't too expensive (comparatively anyway - much cheaper than the Rowan Wool Cotton the pattern suggested). Anyway, so all is well on the hexagon front, so far.

Right now it feels like there are so many things I could finish and get out of the way if I just bothered to put in a concerted effort for a short while. My mystery yarn bag only needs me to get the sewing machine out for about fifteen minutes before it will be done. The hat I'm knitting for the Pilchard only needs me to sit down for about that to figure out the top half of the colourwork, and then maybe an hour, or two at the most, of actual knitting to finish. And my story (I love my story, have I told anyone that lately?) only needs about 1-2 hours of sustained effort before the first draft is finished (not some stupid word count milestone but actually start-to-end finished!), but here I am blogging instead. At least I know what will be on my agenda if I leave work early today from being sick (which may or may not happen - husbandy type creature is a hard taskmaster - not to mention amusingly different in his views on when I should take a sickie now that he is running the place I'm working for).

Maybe I'll go hexagon some more...