Some of you might wonder "Who sent you this particular spindle?"
Sunday, December 24, 2006
Some of you might wonder "Who sent you this particular spindle?"
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
I knew immediately that they were doctors from their dress shirts, harried expressions, and complete lack of manners. I realize that no one is probably at their best before 8:00am, but you should at least acknowledge that someone is holding the door open for you.
When I was a girl, the word "doctor" conjured up visions of a [handsome] man in an immaculate white coat. (There were no women doctors where I grew up.) Otoscope in hand, he boldly strode forth to save the world.
But the doctor of my dreams never carried a stethescope. Why? Because even as a girl, I intuitively knew that cardinal rule of how to recognize members of the healthcare team: "If you see a man with a stethescope around his neck, he's a nurse. If you see another man borrow that man's stethescope, the second man is a doctor."
It's become such a running gag of nursing that I heard one of the night shift nurses tell the day shift charge nurse, "If Dr. So-and-So wants to borrow anyone's stethescope, tell him he has to sing a Christmas carol first."
And the charge nurse responded. "That's not a bad idea! I met Dr. Such-and-Such in Wal-Mart yesterday--guess she didn't recognize me without stealing my stethescope!"
Sunday, December 10, 2006
As I type, it's about 4:30am (or as I have recently been brainwashed by the nursing profession to call it, 0430.) And I can't sleep. I'm actually more awake and alert and perky right now than I was last night at about 5pm.
I didn't have to work last night, but after working three shifts in a row the nights before that, my body is slowly getting into a "rhythm." I'm not sure what kind of rhythm it is, given my complete inability to clap on beat, but it seems that I'm slowly developing a more nocturnal sleep-wake cycle.
You might have noticed that there is very, very little family resemblance between these three men. That's because they're all adopted.
Specifically, they adopted each other. Yep, Brian, Brad, and Billy have known each other since junior high, and for all intents and purposes which aren't legally binding, they are brothers. And just like when my brother EJ visits, when "the boys" come to town, many video games will be played in the name of male togetherness.
Over the years, I have become well-acquainted with this esoteric rule of masculine interactions, and accept it as a natural consequence of Thanksgiving. (Which I realize was two weeks ago, but our family has never been particularly picky about when to observe holidays. After all, holidays are about family, and if your family isn't present for the actual day, you just celebrate it some other time when they're there.)
Unfortunately, there was just one small flaw in this plan: I had to work this week. Of the three nights they were here, I worked two of them. So when I knew the dates of their visit would conflict with my work schedule, I set two important ground rules:
1) Don't wake me up.
2) Don't expect me to cook.
It turns out I was overly optimistic about rule number one. I know they tried very hard to be quiet, but it's incredibly difficult to sack Rome and be silent. (Although to be fair, I was awakened far more frequently by the apartment maintenance men, who have been laying new sidewalks at our apartment complex. Jackhammers are much louder than I would have guessed.)
But I had much better luck with rule number two. I'm still not sure what they actually ate while they were here (other than a 5 lb box of Goldfish crackers) but I didn't have to cook anything for them. (They also went through a lot of pop. And when I say a lot, what I really mean is that if you go through two 2-liter bottles and three and a half dozen cans of pop in a three day period, that's 18.96 liters of pop. And because we don't believe in diet soda in our family, 7900 calories. )
And when I woke up this morning, Brad had cleaned the kitchen. What more could a girl want when letting family members sleep on the floor and expecting them to entertain themselves?
Tuesday, December 5, 2006
When I pointed out that that would require more days to make than remain before Christmas, he had a second choice. "Could you make me black socks with white checks all over them?"
Again, this will not happen for EJ's Christmas. For several reasons, actually. First, there is a limited amount of time before Christmas, and as I have several gifts still to make, there's a good chance most people won't get socks. (But I got Grandma's done, and that's all that matters.) Second, I don't have enough black, or enough white yarn to do socks for my brother--or anyone else. But most importantly, I really don't like doing color-work. I've had limited success with intarsia, but attempting to do Fair Isle has resulted in my most spectacular, profanity-inducing, "let's just burn it because I hate it too much to even think about frogging it" knitting disasters of all time. (With the possible exception of when I was seven and tried to make a circular needle by gluing two chopsticks to a piece of green yarn. But we shall not speak of this.)
For Brian's Christmas sweater (which I have been working on since June) I am working a simple color panel down the center of each sleeve. Ever since I discovered that I am able to focus my short attention span on twined knitting, I can do at least some simple color work patterns. (I prefer the ones that involve stripes, because that way the twining goes into a rhythm and I don't have to count my stitches. Like the heel on this sock I designed last year:)
The twining method makes it much easier for me to do color-work (and results in much less profanity) than any other method I have tried. Unfortunately, it also makes my wrist start hurting after about twenty minutes. Brian's sweater is going to be one-of-a-kind for many reasons, but especially due to my continuing troubles with color patterns.
And for my brother? I think I'm going to knit him a little cell phone case shaped like a straight jacket. Something simple, quick, and in keeping with our family's notoriously bizarre sense of humor. And with only one color.
Saturday, December 2, 2006
Left to my own devices, I will go to sleep at ten in the evening and wake up at eight. Why? Because when God made me, God apparently said to the angels, "Hey, let's make her need ten hours of sleep--just to do something different for once!" And the angels nodded their heads and chorused back to God, "Good idea, Boss!"
Unfortunately, this example of questionably Intelligent Design means that if I stay up past midnight, my head turns into a pumpkin. I develop a searing headache and my capacity for rational thought goes through the toilet. In five years of college, I never once pulled an all-nighter--because I knew the end result would probably lower my grade more than skipping the assignment.
I worked Wednesday and Thursday nights. This meant that in the thirty six hours from 8:45am Friday to 8:45pm today, I slept for about twenty three of those hours. It's nice to have a job, but the idea that working nights means that I won't have a life really is taking some getting used to.
I get so much more knitting accomplished when I'm not working. (The flip side of this is that jobs help me pay for yarn, so I suppose that there is some merit to gainful employment.)
The burgundy cabled socks I started on for EJ are not going to be his gift after all. When I tried them on to check the length, I realized that the cables made the sock pull in far more than I'd anticipated. And if I can barely get them on over my size 8 women's foot, there was no way they'd fit my brother's size 10 men's feet. So, rather than rip out four day's knitting, and start over, I think they'll be a gift for one of my female friends. One of the ones with small feet.
Which means... I have no idea what EJ will get for Christmas. Maybe a learn-to-knit-yourself-socks kit? I think this Red Cross commemorative one comes in a suitably masculine bile green color.
Friday, November 24, 2006
Unfortunately, due to the the vagaries of corporate payrolls, I won't get paid for another three weeks. Which means that buying more yarn will probably have to wait until after Christmas, when we're a bit more on our feet financially.
As any knittaholic knows, Christmas is the biggest gift-giving occasion of the year. I may knit other things, but when I'm in doubt as to what to make for someone, I have an old-standby. In the words of Meegan, my sis-in-law, "Socks! Socks! Socks!" make a great gift.
While my grandma has adorably small feet and it's easy (and quick!) to knit socks for her, the men in the family are a bit-more big boned. And at this point of Christmas knitting insanity, I'm not sure if I have enough sock yarn that's all of one color (or even enough yarn of coordinating colors) to do a pair of men's socks. (And convincing my brother that I made him socks that are pink with purple stripes "because I love you" might be a bit of a hard sell.)
And then I found the box of extra yarn I'd packed in April before we moved to Nome. (With my short attention span, it's like visiting the yarn store, but with someone else footing the bill!)
While most of it is leftover worsted-weight acrylic from a smocked sweater I finished in March, I did find this:
And while I have no idea what you're supposed to use sport-weight cotton crochet thread for, the Knitting Fairy visited me last night as I sat
watching reruns of Lois and Clark and bemoaning the amount of turkey I'd eaten.
Clad solely in skeins of Lorna's Laces, she flitted through the living room, doing a few pirouettes as she gaily waved her hand-carved rosewood needles. "You hate doing doilies!" she reminded me, using a needle to secure her bun of flyaway graying hair. "And it'd be silly to waste good yarn doing a project you despise. But..."
She let the words hang in the air as she added the other needle to her bun. "It's the same weight as your beloved cotton from Knit Picks --wouldn't it make lovely men's socks?"
And with those parting words, she cartwheeled out of my apartment.
So I decided to start work on this:
Cotton tends to be a bit slouchy for socks, but it's always a nice option for people with a wool allergy. Between my and Brian's families, about 75% of the relatives I like well enough to consider making socks for them are allergic to wool. (And I can never remember which ones are in the lucky 25%.)
I've had varying degrees of success with knitting cotton socks over the years, but I know cables will solidify any cuff that's at risk for sagging. Just in case, I twisted all the ribbing stitches, and threw in a heavy 5-rib cable on both sides of the cuff for stability. I'm not sure how durable this mystery yarn is, but if my brother EJ wears out these socks, it won't be due to a flaw in the construction!
Sunday, November 19, 2006
And those projects which are small and require comparatively inexpensive yarn (or smaller amounts of their favored pricey fiber) generally make me sit back and go "What were they thinking?"
For example, behold the holiday 2006 special edition of Interweave Knits. Specifically, the "Wooly Pears" project on page 14. They look cute, and judging from the pattern, reasonably easy to make. However, the question remains: "Who wakes up in the morning, wanting something to knit, and says "I'd like to knit fruit, and then I want to felt it"?"
Apparently, Nicky Epstein does.