Thursday, August 29, 2013

All Hail the Queen

I'm knitting, but I'm in that stage where a picture of swaths of red stockinette won't interest anyone, myself included. Instead, let's talk flowers.
More specifically, let's talk these zinnias.
Queen Red Lime Zinnia (mine from here) 
I bought a packet of these seeds after admiring their photos online. I don't particularly have good luck with seeds, so my expectations were low.
They didn't need to be.
There are a ton of blooms on each plant, they last a long time, and they're even interesting when they're dying.

I don't plant a lot of annuals, thinking that perennials are worth the investment in the long run. I think I'll be planting these again, quite possibly in more places than just two pots. I'm going to cut a bloom and take it to work with me (in this). Autumn is coming. I'm going to enjoy the flowers while I can.

Friday, August 23, 2013

A Love Story

Once upon a time, there was a gray sheep. Her names was Matilda, and she was lonely. She had plenty of friends in her flock, but it seemed like all of them had found their true loves.

Matilda had not.

Each time the Farmer showed up with a new ram, Matilda's heart leaped within her wooly chest. Would he be the one?

And each time she was disappointed.

Matilda sadly decided that perhaps she would never find love. As the months passed, she found she could be happy without love. She had many things--friends, excellent food, fresh water, her love of mixed martial arts, pastures in which to romp. Matilda put love out of her mind.

One day, the Farmer made some repairs to his fence. He took a break and went to the farmhouse for a scone and some iced coffee. Several of the sheep, Matilda included, ambled over to take a look at the fence and the tools the Farmer had left. The fence smelled of new wood, and some of the tools smelled of oil. These new smells properly sniffed, the sheep began to amble away.

But Matilda saw something on the ground, and her heart leapt.

The other sheep saw a large sheet of sandpaper, but not Matilda. When her eyes locked with the sandpaper's, she knew she had found her soulmate. 

Matilda and Howard lived on a liberal farm, and while some members of the flock and some tools in the garage might have wondered about the odd pairing, mostly they were grateful that their friends had found someone to care about who cared about them. Matilda and Howard were happy.

It was with great excitement that the flock and the tools waited for the arrival of Matilda and Howard's first child. Born was a beautiful sheep with the scratchiest wool that ever existed. When the sheep was shorn, the fleece was spun into yarn, but the Spinner didn't know who would want to use such yarn.

It was a beautiful gray, but oh, so scratchy.

The yarn found itself wound onto cones and sold as leftovers from a weaving factory. A lovely couple on vacation bought two such cones and gave them to their friend, a Knitter. The couple asked the Knitter to make them a pair of socks to hang as decoration in their house along with some antique clothes.

The Knitter loved the couple very much, and so she agreed.

The yarn was so happy! It had never dared dream that it would be used by a Knitter! The yarn knew it was scratchy, and it had assumed that no one would dare spent the hours with it required to knit something by hand. The yarn waited, sure that the Knitter would give up.

But the Knitter did not give up.

And when the socks were finished and blocking, the yarn wept with happiness, clouding the water with its tears.

And Matilda, Howard, their children, and the socks lived happily ever after.

The end.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Polyommatus argiolus Socks

A project is finished and photographed. It feels like a miracle.

Polyommatus argiolus sock (mine ravelled here),
Budding Twig colorway

These are from Hunter Hammersen's Knitter's Curiosity Cabinet, Volume II. There are some great patterns in this book, and Hunter's sponsoring knitalongs on Ravelry to help those of us who look at patterns become those of us who knit patterns. The push is welcome.

The pattern is quite pretty. It's a 20 row chart of 8-stitch repeats. There are different charts for the left and right sock, so there's some nice mirroring happening.

I didn't enjoy these as much as I had hoped for one simple reason: I don't like this colorway.

Do you know who does enjoy these colors? My mom.

Hello, finished Christmas present. Welcome!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

State Your Intentions

I am in the thick of the Season of Stupidity at work. It comes every year around this time. This year, it's particularly early, but I'm clinging to the fact that an early beginning means an early ending.

Right at the beginning, I made someone mad at me. I knew she was going to get mad. That's another ritual of the Season of Stupidity: People act stupidly. (And often predictably. This particular person gets mad every year.)

So, although I didn't let it bother me too much that she was angry, it did give me the opportunity to review my actions and see if I could do any better. Could I have done my job in such a way that it didn't make that person mad? Probably not. But, I could perhaps have tried to be kinder. It wouldn't have made any difference in this particular case, but it was something to think about moving forward.

I gave some thought to how I wanted to behave, and I decided to focus on three things:

Competent: My job at this time of year gets complicated and mired in minutia. Of the three, I do the best in competence. I'm good at my job.

Careful: Sometimes I move too quickly, and I could avoid errors if I were a little more careful. I'm fairly good at this, but it could use more focus. In the interaction with the cranky lady, she might have been less cranky if I hadn't made a silly typo. Probably not, but maybe.

Kind: This is the one that needs the most attention. Yesterday I was rebuilding a computer--something I really don't have time to do right now--because the end user had gotten a virus that the IT company called "particularly insidious." There is little doubt that the end user got the virus by using the Internet for non-work-related things, and that makes me cranky. She felt horrible, and it wouldn't have done any good to be snarky with her. I tried really hard to focus on being kind... and I told her not to use her computer for non-work-related things.

We have a ridiculously complicated, labor-intensive process at work for this Season of Stupidity. I'm trying to remember that the public only deals with this process once a year. The majority of them aren't trying to be assholes; they just don't understand that we need things a certain way because omg there are 1500 of you. Kindness.

I have no illusions that I'm going to be able to pull this off in all of my interactions over the next six weeks. I do, however, want to dedicate myself to trying.

I hereby formally state my intentions.

Go ahead and send a little positive energy into the universe on my behalf. Thanks.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

To Infinity and Beyond

I started the sweater! I knit a gauge swatch and washed it. I was taking no chances that the knitting gods would decide to smite me for not doing the proper prep work.

My gauge isn't perfect. Over 4", I'm getting an extra half-stitch, and my row gauge is a bit short. However, the stitch gauge is close enough that changing needle sizes would make it worse, and the row gauge will handle itself since most of the instructions involving length tell me to knit to a specific length, not to knit a specific number of rows.


I knit last night for a couple episodes of Dollhouse*. At the end, I spread it out to admire it.

I created a twist when I joined to work in the round.

I did the only thing I could do in that situation. I shoved it into a bag and picked up something that is knit straight.

In garter stitch.

At times like this, I need to remind myself that I know how to knit. I'll get back to the sweater soon.

*Yes, I realize it's not 2009. We're just now watching this on Netflix. Don't tell me anything that happens.