Wednesday, June 28, 2006

One Jaywalker down...thanks World Cup!

Every four years there is an event that brings me close to missing my ex-husband--le Mondial! See, we were GREAT as pot-smoking buddies (it was the '80s), we racked up credit card debt on carefree, live now-pay later vacations to Italy, France and Morocco (4 times) like nobody's business, had so much fun spending our twenties letting the wine flow at late night parties in Athens, GA. with slacker pals and, most memorably, bonded over professional sporting events. Good times. (And I'm still paying for them, literally and figuratively). However, when children and responsibilities were introduced into the picture, the house of cards came tumbling down and the marriage went south...The World Cup was our primo event, we always had a blast together. His dad was a professional player, he had encyclopedic knowledge of the game and a lot of enthusiasm and taught me much about it. Gradually it became the only guaranteed stress-free period of our life together. That was a long time ago, and now we have both thankfully moved on and have negotiated a much better, healthier relationship as friends. He lives in Brooklyn and owns this store. I am married to the Darling Marxist Curmudgeon with whom I am much happier, he's truly the love of my life and I can't believe I get to spend every day from here on out with him. Nevertheless I have been enjoying the hell out of the World Cup and am knitting up a storm during the matches while I fondly remembering the parts of the first marriage relationship that weren't a problem.

I finished the Jaywalker this afternoon, and I have to say I am happy with it and feel energized and ready to start number two. I feared the second sock syndrome but instead the opposite has occured-- I fervently want to finish so I can have a guilt-free start on the Koigu socks. Go Argentina and Jaywalking forever and ever!

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Summer A.D.D. : at loose ends

I don't get it--sometimes looking at other knitting blogs I feel so, well, inadequate. Log on to any knitting blog these days are you are likely to find avid knitters completing projects on a regular basis and proudly displaying their finished objects. I feel like they know something I don't know, perhaps they have some time-management skills that are under-developed in me. Maybe I am unbeknownst to myself actually knitting underwater, because there are some terribly speedy knitters out there. I assume that these knitters also have jobs and families and aren't on speed, yet somehow they seem to be able to knit around the clock and produce many, many hand knit garments. I am jealous.
For some reason this summer the A.D.D. has been kicking in something fierce. The last several weeks I seem to have a pathological need to begin new projects before finishing old ones--this is the lamentable story of my knitting life. Rather than actually complete a project during the great expanse of time known as summer, that time when academic types like me have a 4 month reprieve from lesson planning, advising students and daily trips to campus, I dilly-dally around and don't seem to manage to finish a darn thing. It's almost as if I need the pressure of a daily work schedule to actually get anywhere with my knitting--suddenly when I can knit all day, every day, I spin my wheels. How lame!
I will say that I have made progress on the Jaywalkers, although I agree with the Lone Knitter that they take forever. But I am liking them--trouble is, the second sock syndrome is kicking in, before the first one is even finished. Oy gevalt!

Because the Jaywalkers tend to require at least a modicum of concentration, I realized that I needed a no-brainer project that I could grab and take to the pool, so I impulse purchased a Lisa Knits pattern for a Ribbed Shell. I love the Lisa Knits patterns because they are so easy to follow and she is a localish (Latrobe, PA.) gal. I am knitting the shell in what has become my default yarn:Skacel Polo. The pattern requires the broken rib stitch, have you tried it? (row 1: p1 k1, row 2: k). Sounds easy, right? Not to be a complainer, but that broken rib stitch is kicking my ass! I have been working on that thing non-stop since Thursday and have only accomplished about 3 inches--it's taking.
If you have read this far and haven't stuck a needle in your eye because of all the knitting negativity, I thank you and promise not to be such a kvetch next time!

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Princeton and environs yarn crawl

Part of being on vacation for a knitter is, obviously, checking out local yarn stores, right? If I were a stamp collector (which I used to be, 32 years ago--egads!) I would spend my free time searching out appropriate purveyors of all things philatelic. But I'm not, so instead I spent my evening visiting two stores and scoring some yarn that is not available within a 100-mile radius of my home--I include this info in case my husband the Darling Marxist Curmudgeon is reading this and wondering what in the hell his wife the A.D.D. Knitter is doing buying more yarn. The good news, honey: I spent less than $63! The bad news: Princeton is still the playground of the ultra-rich!

First of all, let me say that in all my shallow glory I am completely smitten with Princeton, NJ. If you've ever been there, you know the intense cuteness that I am talking about. Shops with Lily Pulitzer pink-and-green togs on display in the window, completely buff lacrosse players with awesome tans (I know that thinking lacrosse players are cute is not politically correct right at this particular moment, but lacrosee players are undeniably HOT and although it's certainly a sure sign of middle-age to be leering at barely out-of-adolescence 20 year old boys, I stand by this obervation), super-smart Poindexter types coming off campus for a quick shot of espresso before they head off to their political economy courses, and well-preserved Episcopalian women d'une certaine âge strolling the streets with their wicker purses and patchwork pants--hey, I love it all.
There are several establishments that I want to draw your attention to, one of them is the killer yarn store pictured above: Pins and Needles. This store was definitely worth the trip! They are open late on Thursday nights and so had many customers to deal with, but both employees were terribly friendly and quickly apologized for being so busy. No matter--I am the kind of customer that likes to browse on my own, anyway. That whole early 90's Gap-employee-greeter-in-your-face thing is such a pain, in my book. After browsing around I zeroed in on some Koigu PPPM, I'd been coveting it for a while and wondering what all the fuss was about. I bought two colorways--#120 and #146--and am eager to wind it and get moving on some socks.
Just around the corner on Nassau Street there is one of the best bookstores I've ever been to, EVER. Somehow over years I've begun going to those big box stores like Barnes and IgNoble and have started to believe their bullsh*&^ about it actually being a good bookstore--this has happened because, as I have stated before, there are no independent booksellers where I live. But going to Micawber Books has reminded be what a good bookstore is all about--they have new and used titles and their new fiction selection is the best I've seen. The children's section is huge and caters to every taste--in my case, this taste is for reprints of books from the early part of the century. Love Micawber Books and the nerdy yet stylishly hip crew that works there!!
I visited another yarn shop near Princeton in Pennington, NJ called The Woolly Lamb. This is a very large knitting and needlepoint shop that has a huge selection of yarn and canvasses. I believe you can judge the overall economic health of an area by the number of needlepoint stores that it can support--let's just say that Princeton had a lot of needlpoint stores, and Nascar, PA. has, well, none. The owner slightly freaked when I wanted to take a picture of the store for my blog--apparently a blogger had written some unkind things about her shop and she was gun shy--but after convincing her that my pen was not of a poisoned nature she let me snap some pics--SUCKER!!!
Totally kidding, her shop is great with an excellent selection--the only thing I bought was a Monkeysuits Sweater pattern. I'd never seen these patterns before and am looking forward to getting one on the go when I go home.
All in all, this early evening outing was just what the doctor ordered for this knitter who has been spending all day grading AP exams and feeling depressed about the state of secondary language education in this country...

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Jaywalker Dispatch from the Road

This dispatch is coming to you from the road! I am away from home for one week serving as a reader for an AP exam, which means that for one week I'll be correcting high achiever high school students tests and trying not to go mental. This is the closest I've ever been to an AP exam since, well, I wasn't really the AP type of gal in high school. The only advanced placement I achieved in high school was in gabbing on the phone and hanging out with the fun stoner crowd--I'm an academic late bloomer, so to speak. So I jumped at the chance to see what this was all about. I could give high fallutin' reasons for my reasons for wanting to be an AP reader, something about interest in assessment and testing outcomes or professional development, but mainly I'm just doing it for the cash!

Above you see the half-completed Jaywalker sock that I have been working on since Monday. Note the particle board table that it's resting on, proof that I am writing this from a dorm room! My goal is to finish it before the end of the week. I am loving this pattern! Grumperina is quite the designer, I must say. I am doing it in the Opal Hand Painted because a. it's the yarn she did it in, and I'm such a sad ass person that I try to imitate the designer's instructions completely and b. I had some in my stash, just by chance. I love the purple and green together. Once I got the hang of the double decreases, I was off and running and highly encourage anyone who thinks that this pattern might be too complicated to go ahead and give it a try.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Sock of the month club

The Summer Sock Challenge has taken an interesting turn. After having finished the Eat Your Veggies Claudia's Hand Painted socks (see pic below), I had a little bit o' extra yarn, which should come as no surprise given my extreme impatience with the cuff. As I had yet to finish the baby sweater for the Sweet-as-Pie colleague from Iowa, I decided to whip up a pair of baby socks and achieve the dual goal of having a baby present for a baby that was born on Mother's Day and feeling like a thrifty knitter, the type that actually uses yarn up out of her stash rather than endlessly acquires it and leaves it on a shelf to collect dust. I used the Cabin Fever Little Speckled Toes pattern, which was so easy and required me to use 5 dpns for the first time (normally I go the 4 dpn route). Huge fan of all Cabin Fever patterns, they are well written and very easy to follow.I have to say that completing these socks was such a pleasure--they are so miniature and, well, perfect! Giving one pair of socks as a baby present seemed semi-chintzy (sp?), especially for such a nice gal, so I decided to enroll her baby in the first-ever, A.D.D. Knitter 'Sock of the Month' club, (not as choice as the 'Fruit of the Month' club, for sure, but it's better that a lot of other baby gifts, I suppose) which means that I get to make a pair of these adorable socks every month for a year. I am so excited about this! I know I need to get a life, but the idea of getting to spend a little time on these every month is very appealing.