I’ve been absent for too long. To break the ice, here are some photos of things I’ve made since I was last here. There’s a bit more, but it’s not easily convenient and I’m posting this right away so it actually happens.

So that’s what I’ve been working on.  I’ll dig up some more or maybe even do some more detailed posts soon.  I’m taking a weaving class on Wednesdays now, which is extremely fun.  I also finished school.  I’m supposed to be studying for my boards which is… challenging.  I want to learn all crafts.

This is just to say that I went to 3 craft-type stores that all purportedly sold beads (okay, some of them actually sold some some beads but that is not the point of this story) along with two knitting stores that were just in the neighborhood (and I only bought yarn at one of them!  go me!) and was unable to find 8/0 or 6/0 or really ANYTHING USEFUL at any of these locations.  Brooklyn, you have failed to meet my crafting needs!  How could you?

Here is basically what I did:

View Craft Journey in a larger map

For some reason all of my tediously-placed lines have decided to become a triangle instead of staying put on the roads, but imagine that rather than traveling as the crow flies, I instead walked to all of those waypoints in a vaguely sensible manner, overshooting to the north on Smith Street because the street fair was amusing me but also with several stops to attempt to deal with the completely ludicrous heat and humidity in various ways (more successful techniques involved taking off my overshirt, braiding my hair and tying it with a bit of yarn, and breaking down and buying a hair thing with a hippo on it from a stall which I actually like quite a lot).  I found a new yarn store (only 6 months old!) and it seems like a charming little place with a built-in wine/coffee bar (La Casita, for the record). There I was tempted mightily with lovely yarn that IS lace (mind-blowing) but is not yet available, so I left my email so I can go snatch something up and make something aggressively girly and ruffled with it, and then try to figure out how to wear such a thing.  One thing I’d really like to do is have a yarn crawl through Brooklyn before I leave town, maybe loading my car full of knitters if the subways don’t cooperate.

But the point of this post has not been reached! (Oh dear, writing notes in charts has thoroughly ingrained a habit of writing passively. “The patient has been put on mood stabilizers.” “Group and individual therapy have been encouraged.” This is because I can’t quite bring myself to refer to myself as “the writer” in notes, which seems to be in vogue among the staff in the rotation I just finished. Guess what setting that was!) Anyway, what I sat down to write is an extensive diatribe on how I was unable to get seed beads. But, well, I actually had a rather grand time not getting seed beads. And, well, I’ve still got the Internet. It’s right here. And it’s FULL OF BEADS!

(Also note how I cleverly didn’t mention all the yarn I bought at Brooklyn General. This way no one can chastise me for buying too much yarn.)

Koigu KPM in several colors

So as my prevous post hinted, I’ve been working on a giant granny square.  I picked up this project from Joelle’s Giant Granny Square at The Purl Bee; I used their Granny Square Tutorial and Crochet Basics Tutorial to figure out to do it (with generous help from a lovely friend who works at Purl Soho, actually delivered the yarn when I needed it and some cheering up, and is generally awesome).  I’m using Koigu Premium Merino (link to Purl) a.k.a. KPM (link to Ravelry).  Having gotten some link soup out of the way, it’s time to talk about how awesome and exciting this project is.

More of Koigu KPM

First of all, it’s my first successful atttempt at learning to crochet!  I bought a book a while back and attempted to learn at Jewish supplementary summer camp even longer ago (I believe I made most of a yarmulke before getting to a part where I was supposed to use a contrasting color to spell out a name or the like and proceeded to get bored and give up) but I never managed to get quite interested enough to keep up with it.  The endless color palate of KPM and the soothing, repetitive nature of this project called to me, so I asked the aformentioned friend if she could possibly pick out a cheerful palate for me and the results were stunning. (See above pictures for how enthralled I was and am!)

3 granny square rounds

It was just a baby...

Several more rounds of granny square

You might note that it's over some schoolwork. Yeah, that's how I roll.

Of course, the first batch was not nearly enough for the full splendor one of these giant squares, and I had to return to the store for more.  It’s a special, giddy kind of fun to line up all the colors I have already and all of the colors I’m considering and sort them out to different spots and and find that perfect progression that just satisfied my color sense in exactly the right way.  It’s a different, slower type of enjoyment to see the colors layering onto each other as I crochet them on.

Koigu KPM in many colors plus my granny square at the time.

"...and you're ALL coming home with me!"

(I may have picked two more.  Um.  And I’m waiting on purples to be stocked.)

Another angle of the Koigu KPM.

I just had to get one of those blog-classic low angle faux-photographer shots. The colors told me to.

I also had what may be a first on this project; I didn’t like the way a color order was coming out so I just ripped an entire round and started over.  I didn’t have one of those emotional “THIS PROJECT IS CRAP I GIVE UP LET’S THROW IT INTO A CORNER SHALL WE” moments or anything like that.  I just pulled it out, wound it up nicely, and took some pictures to comemorate the moment.  Then I crocheted the next round.

Granny square with rewound pink color that just wasn't working there.

I thought repeating that pink would work for the next round, but the number of pinkish rounds was just too much for that spot. Off it came!

I’m starting to feel like I’m perhaps compelled to type out this much content becuase I feel awkward about putting in too many pictures without some intermediate filler.  Well, um, phooey to that.  This is a pictures post.  So there.  And if you suspect that maybe I had a little too much fun with iPhoto, well, phooey to that, too.   There’s no such thing as too much fun editing photos.  So there.

Granny square folded up into a triangle

Folded up into quarters. Looks almost edible?

A "process shot" of the granny square on my couch.

Mmm, orange rounds.

Yarn ball man stabbed by knitting needles and bleeding yarn

A good way to express your anger at unruly knitting projects?

I’ve enjoyed this image since it made the rounds of the knitterly internet some time ago.  I hope the creator will make prints available at some point.  I guess I could buy the book, but I really see this as decoration for my (imaginary, future) craft area.

I haven’t!  Not entirely, anyway.  Life has been… well, see the last entry for an idea of how life has been lately.  I’ve been bringing my knitting around with me like a security blanket, but not knitting a whole lot.  At the moment, I’m in the middle of a 12-day long stretch of workdays.  I’m knitting a bit at night  but a lot of time by the time I get home (often late) I’m usually too tired even for that.  On the other hand, I made a big chunk of progress visiting my grandfather in the hospital (he’s okay, but yes, that is the sort of thing that’s just par for the course lately).  Pathetic fact: I discovered that I can keep knitting at full speed while crying a little.  But, progress.

Um, right, I should try for some content that’s , um, positive, unlike the above.  Well, I just ordered a big old bunch of yarn because the Yarn Harlot posted about sweater I just couldn’t refuse, and I’m working on getting a massive other quantity of yarn so I can start on my crochet journey.  I also delved into the exciting world of yarn arts on TV with Knitting Daily and Knit and Crochet Today.  I have my DVR record them and then watch themwhen I think David isn’t bored enough when David isn’t interested in watching TV and I am.

So I’ll post pictures of the giant piles of yarn when they show up, and since I’m getting some enthusiasm for knitting back (as I’m getting some enthusiasm for life in general back) I’ll be posting more in general.

Oh, yeah.  Yarn diet?  Over.  I made it since December! So, between that and all the stuff that’s been going on lately, I thought I’d try to make up the lost time STAT.

Irrelevant note: apparently I can type something like jnirr into my phone and it’ll figure out that I mean knitting.  Do I really talk about it that much?  I found that out when sending this picture to myself.

knitting, knitted things, my living room and kitchen

Sharp eyes will note the scarves (knitted by me: naughty little cable scarf, 1x1 ribbed noro scarf)) draped over the throw (sadly, not knitted by me but purchased from pottery barn via eBay in a months-long hunt after seeing it on House but I'm planning on reverse-engineering it, eventually) draped, in turn, over my secondhand Ikea Poäng chair. There's also a teensy glimpse of a Quant, also knitted by me, ungracefully clumped on the seat of the chair.

I’ve been up all night.   My life has been full of more complicated and upsetting problems that usual, of the sort that I don’t and won’t talk about on the Internet in any form, which have basically put me out of commission for anything other than sleeping all day and maybe watching the occasional movie in between crying or blocking everything out.  This has been going on for the entirety of my “Spring Break” (and let’s not even mention the week before, in which I squeaked by during my last week of my rotation on nothing more than determination to not fail out and so much sleep deprivation that nothing seemed real) and finally I just couldn’t even sleep at all this past night and did incredibly useful things instead, like playing with Facebook, watching 20-minute documentaries about 30-second commercials, and starting to work through the massive YouTube archive of The Ellen Degeneres Show clips.

Yeah, well.  At least I got some knitting done.  Lately I’ve been carrying my knitting bag around with me like a security blanket, not even taking out the knitting but just…having it there.  Just in case I feel up to it.  Tonight was the first time I actually knitted for I-don’t-kn0w-how-long, though.  Oh, there is a small messy pile of calendar blocks on the other side table.  I shall do some iPhone photo magic:

calendar squares and assorted other shapes

This crappy picture was cunningly taken at arm's length so I don't have to move.

So, I did make some progress with those little guys.  I keep meaning to make a post about them showing them all off, but, you know, stuff happened.

So it’s almost 10 AM now.  (I just noticed that this blog’s time is an hour early.  Wish I knew how to fix that setting.)  I should probably just try to stay up through the day, have caffeine or whatever and try to at least make it to the afternoon and take a nap at most.  I hope I do that.  I might just sleep all day again.

Life in the past few weeks has been very disorienting but not really all that conducive to knitting.  Rotating through the ER has, as I alluded to in my last post, made my life a rather different variety of crazy and left me devoting most of my free time to sleeping.  I also spilled a drink onto my computer, which is now out of commission until it gets repaired if it turns out I can afford to repair it.  I bought the cheapest computer Staples sells so I don’t fail out of school.  I was also sick twice in the first two weeks of the rotation.  TWICE.

A sane person might take this as a sign that working with sick people every day might not be advisable, but this is what I want to do with my life and my immune system had damn well better suck it up and adjust. Maybe they’ll come up with a full-body Purell dispenser/Plasma bather that I can step in every 5 minutes to thoroughly disinfect myself.  In the meantime, I’ll go with obsessive hand-washing, a mental map of the alcohol-foam-lotion-whatever dispensers, and alcohol-swabbing everything I carry around that might survive it.

But you’re here to hear about knitting, not endless bitching about my non-knitting (so-called?) life. FEAR NOT, reader*, for I have plenty of knitting to show you today!

It should be no surprise to you that I did not score a gold medal in the Knitting Olympics. I’m glad I participated, though — it helped knock me further out of my knitting rut.  I didn’t finish, sure, but I did make some progress.

Cerus scarf scrunch

It really confuses people when I tell them this is a scarf. I think the idea of a scarf sort of appearing out of the end of a set of knitting needles and lengthening is really ingrained.

Obligatory gratuitous close-ups:

Cerus scarf close-up

I'm always surprised at how my iPhone manages decent detail.

Another angle of the Cerus scarf

I think the holding-two-strands-together thing is a cheating way to make this scarf appear even more luxurious. Well, it makes up for having to move each stitch around twice to knit it once and having to deal with all of the yarn-wrangling that comes with a K1P1 kind of pattern.

I also started a new project!

Swatch and calendar

For the perceptive, no, the swatch doesn't match the picture. I was already moving on!

I have one of those Knitting Perpetual Calendars that’s really a stitch dictionary in flippy form.  I have decided to try to knit a swatch of the stitch of the day every day on that day!  Here are my rules:

  • Knit a swatch every day, time permitting.
  • Swatches don’t have to be square.  Square can be boring.  They can be square, though!  Squares are pleasing shapes.
  • I’ll cast on however many stitches I feel like, but not too many (boring, slow) — and not too few, either.  It would be a bummer to do 80% of a stitch pattern.
  • If I don’t like today’s pattern, I don’t have to do it.  Knitting is for fun.  Not fun patterns can get made fun of and flipped past.
  • If I really want to do some different day’s pattern, that’s cool, too.
  • Stick to the stash.  If I get to the point that I’ve got a lot of these buggers and I want to do something magic with them like sew them into an odd-sized-and-shaped blanket, then maybe I can start buying yarn for it.  Until then, it’s a stash-buster.

These are what I got done on the first day (I was a little excited):

swatches, needles, a bit of keyboard

Triangle and rectangle are buddies.

I’ve since knit two more and have the yarn out for a third.  This is a special kind of satisfying.  Don’t like the stitch pattern?  Bind off.  Whatever shape I was attempting can be more unique since I ended early.  Feeling like I can’t do anything?  I just completed a whole polygon!  I’m a knitting STAR!  (Note to self: figure out how to knit a star shape.)  Knitting a whole year’s worth of these things may not happen, or I may get bored and forget about the project at some early point, or I may pick it up and put it down a lot of times, but who cares?  It’s knitting!  It’s supposed to be fun, and these bright little swatches are reminding me of it.

*On a good day, readers.

I feel a bit like a real Olympian this week: I’ve been doing emergency medicine while I have a cold at all sorts of crazy hours of the night and trying to get my knitting done while i’m at it. It’s going really, really, surprisingly well so far, but I’m about to go into a bit of a marathon in which I’m going to be on rotation from 3pm-11pm tonight, home from about midnight to 7 AM, off to lectures tomorrow morning, free from 11 AM until 3 PM (home? nap/secret knitting in the library?), and then another 3pm-11 pm shift. It’s not really that many hours of working (19 hours over the course of two days) but the timing makes it impossible to get enough sleep and leaves me with an awkward gap in the middle of the day tomorrow.

WELL, there’s no reason I shouldn’t go into this with an Olympian spirit: I can do this and I can enjoy it and learn from it. I can take a power nap to gain more from my lecture, as recently reported all over the news in a link I don’t have time to add. I can bring my knitting for those awkward gaps or come home and take a short nap if I really need it. And the hard part of the schedule will be over in less than 36 hours, anyway, and I’ll have some time to catch up on sleep, then. And I’ll blog in the spare moments that I should be packing up for school and eating something, too.

That’s right, guys, I’m participating in the Knitting Olympics. Tonight, David and I watched the open ceremonies as I cast on 555 stitches for his Cerus scarf (I’m scaling up the length a bit and compensating for finer yarn) and knit the first row.

Knitting a scarf lengthwise is weird, guys. finishing each row is an epic challenge. The scarf I just completed was done with bulky yarn and despite the ends-weaving-in nightmare, went very quickly.

the apparently miniscule amount of work I completed on the Cerus scarf tonight

555 stitches cast on plus one row = 1110 stitches. Where did they go? (Also, apologies for the webcam shot. It's not take-out-the-camera o'clock.)

So it’s official: I’m crazy. I’m going to be working all sorts of hours this upcoming week, I have one day fully off out of 7, the next weeks are no better… and I’m going to try to put thousands upon thousands of stitches into a fancy scarf for my boyfriend (perhaps I tempt fate, but it’s not a sweater).

I think that this is what the Knitting Olympics is really about.  It’s about pushing your limits in knitting and setting a challenge that really maybe shouldn’t be reachable, but showing that knitting is actually important enough to make it work.  (What?  Don’t look at me like that.  I am so very much not watching Project Runway as I type this post.  That would be silly.)

This is going to happen, though, everyone.  There’s no reason I can’t knit while studying.  I spent a stupid amount of money on a set of board review videos that I haven’t really used and should start using.  I can bribe myself with knitting to sit through watching them (or listening to them, since the set came with MP3s of all of the videos).  Getting “just one more row” done will be a lot more productive than usual, given the crazy length of the rows.  I’ll spend less time fiddling around on the internet and more time knitting and blogging about it and being resinspired to knit and blogging some more.  (Oh readership, your RSS feeds might light on fire.)  I might run out of yarn.  I’ll get more yarn.  I’m going to earn that gold medal.

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