IS #27: Colorful Feet

This Inspiration Saturday post is brought to you late in the day due to being up all night walking in Relay for Life for my company team. (If you feel inclined to donate, you can still do so here!) It was a total last minute decision but it was a great event for a good cause and I’m very glad I went. Since I’m enjoying working on my colorwork sock using Skinny Bugga yarn so much, I thought I’d compile a few more projects from Ravelry showcasing colorwork and Skinny Bugga… just because I love trolling Ravelry for inspiration and seeing the fabulous combinations of already fabulous colors. Be prepared for some WOW!

Copyright otilde

This stunning pair of socks was knit by otilde with CY Skinny Bugga in Charaxes Tiridate and Opalescent Squid. They are almost too beautiful for words! The pattern is Nightingale by Vintage Purls. If it weren’t toe-up, I would be all over trying this one out.

Copyright Mireille7

This pair of socks by Mireille7 is really cool! The construction is interesting and I love the pops of color in the accent bands. She used SB in Maxima Clam for the main color and assorted leftovers for the accent. The pattern is Sock Strap by General Hogbuffer (that name???).

Here’s another lovely pair knit by Mirielle7. For these she used Blue Ringed Octopus and Blue Lobster, a fabulous combination. The pattern doesn’t appear to be available, fortunately.

Copyright beccas

Can you say holy-knee-highs?! This pair by beccas is amazing and wonderful. She used an older colorway of Skinny Bugga from the Sanguine Gryphon days, The Very Quiet Cricket, paired with an undyed skein. I have no need for knee-high socks in my life and zero desire to knit that much leg but man, do I want these socks anyway. The pattern is Neptune High by Glenna C. Good news: the pattern is written for either knee-highs or regular socks, so into the queue it goes!

Copyright evucis

And finally, I really like when colorwork takes whimsical turns, as in these lizard socks knit by evucis. She used SG colorways (Miss Spider and Beyer’s Jewelr Scarab) to great effect, the way the bright green pops off the purplish pink is perfect. The pattern is Lizard Socks by Beate Zach and looks fun to make.

What’s been inspiring you lately? Do you have a favorite colorwork pattern? Please share!

Happy V-Day!

So folks, I’m going to do that incredibly awkward thing and talk about vaginas on the internet. I’m doing so not to be lewd but to acknowledge that they (and their owners) are important and that talking about them is important, too. While Valentine’s Day makes most people think of roses and chocolates and kisses and tiny winged archers, it makes me think about what it means to be a woman and about women’s rights.  I don’t often jump on non-fiber-related soapboxes on this blog but today, I am, and I’m going to try to use as many amusing euphamisms for our Ladybits as possible not because I  think ‘vulva’ or ‘vagina’ are dirty words but because the euphemisms themselves are fantastic. Consider yourself alerted!

Are you a woman? You should own these books. Are you a man? You should at least watch the Monologues.

My physical therapist recommended I read The V Book, written by a Harvard professor and practicing gynocologist, and boy am I glad I did. It is essentially an owner’s manual for your Honey Pot. The first few chapters are a fascinating read about the history of care and anatomy and function of everything Downstairs and I have to say that even as a difficult-to-embarrass and rather ‘enlightened’ woman, and a biologist no less, I didn’t know some fairly basic things. For one, there’s an entire part called the vestibule that I had no idea had a name. If we don’t know what the Fancy Bits are even called, how can we know if/when there is a problem? And how would we describe it? There’s an entire delicately-balanced ecosystem contained within your Hey-nonny-no and the second half of the book details how things should be, how they shouldn’t, and what could possibly go wrong. Admittedly, that part of the book is mildly terrifying (anything involving the word ‘green’ in relation to my Thingamy is highly disconcerting) but I’d rather be informed than not, especially when most problems are easily prevented and/or dealt with when you know what to look for.

The second book, The Vagina Monologues, is a series of dramatic monologues written by Eve Ensler, who interviewed women all over the world about their Peach Pits. There are stories in there about every aspect of womanhood and the entire point was to get the world comfortable with talking about Joy Boxes because in a perfect world where women’s sexuality is respected, women themselves will also be respected. It is a humorous, charming, and touching play and a really wonderful thing to see performed if you can manage it. I had the chance to act in a performance of it in college and it really opened up my eyes to how lucky I was to be a girl with solid self-confidence born into a family and community that respected me… and how easily my life as a woman could have been very, very different.

Even better, it’s made an impact on the entire world through the global V-Day movement. The funds raised from the performances goes towards stopping sexual and domestic violence against women and girls. So far, the organization has raised over $85 million and has launched educational programs and opened shelters for battered women in multiple countries. If you can’t get to a performance, you can donate directly through the website. I’m not one to tell people what the should and shouldn’t think, but when it comes to women’s rights, there is really only one position I understand: equality. I can’t relate to women who claim that they are not feminists. If you are a woman who says that you don’t support feminism, you are essentially saying that your own gender makes you less of a person and therefore less deserving of respect and equal treatment in society. If you, yourself, are saying this, how can you expect other people (namely, men) to respect you, and if they don’t respect you, what’s to stop them from hurting you?

We cannot love what we don’t understand, and if we don’t love and respect that which biologically defines us as female, who will? Respect yourselves, ladies. In a nutshell: don’t doubt your abilities, aim higher, get out of bad relationships, do good and demand good in return, remember your strength, define your independence, develop something more meaningful than your looks, and make sure the men in your life know that your Sweet Bottom Grass is an important part of you but not the only important part of you. Understand your Yoni, love your Yoni. Now, go forth and learn about your Crinkum-crankums*!

* All of these euphamisms were listed with their eras of origin in The V Book. Crinkum-crankum, from the late 18th centuray, is my favorite because it is clearly awesome. Hey-nonny-no is a close second.

Color!

Our new apartment complex allows us to paint one wall in each room as an ‘accent wall’. It seems a little silly that we can’t do the whole room, but I’m just glad to have the option to paint at all! So of course I went a little crazy trying to pick colors. The Fiasco and I finally settled on these (the coins indicate the ones we chose):

The yellow will go in the kitchen, which has grey countertops and tiles, so I think it will compliment nicely (and the Fiasco was surprisingly dead-set on having a yellow kitchen). The green will go in the living room and the teal will go in both of the bedrooms. If we have leftover paint, we might do some yellow and green stripes along the top of the wall in the bathroom, too. I’m not entirely sure how all these colors will look with the mauve/beige-ish carpeting everywhere but I am just so excited to have happy colors in my home that I don’t really care!
We’re going to do some stenciling, too! In the kitchen, we’re going to paint some dandelions:
From Cutting Edge Stencils webpage.
Probably in white. And then the master bedroom will have an all-over pattern on the wall which will look a lot like this:
Photo from Cutting Edge Stencils webpage.
It might take a little while before we get around to doing the stenciling because we’ll have to wait for weekends when I don’t have other things to do, but I think it’s going to be awesome. I’d also like to do a vine design of some kind along the top of the living room walls, but haven’t found a good stencil for that yet. There might be some large paisley or damask stencils done in the second bedroom, too, still thinking about it. Have you done any stenciling or seen some that you like? I’d appreciate any painting tips!
We also went to Joann’s Fabrics and ordered some fabric for curtains. Our new place has a ton of windows and to purchase curtains to cover all of them would’ve come close to $200. For less than half that price we bought enough fabric for the Fiasco to make curtains himself. His mom taught him to sew when he was a hyperactive little kid needing something to do and it’s sure come in handy! He used to make costumes for theater groups in high school and he’ll occasionally go on a sewing bender and make a giant quilt or two, which I think is pretty cool. Since I never learned to use a sewing machine, I love having a fiance who knows his way around one and I’m excited to see what he makes. And of course, any curtain-making tips would be appreciated!

A Punch in the Soul

I just saw Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World last night and it was, in short, amazing.

Photo from here.

Steve Carrell’s and Kiera Knightley’s characters are neighbors in an apartment building that never interacted until they find out that an asteroid is heading to destroy the planet in three weeks. Three weeks until the end of the world… what would you do? I thought it was done very well, I could see events unfolding much like they were depicted. It has that indie/quirky feel to it where subtle things matter a lot, so if you don’t like that in your movies you might want to avoid this one. And it’s much more serious than it seemed from the previews. The movie is quite like a punch in the soul. I’m talking weeping here, at least on my end. There are funny parts, for sure, but if you’re having a vulnerable day it’s going to affect you, and that’s probably a good thing. It’s one of those perspective-giving stories, motivating you to say and do the Important Things now and stop putting them off. And for goodness’ sake, do not go and see this movie alone. I’m all for going to the movies solo, not a problem with that in general, but not for this one. You’ll want someone there to talk about it with, just someone by your side. In my opinion, any movie that makes me feel so much earns the description of fantastic, and this one is. It’s intense, but definitely fantastic. It also features a couple of nice crocheted and knitted blankets.

Crocheted blanket.

 I can’t find a photo of the knitted one but it looked something like a log cabin blanket. It made me really want to make a knitted blanket myself, which is (of course) perfect for the middle of the summer! (Not so much.)

I’m a bit of a movie junkie, before I knitted my biggest hobby-related-expense was my collection of DVDs. Here’s my list of top 15 could-watch-over-and-over-forever movies:

1. Finding Neverland: Johnny Depp, Kate Winslet, Peter Pan, brilliant scenes, imagination, cute kids? Made for me.
2. Dead Poets Society: Robin Williams + poetry + touching story = awesome.
3. The Fall: Lee Pace is amazing, the story is inventive, and the cinematography is stunning.
4. Dogma: Kevin Smith and company totally rule.
5. A Knight’s Tale: I have such a thing for Chaucer (Paul Bettany) in this movie.
6. Hook: Robin Williams (again) and Peter Pan (again) and Julia Roberts!
7. Little Miss Sunshine: Such a feel-good story.
8. Notting Hill: Julia Roberts (again) and Hugh Grant and quirky British-ness. Love.
9. I Love You, Man: I love Jason Segel and Paul Rudd too much not to include this one.
10. Beauty and the Beast: Representing Disney animated films in this line-up because it wouldn’t be complete without one.
11. Pride & Prejudice: That moment at the end when Darcy strides across the field? Yeah.
12. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind: Serious Jim Carrey really works sometimes. I also love Kate Winslet.
13. Stranger Than Fiction: I’m down with Serious Will Ferrel, too. And Emma Thompson is great.
14. Benny & Joon: Sweet little movie featuring Johnny Depp at perhaps his most adorable.
15. Pirates of the Caribbean: Johnny Depp at his most swashbuckling (duh).

I really had to try hard to stop myself at 15. It was just going to be a list of 3, then 5, then 10… There are definitely some recurring themes, the same actors and actresses tend to pop up. They really make or break a movie for me. Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World might end up on this list someday, I’ll have to watch it a couple more times first, to be sure. What are your favorite movies, the ones that make your desert island list?

Decisions, Decisions

In the spirit of randomness and crippling indecision, I’m going to let my lovely readers choose my next work in progress! (Because, really, what’s one more WIP?) I have this fantastic 400 yard skein of Cephalopod Yarns Nautilace which I envision as a lacy, lightweight, uber-stylish long cowl… but which one?

There are three top contenders at the moment:
1)

Photo from pattern page.

This is the Jeweled Cowl designed by Sachiko Uemura. It is a beautifully simple design that lets the beads shine. I have some pale blue beads that would work well. I’ve done a couple of beaded projects in the past, beading isn’t difficult but it is rather a pain in the tuckus and definitely slows one down. Yet I do love the look.

2)

Photo from pattern page.

This is the Thundercloud Cowl designed by Snowden Becker. I like the all-over lace of this one and am intrigued by the beaded fringe action, which I haven’t seen before. I just hope the lace pattern is easy to remember because I need my projects to be portable in order for me to ever actually finish them.

3)

Photo from pattern page.

This is the Hunter St. Cowl designed by Glenna C. This one seems less airy than the others (more tightly knit) but I really love the lace inserts an think they are set off by the plain knitting nicely.

So, which do you like best? Least? Which would you most likely enjoy knitting or wearing? Please leave a comment below and help me choose between cowls 1, 2, and 3!

Boat Bloggin’

In case you guys were curious, this is where I spend my field days (see below 1). All those buckets are for different species of fish that we catch, sort, measure, and count. It is interesting to see the diversity of species in Long Island Sound, and how our catch varies depending on where we are.
But the days are long and the boat can feel pretty cramped, so it was really nice to come home to this yesterday (see below 2): new ‘happy anniversary’ yarn from the Fiasco! 🙂 I’ve been itching to try this new base from Cephalopod Yarns, it is a laceweight mix of baby camel and silk. I’m thinking a long lacy cowl is in order, since there isn’t much yardage. What would you make with it?


Edited to add: sorry for the crap-tastic phone photos! Dunno what happened there…

Dabbler

Sometimes I see/hear/find things that make my breath catch and my heart beat a little bit faster. Like this:

A cellist named Steven Sharp Nelson took Bach’s Prelude No. 1 (a classic cello solo piece) and rewrote it in 8 parts, giving it a bit of modern twist with some percussion, and basically just made it even more awesome. I love that piece, I’ve played the cello since 3rd grade (though I haven’t busted it out much these last few years) and it always makes me giddy happy when I play it. Hearing it like this is wonderful. There are a number of other wonderful videos on ThePianoGuys youtube channel, as well, such as a piano and cello cover of Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep” and an orchestral cover of OneRepublic’s “Secrets”. They are fantastic and wonderful and I’m in love.

Sometimes I wonder where my life would have gone if I had focused on the cello instead of school. I remember at some point in my past making a choice between them, though my teacher had insisted that I could’ve played the cello professionally if I practiced it more, if I had wanted it more. I’m a bit of a dabbler, I feel like I could have gone on to be a musician, a poet, an english teacher… I have and had so many interests, so many loves. I chose science because I was good at it and it seemed to make more sense, it seemed more secure, but sometimes I wonder if I would’ve been happier doing something more artistic. Like maybe designing knitwear full-time or dying yarn? Sigh.

It’s hard to know what’s better: being a master of a particular craft, or being a dabbler in many but master of none. Some days I think being a master is preferable because then you could do amazing things like Steven Sharp Nelson and bring people so much joy. And other days I think being a dabbler is better because as such I know just enough about many different things to be able to really appreciate them. Who knows, right?

Where Did The Year Go?

One year ago today, this was me:

Shawl pictured: Springtime Bandit

Super excited, newly engaged, and completely unaware of the craziness (much of it unfortunately bad) that 2011 would bring. But I managed, because I had this goofball by my side:

Shawl pictured: Aestlight

We’re currently no closer to having a wedding planned or knowing what our futures hold than we were a year ago, but that’s alright. I know we’ll figure it all out eventually because we have each other*. Awwwwww…   🙂

*I’m rarely this cheesy in public but it is our engage-versary and I just couldn’t help myself. Sorry!

Oh Lately It’s So Quiet

I wish I had a happier reason for not having posted in a while (like a vacation to Disneyland or an abduction by aliens who live on a planet made entirely of Bugga), but in truth it is because I am dealing with a very difficult and distressing family situation over which I have no control. I can only sit here and watch and hope, while 160 miles away the fabric of the reality I once knew that had knit my family together is being tinked apart. Stitch by stitch, row by row, it’s been happening for a few years now and the other day it reached all the way back to the cast-on edge. Then the foundation started to unravel, too, and everything is now a big tangled mess. I’m not sure if it’s hit me yet how close things were to coming completely undone, to the slipknot releasing, to the yarn falling entirely off the needles.

All I know is that I am at once thankful that there are still stitches to pick up, but worried about the work and the diligence it will take to re-knit and certain that the fabric will never look quite the same again. The yarn will be stretched and kinked, the stitch count might be off, the shaping and row counting will have to begin again, perhaps the pattern will even even need to be reconsidered. It might end up as an entirely different piece, and whether the changes are good or bad it is a frightening concept, this unknown, particularly when the stakes are so high. 

I am thankful that I have my Fiasco, who came into my life in the nick of time just before this Great Unraveling began. I am thankful for my friends and for my extended family who treat me with nothing but compassion, love, and respect. I am thankful for whatever it is in me that pulled me far enough out of my emotions to accomplish some work today because no matter what is happening 160 miles away, here, in a week, I will be defending my master’s thesis, which this late in the game cannot be changed. Mostly, though, I am thankful that something stopped the worst from happening. For whatever it was that kept that slipknot tied just tightly enough, I am thankful.