Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Knitting & Cats

i'm struggling these days splitting my extra curricular time between my 2 strongest passions (okay obsessions): knitting and blogging. i know it's bad when i start to plan my day the evening before based on how i can fit in both. lately the blogging (reading blogs and thinking about what to blog) has been winning. this is not a bad thing per se, except that i want to keep the momentum going on my sweater.

i've actually finished the front about a week ago.
Orange Sweater Completed Front

but back to the subject at hand. i've been reading a lot of knitting blogs these past few weeks and found, through no real scientific method, that a good portion of the knitters out there in blogland have cats.

what is it about knitters and cats? were we once cats in a pervious life? is that when the love for yarn (i know, i know, obsession with yarn) began? i can see it now, me as a cat, jumping in some old ladies yarn basket (because you know that back in the day only old ladies knit ... right?), and getting all tangled up in the yarn.

i bet if i could take a poll to find out how many knitters have cats that i would be able to conclude that the vast majority of us have cats.

here are some goofy pictures of our two cats, sasha (~20-years old) and mia (mia is a 17-year old male ... long story about how he got his name).

Sasha Blur #2

Goofy Mia

i will leave you with a link to an extremely funny blog dedicated to cats (not knitting) since i know that some of my readers and maybe lurkers have cats and will appreciate the humor. be warned, i laughed so hard when i read this blog that i almost wet my pants.

funny cat blog

Sunday, November 27, 2005

It Fits!

paula came over today to show us matthew modeling the sweater i made for him.

Matthew & Paula
wow! he looks so cute in it.

yup, he held off spitting up until he had the sweater on. only a little landed on the sweater, the aftermath of which is on paula's left shoulder (don't hate me paula).

here's a close-up.
Matthew in his sweater
(he's definitely smiling, it's not gas.)

i think paula was as anxious to see it on him as i was. she told us that she had been holding the sweater up to him periodically to see if he had grown enough to fit into it. what a pleasant surprise to see that it fits, albeit even though he's not 6-months old yet (he's only 8-weeks). i must admit that i was a little nervous that the sweater wouldn't fit over his head. someone told me that baby sweater patterns often don't design a wide enough neck opening.

i'm encouraged to knit more baby sweaters using the same pattern, but perhaps not with cotton yarn ;-)

Thursday, November 24, 2005

If I were yarn ...

i took a silly but cute quize to find out what kind of yarn i would be.

drum roll please....

You are Mohair

and this is what being mohair means:

"you are a warm and fuzzy type who works well with others, doing your share without being too weighty. you can be stubborn and absolutely refuse to change your position once it is set, but that's okay since you are good at covering up your mistakes."

what kind of yarn are you?

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

The Darwin Experience

i've been commuting to work this week by car mostly because i needed the extra hour of sleep. jetlag got the best of me after a weeklong business trip to arkansas. yup, i was in arkansas. it really wasn't so bad except i missed david and the "kids"* a ton.

the traffic had been lite due to pre-thanksgiving days off for some. that didn't stop the usual backup at the bay bridge. there's not much to do as lanes are slowly merging after the toll plaza but become a voyeur. as i was looking around through my side windows i caught a glimpse of the woman in the car behind me in my rearview mirror. as she came to a stop after inching a few feet i noticed that she quickly tilted her head to peer over her sunglasses and then brought her head close to her folded hands. it wasn't strange at first, but she kept doing the same series of jerky animal-like movements each time she would move the car and come to a stop.

i became entranced with her odd behavior and like witnessing a train wreck i couldn't stop looking back at her. after several stops she did the most odd thing... she licked her hands, then rubbed her hands down her arms and continued out of view below her dashboard. she did this several times. my eyes nearly jumped out of my head!

did samatha stevens wiggle her nose and turn an ape into a human (a bewitched reference)? was she afflicted with some weird tick? what the hell was she doing? the mystery may never be solved.

i didn't get to take advantage of my commute time to work on my sweater this week but at least there was some form of entertainment.

drivers beware of what you are doing in your cars, you never know who might be watching.

happy thanksgiving.

* kids = 1 dog (trixie), 2 cats (sasha & mia) and 1 bearded dragon (ripley)

More Baby Gifts

i've been holding off posting the latest baby gift i knitted until it was given to the parents-to-be, our dear friends terri and matt in NY.

Baby Sweater & Hat

here's a close-up of the hat and neckline of the sweater
Baby Sweater & Hat Detail

i used the same sweater and hat patterns as i did on the other gifts i made.

i guess i was a glutton for punishment by using cotton yarn again. knitting with cotton definitely has its challenges, especially when using circular bamboo needles; the stitches don't glide as easily as they do on metal needles. the experience has convinced me to buy metal circular needles from now on.

the biggest struggle for me continues to be to find a way to neatly pick up stitches around the armholes and neckline. i haven't yet mastered where exactly to pick up the stitches around the curves without creating gaps or holes. i guess it will come with practice.

all that said, matt and terri loved the gifts. i can't wait to see them on the baby.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

In Memory

a sad and freaky accident happened last week. just a half an hour before i was leaving for the airport to go to arkansas on a business trip, i went to take the covers off the birdcages to find that quico and yoshi passed during the night. the only thing that i can think of that happened was that it got too cold during the night in their room. i am still beside myself with grief.

i don't have many pictures of my little boys since they were a bit scared of the camera, but here is a recent picture of yoshi.

Yoshi a bit scared

i hope that they didn't suffer.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

The Valerian Affect

with a blog named "obsessed in oakland" it probably comes as no surprise that i am not the best sleeper in the world. the last several months have been absolutely awful.

first of all it takes me forever to fall asleep. the minute my head hits the pillow my brain goes into overdrive. my subconscious walks through the day's events and then once it's done starts on the 'to do' lists for the next day, week, month... and of course knitting. i somehow manage to fall asleep but then wake up several times during the night.

the tv commercials for lunesta and the like started to appeal to me. but before hitting the narcotics i decided this past weekend to take cathy and jim's advice and try the homeopathic herb Valerian. i'll admit it, i was skeptical. but i figured i might as well try it.

i think the Valerian is actually working. i don't know if it's acting like a placebo but i have been falling asleep a lot quicker and managing to sleep through most of the night.

now the warning on the bottle reads, "Excessive consumption may impair ability to drive or operate machinery." the manufacturers must have felt it wasn't necessary to include the fine print. let me fill you in on the missing information, 'May induce the most fucked up and memorable dreams you have ever had in your life!"

i'll give you a little background on what was going on prior to the weird dream i had on tuesday. i had been moving along pretty well on my sweater. in fact here's a picture of how far i've gotten on the front. i just started the raglan decrease.

My first Adult Sweater

i have also been ghetto-tivoing (we have comcast's dvr) and catching up on knitty gritty on diy network. the show is great for picking up good knitting tips, tricks and patterns. the last few episodes had guest designers that use the continental or pick method to knit. i swear that they were all doing the knit stitch from the back loop. they weren't doing any special stitches like yarn overs. they were just knitting in plain stockinet. i started to wonder that i may be knitting wrong. i consulted my knitting books and looked online and confirmed that i was executing the correct stitch. maybe they were intentionally twisting their stitches or maybe they were fixing some twisted stitches on the needle. it was hard to tell.

so between my sweater project and fear that i was not knitting properly i dreamt that i was taking a knitting class. the instructor was showing us how to do a simple knit stitch. the stitch he (yes it was a male instructor) was doing was clearly not a knit stitch. the stitch produced a multiple of 5 loops with one loop being longer than the others. he also said that we needed to knit a contrasting piece of yarn along with the stitch. but not to worry because the contrasting yarn would not show.

i showed the instructor my sample and blurted out at the top of my lungs, 'you are crazy. you can clearly see the contrasting yarn and the knit stitch you are showing us is totally wrong!' and then i woke up. it was 5:15 a.m. only 15 minutes before my alarm.

my dreams are definitely weirder but at least i'm sleeping through the night. i going to continue taking the Valerian and see how it goes. maybe i should recommend to the manufacturer to add this warning on the label, "You may experience fucked up dreams if you mix Valerian with obsessive knitting and too much knitty gritty."

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Fingerless Gloves

i finished the pair of fingerless gloves yesterday.

A Pair of Fingerless Gloves

Fingerless Gloves on Keith's Hand
a hand model i'll never be!

i think they could have been just a little bit higher on the palm. the pattern was written using the metric system so i think i miscalculated one of the measurements. all in all i'm very happy with the results and can't wait to wear them. i'm blocking them to achieve "a professional finish" as it's written in all the knitting books.

i did the majority of the knitting for the gloves while commuting on BART. let me tell you that i actually look forward to the commute so that i can get in an hour or so of knitting a day. i was disappointed today because i had to drive to work for an early morning meeting and couldn’t knit.

so what's the next project on the horizon? i've been waiting for some yarn i ordered online 6 weeks ago to knit a sweater for trixie. the company told me that i should have the order in about 2 weeks. they had the nerve to charge my card prior to shipping me the order. yeah, that's the last time i’ll buy from them. trixie will have to wait.

i thumbed through some of my knitting books and searched the internet for a pattern that would inspire me. i finally decided on "jesse's flames", a men's sweater pattern from "stitch 'n bitch nation". those of you that know me and are familiar with the book and pattern are probably thinking, "keith would never wear a sweater with a flame motif on the sleeves!" you are absolutely correct. i’ll skip that part of the pattern.

what i will do though is use a color other than green. you'll notice that most projects i've posted here use some shade of green. i love green. our house is green, one of our rooms is green, my "murse" is green and yellow, the header of my blog is green, etc., etc... i'm going to step outside my color comfort zone and knit the sweater in orange. there will be one contrasting stripe on the chest, neckline and cuffs in brown twead that has a slight, you guessed it, green hue to it. come on i couldn't go totally cold turkey.

this sweater will also be knit flat (not in the round). i've been avoiding patterns that require sewing and seams for fear that i won't be able to figure out the technique and then not be able to complete the project. i took my first knitting workshop a couple of weeks ago to learn "finishing techniques". so hopefully i'll be able to apply what i learned.

i'll be sure to post my progress.