Friday, May 29, 2009

I’ll take a slice of that woecake.

Sock Summit 2009.

I've been anticipating this so much and made the $$ decision to skip Sock Camp in favor of SS09. Though I knew there was a lot of interest in this event it never crossed my miniscule mind that I wouldn't get any of the classes I wanted. Initially that is what happened, and an unfortunate combination of conference calls and appointments made me miss the second go-round of available classes. !%!#!@#$.

Later in the afternoon I lucked into getting one of the classes on my list – a six hour class on Thursday - and I was hesitating about going at all for one class until Terry rightfully pointed out that this will likely be a singular event. Given the difficulties the organizers have had I'd be gobsmacked if they decided to try for another. I can only imagine the amount of work that has gone into setting up Sock Summit and to see the registration process totally implode because the the response was epic... ugh!! The server meltdown was probably Tina and Stephanie's worst nightmare come true, and my heart goes out to them.

Anyhoo. Focusing on the positive: the hotel room is booked and I'm going! I haven't booked a flight because I've got fingers crossed that the stars will align and I'll be able to snag another class or two. I'm mulling over trying a few burnt offerings… perhaps a skein of Wollmeise in exchange for a Colorful Stitches class?

Friday, May 22, 2009

Muddling on.

I'm still kicking, and still knitting. My resolution to blog on a regular basis was pretty much hosed by work demands and (in spite of my moniker) the need to sleep now and then. Apologies to Grace and Marie for not seeing your comments earlier!

Shortly after Stitches, my bread-and-butter client had a specific do or die deadline for the software that I'd been a team member on for what seems like forever. Many, many late nights and all-nighters followed. I may claim to being a night owl, but going on short rations for sleep leaves me deeply cranky and paying for it with migraines. Happily the worst is over – the software build has gone to QA and I'm going with the No News Is Good News scenario. I haven't heard that my specific portion of the project is tanking so it must be okay!

On the other good news front, a long-time client is upgrading their old-as-dirt software. It is truly scary to see comment lines in the existing stuff that dates back to the late '70s. Seriously! The bad news is that there is absolutely no documentation on this system. Nada, zilch, zippity-do-dah. Painful is the definition of having to reverse-engineer everything. The most excellent part of this has been to discover that the bookkeeping goddess that stepped in to help out is a knitter! It is so much fun to show someone websites like Ravelry and Knitty – I tend to take for granted how much is available in the vast online content and that not everyone is as hooked-in addicted as I am.

Warning: The following content contains Parental Bragging and should only be read by those with extreme tolerance.

Additional good news: Ms. Ray was invited to be a participant in her high school Baccalaureate. She told me this on Mother's Day as a sort of gift, and I have to admit that I got a bit misty-eyed. I also have to own up to the fact that I was a bit baffled when I had a moment to think on it – to me, a baccalaureate is either a degree or a priest/pastor's blessing on a graduating class. I certainly didn't hear of one in my high-school's graduating class. But then again that was (ahem!) several decades ago.

Now it seems that a baccalaureate is more of a celebration by and for the graduating class with various students performing for faculty, family, and friends and it is an honor of sorts to be a participant. Usually this is by audition but Rachel and Kelsey, her duet-partner last year, were asked by the music department teacher to take part – no audition – and they'll be performing the Mozart piece that they took to last year's State Ensemble competition where they were awarded a Gold/Command Performance. It is a fun piece that works well with both of their strengths – Kelsey is a gifted musician with an amazing range, particularly with the lower octaves, and Rachel is strong on the playful lilting quality that makes Mozart a joy to listen to. I hope I can get a decent recording, and perhaps with luck, figure out how to post it.

Wednesday night was her last performance in the school band. Rachel has had the wonderful fortune to have some truly gifted and dedicated music teachers and I left the concert knowing how much I'm going to miss all of it – seeing all of these kids from their first screeching violin performance, through the squeaking clarinets and off-key trumpets, past the youth symphony group performing in the sweltering heat in Austria's Schönbrunn Palace, to the full-on symphony group playing a standing ovation medley from The Barber of Seville… what an amazing journey.

And it is official:

Her prom date is now Boyfriend.

This is the funniest picture from the pre-prom dinner – the swim team girls! Those shoulders are why all but one ended up in a halter dress.

Okay I'm done. Actual knitting content follows.

I was plugging away on Something Blue (Wendy Bernard's Something Red pattern) when we went through a really warm spell and I completely lost the desire to knit a cozy soft merino sweater.

I do love the Malabrigo worsted and I'm happy that it is working in spite of two different dye lots (I've been alternating lots every other row).

I'll blame credit Thayer and her beautiful Ishbel for sending me down yet another rabbit hole and I wholeheartedly recommend Ishbel for a quick fun knit. I used The Plucky Knitter's MCN in the colorway "Brickhouse" - in real life it is a really pretty red that reminds me of raspberries and cream.

It would likely have been a whopping three days from start to finish had I not doggedly attempted to add beads to it, but the perfect beads were just a wee bit too small to cooperate and all I got for my efforts in trying to force them on was very sore fingers.

I'd been itching to cast on the Aeolian Shawl since its debut in Knitty and realized that I had what I thought was the perfect yarn for it, purchased from Ceallach Dyes last year's Maker Faire and I'm really pleased with how it is working here. Unfortunately the 100% merino is a bit prone to fuzziness if it is frogged repeatedly. You'd think after making the same mistake twice that I'd get it right on the third try. Or the fourth try. {Sigh}. You'd be wrong.

I've gotten to the last transition chart that leads to the final edging and, as with all triangular shawls, I think it is going to take as long to finish those last two charts as it took to knit up to this point.

I now know why knitters complain about nupps too. Mine are getting better but the first set or three look awfully wonky to me. I have my fingers crossed that the magic of blocking will cure them because right now my nupps look more like lumpy warts instead of the elegant pearls I've seen in other photos of the Aeolian shawls on Ravelry!

The Aeolian takes a lot of focus and I've been sorely lacking in this department for last week or so (hello, migraine!). I signed up a couple of weeks ago for the May Mystery Sock when I heard that Yarnissima was the designer – I've admired her work but had never knit one of her designs – so the Kiila Sock seemed like a good choice. My Knitting Attention Deficit Disorder is in full swing, it seems.

I've only gotten the to the first repeat of the pattern but have learned a lot getting there. Judy's Magic Cast On is easily the coolest method I've seen in my limited sock knitting experiece and I've also learned two new methods for right and left leaning increases.

This is a Sundara yarn, Rose over Charcoal, that I got in a Ravelry swap. A beautiful colorway and in general all of Sundara's color work makes me swoon but I am honestly sort of 'meh on the actual yarn. I still love Blue Moon deeply, but the base MCN yarn that The Plucky Knitter, Squoosh, etc., use has totally spoiled me rotten.

I'll be tattooing "Yarn Snob" on my body shortly.