Monday, April 30, 2007

Class, good. The past couple times, we've ended with some of the kids' games. Last time it was Ninja Stars (a version of dodgeball with the hitting targets as balls). Tonight, it was Chicken Tail, a version of tag, where you turn your belt around so the ends are on your back, and you have to try to tug everyone else's belts while protecting your own. We also did self-defense a little differently tonight. We practiced the moves with our partners (Cute Purple Belt was my partner tonight), then we split into two circles. One person stood in the middle of the circle, and anyone on the circle attacked whoever was in the middle with the moves we had just been practicing. I don't know about anyone else, but that was extremely helpful to me - you didn't know who would attack you next or with which attack. I'm still a bit slow reacting and working through everything, but it was a lot more of a learning experience for me than the drills we usually do. I also found out that I might actually be able to make the next testing date (June 9th). I've never tested with the rest of the class before, so I'm a little nervous.
Getting up at 5:30a tomorrow so I can be on the road at 6:00a so I can be in LA to rehearse above show at 10:30a, bad. Gonna take a shower and try to crash now. I hope I can be back in time to go to the gym - I didn't get a chance to go running at all last week.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Kicking puppies and other fun stuff

I hate firing people who have not ticked me off personally. It's a billion times worse when said person is under ten years of age and I have to talk not only to him, but to his mother. It sucks. I know it was the right call, and I know I was the right person to do it, but really. There's nothing in the world positive about the experience. I wanted to go to the studio and kick the hell out of some targets for a while, but no such luck, since it was Saturday, and I had about twenty minutes for dinner after all was said and done, anyway.

I laid the baby blanket out today, and realized that I don't think it will be big enough.

The Inspector graciously helped with a size comparison:

There are only four more tiers in my original idea. Adding length won't be difficult, I can always add more diamonds to each end and stay in pattern, but width (which may or may not be an issue) will be a little trickier. We'll see. I'll finish what I have planned and then take a look at it again. It might not be so bad.

I get to spend my weekend with this, though:

I had a skein of Amy's The New Black explode on me when I was trying to wind it. I must have twisted it or something when I put it on the swift, and the more I worked with it, the worse it got. I have about half of it untangled and wound now, and am trying to work up the courage to face the rest of the blob.

I also thought of a couple other sweater/shirt ideas, these are for more warmer-weather tops, that I might swatch for this weekend. I don't know if I should post a picture of my sketches or not. Last time, someone very kindly suggested that if I should ever be interested in publishing a pattern, often publishers ask that said pattern is not shared in any part before the publication. While I have no plans to try to get anything published yet, I do think one of my ideas could be really cute for Knitty or something, so maybe I'll just keep them under wraps for now.

Picture sizes should be smaller now, btw. I'm trying a new program to resize images. Let me know how it works?

Class tomorrow - I cannot wait! I so need it!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Boring, but not... (mostly non-knitting)

Some things I've been thinking about recently after the cut.

So this week hasn't really been too exciting, although I feel like I've been getting up way too early and going to bed way too late. I had Monday off, then Tuesday, I got up at 6:00a (yes, that's an A, as in AM, urgh!) to drive down to LA and hang out with John. He showed me a few new illusions he's gotten lately, and we started training a new crew guy he hired. We're doing a small show in May, the weekend after Dinner closes. It's a Friday/Saturday thing, although I'm going to try to get down there Thursday night. John's arranged a place for me to crash, since I no longer have housing down there, which is cool. I'll go back down for another rehearsal with new crew guy and the dancers next Tuesday, and then we'll be set, I think.

Being down in LA was a little surprising to me, though - I realized I actually missed the place! Okay, not the traffic, which only a masochist would miss, but living there. I spent the drive home thinking of how I could support myself if I moved back down. I came up with either going to grad school or by some miracle landing a full time gig somewhere (preferably with John, in which case I'd be on the road most of the time, but the show isn't quite at full-time status yet). I had the contacts to freelance when I had roommates to help split costs, but I don't think I could support myself on just freelancing, and I don't know anyone I'd want to room with there anymore.

I'm also applying to Blue Man Group in Las Vegas for an ASM position there, which prompted an email to Lance Burton's stage manager, who was amazingly cool enough almost five years ago to take time to talk to a college kid, barely 21, who knew nothing about magic shows, only that she wanted to work on them, and had the guts to call and ask. (Thanks, Mom, for pushing me into that, btw!) We've kept in intermittent touch since, and while we can't exactly discuss business (since we both work for different illusionists, trade secrets and all), he always gives me advice about companies and such. I have a standing offer to see the show anytime I'm in town. Which, I'm starting to think, will be as soon as I can get some cash saved up. I don't care if no one else wants to go. I do, and I've travelled by myself to far more unfamiliar places before. (I've been to Vegas something like seven or eight times - only two of which have been past the age of 21!)

I think I'm getting to the "I've been here too long and it's time to move on stage." In the past few months, I've been considering moving to Vegas, Chicago, and Los Angeles. Maybe I do like the city life? I don't really have any desire to move to the East Coast, though, unless it's a rockin cool job. I think I'm just built to travel (I come by it honestly), and I haven't really been able to for several years. I hope John goes on a tour!

Class has been awesome, of course, although there have been so many people there lately that there isn't room to do much work. Some of the black belts have taken to going outside in the back to practice weapon forms now that the weather is nicer and the sun is out longer. I did my board break on Monday with no problems - Sir got that look that lets me know the next one I break will be much harder. (I also somehow got blood on my pants - I think from a hangnail - and it won't come out. Any tips?) Mr. R taught me my one steps this evening. I like them - they're fun. Again, though, everytime I think "Hey, I'm getting better at this!" something comes along to knock me on my butt. We were doing a drill that involved some sort of front pushing kick, which looks really simple and I can't seem to do for anything. All the other kicks so far, I've been able to do, maybe not powerfully or gracefully, but the footwork for this one just would not compute for some reason. I hope we do it again!

I'm about halfway through the squares on the baby blanket, and only an inch or so into the toe of the second Green Gables sock. I've also worked on Tumbling Blocks a little, although somehow a 49 stitch scarf with an eight-stitch YO/k2tog pattern repeat is kicking my butt. I thought I had it memorized, but I'm finally admitting tonight that I am going to have to dig the pattern out again.

I really have to get going - we have a brat mat (a 10:00a student matinee, which means an 8:15a call for moi!) tomorrow, plus I have to teach Chrissy's class (she's doing a gig in Arizona for a few weeks), and go to a stage combat seminar by one of our RA's for my interns. And go running. And I really need a shower!

Friday, April 20, 2007

The day the music died and other misc

There is no knitting content in this post, other than me saying now that I've recruited another over to the dark side with the SRSP sweater. She's doing pedi-socks now, but somehow sweaters are too hard. Hah! We'll see about that!

Anyway, the majority of this post is skipable to those who only come for knitting. The rest of you have been warned! =)
Monday, I accidentally sent my beloved Sony Walkman mp3 player through the wash, zipped up in a side pocket of one of my workout shirts. I'd like to point out that the first time I did this (don't ask), it still worked afterwards. This time, not so much. After much swearing, grumbling, and general whining at myself for being so stupid, I dug into my savings account (I cannot play, work, exercise or live without music. Period.) and bought this. It came today. It is So Freaking Cool! You can...well, if you're curious, you can follow the link, otherwise I'll talk about it all day. The only thing I can't really do with it is swim, of course. They seriously need to make one of those soon!

I also got my hair chopped off yesterday. I kept telling the lady I wanted it shorter and shorter, mostly in the hope of finally being able to keep it out of my face during class. She kept giving me disbelieving looks. I told her I wanted it to be short enough that it wouldn't get in my face when I was working out. She told me I could always clip it back and stopped somewhere between my chin and the bottoms of my ears, and then proceeded to style it in a way so that it would fall right in my eyes! At that point, I politely told her thank you, pointedly shoved all my hair back out of my eyes (she looked a little shocked), paid, and left. Luckily, it is a style that I can keep out of my face mostly with a short ponytail or a cloth headband. I just really don't feel comfortable with metal barretts in my hair during class. I didn't think it really looked that different, other than actually looking styled and taking a bit of length off, but I got tons of comments on it today. I was hoping to sucker someone into taking a picture today, since I was wearing SRSP, and make up, and generally looked fairly cute (I think, anyway) at work today, but I forgot the camera. Sigh.

Sir taught me my new board break last night. (Yay, going twice a week! Yay!) It's a palm strike. Thank goodness. I was half-afraid he'd want me to do a knife-strike again. I'd try the knife-strike again, of course, but I'm just as happy with this one. We just practiced on targets last night - we usually do the first time we're learning a new break - and he had me demonstrate for New White Belt after I had learned it. I also worked with NWB a little on the form when the instructors were busy and I could see he looked a little lost. It does help me to help other people. I have to think more carefully about each move. I'm kind of curious to see how hard one of the orange belts hits after watching her form the last night - she tends to flail and wiggle a lot. While everyone else is trying for smooth, powerful moves, with varying degrees of success, she looks like she's on the dance floor at a school dance. I know, that's competitive and egotistical of me. Honest, though. I was partnered with Ma'am last night (she participates in class but doesn't teach on Wednesdays, apparently), which was a lot of fun. A butt-kicking, to be sure, but fun. She inspires me. I want to be able to kick like her. Anyone know some drills to help build up kicking power/technique? Oh, and I thought of a perfect place to practice my form. I'm kicking myself (no pun intended) for not thinking of it sooner. A rehearsal room. Duh. A big open place with mirrors. And I have keys to all of them. The trick will be to find a mirrored room not in use by students as they prepare for final projects.

Oh, and I'm saying this here so I have something to be accountable to. I'm temporarily giving up chocolate (except chocolate milk, trail mix, and the rest of the granola bars I have in this box). I've stocked up on some individual-sized fresh fruit and veggie goodies, and I am still allowing myself sweets, just not anything with chocolate. Given the pickiness of my diet, this should cut out a lot of unnecessary junk! My goal is not to lose weight, but to tone up. I honestly don't think I'm overweight or anything, but I do think I could be in better shape, and I think my activity level is pretty good at this point. Now I want to really focus on fueling that activity level better than I have been.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

I can't come up with a clever title today...(long post)

But I'm not sure I have to. I have lots of eye candy today. Okay, so you might not call it eye candy, but I'm pretty darn proud of it. Everything is knitted, seamed, woven, blocked, and looks pretty good, if I do say so myself. (And I do!)

Sorry for the above pic - I didn't have anyone around to take a picture of me wearing the sweater (and shorts, gotta love California!), so I had to fall back on my mirror routine. It fits pretty well, actually, although there is just the tiniest bit of weirdness where the front isn't quite centered, but I can live with it. I'm so happy - just over three months to make this sweater!

Project Specs:
Pattern & Source: Short-Row Striped Pullover from Interweave Knits, Fall 2003
Designer: Fiona Ellis
Yarn: KnitPicks Wool of the Andes - Stream (MC), Cloud (A), Wheat (B), Rain (C), Fern (D)
Needles: KnitPicks Options - US 7
Date Started: January 15, 2007
Date Completed: April 17, 2007
-I knit the sleeves first and used them to check gauge. My stitch gauge was spot on throughout the project, my row gauge was slightly off, creating a longer garment. I can totally live with that.
-I knit both sleeves at the same time and used the Twisted German Cast On, for a stretchier cuff.
-The sleeves took longer than the front and back. In my knitting journal, I have noted that I finished the sleeves on March 2nd, 44 days after casting on. I started the back on March 4th, and completed it on March 7th, three days after casting on. The front took a bit longer. I don't have the starting date noted, but I did have to wait a week to get more yarn to finish it.
-I did the neckband in solid MC instead of the intarsia stripes.
-This was fun. I'm not sure I would do it again - weaving in the ends is really the best way to handle them, and it takes FOREVER. Knitting them in as I worked just didn't give me the look I wanted. The seaming wasn't so bad, but trying to keep the stripes matched up on the sides was a bit of a pain. But damnit, I did it and it looks good!

I haven't decided on a next sweater project yet. I found some colors that I really like for my designed sweater, but they're an acrylic yarn and I haven't found a gauge that I like with it yet. I'm thinking of maybe trying a linen yarn? I'll have to look around for some options.

Anyway, I have not succumbed to Cara's miter madness, but I have found enjoyment in this:

This is the start of the baby blanket for my coworker. Rather than the Mason-Dixon style blanket, this one is worked more like entrelac, where you pick up the stitches from the top edges of the "valley" squares to create the next tier of squares. I got the idea from Shelly (the tutorial is on her sidebar) and the good folk of Knitting-at-Knoon. I am doing a few other personal modifications, as well. First, not a modification, but a mistake. See how the line of decreases in the initial row is horizontal and the rest are vertical? I'm going to rip those squares out and re-do them. Second, I'm going to do base triangles at the end to give the blanket a nice square edge - pointy tips and baby just doesn't sound like a good combination - but rather than picking up one edge and sewing the other in, as in the KnK pattern, I'm going to play around with doing them the same way as the rest of the squares, only instead of decreasing all the stitches down to a point, binding them off to create a flat line. I'll have to play with it.

Oh, and Knitting-at-Knoon provides these great templates for planning out your blankets, and I kind of got a little crazy playing with different layouts.

I can't say as I care for the Mason-Dixon stripey miters, but these little guys are PERFECT for show knitting. They are quick - I can do two or three squares per show - and are garter stitch, so pretty much mindless knitting. I'm hoping to get the majority of the blanket done during the run of this show, as the next is with said co-worker, so I will have to be a little sneakier about it.

And, I'm about two rounds away from finishing this:
The first of the Green Gables socks. I'll finish this one and cast on the next tonight, before I pick up the baby blanket again to rip the initial squares out.

Class talk after the cut It was also really great to get to class again last night. There were so many people there, including another new white belt. I was partnered with a blue belt girl I've seen there before, but never been partnered with. She was really nice, although I still wish she would have taken a step or two back during kicking drills. I ended up kicking her wrist instead of the target several times. It hurt my feet, so I'm sure it didn't feel so good for her. Ma'am initially had Other Orange Belt Kid and I working with the group of white belts, but cut us loose after she could see us getting bored as she kept going through the form step by step with them and told us to work together on our own. She was going to have the two of us work with the other orange belts while she worked with the new white belt, but we ran out of time. It was kind of nice that she asked, though, and I was surprised at how much of the form I remembered. I can't wait to go again on Wednesday - I'm totally taking advantage of having these nights off during performances! Some of the guys were teasing me that they'd see me on Thursday (sparring night) but not quite yet. Hopefully over the summer, though!

Now I need a new epic project. Or maybe I'll just stick with the blanket for now. And play with sock yarn.


It's finished!

Just wanted to let you all know. Pics tomorrow.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Had to share this:

"You are a knitting madwoman. Or crocheting, or whatever method it is that you use to antagonize yarn these days."

- from a non-knitting technogeek friend in an online conversation where I mentioned having trouble deciding on how I should lay out the squares for the baby blanket. I look around and see how many things are not near finished and think "I'm a knitting madwoman? I never get anything done!"

Opening tomorrow night! No rehearsal in the afternoon, just the show. Have some errands to run beforehand, though. I can't wait for this weekend to be over. Opening tomorrow night, then a matinee and understudy rehearsal Sunday, then just class (twice!) and a few meetings until Thursday! Hopefully this time will also convince Teddie that he really is not neglected nor invisible and does not need to yowl at me for five minutes nor jump on me, attack my hands, lick my skin, or plop himself in the most inconvenient places possible in order to get attention. I swear, you'd think I never touch the cat the way he acts sometimes!

Now I'm taking a shower and going to bed, it's been a hella long day! Will try to finish seaming SRSP tomorrow and get some collarless pics. Oh, and will show you some ideas I'm thinking of with the blocks. I adore knitting them - the perfect straight play booth project - but figuring out the order of them may do me in!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007


Just a quick update (pics will be up soon):
1. SRSP: I have the sleeves sewn to the body and one side and one sleeve seamed. My eyes are already crossing, so I won't work on it tonight, but it will be finished soon!

2. Socks: I found the pattern for the Green Gables yarn. It's a simple 4x4 rib and it's the right one. How do I know? I was able to turn the heel with absolutely no problems. These are my show project, at least for the time being.

3. Slight change of schedule: One of my coworkers is expecting! I'm thinking of doing a small mitered square blanket in some leftover/stash Caron Simply Soft. She's due in October. She's also a knitter, though, so I'm going to check in with her to find out if there is something she really wants to make herself for the baby so I don't make it, too!

3. Show: The show is going extremely well. We have our first preview tomorrow night and I can't wait to get an audience and fresh faces. The show is still funny to us, but we've all seen it too many times now. It's just long, and I am not looking forward to not being done with the show until after 11:00p! Next year, we're starting the shows at 7:00p - can't wait!

4. Running: 2.5 miles today, 1.25 miles yesterday. It just felt so good to run today that I did a little more than I usually do. My legs are going to complain tomorrow. Now I need some food and a shower.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Sore Throats and Stripey Goodness

So far I seem to have been able to successfully avoid the plague that has run through the company. However, the past week or so, I have woken up with a slightly sore throat and hoarse voice. Most of the week, it's gotten better through the day, but today it just hasn't. So, no trip to Monterey, unfortunately. I feel fine, other than the throat and a nagging fatigue, but I don't want to get AF Guy sick and I certainly don't want to make myself even more ill this week!

So, the results of last night's television fest:

Four complete sweater pieces! The front is actually blocking, the back and the sleeves came over to keep it company. Finishing the knitting only took maybe half an hour. This:

Took over six hours. I'm not exaggerating, I swear. Three episodes of Law & Order: SVU, one episode of House, some special on making Easter candy, part of some travel show where they went to Alaska, six hours of sleep (of course, today, I wake up at 9:15a for no reason!), and part of a Discovery Channel show about building the Great Pyramid. But it's done. I'll let it spend the day drying and either tonight or tomorrow, sew it together and pick up the stitches for the neck. I am, btw, not even going to try the intarsia collar on the original version. It's going to be the same solid color as the sleeves.

Now I'm off to play with some entrelac socks.

Saturday, April 07, 2007


Two and a half days off for good behaviour! Woo! Tech was scheduled from 1:00p-5:00p and 7:00p-11:00p yesterday and today. At 10:55p last night, I called the final cue of the show. We got through a whole three act show in eight hours! Okay, granted, it's a straight play, not a major musical (although I have teched those in one day as well) but still. We ran through the show with tech this afternoon, then the director gave us the evening off. We have tomorrow off for Easter, and Monday is our regular day off - a *gasp* weekend!

I'm going to go up to Monterey tomorrow to visit AF Guy - I just need to get out of town for a while. (More explanation after the cut.) Steve called me earlier this week with the news that he's had a couple offers to come back to PCPA for the summer and wanted to make sure I was okay with it. I've since had other people tell me that he's been hired. I think it's okay. We've talked a few times, but I haven't seen him since August, so I'm not sure. It didn't bother me or make me particularly happy or upset that he was coming, so I think it will be okay. What am I supposed to say? "No, don't hire him because I can't handle it, even though I work a totally different schedule in a totally different department"? That sounds very professional. I'm glad that people here are kind enough to think about me, but I'm kind of tired of them making a deal about it. I hope the weather is nice enough to go out to the cliffs.

I'm planning on spending tonight vegging on the couch, watching tv and working on SRSP - I'm so close! I've started and frogged a pair of socks with some of Amy's sock sport yarn in the Green Gables colorway. I love the yarn, I just haven't quite found the right pattern for it. I have a few more ideas to play with, though. I hope it doesn't upset the Yarn Inspector, who appears to have claimed one of my drawers of sock yarn:

At least the cat has good taste in yarn - that's my STR, Bearfoot and Spunky Eclectic drawer!

I want to go to class, or at least find room to really work on my form! And the gym was closed for the college's spring break this past week, so I wasn't able to go running like usual. Luckily, I still got plenty of exercise going up and down the steps in the theater! I want next week to be here!

Monday, April 02, 2007

Belts, Yarn, Baseball and The Third Time Isn't Always The Charm When It Comes To Sweaters

I've given up on getting the right number of stitches on SRSP. I have knit that section four times and frogged it three times (I know the one before has the correct number of stitches. I counted every time.), and I still keep ending up with an extra stitch. I looked at the back and realized it was the same place I'd had problems with on the back. So, I did the same thing as I did on the back. I fudged it. Eh.

Oh, and I kind of added to my stash a little, too. I used to have a pair of Jaywalkers in KnitPicks Dancing (Jig colorway). You might remember that I had major issues with the fit of them. Then with the heels of them. I did finish them, and I have worn them several times, but the heels (one afterthought and one short row) drove me nuts. So, today, I started frogging them. I'll have two more skeins of useable sock yarn once I get them washed and dried. I don't think I'm going to do do another pair of Jaywalkers with them. I think I'll do a twisted rib sock.

My Cubbies lost today =(

I tested and earned my yellow belt this afternoon. Sir had me do my form and one-steps, then the random self-defense moves, then the board break, and then he had me do my form and one-steps again. He also had me do some drills, which he didn't have me do last time. (Answers to some questions in the full post) I got to talk to Sir for a little bit afterwards before regular classes started. Testing eligibility is based on attendence, attitude, and knowledge of required techniques. Most of the time the reason people don't test is because they haven't attended enough classes regularly in the cycle. People who don't test or don't pass start the new cycle with everyone else. They just have to do an extra cycle. Sir said that the cycle blocks (white/orange/yellow, camo/green/purple/blue, red/brown/red&black) work for them because in Songahm the level of difficulty for the forms in those blocks isn't that different. Not sure I agree with that - Ma'am started teaching me Songahm 3, the yellow belt form, tonight and it's hard! Jump front kicks, and knife strikes and blocks...I found it difficult to remember! I wouldn't want to jump into it as a white belt. I do have to admit, though, that it seems to make class more organized and it frees the three instructors up to work with more people than having to look out for 18 different forms. Tonight was the last class I can go to until after the show is open, unfortunately, since the studio is closed for Spring Break next week. Luckily, after that, I will be able to start going twice a week until summer, which will be nice. We did some new (for me) kicks - an axe kick and a hook kick - our new forms, and the Killer Ab Drill tonight. I always think, "Hey, I'm not so bad at this stuff!" when I'm working by myself, and then when I'm in class I'm always thinking, "Wow, I can't kick that high or my kicks look so sloppy compared to everyone else's." (Particularly Brown Belt - he's really good at kicks!) So I can't wait to get into more than one class a week and get more real practice and drills in.

Paper tech tomorrow, tech this weekend. I just want to get this show open.