Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Design Ideas

Okay, so I think I've settled on the basic idea for The Sweater, though I don't quite have everything completely worked out yet.

My drawing skills suck, and I don't have the right colors of colored pencils to get what I have in my head on paper quite the right way. The general idea is a fitted tunic-length long sleeve with some waist shaping. As you can see in the pics, I'm having trouble deciding on a neckline. I love funky necklines. The circular one is a scoop neck cowl, and the upper one is a boat neck with an asymmetrical triangular flap. I'm also considering an asymmetrical v-neck with the colorwork as a neckband.

Oh, the colorwork. Right. The current idea is a heathered tan as the main color (not as yellowy as the sketch), with bands of tri-color slip stitch. I used blue and red in the sketch, but haven't settled on that. I was thinking about the colors in the pictures I took on the road yesterday and I think a lighter blue and a light green with the tan might be really pretty, too.

I know, from working on the Striped Afghan a few years ago, that slip stitch generally works out tighter than stockinette, so I will probably have to do that on larger needles to make it look right. I'll have to check that out when I decide on a yarn and swatch. No, I have no idea what yarn I want to use yet. I have several ideas to check out. I want something soft and nice, preferably not perfectly clear stitch definition. I want a little fuzziness to it, but not novelty. Gonna make a run to the LYS tomorrow, get some ideas, I hope. I don't want to completely rely on online for this, I want to KNOW it's the right yarn.

Class last night was awesome. I learned jump crescent kicks and three new self defense moves. (Okay, that was funny, I'm watching The Closer and Brenda's boyfriend just totally sat on her knitting.) There were some different people there tonight that I didn't recognize. One was another orange belt, although he had a horizontal stripe along the center of his. I've seen it on some other people's as well - Red Belt Girl has one, too - but I don't know what it means. Red Belt Girl was there again last night - first time I've seen her since before testing. Cute Green Belt wasn't there, unforunately. Ma'am was sporting a lovely black eye from sparring on Thursday, so we had to tease her, of course. The new orange belt hadn't started learning his form yet, so she worked with him, and Mr. R worked with me and Scared Orange Belt on our form and taught Scared Orange Belt the one-steps I learned Wednesday. I got teased for being concerned that I might be doing more of a side kick than a round house at one point. Mr. R. told me that most people at my level aren't that picky. What can I say? I want to do it right and not half-ass it. Oh, and I got my certificate of rank last night. I'm officially an 8th Grade Orange Belt-R on paper. Woo. No idea what the -R means.

I had the weirdest dream last night. For some reason, Chrissy had to go out of town, and none of her ASMs could take over, so I had to call her show. But she took her book with her, and while I was looking for it, the conductor decided to go ahead and start the show half an hour early, with all of the actors still warming up onstage. The actors thought it was me and got really upset. Normally, if I dream about a show at all, it's my show and it's usually during tech week, so it was super weird that I dreamed about a show I have no connection with.

It's raining again. Gotta love winter/spring on the Coast. I think I'll make cookie bars to ward off the chill.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Stitches West 2007

Okay, this is gonna be an insanely long post. You've been warned, and feel free to turn away at any time. I can't promise it will all be interesting for everyone. There are no pics of actually being at the conventions - no photography was allowed in the market, and I felt it just rude to take pictures during class. It was a great weekend, lots happening, and I'm exhausted. I'll try to break it down and keep things mostly organized, but no guarantees that there won't be any tangents.

First off, driving isn't really my favorite thing in the world, but there are worse ways to spend a couple afternoons than driving up and down the 101, along the California coast, with your favorite tunes blasting on the radio:

Forgive the pic, it's hard to use a camera and drive at the same time. This one was actually taken on the way back home this afternoon, since none of the pics from the drive up turned out and I wanted to start the trip out with a road pic. I'm keeping it for color ideas in the future. The 101 has to be one of the most beautiful drives in the country. Someone disagree with me - what, I'll get hammered with more pretty pics? =)

I didn't actually get a chance to leave Santa Maria until after 3:00p Friday, due to work. I finally got the hotel around 6:30p, with a headache and the vague idea of changing into pj's, getting room service for dinner, vegging in front of the tv and hopefully falling asleep early. Apparently it was St. Murphy's Day and I didn't realize it. I didn't pack my laptop not expecting to have the time to use it nor expecting to have an internet connection anyway. I got to the hotel and...there are ten channels on the TV: three local channels, ESPN, HBO, three "hotel" channels (one of which is static, another is the tv menu/guide), and two Spanish channels. In other words, nothing to watch on TV. They have a nice desk area for a laptop, complete with complementary WiFi. Sigh. To top it off, not only am I now completely bored and not used to going to bed at any time before 2:00a especially in a hotel, but my room is next to the laundry room and I spend most of the night listening to laundry carts roll back and forth. Double Sigh. However, I did wake up at *groan* 6:00a.m. the next morning. Room service breakfast is a great thing, particularly when you can order it the night before. The hotel provides complimentary shuttles to the Convention Center, so I arranged for a ride and was on my way! For the record: You early birds who love the peace of the morning and the beauty of the sunrise...it's all yours. I don't like going to sleep in the dark and waking up in the dark. There has to be some psychological impact to that, I think.

Stitches, Day One:
I arrive at Santa Clara Convention Center and promptly get lost in the building. The convention is in the Center and in the attached Hyatt hotel. The market is on the center side, most of the classes, but not all, are on the hotel side. I finally find the right place to check in, get my packet and name tag and an extra cup of coffee, and set off.

8:00a First Class
I have my first ever Stitches class. Well, first class of any kind that has anything to do with crafts. "Design Your Dream Sweater" with Leslye Solomon, owner of Woolstock Yarn Shop. I cannot recommend her highly enough. She was funny, energetic, and extremely informative. She walked us through the design of a basic sweater, and then helped us through any changes or adaptations we might want to make to the basics, like different necklines and shapings and sleeves. It was great. She helped us chart out designs and figure out measurements, using some design graph paper she sells at her store. It's oversized sheets of knitters graph paper, with space for project title, date, and planned gauge, sketches, and a chart of some common measurements at the top. She gave out chocolate. The three hours sped by.
11:00a First Market Experience
Overwhelming. That's all I can use to describe walking into the Market for the first time. It's colorful, noisy, and crowded. You want to touch everything you see. And you see books, buttons, beads, spinning wheels, drop spindles, looms, garments, irons (irons??), knitting machines, patterns, fleece, and, of course, yarns. Of every possible color and fiber I can think of. I'm pretty sure I saw camel. I know I saw dog and cat. No cameras are allowed in the Market, so I cannot fully express this in mere words. I fell completely and totally in love with a cashmere scarf at one of the booths. Not the scarf itself, although it was gorgeous, but the fact that it felt like soft warm air. It was so silky soft. Ah, I think I'm in love! But, at $30 for an ounce, it was a little dear for me. The Market is huge, and the way the exhibit rooms are connected and laid out, it's kind of L-shaped and easy to get turned around and lost in.

I wandered into the Philosopher's Wool stall and met Eugene Bourgeois, one of the owners. He was extremely nice and gives off the air of extreme patience and gentleness. He let me ogle all the sweaters and kits, and when I mentioned that I'd seen their video and had used it, but had trouble with tension, he grabbed his needles and gave me a quick tutorial. How cool is that?! I thanked him profusely and had to leave before the wool fumes from the gorgeous kits overcame me and I blew all my money in one place. I love the colors and the patterns, but I thought the yarns themselves were a little rough and scratchy.

The next thing I remember, I was at the Yarn Barn stall, with all their books and fibers around me. They had totally cute kits made up for a bunch of the Fiber Trends toys: penguins, lambs, bunnies, and, of course the Huggable Hedgehog.

There was only one Hedgehog kit left, in blue yarns, of all colors, and I was afraid that if I waited, I wouldn't get one. So I managed to get my greedy little paws on it (pattern and required Lamb's Pride yarns) and moved to the end of the aisle to get in line. I practically trip over the lady sitting at the end of the aisle, with a stack of books in her hands. I look down to apologize, and she has a stack of Inspired Cable Knits in her hands. And is signing them. I just practically knocked over Fiona Ellis. The DESIGNER of the Short Row Striped Pullover. Doh! She was very gracious and asked what colors I was working the SRSP in when I mentioned it. She thought it sounded great and said if I needed any help, to be sure to contact her. After she was that nice, I had to get her book, and she signed it for me!
I grabbed a quick bite and watched a little of the Style Show. Then I escape the Market's evil clutches with just my hedgehog and book and go to my next class.

1:30p Second Class
My second class ended up being in the room right next to the first class, but of course I find that out after wandering the building again. I got a lot of exercise this weekend. This one is "Two Handed Knitting: Basics", with Susie Hodges. Susie was quiet and gentle, and extremely patient. She gave us a handout and first had us learn and practice the opposite knitting style that we usually do. Then she demonstrated two handed stranding and weaving techniques. It was...exactly the same as what I taught myself two years ago when I did the Christmas stockings. I still have the same tension issues, I'm assuming because I rarely practice. It was a good time and fun to practice, though. I ended up helping a few other ladies who were sitting near me. I do think Susie is a great teacher, though. I just need to practice. And I figured out how to purl Continental, which, to be blunt, is a bitch. Purling English is much easier.

4:30p Second Market Excursion
The wool fumes lured me in a second time. This time through, I ran into the Blue Moon Fiber Arts stall, which I somehow completely missed the first time through. The mediumweight STR was completely out by this point, and there were only a few skeins of the lightweight left. There was still a bit of the heavyweight left, and they had a bunch of the Sock Candy and Seduction and a few others left. I love their colors, but didn't get anything. I have too much sock yarn, and nothing was talking to me. I also found Full Thread Ahead's stall, owned by HoJo over at KR. She carries Ceallach Yarns by kdcrowley, also from KR. I didn't get to introduce myself, but I was the one roaming around in the bright blue Rogue sweater on Saturday, and the Lady Eleanor today. Beautiful yarns, but again, the skeins were silent. I got a roll of Leslye's sweater design charts, and some blocking wires, and left.

I caught a ride back to the hotel, crashed on the bed for a little bit (remember, I'd been up since 6:00a, me!), took some Advil for the headache the wool fume hangover gave me, and drove down to Monterey and had dinner with AF Guy. Honestly, if I had realized it was so far a drive, I would have pled exhaustion and stayed at the hotel, but hanging out with him turned out to be exactly what I needed. It's good to have friends to just hang out and talk with. He's one of the few people I can truly tell anything to, and vice versa, which is always necessary. And I found a Borders near where we met up, so I stopped in just before they closed and picked up a crossword puzzle book, a Dilbert book, and the Spring 2007 Interweave Knits. I probably wouldn't have gotten the magazine, except for this:
Entrelac Socks! Dudes! I've heard such things existed, but this is the first pattern I've seen. I was excited.

Sleep, after more than 18 hours of new information, nerves, crowds, yarns, colors, and general overload, on about three hours of sleep.

Stitches Day 2
Get lost driving myself to the convention center. Finally get there, find the classroom, grabbed a banana and a vanilla frappacino, and went to my third class.

8:30a Third Class
Edie Eckman is another great teacher, and taught "Where Do They Get Those Numbers?", a class about how designers figure out measurements. I think it would have been great, except I'd just had most of this the day before. It was also, as Edie pointed out, not the best class to do on Sunday morning, after people had been bombarded with new information all weekend and were exhausted. But it was still fun. She again walked us through getting measurements for a basic sweater pattern and how to adjust for individual sizes and gauges. It was nice to have all that information again, though.

11:30a Third Market
I went back to the Market to make one last swipe through, drool over the Philosopher's Wool kits, grab some lunch, and maybe stick around for the Grand Prize Drawing. I finished up my Stitches Stash.
I found some phenomenal hand cream from Honey Lane Farms, it moisturizes like crazy and doesn't leave your hands feeling greasy. It doesn't get all over your fiber and needles, either!

I went back to the Philosopher's Wool stall to drool. I convinced myself that I couldn't afford a full kit, and contented myself with the beautiful patterns in their book.

I, er, didn't make it to the Grand Prize drawing, so I hope they didn't call my name. I instead got snared in the evil trap of an impromptu drop spindle spinning demonstration by the booth across from Full Thread Ahead. The lady there showed me how to park and draft again, and suggested that I switch hands with it. It makes sense, I had been holding the fiber in my left hand and spinning with my right, which is opposite of how I knit. She suggested holding the fiber with my right and spinning on my left. It feels a lot better and is easier to control the drafting. I picked up their book on spinning, too. I can't remember the name of the shop for anything, though. Nancy Bush walked by and chatted with the spinning demonstrator, and I'm pretty sure I saw Cookie of Pomatomus fame in the aisle right afterwards.

Despite my not finding The Yarn for my Sweater, I did look. Desperately. But if it was the right color, it was too rough. If it was the right color and the right texture, it was most likely cashmere and way out of my budget reach. I really fell for some alpaca, but an alpaca sweater on the Central Coast is a little, well, can we say "Overkill"?

And despite resolving to not buy anything that I could get anywhere else, I did come home with two skeins of...erm...cough...Bearfoot. It attacked me, I swear! I was chatting with another lady who was having some trouble deciding on sock yarns, and there was a skein that had fallen on the floor and come unwound. I had to pick it up and put it back, of course. I couldn't leave it laying there to get dirty and stepped on, now, could I? It was the colorway I have been drooling over since I was very first introduced to Bearfoot and was even more beautiful in person. I know, I was blind to walk into such an obvious trap, but I couldn't pass that up! And, as I was bidding the lady goodbye and turned to walk to the register, my bag bumped the table, and another skein fell on me. Now that's just mean, don't you think? Sneaky little bastards.

I also actually saw the Entrelac Socks from IK at their booth, and picked up the pattern for the Melinda pullover from White Lies Designs.

And after spending far more money than maybe I should have, but not more than I had planned on, I picked up my toys and went home. The TeddieCat yelled at me for about an hour for leaving him home by himself for a whole two nights, but now is apparently over it. He is not impressed with the Stitches Stash, although apparently Dad's Socks make a pretty good pillow.

I learned several tips and tricks this weekend, but I think what I learned most is, at the risk of sounding completely arrogant, I underestimate myself as a knitter. This is around the time I learned to knit, three years ago. This weekend, while I had three terrific teachers, I took beginners level classes - I think the Fair Isle class was maybe the next step up. Except for the first design class, I didn't really learn anything I didn't already know. I've done lace, entrelac, cables, short rows, sweaters, socks, mittens, hats, colorwork, felting, dpns, 2 circs, magic loop, continental, English, two handed, two colors in one hand...I've pretty much taught myself a lot over the past three years. I guess I felt like since it was self-taught, or informal, it didn't "count" or something. I ended up helping several people this weekend. I saw some gorgeous knits this weekend, and got compliments on my own stuff from people whose things I was drooling over. It was a little weird, but illuminating. I need to hold myself to a higher standard with my knitting, because I can do this.

Now I'm going to give you all a break from listening to my ramblings. Mostly because I'm hungry again - convention food, while better than what I was expecting - there were salads and fruit cups and hard boiled eggs and apples and bananas and paninis and stuff as well as the regular trash - is not particularly good for you or filling. And I want to get some sleep since I have class tomorrow.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Stitches 'n Stuffs

Ack! It's time for Stitches already? How can this be?? It's not possible, I tell ya, not! Okay, so it is. I have my homework done. All I really have to do is pack and clean the apartment up a little and a few errands.

1. Pack clothes, project, supplies, and camera for the weekend
2. Print out directions and confirmations for the Convention Center and the hotel
3. Charge the battery for the camera
4. Pick up the living room and vaccuum
5. Fold laundry and vaccuum bedroom
6. Sweep kitchen and bathroom
7. Get some cash for the weekend

I can't wait! I've never done anything like this before! Well, I mean, I've done conventions before, but they were always Church Youth Group type things, nothing ever for a hobby! I am going to try to get up to Santa Clara by lunchtime tomorrow, but as long as I get up there before about 4:00p I'll be happy. I'm not exactly known for leaving on time for trips. In fact, it's usually guaranteed that I will get a late start if left up to my own devices. But there is a KR meetup at HoJo's booths at lunchtime, and that would be cool to be at. My main concern is I have two morning classes that start at either 8:00 or 8:30a. I know, most of you think that's a reasonable time of day to start something. I'm lucky if I'm conscious at that time of day. So that will be a challenge, and all I can say is that there had better be coffee available somewhere!

In other news, two packages arrived this week. The first was my new White 1740 Quilter's Machine sewing machine. I did some research and it's gotten good reviews for what I need and it was in my price range. It's very fun, but is bigger than my little $20 thing, so I'm going to have to do some rearranging of furniture and things so it will be able to live on my desk. The second was from Amazon, and contained the first two J.D. Robb books (I'd originally borrowed them from a friend), a Dilbert collection (I have a thing for Dilbert books before bed, don't ask), and Yarn Harlot: The Secret Life of a Knitter by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee. So that was fun. My KnitPicks box has not arrived from its trek to my parents house yet, and I am almost to the end of the skeins I have for the SRSP sleeves, so I hope it gets here soon!

I was able to make it to class last night, which was nice. It was crowded since it looked like we had most of the Monday night crowd there as well as the regular Wednesday nighters. Sir told us at the beginning of class that Mrs. S was at the "the baby could come at any minute" stage, so if the phone rang, he was leaving. It didn't, but Sir was understandably less focused than usual last night =) We did a lot of kicking drills again last night. I wonder if this is kicking drill unit or something. I like it, but it's a little intimidating. We did the jumping side kicks again. I think I did a lot better with them this week. They felt better, anyway. Mr. R (it's Mr. R, I found out, not Mr. H. I had two guys and their last names confused) helped me with my form and taught me my new one-steps, since Ma'am wasn't there. I wasn't the only Monday nighter having trouble with my new form, though - like Cute Green Belt said, since we didn't have class Monday, it had been ten days since any of us had gotten to work on them in class! (My new form follows a rectangle pattern, and the way my furniture is currently arranged in my living room I don't have room to work on it at home. I'm hoping that as part of the rearranging for the sewing machine, I can gain some space for formwork, too!) It was fun as always, though, and I'm going to go watch sparring again tonight. I'm a little confused about the no contact/light contact/full contact thing, and the scoring. I'm going to bring a notebook tonight so I can write my questions down as I think of them.

Alright, going to hit the gym before going to the studio. Afterwards, I might splurge on dinner and go to the Olive Garden and flirt with cute bartender if he's there. Maybe.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Stupid Holiday

The problem with government holidays? They happen on Mondays. The only day SOME of us have off during the week. So not only is it nothing special for us, but you can't run your weekly errands because everyone else in the world is enjoying their third day off in a row. Yes, I do know this is a broad generalization and no, I don't want to hear any rationality right now. The studio was closed today - no class. Grr. And I didn't realize this until about half an hour before the gym closed, too, so I couldn't even go running or swimming. Double Grr.

Stupid holiday.

On the plus side, we bridal showered one of our interns today. She's taking this semester off to finish planning the wedding and get married and enjoy a nice honeymoon. We're all very happy for her, of course, but I'm particularly excited to see the pictures (the wedding is in another state). She's just finished making her veils. Yes, she MADE and beaded her own wedding veils (she's a crocheter, the one I started teaching to knit the end of last semester). Two of them, a long one for the ceremony and a shorter one for the reception. How cool is that?!

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Update Pics

These are here mostly for my own benefit so I have links to updated pics for my sidebar. But you're free to look if you'd like =)
Mom's Socks Take Two (yes, they'll be in the mail tomorrow)

SRSP Sleeves, just starting the decreases

Stripey Socks Restarted

Tumbling Blocks (the pic doesn't show off the pattern very well, but it does show the colors nicely)

Friday, February 16, 2007

Don't Get Cocky...

...it will come back to bite you. Or, as the Yarn Harlot would say, the Knitting Gods will smite you. Remember how I said I knew I messed up the toe on the second of Mom's socks but didn't know what I did and wasn't going to fix it. Well, of course, it kept nagging at me. Not necessarily to fix it, but just to figure out what I did wrong. So this afternoon, I looked at the first sock. I looked at the second sock. I looked at the first sock again. And realized what I had done. I was so confident that I knew what I was doing that I didn't bother to check my standby pattern for the toe decreases. The *ahem* TWO decreases on each needle (remember, I do socks on magic loop), not the ONE decrease on each needle like on the heel gusset. No wonder the thing looked weird. Now that I know what I did, and how to fix it, I am going to bite the bullet and frog the toe and redo it properly. Sorry Mom, you'll have to wait a few days more for your socks.

I'm still in a quandry on the SRSP sleeves. My stitch gauge is still spot on. The sleeves are supposed to be 15 1/4" across the widest part, and they are. My row gauge has put me 1/2" longer than I should be at this point. Now, granted, I have long ape arms and I had to add length to the Rogue sleeves. I think I'm talking myself into just continuing with it and just letting it go.

I cut and pieced four blocks for the Sampler Quilt tonight. I've decided my favorite part of the process is...measuring and cutting. The piecing is fun, the quilting...well, I haven't been able to try that - the machine definitely can't handle it...but the cutting is like drafting, and I've always liked doing that. The pieces so far look pretty good, too. I'll take pics tomorrow, when I have all six blocks pieced.

I watched the sparring class tonight. It still looks scary, but it looks like fun, too. You remember when you were little and the big kids were doing something that you knew was dangerous but looked so fun that you really wished you were a big kid too? That's how I was tonight. Cute Green Belt was there, and Purple-Belt-now-Blue-Belt Guy, and a few others I recognized from class. I kept getting the "what are YOU doing here?" looks from the students, I think partially because of the night and partially because I wasn't training, wasn't in my dobok and still had my makeup from work on, they probably didn't recognize me at first, and from Mr. H (okay, I really have no idea what his name is, I'm guessing - I almost didn't recognize him tonight, he got a haircut!), but it was cool.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Finally! Some Knitting Content!

So I've kept The Inspector very busy lately:

Note that he's using my DMC floss organizer as a pillow. That, unfortunately, has not been used in the past few days. I'm sure you'll understand in a moment. And fair warning, if you do not like blue, green, and purple, now's your chance to find another blog to read.

First off:

They're done! The second toe came out a little weird. Not sure what I did, but it doesn't bother me enough to fix it. I'm gonna wash them and send them to Mom ASAP. They need warm socks there - they had a real live blizzard the other day! There is a reason I moved to California, you know. I miss thunderstorms, not snow storms!

In the interest of being warm, however, we move to SRSP. I confess to not having touched it since the other night when I finished the increases. I still haven't decided what to do. Maybe I'll just go by the measurements on the schematic? It means frogging some, but starting the decreases a bit early. I did break my yarn diet just barely slightly. I ordered two extra skeins of the MC from KnitPicks, as well as a book called Modern Classics by Louisa Harding. The package arrived precisely the day they told me to expect it - 2300 miles away! They shipped it to my parents' house! I could have sworn that I changed the address back to California after Christmas (I had to order some extra stuff for the Felted Clogs while I was home), but I guess I didn't. Mom's going to take it back to the UPS store and explain what happened. Anyway, I don't need the yarn quite yet, since I'm still working on the sleeves anyway. Tomorrow I'll play with it a bit, if I can tear myself away from:

A new fiber/fabric addiction. Remember how I mentioned a couple months ago (or whenever, I don't remember, exactly) that I wanted to learn to quilt? Well, I am. For some reason, the bug bit me hard the other day and I ended up at the local fabric store. I swear, I have no idea how I ended up there. I flipped through several books and picked out the three colors for the nine-patch. Then I took them home and cut the squares and pieced them last night with the extremely cheap sewing machine I got. Trust me, I'm not kidding when I say it was extremely cheap and you definitely get what you pay for. Honestly, though, my only real complaint is that it is supposed to be able to run on batteries or AC/DC power. Guess what? The AC/DC power adapter that was supposed to come with it didn't. So I have it running solely on batteries and it just doesn't have much 'oomph' to it. I'm thinking part of my tax return may go to a decent quilting machine and a work table. The kitchen island and end table don't really count. But anyway, so I pieced the nine-patch yesterday and then had to go back to the fabric store today to get fabric for the border and backing. And while I was there, I picked out these:

These will be for my first ever Sampler Quilt. I can't wait to start cutting and piecing it, but first I have to finish getting through what I am calling the Water Quilt. I still have to baste, quilt, and bind it. I'm a bit concerned that the sewing machine isn't going to handle the quilting and I'll have to hand quilt it.

This is not to worry, I still love my yarn! Stitches West is in just ten days! I can't wait! And, I'm proud to say, that I have been able to pay for everything - registration, hotel, transportation, food, and maybe some yarn - without using my credit cards once! Woo!

Oh, and I walked/jogged 2 miles today! I went to work on my form at home, got about a third of the way through it, and realized I could not remember for the life of me what the order of the rest of the moves were. Not being able to work on the form for a week bothered me, so I did some research (one of the things I do well) and found an ATA site that includes PDFs of the form and testing requirements. These are the Songahm forms, so if one studies a form of tkd other than Songahm, it's pretty useless. I'm also going to check out sparring tomorrow night. Can't wait!

And what does The Inspector think of all of this in general?

So nice to be appreciated!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Seeing the Skull

Okay, the title probably means absolutely nothing to 99.9% of the people out there. To me and the others who know what Astaria is and play there, it means your character has died. Dying in-game only results in a loss of levels, but when you actually hunt and level as rarely as I do, it's a pain in the arse. I saw the skull three times in the past 24 hours: killed by another player once (clan war) and by my own inattention to my surroundings twice. Sigh. That will give me something to do, I suppose.

Class was tiny tonight, there were only eight of us. I'm told that's common right after testing. Cute Camo Belt is now Cute Green Belt. One of these days I'm going to work up the courage to ask his name. Brown Belt Girl wasn't there tonight, so I don't know if she got her red belt or not. I bet she did, though. Tonight was all about the kicks. I can't even remember what all the names were. We did push kicks (where you use your foot more to push your partner away than try to hurt them), jump side kicks where you jumped off both feet (those were hard), jump side kicks where you jumped off one foot (much easier), and I think he said they were called back roundhouses (I was still processing the jumping side kicks, so the possibility that I'm totally wrong is pretty good) where you turn and kick with your back leg. We did several combinations of them, moving up and down the studio with our partners. That doesn't count the front kicks and roundhouses in the formwork. Ugh. Tomorrow may be a swimming day instead of running! I got partnered with the White-Belt-Now-Orange-Belt kid again. He seems like a nice kid (he looks like he's maybe fourteen or fifteen tops), but I get the distinct impression he's afraid. I don't know if it's of getting hurt, just nervous about the class and the work, or even me personally, but it's annoying. I mean, I put some strength behind my kicks, sure, but it's mostly about learning the technique for our level right now, so there's not a lot of power to them. He definitely doesn't need to hold the pad on the other side of the room (slight exaggeration but not much) for kicking drills, not to mention it's damn hard to keep your balance when you're trying a new kick and the target pad moves because your partner is either flinching to the side or stepping even further back. His forms are good, though. Sigh. Hit/kick me already! Or at least realize you're holding a big thick pad and let me kick or hit it! I want another class where I realize my knuckles are bleeding halfway through drills and it feels like I've been hitting a brick wall instead of a pad. Cute Green Belt and Purple Belt Guy have been the best partners I've had so far, with Brown Belt Girl a close second (we usually end up laughing but not hitting as hard as we maybe should). I also finished learning the moves for my new form tonight and talked with Ma'am again about watching sparring on Thursday. She thought it was a great idea and said it often helps people who are initimidated by the idea of sparring to get more comfortable with it, but not many take the initiative to actually come until they have to for belts. (Hell, I'd come every class if I could, but I can't afford it in either time or money, unfortunately.) I like Ma'am a lot; she is the one who has been my form and techniques instructor and she never makes me feel stupid for asking questions, even if it's as basic as "what's the difference between a roundhouse and a side kick?" I like Sir and Mr. H (the other instructor in class, we have three), too, of course, but I work with Ma'am usually and will go to her for questions more often as a rule. For clarification purposes, Ma'am is not Sir's wife. I'll refer to Sir's wife as Mrs. S., who I also like, and is the one who is pregnant and did my orientation and taught the first part of my white belt form. Apparently the baby is due very soon, so I need to get working on a baby hat, I think!

Speaking of knitting (I know this is getting long, sorry), I wasn't able to finish Mom's sock this weekend. I think I'm in the dreaded Knitter's Twilight Zone on this sock. I work and work on it and never seem to get anywhere. I think I actually only have less than an inch on the foot and then the toe, though, so soon! I've also FINALLY finished the increases on the SRSP sleeves. I think my row gauge might be off now, though, but for the life of me I can't figure it out. I'm supposed to get 30 rows over 4". I had to swatch a bit to get both stitch and row gauge, but I did get it and I've been checking it. But now I'm somehow down to 28 rows over 4", and the directions say after you finish the increases to work even until the sleeve is 18.5" from beginning. But the sleeve is already 19" long. I have the correct number of stitches for each sleeve, should I not bother with the working even part and just start the decrease for the raglan? Will that mess me up when it comes time to sew the sleeves in? I could just keep following the pattern, but I think I will end up with sleeves that are too long. Gotta ponder this for a while.

And I gotta get some sleep. Sleeping pills don't work for anything, ugh.

Thursday, February 08, 2007


Stiches homework is done. Now I just have to remember what colors I was planning on using for it (I think I wrote it down somewhere). Eleven out of sixteen increases done on SRSP sleeves. Haven't touched Mom's Socks for a few days after picking up the gusset stitches. Did another couple repeats on Tumbling Blocks, and actually frogged and restarted Stripey Socks (it's hard to work on a heel in a dark booth, so I worked on Stripeys instead). Feeling confident I can get the Project Spectrum goals done.

Worried how I am going to deal with the next month. There are only five more performances for Barrymore, and I'm already going stark raving mad with boredom. Then we close on Sunday, but rehearsals for The Man Who Came To Dinner don't start until March 13th. I realize that once Dinner gets underway, I will be begging for some free time, particularly since I do Company immediately following that, but that's then, and this is now. I was talking to my mom the other night and we both thought it was pretty interesting that my sleeplessness tends to coincide with the level of activity in my life. The more activity and people and issues I come in contact with), the more easily I can sleep. When I'm bored, it's like my brain tries to entertain itself constantly and I can't turn it off. I'm definitely going to at least watch sparring nights during that break. I don't know that I'll be able to participate yet, since usually people don't spar until camo belt, but Sir said I could at least watch and get an idea for what is ahead. I think I'm also going to hit the library and work on my history project during that time. Plus I have the trip to Stitches in a few weeks and probably a trip down to LA to visit the illusionist I work for sometimes. He's got some new tricks to play with show me, and is fun to hang out with, so that should be fun.

I walk/jogged a mile and a half today, then came home and did my white belt form, what I know of the orange belt form, and ten front, side, and front jump kicks with each leg. Now I get to go try not to suffocate in the booth for a few hours (I'm allergic to some dust up there), come back, and be bored again. Grr.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Goals for Today (Updated)

If you call them "goals" rather than "chores" they don't sound so bad, right? Besides, not all of them are chores, just things I want to do today.

1. Wash, dry, and fold laundry

2. Clean the kitchen - still have to wash a few undishwasher safe things and sweep

3. Take out all the trash

4. Finish the heel on Mom's Socks. It's been turned, I just need to pick up the gusset stitches and knit it. Stitches have been picked up for the gusset.

5. Do more than one increase on SRSP. I have seven more increases (56 rows) left on the sleeves before working even and doing the caps.

6. Do my Stitches homework

7. Go to the grocery store

8. Vaccuum

9. Bake bread (this one added thanks to Amy, who has now made me hungry for it) I love my breadmaker. 'Nuff said.

Class was soooo crowded and hot tonight. It was crazy. I know everywhere else it is freezing cold, but here it was 75 degrees today. We propped the door open, and it was still so hot inside! I actually got dizzy and it was hard to breathe for a little bit. Everyone is showing up for class as much as possible this week, since the actual testing date is this coming Saturday, so it was much bigger than I've ever seen it. Cute Camo Belt was there, and the brown belt girl who I've become friends with. She's testing for her red on Saturday and was my partner again tonight. Sir worked us really hard tonight - lots of cardio stuff, not so many drills. I learned several things: the first line of my new form (I could have taken more, but Sir, of course, had the majority of his attention on people who were getting ready to test), a back stance, that I have a really hard time switching legs for jump front kicks (my left is stronger and more natural than my right, surprisingly), and what I think is called an advance jump front kick (jumping off both feet and doing a front kick in the air).

Still working on the increases for SRSP. Think I might go to bed early - I ended up having to take some allergy meds after class and it's finally kicking in and knocking me out.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Project Spectrum

While I've never really gotten into the whole Project Spectrum thing, I do think it's interesting to really think about the colors that are around you and what they mean to you and why. Now I'm wondering how I can make my list of projects fit it. Rather than concentrating on only working on them during the specific months, I think I'm going to try to get them finished in the time frame of the specific months. I think this is how it will break down:

February/March (blue, white, gray):
Short Row Striped Pullover finished 4/17/07
Mom's Socks finished 2/15/07
Stripey Socks frogged

April/May (green, yellow, pink):
Green Gables Socks
Mitered Square Baby Blanket
Tumbling Blocks

June/July (red, black, metallics):
Tori's Socks

August/September (brown, orange, purple):
Dad's Socks (Dad's birthday is in August anyway)

So that gives me a plan for when I want to finish things. That's kind of nice.

And, completely out of PS order, I now have a bright orange belt. (AR, you should appreciate that!) The test was pretty easy and I didn't make any mistakes. It was just me testing for my belt and two Tiny Tigers (kids 4-9) doing midterm tests for their second dan black belt, so it went really quickly. I was mostly worried about my board break, actually, since I had seriously bruised up my elbow and forearm with a mishit Wednesday during pickup, and knew that if I did the same thing again it would REALLY hurt, but it went fine and I broke it first try. Now, come Monday, I'll have a new form, new 1-steps, and new self defense moves to learn! Yay! And, I don't have to double wrap my belt anymore - at least not until black belt which is WAYY far in the future! Double yay!

I was going to post this last night, but we opened Barrymore last night as well. While I'm not a heavy drinker anyway, when you barely eat anything all day, what you did eat was burned off by a physical test, and then drink two rather heavy handed cocktails (a vanilla lemonade and a blue hawaiian), you end up very sleepy and more than a little drunk rather quickly. Gotta love that bartender. The show is good, really short, and I'm working on the heel flap for the second of Mom's socks because of it.