Archive for September, 2006

It’s a good thing I took up knitting…

September 28, 2006

…because holy CRAP have I started watching a lot of tv. Fortunately, knitting means that I don’t really feel guilty when I watch tv for hours on end, because hey! I’m being productive at the same time! Especially right now, when I have a metric crap-ton of knitting to get done, I am quite happy to watch tv at length.

Now, I should clarify. It’s not like I used to be this anti-tv zealot or anything. I’ve always watched a fair amount, but generally it was mostly tv on DVD or reruns or whatever. But now I watch all this stuff that’s actually on the air! Fortunately, thanks to our handy dandy Windows Media Centre (aka we don’t have Tivo yet in Canada, bastards), I can at least record stuff and zip through commercials.

But seriously, here’s my list of stuff I watch: Sundays, Amazing Race, Simpsons, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, Extreme Home Makeover. Tuesdays, Dancing with the Stars, and soon to be Veronica Mars. (If we can figure it out. Fucking Canadian networks! Pick up the damn show!) Wednesday, more Dancing with the Stars. Thursday, ER, (those bastards sucked me back in! I was almost out!) Survivor (I know, I’m so ashamed), and CSI (who also sucked me back in).

That’s like, ten shows! That’s insane.

Anyway, enough about my bad tv habits. The good news is that the combination of chaperoning band camp, which involves a lot of sitting around, and catching up on all the tv that I missed while at band camp, meant that I finished my first pair of holiday socks today. Woo hoo! And now I’m down to the far more managable number of seven pairs to make. One sock is about two inches away from the toe, another is about two inches into the leg. Slow but steady. I can definitely finish the almost-done sock this weekend, and hopefully make a good start on its mate. The just-started sock is going much faster than I expected, which is a pleasant surprise. (It’s harder than my usual sock.) I’m going to cast on a stockinette sock (I have several pairs to make) so I have something mindless for the movies and such. I have an elaborate system involving having several socks on the needles depending on who I’m going to be seeing while I’m knitting. Fortunately, several pairs are for out of town people. (Oooh, a clue! My out of town friends can now all get excited, until they realise that I have, like, five in town friends these days and everyone else has abandoned me.)

Anyway, this first pair is looking good and given that I cast them on during the flight home from Britain on JULY FREAKING SECOND I’m very happy to have them done. (In my defense, I’ve finished two pairs of other socks, two sweaters, and two baby blankets since then.)

The marathon continues. Is my holiday knitting list totally unrealistic? Who knows. Stay tuned to find out.

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The Gryffindor Socks go to Britain

September 22, 2006

As I mentioned lo those many months ago, I did a series of pictures with my Gryffindor socks while I was in Britain. My socks got quite a thorough cultural tour of London, but didn’t see much of anywhere else because I was frantically working on the baby blanket until the last week or so of the trip. (There were two reasons I stopped. One, my parents left and we started taking the train instead of the van they rented, and the blanket was very cumbersome for train trips, and two, I brought the wrong ball of yarn for the last section of the blanket.) So, with apologies for the delay, I present to you the Gryffindor Socks’ Cultural Tour of Britain! You can click on the photos for larger versions.

Their first appearance was in Edinburgh. I’d had them with me for the previous few days in York, but Jamie was too busy taking pictures of the train museum to take any of the sock. However, a lot of sock got knit in the train museum, as I do not care about trains three hours worth. I met several nice people who came to ask me what I was knitting, though.

Anyway, Edinburgh was the first day that I remembered that I wanted to do this, so the sock got to admire the cannon at Edinburgh Castle, which was a super cool place. Excellent audio guide, which I am enjoying in this picture.

Me and my sock at Edinburgh Castle

Also in Edinburgh was the excellent yarn department at John Lewis. It was quite a struggle to find any yarn – all these yarn stores in the phone book didn’t exist any more! Very traumatic. An emergency post to the knitty boards at an internet cafe saved me at the last minute, and here I am perusing the yarn. The sock is in my purse so it doesn’t get jealous.

In John Lewis

When we got back to England, we headed for London for several days. One of our first stops was Kings Cross Station. I can’t BELIEVE I don’t have my freaking Gryffindor socks in this picture! But I will post it anyway, as it is tangentially related and also cool.

Platform 9 and 3 quarters

The next day, the sock got to go on an exciting tube ride! I look like a moron in this picture. I think it was almost our stop and Jamie wasn’t taking the picture because he wanted to wait for a tube sign in the background, which clearly (a) didn’t work, and (b) didn’t matter anyway. But I did do quite a lot of knitting as we rode around town on the tube.

The sock rides the tube

Later that day, the sock had an exciting trip to Big Ben. Complete with a policeman with a proper hat on! Excellent. (I’m sure he wondered what the hell we were doing.) This is another bad picture of me. Most of the non-sock ones look fine. For some reason, taking a picture of myself with a sock makes me look stupid.

The sock visits Big Ben

Conveniently nearby to Big Ben, of course, is Westminster Abbey. It is huge and beautiful. We went to an Evensong service there, which was really cool. You can barely see the sock because this is about three photos stitched together. It gives you a great sense of the scale, though.

The sock visits Westminster Abbey

Then we took the Tube home again. The sock wanted to stop at the Tube sign, as it is such a nice complement to its colours.

The sock at the Westminster Tube station

What you should really note about these pictures is how incredibly busy everywhere we went would have been. I’m sure there are now hundreds, if not thousands, of Londoners and tourists who are wondering why the hell I was taking all these pictures of socks. (I wonder who they thought was weirder? Me, for being in them, or Jamie for taking them?)

The next day, we went to the Tower of London, which was freaking expensive. The audio guide was also sub-par. Still, it was cool. I didn’t take any pictures with the sock inside the tower. I think I felt a little weird being all “here is the place were people were executed, and here is my sock.” Didn’t stop me with the cannons, I realise.

Anyway, there was this statue across the street that made an excellent sock holder. I have no idea who he is, which is rather embarrassing, but he looks great with the sock!

The sock on a statue

Then we went along the water to the Tower Bridge. Nice, isn’t it?

The sock at Tower Bridge

Apparently a lot of people think it’s London Bridge, but it isn’t. That’s down the other end of the river.

Now, you may be noticing at this point that the sock is almost done. You are not wrong. Which is why the rest of the pictures feature the second sock, because I finished the first one on the train home after we went to the Tower. (We stayed about an hour out of London, which meant lots of knitting time!)

You can’t really see it in the picture, but here’s me and the second sock at the Globe.

The sock at the Globe.

And, finally, here is the second sock at the lesser known side of St. Paul’s Cathedral. They were unfortunately doing construction over by its famous dome, so it wasn’t as impressive looking as usual. Still, this part of it is super cool. We didn’t go inside because we were too cheap. (I know, lame. But we’d spent a fortune on getting into large old churches at that point, and there’s only so many you can take!)

The sock visits St. Paul's

Someone was getting ordained that day, so the bells were ringing for several hours. Which was supremely cool – felt very authentic. Gorgeous bells, too.

So after their whirlwind adventures in Britain, the socks probably found coming back to Edmonton pretty dull. But once they finally got finished, they were sent to live in Vancouver with my sister. They turned out really well, and once I finish my holiday knitting I have enough yarn for a pair for myself. Mmm, nerdy. They look like they’re two different sizes in this picture, but my sister is just standing funny.

Here they are! The world-travelled Gryffindor socks, on their owner’s feet. This is, of course, Sunshine Yarn’s famous Gryffindor yarn, nearly impossible to get. I love it! Thanks, Dani. It’s just straight stockinette with a bit of ribbing, knit top down with a heel flap on size 0s for the legs, and size 1s for the foot. Addi turbos, magic loop. These were my first magic loop socks and I’ll never go back.

Beth's socks

The State of the Monkey Pants

September 21, 2006

I’m feeling both guilty and conflicted about my blog at the moment. Guilty, because holy crap, am I bad at updating. I know that in this day and age you’re all probably reading through bloglines so it’s not like you’re checking every day and weeping that I haven’t updated, but…still. (Anyway, not many of you are reading through bloglines because I’m subscribed to my own feed (how lame am I? So lame.) and there aren’t that many of you.)

And I’m conflicted, because I don’t really know what this blog is going to be. The problem I’m having, you see, is that while I’m knitting up a storm at the moment and actually have several FOs right now (finished objects for all of you who don’t care about knitting and are just here for the Nathan Fillion pictures, of which I am unfortunately all out. Sorry.), but all of them are Christmas presents for people that I’m fairly sure read my blog. So I don’t really want to post pictures of them and then have the surprise ruined for all my delightful friends. (Or possibly just some of them, depending on how much I get done.) I don’t have to say who they’re for, I realise, but still. Some of the suspense will be gone. What do the rest of you knittyblog people do when you’re knitting gifts? Post pictures anyway? Concoct long and elaborate lies about who they’re for? Make sure none of your friends know where your blog is? That one won’t work because the cat’s already out of the bag. (I’m not actually all that convinced that many people I don’t know in real life read this thing any more, because of the aforementioned total lack of updates.)

So. Here’s what I’m thinking right now. Socktoberfest is in October, and I’ll be knitting a pile of Christmas socks. I’m not going to post pictures here, but I will post about the general sock knitting. I’m creating a new flickr account just for holiday knitting, and I am going to TRUST THAT MY FRIENDS WHO MIGHT RECEIVE A KNITTED GIFT FROM ME WILL NOT LOOK AT IT. That way, if you do, you’re only ruining it for yourselves. That’s right. Looking at the pictures will only RUIN CHRISTMAS. If you want that on your head, not my problem. Just in case you peek, I won’t put names of recepients up even there, so you can snoop and guess what might be for you. (And if I find out you peeked, the answer might be NOTHING.)

November, of course, is National Novel Writing Month, and we all know my updates go to hell around then anyway. I’m hoping to actually write more about the whole process this year, because I think it’s kind of hilariously insane and would probably be fun to look back on. For me, anyway. The rest of you might be bored stiff.

I haven’t decided about Holidailies yet. We’ll see how my Christmas knitting is looking. Come the New Year, I should be able to go back to more frequent blogging. (Do you like how I said go BACK to as if I had ever been regularly blogging? I thought that was a nice piece of delusion on my part.) But I am hoping to be a little more frequent. It’s not like life is suddenly so exciting that I’m going to have an action-packed blog full of thrills and incredible knitting. But I can probably run to a little more than this. I do actually have some pictures of various knitted things that I have already given, so those will be along shortly. Featuring my sister’s most excellent Gryffindor socks!

There you go. There’s the predictions for the future of Monkey Pants and Hippo Dignity. Because dammit, I love my blog name too much to abandon it.

September already? Good grief.

September 7, 2006

I can’t freaking believe it’s September already. Where has my life gone? I don’t know.

Anyway, it’s September, which means several things around here. Firstly, Jamie is back at work which means he’s never home and I actually have to cook and stuff. Curses. Still, I made a very tasty macaroni and cheese last night, and tonight we’re having roast chicken and roast potatoes. And we’re having guests! Sort of. I suppose technically, it isn’t a guest, because she lives downstairs. That’s right! Erin, my former hooligan roommate, is now living in our basement suite. This is super fabulous in my opinion, possibly less so in Jamie’s since there is an excess of giggling. But he’s always out anyway. (She’s out a lot too, but that just gives me nice peaceful knitting time during the day on my days off.)

Let’s see, what else. I met Nathan Fillion! That was pretty freaking cool. And I have proof, in the form of the world’s dorkiest photo. There was a whole thing where he grabbed the camera from Karen and I didn’t realise he’d done so and he took the picture before I even knew he had the camera, and so I’m clearly not paying attention. But I managed to have a conversation using complete sentences and absolutely no squealing, so I figure I came out on top. Anyway, here it is. Don’t look at how dorky I look, just look at how cute he is!
Me, Kristy, and Nathan Fillion!

You can click on that if you need a larger view. I understand.

I got a new laptop! It’s an HP and it’s very shiny. Poor, beloved Giles crashed entirely last week – couldn’t boot except in safe mode. I miss him, weirdly. My new computer (his name is Neville, as suggested by Karen, which is an awesome name) is totally kick-ass, but I was very attached to Giles. I keep thinking about all the things I had on him that I don’t have on Neville. Still, Neville has a space bar and, you know, a functional operating system so I’m mostly getting over it. It’ll be nice for NaNo, although the wireless might be the death of me. (mmm, wireless. Man, it’s so easy!)

Speaking of Nano, it’s fast approaching. (That’s National Novel Writing Month for those of you who haven’t been around for previous years, and it’s the one thing that I’m even geekier about than knitting. Yeah, I know, that’s pretty geeky.) I know November seems like it’s far away, but October is when things really get rolling and that’s, like, three weeks away. Although part of me doesn’t even want to think about it yet, the nerdy part of my brain is starting to get geared up. I’m going to try to reduce my workload this year as Municipal Liaison (ie Cat Herder, which will forever make me laugh and think of Die-Nasty and Mark Meer’s classic line: “Trying to have a conversation with you two is like herding retarded cats!”), because it got a little much last year. We’ll see. I have the bare bones of an idea and I’ll have to sit down and flesh it out at some point.

And if November isn’t far off, Christmas is fast approaching as well. Fifteen and a half weeks! While you non-knitters probably think it’s insane to know that, knitters reading this just suddenly went into a big time panic. Given that I pretty much lose a month to NaNo, I am seriously trying to get through the Christmas to-knit list. My plans right now are: two sweaters, eight pairs of socks, and a lace scarf. Yeah. I know. But hey! I’m making great progress. I finished all but the very tail end of one sweater, and another is making supremely fast progress. (Take that, SnB who didn’t think I could do it!) I finished my first Christmas sock last night and the second is making quick progress. (Sort of. This pattern is slow, for some reason.) My first Jaywalker is well under way, and is looking great after a frog and restart. I’ve got all my yarn, and I’m feeling good. October is, of course, Socktoberfest, so I’m aiming to finish my sweater by then and spend all of October ripping through socks. I’m hoping to finish four pairs in October and this pair I’m working on now in September, which leaves a very manageable three for November and December.

I’ve been pretty productive with my knitting lately, and have finished all my WIPs (works in progress) that aren’t Christmas presents. Baby blanket number two is out the door ready to go to the newly arrived baby. Baby blanket number one is with its baby, and was very well received. Look, I even have a picture of that one!

I have pictures of the other one too, I just haven’t taken them off the camera yet. Sock Garden socks and Gryffindor socks have gone out to their new homes. I have some lovely pictures of my sister’s feet in the Gryffindor socks but they’re on my parents camera and I haven’t sent them to myself yet. They fit great and look super cute, and I can’t wait to finish all these other socks so I can make myself a pair.

I already have a to-knit list consisting of several items for the new year. I guess I’d better get back to this Christmas knitting, then. Turn on the podcast (knitting podcasts rule! Why didn’t I know this?), pick up the needles, and back to work I go.