Sunday, October 30, 2005

happiness is...

a pair of almost done blueberry mash socks (the toes will be finished tonight)

hand-dyed yarn; (colors not true - the orange/yellow is bright with a few dull spots where a drop or two of blue infiltrated = design element and the blue/green/purple hank is more pastel then I'd like, but still vivid. If that's possible.)

six pairs of needles off to Warm the World and a big bag of corn nuts. I think I still like corn nuts; I made the mistake of going grocery shopping while I was hungry... (thanks to Kathy for the idea of passing on my now-unused duplicate needles to a good cause)

Nikki, a med student who got in touch with me early on, has her own page now!

and a weekend spent with three cats - one of which decided to reach out and....


the camera... (okay, it's not the cutest picture I have of this ultra cute cat (one of three), but it's the best I could do; it wasn't a very good weekend for photography.)

My Kristen hat arrived quickly and included in the package was a color card for Dale of Norway Heilo yarn. I have to admit that I'd never understood the appeal of a color card until I set my eyes on the actual yarn samples all lined up; I get it now. I chose two different shades of blues (to match my everyday winter coat) and will be reversing the design so that the lighter blue is the "snow flakes." (I liked how that would look and was encouraged by others who agreed with me!) Depending on how this fair isle experiment goes I might need to order another two colors in the red family to match my more formal red wool toggle coat. (I won't be surprised when the colors arrive because I can hold my magic color card up to my coat to get a perfect match!)

I started a "my so called scarf" in some "scrap'ish" yarn and it's a good project to carry around. I forsee another pair of socks on the needles soon, and I think I'm going to make a big leap back into the world of sweater knitting. I'll share more once I (maybe?) get things figured out.

This is the last week of my current rotation and I've been trying to figure out how I can describe what I've been doing without being too google-able. I don't mind answering questions about it, but I'd rather not be listed on a page as a "look for more info here" site.

There are two different types of med schools recognized here in the states - allopathic (MD) and osteopathic (DO). DO's have the same education as MD's but we recieve additional training in manipulation. I hesitate to compare it to chiropractic care because it's not the same thing, but most people have heard of chiropractors and some aspects of the care are similar.

That being said, one of my favorite parts of my first two years of med school included lots of hands on training in a variety of treatment modalities that range from gentle techniques to the "cracking" and "popping" techniques also known as high velocity low amplitute (hvla). I first experienced osteopathic manipulation as a patient and it was a key part of my recovery from the car accident I was in. It's a huge reason why I went to the med school I did, and also why I think I'll go the family practice/fellowship in neuromuscular medicine (another name) route so I can be dual board certified. (the fellowship is an extra year, but what's another year after four years of med school and three of residency?)

The rotation I'm in now is one that I set up so that I could get some more experience with my hands. It's going okay, but I have a project and chart review that is more work then I thought it was going to be but it'll be over after my presentation on Friday. Overall the hard part is being in a established doctor's office and doing more watching then doing because they are trying to stick to their schedule and once they know the patient they can do something in 15 minutes that takes me 30. My best days are the ones spent with a doc who has lots of time set aside to work with me while I see my "own" patients. And the kids - it's a joy to treat kids, especially the little little ones only a few days or weeks old. (I was accused of being a closet pediatrican and had to admit that I love working with the little ones - but peds don't do OB, so family practice it is...)

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

what's in a name?

is it a bad thing if I want to order a hat kit because the pattern name is "Kristen?" (scroll down; it isn't my favorite pattern there but it's not half bad and the name is growing on me...)

I want to fair isle; this isn't a new want, just something I'm returning to because it's going to be cold(er) soon and I thought mastering the technique on a hat might be good practice for a (future) sweater. And....if I order the hat pattern and an extra skein of yarn or two then I could then use a pattern repeat or variation on a pair of self-designed mittens for the warm hands knitalong. (or I could just order the hat kit and then use some matching yarn from my stash...)

Names have always been important to me, and I think I can trace my interest in unusual names back to a summer writing camp I attending. The professors wove interesting tidbits into their lectures and one of our exercises was to start an "idea" notebook and write down interesting names of things so that we'd have a reference for our future works. They started us off by sharing some of their great finds and I hit the ground running that first day. I loved and still love the idea and for years had lists of historic, creative and classic names for people and places. (My future children will all have pronouncable names that are somewhat easy to spell, I promise.) I am no longer keeping lists (too many moves) but a few of my favorites no longer need to be written down for me to remember.

I've been known to pick a paint color because I like the name, and it can be a tie-breaker for yarn colors I'm choosing between. Last year my parents took my birthday request for a new teapot seriously and chose one that had a name that is meaningful for me - either it runs in the family or my name collecting is contageous.

Now that I'm fairly certain I'm going to order the hat (it was between Kristen or Ufserud or the "traditonal" hat) but now what colors....

5224? 5813? 6031? 7032?

I do much better with name colors then I do number colors....

Sunday, October 23, 2005

happiness is...

- yarn from my sock-yarn-scrap pal Amy!

- my snowman flannel pants and my new green shoes (though they are pictured here as appearing to be a part of one outfit, they are not usually worn together)

- the "found" part of the ongoing battle known as "lost and found." My spindle is no longer MIA, the pair of "snipettes" is now safely attatched to my knitting bag with a red ribbon, and my sock (in the process of turning a heel) and all four dpns have been rescued from my medstudent bag. (no telling if I'll be able to recover the potentially dropped stitches but it's worth the risk to have a sock with me at all times. Not pictured but also "found" is my cell phone wallplug. I can now recieve AND make calls!

Somehow it went from Thursday-that-felt-like-Friday to being Sunday night. How does that happen?

The endless weekends of rain combined with the relative “let-down” of being done with the studying for boards and still not knowing how I did has led me to feel a bit melancholy. Fearing the downward spiral similar to what has been known to happen in the past I found myself at a fabric store last week during my “lunch” break. (essentially they locked me out of the office when I ran to get my lunch from the car and it wasn’t opened up again till patients arrived at 1:00pm.) I was drawn to colors that don’t normally stir me – oranges, bright yellows and a lime green. I have lots and lots and lots of fabric for quilting, but none of it was immediately available so I picked and chose and matched and paired and left with several new fabrics, their destiny uncertain.

Yesterday I headed to my parents house, one of the only places I know of where the sewing machine has a semi-permanent spot in the family room and is always accessible. While in almost constant conversation with my mom I cut and put and moved and eventually sewed strips of fabric together. I didn’t think I was aiming for a “theme” that matched the season, but that’s what happened so I went with it.

the "leaves" of the "tree." These were taken with overhead lights and the flash, so the colors aren't true and don't really "shine" as they do in person.

Historically, across almost all crafty genres, I have awful cases of finishers regret; nothing ever looks like I think it will and I can always seem to find something wrong with the finished product. This was no exception as I sat looking at a few pieces that just didn’t fit in when it was almost said and done. My mom, knowing me well, encouraged me to leave it and come back today to see it with a pair of fresh eyes. (I left joking that if she could find a wall to put it on she could have it, she thought that perhaps a night away from the project would change my mind.) She was right and now there is a splash of color on my otherwise drab white walls.

I am waaaay behind in my emails, phone calls, blog reading and replying; finding the balance between my own time and wants with the needs of each rotation and amount of sleep I’ve been getting each night is a tricky game and I’ll admit that I still don’t have it figured out. I’m working on it but am afraid that some of my friends and family just aren’t sure what to do with me these days and a few are almost certainly convinced I’ve fallen out of earth’s gravitational field. I tend to pull in when I’m overwhelmed, and now is about the time I wish I could hibernate for a few months; that doesn’t help. At some point I’ll get and feel caught up but for now please accept my apology if I owe you an email, a response or a rambling. I’ll get there…!

Thursday, October 20, 2005

home again, home again and back in the grind.

- one tank of gas: $35
- one copy of an un-autographed book: $14
- hours of sleep Tuesday night before getting up at 3:58am so that I could hit the road by 4am: 3 1/2
- the trip to Willows and back to meet other knitters? priceless.

the blur that seemed to happen so fast that I could have sworn I'd never left the state has really screwed my internal clock up and today I happily wished several patients a nice weekend before one of the nurses broke it to me that today was only Thursday. It seems driving a lot and staying up late/getting up early can lead to the feeling that time is moving faster then it truely is. Darn. Would I head to that area for another whirlwind meet-up and author reading (even if it included Mr. Crankypants the store owner)? yup, without thinking about it twice. There's a lot going on in the periphery of my life and a lesson I've learned is that life is indeed to short to sit back and watch it go by; therefore I don't regret missing Tuesday afternoon, or the Wednesday afternoon that draaaged on because I was exhausted, or the nap I took last night that turned into a very early bedtime. It was well worth the trip!

I'd intially thought I'd only see a few people I knew, but soon it was obvious that a clump of knitting bloggers can produce faces to go with names and blog titles I've been reading for awhile. (who knew!) It certainly wasn't Rhinebeck but a gaggle of knitters and connecting conversations (the small world things I found in common with every person I talked to) were a welcome change to my medically themed ramblings and I managed to get in a trip to Trader Joes. (the dried mangos alone make up for my lack of sleep!)

The list of people who were present and accounted for can be seen at CaroleKnits' page, or Bookish Wendy's page; I'd link things but as Cassie pointed out, it's time consuming (and I have to reserach a few more articles before I call it a night....)

I brought the striped sweater and decided that at some point I will take out the sleeves and re-do them, but the time for that isn't now. I'm going to master a sweater, for me, in a single color of a wonderful yarn before I return to the striped sleeves of doom. It took someone asking if I could donate it to Dulaan for me to realize that I do like it and will wear it, but that I really need to fix the sleeves so that I can wear it. I do still knit for Dulaan, but this sweater is going to stay with me.

My spindle went MIA before I hit the road on Tuesday but I thought that perhaps someone there could re-explain to me how to "start" a spindle. My attempts resulted in split/broken leaders or clumps that can only be described as yarn tornados. I turned around in my seat and asked Laurie and Claudia how to "start;" Claudia whipped open her bag while saying "you're in luck! I never unpacked my new spindle from Rhinebeck...." She then went on to simplify what I needed to do, thus giving me no excuse for not returning and hitting the spindle. (or, rather, I'll have no excuse once I find it....)

Also discussed were the inability of magenta pink to dye things red, the benefits and merits of all women collages, which American beer the Canadians in the group should drink, what type of practice I'll someday enter and why I'll do it, how things in some states have changed (or not) over time, and the benefits of trekking sock yarn. It was delightful.

The evening ended with a profound fiber "show and tell" in Laurie's family room; it was my very own chance to touch and feel and ooh and ahh over her finds from various trips (including IL and NY) and was a great way to end a great night. My only regret is that I couldn't stay for breakfast and more fiber-crack/medical talk the next morning!

The rotation I'm on now is a three week elective and it's as much work as I thought it'd be. I've been seeing some patients on my own before exitting the exam room to present the pt's case to a preceptor (an established doctor) and then going back into the room with her to treat the patient. I'm leary to get into what exactly I'm doing right now because I have a bit more reading/researching to do and I could (potentially) ramble forever, but the treatments are mostly hands-on things, and maybe later I'll get into what exactly it is that I am doing. I'm having a grand time and feel like I'm finally back into the groove I left to study and re-do the boards. I'm glad to be back but somehow forgot how long the days can be.......

(the second blueberry mash sock is at the turning of the heel and could be finished by the weekend; I'll post pictures of the pair when they're done!)

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

I'm off to see....the wizards?

thanks to a well-timed appointment and an understanding scheduler, I'm off the rest of the afternoon and able to make it down to Willows for the "KnitLit, The Third" party. I'd had reservations about going (there are a few things going on here, it's not a quick drive, I have to be properly dressed and ready to see patients at 8am tomorrow so I'll to leave earrrrrrly) but now I'm ready and excited to hit the road. The last time I was at Willows I knew no one, and was meeting up with Laurie The Etherknitter and Mia Another Knitting MedStudent for the first time; now I'm looking forward to seeing folks I've met before, as well as meeting other knitters for the first time!

My sock knitting is packed and the wonky striped sweater and my spindle are along for the ride in the hope that someone will know how to help me with them. I'm packing my camera but make no promises that I'll actually take pictures. (I might be too busy eatting cake; there's going to be cake!)

The plan is to wear Haiku and knit my blueberry mash sock. If you see me, please say hi! I promise to do my best to be socially "ept" and will warn you if I'm so totally overwelmed with people and yarn and fiber (oh my!). I'm going to pick up a cup of coffee for the road and hopefully it'll have kicked in by the time the Harlot arrives....

Sunday, October 16, 2005

happiness is...

- getting back into the clinics/hospital tomorrow
- homemade meatloaf and green beans
- the promise that the sun will come out
- a finished pair of socks
- a trip to the KnitLit 3 party this week

My high hopes of spinning this weekend were thwarted by sock knitting that I couldn't put down. The simplicity of knitting in the round with dpn's was soothing and less troublesome then me trying to establish a new leader for my spindle. It's zenlike after I get it going, but starting was just a bit overwelming. I haven't given up spindling, I've just set it aside for another rainy day. (it has been raining here for the past few days and it's still pouring here right now...)

Another thing that is going to be put aside is the striped sweater. In the evergoing battle of K vs. the sweater (round 6?) yesterday I threw my hands up in the air and admitted defeat. I finished mattress stitching the sleeve seams and then tried it on; the simple act of putting it on resulted in me growing webbed arms. I knit it while studying and my go with the flow-ness isn't resulting in a rewarding outcome - the raglan shapping appears to be too big (even though it was based on another sweater that fits wonderfully) and that, combined with my too sharp decreases, is a problem. A webbed arm problem. (there will be no pictures of me wearing it - just trust me, and think of a duck's feet.)

I retreated to my socks, and think I'll stick with them for the next few days. Even though the boards are over I've been processing and thinking about a lot of things, and that doesn't bode well for complicated knitting projects. (nevermind that the three sweaters I've made for me have all had disasterous/interesting/not-so-fashionable outcomes. Claudia's rules of wonkiness are true here and even though there aren't knitting police, I need to find a pattern that I love that will look as good on me as some of my storebought sweaters do. The quest continues....)

As a student with a somewhat "limited" budget I invested in several single skeins of Lorna's Laces in hopes that I could make a pair of socks from them. (a few of them were bought from a bargin bin when there was only one of each colorway.) Using size 2 (US) and 56 stitches, a 5 1/2 inch cuff and a sock long enough to fit my size 8 foot, I can make two socks from one hank and still have a leeetle bit left over. Success! another reason for me to stick with socks.

the stripes do line up and the colors are a bit brighter; the lack of sun made taking the picture hard! Lorna's Laces, crazy stripe

Tomorrow I'm heading back into the world of patients and I think I'm ready for my three week elective. I've been liberal with my nap-taking and it's going to be hard to give up sleeping in but it didn't take very long for my internal clock to switch back to "work" mode and I'm hoping it kicks in this time around. My knitting time will be decreased but I'll bring my needles with me and knit when I can.

I hope everyone who was at Rhinebeck had a grand time and I'm looking forward to hearing all of the stories and seeing the wares.

Thursday, October 13, 2005


I considered trying to write something last night, after it was over but truthfully it would have looked a lot like this:

test = done.
brain = mush.
me = exhausted.

Then I tried to go to bed but instead of sleeping found myself knitting with a second wind. I then hopped around to see what had been going on in the blog-world and eventually feel into a deep sleep that was only shattered with dreams of being late to the exam (twice) and getting back some not so great results (once). These nightmares have been regular visitors for the past week or two but now when I wake up worried that I am indeed late I'll simply remember that I'm done! Done! For now anyway...

Overall I feel better this time then I did last time, but know that I still guessed on many of the questions. Some of the case studies were very poorly written, and questions repeated themselves across the four test booklets. There are always themes that emerge and usually they have something to do with the medical climate at the time that the test questions are written. I had 6+ questions on erectile dysfunction. The results will take ~8 weeks to get back to me and by then my anxiety will hadissipatedted and what happens will happen. With any luck I'll have made it through and will be able to move on. (I missed it by a few questions last time so I was close - very close.)

An email from Cate confirmed that her mom is indeed the Latin teacher I was channeling while I tried to make out the words I'd never seen before, and she tacked in a little "if you can make it to here we can take you to Rhinebeck" offer towards the end. Between that and an offer from my friend grad student Kate it's hard to say no...very hard to say no. However, I have enough going on here to keep me busy for the next few days and I've made reservations at Chez Etherknitter for next Tuesday (I've heard horrible things about their cancellation policy) so I can be present at the Willows shindig (there's going to be cake!). This weekend (admist errands, laundry, picking up/putting away study materials, etc) I hope to dye some more yarn, and rediscover my drop spindle. I'll spin in honor of those who are buying wool and those who are learning how to spin. I'm planning on ignoring the idea that I could be there so that I can enjoy the reports without thinking "I could have been there..."

And, well, I've spent a lot of money on studying compensation yarn because I wasn't counting on going to NY. You know the skeins that I search the internet for during my equally spaced study breaks; the hanks of yarn that I have a set price for, and once I find it lower then that, I can invest? I've learned a lot about buying yarn over the internet and now have some very defined opinions on shipping (did you know yarn from a popular NYC yarn shop is being shipped via UPS ground (more expensive then usps) from California and it's going to take 10+ days to get here?) and prices of shipping. That being said, I highly recommend Two Swans Yarns. Right now they're having a sale on any orange yarn, including a beautiful color of new Lorna's Laces. (I can say that with certainty because a few hanks were waiting for me when I got back last night). I'm not a rep and won't get anything from this, I simply wanted to share my very positive experience. (Washington state people will have their purchase discounted by the amount of the sales tax - just one example of how she'll go out of her way!)

I don't have a whole lot of knitting to show, but that should change in the next day or two. Cara's button band has me rethinking my possible I-cord edging on the striped sweater and I'm going to need to do some more thinking about it before I dig in and start picking up stitches. I started a pair of socks in the blueberry mash colored yarn and am enjoying how it looks all knit up. (the sheer amount of sock yarn I've invested in means that I will, from here til it's almost gone, always have a pair of socks on the needles. You won't hear any complaining from me!)

Thank you, again and again, for all of the positive studying thoughts, good luck vibes, knitting needle waves and stitches knit in honor of the boards. I'd be lying if I said that knitting and sweater design and socks didn't enter my mind during the exam, and at one point drew out a cardigan sweater with pseduo-cables as a mental break. Knitting has, at some point along the way, become a part of my life, and I'm grateful for the people I've met that feel the same way. Thank you.

Monday, October 10, 2005

here goes nothing....

The boards are tomorrow and Wednesday; two days, each day has two 4 hour blocks of about 200 questions a piece. Tomorrow at 7:30ish am I'll check in and by 8am I expect that I'll be filling in bubbles with my handy #2 pencil. (note to self: this is not connect the dots.) The school is an hour and a half from here and so I went ahead and booked a hotel room for tonight and tomorrow night. I know I won't sleep very well either night but it'll save me from having to travel before sunrise tomorrow.

I'm leaving the still unfinished striped sweater here because chances are pretty good that I'm going to be too distracted to mattress stitch. I'm disappointed it's not done (it wasn't done the first go round either) but I have lots of sock yarn that will keep my hands busy.

These are two poems that I wrote in June, just before the last time I did this. I think they're fitting for now too. (I went on a four line craze after Cassie's (too much wool) Ode To Wool contest. I kept waiting for the inspiration to hit this time but so far, no luck!)

See you on the other side.......

less than a week til the boards
a big 2 day test
time to prioritize topics
(cleaning's not oneand this apartment's a mess)

there are piles of papers
and notecards and books
my highlighters are drying up
studying's not as easy as it looks!

the practice tests are finished
my scores all over the place
I make plenty of mental notes
and then against time I race

there's OMT, neuro, pulmonology,
cardio, anatomy, physio and bugs,
don't forget biochem and pathology,
histo and repro and life-saving drugs.

food? frozen dinners and chocolate
with cups and cups of strong tea
I buzz through the nights,
only stopping to pee.

my biggest test worry?
my own greatest fear?
that the knowledge I've got
will fall out my ears.


all across the United States
t’was the night before day one.
I’m off to bed (with books under my pillow)
my alarm set to be up with the sun.

an old med school roommate of mine
used to eat fish the eve of a test
I’ll eat tuna for breakfast
if it’ll get me more points then the rest.

my #2 pencils are sharp,
I’ve got 3 forms of ID
at the door they might take my thumbprint,
just to make sure that I’m me!

no breaks once the exam begins
so for hours in one spot I’ll sit.
(I’d feel better about the whole thing
if only they’d let me knit!)

some have lucky underwear
or socks they haven’t washed
me? my striped sweater is unfinished,
but in each pocket there’ll be something I swatched.

I knit them while I was cramming,
these last few days and weeks
in hopes what I studied will eeep back out
(this system beats socks that reek!)

thanks for all the previous comments
the good thoughts and wishes you’ve sent
if I could send you each a sheep I would
to me it’s that much (or more!) that they’ve meant.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

happiness is.....

- an old (not-so) favorite sweater turned into a new (really) favorite sweater
- knowing that a cuticle is also called a eponychium (I've seen this question, in many forms, three times now...)
- strong, hot tea with honey and lemon
- waking up calm
- being warm and dry inside while the rain falls (and falls and falls) outside

In April of this year I finished Haiku (with cascade 220 quatro) and started on the striped cotton fleece number; to help everyone out, this is what Haiku looked like:

Haiku flat on the wood floors (I do miss those floors...)

(Haiku on, and the neckline yanked up so it'd stay there for the picture. I do miss that appartment...)

I was not so impressed.

It got mushed in with my other sweaters and packed away, was moved from that apartment to this house and reappeared a few days ago. I’m not a superstitious person (black cats? let me pet them. Ladders? I’ll go under them. Cracks on sidewalks? my mom’s back isn’t broken….) but this round of exams is taking me to a new level of ritual. The sweaters I started last April were knit in class, and often it was joked that I was knitting all the knowledge I’d need for them into the design and I’d found a new way to pass things. That being said, I’ve been hellbent on wearing as many hand-knit things as I can, and aside from socks there isn’t a whole lot to choose from.

Knowing full well that I’d never wear Haiku as it was and after deciding I had nothing to loose, I threw it into the wash (in a pillow protector case) with some towels. (I needed to do laundry anyway, and I was in the next room studying.) The first time through was with cold water and after a quick look at the results I did what needed to be done and ran it through again with warm water.

The result? I still hated the neckline. That led to playing with the design, which led to a change of buttons and resulted in this:

the new Haiku - and my feet (for Mim!)

A sweater I’ll wear during the first day of the test. I still don’t love the neckline, but it feels good on and I will only realize how silly the wide scoop neck looks when I look in the mirror. It’s not as felted as it could be, but works for me. It’s warm, cozy and has a lot of knowledge knit into it. (the “oh no! a loose thread” shot was the best one, believe it or not.)

Sometime yesterday (or was it the day before?) I finished the second sleeve on the cotton fleece sweater. They aren’t the same size but I’m letting go of whatever perfectionism I had (and truth be told it wasn’t as much as some) and was hoping to get the sleeves seamed and the edging finished for day two of the test. I’m not sure it’ll happen (I have to look at my hands when seaming whereas I can knit with occasional glances) but either way I’ll have it finished by the time The Yarn Harlot is at Willows. (which sweater will make the trip?) If I were going to Rhinebeck I'd bring both of them but that trip just isn't going to happen this year. (thank you to the one who offered her guest room though - I can't seem to find your email to let you know!)

two sleeves, in the process of being seamed. (the one on the righ is almost done)

a close-up and fairly close picture of the striped sweater colors.

Thank you for all of your kind words and thoughts for my dear family friend; she’s enjoying a weekend with her family and was having better luck staying on top of the pain the last time I heard from my mom. I am looking forward to catching up with her again next week, after all of the test craziness is over.

Studying is still an exercise in distraction management though; Friday afternoon, after a trip to the bathroom, I heard my cell phone beeping that there was a voicemail. I checked it and heard my youngest brothers soccer coach (he’s a senior in high school and a captain of the varsity soccer team) telling me that I needed to get ahold of my parents because T was “okay” but needed stitches in his forehead. I called the number she left but didn’t get an answer and then started calling all available numbers for my parents. On the second try I got my mom on the phone and then let her pick up the virtual baton in the telephone tag relay, and then went back to the books with images of my brother needing a million stitches all over his head. (there is a point at which it’s not good to know too much in the medical field) Eventually everything was worked out and 11 stitches above his right eyebrow later he’s doing okay. I’m still learning how to focus on the task at hand while keeping other thought simmering on the back burner. I can't wait till Wednesday is over.....

Thursday, October 06, 2005

I've been knitting - honest!

to the right, the purple blueberry mash color, overdyed with some brilliant blue. On the left is a hank of (twinkletoes?) sock yarn that used to be bright, bright, bright (think obnoxious) red and purple; thanks to some blue dye now it's a toned down maroon color and blueish purple. (note to self: do not dye any more sock yarn blue or purple. You have enough. Really.)

on the needles is a sock in Lorna's Laces "Crazy Stripe." I'm past the heel and working on the gusset now. The flowers are on loan from my parents; the blooms will be wintering here this year.

it's a sleeve! This is not for the faint of heart, or experienced knitting critics. I used a generic top down raglan pattern for the body, and then lost the "pattern" I'd created. This sleeve was a study knitting project yesterday; my chant when something like this: if it looks too big, decrease on a few rows. If it looks too small it's probably just about right. I didn't write any numbers down, didn't keep track of the decreases and only did rough "fittings" to see if it was long enough. I made the decision last night (around midnight) that it has too much studying knit into it, and that if it fits I'm just going to leave it. This sweater has been an exercise in many, many things and right now I just want it done!

the reason why I didn't get a very good "natural light" shot: I'm tied to the chair I've been studying in.

I forgot how fast these little hats went! Studying 8-10 hours a day means that I have lots of time for "mindless" knitting, and so I've started working on charity hats again. The colors are off because the sun is gone from the sky and natural light is hard to come by. (the ones on the right are various shades of purple, teal and seafoam - who says bargin partly acrylic yarn store yarn isn' t good for anything!?)

My studying is still going but I'm ready to be done with the books. The boards are next Tuesday and Wednesday - two 8 hour days of questions and filling in bubbles that I will (hopefully) fly through without any problems. Right now I am tired and most of the knowledge I have in my head is beginning to get mixed up, which isn't helping my stress level. I've had a few moments of feeling completely out of control with this situation but thanks to a cleverly timed acupuncture appointment and the cats I'm taking care of I've come out of them okay.

Life has a funny way of getting in the way though, and my emotions have been all over the map for other, more personal reasons. A friend of our family - someone I've always known and loved as a family member - is living with or dying of cancer. She's young, has three children that stairstep my brothers and I and has been doing the best she can to stay on top of her illness. Unfortunetly the illness is getting the best of her. She has had a few hard days this week and I've been there to do what I can - which in some cases is nothing more then sit nearby and knit a sock. Knitting seems natural in this situation and I thought back to how some rediscovered yarn and knitting needles while helping a family memeber through this end of life process. I will not regret the times I've spent with her instead of studying, but when I do sit down to study it's hard to focus on the page and learn what is in front of me. My mom is stepping in to be on duty tomorrow and other family members will be in so that I won't be called again until after the test is over, but truth be told I'm still with her in spirit.

taking a sock inventory. It appears that I've knit as many socks for other people as I've knit for myself....

Monday, October 03, 2005

dye-ing to study....




There is some subtle variation in the electric blueberry mash color. Tomorrow I'm going to try dunking half of it in blue so that there is some additional striping when I knit it up into socks. I don't think I have enough white/natural yarn for this next week of studying, as I think I'm going to need to dye again...sooner rather then later!

Sunday, October 02, 2005

happiness is....

- a beautiful day with lots of patches of sun to sit in
- an upswing in my scores on some practice exams
- giving yarn away Congrats to Melissa who won the cascade 220, to Sara who won the sock yarn and to Lauren who won the noro....
- getting yarn in the mail (thank you Bridget!)
- the prospect of dying yarn

I had big plans for coloring wool this weekend...but that little box of dyes is more intimidating then I thought it'd be. I found a crock-pot at a thrift shop (it's missing a handle but was only a dollar!), bought some nifty looking syringes at a medical supply store (the woman thought I was crazy when I explained what I needed and what they were for) and bought the last big jug of vinegar on the shelf at the grocery store. But so far, when I've gotten things together to start

it goes from looking like this....

to being put away like this.

I put stuff away and mutter something about needing to get back to the books, and how I need reinforcements.

Just a few hours ago I tried to give myself a pep talk, and said over and over "this isn't hard, really, it's not that hard." The chocolate agreed.

This whole process was easier when there were experienced dyers around, and there were back copies of Spin Off to refer to, and lots of knitters saying "you can't go wrong!" I'm determined that today is the day to dye at least one skein, and it will happen (after a few more hours of studying) but first I'm going to try and channel a few established dying folk. Perhaps I need to eat some more chocolate?

Second sock syndrome has nothing on 4th sock syndrome; the wedding socks are finished! (I forgot to get a good shot of them and had to semi-unwrap the package for this shot.) Two of them have heathered blue toes, and they are both made out of Trekking XXL color 68. One hank got me through three and a half socks (for kicks I used it all up to see how far into the 4th sock I could get; it took me to the bottom of the heel flap and into the start of the heel short rows, which leads me to believe that one hank would have been enough for four socks if I'd used contrasting yarn for all of the heels and toes.)

In lieu of a four line poem (I must not be stressed out enough, as that's when my rhyming is at it's best) I simply wrote a note that read "May your feet always be as warm as your hearts" and signed it with instructions on how to launder them, and a "please return to me if they don't fit so I can alter them" plea. They'll go into the mail tomorrow.

A few weeks ago I shared that I couldn't find cotton fleece in the color "Rue" so that I could finish my striped sweater. Bridget (whose blog doesn't seem to be working right now) just finished a beautiful sweater in this yarn, and offered to send me her leftovers. The yarn arrived yesterday and is perfect! The sleeves of that sweater are next on my list of "things to knit while studying...."

I will be so very glad when the boards are over. And passed.