Monday, June 21, 2010

More On Graduation

Thanks to everyone for your congratulations on my graduation!  I really appreciate all your comments and I'm so happy that I can now say that I have a college degree!

Now that I'm back home and have more (read: a ton of) free time on my hands, I've been getting a steady amount of knitting done.

The Cubism Afghan for my brother is slowly growing, as you saw a couple posts ago.  I finished two more squares and took a picture to show you how they're going to piece together to look like an optical illusion.  I've included my dog for size reference (not intentionally, but he was there, so it worked out).  I feel a little less-than-happy with the fact that it has taken me 6 months to complete 15% of the blanket, but I think what I have knit is still a sizable chunk of knitting (it took almost 14 balls at 220 yards each), so perhaps I shouldn't be too hard on myself.

When I finished the last square you see there, I took a little break from knitting on the blanket and finished the first half of my Autumn Arbor Stole (I only needed to knit one more 40-row repeat).

Sorry, I know that's not the greatest picture.  I now have a decision to make.  This stole is knit in two halves and then grafted together in the middle.  I have been looking at finished projects on Ravelry and on the few I have seen which actually show this join, I haven't liked the way that it looks.  The issues of a tight kitchener stitch which causes the piece to pucker or the choice to use a 3-needle bind-off by others isn't what bothers me because I know those can be avoided, but I'm not sure I like the way the pattern itself lines up on the finished product.  I don't think it looks symmetrical and it makes the seaming look off center as if the two halves weren't lined up properly before grafting.

One Raveler went through the trouble of creating an alternate finish that allows one to knit the entire stole in one piece, finishing it in a way that mimics the shape of the cast-on end.  I'm tempted to knit my piece this way to avoid an unsightly seam in the middle, but I've set this shawl aside for a bit while I debate whether or not to do this.  What do you guys think?

As graduation presents, I have received a few very welcome additions to my knitting book collection and I find myself flipping through them on a daily basis.

From one sister (the Deirdre one) and her husband I received a Japanese stitch pattern book, aptly named "Knitting Patterns Book 300".

This book has an unbelievable collection of stitch pattern to use to create any knitted item you could ever want.  There are cables, lace, knit/purl pattern, bobbles, slipped stitches, twisted stitches, and countless combinations of two or more of these techniques.  Some of the patterns looks so bizarre that it blows my mind to think that someone, at some point, had to sit down and play with yarn and needles until they figured out how to do it.  Absolutely incredible.

In this gift, my sister also included a skein of Malabrigo Sock in the "Stonechat" colorway (picked out by The Brain, aka her husband).  It is absolutely gorgeous.  Thanks, D and Sir Brain!

While this present came from the West coast, another arrived from the East coast from another sister living in Maryland.

This is a pattern booklet that I have been looking for for what seems like ages.  I have never seen it in any stores, and the only time I found it for sale online was from Australia.  Well, as it turns out, my sister's boyfriend's mom is from New Zealand and my sister managed to have one of her relatives still living there find a copy in a local shop and then send it halfway around the world to me!  Thank you so much, sister!  There are 20 sweater patterns in this booklet, and I think they're all classic and great.

And, well, that model on the right?

He's a keeper.

Last, but not least, Anne Hanson was also kind enough to send me a gift!  Ok, not quite, but I did win a book from a contest on her blog.

I won a copy of the fifth Vogue Knitting Stitchionary all about lace knitting.  This is a fantastic collection of great patterns that can be used in a variety of ways.

Patterns are both written out line by line and charted, which I think makes this book more accessible to those who prefer not to knit from a chart (or from written directions).  My only complaint about this book is that the swatches are knit from a pretty thick yarn (for lace) and it's sometimes difficult to see the lace patterns because the yarn is so plump and often fills in the holes.  Other than that, it's a great addition to my growing collection and I hope it will serve as inspiration for me to possibly design a few pieces in the future.  Thanks, Anne Hanson!

Yesterday my family celebrated Father's Day with a nice get-together where I was able to see most of my siblings as well as my nephews and niece.  It was actually kind of funny - my two youngest nephews (very close in age, 28 months and 35 months) showed up wearing identical shirts, completely by accident!  What adorable little kids.

One even managed to find the fish hat I had made for my sister this past winter and became a silly fish monster.

Which then attacked me...

I hope you all had a great weekend!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Look What I Did Yesterday

I graduated!

That's Kate, one of my best friends.  I hope she doesn't mind being on the blog.  She was the lucky recipient of this cashmere scarf and I'm so glad she was able to come to my graduation!  I now officially have a Bachelor of Music in Clarinet Performance.

It's interesting to look back four years to my high school graduation to see how things have changed.

Of course, most of the changes aren't visible.  Four years is really a short amount of time in the grand scheme of things, but between the ages of 18 and 22, a whole lot of changes take place.  It is during this time that one really begins to develop him/herself as an individual, to make decisions regarding who they want to be, how they act, what they believe...  New experiences fly past like meteors, each leaving a streak as it goes past.  The visible effects may disappear in a split second, but the memories remain.  Over time, these brush strokes paint a new landscape, one that remains unseen, but can be felt and experienced.  It is in this new landscape - painted by the brushstrokes of experience - that I walk now, eager to discover what will appear on the next canvas.  What scene will Bali produce?  Grad school?  Beyond?  What an amazing mystery.

College has now been freshly hung in the expansive hall that is my life, but the future is sure to hold countess more paintings to line the corridors, soon producing a veritable gallery of life.  Seen only by the artist, felt by the subject, and observed from the outside by the rest of the world.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Simple Knitting

Sometimes it's what we need.  So often I find myself bored with simple knitting, but right now it's the perfect stress reliever after a busy year.  It's a great way to relax at the end of a day spent trying to get things in order for graduation, grad school, and (most importantly) my trip to Bali.

I'm not one to say this very often, but right now garter stitch is indeed my friend.  I am making slow progress on my brother's blanket, but slow and steady wins the race.  I'm almost done with that sixth square, which leaves about, well, we won't talk about how much is left.  Those are pretty sizable pieces of knitting, too.  The white squares alone are a foot wide.

I also seem to be making progress on the sock that I mentioned in my last post.  In fact, I've knit an entire foot!

I'm knitting a plain stockinette sock (with hopes to make a pair one day) using STR Mediumweight in the "Terra Firma" colorway, gifted to me by the unbelievably generous and wonderful Joan.  After swatching several times, and knitting a couple different toes and never having things come out right, I decided to just "wing it", and so far it's working.  I've knit the heel a couple times now and I think I may rip it out again.  When I try on the sock, that annoying voice keeps saying, "You know, I think this sock could be just a little longer..." and while ignoring that voice would allow me to finish the sock faster, I think coming out with a wearable pair might make a bit more sense.  Also, can I just say that I love how nicely the colors are playing together?  My first rendition of this sock was just... less harmonious.

These simple projects are a great accompaniment to my latest endeavor, which is to learn a bit of Indonesian before my trip.  At my public library I found a set of CDs to learn from, and so far things have been going pretty well.

"Sekarang saya bisa bicara bahasa Inggris dan bahasa Indonesian sedikit."
(Now I can speak English and a little bit of Indonesian.)

See?  Not bad, right?  I'm only halfway through the lessons, so hopefully progress will continue.  Of course, I can just see my friend laughing right now (you know who you are) because he thinks my Indonesian is too proper and he always calls me a "bule lucu" (silly American, though it's a bit more derogatory than that).  I just like to think that I'll be prepared to meet the President.

Remember those dandelions I showed you a couple posts ago?  Well, it would seem my friend caught my in action while I was taking their pictures.

It's interesting looking at this picture and then seeing the final results.

Well, I have to run to a meeting with my professor now (and then I'm DONE!) and then I have a gamelan lesson, so I will have to bid you all farewell now.

Oh!  Speaking of gamelan, we had a performance a couple of weeks ago.

That's me in the front with the sunglasses.  ...Yeah, I play a pretty mean suling.

Sunday, June 6, 2010


Over the long Memorial Day weekend I was able to take some time to get off campus and explore the surrounding area.  A couple friends and I headed to High Cliff State Park for the day to hike in the woods, swim in the lake, and explore the numerous trails.

The day started out pretty cloudy, but the view was still amazing.  This picture was taken from a tall wooden viewing tower that allowed you to see the lake (and a nearby town if you turned around).

As it was still early and not quite warm enough for a swim yet, we set off to explore some of the trails.

I enjoyed this one, cut deep into the surrounding rock.  It felt like a secret, hidden trial full of enchanted creatures.  In reality, the enchanted creatures were mosquitoes and one had to constantly be moving for fear of being eaten alive, but I liked the trail all the same.

Another trail led us to a series of Native American burial mounds.  It was difficult to actually recognize them as anything other than the natural contours of the land, but this "Buffalo mound" was made easier with the help of the growing grass.

Can you see it?  Its legs are pointing to the right and its head is toward the bottom of the picture.

After that, we had a picnic lunch and then a short dip in the lake.  I had forgotten how much I love swimming in lakes!  I really must do that more often.

In knitting news, I knit a hat last week that actually sometimes looks good on me!  I haven't taken pictures because, well, because pictures of me wearing a hat in June would look silly, but I do like it.  I'll try to remember to show you in the fall.

I also started a sock for the FOURTH time and this time I think it's going to fit.  Keep your fingers crossed, please.

AND, I'm nearing the end of my oldest WIP.  I started it in April of 2008 and finally I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.  I'll give you more information about that when it's finished, too.

Hmmmm, that was all quite vague.  Don't worry, I'll give you guys more details in the weeks to come.  Tomorrow begins my week of finals before graduation.  I may not have time to blog again until I'm back home, but I'm sure I'll have more to share!

Sampai jumpa!