Friday Gauge Check: Progress

I’m getting laid off in two weeks, which – well, I’ve been expecting that particular conversation with my boss for at least a week, because the project I’ve been in charge of is almost complete.  I’m sad, but the conversation was particularly gratifying, because he told me that if I wasn’t moving to Portland, he’d call me back for the next project, and he’s asking around to see if anybody can use me.  The other guy I’ve been working with told me that he has a friend who manages a temp agency, and he’s passing my name on to her.

To be honest, though, I’m not sure if I want to hunt for another job so close to our move date. I can use the time for cleaning and packing, finishing some commission projects, and just wrapping up loose ends around here.  What I’d love to do is actual temp work – a few days a week – but I haven’t been able to find anyplace that actually does that.

I’ve been spinning almost every day; I have the bobbin with the Corriedale Cross almost full, which is good, because Tour de Fleece is almost upon us!  I still have some of the fiber left, and I’m thinking that I’m going to have to hunt up some of the plastic bobbins I keep hearing about on knitting podcasts to store yarn on.

One side effect of the project winding down is having a lot of knitting time, because mostly I have to sit at my desk and look busy.  I turned the heel and am working on the foot of the second Nutkin sock. The end is in sight!  I’m still enjoying knitting it, but it’s getting  just a little tedious at this point. I just want to be done with it!  I hit this point on every sock I knit, so I know I can work through it, it’s just hard.

20110701-092742.jpg

To combat some of that Nutkin Sock Ennui, I brought the shawl that I’m test-knitting for someone on Ravelry.  Here’s a sneak peek of it, in progress.

The yarn is Premier Yarns’ Serenity Sock, from the Deborah Norville Collection, which I picked up at JoAnn’s (it was on sale).  It’s a superwash merino/ bamboo/ nylon blend, I’d been planning on using it to make socks for myself, but it had the right yardage for this project (and when am I really actually ever going to make socks for myself, right?).  I’m glad I did, because it’s knitting up beautifully.  The picture doesn’t quite do it justice.  The green-and-white section also has these beautiful blue-violet speckles, so it’s lovely and feminine and lacy but not overcomplicated.  I’m a little bit nervous about how the striping’s going to work as the shawl gets bigger, but so far it’s been lovely, and the narrower pink stripes are still two full rows wide, so hopefully it’ll work out.  I also have to say that this is really nice yarn, particularly for JoAnn’s.  I knit Jack’s Green Simplicity Socks and the niece’s Butterfly Socks in Serenity Garden, a microfiber blend which was great to work with, so I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised that another line of the same brand was also nice, but I’m always at least a little surprised when JoAnn’s has nice yarn.

I think I mentioned that I picked up some rosewood needles on clearance, and I discovered why they were on clearance with this shawl, though.  About halfway through a row, the cable popped loose from the needle!  Fortunately I was able to rescue all my stitches, and I immediately switched over to my interchangeable Knit Picks Harmony needles and sailed on.  A little bit of glue should fix the problem, but it was a terrifying moment.  Lesson: I should be using lifelines.  (Don’t tell anybody, I still haven’t put in any lifelines.  But I’m being absolutely compulsive about counting stitches, so if I make a mistake, I will catch it within half a row.)  The shawl is also very unforgiving of mistakes, so I’m being a much more precise knitter than I usually am.  I expect the results to be appropriately mind-blowing, Emily Shawlette.  Please make a note of it.

I successfully made stovetop rice for the first time last night. I’m not sure why I was so worried about it; it was easy enough.  It wasn’t quite as easy as “throw it in the rice cooker and flip the switch,” but very nearly.  Fresh & Easy had a pair of gorgeous ahi tuna steaks in the clearance section, so I seared them in white wine and soy sauce, threw some baby spinach over the rice for the last five minutes, and wondered why I hadn’t done this before.  Seared tuna: excellent.

Last week I poached some salmon and that turned out wonderfully as well.  Cooking fish: not nearly as scary or as difficult as I’d made it out to be.  (In my defense: I’ve lived my entire adult life in land-locked places. Fish is weird.)  Also, poaching!  Now I know what it is and how to do it.

My nervousness about cooking comes from Hurricane Dad – my mom is a mediocre cook, and he had a list of dishes that his mother used to make that Mom could never get right.  I’m not sure how much of that is rooted in No One Can Cook Like Dear Old Mom and how much of it was her not being able to do it right, but I’m always nervous about trying new things, and I have a mental list of stuff that’s Hard to Do that mostly I haven’t even tried.  Every time I try to do one of those things and it turns out to be easy, I’m a little startled – but somehow it doesn’t change the way I perceive the rest of the Hard to Do list.  Gravy was on that list – Mom’s gravy was always lumpy, and this earned an Epic Fit.  Rice was on the list.  Fish was on the list, just because Mom never really did it (see: land-locked state. We also lived on the Gulf Coast when I was fairly small, so I think being able to get fresh fish right off the boats ruined Dad for fish.  He still bought shrimp, but complained bitterly about how it wasn’t as good as the shrimp in MS.  Which – there’s nothing in the world as good as fish that was swimming earlier that day.  Period.).  There’s no real rhyme or reason to it, either; things that are genuinely more complicated, like baking, don’t appear on the list at all.

That’s pretty much my week in review: work, knitting, some spinning, successful cooking.

Everyone is welcome to check their own gauge in the comments!  Does anybody else have a That’s Hard to Do list without an actual rational basis to it, or is that just me?

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~ by Amber on July 1, 2011.

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