Friday Gauge Check: Birthday Edition

It’s time for our Friday rituals, the ceremonies of escorting one week out and preparing the next one. Which, around here, is the Gauge Check, where I take a look at my week and figure out where I’ve come from and where I’m going. Sometimes there are goals, sometimes I just talk about what’s going on in my life and my crafting. You are all welcome to join in in the comments.

Today is my birthday!  I’m celebrating my 26th birthday – not that I’m 26, I’m ten years past that – but 26 was my last birthday pre-Isabel, and it seemed like a good point to reclaim. Nobody ever believes that I’m over 30 anyway, so I might as well go with it, right? Anyway, I’m celebrating in grand fashion.  Starting with telling people that it’s my birthday!

Regardless of it being my birthday, it’s still a Friday, so Jack had to go to work. (I promised him that next year I would schedule my birthday for a weekend.)  I took myself to breakfast at Panera, where I enjoyed a strawberry scone and a cup of tea, and now I am enjoying more tea and pasta salad for lunch.  This tea is in one of my birthday presents, which is a (left-handed!) mug with the Elizabeth Zimmermann quote,

“Knit on, with confidence and hope, through all crises.”

I think I will adopt this as my mantra.  It came from Winemakerssister, and was part of the Elizabeth Zimmermann centenary set.  The notecards are getting framed and going up in my craft room.  I feel like I should be able to accomplish anything with Elizabeth at my elbow.  And if Elizabeth isn’t enough by herself, I can always add rum.

Other presents (in case you care) included the car and an off-white Michael Kors handbag from my mother.  She has excellent taste in bags; her Christmas present was the Vera Bradley bag that has become my constant companion as of late.  It’s perfect for knitting, with lots of pockets and straps long enough to go over my shoulder. In what is fast becoming a tradition, she included a random Hello Kitty object; this one is a little lamp that plugs into the USB port of my laptop.  It’s supposed to be a keyboard light, but as my keyboard lights up, I suspect it will prove even more useful to shed some light on my stitches.  Heaven knows I would never actually buy a name-brand handbag for myself, but I’m very fond of them and they make excellent presents.  (Okay, I do own a Coach bag and a Kate Spade bag, both of which I got secondhand and paid less than $10 for.  And I have several Sanrio bags that I bought new. But I’m still not willing to pay over $100 for a purse.)

Tonight Jack and I are going to see Dar Williams at the Aladdin Theatre, and talk about your amazing birthday presents, okay?  Jack saw her years ago, and every time he mentions it he says that he wishes that I could have been there, even though it was before we met.  And now I get to go!

Anyway, enough about today.  Last weekend we went out to Washougal and Camas, which weren’t nearly as far as we thought, and visited Wooly Wooly Wag Tails (which alas, does not have a functional web page).  This shop delighted me, from the minute we walked in and were met with the official greeter, who happens to be a Golden Retriever.  All stores should have incredibly sweet and friendly dogs who meet you at the door.  The human affiliated with the shop was just as nice, warmly welcoming without feeling pushy.

I can’t say enough good things about the shop itself, either.  It’s a converted house, a really good-sized space, and it is just crammed with an incredible variety of yarn.  They have more shades of Noro than I’ve ever seen, and lines of Cascade that I didn’t know existed.  (Did you know Cascade made a wool/acrylic blend?)  What really caught my attention, though, was their sale bin, which was 35% off.  I walked away with a sweater’s worth of Cascade Eco+, four skeins, for a little over $40.  It’s pink, so I’m probably going to overdye it – but considering that that’s twice what I paid for the single skein I made the Through the Woods hood out of?  I’m not complaining.

Who am I kidding, though? What you really want to hear about is my crafting, right?  Okay, so I successfully completed the cast-on for the Gnarled Oak Cardigan, and have since knit four inches on the body.  I’m trying to deAn almost-completed dark green sock and the beginning of a dark green sweater.cide whether four inches is good progress or not.  It’s not much in the grand scheme of an entire sweater, but on the other hand, it’s four inches more than I had last week, 1.5″ of it is 2×2 ribbing, and it’s all plain stockinette, so lots of purling, which I am very slow at.  I’m hoping a mostly-stockinette sweater will make me faster at purling, of nothing else.

For the Oxidation socks, I have finished the 8″ leg, turned the heel (flap heel, Eye of Partridge, if you’re curious) and am about 3/4″ away from the toe decreases on the first sock.  Hopefully the second sock will go just as quickly as the first one, because Jack is incredibly excited about these socks. I’m excited too; they’re gorgeous.  (They’re in Blissful Knits Inspire, if you’ve forgotten.)  Nancy Bush is fast becoming one of my favorite sock designers; the patterning on this sock is a four-row repeat that is somehow incredibly addictive.  If you’re looking for a potato-chippy sock pattern that plays well with variegated or handpainted yarn, you could do much worse than her Copper Penny Socks.  Helpfully, it also creates a nicely stretchy leg that works well with my fiance’s serious calves.  (He did martial arts and dance for years; to my knowledge he’s never been able to buy shoes that were taller than an ankle boot.)

On the spinning front, I’m ashamed to admit that I’ve barely spent any time at my wheel at all.  I spun a little bit of the blue fiber today, but I’m far from finished.  The problem that I’m running into is, that while I love the colors of the fiber and I can’t wait to see the cotton candy yarn finished, I’m not really enjoying spinning the fiber itself.  It’s not good fiber, it doesn’t draft well, and it’s difficult to produce a smooth yarn.  I’ll soldier on, because I really do want the finished product, but I’m promising myself that the next thing I’m going to spin will be pretty.  I’m thinking about the batt of superwash merino from Hanks in the Hood I picked up when I visited Anderson Fiber Works for the first time.

Other things I am considering?  Next week is Knitting and Crochet Blog Week, and I’m thinking about joining in. Lee Meredith is having a Twitter-based mystery knit-a-long, and I’m thinking about joining THAT.  I have these two balls of unclaimed Cascade 220 in my stash, just sitting there, so maybe.  I’m thinking about sewing, and I have a pile of books that I really ought to get to, and there’s that fleece I really need to wash.  Next week: do ALL THE THINGS.

How’s your week been?  Check your gauge, or tell me what birthday you’ll be celebrating next, in the comments.  Oh, and if you’re not reading this on Friday?  It’s always a good time to check your gauge.  Go for it.



~ by Amber on April 20, 2012.

2 Responses to “Friday Gauge Check: Birthday Edition”

  1. I’m just starting to learn how to knit. It’s a lot harder than I’d thought it would be!

    • It’s hard when you start, but it gets easier as you get used to it, like any physical activity. Remember when you first learned to write, and you struggled over every individual letter, and now you can dash off a grocery list like it’s nothing? It’s kind of like that.

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