Saturday, July 30, 2005

Martha, Martha, Martha!

I am not Jan Brady, I am Tink… But I couldn’t resist! I mean this post is ALL about Martha, and I have taken long enough to get her up and done. Actually I have taken long enough to post period. Cause really I have all these posts in my head and neither the time nor energy to post them. Must fix that… anyways. Martha she be done! And I be very, very happy with the results. She has had her first and second outings. I have worn her to work and a bar/club (she probably preferred the bar if she is anything like her creator) and she is well on her way to becoming a wardrobe favorite. Hell I have had friends ask if I can make them one :) Anyways this is the wrap up post on my first real sweater that I have made, that I will really wear. And if you didn’t guess it, I am pleased as punch with that part of the deal. When I first started knitting, hell even today, it is less about the product and more about the actual knitting (which is the calming bit on me :) But now… now I can make things I would actually wear, moreover items that are fashionable. And that my friends is cool. What is even better is that I have an elf who work on Martha… see! I think I need to knit her an appropriate elven hat though :) Gratitude it comes in many forms! Thus without further ado… I give you Martha: Martha, Martha, Martha Project Specs: Pattern: Martha; Rowan 37 Yarn: Rowan Cotton 4ply 6 balls in the smallest size (I think the colour is Aegean- its Turquoise to me) Start: May 2005 End: July 2005 Lessons learned: First if there is a pattern repeat, and you don’t have enough to do it with at least a 1 stitch edge… don’t do it! And plan ahead on that part for when you get to the seams… Would look a bit more professional that way, me thinks. Tricks of the Trade: I learned how to pray at the altar of the NASCAR Gods and do a crocheted chain stitch for my shoulder seams (let’s hope I remember how for next time :) and how to mattress stitch! I have conqueored the mattress stitch. And to be honest, I really like mattress stitch. I also learned how to watch an elf mattress stitch my “set-in” sleeves. I mean who knew Kirs were power fuel for the seamers?? Next up- Tour de France and socks...

Friday, July 29, 2005

Changes...

Some people think of the things they want to change in their life on January 1. And they think in big drastic terms. They make a pretty list. Some even go so far as to expend money on these “resolutions.” And then they promptly forget about the whole deal 2-3 weeks later, only to look back in regret on them in December… just about that same time when the whole vicious cycle starts all over again. So as you might guess I am not a big New Year’s Resolution girl. At least not in the conventional manner… I sniff with an up turnt nose on January 1. especially at the superficial lists. Cause come on, that is exactly what most of them are. Regardless of this position I take at the beginning of the year, every year around my birthday I make an X at X list. This is a list of points for my life, equal in amount to what my age is. Creating the list is a bit on the hard side as I try to make my list actionable, measurable, accomplishable and concrete. No “I want to loose 10 lbs” vaguing up my list (even if I do want to loose 10lbs, desperately). Instead I look at it from a lifestyle perspective. Are there things in my lifestyle that I want to change, and if there are, how would I go about introducing that. Much in life is about asking the right questions and mining the data for the appropriate responses. Shit I just read that sentence and totally see how spending my days with economists is impacting me... Anyways back to the topic at hand. Thus when I sat down to really think hard about this list, I realised some may sound silly or like I intentionally set the bar on the ground. But this list went through a few different variations and prioritisations, furthered by my previous incarnation as a lawyer brain thinking it's way through each item and every word being carefully chosen. As if I was going to be taken to the Non-Compliance Court for Resolutions.

Sure I play up the numbers thing on occasion for whimsy, but since much in my life is about setting patterns and habits- which is my eternal weakness, or about the handful of things that are important but somehow always fall to the ground in the mélé of life. I composed this list as a list to be compiled of subtle reminders about what I want to create in my daily life and dreams I want to make reality. It also reflects my start easy then work towards building things up philosophy. Some are check list items (things that are one offs and just need to be done) and others are items that will follow me through the year (these are more about the habits in my life). At the end of the day, I prefer this kind of approach. Now in previous years I wouldn’t track the list through the year, and I am now realising how that sucks and they then evaporate because of that. Which kind of sets me on par with those January 1 people, but I don't want to think about that. Anyways I usually get through half of them but I loose interest after a while. So this year after much thought I would give it a go and track it here on my blog. Sound like a good idea??

Well it did to me cause unless I have something pressuring me or holding me accountable I don’t do it. Remember I am the Princess of Procrasstination, and oh yeah- I put the ASS in procrASStination. And as second grade as it sounds but when I have a check list (I am a queen list writer) and I can take that red pen and slash right through them, things get done a bit more. Yup I am the kid who now runs around saying where is my gold star bitch??? And if you are my best friend Karen you go and buy some as an excuse to slap me silly. And each time I say that you smack me on the head and say GOLD STAR, GOLD STAR. This year it is 28 at 28, not catchy but there it is. So here goes my list, I'll check back in with it on the 29th of each month. If I haven't, you all have free reign to smack me on the head and yell GOLD STAR, GOLD STAR even if I haven't asked where my star is bitch. 1. Read one classic per month, read one book in each language you read over the year, and 28 books for the year in total 2. Go to a new museum on each free first Sunday of the month 3. Drink a minimum of 1 litre of water per day 4. Spend one night a week with no TV and no DVDs and no Technology. Whole night! 5. Save money to recreate a “nest egg/safety parachute” 6. Cook a true dinner once a month 7. Try a new cuisine each month (something you normally scrunch your nose at!) 8. Take one activity class per week (pilates, ballet, dance, yoga, etc) 9. Do one physical activity (swimming, running, rock climbing, cardio at gym etc) once a week 10. Run a half Marathon 11. Eat vegetables (i.e. a vegetable for the month eaten once a week) 12. Make a monthly contribution to a charity 13. Start “learning” Spanish 14. Visit two regions in France and at least one vineyard, plus one new country 15. Get my grandfather’s birth certificate 16. Take a scuba diving course 17. Learn about and read the texts of one of the major world religions 18. Finish my knitting projects 19. Go to one Opera and one Ballet at Garnier 20. Take a photo daily 21. Floss weekly 22. DECLUTTER 23. STUDY my ass off and take the GREs (while you are at it, get a ROCKING score too) 24. Make your home more yours (decoration etc) 25. Cultivate a bit of garden on your window 26. Get a website up and going 27. Keep the dishes done nightly 28. Relax and fill this one in later when it comes to you :)

And we are off and running

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

RAOKs RAOK

So I finally trekked my ass down to the Poste this week, as I have an avis de colis that I received last week. I swear I am so horrible about the Poste it is not even funny. And really there is no justification for it. Slight grump anyways though: our set of post boxes has a box for “oversized” packages. Nothing huge, but almost every package I have to schlep to get (sleep is precious in the am and I work till when they close so this makes for real FUN) would fit in that box. I am going to send someone a piece of my mind on that soon! Anyways I digress and digression over kindness is petty. And this is kindness that has irony cause I got a lovely RAOK. So let's talk about the office why don’t we? Many an entertaining thing happens here and really sometimes I have to laugh, cause if not well I might get violent yo. Today, thanks to my ever so kind neighbours arguing at the top of their lungs at 6am- and serious I sleep like a rock so waking me up is a feat to admire, admire while PISSED but admire nonetheless, I woke up. Amazing how that happens non? So I get my ass together and head to the post office to pick up the package. Turns out I have a box that would EASILY fit in the “oversized” box, but hey I have it now so let’s save the bitching for a still moving target. Now I am obviously doing this on the way into work, so I don’t rip it open with my bare hands I wait till I get to the office. I walk in and as part of my establish a habit week (tm) I immediately go to get my bottle to fill it with water. Guess what I notice folks?? That is right my friends, my water bottle is stolen AGAIN. THIEF… So I go and get a new bottle thinking to myself of the many ways I will mutilate this man, cause he is going DOWN. The ripe (and by ripe I mean I smell him for the next 10 minutes after he just walks in to get the garbage…) SOB is going to get it. And this poor box I just got, it totally is taking the initial brunt. I get my sharp objects and stab and slash to open in. HA take that cardboard… And once I open it I find that it is packaged lovely with pretty tissue paper and cute purple packing squiggles. So I get the card out and this ironic and LOVELY RAOK was sent to me by Miss Elizabeth. I cant thank you enough. I LOVE IT. Though just to give it that final cliché of irony, when he came in to clean last night... my card disappeared. Irony don't it just ring your bell??
Do you see this Mr. Thief??? You even THINK about touching this kick ass bottle and I will CUT YOU.
So Mr. THIEF, why don’t you do me a favour and go talk with your entertaining friend who loads the toilet paper in our bathrooms. Cause I am EVER entertained by the backwards dispenser that only gives me one measly sheet, at a time, of your one ply thinner than tissue paper to wipe my ass with. Soooo fucking funny. And while you are at it... have a conference call with the construction people that took over the toilets for 2 weeks of renovation. You call this fixing the toilets?? I listened to jackhammers and did the patented "I got to go pee-pee yeah you know me" dance for THIS?? You took my “holy shit there is a toilet with water in it” and replaced it with one that is all about saving the whales, and I am supposed to think of this as an improvement? I mean I am all for saving the whales, but I have had enough of the skid marks and the disappearing shit brush act (note in Europe toilets are not full of water and there for there is a brush at the side of the toilet for... well you get the picture). Get your acts together, before I go janitorial on you.
Until then though, I am going to keep knitting these socks and try to decide if the candy cane spiral striping is annoying me or not.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Phildar... Oh Phildar

Why doth thou forsaketh me?? I cometh unto you despite thy higheth acrylic content. I cometh to give thee my money. Is it because I speaketh to you in yee old English?? Cause seriously I searcheth the reason. Every time I grab a little bit of faith or extend the good will Phildar goes and shatters it. Yesterday I decided I was going to check the soldes at my Phildar boutique. I know I am bad I did not check the soldes at the yarn stores when they started…I shall repent my sins, once Phildar doth stopeth fucking around with me. Each time I go into that boutique I go in search of classic colors. And each time like the ultimate karmic flip of the bird to the knitting gods I must have inadvertently committed, these classic colours are discontinued. Now this is not a Phildar thing (Rowan discontinued mon Amour and really I think that merits a yarn penalty – where in the person who made that decision is deprived of his/her yarn) but given that they discontinued Pretty Wrappy Tops Kaki colour and what I found out today, proportionately they are winning the battle. By the time I got to the store there really wasn’t anything on solde worth looking at. Much of it was crazy variegated colours of Plaisance and some yarns I would never use. So I didn’t dig past the one bag I should have. Instead I go look at the not on sale yarns. I am intrigued by one called Beaugency, but not enough to buy it. I look at patterns and I fall in LOVE with this one. Oh yes… it WILL be mine! (I am thinking either in Chamonix if a certain someone can find me some and the price and colour is right, that or the new RYC line/Debbie Bliss Cashmerino). But right before I leave I decide to take one last glance at the solde bags of yarn. And you know what I find? A bag of cotton microfibres that is in a lovely chocolate-plummy colour. Ahhhh for15 euros you will be mine, even if I have never knit in cotton microfibres. Oops maybe not, that lady got to it first and she had just put it aside… That is the sound of me deflating. I ask if they have more, and my nice Phildar lady comments that no it is discontinued (along with the lovely plum muscat purple colour of Aviso I wanted to get to make Smooch in). WHAT, for the love of all the colour gods this is a classic colour. FUCK, oh well I didn’t have a project for it… *WAIT* she checked the Usine, and if I want it they have it there. I the anti-stash girl posessing NO idea what to make with this yarn say yes. I bought 10 skeins for 15 euros of chocolat cotton micro fibres. Why? Because chocolat is a color that is to be kept. It is a basic color and I will figure out something to make. Really they are lucky that their collections automne had this in it and I really really want to make it. Otherwise I might just have given up the ghost on Phildar...

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Whew… It Is Friday and I Managed To Survive

I have a long weekend ahead of me with many things to do and prepping for an interview cycle. My contract is up at the end of August and Mama has to find another. Luckily she has an interview for a post she really wants on Tuesday. Theoretically since I am on the inside it should be easier. But theory doesn’t always work in life and me… I only need inhale to start making up paranoid scenarios. Here Chez Tink, until things are resolved and in writing or my passport, we think you are full of it, have visualised 12 worst-case scenarios and believe NOTHING. Anyways, I leave that psychosis in the rainforest I brought home to prep for that interview, now residing on the table already covered in papers I need to go through. Friday is my relax and plan evening. So after I made it through the day, after I made it home and ate dinner, I sat myself in front of the fan and I said WHEEE I have Rebecca Magazines!!! All is good… well kind of. The observant among you will notice my initial reaction to Friday knit night, was to put Mon Amour (Shedir) aside. This is the result of my piques of panic that are occurring more and more often. I have this much yarn left and I have 428 stitches to knit. And I am feeling queasy that there will not be enough to finish. I have already done a lot of cabling, and I am not a happy cable ripper. It is a discontinued colour and this is all I have… thus running out is not a good thing. The only option I will have is to rip the whole bugger back and try to recuperate 128 stitches by reducing the pattern dictated 9 rows of ribbing to make it 8. After that, don’t ask because my thought pattern refuses to go further. Chez Tink, we don’t face up to these kind of things on a Friday night. So I immediately throw myself into the Rebecca magazines. I look at the Summer one and I see three patterns I am thinking of making, imperative word is thinking- but we’ll get back to that. At this point after looking at pictures and making glances but not readings of patterns, I decide since I have that pretty raspberry yarn Polly convinced me I must purchase (what? it needed a nice home and my flat doesn’t have much yarn) would make a lovely wrappy top that everyone has been making. I tried on Jackie’s when she was here and I know that it is lovely so I zone in. I find that pattern and I realise my gauge, as I like this yarn knit (remember people I like bitsy needles and high numbers) it is TIGHT. Like twice as tight as the suggested gauge. Oh the glory of having to approach the maths. Internets we know how much I like the maths. So much that after a few kirs in me I tell my cute but full of his economist self Polish coworker that him and his economic models are dry as buffalo shit ready to use for the fire and he can take his calculus elsewhere. I know it and I couldn’t give a flying fuck. (Yeah I make great impressions- then again he was kicking on Political Scientists. Which given that I am one, how often he has read one and his lack of ever taking a class is a bit more than judgementally hypocritical and fucks with his assumptions and models to boot… but I digress) Back to the gauge… I don’t know if want that loose of a gauge in this yarn. But that is well and truly secondary. *GASP* the gauge… how can that be secondary?? Gauge is what ensures your pattern resulting in the model that you see. Don’t you know, every pattern tells you so. I’ll tell you how (says the not-so-brown cow). Because oh good god. I don’t speak English (admittedly this comes as no surprise to my coworkers or anyone who has read my writing, but it does shake me a bit. I am delusional, and a lost case). I mean what the fuck is a welt… I always thought it was the point where your bruise becomes a big fluid bump on you… and I don’t want one of those on my knitting thankyouverymuch. Worse, I cannot read. Nope those letter combinations make utterly NO sense to me, what.so.ever. People I am going to need to relocate to a gite on a vineyard to get me through all these “readings” so that I can attempt to make this top (god help me should I approach the lovely top Sharyln just finished- which ironically is the pattern that finally pushed me over the GET IT NOW edge from my permanent residence in Procrasstination Village). It takes me 4 reads and playing with numbers to understand that edge st. is a pattern-included selvedge… Note, I have never said I was quick on the uptake. Then I am left to make all sorts of guesses, like whether the gauge swatch should be in StSt. Cause they make no other reference. And this pattern has a flower on it cause it is for beginners... Yo Rebecca- thanks for the confidence boost! Things are looking so good I decide me and my newly opened wine bottle, we are going to read the introduction page. I mean this magazine is nice like that, it isn’t just an insert of the patterns in English the whole deal is in English. No articles but an intro page will do when you are drinking straight from the bottle due to a pattern. After reading for a few seconds I note that they make a comment that this issue is a typically Rebecca issue with precise instructions. This is where you can insert me laughing HYSTERICALLY… dude you people leave so much to assumption that if I didn’t know better I would be sure the Pope told you himself to start knitting up the Jesuses and set up a knitting booth at St. Pietro’s Piazza for Assumption next month. That or you are mooning the Pope (cause you know to assume makes an ass out of you and me; and ass who gets Assumption as a holiday, but ass nonetheless) In the end I said fuck it, and decided I would blog about it. I figure I have learned (besides that being illiterate and linguistically challenged) that I REALLY REALLY like Rowan patterns and the way they are written. I can read them. They have their faults (Bueller where are the schematics? Are they that painful to create?? I’ll help you), but I never feel illiterate. Two, I only know how to read certain kinds of patterns with ease. There are 101 ways to write them and I am not always successful in understanding them. And like Phildar, even though this magazine is in English. And three, I have a feeling that a learning curve is dead ahead of me. Bring on the vino! Now I am off to plan the rest of this weekend that could kill me, that could be one great big flat on my ass failure (in terms of getting errands done), and that totally should kill me for next week. Thank god everyone will be leaving town soon.

Monday, July 11, 2005

The Deafening…

I know for all this silence you are just overwhelmed… yeah so I am old(er) and I can do the sarcasm more now. Anyways… I am in recovery mode. I am totally drained out (serious 7 people over the past 3 weeks. I love every last one of you to the itty bitty marrow of my bones, but I slept 30 hours these past three “nights” to catch up) So for now you get the run down, not much but here it is. One day I will be a good blogger again, but not today (links tomorrow). I love my favorite scruffy Italian, he makes my day. He brings me wine and speaks to me in the Italian as we walk through the festival of lights, and he feels it is safe enough to bring me to an all Italian friends evening. That, that is something! (Don’t you think languages sound better when they become the Language… ok it’s just me). He will bring me more wine when he moves back to Paris this Fall… how I love thee my favorite scruffy Italian let me count the ways :) Then I had my English (not British thank you very much, this is not a visa application) friend in town. That was fun cause I played tour guide. I like doing that, showing people “my” Paris and making shit up when I don’t know the answers. I dragged the boy to the Soldes, got me some odd balls of yarn cause in all sincerity the Bone Marché Soldes are CRAP (but I did get cool plates and the grocery store is Mecca. I got digestives- which I love and CRANBERRY JUICE for less than 4€ a liter- HEAVEN, I am in HEAVEN). My score, I got some Alpaca Silk to test out for Frieda this Fall and Calmer in the LOVELY colour Amour. If I ever meet the person at Rowan who thought that it was a smart idea to discontinue that colour (you know the one that Audrey was photo’d in…) I will harm them. I lurve that color. If you know where I can find it and tell me in secret you too will become my next new love Anyways next up… in which Tink has a birthday and she is totally stoked cause all you people came by and said happy birthday. Tink goes totally AWOL and uninteresting and you… you all still say happy birthday. You ROCK. After that and the very pretty flowers Tink had a super secret meeting, where in she darted the rain and stayed in a yarn store WAY toooooo long. I met up with the one and only adorable and ever so lovely Polly. And we met at the Anny Blatt+ store in the Marais. The sales there- them be a much better idea than the Bon Marché! Still NOT SHOWING Kate joined us and we avoided the rain that was BUCKETING on us staying in the store till it closed. So *erm* yes I bought yarn (I have subsequently bought patterns too). I bought some Kid Mohair yarn (for the Rebecca Wrap Cardi- but I am also now thinking of it for other projects) and some Kidsilk like yarn for a rectangular Birch, which loosens up the Kidsilk I have for Paisely). And this was where I found out that Kate, her is leaving me… I don’t know if I will forgive Canada for this one (as happy as I am for her). After Yakinikudon (where in I astound Polly with the amount of a salt lick I am. I have four words for you- Bring On the Soy Sauce (OK its five but I am not counting the ok…)) we walked past some of the filming for the Da Vinci Code and sent a tired and adorable Kate home. Then we wandered and walked our way up to my quartier which it turns out was Polly’s too!!! And this is where her description of our evening goes to hell in a hand basket. I was a gab fest on her and she just listened talked and totally put up with me (which I think qualifies her for beatification through the new Catholic Church procedures). Astounds that Polly does, adore her I do (do I sound like Yoda today to anyone else besides myself???). But as much as she would like to make it sound like it was all just civilised and gracious (seriously I am the least of anything on this planet to a southern belle!), I put that girl to work. It started out with a pretense of me being interested and watching her seam up my Martha sleeves so that I could learn and the same for an abandoned FO called DayDream (baby sweater for a baby it will NOT fit any more good thing all you other breeders are reproducing for me in waves). It finished with her handing me Martha seamed up perfectly and the same for DayDream. Welcome to Tink’s Workshop factory :) For a Kir you too can work at my finishing party on the Place Contrescarpe till past your bedtime. After Polly headed back to London, my favorite skinny Italian showed up. Oh and how I love my favorite skinny Italian. Him he won my heart- he brought me truffle oil. Oh that boy he KNOWS how to push and tease this girls buttons. I hadn’t seen him in a while and suffice to say there was so much catching up and going out that over the 5 nights he was in town I didn’t go to bed before 3am once. I love that boy though and we… we did not do much strenuous stuff but walk (where in Tink gets a sunburn- you too can look at your décolletage and say SHIT I am a LOBSTER) watched a movie (Tink LOVES Les Poupees Russe!!!) went to Beauborg (ahhh yes my favorite skinny Italian is a PhD student in film and cinematography and he can explain the modern art to me in Italian (when we want NO ONE to think we can be like those Abercrummie and Bitch kids that really are so FUCKING LOUD AND STUPID that even my mangled Italian sounds better than THAT). We also go out for drinks and then eat at my all time favorite restaurant in town. Oh Chez Omar how I love your sauce au poivre. But it couldn’t end there… no our weak to peer pressure girl comes to the rescue. See the last week was work week from Hades. We had major meetings for 2 days and so each of those nights we went out afterwards as we did for the usual TGIF deal our division does on Fridays. Did I mention that one I didn’t get home any of those nights before 1:30am and 2. Dear god when will I learn my lesson… restroom before leaving ANY restaurant. Your bladder and the people watching you dance on the métro will thank you. Anyways so now you have a slight idea about why I slept 30 hours and did NOTHING (especially of the list I have of things I need to do like ummm laundry and groceries). I managed though to keep slightly too my promise to Polly. She wants to see Martha finished, and so do I… But JEBUS picking up all those stitches with tiny pointy needles it makes the Tink fingers *CRY*. So what does any (ir)rational knitter do when she has two projects lovely and almost finished?? She starts a new one. I first swatched some of my yarns, and then I thought good and hard about some of them. And then I wished that those two Rebecca Magazines I cracked and got were HERE… NOW. Cause I wanted to start something else but instead I broke out the Calmer and since I could only find one measly ball of Amour (which really I am in amour with Amour) I started it into the Shedir hat. I got through all the ribbing and two of the initial cable pattern repeats after casting on yesterday. Yup so now you are all up to date and once I can get my battery charger for the camera to work I can show you pictures of the elf at work and of the Shedir (I am damn proud of those cables) and the Martha cause I have a photo where in all she needs is a neck band (and me I need that sheet of the pattern and steel finger protectors). Bises!!