Tuesday, August 18, 2009


After that bout of Knitting Ennui this summer I am surprised to find that I am suddenly stricken with Castonitis. As you know, this is a disease of knitting that can be extremely dangerous. Before you know it you can find yourself with 12 projects and no needles left, which can lead to panic attacks and feelings of despair when you think about how long it's going to take to finish everything.

Right now I'm still in the honeymoon stage of Castonitis, when you think all new projects and yarn are charming and say to yourself, "I can totally finish that before September!" In the last three weeks I have Cast On:

  • An Ann Norling Sweater that's going to be the model for the beginning sweater class that I'm teaching. It's been blocking for two days and is finally dry.
  • Ysolda's Ishbel - a delightfully charming shawl that is knitting up very quickly and begs me to work on it.
  • Some PerpenSOCKcular socks, which I ripped out after a few rows, not because I was frustrated, but for some unfathomable reason.
I have bought yarn for:

  • The PerpenSOCKculars, that yarn is wound back up and sitting on the coffee table telling me how pretty it is and how I should knit it RIGHT NOW.
  • A new earflap hat
  • A matching pair of mittens
  • A shaving kit bag (these are great, I'm going to write up a pattern for you!)
  • I also have 25$ in my Paypal account and am going to buy more sock yarn. I'm tempted to get Beached or ST-1 or ST-2 Socks that Rock, but a friend of mine also recommends Hazel Knits sock yarn. Or I could get some more Old Maiden Aunt.
I was already working on:

  • The Madison Heartwarmer (I saw working on, but really I haven't touched this since May.)
  • The Dragon Socks
  • Socks for my brother
  • The Cabbage Leaf Baby Blanket
I absolutely need to knit a Lizard Ridge sample so people know what the class is about, and I need to knit it as soon as possible. And it's been suggested at the shop that I knit a model of my Indian Corn Scarf out of RYC Wool Tweed for a fun rustic look.

See what I mean? Castonitis. I'm also starting to get twitchy about Christmas knitting, but I am trying to firmly make up my mind that there will be no Christmas knitting. The problem is that I know so many delightfully knitworthy people. But I don't have time to knit something for everyone.

The best cure for Castonitis I find, is the pleasure of finishing something, so with that in mind I really powered through to finish the Ann Norling Sweater. It's a great pattern with lots of options and I'm really going to enjoy teaching it. Please excuse the messy pictures, it's after dark here.

Tomorrow I start Lizard Ridge! Last time I got so I could do a square in a day, so let's hope for the same speed this time!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

It Never Rains But It Pours

It's been a pretty rotten summer. Jorah's been out of town since May and I've just had one health problem after another. I did have some pretty sweet vacations, but there have been issues at work because I missed so much time, and then I had to miss more time because I've been so sick. Things are starting to pull themselves back together, but I've been marveling a little at just how much can go wrong.

Things are starting to look up now though, and now that one good thing has happened (I got a promotion!) more good things are starting to follow. For one thing, look what came in the mail today:

And look what the first pattern is:

That's me! I'm Jennette Cross! That's my scarf! I'm in Knitcircus! Another short happy sentence!

And why haven't I been showing the blog knitting content? Because I've been speed-knitting the sweater for the Beginning Knitting: The Sweater class at Lakeside this fall. Yes, the fall class schedule came out and I am all over it! I'm probably going to get a few Scarf classes, which I do like to teach, but I'm glad to be mixing it up a little. Honestly, the sweater is almost finished, so I'm not going to bother photographing its pieces. The front and back are complete and I've just got about 5 inches or so left to do on the sleeves. I'll photo it after it's blocked.

Aside from the Sweater class I've got a class called Lizard Ridge, based on a beautiful afghan that was in the Fall 2006 Knitty. (Don't worry Knitty, participants have to go to knitty.com to download directions! Not like Knitty reads this blog!) Lizard Ridge is all about short rows and knitting backwards. Here's the one I knitted a few years ago for a friend's wedding:

And then in November, I'm teaching a class called Leaving Patterns Behind. It's going to be all about my way of approaching patterns, and how to alter them for size and yarn choice. The last part is going to be about writing patterns yourself. So folks, if you like the Bleeding Heart Raglan or the Henly Hoodie, come to Leaving Patterns Behind.

So you see, it never rains but it pours. Much of this summer has been about the bad, but now things are starting to look up, and oddly, just as bad things were happening one after the other, now good things are too. Example: Jorah returns on Saturday night!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Vacation Post #3

The next morning we continued our tour of beautiful Western Ireland with the Dingle Peninsula.

This was my dad's favorite part of the Ireland tour, and it was completely stunning, but for some reason, I didn't get many photos. The problem, you see, is that I keep having to dig my camera (which is a bulky Nikon D50) in and out of my purse. I can't wear it around my neck like a self-respecting tourist, because three times the strap has given up and expensive digital camera has bounced on the pavement. So now I don't have a strap. I know they have some nice ones on Etsy, and I'd like to try one of those (hint: Christmas).

We took quite a large ferry across the River Shannon (it was extremely windy, cold, and fun) and then went to the Cliffs of Moher. That was just absolutely breathtaking. They are 700 feet tall and you can just see the first of the Aran Islands in the distance.

The view to the south:

To the north you see another Martello Tower:

Looking straight out to sea with the Aran Islands in the distance:

Here are some people enjoying their vacation & the wind:

A look a the waves crashing at the base of the cliffs - even though we were 700 feet up the wind brought us a little bit of surf sometimes:

The blue people, or, as they are better known, my beloved parents and sister:

After the Cliffs of Moher, we went to Doolin to set up camp (we spent two nights in Doolin at a ridiculous hotel). The first night was the birthdy of my much esteemed brother:

and so he had the honor of picking dinner. We went to a great pub, which we liked so much we went back the next night as well. Somehow this picture of my sister is the only one I took that night:

Doolin is supposed to be the capital of Irish music, and indeed, the first night we were there a great musician came in and played all manner of songs. We were just leaving when my family's favorite came up, "The Wild Rover" and so we stayed, and out sang and stomped the Irish. I know it's anglo-phile (or irisho-phile) of us, but it really is our song. My uncle and cousins learned it and sang it at mine and Jorah's wedding reception, there were words and signs and everything, and since then, we've adopted it.

I think that's enough with photos for now. Join us for Vacation Post #4, when I detail a much less fun ferry ride and find my first yarn of the trip!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

August New Year

It's August, which means . . . it's the new year! Yay! Hooray! Ticker Tape and Streamers!

Alright, now that that's over -

Seriously though, I do think of August as the new year because that is when I get a new planner. I'm very attached to my planners - in high school I made a dorked out custom binder called The Agenda of Champions - and take those little calendars very seriously. This has a bit of a different flavor this year though, because this year is likely to be our last year in Madison.

Yes, sadly (happily?) Jorah is supposed to graduate in the spring, and then we will officially be done with school. And Madison, at least for the present. It's a hard fact to face - I'm turning 26 this year, and I've lived here since I was 19. When we leave, I'll have lived here for 7 years - about a quarter of my life. We've been very happy here - and never happier than this last year in our own house on the Near East side.

In true New Years style, I've decided to come up with some Last Year's Goals - some of them are habits I want to get into, and some of them are one time kind of things I want to accomplish. I got this idea from a favorite blog of mine, my topography*. Because I'm going to be 26, I picked 26 Things to Do in the Last Year. I'm going to list them in the side bar to help remind myself.

Here they are:

1. tell people when they piss me off rather than get all angsty and hurt
2. ice skate at Tenney Park
3. submit patterns for publication
4. finish the Madison Heartwarmer using the weaving technique
5. go to the Farmer's Market whenever possible
6. get a tattoo
7. make steps to get this sleep thing sorted out
8. get back in the habit of going to the gym
9. put at least 1 pattern a month up on Ravelry
10. join/start a knitting group
11. try to get into Camp
12. get some healthy strategies for letting work go
13. update the blog frequently (at least 10 times a month) and use photos
14. go through the stash and list unloved yarn as trade on Ravelry
15. go through the house and take things to Goodwill every 3 months
16. put all music on the computer and then onto SB's old ipod
17. read NEW books, not just the same old favorites
18. no knitting patterns by other people until after dinner
19. walk the Lakeshore Path out to Picnic Point
20. go to Thursday music at the Terrace
21. go out on Lake Mendota on some form of boat
22. celebrate Jorah's graduation in style
23. visit The Fold
24. go to a Badger football game
25. don't let being nice mean I'm not tough with people who deserve it
26. call people I want to hang out with and ask to see them

Another thing I want to do at the end of this year is throw myself a graduation party. I may not have been in school, but working at Lakeside has taught me so much, and I'm wanting a little recognition too. I keep joking with Jorah that when he gets his Phd, I'm going to get my Masters in Popular Knitting from the Lakeside School of Retail. I say it jokingly, but I have considered fonts for the certificate I plan on making myself.

*(My Topography is great, by the way. She's a writer, artist, photographer, and 2nd grade teacher, and her kid is the most gorgeous kid on the internet.)