Chartreuse Knits

Where a college student learns--and struggles with--the zen of knitting. It's the process, not the product, though the product is much more fun to wear!


At this time of year, with all the festivities, bright lights and colourful gifts, I sometimes like to sit back and reflect on wonderful events and sensations that might slip through your fingers if you aren't careful. Here's a list of things in my own life that I've stopped to appreciate. What have you thoroughly enjoyed recently?

1. Cold crisp pomegranates
2. Dancing like a lunatic to the rhythms of ABBA with my sister
3. Pinning my brother down and tickling him
4. Having a usually vile and cranky cat purring in my lap
5. Singing Christmas carols
6. Not eating microwaveable or take-out dinners, but mom's cooking
7. Reading for pleasure for hours on end
8. Smelling Wintertime and Christmastime in the air
9. Decorating the Christmas tree with my daddy
10. Family dinners, with all of us together

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

P.S. I'll post a knitting post later today, once I yoink my sister's camera for a little while.


Bookish Pleasures

I had forgotten just how wonderful drifting away into another world can be. This afternoon I re-read The Magician's Nephew by C.S. Lewis, book 1 in the Chronicles of Narnia. It was so lovely just to be sucked into a novel, a different world that's just real enough that you feel you possibly could become a part of it. It reminds you of all the joys and realities about life you've forgotten or neglected in the modern world, truths about humanity that are often blurred in the cinema or on television.

I don't know if any of you all felt this way, but when I was younger, I learned much about the ways of the world, interacting with people, romance and love from books I read. Granted, there were often mixed messages, and I might've learned more from "social interaction," but I was an introverted child, excessively affectionate, and often books proved more constant and reliable companions than the children of my neighborhood. Interestingly, the books that I've read and re-read to this day--the ones I remember, the ones that stick with me--are the ones that provide universal truths, truths that have shaped the person I am today.

It's sad that I've neglected pleasure reading for so long.

I think in some ways, books are more fantastical and out of touch with reality than television or movies, but yet they are often more in touch with the human experience, and can be far more influential. Granted, books have existed far longer than motion pictures, and often a great deal more time and effort is poured into a book, even a cheap paperback, than is poured into a television show. And precisely for that reason, books have a more resounding impact on the world. It's been said that a book can change your life. I hope someday to provide someone young and eager to learn with a book that can change theirs. If I can accomplish that, I will have fulfilled one of my greatest desires.

So I'm going to read The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe later this afternoon, with a cup of tea in hand, wrapped in a warm blanket on the couch, with the smells of Christmas engulfing me, once again getting swept away into Narnia and characters I once wanted to be, and hope one day to share with another young soul.

Let yourself get lost in a book. Make the time for it. You really will feel better. :)

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all!


Baby It's Cold Outside!

Or, my scarves have gotten lots of use this winter!

A long-promised knitting update. Since it's light outside, and I'm still procrastinating, here are project specs and pictures of my most recent Finished Objects!

First, both Vintage Velvet and Ravenclaw #3 (for me) are done. Vintage Velvet needs to go through the wash for the semi-felting Muench Touch Me goes through, and once she's in that finished state, I'll show before and after photos for comparison.

If you've seen my stash, you'll observe that I tend to gravitate towards green yarn. I don't know what it is, but most of the yarn I own is green, though most of my clothing is not green. I don't even have any really green scarves in my closet, except the ribbon and angora ascot from earlier this year. Yet these scarves betray a different attraction: blues. Vintage Velvet is a glorious midnight blue, and Ravenclaw is a harmonious contrast of cool tones. If you're familiar with Harry Potter, you know where the scarf's design is from, but if you're not an HP fan, it's a pretty scarf combining this season's colours.

My warm, cheap, and beautifully long Ravenclaw Scarf:

Project Specs:

Begun: Um, a week before Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire came out, so I'm guessing the 13th or 14th.
Finished: November 18th, late in the evening
Pattern: atypically.knit Hogwarts Scarf, but with 24 rows of each colour as opposed to 22
Yarn: Caron Simply Soft in Dark Country Blue and Grey Heather
Needles: US 7 - 12" circulars
Comments: By scarf number 5, this one was very tedious. Each bar took me about an hour to knit, and I was knitting like a madwoman on this one, since it came down to the wire. The yarn was very inexpensive acrylic, and it pills a little, but it's very very soft, which redeems it in my book. I bought several 6 and 7 oz skeins to do all the scarves, (since both the Slytherin scarves and Ravenclaw scarves shared the silver CC) and I ended up having perfect amounts of the silver 7 oz skeins, including for the fringe. The 6oz MC skeins were not nearly enough. I ended up using about 1.4 skeins for the master colour on some scarves, which left me with plenty of odd balls here and there to finish the fringe on the various scarves.

It's a simple and elegant scarf, which I like, and despite my aversion to the miles and miles of stockinette in the round, I might make a PoA one eventually. It's very very easy, and as testimony to their simplicity, I knit most of these scarves whilst watching TV or a movie. Now, to balance out the mind-numbing nature of this scarf, I'm addicted to complicated cables. Go figure.

I am (I am) I am Superman, and I know what's happening...

A good REM song to the unfamiliar. But seriously, I think I may be overestimating my abilities for today and over Christmas break. Let's start with today, shall we?

Today I must:

1. Get several hours of studying in for my final exam tomorrow morning
2. Go to a review session for said final exam
3. Pack up all my stuff since I leave for home tomorrow
4. Defrost my fridge (dorm policy)
5. Do my laundry (I need a dryer to felt Vintage Velvet, and the one at home is broken)
6. Watch American Dad and Family Guy new episodes

Today I have:

1. Listened to 2 podcasts and countless songs
2. Made a mess of my desk with all my papers
3. Decided I *must* cast on for Ene's Scarf from Scarf Style, or the Natalya Gauntlets... but I'm trying to hold off on actually doing it
4. Realized my roommate isn't going to come back to get rid of her food in the fridge
5. Thought about going to the Library
6. Realized when I go to the library, I will inevitably spend a few hours updating Linux on my laptop
7. Spent over an hour updating my blog template and writing this post.

And over Christmas, my ambitions are even more extensive, and even more self-gratifying:

I will knit.
I will read.
I will watch several seasons of TV I have become addicted to.
I will go to DisneyWorld.
I will bake many, many desserts.
I will drink tea.
I will sew.
I will go to the movies.
I will enjoy every minute of it.

If I were to go into specifics, I think I'd be overestimating my abilities. But then again, I always overestimate time and energy when I go home. It's all good.


I have a dancing penguin

Widgets are little desktop program thingies that do things, on your desktop. Some are useful, such as notepads, calendars, weather updaters, and rss feeds. Others are not, such as a widget of Stewie Griffin that blurts out quotes when you click on him. My favourite of these "useless" widgets is a little waddling penguin, known as TuxNTosh. (Blend of Mac and the linux mascot?) As a new linux user (freshly installed on my laptop 2 weeks ago), I've found myself strangely attracted to the penguin. And what's even better is when he waddles across my screen in time to Bach's 5th Brandenburg Concerto.

Unfortunately, I haven't discovered how to take a screenshot of my widgets. But for gratuitous cuteness purposes, here is little TuxNTosh, plus the link to the widget in question (Mac and windows users only, no yahoo widgets for linux yet). It might get annoying in a few mintues, but if you just keep him in the background, it's a burst of adorable waddling penguin to surprise you.

(Ain't He cute!?!)

Oh, and you need Konfabulator, or Yahoo's widget engine (one and the same).

One of these days, I'll expound on the wonders/virtues of open-source software. I am aware this is a knitting blog, but who can argue with free software that is supported by a dedicated community? And plus, it's useful free software! (I love the Photoshop alternative, Gimp, and the AIM alternative, Gaim.) Besides, I'm a computer dork at heart, a noob though I be.

And speaking of knitting... I haven't done much with finals and all, but I'm getting there. Vintage Velvet is in the bag, and Saxon Braid isn't far behind. I can't wait for Christmas break!


A law that applies to virtually everyone

The chances of your printer screwing up are directly proportional to the time between printing and when your paper is due.

For example, my final paper is due in 1/2 an hour. My chances of my printer screwing up are very high, and are higher and higher as the minutes dwindle between the current time and the time which my paper is due. Had I printed my paper this morning, I wouldn't have got a paper jam that induced the blue screen of death to my computer, and made my printer make noises that can only be comparable to the biblical wailing and gnashing of teeth (Matthew 8:12). I like the word gnash. It sounds so archaic and... well, biblical. Plus, it's fun to say.

Luckily, I got it to print without any more scary noises. Wish me luck, this paper will make or break my grade!


An Idea I have

I've decided to put together a website of Harry Potter Knitting patterns. All free, and many of them user-contributed.

HP Knitting Compendium

In theory, I'll get cracking on the site layout and looking into emailing people and working things out with the site as soon as finals are over in about a week or two. I have big dreams for this site, and I hope they reach fruition.

Maybe I can also get to designing over Christmas, too. (Since I've non-committed myself to Christmas presents this year).

If you're willing to help with the Compendium, email me at hpcompendium(at)gmail(dot)com, replacing what's in parenthesis with what it says. :)


A good day gone sour

Overall, today was a good day. I got a pretty good grade on a history exam, so if I do well on the final, I've got an A in the class. I got a really good grade on a response paper I had to write over Thanksgiving break, and I got very constructive and positive feedback on a major research paper for one of my other classes. To top it off, my dad took me out to dinner at a WONDERFUL place my dear friend Laura recommended. We also went to the yarn store and the book store. And I left empty-handed at neither one. *grin*

However, I had a falling out with a friend of mine on my birthday (long story, and one that makes my blood curdle). And looking today on facebook, it turns out he removed me as a friend. I was holding out hope (despite the advice of everyone I know who's heard the story) that he'd come around and we'd be friends again, but apparently, this is the blow that makes it well-nigh impossible to recuperate the friendship. Very sad. 3 years of friendship, fun, and a hope to sew a Star Trek costume for him has just been flushed down the potty. Much as it breaks my heart to be on such terms with a person I once considered my best friend, I am too angry and too hurt and too insulted by his actions to feel differently. Unless he apologizes profusely to me for his actions, which not only hurt my feelings, but signalled a very callous and insensitive attitude I had hoped never to know, I am no longer his friend.

But I think today's good events hopefully at least balance the painful ones.

Coming soon.... KNITTING!!!!!