Thursday, April 10, 2008

Give Me Strength...

I am trying, with great difficulty these days, to focus on my current knitting projects, and not start anything new. I have way too many irons in the fire as it is. Ravelry is a blessing and a curse. A blessing, because it is keeping my unfinished projects in the limelight – there can be no avoiding them when I look at my page. That’s good, because it’s making me focus on finishing a few less-than-interesting projects which I’m sure I would have squirreled away and forgotten about.

One such project is the Shapely Tank. I’m not so enamored of the yarn, now that I’m knitting with it. It’s Sedona, a mercerized cotton from Webs, and while I’m sure I’ll love it for weaving, it doesn’t feel so nice for hand knitting. It feels heavy, and even kind of rough. Also, the pattern, even though it incorporates short rows, and shaping, is still plain old stockinette, and knit flat to boot, which is becoming a snooze. So I’m trying to finish this one as quickly as I can, and move on to something more interesting. The curse of Ravelry, of course, is seeing all the other projects that folks are working on, and getting over-inspired, which makes me want to cast on for at least three or four new projects every day. I really want to do more color work. And cables. And make sweaters for me, instead of just socks, and hats, and such. The last sweater I made for myself is now too big, so I was only able to wear it around the house this winter. It also pilled rather badly, which surprised me, considering it was a fairly nice wool from a Wisconsin supplier.

I did unearth a sweater project that I started during the Salt Lake City Olympics, circa 2002. I always wanted to make a Dale of Norway sweater, but a few attempts made me realize that I didn’t want to follow their patterns with more than two colors in a row, or make the boxy, drop shoulder shaping. So I was making up my own version of an Olympic Sweater. The color pattern is based on a sweater from the Winter 97/98 issue of Vogue Knitting. I’m changing the shaping though among other things, like side seams that disguised any jogging, slip-stitch selvedge, and more. I was really enjoying the knitting, but for some reason I shoved the project into an upstairs closet, and completely forgot about it. When I pulled it out last week, I was surprised to see how far I’d gotten, and wondered what I was going to do next. The yarn felt lovely, and inviting. It is also from Webs, a wool yarn called Greenwich, from the Spinrite Mills. I put the tote with the sweater project back in the living room, and as soon as I finish the Shapely Tank, I’m going to pull it out and see if I can remember what the plan was. Or make a new plan, because it’s not that far along.

One lesson that I may have finally learned is to think carefully before starting a new project, about the reasons for doing it in the first place. Maybe that will help me have the right balance of mindless projects vs. challenging projects, take-along projects vs. less-portable projects, and above all, projects with a purpose, instead of “just cuz”. It’s certainly a good goal to work toward.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

My New Toy

Isn't it cute? Finally, an MP3 player I can handle! I tried an I-pod shuffle a few years ago, but I couldn't get it to work. I didn't want to fiddle with I-tunes, and all that business. All I wanted was to be able to copy the mp3 music and podcast files I already had on my computer to a player.

Also, since I've been suffering from tinnitus for the past year, I really didn't like the idea of earbuds or any other kind of headphones. And all the speaker accessories that come with MP3 players seem awkard and bulky and not very portable.

But here it is, a little Sansa, about the size of a salt shaker, with a speaker in the top. Perfect. For ages 8 and up, which seems to be just about my speed. I was able to copy a hunk of Knitpicks podcasts within 2 minutes of opening the package, and yesterday I added some music from Jonathan Coulton. Works great. The only tiny drawback is that I can't fast forward in the same mp3 file, so if I turn off a podcast in the middle, I have to start from the beginning again. Not a big deal, though, really.

The price was pretty reasonable too. I purchased it from Best Buy, because I had some Reward Zone vouchers to use up. I had to order it on-line, because they didn't carry it in the local store. Cost with shipping, before the discount was less than $50. It comes in other colors, but I thought the pink was sweet.

So now I can listen to podcasts in bed without having to lug the laptop in the bed with me. Or take it downstairs while I'm on the treadmill. Hooray!