Check out the book I'm writing!

Monday, August 31, 2009

One of those Posts

10 things, in no particular order:
Pictures forth-coming

1. Last night I spilled wine on my computer (a Cabernet Sauvignon, for those who wondering, since about three people today have thought that would be a funny question).

2. My computer will be okay. All the important stuff, like memory, survived. The keyboard and trackpad, however, did not.

3. Yes, the current state of my computer is why this post has no pictures (good deduction!)

4. Speaking deduction, a Sherlock Holmes movie is coming out, which I think is pretty cool, but I am worried they won't be true to the books.

5. Today, I went through a drive-thru teller at bank. I don’t care how old you are, those vacuum tube thingys are really cool. Which made me wonder, have any of you ever accidently drove off with the container you put your check in?

6. Yes, “thingy” is a technical word. Why do you ask?

7. A philosophical thought: I spent last night un-spinning some yarn I had spun. It was too lumpy to use, so I wanted un-spin it and then re-spin into nice, fine yarn (I’m using alpaca fibre). And them I thought, “It’s funny how much life knitting and spinning can be, but there are some things you can do with yarn that you can’t do with life”.

8. Today, after thinking about it all summer, I finally bought myself two pets. Two rats, to be precise. I’ve had rats before, and they make excellent pets. Smart, playful, and friendly. I’ve been bitten by a lot of rodents, but never a rat.

9. After much debate, my rats, unlike all my past ones (Hermes, Apollo, Echo, and at one point the whole Pantheon (Hermes had a litter)), are not being named after Greek gods. They are both hooded rats, one grey, and one light brown, so I was going to named them Athena and Artemis (if you don’t know why I would name a grey rat Athena, go read Homer). Instead, they are being named…

10. …Knit and Purl (surely some of you saw that coming?)

So, that’s it for my Monday post! Tune in next week for more exciting episodes of the Emma’s Life!

(Or later this week to see the pictures. Hopefully, I’ll be getting my computer fixed tomorrow.)

P.S. This my 100th post. I feel like that deserves some kind of recognition.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

An Inkling of Philosophy

I’ve sometimes wondered what it was that drew me into Philosophy. If people ask, I tell them, truthfully, that I came to Philosophy via the Classics. But even as I give that answer, I know it’s not the full the truth. There was something in Philosophy that called to me the first time I read Plato’s Republic, and it has continued to call to me even when I read philosophers I disagree with. But what was it within me that was responding to this call?

A large part of it, I know, is my faith. Some people might find that strange, but the more I study Philosophy, and the more my faith is challenged, the stronger it has become. But there is a sense of direction, a hint of a pattern, in my philosophical interests that point to something else. I can see it in my younger writings. The little poems scribbled out in my fifth grade handwriting, the longer poems I wrote in Middle School (once I learned poems didn’t have to rhyme), and the short stories and un-finished “novels” I made attempts at in High School. All were written before I even knew what Philosophy as a discipline was, yet looking back, many of my writing follow a clear line in philosophical thought.

As early as fifth grade, I was asking the question “what is real?”. In Middle School, I devoted many lines of poetry to that question. I wondered what was more real- the world I interacted with everyday, or something beyond it. I didn’t feel at home in this so-called “real” world- was their a greater reality I couldn’t reach? I pushed the question further in High School, as I asked if the door in the hallway was of equal reality to the thoughts in my head. In retrospect, it’s little wonder reading Plato was like waking up for me.

But the reason I felt inspired to write this blog post is that I think I might have found the book(s) that first woke up these philosophical musings in me. Looking for a fun, easy read this week. I picked up a favourite childhood book, A Wind in the Door, companion to a Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle. And as I read it, I suddenly began to see the beginnings of the questions that I had posed in my poetry. “What is real?”, the Teacher in the book repeatedly asks his pupils.

In her introduction to A Wind in the Door, L’Engle wrote “In the Time novels, Meg and Polly ask some big questions. Many of us ask these questions as we’re growing up, but we tend to let them go because there’s so much else to do […] In each book the characters are living into the questions we all have to live into. Some of these questions don’t have finite answers, but the questions themselves are important. Don’t stop asking, and don’t let anybody tell you the questions aren’t worth it. They are.”

L’Engle passed away in 2007, but her books still challenge their readers to ask questions. They certainly did for me. 

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A Justifiably Late Post

A Difference in Intent

Those of you who know me, or have been reading my blog for a while, know that I have been blessed to be able to travel a lot. I’ve been to Europe more than most people have left their home state. But I’ve recently become struck by the ways one can travel. I don’t mean by different means of transportation, but rather that the reason you are travelling can change the whole feel of the trip.

Perhaps the first time I had a sense of this was when I in Oxford. When I went to Oxford, I was going to place. But when I left, I realized I was leaving behind people.

I’ve travelled twice this summer, once to see a place, and once to see a person, and the difference between the two trips is marked in my mind.

The place my family and I went to was Colorado, and while we saw some friends there, the intent behind the trip was not to see them, but simply to be in Colorado. We hiked the mountains,

visited the towns near where we were staying,

and I raided a few yarns stores.

The whole trip was about actively seeing and doing. I can now tell you quite a bit about the area we were in. Where to hike, what the weather is like, where to buy grocers, and of course where the LYS (Local Yarn Store) is. Which is very different from my trip this past weekend.

Last night I arrived home from a trip to Texas. I can’t verify if everything is bigger there because, in truth, I never even took the time to notice I was in Texas. Oh, I could probably get you to a grocery store, but I couldn’t tell you if it’s any different from the ones I’m used because I wasn’t paying attention. It was hot there, but its summer, so it’s hot everywhere right now. There is nothing I noticed in Texas that made it uniquely Texas because I wasn’t concerned with that. You see, I wasn’t visiting a place, I was visiting a person.

My boyfriend, John, is now in Texas for grad school, and I went to Texas to visit him. Yes, we took a run around his college campus, and visited his city’s downtown area, and while both were very nice, I didn’t spend my time investigating them, or trying to see what made them unique. My trip was about the person, not the place.

Perhaps next time I go to Texas, I’ll spend more time getting to know the place, but I focused on what was important on my visit, and am glad I did.

P.S. Sign of a good boyfriend? He let me take a picture of him holding my sock.

P.P.S. My luggage made it safely to my house today.

Resolution (kinda) Broken

So, it's 12:46 am, which means it's technically Tuesday, which means I missed my promised Monday post. I did, however, have every intention of posting today, despite the fact that I was traveling, until the airport lost my suitcase, and I consequently didn't get home until it was past my deadline. So, to make up for it, there will be an actual post tomorrow/later today.

Monday, August 17, 2009

A New Blog for a New Week

And a New Resolution

Hello, to all my remaining readers (surely there's some of you left?) You might have noticed that I've redone my blog a bit. It's a new blog for a new resolution. I've been a bad blogger ever since I've gotten back from England, not through lack of material, but lack of discipline. So, that's about to change. From now on, Monday, August 17th, I resolve to have a new post every Monday. There. It's been declared, and now I have to stick with it.

A quick tour of my new blog design: The picture on top is of Lily Pad Lake in Colorado (bet you didn't know I went to Colorado, since I was to lazy to blog about it). On the left, I have some new, and old, features. In order:

About Me: It's about me. That's about it.
Blog Archive: Old blog posts. Pretty self-explanatory
Links: Some of the blogs I follow (I will be updating this soon)
Ravelry: The best way to describe this is Facebook for knitters (okay, and crocheters). If you are a member, click to see my profile. If not, click to sign up. It's pretty cool (and I've published a design there :) )
Patterns: Links to a PDF download of my patterns (I know, there's only one. I'm working on that)
WIP's: For you knitting muggles, a WIP is a Work in Progress. Track my progress on the projects I'm knitting, and laugh as I get in over my head.
Followers: People who think my blog is so cool they want to get notify when I update it. (Note there's only 3)
Subscribe: If you think my blog is so cool you want to get notify when I update it, click here.

Well, that's my Monday Post. Look for one next Monday (I promise it will actually be interesting), or maybe even sooner (I know, yeah right).

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Point of Origin Shawl

My first kind-of attempt at designing.

This is my geeky ode to Stargate SG1.The finished shawl has a chevron pattern going across [chevrons are the shapes around the outside of the Stargate], and will be a triangle with a circle at its point, the point of origin symbol for Earth on Stargate. It’s also my first attempt at pseudo-designing something besides a scarf or washcloth. With this colourway and yarn, it’s fun and funky looking, but with a solid fingering weight yarn I imagine it would look quite elegant. Since this is my first time writing out a pattern, I apologize in advance for anything confusing. If you find something wrong, let me know, and I’ll fix it. Please Note, if you used this pattern before May 2011, you may have found several errors. A fellow Ravelry member (to whom I am eternally indebted) test-knitted for me and helped me make corrections. Hopefully, all is now well. 

Needles: US 11/8.0mm

Yarn: Blue Moon Fiber Arts Luscious Silk in Sockgate- 1skein and a bit

Gauge: Not Applicable. Knit until it’s big enough (or you run out of yarn)

Basic Pattern: Triple Chevron Mid-Reverse, modified from:

Row 1 and all odd rows: Purl across

2: K1, [yo, ssk] twice, yo, sl 2 as if to knit, k1, p2sso, yo, [k2tog, yo] twice,

4: K2, [yo, ssk] twice, k1, [k2tog, yo] twice, k1

6: K1, [yo, ssk] twice, k3, [k2tog, yo] twice

8: K2, yo, ssk, k5, k2tog, yo, k1

10: K1, yo, ssk, k7, k2tog, yo

12: K5, yo, sl 2 as if to knit, k1, p2sso, yo, k4

14: K4, yo, ssk, k1, k2tog, yo, k3

16: K3, yo, ssk, yo, sl 2 as if to knit, k1, p2sso, yo, k2tog, yo, k2

18: K2, [yo, ssk] twice, k1, [k2tog, yo] twice, k1

Instructions: Shawl

Note: Pattern is worked in sets of 12 stitches. Every time you reach a set of 12, place a marker at both ends of the set. Increase two every odd row. Knit the first and last stitch of all even rows- it’s not part of the stitch pattern. The first 12 rows set up the rest of the shawl. At row 14 you begin to set up for a new pattern section.

M1=Make one increase
SSK=slip two stitches knit-wise, then knit together in back of loop
K2tog= Knit two stitches together
YO=Yarn Over
P2sso= Pass two slipped stitches over a knit stitch
sl 2 as if to knit= Slip two stitches knit-wise
pm=Place Marker
^ = stitch marker/shows set divisions-slip the marker each time you come to it. (non-standard symbol- aka, I made it up, because I think it will be helpful)

1: CO 1
2: K1 in front and back of stitch = 2 stitches
3: P1 in front and back of both stitches = 4 stitches
4: K4
5: And all other odd rows: P1, m1, purl to last stitch, m1, p1
6: K6
8: K8
10: K10
12: K5, yo, sl 2 as if to knit, k1, p2sso, yo, k4
Note: At the end of row 13 you should have 14 sts on your needle.
14: K1, pm, k4, yo, ssk, k1, k2tog, yo, k3 (mark set), pm, k1
Note: Slip markers where indicated by a ^.
16: K2, ^k3, yo, ssk, yo, (sl 2 as if to knit, k1, p2sso), yo, k2tog, yo, k2^, k2
18: K3, ^k2 [yo,ssk]twice, k1, [k2tog,yo]twice, k1^, k3
20: K2, K2tog, yo, ^k1, [yo, ssk]twice, yo, (sl 2 as if to knit, k1, p2sso), yo, [k2tog, yo]twice^, k1, yo, ssk,  k1.
22: K2, k2tog, yo, k1, ^k2, [yo, ssk]twice, k1, [k2tog, yo]twice, k1^, k2, yo, ssk, k1
24: K2, [k2tog, yo]twice, ^k1, [yo, ssk]twice, k3, [k2tog, yo]twice^, k1, [yo, ssk]twice, k1
26: K4, k2tog, yo, k1, ^k2, yo, ssk, k5, k2tog, yo, k1^, k2, yo, ssk, k3
28: K6, k2tog, yo, ^k1, yo, ssk, k7, k2tog, yo^, k1, yo, ssk, k5
30: K2, yo, (sl 2 as if to knit, k1, p2sso), yo, k4, ^k5, yo, (sl 2 as if to knit, k1, p2sso), yo, k4^, k5, yo, (sl 2 as if to knit, k1, p2sso),yo,k1
32: K2, yo, ssk, k1, k2tog, yo, k3, ^k4, yo, ssk, k1, k2tog, yo, k3^, k4, yo, ssk, k1, k2tog, yo, k1
34: K2, yo, ssk, yo, (sl 2 as if to knit, k1, p2sso), yo, k2tog, yo, k2, ^k3, yo, ssk, yo, (sl 2 as if to knit, k1, p2sso), yo, k2tog, yo, k2^, k3, yo, ssk, yo, (sl 2 as if to knit, k1, p2sso), yo, k2tog, yo, k1

36: [k2, [yo,ssk]twice, k1, [k2tog,yo]twice, k1] 3 times

Complete row 37.  38 stitches on your needle. 

Repeat rows 14 thru 37 until desired length…

Continue in like. Using the basic pattern, count back the number of stitches at the start of the row before each set and knit them in pattern. Then knit the last stitches in the row which don’t belong to a set in pattern.
Bind off loosely (you may want to use larger needles) using a lace bind off. To do a lace bind off, knit two stitches together in the back of the stitch, then slip the new stitch onto the left needle and repeat.
Instructions: Circle
Note: This is knit using short rows. I know most knitters have tricks to avoid the gaps that appear when using short rows (loops, slipped stitches, etc.), but don’t use them here. You want the gaps to be visible (in fact, I emphasized them on my shawl when blocking). The gaps give it a dropped-stitch look, and make the circle look more like the vortex of the Stargate (yeah, I know, I’m a geek).
CO 13
1: knit to last stitch, leave unknit, turn
2 and all even rows: Pearl
3: Knit to last two stitches, turn
5: Knit to last 3 stitches, turn
Continue in like, stopping one stitch before the one you stopped at the last time. When you’re down to one stitch, knit all the stitches. Pearl the next row, then start over from row one. This will make a series of wedges. You want to make 4 wedges (this could vary depending on your gauge- if so, you basically want to make a pie with a missing slice)
Bind off.

You might want to block the shawl and circle separately before joining. That will allow you to play with the shape of the circle more.

Lay out the shawl and circle so that the tip of the shawl fits in the missing slice of the circle. Connect using the seam of your choice.