Wednesday, January 30, 2008

the problem....

its me. amy was right. the trouble im having with the fancy silk socks is a reflection of my state of mind, which is 'frazzled' to say the least. its not that the pattern is particularly hard, but it requires concentration. i think that im concentrating, but then i look down and find ive somehow misplaced two stitches that round, and realise i wasnt concentrating at all. i am thinking. thinking too hard, too much. it hurts.

i am treading a very delicate political line in relation to the submission of the pensky file. given the history i have had with absent supervisors, i went ahead and wrote what i wanted to write. we had had a disagreement about that before, but i thought we were over it. the only way i could write was to focus on what i wanted to say, and how i wanted to say it. i worked really hard. very complex theoretical reading, plenty of archival research. i have had parts of it published, with very good reviews. i finally get it all done, and i hand it over (reluctantly) to two people who i really havent talked to in two years, and i meet up with them today to discover that their thinking has not changed since the last time we met.

i wont bore you with the details, suffice to say that the male academic ego is a fabulous thing. i had less than an hour with them today and i got no real helpful feedback and a whole lot of patronisation.

i am at my wits end. i am completely drained, emotionally, intellectually, financially. i can feel myself slipping back into that space of two years ago when we had our initial confrontation after which i couldnt bear to look at it. i would rather not finish than do about half the things they want me to do.

so i will do the things i know i need to do and then when thats done i will tell them that i can do no more. if they wont sign off on it, i have someone who will. i dont want it to come to that, but theres only so much a person can take.

in the meantime, i have restarted and refrogged the fancy silk sock and the lovely sugarmelon yarn has gone back in the stash basket while i return to something a little less complicated - the second jaywalker, and the second of trents contrast sock.

tonight i think i will have chocolate ice cream for dinner. full cream, thanks very much.

k xx

not so fancy now

are you? no. no you're not, fancy-pants-silk-socks.

not fancy at all.

i'll explain when i can think of something other than four letter words to use.

i have been summonsed to meet supervisors today. what fun.


Tuesday, January 29, 2008

surviving the long weekend....

thank god its tuesday. the weekend has been so packed with stuff, i need today to recover! it went something like this....

saturday was lovely. morning tea at donni's (very civilised), meeting donni and rosered for the first time (how great is it to finally put people to their blogs?!), catching up with bells and george. much knitting, project and yarn envy, and stash fondling ensued. followed by lunch at the patio...sorry, piato. (btw, whats with australia day? can someone explain nationalism to me in a way that doesnt make it sound like the euphemism for racism that it is?) good food, more knitting. some of us were seriously knitting:

some of us were seriously suffering from a bit of overindulging the night before!

note: never try and get from canberra to wollongong and back in a day with a hangover.

i got dragged away at 330 to go help with a flyball demo at the kiama show. it was stinking hot. i wasnt happy jan.

sunday we had to get up at duck fart and drive to sydney where we put the dogs into doggy day care at jo's and then proceeded up the F3 to knicumber for a bbq lunch with trents long-lost relatives. an uncle just died, so this was one of those 'we really should get together more' things. trents cousins who he hadnt seen for 30 years were there. it was really lovely actually. i didnt need to pull out my knitting once.

note: you know how once i blogged about the perils of knitting while driving? there is also the peril of knitting while driving AND your partner makes major announcements like 'i want to change my life'. i dropped a stitch and it unravelled down four or five rows. sigh.

anyway, we had to leave gosford by about 5 to get back to sydney in time to pick up the dogs and go out for dinner for daves birthday. here are jo, dave, amanda and scott:

and amanda and scott's lovely girls sidney and mackenzie:

i think i fell asleep into my tiramisu.

monday we didnt get much rest either because there was flyball training (we are in training for the national championships being held at the canberra royal show last weekend in february), so there is extra training every weekend. we all headed to scott and amanda's for a swim and a bbq afterwards. possum wouldnt get out of the pool and now looks as tired as i feel!

on the knitting front, i did manage to rescue the unravelling jaywalker and have finally finished the first in the pair:

i also figured out my problem with the cuff on the fancy silk sock pattern. of course it is simply that i am an idiot and cant read a pattern properly. the stitch that needed to be slipped was not yarn over, but was a proper knit stitch because it was the last stitch of the knit round, not the lace round. der. this photo doesnt do it justice:

but it is actually looking like its supposed to.

meanwhile, i got some good feedback about the pensky file on friday from someone who is not even my supervisor and who read about half of it in two days while the actual supervisors who've had it over a week have said nothing. the feedback was about bringing out the argument more clearly and some minor structural things, so i am carrying on with that today. i will be happy with it by the end of the week. i suspect the supervisors will not be, at which point the fun begins. but lets not think about that now.

surely there are socks somewhere that need knitting?

k xx

Friday, January 25, 2008

what jo made me do

arent friends wonderful? firstly they hassle you and hassle you about the weird spot you have on the side of your face until you end up spending a lot of money to have some lily-white doctor whos never seen a day of sunshine tell you that you have a BCC (dont click if youre squeamish) and that it has to be removed. by a plastic surgeon no less. dont panic, its not a big one, its in a 'good' spot (ie, not attached to anything other than cheek tissue) and it wont 'melanoma-ise'. it is from the sun, nothing else, and i now need to smear myself with zinc for the rest of my natural life. i have otherwise olive skin and a few other normal looking moles so am not a risk for the big M but still its not nice to know i have become yet another statistic of the australian life style.

secondly, as a bribe, friends like jo take you out for lunch afterwards and this is what they make you eat:

for lunch. the waitress asked if i was waiting for anything else and i explained to her that all five food groups were represented, thanks. bad jo:

she also made me go to this yarn store:

i didnt want to you know, but it was right there so...and they had this wall of stuff called ranco or something....

which she made me buy some of:

not my usual colourway but if i make another pair of pink red or purple socks i think even i will go crazy. perfect for poms tho, dont you think?

i think i fell in love with this one but i left it alone:

while we were there there was a sale on this stuff:

$2.50 a ball thanks very much. perfect for winter rib boot socks for me and trent. matching. how cute.

i personally only agreed to go in there because i needed these:

everyone else has harmonys, i thought i should get some :)

just so you know how GOOD i was, this is what jo bought:

see honey? im a GOOD girl. not like jo. bad jo.

when i got home last night there was this waiting in the mail box:

thanks jejune, they're gorgeous!

arent i lucky to have such good friends?!


ps. you know how im nearly finished the pensky? well this little basement yarn store i know about are looking for casual/part time staff. do you think its a waste of a phd to go get a job in a yarn store? i dont.....

Thursday, January 24, 2008

multiple dones

for some reason i feel the need to document every part of this finishing-of-the-pensky process. perhaps because it has caused so much grief, and also perhaps because i dont quite believe its nearly over! if i see it on a blog perhaps its more real....

anyway, yesterday i whizzed through the disaster area that was chapter three and got it fixed up in record time. then i copied it into the wholedraftv6.document and then i got butterflies in my tummy.

i took all the old versions of chapters out of the file:

and stored them in my library bag:

there are earlier versions here i might need to refer to yet.

then i ran to officeworks to get more paper (yes another rainforest gone in the interests of academia) and printed the whole thing out:

it is 72000 words. 179 pages. a bit short but i havent double spaced it yet :)

i punched holes in all the chapters and refiled the whole thing, separating each chapter for ease of reading:

and then i started to read the whole thing through, which i have not done so far. i am putting little post it notes where i need to check references or fix a sentence. i only got to chapter two and so far it reads pretty well and seems to coincide with what i finished up doing (i wrote the beginning so long ago it would not have surprised me if it had turned into something else in between). i have a meeting with a not-official supervisor on friday for some friendly feedback esp on the theory stuff. he said on the phone that its too easy to read. we're not sure if this is good or bad!

anyway. this part is done. trent says i cant have multiple dones but what would he know? he thinks dancing-welding-leg-warmer-wearing girls are hot so....

k xx

ps. no more knitting to report. i have frogged the fancy sock cuff and am going to sydney today for a skin doctor appt and then jo and i are heading into the city to a certain yarn store where i will buy the correct size needles. nothing else. just needles.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

in fear of the yarn over

firstly, it got welded. no taph i didnt run around like jennifer beals but if someone wants to knit me some leg warmers i could be persuaded. i know someone who might think that was kind too much information, lets move along.

so its gone off to be read. i just reread chapter three and its not as bad as i thought, so maybe another week? i am on track to meet my own deadline of jan 31st tho so cant complain. its going well.

going less well is the whole fancy silk sock thing. i was right to be afraid. for my non-knitting readers you can sign out now because its going to get a little knit-nerdy and i need some help.

the pattern calls for 64 st on 2.5mm needles. i dont have any of those at the moment, and i want to make it slightly larger, and given what spidey said, i figured i could go up to 3mm needles. also i upped the stitch count by 8 because the lace repeat for the scalloped cuff is a multiple of 8. that gave me 72 stitches on three needles, 24 on each. nice i thought. wrong. the first problem is that that means each needle ends with a yarn over. hmmmm.

as if thats not bad enough, this is what it says to do with round two, where you are just plain knitting, not doing the lace:

"knit, slipping the last st of the rnd from the end of the 3rd needle to the beg of the 1st needle and counting it as the first st of the foll rnd (do not knit it again) to keep the yarnovers aligned vertically, and counting it as the first of the 2 knit sts in the next rep"

once i deciphered that, i thought well how the hell do i slip a yarn over from the end of one needle to the beginning of the next? if anyone can answer that id be amazed!

i decided i would ignore this bit and proceed regardless and see what happens. this is what happens:

it makes a nice scalloped edge for sure, if you are making waving lace socks and its ok not to have your YOs aligned vertically. the rest of this pattern is in vertical lines, it would look silly to have a diagonal cuff. so its going to get frogged. its what i do next that is the issue. again, more help required. do i:

1. wait till i get slightly smaller needles and go up to 80st so that there is not an even number of stitches on each needle, which means that the yarn overs dont fall at the end of needles and i can therefore slip whole stitches, not phantom ones?

2. cast on the same number on these needles and just not divide them evenly, producing the same effect as above?

i do not have what one would call slim calves, so a bit of give in these is essential - im either going to up the stitches or the needle size. should i just do one not the other or is it ok to do both? is 3mm just too chunky for 4ply yarn? and if i go 80st how should i distribute them so i never see a YO at the end of a needle? (see, theres that maths thing again).

if someone who knows what the hell im talking about could give me some advice id be grateful.

k xx

Monday, January 21, 2008


today it is cool and raining and i have set myself the task of welding all the bits of the pensky file together, and delivering a whole document to supervisors. (this is plan a. plan b involves ignoring unhelpful feedback). involved in the welding is rewriting the last paragraph of the conclusion (things got a bit waffly there), inserting chapter summaries into the intro, and putting in missing theory references. all that is then required is to fix up chapter three.

over the weekend, our flyball team ran in a competition at the dapto show. it rained. there were about 10 people in the audience. some teams withdrew. but our team came first, running 4 dogs in 19.05 seconds, our fastest ever time. it was fun despite the fact that i forgot to take my knitting.

regardless, i finished the matching contrast sock for daves pair yesterday. i tried it on and it fit me which makes me worried it is too small for dave.

i stupidly gave him the first one so had no visual comparison, only my notes. anyway, how lovely is patonyle to wear?

i have also attempted to cast on the fancy silk socks in vintage socks:

using my own personal made to order happy spider yarn in sugarmelon colourway:

this yarn reminds of me fairy floss. i am upping the stitch count and needle size for fit as i dont like to overstretch lace in socks. it seems like a complicated pattern and i am a little bit afraid. will report progress.

back to the welding.

k xx

Friday, January 18, 2008

through the wringer

what a day. i have been at uni today because i was summonsed yesterday by the deputy vice chancellor. he heard i was having a potential supervision/submission issue and wanted to talk to me about it. (thats cutting a long story short). we talked. hes a hard man, plays it straight down the line, told me i might have to suck it up a bit, but there was a plan b if needed. (i am anticipating supervisory obstruction because of the theoretical direction the thesis has taken. again, long story).

then i ran into one of said supervisors who wanted to know how things were going (obviously not having read the multiple emails from me in his inbox!) and we talked for a while and cleared the air a bit, so i am hoping we dont need to go to plan b. it could get very messy. it will depend on whether people can keep their egos in check.

fingers crossed.

on lighter, better news, i was the lucky winner of missfees blogiversary competition and this is what arrived in the mail for me yesterday:

yes a gorgeous hand made needle roll. ive always wanted one, and its divine. here it is unwrapped:

here it is half full (obviously i need more needles):

and here it is re-rolled (sorry still using the mobile for pix):

i like to fondle it. it makes me smile. thanks missfee :)

k xx

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

concluding remarks...

about half an hour ago i wrote the last words of the pensky file. they wont be the last words i write in it, as i have a rather dodgy chapter three to go back and work on, but i have, finally, finished a rather elusive conclusion. it is over 7000 words and 3000 of them i wrote today alone. i couldnt quite pin it down before but from about 8am this morning it has fallen into line. this is what the whole thing looks like:

(excuse blurry mobile phone photo). still messy. still bits to clean up. still that wretched bibliography that endnote is giving me grief about. but nearly there.

i feel a little bit ill. what do you write at the end of a thesis? 'the end'?

i think i need a cup of tea and some knitting...

k xx

Monday, January 14, 2008

after the storm

there was a cracker of a storm here yesterday, someone got zapped by lighting not 20 metres from our front door. oddly enough, we had left home about 10 minutes before this happened, trying to get the dogs to the dog park before it rained. it came over quite quickly tho and we got caught in it at the park and had to sit in the cricket grandstand and watch the lightning and rain and thunder while jem freaked out. i tried to get pics of it when we got home but this is all i got before the camera battery died:

i got some good knitting done yesterday, nearly at the heel of the THIRD contrasting contrast sock, i want to get this one done by thursday to give to its matching single for daves birthday.

and i also want to get them off the needles so i can start more lace. i am going to make the Fancy Silk Socks from Vintage Socks using this hand dyed spider wool:

i also want to make the long "Evening Stockings for a Young Lady" mostly because thats such a great name for a pair of socks. I am going to use the plain patonyle i got for that, it has a nice antique colour about it.

a quick note about stash enhancement while im here. a while ago you may remember i was going to the gym. it was fun for about 5 minutes. i hate exercise. always have. this is not however, good for my health, so i have taken other measures in this department that i dont really want to blog about because i totally hate when people blog about their frigging weight loss like its a matter of personal achievement or something. i dont mean to sound nasty, but seriously, its just a bit of fat and it doesnt make you a better person for having less of it. the demonisation of the overweight in society is very problematic, given i think its also related to class. not to mention feminism. but lets not go there. suffice to say that i need to look after my health so i have started swimming again (yay) and given myself the incentive of stash enhancement for particular goals reached. last week i achieved two of them in the one week, hence the patonyle. bribing of self appears to be working. does that say something about how stupid i am?!

anyway, i have also decided that the only pattern worth my polwarth silk is the shetland triangle shawl and i am just going to have to buy the wrap style book the pattern is in as one of my incentives. its only $14 on amazon at the moment, maybe next week!

in other news, i am working on the conclusion of the pensky file today. it will be finished tomorrow i think. then i have to do some work on the proofs of the book thats coming out in april, and then the list to finish the pensky looks like this:

add chapter summaries to introduction
put missing refs into theory chapter
fix up second half of chapter three
format bibliography
proof read entire thing

two weeks till that last one. two weeks and counting.

k xx

eta: i keep thinking that the friday before the aust day long weekend is the end of january, but in actual fact i think the 31st qualifies as that. so, in fact, i have 13 working days until that date, upon which i intend to submit (note the 'intend' there, there may be some, um, supervisory issues, to 'deal' with). so, 13 days and counting.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

patonyle porn

a non-blogging friend of mine who i have converted to sock knitting has an LYS with a closing down sale. she dropped in there yesterday:

its not all for me i swear. and i know it doesnt compare to some of the other yarn porn thats on display at the moment. but at less than $6 a ball im doin' the happy patonyle dance. now if theyd just reinstate the bloody thing we wouldnt all have to degrade ourselves by pouncing on every LYS with a closing down sale.

k xx

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

sock knitting 101

the story of these jaywalkers is long and tiresome. it was getting tiresome knitting them, and i was contemplating frogging them, just so i could use the pretty yarn for something else. but then something my sock knitting guru teacher taught me popped into my mind - when you get bored knitting it, its probably long enough. hence, these are long enough:

i was knitting them using magic loop but decided gussets would be too hard that way so i switched back to 2.25 mm DPNs. the circ was 2.5 so i dont think it will matter much.

here they are resting out the front:

also, i started the conclusion today. w00t!

k xx

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

today's view

here is what the pacific ocean is doing today:

holiday makers gone. high tide, and grey clouds, but no storms. yesterday i went swimming and got sunburnt. you would think 30 plus years of living under this sun would teach you to put sunscreen on, even if you are just doing laps in the pool. although i am pretty sure even a few years ago i wouldnt have got burnt in a half hour.

it is appropriate that it has dawned cloudy and slightly cooler as today is D Day for Chapter Six. it will be mine, oh yes, it will be mine. i need only a mere 2500 words to call it finished and i have no doubt i can do that. then i think i can get at least some of the conclusion done this week as well. happy about that.

on the knitting front, this is all i have managed on the sock topper hat:

the problem is obvious. i am already knitting a pair of stocking stitch socks with this yarn. yes its patonyle, so its lovely to work with, but do i really need to be doing TWO projects with the same yarn in stocking stitch? no, i didnt think so. so sorry little morton baby, no sock topper hat for you just yet.

the jaywalkers are slow but look good:

they are slow because i think they too are kind of boring. as i read somewhere else (sss i think it was), basically this pattern is just stocking stitch with the odd double decrease and K/F-B. the effect is neat, and this yarn is lovely, so smooth and soft, but the process, ho hum. i need lace. i need it now. i still havent decided on a shawl/stole pattern for that polwarth/silk either but i cant get that shetland triangle out of my head.

anyway, enough idle chit chat. one last gratuitous pic of puppies wondering why i didnt take them across the road with me:

see you on the other side of chapter six
k xx

edit: 3.37pm. i think chapter six may be finished. its 8300 words. i havent read it through yet but it feels finished. i wonder if thats a legitimate response to reader feedback....(not that i will be getting any from the you-know-whos).

Sunday, January 06, 2008

no escaping the tension

the weather in this part of the world has been a little weird for a few years for, oh, about 200 since whitefellas arrived and decided to plant wheat and grow sheep on a giant landmass where it never rains. the other day there was an article in the newspaper about how we should stop thinking about "when the drought ends" and accept that the south east corner especially is going to stay dry. well d'uh.

having said that, things have been weirder than usual lately - it was quite cool all the way up to christmas with lots of rain indicating that this particular drought season was ending (el nino was gone, and la nina had arrived), and then since boxing day it was hot hot hot. about a weak ago a big storm, sorry, extreme weather event, they're calling it, hit the queensland coast, and that has sent big surf our way. yesterday it rained and the beaches were all closed. i got some pix:

that is a ship out there somewhere

usually you can see the lighthouse on the point and the buildings of wollongong city from here

for scale in the last photo you can see the little fence of the saltwater pool that is usually well above the water line.

meanwhile, back at the ranch, the knitting gods have yet again reinforced to me that there is no escaping the importance of tension when it comes to starting new projects. the lovely taph sent me two new balls of the black faux fair isle patonyle i made the contrasting contrasts out of, so that i can make two new contrasting socks to match the other two. this means that there is no need to hang onto the bits of yarn left from the previous socks and i thought i would make one of those sock topper hats in the latest yarn magazine for the wife of an academic friend in england about to have a baby.

the problem with this pattern is that its on a needle size i dont have and for a 9-12 month old, and also i am desperate to make a hat 'in-the-round' proper, ie, using magic loop. i love my knit picks options, but they dont go well with magic loop for socks or little hats because the smallest tip size is 3.5mm. so then i thought i would double up the yarn and make the rolled brim hat on the circular, but the pattern called for 'worsted' yarn which i read somewhere was a 10 ply.

yet again, the spectre of mr howarth my high school maths teacher rose to taunt me as i contemplated my complete ineptitude at all things calculatory, and how perhaps paying more attention to the whole dx over dy thing might have been of some use to me today. instead, i will have to experiment with the tension, in the old fashioned way, and work it out from there. having said that, i am going to go back to the sock topper pattern and just use my closest needle size (3mm rather than 2.75) and reduce the stitch count by a multiple of 6 to make it more of a newborn size. yes, i do remember my 6 times tables.

also, on the tension front, but of a different kind, is the pensky file. on friday i did some very good work and i now have only one last section of chapter six to write, then the conclusion and some changes to chapter three and digging up a few lost references. otherwise it is nearly all formatted, all one document (158 pages so far), nearly ready to go. however, someone said to me last week that i must be excited, but im not, not at all. im feeling some relief that its nearly there, and some fear about what lies beyond, but mostly im just tired. tired of thinking about it, tired of it being in my head all the time, tired of how emotional and sensitive and tense it makes me, tired of the pressure of it, tired of the black shadow it casts over everything else in life. i will be, and this is an understatement, so glad to see the arse end of it i will probably have a ritual burning of all my readings with the words hegemony, gramsci, subjectivity and lacan in them. my head hurts from thinking too hard about stupid obscure theories that no one ever really understands, they just pretend they do.

for some reason, i think knitting is infinitely more creative.

speaking of which......

k xx

note: i edited the original of this post to take out a rant about stupid people swimming in storms and the ideological function of the surf lifesaving movement. i decided just because i was tense didnt mean that reading my blog should make everyone else tense, so i deleted that part! sorry if you caught the pre-edit form...

Friday, January 04, 2008

thinking of bigger things

appropriately it is raining today as i sit here struggling to get my head into gear to write the last few thousand words of the pensky. i have never been closer to finishing but i still feel so far away, the bits to write now are the really hard matching-weird-psych-theory-to-the-evidence parts, and i can not help but imagine the self satisfied smirks of certain not-supervisors as, seeing my difficulty, they 'tell me so', imaginatively. grrrr get thee to a nunnery.....

so this post may well be an exercise in procrastination. but it does have a legitimate purpose. as much as i am loving the knitting of socks (here is the latest attempt at jaywalkers using online supersocke bamboo - the zigzags show up more when it is stretched out):

i am thinking of bigger things. not because it is cooling down, or even getting close, but i tend to leave my winter knitting too late and no one gets to wear the winter items in the winter they were intended for.

i want to make trent this he seems to like it but is so fussy and non-committal about what he wants its difficult. i am thinking bendigo but not sure if alpaca or rustic is best. i made my wrap last year in rustic and its lovely but now we have moved north i am thinking something lighter for the mild coastal winter. any suggestions?

i am also looking to make something with this:

4 ply hand dyed polwarth/silk. i am thinking a wrap/shawl thing. its 150g so how many metres might this get me i wonder, because i think i am in love with this. of course, he has changed the yarn, so i will have to fudge the pattern a bit which is scary, or else get my hand on the original. i love evelyn clark designs. seriously tho, is this guy not one of the finest knitters out there? awesome. he says in the post about the shetland triangle that he likes the more circular lace patterns than the geometric and i tend to agree and i was thinking more of a rectangle wrap than a triangle shawl, still this is gorgeous. would it work with this yarn though? again, suggestions welcome.

and because i couldnt, i havent packed away summer knitting camp. which is good, cos jem is always looking for somewhere comfortable for his precious wombat butt:

nice life if you can get it.

k xx