Sunday, March 30, 2008

I feel it in my fingers, I feel it in my toes...

A moment of silence, if you will, for my Wildcats and their brilliant season.

On to the knitting content. Hand-knitted socks, as previously extolled on this blog, have many merits; nevertheless, they are not eternal and will eventually wear out:

Alas! One brother from the first pair of socks I ever knit has suffered from grievous damage. From this charming image one may also note how the wool has felted into an almost slipper-like consistency and how there is some slight discolouration from less-than-spotless floors. [I feel like my roommate when she comments on forensic anthropology...] All good things must come to an end, and so I mourn the pleasant, full life that these socks have enjoyed before they go to the Great Yarn Store in the Sky. Naturally, I will keep wearing them until they positively fall off my feet.

Now, for some new socks (I feel like doing some sort of "Circle of Life" rendition now): the Nutkins are chugging along, helped with doses of waiting rooms, Humanities lectures, and basketball games.
As the picture makes clear, I'm knitting them both at once. Contrary to any appearances, the socks are not connected; they are knit completely separately, just on the same needles. It's a lovely process, thought it can be somewhat like wrestling the Hydra at times.

For my little sister, my ballet feet:

Ravelers can see a plethora of photos should they desire!

Friday, March 28, 2008

The Sweet, Sweet, Taste of Victory

So, we are in the Elite Eight!!! It's completely surreal to see the campus transformed by the victory. Basketball has consistently been important to students, but now it's the main focus for the majority of folks. As I am not used to having sports personally impact me, it's a new set of experiences, but it's been such fun so far to watch the team destroy their opponents.

Ann of Mason-Dixon Knitting fame has a lovely post up which I had to link to, mainly because it's not often that legendary knitting blogs discuss college basketball.


There is only one important thing to say today:


Monday, March 24, 2008

Explanation for the Concerned & Weaponry

So. Perhaps I was over-hasty in posting my latest entry with the photos of the cemetery, for two reasons. First, it's important to note that apparently images do not show up in the email feed, so some of y'all may have gotten simply the list of captions. Thus, they would have seen a vaguely emo and scatterbrained poem. The photos are the essential part of the post, folks!

Second, I must be clear. I am not a card-carrying Goth who wears excessive amounts of black eyeliner, maintains a grieved expression, and clutches a Nightwish CD. Though I occasionally indulge in my romantic sensibilities and attempt to walk lightly among oak trees, singing ballads (off-key), and looking for mythic creatures, it's not because I'm mentally imbalanced. Yes, I wrote my share of depressed love poetry in high school (fortunately, that's not longer my métier); however, I am not depressed nor do I immerse myself in macabre settings constantly. The cemetery is a place of quiet, of history, of beauty; I enjoy it for those reasons, not because I long to live out a Poe short story.

Anyway. Over Easter break my brother gave me this fantastic weapon that he re-made for me, completely of his own volition. He's gotten interested in steampunk as well, so he refashioned this nerf gun which will come in handy should I ever really get into cosplay. Thanks bro!

[classy carpet shot]

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Cimetière Bellarbre

When it comes to places where I can study, there are several options: the library, the student union, my room, and the computer lab. Sadly, none of these places holds any kind of great aesthetic appeal. Enter the Cimetière Bellarbre, a small cemetery near campus. Of the three local cemeteries, it is my favourite. I must confess that I named it myself, as there seems to be no traditional name given besides "the Main Street cemetery." This cemetery is superior to the other two for several reasons: 1) It is the closest to my room; 2) It has the oldest graves; 3) The trees are charming; and 4) There is a bench on which to spread out.

This morning I had several essays on Renaissance Revenge to read, and so I headed out, this time with my camera to capture the scene. The sky was overcast, on the verge of rain, so conditions were ideal.

Walking into the cemetery, with the bench toward the back

Cracked from old age? Or darker forces at work?

A plaque at the center of the bench's stone courtyard

Note how the lid to this grave is shifted...


One of the older graves, dating to 1888

The back of the bench

The courtyard (with a bonus shot of my boot toe)

The sun broke through the clouds as I sat on the bench

Another view where where I sat

Sun in the trees!

To my left

The curious carving on the arm of the bench

My favourite grave. It is the only one I've ever seen that says "drowned" instead of "died," and I feel that this man has the makings of a story.

The view through the gate, while departing

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Je tricote! Je vous promets! Part II

Socks are ideal little portable projects. I'm sure I've opined at great length about how much I like to knit socks already, so on to the interesting bits:

The pattern is something new: Nutkin, from Beth LaPensee. I found it on Ravelry, and as I'm always up for a basic 16-st pattern to work into my basic sock blueprint, I decided to give it a shot. It's simple enough that I don't need to reference the chart, which is a huge plus.

Both socks on two circulars

A toe -- the colour is more accurate in this shot

I'm knitting this pair on two circs, which I haven't done since Jack's socks. One socks on five double-pointed needles may be a little fiddly, but it is more portable than two socks, two needles, and two skeins of yarn. Also, I like the old-school look of wooden dpns. Nevertheless, I broke out the 24" size 1s for these socks and they aren't aggravating me too badly so far.

Je tricote! Je vous promets! Part I

OK, OK. I have been knitting these past few weeks, albeit sporadically. Somehow, reading Renaissance revenge tragedies and writing short fiction and re-making costumes have eaten up some of my free time this semester.

First, the sweater of All Things Epic, St. Brigid. I'm delighted (read: relieved) to report that the back and front are now finished, and I've got both sleeves on a circular needle right now. After the sleeves, I'll only have the seaming and collar left. I am not doing the silly fringe on the hem, as I have yet to find fringe around my hips a flattering look.

A sleeve!

A front!

Up-close-and-personal shot of the cables

The astute reader will observe that the sweater looks...large. Do not adjust your monitors! The sweater is ginormous. In fact, the size is 40" (stop laughing). I'm aware that it's big; it's going to be a burrow-inside-a-cabin sort of sweater, not a stylish runway piece.

In my next post: new socks!

Monday, March 10, 2008

"Geek Love" in the NYT

Yesterday's New York Times ran a tribute to Gary Gygax, the famed creator of Dungeons & Dragons. While I never played D & D (RPGs are one of the few arenas of geekery that I have yet to explore), I can appreciate its continuning influenced on some of my interests. Thus, I found the diagram the paper ran alongside the article quite amusing:

[Large Version Here]

Yes, this chart lists a few of my interests...just a few.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

The Violent Collision of My Interests

When it comes to subcultures and styles, I've never fallen into one perfectly. Too gypsy for the preppy set, not hardcore enough for the punks, not quite intense enough to join the goths, too pragmatic for the bohemian types...

And yet, I think I may just have found a subculture/movement/aesthetic that neatly sums up my interests. It is Steampunk.

Most simply, Steampunk is a type of science fiction set in the Victorian era (when steam power was still prevalent -- hence the first half of the name). More broadly, it's corsets and goggles, fine calligraphy and spaceships, classy manners and fighting with rayguns. What appeals to me most is the embrace of new technology along with the historical setting of Victoriana and a certain attention to beauty. Why use an ugly plain brick for computing when you can enjoy a machine of elegance and style?
I always thought that being interested in the archaic disqualified me from being interested in new technologies; surely I couldn't hold a PDA in one hand and an antique classic book in the other? With steampunk, I'm learning how those two are not mutually exclusive.

Besides the excellent Wikipedia article, I also recommend the forums at Brass Goggles, where everyone has been solicitous and helpful. One of the best parts of steampunk is that there is a wide range of interests: some people use steam power for their creations, but dress in a normal fashion. Others wear cravats day in and day out, but may spend more time tailoring their clothes than welding in a workshop. Overall the community seems reluctant to set boundaries to declare what counts as steampunk and what doesn't; instead, people embrace the idea of a spectrum. That is vastly more apppealing than an over-policed group of elitists, laying down the law.

Coming Attractions

Alas, I have been remiss in not posting nearly often enough, and now that I have content to post, I am without my camera cord.

Look for these updates in the coming week, which should include pictures:

1. Progress on St. Brigid
2. A Civil War era corset, made entirely from stash material
3. Thoughts on the cemeteries around town
4. Possibly musings on tea
5. Extra ramblings

Please contain your enthusiasm; all in good time.