In high school, my physics teacher called it thermoGoddammits, not thermodynamics. And for good reason, because any isolated system will tend to become more disorderly over time, even with intervention. And if constant vigilance doesn’t have an effect, well, then that seems to me like a perfectly good reason to swear.

Swearing also takes work. Effort. Involvement. And I have enough work-effort-involvement elsewhere in life right now, what with conferences, teaching, writing, researching and begging for cash to fund the aforementioned conferences, teaching, writing and researching. It takes lots of work–and swearing–to keep the isolated system I like to call “My Life” from spiraling completely into chaos, so I thought I’d try something different.

I thought perhaps if I let entropy do its work on one part of the isolated system, as embodied by my current pair of WIP socks, I might be able to keep the rest of the system under control.

Randomly Ribbed Sock Toes

Random! Disordered! Unplanned cables! Whee!

This has turned out to be harder than I expected. Either I’m not random enough, or it really does take planned effort to make something look effortless. I’m not sure how to interpret this turn of events. If it takes effort to make something *look* as though it’s descending into an unplanned spiral of madly placed cables, does that mean I can just leave well enough alone in the rest of the “My Life” system and things will fall neatly and nicely into place?

If so, the stupid second law of thermoGoddammits has it all wrong.

After months–months, I tell you!–of hemming and hawing over what I would do with the fabulous, beautiful skein of hand-dyed merino/bamboo Celebration (from Briar Rose Fibers), which I bought at the Greencastle Fiber Event in early April, I have at long last cast on for a project. At least a project that I didn’t immediately rip back.

The good news is that this project suits the yarn (and my available yardage) exceptionally well.

The bad news? Well, the bad news is that I swore I’d never knit this pattern again. Why, you ask? Because I’ve knit it 6 times already, and so has every other damn knitter on the planet.

You’ve all seen Clapotis a hundred million times (because you already have one you wear regularly around your neck, right?), so I focused on the yarn instead of the pattern.

Clapotis Closeup

The shift in focus away from an overview of the pattern also let me play with the settings on my camera, which I’ve been futzing with for the last few weeks in order to figure out what its limitations really are. (Yes, yes, I should have done this before, but my natural instinct to rebel against everything my parents–all three of them–love led me to avoid anything that resembled an interest in photography.)

Clapotis Closeup 2

The only difference between these two shots–I didn’t even move the camera–is a toggle between the camera’s auto-focus on standard macro and the camera’s “Digital Macro” setting. In any case, it’s clear that “focal length” is the key phrase here. Very interesting. Instructive, even.

But I still probably need a new camera, because it frustrates me that I couldn’t control the focal length effectively. (There, I said it. I’m becoming my mother, my father and my stepmother, and all in one single evening of innocent photography. I’m doomed.)

This is the story of a hat. A very bad hat. In fact, it might very well be the horror-knitting-story hat-oriented version of that new movie that’s coming out about the teenage girl being haunted by the ghost of her unborn twin brother.

The first version of this hat, now frogged, has come back to haunt the second, third, and now fourth versions of the hat, and the spectre of the First-Hat Haunting will likely continue to hover over all future versions of any hat made with this yarn. Before I present the most flattering of the hat photos (I couldn’t bring myself to post anything less flattering because I look like a misplaced RennFayre court jester mistakenly cast out into the modern world), let me unfold the horror in its full glory before you…..

It began with a slouchy-hat wish spurred on by all of the slouchy-hat goodness going on around me. The problems were compounded by a recently finished scarf in Alchemy’s Lux, a mistake-rib keyhole scarf that is truly a thing of beauty. I wanted mistake-rib-matching slouchy-hat goodness and bulky gauge in the same hat, which led me to Ysolda’s Urchin, a sideways-knit garter stitch hat that was both bulky in gauge and interesting in technique. Good for all of us, right?

Wrong.

The garter stitch was just not the right stitch pattern for the yarn, which is cabled and drew together and create a too-stiff fabric. So, I reasoned, why not knit a stockinette stitch version sideways to solve the compact-fabric problem? Sadly, reason had very little to do with that version of the hat because the band was too loose. Reason also had little to do with version 3, in which I tried a stockinette crown with a knit-on in-the-round brim in mistake rib (to match the scarf). Better, but still unwearable, because picking up stitches in a gauge this bulky just. Did. Not. Work.

Which leads us to Hat #4, a stockinette crown with garter stitch brim, still knit sideways because at that point, I was stubbornly wed to the technique and determined to make it work (thank you, Tim Gunn).

This time, things were promising, except for the odd pointy bit at the short row, which I figured would work itself out in blocking. Given my past blocking experience with this yarn, I had hope. Even after 3 failed hats, I still had hope.

Little did I know that this truly was the denoument of a horror movie, in which our heroine turns around thinking her nemesis is dead only to be attacked one last time before she finally slays the evil incarnate in a gruesome and very permanent way.

Evil incarnate, indeed.

Horns of the Beats

I have horns. Actual horns. Consider briefly that this is the only photo that didn’t make it look as though I’d put on the Statue of Liberty’s crown before donning the hat, and I still have horns.

On the other hand, perhaps this qualifies me to direct the next I Know What You Did Last Summer sequel.

droppedsts.jpgIĀ am a total moron. I dropped the wrong stitch in this drop-stitch patternĀ during the three-needle bind-off process. In my own stupid pattern. You’d think I’d have seen it when I did it, but nooooooooo. It’s fixed now, but I’m soured on the project and have moved on to something more soul sucking: grading.

Does it ever strike you that the academic world is really more like a Wes Anderson movie than the other way around? Although I do have to admit that Bill Murray and Angelica Houston very rarely appear in my day-to-day life….