Change Is Coming…I Can Feel It

For some reason I’ve had this sense that this school year is going to be a good one. It’s not that last year was bad, it’s that in a lot of ways it was isolating and stressful. I need to get out of my shell and be a bit more impulsive. Hiding away at home is not the way to go. Most of the reason that I wanted to live so close to school is so that I could easily get there if something comes up.

Let’s see if I can do it.

Completed Sweater

My knitted hoodie is finally finished! I still need to weave in the ends and block it, but it is finished. It looks good, though the shape is a little bulky as of yet. I’ll see if I can get it to shape better when I block it. It feels good to have finished a big project, though really it didn’t take all that long. I still like socks much better. They don’t have tons of seams to sew up.

I mooched toothpicks off of my grandma, so I can finally make the tiny socks for the socknitters pin. I’m pretty sure I’m going to use the leftover wool from my bed socks (if I can find it – the cat stole it) since I really love those colours. I’m not sure about the other sock, but I could try using bits from that wool for it. We’ll see I guess.

I need to make more socks.

Studying Fun

It’s amusing when ethics discussions come up in class, how someone always points out that we all act in our own self-interest, whether we consider that to be selfish or not. Today I came across an interesting point along the same lines in my readings, this by Harry Browne:

Everyone is selfish; everyone is doing what he believes will make himself happier. The recognition of that can take most of the sting out of accusations that you’re being “selfish.” Why should you feel guilty for seeking your own happiness when that’s what everyone else is doing too?…
To find constant, profound happiness requires that you be free to seek the gratification of your own desires. It means making positive choices.
If you slip into the Unselfishness Trap, you’ll spend a good part of your time making negative choices—trying to avoid the censure of those who tell you not to think of yourself…
If someone finds happiness by doing “good works” for others, let him. That doesn’t mean that’s the best way for you to find happiness.
And when someone accuses you of being selfish, just remember that he’s only upset because you aren’t doing what he selfishly wants you to do.

Though most of us don’t like to be viewed as selfish, Browne has a very valid point. You can’t go around spending your whole life doing everything for the benefit of everyone around you. All that results in is making yourself miserable. I’ve tried it, and while it sounds good in theory, doing what is best for others in every case can only end up with hurting yourself. However, I do think he’s wrong that you should also always do what will make you happier. As with most areas of life, there needs to be a healthy balance between the two.

James Rachels makes another valid point that deriving happiness from helping others does not necessarily make one selfish:

Why should we think that merely because someone derives satisfaction from helping others this makes him selfish? Isn’t the unselfish man precisely the one who does derive satisfaction from helping others, while the selfish man does not? Similarly, it is nothing more than shabby sophistry to say, because Smith takes satisfaction in helping his friend, that he is behaving selfishly.

I suppose if you were doing things for others to gain something for yourself besides happiness (using them as a means to an end, as Kant would say) in that sense you would be selfish. But doing nice things because you like to is not in itself a negative thing. It all comes down to perspective.

I Have Sweater Pieces

I’ve started the sweater, and have come to a decision as to why knitting is so addictive. It seems to me that no matter how many things we make, the marvel is still there that all these warm clothes and useful things can be made from a simple piece of string and some sticks.

This sweater is larger and a bit more complicated than things I usually make, but it still uses the same basic things, just in a different form. It’s amazing.

Oh, and for anyone who cares, the gray colour turned out to be so dark it’s essentially black. But it’s nice.

Bed Socks

I finally got to finish and give away the bright pink socks that Lisa wanted. They were a little big, but that was fixed and now they should fit just fine. They really are just sooo pink. They were fluorescing like crazy when she left with them. I don’t think I have a picture, unless there is one on the camera that I missed, but Lisa will have some soon and I can try to get a digital version.

I’m making myself some bed socks too, though they aren’t anywhere near as thick as the pink ones. I’m using Regia for once. REAL sock yarn. One sock is finished, and is a little loose, but I like that idea since I am planning on wearing them to bed and I’d rather not have my feet being ‘strangled’ as it were.

Muppet Socks!

I really like these. These were a product of a very long and stressful bus trip. I brought the travelling yarn bag and decided to start another pair of socks. I had left my fuzzy yarn from the hat and scarf I made in there, and so I started the ribbing with that rather than adding it at the end. It’s truly part of the actual body of the sock, rather than being simple embellishment.

[By the way, one of these days I’ll remember to post a picture of said hat and scarf, though it’ll probably be a while.]

I have a lot of yellow sock yarn kicking around. I guess it was on sale and my sister liked the colour, because I got a package in the mail full of maybe nine balls of yellow and one orange. Since I decided to see how it knit up, it was next to be added. As well, I am finally experimenting with switching colours, and ways of better attaching them to keep projects from coming apart. Using two types of yarn in distinctly different colours was a good way to learn, I thought.

To continue that thought, I used most of what was left of the pink from the Inverse Socks to emphasize the toes and heels on these socks. The short row heels are comfortable, but I’ve yet to find out how well they wear. In any case, these socks were the product of several experiments and a couple of frogging sessions, but I think overall they turned out to be something fun to look at and wear.

The name is because they remind me so much of a muppet. I’m not sure if there is actually a muppet with this colour scheme, but it just seems so much to resemble the way they look. I think these shall be my sandal socks. [Yes, I know, the scandal!]

Functional Products

It’s been a while since I made something just for its functional purpose, rather than because I was trying a new technique or look. So I got bored and made some dishcloths. The first few were just average square ones, in that weird tan colour since my mom had it hanging around in her stash. The round ones I made when I got to the point where I did want to try something new.

I’ve been fascinated by that black-flecked white cotton for a while now, and finally caved and made a dishcloth out of that too. Since I made the first ones in February I recently (roughly a couple weeks ago, this post is after-the-fact) decided to see if I could make another from memory. It turned out quite nice I think.

I left a few of the tan ones in the kitchen. The flatmates pretty much ignored them, though one of them did (seemingly accidentally) get tossed in the trash. The other one has yet to be used. I am saving it as a housewarming gift for the new flatmates when I move at the end of the week. It can then be broken in properly.

I still have some more of the cotton hanging around, so I think I may make another one. I like the way that turned out and it would be nice to have a couple to rotate while the others are being laundered.

Scarlet Fever!

I’ve finally finished Dean’s red socks. All in all, I think they turned out rather well, though I must admit I am eager to try making some socks using intarsia or something to vamp them up a little.

These socks were quite fun to make. I used a short-row toe for a change on these ones, since they seem to wear better and be more comfortable. I was hesitant to try a short-row heel though, since I’m not sure how well fingering-weight yarn would wear if I do it that way. That experiment shall be done on socks that aren’t a gift for someone else.

Also, I finished the second pair of cotton socks for my mother. It felt really strange to go from fingering-weight yarn to worsted, but the socks turned out really well. I’m going to mail them out as soon as the holiday is over, so my mom can give the lavender pair a break for a change.

Pictures shall come later tonight once I find the camera.

The Wonderful iPod Cozy

I caved in to the current fad and knitted Dean an iPod cozy. It took a bit of searching, but I finally found a red button that was the perfect size to close it.

It’s a work-in-progress. I’m probably going to knit a small pouch on the back for the ear buds. Since I didn’t think ahead enough to remember to slip a stitch on the top for them to be plugged in while it’s in the case, I guess that a pouch on the back will have to do.

This was my first time making something off the top of my head. I even took apart an old shirt that was hanging around to get some burgundy cloth to line it with. That was interesting in itself. Sewing cloth to knitted fabric is fun. I just hope that it holds.

Has anyone else tried making one of these yet?

My First Pair of Socks

Wow. I am both proud and saddened by these socks. They function as socks, which is great. But there are ladders and slipped stitches and other mistakes all over them. I even somehow misaligned the gusset. Thank god it didn’t hurt anything.

All in all, they are great, for the simple fact that they are warm, beautifully tacky, and they got me hooked onto the wonderful world of sockknitting.

I find it pretty amusing that the first time I saw yarn specifically for socks (in December) I bought tons of it and just jumped right in. My mom taught me to knit when I was little…I’m not even sure how old I was, so I was probably under five years old. She’s not all that capable of reading a pattern, or just doing something out of the blue like that, so I really was on my own. But it looks like they turned out fine.

I mean, I used dpns, they were smaller than any other knitting needles I had yet used, and that was a lot of knitting to do in a week. At least, the first sock took a week, the second took me a couple of sporadic knitting around classes and such.

I’ve done another pair since these, but my mom has magicked them away and so I have no pictures to show you. But the good news was I did those with a generic formula. I can make socks with any size needles and any yarn now, as long as I like the gauge. Pretty cool.

I’m off to finish the heel on my third pair.