Finally Done!

I have officially completed my first semester of college.  This last day on campus was a little weird.  It was almost completely empty because most people had finished their finals.  I happened to have an insanely late final so I had to stick around but I am happy to say that I am done.  I loved my classes this semester and I had a lot of fun but I am looking forward to a relaxing Winter Break filled with knitting and reading.

Speaking of knitting — I’m almost done with Stripe Study!  It will only have 11 CC stripes instead of 12 because I would have run out of yarn.  This is just fine with me because 1) The shawl is already looking pretty big, and 2) I am so tired of doing short rows.  Seriously, there were so many in these two shawls combined.  Happily, I am done now and just have to finish up the 4 inches of MC edge.  Hopefully I’ll get that done tomorrow.

I am super anxious to finish this shawl because I got all that yarn from KnitPicks!!  So excited.

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The top left yarn is KnitPicks Gloss in Cranberry.  It will be used for the Arch Shaped Socks.  Next to that is KnitPicks Stroll Fingering in Eggplant for the Snicket Socks.  The bottom two yarns are KnitPicks Gloss in Black and Kauni for the Endpaper Mitts.  I am so excited to knit these projects.  Can’t wait.

In the package there were also the three sets of needles that I ordered:

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From left to right, size 0, 1.5, and 2 DPNs!

And there was also the stitch markers.  Which means that I am no longer using rubber bands!  Hooray!

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This is how I store my extra stitch markers: in an empty IceBreakers box that I saved specifically for this purpose.  I have good ideas sometimes.

The reading has not been going quite as well.  I’m stuck on Russia.  I’m only 40 pages or so from finishing A Hero of Our Time by Lermontov, but it is really difficult for me to get through it.  But I’m really hoping to finish this weekend and move on to Norway.  We shall see.

Sorry for not posting in a while, but I assure you I’m back on the bandwagon.  Until next time!

 

Feeling Good

I finished Different Lines!!!  Actually I finished it on the 11th, but I just never got around to blogging about it.  I really loved this pattern and this yarn (as I’m sure I mentioned before) and I love the finished product.  Here are some pictures:

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Yes, this was taken in my bathroom with my iPhone.  Don’t judge me.  There was no one around at the moment that I could ask to photograph this and I was really excited.

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Here it is lying in all its glory on the floor of my dorm.  It hasn’t been washed or blocked yet because I’m waiting until I go home after finals to do all that.

The only modification that I made was that I picked up the wrapped stitches.  I know that Veera said not to, but I like the look of the stitches picked up rather than left as they are.  Other than that, it is exactly as written.  Here is the link to my Ravelry page.

Of course, as soon as I finished Different Lines, I had to start Stripe Study.  This is the one that I’m knitting in Forestry and Wilted Rose, so it will be a little quieter and a little less in your face with the color choices.

I cannot tell you how much I love this pattern.  It is incomprehensible to me that I can start at the top of the shawl (which is the widest part) and yet still be increasing to make the shape.  I mean, how cool is that!  I know I could not have figured that out, so I’m very happy that Veera and any other shawl designers did.

Also, I really like this yarn.  I know I said that before when I was just starting Different Lines, but I felt the need to repeat it.  Especially because I cannot get over how amazing the Wilted Rose colour-way is.  It’s mostly dark reds and browns, but every so often there’s a small shock of pink that makes me so happy.  Pink is not even close to my favorite color but I like those small little accents.

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I’ve been working on Stripe Study for about two days and I am already on the 7th CC stripe out of 12.  I really like the combination of these two yarns although Forestry is really more of an emerald green than a turquoise blue.  Blame my camera.

Yes, my stitch markers are rubber bands.  I was in a fix because I didn’t bring any stitch markers with me to college (and anyway I always lose them) so I just used what I had on hand while I was at the library.  Never fear, however, since I ordered some new stitch markers from KnitPicks.  And some other stuff too.

Since I’m getting through Stripe Study, I felt it was time to think about the next projects that I would work on from my queue.  While on the KnitPicks website I picked out some turquoise and black yarn to make the Endpaper Mitts.  I have been wanting to knit these for ages because I love fingerless gloves and colour work.  Then I got some  yarn to knit up the Snicket Socks because I loved reading the Series of Unfortunate Events when I was a kid and you can get me to knit pretty much anything based on the series or the movie.  And finally, I got some yarn to knit the Arch-Shaped Socks.  And I got the necessary needles for all three as well!  I feel accomplished.  Plus, this way I should have some more challenging knitting to do over Winter Break when I have more time to concentrate on that sort of thing.  Anyhow, I’m super excited.

Part of the reason I’ve been getting so much knitting done the past few days is that I’ve been working more hours at the library.  I’ve also been watching a lot more movies and TV shows on Netflix.

I watched Hour of the Wolf, directed by Ingmar Bergman, which I loved but which freaked me out enough that I had trouble sleeping at night.  (Note to self: don’t watch Bergman films in the evening when it’s dark).  That set me off watching foreign films and I watched Requiem which is a German film about a young woman with epilepsy whose family decides to perform an ill-fated exorcism on.  It’s not a horror film and it’s really interesting.  Then I watched a thoroughly enjoyable film with Toni Collette in it (I love her) called Jesus Henry Christ.  Go watch it now if you haven’t.  It’s really enjoyable.  And now, I just started the television show Wilfred which I like (mostly because I have a soft spot for Elijah Wood).  All that ads up to a lot of knitting.

Which I will now happily get back too!

Ah The Joy Of Finals

Actually it’s not that bad.  Back on Saturday, I made a Final Study Schedule which allowed me to study in the morning and then have the afternoon and evening to relax.  Today I got through all my studying before noon and I have been hanging out in my room like a couch potato the rest of the day.  It feels pretty good.

I had a fun weekend.  Friday night I hung out with some friends to celebrate the end of classes.  Saturday I got together with my family and celebrated the first day of Hanukkah.  I definitely ate way too much food but it was totally worth it.  Sunday passed by uneventfully until midnight (which I realize is technically Monday but whatever) when one of the dining halls hosted a midnight breakfast.  Now, breakfast is my favorite meal of the day, and I love eating breakfast foods at all hours, so I managed to keep myself awake and have midnight breakfast.  It was awesome!!  Thankfully my friend and I got to the dining hall a little early because after we had already gotten our food and sat down, the place was completely mobbed.  Another dining hall is having midnight dinner tonight (or tomorrow) so I think I’m going to go to that.

Knitting has progressed.  I have about 3-4 inches of the solid purple section which will have to end up being 6 inches so things are going well.  I started watching Greek which is a pretty stupid but very enjoyable TV show to watch that doesn’t require a lot of attention.

I finished my book selection for Grenada, The Ladies Are Upstairs, by Merle Collins.  It’s a collection of short interconnected stories and I really loved it.  It took a little while to get into the groove of reading it because Collins does a great job with the colloquial speech of Grenada.  Once you figure it out, however, this book is very difficult to put down.  Now that I’m done with Grenada, I think I’m going to move onto Russia.  My mother recommended the novel, A Hero of Our Time, by Mihail Lermontov, so I’m planning to read that.  So far, this project is going very well and I am totally loving it.  Let’s hope I still feel that way after 100 books.

The End Is Near

So yeah, one more day of classes.  Part of me is really excited to be done with this semester (except for finals, but let’s not think about those right now) and part of me is really going to miss the classes I took and the people that were in those classes.  Yesterday was the last day of my Literature and Empire course which was probably my favorite class this semester.  I loved the course, the books we read, the music we listened to, the movies we watched, and the stand-up comedy that we laughed at (yeah, this course was awesome!).  I also really loved everyone in my class which is very rare for me.  Everyone was incredibly intelligent but not overly pretentious and our discussions each class were in-depth and really interesting.  I never found myself daydreaming which is pretty unusual for me since I have a real problem sitting still for too long.  The professor was totally awesome and I know I’m really going to miss that class.  Hopefully my classes next semester will be just as great as the one’s I took this semester.

I just finished all the stuff I needed to do for my final portfolio for my Writing class.  Basically I had to write one new essay and revise one old essay.  Writing my last essay for this class felt really good and I think I did pretty well on it.  Revising the old essay was a little more problematic.  I decided to revise an essay that I had written about Robert Mapplethorpe and the line between art and pornography.  I love the subject and I really worked hard on the essay the first time around.  That’s probably why I didn’t particularly take to the comments that my professor wrote on my paper that I was supposed to take into account when revising my paper.  I’m a very stubborn person who likes to believe that she is right all the time which is incredibly far from the truth.  Anyway, the first time I tried revising, I got through about a page before getting angry and giving up.  I took a break, went on my weekly walk with my mom and then came back and managed to rewrite the rest of the paper.  Although I didn’t agree with all of the comments, I rewrote what I did think needed rewriting and I believe my essay is the better for it.  And that marks the end of my Writing class.  Tomorrow I turn in my portfolio and then I am done.  It feels really good.

In other news, yesterday I went to a workshop on making Japanese New Year’s Cards (Yes I know it’s early December but you can never start to early).  We learned about how the Japanese celebrate New Year’s (it’s one of the most important holidays in Japan) and then learned how to write the special Kanji symbol for the year of the serpent (2013).  And then we got to use calligraphy brushes to make our very own card.  Here is mine:

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So the outline of the snake is the Kanji for the Year of the Serpent.  And then the L-Shaped symbol in the bottom right is my initial (Re) in Katakana.  I’m really proud of how it turned out and it was a ton of fun working with the calligraphy brush.  I’m seriously considering making some more of these and giving them out on New Years.

Because the workshop was off campus and I had to take two buses, I got a lot of reading done and I finally finished An Unfinished Business.  This book was short but took me a while to read because the subject is incredibly difficult.  This was my selection for Algeria in my Reading Around the World challenge.  An Unfinished Business is told through the diary entries of two brothers, Rachel and Malrich, who were born in Algeria to a German father and Algerian mother and who relocated to Paris.  While Rachel assimilated into French society, Malrich did not and lives in the banlieue where an Islamic presence is being felt.  Meanwhile, Rachel finds out that their German father was involved in the concentration camps and in formulating the gas that was later used on the prisoners in the Final Solution.  Unable to cope with this knowledge he kills himself and his diary ends up in Malrich’s hands.  Malrich draws the parallel between Hitler’s Germany and the Islamic ruled banlieue of Paris.  As he works to change his surroundings as well as come to terms with the crimes of his father, Malrich realizes the evil that comes from hiding the truth and chooses to fight for his and everyone in the banlieue’s freedom rather than kill himself as his brother did.  An Unfinished Business was a compelling read but it is extremely depressing and difficult in subject matter so don’t read it if you want something cheery.

Now that I have finished the first book of my challenge, I have decided to move onto Granada.  I’ve decided to read The Ladies are Upstairs  by Merle Collins.  It seems to be a collection of short intertwined stories which is a writing style that I particularly enjoy.  I’ve only just started so I can’t give an accurate idea of how the book is but so far I’m enjoying it.  We shall see.

And finally onto the knitting.  I have finished the CC stripes on Different Lines!  I did some heavy knitting yesterday — knitting in class (while still participating in conversations) and at work — and I am happy that the stripes are done.  Although I have a ton of stitches on the needle, I think the solid purple section at the end will go faster because I no longer have to do short rows which take up quite a bit of time.  Here is the shall as it looks right now:

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It’s hard to tell how awesome it looks because it is scrunched up on the needle but believe me when I say that it looks totally awesome.

Here is how much of the orange Citrus yarn I had left after completing the stripes with an iPad for size comparison:

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I still have a nice amount so I might knit one of the smaller items in my queue with it.  Like maybe this?  Okay, so that’s crochet but I think I can handle it even with my meager crocheting skills.  Plus, it would get another item off my queue which would be really nice.

Okay, this post was long.  At least there were pictures?

 

It Is Too Late For Me To Think Up A Title

So the last week of this semester’s classes is going pretty slowly.  Monday I got together with my group from Japanese class and we did a final rehearsal of the skit.  We performed the skit today and it went pretty well considering none of us are actors and we were performing a skit written entirely in Japanese.  Still, I’m glad it’s over.

Because I had work today for six hours, I got a lot of knitting done.  My work in the library mainly consists of sitting behind the circulation desk doing nothing.  Now, I probably could have done something for a class (like writing my final essay for my writing class), but I chose to knit instead.  I think it was a good choice.  Anyhow, I’ve gotten up to knitting the 13th CC stripe.  Only one and 2/3 stripes left to go and then the solid color section.  I just found out that Season 7 of How I Met Your Mother is now on Netflix so I will be watching a lot of that and getting a ton of knitting done.

This evening my dad and I went to a Green Umbrella concert at Disney Hall.  This concert was celebrating the 100th birthday of Polish composer Lutoslawski who’s birthday will be in January of 2013.  Now, I have to be honest with you, neither my dad nor I knew who Lutoslawski was.  But apparently he is a rather famous composer.  There were two Lutoslawski pieces plus one by Stucky and one by Esa-Pekka Salonen.  My favorite piece of the program was probably Salonen’s string quartet, Homunculus.  Closely following that is Lutoslawski’s Chantefleurs et Chantefables which is a 9 part vocal and orchestral piece.  Laura Claycomb, the soprano, was absolutely wonderful.  She had a beautifully clear voice and her facial expressions perfectly matched the playfulness of the composition. All in all it was a great concert and a nice way to spend time with my dad.

I think I’m going to go to sleep now.  Goodnight!

Mathematical!

Yeah, I’ve been watching Adventure Time.  It’s one of the best shows ever and it’s perfect for when Buffy the Vampire Slayer scares me too much (which is basically all the time — I’m very easily scared).  It’s also a good lighthearted show to watch while knitting the seemingly endless rows of Different Lines.  Now that I’m on the 11th CC stripe, the rows are getting longer and longer which means more and more short rows.  It’s taking me much longer to get through a section so I need something that will hold my attention while I’m knitting.  Adventure Time or Buffy is perfect.

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I have so many stitches on the needles that I can no longer fully spread the shawl out.  Radical!

As predicted, I woke up Saturday pretty much unable to move because I was so sore.  I dragged myself out of bed and did some yoga which helped, but I’m still recovering from the Friday Wushu workout.  I was planning to go to next week’s workouts but I just realized that I already had some stuff scheduled.  I’m a little disappointed, but I’m still planning to work on the basics that I learned on Friday on my own.

After I managed to get all my limbs working relatively well Saturday morning, I went over to my mom’s house and got fed.  The weather was great so we went on a walk and stopped by IHOP for some Eggs Benedict on the way back (yum!).

Sunday morning I again woke up very early and got picked up my dad to go see Watts Towers.  Watts Towers is one of my favorite places ever and I’ve been there more times than I can remember.  If you live in Los Angeles and have not seen Watts Towers, go now.  If you are visiting Los Angeles, take the time to visit them.  The history of Watts Towers and Simon/Sam Rodia is incredible and it is an amazing work of art.

I also got to feed Sam who has been sadly neglected the last few weeks because of the Thanksgiving break and my being generally busy.  He seemed quite happy.  I won’t go into the gory details.

Later in the afternoon, I met up with several of my classmates from Japanese class to work on a skit that we wrote and will have to perform on Tuesday.  It was great working with them but I wish we didn’t have to perform our skit.  If only it was enough just to write three scenes in Japanese.  It was difficult but we had a lot of fun.  Now we just have to memorize all those lines!

I’m a bit sad that the weekend is ending because it was a rather nice and relaxed weekend but it is heartening to know that this coming week is the last week of classes.  Yay!  It feels like the year has been going by so quickly.  I can’t believe it’s almost winter break and that soon the second semester will begin.  It’s all very exciting.

 

What A Day!

It has been a weird — sometimes fun sometimes not — day.  But let’s begin with yesterday.  Yesterday, after classes, I decided to go to Target because I needed some new workout clothes.  So I took the Expo Line because it’s a straight shot.  I got there just fine, but when I went to take the Expo Line back, I realized that my TAP card didn’t have quite enough fare.  Now normally I wouldn’t hesitate to go and put more money on the card, but it was raining and the train was coming and I didn’t really want to wait fifteen minutes for the next one.  So of course today would be the day that there were transit police standing at the exit of my stop waiting to catch people who didn’t pay their fare.  Needless to say, I have to pay a $75 fine.  That isn’t so bad but I’m just so angry with myself.  I should have known better.  Kids, don’t break the law.

Anyway, the rest of my day was fine.  I had my weekly walk with my mom who found the whole thing very funny and then I went back to my dorm and relaxed.

I woke up, like I have been the last few days, about 30 minutes before my alarm and went to exercise.  I’m so glad I’m keeping my schedule!  It feels so good.  I did the incline walking workout which was great and I think I’m getting a little stronger.  Slowly but surely.  Then I came back and found out that one of my suitemates had puked in the bathroom (not into the toilet unfortunately) and then passed out in her bed.  So I missed my first class of the day cleaning that up (not fun.  I have never appreciated my mother more than while I was cleaning up puke.  Yuck!).

Unlike most Fridays, my Japanese class met today because we had Guest Day.  Basically, some of the other Japanese professors and some Japanese students studying at USC came to our class and we got to hold conversations with them.  I had a really good time and it was nice to put my limited Japanese to use (even if it was a little nerve wracking).

After that I was able to relax for a little while and I got some more knitting done.  I’ve completed 8 CC stripes so I am officially halfway through with Different Lines.  I still love the yarn and the pattern.  I never really realized how elegant garter stitch could look.

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Okay, ignore the terrible lighting and the fact that the backdrop is the carpet in my dorm.  I’m not a good photographer.  Probably why I’m an Art History major and not a Fine Arts major.

Speaking of Art History, I finished Nothing If Not Critical!  I love Robert Hughes.  I love this book.  I agree with pretty much everything he writes.  It was great.

With the finishing of the Robert Hughes, I have begun my “One Book from Every Country” undertaking. I am beginning with Algeria and have just started Unfinished Business by Boualem Sansal.  So far it’s keeping my interest.  We shall see though since I’ve only just started.

And now on to the reason that I was buying new workout clothes at Target.  I have decided to join some clubs at school.  Some athletic clubs.  Since I’m not big on team sports I have decided to join the Wushu club and the Capoeira club.  And today I went to my first Wushu club practice.  At the moment, because it’s so close to the end of the semester, most people were already proficient at Wushu and were getting ready for competition.  However, they were super nice and kindly helped me during the warmup and with the basics.  I now know what I will be working on over Winter Break.  I really have to improve my flexibility, my strength, and I’ll work on the basic kicks of Wushu.  Also, I need to learn how to do a cartwheel.  It’s a lot but I’m really excited.  I had a lot of fun at this practice even though (or possibly because) it completely wiped me out.  I’m going to be so sore tomorrow.  Yoga will feel pretty damn good  right then.

As you can see, I’ve had a pretty busy day.  きょうはとてもいそがしかたです。 Yay for Japanese!

Bye!