Sunday, February 19, 2006

Samus obsession

Most of the time, as you can probably tell from the "On My Needles" part of the sidebar, I have several projects going on simultaneously. This is not weird. It makes sense, really. A small or recently started project is easily portable, perfect for public transport knitting and sneak knitting while listening to a speaker. Also, there always has to be one mostly-stockinette project, perfect for social knitting or other situations where deep concentration is impossible. Then there are the challenging projects, like lace knitting or intarsia, that require concentration and attention to detail. Finally, there are the quickie gift projects that get cast on when I suddenly remember that so-and-so's birthday party is next week and I had been planning to knit her something complicated but really only have time for a hat or wristwarmers (if I'm lucky), and get cast off as soon as I can whip them off the needles.

The Knitting Olympics has changed all that for me. Sure, according to my sidebar I still have several WIPs on the needles, but the truth is, Samus has become my obsession one and only knitting love since the lighting of the flame. My original goal was to finish the whole thing, with added waist-shaping before the end of the Games. Some minor details like my need for at least a few hours of sleep every night and the fact that I am not a speed knitter have caused me to drop the waist-shaping plan (thanks, Sami, for telling me it's possible to sew darts in later, thereby allowing me to justify that decision). At this point, I'm also thinking that maybe I should be happy with just having a complete sweater body. And maybe some sleeves started. As long as they're started, I can't get sleeve-itis, right? I mean, considering that the only other adult sweater I've ever knit got ignored for months at a time and took me more than a year to finish, maybe just getting to 75% in two weeks is a lot to be proud of. Right? Right?

Anyway, I had a round trip train ride to NYC yesterday to work on it, and tomorrow and Wednesday I'll be on Amtrak for about 4 hours each, so hopefully my wrists and shoulders will hold up and allow me to take full advantage of all that uninterrupted knitting time. Here's how Samus is looking now:

Maybe about five and a half inches? Only 9 and a half
more to go before armhole shaping...

The yarn is actually a greener and much more intense teal than it looks in that picture. What can I say? It gets dark early this far north. I did make one mistake in the cable band, but considering that it will end up being in the back of the sweater, I decided not the rip back to fix it. I can live with imperfection as long as I don't have to look down and see it every five seconds whenever I wear the thing:

The color in this pic is slightly more accurate.
But still too blue.

Not bad for my first ever attempt at cables, if I say so myself. My verdict on cables: Cables really are pretty cool. It's like magic the way they snake around all over the place. Oh, and I'm a chart girl, not a written directions girl, when it comes to cables. At least when the chart is as clear and easy-to-read as it is in this pattern. Hopefully, when I get back from DC (from my second-round interview for my dream job!!!!), I'll have at least started the armhole shaping...

Thursday, February 16, 2006

No, I'm not dead

But thank you all for your concern. Seriously, I knew people read my blog, but I had no idea they followed it closely enough to actually worry about me if I don't post for a couple of weeks. I'm truly touched and somewhat surprised. You probably don't want to hear my excuses, but here they are anyway: I was traveling (to DC for a job interview, to Baltimore to visit my folks, and to Philly to hang out with Taz for a couple days). And since I got home, I've been busy, mostly madly knitting in the vain hope that I will actually be past the 50% done mark on my Samus before the end of the Knitting Olympics.

In my usual lazy blogger style, I don't yet have pictures of my Samus-in-progress. But I will. Very soon. Meanwhile, I will attempt to distract you by showing you pictures of exotic animals I saw when I was in India (remember that I promised and entry on "Fauna" as well as flora?). Enjoy!

The first safari we went on was in the B.R. Hills Wildlife Sanctuary, and the first thing we saw was this:

Indian bison. (Sorry for the blurriness).

They are really big. Even though I was told they are not the same as water buffalo, it seems that they are actually related, at least according to Wikipedia.

A little later, by way of contrast, we saw these delicate creatures:

Spotted deer.

Also known as chital. Like Bambi, spots and all, only bigger. After a while, though, they didn't seem quite as special, since we saw them around nearly every turn. Still beautiful, but almost as common as white-tailed deer are here in the northeastern US. We also saw barking deer and sambar, but we didn't get pictures.

The morning after that safari, we went on an elephant ride:

She raised her trunk like that when the driver said "Salute!"

She was about a 19-year old female, and apparently had a dominant personality, because this little 8-year old guy was scared to death of her:

He had a hard time running away with those chains on his feet.
But at night, they let them graze in the jungle, so don't' get too upset.

The next day, we drove to another jungle lodge at Bandipur, and went on another evening safari. We saw lots more deer, and the rear ends of some elephants that had been eating salt deposits but ran away when they heard our jeep. But the only new animals we actually got pictures of were these langurs:

They ran into the trees when they heard us coming.

And this guy who didn't budge when our jeep drove up. We think he was probably acting as a sentry:

He was literally 5 feet away from me. It was so cool!

Two days after that safari, we found our selves at the Mysore Zoo, which is reputed to be one of the best in the country. There we got to see the animals just as they were taking their after-breakfast walks:

The tiger we didn't get to see on safari.

Outside the tiger's enclosure was a sign that read "Do not cross barrier. Survivors will be prosecuted." Another sign than Taz got a big kick out of was this one:

I am NOT a chimpanzee!!

Quite possibly the coolest thing we saw at the zoo was this Tibetan Bear:

Meditating, perhaps?

I swear, he sat like that for at least ten minutes! Another girl who was standing near us decided that he must have been doing his morning yoga.

Earlier that day, we also met this monkey at the temple on Chamundi Hill just outside the city:

Trust me, it was a female.

We gave her the leftover banana from our offering tray, but she must get enough that she can afford to be picky, since she took one bite and threw the rest on the ground (see that blob by her foot?). It didn't look ripe to me either, so I guess I can't blame her.

Of course, the camera is rarely as fast as the animals. In addition to all the cool creatures I've just shown you, we also saw (but didn't get pictures of): a pair of wild peacocks, several kinds of parrots and cockateels, a racket-tailed drongo, a family of wild boar, a snake (probably not a cobra), and an elephant riding on a flatbed truck in downtown Bangalore.