Saturday, December 23, 2006

Time Flies When You're Having Fun

Well, it's been two weeks already. I'll be at the airport at 4:00 tomorrow morning (thanks, Dad!) to begin the long journey home. I've almost recovered from the plague I got on the flight over, but I was really only out of commission for one day, so it didn't affect my holidays. Of course, my dad and sister are getting it now.

I'm thinking about moving to Florida when I return to the US, because Disney is THAT FUN! Daddy and Terry go every few weeks. The weather isn't bad either- it's been in the 70s and 80s (F, of course, I think that's about the mid- high 20s C) the whole time. I'm not looking forward to going back to winter. Apparently, it has snowed in my absence.

It has also snowed in Denver, where my brother and his family live, so they are here for a few more days, too. So, we're having a great big slumber party at my Dad's (one of my sisters is here, too.)
Here are a few photos, in case you aren't jealous enough. ;-)
These are my two three-year-old niece and nephew. She is dressed as a unicorn. :-)
Here's the castle at Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party:
and Daddy and Terry, who spent a year planning a reunion for seventeen people who had not been together since December, 1995 (not to mention, paid for it all)!

Goofy needs no introduction.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Home Again Home Again Jiggety-Jig

Well, not home home, but my Daddy's house, so close enough. After three planes and two very short layovers, I'm in Florida. I had to clear customs and immigration, pick up and recheck my bags in sixty minutes. I did a Korean-style queue jump and got there as the flight was boarding.

On Friday, we (seventeen of my closest family members) are going to Disney for a week. Thanks, Dad! This will be the first time we have been in the same place at the same time in 11 years. Although seventeen may seem like a high number, I'm not going to see my mother and "her family" (stepfather and their two kids), so it's not a perfect trip, but I'm sure Mickey will ease the pain. :-)

I got a fair bit of knitting done on the flight- a pair of Noro fingerless mitts (no pattern- so they are not symmetrical, but they aren't for me, so I can live with it) and the first sock for the Sock Madness pattern. I got the pattern written up and sent off (I think tomorrow is the deadline) and I'll get the other sock knit up this week. The mitts are for my mother who was complaining about her cold classroom and getting cold hands when typing. I hope to get her another pair done before the Disney trip is over (so they can be carried back to her by one of my siblings), then she'll have a pair for work (the silk sockweight yarn I bought recently) and another for home (the Noro).

I have been shopping till I drop for the past few days, so it's a good thing I brought my Army duffel bag inside my other suitcase. I'm pretty sure both will be full. I got myself some clothes, since I'm rather too bootylicious for Korean pants and their pants tend to be man-shaped anyway. Is that a word? You know what I mean- lacking in a tapered waistline.

I also got some Kool Aid (lemon and grape) for making those LSU socks that I'm determined to make, but the fates seem to be working against me. Someone on a yahoo group recommended Knitpicks Pansy, but failed to mention the pink, which doesn't show in the photo (I was prepared to live with the black). I got a hefty bag of yarn from them.

I also got myself random and sundry foods, like Crystal Light and cornbread mix and deodorant, that are hard/ impossible to find. I also got a DVD/ VCR combo, which I had been planning to buy when I went back to Korea, which Daddy actually paid for for me (score!). A big box just arrived for me from Amazon. I know there's more, but you get the idea.

So, I guess that's a pretty comprehensive update. I've pretty much just been soaking up the sun (it's been over 70 degrees!) and hanging out with the folks.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Hot off the needles

Here is my first FO from my yarn purchases of the weekend. It's one and a half skeins of the "expensive yarn" in a Multi-directional Clapotis style. I didn't actually use that pattern, I found it after I made the scarf, in case you didn't know what I meant. I knit it the opposite from the pattern I linked to- I cast on the total stitches then increased in the first stitch then knit the last stitch worked with the adjacent waiting stitch, if you know what I mean. I can be a little backwards sometimes. At work I always say I don't like reinventing the wheel, but you would never know that from my knitting. I've got wheels all over the place.

It's a little skinny for my taste, only about 4 inches wide, but I was determined to have the triangles match the color repeats as closely as possible. The picture doesn't do it justice, since it's about 8 feet long, but the colors are really nice- dark emerald green, various purple-pinks, and blues- much more vivid than the photo. I think I may go get another couple of skeins to mix in to a black sweater in random stripes.

The shopping Olympics have begun. I'm leaving for the US on Saturday and must buy all of the things that I can't get here/ don't want to pay shipping for. So far I've bought 8,000 skeins of yarn from Knitpicks (approximately) and some books and DVDs from Amazon. What next???

I've decided that 2007 will be my year to save money, so I'm stocking up now. ;-)

Well, I'll have to at least go on one trek around the yarn shops, because I found out yesterday that one of my co-workers knits. Her husband turned up for work wearing a Coronet hat. I kindly offered to introduce her to Yarn Alley. (I really go above and beyond, don't I?)

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Have I lost weight?

Oh, no, that's just my wallet $500 lighter. I went to "the city" today to get last minute gifts for my trip (next weekend!!!). Of course, since I went that far, I decided I might as well go back to the yarn shop where I got the Zokni sock yarn. Of course, she was closed, so I went to the shop where I got the yarn for my no-pattern hat to get another skein to make matching mittens.

He was open and had some gorgeous Japanese silk/wool yarn next to the yarn I wanted. So I got a couple (okay, four) skeins. When I went to pay, he told me in Korean and English that it was expensive. Way to make a sale, dude. I bought it anyway, $13 for 50g- he was telling the truth.

Then it was on to the shopping. I got a crap load of presents (the lion's share of that $500) that will hopefully be well-received. Since I was on the street of the yarn shop rumored to have Koigu (the only one in Korea), I decided that TODAY WAS THE DAY. I've looked for it before and never found it, but SUCCESS! To celebrate, I got 3 issues of Interweave Knits, one skein of Kuryeon, and two of KPPPM. Total damage, an even $100. Merry Christmas to me.

High on my success, and a little (lot of) Starbucks caffeine, I trekked back to the original yarn shop, because I had two yarns in mind to buy from her. She was open, but had sold out of the yarn I saw but didn't buy last time (note to self, buy it when you see it). The other yarn I wanted was white fingering weight for the Sock Madness pattern. She doesn't sell white wool in fingering weight and I'm too cheap to get Italian cashmere. So I bought four skeins of sock yarn, two periwinkle/ cornflowery blue, two black.

Then I went back to the "expensive" guy and bought two more skeins of the expensive yarn in a different colorway. He was gone and the woman who replaced him also let me know it was expensive. Really, that's not what I would consider a great business plan.

Along the way, I saw guys in traditional costumes (GITC) guarding a street corner, GITC practicing for a performance, GITC grinding something in the world's biggest mortar and pestle, and GITC having a procession (including a horse and a hearse) down an alley that had not been closed to traffic. This was at various points throughout the day in several different places "downtown" (such as Seoul has).

First- a temple-style building at a major intersection, second- part of the procession, third- a man and woman in costume (for no apparent reason) grinding grain.
I took about 50 pictures, but I'll guess you're most interested in the yarnpr0n, in lieu of that, I'll give you yarn shop pron. These shops are in the same little underground arcade (about one block long). I've included a picture of one closed shop to show typical Korean security. Really. It's one of the things I love about this country. Have I ever mentioned that I've walked home in the middle of the night alone? It's true, I've done it many times.

First and fourth- the "expensive" shop, second- the shop next door, third- the securely closed shop directly across the corridor. Yes, those are sheets.

I took pictures of the yarn, but the colors did not come out nearly so mouth-watering as they actually are, so I didn't post them.
BTW I heard from my SP about eight seconds after I posted last. Not only did she have her baby, but she was sick with a fever. I'm not a jerk, really.
I've got a couple of other swaps on the horizon. One of the yahoo groups I belong to is doing a bag swap- project bag with a yarn pattern and the necessary yarn. The other is a private one. I sent one of my mom's friends some Korean paper a while back and she offered to send me some yarn as a thank you (she's a knitter, too). I declined, but suggested a future yarn for paper swap, which she agreed to. So, much to look forward to in the new year.
Now I must go do my online shopping to buy all the things that I can't get delivered to Korea. :-)

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Zokni finis

I have finished the Zokni socks that I started over the weekend.

I joined the Townsend KAL yahoo group and got a faboo pattern for aran socks. It may be next, but I'm not sure. I may go ahead and start work on the Sock Madness socks.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

The Knit God Giveth and Taketh Away

On the giveth side of knitting, this weekend I have used two of the skeins of yarn I bought last weekend. One became a
Zokni sock- look I finally figured it out! (Okay, I finally read the very easy tutorial.) The lace pattern is kind of lost in the color, so its future mate may be in a pattern similar to the Elfine sock (everyone knows it, so I'm not going to bother finding the link), but the same stitch count as this one. The other skein became a hat (no pattern). I knit it in about four hours, so I can see how hats could be addicting, but I rarely wear them.

See how much yarn was left from the hat? That's what I cut out because it wasn't spun properly. The entire rest was used. I would have liked one or two rounds more, but only the very tips of my earlobes hang out of it.

On the taketh side, my sweater which has been languishing in my project cabinet for months (a year?) is heading to the frog pond. I have finally come to terms with the fact that I haven't finished it because I don't like the design. I made the front and back the same, which I knew I wouldn't like but did anyway. I further sealed its fate by knitting the sides in seed stitch. Why? I like pilling, I guess. The yarn is too bulky by far for seed stitch where my arms will rub against it. So, I'm frogging and starting over as it should have been in the beginning. See what I mean? What was I thinking?
Back on the giveth side, I had my idea submission accepted for Sock Madness. But, on the taketh side, I have been rejected (again) by Knitty. I submitted a pattern for a bag for the December issue (not right at the last minute or anything).

My secret pal got her latest package from me (the one with the socks and silk bag). She posted a pic of herself wearing the socks, so that made me feel good. I was pretty worried about the fit, since her feet are a couple of sizes bigger than mine and guesstimating is not really my strong suit. On the other hand, my pal seems to have forgotten about me. I haven't heard from her in about a month. She had her first baby this month, so I'm just trying to tell myself that she's just overwhelmed by motherhood. If you have kids, I don't mean that in a bad way. Everyone I know went through a period of time vacuum when they had their first child.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006


I know, it's Thanksgiving, but in the fullness of time, here are a few pictures from my school's Halloween festivities. My favorite students of course. Not that teachers have favorites.

First is Chris and a co-worker. He's a dinosaur, if you can't tell. If I were to give in to my urge to pinch his cute little cheeks whenever I wanted to, that child would leave my class bruised everyday.

Here are my most genius-est children. The girls are Disney characters and the boy is a witch of some kind (the spiderweb-caped and pumpkin-hatted kind). The one in the middle can get away with anything she wants, as long as she chicken dances for me. I don't mean the Oktoberfest dance, but her own original imitation of what a chicken would look like if it could dance. Sounds effects included. She is quite possibly the cutest kid ever to exist.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Dok Do Dong Jim

This is my random siting for the week. For those who don't keep abreast of Korea's political issues not involving crazy bouffant-haired dictators, Dok Do is a rock about the size of the average bathroom that both Korea and Japan claim.

Korea ceded it to Japan a century ago, during occupation, so they now claim it was ceded under duress. I'm not going to go into my personal feelings on the matter, because they are not relevant.

I would like to find out the feelings of the person who thought the best way to show their solidarity with the Dok Do movement was to paint a Korean flag on a zebra's butt. I added a bit of Korean culture by giving it a Dong Jim, since it has an amazingly huge butt crack.

That is the Korean version of a wedgie which is basically sticking both your index fingers as far up someone's butt as they will go. Depending on the age of the sticker, this might be followed by a sniff of the fingers and then fanning their nose. Really. I've seen college students do this. My students have learned that my class is a little bit of American soil, like an embassy, and in America, we don't Dong Jim.

I really don't know what's going on with my hair in this picture.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Yarnpr0n- Seoul Style

I was in "the big city" (Seoul) yesterday, so I went to Yarn Row. Okay, it's Yarn and LP Row, because almost every shop either sells yarn or old LPs. For the amount of space dedicated to fiber, there is a relative dearth of goods to be had. I struck gold, though. 2.0mm circs! The only two pair in Korea, as far as I can tell. I nearly did a happy dance. Since I had just fallen down most spectacularly (one of those pinwheel arm moves) spilling yarn across the corridor, I decided that I had displayed enough foreigner crazy for one day.

I also got six 50g skeins of sock-weight yarn. You may notice that they look exactly the same (except for the colors), but in fact they are all different brands. I got 4 skeins of Wendy in black to go with some Noro (after I make sure they really are the same weight) and some cool looking yarn that is long repeats of black with patches of variegated earth tones. It's DK weight and will either be a hat or bag (or both if the first project has left-overs and I like how it turns out).

I also got the new Knit Today. I still haven't decided on this magazine. I think I'm just buying because I'm so excited to find a knitting mag. So far I haven't found anything I'd like to make or even something that I'd like to make something similar to, if you know what I mean.

So, here's the yarnpr0n Seoul style:

Now I just need to sort out some projects to go with it. OR I could finish one of the many UFOs languishing in my yarn cabinet. Basically, anything that is not a sock has no chance of getting finished in a reasonable amount of time these days (ie since I made my first pair of socks).

Thursday, November 16, 2006

The Ides of November

That was yesterday, actually. All months have ides, right?

I can't believe the month is already half over. Three weeks until I see my family! Thanksgiving! Which apparently is next week, but we're celebrating this Friday, because that's Thursday in the US and we all thought it was this week. Okay, by we all, I mean, I said it's this week and everyone assumed I was right. Such is the power I yield. Seriously, isn't it supposed to be the third Thursday? Have I been away so long that I can't even remember when holidays are? Well, yes. I usually remember Mother's Day sometime in June. I find out it was Mardi Gras after I see the news on Yahoo. Same for Easter. I know when Christmas is, so I guess that's something.

Anyway, I'm making red beans and rice and pumpkin pie. I usually make jambalaya, but two of my coworkers are vegetarian and I'm trying to cut back on the meat myself. I know what you're thinking- red beans and rice isn't vegetarian. That's okay. They are the kind of vegetarians that just don't eat meat. Meat stock, dairy, animal products of any other kind basically are all fair game. So, I'll just serve the sausage on the side.

Maybe you're also thinking that neither jambalaya nor red beans are traditional Thanksgiving foods. Well, I have found one shop that sells turkey, but they are smaller than any turkeys I have ever seen before (Cornish turkeys, if you will) and I've never actually cooked a turkey before. With the $100-ish price tag, it's not a gamble I'm willing to take. So, we all just make foods we miss from home. We stuff ourselves silly, then as the food coma settles in, we start class.

Monday, November 13, 2006

48 Things You Could Care Less About

1. FIRST NAME? Jennifer
2. WERE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE? I think my parents just liked the name. I have a twin named Amy and I'm pretty sure both names were in the top five the year we were born.
3. WHEN DID YOU LAST CRY? I am kind of a crybaby over stupid, schmaltzy crap. There was a CNN commercial a few years back showing an Olympic runner pull a muscle and then hop to the finish line. I'm getting choked up just thinking about it. Really. I don't cry too often over actual real-life drama, though.
4. DO YOU LIKE YOUR HANDWRITING? No. My handwriting is small and cramped, even when I make a concerted effort to make it look nice, or even legible. In the time I have been teaching, my blackboard writing has improved. However, I do little other writing, so my paper (real) writing has devolved commensurately.
5. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LUNCHMEAT? Turkey is the only lunchmeat that doesn't turn my stomach. I'll be in the US in a few weeks and plan to eat enough turkey that it, too, will turn my stomach.
7. DO YOU HAVE A JOURNAL? blogblogblog
8. DO YOU STILL HAVE YOUR TONSILS? Yep. I scared them into submission in college. I had tonsillitis over and over until a doctor said the next time, he would take them out. That was the last time I had tonsillitis.
9. WOULD YOU BUNGEE JUMP? Absolutely not. I was invited today, but I live in Korea, land of no law suits. No thanks. Punitive damages keep (business) people honest. In all honesty, I wouldn't even bungee jump in the US, though.
10. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CEREAL? Does oatmeal count? I like cinnamon flavored oatmeal with raisins cooked in it.
11. DO YOU UNTIE YOUR SHOES WHEN YOU TAKE THEM OFF? Yes, which tends to drive Koreans a little crazy, because it takes so long (I double knot, because my laces don't stay tied otherwise. Yes, I am over the age of three, I am just lacing-impaired.)
12. DO YOU THINK YOU ARE STRONG? Physically strong? Hahaha! Um, I don't need one of those pseudo-wheelchairs for lazy people. Yet.
13. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ICE CREAM FLAVOR? Hmmm. I am trying to end my addiction to ice cream, but I have two that I can't pass up. I don't know their proper names (I know the packages), but they are both B&J's. One is choc with brownie chunks and the other is peppermint with peppermint Oreo-types cookies in it. Mmmmmm. I could eat the whole pint, shortly before throwing up.
14. SHOE SIZE? Depends on the shoe. US 7.5 to 8
5. RED OR PINK? Red, definitely. Especially darker, bluer reds. Somehow I've got more pink in my closet than red, but I'm not happy about it.
16. WHAT IS THE LEAST FAVORITE THING ABOUT YOURSELF? My tendency to obsess and then obsess some more.
17. WHO DO YOU MISS THE MOST? I miss my family. I only see them every couple of years.
18. DO YOU WANT EVERYONE TO SEND THIS BACK TO YOU? Ummm...okay, by everyone, I'm guessing the three people who read this.
19. WHAT COLOR PANTS, SHIRT AND SHOES ARE YOU WEARING? Now? I'm inside, so I'm not wearing shoes. I'm wearing gray sweatpants and a blue sweatshirt. In my defense, it's 1:30 in the morning.
20. LAST THING YOU ATE? I had dinner with a coworker (previously seen modeling the latest in Korean tableware). We ate something that is called chicken ribs, but it is really boneless chicken with vegetables and red pepper paste grilled at your table. YUM! I hadn't eaten it in about two or three years and I could eat it again tomorrow. It's total student food, but it is so good!
21. WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW? Yahoo music (country), my newest time waster.
22. IF YOU WERE A CRAYON, WHAT COLOR WOULD YOU BE? Something blue-green like a dark teal or dark purple.
23. FAVORITE SMELL? I'm not really into smells. Actually, I don't think my nose is that sensitive, because I rarely notice smells.
24. WHO WAS THE LAST PERSON YOU TALKED TO ON THE PHONE? My husband or the pizza guy. I hate talking on the phone, so only a few people have my number.
25. THE FIRST THING YOU NOTICE ABOUT PEOPLE YOU ARE ATTRACTED TO? How quickly they can make me laugh *with them*.
26. DO YOU LIKE THE PERSON you stole THIS from? I like ALL the people I stole this from (I've seen it on a quadrillion blogs, I can't remember whose I actually took it from.)
27. FAVORITE DRINK? Diet Coke (aka liquid crack)
28. FAVORITE SPORT? Is there such a thing? Aussie Rules football isn't as boring as the other kinds (of football, I mean).
29. EYE COLOR? Hazel
30. HAT SIZE? Small. I'm a bit of a small-head , you know, relative to my butt.
31. DO YOU WEAR CONTACTS? Glasses. I used to wear contacts, but quit when I got married. ;-)
32. FAVORITE FOOD? Today, it's Dakkalbi (my dinner). I've been eating a lot of tofu stew lately, too. I go through favorite food phases.
33. SCARY MOVIES OR HAPPY ENDINGS? Scary movies scare me. Yes, I'm a total dork. I accept that. If you refer back to number three, I'm a bit of a cry baby when I watch tear-jerkers, so it's a no-brainer.
34. IF YOU COULD LIVE ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD WHERE WOULD IT BE? In a picturesque village Europe, overlooking water with mountains in the distance. A girl can dream, right?
35. SUMMER OR WINTER? I am from the South. Therefore, heat and humidity are fine, but I cannot tolerate the least little bit of cold. Here in Korea, I wear long johns until June. Before I moved here, I didn't know people wore them when they weren't camping. Maybe they don't...
37. FAVORITE DESSERT? Anything that supplies my RDA of chocolate-y goodness will do, the gooier the better, but I'm trying to wean myself.
39. LEAST LIKELY TO RESPOND? Most everybody, I imagine. Hasn't everyone already answered this?
40. WHAT BOOKS ARE YOU READING? My personal reading time is greatly diminished by my ever-increasing knitting time and the fact that I have to read about five chapter books/ novels a week for school.
41. WHAT'S ON YOUR MOUSE PAD? Nothing, it's the one that came with the computer.
42. WHAT DID YOU WATCH LAST NIGHT ON TV? About a thousand videos on the newly discovered Yahoo music (I was feeling sick, okay). Okay, I haven't newly discovered Yahoo music, but I have newly discovered that I can watch it on TV, like a DVD.
43. FAVORITE SOUNDS? The last bell at the end of the day.
44. ROLLING STONE OR BEATLES? Depends on my mood, but more likely to be the Stones.
45. THE FURTHEST YOU'VE BEEN FROM HOME? Korea or Australia, I'm not sure which is farther and I can't be bothered to look at my map.
46. WHAT'S YOUR SPECIAL TALENT? Putting up with idiots and my humility. Or is it my sarcasm? That's a talent, right?
47. WHERE WERE YOU BORN? Louisiana
48. WHO SENT THIS TO YOU? Stolen from someone who must have an interesting knitblog, but I read too many interesting ones to actually recall which one was the one that I finally ripped it off of. I read it on scores (or at least ten, anyway).
Okay - your turn. DO IT DO IT DO IT DO IT! You know you want to.

One Fish, Two Fish

I have finished the much-anticipated (by me) Dr. Fish socks. I still don't know why this yarn excites me as much as it does. I don't usually (ever) like pastels. I'm pretty sure my Peeps will never again touch my feet, and they're semi-famous. I really like these socks. I've only knit one or two pairs of stockinette socks before and they are really fast! I was sick all weekend and I knit the whole pair in less than 12 hours. Check it out and how much yarn is left over. I'm pretty sure I've got another pair in there.

I also have found out that Yahoo music is the new MTV. Those of you who are my age may recall a time when MTV played videos (and music I would voluntarily listen to). I spent about 10 hours on my couch yesterday watching videos. Well, mostly listening, because I can't figure how to maintain the full screen setting on the videos, it seems to just work for a song or two. I reset it twice, then realized I wasn't really that fussed-- the computer and TV it's connected to are a good five or even six steps away from the couch. So, I've learned about 20 new songs, because that's about how many different songs were played in that length of time. That's the MTV-ness. I heard each song four or five times. On the other hand, there aren't that many ads.

I may have found a new way to waste time. Korean radio is K-pop, which I'll just say several songwriters have been successfully sued for too closely "following the pattern" of Britney Spears songs. 'Nuff said. The only other choice is Trot music (rhymes with "throat") which is even more painful to listen to, especially since it is frequently sung by call-in listener/ participants. It's like karaoke for the radio. You don't know what you're missing.

Actually, for being in my sick bed, ahem, sick couch, I was fairly productive this weekend. I also typed up the pattern for a pair of socks to be seen in January's MagKnits. I also dyed that yarn, but it's a color I would actually wear. I've been putting that off for a month now.
Okay, maybe not that productive.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Say Kimchi!

I went to a new restaurant the other night. The food was nothing special, but the table was.

In Korea, service is usually pretty awful. You get a bow coming and going and the entire staff will stop what they are doing to remind you to come again soon. Period. End of service. You could die of hunger or thirst, even when you are the only customer in the place.

So, this is relevant not because the new restaurant has attentive wait staff, they don't. BUT they have a drawer with utensils in the table and bowls of side dishes in the table! How cool is that? Check it out:

That's my coworker cutting the kimchi.

Notice the shoes just above her arm. When you eat sitting on the floor, you take off your shoes at the entrance. A fun novelty about one time.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Random funny sighting

I actually took this photo over Chuseok. One of the photos I was going to post, but never got around to it. This was taken in downtown Seoul. There was a *huge* procession walking downtown toward a palace where they were doing a reenactment of a ceremony. This being downtown Seoul, traffic was not blocked and these guys got separated from the parade when the light changed.

Directly behind them is one of the original city gates, now the center of a traffic circle.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

It's Out!!

The new MagKnits, that is. The one that I'm in, as opposed to the one that I *thought* I would be in (because I tend to be somewhat memory impaired and mistook October for November). Check me out:

Here are a couple of photos:
The color is pretty retina-damaging for me, but if you recall, the blue/ yellow was my second attempt at dyeing and did not turn out AT ALL as expected. When I saw it, I knew what I had to do with it- add pink. :-)

OTN today, after a small rest in the frog pond, are my swap pal socks. Her feet are somewhat bigger than mine (my first socks knit for a different size) so I hope they fit. She got her yarn and loves it, so one worry off my mind. You know, I really didn't realize how much thought I would have to put into this swap. I don't know WHY I didn't realize it when I buy my own family members gift certificates because I don't want to get them something they don't like. She quilts, so I got her a silk bag with traditional Korean-style patchwork. Those should be in the mail tomorrow or Monday. Anyway, here they are:

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

All Hallow's Eve (aka MagKnits Eve)

Yes, I am once again counting down until my socks are published, but this time I have the correct month. It's *really* tomorrow.

That means that today is the last day of Socktoberfest. My final pair of socks is for my secret pal and is not actually finished, yet. So, here is a WIP shot. The pattern is from a Sock Knitter's Challenge e-book I got from a yahoo group. It is a modified version of Hatsuyo's Lace Socks. I've been a busy little bee with my secret pal. I've never done a swap before, so I'm worried that she won't like the stuff I put together for her. I sent her some green sock yarn (hopefully in a shade she likes). The etsy vendor was so nice ( I was worried that she would actually send it to me (from the US) so I'd then have to send it right back to the US. So she emailed a couple of times to make sure there was no mistake and even offered (after I had paid) to write a card to my pal. Now I just hope my pal likes the yarn as much as I now like the vendor. Have I mentioned that MY pal is Estonian and a published designer? How cool is that?

How lovely is this packaging?

Look what the mailman brought me yesterday. A whole pile of yarn, including 5 skeins of Noro, 7 skeins of Shimmer in the most beautiful shades of turquoise, 5 skeins of lace weight yarn in turquoise, purple, and pale, pale gray, and 1 skein of Dr. Fish. As I've written before, overall I've been completely disappointed with the self-striping experience. I think I just wanted them because I like variegated yarns and I can't get self-striping yarns locally (the grass is always greener...). That said, I have wanted a skein of Dr. Fish for like a year, but the shipping is always almost the same amount as the yarn and this is the first time I've found enough yarn including the Dr. Fish to justify the shipping. Not in the photo, are 5 sock magazines. Now my head is full of new project ideas.

The knitting has to wait a bit, though. I'm pretty wrapped up in work at the moment, or work-related things. This past weekend was the annual international conference here in Seoul (a two-day conference full of English-teaching goodness). I left Friday evening exhausted, but really feeling like I've been doing the right thing in class. As I have written before, my school began a new program at my suggestion this semester using extensive reading (chapter books/ novels) instead of traditional reading textbooks. At the conference there were at least a dozen presentations on the benefits of extensive reading, last year there may have been one-- probably by a publisher trying to push their line of level-graded readers. I'm so cutting edge (HA!). Now I just need to convince my school that the students that are not native level speakers would benefit more from graded readers than the chapter books they are reading now. I know a guy who works for a publisher-- pushing their graded readers ;-) -- and he offered to come and give a presentation to the mothers to explain why lower level books will improve their reading faster. We don't even live in the same place.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Carrefour say Roundeyes steal

No that's not fortune cookie wisdom, it seems to be the truth. So, here's what happened. I was shopping at Carrefour today, as I do at least once a week, if not five times. Mainly because it's a block from my house, but it also has a good selection of "Western" stuff and their fruits and vegetables only cost an arm, as opposed to an arm and a leg, like everywhere else.

But I digress. So, I'm acknowledging the greeter as I walk in, when a manager-type RUNS over to me to help her tell me to put my (very-small-purse-sized) backpack in a locker. Did he think I was going to get beligerent with her? Maybe just force my way past? We teachers are a rough bunch, don't mess with us, or you'll get the wrong end of the board marker, let me tell you. So, I stow my purse, as I always do when asked (about 20% of the time) and go in. Where I see EVERY OTHER WOMAN has her purse. Now, don't get me wrong, they aren't tiny backpacks, secured across their backs, no these are the much more stylish 30-gallon totes (Mary-Kate-style) slung over their wrists.

This can only lead me to one conclusion. As a professional in my mid-thirties, I must be profiled as a shoplifter. OR Roundeyes steal.

I was not *too* steaming mad until I passed not one but three packs of teenagers who all had their messenger bags across their shoulders. I look more likely to steal than groups of teenagers?!!! What was that guy smoking?

I usually try not to take Koreans (incredibly blatant) prejudices too personally. I'm from the South and was brought up to believe prejudice was the sign of ignorance/ stupidity and such people weren't going to become less prejudiced until they became less stupid. However, it is this kind of thing that is hard to overlook.

So, I am faced with a dilemma. Do I do what I think is right and take my business elsewhere? Or do I suck it up and go there because it's convenient? Time will tell I suppose.

Maybe I'm just testy because I'm meat-deprived. I haven't eaten meat all week. Somewhat coincidentally, I have just finished Fast Food Nation and feel rather revolted about all the meat I have eaten in the past. I read The Jungle years ago, but assumed, foolishly, as it turns out, that changes were made in the last century. EEK is all I have to say. On the other hand, I really like cheeseburgers. I really think I'm going to have to learn to love less processed foods, though.

To top my day off, I dyed some yarn and a 1" section all the way through didn't take the dye, because I had the skein bound too tightly. The rest of it is really nice, though. I think I'm going to knit it up and then redye the finished product if it looks bad.

It's been a bad week for knitting in general. I knit an entire pair of socks that I'm going to frog and reknit, because my experiment with afterthought heels was a crashing failure. They look pretty good, but they don't fit comfortably. On the positive side, I'll have two sock-length pieces of yarn, so I may give two-at-a-time socks a try. I've started three other socks this week and a scarf and ripped them all. Tomorrow is another day. I've got progress reports to write and various and sundry other paperwork, but when that is done, I'll start something new.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Asparagus and Rhubarb

Here are my beautiful socks from the faboo Jan-Knits ( ). Blogger is still refusing to upload my photos, so I'll try linking to Flickr.


Monday, October 09, 2006

Stick a DPN in me

I'm done. After a week of holiday on postal life support, the plug has been pulled. That's right, the Asparagus and Rhubarb Socks of Doom arrived today. Much thanks to Jan-Knits, they are lovely (decorations!) and comfy and dare I say, look much nicer than the ones I made. Sorry, Jess! Obviously they are too thick to wear with shoes, they are the perfect size for wearing on winter nights (or Sundays) around the house. Now I have a reason to look forward to the cold!

I wanted to post a pic, but Blogger is being ornery. I'll try again later.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Chuseok at the Korean Folk Village

Ahhhh, Chuseok. It always gets translated as Korean Thanksgiving, but it's so much more. For Koreans, they all meet at the grandmother or oldest son's house for several days of feasting and going "to the mountains" (where people were traditionally buried) and bowing to their ancestors. There is a ritual done with an altar of food and the bowing and it's all a big deal.

For us foreign types, it's a big long break from work. Which makes up for the one day for Christmas and nothing for Easter. Most Koreans are Christians these days, but most of them don't even know the Korean word for Easter. Anyway...

I went to the folk village, which sounds like a horrid tourist trap, but most of which is tastefully done. There are people in traditional dress demonstrating traditional tasks like making fans, baling hay, spinning and weaving, etc etc etc. It's a massive place. I hadn't been in a few years and it's gotten much bigger (and more expensive), I think because two very popular period dramas were filmed there.

Even though I've been five or six times now, I really enjoy it. It's very quiet and peaceful, even though it's almost as crowded as anywhere else in Korea. I think it's the trees and lack of stereo speakers and people yelling at you to buy something.

We saw two drum line shows. I'm not much of a fan of traditional music of any kind, but Korean drums are pleasant, even with the high pitched gongs and even higher pitched horn. Anyway, all the drummers dance as they play. Some have to make a ribbon on their hat go in circles or the big feather go up and down as they are dancing and playing. Periodically, the gongers (is that what they are called?) also do no-hand cartwheels as they play. The youngest player (one of two high school students) had to do a solo. He played while hopping laterally over his ribbon as well as various moves that looked suspiciously like break dancing. It was like that event in gymnastics, but he had to play his gong the whole time.

At the end of the day, a huge moon was rising. Chuseok follows the Lunar calendar, so it's always at the full moon.

Here's a truckload of photos. There are more, but I'll post them later.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Socktoberfest Meme

When did you start making socks?
Not that long ago, actually. Less than a year, I'm pretty sure.

Did you teach yourself or were you taught by a friend or relative? or in a class?
I taught myself. I saw some great socks on people's blogs and I thought *I can do that* and I did.

What was your first pair?
My first pair was a pair of anklets based on a free pattern at I just changed it to a k2p2 rib. I made anklets because I only bought a 50g skein of yarn and didn't know how far it would go. They were toe up, short-row heel.

How have they "held up" over time?
Pretty well. The yarn has pilled a LOT, but I still wear them;-).

What would you have done differently?
I would have made them taller, but they are great for summer.

What yarns have you particularly enjoyed?
I don't have a large selection here and postage is pretty outrageous from most international shops, so I tend to use Froehlich Wolle Special Blauband. I got a big box of Fortissima yarn from a German Ebay shop and LOVE it. It's very stretchy. The colors aren't great, so I overdye a lot of it.

Do you like to crochet your socks? or knit them on DPNs, 2 circulars, or using the Magic Loop method?
I only ever use 2 circs.

Which kind of heel do you prefer? (flap? or short-row?)
Either or. Short row requires less thought, but flaps look nicer (IMHO).

How many pairs have you made?
Not really sure. More than a dozen less than two. I've also got one or two (no more than three, for sure) singles waiting for a mate.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Secret Pal 9

Okay. let's see if I can answer all of these. There are sooooo many questions, my attention span may be maxed out. In that case, I'll do some now and add more when the mood strikes. Also, it's nearly midnight and I'm taking some of the new teachers at school to the Folk Village bright and early tomorrow. Celebrate the biggest local holiday of the year by introducing them to some of the culture and history. Any buy stuff to take home in December. They've got the best souvenirs (and the lowest prices) in the country. But I digress. You wouldn't really know that I teach writing, would you? Trust me, I have much higher standards for my students.;-)

1. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with?
I don't really have a favorite. I've just discovered a sock yarn that is wool/ silk and it is soooo soft. I'm not really a snob, although I prefer not to use acrylic, that's because I don't like the look of it. That unnatural sheen can be seen a mile away.
What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?
Unnaturally shiny ones :-) and felting/ bleeding yarns. I do not live a life of leisure. My knitting time will not be cut into by hand washing (unless it's really fabulous yarn). Although I'm not super sensitive, I prefer yarns that aren't scratchy or "hard" feeling (you know what I mean).

2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in?
At the moment, a big plastic bin where they are mostly in a tangled mess if they are not in use.

3. How long have you been knitting & how did you learn?
I learned to knit in the late 80's when I was an exchange student in Germany. My host mother taught me to knit a few days after I arrived. The first time I cast on, I made a sweater with no gauge swatch. It set an early precedent- both not to worry if I'm up to the task or not and not to swatch-- I accept that I have to frog more than swatchers, and I can live with that.
Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced?
I'm intermediate. I can do stuff, but I prefer not to do things that require too much concentration, because my attention wanders and I usually knit while doing other things.

4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?
Not at this time, but that could change.

5. What's your favorite scent? (for candles, bath products, etc.)
I like vanilla, but I'm not really a scent person. (I don't wear perfume and I try to buy unscented detergents, soaps, etc. I'm not anti-scent, it's just not my thing.)

6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy?
I am trying to end my addiction to chocolate/ sugar/ artificial sweetener. I really don't see how crack could be better than dark, orange chocolate (but I won't try it just in case).

7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin?
I sometimes work on a quilt (the same one for two years now, not even getting close to being pieced) and I've taken traditional Korean sewing classes (like quilting, but with silk to make small items).

8. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)
I listen mostly to modern country (the kind that sounds like Southern rock), Southern rock, and older (60's- 80's) rock and pop.

9. What's your favorite color(s)? Any colors you just can't stand?
I like deeper jewel tones, like emerald, sapphire, ruby... I generally don't care for pastels or orange. These days, I'm really into dark teal.

10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?
I am recently separated, no children, except my cat, Knievel. Yes, like Evel. He was about two before he could jump from one surface to another without falling and used to only nap on the edge of things. He frequently proved that cats don't always land on their feet. So, he got named Native American style. If you are too young to remember Evel Knievel, he was a stuntman who did spectacular stunts, but broke every bone in his body along the way.

11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos?
Yes, I do not tolerate the cold well. My hometown doesn't get snow and I've never adapted.

12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?
I go through phases where I'll just knit one thing. Sometimes it is sweaters or afghans, right now it's socks.

13. What are you knitting right now?
Hahaha. On the needles- two pairs of socks, two sweaters, a scarf and a lace stole.

14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts?
Duh! I knit. I love handmade gifts (knit or otherwise).

15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?
I only use circs. Right now, I use bamboo, because that's what is available here. In the States, I would usually use aluminum.

16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift?
No, I'm trying to resist- winding doesn't kill me and I know I would just use it as an excuse to increase my stash.

17. How old is your oldest UFO?
About 1.5-2 years. It's "finished", but I don't like the way the collar came out, so I won't wear it. It's still in my knitting bin so I can rip out the collar and do it over. An afternoon's work, but I can't seem to make myself do it.

18. What is your favorite holiday?
Chuseok (Korean thanksgiving)- it's going on now. It's a three-day event that Koreans go visit their ancestors graves, so it's like everyone is out of town but me (well, because they are out of town). It's quiet and peaceful, which is rare in Korea.

19. Is there anything that you collect?
yarn and knitting paraphernalia ;-)

20. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?
I can't find any lace books here and I would like to find a nice shawl/ stole pattern to use with some Helen's Laces I got for my mother. I don't subscribe to any magazines, because the international rates are so high for something sight unseen. Recently knitting magazines have become available from some bookstores here, too.

21. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn?
I'd like to learn to be a better finisher, but that's more patience than technique. I'm not really into intarsia/ fair isle...

22. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements?
I am a sock knitter. I wear a US women's 7-8 (23cm from heel to longest toe), regular width.

23. When is your birthday?
I'm a Gemini.

My goodness that took me a long time. Taciturn I'm not.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Ummm... October and November are different months

After a bit of sleuthwork (aka checking old emails) I have discovered the reason I am not in the October MagKnits- I will be in the November MagKnits. Have I mentioned that my memory is not the best?

MagKnits minus me

Okay, the new MagKnits is out, and my socks are nowhere to be seen. Waaah! Do they accept more than they use or what? Inquiring minds want to know.

I've got my Sock Wars target's address, so those shall be posted tomorrow along with a little Korean sussy. Do people still say that word? It's a something that's a nothing, if you know what I mean.

Anyway, I've just baked some chocolate chip oatmeal cookies, so I think I'll go have a cookie or three and contemplate why my socks are missing.

I'm *almost* finished with the Kitty submission. A coworker saw the finished object when I took modeled pics of it and wants the pattern in Korean. She's only made a scarf before, so I'll have to give her knitting directions (in Korean) with the pattern. ACK!

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Socks of Doom complete

Well, I finished my Socks of Doom, like a week after my assassin, but because I live across the universe from her, I'm still alive. I could rush out Monday and express mail them, because the rest of the week is a holiday, so if the socks don't arrive here Monday, it will be a whole week until the mailman comes again. I could... but i doubt I will. Here they are:

I spent the day today at the Australian Rules Football Grand Final (Super Bowl) party in Seoul. The Australian Chamber of Commerce puts it on and it's a great day out. Even for those of us who are not sports fanatics. I did not knit, though. I'm not shy about knitting in public, but we always go very early so my husband can claim the best seats. I feel a little guilty about sitting in a prime seat and not watching the game at all (or even pretending). My husband's team won. Yay. He's a wee bit sports-obsessed and his team lost last year. Things were not happy around here for a few days. This is a picture of the festivities, Seoul-style. We know how to party. Check out the balloons. It looked like a child's birthday party being held at a hotel function room. The open bar and all-you-can-eat barbecue were not to be mocked, however. Western food is expensive and some mundane things are nearly (or totally) unavailable at any price (like the delicious lemon merengue pie and the not-a-hotdog sausage).

So, tomorrow's the big day! The new MagKnits. The one with my little socks in them. I'm so excited! I actually haven't worn those socks- they are not colors I would ordinarily wear, but when I saw color of the yarn, it spoke to me. Very Easter-y. Or Easter egg-y. Or Easter marshmallow treat-y. I'll stop now. Go to and see for yourself. Tomorrow.

Speaking of tomorrow. That's the deadline for submissions for the December Knitty. Still not typed (the pattern, I mean). I'll do it tonight. Maybe tomorrow. Afternoon. I'll get it done. I will. Promise. Sometimes I feel like I'm still in college- I need that pressure of the deadline to make me sit down and work.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Sock Wars 2006- over before it started

Well that competition was quicker than a scratch off ticket, I must say. All weekend the yarnmonkey site was showing up as "server down" on my computer, but apparently that was my server being picky, because as soon as I got on the site and saw my email was wrong, I emailed my assassin and my socks were already packed up! I'm halfway through one sock, but I'll finish the pair by the time the socks get all the way here from the US. I suppose I could hurry and finish them and express mail them to my target, but eh... C'est la vie, you know?

I dyed a truckload of yarn this weekend (since I couldn't knit my Socks of Doom) and my interest has been diverted. Here are some pics:

The colors aren't showing up quite right. The sock is lighter- the same Kingfisher and Havana brown I used the first time I dyed, but I dyed separate balls of yarn this time, instead of trying to get the repeats the correct length. The yarn on the right is 150g of that "sock yarn" I got from eBay. I dyed the whole thing Old Gold and then 1.5ish m section bordeaux and 1.5ish m section Madonna blue, so there are no white spots. It's actually darker than it looks. Quite a "happy accident" (I would link to the previous post here if I knew how ;-) ), if I do say so myself. Of course, my cat helped me wind it into a ball, so now it is in two pieces and there is one part that will need to be cut out. I seem to be getting the process down now. Very little dye rinsed out this time and the blue was exhausted. Usually the dye looks the same before and after. Of course, I got myself a little dye pot, so I'm not using the microwave anymore. That may have something to do with it...

Anyway, I have finished a submission for Knitty's December issue, but I'm sure I'll wait until the last possible second to send it in.

I'm going home in December for the first time in 18 months, so I'm starting to think about gifts.
I am a terrible mailer, so I've got 18 months worth of stuff that I've picked up here and there for some family members and nothing for others. So, I need to get on that. I also need to get on buying a ticket. EEK! A coworker is going home in December as well and tickets are over US$2000. Should I tell my family that my ticket is my gift to them? Haha. They might be a little disgruntled when I proceed to go to the mall and drop a month's pay. (I have to buy all the things I can't get here- like clothes that fit.) is a conundrum.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Miracle on LYS Street

All week I've wanted to go buy yarn to make some LSU socks (purple and gold) for the football season, but as you know, the LYS posse puts me off. Finally, I could put it off no longer. The shopkeeper AND the posse (don't they have jobs- they are ALWAYS there?!) were...nice to me!!! I'm still in shock. She actually helped me pick out yarn. Of course, I was in a bit of a hurry on my way to work, so I didn't look at her alternative choices carefully and when I got home, I realized I bought three skeins of DK instead of sockweight. Oh well, I'll just use them for Sock Wars.

So, I can't cast on for the LSU socks yet, but I don't have to dread the next trip to my LYS. They couldn't contain their curiosity about my socks anymore, either. Last time I went, when I told them my frequent purchases of one of this, two of that were for socks they looked at me askance. Yesterday, they asked me to take off my shoes so they could fondle my socks. I had just walked a mile or two in about 80 degree weather, so we'll call that payback. Anyway, I was wearing k2, p2 rib anklets, so I told them I would be sure to wear cuter socks next time. Perhaps my socks soon to be seen in MagKnits made with yarn purchased from her...

In other knitterly happenings, I finished my second pair of self-striping socks from that one skein (with enough left for about half of one more sock). This pair looks better, except I decided to experiment with a picot edge and didn't understand why I needed to knit so many rows just to fold them over. Well, the reason is, the edge just curls out and the hem shows. It's not too noticable when to socks are on, so I'm just going to leave them. I have figured out the best stretchy cuff and I love the gusset heel I've done on the last three pairs of socks.

I finally (about three WEEKS after ordering) have received "sock weight yarn" from a Chinese vendor on eBay. Now, when yarn takes three months to get here from Germany, I understand- Deutsche Post seems to be where all disorganized/ lackadaisical Germans are put to work. When yarn takes two months from the States, I understand- all surface mail takes that long to get from there to here. When a padded envelope takes three weeks to get from China to Korea?! WTF?! For those of you who may not immediately recall the exact location of Korea- it borders China! Okay, technically, China borders North Korea, but since it was airmail, not mulemail, that should not matter. So, was it worth the wait? NO! It is sock yarn (80/ 20), but it is machine weight, ie about a nanometer thicker than thread. I figure I will have to put three plies together to make it usable. Or I could use it for lace. Well, I've got 500g, so I'm sure I could do both. I am still excited by all the dyeing possibilities it gives me- I could dye each strand separately and make a marled yarn, I could dye one ply a bunch of colors and save it for such time as I am ready to take on a lace project that it would be suitable for, or or or... Too many choices. Hopefully I will have some "happy accidents" ala Katsara yarn.

Did anyone else instantly recognize who Lime and Violet were talking about in the 11th episode of their podcast? ( I actually laughed out loud, because I, too, have been put off from ordering from such a bitter, angry person (I was on a bus, so I got the usual "crazy foreigner" glances, of course). BTW, if you could help me create a nicer looking link, like everyone else on the planet seems to know how to do, I would appreciate it. You know, the kind where I could just highlight "podcast" or something. Coloring it half lime half violet pretty much pushes the limits of my capabilities. Ditto for helping actually post a pattern in my "Patterns" category- I still don't know how to actually post a file.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Cabinet kitty

There's not a lot going on here at the moment. The semester started last week and so I've read my books for the fortnight. I'm pretty sure I wrote (whined) about this earlier- my suggestion for two classes to use novels instead of textbooks that they took and ran with- for seven classes. One novel a fortnight each. And I get to make materials for about half of those classes. Yippee.

We've got the usual growing pains of switching teachers. The new batch seems like a good one, but parents don't like change, so any difference between old and new results in complaints. They forget that not long ago they were complaining about the teacher that left. It'll work out, but some of the crap they complain about is annoying, like the teacher didn't correct the student's mistakes for them (I'm talking about homework that was checked together.) Do they want us to stop class and make workbook corrections for their little darlings? One would think they would benefit more from making the changes themselves as they are discussed in class, you know, think about what they did wrong and why it's wrong. Call me crazy. I wish that parents that want their children to sit in class and have their heads filled with language-y goodness without actually using a single brain cell would enroll their children elsewhere.

Okay, rant over. Back to the more amusing matter of my cabinet kitty. Like most cats, he has an insatiable need to be in things or under them. Today, he discovered that I finally trashed the old stereo that had been occupying the cabinet for far too long and got in through the opening in the back and then didn't know how to get out when faced with a glass door. He eventually used his feline wiles and pushed on the door causing the magnet to release the catch. No, I didn't help, because his mime impersonation was too funny. Here's a pic or two.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Sock Wars 2006

Bring it on! I just joined yarnmonkey's sock wars and I can't wait to get started. I live on the other side of the universe from most of the participants (I'm guessing there aren't too many others in Asia), so I'll probably get killed because of post lag, but this sounds too fun. Also, that episode of CSI:NY just aired about a week ago and it looked like a cool game (yes, we are a tad behind over here.)

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Today's tip: Never ask a drunken GI for help with your signage

I went shopping in Itaewon (aka "the foreign area") and saw not one but two new signs which showed the distinct signs of "help" of the free kind from someone with no vested interest in the success of the establishment.

So after you make yourself "fucking lovely" at the accessories shop, you can head over to the bar for a "memorable" and "erotic time" at 7th Heaven. These two places are about 20 meters apart. Coincidence? I think not.

I have a new favorite toe

No, not a digit, a sock toe technique. I only knit toe-up socks and I was intrigued by the magic cast on used for the Widdershins sock in the summer Knitty, but I realized I would like it better as a half- fishtail cast on. So I fishtail cast on 7 stitches then increased, magic cast on style, with some extra rounds of purl stitches in place of the kfb's to give the illusion of a toe (digit)- length toe, since the magic cast on creates rather stumpy toes. Here's what it looks like:

I used more overdyed yarn, my new obsession. I got a grab bag of self-striping yarn from eBay, since it's not available here on the peninsula. One of the balls was a particularly hideous shade of mustard with a faux fair isle pattern in black and white. So, I overdyed it with dark blue. I've finally, after several missteps which I have chronicled here, figured out how to do it. Anyway, here is a pic of the skein before I knit it:
It's actually somewhat darker, I've conquered overdying, but not photography. I'm such a Luddite, I know. Well, not a Luddite, per se. I'm not opposed to tech as such, just unable to use it efficiently.

As a teacher and CSI fan, I feel obligated to mention that I think it's apropos, as a knitter, to be Luddite-esque, since it was industrial textile machinery that Ludd destroyed. How's that for rationalization of an inability to do an everyday task? I try. Too much detail? I try.

Well, I'm on a roll now. First, was Sock Wars. I know that I'm destined to be assassinated early on, but it seems too fun to pass up. Now I've signed up for a sock swap. I hadn't done one before, because of the dearth of sock yarns that could be used to spoil a pal. It seems a bit silly to me to order yarn from the States and then mail it back. Not to mention the postage roughly doubles the cost of the yarn. However, just today I discovered an LYS with various and sundry yarn/ knitting goodies that the rest of the knitting world probably takes for granted. The best part is, a ball of KPPPM costs the same as the very mundane sock yarn I buy from my current LYS. They don't have needles smaller than 2.5mm. I think I'm just going to have to break down and order several pairs online.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Back and better than ever

Wow! It's been weeks since I've even thought about posting. The summer intensive session turned into a five week marathon even more than usual. Or maybe I just repress the memory of them each semester.

Anyway, the new teacher has settled in nicely. My initial reservations have proven to be unfounded so far. She's pretty cool, actually, she just expects a more orderly system than Korean schools tend to have in place. You know, planning, advance notice of changes, that kind of thing.

The new couple is here. They are really young (22-ish), but seem like a good pair. They've traveled a lot and have a very open attitude, which is about 75% of living and working in Korea- the ability to roll with the punches and be open to cultural differences. It's not the stuff you expect that gets you, it's the little every day mundane crap that drives people nuts here. The old ladies that elbow you in the gut as they move your things out of the way on the checkout counter so they can go first. The people who spit on the subway floor and leave their trash on the seat. That kind of thing.

I've been knitting as much as possible, but I don't have much to show. I don't like gauge swatches, so I frequently knit as much as half a garment before I realize I don't like it. You might think I would learn. Perhaps eventually I will. I've sold a pattern to Magknits, but I hate to even mention it, because I still have to send in the finished photos and pattern. So I assume it can still be rejected. I don't want to jinx myself.

I have knit my first self-striping stock in stockinette. I knit the whole thing yesterday. I'd show you a photo, but I can't be bothered for something so boring. Maybe it's because I use variegated yarn so frequently, but I didn't find it that interesting. And I've got about three more 100g skeins of the stuff, which I'll use because a. I paid for it, including a king's ransom in postage, b. it feels nice, c. sock yarn is hard to get here, and my LYS proprietor is kind of a bitch. Well, not so much kind of.

You would think she would be happy for any customers, it's a tiny shop, literally 2m x 4m in a kind of flea market set up. I pay $7-8 per 50g of crap sock yarn and she has something to say to me every time I go there. The knit gang who are always there know I can speak enough Korean to understand what they are saying about me. Last week I was pleasantly surprised to find a silk/ wool blend sock yarn. When one of them asked me why I always buy only one or two balls of each color I told her they were for socks. Apparently, that was the funniest thing they had heard all day. This is one of the aforementioned little things that will get you here: rude shopkeepers.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

How a cold can cost $100

Just go to the emergency room on a national holiday for a sore throat. In my defense, it's a really bad sore throat. I haven't been able to talk for two days or sleep, because the pain kept me up. Really. I know I sound like an unbelievable wuss, but there you have it. I got up today (a holiday, mind you) at 5:00AM in case I could get more comfortable on the couch. As it turns out, my throat accompanied me to the couch, so at 8:00 I went in search of a doctor. A mere 90 minutes later, I was peeing into a paper cup (I'm in Korea- national health care- how else could an emergency room visit with tests and an IV and a truckload of drugs cost $100?). I love Korea. It always makes me smile. Even when I'm sick. Today I got a couple of smiles.
1. The obligatory "but you're going to get screwed". Koreans love to tell you when someone else is going to rip you off. Every time I lock myself out of my apartment, I get that from the guard before he calls a locksmith for me. Like I'll just sleep in the corridor rather than get screwed. I'm old enough to know what happens when someone's got you over a barrel, it's the same in every country.
Today, I got it trying to see the doctor. Mind you, I had no voice. The nurse observes that I cannot speak and tells me it will be expensive to see a doctor. I am at a hospital! I know it will be expensive, yet have already made peace with it.
2. The paper cup for my urine sample, which I took to the public bathroom and carried back with no lid and gave to the nurse who wasn't wearing gloves.
3. The (very young) nurse that screamed (!!!) when she overshot the vein putting in an IV. I must say the look on her face helped me overcome the discomfort of having a needle shoved in too far.
4. Of course,the $100 bill. Coming from the US, such a bill from an emergency room is like an impossible dream. I think that's what they charge per square of toilet paper back home. Certainly it would not have covered the pee cup.

So that's about all on the home front at the moment. I've been fighting this summer flu for a week or so, while still teaching 37 hours a day with 12 more hours of prep/ correcting at home. Next week is the last week with that schedule, so I may not have to throw myself of a tall building. We shall see...

Friday, August 04, 2006

Crazy from the heat

Well it's about a quadrillion degrees here in sunny S Korea. On the upside, the monsoon season is over after a two week extension, for maximum loss of life (fortunately, no one I know). You know, I always say it's just like home (Louisiana), but the difference is at home we live an air-conditioned life. You know what I mean: roll out the air-conned door into the air-conned car and drive to another air-conned location. Repeat as necessary throughout the spring/ summer/ fall. Here in the Land of the Morning Calm (LotMC), no such luck. It's a walk to the subway followed by a walk from the subway and if you run your AC all night, the electric company sends someone to your house to see what the problem with the meter is. Then they charge you double as an "incentive" to reduce usage. Fortunately, having grown up in a "frugal" (poor) home with quadrillion degree summers (March to October, roughly), this hasn't happened to me. So I can sit back and laugh at my coworkers from northern climes. Since laughter is the best medicine, of course. That and when the mercury actually busts out the top of the thermometer, it's nice to know someone is more uncomfortable than you. Or is that just me?

In other news (if the previous qualifies as news, then the following will as well), things are getting better with the new co-worker. She's still venting rather much for someone in their first fortnight (aka the honeymoon), but she seems to be settling in to the rhythm. In her defense, starting with a vacation semester is kind of trial by fire. The work level is about ten times more than usual (no hyperbole here, really), so it basically sucks monkey butt for five weeks. I can only hope she isn't permanently jaded by the end of the five weeks.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

No Mama

My mother couldn't get a flight. She can fly for nearly free, but it's standby and she didn't get a seat. So, I went to the conference alone. It was great- ten hours with Richard Day discussing extensive reading in the ESL classroom. It was totally worth it, even though I paid my mother's non-refundable (about US$200). It's only money, right? Haha.

I think I'm caught up with all of my books and tests for school, after a week of barely treading water. Only four weeks of "intensive" left. Only 51 weeks of our new teacher left. Does that sound overly negative? I'm feeling a bit pessimistic when, in her first week, she has already complained numerous times about the workload (she teaches vocabulary, which far less work-intensive than reading) and once about the pay. I'll just hope for the best.

To console myself over my mother's non-visit, i went shopping and got Stitchionary 1 and Knitting on the Edge. I now have about 30 projects in the queue. I may need to quit my job to have more knitting time. If only I didn't need an apartment, or food, or clothes...

Monday, July 24, 2006

Busy, busy, busy everyday

I have been so busy this entire weekend. I've been knee deep in homework. Fortunately, the school actually picked some good books. Just. So. Many.

Of course, I still managed to knit two (unmatched) socks this weekend. (First time with self-patterning yarn-- not at cool as I thought.) I'm not posting picks, because I'm not satisfied with either. I was experimenting with two patterns, but neither knitted up as I had hoped. So, there's some frogging in my near future. Possibly not the extreme near future, since I've got about 150 pages a night to read between the various books I was supposed to read before the summer term began. Not to mention my mama's impending visit and the many new skeins of yarn she's bringing with her.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

I've got mail!

Look what the postman brought me:
Just kidding. A mere one week shy of three months after I ordered a kilo of sock yarn from Germany, it arrived in a most battered and beaten box. Which did not diminish it one bit in the eyes of Knievel. I don't know why Deutsche Post sucks so bad. Whenever I order from Amazon it arrives by way of DP usually decades after I ordered. This order at least I only paid about 9 euros for postage, so I knew it would take forever. Amazon postage on the other hand is about $5-6 per item.

I didn't take photos of the yarn because they are just regular self-striping that most places in the world seem to have in abundance but cannot be had at any price in sunny S. Korea.

In lieu, here is a photo of the yarn I dyed the other day. I don't know why it came out so dark (the photo, as I said before, the yarn is about one hundred shades lighter than intended). I just look at this and think Easter eggs.