Sunday, March 02, 2008

I'm back!

Okay, I've finally decided that trying to focus on a dissertation 24/7 while stressing about a job hunt just doesn't work. So, I am easing my way back into the knitting scene. I attended my first Stitch 'n Bitch meeting this year on the 18th of February (though I had to miss the following meeting because of aforementioned dissertation), and it was so great to see all my fellow SnBers and to see what everyone was working on. I am going to try to attend more regularly (that meeting was my first since October last year!). But first, over the next couple of postings, I am going to update on my FOs from last year with photos and take inventory of UFOs.

Crocheted Baby Blanket

I made this baby blanket last spring. I gave it to a friend of mine from my time at the University of Georgia who is now living in Sheffield. She gave birth to a baby girl last spring, so it wasn't too late. I actually visited her and her family and finished the blanket there. Talk about crocheting your heart out! But in the end, I am quite happy with how it turned out and so was she. Yeah!

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Gelukkig Nieuwjaar!

Happy New Year!

I know, it has been ages and ages since I last posted (27 August 2007, to be exact). This is just a quick post to let everyone know that I haven't died and to update you guys on what I've been up to. (And why I haven't posted in so long)

In the crafting arena, there is not much to discuss. I haven't had time to craft nor am I allowed to--my developing RSI symptoms (Repetitive Stress Injury) caused the university doctor to recommend that I stop knitting until it got better. Who knows when that will be...

My main stresses have come naturally from work--I have a dissertation to finish up (anyone in the final stages will totally understand where I am coming from) and a consequence is that I had to start applying for jobs so that I won't be unemployed when I finish.

Now, when you are an immigrant in a country and you say that you are on the job market, one of the first questions you get asked is "Well, do you want to go back or do you want to stay?" I can't tell you how annoying that question is, especially after the umpteenth time. In my case, I want to keep my options open--I just want a decent job and am willing to move wherever necessary for it. It just so happens that the job openings at the moment are primarily in North America, where you usually have to apply a year in advance. In Europe, the jobs generally aren't advertised until a few months before you would start. It's just very frustrating when people assume you want to go back just because you apply for jobs in your "home country". And then have the nerve to ask why you don't want to stay! Find me a job and I will! That's what I always want to shout... It just seems that some people just don't quite get how the job market works and how there usually has to be an opening before you can actually get a job. Anyway, just venting. The stress is getting to me, can't you tell? (After re-reading this, I guess I shouldn't really complain, but I'm going to keep it in.)

A quick update on my job hunt, though (I am not naming any of the institutions and would appreciate it if those of you are privileged enough to know the details of my job hunt not name any of them in a public post on this site):

I have applied to 19 jobs so far.
I have received 3 rejections.
I have had 6 interviews, 2 by telephone and 4 at conferences.
I have received 1 invitation for an interview, but haven't heard from the head of the search committee since, so I guess the invitation has been retracted.
I still have at least 2 more jobs to apply to (there may be some late openings).
I am still waiting to hear from 9 of the jobs, though a few of them interviewed at the conferences mentioned above (interviews for which I was not invited), which leads me to suspect that I am no longer in the running for those positions. But until I get a definite rejection, there's still hope, right? :-)

Isn't the job market such a lovely place? Are any of you completing a major project and/or on the job market? I'd love to hear your experiences...

Until all of the excitement of everything calms down (hopefully before the end of the year!), I won't be posting much and I won't be knitting... :-( But I may just post an occasional update... Just keep checking! (or email me to "encourage" me to post)

Hope all is well in your neck of the woods!

Monday, August 27, 2007

I suck, I suck....

I suck... I received a really great package from Cheryl for the PRGE Mini-Exchange, and I am just now getting around to posting it. There was a delay in sending it, and the package arrived while I was away at a conference... When I came back, I was bogged down by a looming deadline... So, major stress... But of course the next round of PRGE is beginning, so the last bits of the previous mini-round need to go up. In any case, it was very inconsiderate of me; I am sending out my apologies.... But here it is!

It was a very fabulous package filled with all sorts of goodies. In the overview picture, you can see a I Taught Myself to Crochet package (includes a booklet, 6 different crochet hooks, stitch markers, tapestry needles and yarn holder for multi-color crocheting), two long Afghan crochet hooks, a bag each of Welch's Fruit Snacks and Chewy SweetTarts (both of which are now no more... a moment of silence, please...), two canisters of Altoids Mango Sours (had never seen them before, I don't think, but are really, really sour! yum!), two canisters of Godiva Chocoiste: one Milk Chocolate Pearls and the other Dark Chocolate Pearls with Mint (again, fabulousness in a canister!), two hilarious luggage labels (one reads "remember? yours is black" and the other "take my luggage, do my laundry"), an insipirational magnet that reads "Success can only be measured in terms of distance traveled.", a box of assorted Harney & Sons teas, a box of The King's Cupoard's Espresso Chocolate Dessert Pudding (doesn't that sound fabulous!), and a Jasmine Green Tea scented candle from Yankee Candle, with a very nice and smooth scent that is not overpowering. And, that is not all!

Cheryl also sent me the cutest stitch markers I have ever seen! They are of dogs in various positions! I think you can get a fairly decent look at them in my pic to the right. Aren't they just the sweetest thing? I hope they can get my yarn and needles to obey my commands as well as they seem to be trained! ^^ For those who are interested, the stitch markers were made by Wee Ones.

And, you thought that was all? No, wait, there's more! Two skeins of fabulous yarn, both of which I have been dying to try out!!! One 420-yard/4-ounce hank of Cherry Tree Hill Supersock 100% superwash merino fingering weight in the Birches colorway and one 425-meter/100-gram skein of South West Trading Company's 50% superwash wool/25% Soysilk fibers/22.5% cotton/2.5% chitin Tofutsies in lovely purple/pink with bits of grey and black. Cool, huh? And below the two skeins of yarn, you can see a fabulous-est and punkest project bag I have ever seen! You can see one of the skulls... And the project bag is very sturdy. There's a hook so I can hook it to the outside of my knitting bag (or to my belt) so I can knit while standing around. I can close it tight with the elastic, which has a tightener clamp (or whatever that is actually called) and the end of the elastic is sealed with more skulls so the clamp doesn't come up! It's just so fantabulously punk!

Thank you so much for all the time and effort you put into this package Cheryl! I'm really enjoying all of the contents! Again, I apologize for my delay in posting... I know it can be a bummer when you have a slack-ass spoilee...

Monday, July 16, 2007

Wolle aus Köln!

Wool from Cologne!

I went to a fabulous yarn shop when I went to Cologne for a short trip. The shop is owned and run by Daniela Johannsenová, the maker of the Secret Knitting podcast. I heard about it through Cast-on and remembered that the podcaster had a yarn shop in Cologne. So, I thought I would give it a shot. I am really glad I did!

I entered as soon as it opened and was greeted by Daniela upon entering. She started in German but after my confused look, switched to English. She asked if she could help me with anything and then proceeded to describe her stock. She was so helpful! She has a lot of yarns that are not easy to find in Amsterdam... Afterwards, she offered me a cup of coffee, and we sat at her sofa and knit and chatted. Very pleasant. The following afternoon, I went back (the day was so hot and I needed a rest after spending the morning and early afternoon walking around). There two other knitters (in addition to Daniela) just sitting, knitting, drinking, and chatting. I wish we had such a lovely, cozy and welcoming yarn shop in Amsterdam! I bought two hanks of lovely alpaca (one light grey, one blue--a color-stranded vest was my plan...) despite not needing any more yarn... But I thought that I should support such a nice shop... Who knows, I might go again!

Here is the website of the shop: Maschenkunst. Two enthusiastic thumbs up!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

SP10: Final installment

Today, I received the final installment from my SP10 pal. The only appropriate description is "Oh... my... God!" I was overwhelmed by the three packages I received at my office! There are no appropriate words to describe the fantabulinity contained in the packages... I just wanted to let my still-secret pal know how wonderful everything is! I'll have loads of fun with it all for a long time! At the moment, I don't have photos of the contents, but I thought I could go through the packages and let you guys know how I have been so spoiled by my pal!

package 1
-a beautiful burlap bag from Yr Hosbis i Blant yng Nghymru 'The Children's Hospice in Wales', a great place to hide (a small part of) my ever-increasing stash!
-a huge grab bag of assorted yarn ends from Texere Yarns, a wonderful assortment for future color-stranding or intarsia projects!

package 2
-three knitting magazines, all with free gifts!
*Simply Knitting with sheep-shaped point protectors
*Knit Today with a booklet filled with baby patterns
*Knitting with a poster of different sheep varieties!)
-a Shaun the Sheep comic with free magnetic photo frame
-10 x 25g skeins of Jamieson's Ultra (50% lambswool/50% Shetland wool) yarn in a beautiful white color. Perhaps another opportunity to dye again? Or maybe I'll keep it white and knit a nice lace shawl for my mom. We'll see!

package 3
-2 x 50g skeins of Koigu 100% Merino wool KPPPM yarn in mostly beige-y color with lots of other colors mixed throughout. I've been waiting to get my hands on some Koigu because of all the hype about it in the podo- and blogosphere and now I have 4 skeins: two from my SP10 pal and 2 from winning one of the PRGE best pal awards. How fabulous is that?!? Now, what to make from it? Socks? Gloves? Mittens? Oh, my!
-2 x 50g balls of Sirdar Snuggly baby bamboo yarn (80% bamboo/20% wool) one in light beige and the other in khaki. It's so soft! I think this will turn into something for my future niece or nephew. Gotta hunt through baby knitting books (as if they are hard to find!)!
-a 50g? skein of a mysterious orange yarn, feels like a plant fiber--perhaps cotton or linen? There are a number of bits in the grab bag mentioned in package one that seem to be of the same weight and type as this yarn, so perhaps I'll combine them into some sort of color-stranding project.
-a mix for a Turkish dessert called Kazandibi. I tried this in Turkey, and it was a nice custardy milk dessert. The version I tasted had chicken in it--not chunks of chicken and you couldn't taste it, but you could see the fibers of the chicken. Very interesting! I think I'll save this mix so I can make it with Ashley when I go back across the pond.
-a bar of Coldspring Mill Wool Fat Soap, a lanolin soap! It smells so lovely, not strongly perfumed. It's supposed to keep your hands nice and smooth... Can't wait to try it out!
-a 170g box of Clotted Cream Fudge, which is absolutely delicious! (um, yeah, I've already had a piece.... or two... ^^)
-four Clover products
*Knitting counter
*yarn cutter pendant (This is something I've always wanted to buy, but just never did for whatever reason. Now, I have one of my own! Yeah!)
*two sizes of coil knitting needle holders

I think you can see now why I was overwhelmed! So much stuff in one day! I'm going to have to start a bunch of projects this weekend!

Ethel, thank you so much! All the things you have given to me in these three packages as well as in the previous ones have been just fabulous--you chose so well! I can't wait to find out who you are!

Monday, July 09, 2007

Örgü dili: Knitting in Turkish!

Örgü dili 'The language of knitting'

Here are some useful knitting related words and phrases in Turkish that I learned while in Turkey. I did not really use them, though, as I was always with a Turkish friend who I had ask all my questions for me.... But in case you're caught in a Turkish yarn shop on your own...

Notes on Turkish pronunciation: Some letters (and sounds, for that matter) in Turkish are not found in English. Some of the sounds are spelled with a different letter than they would be in English. Other than that, Turkish spelling is pretty consistent--words are pronounced the way they are spelled and vice versa. Here are letters/sounds that do not correspond to English:

C, c is always pronounced like English 'j'.
Ç, ç is always pronounced like English 'ch'.
Ğ, ğ is never pronounced--it lengthens a preceding vowel.
H, h is pronounced as in English, but it is always pronounced wherever it is written, even at the end of a word.
I, ı (non-dotted 'i') is not an English/German/French sound. It is an unrounded 'oo' sound.
İ, i (dotted 'i') is always pronounced like English 'ee'.
J, j is always pronounced like French 'j' or like the s in the English word 'pleasure'.
Ö, ö is always pronounced like German 'ö' or French 'eu'.
Ş, ş is always pronounced like English 'sh'.
Ü, ü is always pronounced like German 'ü' or French 'u'

Now, the words/phrases...

I. Nouns

örgü 'handcrafts, knitting' My understanding is that Turkish has one word for handcrafts in general.
örgü şişi 'knitting needles' This is the same şiş as in "shish kebab"!

Yumak 'yarn'
(saf) __ yumağı '(pure) __ yarn'
pamuk 'cotton' (I also heard people say koton.)
ipek 'silk'
akrilik 'acrylic'

(Saf yün yumağı) istiyorum. 'I would like (pure wool yarn).'
yumağı) istemiyorum. 'I do not want (acrylic yarn).'
(Saf yün yumağı) var mı? 'Do you have (pure wool yarn)?'
(Saf yün yumağı) nerede? 'Where is it/(the pure wool yarn)?'
(Saf yün) değil. 'It is not (pure wool).'

II. Adjectives

'color' + -lEr (plural) = renkler 'colors'

You can just add adjectives in front of nouns--there is no agreement like in German or French.

açık 'light'
koyu 'dark'

siyah 'black'
beyaz 'white'
kırmızı 'red'
mavi 'blue'
turuncu 'orange'
pembe 'pink'
yeşil 'green'
mor 'purple'
sarı 'yellow'
gri 'grey'
kahverengi 'brown' (literally 'the color of coffee')

güzel 'beautiful'
çok 'a lot (of), very'

bu 'this'
şu 'that (and point)'

(Mavi) değil. 'It is not (blue).'

III. Verbs

örmek 'to do handcrafts, to knit'

Turkish verbs are fairly complicated. There are a number of endings one can use to express various characteristics of an action. There is even an ending, for instance, to say that the speaker only heard that something happened but did not witness it firsthand! I will, however, only demonstrate a few basic endings, enough to get started. Something else that one has to contend with in Turkish endings is vowel harmony. I will explain this later.

For basic conjugation, there is usually one ending for the tense and/or aspect of the action (present, past, future and/or progressive, perfect, habitual, etc.) and one ending for the person (first person singular/plural, second person singular/plural, third person singular/plural).

Some basic tense/aspect endings are:

-Iyor- progressive, in other words 'to be (verb)ing'
-(y)EcEK- future, in other words 'will (verb)'
-DI- past, in other words '(verb)ed'

Note: the capital letters indicate that this sound changes depending on the context: A vowel changes depending on the last vowel of the verb stem (vowel harmony) and a consonant changes depending on the preceding sound. I will explain these a bit later. In the future ending, a y is added if this ending is added to a word ending in a vowel.

These tense/aspect endings generally go between the verb stem (ör-) and the personal endings.

ör-üyor- 'be knitting'
ör-ecek- 'will knit'
ör-dü- 'knitted'

To this, you add the personal endings.

-(y)Im 'I'
-sIn 'you (singular/informal)'
-(DIr) 'he/she/it'
-(y)Iz 'we'
-sInIz 'you (singular/formal, plural)'
-(DIr)lEr 'they'

The vowels between parentheses are added if you are adding the ending after a consonant. So, if we conjugate for the progressive, we get:

ör-üyor-um 'I am knitting'
ör-üyor-sun 'You (sg/informal) are knitting'
ör-üyor(-dur) 'He/she/it is knitting'
ör-üyor-uz 'We are knitting'
ör-üyor-sunuz 'You (sg/formal, plural) are knitting'
ör-üyor-(dur)lar 'They are knitting'

Usually, a k at the end of a word becomes ğ if an ending beginning with a vowel follows it.

ör-eceğ-im 'I will knit'
ör-ecek-sin 'You (sg/informal) will knit'
ör-ecek(-tir) 'He/she/it will knit'
ör-eceğ-iz 'We will knit'
ör-ecek-siniz 'You (sg/formal, plural) will knit'
ör-ecek-(tir)ler 'They will knit'

In the past tense, the endings are a bit reduced. Notice, though, that the ending for 'we' is not related to the one we already learned:

-m 'I'
-n 'you (sg/informal)'
-(nothing) 'he/she/it'
-k 'we'
-nIz 'you (sg/formal, plural)'
(-lEr) 'they'

So, when we apply this to the verb, we get:

'I knitted'
ör-dü-n 'You (sg/informal) knitted'
ör-dü- 'He/she/it knitted'
ör-dü-k 'We knitted'
ör-dü-nüz 'You (sg/formal, plural) knitted'
ör-dü(-ler) 'They knitted'

You can also combine the progressive and the future endings with the past tense marker. Then, you end up with:

ör-üyor-du-m 'I was knitting'

Notice how the past tense ending is no longer -dü- like in the simple past tense given above but has changed to -du-. This has to do with vowel harmony. In Turkish, the vowels of most endings change depending on the vowel preceding the ending. There are two types of vowel endings: E-endings and I-endings.

E-endings: This represents a two-way distinction.
If the last vowel before an E-ending is i, ü, e, or ö, then the vowel of the ending is e.
If the last vowel before an E-ending is
ı, u, a, or o, then the vowel of the ending is a.

The plural ending -lEr is an example of an E-ending. You have, for instance, renk-ler 'colors' versus yumak-lar 'yarns'.

I-endings: These are a little more complicated because they represent a four-way distinction. If the last vowel before an I-ending is i or e, the vowel of the ending is i.
If the last vowel before an I-ending is ü or ö, the vowel of the ending is ü.
If the last vowel before an I-ending is ı or a, the vowel of the ending is ı.
If the last vowel before an I-ending is u or o, the vowel of the ending is u.

The stem ör- has ö as its vowel, so an I-ending will become ü.

ör-dü-nüz 'You (sg/formal, plural) knitted'

If the -Iyor ending intervenes, however, the I-ending becomes u because the vowel before the ending is o.

ör-üyor-du-m 'I was knitting'

Another change that occurs in Turkish endings have to do with consonants. Generally, if an ending begins with a consonant that has voiced/voiceless counterparts, you use the voiceless counterpart if the final consonant before the ending is voiceless. Otherwise, you use the voiced counterpart. So, the d of the past tense -DI ending may change into a t if it follows a voiceless consonant, for instance, when you add this ending to the future ending:

ör-ecek-ti-n 'You (sg/informal) would knit'

Another useful ending for verbs is the negative ending, -mE. This is usually placed between the verb stem and all the other endings. Notice how vowel harmony is cumulative.

ör-me-di-m 'I did not knit'
k-sin 'You will not knit'

With the progressive, the vowel of the negative ending is dropped.

ör-m-iyor-uz 'We are not knitting'

As you can see, Turkish endings are quite complicated, but there is a logic and a system behind it all. For more information on Turkish, you can consult any number of Turkish grammars.

Hope this is helpful! ^^

Thursday, July 05, 2007

PRGE... Mini!

Okay, so I likes me some swappin'. I signed up for PRGE Mini, a one-month not secret pal exchange to hold us over until the grown-up version gets going again... Here is my questionnaire. (It's not quite finished, but I'll add to it as I think of things...)

1. Why are you punk?
Punk me? PUNK YOU!
2. What are your five favorite things? (these don't have to be knit related)
Languages, Cooking, Books, Travelling, Sweets (chewy fruity kinds and chocolate kinds)
3. What are your three favorite things that you have made with knitting/crochet?
Norwegian vest for my niece, my Swell hat, my Noro ribbed hat.
4. What five things would you love to see in a swap box someday?
No Sheep for You, hooked knitting needles (found in Portugal, perhaps elsewhere), any of the newer interesting yarns made from various weird things (corn, seasilk, soy, chitin, etc.), Folk Socks: The History and Techniques of Handknitted Footwear, Ethnic Socks and Stockings: A Compendium of Eastern Design and Technique
5. What are your three favorite yarns? What are your three least favorite yarns?
No particular brands... Depends more on the feel and look of the yarn...
Favorites: anything soft
Least Favorites: anything scratchy, frilly or novel
6. What are your five favorite delicacies?
Hmmm... Toughy... Anything chocolate (leaning more toward milk chocolate recently, but also enjoy dark chocolate occasionally), chocolate-covered sunflower seeds, Krispy Kreme donuts (which I can't get here!), nice coffee (for making capuccino, interesting teas (I currently have a lot of jasmine, lady grey, pu'er, oolong, lapsong soo chong, north korean rice/green tea, rooibos, assorted plain black teas, etc., etc. I'm not particularly fond of the kind of sour teas like the Zinger line of Celestial Seasonings--though I love their other teas)
7. What are your three favorite guilty pleasures?
Going out to eat (in Amsterdam, you feel guilty about the price... But the service is generally NOT a pleasure), ???, ???
8. What would you like your pal to know that is not covered here?
Umm, go Dawgs! Woof, woof, woof, woof, woof, woof.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Happy 4th of July!

Okay, so I'm actually posting this on the 5th... But the postdate magically says 4th... Know how? ^^

An informational tidbit for non-United Statians: The normal way we, the people, refer to this holiday is the "Fourth of July". This is so ingrained in us that there is a joke: Does (name of any random country) have a "Fourth of July"? Most United Statians immediately answer, "No!", knowing that our holiday, commonly known as the Fourth of July, is only celebrated in the US. The answer is, of course, that every country has a 4th of July (assuming they follow the Gregorian calendar).

When I first moved to Amsterdam and people asked/talked to me about "Independence Day", I didn't know what they were talking about at first. It only took me a few seconds to realize that they were talking about the Fourth, but this shows you how strongly we associate the date with the holiday. Of course, it is officially "Independence Day". And this is the better way to refer to it, I suppose, outside of the US, since everywhere else, the Fourth of July is just a date... ^^

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Craftiness in Turkey

Okay, so the previous four posts pretty much sum up my vacation to Turkey. It was such a wonderful experience! I can't wait to go again! And for those who might be interested in going to Turkey, you more than likely need a visa. However, you can easily get this upon entering (at the airport), and it is not terribly expensive (for Americans, it's $20 or 15 euros). A useful tidbit: you have to pay cash. They don't accept cards. Be sure you have enough...

Now, for the crafty bit of my journey. The project I ended up taking was my Exchequered scarf. I figured that my Master Knitting swatches, though small, would require a lot of references (I want to try out different techniques to see which works out best), and I hadn't started any socks. The scarf was small enough, and I knew that I wouldn't finish while in Turkey. I didn't take any emergency sock yarn because I knew that I would be stocking up on yarn--if I needed to, I could just start a new project with some new yarn. Besides, I figured that with such a busy schedule, I might not have much time to knit anyway (not thinking about the hours upon hours of travel time). It turns out, however, that this was a wise decision.

So, on my second (full) day in Istanbul, I met up with Nihal, a crafter I met over the internet. She was nice enough to meet up with me and show me around the yarn/textile part of the famous Istanbul bazar. It was amazing and a little disappointing at the same time. As Nihal warned me ahead of time, I encountered mounds and mounds of acrylic--the mounds and mounds of yarn being amazing to look at, all the acrylic being the disappointment. However, not all hope was lost--there were many little shops with all sorts of yarn. It just required a bit of searching. I was on the hunt for some cotton yarn for a short-sleeved summer polo shirt and enough wool yarn to make a sweater. (I still haven't attempted making any sort of top for myself... I'm a little scared... And the previous times when I bought yarn with the intention of using it for a sweater, I ended up not having enough or not really liking the combination of colors... Perhaps I was subconsciously trying to sabotage myself before even beginning?) We entered one shop with a very nice and helpful owner. Luckily, the shop was stocked with mostly cotton yarn. And I found the colors I was looking for--dark blue for the body of a polo shirt with a light beige for the collar. I also saw two other colors that I liked--a khaki color and an orange-y red. I thought short-sleeved striped V-neck. I debated long and hard about whether to buy it or not and ended up buying it... You can never have enough yarn, and this was a lovely souvenir, afterall! ^^ And of course, it was so cheap! I was like 1 Yeni Türk Lirası (usually abbreviated 'ytl') per 100g (about 0.55 euro or $0.77 per 100g)! Can't beat that, eh?

In another shop, I also managed to find some nice pure wool yarn, a nice dark grey (but not charcoal grey). I couldn't find a color that went well with it, so a solid-colored sweater it'll be. I got 1kg of this yarn (I'm pretty big...) and also got 600g of a beige cotton yarn at the counter (for a great bag I want to crochet). Needless to say, I had to lug around a loooot of yarn that day. The sacrifices we make for our craft! ^^

Nihal also wanted to take me to a yarn shop on the Asian side of Istanbul where there was also quite a selection of yarn for cheap, but unfortunately, she had to get back to her exams. She gave me directions since I was staying on the Asian side. I decided that I had already bought enough yarn, but Fulya asked me to knit Coachella for her. I told her that I wouldn't mind if she got the yarn, so together we went in search of this incredibly cheap yarn store. It took some searching, but we eventually found it. The store, named Diyana, had quite a selection, but again, it was mostly acrylic. After a bit of hunting, we found some nice peach-colored cotton yarn, perfect for the pattern. So, we bought the yarn, a pair of circular needles and a tape measure (I didn't bring all my knitting supplies with me... but you can never have too many tape measures, right?).

The Coachella project ended up being the knitting project I worked on in Turkey. I measured Fulya and checked the pattern for the appropriate size (converting from metric to US measurements). I knit a swatch in the round so the top would come out the way it was supposed to. The needles were too small, so we went back to exchange them. I knit another swatch with the new needles and recalculated the pattern to fit my new gauge (again, constantly converting between the metric and US systems). I cast on and worked on Coachella for the bus ride from Istanbul to Ankara, the car ride from Ankara to Kaş, and for many of the small breaks I had in between. I knit and knit and knit, hoping to finish before I left. When I was about halfway done (while we were in Kaş), I put the stitches on an extra piece of yarn so Fulya could try it on. How did it fit? Not like a glove as I was hoping it would... It was two sizes too big!!!! Can you believe it! After all my prep work and careful calculations... At least this terrible mistake was not a result of my knitting (this was one of my most consistent pieces) nor my calculations. Apparently, the sizes given were measured differently than I expected. Despite the little note at the beginning of the pattern (which I didn't think was very clear, but I was sort of rushing through it), I assumed the list of 'Chest measurements' represented the actual chest measurement of the recipient. Instead, these represented the measurement of the finished garment, which fits a person with an additional 7 inches of chest. So the XS, which measures 25 inches, fits a person with a chest measurement of 32 inches (25 inches + 7 inches). I hope you can see why I was a little confused. And I saw on Ravelry that I was not the only one who was confused by this... I'm not a total idiot! Yeah!

What did I do? I sighed, took a deep breath, and started over. I looked at the pattern again, did loads and loads of calculations and then cast on for my second attempt. At least I (a) got a lot of practice with the combination method, (b) have a much better understanding of the pattern as a whole, and (c) can avoid the mistakes I couldn't correct in my first attempt. And hopefully, this one will end up being the right size!

What did I do about the overly large Coachella? I kept the stitches on the yarn and set it aside... I couldn't bear to rip out all that knitting at the time... I actually still haven't ripped it out.... It's stuck in small plastic bag on my sofa in that state of perpetual incompleteness... It knows it's going to be reincarnated, but just not when... I don't think I'll rip it out until I need to for Coachella Junior... You knit, you learn! ^^

Monday, July 02, 2007

Ankara'dan Kaş'a... and back!

From Ankara to Kaş... and back again! Fulya's parents were quite excited about my visit and planned to take us to Kaş, a lovely town on the Mediteranean coast. About an 10.5-hour drive from Ankara (with plenty of breaks on the way). But I got to see a lot of the landscape in Turkey--from the desert area around to the Mediteranean coast, you can imagine that there is a lot of variation in between. On the way down, I remembered my Dramamine but did not realize that it is only effective for 5 to 6 hours... I got pretty woozy about an hour and half away from Kaş... I quickly took more Dramamine, which helped a bit... I definitely remembered it on the way back though! We stayed in a lovely pansiyon 'pension' (is that an appropriate word in English? perhaps 'inn' is better? I would have said bed & breakfast, but there was no breakfast. any other suggestions?) in the center with a lovely view of the center and the sea. Fulya and I went swimming each morning at like 6:00 am! The water was cold! But a great way to wake up! It is such a lovely, laid-back, relaxing town. Hopefully, I'll get a chance to go back!

Apparently, kaş means 'eyebrow' in Turkish. The story goes that Meis, the name of the Greek island off the coast (visible from Kaş) means 'eye', so the Turkish town is the 'eyebrow' for the island 'eye'. Funny how places get their names! ^^

Kaş'a 'To Kaş'

A lovely place where we stopped for
kahvaltı on the way. We had gözleme (read previous post for a description) and Türk çayı 'Turkish tea'. Çok güzel!

Turkish landscapes

Tea break!

More landscape

Kaş'ta 'In Kaş'

Views from the balcony of the pansiyon. The Mediteranean! Gorgeous, eh? Jealous?

A view of Kaş itself from my balcony.

A view of the Greek island of Meis from the Hellenistic amphitheater in Kaş.

Lovely flowers and a small bay near where Fulya's family will build their own house in Kaş!

Dinner on our last night in Kaş. Fulya's parents are so nice and friendly, very lovely people. Our conversations were a mix of French, Turkish and English...
Great fun for a linguist like me!

On the road back to Ankara.
We stopped for a mini-picnic and for a stretch--just two hours left!