Sunday, November 30, 2008

Ladies and Gentlemen....

I give you...

The First Sock

Yes, it is finished! It's far from perfect, but me and this sock will always have a special relationship.

Side note: if you want to get a lot of knitting done, go to East Texas. I went from where the ribbing ends at the cuff to being halfway down the foot in a single day. There was a scary moment when I started thinking for myself (instead of just following directions) and put the heel on three needles instead of two. But, I figured out how to fix it, carried on, and was rewarded for my patience today. I made a midnight run to WalMart just to get a yarn needle to graft the toes because I couldn't possibly go to bed when I was THAT CLOSE to being finished.

Pattern is from Silver's Sock Class, yarn is Regia 4-ply Landscape in the colorway Caribbean.

So now, without further ado, I must say...

Newbie knitters CAN knit socks!!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Getting it Right

One of my favorite things about knitting has to be the ability to completely fix mistakes. This has come in especially useful with my first sock attempt. I started knitting it with size 0's (which is tiny, like slightly wider than a toothpick size) because the smaller the needle, the more durable the sock. Well, since I'm a tightish knitter anyway, the sock would barely go over my toes, and wouldn't go past the ball of my foot. Considering that was the cuff of the sock, I decided that it was a lost cause and ripped the whole thing out to put on size 3 needles (slightly smaller than pencil size). This has proven to be one of the better decisions I could have made. I can knit much faster on the size 3's and they don't make my hands hurt. I have no effing clue if I'm getting gauge or not, but it is definitely a hell of a lot bigger sock. Can fit up my whole foot and around the heel no problem. What's freaking me out is that I'm just about to the point where I'll have to start the heel. The heel is the hard part. Considering it's been frogged twice already, I'm not wanting to shoot for 3 (or 10). Oh well, I freaking love the yarn - the striping is fantastic:

Ross said yesterday that it actually looks like a sock now. I have to agree!

Thanksgiving's coming up, and I have to say I don't much feel thankful. This could partly be because I have final exams coming up the second week after the break. I'm thankful I'm in nursing school, but the exams are a part I could do without. Especially the ATI nationally standardized exam. Although in my (extensive, with an SAT, 3 ACT's, 2 AP exams, aTEAS, and numerous public school EOI's under my belt) experience, the word 'standardized' means 'dumbed down', I have the feeling that this one will actually be a challenge. It's built to mimic the NCLEX, and even my brilliant mother had her butt kicked by the NCLEX. Also, it's over a massive amount of material compared to what I've taken in the past. It's just over the foundations of nursing, but when I think over all the chapters I've read this semester and that all of that will be on this exam I get a little woozy. Hopefully my test-taking abilities will not fail me. But I'm still going to study.

After Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 10, 2008


This is an ironic topic for me, considering that if you judged me by my blog you'd probably come to the conclusion that I don't have just a whole lot of it. However, just because I'm not quite as dedicated to my blog as others seem to be to theirs, that doesn't mean that I lack this important virtue. So, in order to prove this to myself and to you, here's a list of things I'm dedicated to:

1) Nursing School

It's impossible not to be dedicated to nursing school and still pass. It's just not one of those slacker-friendly majors like philosophy or art history (
sorry to those of you with those majors - but I've seen the workload of those majors from close friends and they are nothing compared to the first semester of nursing school). If you still doubt me, here's my textbooks for this semester:

Take that. Used, they were about $1000, and I have several more on the list for next semester as well. Tell me you wouldn't be a little intimidated by that. I know the bejesus was scared out of me and I was prepared for a massive workload.

2) Knitting
As has been discussed in previous posts, I like knitting to get away from all those books up there.

As an update on the sock situation, I did actually go up to the GYC and pleaded for help (those that know me will realize what an effort that was for me). The incomparable Margaret only had to rip out half of my progress so far to fix it, and it is now as perfect as
it can be. Beats the crap out of my considering to start all over. It's taken me a week to get back to where I was before, but that's not all the sock's fault. Nursing school seriously cuts into sock knitting time. Good thing I have more than enough dedication for several things at once.

3) OKC Thunder
Okay, they're not great. I get that. But it's a big-name team for OKC and we've nee
ded that for a long time. I cannot express in words how tired I am of OU and OSU football (my feelings run more to the form of wailing and gnashing of teeth). I went to my first game last night, and I have to say that I thought it was a good one, even though they lost. Also even though I don't know a damn thing about basketball. Apparently I forgot this when Ross called and said he had free tickets from work if we wanted them. After seeing the game, basketball is something I could get into, even if only freakishly tall mutants can play it well.

The Ford Center looked outstanding, and the place was packed! It made for a great crowd - it's a lot easier to figure out what's going on when you have boos and cheers to go by.

Fellow Okies: this is what a real NBA floor looks like. Add people for all the empty seats (we got there early. I have inherited the Pepper if-you're-not-half-an-hour-early-then-you're-late gene), and you have a smashing time. The Sam Adams my darling husband bought me probably also contributed to my level of fun-having. It was a close game, and we were ahead for some of it, so I won't complain about the loss too much.

So there you go. Three perfectly noble pursuits that I am dedicated to. However, I always meet people that have just a little more dedication sometimes than I do:

She's so dedicated, she's wearing a trash bag so she can walk in the pouring rain to class. I'd have skipped.

Monday, November 3, 2008

We're not mentioning my inconsistency

The first introductory nursing class I took at UCO was taught by a wonderful woman whose most enjoyable quality was her penchant for honesty. Since pre-nursing students take her course, naturally there were days when the class would ask her a lot of questions about what nursing school is really like. As I'm finding, she was right about 100% of what she said, but there's one thing in particular that really stuck with me:

"The secret to getting through nursing school is not studying every hour of every day, it's not being able to think critically, it's not the rapport you have with your patients, and it's certainly not sucking up to us instructors. The secret to nursing school is having a hobby that has nothing at all to do with nursing."

And she's been completely right. Nursing school saps your will to live, and I won't lie about that. Studying for three weeks straight only to get an 86 on a test is soul-stealing. Getting up at 5:00am for clinicals where you are yelled at, kicked, hit, bitten, and spit on by the residents you're trying to help would make even the most devoted nurse-to-be have second thoughts. Having a hobby that doesn't involve reading anything is priceless. It's like a vacation. My first attempt at a hobby, the glorious pink bike, fell through when I developed back issues that prevent me from riding it for now. So, I took up a nice, sedentary hobby.


I can see the image you have in your mind now: something like a fussy old lady with clicking knitting needles in her arthritic hands knitting an atrociously ugly sweater. And I don't blame you. That's exactly what I thought of knitting, too. Until my knitterly stepmother-in-law (that's like a double negative, isn't it? But I promise, she is extremely nice) visited from jolly old England and purchased a copy of Interweave Knits and left it strategically on the coffee table. I think she did this on purpose - I cannot resist reading anything that is on a coffee table. In it, I saw the most amazing stuff. Sweaters I'd actually wear. Cute, sexy little tank tops.

Here look:

Isn't that stuff that looks like you might actually wear??? It looks like it for me, I have a love of nice sweaters and anything warm.

And most of all: socks. Oh the socks. How my heart pines for thee.

So, to that end, I used my trusty Internet to track down a local yarn store. Paula (the contagious knitterly stepmother-in-law) in tow, we went and checked out this enigmatic little shop. Wall-to-wall yarn, I kid you not. The place was amazing. I may have begun to develop the knitter's disorder of yarn addiction, which is something you just won't understand until you've gone to a yarn shop (NOT the yarn section in WalMart, guys) and petted some quality wool. Paula bought tons of yarn, but I was still a little leery of this whole knitting business. Still had the mental image of the fussy old lady, I suspect.

Then, I found the Yarn Harlot. She is amazing. She's witty, creative, and everything opposite of the old lady image in my head. Reading her blog (and yes, I read every entry from Jan 2004 until now), makes knitting a lot less intimidating. It does not require perfection, and mistakes can be fixed (mostly).

The next day, I took a beginner's knitting class and, two months later, I have this:

Knitted it myself. I am so damn proud of it! I just sit and pet it sometimes, feeling smug. Since I do not have a sufficient yarn stash (or cash stash, for that matter) to buy enough yarn to knit a sweater, I started on that most abmbitious of knitting projects: the sock.

This little bit (less than an inch) took me most of the day yesterday to do. I had to learn how to put the stitches on the special double-pointed sock needles and then teach myself to pay attention enough to do the different stitches required for the ribbing. I'm trucking along, making sure my joins are nice and tight so I don't get gaps, when suddenly:

Gigantic hole from what I assume is a slipped stitch. Hopefully I can find a website that says how to fix it so I don't have to rip everything back and start again. :/

Despite the minor (and major) setbacks, I enjoy knitting because it is so unlike nursing school. You can go at your own pace, you're not comparing your knitting progress against others', and you don't have to read anything (unless you slip a stitch and have no clue how to fix it). My favorite part is that it's creating something tangible. After all these years where most of my life has been in one form of pixels or another, that's important to me.

So, my nursing friends, get a hobby, enjoy it, and take a step back every once in awhile to just enjoy life.