Knitting samples for Knitting off the Axis

As many know, knitting is “my thing.” When I’m stressed I can knit something in my head and it relaxes me. I can stare a picture of beautiful yarn the way a foodie would study a picture in Gourmet Magazine. I know, it’s strange. Only my fellow fiberaholics can understand.

I knit on and off through college and after I got married. In 2008, I found Ravelry. Knitting became an obsession in my life again and I haven’t stopped. It helps that I have a yarn store less than 10 minutes away and have a whole bunch of real-life friends who are as serious about knitting as I am.

In late 2009 I knit a pattern from the Fall 2009 issue of Knitscene magazine. As everything else I knit, I logged it in Ravelry. In the middle of knitting the project the designer, Mathew Gnagy, emailed me through Ravelry to say that there was a mistake in the printed pattern and if I gave him my email address he’d send me the correction since the magazine hadn’t printed the errata yet.

That’s what’s awesome about Ravelry. The people who make the yarn and the patterns are also members, and they can communicate with the folks who do their work and see and comment on their progress. This wasn’t the first time I had direct communication with a designer due to Ravelry.

Mathew sent me the correction. I quickly realized that the correction needed correction and Mathew and I had a nice email exchange about his pattern. He then asked me if I had ever done any sample knitting. I had not, but I expressed willingness to try.

A few weeks later he sent me a box of yarn, a very rough pattern and a full size schematic of the design. Communicating entirely through email and sending him pictures taken on my phone, I completed the sweater pieces, taking notes on stitch counts and making changes as we went along based on Mathew’s feedback. I sent the finished knit pieces back to him and he assembled them into the final garment.

Then Mathew signed a book deal with Interweave Press! Along with a number of other knitters, I signed on to knit for the book. That book is Knitting Off the Axis, available now at a bookseller near you!

In the end, I knit 4 of the sweaters photographed for the book, including the cover.

Continue reading “Knitting samples for Knitting off the Axis”

3 months of Android: buyer’s remorse?

A little over 3 months ago, I gave up my iPhone 3GS and replaced it with a Samsung Infuse 4G running Android OS. I knew it was a bit of a leap, and I knew that if I hated it I could always go back to iOS when I was eligible for an upgrade again in early 2013.

Android is going to be a great mobile operating system. It’s improving all the time, and Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0) looks promising. But I can’t get excited about a new OS that I’ll likely never touch. An iPhone purchased 3 years ago can be upgraded to the latest operating system, but an Android phone purchased 3 months ago is stuck with an evolving operating system nearly 2 complete versions behind. My phone launched in May 2011 with Android 2.2 (Froyo). I bought it in late August. An update to Gingerbread 2.3 was announced in July 2011. It never happened. It’s unlikely that this phone will get any further attention from AT&T or Samsung since the Galaxy S II is the latest darling. I feel as if I bought a brand new computer running OS X 10.1. Great promise. Buggy as heck. Very unfinished.

I knew all this going in. I knew that this was a huge complaint about Android phones that don’t have “Nexus” in their names. I didn’t realize until I started using Android day in and day out how much it would bother me. How frustrated the quirks and bugs would make me. How depressing it is to know there is no relief in sight.

My husband put it best: When my phone is working well I like it, but it’s not working well enough for me to love it. There’s still a lot I do love…just not on the whole. I love Google Maps. I love widgets. I love how quickly developers update their apps in the Market. But even they can only do so much. Case in point this email I received from a developer after reporting a bug that he earnestly tried to fix but couldn’t:

Sounds painful. I think we may have a hit a bit of a wall though, because Android is meant to handle all that routing, not our app. And to make it worse it varies per phone 😦
So long story short I’m not entirely sure what we can do to help you out…in some ways this is why I prefer coding for iOS, so much simpler from a developer point of view.

When I go back to iPhone it will be one of the first apps I get, if for no other reason than to support the developer.

I love how integrated Google services are (duh). But the bugs. So many bugs. Apps that start and stop at random times. Inconsistent wifi and bluetooth. I try and use voice control to “Call (person) mobile” when (person) is in my address book and the phone searches and dials a pizzeria in Idaho. I could go on.

My phone is not rooted. I only install apps that are well-known/popular. I keep my caches as clean as I can. Yet I am rebooting the phone way too often to solve various software ills. Sometimes by force (removing the battery) due to hard freezes that are unrecoverable. I’ve already exchanged the phone once due to a bad antenna. I’ve had enough and it’s only 3 months in.

I don’t think I’m going to make it to 2013. I had a nice little chat with AT&T today about my options. I’m waiting for someone further up the chain to call me back to see if they will grant me an extra early upgrade due to my long history with AT&T. In 10+ years with Cingular and then AT&T I have never played this card before. I’ve always completed my contracts. At first I was offered an early upgrade to any phone but an iPhone. I couldn’t even buy a no-contract phone. I didn’t accept that. Sure, I can get the Galaxy SII which at least has the hope of getting the latest OS at some point. But then 3 months later something shinier will come along and that will be that. I’ll be stuck with the bugs that still exist in Ice Cream Sandwich, just as I’m stuck with Froyo’s quirks now. Not sure I’m willing to go down that hole again. I am so frustrated that I’m almost willing to break my contract and start over…but if I did that, I assured her that my replacement iPhone wouldn’t be on AT&T. Her supervisor seemed willing to allow the override, but apparently it has to be escalated and now I wait for a decision. The woman I spoke to, Micky, was wonderful. Very understanding and friendly and willing to do what she could to resolve this. I’m sure I’m not the first, nor the last, frustrated Infuse owner she has spoken to.

For my friends who also leaped from iPhone to Android…are you happy? What am I missing? And yes, I know there are tons of folks who love Android and don’t have any of the issues I’m having. I’m sure I’ll hear from all of you in the comments too. 🙂

Moving on to my next adventure

This is a post that I’ve both been looking forward to and dreading.

It’s likely going to be another long one, so for those of you who just want it short and bittersweet, here it is:

I will be leaving Fight Colorectal Cancer at the end of this year to join Convio’s Common Ground team.

Do you know anyone who lives in the Washington, DC area and reminds you of me, professionally speaking? Then please send them my way because we’re hiring a new me. I’m very fortunate that I don’t begin at Convio until January, giving us opportunity to have some overlap between my successor and me. We’re hoping to find someone who can start in early December. Normally one wouldn’t announce they’re leaving a job 4 months before their last day, but we’re telling the world in the hope of having the time to find just the right person to take over for me at FightCRC.

For my friends and family who care about the details, please read on.

Continue reading “Moving on to my next adventure”