Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Is there a ten step program for orange addiction?

See, I NEEDED an orange sequined cowboy hat. I have yarn to match it! Oh, and there's only a few rows of sequins along the edges. It's not total tackiness. The pictures will have to wait as I brought the camera along on the trip, but no camera cord. Just wait until the next Sunflower Knitters Guild meeting. I'm going fully corrdinated, baby.

It totally freaked me out seeing all these yarns together in one place. I had no idea I had that much orange. Orange glasses? Orange cowboy hat? Orange socks, sweaters, scarves and yarn to become even more sweaters, scarves, hats, socks, gloves and headbands? Does that scare anyone else but me?

Being an extremely anal woman, I've got to have some sense of schedule in my life. I could get used to the whole laying-on-the-beach-sipping-margaritas thing, but there's a part of me that's going nuts because I'm not living from my franklin planner system. Yes, it's sad. I realize that. I figure in order to not lose my mind or end up in too many hasta-la-wego-blue-drinks hangover again (not pretty) I should set myself a goal or two per day while here.

Goals for today:
#1 Do not fall off kayak into the ocean.
#2 Attach both sunglasses and ziplock bag of knitted socks to floaties for when rule #1 goes to hell.

Good plan. (Thank GOD Jeff got us changed to the kayaking/snorkeling/laying on beaches adventure instead of the rock climbing/ziplining MORE rock climbing thing. Me? Rock Climbing? With taquila involved? (there's a nice little drink/snack break in the middle) Nope. Not me. I fall off rocks WITHOUT taquila and that sounds like entirely too much work. I'll leave that kind of stuff to Stacey. Ah well. Sock knitting on a remote beach? Now that's my kind of adventure. (I can knit very slowly today. Hand is better but a bit touchy).

Monday, October 27, 2008

only in mexico

So, since there's not an abundance of yarn shops, it's totally understandable to buy an orange sequined cowboy hat if it matches the silk yarn you brought to work on a shawl and the Cascade 220 yarn for the February Lady Sweater waiting to be knitted, right?

Damn margaritas.

From the tip of the Baha Penninsula

I must say, this whole sales training thing is pretty sweet. Jeff's company has a training session and teambuilding event in San Jose del Cabo, at the tip of the Baha penninsula in Mexico. Thank God for frequent flyer miles. Basically the trip cost us $30/night to add me to the room. Period. Yes, life rocks. SO, we came down a day and a half early to spend some honeymoonish still early married lovey dovey time together. It was very sweet, very romantic and filled with the occasional dumbass moments as well.

Apparently because we're at the tip of this landmass in the Pacific ocean, we've got a serious riptide/undertow thing going on. Each and every piece of information the hotel has uses ALL BOLD TYPE to tell you about the three lovely pools and the safe protected public beach down the way, and says "DO NOT SWIM ON THE BEACH OUTSIDE THE RESORT" in really, really big letters. On signs. On paperwork. Apparently big ass riptide and rougue waves means "good time swimming" to my little outdoor man. Oh hell. Well, I made it in to about my knees, and was just getting used to the whole slamming waves/sucking your feet out from under you thing, when WHAM BAM NO THANK YOU MA'AM I get hit by a SIDEWAYS riptide. nice. After getting rolled and tossed around like a ping pong ball in a blender, I came up sputtering for air and dragged myself the last 2 feet to the shore. My ocean swimming was done. Apparently they call that a "Mexican facial." sweet. I have to say my face and about half my body is nicely exfoliated. The scary thing? He's not even the only dumbass down here. There were a bunch of these people out crashing in the waves. At least he agreed to only go out to the 3rd set of big crashing rolling waves. There were those going out further, dumbass, dumbass, dumbass.

SO, one would think that three days of Jeff attending meetings would mean some serious knitting time for me right? Plus all that airline time? Yeah. I had some freak hand cramp thing where I COULD NOT KNIT. NOT ONE FREAKING STITCH. Waiting in the KC airport? no knitting. On the plane to Chicago? No knitting. On the plane to Cabos? no knitting. NO KNITTING while sitting by the pool. I have such sympathy to those knitters out there dealing with arthitis and other ailments. I just had this freaky ache in all my finger and knuckle joints that I couldn't knit or even hold onto anything. It was freaky and really frightening. It wasn't like a normal knitting cramp, it was almost like a weak paralysis thing. Scared the snot out of me actually.

I was prepared and at least had knitting and spinning magazines along so could READ about knitting. I decided to treat the ailment with NO KNITTING for two entire days, and keeping the hand wrapped around a cold drink. I felt strawberry margaritas were the best treatment, but one day of that didn't make a dent in the poor crippled hand. After moving to the "hasta la wego" (totally don't know how to spell that drink), it means "goodnight!", my stomach and head are a bit shaky today, but the HAND is ABLE TO MOVE!!! There will be some very gentle sock knitting today! WOO HOO! But I think no more hasta la wego's for me.

Another 91-95 degree day awaits. There's always a constant breeze and not too much humidity so it's absolutely fabulous to sit and knit. Life is good.

OH, and I think I talked Jeff into getting us switched from the whole rock climbing, cliff jumping, zipline riding adventure into the kayacking over to the beach near the arch above and snorkeling. OK, Jeff's snorkeling and I'm sitting my ass on the beach knitting. Gotta love those ziplock bags. Cross your fingers for the kayack trip to have 2 spots open!

We need a knitting superhero

Can't you just see it? Able to shoot icord out of a project bag hanging from her wrist? Swinging along from building to building?

Another superhero prop? Wool socks. Serioulsy. A pair saved my butt last week in Minneapolis. WHAT kind of a car rental company doesn't put an ice scraper in their freaking cars in MINNEAPOLIS? Early morning hard frost. Me, driver's license and wool socks on my hands. It worked fabulously.

I got to attend the Minneapolis Knitting Guild while there and it was such fun! WOW those ladies and men are organized! Tons of activities, charity programs and I got to mee THE Kiki from the new book Kiki's Hats, who was an amazingly charming and modest lady that was the subject of this book. She's made thousands of hats and given them away with the charge that you must take 2, one to give to someone else and one for you. Then she asks people to write, email or call and tell her where they went. The hats have gone around the world. The author came and read the book and it was just a wonderful evening.

I also got to reconnect with my yarn school roommate Deb! That woman loves fiber and fiber shopping as much as I do, it's quite scary actually.

I guess we're all knitting superheroes. Don't you ever feel like you change a little bit of the world when you give away a knitted gift? *sigh* Too bad knitters don't run the world. Yet.

Monday, October 20, 2008

What kind of a knitter am I? Pathetic. Just pathetic.

So I travel to Minneapolis 5-6 times a year now. Not really a problem as this state has more than its share of two of my favorite things, yarn shops and liquor stores. Reeeeeeaaaaallllllllly long winters. You'd think I'd remember that fact and pack something warm. Wouldn't you? It's freaking COLD up here. I know, I know, OCTOBER. Yes, I sometimes am a dumbass. What kind of a knitter goes to somewhere COLD and brings no warm knitted clothes? No hats. No gloves. No wrist warmers. No shawls. No scarves.

At least I brought a leather blazer. I did actually check the weather before I came up here, it said lows of 48-50's and highs of 60's. I thought I'd be good. Yeah. It's 30-something outside. AND I have to be at work at 7-freaking-O'clock in the morning. When it's cold outside. Ah well.

Only good thing is that I got a TON of knitting done on my 2nd sleeveless turtleneck sweater. Made out of frog tree merino, I figure this under the leather blazer should keep me toasty if I can get it done by Wed. evening for my Christmas dinner. Yes, Christmas dinner. In October. Apparently it was the only way they could work out getting the KC team together with our bosses here in MN. Being one of those people that starts singing Christmas carols the day after Halloween, this seems to fit somehow.

Wanna know how to really freak out someone on an airplane? I mean BESIDES just sitting quietly knitting? Why is it that still freaks people out so? Try spit splicing some yarn. I guess I didn't even think about it. I'm knitting quietly, listening to my ipod. Knitting with circular needles so I'm not even scaring the guy with a possibility of any random poking from double points. Run out of the ball of yarn, pull out the next one and after splitting the ends into different lengths, breaking the bits (never ever cut the ends for the splice), lick my hands, and quickly rub together. Ta Da, a perfectly joined piece of yarn. I hear a gasp (which must have been pretty loud as I had the "baaa da daaaaaa's" on that 500 miles song "I'm gonna be" from the Proclaimers (remember it?".....and I would walk 500 hundred miles and I would walk 500 more....just to be the man who walked a thou sand miles to fall down at your door baaa da daaaaa....baaa da daaaaa...." ANYWAY, to this loud gasp I look up thinking, WOW! Here's a man that appreciates a well joined yarn. Yeah. Due to the look of supreme horror on his face, this was not a man impressed by the spit splicing abilities of this knitter. Ah well. Good song, though.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

At least they're wollemeise

This is how my boy went to school the other day. In public. With a green shirt on. And dark blue shorts. And red crocks. And hand knitted blue socks.

I did actually point out that um, well, NOTHING he was wearing matched. "That's ok mom, I like it. It's my woolly style."

I think I like that. Not enough to wear something like that, but I still like it.

Looks like I have another hat...

ME: Here honey, try on the hat I just finished. It's the Goin' to the Barn Chore Hat from that kit I bought you.
JEFF: It itches
Snatched off his head. I love it. I've not got a finished pic yet, will get around to it sooner or later. The hat-in-progress shot is modeled by my daughter. (who never said ANYTHING about it being ITCHY, being a good daughter who appreciates knitted wool hats) The outer hat is a bit rough, but there's a lovely alpaca lining that is against your ears, so NONE of the itchy touches any part of your body that should itch.
*sigh* Guess my man's destined for superwash wool sweaters or cotton. I did the cotton one once as the boyfriend sweater. To his credit, the man wears it all the time. (And is still quite proud of his "solution" to the bleached spots he got on it. A sharpie marker. A not-quite red but actually a bit hot pink sharpie.) Well, I love my hat. Warm and snuggly. I look forward to breaking it in during the cold months to come.

Speaking of the boyfriend sweater....here it is in action. Driving our NEW BOAT! Ok, new-to-us boat! It's a 1988 Cobalt, which they call the Cadillac of the lake. It's just exactly what we needed. The last few summers we've borrowed other motor boats that were monster speedsters and basically beat the crap out of us while we tried to just stay in the freaking boat. While Jeff enjoyed it, the rest of us....not so much. This baby is HUGE, heavy as hell and just cruises through the waves. Love, Love, Love it. The only drawback is that we had to sell the camper. *sigh* I know we only used it twice and all, but DANG I loved camping in it. I was so far above the dirt and bugs and such and had screened windows and doors and a TOILET IN A CABINET. That's my kind of camping. Back to the tent in the dirt with the whole dang group piled on top of each other. *sigh* Freaking family closeness and all that crap. Ah well. We'll get much more use out of this boat. PLUS I can actually KNIT while riding on it. I am not exaggerating when I say I've always had to hold on to the boat and my kids with all my strength before, so this is going to be great for our summer fun.

Some of my hand dyed goodies all wound up. They're even more fun this way. I'm going to have to get knitting! I want to see how they turn out! (sockyarn and then my cormo laceweight)

Friday, October 03, 2008

Excuse me, but could you spare a pair? Yarn School, Commando Style

So, being the utterly anal knitter that I am, I was all packed for Yarn School an entire week before I left. I was so prepared it wasn't even funny. I had my no-thinking knitting project (square number 2 from my itty bitty sockyarn blanket) for knitting while talking, I had my moderate thinking knitting project in a nice pair of 3x1 ribbed socks. I had an intricate thinking knitting project in case I totally didn't get spinning and had to find something to get lost in (never made it out of the bag). I had shorts for if it was hot, a sweater and FOUR pair of wool socks in case it got cold (it really didn't). I had magazines, books, yarn for selling at the yarn shop & swap. I had my camera, battery charger, snacks in case I didn't like the food (I really REALLY did) and even brought a bunch of extra bags for the extra goodies I'd be bringing home.

The only thing I forgot? I realized it at about 12:30am the first night. UNDERWEAR. Yes, I had NO underwear. Cripes almighty. Now that might be a cute, funny thing if the pair I was wearing was even slightly hang-in-public-worthy. Nope. Blue, so old and worn that the elastic was hanging out in bits and there were HOLES and quite possibly the ugliest pair of granny panties I've ever owned. Rags in my house are in better shape. Nice start, huh?

SO, not sure how to ask an almost total stranger if I could bum a pair of panties, and Harveville possessing only one shop that sold 3.2 beer but no undies (I checked, you never can tell what you'll find in a small town stop2shop), I was left with two alternatives... learn to spin while going commando or wash the undies and find a discrete spot to hang them dry. Yeah, I was freaked out enough about being able to spin without just falling over (which almost happened at one point) that the idea of doing that in a more natural state? Not gonna happen. SO, there I am at 1am, washing my ugly undies in the sink with shampoo. I even dropped them on the floor once when someone came in for a night-time trip to the commode and surprised me. After rewashing and wringing them out, I went wandering around the elementary school looking for a place to hang the ugly undies to dry. You'd think there'd be more places, wouldn't you? I finally found a side door handle that was hidden behind a ping pong table. As I'm leaning waaaaaay over to hang them up, I look up and see two ladies looking at me like WTF is she doing? So I lean in an even stranger angle and say, "pretty sky tonight, huh?" and run back to my room. Next morning the undies are still a bit damp, but packing a hair dryer (SEE how well I packed?) I quickly took care of business.

So, Friday and Saturday night let's just say "rinse and repeat." Sure I could have driven myself to Topeka to find a wal-mart, but that would be losing precious fiber creating time. No freaking way.

After hearing the story and laughing her ass off, Teri told me she would have driven me out some underwear. Man, that's the sign of a good friend. I'd drive you underwear too!

ALL photos were taken with me WEARING my undies. No worries.

My very first ball of yarn. Made from a gorgeous corriedale dyed by the amazing Adrienne from Hello Yarn. Is it wrong to want to buy even more fiber when I have no spinning wheel?

Closeup of my alpaca yarn that I still haven't put away. It's sitting by my bed. Waiting patiently to become something amazingly soft to wear around my neck. Maybe a cowl?

My before and after pics of the thick/thin singles I spun to create a big ass felted bag. Wish me luck.

And finally some of the most beautiful yarn I own. I dyed some heavenly cormo wool gifted to me from Chery, who is also the one that encouraged me to learn to spin! I'm so very pleased at the depth of colors of the red oranges and rust oranges and ooooooohhhhhhh I have to pick a really good project for this stuff!

Oh, and I didn't just dye pretty stuff, oh no! Nearing the end of the extra dye session, it was about 215 degrees in the science lab, roasters were roasting. Crockpots were crockpotting, women were SWEATING. I was getting hot and cranky. Instead of using the dyes I'd mixed to make four sets of fibers of each of my favorite colors, I decided FUXX IT I'll just put them all together in one big batch. Yeah. It would've been cool if I'd dyed it so that there were long bits of each color, but I was in FUXX IT mode, so dumped it all in. SO, whenever I get a wheel and get ready to spin, I'll be spinning a whole lot of short bits of colors. Each color is lovely individually. Together they make my eyelids twitch.

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