Saturday, January 31, 2009

I know they LOOK like 9 year old boys...but they're actually brain sucking aliens taking over the world, one mom at a time...

Do you see me covering my ears and cringing in the corner? I didn't even know my daughter was snapping this picture. Slam dancing in the mosh pit of a heavy metal rock concert would have been easier on my ears and body than living through that version of the happy birthday song. What the HELL was I thinking? Sure, have 4 of your friends over for a sleepover party. Sure, Jeff, go on to the farm, it'll be no big deal, I can totally handle a few 9 yr old boys. OH MY HOLY HELL. It's 10:38pm and I've already turned out the lights and stuck them all on sleeping bags in the fireplace room. No, the fire is out. I was at least on the ball enough to have that little detail ironed out. I've already threatened that the next boy that starts wrestling and/or screaming will spend the rest of the night on my bedroom floor. God knows I won't be up there for the next four hours, but it did seem to freak them out a bit and (knock on wood) so far they're keeping it to a moderate roar. Did anyone SEE me smoking crack? Did I have a lobotomy when I wasn't paying attention? Did I forget that I don't like to be outnumbered by children? AND I've done absolutely NO knitting or spinning. Grrrrrrrr. In my head I was thinking that I had video games, pizza and movies. What more could I need? I'd sit and spin and knit and they'd just play away. 10:41. And the moms aren't coming until 11am tomorrow morning.

So, back to the original reason for the post. On Thursday, I had an epiphany. Not just any epiphany, a KNITpiphany. It was a brilliant idea! Something I couldn't believe no one had thought of before! I've been piling up a lot of socks that are in need of darning. SIX pair have one sock with a hole in it now. That seriously cuts into my wearable sock pile. SO, instead of wasting time darning up the holes, I have this great freaking idea! Why not wear two of the socks from the darning pile that don't have holes in them? At the same time? My feet will be toasty warm, I won't have to spend time darning and no one will be the wiser! What a brilliant idea!

Brilliant, except for the fact that apparently my new pair of slacks SHRUNK in the wash and I didn't realize that fact. AND though no one usually comes into our little office, that day I had at least EIGHT people to walk around the office and sit and meet with. SO with every step I saw a little flash out of the bottom of my eye......TEAL......BLUE......TEAL......BLUE.... you get me? Yeah. Those nice long black pants and the black shoes that should have made my brilliant idea, well, brilliant didn't quite work out as planned. I got really odd looks from the gentlemen I was meeting with. There's just no way to cover that up. My pants were literally an inch and a half higher than the edge of my shoes. WHILE STANDING UP! The only saving grace was at least I hadn't broken out one of the bright orange socks. Sweet mother. Every time I think of something and am astounded that no one had done it before...something like this happens to me. Yeah. Maybe someone DID think of it but had the sense to wear the socks while AT HOME or WITH LONGER PANTS or just spend the few minutes darning the darn things in the first place.

10:51pm. I've already had the whole bunch go ape and escape on me. Running around the house like crazy people. You'd have thought they'd be a bit worn down by all the jumping, running, dancing, wrestling and general craziness by now, right? Damn.

OH, I have shots of a baby knit IN ACTION! Little Harper (my new niece!) modeling her baby shrug in dream in color classy (washable wool) bought at misknits! LOVING this. I can't decide if the 2nd shot looks like Popeye or if it's her pirate arrrrrgh look. So freaking cute.

Monday, January 26, 2009

It kinda looks like a sunset.....

It kinda looks like a sunset if you squint a lot and drink a little, or if you drink a lot and squint a little. After mentioning this to my dear friend Teri, she pointed out the fact that I both drink AND squint quite often so I should be good. Only problem is that I don't spend a lot of time around OTHER PEOPLE who are drinking and/or squinting, so unless I decide to start spending a lot of time in the local bars I'd probably better find another way to use this yarn.

In real life, it's just, well, horrid. The stitch pattern at the top just really doesn't work for this yarn. But I HAVE learned something. I do love this yarn, I don't mind it in stockinette, I absolutely love it in garter stitch, and it's WARM. Taking the advice of some local spinners I got to sit & spin & EAT with on Sunday, I've decided this yarn still has a future as a wearable piece of clothing. It's going to either be a garter stitch button band/neckline/edging for a body of a cardigan or it may become a stripe in a Zimmerman EPS sweater of some sort. It just isn't living up to its potential (damn, how often have I heard those words in my youth?) and I'm going to find a way for this funky bright sunset-ish yarn to shine.

I'm also still on an orange kick, so have made some serious progress on Bonne Marie's Eyelet Cardi out of some gifted cascade 220 from another dear friend Chery. Picture is showing a bit brighter than real life, still working on the new camera's settings. It's a lovely orange and not at all needing sunglasses to knit as it may seem in the photo. I truly love ChicKnits patterns. They're well written, easy to knit, classic, stylish and FIT ME!

I'm getting closer on my wheel decision. I think I've narrowed it down to a choice between a Fricke double treadle with wooly winder or an Ashford Kiwi with jumbo flyer attachment. SUCH a hard decision!!! I'll also probably begin destashing a bit to help pay for whichever wheel gets to come home with me.

How's everyone doing in the big year of the stash? I'm totally falling in love with my yarn all over again! I didn't get to go to even one yarn shop while in Minnesota last week. Can you believe it? Probably the only way that my stash hasn't grown yet in 2009. I'm sure it will, I'm not going all cold-turkey here, just trying to shop from the stash first. I was so busy with lunch meetings and dinner meetings that I didn't even get to visit either of my MN knitter friends. I've already arranged to have a little more time on my own when I go back in April!

OH an I went skiing with the girl scouts on Saturday in the upper teens/lower 20's, wore my alpaca hat & cowl and was NOT COLD! I did have to put up the edges of my coat to help shield the ears when I was really flying down the hill, but other than that I was absolutely alpacaishly toasty! On SundayI saw this lady spinning up some of the very same alpaca that I made my hat & cowl out of. I LOVE THAT FIBER. Once I get a wheel, some more of the Don Giovani colorway of fiber WILL be shipped to my home. It may even be there waiting for the wheel to arrive. I said, "OH, you're spinning MY ALPACA! Look!" and brandished the hat and cowl in her face. She said, "Actually, this is from MY alpaca. I own the Alpacas in Wildcat Hollow Alpaca Farm and this was from my actual alpaca." HOW cool is that? I visited her amazing farm when I went to Yarn School 08. After mildly freaking her out that I knew the names of which alpacas my fiber came from, she realized I was just a fan and not a crazy stalker woman and we had a very nice time spinning and chatting.

I've got to get a shirt that says "Got Alpaca?".

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Best. Knitting. Tool. EVER!

PAPERCLIPS!!! These things are unbelievable. They are now a permanent part of my knitting bag. I've also stashed some in the truck for when I'm out and about and without my knitting tools.

Need a stitch holder? Paperclip it.

Knit Picks' Options needles coming loose and you left the little key thing at home? Paperclip it.

They're also handy if you've dropped a stitch on lace or itty bitty stitches and don't have a crochet needle handy. In short, they rock. Stick some in your knitting bag. I imagine if you unbent them you could even knit from them if you had to.

In addition to 2009 being the year of knitting from the stash for me, it's also going to be the year of knitting up my handspun.
Just in time for my trip to Minneapolis, the hat is from the first alpaca I spun at yarn school and the cowl is from the 2nd batch of handspun I created in December. It's so unbelievably warm and alpacaishly soft. The fact that I look like a total dork in it doesn't even phase me.

This is a scarf using Yarn Harlot's one row handspun scarf pattern. I dyed this fiber at Yarn School last fall, spun it up in November.

Has anyone ever noticed how beginner spinner's yarn is a lot like a toddler with a runny nose and bad attitude? Only its mother could truly love it. You can see the potential there, but it's a clumsy, slightly cruddy little thing. And it sometimes gives you headaches. But I love it anyway.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Psychedelic Yarn Barf. not a good start for 2009

We all know how yarn has a life of its own, right? I'm not the only one? Yarns behave differently depending on the gauge, drape and design picked for it. You have to be a bit of a fiber-mind-reader and detective all rolled into one. What an amazing thing it is to pick exactly the project a yarn is meant for! You can almost hear the yarn singing as you knit along. The entire process is a joyful thing and the end result is your new very favorite sweater/shawl/mittens/etc. It's a special moment that just doesn't always happen around here all that often.

Unfortunately, most of us have had an experience (or twenty-three) where we tried to force a yarn to become something it was not meant to be. It doesn't matter that the fiber, gauge, drape and all that jazz is spot on. No, that yarn has decided it is Not. Going. To. Cooperate. Forcing yarn to become something it doesn't want to be can be worse than dealing with a moody pre-teen girl. Believe me, I've got experience with BOTH. I've had yarn roll its eyes at me, sigh deeply and flat out pout while tossing its fiber/hair. I swear I've even heard it laugh in triumph when I've grown too frustrated to continue and stuffed the damned doomed project back into a bag and shoved it into the corner.

Well, my current dilemma is a bit different than the usual pouty yarn. What do I do with beautiful yarn that's decided it's quite happy becoming a project that is turning out to be, well, craptastically fugly? Wow. So much is wrong with this project. It's a gorgeous pattern Shalom, designed by Meghan McFarlane. Meghan, I promise, cross my heart, to make your lovely pattern again in a nice solid yarn that will show the gorgeous lines, the romantic feel of the pattern once I'm done with this one. Please don't judge her wonderful pattern by the funkiness that I'm creating.

I love the pattern, the drape, the squoosh factor. It's just, well, horrid. It looks like the toilet cover my grandma had in her basement bathroom in the mid-70's. The one that was filled with mismatched towels and accessories considered ugly EVEN in the time of the Uglies. Seriously? All I see when I keep knitting along is yarn barf. 70's psychedelic yarn barf.

The scary thing? I can't stop knitting it. This yarn has Decided what it wants to be. I'm pretty much powerless to resist. I should do the smart thing and frog it and knit a nice scarf and matching hat. This yarn has spoken to me during its swatching. I've also been there with this yarn from the start. Ok, not on-the-sheep start, but back in the days of its being a white fluffy combed top just waiting to see what it would become. I dyed this yarn. I predrafted this yarn. I spun this yarn. I've spent a lot of freaking time with this yarn. How can I now hold it back from its dream of becoming actual clothing instead of the usual bits & pieces most handspun turns out to be?

Maybe I'll just keep knitting and wear it to the local knitting guild meeting and that will count as wearing it in public. We'll see how it goes. I will proudly say, "Yes. I made that. Yes. It was on purpose. Yes I know I look like a VERY BRIGHT toilet cover from the 70's. It's exactly the look I was aiming for." Then you may see me wearing a fabulous orange scarf and mittens set soon afterwards, we'll just see how it goes.

Oh, and what happens in our house when mom gets grumpy and bans all tv and video games for a couple of nights? Egg Man. You can't see in the picture, but he was carrying around two empty egg cartons like they were big, heavy weights. I've been singing "I am the egg man.....I am the egg man......I am the walrus.....koo koo ka choo...." ever since. Yes, my children are total dorks. Sweet, funny but truly dorks. The apple doesn't fall far from the toilet cover wearing tree.

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