Thursday, April 30, 2009

Long stories, but with yarn pics.

Story #1...CYG without the Y. Just Crazy Girl at the office place...
OK, notice the BRIGHT orange jacket. Also notice the ONE beaded orange earring and beaded orange necklace.
FIRST, the background for this story. We all know how much fun I've had with the grand wilderness lately. Well, after my 8-tick day, where BY THE WAY I learned you should NOT pull ticks out as their heads pop off and I had two tick heads get all puffy and nasty looking. One in the crook of my elbow so I looked like a heroin user on a bad day, and one on the FRONT OF MY NECK. Lovely. Well, Jeff went to the farm another weekend and was kind enough to bring home a few ticks to share. Sweet man, huh? I got rid of the 2 I found on him. Kids were watching a dog for a neighbor that was out of town earlier in the week. Guess what I got to pull off his belly? Yup another freaking tick. UGH.

AND on an airplane while on my way out of town the Monday am after that, I felt this bump on the back of my neck. Oh. It was a bit tender when I touched it. Try thinking to yourself for an hour flight "I'm sure it's a zit. I'm sure it's a zit. I'm sure it's a zit". It's a bit more calming if you say it just like Dorothy in her "There's no place like home...." voice in your head. Well, I was about a wreck by the time I got my rental car, headed to the main office. You know, you just can't walk up to anyone and say, "Would you look at this thing on the back of my neck and tell me if it's a zit or a tick?" Especially as I only see these people about 5 times a year and they think I'm mostly normal. Turns out it was, in fact, a tick. Sweet. I've now had a week and a half with NO BUGS on my body and would like to keep things that way, thank you very much.

Back to the story. Yesterday, I was walking through the office wearing the outfit you see above. Bright Orange. As I walked past the conference room glass walls, I popped the top of my can of diet coke. It made this strange buzzing sound. At the same exact moment, one of my beaded earrings fell from my ear to the base of my neck onto the beaded necklace, causing a strange feeling plus more noise. Let's just say the bright orange jacket being flung around as I ripped it off combined with my dancing about, slapping myself in the neck, jumping up and down and cursing madly caused a bit of a strange sight for my co-workers on a conference call. Once I saw it was the EARRING and one string of the beaded necklace's BEADS I was feeling and not a swarm of insects attacking me, I felt a bit silly, picked up jewelry and diet coke, glanced into the conference room and started laughing at the looks of shock on the faces of the men sitting there with their mouths hanging open. THANK GOD they weren't on a video conference as the camera shows the surrounding areas as well. This escapade shouldn't make the gossip circles since it happened in the office and not outside the buiding as most of my CYG adventures. These people I work with already know I'm a bit different and are ok with it. Or at least have learned to deal with it. (And seriously, couldn't I have just brushed my neck in a normal fashion while wearing something neutral instead of flailing about while wearing road-construction day glow orange? Cripes almighty.)

Story #2...The earring strikes again...
Later last night I walk into the bathroom, turn my head as I shut the door and hear a splash and thunk. Damn. RIGHT into the toilet. Cripes almighty. That's the 2nd pair of kitchen tongs I had to throw out in the last 2 weeks. The last one? Beth and I used it to pull 2 dead mice from the cage that didn't make it through the cold spell a while back on the back porch. I'm now down to one pair of kitchen tongs. AND have decided that no matter how great the earrings work with the outfit, I've either got to find someway for the bugger to STAY in my ear or pitch it.

Thank goodness I can make yarn and knit. How bat-shit-crazy would I be if I didn't knit? Scary thought.

I made yarn that looks like actual YARN! WOO HOO!
Top pic is some yarn I spun from a lovely hand-dyed wool top in the Beach colorway from the talented Nikol from the Harveyville Project, aka Yarn School. Her etsy site is Art Club. I've got another 4 oz still to spin! This was my first attempt at navaho plying and it went pretty well, if I do say so myself. It turned out to be a soft heavy-worsted weight.

Bottom pic is yarn I spun from fiber purchased at the Mopaca event from JWrayCo. Also 100% wool and fabulous. I think this is the prettiest yarn I've made so far. It's thinner, probably between a fingering and a dk weight, need to do the wraps-per-inch thing to find out. It's freaking GORGEOUS in person. (I did the best I could with my makeshift lightbox of white denim jacket thrown over a laptop.)

And, finally, thanks to Jo! who sent found this picture that pretty much sums up my life. It's so, so true.

And, thanks to commenters and some of Jeff's country friends, I've decided that I will start taking B1 vitamins, eating lots of garlic, wearing good boots and tucking in tank tops under shirts with long sleeves and hats before attempting my next outing in the wilderness. Plus deet. Deet is my friend. My poisonous friend, but my friend.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Fiber, take me away!

THANK GOD it's finally here! HARVEYVILLE, here we come! The Sunflower Knitters Guild is having its every-other-year retreat there! I can't wait! Not only does Nikol have the coolest yarn school in the nation, fabulous food and fiber and artsy fartsy stuff everywhere, she's also got 3 new baby lambs! Life's sure gotten crazy around here lately, a getaway surrounded by friends, fiber and food? It doesn't get any better than that. Spring Yarn School is coming up soon! Check the Harveyville Project link for details. I'm hoping to go to the Fall 09 Yarn School again, there's so much to learn!!!

And miles to knit before I sleep, and miles to knit before I sleep.....
Knitted through a poetry reading by about 45 3rd graders the other day. (How do the non-knitters do it?) I video taped my youngest step son for Jeff since he was traveling. I think I heard the Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening at least 5 times. It got stuck in my head and each night as I worked on a dear friend's prayer shawl, it came back to me in the knit version. I used the basic foulard pattern from the book Morehouse Farm Merino Knits Farm Fresh. I used almost 2 skeins of a gorgeous denim semi-solid color of Schaefer yarn's superwash sockyarn Nichole. Didn't have enough yarn to do a nice sideways garter stitch border, so did a quick crochet slip stitch around the edges (with 3 st at each corner) and then did a single crochet with a chain 3 loopy border around and used up almost all the yarn. It blocked out gorgeous. It turned out pretty dang big and lightweight, exactly what I wanted. She can stuff it in a tote bag, shake it out, wrap around her shoulders or use as a blanket then shove it back into a bag when she's done. Breast cancer stinks.

Is it too strange that the blanket was about 90% knit while thinking only kind, healing thoughts and prayers? About 10% was knit while thinking "Dear Lord, protect these stupid children" and/or "husband of mine" during whatever crazy thing they had going on at the time. And the blanket also was along for the ride in a backpack while horseback riding. Not normal horseback riding. Have you MET my husband? We were on his friend's farm, riding through "trails" or as I called them paths to HELL, that hadn't been maintained for a few years. Jeff had Joey behind him, I had Elizabeth behind me and Jeff's friend Travis was on his own horse. We went THROUGH trees (thorny and just regular almost knock-you-off-your-saddle style), underbrush, down short cliffs to water, across water and back up other cliff to solid land, and basically just through crap you have no business trying to get through on or off a damn horse. I'm afraid that blanket had a few curses, screams and prayers sent through it as well. I expect this will enable my friend to pass through her ordeal with strength, peace, love and the ability to not fall of any DAD BLAMED FRICKING FRACKING FREAKING HORSES! It's actually quite a challenge to curse in a child-friendly manner when I feel my life is in danger. It's a skill. I gots it.

Meet the new bull. He's so friendly he occasionally thinks he's a lapdog and will try to nuzzle you right off the back of the truck if you're not careful. Glad he's a lover, not a fighter. We're hoping his loving nature will help make many more cow farm babies to grow the herd.

Here's the "Rock Shack". Built by Jeff's friend over the years on his farm. Jeff and his boys like to go sleep in it. With mice that sometimes climb up and nibble on your hair. And the ticks rain down like tick rain. Yeah. Somehow, after the ride we'd had that morning, I was not quite up to the whole idea of things. I admired it from afar and decided that the only way I'm staying overnight there is with a CRAPLOAD of bugspray and a tent with zippers and such. Damn, I miss our pop-up camper. Though there's a roof, the whole thing is open to the elements. It's more of an admire-from-afar kind of place for me.

So, I survived in the country for almost an entire day last Saturday. With my children. And nature-boy. I bugsprayed, sunscreened, water-bottled and the like. I didn't complain, whine or hardly curse. The only times I truly screamed where when we were airborne on the back of the horse. I was almost like a real, live country girl! I thought to myself, I can DO this! I will be ok when we go country in a few years. I can totally DO THIS!

Nope. No rockstar country girl. That evening at home again I pulled EIGHT FREAKING TICKS out of my body. Kids didn't have any and Nature Boy had 1. I had EIGHT. 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8!!!!! I swear I would rather be facing 28 snakes than 8 fuxxing ticks. Does anyone remember the day my freckles were moving? The first big tick attack freak-out with the thousands of seed ticks? Man, I'm still trying to get over that one. After doing more research than I care to admit, it turns out that certain people have a particular scent or taste that makes them more likely to get tick bit than others. Sweet. I've heard all kinds of ways you're supposed to extract the ticks. When I'm in full freak-out mode, it's more like I'll grab a tweeers and pull it out. GET-IT-OUT-GET-IT-OUT-GET-IT-OUT! I guess that wasn't the best policy as then I had eight red itchy bumps from the tick HEADS that were still in my body. One of the guys I work with said the head often keeps burrowing. WHAT???? Why would you tell me that? Seriously? I guess the look of horror was such the one other woman in the office went running for her clear fingernail polish and I took it to the bathroom and started painting my arms, legs, belly and chest with it. (The polish is now mine). I'm sure it's an old wives tail, but still, the thought of a head of a critter chewing inside me made me feel like Frodo with the shard of the poisoned knife working its way to his heart. Except I'm sure I was a bit more upset than Frodo.

Would you do me a favor? Would you ask all the nature-boy and nature-girl types you know for any clues as to what to eat, drink or spray on me to help me make it tick-free in the country? This wasn't even tick season yet and they were chawing down on me. There's no way I'm going to handle actual spring/summer weather out there without having a total come-apart. I've heard a shot of vinegar daily helps, and smoking is supposed to help. I'm not really excited about either of those options, so would LOVE any kind of back-woods advice you hear of. I heard skin-so-soft from Avon used to work but they changed the formula so it's not as potent. I'd forgotten about this and will get some to see if it helps.

I'm gonna knit and spin and relax in a tick-free, child-free, husband-free environment all weekend long. What will I do with myself?

OH! And I'm blond now. I wanted to do something different for turning 40 and I couldn't decide on what tattoo to get, plus I'm a wimp. It's now faded from va-va-va-voom to a nice strawberry-ish thing and not quite so blatant.

Monday, April 13, 2009

CYG/CKL/TKM to the Rescue!

I think I'll stick with CYG as my Superhero Knitting Identity. (Crazy Yarn Girl--nickname given me by some of my office building workers after a few knitting-related incidents). I went to the bank the other day to cash in some change for the kids. While waiting in line I did what any knitter would do, pulled out my sock and worked away, pleasantly waiting in line. Suddenly I hear this *GASP!* "We've been looking for you!" Not words you want to hear when standing in line at your bank. My heart about stopped, I flashed back to my early 20's where I learned the lesson of just-because-you-have-checks-doesn't-mean-you-have-money. I'm sure I had a horrid look of shock upon my face as the woman said, "OH, no, it's nothing bad, we have just been looking for the Complicated Knitter Lady!" Apparently, my ability to knit a tube is an amazing thing and since there was a new accounts person stuck on her 2nd knitting project, my Complicated Knitter Lady skills were in demand.

After showing this lady (and an additional small audience) how to join stitches in the round and make sure you don't twist stitches, a big sigh of wonder was heard in the room. Man, maybe I should have stuck with the banking world. I was a teller in the early 90's. A job where you worked hard part of the time and got to KNIT the other part? How much would that rock? No, I remember the stress of the banking world. I'll stay a Complicated Knitter Lady customer, thank you very much.

Another knitting superhero task faces me tonight. A couple of the moms asked the Girl Scout leader if she knew "That Knitting Mom" and the rest is history. I'm teaching nine 12 yr olds to knit. Solo. I had my daughter lined up as my super-hero-helper, but she's got to go to a choir meeting for her tour, so can't make it. Damn. So tonight TKM is sucking it up, bringing needles and yarn and a few tween-themed knitting books for inspiration.

I'm thinking knitting a headband for the first project. Cast on 10 stitches, knit garter stitch for around 10" or until it's a little less than wrapped around their heads, bind off and sew ends together. How hard could it be? Anyone besides me worried by the following realization? (of course not, you didn't insanely volunteer to do something that terrifies you, did you?) I was in the elementary education program in college until an observation/teacher aide kind of class and I realized that not only do I not enjoy teaching, but I don't really like children all that much either. A quick college major change was in order. I love all the school stuff like cutting, pasting, coloring, reading, math, etc. Just not the TEACHING of it. Don't get me wrong. I love kids (usually). I love MY kids and I love other kids for short periods of time while SOMEONE ELSE is in charge of them. Yeah. How hard could tonight be, anyway? (Anyone else hear that music that plays as the girl is walking into the path of the serial killer holding the chain saw? Yeah. Me neither.)

AND I've been totally behaving myself at work lately. No knitting escapades to get the gossips' tongues wagging. Except for slightly stalking a woman I swear had YARN in her tote bag. While in the elevator I saw YARN TAILS in the midst of a crammed tote bag. It was just the end of a few tails of yarn, not hanging out in public or anything so I couldn't very well ask about it. Two floors up and she got out. So, I tailed her. Just a bit. I got off the floor at the last minute to see where she worked. NO IDEA of what I'd do with that info. I was just so thrilled that there may be another knitter or crocheter here to bond with! Well, she went into the bathroom. I went into the bathroom. She set down her bag by the sink and it FELL OVER. Being the good samaritan that I am, dove to help her gather her things from the spilled bag. It was a scarf. I saw the fringe. It was an ugly, store-bought acrylic scarf. *sigh* Guess it's still me, the lonely CYG in the building.

Yeah. I thought that was a bit strange, even for me. Resolved to not stalk any more potential fiber people in the building unless there's actual signs of knitting action.

On a more relaxed note, here's what I've been working on lately. Hand-dyed wool fiber from jwrayco that I got from the Alpaca Festival a few weeks back.

Wish me luck tonight. I could never teach knitting classes for a living. I get all sweaty just thinking about it. I keep telling myself, "they're just kids" "I'm bigger than they are" (only some of them, so this one doesn't really work). "I can do this" Ah well. What's the worst that could happen?

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