Saturday, October 31, 2009

All Hallow's Eve

I got to be lazy and not carve the pumpkin this year. I was thrilled. Hmm, that sounds kinda bad. A few years ago, I went bananas, making special carvings, but I just didn't feel much like it this go-round. Good thing. Before I even voiced my feelings, Tiny announced, "I'm carving the pumpkin."
Raised eyebrows from me. "Really?"
"Nothing! Go to it!" And look what she made! Can't you just hear the mice singing, "Cinderelly, Cinderelly, night and day it's Cinderelly! Do the dishes, do the shopping! They always keep her hopping!" Ah, she's definitely my spawn. Knitting today brought a fun project. I can claim no credit whatsoever. The knitter is Scout and the model we'll call Glory. The pattern is called Viking Hat.I just had the good sense to snap a photo when she was showing it off. Glory is a new knitter and is now building a stash. She admits to being addicted. Wow, that was fast!

Friday, October 30, 2009

It's All About Tiny

For Hallowe'en, Tiny and friends have decided to portray Shock, Lock, and Barrel from Nightmare Before Christmas. Tiny's going to be Shock, the little witch. She asked me to make her a raisin-purple dress and she'll cover her black witch hat with the scraps. I had to pull off the pink feather boa we had glued to it years ago for the Harry Potter Girl Scout day--you can see a few feathers sticking out if you look closely! I don't usually sew garments without a pattern, so this was a bit of a challenge. She had to put up with puffed sleeves because that's all I know how to do. Eh, she'll live. (And I think I need a little edge-u-ma-kay-shun!) I think it looks just a bit Plain Folk. Really, just substitute the pointy black hat for a starched white bonnet and voila! Not that that's a bad thing...
I've finished the Scarlet Ribbon shrug for her, but she was abed when I wanted a photo, so Bear jumped right in. Of course, on him it looks like a cardigan, but what are you gonna do?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Going Squirrelly

Imagine this on its side, partially covered with bark, near the base of a tree. Wouldn't you kinda freak out a little? You wouldn't? Dead squirrel, big deal? Well, not me. I was chanting, "Please be the cache. Please be the cache," as I reached for it. Thank God it was a squirrel figurine with a little jar in its base. Inside were a few trinkets and a cache log. This isn't really a picture of little S but, trust me, that thing looked real. (PS, my Geocaching total is now 71!)

And I finished the top for Firehorse. It's another prayer quilt, so I don't know who it's going to. Once again, I had barely enough fabric to finish the border, but it came together beautifully. I'm so pleased.I think the border makes it look kinda floaty. No it's not perfect, scrap quilters don't go for perfect. (Thank God!)

Tiny got into Cotillion this year. She has wanted to do so in the past, but got lucky this year. Wait... you don't know Cotillion? Yeah, I didn't know until recently either. It's a big event about eight times a year where the kids learn

  1. etiquette
  2. courtesy
  3. respect
  4. sensitivity
  5. ballroom dancing (no, really)
  6. how to be comfortable when dining at the White House (I swear, that's in the newsletter)

She came out of her first dance floating on a cloud. But here's the thing: there's a strict dress code. Appropriate wear is mandatory. Dresses of modest length for the girls, coats and ties for the boys, and short white gloves for everyone. (By the way, anybody got a pair you'd be happy to part with? She borrowed mine and wasn't pleased to be the only one with crocheted gloves.) Her dress, while it's perfect for dancing, is strappy and she has to wear something to cover her back. So I pulled out the red ribbon I'd bought for the Unending Red Knitted Thing and cast on for a little red shrug. I think I'll have it done by Saturday! I'm going to call this project Scarlet Ribbons, named after one of my favorite non-traditional Christmas songs.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Why I Love Lifelines...

...or, Why I Hate Lifelines

But first, a definition.
Lifeline (noun) a thin thread run through a row of knitting in order to preserve the work up to that point, most commonly used in lacework due to the complication of the pattern.

  1. Lifelines save your work.
  2. They don't save all your work.
  3. Lifelines keep you from starting completely over.
  4. They won't let you rip out your work and start fresh.
  5. Lifelines keep you from "making do," and ask you to fix your mistakes.
  6. They encourage perfection, much like the Borg of Star Trek fame.
  7. Lifelines keep you sane.
  8. They don't really.
  9. Lifelines make you take the needles out of your work, creating near mayhem scenes, like this one.
  10. Lifelines use up all the dental floss.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Time Warp: October 11, 2009

Oh, my goodness, what a night! The gang hung out knitting (spinning, crocheting) in the hallway until everyone was ready for dinner. Then we headed over to an Italian restaurant which, incidentally, was having a Live Band Karaoke Night. Oh, my. 'Twas quite loud. What? It was loud! What did you say? Loud! It's too loud! Oh, forget it, I'm going over to Starbuck's. And that's what I did. And guess what I did? I knitted. I know, what a shock! I had actually finished the second sock and was ready to go back and fix the first one. It was too short. That's what the little note is about. After dinner was over, we all went for ice cream--yummy! And then what did we do? Are you really asking? I mean, really? Duh. We knitted! And crocheted and spun and talked. One of us knows all about internet porn. One of us can't stand 4-way stops. One of us has special names for her body parts. One of us is woken up early by a man less than half her age. But I'm not tellin' who! We got together in the morning for breakfast, second breakfast for some, at a local restaurant, then a few of us geocached some more. After that, I drove up to Fresno to see Kosmo, one of my very best friends. (She knows where all the bodies are buried.) And she's knitting! She's a real can-do kind of person: once she gets an idea into her head, nothing will stop her. I really admire that. I finished the socks sitting next to her. They're a little big on Bear, but just right for me!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Time Warp: October 10, 2009

It's my birthday! The retreat began with a chat around the pool, as the conference room was full of vendors setting up fibery loveliness. And Good Dr. G got everyone to, well, click below:

The pretty blond at the end of the video was my roomie: CD. She brought me a giftie from Las Vegas: a mug from Cirque du Soleil where she works. (How cool is that?) After we checked in, we each received a more than generous gift bag with yarns and unspun fiber and soap and stitch markers and more. This picture is just a part of the wonderfulness:These whole skeins were in the goodie bag, too!My brain boggles just trying to understand the generosity of the donors! And even more: there was a major drawing! Everyone got something--I'll tell you later what I got.

I took a drop spindling class, borrowing a spindle from Freckle Face Fibers. I really have no idea what I'm doing with that, but I appreciate the effort that JoBaby made. Seems that, when it comes to drop spindling, I'm really good at the drop... but not so much with the spindling.
Here's the idea: you use a bit of fluff, aka raw fiber such as wool (below) or alpaca or silk or whatever you can get your mitts on. (Hmm, I wonder if lint works...)Then you use this disk on a stick combined with gravity to produce yarn. (?) This is my "yarn". And it's not the picture that's fuzzy: it's the yarn. Well, at least I have the idea. I think that if I was determined, I'd get it. Maybe someday. I even took a second class in the afternoon and still... really just the dropping.

And now for the shopping...

While I was browsing, my little hitchhikers asked to have their picture taken. Here they are with some of Freckle Face Fibers. Here's what I bought from the same vendor:
It's sock weight and hand dyed: the colorway is Ruby. Parfait, n'est-ce pas? I also picked up this bit of gorgeousness: The colorway is...wait for it... Cowboy! (True Love Fiber) Can't you just see the denim jeans and the leather boots? I just couldn't resist. We won't be going to the ranch this year, but I can imagine I'm there with this in my saddlebag! And one more thing: the Koigu was on sale. There was no way to walk away from this: it looks like a mermaid's dream.
A total surprise...the mind boggles: I am such a podcast junkie and two more podcasters showed up this morning: Gigi (red shawl) and Jasmin (pink hair) from The Knitmore Girls. I was so thrilled to meet them both!
I had to take a nap after all this excitement and my late night so I missed a couple of classes, but sanity is usually preferred in public. I can't wait to see what happens tonight!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Time Warp: October 9, 2009

As I have been out of town for a few days, I can't update you daily without using a time machine. Luckily, I built one, so I'll go back a few days and you can hear about my amazing adventure in real time. (Kinda)

Today I drove up to Tehachapi, geocaching all the way! I found one in a cemetary at the grave of Wyatt Earp's mama, and one in a business area. I picked up these guys in San Diego and they were game for a long ride. They posed at the first cache: see below.I got there in time to meet Dr. Gemma (the host of CogKNITive Podcast and the organizer of the fiber goodness about to happen), Elle, and Dimples (not their real names) for group geocaching. We piled into Dimples' car and found 5 caches together. One was magnetized to the bottom of a wheelbarrow and one was tucked under a fence cap like this one: so cool!

Then we went to the hotel to check in and clean up: I was a little dirty from our adventure.

Now the real reason I was in Tehachapi (that's kinda central California) was for the CogKnitive Fiber Retreat: one day of amazing fibery goodness that's already started even though it's really scheduled for tomorrow!

Everyone that we could scrounge got together. I met Tikabelle and her wonderful mom, Swooze. Tika hosts a podcast I love called Gives Good Knit. (Lit and knit--what more could a reading yarnie ask for?) Everyone was so interesting and full of funny stories and good information! We bolted our dinners and flew back to the inn. Why? Knitting time! (and crochet and spinning) A large group got together in the conference room and just enjoyed each others' company. I brought a couple of games, but it was just not neccessary. We told jokes: How many knitters does it take to change a lightbulb? None, I'm just doing stockinette... We shared regional stories: did you know you can't buy yarn on St. John?... We watched demonstrations of differing techniques: the Norwegian purl still freaks me out, but my roommate kicks bee-hind with it. Here's a demo.

Later: I couldn't sleep--never can on my first night away--so I went downstairs and found Tika, Meimei, Red, and JoBaby still laughin' and scratchin'. So I joined 'em and cast on my little lacy scarf. Pretty, huh?It was fun, but now I'm so tired. Good night. Or rather, good morning. My birthday is tomorrow.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Off to Tehachapi!

Oh, boy! The Cogknitive Fiber Retreat is tomorrow and I'm driving up today. I'm so looking forward to meeting this diverse group of folks, knitting up a storm, and leaving with some new knitty goodness. Saturday is my birthday and this is my gift to me. Yay!
I'm planning on doing some geocaching on the drive, so it's all good. Happy happy!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Dead but Not Completely Lame

News from the Glove War front: our correspondent has gotten too close to the action and taken a direct hit. Not only was there wool, there was chocolate. She died with a smile on her face, in fourth place. Not only were the gloves knitted in black (the hardest color to knit with), they were knit in her favorite lacey pattern.

Turns out I have longer size 2 needles with knots. I no longer have to use too short needles with gum eraser on the ends. Hmm, that stopped sounding innovative and started sounding pathetic. My nighttime brain kicked in (it's smarter than the one I use during the day) and reminded me of an "accidental purchase." I didn't expect to be using these so I stored them a little out of the way. Hurrah for accidents!

More good news: Isabella di Roma, my little Ishbel shawl, is done. I had to start the bind-off three different times. Why? Because I was too tight? No. Because I was completely out of yarn. I found a tutorial to teach you how to bind off in that situation. It looks a little crochet-ey, but don't be scared. It really works. Pay special attention to the instruction that says to knit the last row loosely: I went up three needle sizes! Here is a picture of it while it blocks. I used blocking wires: these stiff wires that you stick into the edges and push out with pins. Worked great. I even wore it today!