Thursday, March 30, 2006

Too sick to knit.

bfl

I navajo plied up some of the neverending pound of BFL extra fine. It is some of the wonkiest plying ever. One hopes that in washing and setting the twist, it will even out.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Have tossed and turned all night long. Horrible. I don't want to be the girl who details every single symptom but this one I gotta talk about cos it's a first for me.

Knitting nightmares.

I've been tossing all night and in my feverish dreamstate, knitting a sweater out of appallingly scratchy, ugly, brick red wool. I hate to say anything insulting about wool but this wool is ugly and has all manner of VM spun into the yarn and pricks and hurts when you knit it. The Lurking Dream Sweater will be a bitch to wear. The Lurking Dream Sweater that would not end. Round and round and round after round on the sweater, hereafter known as TLDS. I wanted to wake up but I couldn't because if I did, the TLDS would unravel, and then I'd have to reknit it. I finally managed to force myself to sew up the front for steeks so that I could wake up. I woke up whimpering for sweater mercy.

Whenever I close my eyes, I see the scratchy, brick red, VM laden hell just waiting for me on the other side of sleep. Hell is badly processed wool, apparently. And everything hurts. SO I'm up, taking my temperature (102! Warm! Achy! Possibly contagious!) and some advil and Robitussin and then I guess I'll go back to bed and fall asleep and ait'll be time to cut the steeks on that mofo. Though really I'm just hoping The Lurking Dream Sweater Of Doom goes away, ok? It's too bad I can't take a picture of TLDSOD (yes, I added 'of doom' to heighten the dramatic tension here) because it really is a horror worth recording.

plstobenoknittingintehdreams,kthxbye.

We who are about to dream steek, salute you.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

I got totally sidetracked by the Jewish thing at the inlaws yesterday and forgot that I had this whole big lengthy post planned about the way that the yarn-oriented shelves at Barnes and Nobles are expanding. I went in looking for the Yarn Harlot's new book (alas, twas not to be found) and was quite shocked at how the knitting selection had grown since my last visit to the store. Used to be, maybe one shelf at this particular B&N. Now that is very much not the case. Shelves full of knitting books abound and there are gorgeous knitting book displays set up on tables. Knitting has obviously become the new big money as far as booksellers are concerned.

There is a whole genre of knitting literature now. I enjoy essays by other knitters and I own the KnitLit books. I love the Yarn Harlot's stuff. Knit humor makes me feel like I'm in the club and the essays often read like blogging, but edited by professionals and sized to fit in my knitting bag (which is handier than my laptop when I'm on the bus.) I noticed that slapping the words "new age" or "spiritual" or "meditate" on a book of knitting patterns appears to be a new way to get people to buy more knitting patterns. At $15+ for some of these slim volumes (rich in spiritually significant exposition, not a lot worth knitting) that's not bad marketing. There is a LOT of knitting for dogs, knitting for kids, knitting one skein wonders, knitting kitsch, knitting hip, knitting at the last minute, knitting on Saturday, knitting with odd balls, you can buy knitting romance novels, knitting mystery novels, there is a lot of stuff about knitting being put out on glossy paper at a premium price. Amazing. Boom. Here we are, we are a marketing force to be reckoned with, to be sold to.

I have a pretty simple gauge for whether or not I want to buy or make something. If it has no purpose, it is pointless. The decorative elements in my home all serve a purpose or have sentimental value/history. There's not a lot of random knickknackage going on and what there is has a point. Form plus function please. The next rule is just as simple. Now that we've established function, is the form pleasing to me? Applying those questions ruled out about half of the books on the shelf right off the bat. Many of the clothing pattern books were either full of patterns that are going to look really dated in six months or were trying too hard to be "hip". In others, the patterns were just plain pointless. Do I want a corsety looking neck collar or a wimple? No. Do I want an off the shoulder puff sleeve bolero with a huge felted rose in the middle of my chest? Not really. Between the puffy bolero up top and my ass in the middle, I'd look like a French Poodle. Imagine that in mohair. Seriously, not, you might not survive the imagining. I almost didn't. In the end, I was left with a rather small selection. So here ya go. What I came up with last night while I was killing time at B&N plus a few others off my Amazon list. Yarnpirate's opinions about books available about knitting that are maybe worth owning.

I was really impressed with some of the patterns in the new book by Fiona Ellis, Inspired Cable Knits. I love the cables, the shapes are modern, and I could see myself knitting at least three or four of the patterns out of this book as written, plus adapting some of her other cable patterns to use with different projects. Overall it'd more than justify the cost. I was also quite taken by Vintage Knits and I could definitely see several of the patterns in this offering by Sarah Dallas being quite useful in my wardrobe which was surprising because her other book didn't thrill me quite as much. Knit, of course, in black or grey or maybe a nice dark rich jewel tone that goes well with black. :-P The book showed a lot of pastels but once you get past the scary color, the lines are good. The Rowan book, also titled Vintage Knits is another that I'd like to get. I am on the fence about Alterknits which is to say, if I had an excess of cash, I might buy it but I could also leave it and have thus far. Erika Knight has a new one, Simple Knits for Little Cherubs that I'd like to get for the many babies in my life who are about to grow up to be toddlers. The stuff in there is classic and timeless. So there you go. 4 books, plus one maybe.

This stuff wasn't on the shelves last night, but strikes me as worth owning. Traditional Knitted Lace Shawls by Martha Waterman is on my list to buy, I want Nancy Bush's Knitting Vintage Socks, there's two basic pattern books by Ann Budd, a couple of stitch treasuries, a book on Viking inspired cables and honestly? That's it for now. I'm sure there's other quality books out there, in fact I know there's a huge lot of them that I haven't listed, but that's where I'm at right now.

I'm not a knitting snob. I get teased about it and once I really pissed off a friend who got mad at me for not wanting to buy acrylic yarn. I wasn't snotty, I just wanted merino. I don't feel as if I am snobbish so much as thoughtful and aware of what I like. I like to do things well, I appreciate good tools and materials and I like things to last.

So what are your top knitting book picks in the vast sea of new knitting books to be had? Help me round out my wishlist. What do you think about knitting books and marketing these days? Please no felted wizard hats for dogs. I would have to come to your house and poke you with a pointy wooden stick until you repented.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

There hasn't been too much knitting going on worth mentioning. A couple of pairs of socks started and rotating around, (Cam's are coming along now) and a few rows on the sweater back. Ho hum. Er, I ate Malaysian food. And had some excellent chicken mole which passed the San Felipe test (which is, if it's as good as the mole in San Felipe which was the pinnacle of mole, the measure by which all subsequent mole is judged, then, it's good mole) and some very crappy sushi. How do you fuck up albacore? I ask you? Is albacore so hard? Albacore is the standard by which all sushi bars are judged. If the albacore is good, I'm happy. Aside from that, a truly spectacular migraine chipped out a few days from my week and we had a houseguest. Woo! I went on a quest to find the Hollywood sign. High drama. What an exciting life I lead and aren't you totally glad that I haven't been documenting every bit by thrilling bit?

Today was spent with the husband's family. They are not quite like me, we don't share much in common. They are fundamentalist Salvation Army, right wing, homophobic, anti-feminist and very conservative. I love them because they are the family I married into, but I do not understand them. We share very little and 98% of my life is a closed book to them. For ten years, I've maintained a quiet balance. Mostly we go, I sit and knit in a corner. Mostly I shut the hell up, listen a lot and I try to show respect to them and find points to be positive about. I've tried really hard.

I do enjoy my tiny nephews who have not yet absorbed their parent's ideology, not yet begun to believe in ideas that break my heart. I have this hope that maybe just having exposure to their whacky auntie and her family, that they'll absorb the idea that people come in different packages and it's okay. That by knowing us, someday they'll somehow realize that if someone can have purple hair and be okay like their cousins and auntie, maybe another someone could also be gay and be okay, feminist, pro choice and okay, be 'not like them' and still be okay. And if one day one of my nephews realizes maybe he's something or someone that his family can't deal with, maybe he'll remember that we were a little different but still okay. Maybe he'll remember and give us a call. Because I'd totally be there and we're family.

That quiet balance is getting harder to maintain. It's getting harder to shut up. In recent visits I've had to shoot back rebuttals, dive into open cans of worms like feminism, sex education, birth control and reproductive choice for teenagers and gay marriage because I could. not. shut. up. any. more.

Cans are open. Worms are everywhere.

Today, was really just the most bizarre visit ever. I've certainly seen anti-Semitism before, duh, who hasn't. But I really haven't experienced much of it personally (some kids in grade school who called me Christ-killer but it was a small town and I was like, a novelty.) So we're sitting around and my MiL starts telling us this story about this woman who pissed her off earlier in the week (broke Godwin's Law at a Kiwaniss meeting, I guess) and then she says (as if this explained it all), "Well, she's a Jew."

So I kinda sat there, open mouthed, shocked, thinking (but too shocked to speak out loud), "Well, I'm a Jew." and she says "She's a Jew. She makes everyone feel guilty."

So I said (out loud this time), quietly, "Guilt is actually not a genetic trait specific to Jews." and it doesn't really matter what else got said because it all boils down to this.

"Well, she's a Jew."

I wish I could reproduce the tone here in print. Like, "Well she's an evil pile of shit." or "Well she's satan." I mean, it was really like that. Like she was describing something ugly. I wish I could express how much it disturbed me. I truly think in that moment, my MiL forgot that I am Jewish and that my children are Jewish and so she let down some guard and what? something a little ugly came out? I am still trying to comprehend it, still trying to wrap my mind around it, still figuring out how I feel.

"Well, she's a Jew."

One of those. Because obviously there is something bad implicit in the Jewishness? What the hell? Whisky Tango Foxtrot? And my children, my Jewish children were sitting in that room eating cake and I could not believe that those words came out of her mouth. I did not know how to speak to that. So I didn't really say much of anything. And now I feel like a coward, like a person who enabled something ugly, I feel as if it was my obligation to SAY something and I blew it because I froze up, didn't know what to say.

I'd never really looked at anti-Semitism in the face before. I've seen racism, sure, lots of times. I've seen homophobia, intolerance, I've seen it. And I've spoken. But all those other times I've seen it and deplored it, it was directed at other people by other people, usually strangers to me. It wasn't about me. This? This hit me where I live. It was in my family, and even if it wasn't directed at me, that's where it landed. That shoe fit. And I don't know what to say.

Jew.

There really are no words.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

done!

Embossed Leaf socks from Interweave Knits Winter 2005
Socks that Rock "beryl"

embossed leaf front

embossed leaf side

So the detail in these pics isn't the best but if you click and look at the larger size on the flickr site, it comes through pretty well. I'm really happy with these socks! I finished the very last one during Em's Scottish Country Dance class this evening, rushed home, wove in the ends and stuck 'em on my feet. They're awesome. Love this yarn, love the pattern, I think I'll be making lots more of them.

Spent the rest of the evening dutifully spinning up some of the BFL from my stash. I haven't spun in a while. It was pretty obvious. Things evened out after a while but I really do need to be doing this every day.
Anyone else getting a whole lot of weird email from Blogger today? Or is it just me.

I really have to find a new place to house this blog.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Ode to a pre-owned dog...

knittin'

How can it be that
Someone else didn't want you?
What an idiot.
-------Melanie Lee Chang
A really good way to beat the wanna shop for new yarn blues is to go through your stash and check out what you've already got. Odds are, the colors and fibers will suck you in and you might just rediscover something fabulous that you forgot you had.

Same goes for roving. I've been really ignoring the bin of roving I already own, so I've decided that I *must* finish spinning both pounds of the brown BFL and the white extra fine BFL that I bought from Copper Moon lo these many moons ago. Once those are gone, we'll talk about more roving. To that end, I set myself up with a little spinning basket that has a cover and that I can keep in the living room with my knitting bag, near the couch. I desperately need a set of handcards.

Victory. I haven't spent a dime today and I think I'm over the worst of the cravings.
All right, I confess. I'm having a really, really hard time sticking to my yarn budget right now. I went a little bit overboard last week on sock yarn at A Mano Yarn Center which is my favorite LYS. Two smaller skeins of Ruby Slippers accompanied me home, another skein of Beryl, a new set of dpns (because dammit, I lose them incessantly), plus a skein of Trekking XXL in a pinky sort of colorway and also a couple of books. Basically, two months of fiber budget, gone in one twenty minute trip down the A Mano sock yarn aisle. I can't fit it all into the sock yarn bin. I need to stop. I have to admit that I am powerless over sock yarn. I am HIDING SKEINS OF SOCK YARN so that I don't have to explain their presence to my husband who thinks that maybe (he is wrong) I have ENOUGH sock yarn (he doesn't understand) and who gets cranky when I "borrow" money from maybe the electric bill to buy more. He may have a point that if I am robbing Peter to pay Paul for yarn, it's a little out of control. Plus, it has been mentioned that I can't knit in the dark, so the electric bill really ought to be a priority.

Today I filled up my electronic shopping cart with sock yarn from Fleece Artist, Lisa Souza and Knitpicks. Then I emptied them and put the laptop down. I felt really good. I didn't give in. Later on, while checking email, I put some laceweight and just one skein of sock yarn from Lisa Souza into my cart. Wild Thing. Jonquil. Garnet. OMGWTF the colors they are so insane and I love them. Rinse. Repeat. I felt pretty good. I didn't give in. After reading Bloglines, I filled up a couple of Paypal shopping carts full of roving from Spunky Eclectic and Chameleon Colorworks. Oh god the Indian Wedding and Peace Rose colorways are CALLING TO ME. I want to surround myself with colors and fiber.

Rinse. Again. Repeat. Ad nauseum. Bless my heart for I am weak.

So far today I have done a lot of shopping for shiny things but I haven't bought a thing. It's really hard. I'm struggling. Because I know that the money is not there and it really will be the electric bill if I cave.

I've resolved to finish the second embossed leaf sock today and maybe wind up some of the Ruby Slippers, get cracking on Cam's WHWIR socks now that I've removed the Bearfoot from Yarn Gulag. I've resolved that I'm not going to buy a thing until the 15th of next month, no matter how loud the colors call.

Does anyone else just go temporarily insane around fiber or is it just me? Or is that a stupid question and maybe we all go temporarily insane which is why the word "stash" was invented, to explain it a little? Am I the only one who ever thinks, "Oh gosh, gee, well you know we really don't need to eat vegetables this month. I really want to buy that merino laceweight. Plus, I'm sure the children won't mind not having heat. We can all wear sweaters."

Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

Sunday, March 19, 2006

So the big reveal isn't for another two weeks but I accidentally stumbled across my Super Secret Pal's identity when I was surfing around the knitters blogring last weekend. Knit It In Black, Please. and thank you so much for the fab spoilage! I had a blast and really, discovering your secret identity was a total fluke! You were very seeeekrut and sneaky, I swear :-)

Thanks, SP!

Thursday, March 16, 2006

I keep telling myself that in order to be a well rounded knitter, I need to knit sweaters and learn fair isle, expand my horizons, blah blah blah blah. And I'm sure that in order to be a well rounded knitter, I really do need to do that.

here's the thing.

I maybe don't want to be such a well rounded knitter.

Maybe I lack something critical, like an attention span.

If I have to take one more #$@% stitch on that endless #^&$%! stockinette stitch cardi I've got going on needles? I. Will. Scream. And. Die. So off the needles it goes. Frog city. I haven't reached that point of no return yet, I'm still not even 1/4 of the way into the damn thing, so I really have nothing to lose. I'm still making a sweater out of the yarn, I think I just want to make it in a nice lace stitch or maybe throw in some cables, even a little ribbing. Maybe learn to work with color. SOMETHING, dear sweet zombie jesus. Because when it comes right down to it, I am happiest knitting socks and lace and projects with maybe a little zing tossed in to keep me from keeling over asleep like a big old narcoleptic thing. And life is too damn short to sleep. Call me ADHD. Call me uncommitted. And pass me the sock yarn.

Picked up IK spring 2006 and Meg Swansons's A Gathering Of Lace today and zowie. Lots of pattern lust. Lots of pondering about why there are things like bobbles and pompoms in the world. Like with the platypus, I imagine that G-d has her reasons.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

I'm not particularly a joiner or into the whole KAL phenomenon in general if only because I don't work well under pressure and tend to have things lying around on needles for a really long time. I thought this looked helpful and educational, so I have joined the Sampler Stole Along. I haven't cast on yet, I have to order the book or maybe see if my LYS has a copy later on this week after paychecks clear and everything. I've got a ton of laceweight yarn in stash so it'll be a dandy stashbuster. Then again, ever since my absolutely horrible little brother bought silk and mohair from this woman (and refused to share it even though it is all wrong for him), I've been thinking about buying some of Lisa Souza's yarn in laceweight. So we'll see.

Decreasing for the toe on the embossed leaf socks:
embossed leaf sock

I love this yarn. Socks that Rock "beryl". Really wonderful, springy, soft yarn, a joy to knit and great stitch definition. I could not imagine a better yarn for this pattern. The real color is somewhere in between the above pic and this:

detail

And here's that yummy skein of "dyers choice" from Interlacements that my SP spoiled me with - yardage unknown but I think there's enough in there to make Glampyre's minisweater which I plan to trim in black and use the fab vintage looking filigree buttons she sent along. Yum.

interlacements dyers choice

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

The NYT's take on Purim, "They tried to kill us. They failed. Let's eat." Purim in Iran a warning for Jews, rather than a celebration of historical allegory? Interesting read.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Naturally, now that I've got a lot of stuff to take pictures of, the camera battery is dead. SO where's the fun in that?

My super secret pal #7 sent me a box and it came this weekend and in it was fabulosity!!! It rocked so hard!

There was a big-ass skein of 100% wool handpaint from Interlacements in a gorgeous, gothtastic colorway and there were two vintage buttons in silver and I am thinking that it wants to become something subtly lacy and elegant in a low cut cardi sort of shape. I'm not sure about the yardage though, it's not marked, so there is contemplation and I'm thinking probably the LYS ladies can help me figure out a close approximation of yardage. If I get a black wool in a similar gauge, I can use that to stretch out the fabulosity of the handpaint in whatever garment I end up making.

There were also rubber hair spiders and hair spider headbandy goodness and there were other shiny things in there as well such as the book about PIRATES and the pirate flag patch (yarrrrr!) that will go on my knitting bag.

Camera batteries tomorrow. Pictures. Pinky swear.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

I'll have pics tomorrow of a mostly finished sock, but here are some notes on the Embossed Leaves sock (IK, Winter 2005) thus far. The StR yarn has no halo, nice crisp stitch definition and it is just a joy to knit with. Could it be my new favorite sock yarn? Quite possibly a tie. The charted pattern is easy to remember and very simple after you get the hang of it. Because it's knit in the round, you don't read the even rows L -> R, you read each row R -> L. I know this may sound stupid but after knitting a bunch of lace from charts that was done flat this past summer, I had to sit and think about that one for a minute. As written in the pattern, the heel is constructed with a flap, a 3 stitch selvedge on each side, short rows and picked up stitches along the selvedge. I tried this, disliked the shape entirely and so frogged it and am doing the wrapped style heel that I normally do with my toe up sock construction. It's a great technique and works fine either direction - I like it because it's a little neater and I do like the diagonal seam which is reminiscent of store bought socks. This is a VERY fast knit, for me at least.

So that's where I'm leaving off tonight, with a turned heel and another 3.5 repeats of the pattern to go. The pair'll be done by the end of the week. I *love* this yarn and I love this pattern in this yarn and I'd planned to give them to my mom when she comes down at the end of the month but I really am leaning towards keeping them for myself and knitting another pair for her in the skein of Cherry Tree Hill "Martha's Vineyard" that I've got kicking around in stash. Once I've done Cam's in the Bearfoot of course.

This afternoon I caught the matinee of Nochnoi Dozor otherwise known as Night Watch. In Russian, with English subtitles. This is being billed as an utterly edge of your seat, supernatural, vampire, gorefest epic thrilling horror movie. I was very ambivalent about seeing it as I am ordinarily not a huge horror fan and have a low threshold for violence/gore/fear in films. Apart from two scenes near the beginning (one which pinged my spider phobia and another which was just nauseating) there was nothing uncomfortably scary and nothing gorier than what one might see on CSI. I enjoyed the premise of the film, I like the story - epic struggle between good and evil, after a long truce the balance is tipped and the Final Battle looms with each side doing their best to tip the scales. Truly archetypal stuff going on both with the theme of the story and with the characterizations on each side. The execution of the story was disappointing, I didn't much care for how the movie resolved the major conflicts, nothing was fleshed out, the characters didn't really seem to struggle, very trite or convenient solutions, some deus ex machina going on - which I'm sorry, but filmmakers? You just cannot throw in a deus ex machina as a "get out of thinking this through free card". I felt it was way too easy in the end. I know it's part of a trilogy, but it didn't stand alone too well and I do think that if you're going to film (or write) serial installments, it's just good storytelling to have each installment stand alone. I'm invested enough in the story to want to see the other two installments, but I'll wait to catch 'em on Netflix.

What did not suck was that we saw it at the Vista in Los Feliz which is one of the oldest filmhouses in Los Angeles. The Vista is this gorgeous Art Deco styled Egyptian themed theatre with LEGROOM and it only costs $5 to see a matinee. They've put in modern seating but in old fashioned proportions, which means you're not crammed in like sardines and I do like that. Plus, did I mention $5. The Arclight may have a bar, coffeebar, gift shop and restaurant and three snackbars but it costs upwards of $14 a ticket and they don't have gilded pharaoh heads, deco lilies, red velvet curtains and plush scarlet carpets. And I ask you, the age old question... who needs a latte at the movies when you've got stylized gilded cobras painted in the loo?

Saturday, March 11, 2006

A friend of the family just sent us pictures of her adorable granddaughter in the snow. I was so busy checking out the fabulous Dale of Norway (at least I think they're Dale) sweaters and matching mittens and caps they're all wearing, that I didn't even notice that I was supposed to be looking at the baby.

Fortunately I caught the faux pas before I hit send on the email and managed to substitute the word "baby" for "sweaters" in all the squeeing and cooing.

It is truly an obsession.

Friday, March 10, 2006

SFSE is at it again. They're after the Long Beach Stitch n Bitch group to change their name because it has "SnB" in the title and I have a feeling that SnBlosangeles is next. They also went after a friend of mine who is running a SnB group on LJ. Because apparently now they own the letters "S", "n", and "B" as well as the phrase "Stitch and Bitch".

Here is what I have to say about that. Stitch and Bitch. Stitch and Bitch. Stitch and Bitch. Also? Stitch and Bitch. Stitch & Bitch. S&B SnB.

No love.

kthxbye.
I have to confess, after I threw the WHWIR socks at the wall for a third time, I balled up the yarn and put it back in my basket. I am SO frustrated at the lack of cooperation that I am perceiving. The yarn is hardly being helpful. There is Lack Of Cohesive Stitch Pattern that works with the colorway. We have discussed what happens to fussy, high maintenance, strappy sandal wearing, mani-pedi demanding, and whiny yarns before in this blog. They go to GULAG until they learn to behave.

Also, I have lost two #2 dpns to this endeavor. I think the yarn ate them.

However, the Socks that Rock skein in Beryl is very cooperatively not being a bitch and I cast on last night and have been whipping along. I've got one repeat in for the Embossed Leaf socks from IK and it's a fab pattern. I shall give the Socks that Rock to my mommy and then recast on in the Bearfoot for the WHWIR socks in the same pattern once I've mastered the charted knitting. Which is not at all hard, really. At least not when I'm curled up on the sofa with tea and no Scottish Country Dancing distractions.

In which I wax slightly bitter but am loquacious:

I learned something very interesting today because I went to see a lawyer, and that is is that a. I am owed large amounts of back child support with compounded annual interest, and that it is not only my right to do something about that, it is my responsibility in the eyes of the CA legal system to pursue collection and they are all about helping me do that. In fact, the state has people to do that for me for free. Which is why I had not pursued it really, because who has money for lawyers? Not me. Well I don't have to pay a lawyer. The state will do it for free, they will thwart the nefarious nonpayment being perpetrated. Post haste, even. Who knew? I mean, post haste in a governmental agency kind of way which is to say, it may take a while but it will indeed happen. The best part? I DO NOT HAVE TO DISCUSS THE MATTER WITH HIM any further. It will be between him and the state. He will not be allowed to withhold money to be petty ever again. If he calls to harangue, I can sweetly refer him to the state and hang up without fear of reprisal. And he can explain to the State of CA why he hasn't paid child support since 2002 and I don't think they honestly care. Show me the money. Phwoar.

I have to confess that the last 4 years of nonpayment have left me a mite frustrated. When one has a child, one gladly provides for that child's needs and for some extras and one does one's best, but the bills roll in. Like they do. Sometimes there are unforseen emergencies like strep, accidentally running over the kid's foot with the car (it was an accident, I swear, the doctor says it's very common and mostly with SUV drivers, which I don't drive, I drive a Toyota wagon so I have no excuse really) or maybe she breaks her arm while ice skating or everyone thinks she has appendicitis and so the ER does a CAT scan and you get a bill for $9,000 the week after Christmas. Things like this happen with children. It is part of what you expect. The unexpected. Except maybe, the car thing. That was a fluke. That was just weird that that happened.

The thing that can be very frustrating about juggling these surprises and what makes one a little bitter is when there is NO HELP with any of that from the bio parent, so you and the new parent (if you're lucky enough to have remarried, which I have) must handle all of it. This is compounded if the absent/ bioparent is off refusing to hold down a job and maybe they haven't bothered to call their child for a few years or send the child a birthday card or even a note or something at Christmas and you see the kid getting a little sadder with each successive birthday. You could buy them a pony every day for a month, but it will never take the place of that missing Hallmark card from Daddy. The hard truth is that you know that no matter how hard you try, you can never entirely take the place of the other parent, never distract them from the hole, there will always be a missing thing, and no matter how beloved the new (step)parent is, they can't fill that hole either. You can help the stepparent create a special bond, make a new place, it can be something else very precious, but the missing bio parent is never entirely replaced.

And after a while, because you begrudge your child nothing, are honored to raise and love them, privileged even, and would sell plasma to buy them food if you had to, because you want them to be denied nothing in this life, because you want them not to have to have their little hearts broken just yet, because parenting is the most important job you can conceive of doing well, you get a little pissy at the missing parent, your ex, for all of that neglect. I'm just saying. I can't make him call or send a birthday card or be a parent? But I can make him pay. I can make him fulfill his legal obligations. And I will.

In other news, it's ridiculously cold in Southern CA today. But I have tea. And Socks That Rock. And I might yet make the Bearfoot beg for mercy. It's good enough for me.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Anyone here live in Ohio? If this nutjob gets into office I will be most vexed with you. Because the dealth penalty for being gay and forced conversion to Christianity is just a tad too reminiscent of the Inquisition for my tastes. This guy is a walking hate crime. The whackos are crawling out of the woodwork and frothing at the mouth and it makes me want to go to Canada permanent-like, because frankly, there is not enough Clue in all of Creation to lay on these asshats.

I myself anticipate that I will start frothing at the mouth in a few hours, as I am going to the DMV to deal with a fix it ticket and then must go return some merchandise at the Seventh Circle Of Hell the customer service dept. at my local Target. I don't know which is slower/more annoying, honestly. Watch tonight's news for coverage of the dpn massacre, you might see them loading me into a paddy wagon, heavily restrained.

Perhaps I will take Xanax before I go. It's shaping up to be that kind of a morning.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Miss Emily does a better Tim Gunn impression than Santino Rice. It is HIlarious.
So maybe I was a little too freaked out about my not perfect seams on the baby sweaters, maybe a little too OCD, (though I still think that perfection isn't a bad goal to strive for with handknitting). Apparently the recipient of said sweaters (well, the recipient's mother anyway) is very pleased by them and via email to the husbandly type critter, said: "BTW, the sweaters and booties are incredible! Screw school! Rain should start a baby boutique!!!" Which makes me feel good. And that is helpful because today is one of those days that is shaping up to be maybe not the hottest and so anything positive is a bonus, right?

Speaking of perfection in handknitting, I got through the twisted rib and half the first chart of the embossed leaf socks last night before I realized that there was a ginormous error in one of the leaves and had to frog and ended up frogging the whole thing (again) and that is when the ball of yarn hit the closet door and maybe there were some very bad words and some dpns flying across the room at a high velocity which in turn worried the cat a little bit which in turn caused the cat to knock over a bunch of stuff on the dresser as he exited the scene rapidly which in turn made a big mess and which, in the end, did not help my dour outlook overall.

Lesson learned: Do not attempt to do charted knitting at Scottish Country Dance class. Too distracting.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Not a hell of a lot of knitting done lately. Not any, yesterday. There was unclogging of the tub drain, there was translation from French into English of tech documentation from hell (until 10pm! for money! excruciating! hell! next time I want TRIPLE!) but there was no yarn.

The new Special Teas catalog came and I perused and was a leeeetle disappointed in the scant organic offerings but there were some, at least. Not much labeled Fair Trade (okay, I found none) but then as I've discussed before in these pages Fair Trade certification isn't necessarily possible for a lot of these tea plantations. Many of them take very good care of their workers. A garden not being certified really doesn't necessarily bug me, I think with some of the TransFair rules being what they are, the gardens *can't* always get certified even if they meet all the ethical criteria. Anyway. Organic. Tea. Scant but present. So here you go, if you care about organic, you can support organic farmers in other places by buying some of this tea from the nice folks at Special Teas.

(black)
Sewpur TGFOP-1 Assam #248 the catalog says this is from one of the few certified organic Assam gardens. I'm gonna have to try this, I'm a big Assam fan.
Makaibari FTGFOP-1 Darjeeling #106 and also #147 - this is biodynamically grown and the garden gets rave press from all my tea drinking peeps.
Makaibari FTGFOP Silver Tips # 161 - if you try no other organic tea this season, try this one.
Koslanda OP #311 Ceylon
(green)
China Chun Mee #522 (green)
Green Clouds and Mist #581 (green)
Cui Ya Special Green #582
(fruit/decaf)
Organic Raspbery (fruit, no camellia sinensis) #748
Teas R Us (for kids) #749
Pure Rooibos #950
Pure Green Rooibos #750

There's more organic green teas from China than I remember seeing from previous years. I think the idea is catching on.

Now I have to go do more French technical writing. Merde.

Monday, March 06, 2006

In Which Yarnpirate Drones On About Oscar

Actually I didn't watch them. I missed them. I did NOT MISS the multiple helicopters all buzzing around Hollywood and the area of H&H which were very loud. There was a blimp. Some planes with ad banners. Hovering copters. It was a veritable cacophany, a noxious cloud of noise pollution. I also did not miss the hundreds of LAPD out on the streets, on bikes, motorcycles, in cars, on foot, directing traffic, guarding streetcorners and generally looking unfriendly. Saw them, yep. Another thing that wasn't missed, nay, was RIGHT ON MY RADAR was the sheer number of idiot drivers in Hollywood yesterday. 10.2 million people live in Los Angeles County. And at least half of them were trying to find parking on the same block as me.

There are a lot of actresses in Hollywood and most of them seriously need a sandwich. And a malt. Also, perhaps a side of chili fries. Bobble headed dolls, think about it.

The members of Industry Stylists Local 179 were obviously on crack. One of them was apparently sure that we were going to flood, judging by the floatation device on Charlize Theron's shoulder. Fortunately, said flood never materialized which is lucky for poor Charlize because every emaciated A list actress in the vicinity would have grabbed on to her and she'd surely have died.

Why must there be fishtail gowns?

And who won?

Sunday, March 05, 2006

I think the problem is that I am so very nervous to be knitting for another knitter who has mad skillz with yarn. Yes, have ripped out Cam's WHWIR socks yet again. It's okay though. You know what? I'm just going to do them in the leaf lace pattern from IK because that's a fabulous sock pattern and will be wonderful in this yarn and probably far better than anything I could innovate on my own and plus, there are directions. And then Cam will finally have her socks. Maybe when the baby is like, six. I have issues, I really do.

Reading Girl From Auntie's very insightful breakdown of the Harris Tweed kerfuffle going on and her analysis of the open letter from Alice Starmore posted on Virtual Yarns was very interesting. All that fascinating surfing aside (because, well, not my beef) it was interesting to go through the site. I'd never looked at any of Starmore's designs before and wow. Just, wow. There's some fabulous stuff going on there. Not for me, not at my skill level, not yet, but one day, I would sure like to try my hand at one.

Today is Oscars in Hollywood. And I am attending a NOT Oscar oriented party, but sadly it is about 4 blocks from Hollywood and Highland (which is where the Kodak Theatre and Oscar site is located). Consequently, I will have to deal with Oscar traffic and street closures and f*ckmuppetry to get there, which does not make me happy. See, what the City of Hollywood does is block off most of the major streets around the theatre, this is so that the limos transporting the Oscar attendees and stars do not get stuck in traffic, so that the show starts on time with nobody dashing in at the last minute saying "Gosh, sorry, the 405 was a mess and you would not beLIEVE the snarl on Melrose."

This makes it very hard to get anywhere in Hollywood if you are not in one of the aforementioned limos.

I have to get up there at roughly the same time as most of the Industry because the party starts around the same time as the red carpet coverage and star arrivals.

I am not looking forward to the commute.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Two teenagers. Scissors. A bottle of black hair dye. Duran Duran. Et voila.



The master bath now has a coating of black hair dye that is truly frightening, while the guest bath is covered in a fine carpet of snipped off pink locks. Good thing I didn't clean the bathrooms today, I guess. It'll be so much more satisfying tomorrow.

It should be said that I have the most excellent progeny ever.

rain swooping down wrathfully upon Southern California, news at 11

Haven't gotten much knitting done today, though I think I finally settled on the stitch pattern for Cam's WHWIR socks. Today was spent running errands and enabling sooper seekrut plans for the Aussie's birthday this weekend. I do so love to be in the middle of it all and cannot wait until Sunday when the sooper seekrut plans are unveiled. I'd tell you about it here but then I'd have to kill you so I guess I'll wait till Monday.

Los Angeles drivers are a breed apart. I mean, really pushy, aggressive, lousy drivers at the best of times. I used to be a very polite and laid back driver until I moved down here. Nowadays I yell obscenities at little old ladies in crosswalks while I'm sitting in traffic, juggling a latte, newspaper, cell phone and mascara wand. Okay, no, not really, I'm making that up. For one thing, I don't own a cell phone, I don't wear mascara much and I don't read the paper. I probably could set the world record for creative swearing in the car though (multiple languages! slang! made up words!) I do like my lattes and I'm not the laid back driver I used to be. Even so, comparatively speaking, when you put me up against the rest of Southern California on a freeway, I come off as totally laid back and relaxed. Really.

When it rains, LA drivers turn into even pushier cell phone yakking, latte juggling, inept FREAKS of nature. Like, even more so than usual. I was out running my errands today when the clouds opened up and a few drops of rain fell down onto La Cienega Blvd. You'd a thunk that maybe it was the Second Coming or perhaps the Four Horsemen had been spotted 'round about Kenny Hahn Recreation Area. I cannot comprehend why a little bit of water in the sky can create such an unholy mess down on the roadways. True, I know how to drive in the rain because I grew up and learned to drive in a rainy part of the state and I understand things like how to maneuver on wet roadways. But still! Here's a newsflash for ya, LA. SLOW DOWN. 'k? No, no don't hit your brakes. It is not necessary to create a sea of brake lights. We do not need to all stop and go even more than usual. Just, reduce your speed a little bit and pay attention to the other drivers around you. Also? Maybe get off the phone and put down the latte. One or the other, anyway. It's really easy and I promise you will still get there.

It is supposed to rain all weekend and I have a lot of driving to do on account of that Aussie's celebrational happenings. Truer love hath no man (or knitter), just saying.

Btw, that title? The weatherman actually said that last night. That rain was "swooping" down upon So Cal and would unleash wrath. I just want to be clear, ok? These are not my people. I do not speak their language. I look at them like a dog looks at a noise that it does not understand.

I'd natter on, but my teenager is having a sleepover and there is giggling in the bathroom and apparently some hair cutting. On one hand, I'm pleased that she combed out her dreadlocks. Because, well, euw. On the other? I am afraid. I am afraid of the hair cutting. But I suppose, being mom, I could always swoop down and unleash my awesome wrath.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

sock and sweater

I cast both of these on before Mercury went retrograde so guess what I'm gonna focus on finishing by the 25th?

Cam's first Worth Her Weight In Rubies Sock and the back of the Go Everywhere cardi from SnB. Which is, um. sortof just a very curly strip of stockinette stitch at the moment. I'm thinking maybe a lace rib for the sock. Not sure. The sock yarn is Mountain Colors Bearfoot which I love. I've got a skein of this in Lupine that is so going to become socks for ME, next.
Mercury goes retrograde today and stays there until March 25th, fun! Prepare for communication glitches and mechanical issues out the wazoo! Now is not the time to start or learn any complex new techniques with yarn. SO if you've not cast on for that new project using that new technique you've never tried, maybe wait till April. Seriously. But never fear little knitters, there is one thing that Mercury retrograde is absolutely great for.

Finishing.

That's right, when Mercury ducks into retrograde, all of our awesome finishing powers come to the fore. This is a fabulous time for knitting the last few inches on those unfinished objects, for weaving in ends, for seaming and edging and otherwise clearing out the Gulag of Not Quite Finished Shame. Just consider the next 3 weeks and change to be a wonderful opportunity and ignore the fact that the fax machine just broke, your boyfriend isn't speaking to you, your teenager seems to be communicating in Swahili, your email is bouncing to Tahiti and the network went down. Again.
Susie Bright speaks on South Dakota most eloquently.

"The governors' legislation is their idea of election-cheap moral posturing at the expense of the young, the poor, the isolated. Their hypocrisy is a killing floor, and it's the kind of blood they'll never wash off their hands. What do you say to men who promote a woman-hating ethos that never met a girl they couldn’t grind into a shallow grave? They don't even deserve my spit."

Here's the deal, kids. They start with some little podunk state like South Dakota but it isn't going to stop there. We simply cannot afford to hide our heads and say, "Well it's not here and those women can just travel out of state." because honestly, they can't. Not all of them, anyway. And then it'll be another state and then another state and soon it will be your state. Susie asks why there isn't some Lysistrata style uprising on the part of women everywhere when our politicians start pulling crap like this. Maybe she's got a point. Maybe a bunch of pissed off husbands and boyfriends who aren't getting any** will feel inclined to lobby their elected representatives. It isn't going to end with the life/choice issue. Okay? It won't stop there. These people want to dictate the moral compass of this country and from what I can see, they couldn't find true north if it was wrapped up in a gold bow in front of 'em and their lives depended on it. Your state next. Your lifestyle next. Count on it.

"These are such ugly times." They totally are.

**not work safe. not red state safe.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

cropped shirt and socks

Why what could this be? This would be a COMPLETED pair of Trekking socks! Woohoo! And finally, sweet creeping zombie jeebus. I thought they'd NEVER get done. The socks are laying on (ignore the pile of schoolbooks, forms and paper) a tee shirt that arrived today via USPS from Franklin's CafePress shop which I have cropped partially to obscure part of the design because it's all copywritten and his property and I think he prefers people not to put his stuff up on their blogs (which makes sense it being his) but I wanted to show how COOL it is even in part. This shirt is funny, clever and I really think you should hurry over to his Cafe Press shop and buy one. Or maybe one of his other designs, he's got several and they're all teh shineh. Really.

Why are you still here? Why is your VISA card not in hand? WHYfor are you still reading this and not shopping for dancing sheep, knitting goddesses, and other clever goodies?

Okay fine, don't hang up. I'll hang up first.