Monday, May 29, 2006

The Yarn Pirate is puppy sitting this afternoon and there is not a lot of knitting activity going on.

She's small, but quick and one sock has already met its demise. They don't call her Holly Disaster for nothin.
Holly Disaster
I've been pretty sick all weekend with some vile stomach ailment - no fun. So there has been a lot of watching of the chick flicks, the Steel Magnolias, Eat Drink Man Woman, You've Got Mail, a couple of Lifetime dramafests, and, um, Saving Private Ryan. Which the husband says is not a chick flick, but rather, "a nonstop sausage fest." He has a point.

In this estrogen-centric cablefest, I've gotten a good chunk of knitting done. I spent several more hours fussing with the amazing yarn my SP7 gave me and finally gave in. But I was on a bloody mission to make the boobholder no matter what, so rummaged around in the stash and came up with some Lorna's Laces Black Purl worsted superwash. Cast on. And I really like how it is coming out.

boobholder

I am two rows away from putting the sleeves onto spare yarn and working the body. I hope. I may actually need a few more rows. I did not swatch. HA! Hilarity is probably going to ensue. I looked at my yarn, looked at my needles, said "close enough" and we are now proceeding on a wing and a prayer. And waiting for hilarity. BUT, I have a Cunning Plan. If it is too small, that's okay. I have two female children. In size terms, we span adult sizes small, medium and extra large. It will fit someone. I'm not worried. Mostly I just wanted to make it and get an idea of doing the all one piece, raglan style increase, top down sweater construction. I really think this method of construction is just bloody brilliant, really.

boobholderraglan

Instead of doing an M1 increase on either side of the stitch marker as the pattern says, I am doing K1 to the front and K1 to the back of the stitch on each side of the markers. This is giving me a nice neat line of increases. I only hope that there is enough yarn to finish. I am unsure about the actual yardage on hand.

Wing. And. A. Prayer. Y'all.

Friday, May 26, 2006

camsocksDONE

Done. Done. Done. Done. Done.

purple roving

Merino-mohair blend from Beaverslide Dry Goods. I'm getting a fab worsted weight slubby single with flecks of blue, violet, hot pink and cream. It's coming out really nice.

Also. Socks for Cam. Done. Sweet Creeping Zombie Jeeeeeeezus, they're finally done.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

I am 2 repeats away from the ribbing portion of Cam's sock and the way my remaining wad of sock yarn is diminishing, I am a teeeensy bit worried that we're gonna make it.

I have a problem today. I have a Stash Problem. See, it's growing. Out of control. And this week, a bin broke. Cracked down the middle and yarn spilled out everywhere in the hall. So I kind of need to figure out new yarn storage solutions that I can easily grow with. Storage solutions that make yarn accessible. I hate having to unearth large bins and unstack things (which is how the bin broke, I sorta, um, dropped it from a high place) and I loathe having to dig for yarn in crammed bins. I have a lot of yarn. I'm not as bad as these gals, I mean, I at least pay for it, but still... yarn is happening more and more at my house and storage is not growing apace.

It just shows up. Randomly. Today? For example? This came:
strlapis

Socks that Rock in Lapis. It is amazing. Not so amazing that you should buy any though. Really, I don't think you should go to the STR site at all to see all the BRAND NEW SOCK YARN they just stuck up, because really, it's all horrible, awful, I swear, and I can't buy more until next month and if you went it might mean they'd run out before I get thereyou would not like it. I swear. In fact, I am feeling generous. Please, let me throw myself on the Socks that Rock for you. We can pretend it is a grenade. I will sacrifice and buy the sock yarn so you don't have to.

I may have to get really creative if this keeps up.

Where do YOU keep yarn?
Okay, well I've figured out a good place to have the WWKIP thinger here in the West LA area. Well, technically it is Santa Monica, but that's because Santa Monica's parks are dog friendly while West LA's are not. Some of us have dogs or kids, this is a great way to include the whole family.

Douglas Park
2439 Wilshire Blvd. between Chelsea Avenue & 25th Street
Santa Monica

Noon-4pm
Saturday June 10

Bring sunscreen, a folding chair, and your knitting! There's a great big wonderful playground if you've got kids, the park is dog friendly so bring your (on leash) pooch, there's several reflecting pools with ducks, open public bathrooms, lots of shade and trees, plenty of adjacent street parking and it should be a really fun afternoon. There's a Starbucks half a block east and Jack in the Box across the street, otherwise, plan to bring your lunch.

Come out and knit! There might be fun prizes! There will definitely be yarn. What's not to like?
Have y'all seen Unraveled by Eunny Knits? Great tutorials, people write in with questions and then she answers them. I like how she presents the information. Her timing is GREAT, too. There was some stuff in there about adapting patterns when you're getting a different gauge or substituting yarns - I may be able to knit that minisweater/boobholder in the yarn I wanted, after all. She makes it fairly straightforward and also talks about both row and stitch gauges and how to adapt or deal with both. Helpful! But there's no getting around it, I'm gonna have to swatch and wash and block and wait if I want to use this yarn for that sweater.

After a shamefully long hiatus, I threw in yet more rounds on Cam's sock today. She's due in 2 days. The rounds are disappearing, where are they going? I was trucking along with my dpns at the dog park today and then a huge Rottweiler sat on Tiki (my dog is a Jack Russell/Italian Greyhound or Whippet mix, read, SMALL, she only weighs 15 lbs) and the sock went flying into the bag mid row while I shrieked "NO! Bad!" rather ineffectually at the Very Bad Rottie and danced around and looked worried. I'm really scared of big dogs sometimes.

So I'll probably have some repairs to make there. I'm thinkin. And Cam is definitely gonna win this race, which is shameful because she wasn't even pregnant when it started. I really just have not had a lot of time for knitting. I've been really busy with the end of the school year, with hooping and dance (I'm taking 4 classes a week right now), I'm working hard to promote Harissa! Bellydance and just haven't picked up the yarn too consistently. It makes for boring knit blogging, I'm afraid. I could write till I'm blue about cool hoop tricks, but that won't put socks on Cam's feet or finish the red Rosebud Cardi, now will it?

I got a note back from the WWKIP Day lady and I'm the West LA organizer. So now I probably need to get... organized. Ahem.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

I'm pretty confident that by using 8's or 7's, I can get gauge for this shrug, using the yarn I'd earmarked for the minisweater/boobholder. I'm not crazy about shrugs, really, not so much. But I like this one. The yarn I have would work for it. I think that instead of working the sleeves as written, I might start them with a mini vine lace pattern so that it really bells out there at the cuff. Which would mean grafting in the middle of the shrug to get it to look just right and a little pattern modification. But I could do that. Totally.

That idea makes me happy.

Pop that on over a black tank and it'd be just dandy for an LA spring evening.
I'm feeling a little frustrated at the moment. See, I want to turn this: handpaint for boobholder
into this.bv

My problem is this: "Gauge of body: 13 sts/21 rows  in 10 cm" which I am not getting.

The pattern calls for a worsted weight or slightly heavier yarn on #9 needles. I am using a worsted weight yarn, similar in gauge to Cascade 220. On #9 needles. And I am getting something like 21-22 stitches to 4 inches. Okay, I am WAY off. And using a #10 needle gives me just this nasty ass gappy fabric that I hate. According to the Yarn Council of America's little chart thinger yarn knit on those needles at that gauge (13:4") is "chunky". And this yarn is NOT chunky. No way. No how.

I hate swatching. I hate fiddling. I want to cast on and make this sweater in THIS yarn and reality is not letting me.

Glampyre LIES. Well, no, she said "or slightly heavier" but still. Chunky is a lot heavier than worsted.

The honest truth is, I lack the skillset to adapt the pattern I want to knit to the yarn that I have.

Eating several homemade Trader Joe's truffle brownies in rapid succession has not provided me with a solution to my problem. I might have to do math. Perish the idea. I don't even know where to start.

In fact? Bugger that noise. I'll get some damn "chunky" yarn and make the sweater in that. But that leaves me with unknown yardage in worsted weight handpaint merino wool blendy goodness. Not enough to make a full size sweater, just enough (I hope, see "unknown yardage") for a mini cardi, and no mini cardi pattern to knit. And I really want a mini card in THIS yarn.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

yarn_and_needles_2_button


You ready to knit in public? Well hold yer sticks there little buckaroos, because June 10 is World Wide Knit In Public Day. I haven't found a Los Angeles organizer yet so I sent an email offering to do it, and we'll see what they come up with. Someone else may have already gotten something together.

Franklin is making tee shirts featuring everyone's favorite party sheep, Dolores. He's got a bunch of cities all put up on his shop, you should go check it out.

Friday, May 19, 2006

tikimamaii

This is why I am now a monogamous woman. That's right, for the rest of my life I will not stray, I will devote myself to my one man, the Hair God, I will NEVER VIST ANOTHER STYLIST AGAIN. Please god, don't let him ever move away from Los Angeles or I will cry bitter, bitter tears.

Tikimama

This man took my curly, coarse hair and turned it into a minky, fabulous fall of satiny goodness. At least, until I wash it again. But even then, the cut and color rock my socks. If you're in Woodland Hills, his name is Chris and he works at Bigoudi Salon. He's the hair god. Go, go, get your hair done. Just, don't all go at once and for gods sake, leave room for me to go back.

About 3" left to go on Cam's sock, no more pics till it's done and ready to ship, but its' growing! Yay!

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Blame Aunt Purl. Today it is all about my arse.

Crazy Aunt Purl rocks my socks this morning with her latest post about all things booty. Now you KNOW, being a pirate, I am all about the booty, right? Well I am. And it's a good thing, too, because I am generously endowed with my own junk in the trunk and there's no getting around that.

Years and years of hating my butt, of not being able to find pants that fit right, of being told things like, "You've got a bubble butt." like it was, "You've got bubonic plague." have not made for an easy relationship. I have historically loathed my body, avoided tight clothing, really, avoided anything even remotely figure enhancing (or even figure showing), I spent the years between 20 and 34 hiding my body behind shapeless clothes and never really enjoying it. But a couple of years ago, I figured out that hey, wait a minute. My milkshake does indeed bring all the boys to the yard. That's right. I have a GREAT ass. So there. I have lost my fear of the fitted baby tee. I do not need to wear a man's XXL tee shirt over my leggings. Things can end at my waist and not cover the butt. It is incredibly freeing. I enjoy clothing again. I enjoy my body and moving in it again. At 34, I started dancing again, after nearly a decade and a half of hiding.

This week, I started taking a hooping class [QT embedded link]. "What is hooping?" you ask. Well, it's simple. It's dancing, to some funkay grooves, with a hula hoop.

"Well what does a hula hoop have to do with your ass?" you say.

Excuse, but do you remember using a hula hoop as a kid? Remember what you had to shake to get that hoop up and going? One could argue that the same principle applies to (some) boys (if they swing that way), but this is a family show, so I won't digress. Suffice it to say, should you need further elaboration in that department, you might want to read this. See again, milkshake, and also, yard. There is no charge.

Here is what I have learned after just one class and a couple of days with my hula hoop.

1. It is impossible to stay in a bad mood if you are hula hooping. It just makes you laugh.
2. It is impossible to hate your body if you are hula hooping, because your body feels so good when you are hooping.
3. It is addictive. You might find yourself making the children eat leftovers for dinner while you go out into the carport and hula hoop for a half an hour. And then, um, do the dishes later because you have a wild hare to go hoop more.
4. The neighbors will look at you funny. Keep hooping. It doesn't matter.

There are a few things I can't do with my hoop yet, like, well, walk in any direction, turn, spin, KNIT or anything more than really, "keep it up." but I'm working on it. I came home from my first class feeling very triumphant, handed the hoop to my oldest daughter and watched her master all that and more in 10 minutes. Which is not even the amount of time that it took me to learn to GET it up and keep it there. Like, think half of a two hour class, right? Discouraged? No. I'll get there. Me and my ass, we're working on it. After 3 days with the hoop, my body already feels more open, looser, and I feel energized and happy. I've slept great. My mood swings have evened out. I am obsessed with all things hooping.

I can't wait to light it on fire.

Aunt Purl, you really should come out and hoop with me sometime. It'll help the whole booty acceptance process. I'll bring the hoops, you bring the wine and we'll have ourselves a high old time.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

As an addendum to yesterday's post about pre-pregnancy, I'd like to add the following.

In future, I will not be doing the cat box because it might hurt the baby. If every woman in America follows my lead, the soon up to their ears in cat shit male voters might just rise up and vote the current Administration down. Instead of a Shabbos goy, we'll have the Catbox guy. And think of all the single women with cats out there? This pre-pregnancy thing could really be bad for American cats. That or it'll spawn a booming industry in cat waste removal. Anything for the unborn.

Also. All men will now be considered pre fathers. This means no more fast cars, motorcycles, sexy boyshorts (loose and airy boxers only, boys), hot tubs, drinking, smoking or recreational drug use. Sorry boys.

I'm so tired of being told, "Well it's good advice."

We know it's good advice. Healthy body = healthy baby has been in the public awareness for years. This new language is something entirely different, dangerous and has nothing to do with healthy babies at all.

Lets look at how the government is spending our tax dollars. From the CDC document:

"Childbearing is a common experience among women in the United States."

Boy, I'm glad they spent my tax money to figure that one out. And I'm glad that they pointed out that it's women who bear the babies, because, for a while, I was confused.

"Community health centers and other Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC), including primary care and prenatal care, deliver services to approximately 4.5 million women of childbearing age each year (15). These centers can be used to provide preconception care to women with low incomes (income <200% of the federal poverty level) and with no health insurance."

Correct me if I'm wrong here, I believe that these federally funded health centers are forbidden from mentioning the word "abortion" or they lose all their funding. So. We don't want to tell you how to prevent yourself from having babies, aside from, "Stop having sex." We can't tell you how to terminate a pregnancy if for some reason the birth control you couldn't get didn't work. But we'll tell you how to have that unwanted baby healthily. Of course, we won't pay for your prenatal care in a timely fashion and there won't be any assistance for your defect free little bundle of joy once it's born because we're dismantling the welfare system. Get a job. Slacker. Jeez.

"Women of childbearing age suffer from various chronic conditions and are exposed to (or consume) substances that can have an adverse effect on pregnancy outcomes *snip* in 2002, approximately 6% of adult women aged 18--44 years had asthma, 50% were overweight or obese *snip* Dental caries and other oral diseases also are common (>80% of women aged 20--39 years) and associated with complications for women and infants."

Without access to basic and regular health care, one would expect conditions to be chronic. Dental caries? I'm sorry, unless you've got Humana or Smile Dental, forget those bi-yearly cleanings. Uninsured? Unless you've got cash up front, the dentist isn't going anywhere near your mouth. I don't care if you've got an abscess that's about to eat your brain. No root canal for you. Do not get me started on low income urban areas routinely being toxic, built over waste disposal sites, located near energy plants that are "not in my nice neighborhood", freeway adjacent, full of lead based paint, and shitty air quality. Just, do not get me STARTED on that.

50% of women in this country are obese? Here's a thought, lets tell the incredibly rich fast food industry to stop super sizing the fries. Oh, wait, no, we can't do that. It could piss off the Beef Council of America. They make campaign contributions. Drat. And what about all the obese pre fathers out there? Surely their less than optimal health could impact the unborn.

"38% of mothers who planned pregnancies and an additional 30% who did not plan pregnancies had one or more indications for preconception counseling, including use of tobacco or alcohol, being underweight, or delayed initiation of prenatal care (47)"

In the last decade, the public health system has disintegrated more, funding has been slashed more, to the point of being non-existent in many areas. Leaving NO options for the low income and uninsured. Leaving these communities without basic well care for men, women and children, leaving them no place to go when they are sick, no place to go for basic family planning information and no place to go to initiate prenatal care in a timely manner. Drive through any underprivileged community in this country and count the billboards advertising malt liquor and cigarettes. Think they're plastered all over Beverly Hills? Think again.

You know. I started out laughing, but now I'm just frothing at the mouth here. I'd better stop. I hear that's bad for the baby.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Pre-pregnant treatment for ALL women of childbearing age?

Nope. Apparently I'm not hallucinating. The CDC confirms it.

Here's the thing. Just because I am technically fertile, I am not pre-pregnant. I am not going to be pregnant again, period, and I've got a good five to ten fertile years ahead of me. Been there, done it, and I'm sure that it ain't gonna happen. Getting pregnant would be, for me and any prospective child, fraught with risk. Potentially life threatening. But nevermind reality. New federal guidelines say that just because I "could", I should be treated by my healthcare provider as pre pregnant. As should all women of childbearing age. Because we are not women with a choice. We are potential incubators

Please let me be blunt. FUCK THAT NOISE.

If you don't see that this dovetails with the attack on Roe v. Wade that is currently underway in this country, you are deluding yourself. We are on a short and slippery slope towards a situation I do not want to contemplate. I don't really have to. Margaret Atwood wrote a book about it, you might want to read it. It horrifies me because it seems to be coming true.

You want to stop birth defects? Here's a thought. How about adequate basic healthcare for all Americans, male and female, of childbearing age and beyond, and the ability to pay for it. I bet you the birth defect rate would drop dramatically.

I don't think the Bush Administration really wants me to have more kids. Look at the two I'm raising. Do they want MORE political, pro-choice, angry, intelligent, thinking, feminist, left leaning, liberal, glbt friendly voters out there? Because ya know, okay, if I'm nothing but a baby machine, I could do my best to pop out one or two more. And if that's where we're headed, I might even consider it my civic fucking duty. Damn skippy, I am here to mold the young voters of the future.

Now if you will excuse me, the Bush Administration would like me to go have a nice cold glass of milk and eat some carrot sticks. I'm going to haul my pissed off pre pregnant incubator ass into the kitchen, smoke a cigar, drink several shots of Patron and eat something incredibly unbalanced and bad for me. I guess I could follow the CDC guidelines and wash it all down with a handful of prenatal vitamins.

Peace. Out.
merino thistle roving
Words do not do it justice. Pictures do not do it justice. Yum. It is the softest wool I have ever touched in my life and I own two whole pounds of it. It will be a sweater. Or a shawl. And I will call it George and I will hug it and pet it and never let it go.

And lest Cam think I've slacked on her sock...
camheel

I've decided that we are now having a race. I'm either going to finish this sock or she's going to have that baby. Either way, she wins!

Monday, May 15, 2006

We have HEEL!

sockheel
Okay, so it's only two rows of heel, but it's the heel. What? Shut up. I've been busy!

I had my inlaws over yesterday. I made this:
mdaycake
Meyer lemon cakes with ribbons of raspberry preserves baked into the cake, lemon curd in between the layers, and then a very delicate whipped cream (I use restaurant grade heavy cream, 40% butterfat, it's awesome.) that I kicked up with a bit of lemon zest and some vanilla sugar (jar + sugar + halved vanilla bean + 2 weeks = vanilla sugar) and then fresh berries and white chocolate shavings over the top.

Suffice it to say, there was the usual amount of inlaw craziness. I was a stress monkey. Not a particularly chill Mother's Day for me. At least the cake was good!

Saturday, May 13, 2006

A Public Service Announcement

The NSA would like to remind everyone to call their mother this Sunday. They need to calibrate their system.

...via Bruce Schneier
2 lbs of Ashland merino roving in Thistle (fifth column over, on the bottom) somehow mugged me today while I was at the LYS scouting out Secret Pal ideas. So did a back issue of Interweave Knits that I've been wanting, the one with the Juliet sweater and Madli shawl. I don't normally do pastels but damn, this roving is SO stunning and since I'm planning to navajo ply it I think I'll get a kind of tweedy look rather than cotton candy.

The women at A Mano Yarn Center are evil. They've hopped up their inventory full of all manner of goodies. There's knitting themed jewelry, gorgeous sterling stitch markers, the usual needle holders, bags, needles, hooks, every possible knitting notion you could think of, spinning stuff and then WALLS AND WALLS of yarn. And more books than ever before. I wasn't sure it was *possible* to make it even more difficult to walk through, but they have. Fortunately for me, they were really low on my favorite sock yarns. Otherwise I'd have been in deep trouble. Bad enough with all the roving.

If you're in the Los Angeles area? You totally need to check them out.

Also of interest to Southern California spinners and fiber lovers:

"Stick and Stone Fiberarts!
Located at the corner of Victory and Sepulveda in Van Nuys. The store will open at our Grand Opening on May 28th. We will carry spinning wheels, spinning equipment, fibers, yarns, knitting supplies, and weaving equipment. We will also have a wheel rental program, and classes.

About our name: The name Stick and Stone comes from the simplest elements for spinning fiber, a stick shaft and a stone whorl to make a spindle."


I'm toast.

Friday, May 12, 2006

camsockcat
Here is the cat, patiently modeling the #2 Cam sock. You will note, dear reader, the utter lack of progress. I am quite sure it is because nobody has broken an arm, fallen off a wall, had a skateboard accident, or otherwise landed themself in a doctor's office. Rest assured, I am still knitting away at them frantically, round after time/space continuum bending round.

leafsockcat
And here is the fuzzy Mr. Bukatski, modeling the leaf lace sock in Bearfoot Ruby Ridge. This was originally Cam's sock, but the size was so different in this yarn vs. the yarn I used last time, I knew it wouldn't fit. That's ok. It'll fit my mom, Grannie MacYarnPirate and she's got a birthday coming up in the fall so I'll just finish and stash 'em.

That Aussie (my Handsome Cabin Boy) is off to Sydney for a couple of weeks and I've been subliminally implanting him with the desire to stock up on merino sock yarn for some time now. I'm hoping that my attempts at mind control are so successful, that he'll ditch all of his clothes on the return trip and fill up the suitcase with sock yarn, Nerada tea and Tim Tams. He's rather attached to wearing clothes though, so I'm not sure.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

fillin' up the dumpster

The Jersey Knitter has informed me that when it comes to pillaging, pirates got NOTHIN' on suburban moms at a fiber festival. Given that I've seen suburban moms in action at White Sales, I would definitely have to agree. Pirates at least have a Code! Well, really they are more of a set of guidelines, but... still. I'd take on a horde of pirates. A horde of suburban soccer moms fighting over a hard to acquire Koigu colorway? Fuggedaboutit. ;-)

I'm pretty excited, I got my SP8 matchup and I get to play Angel for someone whose pal flaked during SP7. Now, I get to SHOP. Woohoo! That's gonna be fun. As soon as payday rolls around, I'm off to Surfas and A Mano to scout out some goodies for this most urgent business. I'm extra excited to play angel.

There's really NOTHING new going on with knitting this week. I've been patiently putting in rounds on Cam's sock, but without an emergency room or doctor's office to wait in for hours and hours, it seems to be going really slowly. Or perhaps it is just that second socks really do bend the space/time continuum and take four times as long? I also started reknitting the recently frogged left front Rosebud cardi panel and am almost at the decrease section again. Ho hum. This life stuff really does get in the way of my knitting.

We had carpet cleaners come yesterday which means the entire house was ripped apart and I've been putting things back together. While I was doing that, I sort of rearranged a bunch of stuff and created Living Room v. 3.0. It includes a knitting nook. It opened up a lot of space, lets in more light and the living room just looks much cleaner and less cluttered overall.

My goal this year is to declutter and recycle/reuse or get rid of at least 50% of our stuff. I've decided that instead of dealing with LA home prices (ridiculous!) my goal is to eventually get a plot of land or a tear down at auction and rebuild a tiny house on it. After the kids have grown and moved out, I mean. It's so lovely here that we could incorporate all manner of outdoor areas for extra seating and living and an outdoor kitchen isn't even out of the question. A tiny house would mean that even a modest sized LA lot on the westside would have a lot of garden space. One could even build *under* and incorporate things like a root cellar for food storage. I like the idea of approaching space a little differently, reducing my consumption and footprint, while at the same time living somewhere cool.

Dunno what I'd do with the yarn stash, though. It might need a vardo of its own.

Monday, May 08, 2006

I have to confess to some serious envy for those who were lucky enough to get to MDS&W this weekend. It gets worse with every blog post flashing fiber at the less fortunate. "Oh look and see what I hauled home. Nyah." HMPH. That's what I have to say. Just, hmph.

NO fiber at faire this year for sale. My favorite yarn vendor is no esta aqui. Actually a large number of the vendors I regularly hit were not in Devore this year. For a girl who cut her teeth on Black Pointe Faire in the late 80's/early 90's, the current CA "big" faires are disappointing indeed. They were pushing CHURROS at people, ffs. There was a pizza stand. Frozen Monkey Tails. However, thanks to a fortuitous conversation about how much the big faires blow donkeys for wooden nickels have deteriorated in recent years, I managed to find PIRATES. Yes, that's right, I'm running away to play with pirates. Who knew? Pirates in So Cal doing Important Piratical Things.

I am wondering if knitting socks is a sufficient skill to get me into a pirate crew. About the only other piratey things I can do really well are swill grog and sing shanties very loudly and enthusiastically. If the opportunity presented itself, I would be happy to whallop someone over the head with the butt of my reproduction pistol and steal their yarn (if it were merino, cashmere or a sufficiently interesting natural fiber), but again, not sure that's really enough to ace the audition. We'll have to see how it goes.

I've heard that while plundering and pillaging (first you pillage, THEN you burn) you're supposed to spare the women and kill the sheep, but honestly (and not for the reason that some might think), I have to say that it would depend on the sheep.

Perhaps you MDS&W Fest goers had best stay out of port for a while. Yarrrrrrr.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

I'm not sure Bloglines is cooperating with Blogger at the moment. I'm discovering that there are quite a few posts in the blogs I subscribe to that I've missed somehow over the last week.

We're off to the RenFaire today and I am in search of fiber. There used to be a really great fiber vendor at So Cal Faire so cross your fingers and wish me luck that she is still there. To all you lucky MDS&W Festers who have no doubt about fiber in your day, don't get too damp. Have fun and know that somewhere about 3000 miles from you, I am burning with envy. Maybe even sulking a little. I might have to accost a cute pirate in tights just to make up for it. Woe. Well, not that a real piraty pirate would be wearing tights because all the other pirates would laugh at him. But a cute, tender morsel of a faux just for one day pirate might and so I'll be on the lookout. Yarrrrr.

I bet MDS&W has no pirates. Ha. Or boys with sharp pointy, er. Wait. Never mind. There's probably lots of sharp pointy things at MDS&W and doubtless a good percentage will be wielded by boys. Drat.

Well. Fine then. Be that way. The sharp pointies where I'm going are shinier. Nyah.

Friday, May 05, 2006

I will not make Ook! Ook! noises about the orthopod anymore. He took FOUR exrays of Em's arm from every angle and really spent a lot of time checking her out. Verdict, NOT BROKEN for sure. The shadow did not turn up on the new films. He agrees that it is obviously still hurting a great deal, she's not making that up. We're supposed to put heat on it, some gentle massage and she has to really start using it in low impact ways, so we're off to the pool next week. She can't wear the sling anymore, even if it hurts. Poor smunchlet. He did not charge me a dime for the consult, just the Xrays, and gave me a break on those. So I won't make anymore ortho jokes. Even if they ARE funny.

Sock #2, started. Woo! I guess both Cam's socks will have the theme of "Knitted while waiting in doctor's offices."

SP8 Questions

1. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? What fibers do you absolutely *not* like? I prefer natural fibers like wool, cotton, silk and alpaca. I aDORE Knitpics versions of these! Knitpicks is great yarn. I love it and do a lot of lace and other stuff in their yarn. The area I tend to splurge on is sock yarn and my absolute faves are Socks that Rock, Bearfoot and Lorna's Laces. They're a little treat to myself. I really loathe acrylics, boucle or chenille yarns, novelty yarns, LB Homespun.

2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in? A plastic bin for circs/dpns, pretty vase to display wood/bamboo straights.

3. How long have you been knitting? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced? A year and a half. I'm an intermediate knitter overall I'd guess, but there are things I'm very good at (like lace or socks) and things I'm a rank beginner at (garment construction, sweaters, etc.)

4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list? Yes, I have lists on both Amazon and Knitpicks.

5. What's your favorite scent? (for candles, bath products etc.) Spice/food smells like, vanilla, brown sugar, cinnamon, cardamom, lemon. I also like lavender and neroli a lot for florals but am not fond of excessively sweet florals.

6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy? Aztec chocolate from Dagoba. Also, Naga Bars from Vosges.

7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin? I spin with a drop spindle. I also do paper crafts and pottery.

8. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD) I listen to a lot of swirly girly goth, celtic (both trad and modern), middle eastern, and bollywood. The boys call it "ethno gypsy goth"

9. What's your favorite color? Or--do you have a color family/season/palette you prefer? Any colors you just can't stand? I like rich jewel tones, black, celadon greens and neutrals. I HATE pastels and neons.

10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets? Two kids, dog, two cats.

11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos? Not so much with scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos. Bundling up is not really a need here.

12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit? Socks. Lace. Shawls. I will get to big sweaters one day.

13. What are you knitting right now? Socks! A lace wrap. A baby sweater.

14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts? I always appreciate the craftsmanship and time of the artist.

15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic? It depends on the project but overall I prefer wood and bamboo, will not use plastic.

16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift? no

17. How did you learn to knit? self taught

18. How old is your oldest UFO? Maybe 6 months old.

19. What is your favorite holiday? Thanksgiving.

20. Is there anything that you collect? Tiny rabbits from a potter in VT, sturdy Japanese stoneware teacups.

21. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have? No mag subscriptions, but I'm a faithful IK reader and get it from my LYS. The books I am planning to buy next are, Nancy Bush's Vintage Socks book and all the Barbara Walker stitch treasuries. I'd like to get the Ribbi Cardi pattern from Chic knits. There's a ton of knitting books on my Amazon list, but really, the Bush and Walker books mentioned are next on the list to collect.

22. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn? I'd like to improve my finishing techniques, there are a few sockmaking techniques I'd like to try (afterthought heel, etc.) and I'd like to improve my lace skills some more.

23. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements? Yes! I love knitting socks!

24. When is your birthday? (mm/dd)12/30

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Em's arm is still in pain and she still can't use it. A little better yes. Useable? No. So we shlep back to the ortho tomorrow. If it were bone bruise as he dxed over a week ago, it would not still be this painful. Even he agrees with that much. He rechecked the xray from the ER today and he said that there is "a shadow" near the elbow "that could actually be a break." So he wants us to come back in and he will do a fresh film tomorrow. See if anything new has developed. See if he missed a break by not looking carefully enough. Whatever.

Can I just say that I will spend any amount of money on my kid's well being but this will be another $140 office fee and then about $150-$200 for xrays. Cash up front please. This does not make me feel good and thank god I didn't buy yarn yesterday, huh? I had a feeling. So I skipped the yarn part. I am *hoping* that they slip me a break since this is a recheck, but I am not counting on it. At this point, all I want is an answer that I can trust. I want a fix. I want to know what exactly is wrong so we can make it stop hurting and so she can use it. Period.

It's that vague maternal "something is not right" feeling that is driving me batty. Sadly, that feeling does not carry weight with doctors. Particularly orthopods. My dad (the surgeon) says that you can always tell the ortho guys at a medical conference because they're the ones who are pointing and Ook! Ook!ing at the pretty pictures during the slideshows.

Speaking of pretty pictures...

camsockii

This, my knitty friends, is a completed Cam sock. I am one sock closer to finishing the swap! Cam, it is a nice stretchy pattern and it has a lot of give. I made it that way because you mentioned that since you are a bajillion years pregnant, your feet are swelling. This way, they'll work while everything goes back to normal (hopefully) and then be nice comfy slouchy socks.

More tomorrow. You'll know me because I'll be pointing at my check register in horror and grunting Ook! Ook!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

"Striving for excellence motivates you; striving for perfection is demoralizing." - Harriet Braiker

True enough. I'm definitely finding that to be the case with my knitting. In particular, C's socks. I ripped back the heel two times yesterday but now am past it and up into the ankle. I am very pleased with the way they are coming out overall though and I think I'd be less happy with them if I had *not* ripped back to correct the errors on the heel that I found. I also made a mistake in the lace/counting on the ankle and ripped that back a few rows as well, but that could be because I was watching a particularly compelling movie at the time. I caught back up though and I think I might be done with sock #1 today. Woohoo! These socks have become not so much socks as just this mental hurdle I have NOT been able to get over. I've become crazy OCD girl about them and the crazy thing is, I know that C will be just happy to have them and will not care if I missed a stitch or made a small mistake. The joy of having something made for you is the point, right? And the fun of the swap. All the rest of it is literally all in my head. I need to finish them and I know I'll feel good about it and feel excited about C's reaction when they (finally) get there. Sometimes I just literally make myself crazy. I am starting to find the fun again, now that things are working out, and starting to enjoy the process again and that's good.

It occurs to me that, hey, it's May. I can buy yarn. To that end, I am going to A Mano Yarn Center today and I am buying at least one skein of sock yarn, just because I can. I'm also going to Petco and getting some of those wide, flat dog brushes with the thin, closely spaced metal teeth. Because they're essentially handcards, they're $6 a pop and I can't afford real handcards right now. We'll see if it's a viable (if hopefully temporary) workaround.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

My awesome SP7, Shannon of Knit It In Black, Please, pointed out that my beloved Anthony Bourdain made a HUGE yarn faux pas during the Sweden ep. Which I missed because I was tired and sleep depped and did not stay up for that episode. Apparently while watching some Swedes crochet, he referred to it as knitting. A common error, perhaps, if one is woefully ignorant of all things yarn, but not what we expect from an urbane world traveler who does not flinch at the raw beating heart of a cobra and who survived a terrifying onslaught of fois gras. I for one am sadly disappointed. Not enough to give up my weekly droolfest stop watching or anything, but geez. He lost some Points, that's for sure.

Anthony, sweetie darling, I don't know that your love of all things Ramone, meat on a stick and use of the phrase "porky goodness" is enough to get you off the hook for this one. I was totally planning a lifetime together of mutual food bliss, but now? Now it may just have to be a shallow and meaningless affair, it may just be all about the sex. Sad, really.

I know you were expecting hate mail for eating the raw seal brains, but you underestimated the knitters. Never underestimate the knitters.

I don't think we should send Anthony hate mail, though. I think we should all knit and send Anthony ugly ass hats to wear on camera, hats with huge pom poms and bobbles, until he comes to my house and makes me breakfast groks the difference between sticks and hooks.

Thanks for the heads up, Shannon. One can never be too vigilant when it comes to these sorts of things.
A Day Without Immigrants has come and gone and it remains to be seen whether or not people sit up and pay attention or if we all return to normal. Driving down near the beach, I saw a good number of mom'n'pops closed down along Venice Blvd., though the big chains were open for the most part. Maybe, 1/3 of the places I passed were shuttered for the day? I did have to stop and get milk at one point and the manager of my market said that a bunch of his employees had not come in and that he wished he'd stayed out too. There's no question that it had some kind of impact in LA, but I also heard a lot of people bitching about their commutes and the inconvenience. To me, standing in my market yesterday with no carts (they were all in the parking lot because no one could be spared to go get them), hand baskets a mess, unreturned food sitting in odd places, shelves all messed up, it was a pretty strong sense of just how much the LA infrastructure relies on immigrant labor. Whether 'legal' or 'illegal', this city is running on other people's backs. One day was kind of a mess. What if it were two days? A week? A month? Big mess. Yesterday showed us that much, at least. So what are we going to do? Yes, it was inconvenient. That was the point. So are we going to sigh in relief and say, "Oh thank god they got it out of their system, now we can all go back to normal." or are we going to start poking at our elected officials to make some changes in our immigration laws?

An author I really love, Hanne Blank, said yesterday that, "Just like there are no "illegitimate" children, there are no "illegal" human beings. There are only unethical and immoral laws and governments." and then goes on to elaborate on her viewpoint here. You can read it if you like. I thought she was pretty spot on, but then I generally do.

I can't argue the point that there are 11 point something million people in this country who lack the paperwork and governmental approval to be considered "legal" because, well, they are and they do and yes, they made the choice to do so. But I will say that making that a criminal act, when we are tacitly approving on the other hand, that's plain wrong. It's like with one hand we're saying "come" and with the other we're saying "go" and the hand that is saying "come" is entirely hidden and secret and shameful but we are all in on it because it benefits us to be so. It's like someone preaching against prostitution on Sunday but visiting the local madame every Saturday in secret. I'm just saying, we really need to look at all sides of this issue and acknowledge that the US has been totally complicit because it benefits the US to do so.

The other thought I had was, "Gee, if we could just get this kind of response, this kind of turnout to protest the war. I wonder what would happen then?" Who knows? If we did, the US media would probably not cover it anyway.

Stephen Colbert is my hero.

Monday, May 01, 2006

purplerain

This is a sock made by Cam in a swap we started over a year ago. It came today and I love them, thank you Cam!

camsock

This is. Um. The pair I am making for Cam. *cough*

You will notice that this sock has no heel. That's because I noticed a ginormous error on the heel and ripped it out. But I think that I'll get it re-turned tonight because I have no plans other than Wife Swap, Super Nanny and then a little No Reservations with Anthony Bourdain. That and a pint of Mayan Chocolate Haagen Daz.

I could probably stand to lay off the Haagen Daz but since Mr. Bourdain will only be on the television and NOT in my kitchen whipping up a little beurre blanc I think I deserve to have all the Haagen Daz I can get. Anthony, if you ever read this blog? I want you. And not just for your creamy whipped butter sauce. Please don't be gay. But if you are, that's okay, we can skip the hot naked monkey sex and chocolate mousse wrestling and you could just make me breakfast. I'd even knit you a cosy for your favorite chef's knife. We could be so happy.

Um. Where was I? Oh yes. Socks.

My goal is to get these socks finished and actually mailed out by May 15.