Wednesday, October 31, 2007

So far away from where you are
The miles have torn us way apart
And I miss you
Yeah I miss you

So far away from where you are
And standing underneath the stars
And I wish you
Were here

I miss the years that were erased
I miss the way the sunshine would light up your face
I miss all the little things
I never thought that they’d mean everything to me
Yeah I miss
And I wish you
Were here

Not Forgotten

Today is a day, if you believe such things, that the veils are thin and we can remember the ones we've lost, the ones who have passed on before us. I only set up a tiny DDLM altar this year, because I am worried about the kittens. A few skully things, some pictures of the people I want to remember.

Digging through the box, I found a picture of my friend Lisa. It was really a jolt. I'd forgotten I'd put the picture in the box of memento mori, but of course I did because she was on the altar last year. And this is why I do the altar, finding that picture, the point is to remember.

Pekoe's dog, Oakdale Grandma, Pink elephants

Lisa, I will remember you. You will always have a place with me. You will always be one of mine. There is no chance in hell that you could possibly be forgotten, even if I didn't put you there, so many people loved you, but I just wanted to say that I too, remember. I wish you weren't gone. You are very missed, lady. And always will be.

Hard to pick just the right picture of Grandma. I want to remember her, but I wish, god I wish so much that she weren't there. 94 years, a sundae and a kitty cat aside, I want her here with me.

Grandma, you were the one person on this planet who gave me unconditional love from the day I was born to the day you died. I never had to worry about not being perfect, I could be absolutely myself with you and you never faulted me, never thought I was weird or bad or not ok. With so many people, I live in fear of discovery. I catch myself trying to keep them happy and behave in ways that will do that, I try to anticipate and placate and not rock the boat. I don't know where I got so fearful but I did somewhere along the line. With you, I was never afraid. I was never worried. I never tried to gauge your mood or worried about a misstep. I knew that I could never step wrong with you. It is only now as an adult that I begin to confront my fearful life that I realize what an amazing thing that is that you gave me. With you, I was never afraid.

You were pure love with beautiful silver hair pinned back in an upsweep, a cup of tea at the ready, a drawer full of cookies to choose from. You are twined around my whole life and it has given me a foundation that is like earthquake-proof, steel-enforced stone. No matter what happens, I know that I have been loved so purely and so much for myself, that "myself" cannot be a bad person to be. I love you Grandma. I miss you. I always will. I'm crying for your loss all over again today and maybe I will every year. You were perfect and exactly who you needed to be in the world.

Oakdale Gramma, my Grandpa in Oakland, various friends along the way, they are all there. I remember Dillon Henry this year, for my daughter, he too has a place on the altar and I know that for his family and friends he will never be forgotten.

Tonight I will sit in my ghetto apartment and I will spin. My own children will have deserted our neighborhood for richer pickings in less urban surroundings. I will hand out candy (the good stuff, I never stint and it's all chocolate) and ooh over adorable costumes worn by candy smeared kidlets and try to calm down the dog every time the doorbell rings.

But mostly? I will remember.

Oakland Grandma

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

I got the most fantastic box from my Knitters Tea Swap 4 pal this week!

KTS4 stuff!

She sent me a skein of gorgeous Mountain Colors yarn, some nut free chocolates from Vermont, PIRATE KITTY SOCKS OMG!, a book on Long Island haunts, some pirate stickers and a whole whack of great tea. Thank you SO much! I love everything.

I don't believe it is possible to express how cool the socks are. Here. Look. Envy me. I have the most piratical feet in town.

Yarrrrr kittens!


In other news, we continue to lose chenille objects around here at an alarming pace. The Monkey is Mittens' newest object of love.

Mittens and his monkey

Poor confused baby.

not much has changed on the needles. Still working on the same projects, slowly, but because of work hell it's been VERY slowly.

Friday, October 26, 2007

My KTSW4 pal totally rocks and I will have pictures of my stash box goodies to post later on tonight. But I wanted to say thank you here immediately!

Yesterday was my day off (work is crazy) and I spent it at a tea party. I did not do a bit of laundry. Then later that night I went to the beach and walked around in the dark with a friend. We ate pie at a mosiac table, sitting at a corner coffee house in Santa Monica and didn't get home until 1am.

Best day off ever!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

stony mountain handspun

I am exhausted and in the middle of what can only be termed as Work and also Teenager Hell. I don't have a lot to blog about because I am just making incremental progress on projects you've already heard all about but, I can say, I did this. 2 ply sock yarn that actually looks and behaves like sock yarn. It is the right weight, the ply is for the most part as tight as I want it to be, it did mostly what I asked it to do, and it is the first thing I have done with intention from A-Z where that intention actually worked out.

The biggest thing? I spun it on my wheel and I plied it on my wheel. I have been, up till now, plying with a spindle after spinning the singles on the wheel. Not anymore, baby.

I can ply. I can ply. I can ply! /peter pan>

It is imperfect, but it is pretty damn exciting all the same, because it is a milestone.

Milestones rock.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

We were standing in line at Disneyland today. I don't remember for which ride, we went on a lot. At one point though, I remember, I sighed happily, looked at the sock I was knitting and said, "Gosh I get some of my BEST knitting time in at Disneyland." because I DO and it makes me happy.

Someone says "let's go to Disney." and I think, "Yay! Yarn!" because I know I will get hours of knitting done. What else are you going to do standing on line all day? Knit a big whack of sock, that's what.

I swear everyone in my group rolled their eyes at me.

"Is it all just knitting with you, mom?" Em asked.

Yes. In point of fact. Yes it is.

I knit over half the foot. Another inch and we will have to embark on some heel. That's some decent knitting time. The other nice thing about having dpns at DIsneyland is, if the person standing on line in front of you is slow to move when the line does, well... *poke* you have a handy prod to get them going.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Ok, the sheer amount of STUPID that is currently running rampant through my daughter's middle school is mind boggling.

Mind. Boggling.

The school has instituted a "no contact rule" which means, students are not allowed to touch each other. Ever. No hand holding. No hugging, not even between friends. Kissing is an offense that will get you suspended. Because, and this is a quote, "holding hands will lead to other, more intimate situations."

Today a substitute science teacher told my daughter's class that "statistically there are more obese women than men, because women have no self control."

Because women. have. no. self. control. *boggles more*

My daughter, who is a brave and outspoken soul, challenged this assertion in class and tried to engage her teacher in a debate on the point. The teacher asked her if she ever goes to 7-11 and buys a Slurpee, to illustrate his point that women have no self control. Because, um, my child is female and er, Slurpee = no self control therefore all women are rampant Slurpee fiends? Truly, I cannot follow the logic.

There have been other instances of rampant fuckmuppetry lately. These are just the ones from today.

My daughter came home from school and immediately started spouting Rilo Kiley lyrics at me.

and the talking leads to touching
and the touching leads to sex.

which made me laugh.

But mostly, I'm just pissed off. Because that is a truly misogynistic, awful, hateful thing to say to a room full of teenage girls and a horribly sexist message to send to a room full of teenage boys.

I have to organize some kind of a scathing letter to the district now, to, you know, hopefully get him fired. Because dumping a Slurpee down his pants, my first impulse, would violate the no contact rule.

Your tax dollars at work, kids.
A ginormous picture post today. Because I have lots of pictures to show off!

First off... Tempted Sock Club sent me their October offering. It is nifty in the extreme. The colorway is called "Hocus Pocus" and I really love it. The recommended pattern is "Bellatrix" and I've already got sock yarn earmarked for those socks. I will probably do something else with this, but I'm not sure what yet. *ponders*

TSC-hocus pocus detail

I seem to be spinning more than I am knitting, or at least spinning as much as I am knitting. Playing with getting more twist in the singles so that I can add enough twist in the ply to get a sproingy, durable sock yarn. It's a fascinating learning process.

SMF-peaches and plums SMF-closeup the dawning realization of string

Smoky Mountain Fibers Finn top in "peaches and plums" which I am spinning up into something that will hopefully resemble sock yarn when finished. I've split it roughly in half (I'm just sure one bobbin will have more and there will be waste, though) and spun the first bobbin up after gently predrafting the fiber out but not separating it into smaller chunks. So I've got long, long stretches of color that will stripe with gentle transitions into the next color. I am doing up the second bobbin now, and I've separated that into smaller sections, so that the color changes will happen much more frequently. I'll ply those together. Hopefully that'll give me an interesting barberpole effect in spots, heather the sock up a bit but allow the stripe of the first single to show well. We'll see.

That last, well, that is why you probably should not use a kitten for a backdrop when photographing anything connected to string.

BMFA-S2S-lapis BMFA-S2S-lapis detail

This here is why a Blue Moon Fiber Arts Sheep 2 Shoe kit is such a nifty deal. First off, you get 8.5 oz of gorgeous soft superwash merino that is hand dyed in a gorgeous STR colorway. Then you get to spin it up (and it comes with directions for making a luscious 3 ply STR-like sock yarn) and then? THEN my friends... you get to KNIT it. Into socks. All that, for about $30.

I know that some people complain that BMFA is overpriced, but I honestly think their skeins are generous, this S2S kit is MORE than generous, the colorways are awesome and I'm a happy customer. No complaints here. I think their pricing is more expensive than some, yes, but not more than others - and I'm personally pretty happy that what started out as a small indie company and is now a slightly larger indie company is having such a raging success. I wish the same kind of success to all the folks out there trying to make a living off of their yarn and art.

No trip to the knitting store is complete without something unexpected leaping into my arms and shrieking to come home. This awesome Posada themed bag insisted on accompanying me back to my car at A Mano Yarn Center, yesterday.

posada bag

And last but not least, I had to start a new purse sock because gods forbid one should end up someplace where one does not have access to a sock. Like a diner, the DMV, the market... that happened to me this week and I realized that I have been leaving the previous purse sock at work since it's a gift for the grrl. I needed a new one. Pigeonroof Studios Penelope sock yarn (bamboo/merino) which is luscious, in "nightshade", done up in a simple 2x1 rib. That's showing off the colorway nicely and will give me a nice squishy basic sock when I'm all done.

Two steps sock

Lady E is coming along famously, about to add yet another skein, but honestly, it's just squares on top of squares and that's kind of boring so I'll just take pictures when she's all done and blocked.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

I have acquired a few things over the last day and change. A tensioned lazy kate that matches my Kromski Sonata. A travel case for said Kromski Sonata. Three new 4 oz. bobbins. Best though, by far, is my stepdaughter who is on a 14 day leave from the Marine Corps. Well, 10 days of leave, 4 travel days. So we have her for at least a week and change. The oldest and youngest are thrilled, of course.

She brought me the most beautiful bracelet, silk robe and chopsticks from Japan, where she was previously stationed. I taught her to knit on her last leave and now she's asked me to teach her to spin. I'm going to start her on a drop spindle and see if she likes it. I think she likes to crochet a little better than to knit, but that's ok. I love that we can share some fiber fun!

Just really happy that she's here and home with us for as long as we get her.

I continue my quest to spin the ideal sock yarn. Today was spent at Stick and Stone in Van Nuys, hanging out with some rather awesome spinners and learning a little bit about plying and fiber in general. I think I may have to make that a semi regular Sunday tradition. So I came home and immediately split up some Finn I bought on Etsy, and began spinning up singles to try to ply into something socky. Adding a bit more twist than normal and we'll see how it goes. The Bordello roving I got from Tempted is gorgeous now that the twist is set, but it's definitely a little underplied still, for socks. I'll get there. I guess the Tempted handspun is going to go into a sweater after all!

The "Beginning Spinners" board on Ravelry is super helpful if you haven't discovered it yet, as is "Spinning Knitters" - I've gotten a great deal of help and information from the folks there. Really love the fiber community and the way that knowledge is shared so readily. Love of the craft really shines through.

Yay! My people!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Did you know that Yarn Pirate now sells some of her sock yarns just all the time? You don't have to wait for shop updates? You can just order sock yarn any time you want?!

This is a happy, happy, happy thing.

YP-culture club YP-fig&honey

Today is going to be all about doing nothing but spinning and hanging out and being lazy. Perhaps I'll make some yarncakes. Maybe I'll work on Lady E.

A quiet fiber day is a beautiful thing.

The only fly in my ointment is that I have a very grounded teenager on my hands who is making the place less than harmonious. But I suppose I can manage. It could be worse. They could both be grounded!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Etsy is a beautiful thing for it makes it possible to acquire things like yarn from Pigeonroof Knits.

PR-poison/nightshade detail

There are also Sheep to Shoe kits from Blue Moon Fiber Arts to show off, but alas, my camera crapped out.

I did get a great picture of Mittens with his soggy, spitty, well loved scarf though, before the battery died.

Mittens and the mother ship

It occurs to me that, I have a kitten with an attachment to his binky. God forbid I have to take it away to wash it.

There is absolutely nothing exciting happening with the knitting around here. Just tons of squares on Lady E. Growing, growing, growing... and not yet halfway there. I think it is likely that I will not have it done by my deadline. Like that ever happens. Me meeting a knitting deadline, I mean.

I'm also working on a self patterning sock to tuck inside the oldest's Xmas stocking this year, because she constantly bitches that I never make her socks. Using Zitron Lifestyle - this yarn is a gorgeous, smooshy, fabulous sock yarn that knits up to a lovely warm squishy fabric - I can't wait to see her face when she finds the socks on Xmas morning. That project currently lives at work and gets knit on during lunch breaks. Lady E gets all my attention the rest of the time.

The big question is, when I pass the deadline, will Lady E go into the Pile of Misfit Knitting? Or will I actually persevere and finish her? I'm really hoping I can stick it out on this one and finish for once.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

So the entire knit blog o sphere knows that Crazy Aunt Purl's book "Drunk, Divorced and Covered In Cat Hair" has come out and that she's doing her book tour. So maybe y'all can catch her coming soon to a bookstore near you. I do believe the schedule is on her site.

I went to the signing tonight up at the Grove and it was really nifty. Lots of local SnB'ers, some folks from Ravelry I'd not met yet, and then La Purl herself was pretty
nifty. Very authentic, warm and funny. I really enjoyed both the reading and the Q&A that followed but I was too shy to go up and get my book signed. You, should you be so lucky as to have her in your area soon, should not be so shy. Go get your book signed.

I work about 4 doors down from where she was signing, in the same shopping center and my 8 hours of retail hell ended about 2 hours before the signing started. Got a hot chocolate, a paperback, and set up camp in the signing area to knit and chill out. As the room began to fill up with local knitters, all of whom were saying hi and hugging each other and chatting, I just felt like... bad. I don't know any of the LA SnB'ers well - I've only been to one or two of the Thursday night WeHo groups, so none of them know me. I probably could have emerged from the Fortress Of Spiky Isolation and socialized a little with the faces I did recognize, but I felt pretty paralyzed and just couldn't get myself past it.

And of COURSE I was huddled in the farthest corner away from everyone in the back, with my nose buried self defensively in a book, not talking to anyone and feeling like the weird kid who nobody talks to. Which I am sure was very inviting to anyone who might have recognized me and wanted to say hello.

Dear Social Anxiety, please fuck off very much, you are not helping, no love, me.

Anyway, it was one of those post-divorcing nights where, it was either sit there quietly or try to have actual speech with someone and end up having to go cry. The subject matter of the book does hit a little close to home these days. I opted to sit there quietly, enjoy the talk and the reading, and then head out before it broke up. And enjoy it I did, very much, no matter how much my stupid head tried to get in the way. She's damn funny, you guys.

She said something about "stalking happiness" that made me think (and laugh.) About how you have to hunt down happiness every day, and find it.

Food for thought.

The cool thing about knitting book signings? Is that the room is full of knitters wearing handknit things and knitting.

My people.

I am afraid to talk to them in person, yes, but gosh how happy I am that the world is full of knitters.

Also, go to a damn book signing and buy a copy of the book so that they'll pay her to write another one. Cos that'd be nifty.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Ok, I am happy and satisfied. I heard back from the yarn vendor I had the delayed shipment with and my package is actually already in the mail. It was vendor issues holding things up, which was one of the things I suspected might be the case. I know SO many fiber artists on Etsy who are having supplier issues lately with some of the base sock yarns. I begin to wonder... is it the same vendor? It must be. There can't be that many of them.

I still think that it would have been a nice thing if I'd been let know *before* I had to ask, that there would be a slight delay with my order due to vendor problems, but no harm, no foul. Life happens, as they say.

Positive that the delay in getting an answer to my emailed inquiries was in the erroneous contact info on Paypal. They certainly were back to me within 24 hours when I went and double checked emails and did a little hunting for an alternate way to contact them. And I've let them know about the contact info error on Paypal, so hopefully they can fix it. Based on the quick response once I sorted things out, I think they *would* have answered me a while ago but just weren't getting my queries.

I just know I'm going to love my yarn, and there's an end to it. A happy one. :-)

See, I can also blog when I've been wrong, too!

Monday, October 08, 2007

I'm really irritated. *grumble*

I bought a bunch of yarn from a vendor last month and I know the money was transferred because it is no longer in my account. It's now way past the "7-10 days for us to dye it for you + the outside longest shipping time possible" mark and no yarn. The email I sent hasn't been replied to. I tried going off the email address given by Paypal for this artist, and that bounced. Which, after looking, it appears that Paypal has added an extra letter into the domain to which this email was sent, so I've resent my polite inquiry and have my fingers crossed about getting a reply.

I know as far as I'm concerned, if an artist has a delay? No big deal. I'll wait. Just *tell* me you've having issues. For example, I made a big order from another artist a few months ago, she had some issues with a supplier and immediately let me know that it was going to be longer than originally specified. And has continued to let me know what the status was with the items in question. Awesome. That's customer service there. I will be a customer of hers for as long as she cares to make yarn. It doesn't take much to create an intensely loyal customer, especially with knitters.

There are so many awesome artists out there who provide great customer service to go along with their fantastic products, that it's a huge glaring annoyance when one doesn't. I'm sure that it's just "paypal messed up" or "life happens" or something like that, but communication would have been ideal before I had to ask.

And I still am not sure how to proceed with getting to the bottom of my missing yarn order if my resent email skips again.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

lady eleanor

Lady E is coming along nicely. We're almost to the end of skein #3. I don't know as I'll have it done by the gift giving deadline, but I'm trying awfully hard to make it so. This is a great pattern. I want to knit one for myself when I'm done with this one, though I may just get the yarn and table it for a while. All the little squares do get dull.

Noro can be iffy to knit with from skein to skein because the colors don't always follow the same progression. Skeins begin and end in different places and on different colors. I'm trying to keep the color progressions in the same place when I start new skeins (which means breaking yarn and then spit splicing) if possible, but otherwise am not too worried about making it run in the same progression. I figure, it'll be more organic this way.

I haven't had much time to knit at all lately and when I do knit, this is all I'm knitting because of my giftgiving deadline. Fortunately, the color changes and small rectangles thus far have saved it from being deathly dull knitting.

This is not so much about EtsyFriday as it is, Nifty Merchant On Sunday.

Twisted yarns

I give you Twisted Fiber Arts. OMG. This stuff is self striping and so nifty. Featured a while back on L&V's daily chum, I just had to get some. So very worth the hype. You should run, not walk, out to get some.

Sachi's Purls had handspun sock yarn that wasn't sold out this past week and I managed to get my hands on a skein. The colorway is "Bitch" and oh man oh man do I love it so.

SP-bitch detail

You really need to stalk this fiber artist's blog and website so you can get some too.

I really wasn't lying about the nasty, kitten spit covered knitwear all over this house. Now they're both doing it. I won't be wearing this scarf again, I don't really think.

the mother ship

Dear Keetonz, thx for the saliva. Also, EEEUW. love&kisses, mama.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Knitter's Tea Swap 4" is open and doing sign ups if any of y'all are interested! :-)

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Oh dear god. The youngest just acquired a copy of Sims 2 and I thought, "Oh sure, I'll see if I like it." Heh. Next time I checked, it was after 2am. Where'd the time go? Oh, I know... TIMESUCK.

We are SO going to have to have some rules about Sims in this house or I foresee much skipping of homework and much missing of knitting time.

Finished Drunk, Divorcd And Covered In Cat Hair tonight on my dinner break at work. Enjoyed it very much. Promptly burst into tears and had myself an angsty old moment, then pulled myself together and got back to work. Memo to self, probably not wise to be reading divorce books at work. Because, you know, ow. Maybe knit socks instead and read something fluffy.

Today was rather like a Monday. It started with the dog barfing under the bed and culminated with an irritated customer complaining about me to my manager. My first complaint in a year with that company (well, I know I took 3 months off to work at the cafe, but, technically a year) and I'm not happy about it. Particularly as I didn't really do anything that heinous, I was just alone at the time, and too busy waiting on customers to wait on other customers. She got impatient, despite my apology to her, and so she came back later and complained to my boss and insisted that I not get commission on her purchase.

Whatever. Silly cow. May she one day work in retail and may it be Busy.

It was rather like a Monday. And now it's Tuesday, so I can let it go.

I have tomorrow off and I desperately need to do laundry, clean my house and maybe get some spinning done. I've got season 1 of No Reservations on DVD to watch while I try to do all that. Yay!

Etsy post coming soon, with pictures.