Friday, January 25, 2008

New obsession

Before I get started, I just wanted to gush a bit about what I did last Friday. I usually blog on Friday evenings, but last week I was at my local symphony, and oh, boy. I have a bit of a groupie crush on our symphony's music director/main conductor, and last week merely cemented the wrongety-wrong-wrong groupie lust I have for him. The program was Beethoven's Pastoral Symphony and The Rite of Spring--a nice pair of spring-time, tree-huggin', nature-lovin' goodness. And then they added actors. For the Beethoven piece, one of the actors read a letter Beethoven wrote about his deafness and love of nature and whatnot, but what they did for The Rite of Spring was beyond cool: our local modern dance company came to recreate the dance performed when RoS premiered. The actors came back (several this time), including actors who had been sitting in the audience who recreated the riots from the original premier!!! I laughed so hard, I almost bust a gut. And the orchestra was playing pieces from RoS that were interspersed with the yelling and rioting and actors reciting letters from Stravinsky. It was so exciting and thrilling and chaotic and so absolutely beatnik that I could have cried for joy. Take that, conservative midwestern town! I kept waiting for the bongos. Ah, well. Maybe next time.

Someone had a nice Sunday this past weekend. Usually, Dog likes to keep his buns warm in front of my heater. He's even got a blankie to curl up with. To wit:

Look at the nice surprise he got the other day:

Sunspot! He spent nearly ten minutes rolling and lazing about, sunning his belly in the sunspot before our regularly scheduled shitful weather recommenced. Poor boy!

I have a new hobby, too. Lace.

This is a new knitting skill for me. I like garter and stockinette and all that jazz, but there's something almost erotic to my pervy knitter sensibilities to knitting lace patterns. It's fiddly enough to satisfy my inner OCD freak, yet simple enough to not make me feel like a total twat.

It's the Gossamer Shell Scarf from One-Skein Wonders by Judith Durant. Yes, it's going to take up more than one skein. Which is fine, as I've got three of this fiddly mohair stuff. Still soft as kitten fur, still a pain in the arse.

Anyway, since I'm having so much fun with this project, and planning to make a lacy shawl with my hard-won green laceweight merino (see last post), I treated myself a bit. My creativity teacher paid me to order some chunky weight yarn for him (which I may or may not have mentioned), so I converted my profit into laceweight merino. I didn't realize until the day it arrived that the name of the colorway (Red Hat) referred to that group for sheep-women who follow that stupid poem about wearing purple when they get old--as if wearing purple somehow makes you a rebel or something. Excuse me? I have purple in my closet, even though sometimes it makes me look like my kidneys are failing. I don't see what's so risky about wearing purple (jaundiced appearance aside), or red hats or getting together with the other "old ladies" (don't glare at me, they use the term themselves on their website) and playing canasta. This is probably why (as my creativity teacher told me) I would have been lobotomized if I'd been born fifty years earlier--I don't understand why they think doing what they want to do is somehow so wild and crazy; like wearing purple. Oooh, hold them back! The Sheeple are getting carazy! No, crazy is painting yourself up like an ancient celt and going to work naked but for woad. Or Maori facial tats (which are beautiful, btw. If I met a Maori guy with the real thing, I might have to jump him, just on general principles.) Wearing red and purple and having a ladie's day out twice a month is rather lame, in terms of wild and crazy behavior. If you really want to impress me, buy a Harley. Or a cabana boy. Or both.

I think, since I just watched Frida last week, that I'm going to figure out how to make a very Hispanic-inspired shawl with it--and take that, Sheeple, Frida Kahlo wouldn't have joined your silly little club, because she wore whatever the hell she wanted whenever she wanted and slept with just about anything she wanted, too. Including, if the gossip is to be believed, Trotsky, which I find icky when looking at pictures of the real Trotsky but not so bad when Trotsky is played by Geoffrey Rush. Hey, I liked him as Barbossa.

Anyway, I feel there's a lovely irony about using the yarn for a shawl to honor her. It's almost subversive. Besides, there's something rather fiesta-like about the red and purples together. Maybe it's because the red is a very orange-y red. Anyway, I'm seing long fringe, an open stitch, and more beads. Beads, beads, beads!

I've gotten beads to match the green yarn, and I'm excited about the prospect of beading a shawl. I think I've even figured out how to do it properly, too. Anyway. I'm thinking about blowing part of an unexpected (small) windfall that's coming my way tomorrow on more laceweight yarn for more shawls--there are more shawls that I want to knit than yarn of the appropriate gauge in my stash--since some of the prettiest colorways are still on clearance. And maybe I'll get myself a nice, naughty knits book...maybe Naughty Needles or Knitting Lingerie Style. I like the playful attitude and unique shapes featured in both. And the idea of knitting my own bra (from KLS) to fit is intoxicating. Finally, an undergarment that really fits!

Oh, well. I'd best go feed Dog. He gets stoppy when the kib isn't on time. Poor lad. Monday. Monday we find out if he can go for walks outdoors, and he gets actual medical permission to get on furniture (not that he hasn't been sneaking up on the couch at times, but I won't have to feel guilty about it anymore.)

Friday, January 11, 2008

It's here! It's here! Santa Claus came for me!

I'm having a bit of a migraine (I got careless: I thought I had something at work for lunch, but I didn't, and when we're in the middle of weather changes, which we are, and my sugar gets too low for too long, which it did, I get a migraine) so I apologize if this post is a bit addled. I ate like a linebacker when I got home, and my headache is at least no longer pounding, but maybe I should take an Imitrex, just for in case.

Then again, maybe I'll get up and do some yoga in a minute. But first:
My knitpicks yarn *sound of heavenly chorus on an extended "Ah!" vowel* These are destined for a pair (or two or three) of Endpaper Mitts. And since I got smart and figured out how to do circular knitting on two circular needles instead of the dreaded double points, I may even be able to do them properly!

The yarn feels very nice, actually, which makes me feel better about paying so little for it. I'll let you know what happens when I try to knit with it.

Knitpicks yarn batch 2: For a pair of mitts like Johnny Depp wears in Sweeney Todd, when I figure out the stitch involved. I'be been borrowing and buying stitch dictionaries like crazy of late--I'm swatching up a storm, too. I will figure out which pattern it is if it takes me until I'm 95! Anyway, I bought it in two colors, intending to use the gray for the mitts and the red....well. I just thought it was pretty. And it's cheap enough, I don't feel guilty for stashing!

You may have noted in the picture of the blue and yellow yarn a plastic bag in the underneath. Since I keep my yarn in a three seasons room (mostly in a large plastic tote, but some of the stuff I'm working is in a bag) that seems to function as a spider nursery, I tend to keep my working yarn in plastic bags to keep the bugs out. I am not afraid of spiders, but I really don't want one in my lap any more than Little Miss Tuffet did. Not that I'd go running, but I might say something...unflattering and rude. Which wouldn't do.

Anyway, I've discovered that if you squeeze them, it compresses the yarn--sort of like those overpriced vacuum sucky bags for clothes and stuff that you see on the informercials--and then lets it pop right back up. Like thus:

But for way, way cheaper. Which is all to the good. So I've started going into my stash tub and baggy-ing up my other yarns. To compress them. Which I'm sure is bad for my health, because it will create more room for more yarn. Which it its own problem, in a way.

Storage issues aside, here is the apotheosis of the yarn orgy of this past week:
*even louder heavenly chorus*

I know, I promised sunlight licking along the yarn, but it's crappy out today; whatcha gonna do? It's still beautiful. And I got a free project bag (underneath) which my dog was very interested in (perhaps it had been used to transport squirrels at some point?) and a pretty card. And how psychic is Cattywumpus--Van Gogh is my favoritest of painters, and just look how the card co-ordinates with both the yarn and the bag! Nothing in the envelope to go to waste! Now, if I can just settle on something to use it for.... So many projects, and it's just one sweet little ball of yarn.... Sigh.

Oh, well. Until it gets earmarked for something in particular, I can keep in its baggie in my room (way up high so the kitties don't make something of it for themselves) and take it out at night to look at and smile upon.

Yes, yes. I know. I'll go put my huggie coat back on and sit quietly in the corner until my drugs kick in (I caved on the Imitrex. I really need a new computer--the delay and afterimage while typing on this one is vicious....)

Friday, January 4, 2008

What I Did For Christmas Vacation

No, I didn't get lost or fall in or whatever your favorite euphemism is. There were, in my life, Great Events. I wouldn't be here updating my blog now, frankly, if it weren't for the fact that I'm about to email my blog link to another knitblogger (and watch how quickly I get tied to the stake for the foulness of my language) since I'm so exhausted by all the garbage I have to attend to. I figured I might as well, you know, actually blog before I send the link off.

Ok. Some of what went down is more personal than I like to get in public, so the greater part of the mayhem will have to remain a mystery to those who don't get my near-daily whine-fests (aka: emails.) Let's see if I can get the public stuff straight.

For firstly: Dog tore his ACL. The Tuesday after my last post, actually. I had to take some time to take him in for repairs. Since he tore the other ACL two years ago, we are now referring to him as the Bionic Dog. Ironically enough, the two surgeries cost $6000. I'm going to have to totally rip copyrights to make him a dogshirt on with his face in the familiar orange target/scope thing and the slogan: "We can rebuild him, we have the technology" underneath. Too bad he doesn't make that way cool mechanical sound when he hobbles around.

It looks nastier than it was, really. Mostly it's razor burn (since he doesn't shave regularly.) Be assured he is almost completely recovered, and his limp makes all the girlies flock to his paws--chicks dig scars and all that garbage. However, I will have to Sing the Ballad of How The Squirrels Are Evil for you one day (they got his first knee, two years ago, and this knee went out as a result of how he was walking since then.) We will be interrupting some of our knitting through the winter so we can build miniature siege engines (trebuchet for starters and, if I can figure out the engineering, an onager. Yes, I'm quite excited, too) and going out to take some heapin' hot revenge. Eventually, Dog plans to have a bandolier of little furry scalps to wear when he dances in the bloody light of a cold harvest moon around the great earthen barrow where he will bury all the bits of squirrel he doesn't eat at his great victory feast. I think he's been reading some westerns lately, this little ceremony seems a tad derivitive.

For secondly, the holiday fell on me like something very heavy and smothering. I've been bracing myself for another bout of depression this January (I wouldn't say I have SAD, not that there's anything wrong with it other than it sucking the joy out of everything, but January, traditionally, is very difficult for me.) Fingers are still crossed, but it's actually...ok. I'm making an effort to get out more often and talk to people a lot more, and my favorite BBC program of all time is finally showing the second season this year--Life on Mars. If you've never seen it, I pity you. It's what David Lynch could have done with Twin Peaks if not for that pesky acid habit and the dancing dwarf. And the new season (for BBCA) of Doctor Who begins in two weeks, and who can be sad when David Tennent is being all floppy puppy goofy cute in those little glasses? And the suits. Ay, mio. The wisdom of ZZ Topp comes to mind. *

But never fear, I did do some knitting.

I don't know if you can tell (because my computer is crap at the moment), but it's an unintentional tam (my gauge got lose and it ended up a bit larger than intended, but it still worked) in what I call winter sherbet colors. It's Joann's Sensations line, something called Dolcetto (colors are lemon and lime. How appropriate.) It's soft for a wool/cotton blend, and knit up like buttah. And I love the colors. I wanted to lick the hat (but it really is too fuzzy a yarn, it would have been nasty, yick.) I also did a twisted drop stitch scrawl (somewhere between a scarf and a shawl) in the same colors as well, and I think the next time I do a twisted drop stitch, I will have more contrast in my colors. Don't get me wrong, in person, the colors look beautiful together. But I think the twist would be more effective in strongly contrasted colors, like white and red (for a candy cane scarf) or light and dark shades of one color. Anyway, I made the set for my aunt on behalf of my mother.

I also cast on for the mittens I promised my priest (for his nephew; apparently he can't find men's mittens large enough in Chicago, to which I say, WTF?!? Maybe he should try looking for them. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad to do it, I just doubt the boy has bothered trying to look.) I need to get back to them, too. Thankfully, they're knitting up fast as a greased pig, so it shouldn't take too long.

Also on the knitting front, I found If you haven't been there, you should check it. My order shipped today, so I should know within 5-14 days if the yarn is as good as promised. I certainly know it was cheap, which makes me very happy. Now, just to see if it is less scratchy than I'm fearing.

I also won a contest on another knitting blog--Cattywumpus--and was doing a little happy dance all day yesterday. I entered because one of the prizes was a totally sexy cake of gorgeous, hand dyed bluey-greeney-yellowey merino. Fortuna apparently got tired of peeing on me and allowed me to win it. Oh, Fortuna indeed! I was doing a happy dance all day yesterday. My coworkers thought me a bit touched in the head, but then again, I am a bit touched in the head with this yarnporn addiction, so it's understandable. I can't wait until it arrives so I can sit it in front of me and just stare at it, rather like people in those old photographs from the halcyon days of Big Radio--smiling rather vacantly in my bobby socks and penny loafers, knitting in my chair.... Yeah. I'm a little off. Just...go with me on this one. When it arrives, I will photograph it in sunlight, allowing the buttery golden light to caress the yarn as it gently flows between the layers of strands, causing it to glow from within so you can see why I'm so bewitched. I can't decide what to do with it, once I'm done staring at it reverently, but it must be something special that enhances the flow of color along the yarn. Maybe something with a dragon or ocean theme. Or forests. Or just go ape-excrement and attempt all three in one project. Oooh.

Ok, now I'm freezing, I'm starving and I need to remove my nail polish--still wearing my holiday theme of alternating red and green. With black/irridescent purple-blue on the toes. Merry Christmas. Ho. Ho. Ho. >:-) Anyway, I'm chipping something fierce. And did I mention my fingers are frozen? 'Cause they are. So I'm going to a) remove the polish, b) make some hot cocoa and c) pop some popcorn with buttah. In that order. And then it's time for Most Haunted. Since it is Friday. Yay.

* Every girl crazy 'bout a sharp dressed man. In trainers. **

**Britspeak for sneakers. His look like old Converse high tops. He's workin' it old skool.