Wednesday, May 26, 2010

At last! Finished something!

Can you figure out what this is?

It's a scarf! Here it is, fresh off the needles, and boy, I was relieved. It is one of those curly scarves, knit sideways. There's a ton of them on Ravelry, and while I do like the finished object, binding off what amounted to over 1,700 stitches really got up my nose.

I've carefully cropped my head out of this shot. Sadly, while taking this picture, I realized that I have somehow, in the past year or so, started to look...tired. Yes, age is creeping up on me somewhat speedily, but sheesh. I never exactly got to be pretty, the least Mother Time can do is let me have some dignity in my dotage! Then again, I did have a pretty bad cold this week, so maybe that made the situation worse than usual. I don't take my own picture often; how would I know?

I can't really complain, though. I do have my friends:

Thing 2, one of my cat sitting kitties, was by my side, playing with the yarn, the entire time I was binding off. All. Four. Hours. I went through half a season of MI-5, aka Spooks, while binding off. Granted, British television runs short seasons, but a lot of people died horrible, bloody deaths while I was binding off that scarf. Can I emphasize enough how tedious that process was?

(Be reassured; the kitty only looks evil. T2 is actually...well, ok, he is evil. But in a very, very nice way.)

I'm trying to get past the scarf experience, emotionally. I think my next project will use the Blue Sky Alpaca my mother got in Boston. Why? I like the color. I'm trying to find a suitable project for my pretty, pretty yarn, but I'm having issues. I'll have to think on't. Unfortunately, I'm still a bit wiped out from the cold (why, oh, why are summer colds worse than winter ones? I don't understand) so thinking is not my forte at the moment, as you can tell by the writing in this post.

And, finally, a gratuitous picture. Tonight's gloaming was ethereally beautiful. This shot caught the colors of the sky, but it misses the white fluffies falling from the ginormous cottonwood tree in our yard. It was like...fairy lights, falling softly in the pale blue and pink. For two minutes, I just stood there, gaping, and forgot all my petty problems. Nice.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

New toys!

My mother and aunt went to visit my sister way off in Massachusetts last week, so I spent the week cleaning litterboxes, feeding cats, cleaning litterboxes, petting cats, picking up hairballs, cleaning litterboxes, etc. It was tons of fun, let me tell you! I'm almost worried about my cats restrained bathroom habits, as my litterbox now seems empty and desert-like in comparison. Then again, my cats are on a grain free diet (thanks to the asthmatic Elvis' lungs), so there's a lot less to not digest in their kib. Which is, now that I think on't, a blessing in (a $20 per 12 pound bag) disguise.

Anyway, to repay me, instead of letting them give me cash, I sent them on a hunt to Seed Stitch Fine Yarns in Salem (the only place I knew for a fact they were planning on going) and they exceeded my expectations. Or, perhaps, simply knew the state of their own litterboxes and so decided to pay me well for my trouble.

My lower back will never be the same.

First, Mother got me:

Cascade Baby Alpaca Chunky, Hot Rod Pink. I made her a slouchy beret, ala Crazy Aunt Purl, out of this stuff (in a paler pink) and wanted some of it for a beret of my own. Considering I never told her I wanted more, this was a particularly intuitive purchase. I don't, generally speaking, like pink, but I think I'm warming up to this particular color. It's not the insipid baby pink most people tend to give me (curse my pink-cheeked, blue eyed, blonde curled baby-plexion!) so it gets props just for that.

Two skeins of Blue Sky Alpacas Worsted Handpaints, colorway Petunia. This is, again, basically pink, but this shade needs no warm up. It's a beautiful rosy red pink, and I'm going to love whatever I make of this. Which means it's going to probably be a scarf, not only because of my limited mileage (200 yards), but because that is what I have most need of in the hand-knits department. I've made my mother two scarves, a friend a neckwarmer, and made some sad attempts in that direction for myself that didn't work (and have a...creative scarf on the needles), but I have never just made myself a plain old, garden variety scarf (the Who scarf doesn't count--that's fanwear, not just a plain scarf.) I think it's time I made one that could be worn out to a formal event, don't you?

The pinnacle of my MomYarns collection--a single ball of Schoppel-Wolle Crazy Zauberball, in a colorway that translates from the German as "Pause in Blue" (Pause in Blaue, so difficult to translate, I know). I've been wanting to sample a German made yarn for ages, since I realized that Wollemeise isn't the only yarn that comes from that country, in fact, and I let Mother know this before she left. She did very well with this one. The yardage is excellent for a single-lump sock yarn (460ish) and I love the colors. I might make a Haruni out of this!

This is my aunt's contribution to the pot, and a fine set they are indeed. Two skeins of Louisa Harding Willow Tweed, one in Mink, one in Musk. I'm not sure what they will end up becoming yet, but there might have to be cables involved in keeping with the tree theme (Willow Tweed) and colors. I don't know yet.

Oooooh, this is so exciting! I love getting yarn before I have a pattern chosen--I get fair giddy with the creative possibilities! I can see scarves, shawls, hats, gloves, frilly things, squared off things, curvy things, interesting things.... All in only six skeins/balls of yarn!

Oh, yes, about the creative scarf on the needles. I cast on for a ruffled scarf with the red Icelandic I'd bought as a gift for a friend, before coming to my senses realizing she doesn't like hand made things, so I should just keep all that frothy, silky, smooshy loveliness to myself. I have no pictures yet, but I'm only eight or so very long rows from being done (it's knit lengthwise on a very long circular) so I anticipate being able to photograph the finished object within the next week or two.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Hangin' in there

Still here, still not feeling the knittin' love, still a writer. :-)

That last bit always makes me smile, even when the editors are giving me white hairs. Hey, I don't have children, someone has to give me white hair!

I think I've decided on what sort of work space I really want, now I just have to find the constituent bits and put them into place. While I'm living with the 'rents I won't be able to use it properly (noise issues), but it will be nice to have it all together for when I have the much vaunted rooms of my own.

And I was writing this and thinking about dealing with editors and how it was way better than dealing with office mates, when this quote came on a Biography commercial:

Focusing your life solely on making a buck shows a certain poverty of ambition. It asks too little of yourself. Because it's only when you hitch your wagon to something larger than yourself that you realize your true potential.
Barack Obama

I can't honestly say my writing career is 'larger than (my)self', but I sure as hell am proud of it. I wanted to be a writer and (in the words of the immortal Jean Luc Picard) I made it so. I've never done that before. The pride is getting a bit over done for what little I've written, but still. I made it so. And I'll never forget it.