Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Done with the Turkish Flaw

You can't see the length of it, but it's longer than I am tall (for the record, 5'8"). It's longer than I can reach over my head, even. My arms are...2 feet long give or take, so that would make the scarf nearly 7 feet long. Nice. It turned out really well, I think. The three stripes on the one end line up with the middle three stripes of the other (as if that matters), so while it's asymmetrical, it's not, really.

I find the sparkly aspects pleasing, I find the colorful bits pleasing, I find the fringe pleasing. I find the scarf itself pleasing, plus I now get to work on my new scarf pattern. Booyah.

Life is good.

Monday, June 27, 2011

I'm like a toddler at Christmas.

My yarn is here! It's home and tucked up safely in its home for the next little while; a plastic baggie.

Golly, it's pretty! And absolutely perfect. I was not sure how well it would turn out (I mean, how vague can you get, black and green and sort of like this) but I'm pleased beyond all recognition at what happened.

I was so giddy with joy (and low blood sugar; I really need to be more vigilant about eating meals on time!) that I caked it up as soon as I got it home.

It's every bit as purty in the cake as in the skein. Possibly even more perfect, if possible.

I also have the other skein of pre-dyed green and black yarn that I got at the fiber fest caked up (there's something to having the yarn ready to go that makes my designer juices all drippy, which is sloppy but necessary if I'm going to actually get knitting on it):

See, there's more green, and the green is lighter in this skein. Not really what I had in mind, but close enough for government work. It would have sufficed, had I never gotten lucky and found the wonderful lady with the bottomless dye vats and a strong desire to try new color combos. She told me she enjoyed this project, it gave her the chance to play with this color combination. I guess black and green isn't popular as color combinations go, unsurprisingly, so she had the chance to see how best to accomplish the feat. There were actually four test skeins she did (I only ordered one), and I got to choose the one that met my mental needs best. It was a difficult choice, being as I love green and black and they were all very well done, but in the end only one really made sense for the scarf I see in my mind.
I will be making up my new pattern soon. Right now, my sugar is so low I'm about ten seconds from falling out of my chair. I have soup on the hob and I need to get in there and add the final few ingredients. It's supposed to be Vichyssoise, ergo, served cold, but a) I like potatoes and leeks and I like them warm and b) you can't really ruin vichyssoise, no matter how warm you serve it (or how chunky), so I'm just going to mush up the potatoes a little, add the dairy and go.

Before I faint, that is. Between yarn fumes and not having eaten much today, I'm about there!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Like a boss.

Here's what I did today:

Those recently submitted items? All today.

So like a boss.

And now I'm off to bed as I have to be up at unnatural-thirty tomorrow to help my friend with her garage sale. At least I've got the tables stashed in my car already, all I have to do is get myself in order, get some caffeine for both of us and breakfast and get there in one piece.

I cannot wait for Sunday. I have nothing at all to do on Sunday except...read. Knit. Enjoy my time freely. Sigh. Loverly.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

It's ready, it's ready, it's ready!

My special dyed, pretty fabulous yarn is done! The lady who did the work is going out of town until Sunday so I can't have it yet. But soon. Soon I shall have my fabulous, specially dyed, super-unique and wonderful yarn in my hands. My hot, over-excited hands will soon have the yarn I've wanted for the past month and I can begin my designing for real.

Bwahahahahahhaaaa-cough, cough, sputter. Ahem.

Yes. I will be designing something very special with my yarn. You'll see. *smirk*

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Interesting Occurance

The last time I went to the movies (previous to today, that is) I thought, as they showed the little service commercial stating that the emergency exits were there for a reason, how odd, I wonder if they ever do have fires in movie theaters? Wouldn't it suck if there was one today?

Yet nothing came of it, I watched my film, went home and life went on.

Today, I went to the movies (X-Men First Class, good flick, highly recommended) and we did have an alarm sound and we did evacuate the theater. Then we all stood around in the shadow of the building (owing to the hour, we were all standing with our backs to the front wall; probably not the safest spot to be, but if there'd been real danger I figure the employees would have left the building as we did--as it was, they stayed inside) and watched the firemen and, eventually, the fire marshall go in. We waited and waited some more, then the firemen came out and told us we could go back in. STILL no employees to be found, but that was ok. We all went back to our theaters, sat back down in our seats (sort of, I got shifted out of mine by seat poachers who had arrived after me initially and decided to take advantage of the situation to get better--ie, my--seats when we were let back in) and the movie started back up where it had ended before.

It was quite interesting, really. I've never been in a building that had a legitimate fire alarm. Everything proceeded so smoothly and easily, it was as if we'd rehearsed!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Sorry, went AWOL for a while.

I can't explain it, really. I got busy. I went to my favorite place in town and did some thinking:

Then I went to the movies again and did more thinking. And then I've been thinking all week long.

Well, I say I got busy, but what I mean is I just Went Inside. Another Jungian Introvert will understand that, the general public maybe not so much. But I needed some hermit time with just me, myself and I. I've been doing movies like mad lately, and they've been movies that have gotten into my head and started moving furniture, re-shelving my books and dusting around the nick-knacks, pushing them slightly out of alignment. I had to go inward or I'd have imploded.

Then I realized that I'm horribly under-read. My grade and high school literature experiences were decidedly Steinbeck heavy. For the record, I detest Steinbeck. If I never read another of his over-rated pieces of drivel again, it will be too soon.

Why the hateration on Steinbeck? Well, let's see. I read Of Mice and Men...four or five times, The Pearl twice and was threatened with The Grapes of Wrath until I was allowed to shape my own literary experience that year and spent the time reading off the shelves (and chose the Gothics; Mary Shelley, Bram Stoker, I discovered Ann Radcliffe) and wrote two term papers for my grade instead of taking tests, reading along with the others and writing only one.

The lack of variety, I realized, has stunted my growth. I thought all literature sucked because Steinbeck sucks, but that's not a valid comparison. Steinbeck is not all of literature and literature is not, thank God, only like Steinbeck.

I hadn't realized until I saw Midnight in Paris how little actual literary experience I have. I'd never read Fitzgerald, I'd never read Hemingway. I've never completed a Dickens novel, or an Austen book or any of the others my peers have complained about through the years. No Herman Hesse, no Somerset Maugham. No official Poe, no official Mark Twain. For the price my parents paid, you'd think I'd have gotten something a bit more sophisticated than the All Steinbeck Channel. So yesterday and today I've been trolling the libraries and bookstores, trying to find some new reading material.

Yes, that's an audio version of Austen up there. I have trouble with the language in Regency novels; if I have it read to me I understand it far better from vocal context than if I'm reading it with my eyes. I'm trying to translate the book, if you will. I might have to go that direction with Dickens. I'll give it one more go with Martin Chuzzlewitt, but if it's too bendy for my eyes to follow, we're going to try the audio book route.

The one you don't see in there is the one I read last night, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. That one I took a flyer on and bought, so it's now on my bookshelves. I actually quite liked it. He used language in a very pretty way, although his commas confused me. What can I say, I have a comma style. It may be right, it may be wrong, but it's my style.

Anyway, I started Hemingway this evening. My friend who went to MiP was right; the Hemingway in the movie spoke just like the real Hemingway wrote, and it's hilarious. Oh, it's a generational thing--sort of like in the movie The Maltese Falcon when Humphrey Bogart's character looks at another character and says (in what must have been menacing fashion in the day but now was just amusing), "I'll slap you 'til you like it." I had to shut the movie off at that point; you must see why.

So I'm starting some assigned reading this week. We'll see how long the kick lasts. I'd like to know if there's some kind of proper Literature I'd have liked that I've missed because of poor lesson planning and bad communication between teachers in my over-priced private schools.

Actually, it's kind of funny; I read Of Mice and Men twice in a row under the same teacher. You'd think she could have remembered something like that. I sure did. Blech.

Friday, June 10, 2011

No pictures today.

Barely any words. I went to see the most un-Woody Allen film Woody Allen has ever written and directed tonight: Midnight in Paris.

I'm not sure what it was a love song to, or even if it was coherent enough to really be a love song, but it was...sweet. Not a word I associate with Woody Allen, really.

I'm biased; I love films about Paris, I love films about writers, and there was quite a bit of wisdom in there for writers (and even more for people who love Paris), so I was bound to love it. And that guy who played Hemingway...I am in awe. How he kept his face straight while he delivered those lines I will never know.

It was lovely, really. A good cinematic choice. I'm glad I went. I generally don't regret movies (even if the only thing I get from it is a strong determination never to see another one like it again) but this one was special. I will remember it for a long time.

You have to know that if I ever got the chance to run away to Paris...I would so be gone. If I were standing in front of you, you'd be sucking contrail before the sentence, "Hey, Surly Knitter, would you like to move to..." even got out of the invitee's mouth. I don't even care that I can't speak French. I'll learn.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Prodding buttock.

I actually had a good working day today. I got five articles written in good time and with little strain, which is my proposed daily target. Now, if only I can do the same over and over and over again, ad nauseam!

In more cheerful news, I've made progress on the cheap and cheerful Turkish Flaw:

The wad of yarn on the right there isn't as big as you think it is. It's the innermost bit of yarn, probably no more than an eighth of the skein, that's gotten loose as I've unwound it. The scarf itself is maybe about three feet long, so it's a good thing I decided to get that second skein. I like my scarves long.

Long scarves with long tassels. For some reason, the combination makes me giddy stupid happy.

The title of the post? It's a Terry Pratchett reference. At some point in one of the Night Watch books, Sam Vimes says something along the line of, "We're not kicking arse, but we are at least prodding buttock." A saying which in and of itself makes me giddy cheerful.

Anyway, it's been a quiet week for me thus far. I've written seven of a proposed 15 articles so far (I even worked on a Monday; I must be getting stronger), I knitted outside of knitting coven and otherwise have just been keeping my head down. That'll probably be the entire course of my week, if I can keep it up.

I'm not sure about the working or the knitting, I'm really just hoping I can keep out of trouble. I seem to have a disturbing talent for finding it.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Came in on time and under budget.

No, I'm not talking about a work project, I'm talking about the fiber festival this weekend. This is the second year I've attended and I'm getting really, really fond of the practice.

I had a particular colorway in mind this year for my prospective yarn purchases. Not a popular one, unfortunately. But I tend to do that. Let me sing you the saga of my day at the fiber festival.

I arrived early, mostly because I was commuting with a member of my knit coven and she needed to be back in town early, but also because early bird gets the fresh, farm-spun alpaca! Also, I was looking for a particular colorway in my yarn--I wasn't even too specific or needy about the fibers involved, it just had to be black and green, like old bronze that's been polished up a small bit--and I knew it would be difficult to find. We're not talking the hot, new spring colors (mostly sherbet tones, if what I saw this morning is representative), but it's not like I'm looking for something completely beyond the pale. I simply had hopes of finding something more suitable than is available at my Box Store of choice.

The first thing I saw that I snagged was a nearly $20 skein of sock-weight green (wrong shade, but...) and black yarn. It was super wash, but I figured for a proof of concept scarf, it wasn't too terrible. We wandered about a bit more and then came back to that same booth (my friend wanted some yarn she'd passed by at it originally) and I saw something else:

A better green and black (with a bit of poison purple tossed in for good measure). AND, it's got bamboo in. Wool, bamboo and nylon. Typical sock yarn, but softer. I went over to the lady manning (ladying?) the booth and asked how much it was. It was the same price as the one I'd originally bought, so she let me just trade out.

This one was far more...sinister in appearance, and for the pattern I have in mind, "sinister" is key. Well, not key, but certainly a nice feature.

After I got that, we wandered around a bit and I realized I should have stopped and checked out booths in the center of the first display hall before I bought. I found a very, very nice lady who offered to special-order dye some soft superwash sock yarn for me. We had a nice discussion about the specific colors I wanted and in what proportions, and how I wanted them arranged...and I get this yarn, dyed to my specific request, for only $5 more than the one I bought off the rack.

Granted, I have to wait two to three weeks, but knowing the exact yarn I want is on its way to my hot little hands helps me practice my patience.

Then I decided to go ahead and splurge a little. Hey, I'd had a good shopping day--some pretty sock yarn in a really nice color, specially dyed yarn in the exact colors I wanted originally, a bookmark made out of old aluminum knitting needles (oops, didn't tell you about that one: well, I bought this bookmark, it's really nice and can be used as a bookmark, hair ornament or a shawl pin and it looks like this:

) so we trudged back to a small booth toward the exit that had a 50% off basket or two sitting on their counter and played with the yarns. Actually, to be honest, we'd passed it on the way in (both entrances were at the same end of the hall so we had to pass this booth to get in and pass it again to get out) and hidden some of her more choice tidbits beneath the fluff and novelty yarns.

I dropped a little bit of cash on this:

300 yards of what appears to be laceweight alpaca cotton blend. I've never had an alpaca cotton blend yarn. It should be interesting to play with. Or terrible; that's the thing about new-to-you yarns, you just don't know if it will be Halloween or Christmas when you get the ball band off!

I actually came in $12 under budget for the day! Ok, ok, I'd spent the cash I was carrying and some $8 of banked money, but that's still $12 less than I'd originally planned to spend. I know how I work, really--I carried the cash and hoped I'd only spend that much, but really knew I wouldn't be able to resist spending at least $20 more.

It's handy, knowing yourself that well. You can plan better that way.