Sunday, December 30, 2012

It's like the yarn knows what it's supposed to do.

 The pretty yarn, before its ravishment.
I've been working on my infinity cowl scarfie thing, trying to get it out of my pile of "in progress" projects (which is getting beyond absurd; I've got a backpack full of them, plus a big blue bag and some in the stashtainer.) I finally managed to get to the end of the first skein (yes, it took forever) and was ready to tie the second one on when I realized I had a problem.

See, the yarn is self-striping (I was giddy with joy about the fact that I manage to pick a number of stitches that gave me near perfect stripes until I realized the runs are long enough and end vaguely enough -- the colors blending into one another -- that it would always stripe in one width or another. Dur.) I ended on a stripe of a particular color, and the internal yarn tail was at the other end of the color repeats. Ooopsie.

So I bethought a solution to this issue which involved a pair of scissors and the shortening of my scarf. And then I had another Homer Simpson "D'Oh!" moment when I realized the yarn has two ends. And the second end might or might not be the same. I pulled it off the outside of the skein and lo, it was just the color I needed, followed by the color I needed after that.

I was pleased.

Can you tell where I merged the two yarns?

It's there, I promise.

I can see it, but then I know the secret of where it is.

Oh, I give in, here you go:

That thin black stripe there at the end.

And now, thanks to the first skein, I know I'm a quarter of the way through the second skein. I want to do another circuit of the colors tonight so I'm halfway through the skein. I'd really love to have this puppy off the needles before I start up the day job on Wednesday. Partly so I can wear it, partly so I can have a brand new project to take to work on Thursday (I'm thinking Wednesday will be too busy, alas).

Even better? The second skein will end with that light turquoise blue color. My cast on is a single row of that color. Yes, you'll be able to see the seam, but the colors will match.

It's like Red Heart knew exactly what the yarn was supposed to do for me!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

My first blizzard!

I grew up down south, an inch or two of snow was big news. Then we moved up to the midwest, and maybe 6 inches was a big deal (we're not near the Great Lakes, or that far north, we have far more moderate winter weather than most people expect). But right now, we're getting up to a foot of snow! And the wind is blowing! What does that spell?


I've never been through a blizzard before, and so far it's pretty dull. I mean, I'm in the house, it's fairly warm (ish, my patio isn't the coziest place on earth) and I've got access to food and fresh water, so...yeah. It's just a lot of snow coming down really fast and blowing around.

It sucks, but sucks about on a par with all the other types of snow. Of which I am not fond.

Oooh, speaking of snow, saw the Doctor Who Christmas special last night. It was weird and creepy and altogether too much fun for a girl to have on a dark Christmas night, and it gives you a new suspicion to have about snow. As if I didn't have enough problems with it before!

At least I've got a metric ton of yarn and projects to work on to keep myself busy today. I've been working on my Birthday Cowl of late:

I seriously love how those stripes are panning out. I couldn't have done that better if I'd planned it, could I?

Plus I've got my never ending Shawl of Green (the ruffle is taking forever, but not using as much yarn as everyone told me it would). I'm pretty sure I'll have it ready for next winter. Le sigh.

And I'm also thinking about doing another attempt at a more successful destash effort in the new year. I've been going through my stash, finding pretty yarns and trying to match them up with projects. So far I've got several stash items (which may include more than one skein of the same yarn) reserved for projects covering blankets to shrugs to scarves. If I ever bestir myself to finish up my sweater, that kills a lot more stash, too. My goal is to rid myself of at least one of the auxilliary stashtainers, with an ultimate goal of whittling down the stash to fit in my Cedary Stashtainer of Yarny Goodness within two years.

Hey, I gotta give myself time; I'm not the fastest knitter in the world. Although with the advent of the new job in the new year, that might change -- I've got nothing but knitting time during the days. Pray for my wrists.

So I'm planning my destash projects out as well as knitting on my cowl.

And if all else fails, I've got my Christmas swag to enjoy:

Friday, December 7, 2012

I lost a Twizzle!

I lost one of my twizzles! I went to The Nieceling's band concert (she had a piccolo solo! W00t!), and dropped it in the auditorium.

Oh, well. Not my favorite color, and I'll consider it an offering to the knitting gods. Or something.

And I did not take knitting to The Phew's concert, two days later. He did not have a solo, but he was one of two in the percussion section who played every piece -- the others got rotated out as the music demanded. I'm so proud of them both for their musical achievements.

In other news, less than a full week before The Hobbit is in theaters. I can go at midnight, if I want. That was in doubt, you see.

I interviewed a few weeks ago for a FT job. At the place I've been temping? The one that lets me knit at the desk and read and stuff like that when I'm not busy with my duties? They were talking about hiring someone to be there a few weeks before the calendar change (when the woman who has the job now is retiring) so the new hire would have time to sit with her and learn the ropes. So I didn't want to buy a ticket to a midnight showing of The Hobbit because what if they hired me? I'd maybe be working by then, and a midnight showing of a 2 1/2 hour movie and an 8 o'clock start time at work don't mix. Not even a little bit.

So I waited two weeks to hear back, thinking this place would be one that would call me if I didn't get the job -- they're good like that, very respectful of others, and letting someone know they can stop waiting for a call is only polite, yes? They didn't call and they didn't call, so I called, and lo and behold they had been going to call me that same day to offer me the job. Then they sent me an offer letter, a thing with which I am unfamiliar. I signed and sent it back, though, as I'm told is the custom. It's more common in educational circles than in the ones I've been swirling around in, and sort of cool. Don't worry, I'm smart enough about USPS to have made a copy for just in case.

But I don't start until January. I guess they think I know what I'm doing well enough to let me start after herself moves on to sleeping in. Or whatever she has plans to do, I'm not sure.

So, I've got a new job, I still get to see The Hobbit at midnight, and I lost a Twizzle. Life is weird, but sorta ok right now, you know?

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Tiny bubbles....

I did not, surprise, surprise, finish my NaNo novel this year. Shocker, yes, I know. But I still drank my prosecco.

It's tasty, I'll give it that. I don't generally drink dry wines, but pretty much by definition, if it's carbonated, it's dry. I'm not wild about it on that point, but it wasn't too dry. Nice and, for the most part, balanced.

I was fairly surprised, however, by the length of the buzz. I've gotten buzzier on other wines, but this is hanging on like you would not believe. My liver is fairly efficient, dealing with most alcohol fairly quickly (under a half hour in most cases), but apparently the tiny bubbles have stymied my poor liver and the buzz is hanging on, 45 minutes in. The mild fog is clearing now and my muscles are tensing up into their standard positions, but it was a bit unnerving. I don't usually get so blotto on two glasses of wine alone.

In knitting news, I'm not done with the whirly-gigs yet. I'd love to be (they're driving me a bit nuts), but I've got half the yarn left to go. I was hoping to get some major knitting done tomorrow, and maybe take a walk (since the weather is allegedly going to be agreeable in great degree), but we'll have to see. There are cookies to be baked, and my mother may yet have more shopping to do.

Sigh. I used to love shopping, but now it's become a great chore. I'm not sure if this is a good sign or a bad one!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Christmas knitting

I'm still working on the garland for my tree and the ornaments and such, and have chosen the yarn for my Angel topper. I've decided to use this yarn:

For the wings (gold) and dress (green), and this yarn:

(the beige on the far right) for the head. I think I'll even give my angel hair, just so it doesn't look bald. Maybe...hmm, I don't know. Maybe the black of the Knitpicks acrylic. It will be pretty.

In the meantime, I've managed to dig myself out of the doldrums. I sat with myself and figured out what was bothering me, and once I reasoned it out, I was able to lift my mood. It's amazing what directed navel-gazing will do.

And now it's time for dinner. I am trying to feed myself when I feel hunger, so I need to get myself food now. Maybe I'll have bagels, cream cheese and salami. With a cup of hot chocolate on the side.

Warm and nice and filling. Perfect for a lazy Saturday night!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Have you ever wanted to run away?

I'm having one of those lifetimes, right now.

I know wherever you go, there you are, but sometimes I think a major change in scenery would do me a world of good, if only by keeping my mind occupied with new sights and sounds and smells.

My Christmas knitting proceeds apace (maybe that's part of my problem -- I've made so many of those little curliques I'm going around the bend myself?) and I've found an adorable pattern for my tree topper, the Hurricane Angel.

I'm going to have a very fibery tree, if I can ever get around to finishing my garland (and on the up-side, I've figured out how I'm going to attach them together, when I get to that stage.) And I've got a ton of sparkly beads to decorate the ones that are ornaments.

Now I've just got to get around to doing it all!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Well, that hasn't happened since...ever.

The time change must have impacted me in a strange way, because after work this morning I went home and took the world's strangest nap. Well, it would be more accurate to say that I fell into a temporary coma today. I haven't slept that hard in...ages. Since I was a little kid, really. I literally laid down, closed my eyes, opened them, poof! Two hours gone. Closed my eyes, opened them, poof! Another hour gone.

If it weren't for the fact that I felt moons and satellites better afterward, I'd have thought I hadn't slept at all.

Aside from my bizarre neurology making me lose hours in the middle of the day, I've started a new knitting project. Because I need another one of those like I need another hole in my head.

Actually, the way my sinuses have been acting lately, a little trepanning might not be a bad thing right now.

I'm making Christmas tree decorations!

I got a packet of Lion Brand BonBons Yarn -- they're little skeins, 39 yards a piece, of the various flavors of Lion Brand yarn. You can get them in acrylic, cotton and the sort I got -- metallic. There's two sets of the metallic colors, Celebrate and Party. Here's a picture of my bunch, in the set of colors called Celebrate:

Yes, that's a knitting needle in the bag there. I've already knit up the purple into little sparkly spirals:

And eventually I will sew them together to make a garland for my little Christmas tree. I have the crocheted ornaments that I got given by my Coven mate, and a hand-made ornament or two from other sources, but this will be the first thing for my tree that I've made myself.

I'm a little proud of myself, thanks.

I get four little twizzles out of each bonbon skein, so I'll get 32 total out of the packet I bought last week. They're between 2 and 3 inches long (provided I don't stretch them out like heck and darn), so I'll probably get a 5-8 foot long garland out of one bag. Although I might want the other color set, Party, for the gold and bronze skeins. I could always do two whole bags, mix them all up and have a garland for the tree and one for general decor. Or do one garland and then use the other twizzles as hanging ornaments. Maybe even put some beads on the yarn tails for each one. They're pretty enough.

Sigh. Decisions.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Broke my cable.

The past week has sucked beyond all reason.

Hormones. Just...hormones. They suck.

I participated in a large scavenger hunt, and feel full of fail because of that little boondoggle. I suppose I'm not full of fail, but still. 

The yarn on my shawl is apparently super heavy, because I popped the end of my cable out of the cap that screws on to the needle tip the other day. Sigh.

I had car drama. I always seem to be having car drama, don't I?

I've also had too much drama today and am ready for it to be tomorrow already, please. Or maybe I just need to snarf the chocolate that's sitting on my desk.

Oh, well. Tomorrow I get to try to catch up on my NaNo word count, which is going to be not fun because I'm already 2,000 words behind (and will be almost 4,000 short if I don't get on the ball tomorrow). And then...gah.

I'm half tempted to crack into this well before the 50,000 word mark:

But no. I need a motivation to keep writing.

I don't even know if I like prosecco. Maybe I should have chosen a more reliable reward?

Saturday, October 27, 2012

No frills just yet, but soon.

Very soon.

I'd give an evil laugh, but I might cough myself out, so. Imagine one here.

Anyway, here's where I am on the shawl:

For them as what's keeping score at home, that's the point where I'm going to put the ruffle on. I've picked up stitches along the top of the shawl and put the base stitch markers in and am ready to count stitches and figure out where the ruffles go.

Since I'm pantsing this particular ruffle, it's going to get interesting from here on in.

In other news, however, I have some super cool stitch markers:

Despite the fact that I detest them, I have donut stitch markers. I detest donuts, that is, not the stitch markers in question. I'm rather fond of them. They got given me by a member of The Coven, who was apparently feeling her clay-molding skillz one day. I've got a regular donut with chocolate icing and sprinkles and a strawberry donut with pink icing and sprinkles. They're adorable.

And that's all the knitting news fit to blog, really. It took me a blue age getting those last few rows done. Everyone and their brother told me, 'oh, those last few rows really eat the yarn', but for me they didn't. It felt like it took forever to get to the end of that second skein. Then I tied on (yes, I made knots in my yarn; sue me, it's Lion Brand, I think it can handle it) the third skein and it did, at that point, seem to suck yarn. But not until then, and I didn't tie on the new skein until I did the bottom eyelet row (my shawl has eyelets across the top where you do YOs to add stitches so I did a row of eyelets to make the bottom two edges match).

Still, don't care. I've got some free time tomorrow -- not much, but some -- so I'm going to count stitches and plan out ruffles. And take a nap. I read an article that said that taking naps 2-5 times per week is associated with an up to 30% lower risk of heart disease.

For a woman who, a mere four years ago, had cholesterol that was ticking slowly upward (it's started going down again, never fear), this is a not-inconsiderable thing.

So I'm going to take more naps next month, through the NaNoWriMo phases, and take my other cardiovascular tonics:

red wine and dark chocolate.

Sigh. It's soooo hard looking out for my health. But I will do it!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Ok, so, not so difficult.

I guess I overestimated how tough it would be to pick the next project to work on, because I was knitting on this:

before the fluffy scarf was even dry. It's my modified Milk Run Shawl, in process. I'm not doing too badly, actually. I'm almost at the end of the second skein, which is the point at which I (arbitrarily) decided to start on the ruffle. I've got two skeins for the bottom ruffle and one for the top ruffle.

Of course, I might also just do the ruffle in the round. Three skeins for one super long ruffle. That might actually work best.

I am also prepping for this year's NaNoWriMo. I do this every year (save last) and each year I feel worse about myself for not finishing. But this year I have a secret weapon: The nanowriter forums on Ravelry. I don't have to feel bad for not hanging out on the NaNo boards (which are clunky and uncomfortable, after the warm internet bath that is Ravelry). I hate guilt.

And maybe having people to whine to about word counts, lack of caffeine (because I gave it up for my palpitation reasons) and how the plot has gone all wonky will help. I really want to make it to 50,000 words this year. Even crap words, frankly, I just want to make it.

To prep, I think I need to a) plot out my story a little more than I typically do and b) choose my "music to write to". Thanks to the episode of CSI that's on television right now, I'm thinking...Bach's cello concertos.

Thanks, CSI. Thanks a lot. I use those albums to get to sleep at night, now I'm going to have to multi-task it!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Finally! It's done!

Done, dusted and drying:

The sister in law scarf is done. I've even put the little dangly-bobs on the bottom:

for a little of the old razzle-dazzle. Actually the pattern calls for them, so.....

But the colors coordinate nicely, don't you think?

It's hanging on a hanger on my closet door to dry. My blocking pads are occupied elsewhere (I need to get more, frankly) so I had to just use the hanger to dry it.

I suppose that, technically, I didn't need to wet and dry it, but I wanted to wash any incidental lunch crumbs out of the fluff before I gave it to her. As well as get rid of the major loose fun fur particles. Trimming the tassels at the bottom of the curly bits (below the beads; you can't really see them) was an exercise in making glitter. All over my suede chair.

You don't want to know what I had to go through to make my chair stop shimmering like a vampire in full-on PNW sunlight.

I'm very glad I'm done, to tell truth. Now I get to go through my project bag and pull out something for myself again. Not sure what I want to work on next, to be honest, but I'm sure going to have fun choosing.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

It's not done, but the secret's out anyway

So I can unveil the latest thing on my needles:

Yes, it's another Phoenix Tears Scarf from Charmed Knits If you'll recall, back in the dark ages of this blog, I made one for the Nieceling. When she was very short and adorable, unlike now when she's tall and beautiful. Ah, youth.

I typically don't repeat myself with patterns, and beyond that I prefer not to knit for others, but my sister in law actually requested a scarf like Nieceling's. As in, asked politely, offered to buy the yarn (although I got the yarn as her birthday gift) and even said please.

Shockingly rare, according to my siblings in the Selfish Knitters group on Ravelry, to get a polite request. I wouldn't know from personal experience, because people rarely assume I'm nice enough to request I make something for them in rude fashion. Apparently, I'm really scary when I knit in public. Or maybe just all the time.

Anyway, here's a close-up shot of the "flames": 

It's the Hobby Lobby version of fun fur.

And a close up of the "feathers":

Yes, more Hobby Lobby yarn. Kitten soft and supremely smooshable, but a pain in the ass to knit. I've seriously remembered why I hated knitting the first one. The fur-type yarns are beautiful and easy to wear (being as they are filthy soft), but seeing the center strand to get your needles through? Yeah, not easy. I've been reduced to knitting on this only during daylight hours and for only a few rows at a time. It's taken quite a while to get this far (2/3 of the way through), and it's just a narrow garter stitch scarf.

Sigh. She asked. And she asked politely. It's hard to say no.

Until I get this thing done and dusted (hopefully tomorrow) it is my only project. The fifty gabillion other baggies in my work bag do not exist at all.

Which is very sad, as everything else in my knitting work bag is destined for me, me, and only me. I want a new knit thing, too!

Pouty face.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Stuff I can't show you (yet)

Yes, I've spent a lot of time alone with my caramel, chocolate and Avengers blu-ray. I'm a single woman, do you blame me for any of it?

Seriously, why did they market that movie to men? There were 6+ totally hot guys in lycra with asses you could bounce quarters on and ONE hot chick that got any sort of screen time at all. And this is a dude movie?

Yeah. Sorta like 300 was totally hetero, too. Hey, I don't judge, if a guy wants to ogle the buttocks of another guy, say, Chris Evans, I'm totally there with him. Boy works out, and work that hard (or merely squeezably firm and taut) deserves to be ogled and admired. But don't pretend to me you paid $10 to see just Scarlett Johansson and maybe the other chick, Cobie Whatserface (sorry, Cobie, I can't remember your name just now) because I'm not sure I believe you. And I know women aren't the only ones who go to movies for a little side dish of eye-candy with their 'splody-explosions.  

Just sayin'.

Anywho, I've got a new project on the needles I can't show you because it's a birthday gift for someone. It's pretty, but I'm remembering very quickly why I don't knit with novelty yarns. Eyelash yarn is fun to wear and soft as kittens, but a total beyatch to work with. I don't knit with mohair for much the same reason -- I guess I don't like yarn that floofs out like that. But the colors are beautiful, and this is a thing that someone actually asked me to make for them, so I will power on.

I'll show pictures later, once it's been given.

In other knitting news, progress remains slow on the projects currently on the needles. I've got cast-on-fever and not enough episodes of Criminal Minds on my DVR to power through everything I've started lately. And serious guilt about working on my newest writing project, which just...popped up one day. You'll note I'm here, writing on my blog right now instead of the next chapter of the project. I will, however, blame my extreme Chocolate Time-ness -- the story is a comedy, and I noticed the last two chapters got really dark. They will need to be rewritten, but I haven't got the comedy juice to write with today, either. So I'm saving myself re-write time later and working on the birthday gift and reading a book I found today that strikes the light tone I'm trying to get into my story.

Hopefully tomorrow I will be in better writing mood.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Happy "Marvel's The Avengers" on DVD and Blu-Ray Release Day!

It's a holiday in my house, how about yours?

I went out early this morning to get my shopping done. See?

I got my blu-ray and a pack of cards. I collect cards with interesting backs, and I hadn't seen the dragon back version before. Way cool. The candies I will confess I cheated with in the picture -- I got them this past weekend. Dove Caramel and Sea Salt. Mmmm. According to Dove (in the person of these three candies), I have a great laugh, I should believe in myself and the more I praise and celebrate my life, there more there is in my life to celebrate and praise.

Kudos to me, then.

Yes, my blu-ray is still in the wrap. I've been working today. For a change. Some new inspiration came into my life a week ago, and today I was feeling it. Well, I was rather feeling it than the pernicious nerves that have been plaguing me of late, so I worked. Working worked, as I had no palpitations while I was writing, although I will confess to giggling once or twice.

Perhaps I should do that more often.

In knitting news:

The start of my firstiest sweater for me! Isn't it pretty and purple?

To celebrate the dual accomplishments of my week thus far, I made myself Butter Chicken using my favorite sauce-in-a-jar, Sharwood's (oddly enough, Butter Chicken is not listed on their Indian cuisine page; I think it must be listed under a different name) and am noshing as I type this out. God, it's good. I may belch fire later, but for now, I'm content.

And now I will wrap this up so I can move on to the next part of my day -- washing up my pots and dishes, then getting the plastic off my blu-ray case and devouring the movie and extras like dessert.

I needs me a hit of Loki.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Why all the new swanky acrylics?

Never say the big acrylic companies are feeling the pinch, because they've got a massive presence in the market (and I know knitters who only ever knit with acrylic -- although you might see this more in crocheters, because what better to make a granny square with than acrylic?) but I'm seeing a lot of, well, nicer acrylics lately.

The Red Heart boutique lines I noted a couple of weeks ago, regular Red Heart is getting softer, Bernat and Caron...all of them are starting to mill up softer and softer acrylics that wear well and don't pill as much. Knit Picks has a fabulous acrylic in its line-up, a new yarn that's very durable and soft in the hand. We won't even talk about the fabulous that is the Hobby Lobby I Love This Yarn! brand.

I'm not complaining, mind, I'm just noticing the trend. I've been knitting for, golly, over 5 years now and I've never seen such a bounty of acrylic. Take these, for instance:

Lion Brand Vanna's Choice Tweeds in Midnight

and Patchwork Gray

I gotta say, this stuff is softer than expected. I've got wool tweeds and I won't make anything for myself out of them due to the scratch quotient, but this stuff...yeah. I want to make myself a striped scarf using both skeins. Both colors appealed to me deeply, but I didn't have enough left on my birthday giftcard to get enough for a long scarf in each, so I thought Stripes! and went with the feeling.

These new acrylics are soft, durable and offer nice economy. Plus, if you use it for a sweater, you don't have to worry about stretch. Well, excess stretch, knit a rib and it will stretch, it just won't start to droop from the weight of the yarn. You know what I meant.

I'm pretty happy about the new direction acrylic seems to be going -- I love my luxury yarns, don't get me wrong, but sometimes I'm stymied about dealing with them because I am not a fanatical handwasher of garments. I've been contemplating knitting sweaters, and I will admit that part of my hesitation about casting on was that the yarn I initially bought was wool. As in handwash only wool. Now that I've got a bunch of acrylics lined up for the purpose, part of my hesitation is gone.

Only part. I'm not fool enough to pretend the concepts of gauge and final fit aren't keeping me up at night.

And I'd like to ask every reader (not that there are tons of you, but I figure I can start small and hope it snowballs) to do me a massive favor. When you meet someone new, take a moment and check your assumptions about them. See them, accept them and then chuck them out the window. Take the time to look at the people you meet with Baby Eyes -- eyes that haven't seen a lot of the world and take the new as it comes. Respect them enough to allow them to be unique and different and not as they appear at first glance, and appreciate them for it.

If we'd stop expecting people to act a certain way/be a certain way/think a certain thing based on first appearances, I think humans as a whole would be a lot happier.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Simple Things I Never Knew About Myself

You'd think you couldn't live in a body and be so obtuse after all these years (and thousands spent on therapy, classes and a college degree that's all about self-knowledge), but I guess it's possible.

Stuff I Didn't Know About Myself
Until Now
  1. I'm emotional. I'm right-brain dominant, which is the emotional side, and I am super emotional. I've just spent much of my life (and life energy) repressing it because I live with a bunch of left-brain dominant, logical people. For some people, it's the introversion/extroversion line that causes problems with the family of origin, for me it's hemisphere dominance. Huh. Who knew?
  2. I spend a lot of time wangsting about the food I eat/don't eat. I've been on a diet (both consciously and unconsciously) for over 30 years now, and it's never worked (long term). Thinking like this does, however, serve to make me crazy. That's stupid. Skinny people who are naturally skinny aren't this insane over food. Why do people think obsessing over it will make anyone thin?
  3. Obsessing over my diet has led me to make assumptions about myself that aren't true. F'rinstance, I don't have a sweet tooth, at least nothing like your average American's -- something I never realized. I do have Chocolate Time once a month, but aside from that day, eh. It's ok, but I wouldn't cross the street for it. I'm hard pressed to eat ice cream even in summer and I detest dark meats of any kind (chicken thighs, lamb, duck, other game animals). I'm a bacon lover, but it can't be hand-cured or artisinal because I don't want to taste the underlying pig, I just want the salt. I don't like pound cake (or anything other than chocolate or my mother's carrot cake), donuts, Twinkies (urgh, pound cake) or store bought cookies. So why do I think I'm some sort of unredeemed heathen when eating? When I bother to have food cravings, it's generally for fresh tomatoes or cilantro. Does that sound like I'm out of control of my diet to anyone?
  4. I say I'm a rebel, but I spend far too much time trying to live my life to avoid negative comment. That's not rebellion, it's conformity.
  5. I'm neither a morning person nor a night owl. I feel at my best right around noon. I always assumed I was a morning person because I can't stay awake past 1am unless I'm seriously depressed, but I hate getting up before 8am. I do it, but I hate it.

I can point out to you all where these misconceptions have come from (my family as a whole, my mother, my mother and brother, my self and my mother, respectively) and you can see why I've believed them. After all, if you can't trust your family, who can you trust?

Which is, I realize now, a seriously naive way to look at life.

But seriously, who can live inside their own head as long as I have done and not realize such basic things about yourself? I've always thought I had a sweet tooth. I like candy, on occasion. I'll never say no to a Milky Way candy bar, even if I don't bother to eat it as soon as I get hold of it. But when I talked to the barista at Starbucks the other day and learned how many pumps of syrup the typical coffee drink there contains...I nearly puked. Gross. I can't even tolerate the two pumps of vanilla that goes into their hot chocolate (so I get it without), I can't imagine how big a sweet tooth you'd have to have to drink their peppermint mocha (average of 10 pumps of syrups -- not the mocha sauce, just the vanilla and peppermint syrups). Bleargh. Then I considered my own behavior. I always thought I was extreme, but I'm actually extreme in the other direction than the one I assumed. Seriously. And the one about being emotional? Jeeze. I knew I was lucky in that I'm a Jungian Introvert born into a club of the breed, but I never realized that I've been repressing my outward emotions in order to fit in with their super-logical ways. No wonder I had dysthymia -- I brought it on to fit in and feel like a normal, well-adjusted family member.

And if I'm this wrong about myself, how wrong am I when I make assumptions about other people? Assumptions. They are dangerous my preciouses, dangerous.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Soooo tired

And it's coven night. I will have to knit, and I'm not sure I'm capable of it right now. Trying to get my sleep patterns under control is not working as well as I'd have it and it's leaving me incapable of coherent finger coordination.

You don't want to know how many times I typed that paragraph.

Today I worked -- and my 'clients' were cranky as bears in briar patches, so I really ended up working -- but tomorrow I have off. I think I'm going to organize my desk. Or maybe work on something. I dunno. A lot depends on how well/if I sleep tonight.

But I do know that if I'm at all compos mentos, I'm knitting on something. I have all this free time, and I don't spend it working on the fun things I enjoy! It's dreadfully unfair of me.

Particularly when I have that nice, smooshy yarn just waiting for me to run my fingers through it and about 16 hours of Criminal Minds on my DVR. I'm going to give myself a complex, knitting while watching shows about serial killers and pedophiles, aren't I? But I cannot resist the lure of the Hotch.

Suits. Such a whore for a man in a suit. I should seek therapy for that.

In the meantime, YARN!!!

My first three luxury yarns. What should I do with them? I've become terrified of mohair -- no frogging, no tinking, no nothing but cutting off the previous knitting and then starting again -- but I need to use it somehow. It just sits, cold and lonely, in the Stashtainer of Yarny Goodness.

What do I do with it?

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Upscale Red Heart

Sigh, at least if nothing else, I will get this accomplished today. Which is not, admittedly, saying much for my day, but I have a week to get my sleep patterns settled up, and I figure that's going to take some doing. I've really screwed them up, which seems to be a family trait, and now I'm suffering for it. Wish me luck.

Anywhoo, back to Red Heart yarns. They have apparently caught on that squeaky, rough acrylic isn't going to give them a dominant market share and started milling some rather nice yarns. Take a lookie-lou:

Red Heart Boutique Unforgettable in colorway Parrot. I love this yarn and debated heavily between this color and one of the others (all of them are luscious, really) but since this was the one that first caught my eye and made me feel the most decadent and guilty, I went for it.

One of The Coven pointed out that the color saturation is more like Noro than Red Heart, and while that's especially true for this particular color, all the colorways are this saturated.

Just take a look at this:

It's like a swirl of psychedelic cream in the Primordial Universe Soup or something.

Also up to bat is Red Heart Boutique Midnight -- this colorway is called Borealis. Me likey. I've already started a long loop cowl for myself in this yarn which I'm calling my Birthday Cowl, because I cast on the same number of stitches as the year I just celebrated. It's my third 13th birthday, an accomplishment that should, naturally, be memorialized in gorgeous yarn. Of course, I tend to memorialize things like buying new underwear by buying nice yarn, so is it any surprise that I'd memorialize a birthday?

Ahem, so here's the yarn:

Here's the side on view:

It's got a gold thread in there, and the yarn is unique to my experience because it's not spun, it's braided.

Interestingly enough, I managed to find the number of stitches -- simply by surviving this long, despite my worst efforts -- that allowed this yarn to stripe out:

To continue my original thought, from before I got completely sidetracked by the thought of the gift I'm making for myself, there are a couple braided yarns in the new Red Heart line-up. I also noticed, on my way out of the store, several other lines have braided yarns, too, which is interesting. I'm wondering if this is going to be a new trend. Or if it's an old trend that I've totally missed out on because of my extreme obliviousness to trendiness in anything, much less yarn.

Maybe I should look up once in a while, yes?

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Little Loki Pattern

Yes, I go away, I come back. I won't bore you with the details, but let's just say I'm happier now that I can be here again.

I missed you.

OK, whatever. On to the business of the day. I finally -- after a shockingly long time, considering how much work I do on the computer using multiple flavors of software/OS/stuff -- figured out how to make a PDF of my Little Loki pattern.

You remember, this one:

I'm sorry, I am blonde.

So, anyway, here's the linkie to the pattern and charts (there are two documents, be sure to download both of them):

Little Loki Scarf Pattern and Charts

It's on Dropbox, a handy little place to stash documents for public consumption. Click on the files, download to your computer. I swear my computer has been practicing safe connection, I have no virii. Knock on wood.

Happy knitting, and let me know if there are any problems with the links, pattern or my psychology.

Eh, scratch that last one.

In other news, I found out that Red Heart is going boutique in their new yarns. I've bought a couple different flavors and have every intention of reviewing them for you. Look for that in the coming days.

Golly gee whiz. Did I mention I missed coming to my blog? I did.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Experiments in Knitting

I'm trying something new, and I'm a little proud of myself. See this stuff?

It's Yarn Bee Princess. You may not be able to see, but there's two strands plied together there -- a matt yarn and a shiny yarn. It is beautiful unto me, and I wants it.

But, in a very different move from the typical, I have decided to choose a pattern before I actually buy the yarn. That way, I get enough yarn but not too much.

Who am I, and what have I done with myself?

Typically I'll just stash yarn and then when I find it again will decide what I can do with the yardage I have. This is the first time I've actually considered choosing the project first and then buying the yarn. It feels rather weird to me, like putting on a new pair of shoes for the first time. Sort of right while still managing to be sort of wrong.

But I don't want to end up with an extra skein that I can't use and have to attempt and trade or just leave to languish. Nor do I want to end up one or two skeins short of the project I really desire. I want enough yarn, and only just enough yarn, but not yarn lying around at sixes and sevens in my stash with no purpose. In other words, I want the yarn to use, not just to have.

Am I growing up as a knitter? Have I passed some sort of knitting maturity test? Or am I just trying something new in my knitting to see how it works as opposed to my other methods?


Anyway, I've got my Little Loki pattern off with a friend who is going to check it for clarity. I tend to be a "pantser" when it comes to my personal designs -- the only thing I actually wrote down as I knit was the bead chart; all the rest was catch-as-catch-can.

I hope to have it back, revised, edited and posted within the week, both here and on Ravelry.

Keep your fingers crossed!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Bestiest Besties Evar, Part Deux

Heh, and she even spelled my name right:

Too right, sister. Too right.

It's so very pretty, I'm going to put it between two sheets of clear plastic in a frame and hang it against my wall -- which is a bright jade green, so it will contrast beautifully.

In other knitting news, someone actually asked for my Little Loki pattern, so I'm transcribing it. It's harder than I was expecting, actually. I had to build the chart and now I'm filling in the chart. When I did it by hand, it was much easier. Typing it up on a computer, though, is about to drive me nuts.

You'll see it when it's done, though. As will everyone else on Ravelry. If I can figure out how to post it....

Oops. Gotta go do some more thinking, I think!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Oh, my Bob, sometimes you do get rewards!

You know, on those silly little plastic cards companies give you, nominally so they can offer you discounts on their products and services, but that they really use to track your spending and thereby tailor advertising just for you?

I got 20% off my total purchase as a 'gift' for my birthday at Michael's -- not my big box store of choice, but it'll do in a pinch. I wasn't sure what I wanted to use it for, but I've been in a deep blue funk lately, so I went anyway. You never know, do you, and it got me out of the house.

I bought these:


Don't ask about this:

other than it was big, sparkly and on clearance. And I needed something to use that 20% on.

I don't wear bracelets, in the main, or necklaces, so what, pray tell, was I going to use them for? You may well ask:

Ain'tent I clever?

I love those J Hooks, they are so useful. I revamped my old earrings a few months ago and now this. What's next?

Actually, some of the newer beading supplies (pendants and the like) are pretty cool. I might get a new pack of J Hooks and some beads and make my Giftmas presents for the friends again. Maybe.

Or I might just invest in some Half Price Books gift cards. Everyone I know loves Half Price.

In other news, I am bored, bored, bored, bored. Bored in an existential fashion. I'm not entirely sure how to shake myself out of it, either. I've done it before, by doing new things or something else fun like that, but I might have reached the upper limits of new in a town where I've lived for over 30 years.

Maybe I should learn something new to me, like French, or go back to studying piano. Or take up Legos. Something. Anything, really, to shake myself up a bit.

I feel like throwing myself down on the ground, rolling around growling and tearing something up, like my dog used to do when he was frustrated. I miss him, you know. Having him there sort of gave me a focus, or at least a priority. I need a priority right about now.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Bestiest friends ever

I met up briefly with a few of my knitting buddies at a yarn shop today, and look at the freebies I got! There's a couple of DVDs that fell off a truck that passed by on the information superhighway, a swatch (that one of my friends abused for me to see if it pilled or got nasty -- which it hasn't, KnitPicks' acrylic is totally fabulous) and some temporary tattoos.

And you just know which one is going on my person first, awww, yeah, baby....

Monday, July 23, 2012

I really should...

do something useful, but I'm not feeling productive today. We took one of our basement kitties to the vet -- he's been having some issues and isn't feeling the thing lately -- and later I go back to La Maison de Chat Royale for the week, but now, I really don't feel like doing anything but surfing the internet for knitting patterns and new pictures of Tom Hiddleston and Benedict Cumberbatch (the two best English names evar.)

I suppose I could update my knitting project photos, and maybe take pictures of my stash to update my Ravelry stash pages, but that would require me to get up and do something suspiciously like work. My lungs hurt, my eyes hurt and in general I am just not in the working vein today, so I'm not sure how that will work out.

Meh. That's the word of today: Meh. Meeeeeeeeh. Hopefully tomorrow will be better.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Sweaters, sweaters everywhere

And not a one to wear. No, seriously, I have filthy few sweaters to my name, and flattering ones are even more rare.

Yeah, yeah, it's about ten degrees above the boiling point of water outside, but I like to think ahead to a time when the sun won't be so angry at us and the wind will bring the chill of autumn. I love autumn, more than any other season. It smells like heaven, and temperatures are actually comfortable occasionally.

So I took stock of my closet and realized I'm terribly short of sweaters. At first I considered saving up the blunt and just shopping myself warm and then I thought, Wait a minute, you're a knitter! Why bother shopping for the finished item when you've got a stash like the stock of a small yarn shop and the skills needed to turn it into whatever you want?

So I've finally decided it's time to knit my first sweater for myself. A little but uncertain about it, because that is a lot of knitting time on a garment that (with my history of crap gauge) may or may not actually fit, but I think it's time for me to knitter-up and give it a go. I mean, what have I got to lose? Just time, and that will slip away whether or not I knit a sweater in the interim. Might as well do something that will be useful -- if only from an intellectual point of view, depending on the fit of the finished sweater -- while I'm watching it fly by.

I've chosen Tubey for my first attempt. I browsed through the projects on Ravelry and looked at the Tubeys (Tubies?) knit by other Ravellers, and it seems almost universally flattering -- provided you knit a large enough size. I have measured my assets (hemhem) twice. I know exactly which size I need to make. I know how much yarn I need. I just have to...go for it.

I'm using this yarn:

For whatever reason, the purple at the left looks sorta blue, but it's not. It's more of a true royal purple than this picture shows, although the pink and yellow came out alright. I do not understand why digital cameras have a problem with purples, but they do. Frustrating for a fiber artist trying to convey her vision!

I was going to use these yarns for a sweater I, personally, designed, but time and money being what they are, if I want a sweater before winter this year I'll have to make do and use what I've got.

It'll also help clear out some of my auxiliary stash. That's always a good thing.

And if you aren't from around my parts, you should know we're in the middle of a drought. A pretty bad one, actually, and the constant sunniness is starting to depress me. But guess what we got yesterday?

Yeah! Rain!

It didn't last long, and in the return of the super-nasty heat, whatever water was left on the surface of the ground instantly turned into a hot mist. But for a few minutes, it was rain.

For the duration of the storms, life was worth living again. Hope returned and I no longer felt ground down by the eternal sunshine. Then the literal clouds parted and the emotional ones descended again. Sigh. The sun was shining yet again today. It's like a Dremel to the head, the sunshine. It just never stops!

We may get more rain this weekend, though. God, I hope so.

Maybe this is why I've been bit by the sweater bug. Thinking about autumn makes me happy, and autumn is about sweaters.

Before you ask, yes, I'm still working on the problem of Loki 2, the Avengers Scarf. I still cannot figure out how I want to knit it. There's so many options, and I'm trying to weigh them all out. I think I know how I want to work it, but I've got to give it a few more weeks to percolate.

Designing my own? Easy-peasy. Following a pattern? Eh, not so easy, but do-able. Using a woven item to design my own pattern? Yeah, take a number. It might take a while. :-p

Besides, I've got a ton of items in my "in process" bag. I think I need to clear a couple out before I can really concentrate on Loki Deuce. Maybe tonight I'll get another glass of chocolate milk (my beverage of choice for relaxation) and try to get a few more inches of my Double Cross scarf knocked out:

This picture is actually several weeks old, I've got about six inches completed now. It's coming along pretty well -- the stitch is a faster knit than I'd have thought, the yarn is like buttah in my hands.

I won't cast on for my sweater until the end of the month. Just so I can get rid of some of my pending items first. Not that it will help anything, and I probably won't be able to resist casting on before then, but it might help. Just a little.

Monday, July 16, 2012

You. Must. Try. This. NOW.

OMG, people, you will not believe the heaven on a baking tray I discovered this morning!

Chocolate-filled crescent rolls.

Hear me out, now. Just because you eat crescent rolls with a savory doesn't mean they always have to be savory themselves. Dough is dough, and it can be forced into whatever you want it to be with a little tinkering here and there.

Here's the way it goes:

Open your tin of crescent rolls and flatten them out. I use the crescent rolls from Immaculate Baking Co.. It's handy that some companies aren't all up in their baked goods with the soy oils and flours. Blech. But if you prefer a different brand (I wouldn't, on general principles -- soy oil is pretty bitter, and will make it harder to sweeten up the rolls; try and find an all-butter or canola/palm oil version if you can) go for it.

Schmear up your crescent rolls with about a half-teaspoon (the kitchen drawer kind of teaspoon, not an actual measuring spoon teaspoon) of Nutella, or your preferred chocolate/hazelnut spread. Jiff's got a version, and there are some other knock-offs out there, but I prefer the original.

Gods, that stuff is like crack. Oooey, gooey, chocolatey crack.

Roll them up and put them on the baking sheet. Melt a little butter, brush it on top of the rolls. Sprinkle cinnamon and sugar on top (granulated sugar, please; powdered would be nasty) and bake to package directions.

They'll come out all speckled with cinnamon and bursting at the seams with goodness:

Eat like a savage.*

You'll notice that I made the top one out of two crescent rolls instead of just the one. I was experimenting. In future, I think I'll stick to using individual rolls (like the bottom one) because they puff up and come out just about as large as the duplex, meaning you end up with more big, giant hazelnut-chocolate-cinnamon rolls. Win-win.

Now, I'm going to go take my morning medicine:

What? It's for my cardiovascular!

And then I'm going to the local tea shop. I need a cup strainer, and I think they might be able to help in that regard.

Peace, wine and chocolates, y'all.

*Yes, I watch Bitchin' Kitchen. It's a fun show. And she sounds like my grandmother, just a little bit, although how a French-Canadian with Italian parents can manage to sound like a German grandmother from New York is beyond me. But she does. I keep waiting for her to tell me I'm too skinny and need another slice of pork roast.