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.