Archive for April, 2006

This is Olive:

Her favorite pastime is breaking things (not catching snakes, as one may imagine, though she’s developed quite a passion for it). In her first six months with us, she broke nine (9) wedding presents and more than a half a dozen holiday gifts. There was a point where we considered drastically shortening her life span, but in retrospect it seems we made the right decision to keep her on.

I’ve been trying to spin with a drop spindle for several months with a crappy kit I got from here. Not only did I look completely ridiculous attempting to get the thing to spin, but the wool–well, let’s pretend it got carried off by the wool gnomes and leave it at that. I was ready to give up on the whole spinning thing. I could dump all the pretty roving I got from here, but that bag (at least a pound!) of alpaca from North Carolina?

Olive, for once, broke something useful. I just wish it hadn’t been 4 am when the crappy spindle hit the floor. Oh, and when she batted around the whorl until it lost itself under the bed. Just sayin.

It gave me the chance to get this when I was at WEBS:

A top whorl spindle.

So yesterday, I went to see some sheep.

Sheep are particularly nice, in my book. All sweet and soft and stuff. Here are some sheep with my friend Terry and the boy:

(I think there are some bloggers in the background there.)

Terry remarked that a sheep being sheared bears a strong resemblance to a reluctant toddler.

(Ms. Sheep’s head is at the top. Imagine attempting to dress make a small child do anything he/she doesn’t want to do. That’s what shearing looks like, apparently.)

Lest I forget, I was party to the biggest potluck lunch I’ve heard of in a decade. Of the bazillion (ok, maybe 25) knitbloggers there, I knew two: Cate and the Kelly. Had I not sat between the two of them, I might have been vastly overwhelmed and run into the path of the oxcart rides. I hope to God to figure out who everyone there was.

On the addiction front, I got a tutorial on how to use the sheep-flavored spindle. My teacher? None other than Diane Golding. This may be ordered in the near future:

or maybe this:

I got a promotion Friday. If I want, I can finally. Finally. FINALLY. Call myself a Librarian. With a capital L. I might celebrate with a Golding spindle.

I bought some Icelandic roving from her, and proceeded to spend a good bit of time giddy with excitement. Look what I did!

It is half of what I got, just a measly 2 oz. Had I known, I would have bought So. Much. More. Now I just have to figure out how to ply.


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For three days I’ve mentally composed but I haven’t had the time to sit and write a post. Anyone expecting a reply email from me may have noticed this already. Typical work and end-of-semester stuff, no big deal. Just zero free time.

This quote is from my cataloging class.

There are two types of technologies: holistic technologies and prescriptive technologies. Holistic technologies are those that allow the individual to control the procedures and processes. The best example I can think of right now is cooking. When we cook a meal we have a great deal of individual control. We can choose what to cook; we can modify recipes, change ingredients, quantities, temperatures, and so on. Prescriptive technologies, on the other hand, transfer the control from the individual to an external agent. With prescriptive technologies there is no room for creative thinking or modifications. The implications of turning a holistic technology into a prescriptive one…

Pattern-wise, I know that most of us are not above tweaking the occasional set of directions, either because something is senseless, or just freakin stupid. We get all holistic without even thinking about it (unless its lace, and that’s just different). With stash, I think that most of us knitters have more projets in the queue than we’re going to get to anytime soon. For me, the stash has become prescriptive. Oppressively prescriptive.

This stash notion has been bothering me of late. Two people I love–who don’t see each other, don’t talk to each other and probably wouldn’t hang out in the same bomb shelter in a nuclear holocaust–have asked rather probing questions about it. My dear husband, who’s been supportive enough to purchase yarn stashing containers without me even asking, looked at me oddly when I said I’d finally figured out what to do with some brown Cascade 220 that didn’t fit what it was bought for:

“You’re casting on another project?” he asked in shock. Equally in shock I answered that I had finished not one, but three in the last week. Granted they were washcloths, but I had finished them. Then this week, my friend Lisa made a passing reference to my habit of buying stuff (“and dammit, stop buying yarn without a purpose”). Its enough to make one stop and think a bit.

But back to the quote. I don’t even remember reading it weeks ago, but there it is in my review. Its odd that I didn’t even think of it in a knitting frame of mind until tonight, when trying to wrap my mind around both my stash and my inexplicable casting on problem (instead of my OhGodI’mNotReadyForThisFinal problem). See, I have this disorder that when I walk into a yarn store I completely forget what I was in there for. I wander about petting the wool with a vague notion that there’s something I’m here for. But what? If I buy yarn for a project, it should stay in my head for that project. Shouldn’t it?

In honor of embracing holistic knitting, I decided today that the tank I was going to make:

was instead destined to be


(For the record, I didn’t steal any bandwidth.)

In my world, regardless of what the husband says, I feel like I am finishing stuff. I’ve finished gifts for my mom’s birthday (the face cloths), finally completed the knitting of blu (though I have to rip out the seaming *yet again*), and am nearly done with my Olympic sweater and soon, my albatross of an afghan. Holy crap, I say.

And the three skeins of Cascade 220 for the project I had in mind for it?

Why not make a shawl?

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Thank the Knitting Goddess it isn’t a big one, or an ugly one. Its just that I don’t know where to go next.

The last time a funk came upon me it was due to lack of projects (I know, how bizarre. Rest assured, that will never happen again). The only thing I had on the needles was an afghan for my dad, and I was deep in the throes of hatred for it. Why did I pick a yarn I hated? Your guess is as good as mine.

Off we went on out Great Yarn Expedition (thank you Knitty coffeeshop forum!!!) and bought out shopped every yarn store in Asheville and a dew on the way back to Florida. I didn’t take a picture of the new additions to the stash. Let’s just say we have a new piece of storage furniture in the house, and leave it at that, shall we?

I have no excuse for what happened to me on Saturday, though. I’d like to take a moment to blame my new friend, though, who made me buy all this:

You know who you are.

As can be seen, is directly related to the amazing number of projects wanting to be next (just look at that Artful Yarns! The blue and brown down in front). And this is just from Saturday. The ottoman is full of even prettier things, plus all the goodies languishing in the lower strata of stash. And that’s not even the roving that I’m not good enough to spin yet. Oh, and the Alpaca from here. The most beautiful wool ever, and the best hostess we could have wished for.

I am so lucky.

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Yes, the chance to meet Stephanie Pearl-McPhee was (by far) the best thing about last week. Give me a chance and I’ll even gush about it for at least 35 minutes. (Oh, wait, I did that already in my last post.)

What I didn’t say in my last post was actually the more important event, by far. If you’ve seen her on this tour, then you’ll have seen the nice lady sitting next to her. Did you give her money for Knitters Without Borders? I grabbed a five from my bag and handed it to her, almost as an afterthought. There was a ten in there earmarked for them, but I just gave the five I grabbed off the top. The nice lady gave me a neat pin, and I thought that was the end of it. Not so much.

On my drive back home (about an hour) a bit of guilt wormed its way through the back of my mind. Yes, it cost me 20 bucks in gas to get to Northampton, plus $7 for two boxes of cereal for the WEBS charity. I thought it would be enough. As I drove home, I kept thinking about how much I spent on yarn there at WEBS. Eighty-nine dollars. Oh My God. If I could afford 89 bucks worth of wool, you think I could have given more than a measly fiver? To boot, I came home and went to dinner with DH. That was it, I had to do something.

A couple of years ago my sister went to a former Soviet republic with Doctors Without Borders. I don’t even remember which one, since the big controversy was that sis was going it all. See, although she’s a pharmacist and was really needed there, she has lupus. Most of the time, she’s fine, but if she needed a lot of medical help? No luck. And let’s not forget that wherever she was going there was civil unrest. Guns, shootings, kidnapping of Americans. My mother was less than thrilled.

My sister went a half a world away to help people, and all I did was give a measly five bucks? I was ashamed, and rightly so.

Reading the Knitters Without Borders page at the Yarn Harlot site I saw a link to here. I bought stuff. Its a good thing. Is it enough? Its not a month-long commitment to helping others in a third-world country. But its a start.

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Guess what I did today?

No, really, guess!!

I got to see Stephanie.

Let’s just pretend, for a moment, that I didn’t completely geek out and say really stupid stuff. Like, “when I got an email from you once, I told everyone I know. Even the ones that didn’t care and didn’t know who you are.”

You’re embarrassed for me, aren’t you?

The talk she gave was every bit as funny as all the other blogs say she is.

A danger pic:

(If I was really clever, I would have a recognizable shot of her holding the Olympic Sweater. Lots of shots of light fixtures, ceiling, and floor. Ms. Harlot? Not so much.)

I got there early (to prevent wandering about the state of Mass, lost and unable to find anything remotely like Northampton. The likelihood I’d end up in NY or Vermont? Pretty high.) and got a good spot–both chair and parking. Aside from my camera flash being annoyingly close to her, it was a damn fine seat. The best part? I got to meet some really awesome knitters. As dorky as it sounds (note the theme here) I really really got a lot out of talking about knitting with complete strangers.

Friday night was the going away Happy Hour for my dear friend and Hot Librarian who is moving to Arizona. She is a friend, a carpool buddy, and the kind of librarian I want to grow up to be. Not only does she dress well (a seemingly unattainable goal of mine), she is amazing at her job. I will miss her much. The knitting-related point to my story is that I was desperately trying to finish a face cloth for her while we were out Happy Houring. Not only did I get somewhat frightened looks from my coworkers, I was at the stinky end of a few knitting-related jokes. At the Yarn Harlot talk? Not a single raised eyebrow, “funny” pun, or rolled eye. That, my friends, is sweet.

Did I mention that I got to meet Stephanie Pearl-McPhee?

That’s DH’s horridly ugly sock there modeling with Stephanie (can I call her Stephanie? Mrs. Harlot?). She was super awesome about posing with it, and she even held up its good side. I hope her sock isn’t embarrassed to be seen with mine. I’d understand, really.

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this is not funny

I wrote the last post, then decided to hop in the shower. Yes, it was 2:30 in the afternoon. Its my day off, I’m allowed.

I took a nice long hot shower, all the while thinking calm and relaxing thoughts. The events of earlier really did freak me out. I turned off the water, opened the curtain, stepped out to the rug…and saw another one staring right at me.

I screamed a lot.

This one? He’s still loose. Excuse me, I’m going to move out of state now.

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This post was supposed to be about how wonderful the Great Yarn Expedidion of 2006 was. There were to be pictures of “eskimo”, alpacas, and maybe even some yarn. We had a hell of a trip, and thanks to the knitty.com coffeshop we got some really great suggestions for yarn stores on our way. And don’t think we didn’t detour for yarn.

DH and I are home from work today, which means (among other things) that I can get him to figure out why the digital camera isnt’t loading pics to the laptop. He did figure it out though, which is good as we had an interesting bit of fun today:

Instead of working on the laptop, we were…ummmm…enjoying our time together…when I heard rustling out the bedroom window and saw my kitty Olive in full-on stalk mode. I prayed she wasn’t hunting snakes, but didn’t much think about it for a few minutes. As DH headed for the bathroom he mentioned that she’d come in all by herself–not to worry. Then, “uh, Cyn? You’d better come in here…there’s a snake in the bathroom.”

(Taken from atop my desk chair)
She was quite proud of her catch, you see, and didn’t want to give him up.

Much to my displeasure, I have experience catching wild snakes in my house. *shudder* I got DH a bowl to catch the thing:

I have decided not to post the pictures where Olive refuses to let go of the snake. Where she picks up the thing and carries it to another room and it dashes to the back of the bookcase. Or, for that matter, the pictures where she’s pissy with DH for taking her toy away. He didn’t like those. Instead, we have a picture of a much happier snake on his way back home:

(note the kosher for passover cereal)

And, here we go: free

As I said to eskimo earlier, I believe key years of my life are missing.

Finally, what I’ve really wanted to post:


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I have been waiting for days (days!!) to get the camera to talk to the laptop. Since neither of these are machines I bought, I’ve never taken the time to figure out how they work. I mean, I can use them, just not on that deeper mystical interface level where tech people seem to commune with computers like they’re gods. If they’re gods, man, I have pissed them off.

Why such the rush to post pictures? I did lace. Lace. I’m so proud that it doesn’t look like something the cat yakked up. Its not amazing lace (how sweet the sound!), it is, after all, a face cloth. But really, it’s lacy. Yarn overs that look all even and pretty. K2togs that make lovely little fans. And: I made it in an afternoon. I finished it. Holy crap, I say.

On a lighter note, it appears that Katie Holmes gave birth to an alpaca.

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I hate online communities. At least, that’s what I’ve always said. The sad thing is, “always” doesn’t mean six months or a year. I have, since getting online in 1994, hated online communities, chat rooms, cyberbuddies, et al, with blind purple passion.

It can be seen from my last post that after 12 years my opinion is begining to change. Don’t think that hasn’t been causing some sleepless nights of late.

I think the reason can be traced to here:

Not the dam, not the swan…the crochet. Yikes.

What happened is this: The new Debbie Stoller book came in on my hold list at the library. I had some super-cheap cotton yarn in (what I thought was) the colors for our dairy dishes. Put those with a crochet hook from my emergency knit kit…and there you go. Crochet.

Now, crochet and I have a not-so-great history. After a motorcycle accident left me on crutches for (ever) a few months, my mother attempted to teach me the joys of crochet. At 17, I wasn’t so keen on it–had I been able to throw it on the floor and stomp on it, I would have. As it was, I was satisfied just throwing it across the room (and pouting–I was 17). Ever the production-knitter, I tried to get my mother to teach me again last August. Result? Same thing. Crochet hates me, and I hate it. Enough said.

God bless Debbie Stoller, though. (If God blesses crocheters, that is)

As I whipped through that dishcloth, I was amazed that a)I could crochet, b)it was so fast, c)I actually finished something, and d)I kinda liked the yellow in it. “Mother’s birthday is coming soon,” I tell myself, and realize her favorite color is yellow. Now, I have more UFOs than I can count, and I think that my dear friend and carpool pal would smack me if I cast on another project. I could get away with facecloths, though.

Two yellow facecloths later, plus copious references to something called project spectrum, made me think that I could join an online commumity. Even a small one.

What do I do with a blind purple passion now?

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I haven’t posted here for ages. I have a journal (not a blog) that I’ve had since ’01 and I’ve used quite a bit or not at all, depending on the the day. I’ve been reading a lot of blogs–specifically knit blogs–since the Knitting Olympics a few months ago, and I felt…a bit constrained by my baby journal.

My baby journal?

Not about babies, mind you, but a baby in my heart. One where I can look back (when not fealing squeamish) and relive the follies of my youth. Or the joys, or the triumphs, or other such twaddlely things. I can’t leave my baby, but I can’t bring her with me into the online knit community. So here is what happened (or: the story of how this girl got a blog) :

So, the Yarn Harlot blog sent me to this one, which I had frequented a time or two before, but cleverly fail to bookmark. I was reading her post on blogging instead of getting ready for work, which caused a great deal of thinking (about the blog, not the avoiding dressing). So, in what I can only imagine is the behavior of a crazy stalking nut, I emailed her. I had a few questions on blogs (such as: “I’ve wondered since if there’s a blog etiquette I should be following either before or after commenting? Or should I not comment at all unless I know you? Do you want people to announce themselves, or do you expect to already know them?”) These questions primarily address any Yarn Harlot comments I’ve made, but also, I hope, serve to prevent future horrible embarassment as I navigate the new (to me) world of knitblogs.

I then jumped in with the real meat, trying to cypher out what the hell to do with the baby journal. (ex: “In your blog, how do you juggle what’s personal life and what’s knitlife? Do you have a personal one somewhere to vent”) Then, I proceeded to explain that I wasn’t some crazy stalking nut, but rather a wholesome and well-adjusted nut that hasn’t figured out what in the hell to do.

Fast forward a short time, and I get a wonderful email back from Cassie. From her well-thought-out reply (and right before Passover, too!) I have finally realized that the baby journal is just that—a journal. The knit-heavy posts of late were kinda pointing in the general knitterly direction, yet I was really worried about babyjournal’s past (a journal with a misbegotten youth? strange, but true). As I’ve said, I don’t want a horrid Too Much Information moment from 2001 to completely mar the me of today. And sadly, there are many examples of such.

I thought, really and truly that I didn’t need both. I thought that I could just be hapy with a me journal, and not feel like I needed a public forum for knitting. Today, thoroughly secure in this knowledge I completely and utterly changed my mind. And here I am.

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