Wednesday, September 26, 2007
It's a wrap
Another after-midnight post, and I can't even ascribe it to caffeine. Ideas keep going off in my head like Jiffy Pop (remember that?) and since I've been doing the blogging thing for over a year, I somehow don't feel as though it's a FO unless I've blogged it.
This creation was inspired by our upcoming trip to Phoenix this weekend. Neither J. nor I have ever been there, and I'm excited. Ladies and gents, guess what, I'm going to meet the fabulous Flutter! Yes! First Kathleen and Suzanne meet and go see the Yarn Harlot in L.A., and now Flutter and Chickenlips are going to knit in PHX. I like this bloggers-meeting-and doing-fun-things trend. Frequent flyer miles just might bring me to your town, so watch out!
Oh, but back to the wrap. I heard that while it's warm during the day in Phoenix, it gets cold at night (gawd, I'm such a tourist) so I wanted a really lightweight wrap. I was eager to knit up my first employee-discounted purchase from Dublin Bay, and since the yarn is rather expensive, I decided to try and wing it in a way that would get maximum mileage out of just two skeins. It came out to be just the right dimensions for me, long enough to cover my shoulders and arms, and wide enough for warmth. I dare say this is my first design! It's called the "Cagney & Lacey" wrap, and I've written it up as a free pattern (so click here and the name of the thing will hopefully make sense.) Since I knit very loosely, I used size 15 needles, but in the pattern I gave the needle size as 17. Take a gauge break with this one--"floaty" is the desired result.
Starting to nod off now, (it's 1:00,) but I will try to get in one more post before we leave Friday afternoon. If I can stay off Ravelry, that is. Whee!
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
It's hat day at this here rodeo
The other thing I did today was Knit! (I'm rather fond of italics tonight.) I completed not one, but two hats within an 18-hour period. Where does it come from, all this energy? I could power a small New Hampshire town, f'cryin out loud! Oh oh...now I'm starting to wonder if I'm bipolar...I'll have to get back to you on that one. Even though manic depression is one of those diseases that tells you you're fine, I honestly think I'm just on a transition high. For months upon months, I have been yearning to have the uninterrupted time to do exactly the things I spent the day doing. And while I've loved to knit ever since I made something that didn't suck, ;) I have never taken such satisfaction in housework.
But the knitting. Motivated by a conversation I had with Tricia about creating a project for an advanced beginner class, I started playing around with variations on a basic hat pattern. I'll bring both of these to work Wednesday to get her input.
This one is made just as the pattern was written. It's a free pattern called the Two-Movie Hat, and the URL is gone, but it's just a simple cap with striping and a ribbed edge, knit in the round.
I used Jaeger Extra Fine Merino Aran from my stash. Basic guy colors, plain vanilla. Then I hit upon the idea of changing it up and making it "girly". Knitters, I give you the "Cheesylove Hat."
This is Patons Classic Merino, also from stash, and the Fair Isle pattern is the same one from the "Cheesylove" sweater on Knitty, way back in the day when they were just starting up. As I was finishing this, I realized that we have a Fair Isle hearts baby hat knit in Dale of Norway at the shop, and I believe there's going to be a class on it this fall. My creation may be a no go, (in which case it's coming to an Etsy shop near you,) but I'm just getting warmed up!
OK, now I'm starting to crash. My eyelids are at half-mast. I was just so stoked for having made two hats in one day!
Sunday, September 23, 2007
Reveling in Ravelry, and OFFF
"Aaaaat Laaaast....my Ravelry invite has come along..."
No, but seriously, I'm on! Yeah! My username is "stitchjones." Now, I can ignore my family AND my blog! Isn't the 21st century just the best?
Yesterday I worked at the yarn shop, and I Did Not Buy Anything. I did, however, get my boss's approval to knit a shop sample which I am very excited about, and I will blog about that in a future post.
Today is Jason's birthday. Since Rania made that wonderful cake for me, I was off the hook for baking him a birthday cake. I am, however, cooking him a nice dinner, so I've got to try to squeeze in a blog update. I sneaked down to Canby this afternoon for Oregon Flock & Fiber Festival. Apparently, the PDX Knitbloggers were there yesterday en masse, so being there today I didn't see anyone I recognized. I also made a wrong turn, but it must have been meant to be, because how often can you see a whole field of dahlias?!
I believe my restraint was admirable at the show, because I visited the booths of Blue Moon Fiber Arts and Carolina Homespun, and Did Not Buy Anything. However, from a wool pusher called "The Loopy Ewe" I bought two hanks of WONDERFUL undyed fingering wt. yarn. One is merino, not superwash so it could felt, so I'm going to save that when I can dye as brilliantly as Shelly, Tina or Janel. And the other is Panda, the merino/bamboo/nylon combo. I got them at a good price, along with a jar of dye, and some dyeing tips 'n' hints. I am a sponge for that kind of thing--I soak up as much info about dyeing as I possibly can.And of course, I couldn't visit Shelly's booth and not buy anything from her. I got some of her beautiful yarn, which I'd like to make into either a Baby Surprise Jacket or a hat. There's probably enough for both.
I also gave in to my covetous urge for this book.
"Rushed but happy." There's my epitaph.
Friday, September 21, 2007
Speaking of Ravelry, HOLY CRAP!! Check this out:
You signed up on July 11, 2007
You are #15786 on the list.
25 people are ahead of you in line.
18756 people are behind you in line.
45% of the list has been invited so far
I'll be on Ravelry, like, tomorrow! (No, I won't start belting out the song, sorry...)
Today marked my last day at the translation/localization company where I've worked full time for the past 18 months. I almost got weepy, because everyone was just so gosh darn sweet to me. They treated me to lunch at the Olive Garden yesterday, and this afternoon a whole bunch of people stopped by my office--including the company president!--to wish me well.
Look what the cake decorating wizardress made for me:
I was utterly, utterly speechless. Dang, now I'm welling up. It's chocolate, too. Does it get any better than this?
It's been a hectic week, thus not much knitting has been accomplished. However, I wanted to make something special for my office mate, who commutes to work by bus and expressed a wish to have an earflap hat for those cold mornings at the bus stop.
I bought an el cheapo single-ply worsted wool at the Crafts Whorehouse, and double-stranded it. The pattern came from the nice people at Foothills Yarn & Fiber--I bought some of their homegrown alpaca during the summer. It's rather expensive stuff, however, so I decided to hoard it! Also, it's gray and black, and Jen is partial to purple. I wanted to make her something that would go with the dark-red Chinchilla scarf I made for her. She has lots of dark blond, curly hair, and I know she will totally rock this hat.
I also have something super-secret on the needles. (Well, it isn't like if I told you what it is, we'd get nuked by Durka-Durkistan or something like that.) I'm knitting up that Fiesta yarn I bought at Dublin Bay last weekend into something of my own invention. When it's all done, blocked and pretty, (here's hoping,) I'll post a pic and offer it as a free pattern.
Must cut this short, as I was waylaid this evening by a botched haircolor job, which took twice as long as it should have. I'd like to say I'll blog after the weekend, but by then I'll be on Ravelry, so that's it, folks, this is my last post! Not.
Monday, September 17, 2007
Monkies are FINISHED.
"Sushi-ya" just means sushi shop, and while my dyeing results still never quite come out the way I imagined and tried to make them, I do the best I can in this learning process. For example, I looked at this and decided that the orangey-pink looked an awful lot like my favorite sushi nigiri, salmon, and the bright green could represent the avocado in California roll, and the light brown is uncannily the same color as unagi eel. Yes, I know, it's a bit of a stretch. What can I say, the well is running dry. I'd like to roll out my next line of hand-dyed yarns now, or at least the theme for them, because the actual dyeing is still a ways off. However, Michelle needs access to the computer, ostensibly for homework. Funny how many of her teachers seem to assign the downloading of music from iTunes.
Have a great week, my lovelies! This week is insane--it's almost 8:30 pm and I must knit a hat for my office mate, who will be on vacation through my last day at work, which is Friday, and left me a sweet card. I know I have until Thursday night to finish it, but I've also been told I must bake a cake for the office or they will not accept my resignation! (Are these people nice or what?!)
Saturday, September 15, 2007
This knitter is on a mission from GOD.
Bob (of Bob's Country Bunker): Oh, that's right. Let's see...$200, plus you boys drank $300 worth of beer.Elwood: Well, the waitress never charged us for the first round, so we thought beer was, like, complimentary for the band.
Bob: Uh, no. No.
~dialogue from The Blues Brothers, 1980
Today, I worked my first shift at Dublin Bay Knitting Co.
Net pay: $36.00.
Yarn purchases: upward of $53.00.
I'm-working-in-a-yarn-store happiness factor: priceless.
But hey! My new yarn is beautiful. Check it out.
I want to make myself a sparkly, diaphanous wrap. I'm resisting the urge to begin immediately, as I want to finish...just ONE PROJECT...arggh...
Still on needles: 2nd Monkey sock, 2nd Very tall sock, and last night I cast on for a simple lace sock called, what else?, "Dublin Bay." It's a free pattern that can be found here. Seems I've got that particular mental condition where you can't stop knitting socks...are you ready?
I'm also working on a wrap, although it's for the Shawl Ministry, not for me.
It's the Argosy wrap in Lion Fisherman's Wool.
You all were so very kind in your comments about my daughter's friend whose dad died. Thank you so much for the good wishes. We haven't seen him the past few days, as his mother did make it into town, and many things are up in the air for him right now. At least he has some family around to look after him.
At the moment, my daughter and three guy friends are seated on the family room floor playing "Sex In The City: The Home Game." Now before y'all start calling Family Services, let me assure you that there really is such a thing! I think it's kind of cool that in our somewhat hick town, there are three straight young males who not only know what Manolo Blahniks are, but they also know the power of them.
Doesn't that give you hope for the future?
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
When life is cruel
I don't know what to say to that, except that we've been very fortunate to have been together all our child's life, yet it's sad that we're in the minority. I don't have any theories, I'm not going to expound here on the state of the American family in the 21st century. All I know is that last night, this poor kid's life was torn apart in less than an hour. His dad suffered a sudden heart attack and died in the emergency room. No one has been able to reach his mother as far as I know. The girlfriend made an awful scene at the hospital and I knew that wasn't helping him, as he was in shock and what had happened hadn't registered yet. After enough time went by, I took him, my daughter, and another of their friends to Denny's. At least the kids were able to giggle over waffles and milk shakes. Tonight I'm cooking up huge pots of meatballs and pasta, and he's joining us for dinner.
I feel rotten. There is nothing I can do for him except provide comfort food and a place to hang out away from the drama, and pray that his mother will show up and take care of him.
Monday, September 10, 2007
Our top story tonight
Sunday, September 09, 2007
How could this be a wrong move? I spent an hour and a half at Dublin Bay Friday evening, just familiarizing myself with the products I'll be selling, and it's all such amazing stuff that I can't help smiling every time I think about it. The shop specializes in products from the British Isles, which means there is yarn and carded wool (calling all spinners!) from Kerry Woollen Mills, and gorgeously molded scented soaps from Ireland (lavender sheep anyone?) There are also beautifully dyed sock yarns from Hand Maiden and Fleece Artist, which means Sea silk, yo! It's flying off the shelves. Tricia orders more as soon as she receives a shipment. Hip Knits cashmere is coming, just a sneak preview (I think that's also on the shop website, so I don't have any inside exclusives right now.) Anyway, I can't wait to begin working there on a regular schedule and seeing some of you.
In the meantime, I mentioned that weekend dyeing frenzy. I'm quite pleased with yesterday's results, and I just listed it on Etsy.
Colorway is called "Umeda," named for the large and fashionable Osaka shopping center which is entirely underground. When I was over there, I wandered through it and got lost several times. I really like the shimmery effect of the yarn, which probably comes from the bamboo. It's 495 yards of "Panda"--60% merino, 30% bamboo and 10% nylon. As always with my hand-dyed sock yarn, there's enough to make a large pair of socks and then some. A steal at only $20! C'mon people, get yourselves over to my shop. You know you want it! With each yarn order, I'll include one of my handmade jeweled stitch markers as a gift with purchase.
OK, I'll stop with the shameless self-promotion now. I also learned a very handy skill--I deciphered the mysteries of my niddy-noddy (it's a skeining tool, getcha minds outta the guttah) so I can now make those attractive skeins, and thus am able to compete with the established dyers. I reskeined the Arashiyama and put up new pics, and will do the same for Otsu and Maiko. I think I'll probably do one or two more in the Kansai Colors series, then I plan to start an even more exciting (to me, anyway) line of hand-dyed yarns!
OMG, it's almost noon and I haven't even had coffee yet! Gotta run. The weather's gorgeous, and I really should get outdoors today. I expect to be working my buns off this week, doing as much as I can to help them out. I'm dreading giving notice tomorrow, but glad too. Here's hoping they don't get upset with me and tell me to clean out my desk and leave. I'm pretty sure that won't happen, but you never know...
Friday, September 07, 2007
It is done
Monday morning, I'm giving two weeks' notice at my current job. A job that not so long ago, I dreamed of having, but now has become a rat race, golden handcuffs, routine drudgery, whatever you want to call it. A major impediment to what I really want to do...which is to have my hands in fiber every possible waking moment. (I mean, is that too much to ask?!)
Life seems rather surreal right now...kind of like rappelling down a steep rock face (which I've never done, but it sounds cool.) The ropes are securely fastened, but I'm taking that first step into what seems like nothingness. It's exhilarating and terrifying, leaving behind the familiar and proven for the untried.
I just wish my family was happy for me...but we can't have everything.
Because I'll be working just part time at the shop and teaching Saturday beginning knit classes, and on my days "off" I'll be working at home trying to get my Etsy shop and website plans off the ground, my income is going to be reduced by about 60% or more, at least for a while. You'd think that by now, I would be used to a certain husband's dissatisfaction about how much (or how little) money we have--it's always been his main gripe no matter what the circumstances, so why should I care? However, I can't deny feeling as though my parade's been rained all over. Michelle, of course, is doing what she's best at, being a snotty teenager. I just take that in stride, even though it's hard sometimes.
I know you guys are happy for me, and I certainly know that Tricia and Jennifer at Dublin Bay are happy I'll be helping out. I'll be there next Saturday afternoon, and the Saturday after that. Which happens to be the weekend of OFFF, but how can I complain? I'll be at a yarn shop, for the love of Pete! A really nice yarn shop! So come by and say hi!
I got some of these in the mail this week.
Much in the same way that I couldn't knit a sweater as soon as I learned to cast-on, knit and purl, mixing colors is not at all intuitive for me. My most recent dyeing effort fell far short of the mark, so I'll be overdyeing the skein without having to mix any colors. I'm keeping my fingers crossed, and hoping I'll have something pretty to show you in a couple of days!
Wednesday, September 05, 2007
Another sign from the Goddess?
I sold 'em today at my Etsy shop.
Forgive that exuberant outburst--it's just that I opened my shop in May with just the little dog sweaters, and put up those gloves and two felted clutch bags in June, and only then did I realize that duh, who wants to buy wool items in the summer? Then I got busy with other
Well, now it's September, and I made my first sale. Whether or not I go to work at the LYS, I feel like I'm on my way--to something. We shall see. But man, I'm excited! It feels great to have even that teensy bit of success--largely because it's all the more difficult to do my job. The stress is mounting. I know I need to give notice soon, and then do as much as I can for them to ensure a smooth transition. At this company, the door swings wide once you've proven yourself, which I have done (and which is why I'm having everything but the kitchen sink thrown at me now). It isn't at all unusual for folks to leave and then come back, as my supervisor did. I can't imagine ever leaving the company on less than amicable, positive terms. Yet with all these small but powerful indicators that a life of fiber awaits--an opening at a LYS, sale of a handknit item--leaving seems more and more like the right thing to do. The mix of anticipation and dread sure isn't making for good sleeping. After this post, I'll have a warm milk--maybe with some cocoa in it--and crawl into bed with a book.
(Jeez, I just read that last sentence, and the person I was not so long ago would have cringed and wanted to drop through a hole in the floor! Then again, the person I used to be had no clue what was good for her, and partied like a fool. Nuff said.)
I Even Have a FO
On Monday, I met with some of the PDX Knit Bloggers for Starbucks beverages, show and tell, and, of course, knitting! It was lovely to meet these talented people in person, some of whom I "knew" through their blogs. I could have taken cell phone pics, but didn't have the presence of mind. Pics are up on Monica's blog, though, if you'd like to see who was there. Apparently a couple more people came after I left, so here's hoping there will be another meetup soon.
During the get-together, I was working on the Everlasting Bagstopper pattern from Knitty. I was fresh out of hemp, ;) so I used Fantasy Naturale cotton. I'm going to thread leather cord through the mesh near the top, because I'm far too lazy to get the decorative ribbon used in the pattern. Here is the "raw" item:
It was a fun, quick project, and now I have a shopping/schlepping bag!
Well, Friday's a-coming, and however things go, you'll hear it here first. Now I'm going to toddle into the kitchen for that warm milk. Do they still make Ovaltine? Dang, now I can't stop thinking about Ronald Reagan...which means it must be time for bed.
Sunday, September 02, 2007
Now I know why knitting used to be considered work.
Sock 1 of Knitty's Very Tall Socks.
This took roughly a month to knit, as it is about 30" in length and was made on size 2 dpn. I kind of felt like I was working in a sweatshop, what with it being August and me being post-menopausal and everything. Good thing I like to knit! This here is 2 hanks of Lorna's Laces Shepherd Worsted in Rainbow, @ $17.00 a pop.
Holy underwear... that's almost $70.00 for a pair of socks! I can't believe I'm making them for a co-worker who asked me to make her socks she could wear with garters. When oh when, will I learn my lesson and use Encore, or 220 superwash, for something like this?! I mean, I don't think I spent that much on yarn to make a whole sweater for my husband, fer cryin' out loud!
"But Chickenlips," the yarn piped up, "can you get flashy colors like this in Encore?" Ah yes, the color, there's the rub. This was knit cuff down, and the colorway behaved beautifully, making nice, regularly striped rounds. Then when I decreased, it started to go a little wonky...I decreased some more, and all hell broke loose. Kinda like a cartoon TV picture, those zigzaggy jags!
Not sure if the recipient will love it or hate it--not sure if I do, either. The only thing I do know is that it sure is a busy Garter Sock, with a lot goin' on. And with these, she can also wear a miniskirt on the coldest day of the year. I'm talkin' thick socks, dude. Worsted!
My goal is just to cast on for the second one before going back to work Tuesday. A bit of encouraging news today: I went into the LYS (I prefer not to reveal the name of the shop until I know if I'm hired) and chatted with the owner. Apparently I am still being considered for employment, because the other person didn't work out. I'm going back Friday afternoon for an interview. It would only be a couple of days a week at first, until the busy season really hits. I'd be teaching beginning knit classes on Saturdays, and encouraged to knit shop samples and design. Quite a difference from my first LYS work experience--I won't say anything negative about the shop or the owner, because both are very nice, but the chance to knit and design there? Not so much. (At the last, I got to design a scarf, but that was pretty much it.)
So, while I'm wavering between a forced neutrality and guarded optimism, I will say that it's looking good.
Hannibal Teh Lolcat
How original...not. So who cares if he makes it on I Can Has Cheezburger?
I've fallen in love with him, having brought him home as a tiny shelter bebeh who came down with a virus 48 hrs. after adoption. Now he's all better--except for occasional sneezing, which he often does close to my face, and he's become a spazkitty, er, "normal healthy kitten." Dive-bombing into my yarn, tearing psychotically around the house for about 10-15 minute intervals, then crashes (see above photo). I understand, though, that when you love a kitten, you've gotta take the good with the bad. For every minute of sweet snuggly purring, there's at least a minute of being a little bastard...
Michelle and I are having a snack attack, so we're off to Denny's. I love a 3-day weekend--I'll try to squeeze in one more blog post before it ends!
Nity nite...pleasant dreams.
Saturday, September 01, 2007
And the knit goes on
I was literally salivating to buy Manos. Take my word for it, these nondescript-looking hanks are really a magnificent fall colorway of maroon, olive and gold.
And yes I know, more sock yarn. But it's Jawoll. Which I love to say, along with "Uberstrickenfrau." Too fun. Perhaps I should have majored in German instead of Japanese!
So, the sock yarn. Have you seen this? I became enchanted with it, and realizing that along with Manos, my stash was sorely lacking in solid color sock yarn. So there we are.
Bead Junkie Report
This morning I met with some friends for the monthly Shawl Ministry, and handed out some of my beaded stitch markers. Afterward, I headed to downtown Hillsboro and visited this store. (Not to be confused with the Planet Bead in Wisconsin!)
I probably don't need to tell you that shopping for beads in a boutique-like store, after having shopped for them only at the local crafts megastore, is exactly like going to your LYS after visiting the yarn department at Michael's. You can drop some serious coin! I was good, though, and spent only $15.
Because I've been using 9mm jump rings, which are the biggest I can find at Crafts Whorehouse, I also picked up some 13mm key rings, which will definitely go over those large needles. See that blue-and-white looking bead on the right, near the bottom? That, my friends, is a Panda head. I think I'm gonna...black out.
Back to the silk scarf. Happy Labor Day, all! If you're like me and can't wait for the kiddies to start school, hang on, it's only a few more days. If you're a teacher...well, you have my sympathy, along with my admiration.
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- Name: Sharon
- Location: Oregon, United States
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