Monday, October 29, 2007
Two victories: one little, one huge
What can I say about this team that hasn't already been said? "Not your father's Red Sox" comes to mind. Or your grandpa's, for that matter.
Last night I did some virtual partying--um, make that "pahtying"-- with the Sox Knitters on Ravelry. And as for a certain, well-known knitblogger and Yankee fan I love to hate, well, she can just...
Friday, October 26, 2007
Resistance is futile--it was bound to happen. I got into the Fleece Artist and HandMaiden. On top is about 1000 yards of Fleece Artist 2/8 Bluefaced Leicester, cuddly soft, in the "Cosmic Dawn" colorway. I have been salivating over the stuff since my first day of work. It's practically screaming to be made into a round shawl.
The second yarn is my birthday present from Tricia! Oh, man, is she like the best boss EVAR. It's HandMaiden Camelspin, camel/silk. Gorgeous, like buddah. My co-worker, Chrissy, has designed the most wonderful Feather Lace Shawl, especially for Seasilk or other fingering weight yarn. I think this would be beautiful knit up in her pattern.
Today has been a most excellent birthday. Now I'm not telling my age, just that it's the 23rd anniversary of my 29th birthday. 'K? Not only did I get calls, Rav mail and blog comments wishing me a happy happy, but the icing on the cake, if you will, was that my Michelle got her driver's license today! I'm having the typical parental response. Celebrate on the outside, worry on the inside. I figured she'd take the car tonight, but she went to the movies with a friend who is 18 and doesn't have any restrictions on her license. (Michelle can't drive her friends around for 6 months--I'm really gonna have to keep enforcing that one.)
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
And not only that, but she has launched her very own podcast, and this little ole blog of mine is among the blogs featured! Is this all too exciting or what?! Thank you, Mrs. H, I'm honored and flattered! Hugs. I enjoyed your podcast and look forward to the next installment!
I'm going to have to make this a quick blog update, 'cause the morning has gotten away from me, it's almost noon and I've gotta get in to the shop by 1:00. Between taking Michelle for her written drivers' exam, which she passed--(yay! The road test is scheduled for Friday,) and a zillion and one other errands yesterday, I managed to do some dyeing.
This is the newest of my "Grand Designs" colorways, "Mystic Rhythms." I also dyed another skein, but it fell way short of the mark and I'm not even sure that overdyeing will save it. Tomorrow I may attempt to rescucitate the patient, but I think it's a goner. Ah, well. As a master dyer once said, "you have to be willing to ruin a lot of material." That was sage advice and I revere her as a demigoddess. I'm not giving up on this dyeing thing, even if I don't sell any of it--(although I hope I can sell some, so I can get more undyed wool!) I may end up knitting some of it myself, and some might also become next year's blog contest prizes. I've decided to give my hand dyes more exposure, and start going to knitting groups (which I've been bad about, since I work in a yarn shop) to see if I can generate some interest.
We Was Robbed, Sort Of
I am still fuming today, because something was taken from the shop last week, right under my nose. And how tacky is this--it wasn't merchandise or a shop sample, it was the collection jar for Dove Lewis Emergency Animal Hospital! Gaaah! Infuriating. I feel terrible, and partly responsible, as though I wasn't watching closely enough. And it should have been obvious to me that something was up, because first some girl came in claiming she lost her phone in the shop, (creating a distraction,) and then this guy came in--maybe her boyfriend--and was wandering around. I didn't even realize the collection jar was gone until the owner told me about it yesterday. Well, I hope the thieving little bastards enjoy their new iPod songs and caramel macchiatos with the money that caring people donated to help sick animals!
I'm able to view it as a learning experience, though--although I don't want to judge anyone, there are certain people who are out of place in a yarn shop, and with a little thought and awareness it isn't too hard to figure out who they are.
Sunday, October 21, 2007
Magic time (mostly pics)
...a good time was had by all.
For me, October is always the busiest, craziest, and most fun month of the year. I love the colors, the birthdays (Michelle's and mine are 6 days apart, which is why I got a mention on the cake from my family,) and I've always thought that Halloween is a great way to end the month!
My sweet, 75-year old father brought that gorgeous cake (the one with the number candles). He also insisted on paying for the entire dinner. I could say I wish some of that level of class had rubbed off on someone else in the family...but I promised myself I wasn't going to go there today.
For his entire life, Dad has been a Boston Red Sox fan. The seventh game of the American League Championship series is about to begin, and I am praying that the Sox kick Cleveland's butts and make it to the World Series. Not just for Dad, but I've also got Sox fever!GO SOX!!!
There has also been knitting
Letting WIP's languish, but I did find a way to use up a good portion of 6 skeins of Lamb's Pride. Yep, a felting project. I finished the fulled kitty basket for Hannibal, and it's now drying.
Looks like a big blob o'wool mohair...
...much prettier when turned over.
Once it's dry, I'll give it a sprinkle of catnip to entice kitteh...then we shall see!
Last but not least, I downloaded the pattern for the Forest Canopy Shawl and began it this afternoon in Silky Wool, which I received a lot of in the summer yarn swap.
Definitely my kind of lace pattern--knits up quick, and so easy that even I can't screw it up.
I'm trying to stay away from swaps on Ravelry, as we are hip-deep in yarn. Now that's not necessarily a bad thing, but with the holidays coming I'd kind of like to have my dining room table back.
Saturday, October 20, 2007
No knitting today--just a spooky meme
1. Do you believe in ghosts?
For the longest time I didn't. I thought it was just so much hooey. Yet all that has changed in the last few months. (read on and I'll tell you why!)
2. Have you ever seen a ghost?
I've seen something a couple of times which doesn't seem quite "real". Both times I saw it, it was at night, on the same road in roughly the same place, and I was traveling in the same direction both times. The first time I noticed it, it looked like a bright red bicycle being held by someone in shorts and a baseball cap--but when I got closer, I couldn't see any face or distinguishing features about the figure. I wasn't going that fast. This was sometime during the summer. It kind of creeped me out, and I just wanted to get beyond it. I saw "it" again just a couple of weeks ago--a flash of bicycle wheel, and something red. Something tells me that if what I am seeing is a ghost, it was probably someone riding a bike who was hit by a car in that location.
3. Have you ever experienced something that is best described by the word “paranormal”?
I think that word is a catch-all. I'm not sure what it means. If it means alien abduction, then no. If it means something that happened when you were alone and you don't really know what the hell it was, then perhaps so.
When I was nine and in the fourth grade, I remember having to finish a book report which took me a long time to write. I got up for school very early on the day it was due, before anyone else in the family was awake. It was dark downstairs, and I had to turn on enough light to see my way around. There was this sudden, rapid flash before me--as if someone raised and lowered an arm in front of my face very quickly. Of course there was no one there. That was well over 40 years ago--I wonder why I still remember it now! But the memory is still very clear.
4. Do you watch any ghost or haunting themed shows?
I was a big fan of "X-Files" the first few years that it was on. These days, if I want to get scared I just watch the news...yes, lame, I know.
5. If so, do you sometimes sleep with the lights on or wake up your partner because the show scared you a whole lot and you can’t sleep and don’t want to be awake alone?
6. Have you ever been to a supposedly haunted place? If so, did you experience anything spooky?
No, I don't remember ever going to anyplace that people say is haunted. Cemeteries don't bother me. I've never seen, experienced or felt anything "spooky" while at a cemetery.
7. How much do you love Halloween?
I love Halloween for the fun of it! Costumes and way too much sugar. I have a sweet tooth and am a chocoholic, so it is one of my favorite holidays. Right up there with Christmas and Easter. I've never associated Halloween with actual fright. My birthday is five days before Halloween, so as a kid there was that anticipation wrapped up in it. (My birthday! Then trick or treating, yahoo!) I became a mother 17 years ago today, on October 20. So there was another birthday to celebrate, plus a little girl who loved Halloween since she could talk and was more excited about it than Christmas. Now she's an actress, costume designer and makeup artist who plays Magenta in a local cast of the Rocky Horror Picture Show.
Hope you'll play along--the originator of this meme is old lady pen pal, so let her know if you post it on your blog as she'll enjoy reading your answers!
Well, the party's over. Finally! Some of my daughter's friends are still here, but everything went smoothly and the kids had a great time. I'm relieved, and more than a little tired! So I'll save the pics for next post.
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
It just gets more bizarre
The pattern is totally addictive--I want to make more, just so I can buy more of those cute buttons! Yesterday I finally got around to frogging two of my abandoned babies and starting new projects with the yarn. With winter coming, and Hannibal the kitteh (I've become a lolcat addict) sleeping in the garage as he does, I'm trying to put together at least one felted pet bed to help him stay cozy. Another one for the family room would be good too, as we have a gas fireplace that's nice on chilly mornings, and my little hoohah Buster loves to lie down in front of it. I'm eager to knit up at least some of this stash I've amassed in the past year, so I can justify splurging on the beautiful yarns I see every day that I work. I keep them looking nice on the shelves, winding them for customers, and resisting the temptation to squirrel away those "singles" for myself! ;)
Today was the day for meeting PDX KnitBloggers at the shop, too. Tammy and Chrispy came by, and it was great meeting them both. Check out their blogs, as they are both wonderful knitters! Chrispy has a Dachshund which melts my heart every time I see a picture of her, as I am also a dachshund person. Dachsies (or "weens" as I call em) are like Lays' potato chips; you can't have just one!
But none of the above is related to the title of this post. I was thinking about the emotional rollercoaster I've been on with my brother, my family in general, and the kajillion details which need to be seen to before we have Michelle's party on Saturday. Only some of the things on the to-do list are related to the party.
Today, I found out that my mom won't be coming to the party either! She passed out and hit her head on the counter, causing a 5-hour trip to the ER (because they ran every test known to man and decided it was her combination of meds that did it) and eight staples in her head. Holy crap. I didn't even know it happened until this afternoon. My first instinct was to drop everything and rush over to their house, but my dad insisted that she's fine, things are under control and there wasn't anything they needed me to do. I told him he should stay with her Saturday night, as I'm worried about him driving at night--but he's determined to come and bring the special cake that Michelle wanted. Now I feel myself getting PO'd at my brother all over again--why can't he just ditch his stupid plans for once, so our elderly father doesn't have to put himself at risk?
Agggh...just want to get this mess over with!!
But to end on something upbeat, I sold a little doggy sweater in my Etsy shop today! It was the little fuzzy pink chihuahua sweater. I made it more than two years ago, and I'm so glad someone finally bought it. Now if I could just sell my hand dyed yarns! In one of the local free newspapers, Willamette Week, there was an article called "Crafty Bitches" which was about how many women crafters there are in the Portland area. There are over 1000 Etsy shops in this town alone! Man, that's a lot of competition. So I'm thinking maybe I should try to find additional outlets for my hand dyes. There are master dyers out there, creating yarns I am nowhere near capable of turning out, but I think I've learned a lot and done well given I've only been dyeing for a couple of months, and the response has been very positive from everyone who's seen my yarns. Perhaps having my own website, when I'm able to build it, will help.
Lots to think about...that hamster running in the wheel in a remote corner of my brain gets tired, but never stops!
Sorry if I already posted this pic, can't remember if I did or not. It's one of my favorites--feel free to make a lolcat out of it, if you're so inclined! (I don't yet have lolcat technology--nothing on my computer will save files as .jpegs.)
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
The healing power of Stegosauruses, and other ephemera
My anger is tempered with reason today. As was pointed out in the comments, my brother's inability to relate to his niece is because of his emotional immaturity. My daughter does understand that. Also, the way my family has always expressed caring is through giving gifts. That's nice in and of itself, but what they never have understood is that it's not a substitute for giving of one's time and attentiveness. I've taken pains to raise Michelle with different values, and I think what was coming to a head for me was this whole dysfunctional system I was raised in and which my parents and brother perpetuate. The longer it goes on, the more I feel like I'm forced to go along with something I don't agree with. Whatever. I'm just in a much better frame of mind today, and your reaching out had a lot to do with it.
Just as an update, I did get a phone call from my brother today. He apologized for having other plans for Saturday, and explained that they bought their tickets to this event months ago. He promised to send along a gift for Michelle. (see what I mean?) Realizing that I'd have an easier time changing the course of the Willamette River than changing this deeply entrenched dysfunctional family system, I just shrugged it off. I know Michelle is going to have a great time at her party, and that's what's important!
Knitting keeps me sane, and out of the casinos
I think I have a touch of the seasonal-affective disorder. I am dysthymic, which is just a consonant-rich way of saying I'm mildly depressed. I've been taking Effexor, and that med works pretty well. However, when fall comes and there's less light and warmth, the depression invariably becomes more pronounced until I get used to it. Today I knit up a little bit of happiness and made a Baby Surprise Jacket.
Because Blogger's being a booger and not letting me upload pics, I'll have to show you the whole jacket next post. But here's a Chickenlips Extreme Close-Up:
Yes, the buttons are wee Stegosauruses!! (It's hard to take closeup pics, but trust me, there is a darling little row of spikes along the back of each one.) One of the perks of working in a LYS.
Monday, October 15, 2007
Don't be fooled
This is my first major project knit as a shop sample for the LYS where I work. Let me also point out that I wasn't drafted to make this; I volunteered. Little did I know that the pattern would be poorly written--do you read through the pattern before winding your 675-meter hank? Neither do I. I will from now on, though, so I don't ever again have one immense ball of yarn when I should have two, and alternate every round to avoid color pooling (which, as you can see, it pooled anyway.) Pretty hard to wind off half that ball when you grab your project stuff together and hop on a plane to Phoenix, which is what I did. You're in a strange city and can't just walk up to a LYS owner and say, "gee, can I use your winding equipment for yarn I didn't buy here?" So I tried knitting from the inside and outside end, and needless to say, I spent more time untangling yarn than knitting. Also, the pattern calls for a 1" elastic for the waistband. Nope, nada, no way. Never gonna happen. I spent several crazy-making hours trying to force that piece of elastic through the casing--using various implements as knitting needles, crochet hooks, pieces of wire, the dog (kidding about the last one) and bit the heads off of several innocent bystanders, before I finally admitted defeat and went back to Jo-Ann for a 3/4" elastic, which went through the casing like a dream.
Now that I'm looking at it, the colorway looks suspiciously like the skirt above--well, maybe a little pinker. Pure co-inky-dinky, I assure you, as I planned my colorways a couple of months ago. Last post, I forgot to put up this link, which is a page I created some time ago as my "mission statement", so to speak, for Grand Designs, and I hope it displays correctly. I'm in dire need of some web design tools, because I don't like Freewebs! I also don't like lima beans. Lima beans and Freewebs, bleah.
I'm Part of the Decline of Western Civilization
Last night I watched "Borat." Oh. My. Gawd. I laughed so hard I actually got the hiccups. I can't even remember the last time that happened to me.
Must have needed a good laugh!
Saturday, October 13, 2007
You know how you finish a project and have this little pile of yarn ends? Well this post is kind of like that.
The Love Meme
Flutter posted this meme on her blog a few days ago, and I thought it was wonderful. Tag, you're it!
1. Who is your man? Jason
2. How long have you been together? 21 years, married for 18 (August 26, 1989)
3. How long did you date? Before what, we moved in together and commenced the living in sin? (sorry Flutter, I loved that answer) We went together for a little more than a year, then shacked up, as we were sick of maintaining two households!
4. How old is your man? Just celebrated his 48th birthday.
5. Who eats more? These days, I do! Since his minor yet significant heart scare this summer, he's been zealous about a healthy diet, but me...not so much. His discipline is really a pain in the ass sometimes.
6. Who said "I love you" first? Oh, I did. I was 30 and single, come on!
7. Who is taller? Him. I'm 5'5", he's 5'10" and our daughter is taller than both of us.
8. Who sings better? He is an astounding tenor and guitarist. I sing like a hinge. He serenaded me on our third date, I couldn't believe this rich voice and beautiful music was coming from this cute little guy with a slightly high-pitched speaking voice! Incidentally, that's when I knew we were going to get married. ;)
9. Who is smarter? Having carefully considered this, I'd have to say that I am. Not that he isn't intelligent--he is very bright. But even he reminds me, when I am in doubt about my ability to learn something, that I learned Japanese.
10. Whose temper is worse? His used to be, but these days, I'd have to say mine is worse. Damn menopause!
11. Who does the laundry? Laundry in this house is solely my domain. I may let the rest of the housework go to hell, but I am extremely picky about laundry since he felted my first pair of handknit socks.
12. Who takes out the garbage? He does, when he's home. He's a traveling salesman, so I do it when he's out of town, although Michelle takes over on garbage night.
13. Who sleeps on the right side of the bed? That would be me (from the laying on the bed perspective).
14. Who pays the bills? He pays the mortgage, electric, water, car payment, and everything else that we would starve, die and be out on the street if it didn't get paid. I pay my student loan and credit cards.
15. Who is better with the computer? I'd have to say I am, not to toot my own horn, but I've had the opportunity through various types of jobs to learn more about programs than he has. However, he's been a software salesman for the past twenty years, and I could never do the demos and training that he effortlessly does!
16. Who mows the lawn? He does, he even makes pretty diagonal tracks with the mower.
17. Who cooks dinner? We eat out a lot more than we used to. I used to do the bulk of the cooking, but now he does. He's a very good cook.
18. Who drives when you are together? he does, and I'm happy to let him!
19. Who pays when you go out? See #18.
20. Who is most stubborn? Boy, that's hard to say. We are both pretty pigheaded sometimes--I'd call it a draw!
21. Who is the first to admit that they are wrong? Him, because when we argue (which is seldom,) I give him the silent treatment and he hates it.
22. Whose parents do you see the most? His, even though they live about a 7-hour drive away, and mine are about 45 minutes from us. My parents smoke, and I couldn't quit smoking until I had acupuncture two years ago. Now the smell of cigarette smoke turns my stomach, and even though I love my parents, I just can't go to their house.
23. Who kissed who first? Oh God, I can't remember! But I think it was a mutually agreed-upon kiss.
24. Who asked who out? We met in a weird way. It was through Great Expectations, that video dating thing! I requested to meet him, so maybe it was me, but he was the one who called me and set up our first date, so was it him then? For us, there isn't a simple answer to that question.
25. Who proposed? Here was his marriage proposal: "Well, I guess we should think about getting engaged." This after I dropped huge hints for several months. How romantical. ;)
26. Who is more sensitive? I am, no question. And it's a good thing, because on the rare occasions that I have seen him cry, I would rather have a root canal with no anesthetic, it hurts so much.
27. Who has more friends? I think I do--he has always been somewhat of a loner. Not antisocial, it just takes him longer to make friends. But when he does, he tends to keep them for life.
28. Who has more siblings? I have one brother. He had three, but two are deceased.
29. Who wears the pants in the family? That's hard to say. I have a tremendous amount of freedom and autonomy for a married woman, but in certain ways, he makes the rules by which we live, and I honor them because he is our main breadwinner and provider (and because I know he wants the best for us).
Jason, you are the perfect partner for me. You give me roots and wings, and have made possible everything I value in my life today. I am proud to be your wife and the mother of your child. I love you!
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Still here, in some form
Name It and Claim It
Normally, I think blog contests where in order to win a prize, the reader must answer some lame-ass trivia question about the blogger, are horribly self-indulgent and beneath me. However, since this phase of my life seems to be about surprising myself, I'm having a contest in which you have to answer a lame-ass trivia question about me! The prize, of course, is yarn.
Here goes: in order to win two skeins of Koigu, that's right I said Koigu, there is a common theme in the names I chose for my colorways. First one to tell me what it is wins the yarn. Some of you have been reading my blog for a while (and I love you oh so much) and know a few things about me, so you'll probably ace it.
Goodnight all--I'm going to nip over to Etsy to list the yarns.
Thursday, October 04, 2007
Heads up: I'm going to be a little tacky.
You know how I work at a LYS, right? Well, my stuff is for sale there! So not only do we have a talented and prolific designer on staff, but my line of beaded accessories for knitters is growing! In addition to "stitchjones" stitch markers, both ring type and lobster clasp, my beaded bag handles will soon be featured at Dublin Bay. I made three new sets today.
These were all made with wood beads. Black beaded handles to follow, just as soon as I can find some black beads that don't look like ass.
Another heads up...I'm afraid my days blogging as "Chickenlips" are numbered. It was a good run, and I got some very nice comments from readers who liked the name, but I'm thinking it might be a good idea to consolidate my online presence, seeing as how I'm developing my own line of merch. There will be the next generation of handpainted yarns, along with the beaded items. I'm "stitchjones" on Ravelry, but Chickenlips in the blogosphere and "mymommadethis" on Etsy. That seems pretty scattered, and it's time for me to do something about it.
Where the name "Stitch Jones" came from: in the Clint Eastwood film Heartbreak Ridge, the character "Stitch Jones" was adorably played by Mario Van Peebles as a wannabe rock star in a slacker platoon of Marines, and it's Clint's job to whip them into shape, yada yada. The name is a great play on words for a knitting addiction, and it also fits me, since I too am a wannabe rock star! I own a Fender electric bass and have had a few lessons. I can play simplified bass lines to songs such as "Brand New Day", "Blow Away" (George Harrison, My Sweet George,) and "It Don't Come Easy." In a pinch, I can also play the descending bass on a song by Denis Leary that is so obscene I cannot publish the title here. Oh don't worry, I'm not going to quit my LYS gig to go on tour with Insane Clown Posse...you know, I might have worked with that bunch about 10 years ago when I was an office temp! Kidding. Seriously, though, I'd like to be known as "stitchjones" from here on out, and within the next few months I'll be setting up my website.
Life Interferes With Crafting Dept.: Today being a day off, (and GOD how I love being off that Monday-Friday treadmill,) I took Michelle to have all her wisdom teeth out. Poor kid! She's just shy of 17 and hasn't ever been through anything this major. I was in my 20's when I had my wisdom teeth extracted, but it wasn't all of them and certainly not all four at once. That's quite an ordeal. The pain medication has nauseated her, which isn't good when you want to stop the bleeding from oral surgery. (Sorry for yuck.) I put in an emergency call to the dentist an hour ago, but I don't think he's going to call back. I'm hoping she can just sleep some more, because she should be a lot better by tomorrow, although if she gets any worse I'm going to take her down to the ER.
Tuesday, October 02, 2007
The door to limitless imagination
I haven't abandoned knitting, even though it seems like I've once again succumbed to the lure of stash building. I do have more of the opera mitts on the needles--there's currently just one pair in my store and it's mighty lonely. And I've been busy the past few days with a shop sample--I'd better get cranking though, because the deadline is looming. More about this later.
As I promised, here are the gorgeous earrings Christine made for me.
For some reason, whenever I attempt to photograph bling, the result is invariably blurry. But take my word for it, these are lovely--I think someone else could definitely make extra money selling her handmade creations! Nudge, nudge.
Last week, I sold about 30 of my hand beaded stitch markers! They are available at the front counter at Dublin Bay. I spent much of yesterday replenishing my stock.
The markers in the first photo are attached to jump rings, which slide along the needle, and in the second group I used lobster clasps, so the markers can go right onto the stitch and be moved around.
I keep hearing this song in my head. Jason and I were treated to a live performance of it on July 21.
Hold your fire
Keep it burning bright
Hold the flame 'til the dream ignites
A spirit with a vision is a dream
With a mission
I hear their passionate music
Read the words that touch my heart
I gaze at their feverish pictures
The secrets that set them apart
When I feel the powerful visions
Their fire has made alive
I wish I had that instinct
I wish I had that drive
Spirits fly on dangerous missions
Imaginations on fire
Focused high on soaring ambitions
Consumed in a single desire
In the grip of a nameless possession
A slave to the drive of obsession
A spirit with a vision is a dream
With a mission
I watch their images flicker
Bringing light to a lifeless screen
I walk through their beautiful buildings
And I wish I had their dreams
But dreams don't need to have motion
To keep their spark alive
Obsession has to have action
Pride turns on the drive
It's cold comfort
To the ones without it
To know how they struggled
How they suffered about it
If their lives were exotic and strange
They would likely have gladly exchanged them
For something a little more plain
Maybe something a little more sane
We each pay a fabulous price
For our visions of paradise
But a spirit with a vision is a dream
With a mission
Monday, October 01, 2007
PDX meets PHX
The gold record is the "Killer" album from 1972, which made me a Cooper fan for life the first time I heard it. When I bought the vinyl, it came with a 1972 calendar and a large photo of Alice in a noose. A couple of years ago, Michelle came across all my record albums in a box in the garage, and that same, gruesome photo calendar I had on my wall as a teenager, now has a home on the wall above her bed.
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