How to drive someone crazy from 1100 miles away

27 July 2006

Oh, Boy. Who knew this would get so involved?

Dragon here. I had no idea the response to Swan's birthday would be so great, so here's a few tips so we can keep secrets:

I am hestitant to post my personal email anywhere, so please send a generic comment that says you want in on a gift for Swan (aka CygKnit) to this blog; be sure to include an email address. I will then email you my personal email address, and we can talk privately.

We only have a few days!!! And thanks to Kelly for the awesome idea, I say we run with it. I'll tell you what it is if you please just ask!!

You all generous types rock. Let's make this a crazy great birthday for her to remember forever.


Swans getting older.

I just want to make everyone (or anyone at all) aware that Swan is having a birthday on the 30th. I got her something special that I can't post about because she will read this, but it is wonderful and she will love it. If anyone wants to know, check back in a few days and you'll see pictures. The stuff she knows about is:

A needle case that the Roomie and I made for her. Okay, Roomie has all the sewing machine skills, but I bought the materials and she put it together. She already has it, here it is.

(I have one like it, but brown outside and blue inside. Hey, fabric comes in bulk, people.)

She is also getting some of the stuff I dyed myself; two of the colors are headed north.

A home movie of my stash. It's an inside thing.

Plus, a fabulous surprise.

If anyone wants to send her something, check out her blog and send her an e-card, or an email gift certificate to a great yarn shop, or contact me through my blog and I will collect donations toward her spinning wheel. Or, hey, we could just agree on a shop near her (Connecticut) and send her a gift certificate to there.

She deserves it. And I know she'd do this for me come October 12. Hint, hint, Swan.

And I promise, I will get a picture of Roomie knitting the Walter Halter. I'm so proud of her, I could bust open, but then she'd have to mop up, so I'll keep myself contained.

26 July 2006

Hail, the conquering hero!!

Daylight hours? Check. Yoshi off to work? Check. Walter-free quiet house? Check. Ruined lace? Stitch markers, pattern, DPNs two sizes too small, tiny crochet hook, lifeline on an embroidery needle, strong coffee in favorite Pooh mug with way too much sugar for the average person to survive? Check, check, checkity check check check. Guts? Check.

Let's fix this lacey bitch.

Here we are, halfway through, where I decided to stop holding my breath for a minute and get a picture.

Now, I know what you are thinking. It's so short, why didn't I just frog it and start over? It's my first lace. I want it to be special, and by that I mean perfect the first time no matter what. So, repair. I pulled back to a plain row (purl row, rest row, whatever you care to call it) and then very painstakingly pulled each individual stitch at a time and picked up the loop it just came out of. Hard on the eyes, trying on the patience (even though it is only 51 stitches). Put each stitch on a smaller DPN to ease the stretching (went from US size 4 to DPN size 2), count, then slip all stitches onto appropriately sized needle to continue. Count. Count again. Read stitches and pattern to figure out what row I'm on, run a lifeline, and move on. Simple plan, no?
And executed well. Proper stitch count? CHECK!!

Some of the stitches look a bit wonky, but one or two tiny twisted stitches aren't going to drive me barmy like pulling the whole thing out would have.

I'd like to thank the great ladies at the Knitty Coffeeshop Forum who helped me with good advice and support. I really would have lost my mind if I'd thought I was alone in this, so Robincat, Sanny, Batty, Purler, and Fiberbliss, dear wonderful people, thank you.

I'm done now. Repaired lace on properly sized needle? Soothed knitter? Live child? CHECK!

Sometimes you have to laugh to keep from crying

Yoshi took me out for dinner last night. It was coming time to see if I wanted dessert, and i excused myself to the ladies'. When I came back, Yoshi asked if I wanted fried ice cream, and I said I don't know, what does my belly say?
He laughed harder than I've seen him laugh in a while.

The weekend was not as bad as it could have been. Yes, I missed my brother and thought about him a lot, but Yoshi was good at distracting me and we had a good time. Saw a few movies, had some good food, not a bad weekend.

And then there is Hank. I finished Hank's head, and started to embroider his face and hair. Notice his decidedly bald and blank expression? Didn't work out so great.
Trial and error taught me that it will be best to start his hair at the top and work down. Funny decrease lines are not easy to duplicate stitch. And then there is his face. I put the french knot eyes on and then used the same strand to start his mouth, which kept coming out a bit wonky. Pulled out the mouth a few times, trying to get it straight and properly smirking. Then his left eye sucke itself right into his head. It was really oddly horrifying, because I've never seen an eye suck back into someone's head before. I know we're just talking abot knitting, but it was disturbing. I have come to think of him as a person, and when my little person's eye pops backwards into his head, I was slightly shocked. I pulled him inside out and popped the eye back into place. (Why it doesn't bother me to turn my little person inside out, I have no idea) Flipped him back, barely touched the replaced eye, and POP! there goes the other eye.
I put his bothersome little ass down for a while.
Haven't started to repair the lace yet, but the Roomie has started (and made excellent progress upon) a halter for Walter. (Oh, that's funny and I didn't even realize.) And I helped!
Will post pics of the Roomie knitting next time. I taught her all by myself, and I am so proud of her. maybe I'll even give her a name here, to celebrate.

24 July 2006

Walter on the shitlist

I may have to kill Walter. Poor child doesn't even know it's coming.

Saturday, while I was at work and wondering what I was doing there, Walter's mommy decided to clean up the house. So, while vacuuming, Walter took advantage of the turned back and got hold of the lace. My lace. Which it took several hours of un-Walter filled space and time for me to even get to the second repeat.

She pulled it halfway off the needle. Let me give you all a moment to absorb that, and catch your breath.

Walter's mommy found her waving it over her head like a flag, just twirling away, happy as can be to destroy several hours of my hard concentration. She yelled in a spirit of either horror or discipline, I am not sure which, or if there was a difference. Walter cried. Mommy tried (badly) to get the stitches back on the needle. At least she tried, but she has only mastered a purl and k2tog on her last project, and lace is not part of her knitting education yet. We have completely lost a stitch marker, and for the life of me I cannot find two lost stitches.

The gals at the Knitty Coffeeshop Forum have tried to help and console, but I am going to need more than help on this one. I am going to need several hours of Walter-free house, quiet and undistracted to pull it back and fix it. And a box of Kleenex with the lotion in it for all the tears I plan to shed while pulling the rows back to a comprehensible place from which to go on. And a tiny, tiny crochet hook, which thanks to a lovely trip to North Carolina, I have already.

The plan is to pull back (I can't stand the term ripping back, it just sound too violent for what I want to happen) to a plain purl row, and pick up very slowly and carefully while unknitting a row. After which I have to figure out what row I am on now, run a lifeline, and put a padlock on a knitting basket so this never, ever happens again.

If this doesn't work, Walter will definitely lose a finger.

I hear Yarn Harlot had a similar experience recently, so at least I am repairing in good company.

21 July 2006

Corn! Not Porn!

This is Yoshi's container garden. He has (left to right) tomatoes, tiny hot peppers, and corn. They have names and everything; the peppers were first, and are named Hank (Henry Rollins, go fig), the corn is Jonathan Davis (appropriate), and the tomatoes are Tomatoes. He's an ironic genius. Until today, the corn was two stalks. Here, you will notice it has one stalk, because we just ripped the sucker out. Why? It was done. It gave up its corny goodness and would produce no more, so we are giving the other stalk all the chances we can to give us corn. Apparently, we like our poo colorful.

So, here's the corn we picked today. Yoshi thought it was weird-looking, so we are preserving its weirdness in photo and blog form. We like weird at my house, even though we live in carbonless copy suburbia. Go see Over the Hedge; I live in that neighborhood, I swear. The place popped up overnight and every house is the same. Since we rent, we won't tear up the yard, hence the container garden, which produces weird-looking corn. Yoshi think the corn would be less weird-looking if it grew in the actual ground; maybe it knows it will move out of the 'burbs one day and into a home with a soul, and is acting out.Since I didn't know how long corn would live off the stalk and in the husk, I got Yoshi to shuck it. It smelled just like my childhood. I lived in Nebraska until I was 13. and driving through the countrysides there smelled exactly like shucking corn. Surprised? Neither am I.
I cut it off the cob, and noticed that with so much exposed endosperm, it would make great creamed corn. I am thinking of supplementing Yoshi's weird looking corn with store-bought fresh corn to make this. Or just cutting the recipe waaaaay down, and making the cornbread. I think I was a bit hasty with getting it off the cob. Yoshi does really like making up his own recipes, so we may just wing it. There's plenty more corn to grow.

This is what I am doing with my mental health day. I was going to knit, but nothing is calling my name right now. I considered going to Cocoa Beach to check out a yarn shop I haven't been to yet, but have no partner for a short road trip. And I can't be spending anyway, because I have to save up for Rhinebeck and I may be unemployed.

My GM called me at home today and told me how much he loves me working for him, and that if I need anything I should just ask. They really want me to stay at my job. Hell, I really want to stay at my job, just to avoid the hassle of breaking in a new job. So, I don't really know what to do. Think I'll wait till the weekend is over and see how I feel.

In the meantime, I am faking Jewish with corn.

Life isn't fair

I tried to quit my job tonight and they wouldn't let me. I just wanted to go away and never come back, and they wouldn't let me. WTF?
I wait tables. I deal with the public. So, I deal with idiots all the time. And that's fine. I know there is no way my restaurant can control who comes through the door expecting food and service. But I have been under too much strain lately (more on why later) and tonight I just broke. I made less than ten percent of my sales in tips. In case no one knows, I am required by law to declare my earnings at a minimum of ten percent of my sales, and any tip I make with a paper trail must be included (like credit card tips). I am so tired of tourists and cheap assholes. I can't make my bills if this keeps up. So I told two of my managers tonight that I wasn't coming back.
They balked. They sympathized. They asked me to stay in very flattering ways. They offered me some time off (like I can afford it, and as if I wouldn't use the time to job hunt). Eventually, I conceded. I had to. I care about my job. I can't help it; I am a professional.
I know what you are thinking: Professional waitress? What? Yes, there are career waitresses out there. It is a good job with (normally) good money, flexible hours, and an honest living. It is hard work, and when a restaurant finds someone like me who takes the job seriously, they evidently want to keep me on. I know, you've been waited on by college students and stupid people your whole life, but if you were sitting in my section, I'd show you what service is supposed to be like.
So, yeah. They asked me to take Friday off, come back Saturday and talk to the GM. See if a day would give me some perspective.
It won't, but I said I'd do it. So I have to be in Saturday morning as if it were any other Saturday morning to discuss this crap. I think I will give them two weeks' notice. It's the only professional thing to do. And dammit, I am a professional. I have dignity. I do care about my job, whether I wantot stay there or not.

So, why am I extra strained right now? Sunday. Sunday is a black day. Anniversary of my brother's death. Let's get throught he usual questions, shall we?
Eleven years ago, July 23, 1995. It was a car accident. He was stone sober. I know because I was in the car. It was raining and slick on the road. He was the best friend I ever had and nothing will ever make it any better. Time does not heal grief, it just makes the time longer. And it has just been so long. I take one day out of every year to mourn and remember him as best I can, but this year, it is really hitting me hard.
I will get back to this later.

18 July 2006

I don't really know how I feel about this...

Hey, all...
And I know you are out there. There's a site meter on the blog, and I just now decided to futz around with it, and it turns out that someone who isn't me actually reads the blog of the Swan and Dragon. Who are you people? Don't be shy, come out and say hi. Come on...
What I really want is feedback. Someone tell me I'm a snarky bitch, or that they want to know more about my midget cat or something. God, anything. Just wave from whatever corner you're sitting in, because now I know you're there! Don't just sit there and stare, say hi even if you never say anything else again. And hi from anonymous doesn't count.
I got an interesting series of emails today, from the Swan. Apparently, she went behind my back and did something so devious, I may have to expose the embarrassing pictures I have of her with really ugly men.
She bought me a plane ticket to come see her. For RHINEBECK. I was all stressed about how I was going to figure in a plane ticket during restaurant slow season (made almost $50 tonight, it was awful). And she bought me a ticket.
When I asked her how much so I could get her back, she ignored me. When I implored her to tell me, she basically told me to shut the hell up. When I asked if she will not be getting her spinning wheel because of spending too much money on me, she said she has her priorities (she is getting the wheel).
So, in honor of her generosity, I do not present you with Swan with Ugly Ex, but Swan in Funny Christmas Hat:

Oh, sorry, she's Jewish. Swan in Funny Non-Denominational Winter Holiday Hat. That's better. Doesn't she look surprised? It may be the hat.

Thanks, Cyn.

There are very good reasons

Here's the lace. Doesn't look much different, does it? I am halfway through the second repeat. But there's a very good reason it's coming along so slowly. Many and varied, in fact. Like, lace is hard. Even when it is an appropriate time to work on lace, it goes slow. And dropping stitches sucks like a crackwhore. But mostly, it's Henry Rollins' fault.
Here's Hank. God, look at all that seaming. Yeesh. I made him in jeans and combat boots. And actually, I realized he's going to end up looking exactly like Yoshi going to work. Huh.

Henry Rollins himself is not complete because I have multiple projects going for different times of day and situations. There is Lace, which only gets worked on when it is quiet in the house and no one is trying to distract me; Hank, who gets work when I am watching television and am not particularly interested; Yoshi's sweater (now up to 10 1/2 inches!), which is for really good tv (stockinette in the round, ya know); and there is Yoshi's Xmas stocking for when we are sitting in bed listening to books on tape before we go to sleep. My bedside project, if you will.

And then there are the shameful projects. The tank I started last summer (gasp!) only needs seaming, weaving in ends, and straps. And the Cookie Monster, which needs seaming, weaving, and a crocheted neck border. I hang my head in shame at these projects. I just can't get in the mood to seam, when I could be knitting. It's an addiction, wouldn't you say, Swan?

Dear Dragon,

Thank you for the loan of Walter. She is quite a charming child and looks nothing like a wrinkled old man.

She is, perhaps, a bit damp most of the time, but I suppose that is normal?

Oh the charity front, it appears that I am making no progress on the Project Linus log cabin blanket.

I fully expect to have many more strips a few more strips God, anything done met our goal by my mail-out date of 31 July.

Do feel free to keep sending me goodies like this, though:

That sort of thing warms a Swan's heart.

Best Regards,

14 July 2006

Pins dropping

Can you hear that? Turn off the speakers on your computer, then hold one really close to your ear; that's how nice it sounds in my house right now. Aaaaaahhh, silence.

The house is blessedly quiet; Roomie took Walter to Connecticut (yes, I am very jealous) for her grandmother's surprise birthday. She also took Swan's birthday present up to her, wrapped in a very fancy Walmart shopping bag, as well as the PL Blankie. Hope she likes it. Almost as soon as she was gone, Baby's Daddy asked me to sew a button on his pants for him. So much for independent man. He's branching out in all kinds of directions since Walter and Mommy left yesterday. Here's a shot of his newest hobby:

I am so glad he took up housecleaning instead of porn. I'm sure it was a toss-up. Anyone want to know what Roomie made her grandma for a lovely birthday gift? Here's Walter modelling it.

I taught her to knit, and she whipped out this gorgeous hat and a keyhole scarf in no time. She's jonesing for more, too, I just know it.

Oh, yeah, and I made lace. Lace is hard. Lace takes a lot of my concentration. Lace isn't for idle conversation or tv-watching time. Lace is for when I want to really focus my thoughts on my knitting. So, Lace is for Now, when I need a challenge that will also calm me. I did try out a swatch of something out of Vogue's first Stitchionary (#137, if you want to know), which turned out nice but I frogged it before I remembered I got the camera. (Oh, yeah, the camera got here. Thanks again, Mom and Dad!) This is the beginning of a scarf pattern I got for Christmas, with a Knitpicks Shadow sampler (woohoo, every color available!), and I picked the color I liked least to futz around with for my first lace project. I have to admit, I really like the way it's coming along (even though I have an inch and a half of the required 46 inches, I feel safe saying that. I will be attacked my moths any second now...).And one more thing: Ever hear of a Munny? Cute little buggers. Little blank dolls you paint and dress yourself. I have fallen hard for the Munny. They have contests at the comic book store Yoshi and I frequent for the most original and creative and whatnot, and I thought I'd give it a go. They come with four secret accessories; mine had a hat, briefcase, samurai sword and carrot. Yeah, I don't think I will need all of those... So, Yoshi bought me a Munny, and I now get to decide who it is. It's just like raising children, without the dread that they will become serial killers or develop their own free will.

I'm going to enjoy the amazing sound of silence in my home now.

10 July 2006

Your basic update

PL Blankie gets bigger all the time.

I have to stop on it now. If I don't, I will never let Swan work on it. It now measures about 10 3/4 inches by 10 inches. I'm not completely certain the exact size we wanted it to get, but I am so enjoying it that it may end up the largest size Project Linus needs, which is twin sized bed. I will need a longer circular...

Speaking of Swan, she has been really busy lately what with recovering and pain, and I am certain she would want me to let anyone worried know, she does not have cancer. Let's all do the happy, happy no-cancer dance!! If you want details, she'll have to post them herself. When she explained it to me, I was just too elated that her life is not threatened to really understand. I could spout some empty technical terms she told me, but I wouldn't know what I was saying. But Swan will live to knit and spin another day, with minimal damage to her girls.

Maybe she'll post pictures.... HA! She did tell me once (okay, more than once) that she had perfect breasts... Put your picture where your mouth is, Swan!

I am laughing hysterically at myself right now. I love you, girly, and I am glad you will be healthy for many years to come.

Other news: If I can't find deeply discounted airfare and a bit of extra cash, I can't make it to Rhinebeck with Swan. This really breaks my heart, because I hate to disappoint her more than I hate to disappoint myself. I hope she's still speaking to me.

The third annual Florida Fiber-In is coming up!! September 15-17 at some Radisson here in Orlando (like there aren't about twenty Radissons in town, right?). I got Yoshi to sign a contract saying he'd go with me... mostly, I need someone to hold my stuff. He is aware of his function as pack animal, and still signed. What a guy.


07 July 2006

Makes no sense

I came across this quiz on someone's blog (Zibibbo, if you want to know, see her on Knitty coffeeshop all the time and love, love her; no she doesn't have a clue who I am) and it just gets me: I can get as many as four different answers out of it when I go back and re-adjust my answers depending on how I feel in one day. And there isn't a single philosopher given back to me as my 100% match that I can say I really agree with. Huh. Either I am crap or the quiz is; which do you think it is?

I'm not posting my results because I don't agree with them. If I get one I agree with, I'll post that. But take the quiz, I implore you, and let me know if it is crap for you, as well. I take these things on an individual basis, like my horoscope, which today reads (courtesy of Earthlink):

Feeling grumpy lately? Don't fret, dear Libra, your bad mood won't last. This attitude is so unlike you. Those at work notice your change in personality, but still treat you with consideration and respect. You are fortunate to be able to draw upon a considerable wealth of kindness and good deeds that you have done over the years. Your friends and loved ones treat your mood as an aberration, which is exactly what it is.

What a pile of crap.


Progress Reports

I am happy to report that th Project Linus Blankie is gaining yardage quickly. Of course, it's in it's early stages when the rows are still short, but so what? I'm excited. Here's Eskimo checking out the latest color, Daisy Ombre.
Careful inspection will reveal my toes in a perched position. I have really awesome toes; they are the most gorgeous toes I have ever had, let me tell you. I don't paint them so as not to detract from their natural loveliness.

Mama and Daddy Dragon (their names are changed to protect my innocence) are wicked cool. I got a greeting card in the mail yesterday. No, not just any card; a Christmas card. They decided on Christmas in July and sent me a healthy donation to the Feed and Clothe Me Fund. What's more, when I called Daddy Dragon to say thank you, he explained a certain "problem" they had that they were hopiing i could "help" with. Apparently, Mama Dragon can't seem to get the hang of her new digital camera. She wants a simple 35mm camera with actual roles of film, so Daddy Dragon was going to go get her one and send me the digi (which we all know I have been craving). I was appalled! I immediately said I would go get her a nice, simple camera in exchange for the uber-tech she had such issues with. I will probably even send her film. Hell, I might even let her take my picture!

Other great stuff: new Knitty is up and I am dying to make some socks now, as well as something irresistable for Walter, Swan and I are making fairly solid plans to get our asses to Rhinebeck, Yoshi has agreed to go (what he'll do there, I have no idea), and I actually made decent money at work last night.

Hey, peoples, tip your servers!! I don't mean some crappy 15%, either, there is a lot of work they do for you that you will never know about, so TIP YOUR SERVERS!!

What else? I know what to make out of only 100 yards of sock yarn, so those great colors won't be wasted (it's a surprise!), Roomie and I made a birthday present for Swan, and I get to go buy her yarn-related paraphernalia to send along with it. What's more, Roomie will actually be 15 minutes away from her in about a week, so she is bringing her camcorder so I can see Swan open her gifts, and get a full view of her stash... Devious, aren't I? mwah-hah-hah... that's my evil laugh.

Oh, and Henry Rollins now has a full front upper body, and half a back. I know, progress is slow, but I got a lot going on, okay?

And by the way, Joey Ramone, 4 stitches on DPNs is fucking I-cord. So bite me.

04 July 2006

Pretty colors

Today I dyed the yarn Swan sent me, using KoolAid and a microwave. Fun stuff, let me tell you! First, I had to find KoolAid...

Publix only had 5 flavors. I was so pissed, I took a picture so I could appropriately display my disbelief. I went to two different 24-Walmarts in search of more, and finally got to a Winn Dixie this morning, where they had about a bajillion flavors. Including the Pineapple Swan told me would come out a lovely, vivid yellow... you'll see that later. Thanks, Winn Dixie!!

Here's all the yarn and KoolAid, posing for it's photo op. I was sad to realize, the large skein of the Maine wool Swan sent me would take about 20 - 30 packs of KoolAid, which I wasn't prepared for. I will just have to dye it another day. But, the Knit Picks Dye-your-own is all skeined out, about 100 yards to a skein, and I used plastic zip ties to secure it. They did create a little resistance, but you'll see how that can be a good thing...

First skein: dyed Pina, allowed a bit of cooling, then zip ties everywhere (can you see?). Then, I dyed it with a very strong concentration of Berry Blue. The resists worked out great, but were a bit difficult to cut out. I hope I didn't fray the wool too badly; we'll know when it is all dry and I am ready to ball it up.

This is the method Swan recommended for two-color dyeing. I folded the skein in half, put each half in a glass coffee cup and both cups in a Pyrex pie plate, and got the cuteness on the left here. That's Berry Blue and Wild Watermelon Kiwi, which is a really intense neon green. I asked Yoshi to pick some colors, and this is what he wanted. I really like it...

Half Grape and half Pink Lemonade, dyed in the same method as the blue/green. It looks very girly as it drains itself in the sink. Grape is very intense and takes no shit. It crawled up the skein, invaded the Pink Lemonade, and dulled it down a bit. Some people are like that.

Black Cherry in the 'wave. I think this made my favorite color. It is a deep and soulful red, not represented well here. It is much better in person.

And here we are, hanging out to dry. I named my colors myself, so I don't have to tell anyone that I'm making something out of Blast-a-Berry-Cherry or some crap like that, because really, who needs that aggravation? We've got I Love Unicorns (pink/purple), Flaming (red), Don't Make Me Angry (Bruce Banner calm blue and Hulk insane green), and Mermaid Hair (blue-green with yellow peeking through). I feel very clever.

I wonder what to make out of these? Crap, I had so much fun just getting them dyed, I didn't really consider a finished product... Crappity crap crap. Any suggestions? I almost wanted to make harlequin socks, but these soooo don't ever go together. I'll just have to (oh, no!) buy more yarn. Thanks, Swan, for this awesome test run, and all the great advice. I had lots of fun!

Ooooohhh. I wish I had been there. It is quite fulfulling for me to see that I've infected you with the dyeing fever. You do realize that since I sent you a skein of mine, you have to send me one of yours? Don't forget that I sent you my favorite, ok? Right.

03 July 2006

Who's afraid of the big bad gauge swatch?

As promised, gauge swatch philosophy.

There are knitters who abhor the gauge swatch. They despise the time it takes out of their actual project-making, will do anything to get out of it (even resign themselves to scarf hell), and simply have general disdain when confronted with this simple little practice round that will save them whole days of their lives later. And this is really how I feel about them, too, to be perfectly honest. A gauge swatch sucks the life out of you. However, there are no gauge swatches.

There are, however, the world's most useful coasters.

Every time I cast on a gauge swatch, I think to myself how nice this coaster will be. My glass of ice water is currently residing on the tiny representative of the Purple Felted Monster; Yoshi's drinks live atop his Fair Isle hat wannabe, done up in a mitered square. If I can only convince myself that what I am making is more useful than giving me gauge (not that gauge is useless, mind you, just annoying) then I can happily knit 4-inch squares until the second coming of Elvis. I even buy extra yarn (gasp!) to be sure I have enough to not have to frog the coaster for the sake of the project. If it is anything feltable, I go ahead and felt the sucker. Then I back it with this self-sticky craft foam to insure it's waterproof-i-ness (no, not really a word) and therefore it's usefulness on an actual table where a coaster would be used. It comforts me.

No, I am not stupid enough to believe my own psychological tricks, but dammit, it works. What do you have that works? Then shut up.

You know what else? I have a working and useful sort of project journal, and you can't take that away from me. Although it may be weird when someone asks me if my sweater matches my coaster on purpose. Because I am so not that girl. And, it's a stash buster if you need one.

There are no problems, only challenges to which we must rise. There is no ugliness, only unexpected forms of beauty. And there are no gauge swatches, only very useful and elaborate coasters.
Now, go chant some Amidas and then do something useful with your time in a very Zen-like state.


Coming attractions! Next time, Dragon's adventures with KoolAid Dyeing! or, the Electric KoolAid Acid Swatch! Coming soon to a blog near you, in vivid TechniColor with pictures! Let's all just hope I don't dye the cat, okay? I am soooo looking forward to tomorrow.

How I learned to stop worrying and love the gauge swatch...

So, Swan, I know you check out You Knit What? an awful lot; I do every day. I don't want to miss a moment of the extreme fug going on there. Well, someone commented on today's (Sunday, July 2) that we are apparently having a theme of anatomy lessons, and include links to a knitted digestive system and uterus. I think that's just great, so, I thought I'd share a little story with anyone who may be reading (but not you, as I know you may remember this story).

When the roomie was preggers with Walter, I really wanted to make some booties. As a knitter of, oh, 5 months at the time, I did not respect the gauge swatch. I was certain that since I had "gotten gauge" on a blanket and scarf before, I'd be fine with something I expected anyone to actually wear. Please note: blankets and scarves do not necessarily need a rigid gauge achieved. If they are inches off, who gives a crap? Well, I was young and impulsive, what can I say? So, I figured I always get gauge! I can just make whatever I want by reading a yarn label and "adjusting" whatever the hell I feel! And I cast on One Hour Booties from SnBN without looking back. I think at the time, I also figured it was only an hour out of my life if it came out crap, but I'm sure some part of me was cocky enough to hope.

I didn't use the recommended yarn or needles, what was I thinking? I didn't swatch up anything at all, what was I thinking? The bootie came out too huge for any human baby to ever wear, but still not so big that I thought it a total waste of yarn and frogged it. Maybe I thought it would block out, hah! So, after much toying around with the stupid bootie, I ripped out the seaming and hurled it across the room. Towards Yoshi, who didn't seem to understand why I'd cry over my "relaxing hobby". He took one look at it and then put it on a certain part of his, ahem, male anatomy. I laughed my ass off, let me tell you. I then measured him around the waist and added a crochet chain "waistband" where the back of the cuff should seam, and a small crochet chain, hmmm, somewhere else, to go over, hmmm, something else.

I made crotchless panties for men, y'all. He slipped his willy through the loop and put his boys in the bootie. The best part was the fuzzy baby yellow color. On his crotchless panties. Which he wore only once and for about twenty seconds (to his credit).

Yoshi is now, I am sure of it, very grateful that this post has no pictures.

And I have always, always done my gauge swatch from then on. I even have a philosophy about it which I will save for next post, where we learn that there are no gauge swatches.

02 July 2006

Busy little bees

Here's the post-felted bag, blocking itself out. I had to stuff it with books to get the proper dimensions for blocking. Oh, and one corner is going to be shaped like a jar of peanut butter. It is now holding my yearbook from high school, a developmental psych text from my college days, a museum guide book from the Louvre in Paris, and a jar of extra chunky. Psychoanalyze that, I dare you.

Got an awesome care package from the Swan a few days ago. Hand-dyed yarn, instructions for dyeing the yarn she sent me (Kool Aid, here I come!), baby pants I need to seam up for Walter, strawberry and apple syrup (we had French toast this morning, and it was pretty good), silly books of cross stitchery (my oldest and dorkiest hobby), and one more thing...

The alpaca finger of death!! She picked up a finger puppet somewhere, apparently, and I hope the baby doesn't mind that I stole it from her. Hey, man, I made the kid booties and a blankie, and she never makes me anything but poop. I deserve her alpaca finger puppet.

And actually, we aren't too sure it's not a llama. Oh well. Fuck it.

And I regret to inform the world, I suck. I have not actually cast on the Project Linus blankie. Sorry, peoples, I have a job. What's more, I went to a Playboy pajama party last night (no, you don't get pics of me in sexy jammies, you perverts), repotted herbs today, worked twelve hours yesterday and woefully neglected calling Mom and Dad. They've left me three voicemails and an email now, and I am just too tired. Sorry, Mom and Dad. I still love you!