Monday, June 25, 2007

Why yes, I have been knitting. I am still working on the gray sock (with lace!), and began a second sock out of the Cider Moon "Wild Honey" colorway. I am forgoing a lace pattern on this one - the colors are so beautiful and striking on their own, and it makes a good "take anywhere" sock because I am not constantly checking a chart. I still did a lot of explaining how a provisional cast on toe-up sock comes together (I am using Wendy's generic sock pattern). People are amazed. I will make an effort at pictures tomorrow.

I had an excellent time at the AGSEM this weekend and only got a little sunburned. At movie night we watched "The World's Fastest Indian" with Anthony Hopkins and it was indeed a heartwarming tale. There were some close calls, though! It was a beautiful clear, chilly night with an intensely bright half moon, and it felt nice to be out in the open air, snuggled in a blanket, there at the tractor drive in.

Not much else to report here at the moment. There are some things in the background that are not ready for blog publication yet, however. Tonight's big excitement is getting the car washed and my hair cut. Woo.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Pick of the Day: "Solsbury Hill" by Peter Gabriel. I am listening to "shaking the tree" (a best-of CD), and am so in love with this song.

I have been knitting away on the Zarina sock. I am putting lace up the instep, and am using "lacy diamonds" as the pattern. It is July 29 on the 365 knitting stitches perpetual calendar. Have I mentioned how much I adore this yarn? It is lovely.

Last night I sat down with every intention of knitting from 7 until bedtime. I put "Rize" in the dvd player, and spent the next hour absolutely mesmerized (and not knitting). It is a documentary style film about a dance style in the "ghettos" of greater Los Angeles. It was so far out of my realm of experience, and these young people (jeez I am getting old) were so talented, that I could not look away. Every time I thought to myself, ok they have talked this part of the subject to death, the story would move right along to the next point, which was nice of them. I recommend it to anyone who wants a change of pace (if you are a boring white girl like me). It was really quite interesting, enlightening and entertaining.

Then I put in a Law & Order disc and was back in my element :)

Remember how I was in love with the HBO show "Carnivale" a few months back? You know how I adore the Steam Engine Museum? Check this out and be amazed and impressed. I was!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

One Toe. That is my knitting progress so far today (all at lunchtime). I am pleased. This yarn is amazing (the label says Zarina, Filatura di Crosa, and Merino - extrafine). It is soft soft soft, and squashy, and very round (it is a cable of 4 2ply yarns). It is so luxurious to knit with that it is hard to knit at top speed. I keep slowing down and closing my eyes. My boss chose well when she brought two balls of it back from Italy with her.

Tonight we are not going to be at Market Night, so I am going sundress shopping (it is summer, after all) and then I am going to knit into the wee hours. Last night I finished spinning up the "peachy" merino / tencel roving and watched Eddie Izzard "Unrepeatable" (1994). It was great.

I have had the BEST week. I can't wait for this weekend, and yet I also love looking forward to the weekend so much that I hope it takes its time getting here.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

10 1/2. That's how many hours until I can start knitting for the SOS. I have stocked up on Loopy Ewe yarns, Knit N Stitch yarns, yarn from Italy that my boss brought me, yarn from the stash and my birthday present was a membership to the Yarn Pirate sock club, so I should be set. I have been winding balls all week (I wind by hand) and making gauge swatches over the last two days. I have spinning on the spinning wheel that can be made into socks at a moment's notice. There are fleeces in the closet if I get desparate.

Darling Wendy is having a contest for folks to guess how many pairs of socks she will make over the summer. I have sent in my guess, although by September I will never want to see another skein of sock yarn again. Maybe that is the real way to restrict yarn buying - overdosing.

My official "Knit This" sock list:
  • Zarina superfine merino "gray"
  • Mountain Colors (for M) "Tamarack"
  • Marks & Kattens Clown socks (for C)
  • "Watermelon Tourmaline" from Stone Barn Fibers
  • "Saffron" from Sweet Georgia
  • "Painted Desert" from Stone Barn Fibers
  • "Peppermint Mocha" from Claudia
  • "Wild Clover" from Cider Moon
  • Online Supersock
  • Pink socks (for K)

Wish me luck!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Miss Popularity. That's me.

We had a nice weekend at the AGSEM last weekend. The weather was beautiful, the chili dogs just kept coming, the spinning was easy (wound off another 800 yards of yarn to dye), and life was good. If I was less uptight, I would be bouncing up and down in my chair asking "how soon til we go back?" over and over. 3 more days. Only 3 more days. Loopy (from the Loopy Ewe) had his picture taken with Abraham Lincoln for the "take Loopy on Vacation" contest. Who is more famous than Abraham Lincoln??

The Summer of Socks begins on Thursday at 5am Eastern (that's 2am Pacific for me) and I am in the blocks, waiting to knit. Last week I matched stitch patterns to colorways, last night was spent winding skeins of yarn into balls of yarn, this morning I started on the gauge swatches. It is going to be all knitting all the time at my house. And in the car, and at work, and at lunch, and at market night. My goal is 12 pairs in 12 weeks. It's a big goal. But I really like knitting.

Watched "Van Helsing" finally... it was ok. It went better when I remembered that I queued it up because David Wenham (swoon) is in it, but really I just only looked up from my ball winding when I heard his voice. Eddie Izzard should be waiting in my mailbox tonight. A good thing too, because I don't think I can knit and laugh at the same time. I can, however, spin and laugh and wind balls of sock yarn and laugh.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Ta Da! The Mermaid scarf is done! I have not blocked it yet though (I needed to sleep on my bed last night instead of dry lace on it). It is called the Mermaid because of the fishtail lace borders and the "foaming waves" center panel. I will add some sort of edging on the other side of the fishtails when I write up the pattern.
This is a small section. I love the way the colors undulate across the width of the scarf.
I am quite tickled.

Monday, June 11, 2007

So Much Fun, so Little Laundry.
I stayed at the coffee place, playing WoW, for an embarassingly long time last night. But I bought my coffee, no one asked me if I was leaving soon, and the woman on the other side of the room was there before and after me. I am on my way to taming a pet (and you know how I like pets), I finally joined a group, and it was only a little intimidating. It sure is easier to kill things when there are 3 people. I made sure to leave the computer unplugged last night and today so that it will not be tempted to skip yoga and play WoW instead. I miss yoga.

When I came home, I watched "National Treasure" with Nick Cage and Sean Bean. That's Boromir to you hip people. I am only on the edge of hip, because it took me 2 hours to place his face. Anyway, it was an entertaining romp, but not high art. I enjoy the Dan Brown and Clive Cussler books more.

I have a picture of the cotton samples from the weekend for you:

From the top, that is navajo (chain) plied organic brown cotton (courtesy of Eileen - when I tried it broke and broke and broke), organic brown cotton singles, 50%cotton 50%wool blend singles, Upland cotton singles, and a dyed cotton singles. That is also the order that the samples were covered in the class. The brown cotton was my favorite. It looks just like all that camel down I was spinning earlier this year. The upland cotton, which does NOT come from Upland, was my least favorite. I think it was the preparation (draw sliver) that was my stumbling block. Or maybe because it was the 3rd sample and I was getting tired and frustrated.
Altogether, I am inordinately proud of my little heap of skeins. I made 2 skeins of angora yesterday at the Lace In, and then last night I worked on the dyed pink cotton a little bit. Again, it was late and I was tired, so it isn't very even, but at least I sat down and practiced.

The plan for today - have a GREAT day at work (affirmations, people), do some laundry, go to yoga in evening, and practice on the charkha at some point. I don't want to hear any comments about my lack of knitting progress.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

The Best Weekend Since October 1998.

The cotton spinning workshop, with Eileen Hallman (New World Textiles) on Saturday was GREAT. The students had fun, the teacher was happy, everybody was able to spin by the end, and lunch was a success. Ruth lent me her camera and I took oodles of pictures which came out well. I purchased Eileen's dvd for further lessons, a special shuttle for weaving with the freshly spun threads, and some replacement spindles as mine are crap. I cannot thank enough everybody who participated, who had a great time, who brought or helped eat the snacks, and who stayed to tidy up after eventhoughyoudidn'thaveto. I can hardly wait to do this again with the advanced class!

Afterward, Anne, her fiancee Scott, and I went out for Thai food for a belated birthday dinner. We shared ginger delight and yellow curry *mmmm* It is called Best Thai for a reason (1735 Spruce St, Riverside, CA *cash only*). Then it was back to the house for presents - Scott got two knitting books and I got two knitting books which are FABULOUS. I had this crazy grin all evening. I got home about 9, put in the "spinning on a charkha" dvd and fell asleep to it. A good day.

Today was great too. I went to the Lace In hosted by the Hedgehog Lacers bobbin lace guild. I did not take any classes, but rather manned the soap booth and practiced spinning on my charkha. Cleverly, I left behind the cotton I meant to spin today. I found some angora (rabbit) fiber and spun up a couple skeins of that. Everything went well until I hit matted spots - then it was a bear to draft. It was great to see all my bobbin lace buddies AND people bought soap. Randy made up some really neat Goat's Milk - Honey - Oatmeal soap that was gorgeous and sold out quickly.

No knitting progress to report, but I will try to post pictures of the weekend's completed skeins tomorrow. Right now I am going to play a little WoW and then watch my accumulated Netflix - "Ray" and "National Treasure". What a double feature!

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Walking on Sunshine... or maybe just stepping on her tail. No new knitting progress to report today, friends. Yesterday I managed to limp through the work day, play a little World of Warcraft, go to yoga and meditation, and go to bed.

Today is going a bit better than the rest of the week - maybe I got a little closer to my center yesterday at meditation. I am always so glad when I stay. And last night 20 minutes did not seem all that long. I love it when Micah gives us a little speech before we start and we all compare notes afterward. It makes me realize that the things I feel / think are normal and I am right on track.

Tonight you can find The Soap Plantation booth at our Downtown Market Night (in front of the California Building) and also over in the ballroom of the Life Arts Building as part of the Riverside Arts Walk. Get out! Smell some soap! Go check out Kelly and Gil's pictures of Africa!

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Home Again, Home Again. We are back from Scottsdale and the soaply festivities. We had a really successful show - met great people, saw some great presentations and got fired up again about the bath and body business, sold some soap, and knit like the wind. We have some big ideas for the Soap Plantation in the next few months.

We wandered by the Grand Canyon Deer Farm outside Watkins / Flagstaff on Monday and fed the deer. It was a good time. They had a baby reindeer which totally made my weekend. I asked after the llama's fleeces, but they are already going to a spinner.

I loved driving through the desert (or, more accurately, watching the desert pass by through the passenger window) - California desert, Sonoran Desert, the pine trees in Flagstaff, the just plain desert in Barstow. The saguaros were blooming, the air was clear, and it was pleasantly warm (for those of you who know me, you will know this means it was around 100). I even saw quail around the hotel where the convention was. They are just too cute for words, with their little topknots and very determined manner of walking.

Progress on the mystery scarf project was satisfying and rapid. I never want to knit anything but fingering weight cashmere forever. I will be so sad when this project is done - but I can't wait to wear my scarf now that Air Conditioning Season is upon us. I really will post a picture someday.

Progress on poor Icarus was slower - the yarn is too fine for knitting while the car is moving and the cobweb weight merino was too scratchy (!) after a whole day of knitting with cashmere. I want it done and displayed over at Knit N Stitch soon, so I will be getting back to it shortly.

School is DONE for the semester. I took my final exam tonight and did okay - okay for someone who did not study because she was at a soap convention. I am taking the summer off and then I will see about fall.

Netflixing has also been slow (see the excuse I used for school), but I managed to finish "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest". I was watching, paying attention, covered in cats, and when I said to myself, finally! now we are getting to the heart of the movie! the credits started rolling. It seems that #2 is just a lot of set up for #3. Luckily I have gift certificates and a theater across the street. I will go see it soon - Thursday perhaps.