Saturday, September 27, 2008

I cut my hair off!

well, I didn't do it - Beth at Square One Salon did it.  I love it - she's so good!  I'm not sure I totally meant to get it all cut off, but it was one of those deals where I decided maybe Thursday that it was looking pretty crappy and lifeless (and I'd done so much chopping on it myself since my last cut that I knew I'd better say "i'm sorry" right after "hi"!) then made an appointment from work on Friday morning and left to get it done that afternoon - not a lot of time to really decide what I wanted to do.  I did want something different though and I did throw out the idea of a pixie cut with kind of more length in the front, then said " I trust you" - because I do - she always does a great job, and she always goes for something modern.  And I love it - I think it's kind of nerdy cute!  The BF wasn't totally keen on it at first, but when he knew me years ago - predating days - I always had my hair short, so it wasn't like he'd never seen me with it short before.  It's just that I didn't warn him - but again, I didn't warn myself either!  He thinks it's cute now.  I mean what do you do with your hair when you're going to be wearing a hard hat half the day?  Maybe people with long hair who just slick it back into a ponytail don't have problems.  Guess we'll see how this goes.  I just wanted to prewarn everyone who I'll see at knitting on Sunday - because even though my hair wasn't totally long before, it's still a big change.  Whee!  

And in other news, I finished my Eleanor!  This seems kind of weird to blog about because all my local friends have already seen it, and I've posted it on Ravelry, but still, I will!  Let me tell you -- this is a fantastic pattern and I think everyone should run out right now and buy it (it's available as a Ravelry download)!   I think the possibilities are just about endless for styles with this on pattern - it's written intending for about 2" of positive ease which would give a little more relaxed look, but mine definitely doesn't have that, and neither does Emily's, and I think they look great fitted.  Also the colors you pick could make it look really modern or totally retro or just very understated and natural (like in brown tweeds with wooden buttons maybe) - I even think if you took out the waist shaping it'd look really super on a guy (not my guy, but some thin, nerdy-hot kind of guy!)  I'm so so crazy happy about this FO - I love the fact that it looks good buttoned up, 
or just partially buttoned,
 or totally unbuttoned (I think the great waist shaping keeps it looking good unbuttoned - it doesn't turn all slouchy.) 
 I used Cascade 220 and because I waited till evening to take pictures like an idiot, the flash is on and the blue comes out kind of royal-ish, when really it's much more peacock teal-ish.  Ok, one last time - go buy this!  it totally needs to be in your queue at least! 

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Woolgathering Weekend!

After a very long week at work, it was finally time for the Woolgathering in Yellow Springs - an annual fiber festival, and one of my favorite times of the year!  I went with Emily and we saw nearly everyone there in the world that we knew!  Our friend Catherine made everyone these nifty buttons and she gave them to us as she saw us!  Cool!  The weather was great, the people were friendly, it was busy, but not too crowded to be able to look at what you wanted to look at, and the yarn selection was great!  I got lots of great stuff, and although I had a list I wasn't nearly as focused as Emily, who checked off almost every project on her list (and these were sweater quantity things!)  I did get mostly stuff that I have a plan for, but apparently I'm also pretty open to the most minor justification - like Emily saying "oh, you'll think of something".  Damn right I will.  someday.  That's how I ended up with this skein of fantastic yellow sport weight cotton from Creatively Dyed Yarn.  I love it!  I also picked up a skein of 100% Llama just because I don't have any llama and I felt that I should round out my stash's fiber content!  It's a deep grey - the whole section of this was undyed natural colors, I believe.  I'm thinking mittens or a cowl, but who knows!  it's 240 yards and fantastically soft - any suggestions?  I also picked up a hank of hand dyed DK weight alpaca - it's a lovely blue green that doesn't really come out quite right in the pictures.  I hate to admit it, but I'm also thinking maybe a cowl for this (I'm using cowls as a justification for everything I pick up lately!)  Then I got a single skein of this bulky alpaca - it's really heavy and fantastic and I wish they'd had more skeins of each color because I kind of wanted to splurge on a sweater quantity ( I was thinking of the Abbess Pullover) This will be a cowl maybe for work ( I know, I know!) because I'll definitely want something warmy for cold days, but I'm worried that it'll get dirty or absorb the smells like everything else I wear does!  I suppose that's what the wool wash is for, and I shouldn't worry about it.  Finally, I got one ball of this Alpaca Yarn Company Joya - just because it was so loopy and made me think of one of those Russian hats.  It'll probably sit next to the ball of similarly loopy Garnstudio yarn I haven't done anything yet.  after owning it for years.  My intention was to buy some local handspun, but it seems like I ended up with more handyed.  Still, I did better than usual by getting less commercial yarn.  

Oh, there were also tons of weavers there but I was not allowed to look at any of them, and when I did I got a stern talkin' to by Emily.  I don't understand why everyone is against me weaving.  Seriously, no one I know has thought it was even a slightly ok idea.  It isn't like I'm going to quit knitting or that I'll have to sink tons of money into an entirely different group of hobby supplies.  It's starting to feel like one of those situations where everyone tells you that the guy's no good for you, but you don't agree, so you cling to him even more.  Weaving is my bad boy.  But seriously, he's really sweet and it's just that no one else really understands him like I do!  

In addition to all the shopping, we saw lots of sheep and goats and alpacas and, as always, the duck herding dog (which I took a little video of, but Blogger isn't wanting to upload it apparently) 
 Then, because the Woolgathering is at Youngs Jersey Dairy and they're kind of famous for ice cream, we got some ice cream - cinnamon for Emily and a Pumpkin Bumpkin for me (it was a shake made with real pumpkin pie and french vanilla ice cream - mmmm!)  THEN she took me to Ashley's bakery in Oakwood which is just around the corner from where she grew up.  Because it's apple season, that means it's apple dumpling season so she said we had to get one!  I'm saving mine to split with Billy, unless I change my mind before he gets home from work and eat the whole thing then pretend like it never existed!  She also got me a couple of their famous cookies - I can't remember the clever name now, but it was a thin chewy molasses spice cookie with a poof of meringue in the middle and deeelicious!   They also have fantastic salt sticks (rye bread sticks with grainy salt on the outside!) which I had to get and eat half of.  So today my super nutritious food intake has consisted of an apple with coffee for breakfast, a granola bar to keep me from passing out while shopping (it was the South Beach kind which Emily is always raving about and there are pretty damn good!), then a milkshake (which, I remind you, was not just pie flavored, but actually had pie IN it!) then a cookie, then half a breadstick (which I intend to finish when I post this!)  Not really going in a good direction today!  Oh well - it's the Woolgathering weekend and that's reason enough to celebrate!  

Saturday, September 6, 2008

They used to tell us that cocaine wasn't addictive either

I decided to "toss" my stash today, as one should every so often, according to the advice of Stephanie Pearly-McPhee.  Not toss, as in 'throw away', but toss like a salad - move it around, check it out, pull what's hiding on the bottom up to the top, etc.  I really did it just because I was searching for some partial skeins at the request my friend Catherine who's working on some traveling scarves and wanted something in a colorway she didn't have (and I'm still not sure I understand what color she's looking for, but I had fun looking nonetheless!)  That searching turned into a desire to reorganize my stash by weight.  It seemed like a good idea.  I put things in ziplocks that weren't previously in ziplocks, I rearranged, I neatly stacked ( I can pull out the bags like books now and see 5 skeins or so in each one!)  It's beautiful.  I have 3 shelves of worsted, 1/2 a shelf of lace wt., and 1/2 a shelf of DK/sport in one cabinet. Then 1 shelf of bulky, one of fingering weight (enough for 16 pairs of socks!), 1 of assorted weirdo acrylics for amigurimi, etc., and one of crap/acrylic that I'm not super crazy about but might use on some project if it just happens to come up, in the other cabinet.  I don't even want to add up the yardage like those stash and burn girls, but I did estimate that it's about 52 gallons worth if I count up the bags!  I like that better just because it's a ridiculous unit of measure that keeps me from thinking about how many projects I've got sitting there!  This wasn't on my to-do list for today, but making a list for the upcoming Woolgathering was.  Not sure it's a good idea to try to do that after just counting 52 gallons of yarn I already own!  As I was going through it all, I'd see stuff and think "oh, that'd go great with this" or "oh yeah, I wanted to make a cabled hat with this!" so I really really need to start working from my stash instead of from my queue, because I can do it.  I know I've said it before!

I'm back in the race!

For like two days this week I didn't do any knitting - that's kind of weird for me.  especially two consecutive days.  I think it was partly because I've been knitting on only one thing for a while now - my Eleanor test knit, which I'm really loving, but it's just hard to stick with only one thing, you know?  I think it was also partly because I needed to seam up the side and sleeve before finishing the sleeve cuff (Emily's came out short and mine was looking like it would too, but I wanted to be sure by being able to actually put the sleeve ON my body.)  The seaming just loomed over me for some reason - you know, you've got to lay it out on a table or something, and concentrate, and those simple things just seemed like more than I wanted to deal with.  But last night I finally did it (after getting out a book to make sure I was doing it right - because I rarely seam right and it turns out looking like crap.)  Man is that seaming thing gratifying!  Wow - when you do it right it looks so good!  and yeah, it takes a while, but boy do you feel jazzed about it as you see it coming out right!  All my rows lined up so nicely - the stripes matched, the armholes matched - whee!  I'm totally re-energized and back in the Eleanor race!  

Before starting on sleeve #2 today though, I decided I needed to quit pretending like the weeds which are quickly turning into trees in my yard don't exist, so I went out this morning and did a big of clean up.  Not nearly as much as I need to, but it's something.  This is why yardwork kind of freaks me out sometimes - especially when I let things get too overgrown - the scary stuff moves in!  
Can you believe that thing?  It's black and yellow and it was actually eating it's prey 
when I looked up and saw it right in front of me - that's the other problem - you don't see this crap till you're almost right in it and about to be killed by a flurry of probably deadly spider bites!  At the very least I'm sure I'd crack my head on the side of the bricks while I'm flailing and trying to get away from it's maybe deadly attack!  I'm not super afraid of spiders, but anything big like that just gives me the impression that it might be capable of anger, revenge or planned attacks and I don't want to be part of that!  This guy has a buddy of the same species who's standing guard over some tomato plants that I let get a little (ok, a LOT) overgrown in the back of the yard.  He's so big I swear he yells at me whenever I walk past - "heeey baby- I got yer tomatoes right here!"  Ugh, he's a jerk.  One thing that IS cool about both of these guys is their webs - look at the zig zag that goes up and down from the center point - both of them did this on their webs and it's probably for strength, or it's like their cast on edge or something, I don't know - it certainly adds to the menace though.  Like a barbed wire fence around him.
  Oh, my hand also got dangerously close to this monster praying mantis. 
 I know praying mantises probably don't hurt you, but again, it's the size!  He was in the same bed as the giant spider and was patient enough to wait there on the bird bath while I went to get the camera.  As I was watching him, he turned his head and looked right at me!  Seriously - check that picture - he's totally looking at me - maybe you can't tell, but what you're seeing at the head end is actually the front of his face - that neck just bent like I had no idea an insect neck could bend!  At which point I decided he was probably a preying mantis, and was thinking of coming at me with those big clacky wings, so I backed off slowly and started yanking ivy elsewhere!  If I ever meet him in a dark alley, he's totally gonna say "heeey, I remember yooou!"  not cool man, not cool.