Archive for April, 2006

Harlot in Lexington, or The Greatest Day of My Knitting Life

Some people go on pilgramages, most famously to Mecca. A few lucky members of our knitting circle went to Lexington yesterday to see Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, world famous Yarn Harlot, and I’m willing to bet that our pilgramage was way more fun!

Seriously, what can I say about the Harlot that a million other knitters haven’t already said? She is just one of millions of obsessed committed knitters all over the world, and yet she manages to tie us all in together, united by our love of pointy sticks and woolly stings. We knitters are used to being misunderstood by family, friends, co-workers, neighbors, casual aqcuaintances, and total strangers. If we’re lucky, we get just a handful of people in our lives who are just as "into" our chosen craft as we are. The great thing about the Yarn Harlot is that not only does she "get it", she has this really cool way of analyzing and explaining our love for knitting in a way that is absolutely hysterical. I know she doesn’t think she’s "cool", but I have to respectfully disagree. In my book, she is the coolest.

I think I managed to get through the signing part of the day without making a total ass out of myself. I guess if I did in fact do something completely ridiculous, nobody told me about it! We set out from Sophie’s at about 11 AM yesterday morning. Of course, we arrived in Lexington way too early, but that was ok because it gave us time to find the bathroom, eat lunch, and try to draw out the other knitters we knew had to be lurking around the convention center by working on our socks in various locations. We spotted a few sock knitters around, but didn’t have much luck, until the actual book signing started. Then, they all came out of the woodwork! It was fun to see everybody out with their socks. Lots of yarn fondling was going on.

Our group was pretty close to the start of line, and I was the first one from our group. Pressure! I honestly don’t know how this happened. I kept trying to let people go in front of me, and it just wasn’t working. I guess they were afraid that if they tried to pass me I might bite them or something. I was really nervous but it was fine. I brought her a bar of Endangered Species Chocolate in the Mint flavor, which is my personal favorite. She signed my book!! (I only brought At Knit’s End because I thought bringing all three might be a little weird and stalkerly, but in retrospect almost everybody else brought all of theirs so maybe it would have been ok.)

After our group all had their books signed (and Liz had her extremely exciting moment of blog recognition… go read about it at her blog!), we mosied over to the Thoroughbred 6 room to knit and wait for the Harlot’s talk to begin. The talk was definitely the best part of the day for me. I swear, I could not wipe the goofy ass grin off my face the entire time she was talking. It was a little embarrassing because my laugh is seriously loud and obnoxious, but I couldn’t help it! I wish I had recorded it or something. After the talk, we piled back into the Offcial Yarn Harlot ’06 Tour Transport Vehicles (i.e. Jessie’s station wagon) and made our way home, one group of tired but happy knitters.

Since I am an unfortunate blogger with no digital camera, I took lots of pictures on a disposable camera and will post them after I get developed. Liz has already posted all her wonderful pictures on her blog, so I would go check the rest out there. I didn’t want to steal all of her awesome pictures, but since this one has me in it, I don’t think she’ll be too mad. This is me with the Yarn Harlot at her booth. I bet she is really tired of people taking pictures of her, but she does put on a convincing smile.

Hollyandtheharlot

 

After I made it back home, I was motivated to finally finish grafting the toe for the sock some of you might remember from a previous post about knitting on it during the George Carlin show in Cincinatti. The whole sock has been done for over a month now, just patiently waiting for a grafted toe. Now that it’s finished, I am really motivated to cast on for the next on in the pair. Also, I’m almost finished with the first sock of the pair I’m making for my Mom for Mother’s Day. I worked on it all day yesterday and believe it or not, when I got home I had gotten so far down that I had to rip back a good 2 inches to start on the toe. I’m actually almost finished with that sock now, so I’ll have a pair of handknitted socks! They just don’t… match.

I know I complained on here a lot about not being able do the same sock over twice in a row, but I have to admit that grafting the toe last night and actually being able to put the sock on my foot and a whole thing was quite a rush, and really motivated me to start the second one ASAP. Maybe that is the key to this whole sock thing. Having the first half of the pair completed gives you the nessecary energy to start on the second.

At the moment, my big problem is needles. Last Wednesday night, I bought two pairs of 24" size 2 Addi Turbos, because I bought some sock yarn that seemed slightly thicker than what I would normally use. But after swatching with that yarn on the 2’s, I’ve discovered that I really don’t like the way they look. I usually knit very loosely, and I’m thinking that if anything I should have bought a pair of 0’s instead. So here’s the deal- if there’s anybody reading this who could use a pair of the needles in question (2 Addi Turbos, 24" size #2), I’d be willing to trade them for a pair of the same type of needle in 0 or 1; or I would be ok with selling them (possibly at a discount) to anyone who needs them; or maybe some other type of trade could be arranged. I am open to any offers! I’m sure if I can’t get rid of them I’ll use them for something, someday, but at the moment I really need needles I can use for projects I want to work on now!

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Almost pedicure time!

Weigh in #5 and I am down by an amazing 21 pounds! Which means on a mere, tiny, infinitesimal 14 pounds to go before I get my very first professional pedicure, complete with hot pink toenails! (In case I haven’t already told you fifty million times, I am rewarding myself with a pedicure when I reach my initial goal of losing 10% of my starting body weight.) Still happy with my body, happy with my diet, and generally happy with my life. So far, this has been a pretty good year for me. (Knock on wood! After all, there are still 9 months or so to go.)

Oh, and yesterday I saw that I’ve been tagged by the vivacious Mery but it really did take me a whole day to figure out what I was supposed to do, so here goes:

1. Five Minutes to yourself how would you spend them, ideally?
Knitting, which should be pretty obvious considering my blog, but on what and where? In actual reality, I would probably spend my whole five minutes trying to decide, but since this is my fantasy, I’m going to pick up my pair of pink summer cotton socks, head for the pool, and lounge in the sun with just me, my yarn, and my needles. Ooh, and a pair of sunglasses, but not too dark or I won’t be able to tell the difference between my knits and my purls!

2. Five bucks to spend it right now, how would you spend it?
Yarn. Wow, I really am predictable. Five bucks will not get you a lot in the yarn world, but last night when I was in Meijer I noticed they had a lot of funky yarns half off, so I would go back and get the balls that I ended up not buying after walking around the store with them for a half hour.

3. Five items in your house you can part with, right now that you hadn’t thought of already?

Bob (just kidding! Bob is an essential part of the Golightly household.)

I would say that we could live without

*The spare mattress that we propped up against the wall when our roommates moved out

* A bunch of overdue library books.

* A Rasputin action figure that I broke and keep meaning to glue back together but probably never will.

*The hundreds and hundred of unlabelled CDs that we have burned over the last 4 years, but since we need to go through them and make sure we’re not getting rid of "important stuff", it’s not overwhelmingly likely to happen.

* The lifesize Sally doll (Sally from Nightmare Before Christmas), another bizaare object that our roommates left us with. When I say lifesize, I mean it. She is 5 feet tall and we put her in the bathroom that we usually don’t use because I think she stares at me. But now, when I have to go into said bathroom, I forget that she’s there and she scares the living daylights out of me. I’ve really got to do something about that.

4. Five items you could absolutely never part with in your house?

This is easier!

*Yarn, needles, and generic knitting book, patterns and supplies.
*My wall of action figures from the greatest video game of all time, Kingdom Hearts.
*My overflowing movie collection.
*My overflowing book collection.
*My big comfy armchair.

5. Five words you love
My favorite word of all time has to be…

Narcolepsy.

Followed in quick succession by:

*FUCK (yes, I dropped the F-bomb and I don’t even care.)

*slovenly, or sloth, either/or really.

*serendepity

* pestilence (as in, "I call down a curse of pestilence upon thee!", followed by maniacal laughter.)

As for the tagging part… well, since Liz and Mery have already been tagged, I don’t have a lot of people reading my blog and blogging themselves so that they can form responses! But I’ll tag Betsy, Tara,  (you’re still bored, right?), and how about Colleen, since even though she doesn’t have a blog I know she checks in on me. If she does it and emails me, I’ll post whatever she comes up with! Haha!

Well, now I have to go and prepare my cat for the V-E-T, which promises to be sunshine and roses. Wish me luck, and pray that I’ll be able to recover from all the biting and clawing that is sure to ensue when I attempt to put him in the carrier.

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I think titles are the worst part of blogging. I love the actual journalling part, I love the community aspect, I hate coming up with catchy titles all the time. It’s a lot of pressure.

Not much to report in the wide and wonderful world of my knitting today, except that I am woefully ambivalent about knitting for the males of the Murphy family. Boys are just not as much fun to knit for. They tend to like really boring colors. David, soon-to-be husband of Liz, summed it up pretty well when he assessed the only three colors that men’s socks come in are "black, white, and gay."

Also, Sophie’s  had a very awesome "loyalty sale" that totally blew my resolution to save yarn money for our vacation. But I’m not too brokenhearted. How brokenhearted could you possibly be about a 15% discount? Especially when I got some really awesome yarn cotton/acrylic blend yarn that has a bright future as a pair of summer socks. A tentative knitalong for said cotton socks was proposed between Liz and I, which is great with me, but I think it will only be a knitalong for the 2 days it takes Liz to make a pair of socks, and I will end up slogging through the next two weeks by myself. Big feet that need hand knit socks are a pox on all knitters, but especially if the knitter herself is to be the recipient. What did I do in a past life to curse me with such big honkin’ feet?

The main thing I wanted to post was this link to a charity knitting website I stumbled across today that I thought was really touching, in light of recent events in my circle of friends. The project is called the Lucy Ladybug Knit-a-long and the purpose is to provide burial clothing for preemies and babies who have a very short time on earth. You can read all about it on the website. I know everybody already has a million projects going (who doesn’t?) and I know some of the knitters in my circle are already involved in charity knitting which is awesome, but I just wanted to bring this to the attention of anybody who might want to do this one. I have to admit that I tend to suck at charity knitting, but I’m going to do my best to turn at least something out to this, in honor of all my friends and family who have sadly lost little ones.

Ok, enough serious stuff! Check out this weird sleep position test! Mery attested to the fact that this test is eerily accurate and I can also vouch for that. It really is kind of creepy that something as unique as the way you sleep can be broken up into categories and then easily determined with a few multiple choice questions. Nothing is sacred people. Notice that in the picture, the girl is the one being held? It was even right about that! *cue Twilight Zone theme*

I am a seatbelt!

Find your own pose!

 

Last thing, I promise! If anybody hasn’t been checking the Team Cast Off blog because it’s been dead, I just made a post and you can listen to me whine here.

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New Knitting Books!

I made my semi-weekly trip to Borders today, to spend the 25% off coupon that they so generously email me every week or so, and I struck knitting book gold! Not only did I get to buy Big Girl Knits, which is very quickly edging up my list of favorite knitting books of all time, they had a buy two get one free sale on all the Stephanie Pearl-McPhee books (which I have been wanting to buy forever anyway). So I scored four awesome books for just over fifty bucks. (Nevermind that I only planned on spending twenty.) If any of my fellow Cast Off knitters don’t already have the Harlot books and want them, now would be a great time to act! I can only vouch for this thing going on at the Borders on Shelbyville road, but I guess it couldn’t hurt to look elsewhere if you wanted to!

In other news, I am still furiously knitting away at the projects for Bob’s family, and also for some unknown reason decided to enter a contest at work for making or decorating a Derby hat. This would be a great time to have a digital camera, because it’s a little hard to explain, but basically the concept is a plain green knit hat for the background, and about 40 little knit roses that will be attached after the hat is done, meant to simulate the big rose wreath thing that they put on the winning horse at the Derby. What kind of Louisvillian am I? I can’t even remember what the rose thingy is called! So sad…

For the last two or three weeks I’ve been knitting with the Sophie’s Wednesday night knitters group, and they are a really cool bunch of people, but I really, really miss all my knitting friends who can’t make it out there. (Which I can totally relate to, since during rush hour traffic it takes me at least 45 minutes to get there from my house.) The main reason I haven’t been coming to Highland Coffee is selfish discomfort. It’s the stress of being in a crowded shop in a chair that tortures my butt, while strangers trip over my yarn bag and ask well meaning but ridiculous questions, such as, "What are you sewing?" It takes a lot of self control not to tackle them and poke them with my needle until they are very clear on the difference between sewing, knitting and crocheting. Plus, it is a lot of fun to be knitting in a yarn shop, with new and strange knitters (I mean strange in the nicest possible way), with the potential to blow money I don’t have on yarn I don’t have time to knit! Altogether, it’s a pretty loud siren song. I better quit talking about this, because I still get pretty bitter when I think about how certain other yarn shops made Wednesday night a big, dramatic hassle for me. Grrrrrrr….

Also, Friday was weigh in #4 and I am down by 16.5 pounds since I started Weight Watchers. Yeah baby, there is room in the back of my pants again… even in the front of my pants! Woohoo! And thanks so much to everybody who has posted positive comments about the weight loss! It is really great to have my friends behind me on this, something I wasn’t really anticipating! I will be happy to be anyone elses weight loss buddy if they need one! I’m doing great, but of course I have a long road ahead of me.

Oh, one more thing! Dr. Terry says hello to all the other Cast Offers, wanted to let you all know that she is still knitting and misses us all but is unfortunately very, very busy with helping with the Ann O’Malley Shake campaign for Kentucky supreme court judge. So it will probably be a while before she rejoins the herd.

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An (Almost) Finished Project!!! Holy Crap!!

I know it’s hard to believe, but I guess all the angst I went through during my last post motivated me to be a productive knitter, at least temporarily. On Wednesday night, I went to knit at Sophie’s (where the heck were the rest of the Cast Off knitters anyway?), bought 5 skeins of Lamb’s Pride worsted in this really pretty purple called Wild Violet (I was going to try to link a pic to the color of the yarn but oddly enough, it’s not on the Brown Sheep website), and a limey kind of green to make the Felted Marsupial Tote from SNB for Linda, the future MIL. And now, a mere two days later, I am getting ready to bind off the top of the main part of the bag and cast on for the little pouch thingy. I am really happy about this, although in reality it’s not that huge of an accomplishment. Size 13 needles and doubled worsted yarn= very fast project. I really think Linda will like the colors I picked out. Personally I love them so much I’m thinking about making an identical purse for myself later!

After my last post Mery commented that a great fast project is TOYS! And she is so onto something! I was surfing the web and I found this awesome pattern  linked on Grumperina’s blog. It is a free pattern from Xtreme Knitting.I showed it to Bob and for the first time since I started knitting, he begged me to make him one.

Bronty_1Mrstegs_3Trice_1 That’s right! Dinosaurs! Aren’t they great! Bob has assured me that this is the perfect gift for his brothers, and will be much more appreciated than anything they could wear/use.

I’m not sure if I want to make one for each brother or what though. Before I found the dinos, I was thinking that the robot from Jess Hutch’s little booklet of toys.  Yes, these are two grown men we are talking about knitting for.  Yes, they are both still obsessed with boy stuff… dinosaurs, robots, ninjas, GI joes, etc. (BTW Mery, I would LOVE to borrow the booklet, seeing as how they are kind of hard to procure at the moment. I can’t believe a "real" publisher hasn’t picked this up yet! Her toys are so adorable and apparently very popular!) Actually, Bob is most likely going to want a robot too.

You know what this is like? It’s like when me and my two younger siblings would go through the drive-thru lane at the bank with Mom, and the bank teller would give us three DumDum suckers in three different flavors and we would all fight tooth and nail for the rootbeer flavored one. What if I knit one a dino and one a robot and they both want a robot and a huge family feud ensues!?!!?! (Actually, that would be really funny…)

Besides that, Bob suggested making a really warm, insulating hat for Buzz, his Dad, since he likes to do a lot of outdoorsy kind of stuff. Even though, why he needs a warm hat, I don’t know, since in WA state, it is pretty much 55 degrees all year round. Well, that is a slight exagerration. It gets really really cold for about two weeks in the winter, and really really hot for about two weeks in the summer. But I’m taking Bob’s word for it, because it is a lot easier than trying to figure it out on my own.

You would think that since men are not usually incredibly fussy about their clothes, they would be easier to knit for. But that is soooo not true. Actually, Bob is more fussy about his clothes than I am mine. And he is so straight, he scares me a little.

Leaving only one more "problem" on my list… Chad (the differences-of-opinon brother) has a wife, Di, who I don’t know very well. I’ve only had dinner with her once, three years ago. She seemed nice then, and I don’t want to leave her out. After all, if I ever manage to procreate, she will become "Aunt Di". (Oh Lord, then Chad will be "Uncle Chad". Now there’s something that might put a person in favor of long-term birth control.) For some reason, I keep seeing her in a light blue cotton hat. Which is fortunate, because I happen to have some leftover Organic Blue Sky Cotton in light blue, just enough for a hat! I’m completely going on a hunch here, but I might as well stick with it.

I need to bind off Linda’s bag, so one last note- this was weigh in week 3 and I am down by 14.6 pounds since I started! Yay for me! (I know, everyone is probably tired of hearing about it by now, but you might as well get used to it, because I have approximately 150 more pounds to lose so I’m sure you’ll hear a lot more than you want to by the time it’s all said and done. At least I hope so. If I quit bragging about it every week, you can assume that I’ve barricaded myself inside Krispy Kreme.)

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Yarn should have a panic button.

So I have pretty much decided that I can’t knit the same sock twice in a row. So either I am going to have to make friends with some non bipedular people (I’m pretty sure that bipedular isn’t a word, but play along), or just resign myself to never having socks that match. I guess I can learn to live with that.

Besides that, non-matching socks are really the least of my knitting problems at the moment! For example, today I checked my calendar at work and realized with a great feeling of happiness that I am just 4 weeks away from a long awaited vacation. On May 9th, the Bob and I will be flying out to Washington state to spend a week on the wonderful west coast with the Bob’s family and friends. Spending time with the Murphy’s is, no offense, like spending time living in a three ring circus, but mostly in a fun way. Seattle and Olympia both have several good lookin’ yarn stores that I can’t wait to raid. Not to mention the wide variety of… um…. errrrr…. "plant life" that is readily avaliable at Casa de Murphy. (The Bob’s parents are kind of old school hippies. His dad owns an amp cord that once belonged to Jerry Garcia, if that tells you anything.) All in all, it should be a blast. So where is the problem in all this?

The problem is, I really want to knit for these people, and I haven’t cast on a single stitch! Not only that, I can’t even decide what to cast on for!

I’ve been speculating on what to knit for the assorted members of the Murphy clan for about six months, ever since I found out we were going to be making the trip out. The original purpose of this vacation was to attend the wedding of one of Bob’s two brothers. I had planned on knitting the prospective newlyweds something kind of heirloom quality, as a wedding gift. Well, thank god I didn’t actually work up the initiative to spend a bunch of money on yarn, because now the wedding is off. (But we’re still going due to the magic of non-refundable tickets.)

The last time we visited, I don’t even think I knew how to knit yet, but was crocheting a lot. I made the almost-mother-in-law a cute and kicky hat, and the Nana a scarf, both of which were very well received. In the intermittent years, pretty much everyone in the Murphy clan has heard at least something about my knitting exploits, and while no gifts have been explicitly promised, I’m pretty sure they are somewhat anticipated.

And it’s not that I really feel obligated to knit them all gifts… I really want to. It just seems like a good gesture to make to people who are (hopefully) going to be a part of my life forever, for better or worse and all that crap. Several years ago, towards the beginning of our relationship, Bob and I lived with his parents for almost 4 months. Even though the situation didn’t work out long term (did I mention Bob’s two older brothers were living there at the same time?), it was still a really nice thing for them to do, surely something that warrants them something beautiful and handmade. And as for the brothers… well, that’s kind of complicated. Let’s just say that one is a basically good person who is nursing a broken heart (and we all know that knitted gifts are great for curing broken hearts!) The other and I have sort of a boiling rivalry difference of opinion, and I think it’s time for me to make some kind of peace offering. That pretty much covers the immediate family, except for the dog. Well, at least the dog isn’t expecting anything. Hell, he probably doesn’t even remember me!

So that makes a minimum of four meaningful, lovingly made handknitted gifts to crank out over not quite a month. And as my knitting friends can all attest to, I don’t exactly have a stellar track record when it comes to actually finishing a project. (But I am a great starter!!) I have not actually fully completed a project with ends woven in and all since…. I think the hat I made for Mery back in January. Wow. It has been a really long time! (To my credit, I did almost finish one sock last week, but I still have to graft the toe… and plus there is still a whole second sock to do so… I don’t really think it counts.) So it will be a miracle if all this gift knitting actually happens. Sigh.

Well, I just have to come up with some quick things to knit that look like they required a lot more effort than they actually did. Oh, and did I mention that I am seriously on a budget here? After all, I just spent $600.00 on non-refundable plane tickets!

I think I’m going to work this all out on my evening walk. Perhaps one of my lovely knitting friends has a fabulous, cost effective solution in mind? Best one gets a cookie! (But it will probably just be a reduced fat Oreo guys… sorry, no time to bake! Gotta knit!)

Oh, and in the good news department, I am down 11 pounds from when I started WW two weeks ago and I am pretty darn happy about it! I like the points thing because it gives me something to be a little OCD about. Why is the third week on the diet always the hardest? Well, actually so far this week hasn’t been that bad diet-wise, but I am preparing myself for some sort of calamity at any moment.

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