Thursday, August 27, 2009

Christmas swapping

So, I’ve been doing some brainstorming, and may just go ahead with this Christmas-y swap project.

Here are my ideas. Comments welcome!

I’d like to make it a longer swap, to get people in the Christmas spirit early, and just to spread out the fun. Sign ups would run September 6 - September 19, partners would be assigned on September 21. The swap would run for about three months, with 3 packages to be received by October 31, November 30, and December 19.

October would be a “light” month. Send your spoilee a handmade ornament, plus any extras, $10 - $15 on the package contents. Since the swap officially starts September 21, you have a good month to make an ornament.

November is a bigger package, but less “work” as you’re not required to make anything (unless you want to!). You’ll send your spoilee a pattern for a winter-y accessory (hat, scarf, mittens, cowl, etc.) and the yarn to complete it, plus any other goods, $15 - $25 on the package contents. I’ll be reminding everyone to please keep in mind their spoilee’s location—a heavy wool scarf is probably overkill if your partner lives in Texas, so maybe a light, airy cowl instead.

And December is the big show, final package. You’ll send your spoilee a Christmas stocking, which does NOT have to be handmade, stuffed with goodies, including (at least) one skein of yarn, and one knitting notion/gadget, $20 - $30 on the contents.

And to encourage communication between partners, I think it would be nice, if I can think of enough ideas, to have spoilers send weekly “egifts”. This might be a funny ecard, a yummy recipe, a free knitting pattern that caught your eye, a particularly appropriate LOLcat, etc.

So, what do you think? Too much? Too expensive? Too complicated? Too something?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

On the definition of exercise

Today, I gave blood. If you've skimmed through my 100/1,001 thing (which I'm doing terribly with, by the way), you might note that I indicated I wanted to give blood more often. And I should, because I'm O+, universal donor. So, there was a blood drive at work and I signed up.

I've never had any problems giving blood--other than the fact that my blood tends to be uncooperative and takes its good old time spilling out of my arm and into that plastic bag. But I've always felt fine afterward, munching on my cookies, sipping my juice, and reading over that list of things you're not supposed to do after giving blood.

Such as exercise. Never really thought about that much, since, well, the amount of exercise I do voluntarily is almost nil (please note that unaccomplished task on the list--running after work). It never occurred to me that walking to the Metro, like I do every day after work, might constitute exercise. Oops.

So I moseyed up there and took my place on the platform, still feeling ok. Then the train came. Packed as usual, no seat. Alright, fine. I slip into the aisle and grab hold of pole to hang on for dear life for the next, oh 30 minutes or so.

Hmmmmm, something's not right. Feeling a little wobbly here. A little sweaty. Exhausted. Maybe I should move out of the aisle and closer to the doors, it's less crowded. Nope, still no good. Sweaty, shaky, and hmm, those are some interesting black fuzzies creeping into my vision. If I just close my eyes and breath deeply I'm sure I'll . . . um, wait, is this what passing out feels like?

Apparently, it is. I managed to hang onto consciousness a bit longer, but must've looked green or wobbly enough to scare some other passengers, as I was suddenly surrounded by people asking me if I felt ok and offering me seats. After I sat down, I managed to survive the rest of the trip, and then walk very, very slowly back to my building.


Now I'm plopped on the couch, not accomplishing any of the myriad tasks I had planned. A glass of wine would be so good right now. But drinking alcohol is on that list of things not to do after giving blood. And I think we've had enough adventures in that area for one day.

Anyway, big, big thanks to Leann for her help with my spinning inquiry!!

And up next, some additional thoughts on my hypothetical Christmas swap.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Question for Spinners

I'm doing Secret Pal 14, and my spoilee is a beginning wheel spinner. I want to get her something to spin, but I don't have a blind clue what that would be--batt? top? roving? This is a language I just don't speak.

Someone, help me please!!!

Friday, August 21, 2009

State of the Knitting Address

I've been complaining an awful lot about my failure to make any meaningful progress on my knitting, but I thought maybe you guys would like to see some actual photos of what little I've accomplished. So here goes.

The Moderne Baby Blanket




And the various bits of Elefante


Now, if you'll recall, I mentioned something about Elefante being a bit top heavy. How do I know this? Well, here's what happened the first time I tried to sew him together:


As you can see, he's toppled trunk forward onto the bed, back legs flailing in the air (well, they would be flailing if they weren't so stubby; but that's part of his charm.). I'd really like him to stand upright, so I've got to try again. Perhaps a different head angle will help the situation.

And now a new segment, which I've entitled "Say what?!?," in which I will ponder some things I just don't understand, and basically be snarky about them.

1. Knitting podcasts that talk about anything and everything but knitting. I'm not saying you have to talk exclusively about knitting for the entire show, but why on earth do you think people looking for knitting content want to waste 45 minutes of their valuable lives listening to you wax poetic about your "adorable" child scribbling on a freshly painted wall with crayons?? Some focus, please.

2. "Desperate" Ravelry destashers. From the content of your post, it sounds like you're on the verge of being evicted if you don't pay your bills. Yet interestingly enough, you've got 427 skeins of yarn in your entire stash, but just 10 skeins of fun fur and 40-year-old balls of acrylic on your trade page. Listen, if you want people to give you money, you need to offer them something of actual value! If you're really in dire straits, you've got to part with the Wollmeise, folks.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Recession Special Swap questionnaire

I've signed up for a new swap (yes, another! i can't help it!), check it out if you're interested in a swap that's not too much of a burden on your wallet.

Do you knit or crochet, or both? How long have you been at the craft?
i knit, and have been doing so for about 2.5 years; i'd like to learn some basic crochet, to add trims to things, but so far, i haven't had much success teaching myself--although to be honest, i haven't put much effort into it either.

Do you spin?
no, i barely have time for knitting

What yarns/fibers are your favorites?
just about anything natural, i love alpaca/wool blends and wool/silk blends; i love tweeds and heathers

What yarns/fibers do you not like?
i don't really use synthetics, and while i do love variegateds for socks, i definitely don't use them for sweaters, hats, scarves or anything else

What yarns/fibers would you like to try but haven’t?
i'd love to try a blend with llama!

What are your favorite colors? Colors that you don’t like?
i like most colors, but stay away from neon brights--i prefer shades that occur in nature. i really don't like orange.

What are your favorite types of projects to knit/crochet?
just about anything--sweaters, scarves, socks, hats; i haven't finished any shawls yet, but i hope to someday!

What are you currently working on?
let's see. a baby blanket, Delphine, Pomatomus socks; i'm dying to cast on for a fall sweater

What is your favorite FO? (Please post a picture if you have one.)
Lotus Blossom Tank or Tangled Yoke Cardigan

Are there any techniques that you want to learn?
steeking, magic loop, fair isle

Do you have a yarn winder and/or swift?
yes to both

How do you store your needles/hooks?
i have a great DPN organizer, and i use the regular Knit Picks binder for my interchangeables, but i haven't come up with anything for organizing my fixed circs

Do you collect anything?
matryoshka (Russian nesting dolls), Beatles LPs, and apparently armadillos

Do you like sweets?
mmmm, yes

What are your favorite scents?
depends on the time of year; as we get closer to fall i love baked goods, pumpkin, cozy stuff like that

Are you having a birthday during this swap?
October 15!

Do you have any online wish lists? (Amazon, Loopy Ewe, etc.)
of course
Loopy Ewe

What is your living situation?
I live with 2 spoiled cats

Are you allergic to anything?

i'm knitting as fast as i can!

So, new Twist Collective is up, with 2 or 3 great new sweaters, and I picked up the new Interweave Knits as well and queued about 5 patterns. It's all making me so ready for fall and snuggly sweaters.

Yet I'm still plugging away at this easy-but-boring and seemingly never-ending baby blanket. Will it ever be done?!? Not to mention my abysmal progress on Delphine, which is dragging on (and on, and on) because I hate knitting with this yarn. I'm ready for sweaters, why can't my knitting catch up??

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


So little Carver Crow(?) May was born last week, and, you guessed it, the Moderne Baby Blanket is not done. Sigh. It's maybe half done. Oops. Ok, probably mama won't be ready for visitors for a couple weeks. I hope. At least Elefante is basically done, he just needs to be sewn together. And some solution found for his top-heaviness.

Wait. I prepared a blog about Elefante's unfortunate oversized head and/or overly heavy head, and apparently didn't post it. Where is it?? It had photos. Grrrr. Apparently I'll have to investigate this once I get home . . .

Here's a question for ya: do you prefer to bunch your project up on a circ that's too short, or stretch it out on one that's too long? (Duh, the obvious answer would be to buy the right size needle; but Lord knows I'm not doing that!)

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


Yesterday I came home to find not one, not two, but THREE yarn-y packages waiting for me! After a rough couple weeks of traveling, moving, trying to replace my cell phone and other dramas, I really needed this pick-me-up. Check out the fantastic package I got from my Secret Pal 14 spoiler:

I don't know where to start, there are so many great things here! I got 4 skeins of Berroco yarn, 2 Peruvia and 2 Memoirs, both in lovely reddish purple colorways. A copy of Mason Dixon Knitting Outside the Lines, which I've been dying to get. This ADORABLE organizer for DPNs--Beatles fabric!! A knitspot pattern that I adore. And some cute little things included as well: hand cream, scented candle, notepad, travel tissues and tape measure.

The awesomeness of this package cannot be overstated. A big, big thank you to my spoiler, I only hope I can live up to her standards when I send my own swap package!

(I also got my HSKS Summer Camp kit, which you can read all about here.)

Sunday, August 2, 2009

A (Knitting) Tragedy in One Act

This is a tale of love and loss.

As my dear readers might know, I spent last week in Belize—half work trip, half vacation. And I truly had a wonderful time. (Photos) Mostly. While Belize City is, um, a bit rustic (read: underdeveloped, boring, and swampy), the rest of the country is beautiful, and there's so much to see and do. I visited only 2 of the country's dozens of Mayan ruins, I trekked through some rainforest, and I visited just one of the many cayes (teeny islands along the coast). I drank lots of Belikin beer. I visited the "rum museum" for a rum tasting, as one of our Belize contacts is actually part of the family that owns Travellers Rums. Overall, it was a lovely trip.

In preparing for the trip, I of course, selected a number of knitting projects to tote with me. For the plane ride, I decided to only take wooden needles—less chance of them being noticed and/or confiscated. So I dug up my neglected Foliage hat, the yarn for the second Chevalier mitten, and then selected a new sock pattern to try, since someone gave me a lovely set of Knit Picks Harmony DPNs in size 2.

I didn't have time to wind yarn, so I picked up the Knit Picks Felici I'd purchased specifically to make the Jaywalker socks, and off we went. On the flight from Houston to Belize, I cast on. After the ever annoying ribbing, the pattern was FANTASTIC. Easy to memorize, and the sock was knitting up quickly on 2s. I had a good 3 inches done by the time I got off the plane, I don't think I've ever knit a sock that fast, it was like magic. It's really too bad I will never see that half-knit sock or 4 of my DPNs again . . .

Because someone stole my handbag. Not just swiped it, stuck a probably-fake-but-let's-not-test-it-and-find-out pistol in my face and demanded my bag. In broad daylight. As I sat on the low wall that separates the beach from the road just 2 blocks from my hotel. Let me tell you what he got for his troubles:

a half-knit sock

half a granola bar

a hershey kiss

a hair brush

a Metro Smarttrip card

a bag full of makeup

a spare pair of contact lenses

a cell phone

Yes, thankfully the most valuable thing in there was my cell. If you don't count the Jaywalker. So now I've got a single ball of Felici, and two size 2 DPNs. What on earth am I going to do with those? Sigh.