I'm catching up on Bloglines and trying not to be exhausted. This was a whirlwind week for sure, and I've still got the whole long weekend ahead of me. Travis gets in tonight around 11:30 and I. Cannot. WAIT. I have slept alone for three nights and spent four days without him, and while I have had company while here and enjoyed all the quality time with everyone, I'm ready to have my husband back! I can't imagine having a job that required a lot of travel; we've never spent this much time apart, really, and it's been tough! (I know, I'm a girl.)
For those who asked what my Fourteen Awesome Things About Me were: I dunno. I had my laptop with me for the whole conference (I'm that generation, you know, born with a joystick in my hands, so taking notes to me involves a keyboard and a screen and the tap-tap-tapping that probably drove a legion of pen-and-paper types NUTS throughout the conference) and I typed the list on my notes pages, and of course after reading them to the entire freaking room, I deleted them.
While it was moderately embarassing to rattle off how fabulous I was, as the Head-Head Boss Lady put it, "hey, they know you now, and being known is always a good thing." So every time I got on the elevator with a flock of Agency Types, and they said, "hey, you're that girl!" I'd just exclaim, "Yep! I love me!!" and smile.
So basically, yeah, I don't remember. I do know that there were things I admire about myself (toot, toot!) that I left off the list and later I psychoanalyzed myself to death about. ("Do I really think that 'fun' and 'silly' are more important than 'honest', 'loyal', and 'loving'??") I remember there were a few similes, which felt like cheating when I read them aloud...there was fun, funny, AND fun-loving; there was also silly; talented and skilled; smart and clever. I remember being a little nervous about reading them aloud because I was afraid that my co-workers would be thinking, "Is she kidding? Clever, my ass!" And thank God, I had thought "pretty" but didn't write it, just in case. I'm not ashamed to admit that I think I'm attractive, and I think every woman should be able to say she sees the beauty in herself, but I don't really need to announce to a room of my peers that I'm pretty. I call it self-confidence, but to a lot of people, there's a fine line between self-confident and snotty bitch, ya know?
I left "slammin' dancer" off the list, too, and it's probably a good thing - last night was the banquet and "entertainment". Oh Hannah....was that a treat - ever seen a room full of Federal Types get jiggy with it? Our Head-Head Boss Lady requested a song and got us all on the dance floor (PS: Head-Head Boss Lady is tons of fun and really awesome and we are all big fans of hers). The DJ, sensing that he was dealing with a room full of slow-burners, started off with the standard party tunes and threw in a couple of test-the-waters tunes, like 50 Cent and Justin Timberlake, but I had a hard time staying excited when he played "Electric Slide", that new song that's kind of the Electric Slide where you have to jump and cha-cha and all that crap, AND - pause for effect - the freaking "Macarena". (I had thought Congress had done something about that song. Wasn't there legislation on that?? A constitutional amendment? Something???) In any event, I did dance plenty, and I'm not sure whether I humiliated myself or not - but I do know that in a moment of insanity, I gave up watching the fumbling and suffering and reminded everyone how to properly execute the Macarena.
(It has not escaped my attention that I have retained that but have not retained other things I have learned since learning the Macarena, and I wish we had a choice in those matters, because if someone had ASKED me whether I'd prefer to recall the pythagorean theorem or Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, or the Macarena, I can tell you which one I would have NOT picked.)
This afternoon was Nordstrom (cute Michael Kors pants on sale) and So Much Yarn (Addi Turbo needles on sale) and now back to the room to sit here for six hours and wait for Travis. I know it's sad, but he's picking up the rental car, and I could walk around the city some more in the meantime, but I'm almost certain that if I do any more walking, my shins will fall off.
I swear to God I'm going to upload photos, I mean it. I just haven't yet because my brain is fried (see also: all these fractured thoughts and parentheticals) and I don't think I could handle the simple act of cropping and resizing.
Did I mention that I finished one of the Fiesta Boomerang socks? Hell if I can remember - well, I did. It's nice. I'll get a picture of that too.
I'm finishing off with my favourite observed moment of the day, from Nordstrom. Two girls, maybe 11 and 7 (but I'm terrible at guessing ages, so they could have been 6 and 3, or 22 and 17) were walking with their mother past the lingerie department, and the younger one pulled a bra off the rack and waved it tauntingly at her older sister and neener-neenered, "You're gonna need one of these soon!" I've never heard such wonderfully snarky use of the phrase "shut UP" in my whole life as came from the older girl. I hope to recreate her tone and inflection someday - it was awe-inspiring.
Friday, August 31, 2007
Posted by Alyson at 8:06 PM
Thursday, August 30, 2007
Thoughts on U.S. Airways: Yikes.
Thoughts on Phoenix: Brown.
Thoughts on Seattle: Still love it here.
Thoughts on yesterday's vegetarian lunch offering: Lettuce is not a meal.
Yesterday we got out of the conference early, so we headed over on the ferry to Bainbridge Island - my ulterior motive for going was, obviously, Churchmouse Yarns and Teas. I passed on the Koigu wall (sorry, $14.25 per skein - I know the rents are high, so I get the higher prices, but I can get Koigu elsewhere) but when I spotted the Habu Kushu-Kushu scarf kits, I jumped with gusto - I can't wait to start! They also had a small wall of Socks that Rock (squee! got a Fred Flintstone mediumweight) and had JUST gotten the Vogue Sock Knitting book in, so I caved and paid full retail for it because it was so pretty. (Also, a skein of Malabrigo lace just for fun.)
The conference is going well - it's fun and interesting and I won a prize for being the smuggest person in the room. (We had 30 seconds to write down good things about ourselves, and I got fourteen down. Then I had to read them to a room full of 450 people. Thank God I didn't scribble something embarrassing. "Nice boobs" or something. Yeesh.)
I haven't uploaded my pictures yet, but I'll give you something soon...hugs!
Posted by Alyson at 1:59 PM
Monday, August 27, 2007
...to have access to the Internet in Seattle. I mean, it's freakin' Seattle. There's bound to be wireless and laptops everywhere. I think Bill Gates made it mandatory. But just in case, let me throw some photos up here before I forget that I had planned to put up photos to make up for today's earlier and basically photo-less post...
"Rock Chick" handspun, 80 yards of pretty danged bulky superwash yarn, from a Sereknity superwash roving in "Pretty in Punk". I really love Sereknity's rovings - she may be my almost-very-favourite. (Do I even need to tell you who the very-favourite is?) I might have even ordered one or two (or four) more rovings from Sereknity this weekend....
"Mr. Roosevelt" handspun, 160 yards of two-ply merino/bamboo in the much-sought-after Zizzix colourway from Ms. Funky Carolina. (Yes, I do have a weird fixation with Franklin Roosevelt. I name everything I can after him - a cat, a yarn, a goiter....okay, I don't have a goiter named Roosevelt. I don't have a goiter, period - in case you're retching. But Rooster is short for Roosevelt, and he's named for FDR.)
I love this fiber - it's so sparkly and pretty. I have to take more care with this than I do with superwash or a BFL, but it's SO worth it.
These will both be up in the shop, but since I can't ship until next week, I see no reason to list them now....(wanna reserve one?) Heheheh....
Okay, I gotta finish packing and go snuggle up with the hubby for a little while - I won't see him until Friday night! (But I can't wait to show him Seattle!)
(Oh, and one other thing - I bought my plane ticket to Rhinebeck today. Ha!!! Yeah!!!!!)
Posted by Alyson at 10:12 PM
Two steps forward, two steps back.
Travis got to an attic mouse caught in the sticky trap in time - I always hope that we'll get them before they expire, and he got this one. (I don't love rats or anything, but I do want living creatures to have as much right to life as we do.) Travis pulled it out of the glue, put it in a bucket, and later transported it to a nearby empty lot. (With a rather lot of not-help from me - I was supposed to hold the bag open so he could put the rat in it, but I ended up screaming, dropping the bag, running inside and slamming the door, and the rat got free. Travis managed to catch it and get it in the bag himself, but he wasn't pleased with how completely girlie I turned out to be. Understandable - I mean, I was a little surprised myself.)
He also, after two years of threatening, decided that he had finally had it with paying the groomer to give Rooster his late-summer haircut (when he gets hot, he starts over-grooming, so he usually gets a haircut around August), and he made a decision. He decided...gulp...he decided...
He decided that he can shave the cat himself.
I'll spare most of the gory details, but let's just say that there's a good reason why you take a cat to a groomer. Rooster has been remarkably patient about the whole thing, but we have indeed determined that this is a task best done by a person with training, patience, a harness, and actual pet trimmers (as opposed to whatever hair clippers are found on sale in the shaving department.)
(Before you call the ASPCA, Rooster's fine, good-natured, and unharmed, and completely unshaved as yet. He has a small bald patch near his tail, and he's been given a rather lopsided trim, but the whole thing was so hugely unsuccessful that the project was abandoned before any real damage could be done. Also, he's still convinced that he's the prettiest thing in the world - that cat will never suffer even a small blow to his self-esteem. I'll get a picture to prove that he's still in one piece, if not a little raggedy-looking.)
Weekend: Three more skeins of handspun. More on that later, probably. The knitting is still largely secret - sorry! I did start a boring stockinette sock so I'd have something public...and I bet you're dying to see pictures of a stockinette sock. (However, it is knit with one of my new favourite yarns.)
It's like knitting with kittens, it's so soft and yummy and delicious. (Hopefully Travis won't try to shave it.)
Posted by Alyson at 11:36 AM
Friday, August 24, 2007
I've been pretty quiet and boring this week, I know - work's been busy, and I've had four days straight of horrible migraines. (I hate excuses, but I also hate not being interesting 'round here.)
And I leave Tuesday morning at the butt-crack of dawn for Seattle, so I don't know how much time I'll have between now and then....BUT! Do any of you live in or near that area? I'll be there by myself, husbandless and without a vehicle, from Tuesday to Friday. I'm doing a conference for work, so the days are busy, but I know there's a yarn shop about a half-mile from my hotel, and if anyone wanted to suggest meeting up and yarning or having dinner and a knit, I'd be all for it....(I'm staying downtown near Pike Place.)
More when I'm an interesting person again!
Posted by Alyson at 8:43 AM
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
I'm so in love with conditional logic....
Okay, so I'm enabley, we all know that. One of my most favourite sock yarns in the world (at one point my stash was loaded with SEVENTEEN skeins of it, before I realized I was insane and destashed a bit) is Carolyn Greenwood's gorgeous great-for-hot-weather Greenwood Fiberworks cotton/lycra handpainted yarn. (Seriously, I was a total junkie. Look at my early feedback - it's all from her!)
Her yarn is kinda like Cascade Fixation, only better 'cuz it's an indie lady and she's super-nice. It's normally enough of a steal at $15.00, but right now she's having a studio sale in her shop, and a whole bunch of skeins are NINE DOLLARS. Nine dollars! Nine!!! Go buy some!
ETA: Sometimes it looks like there's nothing on sale; she's posting periodically throughout the day, so check back in a bit. Or buy something not on sale; it's still a good deal, and she has a big pile of kids...you know it's always good to support a mother.
Tonight I'm going to see Hairspray and have dinner with hubby and friend T-M. Where's dinner? Why, since you ask - Hooters. (And Travis rolls his eyes - he has very little interest in the place. No, that one was all me and T-M, the least-likely people in the world to enjoy Hooters, as vegetarians attracted to and in committed relationships with men....but hey, we like what we like. And what we like is the mean grilled cheese sandwich. Now, please, get those things out of our faces - oooh, and bring extra pickles!!)
Posted by Alyson at 2:34 PM
Monday, August 20, 2007
Ha! Kidding! But man, after Yarnival (thank you, Yarnival-goers, for visiting and saying happy things!) and the Stitch Diva newsletter (how rock star is that awesome collage???), we're bathing in affirmations - which is great, because we've had a rather not-affirming bit of news, and going into that with a good cushion of happy thoughts was really wonderful. You have no idea how much it helped - so thank you!
I'll get to the not-affirming stuff towards the end, but for now, good stuff! The weekend was veddy veddy busy, and wonderfully productive:
"Mean Girls" handspun. My original idea was to do a "Train Wreck" series, and this one was going to be Lindsay (there would also be a Paris and Britney) but it just seemed too mean to pick on someone having such a hard time with life. So I dubbed it after one of my favourite Lohan movies instead. (Can I help it if I love the little mess??) This is a superwash merino single, about 140 yards, spun from a Spunky Eclectic roving (loved it!!) I'll hope it sells, but if it doesn't, I'll be happy to give it a loving home.
"Joker" handspun, two-ply bulky BFL wool, about 100 yards. I love this one too - I spun and spun and spun and only when I was nearly finished with the plying did I finally figure out what the colours reminded me of - the Joker! (Carrie of Funky Carolina dyed the roving and dubbed it "Grape Leaves", which also works beautifully for it, if you're the classy sort who doesn't immediately relate colours to movies, comic books, and food. Hi.)
"London & France" handspun two-ply striping superwash merino. The only thing less classy than movies, comic books, and food? References to children's taunts relating to underpants. Yep - Adam of Yarn Nerd dyed this gorgeous roving, gave it an also-classy name "Tour de France" and all I could think was "I see London, I see France, I see Lance's underpants." I only changed the skein name from "Lance's Underpants" to "London and France" by necessity - Etsy doesn't allow apostrophes in listings. :-) I loved spinning this - I broke it into colour sections and made sure they matched up, so the yarn is Noro-esque and stripey. (Sold already, yay happy!) I have one more Adam roving, but I really don't think that one will make it into the shop. *mine!*
I ALSO finished a sock - it's been on the needles forever, but I needed the needles back, so rather than just yank them out like I usually do, I finished the sock. This is the Friday Harbour pattern from Nancy Bush's Knitting on the Road, and the yarn is Socks that Rock in Fire on the Mountain. I love all the colours and I'm thrilled that they didn't pool horrendously...it may have come out a little on the garish side, but fun nonetheless.
And thanks to my wonderful pal, I had a project bag that matched my project! (Don't think that didn't tickle me to death.) The sock is a hair big on me, but fits Travis perfectly. (I complained they were big, and he said, "I'll wear 'em." I was like, "But they're lacy. And bright. And kind of hideous." And he says, "So? I like 'em." Alrighty then; I guess seeing as we've firmly established that the man cares nothing of what other people say about his socks, I'll go with it.)
I finished that sock while on the way home from Sunday Brunch in Daytona for my friend David's birthday (that's him crouching there.) This place, Aunt Catfish's, is fantastic (once you find it, grrr) and it's such fun to get there at about 10:45, have breakfast, sit around for an hour or more, then go back to the buffet for lunch. (Yeah, I'm a big ol' pig.) And where else can you stuff yourself silly and then have your picture taken on a pier with a big plastic fish? Ah, good times. (Also pictured: a bit of productivity in the form of a haircut and colour for me - yay, the grey was starting to rear its ugly head.)
Plus, there was this bird. I'm sure he was just drying off...but he was just sitting there like this for the whole ten minutes we were out there, and I really wanted him to say in a deep booming voice, "BEHOLD MY AWESOME POWER!!" but unfortunately my life is not a cartoon. If it was, though, he TOTALLY would have said that.
In other news of busy-ness, Travis has been doing this. There was a leaky pipe he wanted to fix...and I guess it's a good thing because that led to him discovering this:
This piece of once-whole wood that doesn't look so whole anymore? There were bugs. There were phone calls, there were visits, there were contracts, and there will be a big ol' tent thrown over our house in a while - but hey, then we will definitely be wood-pest free! Yay! (Always look on the bright side...) So yeah, that was the glitch in our weekend. Not an expense we were counting on, but the weekend overall came out on top nonetheless! (But we sure would love some folks buying up some yarn, know what I'm sayin'?) ;-)
So, how was your weekend?
Posted by Alyson at 9:41 AM
Friday, August 17, 2007
First up, my Palooooza finally received her socks! Oh thank GOD - I would have been beyond consolable if they'd just disappeared forever.
Billy Bob was AWE. SOME. It was a little heavy on the country, but he was charming and told funny stories, and his band (of six!) was absolutely phenomenal. The second half of the show was more of a country-rock feel, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Creedence Clearwater Revival, that sort of thing. It was really completely fantastic, and we had a blast. The place was only about a quarter full (no fair, I'm sorry Billy - you deserve better turnout!) but the smaller crowd made it more fun for us. I was surprised at the audience though - biggest bunch of freeloaders I've ever seen, screaming and begging for guitar picks, drumsticks, cigarette lighters, whatever they could get their hands on. Bizarre. Billy spent about ten minutes during the final encore sitting at the front of the stage and signing autographs for everyone who wanted one, which was pretty damned cool of him. (I didn't get one - I'm always excited to shake the hand of someone I admire, but signatures aren't as thrilling for me. Other than the four signed Harlot books, obviously.) But yeah, it was a cool gig and I'd recommend seeing him if his band is ever near you. (I was completely blown away by his musicians. Holy crap.)
I think that's really all I have for now. We're still dealing with a never-ending stream of problems with our house, which it would seem has stepped up its efforts to get us to go broke and divorce. We've joked about loosening the roof's reinforcing timbers and straps for the hurricane season, just in hopes that we can pack up the animals and the valuables - and the wool - and the place will just blow away. Of course, in real life, I'd be devastated if that happened - but when we're at a full-blown this-house-is-trying-to-kill-us rant, it's fun to kid about it. We've also joked that if we were to divorce, we'd be the only couple to ever fight over who would get to NOT keep the house. (Before anyone worries, no the house is not tearing us apart - the opposite, really - and any cracks we make about divorce are just us being goofy.) Our house is so pretty and I love the space, but DAMN. I like the idea of this house much more than I like actually dealing with it sometimes. ;-)
Happy weekend everybody!
Posted by Alyson at 11:28 AM
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Edit 8/15/2007: For anyone who's ever tried to get Vesper sock yarn and missed out - Julia updated the shop yesterday, and there's still a lot of things available. I've been trying for a YEAR to get my hands on some Strange Little Mama, and I finally snagged one! (And still more available!)
Oh, Cara's done did it to me now. She's gone and dubbed Travis the Yarnival Hunk. God help us all...ever since the wedding photos came back and he realized what an Abercrombie-model-in-training he could be:
...and further bolstered by my mom's recent phone call to declare that "all the men in the Neiman's catalog look just like Travis," he's quite certain he's going to be a supermodel (slash-knitter-slash-mechanic-slash-handyman-slash-husband-slash-auto dealer-slash-dirtbiker).
(But I called and told him about the hunk thing, and he is so tickled. Seriously.)
I'm tickled too! Lookit:
From the Gadabout Knitter's contest - what a haul! First, Malabrigo in Burgundy, which is one of the YUMMIEST colours of Malabrigo I've ever seen! (And, as my well-documented obsessions with Malabrigo and semi-solids would probably indicate, I LOVE THIS.) And a Yo-Yo Ball (hee! that's me!) which Travis' declared "a cheater's yoyo". (Whatever, we the uncoordinated will take all the help we can get, thankyouverymuch.) I've been knocking stuff over with this for two days - it's fun!! And one of my mostest favouritest kinds of chocolate in the world (the spicy kind!) and post-it notes that remind me of this Japanese cotton bird-covered fabric that I saw in an etsy shop and that I wanted really badly until I realized that I can't sew. (I can, however, write and make copious use of post-its, so this is much better!)
(Also, all my prize winning people who have been so incredibly patient - your packages are all on their way. God willing, they'll actually make it to you. Grumble.)
I spun somethin':
Sorry, this one's not up for grabs in the shop - it's for Cara's Spin-Out prize
(For the record, this is spun from a merino/silk/alpaca batt from Loop called "Kimono" and it's three ounces of two-ply, about 300 yards. Dream spinning.)
Tonight - Billy Bob Thornton (who was once a bit more Bob-Dylan-esque in style but it turns out has gone further over to the country music side of things, so it may be interesting to see which is stronger - my love for Billy Bob or my not-love for country music.) Tomorrow, a review. Or bleeding ears.
Posted by Alyson at 3:42 PM
Monday, August 13, 2007
Travis scored some good luck, too! His boss gave him four tickets to a concert on Wednesday night at the House of Blues. And not just any concert...this is something I was actually really wanting to see, but situations being what they are, we weren't going to buy tickets. So this rules.
Are you sitting down? You should sit down.
I get to go see Billy Bob Thornton in concert.
If you're laughing or rolling your eyes, shutupIhateyou. He's amazing. He's dreamy in that vaguely skeezy sort of way. I love boys who you have to explain to your friends - you know, that "But you should see him cleaned up!" thing. I love Travis when he's all sweaty and has been working real hard and maybe has some smudges on his forehead and a bit of stubble. (I mean, if he's real sweaty I don't want to get cozy or anything - but I find that kind of working-man thing really hot.)
I mean, yeah, if you look at it in one way, sure...we are talking about the Sling Blade guy here....but then aren't you maybe a little tempted to take this guy home tonight? Or this one? And his music is interesting in that this-doesn't-sound-like-every-crappy-emo-poser-out-there kind of way. I don't care how cute I thought Jared Leto was in that My So-Called Life show, I'm not going to pay to watch him whine and screech and ego-trip his way through a crappy 30 Seconds to Mars show. (Hell, I wouldn't let someone pay ME to go through that.)
Now, if I can just stave off this cold/crud thing I am trying to pretend isn't coming, this should be a very fun evening.
Later, my awesome prize from Gadabout - seriously, it ruled! And perhaps photos of another handspun - this one's pretty spiffy. (I'm knitting, really, I swear....)
Posted by Alyson at 5:29 PM
The post office is trying. I shouldn't have been so virulent in my post about them - I work for the same government they do, and I make mistakes too. (Well, I'm sure I do. In my own head, I'm perfect all the time, of course.)
It only took me about 24 hours to calm down and get my blood pressure back to normal and my mind back to my regular "everyone makes mistakes" mode - funny how fast that got chucked out the window when someone else's normally perfectly acceptable mistake affected my precious handknit socks. Heh.
So, it would *seem* my package will make it to its destination eventually. But wouldn't it always seem that way? I still had minor panic attacks the whole time I was packing up prizes and a shop order, because I was so sure they were going to lose all of it. (Ugh, a lost prize - would anything be more awful?!) But I'm trying to be more reasonable.....
I accomplished next to nothing this weekend - felt kinda sick yesterday, so there was much lying around. I did, however, swatch for the Eunny-designed Tangled Yoke Cardigan in the Fall IK...won't it be interesting to see if I can pull that off? Seeing as how my Green Gable is still in a pouch on the floor in the zen knitting room, right where I left it, oh, about a month ago. Anyway, so far I'm having trouble getting gauge, and I've knit and washed two swatches. I'll hit it eventually - I believe I'm using a slightly thicker yarn than called for. The pattern calls for one of those unusual yarns that has fingering yardage but knits at nearly DK weight, so using a DK yarn will work, but getting gauge is tricky. (But the yarn I'm using, RYC Cashsoft, is so delicious it's worth it.) I'm also one of those people who eventually will say "hell with it" and knit a smaller size if my gauge is just a bit off. It usually works out... (I am so qualified to teach a class on how to respect gauge, don't you think?? Heh.)
I don't want to not put up pictures on a Monday...lookit the pretty colours:
This is the first installment (for me) of the Traveling Rhinos fiber club. (The club is always open for new signups, is that great or what? I have the Deluxe membership.) I LOVE this. Three ounces of batt, two ounces of handdyed BFL roving, some cotswold locks, sequins, and beads - this is going to be an AWESOME yarn. (Or a total mess - I guess it's kind of all resting on me, there, eh?)
Have a great week!
Posted by Alyson at 7:26 AM
Saturday, August 11, 2007
The lovely United States Post Office decided that my pal surely did not live in Brooklyn where I shipped her package. Surely I was mistaken. So the United States Post Office decided to take my handknit socks, plus about forty bucks worth of other stuff, and send it to a completely different place, calling it a "forward" due to my ALLEGED poor addressing skills. After verifying the address with my pal and ensuring she didn't have any forwarding info in place, I have determined that the United States Post Office F***ING BLOWS.
Sure, I sent it insured, but what happens if these things have just gone off the grid?? Did I flake? Am I considered a bad pal? Am I supposed to knit another pair of socks for her??? Because seriously, I definitely just do not have one spare minute for the next three months. Do I just send her the insurance money with an apology? Money's great and everything, but that's not the deal, so I'd still be a lousy pal, even though this turn of events isn't really my fault. So gee thanks, Post Office, I guess I get to be the a**hole who screws somebody over, that's just awesome. (I'm worried she may already think that's what's happening here, but I assure you, it is not. You saw the photos, I knit them, packed them up, and shipped them...you can vouch for me, right? And now, the United States Post Office has taken the liberty of forwarding them to another town altogether.)
On the other hand, I am glad I'm out of the swapping game for now, and with such a bang, since this will probably sour me a bit - the one swap I still have outstanding is one in which I could conceivably hand-deliver my goods. And I think I just may.
Oh, I spun this:
"Peanut Butter & Jelly". Merino, two-ply, heavy worsted to bulky weight, 145 yards, dyed by Adrian at Hello Yarn. In the shop.
I'll try to write something less pissy later, once I've gotten my hands on someone in customer service/tracking. Please, cross your fingers for me, if you get a second.
Posted by Alyson at 11:15 PM
Thursday, August 09, 2007
Me! I rule!
I so should have mentioned this like a freakin' week ago - Michele nominated me as a Rockin' Girl Blogger! Girls rule! Thank you, Michele, and I'm flattered that you think I rock! I think I'm supposed to nominate other rockin' blogger people, but why girls?? A whole lot of awesome girls who blog have been nominated, so I'm going to step outside the box and nominate Dave, Adam, and Dave Daniels. Take that! I'm in no way insinuating that they're girls....I'm just being a nonconformist pain in the ass, and giving some love to some of my favourite boys. Boys rule!
Post office! The post office rules! It will rule so much more when I actually TAKE MY LAZY ASS down there and mail out the prizes to Adelle and Turtlegirl. (I know, it's beyond pathetic - but in an attempt to make up for it, for every few days I continue to drag ass, I add another little goodie to the pile.)
Winners! Winners rule!
Wanna know who they are?? Random.org says:
Mouse, Jenny, and (blogless?) Diane!! Yay!!! You all rule! I'll email you guys.
I had sixty-eight individuals who were entered in the contest! Thanks for popping by and entering, everybody! (And for anyone else who groaned that I was just one short of being awesome - there actually WERE sixty-nine separate people who commented over the run of the contest, but one asked to not be entered due to her exploding stash - which I want to note I see as no reason to stop accumulating yarn. Thank God for her, though. Heheh. Yes, I am a fourteen year-old boy - 69 is funny.)
Plus, I like all the new reading material! I was more than whoring for comments; I was whoring for new blogs to read. I'm going to enjoy visiting everyone!! Hugs!
Posted by Alyson at 9:02 PM
Wednesday, August 08, 2007
I know, this is a Knit Blog, not an Issues Blog. But I'm fired up, and it's knitting-related, in a round-about way...
Perusing the Ravelry discussion boards, I stumbled onto the discussion of the latest Magknits and a little controversy that bubbled up over a photo of a pretty little girl in a cute little sweater that her mother designed; apparently, some overly astute individual complained that the photo was disgustingly suggestive.
The exchange and results (the photo removed from the issue) just make me a little ill. Honestly, are we going to get to a point where we can't even photograph our own children in their own clothes anymore? This little girl gets to wear a sweater her mom designed for her, and her mom even lets her pick out her own outfit to wear for the photo shoot, and then she gets to see herself on the cover of a 'net knit mag, and then someone craps all over the sweet girl's parade by trotting out the child pornography accusations? Not to downplay the severity or gravity of those issues, but are we supposed to force our children into burkhas? By the time I have a child, will I be expected to wrap her in papier mache? They're KIDS. Are there armies of Concerned Citizens also diligently patroling American coastlines, chastising parents for daring to allow their children to frolic in the ocean wearing little more than a BATHING SUIT?! The horror!
I know, I should never begrudge anyone their opinion or fault someone for erring on the side of caution, and I know that person was just expressing his or her views, which is within their rights - it's a to-each-his-own world, but I feel like this is just such overkill. I mean, to go to an editor and accuse a parent of exploiting her own child for the purposes of ...
Wait, let me address that for a second. This individual accused a MOTHER of exploting her OWN CHILD for the purpose of providing a CHILD'S KNIT SWEATER PATTERN to a bunch of KNITTERS. For FREE. Man, nothing better than child exploitation to sell - er, rather, give away - a knit pattern to the sorts of people who would be likely to knit a sweater for a young girl. Because, "Hey little girl, want a handknit sweater?" is the new "There's candy in the back of my van."
I am in no way making light of the seriousness of an actual offense of this nature. But am I crazy to be really upset about this particular event? When does this stop??? I guess there's no chance I'll ever share pictures of my children on the Internet - both for their protection, and for my own. Sad.
Oh, and thank God the photo that was used in its stead on the cover isn't suggestive at all. I'm sorry - I had to chuckle.
Edit 8/9/2007: Let me clarify something, because I think the responses are valid and I don't want anyone to think I advocate igorning your gut response to something or that I'm not interested in protecting our children.
I can understand this person's concerns; I think it was a lousy approach, though. (If you didn't read the letter in Amanda's post, it's tough to know what I'm getting at.) I know it may well have been coming from a place of deep hurt or personal scarring, or this is just a protective and aware parent, and I wouldn't slam anyone for just being concerned - but it was the incendiary, accusatory tone and the shame-on-you approach the letter took that really bothered me. I totally get wanting to protect a child and her parent from the sorts of weirdos that might find a picture like this and enjoy it...but I think a letter worded more like "Dear Editor; I'm certain it was unintentional, and having viewed other photos of the child, I know she's not purposefully being photographed in this manner, and I realize the photographer meant no harm, but I think it would be wise to remove or replace this image with something less suggestive, however inadvertent," that sort of thing. But instead the letter basically accused the child's mother of low-level pornography to further her own interests, and accused the editor, a mother of three herself, of playing it up. I thought it was very disrespectful and incredibly insulting to immediately start pointing fingers and accusing everyone of exploiting this child.
Mine was more a problem with the approach. I don't think immediately of what a filthy-minded person might do with this photo - especially as I'm not yet a parent - and I'm glad someone out there does. But if they do, I wish they'd take a more delicate approach to it, rather than accusing parents and editors and everyone else within earshot of being horrible and disgusting.
Posted by Alyson at 9:42 PM
Tuesday, August 07, 2007
I'm attending a forum for work which is, conveniently enough, located here in the area, so tons of people from Specific Federal Agency offices all over the country are here, but I get to attend while enjoying the perk of still getting to sleep in my own bed. :-)
Still, since I went from the office to the welcome reception Monday night, and had to get up and leave super-early this morning and just got home, and have to do it again tomorrow, I'm going to save my energy and not compose much. (I should note that it's an honour to attend, very interesting, lots to learn and great people to meet, etc.) Tomorrow I have to be there even earlier - both because it starts earlier than it did today, and because it turns out they provide breakfast; so tomorrow I'll change it up and skip the Cheerios at home in favour of a more complete breakfast on dishes I don't have to clean. Yay.
Oh, and they did provide cookies today at 4:00; if there's one way to revive me and renew my love and passion for matters of Specific Federal Agency, it's definitely to give me a big ol' huge cookie. (My needs are simple and few.) I think it's mostly the sugar crash that's making me so braindead right now, actually. It was a really big cookie.
I managed to get my Sockapalooooza package off by mail (socks, Lantern Moon project bag, chocolate (x2), stationery, Frost Fish Cove soap - which is awesome stuff, by the way). Here's the finished socks:
Pattern: "Curve Ball", my own
Yarn: Dave Daniels' Cabin Cove in "Yankee Ikat" colourway
Needles: 2.50mm (US 1 1/2) Crystal Palace DPNs
Start: meh, who knows. I could look it up, I guess. June something, maybe? July?
Finish: August 5, 2007
There's a braided cable up the back, I swear:
I'm worried she's not gonna notice and think I just knit some ribbed socks (which I kinda did, but with a twist!!). I think I pointed it out on the card though. Some might argue that it's not a good sign of a pattern/yarn match if you have to point out the design elements; but I wanted it to be kind of sneaky, hence the name "Curve Ball".
Don't forget, you have until the end of tomorrow to enter my contest by leaving a comment. Don't be shy....and be sure to utter a little thank you to Ms. Gadabout Knitter for guaranteeing another prize winner - I won a contest on her blog too! (Don't hate me because I'm awesomely lucky.) So since I've won three now, that's gotta mean there will be at least three winners here!
Posted by Alyson at 7:15 PM
Sunday, August 05, 2007
Okay, let me warn that this is going to probably end up being a loooong post. I have a LOT of gushing to do.
Remember how the post office lady was all "Oh, so you're the one who gets all the yarn?" Yeah, she must have had a good laugh Saturday while stuffing a package bin full for me. This is what I found when I opened locker number 24:
Holy CRAP! For the record, yes, I did order some of this. Specifically, I was expecting the little brown envelope on top, and the second box from the bottom on the left (the little one). Alll the rest of this is cool stuff from people who rule.
(Er, the stuff I ordered was cool stuff from people who rule, also.)
The white packet there is a surprise. I can't talk about that, sorry. Very exciting stuff, though. (It's not a baby. It may not be necessary to say that to you guys, but it's funny how many things people seem to think is a baby now. I cough? Baby. I have a secretive smile on my face? Baby. I'm tired? Baby. I'm happy? Baby. I'm sad? Baby. There's no baby! We've been married two months!!!! I know it's the South, but damn, give us a minute, wouldja?)
So much great stuff, I don't know where to start, so I'll spin the Wheel o' Cool Stuff and see where it lands......
Aha! Naomi sent me this package of goodies (gummies and chocolate inhaled). She spun up this gorgeous, gorgeous art yarn from Carrie's Vampyr roving, and I was a gushy fan of it in a big way - so she sent me a little skein of my own!
I'm not sure whether to just leave it as is on the coffee table Bowl O' Handspun or knit a little something with it, like an amiguri (is that right?) or something....but I lurve it!!
My best friend sent me presents!!! First, a cow that poops jellybeans. (This is endless hours of entertainment for us - I'm a simple person.) And the other is the COOLEST coffee sleeve ever - handtooled leather from Sunny Rising.
This is so fantastic. And it fits around my Starbucks mug, so as crazy as it may look to wear an insulating sleeve around an insulated cup, I'm gonna do it anyway. Because it rules. (Hot chick knitting in stilletos? Oh, that's SO me.)
My wish came true! My sock palooooza went by the August 2nd date! (I have simple wishes.) I'm operating on the August 7th date; my pal is much more diligent than I am. I started inhaling the cocoa nibs right away. But you're wondering, what the hell - no socks?
Sorry, I had put them on instantly:
These are AWESOME. They fit beautifully! They're knit from Cascade Fixation, which is a yarn I've been wanting to try but haven't - I've never seen this colour! This is gorgeous, I love this green, and I seriously LOVE these socks. I'm not entirely sure about what the pattern is - I'm thinking Crosshatch Lace? Whatever, they fit like little gloves. For feet. Feet gloves. Which I guess would be....well, socks.
My pal, Luanne, is in Lakeland, too, which is only about maybe 40 miles from here. We got married in Auburndale, which is about five miles from Lakeland. Neat - howdy, neighbour!
Also loving the ribbed instep at the arch - perfect for my feeties! Yay, Luanne, thank you so much!!! :-D
Finally, there's this:
My Secret Pal 10 goodies! She pulled out all the stops with this package - there's chocolate covered cranberries, a cute goldfishies-with-names pouch, a gorgeous Split Yarn case (which I love and I think I'll start using for my Moo cards), a small project bag, Girl on the Rocks' Kitchener stitch markers (I love these so much), some really cool yarn (dyed by a woman who uses her grandmother's dyeing recipes, which is just about the coolest thing I've ever heard a dyer do), some super-yum White Peach Sephora body creme, a sheepie mint body wash, and hmmm...there was something else...
OH MY GOD OH MY GOD OH MY GOD! This is GORGEOUS! My very own Swallowtail Shawl - she'd mentioned a wedding gift, but DAMN. This is so beautiful.
I knit one of these for my mom but (please don't tell my mom) this is so much more perfect than the one I knit. I feel compelled to knit another one now....
So beautiful...lily of the valley is my birth flower, so it's totally my favourite lace pattern. (I know, I'm all about me.) That's what drew me to knit it for my mom, too.
Look at that halo! I'm not sure what yarn it is, but it's insanely soft. It *feels* like cashmere, but ... surely no way. (edit: Robin, good call - may well be alpaca.) Whatever it is, I love it. I wore this all over the house yesterday until we had to go to the grocery store (and I had wanted to wear it there too, but Travis did make a good point when he noted that it was 97 degrees outside. But that's okay, it's always FREEZING in my office, so it'll be good to wear to work. Hee!)
My SP was completely amazing, and this was just an AWESOME final package. Thank you so, so, so much!!
See?! Was that incredible or what?? YoYo, YOU'RE having the Best Week Ever!! (tm)
(Psst: there are going to be two new skeins in the shop shortly.)
Posted by Alyson at 9:45 AM
Saturday, August 04, 2007
So I gave myself a bright idea while leaving some stupid sleep-deprived nonsensical comment....I think every time I go to a random place that's not here and managed to make time to hit a yarn shop (which is pretty much everywhere I go that's not here,) I'm going to sneak a little surprise in. Like a scavenger hunt no one knows they're a part of - maybe a little twee handspun skein or something, a sock yarn keychain, a....I don't know, some little something. Maybe it'll catch on and traveling knitters will begin carrying little hide-a-surprises everywhere they go. (Or maybe I'm an idiot. I should go to sleep.)
(Oh, another thing I noticed - in yesterday's post, when writing about the comment whoring thing, I linked to a post on Turtlegirl's blog that discussed the whole whoring-for-comments accusation; I just wanted to clear up, in case you didn't click that link and thought that I was just linking directly to the person who thought requesting comments was whore-y. No - Turtlegirl rules. Woot.)
I got a couple of questions in the comments on the contest announcement post. A few of them had to do with spinning; namely, tips for newbies. Being a relative newbie myself (I learned to spin in October), I can tell you the best thing to do is to practice. And just like knitting, don't be afraid to try stuff and screw up. Every kind of fibre you can get your hands on, give it a shot. Fiber samplers are great for this, or if you happen to know of anyone who sells big bags of little bundles of different kinds of fibers - like, oh say, Funky Carolina (I know, I'm a total stalker) - give that a shot. I took a workshop at SAFF last year to learn the basics of spinning, and I loved the Lendrum wheel I learned to spin on. A good wheel goes a long way; if you can, try as many as you can before settling on one for purchase (said the girl who tried exactly one wheel.) I have the Spinner's Companion, which was great as a learning tool so I understood what I was doing. And the Joy of Handspinning website is great for instructional videos. Sometimes it's helpful to just cruise Etsy or the web looking at various types of handspun and just trying to copy what you've seen. But the most important thing is practice. And speed - I think it's almost always the tendency to treadle a little fast...take your time. And don't spin tired or frustrated - you'll end up with a huge mess.
I had the Greatest Mail Day Of All Time (tm) today, but I'll share photos of that a bit later or tomorrow morning - we have to run off to the grocery store and find ways to feed ourselves on the cheap, since I now owe all my money to Carrie.
Also, due to the Greatest Mail Day Of All Time (tm), I think it's likely there will be more than one winner of the contest. So keep on tossing comments around!
Posted by Alyson at 5:01 PM
Friday, August 03, 2007
I made my own yarn porn for today!
It's vaguely obnoxious to be all "I rule, I rule!!" but I'm seriously in love with this skein. It's up for sale in the shop, and it's probably my favourite in there right now. The shimmer, the colour, the squishability, and the fact that I got what I wanted out of it - that's three in a row now! A bulky two-ply (check!), a three-ply sock weight (check!) and a two-ply worsted weight (check!) - I'm becoming a goal-oriented spinner, rather than just a throw-it-on-the-wheel-and-take-what-I-get spinner.
Worsted, for some reason, usually evades me; I either end up on the DK side or the bulky side of it. In this case, I credit the fiber, a stunning merino/bamboo blend that came from Michelle at The Sweet Sheep. It was the final - I think? - installment from her fiber club, and I've been hoarding it for a while because I both loved it and was a little afraid of it (how does bamboo behave with merino? quite well, actually.)
Yep. Love it.
Okay, I won like a ton of stuff this week, and there are contests EVERYWHERE, and I keep entering them, even though I really shouldn't because I've already won two this week...so in order to balance out my debt to the Universe, I figured I should hold YET ANOTHER contest! (Winners of my last contest, your prizes will be along - as soon as the markers come in, I'll ship the goods!)
So I kinda made you work for the last one. This one I'll keep simple - just comment. Yep, any old random comment between now and Wednesday gets you an entry (I'll only enter each individual once, but hey, comment all you want. And if anyone on Ravelry wanted to call this shameless whoring for comments, I suppose they could - but it's really just an excuse for me to give stuff away and who would complain about that?)
I'll draw a winner Thursday morning. Prize? Do you even have to ask? Sock yarn. (Or, if you don't knit socks....I don't know, some other sort of yarn. There's no shortage 'round here.) Feel free to spread the contesty love on your blog, send people here, this ain't no secret.
Have a good weekend!
Posted by Alyson at 5:56 AM
Thursday, August 02, 2007
MAN did yesterday rule! I mean, work was work, nothing exceptional there, really, but it was a hell of a day!
I'm going to have to do contests more often, because it would appear that for every prize I give away, I win one elsewhere - I won TWO yesterday, and I never win anything!
The first was from the Ridiculous Obsession blog, and the prize was - dude - Socks that Rock! A colourway I love! (Mmm, semi-solids, my favourite fixation.) And I don't have it, and it's on my list! Yay!! (Yes, I have an actual physical list of the STR colourways I covet.)
And THEN I found out that I won the Loopy Ewe July contest, out of 411 entries! I got a $35 Loopy credit! Yay, bring on the next sneak-up, I can play now! So far, you can see how the day is going - it's awesome! It's awesomely exclamation-pointy awesome!!
Even my spam mail was good! Best Spam Message Subject Line Ever: "boiled cheese wheel". Brilliant - why WOULDN'T I open a spam message if there's a possibility of a boiled cheese wheel at the end of that rainbow??
AND I got these gorgeousstunningamazing things in the mail on Tuesday afternoon, but we'll include these in the What Was Awesome About Wednesday list, since I wore them (ooh, maybe they're lucky!):
Emily sent me this amazing sterling and swarovski crystal set, and I LOVE it. (Lots of 3/4 shots went into this self-shoot. I tried taking a picture of both earrings but for some reason, in every picture I took of myself in full frame, I looked like my own fraternal twin. Strangest thing, but seriously, it looked like half of my face belonged to one person and half to another. I studied myself in the mirror, but didn't see it; so either I'm dealing with a distorted self-image, or something was freaky with the lighting in that room. Nevermind, the earrings match, so just picture the same thing on the other side of my face.)
But that's not all! I just can't wear two pair at once - I also got these:
Emily rocks my face - her stuff is so beautiful, and she's such a great amazing person. Every time I need a gift for someone who might not appreciate handknit socks or handspun yarn - I can't believe I know any of those people - I go straight to Em's shop. And her prices are just silly good - I've seen the Sundance jewelry catalog show less spectacular stuff that costs four times as much! (That catalog, like Anthropologie, is one of my favourite things to look at for eye candy I would NEVER pay that much for.)
And, bonus, it was a pretty good hair day, which is a rare thing in my world (and made up for the crooked face):
I also realized there are five Fridays in August, which means five paydays in August! (For Travis - for me, still just the two.) I love when that happens. Somehow it never amounts to there being a pile of extra money at the end of the month, but it usually means there's not a big crater where our money USED to be.
And I really really should have shared this about a gajillion days ago when I got it:
When Valerie went to Australia, she picked up this wonderful Australian wool top for me - this tickled me to no end, the idea that someone went to Australia and thought about me while there! Awesome! (Actually, I'm thrilled if someone goes to the grocery store and thinks of me, so Australia just totally blows my mind.) Thank you so much Valerie! (And there was also a little brown wool sheep magnet, but I didn't get a picture of him - he's my cubicle mascot now, hanging on the metal cabinet thingie over my desk. I pet him a lot - it soothes me, since there's a severe shortage of wool in the office. One of the shortcomings of the federal government, if you ask me - not nearly enough wool.)
There's ALSO one MORE development that gave me sheer unadulterated joy yesterday, but I'm going to keep that one under my hat for a while - don't want to blow my whole wad in one post! ;-) (Not a baby. Don't look for that for a while.)
Obligatory spinning/knitting content: Finished a skein last night (at 1:00 a.m., as I am nothing if not determined) and I'll hopefully get some pictures of that today after work, if the rain will let up. (Also, still working on the palooza socks; got the heel and foot left, no sweat, definitely going to be finished and blocked by the revised deadline of August 7th.)
Posted by Alyson at 5:53 AM
Wednesday, August 01, 2007
While sitting with someone at the office in order to show her something job-related (which is but a small portion of what I understand my duties to be,) I flipped a page on a packet of papers and let out a soft little yelp. Have you ever tried to stay cool and composed and professional when you have just attached yourself to a packet of papers via loose staple? It SUCKS. Here I am, trying to describe a process to her, and trying not to let on to the fact that I am hopelessly entangled with this staple, which has just begun to fornicate with the fleshy part of my thumb in a very invasive and ouchie way. I eventually had to suck it up and say, "Excuse me, I appear to have stapled myself to this stuff, and I'll just be a moment." My cubicle is small, and the pain was getting worse, so I just kind of half-turned away and tried to maneuver my hand in a way that would give me some kind of view of what had happened - the thing had slipped in kind of sideways, which is why I couldn't extricate myself without drawing attention to the process. I pulled myself free, removed the staple and re-stapled the papers (because now the staple was sullied, I suppose,) doused myself with alcohol-based hand cleaner, and tried to go about my business as if nothing had happened. She was completely mortified. I think I've scarred her for life.
*Sigh* Being career-oriented is difficult when you're klutzy and easily distracted.
I had a go at writing a bio for the SAFF workshops. You ready for this?
Alyson Johnson is a self-taught knitter whose admiration of the fiber arts quickly spiraled into crazed obsession. A prolific knitter, spinner, and designer, she is also one of the legions of knit-bloggers and yarn vendors attempting to convert the Internet into the Interknit. Alyson most recently garnered attention web-wide for a pair of thigh-high lace Bellocq stockings she knit for her wedding. A proud Public Knitter, she often provides impromptu knitting lessons to anyone who expresses the slightest interest, including her husband and any number of waitresses and shop clerks. Never far from the needles, she prides herself on knitting while traversing the streets of downtown Orlando during lunch hour, delighting in the strange looks one gets for dragging a half-knit wool sweater around town in a Florida July. When not knitting or spinning, Alyson can be found talking about knitting or spinning, talking about other things while thinking about knitting or spinning, and engaging in lively debates with her husband as to whether it is sane to pursue the goal of owning all of the sock yarn in the world. (Yes. It is.)
Faced with bios of people who rattle off the 47 different breeds of sheep they raise and the eleventyhundred awards they've earned and organizations they're a part of, I thought it best to take the "vague and kinda funny" approach. It's also way long. (But all or mostly true. I don't actually plan to own ALL the sock yarn in the world - I don't even really like Opal. And yes, I do consider a mention of the stockings by Yarn Harlot to be "web-wide". It doesn't get much wider, really, at least not in my world. I did make sure to include the pattern name for the stockings, lest anyone should think I'm attempting to take credit for the design, which is far more brilliant than anything I've ever come up with.)
OH! Speaking of which, Stitch Diva is having a sale on patterns (you know Stitch Diva...Sahara, Bellocq, Simple Knitted Bodice?) They're giving 25% off and donating the proceeds of the sales to very worthy causes; if you've been thinking about picking up any patterns from them - or even if you haven't - now's the time! The sale runs through today.
And finally, I suck: Jill emailed me about a million years ago about good man sock patterns - she wants to knit a generic sock for her hubby - and I never did compile a proper answer. I'll offer up some suggestions here:
The first ones I knit for Travis were just a simple ribbed-cuff thing, 2x2 rib, plain stockinette foot. The ones I knit for the wedding were based off of the Garter Rib socks in Sensational Knitted Socks, which I would totally recommend as being one of the best books for sock knitting because it covers pretty much every conceivable foot, leg, and ankle measurement, and it has tons of great stitch pattern ideas, a lot of which are good manly ones - I would imagine the same is true of the sequel, but I don't have that one yet. And Nancy Bush's books, particularly Knitting on the Road, have some really great man socks. Oh, and I knit the Boyfriend Socks for my dad ('cuz that's not weird) and they're GREAT.
Anyone else have suggestions for good boy-socks?
Edit: Thanks, Robin, good point! There's also this post of mine from last year where there are tons of awesome sock patterns on the web - I remember thinking the Blueberry Waffle socks would be awesome for a guy, among others.
Posted by Alyson at 2:41 AM