Thursday, March 30, 2006

100 Things About Me:

I was born near Seattle, Washington; then moved to Fort Worth, Texas; then to Jensen Beach, (south) Florida; then to Orlando, Florida (area).

I've lived in Florida longer than anywhere else - I do not consider myself to be a Floridian.

We're moving. I don't know when, and I don't care where.....but we're moving.

I do like our neighbourhood. I don't like cookie-cutter subdevelopment houses (and I live in Florida...right?) so we bought this place:
Over 1/4 acre!

I own this house with Travis, my boyfriend.

I wish there was a better word for him than "boyfriend". I'd call him my husband, but that's not true yet.

It took a long time to get to this point with him - this relationship was what one would term a "slow-growth" commitment. But it was worth every minute.

We broke up once very early on. Travis said at the time he thought we were "pretty different" people. We say the same exact thing at the same exact time about three times a day. I like pointing out that he was dead-wrong about that "different" thing.

I still think this man is one of the handsomest I've seen in person in my entire life:

I remember being very upset when we broke up - mainly because I thought I'd have a REALLY hard time finding someone I was that physically attracted to ever again.

We adopted a puppy in December to keep our older dog company. This was a big step. Puppies are cute. I will NEVER EVER AGAIN adopt a puppy.

I do not like large dogs, even though I had dogs as a child and one was on the large side. It took me a very long time to learn to like even little dogs.

I still prefer cats.

I like things in pairs. We have two cats, two dogs, two sofas...

I want three children. Travis wants five. I feel strongly that we'll end up with two.

Children are pretty much my ultimate goal in life.

My boyfriend is three years younger than me. Although it throws my Life Plans into disarray (obviously, his Life Plans run a few years behind mine,) I LOVE that he is three years younger than me and rejoice in it often. I HAVE A YOUNGER MAN.

I have a feeling all that might change when I officially start getting old. I don't want to be in my 50s alone. So when I turn 50, I've decided to make him three years older than me.

Before Travis, I thought that this was probably my ultimate soulmate:
Who's Prettier Than Me?
(Rooster, my cat, who knows me very well and takes very good care of me, particularly in times of emotional upset or illness.)

I have a Very Bestest Friend, Jessi, who's been my best friend since I was about 12.

I brag about her often. There is much to brag about - she's studying for her Master's in Archaeology/Anthropology. She knows everything about Egypt.

Our "anniversary" is Halloween. It's our favourite holiday, so we've claimed it as the day we celebrate all our years of friendship.

I work for the red-headed bastard stepchild of the Federal Judiciary system. Federal gigs are pretty cushy - I've been here three years, which is the longest I've ever been at a job. It also makes me "vested", which makes me 400 times less likely to ever leave voluntarily.

I stay in everything for two years. My longest-held job before this was two years. I rarely stay in a residence, even ones I own, for more than two years. My longest previous relationship was a smidge over two years.

Speaking of which, I ended my last relationship, an engagement, on a Christmas Eve. It was the most rotten thing I've ever done, probably, and I'd undo it if I could...but there was no other way at the time.

I planned that wedding in three separate states. We couldn't settle on anything - I did really enjoy planning the one in Hawaii. (He was a really great guy. It just wasn't happening.)

Travis was a good friend to me at the time. I had no idea he had any interest in me whatsoever, and it surprised me. We started seeing each other about a week after my breakup.

That was a bad idea.

The night, much much later, when I heard "I love you" from him was the first time I was absolutely, truly, completely sure that I was hearing a very sincere expression of love for the first time.

I can easily pinpoint for you one of the best nights of my life.

I used to have this strange, very unlike-me need to be around Travis constantly, but I am becoming more comfortable with spending time apart, because I am finally settled and comfortable with where we are.

I talk about Travis a LOT.

People are stunned to hear I ride a dirtbike. Not often, or well, but I do.

I pick up a great number of hobbies, obsess over them for a while, and drop them unceremoniously.

Over the course of my life, I have fixated myself for a spell on each of the following (in no particular order): crocheting, cross-stitching, horseback riding, sculpting, beading, soapmaking, cooking, baking, dancing, playing piano, theatre, singing, fencing, tennis, reading, writing, knitting, studying any number of religious beliefs, yoga, spinning, running, investing/losing money, Olympic shopping, dirtbiking...

Of those, I was good at: singing, knitting, yoga, cross-stitching, reading, writing, and spending money.

I got held back in Jazz 1 class in middle school.

I'd be much better at theatre, but I'm not as good an actor or dancer as I am a singer.

I have still been in many plays/musicals and picked up a few awards and some great reviews.

I attended Stetson University for a semester, where I majored in Business and minored in Vocal Performance. (True to form, I was unable to commit to that college. Or the next one. I finally wrapped up a degree in Business Management at the University of Central Florida.)

I was informed by my vocal teacher that I should major in Music. If I'd stuck to it, I probably would have done very well.

I have about a four-octave vocal range.

I love to sing, and I do so often. Maybe too often.

Recently, I abandoned theatre for knitting. I'm better and more patient with string than I am with people.

I can't stop buying yarn. I've tried.

My birthday is coming up, and I asked Travis for a sewing machine.

I don't like that I want a sewing machine for my birthday...frankly, I don't think he does either.

I'm nervous about how much money I'll spend on fabric.

Last year for my birthday, Travis took me hang-gliding. It was terrifying and amazing.

I've had a cloud on my tongue.

I am very cute in hats:
FUBAR Hat and Not-So-FUBAR Scarf

My hair looks best black, or near-black. I know because I've had my hair almost every natural colour there is.

When dyed that colour, my hair behaves itself for approximately one week. Then it starts creeping back toward brown.

I like my green eyes. Everyone always thinks they're blue. But they're green.

My teeth are very straight and nearly perfect. That's because I just got my braces off and had jaw surgery.

I still have a baby tooth. There's nothing to come in behind it.

I love the Blue Cheese Chopped Salad at Outback Steakhouse.

Other than that, I try to avoid many chain restaurants.

I'm a vegetarian. Not a very good one - I do occasionally eat seafood.

It annoys me when people, upon finding out that I'm a vegetarian, ask me if I eat chicken. True, I shouldn't eat seafood either - but if I ate chicken, then I REALLY wouldn't be a vegetarian.

I love going to movies. I rarely do anymore, though, because I can't stand the people at movies. (Yay for Netflix.)

Back when many upper-end schools (I wanted to go to Princeton but couldn't reasonably afford it) required applicants present scores from three SAT II subject tests, I took them in History, Geometry, and Writing. I scored a perfect 800 on the Writing test. Probably should have thought about pursuing something in the English or writing department....

I discovered recently that it REALLY annoys me when someone says that they have wood floors, and they actually have that Pergo laminate masquerading as wood. Liar.

Clowns freak me out.

Unrestrained heights (like tall ladders) freak me out.

I have no problem with flying.

Dane Cook is my favourite funny person.

Or Steve Martin.

Or Bill O'Reilly. (How is he NOT funny?)

Do not answer your phone if it rings while you are dining with me. I've walked out and stuck a date with the check for that. (It was Travis. He now has seen the error of his ways and finds phone-while-dining equally upsetting.)

I read blogs. Especially knitting blogs. I almost prefer the blogs of strangers, because I know if they're griping and ranting about someone without naming them, it couldn't possibly be me.

I have a healthy dose of paranoia. Always have.

I used to say that I would never change anything about my life or the past or anything like that. That changed in early March of this year. There is one thing in this world that I would undo in a heartbeat if I could.

Talking on the phone stresses me out. I love my friends, but I rarely talk to them on the phone. I hate making calls. I can't explain this, and I lose friends often. But I simply hate making phone calls.

I would classify myself as a Christian Buddhist. This confounds a lot of people. It probably should.

I'm a Democrat, generally speaking.

I hate talking about religion or politics because people tend to get very worked up, and this makes me not want to have anything to do with them anymore.

This picture is one of the funniest things in the world to me:
yoda kid

I've no idea who that child is or who the knitter was. But that face is PRICELESS.

I swear far too much.

Travis' mother is the first mother of a significant other that I've truly enjoyed. I think she's a wonderful person, and she's not crazy. (You wouldn't believe me if I told you some of my stories...)

I am an only child.

I hate when people treat that revelation like it somehow explains everything about me, or tells them everything they need to know about me.

I also dislike when people act like that must have been the greatest thing in the world. I would have loved a sibling.

My mom would have liked more kids.

Both my mother and Travis' mother love feeding our dogs people food, even though we repeatedly ask them not to. I think this speaks to how much trouble we're going to have enforcing no-sugar, no-soda, limited-television rules at their homes...

I like organic and natural foods. I abhor fast food.

Corporations bother me. I try to avoid them when possible.

I have about 50 Disney movies on VHS or DVD.

Living in Orlando, I've learned about how evil Disney can be.

It freaks me out that some Disney employees are so "Go Mickey!!" It seems almost robotic and brainwash-y to me.

I hate no one. I despise no one. But if I was a bad person, an evildoer, I would burn down Walmart stores. I really truly despise that corporation above all others.

I don't like when people defend poor ethics with cost-based arguments.

Toilet humour does not amuse me.

I will frequently act like I know what you're talking about when really I have no idea. If you were to outright ask me if I have any clue, I'll admit that I don't. But otherwise, I'll just smile and nod.

I'm very sensitive. I can also be highly insensitive. That bothers me.

I think I'm pretty. I like that I think that I'm pretty. Sure, I have my off days. But as a general rule, I think I'm pretty.

I don't have a favourite colour.

I have the best, most supportive, most loving parents in the world.

I know how it feels to be really, truly, ardently in love, and to have that feeling returned. It's like being safe, wrapped in a soft warm blanket all the time.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Preoccupied Sensei

I haven't been reading much lately, and I regret that sometimes. But no matter how hard I stare at a book each night, it never seems to produce socks.

So, how do you get a newly-fixated knitter to put down her needles and pick up a book? Write a book about knitting. So I'm knee-deep in Yarn Harlot's Knitting Rules!. As noted in today's title, I've learned so far that my level of obsession is "preoccupied", my style is "Sensei" (I'd put Mom in the "Organic" category), and I don't have enough stash by a LOT. Travis will be dismayed and disheartened to hear this last bit, as I think he'd hoped I would be running out of steam soon. (My birthday wish of a Jordana Paige Knitter's Purse and umbrella swift has done nothing to ease his apprehension.)

The beautiful thing about having a knitting room in the new house is that when, someday, he accidentally stumbles in there instead of into his office as he'd intended, he'll think all that yarn just appeared over time, not in a few weak moments of Internet trolling. This is fortified by my possession of a PO box. If he doesn't SEE the yarn coming in, I must have had it all along. Huh.

But it's a wee little stash for now...a few drawers...and a trunk. Whatever. The trunk is almost full....but, I mean, there's a blanket in there too. So it's not ALL yarn.

Currently the prize of my stash - I could afford one skein and I have NO IDEA what I'm going to do with it. I'm thinking hat, because it's the only thing I could make with just one skein that I'll get a decent amount of use from. I do have a tendency to fixate on one colour scheme for myself. Jessi once informed our friend Bekah and me that we "dress like dead trees." That was in high school, and it's still true. I buy blues/greys/blacks for Travis and greens/browns/neutrals for me. I'm attempting to branch out, just takes time.

Balls of mohair have to be the least attractive thing in the world - this is my hoodie yarn, and I will not be the least bit surprised when, eight years from now and with a bewildered look in my eyes, I pull a big wad of something exactly like this from a drain in my young son's bathtub. But I'm sure it will knit up beautifully. Um, the yarn, not the stuff from the drain. And that's assuming I ever find the end of the yarn so I can wind it......

I'm so so so excited about this yarn. (In a stretch, I've branched out to dead cranberry tree colours. If cranberries grew on trees. Which they don't. They grow in bogs. And I'd rather not think that I purchased colours that belong in a cranberry bog......but they do, and I did.) 80/20 baby alpaca/silk blend that's so yummy and I have NO IDEA what to do with. At least one pair of fingerless gloves. Beyond that....but I'm going to have to come up with something. Don't you judge me - at $2.50 a skein, I think I controlled myself rather nicely.

If I keep buying at these levels (there has been at least one box in the mail on its way to me at all times for about a month) I think I'm going to need Travis' office closet too. And a tub in at least one of the spare bathrooms. And I may need to hollow out some mattresses and stuff yarn in there. (No one would ever have to know...until a guest rolls over in the middle of the night to find me with my hand crammed under his or her butt, digging around for that yummy Cashcotton I just pictured in a dream and awoke NEEDING an Aran lap blanket by morning....)

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Oh, But I'm On The List!

I'm going to need a big burly black man guarding me soon. He'll hold a list, and I'll stand behind him with my dpns and my sock yarn and a discerning scowl, and he'll take names and requests and determine on a whim whether an individual can have the item they're requesting.

I guess I need to quit showing off so much....but since my friends don't knit, and I have a captive audience at work, I have a tendency to go desk-to-desk, thrusting my projects proudly in the faces of occupants and waiting for the compliments to rain down. I've lately taken to a less intrusive tactic of leaving my current project splayed out on my desk, thus allowing all who pass by the chance to again shower me with compliments.

I get compliments. I also get requests.

So far:
Jim: Necktie. Something ugly. (Not crazy about the necktie policy.)
Scott: Ditto. (I'm thinking that recycled silk-sari yarn - that would make a really hideous tie.)
Charisma: Red socks.
Nola: Fingerless gloves.
Daisy: Something in Colombian flag colours.
Susan C.: Socks to go with her cute kitty pjs. (The new Artyarns Supermerino colourway I just picked up would be PERFECT....but those are MINE!)

Then there's Susan S., who bless her heart is just keenly impressed with anything I make. Oh, and Susan C. also wants a beautiful cabled sweater - she was nice enough to send me a sample picture of what she would like - and I've promised that I can have that done by the time she retires (which will be many many years from now.)

Travis' mom wants a hat and socks. Grumperina had a super-cute hat pattern on Magknits that I think she'd love, so I'll have to get going on that in time for Christmas. Moms, dads, sisters, and dearest friends come first. I think I'll just start knitting patterns I like, throw them all in a drawer, and come Christmastime, I'll just start assigning projects to loved ones.

Oh, and then there's the list of things for me. It makes me feel so selfish and greedy, but I figure I can justify it by saying that I have to practice these items before I can make stuff to give away. There's a few little camisole tops, and a hoodie (got the yarn yesterday!) and a pair or two or seventeen of arm warmers, wrist warmers, and fingerless gloves, and a few pairs of socks. (The Artyarns supermerino is reserved for Grumperina's Jaywalker socks that are swiffering the nation.)

I've decided to put off learning how to spin until after SAFF in North Carolina this October. They've got some great classes on spinning, dyeing, and hand-painting. I'm not really feeling up to teaching myself the art of spinning. One major self-taught handiwork project at a time, thank you.

I'm anxiously awaiting my Knitting Vintage Socks book, the one item (besides yarn) that I've decided I can't live without. I saw a bunch of completed projects from that book last night and I love them all so much I could just...well, knit them.

And I've purchased a few pairs of cute Doc Martens (yay eBay!) perfectly designed for showcasing my also-cute handknit socks. They say that one of the great things about hand-knit socks is that no one knows you're wearing them - there's a sense of great pride that you get to keep for yourself. Screw that. I've already ordered t-shirts in seven colours that declare "I KNITTED THESE SOCKS MYSELF." (Okay, not really....but I'm thinking about it. While I'm at it, I'll have a few made up with "ALYSON KNITTED THESE SOCKS FOR ME" and I'll give them away along with the socks to all my friends and loved ones.)

This is fantastic. Why didn't someone teach me to knit like ten years ago??

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Woo. Hoo.

I have pictures!

I took some lovely thick-thin wool from Spunky Eclectic (obtained from KPixie)

Spunky Eclectic

And I turned it into the So-Called Scarf that I fell in love with on sight. (Next time I'll do it with something other than a thick-thin, which sort of obscures the nifty pattern.)

My So-Called Scarf

I also finished up the wrap for Becky (Travis' mom) and it's only a week late. (Her birthday was Sunday.)

Mom2's Wrap

Knit from a simple pattern in my Knitting To Go box - I did add the stripes, though, a timid first step into colourwork. (And I'll point out here that I did block it again after this photo in an attempt to straighten it out - the stripes aren't supposed to run diagonally, but the piece seems to kind of want to shift that way...)

My big "I'm purling wrong" moment happened somewhere in this lavender section here:

Revelation Moment

(Shown on the wrong side because I think even the wrong side comes out kinda pretty in this pattern.)

And finally (cue the trumpets)


MY SOCK!!! I MADE THIS SOCK!!! I could not be prouder if I had built an entire house from the ground up with just my bare hands and a hacksaw. I finally found a pictorial sock helper (thank my stars for THAT site) and with the help of that and the DIY Network website and Knitty, I managed to struggle through my first sock adventure (from a pattern Kathleen provided as her first sock experience as well). I'm making them for Travis, and it even fit his foot! (Which is not much larger than mine, so I only have to make a few adjustments in order to start the next pair for me.)


I made a few rookie mistakes - I did a fairly decent job avoiding any laddering, although you can make out a bit up at the toe decrease. And I noticed a few dropped stitches when he tried them on, so I fixed that. But overall, I'm very proud of my sock. No Second Sock Syndrome either - I can't wait to cast on the next one!

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Things Just Got A LOT Easier

How long have I been knitting? Since maybe July? I got serious around what, January? And last night, while perusing my new books (Stitch n' Bitch Nation and Weekend Knitting, both of which I love ardently,) I realized something when glancing through the diagrams.

I've been purling wrong.

Did you get that? I've been PURLING WRONG. How many times do you purl in a piece of knitwork??!! Mind you, I've been purling correctly enough to not make much difference in the completed work - stockinette still looks like stockinette, rib still looks like rib - but suddenly I understand why everything takes me so long and why I despise knitting after a purl stitch or, even worse, k2tog or (God forbid), k2tog tbl after purls. Instead of taking the yarn to front and pulling over and behind the needle, I've been pulling it straight up between and behind the needle. Stitch orientation, my dears. Stitch orientation.

And when I discovered this, and I tried purling correctly and moved on to my *k/yo/k2tog* pattern on the second row? It was truly as if a heavenly light shone down on me and a chorus of "Hallelujah"s erupted around me. Warmth and joy. Seriously. That's how I would have written it in my knitting sitcom (sure to be a hit). Do you have any idea how much faster I can knit now? I feel like Speedy Gonpurles.

Okay, I have to go finish that wrap. This will no doubt only take me about nine minutes now that I've gotten the hang of the purl stitch - which only took me nine months!

(And if you're surprised how unabashedly and joyfully I share the tales of my stupidity boneheaded inability to understand a simple diagram revelation, well, you don't know me very well.)

Friday, March 24, 2006

Scrappy McFluffyNubby Finds Home

Since I gave Scrappy to his new owner, I can post pictures. The pattern came from Knitty (here), and was simple but sort of a pain (thanks mainly to the nature of the yarn). The bag washes beautifully, is soft like crazy, and knit like steel. It's also a bit smaller than I would have liked. Ah well. At least I made the strap long enough that she can wear it crossways.

Scrappy McFluffyNubby

Scrappy McFluffyNubby II

Also, I REALLY need more yarn. I have a lot, more than I can reasonably do anything with currently, and more en route from Elann. But I need more. 'Cause see, Knit Happens has a lot of stuff for sale prices right now, and they're cheaper than I can find here at Sip n' Knit or on some other sites that carry the same stuff, and it just makes good SENSE to buy it when it's on sale...I mean, I know I'm going to buy it eventually anyway, so shouldn't I just buy it now when I can save a few bucks?

Is there a place on a divorce petition for "Bitch Won't Quit Spending the Mortgage Money on Yarn"? Or would that just fall under "Irreconcilable Differences"? How many sweaters do I need to knit for Travis to keep him from rebelling against the creeping sprawl of the yarn house-wide?

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Scared and Alone...

I'm teaching myself to knit with only the warmth of the Internet to guide me. I have no one to sit by my side and help me figure out what I'm doing wrong. And the nearest Stitch n' Bitch session is about 40 miles away.

That's probably why the heel turned out in garter on the right side and stocking on the wrong side.

I'm terrified to move any further on my Real Sock, so I attempted a baby Pretend Sock to practice the technique. Good thing. After turning a blue skein of yarn into a tiny green sock (and THAT freaked me out), I started on the heel and somehow knit the heel backwards...

In a sixth-grade English class, we had to write instructions on how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, but we had to write it as if the person reading them would have no idea how to do ANYTHING. It was meant to teach us attention to detail. So we couldn't just say "take jelly out of refrigerator." We had to describe what jelly looks like and where to find the refrigerator, and how to open the refrigerator door - my instructions on that simple process ended up being four pages long.

That's what I need from a sock pattern. Clearly, when starting the heel, I need my pattern to tell me EXACTLY which stitches to put on which needle, where to knit, how to knit, when to breathe....

Sigh. I want to be good at socks. And I want to be good at them because I really actually ENJOY making them so far. Double-pointed needles are kinda fun. Slow....but fun.

So fine then...I will go back to knitting back and forth on this wrap until I locate an acceptably thorough instruction process on socks. (And I have the ten-page Knitting-Socks-If-You're-Retarded instructions...still not enough...maybe I need pictures...)

I wish I was in the Matrix and they could just jack that plug thing into the back of my head and pump me full of knitting knowledge. I enjoy knitting way too much to not actually be any good at it.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Define: One Skein

Okay, apparently the book One Skein and I have different viewpoints.

I view "one skein" as those lovely and pricey single-skeins of stuff I purchased back when I was a wee knitter (so, like, a month ago) only interested in garter-stitching skinny scarves. I hadn't yet discovered the treasure trove of reasonably-priced yummy yarns on the 'net, and I was paying too much money for yarn at little shops. (I love my little shops, but you know how it is...) So we're talking some 50 grams, maybe a 100 gram or two.

The book One Skein strongly believes that "one skein" is a 900 yard ball of bulky weight cotton.

Okay, if I had a bunch of 900 yard balls of bulky cotton lying around, would I really need your help in determining what to do with this lonely (ginormous) ball of yarn???

(I acknowledge that there are some really good patterns in here...but there are way too many requiring more than 300 yards of just seems counterintuitive to me.)

I need to get some pictures in, I know. I'm working on a pretty wrap right now. When it's blocked, I'll be very pleased with it - a simple pattern (I added stripes for interest...and because I don't have enough of any one colour...) and it's turning out nicely thus far. Once that's done, it's back to the giftie shawl and Travis' socks. (The shawl is in the same stage of KnitKnitKnitKnit Why Isn't This GOING ANYWHERE?? that it's been languishing in for two weeks now. Gotta love the wide parts.)

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Oh My Goodness Oh My GOODness

While searching for a pattern for a cute hoodie on my pal Knitting Pattern Central, I saw a little note at the bottom that declared that Garn Studios now had its patterns posted in English and that was good news. I figured I should examine this "Garn Studio" and see what was so great about them.




I will never have to buy another pattern book or Interweave Knits again! Everything on there is chic and looks expensive like crazy. ('Cause face it, when you're working off a free pattern, people would usually be able to tell.) And not just 30 or so...there are almost 2000 free patterns.

It's my new favourite place in the whole wide world (today). The link's been added to the sidebar. to just buy all the yarn in the world.

Friday, March 17, 2006

First and Most Unimportant Post

I just have to write something down to get this thing up and running. They say when you start a blog, you should have something to say. I just want to say that this is strictly for the benefit of my non-knitting friends, which is to say this is for the benefit of all but two people who know me. (I'm a lonely knitter...)

I've officially become too fixated on knitting, so I'm starting this up so that maybe people will stop making fun of me. Maybe strangers will find me, other freak knitters who will have respect for me and my (fledgling) artistry.

I'll move some pictures over here. Eventually. When I have some unembarrassing project worth sharing.

For now, maybe go peek at the Yarn Harlot, if you haven't had your daily dose already.