Thursday, January 31, 2008

Sad/Happy, Happy/Sad

It's been kind of an up-and-down week. First of all, a sweet blogfriend lost her precious kitty, and that has kept me sad for a few days, because I know how very close they two were. (Rooster knows it too - he's been staying even closer than usual to me ever since I teared up and announced to my hubby that "Jiva lost her Rooster". If I explain it that way, he knows it means they were very close. I love all of my pets dearly and more than life, but Rooster and I definitely share a bond.)

Speaking of bonds, Bitty's been feeling pretty bonded to something lately:

Poor bitty....again

Poor Bitty! Her bootie's healed, but now she has a corneal hernia (fancy term for "eye bruise") and we have to keep her in this cone thing so she won't mess with it. We also have to inject ooze into her eye every few hours, and the ooze happens to be plasma from her own blood. While it's pretty cool to be cured by your own blood, it's a little heebie-inducing for me, so the eyedrops are totally Travis' department.

Progress on The Project continues at a surprising clip - I've been able to work on it quite a bit, so I'm making pretty decent time.

El Capitan had asked me to attend some training this week, and I wasn't looking forward to it too much, until I got there. It's not like I was dreading it, but I didn't realize how awesome (and widely used) the software I was learning would be. Turns out that the skills I'm acquiring pretty much will make me a Tech Writer, a position that I've always thought would suit me rather well. (I love to tell people what to do, I'm anal retentive, and I'm a nerd.) Not that it means I'd have any desire to leave my current job - but with the economy the way it is, it's nice to acquire any and all marketable skills, you know, just in case.

Hey, also, it's one of those nice times when I can tell you why it seems like I never knit:

Daydreamer Socks

My latest pattern for Zen Yarn Garden, the Daydreamer Socks (Ravelry link), is now available in her shop. May I recommend the cashmere? (Oh yeah. It's pretty sweet.)

As long as I'm talking about my patterns, I should mention that I uploaded all my free patterns to Ravelry today, so you can download them right from there now, if you like.

Promptly after my vote was submitted, my candidate dropped out of the race. How's that for making you feel like a blight? (And yet, what an odd time to step back. I heard a very interesting theory in conversation with someone this week, someone who's involved enough in politics to qualify as a voice of authority, and basically, in a surprise-but-not-really twist, it would amount to an Al Gore / Barack Obama ticket. Let me be the first to say that I am ALL FOR THAT.)

I'm heading down south this weekend (Miami!) to spend a few days with my best friend Jessi and another good friend - Jessi's wedding fast approaches (squee!) and we get to spend some time looking at dresses and just basically reverting to high school and being silly. I'm looking forward to it very much!

And when I return, there's a shop update scheduled for Sunday night. (Yes, yes, right in the middle of the Super Bowl. I know it's probably not the best time, but I'm not exactly Sundara here, so it's not like stuff flies off the shelf.) There will be twelve (twelve!!) new handspun skeins up for grabs.

Preview you say? Here's ten of 'em:

Handspun Collection

Yeah, so that's what I've been up to. I was shooting for fifteen skeins, but I now have noticed something that feels like tennis elbow in my left arm, so I think I'm done spinning until after I get back - my body is definitely telling me to give the repetitive motion a rest.

Have a great weekend, everyone. Snuggles and happy knitting - give your pets a big hug. (Or kids, if you have those instead. Or yarn. You know, whatever fluffy stuff you got lyin' around, just pick it up and give a snorgle.)

Monday, January 28, 2008

Call Me Mill

I'm spinning like mad. I did FIVE yarns this weekend. FIVE. I'm serious about this shop update, dangit.

Does anyone want a skein of Socks that Rock in the Flower Power colorway from the 2007 sock club? I never really liked it but was waiting for the end of the term to sell it. I didn't ever even bother to get a picture of it, but Adelle did, and so I'm stealing hers to show you. (You don't mind, right Adelle, 'cuz you love me and stuff, right? hehe...I hate being a thief, but I'm just so laaazy...) Anyway, that's what the skein looks like - if anyone wants it, drop a comment. $20 includes shipping to US/Canada.

I'm supposed to vote tomorrow. Not that it counts. I guess I'll vote for the point of it anyway, but man I hate that the Democrat votes don't get counted (they stripped our delegates since we moved up the primary, although there's a theory that the decision will be reversed) and it's compounded by the fact that the Republican votes WILL count - is it just me, or does it seem like Florida is just TRYING to defraud the system?

We watched the movie Once last night. I loved it - the music was captivating, and the love story grabbed me. It's not your typical love story, more about how two people can share passion, a love for an idea, and the connection that creates - but it's really a beautiful story. (Assuming you can understand a word they're saying...)

Off I go to spin some more - snuggles!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Typical Friday Fare:

So, as noted in yesterday's post (thank you for all your support, either by being appalled or by wondering why I thought it looked bad,) I have been very busy with the spinning. Since I've had nothing else of consequence to show off, why don't I just inundate you with handspun?

There Goes Alice

There Goes Alice

A bulky/superbulky blue-faced leicester yarn with mohair and angelina that I spun for my Funky Junkie swap pal. (Wool fiber by Funky Carolina, other stuff dug out of the stash.)



A twee little 50-yard skein from a Loop batt - I've had this one spun for ages and only recently decided that I like it.

Taffeta, Darling

Taffeta, Darling

A 145 yard skein of several wools, some bamboo and silk, and a bit o' nylon - spun from a batt prepared by Traveling Rhinos.



An 85 yard bulky skein with just about every fiber you can imagine - another delightful batt from Traveling Rhinos. I received and spun this one on the same day - I love her batts for relatively-instant gratification yarns; they make great funky singles and art yarns.



Navajo-plied, about 285 yards of a sport weight self-striping yarn in superwash merino from The Sweet Sheep.

And finally,



I couldn't resist just one tribute to Heath. I'm sure he'd love that his yarn is pink and purple. (At least I didn't name it Ennis.) So this one's named in tribute to his very last project. It's a 285 yard skein of sportweight superwash merino, fiber also from The Sweet Sheep.

So there you have it. That's where I've been. Is it any wonder that Rooster has taken to sleeping on the treadles - he's probably sick to death of hearing the whir of the flyer! (At least Travis has managed to tweak out most of the wheel's ticks, squeaks, knocks, and rattles - my hobby was becoming a real annoyance to those around me.)

(As you can guess, there's hopefully a big shop update coming in the next couple of weeks.)

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Cats Make Everything Harder - Er, Better.

So, yeah, like you all didn't know, but the Interweave Spring preview is up (edit: no it's not - apparently someone goofed), and so are the Knitty surprises.

Me? I'm seeing some things I like, but honestly, can we stop with the 3/4 sleeve cardigans/blouses? I mean, they're real nice and everything, but damned if everything isn't starting to look a lot the same to me.

(I'd love to see some different names in IK, too. I love the designers they use, don't get me wrong, but I'd also like a hefty selection of fresh voices...)

There's a nice little profit-sharing thing going on at The Sanguine Gryphon right now. She's going to be splitting everything she makes with a family who very much needs it - you can read more about it on this post of hers. I thought that was quite generous and well-spirited of her, so if you're in need of anything - or if you're not - maybe you could shop there?

I stopped treadling for about seven and a half seconds last night to tear off a chunk of fiber from the batts I was working with. Turns out it only takes seven and a quarter seconds for me to lose all control of my intentions for the evening:


What is it with this cat? He wants to go to work, I'll put him to work!

As it turns out, work is not his style:


(It fell on him. He didn't move an inch.)

So, besides The Project, you wanna know what else I plan to work on this weekend? Remember this place?:

Knitting Room 1/6/07

Yeah, now it's THIS place:


Horrifying, isn't it? I accumulated maybe a bit too much stuff. I'm in the process of reorganizing and in the meantime, the happy zen knitting room looks like this. It's making me nuts. Sharing it with the public will hopefully serve to motivate me even further to restore it to its former glory. Please, tell me how appalling it is so I'll be ashamed and lock myself in there until it's clean.

There's a ton of spinning around here lately - maybe for tomorrow (or whenever's) post I'll just do a nice collage. I've been busy. Well, when Rooster has allowed me to use the wheel.....

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Things I Was Just Saying Today...

...while discussing a preview I saw on Sunday:

"I know they'd be loathe to nominate someone from a comic book movie for an Oscar, but I really think he's going to be the embodiment of a bad guy."

"He's going to surpass Jack as the ultimate Joker."

"Remember Monster's Ball?? OH MY GOD."

"He's really extremely gifted. I wish I got to see more of him."

"Have you noticed that he's been looking a little rough around the edges lately?"

Prove me right

I know it's pretty far outside my world, but I admired his art, and it makes me very sad. Very sad indeed.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Are You Kidding?

Dudes. I woke up at FOUR in the MORNING. (I'll make a great mother, apparently, because I can hear a cat barf from across the house.) Normally I'd manage to clean it up (and by clean it up, I mean shove Travis out of bed to do it because he can recover to sleep mode from just about anything) and get right back to sleep. However, this morning? Not so much. It didn't help that after Indiana did her sick thing, Rooster jumped up on the bed, curled up on my arm, sneezed on my neck twice, and then settled for sleeping on my face. Yeah, forget it, I'm up.

I've managed to do some things I've been putting off (for no good reason and to horrible effect, as I frequently wake up at odd hours of the night and morning with stomach acids letting me know that I do not deserve rest so long as I continue to fail to complete X, Y, and Z tasks) and now I'm even pondering getting my knitting room cleaned up. Or do I go back to sleep?

Crap, the first alarm just went off. I could still get another hour....

ETA: PS: Oh, THAT'S what it is. In the past four hours or so, my body has increasingly been reminding me that it's been fighting off a cold bug and it's out of battle resources - I'm not horribly ill yet, but I know my immune system, so I want to get it handled before I'm completely out of white cells and go fetal. Doctor's visit later this morning, then sleep, glorious sleep....

Thursday, January 17, 2008


O-KAY!! I have my slate clear! Well, sort of. I do have a design project in the works, but plenty of time to the deadline on that. I had a deadline January 5...and another January 15...and another January 16. So I was kind of "AAAGHHH!!!" for a while there. But now I can just knit whatever I want (for a few days, until I receive the y-a-r-n for a s-u-r-p-r-i-s-e. I won't talk about it here, but you can track it on Ravelry - it's first in my queue for now. The recipient might stumble onto the blog, but there's no stumbling onto Ravelry. Speaking of which, I kind of like the exclusivity of Ravelry right now. It's the only place where it's possible to keep stuff secret from the general public, i.e. people I might be knitting gifts for. Flickr and the blog are risky, but without a Ravelry account, they're out of luck!)

So yeah, I did finish my hat project for my friend at work, though I only have an incomplete picture:

Snowbunny Flop Hat

And boy, did I just only barely make it. And I mean JUST. I knit on this stupid thing until about 1:15 a.m. on Tuesday, but my left hand finally seized up and I had to stop. Then I worked on it on the bus on Wednesday morning. Kept working on it when I got to work, until 9:00 (my absolute must-start-work time), then took an early lunch and finished it literally 30 seconds before he went out the door. And I was shaking like a leaf with nerves by then - now I know how the Project Runway contestants feel when Tim walks in and says "Okay people, it's time!" I wish I'd planned better, because it really could have used a good wash to even out the stitches. But it got done. (No FO picture, no time - this is the best I have. But it's not like anything special happened, just more brown. You can just picture it with a top, and that's it.) It would have been much quicker a knit if it weren't for this:

Snowbunny Flop Hat

A three-inch lining designed to keep his ears warm on the slopes. He's going snowboarding for the first time (hence the screaming yellow stripes - I wanted his buddy to be able to see him easily when he ended up face-down in the snow with his feet stapled to a plank. This is also the reason for the name of the hat - which is a play on the term "snowbunny" and "bunny flop", one of which he will be and the other of which I'm quite certain he'll do.) My original idea also included stitching his name into this brim in brown, but I'm not completely insane - I knew adding that much detail was going to add some time to the project, so I abandoned it.

The pattern was my own little whip-up thing. I just knit a gauge swatch, did the math, and took off. I really learned a lot from my Knit, Purl, Now What? class. (Mind you, it's a class I TAUGHT, not one I took. I think I probably learned more from that than my students. I've used the lessons I came up with quite frequently.) I may write up a pattern, though I have to play with some numbers since this was custom-fit for his head and most people wouldn't be knitting a hat for a 23 1/2" head. (No, really. Hence the 120 stitches.) It looks very snowboarder to me, and a little Abercrombie & Fitch. It works for Jim, he's a hip fun guy. In a fortunate coincidence, it also matches his new snowboarding outfit, hurray!

I know I'm going on and on about it, and it's just a stupid hat. I'm just enthused because it's so nice to finish something and show it to you right away. :-)

Lemme do this thing real quick too:

Project Details:

Pattern: Snowbunny Flop Beanie (my own "pattern")
Yarn: Laines du Nord Maxi (hey, anyone know if this is okay for machine washing??)
Needles: US 5 (3.75mm) Addi Turbo (20", miserable things with itty bitty short needles not friendly to continental knitting) and US 5 (3.75mm) Clover double-points
For: Jim at work
Started: January 15, 2008 (unless you count the cast on and one round, which I did before Christmas)
Finished: January 16, 2008

Now I'm back to my long-abandoned Pomatomus. Which I seem to have skittered off track on - my knitting is no longer matching up with the pattern. But it LOOKS fine, so I'm not going to worry about the fact that I'm supposed to be doing ktbl, p, ktbl, p and instead I'm doing p, ktbl, p, ktbl. Here's hoping that works out for me.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


It is 8:03. Travis teaches drumming to the kid from 7:30 to 8:00.


I'm really hard-and-fast on the 30 minutes. At five after, I start yelling.

And I have to knit a whole entire hat tonight. A whole entire 120-stitch-round hat. With a lining. Yeah. (Lack of planning - the recipient leaves for Colorado tomorrow, dammit I SAID I would have this done.)

Good thing the potential distraction of my spinning wheel isn't available anyway:

Nope, you're done.

Thank you, Rooster. You are a diligent taskmaster.

I'm knitting. I'm knitting knitting knitting.

Sunday, January 13, 2008


On today's keyword activity list: "goiter" and "my dog eats hair". I'm not sure when I've ever discussed goiters, but my dog DOES eat hair. So at least one person was probably right to come here.

I've been rubbish lately, I know - there's little to blog about because there's little to show - I've done plenty of knitting, but absolutely none of it is stuff I can talk about. Isn't that fun? (No, I know it isn't.) We've been doing really well on eating-in...I've kept up with my Sunday cooking, so we've been able to have dinners at home and take lunches to work. It's saving us a fortune, and one added bonus to it that I hadn't thought much about: we know exactly what's in our food now. I know we're not putting away hidden loads of butter or lard, and that's nice to know.

I was going to write more, but I'm on the couch with the MacBook in my lap, and Rooster kitty just curled up on top of my arms. Given my newly-limited range of movement, I'll have to sign off at that. Here's a bit of eye candy, though it may look familiar:

Festivus Redux

Festivus Redux handspun - two skeins of worsted weight spun from Sereknity's "Clownin' Around" fiber. I've spun this before, but it's quite popular, so I keep spinning more. (It's such a fun thing to spin, too!)

Okay, Rooster just gave a great and powerful (and wet) sneeze on my right arm, which would seem to be an indication that he'd like my full undivided attention, so I'll send Travis for a wet wipe and say farewell for today. Happy knitting!

Monday, January 07, 2008

Okay, I'm Maybe A LITTLE Crazy

First of all, I gotta tell you, I cannot beLIEVE how many people come here by googling "knitting pattern willy warmer". It's not surprising that my site should come up, since I mention a pattern on this post. But it is surprising to me that it comes up on my keyword search just about EVERY DAY. Seriously, how many people are out there dying to knit willy warmers?? It's a bit of work for a gag gift (I'd rather just put a rubber band around the top of a tube sock) are they really and truly interested in knitting one for utility's sake? Hey, if you got here searching for that, clue me in. 'Cuz if they're really that great, hey, maybe Travis could use one. He's open-minded.

Would you like to read the conversation I had with myself today as I left my office building? (You read that right. It wasn't a full-throttle whackjob conversation out loud, complete with animated hand gestures and everything - but it was one of those kind of in-your-head conversations you have, where you ask yourself a rhetorical question, and then kind of respond to yourself, and it goes on from there until you realize, "Oh my God I'm having an internalized full-out weighty discussion with myself" and go back to having a single thought about, I don't know, gouda cheese. You do have those, right? It's not just me, right? Right?!)

Anyway, nutso or not, here's about how it went:

Brain-Alyson #1: Ugh. Can't believe it's almost dark out here at 5:30. Isn't that ridiculous? Stupid Florida. God I hate it here.

Brain-Alyson #2 (who apparently LOVES it here, effing traitor): What?! Come on, you can't blame the DARK on Florida.

B-A #1 (heh. I like "B-A"; I'm going to pretend it stands for "Bad-Ass"): I can blame whatever I WANT on Florida. It's dark. I don't like that. Things I don't like are to be blamed on Florida. Therefore, the dark is Florida's fault!!

B-A #2: That's insane. It's getting dark all along the east coast right now. It's getting dark in Atlanta. In Charlotte. In Baltimore. In Philadelphia. In New Hampshire...not that that's going to slow down the candidates and their stupid stumping any. Seriously, can we talk about batshit crazy Giuliani for a second...'cuz I'm pretty sure he's unstable or....

B-A #1: You're changing the subject! Why do you always do that?! The point is Florida is to blame for dark. Sunshine State my ass! It's 5:30 and it's DARK!

B-A #2: By that logic, you should blame Florida for everything you don't like. Does THAT make sense?

B-A #1: YES. YES IT DOES. In addition to early darkness, Florida is now responsible for bell peppers, the sounds people make while chewing, the speech patterns of that Ira Glass guy on NPR, traffic, global warming, the paparazzi, and Dick Cheney.

B-A #2: Actually, that last one's kinda true, if you think about it. And we do hate bell peppers an awful lot.

B-A #1: Yes we do.

B-A #2: Stupid Florida.

At which point I arrived at my car and drove home. (And if that doesn't worry you....but to be fair, I'm really not crazy, I've checked. I just occasionally think out my thoughts in blog-post-worthy format. It's all for you.)

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Why Is Rachael Ray So Damned Happy All The Time?

Oy. Spent the entire day in the kitchen today. I love to cook, and I also like not having to come home from work and go straight to the kitchen during the week, but it is kind of rough doing all the week's meals in one day - it's like Thanksgiving Day every Sunday.

There's an update in the shop with all the yarn I dyed yesterday. ("All" being six listings.)

The weather is going to start getting back to "normal" for Florida now - at least it's still cool enough to have the windows open. Being down into the 20s and 30s this past week was pretty spectacular. But you know who we found out doesn't like being cold?

It's okay, I'm not comfortable without them

Everybody but me. As much as I love the attention, I do think I'll like being able to, you know, get up once in a while.

Okay, that's kind of all I really have. Pretty captivating stuff today, huh? I'd blog some more, share words of wisdom and tell witty stories that cause you to snarf coffee out of your nose, but then the Wii would get lonely. You don't want that, do you?

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Oh. My. God.

I used to say I thought $25 was pushing it for a skein of hand-dyed merino sock yarn. More than that, I'm not likely to bite.

Dudes, I've been dyeing all day, and let me tell you, if someone charges $45 for a skein of sock yarn, I'm not going to think that's unreasonable. 'Cuz this process SUCKS.

(See, it started with me dyeing up some fiber as requested. However, since I ended up having to buy acid dyes and a pot - the Wilton dyes were not working out for me at ALL - I figured I'd do some yarn too so I could spread out the costs. After all, I had quite a few skeins of different brands of natural-coloured yarns to play with, because I kept saying I was going to do some dyeing one of these days.)

When these are done, I'll post them in the shop. And they will be some serious limited editions, because I don't see my ass doing this again ANYtime soon. I'd like to thank all of you who dye yarn. You're all my heroes.


Saturday's Work

Also, PS: Major huge crazy sale at Woolgirl right now. Great stuff....tough to resist!! (I warned you, 'kay?)

Thursday, January 03, 2008

I Don't Do Resolutions

I really don't. But I do like to remind myself each year of the things I'm supposed to be doing. So, in no particular order:

1. Take better care of hands. Use the Nailtiques treatments Mom gave me for Christmas on a regular basis. (The workshops I teach require detailed photos, and gnarly looking hands are not cute in those photos.)

2. Observe serious crunch time on budget. The expense of living in Florida has gotten to be rather dire, and I've been ignoring that. Stick to a strict budget. (Or, in the alternative: 2b. Look for a job as a hired assassin. A few kills and we'll be back on our way into the black.)

3. Should 2b become necessary, take sharpshooting lessons.

4. See close friends and family more often. Be less of a hermit. (I should commit to that.)

5. Eat at home WAY more. Try to stick to cooking up large dishes on weekends for freezing.

6. Find a good balance among the crafts. I felt like I never got anything done as it was, and now add a carder and a sewing machine into the mix...

7. Knit patterns written by others once in a while. Life has become pretty design-centric for me, and I do occasionally miss knitting for the sake of knitting.

8. Exercise, take dogs for more walks. Or, at the very least, play Dance Dance Revolution for 30 minutes four times a week.

Okay, so these are all pretty do-able. They kind of have to be, really - these are all things that I CAN do. These are not out of reach...except the stuff that requires not being lazy and couch-bound. Those goals are tougher for me. But I'll do my best.

I'd like to thank you all for not calling me a spoiled stupid brat after my Christmas post. If it helps, I'd also like to assure you that I expect little to nothing in the way of birthday presents this year. (That's in May. I'll still be reeling from Christmas.)

Additionally, for the record, the animal perched atop my father's head is an arctic fox. Some of you were suspicious of how catlike it was. I don't blame you.

Arctic Fox

But no one was more aware of this, I'm sure, than my parents' cat. Observe her narrow-eyed suspicious gaze:

This'll do

She's ready to bolt at any minute, should my dad get any kind of crazy look in his eye that indicates he'd like a matching scarf.

So. 2007. Knitting.

I'm not going to do the collage thing for a 2007 knitting recap. You can see all my 2007 knits (including some that got absolutely no blog play) by visiting this photoset. You can see all of 2007's handspun in this photoset. (And some from 2006. I'll start splitting those up by years too, I suppose.)

I did figure I should do an official best-of sort of Knit of 2007 thing. And I'm sure, for those of you who have been reading for a while, that you'll NEVER guess which knit I chose.

Bellocq 5/28

Yep, you got it. The ubiquitous Bellocq Wedding Stockings. The great interminable knit. Was that fun or what? (Actually, I'm being sarcastic - I really loved the pattern, and I never got bored. I do still kinda hate the pooling though.)

Bellocq with something blue

I also loved that I used one of Aija's stitchmarkers as a "something blue" on them. And all the attention they got was kind of fun too.

Oh, and for my Post of 2007, I have to go with the post about Travis' first sock. You know the one.

So that's it! 2007 is over, 2008 is upon us, and I have big things planned. (Okay, I kind of don't. But I'm planning to plan big things. Or at least think of big things. Like elephants. Those are big. See, look at me, with my big thoughts.)

Happy New Year!