Nac Mac Feegle wha hae!

I got up rather late this morning to find (yea!) a box waiting for me, sitting innocently enough on the table. The contents? A little less innocent…

Discworld Swap (1)

Discworld Swap (2)

  • My very own Nac Mac Feegle “Folk Art Doll”. Beware your stashes, I might send him oot a’rummaging!
  • A Nac Mac Feegle knitter’s messenger bag (featuring a yarn-stealing Pictsie), lined with matching plaid and full of pockets.
  • “Achingly Good Tea”, “Nanny Ogg’s Special Blend” & a tea strainer.

How cool is my swap partner?

(P.S. baby T’s offset wraplan is nearly done!  I might just get it blocked before they arrive on Friday…)

Deadlines.

As I walked home from the bus stop this afternoon, still euphoric from my meeting with Kristin (pattern editor of ShiBuiKnits), I had to stop. Full. Stop. It finally occurred to me that I just might have over-scheduled myself again…

My deadlines list for the next two months:

  • Oct 29, 2007: Send-out date for the Fall-ing For Pratchett Swap. [I’ve already started knitting!]
  • Nov 7, 2007: revised Clara cloche and pattern must be turned into ShiBuiKnits. [pattern’s half-way done]
  • Nov 15, 2007: Modern Fisherman’s sweater and pattern must be turned into ShiBuiKnits AND the send-out date for the Fall Handspun Swap (WTH was I thinking??). [uh, I’ve swatched for the Fisherman’s sweater and more-or-less chosen the fiber for the Handspun Swap]
  • Nov 30, 2007: Socks for Maggie must be knit and sent in. [I have sock yarn? … lots and lots of sock yarn?]

Not to mention that I have a job interview tomorrow that I give myself 50/50 odds of getting. Oh, and I simply must finish Stephie’s jaywalkers (so close!!), the diamondback socks for Mum, and Tegan’s off-set wraplan. Should be a piece of cake.

Right. Breathe. This is good, right? The Swaps are fun and good karma. So are the socks for Maggie (which are going to include either cables or be from a Nancy Bush pattern, to fit the Sockdown: October! requirements). And the ShiBuiKnits contracts? Well, I’m still blissful over them. They want the “samples” and patterns done by mid-November, so they can have them published and ready for the TNNA Winter Tradeshow.

I can do it. I just won’t get to knit a single thing for myself in the next 2 months.

But, hey, I’ve got 12 skeins of ShiBuiKnits Merino/ Alpaca sitting on my bed, soft and luxurious, waiting to be knit up. Life’s not that bad ^_^

Überdork Strikes Again

“It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than open one’s mouth and remove all doubt.”
Samuel Johnson

At least the soda I spilled (all over the bloody table) didn’t stain anyone’s yarn or clothing. Notice that I put the yarn first. Even so, I felt like the biggest heel in existence. This feeling was not helped as I continually made weird comments and just confused people all night. St M was a good person (and friend) and played along with me.

My new charm bracelet helped me distract two of the ladies I nearly soaked. They were beaders and fascinated by it. So, I dutifully handed it over and no more mention was made of my clumsiness. (I got it back, never fear)

The charm bracelet came from the Handspun/ Handcrafts Swap. I received my package today and had to immediately put on the jewelry Miss Violaceous made for me. I took way too many photos to post, so I’m only going to include one of the handmade goodies and just let you check the link to see everything (especially the DIY World Domination Kit and instructions)… Anyway, here’re the pretties she made for me:


Starting at the top, and then left to right:

  • a knitting wrist bag (squee!)
  • an Art Nouveau charm bracelet
  • an herb-filled amigurumi octopus
  • sunflower seeds for the garden
  • stitch markers
  • a “faux” nouveau brooch
  • a vintage cameo
  • and Lady Godiva earrings

I took the knitting bag to Mme DeFarge’s tonight to try it out – it’s wonderful! I loves it muchly (it even has eyelets for colourwork, y’all!). It’s staying in my sling-bag to protect my knitting projects from now on. Monkey likes it, too, the socks were so well behaved in their bag. Unlike the lace stole, which is in bad humor right now.

In other (nonKnitting) news, I got ANOTHER packet from the Peace Corps today. Oh, yes, another. Apparently, the Dental Eval form wasn’t filled to their liking. I need to prove that I’ve had the dental work my dentist claims I “need” (like hell). I am so angry with the physicians around here right now, it doesn’t bear mentioning. But, at least I still am in the running, eh?

And more news. My Weight Loss Challenge. I have lost 4 lbs! I went to a doctor today (verily, I have many) and got on the scale and… yay! The nurse was surprised that I was excited about my weight, but whatever.

Finally, I am a little weirded out. My little brother has, get this, grey hairs! I keep seeing these glints of silver every time he shakes his head. My brother is 19! So weird, and so wrong. I can’t even handle it. I’ve only had one white hair – and Mum said it didn’t count as it was obviously just from a dead follicle.

Again, just too weird.

Charity Blanket Swap

Jodie, at Strings & Yarn, has come up with a really, really cool swap idea. The Charity Blanket Swap. The blanket will grow square by square as the participants send it along after attaching a square of their own. We’re also supposed to send along treat or two to the next knitter with the blanket. There are no limitations on what a person can attach to the blanket (the size of the square, colour, etc), so there’s a lot of freedom of expression involved.

In the end, the blanket will go to the Children’s Cancer Fund of New Mexico.

So if you’re interested: read the rules, send your info to Jodie, and get planning on what kind of square you want to knit!

Lots of gold

“Daffodils that come before the swallow dares, and takes the winds of March with beauty.”
William Shakespeare

I noticed something completely random today, as we sat outside a station, waiting for a freight to pass – there are TONS of daffodils growing in Oregon. I mean, seriously. Like weeds in some places. Now, I know what you’re probably thinking. But, no, these little golden flowers weren’t growing in gardens. They were growing in some strange places, that I noticed:

  • between the rail tracks and an old car lot, and factory
  • in the middle of a forest (twice)
  • between the rail and a… ah… dump is the best word I can come up with
  • outside a homeless encampment
  • and other, slightly less strange, places.

I wonder if the Amtrak employees throw the bulbs out the window or something? Anyway. As we paused at another small town, I took a picture:

look! a Kanga and Roo! (sorta)

On a 7 hour train ride (oh, yes, we were over an hour late) I had a lot of time to think. Some of the things that came to mind:

  • I have a week until the Solstice-Equinox Challenge date. I need to start dyeing, spinning, and knitting something.
  • I have way too many swaps going.
  • There are far too many painfully impoverished families in this country (actually, one is too many) – this came to mind as we passed by shack after shack in a couple of dirt-poor towns.
  • My sister’s FIL is a Holocast survivor. I’m still coming to terms with this. I felt like the floor had fallen out from under my feet when I saw a portrait of him and his family, all wearing the golden Jude stars, in my sister’s study. My niece is part of the “blessing” on Shoah survivors. I mused on this as we passed through Vancouver.
  • And then I noticed all the daffodils.

Weird, the things that pop into the mind, eh? Ohwell. The house is a MESS. I leave the boys alone for 3 weeks and what do I come home to? Paint dust everywhere, the furniture piled up in the bedrooms (mine in particular, I mention), the cabinets all gone in the kitchen, no chairs anywhere… etc etc. I understand that these are part of the renovation process, but, really, we’re not doing every room at the house at once – so why don’t we tear the place apart as needed?

Really. Males.

I was very pleased to notice that there were THREE parcels for me sitting on the dining table (sans chairs or china cabinets). Two were from my Hogwarts Houses Swap partner, Laural. The other is, ah, a surprise. For someone else. Who reads this blog. So, nieder.

Back to the Harry Potter goodness. I opened the smaller box first and squeed to find a Gryffindor Totoro! He was on my wist, and everything! I nearly died of the squeeage. He also came with some other goodies…


… a colouring book, stickers, Harry Potter stitch markers (LUMOS, FAWKES, HARRY, MUGGLE, HEDWIG and WIZARD), and a QUILT!!:


My wonderful, magnificent, partner made me a Gryffindor QUILT!! I nearly dropped it when I opened it. It’s being modelled on the ‘rents queen-sized bed, so it fits my double perfectly. I had to wash it, since the paint dust and Charlie-hair clung to it the moment I got it out of the box. The second it’s out of the dryer, I’m hiding it in my room. On my bed!

OMG! I think I have to go and SQUEE again… And cuddle my Totoro.

more rain

“Rain! whose soft architectural hands have power to cut stones, and chisel to shapes of grandeur the very mountains.”
Henry Ward Beecher

Sachi was right. There IS a yarn store in Olympia. Unbeknownst to me, we had gone by it a great many times. Mostly because it’s called Canvas Works I tended to ignore it:


Considering the large sailing community (and boat-making, as well), I had thought it was, well, you know, a store that sold canvas. Silly me ^_^ Another reason I hadn’t given them a second glance is the fact that they’re located in the more industrial section of town, see?, the neighbors:


Every time we walked or drove by, I was busy focusing on getting to somewhere more, ah, picturesque. Yes, I know, I’m shallow. But, if you look in the picture above, you can see the dome of the state capital building. Olympia is pretty small, and you can see the dome from nearly anywhere in town.

Anyway. I went into the store and tried not to moan. They had some exquisite yarns that I can neither afford nor find the space for. The sales lady (very nice, very helpful) immediately showed me to the sock yarns. I was a bit disappointed by their small selection (of sock yarns). But, that disappointment was quickly assuaged when I wandered into their book section. Oh… my. I didn’t even know where to start. So, I let my eyes wander, and they immediately zoomed in on the lace books.

And do you know what I found?? A copy of Creating Original Hand-knitted Lace! OMG. I have been searching for this book for … wow, over six months at least. Maybe a year. No one carries it. No one has heard of it. They HAD it. In hardback. At 30% off the price on Amazon. I snatched it up and tucked it under my arm, as I wandered the store some more. They also had a HUGE button collection (sigh), but I limited myself to buttons I needed. Specifically for baby T’s wraplan. They had pink and green buttons that matched the yarn I’m using! (yes, I have the colours committed to memory, heaven help me). So, I grabbed 8 of them and then forced myself to stop looking, as I was over-budget already. I escaped with my finds (the saleswoman agreed that the buttons were squee!-worthy) and I nearly skipped home. Here’s a pic of them on Mum’s porch:


A last note on the LYS, Canvas Works. I really liked them, they were very nice. They had a great selection. I wouldn’t recommend them for knitters on a tight budget, though. Their prices were a bit high. But, otherwise, I really liked them.

Relating to the title of this post. I did bring an umbrella with me. I didn’t use it, because the wind was so high it nearly turned the poor thing inside-out. I just toughened up and tried to ignore the chill. On the way home, the rain and wind got worse, so I was extremely happy to arrive. Of course, 1/2 an hour after I had settled in, the rain stopped.

It figures.

Just like in San Fransisco.

I must have angered the rain (and wind?) g-ds at some point. Some sort of ritual sacrifice or something must be in order. Chocolate, maybe?

Oh!, in other news, my Hogwarts Houses Swap partner, Laural, received my parcel today! Here are her pix. And here’s one of mine:


The hoodie: I painted and appliqued a Gryffindor crest (t-shirt) I had (it was entirely in greyscale and needed some colour desperately) to a hoodie, along with a House patch, and embroidered around the crest with red and gold floss (A and K were bemused watching me embroider during American Idol). The DPN case: made from faux-suede, lined with Indian cotton (don’t tell Mum I raided her quilting stash, but it was the perfect colour!), and with velvet trim – I have to say, was really pleased with the whole thing, it came out so lovely and it was my first DPN case. I also included some Gryffindor coloured DPNs I found at St Vinny’s. The Canary Creams? I couldn’t resist. And the yarn I got at Full Thread Ahead.

I’m so pleased because the hoodie fits Laural perfectly, and she seems to like everything else. Yay!

an exhaustion so complete

If you stop, you sometimes find people in the last stages of an exhaustion so complete that death seems not a different state but part of the same continuum.
RW Johnson

It took me awhile to find this quote, because I only remembered a wisp of it from high school, but it always stuck. I’m not in any way comparing myself to the tortured souls in Zimbabwe, but just mentioning how this quote always stuck with me.

St M spent the night (yesterday eve) and we stayed up ’til past 2 am watching the BBC. When we got up later that morning, a package had arrived for me. My Winter Handspun Swap package from cmc_aust. I feel outdone. Oy. Lookie at what she sent me:

(and that’s St M in the background there)

A felt sheepy tea cozy (it was on my wist!) and 500 yards of lace weight silk/ merino handspun. This parcel was very much worth the wait. I really do hope she liked the things I sent. Contrary to how it might have seemed, I must have spent 6 hours on that bloody journal. There are more layers of paint on it that the Sistine Chapel’s ceiling (seriously, I have never dealt with such thin acrylic before). Still, my “small” project seems a bit unworthy now. Oy.

After opening the parcel, using the tea cozy and checking the bus schedule we ran out the door to catch the bus. Only to stand there (in the rain, I might add) for quite sometime, until we decided that we must have missed it. As we were walking back to warmth and shelter, St M paused and said “There it is,” as it slowly went around the Amazon loop (on the way to making it to our stop).

It was 15 mins late.

Fun.

Anyway. We went to Dyelots. It was fun, and warm and dry. And there were pretty things on the wall. Pretty things that were too tempting for my own good. I bought two silk caps. Bad me. I’m not certain if I’ve fallen off of the wagon, or not. I’ll have to check my stipulations later.

Then we went to see Pan’s Labyrinth.

Slight spoilers: St M was practically sobbing by the end, and even I cried. But it was good. Just… overwhelming. Very true to old European fairy tales, though (think Grimm). *exhales* I’m still recovering from it. This isn’t a bad review, either, just an honest one. I knew the movie would be bittersweet going in, but the story had so many twists and turns that I just can’t describe it. I would definitely see it again, and probably will.

Everything after that is a bit blurry, and I’m really tired. Actually, thinking about it, I do want to see the movie again. Maybe I can convince Mum tomorrow…

swap joy, mistakes, and the true face of horror

I promise I’ll bring back the quotes tomorrow night. I’m kinda having trouble remembering any right now.

Anyway. I found out this morning that varandra had made it to the center of the Magic Yarn Ball I made her! Here’s everything I sent (well, mostly, the yummies have mostly been eaten), and the scarf she made with the yarn I sent her:


Yummy. I want to make myself a scarf like that now (it took me 2 hours of combing through lace patterns to find one I liked, I admit). Of course, new projects are off-limits right now until I finish some WIPs. Or fix some of the mistakes in said WIPs. Take this for instance:


Look really, really closely at the reversible brioche scarf. See how the right side slants inward a bit? Yeah. I dropped two, not one, stitches several inches back. Thus preserving the brioche pattern, so I wouldn’t notice. Even my mistakes are clever, eh?

See, it always amuses the heck outta me when my knitting students look incredulous when I tell them that everyone drops stitches unintentionally, including me. They always act like I’m having them on.

Well, here is finally proof that advanced knitters can make beginner mistakes. And I have the photographic evidence to support it.

And, just because (because what, I have no idea) here’s a final terrifying photo for you (you are forewarned!). Mum and I were cleaning out the fridge. Somehow an enamel pot had been hidden way in the back, behind all the milk and eggs and jam and stuff. This is what greeted us when we took of the lid:


Talk about a science fair project gone wrong. Eugh, just looking at it I’m having scent flashbacks. Mum concluded it had been in the fridge since Thanksgiving. I just shuddered.

where does the wool go?

I’m completely crazy, but I had an idea for a children’s picture book this evening. I doodle the same little sheep a lot (her name is Lana). She shows up on the pages of my calendar, my notes, whatever. She always looks inquisitive, too. Tonight I wanted to draw her with another sheep (her older brother, Tessus) and a sheepdog (their friend Linus). On top of giving them names, I also came up with a title for said children’s story.

Clearly, I am insane. This diagnosis is further proven by the fact that I spent the next 1/2 hour pondering why they looked so curious and puzzled. And I decided that they were on a quest to find out where all the wool goes.

See? I am insane.

Anyway. Moving on.

I promised (several days ago) that I’d post pix of the marvelous goodies my partner, varandra, from the Magic Yarn Ball Swap 3, sent me. Here’s the box everything was hidden in:

And the box, opened, with all the goodies still inside (before Mum got to it)


After letting Mum pull out everything she could find in the ball (she was having too much fun, IMO), I rewound the yarn into sensible balls. Here’s the yarn (Garnstudio’s Silk/Alpaca) with my favourite items:

– A Wallace and Gromit knitting graph book!!!
– Handknit wristers
– 3 embroidered felt magnet/clips
– Fruits de Bois tea (OMG!!)
(and, of course, the sumptuous sumptuous yarn)

Now, here’s everything:

I’m still amazed she managed to get everything IN there. Wow. My magic yarn ball skills need some practice. Here’s the list of everything:
– a rubber duck shower cap
– a pink ducky toothbrush holder
– Salta – salted licorice candies
– Zoo – fruit candies (animal shaped)
– chocolate that’s already been eaten
– a spicey licorice lolly-pop
– “Let’s Talk” post-it notes
– 2 cabled bag patterns
– stickers!
– 3 winter post cards
– an “angora” rabbit charm (he might just end up on my cell phone…)
– an Ikea bag (I’m gonna have to guard this with my life out here)
– a glow-in-the-dark/ reflective zipper ghost
– and a really cool collapsible PINK gift box

Just… wow. I <3 swaps majorly.

And, um, I’ve forgotten everything else I was gonna write. That chamomile tea has gone straight to me brain *yawn*. Maybe I’ll remember tomorrow. Salve.

I have no idea, take 3

Blemishes are hid by night and every fault forgiven; darkness makes any woman fair.
Ovid

Would that I could only show my face during the night, eh? I’m having an epic outbreak of just awful acne right now. It’s really NOT fair, I tell you, since I never had any skin problems through my teens. The moment I hit twenty, my skin decided to go on strike.

Blech.

Anyway.

In happier news, I got my Winter Handspun Yarn Swap package from darlingbud today:

Contents:

  • 140 yards fingering weight painted merino
  • 110 yards of mill ends plied with metallic thread (Mum laid claim to this one…)
  • 4 felted coasters

I’m madly in love with the merino (and would have loved to have kept the black, but that’s another story). I’m trying to figure out what to do with the 140 yards I have now. Oh, and look!, a closeup:


Also, I finally found out that Crimson got my extremely and embarassingly late Christmas package today (Damn you, Bloglines! They actually deleted several of my fav blogs from my blogroll… so if I haven’t commented in a while, that’s why). Here’s the pix, if you’re bored enough to look at my terrible sewing skills. And I WANT that Snape shirt, OMG.

No mileage today. My ankle’s still a little achy. But I have every confidence that I shall be able to start up on the challenge again tomorrow.

Umm, I’ve forgotten everything I was gonna write. Oops? Maybe I’ll remember tomorrow night…