Monday, July 30, 2007

Aw, shucks!

I am thrilled to say that Kristy recently listed me as one of her picks for Rockin' Girl Blogger, and she said some very sweet things while she was at it. Very sweet.

At first I thought I'd just quietly acknowledge it and not write a post about it or anything. Why? I don't know. Because I'm a weirdo, I guess. But then I realized that was just rude. So here it is.

According to some (OK, one) I am a Jimmy Choo shoe convention. Eat it.

(Was that too much? Not humble, huh? I went all the way from private to rude. Just like that. This is why I should steer clear of acknowledging things. It turns ugly real fast.)

But seriously, I feel so lucky to have found a small group of brilliant women here in the crafty-bloggy community who care about being connected and supportive of one another, who love and make beautiful things, and who rock in every way imaginable. What a lovely thing, this.

Every last one of you rocks, and it would be impossible to pick just 5... particularly since most of you have already been pegged. Consider yourself rockers, one and all!

Friday, July 27, 2007

Fancy knitting

Everything about this project is fancy: the pattern, the million-dollar needles, and the yarn. I didn't mention yesterday that I'm using a cashmere yarn for my test run. I know. It's foolish. I'm also using hundred dollar bills to scrub my kitchen, but that's neither here nor there.

So far, the only thing holding up in the fancy department is the pattern.

Nice 'n' fancy.

Ok. So, let's discuss the bendy needles.

You saw this one coming. Were you gonna guess that a needle went snap? If you were, you would've been off by one letter. Take a look.


Is that a bit of cashmere sticking out of that needle, and clearly visible in the shadow? Yes, actually! Yes. It is. Right in the midst of knitting all fancy, my needle went snag. I could hang a coat off the piece of wood that's come up off this needle.

What the eff, people? These are million-dollar needles!

"Due to its density, ebony wooden needles take on a fine polish or gloss that only improves with use," says Yarn Market. What they meant to say is, "Upon first use, the Lantern Moon ebony needle will splinter apart abruptly but subtly, leaving a razor-sharp wedge to catch even the finest of yarns every time." I'm gonna just send that correction over to Yarn Market real quick.

Ok, so that brings us to the finest of yarns portion. This yarn is really soft and lovely. I got three balls on sale from the store where they push you over. And knitting with it yesterday was very soothing. So soothing, in fact, and looking so good in this pattern, I decided I'd keep these cashmere tester socks for myself.

CUT TO: Just a minute ago. I did a search for Filatura di Crosa Elen Cashmere yarn. I did this for you, so that you could click on "the yarn" above, and be sent to another site to learn more about the yummy yarn.

And now I take you into my head, only moments ago:

(looking at my search results) Yarndex. That looks good. [click] (reading) Yes. Made in Italy. Right. MSRP $ 17.95. Hmm. My LYS really jacked the price up. Good thing I got it on sale. Yes. Good. Oooooh, look at all those colors. Pumpkin. Mauve. There are like a hundred colors here, and only one is discontinued! Cream. (long, sad pause) Is mine cream? (momentarily hopeful) Maybe it's not. (reading more closely) "DISCONTINUED COLORS: 04 Cream". OK.

At this point, I didn't have the courage to turn my head to look at the yarn label that was just to the left of my left hand. Head still, eyes slowly panning to the left, I looked a the label.

Right under "Colore - Shade Farbe Couleur" was stamped just one thing. The number 4.

No fancy tester socks for me. I'd broken one of the basic rules of knitting: Buy enough yarn for your project when you first buy your yarn. You might never see that yarn again.

Fancy knitting. It ain't all gravy.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

What do you know? More blurry photos!

First, a haiku:

Blurry yarn photos.
My theory lives on in them.
Loksins makes me shake.

Second, don't be surprised if I accidentally snap these million-dollar ebony needles in the process of making these socks. They sure are bendy, I tell you what. When I do snap them, I will be sure to say a lot of really crazy cuss words and maybe also accidentally poke some part of my hand or arm with them or something. You know. To make it more entertaining.

And third, knitting is fun! I kinda forgot during the Bunny Flurry how fun knitting is. Sure, sure. In two seconds I'll be griping about how this stitch didn't work or how my gauge is off or something. But for now, I'm in love.


Tuesday, July 24, 2007

More Than I Can Chew is my middle name

Has anyone made these?

I've seen lots of them on Ravelry, and a friend has just asked if I'd make them for her.

You're probably thinking a few things:

1. This friend is over-estimating my abilities.
2. This friend doesn't really know my slow-moving ways.
3. This friend may not be a friend once this thing gets going.

Given my track record with sock completion, I am reluctant to really commit. (Yes. There are still outstanding socks from Xmas '06 for my sidekick, my dad, and my brother. And?) This fancy girly sock may be just the thing to get my sock engines revving again. All the unfinished socks are boring tube-like socks. (Sorry, tubes and boys.)

Here's what sold me on doing this fancy sock: This friend said that she's discovered that after reading my blog for a while, clicking through to other sites and seeing other people's creations, she's become a "knitting spectator". How great is that?! Knitting as a spectator sport? Awesome.

I think a knitting spectator should get some kind of reward for their support. The reward may or may not be this sock. That remains to be seen. I'm gonna do a little test sample of the pattern this afternoon and see what comes out.

Just because I don't own needles small enough to make this sock is inconsequential at this juncture. Let's not jump to conclusions about what it means that my needles will be too big, or based on the fact that I'm at a first-grade reading level when it comes to reading knitting charts.

Seriously, let's not jump to conclusions.

You may make wagers if you'd like. That seems different to me somehow.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Bunny has a scarf

You know what takes exactly two seconds to make? A scarf for a 12-inch rabbit.

It didn't really take me two seconds, but Stomp The Yard on DVD is to blame for that. Piece of advice for the knitters? This is not really a movie to knit to -- unless you find drooling and heart palpitations provide added value to your knitted item. If that's the case, then be my guest.

Do not fear, kind reader. Operation Bunny Friedan is nearly complete. Once I've finished the little raglan sweater, I might make a small tote bag for all of bun-bun's items, and then that's it. I'll be back to my hodgepodge of craftery in no time.

And, for the record, I said might make a little tote bag. As always, don't hold me to that. Because if you do, it'll just be awkward for everyone.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Bunny pride

I've cracked the code.

Remember when I said I thought the Purl Rabbit was stealing my funny? I was wrong.

What has been stealing my funny is my recent reluctance to talk about my crafting debacles in detail. That is absolutely it! I've been all earnest, and isn't the rabbit cute and awww look at her clothes. And that's just not funny like making 39 mistakes a minute is funny.

If I had the energy or the constitution, I'd start a new blog, and I would call it Debacles in Detail. That sounds quite good, and it has the nice double meaning. Out of that one title you get (1) details about numerous debacles and (2) ways that attention to detail is lacking and/or debacle-y. See? Change the word you emphasize, and you've got a different thing. Dual-purpose things are cool.

Maybe I'll change the sub-title of this blog to Debacles in Detail. If I do that, will you promise you'll pronounce it debb'-a-clees to keep with tradition?


Before I do that -- if I do that -- allow me to share a last couple of earnest and sweet and unflinchingly not-funny photos of Bunny tucked in for the night.

On her pillow, under her quilt, with her ear flopped down, she is pretty cute.

It's a shame I'm not up for really bringing it right about now. Because I tell you what. With the quality and quantity of debacles in that little quilt alone, I'd have enough material to play every Chuckle Hut and Funny Factory in the country.

(Chuckle Hut and Funny Factory are names I just made up in my head. If you have an establishment named either of those things, my apologies for assuming I could get a gig at your venue relying solely on crafting-related disaster comedy. I am not a comedian and do not intend to minimize the difficulty and skill associated with that profession. Again, sorry.)

I promise I'll swallow my Bunny pride and share more of the disasters with you here. That be-holed raglan sweater still needs the sleeves to be attached. We all know where that's headed.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Bunny has a pillow

Bunny's chillin' on her new pillow.

She likes it because it's fluffy and has its own pillowcase.

Bunny sleeps easy on the pillow.

Now if only someone would finish that mother-flippin' quilt, maybe a rabbit could actually get some sleep around here!

Bunny has some anger. Pillows and cute clothes can only do so much. At the end of the day, Bunny's gotta have what Bunny's gotta have. And Bunny's got to have that quilt.

Fingers crossed that Dr. B. can come through on this one.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Bunny needs a blanket

Because I've apparently lost my mind, and because I don't feel like fixing that raglan sweater yet, I'm making a doll-sized quilt for Bunny Friedan*.

Here's Bunny posing with the quilt-in-progress:

Close-up of the machine-quilted quilt top:

Another shot of the top. (This one really showcases the design features of this quilt.) :

Because it's for the rabbit, I cut all kinds of corners on this thing. I really did. Think of a corner. Chances are good that I cut it. So when I say design features, I'm actually talking about WTFs. Puckers, distortions, and other imperfections. (If I were ever to write a quilting book, that would most certainly be its title.) But you know what? Bunny doesn't care. She's just happy to have a face.

I'm going to try to remember how to put a binding around the edge, and then I plan on making a little pillow and pillowcase to complete the set.

If the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior (and I'm not completely sold on that idea), I should be cranking out a nice collection of well-intentioned but poorly-executed bunny items here in the next few days: quilt, pillow, pillowcase, maybe a few more clothing items. But then I've gotta walk away. I've got knitting to do!

*Thanks to Kim for Bunny's name!

Monday, July 16, 2007

LA is so weird

I went to one of our outdoor malls today to pick up some necessary items. (I don't like malls, but on weekdays they're a little less oppressive to me.)

And here is my rant about shopping.

I hate it. Really. You'd never know it from how I go on and on about this purchase from Purl and that purchase from my local yarn store. But grown-up shopping? You know, shopping for clothes and housewares and, well, clothes. Not for me.

I get overwhelmed by who I'm giving my money to, what their labor practices are, what the company is doing to/for our culture. I get creeped out by synergy, promotions, and sales. There's always a sense that I've been demographed (not even a word, I'm sure) and profiled so that they know they've got me right where they want me. It's anxiety-provoking at a minimum. Nervous breakdown-inducing at a maximum.

But sometimes a girl's gotta buy new drawers.

In negotiating the tension between trying to be ethical and trying to save my sanity, sometimes I just go with what's easy (See? They've got me right where they want me.). One of those easy things is shopping at a fancy outdoor mall that has a huge fountain, and valet parking, and a mess of corporations in the form of stores. I don't park in valet parking (it's like $20 or some shit). And I try to get in and out as quickly as possible.

I won't bore you with the details of my shopping trip, but I will tell you that one place tried to "give" me a stuffed dog with my underwear purchase. And by "give" I mean spontaneously put it in my bag, tell me it's free, then try to charge me $10 for it. After I told the cashier that I didn't want the dog, she tossed it over her shoulder into a giant bin. A giant bin full of these dogs. I was obviously not the first person who was unable to figure out why someone would need or want a stuffed dog with her underwear purchase.

Anyway, the whole point of my story is that at this mall, if you spend over a certain amount of money, you get a voucher for free parking. This includes valet parking. A $20 value! In order to get the voucher, you must take your receipts to the Concierge (Yup. We've got a concierge at our mall. Suck it, Orange Julius.) who will then tally and stamp them and give you the parking voucher. Today I spent the requisite amount, so I patiently stood in line awaiting my turn.

After the man who needed to cash some traveler's checks was finished, I stepped up to the counter.

Concierge: Good afternoon. Could I have your phone number, please?
Me: [phone number]
Concierge [types into computer]: Are you still at [work address]?
My inside voice: They're demographing me right now.
My outside voice: Yes.
Concierge: OK. [stamps my receipts with fancy mall logo] Here you are, Dr. B.. Your receipts, your parking, and your free Hairspray soundtrack. Have a great day.

Ha HA! You know what goes perfectly with a parking voucher? A Hairspray soundtrack. Unexpected. Unsolicited. Unrelated to anything having to do with anything.

The marketing dude who came up with doggies for undies was obviously on a roll. Valets and musicals! What will he think of next?

Friday, July 13, 2007

Be-holed! I'm putting the "rag" back in "raglan".

Allow me to share what it sounded like inside my head yesterday.

I'm gonna knit that little raglan sweater for my Purl Rabbit! I've really zipped through the other clothing items. Dress? Check. Pants? Yes. Top? Yups. All that's left is that little raglan sweater! Let's do this thing!

I've never made a raglan sweater, but how hard can it be? It looks pretty straightforward.

I'll use the yarn that sweet Kristy sent me, because it's kind of bright and eye-catching. It seems like the right weight, so I'm not gonna bother swatching. It's a tiny sweater. If I jack it up, I'll just do it over. Right? Right.

OK. Now let's see here. Sleeves? Very easy. Knit, knit, knit.

Oh, shit. When you bind off stitches do you count the first one you knit or the first one you bind off? I can't remember. I could look it up, but I'll just figure it out. I'm sure it's fine. Bind off three stitches.

Two sleeves? Check!

Back of sweater. Yes. Easy easy. Let's watch some TV while we do this. Garter stitch la la la. Goldie Hawn really did look like Kate Hudson when she was younger! Oh shit, I think I purled when I was supposed to have knitted. Eh. It's fine.

Doo-dee-doo. Stockinette stitch. La dee dah.

What's next? Armholes! Attaching sleeves! Ok, great! Oh. We're back to that bind-off question again. I really should look it up. Ah, screw it. It's fine. I'll just do it this way. Bind off six stitches.

Huh. Maybe it's not fine. Well. I'll do the second sleeve the other way and see which one looks right. Let's keep this thing moving, people. Attaching... sleeves.

Wow. That's a really big hole right there. Yeah. Right next to the really big hole that's supposed to be there.

So, yeah. One bind-off way was the right way, and one was the wrong way. OK. So? And? We knew that. That's what we knew. We knew it already. So.

I'll just sew it up at the end, and who's gonna know the difference?

Oh. Right. You all will.


I thank you not to point while you laugh. It only reflects badly on you.

I shall finish the little rag and we'll all see who's laughing then. (Put your money on you.)

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Purple pants and politics

I was going to write all about the hilarious mishaps involved in sewing these clothes for the adorable Purl Rabbit (and, believe me, there were mishaps).

I was also toying with the idea of writing a bit about my concerns about the skinniness of this rabbit.

I was all set to write a witty piece on the complexities of blogging and feminism and the making of cute crafts, and then I read the Yarn Harlot's post for today. And then there was no more funny. Please go read it right this second if you haven't already.

(I am beginning to worry that the Purl Rabbit, while very cute, may be the Kryptonite to my super-hilariousness. But let's not get ahead of ourselves.)

Monday, July 09, 2007

Oh, hi there.

Well, hello. How lovely to see you.

My rabbit was all dress and no face long enough. I held my breath and crossed my fingers and spent yesterday afternoon embroidering the face...

...and attaching the ears.

Perfectly acceptable.

Is it wrong that I can't wait to make more clothes for her? The sweaters, the pants, the tops. All of it.

And can you believe how this post has not a single ounce of hilarious in it? Turns out it's impossible to have razor-sharp wit in the face of a cute stuffed rabbit. Everything just turns into goo and rainbows. And goo and rainbows aren't as funny as you'd think they'd be. Goo, maybe. Rainbows? Not funny.

There's more funny around the corner. For now, let's just all enjoy the cute.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Chickens make dresses

As it turns out, when the tough gets going, Dr. B. does something else.

Rather than attaching the ears and embroidering the face of this rabbit yesterday, I made a dress instead.

Look, I got scared. Real scared. I wasn't ready to ruin my beloved rabbit with some bad embroidery. I did manage to draw a face on very lightly, but after that, it was all chicken all the time.

What's ridiculous is that I don't think I've ever sewn an item of clothing before (except for that Holly Hobby bathing suit I've mentioned). But suddenly, sewing a small dress with pleats seemed like the perfect thing to do to calm my nerves.

If you'd been here while I was making it, I think you would've been impressed with the number of flaws there were in the process. And the number of times I spoke out loud to myself about the whole thing.

"Oh, I'll just make this the back piece. No one will notice."

"Well. I guess I'll just slice this whole part off. Then it will line up, and everything will be fine. FINE!"

"Mmm. Well. It is what it is."

I am not in the running for Miss Rabbit Dress 2007 . But you know what? That's really OK.

I think I'll be OK, everyone.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

All my people and a rabbit

ME: I think I'm gonna make this Purl rabbit.
ME: Yeah. It's really cute, and you can make lots of clothes for it, like a dress and some pants and a little top.
ME: Also? You can knit a little sweater for it. It's super cute.
SIDEKICK: You'd better blog about it first.
ME: What? Why?
SIDEKICK: Last time.
ME: What "last time"?
SIDEKICK: Just two seconds ago, when you were gonna make that $300 blanket -- all your people gave you shit.
ME: Right.
ME: Not all of them. They were all really sweet and totally right.
SIDEKICK: I'm just saying. They know what's what. Maybe they'll know something about this rabbit.
ME: But it doesn't look that hard.
ME: And I want to try out my new stuffing!
ME: I'm just gonna make it.
SIDEKICK: {Has a nice little laugh about my foolishness and goes on about his business.}

Here's how far I got on the rabbit yesterday. Oh, but the ears aren't actually sewn on yet.

It would've gone quicker, but my first set of legs and ears were sewn way too narrow, so I couldn't turn them inside out. When I say "couldn't" I mean I tried for about an hour and a half using all manner of tools, including a pencil, a corner turner, my widdle fingers, and a chopstick. You can't say I don't try.

Up next: Ear attachment. Face and feet embroidery. And then making those adorable clothes.

(Let's not yet rule out the possibility that my embroidery could turn this super-cute rabbit into a scary-faced creature, not suitable for viewing. For the next day or so if you're looking for me, I'll be teetering on the fine line between cute and scary. Wish me luck.)

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Maybe this time will be different

I am strongly considering crocheting a blanket. This blanket, to be exact. The square above is a wrong-yarn, wrong-hook test square (WYWHTS) to see if I could stand to crochet something.

Why, yes. I have been burned by crochet in the past, thank you for remembering. And I have, as a direct result of those burns, made strong statements about how I feel about crochet.

In my defense, the strong statements were typed in a very small font, so I think this leaves plenty of room for me to give it another chance. Did you see that font? It was the smallest! Anyway, things deserve second chances. So there.

Here's the part where I might need to seek some professional help, though: I am strongly considering spending a lot of money to make this blanket. I'm not going out of my way to do this. It's easy to do! All I have to do is use the yarn that the pattern calls for, and right there you're looking at -- I'll let you do the math if you're so inclined -- 22 skeins at $13.50 per skein equals a lot of money.

I might have some problems. I'm willing to admit that. But why do something if you're not gonna really do it?

What I like most, I think, is the idea of each of you sitting and laughing a little bit at what a foolish undertaking I'm about to embark upon. That pleases me in a way that even I find surprising.

Who knew?