Thursday, May 31, 2007

Don't cry for me, Yarngentina

You wanted to see more of that yarn, right? Well, here's the last good photo I was able to take of some of it:

After that, I was so woozy from the sheer volume of yarn, and also I think from the smell coming off of the ball winder (maybe oil? maybe oil and fiber?) that good photos became impossible to produce.

Exhibit A - dark, blurry, crooked (and not in a good way)

Exhibit B - terribly lit and composed. Also blurry.

By the way, see how the phone is off the cradle in this one? That's because I'm calling everyone I know to try to describe the gobs and gobs of yarn.

Exhibit C - Buh.

How hard can it be? Seriously. There's no reason for that piss-poor quality.

I'm taking it as a sign that my nerves are obviously shot, and that this much yarn can't be good for anyone. Or maybe the yarn is so glorious that it can't be photographed. In any event, we've still got a bag the size of a first-grader left to wind, and I will try to take more blog-responsible photos. Promise.


Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Balls are so last week.

Top yarn cake: Weren't you a ball yesterday?

Bottom yarn cake: Ugh. Why are you even asking? You know I was.

Top: I'm asking because I'm confused.

Bottom: Oh, brother.

Top: I am!

Bottom: Always with the questions and the confusions with you over there.

Top: I just don't understand why she would go through the painstaking trouble to hand-wind us from hanks into balls, only to then -- months later -- wind us into cakes. It's just very suspicious.

Bottom: Look, dude. All is know is yesterday I was a ball. I was a ball, you were a ball, and so was Yellow-Green-Pinky next door over there. Yesterday we were all balls. Today we're cakes. That's it. It is what it is. Leave it.

Top: It is what it is?

Bottom: Why are you always making trouble? Go with the flow, dude.

Top: Go with the flow? What flow? I'm just supposed to keep changing forms at her will? With no explanation? Whenever she pleases? One minute I'm a hank, the next I'm a ball, now I'm a cake. Who knows what will come next? A scarf? A mitten?

Bottom: Please.

Top: That's all you're gonna say about this? "Please"? Aren't you outraged? Don't you feel like you're just being used to satisfy her whims? Don't you have any integrity or sense of moral outrage?!

Bottom: For the love of Pete. We're easier to stack as cakes, and she's re-organizing her stash. That's all there is to it.

Top: Oh. Well. That's cool.

Bottom: Yeah.

Top: Next time I'd like to be in the loop.

Bottom: Noted.

Top: I'm still full of moral outrage.

Bottom: Yes, yes. Of course. How could you not be.

Monday, May 28, 2007

My SIL turns good things into great things.

My brother and sister-in-law were just here for a visit.

We were all out to lunch on Saturday when suddenly she squealed with delight. Kind of out of the blue.

"Oooh! I have something to show you when we get back home!"

As you may recall, she is fantastically cute. I have never known anyone whose style is so unrelenting in its cuteness. So, you can imagine my interest was piqued.

Once home, she got her backpack, unzippped it, and slowly -- very slowly -- began pulling something out of it.

My inside voice: I recognize that green polka-dotted fabric. Did she make something with the fabric that I made something with before? What is that?


She turned it around, and it was the heating pad cover I'd made her for Christmas.

But there was something in it that was not a heating pad.

"Look!" She put the whole thing down flat, opened the velcro side and slowly (she will put on a good show) pulled out an adorable laptop computer.

"It's the PERFECT bag for my brand-new laptop!! This way I get to use it and look at it all the time, not just when my back hurts!! Isn't that great?!! For my laptop!!"

Dudes. That heating pad cover is also a laptop bag. Because my SIL is a genius.

Heating pad covers were the new scarves. Now, it turns out, they are the new laptop bags.

You can read more about the heating pad cover/laptop bag here, here, and here.

Thank you to Denyse Schmidt for the Hold Me Close heating pad cover inspiration. And thank you to my SIL for being such a genius. Something to show me, indeed!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Who hears angels singing?

When I tell you that this is maybe one-tenth of the yarn from Argentina, I might be exaggerating. It might be one-fifteenth.

Dude. Seriously. This shit is bananas.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Pretty things

I have another deadline I need to attend to, but I don't want to leave you empty-handed. So I thought I'd share some online items that I've been drooling over lately:

This beautiful Lumen Shadow Projector comes in different styles, including a cedar tree, magnolia tree, and just birds. Seriously, isn't that a really lovely thing?

This wool blanket is from Branch - a store that specializes in gorgeous (and pricey) sustainable items. When I finally get those millions, this blanket will be mine. Mine! (You might try to tell me that I could make this blanket. But if you did that, I'd need some convincing. And some education. Because, would I knit it and then felt it? No, right? Or yes? Urgh. I know nothing.)

My sidekick and I considered getting these wall displays from Sprout Home for our new office, but then thought better of it. They're just a little too too. We still think they're cool, though.

Now, if only I could find a new, modern lighting fixture to put over our dining room table, life would be good. (As always, any ideas you've got are welcome.)


Saturday, May 19, 2007

Help me understand fashion

So, I've got some practical questions about this Nicole Farhi sweater. (Never let it be said I'm not curious and open to learning.)

1. What happens when you take that pin out? Does the whole thing just fall open and slide off your shoulders every five seconds? Or does the front just lie there in two lumpy strips?

2. Why the weird-length sleeve? Oh, right. Because my forearms are always burning up when I wear cardigans.

3. Are those pockets with the side openings solely for the purpose of sliding your hands in, like a muff, only pocket-shaped? I certainly couldn't put any other item in there without it falling out. Oh, wait. You know what? It's all coming together for me now. Although my forearms tend to be piping hot while wearing a cardigan, my hands are always ice cold. Ice cold. And if the pockets opened on the top, I'd look like a real dork with my hands in those pockets. Duh.

4. Finally, why -- in the face of these puzzling and impractical components -- do I like this sweater?

I thank you for your assistance in this matter.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Quick! There's a sale on fabric!

Tonic Living, people. Another online wonderland of amazingly good fabrics.

And! Until this Sunday (the 20th), all of their fabrics are 15% off!

I've never ordered from them, and I don't remember how I found out about them. But go take a look. Really cute. And! A sale!

How about that owl fabric? (In what seems to be a trend with my links lately, the blue is sold out, but the pink was still in stock last time I checked.)

Let me know if you see anything you like over there!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Super-buzzy, you're the one!

You make crafting lots of fun!
Super-buzzy, I'm awfully fond of you.
Boo boo pee doo.

(If you weren't singing all of that to the tune of Sesame Street's Rubber Duckie song, I highly recommend going back and doing that now. And, if you're interested, clicking on the song link will take you to a delightful mp3 file of the original song. But I digress.)

My most recent set of purchases from Superbuzzy arrived today! The package consists primarily of items that will be birthday gifts. Having just looked at all them closely, I can tell you that the giftees have many fits of glee to look forward to as a result of the outstanding cuteness and glory of these gifts.

I shall provide you with a link for one item in the package. This might minimize the grief I'll get from a one Nora of Black Dog Knits for my withholding ways. But it might not.

However! Do not click on the "this is the one thing in the package" link below if both of the following are true: you and I know each other and your birthday is May 18th. Also, do not read the comments if you are that person. Don't. If you are not that person (which should be the overwhelming majority of you), feel free to do as you like.

This is the one thing in the package that is still available. The other items I bought are sold out, so there are no links to them anymore, but I promise I'll show you pictures laters. And you will cry. And be mad at me. And maybe take up a hobby you never intended to take up. But, that's the way life is, people. Don't look at me.

Edited to add: Sorry. That one thing is gone now, too. Hang in there. Photos soon.

In the meantime, the longer the Chevron scarf grows, the harder it is to photograph. Let's see... how about long-ways?




I'll have to get more creative and/or look around the world wide web and get back to you with a better photo. By the way, I'm not even half-way done with this scarf. Slow and steady may win the race, but who'll be interested when I finally cross the finish line? Boring. Harumph.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Yarnival, y'all!

You know what's fantastic? Debacles. I am gonna ride the wave of debacles all the way to fame and fortune. Why, you ask? Because one of my more spectacular debacles has just been accepted into the most recent issue of Yarnival. Woo hoo! I am really, really excited. A big thank you goes to Laura for selecting me for the issue.

I'd also like to thank everyone who worked on the baby booty fiasco with me: the lady at the yarn store, my PIC, and the author of that book full of lies about how long things take. I gotta give it up to all the people who've supported me all these years, and all of you who take the time to comment and let me know just how ridiculous things really are over here. This one's for you!

If you're new to my blog, welcome! Please look around, won't you? The last few posts are not really crafting or knitting-related, so I'd encourage you to check the sidebar for specific topics that interest you. There you've got your knitting, your crocheting, your sewing, and your what-not.

I will do my best to continue to bring you high-quality gaffes at low-quality prices. Deal? Deal.

Seven random facts

Kristy tagged me for this random facts meme. Seeing as how she's been nothing but sweet to me, the least I can do is tell you seven random things about myself. Who's it gonna hurt? (Crafting content will resume asap.)

Rules: Each person tagged gives 7 random facts about themselves. Those tagged need to write in their blogs the 7 facts, as well as the rules of the game. You need to tag seven others and list their names on your blog. You have to leave those you plan on tagging a note in their comments so they know that they have been tagged and to read your blog.

1. I can't stand orange-flavored things (e.g., candy, soda). Real orange things -- like the well-known fruit, the orange-- are perfectly delicious. My aversion stems directly from eating too many baby aspirin as a child. (I also despise olives and cilantro, but that is a direct result of their being disgusting.)

2. I can't ride a bike. Laugh all you want. It is what it is.

3. I love office supply stores and bookstores. The good ones fill me with a profound sense of calm.

4. I stopped drinking caffeine in December of '06. Prior to that, I drank several Cokes a day (regular - never diet, in a can - not a bottle) for many years. How else would I have been able to get through all those years of grad school?

5. I don't eat red meat or any of the cute animals (e.g., lambs, ducks, pigs). I am gradually backing my way out of all the meats. (Ha HA! Dirty!)

6. I hate shopping for clothes. Hatehatehate it. For a bazillion reasons. One of those reasons is that I really like beautiful clothes, and those clothes are always super-expensive. And I just can't be a part of that. That is not how want to spend my millions!

7. I believe that anything is possible as long as you've got a team of folks to support you in that thing. Really.

Instead of tagging seven other people, I'll do this: If you have a blog and want to take part, feel free to say so in the comments, and we'll all head over there straightaway to learn random things about you!


P.S. I have another small batch of items coming to me from Superbuzzy, and boy are these items cute. You'll see.

Monday, May 14, 2007

New category needed

Hey there, everyone! I'm back. And I have so many things to report.

We'll start with the trend that seems to be emerging, and I'm not quite sure what to call it. "Interesting people"? "Random people"? "People who are all up in my bizness despite my minding my own"? After this story, you'll see what I mean.

So, my posse and I were up in Vancouver for a conference (as I mentioned). The weather was spectacular - clear, cool, downright magnificent. In part because of the weather, and in part because we like to eat delicious things, the lot of us decided to take a stroll one afternoon in pursuit of gelato. (Gelato really has nothing to do with this story. I just wanted to mention it because it was very delicious.)

We'd finished our gelato and were walking along, the six of us, minding our own business, when we were approached by a man wearing a long trench coat and carrying a few full grocery bags. His tone was very casual, but he did end up standing closer to us than we are generally used to.

DUDE: I'm very hungry.
US: We're so sorry.
DUDE: Can you give me some money? I'm hungry.
US: Sorry. We don't have any extra.
DUDE: Look at me. I'm homeless!
US: Oh.
DUDE: I smell like shit and everything!

We were all caught off guard by his deconstructive analysis of the situation, but we responded with our usual, genuine kindness.

US: Wow. That really sucks.

I couldn't help but notice that he did not smell like shit. While I was noticing this, he was pausing for a moment to consider his next move.

DUDE: How about a cigarette?

At this point he moved in very close to my face.

ME: Mm, sorry. We don't smoke.
DUDE: You don't.

He took a moment to consider this, and I think decided he needed to kick it up a notch. He said this next part really slowly and deliberately, like maybe he was on his way to a tirade. And he was still quite close to my face.

DUDE: You know what you are? You are fucking--
ME: The worst.

He was caught off guard for a second. He hadn't anticipated my honesty about who were were in this situation, but he liked it. I swear I saw a twinkle in his eye. He was still mostly not pleased, but at least he had some good material.

DUDE: The worst. The fucking worst. You are the worst of the worst!
ME: Yeah, we'd have to agree.

We somehow then parted ways, and the group of us tried to make sense of what had happened exactly. We were all pretty surprised about how calm yet in our space he was. My PIC said that it might have helped his cause "if he'd hidden that six-pack of beer." But more than anything, we were all quite taken with the idea that we'd just been called "the worst of the worst" by a man who seconds before had said he smelled like shit.


Tuesday, May 08, 2007

I'm long and I'm strong and I'm down to get the friction on

That thing was catchy, right?! I am tired of magazines telling me flat butts are the thing. So say we all.

Have I already gone on the obligatory rant about how this Chevron scarf pattern is in a book called Last Minute Knitted Gifts? If I have, forgive me. If I haven't, would someone be so kind as to explain to me how - really, how - it would be possible to knit this at any minute that one would call "last" without seriously compromising one's hand health and/or sanity? Boy oh boy. These people.

Also, please note: my PIC, B-SNAK, and my sidekick and I are all headed out of town first thing tomorrow for a conference. We'll return late Saturday. In order to keep you from getting too sad or missing me too much, I've chosen a post for you to read for each day I'm gone. These are some of my favorites from last year (I think they're all last year).

Wednesday: Huh. That's funny. On mine it said failure was an option.

Thursday: This creeps me out.

Friday: None of my beeswax

Saturday: Half-Fetching review

You can pace yourself, or you can read them all now. As with all things, it's really up to you. Have a great week!

Monday, May 07, 2007

A tale of tall yarn. Poorly illustrated.

My PIC called me one night with a very serious question.

PIC: What kind of yarn do you think you'd want?
ME: What?
PIC: My sister is in Argentina, and she said she found a yarn district! Like three full city blocks, just of yarn, and all of it is about one or two dollars a ball. But she has no idea what to get. What should we get?

My PIC's sister is not a knitter, but she knows how much her sister loves the yarn. Sweet, right?

So together my PIC and I strategized about how to explain to a non-knitter how much yarn is required to make a particular item. We were not very good at this. At all. Particularly because the measurements that were needed were in grams, and we don't know a damn thing about grams. We're lame. We also can barely do this ourselves when we're looking at the yarn in the yarn store. Really.

So we did the best we could to explain chunky vs. worsted weight and grams vs. yards in an e-mail to my PIC's sister, and we sucked at it. Hard. But we thought it was really kind, and figured we'd get a few balls of yarn for cheap, and that would be awesome.

Meanwhile, my PIC's sister did what any (crazy) person would do in this situation, you know - a situation where the information is kind of vague but the heart is in the right place: She bought a metric f*ckton of yarn.

I was made aware of this a few nights later via a dark, blurry photo sent to my phone. It was of my PIC lying on a bed that appeared to be covered in what looked to be yarn. My PIC told me it was a lot of yarn. I thought that was very generous of her sister, and I sent my warm thanks.

But you know what? The warmth of my thanks was not commensurate with the amount of yarn we are talking about here.

When I went over to my PIC's to see the yarn, I didn't take my camera. I didn't think it was necessary. Error.

My PIC's sister had managed to cram two tall -- I mean tall -- and full -- so, so full -- bags of yarn into her already stuffed luggage. How she did this, I'll never know.

Because I could not wait any longer to show you just how much yarn we're dealing with here, I created this super-ridiculous drawing for you. These bags really are up to our waists. And they are full of yarn. Hanks and hanks and hanks of beautiful yarn!

(Note: The person in this drawing has no head and grey shoes to keep my PIC's identity private. While she does have a head, she would never wear grey shoes. Also, if I'd drawn her head, it would've looked just like her - because I am that good - and we can't be having that.)

Once Joann's ships our ball winder and swift -- very necessary in this situation-- I cannot vouch for our productivity in the rest of our lives. It's gonna be all ball winding all the time. Our houses will be overflowing with yarn cakes. And then you'll see. You will all see.

Hilarity will surely ensue.


Thursday, May 03, 2007

Blogger drives me batty

I thought I'd be extra clever and add some of my favorite links in the sidebar. You know, sewing blogs, knitting blogs, etc. Doing such a thing is supposed to be a very easy set of steps.

Supposed to be, shmupposed to shmee. As of right this moment, Blogger is fighting me on this. So you'll notice that my list of favorite sewing blogs is currently at the very top of my sidebar, making it seem as though those are my sewing blogs somehow. Not the case.

I will try to correct this asap.

In the meantime, have you heard the Jonathan Coulton version of Baby Got Back? I highly recommend it. The link is to a video of him performing it live, and it makes me very, very happy. (Before you head over there, you should know that I wake up with it stuck in my head more mornings than I really care to admit. So don't say I didn't warn you.)

Edited to add: If you listen closely, you can hear the crowd doing a bit of the call and response. I just noticed you can hear the men in the audience singing "L.A. face with an Oakland booty" in all the right places. Hilarious!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Our trip to the so-called craft store

My PIC and I went to the big, corporate craft store in her part of town yesterday. Oh, the adventures!

We were standing in line to buy our items, and I picked up a package of big star-shaped sequins that was in the clearance bin, just to see what the hell they were supposed to be for.

LADY: Those are really pointed.

All of a sudden the lady behind me was talking to me.

ME: Oh?
LADY: Yeah, I bought them once, and I thought I could wear them, like as a bracelet or something, but then I put it on and "ow!" So I tried it in my hair, and it just was terrible. Don't buy those.
LADY: Oh, ok. (I put them back in the bin.)

LADY: I'm making a costume for Cinco de Mayo.

About in her early sixties and quite tall, she stood there smiling and wrapping some ribbon back around its spool. She was very cheerful.

LADY: It's going to be white and red and green. The colors of the Mexican flag. I'm Mexican. At my church, they're having a thing, and my friend said, "I'm going to be working in the kitchen." And I said, "Why?" And she said, "Because they're having Mexican food, and I'm Mexican." So I said, "I'll work in the kitchen, too! I'm Mexican!" I love to tell people I'm Mexican. One time, I was in Miami, and I was on a tour, and the guy on the bus was telling us all about Miami, how they have all kinds of Latinos there. He said "We have Nicaraguans, Puerto Ricans, Cubans. Not like in Texas. In Texas, they have Mexicans."

She leaned forward and squinted her eyes when she said that last part. You know, for emphasis.

LADY: So I said really excited, "Oh! I'm Mexican!" And I raised my hand up like this! And then he shut up. Because he'd said Mexican like that. Mexicans. He knew what he did.
ME and PIC: Wow!
LADY: Yeah, another time, I was on a tour bus and I didn't even tip the guy because...

She went on and regaled us with about three more stories about her run-ins with racism, never losing her very cheery tone. She made sure to tell us that she always spoke up about it.

LADY: Yeah, that's me. I'm outspoken. Not like my cousin. She's real passive. You know, a pacifist. But not me! I always have to say something.
ME and PIC: That's great!

By this point, my PIC and I were up to the register and had to turn away from her to pay for our things, and the lady seamlessly, I mean with the grace of a ballerina, turned to the guy behind her and continued on.

LADY: You know, one time I was at a church function, and I saw these ribbons, and I thought I could make those, but I didn't know if I had the time, because I was going on a trip.

Spreading the gospel, this lady. The gospel of speaking up, in a cheery tone, when people are being tools.

How great is that?

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

What are you looking at?

Why, yes, I do have an X for a belly button.
Would you also care to comment on how I'm pantsless and wearing a bow tie?
Go ahead. Be my guest.
If it makes you happy, have at it.
(Why you must judge, I'll never know.)
But, I highly recommend this style. I think you'd find it very breezy, yet formal.
To each his own, I suppose.

More on that guy, and on these:

Later, my pretties. Later.