Friday, July 30, 2010

It's My Birthday!!

48 years old today.  OMG, where have the years gone?  Wasted youth, that's for sure.  But that's ok, I've always been a late bloomer.  I'm almost 50 and just starting to come into my own, as they say, better late to the party than never showing up.  I'm just grateful to have made it this far.

My husband enabled me to buy a Nook, you know, the e-reader put out by Barnes & Noble.  I love it!  I've already one book and working on the second.  I also have side-loaded several knitting patterns and will put some others on later, too. 

I'm getting my haircut today, have to leave in about 20 minutes.  I've had long hair for the last 10 years with about a year in the middle of that where I cut it all off and let it grow back.  I'm a little nervous about it.  My Leo mane has been almost a signature.  I was really scared about cutting it, but then I realized that my hair spends more than half of it's day up in a clip.  I'm not going crazy short, being a Leo I have a certain sense of security in my hair so hopefully the style I've picked out won't be a disappointment. 

Later, early evening, we're going to a friends house for a get together totally non-birthday related, but I figure it's better than sitting at home.  We'll go to my parents tomorrow.  I'm going to be making Oreo Truffles for the get together.  A co-worker brought them in a few weeks ago and they were so good that I wanted the recipe so I can make them for my family during the December holiday.  These guys will be my guinea pig group for trying them out.  hehe

I've been working on a "feather & fan" shawl.  It's slow going, the yarn is so fine that you knit like crazy and find you've only gained less than an inch.  It's a lesson in patience for me, that's for sure.  I'll post pics if I ever finish it. 

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Shopping Experience (or Big box vs. local shop)

I had two errands to run today.  A short trip to the grocery store and a local yarn store provided two very different experiences. 

The first trip to the grocery store was frustrating and not something I enjoyed one bit.  Let's forget about the fact that they have endless aisles of crap and that the best place to shop is the perimeter of the store, I got that.  Unfortunately, rice is on an aisle and so is the husband's soda.  Now that larger corporations are starting to get back on their feet they're back to their old habit of stacking impulse displays everywhere.  Tripping a shopper up is one thing, making it damn inconvenient is a whole other side that simply pisses me off. 

In order to cram as much garbage on the shelves as they can they make their aisles just wide enough for two carts to squeeze by each other.  That's marginally acceptable.  However, putting up their little mini displays all along those aisles is nothing short of asinine.  When a store is at its busiest you spend a good part of your time waiting for another shopper to pass by the precariously placed stacks.  When it isn't busy there's still always two morons chatting blocking the path right next to the display making it impossible to pass.  I can't tell you how many times it takes almost shouting to get the chatter boxes to hear my "Excuse me, please!".  It's not as if there isn't enough on the shelves, believe me, there's plenty.  Every single aisle display is product that is less than 3 feet away on the shelf. 

Getting to the dairy refrigerators is also a nightmare, they have merchandise crammed up close to the doors so that only one cart can get by, making a shopper have to wait their turn to buy a friggin' carton of milk. The eggs where next to these refrigerators and the aisle display runs the entire length of refrigerators.  I had to wait patiently OR leave my cart in the middle of the aisle, blocking everyone's path while bobbed and weaved through the one person, her husband and cart that was at the eggs.  There was no room for anyone else!   Why?  Why do they find it necessary to make shopping such an inconvenience? 

Then you finally get to the checkstands.  You have to weave your way through the people waiting in line and the corporations last ditch effort to nag you into buying something you clearly don't want by placing even more displays situated in the aisle between the checkstands and the overstocked endcaps.  Of course, they're hoping that you forgot something, and so by they way, here's that bag of marshmallows you forgot over on aisle 5.  But that isn't even the frosting on the cake!

At one of the two big box grocery stores in my small town they have 6 self checkout stands.  Set up like an island 3 on one side, 3 on the other.  I love self check out.  I really hate making small talk with the checkers and I can usually get out of the store significantly faster than if I had someone ringing up my groceries.  Today I ended up furious and intend on never going back, I'd rather be forced to make small talk than deal with this overstocked maze of a store. 

Facing the checkstands from the store side (vs. the exit side of the store) on the right is a Tully's coffee stand.  They've stacked more merchandise along the backside of the coffee stand narrowing the path between it and the 3 self check out stands where only one cart can get through unless someone squeezes their cart nice and close to the stand where they're scanning their items.  I've been on that side of the experience and it annoys the crap out of me that I have to jam my cart up next to the scanner in order to let someone by me.

On the left, in the space between the other 3 self checkout stands and one of the express checkers was yet another impulse type display of more merchandise the entire length of the checkstands.  The stand furthest away from me was open, but I could. not. get. to. it.  There was no way to do that.  The space was way too narrow barely allowing one cart between the scanner and the pile of merchandise and people were at the 2 stands closest to me, so I had to go the right side of the island and wait in line. 

The whole store is one big logjam.  I hate it, it's uncomfortable and frustrating.  I know shopping at the grocery store isn't supposed to be a leisure activity and the big wigs in their ivory towers want shoppers to get in and get out all while buying as much as possible but really, does it have to be hellish?

After I finally got my 3 measly items into my car I headed to the local yarn shop for set of lace knitting needles.  The drive was less than 10 minutes and as I slid into a parking spot I could already feel myself starting to relax. 

I entered the shop and though it's small and jam packed it was still easy to navigate and comfortable to make my way through.  I found my set of needles and just the homey feel of the shop and friendliness of the clerk I decided to roam around a bit.  Keep in mind, this shop is about a quarter of the size of the produce department of the grocery store I had left earlier.  But yet, there were no displays to trip over and I didn't need a cart so navigating around this small space was not stressful.  The walls, ceiling to floor, were packed with various fibers.  The cash register was on a counter with plenty of impulse items but I didn't have to fall or reach over them.  Fumbling was not on the menu.  I enjoyed every minute I was there, even when the clerk and a regular customer talked smack about one of their fellow knitters, who, I surmised was a bit nutty.  I paid for my needles and as I made my way to my car I breathed a sigh of happiness....until the memory of the corporate grocery store came screaming back into my mind.

Yea, I won't go back to that grocery store.  I've been shopping their less and less over the last few months and now I think I'm officially done.  The store sucks and I don't need the additional stress.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Spinning in Place

Looks like I may start spinning again.  I was looking over my beautiful wheel that's been in the closet (keeping it safe from critters) and puttered around the raw wool I have here and there.  Finally!  I think the pain of my failures at spinning has faded enough to try again. 

I've finished the "Lost Socks" and have started on a Feather and Fan scarf.  I'm having some trouble with it and it's my first lace project.  I've ordered the pretty shawl kit from knitpicks and thought it was a good idea to try my hand at working with laceweight.  Big problem, K2togs are killing my hands.  I wish I could figure out why I have so much trouble, even though I'm purposely knitting as loose as possible.  Only the K2togs give me hassle.  I've posted my issue with one of the yahoo knitting groups I'm on so maybe someone will have some wise and wonderful advice.

I'm also trying to find out if lace weight yarn is typically uneven throughout the skein with thick and thin spots.  If it's not normal, then I guess I won't use lace yarn to round up those KnitPick orders! 

Sock blockers!  Yea, gonna get me some o'them.  I saw some awesome ones on eBay and I definitely will be getting the dragon ones.  Check'em out here.  There's some cute rooster and wolf ones by the same seller, too.

Fiber makes me so happy.  I wish I could concentrate at work while knitting, I think it would help me relax more.  

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

WalMart for knitters

I hate Walmart.  Let me just state that clearly.  I hate them because of how they treat their employees.  I hate them because they outsource everything imaginable.  But I hate them most of all because I have to shop there!  I can't afford to pay twice as much for Dawn dishing washing liquid, laundry detergent, body soap, deodorant and the like at my local grocer or drugstore.   Walmart knows that, they know it and they use it to get you in the door.  The one thing I refuse to buy from them is music, the rats think it's their responsibility to censor music and I cannot support censorship in any form.  Walmart is the devil.  They suck you in with their low prices and keep you in with their convenience. 

Walmart for knitters, is KnitPicks.  They outsource terribly.  They trick you into thinking you're paying less for yarn by offering smaller skeins than everyone else and they steal ideas, outsource them and then offer them cheaper.  Yea, they're lower quality, too.  I'd much rather pay $16 for Addi turbos than their metal needles.  But they're Walmart's little devil sister.  They suck you in with their book sales and they offer some pretty nice kits at relatively low price.  For one price you get the materials and pattern.  But I refuse to buy their needles and notions.  I only buy their yarn a hank/ball at a time to round out my order for free shipping.  So they got me. 

This was all brought on by my resolve to NOT buy from KnitPicks.  However, their sold out Baltic Lace Shawl kit has come back for a limited engagement.  I had to have it and since I wasn't going to pay $30 plus shipping I rounded it all out with a book and hank of sock yarn.  *hangs head*  They got me and I have guilt.  But the pattern is BEE YOU TEE FULL. 

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Ravelry

I have spent quite a few hours lately on Ravelry.  Got some some pictures taken of my stash yarns and assigned them to various projects.  Also, a few weeks ago I weeded out my group list and left several groups, most of them due to inactivity.  Why stay a member where there's been no posts for a year?  Sure, I could post and try to get things going.  But I evaluated my commitment to the groups and decided they had to go.  This weekend, though, I've joined a few groups and actually posted!  Yea, much more interesting groups than when I first joined almost 3 years ago.

Have I knit lately?  Uhm, no.  I need to finish this pair of socks so I can move on. 

I keep looking at different yarns for my SIL's shawl and the CPH is still haunting me.  What to start on first???  I don't know!!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Just Torn

Seems like as soon as I get an idea, something comes along and rattles my cage.  I hesitate to have more than one project on the needles, but it's looking like that might happen.  I have big plans to start my CPH in September (sooner if I can get the fiber together, I've decided) but I really want to make my sister-in-law a pretty shawl for a christmas gift and every pattern that has turned my head has been lace. 

I've never knitted lace and I know it's going to take me some time to do, so I should probably start as soon as I'm done with these blasted socks...which is going to be very soon since I've already turned the heel and gusset decreases. 

So I'm thinking that I'm going to make the Woodland shawl for her, it's so darn pretty and I think she'll like it.  Now to figure out the color(s). 

Her sister is pregnant, due in september, and I'm thinking I should make something for her.  Most people make and give things for the baby, but moms don't get a whole lot that is just for them.  So maybe she'd like something pretty after the baby comes?  She's a sporty kinda gal so I need to come up with something that will be fitting.  Maybe a jaunty hat?  Or how about a shawl for her, too?  I have a pretty pattern and the yarn for one that I was going to make for myself, but since coming across the Baltic Lace Shawl in knitpicks, I'm thinking I'm going to make it for someone else. 

I also know I want to make my mom a sweater, I have the yarn and pattern for that, too.  My mom is getting up there (shhh...don't tell her that, though) and I think she needs something cozy and from me.  She's always wearing my dad's sweaters and I think she needs one of her own.  I might do some pretty yarn embroidery on it, since it's going to be a rather plain sweater, but I haven't decided.

Too much to do...and less than 5 months to do it all! 

Dither-dither..what do I make first??

Monday, July 5, 2010

Torn Between Fibers

It's quite possible that I've found a fiber I want to use for my Central Park Hoodie (all subsequent posts will refer to it as "CPH", I'm tired of typing it out).  But I have to chose from 3 different fibers and that's not counting the standby "Cascade 220" definitely a heather yarn. 

One is Valley Yarns Northampton and the other two are from Elann; their Peruvian Highland Wool and their Peruvian Highland Donegal

When I started my quest for THE yarn to knit up the CPH I spent many hours looking at the finished CPH's on Ravelry.  The most popular yarn is the Cascade 220.  The most popular colors seems to be greens and purples. 

Purple and all it's glorious variations, is my favorite color.  While a coat, jacket or sweater is great in purple if you're 13, I just can't see it at my age.  Why?  Dunno.  Maybe it brings back memories of my beloved purple coat when I was in junior high that was destroyed by the bitches sitting behind me during an assembly when they wrote "kick me" on it with black permanent marker.  Add the kicks I received outside of the assembly and you pretty much have a teenage girl both mourning her beautiful purple coat and wondering why these bitches hated her so much that they had to destroy it.  Childhood sucks, eh?  That's what happens when you put a pacific northwest girl into the wilds of southern California, LOL. 

Then there's green.  I love green.  Unfortunately, I have this strange habit of purposely avoiding the popular, I always want something *different*, so the need to knit the CPH in something other than green is/was very strong.  Looking at my options though, nothing sings with my spirit like the greens and purples for this hoodie.  This is going to be something I wear when I don't feel like my wearing my best loved ScottEVest jacket. That's why it has to be *perfect*.  The only way for it to be perfect is to be a color and fiber I will love.  So, I have a decision to make and only a few weeks to make it in so I can order it.  yay  I hate having to make decisions.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Arrgh! Dammit! lakdjsflaksjdfal;sdj

There I was peacefully knitting the second sock.  I'd turned the heel, picked up my stitches and decreasing for the gusset.  I was reading my instructions again just to make sure I was on the right path.  Then it hit me!  Oh hell!  Oh damn me!  Craaaaaap!  I had done my first sock wrong.  See there's this part that says, continue the established pattern, for the top of the foot.  Dummy me, I started with the first few rows that are BEFORE the established pattern as I saw that as the beginning of the pattern.  Duh!  *hanging head in shame*  In reality I needed to be knitting the 12 rows that make the diamond pattern that is the primary design of the sock. 

Do you think anyone will notice 3 or 4 rows difference between the two socks?  Okay, another sock knitter will probably notice if take more than cursory look, but I don't the civilians at work or my family will know the difference. 

Certainly another learning experience!  Think Diva, THINK!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Too Many Projects Not Near Enough Time.

I have a list of things I want to knit.  So why do I insist on looking at more patterns?  Do I think I'm going to find something better to knit than the Central Park Hoodie?  Are my sock books not chock full of sock patterns?  Don't I have a disks full of enough patterns to keep any normal human being busy knitting?  My guess is, not enough. 

I'm not a big fan of Knit Picks.  They have a tendency to take an item of quality and duplicate it on the cheap by having in made in China.  They've made themselves look like heroes to the knitter on a budget while screwing the original artisan.  Don't believe me?  Take a look-see

Now I'm faced with a problem.  I recently received my Knit Picks catalog.  I took a quick glance through it before I tossed it in the garbage and ran across a pattern TO DIE FOR.  In order to get the pattern, I have to buy it from Knit Picks.  I really don't want to give them anymore money, so what do I do?  Sorry, I won't be linking to that pattern, I made the mistake of posting it on Facebook yesterday and I wish I hadn't.  You want the link, Google it.  Want to know what pattern?  Too bad.  Knit Picks can kiss my butt, I'm not linking to them. 

So now I have to figure out what to do.  Will I be compromising my own integrity if I find I can buy the pattern from them for a few dollars instead of buying their $30 kit or do I need to just find a similar pattern.  Oh bother, I don't know what to do now. 

As if I don't have enough projects.