Sunday, May 28, 2006

Anime Boston, Dye-O-Rama, and more

Well, people, we've been at Anime Boston. The girls were in heaven. I had a fine time, too, partly because I scored a really good parking space (free! on-street! near our destination! how great is that!). Apart from the number of transvestites, it was a lot like Rhinebeck. In other circumstances, a tall man in a long white wig, floor length red coat, and knee high boots would get frightened stares; here, he got "oo, cool! can I take your picture?" and posed with a group of several others dressed the same way. (Men in Japanese schoolgirl uniforms started to look normal after a while. The men in ballgowns, I never did get used to.) It wasn't all cross-dressing, of course; there were also monster outfits and huge cardboard weapons and samurai and ninjas and pirates (oh, my). Take a gander:

Yes, these pictures bite. I was trying to be unobtrusive. My kids took some better ones; I might be able to post those later.

I got a lot of work done on the sleeves for the malabrigo (swoon) (thud). It did look strange; I didn't see any other KIPing at the convention, but people were indulgent. It was great fun walking around the public spaces and watching reactions to, oh, the green haired girl in the fur bikini. The knitting didn't cause so much the stir.

OO! my Dye-O-Rama buddy's yarn arrived at my house and oh, boy! oh, boy! oh, boy! It is Beautiful! It is Very Green! I so love green! Wahooo! See?

Thank you so, so much, Lis! She has some really lovely roving at her blog. Check it out!

Time to get off the computer. It's been such a beautiful weekend, and tomorrow is a holiday, too, so hurray! and hurray! and hurray again!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Found it! Pictures again!

I found it, I found it, I found it! Yay! So now I can show you the tiny bit of progress on the various things on needles. Here they are:

These are my Almanac-along shawl, which is nearly finished (ahem--except for a few more rounds and the little matter of edging) (and I think I'm going very simple on that and just doing a garter edging like EZ suggests gently to the beginning shawl knitter) (which is what I am, really); the sleeves for the comfy tutleneck that is made of the yarn that makes me faint when I name it (malabrigo!) (thud) (comes to) (crap, you'd think just once I wouldn't swoon...); and the new Socks That Rock. The colorway on the socks is lapis, and yes, that's blue not the green you see here. I have no idea what my camera was thinking. It really is mostly blue, with flashes of bright purple which for some reason the conjunction of my camera and my computer are choosing today to interpret as green. Go figure.

I like green.

Not much else to report. The chairs we've been waiting for since February arrived today. Yay? Well, not exactly. Six of eight dining chairs seem to be warped and wobble, and the two upholstered ones for the other room have had the wrong piping put on, all over the place. I guess they must've thought we really liked that nautical ropy stuff a lot, especially next to the hideously expensive deep pile velvet. It looks ghastly. Oh the trauma! My custom upholstery has been done with the wrong edging! Oh what a life of misery I lead! God. You know the character in A Fish Called Wanda, John Cleese's wife? Where she's bitching about her day? "and to top it all off, Robertson's have sent the wrong flowers!" And he tries to work up some sympathy, or even interest, in this, and does this half-hearted "oh no!"

I feel kinda like that. The wife, I mean, not Cleese.

To answer y'all's questions, the $400 the old lady had to shell out for medicine was her out of pocket amount. No idea if it gets capped somewhere along the line, but if I had to guess, I'd guess not. Yes, a pox on the AARP--the Medicare prescription legislation is indeed a prize turkey. I'm only glad that there's somebody acting as counterweight to the evilness that is the Big Pharma lobby. Hi, Erica! Hi, Lynne! Hi, Lucia! Hi, Tattoo Queen (hee, hee, hee)! Hi, everybody!

I'm probably not going to be able to get to daytime knitting tomorrow (DD#1's birthday!), but I'm betting on Javaroom tomorrow night. So see you, those of you who I see, and miss you, Kathleen and Ruth and Ann and Lucia and Dale and Lauren and Judith.

Oh! I got a box o' yarn from Classic Elite to play with, for the next round of design submittals. They're so nice to me, even when I go all psycho. Which I do try very hard not to do. Perhaps I should design something simple, so as not to give them the willies. The hats for the other yarn co. are indeed begun, and that is a good thing. We had a minor issue today with not being able to find any graph paper in the house. I have REAMS of graph paper. I just couldn't find any. One little pad of cute French graph paper that is only big enough to jot the faintest notion of a fair isle idea on, not for actual work like I need to do. Like, oh, how is the hundred stitch round going to play out with the motifs I'm thinking about really? But all is well once more. So back to work I go, and hope to see somebody sometime.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

I think I've got it

Besides the last post being, well...gross. I think I figured out how to do titles for posts, finally. RTF(template code). Slowly but surely--it's like learning a new language by immersion, where I really need to know how to say "bagel" or something and this motivates me to figure it out; learning html is like that. Thank you for bearing with me if this comes out looking really, really strange.

I did indeed make chicken pot pie for dinner the other night and it came out just dandy. I'm on a roll. I made some tofu rice stir fry this afternoon, for lunch and to bring to the coop pot-luck celebration. Yum! This is perhaps not what some of you say when you hear the word "tofu." But it's good. Really. I was even thoughtful enough to not put in the peanuts that I usually include.

And I have at long last gotten a good whack done on the work that's due June 1. Amazingly enough, if I go into my workroom and sit down and get going, nobody bothers me and I get stuff done. Who knew. I also wound the Socks That Rock yarn I've been toting around into TWO balls with my handy-dandy ball winder and started a pair of socks on two circs (both at the same time). Well, I didn't have any socks on needles. So obviously I needed some, right? Of course right.

I wonder how many more times I can use the word "dandy."

The combination of this great yarn and some great addis make these indescribably wonderful to knit. It's like chocolate absorbed through your fingertips. Salivating in reaction to knitting is a new experience for me. Not unpleasant, either, just unexpected.

A total non-sequitur:
I was in line at the pharmacy behind an elderly (but quite sprightly) woman not long ago. You know how you hear about seniors not being able to afford their medications? You ever wonder why it is that they can't afford them? I've half-listened to the news coverage for some time now, and always figured somehow we were talking about thirty bucks or something. You know, like getting your child's amoxocillin, only a little more expensive. Like that.

Boy was I wrong. The cashier rang up this lady's stuff, and says, "Your total is $400.00." The woman is moderately freaked; apparently it's a new insurance plan and this four hundred dollars is her price WITH INSURANCE. This is for one month's medication. I wasn't trying to eavesdrop, but the discussion was, being with at least one freaked out person, not sotto voce. Apparently without insurance the drugs cost almost a thousand. The lady was, I gather, sort of hoping it wasn't going to be quite so many hundreds of dollars.

No wonder the AARP is strongarming anybody they can politically to do something about this. I would, too. The damn things cost more than a house. I had no idea. It's disgraceful.

I better go back to my knitting now. Pictures soon. Until later, all.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Dog better; cat now freaking out
Thanks for the words of encouragement, you guys. Daisy is now not hiding every time I walk into the room, so I guess her ears are feeling better.

We have another pet, who masquerades as a cat but is really a psychotic ball of sinew and fluff. This pet was apparently surprised by the vacuum cleaner the other day. I am going by forensic evidence, here; the closet door where the stash lives had been closed, and I went over to turn on the light and PHEW, what a smell. What the heck is that? And I look down, and there's been some sort of ruckus in the bags of acrylic yarn left over from some commissions I did this past winter. That is one big stink. It's coming from...the yarn bags. So I pushed things aside (with a lot of hesitation), and found what can only be identified as dried up goopy cat poop. On the plastic, which had apparently been clawed rather a lot, and rubbed into the carpet, too.

No, I am not posting pictures of this.

I picked up the bags (after figuring out which ones were thusly decorated) and brought everything down to the garbage. OF COURSE I tried to salvage the yarn. I took the skeins out of the plastic and threw out just the plastic. The dog thought this whole procedure was just the bee's knees. Excitement! Stinky things! Whoopee! The pile on the counter still smelled terrible. I pick up a skein and give it a sniff. ACK! GARGH! Oh, god, it smelled terrible. Well, in the ruckus of scratching I guess the plastic got torn more than I thought. Stinky, stinky yarn. ONLY THEN do I throw out the dozen or so skeins of yarn. Yarn I didn't particularly like. Yarn that I hadn't even had to purchase. Yarn that had been the scene of a psycho cat poop disaster.

Let us now think of something else.

Oldest child thinks that if dogs could talk, all they would say would be various intonations and combinations of "hey!" and "guys!"

Something else. Oh, yes! I got out to knit at Javaroom. Yay, dh! Hello, everyone (weasel waves). Nice to see Lynne after what, a month? and geekpixie (The Tattoo Queen) (and whoa, I totally did not realize that picture was you) and Jena and Julie (whose level of organization I aspire to; cooking and knitting? both? doing it well? HEY! there's hope for the weasel yet, maybe).

Perhaps inspired by Julie and perhaps by the fact that the homeschooling coop is done for the not-school year, I've been making nice things to eat all day long. Gonna do some chicken pot pie for dinner, oh yes I am. (shh--yes I know it's dinner time right now. It's gonna work just fine.)

The malabrigo (thud.) (revive) sleeves are grinding along. I do mean grinding. I am so not a process knitter. I am all about the product. I WANT nice wide cuffs. This means that I must knit k2p2 rib for an eternity, and then some. Ack. Gargh. Not quite as charmless as cat poop, but the two are closer than you might think. If it weren't malabrigo I'd be done two inches ago. And apparently I've misplaced the reader plugin doohickey that would allow me to show you. Bah. Pathetic and pictureless for the moment, but about to make a really tasty dinner.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

You lot are really spiffy, you know.
Thank you for stopping by, 2paw; I've just remembered that I have not even though about what my May Green Project Spectrum will be--eek. Ruth, multiple consecutive weeks now - this bites. Lucia, thank you. And may be spinning some merino. I'll say no more. Jena, you may rub your face in the malabrigo (thud) (comes to) - oh, was I saying something? Oh, yes - you may caress it to your heart's content. The yarn, people, the yarn.

Doggy Depression
We now turn to the animal kingdom, and our Dear Family Dog, Daisy. Daisy is a Brittany. Daisy is normally a happy little being, fruitlessly trying to catch one of our four (!) cats, wagging her whole body when anyone comes near her; you know--happy dog. She eats, she poops, she snuggles her head against my leg. Well, last week she had a vet appointment. This was bad enough, of course, but she turned out to have an ear infection (as suspected) and now Mommy has to give her ear drops twice a day. She hates this beyond all reason. We think she's showing signs of depression. Little to no interest in food, barely tries to go after the cats (they're enjoying this immensely, btw), no poop, sits in her crate all day. She'll come out, and then when I walk into the room she runs and hides in her crate again. She is very, very sad. I'm hoping that eventually (Soon, Please) she will notice that it doesn't hurt in her ears any more and be a Happy Dog again (preferably one who doesn't run away from me to hide).

I am not a dog person. We have four cats for a reason, not entirely to do with rodent control. But when DD#2 was learning to talk, she discovered Dogs. And Puppies. The child had a vocabulary of less than 50 words, and one was Puppy. Dogs love her. She loves dogs. It is an unexplainable thing. My tiny child would run up to the scariest looking dogs imaginable and they would see her and go, awwwwwww. Mutual love at first sight. Dobermans, Rottweilers, anything. So she began asking for a dog in the late 90's. The deal was, okay, your new baby brother is too small to really cope, so if when he's bigger, he wants to get a dog, too, then we'll get a dog. Of course little fellow loves dogs. Must be the British genes.

Anyhow, the poor little dog, cute and cheerful though she normally is (even now, she never ever makes the slighest move to bite, even when her ear hurts a LOT)--this sweet little thing is Very Very Sad Indeed. Do any of you real dog people have any pointers, here?

In other news, the pump just died. Just now. I'm going to hope that it either gets better once it cools down, or that the water is now receding like the guy on the news says and I won't have to pump it out of the basement any more.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Procrastination and a rising flood
Happy Mother's Day!
The day has rained, on and on. We have our sump pump set up and pumping the water out of the basement into the backyard, where it seeps into the ground and heads back for the basement. It's clearly an attractive destination. So far in this little game of floodwater tag, our little-sump-pump-that-could is winning. Yay, Heroic Pump! After getting this established and picking up DD#2 and discussing with Beloved Aunt that driving across the causeway to Beloved Aunt's house might be a teensy bit dangerous and saying um, no thanks, to her relief, (all the preceding happened in reverse order, actually), DH and I ended up driving up to the last little bit of the NH Sheep & Wool.

I'd seen the news saying oo! the Merrimack River is flooding near Goffstown! And I said, phht, go on, you silly news guy. Well, dang if it wasn't a really scary sight from the highway. Sure enough, the Merrimack River is overflowing its banks, right near Goffstown. And we will be having more rain for another two days, they say. So I hope Kat is okay, and everyone up that way, too. Good gracious. *note: The Merrimack River has the fastest current in New England. It winds south and north again and wanders eastish and lets out at Newburyport. It is right now an extremely dangerous body of water.

The S&W was very wet. Also nearly over with. Yes, I am indeed bonkers for going up there.
There were a couple of lovely border collies still working in the rain, and some vendors still there, bless 'em, so I came away with:

No, I still don't spin. But who could resist that roving?? Come on!

I had a blast chaperoning the homeschoolers' formal last night. What a cool event, and what a terrific bunch of kids. They came from all over! They were so nifty! I'm really glad I was there. "Formal" was expressly intended to mean whatever they wished, so we had a Matrix outfit, a sari, some vintage 80's florals, some really nice prom dress things, an Elizabethan doublet and pantaloons, a couple of tuxes, and one teenage boy in a tasteful burgundy velvet gown (which looked surprisingly good; reminded me of David Bowie in a red dress). Etc., etc., etc. DD#2 slept over her friend's house with a gaggle of other girls afterwards, hence the pickup this a.m.

Homeschooling teenagers can be astonishingly wonderful.

And some thoughts from an interview on NPR with Hans Zimmer, the Oscar-winning composer who's scored Gladiator, Pirates of the Carribean, and the upcoming DaVinci Code: He says he puts the "pro" in "procrastination." The interviewer talked a lot about the score for DaVC, then said, hey! You're also scoring the new Pirates of the Carribean movie that comes out in July! And he says, oh my god I am so late and I can not think of anything and everybody always goes, oh you'll think of something brilliant and What If I DON'T? oh my god! I shouldn't even be doing this interview, the release date is coming up so fast and I have Nothing, I am so screwed.

Not those precise words, but very, very close. And I found this so heartening. Even this hugely talented famous guy who does tons of wonderful work that I even LIKE has the same issues with procrastinating and imposter syndrome and freaks out about deadlines. You could look at it as really depressing, in that even this successful and prolific person has no better skill at managing his time than I do, and that it may not get better as I become more successful, I might just freak out more publicly. But the heart-warming thing for me, and how I look at it, is that he's getting the work done and it works out brilliantly and even though he has a lot of the same issues as I do, they aren't getting in the way. Even though his inner demon is trying its damnedest, it isn't winning. So maybe I can do it, too. Maybe I won't have to wait until I Finally Figure Out How To Not Sabotage Myself. Maybe things will still work out even if I still struggle.

On that note, I really should go swatch for the two designs (for hats! don't lose it by proxy, anybody!) that are due June 1. I'll go and look at the yarn some more, and doodle, and eat dinner, and cast on the other sleeve for the malabrigo (thud), and read a bedtime story, and maybe, just maybe, get out my own way long enough to really get going.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Dye-o-Meme-o-Rama and other fascinating topics
My dye-o-rama pal has asked for this, so bear with me. And howdy, Stingdragon! Hi, Erica! Many thanks again to Jena for a homeschooling link I hadn't seen before. And hellos and hugs to Ruth and everybody I still haven't seen in a couple of weeks now. Boo hoo. I'm stewing about whether to go to my aunt's tomorrow. My cousin doesn't read this, so (shhhh!) there's to be a surprise gathering to say whoopee! we're all so glad you're getting married! Except I really want to go to NH Sheep & Wool, and going to the Surprise will pretty much kill the whole damn day. I'm in the snowy wilds NW of Boston, see, and Beloved Aunt is right by Logan Airport. *sigh* *pout* How do I get myself into these things... Anyway, the Dye-O-Meme:
Your favorite colors? Greens, but most bright ones.
Preferred yarn weight (Fingering, Sport, DK, maybe even Worsted)? The swap is for sockwieght, which I suppose can be defined rather loosely - no favorite yarn weight. I love all in their own individual ways.
Do you prefer solid or multicolored yarn? Yes. :)
If your buddy is able to do so, would you like a variegated, self-striping, or self-patterning yarn? Oh, yes!
Would you be interested in a wool blend sock yarn (nylon, tencel, silk, acrylic, alpaca, etc.)? Sure.
Imagine the perfect colorway. What would you name it? Oh, geez; um, Mountain Spring? The STR color names are way better than anything I'm coming up with - I like Fire on the Mountain especially.
What was the biggest appeal to you for joining this dye-along? An excuse to do some dyeing, which I enjoy and don't do enough of.
General yarn/fiber questions:
Have you dyed yarn/fiber before? Yes.
If so, what’s your favorite dye and method? Kool-aid, but interesting plants from the yard comes a close second. Method is always cooking on the stove and letting it cool overnight, so far.
Do you spin? Not really. I'm learning, though.
Have you knit socks before? OH YES.
Do you use sock yarn for just socks or in other patterns too? Hm...other things, too.
What are some of your favorite yarns? Malabrigo. (thud) Regia, almost any Rowan, almost any Dale, many Classic Elite ones, too.
What yarn do you totally covet? More Malabrigo. (thud)
Favorite patterns? Waving Lace by Evelyn Clark. I design, so will take the fifth here.
Any pattern you would love to make if money and time were no object? Other than the lurking WIPS/UFOs, you mean? Probably a really spiffy cashmere cardigan. Or Starmore's Henry VIII from Tudor Roses, in her new yarn. Which is fabulous stuff, btw.
Favorite kind of needles (brand, materials, straights or circs, etc)? Addi Turbo circs.
If you were a specific kind of yarn, which brand and kind of yarn would you be? I'd be Virtual Yarns' 3 ply - obscure, surprising soft, versatile, and not annoying to work with.
Nothing to do with knitting/yarn/fiber in any way but seemed kinda fun:
Do you have a favorite candy or mail-able snack? Ooo... Harbor Sweets' Sweet Sloops. Yum! But I love just about everything except black licorice.
What’s your favorite animal? Cheetahs.
Do you have pets? What are their species/names/ages? Yes. Cats: Amy (age 11), Angus (5), Pika (4), Ketchup (2); dog: Daisy (2) - a brittany spaniel. We're told by others that she's a wonderful dog.
If you were a color what color would you be? Variegated green.
Describe your favorite shirt (yours or someone else’s). My Liberty blouse, in a classic art deco print.
What is your most inspiring image, flower, or object in nature? Too many to pick. The view of the mountains right now is pretty amazing.
Tell me the best quote you’ve ever heard or read. Changes too often; one is the Margaret Mead one about never doubt that one person can not change the world, for that is all who ever have.
Do you have a wishlist? No. What I wish for is time!
Anything else you’d like to share with the group today? The rest of this post!

I have been knitting, in between last minute tinkering with the coop schedule and chasing down a Latin tutor and freaking out over the (still) ongoing decorating project. The Malabrigo pullover has a collar now, and I've cast on for a sleeve. Here she is:
I've pulled this on over my head to make sure it will...go over my head, really. It does. Yay. I needed to start the sleeves, but the needle was in use. So I finished up this little piece of the Spring Forward: The yarn is Rowan All Seasons Cotton, and I'm really enjoying how it's working out. Especially since receiving the extra skeins I realized I'd need.

Now, I'm also determined to finish DH's Dale. And I was at a point where I had to change needle sizes. The Wed. night Javaroom crew (hi, everybody!) watched me search through the preposterous looseleaf binder in which I attempt to bring order to the chaos that is my supply of circs. I *knew* I had two 4 mm addis. Somewhere. Somewhere. I only found one. When I got home, I noticed that the other one was in use, on my Almanac-along shawl. Ah. So I got busy on that. I've been inserting rows of yo, k2tog to make eyelet rows every now and then. At first the intent was to have them every 8 rows. But then I miscounted. So the current plan is to go 8, 7, 6, 5, - you get the picture. I was so pleased! It was going along in just the mindless way I needed for this week. Brava, weasel. What I failed to realize, in my mother's appreciation of the shawl's inner beauty, was that it looks like a giant barfed up sea urchin right now. Or perhaps an octopus with hives and no legs. DH watched me for a while the other night, and finally asked, with trepidation, "What IS that Thing?" Behold, the wonder! Behold, the horror!

Not helping matters is that the yarn is coned for machine knitting and presently has the texture of garden twine. It washes up really nicely, I swear! And gray is such a versatile color!

Yeah, yeah.
I know.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Rainy days rock.
The weather is cool and rainy, perfect for a nice comfy sweater. We're having a pretty sane day Chez Weasel. I realize that this disrupts the basic premise of Crazed Weaselhood - i.e. the crazed part - but we're thinkin' it may not be all bad.

I do have to calculate yarn requirements asap for yarn co. project. Gulp. The idea of getting it wrong and legions of knitters cursing me for years is a little daunting. Maybe I should just say all sizes require 20 balls? But that would be evil....

My sister sent me a really cool link about Maori haka
- thanks, Sis! Nothin' much to take pictures of, hence no pics. Just a little "hi" and hope to see folks tomorrow at Javaroom.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Ridiculous even by my standards.
Well, hello, if anyone's still out there. We've had a jam-packed week here chez Weasel (who doesn't?). After lengthy discussion (screaming, crying, cursing, issuing of ultimatums), we still have no chairs and the new shipment of wallpaper is still defective. We have had wallpaper crap all over the place since early January. Uh-huh. Yes, I still have brown (BROWN!) walls. No, nobody can come over to eat on the fabulous table because we have no f***ing chairs. We can stand around and look at the table.

It's a really great table.

Crazed Weasel endeavors have expanded to include scheduling study groups for the coop for next fall, which has been rather interesting (in the Chinese curse sense as well as the normal one). People are so wonderful and willing, and say things like, oh sure, I can work with some kids on things; what do you need? And it goes round and round. I'm supposed to be all done setting time slots and everything by Monday. I sort of am. Eek. I think I've only made one family's life a bleak and cheerless hell, so that's pretty good, right?

DD#2 had a violin concert Wed. night, so mama had to go to that and missed knitting. I got to knit with the Acton Fabulousness On Wheels (aka Judith and the gang) (thanks for hosting!) for a whole half hour before going home for the wallpapering guy who didn't turn up for several...long...hours. Weasels do not like interrupting their knitting for no good reason. Today we had a soccer game at 9 a.m., and then the rest of the day at Beyond IQ, a fun conference that we enjoyed a lot last year; tomorrow the same.

There was a flurry of activity this week on the design front, too: Classic Elite is putting the finishing touches on error corrections for my jacket design (see sidebar), which apparently loads of knitters all over the country are attempting and they're all stuck at the same place because there's an error in the chart as published. Hang in there, everybody! It's coming! It's coming! A revised version that's correct should be available any minute now. I saw it with my own two eyes.

Big hellos and missing you's to everybody (Ruth, Jena, Lynne, Amber, Lucia, on and on and on) and hope to catch up with someone, some time. I plan to go to NH Sheep and Wool for Mother's Day--maybe some of us can gather then?

Pictureless, brainless, staring into the void that is an empty blog.

On the plus side, it's May! And Project Spectrum's color this month is My Favorite: Green! Yay! Green! I love green! I also love purple and bright pink and stuff, but green most of all! Hurray! (Yes, this is a hint to my dye-o-rama pal) (you're welcome)

Did anybody notice that the April Almanac project involved lots and lots of kitchener stitch? And that nobody even whispered a hint of actually doing it? Gee, I wonder why... hm...

Oh, yeah.

Later, folks, less lamely, I hope.