Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Not knitting ...

So, I have been knitting, but not all that much. This weekend we spent a good deal of time with some friends who moved here from Chicago around the same time that we did. I like them for many reasons, not just because they like to drink just as much as I do. Cara here is putting some iced coffee back in the fridge. She was enjoying some coffee and Kahlua, while I was cooling down with my favorite mixed drink, gin and tonic.

They were packing up their apartment, getting ready to move to Denver where things are, in general, more like Chicago, simply by virtue of being an actual city. I'm pretty sure they're moving because, like me, they're tired of having little to do and having to travel so far to do it. Additionally, I think they are tired of hearing unbelievably privileged college students utter sentences such as, "Dude, the powder was so sweet this week." This can alternately be replaced by something about hiking or rock climbing. This isn't because they hate sports or the outdoors. It's something else entirely. These folks are drenched in a sense of entitlement and upper middle class benevolence, which manifests itself in ineffible ways. They have more money than any college student I've ever met, even funded ones with jobs and publications. I am scared of what their contribution to society will be. I'm not talking scientific developments, literary publications, etc. I'm talking about how they treat other human beings in everything that they do.

So, while they were packing, Mike and I sat around and did what you do when folks won't let you help. We drank. Parker likes baseball, so we watched some inter-league games. I made fun of them and in general had no idea what was going on. I was told, though, that the Rockies should win against the Royals. I have no idea how the game turned out. My picture of Parker was bad, so instead I give you a picture of a picture of a man playing baseball. It's meta, no? Not really, I guess.

And then there's Schweezie. She's their doggy or they're her humans. She's lovely and silly and she pretends to be afraid of me, but she really loves me. We play.

And the real reason that I've not been knitting much or posting ... skating. I've been roller skating. A lot. I'm glad to be skating again. I had almost resigned myself to skating infrequently because I couldn't find a decent rink around here. While looking for a weekend job to bring in extra cash and help me finally pay off my bills, I found a posting looking for volunteers to ref for derby. Although volunteer wasn't exactly the pay that I was looking for, I love to skate, so I guess there goes the extra money. I figured I'd go see the practice space and maybe find a new place to skate. What I found was a really nice rink with great floors and a great group of people. It's not as lovely as Orbitz back in Illinois, but still nice. I finally have a place to skate. I'm also working on my skills so I can ref for derby, which I love almost as much as I love just skating, but not as much as I love knitting. It's hard to beat knitting. I don't have the photos to prove it, but trust me.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

This, my friends, is Maggie.

No, not that woman in the pink and grey, the baby. Maggie is the first, and currently, only baby of my former boss and coleague. Aside from the demon eyes that children are wont to have upon being born, isn't she cute? I've only met her a few times, and I don't think that I'll probably meet her many times in the future. All of this aside, you see that green cardigan she's wearing? I made it. Before she was born. Before we had any idea if she was a boy or a girl or whatever. This didn't matter much to me, as I had no intention of making this child any sort of clothing that could easily gender stereotype it. Her birthday was in November and I felt that this child would need some green. Green is so fresh and full of life, like some babies. It can also, of course, indicate infection and the presence of bile in vomit. But these were not on my mind when I chose the yarn. It is a mercerized cotton of some sort. I think maybe it was from Louet, but who can be sure. I finished this thing in October of 2006. You can't expect to remember that far in the past, especially after the last two months I spent in Chicago.

The pattern was Trellis from Knitty. A tiny cabled cardigan for a baby is a great way to impress everybody that doesn't know you're being lazy. Still, it was a really fun pattern. I'm still amazed at how quickly I worked it. This is the first picture they have of her wearing it, but they tell me that it is their favorite piece of clothing and that they get nice comments. Someday, maybe, she'll give it to a baby that she knows and there will be a nice family heirloom. These are some of the thoughts that keep me smiling on nights when I'm sad and lonely.

That woman in the pink and grey ... that's not Maggie's mom and I have no idea who she is. Probably a nice aunt or something. I'm sure she's lovely.

And all of this Koigu? Well, a yarn shop closed in Denver. I had never been to it and was not terribly distraught over its closing. The place was very cold and boutiquey. It was in a neighborhood that reminded me very much of the scarier places in California full of scary folks with tons of money and no idea what to do with it. This is not to say that it wasn't a nice place when it was up and running. The owner who rang me up and helped me when what I was holding became far too much for two arms, was wonderful. I wish her luck in her future endeavors.

I walked out with a considerably large amount of yarn for considerably less than it should have cost me. I picked up only sock yarn, as the thought of buying only one bag of stuff to make a sweater or some such caused a sharp pain behind my eyes. If I limited myself to sock yarn only, then, I decided, I would be okay, and I was. There were other yarns purchased, but I wanted to show off the lovely Koigu, as most of the other stuff is now wrapped in plastic. There were also needles and measuring tapes and the like. Isn't it nice?

Above and below these meager words are some wonderful sock yarns from The Loopy Ewe. There is some Schafer Yarns Anne and some Opal, as well as a skein of Louet in there. Below is a close up of the Opal yarns. The black and grey is for my favorite Double Crosser. She's a retired player for The Windy City Rollers as well as being of considerable awesomeness for other things. I thought she would like some socks, and what better colors to do them in, but the colors of her and my favorite derby team? The red and pink I just liked so much I couldn't help it. I might have to make some sort of Valentine socks or summat out of them.

And last, but definitely not least, there was a place called The Wizard's Chest right next to the closing yarn shop. It was an enchanted place somehow outside the realm of the scariness of Cherry Creek. What got me to go in, after all, was that the storefront was a castle! It was filled with games and costumes and juggling items and tiny plastic babies. I'm talking tiny. Smaller than my thumbnail. And as I was perusing the aforementioned items, I looked up and found what I had thought didn't exist any longer. 221B Baker Street. I've only played this game once, but it was a copy of the game that had much use and implied that the game was no longer made.

In this game, which is somewhat like Clue, there is a mystery and for each section of the board that you can make it to you get a clue. The clue is a special clue having to do with the specific story that you're using. There's a book that you have to reference repeatedly, and although it sounds like more work than Clue, it's absolutely worth it. If you ever have the oppurtunity to play this game, I suggest you pounce.

Oh, I tasted the new Diet Coke Plus. It has vitamins in it. Vitamins! I promise you, I'm not making this up. I have many thoughts on this new addition to the Diet Coke line, but I'll save that for another time.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

A couple of things I've learned ...

Or, I'm sick of trying to format this thing so it looks nice and I have to wake up early and I'm sorry if it looks like crap, but here is the post. I promise to figure this out next time. Sorry if it looks like a junior high project website about bacteria or dinosaurs. Unless you like that sort of thing, in which case, enjoy!

Sometimes, after several socks not allowing you to knit them, one comes along to give you a kiss and make your day. This sock has done just that. It's the gartered rib sock from Sensational Knitted Socks. I love that book, as do many other brilliant boy sock knitters that I've had the privilege to know.

That monkey you see is just something Mike drew nearly eons ago when I was sad and he called me a monkey to cheer me up. I replied that if I was going to be a monkey, it would have to be an octomonkey. I meant a monkey with eight legs, he thought a monkey with eight tails. I think he might have made the better choice.

A week or two ago Mike and I learned how to spin with a drop spindle. I show you these bits I've done so that you will be amazed at my improvement when I show you how terrible my first bit of spinning was.
We took the class at Shuttles, Spindles & Skeins. Maggie was our teacher and I have to admit that I am very lucky to have such an amazing yarn shop to patronize. I'm convinced Maggie will have me spinning on a wheel by the end of the year. That is, of course, if I can manage to get into one of their classes. They're really popular, and I'm not as fast as you might think.

Now for the terrible photos of what Mike and I put out during class. You'll kindly notice that, as I suspected before the class, Mike's yarn was far more impressive than mine. Maggie barely talked to him the whole class. He picked it up like a hundred dollar bill on the sidewalk.
If you still can't pick his out, it's the baby skein/hank with all of the blue in it. She gave us two different bits of roving to try our hands at roving that had been carded differently. I'm fairly certain these words I'm using are the right ones. I worry about using them, since I'm not sure if I'm making it all up. Mine was so inconsistent and out of control. When she showed us how to ply it, I nearly fell on the floor giggling at the thought of bothering to ply the junk I had created. But I'll have you know, I was unbelievably proud of this crap. I plan on knitting it up into some tiny small bit of crap. There's something truly amazing about the moment when you realize that you're making yarn. Each drafting motion is exhilirating. This was even true when I was spinning this junk, this wonderful junk. Now scroll back up and note how much I've improved.

Maggie told us that if we attempted spinning the next morning we would be better than we were that night. So I went into work early and stood around in the cafe (there's a cafe inside our office) and I went at it. Maggie was right. I should not have been surprised. She seems like a lady that has learned a few things and knows what she's talking about. I've improved with each go at it. Soon I'll be able to spin with confidence. I'm looking forward to the confidence.

I bought this beautiful roving after class. It's not as beautiful as some of the stuff I wanted to try, but I tried some of the blue during class, which is the same stuff as the grey, and I don't think that I'm ready for the combed stuff, which was creepy and shiny and enchanting. I will practice more and then work up to exciting thing like alpaca and such. My plans for this stuff is to spin it on my "maggie" maple spindle, which is hand made, and then to hand knit some mittens for my hands. Do you see the wonder? Hands!

You may not be able to tell this is a shirt, but it is. I bought it because it makes me want to knit knee or thigh high socks/stockings with tons of color work which will result in a beautiful forest clearing image like this. The shirt is from Threadless and is titled "Can't See the Forest for the Socks." They also have this wonderful shirt, which I've ordered, but not yet received. You should buy one, too. It's perfect. A sheep made of balls of yarn. It was meant to be.

And last, but not least, the plants. We have a tulip. I keep trying to name it, but the range of names has been so wide I can't even begin to list them. It is our only tulip. I am proud of it. We didn't plant it, but we haven't killed it and we're not as stupid as our neighbors that mowed all 28 of their tulips along with their grass. Mind you, their tulips are in a flower bed, not in their lawn. I am just as amazed as you.

And here you see there is a bush that miraculously appeared in our yard. It was not there this morning. I swear it. This morning it was just some sticks, a naked sad bush that looked exactly like the other naked sad bushes next to it. When I came home from work it had completely changed. I love it. I have named it Neil after Neil Jordan, who is obsessed with rapid transformation. Although, I've never heard him admit it.
And then there is the weed. Our most impressive plant of all. I'm hoping that it grows at least another foot before our landlord comes buy and pulls it out himself. He probably wouldn't mind, but it's in the front flower bed and he's mildly prominent in the community. What would they think of him if his tenants cultivated a weed and regularly stood outside taking photos of it? Nothing good, I'm sure. I think he's already lost points for the amount of yarn I get shipped to the house. Our mail lady is growing increasingly frustrated with all of my packages. Maybe I'll let up when she stops making fun of my name to my face. Maybe.