Archive for October, 2005

Long Weekend

But in the best possible sense. Ever.

Let me start off with this about Sit-n-Stitch, which was Monday the 24th: It was amazingly fun and knitting and crocheting both go amazingly well with wine (Thanks to Anna and to Kim for sharing their wine stash, and to Kim for bringing tasty hummus!). We had a grand old time in my living room chatting and working on Christmas presents, and I have pictures (but not of the presents!) which will have to wait until I retrieve them from my camera.

And this about my adult beginner crochet class: They’re all improving wonderfully! The first class was a little shaky, but we all rocked out and everyone went home from the second class (Tuesday night) having learned at least one new stitch–some learned everything from sc to tr! I’m so excited. We’re going to start a scarf project in 2 days, which means I have to come up with some basic patterns for them. Not a problem, really. I think I’ll just make some stitch pattern suggestions and let them go for it in terms of color and whatnot. We only have two more classes, which means that Sit-n-Stitch may be more full on the 14th. Hooray!

And the weekend was lovely. Here, let me tell you about it.

I had four days off this weekend. Four. Days. Off. Music to my ears. And for most of 3 of those days, I did nothing but knit and crochet. (I know, if I weren’t me I’d be blind with jealousy too.) Nothing else, except make food and eat food and watch a little movie here and there. It was perfect. I got so much done–a certain ScarfMe scarf was completed, and turned out better than I hoped (my own design, created on the fly); much farther along on the knit 4×4 ribbed scarf in the Knit Picks Wool of the Andes (which is remarkable, because I thought this yarn wanted to be 10 other kinds of scarf–seed stitch, double moss stitch, stockinette with borders of seed, the list goes on); cast on and worked up a bunch on a new scarf; created a new gift idea which I cannot discuss because the recipients (if indeed there are any) may or may not be reading this blog. (Jeez, Kath, could you vague that up for us any?)

So that’s what I did for most of my time on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Saturday night the Beloved and I hung out with lawyer friends which was so much more hilarious than it could possibly sound. But today is when the fun really started.

I got a phone call at 5:00am and almost snarled horrible things into the phone until I remembered that I’m on call for a labor. And it was the midwife (who else calls at 5am? With good news, I mean), telling me to get on over to the lady’s house, which was fortunately here in my town (so I could wake up on the drive over). And about 5 hours later I met the most lovely baby, born at home, who has the most lovely parents and the most lovely big sister. All are well, and I got to help catch, which is a first for me. Amazing. Beautiful stuff, birth.

Last thoughts: (1) My sister Laura is one of the more hilarious people I know. (2) It turns out that Sigur Ros is the best stuff to listen to after a birth that I’ve ever heard. And on that note, I’m off now, probably to catch up on my sleep. Pictures tomorrow (of knitting, not of birth).

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How to Make Me Swoon

As we’re getting ready to do laundry, tap out a beat on my butt and when I protest say, “It’s my job as the man in your life to touch your bottom at every opportunity.”

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Who let Bob Barker in Here?

This place is like a game show today, and I have no idea why.

First Round – Memes for All!
I’m sure you’ve seen this meme elsewhere… you google (yes, it’s a verb! and I’ve de-capitalized it!) your name and the word “needs,” and you post up the first 10 or the most weird. I’m not sure how that part of it works, so I’m just going with the funniest. Here’s what “Kathy needs”

1. Kathy needs …a nap
2. …to fix (primtrk table for histograms–whatever the hell that is) (I swear I’m not making this up)
3. …advance notice
4. …Eating In
5. …to stick to lower risk funds
6. …to take advice
7. …to somehow ruin her squeaky-clean image in order to seem like less of a threat (I have a squeaky-clean image? And I’m more of a threat with it?)
8. …to enter it to the system (someone set us up the bomb? (warning: animation & sound))
9. …a hug
10. …a four to beat Sharon
and my very favorite,
11. …her gays more than ever.

Thank you for playing the You Need Meme! Prizes will be distributed at the desk, be sure to ask for Carl.

Second Round – Bathmat Construction!
Ms Titanium Rose (whose ScarfMe scarf is currently eating my brain but will be done and in the mail by November 5th if it kills me!!) asked about the t-shirt bathmat, so I decided to give a photo demonstration. We’ll see how that goes. (click photos to embiggen [- a word I cannot take credit for, but whose provenance I have forgotten. Provenance.])

First, find a batch of old t-shirts (I’m not sure how many, because I’m still working on mine. At least 7. That’s a good number.).
Second, prepare the victim!

Cut across just below the armpit part…

Like so.

Now, take your orange-handled scissors (you have some, I know it) and cut the hem off. Cut it right off!

(The hem being cruelly taken from its family, the shirt)

Here we see the first cut into the t-shirt. Cut at an angle or slope (think on-ramps on the highway) and continue cutting around the shirt in a spiral. Around and around and around. This will take a while. Wine is helpful. So is Sex and the City.

Here are the strips, joined together in holy stitchimony. Join with a square knot and a kiss, and crochet away!

Basic Pattern
ch however wide or long you want your bathmat to be.
sc in ea ch across until the bathmat is as long or wide as you want it to be.
weave in ends.
sip wine while in bathtub; let feet enjoy cozy cotton when you’re done!

Prizes for all who complete an actual bathmat and send me photos. Be sure and ask for Carl.

Other Random Trivia Round!
Congratulations, you’ve made it to the Babblings lighting round! Here I’ll discuss nothing of particular value, and you get the chance to tell me how valueless it is! Everyone wins!

1. Pekin Insurance (Beloved’s carrier) just now started covering the Pill. Just now. Late 2005. Wankers. But what can you expect from a company based in a small rural (that’s rural spelled “c-o-n-s-e-r-v-a-t-i-v-e”) town whose high school mascot was, until the late 1960s (and possibly the early 1970s), the Pekin Chinks. (I am only using this word to illustrate the dumb-ass nature of the past. You will never see this word here EVER again).

2. I always forget how hard it is to teach beginner crochet when the students come in expecting to leave that very night with a sweater.

3. Bedazzling seems to be back, but only if you pay sixty bucks to let someone else do it. On a related note, pants for women seem to come in either Too Tired to Care (elastic waistband) or Whore (1.5-inch zipper, top-of-thong-showing low riders). Both come Bedazzled.

4. I just saw my friend Elasa. She is charming and funny and happy and smart and sweet. She might join us for Sit-n-Stitch (I told the Internets! You have to do it now!) Hahahah!

5. I finally got in touch with my Navy friend. He wrote a one-sentence response, the bastard.

You made it to the end! Now you get to spin the wheel of fish!
Prizes for this round can be found in the comments section of the show. Be sure and ask for Carl.

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But it you can see it from here. Here’s why:

(1) My crochet class starts tonight. Am I ready? I haven’t got the handouts printed up, I don’t know where the teaching hooks are, I think the teaching stash is on the third floor of the Library (hopefully un-invaded by dust), and I’ve got people calling asking what they need to bring when they aren’t even on my class list! No m’dear, you can’t just show up! Much as I would love to teach the world to crochet in perfect harmony, I can’t handle the entire population of DeKalb all at once. I’m not sure I can even handle 10 students all by myself tonight.

(2) My Beloved informed me that he wants to change our reception location now, 9 months before the wedding. We find ourselves back at square one–finding a new ceremony site, finding a new reception blah blah meh. I nearly had a freak-out in the shower this morning (where I do most of my heavy thinking) trying to figure out (a) if our deposit on Site #1 is refundable (doubtful) and (b) what the bridesmaids are going to wear and (c) all the other details that make up a wedding, which at 8:30 are so very, very important.

My advice to all not-yet-marrieds: Elope. You still get presents if you throw a party afterward.

(3) I can’t get in touch with my friend in the Navy. He’s on a ship, the ship is on its way or already in South America, and I can’t email him. He gave me his shipboard email, and what I send keeps getting sent back. I may have written down the email address wrong, or maybe it won’t work while they’re underway (although he left 3 weeks ago… how long does it take a big ol’ Navy ship to get to South America?).

I normally wouldn’t freak out so much (yes I would–who am I kidding), but I had a dream the other night in which I saved my friend from War. Yes, I saved him from War. Not a specific war, but War in general. The concept of war, the idea of war… but in my dream there were swordfights and archers and soldiers dressed in jester costumes. Does that still count?

To balance out the tizzy I’m having, here are some good things. Pictures of Sit-n-Stitch, only a week late:

Anna, really embracing the first part of our name. We visited The House cafe on open mic night. We enjoyed most of the acts, but we didn’t enjoy the smoke. Next meeting at my house.

Here’s Wendy’s doily, the one she was working on last time. It is complete and completely lovely. The woman has magic hands.

And Julia, working on an afghan (I won’t say for whom, because apparently her family reads this blog. Hello, Julia’s family!).

This is what I worked on all night (and into the next week, and am still working on): a new bathmat. That is a Q hook you see before you (and my feet, if you look carefully), and the tamed remnants of old T-shirts. Yes, T-shirts. If ever you want a shoulder workout for very little money, crochet T-shirt scraps together. A close-up:

Why am I making a new bathmat, you may ask (I’ll pretend you did)? Because our old one looks like this:

I’m ashamed! I’m a poor housekeeper! I’ve had the bathmat too long (3 1/2 years!) and now it’s horrible. That’s why I’m making a new bathmat. I’m making one, instead of purchasing one, because I really really like cotton under my feet instead of commercial bathmats of uncertain fiber content. And because my grandmother and great-grandmothers made rugs and other useful things from old clothing and it’s nice to feel that I’m doing something (however small) that they did.

The walnut tree on the corner of my street says hello

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A Little Homesick

A photo essay about missing my parents’ house (and envying the crap out of their new deck).

(This is 1/4 of the front yard. See the tiny brown smudge at the top of the picture? That’s where my parents live. I live in a 2-br apartment in the middle of concrete, with trains running two blocks away every 20 minutes. You understand my longing.)

(The backyard, where camp-outs and easter-egg hunts have taken place. Again, only about 1/4 of it. The barn used to house sheep–sadly, before I developed my fiber addiction–a horse, a wonderful golden retriever, barn swallows, and various woodchucks who met an early death after innocently poking their heads out from under the barn at the exact moment when my Dad was looking out the back door. Timing is everything in life.)

(The new deck, which I covet. The old deck was lovely, but this one has an octagon–charmingly suggested by my Uncle David, much to the delight of my mother and the chagrin of my father.)

(Taken just beyond the front door.)

(Taken from the octagon (I so want to host UFC events now, in our their octagon)… the seating at the far end is just outside my parents’ bedroom.)

And–I can’t boast enough about this–the whole deck was designed and built by my very own Dad. He had help building it (and Uncle David did suggest the octagon), but he designed it and made it the thing of beauty that it is. My Dad. My Dad. He’s the very best. I love him tons and tons.

All this happened on Saturday, when I went home for half a day (I only live about an hour from my parents). Also happening that day were: apple orchard trip and The Finding Of The Perfect Wedding Dress. More on that later.

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Swag and The Aftermath

Ah, yarn. ::gleeful bouncing about my home now ensues::


And this…

And this

And much, much more all came from my friend Emily. Her mom works at Village of Progress, a vocational training center for handicapped adults. Yarn companies from all over the country send yarn samples to VOP for color-card making. And they don’t want the yarn back! I’ve been getting lots of yarn from Emily’s mom and using it mostly in my classes and in other projects. But about 2 weeks ago the VOP had a gigantic 3-day long yarn sale. One Dollar A Pound, ladies and gentlemen. And it’s not just stuff that you’d expect to see in a dollar-a-pound sale, it’s mohair (witness the bottom-most picture), it’s wool with silk or alpaca and mohair (witness the orange-y ball in the middle-most picture), and it’s all kinds. I couldn’t go myself, so Emily went and returned with two enormous garbage bags full of yarny goodness for me (and for Heather, as it turns out; I gave her about a third of the total swag). (And it’s extra exciting (or not, depending how you look at it) because none of the yarn has a label. I have no idea exactly what it is, or how best to care for it. The mystery makes it more thrilling.)

This caused a massive reorganization of the stash. I took all the wool and crammed it into an under-bed storage box (Tupperware, I think) using a bungee cord (finally, a practical use for that thing!); I rearranged the drawers in my yarn bureau (I know, who the heck says “bureau” anymore?); I kind of organized the baskets sitting on top of the yarn bureau, and I looked askance at the bags of projects loitering around the yarn bureau. I kind of stuffed them in between the DVD case and the bureau (now I’m just using “bureau” gratuitously. I’m trying to bring it back. I have high hopes.) and told them that they should probably think about finishing themselves if they ever wanted to see the light of day again.

And I did all this sorting and reorganizing and integrating before Nick came home from work. (Don’t worry that I’m hiding my yarn addiction from my beloved. He’s a neat freak very organized guy, and I want to maintain some cohabitational harmony in these first few months. After that, it’s a crapshoot.)

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I completely loved seeing Sleater-Kinney live. Loved.

This picture fails utterly to capture the awesomeness. Ah well.

The opening band (The Ponys) was pretty darn cool. The Metro was cool, the lack of locking doors on the bathroom stalls was not cool. But Sleater-Kinney was the coolest. This guy thought so:

I completely fell in love with Sleater-Kinney again (and specifically with seeing them live), especially after hearing them cover “Fortunate Son” and rock the shit out of it. Hearing their own stuff rocked like dirtbikes as well (“Fortunate Son” was an unexpected and delightful bonus).

I have to admit (and here is the part wherein I discover that I am an old lady): the between-bands downtime (and only then! The rest of the show ruled!) got a little tedious when I kept getting squished away from my friends, and the very tall dude behind me breathed directly down my neck, and I was beginning to lose feeling in my legs, when I thought, “Jeez, I’d so much rather be home knitting right now.”

Someone get me a cane and whippersnappers to shake it at. I’ve hit senility.

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