Saturday, October 13

Fairfax Fair 2012

I woke up today really excited. I blocked out this Saturday for the last 2 weeks since I knew the exact date of the fair, and mentally segmented October to go since last year. I didn't go to the museum exhibit about Dead Sea Scrolls; I didn't go to my alma mater's Homecoming; heck, I didn't even plan to do anything else for the entire day. So waking up without a car was a little devastating.

Dad took Imp and Mei-Mei to Dead Sea Scroll exhibit.
Alpha was at work.
Momar went here and was stuck on I-495 for 45 minutes because of a really bad traffic accident.

I waited for several hours, questioning whether I should take the bus, wait for Momar to return, whether Momar was hurt or had forgotten how much I wanted to go. As stupid as I knew it was, I began to feel sorry for myself. Once I succumbed to the temptation to wallow in bed eating cold, leftover pizza Momar came home and turned straight around to come with me.

The Fall Fairfax Fair was fun. Luckily, my progress in various crafty things and my assiduous window catalog shopping left me mostly immune to the lures of many handcrafted goodies. I know my tastes now and I rarely succumb to even thrift store prices.

I helped pick out a few Christmas gifts for family and thought I completely scored an awesome gift for Alpha. It was an antler back-scratcher. (His favorite Christmas gift ever was a bamboo back-scratcher from the Dollar Store.) There is no problem with sharing it because I am a bad hinter and he guessed within 5 minutes what it was. Sadly... Alpha is kind of creeped out by bones.

Sad, followed by fun, followed by disappointment in my gift-giving abilities. 

Tuesday, October 2

I have found it!

My LYS (Local Yarn Store) is now Aylin's Woolgatherer. It's close and the staff are SUPER helpful.

They had my Baby Alpaca Lace... I nearly cried in relief as I swiped the card and made that sucker mine. I will work back to the shawl as soon as I am emotionally ready to. Given the fact that most of my other yarns are nasty acrylic, I will be emotionally ready a lot sooner than otherwise.

Also, I have realized two things. 1) I love Alpaca. It's a wonderful, soft fibre that doesn't irritate my sensitive skin. 2) I am addicted to lace-weight yarns. I almost walked out with a couple skeins of lace-weight, but prudence and the guilt of knowing that I bought a set of needles prevented me.

Monday, October 1

I don't really get it...

buntings. I don't really understand they have snuck up on me as a decoration.

At first they are like this. I've seen these before. I don't know if they have a purpose, but I am use to them. They are colorful and flap in the breeze. And everything is better when it flaps in the breeze.

Then, they transform and have happy little sayings, like "Happy Thanksgiving," "Happy Birthday," "Happy Halloween." (This example can be found over here. Not necessarily an endorsement, mind you.) Surprisingly,  I can understand these. They have writing on them. The bunting makes a little bit of sense... I suppose. A temporary, seasonal message. Although, you know, it loses major points in that it's mostly inside at this point. No happy flapping in the breeze for these guys since they will probably be used again next year.

But then we reach this stage where it becomes weird. I can understand decoration for decoration's sake... but 'buntings?' What happened to quilts and tapestries and I don't know.... paintings. (Big fan of the paintings over here... way big fan.) Sadly, I don't want to incriminate any of the people that I respect, though I question their taste in this regard so I am not posting images of this decorating trend.

Then the weird becomes ridiculous. Bunting on cake, bunting on cupcakes... bunting necklaces!!!

At that point, I shake my head because I realize the world is crazy and it doesn't care that there is no purpose for these things. It's a fad, a fashion statement. It's like mason jar glassware, reclaimed wood, and window shutters on the inside.  It's 'thrifty', pinterest and all that that entails.

P.S.- in the interest of full disclosure, I have and use a jam jar mug. Bought the jam, cleaned the jar and kept the lid. It's pretty useful for hot chocolate, but I am not posting pictures of my brilliance and aesthetic savoir faire because I don't think it's super cool to advertise that I am a hoarder.

Friday, September 28

Do you know what's depressing?

This... This is depressing.

This means that it's been 5 months since I started the shawl... I don't want to work on anything else. (Although I have now because I have PTSD from Wednesday.) That also means I've frogged it every single month. You know, I don't even know how many times I've had to restart the stupid thing. I thought it was only 4, but then it could be in the upper bajillions.

Now I am working on a cabled wrap. It's a glorified scarf really. I had to lay out the pattern myself and draw it 6 times. I wonder how many times I'll have to frog it. It's already been frogged a couple times because I've had to figure out the gauge.

Tip: Don't take off the labels of your yarn. It has REALLY important information like the correct needle size and washing instructions. In the case of fancy yarn... it has colorway and dye lots. Those can be really important... as I have learned.

P.S.- I've just noticed a pattern... I am a perfectionist. I need to work on that if I am ever to get to a finished object (FO).

Thursday, September 27

Still a dog hater... but not as violent

Now to reach my happy place I just imagine a sign posted around the neck the the EVIL ONE (See yesterday's post) and sending it to these people.

"I ate a lace shawl project that mommie's nanny had worked over 40 hours on."

I can commiserate with those who have posted, however I don't consider the little beastie a member of my family. I guess I am still a dog hater.

Wednesday, September 26

Upon which day I decided to become a dog hater...

It’s a no good, terrible, awful, very bad day, but I don’t really want to move to Australia.

So, I have been trying to make Galia Lael’s Oceanspray. I bought the yarn for it last year around thanksgiving at the Wool Lady. It took a while to decide what project it would become, but I loved the simple layout of the shawl.

I had to frog and recast the project three times. I had a problem with dropping stitches (or having little people pull at the needles). I decided this time to use a life-line... but it wasn’t in yet (I don’t much see the point if I haven’t reach the complicated part of the shawl). I’ve become a minor master of dropped stitches. I have learned to fix them.

Today, I decided to take a small human out for a walk. (It’s part of my job as a nanny you know.) When I came back, my employer was distressed and hoped that I wouldn’t leave. She told me that her dog, Wolfie (as in Wolf-ALL-the-plastic-things-down) had got into my knitting. The dog pulled out the needles, chewed up the $3.00 needle protector that I bought to prevent dropped stitches, and then ate the SIDE of the project. She didn’t eat a hole in the top, which while tragic, wouldn’t have been desperate. She ATE THE WHOLE SIDE. I have 3 inches to 3 feet of useless laceweight ribbons covered in dog slobber.

That was the beginning of the day. Less than a minute after this terrible, tragic and ultimately dehumanizing event (the dog is not allowed near me for fear of its life), Alpha called to say that the car was towed.

Our community has few parking spots. In the year 2005, there was such a dearth of spots that a meeting was assembled and it was decided to hand out passes. Those unfortunates who did not have passes in the parking lot after 11 would be towed. This has cleared space in the parking lot, but the streets for ¼ mile around our community are bumper-to-bumper.

We actually do have a pass. Unfortunately, laws in this state prohibit anything to ‘obstruct vision of the road” so if you have something dangling off your rear-view mirror the cops can pull you over. Alpha didn’t believe me when I said this was the case, but while I am happy to be proven right on the law, I am not happy that we had to take the pass off, forget it, then get towed.

So, project et and car towed, that is already a bad day. It gets worse.

I lost my license. Can’t get the car without a license. Alpha lost his. He found a university card. The impound lot won’t take check, or credit and it appears that our pin doesn’t work. Not even at the bank atm.

At this point, I am done with the day. I send Alpha off to get cash from the bank with his passport. Guess what happens on the way to the bank?
An accident. And a 17-year-old who thinks that you need to get into the left lane to make a right turn and that’s it’s Alpha’s fault for not seeing the turning signal. (Not saying that there isn’t some fault there... but it isn’t ONLY the other driver’s fault when you don’t use common sense.) It’s only a fender bender and no real damage to either car, but the police are called by the stupid teen (because Alpha and Dad won’t sign a paper claiming all fault). Alpha gets a ticket for not having his license.

So, checking our bank balance after renewing my license, I see that funds are mysteriously disappearing. It appears that my account is still linked to Momar’s and when she accidentally overdrafted over the weekend, the bank munched the remainder out of my account.

I burned myself making pizza and I didn’t get the e-mail asking me to come into work tonight.

But to end on a good note: My employer will pay for the yarn. There’s a yarn store that’s holding onto a skein of Plymouth Baby Alpaca for me. We got our car back. I didn’t have to deal with the cop. Renewed my license and we have money in the bank. Also there was ice cream to be had.

Lots and Lots of Ice Cream.

I still hate dogs though.

Saturday, June 16

Best in Show: June 10-16

The Lambing King

You all need to see this.  It just makes my little geeky-sheepy soul happy. Though for some reason I could do with less human.

Saturday, June 9

Spinning update

The spinning wheel and I are getting well-acquainted... I am working toward a more consistent yarn and figuring out tension and all of the little joyful things that make spinning more technical. Yes, pure love is involved, but it’s just an aspect of the situation. Moved on from delightful, fluffy roving to comb top. It’s an obnoxious change, but a necessary one and as I am getting use to the differences I am becoming a better spinner. I promise...

Also, I need to take pictures for all of you. I think maybe I’ll tackle that this weekend...

In other news, I’m still sick. Also, I need to find another part-time job. WOO! Except not really.

Best in Show: June 3rd-9th

Avoidance by Yarn Harlot. “PS. The astute among you will notice straight off what it took me 20 minutes to clue in to. I am now procrastinating by talking about procrastinating and trying to engage in a conversation about procrastination. I hate myself.”  

The honesty of that statement... that while she was engaged in thinking about how procrastination lies to her, she allowed herself to be lied to and it took her 20 minutes to realize it. Also, i have those feelings all the time. Sadly I allow procrastination to win out most of the time.

Is Pay the most important thing about work to you? To others? by The Happiness Project. “Although people recognize that for themselves, other values count more than money (though money remains important), they assume that other people find money the most significant aspect of work.”

This is what I love and hate about job searches. Or the good employment specialists who care about getting you a position. In my job search, I ran into some dead ends, but then refocused on child care/ mother’s helper. When I began to find jobs, the employment specialists treated it as sub-par work and only temporary. While it is temporary (in that children grow up), there will always be more kids until I spawn, but the work experience is lovely. I love the families I work with and I love being part of those children’s lives. The value of feeling necessary and appreciated far outweighs the pay. Yes, I could make more now, but I am so happy with what I am doing. I had to make that painfully clear to my employment specialists before they realized that I was incandescently happy as a nanny.

Did you read any articles that enlightened you, made you laugh or just made your day better? Care to share?

Friday, June 8

I have an illness... well, that's not NEWS

I dislike summer colds. It’s the worst time to have a cold. Not only is it beautiful and warm outside, so you don’t feel like you have an excuse to be miserable... but it’s a real bummer. You survived winter colds, the noxious spring colds and get pummeled by a summer cold that initially feels like allergies. What a way to feel like a wimp.

I hate it when I am sick. Either I am grumpy... or needy. Either way someone has to pay for the misery that I am feeling. I’m pretty certain that most of the time when Alpha offers me drugs it is a subtle way to knock me out so he can go play more Diablo 3. Okay, maybe not so subtle. Of course, I guess I have to admit that cuddling a wife who cries and blows her nose on your shirt is probably less attractive than the animation of Diablo 3. Especially if her nose turns red and her voice becomes startlingly low that if it weren’t for anatomical differences you’d mistake her for a small man.

"Yes, honey. I’ll take the syrup that makes my eyes and legs feel like lead in the morning. Yes, I will take the 1-ply tissues you retrieved for me, even if they scrape my nose and I prefer your age-softened, cotton haiwaian shirt instead. Yes, honey, I love you. Wait! WHY ARE YOU MOVING! No, I need more cuddles."

Also, when my throat is sore and my nose streams viscous stuff, I have no energy except sit and watch Les Miserables: The 25th Anniversary concert. I don’t even have the energy to mute the repetitive fundraising efforts that derail the emotional climax of the concert. Oh, so amazing I wonder what’s going to- fundraising break- I no longer care about anything anymore.

Thursday, June 7

The $100 Dollar Start-up

Somewhere I picked up the idea that if you see something 3 times, maybe you should consider it... Or maybe it’s like the Hundredth Monkey effect... (click the link... it actually interesting to note.)

Anyway, the last several weeks I’ve been seeing posts on the book “The $100 Dollar Start-Up.” I haven’t read it yet, but I’m thinking that maybe this might be an interesting read. I’ll update when I’ve secured a copy and read it.

Wednesday, June 6


So there’s been a lot of “Sheep” lately... not much “Geek”. I shall rectify that by exclaiming on a number of things that have made me dorkgasm in the last couple of months...

Doctor Who- always and forever. When it was released on netflix, my family and I stayed up too late to watch it again!

Hunger Games- Interesting movie. It was enjoyable, but the best part was all the hype. I wanted to watch it, but I figured that I’d wait to see it even though many of my friends were watching it on opening night. In costume. I actually was priding myself not not seeing it at midnight when momar called me and told me that SHE had purchased 3 tickets for the midnight showing and would I like to go? I ate my words and went.

The Avengers- GAHFESGEENAH!!! There are no words. If you haven’t seen it, do so, if you have you understand. We went on opening day to celebrate Alpha’s birthday which was that weekend. The entire family, Dad, Momar, Imp, Mei-Mei, Alpha and me. It was GLORIOUS!

Sherlock- Since Alpha and I are reformed pirates... actually since Alpha and I don’t live near any pirates anymore we had to wait for Sherlock Holmes to be released on Masterpiece Theatre. It was quite worth the wait.. but now they won’t even film until 2013... so depressing.

Sense and Sensibility- 2008 TV miniseries. Micheal from Downtown Abbey plays Edward Ferrers , Mr. Weasley from Harry Potter plays Sir John , “The New Doctor” from Doctor Who plays an absolutely delicious Colonel Brandon (though I will always love Alan Rickman) and Howard Stark from Captain America plays Willoughby. You know, putting it all up there like that makes me realize how much of a geek I am and how amazing this mini-series was.

Downtown Abbey- I was probably the 101 monkey. I was no where near starting the craze, but I am surprised at how many people discovered it after I did.

And there is your “Geek”. I shall be better about proper updates.

Tuesday, June 5

No Shampoo Update

Well, since I started the no shampoo trial, I got a job. Staggering into the shower in the mornings is not my favorite activity and looking for baking soda before then it not a happy thing. My higher functions do not wake up until I am dressed and nearly out the door and devoting any thought to looking for something is vile, evil and base.

I have not continued the no shampoo trial...

Breezy Hill Farm- Woodbine, MD

 Breezy Family Fun

Memorial Day weekend means the beginning of summer for many people. It’s the start of the pool season in Virginia which usually goes hand and hand with a barbeque or two. The family was out of town and Alpha worked, so firing up the grill for me, myself and I was a little pointless. And the sun and I don’t have a great relationship (I, being the pale variety of human.) so the pool wasn’t particularly enticing. What is a girl suppose to do?

When she hears about an Alpaca Farm open house.. well, the situation becomes obvious right? I hightailed myself out an hour to visit the animals.

The trip was somewhat boring. An hour with no one to talk to and and a “300 greatest rock songs” countdown is not an ideal journey, but the scenery past the beltway was beautiful. Next time when I am not so worried about missing my turns, I’ll appreciate it more.

The farm was small and there didn’t seem to be anyone else there. I was worried that I had come at the wrong time. Luckily, the owner Alex, was near his bird pen and saw me drive up. He greeted me kindly and we immediately saw the animals.

Alpacas are beautiful. At least, Alex’s alpacas are beautiful. Graceful, lithe and fuzzy. Alex gave me some feed and I was slightly bombarded with animal affection, though once my resource was gone I was no longer popular. Fickle beasts!

Alex answered all of my questions and upon hearing that I was a spinner he offered to sell one of his fleeces that had a stress fracture. When alpacas are stressed the hair becomes weaker and tends to break at that point. It’s makes a crackle sound that isn’t usual for fleece. Since I am relatively new at spinning and I figure I couldn’t hurt the fleece anymore with my own spinning stupidity, I accepted. Would it be a tragedy if I had bought a perfect fleece and mucked it up badly?  I’ll reserve the ‘perfect’ for when I am more experienced.

Alex tried to sell me on buying an alpaca and while I was not averse to the idea, my pocketbook is prohibitive to any such costs at this time. It was very sad. After meeting the animals, Alex had to meet up with a gentlemen installing a pond in the back and I was introduced to co-owner and wife Heather.

Heather led me into their shop, very chic and filled with Alpaca knick-knacks. They had the furry little animals made from Alpaca fuzz which are nearly irresistible. Again the pocketbook made me resist. I had an excellent time with speaking with Heather about alpacas and their farm and what life was like. She was initially afire for horses, but an riding accident put those plans on hold and then they discovered alpacas. Serendipity!

I purchased the fleece. It’s a beautiful caramel color from a yearling named Lilia. I shall clean and spin it soon. Maybe in a few weeks, I’ll take up a skein or two while visiting the new cria (baby alpaca).

Monday, June 4

Fibre Space- Alexandria, VA

 Space Age Sensibilities

This is a really fun little store in Alexandria, VA. I love the allusion to 1950’s decor inside, though to be honest, I spent more time deliberating on what wool to buy and less on critiquing the store’s chosen decor. Though a 50’s theme goes well with the idea of “space”. It’s a well-thought out design approach.

Getting there from my house was surprisingly easy. I was on one road most of the way and it didn’t take too long until I got into downtown Alexandria. Then traffic was a little bad. Also, parking. I had to park a couple blocks away, but that wasn’t what made it bad. It was all parallel parking. I spent an absurdly long time trying to get it right. I thought I was okay at parallel parking, but evidently, I can’t do it for crap. Maybe it was the van I was in... hopefully? I am sure that there was someone watching my efforts and laughing at me. I would have.

Upon entering the store, I was immediately asked if I needed help, which was nice, but for me unnecessary. I knew what I wanted (comb top or roving) and I found it easily enough in the small space. Had I needed yarn for a project I would have availed myself of the offer.

The yarn selection is good and their fiber section is nicely developed for a yarn store. It’s about a 6X6 section of cubbies with painted comb top and some bags of carded roving. I would have been happy to see a bit more, but I did spend too much on the selection available. I shudder to think what I would have spent had there been an even greater selection.

There was a fun ambiance (read: knitting group gossip) and the workers were very nice. I waited for about a minute to purchase because people were in the back room, but that’s forgivable given the low-key atmosphere and small business approach.

Their classes have a fun rating system with words like “Hip” for the uninitiated and “funky” for basic skills. They also provide children’s classes! Sadly they only offer spinning classes one day of the week on Sunday.

A note about their bags... They are very cute. I like the Zombie apocalypse vibe from some of the project bags and the knitting knickknacks were fun. And I spent enough money to get a fibre space bag (if you read through their website, you'll realize the mininum I had to have spent.) I love it. It’s a drawstring tote and quite cute.

Sunday, June 3

Spinning wheel love

Whoa! Hold the phone! I’ve posted twice in two days? Wow, I am amazingly productive right now or maybe I am just trying to keep myself busy until dinner. That is an option. You see, I could go downstairs and put my clothes away, or lay down and read, or blog. Examining the options, blogging seems like the best choice. I don’t have to move away from the computer and I don’t have to exhaust myself doing all the chores that I can think of to avoid putting my clothes away. Case in point, earlier this week I scrubbed the bathroom clean instead of putting the clothes away.

Today I got to show off my spinning wheel. It was delightful and I am so excited that my smile is a rictus of delight every time I am near it. Are other people so excited to spin? I don’t even know. Most of the other bloggers have been spinners for a while and “Oh my goodness, This is the first time” joy isn’t there. But it is possible that I am just a little too excitable.

So, I didn’t give you the stats on my wheel. It’s a Roadbug made by The Merlin Tree. Momar went ahead and got the double treadle.  It’s not painted, but eventually when I don’t have anymore money to buy fiber, I’ll put a design on it. I’m thinking a celtic tree of life... something a little more elegant.

Also, last night I partially filled two bobbins with white carded wool. Lady, the spinning wheel, and I were getting acquainted. If we get along famously I have some combed Corriedale, or painted BFL (Blue-Face Leicester) and then after that I have a date with some Merino/silk blend. I’m gradually moving it up. Or maybe not so gradually. I see beautifully painted wool and I couldn’t help myself...  Also, a really good reason why I am not allowed to work in a fiber store EVER. I would spend all my paycheck in the store.

Saturday, June 2

Sorry for the lack of posting

Blogger was acting a little weird and I couldn't see any of my posts. Instead of trying to fix it I got lazy and just didn't post anything for several months. BUT! I will begin posting again soon, even if I have to move heaven and the place below to do so. Or if it means copying and pasting my post from whatever Word/ google doc that it comes from. I will be heard!

It's been a great several months though in life. Alpha was accepted into grad school. So we will e living with the family for another year or two before we move on. I realized what a bummer my life was going to school. I love school. Love learning and education, do not love the stress.  All in all life has been very kind.

You know what the last few months haven’t been good for? Not so great for knitting. Being a nanny means that I can't take my knitting with me because the little wee ones think it's a game to unravel all my hard work and I can't blame them. It is fun to frog, unless you've been working on a shawl and that was the 4th time you tried to knit it.

I went to the Maryland Sheep and Wool festival at the beginning of May. I took Momar and Mei-Mei with me. Momar decided that she wanted a spinning wheel and I didn't gainsay her in the least. We now have a little Roadbug, who will tentatively be named 'Lady' since she fits into my ladybug tesco bag from England. Pictures will be forthcoming.

I've visited an Alpaca farm. I want one... an alpaca, mayb a farm. Now I have fleece to clean and wool to spin.

P.S. Alexandria- Fibre Space will take your money and take it well. Very well.

P.P.S. Will anyone be interested in the excess yarn that will be spilling forth from the bowels of my house?

Thursday, April 26

In the interim

Oh, I didn’t mention because I am super busy/ lazy. I got a job as a nanny. I work with some amazing families over the week and it has made me a better, more friendly person. Sadly, watching active little kids doesn’t leave a great deal of time for knitting and I am often exhausted when I get home.

With Spring making it’s merry way though, my thoughts have turned to being more productive. I finished another baby blanket (No intended recipient) have started, stopped and started a shawl for myself, and lately I’ve been working on little projects. Maybe you’ll see an etsy shop soon with the accumulation of my work... maybe not. Hopefully so. That means I need to get better at the taking of the pictures.

Tuesday, January 17

Lost Days

Those three hexagons were done the next day. I had been on a good diurnal schedule, then suddenly I could see the end of the project tunnel regarding the blanket. I started it sometime last year and worked on it a little here and there. I decided to make it a Christmas gift and when that date flew by, just decided I wanted it done sometime in the new year.  I could see that my diurnal schedule was going to be shot.

I sewed the edges and it was much easier than I thought it would be. I started to crochet a mint border as a contrast. Since this blanket was a gift for Alpha, it had to be equally masculine. No fringe.

I went to bed sometime around 6 in the morning... and it wasn’t done yet. I had also taken it into my perfectionist head to weave in all the ends I have previously ignored. That’s 32 times... 4-6. It was a long process.

After 2 days.. or nights really since I went nocturnal, the reconstruction was finally done. And I tried starting another project right afterwards.

I’ve learned I need a little downtime between each project. Not a lot, mind you, but enough to gather my weary mind together. This time it was one day and then I decided to ignore my little list of crafting tasks and start a simple knit baby blanket.
I refer to my long nights and comatose days as my lost days. I lose track of a lot of things during the night. I had been writing in my journal and establishing a relationship with the sun, but that went out the window. These days aren’t necessarily bad though. I enjoy them frequently.

Tuesday, January 10

Update: Head down in the Reconstruction!

Time for an update while I continue work on the reconstruction. I may or may not post instructions for the rest of the world to see, since I am definitely certain that while it is very similar to the design, it is not the same.

Currently? Almost all done with the dark green. I have three more hexagons to finish and then I have the joy of binding them all together. yay. As in, I’ve been thinking about it for months since I started and am not enthused. Not at all.
 This is a picture of me and Alpha dressed in our Whovian best for Christmas. I have worn my nerdiness on my sleeve before.  Alpha didn’t want to wear the scarf initially, then when he saw how the massive scarf hid the prominence of his belly, he was fine with it. I have to say, given the fact that these are our normal clothes, we are pretty smashing.

P.S.- Purists don’t hate me. I created a super-long scarf from a stash of free yarn. And my 15+ foot scarf has pockets.