Sunday, May 31, 2009

Wanna get Loopy with me?

I have a lot of yarn. This is a fact. I know of people who have more yarn than I, I'm sure you do also. But by my standards, I have a lot of yarn.  I knew this to be true last year, so I deliberately put myself in check a bit.  But then came Stitches West in February, and an unexpected gift from a friend, and now? I have a hell of a lot of yarn.

I'm actually glad to have this sizable yarn stash, and glad that I purchased so much yarn back in the days when I had either more income or more hope of having an income. Because now I can entertain myself for months on end, knitting through my stash, without spending any money or buying anything more. Except for one thing.

I have a gift certificate from The Loopy Ewe for $25. I have been holding onto it since last year . Why? I'm not really sure. Indecision? Procrastination? I don't know. But I need to use it before it expires and after putting some thought into it, I've come up with an idea.

If you look through my stash you will see single skeins. Whether solid or multi-colored, fingering or worsted weight, wool or acrylic - it's just about all single skeins.  Great for a hat, a short scarf, or a pair of socks. Which is mostly what I want to knit, so no problem. But occasionally I do have the desire to knit up something that would require more than just a single skein. So instead of spending this $25 certificate on yet another single skein of pretty yarn, why not put it towards buying a few skeins of yarn for one specific project?

I've whittled the list down to three possible projects, and I'm going to ask for your input in helping me decide which one:

1. Malabrigo Celtic Cable Set
Last year I knit up a Celtic Cable Neckwarmer in Malabrigo as a gift. It turned out amazingly well, and I thought, why not do another one for myself? And then make a set of mitts and a hat to match?  The Loopy Ewe has worsted weight Malabrigo in many gorgeous colors, but I'm particularly fond of Cinnabar

2. Araucania Meandering Vines Shawl
I almost purchased a skein of Araucania Ranco Multi at Stitches, but held off because I couldn't think of a pattern for it. Then someone pointed out the Meandering Vines Shawl, with a very simple stitch pattern similar to the socks I am currently working on, I saw a couple on Ravelry that had been knit up in the Ranco Multi (like this one) and I was hooked. The stitch pattern is strong enough not to disappear in the colors and I've heard nothing but good things about the yarn. Speaking of colors - I like Verdigris the best. 

3. Noro Stripe Scarf
Does this need explaining? You know the pattern and I'd have happily jumped on that bandwagon a while back but that doing a decent job of it requires at least 4 skeins. I realize ordering the yarn online could make it tricky to match up colors, but I think the beauty of that pattern is the mingling of two different Noro colorways to create something unique. And the Loopy Ewe has plenty of colorways to choose from!

So...thoughts? Ideas? Comments? Bring 'em on!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Day of Dumb Decision

That's all I can say on the subject for now. 
Carry on.

Friday, May 22, 2009

The rest of the story

Last month I shared something unpleasant that happened and made me very angry. I suppose now would be a good to time to tell you the rest of the story.

I was indeed very angry, but I knew I needed to get past that anger in order to do anything productive about the situation. After I cooled off, I realized that going to our local paper or complaining to our local congressperson's office would be a bad move. I know our local city council has been blindsided in the past by issues they would have preferred to be made aware of first, so writing a letter to them seemed like the first step.  I didn't know if the other locals who had been burned by the US Census would agree, but it made sense to me. Remember, the idea is maintain the image of me=good citizen, Census = evil wrongdoers.

But as it turned out, I didn't have to write a letter to the Mayor and the Avalon City Council about this issue.  They were already aware. How you ask?  Well, here's where it gets funny, and I mean like stupid funny. 'Cause really, if someone chooses to burn a group of local residents, not noticing that one of those people just happens to be the Mayor's wife? That takes a special kind of stupid, don't you think?

So...if you want to see what happened next, go here. For easier viewing I will tell you that the fun kicks off at 12:20. Then the person from the Regional Census Office, (we'll call her "Corporate Carmen") gets up and starts weaseling around at 20:10. And as you'll see, she did a fine job of that - never answering any questions directly and essentially pointing the finger in every direction except her own staff. Which was a colossal mistake on her part. I firmly believe that if she had just stood up and admitted that a mistake had been made, took responsibility for the mistake, apologized, and then explained clearly and concisely what she could offer at that point in time - it would have been all over in about five minutes. But that's not how it happened.

Some might say she misspoke or danced around the truth, I'd take it a step further and say that what she said isn't the truth at all. And we have a word for that, don't we? I could err on the side of kindness, and suggest that she spoke out of ignorance, and just didn't have all the facts. Which is where I come in, at 36:31.  Bear with me here, and please be kind - I had no advance notice of the meeting and rushed over there moments before it started. I'm sure if I'd had a chance to prepare my thoughts would have been more organized and I wouldn't have sounded like such an idjit.

If you watch through to the end of that section, you'll see that others got up and spoke after me. I give them credit for having he guts to do it - I know I was sweating bullets up at that podium! But there were a few that just sat in the audience, and in the back corner where they wouldn't even show up on camera. I'm not quite sure what I think about that, I'll leave you to draw your own conclusions.  Then Corporate Carmen spoke one more time, and then I did again after that, and it was clear that nothing would be resolved there, so everyone involved did as the council requested, and moved our discussion outside.

Somehow, even though I was sitting furthest from the door, I was the first one outside and Corporate Carmen immediately turned to me, put out her hand to shake, and offered her apology for what had occurred. I accepted her apology, but I informed her that it would have meant a whole lot more to me and others if she had spoken that apology inside the council chambers, while still on camera. She also asked me if I was interested in taking the very short-term job of just a few days they were able to offer. I said yes, I wanted whatever work I could get - but asked the obvious question, "How do I trust you?"  I never received an answer to my question, which I guess basically answers the question, doesn't it? 

The end result was that I (and a few other locals) worked for the US Census Bureau for all of ten days. Which is a hell of a lot less than the 10-12 weeks in the original job offer, but better than nothing at all. I also suggested to Corporate Carmen that she contact the local newspapers and ask them to run something about those of us who did get work and why, but apparently she wasn't interested in my advice. So the only info out there is what occurred during the council meeting.  And during the days we were working, we repeatedly bumped into the issue in a variety of ways, with a variety of attitudes.  "Oh yeah, you're the one who got MY job". "Hey, if you're counting people, make sure you count my wife. She was one of the people who was SUPPOSED to get a job". You get the idea. I don't want to imagine how many people think that I only got the job because I spoke up at the meeting, like the squeaky wheel getting the grease. The truth is simply that of the people who took the application exam and passed the background check, I had one of the top three highest scores.  Not surprising considering the amount of time I've spent taking exams in the last several months! 

Along with the paychecks that the federal government will be depositing into my account I got this:

The mug is going to the thrift shop (if they'll take it!) but the bag has potential. It was filled with nifty useful things like notepads, pens, paperclips, and post-its, and it's a useful cloth bag. I'm not particularly fond of the idea of carrying around a bag with the census logo on it so I'm wondering if it can be painted over? Any crafty ideas for this? Now that I'm unemployed again, I appear to have a little time on my hands!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Spring Forward, Tink Back

Sometime last month I hit a point where every single knitted item I had on the needles was either boring me senseless or driving me mad with frustration.  So when someone in the Hazel Knits group on Ravelry suggested a knit-along of any Hazel Knits yarn in any Knitty sock pattern...I was an easy mark.

I've had this particular skein of Hazel Knits in my stash for a while:

Drool all you want, it's one of Wendee's rogue colorways.  A one-of-a kind-whoopsie-how-did that-get-there-I-didn't-mean-to-mix-that-color-in-with-that-other-color happy accident! But maybe if we beg enough she'll add something like this to her regular colorways. (Hint, hint...) I picked this one up last summer at the Strands & Stitches Trunk Show in Laguna.

A bright, sunny yellow like that seemed destined for an open, lacy sock pattern and I found just the perfect one in Spring Forward.  So I cast on and just loved the way it was working up!

I was initially concerned about the 66 stitch cast-on, 56 is more the norm for me with that yarn. But I gave it a shot and was rewarded - the cuff fit comfortably and the stitch pattern on the leg did a nice job of hugging my skinny minny ankles without sagging. I really enjoyed the stitch pattern too, sailed on through the heel without incident, proceeded happily up the foot and through the toe. Which is where I hit a small snag:

That is my Spring Forward sock with, according to the pattern, four rounds left to knit before closing the toe with kitchener stitch. Clearly, that's not going to cut it. And let me be perfectly clear here - this is in no way the fault of the pattern. The pattern is just fine.  The source of the problem is my freakishly long toes!

I know that along with having long stick person arms and legs, I also have long fingers and toes. But it wasn't until I actually knit socks for myself, that I really knew how friggin' long they are!  I have yet to find a sock pattern that does not have to have additional plain rounds added in between the decrease rounds on the toe in order to accommodate the mutant digits. Sure we all have issues from time to time that may require pattern modification, but seriously? These bad boys seem to actually get a little longer each time I try on the sock in progress! Really!

So the sock that came so close to completion last weekend, will now be tinked back to the beginning of the toe and re-knit.  And maybe if I do it fast enough, I can finish it before my toes get any longer. 

Friday, May 8, 2009

Rav swag at last

For months now, I've been stalking the store at Ravelry, waiting for them to come up with something that was right for me.  

At this point in my life I apparently have eleventy-jillion tee shirts with promoting various non-profits and corporate events. Plus while some of the businesses here simply ask their employees not to wear logo merchandise from a competitor, others frown on any logos other than their own. So with my limited budget and uncertain job future, I just couldn't rationalize buying yet another shirt that I can't really wear for anything other than exercising, cleaning, or just hanging out at home. (Obviously that last one happens the most.)

And then the folks at Ravelry came up with this:

Wheeee!!!! Isn't it cute? The first version they put up for sale featured a plunging neckline and was made of what I'd consider to be tissue-paper thin fabric.  Both of those are not on my list of clothing preferences so I was initially disappointed. But then they announced that the design would also be made available on a Hanes women's v-neck shirt.  I think the point of that is to make it possible for larger ladies, but if you are a smaller person who prefers a more modest neckline and clothing that you can't see through - this is perfect.

And the logo?  It's back there:

Up high on the back, where my hair easily covers it. So essentially it's a nice white tee with a dark reddish pink graphic on the front that I could wear just about anywhere. (Yes, I'd put my hair up if I was meeting up with other knitters!) It's a perfect fit and it makes me very happy!

You know what else makes me happy?


Doesn't that make you smile?

Monday, May 4, 2009

Emergency PJ Day Update

Yup - I did it.  And I'm here to report that Emergency Pajama Day was a complete success! I spent the entire ding dang day in my jammies and never left the property.  I ventured outside to my balcony, and the patio downstairs and trash can area, but that's as far as I got.  I'll admit I briefly flirted with the idea of putting on sweats and and dropping off an old computer at the HazMat dump, but thankfully the sky was overcast and the thought of a slow trip putt-putting over the hill is less appealing when the sun isn't shining, so it never happened.

I was not a complete slug.  Actually I think I was quite productive.  All sorts of postponed projects and household tasks received my attention, it's quite amazing what you can accomplish when you don't waste any time making yourself presentable and never leave the house.  And the mental health benefits? Huuuuuuuuuuggge.  Really. After that one day off, I got up Sunday morning feeling incredibly refreshed and ready to tackle whatever life had in store for me next.

So - if you've never had a Pajama Day, you just gotta try it. And as for me - I'm going to do it more often!

Friday, May 1, 2009

We just gotta do somethin' about these bad days

What is that line from? I can't remember. But it's true.

I had one of my random, senseless insomnia attacks last night so after only about 4 hours sleep I woke up feeling really ragged and hollow.  But I staggered out of bed and into the shower, moving gamely forward into the day because I had Things To Do and Good Things Were Going to Happen Today.

Well I got my stuff done. But the rest? This was a day in which absolutely none of the good things scheduled happened, and instead the bad things we never expected did. Okay, I'm gonna get through this and move forward, I'll keep walking past the open windows. But. BUT. This is the second time in a row I've ended the week with a truly crap ass Friday. FFS - as some point, you just gotta stop and say, "check please!"

So I have declared tomorrow to be Emergency Pajama Day. Yep, that's right, I am going to spend the entire day in my pajamas. Not leaving the house, not even taking a shower. I might, and I said might, change to fresh pajamas at some point, but I'm not making any promises. Like I said earlier, I got all my stuff done, so I have food, beverages, books, movies, knitting, and miscellaneous projects to entertain myself and absolutely no reason to go anywhere. And besides, between two cruise ships in port tomorrow and the Conservancy Ball at night the town - along with the streets, stores, and harbor - will be overflowing. You could go somewhere, but it'll take you awhile to get there.

It's a plan - Emergency Pajama Day is on. Wanna join me?