Thursday, November 29, 2007

Happy Flippin' Turkey Day, Mate!

Yeah, I'm a little late with this one, but I spent the whole holiday putting up bookshelves and organizing my roomful of yarn and knitting books. Yes, a whole room, my friends. I need to open a shop.

So, Thanksgiving this year was lovely in spite of some sad news. A good friend, who was very close to the end of her pregnancy, suddenly and without warning lost her baby. It's been such a shock for the family who had no reason to expect anything was wrong and so confusing for all of us, her friends and chosen family.

She and her husband always host Thanksgiving (among other holidays in addition), if they are in town and this year they wanted to return to a sense of normalcy and tradition. Needless to say, we were all happy to oblige. Plus, the food is always soooo good (even if a bit late early on in the hosting career) and the company spectacular, so it was a win-win, in spite of the undercurrent of loss and sadness. I think also she and her husband needed to celebrate something positive and life-affirming, so there you have it.

We had ham, turkey with stuffing, two kinds of cranberry sauce, brussel sprouts, green bean casserole, homemade rolls and a mountain of desserts. We really did get a little carried away. Practically a pie for every attendee, but that made for lots of take home plates for those that couldn't come like my better half, Anthony. For those of you that don't know, he's in a wheelchair and the entrance steps are too many and too narrow to try and get him up.

We were also lucky enough to be invited to a second dinner party on the Saturday after T-Day, this time in the East Bay and in an accessible house that belongs to our friend, Justine. Actually, that's a bit of a fib, because there are also entrance steps at this place, but it's a very open floor plan and the steps to get in are fewer and deeper (from front to back). This makes the carrying process known as bumping someone up a lot easier and safer. Carlos (Justine's ex) helped me get Anto up the stairs and it was pretty easy to navigate once inside.

Justine made a rawkin' veggie lasagna and we had LOTS of wine and appetizers before sitting down to the actual meal. It got a little raucous with all the kiddies playing spies, but it was actually pretty fun. There was even a brief avant-garde play performed by the children, directed by Justine's precocious and adorable son, Matteo. Both of his parents work in film, so it's in his blood, this instinct to direct.

In case you haven't put two and two together, I seriously need to return to Weight Watchers. I've gained all the weight back that I lost last year and none of my clothes fit me. I know I sound pathetic but it's the truth. It's making me very grumpy and impossible to be around. Or maybe it's because I've stopped taking my anti-depressants. Hmmmm.

And speaking of grumpiness.... I sometimes LOATHE Ebay. Let me refine that. I hate MYSELF when shopping Ebay to take the edge off of my habit. I always seem to find things on Ebay that are rare or unusual and that have odd closing times for the final bids. Inevitably, I pay way to much for something I later discover could have been had for a 1/3 the cost somewhere else. First lesson: always check Amazon. You'd be surprised how often someone is selling your conquest for a reasonable price.

Most recently I purchased this tiny little book by Sheila McGregor, "Traditional Knitting" that is basically a mini-book of another book by her, "The Complete Book of Traditional Fair Isle Knitting", that I already have. There are no patterns, just brief text and descriptions with the same bloody photos that are in the other book that I own. This was no fault of the seller, it was own stupidity, and my lack of sleep before bidding on the thing at 4am (it was in the UK). On top of that, I had multiple books I was watching and I got it confused with an Alice Starmore book that would have been a steal at the final price I bid.

When I got the book today in the mail I was completely underwhelmed and a bit irked. I saw that the price paid for it (written in pencil) had been erased, but not entirely. The worst part, I paid twice as much as they had paid for it. ACCCCCCCCK! No more Ebay for me.

On a much happier note, I was able to get via Inter-Library Loan (ILL) a copy of Alice Starmore's "Charts for Colour Knitting". I only had to enlist the help of FIVE library professionals, but it finally paid off. I wanna see what all the hoopla is about before I start bidding on Ebay..... Once an addict, always an addict. I have admitted that I am powerless over the Magic of Ms. Starmore. Now, who can be my higher power since I don't believe in a Vengeful Fire God?

Monday, November 26, 2007

Punk Rock Pony

Punk Rock Pony
Originally uploaded by mikewade
I thought I might update the blog during the Thanksgiving holidaze week that I had off, but I was CONSUMED with organizing my books and working on my Hella Cable Scarves. So, here's a little post-holiday post about my Punk Rock Pony.

This pattern by Freya Jaffke is darned cute that I want to make a million of them. I have only made two so far, but I keep adding to the toy queue so it might be a while before I circle back. This little multicolor/mauve one is going to my niece, Ashlyn, in Louisiana. I'm sure she will love him even though I seamed him all wrong and he's only 2-D instead of 3-D. Well, I guess he's 3-D but he only has 2 legs instead of 4. Sounds a bit like Animal Farm, but I digress.

I used Aracaunia Cotton for the body and Rown Big Wool for the mane, eyes and ear tufts. A tiny bit of KnitPicks Essential for the pupils and that's all she wrote. Oh, I think i used US 9 for the pattern, but it's been a while since I sewed him up, that I honestly can't remember.

Shamefully, I used poly fiber fill for the stuffing but I'm going to try and start using wool or left over yarn in the future. My ultimate life goal is to be as close to natural (or organic) as possible, so I definitely want my toys to be petro-chemical free.

On on the personal edification front, if you're concerned about toxic substances in toys, candy and comsetics, check out Fresh Air on NPR today. Frightening!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Rockin Guy Blogger

Originally uploaded by mikewade
Wow!!! My fabulous fiber friend, Victor, nominated me for the Rockin' Guy Blogger and I feel most honored. It's a very sweet gesture, considering how infrequent I update my site AND how awesome, Victor's site is.

But, I'll be gracious and accept and attempt to spread the love and show you to 5 other sites. Before I forget, please check out Victor and see what he's up to. He's a knitter, he's a spinner and he's a great podcaster.

So, my 5 nominations for Rockin Guy Bloggers (and not duping any that Victor listed, including his own wonderful blog) are:

1. Rene Garcia, Jr. of I Love This World fame (technically it's a group site, but Rene created it and does 90% of the posting with a helping heap of goodness from Jon, Robert, Dennis, JPK, Holly and myself)

2. Jared of BrooklynTweed fame. Jared is a superstar and has been published in Interweave Knits. Awesome.

3. Mel of Cabezalana fame. Mel is a doll and lives on a n alpaca farm. Color me jealous.

4. Michael of Tricky Tricot fame. Author of Knitting with Balls and co-creator of online knit-zine, Men Who Knit.

5. Franklin of the Panopticon fame. Funny, cute and the "creator" of Dolores the sassy sheep.

Please visit these lovely sites and have a great day!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Elemm Spoils Me... Again

Australian Merino Rovings
Originally uploaded by elemmaciltur
My birthday month (phew, I didn't think it would ever end!!) was perfectly bookmarked with a most AMAZING shipment of fiber love from Deutschland. Yes, the famous blogger Elemmaciltur aka Victor sent me this dreamy roving above and another equally gorgeous roving as well.

i can't describe how lovely these two specimens are (more than I have), but you'll have to take my word that they are truly spectacular. So spectacular, I see some more swaps with Victor in my future. Mostly, because my German is non-existent, but also because Victor is such a doll.

As sad as it is to have my birthday month, come to an end, I have to say that I have had a most wonderful celebration. Thanks to all the lovely souls who sent me wishes, gave me presents and stuffed me with nibbles and champagne. I love you all!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Shrinky Dink Cufflinks AND a Fratello Kit

ShrinkyDinkCufflinks 006
Originally uploaded by unkaDee
The birthday love just keeps on coming my little chickadees. I'm verklempt, meine freunde, truly.

So, yesterday, I met up with my knittin' posse (official name still to be voted on) and we felted my Jellyfish Mobile that I received at the surprise party. You would not believe the beautiful jellies that came out of the felting process. They need to finish drying but I had to bring them to work today and show them to my knitter friends at work.

While we were working on attaching the testicles (aka tentacles), Stephen pulls out another birthday gift (he's in trouble for spoiling me) and what do I discover but the new exclusive Wollmeise colorway and matching pattern from Yarnissima called Fratello. Heavenly they are and must be seen in person to be believed. I don't have good pictures yet, but I'll be doing that this week. And I'll probably be bugging Marjan (Yarnissima) or Victor (Elemm) because they are the short row masters. So, yes, I'm feeling the fiber love, my friends.

Then.... this morning I get to work and find this lovely present on my desk (the picture above with the cute green paper and the amazing shrinkydink knitting decoration). At first I'm confused, because I can't figure out what the material is. It looks ceramic but perhaps metal. I then open it up to discover that it's hand made CUFF LINKS by my dear friend, Dennis. You might have heard me talk about Dennis and his art before. He's very talented and far too modest, but I hope one day to convince him to open an Etsy shop.

Here's a link to some more pix that Dennis took of the cufflinks.

Two more days in my birthday month, but I'm still getting gifts. I'm loving this whole 40 thing to pieces....

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Knitting Themed Birthday Cake!!!!

Saturday, October 20th, the day before my actual birth date, my sweet friend Robert Allen, came over to the East Bay to treat me to brunch and to spend the day ogling succulents at the Ruth Bancroft Garden. Way back when, (was it only 4 years ago??), I was an avid/rabid dry gardener and did volunteer work at the Ruth Bancroft Garden in Walnut Creek. It's a spectacular place with a dazzling collection of rare and unique cactii and succulents. When my partner suffered an aneurysm, we had to move into accessible housing, so I lost my little garden and trekking to Walnut Creek for volunteer work became a luxury I couldn't afford. So, when Robert confessed that he had never been and needed some inspiration for his own lovely sun-drenched garden, I jumped at the chance to practice my rusty docent skills and give him my tour.

Before heading out, we grabbed a bite at Venus in downtown Berkeley. I had never been for brunch, only dinner (once with Matty before seeing Arcade Fire) but knew it would be good. I had their 2x2x2 special (2 eggs, 2 pancakes, 2 sausage) with a pomegranate mimosa. Robert, who pretty much hates breakfast food, had their panini with salad and a micro-brew beer. I think he enjoyed it. We chatted about work, and tv shows and gardening.

I was a little nervous visiting the garden for a self-guided tour because I'm not a current member and hadn't spoken to any of the coordinators or board members in a long, long time. In my defense, I did leave several messages, but never heard back from anyone, so I had my excuse ready for anyone who thought I was breaking and entering. In the end, we didn't have any problems and it was a glorious day for a garden tour.

Robert was duly impressed with the variety of succulents and the size of the agaves and fruit-bearing opuntia. I think he got some great ideas for creating more height and drama in his home garden. After about 2 hours, we packed up and headed back to Berkeley. Earlier in the day, I had spoken with Moreno and had suggested that we go out to a quiet dinner in celebration of both our birthdays. It was still pretty early and easy to do that.

On the return trip home, Holly called a couple of times from Golden Gate Park and wanted to know when Robert was getting back into SF. He said soon and promised to call her after he dropped me off at home. Once we got to Berkeley, Robert parked, asked if he could come up and wash his hands, and followed me into the building.

I picked up the mail (we got two netflix and anthony got a notice for a package) and headed up to the third floor. I was opening the netflix and chatting with Robert over my shoulder as I opened the door and got the biggest shock. With a raucous "SURPRISE" I was greeted with cheers and glitter by a small crowd of my dear friends.

DUDE, they got me good. Anthony was the master of planning and he was 100% successful in shielding me from the shenanigans. He was ably assisted by Barbara, Holly, Jeff and Emily. Robert was a co-conspirator as well, but did say that he truly wanted to see the RBG so it was a double bonus.

In attendance were Chris and Barbara, Jeff and Randy, Holly and Rene with baby Rene, Emily, Tammy, Kate, Scott O., Colleen and Ade with baby Enzo, Dennis, Scott and David, Justine with Matteo, Lucy, Stephen and Chris, Matty, Ingrid, Kristian and Kristina. Yowzah!!!! Such a lovely gathering of sweet souls who have made my life so magical and maddening and I wouldn't have it any other way.

I got some flippin' awesome prezzies, my friends: amazing cake designed by Jeff; lovely hand knit jellyfish by my knittin' posse: Stephen, Kate, Elaine and Tammy; St. Germain from my baby; gift certs to Article Pract from Chris and Barbara AND my work knitting friends; gift certicate to Rudy's Can't Fail from Karen; gift certificate to Sweet Adeline's from Colleen and Ade; a MASSIVE gift certificate to Kabuki Springs from David, Scott & Matty; a beautiful hand-knit scarf from Master Knitter Ingrid; and the motherlode of them all, a GORGEOUS Rene Garcia, Jr. glitter portrait of me and Anto from Holly, Rene, Emily, Robert, Kevin, and Dennis.

Damnit!! I'm one lucky guy to have such sweet friends and a loving beau. Anthony even confessed that he enjoyed pulling it all together with our wonderfully gifted party posse. i guess I can't complain too much about being 40 since it's started off so fabulously!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

My Birthday Month

The Birthday Dinner Table
Originally uploaded by mikewade
Yes, it's true, I'm turning 40 very, very soon. And in honor of my birthday (and some other lovely Librans: Moreno, Jon, and Brenda), the epicurious JPK hosted a dinner party at his place. It was this past Saturday and it was indeed a wonderful celebration. On the menu was crab and corn salad, steak diane and mango ice cream cookies.

I had lots of pre-dinner lemon drops and played catch up with my dear friends who live in the West Bay (aka San Francisco). We were graced by the presence of JPK's brother, Dan and Dan's partner, Marc (what cute and sweet boys, they are!). Baby Rene was also in fine form and he even posed for many cute pics. It's only days before that boy starts making full sentences, then, LOOK OUT.

One of the high points (out of many) for me was the AMAZING present that Jon gave me, a cosmetology mannequin head. Now, it's not that I'm planning on going to beauty school and dropping out, but rather I need something on which to put knit hats for picture taking. It's always nice not to have to commandeer a real human head, not matter how cute. All I need now is to get someone to give me a male torso/form.

Jon's timing could not have been more fortuitous for me because this Friday is "Bring Your Art to Work" Day. I'll be displaying some handspun, some knitted toys and the lovely Shedir cap that I saw on Knitty Breast Cancer awareness issue.

I'll be posting pics from work display later this week.

Monday, October 1, 2007

All Hail the Fishgan!!!

My Knitting Posse at Work
Originally uploaded by mikewade
Howdy Everyone, here's a quick post to show you all some of fiberly goodness I (along with some colleagues) have been working on. I present to you the FABULOUS FISH AFGHAN aka Fishgan.

I work for a wonderful technology outfit in Emeryville, CA. We make software for libraries to use their resources more efficiently. And, as luck would have it, we have quite a few folks obsessed with fiber in the company. All the major groups are represented: Spinners, Knitters, Crocheters and Beaders. We even have folks that do book binding, soapmaking and shrinky-dinking (is that a verb?). Pretty crafty group, eh?

When we learned that a colleague was expecting we decided to do a group knitting project that had proven successful in the past. It's a modular pattern that is mostly garter stitch with some shaping and even a bobble. Whoo Hooo! I have to admit at first I wasn't feeling the love for this endeavor, but after we chose the yarn, delicious Blue Sky Alpaca organic cotton, I was sold. I even grew to like the dreaded bobble. What I was most thankful for, though, was not having to piece it all together. That momentous task was left to Kris (2nd from the left in the front).

We proudly presented the lovely Fishgan to mother-to-be Brenda this past Thursday. and I think she was quite pleased.

Project Details:
Pattern: Fabulous Fish Blanket (Knitter's Magazine, Summer 1998)
Yarn: Blue Sky Alpaca cotton (two hanks of 4 different colors)
Needles: US 7 - 9 (different knitters required different sizes for gauge)
Finished size: 44 inches wide by 28 inches high.
Mods: We crocheted a border around each fish and then did another border around the whole thing. Or rather, Kris did. :-)

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

WTF Is Up with Your Blog, Dude?

I must extend my profuse apologies to everyone who has asked me "WTF is up with your blog, Dude?" Well, the simple answer is not much, but the longer answer involves "our" wireless router at home. I put the qualifier "our" in quotes because it turns out that I've been stealing bandwidth from our neighbors. That's right. Stuffing wireless in my filthy pockets and running out of the interwebs mall. You see, when we moved from the ghetto (West Oakland) to Candyland (Berkeley), our old modem decided to go kerplooey so we got a new more fabulous one from AT&T. After we did that, we discovered that our wireless router wasn't compatible any more.

Or was it???? I was still able to connect, so we didn't believe the tech support guy at AT&T. What do they know, right?

So, I've been able to get on the interwebs and post (albeit sporadically) to this blog over the last 4 months or so, but I've not been paying that close attention to the name of the network I've been joining. Heck, I even get a signal from Sacred Rose Tattoo from across the street, but those jerks have it password protected, as do the rest of the selfish, anti-social cretins who call themselves my neighbors. The nerve!!! When I finally decided to update my blog a couple of weeks ago with news about my recent attempts at spinning and plying, I discovered that there were no active networks for me to join, so I thought our modem was down. It was then I realized that modem does NOT equal wireless router.

Which brings to the purpose of the included photo. Anthony and I have been going through all of our things and have decided to let those things go that aren't really adding value to our lives. And let's face it, campers. Naked pictures of Madonna cavorting with several dozen of her closest sex worker friends? What was I thinking? Not too clearly. But, my folly can be your windfall. Do YOU want a lovely coffee table book that is fun for the entire family???? Ever wondered what Madge's lulu looked like? All this and a limited edition cd of Justify My Love. I gotta pay for that new wireless router somehow....

Friday, August 10, 2007

Shake Your Booties.. Yeah!!!

Test Bootie - Maizy (CPY)
Originally uploaded by mikewade
For your viewing pleasure, I present the quintessential baby bootie in Crystal Palace's Maizy which is made of corn fiber and elastic. It's got a wonderful cool softness to it that I think will be perfect for hot weather. These booties are going to my dear friend Heather who lives in Port Allen, Louisiana (across the Mississippi from Baton Rouge). I figure a woolen bootie will be too warm for the little guy's tootsies so I took a chance with CP's newest alt-fiber yarn.

After doing two booties and washing them, I have to say that I really do love the final product. Knitting with it, is a bit challenging because the yarn plies really want to split, but it's not too bad if you use blunt needles. I have Knit Picks Options circular needles which are pretty pointy, but I'd prefer that to blunt any day. So, in true OCD fashion, I also picked up a ball of the light green, white and blue. They were only $6 a ball and I can get about 5 pairs of booties from each one. I might do some stripes and maybe a hat.

Another fertile creature in my life is the lovely Holly. She's expecting a chillun sometime around Christmas, coincidentally, near the time of Heather's delivery. This means that I need to kick it into high gear if I want to knit lots of goodies for the upcoming babes AND get all my personal and holiday knitting queues organized.

And speaking of organizing, I'm LOVING Ravelry. Dude, if you haven't signed up, please run, don't walk. You won't be sorry. Unfortunately, my surfing ends up eating my discretionary knitting time. I have to keep reminding myself that the more time I spend looking at other people's yarn and pattern queues, the less time I have to finish my own projects. Simple, but I'm a simpleton.

Friday, July 27, 2007

The Lazy Bone's Connected to the...

Tilli Thomas Test Knitting
Originally uploaded by mikewade
Credit Card bone.

Jeeeeeez! I have been so overwhelmed lately with my acquisition madness. I've been stockpiling lots of amazing and sumptuous sock yarns, (Wollmeise, Cider Moon, Jawoll, Knit One to name but a few) in addition to my regular sock club shipments from Blue Moon/Rocking Sock Club and Sundara Petals Collection. I've even begun a flirtation with spinning (more on that at the end of this post). Goddess give me strength.

But I have been a somewhat industrious boy and I have a little FO for this Friday. I recently completed some test knitting for Article Pract. It was a lovely silk and seacell (kelp fiber) blend from Tilli Tomas. The color was a rich ruby red and it was so soft and luxurious. Having said that, the first pattern I chose to illustrate it's loveliness was a disaster. What I didn't count on was how slippery it was. This resulted in areas of centered decreasing that looked lumpy. At least I think that was the problem. You can decide for yourself.

I then frogged the whole thing (unwound it) and used a tried and true pattern, the Feather and Fan (from Barbara Walker's Treasury of Knitted Patterns). As you can see, it was much better suited for the way the silk and kelp want to behave. I'm glad I took the time to start over and give Article Pract something that showcases the fiber and not a knotty mess.

When I brought my finished swatch into AP, I discovered another swatch that was knit up (by Ellery I believe) into this amazing scarf pattern by a local artist named Song. She does the hands-on knitting at AP (every Tues and Fri from 4-6pm), but I've never had the pleasure of meeting her. I hope that I do sometime soon, so that I can tell her how lovely her design work is. There was the one swatch in a Tilli Tomas fingering weight (maybe?) yarn and another in this heavenly Malabrigo lace weight. SCRUMPTIOUS!! Of course, I had to purchase the pattern, and I should be making some scarfey giftiness for friends and family in the near future.

Now, on to the latest and greatest OC behavior. I took a drop spindle class from Deep Color this past Sunday and it was great. I loved the instructor, Claudia, and all the ladies (yes, I was the only guy) were funny and charming. I think they were just shocked that a guy would be interesting in hand spinning. But i explained that I was a knitter and was curious about doing an S to Z thang (as opposed to A to Z, b/c I will NOT be shearing and scouring any time soon).

Sadly, Deep Color will not be offering spinning classes in the future and they will be selling all their fiber and spinning backstock so that Claudia can focus on her art and her classes on felting. I felt honored to have been in the last class and disappointed that I'll need to take my spinning business elsewhere. On a more upbeat note, I discovered that Carolina Homespun is located in San Francisco. Why on earth did I think they were in one of the Carolina's??? Hmmmm. In any case, they have a killer selection of books, videos, fiber and spindles/wheels.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Aus Deutschland Mit Liebe....

Package From Victor!!!
Originally uploaded by mikewade
Guten Tag, Meine Freunde. Okay, that's about all I can do auf Deutsch. In fact, that's probably not correct, but you get the gist, I hope. This is a pic of a swap I did with Victor, a fellow knitter, photographer and blogger who lives in Munich. Victor is a true knitting master having tackled many cool projects (like Jaywalkers) and he has exquisite taste in yarn. He recently got me hooked on Wollemeise and I ended up ordering 5 lovely hanks from Claudia (THE Wollmeise).... but that's a whole separate blog entry... Lots of o.c. behavior to be modelled there.

So, I was cruising around Flickr, looking at other folks projects and yarn when I saw this lovely pink and green wool that Victor had made some socks with and I had to find it. It looked like it was sport weight which means a much quicker knit than fingering weight, so I started searching for it online. Unfortunately, it was German AND the only e-commerce site I could find was written in German and I couldn't tell if they shipped to the US. Enter, my enabler.

Victor generously offered to run down to his LYS and get some for me. I asked for 2 balls each of three different colorways and quicker than I could say "fiberholic", Victor had those puppies in the post bound for America. They arrived wrapped in tissue paper with a stunning green raffia bow topped with a cute Muenchen postcard. Victor is classy like that. Inside were 6 of the most lovely balls of superwash wool that are gonna make some amazing socks.

Now, where to hide them in our crammed apartment????

Saturday, June 30, 2007

A Game of Catch (Up)

Some members of my readership (*cough* Jon *cough*) have said that I don't update you enough on the 24-7, hustle-bustle, hedonist lifestyle that I enjoy in the East Bay, hence my new post. Last time, I promised some more detail on the Holly party and here she is.

I'm ashamed to say I'm not sure which birthday this was for Holly, but it's not her 30th and definitely not her 40th. The lovely Mrs. Rhodes-Garcia was feted with a first-class dinner party planned and hosted by Jonathan and Emily. Em lives in the glorious Presidio which is a protected state park in addition to being a new home to Letterman Digital Arts Center (Lucasfilm). Beside the exquisite epicurean delights, we enjoyed a state of the art Holly Video Installation, iPod karaoke and kick-ass champagne cocktails courtesy of amazing elderflower liqueur, St. Germain.

Instead of killing myself and trying to knit something last minute as is my regular modus operandi, I did what any self-respecting crafter does: purchased someone else's art. I still kept to a knitting theme, but I'm not quite sure if Elizabeth Zimmerman (Godmother of Modern Knitting) would have approved of the destruction of straight knitting needles for fashion. I hopw that EZ would agree that the necklace was a true masterstroke and an ingenious re-use of resources courtesy of the talented Liana Kabel.

We had Holly open presents early on and I was delighted when she oooed and ahhed over the necklace. An added bonus was Renecito's seal of approval. You gotta admit, it looks good on son AND mama.

During the main course, Rene wanted to hear our fondest Holly story. I shared the tale of the time that Holly and I had to drive an RV from SF to Indio/Palm Springs to attend Coachella for our artist outreach at Levi Strauss & Co. I asked Holly to go with me and to do the majority of the driving because she can't think of anything cooler than being a trucker. The day that we picked up the RV, I almost cancelled the trip upon learning about gray and black water.

My fear of driving an RV on the interstate is only exceeded by one thing, dealing with other people's poo. Now, you might say, "mikewade, everyone poos. Just deal". Which, being without fear, is exactly what Holly said to me. But, I reminded her that I, actually, did NOT (poo). And my job description did not include wiping Rock Star asses, even if I had to kiss them all in the name of glamorous PR. Fortunately, we had the option of paying other people to deal with the gray (sink) and black (toilet) water, so I didn't have to cancel the whole trip based on my fear of other people's bodily functions. Good Times....

All in all, a perfect evening made possible by the killer hosting duo of JPK and ER. Kisses to you two, as well as the birthday girl. MWAH.

A Game of Catch (Up)

Some members of my readership (*cough* Jon *cough*) have said that I don't update you enough on the 24-7, hustle-bustle, hedonist lifestyle that I enjoy in the East Bay, hence my new post. Last time, I promised some more detail on the Holly party and here she is.

I'm ashamed to say I'm not sure which birthday this was for Holly, but it's not her 30th and definitely not her 40th. The lovely Mrs. Rhodes-Garcia was feted with a first-class dinner party planned and hosted by Jonathan and Emily. Em lives in the glorious Presidio which is a protected state park in addition to being a new home to Letterman Digital Arts Center (Lucasfilm). Beside the exquisite epicurean delights, we enjoyed a state of the art Holly Video Installation, iPod karaoke and kick-ass champagne cocktails with elegant elderflower liqueur, St. Germain.

Instead of killing myself and trying to knit something last minute as is my regular modus operandi, I did what any self-respecting crafter does: purchased someone else's art. I still kept to a knitting theme, but I'm not quite sure if Elizabeth Zimmerman (Godmother of Modern Knitting) would have approved of the destruction of straight knitting needles for fashion. I hope that EZ would agree that the necklace was a true masterstroke and an ingenious re-use of resources courtesy of the talented Liana Kabel.

We had Holly open presents early on and I was delighted when she oooed and ahhed over the necklace. An added bonus was Renecito's seal of approval. You gotta admit, it looks good on son AND mama.

During the main course, Rene wanted to hear our fondest Holly story. I shared the tale of the time that Holly and I had to drive an RV from SF to Indio/Palm Springs to attend Coachella for our artist outreach at Levi Strauss & Co. I asked Holly to go with me and to do the majority of the driving because she can't think of anything cooler than being a trucker. The day that we picked up the RV, I almost cancelled the trip upon learning about gray and black water.

My fear of driving an RV on the interstate is only exceeded by one thing, dealing with other people's poo. Now, you might say, "mikewade, everyone poos. Just deal". Which, being without fear, is exactly what Holly said to me. But, I reminded her that I, actually, did NOT (poo). And my job description did not include wiping Rock Star asses, even if I had to kiss them all in the name of glamorous PR. Fortunately, we had the option of paying other people to deal with the gray (sink) and black (toilet) water, so I didn't have to cancel the whole trip based on my fear of other people's bodily functions. Good Times....

All in all, a perfect evening made possible by the killer hosting duo of JPK and ER. Kisses to you two, as well as the birthday girl. MWAH.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

One Ball of Yarn!

One Ball of Yarn!
Originally uploaded by mikewade
Gosh, I'm so behind with updating that I'm not quite sure where to begin. I'll do a quickie bullet point list and then expound on them over the next few posts:

1. Test Kniting with Pagewood Farms yarn - Didn't believe it would happen with all the froggin' that was going on, but I perservered and I was pleased to turn in the fruits of my labor to Article Pract.

2. Liana Kabel necklace given to Holly for birthday - Holly (and Renecito) were THRILLED with the necklace. Liana was a bit chuffed as well.

3. Habu Scarf to Emily for Graduation - It was a delight to see co-worker, Karen's daughter shine at her graduation party. I think she looked quite fetching.

4. Test Knitting with Twisted Sisters yarn - This was such a quick knitand very fun to do. I'm sure I will do several proper Chevron scarves because the pattern is effin soooooo easy.

Now all I need to do is start massive amounts of baby booties, hats and toys for all the lovely ladies in my life who are preggers....

I promise real posts and updates very soon.

Until then,
knit on my brothas and sistas

Monday, June 11, 2007

We Interrupt This Blog For.. THE YARN HARLOT!!!

Sock Mojo Twins Power Activate
Originally uploaded by mikewade
Yes, dear readers, I was fortunate enough to catch the only appearance in our fair state of Stephanie Pearl-McPhee. Readers the world over know her as author and blogger, the Yarn Harlot, and this past Thursday she dazzled us with amusing anecdotes, amazing touch knitting and, of course, a book signing. This last bit was kicked up a notch by being able to procure copies of her new audio books (I couldn't find anywhere online) which are of "At Knit's End..." and the new book, "Casts Off" read by the author herself. She thinks she sounds like a chipmunk on meth, but I think she sounds great. All of my pictures are here.

The whole thing was organized and produced by wonderful independent bookseller, Copperfields, in thriving downtown Petaluma. It was mercifully streamlined and the event went off without a single hitch. Considering there were over 250 audience members and standing room only, there was surprisingly little congestion or drama. My hat and knitting needles salute this noble bookstore.

I made some new knitting friends: Jenn and her charming friend, Johanna. Jenn was working on a fiendishly lacey sock that would have kicked me to the curb. Johanna was knitting without looking (a feat that still makes my jaw drop). The Yarn Harlot can do this too, in front of many people AND tell jokes. I'm not worthy...

So, Linda, my work compatriot and veteran knitter, and I, waited in line, gave our presents and got our goodies signed. We presented Steph with some Scharffenberger chocolate, a cute card, and a vintage knitting needle bangle from Liana Kabel. There were so many people that she didn't get a chance to see the jewelry but I hope she likes it because Liana is a genius.

As you can see, I got to hold the sock and Steph held my simple sock in progress. I left my adventure in baby lace knitting at home since I knew that I would muck it up royally and I want to be able to give it to Article Pract sometime before summer is over. I refuse to rip it back anymore. REFUSE!

I promise some good pictures of it in my next update!

Monday, June 4, 2007

Arcade Fire Rules My World

Originally uploaded by mikewade
This past Saturday, I took a little break from knitting the interminable wooly cake of Pagewood Farms (don't you love how I manage to keep the knitting references) and joined my good friend, Matty, for a rather exceptional performance from Montreal's Arcade Fire. They were recently written up in the New Yorker and I heard an encore presentation of Fresh Air today with them as the main guests. You can even check them out by going here for a concert presented by NPR.

Matty hadn't seen our new place in Berkeley and, much to my shock, he informed me that he hadn't seen Anthony since Robert Allen's birthday in New Orleans (and well before Anthony's aneurysm in 2004). That was about 4 years ago, if memory serves correctly, so it's been way too long. The main reason for the delay has been Matty's adventures overseas in Japan & Italy and on the other coast, but as of late, there haven't been too many wheelchair accessible events for Anthony to join.

Matty and I had a lovely dinner at Venus in downtown Berkeley and then headed over to the UC Berkeley Greek Theatre for some AF loving. The weather wasn't too terribly cold in spite of the fog and we warmed up after dancing around a bit. I'm so impressed with the wall of sound that Arcade Fire create and the even more amazing ENERGY of their live performance. If you don't have their album "Neon Bible" yet, run don't walk to your local independent music purveyor.

Sunday was almost as lovely, but it's hard to compete with Venus and Arcade Fire. Running a close second for a most fabulous time was brunch with Scott, David and Robert. We took advantage of the GORGEOUS sunny weather (anyone who knows SF in the summer should realize this is an extreme rarity) and walked ourselves over to Luna for nibbles. I enjoyed the french toast with a side of crunchy bacon and I even snuck a couple of Robert's garlic fries. I didn't have a mimosa (cafe creme pour moi)... but that reminds me of my new favorite drink (special thanks to Scottsky for this one): champagne with a St. Germain float.


St. Germain is a liqueur made from elderflowers and it imparts the most lovely refreshing goodness to what already is the perfect brunch beverage. I had two before leaving Scott's which is why I opted for coffee at Luna.

After the repast, my arm was twisted and we retreated to Robert's secret garden where I had too much to drink (wine, campari cocktails) and not enough nibbles to balance it all out. The highlight of the day was playing in Robert's thriving succulent garden (many pieces were cuttings I have given to him from our old garden). Even though the brisk winds started flinging the lounge chairs around, we were able to enjoy the last bits of summer weather, before heading into the apartment for show and tell from Mr. Allen.

Next up, my lace-y knitting progress.... don't get your hopes too high.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

WIP Fridays, June 1st, 2007

Well, one sock in Pagewood Farms (colorway: wheatfields) wool is done. Finally. This sock is the simplest of constructions

1. 2x2 ribbing

2. stockinette for the leg and foot

so I thought I'd jazz it up a bit with a different heel flap and toe. Forget that this puppy is 9 stitches to the inch on size 0s, which for me is almost making me go blind. Seven, no problem. Eight and I'm getting a little twitch over my eye, but nine.... something does not compute for me. I can never truly be a lace knitter but I'm gonna have to fake it.

So, I tried this groovy heel flap called Eye of Partridge which I learned in Stephanie Pearl McPhee's "Knitting Rules". It's a variation on the standard slip stitch pattern which creates a honeycomb-like structure that really pops when done correctly. About halfway through, I think that I've done something wrong because it looks too flat (no honeycomb hideout action). This causes me great distress because you can't simply rip back because of the slip stitch action. I suppose someone with a bit more experience than I could have done it, but I'm not Meg Swansen or Brooklyn Tweed, so I totally ripped back and started over. About halfway through the second time, I notice the same thing happening again. This time, I decide it's a combination of my tension and the subtle changes in the color that are obscuring the stitch pattern, so I perservered and ended up with this.

Next up was the digital yogic bliss of simple stockinette for the foot until the toe was reached. To tart it up a bit, I decided on a French Toe which I spotted in Nancy Bush's "Knitting Vintage Socks" and thought it would be parfait (not the poor white trash "dessert" of whipped cream and jello... which is more imparfait or "vachement nulle" as French teenage hipsters might say.... but I digress). This might have been okay, but I was using two circular needles instead of Nancy's recommended 3 needles, which translated to a bit of juggling stitches and markers. A slight handicap was introduced by a lovely Merlot that Scott and David gave us for Christmas and about three rows from finishing, I realize that I've been decreasing at the wrong points.

I almost bent the metal tips of my needles with the sheer force of my anger, but decided NOT to rip back until I was sober the following morning. In order to atone for my hubris, I did a standard wedge toe with a kitchener stitch close. And so I present the lovely one sock for Article Pract. They only wanted one because they get stolen if you do a pair. What a lousy world, eh?

Next up is a groovy swatch featuring a pattern from Barbara Walker's "Treasury of Knitting Patterns" (vol. 2) that is testing my ability to count, follow a lace pattern and not split the fine yarn with my crappy needles. I haven't taken any pix yet, but I can report that I have ripped this back twice because I keep forgetting about the border (which is not part of the pattern repeat) and I constantly lose my place in the pattern repeats.

How on earth do I get to work every day with out driving into the Bay? It's truly a miracle of Madrigorial (sp?) proportions. Take care and keep on knitting....

Monday, May 21, 2007

Birthday Surprises

Originally uploaded by mikewade.
A certain someone in my life is getting some delicious art from Liana Kabel. She makes jewelry with vintage plastic knitting needles, tupperware and other recycled poly products. She's a fricking genius.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Work In Progress Fridays

You knew it was coming, right? If I can't win at the game, I gotta change the rules. Finished Object Fridays was starting to make me drink more coffee in the afternoon which required sleep aids in the evening followed by an extra shot of espresso in the morning lattes... you get the picture. It was only a matter of time before our fabulous new apartment became a shooting gallery. Am I watching too much of HBO's "The Wire"... I don't think so. So, in order to keep my sanity, get the requisite 8 hours of sleep *and* think of my knitting as relaxing, I now present Work in Progress Fridays. [cue fanfare]

This lovely little flatland horsie was supposed to have an x, y and z plane, as well as 4 legs and the ability to stand up (see a properly completed one here), but in a fit of hasty sewing up before Renecito's 2nd Bday party, I did him all wrong and ended up getting the birthday boy Duplo. Now, I need to rip out the seams and try again without the pressure of a looming deadline. I have confidence he'll be done this weekend.

I'm still working on my Pagewood Farms yarn sock. It's really turning out lovely and I have to say that I much prefer 2 circulars to DPNs. I'm using my Knit Picks size 0s and there's a little of snag action at the joins. It's not too irritating, but I have a feeling that Addi Turbos would be better. The pricing difference ($5 versus $15) makes me wanna live with the difficulty but I might just have to break down and get the good stuff. I'm worth it, right?

In non-knitting related news, we just finihised a big cleanout of our old rental garage which was flooded by a backed up sewage main. Mmmmmmm. Delicious. Fortunately it only affected the front part of the garage which was practically empty, but the back portion was chock full of crap (our personal crap... not poo) which really needed throwing away or recycling. So, this past weekend and pretty much the whole week nights has been a constant flow of the stuff we're keeping to our new place. The plan is to try and sell the good stuff and donating all the rest to Goodwill. I much prefer to give our stuff to them, because they take EVERYTHING with no attitude.

I hope everyone has a non-poo filled weekend. I know I will. A bientot.

Friday, May 11, 2007



Alternatively titled... I am lame, lame, lame. Geez, I have such respect for folks who can blog and have something fascinating... or coherent to blog about every day. It's a discipline like any formal writing, but I thought I'd have so much to say, or at least in the shower I do. I'm not quite sure what my damage is... but I know a big part of it is energy level. When I get home in the evening, the last thing I want to do is sit down and compose a blog entry. What I really want to do is sit down and knit and have a movie or audio book going. Not at all social and somewhat exasperating to my partner. In my defense, I rarely object to a film he selects (unless it has subtitles), so I'm not completely irritating, just a wee bit. Cutelike.

There's the energy level thing.. and then there's the overwhelming choices thing. Many of you know that I have serious stash and reference text issues (i.e. I'm sure I've been put forward for the next episode of "Intervention") but I make myself feel better about it because 95% of what I knit is for others. I have exactly one thing that I made for myself. Two if you count the socks that I made for Anthony that weren't quite big enough for his wooly mammoth footsies. Which is related to today's title, but more on that at the end...

Finally, there's the obsessive compulsive startitis. Once I see a new yarn, I gotta get cracking on swatching it. I haven't the patience for a full sweater so I like quick fix items like toys, hats, and (ahem) socks. Anyone who has ever knit a sock comes to the realization that sock knitting is not really that fast. This is compounded with the second sock syndrome and you've got quite a long haul until the end is reached. Fortunately, I've discovered a way to knit, earn money *and* be timely with my practice. TEST KNITTING. Yes, folks, I have plunged head first in the knitting pool and I think I might have cracked my head in the shallows.

I have agreed to test knit a sock pattern for the lovely and amazing Sundara. More on that in a future post. Plus, I signed up for test knitting Tofutsie yarn from SWTC with Kat. And, on a local tip, I have joined the army of people who do test knitting for Christina, the amazing shop owner of Article Pract. My first project is a sock and a swatch using Pagewood Farms fingering weight superwash merino, colorway "wheat fields". I've already ripped the sock cuff twice because I'm being hypercritical but I'm on a roll now, as you can see here.

And since I'm two weeks behind, I present two completed items for your pleasure. The first is the Gimp Suit with Ball Gag for my friend, Jon.

It was commissioned by the latter with inspiration coming from Pulp Fiction. I haven't sewn the sleeves closed but I'm waiting to see if Jon would prefer they be open. The second piece is the first of a pair of socks for my big-footed partner, Anto.

I haven't started the second one, because I'm on a deadline with my Article Pract work, but I'm fine putting that on hold. In fact, I want to put most of my WIPs aside and only do cotton, hemp or silk projects during our recent heatwave.

Have a lovely weekend!!!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

J'adore Sushi

Sushi Watercolor Art card
Did you know that it's nearing the end of Administrative Professional Week? Well, neither did I. That is, until I got this lovely card with gift certificate from my managers in celebration thereof. I was dashing out of the office to drive Anthony to Vallejo for physical therapy when I was given the card but I didn't open the card when I got home. I know I scared the bejeezus out of Anthony because of all the commotion. All of it over the PERFECT GIFT for me, credit at my favorite LYS: Article Pract. The sushi card is an original watercolor by my immediate supervisor, the VP of a software company in Emeryville. She's wicked smart, respectful *and* artistic. Hard to believe, eh? I had the impression that she might be, but I had never seen a completed piece. And it's a card that she created with Shutterfly.

So, yeah, I was so blown away. It was very generous and the messages inside were so thoughtful. I'm one lucky boy and they've sure got me pegged. It wasn't even 24 hours before my fiber-junkie punk-ass was at Article Pract. I really love the gals that work and teach there. There's Christina, Kate, Tammy, Sarah Jane, and Logan just to name a few that I know. They always hook a brotha up, which frequently gets me into trouble, but it's good to know where the enablers are, you know? While there today I saw the most amazing hand-spun and hand-painted 100% angora from Malabrigo. I did not purchase it because it was $33 a ball (not sure of the yardage, but it was pretty small). I also saw some beautiful mohair locks (yes, whole locks, it's breathtaking) from Pagewood Farms that must be seen in person to truly experience. It made me think of what a satyr or faun's legs must look like. I'll be getting some of this in the future, but I was a little more sensible this visit (i.e. I didn't spend hardly anything beyond the value of the gift certificate). I'll take pics this weekend and post them on my flickr account.

What else? Well, Anthony got the show he applied for at the UC Berkeley radio station, KALX. He'll have the Thursday, 9am-12noon slot and you can listen to him online. Check him out. We hope to set up a blog and podcast site for him in the near future. Stay tuned.

I better get working on someting if I hope to have anything done for Finished Object Fridays.... Remember, it's OBJECT. Singular. That is all.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Are You Hypermobile?

Or rather, are your teeth? No? Consider yourself lucky. Two of mine are and they feel like they could fall out at any time. It's so cool... especially when your eating. I keep expecting to discover that I've swallowed them and I have a jack-o-lantern smile left behind. The reason for my dental wanderlust is bruxism. I grind my teeth... like crazy... when I'm sleeping. I used to have a ridiculously expensive nightguard that made my speech sound like Stan's sister on South Park but I didn't mind wearing it. When I began my adventures in orthodontia, I was told that I couldn't wear a night guard because my teeth needed to be able to shift and turn. Makes sense, but I thought my teeth might be doing a bit too much midnight mambo. This past visit to my orthodontist confirmed that I have indeed been creating dentine powder of my molars accelerating the movement of two crucial teeth (an upper molar and a lower canine).

So, today's visit to the orthodontist ended with no connector brackets (which hurt like hell for a day or two) OR rubber bands (which pretty much hurt me all the time). Whoo Hoo!! It's only for 3 weeks, but that's 3 whole weeks pain free (or sans vicodin). Fabulous. It also means that brushing and flossing is a bit easier and quicker. The capper? I got a lovely new soft splint/night guard. I'm not sure if I'll be able to wear it for the entire remainder of my treatment but every little bit contributes to not having little nibs at the end of it all.

On a more creative note, I've been working on a knit piece for my friend Jon. It's not for him personally, but rather a commissioned piece for his artwork. His medium is the action figure or doll and his work is amazing. I'm excited to be working with him and you can see what I've done so far here. If you don't know what a gimpsuit is, don't fret, I didn't either. Jon reminded me that most people's introduction was probably "Pulp Fiction" but I found a bit more info on wikipedia. I really don't get S & M at all, but it's most amusing for a voyeur.

I've admired Jon's work since first I laid eyes on it and I'm excited to see what new surprises he has in store. My partner and I are fortunate to own three of Jon's pieces (Party Girl Barnabee Collins, Poet Leonard Nimoy and Jelly Hunter Zola Pompidoux). You can see my ongoing Flickr photoseries of these dolls all about town starting with a few choice pix here at home with the masterful art of Rene Garcia Jr as a glittery portrait studio backdrop. Enjoy!

Friday, April 20, 2007


Well, my promise to blog more often is apparently not as good as my attempt to finish something for every Friday (Finished Object Fridays). I sort of cheated this time around in that I completed something that was close to being finished, Spherey. I really love the simplicity of this little guy (or is Spherey a gal?). My first was completed almost a year ago for a friend's son, Renecito, when I first discovered the designs of Jess Hutchison online. It was quite fun to do and I have since made several for various folks and have several requests in the queue.

I plan to make all the things in her booklet (which, sadly, is not available anymore) and next on my list is the Robot. You might recognize it from the premier issue cover of new quarterly publication, Craft sister mag to Make. In a strange twist of fate, the pattern for the robot was not in the issue (but there was a small interview with Jess). After a bit of back and forth via email, I contacted Jess and was allowed to make a copy of a friends publication. But, as a condition of the allowance, I promised Jess that I would not put it up on a server or sell it.

I just got my third issue of Craft in the mail yesterday but haven't had a chance to read it all the way through. On the back cover, I noticed an announcement for the MakerFaire which is going to be be in San Mateo on May 19 and 20th. I know three who should join me (Rene, Jon and Matty) but I'm extending an invitation to anyone who'd like to come with. Sounds like a blast!

Friday, April 13, 2007

Finished Object Fridays

Anyone who knows how fast I can knit knows that this title is a bit absurd, but I thought it best to set a few goals for my knitting pursuits. I don't knit fast at all and I don't want to set any speed knitting records, but several experienced knitters have told me that my form could be improved. I have also learned from several reputable sources that I knit too far down the needle and I tend to "torture" my stitches. I haven't waterboarded them yet, but you never know with the ever devolving state of my Knitatorship. So, in an effort to introduce some consistency in my craft and the joy of a finished object, I proudly introduce FINISHED OBJECT FRIDAYS. We'll see if this a realistic goal, or if that extra shot in my Peet's soy latte has erased all of my ability to reason.

At the moment, I have many, many things on needles (an EZ EPS raglan sweater, a knitty Nautiloid, a Melanie Falick brioche scarf, a Yarn Harlot pattern scarf, a Charlene Schurch turkish hat, 3 different pairs of socks) and I have lots of new yarns that are itching to be swatched, washed and measured. I recognize this virulent hybridized strain of OCD/Startitis but I am willing to entertain the antidote in the possibility of presenting some form of completed project every Friday.

For my first entry, I present the latest pair of socks for my Sweetpea, Anto (who has size 13 feet, thank you very much). The pattern is the basic Ann Budd Handy Book of Patterns sock. It's got 2x2 ribbing at the top with a short-row heel and wedge toe. The main body of the sock is Trekking Pro Natura #1602 (yummy Superwash wool and bamboo) while the heel and toe are Knit Picks Essential(Superwash wool and nylon) in navy. I got the Pro Natura at Stitches West and I only got 2 skeins, since they were $18 each and I had the rent to pay. Amazingly, I found this killer dutch retailer who sells it for $10 a ball.... oh wait, that's another post. In any case, I really loved this yarn and I'll definitely be knitting some socks for myself.

So, a lovely weekend to all of you. I intend to get a leg up on all my unfinished objects by getting something ready for next Friday. Wish me luck!

Monday, April 2, 2007

100 Things About Me

  1. I was born in Alabama, but spent the formative years in Arkansas and Louisiana. I'm not sure why I don't sound like someone on HeeHaw.
  2. I never met my father. My mother only knew him briefly. I have no idea what his real name is.
  3. I knew I was gay at a very young age.
  4. I don't remember very much about my childhood before the age of 5. Although I have some pretty vivid memories of a beach in Montgomery.
  5. I am deathly afraid of snakes and spiders, but I can watch them on TV (unlike my mother).
  6. I wanted braces all of my life, until I got them.
  7. I never ever think I'm the smartest person in the room.
  8. I wanted to be a drummer when I was a kid. My hero was Roger Taylor from Queen.
  9. I bought a book on breakdancing after seeing some cool video on television. I failed miserably but I never stopped admiring people who could do it.
  10. I lived in the projects until the age of 13.
  11. I attended a predominantly black middle school and was one of 6 white kids.
  12. I never had to study very much in middle and high school. College was a big shock and I thought I would flunk out.
  13. I thought I was going to be a mathematician when I was in grade school. Then I was run over by algebra.
  14. I had a paper route in the 4th grade and delivered them in the afternoon every day after school. When the schedule required that they be delivered in the morning before school, I quit.
  15. I spent all of my paper route earnings on comic books and candy. I never saved a cent.
  16. I was more of a DC than Marvel fan.
  17. I was on the tennis team in High School. I went to state in mixed doubles but lost in the first round. I threw up right before the match. Thus ended my career in athletics.
  18. I secretly hoped my father would show up and take me away from all the poverty and racism of the south.
  19. My mother was raised a pentecostal and I went to church with her exactly one time. There were people crying and speaking in tongues. I never went with her after that.
  20. I went to a baptist church and sunday school with friends from my high school.
  21. I have never thought very much about organized religion. I think it causes more problems than solves. I believe everyone has god in them.
  22. I did, however, pray for the "organizing force" to make me straight.
  23. I had crushes on Grizzly Adams, Charles Ingalls, and Steve Austin. I still do.
  24. I almost learned to play the clarinet. I did choir instead but I can't read music.
  25. I am a very lazy person.
  26. I am a very germ phobic.
  27. Number 25 and 26 are always fighting for dominance.
  28. I LOVE coffee and chocolate. Mochas are my idea of heaven.
  29. I'm much more of an upper person than a downer one.
  30. I thought I was the only person in my town who knew Kraftwerk, Joy Division and Cabaret Voltaire.
  31. I wanted to be a New Romantic.
  32. I'm currently obsessed with knitting. Previous obsessions have been succulents, electronic music and typography.
  33. I used to watch a lot of TV. Now I don't own one.
  34. I watch a LOT of DVDs. We have a pretty big library.
  35. I took a lot of drugs as a undergraduate. Not quite as many in grad school. But then I made up for it when I moved to San Francisco.
  36. I used to work for a Global Apparel Manufacturer that is commonly known as an American Icon. I worked in the Publicity department.
  37. I met Lauryn Hill, Air, Basement Jaxx, Esthero, Black Eyed Peas, Jamiroquai, Phantom Planet, Massive Attack, Sasha. Digweed and a host of other DJs and celebutantes.
  38. I've always had a facility for language, but I'm usually too embarrassed to strike up a conversation in another language.
  39. I have an addictive personality.
  40. I have hazel eyes.
  41. I used to lay on our roof and try to get tan. I'm so shocked that I never developed any skin cancers.
  42. I graduated valedictorian of my high school.
  43. I almost flunked college managerial accounting. My mother was an accountant.
  44. I met my partner in a rock and roll bar. He was the bartender and assistant talent booker.
  45. We've been together for 5 years.
  46. I have a list of all the people I've ever slept with.
  47. My first boyfriend was twice my age.
  48. My grandmother taught me to crochet and knit as a child. I picked up the needles again about 2 years ago when my friend Moreno was working on socks and I made him show me how.
  49. I've never been to the Far East.
  50. I studied abroad my Junior year in college. Actually it was the Spring Semester and a portion of the summer. It was in Angers, France.
  51. I would like to live in another country for a while. Maybe France or Northern England, but I'd be happy with Canada or Mexico.
  52. My partner suffered an aneurysm during our 3rd year together. He is now a paraplegic. We are both hopeful that one day he can walk again.
  53. My mother died at the age of 52.
  54. My older brother, my younger sister and I all have different fathers.
  55. My brother lived with my great-grandparents in Arkansas until he was 16. Then he came to live with us in Louisiana.
  56. My very first musical purchase was the 45 rpm single of "Take A Chance" on Me by Abba.
  57. I think a war on anything solves nothing.
  58. I'm still friends with my best friends in college but I don't speak to any of my friends from high school.
  59. I've had LASIK surgery to correct my vision.
  60. The hair on my neck grows very fast and I have to have touch ups in between proper haircuts.
  61. I hate to drive.
  62. I can fall asleep in the back of a moving car in 5 minutes.
  63. I'd prefer to wash the dishes over cooking.
  64. Fresh breath is a priority in my life.
  65. I prefer thrift and vintage to brand new... except when it comes to shoes.
  66. I am quick to anger.
  67. I'm bad at admitting I'm wrong.
  68. I prefer to pee sitting down.
  69. I cannot poo in public stalls. I'm okay with a private room.
  70. My stress dream is usually about missing a final exam or about realizing at the end of the semester that I forgot to drop a class.
  71. I worry that I'm not enjoying my youth.
  72. I worry that I'm not growing up fast enough.
  73. My sister and her husband have two children and a dog. My brother and his wife have 2 donkeys and a goat.
  74. My brother is 6 years older than me and my sister is 6 years younger than me.
  75. I went back to graduate school at the age of 37 and finished my Master's Degree.
  76. We had a Peekapoo named Tigger when I was a teenager. He had epilepsy.
  77. I kept a diary for a brief period in high school and wrote in it backwards. I thought perhaps I would turn into Leonardo Da Vinci if I did this. I don't think it worked.
  78. I have a serious yarn monkey on my back.
  79. I used to think that wool was hideous but I have since learned that it comes in many fabulous forms.
  80. I prefer the knit stitch to the purl. I prefer stocking stitch to garter stitch. I prefer Fair Isle to Intarsia.
  81. I worship at the altar of Elizabeth Zimmerman.
  82. I love dry gardening.
  83. I prefer non-spiny succulents to cactus but I pretty much love them all.
  84. I prefer dry and hot to cold and wet but the worst is hot and humid.
  85. I am afraid of the dark.
  86. I love maple trees in the fall.
  87. I love the smell of peppermint and sandalwood.
  88. I can't eat fresh tomatoes but I could drink salsa. Bloody Mary's make me gag.
  89. I tried to be vegetarian when I lived in Austin. I couldn't do it. I blame the Salt Lick.
  90. I used to collect Swatch Watches. I still have my collection.
  91. My absolute all-time favorite groups are the Pet Shop Boys, Erasure, The Magnetic Fields, Abba, Kraftwerk, New Order and the Smiths.
  92. I love jellyfish, octopus and squid/cuttlefish. If I had an aquarium, It would be filed with only these animals.
  93. If I could have a super power, I'd love to have chromatophores.
  94. I could eat breakfast food for every meal. I adore pancakes.
  95. I could watch Absolutely Fabulous/French & Saunders, Stranger With Candy and the Sopranos on a loop... and I do.
  96. I love a good horror film or thriller.
  97. I hate most action and war films.
  98. My favorite drinks are a lemon drop, closely followed by a filthy martini (3 olives) and finally a cosmopolitan made with a bit more cranberry and a little less Cointreau.
  99. I can't sleep in pajamas nor can I sleep in the nude.
  100. I prefer stout beer and I like it chilled.

Mike Check, One, Two, One, Two

Well, the moment of truth has arrived. I have finally started my very own blog (as opposed to contributing to my friends' blogs) and now I've got to come up with something unique and witty to share, right?

Well, the reasons for this auspicious debut are many, none of which are conceit. Honestly. I have lots of friends who have funnier and more entertaining sites. I also visit several lively and informative blogs every day, most of them knitting but not all of them. I'm hoping that the creation of this digital destination will inspire me to be more introspective about my life and process my feelings about the world around me. I also plan to chart my life (knitting and otherwise) so that when I have early onset alzheimer's, I can look back and enjoy it like a vaguely familiar David Sedaris short story. Who was that mad mikewade character? Why did he never seem to enjoy his good fortune and fabulous friends until it was too late? And why on earth did he buy all that sock yarn?

Which brings me to the title of the blog: Socktopus. The inspiration for this silly portmanteau was a contest that Blue Moon Fiber Arts conducted back in January of 2007. They had a new colorway naming contest and I entered with the entry "Siren Song". I came up with a few and discounted them all because I thought they were too silly. One of them was "socktopus" which I didn't send in. And, one of the winners was, you guessed it, "socktopus". This will be a recurring theme in my life. The road less travelled and all that. I have good instincts... which I hardly ever follow. I'm hoping that the instinct to blog will finally prove that I have started to trust that inner voice. You tell me!

In the next installment, I'll share 50 things about me... maybe 100 if I'm feeling energetic.