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!