Sunday, June 29, 2008

The Neverending Move Story

Moving to a new home has truly been one of the most terrifying nightmares in my recent history. I thought the horror would end today, but lo! We encountered a slew of irritating situations, but this one wins the grand prize.

Due to the size of my desk, we had to bring it through the back door and lift it over the guard rail. In order to move it through, I had to place my dining table in the back of the house. Now, this is a house split into four apartments and I have been very safe and secure there for the past few years. About 15 minutes after my friends moved the desk, I wandered outside to find my table missing. My friends said they didn't remember placing it into the van. I panicked. The first stop was the neighbor across the foyer. I could hear sounds coming from within the apartment (hardwood floors never lie), but no one answered when I knocked. When I went upstairs, no one was home, so I frantically called the property manager. He said the tenant across the way asked him about the table and he told them to speak to me. I knocked on their door again after my boyfriend saw people through the open blinds. When they answered, they claimed that I threw the table away so they took it. I immediately got it back, but I was (and still am) in complete shock. Obviously, they waited until we went inside to make their move. I would expect this from a stranger, but having a neighbor blatantly steal from me is something new to file into my paranoid brian.

At least they didn't steal my yarn, right?

Speaking of which, I really appreciate all of the messages responding to my request for yarn donation ideas. I ended up bringing the bags to my LYS to aid in a rehabilitation program at a women's prison.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Surprises This Week

I bought another plastic tub for my yarn only to find that I still have too much. Once I move, it is definitely time for a major stash-busting project. The morning "walk of shame" was nowhere near as humbling.

Today, I logged into my Flickr account and noticed an unusual amount of activity on my evil router photo. For a lark, I uploaded this to the CRAFT Flickr Pool and discovered that they featured this on their blog. I am pleasantly surprised by the sweet comment, especially because the picture was taken a long time ago with a very crappy digital camera that died later the same day.

Another surprise occurred when someone at work gave me several copies of the July issue of Anime Insider. I answered a few questions a while back and they printed a brief interview.

These minor, but nice things have help me feel a little calmer during one of the most stressful times I have had in years.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Packing Up the Craft Room

I am sorting through all of my belongings in preparation for the move at the end of the month. My craft room is the first to get the business, and it is an uglier sight that I ever imagined. Apparently, I have amassed enough craft-related books to fill an entire shelf. Since all of the books are large and heavy, there is a large fleet of small boxes in a corner ready to be deployed to my new home. In the midst of my packing frenzy this afternoon, I heard a loud knock at the door. When I answered it, the property manager was standing outside with some prospective tenants. When I asked why I didn't receive a warning call, he claimed he did not have my phone number (despite the fact that he has called me before). This week, I have returned from work several times to find that my blinds are wide open so curiosity-seekers can easily look at my stuff. The word "violated" doesn't even begin to cover how I feel right now. Although I love my beautiful apartment, ridding myself of secret home invasions by property management is a huge perk.

To cheer myself up, I checked out a few links. Most are older, but still amuse me.

  • Starched doily guns

  • Knitted motorcycle (take that, Eli!)

  • The only bunny visible from space

  • Knitted homes of crime

  • Stash-busting ideas for scrap yarn
  • Tuesday, June 10, 2008

    Adventures in Time Travel

    Doctor Who Scarf
    Originally uploaded by craftytails
    Ages ago (actually three years, to be more precise), I decided to take up knitting. What first began as a frustrating hobby that I was sure to neglect within a year turned into a consuming obsession. My first requested item from a friend was, of course, a Doctor Who scarf. This show is one of the strongest childhood memories that I have managed to clearly maintain. My mother and I would stay up very late at night in order to catch back-to-back episodes with our favorite "doctor", Tom Baker, on PBS. I remember staring longingly at the pledge drives with tons of memorabilia and wanting a TARDIS coffee mug, long before I drank coffee.

    I never once forgot how much I loved the idea of the time-traveling James Bond-like character. When Tower Books in NYC closed down, I raided their shelves, buying so many books that it took several trips on the F train to bring them home. One of them was The Boy Who Kicked Pigs.

    When I began knitting, it was no surprise that my friend Brian wanted a Tom Baker scarf. Knowing little about yarn and knitting in general, I dutifully picked up the suggested yarn and started working on the project. Months passed. More than nine months, if I recall correctly. Thus, I embarked on the never-ending garter stitch torture.

    I learned several things about myself during this process. The first is that I am a multi-project knitter. I cannot work straight through one item and then pick up another. In order to finish anything, I must have a variety of things going at the same time. Another side effect I expected. Knitting the same stitch over and over for what felt like an eternity helped my tension and comfort level with needles and yarn improve. You can tell where I began the scarf and where it ended. The last thing I learned was the concept of finishing a project. I am quite adept at beginning something and then dropping it when the going gets rough. Brian bought the yarn and I was determined to not let him down.

    One day, I finally completed the scarf and attached the fringe. The outcome is pictured here. Due to the time and effort needed, I did not want to mail it to my friend. Instead, I brought it with me when I went to Anime Boston for work. I could not have received a better reaction. He is very reserved when he is excited, but his wife later told me that the scarf is carefully preserved in plastic to avoid being eaten by moths. The very idea that something I made with my hands is a cherished possession is the best reason to keep soldiering onward, learning new techniques and finally becoming proficient in a craft. I still get frustrated and upset when I don't understand something, but I always remember how terrifying I found the entire process when I started the scarf. Garter stitch is a breeze now, and other techniques will feel just as comfortable in time.

    Note: The model in the photo is not my friend Brian. He is a vicious, evil man who attempted to steal the scarf after the pictures were taken. I would have taken a swing at him if he wasn't so much taller than I am and, unfortunately, one of my best friends.

    Monday, June 9, 2008

    Keep it Simple

    BFF Socks
    Originally uploaded by craftytails
    At long last, I have finished a sock using Dee's hand-dyed yarn. After months of fretting over pattern choices, the BFF pattern ended up being perfect. Cookie A's clear instructions and easy construction made this project a breeze to work on when socializing with friends and between lines in the recording booth. I quickly memorized the pattern and this has been far more lovely to work on than a straightforward stockinette stitch. I really need to find more patterns within the same vein so I can begin tackling the sock yarn stash with greater success. Complicated patterns are a lot of fun, but the simple things are often easier for my hectic life.

    I finally donated a lot of excess acrylic yarn to my LYS. A woman is going to bring the bags to a women's prison for rehabilitation purposes. Although it was tough to let a lot of the stash go, I feel much better about eliminating clutter from my home. I have enough yarn right now for several sweaters and a ton of miscellaneous items, so it's not as if I need the yarn as badly as these women do.

    This is totally off topic, but I received a huge surprise on Thursday. One of my dearest new friends, Wendy, gave me a ticket to see The Cure. Although I have never actually owned an album, I know almost every song from their first few records. They played a 3-hour set, which is more than I have seen from anyone else in the past few years. I was also completely impressed with the fact that Robert's voice has managed to sound great after all these years. The night was incredibly fun and I managed to make it through the show without thinking about my knitting. My mother will be so proud.