Sunday, March 29, 2009

Commence the Great House Hunt

After the fear and trepidation of moving in with a roommate last summer, I am ready to strike out on my own again. The decision was made by both parties. Mostly, we despise the house we are living in. Hot water comes at a premium and the bathroom situation is generally abysmal. We get along wonderfully and I truly wish I lived with someone like her when I was younger. Perhaps I would not have ended up being so incredibly cynical if this had been the case. Nevertheless, I am once again hunting for a place to rent that is affordable and charming enough to stay in for a while. We threw a couple of wild parties in the house which has satiated my need to entertain. My credit, while not unblemished, is still in fairly good condition and my rental history is flawless. Chalk that up to an obsessive-compulsive need for perfection.

Now, the stress settles in. The money I planned to use for the move has been completely wiped out by car repairs. This is regular wear-and-tear, but I found out I need to spend triple the obscene amount I originally expected. My luck is ridiculous like this sometimes, so it shouldn't have come as a shock. I just hope my luck in other areas proves its worth. After searching a number of different websites, I found "the perfect place". Although I am not moving soon enough to jump on this deal, it gives me hope. No apartments or similar sketchy situations will be good enough. I want a home that is beautiful and above all, safe. Part of my moving expenses include a large gun, which is within the realm of possibility where I live. This annoys me because it reduces the amount of money I can spend on yarn.

This brings up another financial sticky point. I am fully committed to going back to Yarn School this fall. Thankfully, I can pay in installments. I have deemed this trip necessary to my sanity and plan to stay the course. If all goes well, I will travel there with two wonderful friends to drool over the love of my life, the Kromski Symphony spinning wheel. I have actually dreamed of the Symphony wheel in a mahogany finish, perched in all its beautiful glory in my living room next to a stunning basket full of hand-dyed fiber. My yarn addiction, apparently, has no boundaries. I just wish my bank account would follow suit.

The boyfriend sweater is on brief hiatus while I regroup and go through my worldly belongings, deciding what stays and what goes. In the meantime, I am working on projects long-promised to other friends. I am very close to finishing a special surprise for a very special person.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Theodore Horstmann Would Be Proud

Originally uploaded by craftytails
Last weekend was packed with field trips for nerdy adults. On Saturday, we converged on the 15th Annual Antique Science & Retro-Tech Show & Swap Meet. Although the convention itself was very small, everyone managed to find something they wanted. I bought the Forbes Handy Accident Reporting Kit, which was a set of rubber stamps depicting various vehicles, stop lights and people. According to the vendor, police used to use the stamps to recreate accidents on their reports. I could not turn up any information online except for a few Ebay sellers who said similar things. Not sure how long ago these kits were used, but it's a nice, slightly bothersome conversation piece. A old speculum was also on sale and after purchasing, I chased my friends around making duck-quacking noises. Apparently, I take any possible opportunity to behave like a juvenile.

Sunday was spent strolling around Gunter's Greenhouse viewing their shockingly large selection of orchids and hybrids. I created a photo set to show off just a few of the lovely flowers we saw. None have proper names attached because the handwritten labels on the plants were nearly illegible. I know the one pictured in this entry is a variant of a lady slipper because Michael took it home. I would have teased him for having a weak moment, if I wasn't seething with undisguised envy.

Knitting has taken a backseat to work responsibilities and will resume sometime this weekend. I have a wedding to attend and afterward, large blue male private parts to view.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Insomnia Much?

For the past two weeks, I have suffered an extreme case of insomnia due to a variety of reasons. Nothing has really helped, which is why I am wide awake at 3:00 AM, despite having worked all day. I am idiotically excited about attending my first Antique Science & Retro-Tech Show tomorrow and yet, sleep does not come. Missing the slide rule competition is not an option. To further fan the flames of nerdiness, a coworker organized a pie day. She brought in a breakfast pie filled with ham, egg and broccoli, covered in cheese. I cheated on my diet partially due to the amazing Pi Dish she used. It was also quite lovely to walk into the office and discover mathematical charts you would normally see in schools taped to people's doors. As if what we actually do for a living is not nerdy enough!

I have been absolutely dying to take photos of new projects, but sunlight has continued to be elusive. The temperature decided to drop exponentially and the rain continues to pelt my dead lawn. The one bit of cheer is the happiness that comes from stretching the knitted winter wardrobe out a little longer this year. Men in the office have commented on my fetching gloves and several have asked for a pair. This makes me giggle endlessly. I think I will secretly switch some of the presents to the dashing version in order for them to avoid mockery. Or maybe I won't.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

For No Particular Reason

Last Day
Originally uploaded by craftytails
Since I am feeling all craptacular and stressy-like, I decided to turn to the blanket of doom for solace. After knitting a few more lumpy, misshapen "circles", I stepped back and felt slightly mollified when I realized this project is supposed to be very handmade-looking. And ultimately, what do I care? The throw is going to lurk on top of my bed, far away from prying, judgmental eyes. The Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride I have decided to sacrifice to the blankie gods better have at least six circles per skein. If the yarn ends up being a cheap date and only yields five circles, I will have to add another color. This is a good thing for clearing out yarn stash, but not optimal for my chosen palette. Maybe I instinctively chose brighter colors to satiate my need for some cheer. Or maybe, perhaps more accurately, it's simply bad taste.

Part of my dark mood is due to the obscene amount of money I am about to hand over to a service center for repairs on my car. Many months of pushing cash into my savings account are going to be undone in one transaction. The worst of it will not be over even then, because I also need new tires, shocks and an alignment. This car has been extremely reliable and I plan to keep it that way. I truly despise being an adult sometimes.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

A Few Firsts

Hand-Dyed Lace Weight
Originally uploaded by craftytails
The yarn I have decided to post is my first experience in dyeing. It's not as wonderful or half as creative as that foxy minx Dee, but it was quite enjoyable. This occurred in the dye lab at yarn school (scroll down to see the picture of the angora bunny sticking out it's tongue!) and I have no idea if this was a success. I forgot to spray down part of the yarn before squirting the dye on top, so there are uneven patches and general oddness in this skein. One day, I will be brave enough to actually make something out of it to see what type of mistakes I made.

In my grand tradition of shutting out bad things by trying to replace with good, I have procrastinated horribly in my personal life. I sincerely apologize for the long wait for those people who want finished objects from me. Instead of completing the increasing queue of FOs, I decided to stash-bust by starting my first adult-sized blanket. Am I an idiot? Why yes. I believe I am. Friends and family are still patiently awaiting scarves, hats and socks. There is even a sweater involved! And what do I decide to do in my faltering attempt at wisdom? Knit a silly blanket that is full of child-like colors and heavy construction. After three and a half years, I still find myself telling others that the yarn tells me what to do. Of all the traits I have been accused of over the years, being submissive is not one of them. This is completely embarrassing.

Tomorrow, (I know what time I am writing this and it's not considered "tomorrow" until I wake up. At least, to me.) I will take photos of actual knitting projects to post at a later date. Of course, everything usually goes on Ravelry, but there is a scant amount of time that allows me to take photos to post each week. Usually, I am out for the weekend and this is the only time I have natural light available. If only the day job didn't interfere with my knitting...

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Disasters in Knitting

ReBelle Hand-Dyed
Originally uploaded by craftytails
After knitting almost daily for several years, I have become cocky and overconfident. The most recent trials have successfully put me in my place! Not only is the Durrow sweater giving me a run for my money, but my roommate's Gretel beret is now no more. I foolishly screwed up the sizing and tried to "fix" this by felting slightly. Huge mistake! I have done this in the past, but luck was truly not on my side. This pattern will be worked in a different yarn and gauge. Sometimes, the yarn is simply cursed and throwing the project in the trash is incredibly liberating.

Speaking of cursed yarn, I have a bad report on Plymouth Boku. I received this yarn as part of my birthday present and was determined to immediately de-stash it by making a simple scarf. The colors are absolutely gorgeous and the silk gives the yarn a more rustic look. I have often picked up a skein in the store, wondering if it would look similar to the love of my life, Noro Silk Garden. The Noro yarn has a much higher silk content, which gives the yarn some strength. Unfortunately, Boku is very weak and cannot withstand the normal wear and tear that comes with knitting. The yarn has broken seven times in 50 yards and I found four knots in one of the skeins. I have had trouble with other yarns in the past, but never to this extent. I know single-ply yarns are generally weaker, because they have very little twist. This project has been unusually trying on my patience and I am happy to say that my exercise in gingerly knitting is almost at an end. The scarf looks beautiful and I can call this near-disaster a triumph in the end.

In order to de-stash my ridiculous amount of single-skeins, I have decided to start working on the Poffertjes blanket. The process knitter inside of me is yearning to play with color and the lazy knitter in me wants a mindless project to occupy time while watching Lost. I have wanted a colorful blanket for my bedroom for quite some time and this pattern looks perfect! I can knit individual pieces to my heart's content and lay them out later to create just the right visual effect. It may end up looking like poop in the end, but that's half the fun.

What's better than anything? Receiving yarn from someone I love to stalk! The yarn pictured in this blog entry will make a killer set of fingerless gloves.