Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Saturday, October 27, 2007
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
So how cool is this? Amy wondered if I might like to make something for her using these, in exchange for fiber. Uh, YEAH! The only constraints are length (either short or long) and not too overpowering, as she'd like to be able to wear it t0 work. And oh yeah, a necklace (that's my default anyway).
Sunday, October 21, 2007
It all started with Oprah. Hmm, no, it started at SOAR when Cindy told me that Nancy and Adriana were going to be in Chicago to be on Oprah. Even though I'd just spent 11 hours each way driving to and from Bellaire, Michigan, I thought that five hours to and from Chicago to visit friends in from the left coast wasn't out of the question. Saturday was out, given that I was teaching a 4-hour beading class at 11, but if I could get Friday off, I could leave Thursday after work, play with my friends all day Friday, and leave around dinnertime on Friday since they already had dinner obligations.
I made great time on Thursday, found the hotel and Very Expensive Parking Garage ($35 for 9 hours or more) and we chattered until we were exhausted. Beyond exhausted, actually.
Friday didn't turn out quite as we planned. The person who had obtained the Oprah tickets was taking them (and I was tagging along) to the Botanic Gardens in the morning, and then we'd do yarn and bead store crawls in the afternoon. Drink some coffee, eat chocolate, that sort of thing. Turns out the Oprah connection, a realtor who claimed to Know Chicago but took more wrong turns than her Knowingness would imply that she ought to be allowed, was full of so much love that she had the whole DAY with us spoken for, and we were held hostage in her big black SUV.
She thought that people who spin, knit, dye and bead for fun (let me emphasize that: FOR FUN) would just love to drive for an hour to shop where they sell geese in calico clothing and the like. We did find a yarn store though, and I did snag me some more sock yarn (I will have socks for ever. Even before this I was replete with sock yarn, but hey, who's counting anyway), and today, as I watched Pushing Daisies online (I love this idea. It's like TiVo and a VCR with no planning! I do wish they kept full episodes of ER though, as I was on I-55 when it aired), I started, well, socks, I mean, why not?
So, rest areas on the highway.
Due to the chattering and all, I didn't manage a whole lot of sleep on Thursday night, so the drive home on Friday got a little scary. I received a very useful jolt of adrenaline that luckily lasted me until the next rest area, after I found myself drifting a little. Fortunately there wasn't much traffic.
I always thought that rest areas were for sissy travellers with tiny bladders who weren't strong enough to last until the gas tank needed refilling, or for picnic lunches when there was no big hurry to reach a destination in lovely weather, but man, at 10 in the evening, you can't hardly move for the trucks. I was a little nervous, y'know, woman alone in a Corolla, trying to sleep, surrounded by humungous vehicles, but I did make sure all the doors were locked before I reclined the seat. The power nap was a lifesaver, probably literally.
Home again, and whoops! No instructions for tomorrow's class, still need to mix up the bread (I discovered batter bread, and I'm hooked), not to mention sleep.
I was only 15 minutes late for class (yes, I did call ahead to let my students know I was running behind), and my instructions were remarkably error-free, which is to say: none discovered on read-through, and none discovered in the four hours of teaching.
And oh whoops again: I'm expecting people for dinner, and except for the bread rising, I have no menu plan, no food, and NO TIME! And, uh, I think the grill is out of gas.
Eh, but here it is, Sunday night, I have leftovers in my fridge, my gas cannister has been refilled, I think my dinner guests are still my friends, and I even managed to teach another class today.
And I have the beginnings of a sock, and since I started it with nary a plan, now that my cuff is finished, I have to decide on a Stitch. Garter rib? Travelling something-or-another? No lace, because lace in socks is weak and develops unintentional, not-the-pattern holes, at least in my experience it does.
I love starting socks this way: cast on some, knit until there are as many ridges as I will need stitches, cast off together with the cast-on edge and pick up stitches in the valleys between the ridges. Purl a row. Start something.
Yes. Start Something.
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
The donut is what I used for a closure, and the second picture shows a close-up of the necklace I made.
I think the auctions are held in March or April, but I honestly don't remember.
The deal is that you sign up, send in your $20, and then get a set of beads: in this case, seed beads in black, white, yellow, orange and red, a focal lampwork bead, some Swarovski crystals, and some white chiclet beads. You may add ONE ONLY other type of bead (I chose silver-lined dark amber Czech seeds) and all the findings you need, and you have to use at least one of every type of bead in the kit.
Last year the colours were really pretty, but I have to say that I found this set of beads very much outside my comfort zone: they're neither sludge nor iridescent nor luster-finished nor metallic nor complex in colour (I'm most attracted to ambiguous colours that defy description). This required more discipline than I usually have to apply to the fun things I do by choice, which is a kinda strange place to be.
And now for some gratuitous Yarn Porn:
I have no idea what this is. It may be merino/silk, or something like that. It's my usual sportweight-ish 3-ply, and yes, the colour is true. Hmmm, a little underplied, isn't it?
Monday, October 15, 2007
After a day of travel (eleven hours in a minvan, five people, six wheels, an inkle loom and luggage) and a day of work, SOAR seems like a distant memory, but I do have New Fiber.
Really though, it's a small but respectable addition to Ye Olde Stashe: respectable due to both the small amount (at $25/ounce, small is all I get) of paco-vicuna as well as the nice big bag from Rovings. The picture is a bit of a cheat though: the neat balls of natural yarns on the right are old, old, old and are waiting to be made into the Yum Sweater I've been promising myself since I started spinning. I'm thinking Something Modular, but I guess I usually do. I wonder if I could come up with an entrelac variation that Kathryn Alexander hasn't already invented? Nah, probably not.
Next trip: Chicago. My friends Nancy and Adriana from San Francisco may end up being on Oprah; either way, they'll be in Chicago through Saturday at a niiiice hotel (according to the website anyway), which warrants another quick road trip. Listen, I drove up to Marengo and back in one day to fetch my Victoria, so overnight in Chicago will be just peachy.
I also just heard that I'm teaching three classes at BeadFest Miami, April 11-13 2008. Don't think I'll drive that one.
I tried and I tried to insert pictures of the classes, but the server blah blah blah. So sorry.
Saturday, October 13, 2007
So at least I have a picture.
I think it is fair to say though, that if you have been suffering under the burden of a string of Bad Knitting, and the project you have chosen in defiance as a Sure Thing is at a point where you need to make a semi-critical decision concerning, say, armhole depth, then it is a really really good idea to be sure that you follow through and do sensible sleeve shaping, rather than deciding that perhaps, after all, after some not inconsequential number of hours of knitting, you need to work on those biceps and deltoids and triceps a LOT (which is likely to mean steroids for the effect actually needed) or else that your upper arms will never ever ever be that large and you should have been doing quite a bit more decreasing, but since you were less than sensible about this stage of the project, once again a fair amount of ripping out will be necessary in order to avoid Yet Another Knitting Failure.
On the other hand, the beaded beads I put into the silent auction were at $55 last time I checked, and I'm flattered, delighted and embarrassed all at the same time.
And the highlight of my week was the handspun shawl I was gifted with today. I cried like a baby. In public. More than once.
Thursday, October 11, 2007
Monday, October 8, 2007
Apparently posting to a blog seems to be a better idea when I'm overtired than when I'm not.
SOAR is this wonderful, magical confluence of energy and creativity and exuberance, and it seems that some people Just Don't Get It - during today's workshop a couple of n00bies (to SOAR) gloated about their beer and the movies they were going to watch in their condo this evening, and I wondered why they were here at all. Sure, there are classes. Yes, there are presentations (and who in their right mind would miss a Judith McK presentation?) And too, on Thursday there's the market, a generally hysterical time, in a good way.
But that's such a superficial, small part of it, and to closet oneself away, doing what could be done at home, seems an awful waste, in my opinion. SOAR is, if nothing else, about people (puh-leeze, I am SO not a people person), about connections and inspiration and tribe. It's warmth and welcoming and hilarity and Cheap Swill and the Royal Wave and Condom Races and if you're here and none of this means anything to you, you ought to do yourself a favour and make sure you figure at least some of this stuff out.