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Archive for February, 2009

….and the saga continues…

It’s raining.  2nd day now.  The heavens burst open kind of rain that makes me want to start drawing up plans for an ark.  The kind rain that used to mark the beginning of spring here until global warming gave us a drought instead.

Only, it’s not spring yet.  It’s still !@#$%! cold and  it’s supposed to snow tomorrow.

Spent most of yesterday in soaked shoes.  Ditto this morning.  All outer wear garments draped over chairs to dry.  The cats are tiptoeing around the little puddles on the floor.  If I do have to go out again I suppose I can always cut a hole in a garbage bag and use that as a raincoat.

Why, you say, would I have to go out again?  Because even though I planned to take a 3 day weekend once dress rehearsals were over, the week is, as I posted previously, focakta.  There are several loose ends or maybe even loose cannons about to ruin my day needing attention before opening tonight.  

I can’t count on anything- even my hair appointment was cancelled because my hair guy is sick.

Is it any wonder that I had a little slip off the wagon last night?   Those enablers at Knitch marked the sale yarns down to 50% off this week and announced it right in the middle of the Friday night knitting group.   Digging around in the sale cubby and elbowing a few    Sinking my fingers into some soft yummy yarn was enough to make me forget all about the madness of the week.  I have yarn- how could there not be order in the universe?   These seemed like good candidates for a pick me up:

Blue Sky Suri Merino- Autumn

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Suss Fishnet- Chili Pepper

I’m planning to knit the Fishnet into a gift- does that make my little slip less bad?

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I have been in dress rehearsals all week and therefore my life is lacking in juicy bits for the blog.  Or, it ought to be.

Actually it’s been a little bit of a stupid week.

They are putting a new roof on the opera’ s office building.  Blue sky has been sighted thru the costume shop ceiling.  I have been eying this with some trepidation and thinking:   Please don’t let  it rain or get any colder.  This morning the tables and sewing machines were covered in dust that fell thru the holes in the roof.  The stitchers have been sneezing all day.  Now I am thinking:  Please don’t let there be tar on the machines today.  I think there’s been some improvement though, I can’t see thru the roof anymore.  Dare I hope that this means they’re finished? 

The wardrobe master at the opera was out sick for the first dress rehearsal.   That put me, as the de facto responsible adult costume staff member,  backstage supervising where every minute I was reminded why I work in the costume shop and not backstage.  The opera in question has more wardrobe changes than Paris Hilton and I can tell you that  hyperventilation and panic will see you thru anything.

My house is soooo cold- I had to give in and turn my thermostat up. The actual outside temperature is not as cold as it was a month ago but my apartment is colder because it’s windy.  Even my Uggs are not keeping my feet warm and I am wearing a fleece hoodie and wool scarf inside.  If I could type in mittens, I’d have those on too.

My microwave died.  Not a “why isn’t anything happening when I turn it on” kinda death either.  No, it was a spectacular zap from the cosmos- flashing lights, loud noises, and mind altering vibrations I could feel from across the room.  I think it’s posessed and I’m afraid to use it.  

I cancelled most of my credit cards.  I cancelled them because in spite of my excellent credit, the very low prime rate, and the enormous bailout these companies are getting from my future taxes, they want to raise my interest rate to a level I don’t find acceptable.  

Of course, that means I can’t just trot over to my big box store and pick up a new microwave.  I have to plug it into my economic recovery plan (aka- The Budget) which means I might be able to get a new one,  oh say…. .2012.  After I buy the new mattress which it is becoming obvious I need.  What’s that?  Something’s poking me…. oh, feels like a spring… seems awfully close to the surface…. wait… it is at the surface… drat.

Turns out my son has a microwave he doesn’t need -In the technogeek hive he lives in I think they have the capacity to zap an incoming Martian fleet.  There’s no way they need his little unit to heat up a frozen dinner.   So, while I’m waiting for him to clean up his room well enough to find the thing and get it to me, I am back to the stone age  making  a little extra time to prepare my meals by simpler means.  Just how !@#$%^ long does it take to boil water anyway?

I’ve solved the mattress problem for the time being by turning it over so it should take a while before the spring breaks thru that side, right?

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Ever notice how yarn will reach out to you?  It grabs onto those creative wheels spinning in your mind and tangles them up with possibilities. Then maybe it soothes away any resistance with it’s lovely color and soft hand. Like this:

Which pushed it’s way to the forefront of my consciousness as I was perusing the sale yarns at Knitch on Friday.  I fondled most of the yarns- rejecting the really fabulous luxury novelty yarn, all over ribbons, mohair, and tangly interesting bits because even at 30% off it was still not in my budget.  I passed by the 5 balls of cashmerino because while the color is one I like I don’t have a project for it and Murphy’s law says if I do get it I will actually need 6 balls to finish any project I decide to make with it.  I resisted  all attempts to make me buy something that was a great yarn but in a  green that I wouldn’t wear even if everyone in the room insisted it was a great color for me.  Then I found this- one orphan hank of Prism Wool Lace, 1400 yds.  Enough for almost any lace project ever and certainly enough for anything I would knit.  The colorway is Periwinkles.  It followed me home and I’m keeping it and I’m going to pet it and love it….. and one day it will be something lovely and gossamer.

Of course, I have plenty of other yarns clamouring for attention.  Last week this fellow leapt out of the yarn basket and rolled right into my path.  Clearly the act of a neglected child.

 I’m going to knit this, with his twin (Amethyst Cascade 220)  into a Cable Rangoli and maybe a pair of mittens to match.  I’ve promised to do it soon.   Yes, mommy will take you out for an outing soon, real soon.

That is as soon as I finish the black and tan hat.   It didn’t just reach out for attention- it slapped me up side the head and yelled.  I was knitting along and everything was going well.  It was quick.  It looked great.  I sped thru the colorwork rows on the main part of the hat and began the decreases.  My gauge got really tight.  The stitches seemed minicule compared to the rest of the work.  It became torturous to move the stitches along the cable.  “What is wrong?”;  I thought.   I said !@#$%^& some more.  I knitted some more.

Then, DUH, (cue light bulb) it occurred to me that if I was decreasing I should move the the stitches on to dpn’s.  I frogged back to the decrease row and I’m ready to finish…. only  I ordered the dpn’s in the correct size when I started the hat but they aren’t here yet.  I’ve been knitting too fast- a real shocker for anyone who knows how slow I usually knit.   Any way, I could saunter down to the lys in Decatur and get some but something tells me I should be frugal and patient and just wait till the others arrive.

Meanwhile this is taunting me:

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Art

I’ve been thinking a lot about art and The Arts lately.  My job at the opera depends on funding from all kinds of sources,  public and private, and there has been a lot of discussion in the local arts community  about the decision to include the arts in the bailout package. 

I don’t usually blog about politics and I don’t really intend to start- what I really want to do is say thank you.  If you bought tickets, went to the museum,  or made a contribution to an arts organization- thank you.  I have been fortunate enough to work at a job I love most of my life because of you. 

I know times are hard and if you are struggling then money for the arts seems frivolous.  I’m not buying tickets for anything right now either. It’s particularly difficult, I think,  to be concerned about the arts if you are trying to decide between paying the morgage or the health insurance.   It’s like feeling sorry for someone who had to give up a yearly skiing trip or trade the Lexus in for an Accord. 

Someday, though we may all be wondering what happened to the opera or why the museum has such a paltry collection or why the Broadway shows don’t tour anymore or even why the sets or costumes at Cirque or Disneyland aren’t as creative as they used to be.  So, in the mean time, please encourage your children to keep painting, play acting, dancing, and practicing their band instruments.  Then those who  turn out to have real talent and a desire for a career in the arts might just be able to have one because some other kid learned to think creatively in art class, invented some new important whiznet thingamajig, and now has money to help fund the arts.

Over on  Logan’s Blog , there’s a contest- comment on her class project sweater inspired by a female body part and be entered in a drawing for some yarn.  Don’t be afraid- it’s  not anatomically  correct- more of a suggestion.  If you do comment be sure to note that you found out about it here.

It did rather remind me though, that in my colorful past I was once gifted with an art piece based on the same female part.  I’m not going to actually write it out because if you are reading this at work and your security filters are anything like the ones at the opera it will tell you this site is pornographic and frankly, you should be able to figure it out from the description.  Unless you are male and under the age of ten.  In which case your mother wants you get off the computer and take the garbage out NOW.   An art student friend made it in her sculpture class from a large cardboard appliance box (a washer, I think) some fur coat scraps, some pink crescent shaped pillows and some other found objects.  She cut a almond shaped hole in the front and painted a bull’s eye on the inside back wall.  Our cats liked to sleep in it and it was always quite a conversation stopper when one of them emerged thru the hole while company was visiting.  At least one visitor thought the cat was part of his trip and only he could see it. He was relieved to find out it was real.  The  box finally went out to the dumpster when the fur bits began to peel off but I can’t help but wonder if it would be  collector’s item today.  EBay listing:  Wish you had been a hippie?  Here’s your chance to  own  little bit of the 60’s

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I must have known I wasn’t really going to Knitch last night because I put yarn and needles in my bag for 2 hats but nothing else.  No measuring tape, no stitch markers, no scissors, and the most important tool of all:  no crochet hook to fix mistakes with.  It’s just as well I decided not go because when I left work the traffic was so !@#$%^&! bad I couldn’t make a left turn out of the office park the opera lives in and had to go miles out of my way to get home.

I was looking forward to working on this:

A fair isle hat in mostly black and tan Cascade 220, with a couple of accent colors from Diana’s stash of Paton’s Classic Wool Merino.  My own design, carefully charted out.  I am knitting up the plain black like a race horse out of the starting gate so I can get to the colorwork because I can’t wait to see how it looks.

The endless scarf has finally reached an end.  That’s the  one that was 42″ all of December no matter how much I knitted on it.  I knitted.  I measured.  It was 42″.  I knitted.  It was still 42″.  Then it was 52″, then 48″, then 53″.   I put in a marker in the hopes that it would stop playing these kinds of tricks. Oh the euphoria when it looked like progress was being made.  Only 7 more inches to go!   Followed by swearing and resignation when that turned out to be an inaccurate assumption.  Then, even though the marker showed that I had knitted at least 12″, it only measured 59″.  Every time I measured.  I would try it on, hoping it was really  long enough.  One night I fell asleep on the sofa with it wrapped around my neck.  I just wanted to be done.  I just wanted to wear it.  Nope, it was always about 10″ too short.  

Then in a really exciting moment- it was suddenly 63″.  I tried it on.  I could wrap it around my neck and still have what felt like the right sort of tail.  I cast off before I could change my mind, blocked it with the iron and wore it the next day.   It now measures 72″ and I believe it no longer qualifies as an inanimate object.  I just hope it doesn’t decide to strangle me.

Cobblestone Scarf- called that because I originally thought it looked like mossy cobblestones.  In variegated green wool from Plain and Fancy Sheep and Wool Co.  Size 4 needles, moss stitch, endlessly.

Imp is now hovering vulture like above me on the top of the armoire.  The computer desk is her usual landing pad and I happen to be occupying the exact space she wants to jump to.  Time to go.  I’d really prefer to spend my evening doing something other than untangling a panicked cat from my hair and cleaning up the blood aftermath.

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Dear Rulers of the Universe, Governors of the greater Atlanta Metropolitan Area, The Dot Regional Planning Commission, and anyone else whose job it is to keep Chaos at bay:

Do you think you could maybe TALK to each other once in a while?   Is it too much to ask that the many projects designed to improve traffic flow around town be somehow orchestrated so those of who need to get from one side of town to the other as we go about our daily activities could actually do that?

I know you can’t do much about the garbage truck that stopped at every house on McLendon this morning or the ice in the right hand lane of North Avenue.  I don’t expect miracles.

But is it really necessary to repave 10th Street while 14th is closed for bridge repairs?  I don’t question the need for either of these projects, only the timing.  But when one of the only 2 ways I can still get to work has only one lane open because of paving and the other one has one lane blocked with ice and jammed with all  the other frustrated late drivers who couldn’t  get down 10th Street either, the DOT’s advice to “take alternate routes”  doesn’t make any sense.

What other routes?  Just where are these “alternative routes”?  If 10th is the alternative of 14th and North Ave is the alternative of 10th and none of them are construction free?  Am I supposed to drive to another city and take a plane to work or what?

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Please do not worry

That’s what it says in the instructions for my Habu Kit- a Kusha Kusha Scarf.

It also says: Must make gauge swatch for this Kit.  Yes, that’s right, bold letters.

But then it says:  Please do not be too concerned or worried getting the gauge perfectly.  There should always be an extra amount of yarn to finish the project.

So, if there’s more than enough yarn and if the gauge isn’t all that important  why is making a gauge swatch so important?  That alone is enough to make me worry.

I decided not to worry about gauge.  If it’s really off I will be able to tell after a few inches and I can just start over.  Plus the gauge listed is after felting.  No way am I going to knit up 4 inches, felt it, and measure it – it’s a scarf. 

Of course, the instructions also inform me:  The yarn is also a living creature.  I can now attest to  this and furthermore it let me know right off the bat who was calling the shots.

First off, it’s not really yarn but thread.  Really fine thread.   2 pieces of it held together.  I tried a long tale cast on.  The loops were so tight I could not have gotten the needle into them to start knitting and I ran out of tail at what I think was stitch 38.  I tried again on a bigger needle.   My eyes began to cross trying to distinguish the stitches in order to count them.  The smallest sound- the cat walking across the floor or my neighbors in the hall jarred my concentration and I had to start over.  Several tries later I decided  backward loop might be easier.   Couldn’t distinguish which orange thread went to which gray thread as they were all sort of looped on top of each other and still too tight.   Knitted cast on, I thought, that will do the trick.  I was able to get 3  stitches kinda sorta on the needle  before it all slid off  in a tangle of loops and snarls.  I now understand why some scientists believe string is the fundamental structure of the universe- this stuff certainly had more mass tangled than it did coming off the spool in a straight line.   I think it might have been an improvement though because the loops I actually got on the needle weren’t  too tight.

 A day later after some deep breathing, I cleared my mind.  I removed all extraneous matters and banished the cats to the bedroom.  I picked up the needles and  cast on- slowly, counting each stitch as I went an leaving about  1/4 of an inch between the stitches.  I put all of my attention on the yarn and the needles and knitted the first row as carefully as a Zen Master preparing for a Tea Ceremony.  I expect it will go faster once I get a couple of inches in length but right now knitting it takes the same amount concentration as casting on did.  That is to say about the same  amount as Kitchner stitch.

Turns out the Japanese esthetic applies to the whole project not just the finished scarf.

And I sure hope they are right about having plenty of yarn to finish because what is supposed to measure about 8″ currently is this:

I could be worried about this.  I just don’t think I can knit this string yarn and worry at the same time.

I have the first Finished  Object of 2009:  Stork’s Nest Scarf

I wore it today and the yarn is very cozy and comforting and makes me happy.  Who could be worried after that?    Aummmmmmmmmmmmm…………………

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