Wednesday, December 29, 2004

2005 notes

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): To guide your journey in 2005, I've selected two quotes. I suggest you write them out and keep them in your wallet or under your pillow for the next ten months.

The first is from mythologist Joseph Campbell: "The goal of life is to make your heartbeat match the beat of the universe, to match your nature with Nature." Your second keynote comes from the ancient Chinese sage, Lao Tzu: "Stop leaving and you will arrive. Stop searching and you will see. Stop running away and you will be found." Now here's your homework, Gemini:

Meditate on how these themes articulate two angles of approach to the same joyful work.

[More Free Will Astrology online here.]

I am less sure about what the Joseph Campbell quote means, but Lao! He could not BE more right on about what I need right now. Here's to really wishing I could find just the right boot with which to kick my own ass. I surely need it.

I need to get a pom-pom maker today, then the littlest wee's hat can be finished. (Yes, I am too lazy to cut out two circles.) I have also picked Oversweater back up and added a few rows last night. The knitting on that thing is slow slow slow—I think this is because it is scratchy wool on bamboo circs. If I remember, I will pick up some aluminum 11s while I am hunting for the pom-pom machine.

I am off to "spend" my prize from Vicki. She had a great blog contest around Thanksgiving and everyone who entered won.

[NOTE: It is hard to think of this space as a journal again, rather than an oration... I started out the last paragraph as "A big thanks to Vicki..." It will be a process for sure.]

Still wondering whether I will try to do resolutions or not. I like the Mondo Beyondo list idea I saw here. My Mondo Beyondo might look like this:
  • Travel to Nepal
  • Teach Yoga
  • Live in a house with a porch and a backyard (I doesn't have to be mine, even)
  • Get my Master's

I like the other list ideas too... Maybe I will write what I learned in 2004 next. I definitely want to formalize my goals for this space as well... but I am not ready to yet.

For the rest of the week I will be praying (such that I can) and hoping for my friend C. Her family and many friends are in Sri Lanka and she doesn't know how many are OK.

I cannot even imagine. How does one deal with such a force? How can anyone have any faith after something like this? The reality of all that devastation is just beyond my grasp.

Monday, December 27, 2004

Christmas spirit

I hope everyone who wanted one had a glorious Christmas. Thank you all who wished me well.

Trimmed Tree (sans topper)

Here is a favorite "something old" ornament. My grandmother took the picture of me and made the ornament. What you can't see in the picture is that I am riding a pony. I lived for pony rides.

Here is a favorite "something new" ornament. My very own Tree Frog.

And don't forget the Star on Top. The search for a tree topper was both last-minute and frantic. But in the end it was very successful.

The tree was overflowing with gifts from my folks and friends very briefly. In true Christmas Miracle fashion, everything we got was the right color/the right size/just right. No returns or exchanges necessary!

I had planned on a day after Christmas hike but didn't feel quite up to it when the morning arrived. I will make up for it with a nice long one on the first day of the New Year. I got some great REI loot and need to get to work breaking it all in.

Basking in the glow

It was suggested by one who's opinion I respect, that I should turn out the lights and look at the tree like this. It really did make me feel all warm and glowing. But I suspect that the fact that I wanted to stay in the dark with the glittering tree for at least the next six months is perhaps not the best sign in the world that I actually feel better.

Which leads me to my blog vacation. I may post occasionally, but lately I feel more stifled by this thing than inspired. I have always had issues with needing to feel liked and over-trying to "fit in" and despite my best intentions, this blog has become yet another way that I unrealistically measure myself against others.

When I re-started knitting, I was very adventurous and excited. I completely made up a pattern for a lace purse last February and didn't even blink! Now, because of my own hang-ups, I feel compelled to make what everyone else makes. And to get it "right" while I am at it. So, I need to step away for a bit until I can get a grip on all that.

I love so many of the women that I have "met" (and met) through blogging, and the last thing I want to do is drop off the face of the earth. I will still be reading and commenting whenever I can. But for now and as time permits, I will be turning this back into more of a non-interactive journal.

Monday, December 20, 2004

And the Winners are...

Congrats to Jen, KnitSteph, Kelly, and Linda R.... Their names were drawn in last week's froggin' contest.

Some lil' froggies will be in the post to you each soon.


I will try to get a picture of my tree (yes!) once all the ornaments are on and everything...

I am having a rough time keeping up with the world these days, so posts will be few and far between until I feel better.

I hope everyone in knit-blog-land has a safe and happy holiday!

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Winter arrives, keep the frogs coming!

It is officially winter here in the great state of Maryland. The lows today were in the 20s and my walk to the office from Starbucks was actually uncomfortable without gloves. Can I get a Woo-Woo?! (I love snow. I can't stand the wait for the snow. Snowsnowsnowsnow. And, yes, I will be cursing the snow by late February. But for now: snowsnowsnowSNOW!)

Unfortunately, I couldn't BE more apathetic. I haven't knit in three days. I haven't gone three whole days without knitting since... last year. I have no faith that my gifts will be mailed in time to arrive on the big day (I'm really not even trying). What the hell?

I am so freaked out by the mad production going on everywhere in knitblogland. I think it is contributing to my disaffectedness. That and I don't have a super cute tree (I mean, that tree is totally smiling).

Christmas was always a big Family Fun Holiday for me. Don't get the wrong idea—my family is just as freaky as the next, but our freakiness is rarely antagonistic. Our meals were never ruined by screaming or awkward silences. (We were too busy eating.) My family isn't huge, but my mom has three brothers, two of which have families (one whose daughter has her own family). So there were at least a few little kids and 12 or so of the rest of us.

This year I will be here sans family, sans jolly or cheer or caroling. Prolly sans tree. Can you bear the whinging? I can't.

I used to be very enthusiastic about Christmas, I swear. I get that from my mom. At least it's almost January, right?

In the meantime, help cheer me up and keep those frogs coming! The winners will be drawn on Sunday, and can win (among other things) a wind-up hopping frog, a frog incense burner, and other equally groovy frogaphenalia.

Also, if you are on my Christmas list, you will get your gift sometime next month. Think of it as extending the gift-giving season.

Ann asked about the galloping horse rule in the last post, and as I understand it (though I picked it up on the internet, so my data is surely suspect) the gist of it is this: if a knitting/crocheting/[insert other craft here] mistake can't be seen while riding by on a galloping horse, it isn't worth losing sleep over.

Pray for snow.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Winners, and another contest...

The winners of last week's contest are:
Annie T - VotG Kids Knits
Patti - Duck Family bath toys
La - Secret Runner-up prize

Ladies, please send me your snail mail addy (kali ~AT~ bgb ~DOT~ cc). This week's contest is at the bottom of this post.

Far too short, really gray and rainy (so very unphotogenic), and virtually fiber-free (YNBA, remember?). I did finish a sock, and weave in the ends of a pair of lil man mitlettes.

Click here for the rest...

Caroline, next time I will take you up on the recommendation AND stop by Sophie's... Thank you!

And, Patti, I did go for the longhotbath... I work for a Natural Grocery Store, and every time I take business trips, I tend to come home with some new scrub or soak. But I rarely use them. How ridiculous is that?! This time, however, I made time and soaked away.

Here is Funk Master Flash's gray beanie from last weekend:

Absolute best reward? He wears it ALL the time.

This Week's Contest:
Show me your frogs! (Or, at least tell me about them.) I have all manner of glorious froggy gifts with which to honor froggings past.

Why would anyone want to honor the act of ripping out one's knitting? Well, it takes courage and faith (that you'll get it right the second time) to rip out one's hard work. It means you can spot your mistakes (remember when you started knitting and you couldn't even tell the knits from the purls... or is that just me?) and you can extrapolate how to fix them. It shows that you won't settle for less than the best in your knitting.

This is not to say that those who don't frog are lesser knitters. I tend to follow the "galloping horse" rule myself whenever possible. I mean, there are only so many knitting hours in the day! But, I think it is important to appreciate the frogs... They are learning experiences, and reminders to enjoy the product and the process. Love your frogs: they show that you have the luxury of being able to try again...

To enter the contest, leave me a comment about a memorable "frogging" (either your own, or if you just don't frog, one you have witnessed). I will use some sort of random algorithm to draw a few names this following Sunday.

Have a fantastic week!

Friday, December 10, 2004

Quick note from "The City that Loves You Back"

I am in Philly at the lovely Latham hotel, which despite its creaky floors, is positioned smack in the center of downtown. I wish I had a little bit of time to see some sights before heading back home.

TRAVELERS TIP: No matter how cool the h(m)otel looks in the pictures, always bring your own coffee for the in-room coffee pot. I am presently "enjoying" something called Premium Choice, and I am afraid it is perhaps not named as accurately as it could be.

Last night, I finished a sock! The fit is a little snug, but my last socks slowly "grew" with wear, and I wanted these to have a sleek fit. I am a dork, and brought my camera but no cable, so imagine the pictures.

Don't forget to enter the contest from yesterday's post! I got some great little prizes today to add to the previous loot!

I received my awesome care package/prize from Amanda just before leaving town. WOO! She sent me some great coffee and chicory, the amazing Knitting on the Edge by Nicki Epstein, and a Clover yarn cutter (now I have almost all the coolest knitting gadgets). Thanks, Amanda, you made my day!

I would also like to give a shout out to Margene: thank you for the RAOK... Some tasty lip balm and other little accoutrements, perfect additions to my trip bag!

I am home later tonight. I will either go on a photo rampage or a "hot soak in the tub" rampage when I get there.

Have a great Friday!

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Travel, contests, secrets revealed, and gifts from abroad

On travel
The trip was fine. I enjoy spending time at FMF's folks' home. I only wish he did (or at least could muster up enough compassion to pretend he did).

I knit like a mad-crazy fool. Pics to follow, but here's what I accomplished:
  • Grey beanie for FMF - done!
  • Red Mittlettes for J & H's son (the Charlottesville gang) - need ends woven in
  • Cutest EVER "bear" mittens for C & S's son (of lovely Maplewood, NJ) - need claws sewn on and seaming
  • Socks for me - 65% done
  • Mom's Scarf - 50% done

On Contests
Since I have recently won a whole barrel of contests, it is time to start having some of my own. I am going to try to have one contest a week til Xmas. Without further ado:

This Week's Contest!
These prizes are kid-oriented, if you don't have kids you better know some!

Please leave me a comment and let me know you want your name in the "hat" for a chance to win either a Vogue Knitting on the Go: Kids Knits or a really cute set of bath-time rubber ducks. If enough folks enter, I may throw in a third or fourth place prize as well.

I will randomly pick a winner for each prize from all comments left on this post as of Sunday evening.

Secret Pals Revealed!
Many many MANY thanks to my generous and thoughtful Secret Pal, Patti. She sent me some really wonderful stuff-including soothing Cold Care tea and other "comforting" things when I was sick, cashmere and alpaca in my favorite color: blue, even a really cool beetle (she mailed me a bug--HOW COOL IS THAT?), not to mention tons of other great stuff that was perfectly chosen to make me smile! Thanks again, Patti.

I was a pal to Sue, she is (among other things) a Yankees fan, cat lover, and gift-knitter extra-ordinaire. Check out some of the beautiful gifts her friends and family will be getting!! I trulyhope she enjoyed the SPIII process.

I will likely skip the SP4. The YNBA is not conducive to SP shopping (ie: "Well, it was on sale two for the price of one... You know one for my SP and one for me??" or "I was going to get killed on shipping if I didn't meet the minimum, so I just grabbed a couple things for me too... on accounta the shipping, not, you know, just to buy stuff...")

die Geschenksendung
I got a great package in the mail from Germany yesterday. Bente and I did a little swap, I sent her some Big Kureyon, and she sent me some Colinette Skye, in my favorite color: Jay! Also a wonderful little bookmark-sized calendar and little sheepy bag (perfectly sized for dpns or accessories. Danke sehr, Bente!! I am formulating a beautiful shawl/scarf for this yarn... Stay tuned.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Sweaty, nekkid folks, prizes galore, and a trip down South

So I really need to tell the story of my visit to Stony Mountain Fibers.

-Warning. The following post contains briefly described nudity, religious ceremonies, and S.E.X.

Two Fridays ago, I went to Charlottesville, VA for some work stuff. I was going to ride in Friday afternoon and back out Saturday evening. Luckily for me, some FABULOUS old friends happen to live there and agreed to take me in Friday night in lieu of my having to Holiday Inn it. I was a bit sad that I wouldn't really have time on my trip to hit any fiber-y type spots (I had not even heard of the YNBA yet), but getting to see J and H more than made up for it.

Friday was all work, then much yapping and wine-slogging into the wee hours of the night. Which meant that Saturday, I lolled around in bed and went in to work with aforementioned old friend around 2 in the afternoon. Just before we left for work, J offered me their hospitality for another night.

I couldn't resist. Unfortunately for the world fiber market, work on Saturday took more than the two hours I had estimated, so by the time I was ready to hit the shops they were all closed. One shop actually closed early, even though I had called twice to see if I had time to make it in. The woman said (not un-snottily) "Well, it's five o'clock on MY clock, so we're closed." Hmph. Her loss.

On top of that, every shop I called was closed on Sunday, my totally free day.

Then I called Stony Mt. Fibers. The answering machine said: "Thank you for calling Stony Mountain Fibers. We are closed today, Saturday, but will be open from 12 to 4 tomorrow, Sunday...." Eureka!

H and I hit the road after 3 on Sunday. We had had to search a bit for the address (it wasn't posted on the their website... Clue #1), and once we found it, we had to try a couple of times to mapquest it, cause it was really out there. I even called the shop back but got the same recording from Saturday (Clue #2). Since the message still said they were open... Off we went.

The road to the farm/shop is long and muddy, through farms and homesteads.

When we finally got to the address, we saw three or four vehicles in the driveway, but no lights on in the house or shop (Clue #3). We got out of the car, and walked all the way up to the shop door (even though we could see the "Closed" sign from back in the driveway).

On the way past the house, H pointed towards the back saying "Look, they have a teepee!... ooooh and there, behind the fence... Is that a sweat lodge! How cool is that?" It wasn't 4 yet, and these seemingly cool teepee-dwelling sweat lodgers were closed! Totally unfair!

Then, we heard a man's voice calling "Hello?... Hello there??" I think he had said it a couple of times by then, but we had had our noses all squished up and fogging the shop windows and hadn't heard.

We started walking toward the voice. He kept calling out but didn't seem to be getting closer, you know the way someone would normally set down what they were doing and walk toward an interloper, the same way said bummed-out interloper would walk toward him? The voice seemed to be coming from the back... near the teepee and what we thought had been a sweatlodge.

As we got closer, H staged whispered "I hope they aren't all naked in the sweatlodge." I snickered.

The man's voice said "Who's there?" And I responded "Um. A knitter..."

The man's voice said (as we were almost to the fence) "We're closed."

As I walked to the corner of the fence, I was already explaining about the message saying they were open until 4. As we rounded the corner we saw the naked torso of an older gentleman half-birthed out of the sweatlodge.

My statement about the answering message was still sort of hanging in the air. I already wanted to take it back, as this guy seemed a bit too occupied to sell me any wool.

Naked Man - One second.
[NM ducks back into sweatlodge]
Me (stage whispered to H) - You totally called it.
[several voices murmuring in the lodge]
NM (after popping back half-way out) - Um. That message is from last week. I'm sorry.
Me - Oh, that's too bad... I was hoping to get some souvenir yarn.
[At this point, the wool junkie in me was obviously speaking. I had seen some neat stuff in the shop. We drove quite a bit to get here... And the message SAID they were open and all...]
NM - You didn't drive far did you?
H - I'm from Charlottesville, but she is visiting.
NM - Visiting?
Me - I came down from Rockville, Maryland.
Naked Man - One second.
Me and H (sort of jumbling over eachother) - No no, that's ok. We don't want to interrupt. Please...
[several voices murmur for a much longer time this time]
H - Do you think it's a religious ceremony in there... Or a more earthly one?
Me - (snicker) Could totally be either.
NM (did he sound dejected? Couldn't tell) - Go on over to the shop, the door's unlocked, the light's on the right side. Some one will be with you in a bit.... But, it will be a little bit.
Me and H - Thank you! OK! Take your time! Thanks again... etc etc.

We wandered through the looms and wheels. They had some Crystal Palace novelty yarns, and some Interlacements mohair and worsted. A small selection of Lamb's Pride bulky and wildfoote. Also, several different kinds of small bagged roving, and a whole wall of dyed stuff that looked like the same set-up they had at Rhinebeck: black wire cubes, with a tail of the roving hanging out so you could pull off and bag up what you needed. They had tons of coned cotton and chenille in the second room.

I wasn't really ready for more roving, but recall the issues I had been having with my thrummed mittens? I picked out a 2 oz bag of white wool/silk roving to be the designated thrumms, and found some really beautiful Manos on a bottom shelf in a lush red on red colorway for the mitten body.

Having interrupted whatever it was we interrupted, I clearly had to buy more stuff, however.

H fell in love with a novelty scarf, and was VERY excited when I said I could make her one. She picked out the CP Squiggle and Fizz that became the Thanksgiving Scarf. There was also some sort of super-soft black furry stuff that I couldn't stop petting, so I grabbed a couple of those. (I don't know what I am going to do with it, ok? But it was SO SO soft, you wouldn't have wanted to leave it either.) There was also a little bag of undyed angora that really didn't want to be left behind either... Remember the blue roving? It is already madly in love with the angora. They will be lovely plied together.

A flushed and sweaty Mary showed up shortly, and seemed genuinely happy to ring me up. They were at a stopping point in the ceremony anyway, and really it was fine.

We were very appreciative and after a bit more of a chat, we left Mary and her gang to their devices.

These thrummed mittens now have such a great backstory, I need to hurry the hell up and get 'em on the needles.


Thanks to those who played my meme game... Here are my answers to folks' questions:

Lara -
1. Mashed Potatoes. Always.
2. Probably socks. Since I am mostly cursed at sweaters. Otherwise, cardigans.
3. Haven't tried it. You?

Susan -
1. I made a really great lace purse for an old friend's birthday. I made up the pattern, and all of the finishing... And it actually turned out. It was sparkly red and shiny black. With a cool silk tassel and a great silver button.
2. I miss the Tex-Mex. And being able to (usually) drive myself to work. I am too nervous to drive here.
3. The heat and my job.

Jennifer -
1. Depends. Is it a European or an African swallow? See also, here.
2. They aren't actually that small. As has been demonstrated, they are about the same size as Norma's, and quite a bit larger than Stephanie's. The blog title is from an E.E. Cummings poem, , and most folks who end up here via Google are looking for the poem. I have been told that my hands are "graceful," "flexible," and "insane," but never small. For a long time, they were the only part of my body I appreciated.
3. Kali is the Deva, or hindu goddess, of destruction and protection (depending on whose side she's on). I have always loved paintings and sculptures of her. She is my totem, and embodies a lot of traits I wish I could manifest.


I won not one, not two, but three contests last month! Woo!

Looks like its time to give back to the blog-contest-karma goddess...... Stay tuned next week for a small hands contest™.


I am heading out in the morning for four days in Northern Louisiana. Funk Master Flash and I will be visiting his folks and brother. We haven't seen them in over a year!

We get back late Sunday, so I probably won't post until Tuesday or so. Please, have a great weekend and knit safely.