Monday, October 19, 2009

Gandhi Spins

I just had a nice visit with Elizabeth this evening, where we talked a lot about spinning. It wasn't until after I left that I remembered that Gandhi spun yarn. Yes, that Gandhi.

Here's a clip:



I know that clip is only 17 seconds long, so it's hard to see what's going on.

Gandhi spun cotton on a Charkha. Take a closer look:



Of course, Gandhi's not on the second clip. I doubt green nail polish is allowed if you take a vow of poverty.

That's our history lesson for today, class. Next up, Genghis Khan weaves, Abraham Lincoln knits and Timothy Leary crochets.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Pink Snowballs (insert your own joke here)

Next Friday, we're having a pink snowball eating contest at work.

Yes, you read that correctly.

We're talking about the pink ones like these or these, not the kind that will get you in trouble with the HR department.

I'm not quite sure why we're doing this, but there is $50 prize for the person who eats the most in one minute. I'm excited because most of our past contests have involved shooting hoops with a nerf ball. I'm bad at shooting hoops, but I think I can handle eating snowballs.

But there are two things that concern me.

First, I couldn't find any snowballs at my HEB.

I don't think I've ever eaten one of these snowballs in my entire life. I remember my precalculus teach in high school used to eat them. That's probably the only reason I know what they are.

So if I want to devise a strategy, I should actually eat a snowball first. But how much work do I want to go through to find these? I had to go to HEB today anyway, but am I really going to search Walgreens, CVS, Randalls and other HEBs for pink snowballs?

The second issue is more existential. I'm fat, and I'm not ashamed. But if I win, I'll enforce every negative stereotype about fat people you can think of. But if I don't compete, I'll let those stereotypes hold me back.

Either way, I've already signed up. So I have about a week to find out if the contest meets IFOCE safety standards, if we can dip the snowballs in water like the pros and if they're going to have enough trash cans on hand for all the pink puke.


See all Grocery reviews at Expotv

Saturday, September 26, 2009

I didn't know Kanye West was a knitter?

Apparently Kanye West is a knitter. Check out this excerpt from his blog:

I'M SOOOOO SORRY TO MEG SWANSEN AND CAT BORDHI FOR KNITTING THE YARN. I SPOKE TO CAT BORDHI RIGHT AFTER. MEG SWANSEN IS VERY TANGLED !!........... I'M IN THE WRONG FOR SPINNING AND CROCHETING!!!!!!!!!!!! I'M SORRY TO MY FANS IF I LET YOU GUYS DOWN!!!!! I'M SORRY TO MY FRIENDS AT RAVELRY. I WILL APOLOGIZE TO MEG SWANSEN 2MRW. WELCOME TO THE REAL WORLD!!!! EVERYBODY WANNA BOOOOO ME BUT I'M A FAN OF SHEEP!!! Y'ALL KNOW!!! BOOOOYAAAWWWWW!!!!!! YEAH I GAVE MY KNITTING NEEDLES TO STEPHANIE PEARL_MCPHEE WHEN THEY DESERVED IT... THAT'S WHAT IT IS!!!!!!!!!! I'M NOT CRAZY YALL, I'M JUST BEING REAL. SORRY FOR THAT!!!MUCH RESPECT!!!!!

9/26/09


(Special thanks to the Kanye West Apology Generator.

If you don't get the joke, this should help explain it.)

Friday, September 25, 2009

This just in: if it weren't for Mr. Rogers, we'd all be weaving sweaters

If this is some joke, and I've mistaken it for an actual broadcast, I'd be relieved.



This clip was posted on YouTube in May 2008, and it references an article from the Wall Street Journal dating back to 2007. So this is old news, but it's new to me.

You may have noticed that I like Mr. Rogers. I think I really started to admiring him after reading Dear Mr. Rogers, Does It Ever Rain in Your Neighborhood?: Letters to Mr. Rogers. I was impressed by how patient he was and the care he took with each letter.

I was going to talk more about how Mr. Rogers does make kids feel entitled. Entitled to be treated as a worthy human being with basic rights.

I was also going to point out the value of positive reinforcement.

But something else caught my eye. Listen very carefully to the clip and then look at the article.

The article talks about Professor Don Chance, a finance professor at Louisiana State University. That's finance. Not psychology. Not sociology. Not child development. He didn't do the research. He's just talking about his own experiences and opinions.

The article does reference "a recent (in 2007) study led by a San Diego State University psychologist." But they don't say anything about the study examining the effect of watching Mr. Rogers on children. According to the article, the study finds "signs of narcissism among college students have been rising for 25 years." That's all it says. (And I can't even begin to figure out what study they're referring to.)

The clip from Fox News blurs the opinions of Professor Chance with this study out of San Diego State University. All of a sudden this finance professor's opinion is being considered the equivalent of empirical research.

This Fox News clip also refers to the "research" done comparing Asian students to American students. But the original article doesn't site specific research on Asian and American students. It says "Prof. Chance teaches many Asian-born students, and says they accept whatever grade they're given..."

If that isn't bad enough, here's the knitting related quote. (Look for it in the middle of the clip, in response to the e-mail from the lady who also blames Sesame Street and Dr. Spock.):

"It would be better if we went to school, went home and then made the butter, milked the cow and went onto the loom and made our own sweaters."

Now you can weave a sweater. (Isn't Elizabeth Zimmerman's Bog Coat based on a way to make a sweater out of a piece of weaving?) But I don't think that's what this guy is referring to. We all know Mr. Roger's sweaters are knitted.

Or maybe he's right. I watched Mr. Rogers growing up, and I've never woven a sweater in my life. (A scarf, yes, but not a sweater.)

In related news, have you seen Outfoxed?



You can see the entire documentary here.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

"We've got to be killing each other for something important, right?"

Last night Jules and I went to the video store, seeking some cheap entertainment. As usual, we couldn't agree on something we both wanted to say.

After going around and around the comedy section, we stumbled upon LA Riot Spectacular.

As the name implies, it's a satire. And it's narrated by Snoop Dogg. Awesome.

Here's my favorite scene. I think it still rings true today. (Warning - bad language and gun violence.)



I don't remember the truce between the Bloods and the Crips, but Jules does.

However, I remember when they banned red and blue clothes in high school. (That didn't last, but there was a ban on bandanas from sixth the grade on. Ah, memories.)

Anyway, I wanted to share this little overlooked gem. It's not for the faint of heart, and a lot of people would find it offensive. But its symbolism will make you think, and Snoop will make you laugh.

(BTW - Did you notice that the label on the 40 says "False Hope"?)

Monday, August 31, 2009

Back to Business

Apologizing for not posting enough is the ultimate blogging cliche. So I'm going to skip the part where I say I'm sorry, but the whole illness, fire and rehire thing pushed the blog to the back burner.

I haven't felt quite like myself because I haven't been knitting, crocheting, spinning or blogging. When I'm not at work, I've been watching TV, messing around on Facebook and taking naps.

So I've decided to start with the blogging, and the rest will follow. Although I feel unmotivated now, I know I'll start to feel better once I get back to things I love.

I think my elbow is better now. I went the morning they announced the layoffs, so I forgot about it for a while.

I didn't see my usual doctor, I saw someone else in the practice. I brought in my top secret project to demonstrate the motions I'd been making with my arms. It turns out she was a knitter. She was working on something from the new Mason Dixon book. She could even identify the yarn I was using for this top secret project. Awesomeness!

Meanwhile, I finally got some glasses, but none of these. I'll post a picture later.

The first two weeks with glasses were fine. I had no idea how bad my vision was until it was corrected.

Then the glasses started to hurt.

After several visits to EyeMasters, I realized that the nose pads were upside down. Apparently, this makes a difference. However, my glasses still hurt after turning them around, and then trying smaller nose pads. The skin on the bridge of my nose is raw. I've been choosing between the headache from eyestrain and the headache from glasses that don't fit.

I e-mailed EyeMasters customer service. I got reply asking for the location where I purchased them. I replied back. Hopefully I'll find a way to get around the 30 day limit on the money back guarantee.

Keep your fingers crossed.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Don't call it a comeback!

(This is one of the motivational phrases my boss likes to use.)

The past couple of weeks since they announced the lay off have been... interesting. Lots of drama.

Today was going to be my very last day. (Our team had officially had it's last day as a team on Friday, but they offered us the chance to come back this week for a project to keep our benefits another month, yada, yada, yada.) But still, last day.

And then they rehired me.

They rehired almost all of us.

I watched the season finale of I Survived a Japanese Game Show last night. When someone is voted off of the show, a gang of Japenese men wearing black suits and sunglasses comes and carries you away. They're called the Sayonara Boys, and everyone sings "Sayonara, Sayonara" as they take you away.

(You can see the Sayonara Boys at the end of this clip.)

I decided that was how I wanted to leave my job. I wanted the Sayonara Boys to come take me away. I was going to think about that when I felt sad.

On my lunch break I updated my Facebook status to reflect this.

When I got off the break room computer, I ran into a coworker who had just been rehired. It was one of the two internal positions I had applied for. I congratulated him, but I also thought this lowered my chances of getting rehired.

So I finished my lunch break and went back to my desk. I realized several people were getting good news. It was about that time one of the managers called me in.

I got offered a job. The one I wanted. It's not the lead generation I've been doing. It's more of account managing. It's hard to explain. All you need to know is that I'll be happier there. And I get to keep the supervisor I like.

So almost all of us are back on. Somehow there were more jobs available than we had thought. It's almost like the end of a movie. Unlike the lay off, I did not see the rehire coming. I would have cried tears of joy if I hadn't been so shocked.

It's time to call in the Congratulations Boys. They wear white suits, and they only come for the winners.

(Seriously, you have to watch this show.)

So there's still a little hiccup. I have one day of another project tomorrow. Then I'm off until I restart on Aug. 20, with a fresh, new project and a new start.

So let's see, I was off of work for most of June and July because of illness, I came back part time in late July, got laid off, continued to finish my time while job hunting, got rehired and now I'll have to go another week and a half without pay.

That makes for a pretty crappy "summer vacation." I hate the summer.

It's still not the worst summer I've ever had, but you'll have to wait for the novel to hear the rest of that.

Or maybe the movie.

Don't call it a comeback. I've been here for two and a half years.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Things that cut into my yarn budget: Downsizing

It's very, very early Monday morning. I slept soundly for a few hours, but around 3:30 I woke up. After almost two hours, I gave up on going back to sleep.

The past four days have been crazy on so many levels.

On Friday I got laid off.

I saw it coming. When I returned to work, I realized I had missed something major the week before. There were a lot of empty seats.

The word was they thought they were done letting people go.

I got sucked into another project with another team when I returned. But I slowly realized my team was doing a lot of finishing, and not enough starting.

And then Thursday, they scheduled a meeting. My supervisor asked if I could come in early (since I still had about a week of part time left.) He seemed way too concerned about everyone being there. Yet he never told us what the meeting was about.

And that's when I knew.

Friday morning I had an appointment to see the doctor about my elbow. (More on that later on.) The practice my family has been going to for years is just minutes from my parents' house. So I had already planned to spend the night there to avoid having to drive across town twice in a row during rush hour.

I wasn't going to say anything to them about it at first. But when Dad asked how work was going, I spilled everything.

We did a lot of talking that night. Maybe I was wrong. Things would be ok if I was right.

When I woke up Friday morning I convinced myself I was working myself up for nothing.

Then I thought they couldn't possibly cut all of us. Maybe I'd be one of the "safe" ones.

I went to the doctor, and headed back up to North Austin. I didn't have to be at work until the meeting (remember, I was still part time.) I didn't want to go home. So I just wandered.

I ended up at Borders, but they didn't open until 10 a.m. So I drove down the road and decided to have a bite to eat at Einstein's Bagels. I sat near two women who were having an intense conversation that seemed to be work related. I almost jumped in and asked them if their company was downsizing like mine. But I kept my mouth shut.

Then I went back to Borders. I set the alarm on my phone so I wouldn't be late, but wouldn't be early enough to be around during the awkward moments before the meeting.

I was too distracted to really read anything. I didn't even go to the knitting section. I wandered around flipping through various books. I considered getting a card to say goodbye. I decided that was premature. I flipped through various self help books. In the humor section I found a bank featuring Lucy from the Peanuts. She was at her famous "Psychiatric Help 5 cents" booth. It would have been a nice edition to my desk.

Ball and Chain by Social Distortion was on the radio on the drive to work. I sang the chorus as loud as I could all the way there.

We were whisked into the meeting almost immediately when I got in. When I saw the HR guy in the room, I knew my fears were confirmed.

The client hadn't renewed it's contract with our company. It was that simple.

After some discussion of the HR stuff, I was the one who broke the awkward silence. I couldn't tell you exactly what I said. Basically that it was nobody's fault, that we all did the best we could and that this company had treated us well. I cried and a box of tissues somehow appeared in front of me.

We aren't completely done. We have one week together as a team. Then there are three optional days in the first week of August, where we can work on a special project. Working these days will allow us to keep our benefits for another month. There is a possibility of being rehired, but we can't count on anything.

However, we were given the rest of Friday off with pay. Most of us ended up at a nearby pub. I was there at least four hours. We played a lot of "Monday morning quarterback." I still maintain that we all did the best we could. I know it sounds a cliche, but it's the economy. It's not personal, and it's not our fault.

I called my Mom and Dad and cried. I called Jules and cried. We went back to Mom and Dad's for dinner. Katie and Aaron were there to support me, and when I hugged them, I cried.

I'm pretty cried out right now. But I still tear up at times.

At times I complained about work. At times I celebrated work. I'm not that worried about getting a job. (Well, I am a little bit.) I'm grieving a loss. I'm attached to that place and the people in it.

But I think the universe is giving me an opening to move on to the next phase of my life.

I'm going back full time a little early. I was pacing myself for a marathon, but now I'm sprinting for the finish line.

Going back to work for the next few days is going to be tough. I may not be at the top of my game this week, but I'm going to do my best. Some may goof off the whole time. Some may not return at all.

But I'm not going out like that.

Now it's time for me to get dressed for work. I have some calls to make.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

I'd give my left foot for my right elbow

I'm settling into my part time work schedule, with plans to go back full time in the future. Jules is settling into his new job at Five Guys Burgers and Fries, where they make burgers good enough for Obama:



Jules' new job gives me a little more time to myself. It's a good time to try to get my blogging groove back.

Believe it or not, I have been knitting fairly steadily throughout this little break from my normal life. I just haven't documented my knitting here like I normally do. I started an awesome (but top secret) project, and made a lot of progress. And on Thursday, I got my Photogenic Scarf out of my desk at work. I even worked on it during my break.

But in the last week or two, my right elbow's been sore. I found my self putting down my knitting sooner than normal because of the pain.

This pain is completely unrelated to what put me out of work. Knitting (and a little crochet, more on that later) was something I could do while I was out of work. It's been a coping mechanism. But now I think I've done it so much that I've given myself some sort of repetitive stress injury.

If you search for "Knitter's Elbow" there's all sorts of advice, and different descriptions of symptoms. For the time being, I'm just not going to knit until I see my family doctor Friday morning (that was the earliest appointment I can get.) The pain itself isn't that bad, but I don't want to risk having a more serious injury that will hinder my knitting for a longer period of time.

I'm realizing how much I use my elbows, especially my right elbow. (I'm right handed.) Using the computer hurts my elbow some too, but not as bad.

Sleeping, believe it or not, is hard on my elbow. I'm a stomach/side sleeper, and all my most comfortable sleeping positions seem to involve bending my right elbow and putting the weight of my head on it.

I'd draw a diagram, but it would be hard on my elbow.

At least I can work the remote control with my left hand.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Slow and Unsteady

funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

I haven't had the blog in me for a while now. But I finally found a lolcat that expresses my feelings, and I decided it was time. (Of course, it's an lolcat without a cat, but that's beside the point.)

Tomorrow is my first day back at work since early June. It's time to start living my life again. Slowly. Very slowly. I'm starting by going back part time.

And I'm starting blogging again with a very short entry.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Things that cut into my yarn budget: Off of Work and Out of Commission

The last couple of weeks have been ...interesting. Part of me wants to blog all the gory details, but I know some parts of your life are best left off of the Internet, however "interesting" they may be.

The main gist of it is health problems. A hospitalization. Lots of non-knitting, yet craving to knit. I'm not quite functioning like a normal person.

I'm taking some time off of work right now to get things straightened out some more. Which means I'm living off my parents. My meager savings won't go far. And I have more hospital bills. And did I mention my insurance *claims* I haven't met deductible yet? At least I can fix that. I hope.

Sadly, Decimal will have to wait. Spending $40-$50 on KnitPicks yarn is usually doable, but not right now. It's stash knitting.

In between all this my Photogenic Scarf is stuck in my desk at work. I really, really, really want to knit that scarf. I need to find something equally soothing to knit. In my stash. ASAP.

(I hope my boss took that orange out of my desk like I asked. Otherwise it's going to start stinking up the place.)

I don't have it in my to do World Wide Knit in Public Day at the Capitol tomorrow. But I will be at The Knitting Nest to see Franklin Habit. I can't afford the class though (it's probably full anyway), but I'll probably pick up his book and get it signed.

I really want my scarf back.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Blogcation

I know I haven't been posting this week anyway, but I need to take a short blogcation. It shouldn't more than a week or two while I straighten some things out in my life.

In the meantime, read the Yarn Harlot's take on Austin, and read my review of the Yarn Harlot.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Yarn Harloting at BookPeople

On Thursday I rushed from my doctor appointment to BookPeople to see The Yarn Harlot. I was pleasantly surprised by how fast I got there from North Austin. A few minutes before the reception I arrived and had enough time to take this picture.

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The Yarn Harlot had her name in lights. (At least it was in lights after dark. I think.)

Once I was inside, I ran into Elizabeth, and discovered that they had already sold out of Stephanie's most recent book.

Seriously?

(You could tell the staff was tired of explaining to people that they were out of the book.)

I ran upstairs, passing the crowd on the second floor that was already waiting, and up to the third floor where the reception was. Stephanie had not arrived yet. I ran into Suna, and asked her to watch my stuff while I used the bathroom.

I was going down the stairs to the bathroom, when I saw Stephanie Pearl-McPhee coming up the stairs.

"Oh my God!"

I introduced myself, shook her hand and excused myself. I wasn't too embarrassed, but it was an interesting way to meet the Yarn Harlot.

When I came back I stood on the outside of the group surrounding her and took this picture.

Photogenic Scarf

It was a very Harloty picture.

And now you see why I wound all that Misti Alpaca. I wanted a photogenic project that I could work on without a chart or paying too much attention. I bought this yarn specifically for an Eve's rib scarf ages ago, and I cast on the night before the event.

When I got in closer, I asked her to pose with it, another Harloty move.

The Yarn Harlot holds my scarf

I explained to her how I cast on this project just so I'd have a photogenic project for the event. She thought that was funny, and now the scarf is called the Photogenic Scarf.

I alternated between hovering around Stephanie and the group that surrounded her, and mingling with other knitters. I saw Birdy wearing the original Flit 'n Float, a cute baby in a cute hat and a Lacewings shawl in Handmaiden Sea Silk.

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(Oh, and Suna and I decided to be on each other's blogs.)

The crowd waits for the Yarn Harlot

A few minutes before the reception ended, I headed downstairs to claim a spot. This is just part of the crowd. Of course they were out of chairs, so I claimed a spot on the floor.

Out of Chairs

(I ended up moving to another spot on the floor so I could see better, but you get the idea.)

While we waited, I ran downstairs and picked up a copy of The Secret Life of a Knitter, and I took a few pictures for other people with their cameras. And I knitted. We all knitted.

Spike introduces the Yarn Harlot

This is Spike, introducing the Yarn Harlot. She told us to "put down our knitting damn it" to clap for Stephanie.

The Yarn Harlot and her Sock

The first order of business was for her to take pictures of the crowd with her sock in front, just like she does at every stop on her book tours. This is where things got interesting.

The Yarn Harlot and my giant sock

This is the reason I wound the KnitPicks Cadena. I read on Ravelry that they were trying to get people to knit giant socks (or parts of giant socks) to hold up when the Yarn Harlot held up her sock. You can get a better view of how far I got here. I attempted an improvised heel turn to make them look more sock-like (or at least like little booties), but I ran out of time during my break at work to finish them.

And get this.

I was the only one who held one up in my section.

I wonder is she even noticed. Or just thought I was weird.

As she went around the room, a couple of people held up socks in on the opposite side of the room. At least one was fully knit. I think she kind of chuckled and got the point, but I don't think it made the impression we were hoping for.

The Yarn Harlot

(Yes my camera does crappy close ups.)

First, Stephanie talked about how non-knitters don't get us, which is something we all know. She read some headlines from stories about knitting. Everyone thinks it's weird. She said a really weird hobby would be shaving weasels, which I think would make a great name for a band.

After all, if knitters are just people amused by string, aren't fisherman* just people who stand in the middle of a lake all day, and isn't football just throwing around a ball?

Ironically, a couple of co-workers talked about planning a fishing trip on Friday. I tried to relay this tidbit to them, but I don't think I got my point across.

(*I realize being a commercial fisherman is something different entirely.)

The Yarn Harlot and my Scarf

(Another Harloty pic.)

The most interesting part, IMHO, was about brain waves. There are four kinds of brain waves, Stephanie said. Beta is when we are thinking hard or doing a complicated task. (Stephanie said she was probably in Beta as she was giving her talk.) Alpha is when we are "hanging out." Delta is when we are asleep. And then there's Theta.

Theta brain waves happen when we are in sort of a trance like state, like when we are falling asleep or just waking up. Theta brain waves are good for you. They make you smarter and happier. If I remember correctly, Stephanie said that Buddhist Monks tend to spend the most time in Theta. Einstein tried to spend a lot of time in Theta. Runners tend to go into Theta when they are running. Repetitive tasks tend to put us in Theta.

Like knitting.

Awesome.

Stephanie also talked about a study showing that people are less traumatized by disturbing events when they are doing repetitive spatial tasks (I think that was the phrase.) The study had people hitting keys on a keyboard. However the study specifically mentioned knitting as one of these tasks.

It also mentioned that this information doesn't have practical applications, because no one would ever carry emergency knitting.

If they only knew.

During the Q&A, I asked about being a professional knitter. Stephanie said it was hard. Like being a rock star, only a small percentage make it. However, I have a good chance of going "semi-pro." I could do that. I could go semi-pro, and then do something else.

After the talk it was time to wait in line and get my book signed.

The Yarn Harlot signed my book

Check it out.

While she signed my book, I told her that the Theta brain waves stuff is a good way to battle depression. She could use this evidence to encourage knitters to knit through their depression. She said she would use it. I don't know if she will. (I'm sure people throw ideas at her all the time.)

Me and the Yarn Harlot

Here we are.

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And look how far I got on my scarf. (Compare that to the pictures from the reception.)

You can see more pictures of my trip to see the Yarn Harlot (yes, there's more) here.








Saturday, May 30, 2009

Saturday Blog Bits

It's Saturday. I've uploaded all my Yarn Harlot pictures to Flickr, but I haven't blogged about it yet. That's ok, because it's time for blog bits.

Speaking of the Yarn Harlot, the following people have already blogged about the event: Stephanie at Thoughts, Rants and Concerns, Elizabeth at A Mighty Good Yarn, Stephen (I hope I spelled it right) at Knitting Sweaters & Sitting Still, Stefanie at Just One of Those Days and Christina at TwistedString Knits.

Over at Junk Mail Gems, Gretchen is showing off another awesome amigurumi pattern for a Rocket Ship.

At Knit and Tonic Wendy talks about ease and how everyone wants you to buy socks.

Taking a detour into sewing, there's a contest to win a drawstring bag over at Pink Penguin.

On a completely non-knitting note, Carrie at ED Bites explains how MeMe Roth is hurting our children.

Crazy Aunt Purl talks about a year of avoiding buying non-essential items and "life-on-layaway."

There is a sale at The Knitting Nest, but you have to follow them on Twitter first. (And the sale is today.)

Finally, Needles and Things explains why Knitting Goes Large isn't so large.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Yarn Harlot is Coming! The Yarn Harlot is Coming!

I'm not sure how I managed to go three days without posting. Between the holiday and everything else, I either came home too late or fell asleep too early every night. The good news is that I'm about to get a lot of blog fodder.

The Yarn Harlot will be at BookPeople tomorrow, and I have a lot of "preparing" to do.

The Hill Country Weavers blog offered tickets to the special reception before the event for the first few people who e-mailed them. Of course, this was posted Monday, and somehow I didn't see it until today. I was sure they were all gone, but I e-mailed them anyway, just to be sure.

At the last minute, I got an e-mail saying they had room for me. There was an attachment with the actual ticket.

Now I'm extra excited. And somehow I've got to fly from work to a doctor appointment to BookPeople as fast as I can tomorrow.

Cherry Bomb Dries

Cherry Bomb needed to be washed again, which meant I washed the bathroom sink as well. The pink stripes still bleed a bit, but there was no drama like the first wash. I hastily swished it in Grapefruit Eucalan and laid it out on a small patch of floor by my dresser.

Cherry Bomb shows a bit too much arm for work, so I'll have to change at some point along the way. Hopefully it will dry quickly in a hot car.

Yarn for the Yarn Harlot

I also wound some yarn for the occasion. You'll see why later on. The red skein is KnitPicks Cadena in "Cranberry" and the green multi-colored ones are Misti Alpaca Hand Paint Chunky in "Lily Pad."

It's so nice to have a swift and a ball winder. I didn't have any problems like last time, even with the really chunky yarns.

Now I must go and do some casting on.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Blog Bits Saturday

It's Saturday, and I'm writing this ahead of time because I'll be busy. Enjoy your blog bits, and I'll be back.

On Rose-Kim Knits - Sushi Cupcakes!

Sarahspins has a pattern for a Knitted cover for your insulin.

Wendy of Knit and Tonic talks about the importance of knitting a gauge swatch.

Wendy Knits is putting out a free pattern for her Rivulets socks. Check out the Craig Ferguson video while you're there.

Empty Nest Knitters recently announced Franklin's next trip to The Knitting Nest. They also had a visit from Leslie recently.

The Mochimochi blog has a new pattern for Pile-able Pups.

Yarn Pirate got an awesome Pocket Wheel.

Check out the Bottle Cap Hot Pads over at the Hot Pads! and Potholders Swap.

Knit Buzz tells you how to win tickets to the reception with the Yarn Harlot.

Finally, on Unraveled they introduced the new Ravelry staff member, onestitchshort, (aka Sarah.) I wish her well, even though I didn't get the job.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Sheep Week Day 5: Sheep in Training

For the last day of sheep week, I share with you a very smart sheep going through some fairly intense clicker training.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Sheep Week Day 3: Bleating Sheep

Sheep can be pretty loud sometimes.









Edited to remove extra links.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Sheep Week Day 2: Burping Sheep

There seems to be no shortage of burping sheep on YouTube. I can't tell whether these are true burps, or just weird baas. Check it out.







Monday, May 18, 2009

Sheep Week Day 1: Baa Baa Black Sheep

There are so many cool sheep videos on YouTube, that I think this week should be "Sheep Week" on Sally Comes Unraveled. (Not to be confused with Shark Week on the Discovery Channel.)

Let's start with a cute video of little black lambs frolicking.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Shaun the Sheep



Was I the last one to find out that Shaun the Sheep from Wallace and Gromit: A Close Shave is getting his own DVD?

Check out the music video:

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Blog Bits Saturday

It's Saturday, it's raining, I just ate chorizo and it's time for blog bits.

On the J-Walk Blog, John points us to a blog entry from Google about how they're mowing their lawn with goats. Didn't Rose Kim do the same thing?

I already pointed out that the Yarn Harlot is coming to Austin. Also, she recently had an airport adventure that I think can be blamed on post 9/11 hysteria.

I saw an awesome quilt on Monster Crochet.

Over on Needles and Things, there are some interesting thoughts on Knitters and an explanation of why cold washing a fleece works.

I have to thank SpinalCat for the shout out. She is showing off her new combs.

There's some awesome crochet pr0n over at Attice24. (Isn't there always awesome crochet pr0n on Attic 24?)

My non-knitting post for this week is from Junkfood Science, which talks about how health messages can sometimes hurt children.

On Now Norma Knits, Norma is trying to identify an old Fair Isle sweater.

Wendy Knits is getting her own color in Lorna's Laces Color Commentary series, WendyKnits Sunrise.

Also, I found two contests in the blogosphere this week:

First, Knitgrrl tells us about a contest for 1,000 Fabulous Knit Hats.

Finally, the Berroco Design Studio Blog talks about blocking and gives away a a blocking kit.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Things that cut into my yarn budget: Gym Membership

Keys

Today I was fed up with feeling tired and depressed. Summer is always been hard on me. So I decided to join a gym. (That's my new gym card on the key ring.)

Joining today was a spur of the moment decision, but really I've been meaning to join since January. I even bought shorts, socks and sports bras months ago. But I kept putting off actually joining. Today a lot of things just built up, and I decided I didn't want to put off feeling better anymore.

I managed to find my shorts, socks and sports bras, but I forgot to bring a water bottle. I ended up spending $2 at the gym before my workout. At least I can refill the bottle.

Back in high school I had a gym membership, and I went almost everyday, so I knew what I was doing. I started slow with 20 minutes at 2 miles an hour on the treadmill. I also tried out some of the other cardio machines before I stretched and took a shower.

I forgot my towel, so I ended up using the free t-shirt I got that doesn't fit.

I did feel better afterward, although the feeling faded quickly. I'm hoping those endorphins build up over time. It will be interesting to see what happens because my fitness goals do not involve weight loss or, well, fitness. Only feeling better.

I joined Planet Fitness mostly because it's cheap. $29 initiation fee, $29 annual fee and $10. It's a no frills gym, but it will work for me.

Planet Fitness's big thing is that they're the "Judgement Free Zone." They even had a "Lunk Alarm" among all the purple and yellow. Supposedly it goes off if someone is being a lunk. (Grunting, dropping weights and/or judging people, according to the sign.)

I wonder if it really works. And who has the button.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Junior

Roving from "Junior"

Tonight I pulled out the llama roving from "Junior" that I bought at Kid 'n Ewe last year and started spinning it.

Llama Roving from "Junior"

The roving itself was thick. It naturally wanted to separate into 4 pieces of roving.

Llama roving from "Junior"

It's also very "rustic." This shot against the light lets you see all the little bits of vegetation in this piece of roving. It's tempting to try to pick out every piece as I spin it, but that would take forever. Instead I'm trying to leave it in and make spin a rougher yarn instead.

Llama from "Junior"

This is what I finished tonight. (You can see my pink leader.) This yarn definitely has more "grip" than the alpaca I'm working on. It makes the whole spinning process take longer.

Alpaca Single

Speaking of the alpaca, I've managed to spin all of it into singles. I need to get the other bobbin of alpaca from Mom's house so I can ply them. Until then, it can look nifty on my Lazy Kate in a corner of my house that's actually organized.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Chu-kichi's Muffler


It's amazing what a single strand of novelty yarn can do.

Monday, May 11, 2009

The Yarn Harlot is coming to Austin


In case you missed it, Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, aka The Yarn Harlot, is going to be at BookPeople on May 28. I'm debating what knitting to bring and what knitting to wear.

Time to get a copy of her latest book.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Back on the Wheel

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Before Christmas I started spinning this Alpaca. Half of the roving I bought is on a bobbin on Mom's wheel. Today, I finally got out my wheel and started spinning the other half.

The wheel is still a little wonky. I made some adjustments to the mother of all, but it still makes some noise that my Mom's wheel doesn't.

I'm using a strand of purple Patons Classic Merino Wool as a leader. I wonder if I should have chosen a lighter color. I don't think it will matter

This single may not be as nice as the first one, but at least I'm doing it. As you can see from the picture, I'm having to store the wheel next to a bookshelf. I move it to the living in the middle of a "high traffic zone" to actually spin.

I may breeze through the rest in the next day or two, and start working on the rest of my fiber by the end of the week.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Blog Bits Saturday

It's Saturday, and it's time for Blog Bits.

At Grumperina goes to local yarn shops and Home Depot, I discovered that I'm not the only one who is blocking potholders. (Later on, she talks to a crochet expert, and makes me question my potholders.)

Have you visited Attic 24? If not, go there now. Lucy's Thursday was so much better than mine.

At a A Day Late and a Dollar Short I read that there is a aale at SuperCrafty.com right now, and you can get a free shipping code on the blog.

The Fatosphere has nothing to do with knitting, but Mary's take on Kirstie Alley's weight gain is worth pointing out. I don't know if I agree with everything, but I feel like Kirstie Alley sold out. Fat Actress was a brilliant look at the insanity of chasing thinness, but then she went straight to Jenny Craig to get thin after it was over.

Thanks to One Scheme of Happiness for pointing us to the Swine-Flu Masque over at Splendor.

I want Ysolda's life. *Sigh* Go check out the video of her and Olga comparing knitting styles.

Finally, go read Verses Scrawled on the Back of an Old Ball Band, Found Abandoned on a Street Corner in Nantucket at The Pantopticon. Nice work, Franklin. (I suspect the title is some poetry reference that I'm missing.)

Friday, May 8, 2009

WIP: Jen's Purse

WIP: Jen's Purse

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, I promised my friend Jen that I'd knit her a purse. Nearly a year later, I'm actually doing it.

We actually spent a long time planning it. It's going to be a drawstring backpack. I'm still debating how to do the drawstring. And I'm not doing it in the round because I want it to be rectangular. I also need to get some awesome fabric for lining it.

I'm using Dark Horse Yarns Fantasy in Hunter. It's a nylon/acrylic blend that's buttery soft. I may make a sweater with it someday. Or definitely the softest (but still durable enough for my apartment) afghan ever.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Yarn (Store) Pr0n: Unwind

Unwind

So here's the deal.

On my last trip to California, I visited Unwind. And it was awesome.

And somehow I never blogged about it. Until now.

It's been a while since the trip, but I wanted to give the shop it's proper review. I don't remember as many details as I'd like, but I wanted to at least share the pictures.

The great wall of Lorna's Laces

The Knitting Nest has a wall of Cascade, Wildfiber has a wall of Koigu, and Unwind has a wall of Lorna's Laces. (I'm pretty sure this is all Shepherd Sock.) So pretty. I was tempted to buy some, but I decided I had enough Shepherd Sock in my stash.

Silk and Cashmere Blends

Also, I drooled (but not literally) over this basket filled with cashmere and silk blends. The owners at unwind did a great job of combining yarns in the shop. (Like the Berroco yarns.)

Cherry Tree Hill Limited Edition Sept 2008 - Burnished Berry

I did buy a skein of this. This is Cherry Tree Hill Limited Edition sock yarn for September 2008. The colorway is "Burnished Berry." Yummy.

Unwinding at Unwind

There was a friendly group of knitters gathered at the shop. You could tell they were regulars. I wish I remembered their names.

P5210018

The dog was also a regular.

Getting my yarn wound at Unwind

I was impressed by the ball winder. It's unlike any other I've seen. (See it in action here.)

Yarn Selection from Unwind

The details have faded, but the yarn remains. You can see what I bought in detail here.

All my pictures from Unwind are here. I wish I had posted this sooner, but it feels good knowing I did it. If you are a regular at Unwind, please leave a comment and tell us more.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Dinner on Oprah


One day on the bus in high school, some guy tried to convince me, and everyone else around him, that Kentucky Fried Chicken was genetically engineering chickens so they had six legs. (Legs are the most popular piece, after all.) That's why they started calling it "KFC" instead of Kentucky Fried Chicken. Legally, they were no longer serving chicken, but some sort of chicken.

But I digress...

I saw the first part of yesterday's Oprah last night, enough to find out about her deal with KFC to give everyone in America a free meal. You can download coupons for free two-piece grilled chicken meal here.

I managed to forget about the deal until coupons started circulating at work. The coupons say not photocopies, but how do you tell if a coupon is a photocopy when it's been printed out from the internet?

So I snagged a couple of coupons and after work Jules and I headed over to our local Kentucky Fried Chicken for dinner.

There's been word of riots in some places. We didn't see any of that. We did have to wait about half an hour for a meal, and they had run out of white meat by the time we got there. (We were reminded of this by the staff members yelling "no white meat" at each other.) The staff was understandably stressed. Jules and I were glad we didn't work at KFC.

I'd been skipping a lot of the free meals being offered in the last few months because of the long lines. I think KFC got it right by issuing coupons and giving everyone more than one day. It was busy, but not too crazy.

But even if the chicken (or mutant) is grilled, you have to wonder what Oprah was thinking.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Gonzo the Great

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Today I went back to the sleep doctor and got a new mask for my CPAP.

A month after I took it home, I'm still having trouble sleeping with the CPAP. Although I've gotten used to the pressure, I can't get used to the mask. The doctor said most people have trouble with the full face mask that I have been using. The thing is that I'm a mouth breather by nature. They can give me a chin strap to keep my mouth closed, but the idea of not being able to breath through my mouth makes me feel like I'm suffocating. (Even if I'm not having any trouble breathing through my nose.)

The smaller mask is a nice change, but I'm still skeptical. I'll have to see if tonight is better.

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Now I look like Gonzo.


Monday, May 4, 2009

*Insert Swine Flu Joke Here*


I can't quite tell if these pigs are knit or crocheted. I think they're crocheted.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Swatching Sunday: What happened here?

Decimal Swatch

It's tough to tell here, (a slightly bigger picture may help), but this Decimal swatch has some issues. I got my eyelets to line up properly, but not my purl bumps .

The pattern stitch is in multiples of ten plus three, so I cast on 33 stitches. However, I'm now noticing that the different sizes of the actual sweater all call for casting on multiples of five. I think I didn't account for the added first and last stitch in the actual sweater.

This was knit with KnitPicks Gloss in "Cosmos" and US Size 2 aluminum needles. It's unwashed and unblocked.

I'm going to try this one more time with 35 stitches before I order the yarn for the actual sweater.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Blog Bits Saturday

It's been a long time since I've done a Blog Bits Saturday. I think it's time to start it up again.

The Knitty Blog - The Knitty Yarn Shop Swag shop (say that ten times fast) is now open, and carrying special notepads to refer people to Knitty patterns. The person who recommended this is named Stacy, and at one point she had a Knitting Nest blog. Could it be our Stacy? It sounds like something she would do.

Keep on Knitting in the Free World - A link to a great story about an earthquake survivor who knit to stay alive. (If you read the story, it was actually crochet.)

Mochimochi Blog - A review of The Knitted Odd-bod Bunch.

One Scheme of Happiness - A great free pattern for a double knit hat called Slither Round My Head.

Knit Buzz - According to the Hill Country Weavers' blog, the shop is now carrying the Handknit Heroes comic book.

Rose-Kim Knits - Rose has finished two sweaters that I want to knit, Diminishing Ribs and Bountiful Bohus.

Junk Mail Gems Blog - An awesome pattern for an Amigurumi Robot.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Recycled Yarn Ball

Recycled Yarn Ball

Have I ever talked about my recycled yarn ball on this blog?

I started making these at some point in middle school when I was crocheting. I saved all the leftover pieces of yarn and tied them together until I had a decent size ball. Once I crocheted a snake with it. (Back then the pieces of yarn were longer.) I remember mentioning that I recycled yarn in a class project in the sixth grade. (Looking back, "reuse" was probably a better term.)

I started saving pieces of yarn and tying them together when I started knitting again around 2004 or 2005. In January of 2007 I made a scarf for the Etsy Upcycle Contest. I got so attached to it, I priced it at $50 in hopes that it wouldn't sell. (It didn't.)

As I knit that scarf, I relived all my previous projects. I enjoyed it so much, I've made a point of saving a little bit of yarn from each project I make for the ball. Really, it's more of a scrapbook. (Scrapball?)

So now that it's getting bigger, I'm wondering what to knit (or crochet) with it. I think a garment is out. I'm thinking about knitting a wider rectangle and just making a wall hanging. Or maybe I'll crochet a bowl for my coffee table. I've thought about a pillow or a purse, but I need something that will take less of a beating. I usually use one set of needles for the entire projects, so the gauge tends to be loose. It works better than knitting the thicker yarns too tight or changing needles frequently.

Or should I wait until it gets even bigger?

Any thoughts? I'll have to get all the little bits of yarn at the bottom of my knitting bags before I actually do anything.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

A Few More Odds and Ends

Gauge Yarn Sale

I didn't get to post this picture from Gauge on Saturday before, and I wanted to share it. They had a bunch of marked down yarns set up back there. I want my apartment to look like this. (Yarn included.)

I also forgot to mention that I officially found out that I didn't get the Ravelry job. Considering that 1,500 people applied, I'm not letting myself get down over it.

P Mates

Finally, I had to show everyone my P-Mates that I won from Norma. I haven't used them yet, since I'm saving them for swimming or some other activity where they'll came in handy. It turns out I had it wrong before. I didn't win three P-Mates, I won one package of five P-Mates. (Three people won.)

(You can buy P-Mates here.)

Thanks Norma!