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.


(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.


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

Sheep Week Day 4: Sheep Transportation

These little goats won't leave this sheep alone.

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


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


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 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


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.


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.