Thursday, October 27, 2011

Wedding post 1

So, you know I haven't been around a lot lately. And you know that it's pretty much because of this whole wedding thing that's been taking all of my non-work time (and I don't exactly get a lot of non-work time!)

So, this will be a little of a scattered post, but I'll try to briefly tell the story (since I just got married and now I'm going to be gone for 2 weeks on my honeymoon)

So, remember a year and a half ago? Well, this guy I was really into got me one of these and so I got engaged.

And then I did some of this:

which is basically spinning this:

And somewhere along the way we bought a house.
(That's its own long story!)

And then my friend on the other side of the country spent some time making me a dress, which I had pinned on by a different friend...

And the person who pinned it happened to be my "Maid of Science" so I wove her a scarf.

And then I had to make some centerpieces for the wedding. This was the original proto-type, but we eventually decided to lose the feathers...

And then my friend Snoopy had some fiber he needed spun for his mom's friend:

Oh, and then my friends lovingly did my hair and makeup on the big day and I had to make my garters talk to my mom. [Oh, were you expecting me to post pictures and be all "I'm so pretty la la la"...? Nah, first you get the funny one :) ] [besides, this cracks me up everytime I look at it. I was litterally talking in this weird low voice like my garter was a lounge singer.....don't ask)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

India post 3 - 2011

This post is going to be about Traffic in India. If you've never been there, it's hard to explain what traffic is like in India, but let's start with the cars. Or should I say Cabs? The parts of India I visit are commuter societies. People are always walking, running, driving, GOING somewhere. And the cars and traffic support this. For example, below I've linked some pictures of the cute little 3 wheeler cab that is very prevalent. I've never been in one as my drivers always drive either little SUVs or sedans (the luxury of a company driver). 

So, here are some basic observations about Indian Traffic:
1. Lanes don't mean anything. Neither does right of way. If there is space, take it, or someone else will. Whoever noses in and pushes ahead deserves to be there.

2. Honking is required. Oh yes, Required. Honking is not rude in India - like it is in the US. I asked an Indian with whom I was sharing a cab home from work late one night what was up with all the honking. He said that it means "here I am" or "I'm coming up on you" or even "warning, I'm here." One big truck I saw had "please honk" written on the back. So go-figure.

3. If a pedestrian looks at you motions with his hand, he will walk in front of your vehicle.
4.  If a pedestrian motions with his hand, he will walk in front of your vehicle.
5. If a pedestrian is anywhere near the road, he will walk in front of your vehicle.

And here is my work volunteer project - chemo caps. Work allows us to take a half day to volunteer every year, the knitting group at work decided to put our skills to use. Sadly, I couldnt be there for the knit-in - and I also couldn't afford to take the half day off since I was on business travel. So I did it on my own on the weekend. We made more than 30 hat!

And here were some socks (yarn is flat foot) that I was working on during the trip (I finished them already, this pic is from the trip).

Thursday, July 07, 2011

India post 2 - 2011

Alright, I promised more posts about India, so let me continue the saga with the First Hotel I stayed at. Below are some pictures of my little apartment, (you know, before I found the roaches and had to go somewhere else.......and thow away my toothbrush)

First up - the living room. You may not be able to tell from this distance, but that's a really nice leather love seat. The furniture was pretty nice in this place, overall - it did seem a little spartan, plain, but I was only there for sleeping, so that didn't really matter.

Here is the little kitchen which is in a nook next to the living room. I had a fridge, a sink, a microwave, and a toaster. There were also some plates. I had no washing supplies, though. This is where I cooked my easy mac at midnight to keep me from getting sick off the Malaria pills.

This is easy mac - my dinner approximately 5 nights in a row. I can't bare to really even think about it right now. It's not real food. Real food is not that color. Thank you, easy mac, for keeping from getting sick, but please wink yourself out of existence until I need you again. You are seriously grossing me out.

Here is my bedroom. I had two twin beds pushed togther - not quite sure why.

 Here is the view from the other side

 Here is my bathroom - note the bucket and pitcher where you would normally expect, oh, I don't know, shower curtain.

Here's me on my way to work in my Indian clothes

And here was a little slice of heaven after lunch. Mango Cheesecake.

And here are the famous socks, toes kitchenered.

India post 1 - 2011

Well, I may be back from India, but I had no time to blog while I was there. That's the trouble with business trips - you think you'll have all of this time, but instead you end up working the full day + in meetings and trainings, etc, and then working some of the day for your normal time-zone. In India, that equates for me to working from 8am Indian time to about 7pm Indian time, taking half an hour to grab dinner at work, and then working until around 11pm (or 10:30am my office time). At that point, it's the hour cab ride  back to the hotel so you can fall into bed in order to be able to get up for cab again at 7 am. That's how it goes. It's good, but doesn't leave a lot of time for other things. 

Speaking of other things - do you know what my main amusement was while I was there? KNITTING. Actually, let's begin with what I did on my way to India. That's right, I knitted an ENTIRE PAIR of socks!! See below for the progress pics during my 26 hours in transit. 
The Beginning.

Showing that I am at Heathrow Airport with the heel flap done and the gusset started.

Interesting aside: did you know that in England, women wear poofy mini-dresses, and have two legs (according to their bathroom signs)? I guess this is one of the big differences between American and English women. American woman (according to our bathroom signs) have one central leg and a-line knee-length skirts. According to both signs, neither group of women has any arms or feet, and all shave their heads.

Back to the sock pictures. ere is my foot with the mostly done sock in super comfy economy class. See, I could almost manage to stretch out my entire foot.

Here we are at landing. Note, I am calling these "Done" and saying that I knitted an entire pair of socks because the knitting was done. As some of you know, you cannot take a tapestry needle on the plane. So, I had to wait to kitchener the toes. If only I had learned the knitted kitchener that Gigi tried to teach me....

I leave you with a couple of pictures of the Indian countryside from my window.

I may secretly have taken a bunch of pictures, so expect a few more posts about my trip to India - provided I get the time to blog!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Well, well well......been a while, hasn't it? I wish I could say that I was too busy having tons of fun to write, but mostly it was that I was working a lot because I am getting all sorts of fun responsibilities at work (no, seriously). You know what responsibilities are good for? My career at awesome company X where I work. Do you know what they aren't good for? Keeping up on the blog. The sad part is that it isn't that I haven't wanted to write, I have. I make up blog posts in my mind all the time. It's the actual sitting down and writing them that tends to be the stumbling block. As usual, it all comes back to time.

So how about a quick update?
  • wedding planning is continuing: next items are nailing down catering, photographer, and wedding cake flavors and style
  • milestone shawl was started - 3 times. The Skaska yarn (cobweb weight) is simply too thin for the shawl - the nupps just won't be done - the strands can't be moved to the other needle reliably, and my nails are too thick to assist (yeah, my frikkin NAILS are too thick. That is some thin yarn!)
  • work - going to India - looks like mid June
  • Fiber Festivals - 1 on June 4th, maybe also BSG at the end of June

So, enough with the talk - how about the pictures?

 Look at this!! This is a journal made for me by one of the podcast listeners. Isn't this cool? Now, look by the girl's hand - that's a zombie. It's hard to tell from here, but it's ambling toward this poor girl from the background. Isn't that hilarious? I was DYING when I saw that, I must have laughed until I cried. 
And speaking of the podcast - have you listened yet? - you can download it on iTunes.

 What's this? Another listener gift!! This awesome bookmark. You can't really see it in the picture, so let me explain. It's a zombie wrapped in yarn and it says: "Zombies are crap at Knitting." :)

 But the tour-de-force, as it were, is this. Can you see this? It's another listener gift! A chenille crocheted She-Ra teddy bear! It's got a blonde web, a hand-made sword, a blonde wig, and a voice box. It plays the beginning of She-Ra's transformation sequence - from "For the Honor of Greyskull" through the first couple of "She-Ra"s. So cool. I have been hugging the crap out of this little chick, hand crocheted She-Ra outfit and all.

This may be sort of a creepy photo, but focus on the tiara!! You see that? Smartest Monkey just finished making it for me for my Steampunk Wonder Woman outfit! It's made from a silver-colored tiara with a deep blue stone. The mods were cutting off the stone, spray painting it brass, and affixing the star after drilling a hole in the tiara to accommodate it. The star was made from a 2 silver star military decoration we purchased from the  military surplus store. Smartest Monkey separated the two stars, spray painted them red, and then drilled a hole in the tiara so he could slide the pin portion of the star into the tiara - then had to affix a piece of foam so that it wouldn't dig into me too much and also to cover the pin back of the star. 
The rest of the costume pieces are still in progress. We have about 2 days until I need to wear it. You know, I did buy some bright red GoGo boots, which might say that I need to make a real Wonder Woman outfit rather than a steam punk one. Ah well. Costumes are always a work in progress.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

April Project Round -Up!

So, another month of knitting over, and what did I accomplish?
Well, not that much. Check the stats:
  • 1 Japanese Garden Shawl (FOR MEEEEEEE!!) - note this was made from hand spun yarn :)
  • 1 Daybreak (FOR MEEEEEE!!)
  • 3 pairs of baby booties (for ChariTEEEEEE!!) (See what I did there?)
So, the selfish index for this month is amazing compared to earlier months this year.
Selfish index for April 11 is 40%! It would have been even better except that I felt guilty and churned out those three pairs of baby booties right before month-end.

You know the drill, photos of the projects which have not been posted are below (in other words, if you want to see my fancy handknit, handspun shawl, you have to go back one post)

Daybreak in progress is a hot mess:

 Daybreak done is a hot piece: (I've worn it now two days in a row since it came off the blocking wires and may make it three days tomorrow)

And now for the crappy cell phone picture of proof! (do you see that awesome star trek communicator shawl pin? My Feff rocks)
And the preemie booties: I'm especially happy with these because the green ones are left over from my pair of monkey socks.  

Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Japanese Garden Shawl

And here we see a picture of the Japanese Garden Shawl (by Wendy D Johnson) finally blocking. I've been calling this the "two week shawl," because that's about how long it took me. It wasn't so quick because it was super-easy, or small, it was quick because the lace patt was memorable and I had hours of dedicated knitting time when I was flying to and from CampKIP. I didn't do a lot of knitting on it when I was at camp because I was too busy being social and doing other things. But plane rides....those are just made for knitting lace off of a chart. Oh, and if you're wondering what those white blotches are - that's sheets of paper I shoved between the shawl and the blocking squares so that you could actually see the lace pattern in a picture. Does help, doesn't it? And in case it doesn't help enough, below are a couple of additional pictures of the lace (more of the close-up variety) so that you can see both more of the lace pattern and the hand spun yarn that I made it out of.

Now, on to something which has to do with crafting, but not fibre. Strange, I know. Below is a craft project that the finacee has been working on for me for my Steampunk Wonder Woman outfit. What you see in this first picture is a picture of the bracers, the practice, and the raw material.

 This is his practice piece. What you can see in this picture is a bit of the pattern on the raw material. The raw material, by the way, is an old cookie tin that we picked up at Good Will. It's a thin metal with some sort of raised paper overlay - not that we could tell that at the time. The Fiancee - GMan, took some metal snips and cut the bottom out and discarded it. Then he took a portion of it off and tried different ways of putting holes into it. Since we determined that my bracers should be lace-up with leather thongs, there were two things we had to be able to do: Accomodate the width of the thongs and also give them somewhere to lace that wouldn't shred them. That meant grommets. So he worked on the material with a few different tools to find a way to drill the holes without damaging the paper overlay which had the floral pattern. He also had to think of a way that I would be able to wear the bracer without having my arm and wrist be shredded. The solution was to turn down the sharp edges he had cut as well as possible and then cover them over with superglue. Very inventive - but then, that's why I love him!

And here is the final product!
Is this amazing or what?

Monday, April 25, 2011

Weekend Shenanigans - Cooking!

So, I had a fairly action-packed weekend. The Friday Night Potluck was Scottish food and So I Married an Axe Murderer - an early 90s movie starring the very young Mike Meyers. He's so young. It's flipping adorable. The Friday Night Potluck usually means that I end up sleeping in longer than I intend on Saturday - and this weekend was no different.

So, after getting up and grabbing some breakfast at The Breakfast Place, we drove out to Oakland to the theater where G-man's group (brass farthing)  is holding rehearsals for the upcoming Harmony Sweeps Nationals Competition. After that, we stopped by a costume shop where I scored a military outfit (a REAL ONE) for $10 - and then to the hair shop where I got a couple of new hairpieces for upcoming costumes. I'm not making promises, but one of them, which I'm going to use for my Steampunk Wonder Woman, would be perfect for a Deanna Troi costume if I ever could see myself putting on a cat-suit.

Then it was suddenly Sunday and I had to get up for yoga after giving the fiance Easter candy in bed. Everything is better with pink peeps - that is a genuine fact.  After yoga, there was a long coffee and knitting session with my Feff, Jasmin. The outcome? I ended up hitting the store for a few ingredients and then spent the day cooking - mostly to use things I'd already bought but that were going bad too fast to be used in dinners. What did I make? A quiche! What else would I make with a billion of free eggs from the neighbors? What would you have made?

I made one big quiche with asparagus, onions, sun dried tomato sausage, and garlic - and then muffin-sized quiches (the fiance's idea) with asparagus and artichoke hearts.  These are pictured at right, in their pre-egg stage. you can also see the huge bowl of cheese ear-marked for these babies! After they were done, the fiancee and I ate the big one for lunch, for dinner, and probable for dinner again tonight (with salad, of course). The muffin-sized ones were breakfast treats this morning - and probably for the rest of the week.

And then, well, I had a lot of zucchini I thought I'd use, but didn't - and it was getting.....ummm.....not appetizing. I figured, why not make zucchini bread? It can't be that hard, can it? And, besides, I should probably point out that I have been cultivating some zucchini plants from seed since Feb - I think 6 or 8 of them have survived and not been given away. If you've ever had zucchini plants, you know that if they produce, I'm going to be have enough zucchini for a small country.  I'm kind of looking forward to it. I made this loaf from a free recipe online, so I won't be sharing it. But I did have to cut down the sugar -WTF does one loaf of bread need 2.25 cups of sugar for? About 3/4 of a cup did just fine, thank you. And it was super-tasty. I'm going to be taking a few pieces in to work tomorrow for taste tests from co-workers. The rest will probably be gone on or before tomorrow. Good thing I already have the next batch if zucchini grated and ready.

Friday, April 22, 2011

New Neighbors and what's on Spindlina

 So, those of you who have listened to episode 100 of my podcast ( know that I'm very big on community - on making connections with others based on shared interests or other characteristics. Let me talk for a moment about neighbors.

I put "New Neighbors" in the post title - but that may be a little misleading - Smartest Monkey (my future spouse) and I are the new ones to the neighborhood. We ARE the new neighbors. But that doesn't change the fact that all the neighbors in the 'hood are new to me. When we were buying our amazing house (yet to be named), we were warned about having some nosy neighbors and had their house pointed out. These neighbors have since done the following:

  • Given friendly waves and smiles when we see them
  • Introduced themselves when we moved in on Halloween and they were taking their son trick-or-treating
  • Left a welcome present when the house became ours of a card and a nice flowering plant
  • Left homegrown peppers on our doorstep
  • Left us a Christmas card and an assortment of home-made cookies
  • And, yesterday, I came home to this:

Given these events - and that even our one next-door neighbor doesn't really seem to like to interact, I think I'll take the "nosy neighbors" over the others any day. FRESH EGGS - more than a dozen of them - waiting for me after work, for free? Yes, please!

Since we live on a corner, across the street from a nice little elementary school turned park and community center, we only have one next door neighbor and one back yard neighbor. The houses on our street all face the park, like ours does (which I like to take walks in and which cheers me up by seeing kids play in every day with their responsible and engaged parents - but that's another topic). I've noticed that, except for the nice neighbors which are leaving us occasional cards and food, there isn't really a sense of community in our neighborhood, and I want to work on that. I know some people won't care or want to participate, but others might. Since I grew up 4 houses away from my childhood best friend and always had a place to go for help when any disasters came up - I'm a firm believer in knowing your neighbors and who belongs in your neighborhood and who might be coming in to deal drugs, hurt children, or rob houses. Communities should know each other, take care of each other - keep an eye out for each other's kids/pets/homes/emergencies. That's what I want my community to be. So, that's my new goal. I'm going to enlist the present-leaving neighbor and see if she and her family are willing to work on building that community with me - starting with barbeques and potlucks. I want my future children to know the names and phone numbers of thier neighbors and who they can go to if they have a problem. I want my neighbor's children to know they can come to me if they need help someone breaks in, etc. (Can you tell I stumbled upon the aftermath of my house being robbed as a child?)

/end rant

And in AMAZINGLY BEAUTIFUL news, I give you the most recent bat I've been plying from Susan's Kitchen.

Now, I think this may be a little too warm of a pink for me - but it really is fun to spin. It's basically a touch of dark grey with a ton of warm pink and warm pinkish purple. Just like her other bat that I spun which I called my Storm Cloud - this has a neat blend of fibers and a ton of sparkle-appeal. I have two more bats from her left to spin - one is a mix of colors and sparkle that looks like a peach. The other looks like a green apple with dew on it., They are both terribly pretty.  I have to spin more.....quick, someone find me more hours in the day!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Daybreaking My Heart

Alright, so I'm holding a Daybreak knitalong on my podcast (Brass Needles)( which is part of a larger knitalong that came out of CampKIP.  The Daybreak is an amazingly beautiful pattern by the extremely talented Stephen West.  The reason this knitalong came about was that at CampKIP, a number of people has made and were wearing their Daybreaks. A number of us decided we wanted to have our own - and thus a knitalong was born. Mr. West even gave us a discount code for $2 off the pattern (good until the end of April '11 - you can find it by listening to Brass Needles ep 100).

So, diligent knitalonger that I am - I purchased the yarn at CampKIP and then cast on about a week after I got home. The pattern is fairly simple - very straightforward and well written. But that didn't stop me from messing it up. Best mess-up ever:

ME:  *breaks yarn for color A*
FEFF: Why did you break the yarn?
ME: Because I'm done with it. I'm done with the stripes.
FEFF: Done forever?
ME: Yeah - I'm done with the stripes.  *gloats*
FEFF: Really?
MeE Yeah. I'm done with the stripes. I did all of them.  *looks at pattern*
PATT: Do X amount of stripes of each color.
ME: Huh - well......I guess I WILL be weaving in ends on this thing. *looks ruefully at pattern like it might change*

But, well, how could I be upset? Look at how wonderful this little piece of heaven is turning out! But it is (day)breaking my heart to have to do the same amount of stripes again - the rows are only getting longer. And I have to contact the yarn manufacturer (who will remain nameless at this point) - because the yarn is not fully saturated with color - it is not as important with colorways like this - especially in a pattern like this where variegation is a plus. However, this was pretty damn pricey for sock yarn (as in twice as much as I usually pay), so I am unhappy with the quality of the dye job. I shouldn't be able to find undyed parts in the core of the yarn.

This is twice now that I've had the same problem - and that's both in the same month! First it was with the Japanese Garden Shawl pattern by Wendy D. Johnson. It has three charts - and I foolishly assumed that I finish each one and BAM! am done with the shawl. So, after finishing 2, I realized there was a problem, went back and read the pattern, and found that I had to do the chart 4 MORE TIMES. I think this is a basic flaw in my personality - or loose wiring in my brain - or something! I also have the problem that I can't seem to follow recipes for cooking either, which seems pretty similar to me......

 But, you know what, don't worry. After one can be too broken up when they have shoes like this to look forward to wearing tomorrow: