Stitchy McYarnpants

Confessions of a husband-neglecting, cat-shooing, yarn-hoarding knitaholic. But in a good way.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Here Comes Michael Cottontail

Well, it’s Easter and with the preponderance of bloggers posting photos and step-by-step instructions about dying yarn and roving lately, I have decided that eggs and wool are not the only thing that should be able to enjoy a dip into the dye pot.

Check out this fantastic fiber I have! Look at that unique crimping! Its luxuriously soft and warm and I have a bunch of it! But gray is so . . . I dunno . . . gray? So I’ve decided to make it blue! I tried to catch a few steps on camera to help anyone else who has similar fiber to work with. A lot of you do and you don’t even know it!

I give you: “Stitchy’s Guide to Live Dying”!!**

Here are some of the tools you will need:
A large pot with a cover, food coloring of your choice (I’m using a tube of the gel kind), tongs, and a pair of oven mitts to handle the roving. You really have to be careful as it can be very hard to maneuver.

First, place the roving into the pot of water with all of the color added. Use a very low heat. You don’t want to cook the little guy. There’s not nearly enough meat on there to do anyone any good.

Cover tightly for about 30 minutes or until all the color is gone from the water.

The roving will dry naturally as it runs all over the house willy-nilly. The benefit of Live Dying is that the fur retains its lustrous softness throughout the process. Just look at that sheen. Check out Chi-Chi in the background. His jaw has literally dropped at the beauty of Mike’s faboo new fur. And Dot’s tongue is hanging out in desire for such finery.

Here is the most plush and coveted section of the roving - the tail. Just look at that loft. This is going to be one heck of a scarf! When it grows back, I think I’ll try to do something in autumnal colors.

I won't be posting photos of us harvesting the fur. Those would be too graphic and bloody for my dear, delicate readers. Mike has very sharp nails.

I think we’re also going to try some psychedelic Tie-Dot fiber soon, too! Duuuude!

And now, here’s a special holiday message from our official Easter spokesbunny – the Drunken Rabbit in Yellow Pants!

“Huh? Oh . . . Izz springtime an you know wha that . . . hic . . . you know wha . . . hic . . youknowhathat meansss. Time to exploit the bunnies and little baby chi . . . hic . . . chicks. Nice! Why don you people chop of your own feet for luck an see how you like it? Hop down the freakin bunny trail on THAT! Lousy, rotten . . . hic . . .lousy, rotten . . . uuuurp. An another thing, who the hell invented those Cadbury Creme eggs? I love those things, maaan. Hap . . . hic . . . Hippy Essss . . . Happy Erssta . . . Happy Eeeezter! ~belchhh~

**No, I don’t really put my cat into a pot of water and I beg of you, please don’t try it. It’s a joke and Mike was crammed full of treats for an hour after we took these pictures. He has forgiven us.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Vacation Debriefing

We’re baaaaack! We’ve been baaaaack for over a week, actually. Whenever I take time off work, it takes twice as long as I took off to catch up. It’s been a crazy week and looks like it will continue to be for a while. Yech.

How was our vacation, you ask? Well, let me start with a brief disclaimer. Anyone who knows me at least enough to recognize me in a lineup knows that I have trouble with the whole concept of time and it’s relation to me being anywhere at any given point. It’s totally annoying and rude and makes everyone seethe with anger. Unfortunately, my inner clock is a few cuckoos short of normal and it’s just the way I am. It’s been that was since I was a child and received “N”s (Not Satisfactory) on grammar school report cards in the box next to “Uses time wisely”. I’ll issue a blanket apology now that is good through eternity to anyone who I ever need to meet at a specific time. I am very sorry for my lateness.

My brother, who estimates that everything takes 5 minutes, no matter what it is (Our cuckoos were installed by the same manufacturer.), drove us to the airport. We had some time to kill (Warning! Danger, Will Robinson!), so we went to get some Sunday breakfast. Jon is a perpetually early person. Loves to be early, that guy. As we waited for our check, I was teasing him because he was getting anxious about being late. “The airport is just 5 minutes away!” said my brother reassuringly.

Yadda yadda

They wouldn’t let us check in our bags as it was just 25 minutes until our flight. To me, 25 minutes seems like puh-lenty of time, but whatever. Apparently the only other flight to Miami that would get us there in time was booked and the nice lady at the desk offered us standby. I imagined the horns of the Love Boat sounding as they took off, people throwing confetti at us as we missed our cruise. But I stayed calm and the nice lady finally worked out a connecting flight to Baltimore, then Miami that would get us there in the nick of time. Hey! I love the nick of time!

Yadda yadda

They lost our luggage. Fast forward through the stressful wait in the line to talk to the emotionally void staff who talk to pissed-off people about their long lost luggage all day. I won’t bore you with the details of our conversation, just know that I explained a number of times that we had to catch our cruise boat in an hour, only to be asked “So where will you be tonight?” I could only tell the truth as I knew it. “Middle of the ocean.”

Yadda yadda

Tuesday night, we were finally reunited with our luggage as we pulled out of Cozumel. It flew out to meet us, how thoughtful. By then, the change of clothing we had packed in our carry-on at Jon’s suggestion (thank you, Jon) were at peak ripeness. So happy were we at the reunion, we cheered. Then Jon welcomed the big suitcase in such a special way that I think he and it are legally wed in some countries.

The rest of the cruise was delightfully uneventful, despite the fact that it was spring break and our boat was crammed with drunken college students. We lounged, we sipped cocktails, we watched cheesy onboard entertainment, we dined frequently. It rocked.

And the burning question: Did I finish my Chickami in time to wear it in the cruise???


But I got close. I finished the straps on the plane home and haven’t even attached them yet. But I’m pretty pleased with it. It only started pooling at the top where it gets separated into two pieces. I never did get to the Koigu. At least I had something to look forward to post-vacation.

And here is the hoodie, blocking and preparing itself for seaming.

It's good to be back. It's better to be on vacation.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Wrap up.

Jon and I are taking off for a Caribbean cruise tomorrow, so I figured I'd write up a quick post to publicly apologize for abandoning the cats on favor of icy Pina Coladas and non-stop buffets for a week. Sucks to be you, kitties.

I also wanted to cover a few things before leaving. First is that I had a freaking blast last week celebrating Wendy's birthday in JP. I love me some Wendy. My gal Melanie was in attendance and I had the pleasure of meeting Elisa and Jackie, two great, funny bloggers, and all-around good-time Charleys. It's so good to know that the internet houses such wonderful people. I also met a bunch of non-blogging-but-still-totally-cool friends of Wendy's. I can't wait for her to age another year so we can do it again!

Next, I wanted to concur with Melanie about our first (and last) trip to Wild and Wooly in Lexington. I realize that a lot of people are loyal customers, so it can't be all that bad. It's a nice store with a huge selection of yarn, but we felt extremely uncomfortable with the sales woman on duty. As soon as we walked in, she asked if we needed help or were looking for anything in particular. I appreciate this and often take people up on the offer. But this time we thanked her and told her we were just looking around. I think she may have decided not to like us when we asked about the pricing of yarns. None of the actual yarn labels are priced individually. It turns out that either the shelf is labeled or you have to ask. Maybe she thought we were cheapskates. In my case, she would have been correct in that assumption. What can I say, I love yarn that's on sale. Is that so wrong?

Anyhoo, we wandered around ooh-ing and aah-ing and touching the pretty yarns. I've never actually spent much time with Rowan yarn, so I lingered a little, trying to get a feel for the different types I've heard so much about. Again, she asked if we needed any help finding something in particular. We politely declined, repeating that we were just looking. There were lots of books to dig through, so we were poking around. A few minutes later, she came around the corner and said "You're still here?" and started handing different books to us. Books we either had already seen or would have gotten to. She seemed frustrated and it weirded us out. It sounded like she was wishing we had gone. With that, we made our way downstairs. The woman there asked us if we needed anything, we said no thanks and that was that. It was entirely pleasant to browse through the vast selection of yarn. When we were done, we thanked her and headed upstairs where we were greeted with "Oh! You're still here?" With that, we abandoned any thought of loitering long enough to make a purchase and left. It was very uncomfortable. Maybe some stores don't want people just looking around, but I rarely go into a yarn store with something exact in mind. Maybe it was just a bad day. Maybe we just didn't seem like we were going to spend a bunch of money and we were taking up floor space. Who knows. But it's one of those things I felt I should share. I'm not advocating anyone boycott the place, I just figured I'd mention it.

We ended up going to the always warm and friendly Knitting Room in Arlington where I bought some Feeling and some Berroco Suede (on-sale Berroco Suede - mmmmm). While we were there, someone dumped an entire cup of iced coffee on all of the books. The woman working there dealt with it so beautifully. I was impressed with her grace and kindness to the extremely embarrassed and apologetic customer.

In knitting news, my hoodie is just about done! I decided to try blocking before seaming to see of that makes it easier. I haven't had time yet, so when I get back, that will be the project at hand. I'm looking forward to wearing it. It's the less sophisticated little sister of Melanie's newly finshed (and beautiful) Rogue. It's made of the same yarn, some is even the same color. Hers has a hood, mine has a hood! Hers has a front pocket, mine has a front pocket! Hers has amazingly intricate cables throughout, mine . . . is covered in cat hair and pizza crumbs.

Last, I wanted to show you what I'd be doing while floating around the deep blue sea. I started another Bonne Marie Burns brand ChicKami. It's a variegated (yes, I failed Spellcheck again with this word) yarn (Endless Summer Sonanta, thank you Elann!) that I was all set to hate, but I really like the stripeyness of the yarn. It's not pooling as badly as I was afraid it would. My goal is to be wearing this before the cruise is over (on Friday - booooo!)

I also got Lavish Lace that was delivered in light speed from Amazon. I didn't expect it to arrive so soon and I couldn't be more delighted. What a gorgeous book! I have 4 skeins of Koigu KPPPM (my first ever) and will pick something to make while I'm lounging in the sun.

There's not a whole lot you could do to wipe the permagrin off my face at this point. As of this very moment, life kicks ass!

Have a good week, everyone!

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Arrest Me!

From this article about Martha's Amazing Monochromatic Dream Poncho:

"On Monday, Stewart told her employees that the poncho was made by an unidentified fellow inmate who crochets about 12 hours a day using yarn from the prison commissary."

Am I the only one trying to think of a harmless way to get a cool 8-10 years without having to hurt anyone? Well, I may be willing to hurt someone a little . . . you know, depending on what kind of yarn they have in the commissary.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

I Did. And I'd Do It Again!

Today is Jon and my second wedding anniversary. I totally forgot as I was leaving the house this morning! We’re going on a 5-night cruise next week to celebrate, we talked about today being our anniversary last night, and I still forgot. (yes, my memory is that bad) For the record, he forgot, too. We’re flaky peas in a forgetful pod, Jon and I. That’s why I love him. So instead of the post I was going to do today (vaguely knitting-related), I’ve decided to post a few of my favorite wedding pictures. They’re the ones I copied onto my work computer when we got the proof CD from the photographer (that’s why his name is on them). I haven’t looked at them in a while and decided it would be fun to share a few memories.

There was no knitting at the wedding, but there was bowling! We got married at the Milky Way Lounge in Jamaica Plain. It was fantastic and I wish we could do it all over again. I wouldn’t change a single thing. We had a Hawaiian-themed wedding and pretty much everyone dressed for the occasion. I don’t have any with me, but the photos of the guests are so colorful and crazy, it was just what I had imagined. The world’s loudest wedding pictures!

This is me getting ready. Note the rhinestones on the tattoo. Also note the bandaid on my hand from where I sliced myself moments earlier cutting flower stems.

As I was getting ready in the back of the nightclub, Jon had to use the bathroom. His dad didn’t want him seeing me back there, so he led the way.

This is my dad walking me up the aisle (well, technically it was an unused bowling lane). My mom was wearing a muu muu that matched my dad’s shirt. My dress is a vintage 1940’s number that I had to battle for on eBay. We used Israel Kamakawiwo'ole’s Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World as our wedding march. It was the perfect song for the occasion.
You can hear a snip here. Scroll down to the song list.

This is Charlene. She was my Maid of Honor. I love how her fairy tattoo is just visible from the back of here dress. That’s me looking all ghosty in the background.

This is our I Do/Me,Too Kiss

Here is our “formal” wedding portrait (what can I say, informal formality makes me gleeful)

Here are two great photos of the wedding party. Charlene was the Maid of Honor, and Jon’s friend Tom was his Best Man. I almost gave poor Tom a heart attack when I pretended to drop the ring as he handed it to me during the ceremony. I was trying to keep things fun and upbeat. I didn’t realize it could trigger cardiac arrest.

If we were a band, this would be our album cover.

Here is our cake, complete with bobble-head dolls. One layer was chocolate with raspberry filling, the other was tiramisu. Hey! I just remembered that I still have a piece in the freezer that we forgot to eat last year. I wonder if it’s still ok to eat.

Here’s another smoochy picture, this time in front of the twinkling bowling lanes.

And these are my all-time favorite wedding pictures. This is Jon’s grandmother, who they call “Mudoo”. I believe she was 91 when this picture was taken. She’s a firecracker. The little girl is my friend Scott’s daughter. He has three little girls and they are the sweetest things you’d ever want to meet.

I firmly believe that a wedding is a party you’re throwing for your friends and family. It’s a big get-together for both sides. A meet and greet, if you will. The idea of Bridezillas and Princess Days is so crazy. It’s a party, man, relax. Have fun. Anything that goes wrong will only serve as an amusing anecdote later, so let the goofy stuff happen and create some new memories.

Happy Anniverary, Baby!! <3

Thursday, March 03, 2005

And now a special report from our Action News team!

According to anonymous sources, something very strange happened recently at a local residence. Our investigation team went to work!

The location of the suspicious activity is pictured here. This medium-sized cardboard box was filled to the top with Styrofoam packing peanuts. Impromptu forensic testing proved that these were not the kind of packing peanuts that disintegrate when licked. After getting a glass of water, the investigation continued. There was no forced entry into the box, so it was determined to be an inside job. Someone familiar with the residence and the location of the box was involved.

The scene was graphic in its untidiness. Peanuts were strewn violently at the base of the box. Specialists were called in to study the peanut spatter. No specific patterns could be established, so peanut placement was presumed to be random.

Amazingly, a suspect was found almost immediately. The first 15 minutes of any packing peanut incident are the most important. We were first alerted to the culprit by the conspicuous trail of packing peanuts leading directly to her. She was resistant to questioning and refused to acknowledge us.

Her guilt became painfully obvious when we followed her with our camera. The dry winter air combined with her soft fur would be her undoing in the end. She continued to deny any involvement in the incident and we interviewed a number of suspicious residents who may have been present. All maintained their innocence and disavowed any knowledge of the troubling event.

It wasn’t until we were able to obtain this dramatic crime-scene footage from a nearby security camera that any of them admitted their involvement. All suspects have been detained and will be held for questioning for an unspecified length of time. Absolutely no treats will be issued.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Royal Rainbow!

Thanks for all the great feedback on the MOKS! I really need to get better about responding to comments individually. Please know that I do read them and love them and always visit everyone’s blogs if they leave an address. My Bloglines list is huge, so I’m reading!

It seems like Trashy McNopants is the gal you all love to hate (or totally relate to). Everyone has a Trashy in their family, don’t they? For some of you, it’s YOU! Ha, I love it!

Well, Patternworks never happened on Sunday. My mother-in-law decided not to come because she didn’t want to get stuck in the snowstorm on her way back to NY on Monday. We ended up just meeting my parents in Manchester (a good halfway point between our houses and my parents – as well as my home town!) We went to Buffet King. Or King Buffet. Either way, there was a ton of food. It was mostly Chinese, but there was also, pizza, lasagna, roast beef, and peel-n-eat shrimp (which my mother was kind enough to help me peel because the little feet were grossing me out in a big way. Is a mother’s work ever done?). It was like a cruise on dry land. And since Jon and I are going on a cruise in two weeks, we figured it would be good to get some practice. My dad is the master and showed us how it was done. Apparently, slow and steady wins the race. He very carefully filled his plate on each visit in order to maximize buffet experience. By the time he got to the cream puffs, he had done some serious work. Nice job, dad!

There has also been a very little knitting going on and this is why. Don’t worry about getting the language packs for this site, it works if you hit “Cancel” when it asks. This is the weirdest, cutest, funnest, most addictive video game ever. Well, besides Ratchet and Clank. But it’s totally different than that. It’s got crazy graphics, makes absolutely no sense, and has so many odd details that you can’t look away. The premise if that you are a prince and your father is some other-wordly king. He gets a little tipsy one night and knocks all the stars out of the sky. He feels really bad about it and sends you off with a small sticky ball (the katamari). You must roll this ball around the world and pick things up with it. You start by picking up little stuff like cookies and thumbtacks, then work your way up to pineapples, penguins, sumo wrestlers, fences, buildings, and giant squid. The king will use these balls of stuff to rebuild the stars. Makes no sense, right? But damn is it ever fun! It’s full of insane imagery, sugary Japanese pop songs, and hilarious beratings from the king when your katamari is too small. I played for way too long on Sunday, then as I was reading a magazine later, I was rolling up the words in my head as I read them. I can’t recommend this game enough. Just get it.

And here is a crafty girl who loves it too. She loves it so much, she crochets about it! These hats looks exactly like the sticky ball before you get chestnuts and elephants stuck to it. Jon found this page and was all excited that another knitter liked the game, too. It was very cute. (yes, he considers knitting and crocheting the same thing, and that’s fine by me).