Monday, December 31, 2007

Another One Bites The Dust

Well, my dear friends, the end of this year is drawing to a close. I felt that I should say something, one final post, before the midnight bell tolls and we're thrust into 2008. The second part of the Christmas episode can wait until tomorrow or the next day. Nobody is around to read it anyway.

This past year has brought both horrible, life-altering episodes and incredible blessings. I don't think I've had such a bad year since Grandpa died. But now, as then, life marches on, whether or not you want it to. And so I march along with it.

I've been reading everyone else's blogs full of intentions, promises, resolutions, for the coming year. The change of years has never meant anything to me. But this year is different. Why?

I've been taught what's important and what's not in a way that's never been shown to me.

Family is all-important. Having my husband still with me is the biggest blessing. I can't imagine going through the rest of my life without him, and I almost lost him. Three times. Now he's well and getting stronger every day, and our marriage is solid as a rock. I couldn't say that last year. In fact, divorce was something I came very near to, and I don't want to be in that place again.

I'll be 50 in June, and that's an enormous birthday. It marks my entry into elder status, and it also makes me realize that more than half my life is over. That's a strange feeling. When you're young, you're immortal, and 30 seems old. When you're in your 20's, 40 seems old and life stretches out forever. My 30's were filled with all sorts of horrors, but I weathered them. They also brought Hubster, which was the one big blessing I had that decade. My 40's have been both incredibly wonderful and as low as I've ever gotten. Sitting in a closet with a gun in your mouth isn't something I recommend. And now I'm facing the big 50. I don't know what I'm going to do yet, but it'll be a huge blowout. I'm thinking a Harley and a trip on it to Vegas, along with getting remarried at the drive-through wedding chapel. But who knows?

One of the biggest blessings and privileges has been this blog, getting to know many of you on a more personal level, and being allowed to share my life with you. I'll continue to do so in 2008.

I'm opening the shop on time, it looks like, or at least pretty damned close. The website is almost finished, and I'll open it up to you all as soon as Hubster puts the finishing touches on it. It'll be devoid of merchandise, but at least you'll get to see it before the grand opening.

Do I have any resolutions? No. I won't keep them anyway, so they're just empty words. I'll just struggle along, live, love, cry, work hard, and do all the things I normally do, but with a little more commitment, a little more passion, a little more.

And so, dear friends, I bid you a Happy New Year, a safe evening, and a new year to come that I hope will be memorable for you in a good way. Hold those whom you love close to you. Be good to yourselves. Don't worry about losing weight - be happy and love yourself for who you are. Life is far too short to always be fighting against yourself.

And with that, off I go to knit on my swap socks, smoke the last ciggies of the year, and drool all over myself.

Just like usual.

Saturday, December 29, 2007


The Yarn Review page has been updated at long last. Enjoy!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Bet You Thought You'd Never See An Update


I'm just getting too old for Christmas and the holidays in general. And I don't even drink.

Since there still aren't a lot of people around, I'm splitting the yarny goodness into two posts so you get some entertainment value from my ramblings. Here are the first three offerings from the Yarn Fairy.


The top skein is from Dashing Dachs in "Enchanted", and the bottom skein is from hazel knits in "Chuckanut Drive". I have no idea what a Chuckanut Drive is, other than what I do to Hubster when I get pissed off at him on the freeway. (That one was for you, Marin.)


These are both by Creatively Dyed Yarns in their "Ocean" series. They're a merino/seacell blend.


I couldn't resist this beast. Bigger is better, right? This is by Perchance to Knit in "Waikiki Sunrise" and weighs in at a whopping 6.7 ounces with 840+ yards. And it's fingering weight, is soft, and smells really, really good. What in the hell am I going to make with this? I don't know. I might just use it as a pillow for the time being.

I want to thank everyone who left comments and/or wrote to me privately for their very kind words, condolences, and shared misery. While I don't like to dump on all of you, I really needed to. It was especially depressing after that glorious anniversary we had. So how did I handle Christmas?

Let's start with the shopping.

Hubster and I are both procrastinators. It's a given that we'll wait until the last possible minute to do anything. So the fact that we went shopping the Friday before Christmas was a testament to our fortitude, our wanting to change our bad habits, our... oh, who the hell am I kidding. We just wanted to get the crappy thing done.

For once, Mom and Grandma were easy. We bought them a DirectTV system. It was especially nice that installation was free, as was a receiver box. Then we bought that newly released Christmas classic on DVD, "Halloween", directed by Rob Zombie, director of my two favorite flicks, "House of 1000 Corpses" and "The Devil's Rejects". There's even a group on Ravelry for "The Devil's Rejects". What does it have to do with knitting? Nothing. But I joined it the minute I saw it. Anyway, while we were at BestBuy, I thought we might get the kid (the big, nasty one) something for her gift. What did we get? A $50 gift card. I gave it a lot of thought, too. I saw them at the check-out counter and grabbed one, then blurted out an amount at random.

The little ones were a bit more difficult. We went to Toys "R" Us, that paragon to kids' consumerism. I was all hot and bothered to get them one of those Corvettes with the battery - they go something like 10 mph. Then I saw a pink and purple Jeep (their favorite colors). Then I saw the price tag. They were almost as much as the real thing. So I figured the Escalade with the working radio and bass speakers in the back would be cheaper. Yeah. Bite me. So after squabbling with Hubster in the middle of the aisle (see "Chuckanut" above), we whipped out the cell and called my mother to see what gifts she had bogarted. My other bright idea was to get them a drum kit, but she had already bought them some drum thing. So we settled on a play kitchen and this cool stationary bike that you plug into the TV and ride. It's got software for learning colors, numbers, the alphabet, etc., while you play a video game. Pretty neat stuff. When I was a kid, I had The Flintstones Stone City, which was a plastic sheet with Bedrock printed on it and a couple of the cars, some houses, and Dino; an Easy Bake oven; and the best damn collection of Tonka Trucks in the neighborhood. Tell me that a Tonka bulldozer won't bury your beheaded Barbie doll in two different graves. (See "The Devil's Rejects" above.)

After standing for 30 minutes in a line that stretched clear around the store with one register open (it was 11:30 p.m.), I went up to the Customer Service desk to bitch. The dedicated employee informed me in a bored voice that everyone had called in sick, that the 30 employees standing around the store and beating off were temps and not authorized to run the registers, and that she would be working another register as soon as her very long line of two dissipated. Wow. So I marched back to our line and announced to everyone just how wonderful the staff was, whereupon the man behind me decided that we should play a game. This game consisted of us knocking things off the displays with grandiose waves of our arms, taking the candy necklaces off the hooks and seeing who could hit the big items on top of the shelves by flinging them wildly, and yelling "OOPS!" every time we messed something up or didn't knock over a bicycle. It passed the time with nary a dirty look from the security guard who was by now talking with the only other employee authorized to run a register (the aforementioned Customer Service dronette).

Christmas Eve was spent at the prison but, as usual, the chaplain screwed things up. I thought I was there to teach my class; it turns out that it was the Christmas Party. As I'm finding out, things are seldom what they seem at a prison. First of all, I had gone out and bought a bunch of matching sweats (tops and bottoms). Since I can't wear certain colors on the prison grounds, I showed up in a bright red outfit with Christmas trees across my boobs (so what if the two on the ends were sliding off the mountain?). I showed my badge to the guard, started walking into the prison, and she yelled, "Wait!". So I went back to the guard shack, thinking that she wanted to tell me something. She wanted to tell me something, alright. She informed me that I couldn't wear my spiffy outfit into the prison because the inmates had red jumpsuits. I told her that red wasn't on the list of prohibited colors. Well, it turns out that I had an outdated list. Lucky me. So I asked her what colors I could wear. She looked at the list, scratched her head, and said, "Brown". Great. I didn't have a brown set of sweats in the lot. Actually, I can wear red or any other color (except blue), as long as my tops and bottoms don't match. Don't want to get gunned down by a gunner in the tower, now do we? So when the chaplain finally showed up to give me a ride, we informed him that I couldn't wear what I had on, that Hubster had already left, and what in the hell was I going to do? So he scouted around the prison for the next 20 minutes and returned with a pair of black parachute pants. I was the height of fashion. At least they had red piping down the legs so I coordinated. And what was worse? I didn't have on any underwear because I never wear them with sweats. Shit.

The party was really nice; my boys were there, I wasn't harassed too much as I walked the yard (my bodyguard wasn't there because he didn't know I was going to be so early), I got to open doors for inmates with my set of prison keys (what a sense of power), lunch was actually edible, and we had outside performers come in to provide entertainment. I stayed for about three hours and then left, since Hubster was sitting in the parking lot. I slept all the way home and knitted all evening. I'm happy to say that Hubster cleaned the house for me and turned it into a semblance of a home. I still hate it, but it's not cluttered anymore. Now all I have to do is clean my studio.

Since this post has run so long, I'll save Christmas Day for my next post. I'm also updating my yarn review page tomorrow because something isn't working right; I can't get the pictures on there. I was lucky to get them on here; the network is being really twitchy. But I'll be putting up lots of beautiful yarns for you to see and read about.

Off to work on files for the business and knit.

And to Chuckanut.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

I Survived - But Barely

Well, dear readers...

I have finally awakened and come fully to my senses. Christmas took a huge toll on both of us. As such, I haven't photographed the yarny goodness I wish to show you, so that's my task for tomorrow. I'll be posting not only here, but also on the Yarn Review page. Look for them both!

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday and have recovered yourselves. Seeing how little blog writing is going on, I think most of you are (a) on vacation, or (b) wishing you didn't have to get out of bed.

Until tomorrow...

Saturday, December 22, 2007

The Holidays are Hell


I've been doing nothing but working and sleeping for the past two days. The holidays aren't fun anymore. It used to be, when I was younger, that I would sit and watch TV, anxiously awaiting the moment when I could open my stocking. Then the next morning, the smells of dinner cooking would awaken me, and I'd get up to go into the front room to open presents. After that, we'd eat. I don't know where I thought all that came from, but I learned in my mid-20's that someone had to cook the dinner, fill the stockings, wrap all the gifts. And that someone was me.

I've been putting on holiday dinners since I was 25, so I've been doing it for 25 years now. A couple of those years found me unable to do the dinner for whatever reason, but for the most part, I've done Thanksgiving and either Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. We'd decorate the house, have a huge tree with all the ornaments I'd collected throughout the years, play Christmas music on the stereo (I had to have my Elvis Christmas collection plugged in), I'd get up at the crack of dawn to put the turkey in the oven, and the day itself was spent fussing over dinner and my guests. It was grand to put on dinners in the Sacramento house. We had two distinct dining areas - the breakfast nook or the formal dining room - and I'd use my best china and silver, order a beautiful floral centerpiece for the table, and since I had an enormous island that wrapped around and had a shelf on top large enough to pull a bar stool up to and eat off of, I'd just put all the finished dishes on there. Then they'd be carried through a large arch into the dining room to be laid out on my long antique table. It was fun then. After dinner, everyone would sit in the family room with the big-screen TV on and watch football or some silly show, and we'd talk about Christmases past.

This year, all I can do is think about the six glorious years I spent in my dream house, the sound of the waterfall flowing into the pool as I opened the windows to let out some of the heat, the sheer size of the rooms where everyone could sit and move around and come into the kitchen for a taste without getting in anyone's way. This year, we're cleaning this shithole and trying to make room for my family to come on Christmas Day. We're trying to turn this place into a home, make the kitchen large enough for me to cook a leg of pork and all the fixings, and mopping and polishing the old wood floors. I no longer have three ovens in which to cook; I have a crappy single oven with lightweight burners instead of my commercial stove that blasted things in a matter of minutes. I don't even have a vent fan that works right. I know that everything that's been stacked on the tables won't fit anywhere; I know that this is an exercise in futility. I know all this, and yet we plug along, trying to recreate something that was fun and enjoyable. It's not going to work - I know I'll cry all day as I try to juggle dishes and pray that the oven rack doesn't bend and collapse under the weight of the pork. I know that I won't hear the waterfall bubbling into the pool; I know that everyone has no place to sit, to move, to be. I should be thankful that I'm not on the streets, but I can't. Not yet. It's still too close. It's like the first holiday after someone close to you dies. That house killed a part of me. It took away a small part of my soul, and try as hard as I might, I can't heal the hole in my heart. Maybe some day. Maybe.

So I'll do the best I can and try to put on a happy face for everyone, because I can't talk about this to anybody. Nobody understands why I can't move on. I have moved on; at least part of me has. But the part that was so attached to that stone and stucco dwelling has been ripped from me, and nobody wants to hear about it. Hubster is grieving himself, so he can't listen to me. My family thinks that I'm weak. I'm not weak. I'm a strong woman. But this brought me to my knees, and things like the holidays remind me of it.

So you, dear readers, are the ones I can talk to, the ones to whom I can tell all my inner fears, the family who doesn't mind my babbling about things lost, never to return. I'm sure many of you have endured horrible losses in your lives, so you understand what I'm talking about. Perhaps when the house is put together, it will feel more like a home. I hope so.

On the brighter side of things, the shop is coming along splendidly. I'm waiting for the paperwork to wend its' way through the system, my files are set up and ready to go, the bins are labeled and waiting for the artists' work to arrive, my domain name has been been purchased and is just waiting for Hubster to work on the website, I'm working on a design for the business cards, and I'm getting ready to have a contest for my signature yarn. I'm behind schedule, but I was warned that this would likely happen. I'm doing everything I possibly can to get the shop open in January, but if it stretches into February, I know you'll all understand. I believe it's worth the wait. It also helps to keep me sane. I now have a purpose.

That said, I won't be posting until after Christmas and am saving all my pictures of yarny goodness to show you. There aren't many people around to read blogs; everyone is too busy with last-minute preparations. And so it should be. We all have our "real" families to tend to, gifts to buy or finish and wrap, dinners to finish planning, and all the myriad details that have to be taken care of. I wish you all godspeed, and may your holiday season be joyous, safe, and memorable.

Time to take a nap. I have to turn this place into a home before I leave for Folsom tomorrow.

Merry Christmas. :)

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

No Pussy for Hubster and the Curse of the Swap Sock

First of all, I apologize for the lack of pictures. We've been on the go all day and just got home. It's way after 10:00 p.m., so I obviously have crappy light for taking pictures. Tomorrow, my darlings, tomorrow - I have yarny goodness to show all of you.

The title isn't what you all think (I'm looking right at you, Marin). Hubster may have his share of uh... dancing the horizontal mambo whenever he wishes. Here's the story.

As you know, our Monkey kitty passed away when we were on vacation in October. Because I knew that Hubster loved her so much (and I did, too - although I'll never admit to loving a cat), I wanted to get him another one. My mom was asking me what she could get him for Christmas - always a chore to think up something, because Hubster has no hobbies, doesn't go anywhere unless I'm with him, and entertains himself by teaching himself new computer languages - so I came up with the bright idea of her getting him a new cat. Not to replace Monkey, but to help fill the hole that was left in his heart when she passed, especially since we weren't with her. Anyway, Mom found an ad in the paper from some lady whose cat had had a litter and was selling them. She called the lady and went over, picking one out (oops... a male, which I knew Hubs didn't want), and wound up taking the only female in a litter of eight. She was 10 weeks old. Mom brought the little furball home, and we concocted an excuse to bring Hubs over to visit. Even thought the kitty was to be his Christmas present, we wanted him to have a tiny kitten, so we were going to let him have her early. I didn't get the reaction I thought I would - he seemed sort of hesitant. Hubs being Hubs, he made happy over the wee one, and on the way home professed that he loved her and couldn't wait to bring her home. But something was amiss. Mom thought it was because he was still mourning Monkey. I knew better, but I didn't know what it was.

So tonight, I talked to him about the whole thing. Since Monday is prison day (they wanted me to come on Christmas Eve, so off I'm going), Mom was going to keep the now not-so-small ball of fire until the day after Christmas (ostensibly because I'll be cooking Christmas dinner, the kids will be running all over the place, blah blah blah), which is bullshit because I knew that she and Grandma really loved the beast and wanted to keep her for themselves. I suggested to Hubster that we let them keep her (my mother and grandmother instantly get attached to anything with four legs that's furry and a cat), and we could go to the shelter so he could pick out his own kitty. That was the problem all along. He had wanted to pick out his own, and even though he thought she was darling (she is), he thought it was kind of strange that Mom was keeping her for so long, thereby defeating the purpose of giving her to him early so he could have a kitten. We took the ponchos and backpacks over there this evening (yes, the ponchos are finally finished), and broached the subject of them keeping the cat. My grandmother was happy as the proverbial clam; my mother cried. Cried? I was taken aback. She kept saying she wasn't crying, but the water running down her face sort of gave her away. It turns out that she did indeed want to keep the cat, but she felt horrible because now she didn't have anything to give Hubs for Christmas. We kept telling her that she already had given him something, and just because it wouldn't be the one she bought, it was the thought that was important. We finally compromised by letting her pay the shelter fees. So I imagine we'll go over there in the next couple of weeks, and Hubster can pick out the one he wants, be it a kitten or a full-grown cat. It's good - we'll be saving a poor little thing from death. I just want him to be happy, and the dear man asks for so little that he deserves a new kitty to snuggle with and play with and enjoy.

As we left Mom's house, I asked Hubster what he wanted for dinner. He just wanted to come home; I suggested that we go to this burger joint that has really good burgers and makes up to 10 lb. buns o' joy (they're meant for parties). I was starving, so I wanted the 1 lb. monster (which is really their three pound model with all the trimmings on it). Since I only get mayo on a burger, I figured I could do it. Hubster went inside, ordered it, came back out, and said it would be ready in 10 minutes. When he went in and came back out carrying a tray, I didn't think anything of it. Then I saw it.

It was a Frisbee made of meat.

At least the lady was nice enough to cut the thing into quarters.

I managed to make my way through one quarter (the thing really weighs 1-1/4 lbs.) before I thought I was going to barf. So I wrapped it back up in it's plastic wrap, covered it with a paper plate (it came sandwiched between two and wrapped in the plastic), and we drove around looking for a garbage can to throw it away in. He couldn't carry the remains back inside; to do so would be to admit defeat and suffer ridicule. If you eat this thing fully loaded (the burger, not you), you get your picture taken and a T-shirt that proclaims to the world what a pig you are. It's sort of like the old Farrell's ice cream parlors (anybody remember those?) used to do with The Trough - if you ate the whole thing, they sang to you and gave you a medal. It was two banana splits put together. When I was a kid, I could plow through one of those with no problem. Even now, just writing about it makes me feel ill (the burger, not the ice cream). So let's change the subject.

Lest you accuse me of this being a sort of sentimental, non-knitting post, I'll now explain the second part of the title. Here goes:

I am cursed when it comes to knitting swap socks.

I was on the home stretch on the first sock for a swap pal, having picked up the stitches for the gusset and knitting down the foot. The pattern was Tumbling Blocks (I think I described all this to you in an earlier post) and it was coming out just beautifully. I was even amazed that I had knit it (you know how you look at something you've finished and can't believe that your hands created it?). Anyway, you all also know how I fall asleep at the drop of a hat; that doesn't mean I can sleep when I should, but that I suddenly fall asleep with no warning... like a narcoleptic. I was working on the sock last night while I was talking to Hubster; he walked down the hall to do something and came back in about three minutes. I was sound asleep with my knitting in my hand. So what's the problem, you ask? A dropped stitch? A dropped needle? Nope.

My ciggie was merrily burning its' way right through the ribbing.

Hubster woke me up immediately and pulled my knitting from my hand. I awoke and smelled something resembling burning wet sheep. In my still groggy state, I looked at the sock dangling from his hand. Then I saw it. The perfectly round black sooty mark on the ribbing. Oh shit, I thought. Hopefully, it'll come out in the wash. It was then that Hubs told me what had happened.


I couldn't even look at it. It was ruined. I asked him to please pull it off the needles and throw it away. He actually had to extinguish the sock before he could dispose of it. I just sat there, staring at the offending ciggie, which I then smoked to kill and punish it.

So today, I tried to cast on again, but my heart wasn't in it. I'm cursed. That's all there is to it. Oh yes, I'll make it again. It's the sixth time I've cast the same pattern on. At least I have the damn thing memorized.

Now I know why I was so insistent on buying those two extra skeins.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Link to Yarn Review Page

Here is the link to my Yarn Review page for those of you who don't have it:

I'll make a button for it and get it on this site as soon as I can.

Thank you to those of you who asked for it. :)

They're Done

Yarn reviews are up on the Yarn Review blog. :)

It's Always Something

My Dear Readers,

I had said that the Yarn Review page would be up late last night (translation: early this morning). Unfortunately, while I was working on it, my computer had a major fart. Hubster was just now able to bring it back up. Since it's 5:30 a.m., I'll be working on it when I wake up. I need to grab a few hours of sleep before I fall off the chair. The reviews will be up, though, so please keep checking.

I'm sorry. I lost everything I wrote, so now I have to start from scratch. Sigh.

At least its raining.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Life After Nirvana

Before I even start my nightly diatribe, the Yarn Review page is being updated tonight. Thank you.

I knew things would be hectic when we got back from the fountain of pleasure, but I had no idea how hectic. Maybe that explains why I only slept two hours last night and expect an equal amount tonight. But why complain before I show you the pretties?


This is a shopping bag. Boring, right? It would be, but this was placed in our closet "for our convenience" in case we went shopping and had lots of little bags that would be easier to carry in a big one. Besides, I love the hotel's logo. I want to live there.


These are by White Willow in "Harvest Queen" and Crash into Ewe in "Happy New Year".


These are by Woolly Boully in "Nymphwood" and Artfibers in "Carezza - Peach" (this one is 30% silk, 30% baby alpaca, and 40% extrafine merino).


This delightful creature is by PopsieDaisy and is named "Hoot". He has a zipper and grommet in the back; you put a cake of yarn in him and feed the end through the grommet. Hoot will prevent the cake from collapsing or tangling and has a wooden bottom (padded and fabric covered) so he will sit on your lap or stand anywhere without toppling over. He's made of all reclaimed goods and has been washed and slightly felted. You can find this seller on Etsy; she also carries pouches and a variety of "cake creatures" like Hoot. I'll hopefully be carrying this artist's work in my shop.


This gorgeous skein is by UrbanGypZ and is her Bam! Boo! Sock Yarn line. The colorway is "Twisted MaMaLove". The fiber content is 60% superwash merino, 30% bamboo, and 10% nylon. I normally don't care for bamboo, but I loved the colorway. The yarn is soft as a cloud, thereby making me a liar (at least to myself).


For the last of the yarny goodness photos, we have Forbidden Fleece in "Blue Berries" and "Brown Ravel", and meliabella Toasty Sock in "Northern Lights".


Last but not least, I got an e-mail telling me that lucky number three had been chosen and I was the winner of this Vera Bradley bag. I thought it was a joke at first, since I had no idea I was even in the running for a prize. It turns out that everyone who purchased yarn from meliabella during the period from Thanksgiving to the end of the month was automatically entered in the drawing. Yay! It's perfect for traveling, since all I take to work on are socks.

So last night, I finally remembered that I had to finish the kids' ponchos (yes, the ones I showed you three years ago). All I had to do was crochet around the neckline and add fringe. I did the crocheting, washed them, and pinned them out on the blocking board to straighten out the curling at the bottom. I had a sick feeling that they wouldn't dry because they're heavy and were being pinned double-thickness. I even had a fan blowing on them. Well, my worst fears were realized. I went and checked them just before I sat down to type. They're not dry. In fact, they're downright wet on the underside. So I unpinned them, put them on the couch wet side up, and covered them with a towel. I'll keep checking on them because I want to deliver them tomorrow, and you all know how long putting fringe on takes. That is...

If we're not washed away by the rain which is about to hit us.

I had a doctor appointment in Sacramento tomorrow which I cancelled, because the weather is supposed to dump two inches of rain on us. We'd be driving in it the entire trip, coming and going. I don't care to do that, since Californians forget how to drive in the rain every year. We just got the truck fixed; I don't want to drive in a rented tin can again. I was hoping to go to mom's house tomorrow and drop off the ponchos to keep my babies warm and pick up Hubster's kitty, but if it's as miserable out as it's supposed to be, then it might be Wednesday. It may be Wednesday anyway if those crappy ponchos don't dry in time. ARGH.

Then last night, I'm working on a pair of swap socks. Everything had been going fine, the pattern was correct (well, the chart was wrong, but I don't use charts), and I was ready to pick up the stitches for the gusset. Of course, the pattern didn't tell me how many, but it did say to pick up from each purl bump. What purl bumps? I said screw it and picked up stitches so they were even. Then I read the pattern again. I had picked up 20 stitches; the pattern said to decrease every row until you had 18 stitches left. Nope. Something was wrong, but my brain was fried. So I looked at some other patterns. Then it hit me:

You don't decrease every round. You have a straight knit row between decrease rounds.


So I ripped that part out and picked up 22 stitches this time. Then I reread the pattern, slowly and with feeling. Right below the part where it tells you to pick up stitches and knit half the heel stitches onto the needle you use to pick up the stitches on the opposite side, there it was: the magic directions that told me to knit between decrease rows. Shit. It's a poorly written pattern. Mind you, I'm not a pattern designer. I am designing a couple of patterns for two vendors on Etsy, but that's it. However, I've been reading patterns since I was able to read. Literally. This is the second pattern by the same author that's either had a mistake or is poorly written to the point of confusion. The one I'm working with now didn't say to put the second half of the heel stitches on the next needle; it's an intuitive thing that you should know, but if you're a beginning knitter or one with little experience in reading patterns, it doesn't make sense. The company is Wildhorse Farm Designs; the designer is Lisa Parker. Be careful when you use them; if both of the ones I've used are wrong or difficult to read, there's a pretty good chance that the others out there are hinky, too. I'm not saying that Ms. Parker is the culprit; patterns go through editors who frequently don't knit and mess them up. I don't know anything about this company, so I don't want to point the finger of blame at anybody. I'm just saying to be careful and use your head when knitting them. I, however, now believe that I'm cursed when it comes to knitting swap socks.

I've also filled out all the paperwork for the shop and am proofing them. Then they get jetted off to the county (all but one, which I have to mail in or take to the courthouse). It wouldn't help to walk them through because it now takes the county two weeks to process forms. According to the state book, the name I want to use is available. So the shop is officially "Yarny Goodness". I have my vendors in place, everything here is ready to go, and I just need to get my license and resale number. Then I can get pictures taken, have Hubster finish the website, get my business cards printed (well, I don't need my license to do that; I just haven't had time), and open my virtual doors for business. I'm sure there are a million other things I need to do, but those are the ones that come to mind right now. Whew.

I think that's enough blabbing for one evening. Ahhh... I hear the sound of rain beginning to fall, and the wind is picking up.

Time to go sit and knit with the volume on the TV off so I can listen to the rain.

Unless "The Devil's Rejects" comes on.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

These Trips Wear Me Out

Wow. Hubster just woke me up and said, "I think we overslept". I looked at the clock and saw it was 6:00 p.m. Where did today go? For that matter, where did yesterday go?

The entire weekend has gone to sleepy land. Yesterday (and now today) have been spent either dozing or outright sleeping. Both of us. I think we're getting old or something. My intent was to get up at a decent time today, wash and block the kids' ponchos (yes, I finally finished the damn things), take pictures of the yarny goodness which showed up at the house, and get this post done much earlier than 6:00 p.m. Now it's dark, I can't take decent pictures, and the ponchos are going to have to be on the blocking boards overnight with a fan blowing on them (they're awfully heavy). I guess I'll take pictures of the yarny goodness tomorrow night and just blab on my post today. As for the yarn review page, I'll try and get some yarn on there tonight, but if not, tomorrow will be computer day. I fell asleep in my chair (not the Monster - the hard dining room chair in front of the computer), so my ass is asleep. The last place I want to be right now is here. But here I sit, talking to all of you.

Friday turned out to be a lovely day. We checked out of heaven and walked about four blocks to Artfibers, a store I've heard a lot about but have never seen. It's on the second floor of a nondescript building - a place you would never expect to find a yarn shop. But this is the City, where even houses are row houses, hotels are tucked in-between office buildings, and the only place to go is up, so it actually made sense. But I wasn't prepared for what I walked into.

It's not that they didn't have yarn - they did. A fair amount of it. But that's about all they had, and all the yarn was on cones. If you wanted a smaller amount, it had to be wound off the cone onto a foam core to make a ball. There were a large selection of fiber blends, all of them hand-dyed, but 99% of the yarns that weren't novelty didn't have any varigation. Some of them were monochromatic with slight coloration changes; however, those aren't really the types of yarn I like. I bought a merino/alpaca blend in a pretty peach color (and just enough to make a pair of socks - their yarn suitable for sock knitting was woefully small) just to be polite. I have this thing where I feel like I'm being rude if I don't buy a little something, especially if the salesperson spends some time with me. That done, I tromped down the stairs to where Hubster was waiting on the curb.

After that, we went to the Crocker Galleria to eat lunch. Hubster had found a food court with a Japanese place so I could get Chicken Teriyaki. He wanted pizza, so we each got our respective meals and sat down to eat. I took a bite of my steaming hot plate and...


It was the WORST teriyaki I've ever had. Bland, tough, and beyond help, it went into the garbage. His pizza wasn't much better, so we set off for the hotel and hoped to find a deli or something on the way. We found several and chose one that looked good. It was. I had a meatloaf sammie on sourdough and Hubster had salami on rye. We sat at the window counter and watched people on the street while we ate. Then it was back to the hotel to get our luggage and car, and we left the City to come back to the shithole.

When we got here, I had a bad feeling about my car. Since I rarely drive it, my batteries tend to die. I peeled off the cover, sat down behind the steering wheel (at least it moved - it's one of those that move in or out and up or down so you can actually sit in the car without being squished), and turned the key.


Yep. Dead battery. So now I get to take this one back (at least it's under warranty) and get another one. I guess I need to drive it more. I'm terrified that I'll either get in an accident, get a door ding, have the windshield busted by a rock flying off a gravel truck, or any number of things that happen while driving. My plan is to keep it pristine until we decide it's time to move and then sell it. It's gone up close to $10K from the original purchase price, and I expect it will continue to appreciate as more and more collectors seek them out. Good for us - as long as it's pristine.

So during my uptimes this weekend, I've been trying to cope with e-mail and other chores. I had close to 100 e-mails to answer and over 100 blogs to read. That took some time. I still haven't answered everyone I need to or written all the letters that need to be written. I need to work on the shop. I need to... I need to... the list goes on and on. It's overwhelming. So I'm taking it a little at a time, interspersing knitting as I can. I just picked up the gusset stitches on a swap sock (the one you saw a picture of when it was just a few rows), so I should be able to pick up the stitches on the other side and get rolling on it later on tonight. The ponchos take priority. I have a doctor appointment in Sacramento on Tuesday, so we're stopping at mom's house on the way home to drop them off and bring home the new kitty (who is still nameless). I guess it'll be time to put up my knitting so the little fart doesn't nab it. Sigh.

I also want to give a huge thank you to everyone who wished me a Happy Anniversary. It truly was a memorable one.

I've got the throbbing, newly pierced ear (right through the thickest part of the cartilage with a ring going from just inside the edge all the way around the outer part - it's called a conch) as a constant reminder.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Greetings From The City by the Bay

Hello, dear readers!

We just got back to our hotel room after a disaster at the ice rink, ogling the ultra-expensive goodies at the Embarcadero Center, and going back to my roots in the Haight-Ashbury. I thought you might like to see pictures of the horrible hotel Hubster has put me up in. Please bear in mind that these are stock photos the hotel provides in their ad for this room, but it will give you an idea of the hovel I've had to deal with.


This is a view of the room as you walk down the hallway leading in from the door (yes, there's a hallway with hardwood flooring).


This is a skyway which connects the two towers. The view out of both sides is breathtaking.


The tub and the view you have as you recline in it.


This is the view out the window opposite the bed.


The reception desk, looking at it from down the hall.

What you don't see is even more spectacular. The bathroom is off the entry hall before you walk into the main part of the room. It's all marble; the tub has a shower attachment with a long hose so you can stand and hose off all the bubbles and soap. The shower is separate and also all marble. There's a full-length mirror in there so you can see how horrible you look just before you climb into the tub. It's... it's... oh lord almighty.

The views from all the windows are to die for. Out of one window is the Bay. Coit Tower is also there; you can see all the way to the North Bay (Sausalito, Tiburon, etc.), as well as the Golden Gate. The other two windows offer views of the City. We can see Chinatown, Broadway (the adult fun zone), the Wharf, Ghirardelli Square, The Cannery, and all the other famous parts of the City. Right next to us and just outside the window is the Transamerica Tower. They even provide you with binoculars so you can see everything up close and personal. It's spectacular at night - Alcatraz is lit up, and you can see inside the cell block (its between the Transamerica and Coit Tower). The searchlight still turns to capture all those inmates whose ghosts are trying to swim across to the shore. Let's just say that the views out of all the windows (including the one next to the tub) would make anybody weak in the knees.

So when we checked in yesterday, they put us on the 47th floor (there are 48 total). Then the doorbell started ringing (yes, we have a doorbell). First, the bellman came in with our luggage. Then the maid came in to turn down the bed, placed a rug next to each side of the bed so we wouldn't get out feet dirty on the immaculate carpet, and laid out a pair of slippers for each of us (supplied by the hotel). Then the doorbell rang again, and a guy from the hotel came in bearing a silver platter with an ice bucket on it (and a bottle of brut champagne in the bucket), as well as two champagne flutes and a box of chocolates. He poured the champagne for us, wished us a Happy Anniversary, and discretely withdrew.

The hotel has a bath menu, where you can order certain bath packages. I ordered one which they happened to be out of, so they put one together for me. Two people came in; one of them put eucalyptus stuff in the tub and ran the bath; then she plucked petals from three roses and put them in the tub and around it on the marble surround. The other one set out an assortment of oils, lotions, scrubs, stress-release gel, and a bunch of other stuff. No sooner had they left than the last part of the package appeared - a pitcher of Cosmopolitans. I got pretty well potted while I soaked in a hot bath with sweet-smelling goodies and that view to stare at. At some point, I either passed out or fell asleep in the tub and awoke about an hour later. That water was still hot - I was blown away. So I scrubbed up using the exfoliating stuff made from olives, hosed off, and put on my jammies. Wow. I fell asleep immediately. Since I get to take all those smellies home, I think I've found the key to getting to bed and sleeping.

We had room service last night. It was divine. The food was incredibly good, especially for room service. We ate like pigs, Hubster drank a lot of straight Kentucky whiskey that came in these darling little bottles with wax seals, I drank almost the whole pitcher of Cosmos, and we collapsed in the bed. I didn't want to get up. I still don't want to leave. I want to crawl in that bed with the down feather bed on top of the mattress, a down comforter, and down pillows. Ohhhhh.

Today, I got the bright idea of going ice skating at the outdoor rink. I got the skates on just fine and walked over to Hubster. Then we hit the ice. Well, I hit the ice. Three times. The third time jarred everything in my pelvis loose. Hubster fell once. I was so disappointed. I remember gliding across ice with no effort. My ankles hurt, my legs hurt, my ass hurt, everything hurt and was wet from the ice. At least I tried. So we cabbed to the Wharf, had dinner, and cabbed to the Haight, where I got a new body piercing (like I need another one). We looked around a bit, but the Haight isn't like it used to be. The sidewalks rolled up at 9:00 p.m. At least it was fun window-shopping. Oh... we also went to the Embarcadero Center between falling down on the ice and dinner. It's a huge shopping/dining complex that fills four buildings. Too expensive for us, especially after paying for this room. I won't tell you how much it is, but you could probably put a down payment on a car for what we've spent these past two days.

So now I'm getting ready to order a creme anglaise tart from room service, take another bath (sans the rose petals), and then recline on the chaise next to the window for some knitting before bed. Tomorrow, we check out and are hitting Artyarns before we leave.

This is, hands down, the most elegant, beautiful, customer-oriented hotel that I've ever stayed in (it's rated five-stars and is supposedly the finest in the City). We stayed here last year for our anniversary, but in a room which wasn't as nice as this one. We're saving for the suite next year - it has an outdoor patio where you can dine or just stare at the view.

I'll be home late tomorrow, so I'll be posting on Saturday and updating the yarn review page. This has been the best anniversary I've ever had, which makes going home a double-edged sword. I won't have everyone catering to me, I won't have rich, delicious food served to me, I won't have the views, and I have to return to the shitbox.

But I'll have the memories.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Big Surprise

So tomorrow is my 16th wedding anniversary. Hubster planned something and then couldn't keep it to himself. He told me where we're going and staying, and I'm thrilled. We'll be in San Francisco at a place called the Mandarin Oriental somewhere around the 40th floor. The room is exquisite - we have a panoramic view of the Bay and both bridges, and all the good stuff between. Marble bathroom, hidden speakers so you can listen to the TV while you luxuriate in the tub with it's own private window overlooking the water, phones everywhere, thick robes, slippers, chilled champagne waiting for you, tea served when you arrive, maid service twice a day, fresh bottled water and fruit when the maid comes in the evening to turn down your bed and lay out your robe and slippers, binoculars, a chaise with a light right behind it (knitting in the night, here I come), a bed on a pedestal so you can look out the windows while you lay there on a down feather bed with a down comforter over you and your head on down pillows, and and and... Can you tell I'm jazzed? And we're going ice skating at a huge outdoor rink, and shopping in Union Square, and stuffing ourselves with fresh crab caught that morning (they cleared the crabbers so they can go out and fish), and and and... Shit, you'd think I'd never been to that city. Growing up here really jades you to the wonders of a world-class city. But when you stay at a five-star hotel and act like you're rich for a couple of nights, you appreciate all the wonders the city has to offer. There's no better time to see San Francisco than close to Christmas when all the trees are up and lit, the window displays hearken back to a simpler time, and everybody is happy. I can't wait. So when next I blog, it will be from the desk in our room while I look at Alcatraz and the boats gliding across the water. Heaven. It's too bad that I have to come home.

No pictures tonight, just some general gab. We got our truck back tonight, which is a blessing because we weren't supposed to smoke in the tin can we've been driving. Hubster was embarrassed to drive up to the hotel in it LOL. So I told him we would have taken the Bird. I'm glad we got the truck; I don't really want to drive the Bird in that kind of traffic. Besides, I don't smoke in the Bird, either.

My prison visit went really well this week. My boys are going to put me through some sort of initiation rite, one which they have to set the stage for. I'll be at the prison on Xmas Eve for a few hours - some of those men don't have anybody to come see them, so I couldn't let them be alone. Besides, they invited me to join them for their Xmas thing - the prison does some buffet and entertainment extravaganza - and I can't tell them no. I was going to go this Saturday to participate in a sweat lodge ceremony, but we're staying for two nights in the City. I don't want to come back Friday and turn right around to drive to Folsom. What a long day that would be. And true to their word, my boys were waiting for me right outside the door when I entered the yard so I didn't have to walk it alone. They're good to me. It's easy to forget what they did in the past, but I'm finding out that people can change their lives if they have a real desire to do so.

I'm getting my orders put together to submit to my vendors for the shop. It's so exciting! I'm still mulling over my business card design, but they'll be ready before Stitches West comes so I can hand them out. That'll be scary. I'll probably be too busy shopping to remember to hand out my cards.

It just doesn't feel like Christmas to me. Maybe it's because it's the first one away from our home. Maybe it's because I now know how and why Hubster was going to give me a Corvette as my gift last year. It's the memories. It's the weather. It's everything. I'm having a hard time forgetting, a hard time not seeing our old life in every single corner. I'm having a hard time. Period.

So I have to select clothes that I don't have, find something nice to wear to dinner which I don't have, pack sweats which I do have, do laundry, and get ready to hit the road (wow... we're going for a 20-minute drive). But I still have to get everything together. It'll be so nice to be gone from here. I can escape the reality for a couple of days. But it'll be here waiting for me when we get back. I'm trying to hang on - I've even completely stopped spending, if you can believe that - and it was so depressing when the mail came and there were no packages. ARGH.

Wow. This post has gone right into the crapper. I think I'll go knit now.

I hate Christmas.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

New Yarn Reviews

The new yarn reviews are up at:

Enjoy - see you Monday!

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Better Late Than Never

I've just discovered an indisputable truth about myself.

If I sit on the Monster and stare at the TV, even with my knitting in my hands, I WILL fall asleep.

Over and over again.

Which explains why this post is so late.

I finally dragged my big lard ass out of the Monster, gathered up the yarny goodness and other items which I needed to photograph, and got to work. Guess what? As soon as I stood up and actually began doing something, I woke up. No more spilled joe on the floor (which I did twice in 15 minutes out of two different cuppas). No more singed jammie bottoms (which I did once, but it didn't go all the way through, thank those who watch over idiots like me). No more drooling on my formerly clean jammies (that went down the crapper last night when I drooled, spilled, dribbled, and did any and everything else that would make them grubby). No, I feel... awake. Wow. What a concept. So this is what it feels like.

I've gotten nothing done today. All I've done is dozed, slept (in bed - another strange concept), dozed, tried to drink coffee, dozed, read my mail, dozed, drooled, blah blah blah. So here it is, 11:15 p.m., and I'm finally getting around to doing this. I'm such a loser sometimes.

But I do have some pretty pictures for you!


Starting from the top is Alpaca Plus (no color name; #600), and C*EYE*BER* Fiber in "Fall Foliage" and "Brimstone".


These are by Hill Country Yarns in "Grape Crush" and "Shasta Daisy".


These beauties are by Spritely Goods in "Militia" and "Marble".


My camera really isn't tilted; everything just sort of tipped a little right before I took the picture. This is an assortment of hand saviors from Northern Essence.

None of these will be in my shop. They're all bordering on commercial (well, Northern Essence IS commercial), and are much too large of companies to be there anyway. But I just got them from The Sweet Sheep, The Loopy Ewe, and Northern Essence itself (as opposed to buying their stuff through Woolgirl), so I thought I'd show them to you.

I really have cut down on my spending. Hubster took pity on me this morning during one of my periods of lucidity and fiber-buying withdrawal, allowing me to buy a skein of yarn (I snuck in a second heh), so I have five more things left to arrive from Etsy. After that, it's just sock clubs (many of which I've cancelled) and donations from friends (sad, pleading look). Yeah, right. Like I need any more yarn.

I took a good look at my stash and have made a few preliminary decisions as to what's going to go. I'm putting all my STR in the "Stash Must Go!" section of the shop, Lorna's Laces, and Opal. Just with those three, we're talking about 300+ skeins. Of course, they won't all go up at the same time; I'd crash the server. So I'll put them up as I see fit, mixing them so that I don't have just one kind there. I'm also culling out some of the indies. It's not that I don't love them; it's just that the probability of my ever using them is nil. I know that I'll be putting up my Jitterbug as well. It's not an indie, but it still needs to go. So if any of you are looking for a particular color in any of those, you'd better holler before I put them on the site. After they go up, I'll price them accordingly - not what I paid for them, certainly, but I won't be giving them away (well, I'll be sticking random skeins of kindness in some of the boxes that go out). You never know what swag you'll get with your orders. Just a teaser. :)

Hubster has dished out a teaser of his own. We're going ice skating outdoors in San Francisco (I don't know if I mentioned that or not). Wednesday is our 16th wedding anniversary (we've been together over 17 years), and I know I told you we're spending the night in the City. I don't know which hotel - they're all gorgeous down by Union Square and in the Financial District - and we're doing some Xmas shopping in the Square (and maybe in the Embarcadero Towers - drool). Anyway, there's a huge open-air ice rink right there, so we're doing that Wednesday night. I haven't gone ice skating in over 25 years. This should be a hoot. I have a feeling I'll be spending a lot of time on my ass sliding around. It doesn't matter - I think it'll be a lot of fun.

So in preparation for winter, we went to Target last night and got me some sweats (since mine are all old, ratty, and full of ciggie burns). I got some of them for $10 - Hanes, even - a long sweater, a regular pullover sweater (why don't I knit my own? because it would be next winter before I finished it), sweatshirts to match the bottoms, and two movies. Oh... and a Bay Area Thomas Guide. The total? $350. Yep. I almost crapped right on the floor. How in the hell did that happen? They were cheap! Yeah, I bought about six sets plus the sweaters, but $350?????? Do you know how much yarn I could have bought, the clubs I could have joined, the fun I could have had? I could have played two hands of blackjack or hit the dollar slots 175 times. Shit. This is why I hate buying clothes. They're so damned expensive, even if you go to a crap store like Target. Hubster is just lucky that I didn't go to Nordie's or Macy's like I usually do when I buy clothes. The haul would have cost him ten bills. At least they had women's sizes instead of those dinky junior sizes. I can't even cram one thigh into both legs of a junior-sized pair of pants (well, it would be impossible anyway because I couldn't get the fuckers up to my thighs in the first place). So now I have ice skating clothes, clothes to wear to the prison (I had to be really careful about the colors I bought, and that was damn near impossible because most of the colors they had were the ones I can't wear), and enough winter shit to last me for another five years. I guess when you break down the cost that way, it's pretty reasonable. But the yarn! And we're going to the City where there are yarn shops!!! SHIT! I'll have to be really nice to him on Wednesday night, which means I'll get him drunk in the room and then knit when he passes out. When he wakes up Thursday morning and I want to go to the yarn shops, he'll think we made whoopie and be a happy guy. Heh. I think the ice skating is going to be enough of an effort to keep him from wanting to mambo on the mattress. I know, I know - I should want to ravage his body. But I'm tired. I'm old. And I just don't feel like it on these stupid meds. Good thing his meds do the same thing to him.

So Monday is prison day, which means we leave tomorrow for Folsom. I really don't mind the drive too much - he drives and I read out loud to him. It makes the time go by fast. And Monday after I'm done at the prison, I get to have a manicure and pedicure. I miss those so much. I used to go every other week and sit in the big vibrating chair with my dogs stuck in a tub of warm, sweet-smelling water and have my feet, legs, hands, and arms massaged with sweet-smelling oils while the rollers in the chair massaged my back, shoulders, and ass. Heaven. Besides, I miss seeing the gals who have taken care of me for the past six years. It'll be wonderful. Hubster? He sleeps in the car while I'm in la-la land. It works.

So that's it until Monday night, kids. Hopefully, I'll have some prison stories for you. I'm also going over to the Yarn Review page and updating that tonight before I get to my knitting, which is going along swimmingly for a change. I'll take a picture of that Monday night.

Hm. I wonder if I can smoke while I'm skating.

More Later - Much More

Geez. This sleep schedule has GOT to change. I just woke up from a two-hour snooze on the Monster (drooling as usual on my new snowman jammies), and I'm still tired. The entire night has been knit two rows, snooze two hours. So I piggybacked the pills again and am actually going to bed with Hubster. Who would have thunk it? So I'll be writing a long post later today with many pictures, as well as updating the yarn review page. I have some lovely yarny goodness to show you and review, as well as an order from Northern Essence that left me speechless. Did you know that they must have close to 100 scents to choose from? I fear I bought way too many, but that's okay - they won't go to waste.

In any event, I'm off to check on the things I normally check on and then off to bed with the Blond Love God. No no... nothing funny is going to happen (damn). We're both tired, so sleep is the order of the morning. It's also freezing outside, so snuggling under a down comforter sounds like just the ticket. However, this coming Wednesday is our wedding anniversary - the Hubster is taking me to San Francisco but will say nothing else. I suspect that we might uh... find some late-night entertainment. He'll snore, I'll knit.

Until later today, my dear friends. Have a lovely Saturday.

I'll be snoring, drooling, and trying to get some much-needed rest.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

A Quick Note

I've put a few yarns on the Yarn Review blog. As I stated below, more will be added every few days. Enjoy!

Time Flies When You're Working Like a Madwoman

Madwoman? I've been called much worse in my day. I don't think I've worked this hard in over a decade. But as usual, we'll get to that. Would you like to see some pretties? Of course you would.


These are all by Miss Babs; the first two are her Yummy Superwash Sock & Baby Yarn in "Cool Triad" and "Hot Mamma"; the third is her Cashmere Moon in "Bronze Plum" (100% cashmere - better than sex).


These are by a new dyer (a husband and wife team - Chris and Kellie Fulton), and are their first efforts! I was extremely impressed. These colors are "Pumpkin Spice" and "Turkish Paprika".


This gorgeous monster (860 yards and 1/2 pound of fun!) is by See Jayne Knit in "Embers".


These are by Rockandstring in "Turquoise Pink Black", and FatCatKnits in "Bermuda Sand".


These beauties are by Woolly Boully in "Brooklyn Candy" and "Fields of Texas Sunflowers". I'm on a mission to acquire all of Jenny's yarns.


This gorgeous creature had to have a picture all to itself. It's by Hand Maiden and is from their Camel Spin line. This colorway is called "Dragonfly". It's made of... ready?... silk and camel. It makes cashmere feel like sandpaper. I couldn't put this skein down. In fact, I didn't even realize it was in my lap being petted for about an hour. I think I need to build a shrine to it.


Last but certainly not least, this is by Spindle Cat Studio in ""Dark Fire". Wow.

I've got more skeins to show you, but I didn't want you all to have heart failure from palpitations due to looking at too much yarny goodness.

Speaking of Yarny Goodness, the shop is coming right along. I'm reading some books I bought about setting up an online store so I make sure everything is legal and in place. I'm currently writing a business plan and then will be going to get my license and resale number (Stitches West, here I come!). My vendors are all in place and just waiting for me to place my orders. Hubster is also waiting to put together my website. I found a place on Ravelry where a group of people (graphic design students for the most part) will design a logo for you free of charge. I guess they do it for the experience. Then I'll have my business cards printed up, design a banner, get Moo cards made up to give out and also to stick in my packages, get my vendor binder put together, blah blah blah. And you wonder why I haven't posted since Sunday? But I love doing this; it gives me a sense of accomplishment. I've had a lot of letters from people saying that they're just waiting for the store to open so they can shop. Yay! I've also decided (you'd all better sit down) that I'll have a section in the store where... where... (I can barely say it)... I'll be selling about half of my stash.

You heard it right. I'm destashing. And they're all indie yarns, top quality, never been used, have only been handled when I took them out of their tissue.

Why am I doing this? Well, for a variety of reasons. I have a serious case of SABLE; when I saw on my last Loopy Ewe order that it was my 50th order with them, I almost fell off my chair. Then I did some math. It made me sick. It's a wonder that Hubster hasn't left me. So I need to sell it in order to recoup some of the money I've spent. I really don't want to live here any longer than necessary, so any money I make (after I've plowed a lot of it back into the shop) will go into the new house fund. It makes me feel good to think that I could possibly contribute to our finances for a change instead of spending them. And here's something else.

You'd really better be sitting down for this one.

I've asked Hubster to change the password on my PayPal account so I can't use it.

It makes me cringe to even see those words, but there it is. My dark secret is out in the open. "Hi! I'm Pam, and I'm a spendaholic!. I've never been clean!" Egads.

When depressed, some people eat. Some curl up in bed and refuse to get up. Some cry. I've done all those and more, but the thing I do most is spend. It's not even so much the thing I've bought that makes me happy; it's the searching, the buying, the opening of the package when I get it. That's what gives me the rush, the thing that makes me happy - the acquisition. I realized that I was out of control when I bought a skein of yarn that I just had to have, put it in the bin when it got here, took the bin into my studio, and saw another skein just like it in another bin. I've got so much yarn that I truly don't know what I have anymore. It's going to be difficult to choose which ones to keep and which ones need to go, but I'll do it. I'll still buy an occasional skein or notion, but this rampant spending has to stop. There are tens of thousands of dollars in yarn in my studio. Just with the Loopy Ewe, I averaged it out to be around $5K. I think I need a ciggie.

(click) (inhale) (exhale) (ahhhhhhh)

I was asked by a vendor if my yarn was near my smoking. To allay your fears, the answer is an emphatic NO. I don't smoke around my yarn (I do smoke when I knit, but I make sure that all traces of it are removed from the FO). When I get yarn in, I unwrap it, photograph it, write about it, put it in a bin with lavender and/or cedar sachets, seal the bin with a locking lid, and immediately put the bin in my studio, which is in the back of the house far away from where I knit. I've had non-smokers smell my yarn to make sure that no smoke has leaked in, and they all tell me there's no smoke smell at all. So don't worry, dear friends. Should I be fortunate enough to have you buy yarn from me, you'll get a pristine skein smelling sweetly of wool and lavender. It will be beautifully wrapped in pretty tissue and carefully packed with some sort of swag, and then it will be taken to the post office and jetted off to you. And to my friends who live in other countries, fear not - I will be shipping internationally.

It just occurred to me that I've never shown you a WIP. Here's a sock I'm making for a swap pal.


It's not the best picture in the world and the openwork is hard to see, but these are from a Wildhorse Farms Design pattern and are a sort of Tumbling Blocks design. I have another Tumbling Blocks pattern, but I decided to use this one because the other one is really written for self-striping or Fair Isle (fake) yarns. This is the fourth time I've started these, so I've taken to calling them the Fuck You Socks. However, I think we've settled our differences and are getting along now. It goes very quickly, and the pattern is easy to memorize (even for me). It's also a fun knit. The yarn is numma numma in "Grape Jam" and is a joy to knit with. And the needles? They're by Golding - the people who make those gorgeous spinning wheels and looms. They're made of black walnut and come in a sharp or blunt tip and a slick or sticky finish. I got the sharp/slick combination. They don't cost much more than Addis, and for DPN's, I like them a lot better. I love the sharp tips - you can puncture your finger on them, but they're great for doing a K2tog or working on tiny stitches or lace. I highly recommend them. Just Google "Golding Fiber" and it'll give you the website.

I think I've babbled enough for one night. Hubster just got home from the grocery store, so I'm off to make hamburgers for dinner and then work on the Yarn Review page for a while. I've got so much yarn to put on there that I think I'll try to add a few every couple of days. I can't do it every night - I just have too much to do. Even when I promise to update it, I can't seem to keep that promise (hanging head in shame). So please just keep checking it; you'll be seeing new yarns pop up. After that, it's time to work on the store. If I'm lucky, I won't drop a full cup of coffee on the table right in front of the computer like I did this morning, getting the lion's share of it on my clean jammies. And if I'm really lucky, I'll get to work on the Fuck You Socks before 3 a.m.

If I don't fall asleep in the Monster and drool all over my next set of clean jammies first.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

My Ass is Asleep

Yes, it's true. My ass is asleep. I've been sitting in this chair for over nine hours. Why, you ask? It's not a funny story.

Last night (or rather, early this morning), I piggybacked my pills too much and wound up falling asleep in front of the computer. Despite Hubster's best efforts to rouse me, I just couldn't wake up. Trying to type while I was still half-asleep was an exercise in futility. I finally woke up an hour ago and haven't gotten a damned thing done. Sigh.

I noticed that someone from San Lorenzo is reading my blog. I would love to have coffee with you and talk knitting. If you would like to get together, please e-mail me. :)

Since I bombarded you with so many pictures yesterday, I won't be posting any today (mainly because I don't have any). I hate non-mail days. It's like I don't have a single skein of yarn from which to choose. Hubster told me a long time ago that I love the hunt and acquisition, but once I have it, I move on to the next thing.

Is that true? Do I really do that? Is that why I have an enormous stash - because I had to stalk all that yarn and once I got it, put it away? I really don't believe that, but back when I was really active on eBay, I'd sit in front of the computer with two screens open, going back and forth between them with my bid ready to go on one and the auction on the other. When it had about 10 seconds left, I'd bid and hope that my bid was large enough to bury my competition. I never lost. But part of it is that I love getting things in the mail. A day without a package is like a day without sunshine. It's a good thing Hubster is so toleratnt or I'd be divorced by now.

My fourth incarnation of the fuck you socks (as they're now called) is going well. This time, I set them aside when I felt myself getting a little sleepy. I should have set myself aside, too. Oh well. Live and learn.

The shop is progressing nicely, but I need some people who make bags, counting bracelets, more stitch markers, and notions in general. Please, PLEASE, e-mail me. I'm at the point now where I'm finalizing my vendors, and I really have a need for those of you who do such things. You won't be disappointed, I promise.

I'm sorry to be such a bore today, but when you sleep all day, you don't have a lot to talk about. I'm going to go knit for a while, have dinner, and knit some more. I have so much knitting to get done very soon that I need to kick myself in my sizable ass and get moving.

I hope you all had a great weekend and will have a wonderful week to come.


I'll be getting yet more indents of keyboard keys in my forehead.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

An Almost Wasted Trip - and LOTS of Yarny Goodness

As usual, things got all dorked up. They always seem to with me. But I'll tell you more about that later.

I've got LOTS of yarny goodness to show you today. A lot of the yarn you'll see will be for sale in my shop, as well as other yarns by those vendors. This will give you a good idea of the types of yarn I'll be carrying. I also wish to apologize for the poor quality of a few of the pictures. I took these at night, and even though I had good lighting, the skein colors are dark and just didn't show up well. Rather than try to fool around with settings, I'm presenting them to you now so you can enjoy them.


Starting from the top are Crash into Ewe in "Burning Leaves", Beyond Basic Knits in "Canyon Run", and stitchjones in "YYZ".


Here are Creatively Dyed Yarns (no name), Strings and Yarn in "The Unforgiven", and meliabella in "Jack Frost".


Next are Creatively Dyed Yarns in "Parade", and Heide's Hand Dyed Fibers in "Mulberry" (silk/merino blend).


These are both by StashUp Handpainted Yarns in "Mister Darling" and "Veronica Spicata".


The first two skeins are by Woolly Boully in "Kelp Seahorse" and "Wisteria", and the charcoal skein is painted skeins in "Graphite" (that's real silver in there). The darning egg is by Custom Wood Designs and is made of holly; it's so smooth that I couldn't stop petting it.


Getting tired of looking at yarn? Then you might want to zip down to the text; there's some more you have to wade through yet. These skeins are Chewy Spaghetti in "Lovely" (fingering weight), Lime & Violet Sasquatch Sock in "Risk", and See Jayne Knit in "Blue Agate Beauty".


These are Wolf Creek Wools Toe Jammies in "Caribe", and Maine Woods Yarn & Fiber in "Birch Trees".


This beauty is by Spindle City Yarns in "Granite".


The monster, with 1120 yards, is by Stitch Cleveland in "Nebula 12". I was going to make socks out of this, but there's so much of it that I may make something else, or perhaps socks and a scarf. I'll wait for it to tell me what it wants to be.

The last two pictures are of notions, but they're so cool that I had to include them.


These are by Jelby and are made with a combination of wet and needle felting. It's a little hard to see, but the blue holder has a dragonfly on it; the markers have sheep, with one of them having a flower. The other holder and markers are acorns. Lightweight to the point where I can use them on socks, they're beautifully made and a delight to use. The artisan will do custom work (the sheep are custom), and her turnaround time is very fast.


This is a work in progress holder for DPN's by Knitzi. This picture shows one of the end caps off and the slit where your work hangs out. The next photo shows how the piece looks when it's assembled (of course, there's nothing in it right now). They also make a plain version, and they come in several sizes so you can get the proper one for your needle length. Made of cherry, the wood will darken as it ages to a beautiful color with a wonderful patina. Make sure you get the correct length so your needles neither fall out nor get smashed when the caps are put on. You can also use them to store DPN's. What you do is slide your work through the slit (making sure that it's centered on your needles) and gently screw the cap on. That's it. Then you can stick it in your purse or knitting bag without fear that a needle will get lost or break. I absolutely love it.


Whew. That took a while, didn't it? That's what I get for trying to space out all my yarn; I forgot some of it and had to include it this time. All of these (or one from each manufacturer) will go on my yarn review page tomorrow or Monday.

So Thursday afternoon, we're trying like mad to get everything done so we can go to Folsom. We didn't get out of the house until around 8:00 p.m. Grabbing a burger on the road was dinner; we stopped at a gas station and bought a bunch of snacks. We were also in the rental car, so I felt squished. Since I wasn't supposed to smoke, I went careening down the freeway with my head hanging out the window blowing smoke like a dragon. Of course, it didn't minimize the smell in the car, but that's okay; we'll keep the smoking down and be very careful about ashes and such.

We finally got to Folsom, checked into our room, and sort of collapsed. I had to be at the prison at 7 a.m., so I had to force myself to go to sleep. I had to knit for a while, piggybacked my pills, and finally fell asleep at around 2 a.m. So when the wake-up call came at 5 a.m., I didn't hear the phone. It's a good thing Hubster did, or I would have been late.

I dragged my sorry ass out of bed, showered, dressed, and got myself together for the big orientation. Off we went. I got there in plenty of time, signed in at the main gate, and marched into the classroom where I was met by a sergeant. He said to me:

"Are you here for the four-hour second half of orientation?"

I looked at him as if he had just told me that my boobs had fallen out of my bra and were sticking out the bottom of my sweater. I explained to him who I was and why I was there, and he said to me:

"Oh! I'm sorry. That class has been cancelled. The lieutenant is doing riot training. It was a last-minute thing. But you're welcome to sit in on the first few hours if you want."


I sat down and promptly began falling asleep when Bill, the chaplain, walked in. I told him what had happened, and he told me that the inmate in charge of getting activities approved hadn't heard about the request he'd put in, and besides, the chapel was full. I was welcome to play outside next to the lodge if I wanted. The sweat lodge. On the yard. In the freezing weather (and I do mean freezing - it was in the mid '30's). He told me to call a guy in the chapel to inquire about the class, which I did at the break. He hadn't even seen Rick (the inmate) and didn't expect to see him until after 9 a.m. At this point, it was 8:15. I decided to just go and headed to someone's office who had a phone so I could call Hubster. He checked out of the motel and came to get me. We went to breakfast to kill time before a couple of shops in Old Folsom opened, and then we went over there. I had to order something for a swap pal, and then I wanted to go to a Native American store that has the coolest things. We hit the stores and then hit the road. I slept all the way home and much of the afternoon and evening. I didn't start functioning until about 3 a.m. this morning. So what happened then?

I fucked up those socks. AGAIN.

I've decided to start again with a new skein of yarn. The one I've been using is cursed, I just know it. I must have handled it roughly or something. In any event, it's now stuffed in the bottom of one of my bins.

The one full of ugly yarn.