Tuesday, September 25, 2007

two more confessions...

First - the yarn I got three bags of two posts ago was Filatura Lanarota, not Filatura di Crosa. Sorry - I am always getting confused about that. So we can turn the accomplishment down a notch in everyone's mind...

Second - I got your comment Lisa W. My ultimate evil plan is to eventually have ALL my knitting friends living within driving distance of Smiley's, and therefore driving distance of ME. MWAHAHAHA!!!!

(Well, except for Benne and SK maybe. Not that I wouldn't want them here but getting our woodland knitting goddesses out of the trees would probably be about as successful as trying to get the Pope out of Rome... sometimes one just has to admit failure and move on...)

Not that I am knocking where any of you live! No, this is all about me. I am smirking evilly.

Canada, by the way, is within driving distance for those who are only very slightly deranged, so you Canucks cannot consider yourselves safe from this plan - you may wake up and find yourselves in Montreal some day.

*Trots off to brew tea and plan the overthrow of, well, something!*

Monday, September 24, 2007


I went to the Long Island sale, too. I bought two bags of Lana because...well, because it was 100 grams of 100 percent wool each, at less than two dollars a ball. they had it in black, I wear black, I intend to make some felted slipper things in black, case closed. I got two bags. That is 2,604 yards of Worsted Weight wool for twenty bucks. Even though this is not quite as good as the already-knit intarsia wool sweater that had maybe been worn once before I bought it at the Salvation Army on Saturday for four dollars, it is close. And even though the wool may not be Rowan, it is easily good enough for felting, and what do I buy in the store anyway?
When I buy new it is acrylic off the rack in K-Mart, hopefully marked down to "an additional 70 percent off our already low sale price..." Two balls of Patons Classic Wool on sale in ACMoore today would have cost me eight dollars. So...if I use five balls out of the twelve I come out ahead, even if moths get the other seven.

(even though some days I am the windshield, those moths never seem to be the bug, you know?)

I also bought 18 balls of Moda-Dea Cartwheel, which is a thick and thin sort of variegated hot pink. I had bougth one ball in the store last week that I playes with and liked, so I figured why not - they told me three bags would be enough for a sweater.

It was really nice that while I was chatting with the store manager he mentioned all the years I have been shopping there - all the years and all the wool. Our sons are about the same age, and I think they were three when I started - mine is 15 now. Wow.

Anyway, for those who do not know, Smiley's is a yarn store under an Elevated rail line in Queens. The store is very plain, and very full of yarn. They have an extensive selection of a range of things. They carry alpaca, they carry some Reynolds yarns, they carry closeouts and they carry a bit of everything. And, in a city where many yarn stores can get snooty about people who are not willing to spend an exhorbitant amount of money on EACH of 27 balls of yarn for a sweater, they are not snotty. If you go in and buy a 79 cent ball of acrylic, they thank you. If you spend 150 on a huge pile of yarn that you have to carry out in two black plastic trashbags, they thank you. I can vouch for this because I have done both. The shopping baskets are the larger size laundry baskets, and on sale days it is not unheard of to need two.

What exactly they carry has changed somewhat over the dozen years I've been shopping there. It does not carry everything, it does not worry about what is being featured in this month's magazines, and on a non-sale day it may not be terribly exciting. I love it, though, on any day of the week.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Sweater Weather

There are two ways to know fall is coming in this neck of the woods. It gets cold, and Smiley's starts having sales again.

This year these two coincided. Saturday was the last day of the September store sale and the first really chilly day I've noticed. I don't leave the house much so I might have missed one, but it still would have been last week.

Yes, I went to the sale, and the yarn fairies were with me. I got a second bag of the yellow yarn I bought last spring, in the same dye lot. This virtually ensures tha the first bag, which should have been exactly enough for the sweater planned, WILL be wexactly enough, and I will have a bag of yarn left over - uh, I mean, for another project. And I do already have a pattern in mind...

I got two other bags of the same yarn, in, um, dark beige? Light Taupe? Whatever. It is an acrylic/rayon blend from Filatura di Crosa, and seems to knit up nicely from the swatching I did. Two bags ought to be enough for a sweater with sleeves, if I want one.

I also got some more or less miscellaneous sock yarn - Three balls of Plymouth Encore DK - two burgundy, one gold, for Gryffindor socks; three balls of Calzetteria in a very dark charcoal grey and two of a brown multi for socks; one random ball of worsted because I am considering buying a sweater's worth in that color and wanted to test it out on me, and two balls of something mysterious for a secret project/purpose.

All of this set me back...well, I got change from sixty dollars, for 39 balls of yarn. Unless I forgot something... Can't complain... I do think I may got to the sale on Long Island, though. I forgot to get a bag of wool yarn for ten dollars, and I might want to make a black sweater...

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Hogwarts-sock-swap-two contest entry

What type of pet do you choose as your companion at Hogwarts?
An owl, obviously! Do you have ANY idea how much money this would have saved me in college?
While shopping in Hogsmeade you stop by Honeydukes for some sweets. What treats do you purchase for yourself?
Dark chocolate. I might pick up a few chocolate frog cards, because I would probably have been collecting the cards since I was about seven, but other than that, Dark Chocolate and possibly some confection they have never described in the books that might somehow resemble a cross between Rugglach, Chocolate Croissants, Baklava and Biscotti.
A potion you are preparing needs an ingredient available only at muggle shops. You don't want to stand out in your wizards robes, so you resort to traditional muggle clothing. Describe your outfit in detail. This would really depend on what Muggle shops I have to go into. If we are talking the used-bookstore/hardwarestore/ethnic neighborhood foodstores then I would be wearing black jeans, leather shoes, a jewel-neck very thin knitted top in black, brown or green with a rust colored cabled sweater over it and carrying some huge, canvas-type bag. If it were an office supply/u[sacale stationer's store then I might get to wear a trim little Lois-Lane type suite with a small but excentric had, leather gloves and and a pair of pumps with indecently hight heels. However, most of the Muggle shopping I actually do is at Costco, the supermarket and the dollar store, and recent outfits have included a pair of lavender-blue fake crocs (2.99 at the dollar store) a green pink and white cotton print dress with an elasticized smocked top and tiered skirt that goes down past my knees, and a little black nylon bag I can just cram my little wallet, cellphone and camera into with difficulty and some compromise. I am usually wearing hanging earrings, rings on both hands, a charm bracelet, and frequently a pin, sometimes a crazy pin, and less often a necklace, which is way more jewelry than people in some parts of North America but much less than Professor Trelawney. I would not say I "Accessorize"with anything much except pins, although I do wear shawls pretty much when I want to and whether or not anyone else thinks they would go with my particular outfit.

What is your favorite subject to study at Hogwarts and why? Most favorite would probably be Ancient Runes, although I would probably also be fond of History of Magic, which I would probably cope with by doing all the reading, writing something totally unrelated while class was going on, and asking questions afterwards if I could get Binns to pay attention.

Likewise, what subject is your least favorite and why? I would not like Potions because I would stink at it, although I might very well like Snape as a professor - I tended to like the difficult ones. I have severe moral doubts about Transfiguration of/to living objects and so would probably butt heads with MacGonagall a lot.

Back to the potion you were shopping for ingredients for, what type of potion are you making, what color is it, what are the ingredients, and precisely what does the potion do? The potion I am making is striped a lime green, pink and teal, includes Osprey feathers, Wrackspurt scales and the reed from a clarinet among many many other ingredients. It enables one to dance, although not simply walk, upon the surface of the sea and certain large lakes. Used upon land, it turns one into a virtual Fred Astaire or Ginger Rodgers. (Tonks took some for her wedding and managed not to knock anything over all day...)

Sunday, September 2, 2007

God has a sense of humor

Well, I'm here, and that's proof, but that is not the only proof that God has a sense of humor.

I have been busy, among other things, swatching like a little madwoman for the pattern for my pal's socks for the Hogwarts Sock Swap 2. Normally I put things off forever, but this time I have been very proactive and, like many good deeds, it has not gone unpunished...

I ordered a possible Gryffindor red yarn to go with yellow-verging-toward-gold yarn that I already have, and it arrived pronto. Except that I am not convinced it is the perfect color. I did try tea-dying it, and that seemed better, but I can hear my mother whispering "Rolled Cookies" in my ear. This is our code expressions for things that seems like a good idea at the time, but are going to leave you with a hell of a clean-up situation and three edible cookies after an exhausting day's work. Is mom right? Who knows.

It did seem, however, prudent to order the color yarn from Knit Picks that is used in the Charmed Knits book. This way, even if it turns out that people (What people? Who will ever be sure WHAT color these things are, given the delicacy of color repro at the best of times, never mind on a million different monitors? But I digress)think I used the wrong color, I will at least have the consolation that SOMEONE thought it was the right color.

This left me with three balls of red (They were on sale and I could not resist) and a ball of yellow in pretty-much-the-same-sockweight and two balls of burgundy in pretty much the same weight. But the yellow was not EXACTLY gold. So I took advantage of the trip to the Mannings that I made on my vacation and bought a single ball of Dale Baby Ull in gold - the color used in Charmed Knits. Why did I not buy two? Because I am an idiot, that is why. I will almost but not exactly certainly need two. Unless I re-think gold toes and heels. I could re-think gold toes and heels. But we do want these to be nice and Gryffy, not just burgundy socks.

Of course I am torturing myself over this fiber anyway. Some of my friends do not like the brands of some of these skeins I have. I lay awake at night pondering this profoundly. For which of my sins is this mental torture punishment? I would like to be able to cross it off the list of things I still have to do penance for... My normal procedure of waiting til the eleventh hour and paddling like mad is starting to look like it actually makes sense.

Meanwhile, in a knitter's home far far away, similar perfectionism is torturing my pal. I know this because we have confessed our perfectionism to each other. She is on her third version of the pattern she is writing for my socks, and I have swatched and rejected no fewer than five stitch patterns. Now that I am down to the ones I think I might use I question the entire premise of the sock. Maybe an entirely different approach?

My pal and I were discussing that Rebecca, who is running the swap, must have matched us very carefully. Clearly, as knitters, we are both perfectionists, not only with what we are making, but with the goodies we are sending. Thanks to her careful and considerate questioning she now knows more about what I would like in a present than most of my close family members. Thanks to my careful questioning, I have a few ideas and hope they are somewhere close.

They might be, though. The latest hilarity concerns the sock patterns we are supposed to send each other. We have been carefully circling each other with veiled queries which will hopefully leave a surprise, right? The surprise is on us. She got me a copy of Cookie A's Twisted Flower Socks pattern. Not having any idea of this, I, seeing this pattern and deciding it was gorgeous, challenging, and looked like fun bought her one. In fact, I liked it so much I bought her one, and me one. Between the two of us we now have three copies of this pattern.

I am laughing at myself here, but somewhere in heaven I think God is laughing so hard he is peeing his pants.