Oh my. I think I exceeded even my own expectations about spending money at Stitches. Here comes another contribution to Doctors Without Borders to balance my karma. But there was all the pretty… I think that Rachael of Yarn-A-Go-Go said it best:

It's kind of being a kid again at Disneyland, isn't it? I want! I want everything, and look at this, and what about that, and that's my favorite thing EVER, and I'M TIRED I DON'T WANT TO BE HERE ANYMORE and oooooh, pretty, I want that!
Of course, this kid had a credit card and no parental supervision.

The damage: Five bags of 50% off Garnstudio Camelia which I’m told may be discontinued and that is a crying shame, one bag of 50% off Uruguay DK, a darning needle case made of wood, a lapis necklace*, buttons for a woefully neglected cardigan,** six skeins of a 20% off lovely moss-green merino DK whose name I forget, and a 10% off impulse skein of a novelty yarn (Kid Slique but in a new colour not shown in that link that looks almost exactly like a black magpie feather; mainly plain black with shots of shiny dark purple, blue and green.). Whew.

Y’all may not care about this, but for my own personal interest here’s what I plan:
  • Gray-purple (I’d call it “dead lilacs”) Camelia (10 skeins): Alice Starmore’s Cromarty.
  • Lovely juicy reddish purple Camelia (10 skeins): Undecided. It would make an excellent stole/shawl thing, though. Or a thneed.
  • Deep slightly grayish blue Camelia (10 skeins): Perhaps this cardigan (designed for this yarn! And I think this picture might actually be the exact colour I have! I am slightly ashamed. I almost never make things in the colour (or yarn) in the pattern)
  • Charcoal grey heather Camelia (20 skeins): A gansey for R:tAG, maybe one I design myself. Yep, another gray sweater. And I’m only half done the MMBR*** sweater for him!
  • Magpie-wing Kid Slique (1 skein): It’s so pretty! I’m letting it marinate, petting it occasionally, until I decide whether to make a thin scarf out of just it, a more substantial scarf out of it and a plain black yarn, or a more substantial scarf out of it and a white yarn to go with a more obvious magpie reference. Maybe striped lengthways – two black stripes framing the white center stripe? But then I’m afraid it will look more skunky than magpie-ey, especially here in magpie-less CA. What do you, the viewers at home, think?
  • Uruguay DK (10 skeins of crimson): Kate Gilbert's Equestrian Blazer. I lurve this design, though I hope my colour choice doesn’t end up reading as “Tally ho for a spot of fox-hunting, eh what?”
  • Moss green merino by I-can’t-remember (6 skeins): I'd like to make Elsebeth Lavold’s Liv but I’m worried about running out and that design doesn’t really lend itself to the standard hamburger-helper tricks like striping or making the ribbing, collar and cuffs in a different colour. I'll have to see if I can find more.
Of course, this gets added to the twenty-odd projects already on the flight deck. Note that these are not started, just ready to go. But the lure of starting something new instead of finishing things up is so strong that knitters have a word for it; “startitis”. I’d blame the spring weather, but I’d be lying.

I already have the MMBR sweater, a lace shawl, a baby blanket and a pair of socks actually in progress. And, <<ahem>> I may have started Cromarty already and done one skein’s worth of it. Just to see if I’d have enough of the Camelia yarn, which I won’t**** so I have to order more, and I have to do that wit’ a quickness, as the kids say, if they’re discontinuing this yarn and/or colour.

OK. I will at least finish the baby blanket and the front of the MMBR before I cast on anything new. Pinky swear.

So. What's new with you?

* Not all the vendors sell fiber, some sell pretty shiny things. Argh. It should just be called the “Make Amy Spend Money Festival.”

** This design, Ljod, is the one I alluded to looking like a Jetson’s outfit and that I was going to rip out. I’ve become a bit fonder of it, though, and I think I’ll try re-working the shoulders which were the most egregious part. The wool that I used didn’t drape like the recommended wool-silk blend, so the shoulder caps turned into these 1980’s-puffy-Gibson-girl-leg-of-mutton things that are not flattering to my line-backer shoulders, to say the least. I still don’t know about the flared hem in the crisper wool, but at least I’ll fix the shoulders and re-evaluate it.

*** Miles and Miles of Bloody Ribbing.

**** I was pretty sure I wouldn’t; the stated yardage is ~1875 yards and I had 1750. Which I would normally say might be possible, but everyone who’s made this says that the given yardage is way low and they all ran out. Sure ‘nuff, one ball took me almost exactly one quarter up the front. The usual formula is 1/3 for the front, 1/3 for the back and 1/3 for both sleeves. The math is left as an exercise for the reader.

(They are so too lyrics! Here!)

恭喜發財 for the Year of the Pig! I’m told it’s a “fire pig” year, which means a lot of barbecues, I guess. I’ll have to make something suitable.

So I had a travellin’ weekend; a friend from my regular dance class and I went up to the Fat Chance studios for a couple of classes (This was also the weekend of Dundracon, so this also meant a lot of driving since we still have only the one car* and R:tAG was running a session of his cool as-yet-unpublished game so I had to drop him off). The classes were interesting and of course Fat Chance is like the Mecca of ATS, but I have to say that my personal learning style needs more words and more feedback than those particular classes provided. Plus they apparently hired the Marquis de Sade to provide flooring for the studio; it’s some kind of rubber that not only has seams so bumpy that you can stub your toe on them, it is also so grippy that it tore the calluses off my left foot**. No lie; I now have three nickel-size holes in the sole of my foot (right side of the ball, left side of the ball and fleshy part of the big toe) all the way to the dark red tender meat layer. Owie. Note to self – put ballet shoes into dance bag for next time.

Afterwards we went (limped, in my case) to a lovely little tea house called Samovar and completely by coincidence, across the street was Imagiknit, a yarn store that I’d always wanted to visit but never actually found. So we spent a while there, but… OK, you might want to sit down for this part…

I didn’t buy anything.

Not a scrap. Part of it was the old ferret-shock of being overwhelmed by choices, some of it was them not having quite enough of the only yarn I really wanted***, but the main reason is that Stitches West is this weekend and I plan to go – what’s the phrase? – ah yes, “buckwild” there. Because this time, unlike last year, I am mentally and financially prepared.

So then it was back to Dundracon, and I got to play in an excellent Savage Worlds game**** unexpectedly, which was very nice.

Man, there’s a lot of stuff to do here. This Queen Elizabeth and the Pirate event is happening this Saturday, which I didn’t hear about in time, plus I’d want to go to a Costuming Guild event suitably attired and I don’t have anything appropriate. But now I’m keeping an eye on their calendar, and dayum, I could spend a lot of time with these people.

Choices, choices...

* About twice a year, we think “Gee, it would be convenient to have another vehicle” but so far we’ve resolved it by either renting something or just sucking it up and doing more driving, which has worked out to be far cheaper.

** You almost always do spins on your left foot in this dance style, and you usually practice barefoot.

*** Thin cotton for this. I can find the thin alpaca, no problem, but the cotton is proving more tricksy. I want to keep the mix of the two yarns instead of just using a single thicker one, because I suspect that the firmness of the cotton is a big part of the structured look that I love so much about it. To get a firm fabric with a single wool yarn, I think I’d have to change the gauge, and that’s problematic with this design (note how the shaping on the sides is done).

**** Set in Austria just before the Seven Years’ War but with the difference that dragon riders are a key part of a country’s military. A fantasy air force, basically. So much fun!

Well, the Yarn Harlot said something about that better than I could. In particular:

I personally am way, way more turned on and reassured about Joe's love when he cleans the bathroom than I am when he brings me flowers. Don't get me wrong buckaroos, I love the flowers, but they would be an entirely hollow gesture if the dude wasn't coming to bed smelling a little like Vim once in a while. A beautiful card would mean little to me if Joe were not an equal partner in parenting, and chocolates would taste a little off if they were given to me while I was felt I was being denied proper support for my career and education within our loving relationship.
But read the whole thing. I’m all for Valentine’s being a celebration of general love, not specific Hallmark measured-in-dollars love.

We’re having a sweets potluck at work today*, and I realized how much I’ve grown as a person. All of the many written references to this event have been to the “desert” potluck, and here I am not dressed in an abaya and handing around stuffed dates.


Recycle Your Heart
- My favourite is this.

Robot Valentines
- I gave the one at 6 o'clock to R:tAG. He gave me a little three-dimensional card that he had folded after I’d gone to sleep last night. That was the extent of our Valentine’s celebration, ‘cause every day is Valentine’s Day with R:tAG.

Anti-Valentines - just to provide balance.

Nine Key Points about Nutrition

Steampunk Costuming
- I should start thinking about GenCon costumes. Oh, oh, oh, I didn’t mention, did I? We’re going to GenCon, and Cenobyte’s coming too! I am wiggly with excitement! Y’all should come too! Squeee!

* I’m using up some of my Meyer lemons for my contribution with this recipe for Meyer Lemon Bites. They’re pretty good, though I had to tinker a bit (added water to the crust, doubled the amount of zest in the filling, didn’t bake them as long as indicated).

So, I’m fine. Really. I’ve just been trying to pull things together for a blog entry (wif pictures!) showing what’s new* and I haven’t yet because of uncoordination**.

I didn’t really think of how a longish blog hiatus after a mopey post might look to people when that’s the only peephole they have into my life. To everyone who was so kindly concerned, I’m happy. Everything’s fine, the weather’s rainy (which is really great because there’s been a drought), the camellias and daffodils are blooming, a friend gave me a shopping bag full of Meyer lemons, and otters are coming to Monterey Bay Aquarium. What’s not to love?

Two new things we did recently: attended a professional indoor lacrosse game and helped test-drive a treasure hunt invented by a friend of ours for his company what does corporate team-building exercises.

The lacrosse game was great; I think it’s actually more exciting to watch than hockey, because of the level of allowed violence. You hit each other with sticks! Cross-checking? Perfectly fine! Tripping? Go for it! The game is very fast moving, too. I’d never seen indoor lacrosse (only the outdoor, at university level) and it’s sort of the same difference as between indoor and outdoor soccer. Indoor has smaller teams moving faster, uses ricochets and has a shot clock. Our team lost, but only by one point and after being five points down for most of the first half. So, a good time.***

The treasure hunt was also fun. The hunt was for information and clues, spread out over about a four block radius in downtown Palo Alto. Teams got points for speed in solving their clues (and the teams had different clues), but all the clues were needed to unlock a case with the final prize. It’s a real challenge to balance competition with co-operation, and also to make it interesting (i.e. provide a backstory and a connecting reason for all the tasks) without pushing into freak-the-mundanes-LARP territory. Our friend did a good job.**** One clever idea was to require Polaroid snaps of the team at various points in the puzzle (not the end) so that even if you guessed where the end point was, you still had to go to all the places. And you got bonus points for creativity with the pictures.

So, hugs and puppies all around. All we need now is for friends to visit, to tide us over until the Big Wedding!

* Hair! Glasses! Boots!

** In a time-management sense, not a falling-over-and-hurting-myself sense. I haven’t done that in ever! A long time! Weeks! OK, today.

*** And we were sitting in front of a group of guys who wanted to contribute by distracting the other team’s goalie… they were pretty funny.

**** I think the recent popularity of “The DaVinci Code” helped a lot… gave people an instant frame of reference.

Molly Ivins died yesterday. I spent last night reading her books and sniffling quietly to myself.

Maybe it’s just this news coming in the middle of my general malaise, which might or might not be related to just passing what’s apparently the most depressing day of the year but it’s really affecting me.

Life isn’t fair.



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