Saturday, March 27, 2010

Florida Part 2: Ringling Museum and

I'm having a really wonderful and lazy vacation here in Florida, but yesterday I actually did something! And then today, I did something else! Yesterday we went to the Ringling Circus museum and house (which is also a museum) of John and Mabel Ringling. It was really cool and looked very venetian, but there were limited photography opportunities and none for the art museum- his personal collection of Gothic and Renaissance paintings, which were really impressive. Wow. But yeah, did manage to get a few pictures of the outsides of the houses, the rose gardens and the trees on the grounds, which were so cool. And REALLY big. And check out this lace bed- which was Mabel's. Another wow.
Then today my mom and I went to the Farmer's market in Sarasota, which is really less "farmer" and more "artist" but totally cool nonetheless. And then we came home for a hot tea and I played with new Blackberry (old one died a terrible death in a puddle last Friday) and then we decided to go for a walk on the beach. We saw lots of washed up shells and jellyfish, some very tight speedos that left nothing to the imagination, and a sandcastle that was too cool not to take pictures of and act like I made it. But I didn't.
That's all for today. More adventures later!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Fun in the Sun in Florida

So Monday morning I got up at 7, fed my furbabies, got packed and ready to go, grabbed some yarn, gave hell-kitten a little kitty-ambien, and headed to the airport. Getting through security with a drugged up (but still very awake) kitten wasn't all that fun, but luckily the Indianapolis airport is one of the more chill airports in the world. So I got through, put my shoes and belt and hoodie back on, got Madeline back in her carrier (you have to carry them through security with you) and ran down to gate B-23 to find that my flight was already boarding. Sweet. I did NOT want to sit around waiting with a kitten who was trying to howl. Got on the plane, realized that had put me next to Moose, the Boston terrier and had to move since I didn't want to have a through-the-carrier fight for 2 hours between Moose and Madeline, and after a nap and a little knitting (I casted on a pair of socks from Mandie at Sheepytime's "Oceanic", one of her LOST colorways, realized I was knitting socks that were about a plane crash and put them away suddenly) we landed in Sarasota and called my mummy to pick us up. Madeline was sticking her head in and out of the carrier and attracting all sorts of attention, but my mom came and said that we could go to the house for a few minutes, but then had to leave because she was showing the house. So we got pedicures! (I had a very minor toe surgery on last Monday so I had to settle with 9/10ths of a pedicure). And afterwards, we went shopping.
And the next day, we went shopping. But we made it to the store I wanted to go to, so I'm quite pleased with that. We started the yarn-adventures with a trip to Picasso's Moon on Fruitville Road, a new yarn shop I'd read about. They were mostly a handspun art-yarn place, which I think is mostly too cool to use. They did have a little bird named Picasso in the store, and everyone was very friendly, but there were a few strange things. I thought it was cool that the store was shared between the yarn store and an antique shop, but the yarn sort of smelled old and dusty. It was also a little cluttered a very dark, which I don't like in a yarn store. I think good light is one of the most important things a yarn store should have. There was also something that I thought was odd, and that was the Cascade 220 (basic yarn that every yarn store should have) came already wound in yarn cakes instead of in hanks. It was strange, it felt like the yarn had already been used. But I also understand how easy it would be to just start a project instantly. Idk, I prefer new yarn in hank-form. I did love their roving collection though, and I bought some from Bats in the Bellfry, I think it might be a quasi-local dyer but I should really look it up. Mostly wool/tencel/Angelina blends. I do love a good sparkly thing.
Yesterday our adventure began at another yarn/needlepoint store, which was highly disappointing. The yarn collection was unimpressive and the needlepoint prices were insane. Like $30 for a 2x2 INCH needlepoint pattern, thread not included. It was a cute little sheep that I could add to my collection, but I refuse to spend that much on anything sheepy, much less something I would actually have to make first before I could add it to the sheepy room. Anyhoo, on to Venice to meet Aunt Diana and Uncle Bill for early dinner, and hold up...Spidey senses are that a yarn store? And it was. And it was one of the coolest yarn stores I've ever been in. The store was called A Good Yarn and it had the coolest yarn, much of which I'd never even seen before! The owner was super nice and we talked about all things lace, and I ended up with a few little things in my bag.

Noro Sekko- I didn't know Noro had a laceweight. Which happens to be mostly cotton. And really cool. I'll take two.
3 Irish Girls sock yarn, which I've only ever seen on Ravelry and in my dreams. I'll have one of the those too.
Opal handpainted sock yarn in blackberry. I'm currently on a bit of a purple-kick so that had to come home with me too. I love sock yarn.After that we headed to Tervis Tumblers, this place that makes totally awesome cups and mugs and whatever and they're all insulated and you can put hot or cold in them. She got me a pirate-cup for Christmas (and I love pirates) and I wanted to see if they had more pirate cups since I use mine every day when I take my huge cup of tea to work with me. They did, but I ended up with a pink and green paisley cup and a green butterfly cup instead. Still totally a win. After that adventure in plastic, we headed to Venice to see the Aunt and Uncle, had dinner with said Aunt and Uncle, and then went to a bird sanctuary, which was actually pretty cool. I did take a few pictures, but none of them came out very well since my zoom is pretty dinky and the light was not in my favor. It was really cool how hundreds of birds were all flying in to spend the night on this little island. I got a picture of some turtles too, but they're tricky to find in the picture.

I have been doing a little knitting/crocheting since I've been here (duh- I am on vacation!) and have added a little more to my Seascape stole in Rowan Kidsilk Haze and made a few potholders, including this set for my Mom's FBFF (Floridian Best Friend Forever) Daisy, who I will hopefully meet on Saturday.
But now Madeline and I need to put on our sundresses and get ready for another exciting day in paradise!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Life Happens. Lace Helps.

So every once in a while you just have one of those weeks where every little thing seems to add another pound to the weight you already carry. And I know my problems are really petty compared to everyone else's problems, but they're still things that I try to deal with but they occasionally win. It starts with a sinus infection that after 2 rounds of antibiotics, still hasn't gone away. Add in a not-so-great day at work and the misfortunes of a friend, and you're suddenly not as chipper as normal. There are big decisions that still need to be made regarding your future, since adulthood isn't all you planned on it being and there are necessary parts that frankly just aren't there. Then your foot starts to hurt from all the marathon-training, despite the $100 you just dished out on special running shoes designed for people that are knock-kneed. The next day you wake up to 6 piles of cat-vomit on white carpet, $100 later it turns out your cat is allergic to cat food. It's going to take more expensive cat food and heart burn medicine, which is also kind of expensive. Add an argument with parents about career and it's Friday night and you're standing alone in your messy kitchen with absolutely nothing to do but cry. So you open a bottle of wine, you start to pick up the mess and this somehow makes life just a little bit brighter. Because while I can't control most of what goes on around me, I can control how many dishes are in the sink and whether or not there's food in the fridge (there's not). And then my little brother and his roommate, Wyatt, walked in- very unexpectedly, which normally means trouble and more stress, but this time it was nice. They were pleasant, and for the first time in a long time (or ever) I sat down and watched a movie with Clay and Wyatt and the hell-kitten, knitted, had a glass of wine and a decent discussion about Fraternity life, and it was really nice. They were probably bored out of their minds by talking to me, but didn't kill them. And after everyone went to bed (they had a 4:15 am departure for Spring Break this morning so bed was around 1- relatively early for them) I decided that I was going to put my finish-4-start-1 rule on hold and start something. And I started something big. And I started something lacey, despite already having a lace shawl on the needles. And casting on felt so right. Pattern is "Print of the Wave Stole" by Eunny Jang, yarn is whatever kettle-dyed laceweight you buy from Knitpicks, needles are 2.75's.
So today, while I really want to make a giant cup of hot tea and curl up with my awesome new lace, I'm going to shower, put on clothes and go shopping for a new sundress for Spring Break (I know that grownups aren't supposed to have Spring Break, but it's all about transition into adulthood here. And I really want to try to get a tan this year) and I'm going to buy a birthday card for my cousin, take myself out to a late lunch with either my totally awesome shawl or my totally awesome book (How the Garcia Girls Lost their Accents, Julia Alvarez) and then I'm going to go buy some wood, airplane safe needles for the new shawl. And I might just get rosewood. Because every once in a while, it's nice to have something pretty. And then I will feel better.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Adventures of Guild People

So yesterday after a very sleepy day at work that ended in an early departure and a 3 hour nap, I get a text from Janet saying that I need to go to the Indianapolis knitting guild and by the way it's in an hour. I didn't have time to protest, so I grabbed three projects and a tube of lip gloss and headed out the door. In all honesty, I've been avoiding the knitting guild like the plague since there was some drama a couple years ago involving a knitter, a website and a separate and very different saucy website for rather naughty leather accessories. But that's another story, and you either know it or you don't. But anyhoo, there was so much knitting guild drama wrapped up in this, I had created a mental image of the knitting guild being a collection of women from like the mesozoic era or something, all working on their millionth Alice Starmore sweater, looking down long, veiny noses at younger "whippersnapper" knitters. And I'm really glad to say that I was waaayyyy off. Seriously. While I was the youngest one there, it wasn't a big deal. There were all skill levels, a little lace, a little cabling, a little fun fur, but after all is said and done, I actually enjoyed myself. The owner of Mass Ave Knit Shop taught a lesson on how to make a bajillion and one flowers and even made a few of them while talking to us all about where we can still these bajillion and one knitted flowers. Her lesson even reminded me of a WIP that was collecting dust (and probably fossils) upstairs in a corner somewhere, a pile of green yarn that had once been a sweater, and then another sweater, and was somewhere in the early stages of a tote bag. So I dug through the craft room that is frequently mistaken for Narnia and eventually found this pile of green Lamb's Pride Bulky that hasn't been touched since...idk...puberty? Anyhoo, crocheted on it through Jon Stewart, crocheted on it through Colbert, crocheted on it a little through Southpark after realizing that while I had stuck my wet sheets in the dryer, I had not actually turned the dryer on and sleep wasn't going to happen on wet sheets, and eventually I had about a foot of green single crochet, clean dry sheets and a terrible distaste for Jon Stewart's guest from last night. Wow that was a terribly muddled paragraph.
But Franken-tote is ALIVE or at least a WIP again. I even talked to someone about lining it, because I would do a terrible job. No pictures yet, it just looks like a roll of sod right now and is highly boring. I do have pictures, however, of a pretty flower that Madeline ate the other day, a shawl that I finished for work, and that "spechul" flower-eating cat who is currently hiding in a paper bag.
"How you doin'?"
***Shawl is in Alpaca With A Twist Baby Twist Jumbo Hank pattern is my own that will hopefully be published through Alpaca With A Twist within the next couple months!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Why We Knit

When I'm asked, "why do you knit?" it's really easy to give a quick answer. I'm knitting because I'm waiting for my oil to be changed. I knit because I'm trying to stop biting my nails. I knit because I have a hard time finding sweaters with a torso that's long enough. There are probably as many reasons for why people are knitters as there are...knitters. And it's likely that a knitter will not go through life working her needles for just one reason. Life changes, and you adapt. Some of us just adapt better when armed with pointy sticks and a ball of yarn. So while a knitter begins as a trying to stop smoking or need to de-stress knitter, he or she will almost certainly be (if only once) a knitter because they love.We knit because we love. It's a weird thing for a non-knitter to get, and I understand that. We knit baby gifts, not because we want the kid to be swaddled in wool from day 1, but because we somehow feel that each and every stitch in that baby blanket contains a little bit of our love that will survive as long as the blanket does, or if we're lucky, as long as the memory of the blanket survives. We knit shawls when bad things happen, not because a shawl is a get-out-of-giref free card by any means, but because it's a big knitted hug when we can't be there in person. And we knit potholders to protect loved ones from hot pans and trays, but also to say "I love you". So next time you get a hat from that crazy aunt who crochets all the time, or your baby ends up with 12 blankets, don't think of them as "just another hat" or "another blanket I'll have to wash," but think of it as a physical representation of a knitter's love and caring. You'll never see a dishcloth the same again.
A new pastel ballband dishcloth for my Grandma Rosie, who is so knitworthy.