Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Yarn Diets and the Demise of the LYS

I was reading WendyKnits earlier, and her resolution to knit from her stash (similar to my yarn diet) apparently caused quite a hubbub on the blog of a LYS (local to whom, I'm not certain).

This LYS owner claimed that if everyone knit from their stashes that Wendy would be responsible for the demise of yarn shops far and wide. The phrase "blood on your [Wendy's] hands" was included.

This is ridiculous. I haven't read anything so self-serving in ages. This sounds like the LYSs that complain about internet yarn shops stealing all of their business. Internet shopping is often a supplement to the LYS, rather than an alternative.


The LYS sucks. There we go, I've said it. I have 9 LYS within a 20 minute radius around my house (meaning, if you were to take a compass, put the pointy part on my house, and swoop around with the pencil-y part, there are NINE LYSs within that circle).

I've gone into a LYS where the service was beyond bad- it was overtly rude. One of these LYSs is notorious of having rude employees. I buy the things they sell from online vendors.

Last January I was in a different LYS where I watched the owner be exceedingly rude to a developmentally disabled woman in front of a store full of customers. The DD woman was a customer, and so was her mother- who was standing right there next to her daughter. I don't shop there anymore, again- I buy online.

Rudeness is one of my main reasons for not shopping at the LYSs. Another is the huge difference in price markups between LYSs. This isn't as noticeable when you have one or two LYSs, but when the same yarn is 30% more expensive at a shop 20 minutes away, the consumer is bound to figure it out.

Yeah, yeah, I know the "markup includes our expertise" argument. I actually used to work at an LYS where we helped people, and we had the lowest markup in the area. When it comes to where I shop, I don't need their help, so why should I be expected to pay for a service I'm never going to use?

I have personally never asked for knitting help in a store- the most I ask is "Where can I find XX?" Sorry, the internet shops cut that "expense".

I digress from my main point- Yarn Diets and the Destruction of the LYS. It's not going to happen. Even if you're firm and stick to your resolve, we all crack. My yarn diet lasted about 120 days, but I bought spinning fiber in the meantime.

Wendy's diet doesn't include sock yarn, where mine was a totally kibosh on all yarn purchases. Andrew could probably show you in Quicken how much I spend on JUST sock yarn every year. It's staggering.

My yarn diet stemmed from a love of what I have in my stash. When Andrew and I went through the my whole stash and re-packaged it over the summer, I realized how much yarn I have that I love. I also realized, in my shopping excursions, how I pretty much have everything I want.

Here is the frightening thing: I haven't seen a whole lot of "new" or "different" yarns that appeal to me. That's why I'm insane in the membrane about spinning. It's new, different, and yet- similar enough to appeal to my tastes. (I am insanely in love with Trekking- the subtle variegated ones, and my spinning is similar to that right now.)

So, LYS owners, listen up! If you want more foot traffic, to move more products, and to defeat these evil Yarn Diets, you have to stock NEW and INTERESTING things! Offer classes in techniques that move yarn, or fiber, or whatever. Ask your customers what THEY would like to see, and carry a little initially to see if there's interest.

The one thing that will always defeat a Yarn Diet is temptation. If there is no temptation, the Yarn Diet will be successful.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Ply Like a Navajo

On November 6th, I hit a fiber lull. I had * literally * spun all of the fiber I had. I quickly sent Lisa Souza an e-mail, and sent off an order to Crown Mountain. I had a week off from work (theoretically, of course- since I ended up working 4 of the 5 days), and had grand ambitions of spinning up a mountain of yarn and watching enough TV to thoroughly rot my brain.

Then, I called Mom, who had generously volunteered to bring over all of the spinning fiber she had squirreled away. She also, in the spirit of her magnanimous generosity, suggested how she would like each spun and plied.

She pointed at 4 oz of Superwash merino and said, "I'd like this Navajo plied, please."

"I don't know how to Navajo ply yet. Do you?" I ask Mom.

"Not yet," she replies.

As any computer-savvy-spinning-crazed 23/24 year old would do, I googled "Navajo ply", then read the description of how to do it. Then, I found a video with a quick blip on how to do it.

I went home, and used the odds and ends from a spinning project to practice. I have learned that Navajo plying requires coordination, tightly spun yarn, and the most important- to treadle slowly.

My first attempt was grim, and rife with swearing. Needless to say, Andrew was thoroughly entertained.

My second attempt was with the last 20 yards of Linda's gift exchange yarn, which I now realize that I didn't photograph. I didn't want to waste 20 yards of knittable yarn (so, 60 yards of spinning)- because we all know how 30 yards can make or break a project- so I performed my second attempt at Navajo plying. This was exponentially more successful.

Attempt number three is making me feel like I'm getting the hang of it. I'm Navajo plying all 8 ounces of "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" on Sandi's Schacht.

Some interesting observations- I can fit about 3 oz of spinning per Ashford bobbin, and on the Schacht bobbins, I can fill it closer to 6 oz (I'm at about 5 ¼ right now, but there is still room on the bobbin).

I think Navajo plying works better in some cases than others, to prevent "yarn barf"-age. ("Yarn barf" is exactly what it sounds like- too many colors jumbled together.)

Pictures will be posted soon; comparing the Navajo plied stuff to the regularly plied stuff.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Maybe It’s the Yarn

I was talking to my co-workers about some of the roving I've bought lately, and how I'm on a spinning binge, and one of the gals, very observantly said, "You don't like knitting. You like yarn!"

I laughed, because it's true. Not the not-liking-knitting part, but the liking yarn.

The thing I like about yarn is it's potential. In the skein it is beautiful and full of opportunities. Each new skein has it's own path, and although most of their paths lead to socks, some become garments that are worn above the waist.

Fiber/roving has that same potential, but moreso. I can take 8 ounces and spin a mile of yarn, or I can spin it heavier. Spinning appeals to my megalomania cal side. When I'm spinning, the world is mine!!!**

**Like Dr. Evil is Austin Powers II.

Thursday, December 7, 2006

Beauty, Lady Eleanor is Thy Name

Have you ever had an idea that came to fruition EXACTLY the way that you had dreamed it would? That's Lady Eleanor for me, from Scarf Style. [For anyone who doesn't have a copy of Scarf Style to run and refer to, it's an entrelac wrap with wicked cool fringe.]

As with every truly great idea, it was a perfect confluence of events. It began with a trip to Michaels a few weeks back, to procure materials for a Chihuahua sweater. I saw the Patons Soy Wool Stripes, picked up the denim colorway and thought about what kind of project it called for.

Since I was on the yarn diet (the Chihuahua sweater didn't count, it was a project for pay), I left it there, but I assure you, the SWS lingered in my mind.

A week or so later, I was spinning at Commuknity when one of the Sunday regulars came in, wearing Lady Eleanor. [For your personal reference, I used to think that entrelac was ugly. I have since repented for my judgmental ways (well, at least as far as entrelac is concerned).] I was stunned at the simultaneous elegance and wear-ability of the wrap.

It was then that I knew I had to have one, and a few days later I realized that the SWS would be PERFECT for Lady Eleanor. I dragged my half-dead backside out of bed and demanded that Andrew drive me first to Michaels to procure the SWS and then KFC for the much-craved Buffalo Wings.

I cast it on, and I can tell, four skeins of SWS into it, that I may have to make 78645 of them. Can you tell that I am enjoying this project?

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

There is no right or wrong, only right or left.

There is endless debate on what is the "fastest" or "best" way of knitting. I maintain that there is no "right" or "wrong" way of knitting, there is only right or left.

So long as you are knitting, you are right. If you aren't knitting, perhaps you should re-assess your life.

This brings me to my latest project, the Lady Eleanor Shawl from Scarf Style. It's a brilliant, simple entrelac shawl and it is barrels of fun to knit on.

I can knit backwards, so I'm not doing much turning, but it reminds me of a post that Stephanie wrote a few years back, about her grandmother told her that knitting backwards was "wrong", and nipped that habit in the bud. When she was working on the Entrelac Socks from Socks, Socks, Socks she wished that she hadn't quit knitting backwards.

I tell Andrew, while we're watching TV (and I'm knitting away on my shawl) that I'm really enjoying it and that knitting backwards is cool. I think he called me a freak, or some such thing, which is okay, because he said it with great envy.

It definitely needs the stuffing blocked out of it, but it's going to be lovely. Pics to be posted.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Come One, Come All!

I've blogged about Caps to the Capital before, so I'm not going to repeat myself.

As truly a community oriented store, Commuknity is hosting a Caps to the Capital Knit A Long on December 8th, from 6-11 PM.

As for my own contribution, I will be knitting baby hats and likely bringing donuts. Please join us all and help a worthy cause.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Thwarting the Tivo

For some shows that get recorded on my Tivo, I miss the last 30- 60 seconds. This is usually next week's preview, which sucks, but I figured that it was just an oversight, not blaming the Tivo OR the network. On the radio this morning it was announced that this "timing issue" is intentional on behalf of the network.

Why? Commercials, of course! I mean, it's not as if we're not hit with a barrage of advertisements while watching the program- product placement as well as those little banner ads that are constantly appearing at the bottom of the screen. Besides Sarah Jessica telling us that we should wear Jimmy Choo's, and House placing his iPod and Bose SoundDock prominently in his office, we must need the regular commercials as well.

Now, I know it is unlikely that network executives lurk on my blog, but here is what Tivo does for me:

I have a job. A full time (plus overtime, more often than not) job that pays my bills- including the cable bill. If it were not for the aforementioned job, I couldn't watch television at all. Sometimes, this pesky job means that I miss my favorite programs either because (a) I am working or (b) I am getting ready for bed and can't watch TV while doing so.

Tivo allows me to still follow shows that I enjoy without having to schedule my life around it. After all, let's face it: I don't really care about TV that much. I like TV, and Tivo makes it so that I can watch what I please, but if it all sucks, there are other options.

In Tivo's defense, Tivo has suggested shows in the "Tivo Suggestions" section that have been real winners. Among them are House and Grey's Anatomy. Two shows that I never would have watched had the Tivo not recognized my programming preferences and recorded it for me to sample. Tivo also makes it possible for the conventionally employed contingent of the Robot Chicken audience to watch the show at a more reasonable hour than 3:00 AM.

I understand the importance of commercials; without them, how would studio executives get painfully wealthy? After all, that summer home in Maui is a real necessity, like food and air. How could we, in good conscience, deprive them of that? [I honestly think it's okay to make money, and I even like the idea of someday having more money myself, but for the sake of the discussion, go with it.]

What I don't understand is why television gets more and more expensive. When the newspapers started placing ads more prominently, the prices dropped because they get most of their revenue from ads. Why isn't this the case with television, where every scene in the show is full of ads? Just a question.

I think the network executives are missing a major point with this Tivo rivalry: Tivo encourages people to watch MORE TV. More programming, more commercials, more everything- which they may not have been inclined to do if they had to schedule their TV time against social and professional obligations.

After all, if I like a show enough, or I want to give it a try, I can always get it from Netflix- without ANY commercials. Tivo appears to be the lesser of two evils in this case, but hey, I wouldn't give up my luxury items without a fight either if I was a network executive.

Monday, November 27, 2006

If I Smell Like Almonds, Please Don’t Lick Me

Once a month, the dogs get Advantage-d and Interceptor-ed. We do this mid-week and before bed so that we (and our guests) don't pet all of the Advantage off of them.

The funny thing about the Advantage is that it has the distinct smell of Almonds. Seriously. Oh, and you're not supposed to ingest it, dog or person, so if you get it on your hands, you're supposed to wash them relatively soon thereafter.

The Advantage usually is absorbed into their fur/skin in about 24 hours, so in those 24 hours, we do a lot of tummy scratching and face/ear/chest petting.

I like to snuggle with the dogs on the floor. I did this during lunch, and Elphie curled up right against me. Very sweet, right?

As I was driving back to work, I noticed that my sweater smelled … like almonds.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Spinning Like It’s 1899

So, this whole spinning thing I'm doing is very Zen for me. I can just sit quietly, disengage, spin and chill out. I've been having a really good time with it, and mom brought all this fiber-y goodness over for me to spin:

Please excuse the bad lighting, but it's getting dark very early, and I haven't quite gotten the hang of taking all my pictures over the weekend (when I'm home during daylight hours).

Andrew, Mom and I had tickets to see The King & I. Before we left for the show, I was talking about how I was planning to wash the Love Me Tender socks, and at first I thought that I would designate them as HAND-WASH only.

(I do this, in theory, by seaming with red yarn. However, because I work too many hours and too hard in general, I don't make hand-wash only socks. I have a life, after all.) Then, in classic Jasmin form I said, "Ah, forget it. If they felt, they felt. I'll know it then."

Cynthia, aghast that I would even consider it, looks at me shocked. I say, "What? Now you're going to tell me that I need to respect my work more and that I don't deserve to knit with my handspun because I don't respect it?"

Cynthia laughs and says, "That's EXACTLY what I was going to say." I think we may be spending a little too much time together. Not a bad thing, though.

I knit the better part of my first handspun sock (Love Me Tender) during The King and I, which was wonderful. (This is refreshing, because Sweet Charity was good, except for Molly Ringwald who, being the lead, was always on stage. Blarf.)

It was quite seriously a LONG show. I knit all but the 2" of ribbing at the top and the last 2" of toe during the performance- and I could have done the whole thing there, except that I don't like picking up stitches in the dark and there was only 10 minutes until intermission. Needless to say, we got home late.

I leave you, with some Minion-y shoe goodness:

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Giving Thanks and Stuff

Thanksgiving was great. I officially am awarding Cynthia the title "Hostess with the Mostess". There was wonderful company and great food- the two essential components in a great holiday.

I worked from home all of last week, which was nice. I sang karaoke with Joey on Monday night. It was moderately fun, especially with the drunk applause.

Due to the "working from home", I didn't get as much spinning as I would have liked to have done, however, I did complete "Crazy Love", which will be up on Le Blog once we have both a sunny day and I get home before dark. I may resort to bringing my yarn to work and photographing it during lunch on the lawn during the cafeteria.

Sandi was kind enough to loan me her Schacht wheel to try out- I have confirmed that I love this wheel and will (hopefully) purchase one in the next 12 months. Working on my own wheel afterwards is just not the same.

We attended "Christmas Dreamland" (review to come), which was quite possibly the most ill conceived show I have ever had the misfortune of witnessing. We made our getaway at intermission, but wanted to leave after the second number. Shows like this are the reason that theater in our area is in danger of going bankrupt and disappearing.

I'm thankful for too many things to list, so there. More later.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Criminal [Red Dragon] Minds

I love Criminal Minds. I do. I love Mandy Patinkin, and Matthew Gray Gubler, and I especially love the bad writing. It's a sick thing, how much I enjoy how poor the writing is.

So, I'm watching the show, and there was some egregious plagiarism as well as some major incongruity with previous episodes.

The first was that they RIPPED OFF Red Dragon. Now, if this hadn't been a major motion picture as WELL as the first book in the "Silence of the Lambs" series, I would have let it go. Mainly because people don't read- but they DO watch movies. The method of the two murderers communicating was pulled right out of the book/movie and they were practically WORD FOR WORD copies. But don't sue, them Thomas Harris, I love this show as much as it hurts me.

Also, since when is Dr. Reid qualified for psycholinguistics? The guy misuses words ALL THE TIME ( One example: "There is no betwixt."). It's cute, 'cause he's all geeky (and I love the geeky), but seriously- put down the thesaurus, writers. Just because Word says that it's a synonym doesn't mean the usage is exactly the same.

Just a sidenote: what is up with the Elle knockoff they've added onto the team?? It's all under the guise of nepotism, but seriously. Elle had some balls, and I don't see that in... whatever her name is. Everything I've read, as well as my personal opinion is to get rid of the blond admin/press secretary/what's-her-job? Hi, JJ, what EXACTLY do you contribute to the team? Coffee?

I would volunteer to write or act on the show (I could be the ass-kicking agent who corrects word misuse, and beats up the bad guys) but you read what I write, and my acting isn't much better. In my defense, I look great in a tie and would never look like a wimp holding a gun. I could also make up the necessary "wisecracking" contingent that seems to be required on these shows. I can pun, too, if you're into the CSI version of "the wisecrack".

No? I won't quit my day job in the meantime.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Brown Eyed Girl / Love Me Tender- Process Pictures

First- I posted the pictures to the Obsession is Normal post.

Second: I finished my Love Me Tender Socks:

Here are a bunch of process pictures of my spinning:

Wednesday, November 8, 2006

Civic Duty

I went to vote on Tuesday, as I hope everyone did. The line at my polling place was relatively long, but since I travel with both a book AND knitting, I was prepared in the event of a long wait.

[Before I start writing what happened, I would like to remind you that all of the people in the polling place are my neighbors. Not my next-door neighbors, but these people live in my neighborhood.]

As I walked up to the line to get signed in, I saw an animal control officer walking a pit-mix out of the school's office. She was very gentle with the dog, and took her time putting him in the kennel. This was a nice thing to see (her being gentle, not the dog getting hauled away).

It was probably about 60 degrees outside [freezing] and close to 80 degrees inside [boiling]. The woman two people ahead of me in line looked like a trashy, over-tanned, drag-queen makeup wearing version of Geena Davis.

GD had- apparently- not only never voted before, but felt that she should argue with the poll workers (who were all 80 + years old, except for one woman, who was about 40) about everything- including why the sign-in book was upside-down. This took at least fifteen minutes, to get her signed in and ready to sit down and wait her turn.

I get signed in, and go sit down. A woman sits down across the table in front of me, and she smells of three- count them, THREE- separate bodily functions. I try to ignore it, and read my book and knit, but it was truly gag-worthy.

Since they were slammed, it was an on-your-honor system as far as determining who went next. Basically, this means remembering who was in line ahead of you- pretty simple stuff.

GD is reading the ballot while we're waiting, making her selections on the cheat sheet- and she's up next. She asks if someone can go ahead of her, since she wasn't ready, which caused CHAOS. Well, old people chaos.

The woman ahead of me goes, which is fine, but Bodily Functions decides that she is TIRED of waiting, and totally takes my turn. At first, I was relieved, because I didn't have to smell her anymore, but then the woman who was supposed to go after Bodily Functions gets up.

I hopped up and made sure that I didn't get bumped out of place even further. My issue is this; what is up with people? Didn't they ever learn the age-old adage?

"No cuts, no butts, no coconuts."

Wednesday, November 1, 2006

Setting in the Shower

(or Obsession is Normal, Part Deux)

I have a system. I can spin about 2 ounces per night (after working late, of course) and ply about 4 ounces per night. Once the yarn is plied, it goes directly onto my swift so that I can measure the yardage and prep it to be set.

I hang it on a clothes hanger in the shower, get it nice and wet, and weigh in down with a partially filled (with water) milk jug. I admire it while I shower. We share a special moment.

I let it hang in the shower enclosure, dripping dry overnight, and twist it into a hank once it is dry. From there, I leave it somewhere noticeable so that every time I walk by, I can admire it.

It's like yarn narcissism, except for the whole staring at it so long that I starve to death.

Pictures to be posted soon.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

I Do Love Them So...

1. What brand of shirt are you wearing?
Mossimo- from Target

2. What's on your feet?
Tess Designer Yarns Copper socks, Camouflage Keen shoes.

3. Look directly behind you, what's there, besides whatever your butt's on?
File cabinet.

4. Are you a morning person?
No, but you'd never know on the phone.

5. How many kids do you want to have?
Ok, this opens a can of worms for me. I would like to have two children, but I am afraid that I will be an awful parent, or kill my children- either deliberately or inadvertently. Not because I am a careless person, but because being responsible for someone FOREVER is a little daunting.

6. Do you have a good relationship with your parents?
With my mom, for the most part. Except telling her to STFU when I was talking to Sam. Dad doesn't know how do deal with me.

7.Do you wanna change your name?
Been there, done that, took forever.

8. What did you do for your last birthday?
Went to work, had cake at work, went home, took the dogs to the park, dinner at Chevy's, Xmas gift exchange name draw, played "Go Fish" with naked man playing cards, saw RENT at 10:30 PM.

9. What time did you wake up today?
Technically 6:45, but I crawled out of bed ten minutes later.

10. What was the last think you said to someone in person?
"If it's not noted, I didn't get it."

11. What were you doing at midnight last night?
Sleeping with the TV on.

12. What do you do when you're angry
Fume, yell, blog.

13. How many times a day do you check your email?
549635213748. This is a stupid question.

14. Name something you CANNOT wait to do?
Get my fiber in the mail and SPIN!

15. Last time you fell asleep next to someone?
Last night. This is also a stupid question. Even when Andrew isn't home, the dogs sleep on the bed with me.

16. What is one thing you wish you could change about your life?
I wish I had gotten an internship earlier in college- after my first year, and worked a real, grown-up job throughout. This would have meant that I could have bought a better house the first time and we wouldn't have to sell our place in order to get a house where we can't hear our chain-smoking, white-trash neighbors clomping up and down the stairs next door.

17. Who was your favorite teacher and what did/does s/he teach?
Mrs. Carmichael. She did teach 5th grade, and funny enough, I ran into her while Andrew and I were picking up kitchen utensils at Macy's two years ago.

18. Worst teacher and why?
Mr. Lackore and Mr. Bingham for not making an effort to actually teach and giving me the false impression that I was math impaired.

I'll also award an honorable mention to Rich Alipaz who felt intimidated and insecure from his students' success, rather than basking in it and taking credit. Oh yeah, and for making me walk on my injured knee (despite my doctor's not)- which compounded into a permanent injury. Maybe this is not because he is a bad teacher, per se, but rather, an insecure person. Thus the honorable mention.

19. What was your first job?
Babysitting- 8 years old. First tax paying job was as a sales girl at Le Kri Boutique.

20. last thing you ate?
Protein shake. Mmmm…

21. whats your favorite month?
February for Stitches!

22. Least favorite month?
Any month that sucks.

23. What's the last piece of clothing you borrowed from anyone?
I borrowed my grandmother's stethoscope for my costume.

24. Who's getting on your nerves right now?
Nobody. I am Zen with the world.

25. Most visited webpage?
Google, it's my homepage.

26. How old were you when you or your family first bought a computer?
Eight or nine.

27. Do you own a portible MP3 player?
Um, yes. Duh.

28. Last person to make you sad?
Um, my boss, I guess. Two, maybe three weeks ago.

29. Would you help your best friend fight if he/ she is losing?
Probably. Depends on the situation.

30. coke or pepsi?
Don't really drink soda.

31. How often do you see your crush?
Um, how often is House on? Or CSI? Or Criminal Minds? Wait, I mean, EVERY DAY. Because I'm married to him and see him all the time.

Current Location: In front of the computer, duh.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Obsession is Normal, Right?

Hi, my name is Jasmin and I'm a spinning addict.

I'm not saying that knitting isn't soothing, or that I've abandoned my knitting completely, but working 10+ hour days on a keyboard makes my hands hurt in a way that knitting just aggravates it more.

Andrew fixed up my wheel a couple of weeks ago, and I was surprised and how soothing spinning is. Seriously, I've always known that it is relaxing, but here is my empirical evidence that it really works:

Before spinning: Waking up multiple times during the night, blood sugar crash at 2AM because I'm crazy stressed out.

After spinning: Sleeping like a baby. Dreams about the oncologist from House.

Science doesn't lie, people.

I spun up the two bumps of roving I got from Serendipity Fibers at Maryland Sheep & Wool (2006), and was amazed at how much grass matter there was in them. When I started spinning them, I assumed it was because of my own carelessness and the very out-doorsy nature of the festival, but the bumps were wound very tightly, and I still found tons of yuck in the very center of the bump.

It was washed, but there was still a significant amount of lanolin left in the roving- which is okay with me, because I like to spin "in the grease" (because I am a gross and disgusting person, after all), but the grass matter was way more than I would have liked.

After I spun those up, Andrew ordered me a bump of roving from Crown Mountain Farms. I love them. It came promptly, the bump weighed what it should, and was HEAVEN to spin and ply. The colorway is called "Love Me Tender" and, for comparison's sake, a before and after picture:



It also turned out very pretty, despite my fear that my spinning (which I'll admit is elementary at BEST) was going to make it look like [Ally's words] "Yarn vomit."

Friday, October 27, 2006

Beer, Bowling and BOYS!

Other people have lists of 100 things about themselves. Here is a short list of things that- until today- I didn't know about MYSELF:

  • I am not a skilled bowler.
  • Drinking beer makes me a significantly better bowler.
  • I don't care about competition, but hate being the weakest link on the team- because everyone else cares about winning.
  • I like to watch engineers bowl. Some of these guys were really cute- I mean, good bowlers.
  • Bowling hurts my fingers.
  • I love cake. [Okay, maybe I knew this one.]

Yes, that's right, we got to bowl FOR WORK. It was awesome.

Thursday, October 26, 2006


So, I posted earlier that I was suffering from some serious job burnout. I'm still tired and stressed, but BOY am I happy to be here!

We had a fire drill today. As usual, I was working with my shoes off, and one of the security guys saw me under my desk (tying my shoes), and said, "Hey, you've got to get our of here."

I quickly tie my shoes and grab my purse and follow my team out of the building. The parking lot is FULL of hot guys. No joke. Smiling guy was seen smiling at me, from a distance. The cute guy from around the corner was standing VERY close to me.

It was also a beautiful day, so after ten minutes of sunshine therapy, I felt better about everything.

So in case you weren't following:

Stress + fire drill+ hot guys in the parking lot= Job satisfaction.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Love & Marriage

I normally don't post about politics, religion or celebrities, so enjoy if you like that type of thing.

Weddings bring out the worst in families. People who can't just get over their crap take it out on the couple at hand, and the "happy" couple tests the relationship in planning the wedding.

I was listening to the radio this morning, and it turns out that there have been issues with the Tom Cruise/Katie Holmes wedding. For the record, I couldn't care less about any of their crap, but here is the issue I'm seeing.

KH's family is "devoutly Catholic". There are issues whether they're going to have a Catholic or Scientologist wedding. KH's family won't show if it's a Scientologist ceremony. So, they're devout enough to demand fish on Fridays, but she's not Catholic enough not to have a baby before the wedding? Hrm. [This completely blows past the whole "abstinence" thing that is/was expected of Catholic women.]

On a more personal note, there was some freaking out about whether Andrew and I were going to have a Muslim/Catholic/non-denominational wedding. He's more [Roman] Catholic than I've ever been [Shiite] Muslim. He was an alter boy and everything.

My extended family had a whole herd of cows over this, even though none of them were invited. My grandfather said that until we had a Muslim ceremony, we wouldn't be married in the eyes of God, and that we were living in Sin.

We had an amazingly non-denominational wedding (I don't think God was even mentioned), and were married by my friend Tim, the bartender- who is also an ordained minister.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes

Quick update: I am imploding from job stress. My bad knee is freaking out (yes, I am wearing sensible shoes and trying to take care of it), and my shoulder/neck area is so hard you could cut diamonds with my shoulder. (Seriously, jewelers have been following me around.)

Of course, the stress is causing headaches, but I may have found a stress reliever to counteract some of it. It's my own little form of meditation, which I'm not really ready to talk about quite yet. It seems to be working for me, though.

I have seen a glut of babies recently, which has kicked my ovaries into overdrive. So the plan is such:

  • Andrew gets a job
  • Andrew finishes his thesis
  • Andrew gets his Masters.
  • We move into a bigger/better house.
  • Start having babies.

That's the tentative plan, anyway. Modifications will occur, I'm sure, but for the time being, I'm feeling some serious burnout.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

The Boyfriend Sweater Curse

I'll say it plainly: I think it's crap. Stupider than an urban legend. Stupider than the word "stupider", also.

I say this with conviction because I am living proof that it doesn't happen. I've made sweaters for two of my boyfriends (in the past, of course) who certainly did not dump me. Obviously, some dumping happened but there was in no way any correlation to the date the sweater was completed and the dumping date. Both sweaters were given six months to a year into the relationship. Any dumping took place a year and a half later (except for the one I married, obviously).

As further proof, I present Exhibit B, Grace. Again, a sweater was knitted, much time lapsed, and dumping occurred- but again, completed unrelated to the giving of the sweater.

Perhaps the issue is not in the knitting and giving of the sweater, rather, that these knitters suffer from Premature Sweater Syndrome. If in the early development stages of a relationship a knitter develops PSS, the other party feels that they, in accepting the sweater, have given implicit consent to a long-term, serious relationship.

I think that these men/women are correct in this assumption. Would I knit for a one-night stand? The chances are slim. However, if I'm giving 100+ hours of my life (in the form of a giant garment on itty-bitty needles, as has been the case), this should be interpreted as, "I really like you and I feel secure in our existing relationship enough to give you a thing of great beauty." [Or, in the case of Zak's sweater, miles of solid reverse-stockinette.]

You could equate PSS to proposing on a first or second date. [NOTE: If you proposed to someone on a first/second date and it has worked out, good for you. I, however, would find it odd/creepy.] Nothing will scare away a partner like the threat of a longer termed commitment than they anticipated.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The Vegetable Jihad- Conspiracy Theory #643214877

First it was spinach. I was hurt rather deeply, because I like spinach. I'm not one of those crazy, I-eat-spinach-everyday types, but I enjoy spinach.

Next, it was lettuce. I hate lettuce. I'm sure the Lettuce Farmers of America are going to sue me (like the beef people tried to sue Oprah a few years back), but I just don't like lettuce.

Now, they're going after carrot juice. I LOVE carrot juice. I know it's not super popular, but there is nothing bad about carrot juice.

Carrot juice is delicious, nutritious, and best of all, ORANGE! If you drink enough, I have heard rumors that your skin takes on a more carrot-like appearance.

Here is my conspiracy theory:

The Atkins people are trying to eliminate everything good and make this a protein only world. Protein is cool, but sadly, it is inferior to more delicious things like carbohydrates and fiber. In the face of a world full of crazy diets, I stand alone in my fight for delicious food.

Monday, October 9, 2006

Knitters to the Rescue!

A receptionist friend of mine handed me a snippet out of the most current Women's Day with the following text:

Save a Baby's Life Did you know that as many as 2 million babies born in developing countries die within 24 hours? Simple measures like putting a cap on a newborn's head to keep him warm could prevent 70 percent of these deaths. That's why Save the Children teamed up with the Warm-Up America! Foundation to launch Knitters and Crocheters for Newborns: Caps to the Capital. Knit a cap before January 2 and Save the Children will deliver it to President Bush in a plea to allocate more federal funding toward health programs for mothers in the developing world. Find patterns and info at

Click HERE to go directly to Caps to the Capital.

Although I am a strong believer in the adage that charity begins at home, Americans, as a group, tend to be insular. As a country, we have done immeasurable damage globally, whether it has been with the best of intentions or not. Please take this opportunity to help those who can't help themselves- children.

If you are local (California Bay Area) and wish to participate but don't want to pay/ can't pay for shipping, please send me an e-mail (hit the "Contact Me" button) and we can arrange to meet and I will send your contribution in our box/es. I will also make loads of the tags at Kinko's (as opposed to printing one per page) on tagboard/cardstock.

Blog lurkers/commenters are encouraged to spread the word and participate.

The deadline is January 2nd, so this will be an ongoing project.

Sunday, October 8, 2006

Much Ado About Keanu

I am not a Keanu Reeves fan. I don't like him as an actor. I don't find him attractive. He might be a great guy, but I am NOT a fan.

I Netflixed the Kenneth Branagh version of Much Ado About Nothing, and had a good laugh as the main characters rode in on horseback. There is Keanu Reeves, Denzel Washington, Kenneth Branagh, and Robert Sean Leonard.

Now, I love Kenneth Branagh. His film adaptations of Shakespeare rock my world, and I find his arrogance/self-confidence and liplessness oddly sexy. If you want a good look at him, there's a great scene in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein where he's topless and completely covered in amniotic fluid. Pretty funny stuff. I also loved him in Harry Potter 2.

Denzel? Denzel needs no introduction. I love him as an actor, and I think he is a very good looking man. Don't care for him as a director, but he did the Shakespeare surprisingly well. [A little trivia: Much Ado was the first movie he did after Malcolm X. ]

Robert Sean Leonard (the cute oncologist from House, M.D.) played the very young and love-struck protagonist, Claudio. He was just too cute, and played the fawning/ailing, love-afflicted Claudio wonderfully. Andrew thought it was a little over the top, but what is young love if NOT over the top?

[This makes me wonder, where are the days of gazing upon a complete stranger, and marrying them before you've spoken two words to them? ]

A very young and strikingly homely Kate Beckinsale played Hero, Claudio's main squeeze. She spoke about 5 words, and the whole time I could not believe that the awkward youth on screen was the lovely Ms. Beckinsale. Adolescence was cruel to us all, apparently.

Then there is Keanu. He had five lines in the whole thing and was Don Pedro's [Denzel's] jealous little brother. He was supposed to be eeeeeeeevil. But he was just funny. [I was laughing and repeating his lines a la "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure"/"Speed"/Any other movie he has done.]

The best scene, in my opinion, is the celebratory home-coming at the beginning. There is some great homo-erotic play in the fountains while the soldiers all strip down and rough house in the nude. [AWESOME!]

So, I have to say, it was a great movie, made only funnier by Keanu's sheer presence. Maybe that was part of the intended humor, and nobody told him…

Saturday, October 7, 2006

When the Body is Ill

The Karen posted about breasts, and loving your breasts in light of breast cancer awareness month. She admits to linking breasts with femininity. To a certain extent, I agree. I also agree with her statement about loving your breasts because you don't know when you might lose them to cancer.

All women are at risk for breast cancer. The risk is significantly higher in Silicon Valley. (Sidenote: I had a psych professor at De Anza who was convinced that carrying your cell phone in your purse causes breast cancer and carrying it on your hip causes testicular cancer.) I heard a statistic that one in four women in Silicon Valley will get breast cancer. I don't know why, but I have a feeling that the data was skewed by the one jillion people who live here.

As far as my own personal experience, breast cancer runs in my family. When the doctor found the lump last August, my first thought was not "I'm going to lose my breast." It was, "I am going to die."

What I think is the most horrifying part of breast cancer is not the loss of the breasts, rather the positioning of the cancer. At the breast, it is right next to your heart and your lungs. Sick breasts are sad, and the horror of how close the illness is to vital organs is terrifying.

When the illness is so close to the core of your body, I have conceptualized it as destroying you from the center out. When I hear that someone's cancer has metastasized, I envision the cancer spreading like deeply embedded, barbed roots throughout the body. Roots that can't be pulled out.

Granted, in the case of my own lump scare, I have a penchant for melodrama. It's a little more understandable when you have a family history to back up the perceived melodrama/panic/paranoia. I was instructed to give up caffeine for a month, then come back and get re-checked. It turned out to be nothing.

It hits closer to home when you realize that you may not live to do all of the things you had hoped. Fortunately for me, I was okay. In light of my okay-ness, I say this:

I love my breasts. I think they look pretty nice, and they certainly help me get good service around the valley. You can ogle Karen's goodies (and you should, 'cause they rock), 'cause if I go braless and you can see my nipples through my shirt, you can be certain that I will be uncomfortable. That's my personal hangup, though, so don't take it as a judgment call.

It's just me not wanting to be eclipsed by my breasts.

Friday, October 6, 2006


When it comes to yarn, I have a memory like an elephant. Everything else, it's more like a sieve.

While Andrew and I were Space-Bagging The Stash (which is a proper noun only because of it's sheer size and magnificence), I got the opportunity to reacquaint myself with yarn that I remembered, but hadn't fondled in some time. Ball by ball, I went through my stash.

A couple of days after we had bagged the last of The Stash, I turned to Andrew and asked about some Garnstudio Silk & Wool that I had bought a gross of when it was closed out. I hadn't seen it, but I knew I had bought it. I called Mom to make sure there was no more of The Stash hiding at her house. Nope.

I did that obsessive searching thing I do when I lose something- where it consumes me whole. I hunt day and night though everything, crazed. The dogs hide from their crazy mother, knowing this crazy storm will blow over, and she will give them doggie ice cream to apologize for her "episode". Andrew assured me that we had bagged it.

At some point, during a fix of complete frustration and exhaustion, I decided to believe him, that I would see it again when I went hunting for a new project. I let it go. (I know, I'm not a very committed person, even with my obsessions.)

So, today I sent Andrew to dig out my winter clothes out of the garage. Andrew emerged with a duffel bag and a suitcase. I open the duffel bag- and there was the elusive Silk & Wool! I did a little dance, freaked out the dogs a little, and ran around the house proclaiming "Boo-ya! I KNEW we hadn't Space-Bagged it!"

My father has often accused me of paying more attention when it's something I like or care about, and to that I say, "Duh," but seriously, I don't mess around when it comes to yarn.

Thursday, October 5, 2006

I Am Loved!

I felt awful. My face had started hurting around noon, and by the end of the work day, my face was throbbing. Horrible, raging, exhausting sinus pain.

I slogged my way home, ate some dinner, brushed the dogs' teeth, and at 7:00 PM, I laid down on the couch and slept rather soundly until 11:30, when I woke up, and went to bed.

The funny thing is this: the dogs were laying around me, on the floor next to the couch and on the chaise, next to me. Niki decided that since I was in desperate need of love, he climbed up next to me and slept on my chest and stomach for a little while. Naturally, I woke up for this bit, since he is 45 lbs of furry love.

Both dogs were unusually quiet, as they are when I'm sleeping/not feeling well. It just is funny to me that they seem to know when I'm not at my best.

Wednesday, October 4, 2006


There is a new yarn I am obsessed with. It's Lana Grossa Meilenweit Colortweed and I LOVE IT.

It's like Trekking, but there are more colors, and the only problem I'm having with Trekking is that I own every color. (I think)

If you have a cool LYS, buy it there, if not, you have the link.

Tuesday, October 3, 2006


I'm too big a loser to load the Socktoberfest button, but here's the survey thing from Lolly Knitting Around (because I LOVE surveys!):

* When did you start making socks? Did you teach yourself or were you taught by a friend or relative? or in a class?

I started making socks when I was 16. I, being the all-knowing teen that I was, refused my mother's help, and learned out of a book. It worked, too.

* What was your first pair? How have they "held up" over time?

I made my first pair out of Grignasco Top- Print Alpaca, in the dark red colorway for Chris's mom. I don't know how they've held up, you'll have to ask her.

* What would you have done differently?

Used something superwash, duh. Making hand-wash only socks is evil, and even worse if they're gifts. If I, as a knitter, refuse to hand-wash my socks, how could I have expected someone else to?

[Short anecdote: There was this awful woman at this knitting group I attended in college who was talking about knitting socks out of something that wasn't superwash. I said, "But they'll felt in the washer. Nobody hand washes their socks."

She puffed herself up and said, "I hand wash EVERYTHING that I knit."

Seriously, this woman never finished anything. I finish and wear too many hand knit socks to hand wash.]

* What yarns have you particularly enjoyed?
Lisa Souza Sock! (and the merino she used a couple of years ago, I haven't tried her new one), Trekking, Regia, Tess Yarns Sock & Baby! , Socks that Rock (beware of knots!)

* Do you like to crochet your socks? or knit them on DPNs, 2 circulars, or using the Magic Loop method?

I usually do them on 2 circs b/c I bend the life out of my wooden double points. It's also easier for transport and I have a much lower occurrence of needle-loss. I'll still do them on DPNS, occasionally, but I'm a 95% 2 circs gal.

* Which kind of heel do you prefer? (flap? or short-row?)

I fall in and out of love with heels. I started with the flap heel, and went through a 2 year period where all of the socks I had knit had short-rowed heels. I gave all of those away when I had to wear real shoes to work. (Real shoes= not clogs.) I like how the flap heel fits better in shoes, generally.

• How many pairs have you made?

Lots. Andrew has a drawer full, I have a drawer full, and I gave a drawer full away over the last year. My socks are EVERYWHERE.

Monday, October 2, 2006

“I’d Like To Thank All The Crazy People…”

I come from a long line of crazy people. I am of the opinion that my mother's side of the family is the charming kind of crazy- where [most of them] are a little/ very loopy with the best of intentions, whereas my father's side of the family is the kind of crazy that requires lots of medication and rubber walls. This is my non-medical opinion since I am not a doctor and I also do not play one on TV.

So, my Auntie Wolf [translation of her nickname- she's my mom's first cousin] is giving me all of my mother's needlepoint. When Mom went "back to her roots" with the camels and desert theme, she gave/ loaned Auntie Wolf all of the "Anglo Needlepoint".

Auntie Wolf has a keen appreciation for fine things, and snapped up all of Mom's needlepoint, almost angry that Mom was planning on just boxing it all up. She spent loads of money getting it all framed/re-framed so that these beautiful pieces- the culmination of thousands of hours of my mother's handwork, could be displayed with the respect and presentation that they demand.

Auntie Wolf called me a few months ago, and commented on the bare walls at our house. She generously is giving me the needlepoint LONG before she dies (I assumed that I wouldn't be able to pry it away from her otherwise), so we have been making arrangements to make a trip to collect it.

I called to touch base with her, and she asked how the family was doing. The latest family drama is this: my father's sister ["Auntie Angel" is how her name translates] has been telling everyone who will listen that my father gave us a great big down payment for the house. Isn't he generous? The problem with this is although he promised to help us with the down payment (about 25% of the total down payment we put down OURSELVES), we haven't gotten a red cent of the money he promised.

Social pressure is a huge thing for Persian people. Auntie Angel telling all of the relatives that my father has already made good on his promise means that there is no social pressure on my father to cough up the cash. I've written it off; I'm never going to get it. It upsets me that he looks like he's generous and magnanimous when in reality, he's the same cheap, "big-talking", jerk he's always been.

So, I told Auntie Wolf what Auntie Angel was dong, because it really upsets me that my own father cares more about his nieces and nephews than his own children- but I've been battling this since I was a kid. Auntie Wolf apologized that Andrew and I have it as hard as she did, but she praised my ability to find balance and success in my life. She also praised my mother for raising me to be the only really sane person in our family.

I laughed. I'm not all that sane. I told her I felt like I'd gotten the "least crazy" award for our family.

I suppose it's the whole "In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king" thing.

Sunday, October 1, 2006

FO and Photo!

I like to start the month with a FO. It just sets the tone.

I bought the yarn at Maryland Sheep and Wool this last year, and I love how it knitted up. Completely unexpected!

Monday, September 25, 2006

It Is Too Small

So very, very, very much too small.

No, blocking won't help. You may ask, "Jasmin, did you swatch?"

Yes. The math LIED. Evil, betrayer math! If you compare the Alice Starmore Gansey to it, Andrew's sweater was more…. my size. However, on the good side, the ASG fits perfectly.

So, I started working on the ASG again, and I'm finding that I'm enjoying working on it tremendously, and it's not as difficult as I remember it being. The bonus of the ASG is that it's about halfway up the armhole (front and back- I'm planning on steeking the armholes and the neck), which means it's pretty close to being done.

I have noticed that it's not as easy to work on a navy blue sweater with a changing stitch pattern. This wasn't a problem three years ago, but now I need much better light.

The pattern itself is rather soothing in it's predictability. Left-leaning diagonals, diamonds, arrows, pseudo-cable thingy, diamonds, arrows, right leaning diagonals. The charts are intelligently written (except for the minor error, but I figured that one out early on), and the armhole gussets are flat-out sexy. When I was in college, I couldn't find someone to understand and appreciate the sheer sexiness of the gussets, but now I have the MOTPS to marvel over the sexiness that is the armhole gussets.

So here's the plan for Christmas- we're planning on doing low-budget, handmade gifts (we have a remodel we're planning for after the holidays, which is going to cost us some lettuce), and Andrew asked for one of his UFO sweaters to be finished, and for two pairs of socks. He was realistic in his expectations, since my job keeps inconveniently interfering with my knitting time. So, I've gotten started on both pairs of socks, and put about an inch on the sweater over the weekend.

What's going to happen with the Lisa Souza Fair Isle? I'm using it as a giant swatch and I'm going to start from the beginning.

Now, I will leave you with a "purl" of wisdom, from my mother:

"As ye knit, so shall ye rip."

Sunday, September 24, 2006

My Wooly Valentine

Andrew and I found a solution for the conflict between Stitches and the Yarn Diet. Andrew, being a smart (and wonderful) man, understands that you cannot go to a knitting event of epic proportions- Stitches West- and not buy stuff.

Unless you're Sabrina. Or like Sabrina. In that case, good for you. I, however, did not have a giant wedding (and therefore didn't have giant bills to pay afterwards), so I really feel that she is an anomaly amongst knitters. I can't do that.

So here is the compromise: I can buy ONE Space Bag full of yarn. There is no limit on stuff that isn't yarn. This works for me, as I believe(d) that I may even bring a PARTIALLY filled Space Bag home, in a sincere effort to not overbuy.

Then I read Lisa Souza's blog. She is a beautiful, wonderful, funny, amazingly talented woman. Having said that…

Lisa Souza is the devil.

She has loads of beautiful colors up on her blog (and her website, where she sells the aforementioned beautiful colors), thus trying to tempt me to break my yarn diet. She also briefly mentions on her blog that she was having a quality issue with the yarn she was getting from her mill.

I think Lisa is awesome for catching the quality issue BEFORE the yarn went out to her customers. I will be filling most of my Space Bag with Lisa Souza, which means that I will have to make some sort of respectable progress on the sweater I started for Andrew a year and a half ago, or he may shame me in front of her again.

I am comparing Lisa's high quality to other yarn companies who routinely sell LOADS of yarn rife with knots in the skeins.

After looking at her colors, I have (possibly) elected to not re-subscribe to the current Sock-of-The-Every-Other-Month club that I am a part of, and instead, call Lisa once a month (because she is charming and really should be called once a month at least) and order one of her new colors in sock yarn.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Readers, Meet Madam

Ladies and Gentlemen, this is Madam

Madam, meet my readers. She will be my lovely assistant as long as I have actual garments (rather than just socks) finished that require photography. Today she is modeling my completed Harlot Red ribbon tank.

Due to time/sunlight constraints, as well as a record number of questionable hair days, Madam will be my lovely model. Yes, by the time Andrew gets home after work, I look like I've been hit by a train, and there is like 10 seconds of daylight left.

I know, my readers are smart. They say, "Jasmin, why not take pictures on Saturday or Sunday?"

Silly reader. I don't wear makeup on the weekend. [EXCEPTION: I wore makeup to the Yarn Harlot thingie at Full Thread Ahead. You'll notice in the photo that I wore my completed Harlot Red Ribbon top. I looked dead in it without makeup.]

Madam, reliable thing that she is, has been infinitely more consistent in her appearance. She has that ultimately "natural" look, and it suits her. No head = no dark circles under her eyes.

You may look at her and think "My, isn't she lopsided!" I, too, expressed some concern over her appearance (I * may * have called her "Quasimodo") when I asked Mom if I could borrow her. Mom assures me that all Madam needs is a few good screws and some yoga in order to have her back in womanly shape. If Andrew can't get her properly screwed and bent, I will order a newer, prettier model.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Some FO-tos!

Blue stripey socks! (Meilenweit) Brown Stripey Socks! (Meilenwieit)

Lisa Souza, Earth Birth Ellen's Half-Pint Farm (no color listed)

Thursday, September 21, 2006

In Praise of Men and Their Tools

Andrew is a rockin' stud. It's a given. Want to know what kind of mad skills this man has?

He re-plumbed the laundry room, fixing a leak. He replaced the copper pipes. By himself. Check it out.

He patched the hole he made to fix the pipes. (No picture. It looks like a wall. Not very exciting.)

He's unclogged the bathtub in our bathroom, and now he is working on replacing both upstairs bathroom fans.

The amazing thing is the time schedule that this has all been accomplished in.

9/14- Fixed Pipes
9/15- Ended Internship
9/16- Fixed Wall
9/17- Unclogged bathtub
9/18-20- Worked on Bathroom fans

We had to call an electrician to come in tonight because we decided that with the aluminum wiring that our little house has, we should call a professional instead of risking Andrew's life. Sentimental me, I'm a little attached to the fella. What can I say?

I used to think that the sexiest sight was a man in the kitchen. I think I may be shifting that to a man in a toolbelt.

[Sidenote: I have a GREAT picture of Andrew in an apron, but in order to keep this blog family-friendly, and in an effort to preserve my marriage, I can't post it. It's very Georgia O'Keefe, and he didn't realize I took it, despite my hysterical cackling. It also took him a minute to realize what it was when he was loading the pictures onto the computer. Bwa ha ha. Just think. This man is lucky enough to be married to a lunatic like me.]

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

These Sweaters May Be Too Small

Shame. Panic.

This is what I felt when I realized that the sweaters I have started for Andrew might be too small.

In my defense, I did a gauge swatch, and they fit with the proper ease when I started them. One was started in Fall of 2003 (the Alice Starmore Gansey), and the other (Lisa Souza Fair Isle) was started in August of 2005.

The ASG is the more troubling sweater, since the LSFI is only a few inches long. These sweaters have over 300 sts/round each. There are a bajillion stitches in the ASG. It's closer to completion, since I'm about halfway up the chest patterning. When I contemplated pulling it out of the UFO bin (as part of the UFO jihad), I realized that in the last three years, Andrew and I are older, and are both a little rounder.

This can go two ways.

Scenario 1: It fits, and I'm the only one who has had weight fluctuations.
Scenario 2: It doesn't fit.

In the event of Scenario 2 happening, I have come up with some solutions:

Option 1: Give the sweater to another freakishly tall person.
Option 1a: Shorten the sleeves and wear it as an oversized sweater with set-in sleeves.
Option 2: Buy Andrew a giant hamster ball so that he can work off any extra poundage until the sweater fits.
Option 3: Divorce Andrew. Call Matthew Gray Gubler, who is tall (6'2") and thin. Promise him a beautiful, complex, couture sweater in exchange for being my love slave.
Option 3a: Divorce Andrew. Call Robert Sean Leonard (who is 6 feet tall), and offer him the same deal as Matthew Gray Gubler. Let him know there's competitiion.
Option 4: Never finish the sweater, and avoid Lisa Souza forever. (This is not really an option since her yarn is like crack.)
Option 5: Finish the sweater and hope that one day we have a son that will fit the sweater.

What do you think? Vote in the sidebar!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Personal Shame, as Inflicted by Andrew

Nobody can embarrass you like your loved ones. This is a thing of fact. Your loved one(s) [this includes your knitting group, in my case the Minions of the Pointy Sticks] know about all of your skeletons, and most of all, what you are singularly horrified of the world knowing.

Andrew was walking the show with me, and we went to Lisa Souza's booth (a regular place we love to shop, both at shows and over the phone). Here's how it went:

Jasmin: Hi Lisa! How are you?

[Andrew, Lisa, Rod and I chit chat for a few minutes.]

Andrew: Hey Lisa, do you remember the yarn you dyed for that sweater for me a few months ago?

Lisa: Yes.

Andrew: Wouldn't you like to see it finished?

Lisa: [catches on to Andrew's evil scheme] I would love to see it finished.

Andrew: I bet you would like to see it finished by next Stitches.

Lisa: I would!

Jasmin: [Turning all shades of mortified red and purple] I cast it on…

That's right people. Andrew brought up an UFO in front of Lisa and I was shamed. I'm sure she doesn't hold my UFOs against me, but I was embarrassed that I hadn't finished the sweater from all the beautiful silk/wool she dyed especially for Andrew- at my request.

Here is how far the sweater has gotten,

and I only have 156 days until Stitches West.

I better get crackin'.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Knitters Gone Wild!

That's right- what do you get when you combine wool, wine and women?


Unfortunately, Snoop Dog couldn't join us to do the videotaping, so you'll have to deal with my pictures and (very brief) synopsis.


Wake up at 7:30. People are supposed to be at the house by 8:00. Brush teeth, put on clothes, pack like a madwoman.

8:30: Start packing the van.
8:45: Start rolling.
9:00: Mandatory Starbucks run, since it's by the onramp.
9:15- 1:00 PM: Drive to Auburn. Take the wrong exit, because it's counter-intuitive. Get back on track, see a deer, see llamas, get to Knitters' Paradise (aka, Auntie C's house).

There were kittens, which provided loads of entertainment and snuggling

There was cake!

And, of course, there were Minions

There was much knitting and eating- and the charming L was there. By the end of the weekend we made her a Minion. It was glorious.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

For Love or Money

I'm not one of those generous people who hands out hand-knitted gifts to everyone who crosses my path. I'm actually very stingy with my knitting.

According to the law of Knitting Supply & Demand, the more stuff I give away, the less people will appreciate ("Demand") it. This is even more important, because once someone wears hand knit socks, the commercial socks in the drawer lose their appeal, and the recipient of the lone pair of hand knit socks begins to ask/beg/negotiate for more.

[Except for old socks. Everyone loves those, and I gave away a drawer full (more to come in a year, I suppose) making room for all of the new socks I had knitted.]

I think it's funny when people (in a complimentary way) suggest that I sell my hand-knitted socks. They don't realize that the materials alone usually cost about $20, and easily have 16-20 hours of work in a pair. They considerately see it as a quaint little hobby that could earn me some pin money** [click the link if you don't know what pin money is].
Really? Some pin money of my VERY own? Why, how thoughtful! I think sarcastically, but I say, "Some things I do for love, and some I do for money."

D, my boss, calculated at a lunch meeting what a custom "Made by Jasmin" sweater would cost, given my hourly rate here. I laughed hysterically while he verbalized the math he was doing in his head. If only the rest of the world saw it like that.

I will admit, that at my most desperate of financial times, I have knit for pay, completing sweaters for between $150-$300. The hourly rate would make you weep bitter, bitter tears if you had to make a living this way.

It's just interesting to me. I find other people's generosity with their knitted items to be staggeringly touching, but with the limited knitting time that I have, I'm stingy.

I'll share my home, my food, even my money sometimes. But knit for you? Pffft.

Do I like you that much?

Saturday, September 16, 2006

New and Greatly Improved

We got our new washer and dryer delivered! It's the Kenmore, HE4T, which I've been lusting after for ages.

I would have taken pictures, but the laundry room is a tight squeeze, and the washer complained that I was making her look fat. Vanity, thy name is Washer.

[Pictures courtesy of I don't know why they have a disproportionately large picture of the dryer. In real life, they are the same size on the outside, and are not so freakishly sized.]

Well, as much as you can lust after a washer/dryer. There's a lust scale, and although washer/dryers sit pretty low on the list, when it comes to buying one, it begins to matter more.

I immediately started doing laundry like a madwoman. Two weeks without a functioning dryer and a mutual hatred of taking wet laundry to the Laundromat means that I did six loads of laundry. SIX.

I love it. It's basically silent (it makes a hum), and the pre-set settings keep it quiet and balanced. I can leave the laundry room door open, and still be able to hear things. It's glorious.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

So Much Fanfic…

I'll admit it. I read fanfic. I enjoy fanfic.

There's nothing funny about bad writing, except in the case of fanfic.

I read fanfic based on TV shows that I like, and I have to say, I have found ONE good author, **Mossley (CSI/House Fanfic), in slogging through the endless bogs of the fanfic webverse. The fanfic I have read through includes: West Wing, CSI, Criminal Minds, House, and probably a couple of others.

So, I was surfing the web for some House fanfic (because I am NOT addicted to House, M.D.), and 99% of what I came up with was a fair amount of House/Wilson slash fiction. Which is HILARIOUS/ a little hot. There was even one (I should have grabbed the link, sorry) where ALL OF the characters were gay. I thought I would die I was laughing so hard.

There was another piece where it was exactly like Virginia Woolf's Orlando. There is gender switching for every character- but no time travel. Yeah. Virginia Woolf did it better, and she still didn't overwhelm me with her literary prowess with Orlando, never mind some adolescent fanfic author.

**Some of the stuff is a little odd, but for the most part, I find that she captures the essence of the characters very well.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Just Say No

Maybe it's just me. Maybe it's the fact that I'll be 24 years old on Thanksgiving.

What possesses women to wear stage makeup as REGULAR makeup?!

Don't get me wrong; if wearing makeup makes you feel good- go for it. But you shouldn't be wearing greasepaint with your street clothes, is all I'm saying.**

I understand that when you know you're going to be photographed/are hoping to be photographed, that you should wear makeup that is super-flattering. But come on; under NORMAL lighting stage makeup looks like stage makeup. You can tell it's stage makeup from ten feet away. Not subtle, not natural.

Please, join my campaign to stop middle-aged women from applying makeup with a paint roller. Tell them to Just Say No.

**This statement is void if you're a drag queen trying to cover your stubble. Those girls at Sephora just don't sell anything strong enough to cover it.

***This message brought to you by the Campaign For Good Taste.

Monday, September 11, 2006

My Tomato

This is an old story. It pre-dates Sam.

I was little- about three years old. Mom and I were growing stuff in the backyard of the townhouse we lived in. I, young tomato lover that I was, saw a perfect, ripe tomato and was DYING to pick.

Mom, in her infinite wisdom, told me if I waited until the next morning it would be even better. I'm sure that she was trying to teach me some sort of virtue (like patience), or if it was merely a day short of utter tomato-ey perfection.

The next morning, I went to pick my perfect tomato, when I realized to my great horror, that SOMEONE ELSE had eaten half of my tomato. That's right. Some rude little vagrant rodent dined on my perfect tomato with a side of the basil we were growing. Good taste, bad rat!

Since then, there have been a number of rodents who I have hand fed delightful goodies, but I will never grow tomatoes again.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Stephanie, the Rockin’, Sockin’, Yarn Harlot

Yesterday, the MOTPS made the trek up to Full Thread Ahead to hear Stephanie Pearl-McPhee [the Yarn Harlot] speak, and to get our books signed.

Andrew was a champ. Here's how the day went:

2:00 PM: Andrew drives up to FTA alone, to get us signed in.
4:15 PM: MOTPS pile into Colleen's van, and drive up.
4:45 PM: We get there, claim our seats, and half of us go to Jamba for refreshments.
5:00 PM: Hollis does a few contest-y things. Andrew got to stand for three of them. He feels that he is an accomplished knitter now.
5:30 PM: Stephanie comes out to the podium, there is a roar of applause and cheers, and this:

I'll admit, I was a total dork. The dorkiest, even. I took her a Space Bag, the miracle invention that allows Andrew some storage space in our house. Every knitter should know and love the Space Bag. When Stephanie pointed out that they can't get plus-sized Ziploc bags in Canada, I stood up with pride, shook out the Space Bag and ran it up to the front for her.

Andrew said her expression was either shock or that she had seen the Holy Grail of yarn storage solutions. I'm going with the latter.

After the talk until 8:00 PM: Dinner at a sushi joint.
8:00-10:00 PM: Hanging around, chatting with knitters until the line slows down for signing. The MOTPS were second to last in line.

In a moment of temporary panic, I considered running out of the back door. I am such a huge fan, that I was overwhelmed for a moment.

Anyway, in classic Jasmin fashion, I admit that I am totally stalking her. In a good way. I suppose "SuperFan" may have been the more eloquent way of saying it, but Stephanie took it with good humor, and even took a picture (with the sock!) with the MOTPS. She had the misfortune of having to crouch in front of the three shortest MOTPS, and having to hold the crouch until the picture was taken.

Stephanie, the MOTPS love you, and next time you're in town, we should have beer. Or Shanty's. Or margaritas.

Oh yeah, and in true SuperFan form, here you go:

Friday, September 8, 2006

I Wish…

I wish I could do fashion drawing. My fashion drawings suck. They suck so hard that I have to write VERY descriptive explanations next to them. Making the drawings themselves basically pointless.


I drew that when I was interning at XRX, and bought the yarn after work the same day. This:

is what the sweater looks like. Not bad, huh?

It is exactly how I envisioned it, but alas, not how I sketched it. See the problem? I can see it in my head, but alas, when it comes to paper and pen/cil, small children outdo me. Easily. You could say I'm more of a coloring-in kind of girl. And I can trace REALLY well. But draw? No.

I wish I could draw, period. Colleen brought over MOTPS logo concepts a few weeks ago (one of which I am getting tattooed on me, post-babies, to avoid odd and awkward stretching/distortion), and I was blown away. Blown away.

My mother can do fashion drawing. This is further proof that I was genetically HOSED. I bet my father can draw, too, and the crappy-drawing gene is recessive, and lucky me, I got it.

Mom likes my stick figures. That's about the best I can do. Maybe I'll post the book I wrote my senior year of high school for Econ. It's a children's book about supply and demand and, of course, yarn.

Thursday, September 7, 2006

The Sunshine Ribbon Shell

This project has MAYBE two evenings worth of work left in it. It is a beautiful shade of golden sunshine yellow, and I had originally intended to have it finished by Maryland Sheep & Wool. I got it completed up to the armholes and then… couldn't finish it in time.

It happens.

As part of my UFO jihad, after I cast off the Harlot Red ribbon shell (same pattern, I'm boring and it looks amazing on me), I picked up the Sunshine shell. I still love the color.

I was re-enamored of this project, and in a fit of glory and enthusiasm, walked into the bathroom to see how the color would flatter me. I'd already picked out what to wear with it, but I wanted to revel in its' beauty and splendor.

Oh. My. God.

I looked like I had jaundice. I was finished with the back and about to start the neck shaping. NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

I had to think fast. I showed all of the MOTPS [Minions Of The Pointy Sticks] the top, hoping the color would flatter someone. The only one it flattered was Cynthia. Who is at least 6-8 inches taller than me, and considerably bustier.

What to do? I called Melinda of Tess Yarns. I mentioned how popular the color was when I was working on the top at Stitches West, and then I said:

"Can you overdye the top so that I don't look dead in it?"

So, after SW 2007, I will be the proud owner of the Ribbon-Top-Formerly-Known-As-Sunshine.

I think I may draw it a symbol.

Insanely Cute Elphie Pic

On Saturday, we caught Elphie sleeping:

This doesn't look like a dog who eats softcover books, now does she? :)

Wednesday, September 6, 2006

Fugly Socks

I've been on this finishing kick (or UFO jihad, if you prefer), and while I was re-organizing the stash to be more space-efficient, I pulled out the yarn for the shop sample socks I knit in August of 2004. Since they were shop samples (which dutifully were there until we sold out of each colorway), I didn't feel compelled to knit their mates immediately.

So, a few months ago I found myself with a half dozen pairs of socks. I looked at them, UFOs that they were and thought, "I can boost my FO count if I just knit the mate to these."

It's amazing. I don't have second sock syndrome, because there has been enough time between the first and second sock that it's new and fun and fabulous again. So the cure for SSS is a two-year separation period from the initial dose of sock.

Except for the sock I cast on Saturday. It the brown/tan/salmon/blue Meilenweit. It is inexplicably fugly. I know this, because that's where I looked for the color number so any of my 5 readers could find it (in the unlikely event that they found it attractive). This color is so ugly that it's not even on the Lana Grossa website.

I think they were ashamed. It came off of the production line, they knitted a sample, and were horrified. But as P.T. Barnum cleverly pointed out, people like me are born every minute.

The tragic irony of the fugly color, is that it matches a million things I have that AREN'T fugly. I finished the second sock, but criminy. I'm surprised that anyone bought it once they saw what it looked like. It looked nice enough in the ball. I was bamboozled.

The only downfall of my brilliant SSS cure is that two years ago, I liked a different heel. I liked the shortrowed heel for about a year. I no longer like doing it or wearing the garter-stitch version of this heel. Standard flap heels work better in non-clog shoes. I'm doing a regular flap heel on their mates, so the socks are a little more fraternal than normal. S'all good, I say.

[Note: I am not an anal-retentive knitter that requires my socks to be identical. In high school, I regularly wore mismatched socks deliberately. My mother, who dutifully was knitting me completed pairs of socks then, was a little miffed with this particular fashion decision. I only wear matched socks now because I do the laundry and want to know which socks the dogs have stolen out of the basket.]

When I started this jihad against my UFO's, I pulled my favorite half-pair, which has only been held up because I no longer am in love with the garter-stitch short-row heel. I'm sorry, it's great in clogs, but not ideal in regular shoes. Now that I'm in regular shoes more than clogs, this is a big deal.

I've gotten rid of 95% of my garter-heeled socks. These socks were distributed globally. (Seriously, someone sent a few pairs to her sister in Germany.) This is fine with me; not only is my sock drawer still full to the bursting point, I have enough sock yarn to knit socks through the apocalypse. Seriously. [Another reason that the Yarn Diet is necessary- I have entire Space Bags full of exclusively sock yarn.]

Anyway- I bought yarn for Day-Glow socks on the honeymoon (in Seattle at the Acorn Street Yarn Shop **), - I knit the first one right after the honeymoon- when I was in the midst of my love affair with the garter heel.

I didn't get second sock syndrome, only because I had to pack everything when we moved into the house, so the cuff of the second sock was at the completed to the beginning of the no-longer loved garter heel. Every time I saw this sock, I was saddened that I no longer loved the heel, and would undoubtedly never wear it.

In the spirit of the UFO jihad, I decided that I would not be defeated. I ripped out the first sock to the beginning of the heel. HA! Everyone knows that once the heel is done, the sock is basically finished.

Easy cheese.

**If you find yourself in Seattle, and near Acorn Street Yarn Shop, make sure to go up the street to Nana's Soup House. It will change your life.

Tuesday, September 5, 2006

Some Personal Goals

I was just thinking about how hard I thought the yarn diet was going to be. As the days keep increasing, I find myself wanting less and being pleased with the amount of yarn that has gone from being "Just Yarn Taking Up Space" to "Look at what I finished!".

This is very Zen. Less is more. It's not about having what you want, it's about wanting what you have, and all that. Seriously.

I am not feeling overwhelmed and guilty anymore; I am triumphant. Every project that is finished gets logged on the sidebar (and photographed, once I have a really good hair and makeup day), and shows my continued commitment to achieving my self-imposed goals.

Granted the JYTUS has a purpose, duh, it's my stash. I will never be one of those knitters who buys one project at a time and doesn't buy more yarn until it is finished. That's unrealistic to expect out of me. I love my yarn, I just think I would enjoy it more if I had higher project turnaround than yarn intake.

Bear in mind the fact that we're planning to remodel in January/February and put the house on the market (hopefully) by March. Moving again is part of my inspiration to get things done/ destash a little. I hate the actual moving part of moving, but I love living somewhere new and different and bigger (hopefully). I just hate the packing and the moving and the unpacking.

Goal-setting works for me, because there is something to work towards (versus the amorphous, I'll-do-it-whenever attitude). I'm hoping to finish up enough FOs that the balance can fit in my home office/knitting den. (Right now there are a couple of bins full of FO's in varying stages of completion.)

Oh, and I finished the Harlot red ribbon top. That's right, I finished it in about 2 weeks, so that I can wear it to the Yarn Harlot book signing on Saturday. Woo!

That's makes 45 FO's this calendar year to date! (In case you were curious.) With last year's September – December FO count, I should hit 55 by the end of the year. We'll see!

Monday, September 4, 2006

RIP Dryer...

That's right.

My dryer is no longer of this world. We won't necessarily mourn the loss of our dryer, so much as celebrate the new washer/dryer that we're [hopefully] going to pick up this week.

That'll do, dryer.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

It’s Probably Not Healthy

(or, Conspiracy Theory #467541564897)

We've re-started our Netflix membership, and after doing Tivo alone for 8 months I have realized that Tivo and Netflix are working in collusion.

Stay with me on this one.

Tivo looks at what we choose to record and makes suggestions, like a good friend. Without the pressure, you know? It's like this:

Tivo: "Hi Jasmin, you're awesome. You'd probably like House, MD."

Jasmin: "I don't know. I guess I could give it a try. One episode won't be too bad. Even if it is, I can always turn it off."

Tivo: "You're so open-minded, and not at all set in your ways."

Jasmin "Thanks, Tivo. Nobody understands me like you do."

Ok, maybe it's not EXACTLY like that, but you get the point. Anyway, before I even started watching "House", I had a dream about Dr. House.

You know. One of THOSE dreams. Very vivid. 'Nuff said. I figured I should at least watch the show to find out if my dream was even close. It was. [His personality. I can't vouch for the rest.]

So because of Tivo, we're Netflixing the first two seasons to catch up, and I'm a crazy House addict.

I mean, I don't get all shaky and get withdrawal symptoms if I don't watch. And I haven't started saving them forever on the Tivo. [Yet.] I haven't bought it on DVD.

I don't have a problem. I can quit whenever I want. * wink *

Tuesday, August 22, 2006


I decided that I needed a red ribbon top to go with my sexy red shoes. I'm hoping to have it done soon, so I've dedicated all of my "downstairs" knitting time to this top.

Keep in mind, I am making the same top out of yellow ribbon, but I couldn't meet my MS&W deadline, so I gave up. It's now in the UFO pile.

I looked at my red top, and I realized that the yellow top was even closer to completion. Once I finish my red top, the yellow one is the next one on my list to clean out of the UFO pile and absolve this "finishing" issue.

It's not that I have a problem with the knitting itself, usually. It's usually a focus thing. Everyone gets bored with their knitting occasionally, and wanders to a new, more exciting project.

There's the fun part- the creativity, the beginning, the possibilities. But then, like the original project, the Mistress Project that I originally found much more fun and exciting becomes just another UFO.

I've been working through the UFO pile steadily, though. Finish one new thing, one old thing. Come to terms with my inability to really commit to finishing things that I start.

I've ripped out projects that don't thrill me; save the yarn, use the needles elsewhere. Why have another UFO hanging over my head that I never really intend to finish? More often than not, the yarn turns into something twice as good the second time around.

On the Yarn Diet front, I haven't had a real temptation since the Regia Silk, but KnitPicks has a dye-your-own superwash wool that I think I'm going to purchase at some point for baby blankets. Once I've knit up the dedicated "baby blanket" yarn in my stash.

Yes, I've been inspired to knit baby blankets. No, I am not pregnant, despite what everyone in the world thinks/wants.

Just wait. It'll happen.

Friday, August 18, 2006

“It’s a blessing… And a curse.”

I love my job. I truly do. It's not a sexy job, despite what my nephew thinks, but I offset that by wearing my sexy shoes to work. As Adrian Monk puts it so succinctly, "It's a blessing… And a curse."

I work with a team of wonderful people, who are all brilliant and funny and charming and generous with their time and chocolate. We all work together, and this is the first time EVER when "group work" did not equal "Jasmin doing everything."

I work for a wonderful, generous man. My manager recognizes hard work and rewards it. He has never made me feel bad about myself [with the exception of my interview, when I thought he was really, really gruff but he was just playing "Bad Cop"], and has dealt with my lack of experience with a sense of humor and a great deal of patience. He also has the grace to make fun of me, to make sure that I really know that I am a valued member of the team. [Teasing = "We like you."]

D [my manager] understands the need for sick days, vacation days, and the importance of leaving early on Fridays. D is the Master of All Managers because he recognizes that by rolling up his sleeves and doing menial tasks with us (like filing or stuffing envelopes) he has won our eternal love and the devotion to work months of consecutive 10+ hour days without complaint. Well, without much complaining. D also will repeatedly tell you to go home when you come in looking like a Dead Rat on a Stick.

D also did not fire me for being sarcastic with him (which has happened increasingly since the first "test" sarcasm), and also did not fire me for offering to "take this outside". He thought it was funny.

I was overjoyed to find out that my 6 month contract (up on 8/20) had been extended for another 6 months (expiring 02/20/07). He also wrote me a very nice note letting me know that I was a valuable member of the team and he recognizes and appreciates my hard work.

Now, I am SO glad that I don't have to worry about finding another job, and worse, having to work for someone who is less that D is. The Curse part?

I don't get to sleep in on Monday and revel in my jobless-ness. Granted, I would get bored to tears without a job, but it's been a hard, but good few months. I think the fact that my "vacation" in May (Maryland Sheep & Wool) was no vacation at all; I wandered for less than an hour the whole 3 days, and dealt with hot (and some unhappy) customers at the Tess booth the rest of the weekend.

MS&W was full of 12-hour days, and your protagonist came back with a nasty sunburn, and had her identity/credit card number stolen. I was more tired than when I left. Bad deal.

This would still be the job I wanted, because I'm learning TONS, and despite the fact that I feel that I'm a complete fraud, I am really good at what I am doing. I would just prefer a more flexible schedule. Like, come in and work as long as you feel like and go home. But I guess that's everyone's dream job.

I've begun climbing the ladder from Office Monkey to someone who is a necessary part of the team. Woo!