Friday, September 26, 2008

There is something wrong with me.

WHY do I do this to myself?!

I know that I have more than enough yarn- enough to last me through an apocalypse. Hence the Social Pressure Experiment.

So why is it that I feel compelled to check out the Yarnzilla sale? Half-off cashmere, 40% off sock yarns, it's all too much!

For me, if I don't see it , it's not there. That's why I didn't participate in the Shop Hop. That's why I no longer meander around Purlescence, absorbing those intoxicating wool fumes that always convince me that this time it will be different, this time I'll start and finish the sweater I'm buying yarn for. I am a weak woman when it comes to wool.

This is partly why I've signed up for classes this year at Stitches. Until two years ago, I was working the show, and didn't have time to take classes.

Two years ago, I made the mistake of waiting for my time off to be approved before signing up for the class I wanted. While waiting for official approval, the class filled and closed. Last year, none of the classes offered appealed to me.

This year, I signed up for classes as soon as I had a few minutes in front of my computer. I'm signed up for "Cool Socks" with Lucy Neatby all day Friday, and "Design Your Own Sock Architecture" with Cat Bordhi all day Sunday. This will give me the opportunity to learn loads, and serve double duty to reduce my available shopping hours by HALF.

I know that the official end date for the SPE is the day Stitches opens. I think I'm really embracing this whole change of behaviors, though. I may not toss out stuff from my stash after Stitches, but the exercise has really changed my buying habits. That was the point, I suppose. [Wine never hurts, either.]

In other not-buying-yarn-or-fiber news, I'm taking a class with Cat Bordhi this Saturday at Knitting Boutique in Lafayette, CA. A whole bunch of us are going. I've even re-pinked my hair.

It's going to be awesome.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Oooh... pretty colors...

First, I would like to say how surprised I am to find out that I'm not alone in my heresy. Everyone made me feel much better about (what I felt) was speaking against popular opinion. You guys ROCK!

I've been talking about how much I've been spinning. I mentioned how I'm a mad scientist with a need for bright colors.

I present, the fruits of my labors:

Roving Rainbow

I love how cheerful it is. There will be purple in the rainbow, but my attempt at purple failed. See:

Failed Purple

Not quite purple enough to fit the rest of my theme. I'm not saying that I don't like it; it just isn't the right purple for my day-glo rainbow.

I had a couple of things in my stash that fit the need for "bright and cheerful" while I was dyeing up my 1980s childhood masterpiece.

First was "I Feel Free" from Crown Mountain Farms:

I feel Free

I Feel Free - CU

It's not a color I would normally pick for myself, but I think this is going to grow up to be a pair of Mad Color Weave Socks.

I'm finding myself drawn to the more monochromatic roving in my stash, which is unusual for me. I'm a high-contrast, multi-colored kind of girl. It seems that I like to knit plain, monochromatic yarns rather than the stuff that really appeals to me as a spinner. It's a process of finding a happy medium.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A little heresy

I know I'm not the only person to feel this way, and I'm certainly not the only person who has posted about it on a blog. I knit the Baby Surprise Jacket, and while I find the esteemed Ms. Elizabeth Zimmermann to be brilliant, I find her directions somewhat lacking.

BSJ- angle

Given the directions in "The Opinionated Knitter", Ms. Zimmermann urges the knitter to trust her and just go with the flow. Except this: my flow? Wasn't going so much. The way I knit, I like precision, and I don't like fudging. I found myself doing a little fudge here and there to keep things correct. In the end, you can't tell that, but given the way I
like to work- it made me uncomfortable.

I know that Ms. Zimmermann is the patron saint of knitters everywhere. I just don't think one should need a spreadsheet in order to knit a simple, garter, baby sweater. It just feels wrong.

I mentioned on the podcast that I'm not really pleased with where the colors fell. One of our listeners on Ravelry reminded me that it's no knock against the color, it's just too subtle for a kids' garment. Given the day-glo stuff that I typically knit for my friends' kids, it's no wonder that I feel compelled to push this one down to the bottom of a "gifts for
people" chest.

I've decided empirical evidence is necessary to solve the "Do I hate this sweater?" dilemma. I'll knit another one, in a bright colorway, and then decide if I still hate it.


But I still hate garter stitch. Always and forever.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


I don’t know anybody else who gets as excited about small things as I do. But, I love new gadgets, and my old electric toothbrush was on it’s last little electric leg.

I’m surprised that my existing toothbrush has lasted as long as it has- but finding brush heads is near impossible, and I had heard some awesome things about the Sonicare.

Gentle readers, my new toothbrush:


I bought mine at Costco. Besides the expanded functionality of the toothbrush itself, what really sealed the deal for me was the travel cases and the travel charger. I hate traveling with a manual toothbrush, and I’m also annoyed if my electric brush dies during a trip.

(Given all of the recent weight and luggage restrictions, I trim off all the excessive stuff that I can manage. A full-size charger doesn’t make the cut.)

When deciding between this model, and a Lesser Brush, I could practically hear Andrew’s voice in my head, talking about long-term costs.

Shockingly enough, the brush heads for the Fancy-Schmancy one? Less expensive than the brush heads for the Lesser Brush.

The logic escapes me.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Adventures in Pink Hair: Part Three

On Thursday, while I was playing with the Exceptional Ellie at Purlescence, a Shop-Hopper said, "Were you in Downtown Campbell yesterday?"

I answered that I was, and it turns out that she saw me. As The Karen once told me, "You're not so Secret, Squirrel."

Friday, September 19, 2008

Adventures in Pink Hair: Part Two

I was in Campbell, between work and a pedicure, and this Starbucks has free Wi-Fi and a veritable parade of unusually attractive people who come through between 3PM and 5PM. I parked on the street, and walked down to the Evil Empire to work for a bit beforehand.

Now, I worked in Campbell for close to eight years. I've never been particularly subtle, but with the pink hair, it seems I'm much more visible.

The line was a bit longer than usual, which was fine, and the guy in front of me turns to me and says, "I saw you pull into the spot, and your license plate frame says '[insert appropriate Hanna Barbera cartoon character here]'. I don't think you're old enough to know who that is."

Ok, the first part of this is that I was a little freaked out that he WATCHED ME park, observed my license plate, and had thought about it all enough to formulate an opening line.

My answer?

"I'm a big fan of the classics."

I sat down to work, and he sat down next to me (the first of his group of friends), and asked if he could take the spare chair (of course), and then said "Thanks [Hanna Barbera cartoon character]."

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Adventures with Pink Hair: Part One

I'm a horrible blogger. I know. Pictures are sparse, and so is content for the time being. Go with it, I promise the photo situation will be resolved soon.

Yesterday, for work, we went bowling for a goodbye party. Beer and bowling go together like rama-lama-lama-ka-ding-ka-ding-ka-dong, and once beer goes in, beer must come out.

I wandered over to the restroom (which smelled like Port-a-Potty, ew), did my business, washed my hands, and walked back to the opposite end of the bowling alley, where we were.

An older man, about seventy or eighty years old, followed me over. He was drunk as a skunk, and the conversation went much like this:

Old Drunk Guy: WOW! I saw you comin' out of the bathroom and I thought 'That's got to be a wig!'. But it's your real hair.
Jasmin: Yep. [Smiling politely]
ODG: Do you do it yourself?
J: No, my hairdresser does it for me.
ODG: It's so BRIGHT!
J: That's the goal. Oh look, it's my turn.

This conversation went on while six of my co-workers were standing there, slack-jawed. This confirms to me that (a) not all people have a crazy magnet like min, and (b) my co-workers will never save me from an assailant. They'll stand there and watch. Useful to know.

If you haven't seen me yet, my hair is not only pinker, but also exponentially more FIERCE. It's short in the back, longer in the front, and asymmetrical. I LOVE it. I stole it from a waitress in a bar in Maine.

I'll post pictures as soon as I can convince someone to take them.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

I am a mad scientist

I'll be honest: there hasn't been much knitting here. I'm five rows away from finishing a Baby Surprise Jacket, and I'm not sure that I like it. It's smart, and that's cool, but my decreases look miserable. I'll post pictures when I get to it.

I went to the California Sheep and Wool Festival with Mom. It was nice, but a letdown. I honestly expected it to be... bigger. I had a good time, but it wasn't worth the eight hours we spent in the car to get to and from the fair, and the hour round trip from the fairgrounds to our NASTY hotel.

The hotel is a story in itself. In the Boonville/Ukiah area, it seems that lodging options are limited to a $200/night B&B, or a one-star, $50/night hotel.

Given the choice between paying out the nose to a B&B and the option of staying for a little less cash (leaving more for recreation), we chose the hotel. Given that it was a one-star hotel, I packed my own sheets.

Thank God I did. You didn't need a blacklight to see the stains on the bedding (and every other flat, fabric-covered surface). Ew. Even the carpet was sticky. Grooooooooooss.

The mattress was that classic, cheap motel, squeaky mattress that was intended for illicit liaisons. Not so much for a good night's sleep, oddly enough. Given the quality of our room, we spent only the time that we slept in the room.

We ate at a couple of fabulous places, including the Ukiah Brewing Company and the Bluebird Diner, and that was awesome.

The Fiber Festival itself had some high points: the fleece judging was edifying, as was the sheep shearing. Other than that, it was a lot of chatting with the vendors. [And buying fleeces.] We won't be attending next year. Too much driving, too little fiber.

I transgressed against the Social Pressure Experiment, but I've bought absolution. Or would that be indulgences? In any case, I slipped, and now I'm even MORE committed to the cause.

Early Saturday morning, I woke up with a Migraine. A combination of Vicodin, coffee, and water helped to alleviate some of the pain.


The magical thing about Vicodin is that I have the BEST ideas when I've taken it for pain relief. [NOTE: I have a prescription, for Vicodin, to me, for migraines. I use it judiciously. No need to worry, internet-friends!]

I thought of a BRILLIANT way to dye roving, so when we got home, I took a nap, and then Andrew and I set out on a course to buy the $10 worth of materials needed for my experiment.

The Goal: Day-Glo rainbow colors, in Superwash Merino [I already have this in my stash.]

I'll be honest: 3 out of 4 of my experiments worked out EXACTLY the way I wanted them to. #3 (the failure) may also not be a failure, just not what I intended. Given that they dye for #3 was clearly MUCH older than the other experiments, this may have had something to do with it. Adding a little fresher dye to the bath will resolve this, we think.

Thus far, for the day-glo, I have the "red" (which will ideally be more on the fuschia side), "green" (which is an AMAZING chartreuse), blue (turquoise with bits of navy), and yellow. This leaves: orange and purple. Pictures pending... you know, uploading them.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Da Vinci Code… of my pants.

In July, I decided that belt buckles were the ultimate accessory and bought five of them. (Four for me, one for Andrew.) Given that July, August, and the better part of this month have been SUPER-HOT, I haven’t had much occasion for a belt.

Yesterday, I decided that since I was in meetings for a good part of the day (in enthusiastically air-conditioned conference rooms), I would wear jeans, and my new Superman belt buckle.

So, I drank a cup of tea while driving in, and fifteen minutes into working, I needed to use the restroom. No big deal, I walked in, closed the door behind me, and went to undo my belt-


That can’t be. I can open a belt. I’m probably pulling at the wrong angle.

No, it’s stuck.

Oh my god. What if I can’t get out of my pants? What if I pee all over myself at work because I couldn’t undo my buckle?!

I start to panic. Seriously, sweating, prayer, the whole enchilada. With one desperate tug, the belt mercifully frees me. I nearly wept with joy.

It felt like a flashback to kindergarten. You know, when you’re trapped in your overalls? Except that I could always wiggle out under the straps.

In discussing this with Andrew last night, I announced that it would be The Most Embarrassing Thing Ever to wet your pants at work because you couldn’t undo your buckle.

Lessons I learned? Test the buckle/belt combo BEFORE leaving the house. Also, go to the bathroom before it becomes urgent. You never know when you’ll be trapped in your pants.

Monday, September 8, 2008

There has been knitting

Despite the incredible lack of photographical evidence to the contrary, there has been knitting. And spinning. But no photographs.

The camera is fine. The lighting is fine- and the natural light has been fantastic, too. Somehow, every time I start to get things together to take pictures, something distracts me. By the time I remember, it's 11PM and I'm in bed.

I cast on a fabulous sweater- the Henley Perfected. I didn't like the look of it in the magazine, but I saw this one, and was immediately inspired. Keeping with the Social Pressure Experiment, I dug through my stash and selected some Silky Wool that I bought on our honeymoon.

Andrew later pointed out that once I finish knitting up all the yarn I bought on the honeymoon, we would have to go on another to replenish that specific part of the stash. I suggested Boston for the next one.

As far as spinning is concerned, I've been plowing through the Crown Mountain stash. I LOVE spinning their superwash. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!

I need to write up a review for Shakespeare Santa Cruz's production of "Burn This". It seems that when I'm disappointed by a show, I'm not so quick to write a review. I think it's because I need to formulate what I disliked about the show. Also, I hate writing bad theater reviews.

Mom and I will be going to the California Wool and Fiber Festival in Boonville, CA this Friday and Saturday. It should be awesome.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Stash equilibrium- myth or reality?

This last week, I finished my Hedera socks, AND a ribbon shell. Granted, these are both fairly small projects, but I’ve finished them! This doesn’t even include the spinning. And has there been SPINNING!

(Pictures coming soon. The shell looks miserable on Mademoiselle, and I have a fierce new hairdo. I need to wrangle a hapless victim to take pictures of me in the garments!)

The other exciting thing is that the Social Pressure Experiment is really starting to take hold, as far as developing better stash habits is concerned.


Yesterday, I went on CrazyMonkey’s etsy shop to find a link to the roving that I’ve bought and spun up. I saw FIVE things I wanted. So, I sent the links to Tika, who agreed that it was all fabulous.

I walked into my newly-organized office, and decided to spin the Hotel California in my stash. There’s nothing like floor-to-ceiling stash to snap my curly self right back to reality.

I like my stash. It has gotten me through every financial “low” (supporting a grad student, mortgage on the first house, two mortgages while we sold the townhouse while we were living in the New House), and has been happily replenished through the “highs” (bonuses, raises, gift money).

It’s 99% awesome stuff, and the remaining 1% is the day-glo acrylic that I bought to make kids’ stuff out of. There is enough variety to keep me inspired and knitting for a long time. That’s a good thing.

There is a lot of it. I think my question is: how much is “Stash Equilibrium”- meaning, at what point is it not too big or too small? When is it “juuuuuust right”?

Having a stash requires planning. In Silicon Valley, one never knows when companies will downsize, or shut down. There’s nothing like being [temporarily] unemployed with the wrong stash. It’s a travesty.

It’s also a huge loss to have all this gorgeous yarn sitting unused in your house. I have THREE SWEATERS worth of casbah, waiting. That’s criminal! There needs to be a system. Not necessarily a FIFO system, but maybe a formula as to fiber content and ranking and whatnot. [System pending.]

So, for now, I’m working through my stash, and finishing up all of those skeletons I’ve got hiding in my UFO storage units. There’s nothing like the promise of wine to inspire me to turn yarn into wearable garments.