The amazing thing…

The amazing thing about the Yarn Harlot is that she is totally inside my brain. Well, not the part about hating teeth, I find teeth quite incredible and intriguing and I actually made a Tooth Fairy costume for my daughter when she was 4…

But everything else.

I have just finished her book, The Amazing Thing About the Way It Goes, and it’s true, I laughed, I cried, I marveled at her talent, I laughed and cried some more… AND, she made me feel like a total piker about this blog and writing and just getting it done. So, good on ya, Stephanie! Convicted. Chastened. And at the same time, with the same words, slightly convinced that I need not write another word, because she will do it for me…

Naaaaaaah.

Because I’ve been itching to find a place to write down how I feel about Amazon and John Travolta.

John Travolta, Scientology celebrity, stood up at the Oscars the other night and absolutely butchered the name of a very talented singer. She’s not a nobody, or a newcomer, and her name isn’t that difficult to say. He managed the rest of the introduction just fine, and then said a name that bore, really, very little resemblance to Idina Menzel. “Adele Dazeem”??? C’mon!
(Luckily, Ellen was quick to mention her actual name immediately after the song).

Twitter erupted with humorous one-liners, AdeleDazeem became a Twitter ID with thousands of followers, and the media covered it the next day… But Travolta basically just said he was “beating (him)self up about it” but then decided to “Let It Go!” Oh, hahahaha.

I WANT TO KNOW HOW IT HAPPENED. What would be wrong with Travolta giving some kind of explanation?… I was too vain to wear my glasses. I was drunk. My super Scientology mind isn’t all that super. The teleprompter was wrong. SOMETHING. But no. Radio silence. No explanation.

Similarly, I pre-ordered my copy of Stephanie Pearl-McPhee’s new book from Amazon as soon as I knew I could. (January 2, to be exact). I was thrilled to have a new book by the Yarn Harlot coming out, as I basically worship her, and want to read every word she writes ASAP.

March 4 – Hooray! the book will be here today, or at least tomorrow, right? Well, no. “Not Yet Shipped” – ??? Why not?

Contacted Customer Service. Got some guy who put me on hold twice to “see what’s going on.” He came back and said I’d definitely have the book sometime between the 7th and the 11th, and sent me two (2) emails saying:
I can confirm that we will your order in time to be delivered to you by March 7, 2014 -March 11, 2014 .
I wasn’t particularly impressed or convinced by that message. (He spoke just as clearly as he typed, too.)

Then, at 4:15 a.m. the next morning, I got the email saying they were “still trying to obtain” the item I ordered on January 2.

What???

AND:

Still want it? We’ll keep on trying. To keep your order for this item open, please click the link below. Otherwise, we’ll cancel your order on April 04, 2014, if we haven’t located it by then.”

WHAT????

What part of “pre-order” doesn’t Amazon understand? And how is it that they would offer a book on pre-order and then NOT HAVE IT when the release date arrives? And why didn’t Mr. Customer Service have any info about the book actually being unavailable?

I WANT AN EXPLANATION. Don’t I deserve something other than, “Sorry, can’t send it, maybe in a month, or maybe not”?

I went to my local Barnes and Noble, and got a copy. Huh. I’m a big fan of Amazon, before this. Not so sure anymore. Sadly, I have Amazon gift card balances to use up, and lucky for them, my copy of Rachael Herron’s new book arrived today. I’m wary, though. Very wary.

Travolta, I could take or leave before he “Let It Go.” Now, I’m just gonna let him go…

In other news – Here’s my latest scarflet, my own design, done in Sweet Fiber’s Tea Leaves. Very simple design, lovely yarn – and I’m just crazy enough to voluntarily finish it with a picot bind-off. My Instagram friend who I met because of Holden will maybe think this is funny.

I love eyelets!

I love eyelets!

Yes, that’s the yarn I was using for the Yorkshire Shawl in my last post. The hard feelings were still there when I tried to pick it up again, and I decided to just frog it and make something of my own simple design. Is this how knitting designers are made?

Finished my Swirl, and wore it to Stitches West. Was chatting with a lady at a booth where there were about 30 Swirls on a rack for several minutes before I realized I was talking to Sandra McIver!!! What a charming, warm, and wonderful person!

Sandra McIver, Swirl Genius, on the right!

Sandra McIver, Swirl Genius, on the right!

See, when her next book comes out, I’m gonna want to pre-order – maybe I’ll go to B&N. Amazon, you hurt me, and your lack of explanation makes me think you’ll just do it again. It may take a while to heal…

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Gosh, I could have had a baby by now…

That is, if I wasn’t WAY past having babies. But it’s been longer than that long since my last post.

I haven’t forgotten about posting – it’s just been basically impossible. So many reasons, but mostly tied up with my mom, and her house, and her bills, and her incredibly strong wish to return to “my home, my church, my friends, my town…” I think I say that little litany in my sleep now, since it is mentioned at least every other time I speak to her.

Note to Self: Try to plan for your old age, and if you can’t do that, at least try to keep your sense of humor about it. Understand that things aren’t going to be exactly the way you want, that your body isn’t going to work exactly the way you want, and that there probably isn’t going to be enough money. RIGHT NOW, practice keeping your face in a smile, because if it’s used to being frown-y, that’s probably where it’s going to go when you’re turning inward and homeward. If life gets smaller, make sure you make yourself as happy as you can in that smaller place.

Please understand, I don’t mean to criticize my mom – I’m just worried that I’ll go down that road and forget the things I’m observing right now. (I think my daughter might be a little worried about it, too…). As hard as this stage of life is right now, it could be SO much more difficult; we are really lucky in several ways, which I won’t enumerate because I’m a bit superstitious and not looking for trouble. As for my daughter, I just continually remind her that when I’m very old, and living in a yurt in her back yard, she must never make me knit with bad yarn.

Even though I haven’t been able to actually write a post, I have been watching the stats on my blog, and I’ve learned something interesting: Aside from the times when I write a comment on the Yarn Harlot’s blog (God, I love her!), or the few others I follow (Agujas, The More the Messier, A Verb for Keeping Warm), apparently the most interesting thing to anyone out there who’s clicked here is – matching self-patterning socks! Second to that, the Hitchhiker scarf. I find this fascinating. First, that searching for those terms would actually lead anyone here, and second, wondering whether anyone actually got any help from my babbling about the socks.

Anyway, it’s gratifying to see that people in many countries also had questions about matching self-patterning yarn.

I have knitted through this last few (okay, dozen) months, throwing myself into lace shawls, a giant Hitchhiker made with a gorgeous Yowza Whatta Skein from Miss Babs – wish I could tell you for sure which color it is, but I lost the band. I think it’s called “Believable.” Bought the skein at Stitches West in Santa Clara. On the way home on the train, I decided to just QUIT trying to conquer the Color Affection, set it aside, and hand-wound the Miss Babs. (That’s an accomplishment in itself!). It was actually a joy to knit the Hitchhiker, but at the time I began this post, I hadn’t had occasion to wear it yet. Didn’t quite know how to drape it (it’s BIG), and the weather was too warm here anyway. I was looking forward to fall and the opportunity to wear it, and Holden, and my Pilsner Pleated Scarf. And the little number that is pictured up top.

Pilsner Pleated Scarf. Ewetopia

Pilsner Pleated Scarf. Ewetopia

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Hitchhiker, Miss Babs Yowza Whatta Skein. LOVE THIS YARN!

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Holden! All those picots! And I met a new friend on Instagram when we both posted photos of Holden the same week…

My conscience says I have to admit that I hadn’t blocked the Pilsner Pleated Scarf when I originally wrote this post, with the sheepish explanation that for at least two months I had no living room floor because there were about 20 boxes of my mom’s stuff that had no place to go. Why should this matter, you ask? Because that’s where I block everything. I spread out a piece of gingham yardage and lay the wet finished object on it, using the gingham pattern to align edges, and pin through the (shag!) carpet and padding. I am very interested to see what this has done to the floor when I finally prevail and we remove the carpet to expose the old, probably ugly and pieced-together hardwood underneath. A few blocking pin scratches will likely be the least of our worries.

Still, there were a lot of Actually Finished Objects here waiting to be Actually Worn. Which brings me to what I suppose is a problem for many knitters as selfish as I (me? I?…). I have LOTS of knit objects, because I have a very hard time letting go of things to which I’ve given a lot of time and effort (y’know, kind of like, say, children). And I live in Northern California, which, while not as relentlessly sunny as SoCal, is still considerably more temperate than a lot of places. I see that our beloved Yarn Harlot speaks of her knit items being “in the rotation” – perhaps that’s the answer, and as soon as it gets even just a bit cooler here, I now make a concerted effort to Actually Wear my Actually Finished Objects. And maybe this year I’ll start knitting things that can be worn in warmer weather.

And I should probably mention that I finally finished and have actually decided to frog the Color Affection. It’s huge, and out of scale even to itself because I messed with the pattern and now it’s just a massive (really, massive) disappointment. I’m not even at the “maybe someday…” point with this thing. Sad – lots of money and time and frustration in there. At least I can reclaim the yarn and make something nice with it. Knitting is wonderful in that way!

Unblocked, HUGE Color Affection. Yuck.

Unblocked, HUGE Color Affection. Yuck.

Currently on the needles:

Yorkshire Shawl, a Purl Bumps Design, in Sweet Fiber‘s Sweet Merino Lite (Tea Leaves). Bought this at Stitches West as well. The yarn is delicious. I was trying to make myself work from the chart, got through the set-up chart and one set of 20 rows, but suffered terribly. Lots of time in the Tardis, tinking and re-knitting, not making much progress. Now I’m working from the written pattern, but I’ve set it aside for a bit because there were some hard feelings.

For therapy, noodled through a pair of toe-up, two-at-a-time socks of indeterminate pattern and nothing fancy – of course, had to re-learn everything and adjust for not having a real pattern to reference. Using a Patons Kroy Sock FX, very lovely, in Cascade Colors. Forgot my own instructions to buy 3 skeins of this yarn for 2 socks, but am keeping a good thought. I like to do a funky color on the toes to offset that issue, but the toes were first and it’s too late now! So if it comes to it, there might be a funky color at the top instead. Knitting Nazis, shut up.

(Update – finished the socks, they’re ridiculously long. I’m confused.) (OH… now I get it. Used a bigger needle. Socks fit, but they aren’t nearly as cushy comfy as the pair I knit with 2.75 needles, and they are WAY long. I can actually feel the stitches when I wear them. Boo.)

LONG, kind of uncomfortable socks. Pretty, though... ;-)

LONG, kind of uncomfortable socks. Pretty, though… 😉

And, so excited to add this – finished my first Swirl, Winter Waves, in Mayhem, a lovely Yowza Whatta Skein (about 3.5 of them, actually) from Miss Babs. This was a Christmas gift for my daughter, but was surrendered to her as soon as it was blocked and finished. It took me a little more than a month to knit it, and I absolutely love the way it came out. It looks incredible on her; starting my own now. This is a LOT of knitting…

Swirl the First... Snuggly!

Swirl the First… Snuggly!

Between finishing her Swirl and Christmas, I did two Travelling Woman (Women?) shawls for my sisters-in-law who were coming for Christmas. One in a lovely merino from FishKnits, the other in beautiful Grace cotton from Patons (for the dear lady who is allergic to wool). And I think I’ve found the answer to my issues with the chart on the Yorkshire Shawl – my husband gave me his small magnetic dry-erase board, which I used to hold the charts for Travelling Woman – with a long straight magnet that shows me the row I’m working. Yes, I know I can buy one of these several places online, but this was so perfect, and “free”! And a total revelation – loving lace knitting, now! (Picture me smacking my forehead, please).

Travelling Woman #1, Merino, FishKnits

Travelling Woman #1, Merino, FishKnits

Cotton, Grace by Patons

Travelling Woman #2, Cotton, Grace by Patons

Then there was a last minute inspiration for a hat for my niece, and subsequently another like it for my nephew in shades of brown.

Copied from a baby hat my niece posted on Facebook... So cute on her!

Copied from a baby hat my niece posted on Facebook… So cute on her!

And then, because you can’t leave anyone out (except my daughter’s boyfriend, because of the “knitting for the boyfriend” curse, and my husband, because he understands) – two after-the-fact hats in a color-of-their-choosing for my brothers.

Black and Navy held together

Black and Navy held together

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Chunky Walnut

Done and mailed on 1/6 – Twelfth Night, so technically, on time for Christmas?

If you’re reading this (thank you!) from somewhere terribly cold and snowy, I apologize for the gorgeous sunny day the outside photos were taken (today!). Please understand that our record-setting beautiful weather here in Northern California is actually a pretty bad thing right now – we’re in the middle of a terrible drought, our lakes are drying up, and water rationing is right around the corner. Would love a little bit of rain/snow, the sooner the better…

Happy to have had the moment to catch up – hoping to be more regular with posts. Probably should calendar an annual one about matching self-patterning socks just to keep the readership going!