Thursday, October 30, 2008

Crown me Ms. Un-Motivated 2008!

Doodes. Seriously.

I've been thinking of you, fair blog readers. I've got plenty of things to share, I'm just feeling extremely lazy and unmotivated. In honor of that, I'm having a contest. (Yes, a contest to celebrate my own laziness - go figure.) I figure that by having a contest that requires me to post again shortly after it, I will have no choice but to get off of my duff and blog.

Here are the topics that I have a decent amount of crap with which to blog:


2. Holiday Knitting

3. The ideal Cabana Boy

4. Random Thoughts about whatever (remember the Fancy Chicken post?)

Ok - everyone decide to what you want to hear about and post your choice in the comments section. I'm not promising fancy, woo-hoo pictures, or a fabulously written piece of work, but I can promise you that I will make you laugh and you'll want to come back. Whichever topic gets the most voters wins and I will be forced to blog about it.

If you vote, I will write down your name, put it in a hat (that I didn't knit myself) and I will have someone (not me) pick a name. You will win two skeins of Lorna's Laces Storm Watch. (Are you expecting some sort of photo here? Sorry - that's too involved for me at this point.) They are already wound up into cakes, and I think I have at least 1 label. I think. I have never used them, and they are just marinating away in my stash. I may even include something else, just because I am fun like that.

I will draw a name on Saturday - you have until 10am on Saturday to post your choice in the comments! Please feel free to also share something funny in the comments. Laughing is good.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Can You Follow The Fiber Buying Rules?

Rules? What rules? There are rules when it comes to buying yarn? Hey, and since when does Megan follow rules?

Yes, friends, there are now rules. Tragic, yes, but unfortunately necessary. The goal here, is purposeful spending. I know that it seems scary, and that there is a bit of heresy involved when it comes to not populating the stash, however, the rules allow for expansion and so I think I can live with it!

For your enjoyment and so that you can have a nice chuckle, here are the rules I am going to bravely attempt to adhere to (I believe that Akamai Knitter is going to be following these rules - 2 heads are better than one, ya know?):

1. Yarn purchases can be made when there is a purpose for it and you are ready to use it immediately. Gifts fall into this category. Yarn, say for a sweater, also falls into this category, HOWEVAH, you must be ready to knit the sweater right then and there.

2. Fiber/Yarn Clubs are allowed. One of each. When you take the time to add up the monthly expenses of a Club and then all of the Etsy/LYS buying, it is more than we realize. The Clubs will be the monthly treat. It's your yarn to play with, or, to set aside for a special project for someone.

3. You may not purchase fiber/yarn just because it's pretty. (This is the hard part). No matter how soft, how smooshy, how yummy or how silky, you just can't do it. The only exception is if you are following rule #1.

4. Fiber Festivals are different. They only rule is that you can only can only spend what you bring in - cash only. No trips to the ATM once you run out - not allowed. Credit cards don't count unless you can pay it off in full when you get the bill. (Which really means, don't bring the card.)

5. Recognize that your stash building efforts are by way of the Yarn/Fiber Club. You should remind yourself that pretty yarn/fiber comes once a month so do not fear!

6. If you valiantly support a friend on Etsy, you may continue to do so, within reason - say
, when they do an update. We must support those who support our addiction!

Can you see the rationalization behind this? For me to go on a complete fast would be asking too much. It would mean that when I fell off of the wagon that I would buy half of Etsy and have to feed Mini-Me ramen and ham sandwiches for a month, and I would feel incredibly guilty. So, rather than try to fast and fail, I'm going for purposeful buying!
  • The Yarn/Fiber Clubs replenish/build stash. (necessary to a knitter, no?)
  • The fact that you can buy yarn helps you resist the urge to spend a whole pay check on yarn.
  • Buying specifically for a project that you are absolutely ready to cast on for reduces the risk that the $80 bag of yarn will not languish in the back of the yarn bin.
Feel free to participate in the Fiber Buying Rules. If you need support, please drop myself or Akamai Knitter a note - we will help you, or you can just remind us that we are crazy for doing this!

Speaking of purposeful buying...

Mama's got a brand new bag!!! (Or two - maybe three if you count the one I didn't photograph!)

See? Big and Little! I think they are great. I love Le Sportsac. They last forever and have great prints. I have been carrying two bags. A purse and a knitting bag. What a PITA! Too fiddly. Too much to remember. Sooo.....

Now everything fits nicely into one bag, and I have a room to spare - either for a large project, work papers, a change of shirt (because I spill everything), you name it, I can get it in there! I love the fact that the purse is small and fits in the bag. Because I have a shoulder issue, small bags mean that I can't carry around two tons of fun. Having it kept in a larger bag means I carry the larger bag to the car, or into work, taking out the purse if I don't have the need for the bag! Plus, I got the bags at TJ Maxx, so I paid way less than retail. Smart, purposeful buying, no?

Two Fingers, because she is a curious lady, had to check it out. She has promised to stay out of the bag - at least when I am not looking! (Notice the red satin knitting bag, ahem.)

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Cabana Boy! Pass Out These Awards!

My good friend Opal nominated me for a Blog Award!! Thank you Opal!! I try hard to bring smiles to everyone's life with the calamity from mine, and I am glad that it is working! I really enjoy reading Blogs. I love the fact that we get to share in the joyous moments and even in the hard moments. There is something about a good blog that lets you into a person's life, and makes you want to keep on reading to see what's next.

In return for my nomination, I have to nominate four other blogs that I love to read! It was immediately clear to me that I couldn't just nominate the blogs that get read by the masses. I needed to chose blogs that I enjoy reading because they are fun, and because that blog writer shares a bit of themselves with you.

Drum roll please (that's you, Cabana Boy):

1. Cursing Mama - She makes me laugh on a daily basis, and she's always sharing something fun. Her new background and title make me giggle.
2. Yeah I Knit - Dani is a riot. There's always something new going on with her blog, and lately, she has been a blogging queen. Way to go, Dani!
3. Ms Create - I think that Daniele and I were separated at birth! I'm not sure how it happens, but she and I are always on the same wave length and it's good to know that I'm not the only one out there =)
4. The Carantit Chronicals - I have know Tyler since kindergarten. He has a great writing style, and it's fun to get to know him all over again as an adult. I find his blog heartwarming and funny.

Please take a minute to check out these blogs! They are worthy of your time, and I promise that you will find them entertaining. Kudos to all of you, and thanks to Opal for allowing me to pay this one forward.

Oh! I almost forgot - there are some rules.

1. Please put the award on your blog.

2. Add a link to the person who awarded you

3. You must nominate at least 4 fellow bloggers for this award.

4. Add links to the recipients.

5. Leave a comment so the recipients know they have received an award.

I'm adding a 6th, ahem:

6. You must, in turn, nominate 4 other bloggers that you think rock!

Have a fabulous weekend, fair readers! May Monday treat you well - I, for one, am taking the day off. Woot!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

The Sock Is On Fire!!

And no, it's not because I left a cigarette burning too close to the wool. (Knotty girls use ash trays outside, not near stash or projects, ahem.)

I am working on a pair of socks for my girl, Wendy Lee. She is a very worthy recipient - not only does she create fabulous hair for me, but she is one of my dearest friends and it's her birthday on the 8th!

This is a project I am very excited about for a variety of reasons. I'm sure that you would like to know what they are, so I will feel free to share:

1. I'm using the Lime & Violet Intentions Yarn - Inspiration #1. I really love the colors in this yarn - they are quick jolts of colors, very intense colors, with a lot of depth. Take a minute to read up on Intentions Yarn - it's a great idea. I chose to use the Inspiration colorway because we all need inspiration from time to time - it encourages us to go out and do great things!

2. I decided (after much debate) to knit Express Lane Socks. The pattern itself is very easy, and because I have moved over to the "dark side" and am knitting on 2 circs, they are going very fast. Plus, the recipient of these socks moves at a high rate of speed on a frequent basis. Fitting, no? I am loving knitting these socks.

HOWEVER!!!! (Mentally make the noise of a scratching record, seriously, we're about to go off of the tracks)

The original pattern calls for a short row heel. We all know how I feel about short rows when it comes to socks. (Think of a SNL Bush Sr spoof and raising taxes "Not gonna do it.") I decided that I was gonna be slick and insert a heel flap in it's place, and of course, I am going to utilize the one that I have in a Wendy Johnson (aka Sock Goddess) pattern. My stitch count on the Express Lane pattern (60 stitches) is not exactly dead on with the Nanner Sock heel pattern (64 stitches), so I tinkered with the numbers a bit, consulted the Sock Goddess and determined this could easily happen! I was so happy that my brain is working in the appropriate manner. Please make note of the stitch counts for each pattern - it will make my story funnier, I swear.

Monday night, I started working on the gusset - so exciting, I love knitting this part of the sock. Yesterday I notice I'm not liking it, and there's an error (I switched up how I did my M1 - blech), so at about 7:30 pm, I decided to frog the gusset, fixing the error, and going back to my old ways of doing a M1. I know that Wendy Lee won't care about one error, but I would, ya know?

So I frog. I pick up my stitches, and painstakingly figure out where the seams are, and count my stitches. First, I count them and I have 59. I count them again, I have 61. I count them again and I have 60, 30 on each needle. In my brain, I am thinking that I need to have 32 stitches on each needle, because I need a total of 64 stitches. Well, this sock only has 30 stitches per needle. I curse, I threaten to throw the sock, I contemplate burning it, then I call Opal for an intervention.. She's such a cool cookie, she listened to my rant and talked me out of burning the sock, and we jointly come up with a way to increase 4 times within the lace pattern so it won't be noticeable. All this time, I am trying to figure out, how in the world did I loose 4 stitches? Where did they go? Oh well, I have a plan, so let's move on. Woot!

Yeah, no, not so much.

Think about it, if I'm missing 64 stitches, I can't just increase in the lace - I have to increase on the sole of the foot as well, so that there will be 32 stitches per needle. Follow my thought process here... I can see how I lost a stitch or two in the lace - it happens. But to loose stitches on the sole? How is that? I have checked the sock over with a fine toothed comb - no dropped stitches.. What the hell is going on here?? Whatever - it happens, and if I need 64 stitches, I need 64. Increase 2 stitches in the lace pattern, and 2 on the sole of the sock. (I have a plan, remember?)

I proceed on with the plan ('cause I made one) knit across the lace, adding in my extra stitch, and then realize, I have too many stitches for the lace pattern. Huh? What? If I'm supposed to have 64 stitches, how can I suddenly have an extra stitch - I shouldn't have enough! I bust out the pattern and look at the lace chart. I've got the appropriate amount of stitches. How can this be? How can I need 32 stitches per needle, yet the pattern only needs 30? Where have I gone wrong? I've spent over an hour figuring out how to fix this, yet now my fix won't work!

Get your lighter ready friends - I hear that wool has a nice blue flame.

I decide to read the whole pattern over again, just to see if I missed something. Apparently, I did.

Dear Ms. Knotty Knits,

We regret to inform you that the pattern you are using only calls for 60 stitches in the S/M size. While we do understand that this is frustrating for you to read, and it may cause you to have a fit, it is the only answer we have for you at this time. Next time, read the pattern at the first sign of trouble or frustration.

The parts of your brain that read patterns

What in the h-e-double-hockey-sticks was I thinking? How did I not notice this?? Since when have I been knitting 64 stitches around for this pattern? NEVER!! After an hour and a half of plotting and wrangling and complaining and cursing it, reading the pattern showed that I only need 30 stitches per needle!! Darned cursed Nanner Sock heel!!! It invaded my brain and took over the Express Lane Sock pattern! Remember when I shared that I had gone through and tinkered with the numbers from the heel of the nanner socks to replace the short rows with the heel flap? Why did I have to tinker? Because the Express Lane socks only have 60 stitches and the nanner socks have 64, so I had to mess with the numbers a bit to center the short rows and the gusset increases! But never did I want to change the stitch count from 60 to 64 in the regular pattern! Never! Again, let's repeat a much used phrase from this blog - What was I thinking???

I really had the lighter ready folks. I looked at the sock, looked at the lighter, looked back at the sock, and had mental images of it going up in flames. I thought about sticking it in my empty Hornsby's Hard Cider bottle and made a "Sock-al-tov Cocktail" and throwing it out into the parking lot just for kicks. I thought about putting it in the litter box and letting Two Fingers punish it. I thought about throwing it off the balcony in a "Walk the Plank" sort of fashion.

Instead, I called Opal and gave her the good news. I'm not nuts, I'm just a non-pattern-reading-can't-keep-two-patterns-straight crazy lady who had contemplated destroying a perfectly good no errors anywhere sock.

PS for your viewing pleasure, here's what Cindy sent me for the Plurk Swap. Isn't she just fabulous!!!!! She rocked my socks (literally)! Don't worry, Plurk Swap partner - your box will be on it's way soon!!