Friday, March 31, 2017

Out Like A Lamb

After it being in the 50s to start the month, and it snowing today, I'm thinking Mother Nature got the "in like a lion, out like a lamb" thing backwards.

On the other hand, lambs are white and fluffy, right? And lions live in warm climates. So maybe Mother Nature's just playing with words.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

West-ern Colonnade

The knitting world is a broad and wonderous place, full of creative characters. One of them is a midwesterner named Stephen West who is, shall we say, more of a character than most. He has come to be known as a designer who likes bright colors, sharp lines, and an all-around unconventional aesthetic.

So imagine my surprise when I discovered that a shawl I (generally a fan of more simplistic, traditional designs) was thinking about knitting had been dreampt up by this maverick in his early years as a designer. Back in 2009, Stephen published his Colonnade shawl in Knitty, and it's been in my queue ever since.

While putting my feet up for the last few weeks, I decided to do a deep dive into the yarn stash and pulled out something I bought on a trip to Oregon about a decade ago: Deam In Color "Baby" (sport-DK) in Cloud Jungle (similar to their current offering, "Raincloud"). Even though Colonnade was designed for a much heavier yarn, I knew it would take substitution well, so the yarn and pattern made friends.

Mine's all one color, and I'm skipping the loop and toggle. I think it'll suit me quite nicely, and I'm tickled to think that I'm knitting the most uncharacteristic Stephen West pattern in a most uncharacteristic color. It's perfect.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Good News

I start my new job on Monday.

Free Stuff!

You know you're interviewing with a small, family-run business when they send you home with free merchandise. Even better, I spent most of the interview petting a friendly dog. Even if I don't get the job, I had a good morning.

Monday, March 27, 2017


Oh, Pinterest! You try so hard to read your users' minds, but you frequently fail, and those failures are equal parts pathetic and amusing.

I've been pinning some pictures of women with pixie cuts (every so often I toy with the idea of cutting my hair that short, and then gradually talk myself out of it), and one or two of the pictures were of women with grey hair. Pinterest, only looking at tags rather than trends, decided that I must be looking for information about hairstyles for women over 50, and has inundated me with pictures that are completely useless to me.

I've been looking at pictures of medieval, renaissance, and Victorian kitchens because I love the wood and brick and tile, and so Pinterest shows me modernist, minimalist, micro-kitchens with stainless steel and glass and sleek, white surfaces.

I've been looking for examples of historic blackwork and smocking (embroidery and pleatwork) for my SCA garb, and Pinterest keeps showing me avant-garde runway fashion from Japan (where they love applying origami techniques to fabric).

It's rather like going to a library in a foreign country and having a hapless assistant who doesn't speak your language insist on finding all of your reference material for you. After a while, even this non-drinker wants to retreat to the local pub for fortification so as not to strangle someone. Pinterest is useful for keeping all of my inspiration photos and links in one place, but complete rubbish for trying to find new sources. And the best part is that, unless you encounter a previously-undiscovered bug in the system, the only help you can get is from "Pinterest Experts," who are just regular users with no access to the back end or the developers and who can only quote the FAQ at you. It takes "unhelpful" to new lows.

But golly, is it ever addicting.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Venation Shawl

I start a lot of knitting projects. A lot of them. I finish far fewer, and it's always something of an occasion when I do.  After a tense half hour late last night where I tinked and re-knit the last 20 stitches of the bind-off half a dozen times and finally cheated a little so I wouldn't run out of yarn, I finished a shawl made from fiber dyed by my friend Dan of Gnomespun Yarn & Fiber Arts. This is Claire Slade's "Venation" shawl (squared crescent version, regular bind-off) in Gotland fiber in a color Dan calls Deep Cockscomb, which I spun into a two-ply sport/DK-weight on my Babe wheel.

This morning, the shawl took a bath with a bit of grapefruit-scented Eucalan...

...and then hit my version of a blocking mat for a gentle pinning.  (Maeve included for scale, and because she and Kira supervise most of the fiber art that goes on in this house.)

The Gotland is crunchy, but it's got character and body, and the color is just so scrumptious that I wanted to show it off as much as I could, which led me to this very open lace pattern, stretching my limited yardage to the max.

I'm looking forward to wearing this... just as soon as it dries and I weave in the ends.

Saturday, March 25, 2017


Dear Reign writers,

How is it that you write a show about royals and nobility without knowing which honorific suits which rank? I mean, it's clear the show's target demographic is teenaged females who aren't in the least bit bookish, but still... why not do one small thing that could subtly educate your viewers rather than making your show look even trashier than it already does?

Here's a quick primer:

King/Queen: (Your/His/Her/Their) Majesty (-ies), who refer to themselves in the plural (We).
Prince/Princess/Dauphin: (Your/His/Her/Their) Highness (-es).

Anything below that gets tremendously complicated and varies from one royal court to another, but nobody should be calling a Queen "Your Grace" or "Your Highness," and no Queen should be making official/public declarations in the first person.

I won't even touch the issue of your female characters looking like they just walked out of the Nordstrom prom catalog, nor your male characters wearing poet shirts and shiny leather pants, because, well, you do call this a fantasy show, and maybe polyester and pleather is your fantasy... but please, get the basics of addressing a regal personage correct.

On the other hand, thank you for casting Megan Follows and John Barrowman (it's a little sad that Barrowman is one of the few people with an authentic accent, but hey, CBS ain't the BBC), the latter because he's adorable, and the former because it's hilarious to me to see bits and pieces of Anne Shirley in Catherine de' Medici.

Shaking my quill pen frustratedly in your general direction,

Friday, March 24, 2017

Adjective Noun

When you use Google Play to access games, the service gives you a unique ID so you can save and track your achievements. The ID is an adjective and a noun with some numbers. You can change it when it's issued, but when I saw what Google had picked for mine, I decided to keep it:

Impudent Farrier.

Not that I've ever shod a horse, but I think it fits my personality pretty well. Good one, Google.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Limping Along

Y'know the worst part about having an ailment that sounds silly even though it really isn't? Having to explain to your boss why you're not fit to work. Especially when your boss doesn't take time off for any injury/illness (even though he should,) and your coworker has been working full-speed with a cracked rib for the last few weeks. I'm not going to risk my foot not healing properly for the sake of impressing a boss, but I wish there were a less feeble-sounding way of saying I've got a sprained toe.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Knit Two, Break One... Uh-Oh!

This... this is no good.

Especially since it happened mid-row. With double yarn-overs. Thankfully, I was able to get the project safely onto new needles, but it gave me quite a fright.

Who would have thought that knitting could be so fraught with danger?

Sunday, March 19, 2017

On Your Marks, Get Set, BAKE!

I'm sidelined for a few days with what appears to be a sprained toe (sounds dumb, but I promise you, the pain is excruciating), which is giving me the opportunity to do a lot of knitting (to the point where I'm getting sick of it) while watching The Great British Baking Show (Bake Off) on Netflix. I don't drink, but I'm tempted to develop a drinking game for the show. Any time Sue or Mel make a pun or innuendo about the bake, any time Mary says something's "scrummy," any time Paul gives that impish grin after making a contestant question their choices... so many options! And then there are the season-specific triggers, like any time Ruby (2013) says her bake is terrible/wrong, any time Nadiya (2015) pulls a face, bonus drink!

A note to anyone watching this on Netflix: the seasons aren't labeled properly. "Season 1" (which includes "Continental Cake") is the 2014 season, "Season 2" (which includes "French Week") is 2013, and "Season 3" (which includes "Victorian") is 2015. The show started in 2010, and it would be lovely if Netflix would get its act together and present all the seasons in the proper order, but we get what we get.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

This And That

Bits and bobs today...

I didn't get that job I interviewed for. I'm more than a little upset.

One of the local plow guys passed my house with his truck window open as I was shoveling earlier today. Two seconds after he passed, I got slammed with the smell of cigar smoke. Ten seconds after he passed, I was still being suffocated by that scent. It was like being in Laconia during bike week... I can't understand why people do that to themselves.

I'm on the hunt for a book I read a long time ago. I can't remember the title or author. I'm fairly certain I read it in the very early '90s, and I think it might have been part of our school reading curriculum at the time. It's about a girl who finds herself turning into a bird (an owl, perhaps), but she doesn't understand what's happening and it's quite painful. I think there was a bit about her wings starting to develop, and her efforts to bind the two painful nubs forming on her back so nobody would see them. If you have any ideas about what this book could be, let me know. My Google-fu, which is usually fairly strong, is failing me on this one.

Update: found the book! It's Gwinna by Barbara Helen Berger.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Current Conditions

According to NOAA, there is currently "Snow Freezing Fog" where I am.

Sounds about right.

Monday, March 13, 2017

What Are We Saving, Exactly?

You know you live in a remote area when you have to leave home to get to a place with cell signal so your phone (which is also your alarm clock) will update to Daylight Savings Time.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Today's Lesson

Do not go grocery shopping while hungry, or you will find oodles of snack food following you home. You will devour it the moment you're alone, and it will not be pretty.

It'll be tasty, though. So very tasty.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Think Positive

The interview went well. I'll hear back next week. Meanwhile, anxiety will eat my brain. Yay!

Monday, March 6, 2017

Vibrating With Excitement

I have an interview for a job I really, really want, tomorrow morning. Cross all available digits for me!

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Wee Bit Chilly

It's 6ºF outside, and I just made a two-hour drive home in a vehicle with a malfunctioning heater. Just as soon as I can feel my toes again, I'm going to bed.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Fine-Gauge Luxury

I went to my local knitting group for the first time in five years last night, and in diving through the stash to decide what to bring, I ran across some luxurious yarn that had made friends with some other luxurious yarn and wanted to be a project together. Who am I to say no to something like that?

This is the beginning of a hat in alpaca (charcoal grey) and silk (mottled dusty pink) on US#1 needles, which are just a smidge bigger than toothpicks. My yarn loves me, but it also knows I'm a masochist.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

On Tenterhooks

The trouble with applying for a job that's a perfect fit for me is that if I don't get it, the disappointment might just eat me alive. That didn't stop me from applying, but it does have me worried.