Thursday, September 20, 2007

Yes, that's the Harlot with my what?

So what indeed? Did you hear me? I said Stephanie Pearl-McPhee is holding my knitting! And...she knew it was Birch. And why did she know that? Because (hold for the drum roll, please), because she's knitting a Birch, too. Said it was "back in the suitcase."

Okay, I'm a celebrity geek, a harlot even. Whatcha gonna do? It's just who I am. And I'm not usually this way with celebrities. But... writers and knitters. And knitters who can write... well, I'm definitely in awe.

Yesterday, courtesy of the incredible Knitch and its even-more-incredible owner Kim, Stephanie Pearl-McPhee came to Atlanta and I can now say, I've Knit With The Yarn Harlot! Well, the fine print really says that "I knit while the Yarn Harlot talked," but that's just getting picky, if you ask me.

Knitch arranged for YH to speak at the Hilan theater in the heart of Virginia Highlands. Usually when we say "in the heart," we mean it's right in the middle of things. In this case, this theater is really like the spleen of Virginia Highlands. It's the internal organ that you didn't even know you had until it got crushed in a rush for Socks That Rock at the Maryland Sheep & Wool Show. This venue is literally tucked in between and behind a Ben & Jerry's on one side and a Starbucks on the other, so you walk between the two businesses into the theater. I never would have found it in a million years!

Funny story--I came down late and didn't want to be driving around VH losing my mind looking for parking, so I took a cab. Of course, I knit in the cab during the drive. The driver was Nigerian, very friendly and pleasant and I saw him observe the knitting in the back seat but he never mentioned it. But when we pulled up, and he saw a couple hundred people standing in a line, he said, "Oh, my God, look at all those people. And they're ALL knitting! I can't believe it!" "Yeah," I responded, "all knitting. Well goodbye!" Let him wonder ....

Anyway, Knitch did a fabulous job of organizing the event, with tee-shirts (which I wish now I'd bought!), a raffle for Stephanie's pet charity, Knitters Without Borders, and lots of books for sale. And, thank you, Kim, for putting the Atlanta Knitting Guild board members in the front row, alongside your fellow shop owners. What an incredible honor, and much appreciated!

Debra and I waited in line to have our books signed (thank you, Kim, for giving us tickets for the first signing!) and were among the very last in that group to meet Stephanie. She was very gracious and happy to hold Birch, and to have her picture taken with Debra.

So, without further ado, here's Debra and Stephanie:

Thank you, Stephanie, for bringing your great sense of humor to Atlanta, and for reminding us of the incredible sense of community we're so fortunate to be a part of. And thanks for holding my Birch and not pointing out some horrible glitch in it.

Come back again, any time!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

What a Week!

This month has flown past, with a lot happening in a short time. Amazing. This week was a killer, too. Here's a little of the week's "doings."

On Monday, Debra and I took The Big Sock to Newnan (south of Atlanta) so the group there could knit on it. (I was just the travel buddy--Debra is the heart and soul of the TBS project here in ATL.) TBS is now back in Rochester, NY (I think) but I think they'll be impressed by the amount we got done on it.

A good-sized group met at Espresso Lane in downtown Newnan and we met some wonderful people. The staff at Espresso Lane were wonderful, too - very welcoming!

The next night we again drove south (who planned this itinerary?) to the Books-a-Million bookstore in Peachtree City. Here we shared the space with a very pleasant group of folks being addressed by a Buddhist monk. Luckily they were all into peace and love and not being irritated by the sock knitters and we co-existed without fisticuffs. Chris, one of my coworkers at The Big Corporation, brought his three kids who all had a great time knitting. Even Chris knit a few stitches--it was fun to have them share in this event and it was a perfect introduction to knitting for the kids.

Wednesday evening I went to the Alliance Theater to see The Women of Brewster Place, courtesy of The Other Diana, Claudia's friend (and, I hope, mine too). The play was lots of fun--how could Opening Night not be fun?--with some really terrific voices. It was my first time seeing a production at the Alliance and I'll definitely go back.

Thursday and Friday, TBC had a series of events for the first group of our employees to be separated--lunch on Thursday (billed as a "celebration" but we won't discuss the irony that involved), then an "asset collection" event on Friday. That one wasn't emotional enough--some idiot (me!) had scheduled a goodbye lunch for our assistant for the same day. I was so bummed by the time we finished lunch on Friday, I took off and went home. Only two more of these "last day events" to go, 11/9 and 12/21. At least I guess I won't have to work the 12/21 day! (There's always a silver lining.)

So what do the tough do when they get bummed? They go yarn shopping. First, though, they go to a koi show (well, Mr. Pug and I did, anyway, on Saturday). When we were done with our fishy behavior, Joyce and I went on a combination lunch and yarn crawl, always a good thing. I had fallen in love that morning with Muir, a new stole pattern on by Romi and had to buy yarn for it. I don't know what's happening to me--within the last two weeks I've bought sock yarn from Main Street Yarns and Only Ewe and Cotton Too (both at the guild meeting), more Malabrigo lace (green) at Cast On Cottage, more Jojoland Melody at Needlenook, and, finally, lace yarn yesterday at The Knitting Emporium. I have to stop buying yarn! (See 12/21 date above, I will have no income--stop me! On the other hand, if I have a prolonged period of unemployment, you know what I'll be doing.)

Anyway, somehow I lost my mind and bought twice as much as I needed. Well, I know what happened--I've been thinking about several new lace projects and got this one confused with the one I'll probably never make, The Secret of Chrysopolis, and bought two skeins of Cashwool, not just one. And, to cap it all off, I had them both wound, so now I guess I have TWO olive green shawls in my future. Oh, well, you can never have too much lace yarn.

(Were you wondering whether I'd abandoned my lovely Birch Malabrigo stole? Not! In fact, since the stitch count decreases from the top, I'm speeding through it. Well, speeding is a relative term, but it's moving, that's what's important. Here it is, in all its glory. I love this yarn--it's the softest thing ever and it's getting a little "halo" effect from being handled.)

Finally, Mr. Mailman brought a present, and we love it when that happens. Those wonderful girls at The Yarn Grove sent me a gift--a set of Swallow Casein DPNs to play with. I'm in heaven! Now to cast on some more socks!

But what did I do about looking for a job? Er, uh, maybe next week will be calmer.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Knitting Update

Since I'm the only person I know who hasn't yet made a pair of Monkey socks I decided to start mine on Thursday night at the guild meeting. The yarn is Trekking Pro Natura and doesn't look at all the way I thought it would--for some reason I thought it would pool and instead it's striping--but I love the way it feels and the colors.

And, since I'm now officially addicted to lace knitting, I had to start a new piece of lace. The pattern is Birch by Sharon Miller and was in an old Rowan book (#34). It was originally done in Kidsilk Haze, but since I am not a fan of fuzzy things, I chose Malabrigo Laceweight. OMG! This stuff is like knitting with a kitten, it's so soft. And I love the color, which is called Pagoda.

I took the unusual (for me) step of actually swatching Birch and I am a little concerned that there's no edge specified, but I think it's going to need one. The photo here is pretty blurry, but you can see that the edge is fairly undefined looking. I'll have to wait to see how I like it when it's done, but I'm pretty sure I'll be asking someone to help me figure out how to edge this puppy.

And, just in case you haven't seen enough pink yarn to last you, I'll mention that I am hoping to start the Hanami stole soon out of, yes, you guessed it, raspberry-colored Jaggerspun Zephyr. I'm even thinking of putting beads on it.

The Birch pattern is pretty simple--one of those patterns that you can read easily--or I would never have considered another lace pattern at the same time. My main concern at this point is that I really should be putting my attention on looking for a J-O-B and not on knitting, but I'm going to consider the knitting as therapy. Looked at that way, I'd be unfair to myself if I didn't start as many projects as possible!

Rats and Other Matters


No, I'm not going all rodent-y on you. (Not that rodents are a bad thing...but when you have four small furry things underfoot at all times, you really don't need more. And if its tail doesn't curl, it doesn't belong here.)

The Rat in question is this one:

Rat (AKA Devit) turned up our in front yard yesterday morning, just as I was leaving for work. He was limping, but very friendly, and rolled right over on his back to have his belly rubbed. His tag said his name was Devit and that he lived on the western side of the county (we're on the very eastern edge). We called his owner and she said something to the effect of "no, you can't have my dog--my dog escaped yesterday and the county shelter picked him up last night." Uh, no...he's here.

We put Rat, whose name is NOT Devit, in the back yard with the pugs and he went right to the pond and copped a drink. Now, right away this is a unique situation for us. The pugs walk up to the water, look (down) into it, and very quickly get that they will fall in if they try to drink. Rat just put his snout into the bubbler thingy and drank his fill.

When his owner showed up a short while later (and no, I never did get to work), we sat in the back yard and schmoozed for awhile. She was a lovely person who said she has two ponds, er, water features, in her yard and so, of course, Rat knew right away how to belly up to the bar. She also said that, although he has an invisible fence collar, he escapes regularly. I think this might be the farthest he's gotten. (Apparently he'd been a guest of the county animal warden but had managed to escape from them as well. How he got to our yard is a matter of luck, I guess.)

One thing I've learned living in the south: dogs roam. You see them all over the place, walking along the side of the road. Sometimes, unfortunately, you see them dead by the side of the road. I'm hoping that Rat won't end up that way, but I fear for him.

In other animal news, darned if those invisible fish didn't pop right up and show themselves off for Rat's owner. I hadn't seen hide nor hair of them since I put them in there last week, and they flaunted themselves like hussies for a stranger. Of course, that might be because we took an awful lot of pond lettuce out to give to her and that made things a little less crowded, but I saw three of them today, too.

Atlanta Knitting Guild

Our monthly guild meeting was Thursday night and, as usual, it was an incredibly fully packed night of activities. Here are some of them:

- Debra brought The Big Sock and several members knit on it. It's only here for another week or so, then it goes back to Rochester, NY and then on to ... well, who knows where. I'm going to accompany Debra and TBS to two knitting groups south of Atlanta this week.

- The Botanical Garden Scarecrow (which, for some reason, I keep calling the "Squarecrow" since it's made of knitted squares) was in attendance--at least its head was. It has to be in place at the Botanical Garden by about the third weekend of September so there's a lot of activity around getting it complete. Elizabeth and some others have been very busy already! (My teeny tiny contribution is a dark red rectangle which will be on the upper left side of the back.)

- We held a book raffle to benefit the library and about $325 was raised. That money will be used to augment the small library budget and buy new books, DVDs, etc.

- Of course, we had a terrific speaker, Jan Stephens, who spoke about how to alter a sweater pattern.

- There were two Mystery Stoles in evidence, mine and Pat's. They are so different and yet the same pattern--I love how that works. I enjoyed swanning about in mine (a little swan humor).

- Andrea has been our liaison with the Atlanta Day Shelter for Women and Children for several years. The shelter is one of our special projects and we raise money through raffles at least once a year and every month members bring donations. The shelter is a place where women can come during the day to clean up, learn basic office skills, get assistance with finding housing or work, or just have a safe place to be with their children. This month, I took over Andrea's role. I took Mr. Pug's car and filled up the back with donated toiletries, household goods, and clothing. Yesterday I drove to the shelter to turn the items in. I've missed doing service work and I'm excited about finding ways to volunteer with this incredible group of people. A good reminder of how lucky most of us are.

Monday, September 03, 2007

MS3 Happy Dance!

MS3 is complete AND blocked! Yesterday I was complaining that it looked, in the words of Claudia, like boiled a&*, and today it looks like a knit by someone who actually has a clue. I'm very pleased with it. Thank you, Melanie. I'll just bore you with a few more pix of it and then I'm done, I swear.

For instance, here's the motif on the pointy end:

And here's that wing we were all so afraid of...what were we thinking? It looks like it could swoop up into the sky and take off on the first breeze!

Finally, here's sort of what I think it might look like wrapped around me. Now all it needs is Romi's feather pin.

And, contrary to what you might think from reading the above, there IS life outside MS3:

Here's the most gorgeous flower popping up in the middle of the pond, er, uh, water feature. These guys have been appearing and then, within 24 hours, they're gone. And, by the way, does it looks to any of you like there are 7 fish in here? Nope, me either. But that's how many I've put there in the past two weeks. I'd be happy to see ONE, for heaven's sake.

Mr. Pug is making good progress on the sunroom addition. Now if he just wasn't using the knitting perch as a tool storage unit ... oh, well.

I got good photos of all the pugsters today, but here's Lightning, since she's the queen and all. (that's the top of Lulu's head you see at the bottom--she's such a ham!)