My life {in brackets}

Wherein you will find the rambling confessions of a craft slut.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Oh my, how long has it been?

Surely it can't have been two weeks? Calendar sez otherwise though, oops!

So, where have I been you ask? I was here, sort of, but unfortunately so were both offspring, Spring Break, the elephant (who was successfully evicted from my chest, but who just moved on to offspring # 1's chest), family birthdays, yarn shop openings and an unreasonable amount of school work (not mine, offspring #1's~almost end of term). Things should return to normal by Monday (oh please, oh please, oh please) but, in the mean time, I have managed to snag the computer for a few hours this evening.

So knitting news, well, things are not going all that well. The KO entry is being studiously ignored. Must stop doing that, baby's due sometime in May and it'd be nice if the sweater was finished before the baby got too big for it. I did start the booties for this little one, but the first attempt came out a little big. Thought I'd adjusted for my loosey goosey style, but apparently not enough. A second (smaller) attempt is on the needles now. The ugly kitten blanket had to be frogged, as it was two inches too narrow and I was almost done the @$%@$% thing. I started new socks from a Fleece Artist kit (older colourway, pretty purples though) and decided since most of the socks I've made so far have been a bit big, I should make the smaller size. Um, no! Too small and will have to be frogged.

OTOH, I started a pair of Fuzzyfeet for myself on Monday and I'm at the toe decreases for the second one (go me). I want these finished so I can felt them Saturday at Make One's Felting Party. Previous experience has shown that my lovely new washer, while very good at washing clothes, is terrible at felting them, even on purpose. So glad Amy and Sandra put in a washing machine.

Liza {who's off to herd cats again, it's dinner time at the zoo}

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Well, the elephant was given an eviction notice.

And he didn't take kindly to it. He's been waging a scorched throat campaign in retaliation. More enthusiastic blogging will resume after the final battle(s).

In the mean time, here are today's book questions:

1. Have you ever read a self-help book? I guess so, I've checked out some books on organization (something I am *not* good at) but that's pretty much it.

2. What do you think about self-help books in general? I'm not big on a lot of them. To me they seem to be trying to provide simple answers to complex situations. Sort of if you follow these 5 (or however many) steps, your whole life will be wonderful. But, you know, life and relationships just aren't that simple.

3. Would you ever recommend a self-help book? I might if I found it helpful and it was appropriate for the person's situation and they'd *asked* for advice/help. I'd never recommend one unsolicited no matter how good I considered it.

Liza {who will return w/fibre related news soon, for now though, it's back to the trenches}

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Books, Books, Books

In recent rambles through blogland, I came across something that tickled my fancy and decided I'd play along too,

Booking Through Thursday

This week's questions are from Cate.

  1. Do you have any books that are signed by the author? A few, I can only find two at the moment, but I'm sure there are more. One is A Fine Daughter by Catherine Simmons Niven and the other is a very (1984) old triva book/game for kids.
  2. Do you have a story behind the autograph? In the first case no, it was a gift from my Mom and that's just how it was when she purchased it. The second has a bit of a story. It was a gift to me from my cousin but it's autographed to her not me. It was originally a gift to her from the author, who happens to be her uncle. Yeah, re-gifting at it's finest.

In knitting news, I finished the hat yesterday now I just need to see about felting it. Oh and finding a bowl to use while blocking the thing. Isn't that going to look wonderful? Me trying on all my mixing bowls trying to find the one that's "just right". And no, there will not be any pictures of that little endeavor. This morning I finished my Limbo Mexiko socks, just in time too as the weather's turned a bit nasty. I did do a little work on my KO entry today, but it's taking more brain power than I possess today, so that's been put aside, again. Poor unloved little thing.

For some mindless knitting I've switched to the kitten blanket I'm working on. All I can say is good thing this is mindless 'cause it's other aspects are bad enough. If I had to think too, it'd get dumped faster than one could spit. I'm using Red Heart Comfort (seems to be discontinued, but the colour is similar to this) and all I can say is yuck! It's not nice to my hands and when I bought it, the colour seemed cheerful and happy. Now? Yeah, not so much. Oh well, it's for a good cause , so I'll just have to suck it up.

Liza {who thinks the resident elephant is doing jumping jacks on her chest, she's gonna go have a nap}

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

An elephant has taken up residence

On my chest and all I can say is a pox on who ever sent him my way! The appearance of this pachyderm has resulted in a noticeable lack of action on my part. However there have been a few developments since the last time we talked.

This past weekend was full of all sorts of fibery goodness. Saturday I spent most of the day here. Why? Well, for my first ever spinning lessons. Ruth Blazenko is a great teacher and I had a great time, even if I do suck pretty badly and seem to have some serious control issues (who'da thunk it?). Oh and yeah, being able to remember right from left would help too. I did find out I do much better if I pre-draft, so I think I'll be focusing on that, along with trying to sort out those other issues. I was hoping to borrow Mom's wheel this week, so I could practice, but I'm not going to risk sharing the elephant, so practice will have to wait. Along with the actual spinning instruction, we got a chance to go into the shop and compare (read fondle) a number of different fibres. Oooooh, who knew yak or camel would feel so nice? Of course, I didn't leave empty handed, I now have this (colour Mountain Majesty) and this (colour Sapphire) to make the felted hat from this book.

Sunday evening was spent at Calgary's (delayed) Knitting Olympics Closing Ceremonies, held at Make One Yarn Studio. Go here, for the story behind both the ceremonies and the delay. A good time was had by all, how could you not enjoy an evening with yarn, food and knit rap? I didn't have my entry finished, but I did wrestle the Gordian Knot into submission in time to show off what had been accomplished. Oh and in spite of intense lobbying on the part of many, many beautiful yarns, I was able to stand firm (sort of) and only two wee skeins (colour 127) followed me home. I was thinking socks, but now I'm considering wrist/hand warmers.

On the knitting front, the KO entry is still being ignored but I'm almost finished my Limbo Mexiko socks (second sock at the toe) and the felted hat is 2/3 finished. I will get to the baby sweater, I promise, I'm just waiting until I stop feeling so hostile towards it.

Liza {who promises there will be pictures soon!}

Thursday, March 02, 2006

What I Learned

Well, the Knitting Olympics are over and I've recovered (mostly) so now comes the post-games analysis.

I was a DNF and I learned that this bothered me more than it probably should. Seems I have a fairly well hidden competitive streak, so well hidden that even I didn't realize it was there. Interesting.

I also learned I can be waaaayyyy more patient than I'd ever imagined. Example? The Gordian Knot took me some 6+ hours to untangle. However said patience is not unlimited. The appearance of a second Gordian Knot (even worse than the first one~4 hours working on it and no sign of improvement) strained things to the breaking point.

Which leads me to the next thing I learned, when the urge to chop all the remaining yarn into teeny tiny pieces is almost overwhelming, it's time to quit. And yes, I did quit before giving in to that urge. Good thing, because I'm determined to finish the darn thing before Sunday. That is, if I am able to untangle that darn knot.

Another valuable lesson from the KO, I am too old to write IOUs to my body~repeatedly. Yeah, consistently shorting yourself on sleep in an effort to "catch-up" results in the body calling in those IOUs without warning. Usually at the most inconvenient time. Lost most of last Saturday this way.

The final lesson (well for today anyway) that I learned is that my time is not nearly as free as I'd previously believed. I've always thought I should be able to accomplish more craftwise as I "wasn't doing anything else". The KO allowed me to critically examine that premise and it proved to be false. For example, during the 16 days, I had to attend 5, yes 5, separate medical appointments. None of which were for me! So, while I can knit in the waiting room(s), there's still travel time, prep time (you know, like actually getting dressed?) and the attendant errands like picking up prescriptions. Definitely eats up your knitting time.

Useful lessons I think and while I'm disappointed in my DNF status, I am glad I participated. Thanks Stephanie and all who helped make the KO such a fun and interesting experience.

Liza {who's just glad none of the cats needed to visit the vet, that might have done her in}

Wednesday, February 22, 2006


Borrowing an idea I first saw at Stephanie's. I understand that I have someone else to thank for the idea though. Must say, here at Chez {brackets} we're pretty much all random, all the time, so this format may not be restricted to Wednesdays.

Things I need to keep in mind:
I obviously underestimate the capabilities of the most likely suspects. The mysteriously disappearing needle has just as mysteriously returned. It showed up one level up and all the way across the house from where it was originally. Interesting, must expand search zones in the future.

Procrastination is always gonna bite me on the butt. You'd think I'd know this by now, but somehow I forget every time. I offer up my most recent incident as an example. We were almost out of coffee, water and cat food yesterday. Now, any single one of those is cause for concern, all three? Officially. Not. Good. Did I do anything about it yesterday? Nooo. So today, when we were completely out of all 3 things and I have to go get them, winter arrives. Yep, it's been really mild and we've had almost no snow, but today we got dumped on and guess which fool was out in the storm? Must remember, procrastination is, in my case, an invitation for the Universe to try and reinforce those lessons it thinks I should already know.

Progress reports:
The KO entry is coming along. Not as quickly as one might hope, but so far (knock on wood) no further disasters or delays.

I've also found the finishing yarn I needed for the baby booties. The pattern calls for this yarn, but I couldn't find it locally and there's not time to order it. So, after a quick consultation with the owner of my nearest LYS, this yarn has been decided on as the alternate.

In the things that make you go hmmmm category:
1 cup of raw brown rice is equal to 13 points using a leading weight loss program. So, who figured that out and why?

Good advice:
Today Stephanie offered a number of good tips for Olympic knitters and in the comments a couple more were added to the list. One in particular caught my eye. This very intelligent individual suggested that finding something to distract the cats should be part of one's plan. I have to agree (and wish I'd thought of that). All I have to say is, the impact of a 20 lb cat flinging it's self at your shoulder in a desperate attempt to catch the moving end of the needle can be quite painful, oh and it doesn't do the needle much good either..

Liza {who's planning to spend tomorrow knitting and hiding from the cats}

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Today's theme: Technical difficulties

So yeah, this is the third attempt at this entry let's hope third times the charm. My first attempt was such a long and whine-y post about all the technical problems plaguing me that it bored even me, so I deleted it. The second attempt apparently, while slightly less whine-y and somewhat shorter, was still too much for my computer, so it deleted me (BTW, don't you just love it when the inanimate objects in your life feel the need to critique your efforts?).

I now present to you a much quicker (ha, as if) run down of my difficulties. Computers, cameras and I do not mix, there will be no yarn p0rn for now. I hope to snag my technical advisor (Offspring # 1) soon. My KO entry seems to be cursed or perhaps I've committed some sort of transgression that the Universe feels I need to be punished for. Either way, all kinds of delays have occurred. There was trouble getting the appropriate needles. A Gordian knot ate up several evenings of knitting time. One of the appropriate needles mysteriously disappeared the usual suspects (scroll to October 23 and July 22 to view the mug shots) have been questioned, but no one's talking. Alternate needles were obtained from the enabler aka Mom, but more time (about 1 1/2 days) was lost. Both Offspring had long weekends and were in. my. house. getting. in. my. way. (read using the computer).

On the good news side of things, the search for needles netted also netted 7 skeins of Cynthia Helene Kid Mohair in grape and 3 in mauve at ridiculously low prices. Other experiences of SEX include the discovery of Limbo Mexiko, fun stuff. I picked up 3 skeins in colour # 2597 to make some heavier weight socks for myself (cold tootsies here) and at the same shop I found a solid to coordinate with the Trekking I have for the next Candice I'm planning to make. There have been other forays, but I'll leave those for another day. Back to Olympic knitting.

Liza {who's hoping the Universe is feeling generous and she and her KO entry will be plagued no more}