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Welcome to my world...

Occasional musings on "life, the universe, and everything" from a fiber junkie.

July 30, 2008

There's blue dye WHERE?
Time travel can be exhausting.  This is especially true when one has not practiced it for almost two years.  Still, last Saturday, some friends and I ventured forth to the Sterling Renaissance Festival to revisit Warwickshire, England in the year 1585.  It had been two years since I last visited the shire - which is about four years too long.
After reacquainting my fingers with the intricacies of lacing an Elizabethan bodice (which end goes where, again?) and making sure all my bits'n'pieces were in place, I wandered toward the gate.  Lord Mayor Thomas Catesby was atop the gatehouse, greeting all the visitors, including Mairi O'Splinter Burgess, whom he accused of breaking his heart.  She of course replied, and a wee bit of flirtation happened, much to the consternation of one of the other visitors to the Shire, who was quite gobsmacked to recognize the person who was portraying Mairi.  Heh.  I do so enjoy twisting people's minds...
The day was absolutely wonderful!  Artistic Director Gary Izzo has put together a magnificent assortment of actors, musicians and other entertainers, and the festival's new owner has invested in many improvements to the site.  It was delightful to see longtime friends returned to Warwick, including Churchyard O'Shea, Manolete, Captain Rando, Don Juan & Miguel, Merry Mischief, Jim Hancock, Crannog, and the aforementioned Lord Mayor Thomas Catesby.  Mairi herself was greeted as if she were the prodigal returned, and she greatly enjoyed spending time with folks not seen in two long years. 
Even torrential thunderstorms couldn't dampen my spirits that day; after all, it's only water, right?  Well, sort of.  What I had forgotten is that one portion of my outfit, a bright blue shirt, still bleeds excess dye after five years of washings.  Yup.  On arriving home, I discovered splotches of blue dye in the strangest places... which still aren't fully removed after several scrubbings.  Good thing there are no doctors' appointments in the near future.
In spite of the rains, the pains, and the exhaustion, it was a supremely wonderful day, one I would be more than happy to repeat as often as possible. 
10:05 am edt

July 21, 2008

Muggy Monday Mumblings

It's Monday again, and the mugginess outside makes going to w*rk much less irritating than it might be otherwise.  "Hazy, hot and humid" is not my favorite forecast, as that type of weather tends to make me wilt into a puddle of unlovely goo.  Since the Systems Cave rarely gets above 71F, the weather outdoors doesn't affect me very much until it's time to trundle homeward.  Then, the transition from chilled to broiling can be rather ... um ... disconcerting. 
Plans are afoot for a bit of time travel later this week; it's back to the year 1585 for me and some of my friends over the weekend.  The good people of Warwickshire have been alerted to the impending arrival of much of the Splinter Clan, and some of them actually seem to be pleased about our return.  There's something wonderfully restorative about getting "home" to Warwick, visiting with delightful people that I get to see far too seldom. 
This also means it'll be time to strap myself into the steel-boned corset for the first time in four years.  My back is already cheering, as it really likes the silly thing.  This is probably because it's nearly impossible to slouch in one of those contraptions.  Now if I can just manage to lace it up straight (not always guaranteed), it'll be fine.  With any luck there will be photos of the Splinter Clan in action appearing here next week.  Or not.  Time will tell.
On the knitting front, despite having several projects already on needles, I was assaulted by the dreaded Startitis over the weekend, with Mmario's "Faux Spanish Stole" demanding to be begun using some Schaefer Andrea in the "Kermie" colorway.  Several inches of it are now dangling from the needle, having appeared as if by magic during the weekend.  With the coloration of this yarn, a simple stitch pattern is better than something more intricate, and with luck it'll be done in time for some events in the fall.  If not the fall, then definitely in time for SeaSocks '09 next June.
On the other hand, the Granny Weatherwax prototype is sulking in its corner again, as it wanted to be the project of choice but was rudely pushed aside by the silken Schaefer yarn.  Granny just does not want to understand the discomfort of a lapful of wool when it's 85F and 95% humidity, as we experienced this past weekend.  Not my favorite climate, not even a little bit.
The Cashlana socks gained a few more rows as well, keeping me happily occupied en route to the grocery store and other errands.  This yarn reminds me quite a bit of the Aurora Borealis, which is quite appropriate as it was a door prize on my recent Alaska cruise. 
Finally, the wrap cardigan from Big Girl Knits is getting a little rest, as it won't be cool enough to wear it for another couple of months, plenty of time to finish it off after a brief (?) excursion into the land of lace.  There's just one sleeve left to knit, plus the bottom bands and ties, none of which should take too awfully long once it gets picked up again.
Lunch hour is nearly over, so it's time to publish this and get back to reality (such as it is). 
1:29 pm edt

July 11, 2008

Friday Follies
Friday has finally arrived, and with it yet another round of "What season is this again?" weather.  Two days of triple-H (Hazy, Hot and Humid) followed by two days of cool and crisp, with more hot and muggy predicted for tomorrow.  It'd be nice if the weather would just decide what season it wants to be and just settle down for a week or two. 
Something that's been batting around the back of my brain recently is the concept of "perfection."  It seems that a lot of people are giving themselves a lot of pain by demanding that their lives be "perfect" in every way.   Looking back, I can see times in my life when that attitude caused difficulties for me and those around me, until I finally realized:
Perfection is what reality isn't.
Life has ups and downs, that's just its nature.  Without the downs, we wouldn't appreciate the ups as much.  Without some of the negative events in my past, I might not realize just how good the present is.   And it is good ... I have a job I enjoy, hobbies that keep me happily occupied in my leisure time, and a magnificent group of friends who help me enjoy the fun things in life and stand by me through the less fun moments.  What more does a person need?
Life doesn't have to be "perfect" to be enjoyable; it's all about how we approach it.  We can choose to focus on the negative aspects of our lives and become whiny and complaining (and then wonder why people don't want to be around us), or we can choose to focus on what's good in our lives, and enjoy it.  To quote from an old song,
"You can't rollerskate in a buffalo herd,
But you can be happy if you've a mind to."
1:25 pm edt

July 1, 2008

July already?  How the heck did that happen? 
It's been very quiet here at AuntyNin's Place recently, largely due to lack of anything noteworthy to write about.   Daily life is chugging along much as usual, with few surprises or other hiccups.
WorldWide Knit in Public Day happened, and as usual, people looked askance at the crazy lady with the pointy sticks.  In spite of that, KIPping happened, both at the mall and on the bus "there and back again."
Other knitting also proceeds; the Cabin Cove socks are done, though not photographed as yet, and the wrap cardigan now has a back and one sleeve completed, with one front underway.  The shaping on the fronts is rather ... um ... complex, requiring a fair bit of rereading the directions and obsessive measuring.  The pattern has far too many instances of the dreaded words, "At the same time" for me to be able to knit it on autopilot, even if it is a stockinette sweater.  Still, I'm loving working with the Elsebeth Lavold Silky Tweed, and the finished cardigan will definitely be used a lot.  While working on it over the weekend, I happened to hold it up next to a new blouse I'd just bought, and discovered that some of the flecks in the tweed were almost identical to the blouse's color.  Hm.  I might never have thought to put the two together, had it not been for that happy accident.
Since having no socks on the needles is a heinous crime in my home, once the Cabin Cove socks were grafted came the difficult decision of what yarn to cast on next.  The Cashlana that was the door prize at SeaSocks '08 won that battle, and is now on its way to becoming a pair of "basic boring socks" that remind me greatly of the Aurora Borealis in the way the colors are coming together.  In addition to the great colors, the yarn is so lusciously soft that it's a pleasure to knit.  Photos soon, really...
The list of future projects is growing as well, in part because Mmario the Demon Enabler is writing patterns far faster than anyone can begin to hope to knit them.  As of this morning, there are no fewer than four of his patterns in my "to do" queue and the yarns for all of them are currently in the stash!  If we add in the patterns for which I don't already have the yarn, the list gets ridiculous.  
Another set of inspirations has come from the books Big Girl Knits and More Big Girl Knits, both by Amy Singer and Jillian Moreno.  Between the two books, there are at least four sweaters I want to knit just as they appear on paper, and about six adaptations that are festering in the back of my brain.  For example, in the first book there's a short-sleeved top called "Bombshell" that appeals to me greatly ... but ... it's knit from the top down with a raglan sleeve.  I seriously detest knitting sweaters from the top down, as they become much too awkward for me to manipulate as they progress.  Also, raglan sleeves don't work well for me, I prefer set-in.  Okay, not a problem, we just rewrite the pattern to be bottom-up, knit in pieces, with a set-in sleeve.  And, since we're tweaking the pattern, why not change that 2x2 ribbing at the waist to something like a lacy rib from one of the Walker treasuries?  We can do this!  Once the first one is finalized, we can ring the changes on this almost endlessly by just using a slightly different rib pattern each time ... or altering the neckline a bit ... or perhaps making a long sleeve ... or ... or ... or ...
I think I'm in trouble here.
12:49 pm edt

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"Everything happens for a reason, except possibly football." -- Terry Pratchett