Thursday, August 26, 2010

October Earth

Elemental Animals by Shadow Wolf

It is time to unveil the October theme.... Kudos to Susan, who guessed it!
November is the last of the "officially beaded" clues. If you track back those months with beads in the clue, March represented Wind. June, Water. August, Fire. And therefore, October represents the element of Earth.
I know this clue is very vague clue, and possibly a hard to represent. So think hard!

Here is another little bit of inspiration. The most "earthy" place I have visited, Yellowstone park. It has some of the most gorgeous formations that earth, water, fire and wind can create - mountains, prairies, streams, geysers, "paint pots" - a fantastic place. I hope it inspires a fantastic clue. I have absolutely no preconceived idea of what to do yet!.

Happily,  September is all done, and in the mod's mailboxes waiting to be proofread. Right on track for release  September, 1st. Whatever you may think of this clue, it promises to be interesting and I am fully looking forward to see what you make with it.

Physics phenomenons applied to everyday life
Do you know that there are many phenomenons of physics that apply to daily life? For instance, the Black Hole of the domestic appliances. Once one appliance breaks down, it seems to create a well of gravity that causes all other appliances to fall apart under its pull. Example in point: as soon as we came back from our trip, the caulking of the guest shower collapsed and caused a massive leak which ruined part of the floor of the kids room next door. The black hole effect immediately caused the pool pump to quit working, the car radiator to spring a leak, and my husband's phone to spontaneously crack across the screen. Odd, uh?

Let's move on to the Butterfly effect, where apparently small events have wide and unforeseen consequences. After the shower leaked, the whole place smelled rank and damp, and my husband had to rip this full-sized wall ceramic plates that form the shower enclosure so it would not mold out. High fashion in the 80's, mind you - real imitation marble. Of course, he went at it with gleeful , primeval glint in his eye  that every woman has learned to fear: the larval stages of the House Remodeling Project.
My sadly gutted bathroom
uh yeah baby, you know you want this wallpaper...

We thought things were under control, gutted bathroom notwithstanding, until my eldest son Ollie came pelting into the living room with his eyes big as saucers to announce that there was "a pink animal" in the bathroom. Boastfully we marched, thinking it would be one of the baby geckos that scurry around the house. Nope. It was a gigantic, nasty, flying sewer cockroach, the kind that lurks behind bathroom walls. Battle ensued, husband emerged victorious, monster roach squashed, but we had to dig Ollie from under the pillows. It soon was obvious that Ollie was so traumatized by the incident that he refused to use the bathroom. Instead, he would go in his clothes, then find creative ways to hide the soiled clothes, which we would find by scent. We hit rock bottom when he desperately tried to hide a rather large, um, poop, and instead succeeded in fingerpainting all over the computer room. Heck, even I was traumatized. It has taken a lot of bribing to retrain him, but he still wants to use the master bathroom all the time. There goes the privacy.

Which takes us to the nuclear fusion effect. Where a small explosion causes things to collide around creating a huge explosive force. Really, this was just supposed to be a small remodel. Get a new shower head, re tile, some painting. We dutifully visited Home Depot. Checked the supplies. Then made the mistake of visiting a designer fixture store. I never knew before people is willing to pay upwards of 5K for a new shower!!! and of course they are so gorgeous... And tiles??? We went to One World Tile and spent two hours shuffling and reshuffling the most gorgeous hand painted Mexican tiles. And oh, you should see their painted sinks. To die for. We came home with a loot of little tile pieces to play with

Even before we start the little remodel, I know we are going to bust the budget. Stay tuned.
So finally, the Fight or Flight reaction. When facing a lenghty bathroom remodel, choose to fight (and face the remodel) or flight (and use the money you saved in the honeymoon trip it was intended for). Guess what I chose. Aloha Hawaii!!!!! We bought the tickets before we could succumb to the instinct of sensibly spending the money on the remodel.

And yes, knitting happened too
Soon after the last update, I got this on the mail:
King Cole Merino Aran

  My long awaited yarn for the secret submission project! I had to drop everything to get working on the sample, so most of my other "personal" knitting is hibernating while I power through this one. This is a very soft and supple yet hardy superwash merino, with excellent stitch definition, and it knits like buttah. Excellent workhorse yarn and moderately priced. A bit short in the color range though.

I have a few ideas prickling in my head for a while. I knew I had an unused Cascade skein with the receipt still in the bag, so I headed to my favorite LYS, Tempe Yarn and Fiber, just to exchange it for another color. I should know better. Fred and his minions are so evil. I walked out of the store with:
DIC Smooshy in Lunar Zazzle

Crystal Palace Kid Merino in pure white

Shepherd's Wool in Hot Pink

And a spiffy 30-pocket Nantucket Bagg. For my travel, you understand. I am absolutely in love with this bag!!! Stylish enough to carry as a handbag, it can be unzipped totally flat, and you can cram a LOT of knitting there.
As much as I love to shop for yarn online, there is no doubt that yarn shopping is a highly tactile experience. Nothing compares to being able to pet the yarn. Then it follows you home.
My, erm, excuse is that i have a pattern projected for each of this yarns... good luck guessing what, because my sister's visit seems to have awaken my inner corky.

Stay tuned... sharpen your needles...
And learn why the latest Vogue Knitting issue reduced me to tears. Real tears with sniffling.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Through the Eyes of a Child

We are back from our wedding-family reunion-vacation trip! Exhausted, but all in one piece.
As I was toggling through the camera looking for some good snapshots of the momentous event, I realized two things: One, you don't take pictures in your own wedding. Since I was too cheap to hire a photographer, I am stuck waiting for a kind family member to collect pictures from all the guests to make an album. Second, my tech-savvy 4-year old had commandeered mom's camera, and he took to the job of photographing everything with gusto. I have spent most of the afternoon culling over 400 snapshots. Many pictures of the floor, the sky, random people we don't even know (some apparently mugged and posed for the camera), critters and rocks, but some of them are truly amazing. Thus, the trip through the eyes of a child.

It rained a lot. It seems odd to get rained out in Arizona in August, but it is monsoon time, and apparently more so on the mountains. The day of the wedding was gray and misty, which lend the Canyon an eerie light and a decidedly mysterious air. It did not rain, until about the time I stepped out of the caravan in wedding regalia. My guests took it in great spirits, humming the Wedding March while wearing an assortment of plastic ponchos, rain gear and umbrellas. The minister, who showed up on hiking gear and changed later, quoted a Native American poem : " I shall feel no rain, for you are my refuge...". It did get a chuckle out of the guests.
The reception was wonderful, the cake was a looker and just so yummy, and we had a wonderful time. I will not bore you with the stories of the wedding, though I promise to share more pictures soon!

Here is the scary moment of the trip. We rented a private RV, which apparently was not very well maintained, and the battery went flat on us. Thankfully one of my brother in laws is a mechanic, and CPR'd it back to life. But for the first hour of the trip home, we had no headlights, no blinkers, no wipers, and no dashboard lights. And believe me, it was scary to negotiate those tight mountain roads on a monster RV in the middle of a driving rain!
Grand Canyon Lodge dining room windows... lovely stone work!
Another "rocky road"

A lovely mountain flower
Ground squirrels and chipmunks at the Lodge are incredibly bold!
Hi grandpa!
The Ghost of the Dirty Fingernails

After the wedding, we made a short stopover at home to wash a mountain of dirty laundry, and off to Disneyland. Not my favorite place in the world, and the kids did not seem to get it either, but the grandparents had a complete blast!. I have never been one for crowds, and waiting in line for an hour, no matter how great the ride is, just does not seem worth it. DH swore we would not come back until the kids were at least 40 inches tall and could go to all the good rides. Sounds like a plan.

And on with the knits...
I had a pleasant surprise on my return home - My one and only submission to a magazine up to now had been accepted for publication! wee! I do not like much to work with submissions because of all the waiting involved, and now I am stuck waiting for the support yarn and not able really to talk much about it... all I can say is that it is going to be a fun piece!
Meanwhile all my other knitting seems to be at the "black hole" stage, where you knit and knit and it just does not seem to grow. Here is the Sylvar sweater. I was a victim of the Gauge Fairy, and as soon as I started the actual sweater, my gauge dropped by at least a half stitch per inch, and I had to go a size up. Good think it is a bottom-down piece. I am also planning some modifications, such as running the pattern to the lower edge and making some increases after the waist to accommodate my, ahem, pear shape. 
And I have managed to get to the second panel of the red frost-flower shawl (aka Most Boring Knit Evah). I am actually excited about this, and seems like I will have a whole skein of the gorgeous Malabrigo Lace in  Sealing Wax left over - so I am open to trades.
I did mention that my sister was a bit of a fashion freak. She actually gave me the most elegant pair of silicone shoes I have ever seen. We pored over a dozen couture magazines. She loved This Ferragamo cabled sweater  which in close look is actually incredibly difficult to master - they are not cables, but individual "ropes" plaited together. She also fell in love with a certain intarsia design and we spent many hours bent over graphic paper with my huge case of Prismacolor pencils making our version of the design.
I found out that swatching for colorwork is incredibly expensive. I did order a half a dozen KnitPicks Palette to work with, and found out that I really wanted one or two different colors. Palette is very inexpensive and they have around 100 shades, but it is very hard to choose from just a monitor picture. I will definitely post updates as the sample unfold, though I am still not even sure what I am going to use it for.
September approaches!
It is getting more and more difficult to find clues that still challenge your skill levels! September has not been a walk in the park. I was, for once, quite defeated when the swatches did not turn out like I wanted them. Then it was "Back to the Walkers" time, and I had a little aha moment - finally things seem to be clicking together, and I have managed to find something fun, challenging, and hopefully beautiful. I got tired of swatching and started today on my own piece, and so far I am really liking it! I am hoping to get it whipped up in shape and kinks worked out by the very first days of September.
I know that there was some (gentle) grumbling about September being to early for falling leaves. Unfortunately October has a sort of an obligatory theme, being the last of the four beaded clues. I can't believe nobody figured out yet the theme underlying those four clues!!! March, July and August, and now October, have a common thread to them. 
Missing clues?
With all the accumulated and backed up stuff at home, I am afraid i am having trouble sending missing clues timely. If you are missing clues from the first six months, specially if you are missing more than one, you should consider buying the 6-month cumulative pattern. This has been edited and condensed.

For single missing clues after July, I can still step up to send copies, or maybe we can get started a "missing clue angels" section.
 It is great coming back home... except for the part about going back to the day job!