Thursday, January 19, 2006

I got sick of all those idiot spammers hitting my tag board, so I switched to Blogger comments. The other option is carrier pigeons. Anyone?

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

I love it when life gives you unexpected treats.

Today I was in the bookstore (down in Portland) picking up a copy of Interweave Knits. (I know I could take a copy from their booth at TNNA this weekend, but I have too much pride.) The guy asked if I wanted to sign up for their customer-loyalty program. Sure, I say.

I fill out the application, which includes a line for your email address. He looks at it and asks, "What's Knitter's Review?"

I tell him, and he says, "Why aren't you at the Knit Lit reading across the street?"


That's right, the Knit Lit folks were directly across the street at the Portland Public Library. The reading had just begun. I rushed over, snuck in the back of a crowded auditorium (go us!), and relaxed into a delightful 45 minutes of unexpected knitting candy. Linda Roghaar spoke, joined by her daughter Hannah, who teaches in English in Korea but was home for a quick break.

Sure, I was immediately slammed with a forum brawl when I got home. But I'm still glowing from a marvelous lunchtime treat.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Three Things I Find Funny

1. Michael Wright's description of trying to transport 8 tiny sheep in the back of his Renault.

2. Every word in the Jetlag Travel Guide to Molvania.

3. This image, taken from a bizarre catalog I got in the mail last week. In case you can't read it, the caption says, "All models are available with a clear or black wheel."

Is it me, or does $359 seem a little cheap for a model... even if she does come with her own wheel?

In Other News

Last week I went into KnitWit, a shop that is rapidly becoming one of my favorites. The owner asked if, pray tell, I ever had the time to knit for myself. Not enough, alas, but I always have something with me just in case. Here's some proof.

a little bit o heavenAfter looking through all my pattern books and jotting down several possible stitch combos, I finally gave up and knit this Classic Elite Embrace wrap in the free pattern that came with the yarn.

It's a splendid cabled cashmere dyed in looooong spots of color, and the stockinette-heavy pattern allowed those colors to come through relatively uninterrupted. I haven't blocked it yet, but I'm hoping I can make it a little longer. Right now it feels boxy and top-heavy.

So that's item number 1. Not much of a challenge, but I needed a mindless task to do over Christmas.

who says you can't make socks out of cashmere?Item number 2 is a simple pair of socks in Elann's Baby Cashmere (an alpaca/merino/cashmere blend) and knit in Jackie Erickson-Schweitzer's Swirling Lace Anklets pattern.

What you see is what I managed to finish while waiting for the snow tires to get put on. (It was either this or surrender to Family Feud, Judge Judy, and a slew of other fantastic daytime television programs they had blaring the whole time.)

Progress is slow but pleasurable. I plan to bring these socks with me to TNNA in San Diego, which is next week.

(And yes, I know that a cashmere, merino, and alpaca blend is a textbook no-no for socks, but I abide by no rules when knitting for myself.)

Tuesday, January 3, 2006

This morning at my coffee place, I heard the owner exclaim, "This is already the best year ever!"

I'd like to hold on to his enthusiasm for 2006. And I really do have hope.

Last year was full of upheaval and change for me—albeit luxury upheaval compared to what some folks in the world experienced. By the end of it, I felt like a person inside a snow globe that'd been shaken one too many times. Could we just sit still for a minute so I can see my little plastic souvenir village?

And if you need some help getting perspective, be sure to read Crazy Aunt Purl's horoscopes for the month of January. You can laugh them off as trivial or be amazed at their accuracy, as I was.

On a knitting front, 2006 is already shaping up to be the most exciting year yet. From a professional perspective. A series of dream-come-true encounters in 2005 mean that I'll be writing more words, for more people, than ever before. I don't want to jinx things, so I'll just leave it at that for now. Despite fears I'll wake up midyear having run out of adjectives, I feel like a racehorse that's been quietly training for years and is finally being given a chance to run.

On a personal note, in 2006 I'll be following up on a resolution I made in 2005 to get over my fear of sailing. A very, very deep-rooted terror that has followed me my whole life—and made worse by the fact that I grew up summering on the coast of Maine. I come from a long line of accomplished sailors.

My great grandparents, grandparents, and mother cruised the New England coast in a gorgeous old Lawley yawl. (For non-boaters, that means Big Wooden Thing with Sails and in Need of Constant Maintenance.) My brothers both went to summer camps on the ocean. By the time I arrived the old boat had been scuttled, and soon my parents divorced and moved us to a landlocked Arizona.

But not without knowing that, although I have always lived for the water, I was the grand disappointment. The one who, the minute she was plunked in a sailboat, screamed for bloody murder. And wouldn't stop until some patient soul deposited her back on the dock. Thus ruining every otherwise happy family outing. (Divorce notwithstanding.)

But the water kept beckoning. And then I moved back to the coast of Maine in 98, it started to feel ridiculous.

So this summer I decided to face the fear and try one more time. On a dear friend's exquisite wooden Dark Harbor 17. Taking many deep breaths and making many apologies before even getting on the boat.

And wouldn't you know it, after years of identifying as Someone Terrified of Sailing, I actually loved it. I mean profoundly, profoundly loved it. I had one of those moments where a serious chunk of my world was suddenly pulled out, turned around, and shoved back in.

And I wanted MORE. I wanted to get back out on that boat and never, ever come back to shore.

Only one small snag. Although my family still has a little boat, I don't know how to sail. During all those early screaming fits I forgot to pay closer attention to what everybody was doing.

So my promise to myself—a New Year's resolution for 2006—was to take a sailing class at the famous and oh-so-intimidating Wooden Boat School, which just happens to be 30 minutes from my house. Consider it summer camp for adults, only a really really good summer camp. And at 8am on January 2nd, the moment they opened the lines for 2006 registration, I called and signed up for their weeklong sailing-for-complete-dopes intensive.

Of course the fear immediately returned, but it felt pretty damn good to follow up on a personal commitment I'd made—and to do something totally for myself.

Not that the shawl I just knit out of Classic Elite's 100% cashmere yarn Embrace wasn't totally for myself... But this is a little different.

I hope that you, too, give yourself something rare and special this year. It could be a physical gift, it could be mental, spiritual, academic, gastronomic, creative... but some marvelous new experience entirely for your own, very special self.

Happy New Year.