Thursday, September 29, 2005

A Good Deed Spoiled

My Secret Pal lives out of the country. "No biggie," I think. "Sort of adds an extra element of cool to the whole thing." So, I box up her first really sizeable shipment of goodies, truck off to the Post Office after class, and discover I have to declare the contents of the box for Customs.

?

I'm not terribly worldly-wise, but I certainly didn't see this coming. A list of all items inside the parcel on the parcel. Along with my signature. Boy, is she going to have a mystery to solve. . .

(Because, you see, the USPS isn't keen on you signing said Customs form with "Your Secret Pal," or anything that obscures your identity. I know this because I got lectured. Slowly. As if English were not my native tongue.)

"Bummed" is the word for how I feel now. How do I keep even a modicum of unexpectedness going when I have to fill out flippin' paperwork?

We shall hope, in the spirit of the SP program, my Secret Pal will not look too closely at all the information provided for her on the very outside of her gifts. And even if she does, she will pretend not to know.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

See?

These are the wonderful gifts I received yesterday from my Secret Pal: a bag of Jasmine tea (which smells divine) and four skeins of Himalayan cotton: purple (naturally), and a wonderful variegated, which is pretty by itself, and a perfect compliment to the purple. Lovely!

But we all know how important presentation is. Look how these were wrapped! When I opened the box, there was a tag that said "Pull Me," and when I did, the presents unfolded, all strung together, like an accordion! Ingenious!



Tuesday, September 27, 2005

I Love My Secret Pal!

I don't know who you are, but I love you!!! Your package came today, and my children gathered 'round as I opened it, and we were all amazed at your creativity and generosity. And my stupid camera/computer isn't cooperating at the moment, so I can't share my treasures with the world, but I will try later.

THANK YOU!!!!!

Multiple Attempts, Multiple Disconnects

Oh, I had knitting photos. I did. Mittens. And Hannah making a pet bed. But would the computer allow me to post them? Oh, no, no, no, no, no.

(But I won't fall into another bad-luck-with-pictures puddle. I'll soldier on.)

I'm sort of waiting around to go to work right now --- today is the first day of class. I like the time of morning when I am up, but the children aren't, when I park here and go through all the knitting blogs I have bookmarked, reading what's happening with everyone, looking at their pictures.

PICTURES!!!

All is still sadly silently on the secret projects front. I don't know if anyone has received from me. I'm trying to put together a second package for my SP, but I'd like to be sure the first one arrived without any problems.

I will, I will, I will get the KTC apron done this week. I'm on the second neck tie, which leaves the waist ties to go. I'm still working on the turtleneck shell referenced several entries ago. I've begun a tweed cardigan. And I'm making mittens. I had miscounted before, and find I am now almost halfway done! I found a terrific new pattern in "Easy Knit Accessories," which is what I'm using for this current pair.

Ooop --- one of the dogs is whining the full-bladder whine; I'll try again here later. . .

Saturday, September 24, 2005

How Much More Can There Be?

What else can happen along the Gulf coast? How much can we expect those people to withstand before they crack? It's almost beyond comprehension, beyond explanation. We cannot stop helping.

I've been working on my Knit the Classics apron last night and today. I'll get it done in time. Our next book is Moliere's "Tartuffe." I'll probably make a lacy mantilla --- the play's religious overtones, secreting of identities and such.

I've sent something to my Secret Pal, but have no indication that it's been received. Same for my Scarf Me! person. The one with my name in SP6 mailed something to me, I believe, but it's not here, either. Strange doings with the mail.

And then I turn on the TV and see the images, and I wonder why in the world I'm whining over such things. . .

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

As For My Speed. . .

I've gotten some very flattering comments on how fast I'm getting my knitalong projects done. First of all, thank you very much (Rox and Kathleen, especially!) Secondly, don't forget that I'm not working right now, so I have lots of time to get things like this accomplished. Come next Tuesday, when Fall Quarter starts, don't expect me to be so productive.

In fact, I'm lagging considerably behind on my Knit the Classics apron. Don't know why I'm not making good progress on it; I put a few rows on each day. Once I finish the decreases, the bib should fly, but it's taking me an awfully long time to get to the take-off point.

Been inching my way through the blogs of all the SP6 participants; I'm in the Ns. It's fun to see how many people, how many different types of people, are involved. And everybody seems genuinely excited about it. I know I am. I've sent my first little parcel off to my Spoilee, and I do believe I'm due one from my Spoiler fairly soon. She (I'm assuming it's "she") has sent me friendly e-mails, and seems like a good person to be spoiled by. Whoa! Only child alert! I should say that she seems like a good person. End of sentence. Complete thought. Without adding myself.

Finished a pair of mittens last night; I've sort of knit myself into a corner with the people who work at our Vet's office. The year before last, I gave them all knit hats. Last year, scarves. So what else was left? I think I've got half a dozen or so finished --- haven't counted in a while. I'll need at least 25 to make sure everyone gets a pair. Thank goodness the patterns I have are really quick. Like a-pair-in-a-football-afternoon quick.

Monday, September 19, 2005

The Circle is Complete

After some e-mail snafus, and apparent generally bad luck on the part of the Hostesses, I have gotten the name of my Secret Pal. I am so ready to get going on this, and, thankfully, my person (if I name her, my cover is blown, so forgive how awkward that sounds) has a wealth of information on her blog. I have lots to work from and with. Thanks, my new friend!!! The person who has my name has been in touch with me a couple of times already, and sounds great. Even sent me a link to an African WebCam so I can watch the animals at a watering hole. How great is that?

And Beth (http://on-my-needles.blogspot.com) received the socks I knit for her through Rox's (http://thefearlessknitter.blogspot.com) Sock Exchange Thingy over the weekend. She said lots of very kind things on her blog about me, but the socks don't fit her! She was great about it, but it's an upsetting development. I've offered to make her another pair. I knew my lack of DPN ability would come back to hurt me one day.

And my Scarf Me! work is done. I'd show you a picture of it, but she needs to be the first to see it. I'm going to try to get it in the mail tomorrow.

I so need to put more pictures on here. I don't know why I don't, other than my horrible track record with getting photos up on any of my sites. Other knitters give stitch-by-stitch accounts of their projects, and provide lovely pictures to document their work, and I just write. And the thing is, I get a lot done. I'd have a lot to show. I just don't do it. Maybe a block with digital cameras like my block with double-pointeds.

Is there a Digicamera Anonymous?










Friday, September 16, 2005

Another Tag

Tagged by Jacqueline of serendipity, this one is interesting.

Go to your Blog archives, find your 23rd post.
Find the 5th sentence in said post.
Post it.

Mine is: "The hard part is a name."

You're tagged!!!!!

Thursday, September 15, 2005

It Begins. It Ends.

Well, folks, I have just received my first e-mail from my Secret Pal! (The one sending things to me. Still no word on whom I will spoil.) Very exciting. The Questionnaire has been read, and ideas are already percolating, according to the message. I've wanted to be a part of one of these for quite a while, so I am truly psyched to get this thing underway.

Meanwhile, I mailed off my Sock Exchange Thingy Socks this afternoon. If the recepient truly doesn't like them, I beg her to send them back and let me try again. Really. Most people, I think, would be polite and say they were "fine," but I honestly want to be told if the color is awful, or they don't fit. It would be sadder to have made someone unhappy than to do more knitting.

My Scarf Me! project is moving ahead, albeit slowly. My Knit the Classics project was at a dead standstill until today --- I've been working on it mostly. It's the apron from a back issue of Knitty, and the knitting is easy; don't know why it's been languishing in my bag. I've been reading the book, just not working on the knit side of the deal.

Briton got cast in the first school play of the year. It's called "A Piece of My Heart," and is written so that one actor plays 5 or 6 different parts. He's the one actor --- how great is that? He is very excited, and anxious to dive into lots of characters. From what I gather, it's a female-character-centered piece about Vietnam --- I think 7 girls were cast. Rehearsals begin Monday. He'll have the guys' dressing room all to himself!

Must think of something to put on my other blog; it's been lying blank for several days. But my life has been knitting-heavy of late, so that's to be expected.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

The Fever

The new Patternworks catalog arrived yesterday. I think somewhere here before, I said that Patternworks and KnitPicks are two catalogs that are sure to induce drool in this particular knitter. Well, I'm looking through the pages, and, suddenly, BAM!!! The Voice In My Head:

"It's September."

"Beginning to get cooler."

"Anyone interested in buying knits will be looking very soon."

"Any gifts you want to give for Christmas/Hanukkah need to be completed very soon."

And I want to knit and knit and knit. Get some great new yarns and knit and knit. I did finish my Sock Exchange Thingy pair of socks this morning, and am making good progress on my Scarf Me! scarf. I'll have a Secret Pal as soon as some e-mail kinks are worked out on behalf of the hostesses. So I'll have plenty of opportunity to knit and knit and knit.

YES!

Monday, September 12, 2005

Change of Purpose

When hand eye crafts began, it was to be an online "store," where I sold my handknits. The blog was a lovely, fun afterthought. But horrendous problems loading photos have kept me from having the site that I want, so I'm gutting it. (Actually, I'm asking Heather, who set it up, to gut it.)

I am going to provide text-only descriptions of things I have for sale. Now, if I were to visit a selling site without pictures, I'd probably move right on by, and folks may do that here. But this is all I know to do now. There are things of mine for sale on etsy.com, and I have managed to get photos up there without a single problem. Here, though, there appears to be a cursed cloud hanging over my efforts. But I will be more than happy to provide photos via e-mail (if I can make that work) to anyone who might be interested in buying something from me.

Not that I ever thought knitting income would replace my teaching income, but I thought I'd be able to make a little "running money" (as my husband used to call it.) Not too much luck toward that end, in all honesty, and, on bad days, I wonder why I ever began this enterprise at all.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Secret Pal Questions

Most of the new exchange/swap programs are now underway, and, thankfully, I am part of three! I've been in touch with both the knitter and knitee of my socks in Roxanne's Sock Exchange Thingy, I've just received information on my Scarf Me! recepient, and now comes the call for Secret Pal 6 folks to answer the following:

1. Am I a yarn snob? Not at all. Can't afford to be!

2. Do I spin or crochet? No to the first, only very simple borders to the second.

3. Any allergies? No.

4. How long have I been knitting? About 17 or 18 years.

5. Do I have an online wish list? No, sorry.

6.. Favorite scent? Gardenias. For candles, I also like things like rain, or sea breeze, gentle-outdoorsy-type things.

7. Do I have a sweet tooth? Uh, yeah! Caramel, toffee, butterscotch, And, being a native Southerner, Krispy Kremes!

8. What other crafts do I do? I like to paint and decoupage wooden serving trays.

9. My favorite music? I listen to lots of types; my artists would be easier: Emmylou Harris, Bee Gees, Delbert McClinton,
Bessie Smith, Ian Matthews, Van Morrison, George Strait, Maria McKee, I-Know-I'm-Blanking-On
-Obvious-Ones. . .

10. Favorite color(s)? Purple, in all its glories. Blues, Grays. I like tweed yarns. Not a huge fan of red, but I can abide it, unlike
orange, which I loathe.

11. My family situation, including pets? I'm a widowed mother of two: 16-year-old son and 13-year-old daughter. We have
two dogs, three cats and a hamster. (A list the cats wouldn't mind shortening by the
last member ;) )

12. My life dreams? After going through my husband's, and then my Daddy's cancer, all I want is peace of mind and soul.

13. My favorite yarns to knit with? I'm drawing a blank. I haven't had an experience with anything that has made me say,
"Never again."

14. Any fiber I just hate? Not that I can think of. (See answer above.)

15. What is my current knitting obsession? My continuing obsession is finding creative ways to use leftover yarns. Not by
any means a pat rack, I cannot stand to throw yarn away. I love Grab Bags, and
piecing together stripes or borders or appliques or embellishments. . . See?
There I go!

16. My favorite thing to knit? Like most people, I get fevers for one type of thing. But nothing stands out as the Absolute
Best. It depends on the pattern: some scarves are a pain, some jackets are fascinating.

17. What am I knitting right now? I always have three projects going. Always. Right now, they are a pair of socks (see Intro),
a scarf (see Intro again) and a turtleneck shell.

18. What do I think about ponchos? They're terrific!

19. Straight or circular needles? Straight.

20. Bamboo, aluminum, plastic? Anything but plastic.

21. Am I a sock knitter? Only since I found the straight-needle patterns. I simply cannot do DPNs.

22. How did I learn to knit? I asked my mother to teach me. She had tried when I was very young, and I thought it was the
uncoolest thing ever. Oh, the years I missed!!!!!

23. My oldest UFO? I'm pretty good about finishing things. If I get bummed out, I just unravel them to re-use the yarn.

24. My favorite animal? Lion. (One reason I don't disavow Lion Brand Yarn! Really.)

25. Favorite holiday? Christmas. Hanukkah.

26. Is there anything I collect? Lots. Let's see: lions, lion and lamb figures, lion and lamb Christmas cards, Yodas, Fozzie Bears,
cowboy boots.

27. Any knitting magazine subscriptions? Not any more. I so love going to bookstores, I dropped them all so I could make
trips to buy them.

28. Any books I'm dying for? I'll have to get back to you on this. Do you mean knitting, or in general?

29. Any patterns I covet, but haven't bought? Oh, I'm positive there are. Can I get back to you on this, too?

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Having Been Tagged

Having been tagged a few days ago, I was supposed to Google images for a number of questions, and post the results here.

Having tried to do this 4 times, and been cut off from the Internet each and every time, I am officially giving up. At this point, I don't even feel like just listing the answers to the bloody thing. So, apologies to Rox, the Fearless Knitter, and all who came before. The computer fates would, apparently, prefer not to know about my favorite shoes.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Today I will cast on the new "Knit the Classics" project: an apron, in conjunction with reading "The Remains of the Day." I am also very excited about a sock exchange my friend Rox ("Fearless Knitter" to your right) is heading up. I got the name of my sock partner just now, and am anxious to sit down and contemplate exactly what to do for her.

I have tried not to watch very much Katrina coverage of late. It was beginning to have an oppressive impact on me. How anyone having to endure it daily is managing boggles my mind. Thankfully, Thursday, Briton and I were able to accompany Hannah on her band's field trip to see a production of "The Phantom of the Opera" in Atlanta. That kept me out of the news loop all day. It was an excellent production; Briton and I have decided that The Chandelier may be our favorite character.

Truly, it was amazing to see Briton's reaction to the whole thing. He desperately wants to be a stage actor, and being able to give him the chance to see his dream live and in person. . . Well, that's why we're trying to get to "Spamalot" later this year. (That and the fact that we're all three Python/David Hyde Pierce/Hank Azaria/Tim Curry fans.)

Anyway, Briton was almost in tears at show's end. His heart and soul are in the theater, and he was so awed and moved by what he had seen. Hannah caught sight of one of the principal dancers on our way out and managed to snag an autograph, which made her just as happy. I worked on the circular scarf from the first Little Box of Scarves on the 2-hour bus ride up and the 2-hour bus ride back, and had only 4 rows to go plus casting off to finish. So we all had an enjoyable day.

I'm going to take up a tag from Rox, which looks like fun, but I have to do some Googling. I'll be back with it later.