Friday, January 30, 2009

two that went

This is one of those mindless projects, a smidge dull even, that you finish and think, Eh. Then you put it on, step back, and go, Wait a minute ... not too shabby. Not too shabby at all.

It's not mine though. In fact, I mailed it to its rightful owner today. I made it as part of a prize package that I donated to our Knitters for Obama Ravelry group. Through 600 people, we raised an astonishing $32,000 to donate to the Obama campaign. Honestly, when I saw how well that raffle was going -- all the determination and generosity -- I knew Obama would win. I had to be a part of it, so I gave the scarf and a Knitpicks gift certificate. The raffle ended Nov 1st, and I sent the gift certificate off right away, but y'all know I didn't have the scarf done. I'd started it not knowing whom I'd be giving it to, and after watching the colors repeat a couple of times, had grown bored with knitting it. I finally picked it up again last week. If I hadn't set it aside, it would've been a quick knit.

I'm thinking of making one for myself, since I've got another skein of the yarn. But that would probably take me another three months.

Project Notes
Obama Raffle Scarf
: Just a simple bias-knit scarf,
courtesy of Lion Brand.
Yarn: Universal Yarns Classic Shades, #704 (Used about 3/4ths of a skein.)
Needles: Size 13 Lantern Moons. I find them unwieldy because I usually use circulars, but damn they're
Fun factor: Not too high, but anything for The Prez.

Remember this little "rocket to the moon" pinafore?

It's been a while since I made it. Mister Stevens bought it for his new Goddaughter, sweet Soleil. I just love a pinafore. I want to make them all the time.

Monday, January 26, 2009

her milkshake brings all the boys to the yard

A few mornings ago I got up in the wee, wee hours, and when I raised the blinds I saw a cat sitting out in my yard. I'd seen this cat before, scurrying off when I pull up some nights. I watched him for a moment, and it wasn't long before a friend of his came along. The friend was more bold, sitting right up on my porch and beating me in a staring contest.

I'd like to think I intrigued the pair, but I know where their interest really lies.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

little big

It really is the simple things. You're looking at the most wonderful set of mismatched appliances ever to grace a garage.

Yesterday I bought the washing machine. The dryer was already here; I checked it over while Natalie was in town (I'd barely been seen in the garage before that). The on knob is cracked, so you have to turn it with pliers, but it heats up and works just fine. (Thanks for showing me how to wield them pliers, Natalie, smooch smooch.)

It hardly seemed right to have a fine working drying machine sitting idle, but I resigned myself to doing the laundromat thing for a month or two. Then I had all these dirty clothes. And I couldn't bring myself to pack them in the car. Instead I went in search of. Budget constraints dictated a used washer, but this was one of those rare times when I didn't want something from a private Craig's List seller. I didn't want to haul home somebody's sworn-to-work machine only to have it clunk on me next week. Online I found a place called Justified Appliance, and they sell refurbished machines. (They really refurbish them, too. I saw the "laboratory" while I was there. Surely they must do their personal laundry, you know, to test their work.) The great thing about Justified is that they include a 3-year warranty on everything they sell, parts, labor and all. For 155 + 45 for delivery, I got an older Kenmore that's clean as a whistle, and no worries if it breaks down.

Why am I telling you all this? Because it's been many, many years since I've had my own washer and dryer. I think the last and only time, Schmin was 5 years old. It was such brief period that I'd all but forgotten about it. Today I was thinking I'd never had my own, then I remembered washing in my kitchen, so many years ago.

Such a small thing, washing at home, but it's one of the reasons I left Los Angeles. When you're going along, living the apartment life in the Big City, you fly through the days not paying much attention to prickly matters like having to rush to grab your things out of the community dryer, before someone else does. And that's if you're lucky enough to have a community dryer, rather than going to the laundromat. You can't afford to make too much of inconvenience, and when it began to define my experience, I knew it was time to seek another way of living. I wouldn't trade my time in New York or LA for all the washers in the world, but I wouldn't trade my washer to live exclusively in either one again (and especially not my parking space).

Sometimes these normal things amaze me. They leave me endlessly grateful, and slightly disbelieving. I swear I've got a roll of quarters handy, in case I walk out to the garage and find my machines suddenly require them, like almost all the other machines I've known. Maybe there'll be some strange person there, too, waiting for me to get my clothes out of the washer, so she can have a turn.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

just around the corner

A couple of days ago I HAD to sew. It was MLK Day, and I like to celebrate it by giving thanks that I'm not a slave or a sharecropper or cleaning anybody's toilet. We've come a long way, baby. How better to express that than by symbolically drinking from any water fountain I want? In other words, by making something pretty, just because people have fought and died for me to have the time and the means to do so.

With the history of my people behind me, I readied a project. You probably already know an act this epic might be doomed.

Down here in Houston, I've got two sewing machines. The now named Mrs. Eaton (after my paternal grandmother), which is the one I got in Bakersfield, and my first one, the late-model Brother. I always want to sew vintage, so I got out Mrs. Eaton, plugged in the foot pedal, and prepared to fire her up, only to find I didn't have a power cord. I looked hither and yon, but I couldn't recall what I'd done with it. I had my heart set on using that machine, so I looked up Singer shops and found there's one in Meyerland, 5 minutes from where I live. I couldn't believe my great good fortune. I hopped in the car, drove around there, and yes, they did carry the cord. I squealed with joy, until the saleswoman told me the price -- $35. My heart wasn't that set. I'd seen the same cords online for 12 bucks, including postage. I mentioned this, and the woman snatched the cord back and told me I'd best go order one. We can't even get them that cheap wholesale, she said. My ass, I thought. Probably she didn't figure I'd done my homework. I let it slide, thanking her kindly and looking around the store for a few minutes. Even though she'd tried to commit robbery, I didn't want to offend her sensibilities.

Why? Because the place is vintage machine heaven. Stepping inside is a trip back in time. The outside is pure strip mall, but the inside is a bygone era. You walk in expecting all these new plastique machines, but you're greeted with a herd of sturdy throwbacks. I can't get myself banned from a place like that. I'm thinking of going back tomorrow, just to oogle the machines and dig for treasure. I don't think I'd seen that many vintage sewing machines in good condition in one place.

Though shifty character the proprietress may be, she was generous with the photo policy.

Prices on the machines indicate that they've been well-serviced -- I saw nothing for less than $199 -- but for a person in the market for a vintage machine she won't have to work on, the investment could be worth it.

A Singer wonderland, just around the corner.

After petting and picture taking, I came home and decided to go ahead and use the Brother, but guess what, I couldn't find the cord to that machine either. I gave in and ordered a cord for Mrs. Eaton online. It came to $11.20. Right after, I got to thinking: Is it really like me to leave behind cords for the only two machines I brought with me? Even during a move? Oh no. No. I racked my brain, and thought of one more place to look, and when I went there, voila! I cancelled my Internet order, plugged in Mrs. Eaton, and went to town. Later I found a cord for the Brother, too.

So the venture wasn't exactly doomed, but it appeared mighty unlikely for a while. I lost precious daylight sewing time, but the night, oh the night, it was grand.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

in the sheep again

Well, hello!

Happy New President Day! Exciting, yes? That's all I can say about it. I think a lot of us are kind of shocked into quiet wonder. (Second only to President Obama's inauguration speech was watching the Bushes get out of Dodge. Wee!)

I've been a lazy blogger, but I've missed you guys. I have a couple more posts in the can and will put them up soon. In the meantime, I'd like to fill up the space with a thank you for dropping by, and for allowing me to be a presence in your life over the past year. I really appreciate sharing this space with you. :)

Okay. Projects. Of the knitting variety. I believe I've caught the bug again, which is great. If you knit, you've likely seen this scarf more times than you'd care to count, lol. It's the Noro Striped Scarf, catapulted into the stratosphere of popularity by Brooklyn Tweed. It's a fun, easy knit. -- Wait, it's the presidential limousine! Wow. This is so CRAZY! What a day. -- Where was I? Oh yeah. It's fun, and mine was pretty cheap. (Otherwise I probably wouldn't have made it.) I got four of my five skeins of Noro Kureyon from the legendary Black Sheep sale, for 75% off. While Natalie was here at the beginning of the month (more on that later), I bought another skein at Yarns 2 Ewe. It was full priced but I couldn't resist the colorway. I had yarn left over from the scarf and there's nothing else I would do with it, so I made a hat.

The set is for Bubs, who doesn't complain about wearing wool. When I blocked the scarf, I added a little hair conditioner in a softening attempt. People who swear by this are right, the conditioner made a significant difference. I didn't block the hat. I'll tell Bubs to grow some hair and be sure to condition it when he puts it on.

I don't work alone anymore. Mira is my assistant stylist, as well as my model.

Most of the time, though, she's just Mira the Menace.

Project Notes
Scarf pattern:
Noro Striped Scarf. Good times. Measurements: 6" x 85"
Hat pattern:
Basic Hat. A good go-to pattern for a frill-free chapeaux.
Yarn: Noro Kureyon. The two colorways I used most, 51 and 147, I bought because of the sale (236 was the later, Yarns 2 Ewe skein). If not, I would've picked warmer colorways, and maybe more contrast (read: there'd be orange, lots of orange). Still, I like the way the scarf came together.
Pleasure principle: Janet Jackson would give it a thumbs up, or a boob out. One of the two.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

over easy

Just a little something, between visitors, to get me back into the knitting groove.

Monday, January 05, 2009

for heather, with her cuppa


Hey now. Not gonna abandon this spot. I'm actually busy workin' for The Man. Last quarter I had the great good fortune to only have two classes to teach. This quarter The Man wants his pound o' flesh! It'll take me a week or two to get everything set up so I can keep the students happy (if the students ain't happy, nobody's happy), but I'll be dropping in in the meantime. My schedule is pretty scattered, though ideal for getting in some writing time. But now that I'm in a position to write something, I haven't decided where to start. I never go wrong with you guys (except maybe with whoever told me to think of lizards as warm and fuzzy, ha!), so WWYD? Here are my choices:
  • finish draft of old play that's very close to being done (good for instant sense of accomplishment)
  • start novel I've been threatening to work on since Cain and Abel walked the earth
  • re-enter last polish of first play into my computer (I lost it in a crash). This isn't really writing, more like just typing, but I do need an e version to enter into contests
  • start new screenplay (I've got a couple of unsaleable but interesting ideas, as usual)
  • write new play about a real-life character I researched a long, long time ago, and for which I already have a fantastic title, Fontanelle. (Isn't that the best word?)
Oh, nevermind. Icksnay on the advicekay. I'm going to start with the old nearly-done play. I need to feel like I've done something, STAT.

Anyway. Blah blah. It's a New Year (caps for freshness), which is nice. I want to do a wrap up of last year, but for some reason it makes me teary, even though things progressed. Plus, I still owe some prizes! I haven't forgotten (Heather and Ally B), and they top my sewing list.

Alright, I've babbled long enough. Gotta go to bed. Tomorrow The Natster is coming to visit! (Now I really wish I had a sofa.)