Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Finished Object Parade

Well, my plans to knit holiday presents for everyone turned out to be a bit too ambitious to complete by December 25th, but I still think I made a pretty good showing!

Numero Un:

Joann's Socks
Pattern: my own (basic sock with picot-edge cuff)
Yarn: 1 skein, Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in Tahoe (or Lakeshore --lost the tag, so I don't know)
Needles: Susan Bates size 1 dpns (Ha! And I got these at Joann Fabrics!)
Made For: Joann
Notes: I made these for my boyfriend's mom, Joann, whose favorite color is green. There is actually more green in the yarn than the photo shows -- it's a gorgeous color, and once again, Miss Lorna doesn't fail to disappoint! Joann has apparently shown these to everyone she knows, and I hope she also wears them too!

Part Deux:
Pattern: Sock Ornaments from Last-Minute Knitted Gifts
Yarn: No idea; these all came from single skeins in my stash. The red and purple ones are some kind of aran-weight wool; the green is a wool/synthetic blend in sport weight. The white snow flakes (I think) are Rowan All Seasons Cotton.
Made For: Green - Brett, my brother; Purple - Heather, my sister-in-law to be; Red - Dad, my dad.
Notes: Eh, so I'm lazy. Or just got busy, that's it! The "Last-Minute" title is a bit deceiving. These babies took me about an hour each (!!!), which I realize could have been spent making a scarf or neckwarmer or something that's actually useful. But this way, I could present them with these little do-dads (which double as Xmas ornaments, donchaknow) and ask them what they wanted me to knit them.

Épisode Trois:
A Roza is a Roza is a Roza Socks
Pattern: Roza's Socks (Spring 2007 Interweave Knits), by the fabulous Grumperina
Yarn: Rowan 4 Ply Soft in Honk
Needles: Size 1 Knitpicks dpns
Made For: MAMAN!
Notes: Boy howdy, am I ever proud of these babies. (Please excuse my shiny, pasty legs in the above picture, as well as the random jean cuff. I wasn't drunk when I took this picture, I promise.) Anyway, the pattern is really easy to memorize and just beautiful. I love the ribbing alternating with the brioche stitch. Kudos to Grumperina for creating a pattern that is lovely to look at and easy to create. I daresay I have become a fully-fledged sockknittaaa. There's no going back now! I didn't finish these in time for Christmas (oh the shame!), but my mom doesn't really care because, hey, she's my mama. She'd love it if I made her a log cabin out of popsicle sticks. Which I think I did once. But she loves the color red, so I think these sassy things will suit that sassy lady just fine.

Here's another shot of the pattern. And I want to eat this yarn. Rowan 4 Ply Soft, will you marry me?

Grande Finale:

Just like that Vanessa Williams song (did I really just type that? I think I did!), I went and saved the best for laaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaast.
Scott's Cadet Hat
Pattern: Topi from Knitty
Yarn: Berroco Ultra Alpaca, less than 1 skein
Needles: Takami Bamboo size 7 dpns and Crystal Palace size 7 16" circ
Made For: The handsome Scottito, pictured above
Notes: Scott had wanted a hat in this style for a long time, but I could never find a pattern that lived up to the idea of it he carried in his noggin. He found this pattern all by his lonesome, then he actually braved the Yarn Garden with me to pick out a yarn he liked. I was a bit hesitant to use alpaca for a hat, but so far, so good. No weird stretching. I made the bill out of felt, and the whole thing took me about two days to complete.

Scotty sportingly modeled his hat during our New Year's Day stroll.

Happy 2008!

Monday, January 7, 2008

There Has Been Knitting

Oh yes. Lots of it. Details to follow, but I've been a right knitting machine lately. Wheee!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Thanks, But No Thanks

Apparently, several months back, I entered some sort of contest to win a trip somewhere. At least, that's what the man who just called my work phone said. I asked him where exactly I entered, and he said, "at the mall." Which mall, pray tell? He couldn't say. I don't really make it a habit of going to malls, let alone the mall, so this was thoroughly puzzling.

But long story short, I WON! An all-expenses-paid trip to...Las Vegas.

Yep. Vegas. I know I'm not the only person for whom Las Vegas holds zero cache. I don't go to casinos, I don't delight in watching women in feathered headdresses parading around topless (and if I did, I could find that in my own fair city, as we have more strip clubs per capita than well, anywhere), and if I wanted desert, I'd go to Morocco. I'd probably get more excited if you offered me a free trip to Omaha.

But I was willing to let this guy give the spiel he was obvious raring to spill, since it was almost 5 p.m., and I didn't really feel like working much anymore. He kept emphasizing the words "free" and "all expenses paid" before slipping in the catch.

"All you need to do is come by our office in Vancouver and watch our 90-minute video about our timeshares, and the trip is yours!" he exclaimed.

90 minutes?! Buddy, if I had 90 minutes, I'd spend it watching Ratatouille, not some crappy video about timeshares. And you just knew it had to be about timeshares.

He then had the gall to ask, "Do you have a boyfriend or husband?"

Looking back, I really wished I said something more biting than, "Yeah, but he doesn't like signing up for things." I mean, think of the possibilities. "Yes. I have one of each!" or "No. He died," or just "How dare you, you presumptuous twat!"

"Well, why don't you bring him with you anyway. That way, if you see something you like on the video, you can discuss it with him right there. And you can say, honey, I really want this one! This is how we do our marketing, instead of paying millions for TV ads."

Clearly, you are a marketing genius! The "whine to your man to get what you want because you're a feeble little woman with no faculties of her own" tactic works EVERY time. (Just an aside: if I called Scott "honey," he'd barf, and then I'd barf.)

"So, can you come in tomorrow?" he asked. "The deal is, you have to come in person to claim your prize in the next two days. What about Saturday?"

My precious weekend? You must be dreaming, buddy.

"You know, I'm really busy the next couple days," I said, "Why don't you just draw someone else's name?"

"Uh...what?" he asked, as if the thought had never occurred to him. "But you won...?"

"I don't think it's going to work out, you can just give it to someone else."


Let's see now...because
a) Las Vegas is gross
b) I don't have 90 minutes to spare tomorrow or Saturday
c) because your thinly-veiled misogyny is beginning to piss me off
d) Las Vegas is gross

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Amazon Adventures

I have been told by certain individuals in a position to say so, that I am a notoriously difficult person for whom to buy presents. I beg to differ, as I have hobbies (knitting, wine drinking, cooking, reading) for which many gifts can be bought. And because I never turn down money. Well, almost never.

But back in the Neolithic age of the internets, The Year 2000, I created an Amazon.com wishlist at the behest of those who wanted to get me something specific. It has not been updated in years, so I suppose now, you can take an amusing look back at my taste back when I was in college.

The list was filled with my own little asides and descriptions of WHY YOU SHOULD BUY ME THIS. For instance, I said Fiona Apple was “kind of like Sinead with hair,” and if you know me, you’ll know that is no faint praise. I kept my wish list public, thinking this would help my family and friends find it more easily.

And that may have been my first mistake.

At this time, I was also in the habit of supplying reviews of books, music, and movies on Amazon, thinking that My Opinion Mattered and that people were actually reading them.

Which, in fact, they were. Or one was, at least.

Sometime that summer, I was living at home, working a couple of jobs and generally trying to figure out what the hell to do with my life, when a package arrived on my door.

“Celeste!” my mother groaned. “Did you order something else from Amazon?”

(NB: My mother had recently chided me for blowing a large portion of the money I made at my two jobs on brand-new books, CDs, and movies from the very same. Yes, she had a point.)

“Huh?” I replied, probably because I worked the delightful 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. shift as a Safeway checkout girl the night before.

“There’s a package here from Amazon. With your name on it!” she said, holding up the mysterious cardboard square.

I hadn’t recalled ordering anything. But I checked my order history, just to be sure, in case that Pogues import I had tried to special-order had finally arrived from the UK. It hadn’t, and it wasn’t going to. Ever. Because Shane MacGowan had apparently broken his last tooth destroying the last copy. So what the hell was in the box?

The curiosity killing me, I ripped it open in front of my mother.

Inside, there were two small gift-wrapped objects. One was obviously a CD, the other, I wagered, a book. Now, I may have been a spendthrift when it came to Amazon’s wares, but even I wouldn’t pay for gift wrap for anyone, least of all myself.

“You gift-wrapped them?” my mom squawked and shook her head. Her daughter was truly a failure.

“I told you, I didn’t buy these!” I protested. The box landed on the floor with a thwup as I extracted each of them, which were painstakingly packaged in pretty purple paper. My eyes fell upon the invoice that was included, so I didn’t have to open the packages to know what was inside: a collection of Flannery O’Connor stories, and an album by Luka Bloom. The O’Connor book had been on my wish list; the album had not.

Each item had a personal inscription, written in italic on the invoice, which somehow made it creepier. For the O’Connor book, it said, I noticed this on your wish list. I, too, enjoy Flannery.

Whaaa? WHO ARE YOU? And you’re on a first-name basis with her, just like the pseudo-feminists from high school who called Tori Amos and Ani DiFranco by their first name and expected you to know what they were talking about, otherwise you were a tool of the patriarchy who was wounding their souls?

But more to the point. You enjoy Flannery. On toast? With a side of fries? While dancing naked around your living room?

Under the line item for the Luka Bloom album (I later figured out he’s the brother of the Irish musician Christy Moore), the mystery gifter had written, This is a bit of a gamble, but as you have other Irish musicians on your wish list, I thought I’d introduce you to Luka Bloom’s music.

Oh, why thank you, creepy mystery admirer. What are you planning to introduce me to next, the sex sling in your basement?

As I scanned the invoice, I noticed that they had included the sender’s full name and mailing address. His name was Clyde and he lived somewhere in Ohio.

“Celeste, what have you been doing on the internet?” my mother exclaimed, no doubt envisioning the scads of online romances I had kindled with lecherous older men throughout the world. Because, really, is there anyone under 70 named Clyde? Okay, maybe Clyde Drexler, but The Glide was, sadly, not my mystery admirer.

“I don’t know who this is!” I protested.

As I read and re-read the invoice, I suddenly realized what had happened: He had read one of my sparklingly witty reviews (at which I now cringe), clicked on my profile, and decided to reward me for my cleverness. Because a simple email would have been so much more laborious and expensive.

I never even unwrapped the book and CD. I called Amazon customer service, telling the woman on the other end of the line that I wanted to return the gifts.

“Sure, that’s fine, would you like to exchange them for something else?” she asked.

“Actually, no, that’s okay,” I replied. “And if possible, I’d like the money to be credited back to his account, without him knowing where it came from.”

There was silence on the other end of the phone.

“Uh, I don’t think we can do that,” the woman said cautiously.

I sighed. “Okay, here’s the deal.” And out came the whole story.

“Wow. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of anything like that!” she exclaimed. Mind you, this was 2000. I’m sure she’s heard some doozies since then.

“Well, go ahead and send the items back, and we’ll do our best to refund his money.”

I did as I was told, and for a couple of weeks, heard nothing from Amazon. But then one day, I received a slim envelope in the mail. I tore it open to find...

A check, made out to me, from Amazon, for the cost of the book and CD.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

There Has Been Knitting!

Lots and lots of knitting. In addition to Scott's stripey sweater (now 80% complete), I give you this!

Greetings. I am Minimalist Cardi, sure to make your fall wardrobe a DELIGHT!

We'll both soon be attired in comfy autumn sweaters, which are proving to be a finger-strengthening warm-up for HOLIDAY KNITTING. This year, I'm going off the deep end and knitting. Every. Single. Gift. For everyone in my family. Socks for my brother, a new stocking cap for my dad, gloves and socks for dear mama (since her birthday is December 22nd, and I think it's terrible that some people just give her one gift for both), a scarf for mon oncle, some Fetching mitts and a bolero for the sis-in-law to-be (also a December baby). Am I nuts? Quite possibly.

Oh. And we just closed on a house that will need some major cosmetic repairs that we intend to start making immediately, (we're talking hideous 1980's iridescent pastel decor inside a 1922 bungalow. Sacrilege? I think so.) so I better get cracking on this knitting queue.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

My Destash, Your Gain!

In need of some Cascade 220 Superwash? Go here and buy nine skeins of it! I'll be sad to see it go -- it would have made a lovely Boatneck Bluebell, but since my knitting queueueueueue has about 10 projects ahead of it, I have to let it go. Plus, it's one less thing to move into our new house. EEEEEEEEEEEE!! Did I mention that part? Well, I don't want to jump the gun, but we're having the inspection today, and if all goes well, it's ours!

I have managed to get some knitting done in the meantime, including Le Demi-Col avec Des Rayures. Now, doesn't that sound fancy? Much better than "Blue Sweater with Gray Stripes" Below, Sc
otty bershons up a storm as he displays his new sweater. (In his defense, he had his ear lobe carved up earlier that day. At Kaiser. So he wasn't feeling too hot.)

But he's still so darn cute.

Monday, August 6, 2007

I Haz Becom Sok Nittur?

Somebody stop me, I'm out of control!

For an avowed non-sock knitter, I've been working on a proportionately large number of sock projects (three) compared to non-sock projects (zero, at the moment.)

Zee sock info
Pattern:Classy Slip-Ups from Knit Socks!

Yarn: ShibuiKnits Sock "Midn
(NB: This yarn is made right here in Little Beirut!)

Made for: Scott
This is gorgeously, seriously sproingy, soft stuff! I'll definitely be stocking up on this stuff at the local purveyor of all things Shibui, Knit Purl. There, they don't look funny if you fondle skeins and gasp at the beauty of so many edible colorways. Well, they might stare a little bit...

Pattern: Aran Braid Socks
Yarn: Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in "Devon"
Made for: Devon. Duh!

Now, I'd like to say that the pattern of the yarn resembles the roiling waves that crash upon the southwest coast of England, where Marianne Dashwood pined for Willoughby before she realized Colonel Brandon was the way to go. Oh, and where Clotted Cream (yum yum) allegedly originated. But really, I just bought it because it has the same name as a dear, dear friend.

What will it be next? Well, I am glad you asked. I'm halfway done with a pair of 4X4 rib socks for Ariel, in Tuscany, another colorway that is good enough to eat, much like Ariel, I am told!