Wednesday, November 23, 2011

My last post ever

Here at least, I have a new blog!

Where? Ahimsa Creation hosted at Wordpress
https://ahimsacreation.wordpress.com/

Why? Several reasons.
-First, I had been meaning to learn the in's and out's of Wordpress for a while. It'll help me with some collaborative projects I've been talking over with some friends, and if I ever decide to expand my blog into a more functional website, Wordpress is better than Blogger.
-Second, Wordpress likes my iPad (birthday present last month, squee!) better than Blogger. In fact, I'm currently writing this to be posted via email because Blogger hates me iPad that much (it may be that they are compatible, but Wordpress just made it that much easier).
-Third, my blog was in need of a good kick in the butt. Getting kicked out of the house this summer really messed with my writing schedule. I thought being homeless would make for great blog fodder, and it might have if I had really wanted to stick with it, but the truth of it is I spent more time doing the whole survival thing than writing. Now I'm back in a house, at least for winter, so I'm starting fresh.

New name, new vision, and pictures for once!

So why am I writing this, here? On the off chance anyone still follows this and wants to go back to reading about my knitting (and other art). If not, well then, farewell Blogger World! I had fun while it lasted, and I of course will keep reading everyone I'm following (even trying to be a better comment leaver!).

Saturday, September 17, 2011

A Mindful Scarf

A happy change on this blog from recent times:  an entire post about knitting!  I know my recent posts haven't been completely devoid of knitting, but this is a post so chock full of knitting, it feels like the good ole "before I was homeless" days (news on this at the end of the post).

I don't think I ever outgrew my 'scarf stage' as a knitter, I still love making scarves and while I know I could do larger garments, I don't yet have the motivation (or really the budget and or stash) to make larger things.  I especially love The Wisp scarf pattern, even though I haven't actually finished it, so when I got another craving to knit a scarf, I returned to my beloved Wisp.

My history with Wisp is like an on-again-off-again relationship with a guy who has great looks, great personality, and a sense of humor, but you're just not sure if he really clicks with you.  The first time I met Wisp, I knew nothing about mohair and I found myself trying to use Patons Divine, which has the fuzzy halo of a lighter mohair, but is nevertheless a fairly thick yarn and I soon frogged the scarf.  Then i got my hands on a lovely aqua mohair that was as light as baby's breath, but I was not experienced enough to coax it the way I wanted.  I tried again later using Lion Brand Amazing, but I didn't have nearly enough yarn and the scarf eventually was sewn into my Whisper Crystal Case.  Now I am trying once again, using yarn from my stash, but like most patterns I sink my teeth into, I've found myself making plenty of changes.

I've decided to call this scarf A Mindful Scarf, and as I knit it, I try to bring myself into the moment as much as possible, and to practice being mindful with every stitch.  The original Wisp patterns is made up of 17 lace panels, but my mindful scarf will have 36 inspired by the 108 beads of a prayer mala (3*36=108).  Wisp is basically made up of lace panels alternating with garter stitch sections, but instead of just plain gayer stitch, I'm including stockinette, reverse stockinette, and moss stitch.  The pattern goes something like this:
-lace section
-stockinette
-lace section
-garter stitch with eyelets
-lace
-moss stitch
-lace
-eyelet row
-lace
-reverse stockinette
-lace
-eyelet row
-lace and so on

Having so many different stitches in a specific order (notice that repeating eyelet row I threw in there), it was a matter of time before I screwed up my pattern and accidentally left out one of the eyelet rows.  By the time I had noticed, I would have had to tink back 15 rows of work.  This is the sort of mistake every knitter faces where she has to decide the big question: Is this worth the trouble of fixing, or is this a new 'design element'?

But this was my Mindful Scarf, I had to choose carefully.  The aim of the scarf was to be mindful and in the present every step of the way, and what a better exercise for the patience and the mind than to carefully undo 15 rows of work, and then carefully redo 15 rows of work (yes I know, when phrased like that it does sound a bit masochistic, but let's also remember I think living in a tent is quite fun too).  But I also happen to be an avid follower of the tradition of leaving an intentional mistake in one's work, a tradition I first heard of when learning about the Native Americans of the Southwest, namely the Navajo and the Anasazi tribes who believed that an intentional mistake was a way to let demons out that might be entangled in their weaving, but also as a tribute to life's imperfections.  Authentic Persian rugs also all have a deliberate mistake as a sign that no one is perfect except god.  And as I considered the various pros and cons of leaving the mistake and fixing it, I decided to leave it as a tribute to this ancient tradition.

I think what I'm most enjoying about this scarf is the yarn and the colors.  I noticed I had a lot of NaturallyCaron.com (stupidest yarn name ever) floating around my stash; there was a partial ball of Country in Peacock, an untouched skein of Country in Claret, and a smallish ball of Spa in Green Sheen (terrible color representation in that picture by the way, it's much softer).  It's interesting using the Spa, which is a bamboo/acrylic mix, in conjunction with the Country, which is a merino/acrylic mix.  The bamboo yarn is noticeably more open and drapey than the merino, but I like how it looks and feels, especially since the green section is relatively small anyway.  So far I have knit 10 repeats of the blue and five of the green (using up both of those colors) and now I'm working on the red.  I don't know how far I'll take the red along or if I'll just use it up (I'm trying to do a little stash busting here), but I also have some purple and darker green to I could draw upon as well.  We'll see how it goes.  Right now the focus is not what is going to come next, but the row that I am knitting now.  Especially since I've been distracted lately and keep forgetting what row I'm on.

I've also got my next project planned as well.  Unfortunately my yarn fund (which was just a roll of ones in my wallet) has gone missing.  I'd like to think that I was the dumb dumb that lost it, but unfortunately there have been some minor thefts lately and well . . . I'm just keeping a closer eye on my stuff.  But what this means is that I still can't buy any new yarn or needles, so I've turned my attention to projects I can work on for free, like using stash yarn for my Mindful Scarf.  Technically I still have Apollo's sock poi knocking around the bottom of my knitting bag (anyone remember those?), but that is the sort of project that will require a real deep breath and a real push of motivation to finish.  Fortunately Apollo knows that these are going to take a while, that the pattern is tricky and troublesome and that I'm not crazy about it, and that I've even designed a much simpler and more enjoyable pattern variation, but I am determined to finish this pattern at some point (soon . . . I hope) because even though it's not enjoyable, it's going to look so bad-ass!  I have actually promised that when I can afford the yarn, he will get a pair of the "new and improved" sock poi while he's waiting for the "tedious yet bad-ass" sock poi, lest we forget these were supposed to be a birthday present three and half months ago.

But I digress, the new project I have planned for after that is a variation of knitting with fabric strips or t-shirt "yarn".  One of our early tent-mates left in the tent a bag of those cotton loops they sell in crafts stores to weave potholders out of, and this morning I starting looping them together into one long chain and then rolled them up into a very lumpy "yarn" ball.  I'll knit it up on some of my bigger needles into something like a bath mat.  But why would I need a bath mat in a tent?  Remember I said I had some news relating to that . . .

It looks like my darling other half and I just might be moving in with a friend who has a spare bedroom and a mother who will take slave labor, whoops, I mean work around the house and yard in lieu of rent for a while.  I'm kidding about the slave labor bit, I'm writing this at 2AM, don't ask why, it just sort of happened.  But yeah, the details haven't all been settled yet, but you just might be reading more from me on a more frequent basis again . . . I don't want to make any promises just yet, but the future is looking interesting.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Vacation

Bruce and I have been having a vacation from our lives lately. Two of our dear friends, Kay and Gregory, have been letting us stay with them this week. Part of their family is on vacation for a week, so Bruce and I were invited to take advantage of sleeping under a real roof for a while. Ironically, I've come to find that I sleep better in out in our tent; in the tent sometimes we are woken up by the sound of traffic and local construction (we're unfortunately positioned in a spot where sounds from the road can echo down into our trees), but here in a house there are all sort of electronics and appliances creating ambient noise, and two contemptuous beasts called German Shepherds that Enjoy far too well Barking at an Ungodly Hour of the Morning. I'm starting to prefer the sounds of bulldozers to dogs barking. It's a testament of what a person can adapt to.

That's not to say it isn't very nice to have access to a shower and conventional toilet whenever I like, a fridge to keep our perishable food, friends to eat and drink and relax with every night, and access to electricity to do things like write and post this. So far, the couple of days Bruce and I have spent here have been a very nice little vacation. Two days in a row, we did nothing but putter around the house and watch TV. Bruce and I never watch TV. Well, I used to in my parents house on nights I couldn't sleep, or when I was sick, but after I moved in with Bruce, I stopped watching TV almost entirely. But in a move very unlike either of us, we spent one day watching a Eureka marathon (one of the shows Bruce actually did used to watch on occasion, but I had never seen it - and am now as rabid a fan as any, I'd rank it on par with Dr. Who and Torchwood) and the next day we watched documentaries about marijuana, the Masons, Pablo Escobar, and the history of cocaine. Yesterday was the first time we left the house in three days.

We're going to be here in the house for a few more days yet, and we're probably not going to spend that time lazing around in front of the television, but both Bruce and I feel rather refreshed from our vacation time. We'd been talking about how we're always running around like crazy people and it was getting tiring. Shutting off the phone and shutting ourselves away from the world at large was definitely a needed "reset". We've been talking about ways to keep on doing everything we want to do with ourselves, but in a less frenetic sort of way.

And knitting has been happening! I finished my Blue Breeze Shawl - the one I posted the simple pattern for last time - and it is so warm and cozy. Nearly two whole skeins of Lion Brand Homespun went into it and it's perfect for what I wanted - a big wearable blanket. Because I knit it on big needles, it won't stop the breeze from getting in, but it's a nice layer to add when I'm chilly in the evening. And I knit my friend a little iPod cozy, ironically the first I've made in my 5 years of knitting, despite their popularity among knitters of my general age. Probably wouldn't have made one anyway had I not felt a small sense of obligation.

See, the iPod itself came from this sketchy dude who owed Bruce and me $20. He'd given us his wife's iPod (which she apparently didn't want anymore, maybe she got a fancier one) as collateral. Then he decides to flake out on the $20 and told us to keep the iPod. Well, we've already got one iPod we rarely use, we didn't want another. Our dear friend Jacques had been wanting an iPod so he could listen to music at his job without killing his phone's battery every day, and he thought $20 was a fair price. The problem was the iPod was a very unmanly shade of magenta, so as a condition of the sale, I promised to knit a manly looking pouch for it.

It was an interesting project because I knit the majority of the pouch using double knitting. It resulted in a very fitted little pouch that snuggles the iPod perfectly. Finishing it was tricky because in order to knit a flap to close the pouch, I had to bind off every other stitch on my needles, sliding the others onto a holder as I went along. Then I took those stitches and knitted a little flap with a button hole that folds over and closes the pouch. I just need to weave in ends and attach a good button, and then it'll be ready for Jacques.

My next project I have planned for the immediate future is going to be another shawl. I don't know what pattern yet, I've got some ideas bouncing around though. I'm still planning to work on learning socks, but I'm still saving my pennies to be able to afford the smaller needles that my collection currently lacks. I might splurge on some cotton and begin making sock poi again, although I've been waiting for Michaels to put up good sales on their yarn. They do it every now and again, and if I'm patient, eventually Sugar and Cream will go on sale for a dollar each. Hence my plans for another shawl; I've been kicking around ideas that will use yarn and needles I already have giving me a project to work on now while I save my change and wait for sales on things I don't have.

The other thing I have been up too, besides vacationing from tent life and knitting my ever shrinking stash, is writing and lots of it. Oddly, I don't write as consistently as I used to (I'm still working on my resolution to write everyday, even if it's only one line in my journal) but I have twice now found myself indulging in epic writing sessions of 10-14 hours which has resulted in not as much product as you might expect, but stuff that I really love and feel awesome about. For about 2 years now I've been pulling seemingly random stuff together hoping to eventually create a finished manuscript, and these marathon sessions have resulted in a lot of my more disparate and abstract ideas being finally captured in written language. I finally was able to coherently write about a mushroom trip I took ages ago that changed my life - and explain in clear language how it changed my life. I kind of wish I could begin sharing this work here on my blog, but it still needs so much work; I'm waiting until I have a more complete and cohesive work before I share it at large.

And I've also been indulging in using the internet while I have it. As fun as it can be, I'm glad that I don't plug in on a daily basis the way I used to. I just read an article about how two adult children are suing their mother for "bad mothering" because she dared to make them wear seat-belts, didn't empty the bank account for the sake of party dresses, and set curfews. Oh the horror. If that is "bad mothering" and worthy of a suit, then I should be rolling in it now based on the things my mother made me do - including a mandate to practice piano daily. Oh how I suffered. So yeah, while I'm having fun catching up on a few elements of the internet I have missed (like Ravelry and my blog), the rest of the internet reminds me just how much I prefer my meaningful life of actually doing things - like knitting, and going to the library for books, and writing my manuscript, and smoking with my friends, and taking walks just because I feel like it. Maybe if the two plaintiffs in that fucktarded suit did some of the things I like to do, they wouldn't feel so slighted because they didn't get the toys they wanted 15 years ago.

It's been a couple hours since I started working on this post (true to my classic blogging methods), so I'll wrap it up here, but with any luck I'll be back soon with more to say on living, and knitting, in tents.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Knitting in tents

My computer access has been sporadic since moving into a tent, and I had anticipated not being able to post very frequently.  I surprise myself this evening, because not only am I posting again after having written kind of recently, but I have a knitting pattern to share!  It's a simple pattern for a shawl that I'm sure anyone could've invented but it's the first pattern I've formally written up.

This pattern came about through a couple of factors.  A few days ago I had gotten two books from the library on making socks and was very excited and gung-ho to learn to make socks, but when I finally got to Michaels to look at sock yarn, I realized that I didn't have quite enough money to get what I wanted.  I had also been wanting to try my hand at a shawl, never having made one but having seen tons of gorgeous shawls on Ravelry.  However, shawls require more yarn, and therefore more money, than socks, so there was no way I was going to be starting a fancy shawl anytime soon either.  I was desperate for something to knit, anything really, but preferably something meditative and not overly complicated.  After a bit of digging through my yarn and tools, and then a bit of fiddling around and frogging, I was happily knitting my first shawl.  I'm calling it Blue Breeze.

Blue Breeze
For this pattern, it does not matter what yarn, needles, or gauge you are using.  This pattern is very flexible, so by all means, experiment with different things.  I used Lion Brand Homespun on US size 13 needles, and ended up with a very light and somewhat open fabric that was very soft.

Cast on 3 sts
Row 1: (RS) knit
Row 2: (WS) purl
Row 3 and all RS rows: knit 1, yo, knit until last stitch, yo, knit 1
Row 4 and all WS rows: purl

Continue in this way until the shawl is of desired size, changing colors if desired.  Don't bind off too tightly.  The pattern can easily be sized for a neckerchief, shawlette, or full sized shawl - just stop knitting when you get a size you like or run out of yarn.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Yesterday morning I was feeling rather blue, life was feeling so
meaningless.  Life in a house offers so many ways to fill our time, we
have space to spread out our stuff and ourselves; we can pick up a
project for as long as it holds our attention, then leave them for
something else.  There is always something to do, you make some food,
then wash the dishes, then fool around on the computer, then maybe
take a shower, then lounge around doing nothing in particular . . .
Life on the street revolves around meeting survival needs and you
seize what opportunities you can.  When there is a bed available, we
sleep; when there is a clean bathroom available, we clean up to
whatever extent we can; if someone's offering food, we find room in
our stomachs.  The world dictates how we spend our time now to a large
degree, and this morning, the thought of being a little puppet
fighting for survival was fairly depressing.

I started thinking of what alternatives I had.  I started thinking of
Buddhist monks that can go live in a temple, devoting their lives to
god and finding their survival that way.  But I don't live in a
country with very many Buddhist temples, nor do I follow any existing
religion.  And as I sat in the tent this morning, trying not to cry, a
voice in my head starting telling me that I would have to take refuge
in a temple of my own creation; that if I wanted to devote my life to
god, that I should do so directly, I don't need a hierarchy of monks
or a mother superior to direct my life.  It made the day a lot easier
to get through.

There is a form of meditation called Vipassana in which you simply
sit.  No mantra to chant, you just sit and do not move, even if you
are uncomfortable.  I've been thinking of this every time I feel like
I have no purpose.  I simply sit, and embrace just being.  Sometimes I
feel like this body is an avatar being controlled by forces from
somewhere else, so when I can't divine any purpose in my life, when it
seems likes god doesn't have anything I need to be doing, I've been
putting this avatar into "rest mode" by practicing my Vipassana.

I've also been reading a lot. I want to talk more about the books
I've been reading but that'll have to wait. I'm actually trying to
type this on a friend's iPad at a ridiculous hour of the morning after
dealing with a very drunk Bruce at a party. But starting my mornings
by absorbing new information and new realities has been
transformative. My mom used to discourage me from reading during
breakfast before school (except my textbooks) because she thought that
it put my mind into a state to daydream rather than to concentrate. I
can see where she was coming from, but the imagination is so crucial
to our ability to learn - how can we conceive of new ideas without
imagination - that i think anyone of any age should exercise their
imagination as often as possible.

Here is an ironic and kind of sad secret: the first three paragraphs
were written weeks ago, and yet could have described how I was feeling
yesterday. I'm sad to say I'd completely forgotten my earlier dismay
and words of comfort. And yet not that long ago I found myself in the
strange but delightful position of driving in the mountains with
Bruce, completely lost, in the dark, shouting "I LOVE BEING
HOMELESS!". And in the moment I meant it with all my heart. It just
goes to show that in my constant quest, I still have a long way to go.
Having stripped away so many superficial, heavy, and unnecessary
trappings of this mortal life, I am left with more room to let my
creativity, compassion, and capacity for love grow and bloom. But
this newfound space in my life has also left shadows and dusty corners
that need to be dealt with now.

So this leads me to my new focus of the moment. One of the most
fundamental forces in the universe is intent; so much has been written
on this subject that I could hardly begin to cover it, but suffice to
say intent carries an enormous amount of power and by learning to use
this power, we become limitless. When I fall into melancholy and self
pity, I cannot use (nor, I suspect, even gain access) to the power of
intent. I become victim to my very thoughts and emotions and the
demons they let in. To avoid these traps as I continue to strengthen
my mind, heart, and energy, I make quests to focus my mind and my
behavior and thereby strengthen my connection to the power of intent.
Past quests have included my De-stash The Yarn I Have No Clue What To
Do With (which is actually going relatively well considering
everything) and other such fun little quests, but the theme of my
newest quest is a bit more broad: balancing novelty and entropy in my
life.

Entropy seems to be overwhelming my life lately. Entropy is not a bad
thing; while many view entropy as decay, I view it as the metaphoric
compost that nurtures new creation and novelty. Except lately it
seems that entropy is the reigning force in my life. This does not
work for me, I live for creation, growth, expansion. Now more than
ever my life reminds me of that tangled ball of yarn that needs
patient hands to smooth out the knots. In fact, this morning when I
woke up supremely pissed off at the entropy in my life, winding a ball
of yarn was exactly what I did to try to regain some of my sanity.
There had been a small skein of red acrylic yarn lying around the tent
that we used for random tasks like anchoring parts of the tent to
trees so it would blow in on itself in the wind. In the process of
being tossed around the tent, the skein had lost its structure and
dissolved into a mess. So when I woke up mad enough to punch my
pillow, I grabbed the skein and staring winding it into a ball. By
the time I had finished, I felt a little better - not a whole lot, but
enough to make that crucial difference. During the course of the
morning I also thoroughly brushed out my hair that I had let get very
tangled, organized what few belongings we have down there, shook the
accumulated sand out of our bedding and laid it out nicely again, and
swept all the dirt and debris from our side of the tent into our
little dustpan. Having banished entropy from our tent for the
morning, I felt like I was back in control, that I was no longer
victim to my emotions, as I had been so devastatingly the day before.

But entropy has its place in the world, and I cannot spend all my time
trying to hold entropy in check lest I become totally neurotic;
keeping the tent clean and our basic survival needs met is enough for
now. The rest of my energy I plan to devote to two other aims. The
first is to keep perpetuating novelty in my life. Knitting and
crochet are most certainly a favorite way to keep fresh novelty in my
life; each project is a completely new experience, even if I were to
knit the same pattern a hundred times over, but the experience of
making each one would be different. But because I've been in such a
rut (twice now to such a degree of severity) so I want to push the
boundaries of my creativity. I intend to keep reading more. I've
always been a swift and enthusiastic reader, but in my old life, I
found myself reading the same favorites over and over. Since we've
been homeless, I've read approximately a book a week, new ones I've
never read before, and I intend to keep it up. I also intend to make
writing a daily habit again, even if it's just a line or two in my
battered notebook.

I also intend to break out my watercolors and paint more. Part of the
reason I rarely paint is that I feel it's such a cumbersome process to
get out all my supplies including a fresh cup of water and rags, and a
clean plate to use as a palate. So I intend to find a way to simplify
the way I store and use my paints so that when inspiration strikes, I
wil feel free to grab on. I've been saving up more crafting money
too; when we still lived in a house, I was setting aside spare change
whenever I could for my 'yarn fund', but when we got kicked out the
house, that loose change, along with all the rest from the floor of my
car, went into the 'oh shit we're homeless fund'. But I've got a
small amount set aside and it's growing slow and steadily; I'm
planning to start stalking the sales at Michaels in search of not only
yarn but beads, more watercolor brushes, and maybe even something
completely new like a simple crossstitch project kit. Or maybe a
super difficult one just to challenge my brain.

But this is just the first of two aforementioned aims. The second is
to more intensively focus my intent on restoring myself to optimal
well-being, in my physical self and my 'soft self' or 'ethereal self';
I want to be healthy in my body and in my chi, and then to take the
knowledge of this well-being and use it to help others to heal
themselves. And I plan to this with a variety of means, manipulations
of both my physical self and my internal energy with foods, plants,
exercises physical and mental . . . I hope to write more on this as I
investigate and incorporate new thins my life.

And so this determined little butterfly keeps on going, one wing beat
at a time . . .

Thursday, July 14, 2011

An unexpected twist

Forward:
As far as I can tell, most of my readers are fellow
knitters/crocheters/crafters, and they read my blog because it is a
knitting blog. If you only are interested in reading a knitting blog,
then I must apologize, because there will probably be far fewer posts
about knitting and crafty topics. My life has taken a bit of a
drastic change, as you will read about below. If you do happen to be
interested in reading about an insane new adventure as it unfolds,
then please, I hope you'll continue to read my story.

So begins a new chapter in my blog, and my life.

If you've never read the diary of a homeless person, you're about to.
Bruce and I were living with his parents, and this past Friday things
got a little crazy. Without splashing his private family drama all
over, let it be said that we could not stay under that roof without
more misery than it was worth. I could, in theory, go running back to
my parents' house but that would mean following their rules, and I
really don't think I can go back to their idea of a 'proper' and
'productive' life. And I'm not sure the open door letting me go back
home is open to Bruce, and I couldn't go home without him; we're a
team, we say we're as good as married, even if we aren't legally
hitched.

We've spent three nights in a friend's room. He works nights so we
can sleep in his room all night, and relinquish it back to him in the
morning. We've spent two nights in a tent as well with two other
residentially challenged friends. I'm very glad that none of us snore
loudly; some of the birds are actually much louder, but at least they
sing sweetly. I gotta say, this is my first 'real' camping
experience; I had camp-outs in my back-yard as a kid, and I once slept
in a very primitive lean-to on Santa Rosa island during a tall-ship
sailing expedition (which was three weeks of extraordinary experiences
in itself), but I have never actually gone camping in the traditional
sense. I guess being homeless in a tent still isn't camping in the
'traditional' sense, but it is a tent and it's not the backyard of my
parents house anymore.

Sleeping outdoors completely away from society is . . . amazing. You
start to realize just how much energy pulses around you in the daily
life of society. There is the energy of all the people around and the
cars whizzing by, then we go home to buildings that literally buzz
with appliances and electricity, and that's not getting into all the
emotional and spiritual energy, the good and bad juju of everything.
The other morning I woke up on the ground in the tent, and as I lay
staring up through the mesh roof (we haven't installed the rain tarp
yet) to the branches of the tree above me, I suddenly felt my body
emptying of excess energy in the same way that water drains out of a
bathtub. I've been in deep trances and deep trips of a variety, but
nothing cleanses in quite the way that simply returning to nature
does, and I think especially sleeping in nature. At night Bruce and I
have to hike to where the tent is set up, and once there we are almost
100% cut off from from modern society. We do have our cell phones on
us, but the only other things in the tent are our blankets, a few
clothes, a little food, and a few basic necessities like a flashlight.
We go to sleep to the sounds of nature, we wake up to the sounds of
nature, and we have to hike to get back to modern society. I've never
felt anything refreshing in quite the same way that this experience
has been so far, even though it's only been two nights in the tent.

It's not all fun and games. The first morning I woke up in the tent,
while everyone else was asleep, I looked around at the walls made of
canvas, the roof made of mesh, the mattress made of hard earth, and
then I pulled the blanket over my head and cried. While I do have a
habit of deliberately abandoning traditional habits and rituals of our
modern society - refusing to get a degree, refusing to get a 'normal'
job, refusing to let fear rule my life and instead let only love
dictate my choices; now I find myself somewhat out of my element.
They say that home is where the heart is, and I truly believe that,
but it's one thing to center your heart in a house, or even a bedroom,
or even a bed, and then have that taken away from you. Yes home is
where the heart is, but it's one thing to be rooted somewhere, to have
you own personal 'headquarters', and it's entirely another thing to
pack up that idea and carry it in your heart, every day, unable to put
it down.

I have a friend that is certified in CPR. He was explaining to me the
other day about how when you start administering CPR, you must keep
going, you cannot stop, and you must keep performing to your highest
ability until more help arrives. Because when you giving CPR, someone
is now relying on you for their life, you cannot get up and walk away
when you are bored and tired, you must keep going. I adopted this as
my new philosophy for how to live. Life may throw you all sorts of
curve balls, but you cannot just stop living, you have to keep keeping
going, one day at a time, one foot in front of the other. To give up
would be suicide, but I don't believe in death. I believe that I was
put on earth to serve a mission, and that my 'death' will be when
whatever the heck it is that I am goes on to whatever the heck comes
next. If I were kill this body, I'd as much be saying that I quit my
mission, that I don't want to do it. But I don't fully understand
this mission yet, I am still learning, still creating, still figuring
out how I can make the world a better place. As if another were
relying on me for their life, I must keep living day to day to the
best of my abilities.

Ganesha, my patron deity, challenged me; he said that if I truly wish
to eliminate all fear from my heart, that he wasn't going to let me
off easily. Step by step, I am in a slow motion run towards a
existence that knows no fear, only love, and the obstacles are huge
and terrifying. Ganesha is the elephant headed Hindu god of obstacles
in life; he not only places impediments in life as a challenge, he
also removes them when we pass his tests. He is a gentle patron, but
persistent; my life has been thrown into new upheaval, but Ganesha has
promised that if I submit to his challenges, if I purge myself of all
hate, fear, and anger and open my heart to love, beauty, creation, he
promised that everything will turn out as it should. No, he did not
promise a happy ending, only that everything will turn out as it
should. It's the bargain that was made, and my duty is to keep at my
mission, one day at a time, to the best of my ability.

Today the challenge is adapting to carrying my home in my heart
everyday. Tomorrow it might be something else.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

I swear I wasn't sleeping on the job!

Whew. Here I am. Alive. Sort of. I'm still so sore from dancing on Friday night that for the past two days I had difficulty standing and walking. It was as bad as when I used to take ballet - probably because I found myself using a lot of rusty ballet technique on Friday. Something about having wings and everyone calling you Fairy Girl makes you want to jump and flutter like a fairy.

My legs are also covered in mosquito bites thanks to a long hike yesterday. On my left leg alone I have 14 bites. It really blows. I have an almost empty tube of Cortisone, a bottle of Calamine, and lots of allergy medicine (which I'm trying not to take, but I needed some last night just to be able to sleep).

But I know what everyone is waiting for - wing picutres! These aren't the greatest in quality and detail, but it's what I have. So without futhur ado:

This is me chilling in the lobby with a good friend.



Me, Bruce, and our dear friend Spiffy!



And an actions shot of me being a butterfly!



I'm going to try to persuade one of my other camera talented friends to take some good detail shots that I can put on my Ravelry page.

I'm terribly behind in reading all the rest of your blogs, and in commenting. I tried to keep up, but it was just one hell of a week. At one point my blog reader did a major goof and gave me a bunch of random news feeds in French and I thought I'd lost all my regular feeds. Everything seems to be perfectly normal today, so I'll be jumping back into the blog community with both feet.

And now that my wings are finally done (although I might have to fiddle with the straps, as you can see, they're very long) I need a new project. I still have sock poi to finish, but I think it's time to raid the stash and start thinking new patterns.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

0_0

Early Monday morning, I found myself in the unique position of being huddled in my friend's somewhat cluttered and grimy bathroom (he's a guy, he doesn't clean the way I do), puking up any water I tried to keep down while God, Gandhi, and Satan debated for my soul. Or rather while Satan taunted me, daring me to give up and die, while God sat in the background making sure Satan played by the rules, and Gandhi just sort of sat and released little pink lotuses of positive energy every now and then.

It takes a while to get back on your feet after an experience like that.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Lesson Learned

The top doesn't fit. Holy crap, does it not fit. I mean, it'll go on and cover everything it should, but it's so tiny that it smashes my boobs flat in such a way, I don't even know how to describe, it makes me look flat chested with fat armpits . . . really, really not flattering! However, after some thought, I figured out where I went wrong and I'll be able to fix it. It won't be done in time for the party next week, so I'll just wear the original top that fits perfectly and will not cause wardrobe malfunctions.

The problem with the new top was deceptive gauge. I was getting about the right gauge when doing the knitting, but there's a bit of quantum physics at work in this pattern. The instructions say things like "knit the strap until it is such and so length, when fully stretched." Because the original designer used cotton, and I used cotton for the first top, we got the same amount of stretchiness and therefore similar length straps. The new top was made with acrylic straps. Much stretchier than the original cotton strap, so I did knit until the right length when fully stretched, the problem being that length was not the only factor that plays into the fit here. The stretch is terribly important. You need the strap to be fully stretched around your torso in order for it to stay in place correctly, but since cotton has minimal stretch, a cotton strap maintains it's structure against the stretch far better than the acrylic. While I had technically knit the acrylic strap to the right length, it was still overstretched.

This is actually the real reason they always tell you block your gauge swatches. Gauge is not just about the dimensions of your stitches, but the behavior of your stitches (stretch, drape, etc). It's really a rather quantum process. This is the first time that gauge has seriously screwed me over in terms of fit; I've had things come out slightly bigger or smaller than I've expected, but never anything that I couldn't work with or simply accept as a quirk. I'm trying to think if a gauge swatch (which I did not make) would've even helped me in this case, but I think the deceptive stretchiness might have foiled me no matter what. When I remake the top, I'm planning to remake it bit by bit fitting it as I go and measuring it against the orginal so I can figure out exactly where I need to make alterations. Because the acrylic borders the whole top, I'm going to have to change the dimensions of the whole thing ever so slightly. Shouldn't be too hard since the pattern is really simple, but it might take a lot of fiddling and frogging.

In other news I did finish one wing panel and it looks awesome. I was working on it while hanging out with some friends and even the ones who had no clue what it was thought it looked awesome, so that makes me feel very encouraged. And do not fear, despite my dismal camera situation, there will be pictures of the wings! I know this for a fact because I know all the guys that do photography at the local parties and I know if I ask nicely they'll take some shots and upload them to Facebook so I can grab them and show you guys. So yeah, by the middle of next week, there will finally be some photos!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Nothing's completely finished

. . . but I'm pretty close on a few projects. I finished weaving in all the ends on my little top yesterday! It was a big relief, the project was fun enough to knit, but with all the trailing tails of yarn (3 balls in order to knit the intarsia and all the tails where I joined yarn) everything got tangled every 2 or 3 rows and it was a pain to move from just one room to the next, let alone in my knitting bag out in the big bad world. I still need to sew up the straps, but I lost the plastic bathing suit hook that was supposed to secure the back strap. I could fashion another closure, or knit on more to the straps so I can tie them, but I'm actually thinking I don't need a closure, the elastic will allow me to pull it on and off over my head and it would insure that there isn't any clasp or clip that could accidentally come undone in any way on a crowded dance floor. I'm not really one for wardrobe malfunctions. I have spotted one problem - because the bamboo yarn that makes up most of the front is so soft, I might need to wear those adhesive flower petals underneath. I might dance around almost topless, but I do so tastefully! :P

Tangent time: I really hate it when girls in the clubs - even the club gogo dancers - just wear their bras on top. It seriously looks like they forgot to put on a shirt. Bras are meant to support and shape underneath clothes; wear them without anything over them and all of a sudden you see that those curves are made up by strategic padding and wiring. Layering bras and bikini type tops can work, but your top layer should look like it was meant to be the top layer. Hell, even if you're just wearing a fishnet shirt over your bra, at least it won't look like your forgot your shirt!

Back to the yarny goodness. Next up is my wings. These were my old wings that I got off Amazon.



I attached ribbon tails to the bottoms where those little loops are. I've made the framework of my new wings in almost the same style, with the same little loops that I can attach more tails too. This time I'm crocheting ruffles and corkscrews out of my leftover green yarns. I'm hoping to have at least 2 of the wing sections done by the end of today. This time next week I want to be putting the finishing touches on my whole butterfly outfit because next Friday is the party!

On the poi front, I got really frustrated with Apollo's poi and have left them at the very bottom of the my knitting bag for a while. On the other hand, I started crocheting my set with the Violet stripes cotton yarn I had gotten. I pretty much made up the pattern as I went based on really simple crochet geometry. It was fast, easy, so much more enjoyable. I already have one done and am a few rounds into the second. What took 2 weeks on Apollo's poi took less than 24 hours in mine. So, I made some decisions. The pattern I'm using for Apollo's is definitely not one I'm going to use again, so I'm going to cut my losses and make this simple: the poi will be of shorter length with a simple loop handle. Then I will make him a second set to his specifications with the special hardware in the handle using my new pattern. Because the cotton yarn is so inexpensive, I'm actually planning on eventually making poi sets for all my spinning friends (though I am glad that some of their birthday's fall late in the year, I don't want to get burned out on making poi).

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Late night adventure

You know what else knitters dread besides moths? Being stuck in the waiting room of the emergency room at some ridiculous hour with no idea how much longer it will be . . . and no knitting to keep occupied.

That was me at about 4:45 this morning. Bruce shook me awake at just after 4:00 and said "D broke both his hands and needs someone to drive him to the hospital." What. On. Earth????

This is the same friend D that I just knit the purple belt for. Turns out he had a bad case of "wrong place, wrong time" and ended up breaking one hand and severely bruising the other. Bruce and I were the only one to answer our phone at such a godforsaken hour. I wanted to get up and dressed as quickly as possible because I didn't know how much pain he was in or how long he'd already been waiting around for someone to answer the phone. He was with another friend who was taking care of him, but she doesn't drive. I thought about grabbing my knitting, but I was still so scatterbrained from having just woken up, I decided D in pain was a bigger priority than finding my knitting bag and I left without it.

We didn't get out of the ER until 7:00AM. Then we had to wait until 8:00 for the pharmacy to open so he could get his painkillers. Between the ER and the pharmacy, we did stop by the house to grab one or two things for our general comfort (water, a pillow) and I did grab my knitting then and got a few rows done in the pharmacy parking lot. Then we got everyone home and I blissfully got to go back to sleep.

I think I've officially reached the point in my knitting career where it would not be inappropriate to stash an "emergency project" somewhere in my car. :)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Moths

Most knitters shudder at the idea of moths. An infestation can make confetti out of your most beloved stash and finished objects. Kathy over at Irisheyes Knitting Blog wrote this lovely poem about moths, and it made me smile. The moth in her photo is really quite pretty, and I actually have a fondness for moths, maybe even more so than butterflies. My own green butterfly is based on the luna moth:



I find it kind of funny that someone whose spirit animal is a moth is also a knitter. But I think in my case it's ok because the larva only eat leaves and the adults don't actually have mouths! The poor things only live for a week, long enough to breed and spread a little beauty to the world. For a person who doesn't believe in death, only transcendence, this butterfly is the perfect metaphor for how I wish to live my life. It begins as a humble larva and through the power of metamorphosis it literally recreates itself into something new and beautiful before finally transcending to a new existence all together.

When I feel up to tackling some serious lace, I'm going to have a shot at this Limberlost Luna Moth shawl.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Craft ADD

I have another finished object! And it is not one of the projects I have been working so steadily on! Why would it be?

I present: Coney Island Fireworks Scarf (yeah, that's obviously not my project, but with no pictures it's the only way to show you what it looks like). Even though I've owned Stitch 'N Bitch: The Knitter's Handbook for years, I never really liked this scarf and never thought I would knit it. Recently, a good friend of mine requested a scarf, and while I hate when people tell me I should make them things but this guy is such a sweetheart, everyone loves him. I was thinking over the yarns in my stash, and I suddenly remembered I had a skien of Patons Divine that had been in there for years. It's a lovely denim blue color and very very soft, and it occurred to me that it would look good knit up with some fuzzy black fun fur that was also lying unloved in the stash. This particular friend likes his scarfs look and skinny, so again I set off on miles of narrow garter stitch knitting.

Sounds like torture after 36 inches of a garter stitch belt, right? NOOOOO!!!! The yarn is sooooo soft and the texture of the scarf is quite literally divine! And I'd been craving something easy and meditative because my other knitting was giving me some fits (as I will share in a moment). A scarf on big needles made with super soft yarn was actually exactly what I needed. And it was done fast too, aproximately 24 hours after casting on, I was weaving in ends and presenting it to my friend. He literally danced with joy in the parking lot when I gave it to him. Such a knit-worthy friend!

I was actually kind of tempted to keep the scarf. I was feeling really unsure about the color for my friend (he'd hinted that he'd really love a striped scarf) and once I'd run out of yarn and bound off, it wasn't as long as I was hoping but it was still a very cozy length. I had gone so far as to tell Bruce I was keeping the scarf and I had another one in mind to make for my friend. But then when were hanging out yesterday afternoon, my friend showed up and the scarf practically leaped from the backseat of the car into his hands. I've found lately that if I'm receptive and just keep knitting on something, my yarns eventually let me know what they're supposed to be and who their new owners will be. And after seeing him dance for joy (the texture I ended up with really does scream his personality) I knew I was right about giving him this scarf and not some other one.

As for my other knitting, it's questionable if I'll be as far on the sock poi as I wanted to be by my party deadline. I've gotten to the point of needing the hardware for the handles, and I think I'm going to have to put the project on hold until I get what I need. That, and I also might need more yarn to finish both poi, but I'm not sure. I'm going to keep chipping away at them, but this hardware thing is a nice big road block I'm going to have to get around sooner or later.

The wings are on hold until I finish the little top since I'm using the same yarn in both projects. The little top is going great, now that I finally finished the left half today. It was a real pain there for a while. I realized that in making the center of the triangles in a different yarn that I was essentially creating a big intarsia triangle, and I haven't done real intarsia since my first (and only) sweater which was at least 2 years ago. Not a problem after I remembered to twist the yarns any time I switched. And realizing that I'd need to use the second ball of the fuzzy yarn on the other side of the intarsia triangle (and good thing I had a second ball and didn't have to unwind the first to find it's end hidden inside, because whoever wound it had obviously never heard of a center-pull ball).

Then there was the little issue of being almost done with that section and looking down and seeing a mistake that totally screwed up my stitch count. Well, since I'm improvising a little from the written pattern and I needed to be able to perfectly repeat what I'm doing for the other side, I decided it would be best to just bite my tongue and rip back. I actually got all the stitches back onto the needle fairly painlessly; I was surprised because that never happens when I have to rip back work. Until I looked down and saw the SAME mistake on the opposite side another 7 or 8 rows down. So I pulled the needle out and ripped back even more. There went pretty much all of the previous day's progress. Fortunately by the end of that day I had fixed everything I'd ripped back and even finished the strap and bound off that side. Now that I know what I'm doing, the right half should go super quick, and then there's just a little sewing to finish it up.

I moved several projects on my Ravelry page from WIP to Hibernating. Like my peace sign granny square blanket; turns out my H hook is missing so I don't know when I'll get to work on that project! It's kind of liberating to put things on a shelf for a while. Normally I'm the kind of person who hates to leave things undone because it begins creating a list in my head. If you've ever played Magic the Gathering and had one of those really epic plays where you and your opponent keep countering each other's spells until you've got like six different actions to each carry out and you now have to remember the order to do them in (the whole first in, last out rule or whatever, but then damn those interrupts!) - that's kind of how my mental to-do list goes. So like I said, it's kind of liberating to put a few projects to sleep.

Of course all I really want to do is finish my wings and be able to put them on and run around like a crazy. So back to work it is.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

I have to brag

You know how sometimes when something really awesome happens to a friend, you get so ridiculously excited for them that it's almost like something really awesome happened to you? My friend Blue and his band Small Town Zeros got one of their songs put into a movie trailer! And it is sooooo bad ass and awesome!

Here is the song: Small Town Zeros - Secrets
And here is the trailer (Secrets begins playing at 00:52): Bellflower

I just recently got to meet the other members of Small Town Zeros at a recent party, but I met Blue last fall at a Halloween party. He was portraying Ace Ventura, and did it so convincingly that for the first half hour I actually thought his name was Ace and was confused when everyone started calling him Blue. He's one of those awesome guys you can talk to for five minutes and feel like you've known him for years; I see a lot of my big brother in him.

I just discovered something this morning that makes me love Small Town Zeros even more. Remember when I shared this favorite of mine, Martin Solveig -Hello? It's my favorite song to listen to in the morning when I'm waking up and feeling full of pep; I could seriously listen to it on repeat all morning. And guess who did a remix that is my new favorite? The lyrics were already perfect, but this track is laid back in exactly the same way my spine melts when I'm having a really fucking awesome time at a party. So I'll probably need a new morning pep song.

Actually, Amparo would be pretty nice to wake up to.
Ok, I'll stop being a shameless fan girl for now.

I have to go figure out how to celebrate Father's Day when I don't even have the gas to drive 30 miles home. Warm wishes to all the fathers out there!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Have a seat, or not

This is interesting, apparently sitting all day will eventually kill you. Well, I guess anything could eventually kill you, but sitting all day will make it happen faster. After I read this, I started thinking about my day. I do spend a lot of it sitting, even when Bruce and I go out we usually end up somewhere (like a friend's apartment or a park with benches) where we end up sitting down. But then I also thought about how many times a day I go stand in the kitchen while waiting for the tea kettle to boil. Or how many random times I do let others take a seat while I stand or dance or spin poi or something else. It made me wonder how much standing vs. sitting I really do in a day, and do I tend to do one more than the other?

It actually makes me glad that I can knit and walk at the same time (if the pattern is simple). I've actually worked on the back of a sweater - the bulk of it bunched up and tucked under my arm, and the yarn in my hoodie pocket - while walking down the street with friends at 1:00 in the morning while on one of our random adventures. Actually I'm very rarely stationary as I work; anytime I try to sit still and work a long time, I get restless and various body parts start to hurt or go numb. So usually I'm in the rocking chair using my feet and/or abs* to rock, or I've got the headphones on and I'm head bobbing and seat dancing along, or I'm just changing position every couple of minutes.

*I've decided I'm going to write an exercise program that tells you how to get great abs with just a rocking chair, and then I'm going to make zillions of dollars and never have to worry about buying yarn again. I'm almost serious; if you have access to a rocking chair, sit in it, stick your feet out in front of you, and rock the chair with your abs. Not a bad workout.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Inspired by others

Everybody is writing about such thought provoking topics today! Twice now I've finished reading someone's post only to come running over here to write my thoughts on a similar subject - one of the very reasons I enjoy blogging so much.

First, Kepanie of Knitspiring Odyssey posted this little number referring back to Knit and Crochet Blog Week. She mentions that design was something she wanted to work on and has been a having a little fun with lately, and I commented that design is also something I've been having fun playing with, and that I seem to change every pattern I've been working on lately. Then I stopped to think for a moment.

I have 45 projects listed on my Ravelry page. Approximately 25 of them are either patterns I just made up, or patterns that I changed, improved, added something, took away something, etc. That's more than half. I seriously cannot leave a pattern untouched. Lately it seems like everything I make from an existing pattern is actually an exploration in order to learn how to make something else from my own pattern. Last night I started visualizing not 1, not 2, but 3 different pattern collections I could eventually pull together based on things I've made up. It's actually really exciting to have all these ideas start coming together, but since they only exist in my head so far, it's going to take a lot of work to translate these ideas into real patterns.

Then I went over and read what PandaBearOfDoom at Random Knits had to say about faith healers. Well, this sounds like it's right up my alley, no? Her take was that words cannot heal alone, especially serious conditions like cancer (I promise I won't go nuts over marijuana's healing effects this time) and that it is more likely a placebo or psychosomatic effect.

One of my favorite oddball phrases is "Post hoc, ergo propter hoc" which in Latin means "After it, therefore because of it" - as in you felt sick after eating that hot dog, therefore you're sick because of the hot dog. It's a very basic way of coming to a logical conclusion, it's also a very easy way of coming to a logical fallacy - the school bell rang after you sat down, therefore it rang because you sat down. As the dormouse in Wonderland says "It's like saying 'I breathe when I sleep' is the same as 'I sleep when I breathe'". I think faith healers say "Look, this person got well after we prayed, therefore they got well because we prayed." The question is then is this true, or a misconception?

The mind body connection is a mysterious thing and I think we've barely scratched the surface of what we're capable of doing with our minds and energy fields. Our bodies have the capability of producing enough energy to power a whole city, what else could we do with all that energy? You know how they say we only use 10% of our brain capacity, and then you start thinking about what might happen if we used 100%? Well Bruce and I decided that would probably actually not be a good idea, kind of like seriously over-clocking a processor and then frying the motherboard. But what if we did figure out how to most efficiently optimize our minds? As we invented the internet and continue to push technology as far as we can, I think we can take the power of our minds to similar heights. This may sound a little kooky but I actually think the internet is the the product of reverse engineering of the hive mind and that it's our blueprint for where our own evolution is headed.

So I guess the short version of that is I think those faith healers are on the right path, but they're also just still standing on the front porch, they have yet to even get past the front gate.

Songs for today:
Solar Quest - Acid Air Raid
Pitchers - What They Don't Like (hard dance style)
^Same song - DJ Krip remix (trance) <-- this is why I love the electronic music scene, same song, such a different sound

Monday, June 13, 2011

Just a few things

I'm not exactly at the top of my game right now (restless night of sleep and so on), so let's keep this simple:

-I finished a purple belt for my friend D. He had requested a belt, because his pants were falling down, and that it be purple, because that's "his" color. 36 inches of garter stitch, thank goodness I'm rather fond of D. Only apparently it doesn't fit through the belt loops of his Dickies. Well, it's got a nice bit of stretch to it, worse case scenario he just wraps it around himself and ties it real tight to hold his pants up.

-I did go buy yarn yesterday, nothing came up to interfere with me getting to the store. I set out walking and got there not long after they'd opened. It was good little walk, it took me about an hour round-trip (including the time spent in the store), and I felt very invigorated afterwards.

-I bought two kinds of yarn! I got the spring green colored Spa that I had come for in the first place, and also two balls of Sugar 'n Cream cotton in Violet Stripes. That color name, I think, would make you think of a mostly purple yarn, maybe with varying shade of purple, or maybe some blue thrown in. It is actually self striping yarn with lavender, white, green, and blue and looks like it should be named something more like Springtime Picnic. It's my first self striping yarn, and I'm excited to play with it. I'm planning to make myself a set of sock poi out of it as soon as I'm done with Apollo's.

-I only paid $1.25 for said yarn. Actually $1.21 but I think I lost the pennies I got back in change already. I had a card with some store credit that my mom gave me a while back, and it had more credit than I thought, so out of the $8 in quarters I had painstakingly saved up, I only had to pay $1.25. I was tempted to run back to the shelf and see what else I had over looked, but in the end decided to behave and get out while I was still ahead. I could always come back, like I said, it's not a long walk.

-I have stash on my Ravelry page now! I used to have stash listed there when I first signed up (3 1/2 years ago, I can't believe it's been so long!) but I wasn't happy with it. My photos were terrible, I had virtually no information about my yarn (thanks to lost ball bands and mystery thrift store yarns), it was just a cluttered mess. Sometime last year I decided to stop bothering about all my mystery yarns and I deleted them off the page. I resolved to log all new purchases since that would be easy. Then as I used up the old stuff and slowly bought and logged new stuff, my stash page would become an accurate reflection of what I had. And now I finally have new yarn to put up there!

-I even have pictures of my stash (sort of). Thanks to Flickr Stash Stock Photos, I can include photos of what I have without having to bother with my camera. Unfortunately it's an incomplete collection and they don't have any pictures of the Violet Stripes, but the concept is still a great one and I think once my camera situation is resolved that I'm going to make an effort to contribute any stock photos that I can.

As soon as the shop opens . . .

I'm going to buy new yarn today! Well, at least, I think I am. Every time I plan to go to Michaels, something always comes up. The last couple of times it was me discovering I had something perfectly usable at home and I didn't need to buy anything after all, which is always good for the budget.

I'm going to buy a skein of NaturallyCaron.com Spa in that spring green color they have. Can I just say that I think that's a really stupid name for yarn? Yeah, the marketing team probably thought it was a great idea, but don't they know that the modern knitter is going to use Ravelry to look up yarn anyway and would rather have their yarn named something cute, romantic, nostalgic, or otherwise more meaningful that a web address?

Anyway, the reason I need this yarn is once I realized my seafoam mohair wouldn't work in my wings because it's so lightweight (this is the same mohair that also refused to become Wisp, I'm starting to wonder what to do with this stubborn yarn) I suddenly realized I didn't exactly have enough yarn to finish my wings and still get the look I was going for. The green homespun imitating yarn that I'm making my little top out of would look great in my wings, but I don't have enough to do the top and have any left for the wings. So I'm doing a little pattern re-design on the fly in order to make my yarn stretch.

The top will be made with a combination of the homespun and Spa yarns with the garter stitch straps and border being done in the fuzzy homespun and the main sections of the top in the Spa for a sleeker look. The leftover homespun and Spa will then get worked into my wings and probably find their ways into other Butterfly related costume items. I've considered turning the seafoam mohair into a simple scarf in case I need a touch of extra warmth while dancing around in the equivalent of a bikini top, but I've decided to put the stubborn yarn in time-out and just bring a light jacket to the next party.

And because I'm really feeling restless for another party, another mini-playlist! This time I'm going a little rougher with the dubstep and fidget.
Skrillex - Do Da Oliphant
Skrillex - Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites
Fidget House Mix - 1:30 is a perfect example why I love fidget (if you have less than great speakers it might just sound like the sound is cutting out, but with good equipment each little "skip" feels like the drop of a roller coaster)
Infected Mushroom - Psycho (ok, this is trance and not dub or fidget but it's got that amazing bass!)

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Random Tangent

So normally in my blog, if I'm not writing about yarn, knitting, crochet, or other crafty endeavors, I have a tendency to go on long diatribes about some pretty far out subjects. But today I'm switching it up and bringing the subject much closer to home. May I present to you:
Getting to Know Butterfly from A to Z! I actually snagged this from Casey over at Plus3 Crochet, whom I actually read quite often, but sadly do not give enough comment love to. So lemme actually take a moment and give a shout-out: You crochet rocks Casey! Your blog serves as very good inspiration to a newbie crocheter and it was actually this post about your hanger that served as the base inspiration for my new wings!

So without furthur ado -
Getting to Know Butterfly from A to Z!

A.
Age: 24, and I turn 25 this fall! It'll be my "golden birthday" because I'll turn 25 on the 25th of October. I'm hoping there will be a good celebration because one of the DJ's has his birthday 2 days before mine and our tribe loves to celebrate joint birthdays!

B. Bed size: Double or Full or whatever it's called. You know, the size of two twins basically. It's the perfect size for Bruce and I since we're cuddlers, but I think we'd both appreciate a couple more inches of length. Often times I'll wake up with cold toes because they're hanging over the edge!

C. Chore that you hate: Anything that actually requires scrubbing. I can really get into the rhythm of doing the bathroom if I have to, but thank goodness Bruce does the kitchen floors! Actually I don't have to do the bathroom either. So I guess my most hated chore that I actually do is refolding the already clean clothes in the drawer that Bruce has messed up.

D. Dogs: Love them! My parents have a golden retriever named Riley whom I rather miss since I've moved out. Bruce's family loves dogs too, but I guess the loss of their Sadie was enough that they're going to stick with just the neurotic cat and the bunny for now.

E. Essential start to your day: If I'm honest, I can literally roll out of bed and go in my PJ's and bed head if I really have to. My ideal morning, however, consists of a little time to read my blogs and Ravelry, several cups of tea, a good bowl to smoke, and depending on how Bruce feels when he wakes up, maybe a little lovin' . . .

F. Favourite color: Rainbow! However if you were knitting me solid colored socks instead of striped or variegated, I'd ask for green socks.

G. Gold or Silver: Hmm, I really do like colors over metalics, but all my jewelry is silver. No, wait, my earrings are tiger's eye in a gold setting. But yeah, I also wear two silver rings and my silver colored peace sign necklace.

H. Height: 5'6" but on my license it says 5'7"; I tried to correct it last time I was at the DMV, but the guy gave me such grief over having supposedly shrunk an inch that I let it be.

I. Instruments you play: I played piano for 11 years as a kid, and flute for a couple years in the school band, but now my interaction with music is more dance than instrument related. Sometimes I think I'd like to go back to piano, but it's not important enough to me to devote any time to it right now.

J. Job title: What does one call oneself when they are "Self-Employed at Life"?

K. Kids: None at all, unless you count all the little high-schoolers that for some reason think Bruce and I hung the moon, and then we have way too many. I really need to stop bailing those little buggers out of everything.

L. Live: In that little stretch of farmland/suburbia that's in between Ventura and Los Angeles.

M. Mother's name: Kristine, though everyone simultaneous misspells it with a "Ch" and shortens it to "Chris" despite the fact that my mom prefers her whole name.

N. Nicknames: Luna, Green Butterfly, Fairy Girl, and Sparkles. The last one is only just used by one friend, but it's actually the most consistently used of my nicknames.

O. Overnight hospital stays: Not since I was born, unless you count sitting in the waiting room until past midnight when my mom was visiting my grandmother in ICU a couple years ago.

P. Pet peeve: Thoughtlessness, carelessness, and selfishness

Q. Quote from a movie: "Have fun stormin' the castle!"

R. Right or left handed: Left, or sometimes just confused (depends on my sobriety level)

S. Siblings: One brother that doesn't exist in this corporal plane

T. Time you wake up: usually between 7 and 10, unless of course I never made it to bed and then there's usually a full day of sleeping to compensate.

U. Underwear: Mostly bikini or boy-short styles, though I do have some cotton-cover-your-whole-ass panties. I've found that by sticking to cute and colorful, I can avoid the granny-pantie look. I'm the kind of girl who actually does make sure her ass is covered when I wear short skirts. I only wear thongs with pants, never dresses!

V. Vegetable you hate: Beets. They're not terrible, but I can only eat half of one before I start gagging on the sweetness. Shame because they're so full of vitamins.

W. What makes you run late: Well, I'm one of those people that runs more on Hawaiian time

X. X-Rays you've had: I think the only one I had besides my regular dental x-rays, is once when I was very small and fractured my leg.

Y. Yummy food that you make: Oatmeal, and also grilled cheese sandwiches

Z. Zoo animal: Elephants, and tigers, and giraffes!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The D Word

Last summer I was working on a Branching Out for a friend as part of my Christmas knitting. I used to find scarves fairly tedious, and the pattern just didn't thrill me while I was working on it (though the final scarf did look very pretty). So since this was a Christmas present and I was working on this in summer, I decided I would only force myself to knit ten rows, or one pattern repeat, everyday. This actually worked out and sometimes I would even get into the groove and crank out more repeats in a day. Because I worked on it so steadily, it was done faster than I could've imagined, and I ended up very pleased with the result.

And now I'm back in that place of needing discipline. Apollo's sock poi really are taking forever, and now that I have such an exciting project as my wings (and also the little rave top) to distract me, I was afraid that Apollo's poi would just sit gathering dust. Since I really would like to get all these projects done by the next party (in about 3 weeks) I think I'm going to need a little discipline to work through everything. Especially since I can get really bad crafty ADD.

Leo over at my favorite Zen Habits says discipline is a myth, that anything you might call discipline is actually motivation, and that if you think you want discipline, what you really want is better habits. It makes sense in a limited sort of way. I'd referenced this interview by Terrence Mckenna when I talked about novelty, and I reference it again because right near the top, Mckenna talks about how life is trying to find the balance between habit and novelty. Without going off on some really random quantum-philosophical diatribe, I will put forth my opinion is that discipline is actually the ability to pare down the habits in your life to the most essential - or even eliminate habit entirely and learn to interact with and reprogram the natural rhythms of life to meet survival needs - in order to leave maximum room for novelty. I'd like to think I'm a living example of that kind of lifestyle (which is definitely not for everyone, nor is it an easy transition if you do not have some benefactors to hold your ass up while you do all your rhythm reprogramming).

So the quest lies as such: I want to finish all the crochet if not the actual finishing (which will involve some hardware and possible fiddling around by both Apollo and I to get it right) of the sock poi, knit the little green top, and finish crocheting/assembling my wings by the next big party. I have plotted out checkpoints on each project so I can have some semblance of progress, and the basic plan is to keep rotating through the projects so I can mix the tedious with more fun stuff.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Excited!

Guess what???? It's WIP Wednesday!!! And I'm only ever this excited over WIP Wednesday when I've gotten a lot done - all in one big swoop yesterday no less. I even have a FO!

(and sadly still no picture capabilities . . . bother)

And like most good crafty adventures, I have a soundtrack to go with it. A lot of people listen to music all the time, but I only listen if someone else is playing it, or when I'm on a good creative spree. It's weird how passive my relationship with music is for how much I love it and how even just a few minutes in front of a big speaker can have the same effect on me as a double dose of whatever's going round the party.

Ok, music first:
Martin Solvieg - Hello <--- this is sort of my theme song at parties
Cloud Cult - Everybody Here is a Cloud
Ebony Dubsters - Ra <--- favorite song to shuffle to ATM
The Lotus Sutra*
Om Mani Padme*
Scrillex - Lady GaGa's Alejandro**

*I love listening to these two back to back to meditate to or even just when I need something soothing. Wierdly I found myself chanting "Om Mani Padme" as I walked the labyrinth at Grace Cathedral during our San Fran trip last fall. I'd never heard the mantra before but found myself naturally chanting it as I walked. I forgot all about the incident until Bruce played this song a few weeks ago as I sat meditating with a figure of Ganesha in my friend's apartment. The Lotus Sutra always floors me, because it's not just the words they chant that are considered powerful, but the act of chanting it as well. No tone is made idly or without purpose. If you can listen to it with headphones and the volume up as loud as reasonable and feel the resonation. I once used these bone conducting headphones (there was a part that rested on a certain place on the skull and allowed you to feel the resonation throughout your entire skeleton) during a form of audio-therapy and I so wish I had them again when I listen to this.

**This song is sort of an inside joke in our friends. Bruce loves Lady GaGa, his best friend despises her - to the point where he even mentions it in one of his raps. Skrillex is one of those names in techno that is "agreed upon good music" no matter your genre preference, so his having done this (and a few other GaGa remixes) is sort validation that she's not total crap like Bruce's BFF would have you believe.

Ok, enough with the music and on to the WIPs. No, actually onto the FO! I did my Masquerade Mask! I realized I had enough bright green cotton and now the right hook size, so I whipped it up yesterday. I ended up heavily modifying the pattern in the nose area and then adding a fluffy border in boa yarn, and it looks pretty spiffy if I do say so myself. I'm considering if I want to write up my pattern changes, but I think I want to try making another from scratch and see if I can't just totally re-write the pattern.

The second thing I worked on was another little top like my Raverstar Top, this one made in the green acrylic that Bruce gave me (the one I said I would use for my mask and then didn't). I'm also considering a few pattern mods on this one as well, but we'll see. So far I've only knit like an inch and a half of the band. It was the last thing I cast on last night before giving in and falling asleep.

And the most exciting thing I've got in the works could very easily end up being the first pattern I offer on Ravelry! I thought up the initial idea the night before last and then I was so excited by it that I actually lucid dreamed that night that I was making up a test version. I didn't exactly realize that I was lucid dreaming but I just starting manifesting yarn and supplies and making up a test version, then I put time on high speed so I could see some actual progress, then I determined the pattern was sound, vanished all the tools and supplies I was using and went on with whatever I was doing before in the dream.

So what am I making that is so excited that I actually dreamed about it? WINGS! See, I'm the Green Butterfly on the party scene, and a butterfly has to have wings right? You can see in the picture of my Raverstar top the little nylon wings I bought off of Amazon for $5. They've actually lasted through more parties than I anticipated and I definitely got my $5 worth, but now the wires are battered and out of shape, the nylon is starting to get holes, and the basic structure is totally broken. I'm fine with ending a party looking like I've been through the wringer, but I like to arrive at the party looking a little spiffier. So, I decided it was time for some new wings.

I'd originally considered making new wings in the same way the old ones were put together - a wire structure with nylon stretched over and painted. But I started analyzing the cost of the nylons and paint and glitter, which I do not have any of, and it started to look like my new wings would cost a lot more than $5. Then I thought "Well, I'll save money on the paint and glitter and just get the nylon and embroider that green fun fur onto it!" Well, that was a dandy idea, until I realized that I know how to crochet. Remember how I used to say crochet is so quantum? Quantum abilities to the rescue!

So, progress so far:
  • I have taken four wire coat hangers and bent them into wing shapes
  • I then crochet around each wire in lime green fun fur (not exactly fun stuff to crochet with, but actually not as terrible as I thought)
  • I have collected all my green yarns and am now contemplating how to fill in the wings
  • I'm considering doing it sort of spiderweb or bullseye style from the outside in with different types of yarn
  • I want to finish my little top first and see what yarn is left from that, because I really don't want to have to buy more yarn if I don't have to (sacrilegious, I know, but we're on a budget here people!)
  • I do have another skein of the fun fur at my parents' house, and that would ensure that I could at least finish the wings, but I want them to be more unique than just big blocks of lime fun fur, and I also don't have the time, gas, or will-power to drive to my parents' right now
  • Did I mention I want to have the wings, the top, and if at all possible Apollo's sock poi done by July 1st?
  • Therefore: I'd better get my butt in gear!

Monday, June 6, 2011

All in a day

Today is, as decided by The Blog Hub on Ravelry, the official day to post "A Day In The Life . . ." I hadn't actually committed to doing this, especially since I knew there probably wouldn't be any pictures to go with it. Ironically today is not going to be a "typical" day for me. Bruce was up all night and has only just now laid down for some rest. I didn't sleep well myself, and am therefore glad for a lazy day. None of my days are really "typical" anyway, there's always something crazy happening at some point. But there are a few constants in my life:
  • Tea - I always drink at least 2 or 3 cups of tea everyday, sometimes as many as 7 or 8! The cabinet is almost always stocked with chamomile, pomegranate white tea, and green tea. There's also Earl Grey in there but I've found I don't really care for that. Normally I drink my tea plain, but sometimes I stir in a little honey or fresh ground nutmeg. The nutmeg doesn't exactly improve the flavor, but it has some other good health benefits like naturally killing bacteria in your mouth (if you want to try nutmeg, don't get the pre-ground, it's not nearly as good as fresh ground. If your sensitive to strong flavors, start at about 1/4 teaspoon and work your way up from there. Honey can help neutralize the bitterness, or you can try mixing it in coffee with a little honey and whatever other yummy things you like to mix in your coffee.)

  • Knitting to pounding techno while Bruce checks his mail and forums - I usually have my computer time when Bruce is asleep and then pick up my knitting once he's awake and wants to use the computer. Since I usually wake up earlier than him, I get in just enough time to read my mail and blogs and Ravelry, and also do a bit of writing. Then I unplug for the day and let Bruce take care of the technology while I take care of my yarn.

  • Cuddle sessions on the bed - these don't happen every day, but they are definitely a favorite part of the day when they do. Usually we begin by either just cuddling and talking, or smoking a bowl together, and usually we end with someone being wrapped up in a blanket burrito, sat upon, and tickled. I'm usually the unwilling victim.

  • Late nights at the drug store or the donut place or just randomly driving around - these don't happen every night, but they do seem to happen a lot. We go by the drug store because one of our friend's is the night manager and doesn't care if we loiter. The donut place is just this tiny shack with some picnic tables that is open from like 10PM to 2PM the following afternoon. It's the prefect place to go get late night munchies. Sometimes we end up at this place we call the Top of the World. It's this hill that has a total 360 degree view of our little town and the neighboring town and farmland and is totally gorgeous at night.
Sometimes it's even hard to quantify my life in days. Time only exists for Bruce and I in terms of what shops are open and how many times we've heard this CD already, or sometimes by how much I've knit (or how much weed we've smoked). Just this weekend Friday lasted until 1:00 PM Saturday afternoon, and Saturday wasn't properly recognized at all, we just sort of skipped on to Sunday. It's a weird life, but it's never ever boring.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Novelty and Knitting

I'd been reading this thread here on Ravelry as well as other that have cropped up about handmade work, and it seems the general opinion that as we learn to make machines do more, handcrafts are going to become more and more endangered (in the market that is, I'm sure handcrafts as hobbies will endure as making for just yourself is still fun and easy).

I'd like to offer a different opinion. They have said that space is the final frontier, and in terms of geographical exploration it certainly is the most vast frontier. But truly the next frontier (I don't believe we'll ever reach a "final" frontier) is that of knowledge, creation, and novelty. In an age where everything is becoming more and more digitized and simplified, it's becoming less about what you can do and more about who's going to have the next great idea.

Novelty, as I would casually define it, is something that carries a sense of new wonder and awe. The thing or the experience itself may not be a new thing, but to the individual experiencing it, it captures their whole attention and provokes their mind. Terrance McKenna has some very interesting ideas about novelty as expressed in this interview and his thoughts about the Object.

One of my fundamental beliefs is that we are rapidly approaching a new turn in our evolution, and that turn may or may not be connected to any sort of 2012 end of time event. I rather like McKenna's idea about achieving infinite novelty in 2012 and I think if anything does happen on that specific day, his theory is the most likely. I'm also reserving judgment on our ability to pinpoint a specific date until we see it happen.

But on a simpler level, I think that the drive for novelty will continue to keep the handcrafts trade alive. Why is it that crafts like knitting, crochet, sewing, and even more specialized crafts like lace tatting endure (with natural rises and falls in popularity) even in an age where we can buy inexpensive machine made goods? Because as humans we still have an appreciation for a well made craft that shows true innovation and creativity. We made have stifled that appreciation under all of our consumerist tendencies, but it's still there.

By learning how to make things ourselves, we not only give outlet to creative expression which is then fuel for novelty, but we also free ourselves from repeating habits. As I chose to abandon shampoo because it's a habit I no longer need to clean my hair, buying things already made for us is a habit. We've been trained trade money for things we need rather than use our own ideas and skills and resources to provide for ourselves. After WWII, consumerism experienced a renaissance like boom, partially fueled by the rise in television's popularity (therefore giving advertisers a new and vivid medium to suck in new buyers). Everyone wanted a piece of the pie, and the perfect Levitt Town American Dream.

BUT our inovations are only as smart as we are. We may have taught our machines to do a lot of cool stuff for us, but machines cannot improve if we ourselves do not keep learning, researching, creating, inovating. Even if you're just following a pre-existing pattern in a book, you're still creating something new, something that wasn't there before. Life is a ever-turning kaleidescope, and by taking sticks and string to create a shawl or pair of socks, you have participated in manifesting that new kaleidoscopic mandala of novelty. It might seem silly to think of something so simple as knitting as being so quantum, but chaos theory says quite plainly that even the tiniest element of the microcosm can have a vast effect on the macrocosm. Knitting is merely a fractalized miniaturization (or macrorization) of nature's own intrinsic creation.

And to bring this back around to the decline of handcrafts being viable in today's market, I think we will inevitably see an upswing in the demand for handcrafted items and the knowledge to make them. Knowledge is (I think) destined to become the new currency as people continue to become disillusioned with consumerism; people are starting to realize that buying a house and making it look like a magazine picture does not equal happiness or satisfaction. As knowledge of how to create for oneself spreads, we will begin to value handcrafts again and appreciate things that are real, made by real people, with real energy in them.

(And because I can't help myself, if there is any sort of apocalypse in our lifetimes, people who have these "real" skills to create will be very much in demand)

Friday, June 3, 2011

Happy Day!

I got yarn! I actually got it two nights ago but I got distracted and didn't write about it. Bruce's parents have decided to redo the living room with new furniture, so that lead to a big to-do as furniture was moved around and part of the garage was cleared to hold the things we'll probably get rid of. This has turned up some very fun stuff, like an old RPG board game from the 70's. It also apparently turned up two bags with yarn that I could have!

Bruce brought it in to me at bed time the night before last, and it felt like Christmas had come early. It's all acrylic yarn and in slightly odd colors, but it's still yarn and I already have projects planned for all of it (that's how yarn deprived I've been). There was also a round Kniffy Knitter Loom of a very large size that I don't already have. I'm not a big loom knitter anymore, but who knows, I think I can find something to do with it. Oh, and the last thing in the bag was a size G crochet hook! Now I have 3 hooks - sizes D, G, and H! My needle and hook collection has been so ridiculously small for so long that having a new size is always exciting.

I'm still not able to get pictures off my camera, but the yarn is as such:
  • 2 skeins of what looks like Lionbrand Homespun (yes, more homespun) in an oatmeal color. I think I'll actually make my little sheep I had planned for my blue homespun in the oatmeal (and I have some grey alpaca for some contrast) and find something else to make out of the blue.
  • One skein purple, possible Caron Simply Soft. Bruce suggested I make our buddy D the purple belt he requested. I'm already thinking up designs in my head.
  • 2 little balls of soft pale green fluffy stuff. It has a similar texture to the Homespun but looks just different enough that I think it might be something else. This is going to make up my mask that will go with my Butterfly costume.
  • One mystery crochet project to frog consisting of blue and yellow yarn held together, both are most likely Red Heart or Caron. They will become little lotus, along with any purple leftovers, and those will likely go into decorating our bedroom (though not quite sure in what way yet).

Thursday, June 2, 2011

You has question

I has answer!

Kepanie of Knitspiring Odyssey asks what do I stuff poi with? And the answer is NOT Chinese zen balls (you know the kind that jingle when you roll them around). The newest addition to our group, V, had made herself a simple set of sock poi by putting these Chinese zen balls in to a pair of old socks and knotted them off. Last night we were celebrating Apollo's birthday at the all night donut place and spinning poi in the parking lot, and I decided to give V's socks a spin. Since I'm still a beginner, I get tangled and whack myself with the poi a lot, but I've also gotten used to ducking. Well, I'm also used to softer poi, so when these socks tangled and the end came swinging at my head, I ducked, but not fast enough. Then next thing everyone heard was CRACKtingtingting, or maybe I'm the only one that heard the zen balls jingle but everyone heard the smack. The first thing Apollo said was "Was that your HEAD that I heard???" It still kind of smarts.

To seriously answer the question, Apollo and I use balloons filled with rice measured out to weigh so many grams (aprox 75 grams for the ones I'm making). The process of filling a balloon with rice is a tedious one. You need to put a funnel in the balloon neck and then you fill up the body of the balloon, and then carefully fill the neck. Then you have to blow air into the balloon to expand it to fit all the rice. Then you put more rice in the neck, and blow air into it again, and more rice, and more air. It takes at least 6 or 7 rounds of this, but then you knot the end of the balloon and you have a nice little rice filled rubber ball.

Initially before we figured out the rice balloons, Apollo's socks were weighted with rubber duckies. He had a small collection of them, so he just picked two of the heaviest and put them down the socks. The ducks were actually replacements for golf balls, but those had to go after a couple of head incidents like my zen ball incident. Apollo also has a pair of practice poi that is literally two tennis balls on strings, but poi can essentially be anything that you can successfully spin around you in interesting patterns. Apollo's probably going to be learning to spin fire over the summer too. I probably won't even attempt that for a good while yet, I'd like to be able to spin socks without killing myself first.