Thursday, June 30, 2011


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


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 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!

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


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.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Birthdays and some bad news

Today is Apollo's birthday! And his sock poi are not finished. I think that even if I had worked twice as diligently as I have been (which I admit, I slacked off and spent a lot of time reading, but my excuse is PMS) I still would only be finished with maybe one of them. The stitches are rather small, the yarn a little splitty, and it takes while for me to make a clean row and therefore a long while for me to produce even an inch of fabric. It is getting easier as I go along, so hopefully the second one will go faster.

The other piece of bad news is due to an unforeseeable slump in income and some unwanted but very necessary car repairs, Apollo and his lady are no longer able to afford their trip up north to the festival. They say they might go north in August but it would be a much shorter trip with a direct purpose for visiting and networking and less a vacation. It sort of depends how the rest of the summer goes. So while I'll be finishing his set of poi, I probably won't be making a matching set for me to use then trade with him, but instead put that energy into making a set for his lady. She and I hit a few stumbling blocks in our friendship a while back, and I think investing time and love into this for her will help me as well as be much appreciated by her.

I'm actually thinking of modifying the pattern a bit. I want to finish this set and actually spin them and have Apollo and few others play with them and give me an opinion, but I think I have a few ideas that would make for a simpler pattern and a more elegant poi. And I'm excited to play with different colors. For Apollo's poi I'm using NaturallyCaron Country which has brilliant colors and I'm sure will look great in daylight, but I also want to experiment with varigated yarns, I think the right color combinations could looks really interesting when spun.