Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Battle Plans

So, it's December 19th.

I have 5 days to finish all my christmas presents. Most of these simply aren't going to happen. LittlerBrother's hat I *gasp* actually didn't have the yarn for, so I'm getting him an awesome couple of books. TwinSister's soaps I don't have the money for, so she's getting a tin of delicious made-by-me-with-stuff-I-already-have cookies. We're going in on mom's gift, the lot of us, and I guess that means I need to pick up some socks for dad as well, then whip up a pair of felted clogs for FavoriteAunt and the hat for FavoriteCousin, and then I should be good to go.

I also have 5 days to get together all of the financial info needed for the wedding (will work on much of this over the phone, I hope), waaaay overbudget for a dress (I love one that costs $600, but will probably get one around $100 if I can. I mean, come on. It's one dress. It's not made of gold, and I'll hopefully be wearing Galveston anyways), get a ballpark of how much flowers, cake, food should cost for the wedding, PLUS include the cost of bridesmaid dresses and groomsman tuxes (since most of 'em are family anyway), tack on a honeymoon, and appear at my parents respective houses armed with this information. With this, I will present my case for a budget, and hopefully walk away with most of what I'm arguing for, which should be just what I need.

ALL I WANT TO DO RIGHT NOW IS SPIN. But Galveston MUST be finished soon. We're getting hitched on February 29th, Leap Day, and I will wear this shawl if it kills me.

Which, you know, probably it will.

For shits and giggles, let us determine how far along I am. Let us assume that I will finish the end of Chart E by new years, shall we? Let us do so. That leaves us with approximately 65% (the schematic does not include the edging) of the shawl to finish in (taking off a week for the inevitable "oh crap I forgot something" moments) 53 days. So, that's 1.2% per day, but I like some kind of safety net, plus I hate fractions, so let's make it an even 2% per day. Now what exactly is 2% of a six foot shawl? As of right now there are:

62,016 sts in what's left of the body
17,994 sts in edging
80,010 sts total

So if we disregard those last 10 sts (because really, I don't care that much about decimal points), that's 80k stitches in 53 days. That means it's 1510 sts per day going at a regular pace, or 1600 stitches per day if I do 2% a day. That's surprisingly enough less than I was thinking I would have to do back when I thought I could finish Galveston Prime in time enough for the Yarn Harlot, and I loves you Yarn Harlot, but I love my Sweetie more and if there's anything I learned during her talk, it's the value of knitting during a wedding. So, yeah. Let's round that up to 2k stitches a day as ever I can, to give me a little more wiggle room (you can see that I'm liking the wiggle room, yes?).

2000 stitches a day.

Shit, I'd better get knitting.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

A Grease Monkey Is You

Bike repair is FUN.


Bike repair!

Why didn't anyone tell me as a kid that fixing machinery is this much fun?!

So, as you might have guessed, I've been fixing up Sheila. Today she got a simple tube replacement, with liners so maybe she won't get flats so often in the future, plus I de-rusted her handlebars, the front wheel, and the chain (dear god, the chain), and then I realized I don't have a screwdriver so I had to run and get one so I can install the new brakes. The fenders and chain cover are pretty dinged up and rusted, so I may be looking into either replacing them, or even better, getting them all rust-free and then maybe reshaping them a little (to fix the dings) and maybe redoing the paint job, if I can learn to do pin striping really well. Her current paint job is (ironically enough)a lovely metallic Aggie maroon, with stripes of a light burnt orange. Part of me wants to go with that as a theme, part of me just wants to touch up the current paint job or recreate it. And then, of course, you need the rack in front and back, the headlights, tail lights, and a little bell that goes ching ching!

And maybe streamers.

In other news, check out this site: Fast Boy Fenders Isn't that just fabulous?

But yeah, getting back to this whole why did I not know that fixing things is fun bit, it did make me think a lot about the gender stereotypes that I was exposed to growing up. Luckily, I didn't have really really strict parents in this respect - no hair covering or you-must-play-with-dolls-and-be-bad-at-math stuff. I had honestly never heard the whole 'girls are bad at math' thing until it came up in a discussion on feminism and what we teach our girls. I tended to live under a cultural rock, though - I never knew of Barbie's infamous 'Math is hard!' bullshit, because I didn't play much with them. We had a doll house, true, and we did own a few barbie knock-offs (being poor and all), but mostly to entertain myself I read, so my dolls had their hair cut short, new clothes made, tiny weapons forged, and hey presto! Free Amazon's from Marion Zimmer Bradley's Darkover novels (and yes, I did do this, and no, I don't have any of them any more. I have considered taking this up again). For some reason, my dolls were usually in survivalist situations - stranded in mighty jungles, on desert islands, in snowy forests, and had to fight to survive. It was good times.

I specifically recall TwinSister and I having a pair of twin barbies and some male doll from the dollhouse set - hers went out and smoked and partied, mine cured her lung cancer. By turning her lungs inside out, and scraping out the tar. I could not understand why people were not doing this in real life.

But anyway, the thing is, is that we were exposed as children to people doing mechanic-y type things. We were friends with another family with a persian father and american mother, more than friends, it was like we were one very large extended family. We saw each other almost every day, the children slept over at either one house or the other, and so long as they were all accounted for at the end of the night all was well. And the father there, let's call him MechanicUncle, he was always working on cars with the oldest of his two sons. There were two fixer cars in the garage, one fixer car in the courtyard of the house, and two fixer cars in the driveway, along with the one working van. MechanicUncle was in no rush about these things, he'd go to the junkyards and get parts when they were available, and do without if they were not. For years, my entire childhood, I was around him and his kids as they worked on fixing up, selling, stripping down, and otherwise tinkering around with old cars.

Looking back now, I think it was the often gruff demeanor of MechanicUncle that kept me from asking what he was doing with all those cars, and could he show me. He worked long hours, and was in an unhappy marriage but didn't want to get a divorce, because the children were so young, and then of course they kept having more and more. They ended up with six children, two from CraftyAunt's previous marriage, and four together. CraftyAunt later on did end up divorcing MechanicUncle, and we've lost track of her, though my dad keeps in touch with MechanicUncle, and we visit him and his restaurant (best damn gyros in town!) every time we go into Houston and it's not just a hit-and-run kind of visit. But yeah, it never occurred to any of us to see if the girl children would be interested in fixing up the cars with their dad, and I think that's a shame. The youngest girl was always a tomboy, wanted to do everything her brothers were doing, and I don't know if she kept up with that as she was growing up - I don't think I've seen the kids since Mom and Dad divorced, and that was about ten years ago.

I should call him up, and see if any of his kids needs a bike.

Friday, December 07, 2007

I Can Has Bike?

So we went to the semi-annual Bike Sale here on campus - all of the bikes that are left in places for a long time are scooped up by the Surplus people, and if they're not claimed in a year, into the sale they go. Any bike, $20. So, of course, considering that my last two bikes have been stolen, I'm perfectly down with getting a cheap-o bike when the situation presents itself.

I ended up getting a vintage AMF Roadmaster Nimble, a lady's bike from the 60s or 70s. She is pretty and maroon, possibly older than my mom. I will call her Sheila.

While I was there, I picked up a newer mountain bike for PrimaryBrother, 'cause, you know, his truck is dead, and he lives in a big city now on his own. Plus, christmas present for $20, plus a little fixing up. I know he'll appreciate it.

I am totally enamoured of this bike I got - I went and looked up all the different things I'm going to need to do to fix her up - tube replacement, wheel centering, fixing the very old brakes that don't work at all, polishing the chrome up all nice and pretty. She's sooooo nice. I walked her home, since the front wheel needs a new tube, and the urge to start riding was crazy. I haven't had a bike in about a year and a half now, and I think that's the longest I've ever gone since I started riding. I'm thinking once I get Sheila up and running, and with a good lock, I'm going to start biking to and from work in the mornings. God knows I could use the exercise, both for my physical and mental health. Plus, fun and good times!

And now I leave you for a bit, to go back to my brushes and my rags, and my big happy soon-to-be-clean new bike.

Saturday, December 01, 2007


I just won nanowrimo! I just won nanowrimo! I just won nanowrimo!

It feels good. And you know what else would feel good? Sleep.

Saturday, November 24, 2007


Well, we're back from thanksgiving, which was fun and hectic as per usual. I was able to give TwinSister her birthday present, a solid shampoo bar from Lush, which she loved, so now I know I'm fine to get her more Lush stuff for christmas, along with the soon to be SIL. Sweetie's mom, FavoriteAunt, and probably my own mom (and maybe dad) are getting felted clogs this year. It's a good gift, but more importantly, I can make a pair of these in a day, if I sit down with a good movie or two. This is how I plan to spend december.

In other news, LittlerBrother has requested a black and white checkered earflap hat for christmas - I knew I came by my horrible fashion sense honestly. This proves that it's genetic. He shall get what he asked for. He specifically requested ties on the bottom of the ear flaps, but I'll have to call and ask if he wants a pompom to go on top. He's into skateboarding now, so maybe hats like this are all the rage with middle school skateboarders?

PrimaryCousin (oldest son of FavoriteAunt) has asked for a hat nearly identical to the one I made for myself last year, which was too big, so it went to him. The only modification he wants is color - white or black please, no pumpkin spice burnt orange like last year, which he was still willing tp put up with because he loved the hat so hard. He couldn't believe that hats could exist without seams - it totally blew his mind, and he gushed over it for hours. He's totally getting another hat. I love that kind of reaction. So I don't forget, that's the worsted weight alpaca up at Nancy's, and the stitch pattern is the drop stitch sweater from a Gathering of Lace. I'll need to get on that one as soon as december hits, and I can put down my writing to knit again.

So, here's the gift list:

Lush soaps - TwinSister
No idea. Booze? - PrimaryBrother
**Knit hat - LittlerBrother
**Felted clogs - Mom
Dad said not to get him anything. I'll cook something for him.
**Felted clogs - MIL
No idea. Booze? - DIL
She would actually appreciate a good booze - SIL
And I could make it for both of them - SIL's husband
**Felted clogs - FavoriteAunt
**Knit hat - PrimaryCousin

FavoriteAunt also has a husband and two other children, but they haven't requested knitwear, so they can wait until after christmas. I can always claim I didn't know what size feet they had or some such, or just come clean that I didn't have enough time to make them all something, but if they want to put in an order, and please be specific, I'm sure we can work something out.

In other news, it finally got cold. I went back over and verified that it got cold much later this year than the two before, when this blog was young. And you know what? While I do now have my giant fuckoff coat (thanks, MIL!), I still don't have a hat. I don't know how many hats I've made - I know damn well I haven't recorded all of them. I tend to make hats for me, find someone who's cold that I love, and give them the hat. THIS HAS GOT TO STOP. IT'S COLD AND I NEED A HAT.

So, I guess it's time to spin?

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Still Sick

You're not going to believe this, but after I got well last weekend, I gave myself a minor concussion getting into the car. I know. Moron. It triggered a few seizures (very minor, really), confusion, and disorientation for a few days, which I was just getting to the end of... and now I have a stomach bug. This is crap. I can't speak because my throat is so sore, I don't even want to look at food, just sleep in my nice dark cave and emerge every so often to work on my nano (where I am about 20k words behind). I'm going back to the cave now.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

I Are Sick

PPN no blog today. Trying to get my guts to stop being little bitches and listen to me. Stupid guts.

Also, went bowling last weekend, used too heavy a ball for weak girly wrists, tendonitis back. Am making hat anyway, then not knitting for a few days. Stupid tendons.

Saturday, November 03, 2007


It's November! That means, of course, that National Novel Writing Month has officially begun. So far, having completed two days (I'm posting this in the morning), I am right on task with my word count. You've got 30 days to complete a 50,000 word novel, which averages out to 1667 words a day. As of last night, I am at 3431. Life is good. Depending on how December (national novel Editing month) goes, I may or may not be posting it for folks to read.

So not much else is going on. I wake up, take a shower, write a little. Take the bus, knit a little. Be at work, outline sneakily through the day as ideas come to me. Go home, knit a little, have dinner, write until bed. I'm not very fast, you see.

Yarg. The best part of NaNoWriMo is, of course, procrastinating from writing. I think I may go work on Galveston for a while.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Delicious Soup Day!

So I got in the rest of the fiber from Smoky Mountain Spinnery on friday - oh man! I had almost forgotten how incredible this stuff is. I now have four ounces of superfine 150's merino and four ounces of baby suri alpaca hanging from my wall. I tried them both out for a second on my wheel, with limited success. The alpaca I can spin, but it is the slipperiest thing I have ever tried to hold on to - moreso even than silk or a greased-up toddler.*

The merino, though, is just too fine for me to spin on my wheel, at least so far. It's very nice, but the Babe, he was not built for laceweight, and his orifice is too wide, so the yarn vibrates around a whole hell of a lot, and also his take-up (even without the brake band entirely) is too much for this fiber. Ergo, I needed a spindle that was up to the job.

Now, I tend to make my own spindles, and this was to be no exception. I like 'em much lighter than I can usually find around town, and I own a dremel wireless rotary tool, so usually I just drill through a pair of wooden craft spoons, sand up a $0.10 dowel, notch it, glue it, and call it a day. This was my plan for friday, along with laundry and packing for the Renaissance Festival on saturday.

So friday I get home to discover that we're actually heading out to the Faire that day, and I have neither dowels nor craft spoons, nor laundry done and costumes packed. Oh noes! I'm not willing to leave without some knitting and some spinning, so I toss Galveston Prime and a mostly-finished Baby Surprise Jacket in my purse, some of my new merino and an ounce of BFL from Painted Sheep in the Dublin Lake colourway into a ziplock bag, clean mundanes and my toothbrush into the front seat, and I'm almost ready to go. I ended up taking off one arm of a wire coat hanger, slipping a heavy silver bali bead a friend gave me a few years back on the end, and bending the end so it couldn't come off. Voila! New metal spindle. I did not expect much.

And as with so many things in life, I was pleasantly surprised :) The new spindle is light and fast, with just enough weight to keep it from floating off (a problem I'd had with my featherweight wooden ones), center weighted so it turns fast, holds a surprisingly large amount of yarn, and is charming to boot. I spun about half an ounce of the BFL walking around during the faire (which was great, TwinSister and LittlestBrother were there and we all had a great time), and this morning I put that onto a storage bobbin *coughtoiletpapertubecough* and started the new merino on it. I am full of love. Love love love love love.

To top off a great day, I came home and made a delicious soup, with an ingredient which was actually completely new to me: butternut squash! Here's the recipe I used:

1 butternut squash (mine was 3lbs) - $3
4 chicken bullion cubes - $1
1 cup frozen chopped onions - $1
Olive oil
4 tbs margarine/butter or hell, more olive oil
1 tsp Pepper
1/4 tsp Cayenne pepper
4 cups water
1 box low-fat cream cheese - $1.50
House (optional)

Preheat oven to 375. Put cream cheeze (unopened) on top of stove to warm up. Cut squash into quarters, remove seeds and dangly bits. Line a baking tray with foil, pour olive oil on, plus salt and pepper. Place squash cut-side down on tray, bake 45 mins.

While that's going, sauté onions in stockpot on stove, then add bullion, pepper, cayenne, and water. Bring to a boil, take down to a simmer, cover, and wait till the squash is done. Spin for a bit if you have time. Browse through the latest Knit Picks magazine.

When squash is done, take it out of the oven and scoop all the delicious squash-meats out and add to the stockpot. We put the skin in too, but we like soup with texture. Feel free to add the remaining oil, salt and pepper if you like (we did). You'll know the squash is done because you'll have more trouble not piercing the skin than you do scooping the meats out - it will be very very squishy and delicious. Go ahead and try some. We won't tell.

Boil the soup for about 5-15 minutes, or however long it takes before the squash is falling apart in the pot. Squishing it with a slotted spatula helps at this point, or if you want a more traditional, smoother soup, take some out and blenderize the fuck out of it. We just squished it.

Take soup back down to a simmer, medium-low heat. You don't want it to boil after this.

Open cream cheese, which should be very soft by now, and put into a bowl with some of the hot soup liquid. Mix around until it's all liquidy, pouring cheesy goodness into the stockpot and soup into the cheese bowl as needed until it's all melted into the soup. Call your friends and brag about how much more delicious your dinner is than theirs; offer them some for lunch tomorrow.

Makes: a cubic fuck-ton.

* Dude, I have three little brothers, and grew up helping my mom do childcare. I've run after many a toddler whose coated him or herself in something gross. Peanut butter? Bitch to get out of long hair.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Sometimes, There Are Assholes

Such as at work, on the phone, who call 15 minutes after you clock out (and you TOLD them when you clock out) but you're nice and take their call anyways, and they go APESHIT on you for half an hour and throw temper tantrums (Grown people!) because of a policy you didn't create, that they've been told about repeatedly for over a month and a half of phone and email conversations.

Sometimes assholes get reported to your supervisor, and you go get margaritas. Yay margaritas!

In a completely unrelated note, I have been having the stress lately. I have the stress about the studying I should be doing for grad school, I have the stress about the planning I should be doing for a wedding, I have the stress about crunching numbers for the possibility of a mill. Lots of the stress. Maybe even a little the stress from having to talk to assholes on occasion, instead of letting my brain-juice settle nicely into the placid pool that is my usual work day. I like my nice, repetitive tasks, with their soothing music, their mild differences that keep things interesting, the bits of hey, I should read that when it comes in that make library work so enjoyable. I even like talking to other lackeys through customer service - how is your day? here is the problem in which I am not too personally invested, thank you for not going apeshit, thank you again for your solution to this problem.

So when I get the stress I avoid the things that cause it - wedding planning, studying, crunching numbers - and I do something soothing and fun. Lately it has been spinning, and I think working with the Sandstone roving has really freed me to work with color in ways that I hadn't considered before.

For example, Sweetie's sister got me two ounces of a lovely blue and yellow roving. The colors are great, it's pure silk, what's not to love? Well, a barber-pole blue and yellow scarf, not so much. However, a variegated warmer/cooler green scarf? Totally down. I picked up the most recent Spin-Off, dug out my wool cards, blended up some of the roving, and I'm loving it. It flashes from bright chartreuse to sea-kelp blue to happy hayfield yellow-green. It's happy, it's largely tonal, and it's now something I will wear and love forever. I feel released just thinking about it.

So when I got all angry today about the asshole (this happened more than once, the anger. I get mad in waves, highs and lows over time), I for some reason thought, I'll show him! That jerk! I'm going to design a lace pattern that's not perfectly symmetrical, see who he's being a jerk to now!

Why I thought this was vengeance, I have no idea. But I DO have two new ideas for stoles (or one really long stole if you stacked them?), if I can make the graph paper love me. This WILL work. I have my sketches, I have my calculator, I have the awesome power of my brain. I have not been this revved about a pattern since Galveston (which, by the way, I will be getting up soon, I promise).

Take THAT.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Free Pattern - Anya Scarf

Name: Anya *
Yarn: 1 ball KnitPicks Shadow (or ~440 yards of your favorite laceweight yarn)
Needles: US 4/3.5 mm
Length: 60"
Notes: Anya is a fairly simple lace scarf, based on Orenburg shawl designs. Like these shawls, Anya is based in garter-stitch, and so produces a lovely squishy type of lace. I did not use the entire ball of Shadow, but only because I could not finish another whole pattern repeat. YMMV.

Anya is here being modeled by Sullivan Ross, a *TEN FOOT TALL* statue on the A&M Campus, which is why it looks a bit skimpy on him.

Modelled on Sully:

Flappin' in the breeze:

Better shot of the pattern:

Chart! (click for big)

Cast on 51 sts, knit 10 rows. On last row, place marker 5 sts from either end to create selvage. These first and last stitches are knit every row. The chart is for the 41 stitches between these selvages. The rest of the instructions will not reference them, but refer to the chart stitches.

The first 4 rows of the chart is section A. The area after that but before the last row is section B, and the last row is section C.

*Work section A 8 times, then work section B; repeat from * four times more, for a total of 5 repeats. Work section A 8 times. Work section C.

Knit 10 rows, bind off (is a simple pattern). Block lightly. Enjoy!

[size=1]* I could not get the PDFs to work. I hope folks don't mind.[/size]

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Been Spinning

So I've spun up one 4-oz bundle of the wool from Smoky Mountain Spinnery. I was aiming for laceweight, but may have hit closer to a lovely two-ply fingering weight. Right off the plying bobbin I had 321 yards, but that's not the full 4 oz due to sampling spinning, sampling plying, having one bobbin significantly fuller than the other, and trying to ply from both ends of that yarn cake, which worked for about half of what was left before becoming a tangled mess that I was too tired to untangle. I'm estimating about 1700 ypp, once it's been set, but I'll keep you posted. I'm certainly glad I got that second 4 oz bundle. Right now it looks about as heavy as Sea Silk, in the thickest places.

In other news, I am now a quarter century old. I choose to be optimistic and say that this is a quarter of my expected lifespan, rather than an approximate third.

In other other news, I am trying very hard to get these PDFs to post. If it doesn't happen, I will put them up as regular-type posts, and/or start a yahoo group of my free patterns. It would certainly be easier to update! ...I may do this in the morning.

In yet other (but lastly-type) news, I now have a studio! Our former storage/junk room, even formerly a dining room, has now been cleared of junk and mess, filled with yarn and fiber-related goodness, and re-named. Both the yarn cabinets are now in there, as is the wheel (and wheel-related goods, such as the spinnin' chair and lazy kate), the projects basket, the swift and winder, and my roving.

The best part? My roving? It's on the wall. Big braids, hanging in a row about 6" from the ceiling, all along the wall with the kitchen window. It's about three pounds of wool/silk/linen/mohair total. It rocks hard.

Saturday, October 06, 2007


Well, I'm back. I found out late last friday (the day of the previous post) that Aunt Jo had passed away early thursday morning. Sweetie drove me down to Houston on monday and my mom and I made it to Nashville by tuesday with hours to spare waiting for TwinSister's late night flight to get in. I cast on for Mountain Ash in the car and did a few rows. I worked on Galveston Prime. I dicked around with graph paper, and may have an orenburg-inspired southwestern stole pattern some time soon. Mom tried to plan my wedding for the first seven hours or so of the drive tuesday morning. She criticized my weight, my style of dress, my lack of religion; I criticized her long-time boyfriend and his parenting skills, mostly by citing his children's behavior. They're trying to become foster parents, eventually to adopt an infant girl, and we killed a couple hours trying out various name combinations (I still like Alaura Day). We got a hotel room and some frozen dinners and watched comedy central for a few hours, then picked up TwinSister, had dessert, and went to bed.

Mom forgot about the one hour time change east of Knoxville, so we had to rush in the morning. There were around 50-100 people at Aunt Jo's service in Sevierville. It was very touching in that way that you can't really articulate, and as usual I had a hard time reminding myself that I was really there and this was really happening. This tends to happen for me at times like that. I recognized cousin Nick's family and cousin Terry's family, we spent good time with them at the post-service lunch and later hanging out at the hotel. If we have a wedding, both these families have said they want to attend.

Terry is the daughter Aunt Jo gave up for adoption to another of the aunts, who reconciled with her about thirty years later. She's also the other crafty person in the family, and we hit the Artist's Walk in Gatlinburg that afternoon. We saw some excellent woodworking and metalworking shops, barely resisted resisting temptation in homemade candy shops, and eventually found the incredibly fantastic Smoky Mountain Spinnery. I bought half a pound of absolutely exquisite merino/silk roving in her Sandstone colourway for $24, and had her put aside a few other things for when my next paycheck comes in. If this woman had a website, she would be a millionaire. She had buffalo and yak (I distinctly remember the yak, could be wrong about the buffalo, but I don't think that I am), at $19 for 4 oz. Order from this woman, her email is and she is wonderful. She even let us pet some vicuña - did you know something could be so soft that your hands literally don't register that they're touching it? It's one of those things that's so nice, I don't know if I'll ever buy it, because I don't think my current spinning skills can do it justice. It has inspired me to maybe pick up some guanaco this next month, though.

The drive back on thursday was much the same. I was able to sleep from Sevierville to Nashville, where we dropped TwinSister off again so she only missed one day of work. Then it was back, 15 more hours to Texas. Mom tried to plan more of my wedding, we discussed what superpowers we would want, what we would do if we won the lotto, and mom quizzed me for a solid four hours on why I don't sell my shawls, or only make things that I know I can sell, why I have hobbies that aren't centered around making money, how I could change those hobbies to BE centered around making money, and so on. It was a lot of "well mom, I do plan on selling patterns, but I have to get my name out there first, and free patterns do that really well" and a lot of "nobody's going to pay me what this shawl is worth, not even if I paid myself minimum wage" and a lot of "I do it because I enjoy it, and count my purchases as entertainment money, it's cheaper than getting cable and lasts longer". I specifically didn't compare my knitting to her child-raising, even though they're both something done for the love of doing it, doing it well is its own reward, and you're going to spend more money than you get in, even if somebody is paying you to do it. Some places you don't go with mom.

We got in at around 2 in the morning, and Sweetie picked me up around 3 the next day to head back home to College Station. It's hard being apart from him, even for just a few days. Our bathtub faucet broke, pouring scalding water by the gallon, so that the heat and steam made some kind of weird orange liquid seep from the walls, but the part to fix it won't be in until monday. I yelled at the apartment manager until she got someone in to at least tighten it up enough that we won't have hot bath water at all until then, which is much better in my opinion. I admit to being a little harsh, and I feel bad about it now, but it did do the trick.

So all in all that was my week. I'm still feeling antsy and odd, so I started spinning the roving I got from Smoky Mountain Spinnery. It's lovely, whites and pinks and beiges and grays, maybe the occasional light lichen white-green. It's spinning up very easily, so much so that I don't mind that it's not yarn yet, which is a problem I've had lately. I'm going to design a new shawl to knit with it, something simple, maybe faroese. It'll be nice to make a shawl for Jo.

Friday, September 28, 2007


Hey folks. I'm going to be a little late with the patterns. My mom called me up a few days ago and told me that my aunt Jo is dying. My cousins say she's got until some time next week, and they're trying to arrange the funeral for a weekend so all the out of state folks (like us) can attend. We were going to go and visit her this weekend, but she's already on so many pain meds that she's not lucid anymore, and isn't going to be. She's in hospice care right now. They're good people.

Turns out the colon cancer everyone thought was gone since the beginning of this year has turned into cancer of all of her organs, including her spine. So the pain meds are definitely a better alternative than anything else, including saying our goodbyes. I'm trying to not be angry when people tell me stories of non-lucid or coma-ridden folks holding on just long enough for their loved ones to come to terms with the fact that they're dying - "Because they know, they hear you, they know you're there" - even though I think that's a) full of shit, and b) cruel if it's true, since I wouldn't want aunt Jo or anyone else waiting around in pain for me to get my sorry ass together, and c) a really dickish thing to say to someone who's just told you she's not going to be able to see her loved ones while they're dying, and who has to ask for time off to attend the funeral of a woman who's not dead yet.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Patterns Forthcoming

Trying to figure out how to post PDFs. Coming soon.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Of Yarn and Harlots

I have seen the Yarn Harlot

And it was fantastic. The Cuddlefish is still incomplete - true to knitterly type, I thought that the space-time continuum would bend around me, allowing me to finish the fin (which needed to be re-done), the siphon (which just needs grafting, really) and all the remaining tentacles during the two-hour car ride from College Station to Spring. As it turns out, Twisted Yarns isn't that far from my parents' houses in Houston, which means I will definitely be going back if I can wheedle Sweetie into it next time we're in the area. I also got tips on locations for a few other yarn shops in Houston that are supposed to be a little more helpfull than Yarntopia. Don't get me wrong, I loves me some Yarntopia (I think they're the only Fleece Artist-having shop in texas?), but they do seem to be not as offering of assistance as many shops I've heard of. This, of course, makes me want to save up for a month or two (I will have that interim between when I'm paying off Galveston and when I start paying off my actual student loans) and hit every yarn shop between me and the coast. Must find friends to accompany me in this. Perhaps bribe Hastur with cross-stitch shops?

At any rate, I saw the Yarn Harlot. Sweetie and I left BCS around three, and since we were going to be traveling all day and I didn't want to be rude and break my fast while Stephanie was talking, I had food on the way over. This is the first time I've intentionally broken Ramadan, even though you're not supposed to fast while traveling anyway, so I'll be feeding someone some time this week to make up for it. Lucky for me college towns have no shortage of starving students.

So we arrived in Spring at around 5:00, found the school and settled down for a bit of a wait. We met two girls from Austin, one of whom reminded both Sweetie and myself of an old friend of ours; we (the Austin girls and myself) spied on other knitters to see what they were making; I got volunteered to go and ask about a few projects that looked especially interesting.

There was a lady working on the Print o' the Wave Stole from Victorian Lace Today, but I swear to you, she was using cobweb-weight yarn and what looked like size 0 or 1 needles. It was awesome. She didn't remember what brand the yarn was.

There was a girl around my age (which is 25-ish, if you wondered) wearing the Breakfast Hat. You know the one, with the eggs and the bacon and the peas? She was wearing bacon on her head! It was fabulous. We chatted together at the yarn shop later.

Then there was the girl in the Venezia pullover. When she walked in the room, fashionably less-early, you could hear all the murmurs spring up. She was gorgeous, the sweater was gorgeous, it looked just like the model, she looked just like a model, ohmygoodness, how long do you think it took to make, can you believe in this weather? So, yes. Instant street cred. Even Sweetie noticed. (as a side note, one of the Austin girls asked, and it took her five months to complete. Worth every minute. I hope she doesn't change size.)

And then, of course, was the Yarn Harlot.

She was smart, she was funny, and even Sweetie not only had a good time; he said that she was funnier than most stand-up comedians (which sounds bad, now that I think about it, but he listens to a lot of stand-up comedians, so that's high praise indeed from a non-knitter. He was even telling some of her jokes at work this morning, and wants to borrow my copies of her books. He already likes tatting and macrame. I may have to casually leave some needles and a how-to book in his cubicle). I know whenever I've read blogs in the past talking about listening to Yarn Harlot I've been frustrated by their lack of detail (and sound recordings, to be honest), but it really is so much fun and audience participation that I know I couldn't do it justice. I knit through a lot of it, as did much of the audience, but it was just the fin. Just garter stitch. Hardly knitting at all, and I often had to stop and double over laughing, or clap, or wave the Cuddlefish around in the air (if you've heard her speak, you know what I'm talking about). It really is an experience, and I highly recommend it.

After the talk, at Twisted Yarns, I picked up a mere two balls of yarn, one jojoland Harmony in yellows and oranges that'll make a nice, bright lace scarf, and one earthy red Hempathy for fixing a co-worker's sweater (I'll need to call this yarn shop and have them mail me a few balls of queensland Kathmandu; they had colors I can't usually get, and I do need to get on those baby sweaters before the kids are born). We stood in line for only a little while, having got there early, and the Venezia girl was right behind us. Turns out she'll be moving to Aggieland soon!

When we got up to see Stephanie, she signed both my copy of her book, and my Idea Book, which if you'll recall was also signed by Amy Singer and Jillian Moreno. It's got good mojo. Sweetie asked her if she could recommend a good Canadian beer, which she did, and which I'm going to try and find for him while he's gone fishing next weekend. I showed her my Cuddlefish, explaining how I'd somehow thought he'd be done in time even though that was obviously impossible, and she laughed and took a picture. When I explained that he was in fact going to be as anatomically correct a cuttlefish as I could manage, she told me, "you're crazy, which is not to say I don't like you a great deal, but you're a complete lunatic."

So I'm really hoping she happens to link to me. I'm going to post the patterns tonight for the Anya scarf, and link to finished photos of Galveston, just in case. I'd post Emma, but my sister never has gotten around to getting pictures of herself in it, and I made her promise to be the model. Seeing Emma this last weekend reminded me how much I really love that scarf; I may have to get working on one for myself.

In non-harlot-y news, and speaking of last weekend, after taking LittlestBrother to the museum to see Lucy (which was sold out when we got there, so we went to the regular exhibits, and will go again sometime soon; they had awesome "I love Lucy" shirts in the gift shop), I stayed the night (Sweetie went home) and my dad, LittlestBrother and I went and saw PrimaryBrother in Austin. What this boiled down to was about four hours of driving time where it was me and my dad talking, which led to the dreaded "what are you planning to do with your life" conversation. I told my dad my plans, which are cautious but optimistic, and mentioned as a side note that it would be amazing to start a woollen mill in Texas. He was actually interested in why this was, so I explained as best I could.

There's a lot of sheep and goats in Texas. Texas is the biggest producer of Mohair in the US, and we make a lot of wool as well. Much of this is in the Hill Country, as in Austin, where Sweetie and I would one day like to live. So far as my (admittedly internet-based) powers of research can find, there are no operational woollen mills in Texas. Ergo, folks have to ship wool out of state to get it processed, which is expensive and takes a long time. If there were a mill right in the middle of Texas hill country, I figure, people would have a shorter turn-around time for processing, could even drop it off in person to save shipping entirely, and the mill would have good business, what with all the sheep and goats. You could do it in a small space, like a barn, and it doesn't take a lot of people to run a mini mill, two or three can (and have) done so successfully. Plus, of course, I already know a lot of the venues for advertising, such as the wool festivals, and magazines, and Hastur knows a dyer in Houston who's been thinking of getting into yarn anyway, and I could design patterns for our yarns, which is a good draw, and if you put solar panels on the roof you'd have most of the energy you need, etc etc.

My dad thought about this for a while (I may have surprised him with how much information I'd spewed at him all at once; this has been known to happen on occassion) and said that in a year, his friend Hussain would have paid off a loan my dad had taken to help him start a business, and if I'd run all the numbers by then and it looked like a good business idea, he'd get the loan and we'd get some land and try this out. He recommended I try to find used equipment, and talk to other mill owners.

I'm super excited. I've already contacted the guys from Wooly Knob up in Indiana, and they told me to give them a call and they'd chat with me about starting a mill with two people and what it's really like. The thing I'm most concerned about (aside from financial feasibility, of course) is recycling the water from scouring. I found an equipment manufacturer ( whose scouring machine recycles 40% of the water used, which is great, but I wonder if there are other ways that could be better than that. Austin is right over the Edwards Aquifer, and water is a Big Fucking Deal in that area. You can't use too much, and you definitely don't want to be contaminating the aquifer. I read about a mill that was able to recycle 90% of its wastewater as lanolin and various forms of organic fertilizer (the pesticides being caught up with the lanolin, which the cosmetic companies then de-poison-ify), so I know it can be done. All in all I know I've got a lot more research to do, but luckily I have a whole year in which to plan both a mill and a wedding.

And with that, I guess I'd better get back to my day job.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Chugging Along

on the cuddlefish. The head is done, the mouth/beak is done, the siphon is done. I just need to pick up stitches around the mantle for the fin, and do the tentacles. I think I can have it done in time for Yarn Harlot. Expect photos (actual photos!) on Monday.

Monday, August 27, 2007

And Another Thing:

Quilts? Awesome. They make me want to knit afghans. Especially THIS ONE:





I live! Promise.

Sorry it's been so dead around here, folks, I've been so busy knitting (and frogging and knitting and frogging and knitting again) that I completely forgot to blog about it. Plus, I've been finishing up a couple of small side projects for/with friends. For example, Hastur and I are working on a cross-stitch for a contest in some magazine she subscribes to - I forget the one, but the prize is a cubic fuck-ton of hand-dyed silk threads by her absolute favorite dyer, dinky dyes. Something about their five-year anniversary, I believe ;) We designed it together, and she's stitching it up this week. I hope it makes it into the finals.

In other news, HarlotWatch continues! I have reserved three seats at the event, either for myself, Sweetie, and Hastur (who I am trying to convince to come with me), or myself, Hastur, and Meagan (if I can convince them to do a girl's day out). I'll be taking my littlest brother to see Lucy at the Houston Museum of Natural Science that weekend, so it should be good times all around.

In knitting news, not much is going on. I've tried two or three different types of cuddlefish eye-bulges before settling on the final version (you'll never guess how it works. I'm so excited), so now all I've got to do is actually finish the damn thing! Luckily, I've decided to start the mouth shaping just after the apex of the eye-bulge, so I'm ready for that now. It's good times. I'm so eager to show off the Cuddlefish, I don't know if I'll be able to keep him out of photographs so I can submit him to Knitty, or if I should just give in, post him everywhere, and submit him to MagKnits. Knitty seems to have a higher readership, and be a better stepping-stone to eventual author-dom, so I will resist the urge (like anyone's here for the photographs anyway, right?).

Anyway, that's all for now. I ordered some Mama Llama merino lace yarn, and it's time to start obsessively checking the mailbox, on the off-chance that the postal service was three hours late today. Sweetie says my belief in the six-o'-clock mail pixies is silly, but I think knitters know better than that. If you truly believe, then the yarn will come.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

It looks like the internet

is back up, for now. Sorry for the delay.

So I got a raise. How cool is that, right? I'm almost making as much now as I would have at the pathology lab, and I'm not cutting into dead things. A $0.50 difference per hour is definitely worth it for that, and I'm hoping it will help ease the blow to my dad when I tell him that I like my job and will not be looking for another one (in this city, at least) any time soon, even if it means he doesn't give me the car, which is what I'm betting on.

At any rate, knitting is going well. I started a pair of socks with some Louet Gems dyed by Cherry Tree Hill (beautiful gem tones), top-down picot-hemmed Jaywalkers with twined-knit heels (which takes forever, in case you were wondering, but makes a wonderful, thick, elastic fabric. Remind me to borrow Hastur's camera and post a tutorial on it), and guess what? I ran foul of the usual complaint with Jaywalkers: Too small. I can get them over my heels, but with major effort, so they're going to be undergoing some major surgery when I can bear to look at them again. I'm going to rip back to where I picked up for the gusset, snip the final row of cuff before I started the heel, provisionally cast on over the instep, and do plain stockinette down to the toes. Then I can pick up around the ankle, knit up a cuff with what's left, and yay! Socks. Just not socks right now.

Right now it's all Cuddlefish, all the time! I finally figured out what pattern I want to use on the head (staggered diamonds, the simplest thing ever, with lice patterns on bottom), so I've attached the siphon and started working in earnest. It should definitely be done by the time Yarn Harlot comes to Houston.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Internet at home currently dead

I'm working on the Cuddlefish, I'm working on some socks, and Hastur has got me designing some cross-stitch with her (who'd've thunk?). Also, got in some lovely fiber from the Painted Sheep. Sweetie's making beer tonight!

Friday, July 27, 2007

The First Step

is admitting you have a problem. I ...may have a small problem.

My name is Persian Pen Name, and I buy yarn.

This realization started yesterday, when I picked up an awesome glass-fronted cabinet off of Freecycle (which if you haven't checked out yet, you should, because it's awesome), and my first thought was yarn cabinet! So I took it home, cleaned it out, and set out to Organize The Stash.

Step 1: Centralize. All yarn that is not currently in the first yarn cabinet (now Cabinet Prime) is gathered in the dining room.

Step 2: Separate. It's yarn. It tangles. It happens.

Step 3: Wind. I hooked up the swift and ball winder to the cabinet (and how cool is it that I can hook up my swift and winder to my cabinet?) and wound like a woman gone mad.

Step 4: Stack. I've heard it said that winding your yarn into cakes before putting it into storage is a bad idea - that it stretches out the fibers, and you end up with a less fluffy yarn. I don't know if this is true (though it sounds convincing), but I will say this about cakes: they sure as hell stack better than hanks. I have made of my cabinet a veritable brick wall of yarn, completely unsorted by fiber, weight, or color. I am running out of cabinet, and still have plenty of yarn to stack. Do you know what this means?

I have two cabinets full of yarn. Two cabinets. Full. Of yarn. Just yarn. Not yarn-and-fiber, not yarn-and-whatever-else-you-put0in-a-cabinet-that-isn't-yarn. Plus, my approximately 10 lb fiber stash (admittedly, 5 lbs is still that one fleece I need to scour and send to Becky). Yarn Harlot talks of "wool blindness" affecting family members of knitters - being surrounded by so much yarn, they become so used to it, it's practically invisible. I think that knitters are maybe not immune to this themselves.

So I think I'm going to cut down on the yarn buying for a little while. I'm not going to say no yarn, because then I always end up impuse buying a few thousand yards of ColourMart Silk in a moment of weakness. And I'm not going to get back on Hastur's Challenge, because hey, I do need patterns to use up all this yarn! And of course, I'm nowhere near SABLE (I plan to live for a very LONG time, after all). But definitely I'll try and show a little more restraint.

I don't think it helps that I'm expecting both more yarn and more fiber in the mail soon.

Friday, July 20, 2007

HatlotWatch 2007

Day: 01
a) Knit 3000 stitches on Galveston Prime (check)
b) Put numbers on my schematic
c) Build the Rat Castle (check - not knitting related, but happy making)
d) Plot the final shaping of the Cuddlefish (check)

Thus begins HarlotWatch 2007. If successful, I will knit 3000 stitches a day for 55 days, culminating in one very finished Galveston Prime, in time enough to show off for the Yarn Harlot when she comes to Houston. In the event that I get Galvy done and blocked and can't get the day off, I will set fire to all of College Station and escape in the ensuing chaos.

UPDATE: In the interests of not upsetting the Margarita Provider, I hereby promise never to set fire to Hastur's house on pain on hangover.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Things are great

Except for the fact that Yarn Harlot's coming to Houston September 18th, which is not only a tuesday, it's a work day in my no-vacation-having probationary time. I wonder if I can swing something with my boss.

In other news, schematic! (no numbers on it as of yet)

Friday, July 13, 2007

Chugging Along

... on my Galveston shawl. Yup. Halfway through Chart C, after ripping back the point-shaping and border charts. It's sad to see so much knitting gone at once, but it's got that satisfying gut feeling you get when you're sacrificing time to do something right.

I think they call it insanity?

Anyway, seeing the near-finished Galveston shawls on Flickr and in various blogs has really motivated me to get crackin' on the original (Galveston Prime?) so I can hurry up and wear it already. It's still light enough that I can get multiple rows finished walking to and from work and on breaks, which is a nice feeling. I've ended up with an odd stitch marker system, though - my fancy-shmancy bead-and-wire markers at the beginning of the round and between each of the sections, and then cut up straw bits in between pattern repeats on the wave section. It doesn't really make the actual knitting easier, but it makes me feel good to count how many pattern repeats I've done, and it makes tinking back to fix mistakes a little easier.

In other news, Mr. Hastur came up with a great gaming idea, and we've been talking about it almost non-stop since tuesday. I don't want to say too much on it right now, but it might make me have to go buy one of those freakishly large 1" hex battle maps.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Herringbone Socks Finished!


As of yet there's no pictures of the finished socks, but hopefully Hastur will let me borrow her camera so I can post it here and on Ravelry. Ready for the rundown?

Pattern: Web Socks, by Erica Alexander (IK Winter 2005)
Yarn: Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock, chocolate. 2 skeins.
Needles: 2.00 mm/US 0
Modifications: Toe up instead of cuff down, short row garter stitch heels and toes, 80 stitches in the foot and 88 in the cuff, small gusset before the heel. 2x2 ribbing at the top, tubular bind off (which I learned for these socks).

Total knitting time: 2 months, because I'm easily distracted.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

I Loves My In-Laws

So, the Galveston loan thing? Taken care of. Sweetie's parents said that since they were planning to give us a large wedding gift anyway, they would help us make half-now amount, so I can pay off the other half and get some savings going myself. I am so grateful that the man I love happens to come from an awesome family. I'm going to have to start some serious christmas knitting this year for them! Come mid-August, it is all presents all the time for these people (at least until I finish, or panic, both).

This also speaks well for a smaller-scale wedding, which we're both still hoping for. Having to borrow several hundred dollars from people you're not technically related to yet goes a long way in the "I'm not buying dinner for three hundred people" department (not that we're inviting three hundred people or anything. Honestly, I'd like to keep it at less than 50 total, but I don't think that's likely. We both have big families).

So all in all, things are going splendidly right now. I've gotten in my first paycheck, and knowing how many hours were on it, I can now calculate my monthly income, minus bills, loans, food and savings, and I have enough left over for a modest yarn budget. If I could knit a pair of socks in two weeks, my stash would be in complete stasis.

Monday, June 18, 2007


Today I spent two and a half hours asking A&M Galveston why they said I owed them $2,000, why they hadn't mentioned this in the three and a half years I've been at A&M College Station, and how quickly did they expect someone who has been living paycheck to paycheck all her college life (and who, coincidentally, has not yet had the first paycheck of her post-college life) to get that $2,000 to them.

In short, the answers are: They fucked up and gave me money they shouldn't have, while leading me to think it was part of my student loans; They supposedly emailed me once, three years ago, on an email account I did not have set up but which technically existed on the campus servers; and half immediately, half in six months.

This last bit would be fine, except for that whole half immediately thing. I don't have a savings account worth the name right now, much less a grand to spare.

Grar. Now I have to get another loan, so I can pay off this amount, but in a sane amount of time. Fuckers are lucky I don't just declare bankruptcy on their asses.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Variations on a Theme

Socks. Say it with me now: Socks.

My world has been an explosion of socks recently. Sock patterns, sock pictures, sock knitting, of course. But more and more these past few weeks I've found myself designing pairs and pairs of socks. At odd moments: pair of socks on the bus to work, pair of socks while sitting down to dinner, pair of socks while watching a movie (if any of you are planning to go see the new Fantastic Four, keep a watch out for the Invisible Woman's brown sweater - it's only in one scene, but it's fabulous. I can't wait for a screen shot to come out somewhere, so I can finish scribbling down what I think it looked like).

It's all socks all the time over at Casa del Pen Name.

I'm almost done with Sweetie's herringbone socks (only 3 inches of cuff and a tubular bind off to learn for each one), and I've started a pair of Aran Sandal Socks as my reward for finishing Sweetie's pair, and of course I've a few other pairs I want to cast on for. Since I obviously can't knit them all in time enough to show you (a digital camera is on the list of things to buy with my first paycheck - any suggestions?), I'll probably make up the patterns and post them as free PDFs. Because I do so love a good sock. And I hope you do too.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Wedding Day Contestants

So, Sweetie and I are getting married, and the other day he remarks that he would "kinda like to wear a tux", which of course means that now I have to wear something that, you know, goes with a tux. I hadn't really entertained the possibility of wearing an honest to god Wedding Dress, and so I was really ignorant about the types and styles that were out there.

I don't know how many hours I spent in front of the monitor at Hastur's house, sifting through flickr and google, tabbing only images that I really, truly liked. Then I went through them all, noting which was the most prominent skirt style, bodice style, etc., and with that criteria in mind started checking out vendor websites. I think, after all this, that I've found my dress, hair, and bouquet. Please bear in mind that I wanted something simple, elegant, and frugal. We are still wanting to have a simple elopement and reception, and our biggest and most inflexible rule is that we absolutely cannot and will not go into debt from this wedding.

That said, here is my dress:

And hair that I like:

And a small bouquet that I like:

I really like the dress because the red and the beading remind me of persian wedding dresses, the style and color of them. It would clash just horribly with the lighter shades of henna, so I likely would not get much done, unless I was sure of a very dark stain indeed. And while the dress is expensive, $600 off the rack, it's much less so than other dresses I was looking at.

So if it should happen to be the case that I get married in a dress, it'll be one like that. What do you think?

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Meme from Mim!

I found a meme on MimKnits that I thought was pretty interesting. Here goes!

Bold for stuff you’ve done, italics for stuff you plan to do one day, and normal for stuff you’re not planning on doing.

Afghan/Blanket (baby)
Garter stitch
Knitting with metal wire
Stockinette stitch
Socks: top-down
Socks: toe-up
Knitting with camel yarn
Mittens: Cuff-up
Mittens: Tip-down
Knitting with silk
Moebius band knitting
Participating in a KAL
Drop stitch patterns
Knitting with recycled/secondhand yarn
Slip stitch patterns
Knitting with banana fiber yarn
Domino knitting (modular knitting)
Twisted stitch patterns
Knitting with bamboo yarn
Two end knitting
Charity knitting
Knitting with soy yarn
Toy/doll clothing
Knitting with circular needles
Knitting with your own handspun yarn
Graffiti knitting (knitting items on, or to be left on the street)
Continental knitting
Designing knitted garments
Cable stitch patterns (incl. Aran)
Lace patterns
Publishing a knitting book
Teaching a child to knit
American/English knitting (as opposed to continental)
Knitting to make money
Button holes
Knitting with alpaca
Fair Isle knitting
Norwegian knitting (I'm not sure right now what this means - I'll have to look it up!)
Dying with plant colors
Knitting items for a wedding
Household items (dishcloths, washcloths, tea cozies…)
Knitting socks (or other small tubular items) on two circulars
Olympic knitting
Knitting with someone else’s handspun yarn
Knitting with DPNs
Holiday related knitting
Teaching a male how to knit
Knitting for a living
Knitting with cotton
Knitting smocking
Dying yarn
Knitting art
Knitting with wool
Textured knitting
Kitchener BO
Knitting with beads
Long Tail CO
Knitting and purling backwards
Machine knitting
Knitting with self-patterning/self-striping/variegating yarn
Stuffed toys
Baby items
Knitting with cashmere
Knitting with synthetic yarn
Writing a pattern
Knitting with linen
Knitting for preemies
Tubular CO
Freeform knitting
Short rows
Cuffs/fingerless mitts/arm warmers
Knitting a pattern from an online knitting magazine
Knitting on a loom
Thrummed knitting
Knitting a gift
Knitting for pets
Knitting with dog/cat hair
Hair accessories
Knitting in public

Friday, May 25, 2007

Superimposed Knitting!

I'll admit it: Sometimes I think I've learned all the genres of knitting. I know cables, I know lace. I know intarsia, I know fair isles. I know mosaic, I know double-knitting. I can knit english and continental, or both (though I suck at combined). I can knit forwards or backwards and even knit back backwards. I can do twined knitting, or two socks at the same time. Considering the relatively short amount of time I've been knitting (my first project is only two years old, after all), this seems like a pretty damned arrogant stance, but I tend to be really good at crafts, and I love to research new techniques. I've checked out more knitting titles than I can remember - not all that are on the OCLC database, since some just aren't available through interlibrary loan, but more than I ever expected to find. I don't own many knitting books, but the ones that I do own are solid, and my library now stocks a good collection itself.

I say all this, again, not to sound arrogant, but to explain. I've seen a lot in knitting.

So when I see an entirely new technique, I am both startled and thrilled.

Fleegle recently (and by recently I mean April, but I just ran across it last night) had a guest-post explaining superimposed knitting. Superimposed knitting! Imagine it! One fabric, made with two yarns held together, temporarily becomes something like a tube, with one solid color in the foreground and another in the background, then comes together again. Brilliant!

So of course I'm having to try it. I've got a ball of's lace weight in a green tea and a lavender, and I'm swatching it up as another Emma Frost scarf. The colors have the same value scale, so it should be interesting to see how they turn out. Imagine it! A garter-stitch scarf in blending colors, with bright green lace diamonds on one side, and purple stockinette diamonds on the other. It should be a very happy scarf.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Fuck Yeah!

Ha ha. I interviewed yesterday, and I start tuesday. Life is sweet.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Not Much Here Today

I got the last clue of the Galveston shawl up, for all shapes and sizes. It's actually one of the few clues that have been on time so far, so I'm fairly excited about that. I still haven't heard back on any of my jobs - I'll be going by the library tomorrow to "just say hi" and maybe hear something on the interviews. I'm worried about coming on too strong - I could be just "in the neighborhood" to pick up some GRE books, which I do need to do anyway.

In knitting news, Sweetie's birthday socks are going well. I've turned the heels on both of them, in what I think is an interesting way.

I started out with 80 stitches (I'm doing these in Lorna's Laces Cocoa on size 0's - have I mentioned that before?), but Sweetie wanted a garter-stitch short-row heel to match his garter-stitch short-row toe. I usually have trouble doing such a heel on only half the total stitches - 9 times out of 10, it's too shallow, and with the garter stitch base, this would be one of those times.

So what I did was put in four gusset stitches on each side before doing the heel. That adds another 10% to the heel's depth, and since Sweetie's got giant man-ankles and his socks are in a ribbing pattern anyway, I can do another repeat of the stitch pattern and not worry about having to decrease. Hooray! Now all I've got to do is the cuff. He hasn't actually told me how long he wants these, so I'll do about two inches or so on each of them and have him try them on again. That way I'll know if I need to do any calf shaping or not :)

Like I said, though, not a whole lot else going on. I got in some Knitpicks sock and laceweight yarn. I had forgotten how much I liked their stuff. I'll have to order from them again once I have a job.

Sunday, May 13, 2007


Well, it's been a full week now since we lost Cricket, and an amazing fuckload of stuff has happened.

First off, Heed tested positive for the coronavirus that causes FIP. This is exactly what we expected, so we're not too worried. He's still only got a 1 in 5000 chance (according to our resident pathologist) of developing the mutated version.

Second, I graduated! It took three hours of sitting and knitting while an old man called out peoples names, followed by about five minutes of walking and smiling. Sweetie's birthday socks are approaching the half-done mark, I've turned the heel on one and am starting the gusset increases (toe-up socks, 8 sts gusset, then short-row garter stitch heel) on the second. This doing two socks at around the same time thing really works great!

Thirdly, dear Hastur has added to our family. Today we took home a pair of sweet little girl rats, Out and About. They're very young hooded blacks, littermates, and Hastur personally handled each and every rat in town before selecting the very sweetest and most sociable. I love Hastur. Having the two little girls will not only give Heed something to do all day (he loves to watch rats doing their thing. It's like youtube for him), but having little ones to take care of makes me feel better about Cricket, as well. It's not in any way a replacement kind of thing, but like we're giving them the good home he should have had - like we're taking them home in his honor. Plus, it was a special occassion.

What occassion, you ask? Well, only the best thing I could think of. Sweetie and I agreed that we weren't going to talk seriously about marriage until we'd both graduated, and we held to that. When I walked on friday, he waited exactly one day, and then asked me to marry him.

(I said yes.)

So this weekend, all in all, I got a degree, a fiancee, and two little mouths to feed. All in all, the best weekend of my life.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Goodbye, Cricket.

Hey everyone.

Sunday morning we lost our youngest cat, Cricket. He was a year and a half old, and we had had him for almost a year. He was a rescue from the Brazos Valley Feral Cat Alliance, a maine coon mix who'd been found on a construction site only two months before we took him home. When we got him, he was aggressive to other animals (and none too keen on people, to be honest) with a meow that sounded like someone was stepping on his tail no matter what. When he left us, he was a loving boy who would head butt you for attention, was sweet to our older boy
and even good around small dogs. His meow had changed to a chirping sound, and he had a purr you could hear from the other room.

We came home yesterday to find him behind Sweetie's bed. He didn't suffer. He hadn't had any symptoms except some weight loss we had attributed to a change to indoor-formula cat food, a brand that was thankfully not on any of the recent recall lists. We have a friend who works in a veterinary medical diagnostic lab, and she was able to get him taken in for a necropsy while we had the other cat checked by a vet just in case. Our friend called monday to tell us that it looks like Cricket had Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP), contracted before we took him home, for which there is no cure. The most we could have done would be to make him happy and comfortable in his last year, and I like to think that we did that.

Chances of his passing it on to his big brother Heed, our five year old dumb-as-a-brick siamese mix, are very low, but we are taking him in tomorrow to be tested. If he rides out the next month FIP-free, then he will probably be fine. We've quarantined the old litterbox area and set up a new one, and are in the process of disinfecting the entire house (which won't help at all since Heed's already been exposed, but if I don't do something physical I'll go nuts). To read up more on FIP, please follow this link:

I'm not very religious, but I'm praying for Heed. I know it sounds silly to ask a bunch of near-strangers to keep a housecat in their thoughts, so I won't. All I ask is that you tell the people and animals in your life how much they mean to you.

Thank you.

~Persian Pen Name

p.s. Update on Heed: While we were getting Heed's bloodwork done for the FIP test, the vet noticed that his urine specific gravity is "on the high end of normal or the low end of high, depending on how you look at it". We got it checked again a few days later, and it was the same, so that rules out just being stressed that day. This isn't too big of a deal, since he's a very large cat anyway (16 lbs) and at better health (aside from the possible FIP) than he's been at in years. It just means he needs a more kidney-friendly diet, so we're switching him to a special wet food, which he'll love.

Heed's always been very good about not going to the bathroom where he's not supposed to. When we go on trips, the first thing I do is show him exactly where he's supposed to go, and he always lets you know if for some reason he can't get to it. So at the vet's office yesterday, all he was supposed to do was have some blood drawn, and at some point, pee so it could be tested. But our little polite boy, not having been shown by me where it was okay to go, held it for ten hours straight (complaining the whole time I'm sure). Eventually they had to go in with a needle and extract some urine, and we were allowed to take him home - where the first thing he did was go use the litterbox.

He may be dumb as a brick, but at least he's considerate.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Ascended and the King of the Foolish Man

That was the title of a spam email I received this morning. I thought it was hilarious, and may use it as the title of a story :)

In other news, I graduate next week! I'm all done with my final paper, it's turned in (twice), Sweetie's picking up my cap and gown, and I have absolutely nothing left to do except clean my house for all the family coming over. Crazy! I am about to become the first member of my family to graduate from an American college. The only thing I can think about is that I want to rest a few months and then be back in school. It is going to have to wait, though, at least a year. Come June, though, I get to start studying for the GRE and looking into application dates for the schools I want to get in to. Good times!

I'm also writing up a resume tonight for the histotech position. I figure I can start the week after all the graduate-y goodness, or maybe (luxuriously but probably unlikely) the monday after that. If I do get actual time to spare, I'm thinking of catching up on some of my more nerdly things - organizing my stash, getting all my patterns updated in my Access file. That sort of thing.

Also, congratulations to Sue at Snail Spirals and Hastur Torres for being my 2000th and 2005th page views, respectively! Special things will be winging their way to each of you in the mail this weekend.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Watch Your Page Counter!

We're rapidly approaching 2000 page views since I set up the counter; if you happen to be number 2000, or 2005, take a screen capture and let me know! The six o'clock mail pixies just might have something special in store for you ;)

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Holy Crap!


Guess where I went this weekend? Austin, ergo, Hill Country Weavers.

Guess who was at Hill Country Weavers this weekend? Amy Singer and Jillian Moreno! How awesome is that?

So, I totally geeked out. I asked them to bless my idea book, and also sign it; photos of this will be up as soon as I can get a camera. Then we sat down, and had cookies and beer (I refrained from the beer), and I was working on Galveston and Jillian said "Wow! Look at that lace!" and I got to show it off to them. I'm almost unreasonably excited about this.


Friday, April 20, 2007


Wow. This has been a tough few days since my last post, and it looks like it'll be at least another week of the same.

The schoolwork has boiled down to two final papers - one comparison of a film to the story it's based on, with original thesis, to be as long as needed to back up the thesis thoroughly, and one semi-symbolic paper, 8 to 12 pages, with original thesis based on a particular (very small) novel, citing at least 15 sources in the novel to back up your thesis, and how it all relates to the law and literature movement as a whole.

Neither of these, you may notice, are psychology.

So while I find the ideas interesting, I'm having to fight lethargy and the neccesary but so far nonexistant planning for the actual graduation weekend (making and sending invites, getting reservations, knowing how many to reserve for, et all).

So what's a girl to do, but take a weekend road trip? Austin, here I come!

Thursday, April 12, 2007


So this friend of mine, she works in the Histotech lab where I hope soon to also be, and she likes to text message her buddies when they get in unusual or amusing animal parts at the lab. So this one day she texts her buddy 'ZOMG HORSE PENIS'. Ever since then, it's been kind of a catch-all phrase for those moments that blow your mind.

See a car explode? ZOMG HORSE PENIS.

Perfect stranger proposes to you? ZOMG HORSE PENIS.

100 people join your mystery knitalong? Well, I'm sure you get the idea.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Holy Crap, 50 People!

The second clue is up now, and the cat's out of the bag construction-wise. Yes, my center-out square spends an intermediary period as an octagon! The triangle moonlights as a ... very lopsided hexagon? Regardless, the presence of the rays and triangles (or jetties and ocean, as they are meant to reflect) has been revealed. The jetties have always been my favorite part of the beaches in Galveston, and they were of course the starting point for my shawl.

In other news, I have over fifty members now in the GalKal! I know it's nowhere near the number of participants in most other knitalongs, but I personally am floored by the number of knitters who've decided to take part in the knitalong. Seriously, take a moment and think about it - fifty people. Fifty strangers, fifty names-with-no-faces, fifty individuals with their own lives to be going about, are working on my shawl. Maybe some of them have cats who "help" like Heed and Cricket do - maybe they have dogs, or children, or significant others. Maybe there are rocket scientists and doctors and stay-at-home parents and not-staying-at-home parents. Maybe there's even a robot. Regardless, the one thing (aside from knitting in general and access to the internet) they have in common is my shawl. Robots and all.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

W00ty w00t w00tness

So, the GalKal is going great. The first clue is up, the key is now also up, and the second clue is ready for this weekend. I've already knit up to the end of the second clue and will be blocking it out tonight, to further refine the sizing of the chart. I'm still very excited about all of this. I can't wait to unveil the secret of how the triangle shawl is constructed with this next clue.

In other news, I applied for the fantastic histotechnician job, and hopefully I'll hear back about that soon. I know I was grumbly in my last post, but Sweetie and I talked it out and everything is fine again. We're both going to be applying to anywhere we can, and see where that goes. I, personally, am hoping to get this job and stay in town another year. I'd be able to pay off my smaller loan entirely and start on the big one - what's not to love about that? Also, I hope to discover interesting new shapes and colors in the slides (I find inspiration in odd places sometimes), and design much more knitting!

For now, though, I'm off to class. Whee!

Friday, March 30, 2007

And We're Off!

Well, it's official: The TKAL has begun! I've posted the materials list, and am converting the first couple of clues into PDFs. I don't want to get too far ahead, in case of unforseen mistakes, but I do want to be prepared in case I get swamped with extra homework (and what is up with assigning extra homework the same day as a 12 page paper? What is the deal with that?) which I'm expecting semi-weekly until the end of the school year. I'm so excited about this shawl. I've cast on for it (again) myself, and I'm already into the second chart. It would be nice to get to knit along with my own knitalong, after all :) It's really the only pattern I'm working on at the moment - Frost Flowers is great and all, but it's a heavy son of a bitch, and I'm paranoid about my math not working like it should in Galveston.

In other news, I think I might be awesome-ing myself out of a job. I mainly do stuff like returning books and asking for money for books we've returned, and ever since we stole a cataloger to do our ordering we haven't had a lot of mistakes to return (fancy that, someone who knows what they're doing is doing things correctly) so I'd been set to check out the massive backlog of stuff we hadn't gotten money for. There were hundreds of books in this, from dozens of vendors, with prices ranging from the trivial (less than $15) to the massive (I don't know what about a book justifies a $500+ price, and I don't think I want to know. Maybe it's printed on solid gold?), and this has been what I do all day for the past couple of months.

Now? There are about twenty where we're just waiting to receive the actual check from the vendor, a few where I've got their people checking up on the info I've sent them (I am great at this. I provide definitive proof for everything. There can be no conclusion but to send me all their dollars), and two - exactly two - where I have been playing phone-tag with the ladies in charge, leaving and receiving messages like please give us money and and sure we'll give you internal credit and did you not hear the part where I said cash? I'm sorry, but two phone calls, no matter how entertaining, do not an eight-hour shift make. So I've been doing lots of little things, like running errands, and getting coffee, and hey-do-you-need-a whatever the fuck. That this happens to coincide with my work study grants being generously doubled (I'm so hardcore, I use up all funding in half the time) and my serious need for extra hours frustrates me. I need to be getting in about 150% of the hours I'm scheduled to work in a week. I need to get those hours and put moving money into savings. I have become an absolute beast around the house because Sweetie does not seem to be worried in the slightest about this, has made NO plans for the move, has made no plans for if we CAN'T move (which will happen if he isn't offered a sweet deal pretty damn quick), and keeps applying for positions in places where I can't go to school.

I have told Sweetie that I am taking exactly one year away from school after I graduate this may. This year is to be filled with a full-time job and studying for my GRE's, and reading research and kissing ass at whatever school I'm trying to get into. There are certain things I need for this, such as a full-time job and a school both within reasonable distance of public transportation, as I have no car. A friend of mine is working in a lab that offers $10 an hour for what I used to do for free in the rat lab: slicing frozen organs and putting them on slides. Evidently the careful placement of guts-based deli meat is a skill high in demand? And after a year, I'd be able to take a certification test, which would let me make $30 an hour doing the same in a hospital! I want a job like this! I can do a job like this! Plus, full time experience in a laboratory setting? Helps the FUCK out of grad school. Plus, I like where I live, and I like the people in this city. I don't want to leave here, but if I am, it had damn well be for something that will put me where I want to go.

I guess we're having a talk later tonight.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Galveston Mystery Testknit-a-long!

Last night I set up the yahoo group for the Galveston shawl. I'm really excited about this - I've never run a KAL before, I've never made PDFs before, I've (officially) never designed a shawl before (okay, so I backwards engineered Icarus until I could find another copy of the pattern, but I really don't think that counts).

So the membership is going to be completely open for the first week, then I'm restricting it (so you have to ask to get in - just to keep the spambots and such out, you know) and putting up the first clue. I'm hoping to swatch more during this time - I've been focusing on Frost Flowers for Meagan, and it's making me wonder if I ought replace one of the stitch patterns for something simpler. My kingdom for a jellyfish!

At any rate, if anyone else would like to join you're certainly welcome:

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Oh, And By The Way...

Crazy Adventure (Overview)

Here is how things ran down.

On friday, we awoke entirely too early in the morning and Sweetie drove Hastur and I into Houston. We checked our luggage (they didn't ask to look into any of my carry-on bits) and got on the plane fine, there was flying and sleeping and we watched Happy Feet. I give it a resounding meh.

Contrary to my expectations, we did not crash and die, and settled into Hastur's parents house with relative ease. Hastur's mom's dog tried to eat three balls of the Baby Silk I'd brought for Frost Flowers (a little eulacan and they were fine, very little loss of yardage. But I do hate that dog forever), and every time I started on my homework Hastur's mom would strike up a one-sided conversation, but otherwise it was okay.

We saw the aquarium (I got a stuffed octopus) and the zoo (stuffed Hippo for Sweetie) and met up with some very nice cross-stitchers. I met Dani from Canada, and Jill, and a very nice lady whose name I cannot remember for the life of me because I have the memory of a goldfish (who's also a spinner, and I'll be sending her half of that giant Beaverslide fleece I got ages ago - I think her online name is branch52?). It was good times. We also drove around San Diego like hoodlums, met up with Hastur's most bestest of friends (who's a really cool person and has a very sweet cockatiel who likes neck scritchies). We went to Trader Joe's, which is a great place, and I wish we had one in Texas, and then we headed home. This took two days total, one night stopped at a friend of Hastur's, the other driving the entire time, from noon saturday to 9 a.m. sunday, at which point I came home, gave Sweetie a kiss, and slept like the dead.

I wasn't able to get as many souveniers this trip as I might have liked. For example, though orange trees were abundant, I couldn't afford to get one for my dad (sorry dad!), though I was able to pick up a small California Poppy. I'm a little nervous about this, since I have something of a black thumb, and plants around me tend to die horribly, often through strange accidents. But I got the two stuffed animals for Sweetie and myself, and thanks to Hastur's ability to scent out every craft store in the tri-state radius we found a little knit shop!

I picked up the infamous Peacock Feathers shawl from Fiddlesticks, and the new Addi Lace needles (size 4, 24", my old standard) and I've got to say I love these. The new finish on them makes them more grabby than my wooden ones, so they're easier on my hands, but not so slick that I'm doing acrobatics to keep them from falling off, like tends to happen with me and metal needles. They're just the right amount of pointy (for now, but I'll likely try those KnitPicks needles when next I get a chance), and the join of course is perfect. They weren't kidding about that flexible cord, either! If you like lace, I think it's worth it to at least try one pair of these needles. I'm giving them a sort of trial by fire, and casting on for Mountain Ash :)

All in all, the vacation was fun, but it's good to be home. Heed and Cricket's fleas have mysteriously dissapeared in the week I've been gone (it's about damn time that advantage kicked in, in my opinion), so there's been lots of good snuggle time. Right now Heed's curled up on my blanket, finally asleep after his arduous week all by his lonesome with Cricket and Sweetie and lots of guests over to give him affection. It's hard to be a cat sometimes, eh?

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

LACE (like that's any surprise)

So, today I have given myself the task of deciding which yarns/patterns/projects I am going to pack in my carry-on for the Crazy Adventure that starts on Friday. I'm going to need good plane knitting, good walking around being a tourist knitting, good showing off the mad skillz to the x-stitchers knitting, and good driving back for three days while listening to audiobooks and having wonderful conversations knitting. And, in case of an emergency, a backup project.

Luckily, plane knitting and driving knitting are pretty much the same. It's sitting-in-one-place-forever knitting; I'm thinking Frost Flowers and Leaves, which has gotten to the point that I simply can't work on it without sitting down. This is sadness for me.

Tourist knitting and mad skillz knitting I may also be able to combine. Two socks at once is pretty damn impressive, and portable to boot. So, of course, is fair isles, and I have been wanting to start on those Norwegian Stockings for a while now. Shawls in their younger stages have all the benefits of lightness and mobility while still being pretty damn cool, and I do have a couple of brilliant silks on cones that are nice and droolworthy.

Have I mentioned I got in a pair of patterns? Raku Suri and Misty Morning, both from the Alpaca Yarn Company.

So today I go stashdiving. It makes me wish I had more handknit socks finished, so I could show off a different pair every day. Sadly, this will have to wait until my rough heels stop eating my socks in less than a week. A week!

Friday, March 02, 2007

Someone Asked Me

where I like to go to buy yarn online.. Here was my reply - a kind of informal review of some of my favorite sites.

Depends on what I'm making and how I can pay. I have a good LYS, so for workhorse worsted, I just go to her, and buy online the things she doesn't carry.

Usually all I have is paypal, so I go with for my luxury fingering weights (they make a nice fingering yarn, I really like the baby silk). It's really good stuff for quality-looking jackets and tops, it looks like it'd cost a fortune in the store :) And they often have discounts on other brand yarns.

If I want a good DK or a pure wool fingering weight , I have to either acquire a credit card or send a money order for KnitPicks (I really like their Merino Style DK, and for stranded colorwork their Palette is awesome, it forms a nice solid fabric). KnitPicks has some good laceweights too, but they tend to be on the thinner side even for laceweights, except for their Bare (undyed) merino laceweight, which has good bounce to it. I really like their Bare laceweight, it makes a soft, fluffy fabric with good stitch definition and enough weight that you don't have to worry about a stray breeze carrying away your scarf :) Plus it's super cheap, so it's also a good practice lace yarn if you're not used to working that thin, and it grafts well.

If I'm wanting something quick and cheap, but still colorful and fun, I go for, they've got a good singles laceweight that's on the thicker side, and 900+ yards for $6 is a helluva deal. Everyone loves a $6 shawl, right? They've got great colors, but be sure and wash the yarn and/or finished item in a good wool wash since a lot of color will bleed (thought it doesn't appear to actually change the color of the yarn?) when you do. Still, they're fast to ship and have great customer service; I had two hanks of yellow that didn't quite match even though they were the same dyelot, I emailed the company to ask if they had more I could buy and hope to match up, they sent me an extra hank for free, and followed up to see that it matched at least one of the ones I already had (it did). The colors aren't always how they look on the pictures, but I bet you could email and ask ahead of time if you're all that worried about it, and for $6 a ball I'm willing to allow some wiggle room. Since they are singles yarns, they are a little fuzzier a than a two-ply would be, but it evens out into a homey sort of halo and it's easy to graft (though if you're spit-grafting on your jeans, remember the dye will run). I made an Icarus shawl with one skein of theirs, and I love it. Also, their yarns are handspun by a women's cooperative in Uruguay, so there's good work being done there.

If I want a larger amount of laceweights (can you tell I buy mostly laceweights?) in a flat-out luxury fiber, I go to or ebay seller colourmarkuk (same folks). They have good cashmere and silk yarns at good prices; they're mill-ends so they might be on a few smaller cones, but they'll wind multiple plies for you for free if you want a thicker yarn, or twist them into a balanced yarn for a little extra. This is especially great with their 2/28 laceweighs (that's two ply, 28 meters per gram of the single ply, so 14 meters/gram of the two ply - trust me, it's a very tiny yarn) that will drive you nuts while you're working with them (my size 3 needles are too big for this yarn. Time to make a shawl on sock needles!) but for a finished project they are absolutely stunning. It can be hard finding a color you want, but $16 for 2000+ yards of pure silk is worth it in my book. I haven't tested them for colorfastness yet, but be aware their cashmere yarns still have spinning oil on them - this makes them stronger and a little stiffer while you're knitting with them, which I like personally, but some folks don't care for it. Either way, it washes right out, and then it's soft as a cloud. You will want to pet the cone.

There are a couple of other good places, if I can remember where they are. Etsy often has great deals, I know I get great undyed yarns from a seller called StickChick, $20 for 2200 yards laceweight alpaca, and she's really good about answering questions and even putting stuff aside and special ordering (at least for me she did, anyway; I needed 2000 more yards of her natural tussah silk yarn for a shawl and she was able to get it to me within two weeks, including the time it took for shipping and for my check to clear). Aim for $1.00 per 100 yards if you can for laceweight, and you're getting a good deal. Etsy has a lot of other sellers, lots of hand-dyed, handspun, handpainted, and otherwise handled yarns. ChewySpaghetti reserved a green lace yarn for me, she's a bit pricier than I normally go but the fiber content and the colors were worth it. Don't be afraid to ask people for extra pictures, Etsy is full of nice people and often they'll oblige :)

As far as specific brands go, FleeceArtist is one of my personal favorites. It's not as good of a deal yardage-wise, even with what I get, which is the handmaiden angel hair yarn, 800 yards for about $22-$25, but since it's mohair you can use a bigger gague so it kinda evens out. Their colors are awesome. You can't even imagine until you see them in person, the way the light plays on it is truly spectacular! There are a couple of places to get that, mostly I do ebay, and if I want a solid color mohair I do the louet brand kid mohair/nylon blend. That's like $5 for 500-ish yards, so it's cheaper than kidsilk haze and can substitute for it. Hell, the FleeceArtist is cheaper than kidsilk haze, though, so I'm not sure if that's saying much.

Anyway, if you have any other questions, feel free to drop me a line any time :)