29 April 2012

A Long Time Comin'

Well, it's been a busy weekend Chez Ravell'd Sleave.  Yesterday was the 2nd Annual Faux Knitting Get-Together, held at my house.  I did this last year (you probably guessed that from the name of said event), and it was apparently a big hit, so people were asking me when it was happening again this year.  The reason it's a "faux" knitting event, is because some of the people are knitters, and some are not - but through Facebook, some of them wanted to meet each other, so I created the event.  I had a great time, and I think others did as well.

Needless to say, today we are all just taking it easy.  Jetsam, Pip, and Dug are exhausted (they were very busy yesterday!), and The Tim is at work, so I got some laundry started, and picked up my knitting while watching the Phillies lose.  (sigh)  Last year, after I made the cozy for my Nook Color, The Tim asked if I would make one for him.  And like most things, I took months to get around to it.  Then I started one that was allegedly a Christmas gift, but didn't finish it.  I did finish it last month, using a different pattern, and decided it was horrible-looking.  So I ripped it out, and started over with the previously used, tried and true pattern.  By now, The Tim had a Nook Tablet, but the size is basically the same.  He requested charcoal gray for the color, which was harder to find than you'd think.  

Anyway, when I picked it up today, it turned out I was only about 4 rows from the end - what an eejit!  But I finished it, wove in the ends, and added a really cool button that I had found on sale weeks ago at Loop.  I think he'll be pleased.  
This is closer to the true color of the yarn ...

Tim's Tablet Cozy 1

But you can see the cable up the middle better in this photo.

Tim's Tablet Cozy 2

And is this not an awesome button?  It's perfect for this - win-win!

Nook Tablet Cozy button

Details are here on Ravelry, for anyone interested.  If for some reason you are dying to see the details, and don't have a Ravelry account, let me know and I can send them to you.  (But if you are a knitter, you really should have a Ravelry account - it makes life so much simpler in so many ways, and it's free ...)

27 April 2012

Furball Friday

Baby Pip on his very first day with us

22 April 2012

Earth Day

Love your Mother

20 April 2012

Old Photo Friday

The other day I realized that a couple of years ago, I had scanned a lot of old family pictures for one of my nieces for a family slideshow she was preparing.  I love old photographs, particularly when I know someone in them, or some story about them.  So I decided to share some with all of you. (Aren't you lucky?)

The person on the right in this picture (the villain?) is my father.  He loved singing and any chance to be dramatic, being a true ham at heart.  This is everything I know about this one, but I'm sure this "production" was stellar ...

Have a good weekend!

15 April 2012

A Little Melancholy

And not because it's Tax Day here in the U.S.!  Though it does make things that happen on or near this day easier to remember, for better or for worse.

On this day in 1865, Abraham Lincoln died.  I am one of those people who has found him to be a fascinating, if somewhat tragic figure, all of my life.  Over the years, The Tim and I have visited many of the sites that deal with his life and death.  When you go to his home in Springfield, Illinois, you truly get the sense that he might walk in the door at any moment.  At Ford's Theater in Washington, DC, one of the things you can see is the contents of the pockets of the coat he was wearing the night he was assassinated.  Humble things - not what you would expect a President to have in his pocket, especially today.  I find Lincoln to be an inspiration, because I think he was a flawed person who strove to be the best he could be.  (And personally, I don't think he was gay.  Nor do I care anyway.)

Then in 1912, the Titanic sank on her maiden voyage across the Atlantic.  I remember when the latest version of the story came out, James Cameron's "Titanic," that what struck me the most was what was probably a pretty accurate depiction of the last moments of regular, ordinary people - those who for whatever reason could not or would not go onto the deck to see if they could get into lifeboats.  The elderly couple lying next to each other on the bed holding one another close, and the young mother reading calmly to her young children - I find that the poignancy of those scenes has stayed with me all of this time.

Years ago, The Tim and I were in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and visited a cemetery where most of the rescued victims were buried.  The things that stayed with me were that first of all, there were so many graves.  And so many of them were marked with this information only:

("241" stands for victim #241)

Though it sounds odd to say so, visiting the cemetery was a somewhat comforting experience - the people of Halifax cared enough to make sure that these unknown people were laid to rest in a beautiful spot, where they were at least acknowledged and counted.    I always hope that there was some way that their families knew they were safe and cared for.

And then last year on this day, my sweet Doughboy died after a brief, unexpected, and very serious illness.  I think of him every day, and miss him so much.  He would have been so thrilled to know Dug, and Dug would want to be his best friend.  (Though I realize that if Doughboy was still here, we wouldn't have Dug.)  I like to think that Doughboy is happy that Dug is with us, since he can't be here every day for us to hug.

I'm sure there are many other things that happened on any given April 15 - and plenty of them were/are happy occasions.  Every day can be someone's best day as well as someone's worst day.  I like to think that it gets balanced out over the universe.

I apologize if reading this has made you feel bad, as that was certainly not my intention!  But I've been thinking about all of these things all day.  Maybe that's a good thing, as it has made me actually stop, think, and feel.  Nothing is forever, and though I don't think it's worth obsessing over, I think being reminded every once in a while is not a bad thing.

10 April 2012

The Short Version

I am not a person who claims to be "fashionable" or "well put-together."  Which is not to say that I am not interested in my appearance.

Part of my appearance that makes a huge difference to me is my hair.  As a child, I longed to grow it and have beautiful, lustrous curls.  I was certain that my mother was evil, as she insisted it stay relatively short, and forced me to endure home permanents that always ended with me looking like a poodle.  (Though she was always pleased.)  When I was old enough to be responsible for it myself (meaning I could wash and comb it myself), I was still sure that I would someday wake up with amazing hair.

My mother had extremely thick, wavy hair.  My sisters each had thick, wavy hair.  My mother and middle sister's hair color was dark brown.  My oldest sister had auburn hair.  My hair was fine, stick straight, and blonde.  Much later in life, I realized that I inherited the kind of hair my father had.  As a child, this did not occur to me, since he always wore a crewcut.

So anyhoo, at a certain point in my life, I accepted the fact that a) my hair was straight and would always be straight; b) that it was so fine, when it got any length at all, it would separate on my scalp, making me look like I was on the express train to Baldville; c) even though I want my hair to look AMAZING, I am not willing to spend time working on it for such a result; and d) when it is the least bit warm, I cannot stand to have it on my neck or face.  This led to the realization that short hair was for me.

For any female readers I have to ask - have you ever tried to get a nice, short haircut?  You'd think you were heading to the stylist and asking them to cut open one of their veins for you.  I've decided that I really like short hair, and that, especially during the summer, the shorter - the better.

The problem?  Finding a stylist who will give me a short haircut.  I have been told at least 100 times that if my hair is too short, people will mistake me for a man.  My response is, if they do, that's their problem, and I.Don't.Care.

Ah, but the stylist does.  And every time I read about women with short hair, it's as if they are somehow diseased, or trying to reconnect with being a little girl.  The writer usually assures us, the readers, that said women will (phew!) be growing their hair long again, so they can look better, and more feminine.  I even had a female friend tell me once that "all women look better with long hair."

Don't even get me started on that one.

So, besides recent stylists that I have tried, quitting work when they have a baby, I've been searching for someone who will just cut my hair short but leave me looking human! As a bonus, if they did not take it as a personal affront, that would be nice too.  I am astonished that it's so difficult - and this is in a large city with a bazillion salons of every type.

This past Friday, I tried salon #4086.  I walked in, told the guy* what I was trying to do, and guess what?  No grief about short hair!  As a matter of fact, he said, "Well, with summer coming, we'll work on getting it to look good and be short."  I wanted to ask him if it was a set-up or something, since he was offering no resistance, and did not take it as a personal insult that I wanted a short haircut.  But I decided to just go with it, and see what happened.

He took a previous butcher job (complete with bald spots!), and actually made it all look like a hairstyle.  Then he said, "I fixed it up as much as I could, but as it grows in, we can work on getting it to look nicer."

I love him.  And I have short hair.  And no more bald spots from bad cutting.  Please do not wake me if I am dreaming.  Unless you are going to compliment me on my SHORT HAIR.

*The last time I had a person who "got" me who cut my hair (or did any other things with/to it), it was a male.  I forgot this until last Friday.  Coincidence?  You be the judge.  

08 April 2012

04 April 2012

As Promised

The quilt, it is finished.

And the back:

I am thrilled with how well it turned out, and anxious to try making another one.  If you have a chance to take the Beginning Quilting Class at Spool, and the teacher is Ashley, SIGN YOURSELF UP!  She is not intent on making you create a perfect quilt to her specifications - rather, she wants you to choose the fabrics that you like, and pay attention to the instructions and her demonstrations.  Every single time someone (including me) would be upset or freak out because they made a mistake, or it "didn't look right," she would say, "This is quilting.  You are supposed to enjoy yourself, and it will be fine.  Trust me."  Every single person in our class (six in all) had a beautiful quilt at the end, and wanted to try it all again. I've taken plenty of crafty learning classes, and there are usually always a couple of people that you just know will never, ever try to do the thing again.

I have some other knitting and sewing projects that I want to finish up first, but it won't be long until another quilt is in the works here ...

01 April 2012

Not an April Fool

Happy April Fool's Day!  March was such a great month for me (it usually is) that I kinda hated to see it go.  But April means April Fool's Day, Easter, and getting the garden ready for spring.  I'm not much of a gardener, but I love planting flowers and herbs (The Tim plants crops on our deck and roof), and this year I want to fix up the garden.  We used to spend a lot of lovely time there, but then we got lazy, mosquitoes took over, and it got messy.  So I want to make it an outdoor space that we can use again.

But before we move into April, I wanted to tell you about the class I took a week from yesterday.

If you have read this blog regularly, you know that I am a sock knitter - big time.  And I have no problem with dpns (double-pointed needles, for the non-knitters out there), actually I like making socks with them.  But of course, people use circular needles now as well (called "Magic Loop"), and I've wondered about that technique.  Having the chance to try knitting two socks at once was something I just wanted to learn about.  So when Melissa Morgan-Oakes was here in town at Loop, I signed myself up for the Learn to Knit Two Socks on Circulars workshop.  (They had one the next day about knitting two socks at the same time from the toe up.  I can barely knit one sock at a time, using the toe-up method.  But I digress.)

I had heard of Melissa Morgan-Oakes, and actually kinda felt like I knew her from Facebook, where she was a friend of Carol's, and a regular commenter.  She sounded pretty funny, and also like an interesting person.  I must admit that this chance to take a class with her seemed like it would be a good experience.

There were about 16 of us in the class, and the day itself was kinda dreary, so it was a good day to be inside, knitting.  Melissa was better than anticipated, both as a teacher of a complicated technique, and as an enjoyable person.

And knitting two socks at a time on a circular needle?  Challenging, to say the least.  But she took us all through each step until everyone got it, and by the end of the class, all of us had a cuff, leg, heel, and beginning of a  foot on two tiny socks!

Two tiny heels!

Two tiny socks ready to finish the foot!

By the end of the day, I felt so proud of myself, for having two small items on my needles that actually looked like socks!  It made me think of when I took a class to learn to make socks in the first place, and how amazing it was to watch a tube turn into something that actually looked like a sock!  Such a feeling of accomplishment, you know?

Do I think I'll start knitting socks this way all of the time?  Well, I want to try one regular-sized pair, in the same yarn (rather than two different yarns, so you can tell the difference between each sock on your needle), but like I said earlier in this post, I don't have any problems knitting socks with dpns.  Who knows, maybe it will depend on how I feel when I start any given pair of socks.  I don't know.  

I do know that I'm frogging the pair of Graydon socks (see #4 in that post) I have underway, and using the yarn to give a plain pair a try using this method.  That pattern turned out to be a yarn hog, and I wasn't really pleased with the heel construction used.  So they have been languishing for months.  I think they have been waiting to be my first attempt at two socks at once on a circular needle, and who am I to disappoint them?

I will tell you though - if you ever have a chance to take a class with Melissa, do not pass Go, do not collect $200 - get to your LYS or wherever the class is offered, and sign yourself up!  Not only will you learn something in a comfortable setting, but you will enjoy spending time with her.  

And as the subject line to this post indicates, that's no April Fools' joke!