Life is a Beach

Thursday, 25 March 2010 11:26 pm
mutantenemy: (geek::pirates cooler than ninjas)
Or at least it was yesterday. Today was "Gonna enjoy the stormy spring weather by writing, reading, and knitting in my PJs" day.

My dear friend Hedwig, every year, takes the week of her birthday off. And every year, she treats herself to a day trip to the beach. More specifically, Lincoln City. And for the past four years or so, I've been able to accompany her on this little adventure.

The gods were definitely smiling down upon us as the skies were blue and the sun was practically obnoxious with its rays. We high-tailed it out of town, with Starbux in hand, early in the morning and arrived at the coast just before 10AM.

First stop? A little yarn shop we discovered last Spring. She acquired some lovely lace-weight yarn, while I picked up some beautiful yarn to knit into a pair of phoenix coloured socks. Heh-heh.

Second stop was none other than Crystal Wizard. Stones, tarot cards, incense, wands, anything a metaphysical practitioner needed, they supplied. Each time we visit we're not sure what to expect. Sometimes we only stay for about fifteen minutes, others we've been known to peruse the wares for over an hour. Yesterday we split the difference.

Lunch was had at the most famous chowder house in the PNW, Mo's, and then it was off to Depoe Bay for whale watching and YARRR pirates! Yet when we arrived, Hedwig noticed a new little store called "Things Rich & Strange". Not ones let an intriguing name pass us by, we popped inside and were greeted with the most classy and high end pagan products we've ever seen.

Not snobby. Not ostentatious. At first glance, one assumed they were walking past an independent art gallery. Yet upon closer scrutiny, if one was educated in symbols and mythology, it was very pagan. Well, okay, and maybe some of the Scott Cunningham and crystal reference books gave it away too.

But not everything there was of the shiny or spiritual bent.



I fell in love with this little guy right away. I transformed from a well poised customer to a dribbling geek squee in a matter of a nanosecond when I first saw him. So, of course, I took another photo of him.



(clickenzee to biggenzee)

Finally, Hedwig and I came to the final part of our trip -- the walk on the beach. Weather was gorgeous. Company was fun. The wind was insistent. And, I got to show off my new hat that I finished last week.



Espresso Yarnings

Wednesday, 27 January 2010 03:20 pm
mutantenemy: (knit::yaaaaarn)
Yarn of the Day: "When confronted with a drizzly, gray day, knit something bright."


24/365

Lacey Prayer Shawl

Wednesday, 27 January 2010 02:52 pm
mutantenemy: (knit::i knit so I dont kill people)
Last week was our Knitting Guild's first meeting of the new year. As is per their custom, it was time to show off projects which encompassed the theme of 2009: Lace. They had two categories for entry -- Novice and Experienced.

"Do they mean our knitting skills in general or are they referring to lace experience?," I whispered to Suz.

"Lace experience," she answered.

We both submitted our entries into the Novice category and to my surprise, out of the 80-90 members of the guild, only 30 women participated. I assumed there would be more as Lace was quite the popular technique to learn last year.

Once all the entries were on display it was time for the vote. Neither Suz or I won, but we weren't expecting to as there were some amazingly GORGEOUS lace creations. Some were very intricate, others used bold displays of colour, and the Novice piece which won was a blanket with pineapples on it. The Experienced winner was a luscious brown lace shawl with beadwork. Stunning.

Finally, they also offered a drawing to those who participated. They wanted folks to feel they had a chance to win something. Three drawings, three prizes. Guess who won the third and final prize? Yup! I was beyond stunned as I approached the front of the room to unwrap the last gift. Out of the tissue paper I pulled out a skein of scrumptious sea green mohair yarn and a scarf lace pattern called "Fallen Feathers". How perfect! *laughs*

My prayer shawl in full length is roughly 5' - 5'.5" feet long.

22/365

Close up of the intricacy.


Even closer, and crappier, shot of the draping effect of the shawl.


All that is left to do is attach tassels and it will be ready for a ritual or festival.
mutantenemy: (knit::i knit so I dont kill people)
I was so wrapped up in my new knitting project, I almost spaced on doing my daily entry.

The shame.

So. What new knitting project, you say? Why it's a prayer shawl. I originally was working a lace pattern but about half way through I goofed and had to frog the whole thing. It wasn't too painful. Now if I had over 40" of it knitted, yeah, I would've been heart broken.

With a fresh start, I decided to go for a different lace pattern and today I started that. Fairly simple, but not so exceedingly simple it puts me to sleep in the middle of a knit or a purl.



The index card I use to write down my lace pattern is offered by Levenger. Very, very handy when I want to simply put my project in my day-to-day bag and not wish to haul around my massive knitting basket full of yarn and pages of patterns.
mutantenemy: (Default)
Well, after almost a year of knitting caps, a prayer shawl, a cell phone cozy, and a plethora of charity blanket squares, I have ventured into new territory by making my friend this Yule gift. I present to you the Master of all Chaos!! )

I am very, very proud of how it turned out. So much so, I almost didn't give it to her last night at the Yule party. LOL!
mutantenemy: (knit::knitting frenzy)
One of my dear enabling friends and I decided to dedicate this past Saturday to just us gals.

We started the perfect 70 degree weathered day visiting a little yarn shop in Multnomah Village. I found this out-of-view shop a few months ago. Many times I have visited the Village to check out Annie Bloom books, Starbux, a cute kitschy shop, and the most cool toy store ever. Yet I found it peculiar that such a crafty district would sport its own bead store and quilt shop, but NO YARN??

Blasphemy!

Then I remembered there was a backstreet I rarely traveled down. So one afternoon, I struck out on an adventure to see if such a yarn store existed. It didn't take me long to find it, for within a few breaths my eyes beheld a black sign with white letters simply advertising "YARN". Praise be to the Enabling Godz!!

NW Wools is a cute, very well stocked, and charming hole-in-the-wall store. I took Hedwig there so we could drool, gasp, and fondle all the beautiful blends of yarn NW Wools provided. After about an hour, we accomplished our mission of finding the elusive White Elephant gift for our knitting retreat this coming weekend.

The Spring Retreat is a yearly event held by our local knitting guild. Out by a river is a beautiful place where 25 of us will be spending our time knitting out in nature and being spoiled by scrumptious meals created by a cordon bleu chef. This retreat has no schedule, no classes (unlike the Fall Retreat). We bring our stashes, our needles, our wine, and our projects and simply enjoy a pleasant weekend crafting out to our heart's content.

Next stop was another yarn shop, All About Yarn, where I had to pick up some circular needles for a hat project I wish to start. Our final destination for the day was a matinee showing of "Wolverine." You see, Hedwig and I love Hugh Jackman. He is full of YUM and me being a comic book geek, he fulfills my needs more than just eye candy.

The film was fun; not a masterpiece. We thoroughly enjoyed his shirtless moments, his barrel chest (DAAAAAAAAMN), his form-fitting jeans, and white tank he wore in 80% of the movie. Yummy. I also enjoyed the special effects, the action, and an honorary nod to us comic aficionados. Heh.

Overall, a splendid day of drool worthiness all around.

Cross-posted to LiveJournal. Heh.

A WICKED Good Time!

Sunday, 5 April 2009 02:52 pm
mutantenemy: (elphaba::smirk)
Yesterday was spectacular.

Beyond awesome.

Dare I say it was a megolithical day, even though such a word doesn't exist, it darn well should! )
mutantenemy: (knit::have bag will knit)
Last night I attended my first meeting with the local Knitting Guild. A couple times a year members are allowed to bring a guest, so my dear friend Hedwig invited me to tag along.

We arrived a half hour early, which was darn good strategy because we were able to secure two perfect seats before the chairs filled up with over 70 women. Women of all ages and backgrounds flooded into the room; each with their bags of yarn in hand, ready to knit. And knit they did! I don't know how they do it, but they were able to carry on a conversation while performing the most intricate of stitch patterns without nary a hiccup or slipping a stitch.

I have only been knitting for roughly 3 months and I've completed two projects: a washcloth and a kitten blanket to donate to the Cat Adoption Team (C.A.T). These amazing crafters were working their nimble fingers on sweaters, neckwarmers, shawls, quilt swatches, jackets, brimmed hats and the two hottest trends in knitting right now -- socks and lace (but not together! lol).

Looking in my knitting bag (a cute crescent shaped, blue and white basket with bamboo handles Hedwig donated for my stichin' cause), all I had to pull out was my current concept of a Prayer Shawl. Simple pattern of K3, P3 in each row and then alternate so you are knitting the purls and purling the knits. As I said, simple. Although it has to be because while I knit, I meditate on what the purpose of the prayer shawl will be and I am not experienced enough yet where I can execute a complicated stitch without concentrating. The muscle memory is not there...not yet.

I'm using worsted weight yarn rather than the bulky 5 the pattern recommends as I want it to flow and drape with ease. The colour is a slightly shimmering heather gray which portrays just the right amount of silver without being flashy or overdone. Nicely subtle. Plus, it's acrylic because I want the shawl to be washer/dryer compatible and some of my friends are allergic to wool. If this shawl ends up being made for one of them, it won't go to waste.

The first half of the meeting had a delightful woman giving instruction on Lace 101 (everyone knits on their current venture while she lectures on the pros and cons of knitting lace). She brought pieces she had finished and they were so beautifully intricate! I was stupefied she made a delicate, five foot long, lace shawl in a MONTH. Noticing my gaping mouth, Hedwig leaned over winking, "You can so do that, hon." I shook my head silently in disbelief. "Yes, you can. We BOTH will," she declared as she playfully poked me with her circular needles.

After the class, it was break time with cookies and juice and pastries and water. Standing up I realized very quickly how I stood out. Not just as a knitting noob. Not just as one of only a handful of women my age. Nope, because I literally stood about two heads taller than 98% of the women there. LOL!

Everyone was very welcoming and pleasant. Knitters are famous for their sweet enabling of others and will help you along without nary a bat of an eyelash. As I waited in line for juice and sweet nibblits, I surveyed the room and took a gander at what tools these women preferred to use. All of them used circular needles; there were no straight needles in the house. I also saw bags of all kinds from small plastic totes, to self-standing, to handled baskets, to beach totes, to quilted bags, felted bags and even a few that were small carry-on bags with WHEELS. These women were serious!

During the second half of the meeting, it was Show And Tell and nearly all of them, when holding up their spectacular finished pieces, mentioned they had more in their "studio". Studio? Granted, it could be a spare bedroom, a walk-in closet, an office, or a giant plastic bin in the garage. Regardless, it demonstrated how dedicated these women were to their craft and how much they love doing what they do.

By night's end I was very excited and quite inspired to dive deeper into this new world of Crafty Knitters. Or Stitchin' Bitches. ;-) Some women just started and some have been doing this for over 30 years. I cannot wait to learn what they know.

Hedwig asked if I enjoyed the evening and when she received an enthusiastic reply, she asked if I wanted to become a member. "As an early birthday present, I will pay for your first year's membership." SQUEE!! I filled out the required form and Hedwig wrote the check as she explained how many times they meet, when they meet and some of the perks being a member will bring (especially with some of the local knitting stores --- DISCOUNT!).

I am beyond thrilled. Between this and my Shamanism instruction, I feel very fulfilled creatively, spiritually and craftily. To quote one of the new knitters, 'there's no turning back now.' *snerk*
mutantenemy: (knit::i knit so I dont kill people)
After weeks of frantically producing an insane word count for NaNoWriMo, this past weekend was a wonderful change of pace. Friday night I read by a roaring fire. Saturday Himself and I headed over to The Maul to get him some new glasses from Binyon's. To my extreme relief, The Maul at 10AM is rather quiet with little bustling and I was able to score some rock star parking.

We window shopped a bit first where I drooled over a $4 Jack Skellington ornament at the Disney Store; checked out any sales at The GAP; and to appease Himself's curiosity we looked over the frame selection at LensCrafters. Let me tell you about the good LC -- they think they're New York. I cannot remember when they did their image overall, but when you waltz in there nowadays, you are greeted by a CSR dressed head to toe in black and donning funky, thick glasses (not prescription, I'm sure). The layout is glass and black and the frames are just .... well ... they are unimpressive. Some were simply downright hideous, like frames large enough for a 80 year old socialite to wear. Eesh.

So we traipsed to the other side of The Maul and hit Binyon's where we found at least five pairs of frames to put in the "maybe" bin. I simply pulled frames off the rack and would hand them to Himself; not really sure if they would work or not as I was learning his face shape. Round or rectangular? Wire or plastic? Going up towards the ends or down? Gold or brown? We were down to two pairs which he rated 5/10. At one point we got desperate and went to the Women's section where everything he put on was quite funny but a big no-no. LOL! Finally, one last round to the Men's section and William absentmindedly grabbed a pair of black wire, something we had consciously stayed away from. He pops them on, looks at me and asks, "What do you think?"

Silence.

"Wow. Those actually look REALLY GOOD on you." Colour me stunned. And that is the pair he went with. Picking out glasses is a long process as it is something which will be attached to your face for the next 2-4 years. So you want it to look good, but you also want to enjoy them. Himself went with his gut and in my book, that's the way to go. :-)

Saturday evening was very delicious as Himself made me my NaNoWriMo Winner Dinner: a steak and artichoke, with a side broccoli slaw salad (grilled pear, candied walnuts, berry vinaigrette). He then kept to his NaNo promise and gave me a luxurious foot rub with a hot water soak, scented oils and deep massage to boot. It was very nummy. I should write novels more often than once a year.

Sunday was errand day. Did some grocery shopping, bought a stocking for Jameson as this will be his first Yule, and checked out Joanne Fabrics to see what they had for the holiday season. Not much. I found myself idly walking down the fabric isles of cross stitching and friendship bracelet making and suddenly I was thrown to a memory at [livejournal.com profile] innowen's house.

Two months ago thereabouts, I was making a portable altar out of an Altoid tin. And I was only using things I could find as I forgot to bring any supplies. *artist face palm* But it worked out beautifully as I used remnants of old fabric, charms and even rocks from her garden for my artwork. One instance, I was sitting outside in the sun, braiding three sections of fabric together while we talked and I distinctly remember how much my fingers loved being used for crafting. To literally work with my hands. I had forgotten how much I had missed it. For years I've done writing and collage paper art. Much fun was had. But in school I always got a thrill with working with clay or any project where I was not drawing but literally creating with my hands themselves.

So, with memory firmly in place and with some trepidation, I ventured into .....yes .....you can see where I'm going with this, aren't you? I went into the YARN/KNITTING aisle. So many odd looking tools I had no idea what their uses were for; pretty shades of spun wool and cotton; and a plethora of books regarding how to teach yourself or patterns to try. Eeep. My Dad taught me how to knit when I was ten because his mom taught him. But I had not picked up a pair of needles since then.

As I was hemming and hawing over what to do, a very pleasant young woman in her late 20's asked if I was looking at the Learn To Knit Kits for myself or for a friend. "Me," I gulped. She beamed.

"That was me last week!" And I immediately noticed a bundle of yarn selections stuffed under both her arms while holding her basket. The young woman was restocking. "This might sound odd, but the best book which helped me I found at Border's in the kid's section. It's Knitting for Klutz and comes with everything you need for the projects they have. Cost $16.00." She even went out to her car to fetch me the book.

Okay, Universe, let me check it out. I went to Border's and they had two versions of the book. One with a cute little bag to hold your needles ($24.95) or one without ($16.95). I went for the less expensive one.

Last night after I did dishes and vacuumed, I sat down and proceeded to relearn how to cast on a needle. To my astonishment, after reading the first 3 steps of 7, my fingers remembered and began stitching, stitching, stitching. I squealed. LOL Turn the page to actual knitting where it transfers from one needle to another and I stumbled a bit with the diagrams until the A-HA moment arrived and soon I was KNITTING!

Tonight I shall learn how to purl.

Where is this going to lead? I have no friggin' clue. Fortunately, my very good friend Autumn who lives a yarn ball throw from me has been doing this for a few years. She is quite eager for us to get together so she can teach me some fun techniques and also have a knitting companion. :-)