Friday, April 20, 2007

The knitter myth

People have a false notion that knitters are quiet, timid people that sit and rock and knit, all gently and elderly like. At the very least, we are quiet and mousy, hiding behind our spectacles and diligently clicking and clacking our way to the end of a tea cozy. Since learning to knit I myself have discovered my inner sociopath. I am not above threatening somebody that I will poke them with a needle if they bother me or cross me in any way. In fact, I have been known to do just that if DH irks me. Sure, I don't poke him hard enough to leave a mark, but still. I have stopped knitting long enough to poke DD with the free needle and say "Go get ready for bed, you". Now, I don't HURT her but boy does that tick her off ROFL. I have even been known to poke Ruby as well (purely accidental. You take your chances sitting on the lap of a person knitting with four needles, all with points on each end). I was knitting in a local fast food joint while DD played, and a boy about the same age approached and started asking me questions about what I was doing. Then he asked "What will happen if I pull one of those out?", while pointing to a DPN holding 1/3 the stitches for a sock. I smiled nice and wide, and answered "Why, I would take one of the OTHER needles and poke you with it!". Got rid of him right quick ;). I was giggling to myself when I noticed DH giving me a look, and I said "What?!?! I was just kidding". But we all know, I would have done it. BWA HA HAAAA! I have heard people say that knitting in public is an anti-social thing to do. The fiber equivalent of putting on headphones while somebody is talking to you. It is a billboard saying "Don't talk to me, I don't want to be here, I am bored and need something to do". Now, that is pure nonsense. Because I can tell you first hand, it is IMPOSSIBLE to knit in public and be left alone. Everybody and their brother cross the room to make "funny" comments (which usually are NOT funny and NOT original, BTW), or ask questions. Usually a demand to know what you are making. Sometimes I tell them, sometimes I make something up. For example, if I am working on a sweater body I might say "A sock". Or if I am working on a sock, my response is "I would tell you, but it's a bit x-rated and I embarass easily". One time I was working on a washcloth and I had a woman convinced it was one half of a bikini top. For myself. Then I pulled out the lumpy beginning of some i-cord and a bit of spare yarn and said "I've already finished the bottoms". Her face said it all, and I found it hilarious. I could see her picturing me in such a bikini, and looking rather revolted actually. Because I have an odd sense of humour, I found this funny rather than offensive. I did let her off the hook, and came clean (har har, get it? Washcloth? Come clean? Ahhhh yeah). My all time favourite, was claiming to be working on a "willie warmer" for my DH and I hope to goodness it is big enough because I am running out of yarn. I was ACTUALLY working on a bright pink tubular scarf that called for a strand of yarn along with a strand of fun fur. The poor lady looked as though she wasn't sure if she should blush, leave, pass out, or hang around to see the man that would wear such a warmer ;). And believe it or not, it is VERY unusual for me to use a word like "willie" in mixed company, which made it even funnier if you ask me. I finally did explain it was a scarf, but by then her sense of humour had kind of run out. The illusion of mild mannered knitters sitting at home, in a rocking chair next to a fire with a cat on their lap? Sure, it would be nice. But more likely we are the ones laughing loudly, poking people with our needles, shoving each other out of the way at yarn sales, and flashing tattoos of yarn balls and needles and flames and stuff. We felt ourselves skully purses out of pink and black yarn, every item we own is cosied (but in a cool way), and even THINK about bashing our yarn stash and you are taking your life into your own hands. We are knitters. Hear us roar!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Let's talk poop

I am a member of knitty board - the conversation side ofthe e-zine "Knitty". A while back I followed a link to a blog, and immediately added it to my favourites. "Ask Poops Please" is funny and witty and I have come to learn that knitters are some of the funniest people out there. Plus, she sent me YARN! That is right. I won a contest on her site and she sent me a skein of "Noro" Silk Garden. Now, Noro is an animal I have heard of, but never seen in person. I can't buy it locally (that I know of) and I have learned to covet it. Along with the coveted yarn, she sent a pattern for a knitted cowl that takes - you guessed it - one skein of Noro Silk Garden yarn! She is so good to us LOL. And she didn't even complain when she found out the shipping would be INTERNATIONAL. Such a sweetie. When I start something (the cowl? Or maybe something else?) I will put up a picture but right at the moment I am too darn lazy to get the camera and pose the yarn and *deep sigh* stuff. Links AND pictures on the same day? Don't think so. I have started on the second pedicure sock. It calls for casting onto a larger needle (or two needles together) to get a nice loose edge, but truth be told that in itself was keeping me from starting. The cast on is fine, but the first round is a pain in the ass because the loops are too large for the smaller needles (you cast on to a larger needle then transfer the stitches across three smaller DPNs) and if you don't hold ALL THREE NEEDLES they slip right out. AARGH. Want to hear me say some extremely bad language? I mean shockingly rude? Make a sailor blush? That first round will do it. And seeing is it is in K1 P1 ribbing, it makes it that much worse because you move around more, making it harder to keep holding all three needles. And yes, I am a whiner. Speaking of whiners. Now, far be it for me to criticize another human being. And reality shows aren't exactly fine art. And I know that editing allows them to portray whatever charicature of a person they want, regardless of what the person is really like. I am a loyal addicted watcher of America's Next Top Model. I don't know why, I just am. I am also shamelessly addicted to Project Catwalk, Project Runway, Survivor, Hell's Kitchen, Pussy Cat Dolls, and Top Chef. Train wrecks, all of them and I cannot look away. I typically try to refrain from the daily reality tv star bashing that goes on over the internet. After all, these are real human beings with feelings and families, and who we see on the screen is not who they ARE. Mean comments are hurtful. But I have to say one thing. BRIT. STOP. WHINING. An excuse for anything and everything. Her hair hurt. She was in a car accident as a kid and has no short term memory. Every week, even when she does well there is another excuse anyway. It has come to the point that when somebody gives me an excuse, I do a Brit impression. While sobbing and whining I will say "It's not my fault. My hair? It was hurting? And the sun got in my eyes. And seven years ago I stubbed my toe-SNORK *wipes snot with arm* - and one time, at band camp......" - which invariably starts my DH in a laughing fit. She wants to be a model, yet makes no attempt to so much as brush her hair before the judgings - even now that the "tracks" are out. Saying you couldn't model because you were distracted by your hair - to a woman who probably had fake hair sewn onto her head since she was a toddler - and you aren't going to get much sympathy. When she explained about her accident, you could see it in Jay's face too - "Oh. Just another excuse for a poor performance". If you suffer from short term memory loss, there are ways to get around it. Tricks to help you learn things or retain things. After five years, she should know SOME of these tricks. She should have asked the person holding the cue cards to move behind the camera so she could look at them without having to avert her eyes or turn her head. And why look UPWARDS like you are trying to remember? DON'T try to remember, the cards are there to use so use them. I won't get into Jael (whom I love love love and she looks like a model when she is just standing there, but the minute a camera is brought out she goes down hill). If there are things you need to do your job, it is your responsibility to make sure they are carried out. Standing here and whining like you are entitled is not the way to win. Oh, and Natasha? One more shriek, scream, or squeal and I am going to kick you. Squealing and jumping up and down when you don't even know what you are screaming about? For 12 year olds darling. Meow. ;)

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Mary Mary, quite Contrary

Okay, not very contrary. But in the comments, Mary requested to see more RUBY. Of course, I would love to indulge that. I set out with camera to snap some cute puggy shots. Do you think Ruby was having any of it? No. She hid under the desk and refused to look towards the camera. I managed to coax her out using a treat, but had to use my hand to get her to look up. I have no idea what her issue is today, but she is sulky to the max.This is the best I could get.

I long to kiss that flat little nose, but alas. She won't let me. I suppose it must smother her or something, but still. She HATES kisses. If we make kissing noises at her, she either runs and sits just out of our reach, or gets belligerant and wants to fight. Is it wrong that we love to rile her? A riled pug is quite hilarious. They huff and they prance, and they do pug attacks and pug runs. There is a lot of snorting and snuffing and snotting. Hilarity abounds, when a pug is rilified.

Let's see if there are any older pictures that bear repeating.

This is my all time favourite picture of her. Not only does she make a cute bunny (who knew a dog that was a piglet could make such a cute bunny), but she was actually liking the costume until she realized we were laughing AT HER. Then she gave me this pout. I nearly wet myself.

If I were the type to send Easter cards, this is the picture I would put on them every year. We still have the hat somewhere, but when we take it out she disappears under the desk. Smart doggie. I mean bunny.

Remember what I said before about living with attention whores? This is perfect proof. Ruby does this when she wants my attention. She sits on the steps at eye level and stares at me through the spindles. Sometimes she squeezes her little face between the pickets too. I guess DH and DD thought she had a good thing going.
So Mary. Is that enough for now?

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Mashed potatoes for dinner

No, not mashed potatoes WITH dinner. Mashed potatoes FOR dinner. I am having one of those days. I have two work projects running behind because of last minute urgent requests. I have some regular maintenance that has been delayed but needs to be done as soon as it can be, which makes me insane. Dh is on afternoons, so I have him over my shoulder all day doing his version of "look at me, pay attention to me". Between him, the dog, and my daughter, I am surrounded by attention whores. I finally get rid of him, and the dog starts. Now her new thing, is bothering me while I am on the phone. She must have learned this trick from my daughter. She can completely ignore me for an hour, but if the phone rings she is in my face instantly. On two separate work calls today, Ruby walked all over me like a mountain goat, fell on me from the back of the chair, and snuck up behind me and made a huge snort right into the phone. Then she pulled my hair. I have temporarily moved my laptop into the living room (I love wireless) to get away from the TV that DH insists on blaring all day long. I can't tell you the glee I exhibit when he leaves and I press that OFF button. Unfortunately, it makes me vulnerable to pug attacks and cat burglars (you know, Xena steals. I lose on average four pens per day). Add some assorted family drama on both sides, more health woes that are too boring to even discuss, and some overall work stress that I am not ready to write about yet - and you get mashed potatoes for dinner. Now, in my defense, I made them with skim milk and mine were mixed half and half with cooked broccoli and garlic and sauteed onions. And *cough* romano cheese *cough*. That and a tofu dog. Well, part of a tofu dog. They were pretty gross. I know for a fact that there used to be a brand of tofu dogs that were GOOD. They looked like hot dogs and tasted like hot dogs and behaved like hot dogs. I cannot seem to remember what brand that was, because this is the fifth package that is being donated to my grandmother to give to her dog. I offered a piece to Ruby, and apparently piglets don't eat tofu because she snorted then rolled on it. It could have been worse, she could have peed on it I guess. These tofu dogs looked and smelled promising, but they had an odd rubbery/gritty texture and somebody was a little trigger happy with the liquid smoke and fake garlic seasoning. I cooked them according to the suggestion on the back. If you make them according to the suggested or preferred method, and they still suck? That is bad news, my friend. Now I am sorry I didn't save that five bucks and get the nuggety things I like instead. DD was a good sport and gave it the old college try, but she didn't like them either. She had a few slices of black forest ham with her VEGGIE-LESS mashed potatoes. So for what it is worth I have indulged my potato longings. I am not supposed to eat them so try not to, but sometimes you just have to give in. What if I get hit by a bus tomorrow? Do I want my last thought on this earth to be "I wish I had eaten potatoes one last time"? I can't live with that possibility. It is the same reason I keep buying disgusting tofu hot dogs. I am convinced one of my life quests is to find the ones I remember liking. Of course, the day after I do find them they will be discontinued, or I will be hit by that bus. Or they will discover they cause nostril cancer or some horrid thing. That is how it works for me. But for the time being I will plod on, eat potatoes sparingly (and always before a big trip or a flight - you know, in case I.....well in case, that's all), continue my search for tofu dogs that actually taste like food, and keep them out of my nose.

Monday, April 16, 2007

The problem with surprise knitting

I like to surprise people with knitted gifts. Nothing large like a sweater (gawd, I would have to plan two years in advance to get that done), but little pieces with a lot of thought. My sister for example, loves to get pedicures. But she also has the same nerve problems I do after her back injury/surgery and in her case needs to keep socks on her feet or suffers horrible foot cramps. What better gift for her than a pair of pedicure socks (also called peekaboo socks. Basically a sock with the toe part missing and a little strap to keep it in place)? That way after the scrubbing, descaling, and jackhammering of her footsies (tee hee!) they can slip these on before starting her polish. She can come and go in her flippity flops and no foot cramps in sight. Now, I know generally what size feet she has. And the pattern looked basic enough to have some give to it. And I am not an overly tight knitter, so that helps as well. I figured I would just choose her size range and hope for the best. Since there are no toes, there is a lot more leeway in fit, right? So I am halfway done the first one and really liking my progress so far. I have finished all my decrease and shaping rounds, and now it is just the race to the toe. Or the "un-toe" as it were. And I see these words: "Knit even until 6 cm before desired length". Ahem. What exactly is my desired length, please? Is it from the heel until where I want the sock to end? Is it 6 cm before the end of the toe? I can find charts to convert basic shoe sizes to foot lengths in centimeters or inches. But I have as of yet to find a chart that says "6 cm before desired length is x centimeters". I can't exactly go measure her foot, seeing as she knows her birthday is coming and having a knitter grab your foot and measure it is a dead give away. I can't have her daughter sneakily measure her feet either, because she has super sensitive feet and will not only demand to know why, but will most likely get belligerant about it and start a fight. And my niece is much like her mother in that she cracks under any pressure when it comes to secrets. I have gotten her to tell me secrets I didn't even know she was keeping by just looking at her ROFLMAO. So I will use my own feet as guides, knowing that her feet are shorter and wider than mine and heaving caution to the knitting winds regarding fit and such. They are pedicure socks, after all. It's not like her life and reputation will hinge on how well they fit. Right? That is the main problem with surprise knitting. Even if you have a general (or real) idea of sizes, there are always those parts of a pattern you didn't seem to see while reading it over beforehand, that require going to the person and harassing them with a measuring tape. Hard to do on ANY woman even when she knows why you are doing it. Come at a woman with a measuring tape and no explanation and you take your life in your hands. We don't even want our foot length measured, let alone that odd pocket of fat/skin/flesh between the armit and bra-band. Or the distance between the "wings" of our shoulderblades. Or the circumferance of ankles, wrists, or gawd forbid NECK. I have read the proper way to measure somebody for a sweater. I think even if a person knows what is going on and really really really wants the sweater, not many women will suffer the indignity of standing in a form fitting shirt with stickers on her nipples while another person circles them like a vulture with a tape measure (Big Girl Knits. It reads like a book and is quite a hoot). And to write those numbers down? Try to leave the room with THAT slip of paper and you will be tackled, then sat on as the evidence is eaten to keep it out of enemy hands. I once glanced at the price tag of a pair of pants a friend was trying on and tried to leave the dressing room. Thinking I looked at the size, she nearly gave me whiplash dragging me back in and swearing me to complete secrecy regarding what I saw. I had no idea what her problem was, and quite willingly promised not to tell anybody she would wear jeans marked down to $12.99. Why would I look at the size? I wear a size eighteen (minimum). Not likely I will run out of the dressing room and stop strangers in the aisles so we could snicker at her size 14 booty. (Okay. I looked. Tee hee!). I am thinking of bringing a notebook to the next family gathering, and making a general announcement. "I am going to take some measurements from each of you. There will be no judgement, just a transfer of numbers from the tape to the page. Every family member gets their own page. This book will be kept secret, used only for surprise knitted garments and in no way will the information be sold or loaned out for promotional or snarky purposes. So stand still while I measure such things as your instep, the circumerence of your thigh, and the length from the point of your elbow to that odd bone protruding from the wrist. I will measure and record the length of each finger (yes, the middle finger too. Now put that down until it is your turn), the thickness of your big toe, and the distance from the crown of your head to your eyebrow. Do not hold your breath or suck in your stomach as I measure waist and hips, unless you enjoy looking like an overstuffed sausage in a knitted casing. Because we all know, if I pay upwards of 75 bucks for yarn, a year planning and a frantic year knitting, you are wearing that sweater if it kills me. So shut up, and get in line. And don't try to keep me from measuring your hands swearing you hate gloves, or measuring your head because you hate hats, or measuring your feet because you despise slippers and socks. I don't care and I don't want to hear it. Of course, I will have to install a safe in the basement (or perhaps behind a painting, like in the movies) to store said booklet. I can picture my sisters, dressed all in black like ninjas, breaking into my house in the middle of the night trying to steal the book from me. All while my brother stands back and hums the "Mission Impossible" theme and the dog watches quietly. She will bark until she is hoarse at a leaf on the patio, but ninjas stealing a book of body measurements? Not so much. After all, she will have her own page in there for when I make her a sweater and booties.