Sunday, November 30, 2008

Day of the Felted Snow Zombies

After days of knitting (well, in between things like work and making dinners and doing laundry and cleaning house and driving kids places), I began to feel like some sort of weird voodooiene. I was creating, it seemed, an entire band of mindless followers, all of whom could do my bidding (thus getting me clear of the entire list of things that interrupt my knitting time).

Yes, it had happened. At long last, my little village of hapless snow zombies was complete. They were all there, the plain vanilla woollens, the sparkly Trendsetter Aura ones with the jazzy look all the new snow zombies are wanting (they were very much for breaking the poor hygiene and no fashion sense stereotypes, that group) and one poor mongrel snow zombie who had to had to have the top 1/3 of its head covered in Berroco Sizzle Bright because nowhere, absolutely nowhere, had Aura by Trendsetter and I was on a finish-the-snow-zombies-now-or-else quest, so I was not willing to wait for mail order.

So what did this hurry up and get done mindset get me? One more snow zombie, because I was curious what an entire one would look like in Sizzle Bright.

(I'll find somebody to give it to...)

So, the seeds of zombification were sewn, but the final spells had to be performed.

We bagged them in the magical zip pillowcases

(Please note the lovely bracelet created by Thing 2. She whined and bugged me until I agreed to mention it.)

and tucked into the washer our most secret, esoteric ingredient

the Shoe of Agitation.

We set the load on small, squirted soap into hot water and tumbled all ten of them in.

And then we left to go do other things.

Zombification takes time, after all.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Somewhere About This Time

I decided existence might be interesting. (Well, a couple of decades ago of somewhere about this time, if we must be accurate).

And, somewhere close to this date, my family and friends proved me right.

So thanks, all, for seriously dark dark chocolate

for rising to the challenge of sending me one rose for every year I'd been alive and for sending them to me at work,

(Seriously wondered how you were going to do that, J. By the time you add my years, it would've have been freaky expensive.)

for mini-cupcakes,

free munchies,

free lunchies (that's my co-worker in crime and our leading henchlady boss),

and cards and happy birthdays sung at me and even emails from the students I've pestered endlessly about missed meetings.

And thanks to a sister and mum (well, and bro-in-laws and dads, too) who demanded that money spent be splurged on myself, allowing me to get fiction and non-fiction books (the Stephen King bought in honor of the long tradition my sis had of buying me one every year until he changed his publishing schedule--thank goodness he changed it back or it wouldn't have felt like a proper birthday),

a COOL sock knitting book,

and nifty embroidery stand and equally nifty dogwood-patterned pillowcases to embroider, which weirdly matched a dogwood-patterned throw I had received before moving to Minnesota, and which had been boxed up for so long that I only remembered it when I unpacked after moving back.

(Actually, the embroidery stand is nothing but trouble. There it sits, calling to me, when it knows darn good and well that I am buried under Christmas crochet and knitting projects. Why do I always get the urge to embroider in November?? Why can't the urge hit in July for once?)

And most of all, thanks to my Things, who woke early to pan fry my English muffins

so they would be warm and crispy, rather than toaster dry,

(I mean, c'mon, you didn't expect me to pause to take a picture of them, did you? They would have gotten cold with as long as it takes me to get an even slightly unembarrassingly bad picture.)
a group-drawn story of a puppy and his yarn ball,

and, with the help of a sneaky friend who was tall enough to have plastic which allowed for the magic of online ordering (coughjedediahcough) this completely cool, completely imaginative book, which, while mostly knitting, also has some crochet.

(Now I have to knit a garden for someone this summer. Seriously.)

And last but not least, for a Thing-decorated cake that had so many sprinkles on the top that the knife made rasping sounds when I cut the cake.

Everyone who moans about turning 40? You are all so wrong. As Thing 3 says (every year, in fact) "This was the best birthday ever."

And it was. I can't remember such a happy birthday in a long, long time.

Thanks and love, everyone.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A Snowperson A Day Keeps the Sanity Away

I have to go with that theory, seeing as how the little guys and gals were absolutely no good at warding off the virus I got last week.

But perhaps I should explain myself more fully. Last Christmas, the Things got me some wonderful patterns by Marie Mayhew, which can be purchased at The Yarnery’s terrific online shop.

Let’s be honest. These little snowpeople are just too darn cute, without being nauseatingly cutesy. And Mayhew’s directions are topnotch. I've now knitted the Snowbaby and the Small and Large Woolly Snowman patterns, and there was not a single mistake to be found. Plus she tells you all sorts of helpful information, such as how long various brands and shades of off-white will take to felt, approximately how many stitches per inch you should maintain in order to achieve optimal felting, and how to accessorize your snowpeople with style.

She’s everything a beginner would want in a designer; clear, without being overly simplistic and without having prose that somehow manages to pat you condescendingly on the head while you read. Well worth the purchase.

And following The Yarnery’s cool innovations, I used Trendsetter Yarns’ glittery white Aura in tandem with The Brown Sheep Company’s Nature Spun Natural, for that sunshine-sparkling-on-new-fallen-snow look that all the hip snowpeople like. (And, while I am at it, much thanks to Shelly, The Yarnery's manager, who granted me permission to use her web site's photos.)

To top it off, these do knit up quickly. So that's not the reason I've begun to twitch. No, the lack of sanity I’m currently displaying has nothing to do with the designer, her instructions, or her choices of materials.

It has to do with the fact that I am the geek that thought, “Gee, I should not only make one for Carolina in the Dominican Republic, who’s never seen snow, but maybe for a friend as well and what the heck, one for each of the family!" (Someone please remind me, the next time such an idea springs into my head, that it’s not like I have an only Thing or something. There’s a fair few of them running about my household.) And to top it off, I promised the Things I would knit one for their father so that they could accessorize it and make it its own freezer (dad lives in the south, and no reasonable snowman would venture there without proper temperature back up, you know?).

There’s also the minor detail of the major deadline for getting things to the Dominican Republic so that they are there in time for Christmas and I cheerfully assumed I could get all snowpeople knit and help the Things finish Carolina's Snowbaby's accessories well ahead of that time. (Note: I think we may have already passed the major deadline. I'm afraid to check though.)

I realize that I could have, should have, just done Carolina’s snowbaby and moved on to the others later. But the Nature Spun Natural takes the longest of the all yarns mentioned to felt (figures I’d pick it) and something in me just balked at the idea of running a lone snowbaby through the washer four times. It caused my “don’t waste things” gene to not only stand up and be vocal, but also to get mean and start kicking me in the shins. That hurt. So I decided, good little environmentalist that I am, to knit them all up first, zip each into a little bag and felt everyone at the same time (which is, of course, much different than felting them together. I hope.).

The knitting has been fun and memorizing the patterns was (I told myself) an added bonus of the many snowpeople I was creating. And I managed to keep telling myself that even though people at work thought I was knitting and knitting and never getting anywhere. Is it my fault that I always seemed to be working on the bottom snowball of any given snowperson on my lunch break? I think not. The odd stares I was receiving did cause me to stop and think, though.

I mean, seriously, is it just me, or is there something sort of sadomasochistic about the whole idea of felting? After all, here you are, being encouraged to knit somewhat loosely and sloppily, so that you can use up more yarn and time than you normally might for a project, thus creating something of almost mythical size, all so you can shrink it to a smaller size.

Doesn’t it sound wrong when you put it that way? Does such behavior apply much to the world as we know it? (Outside of office jobs and romance, I mean.)

And if it does, do we really want to know how?

No, probably not.

Ah well. For now, I’m in the homestretch and I am still truthfully charmed by them, no matter how crazy I've decided I am. So all hail to the three babies, two small snowladies, and one large snowman that are completed; only two larges left to go. I am, I must say, a woman with a mission! A woman who really didn’t have all that much sanity to lose anyway! Er, yeah.

(And a woman who woke up to find a ball of Trendsetter’s under her pillow this morning, but that’s another story.)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day

Wow. We made history tonight.

There really aren't many words for that, are there?