wingedorange: Mr. Muggles! (Default)

I stayed home from work today. Apparently I’m having an allergic reaction to the Z-Pak I was given for a sinus infection, which basically means low-grade fevers, stomachaches, nausea, a nasty headache, and not a lot of eating or moving, both of which cause lovely gastrointestinal pyrotechnics. I slept pretty much all day, but around 3:00, I decided I’d better get up so I’m not up all night. I have to go back to work tomorrow.

Since I’ve been up, I wanted to be productive, so I pulled out my Moonwalker batt. I’ve been kind of mulling over how to spin this, and then I saw a project on Ravelry. It was this lace scarf, knit out of handspun pastel singles. I loved the color progression more than the pattern, but the pattern really is pretty, looking at the other projects. My brain immediately replaced the pretty pastels with the blues and purples in my Moonwalker batt, and I went, “OOOH! DO WANT!” The nice thing about spinning singles is that, first of all, I won’t lose any yardage in plying. Also, there will be minimal opportunity for me to screw it up, unlike the great beaded yarn fiasco of 2009. It’s still in time out. We don’t talk about it much.

So anyway, I unrolled the batt, got an idea of the color sequence, and decided that I wanted to mirror it. So the pretty turquoise is in the middle, and will be flanked on both sides by purple, dark blue/indigo, and black. And once I decided that…I took a million pictures! Click for bigger.

Moonwalker Colors Moonwalker Unrolled Moonwalker Macro - Dark

Moonwalker Macro - Medium Moonwalker Macro - Light Moonwalker Spin Sequence

So much blue. I love it. LOLRabbit says it best:

Humorous Pictures

Mirrored from winged orange.

wingedorange: Mr. Muggles! (Default)

Well, my Monday morning actually looked a little crazy. It sort of started with me running back into the house, yelling, “I FORGOT MY PANTS!” In reality, I had put on the wrong pants – navy blue instead of black – gotten down the street on the way to work and came running back for the right ones, but I was reminded of this How I Met Your Mother episode where Marshall forgets his pants, and giggled the whole way.

I knew it was going to be an interesting Monday, especially because after that setback, I was still a good 15 minutes early for work. Monday’s starting off well.

Work itself was uneventful, but I felt like going to the gym, which hasn’t happened in while. I’ve been going, but I haven’t felt like it in weeks. Today I was really in the mood to go, which was nice for once. Monday’s not so terrible.

And then I get home and there’s a package waiting for me from Krissy! I love mail, especially spontaneous, unexpected mail. So I opened up the package and pulled out lots and lots of lovelies. Holy cow, Monday just got awesome!

Krissy rocks!

Some fantastically bright knee socks, a promo badge from This Is It (because my lame-o theater didn’t have any, so Krissy sent me hers. Awwwwww. :), and…Moonwalker! I can’t even tell you how freaking excited I was by that. I love Moonwalker in a way I can’t quite explain and now I own my very, very own copy. SO HAPPY.

I really have pretty wonderful friends. Scott bought me a This Is It poster (and a 3 DVD set of MJ videos) out of the goodness of his not-particularly-MJ-lovin’-but-very-supportive heart when he was in the city a couple of weeks ago. Krissy sends me joy in the mail. Katie’s not buying me Ghosts for Christmas. Someone’s sending out a major love over here. You guys are awesome. :)

Other happiness includes the fact that I am done spinning for my alpaca scarf. I have a little more left to ply and then everything needs a wash and whack, but it came out exactly as I hoped it would. It’s slubby and thick and thin and underspun in some places and soft and squishy and fluffy. I tried long draw spinning for the first time with this project, and I really loved it. It’s going to be a really beautiful one-row handspun scarf. After the beaded yarn of DOOM, this was exactly what I needed to remind me that no, I don’t really fail at spinning. ;)

Handspun Rhinebeck Alpaca

Also, over the weekend, we did Leaf Roundup 2009. I hate raking leaves, but we had a good weekend for it, some extra hands, and we managed to bang out the majority of the raking. We have 27 trees on half-acre my parents’ house sits on (I know), and they aren’t bare yet, but the rest of the raking will be maintenance, not a huge chore like it was over the weekend. Still, look at these leaf piles! They’re crazy! The leaves are (mostly) dry, but there are…so…many of them. What’s in the picture is maybe a fifth of the leaves. The piles are everywhere, all along the front of our house, and they are well over four feet tall. I’m 5′0″, and we had a picture of me next to one, but it was terrible. Still. You could kill me, bury me in the leaf piles, and no one would ever find me. Unreal.

Leaf Round-Up 2009

And finally, revisiting Moonwalker for a moment, the final reason why I am joyously happy on a Monday. Remember that really fabulous batt I bought at Rhinebeck? The one I wanted all year? I knew there was a reason I loved it.

I knew there was a reason I liked this batt.

Yeah, that’s what I said. ;)

Mirrored from winged orange.

wingedorange: Mr. Muggles! (Default)

My weekend, in a nutshell:

Good Weekend

Translation: Michael Jackson’s This Is It, two full bobbins of alpaca all spun up and ready to be plied, my stuffed llama buddy, and six pages of notes for the Personal Statement of DOOM.

I spent probably ten hours of my weekend – six yesterday and four today – hard at work on that damn statement. Man, this is hard. The last time I applied to grad school, during my senior year in college, I didn’t find it this difficult to write a statement about myself. I had one basic draft that I futzed with a little, but nothing like this. This go-round, I really struggled. I tried writing a coherent draft from the get-go and that just exploded in my face. I tried bulleting points to get me started, as Jacey suggested, but it wasn’t getting me anywhere. I tried walking away and leaving it alone, like Katie said. I read through Krissy’s personal statement from her applications about a gazillion times. I even looked at the other prompts for my other three schools. I think that was what ended it for me – there WERE no prompts for the other schools! Just “tell us about your professional interests and career goals”. Well, balls. What the hell was I going to do with THAT?

At some point, it dawned on me that I could, with minor adjustments, use the same statement for all four schools, since the other three had no concrete prompt for me to write from. I finally just stared at the prompt I posted the other day and broke it down into what they wanted to know. I made each one a heading in a Word file and wrote something coherent for each category: Personal & Work Experience, Research Experience & Interests, Coursework, and the Damn Diversity Crap (yes, that was my heading. I was a little bitter). I wound up with six pages of reasonably coherent thoughts, in no particular order, and with no transitions or connections to anything else in the statement. But it’s something! The max length for Lehigh (the school with the prompt) is two pages, so there’s a lot of editing that needs to be done. That’s where I stopped, because I couldn’t figure out what to cut and what to leave in. I’m going to let it be for a day or so and then come back to it to see if it makes more sense later.

I still kind of wish I could submit the version I ran past Katie: “I love my students with autism. I want to be a psychologist, so please accept me and give me funding, and I’ll knit you a sweater. I’ll even poop rainbows for you. The end.”

Yeah, that’s the state my brain was in when I was finished. So rather than do anything that required any of my neurons to actually fire, I pulled out my spinning so I could finally finish the alpaca for the Rhinebeck One-Row scarf. Halloween cake challenges on Food Network plus nice, mindless spinning helped my brain re-solidify a little. So in that picture, there’s eight ounces of alpaca – four of the brown and four of the gray – that will get plied together tomorrow after the singles have rested a bit. I’m hoping I’ll be able to start knitting by Thursday, because I have two days off work this week for NJ Teacher’s Convention. Hello, four day weekend. I’ve missed you.

Despite this year being the lamest Halloween ever, what with five trick-or-treaters, the rain, and absolutely no good movies on TV, this was still a decent weekend. I was very productive; besides the spinning and the statement-ing, I also made sugar skull dough for my Spanish lesson tomorrow on Dia de los Muertos. I went Friday and saw This Is It, which was as awesome as it could possibly have been, given the circumstances. I don’t think it’s possible for me to have any MORE love for “Smooth Criminal,” and I will probably giggle each and every time I see a cherry picker for the rest of my life. I’m going again on Thursday night with a friend, which makes me happy. Scott went to New York today and bought me a present, and that makes me happy.

It was a good weekend. :)

Mirrored from winged orange.

wingedorange: Mr. Muggles! (Default)

Or, alternately: “Lloyd Says, ‘Don’t Trust a Ho’.”

It’s Monday and I miss Rhinebeck already. I was missing Rhinebeck once I got back to the Garden State Parkway yesterday, because people don’t drive like jackasses in upstate New York. Honestly, I was on the Parkway about thirty seconds before I was honked at twice, passed, and cut off on a lane switch. Sometimes I am so not proud to be from New Jersey.

Anyway. Rhinebeck was, as usual, awesome. Amanda and I had a really good time, even though it was gray and cold and kind of rainy. We knew we had to get a bad year weather-wise eventually, but I was kind of hoping it would be some other year far in the future at a time when I maybe couldn’t go to Rhinebeck (i.e. a time that does not exist). The drive was really pleasant, and fast this year! We also tried an alternate way of getting into the fairgrounds, which was amazing, because we waited maybe two minutes to park instead of the 45 minutes we waited last year. I was better prepared for the cold this year, and did not freeze. And on the way up, Amanda played me a song called “Don’t Trust a Ho”. I died when I heard the lyrics. “Did they just say, ‘Don’t trust a ho’?!” “Yep.” “*cracks up* That is sound advice!”

(Also good advice? Following the cut so your blog reader doesn’t die when the pictures load.)

Read the rest of this entry » )

Mirrored from winged orange.

wingedorange: Mr. Muggles! (Default)

So after I spent all that time spinning, beading, and crying about my Aeolian yarn…I think it’s going to be okay.

I sat down yesterday to unply the beaded thread from the rest of the singles, and it was apparent in the first thirty seconds that if I kept it up, I was going to have a hell of a mess. Fortunately, yesterday was a rational day for me, so I stopped trying to unply and decided just to wind the hank into a ball. As I was winding (by hand, because my ballwinder kept trying to eat the beads), it became apparent that when under a little tension, the goofy plying issue with the thread evened out. It still looks pretty nutty in the ball, but I have faith that if I choose to knit with it, it’ll be more or less okay.

I’m spinning up the other half of the singles now, and once I see what kind of yardage I get, I can see how to proceed. I know that I will not be beading the second half of the yarn, just doing a standard two-ply. My thought so far is to use the non-beaded yarn to knit the main body of the shawl and then use the beaded part for the border. However, since the border takes 45% of the yarn, it’s really going to depend on what the yardage is on the second half of the spinning. If I’m short, I can always substitute a commercial yarn or spin something else.

It’s to the point where I don’t even know where I could possibly wear this shawl, but I’m so far invested in it that I. Will. Have. A. Handspun. Aeolian.

In other news – no, I still haven’t heard about my job. I’m hoping tomorrow will be the day, because I’m tired of literally ducking my principal to avoid being asked about my contract. Seriously, on Friday, I saw him coming down the hall and I dashed into the ladies’ room and stayed there until the hallway was quiet.  Scott’s making out a little better; he has a second interview for his job prospect on Wednesday, which is encouraging.

Let’s see. For those who care (i.e., Katie), I’m still going to the gym. I went Wednesday/Thursday/Friday last week, which may have been a mistake, because I am so sore. I’m used to doing every other day, but things came up last Monday & Tuesday, so I rearranged. Also, I completely stand by the claim I made on Plurk that Michael Jackson’s “Morphine” is the shit for workouts – I ran 8.5 mph on Friday while listening to it, which honestly is crazy, considering that when I started going to the gym (sans-”Morphine,” mind you) I could only do about 3 mph. It’s at the top of my workout playlist now, so we’ll see if it continues to motivate. :)

Mirrored from winged orange.

Epic FAIL

Jul. 19th, 2009 10:27 am
wingedorange: Mr. Muggles! (Default)

I think I may have screwed the Aeolian yarn up beyond belief. I washed it today, and I may have cried a couple of tears when it was time to hang it to dry. Look at this mess. I didn’t abuse it at all. Didn’t wring it, didn’t shock it, didn’t whack it. And look.

Aeolian - Ugh

It gets worse. Seriously, click on it to go to the Flickr page. Look at the spot where the note is. See the ply and now it’s all coming apart? What do I DO with that? Can I unply it? Should I just run it through the wheel again to put more twist in it? Will it even stay?

I think the second batt will be done sans beaded thread, unless someone has a better way to ply this stuff. I don’t even know if I could knit with it all loose like that. I might lose my mind.

Pardon me. I’m going to go sit in the fetal position for a while and cry bitter, bitter tears.

Mirrored from winged orange.

wingedorange: Mr. Muggles! (Default)

Have any of you felt cold lately? A bone-chilling, all over sensation that starts with your feet and works its way up? If so, I apologize deeply. It’s my fault.

You see, I’ve caused hell to freeze over. I did the unthinkable.

I went to the gym today. And I enjoyed it.

I’m not enjoying it now, though. My arms and shoulders are rebelling in the worst way possible. I put my hair in a ponytail after my shower, and let me tell you, it was an effort to raise my arms above my head. I’m going to be in even sorrier shape tomorrow. This is the part of my body that says, “See, this is why the gym is bad, you dumbass.” This is why I have avoided anything resembling heavy exercise for 25 years.

But while I was there, doing my 20 minutes on the treadmill and 25 on the elliptical, I was enjoying myself a little bit. The anti-gym part of my body was going, “Seriously, how can you possibly be liking this?!” The rest of me was kind of getting a kick out of working up a sweat, and pounding out the beat of “Smooth Criminal” on the treadmill. It was also saying to the anti-gym part, “You are not 20 anymore, and all of those pictures of you on Facebook from junior year of college? When you could still fit into those cute tank tops because you worked at the barn all summer and got buffish? Yeah, you don’t look like that anymore. You ain’t losin’ that spare tire unless you get off your ass and work for it!” I really felt like I was doing something good for myself, even though I was kind of dying there on the exercise equipment.

Also, I’m in my college roommate’s wedding on the 26th, and since she’s a low-key, nontraditional kind of girl, she decided we should all be allowed to buy our own sundress. Well. I bought a killer one. I’m not a girly girl. I don’t like dresses. But this dress…this is adorable. Sadly, however, it also runs crazy small. I’m a 12 in dresses, maybe a 14 if it’s cut weird. I ordered a 12 and had to send it back. I got a 14 and had to send it back. It only comes in sizes up to 16, so that’s what I finally ordered, even though the dress itself is only a couple of inches wider than my old high school graduation dress, which is a 10. So it’s really a 12 masquerading as a 16, which meant I needed to lose five pounds to zipper it.

I tried it on again last week. I knew I’d lost some weight just by watching what I ate a bit, and I was right – the dress zippered. But there was still a problem. See how the description of the dress says, “Room to breathe”? Well, I couldn’t! I can get into the dress, but I can’t sit, dance, eat, sneeze, or exahale. These are all desirable functions to be able to perform at a wedding. Especially that last one. In a fit of desperation, frenzy, and an intense desire NOT to be the token fat girl in the wedding party, I registered for Planet Fitness this morning. And then I drove to the gym this afternoon and worked my ass off. I’m hoping that if I work hard over the next two weeks, I’ll be able to breathe while I’m performing my bridesmaidly duties. After the wedding, I’m hoping that if I work really hard, I’ll look damn cute in my vacation pictures from Disney in December!

In other news, I haven’t reached a definite decision on the Aeolian yarn, mostly because I’ve still not washed the first skeins. I’ll get there. I’m leaning towards just spinning the second batt and seeing what I get. Worst comes to worst, I’ll just order some KP lace yarn for Aeolian and use the handspun for some other lace project. I’m trying not to be too bitter about the whole thing because the merino was a joy to spin, and the yarn is really pretty, if not exactly what I wanted/needed for the shawl. It was a learning experience, and I have learned that beads and I should retreat to separate corners forever. ;) Still, if you have thoughts on the last entry, please, comment! I wanna hear them!

This should be a good week. On deck: Scott’s coming Wednesday, dinner out on Thursday, school field trip to the zoo on Friday, and also on Friday, Half Blood Prince in IMAX!

Mirrored from winged orange.

wingedorange: Fuzzball from Captain Eo (fuzzball)

I love summer, especially this summer, because it’s not been oppressively hot. I went to the Philadelphia Zoo yesterday, and the weather was fairly nice. There were a couple of uncomfortably hot moments, but overall, it was pleasant weather. Lots of the animals were out, too!

Rainbow Keets Fud Pleez Prairie Doggin It

Sleeping Merlin Okapi Chuck

You can click any of those for bigger, and there are more photos and a couple of videos on my Flickr page. Not to be missed are the large version of the Prehensile Tailed Porcupine (you can see his little tongue!), or the video of the crazy duck that dogged us during lunch. He was too funny. I’m going to the Zoo on Friday with my students, so I kind of hope we see that duck again.

I’m alone today, so I felt it was a good idea to finally get the first half of Aeolian shawl yarn off the bobbin. I’ve put off spinning the second half because I am so ambivalent about this yarn, and the combination of the shawl pattern I chose and the yarn I’ve got so far. So before I explain my issues, I’ll show you the yarn first. ;) Once again, click for bigger.

Aeolian First Batch Aeolian First Batch Skeined

Okay. So here are my issues:

  1. Not enough yardage. Between this and the other skein I got from the first batt, I only have about 160 yards. Assuming I get similar yardage from batt #2, I’ll only have 320 yards, instead of the 400 (bare minimum) I need for the small size of the Aeolian shawl.
  2. The ply is loose in places, due to the quilting thread I used to ply and also to the learning curve involved in spinning super thin beaded yarn. This might change once it’s washed, though.
  3. I worry about the structural integrity of the yarn. There are a couple of places where the plying thread snapped and needed to be knotted, and in the first skein, there are a couple of places where the single snapped and needed to be knotted. Since it’s superwash merino, it couldn’t be spit spliced. :P I don’t think it’ll hold up to frogging well at all.

So, what do I do now?! I haven’t spun the second batt yet, because I’m trying to decide what to do with this yarn. The way I see it, these are my options:

  1. Spin the second batt with my new laceweight whorl and see what yardage I get. If it’s not up to 400 yards minimum, I can reassess from there. This locks me into a laceweight project, though, since I’ll have four ounces of wool spun up into laceweight.
  2. Spin the second batt a different way/as a different weight and knit a small scarf from the first couple of highly imperfect skeins and something different from the second batt.

I’d still like to knit Aeolian, but I don’t think this is the yarn to do it with, especially with the structural issues it has and my propensity to make mistakes that require frogging. I could scrap the (very stalled) Laminaria I started and knit Aeolian with my KP Shimmer instead. But still…what do I do with the yarn I’ve spun and with the other batt I still have to spin?! Any options I missed? Opinions? Pattern suggestions? Sedatives? Therapy?

Mirrored from winged orange.

January 2010

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