Zarzuela Knits and Crochets
My blog about my knitting, crocheting, and anything else I feel like ranting about!

Weird weekend

This has been a strange weekend. My gig was one of the weirdest I've had to date. The music and the conductor were Chinese. The biggest problem being that the conductor didn't speak English. He could do numbers and the instruments and his Italian for the terms was good, but he had to have a translator. I know music is the universal language and all but this was all a bit strange. I do have to say that he had one of the clearest conducting techniques I've seen in a while...then again he had to or there really would have been a problem. And the rehearsals were the quietest I've been to in a while too. Mostly because everyone was hanging on the conductors every twitch to try and figure out what the heck he wanted. Very interesting.
Someone recently asked me if there were pieces that were more fun to play than to listen to. My answer was a resounding YES. However, the reverse is also true. Enough said.
I promised crafting progress and crafting progress you shall have. This is the status of sleeve number 1 for Dusty:

I know it looks rather odd but remember that the sleeves (just like the rest of the pattern) are worked from side to side. My biggest concern at this point, I'm definitely going to run out of yarn. I still have the second sleeve and the cuffs and edging to do not to mention the seaming. I see a run to Michael's in my future.
And I also promised the tale of my yarn safari in Vancouver. Well, like I said, it wasn't too terribly interesting. I had a few hours the last afternoon I was in Vancouver so I took a trip over the the Knit & Stitch Shoppe. (Do check out their website. They have a virtual tour which is way cool.) Turns out there is a significant difference between West Vancouver and Downtown Vancouver. The most significant being that it cost me $20 to get there by cab! It was a lovely shop though. They had a ton of sock yarn and all sorts of different lovely yarns to pet. I really liked one sweater they had on display made with a bulky wool that came in one HUGE skein and was $75. If I thought I could have gotten it on the plane with all my other stuff (since $75 of yarn was definitely NOT going in my checked bag) I would have gotten it. In the end I decided to buy three skeins of Koigu for the clapper. Yeah I know I can totally get this at the same price here by driving down the street but I really liked these colors:

I believe that's enough justification for any souvenir. :) I managed to get back to the hotel for $2 because the nice people in the shop told me about the bus that went right to my hotel! I sure wish I had know that on the way there! Overall it was a great outing and I'm very happy with my purchase. Now I just have to wind it up and find the time to knit it.
But first I've gotta finish Dusty!

The insanity continues

Yowsa! I did not expect to be out of blogland as long as I have been. I guess that's just the way it goes sometimes. I'm very happy to be back, but I must say Vancouver is fabulous. You must go if you ever get the chance. Promise! The conference was wonderful too. I met tons of great people, learned a lot of great new stuff and actually for the first time felt like I understood what was going on. Two thumbs up for sure. I made several job contacts while I was there and that's where life really gets crazy. Let's just say this, I got back to Albany at something like 10pm Sunday night, Dad drove me home in a snow storm, I didn't leave NY until Tuesday afternoon and when I finally got into cell range I had two messages asking me to do an interview on Wednesday! I made the appointment as I was driving down the highway and had the interview less than 24 hours later. Things went unbelievably well considering the circumstances. Thursday I had a paper due and tonight I have rehearsal, tomorrow I have rehearsal, sunday I have rehearsal and a concert. It just continues from there so I won't bore you with all the sordid details. Suffice it to say my new mantra is "take a deep breath"!

All of that was to say, I haven't done a heck of a lot of knitting or crocheting lately. I did get to go on a "yarn safari" while I was in Vancouver and I will detail that in a future post. I'm finally caught up on my blog reading and I have to fulfill some responsibilities.

First, Chrissie tagged me. I fear you will find this incredibly boring but here goes:

1. How much space is left on your TIVO?
I do not own a TIVO. Starving musicians don't own TIVO's. I hope to remedy this in the future.

2. Have you ever bought a DVD of a tv series and if so which one?
My entire DVD collection can be housed in a small CD envelope thingy. Betcha can't guess the answer to this one then huh?

3. What was the last tv show you watched before reading this message?
David Letterman last night. I really need to start getting to bed before midnight.

4. List five shows you won't miss:
Oh lordy. Well, I rarely have such a luxury but if it were a perfect world they would probably be Oprah, Letterman, The Late Late Show, Passions (I can't believe I'm going to admit that on the 'net) and every NHL hockey game ever played (if they ever play again).

5. *Question added by Lauren* List your favorite shows of all time:
The first two and the last one of number four and my head hurts too much to think of any others.

Now that I've fulfilled that obligation I just want to give a shout out to Drew. Hi Drew! Drew is new to the blogging world so go say hi. He's done some awesome square designs for HMB and is working on a lovely bedspread right now.

And now a few more shots of Vancouver since that's all I got was a few more shots. They are all from the airport:

Like you couldn't tell these are airport pics.

There should be more mountains like these in the world....

None of these shots really do the place justice and none of them show you how cool downtown looks on the backdrop of the mountains...but at least you have a small clue.
Next entry: Progress on projects and my yarn safari tale (please don't hold your breath...it really isn't that exciting).

View from Vancouver!

I don't have much time but I just wanted to post a couple of shots of the view out my hotel room window. Vancouver is just as amazing as advertised!

These pics don't really do this place justice. More when I return...

Have I mentioned I hate packing?!?

So it's 11am, I'm still in my pajamas and this is the condition of my luggage:

Yes there really are clothes in there under all that knitting and crocheting stuff.
As you can see, I've decided to take Dusty with me and, in a happy turn of events, I discovered that I own a size 5 bamboo circ, so I'm taking some leftover Woolease and the glove issue of Interweave that Lauren so generously lent me to make gloves while I'm gone. I even brought the buttons I bought for Dusty just in case I might actually finish her up while I'm away. It would be nice to have one of my big projects finished off. The other books and stuff are to keep me occupied when I can't knit or crochet or the hands have just had enough.
I've printed off things from both the TSA and the Canadian TSA telling me I can having my knitting stuff. We'll see what happens. Luckily, Mom is taking me to the airport tomorrow so I can hand stuff off if they won't let me have it. I still can't believe I have to be up at 4am (and to think I didn't take the *early* flight!)...
And just so you all know, the computer and camera are going with me and there are several ways of getting internet access while I'm gone, so I hope to post an update here at least once or twice. We'll see how tired and bored I am when I get there.
I've also planned a little getaway for myself to this yarn shop. It's only a short cab ride away and I seem to have a bit of time one afternoon. So I may come home with yarn for this. We'll see. Lord knows after my fashion crisis the other day I could use a shawl type thing.
Look what else wants to get into my suitcase:

Don't I wish...
See you on the "other coast"!!

I will not be defeated

Apparently Simba didn't want me to blog tonight:

But too bad. I'm sharing the chair with her.

I can't believe I haven't updated this since Tuesday! Time flies when you are shopping your butt off in preparation for going away! Anyway, my fashion crisis was successfully averted. My friend Sami gave me a nice black cardi to borrow to cover up all that exposed skin with the black dress (Thank you!). Now that is going with me and I have a few other choices of alternate clothing. And there is a slight chance that I may be taking a job interview while away (yikes!) so having options is a good thing.

I did continue to work on the open fan cardi. I got one sleeve done, realized that it was strangling me, and frogged the whole thing. :( Then I looked over the pattern again and realized, ah yes, it does include gauge consideration and no, I wasn't working at the right gauge. While I don't think I crochet tightly, I always have to go up two hook sizes. Weird but true. The problem was, I was already using a Q hook and didn't have anything bigger. That was resolved by a chance trip to Joann's:

Huge ass crochet hook to the rescue! The blue one is the Q, the white is the newly acquired size S and the can of olives is to show you just how obscenely big these hooks really are. All I can say is thank god the pattern didn't call for an S hook or I would have been screwed (I don't think they make a size U do they?!). So at last I have a properly fitting open fan cardi:

(Gotta love that photography, not.) This is not exactly what I plan to wear this over, but you get the idea. You can almost see the crocheted buttons too. That was really the easiest part of the whole pattern. And it really was a quick crochet. But needless to say I didn't time it thanks to my frustration with the gauge. Here's another shot:

Equally crappy photography but you get the idea. I have a concert tomorrow night and I may wear it then.

I still haven't totally figured out what I'm taking with me to work on during traveling to and from Vancouver. I'm scared to death of taking Mariah and loosing part of it or the needles so I think that's gonna stay home. I'm thinking about starting a pair of gloves but I still fear loosing my precious addi turbos to some security person. The Dusty Miller may be the best thing since I only use a wood crochet hook with it and I'm only doing sleeves at this point so it's pretty small and plane friendly. However, knowing me, I will get bored without at least one other project to do so I have to figure something out.

And just to end this entry on a fun note, I found this intelligences quiz here. My results are...well...DUH!

You scored as Musical/Rhythmic. You are sensitive to sounds in your environment, enjoy music and prefer listening to music when you study or read. You learn best through melody and music. People like you include singers, conductors, composers, and others who appreciate the various elements of music.















The Rogers Indicator of Multiple Intelligences
created with QuizFarm.com

I am a fashion faux pax

In response to yesterday's comments:

Lauren: The shrinky-dink stuff can all be found at Michael's. But a little warning, one package of 6 sheets of shrinky stuff was $10!

Lolly: The conference is for the Music Library Association and I would LOVE you to come with me! Then when it gets boring I could have someone to sneak off and knit with. :)
Fashion Crisis
This morning, I feel like a barbie doll. Not a good thing. I have been trying on clothes like a mad woman trying to find stuff to wear to the conference. Ick. I am unfortunately one of those people who hates clothes most of the time because nothing fits and/or stuff that does fit makes me look like I'm ready for retirement (in more ways than one). I basically have enough outfits but one more couldn't hurt. Here's where I need your H-E-L-P!!!!

I'd like to wear this dress:

(Eklectica...I'm borrowing a page from your book on self photography. ;) ) But as you can see from the lack of sleeves I could definitely use something to go over it. So I thought about the open fan cardi. This is what it looks like so far:

A little short if you ask me. I'm doing it in Woolease Thick and Quick and making the biggest size (which is supposed to be something like up to a 46" bust but um...I don't think so!) and it is supposed to hit just above the hips but this seems a little more than that. Here's the back:

(Thank god for yoga or that shot wouldn't have happened!) Hard to tell in the pic (which are all pretty crappy but were the best I could do) but if it seems to be in the right place in the front it's higher in the back. Not so good no?
Here's what I'm thinking of doing... frogging back to the end of the body, adding another repeat of the fan pattern, then continuing on as it would have been before. That will give me a little more length in the body but leave the rest the same. Yes, no?!
Also, black on black...good idea? I'm thinking not. But the yarn isn't on sale anymore and I really can't just go out and spend the cash on enough to make one in another color. Times like this I really wish I had made a shawl in recent memory. I do have three skeins of Amore in red somewhere. Anyone got a great pattern, knit or crocheted, for a super fast shawl or shrug or something that would work with this dress??
I may loose my mind before the plane takes off...

Mariah Monday

Here's a real quicky post. As you can see there hasn't been much Mariah progress this week:

I haven't done squat on the sleeves and this is just the beginning of the other front next to the first one. I started this at SnB last week and worked on it during the Super Bowl (Go Pats!) and that's about it. Exciting huh?

So why not so much stuff to show you wonder? Well, let's put it this way, I had a fabulous weekend of Super Bowl knitting with Eklectika and a fellow SnB buddy, among other things, and I have been paying for it today with work, laundry, homework, breadmaking and assorted other totally fun stuff. On top of all that, I'm in full fledged "one week until I leave for Vancouver and I still don't have a dress for the banquet or know what I'm packing" panic mode. The latest weather report was a bit weird, so that isn't making my life easier at the moment. At least I have shoes (thanks Sami!). :)

But my life can't be all stress. In between taking quizzes I did manage to do this:



That's right. Shrinky Dink stitch markers! (Or zipper pulls if you're my Mom). 3 min. of pure magic and stress relieving fun. You can find the full tutorial here. I think this is the coolest thing ever (or until tomorrow at least) and I can't wait to actually be able to finish them. I have beads leftover from my sock adventure here, but the wire is in NY and I just don't see any point in buying more at the moment at $3 for a spool.
I did work on the open fan cardigan this weekend but I'm not real happy with the way it looks on me so far. More on that it my next post.

Damn Groundhog

A few weird random things:

#1 Did you know that the female lead (whose name I can't remember) in the original War of the Worlds movie professes to teach library science at USC? Damn...I'm glad librarians and librarianship have come a long way.

#2 If you google Zarzuela I'm the last link at the bottom of the first page! How cool is that?!
In the comments on my last post Lauren wrote:

Now don't be silly, we learned plenty about you. Like how the hell does classical music put you to sleep?!? Was this a problem in your classes?

This made me laugh. Weird huh? Actually it is just a driving thing. I can sit in a concert hall or at home or wherever and listen for hours and be fine. In fact, I'm not one of those people who can turn something classical on to go to sleep at night because the academic side of my brain kicks in and starts analyzing the performance or the writing or something. But if I'm going down the road in a vehicle...good night Irene! It's like driving induced narcolepsy or something. Not a good thing when you're the driver! The only problem I had in my classes with staying awake was boring professors. Especially those that rip music to shreds by analyzing every last little thing about two measures. But I won't go there and really bore the non-musicians...

By the way, can I kick the groundhog?!? (Those of you who are southPark fans may understand the veiled reference to "Kick the baby") Pretty please?? Can I?! Can I?! Six more weeks of winter! Mr. Groundhog, I have two words for you...


*Sigh* I was hoping that would make me feel better, but it doesn't.

Sorry, no crafting content today. Just had to get that stuff out of my system. Hopefully there will be more to report soon.

Got front? and music

I warned you about this. Don't say I didn't tell ya so...

1. Total amount of music files on your computer?
Well iTunes says 2.70 GB plus I have another folder with 229 MB in it.

2. The last CD you bought was:
Fallen by Evanescense (I guess I'm still a goth chick at heart) [By the way, do people really buy CDs anymore?]

3. What is the song you last listened to before reading this message?
I seriously can't remember. And I also think there is a difference between "listening" and "hearing".

4. Write down 5 songs you often listen to or that mean a lot to you:
Now this is tough one. I think this is one of those things that is always changing but I'll try to include ones that I seem to listen to a lot now or that mean something to me and maybe I don't listen to very often and any mix of the two (these are in no particular order)...

1. "Since U Been Gone" by Kelly Clarkson (it kind of annoys me to finally know how they spell "you" in the title though)

2. "Breakaway" by Kelly Clarkson (lest you get the wrong idea, I am not a Kelly Clarkson fan. I have this weird thing where I can't listen to classical music in the car. It puts me to sleep unless I know the piece. And when I'm alone, I sing at the top of my lungs... and improvise harmonies. So my disclaimer is that I actually liked/found meaning in these songs before I knew it was Kelly Clarkson singing them. Besides, it's not like she wrote them, she just performs them. Much like me and Mr. Beethoven.)

3. "Everybody Hurts" by R.E.M. (My all-time fave band. Michael Stipe is a god. For this I add no disclaimer.)

4. "Everybody's Fool" by Evanescence

5. "100 Years" by Five for Fighting (It's my cell phone ringer. And besides, how could any self respecting hockey fan not love a group called "Five for Fighting"? Duh!)

5. What 3 people are you going to pass this baton to and why?
Eklectica because she hasn't done it yet.
Heide because she's local and I think she'll do it.
Jenn because I think she could use something fun.
Ok. So am I totally boring or what? And seriously, do you really think you learned anything good about me? I can think of many more questions about music listening/owning habits that would tell the world much more, but I'm not going to plague blogland with another one of these things.

Now that my obligations there are done, on to knitting and crocheting stuff.

Michael's had Woolease Thick 'n Quick on sale this week and my gift card from Xmas has been burning a hole in my pocket so I bought this:

To make this:

My pics really suck tonight so I apologize. (I really shouldn't try to take my blog pics at night when I hardly have any lights on...)
The lovely garment pictured above is from the Interweave Crochet issue that was released this fall. It's called the "Open Fan Cardigan" by Doris Chan and I have been absolutely drooling over it ever since I picked up a copy of the mag this past Labor Day weekend. I bought the black yarn figuring it will be useable as concert attire if necessary. I just hope I don't go blind trying to work with it. I'm planning on using this as a "reward" project. Translation: If I get two more units of homework done before the end of the weekend I'm gonna try and wip this one off. The directions say it can be completed in a few hours. Maybe it will be a good project to time. And heck, the Super Bowl is Sunday. What better to do during that? I'll be sure to let you know the results.

I've managed to do a bit more crocheting on another certain cardigan...

Lookie! Two fronts that kinda match! :) Always a happy thing. I think I'm going to concentrate on knitting for the rest of the week though. Lately crocheting for long periods has been giving me a funny feeling at the base of my left thumb like my little problem from around this time last year may be resurfacing and I'm not going to allow that! Knitting doesn't seem to bother me lately though so at least I can continue that. I really need to get my current socks off the needles now that the new 6 sox pattern is up. I'm so glad I got the patriotic colors. I think this one is going to be really cool. I'm a little worried about the short rows...but I won't loose sleep over them until I get there.
Speaking of sleep, I'm outta here!