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

Off to bassoon camp!!!

[I had a perfectly lovely post for you all but being that I'm at my parent's house in NY and the dial-up is driving me mad it will have to wait until I return from vacation. In the meantime...]

Many thanks to all who offered their sympathies and possible solutions to the shrug destruction. There will be no modeled shots or creative blocking. It was that bad. I can barely fit my hand in the sleeve now. Sad, very sad.

The same morning I got word that I didn't get a job I had interviewed for in February.

That was much easier to take than the accidental felting.

None of that matters now though. I have survived jury duty and a horrible gig and I leave in mere min. for bassoon camp! On my way back there will also be a slight detour to meet up with some of my family to take my 85 year old grandpa to the World War II memorial in Washington, D.C.

See you on June 6th!!

I'm a moron

First, thanks for all the complements on Mariah. I really appreciate them.

And now...

Welcome to "How to destroy a beautiful handknit garment 101"

1. Take one hand knit garment made from Knitpicks Alpaca Silk "Elegance" Yarn.

2. Put in washing machine on a warm water wash with the rest of your laundry in the mad rush to get ready for vacation.

3. Add a little hubris (eh. It'll be fine. Right?!?)

4. Wait for wash cycle to end.

5. Pull it out and find this:

I think it will fit you now Lauren if you want it. I'm sure it will be nice and warm.

6. Go cry in a corner and try to figure out how to make another to soothe your frazzled nerves...

Final Mariah Monday!!

And now the moment you've all been waiting for... my Mariah is DONE!!! It only took 5 months but I've finally completed the most complicated project I've ever taken on. There were moments when I was really wondering if I'd ever finish this thing, but now I can say I did!

Thanks to Eklectika's zipper expertise it got finished off yesterday. The zipper thing is not quite as scary as I thought it was going to be, but what I do know for sure is that I totally would have made a mess of it if I'd tried it myself. And since I don't own nor do I even have a clue how to use a sewing machine (much less a needle and thread most times) seeking help made this a lot better. Thanks again Eklectika!!

So here's my completed pic:

Mariah pattern in Kitty by Jodi Green Knit January 1, 2005 - May 15, 2005

Yarn : Jo Sharp Soho Summer DK Cotton in Calico

Needles : Size 7 addi turbos baby!

Modifications : I lengthened the body by one inch and instead of doing a hood I did a fold over collar. I also knit the largest size because I don't generally like things to be too clingy.

I'm seriously considering doing another of these in wool sometime this fall, but I'll have to see what I'm doing and where I'm living at the time.

I have 14 balls of this yarn leftover too. I think some of it is destined for Kool-aid and a summer top and/or shrug. All I know is I'm not knitting or crocheting anything in cream for a while. I need color in my life!

And many thanks and a standing ovation to Jodi for such a great pattern and all your help on the knitalong during this process. You rock!!

Week from Hell

Apologies for my extended absence but I've been having a bit of a rough week or so. In order to keep my sanity I have engaged in ice cream therapy, salon therapy, knitting therapy and drinking therapy. All is better now and my major focus this weekend will be preparing for an interview next month (if my poor tired brain doesn't short circut at the mere thought of doing work).

That's all I have to say about that.

While I've been tearing my hair out, Simba's been doing this:

Yes. That is a tail-less mouse. I came home one day last week to find this greeting me at the door. I can only thank my lucky stars that she is an indoor kitty for obvious reasons.

Gratuitous cat shot for no apparent reason

As I said above, there has been some knitting in between fits of insanity. At SnB #1 this week I started this:

It's a booga bag in Noro Kuryon color 40 and a pretty mindless knit which is exactly what I needed to calm my frazzled nerves. I just started the third skein of yarn and I'm hoping to have the knitting finished off before I go back to NY next week.

Oh yes, did I mention I got called for jury duty for the second time in as many months? I'm not a happy camper. So I have to be back in NY on Thursday. Fun.

Between now and Thursday morning when I leave with drugged kitty in tow (she doesn't travel well) I also have to pack for Bassoon Camp! (You have looked at the links in my "Favorite Things" section right?!?) This is the thing that is keeping me going right now. I totally can't wait to leave next Sunday. This will be my 7th year in a row and I can't wait to see my old friends and meet new ones, not to mention actually have some time to practice.

And please, don't ask me if it's like band camp. I've heard that one already.

But I digress...

I've also managed to make some progress on some long languishing projects. I turned the heels on my toe up socks yesterday afternoon:

I'm using the instructions in Crazy Toes and Heels to do these and they are fitting really well so far. The cuffs will pretty much be just more mindless knitting (I had considered doing a fully ribbed cuff but that would mean purling in the round again and I don't think I can force myself to do that on such tiny needles right now) which is probably all I can handle right now.

And I have finished another project (well, almost. It will be done tomorrow I hope) but that will have to wait until Monday...

Now I have to figure out what projects to take to bassoon camp. I think there might be a bunny yarn scarf in my future... or should I start Tank Girl with purple cotton ease... or there's always another felted bag to make...

So many choices... so little brain power...

Pictures as promised

Friday already?! I can hardly believe it. This week has just flown by. Stomp was awesome and my Mom had a good time. It was nice to see that each show is a little different. They had a few different pieces than the last time I saw it but still included some of the best parts (like the 55 gallon drums and the sink draining, not to mention the brooms). The weirdest part was just as it started, Mom leaned over and said "I wonder if they ever break anything" and shortly thereafter one of the broom handles broke! So did several other things throughout the course of the show. [insert twilight zone music here]

Thanks to my photographer/Mom I was able to get a couple of pics of AGB the other day and here they are:



The only modification I had to do was to sew up the sleeves a little more than the pattern called for. It was falling off my shoulders otherwise but now it fits quite nicely. It's amazing how fast a project can be when it's only sleeves! I really think the shrug is my new favorite wardrobe addition. I may do one of the ones in the new interweave soon.

And now I must answer a book meme that Lolly tagged me with:

Book Meme

* Total number of books in your house... Probably a couple of hundred. I don't have much space and some of the things can hardly be called "books" but between bassoon stuff, school stuff and crafting stuff I'd say I have a decent collection.

* The last book you bought was... Funny you should ask. Mom and I hit Barnes and Noble on the way to Stomp the other night and I got these:

Ayurveda by Anna Selby
(my doshas have been pretty out of whack lately and I need a little balance)

A vegetarian cookbook

Bel Canto by Ann Patchett
(I've been meaning to pick this up for a while. It's supposedly about an opera singer entertaining a party that is suddenly taken over by terrorists. Thought it might be an interesting "reading for pleasure" read.)

* Five Books You Often Read or That Mean A Lot to You... Hmm...that's a tough one. I'm not really the read for enjoyment type lately so I'll just give you some recent favs:

The DaVinci Code - Dan Brown
(Mom just gave me Angles and Demons to finally read)

Memoirs of a Geshia - Arthur Golden
(disturbing but captivating)

Tuesdays with Morrie - Mitch Albom
(read on a plane ride. I really hate trying not to cry in public!)

IBM and the Holocaust - Edwin Black
(I still haven't finished this but it's really interesting. If you really want to get pissed off about how the Holocaust really happened and why things are the way they are today, have a look at this one)

Seabiscuit - Laura Hillenbrand
(A really wonderful book. So glad I read it before I saw the movie although the movie really did do a good job with the story despite the fact that it had to cut a lot out to fit into a two hour timeframe.)

* Who are you going to pass this on to and why ... Sami because she just finished school and might actually have some reading time, not to mention she's a new blogger and hasn't gotten one of these fun things yet, Drew because I'm really curious and Chris because I wonder if she has time to read between taking care of bunnies and horses and spinning and knitting!

More excitement!

Just a quicky update on what's going around here. First and most importantly, I got a text message this morning at 8am that J. is on her way to the hospital! [See this entry if you have no idea what I'm talking about.] Now lord knows these things can take a while but the fact that she could have her baby on an SnB night just totally cracks me up! Good thing we got that blanket to her last week!!

Second, I finished A Good Bias last night! I think it really turned out nicely. You will have to wait for pictures though because I'm actually going to have another human being around and they are going to be forced to take them for me. :)

The best part is that other human being just happens to be my Mom! She's coming out today for an early Mother's Day present. We got tickets to Stomp for tonight in Waterbury. I've seen them before, but she hasn't and has wanted to for some time. I heard a radio station giving away tickets on the way to my gig last Friday, so I looked it up this weekend and actually managed to get tickets. I'm so excited! Not only do I get to hang with Mom for a whole day but I get to see Stomp again. Kick ass!

On the project front my next big goal is to FINISH MARIAH OR ELSE!! I really want to be able to wear this to bassoon camp so I'm hoping to finish the knitting this weekend and then I can bother a certain other blogger ::cough::Eklectica::cough:: for zipper assistance. Jodi was nice enough to redo the pattern to fix a little yoke decrease problem. The only problem for me is that it requires binding off some stitches on the pieces before you join them. I already sewed up my seams and I'm too stubborn to take them out and do this right so I'm going to have to come up with something on my own. This could be dangerous.

Well enough blogging for today. I've gotta get cleaning! My mom's gonna be here in a few hours!!

Happy Wednesday!

Amazing weekend!

What a whirlwind weekend! My gig on Friday went well but I didn't get home until 11pm. Then I was up at 8am on Saturday to get ready to go off to the CT Sheep and Wool festival. SnB buddies Sami, K.U., A.J., R.B., and L.H. all went too. We got there are 10am only to discover that they must have had a plan when they decided to do this on this day because it was absolutely freezing! About 50 degrees, lightly raining and the wind blowing like crazy. Yuck! But being the tough girls we were we bundled up and hit the barns.

It was a fairly small festival (compared to places like Rhinebeck, at least so I've heard). There were four small barns with exhibitors and a couple small outside tents. One of the barns had the concessions as well (sorry, but there will be no lamb stew at a sheep and wool fest. for me! BLICK!). There was pretty much everything you could imagine to be had. There were several people spinning and talking about how it's done and what they do, Lots of different types of roving for sale in all sorts of colors, Some unprocessed fleeces that you could purchase and tons of different types of yarn. One person was selling wicker baskets, another was selling plants for natural dying, there were a couple of different dying demonstrations (one person in our group saw the steaming pots and was about to get a little disturbed!) including kool-aid and of course there was sheep shearing demonstrations too.

One of the coolest things was seeing Chris who had been to our North Haven SnB before. She raises angora bunnies and had a couple with her and was spinning for her spinning guild. She let us pick her brains about spinning and she very nicely described all the different processes from getting the fiber from the bunny until you have actual yarn in your hands. Here she is spinning some angora while we watched:

(Sorry that's such a bad pic.)

It was so nice to finally see some of this work in action. I've read a lot about spinning on different blogs, but just didn't *get* it until I saw it in person and someone explained it to me. It's definitely like magic when the actual spinning happens!

Chris also had a bunny there to demonstrate giving it a hair cut! Apparently this is done about every 3 months. Here's the bunny before:

And here's a shot while she's being clipped:

You'll notice that the bunny is on her back (see the ears under Chris' arm?!). This is to keep her calm so no one gets injured during the clipping. The scissors are quite pointy and sharp! Chris would brush the coat a little bit to get the knots out and then carefully cut off the hair, making sure to leave enough so the bunny wouldn't be too cold afterward.

And that's the after shot. Quite a difference! That one little bunny almost filled up a grocery bag
with fiber!

Chris also demonstrated how to stay warm if you couldn't knit up the yarn fast enough!

Some of the people in my group were seriously thinking of doing the same thing!

In this shot you can see the great mittens Chris makes out of felted angora. They are so warm!

There was also a sheep dog trial. We watched this guy haul ass around this field chasing these sheep. It was really something!

And I just had to take a pic of this big spinning wheel. It was huge!!

For lunch, instead of partaking of the on-site food, our group went to Rein's deli just a few miles
away. It's a great NY Style deli and it was really nice to get some hot food and to warm up a bit.

After that some of us went home, but the rest of us went back to finish off our shopping. Here's what I got:

Starting at the left and going clockwise: The big pile of silver yarn is 600+ yards of Alpaca that is probably going to become a full sized Clapotis. The ziplock baggie has 5 - 1 oz. hanks of merino/tencel (which is apparently a plant fiber) roving that I'm going to use at least one color of for thrummed mittens. The rest might go up for sale on Ebay or something. The piece of paper was a free yarn yardage guild that the alpaca people were giving out. The lone purple skein is some angora/silk blend yarn from Chris that was made from her own bunnies. It is incredibly soft and warm and probably the most expensive thing I've ever bought but totally worth it. I'm going to make a nice feather and fan scarf out of that. The the purple and blue skeins are sock yarn. Betcha can't guess what that's for! ;)

And what is that black stuff?! Well, let's just say that on the way back we passed a certain chain store ::cough::Joann's::cough:: and someone who shall go unnamed was able to find the last 4 skeins of black Cotton Ease, three of which were dirty, but not horrifically so, and said person was able to get the three damaged skeins at 25% off. Mystery person sees a black Tempting in her future.

As if that wasn't enough fun for one day, most of us went home, got "de-sheeped", and went out for dinner and drinks to celebrate the end of my student life. We even had chocolate fondue for desert! It was definitely way more fun than one jobless former graduate student should humanly have in one day.

Yesterday was mainly spent in recovery but included a lovely dog-walk with R.B., a late lunch/dinner with Sami and R.B. and knitting and watching an old Ranger's game in the evening. One certainly couldn't ask for a better weekend!