Another Distraction

A somewhat eclectic blog by a woman who's easily distracted...

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Changing Charitable Horses

Okay--I know I was going to write more about the Caps to the Capital project this weekend, but aside from this weekend flying by, I have to say I was a bit conflicted about this particular charity project, and I just wasn't sure what to write.

I've come to the conclusion that, noble as their cause may be (and I do believe it is), Caps to the Capital just isn't my kind of charity knit, and at the risk of alienating folks (oops--too late), I'll explain why.

The research that Save the Children (the folks who bring you Caps to the Capital) has done says that "Four million newborns die each year within the first month of life — half within the first 24 hours of life," and that "simple, low-cost practices that could save newborn lives — like warming their heads with a knit or crochet cap." This is the premise for the program. Of course, other low-cost practices like training for skilled birth attendants and access to antibiotics are also important, and something that Save the Children is lobbying the White House to provide. In fact, the caps will be sent to the President in January, along with the letters that Save the Children urges those knitting caps to provide. The hope is that President Bush will get the message--just as budget time rolls around--and increase funding for this type of relief all over the world.

Here's my dilemma: If we know that keeping a baby's head warm with a cap will improve his or her chances for survival, and we know that in many parts of the world it gets pretty darned cold in October, November, and December, then why in the world are we holding on to the caps until January??? I understand the political statement, but is it worth even just one tiny life to make that statement? I won't even get started on whether or not I believe this administration will listen, or what I think the most important thing for this administration to hear right now is. The bottom line for me is, if we can help a baby now, why don't we.

Conclusion? Since I used their pattern for the cap I made, I'll send it to them. I may even make more for them at the end of December. But in the mean time, a little Web surfing has led me to a charity that, for me, is a better fit: Newborns in Need. They provide essential items, such as clothing, to premature and full-term babies in need all over the United States--year 'round. So, the next charity project will be for them.

And I'll also be participating in the Red Scarf Project (it's getting late, so more about that in another post). And I'd like to find a good project to support our troops (thought I saw something about socks and hoods, but I'll have to do a bit more surfing on that) , and one for animals in need. Let me know if you've heard of anything.

Of course, with Christmas rapidly approaching (I'm a slow knitter), I also have stuff on the needles and in the queue for friends and family (...and me...).

Stuff like Mom's scarf (almost done!) :

The DBF's socks (not much progress since you last saw them, and not technically for Christmas):

And waiting in the wings, I have a scarf (for the DBF), Christmas stockings, beaded purses, a sweater that I'd like to wear during the holidays, a sweater for Mom (Christmas 2007--there's no way I can get it done this year!)... the list goes on.

But first, I have to fix this:

I'm not pointing at anything in the picture--I'm just keeping the fabric down so you can see the way I cleverly began knitting in the round, even though this particular sweater is supposed to be knit (and was, until not so long ago) back and forth on circular needles. And naturally, I didn't notice this until I had almost finished the row (round?). Sigh.

On that note, I think I'll head to bed.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Okay--The Party's Over...

...The Pity Party, that is.

Now, on to better stuff.

I finished this:

My first cap for "Caps to the Capital". More about that this weekend.

And I took this:

My first picture for "Eye Candy Friday".

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Twenty-three Things...

...To Do When You Learn The Company You Just Started Working For Has Been Acquired

  1. Panic
  2. Have a glass of wine
  3. Eat chocolate
  4. Cuddle with your cat/dog/knitting
  5. Curl up in the fetal position
  6. Scoff under your breath every time management says "They're not going to make any changes to our organization."
  7. Secretly want to slap your cube neighbor upside the head when he announces that he's going to make a killing on his stock options; that, at a minimum, they'll need him for the transition; and that "associates" at his level automatically get six months severance in the event of a layoff
  8. Kick yourself for not having negotiated stock options
  9. Rent "Office Space" and watch it with a glass of wine, a box of chocolate, your dog at your feet, your knitting at your side, and your cat curled up on top of you as you lay in the fetal position, mumbling about condescending management and obnoxious co-workers
  10. Start knitting a baby cap for "Caps to the Capital". (Patterns for the caps using DPNs are at the Warm Up America site.) The thought of helping to save a baby's life with a simple knit cap is good for perspective.
  11. Hit the job boards and repost your resume (hey--at least there's not much to update...)
  12. Order this. And this.
  13. Re-evaluate your monthly spending. Cancel Weight Watchers membership, gym membership. Consider reducing yarn budget, but opt to cancel telephone service instead.
  14. Find things around the house to sell on eBay ("Hmm... won't be needing that fancy cordless telephone anymore...). Avoid selling knitting-related items--knitting's going to be the cheapest therapy you get.
  15. Worry about how this might affect every facet of your future, both professionally and personally.
  16. Make appointments with all your doctors while you still have health insurance.
  17. Consider refinancing the house, taking cash out, while you're still employed, and curse the lousy timing of the real estate "downturn"
  18. Consider selling the house and moving to a less expensive state. Curse the lousy timing of the real estate "downturn"
  19. Consider actually using the real estate sales license you got the last time this happened as a way to make a living, and curse the lousy timing of the real estate "downturn"
  20. Ignore the dirty dishes, the laundry, and the messages on the answering machine
  21. Go to bed when you get home from work -OR- stay up until the wee hours surfing the Web, knitting, and staring into space
  22. Hit "snooze" 42 times before you get up for work in the morning, and then worry that you'll be late for the layoff
  23. Post a list of "twenty-three things to do when you learn the company you just started working for has been acquired" to your blog

Friday, September 15, 2006

Like Watching Wool Dry...

(...or, in this case, a wool/hemp blend...)
This is a really bad picture of my recently finished "Very Harlot Poncho". I finished knitting it on Monday. I wove in the loose ends and washed it on Tuesday, and it's STILL damp. Now, I know I live near the water, so it always seems to be a bit damp in the air as compared to, say, Arizona, but this is crazy. I keep turning it over to make sure the air circulates around it, and I open the window next to it during the day. It does seem to be making S-L-O-W progress, and it doesn't smell like mildew. Yet. But it really doesn't seem like it should take this long to dry.

So, being fairly new to large projects in natural materials that can't be put in the washer and dryer, I'm wondering if this is normal. Any thoughts? I'm seriously considering tossing it in the dryer on "air dry" before something sprouts.

Of course, in the mean time, I have started a new project (even though I still have several on the needles...):

Socks for the dbf. I think he's as excited about them as I am (which is one of the many reasons I love him). He's been waiting patiently for them since early August. I've lost count of how many times they've been cast on and ripped back. But at least for me, there's been activity. I understand why the yarn hasn't been turned into a pair of socks yet. First, I thought I'd try toe-up socks, but I needed to adjust the pattern for his feet. Then I got frustrated with the toe-up pattern and found a new one. Which needed to be adjusted. And then I read that toe-up socks wear out faster, so I decided to go back to my standard sock construction and save the experiments for my own socks.

And all the while, my dbf has been waiting quitely. Patiently. But I know he has to be wondering what on earth is taking me so long. My lace socks didn't take this long, and although he doesn't know a lot about knitting, he senses that lace socks should take longer than his socks.

So, I'm waiting for my poncho to dry, and he's waiting for me to finish his socks.

Maybe when they're done, we'll go out and watch grass grow.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

The Harlot Was Here

Okay--I realize it's taken me forever to get this post up. The Yarn Harlot was here on Saturday, and I'm finally posting about it on Wednesday. Sorry. (I'd tell you I got distracted, but that pretty much goes without saying.)

Technically, she wasn't here--she was at Full Thread Ahead in Los Altos. Close enough. I got to hear her speak (I love her books, but she's REALLY funny in person) and have her sign one of my books. (Well, my copy of one of her books. You know what I mean. Don't get nitpicky.)

Here she is with my shoulder. (It's a terrible picture of me, and while I try not to be a vain person, I really don't want the first picture of me on this blog to be quite that terrible. You don't either. Trust me.)

I must say, as excited as I was, I really wasn't at my best. In retrospect, it was rather embarrassing. Aside from looking like hell (which I didn't realize at the time), I got very tongue-tied (which was impossible for me NOT to notice). When she was signing my book, Stephanie asked me a question. A simple question. Now, I write for a living (marketing materials--nothing exciting), so you'd think I'd be capable of stringing two words together to form a simple sentence, yes? Apparently not. And I don't seem to have the sense to just shut my mouth and smile. No. I babble. Mostly incoherently. And this is why I don't go out in public much...

I did meet a very nice lady in line while we were waiting to have our books signed. She can confirm that I am, in fact, capable of normal conversation. Her name is Julia, she was knitting a sock "magic loop"-style, and she had another WIP with her--a very cool entrelac sock. Did I get a picture of it? No. Of course not. I am not a very good blogger. Again, apologies. I will get better. However, I did get a picture of Julia (with The Harlot), and I'll post it if she (Julia) tells me it's okay (I may not be a very good blogger, but I try to be a polite one).

All in all, it was a very pleasant afternoon and evening. Generally speaking, I knit alone, so it was both fun and interesting to knit with other folks, even if I managed to mess up the cardigan I was working on. (I switched to socks.) At first, I was a bit apprehensive about knitting in front of other knitters. Since I taught myself to knit, I had an irrational fear that someone would look at me and say "you're doing it wrong". Nobody did. You gotta love knitters!


Friday, September 08, 2006

Greetings, World!

Hello everyone, and welcome to my little corner of cyberspace. I've been meaning to get this blog up for quite some time, but have been...well...distracted. It happens frequently.

With any luck at all, I'll make that work to my advantage by posting about whatever's currently distracting me. (If I'm not too distracted...) I suspect I'll mostly talk about knitting, traveling, the occasional soap-making adventure, and a random rant or two, but just about anything is fair game. (But really, at this point, I'm thinking it's mostly going to be a knitting blog.)

So, why start blogging now--today? Good question. There are three answers:

  1. I'm going to see The Yarn Harlot tomorrow, so I KNOW I'll have something really fun to post about tomorrow.
  2. I'm seriously considering entering Cookie's contest (what I won't do for a stash enhancement...), but the deadline is Sunday and the entry has to be a blog post. (So, if you come by and see a rather odd post, it's probably just me trying to win some of Cookie's yarn.)
  3. The guilt is really getting to me. I was a terrible flake to my awesome postcard pal, and I want to make a formal and public apology to her. (And send her something good to make up for it--more on that later.)

So, if this is a knitting blog (mostly), where's the knitting? Hmm... I'll have to get you all caught up on past projects in another post. I seem to be having a bit of trouble uploading photos, and since I've misplaced my digital camera, I'd only have sad little camera phone photos to show you right now, anyway.

In the mean time, here are a couple of links to recent/current projects:

I've recenlty finished Karen Baumer's Simply Lovely Lace Socks from the Spring 2006 Interweave Knits.

Projects currently on the needles include The Yarn Harlot's A Very Harlot Poncho (just a few more rounds to go...) and Elann's Aran Weight Lace Cropped Cardigan by Ann Cannon-Brown and Michelle Ciccariello.

Alright, then. Now that I've introduced myself, please feel free to leave me a comment and do the same.

As for me, I'm off to find the blasted camera. I'll definitely need it for tomorrow. Yarn Harlot, here I come!