Sunday, May 06, 2007

Non Sequitur


My writing mojo is away on spring break, so here are some thoughts for today, in no particular order or relation to one another whatsoever.

Random Cat Photo:

"Hello, my name is Seven. I am three years old. When I am not busy looking fetching in my fur tuxedo, I am an Assistant Yarn Manager here at the Knitting Asylum, and I am the chief engineer in charge of Needle Tooth-Tolerance Assessment. I am also developing a secret plan to take over Captain Sig's boat and get me some of that codfish and king crab I see on TV."

"Or maybe Captain Phil. He seems like more of a cat person."

Garage Sale:

Helped a good friend unload a lot of stuff on the unsuspecting public yesterday morning.

She follows that most sensible of Garage Sale Rules: once it goes outside, it's like Elvis -- it has left the building.

What didn't sell by three o'clock, went to the charity store. Truly hopeless crap went to the curb. It's amazing what the neighborhood scavengers will load up on, once things hit the curb. In this case, three broken lamps, two rickety weight benches, mismatched weights for both, and a partly disassembled Nordic Track -- all compenents present, just not together. In a box, even.

Left my camera at home, which was a shame, because, like any normal garage sale in Louisiana in May, there were friends peeling boiled crawfish in the kitchen for dinner later on, which is what happens when you celebrate the Kentucky Derby and Cajun Cinco de Mayo. You have crawfish enchiladas.

And beer, once the garage sale is done.

The event attracted the usual cast of garage sale characters: The retired gent who wants to buy everything that's not for sale ("you want that sawhorse?") ... the uber-early birds trying to haggle for mega-bargains before sunrise so they can have more merchandise for their own garage sales ... the dude who comes around looking for broken junk to recycle ... and the lady who wants to know if you have "another shirt like this one, but in blue."

Junk morphed into enough cash to pay a household bill and buy some beer ... three large sacks of crawfish were peeled (enough for about 5 pounds of meat) ... and the thrift store got a carload of useful clothing, toys and oddments. We did have misgivings about donating a bunch of nekkid and dismembered Barbies, but we were assured by the lady at the thrift store that they have a volunteer who will take a bagful of Barbie components and reassemble them into as many Frankenbarbies as possible.


And ... a Louisiana boy named Calvin Borel rode Street Sense to win the Kentucky Derby. That's something to celebrate.


It's a good thing the garage sale wasn't scheduled on Friday, because we got something like eight inches of rain in a two-hour period here in Baton Rouge, and even though our house is not in a low-lying area, our street looked like this:

It's only about three inches deep in the yard and right up there on the walk at the bottom of the photo, but it's about calf-deep out by the street.

Yarn from Knitivity

A package of yarn arrived a few days back from Ray Whiting at Knitivity. Ain't it purty?

Gorgeous stuff, and soft like you would not believe. These are Ray's hand-dyed colorways. The "Sock" yarn (top) is in a colorway called "New Jeans." At center, worsted weight "Southern Purls," colorway "She Made Me Do It." At the bottom, "Biagio" sportweight wool singles in colorway "Fairies of the Forest." Ray has a wide variety of colorways and weights to choose from. Knitivity is a home-based business; Ray is a displaced New Orleanian now living in Texas. Fast service, very reasonable shipping, and truly beautiful yarns. Each batch is truly a work of art.


Having safely transported the "Socks That Rock" fundraising version of the Voodoo Shawl to Hawaii for Lisa to knit her share, I started on the Voodoo Shawl that's for me (finally, one for memememememe!) in Koigu, in shades of spring green and teal. This is the most fun pattern I have ever come up with and I can't wait to get a final proofread and that critical "blind" test-knit for pattern errors before releasing it for sale.

You see, I am part of a very small online yarn and pattern business. Some huge yarn companies (who shall remain unnamed) are in the habit of nonchalantly releasing error-ridden patterns, yet their customers, addicted to their luscious yarns, often take this inconvenience in stride, search for the corrections online, and loyally plug along with the flawed, expensive pattern and the very expensive yarn that goes along with it.

Unlike these large and unnamed yarn companies, we don't have yarn groupies who will tolerate YO's where there should be SSK's and figure it out for themselves. We don't have a loyal following who say things like, "Oh their patterns are just crappy with mistakes, you really have to be careful, but the designs are so gorgeous and the yarns are so yummy that it doesn't matter!"

Alas, we have to build a reputation, and we hope that reputation will be for error-free and easy-to-comprehend patterns, whether it is a shawl, a sweater or a lace cozy for the Golden Gate Bridge.

So here's a sneaky unblocked peek at the beginning bit of my own personal Voodoo Shawl. I've worked it up in several yarns and colorways in the past year, and the end result is good no matter what yarn you use. In this case, the yarn is Koigu, which is doing a bit of interesting color-dappling but so far, no actual color-pooling.

Oh, and happy Cinco de Mayo!

Now about those crawfish enchiladas...


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At 4:39 AM, Blogger Scattered Gemini said...

Love the colors in YOUR shawl. ;)

LOL to taking over Sig's Boat, i don't think he would like that much...but i'd go for his boat too.

I totally agree on the pattern error issue. Kudos to you for checking and rechecking. I'm sure it will pay off in the future.

At 1:19 PM, Blogger Lucia said...

A belated happy Cinco de Mayo to you too!

I don't use many patterns myself, but I've seen lots of people get shot in the hand by pattern errors, and it does seem like if you're going to charge $5 or more for a single pattern it should be well-proofed.

In fact even if you're giving it away it should be good. Why put bad energy out into the world?

(If you find mistakes in my patterns, I shall be very embarrassed.)

At 12:09 PM, Anonymous Elizabeth D said...

Dez, do you mean that your own two hands were there in Hawaii to deliver the shawl to Lisa?? Oh, I hope so -- no wonder you've been quiet if you've been off in paradise. (On the other hand, if you safely delivered it via box and USPS, well -- I've missed you!)

At 8:49 AM, Anonymous Thalia said...

Hi Dez

I found you making hi-larious comments on Aunt Purl's site, and thought I'd drop by. Even though I'm sure it's a royal pain in the ass, I love the photo of the flooded street - it looks so deliciously fetile! Of course, high humidity makes me limp and cranky in actuality. :)

I'm going to go check out that yarn...

At 10:12 PM, Blogger Criquette said...

I lived in New Orleans most of my life and never heard of Cajun Cinqo de Mayo. What a great idea - I'm just sad there's no crawfish here in Kansas to cook into enchiladas. The shawl looks gorgeous, and not so impossibly hard that a semi-novice couldn't do it. Let us know as soon as it's for sale - I want me one!

At 8:27 PM, Anonymous oneken/unokhan said...

cinco de mayo is almost entirely a north-o-the-border phenom.

the men whose riches depend on mexican labor are far more comfortable with celebrating 5-5 than with 5-1 --ain't no mystery


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