Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Focus, focus

There were these twin sister knitters just turning one hundred years old in The Knitter's Retirement Community House and the editor of the "SKG News" told a photographer to get over there and take the pictures of these 100 year old twin knitters.

One twin was hard of hearing and the other could hear quite well.

The photographer asked them to sit on the sofa and the deaf one said to her twin, "WHAT DID HE SAY?" He said, "WE GOTTA SIT OVER THERE ON THE SOFA! AND BRING YOUR KNITTING." said the other.

"Now get a little closer together," said the cameraman. Again, "WHAT DID HE SAY?" "HE SAYS SQUEEZE TOGETHER A LITTLE." So they shmooshed up close to each other.

"Just hold on for a bit longer, I've got to focus a little," said the photographer. Yet again, "WHAT DID HE SAY?" "HE SAYS HE'S GONNA FOCUS!"

With a big grin the deaf twin shouted out, "OH MY GOD - BOTH OF US?"

Friday, August 25, 2006



I am a

What Flower
Are You?


I am a

What Flower
Are You?

No surprise, really, and totally fair. I took the test, told her what I was, she took the test separately with NO hints and came up Daisy.

We are Daisy! YOU?

Ar, out picking flowers.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Almost Live

From 1984 thru 1999 there was a local comedy show called 'Almost Live'. Pat Cashman, Bill Nye the Science Guy, Nancy Guppy, Tracey Conway, John Keister and more did sketch comedy for an hour, twice a week. One of my favorite sketches dealt with the big hair and the big shoulder pads and the overblown make-up of the '80's. They dubbed their shade of eye-shadow "Lynnwood Blue".

On display at Lynnwood Saturn
yesterday, a 2006 ION:

Oh yeah, baby!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Delayed gratification. It's an adult concept.

My sister works too hard or perhaps she’s just too conscientious, one, because she would not take two extra days off of work and consequently I missed the first two days of Conference. Sheeesh.

We joined NwRSA (Northwest Regional Spinners Association) earlier this year because 1: we had been going to St. Distaff Day* for three years and we were enthralled to be with a huge room-full of spinners with their wheels PLUS there was a market, a nice one; B: Area 2010 has kick-ass events (Judith McKenzie’s dye class for example) and we wanted in on some of that; III: we were really getting into spinning by June last year and had to get into a support group ~ the kind which would enable us at every turn and with whom we could hang and spin.

St. Distaff Day, held annually on the first Saturday of January, an all-day spin-in with Market and left-over holiday goodies galore.

Joining NwRSA lead us to attend the annual Conference which, every 4th year, is held at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma. There are perks: we get a dorm room, 3 squares a day and a seemingly unending supply of door prizes, winners of which were announced off and on during the weekend. There is also a series of raffles, all fiber related. We bought tickets and considered it a donation ~ we have a well-deserved reputation for never winning anything. It’s become a bit of a joke between us but truth be told we don’t really need any more 'stuff', and if we do we tend to buy exactly the sort we ‘need’ for ourselves.

What a shock to win the grand prize raffle: a wool blanket, hand-woven on an 8 harness loom by Marilyn Knapp of Omak, Washington and long-time member of NwRSA. We’re grinning at each other, totally delighted. Totally, even though neither of us has this particular lavender color in our homes and even though neither of us has a twin bed, delighted. It’s a beautiful blanket, lovely pattern, finished nicely with braided fringe. It was a heart-felt thank-you gift to my son and his lovely wife for opening their home to the two of us on our way through Portland to Eugene later in June for Black Sheep Gathering.

Because we missed Thursday (thnx, Pe) we could not enter our spinning or knitting for judging. We did see the results of the judging though and our friend, Evelyn Clark, was captured as she spotted the award for her entry ~ the grand prize award for best use of handspun, where she had spindle spun the merino, designed the shawl, written the pattern and knit up the shawl.

Here’s Evelyn looking de-lighted.
She’s not nearly so blasé as she pretends to be.

Here’s her shawl, in a gorgeous hyacinth color merino
from Ashland Bay. She said she purchased the roving at Weaving Works in Seattle. I wish I had a photo of it stretched out, but that would have taken planning and forethought.

Peggy and I took a class in “Spinning Beyond the Basics II” with Trish Andersen on Saturday afternoon. Our logic was that a half-day class would give us time to spin with our friends and give us serious Market time while still enabling us to take a class with a teacher we didn’t know. We were part of a small class of 10; Trish passed around long runs of multi-colored roving and asked us what we wanted to learn. The loudest voices said “Chained Singles” (heh, in your dreams; they said “Navaho Plying”) so we got into spinning for enough singles to be chained while we were entertained by Trish telling stories of her travels and filling us in on some tidbits of her spinning know-how. She said she spins about 2 pounds of roving a day. A day. She’s a production spinner, has a Lendrum and said nice things about our wheels while making it clear that, since they weren’t Lendrums, at least they were ‘pretty’. We had a great time in her class. Then we went shopping. Again. Yea!

Here is what I bought from Reflection Farms ~ a lovely Corriedale Cross in reds/golds/rusts. I spun it up fast, as it comes in pencil-roving ~ so easy to handle ~ and got about 857 yards from 5.7 ounces. This will make a great shawl!

From Dawns Custom Carding, 7.5 ozs of wool/mohair for socks. Love this periwinkle color so much that maybe instead I'll knit up a little shoulder shawl designed by Evelyn A. Clark. There's an EAC KAL on yahoo for all you Evelyn fans, btw.

From Janis at dyelots! a lovely 8 oz Blueface Leicester top that I sampled while I was at Conference and hanked up on this VERY cool little sample skeiner from Ashland Bay. Who knew I'd love another tool so much! This little guy makes sampling new rovings just as fun as swatching new yarns, and I love me some swatching!

I’m going to have to learn to pre-plan my fiber purchasing. Is that even possible? Normally I’m capable of delaying gratification, but this roving thing has me all confused. Three years ago I was all "No spinning for me. There's enough yarn in the world, don't need to go making more, nope." to "oooo, roving! Pretty!" Delayed gratification, my ass. I was totally out of control at
Black Sheep Gathering later that same month, but that's a story for another day.

Ar, reporting from underneath a pile of roving. OOOOO, PRETTY!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

What did you say your name was?

I have a dreadful memory. I can be introduced to you and 5 seconds later I'll wonder what your name is. I'll remember meeting you, I'll remember shaking your hand and saying my name. Your name is gone. No, it's not ‘Gone’, it's just not in my memory.

Working with Blogger is rather like that. I've taken to saving my drafts not just in Blogger, but I save one called 'html' in Word, and another called 'compose' in Word. That way, if I screw up one of them (inevitable) I'll always have a backup. In theory.

In reality, here's what happened: I saved the 'draft', with new photos and all errors fixed in 'compose' format, deleted the regular draft...DOH! Should have saved in 'html' format, too, because now when I put the 'compose' word doc back in Blogger, and the ONLY way to paste into Blogger is in html format, it leaves the photos, all carefully placed and spaced, out, as well as leaving out all the hyper-links. Of which, of course, there were many. Not several. Many. ACK!

Ok, while I'm on this rant, I may as well add that I’ve gone to the ‘help’ (HA!) section of Blogger so many times searching for 2 things (mostly):

1. A way for me to post as me and Pe to post as she, and no post with both our names on it. For this I would kill. (Not in a sweeping generalization sense, but certainly I would, like, kill a moth that just flew from my wool stash and ask questions later.) I know it's possible because I read blogs where there is (are) more than one post-er(s). Two Sock Knitters. JenLa. It's being done. How? Keeping in mind that I am computer/blog/I.T./never read a manual in my life/challenged, please do not assume I am capable of following even slightly less-than-simple instructions. Speak slowwwwwlyyyyyyy.

B. A calendar. I want a calendar in the side-bar that shows the days we post. Is that a lot to ask? Blogger? Yo? Are ya there? Dude?

III. I didn’t ask Blogger this but can I be a whole lot smarter, please????

Post with photos/links to follow. Later. Perhaps tomorrow. Maybe.
AR, posting from Blogger Hell. But hey, it's a dry heat...

Sunday, August 13, 2006

But it was a warm rain...

We decided to take a day trip to Eastern Washington on the hottest day of the year - July 14th. Hottest in Seattle, anyway. Hot for us is 80. We were looking for 95 or better that day.

This trip to Yakima consisted of taking a few snapshots -- occasionally one of us was in the frame, but often not. Case in point - these 2 pictures.

We had a plan, and it was a good one, too!
Yakima was going to be an adventure!

Plan A: Big city girls from west side go to east side of State, buy spinning wheel, have lunch in recommended Yakima restaurant "Mercedes", then high-tail it for home.

The first part of Plan A worked great -- the weather was perfect, the road clear, the scenary breathtaking, AND best of all, the spinning wheel was beautiful.
Thanks to Shirley and Bob for parting with it. This 1991 Betty Roberts Spinning wheel started its' trip home with us belted into the back of the Mazdarati mini-van.

Where Plan A started to go horribly wrong was lunch. Sure we had an address for the restaurant, and sure, Rebecca had gone to Map Quest for directions and a MAP. But the kicker is that first y'all have to be reading the map correctly. Talk about driving around in circles!!

On one of the more colorful circles around Yakima streets, we found a great store, athough we didn't stop to shop.

When we finally stopped for directions THE SECOND TIME, we had a lovely few minutes with a couple of local 'mechanics' at a garage -- no shirts, no shoes, no problem on the eyes! WISH I had a photo of them to show you!

When we finally found the restaurant, this is what greeted us:

So much for Plan A.

Plan B was to find, oh well any ol' Mexican restaurant. Anything would do as we were getting rather hungry. As it turned out, not just anything would do if it smelled of Pine Sol, and had a cavernous feeling.

But at the Plan B restaurant, we happened upon another TWIN reference -- weird. Two in one trip when usually we don't see any.

Plan C - moving on. We found another Mexican restaurant but they only served a buffet at more than we wanted to spend for lunch.

Followed quickly by Plan D, where we finally ate at the 'Tequilla', a quaint little train mall restaurant.

Finally lunch was over, we were ready to drive back to Seattle at about 2:00p, and what happens but it starts raining! In Eastern Washington, no less. On the hottest day of the year. But it was a "warm rain", don't ya know... (Rebecca took proof-positive rain-drop pictures to show the DH.)

That's my story and I'm stickin' to it.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006


Warning: graphic descriptions of bodily fluids ahead. If you're queasy, or even sensible, stop now.

I never knew how truly tender I was until I fell off the toilet in a dead faint. It was a surprise ~ I thought I was just there to puke my guts out combined with a little projectile doo-dooing, iykwimaityd. It’s always a hard choice: do I sit and throw up into a Tupperware bowl, or do I heave into the toilet and hope nothing comes out the other end? Hmmm. What to do, what to do. I chose the former. So, while clutching my bowl in my arms and preparing for the worst bout of projectile everything, THE WAVE of nausea rolls through me, draining every bit of blood from my head and down I go and not in a good way. The bowl was just the right size to give me a fat lip, a crescent-shape bruise on my left boob and a deep bruise on my sternum.

I also have, for you ghouls, a deep hematoma on my left hand
and on my left knee,
and there are three weird little bruises up the back of my left leg, too. Puzzling.

This is the ravages of food poisoning, people. DO NOT GO THERE.

His symptoms started ahead of mine and I was unable to help my husband for three hours while he was puking like I’ve never heard anyone puke before. I kept racking my brain: what did we eat? Did I eat everything he ate or did I skip just the one little thing that got him? I feel fine; maybe it won’t hit me. Denial and fear. Lots of fear.

Three hours later I’m on the bathroom floor in a pool of never-mind and he’s bending over me asking "Honey, Honey, are you ok???" (yeah, I'm good, thanks) The second time I managed to get to the floor under my own power before the lights went out. The third time I called for help in a very tiny voice, which was all I could muster, and he came in and put a cold wet cloth on my neck just in time to save me from a three-peat. The cold cloth was ever after handy.

We did this for 12 hours. Each. We went through a half-dozen showers, four rolls of toilet paper, tried pepto-bismal with no effect and then just lay in misery until then next bout.

I lost my voice from the acid coming up. I guess I never will understand bulimia.

Is there a law against telling where we acquired this gift of poison? Probably. The owner of the restaurant says: “Well, nobody else is complaining.” How much do I hate THAT lame statement, under any circumstances? A lot. We weren't poisoned in your place just because nobody else is complaining???? I'm suppose to believe you that nobody else is complaining? And if true, just because nobody else put it together doesn’t mean our experience wasn’t valid, you total ass. And guess what? There was a third person in our party, he also got dreadfully ill and it was the only meal the three of us shared.

Oh yeah, we called the health department. They were more concerned than the restaurant owner. They even called back, to find out how we’re doing. Nice.

So if you’re in Seattle and you don’t want to eat there (at that smallish micro-tav in Ballard not called the Meowing Cat) email me. I’ll be happy to give you the name privately, one concerned citizen to another.

Is that wrong?

Ar @ large & back from the brink

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Apparently it's easy being green

We started our two day seminar on fiber dyeing with Judith MacKenzie at 9:00 a.m. on Friday, July 28th by trying to get the water in our crock pots hot enough to dye fiber (that’s 180 or hotter) in a reasonable time. I have to say that didn’t work. Those suckers take forEVER to heat and as soon as the lid is off they cool rapidly and then take another forEVER to reheat. Peggy, genius and good twin that she is, brought an old electric deep fat fryer that had a plug-in dial and which heated in, oh, 30 seconds. At the end of that first day, and I know I’m jumping ahead here, we hit 3 Good Will-types on the way home and came up with two more adjustable hot-pots and the second day was far more productive.

Day one: our assignment was to start three pots, one with magenta, one with yellow and one with cyan – the three primes. We were to dip a small hank of wool into one pot after another until we came up with a color for which we had ‘affection’. It sounded odd but it became very clear that there were colors we loved and colors we couldn’t wait to over-dye. We did this all day. We did it with natural off-white wool, brown wool, black wool, gray Shetland wool, three different boucles (wool with nylon), mohair, cashmere, tweed…it took until about 3 pm. There were 21 of us. Here’s just a little of what we all did:

Judith let us all sit while she went through our product, proving that 1. many of the 21 of us would have done anything to sit down and B. there were no two colors alike (though similar) and that one can make any (every) color from the primes.

The second day we started with fresh pots. That assignment was to begin with yellow, dip a little bit of fiber, add a few drops of magenta, dip a new little bit of fiber, add a few drops, dip another bit of new fiber…on and on we went. My bits gradually turned from yellow to magenta and Peggy's went from yellow to cyan, bit by bit.

At the point which I ended with a totally magenta pot and Peggy a totally cyan pot, we were then to take the opposite prime – in my case cyan – and gradually work through the magenta until it was totally cyan, but [whine] we were too tired and we didn’t care anymore – we knew it would work so wtf, and off we went to dye actual project fiber.

Now above we have an example of a Kool-Aid dye project gone horribly wrong.

A few months ago The Wednesday Knitters (Peggy "The Good Twin", MaryEllin, The Other Peggy and me) got together for a Kool-Aid Dye Day. We had some successes and some not so much. (I ended up with a color I can only refer to as ‘babyshitbrown’ and not in a good way, IYKWIMAITYD. No photos of that one. It wouldn’t be kind and my rep as ‘not the good twin’ is solid enough.) My goal with this marino top shown above was to have four distinct colors: bright rose, bright pink, forest green and the natural off-white. As Judith explained: when the fiber is drafted for spinning the colors become less clear – more muted. What I ended up with was a pastel yarn in colors I didn’t like. Judith asked if I minded if she over-dyed it as an example for the class and what color would I like? MIND? That would be GREEN.

She started with a fresh pot of hot water, submerged the pre-soaked fiber in a circle and pushed it down. Then she poured straight liquid prime cyan over the center and dabbed straight powder prime yellow in spots around with the end of a chop stick. Note: if you’re going to be dyeing, keep those chop sticks. There actually IS a use for them.

Then Judith layered the rest of the fiber over the first and submerged it with a spoon, poured the cyan across the middle the other way and dabbed on more powdered yellow. I got to do the second batch myself! Our batches turned out differently, which I liked, and I’ll spin them separately and ply them together. I have just under 4 oz’s of each, which should give me enough for a little shawl ~ if I ever knit again, which is starting to become doubtful as all my time is now taken up with spinning and dyeing…

Judith's batch
my batch
Dry batches - you can still see the red and the pink!
Ar, reporting for Yarn Girls, They Do Get Wooly

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Boat Drinks

There are few things that make working for a living bearable: the money and Jimmy Buffett, not necessarily in that order. Jimmy has his own radio station called RadioMargaritaville . I get to the office, I open my computer and go directly to music I never tire of. I’ve tried playing cds at work but it involves remembering to change them ~ a one-cd-player sucks ~ and that is just too much to think about. Finding Jimmy was perfect, so thank you, Paige!

Oh, and one more reason why working is bearable: our view of the Canal.

Ar at large