Wednesday, July 11, 2007

To Talk of Many Things...

Above and beyond all else, I'd like to introduce my spectacular Secret Pal, Sassy Gina-D. As you can tell by the abundant photos of the packages she sent and absent chocolate, she's been the bestest secret pal ever ('specially for someone like me who always got the crappiest of Secret Santas in elementary school) and a real life-saver some days (chocolate, people).

I'm starting her blog, but just because I have my little neurosis about linking blogs doesn't mean you shouldn't check her out before I get done.

Go ahead. I'll wait here.

[SUMMARY: Bestest. Secret. Pal. Ever.]

Now, to cover for my long absence (tell me you noticed I wasn't around), I'm taking requests.


First, just for myself, I want to show you this bracelet:

It's gorgeous, yes, but more important, it's very, very sentimental and it represents something bigger than a pretty heart-shaped rock for my wrist.

As I've mentioned, my mom died last year. Mom was the one who got almost all the presents for almost everyone. Once in awhile, Dad would find some great gift he thought was perfect and we'd all marvel, "He picked it out himself!"

Poor Dad. He has to get all the presents himself now, and it's not always easy. I know. I've helped him pick out some things for the nephews and they have to be easier to shop for than I am. But this is what he found for my birthday. And it's beautiful. And he picked it out himself.

I’ll be wearing my heart on my sleeve.

Mom would be so proud of him.

Dad isn't allowed to read this blog (for what I hope are obvious reasons), but I want everyone who comes across this to know just how touched and grateful and misty-eyed I am about my wonderful, amazing father. I have the best family in the world, and he's the cream of that particular crop.

[SUMMARY: *sniff*]

On to the fibre.And Sylvia's request.

See, for my birthday, I treated myself to a little fuzzy crack from Posh. While I got enough Louisa Harding Kimono Angora to make a sweater, and some lovely Life Style sock yarn, the real star of the show is the Fleece Artist Sea Wool, all soft and fuzzy and soft and smelling of the ocean and pretty, pretty colours and so soft...

Counter-clockwise from upper left: Louisa Harding, sock yarn, Sea Wool

The stuff has been flying off the shelves at Sylvia's House of Fuzzy Crack.§ You can see why, can't you?

[SUMMARY: Sea Wool. You want it. You can't have mine. Maybe not Sylvia's either.]

At the request of DK Steph and several knitters from Thursday night Stitch Therapy¶, here are some pictures from my bacchanale at the Brown Palace.

The room. The bed. That's a lot of bed for just one girl... drat.

The table setting at dinner, complete with champagne and Tiffany box.

Pretty people in pretty dresses (Cindy in front, Jo behind her, Raelene on the right)

Even your scruffy ol' AntiM cleaned up for the event.

The shoes.

The Hogwarts dress.

The skirt (just 'cause it's pretty and looks cool in the picture).

But, of course, it's all about the boobs.

See, Cindy was worried about the amount of cleavage she was showing in her Marilyn-Monroe-over-the-grate dress, so I promised her I'd find something to put the girls out there so she wouldn't be alone. I'm supportive that way.

The gifts. This is as close to Enron as I'm ever going to get.#

Wanna see what was in the box?

So for all that were wondering, that's a brief overview. Did I mention open bar?

[SUMMARY: Hey! Where'd all the luxury go? Bartender? Concierge? Where are you?]

Meanwhile, back in reality, your dear ol' AntiM turned her hand at a little dyeing Monday night. I know First Among the Imaginary Kellys (whatever happened to Other Imaginary Kelly? I miss her) wanted to see how that went.

So at FAIK's request:

Set up.

You have to soak the yarn in warm water for at least a half-hour. Don't ask me why. Google it if you must.

Then you lay it out...

And stripe it one colour at a time.

Then microwave four minutes a side.

Darling eca, who has burned herself countless times, gave me the very fine tip to be careful of the very hot yarn. I dumped it all out of the plastic bags in which it had cooked onto paper plates, then gingerly opened the plastic wrap, then left them the hell alone for, oh, one episode of Angel until they were cool.

Cooling. Being left the hell alone.

Hung to dry.

Now, this was the Louets dye kit, and it's a little different from the typical acid dye kits you can get many other places. For one, I'm pretty sure there was no acid involved, since I didn't have to add vinegar and there weren't any dire warnings about never, ever using the utensils again for cooking once they had been part of the dyeing process.

I have some tips for those of you who feel you might want to purchase a Louets dye kit:
  1. Add the boiling water and the dye powder at the same time, streaming them together into your glass measuring cup, rather than pouring the powder into the cup and adding the boiling water as the instructions instruct. If you pour boiling water on top of the powder, it congeals and melts into a glob reminiscent of... did anyone else ever accidentally leave a bunch of crayons on the bed with the heating pad when they were a kid? Like that.
  2. Save all the dye you mixed in the measuring cup for each batch of dye. Despite the fact they want you to mix up six ounces of dye, they only give you a four-ounce bottle to put it in. I just dumped the remaining blue and green before I caught on that I was going to run out of dye. Consequently, my yarn is predominantly yellow (the only colour I was smart enough to save the dregs to top off the squeeze bottle) and I'm not much into yellow.
  3. Maybe don't do it. The dye doesn't dissolve (minutes upon minutes of agitating boiling water and what were apparently coloured rocks, waiting on full geologic-style erosion to fully dissolve), getting stuck in globs in the squeeze tip and causing frustration and occasional splattering. I think even if I'd been smart enough to save all the dye from each batch, it wouldn't have been quite enough dye to really saturate the yarn the way I would have liked. There should have been pictures in the instructions.††

OK, not dire reasons not to get the kit, but I was a little disappointed. I guess I got my feet wet,‡‡ but it wasn't very satisfying.

[SUMMARY: There's more to dyeing than this. I have faith. And I should get points for not making ANY of the dopey die/dye puns I wanted to in the last three hundred words or so.]

Perhaps tonight I will inaugurate my Hello Yarn acid dye kit in Red's Crock Pot.

Pray for me.

Meanwhile, I bet you've missed the cat. Here he is performing his pre-bedtime ablutions.§§

[SUMMARY: Awwww... wookat da kitty!]

You're welcome.

FOOTNOTE (crossed): LYS gift registry notwithstanding.

FOOTNOTE (double-crossed): Still a knitting blog. Of sorts. Really -- go check. I'll wait here.

§FOOTNOTE (swerved): Despite the fact that Sylvia stuck it in a bin on the bottom which I'm sure in no way has anything to do with her wanting to save the yarn for herself.

FOOTNOTE (paragraphed): I know those of you not in/from Denver may not get it, but the Brown is a big deal. It'd be kinda like telling people you're going to England and are going to spend the night in Buckingham Palace. OK, not quite that extreme, but everybody knows it's the pinnacle of luxury in this once-cowtown and a lot of people never actually get to stay there. After all, you don't often stay in a hotel in the city where you live. And I don't think you often spend $200 a night to stay in a hotel in the city where you live.

#FOOTNOTE (pounded): Read "The Smartest Guys in the Room." It'll turn your stomach a little, but you have to marvel at the sheer excess Enron heaped on their favoured ones.

††FOOTNOTE (ddouble-ccrossed): For someone who can't count to four, vaguely mathematic instructions like, "lay the skeins out with no space between them. Apply the dye in lines a couple of inches apart perpendicular to the yarn," required much counting on fingers and drawing of diagrams. I know, I know, but sometimes the words just don't get through right and you can't quite picture the thing in your mind.

‡‡FOOTNOTE (doubble-crossssed): Not literally. I was very, very clean and didn't even turn my hands colours.

§§FOOTNOTE (so curvy): If you think it's easy getting the picture that actually shows the cat's tongue... well, you'd be underestimating.

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