We're not here for a long time; we're here for a good time.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

SAFF- It's On!

Well. I'm still not sure how SAFF compares to Rhinebeck, but I can now say, if Rhinebeck is much bigger, I couldn't possibly go due to possible head-explodage (a word just for you Knitty Yoda!).

We were delayed getting away Friday afternoon and arrived in Asheville close to nine. We were, after driving through rain and fog and the impossibility of finding an even temperature in a car, thrilled to stop for dinner (at C.F. Chan's, small, kind of fancy, kind of not Thai restaurant on the outskirts of downtown Asheville) before we got to the hotel and the improbability of sleep.

Somehow we did sleep, and were up bright and early Saturday morning. We arrived at WNC's Ag Center at quarter of ten, shortly before my first class. Who could have expected what we saw? Lots of cars, first of all. Not miles and miles for the eye to see, but a huge L-shaped parking lot worth of cars and RVs, with license plates from both the Carolinas, Virginia, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee (whoo-hoo!), Louisiana, Texas, Maryland, California and more.

Excitement was at maximum between Yoda and I until we walked into the building. I'm still surprised we didn't have head explodage right then as we looked over this:

This was us from the upper level looking down on the main floor. This picture doesn't even show the many, many, many booths and vendors lining the upper level.

Actually, none of my pictures do justice to SAFF. I was too excited, and I was already hauling around a satchel with tools for my class and current knitting projects and wallet (constant check: DO YOU HAVE YOUR WALLET?- about ten dozen times over a period of forty-eight hours) and I kept putting the camera away and forgetting- on and on. This also explains why I have no pictures of: my classes, our hotel, anywhere we ate, meeting Mum Knitter and her friend Janey for lunch at Tupelo Honey's (so good!), or any pictures of Knitty Yoda and I, together or apart, at any point.

In one word, my picture taking was P-I-T-I-F-U-L.

But it is what it is and probably, even had I been a trigger happy photographer, it still wouldn't convey how amazing this event is.

There was so much yarn.

(Blurry due to no flash- didn't want to blind people- and hands trembling with the urge to whip out my VISA, throw it at the nearest vendor and run through the booth, snatching up armfuls of yarn.)

But not just yarn. Roving. So much roving.

For the first time in the history of my knitting career, I wished I knew how to spin. If I knew how... the amount of roving I would have come home with... I can't speak to it.

Speaking of spinning...

they were everywhere.

There was even a designated spin-in where people could set up their wheels and spin and visit (and provide potential picture-taking).

And animals! We never even made it to the barn with the sheep and goats and alpacas, but we did see lots of angora rabbits inside...

and uses for hair other than knitting, like rugs, and throws.

(What you can't see on that tag is "1930s Alpaca Throw- $2000.")

I'll post more later on classes, and people we met, and great yarn buys, but what a show! Oh! to make this a yearly pilgrimage...


Friday, October 26, 2007


Also known as the Southeastern Fiber Festival and where Knitty Yoda and I will be this weekend. Hooray!

Neither of us know exactly what to expect, but checking out other bloggers who are going, I've read the phrase "Knitter's Christmas" over and over and over again.

That is an exciting phrase.

I have nothing to contribute right now, as I have no point of reference. This is my first fiber festival. These are the first classes I'll be taking outside of my LYS (I've got Mosaic Knitting Sat am and Two Socks at Once on DPNs Sunday am). This is my first road trip specifically for crafting. It's a big weekend.

I'm bringing the laptop and the camera so I'll try and update as we go along. We'll see how that goes...

For now, wish Yoda and I luck! We're both a little over the top excited. I know, I, at least, am so excited, I can't think of one single joke to make. Not one.

Hence my blatant plagiarism.

Knitty Yoda: It's 180 miles to Asheville, we got a full tank of gas, some double pointed needles, it's raining, and we're wearing sunglasses.
Me: Hit it.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Do Not Try This at Home

It's here! It arrived Tuesday and it is far more beautiful than I ever expected. My ball winder (and my nickel-plated size 0 DPNs, but, as I've already said, I only ordered those for the free shipping- really).

The only item I don't have? The swift. This fact did not concern me at all. I know many people who've used a ball winder without one and I saw no reason I couldn't do the same. These people told me the only crucial element to this non-swift mix was another human to help. Miz Knotty, especially, emphasized the need for a second pair of hands to hold the yarn while the first pair wound the yarn. She never said it in these exact words, but her message came across clearly: easy non-Swift yarn-winding is definitely a team sport.

I warned The Hubba. He was ready to go. The winder came Monday and as we had a big Colts game that night (Colts win! Colts win!), I'd set Tuesday night as the night (cue Rod Stewart) and had already picked out the yarn to wind.

Except. Tuesday afternoon some surprising and scary news reached us. The Hubba's dad (The Father-in-Law or The FIL for short) had been checked into the hospital that afternoon. After much calling around and waiting and intervention on the Knitter family side by actually going to the hospital (thanks Mum Knitter!) to sort it out, we heard his condition was treatable, he was doing much better and, really, the entire situation was a freak ailment and should not be expected to reoccur. All good news except for The FIL who still had to stay at the hospital for a few days and be poked and prodded and woken up every half hour through the night in an effort to "help him get some rest."

I blame the news about The FIL. In my excitement he was OK and my need to do something with my hands, I thought "Hey, why trust the opinions of so many others? I can wind this yarn on my own."

So I unrolled some of Brooke's beautiful yarn

and got to it.

I hooked up the ball winder on the edge of our desk.

I looped the yarn around my arm (note the UT blanket in the back- sewn for The Hubba by Knitty Yoda! Thank you Knitty Yoda!).

I unraveled several yards of yarn at a time.

I used my free left hand (on my yarn-holding arm) to hold the strand for tension and my right hand to turn the handle to wind the yarn into a nice little ball.

This plan was much neater in my head than in actual practice.

I did the first two steps easily: yarn on the arm, yarn pulled off to wind.


This kept happening to the yarn coming off the floor. No matter how lightly I held the yarn, it insisted on tangling.

And when it didn't tangle

it would wrap itself around the whole winder and not the part of the winder appointed specifically for winding.

So at the end of an hour (how I wish I was kidding) I had this:

The Saddest Ball of Yarn in the History of Yarn.

Now. I realize it's not what it looks like, but how it knits that matters. Hence the cold feeling in my belly on observing The Saddest Ball of Yarn in the History of Yarn. Any knitter who's ever knit from a poorly wound ball of yarn knows it sucks. It tangles and the working yarn doesn't pull nicely from the middle and, more often than not, you end up cutting the yarn and untangling by hand before you can knit the yarn back in.

Have you ever had a project that you should not have undertaken in the attitude or at the time or in the manner in which you undertook it? Even, as you start, the smart, non-emotionally foggy part of your brain is saying "DO NOT DO THIS. WAIT UNTIL YOU ARE CALM." It's a lot like starting a project after a few glasses of wine except, at least then, you're feeling mellow.

I looked at The Saddest Ball of Yarn in the History of Yarn and I looked at the clock that said 5 when I started and now read 6:15 and noticed it was raining outside and remembered I still needed to run to the store for dog food (because, while The Hubba and I could manage with whatever scraps we had in the fridge the dogs could not have less than they're full cup of kibble a piece for dinner) and I felt the knots in my shoulders from holding my arms in basically the same position for over an hour and I I looked back at T.S.B.O.Y.I.T.H.O.Y and a new idea came to me.

I would re-wind from the currect "ball" into a newer, neater, easy-to-use ball. Ha.


(It probably would have been good to have a glass or bottle of wine. Oh well.)

Thinking ahead I realized the current "ball" of yarn needed something to hold it, to keep it from jumping all over the room as I wound it (see? SEE? I really did have a good plan).

This worked for a while, except, the awful, tangled middle of the "ball" of yarn meant lots of stopping, untangling and starting over.

Yet. Only thirty minutes later (really) I had this:

A Fairly Respectable Ball of Yarn that Looked Good Enough Not to Put Ball in Quotation Marks.

And that yarn is now knitting nicely into a pair of Jaywalkers that aren't nearly as blurry as they appear here:

Also, for the record, I PROMISE I will never, ever do this again. Unless I forget what a pain in the arse it was, trick myself into thinking it will be much easier this time around, and figure I've worked out the kinks of the plan well enough for it to go smoothly. Maybe I will also have a glass or bottle of wine in me at the time.

And, most importantly, The FIL should be getting out of the hospital today or tomorrow.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

It Was a Quiet Day In Knitterville...

...nothing much to report...


What's that?

A finished object?

A pair of toe-up socks? It can't be!

Yes, yes it's true! The Branched Fern socks are done! Knowing my ball winder will be here any day has freed my needles! And I found a box of raisins from our trip home from L.A.!

Now I'm knitting again and we're all smiling!




Friday, October 19, 2007

Women Who Run with the Pigskin

There was an incident at work yesterday. An incident which set me to thinking about this idea of women+football= joke punchline.

Brandon, an easy-going, jovial fellow I work with, appeared to be a football-following kind of guy and I asked if he had any recommendations for a good bar where one could watch the NFL on Sundays. During the course of the conversation I asked who he cheered for and he said, "The Indianapolis Colts." And I, thrilled, put both hands up in the air, ready for the double-five, and said "Give it up for the Colts!"

To which he responded, "How long have you been a fan? Or are you like all those women who just like Peyton Manning in the commercials?"

I was shocked. SHOCKED. "Colts fan since '98," I shot back. "Indianapolis takes Peyton Manning as the first pick of the NFL draft. University of Tennessee graduate. I was there when we went three and thirteen. I was there during the Jim Moira 'playoffs? playoffs? you're talkin' about playoff?' years!"

Brandon thawed instantly and our conversation ended with him giving me a promising suggestion for a good place to watch games. Yet it got me to thinking (and this is never a good thing)...

He didn't say "Are you one of those fans who just like Peyton Manning in the commercials?" He said women. What is this attitude about women and football?

I like football. No, scratch that, I love football. I do. I don't watch it to keep my husband happy. I'm not in it for the funny commercials, the t-shirts and ball caps. I own my own jersey (two of 'em, both Manning, one Vols jersey #16 and of course, Indy #18). During the week, I hum the Monday Night Football theme music all the time.

More proof? I think what the Chargers did to Marty Schottenheimer was shoddy. I haven't made my mind up about Tiki Barber and the Giants; it feels like a loyalty versus honesty debate to me. I think Ed Hochuli and Mike Carey are the best head refs in the NFL (I also love Ed's arms and any opportunity for him to point out who has possession of the ball makes me happy. But you know what? Men have a whole host of eye-candy; they're called cheerleaders.) I believe in the Madden curse and every time Vince Young takes a hard hit, I worry about him (though I don't care for the Titans owner Bud Adams; he's a bit too Jerry Jones for me).

College football? I'm amazed that SFU is second in the country (though I'm pretty sure they lost last night). As a Vols fan, I've been defending Coach Fulmer for the last three years, but now I'm thinking it's time to turn over the reigns. I hope the SEC doesn't destroy itself (like so many previous years) and all teams end up with at least two losses. I wonder if John David Booty will be able to finish this season strong (and I love the fact he was interviewed on ESPN and admitted to doing Pilates to strengthen his "core." New agey and hard-hitting- what a combo!).

OK, I can't play call. I can't look at the offense's formation and say "Slant right to the outside somethingsomethingsomething." I might say "Manning puts it up top to Harrison" but frankly, if you're Peyton Manning and you've got Marvin Harrison, that's just good business sense. I pay attention when The Hubba explains nuances of the play calls or the cover-two defense the Bears run, but I'll probably never understand it the way he does.

And in real life, I'm no Sporty Spice. I'm not athletic and my only brush with playing football came in high school, during a powder puff game, when I grabbed at the girl's flag and accidentally pulled her shorts down. I felt awful and volunteered to cheer from the sidelines for the rest of the game.

But I do recognize pass interference. I know when the little blue flag goes down it means change of possession. I get how a challenge works and I understand the difference between one-foot in college versus both-feet in the pros.
How many men would have to give the same kind of list?

This isn't a "men against women" argument. I love watching the male-football dynamic and I recognize and appreciate they make up the backbone of this sport. But it's time to let go of disbelief about females as true fans too.

Pigskin lovin' girls out there, I ask, has this is ever happened to you? You and the boyfriend/husband/brother/guy friend head to a friend's Sunday afternoon party. You're jazzed, you're wearing your team's gear, you can't wait to see your boys take down those lousy so-and-so's. You're ready for a day of hard hits, beautiful passes, exciting turn-overs and the always charming Mr. Hochuli. You walk into the party, you're greeted and while your guy is herded off to the game room, you're directed towards the kitchen with the other girls. What...?

I know I'm not the only female watching. Miz Knotty and I discussed SEC football every Monday last year. I belong to a Football-Along KAL and trust me, football is the discussion way more than yarn. We're out here and we're cheering!

It's time to ring in the changes! Time to say it loud and proud: "I'm female, I watch football, get used to it!" I'm not a cheerleader, I'm not one of those busty blondes in the tight referee costume from a beer commercial. My uniform is a pair of jeans, my team's colors and my heart. Tell the world ladies! I came to play!

And you know what? I do love Peyton Manning in all those commercials.


Wednesday, October 17, 2007


Whoo-hoo! I ordered it last night! My yarn will at last be free!

Maybe that's a bit of an overstatement. But I have all this lovely yarn, in lovely big hanks and no way of winding it. Unless I did it by hand and that sounds like a recipe for disaster. Or, specifically, a recipe for a whole bunch o' knots.

So within the next few days, I'll be able to start winding all this lovely yarn. And any lovely yarn that might be in the *future* (more about that later).


And I bought some size 0 double-pointed needles. Strictly for the free shipping of course.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Travel Brain

We're home again and, while I feel great (what an amazing trip!), I've definitely not caught up from jet lag, time change, walking miles and miles everyday, etc., etc. I know this because I just ran the washing machine through an entire cycle without any clothes in it. (Also the spelling in this post could be truly horrendous. Either Blogger's not working properly or else I'm not clicking on "ABC" properly. Right now I'm voting for the latter and apologizing ahead of time for spelling errors.)

Until I've gotten mentally back on track, I give you: pictures.

Us on the red carpet before the premier of Elizabeth: The Golden Age.

If we hadn't had a concert that night, I absolutely would have been one of the crazed fans outside the ropes screaming "CAAAAAAAATE" as she went by. I just love her.

We spent The Hubba's birthday at Universal Studios. By the way, as I missed writing this on the day of, HAPPY BIRTHDAY HUBBA!

Scarificing himself on his birthday. What a guy.

King Kong from the latest film.

Jaws, apparently able to be in two places at once, coming at yours truly on the Universal Studios tour.

The front street of Wisteria Lane.

Remember the plane crash scene from War of the Worlds? Yeah, me either. But if you do, this is the set from it.

The boys of Apollo 13 and me.

The Hubba & Family.

From the Animal Exhibit. He was called Chip or Sam or some other such oranguntan name.

The last night of the tour.

John Mayer showed up (again!) and played on #41 (again!). He. Is. Awesome.

Stephen Marley opened for the band and then he and his brother Ziggy came out and did his dad's song "Exodous" with DMB.

Last concert of the year. Last day of the Year of Dave.

I can't quite talk about that yet.

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Monday, October 01, 2007

Good Morning Los Angeles!

I do mean 'good morning.' I woke up about quarter of six and, after some fruitless flip-this-way-and-that, realized I wasn't going back to sleep. So why not blog?
We arrived in Hollywood (OK, we're next door to Hollywood, but still, pretty close) yesterday, around noon, and, first off, the time difference is nuts. Flat out nuts. Weirder than Las Vegas and lemme tell you why: in Vegas, all real life is suspended. Breakfast at four p.m., drinks at ten a.m., gambling all the time. It doesn't seem to matter where you're from- time stops being important.
Here, though, we must still adhere to normal life, i.e. lunch at nine a.m., when I would want it, or bed at eight p.m. does not make sense (not that that stopped us. We were were so exhausted yesterday, after leaving our home at four in the morning E.S.T. to get to the airport, that we came back to the room at seven last night and by eight we were both asleep- mind you, I'd been dozing since about seven fifteen).
But already, in the space of a day, we've managed to pack in, not just flying here, but a trip to Hollywood Boulevard!
Transportation was a question at the start of the trip, as we decided, with only two and a half days here (don't even ask what time we fly out Wednesday a.m.), and two concerts planned in the evening, dedicated, investigative sightseeing was pretty much out of the question. And our hotel is only a block from the subway (she says with false confidence) so why not try this whole mass transportation system and see what it's all about? We'd done it (closely supervised- thanks B&B!) in Atlanta. How hard could L.A. be?
Not bad at all is the answer (you weren't expecting that, were you? Me either). We walked to the station, hopped on, and rode straight to Hollywood/Highland.
Sidenote: Question: The first thing we do when walking out of our hotel? Answer: Run into some University of TN Vols fans. There were two women, one wearing that hard-to-miss UT orange and as we passed I (look, it's in my blood) yelled "Go VOLS!" At which they both laughed and callled back "Go VOLS!"
But they're from TN. And we're from TN. So they had barely passed, before one turned around and called over her shoulder, "Where are you from?"
To which I called back "Knoxville!"
And they called back, "Us too!"
Southern chatting commenced. They told us about some cut-rate place to shop called The Alley and gave us Tennessee-style directions on how to get to there ("it's called The Alley and you take the bus stop right up here and then you hop off at Adams-" friend cuts in "no it wasn't Adams-" "no, that's right, but it was next to that huge building with all the windows-" "that's right, and then a few streets over-" "by the gas station-" "yeah, there was a gas station-" "maybe you should just ask the busdriver"- "that's right, but it's called The Alley") and we told them we were here for two concerts and on our way to Hollywood Blvd, and pointed out our hotel behind them and they told us they were flying out that night at ten and had been there for four days and really wanted to be on The Price is Right but the show was cancelled so they saw Dr. Phil instead and then everyone exchanged social security numbers and passwords and finally parted ways, glad to have met a fellow Tennessean all the way out here in Los Angeles, California.
End Sidenote.
The subway was easy and, as we were only four stops away from Hollywood Blvd., we were there fast and we headed back up to street-level, stepped out onto the sidewalk, into a crowd of millions, it seemed, and started walking. And wondered about where Grauman's Chinese Theater was and how did we get to the Walk of Stars and if we couldn't find it today, we'd find it tomorrow, let's just look around and observe and what sounds good for dinner (at three p.m.) and- oh, look!- an outdoors shopping mall! Which we wandered around, admiring the architecture of the buildings surrounding us a little and talking about where to eat a lot, and somehow we found ourselves four flights up, looking over the street we'd just left, only for The Hubba to announce he wanted to take a picture of the building across from us.
It was here when he looked down and discovered the sidewalk we'd just left was the Walk of Stars.

How about that for dedicated and investigative sightseeing?

And one block over we found Grauman's Chinese theater and the famous hand and footprints.

For you, Knitty Yoda...

We saw the Kodak Theater, where the Oscars are filmed every year. There were people on the streets (out of work actors perhaps?) dressed up as superheroes and getting their pictures made with kids.

After about two hours of jumping around and exclaiming, we (i.e. I) realized we were to hungry to go on and so ate at the Pig n' Whistle.

Then took the subway back to our hotel rooms and, well, fell asleep.

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