Monday, July 31, 2006

Man I am tired. Stupid tired, where everything requires so much more effort than it should. It's like I used up all my late night mojo in college and now I don't have the energy to work anymore when I'm tired. And it always makes me feel as if I'm failing Physics again. Ha, wonder if that's some kind of bizarre tactile memory.

Why did I agree to work at all this week? Must've made that choice during another stupid tired episode, or more likely when I was fully awake and feeling "rational." E.g. thinking I have all the time in the world. Now I am at work trying to concentrate while fretting about things undone at home. K is at home and cleaning but there is always more to be done. At least the venue got the damn caterer's certificate. ARGGH.

Nothing like moving things around to feel like I am the Clutter Queen.

Anyway. non-sequitur finish: here's proof of what happens when you subject wool to a large temperature change, even superwash wool. Tip: trust your instincts and the multiple other information sources you've read, even if a trusted source is recommending something. Or at least damn well test it out with a smaller amount.

Dyed up a real nice red, though.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

By the way, K found a suit. He says it is "VERY NOOOICE" but won't tell me how much he payed for it. Hmm, should I be worried? They'll have the alterations done on August 1st. Hooray!

Despite Portland's reputation for being a veritable hotbed of knitters, I rarely see any. Maybe most aren't the knit-out-loud type. I ride the MAX, the light rail train, to work every day and I have yet to see a single knitter. I felt pretty good the other day when two proto-teen girls complimented me on the Lily of the Valley stole. Get 'em hooked early, muahahaha.

Nothing like lace to milk the compliments, baby. Everyone thinks it's so complicated and fussy, but it's not really harder than just regular knitting, and you can be more fast and loose with your tension (which helps on a train). I'm kind of an intuitive knitter, I want to see where the stitches are connecting to each other row by row, and that helps me memorize the pattern much faster. Lily of the Valley is a very intuitive knit, it's repetitve even over a 14-row repeat. I know that I'm supposed to start the YO-K1-YO-nupp sequence when I get to the stitch above the last YO you did, releasing me from the necessity of counting most of the time (or at least as a check on the counting). It's also easy figuring out where you stopped after last time.

I had an awful lot more trouble with Branching Out that I did last year, as a first lace project. I suspect that's because I wasn't trying to pay attention to where the stitches fell, line by line, but slavishly following the chart. I kept having to rip out many rows and redo it all. However, the chart on Branching Out is a lot more complicated than Lily of the Valley, whose stock in trade is really those nupps, a few K2togs and one triple in the middle.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Where would you like me to put that bouquet, Bridezilla?

(Image from The Daily Pepper)

I'd like to think I'm not a horrible bad-tempered fiancée. But how do you know? Weekly World News used to print these tests in their paper, entitled "Are a Space Alien?" and bylined "You might have come from outer space and not even know it!. If you answer yes to more than 7 of these questions, you might be from Mars!" Of course, we were all space aliens, in our grungy, sleep-deprived, studying-like-madmen collegian states.

  1. Do you exhibit signs of bitchy behavior at the slightest provocation?

  2. Have you ever screamed at your fiancé during wedding planning, even once?

  3. Do you have urges to throttle the caterers?

  4. Have you changed venues? 2 times? 3 times?

  5. Are you suing any of your former (or current) providers?

  6. Did you take more than 6 months to choose a wedding dress?

  7. Is your family threatening to disown you?

  8. Is everyone in your bridal party avoiding you?

  9. Does your fiancé keep muttering something like "wish we'd eloped", or "maybe this marriage thing is not a good idea"?

I can only answer yes to #3, but it's because they still haven't managed to get the stupid insurance form (total of four, yes, 4 fields to fill out. One of them is a signature) to the venue. Going on 6 weeks now since I gave them a cover letter, form, and stamped, addressed envelope. Tired of making daily phone calls to venue and caterers.

I'm the sort to worry, but I'm not worrying over things like whether the flowers are perfect, whether it's going to be sunny but baking hot, or whether my bridesmaids all match. I see this as partially an oportunity to meet up with a bunch of old friends I haven't seen in forever and really, why do the flowers matter that much? Of course they'll look great, they're FLOWERS.

Yes, I'm worried about my hair and makeup and dress, but that's because I spend most of my time in a state of looking extremely dorky. I kind of gave up on fashion a long time ago, as I don't really have the body or time for it. The more I let it all just go, the happier I feel.

I've been freaking out various vendors for months now with the simple fact that I do not have any wedding colors. This is a foreign concept to them. To put a nice spin on it, I'm eclectic (that means: none of my garden plants or dinner plates match). It helps that I have only one bridesmaid, so I told her to wear whatever color or style she liked that would be wedding-appropriate and suited her. She's going to be wearing a black cocktail dress, which will probably look absolutely stunning on her. She was kind enough to vet the choice with me first, but I'm fine with it.

I picked out dark blue and purple and green flowers for my wedding bouquet, because they looked pretty and that's what I was feeling like on that day. Honestly, the bouquets of peach roses were gorgeous. But I'd look even dorkier next to a bunch of peach roses, you know?

For example, I can admire Butterfly, the Silk Garden cardigan, from afar, but I know I'd look like hell in it. Most jewelry has the same effect.

11 days now. Will we get the house clean in time? Will the garden plants survive to look all pretty when everyone shows up? Will my mother and my future mother-in-law get along? (probably, but they probably won't be bosom buddies.) Will I dissolve into a pile of teary goo during the ceremony? (also another probably, can't do biofeedback worth crap). I can't really control anything but the first and maybe the second items, so I'm feeling pretty good today, in a it's-all-inevitably-going-happen-now way.

Everyone's coming next week, and I happily anticipate seeing them. I'm going to take Mom to the Yarn Garden for some fiber lovin'. She's stuck in acrylic land still but I'm hoping to convert her. K's parents from Illinois will get to drink lots of microbrew beer and enjoy all the fresh fish they can eat. I'll get to see my new neice, Nora, who will be all of 2 months old. I get to marry my best friend in 11 days. And this Friday I'm going with a bunch of cool coworkers to the Oregon Brewer's Festival starting at 2:30 pm. Life is good.

Monday, July 24, 2006

DAMMIT I hate Mondays.
Cannot seem to get anything at all done today. Just want to go home and hide under the bed for a while, flopped down from the heat like the cat. There is still so much left to do I want to cry and go off and knit for a while, somewhere where there are no telephones and it is 75 degrees and sunny but will not give me a sunburn.

Cake stuff is set, as of Saturday. I miss Mel at the now-defunct Criollo Bakery more than ever, because while this place is ok, it's not even half as good as Mel's cakes. And costs about the same. Damn wedding cakes, why is it so rare to have a GOOD TASTING CAKE? I guess I'm a function over form gal.

I went suit shopping with K on Sunday. He decided to not wear a tux and all the fun attendant tasks. He also waited until a month or so ago to even start looking into it, and by then good rentals are hard to find. I really hate nagging, my parents employed it regularly and it REALLY REALLY ANNOYS ME, but I've been trying to quietly push for months now. Considering the nightmare of finding clothes that I went through. It's < 14 days now and it's going to be fun seeing if they can even complete alterations in that time. If he can even find anything (no luck on Sunday. Everyone's having sales and so all the inventory is sold out). And, fun fun fun, he tried on his other suit (still pretty new, worn maybe.. 3 times?) this morning and it doesn't fit. A little tight across the waist. Mmm, beer.

Who knew that there were so many ugly ties out there? Maybe the context is missing.

Finished the pumpkin hat, and it looks... not so good. Ah well. My tension is really uneven in the lower part. But my first attempt at I-cord is a thumbs up.

Idiot cord: It sure looks awful on the row you're currently working, but don't give up until you can see it 3-4 rows down, when it magically pulls together. My other mistake was doing a knitted-on cast-on, because I wanted the opening to be extra-stretchy. The cast-on is far too loose, and the roll-up brim doesn't roll up so nicely. I used the regular long-tail cast-on for an apple hat, and it rolls much more nicely.

I also have quite a problem tensioning when switching from purl to knit (or vise versa), but I knew about that already. This, of course, plays merry hell with any ribbing I try to do. My socks look extra unattactive so they're on hold for the moment. I've tried to fix this or compensate by pulling tighter after switching forward to back to forward, but the cotton is extra-unforgiving. Any ideas on fixing this unfortunately behavior?

I have got to get those hats in the mail tomorrow at the latest. More things I have to do. K says, you write all the things down on paper and that gets them out of your head so you needn't worry about them anymore. Ha. Then I've got a great long list that with which I can feel overwhelmed.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Nature is getting back at me for mocking the rest of the country's weather. Today's high here is predicted to be 105 degrees F. Low? 65 or so.

I grew up in the desert and one of the things I miss the most is that it might get sweltering during the day, but:

  1. it was rarely hot and humid at the same time. 95 degrees with only 2% humidity really isn't so bad, as long as you're out of the sun
  2. it cooled down a LOT at night. So even if you were miserable during the day, at least you could sleep.

Humidity in Portland is at 46% right now. arggh. And a 65 degree low means that it'll be 10 pm tonight and still 80 degrees outside. Maybe gonna try out that new air mattress in the basement tonight.

Salon part 3 today, on perhaps the hottest day of the year so far. So looking forward to it. Not. Salon artiste #1 has decided my hair is too much, and turned it over to another artiste. I insisted on another trial.

Why don't I just bag it and do my hair myself? I mean, it'll be boring, it'll be mundane, but then I won't have to have this smelly Volcanic Goo in my hair, giving me a headache. And I had the fun fun task of blowdrying my hair dry this morning. Hello, my hair is 2 1/2 feet long and thick. It takes 40 minutes of hot air to dry it. UGH. I cheated, I didn't dry it all the way. It definitely has more "body" now. Just what I need.

I just keep feeling that I'm going to be nervous and feel strange and weird and stressed on That Day anyway, and adding to the stress levels by introducing weird smells and face goo is just going to push me over the edge. Can only take so many sensual inputs, you know?

Did a row on the Lily of the Valley stole today while waiting for the bridge into Downtown to close. Ha! (really, I do not normally knit while in the driver's seat of a car).

What do you think? Too Princess Amidala? (also know as: does this hair make my face look fat?)

I could totally do this. Yes, I have That Much Hair.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

I had the nightmare about forgetting the wedding dress last night. I've been expecting that one for weeks now. I've already been through the hair/makeup one (although that's resurfacing in light of recent events) It's like card trading, collect them all! I guess it must not disturb my psyche much to go barefoot at my wedding, as there has been nothing at all about SHOES.

I laughed in mockery of the rest of the country too soon, I see. There are whispers of a high of 108 for Saturday. Please permit me to cry now. In the same way that most elderly southern California homes do not have a heating system, most older homes in Portland don't have air conditioning. I'll be hiding in the basement on Saturday, and I better hit the gym before 9 am unless I really enjoy heat stroke (I am too cheap to belong to the Big Chain gym; instead I belong to the Ghetto gym which doesn't have AC, but which has a huge golden statue of a bulging muscle man. It's all about the priorities.)

Strangely enough, the Lily of the Valley stole has lately become kind of a comfort knit. Yeah, all those nupps. After a couple dozen of them they aren't so bad.

I had a makeup episode yesterday. I think it went quite well, really. She was very very good at the whole "subtle" bit, and I liked the look of it (although still kind of startling to me, who never wears anything). However, K told me my lips looked too shiny (well DUH, I am wearing lipstick, it has that effect) and my cheeks were weird. I didn't take it so well.

I should consider myself lucky that he prefers me not wearing any makeup, seeing as I never do. But it's like, I don't know, I WANT to look like me, but at the same time better. It's not really working out that way though. I get the feeling that it's like dressing up a raccoon -- it doesn't matter how much makeup or what you dress it up as -- it still looks like a raccoon.

Everyone keeps talking about the pictures. Screw the pictures. I want good memories more than pictures. This whole thing has become something of an body acceptance exercise, where I just have to stop worrying and just go with what I look like and accept that it's not going to change. I wonder why the makeup is freaking K out but doing up the hair is not. Oh wait, *I* am freaking about the hair, but only the part dealing with Product and Hairspray and Some Kind of Volcanic Goo (I am NOT kidding) mixed up in it. Bah.

So, I came home and K did his bleh shiny lips thing then I cried a little and knit 6 rows on the stole. Perhaps it is the fact that I spent 2 hours at that dumb salon, when I could have been knitting instead.

Because Angst is boring, here are some socks:

Monday, July 17, 2006

Why I love the Pacific Northwest:

To quote Tim Roche on the Weather Underground:
One area that will escape the heat plaguing the rest of the Nation will be the Coastal Northwest, temperatures are expected to remain fairly cool west of the Cascade’s[sic] and these cooler temperatures will also spread down the Pacific coast, as cool air is expected to linger a few miles inland from the ocean.

My what a fun weekend. My list of Stuff To Do By August 5th is a page and half long, two-columns. Clean straighten garden call blah blah blah. When my brother got married several years ago and my parents had a reception for him and his new wife, I gave my parents a clean-the-whole-house maid service. I knew they'd kill themselves trying to get everything clean in time. Do you KNOW what 2 teenage boys and years of semi-neglect can do to a bathroom? Now I'm almost wishing I'd arranged that for myself. Enh, I'd like to think that the house really isn't *that* dirty. I haven't reached the throw-it-all-in-the-closet stage yet. Yet. Holy crap I have too much yarn. Let's not even go into the fabric.

I bought the stem yarn for the Pumpkin hat. My gauge on the hat made of Tahki Cotton Classic is not looking as even as I thought it was. Maybe my inexperience with knitting with cotton? Tension problems, probably, I have been working on getting an even gauge fabric since I started knitting, a year and a half ago, and still my purl stitch is looser than the knit. Gah.

The shop didn't have a brown in the Cotton Classic so I had to sub. I didn't realize there was a such a difference between mercerized and non- cotton(Rowan Handknit was a possible substitute, but unmercerized). You'd think with all the cotton fabric dyeing I've done, I'd be more cognizant of shiny/non-shinyness, but no, it still takes me by surprise.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Friday, lovely Friday

It's been an eventful week at work. I have 6 concurrent projects I'm working on and 3 of them just got Super Important To Fix Right Now Where's Our Fix? since Wednesday. Also, dress fitting on Tuesday, and yet-another-salon-tryout on Wednesday and holy crap there is only 2 1/2 weeks left of work until vacation and 3 weeks until W-day. Possibly you are thinking this:

I wanted to knit a stole to wear for the W-----g, but I dithered about the yarn for far too long and I won't get it done in time unless I spend an entire weekend working on it. I've got more pressing things to do than knit for a whole weekend. It's the Lily of the Valley stole from Fiddlesticks Knitting, by the way. I have one end of the edging and 11 1/2 repeats finished. Full stole is 25 repeats + 2 edging ends. Guess I'm a slower knitter because it takes me about an hour and half for each repeat.

So to cure me of the obsession with that so that I can get something useful done in the (gah!) Last Three Weekends before the hordes descend (such as.. cleaning the house? Washing the sheets? Bugging the caterers to submit the insurance form the venue needs?) I'm knitting a baby pumpkin hat for a drive to encourage breast-feeding.

(Stoned baby not included).

I'm using Tahki Cotton Classic because I wanted to try out that yarn. I've heard good things about it - it's cabled, so it doesn't pill as much, and it's not as painful on hands as cotton has a reputation for being. I like it so far, it's very smooth and I'm getting a nice even gauge and a nice fabric using 4 mm (US 6) bamboo DPNs. Also it's shiny (me: part crow. Love the shiny. Look awful in the shiny).

I've been doing lace for so long (previous to Lily of the Valley Stole was the Kiri Shawl from Polly over at All Tangled Up) that I was kind of slow on the DPNs at first, with worsted weight yarn. I keep a much looser tension when knitting lace. I finally have found my rhythm and it's not taking FOREVER to get a single 72-stitch row finished. Yay! It's a good mass-transit knit too, as it's tiny, not heavy, and people stay away from the crazy lady and her 5 sticks. Woo, seat to myself!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

I want to go to Burning Man JUST TO SEE THIS CAR:
Yellow Submarine rewls
There are helicopters hovering overhead for the last 2 hours and allegedly this guy is running around my neighborhood. That would explain the 15 (yes, 15) cop cars that passed me on my walk home. Seems like a good time for a post.

I just got back from my wedding dress fitting. I decided to suck it up and have my dress made because:

  1. I couldn't find anything I even vaguely liked with sleeves

  2. I look really awful in strapless dresses and it would give my parents a heart attack. Just push more of that fat up to the underarms, willya?

  3. I looked like big white bell in everything, strapless or otherwise

  4. I'm too big for couture dresses (e.g., non-big-white-bell dresses), and

  5. I didn't arrange to buy a couture dress specially-made in my size eight months in advance.

A very talented woman, owner of Embellish, designed and sewed my dress. Today was next-to-the-last fitting.

It's made out of silk dupioni, one of my favorite silks. I am a big sucker for silk. The shantung was also nice but also $40/yard more expensive. It's got silk chiffon butterfly sleeves, a high empire waist, and a sweetheart neckline.

I'm torn, because the dress is really lovely. It fits me perfectly, of course. But I'm just big. I feel like a Big White Presence wearing it. And the gorgeousness of the silk just underscores the fact that I'm a pretty plain-looking person and I really need some professional help on the hair and makeup fronts. I haven't actually figured that out yet. I know, we're down to T-25 days and counting and I am hair-salon-less. You see, I did have it all arranged and I showed up and didn't really have any idea what'd look good on me and these people, well, they're supposed to make other people look good. They're professionals at it, right? So couldn't they do that to me?

I call the results "trailer trash goes to the prom":

Or perhaps, "I am so white."

I asked them to go light light light on the makeup, and looking at this picture, I suppose they did. My skin: usually pretty awful (mmm, acne scars). But I agree with my coworker, who listened to me whine and then said to me "Oh, it's the eyeliner. Eyeliner makes people who never wear makeup look like prostitutes." I have the little sunken piggy eyes, yeah? Bah. I think I could use some lipstick with color, too.

It looks nice enough from the back (I have very long, thick, usually very straight hair. It's all been curled with a large curling iron for this 'do). But I smelled as if my head would catch fire if there was a stray spark floating around.

So. Now I am Screwed. No hair dresser, no makeup, and that dress just brought it all home. I've been having nightmares for days about my hair. Gah. I'm no princess, and it feels like no matter what I do, I'm just going to look ridiculous. Anyone know a salon or person in Portland, Oregon, who knows how to deal with big thick hair? One good thing I did learn: I'm right to keep the bangs.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Hi. First post. I've been thinking of doing this for awhile. Examining my motivations and all that.

My soon-to-be, 1-year-old niece has a one of them (although her parents are both technologically savvy designers, so the design is of course lovely and spare and the pictures are great).
Even my parents just got a blog.

It's probably just the exhibitionism. Yeah.

What do I do? I quilt,

I knit,

and I'm getting married in 4 weeks. It's freaking me out a little.