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October 2006
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December 2006

This is Your Life!

Okay, here's something scary you can try.

Pretend your life has been made into a movie... and Fate is writing the soundtrack for it. Fate, apparently, looks a lot like your iTunes music library on shuffle. :D

Directions:
1. Open your library (iTunes, Winamp, Media Player, iPod, etc)

2. Put it on shuffle

3. Press play

4. For every question, type the song that’s playing

5. When you go to a new question, press the next button

6. Don’t lie and try to pretend you’re cool..

And my results:
1. Opening Credits: She Can Smell Another Woman, Smokin' Joe Kubek & Bnois King
2. Waking Up: All Is Full of Love, Bjork
3. 1st Day at School: Requiem for O.m.m.2, Of Montreal ("When I met you I was just a kid...", heh heh)
4. Falling In Love:Write One for Me, Ringo Starr ("singin' 'bout a broken heart for hours and hours...")
5. Breaking Up: Its You Baby, Barrelhouse Chuck
6. Prom:Roller Coaster, Little Walter
7. Life’s OK: Let Your Troubles Roll By, Carbon Leaf
8. Driving: My Stupid Mouth, John Mayer
9. Flashback: Water From a Vine Leaf, Beth Orton
10. Getting Back Together: Straw Hat and Old Dirty Hank, Barenaked Ladies (LOL!)
11. Wedding Scene:The Sky Is Crying, Etta James (no comment)
12. Birth of a Child: The Road to Hell (Part II), Chris Rea
13. Final Battle: As Time Goes By, Binnie Hale
14. Death Scene: I'm Not Waiting in Line, Train
15. Funeral Song: Cabin Fever, Super Furry Animals
16. End Credits:Energy Island, Jack Wall

Right. Well they're all pretty unrelated to the life scene, with the possible exception of Life's Okay and Birth of a Child, heh heh. Interestingly enough, the song choices themselves are not always bad... just placed inappropriately. For example, the Bjork song would have been perfect for Birth of a Child....the John Mayer song for Breaking Up... "As Time Goes By" for End Credits....

I considered doing it repeatedly until I got the "right" song for each number, or just going through my iTunes library and manually picking them, despite rule #6 which clearly states NOT TO. But... if it was to be about Fate, then I had to accept it. :)

Surprised that my playlist encompasses such a variety, from Of Montreal to Binnie Hale to Super Furry Animals to Little Walter? Then you don't know me that well. ;) And besides my iTunes library has over 3000 items in it..... so far. :D

(Hi Kelley! See? see? I'm writing, really I am!) :D


Road Trip

If you fly in or out of Bangor International Airport, make sure you look for my Unique One display in the kiosk right between the car rental counters and the baggage claim! :D In anticipation of the masses of people walking through BIA during the Thanksgiving Travel Horror, I went up today and put in a more Christmas/holiday display.... also put up a big Unique One sign over the top. So, here are some pictures of the display that is there now (one is fuzzy due to my photographic ineptitude):

Kiosk1Kiosk2
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Felted Fortune Cookies

My dear friend Tracy the TB (Tragically Blogless) sent me this link to Felted Fortune Cookies!!! It is so cool! And from the standpoint of a person who teaches knitting, this would be the perfect little project to teach short rows and short row shaping.. or if you want to learn how to do short rows, this little project is just the ticket! Not only do you use short rows in this project, but you also can use up all those little bits of scrap yarn (as long as it will felt, so that excludes acrylic blends, superwash wool, or anything machine washable.) I love this idea! Felted fortune cookies would also make a great gift any time of year... fill them with little gift certificates for babysitting (so your friends can go to knitting circle), for house cleaning (so the recipient can knit longer), for whatever little thing your heart desires ;) ... Geez, I bet you could even turn them into catnip cat toys..... how cool would that be, to give felted fortune cookies catnip toys to a person who has a Siamese cat, heh heh. That would be cool. Hmmm. Now I want some lo mein .....


Ffc



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Tomato Basil Soup and Grilled Cheese

Conventional wisdom has it that a blog is dying when the author resorts to writing what she had for lunch... heh heh. Mine was tomato basil soup and grilled cheese... although the grilled cheese was a little dry, as we were out of butter, and the tomato soup was a little sweeter than I like it, but it was at least a little better than Campbell's ..... What? too much information? hmmm? oh, okay.

I can't believe your world doesn't revolve around my lunch and how I liked it.


Actually this is just a filler post.... I am really too busy to write anything (knitting a beltie special order! Wooot!) and I won't have time tonight because I have our knitting group that meets at Unique One on Wednesdays... yesterday I got a lot done and actually have a lot to post here, but unfortunately time is pressing on. I'll just tease you by saying we got most of the details nailed down for the two Knitting Weekends and I also have a line on five knitting classes I'll be teaching at Cappy's Crow's Nest (next door to Unique One) in January through April.... there's a lot to say... but it will have to wait! :) Final & official information will be posted on the Unique One website shortly after Thanksgiving Day -- actually I will be using Thanksgiving Day to write it up and post the .html -- and I will be sending a flyer out about the second knitting weekend also after Thanksgiving. If you want to receive said flyer, just email me your name & address and I'll send it to you. But it will all be posted on the Unique One site. AND if you read my blog you'll read it here FIRST...sort of in rough draft form, but still.... you'll know it first, right here. :)
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Purls of Hope

Hey. Get your butt over to Purls of Hope, and help some people have something to give thanks for this Thanksgiving.....the forgotten victims of Hurricane Katrina need our help! Post about the Pearlington Project on your blog, tell your friends, send money, pray.... whatever you can do. It's all good. Knitters can make a difference!!!!!!

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Mr


Donation

(above images from the The Pearlington Project Katrina Foundation, Inc. website)


Susan is My Hero

Because she couldn't really believe that it took me an hour and a half to knit one little beltie swatch, and also because my little beltie cow had pretty big holes on each side of its white belt, Susan cast on another little swatch while she was dropping sweaters off at the store today. She wanted to see how I was wrapping the yarn, which is supposed to be what keeps the nasty holes from forming.

So we knit a swatch together. Not only did we figure out the holes problem, but hey! we also figured out why it took me so long to knit my swatch yesterday. It turns out I was doing a whole lot more work than I needed to every row, moving yarn over and off needles that I didn't need to. Had I actually read the instructions a bit more carefully, I would have seen that it was very clearly stated .... but that would require careful reading, a skill I never really acquired. Fast reading, yes, I got that. Careful reading.... not so much. Heh heh.

It was so great and so empowering to spend a few minutes with a master like Susan, that I not only finished the second beltie swatch, but I also knit 4 reversible wool hats and a cotton sweater!!! Well okay, it was a short, size small sweater. And none of the items are actually sewn together yet. But I'm pretty impressed with myself, nonetheless. :D

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(Bet you were worried I wouldn't get my post done today, weren't you....)


I Am My Worst Student

Gah. People tell me a lot that I am so patient.... yeah, sure, with other people. I can sit with a new knitter, a knitter wannabe, a person who is truly in danger of  impaling themselves on their own needles (don't laugh; it has happened) and be perfectly happy as they struggle with furrowed brows, making the same error time after time. I can smile sweetly as they become infuriated with themselves, and calm them down with true serenity in my eyes. It never ever bothers me to repeat things many, many times to people whom I am teaching, it really is kind of fun.

But.

When I am the learner, I suck at learning. I am whiney, petulant, indignant, angry, and distracted. I am angry because I want to just sit down and have it come out perfect the first time. I want never to make a mistake, even on the first time I am trying a new thing, or a new technique. And it wasn't until today that I realized how ludicrous this is, and how laughable I must be to any observers who notice me when I am trying to learn something new.

As owner of Unique One, I feel it is imperative that I should be able to knit every single sweater that we sell, if I need to. However for the past two years I have harbored a dark little secret.... there are some sweaters that we sell that until now I couldn't have knit for you myself for love or money. I just didn't know how. There are sweaters that have three colors in a row, and our knitting machines only can do two colors in a row... that means that the third color has to be "hand knit" on the machine, i.e., hand-manipulated to replicate the look of the knitted stitches around them. I got the general idea... but there also was the issue of wrapping the edges of the single motifs to prevent holes... and the exact placement of the needles was beyond me. So I lived in fear of the day when someone ordered, for example, a Belted Galloway sweater ... and Susan, the only one who knows how to knit them, might be unavailable to knit it. I really hated the thought that there was something I didn't know how to do. I mean geez, this is my livelihood, after all.

So today, it being slow in the store, and me looking to avoid doing any filing..... I sat down at the machine and cast on a Beltie swatch. The Belted Galloway motif is only 26 rows high. Twenty six. And I only cast on 48 stitches for the swatch. And I was, remember, knitting it on a knitting machine.

But oh, my God. It was like I was trying to tie my shoes and I had no thumbs.  The first seven rows were fine, just like any single motif sweater I've made before. And then the three-colors-in-a-row crap  fun began. Every row, I had to read the instructions Susan had written out for me.... several times. Every row. Several times. And then to actually do the task, to move the carriage across... to lift the yarn off the tops of the needles.... to hand-knit the white belt stitches, matching the tension....to REMEMBER to pull the dang white belt stitch needles back into the hold position ( I screwed that up twice.... how many times do I have to make the same blasted stupid mistake before I remember to do it right?!)... to wrap the contrast color and then the main color to prevent holes... man. It was hard. The whole time I kept thinking about how fast, how effortlessly Susan knit these belted galloway motifs... a matter of moments, and another little belted cow had appeared on a sweater. She makes it look so easy!  And I was struggling along at such a snail's pace. It was infuriating, to know how fast it was possible to go, and to see how slow I was. At one point as I was ranting about how slow I was, Tracy said, "See? That's how we all feel when you go zip, zip, zip and fix our knitting, and we sit there feeling so sloooooow." I have heard people say things like that as I worked on their knitting problems, things like, wow, you knit so fast! But until today I never really knew how they felt. Now, I do.

Guess! Guess how long it took me to knit one stinking swatch with a twenty-six row pattern on a  knitting machine?  Hmmmmmmm? I asked Susan to guess... she doubled what it would take her and said, "Twenty minutes?" I laughed. "Oh no," she said, "you were probably waiting on customers too... thirty minutes?" I laughed harder and also assured her I hadn't waited on any customers.

"An hour and a half!!!!!!" I crowed. "NINETY minutes!!!!"  I don't think she really believed me. But its true. I make a terrible student. However... I did do it! And it came out right! And now there is nothing Unique One sells that I can't theoretically make myself if I have to. Whether I enjoy it or not... well, that's beside the point. And besides, the more I do it, the easier and faster it will be. I just have this delusion that it should be easy and I should excel at it from the first moment on. Heh heh, I think I need to grow up. :D

So, y'all... go out there and learn something! Challenge yourself! If I can do it, you can!!


More Glow in the Dark Obsession

Because I can't get enough of things that glow in the dark, you can imagine how pleased I am to find that my very walls can now glow in the dark! Yes! I love it when technology catches up with my imagination! Thank you, CeeLite™!

"The company's Light Emitting Capacitor (LEC) panels are flexible, paper-thin light bulbs that you can hang on a wall, coming in sizes as large as 3 x 6 feet. Just a millimeter thick, the panels sandwich light-emitting phosphors between layers of electrodes. When an AC voltage is applied, the phosphors light up with a warm white glow, consuming less power than a neon or fluorescent bulb. The panel naturally glows evenly, though you can set them up to dim, glow brighter, or blink like crazy when touched."

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Radical Lace & Subversive Knitting

The Museum of Arts & Design in Manhattan is having an exhibit called "Radical Lace & Subversive Knitting", shown July 2007 - September 2008. (Search for "lace" on the museum's webpage -- it won't let me link directly to the exhibit page.) I love the name of that exhibit! I apologize if this is old news and everyone knows about it except me... I took the summer off & missed a lot!!

From the museum-speak blurb about the exhibit:
"A provocative and timely exhibition of international artists using fiber in unexpected and unorthodox ways, this exhibition shines a spotlight on a territory in which distinctions between art, craft, and design are seen to be arbitrary and artificial. It also illuminates a field of creative practice that today is fresh, surprising, and engaging to all audiences.....Featuring 27 artists, Radical Lace and Subversive Knitting will include objects ranging from microknit garments (1/144 scale) up to full-room, site specific installations. "

I would love to go see this exhibit!!! I do loves da lace. :D I would go if only to see this example of a microknit (i.e. so teensy it makes your eyes bleed to imagine knitting them) pair of gloves with Fair Isle cuffs:

Microknitgloves

Think about knitting that. And then think about knitting *two* of those little suckers... like one wouldn't be enough to make you go blind! My jaw still drops when I look at that picture.

So if you're near Manhattan, or gonna be between now and September 2008, go! See the teeny gloves! Have your picture taken next to them, send it to me and I'll give ya sumpin' nice, you betcha!

:)


Hecticity

hec·tic·i·ty
Pronunciation: hek-'ti-s&-tE
Function: noun
1 : hectic quality or affiliation <"Man, there's a lot of hecticity around here!">


The English language is so versatile and fun to play with, like built-in Legos for your brain. There really is no such word as "hecticity" (well, now there is), but the 11-year-old son of one of my dear customers (Hi Kelley!!) didn't let that stop him when he wanted to express a thought. I love English.

There's a great website devoted to recording and documenting new words as they appear -- hopefully now that "hecticity" has been published in a public place (here), maybe it will be used on other blogs and eventually become a real word! I feel like a word-midwife. :D

Hecticity
(Image above totally ripped off from this site. Sorry!)

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A Knitted Garden

From the Sept. 21, 2006 UK Metro:

Friends thought Jane Bolsover was spinning them a yarn when she unveiled her plan – to knit a life-sized English garden.

But here it is, accurate right down to the flowers and insects, even the worms and carrots in the vegetable patch.

>> Click here for a gallery of pictures from the knitted garden!

The project has been painstakingly completed by more than 300 contributors, including a group of gay men knitting in Brighton, and a 12-year-old boy in Sussex, who spent six months making the pond and waterfall.

Ms Bolsover, 46, of Dorking, Surrey, estimates her team made 4million individual stitches, knitting together 80km (50 miles) of wool.

'I'm one of the world's worst knitters so it has been a strange project for me,' she admitted.

And the 4.5m by 3m (15ft by 10ft) garden, on display in Exeter, Devon, is not finished yet.

'Anyone can come along and add to it as long as what they do is hand-knitted,' she said.

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Let Me Tell You How I Felt

Going to Kyrgyzstan? I found this really cool walk-through of how they make felt in Kyrgyzstan... it's set up as a series of pictures from each day of the felting process. Each day has many, many pictures.

I love the colors and the process.. take some time and enjoy this great resource! This is one of the most amazing and interesting fiber finds I have discovered on the internet in a long time.

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48 Things

48 Things You Could Care Less About

1. FIRST NAME? Beth

2. WERE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE? Catharine the Great (....that's a joke)

3. WHEN DID YOU LAST CRY? Hmmm, cry really hard? or just have water leaking out?

4. DO YOU LIKE YOUR HANDWRITING? Yes, it's beautiful.

5. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LUNCHMEAT? Salami

6. IF YOU WERE ANOTHER PERSON WOULD YOU BE FRIENDS WITH YOU? Yes; I would take myself out and have a salami and provolone sub and try not to cry :)

7. DO YOU HAVE A JOURNAL? Oh yes, lots, each with about a page and a half written in them. That's how long it usually takes me to lose them. And then I have this blog thing.

8. DO YOU STILL HAVE YOUR TONSILS? God, I hope so.

9. WOULD YOU BUNGEE JUMP? Yes!!

10. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CEREAL? Bacon and eggs. Or one of those Belgian waffles from the Lord Camden Inn. (Note the picture if you click the link.)

11. DO YOU UNTIE YOUR SHOES WHEN YOU TAKE THEM OFF? People buy shoes that tie? Huh.

12. DO YOU THINK YOU ARE STRONG? Yup.

13. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ICE CREAM FLAVOR? Ummm, today it's pistachio.

14. SHOE SIZE? 8

15. RED OR PINK? Red.

16. WHAT IS THE LEAST FAVORITE THING ABOUT YOURSELF? I procrastinate too much!

17. WHO DO YOU MISS THE MOST? Santa Claus.

18. DO YOU WANT EVERYONE TO SEND THIS BACK TO YOU? Oh God, no, please don't! But steal it from my blog if you want. :)

19. WHAT COLOR PANTS, SHIRT AND SHOES ARE YOU WEARING? Black jeans, a Unique One sweater (black wool, zip-up cardigan), and black leather slip-on shoes that do not tie. Apparently I like black today. :) But that wool zip cardigan is my favorite sweater, I wear it almost every day.

20. LAST THING YOU ATE? Heh heh.... black licorice! Really!

21. WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW? "Cool Johnny Twist" by Little Charlie and the Nightcats. :D

22. IF YOU WERE A CRAYON, WHAT COLOR WOULD YOU BE? Midnight Blue.

23. FAVORITE SMELL? The ocean.

24. WHO WAS THE LAST PERSON YOU TALKED TO ON THE PHONE? A lady who called my cell phone.... but it was the wrong number.

25. THE FIRST THING YOU NOTICE ABOUT PEOPLE YOU ARE ATTRACTED TO? How much money they're spending at Unique One.

26. DO YOU LIKE THE PERSON you stole THIS from? I do! Thanks Denise!

27. FAVORITE DRINK? Coffee.

28. FAVORITE SPORT? Hockey. And possibly football.

29. EYE COLOR? Brown.

30. HAT SIZE? 7 3/4 I think.

31. DO YOU WEAR CONTACTS? Not anymore.... used to.

32. FAVORITE FOOD? Whoopie Pies!

33. SCARY MOVIES OR HAPPY ENDINGS? Happy endings.

34. IF YOU COULD LIVE ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD WHERE WOULD THAT BE? Maine (duh).

35. SUMMER OR WINTER? Summer.

36. HUGS OR KISSES? Kisses.

37. FAVORITE DESSERT? Anything without blueberries. I really really hate blueberries.

38. WHO IS MOST LIKELY TO RESPOND? Grace

39. LEAST LIKELY TO RESPOND? Nora

40. WHAT BOOKS ARE YOU READING? The Age of Homespun by some boring writer

41. WHAT’S ON YOUR MOUSE Pad? Spilled coffee.

43. FAVORITE SOUNDS? Waves. Blues music. Coffee perking. The hull of a boat pushing through the water.

44. ROLLING STONE OR BEATLES? Rolling Stones.

45. THE FURTHEST YOU’VE BEEN FROM HOME? Narnia.

46. WHAT’S YOUR SPECIAL TALENT? Knitting, I guess. Or public speaking.

47. WHERE WERE YOU BORN? Presque Isle, Maine

48. WHO SENT THIS TO YOU? Nobody, I stole it from Denise!!


Fascinating Times

We live in fascinating times. I should have seen it coming, way back when they invented Silly Putty. There are products on the market now that make me squirm with delight. Here are a couple of them:


  • Tracy the Tragically Blogless sent me this link to a hair gel product that makes your hair glow in the dark!! Yes!! I need this.
    Us_iglow_front_label_blue_circle_0728062

  • And... don't you need pants that have a remote control?! Yes!! Clothing that has integrated heating elements. It's like they turned an electric blanket into a vest, jacket and pants. Unfortunately it's only available for men's clothing... apparently women are smart enough to stay in out of the cold!

    Heatedclothing




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Crazy Sci-Fi Girl

I've always been a science fiction nut. I blame it on my sister. Well, I blame a lot on my sister because she isn't here to defend herself, heh heh.

You can tell if you were a sci-fi-crazed nut at a young age if any of the following are true for you:


  • You spent hours sewing tribbles out of fake fur while watching Saturday morning cartoons and re-runs of Star Trek.
  • You remember watching actual Star Trek episodes when they were new, not re-runs.
  • You had waaaaaaay more tribbles than friends.
  • You sent postcards to all the TV networks after Star Trek was cancelled, imploring them to reconsider. And only got a response at all from NBC.
  • You belonged to the Sci-Fi book club in high school -- every six weeks another couple books came in the mail! Yay! Which you had to find some way to pay for! Oh dear!
  • A high school English teacher asks you to teach a class on Science Fiction for him because you know more about it than he does -- and you're still in high school.
  • The kids in the class actually take notes on your science fiction lecture.
  • You saw Star Wars 14 times... in a row.

Heh heh. Yup.

Back when I was in junior high and high school it was pretty darned geeky (that was back when "geek" was a pejorative term, not a sexy term) to even know what science fiction was, let alone wallow in it. I didn't really care, as I was thankfully pretty oblivious to social interactions. I just wanted to curl up with a little Isaac Asimov or Robert Heinlein and read. I did feel a little lonely, though, because other than my sister (the blamed one), no one else cared about sci-fi and all. It was a lonely, lonely hobby....

But, I have continued to be a science fiction nut all my life, only now there are tons of us and liking sci-fi is considered a plus, not an oddity. (I'm pretty sure.) Ever since technology finally caught up to sci-fi writers' imaginations, around 1977 with the advent of Star Wars and the creation of Industrial Light and Magic special effects company, there has been an explosion of really good sci-fi in movies and television. No more rubber monster suits! No more fake laser beams painted on the film! No more aluminum pie plate UFOs!

Here are some of my favorite sci-fi TV shows I have enjoyed over the years:

And then there are sci-fi movies I have enjoyed. Oddly, I had a harder time thinking of sci-fi movies, and had to go to imdb.com to jog my memory... I probably still missed a few. Feel free to email me with a "Duh" if I forgot any! Great sci-fi movies:

Maybe one of these days I'll do similar lists for fantasy TV & movies I like, so that's where I will put Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter and Buffy the Vampire Killer... in case you were wondering why they weren't listed. Science fiction and Fantasy are so often paired together, sometimes people forget that they are two completely separate things. But I like fantasy, too!


NaBloPoMo Tool Box

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Every time I start a new knitting project (yes I know, about every 5 minutes), I gather what I need to complete it (stop! stop laughing!!!). I gather my tools, my materials... too bad I couldn't gather up the Time Needed for Completion and stuff it in the bag, too, eh?

So I have begun NaBloPoMo.... one post per day, every day, for thirty days. I figure there might come a day, possibly today, when I can't think of anything to write....so in anticipation of this miserable experience of having a no-idea day, I put together a little list of web sites to which I and all my NaBloPoMo fellows can turn and get some ideas to write about:

Beth's NaBloPoMo Get-Your-Butt-in-Gear-and-Write! List:

There. That should help. And look, I seem to have gotten a whole post written today! Yay!