Sunday, November 29, 2009

Lady Eleanor and Green Expo

I have completely given up trying to blog every day. Moving on.

I dug out my Lady Eleanor stole this week and gave it a long scalding hot bath.  She was fine and dried beautifully, even softer and more lovely than she was before.

The scalding hot bath was an accident. I was aiming for a warm bath. Even after turning the hot water heater down again it still seems to be getting up to 140C. I am happy to know that my water is hot enough to wash a sheep fleece should the desire strike. Given how prone I am to reacting to sheepy wool, it would probably be a bad idea to process a fleece in my house. Still, a girl can dream.

Wait, where was I again? Oh right. I washed Lady Eleanor. She dried beautifully. I love her. She's soft, marvelous, long and warm. Every color is a different fiber content, so she is also endlessly entertaining just to look at. She was my largest and most expensive project to date. I bought and knit her yarn one skein at a time until she was long enough. I wrote in this 2006 blog post that I cut out most of the angora. Was I smoking the crack rock? Either I didn't know how to ID angora then or angora was over represented in the yarn because this shawl still has plenty of angora in it despite my taking out several lengths of it.

The stole ended up just a little too short for my body type, soooo I have decided to put it up for sale or trade and see what happens. Maybe it will sell, maybe it won't, but if you love it enough to take care of it, speak up and we will work something out. I priced it at about what I paid for the yarn originally. I am open to bartering for things I want for work. I would rather see someone who loves it wear it than to have it folded up in my closet for years.




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I will have a small display at the Missouri History Museum this coming Sunday for the Second Annual Green Living Expo from noon-4pm. I am splitting a table with The Knittress (aka Suzi)  who will have a variety of knitted accessories made from natural fibers and her friend who I believe is a jeweler. I am only bringing a limited amount of inventory with me, but I am looking to do a little wheeling and dealing that day since it is my last show of the year, so come on down. Just let me know you are a blog reader and I'll hook you up with a discount. If you would like me to bring something specific so you can see it in person just let me know and I will be happy to accommodate your request.  As always, I will be accepting cash, check or credit card.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving

This Thanksgiving I am thankful for the most awesome stitch marker in the whole wide world, given to me by my friend Deborah and made by our friend Suzanne. It's a mood marker. It changes colors as you knit. Plus the stars glow in the dark. This is the kind of stitch marker Wonder Woman would knit with. Grammar Girl says I can end a sentence with a preposition so stop making that face, Deborah. :P


I am also thankful for YOU. Happy Thanksgiving!
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Check out the business blog for details on sales this weekend in my Etsy and Artfire stores.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Thank you, Jeanne-Claude

I fail NaNoBloPoMo. It doesn't count as blogging every day if you go a week between posts. It wasn't intentional. I had blog posts planned out. Then a few days ago I was derailed when I found out that one of my favorite artists has died. I immediately started a blog post describing the day we dropped everything and flew to New York to see Christo and Jeanne-Claude's The Gates project. I never finished the post, but I feel like I need to at least publicly acknowledge the passing of this great artist.

Thank you, Jeanne-Claude, for your part in making The Gates happen. It was one of the best days of our lives.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

St. Louis Craft Mafia

I have been accepted in to the St. Louis Craft Mafia! This means that I will automatically be accepted in to several different shows and that my networking opportunities just exploded. I'm so excited!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Special kind of special

Today I achieved a new first. I managed to set soup on fire. I was kind of proud of myself. Ain't every hoosier who can catch soup on fire. Scott patted my head and reminded me that this is actually the second time I cought soup on fire--some nonsense about setting the jambalaya on fire before his sisters wedding reception. He then added that I'm a special kind of special. Fucker.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Nose full of snot. Not thankful.

[Update: No sooner do I post this "woe is me" post than a post from Sarahkate comes across my blog reader completely making my day. For a while there I thought maybe I had gone crazy with my expectations of customer service.]


I'm not feeling very thankful today, but I should. I have lots to be thankful for, blah blah new futon, blah blah friends, blah blah work, blah blah food, blah blah family.

Instead of being thankful I have a nose full of crap which is diametrically opposed to being thankful. I'm not sleeping well. I can't spring my car from the shop until payday. I accidentally fed my fish a piece of gravel. Hopefully he coughed it up and won't die when he tries to poop it out.The inside of my mouth still tastes like Fashion Bug's dressing room. Blogger's new format doesn't have spell check.

Here's some knitting that has left me dissatisfied this week. Blah, blah, blah.




Friday, November 13, 2009

Dust Shower


It has been 7 days since the incident below happened and I still have not received an acknowledgment or apology from Fashion Bug. If Fashion Bug still wants to call and apologize to me that would be great. I don't want to boycott Fashion Bug. They have clothes that fit me and they are starting to get a little more stylish, but I'm not going there until they say the words "I am sorry". 

Fashion Bug, make it better. Don't make it worse by ignoring me. Say you're sorry. Offer me a coupon. Acknowledge that your store failed to provide the minimum customer service. "omigosh! I'm sorry! Are you okay?" would have halted things right there. "Are you okay?" would have been the end of the story. 

It has been a week now and I've heard nothing back. I'm feeling alright about outing their filthy dressing room and lack of customer service. I've been various degrees of sick ever since this happened and all I ever wanted was an apology. "I'm sorry" would have sufficed. I wasn't expecting an "I'm sorry our dressing room showered you with cups full of dust, triggered an allergic reaction, asthma and has made you sick all week"  even though it DID trigger an allergic reaction and has made me punky and sick all week. I just wanted an apology. Now? Now I want more. Now I want you to know how gross the Affton Fashion Bug dressing room was. 

If Fashion Bug still wants to call and apologize to me that would be great. I don't want to boycott Fashion Bug. They have clothes that fit me and they are starting to get a little more stylish, but I'm not going there until they say the words "I am sorry". Fashion Bug, make it better. Don't make it worse by ignoring me. Say you're sorry. Offer me a coupon. Acknowledge that your store failed to provide the minimum customer service. "omigosh! I'm sorry! Are you okay?" would have halted thinks right there. "Are you okay?" would have been the end of the story. 

This is the letter I sent to Fashion Bug.


I was in your Affton, MO location this past Friday to buy a new long sleeve t-shirt. My hand bumped the grid covering the dressing room light fixture while I was trying the shirt on and I was showered with dust. This wasn't just a sprinkling of a little dust. This was huge amount of big clumps of dust that literally showered over me and continued to hang in the air. [A Twitter friend pointed out that it may not have been just dust. She said there could have been bugs up there. Thanks, Twitter friend! As if having a bucket of dust upended over your head isn't squicky enough.]

I put my shirt right back on and left the dressing room without trying on the shirt I had come for. I told the attendant that I had just been showered with dust. The only thing she did was to go up and poke at the grid gently, which caused more dust to come down, and say "well, I don't know how we're supposed to clean THAT". I told her to take it down and rinse it off and how appalled I was at the conditions of the dressing room. The whole time my husband was brushing dust off of my shirt and out of my hair.

Even after I exited the dressing room, in a hurry, I could still see the dust hanging in the air. There was so much of it my husband, who was standing outside the room, could see it still hanging from the ceiling and in the air.

The clerk never apologized. My husband and I quickly left the store, but stood outside the store for a few minutes while I took big gulps of air, tried not to loose it and while we tried to shake and brush all the dust off. I really cannot iterate enough just how much dust came down. I was SHOWERED with dust. It was filthy, disgusting and unhygienic.

After we left it became apparent that I was having some sort of reaction to the dust shower. [I am allergic to dust.] We stopped and my husband bought Benedryl which I had to keep taking throughout the day, along with my regular allergy medicines, to keep from being sick. You can thank my asthma medicines from triggering a full-on asthmatic attack. I have been dry, had chapped skin, been low on energy because of allergies and asthma and generally felt sick since the moment I was showered with a really disgusting amount of filth in your Affton, MO Fashion Bug dressing room. 

I called your corporate number while my husband was going inside to get Benedryl and asked to be transferred to the regional or district manager for that area. I wanted a phone call back and I haven't gotten one yet. I want an apology. Your clerk hasn't apologized. I haven't gotten a phone call from your regional or district manager (I think Robin was the name on the voice mail) to apologize. Your dressing room made me sick. It wasn't any fault of mine. All I wanted was a lousy t-shirt. I don't understand why your company didn’t apologize immediately and right up front. An apology and asking if I were okay would have gone a long way. Instead I got a “I don’t know how to clean that” as an excuse. This is how you train your employees?


Thursday, November 12, 2009

Whoa

I have been toying with the idea of shutting down the blog. The last I checked numbers only about 30 people read me regularly. I know most of the 30 personally and figure they would probably follow me over if I decided to blog exclusively in the business blog. On a whim I unsubscribed and resubscribed the Google Reader feed and suddenly instead of 13 subscribers I had 44. Um. So then I went over to Bloglines and refreshed the feed. It isn't 12 Bloglines subscribers. It's 31.

Apparently there are a lot more of you reading this than I thought were reading it and I'm finding myself a little bit shy. Welcome, 50 additional people who I didn't know were reading. I hope I haven't said anything really offensive since you arrived.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Craft Fair, Day 2

The second day of the craft show had fewer people attend but better sales. I came $11 short of the magic number that would make this craft fair worth it. I will do another craft show again but I don't think I'll do the O'Fallon, Il craft show unless we can get a better booth location, the price goes down and the clientele changes. Scott wants to try another craft fair, but in St. Louis this time. Fine by me. The less I have to cross the Mississippi the better.

We met some really great crafters at the show who were also first-timers. I lusted after the glass enamel on copper jewelry from K.G. Jewelry. Hopefully they will have a website up soon. Cheryl Yeager from The Flying Dog and Co. and her granddaughter Sydney are both very creative who draw, make sculptured pins, paint, and knit. By the end of the weekend we had them spinning yarn, too. Sydney, the granddaughter, was so intuitive with her knitting and took right to spinning after only hearing instructions once. Both of them did this sort of backwards loop wrap when they were knitting English style (right handed) that was very efficient and fast. I plan on sitting down today to see if I can replicate it.

Our next show will be the Green Living Expo (pdf link) at the Missouri History Museum on Sunday, December 6th from noon-4pm. I am splitting a table with Suzi from The Knittresses. She will have hand knitted items made from wool, alpaca and other natural fibers. I will probably be bringing 3 or 4 cubes-worth of product since I am limited on space. I will have a sock yarns, cotton slub, spinning fibers and a little bit of silk. Even if you don't come for the yarn, come for the other vendors. It sounds like it will be a worthwhile event.   


Even with the good experiences we had and the new friends we made, I still feel like we fell in to some kind of time warp where being from St. Louis is a sin, at least for our booth neighbor and all his customers who nodded their agreements. Screw them. Most of the people were lovely and delightful. They were welcoming and friendly and many were happy to see yarn there even if it wasn't their style of yarn.

How do people feel about the Lindbergh craft fair? They have outdoor booths available still and if it is supposed to be a nice weekend I might just do it.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Craft Fair: Day 1

Today I learned


-there are at least 3 teenage knitters in O'Fallon who are frustrated that they can't get the "real stuff" without getting a ride over to St. Louis. One knitter, maybe 13 or 14, learned to knit 3 weeks ago and has already expressed a preference for the "good stuff". These kids made my day.

-that people love color even if they aren't knitters.

-that there is still a strong mentality that 88-cent worsted weight acrylic yarn is the best yarn for all yarn-related projects.

-that sometimes people express their sticker shock by bearing their teeth and recoiling in horror. I pretended these people were non-knitters.

-that sometimes people didn't know where to get better yarn and are delighted to find it at the craft show, even if they are a little bit shocked by the price.

-that Scott is almost done making my scarf. I can't wait to wear it.

Friday, November 6, 2009

O'Fallon Craft Fair

Scott and I will be at the O'Fallon, IL High School craft fair this weekend. If you are in the area, stop by. I have never been to this craft fair before but I hear it is very large. Here is the pertinent info:


Dates: Saturday Nov. 7th 9am - 5pm and Sunday Nov. 8th 10am - 4pm
Address: 600 S Smiley Street, O'Fallon, IL, 62269-2316
My table: Booth #1614 in the multipurpose room. I am splitting a table with local horror author Elizabeth Donald. Look for the gothic booth decorations, books and yarn you can see from space. You can't possibly miss us. 
Admission Fee: $3
  
Here's a sampling of what I'm bringing--






Thursday, November 5, 2009

Doing this baby right


Gianna
Originally uploaded by sungazing

I do love a baby wrapped in Noro.

Thanks you to Julie from Sungazing Photography  for sharing this picture of her latest subject, baby Gianna. Gianna is nestled in the first Noro project I ever made. Julie fell in love with this purse. Before I gave it to her I put together a rigid basket "liner" made from plastic canvas, spray glue and fake leather to help keep the bag from losing its shape when filled with normal purse contents. I can't guarantee bag integrity when you fill said bag with babies, Julie. ;)

Sesame Street

Sesame Street turned 40 yesterday. The Sesame Street website has open voting of the best clips of the 80s. I'm too old to know about half of the clips listed. What happened to the best Sesame Street clips of the 70s? In related news, I am somewhat alarmed to discover that I was ever too old for Sesame Street.







Madaline Kahn:


True Blue Miracle:


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

NaNoReBloPoSweKniThaMo Day 4: Crankypants

Here's by daily National Novel Reading Blog Posting Sweater Knitting Giving Thanks Month---oh wait, that would mean that NaNoReBloPoSweKniThanMo should really be NaNoReBloPoSweKniGiThaMo...or something like that. Let's just call it Wednesday for short, okay?

On the novel reading front: I read 3 pages yesterday. My face burns with shame.

On the blog posting: This is the 4th blog post in 4 days. Do I have to point out that I'm making a new blog post every day if that notification is, in fact, inside a blog post? I think I'm already falling out of love with the National do-whatever-everyday-for-a-month concept

On the sweater knitting front: I have been knitting a single sweater sleeve for approximately 100 years now and it still isn't long enough. I have to finish the first sleeve, knit the second sleeve, finish the body of the sweater, block it and sew on buttons to meet my goal of having a new sweater to wear by this weekend. I don't think I'm going to make it.


Things I'm cranky about: Age discrimination. It happens a lot and it is damned hard to prove.

I know too many older adults who have lost their jobs because their small business employers can't afford or don't want to pay increased premiums that insurance companies charge for adults 50+. Imagine being you are fired from a long term job for a made up reason when the age clock flips from 54 to 55. You are hired immediately at a new job because of your experience, but then let go again for a completely daft reason when it comes time to give you insurance. Or maybe you are lucky and they keep you on through December, when it is time to pay the next years premium. You're another year older and then whoops! You are suddenly the only person "downsized".

It takes you longer to get a new job now, because after 35 years of steady employment you've suddenly blown through 2 jobs in 2 years. Finally you get a new job but "whoops", HR suspiciously asks if you are on anyone else's insurance and before you know it you are let go at the end of your probationary period. Lather rinse repeat.

Finally, finally, you are 65 and getting medicare. Unfortunately, life circumstances won't allow you to retire for several more years if at all. You don't need the employers insurance and you can finally find a job again without being worried about being fired, except now you have had 10 years of spotty employment because you had the audacity to age. Who the hell is going to hire you when there are 48 year olds lined up to take your job?

You think this doesn't happen? When I worked at the yarn shop, I talked to several 55-65 year old single women who would come in and share their version of this story with me. It pisses me off. It was never the hot shot lawyers, the professors, or the mid-level corporate managers who have this happen to them. It was always the secretaries who worked for small to medium businesses. Think about it. Businesses can't afford the higher premiums, which are considerable, nor can they say that the employees age is the reason they are getting fired.

This is a public health issue, a feminist issue, an older adult issue, an economic issue and a class issue. Why the hell aren't we doing something about it?

On the giving thanks front: I'm thankful that I have health insurance. I'm thankful that Sesame Street is still around 40 years later. And as always, I'm thankful for yarn.

Day 4: Progress continues

I'm knitting knitting knitting on my February Lady Sweater made from my own Cotton Slub yarn and still not done. It's the downside of being fat. I'm happy with who I am and accepting of the size I'm at, but if anything can give me a complex about my size it's how damned long it takes to knit a sweater. I'm estimating that adding full sleeves plus extending the length will put me just under 4 skeins to knit this, or about a $40 investment. Not bad.

This is what I've accomplished so far. I am sorely tempted to finish it off right now, but a cropped cap-sleeve shrug isn't my style as much as I want it to be.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

NaNoReBloPoSweKniThaMo--Thanksgiving

A week ago I would have written a post on giving thanks that would have started "It's been a stressful year around here and I'm thankful it is almost over." This week I just want to say that this year could have ended so much differently and I am thankful it did not.

Some of you know that Scott's otherwise healthy cousin had to be resuscitated last week and put on a ventilator. I am so happy and thankful to report that her numbers quickly improved and today she is at home recovering nicely.

After the year my family and social circle has had, I could go my whole life without hearing the words ventilator, resuscitation, coma, airlifted, transplant, gallstone, pancreatitis, ICU, oxygen levels, or liver disease ever again. I could go a long long time before getting bad news when Scott is hundreds of miles away--which seemed to be most of the year. At the same time I am thankful he has a job still. I am thankful to my friends Sandy, Ann and Deborah who let me hang out at Knitorious last week under the pretense that I needed to get work knitting done. I actually did get work done. I picked out yarn and made sketches for a new cowl pattern I've been thinking of.

Finally, after a dreary dreary dreary couple of weeks, I'm thankful the sun is out and the clouds are gone.

NaNoReBloPoSweKniThaMo

It's National Novel Writing month, National Blog Posting month, I'm pretty sure it is National Sweater Knitting month but I could be wrong there, and it is the month of Thanksgiving. In the Internet tradition of abbreviating everything, I'm calling it my personal NaNoWriBloPoSweKniThaMo or something like that.

Please try not to notice that we are 3 days in to the month and I have yet to write a blog post nor am I even going to attempt to write a novel. I might read a novel. So that should be NaNoReBloPoSweKniThaMo. I've started reading Diana Gabaldon's new book. At 832 pages, finishing it seems like a suitable challenge. College-me just cried a little inside. College me read 100-200 pages per day every day. Graduated Knitter Me reads almost a whopping 100 or so book pages a month. I'm sure if I stopped skimming 100 or so blog posts a day that I could get a lot more reading in.