Thursday, May 26, 2011

Time to redecorate?

I may not be a crocheter, but this apartment is awesome.

Because when you think about it, what doesn't need a cozy?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Sammy v a Great Dane

I was lamenting to my officemate that I haven't done or knitted anything of interest to blog about. Summer seems like it's a Blogging Black Hole (if only hole started with B, that would be some awesome alliteration...hmm, but a b-hole would just be a super polite way to refer to another word for bum or a person that is a jerk. That doesn't really work in the context). It's too nice out to be sitting in front of your computer!

Officemate suggested posting some video he shot of my dog playing with a Great Dane at a dog swim area in one of WI numerous state parks. It was pretty much like a dog play wrestling with a pony, i.e. awesome. Enjoy.

Sam Sam go Bam Bam from Kevin Field on Vimeo.

Sam Sam go Bam Bam v2 from Kevin Field on Vimeo.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Going to the dogs

Oh, how the time flies. I see it's been over a week since I was chatting you up about my cowl. I found myself back in eastern Washington state for work last week, and was immersed in productivity (I even worked the weekend--I know!) Less on the knitting productivity front. Let's get the boring, uninspired stuff out of the way first.

Yay! Replacement sock! Moving on.

I occasionally check out my Blogger stats.  It's something that one could get obsessed over--but considering I have, like, 5 readers (including my mother-hi Mom!) I don't worry about it too much.  The most read posts tend to be from Knit and Crochet Blog Week (duh) but surprisingly this post is consistently always in the top 5.  Written almost a year ago (also while I was in eastern WA), this was an experimental knit I was doing--making a wine tote.  Internets traffic indicates that there's a demand for something like this; apparently, you knitters are total lushes.  No surprises there.

The first prototype was a bit heavy in intarsia for such a texturally complicated piece.  It was the wrong size for a wine bottle, and it was obnoxious having a million (approximately) little balls of yarn hanging from the back.  I stuffed it in the bottom of a bag.  Since I was headed back to WA, and since warm weather was on its way that I'd re-attempt this non-winter related item--scaled-down in size and difficulty.

A little bit of progress:

Prototype No. 2

I thought I took your advice on how to mix the colors for the grapes, but frankly this version doesn't look like either of the versions I was attempting a year ago.  More investigation necessary.  Speaking of investigation:

I'm investigating some yarn in my mouth.

Which brings me to another topic I wanted to talk to you guys about.  I was taking the Sam-ster for a long lunchtime walk today, when a guy came jogging up behind us with his dog.  Nothing out of the ordinary there, we pass by at least a few dogs on every walk.  We stepped to the side so they could pass, and I distracted Sammy by having him do a couple of tricks for me to earn some treats.  The other dog was pulling to come greet Sammy and getting pulled off of his hind legs--at first I thought that it was just because he was pulling at the leash, but then I realized his owner was actively pulling him back.  Harder and harder, really jerking him until he was basically choking him.  He kept jerking at him, even though the dog didn't seem to be doing anything wrong--he wasn't being aggressive at all, he just wanted to greet another dog.

Then instead of going past, he walks to the curb and forces his dog onto it's side.  At this point, I'm staring at him with my mouth open and probably have an expression on my face like he's just popped a turd into his mouth, chewed, and swallowed right in front of me.  He looks at me and says, "We have to do this pretty much every day."  A million thoughts are running through my head.   "Why don't you have him in a harness if he's so hard to control?" "You know all of that dominance stuff is total bullshit, right?" "If you have to do it every day, maybe it's not working," "Would you do that to a kid?""You're going to get your ass bitten doing that," and really, the bottom line, "You're abusing your dog."  I started to ask for his name, like you do when someone gives you shitty customer service, but stopped short.  What was I going to do with it?  The fearless side of me said that I needed to say something, the conservative side said that he could kick my ass and wouldn't have listened to a word I said.  I ended up stalking off with a scoff, having Sammy heel and giving him a treat to, I dunno, try and demonstrate good dog handling. 

I feel bad.  The walk ended up being a bummer, and I wish I had done things differently.  What would you have done?  What should I do next time?

Saturday, May 7, 2011

All cowled up with nowhere to go

It's finished:

The Danube cowl.

I connected the cowl with buttons instead of Kitchener stitch, as a design change (read: I was on an airplane and couldn't remember how to do a provisional cast-on). The buttons are mother-of-pearl--I love MOP. It's always cold when you touch it at first and like a magpie I love anything shiny.

I can hear my mom right now: 'Mother-of-pearl is for old ladies.' That's always her go-to descriptor for any of my tastes she thinks are dumb--'Lavender scented stuff is for old ladies.' 'Recumbent bicycles are for old ladies.' I remember when I was maybe 7 years old or so, and I wanted to be called Crystal (don't ask, I don't know). 'Crystal is an old lady name!'. It was only when I grew older that I discovered Crystal was in fact a white trash name, not an old lady name (sorry if you or your loved ones are named Crystal--no, I mean I'm sorry that it's your name, because it's totally WT).

So here I am in the state of WA on a little business trip, and what happens?

Son of a bitch! Nice weather, sunny and 70. The lovely cowl is staring at me with its big, sad, old lady mother-of-pearl eyes. I'm sorry! I promise I'll wear you as soon as I can.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Alpaca extravaganza!

This weekend, Madison, WI hosted the 7th annual (news to me, just learned about it) Great Midwest Alpaca Festival.  My folks were up visiting for the weekend, and what better tourist destination than the GMAF? Well, potentially a lot of things considering we had no clue what it would be like. I was fairly confident that fiber would be involved, so at least one person in our party was sure to be pleased.

The entire coliseum floor was set up for alpaca showing.

As far as actually the competition, it seemed like 4-H exclusively for adults and their alpacas (OK, being from the midwest I naturally assume that everyone knows what 4-H is. Think county/state fair, kids can show off livestock that they helped to raise and various other skills. Oh, you didn't grow up in the sticks? Well bully for you).

In the ring.

They had a silent auction to raise funds for like, orphaned alpacas or something, and I bid on a wool/alpaca felted hat:

And won due to the fact that my dad is possibly the nicest person on earth and went and upped my bid at the last minute. I talked to the guy who makes these hats and he was pretty awesome.

And the alpacas were just cute.


Super cute!

Hungry cute!

Suri cute!

Whoa!  Cute only if the service is NOT for the guy in the vest.

Really, the coolest part was hobnobbing with the local folks raising alpacas and/or working with the fiber. There were people from every farming state in the US, but a fair number of them were from Wisconsin and many of them had brought some good looking fiber with them. I tried to go easy on the yarn buying (I wanted IT ALL) and I think I got off pretty easy--Shady Haven's Fiber Designs was selling gorgeous undyed yarn:

And it was an absolute steal. I usually think of buying local and getting a bargain as mutually exclusive goals, but somehow they pulled it off. Maybe they're using child labor or something.*

So I got an invitation to a farm, signed up for a felting class, got some sweet stash, and entertained my visitors for an afternoon.. All in all, worth the $6 for parking (maybe a little more).

*The views and opinions of AC from AC Engineered Knits are for entertainment purposes only. I don't think that Shady Haven's Fiber Designs is actually using child labor.