Black-ish Friday

If you celebrated American Thanksgiving yesterday, I hope it was a good day; with good food, tolerable family, and few arguments with Racist Uncle Bob. Which might not be so easy given our recent election (not linking, you’re all adults and can Google it yourselves if you don’t know), but anyway. (One thing we’re thankful for: relatives that are 1000+ miles away. Just saying)

Anyway. I am gainfully employed for (at most) the next 2+ months, so I had fully expected to be working today. Thanks to the magic of “severely overstaffed”, I was able to take today off. I have worked on “Black Friday” for several years when I worked in retail, so I remember the joy of going into work at 4:30 AM the day after Thanksgiving and staying until 10PM when the store finally closed for the day. Then doing that again the next day, and the next day for the entire weekend. I would rather claw my own eyes out than go shopping today.

This year, for both of the people who read this, I thought I’d make a gift/shopping guide and a pitch for Shop Small Saturday. These stores are ones where 1)I know the owners, either IRL or online, or 2)I have shopped there before and would recommend them highly. So here goes, in no particular order…

1. Heroes Aren’t Hard to Find is a lovely comic shop in Charlotte, NC. They have grown over the past…almost 35 years into a larger storefront, an online presence, and a comic convention (HeroesCon). Heroes is where I first found, and fell in love with, Love and Rockets. If you’re anywhere near Charlotte, go for a visit. You’re welcome.

2. Evil Supply Company. Do you, or any of your giftees, like writing? Letters, journals, etc.? You’ll find everything you’ll need except for writing implements here. There are stationery sets, notecards, stickers, posters, patches, pins, journals, planners… Every month, Atticus Q. Redghost, Esq. puts out a subscription package with all sorts of things inside, around a different theme every month. You can sign up for one month, or for a year. The service is awesome. Now that I am mostly gainfully employed, I will be buying some things for myself once again.

3. Shuttles, Spindles and Skeins. Like the website says, everything related to fiber arts: weaving, spinning, dyeing, knitting, crochet, tatting… everything. The sales staff are friendly, knowledgeable, and love their crafts. If you’re near Boulder, go visit.

4. The Scarlet Letter. If you like reproduction samplers, the history of embroidery, or would like to learn more, here’s the place. The store is on a farm in southwestern Wisconsin, where there used to be breeders of Shetland, Navajo-Churro, Jacob, and some other rare breeds of sheep. I discovered the embroidery store when I went for a fleece shearing/sale years ago.

5. Sweet Libertine Cosmetics. Mineral eyeshadows, blush, concealer, face powders. The colors are beautiful, the names are awesome, and the company is run by a lovely knitter. She offers samples with every order and the service is outstanding.

That’s all I have time for today. If you know of another online company that you’d like the rest of us (or both of us, to be honest) to know about, speak up in the comments. Don’t be shy. And try to get outside this weekend.

Halfway-ish Through

Well, here it is. Halfway through the month. I had hoped to have more time to write, but I underestimated the effect working a new job would have on me. I can’t really talk about who I work for, or what I’m doing (for an admittedly limited period of time). But it is a new line of work, and something I don’t have a natural aptitude for doing. So it’ll be interesting. I’m also in a training class of people who have done this all before, some for several years. No pressure.

I did manage to spin a bit for Spinzilla this year. I brought my Bosworth Mini with me to work, complete with a coffin’s full of fiber, and I managed to get a couple hundred yards done during breaks and the “non-people” section of my lunch half-hour. I also spun about 150 yards of llama fiber on my big hummingbird spindle. Our team officially was 14th (out of 74? I think) this year, so that’s their best place yet. Here’s what I spun.
spinzilla2016

No, not a lot. But considering the crazy week I had, I’m happy enough with it. Plus, this weekend I spun some more rug yarn. So there’s that.

I really did enjoy spending time with my spindles. Even though I didn’t have as much time as the last time, I tried to find at least an hour to work on the llama every night. The time spent spindling made the wheel spinning and plying go faster too, I thought.

Last week Baby Goth had her fall break. I’ve never worked a full-time job while she’s been off before. It was a little tough, I have to admit. But Dad Goth was home, and they got to do some things together – they made the annual Spirit run, decorated the house (due to the weather the yard will wait until next weekend), and did various odd and assorted things.

Also: does anybody remember me saying that I was finally off the hook for Halloween costumes for other people this year? Did I? Because it seems that I am not. Having bought a bunch of fabric and a surprisingly expensive pattern, it looks like I’m making a girlie 10th Doctor costume. It’s okay, I think. I don’t have to come up with the entire pattern myself, and the modifications she wants aren’t that taxing. But still.

Lastly, I saw The Host is on Netflix this month. Not a new one, but a great Korean monster movie. I also watched 13th, which is about the American prison system and a horror movie of a very different sort. It’s also time to pull out the old classics next week: Frankenstein, Dracula, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, Carnival of Souls (yes, really), Phantasm – things like that. Have a lovely evening, or week, or something.

Day Jobs and Debates

Today was my first day at my new day job. I’m not really supposed to say where it is, or what I’ll be doing. But it is in the same place where I had my last oh-so-brief day job, so I know how to get there, and the layout of the building. I also knew a couple of people that I saw this morning. I told one of them what had happened and came very close to breaking down in front of a large group of people. She was sweet, encouraging and understanding. Hopefully things will go better this time, and I can work quite a bit longer.

Last week, the week I was supposed to have started this job, was the time of the first Presidential debates. Anna from Mochimochiland offered two free patterns for tiny Presidential nominees.
clintontrumpmochi

Yep. There they are, Tiny Sec. Clinton and Tiny M. CheetoDumpsterFireTrump. Right next to the tissue box, as I haven’t had a chance to make the tiny debate stage. Even if you’ve never made tiny knitted figurines before, it’s pretty easy and a lot of fun. Also highly addictive.

Tomorrow is the Vice Presidential debates. Fortunately, I have to go to bed early so I’ll have to miss them (dang). Let me know below if I miss anything.

Tonight is also the first day of Spinzilla. I’m looking forward to doing some spinning to get the day out of my head.

HALLOWEEEEEEEEEEEN!

Good morning/afternoon/evening, and happy October 1st to you. I’m going to try to write at least a little something every day this month. The posts may look something like Music to Spin By posts, but I’m starting a new job on Monday so time will be at a premium. I hope. Anyway.

I love autumn. That’s not much of a secret. Some of it goes back to my First Day of School fetish; I always loved school, the other people in the building were a little dicey with a few exceptions, but school itself was good. Some of it is Birthday Month (which was last month, but okay). A lot of it is Halloween. A LOT.

Today, we’re celebrating Halloween 1st by waiting for Baby Goth to get home from marching band practice. Then we’re going for a visit with her other family. I’m hoping to stop by the Halloween store on the way home this afternoon, but that might have to wait until tomorrow. We need some more makeup – I’m looking for some good stage blood, if anybody has any brands they’d like to share that are edible, speak up below – and I’d like to see about some more glasses for the kitchen. Other than that, it’ll be getting ready for next week. Plus next week is Spinzilla, and I’d like to get a little something to take with me for spinning during breaks/lunch as well as what I’ll be working on with my wheel.

I’d like to end today with my new favorite holiday song, by Panic! at the Disco. Enjoy.

Halloween Prep Month

This is Halloween Prep Month for procrastinators. I, myself, am a terrible procrastinator. The proof is every single Xmas gift recipient I have ever made something out of fiber. Every. Single. One.

The worst part is that usually, Halloween prep = costumes. I have been planning a particular costume for years and years now. At last, this year Baby Goth will be putting something together for herself. She did mumble something or other about a “Victorian outfit” or something, but I’m sure she’ll come up with something that I don’t have to sew. I feel good about this.

Baby Goth and her girl gang are going out trick-or-treating again this year. There aren’t any definite plans, but I would have heard by now if they weren’t. Every year for the past couple of years, I’ve made a pitch for dressing up to hand out candy, turning the lights out “early”, and watching monster movies at home for the rest of the evening. Nope.

I still want to do Zombie Marie Curie this year. The skirt was drafted, cut and sewn last year. Now I need a shirtwaist, a long wig to put up, and to get my good boots cleaned. I already have test tubes, makeup and glow sticks, so except for the blouse it’s almost done.

The other thing I’ve been thinking of is based on one of the DC Bombshell characters. Wonder Woman has always been dear to my heart, ever since I found her at the candy store on my walk home from school. I never got to read every month, but I treasured the copies I had. For pretty obvious reasons I will have to modify the outfit a bit, but the hardest part will be finding boots that aren’t my red Doc Martens. Of course, there’s always next year.

Someday I would like to buy an actual good skeleton for the front porch, but that may not be this year. Not sure what else we’re going to do, but we’ll see what happens.

How is your Halloween prep going?

A KAL that I might be able to finish

This past weekend, I was looking for something to work on. Probably knitting, but hopefully spinning too. At least something to cut back on the yuuge stack of stash yarn all over the house.

Reddit’s knitting group began their latest KAL last week. Two things stuck out in my mind:

  1. The KAL goes through the end of October.
  2. It’s a lace (or beaded lace) shawl project, with what looked like an intriguing advanced pattern.

Then I took a closer look at the pattern itself. The pattern looks lovely, and a challenge which would be a nice…distraction. Unfortunately, I cannot personally support the designer. Which is not to say that you might not enjoy the pattern, or have a problem supporting a given designer in their career. If you ask me, I’ll tell you which one it is, but it’s readily available at the Reddit r/knitting group.

For their KALs they offer the option of the “otterlace” category. If you have a particular pattern in your Ravelry queue, and it fits the criteria, you can let the group know you’re working on that one. Which I did.

Remember the Bat Shawl? This one. The yarn was very fine, cobweb-lace sized fine, and it blocked out smaller than I expected. This time it’s going to be a little different.

I’m using handspun alpaca instead of the Filatura de Croza, and it’s slightly thicker. The needle size is 1 size up – I think I’m using a US5 instead of the 3 I used the first time. So far, I’m up to inserting markers for the second row of bats and it’s coming along nicely. I think I’m happier with this so far than the first one. Not that I’m unhappy so much with the first one – I learned a lot, it was my first full-sized shawl, and it’s held up. But this might be worn more.

September

Today is the first of September, the second best month of the year. I love autumn, even though in the place I now call home autumn is unpredictable and can easily be mistaken for winter. Roughly 20 miles “up the hill”, it’s snowing hard enough to close a major tourist attraction permanently for the season. Autumn is bright yellow and scarlet leaves when the snow hasn’t fallen, cold nights and relatively warm days (not the 90F of last week, for example), acorn squash and pumpkins, giant sweaters, and Halloween.

It’s also a good time to start knitting, crocheting and other things for December. Or at least thinking about it. Let’s be honest – the actual making won’t happen for at least another month, amirite? Probably the rest of the world is far more organized and together than me when it comes to Giftmas. Anyway, Halloween comes first.

Baby Goth has decided to put together her own Halloween costume again this year, which is awesome. She’ll probably be coordinating with her friends again, which is fine, and yes, they do go trick-or-treating. To quote one of her friends, “I’m going out for candy till I’m 90! Try and stop me!” Hard not to like that kind of focus and determination.

I have started making presents already, though. There’s another of these
wearehappy2serveyou
that needs to be felted, embroidered and packed up to send to the Frozen Wastelands where part of our family lives. I’m still working on the Weasley Sweater for Baby Goth, and am putting something together for Dad Goth and myself. Maybe it’ll look like a hockey jersey. Maybe not.

I’m also working on a pillow/sampler/something for my parents. My Mom and Dad are both retired chemists; Dad was a college professor, Mom was a medical lab technician. So I’m hoping they’ll like this. I don’t think I want to use Aida cloth, but it’s far cheaper than what I’d like to use, so we’ll see.

This weekend, it’ll be time to put everything out for Halloween. Frankly, I think I’ve restrained myself from not leaving things out all year. But some might consider it a little early. I’d rather not wait till the snow hits.