Jul 26, 2008

Twilight's a-Comin'

Twilight -- the books and movie -- seems to be on everyone's mind, at least with most of the teenage girls I know. They]ve started to call themselves Twilighters. Hah! What was old is new again.

Twilight, for those of you blissfully unaware or unfamiliar with the saga of teenagers Bella Swan, Edward Cullen, and Jacob Black, you obviously don't have a life-- I'm quoting one of the Twilighters skulking in my house. In the past year, I have learned a lot about the first three books and I haven't even read them. One can learn a lot by just hangin' on the periphery, chauffering Scouts to events, challenging them to a game of Guesstures, and hosting sleepovers. The Twilight series is the story of Bella, who moves to the small town outside of Seattle. At school, she wonders about a group of five beautiful teens, who sit together in the cafeteria but never eat. As she grows to know, and then love, Edward, she learns they are all rescued vampires, part of a family headed by saintly Carlisle, who has inspired them to renounce human prey. Jacob, who also has fallen for Bella, is one of a group of werewolves who protect the forest and who are mortal enemies of the vampires. Of course, Jacob and Edward clash. So what else is new in a teen novel. With all this erotic blood lust, I'm just a bit surprised that this book falls in the 12 and older group. I think 14 and older is more appropriate.

I joined the Twilight Knitting Swap on Ravelry.com so that I could learn more about the book, as well as to get to know more folks on Ravelry. The Swap, my first ever, has paired me with a young woman who, surprisingly, several years ago, used to live on my very same street, albeit about 3 miles down the road. Now in Indiana, she is a member of the Vampire coven. I chose to hang with the Wolf pack because all the Twilighters are quite ga-ga over Edward and Jasper, another vamp. Me, I think someone should play the devil’s advocate (no pun intended). Besides, I realize that I have kept a handcarved ironwood wolf on my desk for more than 13 years. How prophetic.

The SWAP requires that I send a knitted or sewn bag in my partner’s team colors, a pattern with yarn in my partner’s team colors required to complete a small project, and stitch markers in my partner’s team colors. A bag! A knittted bag! Well, first things first. The bag won't be knitted. I want it to be good so obviously knitting is out. My knitting skills are abysmal -- I can work it straight enough for a sweater but a bag, something with curves, and any other special stitches are way over my head. I've been able to settle on a pattern and yarn for the small project. I've even managed to find a few other goodies. But selecting the bag has been a bitch. I spent the past two weeks trying to figure out just what kind of crocheted bag would be perfect for a knitter. A simple tote, a clutch, a purse. Nothing seemed right.

Checking my stash, I found my Gjestal Baby Bomull, a fingering weight cotton yarn in crimson red, royal blue, and yellow gold. Perfect match for the Coven's colors. I thought, a colorful market bag that has a variety of uses. I began to work it up -- what you see is the bottom of the bag. But something just wasn't cutting it. So, this now moves to my WIP pile -- work in progress. This bag will still be done but not for the swap.

I toyed with Tunisian, one of my favorite forms of crochet. But I can't find my tunisian hooks. Just too many totes to look through. You ought to see my room. Actually, I wouldn't want you to see it. I don't buy shoes but I do seem to collect tote bags to put projects in -- Girl Scouts, crochet, magazines, genealogy, unwanted bills, etc. So Tunisian is out. Late last night it hit me -- the perfect pattern so I bought the yarn today on my lunch break. Of course, I can't tell you anything about it, other than it's colors are black and red. I hope it works out. You'll just have to wait.

In the meantime, Breaking Dawn, Book 4 in this saga, is due August 2 and I have been volunteered to take four Twilighters to a Border's release party. I will be bringing my Twilight SWAP project with me to keep me occupied.

Jul 20, 2008

The AKA and a Delta-in-Training

It's been a busy two weeks for me. My paying day job had me whipped, I traveled out of town for three days on another matter, and my mother came to town for the 2008 Centennial Boule of the AKA sisterhood. More than 10,000 Alpha Kappa Alphas -- decked out in pink and green -- descended upon Washington, DC last week to celebrate the founding 100 years ago of their beloved sorority. Everywhere you turned, you saw these sisters united. So, the dutiful daughter I am (second only to Connie Jean), I served as chauffeur and tour guide for a day and an evening.

My mother was in her element. She made friends where ever she went, talking with her sorors from around the world. With our family spread around the country, she was bound to run into women who knew these distant relatives of ours. Since I am the family genealogist (my other great passion), she would call me to get names of relatives (well, the ones on my father's side, she knows most of hers), or to clarify relationships. Turns out several AKAs had attended the wedding of a third cousin for whom I served as maid of honor. Small world.

Just before my mother had arrived in town, I had put the finishing touches on a birthday gift for the daughter of a co-worker. The soon-to-be 4-year old recently had told her mother that she was a 'girly-girl' and as such, pink was her favorite color. Tough words for her proud Delta Sigma Theta mother whose sorority flies the red and white. But we all know that most little girls love to twirl around in a pink dress.

So a pink dress was what I made for the birthday girl. I chose a simple bell shape dress in pink single crochet made special by a white shell bodice topped with pink single crochet straps. A single front pocket is adorned with a pink baby elephant (hey, pink is just a diluted red, right? At least that's what I told her mom) should encourage her to move forward with strength and determination. The elephant is a Delta tradition. Bottom line -- the dress' wide hem will allow this future Delta Sigma Theta to twirl to her heart's content, even if that dress is pink.

I thoroughly spending time with my mother. I don't often get to do that, what with me on the East Coast and her near the Gulf Coast of Texas. With all but one of my siblings scattered elsewhere, I know Mother counts among her friends many who call her sister. Although none of her five daughters are members of a sorority, we and her three granddaughters KNOW there is only one sorority for us, just as my friend's future Delta will grow up knowing it's Delta and nothing else. I have friends and relatives among both the Alphas and the Deltas. The Deltas empower communities through committed service. The Alphas provide service to all mankind. Both great organizations, both committed to service.

Mother wears her pink and green proudly. So I was not surprised when she asked -- no, announced -- that I was to crochet a coverlet for her bed -- in the pink and green colors of the AKA, of course.
Now, I've got to find a design, and the time. Funny thing -- last month, I found a bunch of green ivy buttons. I wonder if I can use them.

Jul 6, 2008

To Frog or . . . What is the Question?

The past week, I have spent a not so unconsiderable amount of time getting caught up with the online crochet community. Everyday, I find something new in the Ravelry community, whether it is a new group, undiscovered features, or new terminology.

Take for example, frogging. I wondered what a little green bug eater had to do with the fiber arts. Imagine my surprise when I realized that it means to pull out your yarn to undo stitches and, if you are unlucky, to undo rows. I had always called it *!%*&@!. Still, why Frog and not just Rip? Well, the Ravelry lexicon says frogging happens when you rip out your stitches, i.e., rip-it, rip- it, rip-it. And any items waiting to be frogged hang out in the frog pond. HaHa.

In the forums, there also is a lot of lingo bandied about:

  • FO (Finished Object), the holy grail

  • Muggle (non-knitter), which I daresay applies equally to all those non-crocheters out there.

  • NoTN (Not On The Needles) which perhaps reflects those moments when we are without our hooks or needles (like when we're working, cooking, cleaning, etc!). Maybe there should be a NoTH (Not on The Hook) for crocheters like me but Law and Order fans might confuse this with talk of Chris Noth (detective Mike Logan).

  • OTH (On The Hooks) or OTN (On The Needles), where, I suspect, "life" happens for most of us

  • UFO (unfinished object), a stop over in that journey in search of the holy grail

But my favorite is SEX: when buying yarn = a Stash Enhancement eXperience. As my previous post shows, I have no problem in this department. But at this rate, I might soon reach SABLE -- that point where my Stash Acquisition [is] Beyond [my] Life Expectancy.

Jul 1, 2008

Stash This!

[originally posted July 1, 2008 on my old blog vicjorob.spaces.live.com]

Ok, I readily admit that I am a clutter-holic. I keep most everything, even empty boxes stuff came in from Amazon (I know I will use them, I just don't know when). It's a trait I inherited honestly from my parents. When it comes to yarn I'm no slouch there either.

A couple of months ago, I joined the Ravelry community. Great site! I entered projects, visited forums, joined a couple of groups, and then I saw it -- the STASH. I thought, what a perfect opportunity to catalog my 120 or so skeins of yarn currently housed in four bins. I needed to get reacquainted with my yarn, some of which had been separated into bags just waiting for the perfect patern to come along. So, with a little bit of glee -- I can get a bit giddy when I finally get around to organinizing things -- I was ready to see what I had stashed away. I knew this needed to be done before I purchased any new yarn. I had even avoided going to my favorite yarn store's annual summer sale because I never can leave without purchasing at least one skein.

So, I organized the heck out of my yarn -- all the cottons together in those zip up plastic bags that sheets and curtains come in. My Mohair went into a comforter bag (I had more than I thought). The fun fur lying untouched for five years found its way into a smaller bag (it's still untouched) Ravelry's Stash asks for the number of skeins for each type, color, and size of yarn. This stash can be linked to projects where you can indicate whether you purchased more yarn or used your stash. Howver, I'm not sure if I want to know that I added to my stash. As with most yarn lovers, we have become very adept at hiding yarn purchases from ourselves.

What was my bottom line? 235 skeins of yarn -- make that 238 skeins. I just bought 3 skeins to finish up the romper I am making for my cousin's future grandson.