Monday, 30 July 2012

Random Monday

Sorry about the long silence on the blog.  I've had so much going on that ought to be blogged about - which means I haven't had time to do it!  Briefly, though, a few highlights...

1.  I went to the CiRCE conference with my mum.  Fantastic.  I'll probably be posting more about issues I've been thinking about since this -- so much food for thought!

2.  Survived my second tornado.  (Or possibly not an actual tornado.  But really big storm, anyway.)  It took the roof off one wing of our hotel at the conference.  Naturally our room was on the top floor.  But we were blessed - no damage to any of our belongings.  Here's a link to coverage of the damage...

3.  I had a birthday, and two of my friends had their babies that same day.  Yay!  I like babies!

4.  I've been dog-sitting the past 10 days.  Normally I enjoy dog-sitting.  But not this time.

5.  One of the dogs is okay, mostly.  She's spoiled, so she begs for food and barks for attention and is generally obnoxious, but I can live with her.  The other one... well, she's about 85 lbs and can put her paws on my shoulders without an effort (and does.)  She has no manners at all, and she has to be watched constantly, because if you take your eyes off her for two seconds she will have stolen something off the counter or out of the bathroom or out of your hand, and destroyed it.  Since last Sunday she has shredded a book, disembowled a cushion, eaten a myriad of small bits and pieces of paper, run off with my hairbrush, and swiped half a pizza.  And this is just the big stuff.  Also, they both bark all the time.

6.  Both of them would be lovely dogs if they'd been trained and given some boundaries.  (And also - how do you LIVE with a dog like that on a daily basis?  She's not just acting out for the babysitter either.  All these bad behaviours were written down for me so I could expect them.  There just weren't any consequences written down.)

7.  People shouldn't be allowed to own dogs if they don't want to train them and be responsible for them.  Just saying.

8.  I saw The Dark Knight Rises yesterday.  Excellent movie.  More on that later.

9.  I went to the theatre in my church clothes and three of my co-workers didn't recognise me.  I had no idea clothes and hair made that much difference!

10.  I've watched more TV this week with the Olympics than I have all summer.  I'm loving the gymnastics, and for some reason the swimming as well.  Good stuff!

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Time Vortex

A month or so ago I bought some wool fiber on Etsy (from Gnome Acres, who specialize in dyeing slightly nerdy colourways.  I got the yarn for the Phoenix socks from them as well.)  The colour scheme was inspired by the opening credits of the latest season or so of Doctor Who - swirling blue and purple, and it was called Into the Vortex.

As I started spinning it up I was fascinated by the way the act of spinning mimics the motion of the vortex animation - the constant mixing, swirling, and separating of the various shades of wool.  Even in the singles this is evident....

and in the plied yarn, even more so.  

One skein ended up pretty evenly mixed, with the blue and the purple plied with each other most of the time.  The other one is much more distinct -- long sections of mostly-blue alternating with long sections of mostly-purple.  I haven't yet decided if I'm going to try to mix them together - a few rows from one skein, a few from the other -- or just let things be.

A wee bit darker than this in real life.  The sunlight washed it out a bit.
I'm planning to make this into socks.  I thought about carrying the twisty-vortex idea to its extreme and doing spiral-rib tube socks... but that would just be too much.  I'm thinking a basic rib, with perhaps a cable thrown in somewhere to carry on the vortex motif.  And I think I'll have to go against my usual desires and knit these toe-up -- since I'm not quite sure how long the homespun yarn will go.  It's about the weight and approximate yardage of a hank of sock yarn, but mine is a tiny bit thicker and I'm sure will knit up differently.  But we shall see!

Brand new DPNs to assist in the knitting process.
It's squooshy and soft, but sturdy.  I like it :-D

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Still Alive

Sorry for the bit of blog silence, you guys.  I worked all weekend (and when I didn't work, I slept.  Good plan, I think.)

Also, it finally rained.  Torrentially and with the hugest lightning storms I've ever seen.   This makes the power go out at work.  Power outages at a movie theatre = lots of irate movie-goers.  As if we turned the power out on purpose.  Sigh.  (An aside: if the weather is going to be like that and disrupt my work, the least it could do is to produce Thor for a few minutes... Chris Hemsworth at our theatre would make it all worth it.)

Not from this week.  But representative.

When I wasn't dealing with customers who couldn't get it through their heads that no, I cannot sell them concessions, because the power is out and my computer is down and I can't open my register, this happened.

Time Vortex yarn.  Finished now.  Pictures soon.

And this happened.  (Probably it also happened while I was dealing with customers who couldn't... oh, you get the point... but I can't be sure since I wasn't home to look.)

He has such a rough life.

And this happened.  This afternoon.  Curled up with an afghan and my knitting and the cat and a pot of tea and the very first series of Doctor Who.  Late afternoon sunlight is the best.

Thursday, 5 July 2012

A Parade of Pachyderms

Finally all the elephants are finished and on their way to their new owners!

I love how they all have a personality - they are knit from the same pattern, in the same yarn, and sewn up in the same way, and yet they manage to be very different.

Sad eyes.
The baby - a little unsteady on his pins.

Out for a walk.  Incidentally, you can see why we're under a fireworks/burn ban -- the whole place is dry and crispy :/

All these new elephants were made for specific people and are already sold.  However, the pink elephant (who wanted to join the parade) is still available in my Etsy shop.  And should you want your own custom-made elephant, feel free to ask!  These were knit in the cotton-blend yarns from KnitPicks (here and here), but they'd be lovely in a washable wool as well.  I can do any combination of colours your heart desires :-)  I think these would make fun baby shower gifts, or even a birthday present for a slightly older child, and they can be made to coordinate with baby's nursery or the child's favourite colours.

There is also a listing on Etsy for a custom-knit elephant.  I'm happy to go through Etsy or through private channels :-)

Little one got left a little behind...
I hope you all have had a happy Fourth of July!  I spent mine working at the theatre and then trying to see (banned) fireworks over the tops of houses.  Not very restful, but that's okay :-)  Did you have any special plans for the day?  Any good food?

Monday, 2 July 2012

Sock at the Schermerhorn

On Saturday, the Phoenix Sock and I went on an adventure to Nashville.

It was Beethoven day.  We left around noon (Esther drove, mostly because her car has air conditioning and mine does not -- or it does, but only when it feels like it, which is about once a month.  This meant I had plenty of knitting time, though!)

We arrived on time despite part of the highway being closed and the resulting traffic.  Dress rehearsal went quite well (though I do not feel that when a choir is to sing Beethoven's 9th, it is sufficient warm-up to run up the scale, remark to the sopranos "There's your A!" and then descend to lower ranges for the rest of the warmup.  (And besides, we have to sing high B's as well.)

The maestro was in rare form for the rehearsal.  It was sort of an open rehearsal, for which they actually sell tickets -- it was strange to have an audience and yet be occasionally stopped for notes and nit-picking.  We started with the final movement of the Beethoven and worked backwards.  But there were a few more gems from the maestro...  He took exception to the chorus's somewhat relaxed manner of standing up before our entrance, and scolded us.  "The audience must know from the way you stand that something extraordinary is about to come!  You must not go 'oh, it is my turn now' - you must stand with feeling!  Remember, this was written by a German!"

And, at a spot where he had been very particular about the pianissimo at the last rehearsal, and said it should sound like something from a horror film:  "No, no, no!  We worked so hard to get a eerie pianissimo and now -- it is just -- PG 13!  We must be rated R!  It must be banned in this country!"

The choir was dismissed after the fourth movement but most of us came back to the hall to listen to the rest of the rehearsal.  The 9th was completed in reverse order of movements, which was actually interesting -- it makes it easier to hear those bits from the first movement which are referenced and quoted in later movements.  I decided the maestro is more fun to watch when you can see his face, but he's still entertaining from the back!  He dances in rehearsals.  And some of the instrumentalists evidently decided that a dress rehearsal, even one with audience, could be treated very casually.  One of the cellists was about half an hour late -- he crept in at a pause in rehearsal, trying very hard to be inconspicuous and failing utterly by reason of the large instrument he was toting, the unnecessarily loud plaid of his shorts, and the fact that he almost knocked a music stand over sitting down.  Later on, a couple trombonists wandered onstage halfway through the third movement.  Having played their bit, they wandered off again, taking the trombones with them.  I giggled.  Esther and I decided that they'd gone for a coffee break.

Then there was a break (not however involving coffee), during which I found Mark and his friend Sarah, to whom I'd given my comp tickets (Alyce being at work and therefore unavailable to accompany her husband) and then they played the Egmont Overture, and a Vivaldi piccolo concerto (at which Mark observed that being a world-class piccolo player probably doesn't carry quite the same prestige as being, say, a world-class violin player...)

 Afterwards, an excursion to "the best coffee place in Nashville."  It was good, too.  That there is a coffee soda -- I forget exactly what was in it, but I do remember Mark saying the coffee itself is carbonated, rather than carbonated water being added to a coffee syrup or something.  It took a little getting used to but was very refreshing!

Then a return to the Schermerhorn... read and knit and enjoy the air conditioning... before meeting a friend of Esther's for dinner.  We wandered a few blocks from the hall in search of something cheap and ended up at Sbarro's.  Calzones all round (and the sock made another appearance.)

And back again (we got our exercise walking back and forth in the record breaking heat) to dress for the concert and warm up again.  

It is hard to describe a concert, and I won't try -- much.  Suffice it to say that Beethoven worked his usual magic, which means that I was alternately near tears and on the verge of laughter.  (Some of that was at Maestro Guerra, who conducted the first 30 seconds of the second movement almost entirely with his eyebrows.  And who added another move to his repertoire -- hopping up and down whilst whirling one arm violently in circles.)  The whole thing was excellently played and -- judging by the audience's response, well sung also.  They were very enthusiastic.  And it is exhilarating to sing such a huge work with a large choir and an excellent orchestra!  I'm so glad they needed extra sopranos, and I'm very much looking forward to singing Mahler in September!