Monday, April 30, 2007

Changing the subject

Since I am completely blocked on what to knit and/or spin right now, but I am also afraid this blog will slip away from me if I don't write about something, I'm going to share with you another story about being an "extra." You know, the people who walk around in the background of the action in TV and film? I write about this from time to time but never explained how to land such a job. I'll tell you how I did it. It's simple, and here it is:

Signing Up

Make a note: Central Casting accepts new sign ups for non-union extras on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays in between 10:30 and 11:30 am. This is where you need to be if you are going to make it big time. The office is on a small street in an industrial part of Burbank. That is, for those of you not in the know, Hollywood adjacent.

First comes the paperwork. You have to apply for this position after all. They need to know your age, size, weight, height, eye color and what sort of costumes you own. For example, if you have your own police uniform, you can work on a show with such a crap budget they can’t afford to put you in a cop outfit. I lie in regard to my weight and dress size. I tell the truth in my bra size, because I am proud of this.

After I fill out the paperwork I wait in line with all the future movie stars. I see the man behind me is struggling with his paperwork. The guys need to know their neck size, their hat size, and other numbers that are irrelevant to the youth of America. He is wearing jeans and a t-shirt. A woman (who in addition to acting also works at the gap) helps him guess his numbers. The numbers don’t really matter anyway. There is no reason a casting agent would be searching the data base for actors with a particular hat size.

When I get to the front the woman takes my papers and looks them over. She looks back at me to see if I am full of s**t. Then she hands me the papers back and I get to stand in the photo line. That’s where a guy says to me that Brad Pitt got his start there, at Central Casting. You hear this a lot in this sort of work.

After I pay the photographer $25 and hand over the papers, she has me pose for a photo. This is exactly like what you do at the DMV. I am certain the picture is unflattering. I tell her I am vain. I want a better picture. Too late. She says. It’s no longer on the screen. This is not a good explanation of why she won’t take another one but I accept it anyway. I leave with the packet of info on what to do next... And if you follow this Very Important Guide, you can be like me!

When I get my knitting mojo back I'll resume more familiar territory. Besides, these stories do usually contain knitting. Like the time I knit socks while on the set of Alias. Or armwarmers on the set of ER. So there.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Fiber Friday 4/27/07

Happy Fiber Friday everyone! Whatta week. I think it's funny how the yarn I spin reflects my mood in really unexpected ways.

First up, two more skeins in the "crayons" series. This is what I spin when I don't know what to spin, if that makes sense. This is a classic for me, and I fall back on it when I get stuck.

They always come out a little different, but they do all suggest a box of crayons, tons of colors with no repeats.

The next yarn here is a variation on a rainbow. Bright hits of color alternating with black. This yarn will self-stripe, every other row is a bright color, every other is black. It reminds me of the old game "breakout"

The last yarn here is subdued. My friend Chuy wanted something muted with blue and grey for a scarf. And that's what this one is. Boy yarn. Generalizations not intended.

So what does today's yarn say about my week? How should I know? That's what I pay you people for. Just kidding. I think I'm still searching for inspiration, even though it's probably all around me. Anyway, let's all make a deal to have a GREAT Friday.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

knitter's block, take two

In an attempt to rid myself of the recent shameful knitter's block, I've taken action. Oh yes, I've been busy:

1. Organized knitting patterns I've downloaded. (see exhibit A)

2. Knitted a swatch of Debbie Bliss cashmerino aran to check gauge. Man, that is some nice yarn. I bought enough for a sweater (re: aforementioned knit happens sale) but it has to be striped. I couldn't get enough in any one color. A top down raglan comes to mind.

3. Hunted down raglan sweater pattern, this recipe.

4. Wound some of the tempting noro yarn I bought in that same sale. I've got a mix of Transitions, Kochoran, Iro, and Silver Thaw, by the way. (I know what you're thinking, by the way)

5. Checked gauge of Transitions yarn. Just to remind everyone, this yarn not only changes colors in that subtle, pleasing noro way, it also changes fiber. What fibers? Wool, silk, cashmere, camel, kid mohair, alpaca and angora. Can I marry this yarn?

6. Got the crazy idea to make a raglan sweater out of Transitions. I know it will be ridiculously warm and the striping will be weird because I have to change colorways throughout AND the body will have narrow stripes while the arms would have wide stripes... I didn't care.

7. Cast on. (see reference #3 for pattern) When I got to the part where you cast on all the front center stitches at once, I already hated the way it looked. You're meant to work the collar back and forth a while before casting on front stitches and working in the round. Well, this makes a funny round collar with a weird straight line across the front center. I frogged it. It was doomed.

8. Had a mini-crisis. I'm surrounded by yarn and I can't freaking knit anything!!! What's wrong with me?

9. Had an idea... when I'm not sure what book to read next and I get really really stuck, I reach for a classic. I should make some simple socks, washcloths, market bags, something I've knit before and had success with... like a favorite book you re-read.

or perhaps a classic I haven't yet tried...

Here it comes, a confession: I've never read Moby Dick and I've never made the clapotis. Okay, I feel better. I'm DYING to hear what very important book you've never read and what piece of knitting you've never tried. Trust me, it feels good to get it off your chest.

No, I still don't know what I'm going to knit next.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Knitter's block?

I'm stuck.

I have yarn. I have needles. I have the desire.

However, I have no idea what to knit.

I need inspiration. What's on your needles?

Friday, April 20, 2007

Fiber Friday 4/19/07

I know, there's a lot here. I'll just get to the stats.

First one: 2.9 oz, 159 yards.

Next up, another in the crayons series: 2.3 oz, 105 yards.

Number three down is another in the mangowood series: 3.3 oz, 138 yards.

The fourth one down is red, white and black and plied with heavy black thread strung with beads.

The beads spell out: "always in my room" in honor of the person who received all of this yarn.

There are coils and beehives too! 2.8 oz, 90 yards.

Then there is the rainbow yarn. I spun up two singles in the order of a rainbow and plied them together. This one will make a rainbow hat or similar project when knit.

Next is a bumpy jewel-toned yarn. 2.9 oz, 107 yards. I'm happy with the colors in this one.

The second-to-last yarn is just something pretty, or at least was meant to be. 2.8 oz, 65 yards.

And this takes us to the last yarn: all blues and white, plied with holographic thread strung with real pearls. Something like the sea. 2.4 oz, 79 yards.

That should do it for today. I've been waiting for a Friday like this, where I can show off the way a peacock does.

The truth is I didn't spin these all in one week. But these were all received this week, and I waited to show them off so I wouldn't spoil anything.

I know this has been a hard week. I hope looking at yarn pictures brings a smile to your face. It always works for me.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Blogger's Choice Awards

Thanks for nominating me! (see the link on the right under 'current')

I'd never ask for anyone to click on that link and vote for me because that would be so obnoxious.

I'll just leave the link up and walk away. Whatever you choose to do while no one is looking is up to you. That's right. I'll just leave this suitcase full of cash on the counter and step outside for a couple of minutes.

Why are you looking at me that way? It's not like I asked you to click on the Google ads or anything! That's against the rules.

Fiber Friday Eve

Announcement: I'm going to have 8 yarns to show off for tomorrow's edition of fiber friday! You have been warned...

This one here I didn't spin, but did experiment with space-dying. I like the results, but using a ball-winder and niddy noddy to re-skein the yarn was a bit time consuming. I think I need to start saving for a swift! Ha ha ha. I keep spending!

I often wonder if non-spinners know what I'm even talking about.

But yes, on to the good stuff. I'm a little shy about it, but I suppose it would be unfair to mention a big Knit Happens order and not show it off. So, here it is!!!

Ha ha ha. I'm really funny today.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

I've been busy spinning

I know, why buy yarn when you can make it? (see exhibit one, pictured here)

I do also buy it. And today was the day the Knit Happens order arrived. I would show you pictures but I have some shame. But I'll tell you a big box of pretty yarn is the best thing that ever happened to a Wednesday.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Pattern Errata

What? I know! It's shocking since I am "perfect" and never ever make any mistakes, but somehow an error was made in the "quilted lattice" bar cloth pattern. Corrections have been made to the pattern but for anyone who printed it out before the correction was made, check this out:

The Quilted Lattice Pattern

Row 4 is missing the first *
Rows 4 and 8 only have 32 stitches

Corrections below in italics:

Start lattice pattern:
Row 1(ws): k3, p27, k3.
Row 2: k5, *wyf sl5, k1. rep from * to last 4 sts, k4.
Row 3: k3, p27, k3.
Row 4: k7,* insert needle under strand from row 2 and k next st bringing st under strand and out towards you, k5. rep from * to last 8 sts, insert needle under strand from row 2 and k next st bringing st under strand and out towards you, k7.
Row 5: k3, p27, k3.
Row 6: k4, wyf sl3, *k1, wyf sl5. rep from * to last 8 sts. k1, wyf sl3, k4.
Row 7: k3, p27, k3.
Row 8: k4, *insert r needle under strand from row 6 and k next st bringing st under strand and out towards you, k5. rep from * to last 5 sts, insert needle under strand from row 6 and k next st bringing st under strand and out towards you, k4.

I hope this helps.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Fiber Friday 4/13/07

I apologize for the poor quantity of posting this week - just crazy busy of course. Here we are again at the best day of the week: Fiber Friday: Friday the 13th edition. I have a few skeins of homespun to show off today so I'll get right to it!

I've had a week of extremes, and I'm searching for the middle ground... Do you feel the drama yet?

First up we have a blend of natural wool and alpaca spun with hand-dyed blue mill ends into a worsted-eight single yarn. While spinning, I put in some bright white shiny sari silk here and there for texture and interest.

I also re-visited the domino theme this week with a black and white (and a blend of the two) yarn plied with glitter crochet cotton strung with dominoes and buttons.

The last yarn here is pure black wool plied with holographic thread strung with white seashells.

Lately I've been really interested in how colors relate to eachother. I'm also fascinated that we all have opinions regarding colors. I'm always surprised when people say that they hate a whole color. (like yellow, I hear that a lot) Think of a daffodil. How can you hate them?

Of course I have preferences, and those evolve over time. And there are specific shades, tints and tones I don't care for. Fine.

So recently I've been exploring contrasts and neutrals. I am into subtle muted tones paired with bits of something bright right now. But not dayglo. I don't like dayglo...

Oh no, I'm a hater afterall! NO!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

When the going gets tough, the tough knit tiny

This poor little girl without a name is slowly acquiring a growing wardrobe.

Wanna knit a little something? I used this pattern for the boatneck sweater. Good use of leftover sock yarn.

But yeah, why doesn't she have a name? I'm getting to that. For those who have submitted a name for the contest... I've been pretty busy lately but plan on picking her name at the end of the week. Hang tough kittens, all will be revealed soon.

By the way, I went a little nuts last week and placed a big yarn order during the knit happens sale. I haven't gotten it yet and I hardly remember what I ordered, but I am thinking about the impending delivery everyday. Also, I plan on doing the pogo when it arrives.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Fiber Friday 4/6/07

Here we are again... can you believe how quickly this week went by?

I have four yarns to show off let's get right to it!

This first jumble here is bulky weight singles yarn spun from mixed wools all hand-dyed in my kitchen. 4.1 oz, 159 yards.

I was attempting something that alternated between rich jewel colors and neutral, earthy tones.

This second yarn here was inspired along the same lines, muted colors with shocks of something bright. I think I was dreaming of Noro at the time. 2.1 oz, 127 yards.

The third yarn here is a basic two-ply, originally inspired by peas and carrots but it definitely evolved into something else. Candy and flowers got in there too I think.

They do that sometimes - take on a life of their own. 2.9 oz, 86 yards.

And last but not least I've made another seashell yarn. This time with pearls! For those who missed the last one, here is the run-down:

Dye soft white roving in various beachy, sand and sea colors. Then spin it up, starting with the sand and work your way through the sea and sky. Then ply with holographic thread strung with real shells and pearls.

When knit, the yarn should form some kind of landscape. Or crochet. I'm an equal opportunity spinner.

This concludes another installment of Fiber Friday. Perhaps it's technically "Good Fiber Friday," which reminds me... you know what I'm looking forward to this Easter? The sales after where the egg dye is 75% off. I want to experiment using some to dye wool. Yeah!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Micro knitting

Well she's been here one day and already got herself set up with some knitting, naturally.

Thank you to everyone who posted a suggestion on what to name this girl in the previous post - there are some really good ideas there! I haven't made up my mind yet so there is still time to leave a suggestion and free stuff is fun, right?

In spinning news, for the last two weeks I've been busy. I've spun up about ten skeins of yarn that I'm just itching to show off but I'm trying to avoid this concept of "spoilers" for the people getting them as a surprise. I also decided that if certain people don't receive by Friday it's not my fault and I'm showing some off anyway. You've been warned, certain people.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

A Weird Contest!

I celebrated my new hobby of knitting on television with a purchase some will understand, while others will think crazy. Here she is, an ebony Blythe doll... straight outta Hong Kong!

I "need" to name her. I'm thinking Violet but am open to suggestions. If I end up with a name suggested here in the comments, I will put together a prize for the person who came up with it. You read that right.

The winner can choose between a felt bead kit, a roving dying kit (with Kool-Aid) or a set of notecards.

Note the outfit is called "Camera Happy Please"

Now let's chat some more about knitting on television. Because let's face it, after this week I won't be able to bring it up quite so often without looking obnoxious, right? For those who missed knitty gritty you can catch a re-run on April 18, 2007
2:00 PM Eastern!

For those requesting the chart for the martini glasses and such, the wonderful knitster Jeremiah sent me the pdf file to share with you... and as soon as I figure out how to do that, I will!

For the bloggers out there I have two issues I want to deal with asap. I want to change the banner to the one I made for my etsy shop and I want to share pdf files. When I figure out how to do this, I can convert all my free patterns for easier downloads. Anyone who might have some advice on the subject?

Yes, I will show her in the camera happy please outfit. And with the miniature knitting needles I already made for her. And I will probably discuss the need to sand mat the shine off her face and trim the factory-uneven hair. But I will NOT pose with her in my blue polka-dot bathing suit because that is going too far. Do you think I am some kind of crazy doll-lady?

Monday, April 02, 2007

Breaking News: Knitty Gritty Airs, knitter nervous

Well today is the day. Episode 801 of Knitty Gritty airs today for the first time. This is the episode I demonstrate how to make bar cloths! I'd love to insert a behind-the-scenes picture here but I don't have one. I feel like I'm in one of those dreams where you find yourself late to class and the test already started and you forgot your pants.

Unexpected so far:

1. I have no photos of these bar cloths. I know. Crazy. I ended up leaving them behind so I never got a chance to properly photograph them.

2. I have no photos of me on the set. I brought my camera, but it crapped out.

Lesson learned: If you ever have something important to photograph, bring a spare set of batteries with you just in case. Maybe this is going too far but why not bring pants too, in case it is a dream.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Pretty tool belt and stroopwafels!

I've been spinning fresh yarn all weekend but most of it is for trades and swaps. I'm really going to slow down on the swapping very soon and finish some new patterns and the like. I have some new ideas, people!

Why is swapping so addicting? For one, you get stuff like this in the mail. It's a crafty utility belt from la_chrystelle. Cute, right? It came to me from The Netherlands along with stroopwafels (and a LOT of other stuff too!)

To eat a stroopwafel you make a hot cup of coffee or tea. You then place a stroopwafel on the cup like a lid. The steam works it's magic and the inside caramel layer gets soft and melty. When you eat/drink it down you want the world to stop turning so you can live for all eternity in the sweet-love-hug. Speaking of which, I'm off to put the kettle on!