28 July 2007

aurora borealis

Anna, of Knitting in Nature, has a contest that ends tomorrow, but I want to post about it quickly anyway. You can go to her blog here to read about it and see the wonderful colorway she wants to name. Below are the contest rules.


. First, come up with the perfect colorway name. Jokesters might gain extra merit, as long as it's to good humor. Post on THIS post's comment page ONLY!! Thanks. :)

2. Post these rules on your blog & your colorway idea. That way, no one will use something like it, by mere freak accident. Who ever finds out about this contest on your blog must refer you on this comment page below, before participating in the contest. (This is kind of like Lotus' Knits contest idea. But we will use a poll too...)
-->If you see your name (or blog address) on my comment page below, you can add another colorway name idea! The more referals for you, the better! Good luck to you all!

3. The top 3 best names will be put on a poll, so you all can vote!

4. Contest ends: Sunday, July 29th @ midnight!

I choose to name her wonderful colorway creation: Aurora Borealis. Look at the colorway below with the photos of the aurora borealis. You must agree that the swirling and changing of colors matches nicely with the dyes in the fiber.

(added at a later date): **Sadly...my fantastic name was not picked. La sigh!

26 July 2007

notes to pals

Dear KVVS pal:

Here's a hint of an item prepared for your package. Sirani (the cat) is not included but she is part of the hint. She helped in the knitting...can you tell? You must forgive her as she was chewing on her plant and was a little "high".

Dear Sally-Anne:

Nascha, my beautiful owl, was quite tired from a three-day flight to deliver the fibers I ordered on Muggle-net from Madam Milkin's shop. She brought two packages, laying them on a pallet outside my potions shed.

With a simple Alohomora, the paper folded open to reveal:

One containing fibers cast in Gryffindor house colors.

One containing a lushious skein of "Sexy Chocolate Cherry" sock yarn which took flight shortly after I unwrapped it, to land in my blackberry bush. This bush is known to attack anyone who gets too close to it with deadly thorns. After the extraction of the sock yarn, a healing spell was required (not for the fiber but for me). The blackberry plant now is thornless, thanks to yet another spell I found in a dusty book in the northeast corner of the library.

Gathering materials to start soon,

Your partner, Lily Ravenclaw

24 July 2007

ten silver linings

Hug O'War

I will not play at tug o'war.

I'd rather play at hug o'war,

Where everyone hugs

Instead of tugs,

Where everyone giggles

And rolls on the rug,

Where everyone kisses,

And everyone grins,

And everyone cuddles,

And everyone wins.

----Shel Silverstein----

There are always negative things in life. I prefer not to dwell on these, but to look for and relish the positive in life. I share below ten "hugs", if you will, that have been given to me. They are my little tendrils of silver lining holding me in what can sometimes be dark clouds in life.
  1. A surprise baby shower for me where the spouses and partners were also invited. That may not seem like much to some, but spouses and partners are generally left out of showers. It is a good thing to have had my husband there. We both have memories of that evening.
  2. A husband supporting me with all my endeavours. Here are two: joining the Navy when our daughter was six (yeah, I know...Buddhist earth mother in the Navy?...but that's a story for another day)...you want a highlight: I was gone for training for four months while my husband was working on his Masters in Geo-technical Engineering and our daughter came down with chicken pox during finals week); I changed careers which involved going back to college, temporarily losing a second income for a short time, and concluded by being engulfed in full-time work while taking an average of 14 units a semester to finish up for the last two years of college work.
  3. A friend house-and-cat-sitting for a month while we went on holiday. During this time, my friend had to contend with: a stolen purse containing my house keys (the only other set was with our daughter so she had to drive four hours to Santa Cruz to get them and return back to our house), a trapped skunk and snake in different large holes (they were for posts) my husband had dug before we left (no one would come help her with the skunk), and daily watering of our 180 square foot garden plus pots.
  4. My principal giving me some of the most needy and low-performing sixth grade students. This may not seem nice but he told me he knew I was the only teacher for these students, who could help them be successful because I cared so much about my student's well-being and put so much into my lesson planning. The neat thing is: some of those students come back to me and let me know how well they are doing in school.
  5. My daughter telling me that I am not only her mother but also a good friend. Where her friends say what they would do differently in raising a child, she tells them she would do nothing different. When her friends meet me, they say "oh, this is the fantastic mom you are always talking about."
  6. My mother providing me examples of drive and focus. Going to college in another state after having two kids and a divorce, and giving temporary custody of my brother and myself to them for that time was a big commitment to her future. She also had to take private lessons for some high school classes (like chemistry) at night which were required for entry into college.
  7. My grandparents raising my brother and I for a few years. We learned values sorely missed in many homes today. A few things remain strong in my memory. Grandpa taught me multiplication tables. Grandma taught me to knit. They both taught me what love and caring for each other looked and sounded like. I learned the value and appreciation of what you have.
  8. My daughter being a support whenever I need one, knowing intuitively when a need a boost.
  9. My friend for always being at the ready on the phone for daily downloads my first year of teaching.
  10. Parents of my students who came to my classroom before school started to help out with classroom setup, bringing fresh coffee, fruit, and hot scones from the oven.

23 July 2007

muggle's technology stumps me

First something fun:

Doris Dumbledore and I were stuck on the moving staircase last night. As we sat there, wondering what we were missing for dinner in the Great Hall, she told me about a wand quiz she had read about in the Daily Prophet. I couldn't resist. Here's the result.

My score on The Harry Potter Wand Test:

10 1/4", Yew wood, Veela core

"A yew wand signifies a wizard of great wisdom and intellect and is very useful in transfigurations. The veela hair as a wand core means that you are slightly unpredictable but very powerful."

First Year's stumbling with the Muggle's systems:

Hogwarts Deputy Headmistress has paired Sally-Anne Clearwater, of Gryffindor, and I up for this term. I was very excited and decided to order my Gryffindor fiber right away. With my owl out hunting and not being allowed to use magic outside of school, I bravely chose to use the Muggle's ordering system of the internet. Since Gringotts doesn't do transactions in the Muggle world, I decided to use my Paypal account, which I know Madam Milkin will accept.

With confidence, I logged on to the site I was ordering from, hunted down the colorways needed, checked them into the "cart", and proceeded to checkout, choosing Paypal as the preferred form of payment. This is where the trouble started.

"Incorrect Email"...no, I've used only this one. I tried two more times. I tried another email account (yes, I have several, all for a different use/reason) even though I knew it wasn't the email I use for Paypal. "Incorrect Email". I tried a different route: I pretended to not remember my email. Paypal asked me for personal information, which I gladly provided. "Incorrect account number." What? What do you mean? I know my credit card number! Thinking maybe I typed it in wrong, I tried several more times. Nope. I went back to Paypal, entered my email, and pretended to not remember my password. I am told I would get a message through my email on security questions, followed by my password. I looked at my emails thinking Paypal sent me an email (I know...but I have hope that the electronic systems intuitively know what I want and will have mercy on me). No emails. Maybe it takes time, so I went about doing some laundry, knitted a little, and came back to the computer. I logged on to my emails. No new emails from Paypal. No personal security questions. No password. Well, let's just wipe this clean and get a new account. No. The system won't let me create a new account because I have a perfectly good useable account already. Big bright red letters formed in words tell me this. What's a knitter to do?

New tactic: I called Paypal (this is not a toll-free number, folks) and got a laundry list of choices (all recorded voice). Do I already have an account (speak clearly into the phone and say "yes" or "no")...yes. Using the keypad of the phone, key in your phone number. Done. Did I forget my password? Yes (why not...). The automated voice tells me to go the the computer and follow the directions to receive an email about my password. Yes, I think to myself, but that doesn't work. I try ignoring that request and press 1 for more options. At this point, my memory is fuzzy. After several tries at circumventing the now-annoying automated voice, I am given an option of staying on the line for "customer service" (what was it up to this point, I am asking myself). Another computer voice tells me I may be recorded. Yes, please record this so that future customers can maybe avoid this dilemma. The nice guy on the line (yes, yes, a real person) walked me through, quite patiently, (like leading an addled geriatric up the stairs), all the processes I had already tried. I kept telling him the email address was wrong in his system. I held my cell phone to my ear with my shoulder (not the most comfortable position) and went through each step he wanted to try with me on the computer. After twenty minutes, two email addresses and three credit cards later: "You're email is missing a character." No, it's the same address I have had for over three years. "No it is missing a character." How could that be? I get email. I log onto it regularly. Finally, he says, "You are missing an exclamation character." Huh? There is no such creature in my email address. After a few more rounds of this conversation, he says "Let's change your email." Yes, here we go. The screen prompts me for the last four digits of the credit card number. I will spare you the long and sorted conversation pieces. In the end, the credit card numbers I thought I would have used, were not the one I used on Paypal. After many tries, the last credit card numbers I put in worked. With a phone call on my land line to verify who I was and a few codes put into the Paypal system, I gratefully thanked the guy on the phone. I changed my email to the correct address, changed my password, and recovered from "cauliflower ear" for being on the phone so long.

I returned to the fiber site, to complete my transaction. The site had said all items put in your "cart" stay there (basicly forever until you delete or order). Nope. I had to go back through, find the fibers and colorways, re-ordering them. This time, Paypal *ding* worked like a charm. I now await for Muggle mail in the large brown trucks to deliver my package of goodness. Gryffindor colors will soon be on needles.

18 July 2007

intelligence, knowledge, and wit = ravenclaw

Dear Readers,

I have just received my invitation as a first year to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. I am in the process of finding and purchasing all the needed supplies listed in my letter. Among them, a pair of rosewood wands in 10 inches, from the mountains of Lantern Moon (Ollivander's Wand Shop was having a two-for-one sale). I have been told that these wands have been made with a core of baby alpaca fiber found in the Andes of Northern Bolivia. However, these longer wands will not be used in the classes of Arithmancy (numbers, equations, and complicated number charts) or Charms (use of wands), so I also purchased 5-5 inch ebony size 1 double pointed wands. From Madam Malkin's Robes For All Occasions shop, which she has recently expanded to include spun, yet unwoven, natural fibers, I will order the required colors and fiber needed for my pal this first year. Until the quarter starts, I will work with the wool fibers in the colors of my House and my new rosewood wands for practice. Professor Flitwick, who teaches Charms, has seen that Flourish & Blotts has plenty of books on the shelves showing techniques using the longer, larger wands.

Already buried deep in a spell book,

Lily Ravenclaw, First Year.

Oh, my...what am I doing?! I've joined up with about 150 other frenzied knitters for Hogwarts Sock Swap Two. Don't get confused...the "two" represents the second round--however, there will be year ones (like me) who are invited for the first time, and year twos who are returning for the second "year" but are also in "swap two" just like year ones (in "swap two"). There! Clear as mud on a windshield! Sign-up's for new first years began June 15. Send your "internet owl" over there if you are interested in knitting socks as well as meeting new knitting friends. Hogwarts Deputy Headmistress will be waiting.

Questions requested to be answered forthwith:

  1. What Hogwarts house have I been sorted into? Weren't you there? Don't you remember? The sorting hat could only have placed me in one house for my first year...intelligence, knowledge, and wit...Ravenclaw was the obvious choice.

  2. What is my shoe size? In the US, it's a 7 to 7 1/2. In European, it's a 38.

  3. What is my foot length? In inches: (total foot length) 9 1/4 inches; if I had my toes a different color, my toe length alone is 1 3/4 inches. In centimeters: (total foot length) 23.5 cm; if I had my toes a different color, my toe length alone is 4.5cm. (Remember, if toes are knitted in a different color, to subtract that length from the total foot length.)

  4. What is my foot circumference? In inches: 8 5/8 inches. In centimeters: 22cm.

  5. List my three favorite dpn brands, including the size and length. Lantern Moon "rosewood" and/or "ebony", 5 inches (12.7cm), sizes 1 (2.25mm) and 2 (2.75mm). Brittany, 5 inches (12.7cm), size 2 (2.75mm). Crystal Palace, 6 inches (15.2cm), size 1 1/2 (2.5mm).

  6. Would I like to try a new brand needle? If so, which brand, size, and length? Sure, yes, of course! I have always looked at Blue Sky Alpaca dpn's, which are 5 inches (12.7cm) in length, and sizes 1 (2.25mm) or 2 (2.75mm). However, I know they are pricey in nature. I have also thought of, but have never used, aluminum or metal dpn's. Sometimes I have wished for a wee, small length to finish off projects. Addi has a set of dpn's that are aluminum, 4 inches (10.2cm) in length, and range in sizes 0 (2mm), 1 (2.25mm), 2 (2.75mm), 3 (3.25mm) (for purposes of socks).

  7. If I am in Ravenclaw, do I prefer colors in the film or the book? Do I have a strong preference? That's me! I'm in Ravenclaw! I assume "colors" are referring to the "metal" color. In the film, it is "grey" while in the book, it is "bronze". I prefer grey (or gray). I really do have a strong preference. I would like to be true to the book, but I truly don't like metal-sheened fibers/yarns. If someone was able to find a "bronze" color but not metal in look or feel, that would be fine. That usually brings one back to grey. Bronze is hard to match without looking gold in nature. **Added later: I found a Ravenclaw sock yarn with a warm brown (serving as a bronze) which I find very pleasing. It's at Woolgirl.**

  8. Allergies? Do I have any? Will my knitting be exposed to smoke or animals? I do not have allergies--not in the fiber department or animal department. I do, however, have two cats, one of which loves to cuddle while I knit (we won't talk about the other, which prefers to eat wool so knitting is highly protected from him). There is no smoke around, near, inside, or outside of my home or me. No. No.

  9. Am I an international participant (outside the U.S.)? Am I willing to have an international Hogwarts Sock Pal? I live in the U.S. I am, indeed, willing to have an international pal.

17 July 2007

ten favorite movies from my childhood

My childhood was in the 60's, so movies that I remember are few and far between. Let me clarify why: not because they were so long ago (even though they were), but I was not raised on or with tv; the small town I grew up in had (*chuckle* still has) only one indoor one-screen movie theater and one seasonally-open single-screen outdoor drive-in. In my home, it was a big deal to go to the movies. It was predominately better to go to the drive-in than the theater--so much "cooler" and "hip". As a parent now, I can look back and see the attraction of the drive-in to my mother: no other people's noise and talking, the children can just go to sleep in the car, bring your own food, and get out some excess energy before the movie by letting the children play on the playground (there was a playground off to one side of the drive-in).

  1. Mary Poppins (seen at the drive-in)--yes, the first time it was shown to the public. Chim chim cher-ee.

  2. Nevada Smith (seen at the theatre for a matinee)--my brother and I were much too young to see it but the marque said the matinee was a Disney film, which it wasn't. I am still scarred from some of the scenes in the original movie. To watch it now, some of those scenes have been edited out.

  3. Sound of Music (seen at the drive-in)--still my favorite.

  4. Fantastic Voyage (seen at the theatre)--this was before computer help with special effects.

  5. Polly Anna (seen at the drive-in)--to this day, when I see lamps with beads and crystals hanging from the rim of the shade, I remember that movie.

  6. The Love Bug (seen at the drive-in)--this is the original. My first car was a VW Bug, special edition gold-colored, with a sun roof. I loved my VW Bug. It could go through snow drifts like a pro.

  7. That Darn Cat (seen at the drive-in)--helps explain my love of cats and their independence.

  8. The Three Lives of Thomasina (seen at the drive-in)--solidifies my attraction to cats.

  9. Jaws (seen at the theatre)--I still wonder what lurks deep in the water where I can't see.

  10. The Jungle Book (seen at the drive-in)--yes, this is the original, too.

If I would feel safe now at a drive-in (which I don't), I would go. Think of the knitting one could get done while watching a movie. No lost DPN's on a sloping, sticky floor. Room to spread out your work and munchies. No one complaining of a flashlight or reading light.

15 July 2007

where, oh where, on the list, am i

I am so very excited! Anne's post for today stated where she was on the Ravelry's wait list...sorry you are so far back Anne...which prompted me to check my standing. Look! Look!

  • You signed up on May 31, 2007

  • You are #6050 on the list.

  • 494 people are ahead of you in line.

  • 10434 people are behind you in line.

  • 33% of the list has been invited so far

Haven't heard of Ravelry? Been on vacation or out of range of other knitters (or any fiber enthusiast) as well as the internet? Check it out here.