Monthly Archives: March 2007

Pollyanna Rainbow Sunshine Has a Very Bad Day

Bah! Bah! Just ….. grrrrrrrrrr……. BAH!!!

Anna-Liza here. It’s late, I’m tired, and I just sat helplessly by as one of my contractors completely screwed up a job. I watched the emails roll out before my eyes and couldn’t figure out a single damned thing I could do about it, short of finding her and strangling her before she could commit one more stroke of the keyboard.

 And I’m going to have to pay her for it. And I have a sinking feeling I’m going to have to comp the work for my client.

It’s my employer’s money, not exactly mine, but it’s my responsibility (and my budget!) I don’t want to go into grisly detail, partly so’s to CMA and partly so’s I don’t bore you, but I am basically a project manager. And some of the stuff I do requires freelancers. And while some of my best friends are freelancers (hell, my husband’s a freelancer), it’s a lot harder to control them than fellow corporate employee types. This time it was like talking to my three-year-old.

“Stop that!”

“Stop that! That thing there! The thing you’re doing right now! Stop that!”

“No, that is not an error! Leave it alone! Only report real errors!”

“GAHHH!!”

It all comes down, not just to reading instructions, but to actually listening when I try to explain that her interpretation of the instructions is wrong, and this other thing is what is correct. She just went on and on and ended up keeping all of us up way past our bedtime. I think every single one of us is ready to cry. Even the guys.

Damn. What a Friday. I’m probably going to be a coward and not look at my work email until Monday, and really really hope my client isn’t royally pissed at me. One thing for sure, that freelancer won’t be hearing from me again.

 Who am I kidding? I’ll end up using her again if I can’t find anyone else.

Bah.

Pollyanna Rainbow Sunshine Triumphs over the Week that Would Not End!

When we were last on the West Coast with our heroine Pollyanna, she was wrestling with the Endless Homework of Despair with one hand and battling the Corporate Move of Horror with the other.  (Oh, the anguish! No hands left to quilt with!)  This week, this Pollyanna has been in terrible danger of losing her happy rainbowy, sunshiney disposition and slipping into cranky monster mode. 

It is possible that this may have already happened….

a bit…

or maybe…

more than a bit…

(ahem)

But do not despair, fair reader!   Pollyanna has beaten the homework into submission!  She has run away retired to her new sunny office to leave the battle to more energetic coworkers.

Pollyanna wonders: Why do people need to move furniture again and again and again? Why do people not measure first?  Have they never heard of sketching a floor plan?  Why must they play obnoxious music really loud while they do this endless moving?  Why am I still here when all sane people have fled the building? Echo answers not. 

And just when it looked like our heroine would lose her battle with the Week that Would Not End, wonderful news lit up the skies!!  The rainbows and sunshine are back!!

SHE’S COMING TO SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA!!!!!  Yes, Anna-Liza will be here next month!  I don’t even care that she is bringing her other bestest friend ever with her.  (I’d just like to say that I have seniority over this start-up, but whatever.)  (Actually, I’m thrilled to meet this person of whom I have heard so much.  Hope I don’t say anything too stupid to her.)

We will get to hang out for several days, and walk a labyrinth, and maybe cook together.  Definitely there will be food eaten and possibly wine imbibed, and maybe I will get my first knitting lesson ever (which is where the wine comes in).  We might meet Crazy Aunt Purl herself! Probably not much sleep, but lots and lots of talking, and laughing until we fall down!

Anna-Liza coming to visit is even better than being only 39 minutes from the end of the last work day in the Week that Would Not End.

Not that I’m counting the minutes or anything…

Pollyanna Rainbow Sunshine and her Fabulous Friends Do L.A.

Anna-Liza here.

Well! I have had one of the nicest surprises ever! My dearest friend ever, Ms. English Hotcar, invited me to go with her on a trip out to L.A. later in April. And, get this, she is using up a bunch of her airline points to give me a ticket. And I will get to visit my dearest friend ever, Lyda, she of the quilty side of this blog, while I’m there! And I might even get to meet Laurie, of Crazy Aunt Purl fame!!!

Can I have two “dearest friends ever”? Damn straight, I can, when they are friends like this! My very tiny budget restricts our choice of activities, a bit, but there will be many many things to do that cost little or nothing. One of the places I want to visit is the Peace Awareness Labyrinth and Gardens, to walk the labyrinth. I don’t know yet what our schedule will be, but that and meeting Laurie are right up there on the list!

And tonight, my work-related knitting group meets. I’ve been calling us the Loopy Chicks, and no one has objected so far. I did invite all the guys to join, too, but none of them has shown much interest. We have an international group here, and the LCs reflect that. One of us is Russian, another is Thai, another is English … and we range from outright beginners (learning to cast on tonight) to, well, advanced intermediate. This could be really, really good.

And next week, Yarn Harlot in Denver!!!! I am taking the whole day off. After a leisurely morning with Darlin’ K (well, leisurely once the kids are dispatched to school), I’ll pick up my fabulously beautiful daughter, we’ll head down to Denver, participate in the KIP event being held at the bookstore, and then listen to Stephanie Pearl-McPhee be her inimitable self!

 I’d better stop before I get cited for Gross and Negligent Overuse of Exclamation Points in a Single Post. Y’all, I am so. Freaking. Excited. Can you tell?

Pollyanna Rainbow Sunshine and the Semi-lost LYS

Anna-Liza here.

The time has come for me to mourn the loss of my favorite LYS … sort of.

Jean, the owner, isn’t quitting the business altogether, but she is switching to an online-only store. Running the physical store was just getting to be too much stress. I totally understand, but man I wish it had turned out differently!

Knitters with kids will get this. Well, I think anyone with kids will get this. Jean’s store, (Knit One, Purl Too) carried all the nice yarn, rovings and fleece, toys and gadgets, books, the usual. Not a real big store, but very welcoming. And she was totally, completely fine with me bringing my kids. My five year old, my three year old. She even had a little play area set up, with books and toys and a beanbag to lounge on. Even when Mr. B wanted nothing more than to wander around the store pulling yarn off the shelves, she was fine. (I wasn’t, but she was).

Now, I’ve been in lots of yarn stores, and I tend to prefer to go sans kids most of the time. But it was so very cool to have a place to go on a Saturday where my kids were happy to play and I could browse, or just sit and knit and chat, and everyone was having a good time. Unlike other places, where if I needed to go in with my kids, I felt like the staff thought I’d come intending sabotage. (“Marge, keep an eye on that one. She has some of those small sticky beings with her. I bet she’s only here to rub chocolate all over the alpaca.”)

That isn’t the only reason I loved the store. I’m a confirmed yarn-fondler. While I love the availability of good quality yarn for pretty darn cheap on the internet, online shopping just doesn’t have the thrill of discovering the perfect color, the perfect feel, in a yarn I didn’t even know existed until I picked it up and held it in my hand. Or the pleasant pastime of piling yarns on the table, discussing which is the best one for the pattern of the moment. I used to have that experience available five minutes from home.

Jean is a terrific lady and, among other things, does some incredible handpainted sock yarn–beautiful and soft. Her online store isn’t quite up and running yet, but I’ll post about it as soon as it is. If you want a peek before she’s ready to take orders, the URL is http://www.knit1purl2llc.com/.

Pollyanna and the Impending Quilts of Magnificence

Hi, Lyda here.  Yes, I should be writing my paper, let’s move on.

Current quilting projects:

2 baby quilts for Anna-Liza’s two boys.  These were originally a surprise for her, but now they have reached the epic timeline, she knows about them.  (Yes, these “babies” are 3 & 5 now.  Yes, I started this project when the 3-year-old was born.  What can I say, it’s been a busy few years…)

Both are in very bright cotton fabrics, one with jumping frogs and other nature-themed fabrics, the other with a space theme of planets, etc.  (The fabric came from a local discount fabric store where I can easily spend a day and way too much $.)  These will be basic 9-patch quilts, nothing fancy except the fabrics are really fun.  Depending on what they look like when stitched together, I will either quilt them by stitching in the ditch (tracing the seams) or maybe by outlining the frogs, planets, etc.  Or I might just tie them off… it’s happened before.

I make really big baby quilts, so that they can get used through toddler-hood and even later as blankets for picnics, etc.  And I always make them sturdy and washable.  For one thing, I love working with cotton; it is soft and easy to work with, and comes in great colors and prints, and of course the price is good.  For another thing, these are not the fancy “hang on the wall and don’t touch” quilts.  My quilts really get used – cuddled with on the couch, taken out into the yard, slept with for years.  They NEED to be washable.

The other current project is a quilt to use as a throw on the couch.  I just found some great cotton fabric in a quasi-tribal print that has all the living room colors – deep plum, dark green, rich red, soft brown.  I only have a yard or two, but it has inspired me to finally make a quilt that matches the room.  But it will have to wait until I gather more fabric… and finish those baby quilts…

Recently completed projects (so you can tell that I actually do finish quilts!):

I did a really huge quilt for my son, which is of course in cotton and is very warm because his room gets cold at night.  The quilt turned out somewhere between queen and king sized (which is good for a teenager who never seems to stop growing!).  It’s got 5 or 6 different fabrics, mostly greens and nature-themed, with some black and yellows mixed in.  If I can figure out how, I’ll post a picture of this one.  I tied this quilt off, because it took me so long to complete it.  (Do you sense a running theme in my quilting here?)

There may be a learning-to-knit project in the summer when graduate school is on hiatus, but I’m not thinking that far ahead yet.  And I might still be making those baby quilts…

Pollyanna Rainbow Sunshine and the WIPs & FOs

Phew! Now you’ve met us both. Until that masters’ course breaks for the summer, you may only hear from her sporadically, but I’ll nag her gently remind her to make herself known once in a while.

Oh, Anna-Liza here. Now I’m discovering this blogging business is quickly addictive. I can see why darlin’ K (my husband) said something about losing sleep over this. Two days out, and here I am at the keyboard after everyone else is asleep! That’s usually my knitting time. Two equally compelling addictions–this could be trouble. I’ve already got a problem with far more WIPs than FOs … and I do have to work for money, at the moment. And not knittin’, neither.

Currently on the needles:

Aforementioned “pretty color” socks for Mr. B, the first of which I’ve ripped back to the gussets and reknit three times because I keep making the foot too short. I mentioned the long skinny feet thing. I’ve finally given up. I’ve cast on the second sock, with the plan of making the second foot one half inch longer than the first, then ripping back the first and reknitting it to match the second. One half inch makes a pretty big difference on a six-inch foot! Should work. Getting an accurate foot length on a wiggly three-year-old is apparently beyond my skill.

“Eris” pullover from “The Girl from Auntie”, this one: http://www.girlfromauntie.com/patterns/shop/

This is one of the best explained, most thorough patterns I’ve ever run across. And a good thing, too. Beautiful, absorbing cable work, which requires full attention to execute. Full attention being the operative phrase; small children just hate when mom’s full attention is on anything other than themselves. I’ve been stuck at the lower back corner of the bottom border for over a month now. It’s not the hardest cabling I’ve ever done, but it does require concentration. Optimum caffeination and quiet help. Kids telling me long and involved and almost incomprehensible stories, breaking off at intervals to hit their brothers, do not help.

Once I’ve got that bit of cabling done, I’ll be able to finish the border and the sleeves while yelling at the kids conversing with friends and not really worry about messing up. It’s not going to be ready for this cold season, but should be for next. Debbie Bliss Merino Aran in, I believe, colorway 506. If it’s not that, it’s darn close–a deep green.

A rectangular shawl from Vogue Knitting a few issues back–I’ll have to go find the magazine, since I’m carrying around just the charts and instructions with the project. I think it was Fall 2005. This will be about 6 feet long when complete. I’ve got about 8″ to go on the main wavy lace bit, then I have to add the borders. I bet y’all know the shawl I mean. The issue had several shawls, and this one is shown in a soft olive green. Wavy main pattern, geometric borders. See, you do know the one I mean! For this, I got a Cascade 220 in a heathery olive green, almost the same as the photo spread. I was looking for plum, but then I found this and loved it.

Buncha socks. There’s an experimental toe-up pair in KnitPicks Memories “Fly Fishing”, and I just frogged the “Dublin Bay” pattern because it was coming out too baggy in the ankle. (see “long narrow feet”). This catefory includes all the sock yarn that has patterns matched to it, but not actually cast on yet. And the tiny superhero boot-like socks. Can you say “overcommitted”? How about just “committed”?

Another Vogue Knitting pattern–a chunky pullover with a single cable motif in front, ribbed all over, from the Winter ’92-’93 issue. Ahem. It may be a little longer before I get to that one again. Lamb’s Pride Bulky in a hot pink. Very hot, very pink. I’m not sure if I have found all of the yarn I had bought for this–I may not have enough now to finish it. Darn.

Another planned and bought but not yet on the needles is a little white cabled lap blanket with lavender edging. This one is intended as a knitalong with my daughter (the 21 year old), and she’s not ready to start yet. So that one’s not my fault.

F.O.s, well, I won’t go all the way back to 1992. In recent times, there’s two pairs of socks for Mr. R, 1 pair felted slippers for same, 1 much larger pair felted slippers for darlin’ K, four pair socks for myself (but one given away–see below), the Mandarin Blouse by Annie Modesitt from last summer’s (?) IK, buncha scarves.

 The four pair of socks for myself are my initial learning curve set. I wanted to get good at the sock thing before making them for others. Don’t want to be known as the “toe torturer”. My very first was a really plain pair that came out so large I gave them to darlin’ K, and he wears them as a second layer over his other socks in winter. He’s not a freak or anything, just considerably taller than I, with proportionate feet. Heh. Just call me a loose knitter.

The other three for me are a pair of ribbed knee socks in Dale Sisik, very warm, a pair of Embossed Leaves socks from IK in lavender Wildefoote, and a basic chevron-pattern pair in one of the Regia self-stripers for which I’ve lost the ball band. I’m liking this sock-knitting thing. I’m liking it a lot.

I took an extended break from knitting and took it up again a few years ago. I don’t consider myself advanced–maybe an advanced intermediate. Depends on what kind of knitting. I feel pretty confident with texture and cabling and lace (in yarns heavier than laceweight. I have a nice large skein of laceweight sitting there, waiting for me to get to it. I just can’t make up my mind on a pattern!)

 I haven’t done colorwork since I took up needles again, and here I am contemplating the Bauhaus Fair Isle in the current IK for darlin’ K. I’ll have to do a hat or something first, I guess. If anyone has some suggestions, I’d love to hear. Something not too foofy, and not too many colors for someone just trying colorwork again after *cough cough* years.

Pollyanna Rainbow Sunshine and the Homework of Despair

Hi I’m Lyda, reporting in from Southern California (where I live in Orange County about 60 miles from LA as the crow flies – or 2 to 3 hours as the commuter drives).  Just got off the phone with my new partner in blog crime, and I’ve been instructed to “post something!”

So, instead of finishing my paper that’s due Friday for my graduate class, I’m posting this.  (Hey, procrastination is an underappreciated gift.)  The homework isn’t really bad, it’s just plentiful.  I’ve been in graduate school for 6 months, studying for my masters in psychology. 

I work full-time at a Huge Educational Institute, mostly doing complex and amazing things with numbers (you should be impressed) and trying not to run amok too often.  Work is like a laboratory class for school.  I’m studying psychology – you get the idea.

I’m a single mom of one teenager, the Resident Sith Master.  Tommy the cat is his Sith apprentice and is trying to kill me by tripping me in the hallway and by keeping me from sleeping through the night.  (My son is a great guy and not reallly a Sith… but I’m not sure about the cat.)  Right now, Sith Master’s best friend (who mysteriously wants to be known as Chuck Norris, I have no explanation for this) is here and they are – surprise! – playing video games.  Together they plan to some day rule the video game empire, and make millions.  They promise to buy me a house and servants.  Maybe I’ll even get a pony.

My needlecraft is quilting, which started with a baby quilt for my son 17 years ago and grew into an obsession.  I have two quilt tops cut out right now in the closet which are supposed to be gifts for Anna-Liza’s boys.  As they are now 3 and 5, you can see I’ve been a bit busy lately… hope I finish them before the boys graduate from medical school.

I am a bit of a hermit (a bit!  Hah!) and would rather be home quilting or puttering in my garden than cruising So Cal hot spots.  This may be why I’m not dating, ya’ll think?  (I’m from Texas originally.)

Anna-Liza and I met in college and discovered mutual interests in men, chocolate, and the general weirdness of humans.

So, anyway, hi!  I’d better get back to the Paper of Immenseness, but I’ll be back soon!