Saturday, March 29, 2014

Tools.

This IS something I thought of myself, but I can't imagine I'm the only one. However, it was met with "OMFG GENIUS!" over on Twitter, so I'll share it with you.

This is the end of a scarf with the end darned in. I've got it on a brush base thingie, and that bit sticking out is a felting needle. (The brush base keeps you from felting your project to something else. I may have accidentally felted something to a cushion, which may be why I have it.) After some stabbing with the felting needle, I could rely on the end staying where I put it, so I cut the end off.

This solves all the worries about darned in ends pulling loose again. And since it's a felting needle, it MECHANICALLY smashes the fibers together, so it can felt/snarl together ANY fibers, even 30% nylon like above, or even pure silk.

I got these at my LYS, Natural Stitches, but I've seen them at JoAnn Fabric, and I'm sure someone sells them mail order.

Enjoy your darned in ends!

For your amusement, a You Tube video of the manufacture of steel wool. It's needle felted. (The needle felting starts around 4:15.)

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The state of the state. Of me. Or something.

This is all about what's been going on for the last month in terms of my health. There is NOT a test later, I promise. If it bores you, please do skip it. If you're here for fiber, tune in tomorrow (?) for the gist of the spinning lesson I gave my bud M on Sunday night. (Twist and fluff and friction and balance and like that.)

I'm only writing this down for my own records, the one or two of you who are interested, and to vent, because boy howdy, the bullshit.

I guess the whole thing started last autumn. It's a combination of weather and emotional stress (it's like half my family died within a couple months of each other, WTF, you guys?). My GP was concerned because the constant pain was triggering sustained high blood pressure. I saw my pain doc, and she unenthusiastically dicked around with my meds a little bit, and sighed heavily at me. We went back and forth, annoyed each other, got nothing accomplished, and by the time I kicked the flu at the end of January, my blood pressure was back to normal and I was fed up and fuck it, we'd deal with the blood pressure when it came up again next October.

Stress makes the pain worse, and it really annoys me when the doctors who're supposed to be helping, make things worse. Especially when it's avoidable stress caused just by being an asshole.

So, end of February, the 21st, I went to see my pain doc again. My GP and I were poking around trying to find a different specialist, and did I mention fed up? I figured I'd try to force the issue. Yes, I was backing her into a corner, or trying to. Not for anything in particular, other than SOMETHING. What we were doing wasn't working. We needed to try something new.

What I got instead was a flounce that was worthy of the internet, a refusal to ever prescribe narcotics to me again, and a whole lot of attitude. Did I mention flounce? She told me she'd give me a prescription for a different topical cream to try, and I should go to the Interdisciplinary Medicine clinic. And then flounced. In a swirl of lab coat. Like a female blonde Snidely Whiplash without the mustache.

Yeah, fine, I'm bitter.

She told me "if one narcotic doesn't work, there's no point trying another". So not only am I an addict, I guess, but I'm a moron, too? I did a paper on opium while I was studying botany. From an organic biochem viewpoint, I may know more about it than she does. Remember this? Yeah. Not amusing.

Plus, if I'm an addict, why am I not getting sent to a shrink or detox or something? Not even a drug test? I mean, really. If I'm so fucked up I deserve that flounce, I should really be at a mandatory shrink appointment somewhere.

Monday (the appointment had been on a Friday), I called the Interdisciplinary clinic. I'd been asking to see someone about acupuncture and massage for four years, and the pain doctor had blown me off; now as a 'punishment', she'd sent me there. Damn right I was following up.

They'd never heard of me. Pain doc never sent the referral. (Apparently I was supposed to be crying in my beer about no more narcotics and not want anything but drugs.) Right. I talked my way into an appointment anyway. Because finally! It's two days from now, on Friday. I feel like it's a pain control amusement park. I wanna try everything, then go back and redo everything that worked.

Obviously I'm only in this for narcotics. Yeah, I'm still bitter.

Oh, and the topical cream? She never sent the prescription for that, either.

I need to write a hate letter to the HR department. I will just as soon as I can discuss this without swearing.

ANYWAY.

Laid the whole thing out for my GP. He's been awesome. He found an actual RSD specialist - the entire University of Pittsburgh Medical Center apparently has two, and the other one was an asshole I'd met before. (He walked into the exam room, first visit, stuck a temp gauge against each of my hands, told me I didn't have RSD, and walked out. There is a distinct relationship between half-assed exams and 'you don't have RSD'. Plus I'd been sitting on my hands to keep them warm, so the data was worthless, into the bargain.)

Monday I saw the new guy. He and his minion/resident spent forty minutes taking an actual history and doing an actual exam. In news that shocks no one, doc agrees it looks like RSD but wants to do some tests to be absolutely sure before he starts treating me. This is annoying but absolutely the responsible thing to do. Otherwise he listened, didn't treat me like a moron, and y'know, acted like a doctor. So that's good. Also nice, humor does not equal 'oh you must be fine'. Which is good, 'cause the more pain I'm in, the more sarcastic I get. Y'all may have noticed.

Drawback, I'm going to spend the next month getting needles stuck in me, so I'm gonna be real happy. I'll try and blog some sarcasm for y'all , I know you guys like that.

My EMG is scheduled for April 8. That means I can go see "The Winter Soldier" in the theater, the night before, to make sure my nervous system is good and fucked up.

Whee haw. Pass the chocolate.

Here, have some fiber. It's like Valium, but doesn't pop on drug tests.
Ohm.

Oh, and during all this? Kid and her teacher had a meltdown at school and I'm having to do meetings with the principal and other shit. Yeah.



You know, if I could have medical marijuana and unlimited Toradol without getting arrested or having kidney failure, I'd never ask for another narcotic.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Bloody, buggering, pig-fucking hell.

I've gotta quit knitting while medicated and reading.

I've been knitting away on Pacific, and making halfway decent time.

Considering this is the first major stranded color project I've done since the Goober was a baby. Last Saturday (like, a week and two days ago), I noticed this:
See how it's three blue columns wide? Yeah.

It's supposed to be FOUR.
I put it down, and I walked away. For a week. I'd learned my lesson with that knife and the Bohus sweater, all those years ago. So I walked away, and I cast on something completely different, and I chilled out.
See? Totally chilled.

Then, this last Saturday (two days ago), I bit the bullet, ovaried up, and tore out five or six rows to fix the problem.
Then I put it back on the needles,
and knit it back up. (While I had it off the needles, I laid it out and measured it, and it looks like the gauge is right, so that's definitely something positive from this whole clusterfuck.)

KNITTERS: Do not try this with slippery fibers!!! I got away with the ripping out like this because the yarn is untreated wool and sticks to itself. If you tried this with silk (or maybe even superwash), you'd wind up with a pile of tangled yarn and starting over from scratch.

I was patting myself on the back. By last evening, I'd knit back up all the stuff I'd have to rip out, I'd remained calm, I had not gotten out any of the zillion knives we have laying around, and the day was saved. I went to establish a new pattern row, and then... there it was.

THERE IS AN ENTIRE DIAMOND MISSING. See it, upper right? NOT THERE.

Fixing it would mean tearing back everything I did this weekend and fixing the fix, AGAIN.

I walked away. Well, after screaming a little. But I walked away. And I slept on it. And this morning?

This morning, I woke up, and decided fuck this, I'll duplicate-stitch that motherfucker in there.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Honu,you fucker.

Okay. I know I said I wasn't going to do this. But this fucking cat.

My printer hasn't worked right for weeks. I've got it in my entertainment center in the living room, normally it's easy to load in paper and it spits out the front and it's all good. But no. Wasn't working. Tonight I finally dragged it out of the cabinet, and waaaaay down in the back of the damn thing, in the paper intake, so far I can't quite reach it with my skinny fingers, I found THIS:
It is a catnip mustache.

ETA: The printer works fine now.

Sunday, March 02, 2014

The Oscars!

Or rather, the red carpet, because who gives a shit about awards, it's the CLOTHES, baybee.

I'm watching it on E! right now, which means the hosts are wanking about how awesome they are, or something. I've got the sound turned off.

Oh- they're running photos from Fashion Week and trying to guess who is wearing what. Well, it's vaguely more relevant than how much they like their own dresses, anyway. And at least, clothing.

Shit, just remembered the dentist tomorrow, and I hate dentists, and haven't filled out the new patient paperwork yet. Shit.

CLOTHES. LET US THINK OF CLOTHES AND NOT TEETH.

Blather blather. CLOTHES, DAMN IT. AND I DON'T MEAN RYAN SEACREST'S SUIT.

He's wearing Burberry. STILL DON'T GIVE A FUCK!!

Do they have BOUNCERS? It looks like they have bouncers.

I swear to Keith this one dude did speed right before coming on camera.

Six minutes gone and still no clothes. Fine. I am going to shut up 'til I actually see something, but imagine me over in the corner, swearing.

Wolfgang Puck is talking food. FINE IT'S NOT CLOTHES. Why do I turn this on early? I know better than this. S:DORTWE:ORTU:WEOTU:W

I bet beer would make this better.

I'm annoyed and haven't seen any clothes yet. That always bodes well.

They're doing a montage of Sandra Bullock's shoes. I can't even.

45 minutes into this and still not one single person other than the hosts sucking up.

Aha. Kristen Chenoworth in a gold dress that... is it supposed to fit that way? It's all... sitkcy upy in the front. She's having fun though, doing a runway walk with blown kisses. Haha. Trying to think of what that bodice looks like. Buck Rogers? Chrysler building, maybe. It's very Deco, for sure. And not sheer, hooray for that.



Oh my, Liza Minelli is not looking well. Though, how old is she? Wearing royal blue. With blue in her hair. I can respect that. (Just looked, she's 67.)



Olivia Wilde in black and white. Could we please have some color? At least it looks like it fits. That's exciting.



Portia de Rossi looking classy in gold and white, is she still with Ellen? There for moral support? She's so lovely. Niam Kahn, it's freaking sheer. COULD WE LINE IT PLEASE? So over the sheer dresses. I don't wanna see your underoos. It's like a beach coverup and a bathing suit. Even when pretty, not high fashion. But, yes, she's there for Ellen and being cute.



Oh goodie, another montage. Which we've all seen before if we read Go Fug Yourself.

HOSTS. SHUT UP. MORE CLOTHING, LESS YOU.

Fuck a duck, more hosts blathering.

Still can't decide how I feel about boning as a design feature that you can see.

Amy Adams in... navy blue? Gucci, looks like it fits properly. I think . I could see it if the guys in tuxes would get out of the way.



Viola Davis in green, looking lovely. She says she chose it because it fit. Seriously, I am not making that up. Maybe she's on to something!



Someone in line, reading on her phone and hoiking up her strapless bodice. Bwahaha. It's like the band dance down there.

Someone with a square jaw and a whole lotta skirt... Idina Menzel. It's dark green, not black, pretty, but wow, that's a lot of skirt.



Kristen Bell, beaded dress, light gray? Lavender? Boring. Her body and bodice are moving independently of each other. Um.



"Beautiful neutrals" they're saying. BORING, I'm saying.

Seriously reconsidering this whole idea. It's nothing but commercials and hosts sucking up to each other.

Blah. Blah.

Blah.

Unless good clothes turn up soon, I'm deleting this whole idea and eating lasagna.

The fact that I have a migraine can't possibly have anything to do with the fact that I hate everything.

Woooooow, really badly fitted maroon dress in the background. Someone needs to explain to those folks in the background that they're on TV, 'cause, wow. Lots of vacant stares and bad posture and someone roaming free with her giant poufy skirt carried in a lump in front of her with both arms. CLASSY. (Yet really funny.)

Amy Adams! In Gucci! That fits. "I felt like I was one with the dress." Kinda minimalist, but pretty. I like the kinda-bodice-but-not effect. When something is minimalist like this, you need the right undergarments and a good fit. She's pulling it off.

Kurylenko (?) in red, looking like it was on the wrong end of that cat in Snoopy who slashes messages into his dog house.



Lupita Nyong'o, who has looked fantastic every time she stepped out in public. She's got some Grecian thing going on, light blue, with a little head band, and as always, looks fantastic. It's great with her coloring. HA! She's doing air kisses. Air kisses always crack me up. Unlike everyone else, this dress looks comfortable enough to sit around in for hours. Pretty AND smart. Which pretty much sums her up.



Anna Kendrick in black and red, at least there's some color. Oh, and a leg stuck out. I kinda like the detailing at the waist, though that's not the area most women want to draw attention to. At the least, it's not another same-same black dress.



RYAN SEACREST, SHUT THE FUCK UP.

Laura Dern in a pink dress that her boobs are oozing out of. -sigh- Sometimes, the best a girl can do in these situations is to just shut up. But goddamn. This is why I bitch about fit so much.



Moving on!

GoodYear Blimp, advertising how they did all the undergarments tonight.

Julie Delpy. Can't decide if I like the dress or not. It reminds me of that black one Cher wore to the Oscars, but this one's over a slip-dress thing. It's pretty. Sparkles. Oh, let's call it a win.



Chrissy Teigen (?) in a really cute brown and pink strapless. She was the one hiking it up earlier. Pretty, though. Maybe, dare I say it, it needed fitting.



Naomi Watts, in a white dress that reminds me of the flocking on cheap stuffed animals. I'm sure this is my problem, and not hers. Cute necklace. I like the necklace.



Someone in a full-on formal kimono, with the obi and the works. And a microphone clipped to the back collar for historic accuracy. I'll try to find a photo.

June Squibb, looking fabulous in an emerald green beaded evening suit. Fabulous earrings, too.



Joseph Gordon-Levitt, looking twelve years old and adorkable, as always.



Calista Flockhart in white, with Harrison Ford who is sadly looking his age. Her hair looks like mine, and I've been calling myself "Ursula the Sea Witch", so there you have it.



Jared Leto is wearing a white tuxedo that doesn't fit, with red, and looks like Jesus. In a tuxedo.

Jesus. Jesus is at the Oscars tonight. Okay. Altering my reality as needed.

Some woman in the background (the background is the best part) is wearing a lovely aquamarine dress, that you can barely see through the cameras, microphones, and press passes. Oh, my.

There's another HOUR of this??

I see why the stars punk out on the red carpet and sneak in the back, whenever they can. Great googly-moogly.

Bennedict Cumberbutt in a black suit. I do not get why people flip out over him. He's a good actor, but so are a lot of others. Whatever, have a picture. Someone, with a staff badge, is bent over behind him, next to his bum...?



CLEAVAGE ON THE LEFT! Cleavage that is too old to be running around loose like that.

I desperately want to know who that is in the kimono. They're working, she has a mic, maybe Japanese press of some kind?

Kevin Spacey, blue tux.

DRESSES!! NEED GIRLY SPARKLY DRESSES! And a cup of tea. And a quart of morphine. And a straw.

Jessica Beil-Timberlake (!!) in silver. Really great jewelry, though. Emeralds and stuff.



Bette Midler. Red and white, a red lace over white. It kind of reminds me of the wallpaper in an expensive bordello. In a good way.



Sally Hawkins. Bad hair, badly fitted dress, and I don't think she knows how to walk in those shoes.



Kerry Washington, in taupe (darn it, with that skin, she could wear ANY color). Lavender? Is it lavender? It's strapless, and I can't imagine putting on that outfit for a bunch of hours when I was eight? nine? months pregnant. I get gaggy just thinking of it.



What in FUCK is it with sparkly neutrals? THAT DON'T GO WITH THEIR SKIN? And don't fit??!!??

Cate Blanchett!! Damn it, she's in beige too. Armani. Although it's nice and drapey and fits properly, but guh. Another take on Deitrich's nude dress. Which was amazing in the 30s, but can't we come up with something else?? She's working it, because she's Galadriel.



Commercial. Tea.

Matthew McConughay and his mom and wife. His wife is wearing this... pink... one-sided cape thing that should not work, but does. Maybe because the pink is fabulous against her skin.



Ryan Seacrest is being a dick.

Jennifer Lawrence tripped on the red carpet, I hope she's okay. Looks like she was laughing so that's good. She's wearing red Dior. She's got a contract with them, and they've been dressing her in some of the most fucked up stuff. Hopefully they came through for her tonight.

Eh. It doesn't suck, but I don't think the peplum is doing her any favors.


Charlize Theron in perfectly fitted black. I expect no less from her, she's a former model and KNOWS how to dress. I'm tired of black, but she's working it. Because it's Charlize Theron. You could put her in a flour sack and she'd rock it.



More hosts babbling. DON'T CARE. MORE CLOTHES, LESS YOU.

Julia Roberts in a black (snore) dress with a peplum. She's got the skinniest body I've ever seen, and this is making her look shapeless and pudgy.



Anne Hathaway. ALSO in black, with beads, at least. It fits. Kinda eh. Better than last year's pink, but eh. I dunno. Maybe I'm just sick of black.



Okay, they're still going on, I can't take any more. It's like a fricking funeral, with all that black.

That concludes this year's Oscars. Kind of a bummer. Maybe it's just me.

Friday, February 28, 2014

The squeaky wheel gets the, uh, molybdenum.

The husbeast has worked in "heavy fab" (fabrication of big stuff) lo these many years. Submarines, nuclear power plants, and now turbines and the like. At the moment, I've got two turbine blades on my kitchen counter. They failed inspection (making sure stuff won't break is ultimately his job), and he thought they were cool, so he brought them home. (Yes, we've also got bits of submarine laying around, I think those are in his desk.)
The rainbow lensflare is caused by stellite, which was laser-welded on to the edge of the blade for extra durability while spinning in... something. Don't remember what this one was for. Petrochemical? Chlorine? Steam? Well, anyway. Laying the groundwork so you know who I live with. Exotic is wherever you're not, so this is my normal.

Given the background, then, we can all understand that I get a tad nervous when the hubbo sits in the chair next to my spinning wheel, in the evening, sipping beer and watching it.

It squeaks. I'd say all, or nearly all, spinning wheels squeak. Any of them with metal-on-metal joints, at least. And the rest probably make creaking noises. This, well, it offends the husbeast's sensibilities. Given his work history and everything. There are times he has stomped upstairs from the man cave, grabbed a pencil (graphite 'lead' is an excellent lubricant), held it against the squeaky part until it shut up, and gone back to his cave without a word.

A few weeks ago, he appeared with this.
It's essentially molybdenum spray paint. Tape off all the metal-on-metal bits, he said, and we'd paint them. No more squeaks, it'd be great.

As we know, our foremothers back to the middle ages always resorted to space age elements to lube our spinning wheels.

What the hell, I figured. Worth a laugh at least, and old meets new always cracks me up.
We sprayed it (not in the living room), let it dry, I put it all back together, and lo, there was SILENCE.

No squeaking. It was glorious.

It lasted about half an hour. The paint rubbed off, and we were back to the usual.

Wait until payday, the husbeast said. This sounded vaguely like a threat to me, but the whole thing was cracking me up (molybdenum spray paint, seriously).

Payday arrived, and the husbeast showed up with this
and a Q-tip.

As I spun, he carefully dabbed a bit on the appropriate parts.

Silence again.

This time it lasted. It's been about a week, I plyed 600 yards of silk-merino blend, switched bobbins around, started on another project, and...

Silence.

It's quite lovely.

Silence isn't golden. It's a matte dark grey. With lube.

(The magical potion is DuraLube engine treatment, available at any auto supply store for about $20. A bottle will last you the rest of your life, just using it on your wheel. Maybe go in on a bottle with other spinners?)

I married a madman.

Works for me.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Odds and ends. And odds.

I suppose, first of all, since it's consumed my life and is the reason I haven't blogged, well, here's what's going on.

I never know how much is overshare, but fuckit, it's my blog, right?

I'm changing pain doctors. Sort of voluntarily, and sort of against my will. My GP (who is awesome) and I started looking for a specialist back in January because HE THE DOCTOR was unhappy with my pain treatment. (When I'm in pain, my blood pressure goes up. When I have pain flares, I have sustained high BP. We agree that the absolute last thing this whole problem needs is a stroke on top of it.) Being reasonable, I didn't wanna burn any bridges or anything. I was trying to keep it mellow. Then last Friday, my neuro freaked out on me, and that's done, so let us all pray to Keith and Buddha's eight tiny reindeer that the guys I'm seeing at the end of March will be viable replacements, because otherwise, I got nothin'. In the mean time, I'm gonna feel like shit.

Because that never happens.

So far I have not sworn like a sailor. That is a significant victory.

On Valentine's day, I took my gift money and bought enough yarn for a sweater. Scarves and shawls are all very well, but I've got enough now, and I really would like some garments.
This is Pacific, from Marianne Isager (who is one of my all time favorites). I've been wanting to go back to stranded color now that the Goober is old enough to understand "BE QUIET, I'M COUNTING!". But something with a super-short color repeat would be smart. This was the choice. It'd been on my bucket list for ages, so hey!

I'm still spinning.
Finally finished the ridiculously stupid merino-silk spin. Don't know the yardage yet, but this picture? This is the PLYED VERSION. That's three ply yarn there, not a single. Seriously, what in fuck was I thinking?

The husbeast got tired of my squeaking spinning wheel, and got very... husbeastie about it. I think that needs to be its own post. But the last two weeks have involved molybdenum and specialized high-tech engine treatments. It doesn't squeak any more.

Goob's got another germ. With luck, I won't catch this one. Finally got my flu shot.
Hub and I are both trying to figure out when the hell she got so big.

Motorola or Spring just updated my phone and it's going crazy. Fuckers.

Husbeast reports I drove 2,983 miles last year. Which is about what my mother put on her car in a week, so I'm amused. I'm exempt from emissions. Makes me wanna fart.

Right. Nothing happening here. Much. Tomorrow I will report on my spinning wheel, the husbeast being crazy (again), and the space age.