Friday, July 27, 2012

Is Wondering...

...."When did my friend Carol grow up to become such an accomplished designer and author?"

It's Like She Grew Up Overnight!
When Carol started to design and write books, I thought it was dabbling, and while I supported her efforts (especially since her first couple of books were so good), I honestly didn't realize she was going to become the new Alice Starmore, fergodsake.

Her latest chef d'oeuvre looks to be a must-have in my library...



Sock Yarn Studio: Hats, Garments, and Other Projects Designed for Sock Yarn

...so I've gone ahead and pre-ordered it.  If it's anything like Knit So Fine or Knitting Socks with Handpainted Yarn, it's bound to be awesome.  Plus, anything with Zauberball on the cover, has GOT to be good (that is Zauberball...right?)

Current Knitting
Before I post the last of the Men's Rocky Mountain Men's Knitting Retreat photos, I thought I'd give you the latest shots of the Milano sock yarn blanket.



You'll note it's actually on a queen size bed, and given how loose the drape of the fabric, it will end up being a perfect fit, width-wise.

Last of the Men's Knitting Retreat Photos (for this retreat!)
I guess I've extended the pleasure of this retreat as far as I can.  Hope you've enjoyed them as well












Readers' Comments/Questions
Maureen writes, "I REALLY wish you hadn't used that word in relation to the colour of your sock - it diminishes you - and makes me feel uncomfortable."


I'm assuming you means the word "fucking" with regard to hating pink.  It may diminish me in your eyes, but I don't accept in any way that it diminishes me or anything about me.  To me, it's just another word, and one that gives some impact to the sentence.  Like most of my writing, I take care in how and what I write, so it was used very purposefully.  Thanks for giving me the opportunity to provide more clarity to the name of my latest sock project.


Ginny writes, "What ever the shaved head gentleman with glasses has on his needles, inquiring mind want to know. Any more pics of that?"


That's Matthew, and he is by far, one of the most prolific knitters I know.  He's working on an afghan in linen stitch, and he has about 15 different colors that he dyed himself.  The effect is incredibly beautiful.  I actually did take a photo of his blanket, but didn't like the way it turned out, so I deleted it.   When I'm back at work I'll try to see if I can find the photo somewhere.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Change

There's been quite a bit of change in my life as of late, mostly surrounding work.

The More Things Change...
Many of you know, my career is a consultant...specifically, I help large companies implement human resources software.  I could get more specific, but when I have in the past, eyes roll back into heads, and in some cases have stayed that way.

For the past 13 or 14 years, I have worked for large accounting firms, who often have a large consulting branch of their company.  Recently, I decided to leave my latest accouting firm, and strike out on my own as an independent consultant.  The change has required me to self-incorporate, start a business banking account, change all of my benefits (and Thaddeus') to personal benefits, and to find a client who would agree to take me on for at least a year.

It's sometimes hard enough making a change from one client to another, but this much change seemed a bit more daunting.  Fortunately, I allowed myself enough time to get it all done, and so far...knock on wood...things have gone extremely well.

I'll keep you updated.

Men's Rocky Mountain Knitting Retreat - Part 2
Usually, I try to organize the photos from the men's knitting retreats I go to in some less-than-random fashion.  Since I honestly have no idea where/when these photos were taken, I will just post half of the remaining photos in a random way and post the remaining photos in the next blog post.  Hope that works for you.












 


Current Knitting
With a flight to Denver, four days at a knitting retreat, and a flight home, you'd think I'd have gotten an enormous amount of knitting completed.  You'd be wrong.

Here's what I've finished so far.


I've decided to call this the Susan G. Komen Race For The Cure Sock for Women That Fucking HATE Pink, sock.  Name too long?

Love the pattern (modified toe-up Andersson heel and pattern stich from The Knitting Man(ual) by Kristin Spurkland ), love the yarn (Madeline Tosh sock yarn and contrasting toes and heels in Skacel's Jojoba sock yarn).

Monday, July 23, 2012

Colorado Wow!

I had the incredible good fortune to be at this past weekend's Men's Rocky Mountain Knitting Retreat in Allenspark, Colorado.  Both the venue and the guys there are just beautiful.

What a Fun Time
I went to the retreat last year and it was a blast, but I didn't get to see much of the Rocky Mountains.  Most of the events for the retreat were either at Sunshine Mountain Lodge (a PERFECT place for this retreat...incredible food and wonderful common spaces for hanging out), or at local knitting stores.

This year, we took a day to drive around the Rockies a bit and another morning to do a hike in one of the State Parks.

Add to all that, the magic of the guys who coordinate and attend the event, and I couldn't have asked for a better time...quite exhilerating, fun and tons of laughing.

Here are a few photos I took while out there (feel free to click on the photos to enlarge...it's almost like being there!).

Bob, Quinton, Tucker, Tim and Charles



Back Row - Bob and Quintong, Front Row - Joe and Frank






I'll post some additional photos in my next blog post, plus give an update on where I am with my knitting.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Winners and Losers

Why not winners and winners?  Recently, a screenprint of a Facebook transaction between some graduated students and their former teacher have made the rounds.



Zero-Sum Game
First I have to say, I think teachers, in general,  are some of the most amazingly wonderful people we have on the planet.  They put up with some awful students and some even more awful parents, and deal with societal issues that are often completely insurmountable, and they could NEVER be paid enough for doing the work they do.  That being said...

The responses to the interaction above were very positive toward that teacher, but I think her reaction was childish, self-serving and possibly damaging to a young man who clearly isn't the brightest guy.

The cheers from readers for the teacher (at least on Facebook) were all about how she won.  But I ask at what cost.

The concept of zero-sum game is one that basically says, if someone gains, someone else loses proportionately. And beating the pulp out of a dullard in a public forum may have even been a greater loss for the student than it was a gain for the teacher.  She's obviously smart...I would have thought she might have come up with a way of keeping her respect, and trying to help the unfortunate ex-student gain some sorely needed self-respect (or minimally, not look worse than he already did).

I don't mean to point out this situation specifically...I'm sure the teacher was irritated by an annoying former student calling her a bithc, and I can't fault her for standing her ground.

But given the state this country is in, and how everyone seems more interested in winning, even when the losses on the other side can be devestating, I keep hoping people will look for alternative ways of having both sides win.

How about this for a valuable school lesson - have people come up with ways the teacher could have handled this in a more win-win way?

Current Knitting
Very little actual knitting has taken place...couple of rows on the Milano Stitch blanket and a few rounds on the orang Tosh socks.

BUT...talk about wins...I got this wonderful gift from knitter Jack from the Men's Spring Knitting Retreat.



I had admired his, and he thought I might enjoy a pair of my own.



He was right...I LOVE them!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Bartering

I've always shied away from bartering, because I always feel what I have to barter isn't worth as much as the other person.

Negotiation Skills
I remember one time we were in St. Croix, shopping in this beautiful little art boutique.  There was a spectacularly beautiful handmade ceramic teapot and cups, selling for $200.



Other than the sales lady at the front, I think Thaddeus and I were the only people in the shop, but I was still mortified when Thaddeus hollered up to the woman, "I'll give you $150 for this."

If there had be a hole in the floor I could have hid in, I think I might have.

She replied very nicely, "I can't sell it for $150, but I can give you 10% off."

Given that we would have paid $200 for it (and were planning on it), getting $20 discount was a bonus, but honestly I never could have asked like Thaddeus did, although I'm getting a little more bold negotiating at the flea market.

All that being said, I decided to barter with one of the guys at the men's knitting retreat.

David, a lovely young man from Montreal, has recently taken up weaving, and some of his first pieces were unbelievably beautiful.  He clearly has an amazing aptitude for envisioning how yarns will weave up.  As it turns out, I had some Briar Rose yarn that he was envying, so I bartered the yarn for a handwoven scarf made out of the yarn.







I think I got the best of this deal, but fortunately, he has plenty of yarn to make more scarves, and there will be others who will benefit from this deal.

I wish I could let you feel the drape and softness of this incredibly rich scarf.  The man has skills.

I think he will start selling some of his woven goods, and when he does, I will let you all know as soon as I know...his work will sell quickly.

Current Knitting
Lots of knitting with sock yarn currently.

In addition to adding a few more rows onto the Milano blanket, I also decided I needed a small sock project for the Men's Rocky Mountain Knitting Retreat next weekend, so I started knitting these.



The toe yarn is one of James JOY yarns, and the gorgeous orangey yarn is Madeline Tosh sock yarn.  Both lovely to work with and I'm enjoying the project a lot.