December 4, 2007

I'm only two days behind....

Sunday at Compatto Yarn Salon was so much fun! I wasn't expecting such a big turnout but we had a great crowd and there were lots of friendly faces. You can see all the pictures on my Flickr site, but here are a few...

First, Allison and I met for brunch at IHOP and both of us were happily surprised to find that IHOP has a "healthy" menu! We both ended up ordering coffee (decaf for her, leaded for me) and Boca burgers and salad. The whole meal -- a veggie burger and a side salad -- was less than six bucks and less than six hundred calories, so I will be returning to IHOP again. And maybe again. It was good!

Then we walked over to Compatto where we were greeted by the Yarn Guard Dog, Gracie:

compatto-gracie.jpg


Allison and I checked out the shop before the reading and they have some of the cutest hand-knits on display:

compatto-allison.jpg


It was so much fun, I don't know if I have just relaxed more with time and practice or if in general I'm just not as stressed out, but I had a great time on Sunday hanging out with knitters and friends both old and new! It was especially nice to see friendly faces in the crowd, like Ellen Bloom:

compatto-me-ellen.jpg


And Ana Banana:

compatto-ana.jpg

And Brit was there, and two friendly gals who came all the way from Antelope Valley were there, and the staff of Compatto were all so warm and welcoming, it was just the perfect way to spend a Sunday.

compatto-group.jpg

While I was there I got to meet a lady who handed me her book to sign and she said, "Do you see all the dog-eared pages? Those are pieces that meant something to me, that really said something that spoke to me." And I looked at her copy of the book and there were so many dog-eared pages and it was just a little gift she gave me that day, telling me that. I thank you, wherever you are today. It reminds me that even though I get nervous beforehand and worry I won't do well and blah blah blah, this isn't about me and my issues... it's about meeting other women just like me who finally, blessedly understand.

It's strange going from a lifetime of always feeling a little apart from the world to finally feeling a real sense of being plugged in, knowing that there are other folks out there just like us. It's crazy comforting to know that.

The next event I have on my calendar is scheduled for January 19th, 2008 (two-thousand-eight!!!) it's a Saturday afternoon at:

BORDERS -- 1:00 PM (Reading & signing)
25222 El Paseo
Mission Viejo, CA 92691
Phone: 949.367.0005
Click here for a map -->

I hope you can drop by! I'm bringing my grandma, and hopefully my Aunt Pam can come by, too, and of course that is the reading where I get to meet the Big Time Fancypants Sweepstakes Winner!

If you haven't entered to win the Big Time Meet-Me-In-California Sweepstakes, you should enter today! Also did you know you can enter once every single day, which ups your statistical chances of winning, you know. Plus there are also Bonus Entries and you get an extra entry in the pot for each bonus you complete.

Already a whole bunch of folks have won such exciting gifts as... drumroll please... SIGNED Cheetos (and a book, too, of course.) I in fact spent Sunday after my event at Compatto signing Cheetos, because that is the glamorous life I lead ya'll. But I do hope you enter the sweepstakes and come visit me in California, it's not too shabby a place to visit in January, you know!

Also: Hello, local readers. Are any of ya'll Yoga Instructors? Or do you work at a yoga place either in the Valley or somewhere in Los Angeles? If so, will you email me? Thanks! Namaste! And you know... oooom!

That's all for today. I am almost caught up on my life. I am only two to seven days behind now, which is a vast improvement over the twenty-three day lag I was experiencing last week!

Posted by laurie at 9:21 AM

November 2, 2007

Knitters Gone Wild

Lest you think that knitters are a bunch of stodgy, buttoned up little ladies, may I present to you the following:

1) Bridget, who is a real bonafide rocket scientist, in a corset she made herself:

halloween07-bridget.jpg


2) Ellen, a crochet and knit UFO (Unfinished Object and also, UFO...) along with Natalie, a Crochetlien:

halloween07-crochet-cadets.jpg


3) My favorite costume of the night -- Monkeygurrl as The Dreat Pirate Swatch!

halloween07-monkeygurl.jpg


4) Some goober trying to be a yarn pimp getting cozy with Jenna as Nightmare on Elm Street's Freddy K:

halloween07-goobers.jpg


5) And the most crazy costumes of the night -- so real! -- Sara and Richard came as "New Parents" and somehow found the cutest prop baby ever!

halloween07-cuteness.jpg

Last night was the annual Stitch 'n Bitch Halloween party, and since it fell on the day after Halloween it was also a Dia de Los Muertos party, and the costumes were amazing and the snacks were delicioso and a good time was had by all, including these two:

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That's Jennifer and Laurel. Does Laurel look familiar? Perhaps that is because I first met her last month... in Katy, Texas at the Yarntopia event!!

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That's Laurel and me in Katy, Texas.

Laurel happened to be in town visiting her sister Jennifer, who oddly enough lives about a mile from where I lived back when I was married. NUTTY. I had a ball talking to them and I hope they had fun at our Stitch 'n Bitch, Scary Edition. It's funny because usually I never dress up for these events, but for some reason I really wanted to be The Yarn Pimp this year (an inspired idea that came from a mimosa-drenched afternoon with Faith, Allison and Cory.) And I almost didn't even go last night because I am so tired these days and also, sometimes I am a weenie about going places, but I made myself promise this year (it was a New Year's Resolution) to stop cancelling on stuff, and to just go for one hour, or ten minutes, whichever comes first (because with me it's just that first moment, walking into a place, then I relax and have fun) and I am so happy I got over myself and went because we had fun and I even won one of the prizes in the costume voting!!! I about fell over!! Especially because the prize was AWESOME, a hand-made bag from the incredibly talented Crochetlien herself, Natalie, and filled with goodies from Ellen and A Mano yarn shop.

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Faith, Monkey and moi, all weiners... I mean, winners!

It was a great night! I have a lot more I want to say about it, and all kinds of stories to tell you, and if there weren't this little thing called "real job" I would indeed fill your ears but I have to go and make up for being not at work and so until I get my head back attached to my body, check out the pictures which at this time are still uploading and have no captions, see "need to earn money for rent, be back on the internet fooling around soon enough." Also there I believe you will see many fine pictures of me making what I thought was a pimp face which apparently includes some weird fish-lips thing. Lord have mercy. I am so not cut out to be a pimp. My parents are likely happy at that news.

Have a great weekend! And watch out for the Dread Pirate Swatch!

Posted by laurie at 11:24 AM

April 30, 2007

Stitchy McBrunchpants

me-stitchy.jpg
Me and Stitchy McYarnpants herself!

I wish I could tell you how perfect this past weekend was without sounding like Smiley McPollyannapants. Yesterday Faith and I had a little brunch and we all got to meet Debbie, the Yarnpants herself. It was so much fun to sit around on a Sunday and drink mimosas and eat brunch food and chitchat about the bad crocheted cozies of our youth. I can't tell you the last time I had so much fun or felt so relaxed even in a roomful of people (usually I need to escape to the spare bedroom.) Even before my life went ass over teakettle and back again, I never would have thought I'd know this many funny, kind, witty and good people here in Los Angeles. And now (by proxy) Boston!

I am so glad I picked knitting as my obsession, or maybe it picked me, but either way I have met some really amazing women because of it, and even one or two pretty adorable guys under 14 inches tall.

[click on each image for a larger view]

 
We passed around a ton of hilariously bad old kniting and crochet magazines, there's Debbie in the chair and Allison and sleepy Evan on the sofa; Faith and Stefanie chat while absurd crochet lounges in the sunlight.


 
Allison and Evan, that little face! So perfect! Annika and her adorable Sam, who doesn't mind at all when I smooch his ears. He laughs. I love guys who can't talk back yet!

 
Faith, Laurie Ann, Kendra and Brantlea. I love this final picture even though it's blurry, my friend Sara has one of the best smiles on the planet.

Posted by laurie at 11:03 AM

April 6, 2007

Stitch 'n Bitch 'n Australians 'n Please help me find this book!

Last night before Stitch 'n Bitch, Faith and I met up with Kellie and her husband Dave. They are here visiting the states all the way from Melbourne, Australia! We had dinner at the French restaurant inside the West Hollywood Farmer's Market, it's called Monsieur Marcel. The food was fabulous (thanks, Dave!) and the conversation was awesome. And I was kind of in heaven because I am a sucker for a charming accent, which Kellie and Dave have in spades, and our waiter had that French accent that gets me every time. You know someone could read the light bill to me in a French accent and I'd be flinging my clothes off.

(I kept my clothes on at the table, just FYI.)

I hope I get to go to Australia one day and visit them, too. You know, in my entire life I have never met a bad Australian. There is something about folks from that continent, an easy charm and quick smile that I just love. And it was lovely to see a man look at his wife with such affection, the way Dave looks at Kellie when she's talking, telling a story. Gives a girl hope, know what I mean?

So when we were done with dinner and sitting around at Sitch 'n Bitch, the three of us got to talking about children's books. We're all three about the same age, OK, FINE, I AM MAYBE A LITTLE OLDER, and we have been big readers since we were kids. When I was little I had my nose stuck in some book all the time, books were my key to a world outside the small town I lived in. I LOVED to read. We didn't watch TV in my family, and I would just read all day long and well into the night until some cruel parent forced me to go to sleep. My folks never put any restrictions on what I could read, and I remember once when I was little, my mom and I were at the checkout counter in the library and my mom had to "have words" with the library lady, who was insisting the books I wanted were certainly not appropriate for a girl of six or seven years old. My mom stood her ground in my defense, and I got my Lloyd Alexander sci-fi thankyou, and I did not turn out to be an axe murderer so all is well. Take that, library lady!

So I confessed to Kellie and Dave that lately I have been obsessed with collecting backwards, finding the books I loved as a child and getting them back into my life. Perhaps this is a sign I need more sleep. We may never know.

I found my Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle, and the Marilyn Sachs books I loved as a young girl, and Betsy-Tacy-Tibb and "Secrets of The Shopping Mall" and "The Grounding of Group Six" and so many of my childhood favorites, carefully selected each school year from the Scholastic Books flyer that I anticipated the way a junkie wants a fix.

But there are two books I am DYING to find, and I can't remember their names! I was telling Kellie and Dave about them and even though Kellie and I grew up a whole world apart, she remembered one of the books too! So if any of ya'll have ever heard of these, please help a crazygirl out here. I will not stop on this nerdy quest until my geek love can be fulfilled.

Book #1, which my details are sort of vague on but Kellie remembered, too, so I am not crazy and making this up:
Main character named Laura, maybe. Family is from New York, they go somewhere for the summer, Catskills I think? where she hates the shower, it smells like sulphur. Is obsessed with Woody Allen and when she is in the city goes to this jazz bar she's heard Woody Allen frequents, and she kind of accidentally strolls into a movie set on the sidewalk one day.
**UPDATE** Thanks to commenter Kate, I think we have found this one!! I think she's right and it is "Rise and Fall of a Teen-Age Wacko" by Mary Anderson. We'll all know in one week's time because I just ordered it from a secondhand shop off Amazon.com. THANKS, Kate!!


Book #2, which is equally vague in my details but look I was like ten years old, ok:
Small dry southwestern town, kids in high school, main character a boy. His mom drives her car through the desert to let off steam. Something weird is happening in the town. Strange events... like, perhaps, are townspeople turning into cactus? Is it aliens? Cannot remember. Think the book had a title something like "Day the earth stood still" but that must not be the title since I have searched obsessively and can't find it.
**UPDATE** Still no name, but commenter Dorothy remembers this one too, where folks who loved animals and the earth were spared the fate of turning into cactii. Hee. If you know the title please share!


Do either of these books sound familiar? Am I the only person who is crazy about finding the stories she loved as a kid? I used to think my books were my closest friends, I swear I just assumed Laura Ingalls Wilder and I were probably the same person just stuck in different eras.

I was a weird child.

Thank God I grew out of that!

Hah.

Posted by laurie at 11:41 AM

March 2, 2007

Chatty Cathy and the endless puffballs, oh! And some questions answered.

Stitch 'n Bitch last night was fun and furry, especially if you sat next to me and my giant pom poms of acrylic.

(Imagine a real nice picture here. I forgot to whip out my camera.)

Wrapping the Lion Brand bulky wool-ease round and round on the pom pom form was a fine activity for me at a SnB, since I tend to do more visiting than actual knitting. But once I began the crucial "join halves and cut yarn" stage, little pieces of yarn dust went everywhere and left a fine patina of fuzz on all surrounding knitters.

Well, it isn't a visit with me unless you're covered in some kind of fuzz and/or cat hair, I suppose!

Recently I got a few knitting-related questions and thought I'd answer them here.

Okay I have eagle eyes with my knitting. It doesn't take me long to figure out when I have messed up. The only problem is that I don't ever know how to fix my mistake without just undoing the whole project and starting again. I probably made the mother of all mistakes by removing my needles. I am about to scream. What do I do? Brooke

Hi Brooke!
There are so many ways to fix mistakes without having to unravel all your awesome knitting. You can "unknit" which is where you sort of knit in reverse and take back what you started with, a total do-over for knitting. Just dip that needle backwards into the loop sitting on your right needle and get started "un-knitting." Now I tend to get my stitches all sitting bassackwards on the needles when I do this, but whatever. I can flip 'em around when it's time to knit them.

Or check out this page of videos from KnittingHelp.com. It shows how to fix some common knitting mistakes.

My philosophy is that heck, if you're just going to rip the whole mess out anyway, might as well try some techniques that feel weird or that you do a little wrong first time around. Why not try it! After all, if it all goes to hell in a handbag you can rip it out and start from scratch.

Now if only dating were that easy.


Another question. Let's hear it for "shoe number" awww yeah!!


I just recently discovered you when searching for a standard formula or decreasing the crowns on hats. Which brings me to my question: I have 112 stiches (small gauge!), what is a good shoe number would you say? Also, if my shoe number is pretty big, should I start decreasing sooner than I normally would? Thank you so much!
-Sarah

Hi Sarah!
First, I love you. You said "shoe number" in a sentence. LOVE YOU!!

For your hat, I would definitely knit up until a point where you can try your hat on and only see a little of your head poking out. I myself like quick decreases -- if you decrease slowly over a looooong number of stitches, you get a pointy cap. Good for some folks, not so good for those of us with ginormous foreheads. Heh.

Not suggesting you have a big forehead! Just making conversation. You know. Moving on.

I have never knit a 112-stitch cast on hat, but if I did I would probably pick 14 as my shoe number. So you will knit 12 stitches and then knit two together. Knit 12, K2tog.

Then on the next row, Knit 11, knit two together. And so on.

Please let me know how this turns out! And please forgive me if I gave bad advice. I will have to knit up a 112 stitch hat soon and see if I just led you down a perilous path. But still... shoe number. I love you.


Hi Laurie,
Looking for some help on a cardigan-sweater that has a trim about 2" going all the way up and around neck, shoulders and back down. My problem is I can't seem to get the corners right. How do you make corners? The pattern says to increase on the first stitch at the bottom and again at the last stitch before the neck... I've looked in all my knitting books with no answer. There are four corners - two on the bottom front and two on top front. Gah! I hope you know what I mean and can answer me soon. Going crazy.
Thanks, Raven

Raven! Now you see why I do not knit sweaters! I would be standing out on the corner of 4th and Main directing traffic with a bra on my head and talking into a stitch counter.

However, I am posting your question in hopes that one of the awesome (and sweaterly smart) readers can help you. I myself am still trying to get my pom poms correct half the time!

Hi, Aunt Purl!
I need some good advice. I have a favorite (and expensive) sweater that needs some loving care. Is there a place in LA that you would recommend for that sort of thing?
Thanks for your help!
Sharon

Hey Sharon, do you need your sweater laundered or repaired? I know that our Los Angeles gals can recommend some great tailors/repair places/drycleaners so I am posting this even though I myself do not have an answer. Apparently I am filled with helpy desires today, but no real information. STORY OF MY DAMN LIFE.



Hi Laurie,
I would (really) like to start attending Stich'n'Bitch meetings but (and this is stupid because I am not outwardly a shy person) I feel very shy about it. Is it really OK just to turn up? The reason I ask because I have not had the greatest experience with groups knitting in LYS. I figure the reason they completely ignore me is because, for the most part, the people sitting around knitting are paying to be taught to knit, and thus they don't need to deal with me (who alas can not afford to be a regular at any LYS), but it has left me weirdly anxious that it all seems very cliquey. That or I really am just invisible.
-- Samantha

Hi Samantha!

I am so so glad you asked this.

Last night Faith was driving me back to my car after Stitch 'n Bitch. And we were talking about how hard it is to leave your house, leave the bubble, get out into the fray and knit with strangers.

"If you walked around our whole loud, happy, chatty table tonight and asked each person individually how they felt the very first time they showed up for Stitch 'n Bitch, they would all have the EXACT same answer. Every single one of them. Even me!" she said.

"Were you nervous?" I asked. It surprised me a little. Faith is not a woman who I think of as nervous, or scared.

"I was TERRIFIED!" she said. Laughing. "I was so scared! You walk in all shy and scared with your knitting, asking yourself the whole time, 'Will I fit in? What the heck am I doing here?' and everyone, everyone, has that fear the first time."

And if I hadn't gone to Stitch 'n Bitch with Jennifer that very first time, I'd have never met Faith, or Ellen, or any of the beautiful, lovely and kind women who make me feel welcome even though I sometimes say THE STUPIDEST THINGS and never actually knit anything at all during the evening.

And so Samantha, I hope you go. Yes, you will be nervous and yes it will feel weird the first time. But, um, so did sex and bicycle riding and pop-rocks and the side-ponytial. All great things which were a little awkward the first time around.

And unlike the side-ponytail ... it does get better.

I think knitters are some of the best folks around. You really can show up at Stitch 'n Bitch and just say, "Hey, I'm new! Nice to meet everyone!" and people at our SnB always introduce themselves and try to include folks in the conversation. It may take a few times to get comfortable (or, if you're me, a few years) but hey... progress is progress, right?

And in the end, what do you have to lose by going and trying? Will you just up and die of shame right on the spot if it's uncomfortable? I have to ask myself these questions all the time. I am always having to give myself a stern talking-to. "What is the very worst that will happen and can I survive it?" and when I ask myself like that, sometimes my fears seem rather dumb. I know how hard it is to go meet new people and get outside the comfort zone. But I did it, and now most of my friends are gals I met at Stitch 'n Bitch! I love all my SnB friends, they are some of the brightest, funniest, kindest women (and men!) I have ever met. I hope you have good luck at your local gathering and keep me posted!!

And I just want to say thank you to Bridget, whose name I hope I am spelling correctly. I met her last night for the first time. Thank you for reminding me why I leave my house even when I would rather stay home and eat Cheetos off my chest. Thank you for the kind words, and I am so glad you left your house and came to Stitch 'n Bitch!!

p.s. Horoscopes coming... uh. Sometime this weekend? Work is hard. I need a snickers break of approximately twelve weeks.

Posted by laurie at 12:28 AM

February 16, 2007

Stitch 'n Bitch 'n Almost Socially Acceptable. Almost.

Last night I attended a meeting of the West Hollywood Stitch 'n Bitch (Thursday nights, 3rd & Fairfax at the Original Farmer's Market, come inside and go up to the stairs to the open seating area, 6:30- 9ish p.m. every week!) and it was a really great night!

One of my New Year's Resolutions was to attend more SnB meet-ups, but the private resolution powering the public one was a little more complex (read: embarrassing). Leave the house, leave the comfort zones, open up to meeting people, to being exposed, let go of the fear of rejection and ridicule (and if you can't let go of the fear, at least put it on a list of things to worry about later).

It's the old adage, "Suit up, show up, and act as if." I figured if it worked for people in 12-step groups it could work for me and my Eleventy Two Steps Needed self. Just put on the outfit that you would wear if you were actually as self-confident as you wished you were, then show up every day for the life you wish you were living, and act as if you were already comfortable in your own skin. The real thing will (hopefully) follow.

It's working, actually. At first when I started this whole tactic of self-preservation, it felt awkward and silly. It did however keep me from crying in meetings (most of the time) while I was going through my divorce, and frankly, I am still employed (as of today) so hey. That's good enough for me! It's a process, though. Even last month at Stitch 'n Bitch I was at an all-time awkwardness apex. But whatever, no one died from my chattering and I didn't grow a third head out of shame so there you have it.

Suit up, show up and act as if.

And before I even knew it, somehow I just got all excited to attend Stitch 'n Bitch yesterday, not scared and anxious, and I got to chitchat and carryon and tell some stories and get a homemade kumquat jam from a new SnBer. There were folks who I'm not sure if it's okay to use their real names on this here website because they are very mysterious. And Ellen Bloom was there wearing her gorgeous black cardigan that she made with combining both knit and crochet, and M.J. was there (and her stash apparently rivals that of the world's greatest yarn shop) and I got to see Jen, who arrived with her embroidery -- perfect timing since Carla is starting an embroidery project, too! -- and there was much talk about pasties (thanks, Kendra) (now I will have to explain this one to my parents) and even though I forgot my pompom for Laurie Ann, all in all it was just a favorite and perfect evening, which Faith had to listen to me chatter on and on and on about in the car on the way home. Faith, do you ever just tune me out sometimes? My folks used to do that. I don't mind. I'll poke you with a sharp stick when I get to an epiphany or something important. Heh.

But then this AWESOMENESS of social grace and happiness was capped off by apparently my real personality showing up at the end of the evening when I tried to exit gracefully and ran into a chair, thereby re-awakening the dork within.

And Faith and Sara and I were walking out to the parking lot together, laughing at my gracefulness.

Me: Well, aside from the little stumble at the end this was a great night!

Sara: It was! It was so much fun, I'm happy to see you both.

Faith: I did a lot of twirling. Where are you parked, sara?

Me: Oh crap! I forgot to take any pictures!

Faith: Oh ... well, it's fine.We have memories.

Sara: Besides, your cats are way cuter anyway than all of us!

Me: OH!! Inspiration strikes! I could go home and take pics of the cats and use them as re-enactments of stitch-n-bitch!!

(group laughs)

(then)

Me: OH MY GOD.

Sara: ...?

Me: I just said OUT LOUD and IN PUBLIC that I am going to go home and photograph my CATS re-enacting scenes from my KNITTING GROUP. I have reached some new level of crazy and/or spinsterdom as yet undefined by man and nature.


Then I added some other things less family-friendly but certainly funny exclamations to this proclamation and we went on about our merry ways, and I tried to get to the very peak of the Mt. Everest Of Spinsterdom with some cat photos but no one, and I mean no one, felt like cooperating.

Perhaps it's for the best. Really now.

soba-not-a-dog.jpg

Posted by laurie at 9:58 AM

January 26, 2007

I'm working toward an awkward trifecta. Apparently.

Last night was the West Hollywood Stitch 'n Bitch, and Faith somehow got suckered into picking me up downtown and chauffeuring me to and fro, which was exciting because it's only January and this makes my second Stitch 'n Bitch! Yay me! Go hermit power! Wonder twins activate... form of: WINO KNITTER!

Also, on a side note, I only have one financial goal in life and that is to one day have enough money to just have someone drive me places. This may not actually take very much money. I should probably investigate. Right now I have a chauffeur known as "the bus" but unfortunately I can't seem to talk my current driver into taking me to my house, or to the post office, and also sometimes my ride sort of smells.

Anyway, last night's Stitch 'n Bitch was more awkward than others because there was this weirdo talking all the time who also had flop sweat. Three guesses who. What is funny about all this is that had I been someone else, listening to the dumb stuff coming out of my mouth, I mean ... someone else's mouth... I would have thought it was hilarious in a train wreck way. Then I would have of course found a new knitting group.

I blame this almost entirely on the fact that I was seated near four new people who I had never met and who were new-ish to SnB and so of course they didn't talk a lot and you know what happens when you combine awkward silence and me, right? Because having not harnassed the power of constructive shutting up, I just talk NONSTOP for THREE HOURS. This is merely a statistically accurate sample:

New Girl: I find yoga relaxing.
Me: I can't do yoga in Los Angeles.
New Girl: Why?
Me: Oh, I already went to pretty much every yoga place in the city and I am not welcome back.
New Girl: ...?
New Girl: Why?
Me: Well you know how in yoga people relax and flex stuff and use new muscles, right? And always always in the middle of the relaxing? Someone farts? And I laugh. Out loud. A lot, because apparently I am five and farting is still really funny ... to me. But not to people in Los Angeles, they take their downward dog super seriously.
New Girl:

(awkward silence)

Later:
New Girl: What are you making?
Me: Um. Another scarf.
New Girl: Pretty yarn!
Me: Thank you. [knows now is the time to stop talking] [cannot control mouth] I made up this very complicated stitch pattern because that's kind of how I roll you know. Basically, you do the knit stitch for one whole row... THEN YOU PURL.

(awkward silence)


Later:
New Girl: So you won't go to a gym because people sweat on the equipment? But aren't you supposed to sweat at a gym?
Me: Uh. Yes?
Me: Except you know I can't sit on something that had someone else's bodily water on it.
New Girl: Yeah, but people are supposed to wipe off the equipment when they're done using it.
Me: AHA!!! They wipe it off with the same towel they use to wipe their sweaty little faces! They are not disinfecting, merely spreading the sweat around.
New Girl: Uh... okay.
Me: Why? Do you think that's weird? I mean that's actually one of the more normal of my issues. That's not even the tip of the weirdness iceberg!

(awkward silence)

So, obviously, they will never return. But I tried to offer a ray of shining hope at the end of the evening by assuring them I pretty much never come on Thursdays since I have to work and commute and also tend to the voices in my head. Hi!

In case you were wondering, here is the magic stitch I invented:
stockinettescarf1.jpg
Behold... um, stockinette.


It is really pretty yarn! I bought it while pre-shopping in preparation for my three months of no spending. See even crazy people have moments of brilliance. Anyway it is made by a company called "Rio de la Plata" I think, and it is 100% wool.

stockinettescarf2.jpg
(it's longer than this now)

On a happier and less awkward note, I got nominated for some kind of award! The best part of this and what secretly made me SO HAPPY is that they do a little tiny picture of your website by your name, and GUESS WHO is in the picture? Guess who got her little furry dictator self right on the internet?

unasobakowa.jpg

Do you think there is a prize if I win? Because I hope that the award is a chauffeur. A really hot one named Raoul. Then I could got to Stitch 'n Bitch every Thursday and scare off more new people. Wonder Twins Activate.. form of: yoga fart.

Because seriously, there is nothing funnier than a grown man farting in yoga class. NOTHING, I TELL YOU.

Posted by laurie at 12:23 PM

June 26, 2006

Those crazy people in wigs who knit ...

birthday-soba-box.jpg
That's the Sobakowa, exercising her powers of Eminent Domain in the box which contained one perfect pink birthday present from Drew.


Imagine the shock, surprise, and probable horror that came over the few poor souls who braved their very first night of Stitch 'n Bitch on Thursday, when the entire WeHo S'nB group was decked out in crazy wigs and drinking from strategically placed bottles of wine. One new girl fled the scene of the wigfest as soon as possible, but a few brave ladies managed to sit through most of the event without medication, so maybe they'll come back on a normal evening. Sorry there are no captions, I was off work for a few days and I have eleventeen hundred emails and tasks and so on to get through and sort of want to put on a wig of invisibility and slink home to watch Tivo but alas. Also! Did you know that egregarious is not a word? Don't ask me how I found this out, except that it involved two bottles of champagne, six drunk friends and one laptop computer. Oh, the vocabularian slurring.


Click on thumbnails for bigger pics!





The rest of the weekend was as crazy and colorful as wig night, but with a lot less picture-taking. I needed to come back to work to recover from all the frivolity and happiness, as these old bones were not built for long-term partying anymore. It was a good time had by all, and I can't tell you how happy and thankful I am to have friends and fellow knitters who love to carry on and eat cake and laugh as much as I do. I am truly blessed!


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Faith made me Oma's Chocolate Cake for my birthday and I think I ate the entire thing.

Posted by laurie at 11:57 AM

April 21, 2006

Stitch 'n Bitch 'n so on 'n so forth

If you are ever in the Los Angeles area and you want a most excellent Thursday evening, filled with food and beverages and yarn and chitchat and a wide variety of what I think are hands-down the most interesting women (and sometimes guys) in all of the city, you need to come to Stitch 'n Bitch at the original Farmer's Market, on 3rd and Fairfax. It starts every Thursday around 6:30 or 7 p.m. and goes until 9:30 or 10 p.m., and ...

... time for some maudlin reminiscences here! Because this is what I do! Just ignore me and click on the pictures if you aren't up to getting your introspection on this a.m. I mean really.

See, there was a time, pretty recently, when I would not really leave my house except to go to work, and the most basic shopping and errands and so on. Then when the real sadness set it, it was followed by fear. Fear that maybe I was so unpalatable not only did my husband flee, leaving a wake of destruction in his absence, but perhaps others would be as displeased, and ya'll know. I was brought up a nice Southern girl with a dominant people-pleaser gene (it's on the same node as the "loves fried foods" gene.) What had gone wrong? When had I moved from people pleaser to people-displeaser?

This is how it goes when you get your heart broken, and your ass increases in both density and volume, and you go to a place of solitude and wallowing -- a place where sure, if I were stronger and better and perhaps medicated, I would not have to go. But alas. I'm just a person, a pretty regular person, with challenges of my own and that's what happened. Locked the doors. Looked down.

Before long, I didn't even want to go to the grocery store (OK, not truly a sign of sickness) but when the day came that I actually chose to stay home rather than go to Target with Jennifer, dire times were upon us. It's not normal when a red-blooded "I shall prop up the economy single-handedly so the terrorists don't win!" kind of girl loses the will to bargain shop.

Then one day out of the blue, Ellen sent me an email, and invited me to come to Stitch 'n Bitch (though ya'll, nobody has to be invited, I'm pretty sure Ellen just knew I was a recluse) and after much hemming and hawing, I went. And I met people. Real people. And last night, I sat next to Faith and she grinned ear to ear and said, "Laurie, I love this group of people. Look at us! People are hugging and catching up, and smiling and it's so great..." and she's right. It is great. There was Jennifer, laughing and tangled up in yarn, and Gwen was there with her new engagement ring (!!!) and we missed Sara, who has a biscuit in the cooker if you know what I mean and I think you do, and I felt like I was in a room with people I'm lucky to know. Even if sometimes I'm too tongue-tied to say much. Or the more usual scenario: when I blather away like a mindless dumaii.

And yet they don't seem displeased at all. It's been the happiest addition to my life, this group of people. Proving that even when it's scary to leave your house and meet new folks, as long as they're armed with yarn and a sense of humor (which our group has in spades) then you know you're on the right path to somewhere. And that path will probably pass by a yarn store.
If you're lucky.

(click for bigger images)


Ellen with a scarf I found in Paris; two pics of our stitchin' group.



Faith in a scarf from Paris; lovely Gwen with her new engagement
ring; my favorite Kendra.


Remind me one day to tell you the story of Jen and this yarn; me & Faith & Faith's cleavage; Natalie makes the coolest stuff ever.

Posted by laurie at 11:52 AM

December 30, 2005

Funny face, I love you.

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Faith and Jen both shared in my excitement and happiness last night. After all, it's the very dying days of December and so ends what has been The Worst Year. Next year I won't have to testify against a criminal when he steals my car, or get served with divorce papers, or go to court to dissolve my lifelong dream, or watch as my childhood memories sink under a hurricane, or wonder how on earth I will manage to breathe in and out all day long. Because let me tell you. You get up each day and take what comes and sometimes you get lucky and you get to see some happy smiles, some good yarn, a goofy cat and a funny hat. All in a 24-hour period.

Life is unpredictable that way.

Last night I went to Stitch 'n Bitch and it was a small group and I forgot to brandish the camera until the very end, what with the wine drinking and carrying on.

Natalie was trying this inneresting experiment with some Rowan Biggy wool, where you knit the whole skein in garter stitch then you bind off by dropping a stitch, then bind off a stitch. It makes this big crazy loopy scarf that grows longer and... loopier. Here our Nat looks like she has fallen into a Rowan pond and possibly emerged with a case of Rowan Pox:

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Carla was there, too, making a gorgeous cabled creation from Scarf Style:
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Then our Kendra, who was in a car accident on Christmas Day, made it to Knit Night, and poor thing you want to hug hur but you can't!
dec29-kendra.jpg

Now, today I found it very hard to get up and get dressed and drag myself into work. I would have much preferred to stay home and watch movies and drink coffee in my pajamas. I was maybe a little bit grumpy coming in to work, and it was COLD this morning, and I have on the Awful Thong Underwear Of Despair, and then I got on to the bus and saw this:

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One of the nice ladies on the bus was sitting there, regular as you please, reading the morning paper and wearing a funny hat. She made me laugh out loud, and changed my whole day. I love this city, with its unexplained traffic and great tacos and crazy people. I was immediately out of my grumpy mood, proving once and for all that in this life we should all wear more funny hats.

Finally, I'll let you caption the Bob. If there is a more perfect example of cheerful doofusery I would like to see it, I tell you what that cat is just a few cards short of a full deck but is the cutest damn guy I know:

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Caption Me, baby.


Ya'll have a good day. The Worst Year is almost over. Tick-tock! Breathe deep, enjoy your Friday and wear a funny hat if you find one.

Posted by laurie at 9:40 AM

November 4, 2005

Stitch 'n Bitch 'n heh-heh-hello!

The date:
Last night

The scene:
West Hollywood Stitch 'n Bitch

The smell:
mmmmm food and wine and yarn yarn yarn

The sights #1:
Here is where I need to tell you there is a guy who works at the Brazailian BBQ place downstairs in the Farmer's Market, and I want to take him home and cover him in chocolate. He is GORGEOUS.

The sights #2:
Sometimes I look around at how much my life has changed, and I get sad and want to sit in a corner eating my hair and slobber-crying. Then there are other times, like last night, when I look around and see how much my life has changed and I feel so happy and proud of myself for actually leaving the house, and meeting new people. (And not eating my hair, because that would be gross.)

Even if I say the wrong things or drink too much wine or laugh too loud, they still don't mind that I'm there. I looked around and saw all these friendly faces and smart, funny, interesting people and there's such a nice vibe (OK, maybe I had two glasses of cabernet and was feeling huggy, but still! Everyone is so nice!) and I'm hopeful. Ya'll ever think that maybe we get more than just one life? Maybe we get a few lives spread out over the years and we live them each the best way we can? I can't see my life now without these faces in it, and it makes me infinitely happy.

Plus, everyone said nice things about my beloved Patons Up Country that I'm (ALLEGEDLY) making fuzzyfeet out of, so you know. I was buttered up.

Click on thumbnails for bigger pics!


From L-R: Ellen and I love to take pics of each other taking pictures. heh heh. Look! It's a mom and a baby in a portable playpen and one is knitting and one is just being really damn cute. That's Sara and Kendra. Hi! Sara made this little perfect red sweater, and we sullied it by making it into a beer cozy. mmmmm. beer cozy.



From L-R: Ellen is making a reversible cable scarf that is so pretty! Close up shot of the cable, both sides look perfect. Group shot. Ya'll see Gwen hiding in there? Faith ... you cannot hide. The crazy camera lady is everywhere. Resistance is futile.



From L-R: Jennifer and Regina get down to the serious business of scarves and capelets, respectively. Joan just learned to crochet last week and she is a crochet prodigy, because hello! Just completed her first (beautiful) scarf! I love Sara, and I don't get to see her much so I was a little bit like an obnoxious puppy when she walked in. This is Terry, and he is a crazy-super-tight knitter like me! Neurotic knitters unite!



From L-R: Natalie shows us how to do needle felting ... that green bag is a felted toolbelt she made! Closeup view of felting madness. This is me and Kendra, and I loved meeting her so much! We're hatching a plan for world domination. But can someone please for the love of God tell me why I have such a huge forehead? Finally ... a HUGE thank-you to Kathy, who patiently helped me pick up stitches correctly and showed me some amazing techniques to keep from getting holes on my fuzzyfeet edges. Thank you Kathy!!


That's all folks! In two weeks we have a BIG TIME INTERNETS CELEBRITY coming to Stitch 'n Bitch, and I won't tell you who it is but here is a hint: Ochet-cray Ude-day. YES INDEED!!

Posted by laurie at 11:43 AM

July 8, 2005

Stitch 'n Bitch 'n Ugly Ugly Knitting

Here is a partial list of things that always make me happy, in no particular order:

  • french fries
  • getting a great parking spot
  • Roy snuggles in the morning
  • that really stupid song "Afternoon Delight"
  • doing the white-girl-with-no-rhythm cabbage patch dance
  • Stitch 'n Bitch!!

Stitch 'n Bitch is a happy place. There's food and drink and yarn and nice people who try to assure you that even though you are making THE WORLD'S UGLIEST HAND-KNITTED OBJECT EVER, you're... original! creative! and... cats are colorblind! So don't worry, they'll LOVE it!

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Yes, it is the return of the Ugly Mystery Knitted Cat Thingamajig.

(Also, very important note to everyone from SNB that I tried to explain the project to? Please keep it a mystery. That's the ONLY thing this project has going for it. Mystery. Intrigue. Gnomes. 'Cause ya'll know it is butt-ugly and ginormous and made of Lion Brand chunky wool ease NEED I SAY MORE?)

Hi! So, Stitch 'n Bitch. Fun! Lots of people, and I got a hat! Ellen finally started a blog and I got to make her a banner for it, and in return she made me an amazing cute bucket hat (I got to choose from four different hats!) and personally, I think I got the better end of the deal because this hat is so damn cute!

   
Ellen and me with my amazing hat; Dita looks so cute in everything; Shannita gets camo on us!

What's crazytalk is that Ellen crocheted all those hats in four days. I'm bad at the maths, but I'm pretty sure that's a hat a day, people. I really have to get busy learning crochet, it's so fast and pretty. Unfortunately I am fully commited to finishing the Ugly Mystery and nothing will deter me. Apparently I am now treating my knitting like I do relationships: You may be completely WRONG but DAMMIT, I will FINISH what I STARTED. (Also, you may think I need serious therapy, but compared to what ya'll will see later in this very story, I will seem less crazy by the minute. Keep reading. IT GETS BETTER.)

But before the crazy, we have photos!
(Click on any thumbnail for bigger pics) (I tried to make them small since I am posting eleventeen hundred pictures.)


     
From L-R: It's Jennifer and Penny, the Knitting Sisters; and because I never stop with the camera; wait! there's more ... it's Gwen-Jen-Pen knitting, the alliteration knitters; Gwen LOVES tiny dpns, can't you tell?

     
L-R: Abby was a first time SNBer and she made this HOT shrug from loop-d-loop, so cute! Carla the supermodel knitter; This is where Denise says, "Laurie, please stop with the camera!" A group shot of all the folks.

     
L-R: Jeffrey is so cute you want to hug him, but I didn't because of the whole restraining order thing; Ya'll, meet Julie! She is the editor of the online crochet magazine called Crochet Me and she was just in town visiting because she's famous and doing a TV show, and she made the cutest pink crochet flower purse with a tee-tiny, matching flower change purse (here's a link to the pattern). Maybe if I learn to crochet I can make one of these and replace my haute couture ziploc change purse.

     
L-R: More group shots; Kathy models one of Ellen's amazing crochet hats; Kim tries to hide from crazy camera lady; Karyn and Darcy a stitchin' and a' bitchin' as it should be.


     
L-R: Tami made THE cutest hand puppet ever! Mary-Heather and I sort of took ownership of said hand puppet for a photo op (hey, ya'll, sorry for the comment I made about cameltoe, you know how I am, I have a sickness or something); Phyllis is making a super-cool knitted tie with teetiny little toothpick needles; Sara has contracted a case of the Seraphina Fever.


    
L-R: Sara and Julie get accosted by crazy camera lady; Shannita models the sleeve of her beautimous green sweater; Faith learned how ribbing creates pleasure from Mary-Heather; Lori smiles for crazy lady!


So that was the fun and happiness of Stitch 'n Bitch in which I sweated a little, brought The Ugly Thing, fondled Faith's yarn, made a totally normal conversation into The Time She Said Cameltoe, and only mentioned porn once. Yet I feel totally normal. Would you care to know why?

Tami pointed something out to me last night. Something I had never before seen, and hope to God I never see again, because ya'll, it was unnatural. Tami and Lori spotted these two people, a guy and a girl obviously out on a date at the Farmer's Market, and these were two young, attractive people. Who appeared to have all their faculties about them. And the woman WAS FEEDING THE MAN his dinner. Not the sexy feed-you-a-strawberry kind of thing, I mean she was holding his chin like you would a baby and practically doing "here comes the airplane spoon!" And she was wiping his mouth. AND CUTTING HIS FOOD for him. And they were on a DATE.

And at some point the man noticed that perhaps this big table of women across the room was WATCHING this display of emasculation, and I guess he got mad at his girlfriend who was treating him like a TWO YEAR OLD and then he pouted.

Ya'll.

I am not lying. And of course I have no class so I took pictures of the whole thing. Because they were in public and what you do in public may or may not be forever enshrined on the Internets:

   

Kind of makes you want to hide inside your ugly knitting.

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Posted by laurie at 12:32 PM

June 24, 2005

Stitch n' Bitch 'n Pantyhose 'n Lawyers, and one good hat!

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This morning:

I broke a sweat pulling on my pantyhose. You could look at this two ways:

One: Go for a jog.
Two: Don't wear pantyhose.

After flopping on the bed and exercising my most colorful and unladylike vocabulary, I selected option Number Two.

The pantyhose were intended to make a positive showing at the lawyer's office. All that would have shown, however, was some telltale control top ugliness around my knees, what with me hobbling to keep the crotch from rolling down to my ankles. Classy!

And here's a funny thing. Turns out that lawyers have these things called "billable hours." Ya'll, I am SO in the wrong vocation. I can't bill people for jackshit. Plus, on June 30th? I thought I'd walk out of the couthouse divorced. But no. Marriage? It's like trouble -- easy to fall into, hard to get out of. You can hitch your wagon to any old Joe in under an hour but getting un-hitched takes an act of Congress and several months of billable hours. Fascinating.

Coincidentally: For sale by owner, several lovely and RARE cats, GREAT source of free poop! Your miles may vary. $1700/per cat OBO.


Last Night:
We had some very special guests at Stitch 'n Bitch this week! Jennifer's mom came with us! And Shannon attended for the very first time. AND I learned to crochet from Ellen! I have never been so excited!

Now I realize that if I were to meet a hot guy, say, on the street (because this is such a likely scenario, but work with me folks) and anyway, if I met said hot guy and we were chitchatting and so on, then he asked me what exciting things were happening in my life, and I told him, "Well, my best friend's mom is here in town helping her feed her cat, because Ethel has been so sick! And anyway, Jen's mom is coming to Stitch 'n Bitch and I could just die! I am so excited! We get to knit and chitchat and maybe I will even learn to crochet! And Shannon's attending and her mohair is to die for!"

Anyway, surely he'd be flinging his clothes off right there and begging to buy me diamonds, being that I am creature like no other he has ever met, full of CHARM and EXCITEMENT.

Coincidentally, Carrie happily announced at Stitch 'n Bitch "I HAVE DONE IT!! I HAVE PICKED UP STITCHES!! I FIGURED IT OUT!!" and then, after a moment's pause, she said, "Do you think men will ever understand the exciting moment I just shared here?"

Carrie. A woman after my own heart.

There was cake and wine and happiness. It was a good way to end the week. Lately the not-sleeping has returned with a vengeance and I was so tired and half-wrung out that I took only unflattering pictures, made bizarre small-talk about yarn and rain (sorry, Mary-Heather, please excuse the zombie! whoops!) and also, perhaps, held onto Shannon like she was my life raft.

  

   

   

   

Oh, that last row, the middle picture? That's Sara's beautiful crocheted shrug. Sara is amazing, she also made a knitted handbag that I fondled last night, and she made the gorgeous boho chic skirt she was wearing. I need to dig out my sewing machine and make some summer clothes, Sara is a total craftygirl inspiration.


And FINALLY! Success! I finally made a hat that fits! This is the orange/pink hat redux, since the first one I made was a wee bit on the large side. Laina was kind enough to claim it fit her, but it was still too big. Hi Laina! Miss you!

hat-again1.jpg   hat-again2.jpg   hat-again3.jpg
(sorry, no big pics. I'm tahred.)

hat-ahain-shannon.jpg

It has only taken five hats and eleven hundred froggings, but I may have figured out the secret to gauge at last. Surprisingly enough it DEFINITELY DOES NOT involve wine. Funny how the drinking and the math do not mix. Now if I could figure out a way to do a gauge swatch on my circs without having to knit entire rounds, that would be ideal. Got any suggestions?

Every single hat I make must be knit up on size 11s. My one pair of Addi Turbos are size 11, 16" circular needles, you see. Then it occurred to me in a flash of BRILLIANCE that mayhaps these fabled Addi needles come in other sizes! I can't wait to go to Unwind this weekend and get another pair of needles, Shannon and Karman got me an Unwind gift certificate for my birthday! And I'm going to make my dad a hat with ribbing and now I can do it up right, with a smaller Addi Crack Cocaine Needle on the 2x2 ribbing and switch to a larger size for the body of the hat like a REAL KNITTER!


Me: Hey, I need you to measure Dad's head.

My mom: I see.
(pause)
My mom: Is this something that has to be done on the sly while he's sleeping?

Me: Um, well, if that's what floats your boat. But I kind of don't want to hear about it. Geez. Gross.

My mom: I'm going to act like I did not just hear that.

Me: So, I need you to measure your head too.

My mom: I don't THINK so, miss!

Me: Oh please, it's not some weird science experiment! I'm making ya'll some hats!

My mom: I see. Well in that case, we'll measure our heads.

(My dad, muffled in background: you said we're doing WHAT?)

My mom: Your daughter wants me to measure your head.

My dad: No one comes near the noggin.

Mom: She's making you a hat.

Dad: Is this going on the internet?

Mom: What do you think?

My mom is a wise woman.


jen-measures-head.jpg

Posted by laurie at 2:03 PM

May 27, 2005

Stitch 'n Bitch 'n Longest Post Ever

Are ya'll sick of hearing how much I love Stitch 'n Bitch yet? Well, don't answer that cause you know what's coming right? Seven gajillion pics of girls gone wild with nothing but string and sticks!!


Sweater Update
Last night was the best gathering yet, in spite of the fact that several key folks were missing, but it was seriously the best SNB ... BECAUSE I DID NOT SWEAT!!! I am either so tired from all this socializing that I am too worn out to sweat, or I am finally more comfortable around these folks, or it was freezing up there. I do not know. And even though I blabbed and blabbed on and on, at least I wasn't a sweaty over-talker, and that is an accomplishment of ginormous proportions in my life.

(Click on any small images to see big,
huge, bandwidth-hogging pics.)


Yarn gluttons. Yup.

Also, Ellen had the brilliant idea of moving all the tables ahead of time into a long, Last Supper-type formation and it worked out great and the fung shui was good. We had the knitting chi, ya'll.

But I have a question. Do you think Carrie didn't show up to SNB because me and Jennifer scared her away with the sloppy drunkenness that occurred late in the evening of the BBQ Party? Maybe we frightened and annoyed her to such an extent that she now has to miss Stitch 'n Bitch. Carrie, if this is the case, or if I accidentally poisoned you with "ground" burgers at the party, I am infinitely sorry. Promise I'll be sober and serve good food next time! Come back to SNB!


We'll Miss You, and Thanks For The Yarn!
It was also a very sad Stitch 'n Bitch because Laina is leaving us to go off to Boston and become a Bahstun knitter. Hey! There are some amazing knitbloggers in Boston, and ya'll know who you are (some drive mini coopers, some are lawyers, some are runners, some are spinners, I'm just saying!!) and so I hope you'll welcome Laina and email her and stalk her in person for me. I miss her already.

   
Regina and Laina; Regina, Gaby, me, Laina at the end of the night.


This Is Where The Talking Occurred
Maybe because I was so mellow (read: tired) or unsweaty (thank you, God!!!) or maybe just because after a while you feel more comfortable with people, I felt like last night I got to learn more about folks individually. Tami brought her son and you could see her in the Mom Mode, which freaks me out because she's so young and laid-back, but then, like magic, she has the mom voice. FREAKY! And Natalie is finishing up her dissertation in Anthropology and her project and the research involves Las Vegas, and all I can say is that the minute she publishes it I want to read it. With a cocktail.

And Lori, who I just met last week, has the most open, generous smile and I like her EVEN THOUGH she tried to give me irrefutable proof that Tom Cruise is gay. WHICH HE IS NOT. Shutup! Maverick is so straight. And by the way, I don't even like Tom Cruise that much, but I LOVED Top Gun and when you start telling me Maverick is gay, you're flying to The Danger Zone (hah!)


   
Natalie with her pink shawl; Tami and Lori and part of Laina knit and talk.

Crystal, who never finishes any project ever because she is a Perfectionist and Hilarious and also maybe Totally A Nut, finally completed a project! It's a perfect red hat (that she only frogged four times heh heh). Crystal, do you know why I love this about you? Because you understand my needs, as a Control Enthusiast myself, to have a perfect hat. So, congratulations on finally finishing a project!!

Faith crocheted the very last stitch of the Talking Stick afghan squares all together and she was so happy she about did a cartwheel. It's done! Fini! Finito! She's been working on that project since January (which is when I started knitting!) (!!) And Christie came to SNB and got to stay longer this time, and I am so glad I met her. She's very glam and down-to-earth all at the same time.


   
Faith knits, Faith so happy! All done! Christie is all about superstar knitting!


Oh! Look! I met another celebrity!!This is Shannita Alleyne, she's a fiber artist and she was on Knitty Gritty and also had a pattern in Stitch 'n Bitch Nation! She created the newsboy cap. Last night she unvieled this beautiful hand-knit sweater with a gorgeous brooch and modeled it for the camera:

Gorgeous. And the sweater ain't bad either.


The Valley Is Coming To Get You
There were actually THREE other Valley Girls at the West Hollywood SNB last night! Proving that my theory of Valley Supremacy is coming true and before long we will take over the WeHo SNB. I could write an entire manifesto on this, and in fact I think I will. Look for that coming soon to an Internets near you.

Kate and Teri both live in the Valley and we got to compare notes about all the local yarn haunts. Here they are, Teri on the Left, Phyllis (not from the Valley, but cool enough that she COULD BE from there) in the center and Kate on the right side. Notice the two-buck Chuck!! Kate is also a self-proclaimed cat lady, although with only two cats, she does not get the "crazy" in front of her title just yet. You need at least four to be buckwild crazy cat lady. Debra, Cool Valley Girl, brought her adorable daughter Gaby (who knits better than I do!) with her to stitch 'n bitch, so technically we had 3.5 more Valley Girls in attendance. Ya'll just wait. Before long we'll be "totally, like for sure" taking over the world. Farmer's Market is just the first stop.

   
Debra with Gaby, smile, ya'll! Teri, Phyllis, Kate. Hi! The Valley RULES!! Bow down to us and our one-thousand-degree summers!!!!


Felting, Cute Kiddos, and Leg Warmers. Perfection!
Laina made a camera case out of Debbie Bliss "SoHo" and felted it by hand and it was the ooh and aaaah of the evening, such a big hit! Here she is with Gaby, Master Knitter Kidlet, showing off the bag. And Ellen made me an amazing spa cloth that I took a picture of but it came out blurry. BUT! She made it for someone named "red-cheeked girl" hah hah. Yes, I know. Me and my red face are now infamous on the Internets. (Note to self: never post party pics when slightly hungover and maybe still drunk from the night before.) So instead, here is Ellen posing with Laina and the Shut Up candle I brought her.

   


We also had two Saras! Sara #1 came to Stitch 'n Bitch straight from some kind of sporting activity she does (I didn't ask because I avoid sports, and even the mention of them) but nevermind, because this girl never takes a bad picture. And Sara #2 had on the coolest leg warmers ever!! She made them!! I am relieved and happy to find a hot chick reviving the legwarmers trend, It's about time, dammit! Regina and I already started talking about how we should wear legwarmers, too.

   
Sara #1 strikes a pose; Sara #2 wearing leg-warmers, too cute!!


Crochet, The New Pilates
Regina manages to drink wine and still crochet using tiny little thread that is so small it's practically invisible, and she uses a crochet hook the size of a toothpick. How she does this with no mistakes is a complete mystery. I believe the answer lies in the wine. Here she is with Ellen, they're displaying some of Regina's amazing Crochet Monsters. She is such a talent. That warped sense of artistic beauty had me at "hello." (P.S. TOM IS NOT GAY.)


More Mystery, and Possibly I Need Therapy
Below is an image of Kathy teaching Laina and Gaby about hand-spinning. Now, OK. Bear with me here. But remember the class I took with Knit Goddess Annie Modesitt? (You can read about my class here. Go on, go look, then come back. Pay special attention to the pictures.) So, see how Kathy, pictured right here, is the SAME EXACT Kathy who sat across from me in class? Well, I was so excited to see her. I was all, "Hi! Hello! I was in Annie's class with you! Hi!"

And ya'll, she did not remember me.

So, you know, either I am A) so completely unmemorable that I fade right out of someone's head two minutes after they meet me, or B) I just have one of those faces that people sort of think they've met before but can't remember where, or C) She saw my pictures online and thought, "That can't be the same girl, she's so fat in person!"

Now, I realize Option C doesn't totally apply here because Kathy already met me in person. But in general I fear that people will meet me and think, "Yeah right. Nice photoshopping job, there, Purl." Or maybe I'm just not momorable. Or maybe I'm just PARANOID and should up the meds. Pass the wine, please!


The Medication Arrives
Speaking of wine, Michele and Darcy came all kinds of prepared for the night... ya'll they brought wine and strawberries and chocolate and they are now officially the favorites of the whole group. So! Good thing to know! If you do decide to get out to your local SNB, take chocolate!! People will think you hung the moon, and love you and try to adopt you. Here is Darcy with her super-cute blue knitted handbag, and look! Michele is knitting! She learned how to knit last week and this week she is just grooving along like a knitmaniac!

   

Don't Mind Us, Folks
There was a lady at the SNB last night who I didn't get a chance to meet, she was very busy working on ... actually, I have NO IDEA what this is but man oh man is it cool, and also spooky. She was at the other end of the table, but of course I imposed myself upon her and Ellen as they chitchatted so I could document forever on camera Whatever That Art Was That She Made and We Liked.

       
Ellen talking to the performance artist whose name I did not get; the creation is mastered by its master.

The best part was the looks of the faces of the quiet family in the corner, who were already a little scared by so much craftiness in their presence, but I believe The Art sent them over the edge:


Even Perfect Evenings Must End
After SNB, I was driving home on Ventura Boulevard because I hate to take the freeway. And at night it's a nice, empty drive of storefronts and Valley goodness. Very soothing. And for whatever reason I am on a huge Tupac kick right now, all I listen to is Tupac, night and day (who by the way has accomplished more since he's been dead than I have accomplished in 33 years of living).

And I'm in my car and I'm singing, with the windows down on my Jeep -- because I am alone in my own personal Valley -- and a carload full of teenage boys pull up to me and here is what they see: One slightly chubby thitysomething blonde woman, so pale she glows in the dark, who is on the way home from her knitting group and she is singing "The blacker the berry the sweeeeter the juice..." at the top of her lungs, with her hair held up by a knitting needle and no singing talent whatsoever.

Heh.

Posted by laurie at 2:25 PM

May 20, 2005

Stitch 'n Bitch 'n Pics

In honor of me being on dial-up and taking the better part of all my remaining childbearing years to post these pictures, I made the thumbnails super small, so just click for bigger images. (Yes I am home today and yes, the cable guy is coming tomorrow THANK GOD.)


1 - Amazing pink crocheted shrug created by Sara. Before this I never really "got" the shrug concept but on Sara it's so cute and artsy:

60% - Percentage of time I managed to talk educated

14 - "ya'll"s

2.5 - Times I said "purty" (I caught myself half way through one and stuttered out "pur...pretty!")

.5 - Times I mentioned porn

1 - Secret appearance by Drew, The Crochet Dude

1 - Person at Stitch 'n Bitch whose Mom has emailed me!! Hi Regina's mom! Sorry I got broke-down Internets right now and have the patience of a five-year-old with this slow crap! Also, Regina? Brought a crocheted limon monster!! So cute. Why did I not take a picture of that? Could it be I was high from the shroom hat?

2 - Times someone said "muff" and the rest of us laughed. Heh. "Muff."

47 - Times I had pangs of jealousy over the amazing vintage pattern books Ellen, Sara and Faith found at an estate sale. By the way, Faith? HILARIOUS story teller.

1- Gorgeous purse, made by Tami:


38 - Gallons of sweat lost by me, the nervous perspirer. Ok, so while I would gladly exchange nervous sweating for something more dainty, like oh, say, nervous giggling, I have decided that Stitch 'n Bitch is perhaps my one only hope of ever losing weight. Think about it. Lose three pounds of water weight a week in nervous sweat! woohoo!

7 - New people I met. Hi ya'll!

1 - Enormous plate of nachos consumed by moi
2 - Beers, ibid

2 - Skeins of yarn I bought from Christine, oh my lord this yarn is beautiful. And it smells so good! Yarn sniffers unite. She has an online store, go buy!
   

6.25 - Times I said I love the valley

3 - Times I said "Well, SHIT." upon discovering there is a whole other type of gauge I have to worry about. ROW gauge. Can you believe that?

40% - Amount of people who tried to assure me the hat was just fine.

60% - Amount of people who knew it was supposed to be a beanie and ended up as a big ol' rastafarian shroom hat.

1 - Amount of best friends dragged along with me to s'n'b (thanks, Jennifer!). Shannon wasn't feeling well, and couldn't come model her hat. Never fear, we had one or two stand ins:


          

           

           

           

       

   

Posted by laurie at 1:33 PM

May 13, 2005

Stitch 'n Bitch 'n Talk 'n TALK

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I think I may possibly have a massive girl-crush on the entire West Hollywood SNB. Including Jeffery who, while not female, falls into the SNB Crush category. After careful contemplation, one glass of wine (last night) and two cups of coffee (this morning) I have concluded my crush stems from the following three things:

1) The knitters I have met so far are nice, funny, kind, interesting, diverse and smart and no one's putting up a facade, or trying hard to be TRAGICALLY HIP, or looking over your shoulder as you talk to see if someone more interesting walked in the room. In LOS ANGELES. This is a miracle, people.

2) Somewhere in me is a deep need to bond socially with other women. (See: checkered past in such pursuits as cheerleading, sorority, girl scouts, etc.) I crave the company of girls, because there's something so rewarding about being in a room with women who have all these different perspectives and experiences (and yarn).

3) IT IS SO MUCH FUN. I don't have a Sex & The City life. For one thing, I hate bars. LOATHE them. I'm bad in crowds, not good with meeting men and even worse at trying to be desireable. (See: four cats, chubby, nervous talking.) Drinking? Sure! Smoking? Yup! In a bar? In a club? Wearing heels and makeup and clothes I can't really afford? NO FRICKIN' WAY. To me, it's kind of rare to meet a bunch of amazing chicks in a big social setting where no one is trying to pick up guys or get picked up. AND I LOVE IT. Love it ya'll. Plus, there's yarn! And food! And knitting! And crocheting!

So, yeah, I have a girl crush. There's a part of me that's so giddy and happy that finally I found out about stitching groups and cool knitters and ... I don't know. Part of me thinks, "This is going so well! I actually left my hermit house and met strangers and I love them, and they don't seem to be appalled by me (yet) and so, this is too good to be true! Something's going to go horribly awry!"

Do you ever do that? Think you've found something so good and then immediately worry it will disappear? You'd need Freud and a couch and about sixty-two years to make me un-crazy, I suppose. Maybe things have been going wrong for so long that I don't know what to think when something goes so right. AHA!! LIGHTBULB MOMENT!! We can blame this one on Mr. X!! Forget Freud -- it's all Mr. X's damn fault. Goddamn goatee-wearing confidence stealer.

So, WeHo Stitch 'n Bitch, the voyeur version:

   
Audrey made me an awesome X wrist cuff!! Lisa displaying an incredible piece of sweater art.

   
Regina's crochet monsters were a hit; Jeffery is famous, he was on Knitty Gritty! Here he is with Natalie, and unfortunately her adorable felted marsupial tote didn't make it in the shot. But trust me, it's cute.


   
The group upstairs at the Los Angeles Farmers' Market; "Talking Stick" afghan with squared created by different WeHo girls.


   
The WeHo group; ya'll smile pretty for the crazy camera lady!!



L-R: Laina, Gwen, Carrie, one sweater, two scarves, and no one made fun of my inside-out hat. And Laina has just finished writing a book, it's a children's book with knitting and one day she's going to be famous. Really! I can sense these things.


Ya'll will be happy to hear I sniffed no yarn last night. The only potentially embarrassing crazygirl things I did in public were:

1) The TALKING. And the talking and talking. I could NOT shut up, ya'll. But I was so excited! There were so many people! And some of them remembered who I was from last week! And then I got to meet new people, which was exciting because I wasn't the only new person there. And I just blah blah blah but of course I sound like I'm the last redneck out of the gene pond once I get going, so, well. There's that.

2) Oh sure, I managed not to mention porn, but I may have accidentally blurted out, in the middle of a perfectly innocent, polite conversation, "I bought a Hello Kitty vibrator!" I AM A TARD. (And Hi, dad! I totally thought it was a back massager from Japan! I SWEAR!)

3) When nervous, I sweat. Not perspire ... sweat. Glistening forehead. REAL classy.

So, aside from the sweaty, vibrator-weilding talkomaniac, last night was awesome. Moral of the story? Ya'll get out of your damn houses and go to your local Stitch 'n Bitch. If I can do it -- glistening forehead and all -- SO CAN YOU.

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Posted by laurie at 2:21 PM

May 6, 2005

Stich 'n Bitch 'n Epiphany

I have hermit-like tendencies. I tell you this because that's important background information for the rest of the story. I also have one rather lopsided, over-tweezed eyebrow right now, but that is not important to the story. Just so you know.

Last night, I went to the West Hollywood Stitch 'n Bitch (thanks again for the invite, Ellen!) and I made Jennifer go with me, and she even knitted! Her first scarf! And we met all kinds of genuinely nice and funny and REAL women who were knitting and crocheting and it was incredibly fun.

All this time I have been living in Los Angeles and wondering where all the REAL people were. Apparently they were knitting! I had no idea. Not that I don't love this city, I do, but it's so hard to meet people here who aren't hard and bright like so many little twinkling plastic jewels, teetering on high-high heels and drinking anything with "-tini" on the end and being fabulous, which I find exhausting.

But the SnB folks were smart and funny and diverse and welcoming and lovely and all I can tell you is that at some point we began a critical analysis of "Pretty In Pink" that made me feel like I was finally, at last, At Home.

"Ah, and the part where James Spader leans against the pink Kharman Ghia, remember?"
"I know! I know! He was hot!"
"He's short in real life."
"Ooooh, really?"
"I love how he's the only one who looks like he's 30 years old in high school..."
"And the part with the mean girl, remember, she says, 'Do I have class with you? And Molly Ringwald says, 'Yeah... gym.' And the mean girl, Bennie, says, 'Your name is GYM?'"
"And what about Annie Potts! Her clothes!"
"You know the part where she shoots the staple gun at the kid inside Traxx...?"

As you can see from the transcript above... me? IN HOG HEAVEN.

Pics from the WeHo Stitch 'n Bitch, click for big:

 
The WeHo SnB group at the Los Angeles Farmer's Market.


 
More group knitting, empty chair is mine, and Jen knits! She's a knitter!!

 
Also, LOOK!!! Ellen made me a crocheted "X" for the Down With Mr. X Knitalong!!!

 
This is a crocheted work of art, The Taco, By Ellen. Complete with lettuce and tomato.


Christine brought her lovely hand-dyed, handspun yarn to the SnB.
Visit her online at www.tooknappress.com.

So, how does the hermit thing tie in? Ah. Thanks for asking. It's just that meeting new people is really nerve-wracking for hermit types. I say incredibly inappropriate things, and when I get nervous I manage to blurt out nonsense, like talking about porn, and ya'll I don't even watch porn! I. HAVE. NEVER SEEN A PORNO. Well, I saw "Henry & June" which was rated NC-17, but that's it. (Gail says she does this too, and Gail is smart and funny and perfectly normal so maybe there's just a kind of Tourette's Syndrome we both share that makes us stutter out the word "porn" at social gatherings. I do not know.) (Porn! Porn!)

Anyway, moving along.

It was a big night for me, Spinster Hermit Lady, on many levels.

1) I actually left my house.
2) I actually left the Valley.
3) I MET STRANGERS
4) I got to knit with people who thought I was a knitter! FOOLED YA'LL!!!
5) No one tried to show me a PowerPoint presentation of their wedding cake.
6) I only mentioned porn once
7) Jennifer and I got to knit together for the first time EVER
8) Jen appeared to like knitting, which made me soooooo happy, like we'd both up and joined the Moonies but in a good way
9) I managed to keep the redneck out of my voice at least 40% of the time, deliberately throwing in a "you guys" instead of a "ya'll" at least once (Can ya'll tell that stupid blogtest in which I got 60% Dixie is still bothering me? THANKYOUVERYMUCH.)
10) My waning faith in the quality of people in Los Angeles was fully restored

Last night, when I drove home, I did that thing you do where you finally exhale, and then you immediately start wondering if you were a dumbass and said anything really stupid. Or, if you're me, you wonder if people think you have a creepy yarn fetish because YOU SNIFFED A BALL OF MOHAIR in front of people without realizing you had SMELLED THE YARN before it was too late. Oh yes, that was me. I picked up a beautiful ball of Debbie Bliss mohair that Crystal was showing me and I touched it, then folks, I SMELLED IT. Then I caught myself ... but the damage was done. Crystal assured me I was just getting "the full tactile experience." She was kind. BUT YA'LL. I may forever be known as Laurie, the girl who smells yarn.

So, of course I am thinking about this rather embarrassing moment and the "Down With Yarn Sniffers Knitalong" that will probably ensue, and I got home -- anxious, embarrassed -- and then I saw the Big Red X crocheted by Ellen peeking out of my bag and it made me laugh. And I thought about all the fun I'd had, and I was happy, and you know what? Maybe this Spinster thing isn't so bad after all.

Had Mr. X stayed, I may never have taken up knitting. And had I not become obsessed with knitting and yarn and living out loud, I may never have written a true thing. Had I not used blogging as therapy, I would not have met Ellen, who wouldn't have invited me to a Stitch 'n Bitch, and I wouldn't have met all the WeHo gals. And I certainly wouldn't be sitting in my own living room, happy, with Roy The Cat on my lap and a glass of wine on the coffee table, holding a Red X Of Solidarity and laughing like a 16-year-old after a slumber party.

Crazy, isn't it?

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Posted by laurie at 1:32 PM