Sunday, August 28, 2005


&"I wanna be like Rachael"

& "Support Our Troops" but not our administration 

So, I came out here to our plaster-dust-filled house to blog, edit photos and post new stuff to the etsy shop. And I forgot the camera. Erk.

Well, I have one pic of my favourite thing I did this week, part of a "variation of themes" thing, the dragonfly yarn I've been daydreaming about since the thought of actually selling my handspun first crossed my mind.

Click for a closeup.

Although, not exactly. It's like a bouclé collides with spiral meets binder for the sake of the bouclé and the spacing and order of it is completely irregular.

In some parts while plying the green wool to the blue silk I let the green go back over parts it had already plied with for a laced-up-corset-back slubby look.

In some parts it has spirals around the silk, in some parts it has the traditional loops of the bouclé, and in some (brief) parts, it looks like a regular silk wool flat kind of regular plying job.

When I applied the second strand of blue silk as a binder, I even played with the two-ply and made it double back and loop on the binder, so while it's locked in, it's very wild, without pattern, and unpredictable.

It's also the skooshiest bobbin of yarn ever, despite the inelasticity of the tussah silk.

There was meant to be more, but I ran out of room on the bobbin (I should have used my jumpo plying head but I only have one so it would have been a hassle to work out the logistics of applying the binder) and that's how I ended up with the relatively dull two-ply silk and wool.

Because the tussah silk is so unforgiving, even when plied, it makes the resultant yarn kind of "blah" next to its flashy sibling.

Anyway, here's where I treat you to a crappy scan of my original daydream of what I was going to make the yarn into until I decided to just have fun and play with it and see if I liked what I got.

Yeah,um, it's no doubt possible to do something like that, over and over, dragonfly after yarn dragonfly spaced by an inch or so of regular dull pied yarn, but it begs several questions:

Speaking of illicit drug use, I took the Sheriff's Radio Trainee (aka dispatcher wannabe) test Saturday and kicked its @ss. (If I may say so myself) But there's a background check which they warned us takes a minimum of four months to complete, so it's unlikely I'll see the inside of a training room before we transfer to Eureka.
Plus, my brief career as a crack whore will probably eliminate me anyway.
(okay, just in case my Dad or my background investigator have found this, may I just say, "I'm kidding. Duh." There, how's that for a level of professionalism.)
Actually, I really hope I get it because it a) pays well b) is a very transferable skill c) provides mucho knitting time on certain shifts. I also like that since it'll be for the Sheriff's Office, I won't embarrass Nick directly by being the moron trainee that he has to deal with, I'll only hear him occasionally on our channel, and that's okay with me.

In the meantime, I am totally freaking out about the website, the shopping cart, getting a merchant acct that won't gouge (3% + 30¢ each transaction really adds up) like Paypal but which will be user-friendly on both ends...although I'll really miss Paypal's "ship" function. I love me those pre-paid labels, because even though I know it eats up my paper and printer ink, I love on-line tracking which happens through that function for free, instead of the 60 or 85¢ it usually is when you stand in line at the PO. So far though, I haven't found anything cheaper than Paypal, and it's frustrating. With all these different things (state taxes, webhosting, mandatory co-op advertising, guild memberships, business licensing, merchant accounts) there's significant cost, and it makes me wonder how anyone makes a living while providing an affordable good.

So, to the last bit. I'm selling stickers. They haven't anything to do with the Lanas de Libélula fiber business portion of my life, because they do reflect my personal feelings about an unrelated matter. And ever since I made "Lanas" official in my head, I've felt hesitant to bring this up because I don't want it to drive people away but it is still how I feel and this is still my personal blog.

The large print is "SUPPORT OUR TROOPS" because in San Diego, this is a mandatory sentiment. And I do, not just because my stepsiblings are both currently enlisted, but because I believe that each person in the military is a human being with their own reasons for being where they are, however they feel about it. And I can definitely empathise with that.

But here's the small print, the part I feel and the part that makes me angry when I think about this war:

It's a mild form of culture-jamming, and I have over two hundred of these things still left, so if anyone else wants one I'm selling them (have I mentioned lately that I'm unemployed?) for a buck each, but for every five you buy you get one free and free shipping. If you just want one, it's a buck for the sticker plus 60¢ for the shipping. The paypal button doesn't seem to work but you can do it through the Paypal website and send it to torta_de_tortuga at hotmail doodleydoocom.

In Knitting News

Hardly news really because of my snale-like pace, but I finished one sleeve of the Noro Butterlfy and am several inches into the second one. I deliberately began the sleeve cap shaping nearly two inches before directed and my row gauge is such that I get roughly one more row per inch than the gauge written, but STILL the sleeve is orangutan-long. No wonder the model looks so moody and beaten; they must have put her on the rack before they could get enough length to peek out of the sleeve.

It's a fun, easy knit, and even though it's the same thing over and over (this could easily be adapted to knit in the round), since it's my own variegated handspun it keeps me engaged enough that I'm enjoying it. The Tivoli knit with splitty Reynold's Gypsy cotton lies abandoned, somewhere, in the waist decreases phase.

I leave you with a picture of my step-brother shipping out on the Tarawa for WestPac...he's a handsome lad isn't he? Whaddya mean you can't tell which one he is? He's the handsome one!

They had to leave Australia early because some of the kids were naughty and came back without their shore-leave buddies. Even in the Navy, you never leave a man behind. Even at a bar with girls in his lap. Especially at a bar with girls in his lap.


Monday, August 22, 2005

A quickie pic-intensive post 

Okay, this time we're serious about the limited internet access for the next week, this time we really are getting our bathroom ripped apart by a very nice young man with the unfortunate name of "Randy." Edit for clarity: These pics were what the bathroom looked like after our Randy-man ripped the foul vinyl sidings and strange plastic moulding off the shower walls, revealing a moldy nasty interior linoleum mishmash
...you should have seen it when I left the house--ripped all the way to the studs, yeehaw!

How do I know that this time it'll really happen?

Because this is what our bathroom looks like right now:


double ick.

Speaking of ick, check out the drama that played out on our deck the other day:

It's a gigantic spider (that's a bee s/he's wrapping up and sucking dry) and here's a better pic...I love that fat creepy abdomen.

The web and spider are gone now, though there is a sad little carcass hanging off a single strand.

I know I'll be in and out of the house because I always forget things. And I'm super-excited to be getting a new bathroom with actual tile, not linoleum and weird vinyl walls, so I know I'll be checking the progress pretty often. But mostly, this next week, I plan on seeing a lot of this:

And spinning like mad. I have only two skeins left in my Etsy store! Wow, thanks everybody!

Here's what I'm working on now:


potential mixings with more mini-skeins.

Random: I love the little starfish in the center of this wound ball.

I'm going to try to make some sort of spiral or bouclé yarn with the green wool and blue silk; it's a yarn I've been wondering about for a long time. It was the yarn I had in mind when I chose my business name (even though dragonflies come in all sorts of colours, my favourite combo is that emerald green and saphire blue).

I did the green a long time ago (on Audrey, the Mazurka) and I just (finally!) finished the blue tussah silk Friday or Saturday. Man, that seemed like it took forever. It's thread thin in places and slubby in others (demmed neps! demmed spaaziness!) and there's a hell of a lot of it there, enough to mess around with the mini-skeins and act as a ply and binder for bouclé.

And this is how the murky supersoft merino is spinning up, around fingering weight to become a three ply. I'll spin up four bobbins of this (I only have a pound of this spongy yum) and three bobbins will go to make the 3ply for a skein to knit up as a scarf for my brother, and the other bobbin will become a 2ply for sale. I'm looking forward to seeing the overall effect because the colour lengths are really long but I'm not doing it in any regular way.


Thursday, August 18, 2005

Where to start? 

Okay, first, let's pretend it's Monday. Here's what I would have posted on Monday:

City of La Mesa: Bite My SHINY METAL ASS!

Sorry, what part of "home-based business" do you not understand?
How am I supposed to run a home-based business under license if (abiding by the conditions of the license) I am allowed absolutely NO deliveries related to my home-business to COME TO MY HOME, allowed absolutely NO clients, or anyone related to the business to COME TO MY HOME, and allowed to store ABSOLUTELY NO MERCHANDISE at my home? Sorry, but where's the "home" in "home-based business" come in here with you guys?

I mean, I pay a $33 filing fee and a $35 license fee for what? For you to POOP on my dream? Bad enough you say we can only legally own two dogs, now you say my home-based business cannot do business in any tangible sense of the word? (I guess I can do something with the phone, what, I don't really know.)

But please, O Wise City of La Mesa, tell me why one of my neighbours can advertise DAYCARE services with a SIGN ON THE LAWN while living, literally, RIGHT NEXT DOOR TO THIS GUY, yet I cannot sell handspun and handdyed fibers and spinning supplies from my house? Is it the sheep thing? 'Cuz this handspinning business, it's all about the wool, there won't be any sheep involved, I promise.

Anyway, so if I'd posted on Monday, I WOULD have posted something like that.

And in case any of you wool-deviants out there got all excited about knowing the approximate location of what is going to be a stash to rival Amy's after my Louet order is delivered, I'd like to show you a bit of what I did on Wednesday.

Yes, laugh at my poor shooting form if you wish, but I was 90% in the ten-ring, and I'll protect my stash in a similar fashion --because you might just possibly leave the gate open while stealing and then my dogs would get out, and THAT my friend, will make me angry. And you wouldn't like me when I'm angry.

And, yes, that is a silencer. (And the cutest little gun! With the lightest little kick! It should come in PINK!)

This was done with a substance we should all write our congresspersons about controlling, but it really was too much fun to say what it was...suffice to say, it was a lovely variation of the ammonium nitrate theme.

In the meantime...

Lanas de Libélula sold five skeins to three lovely people and...

well, this is going to be a long bit.

I am incredibly happy and grateful that anyone even likes my yarn, let alone will pay money for it--even though I love it, even though I know deep down that I make yarn that's fun and a pleasure to work with (but, oh, oh, what if it's just me? Which is why I will be always so thankful to Mandy for her comment in the previous post, even though I'm such a spaaztic @ss I haven't e-mailed her to say so) and I have so many ideas, beyond just fiber, that I want to get out there and into the marketplace. There are so many handspinners selling their stuff out there, but I do think I have a unique place. And, so far, I'm having a lot of fun. Although, Paypal's a b!tch with a big bite, ain't it?

Here's my major problem with Etsy: too much fun stuff. I went. I listed. Then I made a mistake. I browsed. I spent half of what I've made so far, buying delicious-smelling lip balms and a cute little skull with a bow felt magnet

(Kind of because my brother always called Mom's dog Crivens, "Crivety-Criv-Criv" and we miss him and so it jived, plus, she is totally a Skull and Pink Bow kind of bitch)

And for whatever reason, I just had to have this "Mexican Pirate Tote:"

Which has little puffy fiesta balls at the bottom, the skull is cut out of that funky oil cloth with white stitching and white felt grin, a super-tacky faux rhinestone fastening, along with the crazy stripes and green lining inside. I also bought a little fiesta clutch for my cousin for Christmas that may get "lost." I bought it from a chicki-doodle in Orange County whose shop on the web opens in September.

That thing hanging on the back of the chair is the sleeve to my Noro Butterfly. I was suffering a crisis of faith and needed to cast on for a project I actually wanted, not just "had the yarn for" and I'm digging it so far. I did a better job replicating the Noro colour-changing with the green than the blue, as that block of lighter colour is bigger than it should be, but I don't mind (just yet) and I'm probably going to shorten the sleeve by an inch and ¾ because I do like my sleeves long, but not that long. It feels good to be knitting with my own handspun and really, truly, liking it more than any other. "I'm so vain, I bet I think this post is about me."

Here it is, knit from the other end of the ball and on size 7s --which just didn't feel right, so I went up to the recc'd US8s and tried it from the other end of the ball, I only show this to show the other striping, and the colour swirl within the ball.

And Crivens says, "It's soft enough to sleep on!"

Sorry, it kind of blends into the sofa, eh?

I also ripped a massive and hideously busy tube sock I'd worked way too long on...

...which always feels good.

And, somewhere in there, we went to dog beach.

P.S. I think we may have to stage an intervention. Obviously, "real life" is interfering with Heidi's blogging and that's just...normal. But still, dammit, I miss her and I know I'm not alone.

P.P.S. Thanks to all of you for agreeing with Nick on the prices. I have raised them as high as I can bear to, so if you want something, go get it and I promise I will figure out some formula for pricing. Someday.

I'm really not sure how I can compete as a business though when handpaintedyarn.com has prices like it does. Does anybody know anything about the site and where the stuff comes from? How on earth can they offer 135 yards of handspun for $6.20? I mean, wow.

P.P.S. I love my free little tracking code thingy. I don't check that often (really!) but I'm alternately totally amused and totally creeped out by the fact that one of my most popular search result referrals is "big ol' booty" or "pompis" which both bring up a picture of Crivens' big ol' doggy bottom while sacked out in a breakneck angle on the couch, and it also shows me cool people who apparently like me enough to link to me, yet I haven't seen their sites before (have I?) like fathom who has a very cool dog and looks so familiar that I am increasingly concerned that I committed some indiscretion with her when I lived in the Bay Area and have misplaced the memory.
Damn it, do I know her? Or just really envy her?
It's a weird wired world when we begin asking ourselves these sorts of questions.

Or maybe I just need to start drinking more water and less beer.


Friday, August 12, 2005

In between trying to set our heads on fire... 

...I have actually been spinning. And, I've been doing stuff on the legal side of setting up a shop, so I figured, in the meantime, while Etsy's doing its free listings thing, I'd set up a shop and see if anyone out there actually would want to buy my handspun.

Nick and I keep going back and forth about the pricing. He says I'm undervaluing my work, and I say that no one will buy it at what I actually think I'm worth since I have such an inflated opinion of myself anyway that I might as well price it at a place I might buy. Go here and please, please, please tell me what you think.

Anyway, pictures of a spinning FO! I love spinning because I think the transformation of this:

Freshly dyed coil of roving.

to this:
All pre-drafted like a mofo.

to this:
Two bobbins of S twist singles, awaiting Z direction plying patiently.

to this:
A two ply, awaiting further plying in the S direction to make a cable.

I just think spinning fiber to yarn is so pretty and cool in all the transformations and incarnations that it almost makes the end product unimportant. Almost. Ta-da:

A cabled 70% wool, 30% silk sportish weight yarn, hooray!

I am not so good at plying, but I love the variation and how the end product looks like a very long tedious chain of crochet.
But it's not!
It was a lot of long tedious plying! Hahaha, fooled ya there.

I'm spinning up 100% Tussah silk for a yarn I've had in mind for a long time...and since showing your spinning with a bit of bling seems to be en vogue lately, here it goes:

(hey, when you've been unemployed for a while, a dime does count as "bling")

I don't think I've finished any fun books lately, but I did see The Third Man and Dr. Strangelove, both movies I had not seen before, both absolutely fantastic.
I've got to get me some Graham Greene.


Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Well, ow. Frikkidy, ow, ow. 

Because Nick and I are kinky, we decided to ear candle each other last night.

Oh yeah, baby. Your words are so sweet and smoky they set my ears on fire.

The tinfoil has a hole in it through which the candle (really a waxed gauze fabric conically rolled tube) bottom goes, to protect the person in case of ash droppings.

Regular readers know I'm a gross little person. The allure of ear candles was simple and anecdotal: "When you're done you open it up and see all this stuff and think, 'That came out of my ear?!'"

Well, maybe if you don't pay any attention to physics you think that.

All the ick dripped from the top down, nothing was being pulled up and out. What you see is just melted wax and ash from the burning of the tube.

Here's Nick's candle:

When we tried it on me, we ended up extinguishing it well before the instructions said to, because the heat and pain was freaking me out. My ear still hurts.
Kind of serves me right: "Here, stick this thing in your ear and set it on fire."

"Okay, sure."

"Ow. Ow!"

To test our theory that ear candling is complete bullshit, despite our confidence that we had followed all instructions to the letter, we tested the other pair by holding the "ear" end sealed, recreating the angle, and torching the f*ckers.

Surprise, surprise, the end result of the simulated ear candles was the same as the ones which had actually been in the ear. Ear candles don't pull any fun icky stuff out of your ear, but they can cause extreme pain.

Thus endeth my public service announcement: Don't stick anything in your ears and set it on fire, kids.


Sunday, August 07, 2005


(not-so) Secret word of the day, it's weird how these things happen.

A fun day. I got to meet Hilari who has a very funny blog with all the crafty hook-ups. Go check out her pics of our outing--they're way better than mine.

And seriously, that Classic Elite pima cotton is so incredibly soft, it's amazing.

In a weird coincidence, Nick and I were also invited to two BBQs today. We didn't make it to our neighbor's, but we did make it to the other one (sort of), if only because they were Nancy's neighbor. Yeah, it's a small world that my husband's "graves" partner lives about a thousand feet from one of my favourite people. And her adorable little Chinese-dragon-faced-little-monkey-grrl.

We hit Village Yarn in Fallbrook (fun drive, scroll down for linky goodness if'n you want it), skipped Yarning for You (the local pooh-poohed it), and went to Black Sheep and Common Threads. Black Sheep has a sh*tload of Classic Elite Inca Alpaca (at $8.75/109yds!!!!) and Common Threads was having a sale. Guess which shop opened my tight little purse...

I think the hands-down personality favourite of the day was Village Yarns. We got to hold a puppy who smelled like a dirty bird.

I do have a pic proving conclusively that Heidi's bodacious tatas dwarf a 10 week-old long-haired dachsund puppy, but I'm saving that for a select group of fetishists with Paypal accounts...

It was a little odd, because we didn't get the sense she did a huge load of business, yet there was this:

amidst this:

Literally tons of acrylic, with precious yarn gems buried deep within the folds...

And if you ever wondered, "When you undergo radiation treatment for cancer, do you lose all your hair?"
She answered that for us definitively: Yes.
In a clump.
When you get up one night for a piss you'll find it all in your panties.


Friday, August 05, 2005

Sunday! Sunday! Sunday! 

So, Sunday's the day for the North County San Diego Yarn Crawl. We're going to start from Nancy's house (shoot her an e-mail for directions) meeting about noonish.

I've done some recon (using, as always Heather's super-useful and up-to-date walkaboutknitter site) and found that while two of the shops (Antique Yarn Shop in Poway and Noble Knits in Oceanside) don't have Sunday hours, we still have some fun driving and yarn fondling potential. No clue which we'll start with, but here are the shops on the list:

Village Yarn in Fallbrook. She doesn't have posted hours, but she said to call before we came and she'd be there for us. BTW, she mentioned that through September she's having a 25% off sale, and she does sell through the web if you can't make it or aren't local. From Nancy's house Yahoo has it at a 22 mile, 50 minute trip. I'll bet we make it in half that (if you have pets or small children between Oceanside and Fallbrook, I suggest you keep them inside on Sunday ;)).

Yarning For You, in San Marcos, is open 11am-4pm on Sundays and only ten miles from Nancy's, so we may start there instead. Don't know.

Then there's Black Sheep and Common Threads down in Encinitas, open from noon 'til five on Sundays. We'll see how far we get, and I'm really looking forward to it.

++++Fiber Stuff++++

The first sweater I ever knit was from Filatura di Crosa Plume that I bought from the Yarn Lady's bag-sale bin at my first (and only) Stitches West experience.

It was a simple turtleneck from The Yarn Girls' Guide to Simple Knits (still the best beginner's learn to knit/beginner's knit book I've seen for jumping right into making something) and I never got around to taking a pic of it. I used the Plume doubled, and it was floppy and oversized and comfy. I wore the sweater every once in a while but didn't wear it too often because it seemed to me that every time I washed it, the Plume seemed more bedraggled and not as soft.

Until the day I had the bright idea to fluff it in the dryer. After all, it was only 45% wool. But "fluffing it" coincided with the need of another load to be dried, so it went in with some darks on low, and I had to go somewhere (can't remember where now, of course) so I just left it in there.

And now I have a nice warm sweater which just might possibly be large enough to fit a three year old. Once I put in a half-zip at the neck so that a toddler's disproportionately large noggin can fit through, anyway. It felted up so nice and thick, it should be very warm and nearly windproof--hooray for The Dulaan Project!

Otherwise, I might feel kind of bummed.

The sweater sez, "I won a trip to Mongolia! Wheeeeeee!"

I finally got around to counting the wraps of the green faux Noro. Holy cow, I got 906 yards to the pound, only two yards off my spinning of the blue pound. I'm pretty happy with that. Here's the whole fake fandamily, a two pound, 1,814 yard pyramid:

And here's where I'm at with my TivoliT:

Look at that expanse of stockinette.

I'm really wishing I did something cool and engaging with it like Gidget Casts On, but at the rate I knit, if I ripped back, by the time I got back to the part I'm at now, where you try it on and start the fashion decreases if it's just above the bottom of your breasts/bra, I'd have to knit three more inches.
(Because my tits would have sagged in the time interval, just to spell it out.)

So, it makes a good knitting while reading project just the way it is.


The Nanny Diaries--talk about a book that makes you want to punch a main character in the face.

Haunted by Chuck Palahniuk--it's got a really neat hook, but all the story-tellers tell their stories in the same style so it kind of falls flat. Although, I guess you could argue they all sound the same because they are the same, because, deep down, we're all the same animal, man....oooh...whatever. There's a great gross-out in the beginning with Saint Gut-Free's story.

Appaloosa by Robert Parker--Tell me again, why the hell do I keep reading his stuff? But I do, so obviously, whatever it is, it's my problem. At least they're over pretty quickly. And it was better than Guman's Rhapsody. I couldn't even choke a quarter of that thing down.

Next, finishing The Poisonwood Bible by Kingsolver.


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