31 July, 2009

The Signing

It's been so long! There are lots of things to catch up on, but I thought the signing that I went to with ManCandy and my friend Cyn deserved its own special place in the sun.

On the 19th of July, the three of us gathered together to head to Comix Experience in San Francisco to help celebrate their 20th anniversary.
Mr. Gaiman was signing and promoting Who Killed Amanda Palmer, which sounds like a delightfully dark and strange book. I'm looking forward to owning a copy sometime in the future.

I had never been to a book signing before, so I didn't know exactly what to expect. I found it charming that for the first 5-10 minutes that he was up in front of a mere 100 people - and this a gentleman who is used to signing for hundreds of people at a time - he shifted nervously back and forth and didn't really make any eye contact with anyone. After 20 years as an author and who knows how many public appearances, he was still a bit wary of the crowd; I found it very sweet.

Then we all shuffled back outside to wait in our original places in line - we were 35-37 - to come in and get our books signed. This is where I ran into a bit of a dilemma.

You see, back at the beginning of July, I packed up several boxes of books and took them up to my Mom's. Then, just before the signing, I realized that my copy of Coraline was not, in fact, on my living room shelf; it was neatly packed in a box with the rest of my Gaiman books, 3 hours away. This is what I get for being "organized" and "doing things beforehand." My copy of The Graveyard Book was still on my nightstand, so I took it and my Coraline glove (there is still only one...). Cyn, however, saved me. It turned out that she had the same edition of Coraline that I have, so we worked out a trade and Cyn bought a copy of The Dangerous Alphabet instead. I owe you big, sister.

As I walked up to have my books signed, Mr. Gaiman spotted my Coraline glove and asked if that was indeed a copy of the ones from the movie. The conversation went like this:

NG: Is that a Coraline glove?
Me: Yes! I made it. ::stupid grin::
NG: I saw someone on the internet making those full-sized pieces!
Me: ::squee!:: That was me!
NG: That's brilliant! You were on my blog!
Me: Oh, I know!
(By this time, everything out of my mouth was followed by an exclamation point.)

Mr. Gaiman put the glove on, jumped up, and gave me a big hug and a kiss on the cheek. I may have turned bright pink - I probably did. I may have also offered to make his daughter Maddy a pair in time for this winter, which gave him a papa-twinkle in his eye.

It was wonderful. My only regret is that I should have given Cyn my camera instead of a girl who worked there - Cyn would have gotten the pictures I really wanted: my Neil Gaiman hug and him signing my Coraline book with the Coraline glove on. But in the end, I was totally chuffed by the whole experience.

So that's it. The Coraline thing came full-circle and I got to spend some quality time with good friends; all in all, a glorious day.

21 July, 2009

In The Mean Time...

The post about my morning in San Francisco with ManCmandy, AuntieSocial and Mr. Gaiman is coming soon.

In the mean time, go here. You won't be disappointed, I swear.

I may be adding Wayne Lawson to my List of People With Whom I'm Allowed To Sleep.

19 July, 2009

Enough Said

Coraline Glove
Originally uploaded by TikaBelle
It was a great day.

14 July, 2009

Tour de Fleece, Days 3-11

This week, I have two things to do in which to earn my paycheck:

1) Go to my boss's house and water the outside plants that aren't on the drip line, and
2) bring the Kids over on Saturday for swimming, a movie, and pizza while the Parents have a Grown-Up Party.

I gotta tell ya, this job I have is The Bomb and I'm going to be sad to leave it in August.

In the time off, I've made a list of things I need to do while I'm at home. A large portion of the list consists of "clean out 5 boxes from storage" over and over again; the smaller amount makes me feel all productive when I get to cross it off the list. I'm down to only two check marks to go, although I think there will still be a few more than 10 boxes left. So far, I've tagged probably 85% of the stuff for either donation or trash. It's dirty work and some of it is hard; I found a newspaper article wrapped around a bunch of pictures of a smiling blond teenaged boy, my friend Brian Rudolph. The newspaper article was about his death at sea while on a crab boat a la The Deadliest Catch, and it stopped me full in my tracks. Brian has been dead for nearly half my life, and I hardly think about him anymore. But he was a bright and shining soul despite his troubled past, and I wonder what would have become of my friend if he'd lived.

There were other pictures of people who never made it past their teens, or twenties. Smart, good kids who didn't deserve to be hit by drunk drivers or shot by stray gunfire. When asked, I will claim that I didn't go to my 10-year reunion because I didn't want to explain over and over again why I am not married, pregnant, a mother, graduated, or famous; but a smaller part of me was loathe to go to a gathering of people I've known since kindergarden - my graduating class wasn't tiny but it was tight - and see the empty spaces where my friends used to be.

Anyway, now that my chest is all tight and I'm uncharacteristically emotional, let's move on to some pictures of spinning, shall we?

"Asti" 2-ply cormo/corriedale from Black Bunny Fiber Club 2
313 yds.

This yarn got a LOT softer than the roving was after I washed and whacked it. It smells all sheepy and wonderful, so there must still be plenty of lanolin left in the wool; it'll probably soften up more along the way. If I'd thought about it properly before I started spinning, I would have split the roving down the center and tried to maintain the color progression a bit better, but I like the barberpole effect as well. It looks like beads, doesn't it?

Currently I'm working on this:

"Harvest" BFL from Pigeonroof Studios

It will grow up to be a 2-ply lace. I got this at the spring Color Fiber Festival in Berkeley last May, and originally I was going to ply it with a similar amount of "Autumn Cherry" BLF; however, it's so pretty on the bobbin that I think I'm just going to ply it against itself.

While I was up at Mom's this weekend, I indulged in a little experimentation for my Cherry Matchless. Here is the finished product:

What is that, you might ask. THAT, my friends, is a set of totally removable and washable treadle covers so that this barefoot spinner doesn't sully her new spinning wheel with footprints!

Needless to say, I'm thoroughly pleased with myself.

I'm also pleased because Mom and I went up to her LYS and I came away with one (1) skein of yarn:
Noro Silk Garden Sock

I have a thing for VM in my yarn, and that thing is loathing. I've never really tried using Noro because of the VM, but this skein was very pretty and I couldn't find any twigs with my eyes or my fingers and I figured I should give the (very pretty) yarn a try. It's for sheer scientific research, I assure you.

So I have a story about being at Mom's this weekend:

ManCandy and I slept in THB's old room at the end of the house. This particular end of the house has rhododendron bushes right up against the windows that provide some shade all day long but also have a tendency to house wee birdie beasties. Not a big deal for me as I don't mind birds, BUT. On Friday night we didn't realize that Mom had taken the curtains down, so the room got light pretty early. I can usually put my head down and sleep through the dawn, but I was slowly roused by an incessant TWANGing sound above my head and occasionally at the other window by my feet. Eventually I emerged from the covers to discover a beady red eye looking at me from about 6 inches away. This bird then launched himself at the window screen, TWANG!!, clung for a second or two, then hopped back to his branch. A few moments later, he did it again. And again. Andagainandagainandagain. Every once in awhile for variety (I can only imagine it was for variety) he would fly around to the other window and TWANG on it as well. He had no care for tapping on the window, the presence of the very intrigued cats, or the flailing of my arms as I tried to get him to Go. Away. I finally got up at the indecent hour of 6am and wandered into the living room to watch the Tour de France with my stepdad.

Later that morning when the rest of the family was up, I heard the TWANGing again and summoned the adults in to see the phenomenon. They duly agreed that it was annoying, and then Mom started to laugh. It seems that she caught sight of the DevilBird's actually red eyes. She thought I was exaggerating.

This excitement occurred again the next morning, but I am s-m-r-t and resorted to opening the window about 6 inches. Waffles immediately went and sat on the windowsill, and that was the end of the DevilBird - at least until after I got up.

04 July, 2009

Tour de Fleece, Days 1 and 2

It's that time of year again, and I got sucked into joining the TdF; this time I won't burn myself out on spinning so badly that I don't spin again for 6 months.

Despite my concern about burning out, I have indeed joined Abby Franquemont's Team Suck Less, in which our ultimate goal is to... suck less by the end of the Tour.

I'm currently working on another roving from the Black Bunny Fiber Club, this time a cormo/corriedale cross in gorgeous blues, greens and purples called "Asti." I chose it because I think the wheel still needs some breaking in and I didn't want to start on the gorgeous 100% cormo pindrafted beehives I got from Sue at Retzlaff this year until the wheel is ready for some frog hair yarn. However, before I get into specifics on the current project, I have some spinning FO's!

I have finally completed, washed and set the 2 ounces of Easter Egg colored Merino/soysilk roving that Jasmin bought from A Girl on the Rocks last year at the Color Fiber Festival. The other two ounces have lived in the bottom of my spinning bag for just about the entire time; I am apparently not so much a soysilk kind of girl. But here is the yarn I did finish:

Easter Egg 1.0, merino/soysilk chain-plied with irridescent thread, 170 yds.

Easter Egg 2.0, chain-plied merino/soysilk, 64 yds.

In retrospect, I should have chain-plied it all without the sparkly thread and had one ~230 yd skein, but I didn't so I'll have to come up with something to do with each skein separately.

I also finished the Begonia 2.0, which was the second half of the Begonia 1.0 from the Black Bunny Fiber Club. I used this roving to break me in to the new Matchless and to attempt to break me OUT of the habitual weight of singles I've been spinning:

Begonia 2.0, superfine merino 2-ply, 104 yds.

The exercise definitely helped; I'm charmed by the chubby, bouncy 2-ply I created, and I'm feeling much more comfortable with using the double-drive on the Matchless.

So, back to the Tour de Fleece! Originally, I had no plans for the 4th of July. Then Jasmin and I mentioned in passing that we should watch 1776 on Independence Day, and I added that I would bring steak if Andrew would grill them, and the whole thing was off to the races. In all, about 20 people probably showed up to Jasmin's for beer, steak, corn-on-the-cob, spinning, and one of my favorite cheesy musicals.

Jasmin, Erin, George (standing), and Candy

We spun out on Jasmin's patio to kick off the Tour, and over the course of the day I managed to finish the first bobbin of the Asti roving I've been working on.

I also got a fanTAStic graduation present from my dear friend Colleen, who is possibly the wisest person I have ever encountered. If this were the Middle Ages, she would be one of those Wise Women who are in danger of being burnt at the stake for their deep understanding. Thank goodness she lives in the 21st century instead, where she can dispense her genius (and largesse!) without fear of reprisal.

Anyway, the present! Behold:
A cupholder for the Matchless (who really needs a name)! I'm completely thrilled! She also gave me some beautiful merino/tencel from Abstract Fibers that I'm probably going to hoard because it's just so lovely in the bump.

That's about it for now, except for the announcement that I'm moving up to Roseville in September to live with THB and his friend Mac in THB's very own house. Thus, posting may be a bit sparse as I focus on paring down a 3-bedroom apartment's-worth of stuff into a single bedroom. I'm not good at giving up material items, but it is definitely time to go through boxes and pitch a bunch of crap I've had lying around for years "in case I need it."
Darcy only approves of emptying out boxes so he can lie in them.