Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Grand Excitement

I have this very sweet, courteous coworker. We only work together on Sundays, and every Sunday, he asks if I did anything exciting that week. Considering I'm in classes 40+ out of 52 weeks every year, my response usually requires a pretty liberal interpretation of "exciting." And yet he still asks--that is dedicated belief in the existence of exciting.

This past week, what passed for exciting was taking the car and driving out to The Hinterlands to the only independent fabric store around, which is also just about as far as the nearest big-box fabric store (just in the totally opposite direction).

Technically, the Hinterlands is a rawther large city. It sprawls like no other, though, so it's more like several different cities, the closest rubbing right up against where I live, the farthest touching the mountains rimming the valley. I think of it as The Hinterlands because it takes so long to get to the downtown, unless, of course, you have a death wish and want to take the freeway out.

Anyways--the excitement of driving to the Hinterlands is the signage. Somehow, they have managed to retain more of their old signs than any other city around, so as you drive in, you get a peek of what Arizona was like before the masses of people washed in, making tiny one-road downtowns explode into big sprawling cities. Driving by, looking at signs for motels, little florists, car repair places, and the fabric shop above, you almost feel like it would be possible to pull off all the 21st century grunge like an old carpet and reveal the city as it was, filled with cars the size of ocean liners and men in crisp chinos opening doors for women in full skirts and poufy hair-dos.

Also exciting was that this trip ended with me hitting the button jackpot. You wouldn't think finding buttons for a sweater is all that hard--after all, most LYSs have their own little button corner, and then there's the venerable Button Tin in my closet. Au contraire. I've been on the lookout for buttons for Monita's Christmas sweater since January, and it took me until last weekend to find The Buttons. 8 months later, Christmas gifts are officially, unquestionably done.

Now that's exciting.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Decency of Snails

Well, summer is still hanging on for dear life here, but fall has reclaimed the early mornings. The end must be near...

I have not given in to the wooly shawl yet. Instead, inspired by the a) amigurumi of a crocheting classmate on Ravelry and b) a long-abiding desire to use up the last of the Rowan Calmer that gave me such trouble in Christmas 2007, I pulled out my copy of Amigurumi Knits and knit a snail. Hansi is a knitter after my own heart in her unwavering dedication to grafting and picking up stitches rather than seaming. That whole snail has one seam that is not kitchener--where the shell attaches to the mantle. Genius.

When I started the project, I thought I could make it just a slug. It would be a sort of knitting therapy to get over the plague of slugs that coated the walkway to Dalkeith Estate. And the fields surrounding the estate, and the forest surrounding the fields. As a general rule, I'm ok with gross, but these slugs were too large, too slimy, and too numerous to be viewed with anything but a sort of horrified fascination. Seriously, there were so many slugs you had to keep your eyes on the ground walking in, out, and around the estate. Unless you happened to be ok with the thought of stepping on multiple slugs in the course of your walk, which I was absolutely not.

I got the slug part done and discovered that it looked quite indecently naked. How that is possible with a knitted toy, I'm not sure, but it was undeniably indecent. So it had to become a snail. There were some snails at Dalkeith, too. They were far fewer and farther in between, and somehow, less ugh-worthy than their shell-less cousins. Maybe I just like my gastropods clothed. Whatever the reason, it was a small matter to whip up the shell, and voilĂ --snail.

Pinky the Snail has quite happily taken up residence on my nightstand beside the Hansigurumi Loch Ness Monster, and I'm even thinking I could round out my collection of strange knitted toys--and use up the last of that Calmer--by knitting a little pink nautilus, or perhaps a go traditional with a chubby pink mouse. The possibilities!