Saturday, August 7, 2010

Stitch 'N Pitch 2010

I don't even like baseball, per se. I can only enjoy watching it live from the stadium, eating a hot dog---more specifically, a Dodger Dog, since we moved to L.A. I like knitting infinitely more. Which is why I decided to attend Stitch 'N Pitch this year.  Also, I'd missed it last year, so the chance to knit AND eat Dodger dogs in the same sitting kind of appealed to me.  Not to mention meeting other knitters, getting cool swag, and singing Take Me Out to the Ballgame.

This year, my friends and I attended the event through Unwind yarn store in Burbank.  Several LA stores participate, each offering their own swag, which can create a bit of bag envy as you're sitting in the stands.  My husband dropped me off at the store (we're sharing a car these days, and it's very close to his office, which was perfect).  He kept asking me where he was dropping me and how I was getting to the game. I think at one point he thought my friend Lynda (BIG Thank You, by the way, for organizing things for our trio, and for giving me a ride home after the game!) was driving one giant bus with all the knitters in Los Angeles to the game, and then dropping us off individually afterwards.  Or that the game was actually held inside the yarn store.  Or that we made the whole thing up and were going Club hopping---I don't know.

I'd been wanting to visit Unwind for a long time, and now that I know where it is, I'll be going back soon.  Well, as soon as I have yarn money again.  Do you KNOW how hard it was NOT to take advantage of the discount last night?  Especially when my friends both got some really beautiful yarn.  It's like asking an alcoholic to just hang out and watch while you restock your liquor cabinet.  But I maintained---I just kept fondling the Namaste clutch and "yarn tasting" samples we got in our swag bag (Wendy, if you're reading this, I promise to put my project in one of two new cloth knitting bags I got last night at the event, instead of my usual plastic Michael's bag). I also had my  androgynous bobble head to keep me confused--er, entertained.

It was a lot of fun to be on the bus with all of the other knitters.  They had games for us to play, and it was so nice not to have to deal with the parking and the driving.  I was a bad girl and hadn't eaten to speak of all day, so I devoured two Dodger Dogs as soon as we got settled in our seats.  It was 80's night, so one highlight was definitely the Don't Stop Believin' singalong; they split the big video screen to show a Seth Rogan looking dude doing his most ferocious air band, and some little kid gyrating and doing a Chuck Barry windmill guitar.

I'd brought some yarn to work on squares of a baby blanket, but forgot to slip the pattern for the Blackberry stitch into my bag.  Another thank you to Lynda for finding it on her trusty pet iPhone.  I was very proud of myself for following the suggestion to bring a small project.  I had everything in my little brown backpack purse. But what I didn't bring was a thick enough sweatshirt! Yes, I'm going to use the "c" word--it actually got a little cold out there.  Back me up, Angelenos--it's been unseasonably cool at night here, which is great for sleeping with the window open, but not so much if you're dressed for a heatwave.  Next year I'm also going to beef up my knitting accoutrements so I can place in the "scavenger hunt" they had on the bus. More like Bingo, actually---if you had, say, a tape measure (and I've been caught without mine), you got a point.  If it was shaped like a sheep, you got two points.  Well, that was about the only point I got.

All-in-all, it was really fun.  I look forward to going again next year if I can.  That's all, thanks for reading!

Oh wait . . . you wanted to know about the actual GAME?  As in who played, and who won?  Who cares?!?!  Ok, ok.  It was the Washington Nationals, and the Dodgers lost, like sissies. All I know is, there was a lot of boo-ing when our guys hit that little white ball, and their guys caught it before it hit the ground.  Just kidding---I do know a little more about baseball than that. But honestly, other than stuffing Dodger Dogs down my pie hole, the few points we scored, and the singalongs, it was just like regular knitting night---cackling, gossiping, and admiring others' projects (in my case, trying to steal the yarn my friend bought whilst pretending to admire it). Not much baseball watching.  And for our group, usually not much knitting either, although I think we all managed to finish a few rows. As for the Dodgers, better luck next year.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Andy on NCIS - the full story

So, this is my knitting blog, but I had to do this post since I can't write the whole story on FB. 

The first important thing to know is that in addition to it being a cool gig, Andy was cast on this show over three years ago, but couldn't do the job because his back went out.  THEN, he actually met the guy that took his place one day at another audition.  And finally, here he is.

So there we were out at the Disney Ranch (not really a ranch with horses, etc.--just  a large property with set houses, etc.) out in Antelope Valley.  It was about 1000 degrees yesterday!  I was just very glad and proud of Andy and content to hang out in his trailer.  Had I known there would be a DVD player I would have brought some movies to watch.

OK, the second thing to remember about this is what a Guest Star role is.  It really doesn't have anything to do with how many lines you have, although it certainly is more than one in most cases.  It really differentiates the credits---co-stars are usually listed altogether at the end of the show, whereas Guest Stars are credited at the beginning.  Also, with this on his resume, his agent can finally push for more of these, and also bigger roles.

So, with that technical explanation out of the way, back to my juicy story!  So there I am, knitting and writing in the trailer.  My mom called on my cell and I was chatting with her, when there was a knock on the trailer door.  I open it and the very nice Asst. Director (ADs for short--there are usually several of them), says "As soon as I round up a van, come on out---Mark has invited you to set."  I nearly drop the phone.  Since the actual scene was a short drive from base camp, I didn't think I'd get to meet anyone. Apparently, Mr. Harmon had been absolutely wonderful to Andy.  Even when you have lines, if the star is a diva, you have go hang back, not get in the way, and not do any more than what's scripted.  But he encouraged Andy to really get IN the shot, and to look over his shoulder and do what came naturally in the scene as they were examining the body etc.  So they were chit-chatting between takes and when Mark found out I had come with Andy yesterday he said "Well, where is she?  Let's get her out here to the set!"  He took Andy over to one of the ADs and said "Let's get Andy's wife out here."

I practically hung up on my poor mom.  I freshened myself with my body spray, even though I'd been inside in the A/C and I was like "Argh--where is my lip gloss?" to myself.  I get out there, and they find a chair for me right behind the monitors and just a few chairs away from Mark's.  I am just sitting quietly, and Andy came over between takes.  Then the finished one shot and Mark walked right over and introduced himself to me.  He was so very kind and easy to talk to!  He said "You didn't have to come to the set, but you know, Andrew was crying without you!" We spoke about his sister Kelly, who used to be an actress (I told him I remembered her from an episode of CHiPs).  He said Andy was doing a great job.  We chatted about how hot it was, and I can't remember what else.  I wanted to tell him I used to like that other show he was on, but I couldn't remember the name--(no, not St. Elsewhere)--I looked it up last night, and it was Reasonable Doubt back in 1993.

Then . . . I almost ruined everything!  There was a dirt road, and on  one side was the scene, and on the other side were all the equipment and chairs, etc.  Up the hill on the road was the food/snacks.  I had been told I was free to get a drink, or get something to eat.  I walked up the hill so I could actually call my art teacher and tell him I'd be late for class.  I couldn't get a signal, so I started back down the hill.  I heard them call "Rolling!" which means the cameras have started.  I just stopped in the road so I wouldn't make noise crunching gravel or anything.  What I DID NOT realize, is that the cameras were pointed up the road!  I was in the shot!!!!  A couple of crew members started waving at me, and I got off the road before they called "Action!"---but I was mortified.  Nothing bad happened, no one was angry---Andy said none of them in the scene even noticed.  But I wanted to just melt into the ground.  I just try to be really well-behaved when Andy takes me with him.

We ate dinner, and before we left Andy asked the AD if he could thank Mark, who was in his trailer.  So the AD knocked and Mark stuck his head out and shook hands with Andy.  I was kind of hanging back a bit, but I waved and said it was really nice to meet him.  He said "You take good care of this guy!"

So, that's the story morning glory.  Sometimes publicists surf for mentions of people, so if they find this, I hope they tell Mark how grateful we are and what a wonderful experience it was for both of us!  I will definitely let everyone know on FB and Twitter and e-mail when his episode airs---it may be the season opener.  He's a state trooper (I teased him about looking like Dudley Do-Right with that hat on!) and his scene is in the very beginning of the show---the teaser before the opening credits  (in other words, think of the scene on CSI Miami before the music starts).  I'm so proud of my honey!!

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Full Medal Jacket

Wow, I can't believe it's the last night of Ravelympics.  Not only did I get blinded this week by busyness like the poor skiers this weekend careening into the blinding snow, but once I decided to rally last night and make a push (kind of like pulling an all-nighter in college to get your paper in on time), I crashed like two-bit bobsled on the 50/50 curve.

My strategy was to start the crofter's cowl, not only for a change of pace, but I figured if I pushed through and finished all but the bind-off last night, then I could whip through the rest of my windmill bag during the afternoon today, and then maybe eek out the collar and seams on my sweater WIP.

I was clicking along pretty good, and even though I was starting to get sleepy, I think I started what I thought was the kitchner bind off or seam at close to 2am.  Well, first of all, I wasn't supposed to have a seam at all, so the three needle bind-off is NOT the same as the kitchner.  But I thought I could live with that, when the whole seam started to come apart.

Three am and nothing to show for my day's work.  I was so angry.  I thought I'd just log on to Ravelry this morning, and post a photograph of the failure and call this year a wash.  But when I woke up this morning, I felt a little better, and felt much better after I met with a friend for a crock of homemade mac and cheese at a local cafe--I believe cheese and/or chocolate can cure just about anything.

So I ran by Michael's and picked up another circular needle( I had one in the right size, but the other was stretching the project too much), and a new ball of yarn--someday I will rip that other mess out (oh, and did I mention that right after I started the second half, the phone rang, and my husband was in the bathroom, so when I ran to answer it, the yarn got stuck on my slipper, and I lost a stitch marker, and then never recovered and made more mistakes, so had to rip that out and start the second half over?) but I just don't want to deal with that cursed yarn right now.

I decided to take it slow this time, and did a beautiful first half, with no mistakes.  I took the time to really check along the way.  So, I didn't finish my WIPs, and won't finish my new projects either--I mean, I will, but not during Ravelympics.  But I hope that what I have done will get me at least a silver for the bag and the cowl.  All things considered, I did pretty well for my first Ravelympics.

Now, here are all the things I missed snarking about this week:

  • Russian skating dude:  get over it, and get over yourself.  If all you had to do was a quad for the gold medal, you could have just done that and gone back to Siberia.  Evan had so much more soul and art in his program!  That's why there are points for artistic merit!
  • Evan Lycecek (sp?):  Love ya man--Go USA!
  • On Lindsey Vonn: I'm sorry she fell and whatnot, but she got one gold, and being Skier Babe and all, we're gonna be seeing a lot of her in primetime television for the next decade or so (and I'm talking female attorney or detective and the like, not the spokeswoman for Subway).
  • US hockey team: frickin' awesome!
  • Apolo Ohno: you were ROBBED on that silver medal, dude!  But you got 8 other ones, so screw the Canadian judge!
  • JoAnnie Rochette: Godspeed sweetheart--your mom will be watching over you forever!
And lastly, here's a link to a knitting article I recently published online:

http://crafts.suite101.com/article.cfm/lean-to-knit

So that's it for my first ever Ravelympics!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Speed Skating Through Ravelympics

Well, OK, maybe not--but I feel pretty good about my progress.  Sure, I don't have any finished projects yet, but considering I've worked three of the the four days of the Olympics so far, and blogged every day I've knitted with my progress, I'm at least a contender for a Silver, dontcha think?

But my post will be short and sweet tonight:

Finished the second panel of my windmill bag, and have done a few rows on the third one. (Whoo Hoo!)  Almost finished with the first draft of the story I started yesterday (Whoo Hoo again!) Loving the skating still, although I think the Russian dude needs to go to Disneyworld or something and learn how to smile.  I feel bad for the French kid, but I hope he can rebound for at least a bronze in the long program.As I type this, the American guy Evan Ican'tpronounceorspellhislastname has just had a strong short program.  I'm hurting for our little Lindsay Jacob Ellis---I think it's been the saddest thing for the USA since Tai and Randy (different sport, but tragedy is tragedy).

And last but not least . . . does Dick Button have an "OFF" switch? 

Monday, February 15, 2010

The Knitting, the Writing, the Weather--Oh My!

First of all, today was the kind of day I live for---blue skies (not a cloud in sight), warm sunshine---and it's FEBRUARY people!!!  And we're looking at another solid week of the same.  Just had to gloat for a moment. 

Made it through the first panel on my windmill bag.  Like the mogul skiers, a few little bumps have altered my project a bit.  Namely, I kept getting nervous about not having enough of my first color to do the I-cord.  I am TERRIBLE about guestimating how much yarn I have left and what I can do with it.  The result is that this bag will be a bit shorter and squatter then the one in the pattern photo.  But the person who wrote the pattern says it's OK, because the longer the bag, the stranger she says it will look.  Plus the pattern is very loose and free, suggesting measurements, but always leaving it up to how long or wide the knitter wants it to be.  I would have chosen to make this bag a little longer, but I will have more of this yarn left in my stash to try another one after Ravelympics. Even though I was hoping to obliterate this particular stash of Homespun, I'll deal with it.  I still think I'll end up with a pretty cute little bag.

I had another moment of panic when the online instructions for an I-cord called for DPNs--but I just used the same technique as the bind-off, and I kept slipping the three stitches back onto my lefthand needle and knitting as instructed.

I am also tracking some of my writing projects since I'm on Team Writer.  I just finished a short piece for submission to the Readers Write section of The Sun magazine.  The subject they give with a March 1 deadline is "Beauty".  If it gets accepted, it will be published in September.

Well, that's about all I have to report today.  I'm glad to see Canada winning so many medals on it's home turf.  And---GO USA for women's mogul winners!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Confessions of a Ravelympian

Well, it has begun.  I'm officially a first-time Ravelympian, and I'm into it already.  The next 12 days are going to be hectic and fun.  I might have to look back at this first Ravelympic Post to remember the "fun" part when I'm trying to bind off my last row of my last project during the last five minutes of the Closing Ceremonies.  But until then, it's pretty much a free-for-all!

My first confession tonight is two-fold:  I did not cast on my first project when local coverage began at 7:30 pm, or even when the Opening Ceremony began at 9 pm, and the Peace Shawl I finished can never be seen in public because it has a huge critical error that I didn't think would be that noticeable when I was going along.  It could be years before I feel like ripping it out.  For now it will just remain my writing shawl on the back of my writing chair.  The colors are beautiful too--Rowan Colorscape Chunky, yarn that was given to me by my husband's mother.  It was brand new and waiting in my stash.

OK, enough about what I didn't do.  I *DID* cast on my windmill bag before the Opening Ceremony well, closed.  Pretty cool.  I made a decent first sprint.  Now I need to go online and learn I-cord before I get to the next panel.

My next confession is that I really loved the Opening Ceremony, and I hope that people will stop comparing it to Beijing soon.  I honestly felt I learned more about the culture and geography of Canada than I learned about China from Beijing's festivities.  It was reported that the producer in Vancouver wanted to present something more personal and lovely--and he hit his mark.  I actually found myself crying during the sequence dedicated to the prairie/plains, as they played Joanie Mitchell's Both Sides Now.  Too bad she couldn't sing it in person, but the effect was beautiful.  I know part of my emotion can be attributed to the fact that I can't hear that song without thinking of Emma Thompson's perfect performance to that same song in Love Actually.  But tonight, all I could think about was the perfection in nature and in life at it's best moments and how much I love my husband and how lucky I am, and, finally, that I really don't know love either---not the way I'd like to.  I mean the kind of love that really heals all ills and melts hatred.

Lastly, I'd like to confess that I am not looking forward to the show I saw advertised during tonight's broadcast called Marriage Ref.  I'm probably the only person on the planet who never worshipped Jerry Seinfeld (he's alright, I'd eat a hotdog with him, but I wouldn't hire him as the clown at my birthday party), and the clip they showed of Alec Baldwin is a perfect example of why I can't stand him: "You don't have to make you wife the most important thing in your life--you just have to make her think she's the most important thing in your life."  Pig.

So here's to the Games--they have begun!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Ravelympics, here I come!

OMG.  It was two weeks.  Then a week.  Now it's here, in one day (and ten minutes)!

But I got my projects posted: two WIPs--a sweater and a throw; a bag, and a cowl.  Ambitious, I know!  But I have faith in myself.  and this is going to be so much fun!  I'm on Team Writer, and if the knitting itself wasn't enough, I'm going to be keeping track of at least two writing projects and sharing them with my teammates--the play I started a few weeks ago, and at least one short story.

I'm stoked!