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Sunday, June 26, 2011

My New Favorite Things

I have to show you a couple o'things that are enhancing my life of late...

New Fav #1
I'm slowly working my way through the many, many podcasts I've queued up in iTunes. I use the Knitmore Girls suggestion of listening to 3 episodes to give a podcast a fair shake to decide if I will continue to listen. If I like the 3-fer, I go back and start listening from the beginning.
Can't help myself. It could be I go back to the beginning so that I'll know/understand the older references but I truly suspect it has to do with not wanting to miss anything.
Especially if the podcast is that good.

Anyway...the latest podcast that has entirely charmed me is NPR's Wait, Wait...Don't Tell Me!.
I find it to be clever, funny, and very interesting.

Their Website banner reads "The Oddly Informative News Quiz Show" and describes the show thusly:
"Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me! is NPR's weekly hour-long quiz program. Each week on the radio you can test your knowledge against some of the best and brightest in the news and entertainment world while figuring out what's real news and what's made up."
I find these descriptions do not do the show justice. I am guaranteed to learn something about current events and spend a bit of time (and breath) chortling or even laughing out loud as I listen to each episode.

Peter Sagal hosts the show, which features 3 panelists that participate in a variety of news quizzes - usually to benefit a call-in listener. The listener is attempting to win a coveted prize - a message on their voice-mail/answering machine by Carl Kasell, official judge and scorekeeper.

A celebrity guest will also play the "Not My Job" game where they're asked to answer questions about a topic that is likely not their bailiwick.
(Examples: Ru Paul & Drag (car) RacingHollywood Stuntman Hal Needham & Famous Weddings, and Bill Clinton & My Little Pony)

The writing for the show is impressive, as are the host/judge and panelists. They display stellar, witty, quick minds, a significant knowledge of current events, and they poke fun at themselves, the news, and the human condition.
I equate it to one of my favorite sayings: "Blessed are we who can laugh at ourselves - for we shall never cease to be amused".

"Wait Wait Don't Tell Me" is definitely worth a weekly listen!
(Which reminds me - I need to go donate to NPR. I donate regularly to PBS, but I seem to have been neglecting NPR. I'm off to go fix that...)

New Fav #2
My other new favorite thing is thanks to Jarod Flood of the Brooklyn Tweed blog. (Thank you, Sir!!)
I was catching up on his blog a couple of weeks ago and he mentioned a new book from Elizabeth Zimmerman. I have a few EZ books and the Knitting Workshop DVD. Based on those experiences, I immediately travelled to the Schoolhouse Press Website to go have a look.

"Knit One Knit All" was a book EZ had planned to publish in the 70's but the publishers she approached didn't think a book focusing on one knit stitch (Garter) would go over well.
(Hrumph. The numerous and successful one-stitch books published since then tell the tale yet again that EZ was a woman ahead of her time.)

My copy of this spiffy book arrived quickly and the top of the book shows some evidence of my delight:

The following are comments from the thank you note I sent to the amazing folks at Schoolhouse Press.
"I have to say - I am entirely smitten with your new book, "Knit One Knit All". 
The top edge of the book bears the evidence of my appreciation via the numerous wish-to-knit page markers I applied to all the patterns that immediately struck my fancy. 
I am especially enamored of the "Waistcoat Vest", the "Striped Blouse", and the "Long Collared Jacket". And the "Zig-Zag Jacket", both "Brimmed Hat"s, the "New Zealand Sweater", and the "Icelandic Overblouse"...I'm going to stop now because I could easily list the majority of the patterns in the book. {wry grin} 
Moreover, I love the comments, drawings and art you included from Elizabeth Zimmerman. 
Thank you for doing this. I know that my appreciation for this book cannot only belong to Elizabeth Zimmerman. I can only imagine the "village" that knitted this lovely book together.

Kudos to you all. "

"Knit One Knit All" is a gift to the Knitting Community.
And perhaps a labor of love.

New Fav #3
Lastly, another installation of an on-going favorite thing: another "Simon's Cat" offering: "Hidden Treasure".
(And here goes my first attempt at embedding a video...if it works, thanks go to Blogger, 'cause they did all the work.)

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Tucson World Wide Knit in Public Day (WWKIP) 2011

My very first WWKIP day - in 2009 - was interesting, fun, and had multiple locations and minimalist attendance (4).

Our 2010 WWKIP day had one location (Beyond Bread), Lots of attendees, and was much more fun! I believe we had close to 30 knitters, crocheters and spinners demonstrating craftiness in public last June. Humble apologies...I have no pictures. However, we had a grand time, the food was good, the seating was a little crowded (we took up most of the East half of the restaurant), and it was all sorts of interesting. So much to see. So many projects, so many people to talk to...although I was actually being a tad bashful so I didn't speak with everyone.

This year, Linda, our WWKIP day organizer, contacted the Murphy-Wilmot Tucson Public Library regarding having our WWKIP day gathering there. They were fine with our adventure occurring in their new library cafe!
(Ok, "cafe" in this instance = tables, chairs & vending machines.)
They gave us permission to bring our own goodies so I baked "Hawaiian" Shortbread (fancy name, plain, yummy shortbread cookie) and Oatmeal Chocolate Chip cookies. Linda brought a mondo bag of Hershey's miniatures (excellent rip-pit rewards) and coffee! (Thank you, I needed that!)

I have cheesy photos from my phone to document our public crafting.  (If I mis-name/mis-spell/mis-describe anyone, pretty please pipe up and correct me!)

On Saturday, June 11th, we claimed one of the wavy benches and some tables in the library cafe and we were joined by some known-to-me crafters and several brand new-to-me ones. We did not have LOTS of attendees, but I would say we did "Quality" over "Quantity". ;-)

I believe Linda brought especially crocheting to work on this day - a shawl in progress.
Debbie was the first to join us - wearing a crochet flowering-vine "scarf" and a hat that we thought was quite spiffy (hey, wait - did she crochet that hat too?!?). (Pictures are post-Debbie so you won't find Debbie or the hat in the pics below.)

Audrie drove from the other side of town to join us and work on a lovely kimono cardigan based on the colors/shading of Monet's Lily Pond. Diane came with two stunning bags (one knit, one sewn) that we ooh'd & aah'd over as well as some very nice stash yarn for adoption. Diane also came prepared to teach! Dena spontaneously joined us as her family explored the library and Diane gave her a knitting refresher and some stash to keep her going. (You should have seen Dena's face light up...well, you would have if I'd taken better pics...)
Emma, a very adept crocheter (whose way with words I greatly admire) is very successfully exploring sock knitting!
Jennifer turned up with some knitting AND crochet AND an absolutely Excellent WIP - 11 week old Benton.  She is entirely smitten with him, and I can't blame her. He was VERY well behaved, charming, and even though he's pretty well smitten with his Mom, he gifted us with smiles too.
 Benton was aptly dressed for our gathering:
We munched on the cookies. I broke into the chocolate first since I earned it doing some tinking (tink = knit spelled backwards. i.e. "un-knitting"). Other folks earned chocolate too although I ended up "earning" enough for everyone. (Oddly enough, the lace-knitting went fine for me. It was the simple sock that was earning me chocolate that day.)

Benton had other refreshments...

Linda pulled a few knitting books from the library stacks for inspiration and general perusal (I'm inspired to see if I can track down two for my personal library.). 

Becky from Grandma's Spinning Wheel stopped by for just a little bit. (Thanks again to the GSW folks for mentioning our WWKIP Event on their website!) Debbie and Diane had to leave after a few hours, but we were joined by Valerie, another extremely talented crocheter. She was even wearing a lovely, lacy, lavender example of her crochet talents! (Uh, no, I don't have a picture of Valerie...sorry/sigh).
(Ever notice how studiously we knit when there is a camera out?) ;-)
Various library patrons stopped by to ask about our projects and when and where we meet and...you guessed it - whether we were knitting or crocheting. The head librarian also stopped by to check on us and she seemed pointedly tickled that we were there.
We stayed for about 5 hours and then a few of us adjourned to a nearby Vietnamese restaurant for a late lunch. Even fewer of us traveled over to Grandma's Spinning Wheel to craft there for a few hours.

It was a bit of a long day, but it was inspiring and fun and I got to spend it with all sorts of lovely people - some new to me and some that I got to know a bit better.
Grateful thanks to Linda for organizing our WWKIP Day event again!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Godzilla!, Tiny Wildlife Rescue, and Australian Treasure!

Last Week I experienced a particularly nifty day...

After work, I'd met some friends at the Loft Theater to watch the last movie in the "Cinema Atomico - The Cold War Goes to the Movies" series sponsored by the Titan Missile Museum.
We saw the original Japanese version of "Godzilla" from 1954. 
(In Japanese with subtitles in case you were curious.) 

Yes, I am that geeky. However, I'm way less geeky than some of my friends - such as the clever gent who was offering excellent Godzilla movie trivia! 
  • The man that throws the switch when they try to electrocute Godzilla was the Director of the movie (appearing in the movie a la Hitchcock). (OK - I only saw an arm throwing the switch not a whole man.). 
  • The Godzilla cry/sound was made by rubbing a rubber glove across a cello (Think about it! That's exactly what it sounds like, isn't it?).
  • There was more, but I did a poor job storing them in my brain.
The Loft Art Director did an excellent intro; very funny, informative and charming. They drew some names for Raffle prizes - including a Geiger Counter and an overnight stay at the Titan Missile Museum (Do you see the Cinema Atomico correllation?).

The Loft also presented a short "educational" film before they started Godzilla.
It's called "The House in the Middle" - produced by the "National  Clean up - Paint Up - Fix Up Bureau"in 1954.
No, I'm not kidding.
If you've got 12 minutes - go take a look at this, uh, innocent time capsule of 1950's American Nuclear Perspective.
(I have to repeat one audience comment offered during this movie short: "Lead Paint". Go. Watch. You'll understand when you see it....)

I couldn't remember having seen the original Godzilla when I was a kid. Odds are I did 'cause my little brother was a serious Godzilla fan. (No, we were not around for the original movie release...)
I knit on 3 projects during the movie.
I have to confess, I knit on so many 'cause I had technical difficulties on two that required sight to repair/correct - but I did make some good headway on all three! (2 pairs of socks and a lace shawl.)

Tiny Wildlife Rescue!
I came home to find a very tiny Gambel's Quail chick in my car port. 
It was a little late for quail to be out foraging and becoming separated from one of their little ones (they roost at night) so I called the local Vet (Valley Animal Hospital) that works with Forever Wild Animal Rehab Center and they said to bring him on over.
(I have to note that Valley Animal is not my regular Vet, but they have always been very kind and supportive when I turn up with Wildlife-needing-assistance. It happened more often when BobCat was still alive and, uh, patrolling the neighborhood - but that's another blog).

I cropped down a box from the recycle bin, tossed some tissues in the box, put on my work gloves, and went to collect the wee one.  Oddly enough, when I came out to collect him, he started for me almost immediately and then he trundled right to my gloved hands. (I had to wonder if my shoes somehow resemble parent-quail).
(it's only about 2 inches or 5.08 cm)
I checked around for parents/siblings but none could be seen or heard so I drove the chirping little one to the Vet.  They said Forever Wild would pick him up in the morning. (I also dropped off a donation to Forever Wild since I was especially adding to their workload.) I understand the rehab folks will raise him to be released back into the wild.

Australian Treasure! 
(Also a "Blogs to Explore" review...)
And then I came back home and found spiffy things from England and Australia in the mail!

Via Ravelry I wandered over to the blog of Pom Pom in early February. She's an English lady living in Australia. She has organized the World Wide Knit in Public (WWKIP) day in Sydney for the past couple of years (A Much larger event then our improving WWKIP Day attempts here in Tucson) and her voice is somewhat familiar to me from the Sticks and String podcast Easter Show reviews. I enjoy her blog observations and humor. I am curious but rather ignorant about her comments regarding Australian politics - but I find them educational and interesting. (Not unlike when the Yarn Harlot comments on Canadian Politics.)
I became intrigued by her blog and continued to visit.
And I began to submit tentative comments on occasion.
Although Blogs are generally "out there for all to see", I do sometimes feel as though I've wandered into a private forum; as though I'm reading someone's diary.
However, Pom Pom was particularly kind and welcoming of my stray comments and questions.

As it turns out, she blogs every day for her Blogiversary month of March. So, there were more blog entries to visit and I continued to occasionally leave comments.

Pom Pom was able to blog every day but one in March. An illness and death in her family drew her back to England on short notice.
I was not alone in leaving notes of sympathy, concern, and support on her blog.

Another tradition of Pom Pom's Blogiversary Month is to use a random number generator (family member) to pick two numbers that would correlate to two comments left on the blog during the month. One Australian commenter and a commenter from somewhere else in the world are gifted with a prize. 

The random number generator happened to pick one of my comments and I received Treasure from Australia in my mailbox:

 This lovely yarn, Scrumptious Lace by Fyberspates, is very tactile and lustrous - and, as noted by a friend of mine, is the colour and sheen of a deep red rose. Pom Pom indicated that she'd chosen it for me when she was in England.
She also enclosed a note on a spiffy Sydney Postcard and my "bag-lady" heart sang when I realized she'd also gifted me with a bag from the 2010 Sydney World Wide Knit in Public Event. 

What an amazing day!
A ginormous Japanese Radioactive Lizard, a tiny/helpless Arizona Quail chick, and English/Australian yarn-y blessings.

Treasures from 'round the world.