Friday, December 7, 2012

Matching Yarns -- A Tale of Adventure

`Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
  Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
  And the mome raths outgrabe.

Or so begins one of my favorite tales of adventure. Lewis Carroll waxed poetic about slaying a beastie -- the Jabberwocky, to be precise. I slayed my own personal Jabberwocky this morning. Yes, I am being overly dramatic. Have you met me?

Last year my great good friend Wally Andersen ordered a hat, a scarf, and a flower pin for his mother for Christmas. I used a beautiful red yarn with a metallic red element in it. Wally loved it. His mom loved it. And then
                                               she lost
                                                             the hat.

So Wally's mom sent the flower pin back to me via Wally, her request being that I make her two hats in the same yarn so that her set would once again be complete and she'd have a backup hat in the event that her hat was misplaced again. Easy, right?

Yarns are, of course, dyed in batches. The dye for these batches is mixed via a recipe, but if you've ever been to a church or school function where all of the desserts are made from the same recipe but by different bakers, you know that not all incarnations of that recipe come out exactly the same. Or even close.This is how my mother became famous for her fudge slices, which have always been far superior to any other baker's rendition of the same recipe, but that's another story for another day. The labels on most skeins of mass produced yarn are imprinted with a dye lot number so the stitcher can purchase multiple skeins from the same batch, thus ensuring that the color matches exactly. Some brands have no dye lot, in some mystical way guaranteeing that any skein one purchases from any batch of this yarn will magically match. But matching dye lots is the most failsafe way of getting the same color.

Yesterday I took a trip to Michael's in Lakeview to match the yarn from Mother Andersen's flower pin. Let's just look at the bigger picture here. I went to a craft store, located in a largely gay neighborhood in the third most populous city in the nation, in early December, to purchase a specific and one-year-old shade of sparkly red yarn. "'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves did gyre and gimble in the wabe."

Michael's didn't have red yarn in the brand I was looking for. They had black shimmer, magenta shimmer, turquoise shimmer -- no red shimmer. Several other brands had red shimmer yarn, so I checked them all out. This one's too bright. That one's too bluish. The one over there is a garish color of red not even found in nature. I even thought I could mix a flat red with a metallic red of a different brand to achieve my color of choice. To no avail.

I had decided I would make a voyage to the JoAnn Fabrics on Elston Avenue -- or, as I call it, the Disneyland of Yarn -- over the weekend to see if they could bail me out with some closely matching yarn. The only flaw in that plan is that I rely on public transportation, and going from Rogers Park to Elston Avenue via CTA is a one-hour, two-busses-and-a-train investment each way. But I adore Wallace Soren Andersen, so it was an investment that I was willing to make.

And then this morning, I remembered something wonderful. My mother, the one who makes the best fudge slices in the known universe, had taken me to Hobby Lobby in Batavia last month and purchased for me $50 worth of the yarn of my choice. And one of the skeins of the yarn of my choice was... Red. Shimmer. Yarn. And it matches pretty closely to Mrs. Andersen's flower. Pardon my last-minute mixing of tales of adventure, but to quote Dorothy Gale, "There's no place like home."

That's all the news for now. Until next week, Peace, Love and Yarn!


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Stomach Flu and End Of Days

The Mayans said we have eighteen days left. If they're right, I'm really angry with my body and the flu virus, as I have spent four of my last twenty-one days nursing myself back to health from
The Stomach Flu....

I went on a rock 'n' roll adventure in McHenry, Illinois, where guitarist extraordinaire, Char O'Neill, has her lake house. Last Thursday night, we played an Open Mic at the very awesome Kief's Reef. What a blast! We then proceeded to Mackey's, a bar about a block from Char's, where they also had an Open Mic. Char played, I drank beer. Then we adjourned to her neighbor Tim's house to continue the festivities.

So when I woke up Friday morning, feeling rode hard and put up wet, I assumed it was just a hangover. A hangover I couldn't shake all day. Or the next morning. And then I unswallowed.

Saturday the flu symptoms hit me Saturday like a ton of bricks. No fever (actually my temperature went from 97.5 to 97.2), but hot and cold flashes, headache, nausea, and the like. I took to my bed, where I stayed for the better part of three days. I kept myself hydrated with Gatorade, ginger ale, and popsicles, watched movies, and snuggled with my cats. Roxie and Velma were more than happy to play nursemaids to their ailing mama.
Nurse Roxie

Nurse Velma

I watched lots (and lots and lots) of movies. I slept. A lot.

Yesterday morning I finally felt rather human again. I got up, made some phone calls, and realized that the exertion of getting up and making phone calls had been too much for me. I returned to bed and slept for three more hours.

This time when I awoke, I was ready to go!! I showered, got coffee and sustenance, and got caught up on some work on the computer. I went to the chiropractor who realigned me after three days of being bed-ridden. I went to the market and purchased semi-solid foods upon which to feast. And then I was worn out.

Finally today I feel back to normal. I've actually made it through half of a normal day, and I still feel like I can accomplish things. This is good. But as I said before, if the Mayans were right (no, Mom, I don't think the Mayans were right! I know that Jesus said no one knows when He's coming back!), I'm really upset about all of the time I wasted being flu-ish, because now I'm using up valuable crocheting time playing catch-up!! And you thought I was going to get to the end of this post without having mentioned yarn at all, didn't you?? I've got to get to work -- the holidays are upon us! People need hats, scarves, and fingerless gloves for the End of Days. Or the holidays. Or whatever....

So that's the news for now! As always, my darlings, Peace, Love, and Yarn!