Spinning Partner

I get some moral support from a spinning partner.


Marine Facility Tour

My friend Helen Fields is a science journalist who sailed with me on my Coast Guard cruise last year. She came down and toured our marine facility this week. Check out her awesome report which is mostly about me! http://heyhelen.com/2010/02/research-vessel-tourist/


Supported Spinning

Supported spinning continues. I tried a two ply with an Andean bracelet but I didn't have enough twist to make a yarn I liked. So I Navajo plied it. I am much happier with the result but it reaffirms my belief that I need more twist in my singles.
I am happy to report that the Andean bracelet worked just great for a Navajo ply and I might actually use it more often.


On the Spinning Wheel

The above is the project I mentioned yesterday regarding the lost end. Anyway, you can see we are back up and running. My plan (as of right now, you know how I like to change my mind) is to spin one bobbin black, two bobbins white and ply all three together. I also thought about dying one of the white singles before plying, but I'm not convinced yet. I think I'll just make a tangled mess. And dying roving sounds like a complicated and bad idea because:

  1. I'll full it, you know I will.
  2. Dying the correct amount seems next to impossible. I'll have too much or more likely not enough.
Anyway, prepare yourself for more frequent pictures, I got a new phone. With a good Macro camera and I don't have to go to my computer to upload pictures anymore. You know how lame it is that the uploading process was the limiting factor? I have taken hundreds of photos for you that I have never shared just because getting to my computer to upload them never happens before they are no longer current. Well now, I can blog from my phone. You might get tired of hearing from me. Who am I kidding? I probably will increase my blog output for a few weeks then forget all about you again. Sorry, I'm a fickle mistress that way.

Said new phone is very distracting. Awesome, but distracting. I tried to watch Avatar: The Last Airbender, Book 3 last night and spin, but I kept getting distracted from both with all the awesome just sitting in my phone next to me. I'm sure it will wear off eventually and I'll stop constantly petting and poking at it.

Merino Mail and Broken Singles.

It was a good price ok? Don't judge me. Found on Artfire, arrived yesterday and I took a picture. Look, you love it, it's awesome. 1 lb white merino roving. Mmmm Merino...

I am spinning black mill ends from The Sheep Shed Studio on my Heavenly Handspinning Fidelis.

Some of you are going to scoff at this point and say, "Maybe you shouldn't work with black. Maybe you have learned your lesson about dark fiber."

To which I reply "Kiss it." Yes it is more difficult to see, but that doesn't mean it is not a worthwhile project, won't produce beautiful finished items, or that the only solution is to never spin black again. For that matter I may as well never spin again, then I'll never have anymore spinning problems. BAH.
Too much tension went into my single and it broke. Not really uncommon, but when I went to re-join the end it was nowhere to be found. I'm serious. NOWHERE. But there had to be an end somewhere.

Ravelry forums came to my assistance with all kinds of techniques and I thought I would share those with you today (mind you all of the following are done gently).
  1. Tapping the spindle with the sticky side of some tape to try and pull up any loose wraps.
  2. Roughing the spindle up with your hands, like rubbing a cat the wrong way.
  3. Using a very soft toothbrush and brushing the opposite direction.
  4. Scraping the yarn lengthwise across the bobbin with a toothpick or straightened paper clip.
  5. Spinning quickly in the opposite direction.
The next and final solution was what I ended up having to go with, nothing could identify the end. I took the topmost, loosest wrap and snipped it with scissors (GASP!). The part that should be closest to the end I winded off with a ball winder.

Apparently the tension got so tight, it more or less cut into the wraps underneath and secured itself in place before snapping. Secured itself very very firmly. It actually broke again before I got all the way to the end. I lost only about 20" of yarn, but it worked out.

And in case I didn't already know this about myself, pay more attention to spinning.


JoCo w/ Paul and Storm

I woke up this morning unsure how I spent my evening and as it all comes flooding back to me, it feels pretty damn unreal.

When I heard Jonathan Coulton announce his concert in San Diego, I was invited... no, scratch that... I offered is probably a better word, to sell merchandise for him. With absolutely no other thought in my brain than maybe I'll get a little extra hello, it turns out it scored me a free ticket to the show and he needed the help of a friend.

I knew exactly who would want to help, but the culprit was in Boise, ID. A long way to come for a concert. Long~ish story short, I pestered him enough and down he came.

Yesterday, the day of the concert, I was not sure what time I was supposed to be there. When work came around in the morning I figured if I was there by the time the doors opened, that would probably be good. I looked up directions. I looked up parking. I looked up the spelling of Troy Polamalu. I did not look up what time the doors opened and I presumed an hour before the show.

Well color me dumbfounded to find that they opened TWO hours before the show. And I discovered this only 1.5 hours prior. Stressed out we find a parking place, run to the show and give our names at the door. OMG our names were on a list. I could see them. It was enough to get me excited.

We are escorted to the back while we scope out the venue. It is upscale. High class. Lots of expensive clothes. People wearing things like blouses and pumps and even a few suits. Clearly we have to be in the wrong place. I mean I am rocking an RE: Your Brains shirt I picked up at PAX and bunny covered Vans (knockoffs, I'm a cheapo). And I felt a little over dressed for a JoCo and Paul And Storm show. I mean I put eyeshadow on for Pete's Sake.

They show us to the back and leave us. We are in a hallway full of people I don't know. Thinking one of them is going to be my boss and put me to work, I start introducing myself around. One of them, going by Keaton is pretty sure he recognizes me, haven't we met? Uh... We come to find out that they are the late show & Co. and they tell us we should continue on to the Green Room as they are unaffiliated and someone in there will know.

We exchange glances, take a deep breath, turn the corner and walk into the most glorious thing we have seen all week. I would like to say "we've ever seen", but that seems a little extreme and I have seen babies birthed, humpback whales singing and dew drop covered spider webs so I'm gonna keep it reigned in. Sitting around, drinking beer, some kind of martinis and eating seared tuna and steaks is Jonathan Coulton, Paul and Storm. Heart stopped.

Still stopped. C'mon, c'mon. I need you pumping for this!

Clearly it wouldn't cooperate so I left my completely stunned heart behind and said, "I can't believe the amount of awesome I just stepped into."

Yep, that was my first line. And I want to kick myself for being such a dope now. Oh well, we introduce ourselves and I hear, "Hi, I'm Jonathan."
"Hi, I'm Paul."
"Hi, I'm Storm."
Like these two giggling, fainting little school girls had no idea who they are and didn't stalk ourselves an invitation to work for them. Ha. Silly really.

We hopped in the elevator to be shown around and I mention what a great venue it is. Wherein Jonathan says "I recognize you now, I know you from Twitter."

Um, yeah. I go beet red and was hoping against all hope that he wouldn't have. But secretly so supremely excited that he did.

We are sent back to save ourselves some seats before the show gets started. And then get to work. Carrying boxes, sorting things, we try and organize up and make pretty everything we can. Get back to our seats at the bar. Because that's how we roll. Given the option, our butts will be in the bartenders face. Tanqueray & tonic and Yellow Fin Crudo and we were soon enjoying a fantastic show by Paul and Storm.

Paul and Storm are really funny and clever. I am a sucker for clever lyrics that make me laugh. I hadn't really gotten into them until recently. My introduction to them was opening for Jonathan Coulton at PAX and unfortunately they played right after Freeze Pop (I think it was Freeze Pop, Anamaniguchi was another night). Ok if it wasn't Freeze Pop it was some other very high energy artist and followed by the hilarious, yet mellow Paul and Storm took it down a notch. If you were at PAX, not having slept in 48 or more hours with traveling, over stimulation and already battling the PAX POX you probably fell to the floor and pulled out your DS, giggled at funny lines, but halfway napping. I feel like if you weren't a fan already, this wasn't the way to be introduced. I mean they had a good show, but the timing was poor and I don't think they had a choice.

Last night however, AWESOME! Perfect timing.

Jonathan Coulton's show was amazing as always. The only song I wanted to hear and didn't was Blue Sunny Day. But the Mr. Fancy Pants performance was incredible and a fair trade. I missed the Re: Your Brains performance because that was our cue to get to the back and get to work. It's ok though. I've seen it live several times, I have it memorized and I could hear it from our table.

After the show we sold things: CDs, stickers, t-shirts, flash drives which include source tracks. Every one who came by was in such a great mood, so happy to have been there, so excited to see the artists. There were some very dedicated fans who came. Bearing gifts and cards and stories. It was so bizarre to me. I could possibly fail at the dedication, but then, we were the ones working for them, so maybe, ultimately, I win the Who's the More Dedicated Fan? contest.

So many other little things brought me joy that night and we skipped out on to the damp, dark streets of San Diego with very light heads, hearts and a few pictures to take home with us. So here you go, my pets, feast and be jealous!

Me, Storm, Paul and Drew. I was not brave enough for the hug, but Drew apparently has 8 balls.

Our new best friend. I would work for him any day. Seriously Jonathan, Call me.

If you are in the LA area, they have two shows that they insist on performing instead of playing Settlers of Catan with Drew and myself and a big ole box of Chillable Red. You should go check it out and make sure it was worth missing Settlers for. Shows...

Tell'em Brandi sent you. They will have no idea what you are talking about, but maybe my ears will tingle. And you can feel good about that.


Friends in unknown places

... that I have a small office, let's call them a legion, rooting for me. They want to see me succeed. The must approve any male I show interest in. I'm not entirely convinced they believe I exist. In their minds, I am probably Susan's alter ego and in reality, they are cheering for her. But honestly, I'm not positive that I'm not. I think she may be a very real part of what makes my life in San Diego whole.

The highlight of any day is sitting down next to my roommate, with a glass of wine on our patio, surrounded by poorly cared for and yet flourishing potted plants and our little wormy minions. It doesn't matter if we are talking about our love lives, or our day to day gripes at work, or even my plan to build something crazy and unnecessary, we never run out of things to talk about and saying goodnight is difficult and heartbreaking. I honestly do not know what I would do without her reason, reinforcement and positive attitude.

Thank you Susan. You, complete... me. I can only hope that I provide as much for you, as you do for me.

The Password is... vulnerable

[TV Announcer in low voice] The password is "vulnerable"

Contestant 1: Ok this is like Brandi when she is drinking wine...
Contestant 2: DRUNK!

Contestant 1: She is sad, things didn't work out the way she liked...
Contestant 2: DISAPPOINTED

Contestant 1: Yes but it is much more emotional, she needs protection...
Contestant 2: SCARED

Contestant 1: Not really more like raw, you need to hold her...
Contestant 2: HORNY

Contestant 1: Pass.
[TV Announcer] This episode of Password brought to you by TA, Thoughtless Anonymous. Don't care about others? Need to learn some compassion or even empathy. Join us with weekly meetings at your local YMCA.


24 hours from Conception to Completion

Armholes were definitely too shallow, I had to cut them much deeper. I also pinched and gathered the waist and cut out a LOT of skirt. And because I know I am never going to successfully manage double sided tape, I put a single hook and eye in the front. Don't worry Mom, I'm totally decent now.

Susan has loaned me some strappy brown wedges. Tonight I'm gonna dye my hair, paint up my nails and I'll be ready for maximum hotness!


Late Night Crazy Bug

Uh yeah, so I have an event Friday night and it is one of the classiest things I have been to in a while.  Shy, casual little me was bitten by a bat crap crazy bug last night.  I decided I had to have a dress and I knew exactly what I wanted it to look like and I had gorgeous knit fabric in my stash.

Mind you I figured all this out after my roommate and I went to bed.  But I only have two nights (and we have sweet plans tonight).  So I got her out of bed, showed her my fabric, there was much gesturing and draping, pattern browsing and debating.  In about 30 minutes I had my pattern drawn up and started cutting.  Less than an hour and a half from conception, I had this...

It is two pieces, one front and one back.  I wanted it to be as simple as possible, minimal cutting, minimal seaming.  This is pinned to Susan's dress form Sookie.  Not seamed yet.  I'm concerned about the armholes  I don't think I shaped them properly, but I think that is fixable.  Also right now there is a lot more length on it than I want in the end.  It's gonna be a little on the short side.

In order to make Sookie look a little more like me I put one of my bras on her and stuffed it with socks.  I couldn't do anything about the butt but I think I have plenty of room.

Why did I take an already stressful event and add this on top of it? This dress is going to be phenomenal when it is done.  I'm going to rock it (in fact, I might need double sided tape to stay decent), but it really doesn't have to be done by Friday.  Maybe I just needed some more drama in my life.