Survey Says…


All you former Jo-Ann workers in the comment section (Bonnie and Toni!) need to form a support group – I am serious. Ladies, I feel your pain, you know I do. Don’t make me relive the joy of such events as the purse dogs who peed on the floor or the crazy Iranian bitch at the yarn barn. The book is coming soon.

I finally finished the pattern I’ve been working on (deadline was TODAY!) and sent it off last night while Jon was stuck at a Matisyahu concert with a bunch of white kids with dreadlocks named “Trevor.” Yeah, mon. Anyway, it’s done until they tell me they want it fixed, repaired, errors corrected, or it sux. FYI, it is a sock pattern, and was hard to do. I can admit it: I am not a sock pattern designer by trade.

Saturday, I finally sucked it up and went to a chiropractor. Here is the news:
The neck region of my spine should be curved, like this:
Instead, it is straight, like this:
I can honestly say there are days when I wonder if my life would be better if I’d never started knitting again, but let’s be honest: it’s my poor posture that’s to blame. So I’m working on it. I haven’t actually knit in a week due to pain, but I have to get back on the horse, since I have three proposals due by June 12th.

Tonight, I am making sure the bathroom is clean, I’ve taken a bath, and any other mundane things are done by 10 p.m. Because it’s the season finale for MY SHOW. My boys!
If you don’t watch Breaking Bad, I feel sorry for you. Really, I do. I love my Mad Men, but I kiss the hem of my Breaking Bad. Walt and Jesse, I want to cook meth with you, yo. Not really, there are consequences, and I think tonight is gonna be a scorcher with multiple story threads hanging and then I’ll have to wait nine months until it starts again and DAMNED, but hey, Mad Men comes back in August, so thank you AMC!

Finally, I have a busy week next week, including a drug survey I’m doing for my neurologist, which is a great way to make some extra money when you’re unemployed, so they say. I’ll just be doing some journaling about a drug I already take – no big deal.

I also received a call from my mum today. My childhood next door neighbor and friend (a boy) died this weekend, and the funeral is Wed., so I will be going. Same age as me. Suicide. A real tragedy, and a pause for reflection, that is for sure.



Oh laws, how I procrastinate! This (blogging) is a form of procrastinating, and I will not be doing it again until after May 31. Help me! I am in pattern-writing hell!

What is a planogram, you ask? Why, let me tell you. I have been spending WAY too much time on Ravelry, and stalking a thread on the yarn section retooling of Michaels. Because, yo, that’s all I can afford now, and I can’t go back to where I used to work – not that I’d ever WANT to. I’ve also been physically stalking my local Michaels, which is no fun. When, oh when, will they put their “new” stock in? And will it suck as bad as the old?

Finally, a former “work” friend and I met up on Memorial Day to go to a bead shop and another local Micahels. Where they had restocked! The Ravelry thread had “insiders” from the Big M who kept mentioning a “Planogram” (what the fuck is THAT?) being put in place to restock by June 1. Well, this store finally had it done right. No big surprises, just their new 100% acrylic line called Impeccable (it’s not), lots of Fisherman’s Wool, some new colors in Paton’s Merino, and something new to these here parts – Caron Country and Spa. I bought.

Look, it's 251 yds, a pretty yellow, 75 acrylic and 25 bamboo. Five hanks for under $30. I think I'll manage.

Look, it's 251 yds, a pretty yellow, 75 acrylic and 25 bamboo. Five hanks for under $30. I think I'll manage.

It won’t set the world on fire, and I hope it won’t CATCH on fire, but for what I paid, I think it will do for something from Breeze. On a 5 needle, I can wrangle between 22-23 stitches per inch. As I like to say, it is what it is.

Thanks, planogram! Jon and keep walking around the apartment saying the word at random times.

I also bought some 100% very thin pure white bamboo from an Etsy seller, The Knitting Siren. Very reasonable price, lots of yardage, great customer service. I just wanted something extremely thin and plain to design something for myself somewhere down the road. I find lately I am drawn to a much smaller gauge (28 st/per inch) on a much smaller needle. It will take longer, but I don’t need the bulk or the weight. I’m in my simple period, for myself at least. Thank God for Pay Pal.

And last week, I finally set in the last sleeve of this:

Tide, by Louisa Harding, from Swallowtails.

Tide, by Louisa Harding, from Swallowtails.

More photos on my Ravelry project page, including the fact that I hated the yarn I chose, GGH’s Boulino. Looked great on the ball, knitted for shit.

My right shoulder is killing me, and all the Tiger Balm and heating pads in the world aren’t helping. Which is why writing one damned pattern is what I must do — I have to give the proposal knitting a break. I finished one, and am about halfway through the second. Here’s a sneaky peek:

Hmm. Chunky yarn, cables. Is it any wonder? Debbie Bliss Como — what was I ever thinking when I got this? That’s why I don’t mind using my own stash for proposals. I have plenty of stuff that I don’t mind giving up for the cause, and it was free. It’s funny, I didn’t realize until I was well into this, the second piece, but my three new pieces are either brown, grey or white. I am a little worried. The first one is in Pakucho, and the last is white Cotton Ease with embellishments in Habu Cotton Gima. This is so not like me, to go for the lack of color, but you use what you have when you take something like this on.

Before I go…what else…hubby is taking some days off in a few weeks, and we have a packed slate. Going to see Bon Iver in concert, and also going to a comic book (oh dear…) convention in Miami. We got press passes, and I figure honey can geek out to his heart’s content, and maybe, just maybe we can interview THIS GUY. Cause, like, he’ll be there. Did you know there’s even a Ravelry group for him? I swear, it’s true.

Seriously, there’s a Ravelry group for everything. Even procrastinating would-be designers.

Moving forward…slowly

It’s about to storm in a most alarming way, but we need the rain, so I am glad. I wish I had project pictures to show, but since the light is bad, and since everything I’m working on now if for proposals, I don’t feel comfortable showing snaps. After I get accepted or rejected, maybe then.

But I’m choosing to think positive. One project is already contracted and done, and the other proposals are due by June 9th. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately, and trying to move forward with my life, albeit slowly. Sometimes, this means something as simple as reading a book. I’ve actually gotten back to reading…gasp! A book a week. Since I have such a backlog, I have no fear of running out anytime this year. Or next. But the simple joy of reading is a pleasure I’ve been happy to embrace again.

My last two reads were:
The Queen of Everything by Deb Caletti: A young adult novel I bought in 2002, before I even met Jon. Funny, huh? I do horde things. It reminded me why I tried my hand at my long-neglected YA in the first place – these books can be edgy and still be good. I would definitely read more of her work.
Dirty Little Secrets by Julie Leto: Hah, an autographed to me copy I got from Julie in 2004. That was the year I was at the Melbourne Florida Romance Writers Conference, and joined a great critique group. And the year I quit my newspaper job to enter the yarn world odyssey from hell. C’est la vie. A fun, light read.

Now I’m reading an Alice Hoffman. I used to love her stuff until it got too samey-samey, so we’ll see. It’s not like I don’t have 900 other books in the old bookbag.

I also watched a great movie: Dolls, a Takeshi Kitano flick. If you haven’t seen his work, you should. He veers between comic violence and maudlin sentiment, and this was in the second category, but it’s based on the Japanese Bunrako form of storytelling (with doll-sized puppets), and for me the selling point was the costumes by Yohji Yamamoto, which the entire production was based around.
That should give you some idea.

In fact, one of the pieces I’m trying to do for my proposal is out of a very drapey bamboo, and I so want to try someting asymetrical, very Yohji. Even though I tend toward the romantic in the design I favor, there’s nothing that says I don’t go by the old saw “simplicity is the keynote.”
I mean, come ON.

Now I just have to rewatch The Double Life of Veronique on DVD so I can sell it on That one fetches a pretty penny, let me tell you. I suppose I should be sad selling off practically my entire DVD collection, but really, I’ve come to terms with it.

Damned, we got a thunderstorm going on now, ya’ll.

Anyway, Jon took (dragged) me to see Star Trek on Sunday, and I must tell you I got a little drunk before showtime just to deal with it. I am no Trekkie! It was okay, but I got a headache halfway through, maybe because of the vodka or because I felt like I had been caged up in the Enterprise for too long. My thoughts: Uhura needed a sandwich badly, Spock and Kirk needed to just kiss and get it over with BADLY, and when the bad guy said, “Prepare the red matter!” to destroy that planet with a drill, I thought he said “Prepare the red BATTER!” because, as I said, vodka is GOOD, and I turned to Jon, totally serious, and said, “Are they going to pour red velvet cake batter on the planet? Because that’s tasty!”

I apologize if I ruined any plot points for the Trekkies. Actually, I don’t.

So the other good news is my partner and I have been accepted to October 3rd’s Third Annual Rock the Stitch in Delray Beach, and we’re already planning and preparing lots of new goodies. I sincerely hope we are more successful than last year, although we were successful last year. It would mean the world to me, to prove I can make something out of this little handmade enterprise. Not the starship.

I want to get my confidence up, eradicate some of my innate shyness and learn to put myself out there more. If this is what I really want to do, if I want to make a go of it, I need to find a way to do it. I read so many other handmade blogs for inspiration, and it’s time to stop saying “how can I do that?” or “I wish I could be more like HER” and actually do it.

This transition has been hard on me. People who I thought were my friends don’t call anymore. I can’t be the one to pick up the phone all the time, and sometimes, friendships forged in another place and time break down for a reason. The ones that remain are the important ones. Forging new ones can help. The funny thing is that during this whole ordeal, the people who have been the kindest, the most understanding, have been ladies like my dental hygienest Isabel and my hairdresser, Nancy. I think that kind of tells me something about people and their personal integrity.

And so, onward and upward. I’ve got some knitting to do.

Simple Pleasures

I haven’t much new to report here from the velvet cage, except I got my hair did today and feel human for the first time in weeks. I am almost done with the designing part of my secret project, and am delighted to have turned the page on that. Especially since it’s due by the end of May and I have some patterns due for a book proposal in early June.

Last weekend, I was very depressed, and found pleasure in making something very simple for the store (not listed just yet). One of my crocheted berets, this time with a sweet floral embellishment.
Nothing fancy, just a little Blue Sky Alpaca Skinny Cotton in chocolate brown. This has to be one of my favorite yarns EVAH to work with, so smooth and fine. I had two skeins of the brown left over from an abandoned project, and the hat took but one. Not sure if I’ll make a second hat or just fool around with the second skein and keep it for myself.

Pleasures in the velvet cage come few and far between. There’s not much to view from the balcony but Bad Mommy, one of my psycho neighbors, and her eight-year-old son. Last week, as I sat on the balcony, talking on the phone, the little tyke humped one of the parking lot pylons and then proceeded to lick it while Bad Mommy bent over in her hoochie-fied Lilly Pulitzer skirt and berated someone on HER phone. Tonight, I watched as the poor tyke begged her to let him inside to use the potty, and she ignored him to…you guessed it, yack on the cell phone.

We’re all lucky the kid didn’t leave a puddle in the parking lot.

So I find my pleasures elsewhere. Like in excessive television watching. What, you have a problem with that? I can’t help it that I watch American Idol like a brain-dead prairie dog on meth. I can’t stop! And I can’t help it that I hate, loathe and detest Danny Gokey almost as much as I do Gwyneth Paltrow. Why, he absolutely makes my skin itch! UGH!

So you can imagine my joy, my sheer exploding orgasmic response, when he got kicked off this week! I grabbed my husband, and we danced! In the living room! I did an endzone shuffle. I raised my hands to God. I got on my knees and thanked Jesus.

And then, I sang this.

Oh happy day, indeed.

Books for sale

That got your attention, right?

For any knitters who might have clicked on this blog through my Ravelry page, I just wanted to give a heads up that I am selling some titles on
I go by the same name there as this here blog: tanyadiva.

Some of the titles include:
Inspired to Knit by Michele Rose Orne
Fitted Knits by Stefanie Japel
Vintage Knits by Sarah Dallas
Knitting Without Tears by Elizabeth Zimmerman
Vogue Knitting (the big VK BIBLE – seriously, a can’t live without book).

All books are in either brand new or good condition, as is noted on If you’re interested, take a look. I will be adding more in the future. Sorry if you wanted Custom Knits, because I already sold that sucker. I just wasn’t that into it.

I’m not passing on the info because I’m one step away from the poorhouse (I am!) or want your money (that’s gauche!) but I do find that I bought a lot of knitting books, albeit great ones, on a whim, that “gotta have them right away!” itch. And maybe they’re better suited to someone with a different body type, a different sensibility, like, mayhap, you? Look, the Michele Rose Orne book is very new, and very lovely. But I should have seen it has mostly wintery knits and a lot of color work, which I’m…just not that into, before I took the plunge. Live and learn. That has been the lesson the Lord has been POUNDING INTO MY HEAD this year.

Moving on. I am trying to be positive! People want to read positive blogs, with lots of positivity and pictures! I will do what I can. I have less than a month to get some important projects done, so I have been procrastinating. No more! It ends tonight, after The Soup! I swear! Here is a hat that I have finished and simply love – I used some leftover Opal Lang, one of the toughest, slinkiest yarns to work with, but I like the results. It’s totally fun and I call it Preppy Meets Disco – because of the colors and Lurex.
So there you have it. My own little creation, but not quite done, since I have to weave in the ends, and for that I needed to make a trip to Jo-Ann’s to get some Fray-Chek – with yarn this slippery, you really need to reinforce. This hat will be for sale.

Keepin’ in positive!

I also dithered around finished something long-simmering in my bag. Many moons (2005?) ago, I decided I was going to make the modular skirt out of Koigu KPPPM from Vogue Knitting. But I didn’t have enough yarn, can never get any more, and frankly – just, no. BUT, what to do with my finished motifs?

Well, I had eight. Crazy eight. I joined them, then weaved in all the black and white ends. This took hours. Next, I tried doing a garter stitch edging, but didn’t like it. So, using a D hook, I crocheted two rounds of single crochet. I attempted one round of crab-stitch, but that wasn’t pleasing. So, one final round of single crochet going only through the back loop, and I was pleased. It still needs to be blocked. And, I purchased some recycled felt backing (a steal in the remnant rack) at Jo-Ann’s, which I will carefully cut in the hexagon shapes and sew with quilting thread on the back. But I think this is a dual garment – a combo neck piece, but most especially, a belt. Here are some very preliminary photos. I’d love to know what you think.

The ubiquitous Dritz kilt pin. How I love it.

The ubiquitous Dritz kilt pin. How I love it.

This is how I really love it. It's on my body form here, but on the real body, it looks great.

This is how I really love it. It's on my body form here, but on the human body, it looks great.

Again, these are my crappy early morning photos, but I have to say, I am proud of this piece, and seriously, it took hours to do this and I’m not done!

I have firm intentions to list this, and sell it either on Etsy (who knows?) or at the craft fair. I will not price it low, because of the hours of labor. And I think it looks pretty swell.

I’ve done a lot of reading this week, trying to better undertand Etsy, and I realize now that it’s so vast, it is truly difficult to get yourself noticed. I know there are things I could be doing better, and I have to try. Because if I don’t, it’s merely a holding pen for my items. And just waiting until the craft fair in October, which I don’t even know if we’ll get in, is like playing roulette. Without house money.

I also want to start making more experimental items, and continue working in a more organic fashion. Which is another reason I’m selling off my pattern books. I’m also selling my electric guitar and amp, but hey, that’s more for food.

Keep it positive! The next few weeks, I have to finish my project I’m contracted for, and I have some proposals to send in to an editor. This is a great opportunity I stumbled in to, but I can’t talk much about. It’s no guarantee of anything, and certainly no way to make a living wage, but it is a light in the darkness.

I can’t lie and say my inactivity isn’t part of a slight depression. My unemployment will run out sooner than I had thought, and I’m in a panic mode. All I can do is pray pray pray and hope this is all a massive life lesson that I will come out on the other side of, wiser. I’ve decided to take a week off from the Internet, e-mail and Facebook, because I’m doing nothing but wasting time. No one is e-mailing me, so why bother checking the mail? If I’m not looking for a job, it’s useless to be on the ‘Net.

I’ve rambled on long enough. This is not the forum to work out the inner festerings of a troubled, unemployed mind. Last night we went to Miami to see Kings of Leon. They’re my husband’s favorite band. I think he had a great time — press passes meant he got to wrestle in the photo pit. Here’s a photo from the show
I started crying uncontrollably when they sang “Use Somebody.” I don’t know why. I’ve just been real emotional lately.

That and Allison getting kicked off American Idol. Dammit!