Because even though there are only two of us and four bedrooms, when I try to work on a pattern in the living room, odds are I'll look up and see this: 

Then I'll crack up laughing, grab my camera, take a million pictures and next thing I know I've totally lost my stitch count.

So tomorrow, I'll be in my office.

I'm While cleaning off my phone, which seems to be in a continuous state of yelling at me for not having enough space, I reminisced about our trip to cancun, which I realized I never blogged!

We have really nice friends. One of our really nice friends Carly, has a Dad with a timeshare. Which meant for the low price of zero dollars, we could spend a week in  cancun!
I had airline miles saved, so the flight was almost nothing, but I did spring for the all inclusive. Which, after the way we drank that week, I'm sure they regretted.

It was a fabulous trip with two low spots. 1) the high pressure from the sales people when we refused to go to the time share meeting.
2) Going to the pyramid and seeing a dog wander out of the woods, lay down and die in front of hundreds of people. I was hours away from cell service and all I wanted to do was get pictures of my dogs and cat and bird to know they were alive and well. 

Otherwise though, it was amazing and the second time in my life I've been in the ocean ! 
Me and Skylar

Breakfast = mimosas.

Rainbow over the ocean

It was hard to get me to move from this spot.

In the water where there were apparently no human sacrifices. That was in the OTHER sinkhole. No, really. What what that by my leg???


I laid out, dill went to the activity table to paint a skull. 

Our first two mornings when we ordered drinks the bartender would ask "with alcohol???" And I would have to remind him that we were on vacation and if they didn't want people drinking at 8am they darn well shouldn't open the bar that early and I don't need your judgy tone Mr mcjudgerson! But by the third day he was our friend and giving us doubles to see how long it would take us to pass out.

My other favorite hang out.

Last night foam party! 

View from our room 

Morning yoga

That's it! It took ten years for us to take a vacation like this. Hopefully it won't take that long for another. I had a blast, but I don't think I'll ever do another full seven days. I miss my animals too much. 

As most of you know, I own a little coffee shop near my home, and have done so for over a decade now. (Jeez)Obviously in that amount of time, I have seen my share of "wacky" customers. Usually it averages out to one a month, but some weeks, the crazy just rolls in!
Yesterday was gross crazy. Woman comes in and when she leaves she wads up her napkins and trash and stuffs them into her mug. (Tip, only do this if you really, really hate the person waiting on you. Because they're probably the one who has to reach their hand into the cup and pull your trash out!)
Then we notice that in her mug of trash, is a bloody piece of gauze. She took gauze off of whatever wound she was rocking and put it into a mug for us to clean. We threw the mug away. And if we see her again, that lady is getting a "to go" cup.

Today though, I had this fun interaction! Lady comes to counter, orders a small coffee then tells me "You tell the Catholics that they trashed the wrong house. It was mine!"
I do the polite smile and nod thing, because I have no idea what she's talking about. She repeats that same line two more times, then I try to direct her to the self serve coffees and start giving her descriptions of our different roasts. I started out with our Arabian coffee and said

" This is our dark roast, Arabian."

I was not prepared for the outrage that this would cause.

"Oh no! Oh no! Not that one! That is the wrong image! We don't do that!" and with those words it was clear that she was no longer just irritated but had crossed over to full on pissed off. She poured herself some coffee, still ranting about how "that was the wrong image!" then as she's turning to leave it's once again,

"You tell those Catholics that they trashed the wrong house! It was MY FUCKING HOUSE!" turning to make sure the customer closest to her could hear her as well. (Trust me lady, everyone in the cafe is hearing your words)

She stomped to the door and over her shoulder, in a completely different, totally cheery voice said "Have a nice day!"

Then I watched her try to get into the wrong car, walk a couple spaces over to her SUV and take off.

And these are the weeks that, despite loving my job overall, I just wish I was a secretary in a normal 9-5.

I bring home a lovely sampler of Knit Picks Biggo. 

My husband brings home a wine barrel. 

Oh well, at least it's a new surface to fill with yarn. 

Ever struggled to do a move physically? A pull up, a push up, or just running your booty from one end of the block to the other? In aerials, inverts were always my nemesis. While other people seemed to do them effortlessly, it wasn't until I started combining some cardio and ab workouts into my routine that I started hitting inverts with ease.

So when we decided to do another derby halftime routine with lyra and silks, I was a little nervous that I would have to invert on the silks in skates. The first time I tried it, total failure. But I kept practicing and by last week was hitting it without any issue.

Yesterday was the day of the show, and we did a rehearsal beforehand. For those of you that don't do silks, heights make a difference. The higher your silks are, the easier a lot of moves become. When your silks are low they become really tight and hard to work with. Well, the ceiling at our performance space is very low, meaning my first attempt at an invert had my skate kicking the carabiner. My second, third, fourth, etc attempts were just as bad. I just could not hit this freaking invert!

I was panicked about the actual show and stressed that I wouldn't be able to hit the move. My husband brought me coffee and encouraging words, telling me "Get strong. Just do it. That's what you do when it's something physical. You get strong."

Music starts, I climb my girl on the silks, go to invert... can't do it. Took a deep breath, told myself "You're GOING to do this" and I hit it! Yay me! It wasn't the prettiest invert in the world, and I was a few seconds behind my partner, but I got it! Which proves to me that when I train, when my body is strong, my failures can only be in my head. I psych myself out a lot because I think I can't, when really my body is fully capable of doing what I want it to do.

Anyway, I didn't mean to get all preachy and "rah rah rah" cheerleader, but I wanted to explain why I was so extra proud of this routine. Also I got to suggest the music, which is a mash up of two Ego Likeness songs, Devils in the Chemicals and Second Skin. I love, love, love Ego Likeness, and Donna Lynch, the lead singer, is even a model in Geek Knits!

Click the link to see the performance!


Photo by Chris Rall

I know I'm late to the part for Outlander. When it first came out I was busting my booty on Geek, so I just didn't have time to watch a show that I knew had tons of knitting that I would want to recreate! That being said, I know there are lots of Outlander Cowls floating around, but I thought I would add my version into the pile regardless!

It took me a while to get the stitch definition that I wanted. I started with size 11 needles and ended up going to US 36! I also tried several different yarns when swatching, but fell in love with the way Knit Picks, The Big Cozy feels and the way it drapes.

I also struggled with whether or not the cowl was twisted. I tried it both ways, but came to the conclusion that it's not. If you disagree, feel free to twist your cowl! I also really like doing a live cast on, since it hides any seaming. But feel free to cast on normally and seam at the end if you're not into the live cast on!

Outlander Cowl

Note: If you leave the super warm and soft cowl around a dog named Harvie, she will burrow in it and make it her own.

While a Corgi named Willie will use it as a chin rest.

Outlander Inspired Cowl
by Joan of Dark aka Toni Carr

US size 36/20.00mm circular needles
Knit Picks The Big Cozy (55% superfine alpaca, 45% Peruvian highland wool; 44yds/100g) 6 balls in Bittersweet Heather
Scrap yarn for cast on.
Tapestry needle

Finished Size
20” high and 36” around after blocking

4 sts and 4 rows = 4” in garter stitch on US size 36 needles

Special instructions:

Live Cast On (Also known as Invisible or Provisional cast on)
If using scrap yarn, tie scrap yarn and working yarn in a knot, about 3” from end of yarn. Hold both pieces of yarn in left hand, with working needle in right hand. Scrap yarn should be on top, working yarn on bottom.
Bring working needle in front of scrap yarn, and behind working yarn, putting it on your needle. Repeat until all stitches are on your working needle.

With 2 strands held together, use live cast on method to cast on 22sts
Knit until pieces measures about 36” (or desired height) and place live cast onto empty needle, then seam together using Kitchener stitch.

Last Saturday the performance team at Asa Bela got to debut something we've been working on for a long time. We were asked to do the halftime show for Bleeding Heartland Roller Derby vs. Ann Arbor Derby Dames.

I worked my booty off (actually literally. 10lbs and 10") for a month to get this down. Ever done lyra? Hard right? Now put skates on and try it!

We had so much fun, and my lyra partner Sue was just amazing and dedicated tons of time to getting all of this right! (And she never got mad when I kicked her).

Check out the video that Chris Rall made! CLICK ME!

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