Friday, March 16, 2007

New shawl on the block!

Yeah! My Sea Silk Lace Wings shawl is complete and, as I type, pinned and drying in the other room. If I say so myself, it's gorgeous! Best of all, it worked up quickly and used only one skein of Handmaiden Sea Silk, which has to be one of the most luscious yarns on the planet.

But before you see it blocked, here it is just off the needles. I love the way it gets really skinny at the ends so that you can easily tie it in a variety of ways.

And I love, love, love the way the colors change on this. The mixture of bronzes and golds and silver-greys makes for a truly lovely look.

Can you tell I'm in love? :)

Okay, so here it is blocking in all its glory on the floor of my spare room. I'm not the best at blocking these things, so it's not comletely even. I'll probably go back and make some more adjustments, but I'm not going to get too anal about it. It's amazing how I can see the blocking imbalances in a picture, but I can't when I'm standing over it in the room! More proof that in life, perspective is everything. :)

Blocked measurements are 68" wide by 31" neckline to tip of the triangle. I had my doubts about the size of it as I knit. I thought I was going to end up with a scarf! But it came out great. As usual, with lace you have to have faith that all will be well, because you simply cannot tell what size something really is when it's on the needles.

Just so you can get a better feel for the colors, here's a close-up. Unfortunately the sun isn't shining directly into that bedroom right now and I didn't want to wait until later in the day to take the pics, so this will have to do for lighting.

So, one shawl down, one to go before the cruise. The feather and fan shawl is proceeding nicely. It travels with me wherever I go so that I can get in a few rows whenever possible. I think it's about halfway done, although I still have two full balls of yarn left. That's deceiving, though, because I didn't weigh each ball when I was winding them off the skein to make them equal. Therefore, I have no idea if I've used half of the skein or not. In any case, when it gets to about 70" long, I'm done no matter how much yarn is left.

I've also started my second test-knitting project, which is a pair of socks made with Knit Picks Gloss. I like the yarn. It's soft and has a nice amount of give to it and is not overly prone to splitting. To get gauge, I went to size 2 DPNs instead of the size 3s specified in the pattern. I have until mid-April to finish these, so it's a good thing that one shawl is done. Dividing my attention between two projects is fine; three is pushing it a bit. :)

Oh, I mentioned yesterday that I received a subpoena. Oh joy. Not. It's really nothing bad, it's just a pain in the patoot. You see, I work as an independent contractor in a few different arenas. One is test knitting (duh), which doesn't pay much, but keeps me in yarn and I get to learn new things and work with materials I may not otherwise have tried. The second, and primary, thing is transcription and editing, done for a company based in San Francisco. Third, I deal cards for a local company that provides entertainment at casino-style parties. All three of these gigs are on an independent contractor basis, which means (a) there's no promise of when work will be offered, (b) there's no guarantee how much work will be available, and (c) it's completely up to me whether or not I accept any work offered.

Sounds pretty straightforward, eh? I like it because I get to do a variety of things and I can do them pretty much whenever I want to. I don't have to go into an office and I can work in my bathrobe at 1:00 in the morning if I want to (which I do, frequently). I'm free to schedule my time so that I can go shopping during the weekdays and avoid the weekend crowds. The downside, of course, is that I have no employer-paid benefits, no paid vacation or sick leave, and only a minor amount of control over how much money I make each month.

Anyway, the State of Oregon has decided that the casino party place should be paying all of us as employees instead of independent contractors. Why, I have no idea. I mean, that's what I call my "fun job," and one that I wouldn't do at all if it wasn't fun, simply because it doesn't provide that much income. It's very seasonal work. During the holiday season (November/December), we're extremely busy with company parties. During the rest of the year, it's sporadic with graduate season being a brief blip of frenzied activity as we do grad-night parties (until 4:00 in the morning). So basically, you can work a LOT in November/December and make decent money, but after that, you may work only two or three parties in a month, which is just enough to buy a few more skeins of Sea Silk or some other luscious yarn. Certainly nothing like being an employee. I have to provide my own cards, buy a vest and tuxedo shirts to conform to the "uniform" standards, and get myself to and from the events -- which can be very nearby or a couple hours' drive away.

How does any of that constitute employee status??? I have already provided a written affidavit answering a bunch of questions from the State and been interviewed by them on the phone. I've told them that if I'm an employee for this casino party company, then all the high-tech and customer call center companies in the state should be very afraid because they use independent contractors all the time in a much more intense fashion that this company does. I know, 'cause I've worked for some of them.

It's a witch hunt. The State doesn't like that this casino party company provides 'gambling' to people and they don't get a cut, even though no real money is used in the gambling; it's just funny-money and then the client decides what prizes to offer, if any. But the guy who owns the company has lobbied in Salem for things like making it legal to offer Texas Hold 'em tournaments at fundraisers (that was previously forbidden) and I guess he pissed off the wrong people.

Anyway, next Tuesday afternoon, I am now required to be near my phone so that they can call me to 'testify' in the hearing regarding this matter. It could be worse; I could have to go to Salem and sit in a courtroom for the afternoon. Nevertheless, it ticks me off and makes me nervous all at the same time.

So that's the long and the short of it for now. The sun is shining and I'm heading out this afternoon to head towards Lebanon (Oregon, that is) for a Chamber of Commerce fundraiser. On the way, I'm planning a few shopping stops, including to an LYS that I haven't visited before. Not that I need yarn, but. . .

Ciao for now!


Monika said...

Haven't time right now to read the whole post, but I can tell you that I love your shawl!Just one skein sea silk, you say? I have one or two in my stash. Where did you get the pattern? It's lovely!

NancyMaria said...

I love your shawl and your knitting!
I'll have to dig through my stash so I can knit one up.
Thank you for sharing!