Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Long time no blog

   It would be Politically Correct for me to say that I have been swept up by the Holiday Spirit, and too busy to blog.  Well, that could not be further from the truth.  I have no Holiday Spirit, other than the one that  seems to be giving me subliminal messages to carry something along the lines of an AK 47 every time I need to enter a store during this oh-so-festive season.  I am not fond of Holiday music.  I don't have a favorite Holiday movie, though I did watch Love Actually the other night, a movie I actually do love, but it didn't do much for my  bah- humbugedness.  My Holiday shopping involved 6 gift cards from Barnes and Nobel, a bunch of Grafton Cheese and some Lake Champlain Chocolates.  I also bought my husband something totally awesome  that I just knew he would absolutely love.  But he found it.

  On a happier note, I have continued some happy spinning projects.  But on a pretty sad wheel.  My Majacraft Rose has spun miles of yarn with me, and some of her more delicate parts have worn out in recent weeks.  In the course of replacing them, a couple of other bits and pieces fell apart, from fatigue or perhaps mis-handling. She is now all put back together and is happily plying some smokey, rosy BFL from Moonlight and Laughter.   This fiber was not particularly easy to spin, but it was a challenge I needed and really embraced.  Recently I have spun a bunch of merino/silk, some bamboo, and some bombyx silk. Those fibers are all slick  and therefore relatively easy to spin.  They were all two ply, spun and plied with a wollee winder.    Mindless spinning bliss.  BFL, for several reasons is my favorite fiber to spin, but it is not always simple.  This particular fiber was a bit tuggy, therefore had to be separated into fairly slim sections and pre-drafted vigorously in order to keep the color bands intact.  Some of the color bands were shorter than the staple length of the fiber so I had to be particularly vigilant to keep those colors from fanning out unevenly as I drafted.  Honestly, had I not paid attention the whole thing could have turned to muddy brown.  Instead, I spent a bit of time separating and pre-drafting and ended up with a spectacularly vibrant, but subtle yarn.  I love it.  This is not a time consuming process at all, and as a result the spinning goes much faster than it would if I had not pre-drafted.  I would hazard a guess that it all comes out close to the same time-wise , and the final results are well worth the time spent on fiber prep.

  Knitting is coming along nicely,  I even have some left over gift type stuff that could possibly be emergency presents, if only I could think of anyone to give them to. I am not saying that my projects are all completed, just that there is a light and 10 days at the end of the tunnel.  My husband, who has even less Holiday Spirit  than yours truly was moved to make 13 pepper mills.  Last year he made rolling pins.  He works in a gifty, friendly office.  More power to him. 
   I actually went to Webs last week and bought yarn for a sweater.  Now, I need yarn for a sweater far like I need another hole in my head, but every January I knit a sweater, I have enjoyed them all, wear them, and I just wanted to keep up the tradition.  I am making the Tea Leaves Cardigan by Melissa LaBarre.  I am using Madelinetosh Worsted in  Norway Spruce color (variagated deep blue-green).
  It is 2 pm and I am going to take a nap.  My youngest child gave me about 20,00 new grey hairs yesterday.  He returned home from college in Ohio for his 6 weeks winter break.  Before he left Ohio he bought 2 new snow tires to replace two of his 4 bald-ish tires.  I noticed this morning that they put the tires on the back of the car.  He has a front weel drive car.  Oh, well, he made it here.  He left Columbus at noon ( instead of his planned 7 am start, naturally) and drove to Vermont, straight through, arriving  in the middle of the night.  He is blissfully still asleep.  How do kids do that?

Friday, December 4, 2009

Holey socks, batman

R.I.P. Favorite Socks
    I have been  knitting socks for a long time.  I may have knit socks when I was a kid, don't remember, but my mother certainly knit socks, and I still have one whole and one partial sock that she left in a drawer when she died.  I meant to finish it for my sister and I didn't.   Now my sister is gone, as well, and I am sorry that I am the WORLD's worst procrastinator.  Anyway,  Wednesday I wore my all time very favorite pair of socks.  They are made with yarn that I bought at the Dublin Country Store in Dublin, New Hampshire.  I love the colors, the yarn, the pattern , but most of all I love wearing the socks.  Don't ask why, I don't know.  They are just my favorite socks.  And now they have a gigundo hole in the heal.  Not darnable.  Worn out and good only to keep as a memory.  I used the rest of the skein to make a baby hat, which I still have, but my daughter has dibs on it, just in case she ever has a baby.  At least I have the memories.
  So where have I been?  Someplace exotic; someplace I needed my passport to visit; someplace they do not speak English.  Don't get excited.  We went to Montreal for our first ever child free Thanksgiving.  We were married on Thanksgiving, may, many moons ago, just so that we would have the day off.  But for the past 20 odd years we have just celebrated Thanksgiving.  This year we celebrated putting up with each other for all these years by going off on a Romantic Getaway.  And it wasn't half bad.  Montreal is a lovely city, with a fine metro system, and lots of cool galleries and fine restaurants.  We did not go to a hockey game, though I wanted to give it a go, but we did go to the Biodome, Insectarium and Botanical Gardens.  It was fun.  I was glad to get home.
  Stealth and not so stealth knitting.  The Herbivore went back on the needles, and is off again.  I made it 2" bigger all around, made more mistakes and blocked the heck out of it using blocking wires, thereby accentuating all the mistakes.  I like it better.  I got buttons for the basketweave scarf, and actually sewed them on!!  Miracles cease...  I finished half of each stealth project, even took them to Montreal.  Forgot the charted pattern for one and ran out of yarn on the other.
  And spinning.  I have spun up a storm.  Just now finished some lovely roving that I got at Brattleboro Fiber Festival a couple of weekends ago.  Really yummy and necessary as I need to make a baby sweater for Riva's teacher.  Probably before she figures out that Riva, though 8 years old, has never been to school before.  Maybe I can blame it on the fact that she comes from Texas. ( Riva is a corgi, in case you are worried.  She started school last week.)

Monday, November 23, 2009

A Rant, a confession and some fiber content.

   The Rant. It is hunting season in Vermont.  Not my favorite season.  Hunting season, to someone like me, is endless.  We have Youth Weekend, Ladies Day, Bow Season, Black Powder Season, Doe Day, Bear Hunting, Moose Lotteries, Regular Deer Season  aka Gun Season, Coyote season and twice yearly Turkey season.  I am sure there are more, but quite honestly I don't keep up with it all.  However I do stay out of the woods and that makes me inordinately crabby. I like the woods,  I actually own, me personally, over 100 acres of woods which are criss-crossed with wonderful trails just waiting for me and my lovely corgis to visit.  We hike and cross country ski and snowshoe on theses trails.  My son mountain bikes these trails.  But for most of November the woods are strictly verboten, to say nothing that I would be a freaking idiot to head into the woods in Vermont during any sort of remotely ordained hunting season.  Now, to add insult to injury, my land is posted.  That means every 50 yards , all around my land ( 2 3/4 miles of perimeter) there are florescent yellow signs, signed and dated by me, that say no hunting, fishing, shooting or trespassing. I then register this land (and pay money to do so) with both the town and the Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife.  And yet my neighbor stopped by the other day to tell me that as soon as I left for yoga the other morning three guys in full hunting regalia headed off into my woods carrying, you guessed it, guns.  Maybe they were lost, my neighbor said.  I will not share what I said.
   The confession.  I have never shot a gun.  I have no desire to do so.  I actually believe that  a great deal of what is wrong with the world involves guns, and could be solved if all guns vanished right this second.  But, if I was given a gun, just for one shot, I would be more apt to shoot a hunter than a deer.
    The fiber.  I have been knitting.  Stealth projects that I cannot talk about, except to say that they are actually going to be finished before the holiday season.  I have been spinning, and even have a whole pile of  yarn  washed and dried and selected for projects. I actually found the unfinished sweater for my son.  One of the reasons that I was unable to finish knitting the darn thing is because I could not find it.   It was in a canvas bag in the abyss. That is what my family calls my sewing room.  I am a happy knitting fool, and my wrists are happy because I am no longer knitting cotton socks on size 0 addi turbos.  Nope, no more, get used to sport weight socks,dear.
   Okay.  One final confession.  Remember that gorgeous  wildflower honey BFL that I spun a few weeks ago?  I said I would make a scarf to wear with my grown-up-lady-camel-hair coat.  Well, I never wear that coat.  Oh, I wore it once last year when I went to a wedding.  But usually is sits in the closet, unworn and lonely.  It is just too dressy for my rural lifestyle.  So I actually bought new a winter coat to go with the yummy golden fiber that I spun.   The coat is chocolate brown.  It is a coat my mother would have approved of.  I can't describe it except it is hi-tech meets the car coat of the 50's.  I'll take a picture.  But what does that say about my personality; that I would buy a whole new winter coat to go with 4 oz. fiber that I spun to go with a totally different coat that I never wear?  And, I haven't even knit the scarf yet.  I haven't even chosen the pattern, but I guess it better be a good one.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Thankful Thursday, again

   Maybe this is too easy.  But this entry really has some knitting content. I have really enjoyed reading all the Thankful Thursday Blogs from others, even when they have nothing to do with fiber.

       1.  I am very thankful to have some actual knitting done.  Holiday gifts, idle projects completed.  Enough done that I can actually start all new projects with virtually no guilty secrets hidden away.  Well, maybe one...  I finished the Herbivore scarf.  It has some horrible mistakes.  It is smaller than it is supposed to be, by a lot.  But quite honestly I got sick of it.  Because of the way I knit I don't do well with k1p1 knitting or with seed stitch, and I learned that K1bp1 just does in my wrists, murders 'em.  Won't do it again.  It looks great, though.

      Finished the basket weave  scarf, found buttons at the fourth store I looked in, and actually attached them.  Love the scarf, but I can't keep it.

     Finished the endless socks.  You know who tried them on and now they have vanished so that there will be at least one thing under the tree. Found needles to start a new pair of travelling socks; Regia sport destined to be boot socks for the Girl who always has cold feet.
     2. What else am I Thankful for?  My mother.  I know I have spent decades complaining about her.  She is undoubtedly the reason I gleefully got on that boat and moved to Alaska; good and far away from Vermont.  My mother instilled in me, and in my sister, many good qualities, independence, curiosity, love of the outdoors, and a general skepticism of the status quo.  My mother was particularly skeptical about two things, organized religion and politicians.  Probably with good reason.  It is because of my mother that I am a good cook.  My mother DID NOT COOK.  Fortunately my father did.  I grew up eating grilled cheese, apples and brownies, the only things my mother ever mastered in the culinary realm.  She cut the apples into "bird's nests".  I still eat them that way.
     But most of all my mother taught me to love books. She was a voracious reader, and an adventurous reader .  She  read books in French,  when she couldn't find what she considered competent translations.  And she read to me.  I am not even sure that everything she read to me was appropriate, but I loved it anyway.  My mother bought me every single Newbery Award book until I was about 35.  Honestly.  When I became a children's librarian she continued to buy them for me because she figured I needed them for work.  I still try to read the Newbery books every year although I agree less and less with the choices as I get older.
   I have to share this verse from Strickland Gillian's poem "The Reading Mother".
               You may have tangible wealth untold;
               Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold.
               Richer than you I can never be-
               I had a mother who read to me.
   My mother died Feb 11, 1997.  She was 90 years old and lived at home alone until a few months before she died.  She was a piece of work, that woman. 

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Thankful Thursday

   This is something new, and I have read a couple of blogs today that practically brought tears to my eyes.  These blogs were by knitters, but not necessarily about knitting.  Quite honestly I have much to be thankful for.  If I had a propensity toward Christian sentimentalism I would say that I am truly blessed.  But, as a lapsed Unitarian I guess should say I am one lucky chick.  Here goes, what I am Thankful for:

  1.  First and foremost my dearly beloved husband.  He not only supports me ( financially as well as emotionally), he puts up with me.  How he manages to do that with relatively few complaints I really don't know. I am not an easy person to live with, but then again, neither is he.

   2.  My children.  I am particularly lucky in this category.  Each child has  his/her idiosyncrasies, but none of them has landed them in jail, rehab or the witness protection program, yet. Both of them seem to be doing exactly what my mother expected of me; paddling their own canoe.  One is still in college, but he seems to be on the right track so far, though I might encourage him to buy a powerball ticket once in  a while. The other is earning more money  per year than I ever imagined, and she actually likes what she does. ( The third kid is Bob the Boyfriend, he has been around  long enough for me to feel a sense of ownership; he owns a bar, need I  say more?)
   3.  My pets.  I know, that is pretty silly, but I have two corgis and three kitties and I spend a lot of time with them.  I enjoy them and they love me, unconditionally.  Of course, I feed them, walk them, clean their litter boxes.  True love.
   4.  Yarn and fiber.  I worked at jobs off and on for 36 years that where just that, jobs. Some better than others, but I only had one job that I was really passionate about, and that was also my most problematic and stressful job.  But I was good at it, and I was appreciated.  Now I spin , knit and weave.  Well, maybe not so much weave, but I have good intentions.  And I am pretty darn good at it.  I am beginning to really understand the spinning process, to experiment with unusual fibers and non-standard spinning methods, and to actually attempt to use the millions of miles of yarn that I have produced.  Every day I look forward to spinning and knitting.  Maybe not so much weaving, yet.

   5.  My home.  I am in the unique and unusual position of  being the 7th generation of my family to live in this house.  Yep, my 6 times great grand-father homesteaded this Vermont hillside in 1783, the house I live in was built in 1791, and has been added onto in 1835, 1938 ( by my father) and 2002( by my husband).  That is pretty darn special.

   And for all these things I am eternally grateful!

Monday, November 2, 2009

My knitting mojo

   So, my knitting mojo seems to have got up and went.  I have made more mistakes in the past week than almost any other time in my 50 plus years of knitting.  Worse yet, I haven't ripped, tossed, or given up.  That is pretty unlike me.  Do I care, well, yea I do, but in the case of the stuff I am knitting I guess it doesn't really matter.  I am over the hump on the endless socks; turned the heel on the second sock.  At that point in a pair of socks I am at the finish line.  I fit the first sock to the recipient, in this case  my dearly beloved, who has a whole friggin' drawer full of handknit socks.  He is now a yarn snob.  He wants cotton, with a bit of nylon, very firmly knit.  Both the men in my family have these gigundo feet which means I need to find a skein of sock yarn that has at least 450 yards for me to get a sock with a nice long leg and a long enough foot. Or else I have to buy 2 skeins, or make the toes some strange color.
   Next time I am going to try out some Regia sport weight sock yarn on size 2 .5 or 3mm needles.  They will be good winter socks, nice and cushy and very pretty colors.  I got the yarn at Sakonnet Purls when I was on vacation last summer in Rhode Island.  The day we go to Tiverton is always the highlight of our week in Rhode Island.
   My other projects are pure crap.  The Herbivore scarf for the kid has a big mistake in the middle.  He's 19, he won't notice.  Only I will see it immediately and I don't go to college in Ohio.  To give him credit, last year I knit him both flip mitten/gloves and the Jarred Flood striped Noro silk scarf and he actually wore them and DID NOT LOOSE THEM.  Wonder of wonders.  I am not even talking about the sweater, the maroon Alpaca lite catastrophe.  Maybe tomorrow.  Quite honestly I do not know where it is, in some bag upstairs, probably the bag the cat is sleeping in.
   My phone mojo has also been on the fritz.  We don't get a lot of calls now that we have no kids at home.  But on Thursday afternoon we got about 20 calls.  We have one phone, a stationary phone in the kitchen.  So if I am anwhere else I have to sprint to get the phone.  It was a busy afternoon and I was batting about .300 in the phone answering department.  So Friday we went to Best Buy to buy a new "phone/ answering machine system".  Now my dearly beloved is not one to  read consumer reports, on-line forums and consult with friends.  He goes in, picks the first item that looks likely to do approximately what he wants it to do and off we go.  This is diametrically opposed the the hours we used to spend at the video store reading every word on the outside of every box.  It was a whole evening experience, and I would always fall asleep before the previews where over.  ( Now we have Netflix and he can take as long as he wants)  So, we get the phones (four of em) and set them to charge, overnight.  Then we take the manual out of the box.  I am guessing that it would be easier to program the Space Shuttle than to figure out how to get the damn answer machine to work.  However, we now have 4 phones spread around the house and barn, so when I actually decide to answer the phone I don't need to sound like I have just completed the Boston Marathon.

  I'll end with some kitty cuteness.  I lost the picture of Soot in the dog bed on the dining room table that was supposed to be in my last post( no, we don't eat in the dining room, only Christmas and Thanksgiving) so here it is.  But now the whole kitty herd is sleeping in the dog bed, sometimes all together.  Cute, but maybe I should reinforce the leg of the table.The two snuggle kitties are Tiddles and Nosey.  These are our bi-coastal cats who moved with us from Colorado( 1996) to Alaska and to Vermont in 2002.  They are 16 and 20 and they just keep on chuggin'!!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Patience can pay off

   I tend not to be a very patient person.  I hate to stand in line, wait in traffic, be put on hold or to be told to call back tomorrow.  I especially hate when the Maytag guy can't come for two weeks or when I can only get one month of a prescription because  that is all my insurance allows ( maybe that's not patience, just frustration)  But in other areas I am almost infinitely patient.  I love to spin, have two wheels going at all times so I can vary what I am spinning and I usually have at least three knitting projects at a time.  Last week I mentioned four working projects and showed you the two that I finished.  Still no buttons for the basket weave scarf,  but it is blocked.  The endless socks aren't done, but I have decided they are my last pair of cotton socks on size 0 needles.  Too hard on my hands.  So I am working on the lovely Herbivore scarf, which is a joy to work on, even though it is getting to be about a zillion stitches in every row, and I need to finish that damn sweater for the Kid.  It is easy, really a snap to finish, and I like knitting on Alpaca Light.  It is the color that I don't like; Maroon.  I have never liked that color, even though this is a really lovely grey/maroon blend.  There is a lot of sweater  to hold on my lap, but if I just finish it I can start something else.  Maybe reward myself somehow?

   So what else is finished?  Lovely spinning.  The Wildflower honey BFL from the painted sheep is done and I have about 450 yards of lovely sport weight yarn.  I am not sure that it photographs very well, but it is a lustrous, creamy color, and exactly what I wanted.  I am now thinking that I will make gloves and another cowl to wear with my grown up lady coat. The spinning experience on my Louet S90 was 100% positive, but perhaps a bit less so for the plying.  I tried the first skein from the built in Kate, but that didn't work too well, so I used my Katie-a-go-go, or whatever it is called, and that worked better.  I am thinking about a Woolee Winder for the Louet.   Just thinking at this point.  I have 3.5 oz of the blue merino-silk  to finish spinning.  The first 8 oz have produced about 800 yards of lace-weight .  It is just gorgeous yarn.  I am not used to spinning quite this fine, but I love it.  This has been an absolute joy to spin, and I hope to spin some more  merino silk, maybe in a deep purple .
   And what about corgi cuteness?  Last week Eliot had his teeth cleaned, and  had to lay on the couch all day Saturday with his head on a pillow. He is as bad as the kids were when they had their braces adjusted.  At least he didn't make me go to the bowling alley to get him a milk shake. And Kitty cuteness, Soot has discovered a new bed that I bought for Riva.  I decided it is too small for her corgi rotundity so left it on the table til I could return it to the pet store.  Not happening, Soot is in love with this bed!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Needles, wheels and Yoga

   Yoga first.  When I retired, after being a librarian for 36 years, I had back problems.  They came from  way too many years of moving books, moving libraries, sitting at computer desks that were ergonomically incorrect, sitting too long , standing to long, wearing the wrong shoes, yada, yada, yada.  I had tried yoga before, but my friend Susan, also a librarian with back problems, suggested Svaroopa  Yoga.  I was skeptical, but tried it.  I'm hooked and have been taking classes for a couple of years at Hartland Yoga Center  which is about 30 minutes north of me.  Because this type of yoga is aimed at one's back, lower back in particular, it seems to help.  While knitting, spinning and weaving do not really challenge my back in the same way that moving books did, all three provide some challenges to my posture that I believe can be improved by practicing yoga.  Last year I got a little book for my birthday called "Yoga for Knitters".  I keep it in my knitting basket mainly to remind myself to take a break every so often and do some poses and relaxation breathing.  I don't pretend to know anything about any of the many other types of yoga other than Svaroopa, but I imagine there are other styles that work as well.  Give it a try!
   I got a new wheel, and I am having serious wheel love.  It is a Louet S90, a much coveted, no longer produced folding wheel from Holland.  The wheel came to me from Alaska and brought with it the salty memory of my years there.  Now a S90 is not a wimpy travel wheel. I could not throw it in an overhead bin on any airline. It is a sturdy girl, 20" x30" ( tall) by 61/2" deep when folded.  It is also pretty heavy, but it spins like a dream and has a nice high orifice.  It has one wide treadle, so it can be treadled with one foot, either one, or by both at the same time.  Because my Majacrafts are both double treadle I thought that I was a double kind of girl until this summer when I started spinning on my single treadle Canadian Wheel.  I must be ambidexfooturist, or some such thing.  I am just finishing up 8oz of golden colored BFL from The Painted Sheep which is intended to be a small scarf or a cowl to wear with my grown up lady winter camel hair coat.

    Now for the needle.  I was buying a new needle to knit a Herbivore scarf for the Kid for Christmas so I thought I would try a Kollage square needle.  I bought a size 5/3.75 mm 24" circ and started knitting.  Although the knitting looked fine I found I was ignoring the scarf in favor of the endless cotton sock.  Then when I knit on the scarf I noticed that my wrists hurt.  Now I am VERY careful of my wrists.  A few years ago I knit a Koigu cardigan closely followed by a Koigu mitered square  vest.  In between I knit a brioche stitch scarf, all were on size 21/2 or 3mm needles.  I acquired a serious case of carple tunnel requiring the use of really unattractive wrist splints, and cessation of all knitting for a couple of months.  I was one unhappy camper.  Anyway, this scarf is dead simple, but very attractive, and I really wanted to finish it.  So, yesterday I went to the Elegant Ewe and bought a size 5/ 3.75mm  Crystal Palace Bamboo 26" circ.   Happy knitting.  Happy wrists.  I had a chance to try the needle out today as I had appointment with my financial planner.  He was late.  What do these guys do anyway that would make them late for a meeting?  He had the audacity to ask me if I watched the early morning trading on the NY Stock Exchange? And miss coffee with Harry Smith, I don't think so.  Do people watch that stuff on TV?  Yowzer... So the Kollage  Square Needle... not for me, but other folks love 'em.

   What about Rhinebeck?  Yep,  I went.  Will I go again?  Nope.  Been there, done that.  I got some cool stuff, met up with some friends, refused to wait in line for an hour for lunch, had no choice when I got stuck in traffic for nearly 45 minutes both coming and going.  I'll stick to NH Sheep and Wool .  The best part of the trip was the 7 hours in the car listening to the book on tape of  The Secret Life of Bees.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Less Stress

   NO disasters today.  I retrieved the lawn mower from the back 40 and tucked it behind the Kubota in the cellar of the barn.  It no longer actually mows.  I believe the belt  that drove the mower blade melted and became one with the metal housing.  Looks like someone needs a new lawn mower. Oh, dear.  Didn't do laundry, but chances are that someone will also need a new washing machine in the near future.  Though I was observant enough to have learned how to get the top and front off the washer, and perhaps remove the pump and shake out the quarters.  Maybe not.
   I took some pictures and uploaded them to Flickr.  That presented a major learning curve, though I have done it before, it was in the presence of a teenager, and now that he is in Ohio I am on my own.  Here we go:
Most recent knitting, a yellow lacy cowl, Poinsettia, by Anne Hanson, Knit in  a pale yellow silk/merino:

Basketweave scarf knitted in Manos Silk Blend, pattern from And the Beadz go on... in Wickford Rhode Island.  This is a short scarf that needs buttons.  It is not blocked yet.

   And some recent spinning,  BFL, the blue was  was dyed by Lynne Vogel, and spun in her class last August and I believe that I dyed the  pastel yarn in Lynne's class in the summer of  2008. Lots more spinning to show you another day.

I've been kind of a spinning fool lately, I have rediscovered my Woolee Winder on my Majacraft Rose and it has made my spinning a bit less tedious.  Also, some wheel changes are in the air.  Little Gem is on a vacation at the moment in New Hampshire and a lovely package is heading my way from Alaska.  More on that next week.  I am not sure I will blog again before I head off to Rhinebeck on Saturday.  I haven't been for about 6 years and I am looking forward to it.  I had planned to look at wheels, but that ain't happening, so I think I will check out more silk, and cashmere roving and see if I can find a 15 dent reed for my Harrisville Loom. Oh, and meet up with the Harrisville crew, of course.  See you there?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so close to home

   Yesterday was not a good day.  It involves a repairman, a fire, a trip to the laundromat and many, many bad words on the part of my dearly beloved, who can fix almost anything that I break.  And it was a busy night.   He had to go back to work in the lab after work, and he was NOT A HAPPY HUSBAND.  Well, the repairman was not there to fix the washing machine, and I actually went to the laundromat before I broke the washing machine.  The Dish Network guy came to install a DVR, which also included climbing on the roof to put a new whatsit on the dish, and about 3 phone calls to make it all work. But it works, I assume.  Haven't tried it yet.  Then I had to go to the laundromat because I had a comforter, dog beds and bathroom rugs to wash.  It was a sunny, but cold day and I knew I could put them on the line to dry. But I forgot them and it snowed and rained all night.  They are still there, wet. None of that heavy, bulky stuff can go in my apartment size front loader, as it makes the machine agitate itself off the platform it is on and across the cellar floor.  It sounds like NASCAR in the cellar, and I don't imagine is very good for the machine.  Which broke anyway while washing a load of skivvies.  It sounded like a cup of nuts and bolts in a blender and was flashing codes at me, dinging and full of water and dirty unmentionables.  I called the M**T*G guy, who said he could maybe come in a couple of weeks, but I could bring it in and he could fix it quicker. Yea, okay, load her up sweetie we're taking a road trip.  So I said my husband is pretty handy and then he said  "takeoffthetop, thenthefronttheresacouplascrewsandthepumpisinthelowerright
takeitoutandbringitinoremptyitout,maybe." That made no sense, but I took notes and you-know-who found 3 quarters in the water pump.  Fixed. We put it back together and only had one extra screw.
   But the lawnmower is still parked down over the hill behind the apple trees.  I mowed the front lawn wearing a down jacket, hat and mittens.  In addition to 6" of grass there were several 200 year old maple trees worth of leaves on the ground, and I assumed that I could just mow them up into rows and save a step in raking them up.  Wrong, no, very wrong.  Even at about 31 degrees they got chewed up under the lawn mower deck and sort of spontaneously combusted. I was sitting on the lawn mower and it was a tad bit disconcerting to see all the smoke.  So I drove it far enough away from the house that it was not really visible, hopped off and left it.  Did I mentioned it rained all night?  We won't need it til spring and then I will be in way more trouble than I am for leaving quarters in my bras.
   On the knitting front I finished both my silk/cashmere cowl and the  basketweave scarf.  I spent the day doing safe things like paying the taxes, which may just be a tad late, and watching " The Proposal" which came out on video today.  As a former resident of Sitka, Alaska I have to make a statement here.  That film was not filmed in Sitka. I believe it was mostly filmed in Massachusetts.  The downtown was not even closely related to Sitka and Sitka's scenic woodsy trails do not pass through deciduous forests.  Although the movie was not totally horrible, it was very close.  And to any of my Alaskan friends reading this Happy Alaska Day!
  Tomorrow I promise pictures.  The cowl should be dry, the scarf blocking and the silk/merino plyed! Yay!!!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Where's the wool?

   So, I am not very good at this blogging thing.  I promised I'd talk about yarn, knitting, spinning, weaving and all that jazz.  Well,  I have about 16 WIP's ( works in progress) and I'll mention a few.  I have 3 1/2 active knitting projects.  The semi-inactive project is almost finished, but hit a snag when the Boy was home.  He is what we cowgirls call a long drink o' water.  I'm not really much of a cowgirl, but I once lived in Colorado and simultaneously owned both a horse and cowboy boots.  That's enough to qualify in my mind. Anyhooo, I am knitting  an Alpaca light, maroon, V neck pullover for The Kid. He chose the pattern and the yarn.  He is 6'3" and weighs 143, and therein lies the problem.  This is NOT a standard size.  I am using a very basic V neck pattern, 38" chest,with orangutan arms.  I got it almost all done and he came home, tried it on, and it became obvious I had to add almost 3" to the armpit- shoulder length, and therefore alter the sleeve cap accordingly.  He won't be home again til Christmas so I shoved it in a bag and forgot about it.  I have three active projects, all kind of fun but nothing to brag about.  One is socks, I always have a pair of socks going.  This pair is for my Dearly Beloved.  They are cotton, Opal, I think in a drab grey- blue stripe, 68 stitches on a size zero.  They are endless and are taking for friggin' ever.  But I only knit on them when I am away from home.  They are travel, waiting room knittin' socks.  Then I have a wonderful silk merino scarf in a basketweave pattern, Luscious colors, totally untaxing knitting.  I only knit on that when I need total relaxation,  de-stress knitting.  I need another scarf  like a hole in the head and The Girl needs one even less.  Don't even think of my mother-in -law.  This is seriously lovely yarn.  Maybe I will send it to the Queen with a picture of my new corgi.  Last active project.  It is a beautiful yellow, silk cashmere cowl in a fairly simple lace pattern, Poinsettia by Anne Hanson.  The gauge is a bit funky, but I know it fits as I took it apart at one time when I screwed up the lace, and tried it on.  I got the yarn at School Products   in NYC when we went to visit Pratt last spring.  I think it will be a luxurious little thing to wear this winter.  It also shows some prospect of being completed fairly soon.
   I need to weave.  As I only have two looms I only have two projects.  One is a friggin' Scottish Tartan scarf.  It is a dismal yellow/brown/green thing that I hauled back from John C. Campbell in September.  I took the left over warp from a loom we  refused to weave on because the treadles were funky. I only need to finish it because I need to sell that loom. The other project, on my 36" Harrisville, is dish cloths, 6 of them in 2 patterns using the same warp.  One set of three is plaid, the other 3 are striped.  They should be fun but moderately tedious, but then I wouldn't know because I haven't even put my warping board together yet, so , like so many projects I haven't actually started this one yet.  Next week, really.
  The only really successful thing I have going is spinning.  I am spinning 11 3/4 oz. of merino silk, mosly light blue roving that I got at NH Sheep and Wool.  It is luscious, a joy to spin and is really a quick spin.  Of course it helps that my wheel is in front of the TV, and I am actually apt to sit and spin, like in a few minutes when Project Runway starts.  Gotta run.
  Pictures, you say, maybe tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Ten on Tuesday

       I am new to this blog thing.  It is my second day, and though I could think of a million things to say, I believe focus is important.  Something I lack, totally.  So I am following the formula of several blogs I read and using their structure.  Today's theme, girls, is Ten on Tuesday; things I want that I can't afford.
    1. To fund Health care.  Who said I need to be realistic.  I really truly would sleep better at night knowing that every man, woman and child in America has affordable access to good health care.
   2.  For The Kid to be able to finish his education, including endless graduate school, debt free.  We are talking about a boy who is brilliant, just a bit unfocused, and may need to do a bit of experimenting before he finds his niche in the world.  Have at it , kiddo. ( in your dreams, anyway)
   3.  For The Girl to have her college debt go away.  And now she can focus on graduate school as well, full time, without all those night shifts in the ICU.
   4. Good Health.  We are getting older, as I so often obsess about , and there is not enough money in the universe to keep us healthy.  But a girl can dream.
   5.  To visit most of the National Parks.  Yep, take a year off, buy a nice little RV and visit the  real beauties of America.  I've been to a few, the Grand Canyon, Arches, well, very few, and after spending last week with Ken Burns I feel that it is my civic duty to see more National Parks.
   6. I'd like a cleaning person.  Every week, faithfully.  Someone non-judgmental enough that I don't have to spend 10 solid hours the day before she comes just picking up.  Realistically I could afford this, but I don't work, and that New England Protestant guilt thing kicks in and it ain't gonna happen.
   7.  Okay, some Koigu Cashmere.  It's on sale this week, and another Martha cardigan would take 9 skeins.  I'd wear it, til the end of my life, promise.
   8.  Since we are so far over the top, I'll take a Toyota Highlander Hybrid.  My 7 year old Chevy Trailblazer is a wonderful, reliable, inefficient mode of transportation, and I'd like to do something besides composting to make The Earth happy.
   9. A new wheel,  a Jensen Ashley, already finished.  As much as I love my Majacraft Rose, I think  the Ashley is my dream machine.
   10.  World Peace, why not...

Monday, October 5, 2009

To blog or not to blog?

I read blogs, I enjoy them, I'm talkative, but I totally lack the ability to sit down at the computer and do anything that involves spell-check, capitalization, or considering whether I really want just anyone out there in computer la-la land to read what I have to say. Since I had a milestone birthday a few days ago, and no matter how you view it I am more than half way through my life,  I decided to muster up enough self-discipline to do something- any one thing- on a moderately regular basis. So, I will blog, I will do it somewhat regularly, like probably not daily, but maybe weekly, more or less, and if I get really irregular most likely I will just stop and chalk up my lack of success to, well... inertia.
So, what do I have to say for myself? Why read this blog? I have  grown children, adorable corgis, a still tolerable husband, I am retired from a 36 year career as a librarian, but then, probably may of you out there in computerland are in the same boat and the last thing you want to hear about is my perfect kids.  I guess the overwhelming focus in my life is yarn in one form or another. I knit, spin, dabble in dyeing and am a beginner weaver. I have a stash that I will never use up if I live to be one hundred, in addition to boxes of hand spun yarn, fiber galore, fleeces to be processed, dyed, spun and then DEALT WITH. So I am hoping that if I introduce you to this aspect of my life, that you, my bleaders ( yep, I am reading Julie and Julia), will take an interest and perhaps hold me accountable, in my mind anyway, to getting on with this whole thing and to help me to change from a maniacal fiber acquirer to a real, live fiber artist, or something along those lines.