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'!!