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May 2007 Archives

May 2, 2007

Stash by Surprise

I arrived home from work Monday evening to find this on my doorstep:

A lotta yarn

A staggering amount of yarn out of nowhere. Trumps my measly stash in one fell swoop. That's 65 skeins, to be exact, of Cascade 220. Direct from the manufacturer to me. Enclosed was a request from the very ambitious cable goddess, Melissa Leapman, asking Cascade to send it all to me, her "stitcher." Cowabunga! My knees got weak at the sight of all this wool - both because I love me some good Cascade 220 and could knit it in my sleep, and it means Melissa has a LOT of swatches planned for me and some unknown finish line in sight for her book. Phew. Michelle Cristiani just wrote a very accurate article about test knitting for Knitty - she tells it like it is. I'm enjoying this ride - I've learned a helluva lot about cables, can mostly accomplish them without a cable needle now, and will enjoy my 15 minutes of fame if I can spot my swatches in the book.

I'm vibrating with excitement about this weekend's MD Sheep and Wool - my first major fiber festival. Yes, there was the one last fall in Montpelier, but a n'or easter kept more than half the vendors away and I just have a feeling this one is going to knock my socks off. I have to get organized - Captain America is meeting me in Baltimore Saturday morning and is also looking forward to the festival. He's almost as into my obsession as I am, and he's pretty darned terrific, since with his work, going with me means he won't get to be home for two whole weeks. And on the subject of my fabulous man, he's graduated from physical therapy for his shoulder already - he's a champion healer. It's only been three weeks and he has less pain and more range of motion than before the surgery, and another few months from now, it will be almost as good as new. Amazing stuff they do for joints.

In other news, I spent a large chunk of the weekend proving I was good for something other than playing with fiber, and hung six faux-wood blinds in the back bedroom, instantly (or 3 hours later anyway) transforming the room from a cave to a fairly hospitable space. It's remarkable how huge the blinds make a room look - we're now two windows short of finishing the entire house with them - 38 windows!


I got to wield the cordless drill/driver since CA shouldn't be doing heavy lifting - I love power tools. I came to our relationship with more tools than he, just for the record. I also learned to use the edger I got him for some occasion last year and oh, the power! I ripped an edge around my front beds - I could be dangerous with this thing. I also reclaimed two more front beds from the evil crabgrass that refuses to die or be pulled, and installed many bulbs in the hopes of some color there soon. The front yard is such a blank slate it's a bit overwhelming to make decisions, so until I get it planned out, I keep throwing things in here and there. The morning glory seedlings are coming up inside the back yard fence and I hope to eventually cover it with those lovely blooms.

While knitting out on Monday night, I swatched relentlessly for my first no-pattern sweater. I've picked the sweater to measure and copy - I just have to get up the nerve to do it. I love the Lasvold Silky Tweed and I think I'll do the top third of the little tee in seed stitch and the bottom in stockinette. Stay tuned and wish me luck.

These little guys were kicked out of the nest on my porch the morning after I snapped this shot:

Baby Doves

I like to imagine that momma dove is the same momma who made her nest in my hanging basket last year and liked us so much she's come back. This time the nest (more specifically, pile of sticks) is on the tip of a column in the corner of the porch. She left for a few days, but must have a boyfriend somewhere cause she's back, knocked up again, sitting on her eggs in that pile of sticks. Or maybe she told a girlfriend how sweet it was to hatch her eggs on our porch - hard to tell one dove from another.

May 3, 2007

Measure Twice, Cut Once

Sweater measurements

Keeps running through my head this morning. I've just measured my little black sweater to copy and I can't figure out why it makes me all jangly with anxiety. I was literally trembling when I finished the measuring and drawing. I know I can make this work, but I'm plagued with questions like "what do I do about the part of the top front shoulder where the seam actually rolls to the back" and "can a math phobic girl actually create a sweater using only a pencil, pretty notebook, and a calculator?"

I only decided to do this measuring this morning before work to escape the swatch. The beast is still out to turn my brain into jelly. I'm considering pulling out the cable needles again just for safety's sake. I think I almost managed to wrestle it into submission once again, but there's a dicey spot and after staring at it for a while, I realized I wasn't caffeinated enough to handle it. I need a break. I have another swatch pattern to start, and this tee should help flip my brain.

As we all know, the tools and paraphernalia of knitting or anything is critical to a project's success so I was very pleased to find this sweet little book on my recent trip to Anthropologie - it has some graph paper pages, some unlined, and pretty little flowers. The kind of thing you want to fill with only fabulous stuff: daydreams, pattern notes, responses to the universe - only lovely and good and creative things allowed in here. I filled in all the little boxes, including my purposeful 1 in the No. box, as if there will be many to follow. Acting "as if" is one of my favorite ploys to get through the hard stuff, so that's my plan here - I plan to act as if I can breeze through this exercise and turn out a wearable sweater all by myself.

And then there's Sheep & Wool. Sheep&WoolSheep&WoolSheep&WoolSheep&Wool. Knitbloggers, fiber, Captain America - it doesn't get any better than that.

May 7, 2007

Sheep & Wool Sheep & Wool Sheep & Wool!

I've braved the largest fiber festival in the country and survived - what a scene. Getting dressed to mingle with several gazillion fiber freaks was like getting ready for a date, and I spent time laughing at myself as I made, and discarded, a name-tag so everyone out there who was dying to meet me would know who I was (the dork with the name badge), tried on several outfits to maximize the opportunity to show off handknits (dork trying too hard), and went with my usual long-sleeved t-shirt and jeans with my original Clapotis (for warmth).

I flew up to Baltimore to meet Captain America, the world's best husband. The TSA and vendors in the Norfolk airport must have been taking happy pills - everyone was grinning and by the time they had my knitting needles out of my bag, I had my foot up on the conveyor to show off the handknit socks I was wearing. I was in Southwest's B cattle call line, so I took a seat in the middle between a giant man and a tall man in the third row so I could get right off the plane. I'm a little skinny thing - the flight was less than an hour - cool.

CA was surprised at the loooong line of cars going into the fairgrounds - not me. We parked in another county, but it was a reasonable day and the walk was lovely. I know I read about a knitblogger who was going to be there in her yellow VW camper and CA spotted it - damned if I can remember but hey - great yellow camper!!

I lost my mind immediately as expected. Things I know about myself but choose to occasionally overlook for an event of this magnitude: I have trouble with visual overload. I have no sense of direction, so going into one building and coming out turned me completely around each time - good thing CA was in charge of steering. I'm not so good at crowds. I am incredibly indecisive and sometimes a little too practical for my own good. I needed absolutely nothing going in.

We did all the outside buildings (pavillions?) when we arrived. I was surprised at the amount of yarn - it never occurred to me that there were so many small producers out there. I hadn't given a thought to patterns, have tons of stash, and so didn't spend a lot of time looking at it, though I did accost someone in the STR line so I could question her about its mystique. (I'm not sure I figured it out - but I only saw her skein.) I was there for fiber, if anything, and I have to admit that not only was I worried that I might find something more delicious at the next turn, but that I was sure I'd do it wrong when it came to buying some. Didn't occur to me to observe - do you just pull a hunk of roving off the balls or out of the bags? Do you wait to be helped? These are things I need to learn before my next attempt.

About 45 minutes in, this called out to me, and I'm not even sure what it is beyond 3 2oz, carded batts - fluffy pink clouds of softness:

pink clouds

It was now past 1pm, the time of the knitblogger meetup - and I had no idea by this point where I was supposed to be. I'm not a particularly social person - most nights I'm in my pj's after work with my knitting and my cats. But fiber is changing that, and I find myself wanting to hang out with knitters - amazing. So even though I was feeling shy and dorky, I called Mel, had her describe her surroundings, and managed to spot her right off. She's exactly like I imagined - gorgeous and fun and she knows about the greeting squeal - I think it's a tribal thing. She's a pro - with her cutie husband Tad they were there for the second time and had the place scoped out and a systematic approach. I was all anxious and jangly and they were cool as cucumbers. Best thing about the festival for sure. Can't wait to see the picture of us! (hint hint)

We ate a funnel cake, hit the exhibition halls for more stuff, stood in the loooong line for this (worth the wait):


The t-shirts are gorgeous - great design, great colors. Yes mom, I got you a mask too! CA didn't think it would be a good idea to take the masks on the plane - something about security not thinking they were as funny as I do, so they're coming home with him later this week. I also bought a funky silk/wool scarf felty kit, and I think that's it. I wish I had been alone to make a stealth run at the end to pick up a silk bell and some of the "party wool" in a tub I saw but didn't just buy, but I was being nice to CA.

I wonder if the S&W people would consider a day for claustrophobics like me - I didn't like cramming into the little booths....

We wandered out past these two characters - they win the silliest haircut prize:


Besides these guys, there were so many sheep - bigger sheep than I've ever seen, soft, copper-colored sheep, goats, alpacas, angora bunnies like silver poufs, amazing animals. We managed to keep just missing shearings, but saw some clipping that triggered a memory of those hand clippers from back when I had a pet lamb....

A very sheepy, fibery, exciting festival - I'll go back. With a better plan, more research, and the hopes of actually taking a class. I feel like I'm still just at the outside edge of the spinning world - I need to break all the way into the circle (in my own mind anyway).

About May 2007

This page contains all entries posted to Dawn's Dream in May 2007. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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