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August 18, 2006

Giddy Hangover

If you're going to have a hangover, I guess this is the kind to have. This week has felt like I had a great hit of the perfect mood altering substance - even though I gave (most of) them up years ago!

Got the blog up (barely, but up), joined the Spinning SP on knitty, finished up a cable swatch I test-knit for a cool designer, took a class on owning my own business yesterday, and finished off with a trip to Knitting Sisters and Trader Joe's, and this morning, my best girlfriend who moved far, far away almost two years ago FINALLY got her computer set up! Shoutout to Georgia!

Unfortunately, with all that giddy energy, I think I went retarded on the SP thing. If I've blown it, so sorry - but package in the mail already today!!

Adventures in fiber - truly!

September 18, 2006

SIP and Social Skills and Stress Busting

Zowie - just back from a quick trip to see my rockstar mom who's just had her second knee replaced. It was great to see her, help out, and relieve my sisters who have managed mom's surgery, two businesses, and kids.

Of course the first thing I packed was yarn, and projects, and supplies for my sis to try felting, and spindles and fibers to play with. I got a LOT of mileage out of the silk hankies - my mother was amazed by them. As I was describing my spinning and plying attempts, we were talking about singles vs. plied, and I did something new... I had balls of Butterfly cotton, Lopi, and Cascade 220 with me - I pulled them all apart, untwisted, and poof - I broke them all down to their natural state. I'm really not sure why this delighted me so much, but then I'm pretty easy to delight. It fascinated my mom.

There wasn't much time to knit or spin, and I forgot the pattern for CeCe that I wanted to work on, but then I hit the usual Bermuda Triangle I find when I fly to Florida, and spent most of Wednesday in airports. The final bit of my first half pound of Corriedale was just the thing to keep my head from spinning off! Now I'm chuckling at that term - how appropriate - and not intentional. Anyway, I spun for what seemed like hours, and entertained many at several gates while trying desperately to get home.

This fiber thing, whether knitting or spinning, is amazingly good for this mostly anti-social* hermit. I NEVER talk to people on airplanes - never. I spent the whole day gabbing it up, whether it was with the 10-year old triplets who watched me spin or the gang of us going from gate to gate trying to get a standby flight and being berated by hostile gate ladies! When I finally boarded and found my seat, it was next to a very fun guy who was part of our gate gang - and we had a grand old time yukking it up about all sorts of crazy things. What fun!

*I'm not THAT bad... but given a choice, I'd choose going home and getting in my jammies after work so I can knit/spin/snuggle cats over socializing any day!

October 2, 2006

The Berries of Poke

It's begun - I'm competing with my backyard birds while beating off mosquitoes for the ripe purple pokeberries on three of the weeds growing in my yard. This will be my attempt to experience a full circle moment, wherein I dye yarn with the fruits of the yard as my hippie mother did in the early 70s. She managed this feat in her early thirties, while raising four children, running a house in the woods while salesman dad was away. I will have a huge advantage and luxury - I have only cats to herd. She recently sent me a bunch of her old dyed wool rescued from storage - labeled with things like pokeberries and goldenrod. Full circle indeed.

Can't wait! If the color turns out anything like the juice on my fingers it will be beautiful. If I can gather enough berries. The neighbor just decided, after a summer of wild growth on his property, to mow and trim. The pokeberry bush in his yard is no more.

I have about two cups of berries so far (frozen) - with the prospect of just another cup or so before it's too late. Wonder how much BFL roving I can color with it.....

October 12, 2006

So much time, so little to do!

Wait - strike that - reverse it please!

I've been on a psychic cleaning binge, which means that I've been removing clutter and finishing things dying to be finished. I organized all my knitting magazines into one place, in chronological order by mag. I had a major "put it away" session this morning. Lo and behold, I think I've found my brain under all that mess! I get so full of life stuff sometimes I have to stop and dump and clear and sort and file to get going.

Long way of saying I've finished some knitting/spinning pictured below for your viewing pleasure:

Via Diagonale

Cascade 220, a little more than one ball each of tan and red

Tweaks: I cast on less stitches than the pattern, double-knit the handle for sturdiness, and felted the whole thing. It's a great, strong fabric - I see carrying spindles, etc. in it.

Felted Via Diagonale

In closeup:

Spinning, spinning, and more spinning on the drop spindles:

1/2 lb Corriedale roving, two plied:

That's all of it above - it's something like 480 yards. My plying skills are improving - here's some lovely merino, about 94 yards:

I sent the same amount of this roving to my SP - can't wait to see what PixelDiva spins up with hers.

Gratuitous kitten picture - Bluefish in action:

November 8, 2006

Life Lessons....

In spinning - amazing. I have a spinning wheel! Putting it together and then attempting to work it sans experience AND any sort of manual or good reference book caused me to work up a sweat real quick. So I summoned all my grownup skills through the evening and: took a break after assembling the wheel to eat something so I wasn't trembling with both excitement and hunger, tried just treadle-ing for a while, then played with some sock yarn to get the feel of it, and then the Wensleydale top that came with the wheel for a bit. In my most adult move of the evening, I stepped away from the wheel before I hurt it or myself, remembered the same feeling when learning to drop spindle, and spent the rest of the evening gazing at its beauty and marvelling (reveling?) at just the mere fact that a spinning wheel is now living with me!

So, without further ado, the promised first attempt - the craptastic* yarn:


I had the sock yarn soooo tightly twisted, and loads of trouble figuring out the take up part, but zowie - I got some twist into some fiber and I'm off! Here's hoping Amazon gets me my Spinner's Companion real fast!

*The vocabulary I've learned through the knittyboards is so darned useful!

November 19, 2006

Random Sunday

For some unknown reason, I've been waking up at 3AM, forcing myself to stay in bed til 4AM, and then getting up and having what feels like a full day before I have to go to work. This has been going on since Wednesday - ugh. But I've gotten a lot done - some spinning, almost a whole moebius shawl, and the beginnings of another funky cable sample. Plus lots of housework too, in prep for our holiday trip to a sunny place where we get to see both my family and DH's in one fell swoop. Couldn't have planned that better - we save tons on airfare.

The moebius - what magic - incredible stuff here. I wish my brain worked like Cat Bordhi's - how did she ever figure this out? It's Blue Heron Petite Rayon Boucle in Water Hyacinth - only a few more very long rows to go. I'll finish this on the plane.

In spinning news, after trying the Welsh Top that came with my wheel (it wasn't Wensleydale as previously reported, but hey, it was at least a w sound), which is very coarse and hairy and more to Indigo's liking than mine, I went thin with some unidentified dyed roving. I think I'm so worried about putting too much twist in that I'm not putting enough. Don't the colors in that wool look remarkably similar to the moebius? I see a trend here, and it's unconscious so far.



 


I've also discovered that white wool is incredibly challenging to photograph well, even when the sun finally did come out this week. Daylight Savings Time sure makes it tricky to find times to take pictures - it's impeding my blogging. The good news is that it ends two weeks early for the first time this year - big yay!

I've spent a lot of today cat proofing - Bluefish the wrecking ball hesitates at nothing. She jumped on the counter and up onto a shelf from there, which she rode down from the wall as it crashed into the lazy susan full of seasonings and the crock with all of my utensils in it. Amazingly, and lucky for the Fish, nothing broke. Can't imagine what trouble she'll get into while we're away.

In the final exciting news of the weekend, we have mice in our 81 year old house - imagine that. Mice bold enough to, in broad daylight, come up on my counter to munch on the cinnamon sugar that lives by the toaster. I didn't witness this - DH did, but I now understand it's not crickets that Bluefush lays in wait for in the kitchen, it's the mice she can hear behind the dishwasher. Fun. This is the first time in my whole life I can't call the landlord to get rid of the mice. One of the many things that reminds me I'm a grownup now. Not gonna think about it til after turkey. And I'll come home with a tan, which always makes me feel better, so I'm sure the solution will come to me then.

November 22, 2006

Who turned off the heat?

But you wouldn't know it by the 9.5 pounds of tomatoes I picked off my three Juliet vines this first weekend of December.

The bad news is that I picked them because we're probably done with warm spells for the year. The good news is that we're three weeks from days getting longer. Yes, most of them are green, and I have grand plans and at least $15 in new McCormick spices to pickle these babies. Feel free to chime in if you have any great tips or tricks. I do very little vegetable gardening as I'm the only one who'll eat them in this house, but I'm obsessive about my tomatoes. Grandpa and I loved to talk tomatoes and grocery shopping - he was the tomato man - and I loved to call him to tell him when my little seedlings had just started to smell like tomatoes - we were both so tickled by that and excited for the tomatoes to come. He even went into his grave two years ago with one of my homegrown slicers - felt more appropriate than a rose. I lost my Brandywines to blight early this summer, and the sweet little Juliets didn't kick into high grear until those sickly plants had been removed. Though I've enjoyed the little ones tremendously, I didn't manage to produce a single slicer, which means I didn't have a single perfect tomato sandwich this summer. I'm a purist - it MUST be white bread, a thick shmear of mayo, salt & pepper - that's it. It goes without saying that the tomato must be perfect, which has become an extinct thing anywhere. I've hit natural produce stores, farmers markets, and farm stands from the Outer Banks to DC and they all sell the same bland, odorless, tasteless tomato. Yuck.

Wish me luck - if these pickled green cherry tomatoes work, I could be done with Christmas gifts for a bunch of folks. Especially since I don't do Christmas. But that's another story.

December 3, 2006

I guess it's winter now!

But you wouldn't know it by the 9.5 pounds of tomatoes I picked off my three Juliet vines this first weekend of December.

The bad news is that I picked them because we're probably done with warm spells for the year. The good news is that we're three weeks from days getting longer. Yes, most of them are green, and I have grand plans and at least $15 in new McCormick spices to pickle these babies. Feel free to chime in if you have any great tips or tricks. I do very little vegetable gardening as I'm the only one who'll eat them in this house, but I'm obsessive about my tomatoes. Grandpa and I loved to talk tomatoes and grocery shopping - he was the tomato man - and I loved to call him to tell him when my little seedlings had just started to smell like tomatoes - we were both so tickled by that and excited for the tomatoes to come. He even went into his grave two years ago with one of my homegrown slicers - felt more appropriate than a rose. I lost my Brandywines to blight early this summer, and the sweet little Juliets didn't kick into high grear until those sickly plants had been removed. Though I've enjoyed the little ones tremendously, I didn't manage to produce a single slicer, which means I didn't have a single perfect tomato sandwich this summer. I'm a purist - it MUST be white bread, a thick shmear of mayo, salt & pepper - that's it. It goes without saying that the tomato must be perfect, which has become an extinct thing anywhere. I've hit natural produce stores, farmers markets, and farm stands from the Outer Banks to DC and they all sell the same bland, odorless, tasteless tomato. Yuck.

Wish me luck - if these pickled green cherry tomatoes work, I could be done with Christmas gifts for a bunch of folks. Especially since I don't do Christmas. But that's another story.

December 7, 2006

Pickle Power!

I did it - I pickled twelve pints of green tomatoes. In all their Ball-jar glory:

I used to do a lot of canning because I used to pick a lot of berries at one of my three favorite places in the world, Homestead Farm in Poolesville Maryland - heaven. I would go in work clothes and heels the moment their recording said the early glow strawberries were ready for picking. (I don't like cooked strawberries - these were just for eating.) Next came blackberries, followed closely by the raspberries. If I was lucky, the wonderful and charming farmer Ben, always in his red hat, would grant me access to his super special black raspberry patch - oh the jam I made from those beauties. Homestead always had a late raspberry field in August, and then came all the fun fall produce - apples, pumpkins, hay rides. I even got engaged in the strawberry patch there a gazillion years ago one early Saturday morning - terribly romantic but luckily, I didn't marry that guy. For some reason, that year I made jam with the strawberries we picked that morning and ick - never ate it. Should have been a sign.

Anyway, this time I treated myself to a canner (big splatter-ware pot with rack), which in all those years I never had, and it made the experience that much better. I don't think I've ever had pickled green tomatoes, but it sounded like a good thing to do, so when they've "cured" for a few weeks, I'll taste and decide if I can give them away. I was a devoted jam maker - inventing ways to reduce sugar by using natural pectins like apple peel and finely diced lemon rind - this is really a first for vegetables. The canner made the required hot water bath easy. I could see doing more of this, and as DH would say, now I have the tools and the talent!

This endeavor took an entire evening and so I have nothing fibery to tell you about. Next post...

December 11, 2006

Monday Treats!

I arrived home from work tonight to find a mystery package at my door from Purl Soho. I simply couldn't imagine what it could be or who would be so savvy to order me something from there. Opened it up to find, inside lovely pale blue tissue, the most amazing, iridescent, apricot/pink Lantern Moon silk taffeta bag and a set of Blue Sky Alpaca dpns from India - made of Surina wood and packeged in a gorgeous little tin. From my sister-in-law, who is my new knitting buddy all the way in snowy Michigan. Outta the blue! And things I wouldn't have bought for myself. We did see her over Thanksgivng, and the two of us immediately flopped on the floor and dumped out the knitting bags for show and tell. What fun!

I have been spinning - all of the lovely BFL from Spunky Eclectic, which is now two-plied and drying from the twist setting party yesterday. This is all my wheel-spun so far - 8oz of corriedale that's plied in lots of ways, and the winey wool shown recently below.

I'm still doing the too-little twist thing, both in plying and in the singles. I attempted a scientific method of splitting the roving into six sections and wrapping them up nicely, with the correct end to start with on top, and placed them gently in a big bowl next to my wheel. (DH strolled by and at first glance thought it was a bowl of water.) We know how good at science I am, so during the course of the several days I spun this lovely stuff, I needed the bowl for the pickling excercise, and simply lost complete track of which end was up on any of them. I achieved one stretch where the colors line up together pretty nicely, but the rest is all mixed up. Not that there's anything wrong with that - but not what I set out for. Gorgeous though! Now to figure out what to do with 220 yards of it. I'm simply not a knit hat wearer, except for my felted Bottoms Up Bucket hat that I'm wearing now, especially since my hairdresser took me veeery literally about "going short." We have a few variables for cutting my hair, the most important of which is how soon I'll be seeing my mom. Since I just saw her and it was long, (which for me means I need a brush) and of course, she commented on how she loved it like that even though it was winging out in the back and poofy over my ears. So I'm resorting to wearing a bit more makeup for a while to avoid looking like my hair's just growing in after chemo. Before and during shots - oh yeah - you forgot we were talking about spinning the BFL:

Haven't managed a good finished shot yet, and I haven't checked out wpi for any of my yarn, and I'm itching to make something with it. I can't bear the thought of felting fiber I've invested so much into making look like beautiful yarn - it seems like going backwards somehow. I'll likely do some sort of accessory-type scarf thing - nothing fancy.

I decided this weekend that one of the very few things as satisfying and gratifying as playing with fiber is home improvement/yardwork projects. We've been working very hard on landscaping for the past 8 months, and things are starting to look good. Come spring, they could look fabulous! I even, after lots of serious discussion with DH, did a leeeelte bit of Christmas decorating. We have no kids, we buy what we want/need all year, don't do organized religion, and so have no real connection to this holiday. I can't stand the pace and the stress in the air and the bad drivers and the general hysteria - it's been a while since we've done any decorating. I think the last time was in our apartment and we ended up draping greenery around the TV - pathetic. So anyway, we have this great house that we love, and in the end decided the only reason to decorate was because our house deserved it. Don't you hate when you've just read the whole story and then the blogger says "sorry, but I haven't gotten a good picture yet" so you have to come back to see it - as if! But, come back later, please - as soon as I have some light I'll snap one! And then don't be mad because it's really anticlimactic and silly that I'm so delighted by three wreaths with red bows, but I am.

December 12, 2006

Wow - you did all that yourself?

I know, this is some bare bones Christmas decorating, but it makes me smile every time I pull up. I tried to aim our little solar spotlights up on them, but DH will surely fix that when he gets home. The one on the far right is noticably smaller than the other two, and at lunch, just before the photos, I attempted to switch it into the middle for a more intentional effect. Forgot that I limked all three together with the invisible fishing line I couldn't see and forgot all about, so unsymmetrical it stays. Mom thinks I should do a couple wreaths on the windows on the sunroom on the other side of the house for balance, but I can see that quickly turning into those candles in every window, and then icicle lights dripping from the porch and... the horror! This is just the right amount for my deep-rooted bah-humbug-ness. Hohoho.

December 26, 2006

It doesn't get any better than this

Or any more ridiculous. Since I took this week between Christmas and New Year's off for the first time in my professional life, I have lots of time to be a) a slug in my pj's, b) a domestic goddess, and c) a mad spinner. Not bad - I know I could get used to this. DH is home with me too - nice. As I just paused to move the slide on my bobbin, I realized I was completely over-the-top silly, because: I'm wearing a new Christmas tie-dye from DH who finds the most amazing shirts at REI with my plaid flannel pj bottoms, I'm spinning up some lovely Wensleydale (I think), and we're watching the Neils (Diamond & Young) and Joni and Van the Man with The Band in The Last Waltz on cable. Could I be any more hippie-70s? For the record, I was born 10 years late in 1966 - but that's another story. For your viewing pleasure, and please do chuckle out loud:

Nice, huh? I think you're allowed to wear prints together if they're in the same color family, no? Isn't my Lendrum pretty?

I'm having one of those David Byrne "how did I get here" times. It really doesn't get much better than this life I've somehow ended up with. I have the very best husband, a fabulous house, two great cats (gratuitous shots below), family, a spinning wheel, and all the other comforts I could ask for. Really - how did I get here? If you knew where I was 20 and even 10 years ago you'd be as astounded as I am. I do believe that, in all the crap, the messes, the failures, the new starts, I've earned this, just like I've earned the gray hairs I'm culitvating.

Just to keep up the theme, I just finished plying the yarn above (spun to the Band) with Richie Havens doing Freedom in the Woodstock movie. Too much! I think it's the finest plying I've done yet - I should make sure to have brilliant tunes on for plying all the time.

The best cats - Indigo and the Bluefish:

It doesn't get any better than this

Or any more ridiculous. Since I took this week between Christmas and New Year's off for the first time in my professional life, I have lots of time to be a) a slug in my pj's, b) a domestic goddess, and c) a mad spinner. Not bad - I know I could get used to this. DH is home with me too - nice. As I just paused to move the slide on my bobbin, I realized I was completely over-the-top silly, because: I'm wearing a new Christmas tie-dye from DH who finds the most amazing shirts at REI with my plaid flannel pj bottoms, I'm spinning up some lovely Wensleydale (I think), and we're watching the Neils (Diamond & Young) and Joni and Van the Man with The Band in The Last Waltz on cable. Could I be any more hippie-70s? For the record, I was born 10 years late in 1966 - but that's another story. For your viewing pleasure, and please do chuckle out loud:

Nice, huh? I think you're allowed to wear prints together if they're in the same color family, no? Isn't my Lendrum pretty?

I'm having one of those David Byrne "how did I get here" times. It really doesn't get much better than this life I've somehow ended up with. I have the very best husband, a fabulous house, two great cats (gratuitous shots below), family, a spinning wheel, and all the other comforts I could ask for. Really - how did I get here? If you knew where I was 20 and even 10 years ago you'd be as astounded as I am. I do believe that, in all the crap, the messes, the failures, the new starts, I've earned this, just like I've earned the gray hairs I'm culitvating.

Just to keep up the theme, I just finished plying the yarn above (spun to the Band) with Richie Havens doing Freedom in the Woodstock movie. Too much! I think it's the finest plying I've done yet - I should make sure to have brilliant tunes on for plying all the time.

The best cats - Indigo and the Bluefish:

January 24, 2007

I guess they've got my number!

My youngest sister (that's twin humor) greeted me yesterday on IM for my birthday with this exact line: "good morning birthday girl! you wearing a crown today you little freak?" And then I got an email from my best girlfriend three hours away that included in the first paragraph, "you are wearing your tiara, aren’t you?" Of course my twin WAS wearing her tiara many states away, and I sent her a feathery pink one just in case along with a magic wand for good measure. It's a long standing tradition - I don't see an end to it any time soon. No doubt you'll see me when I'm 70, with the same goofy smile, explaining that no, it's not a new fashion accessory, it's just my birthday.

Middle sister (the twin - just to tweak her) sent this funny little book:

Which I opened to the page on How to Make an Origami Crane. Now, I consider the origami crane a sort of personal totem, and both twin and I have folded them obsessively since early childhood crafts sessions with mom. I could do it blindfolded. I'm not sure if I just think I'm so cool when I whip one of them out sitting in a meeting from scrap paper or stickies, or if there's some deep-seated meaning in these cranes, but I do love 'em. Twin & I buy each other origami things on a regular basis. Okay, I already have one Hippie thing under my belt - what else? See all those flags? I went, page by page, through the book and all the green flags are the things I 've done, seen, read or currently do on a regular basis! The pink ones are things that are already on my list. It's conclusive proof that I was born ten years late - I really am a hippie. Or a yippie dink at least.

(I'm turning on Alice's Restaurant, another fabulous thing from 1966, right now just to complete the mood. Quick story - I once walked into a meeting to debut my new gigantic white board calendar system at work and said something about circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one to a room full of blank faces. That's probably be happening again now, right? The clue is there - figure it out.) My references are all out of whack with my age group - again I'll blame my hippie mom and her sister for their very strong influence. (Lucky me!) Another great one from How to Celebrate a Hippie Birthday - number one item - Watch Free to Be You and Me. Another personal anthem! How did they know so much about me? It went on and on - so silly, so much fun.

I think that might be when I took a detour from silliness and between Pat Metheny and Joni Mitchell I missed my dad and grandpa while pondering this aging stuff and reflecting on the impermanence of life. Seems like a switch was flipped in the last few years and the losses started coming with more regularity. Makes me wonder a lot about what mark I want to make and when the hell I'm going to get my a** in gear and go about making it. I'm certainly marinating on it. Another thing about getting older is that somehow I've reached the inversion point - where professionals I need are younger than me. Like my doctor, or lawyer, or whatever - I like those folks to be gray and wrinkly so I at least get the illusion of experience and wisdom. I switched doctors a few years ago because I was easily ten years older than my little teenaged doctor and it plain wigged me out.

And - will I spend the rest of my life being shocked that things like "I remember when" keep coming out of my mouth? Or "you know, twenty years ago...." They're playing 80s music on classic rock stations - that's just wrong! I mean, I can talk about the days before personal computers, cell phones, and DVD players in cars. That's my generation's "walked back and forth to school barefoot in the snow" - we couldn't hold a telephone conversation in line at Starbucks or email thank you notes. My first PC was a Mac Plus with the teeny tiny screen built in that breadbox sized package. It's not that I'm pining away for the past, or only looking back, but I am doing a considerable amount of reminiscing. Maybe it just means that I do have a lot of amazing memories. Does it get stronger every year, the same way time goes by faster every year?

I have two test swatches I should be knitting, but that silk just won't loosen its hold on me. It's an addiction - I think about it way too much and haven't stopped spinning/knitting/touching it since I began on New Year's Eve. I like to keep it in sight at all times. It's quite remarkable really, since I also can't stop thinking about the next couple things I want to cast on, including but not limited to: socks, a sweater from the Silk & Merino CTH, a turquoise moebius basket by request from the niece, and those swatches! TTFN

February 15, 2007

Out of sorts

Discombobulated - I finished the shrug part of my second attempt at Tubey last night, and even though the sleeves still looked a tad large, they were smaller than the first time, so I picked up for the body anyway. I've been so disappointed in how my sweaters fit that I'm turning a corner and not being willing to put up with just okay, so I stop and check fit more often. So I checked - put all of those body stitches on a piece of scrap yarn and tried it on. Not even CLOSE. Now, I know I didn't get the recommended gauge, but I did the freakin' maths and knew what to do to sub my yarn when I started my second attempt. I did those maths on the first page of the pattern I printed, and your guess will be just as good as mine as to where that's gone. It's probably hanging out with the marked up pattern for the gorgeous fair isle gloves I'm supposed to be finishing for Fair Isle February. Yes, I could do the maths again, but that would certainly cause my feeble brain to explode since I've ALREADY DONE THE stupid maths. The sleeves currently make me look like a big pink gorilla, and the neckline is just indescribably bad. I really, really want to finish a sweater before Knitapalooza IV beginson March 16th.

I think it's the absence of the silk. It's the same empty feeling I get when I've just finished a really, really good book and there's nothing else in the queue. I've been noodling around with a bunch of different little things and I've found nothing particularly satisfying. I did finally fill one bobbin with the brown wool - now just have to spin two more. Seems like I've barely made a dent in this pound of wool. I'd show you a photo but it's been cloudy for days and my flash photos aren't worth posting....

Send me some good fiber vibes - gotta get my knit back on!

This just in - I ate the bad peanut butter for dinner last night. Just saw on the Today show that yes - I got some of the stuff being recalled for potential salmonella problems. I guess if I start doing the Linda Blair I'll know I got it. Supposedly takes up to 24 hours to hit - wheeeeeee.

February 26, 2007

Springing?

There's a smidge of evidence that we're getting close to the greens and balmy breezes of spring around here, aside from those few days of fake-out spring last week. The daffodils are blooming:

daffodil


And there's some action in the tulip beds - I've never grown tulips before, and it looks to me like the flower is coming out of the ground first. Is that how they work? I hope not, because it's supposed to be a big mass of purple and white and NOT this strange wine-y color (quite true on my screen):


We'll see. I'm a few weeks into my chiropractic treatment and I probably undo everything every time I pick up my needles. I've been trying to get my left arm to do more work - it seems so unfair that my right arm/hand have to do all the work. I've trained the left hand to mouse quite capably, but my battle to get it to carry its weight is tough. I attempted to whisk some batter, and wipe out the oven with my left arm this weekend, but I get into it and my right arm gets all impatient and just grabs whatever from the left saying "just give it to me - I can do it faster!" We're working on it, me and my arms. Oh yeah - that gyro-ball I got to exercise my arms and wrists made my breastbone sore enough that I was sure I had a tumor and was getting ready to call my doctor. No tumor, gyro-ball making pretty as table art.

Me and these weenie arms have finished a 6-foot scarf for the designer I test knit for, and when I hit publish I'm off to give it a bit of a block before sending it away. I've rejeuventated the CeCecardigan from ChicKnits, but I'm thinking perhaps the cotton is making me more sore. I need to get some socks on the needles for mindless knitting, and figure out what I need to do for Knittapalooza IV which is fast approaching.

March 6, 2007

(Insert Clever Title)

Because that's about all I can manage.... Was it a full moon last night? I've got to find something to blame for my general malaise and lack of ability to concentrate. I have both start- and finish-itis, and I've unknit more than I've knit in the last few weeks. I did finish up a second bobbin of the brown wool - it's looking nice and I'm into the third already.

two bobbins


I suppose I'll have to start weighing the fiber before I spin it so I get even bobbins, but I'm still in the serious experimental stage and I have no idea how much is on either bobbin. I do know I've barely made a dent in the pound of this stuff!

A forced hour in a waiting room while Captain America had a procedure Friday was a perfect time to blast through eleven rows of a fancy cable swatch that's been staring me down. Go figure that a place that requires, by signature, that the patient's driver remain in the waiting room for an hour has absolutely NOTHING interesting in the large, uncomfortable room. Remarkable really. Maybe they stopped stocking magazines because people walked out with them. Good thing I'm a knitter.

I has a bit of a bug scare this weekend when I wound some lovely Koigu that I purchased last fall. It was in bits and pieces:

koigu bits


I sent an email to the very responsive not-LYS, who knew from just my name exactly which hanks I had purchsed. No other reports of cut up Koigu, so the nice owner suggested that I investigate for moths or carpet beetles - oy! I pulled out all the stash from the two major caches in the house and wound some CTH merino sock yarn that was living in the same drawer - luckily I found no other damage. I did get to lay my hands on a bunch of yarn I forgot about, organize a few piles into the cool new super large Ziploc bags I found at the grocery, and assemble a frog pile for some later time... The shop offered to take it back, but had no more of this colorway which I've fallen madly in love with, so I cast on for my first pair of Jaywalkers anyway.

Jaywalkers


This is exactly what I needed - it's simple enough for me at the moment, especially since I WAS working on CeCe. This simple lace cardigan, knit up succesfully by so many already, is completely beyond me. I've started it twice, ripped out rows and rows, and it's now in a bag, yanked off the needles in a fit of frustration Sunday. I remember thinking when I first started it it, "this is knitting up so quickly," and "what an easy-to-keep-track of lace pattern." Mmmm hmmm. Besides the gazillion yarn overs I can't possibly be responsible for managing, I apparently turned off the part of my brain that has done slipped-stitch edges a few times before - I was plotting the row of single crochet I'd need to hide the fug at the edges. I think the cotton needs to be still for a while - I really really want a CeCe, so I'll be back to it soon.

frog pile


I also at least pulled out the Onde Le Gilet cardigan from years ago, and I suppose I'll give it one more go before I rip it out. I haven't been brave enough to take it out of the bag, but I find myself strangely drawn to this funky Phildar yarn.

onde


Last I remember, I had reknit something (a sleeve?) and nothing was fitting together very well. I may have learned enough since then to recover it - cross your fingers. I remember it gave me a bit of a callous where it slid over my finger, but knit up it's quite soft. I have a thing for orange.

Good things for Tuesday - I ordered a new desk chair at work that should arrive today, and then I get to see the neck cracker this afternoon, which also means I get to leave work a bit early. Silly thing - gotta go back there tomorrow anyway, but I looooove escaping before the bell.

March 13, 2007

Let there be LIGHT!

I lovelovelove Daylight Savings Time. Twice last week I realized I was squinting in the car at lunch and giggled to myself that the sun was, indeed, zooming across the sky to spring. Both days I was in a funk driving back to the job I just don't want to do anymore, and as I realized it was zooming towards spring the first time, I Want Candy came on the radio and I blasted it and rocked out all the way back to work. The second day, I was giggling about squinting and Sledgehammer came on - another fabulous opportunity to rock out in the car, singing badly and loudly, to arrive at work smiling. Good stuff - sun and fun music.

So the switch this weekend was fabulous, and my simmering spring feisty-ness is in full force - enough force to propel me to do this:


You have to know that I don't do things like this, mostly because I'm terrified of the crawling or slimy things I might find in such a spot. But, I refuse to pay gazillions of dollars to have my gutters cleaned, so we got the right size ladder this weekend and I climbed while CA spotted me. I love heights, and the gutters weren't nearly as bad as we imagined, so we cruised around the house quite handily. When we hit the detached garage, which is about 6 feet from the neighbor's garage, and that 6 feet is split by a ratty chain link fence, Captain America suggested he was going to tighrope along the fence to get to our overflowing-with-pine-needles gutter, but I reminded him that he hates heights and is about to have surgery on his bad and very painful shoulder. So, up I went. To bravely face whatever might be in there. I didn't find any spiders or particularly slimy stuff, got tons of gunk out of the gutters, and, oddly enough, smelled skunk the whole time I was up there. Which made me remember singing Dead Skunk in the Middle of the Road in the car as kids when we when we were hippies living in the woods of rural Pennsylvania. Which in turn made me picture our two big dogs getting soaked in tomato juice after the inevitable wrangling with the skunks in those woods. Turns out I had a damn fine time tip-toeing down the fence scooping gunk out of the gutter and wandering around in my head - go figure. (Yup - that's another fab tie-dye from CA - he's gooooood.)

I hope the return of the light may help my current scatterbrained approach to spring and spring cleaning. And knitting, and projects - too many to compute. I'm almost done with one Jaywalker sock, and while the leg was a lovely exercise in mindless knitting, my mind didn't want to cooperate so much on the foot. It's resting.

I started plying up my three bobbins of brown wool and zip-dang - it looks more like yarn than anything I've spun yet!

It's Knitapalooza weekend - and I'm going all three days again this year - my fourth. Three days of fabulous women (we've never had a man sign up) and guest teacher Sally Meville - I'm verklempt. This event somehow marks my knitting life, so while I didn't look back at New Year's, I'm now trying to figure out what the hell I've done since last year. I have no new sweater to wear, no new fabulous lace shawl to show off - all of a sudden it seems like I've done nothing since last year. Except learned to spin on a spindle, which started at Knitapalooza '06, procured copius amounts of fiber, and jumped with both feet onto the spinning wheel train. I've become a test knitter for a fabulous designer and knit countless complicated cable swatches and a six foot scarf for her. I've finished a few things, made two pairs of socks, felted lots of bags and moebious baskets, started both CeCe and Tubey twice - okay, I've actually done something. My Modesitt Lace Corset is on display helping to sell yarn at my LYS. And I will wear my hand-dyed, handspun, handknit Clapotis Saturday with pride bursting. And I will re-do the crochet neckline on my VK/Cherry Tree Hill Silk & Merino sweater from 2004 so I can wear it without fear of bra-straps or the jostling of a strapless bra. There - I feel better now - thanks for listening. Three days and counting!

My first crocus, that I planted in my very own yard - how satisfying!

crocus

March 27, 2007

Amazing stuff.

You know, I've been trying to operate under the theory that if you open yourself up to a possibility, really let the universe know what you're after, it will respond. In yet another connected little experience, I got to attend a booksigning with Ellen Burstyn here on Sunday. It turned into a little question and answer session first, and since there were a ton of film students in the room and she's the President of the Board of the Actor's Studio, it turned into one of these Inside interviews... "My name is x and I'm a second-year actor and I was wondering how you prepare for a role like Requiem...." Ellen was lovely and sweet and funny just like you'd imagine her, and all of a sudden she was talking about her path, and the process she took in writing her first book, Lessons in Becoming Myself, and the tribe, and it was like she was talking directly to me. (It helped that, like the eager beaver I am, I sat right in the front.) All the ideas, the ways of being in the world she talked about are the things I'm thinking about - freaky really. I went because I was raised on Same Time Next Year and Alice doesn't Live Here Anymore and I'm so very glad I did! I got the book signed for my mom - the leader of my tribe, but I think I'll have to read it before I send it off. Thanks again, universe!

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):

mascot


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:

haircut


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).

June 25, 2007

Now We're Cooking with Gas!

Or at least blogging from my corner of the couch, the place where all knitting and most other things happen in this house, because yes, I managed, finally, to get wireless! Zippity dooh dah. Here's how I did it: spent hours booting and rebooting and searching technical websites on the other computer over several weeks. Since about the second week of June I've taken a more desperate approach - avoiding the damned thing, and practically the whole room it was in altogether, with occasional delusions that if I just did that one thing, it would work, followed immediately with desperation and more avoidance. Until today, when I realized I could start with the lowest common denominator, the cheapest fix, and I bought a new adapter at Radio Shack (only because I was on a rare and stealth mission to the mall - no new summer purse, but a wireless card. I strongly dislike Radio Shacks, but I was desperate and braved the land of geeks.)

Anyway, $60 later, with absolutely no other pain whatsoever, here I am, in business on the couch. Yay me.

I have aboslutely nothing spectacular to talk about, and no fabulous new knitting to show you, so I took garden pictures. This is the clematis I hoped might be white:

2nd purple clematis


A second type of purple - just as great! The other has four-petaled flowers.And morning glories galore - the ever-reliable Grandpa Ott's, and several new colors from the mix I planted. Love these things - they grow fast and make me happy every single morning.

GO's morning glory


random gloy


random glory 2


And my favorite thing in my garden every summer, my biggest joy, and also the one that causes me the most trouble and heartache - the tomato. I have two plants left from the batch I started from seed this year. I've grown all kinds - grape, cherry, roma, heirloom, purchased plants - all of them. And all I ever want is a good, fat, juicy slicer for my tomato sandwiches. And that seems to be the very hardest thing to get. I skipped the relentless cherry/grape vines - they never stop and I have tomatoes coming out of my ears. Nothing fancy this year - I did Burpee Early Girls and Big Beefsteak I think, and I'm down to two of one or the other - not sure which anymore. Despite too many cool nights and some blossom drop:

TOMATOES!


With more to come - I think tomato blossoms are happy and beautiful:

Tomatoes to be


I'm obsessed with my garden - I dote, I admire, I encourage - so satisfying when it works.

I have a new dove pair on the porch - they spent most of this weekend deciding if it would work, building the pile of sticks that doves seem to prefer, and noodling around together up there. I don't think I wrote about the original mom, who was tending to her second set of eggs in the same spot. One morning in May, I was up at 4:30 and looked out the window to see her sleeping in the nest. I was knitting at 5AM when there was a horrible commotion and I ran to the window just in time to see the neighborhood alley cat making off with the mom dove. After he crashed the nest to the floor which crushed the eggs that were very near hatching. Awful. Horrible. I don't know why the universe decided I needed to see it all. I looked for her every time I went in or out for weeks. That event was the beginning of my apparently appointed role to bear witness to baby bird tragedies in the yard this spring - I found other unhatched and broken eggs and a baby who had probably fallen from the nest. I can only hope someday to know why I was chosen. So it's great that the doves are here - and I can now worry about them every time I come in and out.

I think the end is in sight with the cable swatches for Melissa Leapman - I believe I have the last two patterns in hand and one of them in process. When these are done, I will return to my little green tee. The design issue on the back has been rolling around and fermenting for a while and I think I know what I'll do to make it work, but my brain is a very dangerous place to keep this sort of thing, so I'm looking forward to pulling it out and getting to it.

Oh yeah - I've spun up a bobbin and a half more of the brown wool - not too exciting, but it's going swimmingly and I look forward to the day when CA wears it! I'm denying myself other spinning til I finish these three bobbins-full - that should give me close to 1,000 yards. I've found a rhythm with it and don't want to mess up by adding a different rhythm or fiber to the mix.

I've even made some inquiries around finding a way to make fiber my work... If you're reading and you're a yarn rep, I'd love to pick your brain!

July 8, 2007

Small Victories

Loads of them stacked up over the last two weeks. One might wonder if the week plus of vacation I've taken since the beginning of June might have something to do with it, but I'm not even going to wonder - just enjoy.

It started with my perfect drive up to NIH - somehow it seems to always rain on Thursday nights I drive up, and an hour into the trip, Mother Nature kept up her perfect record. By the time I hit my beloved Rock Creek Parkway after 9:30pm, it was deserted and dark and raining lightly, with eerie misty pockets sprinkled liberally along. Managing to drive Rock Creek all the way from the Memorial Bridge to East-West Highway in Bethesda is my own personal gauntlet every trip, and I haven't done well lately. Despite the mist and an urge to bear off too far to the right at one point, I emerged, triumphantly, right where I wanted to be. Victory one.

My NIH appointment began at 7am, and after the usual peeing in a cup to make sure I'm not pregnant (hah!), I waited til 8 to get in the BIG scanner. The Italian scientist was there again, grinning and apologetic for my last trip, fawning over me and thanking me for trying again. I was moments away from blissful ignorance when the nurse frowned as she made sure I knew this was a looong scan - almost two hours. Argh - the last thing I wanted to know was how long I had to cook. I was pooped from my drive and ready to sleep but no-ooooo, she had to go and tell me. The sweet-smelling Italian boy softened the blow ever-so-slightly, but I knew it would be a long haul. I think Ii probably slept a bit, but not much. I do little sing-songy chants along with the magnet's rhythmic banging, and practiced mind control, and tried to meditate to my breathing. I think I need a private breathing coach - a guru who could help me not freak out and start hyperventilating, or worrying I'm doing it wrong. I had zero deep thoughts, solved no world problems or even any of my own, but did stay still. Anyway, at 110 minutes in, Antonio came on the speaker and asked how I was doing - to which I groaned "how much longer?" He and the nurse both emphatically told me I could be done right then, but if I could manage 10 more minutes, they'd love to run one more scan. How could I not manage 10 more minutes in the name of science (and a cute scientist)? So I did, and I was done - and it was a full two hours. Victory two - but whew - won't repeat that anytime soon. Antonio was thrilled to have that extra scan as a control - the same as the one just before it to check consistency, and he happily told me that all was not lost from the 70 minutes I did beofre bailing the last time - they'd use all that too, and were in fact having several other guinea pigs repeat portions of the 3T MRI. Cool.

With only one scan to accomplish, I was outta there by 10:30 on Friday morning - the Friday before the 4th of July. I knew I had to be headed south on 95 before 2PM at the latest or I was in for a nightmare of tourist drivers beginning their treks to the beach, and I was determined to get to StitchDC on the Hill. In my usual manner, I had carefully studied the MapQuest directions at home, then printed them up for the drive, then carefully left them folded NEXT to my pocketbook. So they weren't there when I went for them. But, even knowing how poorly it turned out last time, I trusted my instincts and headed in the general direction. I stopped only at Whole Foods for a big bottle of good olive oil and a handful of their peppermint lip balm, since the last handful I bought have disappeared into pockets and cats' paws. I discovered, at just about the place those pesky instincts turned me around last time in a panic, that I had been headed straight for it on the last trip, and had I gone maaaybe 3 more blocks I would have been right there. So fine - I was there this time. All good. Even found a reasonable parking place and finally made it in. It's amazing how different the DC market is from my mid-sized town a few hours south - I think I only saw one or two familiar yarns, and the rest was an amazing collection of unusual, chi-chi, luxury, and/or luscious products. Having survived Rock Creek, a two-hour MRI, and the wilds of DC to get there, I lost my mind and walked out with a way-over-my-price-range Japanese jacket kit in linen paper from Habu. Lost. My. Mind. But it's so funky, and I will make it (someday, when I bump into it in my stash after a long line of other fabulous must-have projects). I'm not really sure what size it will be, and the Japanese charts will take some practice - but I'm up for some new forms of torture. Victory three.

reward


After working a whopping 16 hours last week (!), I ran screaming from my office for five straight days of nothing planned. Which meant I had plenty of time to knock out the alleged final two swatches for Melissa Leapman. Which I did - at 11:52 on Thursday morning, I bound that last sucker off. Victory four!

Which meant I could cast on, for the third time, CeCe in caramel Butterfly cotton. While knitting with my friend on Thursday night - bonus. I've managed almost six repeats of the lace on the body so far - I think I'll only have to do nine before I start the sleeves. I even managed to get past my slip-stitch brain fart of the last attempt - I just don't know what came over me that time. Victory five!

CeCe


(What you can't see in this photo is that I'm stopped mid-row because it looks like I may have done something really, really wrong about three rows back. And that while I did figure out what I was doing wrong on the previous slip-stitch edge attempt, I didn't figure it out until one side was already wrong... but it's consistent, so this is one of those design features I'm willing to live with. Small victories, remember?)

July 11, 2007

In Memory of Momma Dove #2

Yep, that pesky neighborhood cat got the second nesting dove on my porch sometime between breakfast & lunch on Monday, and I just feel terrible. I knew the cat knew she was there, even though I haven't seen him since his massacre in May. I spent many nights falling asleep thinking about ways I could protect the dove - spikes, aluminium foil, a net, anti-varmint spray - but I did nothing. Mostly because I know you can't stop a cat on a mission... I had one of those cats who, back when I was making a lot of pottery, would not allow any other potter's work in my apartment. Anytime I brought something home, she'd find and "kill" it, smashing it to the floor. I bought a beautiful Malcolm Davis shino teapot - I was mad for it - and within 24 hours, my little Spike had found it, stashed on a high shelf behind lots of other pots, and smashed it.

Anyway, I feel like I set Momma Dove #2 up, and if any of her friends decide to investigate this lovely spot to make a nest, I will, even though the thought kills me, drive her away. Captain America is as sad about this as I am - we both enjoyed greeting her anytime we were on the porch and marveled at her tolerance and dedication as we watered plants hanging right next to her and generally banged around out there. RIP momma.

In fiber news, I'm up to the armpits on Cece, and boy, all that shaping in lace has tested my feeble brain! I persevere, and tonight I'll cast on for the sleeves - wheee! I also managed to fill another bobbin with CA's brown wool over the weekend - one more bobbin, a little plying, and I'm ready to make his vest. Whee again! And today I will mail off the final six cable swatches for Melissa Leapman - big WHEEEE!

August 1, 2007

Housework

Literally. This hermit and her husband had a houseguest recently, and it's amazing what having someone come to stay does for one's view of their abode. What I mean by that is that it forces one to actually see the two giant televisions hanging out in their living space, and to decide that the foil allegedly keeping the maniac Bluefish out of the plants is not a particularly appealing design feature, and.... you get the idea. We've lived in this house for two years and have escaped any guests - amazing. Preparing for our houseguest (the easiest kind possible - my mom) also meant that, after two years trying to decide how to furnish our sunroom, we, at the last minute, ordered some wicker furniture from Pottery Barn. Which mostly arrived in time, except for the chairs. We also had to get a bed for the guest room, so we bought a platform (formerly known as a box spring - I won't make that mistake again after being corrected several times by the salesman) and ordered one of those all memory foam mattresses online only from Costco. That didn't arrive in time either - we put an air mattress on that platform instead.

Mom's visit also meant a lot of cleaning things that I don't do so regularly - like dusting and waxing the many oak surfaces in the house (much wax on/wax off action), mopping the wood floors, putting things away, and a whole load of throwing things away. I lucked out one day when I came home for lunch to find the charity truck picking up next door, so I foisted several bags of stuff on him, and came home the next day to find the same neighbor had called for a special trash pick-up, so I was able to dump a big old wing chair on her pile - whee! Serendipity in the 'hood - good stuff.

All of this cleaning of course tourqued my right shoulder, even though I tried to make my left arm participate as much as possible. But my left arm just isn't as good or as fast as my right, and my right gets all pissy and grabs the sponge/mop/whatever saying "just give it to me already" every time. I'm surprised I don't hear more people complaining about this defect in the human body - one arm has to do all the work. Just doesn't seem fair.

Anyway, it's amazing, once everything's put away, how fabulous our house is, and how much I want to keep it this nice. I'm definitely a graduate of the Oscar Madison school of housekeeping, so I'm trying to just put things away. I was ruined in third grade - remember Free to be You and Me? I did the Carol Channing Housework skit, decked out in a bandana and overalls with a bucket 'o cleaning stuff, in a school assembly. I memorized the whole thing - I'm in awe of my third grade self hearing it again after all these years. Have a listen - priceless!

I rewarded myself after accomplishing cleaning tasks every night with a few rows of CeCe - some reward to do shaping in lace! It is amazing though to note my progress as a Knitter - I started this almost a year ago and even since then have learned to read my knitting so much better. A mistake that sidelined CeCe a year ago was manageble this time around. Don't tell anyone I said that though, or the Knitting Gods will strike me down for feeling cocky! So I finished it this weekend - gotta block it before it makes its debut. Maybe on someone else if it stays as large as it looks. Call me Goldilocks - always too small, or too big.

August 6, 2007

New look for my blogiversary

I know it's goofy, but I've impressed myself with this blog all year, and I still have absolutely NO idea how to work the darned thing! Thanks to my amazing blog hostess, Becky of prettyposies.com, I'm up and stumbling in MovableType now. Stay tuned - I may even take a class!

August 13, 2007

Who - me?

I've been nominated as a Rockin Girl Blogger - imagine that!
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My sister in fiber and newly published designer, Mel bestowed this honor upon me - fun. How'd she know that one of my secret fantasies is to be a rocker? Specifically a cool chick bass player? Might have happened too, had I not loaned the three-quarter bass that one boy gave me to another boy down the road who started a band and never gave it back. That and the fact that I'm not particularly musical. Anyway, a Rockin Girl Blogger works just fine thankyouverymuch Mel! Passing it on, I nominate the following fiber folks who rock my world:

My first Knittyboard Spinning Secret Pal, The Linnet Knits
A fellow DIY gutter cleaning chick (a harlotized chick no less!) , FemiKnitMafia
A fellow lover of all things that go around and around, Linnea in Germany
Spinner Extraordinaire AbiKnits
And someone I've been reading forever, Yarn-a-Go-Go

This fun little award started here, if you're wondering, and seems to be traveling at lightning speed! Unlike me, who has been meaning to get around to this for (cough, cough) a couple weeks.

August 17, 2007

Leroy says

Ever since I got my Rockin Girl Blogger button, I've been singing Michelle Shocked's Anchorage:

Leroy says send a picture
Leroy says hello
Leroy says awwwww keep on rockin, girl

Where is she now? I saw her several times in the early-90s - one concert was amazing, another torture. The torturous one was at the new and amazingly acoustically perfect George Mason U's music hall, and Taj Mahal was her opening act. Well, some great snafu prevented a large number of band members to be MIA, from both bands - can't remember the details anymore. Taj handled it amazingly well and pulled off a terrific set - one that made me rush out to buy his music and to play Take One Step a thousand times. Michelle, on the other hand, flaked out and instead of singing, spent most of the show blathering into the microphone about her problems. Yuck.

Today Leroy says I figured out short rows all by myself for the long-forgotten sweater-copying exercise I started ages ago. I've been puzzling over the back neck and shoulders, and one night last week as I was knitting a garter stitch project, an image of the way short rows might work popped up, uninvited really, in my brain. I let it mull around for a bit, and then did some googling and studied a few short row tutorials. Feeling aaaalmost ready to attempt this great feat, I found a Knitty pattern that had the directions written out so I could see how it all came down - and I felt ready to give it a try. I had, in fact, pictured it in my head pretty well, and amazingly, even in seed stitch, it WORKED! I've never picked up those wraps better I tell you! I always tried to maneuver through the wrap and into the stitch it was wrapped around without moving it at all - very squidgy work. Slipping the wrapped stitch to my right needle, putting the wrap up on the left, slipping the stitch back from the right to the left, and knitting those two stitches together made for a great result!

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This short row victory is particularly important since I consider myself challenged in the visual-spatial area. I can't imagine furniture in an empty room, and though I love maps - I have to put myself "in them" to find my way around. I'm the person who has to draw the outline of my face in the mirror to figure out if it's oval or square or round. So to have a short row solution, something I've barely wrapped my brain around even after having taken a class, pop up in my head out of nowhere is just plain REMARKABLE. To have let that solution stay and grow and then to have made it work - my god - spectacular! I'm well into the front piece now, and am happy to report that my note-taking so far has been good enough to make a matching piece. So far.

Leroy also says that Leroy shall hereforth be the name of the monster guarding my tomatoes this year:

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Leroy has been with me and the vines from the beginning, and I've watched him grow from a little teeny tiny thing to this humongous creature - what I call a zipper spider. You should know that I'm terrified of spiders, that I leap and scream like a girl when they appear - and they seem to seek me out everywhere. I've come to a point of acceptance with them when they stay in their own natural environment, like the tomatoes. If they're in the house, or they make a web across the back steps I'm sorry, that's my turf and they have to die. I tried early on to convince Leroy that he'd be happier elsewhere, but he seemed to think otherwise. I really messed with him when he was little - twanging the super-strong support threads on his web, blowing on him, spraying him with the hose while watering, throwing things into the web to see if he'd think they were a bug - you name it. He shakes his web when he's threatened, and I wonder what he knows of me - he seems to know I'm there when I get up and off to his side - he starts rocking like crazy. I can't stop watching him - he's truly as large as he looks and he seems to still be growing. Note the tomatoes in the background of this picture - they're the size of large plums, and he's easily as long:

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His girlfriend has been around this week - a very plain brown spider of the same general body type only about 1/8th of his size. I've spied her hanging on the web directly behind him but I haven't seen them actually interact. I'm off to google zipper spider reproduction so I can be prepared.

August 23, 2007

Mmmmmm

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Leroy, my FEMALE spider friend, got herself a big 'ol cicada yesterday - she was wrapping its upper body when I checked on her before work, and by the time I came home, she had sucked it dry and dropped it to the ground.

Of course I know that female spiders are the showier of the species, and that at least black widows eat their mates, but I believe this is the sort of thing we learned in school that just, as time goes by, simply falls out of our brains. Like algebra. And in my defense for assuming that Leroy's size and position made her male: 1) I simply do not think about spiders unless I'm squealing and levitating trying to escape one - or I'm watching Debra Winger hunt a human version down in Black Widow (ooohhhhh - remember that French man in Hawaii - yummy); b) I spend a lot of time stalking my bird feeders with the cats, and when it comes to birds, the boys ARE prettier; and 3) did I mention that I'm afraid of spiders and just never give them room in my brain or my world? I check on this girl at least twice a day. I worry when I go to visit and she's moved around the corner in the bed - I have a moment of despair when I think she might be gone. Go figure - I have a spider friend.

In knitting news, I've just finished a quickie Ty Dye bolero for my wild and crazy mother. Sort of finished. I discovered, as I laid it out to block, that I had pulled one of my classic garment-making maneuvers, perfected way back as a teen sewing clothes: I sewed up one side inside out. Yup - even though I know this particular trick well, and work to guard against it, and thought I checked carefully while riding home from the beach last weekend - I now have to take that garter stitch seam out and flip it. I did find the perfect glass button when we stopped at Knitting Addiction on the way home. This store is one of the very few I've ever been in that has samples and projects knitted up for EVERY SINGLE YARN in the shop. The owner told me she and one of her staff knit all fall and winter to make sure they know and can talk about each and every product in the shop. Fantastic.

I've also just completed the front of the green Silky Tweed sweater, and I'm an inch in to both sleeves - I CAN do them both at once on this project, and these are little cap sleeves, so i expect to have photos by the weekend. I three-needle bound off the shoulder seams - the ones on all four shoulders that I managed to do short-row style (still reeling from the success) and draped it over myself - though I'd never say it out loud, it looks like this could fit. Shhhh - not gonna jinx it.

September 7, 2007

That spider

I've been trying to catch my Leroy, the argiope or zipper spider, spinning her web, and finally discovered that, like me, she has her best energy very, very early in the morning. Tuesday I had the pleasure of watching her go round and round, looking like she was measuring each new span with two of her (loooong) legs, and then pulling the exact length of silk to tack down. I wondered what my digital camera would be able to capture with its video capabilities - this little Sony SureShot takes great video! Look - after watching her do the round and round bit for a while yesterday morning, she began to make the zipper part of her web - AND I GOT IT ON TAPE! I can't rotate this video - it would be 100% perfect if you could give it a turn clockwise - she's actually working bottom to top in the web.
I feel so honored that she let me see this - check out the amount of silk pouring out of her for this heavy stripe - remarkable. I dreamed I was able to train all her babies and they'd pour all that silk out on command so I could see if I could twist it into yarn! Which would be quite a coup really, given my terror of these things. I can't wait to see her egg sac, but I could have nightmares already thinking about all those little spiders hatching in the spring1

September 20, 2007

Out of Africa

Came my mother and my aunt and uncle - after an unbelievable trip to Mali to visit the home of my new cousin-in-law. So there they were, in the wilds of the third-world, negotiating on the black market, always finding cold Coke and beer in the remote-est of places, celebrating Jaimie & Drissa's wedding the Malian way with henna tattoos and bride and groom in separate huts - whew! Dad should have been there to lead the pack, but mom was apparently channeling him (and really just being her amazing self) when she always had a band-aid, or a pocket knife, or a granola bar - she was apparently the hero in many unusual situations. Mom - you rock!

When this arrived in the mail along with fabulous jewelry, game-y Malian honey, and a can of hot chocolate mix, I wondered if my mother had overestimated her communications skills and been taken for a little ride, and marveled at how she managed to have escaped rotting in some dirty jail a la Midnight Express - what does this look like to you?indigo.jpg
Wrapped in this pretty purple cellophane are a bunch of little brown chunks that look remarkably like something to be enjoyed under glass while listening to the Grateful Dead or the Dark Side of the Moon...
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Well, I won't be smoking it - it's indigo - real, true, African indigo. Looks like dried brown dirt, but after handling a chunk and wrapping it back up, I noticed my fingers were blue - so very cool. Must to study some dyeing manuals and perhaps try it out on gobs of BFL in my stash. Thanks mom!!

September 30, 2007

Ennui

I'm stalled on the first sleeve for the Whiskey pattern and I've spent the week groping around for anything else to play with. Part of that has to do with knitting a smaller circumference piece - I have to turn the work more frequently than when working on the body, so I have to stop more frequently to untangle all the balls . I might not fight with the tangles so much if I was willing to snip the yarn more frequently, but I'm lazy and it already looks like it will take me as much time to weave in all those ends. Or maybe I could be more methodical about turning the work one way and then the other, but I simply can't seem to store the direction of the last turn in my feeble brain long enough to do it the other way the next time. So I curse and untangle. Another part is that I've exhausted the "one more row" to see the next color change energy since i know darned well what's coming next. Not stalled, just slow. My tension is more even on two circs for the sleeve - interestink.

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Here's 722 more yards of Captain America's brown wool. I sure hope that the 1000+ yards I've spun is enough to make him an XL cabled vest since I'm quite bored with spinning it now, and I'm pretty sure I'm not yet a talented enough spinner to make more of it if I don't do it right now. I'll employ the usual methods of making sure I don't run out - knit faster and hold my breath. These hanks were all pretty with no weird bits sticking out, but a certain monster cat had a bit of fun when I wasn't looking.

I had to re-wind the largest hank in the photo so I could add more twist to the three-ply. I don't know why I'm afraid of the twist - don't beginning spinners usually over twist? Should I twist more since I'm plying? I hope to get the answer to these and more questions from my Mabel Ross DVD that I was finally able to watch a portion of this morning (without it hanging, thanks to new equipment). I was able to watch only a portion of it because, even though I was on my second cup of coffee, it put me right to sleep. She's got a very soothing and slooooooow voice and manner, and freaky spider fingers, but she's just a little dry. As soon as I turned it off, sure enough, wide awake again!

Tonight I decided I had to have a break and a mindless pattern to work on in between bouts of tangles, so I decided to swatch for the Minimalist Cardigan from IK Fall 07. Unfortunately, after an hour of energetic searching, I gave up, in a sweat, on finding the size 7 bamboo circular needles I know I own, and also the size 7 tips to my Denise set. Arrrrrgh. I even looked in the upstairs bathroom to see if perhaps this little monster had a secret hiding spot for all my size 7s:
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Bluefish, or more often FishyFishy, is our wild child. She's a beeee-yooooo-teee-ful cat but we forget it most of the time because she's such a goof. Anyway, she didn't take my needles.

Fine, I settled for my least favorite needles, Addi Turbos. Early in my knitting life, I unfortunately hung around a few Turbo addicts and stocked up on a lot - a LOT of them before I realized I like wood or plastic much better. I'm sure I was attracted to their supposed speed, but I've mellowed and realized it's not so much about speed, not that these needles afford me that anyway. I don't think I've ever heard anyone say anything about the glare of these shiny silver needles, but it irritates me. The only thing going for them, IMHO, and it's a big one, is that fabulous cable and join. Their new lace needles aren't as glare-y, and I used them for the ribbing on my Whiskey sweater with no big issues. I'm also using a Susan Bates Quicksilver circ on the sleeves, which to my surprise I like very much, since I really can't stand the same needle in straights - another thing I stocked up on before I knew any better. Amazing that I have more than 50 sets of needles and I never seem to have what I need for the next project. It's also remarkable how poor my memory of needle purchases is, given that I have at least four or five sets of size 5 dpns - go figure. I know it's hard for yarn shops to carry tons of different needles, but a good selection of wood AND Turbo would be nice. Love the Addi Naturas, but they're very hard to find around here. Must remember to put the new KnitPicks Harmony wood needles on my Christmas list.

So now, at least, I've cast on and done almost all the ribbing for the cardi - whew. I feel better. It's also perfect since I'm about to start four full days of database training, and while I've just been made the Queen of said database*, parts of this training are going to be old news for me. I've already told my boss that if he wants me alert and getting real smart, he'll have to put up with my knitting. He completely understood - told me he hears better when he's doing something with his hands.

*I've so wanted to be the Queen of our database for seven years now - but because of various power struggles and bogus job-protection tactics, I've not been allowed to be involved with its design. The department that kept such tight reign on it for so long is now almost completely full of new people and good energy, and they all know I know more about it than anyone else in the building. Very satisfying, finally. Told my boss I was going to be ruthless in cleaning it up, setting policies and procedures, and fixing all the stoooopid problems we've created over the years. Yay - wish me luck. Wish me a big fat bonus check too - I'm technically an executive secretary and this is above and beyond my call of duty!

And finally, wish me happy eighth anniversary. I think it's a good thing that I feel like Captain America and I have been together forever, and I'm absolutely certain I'm a very lucky girl (not the very freaky girl I once thought I was - you know, the kind you don't take home to mother). Love you, baby!

October 25, 2007

Coincidence?

I think not. More like just another little quirk related to my lifelong, complicated relationship with all things military. You might have such a complicated relationship if your parents were a hawk and a dove - a Navy SEAL and a hippie. I grew up with a huge sense of pride and a love of men in uniform, but also mixed in a huge dose of rebellion. On a trip to the Naval Academy during high school, my father was gung ho about me, the oldest, attending while my mother tried to console me by telling me how good I'd look in uniform. True, but not enough to break my James Dean impersonation. I'd have been kicked right out back then anyway, though in hindsight it may just have been a darned good thing for me. Anyway, this really does have to do with knitting, I promise.

Captain America is in love with all things military surplus, and he is honored to tell people that his father-in-law was a SEAL. He came home one day all excited to show me his new SEAL t-shirt - The Only Easy Day Was Yesterday. Poor guy - I guffawed out loud and said, verbatim, "are you kidding me? I grew up with a gross of pencils bearing the family name and that quote!" I always think I'm escaping the whole military thing, and then I go and marry a guy who works with and has huge respect for our armed forces, and move to the Navy town I grew up visiting when dad drilled - go figure.

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So, CA asked, as I was knitting away on my Minimalist Cardigan, if I was making a digital camouflage sweater! And he should know - he has a huge collection of digital cammo hats, work shirts, tote bags (you know, the ones the soldiers carry their yarn in-hah) and any number of other garments and doodads. You tell me - I think he's on to something. Maybe Cherry Tree Hill should get into the uniform business.

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I'm into the sleeves - the end is in sight. I love being able to do two sleeves, or the two fronts for that matter, at the same time. I'm less likely to abandon a project out of boredom this way - a good thing.

I'm off for the weekend on a family adventure that features, among other things, an iPod full of everything we had on 8-track on our family road trips in the 70s. Like Queen, The Carpenters, Boxcar Willie, Baby Snooks, and Barbara Streisand. We'll be the station wagon rocking and laughing down the highway for sure!

December 13, 2007

Over the river and through the woods

Literally and figuratively since I last checked in way back in October. Supports my theory that time is compressed so much that it shoots by like a train from September to December - I keep blinking and another month has gone by.

It all started with that family odyssey to accept a Lifetime Athletic Achievement award for my father - something he always wanted and his old frat brothers finally made happen for him. My mom, twin sis, and younger brother and sister flew into Philadelphia where I was to pick them up on Friday afternoon, in plenty of time to make the 6PM dinner 35 miles outside the city. I planned the drive so that I could finally make it to Loop - I've come close one time and also missed the knitty meetup with Amy. It was a horrible rainy, foggy day, but I took the eastern shore route and had my new GPS thingy at the ready.

I worried as I approached Philly that I'd have to skip Loop - or run in and run out, but the fam's plane was delayed. Good news/bad news - the GPS took me directly into the city and to the shop, albeit on one of the narrowest one-way streets I've ever been on. It's an absolutely lovely shop - so clean and inviting and open. I love the seating area right in the middle of the store (instead of tucked away in a back corner). They have the most incredible colors I've ever seen, so well displayed in so many new yarns. I indulged (imagine that!) on four hanks of this gorgeous silk/wool from Sheep Shop Yarns - the color undulates with subtle tone-on-tone variegation and sheen. I tried to get some of the orange-y, coraly tones in here:
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I should have stayed and knit a while, but I was anxious about getting out to the airport on a Friday at rush hour - turns out that was a good hunch. But then I ended up having to wait in the Philadelphia airport - sorry to any natives there, but what a pit! There are VERY limited services for any poor slob who's stuck waiting for a plane, outside the security area. I ate at one of those horrible airport restaurants and then just picked a spot to knit and wait. The Minimalist Cardigan got some work done, but I was jonesing - no coffee place anywhere - sheesh.

I was confused about which airport the gang was coming through, and after several bumbling phone calls with my aunt and uncle, also on their way to the dinner from NJ, I was sure they weren't going to arrive until 7PM. And then there they were - out of nowhere! We crammed into my station wagon - three women in the back and my brother navigating in the front - and set off for the hardest driving of my entire life.

I had absolutely NO IDEA where we were going, but my Magellan did, and it knew rush hour was in full swing, so it took us on dark, winding, hilly, misty, unlined, unlit, rural roads to Collegeville PA. To Ursinus College - land of no signs, no directions anywhere. Not to mention we were now an hour late - the salads were on the tables when we blew in (through the loading dock and kitchen, like a bad movie).

My father's supporters (frat brothers and teammates) occupied four ten-tops - pretty damned amazing how much this award meant for all of them too. My rock-star mom had to go sit on the stage through all the acceptance speeches, and she managed to say wonderful things and look wonderful at the same time as she accepted the award. It was certainly worth the drive and the drama.
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But now it was after 9PM, and we still had to get to my aunt & uncle's in rural NJ - on those same dark, winding, hilly, misty, unlined, unlit, rural roads. Magellan to the rescue again - we sent mom in the other car and the brothers and sisters managed to get there in one piece - barely.

Saturday was for the New Jersey family, and we all made a visit to see grandpa - he's got an amazing view:
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and then we all got back in my car to head for a night in DC so we could visit dad in Arlington Cemetery Sunday. We listened to my iTunes compilation of our old traveling songs, wondering why some had been so great so many years ago, and all singing along to others. Some real classics too - see if you can find Teddy Bear, an old trucking song - hilarious. The Carpenters songs we girls always wanted on the eight-track sounded like they were recorded at slooooow speed - not so appealing anymore, especially for our high speed family. Steve Martin comedy routines from the 70s really got us through the drive - thanks Steve.

Sunday morning was glorious, and after waiting for the Marine Corps Marathon to cross the entrance to the Cemetery, we set off, through DC to avoid all the other closures, and my car started clunking. No flat tire - we continued across Memorial Bridge, clunking, and proceeded on to have an amazing, sad, wonderful family visit. Breathtaking that he's there, and that we could all be together there too.

Onward - sibs all flying home Sunday evening, mom planning to stay one night with old friends, and I was to drive home - three hours. Hah - the universe (or dad) had other plans. Not only was my car clunking, it began screeching and making other bad sounds from the rear. Responsible for my entire immediate family, I pulled into a gas station and called AAA. This was incredibly reminiscent of the time, the week before I left for college, that we blew up the engine in the Bronco on our way home from camping on the OBX, and my father and brother rode into Norfolk with the tow truck, leaving my mom, sisters and me on the side of the road in Moyock, NC for hours and hours and hours, with only a very small amount of wine.

I think it was just the universe's way (or dad's) of making sure that we remembered that we, as a family, just get through it. We figure it out - whatever it is - and no matter how hard or how ugly or how stoooopid, we work it out and get through it and come out smiling on the other side somehow. This is who we are. A PITA way to be reminded, but most effective.
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So, we laughed, we made phone calls, we sent some of us to rent a car, we met the tow truck, we met the neighbors, and got the sibs to the airport. You probably can't tell, but I'm wearing my triple-threat lucky Clapotis (from my hand dyed, handspun, hand knit silk hankies). Trip one.

Mere days later, I drove (my repaired car) BACK up to DC on a Thursday morning with my fun friend at work to particpate in and assist with a trip organized by our well-connected trustee extraordinaire. After seeing the Hopper and Turner shows at the National Gallery on Thursday afternoon, we boarded two busses that drove us deep into Rock Creek Park to the top of a hill I didn't know was there -we saw deer on their long drive - where we visited the Rockefeller home for a tour of their extraordinary art collection. What a chance of a lifetime - pretty amazing, and besides the incredible location and collection, it was obviously someone's comfortable home, and Sharon Rockefeller was a most gracious host to 43 gawkers in her house. We had a private tour of the Corcoran's collection, plus the Annie Liebowitz show on Friday morning - whew.

My pal and I also took advantage of having to drive home on 95S to stop at both IKEA and Potomac Mills mall on the way home Friday evening - a nice respite from the stopped traffic, but man - visual overload! We went berserk in IKEA - I forgot how fabluous it is, even though my mom opened the Woodbridge store back in the 80s. She was a team leader - and put the store together with the Swedes - it was an amazing time and and an amazing company. Trip two down.

Somewhere in here I finished the Minimalist Cardigan, which I'll tell you about in another post. I've worn it more than once and I love it, cammoflauge and all.

Then I turned around and it was Thanksgiving! We did our usual pilgrammage south where we can both see CA's parents AND have turkey on the beach with mine within a 90 minute drive. This year the weather cooperated and we had a glorious day. Little sis has a knack for capturing my inner essence in photographs on the beach on turkey day, and this year was no exception. The birds feasted en mass in the shallow surf of the gulf all day, but towards sunset got soooo dense it was little too Hitchcock. I of course wanted to see what they were eating and wandered into the massive flocks, and couldn't resist stirring them up a bit:
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I ran into another flock of mostly big white gulls up on the beach, and this is me just after that trick desccribing the unsettling way the birds flew alright, but not up and away from me but around me - blowing right by my head!
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We boarded the plane bronzed and happy, and I got off with the beginnings of a record-breaking outbreak of cold sores that eventually overflowed my philtrum and ran down onto both lips. Nice. I think it's some sort of vacation penalty - I know I paid at least 20% of my tan as I arrived back to the cold, and I guess owed more. I suffered with a truly disgusting upper lip that whole first week back - which included a board meeting - a lovely opportunity to show my scabby face to all my favorite people.

And then that board meeting was rapidly followed by yet another major evening event at the msueum. I've worked more events this year than in my entire 7.5 years there - ugh. Hopefully help is on the way, but I had to do this one too. Another opportunity for me to feel silly trying to play dress-up, but I did get to wear my Christmas ball earrings and my lip was healed enough to disguise with makeup.

Are you still here? Wow - thanks for sticking with this one. I have lots more - I'll try to wite in more digestible bits, but it's been a while. There's so end in sight of the mania at work, so I've been MIA from my reagular blog reads and other web fun. I've at least set myself up on Ravelry, and if I can force it to link to my new Flickr account, my MC is up there as my first FO.

December 30, 2007

Pretty, Shiny Things

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How about these babies? I was shopping for gifts on Amazon.com a few weeks ago, and good ol' Amazon knows me well and offered up these Kenneth Cole shoes for a mere $26. How could I not buy them? My girlfriend told me she'd just read that the shiny, aluminum foil look will be all over the runways this spring - so not only do I get to giggle at my new shiny shoes, I'm fashion-forward for the first time since I was blazing new fashion trails in my new wave days! Come to think of it, these shoes would have been perfect at the old, dark 9:30 Club in DC - not only perfect for the times, but they could have helped me see where I was going in that cave!
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Continuing the theme, I found the very largest Christmas balls (and bells) I could find on my front porch this year. Pretty lame, but at least a nod to the holidays on my front porch that screams out for something. As always, I swear I will think about these things earlier in the year and find a better solution. We have no power outside, and our house is old and drafty enough already without cracking a window to run an extension cord out.

And now that it's done, I can tell you about another project that kept me away from my computer for all of November:

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This is part of a lovely cotton cardigan jacket I knit up as a sample/test for Melissa Leapman, the pattern-writing fiend that she is! (the photo is rotated - the pattern is still secret) I had a month to get it done - I was confident. I knit up the back in a few nights - no problem. The fronts were a little slower, but I did them at the same time so when they were done, they were done. The sleeves, also both at the same time, seemed to go on FOREVER. What's with that knitting time warp thing? Perhaps it was because I was getting nervous about blocking and seaming and how it would turn out - I had a schematic, but no sketch, so I was flying pretty blind.

I finished it and got it off the post office last Saturday and though the line was long and I was sweating, I ended up having a grand time chatting with the postal worker in line ahead of me to buy stamps, and when I got to the counter, Larry the postman eased my worries of Monday delivery with his big smile and guarantee that it would arrive Monday by 3PM. It didn't. But, fingers crossed, it made it to the yarn company (Aslan Trends) in time for a photo shoot. It was major relief to get it done, and another great opportunity to work with Melissa and her great patterns. No sooner had she gotten that sweater off, she sent another for me to finish by January 15th! Luckily this is just a little girl's sweater with lots of stockinette - I think I can manage it.

Trash Totem

to·tem /ˈtoʊtəm/ –noun

1. a natural object or an animate being, as an animal or bird, assumed as the emblem of a clan, family, or group.
2. an object or natural phenomenon with which a family or sib considers itself closely related.
3. a representation of such an object serving as the distinctive mark of the clan or group.
4. anything serving as a distinctive, often venerated, emblem or symbol.

I'm using this term only a slightly incorrectly - one of my clan's many totems is inanimate and unnatural - but I like it and I'm going with it.
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Captain America has been asking for a new pair of Fiber Trends Felted Clogs (his 3rd) for a month or so, but I was so caught up with the test knitting that I hadn't gotten around to them. Finally, after the green cardigan was sent off, I whipped up a pair in a couple of evenings for him during the last week before Christmas (which is also CA's birthday) and was feeling all caught up and ready to relax for my week off. And then I threw that very nearly completed pair away with the trash on Thursday. Yup, along with all the yarn and my Denise size 13 tips and short cable. (Take a moment to catch your breath - I know - it's horrifying).

I have to tell you a about couple of other tragedies so that you'll have some idea of how this could have happened. My earliest memory of a brush with the trash demons was when my father brought back six beautiful, handknit Scottish, cabled, natural white wool sweaters from his two-week active duty there. Gorgeous sweaters for the whole family. For some reason, they were in two white plastic bags - like kitchen-sized trash bags. The family lore is that for once, my brother decided to do his chores and take out the trash, and out three of those sweaters went. Ouch.

Then, Captain America bought a fabulous new suitcase a while back that opened up like a steamer trunk and had shelves and drawers and hanging places - fabulous. We kept it on our screened porch when we lived in a tiny apartment in DC, and one spring I noticed it was getting covered in pollen. Into a big black trash bag it went, and shortly thereafter, out to the trash in that big black trash bag in went when CA took out the trash. Ouch again - it had only been used once!

So, fast forward to last Thursday morning - trash day chez the Dream. I had a big pile of bags at the front door to go out with me when I left for work. Those clogs, in Cowboys colors for Mr. Texas pride, had to be hidden before he came home that afternoon, so I put them in a grocery bag and left the bag in my knitting corner of the couch - which, in my bungalow, is at the front door. As usual, I was rushing out the door and had to come back for a second trip to get all that trash. That bag on the couch looked just like another grocery bag filled with trash - so without thinking, I grabbed it right up with the rest of it. When I came home for lunch that afternoon, I knew EXACTLY what I'd done when I saw the big empty place on the couch. Aaaaauughhhhhh!

Good news - I had more yarn, and only had to run out to the LYS for one hank of the gray accent yarn - phew. Bad news - how in the world am I going to exercise this trash demon that seems to really, really like my family? When I told my mom, she said she was sure dad was laughing - yeah - I bet he is! We all know the moral of the story - don't put good stuff in trash bags for goodness' sake - but do we really think I'll learn that lesson? I'll add it to the things I'm supposed to be working on in this lifetime, but I fully expect to have come back for another life to perfect that one!

Captain America got his clogs on Christmas morning, and we promply threw them into the washer for felting. I hope to make myself another pair of those fabulous clogs soon - and I'm going to doctor it up a little to address the exposed skin from the top of the clogs to the bottom of my sweatpants - I'll post details when I see if my plan will work. That may be after I finish: the test cardigan for Melissa, the Whiskey Fair Isle pullover - so close, and the Sally Mellville white blouse from Needful Yarns - whew. I want to wear both the sweaters for our big knitting weekend this March, so I have a LOT of work cut out for me!

February 24, 2008

I COULD have. I CHOSE not to.

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It's shocking that we're headed straight for the end of February - I feel like I was just cursing Puxatawney Phil's shadow seeing.... I'll sprinkle in some WIP photos just to break up the saga that looms ahead.....

It was right about then, Groundhog day-ish, when, out of nowhere, a fabulous yarn shop for sale came hurtling out of the universe into my lap. Just like that. It came flying at me with flashing neon signs saying "this could be IT, Dawn!" It happened out of the blue in the kind of way that stops you in your tracks and makes you think it was meant to be. It happened just as I'm settling in to much better times at my job that I was ready to run screaming from eight months ago. I wasn't looking for it - that's the way things are supposed to turn up in your life if you work hard and live right and put it out there in the universe that you want to find a way to work with fiber all the time... right? So holy shit - here it was!

I literally vibrated for several days - learned about the whole thing on a Thursday night, set the appointment for Captain America and I to meet with the couple selling the shop on Saturday, and I tried to remember how to breathe. I felt like my organs were sucked flat and pressed against my back inside. I felt giddy. Captain America got excited.
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We met with the yarn shop folks - great. I had to wait until Monday to take advantage of my eight years working with the most incredible people who serve on the Board at my company - boy oh boy am I lucky to get to work with these folks. I needed quick, serious financial, legal - all kinds of help - we're pretty simple folks who filed a 1040EZ til we bought our house and we never had to find a lawyer, or have a relationship with our bank, or any of that other sort of grownup stuff.

The incredible person I called was away on vacation, but he must have checked in with his secretary 'cause all of a sudden he was on the phone. Without hesitation he made a phone call on my behalf and set me up with red-carpet treatment at a local bank, whose commercial lending people called me right after the bank president did! (Vibrating, trying to remember to breathe still - four days into the process)
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Tuesday morning I met with the bankers - what do you wear when you're thinking about borrowing a whole lotta cash? I've been wearing the same pair of ratty black pumps for about ten years, and they say shoes say a lot about a person, so I had an agonizing morning trying to build an outfit around the new blue shoes that said I wasn't some cheapskate who couldn't afford new black shoes. I wore gold jewelry and a sweater set - gold somehow seems more serious than silver and since I'm not so into suits, the sweater set said "classic" and "professional." Right?

The bankers asked where I was in the process and my response was "here." My wonderful business owning mom kept assuring me no one knows anything about buying a business until they're buying one, and the bankers were incredibly generous and helped me set up a plan to figure it all out. Next step: CPA.

It was much easier getting dressed for the CPA appointment on Wednesday. Somehow it seemed like there was less on the line - and appearance just wasn't so important for an accountant. I know - where do I get this stuff?

We talked numbers - really talked. I had to stop him a few times for definitions and clarifications, but we got through a good discussion before he said he'd never have guessed I was a knitter! He pointed me to the next step: attorney to work up an offer.

I called the attorney - seemed like we weren't quite ready to get to the offer. We talked and agreed to talk some more the next week. It's all backwards when you want to buy a business - the bank doesn't want to talk about lending you money until you've got a firmly accepted offer, but I wanted to know how much I could borrow before I could decide if I wanted to make an offer!

In the meanwhile, I decided to call up a yarn shop owner I've admired since she opened her shop in another state more than four years ago. When I landed at her website, I discovered she'd sold her shop last summer! Was this a sign? I tracked her down by email and asked for advice - and she was incredibly honest and incredibly generous with her time and experience. So the next night, I decide to pop on over to Knit Happens - another yarn shop I watched open with envy and admiration four or five years ago - turns out Kristine has left the country and the shop is running without her, AND they closed down what I thought looked like an incredibly successful online shop too. Another sign.

And all through this time I was avoiding the nagging realization that I had already processed the whole yarn shop idea over the last four or five years and had decided that I really didn't want to be in retail. I didn't want to deal with the hours, the inventory, the staffing, the cash flow, etc., etc., etc. Decided. Moved on. Started thinking about other things I could do in the industry. Got involved in interesting and challenging projects in my day job. Didn't bat an eye last summer when another LYS went up for sale - didn't even consider it. So, this shop is THE shop in the area, or at least the one I where I shop. It's always busy, has a steady clientele, good classes, and a fabulous big deal retreat every year. So, so very seductive!

Then I figured it all out. I boiled it all down like my man would - so simple. Captain America and I recently spent several months talking about whether or not we should get a puppy - something we'd both really really love. BUT - after considering all the pros and cons very carefully, understanding the demads of puppy ownership, and witnessing my little sister's gorgeous four-month old golden leap from piece of furniture to piece of furniture, we made the very grownup decision that this wasn't the right time to become dog owners. Decided. Moved on. I'll continued to talk to all dogs on the street, but not gonna get one right now.

So this yarn shop thing felt just like what could happen in an instant if I got a whiff of puppy breath - a single whiff of that sweet, sweet puppy breath, and I could forget my hard fought, rational decision and end up with a puppy. Easily. Except the yarn shop would have locked us into a very, very large debt that would have made housebreaking a puppy seem like a walk in the park.

So, no yarn shop for me. I did the work, I took the steps, I made the right decision. I was telling the one friend who knew the saga about my phone call last Monday to pull my name from the running, and I held up my thumb and forefinger in that universal "little bit" symbol about to say I felt just a little bit disappointed that I wasn't going to be the new LYS owner when it occurred to me with a lightbulb flash - I wasn't disappointed at all! It turns out is wasn't meant to be in the end, but it was an incredible journey filled with great stuff, great people, and great generosity - not a bad way to spend February 2008!
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Photos:

  • Daffodils that were all ready to bloom right before a cold snap, so I cut them. And note the vase - I blew that glass!
  • White mohair blouse from Sally Melville & Needful Yarns blocking - it's further along and I'm grafting the collar to the neck band at the moment.
  • Sleevage! I finally gritted my teeth and picked back up on my Whiskey Fair Isle pullover - and it's DONE as of yesterday! Except for all the ends I have to weave in and the neck bind off I want to change from "in pattern" to a smooth knit bind off.
  • Gratuitous Bluefish shot - she's recently decided it's great to watch TV - she's really going to ruin her eyes this way, but she makes me giggle. I think this is the opening to HBO's In Treatment on the screen - how cool is that? Are you watching this show BTW? Good stuff, especially with smouldering Gabriel Byrne in the lead. Mmmm.

August 8, 2008

You know how it goes when

When you put something off, and then put it off some more, and then keep putting it off, it becomes bigger and bigger and bigger and soon it’s larger than life and completely impossible and you just can’t figure out how you’ll ever get back to it and oh my god what’s the problem it’s just a blog? So yup, that’s where I’ve been since MARCH! Not to mention doing mad crazy mail merges that involve IF statements that go on for pages (really) and producing pages for an online membership system through a database designed for fundraising that makes it as hard as humanly possible to do so in a straightforward fashion.

I have spent a lot of time with many bits of fiber since March, and finished that 8 oz of plain purple wool (that I started in July of 07 - sheesh), which I consciously tried to put more spin than ever into, and thought I was twisting the bejeezus out of, until I plied it and set the twist and found lots and lots of underspun and underplied parts.

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I can’t be like most beginning super-twisty spinners – noooo – I have to go the opposite way. I did, however, figure out how to make my lazy kate work for me while plying, and had a much easier time of that than ever. I have no memory how much yardage I got on the two-plied yarn, but it’s a LOT of yarn.

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Then it was on to two Crazy Batts I got way back in October of 06 at the Virginia Fiber Festival. I really wanted to try long draw spinning, and understood that rolags or batts are the way to go with this method, so I made a stab at it. But, these bats were full of uncombed locks and a whole bunch of other varieties of weird wool, so I did what I could and turned out some very interesting yarn in the process.

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The colors match my orange dining room with a lovely Arts & Crafts rug called Tulip Light Festival with browns and greens and pretty red/orange tulips and I’d love to make it into some sort of interesting wall hanging, but then I’m not so good at that visual arts stuff, so it’s decorating my dining room table and fits in quite nicely there.

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My nephew, Flat Stanley Jack, helped with the spinning and we had a grand time together.

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I’m almost done spinning about 6 oz of pretty pink wool batts, also of an unknown variety, that I got at my first (and only so far) Maryland Sheep & Wool in 2007. My long draw went much, much better with these very well prepared batts, and I’m happy with this soft pink two ply. I started spinning with a backwards draw because that’s just what felt right, so long draw isn’t that far removed from what I’ve been doing, but it is fun to not worry about slubs or thick parts so much. It’s tricky to keep my forward hand from wanting to smooth the yarn – I guess I remain a worsted girl, and I must admit, if woolen yarn isn’t good for making garments, I’m not sure what it IS good for. ( I could have SWORN I had a photo of my sample skein, but will go without in the interest of getting this post UP.)

Phew. I wrote a post. So much more to say – so more soon. The garden has been a major adventure this year, and I have pictures to prove it! Here's a preview of the echineacea we put in:
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September 10, 2008

They call me....

The Possum Wrangler. Well, no one really calls me that but me - because that's exactly what I was doing Tuesday morning before I even had my coffee.

It all started Monday night, when my little guard cat Bluefish spent most of the evening eyeing a corner under the cabinets in the kitchen. Then, just before I went to bed, there was some sort of kerfluffle in there, went to investigate and decided maybe we had mice again, so I loaded up a trap with peanut butter and went to bed.

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I knew something was up when I woke up and my little Bluefish didn't, as always, zoom to meet me in the bathroom where she knows I'm stuck in one spot, and that she can vamp for some good tickling there with me. I proceeded to the kitchen, where I found her now staring down the other end of the kitchen, right under the coffee pot and the diswasher. I got my latte going as usual, and then decided to investigate. I started pulling the brown grocery bags out from where they're wedged in the crack between the fridge and the diswasher and heard a very, very strange growly sound - definitely NOT a mouse. Rrrrr, rrrrrrrrrrrrr - holy cow - what was under there? I went looking for a flashlight, which, living with Captain America, always prepared for emergecy, I expected to find easily. Nope, no flashlight. But I did grab my trusty battery operated Coleman lantern that we keep on the mantel for power outages and headed back to the kitchen. I pulled the side of the cabinet away from the dishwasher - it's been loose since we bought the house, and there, at the bottom, saw a ball of grey fluff. Which I studied more closely with the lantern, which is when I saw the loooong ungly pink tail. The thing was upside down and made more growly sounds when I opened the diswasher to see if his head was stuck in there. I grabbed a pair of tongs - yeah - great idea. I paced the kitchen. I considered calling Animal Control to come remove it, but then realized I'd have to clear the counter and wash the dishes in the sink before I could let anyone in the house, so that was out. It was going to have to be me.

I managed to have the presence of mind to get the door from the kitchen to the laundry room and then the door out to the backyard open so if I did manage to somehow get the baby possum out of the cabinetry, I could get straight out the door. Armed in CA's leather work gloves, I grabbed the tongs again and even put my hands on our hammer in case I needed to bonk it on the head, but I quickly put that down after remembering I'm an animal lover and couldn't possibly imagine creating any blood and gore, especially before I'd even had my coffee. I was seriously reconsidering calling Animal Control again when I noticed the possum was now stretching one of its little pink feet out of theat spot, trying apparently to find the floor. So I grabbed that little pink foot and then squealed and dropped the little guy on the kitchen floor where he stood, stunned, staring straight up at me with his pointy, evil little mouth open. We both hesitated and then I pounced, grabbed him behind his head, and bee-lined it out the doors to the back deck and flung the little bugger out into the yard. I saw him thunk, and he actually stood there staring at me again with his evil long, pointy mouth open - ew. By the time I ran back in the house for the camera and ran back out, he was gone.

I wish I wish I wish I had been calm enough to have taken a photo of his little leg stretching out, but I didn't think of that til it was all over. I wish I was brave enough to go down into our spider-filled basement to see if his whole family is living down there, but I'm not, so Captain America wil have to do that when he gets home tomorrow (as well as procuring many flashlights to have at the ready in every room!). I hope momma possum has cautioned her other little baby possums on the dangers of climbing up into our kitchen - "your little brother tried that and now he's disappeared!" Bluefish has been rewarded for her extraordinary powers of possum detection, and once it was gone, she passed out and slept deeply all day after a long night of keeping him under the cabinets.

So Possum Wrangler - that's me.

Since I'm actually typing a post, I'll take this opportunity to show a few completed knitting projects - I have in fact been knitting a lot. Two more sweaters for Melissa Leapman - a Malabrigo Worsted Tweed jacket number that came out great, if I do say so myself. If you ever actually see this pattern out there, let me know!
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And a Reynolds Saucy cotton cardigan - this is an awful picture, but it's proof of knitting anyway:

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And a Knitting Pure and Simple top down cardigan from some Berocco Zen I scored on deeep discount. I'm not a huge fan of ribbon yarn, and even though I knit this on size 6 needles and not the recommended size 9s, it still stretches like a mofo by the end of a day of wear. It was a fun and quick knit, but not one of my all time faves:

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And then there are all the swatches for Melissa's next book on color knitting - I think seventeen of them, all slip stitch patterns. Lovelovelove these - great colors, great bang for such a simple techinque:

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I've got a giant box of Cascade 220 she sent waiting to be knit into more of these little jewels.

I also just finished all the knitting and seaming on a pale pink Calmer CeCe with three quarter sleeves, and this one actually fits! Photos as soon as it's blocked and I find a button. Also finished all but sewing the buttons, in hand, on my Henley Perfected - that Sheep Shop wool/silk FINALLY decided what it wanted to be, and fits and will be great once the weather changes. Photos soon on that one too.

Oh - and hey - did you know my good pal Mel over at purling plans is doing the Breast Cancer 3 Day walk (for the FIFTH time!!) next month in DC and looking for sponsors? Beside the fact that this is tremendously important to her, and to all of us, she's collected an astounding number and range of prizes and will be giving them out by random drawing to folks who contribute to the cause on her behalf. Go see for yourself!

September 4, 2009

I had no idea

I'm writing from Bozeman, Montana, where Captain America and I are passing through on our way from Glacier National Park to Yellowstone and Teton National Parks on our 10th anniversary Epic Adventure.

Driving today, first along and then inside these great mountains, I realized I have simply never given much thought at all to mountains. Just never considered them - never gave them a thought. Being a born and bred beach girl, I've done coasts and islands, and a francophile, Paris twice, but oh, never this.

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I've been saying things like "I'm converted" about the mountains, but that's not really right. It's not like I'm switching from beaches, but shazam - add mountain girl to my bio. Captain America, who planned this magical tour, has had this in his soul since Boy Scouts at 12, and now it's in mine. Big sky country meant nothing to me before - but we drive into Yellowstone with my eyes wider and my heart bursting and I get it.

We kicked Glacier National Park's butt - these two total novice hikers decked out in all the very best gear did most of the Grinnel Glacier Hike Tuesday (before very responsibly turning back before the point of pain) and a good lot of the High Line Wednesday. We've seen big horn sheep and a lounging moose close up, mountain goats and a grizzly mom and cub from far, far away, and kayaked around the lake in front of Many Glacier Lodge where we stayed.

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I've made it to three great yarn shops now - Knit and Nosh in Helena, and Yarn Shop and Fiber Place and Stix in Bozeman. Bought me some Alchemy mohair laceweight that will remind me of the amber waves of grain we've seen for miles and miles, two ounces each of local Montana Lincoln wool to spin - some natural gray, some dyed barely processed salmon-y pink stuff, and two balls of Simply Shetland silk lambswool laceweight - mmmmmmm. Stix is, hands down, the most beautiful shop I've ever seen, and let me tell you, these Montana shops are BIG - one owner said of course - they have long, cold winters here! I've barely knit, even though yarn was the first thing I packed - there's just too much to see and do. This was on the Empire Builder train - the first part of the adventure in our sleeper car:

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In a word - Glacier National Park is a serious Bucket List item I didn't realize I had on mine, and I'm damned glad to make a check mark there, We'll go back, and I'll have more to say.

September 24, 2009

Epic Adventure, Part I

Captain America started planning this trip to celebrate our tenth anniversary well over a year in advance, which started with an idea of a motorcycle trip out West that's been perking for many years. Given that neither of us owns a motorcycle, and that though the thought of driving or riding on one is thrilling to me I'm not interested in dying young, I killed that after a year or two of incessant motorcycle talk. Then CA started looking at canned Amtrak tours - which, his travel agent sister-in-law informed him were a lot like Denny's - the food looks really tasty in the photos on the menu but tastes pretty bland at best on the table.

He then embarked on the perfect project for his soon-to-be unemployed self - he planned it all on his own, researching and calling and booking National Park lodges at precisely the right moment 364 days ahead. He also talked about it non-stop and ordered lots and lots of hiking gear since we don't hike - or didn't, but that's getting ahead of myself.

I admit - I spent most of the past year with my fingers in my ears going "la la la I can't hear you," both because he wouldn't shut up and because I was just going along with his dream trip - I didn't have that mountains dream in me. Had I planned it, we'd have gone to Costa Rica to go fishing and get deeply tanned. I would NEVER have planned a trip to the Rockies - wasn't on my list. Silly me.

Packing was fun - we had to consider a wide range of temperatures and conditions, and by the time I had all my stuff out for review, I realized it was everything CA has been buying me over the 12 years we've been together - Gramicci climbing pants, great tie-dyes from REI - I was being prepared and neither of us knew it consciously. I passed his packing inspection handily. Of course yarn was the first priority, and as I imagined I'd have ample knitting time over the two weeks, I planned my small Christmas present project and packed a lot of yarn, thinking I would make neat little tags with the cities the presents were finished in. Hah.

I never ever go away for a full two weeks - ever. Getting ready for that, at home and during the most hellish 60 days in recent memory at work, was challenging and stressful. I'm a serious slave to my routine, and that works for me - two weeks of complete unknown was just a tad anxiety-producing. I managed.

My single contribution to the planning was a reservation at Frontera Grill in Chicago on our first night of the trip. We stayed at the Fairmont Millenium, right next door to the Art Institute and walked to Frontera. It was perfecto - CA had a tamale appetizer that he said was just like his neighbor Mrs. Rodriguez used to make in Dallas - go figure. He's a picky eater and I'm not - and I think he enjoyed his meal more than I did. Score!

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Saturday we boarded the Empire Builder train after a quick stop at the Art Institute, which I don't think I've ever been to and which blew me (us) away. I visit museums differently since I've worked at one for the last nine years, and it was amazing. No time to hit Loopy - drag, but I had many more LYSs on my list.

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The modern sleeper cars on Amtrak bear little resemblance to the ones in North by Northwest, but did provide reasonable accomodations for about 30 hours as we left Chicago and went through Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota and into Montana - in fact, right up to East Glacier Lodge, our first night's pit stop. All but Illinois are states I've never been to before - many tacks for my map. We had a submarine shower and bunk beds - Amtrak could work a little on the thin cloth they call a mattress - a thin NASA foam one would go a long way.

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We got in four meals on the ride, which meant we ate with four different couples. We're not the most social couple but we held our own and had fun meeting all of them (even the woman who was so drunk she excused herself halfway through the meal).

From the train we saw:
Proghorn antelope
Astonishingly happy and rich fields of sunflowers blooming
Amber waves of grain - lots and lots and lots of it
Many cows with their frolicking, kicking, happy calves
A gigantic wind farm - I find these beautiful

And, just like Captain America said, those mountains I had never seen, appearing first like clouds far, far away, and then growing and growing and looming and holy cow we're in the MOUNTAINS.

We stepped off the train and threw our bags on top of this:

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While we walked across this path to the lodge:

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Part II coming soon.

September 28, 2009

They call me....

Little Bunny Foo Foo!

We interrupt our tale of the epic adventure to bring you some everyday news. Saturday, while re-layering my compost bin, I discoverd a mouse had made her nest inside it. The momma mouse made it out alive, but as I kept digging out the bottom layer, baby mice kept dropping into it from the middle somewhere.

In a split-second conversation with myself, I knew we'd be buying mouse bait soon for the garage (which the composter is in front of), so as adorable as those little mice were, I decided they would probably prefer a quick, painless death to one by poison and I bopped two of them on the head. I was apologizing as I did it - it's completely against my nature to kill something, let alone a cute little baby mouse, but let's be real - they would have been in my house or garage as soon as the weather turns. More mde it out than I bopped.

Today, after feeling like I had disturbed the force in the universe, I was totally vindicated when I arrived home for lunch and Captain America told me Fishy was playing wtih a mouse. A live one, in the house. Specifically, my bedroom closet. I warned CA to watch where he walked for the rest of the day and went back to work, wondering if I'd be sleeping with the mousies tonight.

No - Fishy is a brilliant and determined huntress! Remember, Fishy found and alerted me to the baby opossum in the kitchen ealier this year. She got it, and CA found her this afternoon in the hall with Indigo (enjoying the spoils of Bluefish's hard work), tossing the little thing around. No more mouse. Death by bop on the head or by cat - I choose shovel bop!

Had a great class Saturday afternoon with Wendy Knits on toe-up socks from her new book. She's a LOT of fun and we decided to start a Ravelry group to celebrate her term "toe cuppage" - the moment of success and joy when you achieve it - we're up to 30 members on the first day!

I've started knitting the yarn haul from the trip - this is a Shetland Shawl from Wrap Style in Simply Shetland's silk noil/wool laceweight from Stix in Bozeman - mmmm. I forgot how long the rows get on these triangles - I'm almost through the first ball of yarn.

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August 26, 2010

Mostly dead?

I just tried to view my blog to find an old entry to list to and nothing shows up! Hopefully adding a new post might revive it - it's been far too long since I've written a thing.

Life has been chugging along, though a new facet of my job has me spending all day, every day doing research online, and thus not spending as much time online at home. Ravelry has, as I feared. also taken up a lot of that online time, keeping me away from here for so many reasons. One of which was the Tour de Fleece - I committed fully to that for the first time this year. Tons o' fun, a lot of discipline, and a lot of photo taking, downloading, and posting to Ravelry. Here - look at all the yarn I made:
Laceweight 3-ply alpaca:
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Fingering-ish silk & merino singles:
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Fingering 2-ply mohair:
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I'm in the middle of fermenting an indigo dyepot - will hopefully dye that alpaca this weekend.

I'm not a good blogger - but I want to be, so no promises, but I'll try.

About Life

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to Dawn's Dream in the Life category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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