Friday, October 29, 2004

I'm going to try very hard not to spew unpleasantries in a fit of "people-suck-iness" that I'm feeling today (caused by an unpleasant e-mail exchange with a total stranger that left me feeling as though I'd been accused of being a stupid, lazy American because four days before a major election I'm more concerned with American politics than with New Zealand history,
You NongStupid
living in a city which chose rush hour on a major highway to shut down three of four lanes of that road to do construction on the shoulder,
and a co-worker that has opted to shave while walking around the station talking to people, and is having some sort of hot flash phenomenon that makes him insist that the thermostat of the station be set at literally 63 degrees
Too Cold
or he spends hours whining about how hot he is
Sweating 2
and mopping himself with paper towels and leaving them all over the station).

But I'm not going to talk about that.

I will instead focus on the yummy yarn I bought last night (what? I needed it - I DID!!!) for my swatches for the Knitters Review Retreat. I have long had a theory of treating myself well for classes. If you take many knitting classes, you see many people knitting with yarn they wouldn't normally knit with - scraps, acryllic, cheap stuff, because they didn't want to waste the good stuff on swatches that will never be seen again. Me, I'm a pampered little princess.
I'm in classes with the best stuff money can buy - silk and cashmere and having the time of my life...


Well, there's no way I can afford all of that for a full sweater, often not even for a scarf or hat... but I can usually squeak out a skein of the good stuff. And so there I am in class, with some GORGEOUS yarn, knitting with the good stuff, having a blast.
Too Happy 1
And so when I started on my swatches for the retreat, I found one ball of lovely alpaca (yeah, I was surprised to find alpaca in my house too)
and decided to do some color work with that, and then I also needed another swatch of smooth, solid colored yarn for the other homework. So I went to Cloverhill, my friendly neighborhood LYS, and wandered around, touching all the solid colors I could find. Every single thing I picked up was alpaca. But I wanted to push myself, so I forced myself to put it back, and find something else... So I felt around some more... and picked up more alpaca. Finally I found something I didn't like as much, but thought I'd consider it. 100% cashmere. And it was $32 for 45 yards. I didn't like it as much as the alpaca. Push myself, my ass, alpaca wins again. So I tossed back and forth between some super bulky alpaca that was $12 for 110 yards, but decided that it wasn't quite smooth enough - it was bulky enough that the plies were very exaggerated. So I went with a rich natural colored charcoal grey alpaca, $22. For 665 yards. Which I liked better than the cashmere that was nearly a dollar a yard. While I was there, I also picked up the latest Spin Off (I thought I had a subscription, but I guess not) and a hank of laceweight merino. 1375 yards for $13.25. Less than a penny a yard. And lovely, sinful stuff, too... I'm thinking of plying it with some silk I got, dyed by Interlacements. I ordered it online, and was pretty disappointed with the color, because it was called "Reds Plus" and was pretty heavy on the Plus and light on the Reds. More undyed spots than actual red, and more pink and purple than anything else. So I'll see how the red Merino looks next to it, and maybe ply them together to bring out the red a bit more. Carolyn suggested I contact them to make the complaint and see if they'll correct the problem, and I might do that.

So my evening was spent playing with sinfully soft fibers that were just a joy, and I'm going to defrost after work tonight by playing with them some more, and hopefully my husband will be home, so that should make things better, too....
Sparkling Love Heart

Edited to add:
Great, now I can't ever take Trevor to Brazil


Thursday, October 28, 2004

Fairy Tales Do Come True

Red Sox

Baseball 3Baseball 2
Baseball 5
Baseball 4Baseball 6

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Some of you noticed my new button in my blogring section (the one that for some reason isn't showing up right now, I hope you can see it, I think it's pretty cool looking). I've decided to finally take the plunge and go through the TKGA Master Knitters program. It's a correspondance course in which they give you knitting assignments and you return them for critique. I've wanted to do this for a long time, and kept putting it off. But several things are occurring that make me want to do this very much, and since I always give myself a birthday gift each year (it's the only way to be 100% sure of my happiness) I figured I'd give myself the first level of the course this year.
I've finally made contact with the woman who wants me to work on those stockings for her family. She'll pay me probably too little for the amount of work, but a nice chunk nonetheless, and she's trying to be fair, and seems to be easy to get along with.
Christmas Fireplace
In addition, another friend gave my name to a woman who wants yarn spun from the fur of her daughter's dog, who just had to be put down from cancer. They also seem understanding and patient, and the idea of memorializing a pet like that is near and dear to my heart, and it will be an interesting challenge.
Dog 6
And on top of that, I'll be teaching at least one class (in Knitting with Wire) at a new shop (Crazy For Ewe) a bit from me.
So that's work knitting, work spinning, and work teaching knitting. Not too shabby. Certainly not enough to make a complete career switch, but it's a start, right?
Go Team
And so I was thinking that, particularly if I'm going to do more teaching, I'd like to have credentials, or at least feel like I do, to build my confidence in teaching others a bit. Since I'm feeling pretty out of control in my life as far as career, home environment (with the perpetually-travelling-husband), my country (politics have me in nightsweats now), this is something I can control, at least to an extent. So there you have it. The stuff is ordered, and I'll start it when it comes in or after the Knitters Review Retreat, whichever happens second, and I'm on the road to being a Master Knitter!
Smiley University

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

GB got off the plane yesterday and found his phone had a message on it, telling him to go to PA today. He was home for less than 12 hours. But we had a lovely dinner, and he gave me this

It's a tiny brass spinning wheel (three and a half inches or so), with a rubber drive band that actually spins the wheel and bobbin. We think the treadle might work with a little fiddling, but haven't risked it yet. The cool thing is that he bought it because he thought it looked like Loireag, and the first thing I noticed was ... It's a PENCIL SHARPENER! How totally cute! (please ignore the fact that for some reason all my pictures look as if I was drunk. I wasn't, I promise.)

Here's one of the braids from Jen's at Rhinebeck. This was the closest to the color I could get of the braid, but it really doesn't do it justice. I think the article made from it will be called "Bluebird" because it's this cheery, fun, lavendar and blue that just makes me smile...

This is one full braid's worth. It's a better representation of the color, except it's pretty balenced between robins-egg-blue and the lavendar, though not of the spinning, which is about 35 wpi.

And because the worlds worst mailman was accidentally kind to me yesterday, I also have this from E-bay. Salt and Pepper shakers. I kid you not.

But is it me, or do all portrayals of spinning wheels that have wool make the wool look like soft serve from Dairy Queen?

Monday, October 25, 2004

Well, clearly Sarah Elizabeth is the only one of you with any sense. Everyone else says "oh, cute story" Sarah Eliz? She's got her priorities straight. Cute story, my butt, what did you BUY????

Okay, here you go. My picture of self-restraint.

Trevor is in there chewing on the plastic bag for scale. He's about 10 pounds. Notice how he looks like a week old kitten next to the stash? The stash and the cat are sitting on the very large couch that seats quite comfortably two adults, a large-for-his-age twelve-year-old, two cats, and if mom's feeling really depressed, a pitbul, too. You can't see much of that couch when the stash is on it. Really, I found my self-control highly impressive. That's several ounces of loose fiber from Jen, some more of that Polworth, the Polworth/angora blend, and the mauve CVM that I bought at VA (didn't I already have enough for a shawl? Yes. Shut up.) I also splurged on those amazing robins-egg-blue/lavendar braids of 50% Merino/ 50% silk. I bought two of the three. I think the third might follow me home from the Knitters Review Retreat. There's also an 8 ounce braid that's 80% Merino/ 20% Cashmere. Got a discount because it fell apart in the dye bath. Don't tell Jen, but hello, it's still just as amazing and gorgeous and I feel a little guilty for getting it at the cheaper price. Okay, I'm over it. Also from Jen is a 4 oz bag of yummy Cormo, hunter green and a sort of dove grey blended in. Springiest fun thing ever. The two huge plastic bags are 8 ounce samples of Moorit, which I've not spun yet, but are sinfully soft. I'm told the sheep they came from are puppy friendly, too, and Shelia has played fondly with them, as Jen happened to set up next to the booth that sold me those and are friends with Shelia! There's natural colors of white, tan, chocolate and black, and a lovely hat and scarf set is in their future, I think.

I've already spun a full bobbin (well, a full braid, I could get more on the bobbin if I wanted) of the merino/silk, so I'll try to get pictures of that up later. But for your entertainment, this is what I look at all day long (while listening to audio files):

Knitters Review, my little spinning wheel (named Pixie) a ball of yarn that I carded and Bess spun on a spindle at last year's retreat, and the scarf that I had in my purse all weekend long but forgot to ever actually pin on.

And GB was gone all weekend, but is likely to return home tonight and promises to bring me a brother or sister for little Pixie - says he found a little brass sweetie in an antique shop that he knew I had to have. Not a bad guy, that GB.
Circle Of Hearts

Friday, October 22, 2004

Rhinebeck: An Epic Adventure Chapter 5. There's No Place Like Home (or: The Poconos Are Lovely This Time Of Year)

With her Quest For Knowledge fulfilled, and taking one final look at the beautiful autumn that had begun in Rhinebeck, Princess Amie was on her way back to her loving Prince GB.
Princess Heartbeat Prince
The princess looked forward to seeing her beloved cats and dog (oh, and husband) again, and knew she would take back with her the vast knowledge she had obtained, and the warm memories of her time with friends new and old.
She kept replaying in her mind the compliments paid to her skills by her Spinning and Knitting Sorceresses, as well as Gilbert the Magician. She wanted to get home quickly to try out her knew skills at home. And yet she didn't want to leave, and finally admit the weekend was over. The ride home in the carriage was to take 5 hours, and she knew it was best that she and Norman get on the road. So sadly, she hugged and waved goodbye, and set off down the road, carriage full of goodies, heart full of memories.
Road Trip
But perhaps our princess's mind should have been more on the road before her than the road behind, because before long, she and her trusty steed Norman grew confused. A carrier pidgeon was sent on to Prince GB to see if he could help guide her on her way. Alas, he was unable to determine where she had gone astray (although the princess still maintains that reading off the licence plate of the carriage in front of her was helpful information, and the snorting was not a neccessary reponse). The prince suggested Amie travel on for another 20 miles, and then send the pidgeon back to report on her progress.
Road Trip
Before the 20 miles was up, the Princess passed across the line into the kingdom of Pennsylvania.
Just then, a sign caught her eye, on which was listed route numbers that seemed familiar to her. She took a chance, figuring that at this point she would do better to keep going in the appropriate directions rather than back track and loose time.

Little did the princess know that the route signs had been bewitched by an evil monster.
Once the numbers had been read off the signs, they would vanish, and never be seen again.

Desparately, Princess Amie drove South and then East and then South and then East...
NervousRoad TripNervous 2
She tried hard not to panic, not to cry... but she was sooooo tired....
But suddenly the princess entered a majestic kingdom. The leaves on the trees sparkled all different colors... the road slowed... time seemed to stand still. She was in the land of many legends, the land of promised romance, of 7 foot tall champagne-glass-hot-tubs.
She was in

The Poconos.

Leaf Pile
As if a spell had been cast, the Princess felt an unexplicable calling to go into one of those hot tubs wearing a string bikini and toss her hair about...
She struggled with herself - the desire to be in a large glass of champagne versus her desire to be home, safe, with her family.
Eventually, love won out.
Cat 7Cat 10PrinceDog 21
Completely exhausted, but with slightly renewed hope, Princess Amie sent a carrier pidgeon to King David of Carlisle, her older brother, hoping that he would have information that would speed her on her way. Using carrier pidgeons, and maps, and the most sophisticated of navigational devices, it was soon determined that they had no idea where the hell Princess Amie was.
Well, not "no idea."
No U Turn80 East.One Way
That's all they knew. But fortunately that was enough.
Smiley Shell
Just as she was sending a final carrier pidgeon to Prince GB, convinced it would be her last, she mentioned the stretch of road she was on.
"Oh!" the Prince exclaimed, "just carry on for another 20 miles, and you'll see an exit for 287, which will take you to 95, and then you are once again in familiar kingdoms!"
Road Trip
In just nine hours, Princess Amie was back and her own castle door, where the handsome and geographically gifted Prince GB stood waiting with open arms.
Blinking Heart 2Castle

Marriage is love.