Tuesday, December 30, 2008

It's too weird for words

In November Bess told me that the latest period of my life had been happy, but that it was over. The very next week her words came true when Amy told me that my job with Make One would end with 2008. Today was my last day as an M1 employee (tho let me clarify that M1 is not closing, it is simply for sale due to Amy's new job in Toronto).

It was the strangest thing when the clock struck 7, and I was done there.

At the end of this week I'll start my new job at the Knitting Room; I am so grateful that I have it, and I'm really looking forward to new challenges, new products, new people.

But man.. how weird.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

8 Hours and 48 Minutes

Rock Band2
Originally uploaded by spinknit

That's how long Mug and BFML played Rock Band yesterday. This picture was taken.. today.

The Hagstrom you see in the background is real. I think it makes the picture quite humorous. Fake drums, and a real guitar.

I need a nap.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Man bashing on Ravelry

I was just reading a random Ravelry post that started out as a pattern request, and ended in a multi page diatribe regarding how stupid men are... and it just made me wonder what the heck people think when they are typing. It's not whispering into the ear of a confidant, it's whispering into the ears of 250,000 crafts-people, many of whom are, in fact, men.

If the posts were by men, about their stupid wives.. well, I don't believe it would have gone so far. Nor should it have.

So, I just wanted to whisper into the ears of 250,000 (ok.. that might have been stretching the truth a little) that my man is the very best one, and I really, really appreciate him. He made me a wonderful, thoughtful Christmas which included getting a beautiful tree, buying me yarn that was so fabulous that I wouldn't buy it for myself, surprising me with gifts that I had mentioned loving, taking care of the kids and even cooking Christmas dinner while I was working. He's learning how to knit, and bought enough alpaca to make me a awesome scarf.

Now, that is one thoughtful human being, and I'm lucky he's my partner.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

The very best part...

The little ones make Christmas so special.. and we were so glad to have Nini here for a little while. She had a lot of fun playing the Wii, and the dogs aren't scaring her as badly as they were at Thanksgiving. Make sure you watch until the end, where there is some really excellent fake laughter (and me, really laughing, in the background).

Overall, we had a great day and everyone was truly spoiled. I'm really glad we delayed Christmas dinner until tomorrow, because, frankly, I'm too tired to enjoy it.

Donna loaned me her Majacraft Rose to spin on over the holidays, and I'm in some kind of heaven. We're a good pair, that wheel and I.

God bless you all, and I hope that you have a most wonderful Christmas season.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Who I am

Is a spinner who knits.

There have been times in my life when I thought I was a writer, or a painter, or a potter.. though all the while I was a knitter without passion. It was when I discovered fine yarns, and frankly, competitive knitting, that finally the fire was lit. That could make me a knitter who paints, or a knitter who sews, or many other knitterly combinations.

However, none are accurate.

It was when Amy taught me how to use a drop spindle that I started to feel my destiny click into place. A bit dramatic, yes.. but true. I spun endlessly, not really understanding where the passion came from, but embracing it totally. Some time later, my nearly 80-year old aunt told me that she'd always been a spinner too, and that my nan had also spun. Things made sense. We're spinners.

I dreamed of spindles... and came up with an imaginary collection that seemed perfection.

Tabacheck lace spindles, in Ash
Tabacheck Tibetan supported spindle in Canary Wood
Apricot Bosworth Midi
Yew Avi Wasserman, .75 oz
Canary Cascade Tiger
Greensleeves Mjolinor in Redwood Burl
Cedar Kundert

And a Golding.

When we went to Rhinebeck, my plan was to buy a Golding, a Bosworth, and an Avi Wasserman. Nothing else, you understand... just those three things. I found the Avi Wasserman first and the Bosworth last. Sherry and I stopped at Golding and I found myself overwhelmed. I test spun quite a few spindles, and decided, finally, on an Antiqued Rosette in Walnut. Approximately 1 oz, it would spin the weight I feel most comfortable with, and would complete my collection. It spun true, and was a thing of beauty; yet at the very last moment I exchanged it for a large, vintage spindle with birds on its silver rim. Lovely.

But I couldn't spin it. It was all over the place; uncontrollable, and on it's way back to Golding.

Somehow, today, thanks to the kindness of my friends, I have two. My friend Stacey offered to trade hers for fiber. It's a larger spindle, a mahogany colour with a walnut shaft. The two of us are still resolving our relationship, and it needs a trip to Bessthespinner to spin true; but we're a bonded, and I know that we'll come to terms. I love it.

The Rosette? On Friday it made its way to me, via a much loved and treasured friend. She said when the spindle arrived at her house she looked at it and felt as though it was mine. She had the grace to give it to me for Christmas. It is the exact spindle I held in my hands at Rhinebeck..

I feel as though her instincts were correct, and that the spindle had found its way home. I know that sounds crazy.. but it's not the first crazy thing I've believed, and I'm sure it won't be the last.

Yesterday the two of us (the Rosette and I, that is!) sat in the kitchen in the night and spun 5 grams of Qivuit. Doesn't sound like much, I know, but that is 5 grams of cobweb weight; more yards than I can count. The spindle flew.... I've never seen one revolve so long or so true. It was like magic.

I couldn't be happier, or more grateful. I am a spinner who knits.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Super bulky felted mittens

A customer came into the store the other day wearing Malabrigo Aquarella mittens that she had designed with a stripe (to utilize excess Aquarella that she had in her stash). I loved the mittens, and the yarn.. and since there were a few skeins available at the store, I created my version of the pattern. I've been knitting so many Christmas mittens that I can do them in my sleep.

Just in case you have cold hands, or you need a movie length project... following is my attempt at instructions (sans stripe, because I don't have any extra super bulky yarn to use up).

Needles: US 13 DPNS
Gauge: Not that important
Yarn: Approximately 145 yards of a super bulky yarn, suitable for needles you'll work with - approx 2.5 stitches per inch would be fine. Shown is Malabrigo Aquarella.

Right Mitten:
Cast on 16 stitches and join in the round on 4 needles, being careful not to twist.
Knit 8 rows
M1 at the 1st stitch on needles 1, 2, 3 and 4 (20 stitches).
Knit 6 rounds
N1: K1, PM, K2, PM, Knit to end of round.
N1: K1, SM, (K1,M1) (twice), SM, knit to end of round
Knit 3 rounds
Knit to marker, SM, M1, K4, M1, SM, knit to end of round
N1: K1, RM, place 6 stitches on waste yarn, RM, cast on 2 stitches using the backwards loop method, and knit to end of round.
Knit rounds until mitten extends past the tip of your pinky finger.
*K1, SSK, knit to end of N1. K to 3 stitches before end of N2; K2tog, K1**
Repeat from * to ** on N3 and N4
Knit 2 rounds
Repeat from * to ** on N1, N2 & N3, N4
Knit 2 rounds
Cast off, using 3 needle bind off.

Left Mitten
Cast on 16 stitches and join in the round on 4 needles, being careful not to twist.
Knit 8 rows
M1 at the 1st stitch on needles 1, 2, 3 and 4 (20 stitches).
Knit 6 rounds
Knit until 3 stitches before the end of N2. PM, K2, PM, K1. Knit until end of round.
Knit to marker, SM, (K1,M1) (twice), SM, knit to end of round
Knit 3 rounds
Knit to marker, SM, M1, K4, M1, SM, knit to end of round.
Knit to marker, RM, Place 6 stitches on waste yarn, RM, cast on 2 stitches using the backwards loop method, and knit to end of round.
Knit rounds until mitten extends just past the tip of your pinky finger.
*K1, SSK, knit to end of N1. K to 3 stitches before end of N2; K2tog, K1**
Repeat from * to ** on N3 and N4
Knit 2 rounds
Repeat from * to ** on N1, N2 & N3, N4
Knit 2 rounds
Cast off, using 3 needle bind off.

Remove 6 stitches from waste yarn and put stitches on 2 DPNS.
Join yarn, and knit N1 & N2.
Pick up and knit 2 stitches on N3. (This will leave a gap which can be sewn tight when you are weaving in ends)
Knit in the round until thumb is the long enough to cover your thumb.
K2tog, 4 times
Weave yarn through last 4 stitches and pull tight.

Weave in ends on both mittens.

Try on mittens and determine how much felting they will need. If they are very large, put the mittens and some laundry detergent in the washing machine, and run a short load. Hot wash, cold rinse. Remove mittens, and adjust them to fit. Lie flat to dry.

If the mittens seem to need a small amount of felting, then immerse them in a sink full of hot water with a little dish soap, and (wearing rubber gloves to protect your hands from hot water), agitate, wring and generally thrash mittens until they seem to be about the right size. Remove excess water, lie flat to dry.

DPNS: Double pointed needles
K: Knit
K2tog: Knit 2 together
M1: Make one stitch
N1 through N4: Needles 1 through 4
PM: Place marker
RM: Remove marker
SM: Slip marker
SSK: Slip one stitch as if to knit, slip a second stitch as if to
knit. Replace both stitches on the left needle. K2tog.

Note: Because I'm a brain surgeon in my spare time, I just thought to check Make One's free patterns. You will find a very similar pattern, nicely written, here: Link

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

This is why I love knitlist

Here's a post from Linda:

Does anyone know of a mini watch cap pattern preferably a freebie? I have a Santa figurine that met with an accident. I was able to glue him back together but the crack in his head is still visible. I thought if I could find a mini watch cap pattern, I could use some sock yarn and make him a watch cap to cover his cracked head. If I have to I suppose I could wing it, but it would be easier if I could find a pattern. Thanks in advance.

Even when Santa knocks his block off, its ok to ask for help and creativity and resources.. and darned if there isn't response.

All kinds of Humpties need putting back together again this week. Chesley and Michelle, you're in our prayers.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Imagine this? Fiber stuff.

I have a little picture to share of my crochet adventure. I don't know how to crochet, but I was looking at a chart, and I thought.. damn.. I can do that. So far I have 4 squares done and connected. That's supposed to be 1/2 of the job, but I think it needs 6 more. I'm super stoked.

teh crotchet

Note: If you are trying to do any art shots in the yard, don't sling a mohair/silk something or other over a rose bush. A tree is somewhat better. Marginally so.

We got a little snow today. Lots actually, by day's end. Driving heavily leans towards dangerous at this point.

Oh.. and I have information on fruit flies. If you have 10 or 15 million of them, and you cannot locate a food source, let me pass this along. Mr. Clean Magic Erasers are fruit fly ambrosia. They LOVE them. Procreate by the gazillion. Become fat and fly about your house with abandon.

I'm putting a 'needles' label on this point (ha! I said point. I meant post) because I'm still thinking of stiletto pointed wonderfulness.

Stand by me

I can't organize my thoughts, because I'm blown away... I hope you are too.

This was exactly what I needed. I'm now fully outside of myself and the pity party has officially concluded.

Bring it on.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Saving up

I have two favorite bloggers; one who writes on most weekdays, and the other who writes on days ending in 'every so often'. I adore them both for different reasons.

There was a time in my life when I wasn't consumed by knitting and spinning, but by reading. I spent quite a bit of my time alone, and that is how I chose to use my evenings and weekends. Overall I'd say I am quite well read (or.. at least I was; now I am quite well knitted). In my history as a reader, only one author ever wrote what I considered to be the perfect sentence. It was Truman Capote, and he described someone in a way that left a taste in my mouth; I purely and completely understood the character.

Sometimes The Enchanting Juno makes me feel the same way.

Backround information on this moment in time:

Currently girls aged 14, 13 and 12 live in our house. Enough said.
I have been sick since September, and only just realized I'm having a flareup.
I'm about to lose a job I have loved.
Another Christmas is around the corner, and my son, the angel, persists in not being tangible. His death has had me in a straight jacket for six years now (God forbid I ever get out of it, because uncontained I believe I could scream buildings into rubble).
I was in 80's recession, and the very word strikes fear into my heart.
Canadian politics.

Every Christmas, and every August I work up a head of steam while I try different ways to control my feelings. Something always comes along that triggers a release, and I re-discover the truth of being the mother of a dead child. The pain doesn't go away. Cramming it down, trying to ignore or reform it doesn't work; it will find it's way to the surface somehow. Twice each year the top blows off, and then I feel somewhat better and can buck the hell up....

This was my Christmas vent button. It was firmly pressed.

And this is a gem... It put me so firmly and completely in her moment that the red drained from the back of my eyes... became lavender. Make sense? I saw she had posted and I actually saved it up for 1/2 a day before I read it. I picked the perfect time, and she did not disappoint.

Perhaps now I can rest.

Thursday, December 4, 2008


I can't flipping believe it.

Somebody needs a Signiture stiletto pointed directly at their arse.

Maybe there's hope, and the big bully in his sweater vest will have had the pants scared off of him, and he'll pull it together by spring.

Ya think?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Ken Leeeeeee, if leeving is without you

Ok, I'm referring to the Signature needles that the Yarn Harlot was talking about a couple days ago. I know when I'm in trouble, and believe me.. I AM IN BIG TROUBLE.

I have a teeny tiny needle addiction. I admit it. (That's the first step, right?). It was bad enough when it was Addis, and I spend 5 days a week surrounded by them. Even with a case full of circs, I have been seriously considering the click set when they are finally available.

So, I'm going to do you a little favor here; because really.. in order to arrive by Christmas the needles have to be ordered by tomorrow. A link of love.

I know I can count on you. My peeps.

Joking aside, I was seriously considering a lone set of 14" - 4.5mm, with a stiletto point, and a teardrop top. The thing is (begin logic).. I have the Kingscot pattern, and I'm mulling over what yarn I'm going to use. Wouldn't it just be perfect with a set of Signature needles? Wouldn't it just?

Hey.. the crochet thing is going really well. I figured out where I was going wrong, and it seemed like I might get to the end of a 7 row repeat without further ado. Instead, I think I have to frog back to row 4 again; perhaps 5. But you know.. it's all exciting because it's new, and I STILL BELIEVE.

I'm not going to talk about this morning for a day or two. I want to savor it just a little longer.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

You thought Cake Wreck was a time sucker?

Go to YouTube and search: fail

There's a website if you really, really, really have some time on your hands.

Here we have: Ken Lee

Fail Crochet?

I got to row 4 before I ran into froggable issues.

Tomorrow is the Honour Roll Breakfast Buffet. 100% Success.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Holy crap, I *might* know how to crochet

I cannot promise, but it appears that I am reading a crochet chart, and the darned thing makes some kind of sense. It is going to be crazy cool... cobweb weight silk-mohair on a really, really large hook. I had to leave it at work tonight because I am so excited that I would put it ahead of all other projects, and I have some important stuff that needs doing. On a timeline...

I cannot be trusted to be true to projects. New is good. Face it. Remember Fugly Mo? Still in the bag it was in last year, and not one more stitch has been knitted. Because it's OLD.

I have all kinds of top secret things going on, none of which I can talk about. But look out! After Christmas, there will be some great pictures...

including the hairy citrine thing, and the fuzzy stained glass-like things, about 2 million mittens and hopefully a Alice Starmore wonderment.

I'm so excited about this possibility, I'm going to make a new label.. called: Crochet (with one t). Who knew?

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Once upon a time

There was a little girl; she was known as Pinky for the longest time, because .. well, she had pink hair. When she was 3 she began school in the Lycee Louis Pasteur in Calgary. She picked up a working knowledge of the french language quite quickly, though she never really spoke it in my presence. She was shy...

Mostly because of financial reasons, and partly because she was entitled; at 5, she was moved to the Francophone school system in Calgary. For those years of my life I became extremely adept at Babel Fish... as an Anglophone I wasn't very welcome by some teachers and staff members so you learn to help yourself under the circumstances.

The little girl's first grade teacher was particularly difficult, and almost immediately she was labeled by the teacher as a low achiever. I didn't believe it initially, but in time it became clear that something was amiss. We were fully launched into the world of testing.. by the school, by the Developmental Program at the Alberta Children's Hospital, and eventually by the Calgary Catholic School Board. It all came out the same... she was learning disabled with a low average IQ.

It also became clear to me that we could no longer struggle with the Francophone system; we were not welcome there, it was too hard to fight for what she needed, and also somewhat unfair to expect her to translate in and out of french (since it was not our first language at home, and I didn't speak it at all)... So we arrived at the door of St. Angela school for the first day of grade three, and prayed that they would take her. Grade three.. doesn't sound like much, does it? By that time she'd been in school full time for 5 years. Struggling.

They accepted her.

It was bumpy at first... The Francophone school had no record of her attending grade 2. Somehow it appeared that she had been held back and repeated grade 1. Untrue. Without the help of a specific teacher at St. Angela I would never have known that I had rights as a parent. She told me how to navigate the system, and I did so. Thank God, they placed her in grade 3 with her peers. My mom had just survived cancer, my son had just died; somehow we couldn't face her being outside of norm for even one more second. My ideas of success had changed.. I wanted her to be happy at school. I wanted her to read. I wanted her to play. I didn't really care what language she did it in.

She spent grades 3 through 6 at St. Angela, and while there she was loved and supported by a number of strong, capable women (and one really great janitor who created a dream of her growing up to be a nurse). To be honest, I don't know what we would have done without them. They always went above and beyond the call of duty.

The girl wasn't so little any more, and in time she moved on to St. Alphonsus to attend Junior High. The safety net isn't as wide, and I was so, so afraid that she'd fall through the cracks. How to get this child through high school successfully? How?

Advocate. Same as always.

During the first year of high school, she won the awards for math and health. I was shocked to my very core that I'd been invited to the ceremony... I figured she must have won Miss Congeniality, or something in the realm. While the Principal was discussing the math award I noticed that she was talking to.. me. Facing me. Could it be possible? This child cannot tell time. Cannot count money. Doesn't, in high school, understand the most basic facts. Could she be getting the math award?

She did. She earned it based purely on effort and improvement.

I cried for 3 days. I thought my heart might explode from pride. It was her most outstanding moment, and I thought.. gosh, if we ever have another moment like that it would be so lovely.. yet unlikely. I didn't dream high enough.

Yesterday that same girl came into my work with her report card, and in it was an invitation for her and I to attend the Honour Roll Breakfast Buffet together to celebrate her success in all areas of her classwork. I have one friend who attends these regularly with her daughter, and it has become .. well, normal. I never, not for one split second, thought I'd get tickets to that dance.

When, lately, the girl talked to me about being on the honour roll, I tried to explain to her that it was highly unlikely (under the circumstances, you understand) and that she shouldn't get her hopes up.

Fundamental error on my part. Good Lord, how could I make a mistake of that magnitude?

So next week we go together.. her and I.. and we're going to celebrate her success on a major scale. And I'm going to cry... because I don't believe I've ever been prouder of her efforts and her commitment. I am so lucky to have this child.. not because she wins awards, but because she is a really, really nice person who works hard and reaches for success (amoung so many other good qualities).

Congratulations Mug. We sure do love you.

I am so. so. so. happy. I cannot even imagine how you're going to surprise me next, but I have total confidence that you will.

Love, Mom
xoxoxo (times 1 million)

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Maximum Irony

You should have a look at 'Cake Wrecks'. I found the link on Kayla's facebook page. Too, too funny.


It's a word I read today on the Rainey Sisters' blog. I think it's a great word. Just thought I'd throw that in. Speaking of words, *ahem*, I read about 'frenemies' the other day, and that struck a cord, tho I don't think I have any frenemies any more.. I got too old for it.

I haven't been doing anything outstanding.. some simple Christmas knitting (piece after piece after piece), and I've been spinning for Miss Darts and Tori. The spinning took a turn for the worse when I decided that I'd ply from a centre pull ball instead of spinning onto two bobbins. Well, the over-spun single (cuz I'm looking for a particular look, and I need to start this way) decided that it would be best to cling to itself and I ended up with a serious case of yarn barf. It took me ages to work out the worst of it, and I still ended up throwing away yarn. Hate.That. If the yarn works out, it's gonna be very darned groovy, but I suspect that it's worsted weight, not DK.

(Photo illustrates yarn barf only, and unfortunately is not my spinning)

I read some blogs today... there's some amazing writing out there, that's for darned sure. Have a look at a few, right after you vote for our Harlot. Cuz we're her peeps, right?

(Ok.. that might have been stretching it a bit - but I'm feeling delusional)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

And my heart was in my throat

By some miracle, I fell upon the flickr photostream of latelierduchatnoir, a woman who spins the way I wish I could, who uses colour in a way I only dream of, and who has an amazing eye with photography. I spent some time last night clicking through her pictures, one after another. Admiring the light, the tones, and wondering how this creativity flows from one person. I know a few people who have 'it'. I think that's pretty lucky.

I love this picture, and this one, and this one.

I also wondered what she liked, so I clicked on her favorites and to my absolute shock and pleasure I saw that two of her favorite photos are MY spinning. How could that even BE? I don't even have words to describe how this thrills me.

And she likes a Tabacheck. Now that's saying something.

I ask you...

Why is it that people can't count to 4? Sometimes they can barely make it as far as the number 2 before they lose count.

5 (yes, 5. I'm sure) days a week I go through a 4 way stop on the way to school, and it just boggles the mind how many times there is a fiasco in the intersection.

(picture above represents #2 as having blown the line already. #'s 1, 3, & 4 are sitting there swearing - but hopefully under their breath, as there are imaginary kids in the cars).

Kick the Ginger day update: There isn't one. To date it would appear that the school hasn't had an assembly. No note has come home. I had a message that the teacher would call, but due to sickie-cell-phone-anemia I didn't actually hear from anybody. Mug tells me that they took her aside again, but instead of the teacher bullying her, they basically said that they thought she was being bullied by, and was covering for, the kicker. So the matter is dropped, tho the accused did get suspended.

When Mug was in grade 3 in the Catholic system a kid brought a knife to school, which he brandished while in line. The only way I knew this was because I happened to BE in he lineup with Mug. The Principal didn't think it was necessary to alert parents about the incident. I thought she was wrong. There were discussions.

I feel the same way now. I'm expecting a note saying.. geez.. sorry we were in the news the other day, here is our plan for the future.

At very least.

I'm spinning some neutral coloured soy silk for she of the Tangled Arts. She has a plan for Tori, and I'm helping out. I'm really excited about it.

Flickr seemed OK there for a while, but now it's busted again. Geez. Think they'll give me a rebate? ;)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Oh dear, I'm having a problem

Something has happened to Flickr on my computer. If using Safari or Firefox, I cannot see any pictures that are on Flickr. Mine, or others. It takes forever to cycle, but eventually I just get the words that are associated with image files. I cannot see anything but words on the Flickr site itself.

I'm thinking one of the darling children have somehow changed a setting, but I have no clue what. I clicked on Help, and it won't load.

Any ideas?

The zen of spinning

Warning! I took these pictures on BF's camera, and his setting takes a picture as big as a house. Bigger than real life! So unless you want to count my wraps per inch, and really check out spinning errors, don't click! Or.. click to enHUGEen.

Flickr isn't flickring tonight.. so this is gonna take a while. You've got the time, don't you? Me? I'm up at 2am, tho I'm totally exhausted, because Roxy had a bath tonight and she feels it is imperative to nibble her feet all night. I cannot get her to stop. If she's not asleep when I go back upstairs, I'm going to find alternate sleeping arrangements that does not include dogs on the bed.

Anyway.. you might know that things have been a bit stressful for me lately, plus I have strep and an ear infection again. I think I'm wrung out. The solution? Spin. And spin. And spin.

I had 6 bobbins of a jacketed hogget cormo that just needed to be plied, so I dragged them out and gave them a whirl. Now, here's what I have.

1. Skein of scoured, unprepared in any other way... just spun from the locks.

2. Skein of scoured, hand carded locks.

3. Skein of scoured, flick carded locks.

All three skeins have been spun thick and thin, finished, and tho there is still minimal VM (especially in the natural locks), they are a pretty cream colour, and I'm very happy. I won't dye any of it. This yarn is so soft and bouncy I don't have words to describe it.

What I learned is:

- I am a pretty lousy hand carder. Must practice that.
- It's hard for me to spin art-type yarn... If I lose concentration, my spinning reverts to consistent fingering weight. Then.. ooops!.. back to art yarn.
- A dog comb used as a flick carder will go straight through your jeans. It won't take long either.
- I absolutely adore cormo. It might be my favorite fleece ever.
- I learned a lot about how NOT to wash a fleece. I basically have a cloud the size of a laundry basket, but, it's not a total loss, and in fact it hasn't been a loss at all, I just altered my spinning.
- I think i'm going to flick card the rest, and I think I'm going to force myself to start throwing out short and really dirty parts. We have a compost. I can use it. The world won't end if I don't spin every single inch.
- I think it might be ok to cut off the tips of a hogget fleece sometimes. They are too little to be jacketed at first, so the tips are a bit frazzed.
- Starting from a fleece is hard, but worth it. Times a thousand.

OK.. moving on.

2 skeins of Llama-down, purchased carded from Lars of West Mountain Farm, Inc., Stamford, Vermont. I met Lars Garrison and his wife Gaye at Rhinebeck. They have decided to sell off their animals. If you can get your hands on any of this fleece, do so. It is amazing, and I could just kick myself for not buying more. This is my first real attempt at unsupported long draw. I'm very happy with my initial results. The takeup on my wheel isn't strong enough, so it's kind of a tough go... but I did as well as I could. The yarn is soft and very springy.

Coils! It's my first try, and the skein is loaded with errors.. I did everything wrong I think, but I'm still stupid thrilled with the results. I think the singles needed to be spun tighter and I need to figure out how to do this without coiling up the core thread so bad that it breaks. Technique = 0. Pretty = 10.

I picked the roving because I thought the dye job sucked. In reality, it kicks butt.

Now. Can somebody tell me what the heck one does with a coiled skein???

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Kick a ginger day

Sometimes the internet is a terrible thing. Do a search on 'Kick a ginger day', and see how many reports you'll find on red headed kids who were battered last Thursday. Unfortunately Mug's school is one of those you could read about. And, she falls under the sub-heading of 'ginger'.

So here's a twist...(I reserve the right to adjust this story, as I haven't spoken with the school yet). She wasn't kicked; yet a girl at school is accused of doing so (kicking Mug, I mean) and seems to be under threat of suspension, or expulsion, or in Mug-land, a fine (hmmmm, that's a new one). If I understand Mug correctly, she said that the girl is innocent.

To the South Park writer who started this, and the goof-ball who decided to make a Facebook group, thanks so much. Lots of kids got beaten over your brilliance. Mug could easily have been one of them.

Scares me.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A boy and his dog

Mutual devotion at its finest.

That is one goofy dog, I have to say. He thinks he's a people. We think he's a cat.

As an aside.. the BF's head is too small. I knitted him a Turn a Square hat today, and it's too big. You and I both know that it has nothing to do with gauge. Not a thing.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

It snowed

This morning when I woke up I heard the strangest scratchy noise outside.. turns out that BFML was leaving early to attend a hockey coaching workshop and he was scraping the ice from his windshield. It's been quite a long time since I last heard that sound.

Later in the morning I had to pick up Mug from a sleepover, and on the way there was a vehicle vs. C-train accident (C-train always wins these). By the time I was on my way back home there were more emergency vehicles than you can even imagine, plus a number of lane closures.

This evening we were coming back from customer appreciation day at Chapters (seems they don't appreciate me as much as their flier would indicate) and there was a big 3 vehicle pileup.

So.. hello snow. It'll be a while yet before we remember how to drive in you safely.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Some really great links

(Note to some sisters: Does Blogless-C have a laptop? It would be so good if she did)

Ok.. at the retreat I missed Stephanie Pearl-McPhee's class on Knitting for Speed and Efficiency (a long story involving a teenager and complete lack of sleep on my part). I have been asking people to show me what they learned, and I have a basic idea of how to do it with a 14" straight (I haven't attempted her method on DPNs yet). At first it seemed really natural and almost second nature. I feel that it might have been the way I was taught when I was 4 years old, and that somehow I created a less efficient knitting style as the years went on. Anyway.. after some practicing, I am getting worse and worse. I'm going to master it though, because I want to. Period.

Because of the 'can't turn off the head' issue, I'm now looking at gazillions of posts and videos on knitting techniques. YouTube is a wonderful place, is it not? If you aren't a member of Ravelry (why aren't you?) you could visit YouTube, and search 'How I Knit'. If you are a member, then click on this link. You'll need some time. Bring a snack.

If you don't feel like watching knitting technique videos, then do visit Amy Singer's November 14th blog entry and have a boo at an amazing little story teller. My head is still spinning with the pure enormity of a child's imagination.

Once you are finished hearing Capucine's story, perhaps you'd like to enjoy Djembe Man for a little while.

Djembe Man from Capucha on Vimeo.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Since I last wrote

I received the bill for the Rhinebeck UTI. $800 something, USD. In case you've ever wondered if travel insurance is worth it, the answer is yes.

The Border Leicester fleece (1st 6 mos. clip) that I bought in Rhinebeck arrived. Yay. S'lovely. I bought it from Meadowland Farm (Hinesburg, VT), and Sue's business card has neither a website nor an email address. I kind of love that.

I went to the Make One Retreat in Kananaskis... what a beautiful, marvelous, amazing place. I met lots of fabulous people, ate THE very best veggie burger ever (thank you Stephanie for hooking us up). And Scarlett slept with me. For those of you who are unaware, Scarlett is the queen bee of all dogs, and she doesn't just hand out affection to each and all. We have a special relationship now.. I'm not allowed to look at her, or acknowledge that she's in my sphere, and in exchange, she lets me breathe the same air as she does. It's an amazing victory on my part.

View from our room, Delta, Kananaskis

Nancy Bush borrowed my lace weight drop spindle for the weekend. I don't think she actually used it, but I'm going to imagine that she did. (It's the little one on the left)

My spindles

I was the person who handed Cookie A the very first copy of her book. For real!

I've knitted mittens and mittens and mittens. Many more rights than absolutely necessary, to be frank. Apparently I am an unconscious right-knitter.

I saw my Nini tonight. She is completely and absolutely enthralled with Dora... so we watched it 3 times. What are Nans for anyway, if not for giving little girls the world on a platter?

Teenagers are stressful. Take my word for it. Teenage girls take the cake some days/weeks/months. If teenage girls were an earthquake, ours would be a 7.5. I thought I should mention that our kids are: 26 (married, and gone...), 14, 13, 12, and 9. All but the 9 y/o are girls. My house is a cloud of estrogen.

Speaking of exhaustion, I have been wiped out since Rhinebeck. 'I can barely function' kind of exhausted. I keep saying that I'm going to the doctor, but I'm too tired to get there.

My glasses arrived. The left eye is perfect and I really love the frames.

I now own 7 tiaras. One came with a wand. It sparkles.

After the retreat, BFML, the kids and I went to the Banff Hot Springs. It was hot and springy. It was snowing a little bit, and we really enjoyed it. I wore a t-shirt into the pool and felt just as fat as if I hadn't worn it, plus extra stupid because I was the only person in the pool with one on.

Banff Hotsprings

I also went to Jacques Cartier and bought a little more Qivuit fiber. Perhaps we bought a little fudge on the trip. Maybe.

Big Bear at the fudge store in Banff

I have the yarn all picked out to knit THE JARED SCARF. I never, ever would have guessed I'd fall into that one.. but the Silk Garden threw me over the edge.

And last.. but certainly not LEAST.. because it's actually so flipping amazing that I could weep from joy. The Twist Collective finally accepted my $7.00 US, and I have the pattern for Kingscot in my hand. I.SO.DO. Tiny glitch: I thought I had yarn for it, but I don't. I'm going to imaginary knit until I get that sorted out.

So there you go. Some stuff since I last wrote. How were you?

Monday, November 3, 2008

Fixing things

I had a number of projects in various stages of dire straights...

For example, the set of 3 right mittens now have one right and one left. Fixed 'em.

Basic Mitts

And a pair of 'Noro Silk Garden Sock' socks... The second one just didn't want to be knitted; it'd been on and off the needles a half dozen times as I made every kind of error known to man. Fixed 'em.

Noro Silk Garden Sock Yarn

Most importantly, I had been having a rough time with the Secret Garden. I had completed charts A and B, and realized that I had a dropped stitch that had slipped all the way through chart B. While I was on the flight to Newark, I tinked it back. Stitch by stitch. I re-knit and while holding it up to celebrate my success, I noticed that I had missed two rows. Aunty Tink.. well.. tinked (actually, she frogged). Yesterday I finally felt well enough to knit, so me and chart B are finished with each other. Three times lucky, right?

Secret Garden, Charts A and B

Secret Garden, Charts A & B

And finally? I fixed the twist on some spinning. I bought this Mulberry/Superfine Merino fiber from the Fold at Rhinebeck. I'm really happy with the results, and wish that I had more.

2 ply merino/silk blend handspun

And psssst.... Pumper #1 was parked down the street from me. All those fellas seemed to be having a break in the park. As they should.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

He loves waffles, and I love him

belgian waffles
Originally uploaded by spinknit

He's not even here right now (bgaidan, that is), but he'd told me last week that he was running low (I make a big batch, and freeze them for his breakfast each weekday morning). Now I have enough in the freezer to keep him happy for 2 weeks.

Last weekend I heard him tell his dad to never, ever, EVER buy eggos again. It made me so darned happy.

Just incase you'd like waffles too, here's the recipe I came up with. I healthied them up a bit, and I'm sure you could tune them up even moreso.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine 2 beaten eggs, 1/2c oil, and 1-3/4c milk. I add about 1/2 tsp. vanilla. The real stuff.

In another medium bowl, combined 1-3/4c flour, 1 Tbs. baking powder, & 1/4 tsp. salt. I add about 1/4c or more of ground flax seed, and 1/4 tsp or more of cinnamon.

Mix the wet into the dry all at once, stir until moistened. Cook in your waffle maker..

No sugar so far!

The serving part is the kicker, don't you think? Jim likes to make a syrup with fresh fruit. The kids like that and whipped cream. I like it the Swedish way that my grandmother used to do it... a dollop of sour cream and a heaping tablespoon of cranberry sauce (Swedish soul food, she said)

Like to cook? BF and Dida were enjoying this website, and I think it's high time that we saw it too.

Knitting hasn't been going well. I knit a right mitten for the third time. It was about then that I figured out that I was really, really, really not feeling well. It's run its course today tho.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

That bare hand

.. The one that waved to me the other morning.. blew me a kiss.. well, that bare hand used to hold mine always. I have noticed that with increasing frequency when I hold my hand out to her, she doesn't take it. She's embarrassed in certain situations.. too big to hold hands.

Tonight the baseline became 'in a large crowd'. We were at Value Village getting some stuff for her costume... she dropped me like a hot potato. Yet at Wendy's, when we went for something to eat, she held my hand for a very long time.

My burger was disgusting; she offered me hers.

I realized that these are the last few days of her childhood, and that my little girl is disappearing.

Trish said the other day that everything is changing. She was right.

I knit two right mittens. My mind is elsewhere.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

One a day

Mitten, that is.

Mittens for Mug

I fell in love with Nimbus (an organic merino.. so soft and bouncy) and so did Mug. She requested a pair of mittens. While I knit them, all I heard was: Can I wear them tomorrow? Will they be ready in time?

I can easily knit one mitten a night while I watch a show or two, so it wasn't a really big deal to complete a pair, and especially nice, since she was so anxious. As she blew me a kiss yesterday morning when I dropped her off at school, I noticed that said hand was .. bare. She'd forgotten the mittens! That's how we roll...

This evening I started a new pair; I think all of the kids will get mittens this Christmas. Even the BF, because he loves anything knitted (note: his knitting project is almost done!).

Malabrigo mitten #1

It's less than 2 months until Christmas.. I can hardly believe it. The mittens make snow seem closer, the sleds are probably positioning themselves by the back door as we speak.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Can you imagine losing one of your senses?

BF did. Slowly and completely.. his sense of smell disappeared. He loves to cook, and to eat, and he's a very sensual person, so this loss was significant. He was already nearly deaf in one ear, but coping with that was easier.

Earlier this year he had a surgery. We hoped that his sense of smell would return. It did not; but his breathing improved. The snoring did a bit too.

I have to admit that I haven't alllllways been sad that he couldn't smell things. I might have gotten away with a thing or two. Maybe.

Yesterday, out of the blue, his sense of smell returned. So these last two days he's been sniffing and snuffling and snorting up everything that even remotely has a scent. Did you know that cellophane noodles have a smell?

Me neither.

It's really happy around here right now.

Much delayed SEX report. With pictures.

You know.. the entire Rhinebeck Stash Enhancement eXcursion didn't really end up to be massive in the yarn department. Quite sparse, to tell you the truth.

merino/cashmere from brooklyn general store
From the Brooklyn General Store. I cannot remember what yarn this is, just that it is 10% cashmere, and it's as beautiful as anyone could ever hope.

koigu silk/merino
2 skeins of Koigu, a silk blend fingering weight.

str, mill end

str, mill end

2 STR mill ends. Both much more lovely and nuanced than they appear in the pictures. One for me, one for Dida.


The Avi Wasserman and Bosworth were purchased at Rhinebeck. The Greensleeves and the Kundert had arrived from Boogie while I was gone.

And that's it except for another mill end that I gave to Amy, and a sock monkey kit.

Some amazing restraint on my part? Naw... I just didn't feel good, is all.

Wanna see the most beautiful picture ever taken? Visit Sean's Soapbox and look for the foliage pond photo. You'll thank me.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Here's a guy who has a sweet job

He's been making maple candy floss for an entire day, and it shows.

Friday, October 24, 2008



This instead

My camera has failed me, so instead I'm attaching a really fabulous link for you to enjoy. Here is where you will find how to do a 2 stage navajo ply (I provided that link a few days ago); but I'm liking the most recent post regarding fleece cleaning, since I have 4.6 lbs. of Border Leicester on it's way from Rhinebeck - I refuse to discuss all the other unwashed fleece, or the messed up Cormo.

Sex talk has to wait a bit. I am working tomorrow (the goils are having a romantic anniversary type weekend away) so my schedule is skeewiff.

This is how fast we were moving in New York

A picture from the subway.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

On taking care

Now, don't get me wrong.. I'm not sweating; I'm just processing. My brain doesn't seem to have an off button.

When we arrived in Newark I realized that I was sick with a UTI, and unreasonably hoped that I would be able to take over the counter meds and last until I got home. Why?.. Didn't want to waste any of my trip time trying to see a doctor. When, on Friday, I had an unimaginably wonderful opportunity to purchase yarn, and instead, I stood like a statue and only purchased 3 skeins.. well, my friends morphed into a posse, surrounded me and took me to the nearest hospital in Rhinebeck.

I must mention that the nurse was from Timmons. She rocked.

Now, after reading the Yarn Harlot's most recent post, I realized that she sounded scarily exhausted. No darned wonder that she was surrounded.. if I were her friend, I would do the same exact thing. Just like mine did for me... Taking care. It's a blessing.

Regarding the privacy situation, I have a possible solution. The NO FLY ZONE hat.

I knew a couple, years ago, who had a family hat. It was shared and worn by a family member who needed some space. If the hat was on, then that person developed a no fly zone; respected by all. No talking, no interrupting, no questions, no demands. Just space. I propose that our community do this very same thing for our own. Doesn't it just solve all the dilemmas? If the hat is on, then I know not to disturb. If it's off, then I know it's appropriate to approach. If the hat is on, then our people know they can wander and shop in peace. If it's off.. (you get the idea)

I'm trying to make you smile... we all know that no one is going to be wearing, say, a big red hat (tho it would solve hair issues, wouldn't it?); but wouldn't it be nice if there were some way of knowing what the rules are? An indicator? I think Linda is correct, and the rules are bound by situation (celebrity signing autographs) and good manners (celebrity shopping) and common sense (you are not actually my very best friend because I know that we have matching stoves, and I have read about your life).

Pretty simple, really. I feel better now.

Thank you to Stephanie for taking the time to post a kind and thoughtful response. And to Aunty Tink for the tiara theory. I'll have to be more careful in bright sunlight; those dangley parts could be dangerous.

Tomorrow? I'm talkin about SEX baby.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Trip debrief starts here. Celebrities in our midst

I've been spending time thinking about an incident that occurred in the last moments we spent at Rhinebeck, on Saturday. About knitting celebrities, about stalking, about privacy, about respect. How it goes both ways. And now, how it affects me.

There were so, so many people at Rhinebeck; it was somewhat like stampede, crowd-wise. For me it was a minor inconvenience, I had a few problems getting to a washroom in a timely manner, and getting close to a Bosworth spindle.. but overall, I wasn't being pushed around (tho Sherry was) nor accosted. Not so for the celebrities.

Stephanie Pearl-McPhee had a posse (the few times I spotted her), and I noticed that they did a very effective job of surrounding her and affording her protection. I cannot fathom how stressful it must be to attend a festival celebrating your biggest passion, yet not be able to have a moment's peace. The fact that the Yarn Harlot writes a great blog and super books does not give the general population permission to speak with her or share her day at their convenience.

And on the other hand, if a knitting celebrity is in the center of her customer base, her demographic, her fans... well, can he or she expect not to be constantly approached? Is there a way to determine when it is appropriate to approach, and when it is not? Is it ok only when the celebrity is sitting at a table selling their books and doing a signing? Is it ok if the person on the approach comes bearing gifts; or perhaps a donation? Do we act as though the celebrity is for sale, and we've bought our slice?

I am baffled. I don't know the rules.

A minor situation occured at Rhinebeck, and I'm still processing it. A group of us were leaving the park and saw that the Yarn Harlot and her posse were very close by; perhaps 6 feet or so. We approached to say:

(Insert the names of two mutual friends) say hi!.. and we look forward to seeing you in November at the retreat.

[If I was being totally honest I would have to admit that I would have asked if Denny was at Rhinebeck (she had told me that she would be), because I think she's fabulous, and I would have wanted to send a hello along to her.]

As we moved towards her, the posse closed in and she turned away. Her body language clearly said: Do not approach.

So we didn't.

I definately respect that she is a woman with a job, and I happen to be a customer, not her very best friend. At the same time I think that she couldn't have been in a worse location if it was peace she was looking for.

I haven't resolved how I feel about the whole thing.. surely it was a non-event, yet in a few short weeks I'm in a 6 hour class with the very same woman. I'm sure many would offer up their stash for the same oppotunity. I feel confused about boundaries and expectations, and a bit like an interloper.

I dunno.. I'm not done thinking it over.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Like a hangover, only less barfing.

I have no energy, and so I'll treat you to some photos until I get my groove back.

trish being trish-like
Trish, enchanting a port authority cop. He's holding her sock, but he wouldn't let anybody hold his gun. *ahem*

Woodstock 'folage'. That's how they say it in NYS


the boring chick at tori's, olive bridge
The boring chick at Tori's Olive Bridge house

a fairy in the garden, olive bridge
A fairy in the garden

tori's fountain, olive bridge
Tori's fountain

best picture ever, rhinebeck
Best Rhinebeck photo ever

battery park, nyc
Battery Park, NYC

marilynn at ground zero, nyc
Ground zero. Click for emotion

Kinnearing the Enchanting Juno and her tiny friends

tori's stoop, hoboken
Oak leaves on Tori's stoop in Hoboken

tori's stoop, hoboken
Tori's stoop.