Archive for April, 2008
Alternate name for this post: Mad Knitters do the Harlot! ***(see below)
Poor Stephanie, by the time this photo was taken she had probably signed at least 8 million books and she just wanted to “go to the loo.” We were very happy that she didn’t actually burst or anything and she made it through this photo with us Mad Knitters. And mad we were yesterday. During her show, we laughed like mad, then back at WEBS, we shopped like mad Even on our way home, stopping at Ruby Tuesdays, we ate like mad. (And we always wonder why the next morning we have Mad Knitter yarnovers. Crazy, huh???)
It worked out very well for us — by the time we made it through the WEBS checkout line, the book signing line had dissipated. This was Knitty’s and Cherylz first ever Yarn Harlot event and they were excited! Both Sarah and I have been before though we were still excited as always. I first met her at Rhinebeck 2 years ago (when she touched my sweater!) and then at Granby when Marji’s Yarn Shop hosted a Breast Cancer fundraiser. She is always funny and always a presence. I can’t wait for the next time. (LFG also came for the book talk, she just had to go back to VT so she could not come to WEBS afterward. I should have thought to take some photos with her when we were outside as the ones that I took in the theater did not come out as it was too dark in there…)
My number one “take home” lesson from listening to the Yarn Harlot yesterday is that I need to knit more. It is good for my brain and it is good for my patience and it is good for my family (because it is just good for me). Really, IHA, out there reading this – it is true. Knitting makes people happy and focused. So when you see me unhappy or unfocused, lock me in a room with my knitting, asap.
My “take home” action item is going to be to cast-on like crazy-mad this week. I am going to cast on for a bunch of projects so that I always have the appropriate type of knitting for the appropriate brain activity that I need. If I need to be smarter, I’ll knit something complicated and lacy and if I need to have more patience, I’ll knit something repetitive and soothing. I also need to start a completely take along project so I can always have something with me everywhere I go…
What? Do you I hear you asking for additional photos? Well, I aim to please. I wish I had taken a picture of all the *millions* of knitters flooding the streets of Northampton. I think crossing the street was one of Cherylz’s favorite parts. She was like “You mean, you can do this? Cross on a diagonal? I’ve never heard of such a thing!” I will never look at the streets of Northampton without thinking of her. They are apparently very pedestrian friendly there. Ok, the photos… here we go…
The line at WEBS
More of the line at WEBS
Cheryl having her booked signed. Do you see that she is wearing her gorgeous Tangled Yoke Cardigan? This is a sign of a true knitter — wearing a Rowan Felted Tweed wool sweater in a crowded store that must have been at least 80 degrees…
Our loot getting ready to ride back to Connecticut! (More on that to come in future posts…)
*** This is a clip from an e-mail from one Mad Knitter last week. Names have been changed to protect the innocent:
lol Spincerely, I saw your Mom yesterday. Chatty and nice as always, she says to me “And LFG, my other daughter is coming down for a wedding shower and then she and Spincerely are going to see the *stagewhisper* Yarn Harlot”
I said, “I know, I’m actually going too! I’m wicked excited!”
And she says “Well, I guess most people are excited when they see a harlot. Just not usually women.”
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Wow, it has been a long time since I have been tagged (thanks Ragan)!! Here goes!!!
1. Pick up the nearest book of 125 pages or more (no cheating!)
—Ok. I’m sitting at my “desk” and it is the book I finished a couple of days ago, patiently waiting to be added to my Library Thing
2. State the title and author of the Book
—It is Unravelling by Elizabeth Graver
3. Find Page 25
4. Type in the first five sentences.
…edge, his shoulders, and all the rest of him, for he was there with his back hunched, his eyes fierce. He did not want to move, or talk, or do anything but stare at me as if he had never seen me before, had never felt my hand thumping his back, or heard my sharp tongue, or run with me in the woods.
“Go back down!” I whispered, but then I realized he would tell what he had seen, and I would be dragged from the barn and placed with my burning fingers in the church.
“Stay,” I whispered, and he inched toward me on his knees and held his hands up in the air in front of himself, trembling, as if he were considering touching something dreadful — a rotten piece of meat or a severed snake with its insides hanging out like string.
I showed him everything.
5. Find page 100 and type in the first, second and fifth word on the page.
—do, for, walked
6. Post the meme to your blog.
7. Tag 5 people. Have fun!
I’m not going to tag anyone specifically — mostly because I’m just too tired, but if you want to play go ahead and if you want to play but don’t have your own blog, you can post to my comments if you’d like:)
I just have to say that, coincidentally, my quote from above is from the pivotal scene in this book. This girl’s whole life is changed by what happens next. It is the beginning of her “unravelling” one could say.
And now, back to Earth Day… As promised, my Conservation District purchases:
1 Red Twig Dogwood
2 Sarah Mountain Laurel
2 Spice Bush
1 Pussy Willow
3 Blueberry bushes
1 Coast Leucothoe (which is supposed to be deer resistant)
And 4 random perennials.
It did look like more in the car, in my checkbook, and I’m sure it will again when we go to plant them (esp. since we are planting “in the woods” where the digging is not easy). It is sort of a test run to see what grows the best and then we will get more of the “winners” next year.
Working toward Goal #2, I watered my compost bin twice this week. I think things are really starting to heat up in there.
And the daffodils are blooming!
I took many more photos today, but I’ll save them for later. I went back to look at some of my posts from last April and it is fun to see the differences in when things started blooming and what the weather was like. Last year at this time, we had a river running across the driveway and now we are super crispy out there. Of course, this is New England, so who knows what tomorrow will bring…
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Good morning! It is another awesome sunny day today. This has to be a Connecticut record to have 2 weeks of good weather in a row, but I think this may be the last of them for a long while so the pressure is on to use it wisely. This morning I’m going to Goshen to pick up my bushes and things from the Earth Day Plant sale. I’m bringing my checkbook as they supposedly have other things like perennials for our shopping pleasure.
I have to tell you that I’m already behind on one of my Earth Day goals. I went to Price Chopper without my canvas bags! I really have to work on my memory. How hard can this be???
I’m working on a new set of goals of new things I want to try in the fibery world. I have 2 things so far: learn how to use Earthhue Dyes and learn how to make pretty batts on a drum carder. I’m very excited for both!
Do you believe in that saying that things happen in threes? Well, here at the Spincerely/IHA home, we had 3 minor breakages yesterday.
First, I opened a window, the wind blew, the screen fell off (It is a casement window so the screen is on the inside.), and it knocked over my collection of glass bottles. Which one broke? The only one that I really cared about, of course. This bottle, that I love, that was a gift from a very beloved great uncle.
The second thing, was something that started out to be a good thing. I started to solar dye yesterday. I found and cleaned out my Terry’s Tub and set some rovings out to dye. Then later in the day, I forgot that I was solar dying and drove over my poor Terry’s Tub. I know what you are thinking, but don’t worry. The fiber is unharmed, and unlike the bottle, the tub is replaceable.
I was telling a friend about these things, and she was warning me to watch out for that dreaded THIRD THING. I feel very lucky, and I have to thank IHA for coming up with another relatively minor third thing. He was sad, but really, I’m glad it is over. He broke his blog this morning when he was trying to upgrade to the next version of Wordpress. He is pretty sure it is fixable so we will cross our fingers and hope he can get it working again. I had wanted to direct you to his last post where he chronicled the girl’s events from last weekend, but I guess that will have to wait until he is up and running again. If anyone has ever had a blog crash, you know how much it hurts…
Well, I better rock and roll as Agent J just called and forgot to bring her math binder to school. I really am a mom who will refuse to bring things if I think the girls have forgotten them for silly reasons like not paying attention, but Agent J is very serious about her school work; both getting it done and taking care of her things, so I think I will bring it in for her.
Have a great day! I may be back again before the weekend with photos of my Earth Day plants. We have a pretty busy weekend planned so I’ll see what I can do. Which reminds me, that I have completely not mentioned that I’m going to see the THE YARN HARLOT with my Mad Knitters and my Mad Sister on Sunday at the WEBS Event. I feel a need to acquire some new yarn too! Perhaps some hemp for knitting grocery bags? Maybe if I make the bags and they are not ugly old tote bags, I’ll remember to bring them to the store?
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Guilt. I woke up with tons. It is Earth Day 2008 and what have I done? What am I doing? What should I be doing that I am not doing and why am I not researching it? During my shower, I decided to write this post and list some of the good-for-the-Earth things that we do here and then set some goals.
We recycle. Our town has a great recycling program and pretty much the only things that they don’t collect are #5 and #7 plastics. We even recycle brown chipboard here (like cereal boxes). As for paper, yes some ends up in the trash when we clean, but we probably recycle about 85% of our paper waste. Goal #1: capture more of our paper before it hits the garbage to either reuse or recycle. Also start using canvas bags at the grocery store. I put together a few to take next time I go. I also want to knit or crochet a couple mesh bags this summer.
We compost. But we need a better system for household food waste. We are tired at night and tend to not want to walk out to the compost bin. Goal #2: find a better way to collect our food wastes and get them to the compost including coffee grinds. Try not to be so lazy about it!
We educate our children about nature. Agent B participates in Junior Audubon and we occasionally go on family nature walks. Last spring we participated in the No Child Left Inside program. IHA takes the girls fishing where they mostly play with water bugs, benthic invertebrates, and amphibians. We send them to nature camps and encourage them to participate in as many environmental programs at school and Girl Scouts as we can. Agent B did a river walk clean-up with her G.S. troop yesterday and there is a big G.S. Earth Day event this coming Saturday. Goal #3: find summer programs that the girls will love and get them outdoors.
We try to consolidate errands and carpool to save gas. This one we talk about more than we actually do. I think we still do far too much driving around. Goal #4: find ways to cut down on driving.
We save energy at home. We have started replacing our old light bulbs with the new ones and we try to turn off lights when we leave rooms. We have quite a bit of room for growth in this respect so this should be a major focus for us. Goal #5: find ways to save energy around the house and turn things off when we are not using them.
We plant native species in our yard. Last fall we cut down quite a few very tall Hemlock trees. Now we have some land that we need to replant. I bought a few native species shrubs from the Northwest Conservation District Earth Day Sale which I have to pick up on Friday and start planting. I bought some blueberry bushes, some laurel, a pussy willow, a spice bush, and a couple other native shrubs. The people who cut the trees thought that our intent was to increase our lawn, but we really wanted some more open space for light to come through without the maintenance of grass. Goal #6: continue to research native species and plant as many as we can.
We garden organic. We only use organic fertilizers and do not use pesticides or herbicides. Ok, I’ll admit that we do have exceptions. We do use a service to treat our house for carpenter ants and we do use a bit of Miloranite as a deer deterrent especially around my day lilies and the periphery of our yard. I remove dandelions by hand and we have tried some grub products such as beneficial nematodes and milky spore. Our lawn is not the prettiest and our current problems is moles/voles that seem to have all moved into our yard since we lost our cats. Goal #7: continue to garden organic and do more research on organic lawn care and organic deer deterrent.
Seven goals, that is a start, right? I could probably spend the entire day writing this post, but I’m starting to run late for work and better get moving. Oh, dear Earth, there is so much more we can do for you! As with everything else, we will start with baby steps. Each little bit helps… What shall I do today?
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I only intended to knit a small swatch, but I just kept knitting and knitting and knitting…
Fiber: Bluefaced Leicester dyed in “Peaseblossom” by Freckle Faced Fibers.
Techniques: This fiber was dyed 3 colors in “sections” like this woolly bear caterpillar with the largest section being the middle. (Which, I believe, means that we are going to have a very sunny Spring). I split the roving into equal quarters and from there I split it into different sizes so that there would be some variation in the lengths of color. I then spun a continuous single. I Navajo (chain) plied so that the colors would stay together and stripe.
WPI: 11 to 12 for a worsted weight yarn
Gauge: 19 stitches/4 inches on U.S. size 7 needles
Future expectations (aka what this yarn wants to be when it grows up): Currently, I’m thinking that it may want to be Dashings. I want it to be something that shows off its stripiness without having a fussy and distracting pattern. (I’ve also been inspired by Cherylz’s dapper pair of Dashings…)
Thoughts: Just like the title of this post implies, this fiber practically spun itself and then knitted itself! The roving was soft and easily drafted. There was not a smidgen of felting. Plying went well and I set the yarn in warm water. There was a wee little bit of bleeding, but really no big deal. The hardest part was winding the skein into a ball. Oh, what a tangle. It took almost an hour to get through that mess! I love this fiber and will probably buy more someday. This would be a really great fiber for beginning spinners especially.
The singles. (Yes, I know, I probably need a woolly winder someday, but this works for now.)
The roving braid as it looked when it arrived at my house
The roving after it was unbraided. There is a bit of variation in the brown, purple, and green dyeing that gives the resulting yarn a heathered look.
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I know, who would expect 2 posts in one day from the world’s worst blogger?
Anyway, as my first post today was photo-less, I thought it was only right to post again.
Earlier this week, I ordered some shipping materials from an Etsy shop for my Etsy shop. I saw these cute little cello pretzel bags and thought that they would be really cute for fiber samples. I have to admit that I’m not very consistent in the way I wrap my rovings and send out my samples. I tend to use what is on-hand and I’m still trying out new things. Since I ordered 200 of these little bags, I think they will be around for a while .
Now, I only have 20 minutes before April vacation starts, and I don’t have all my hatches battened down yet so I better go… I’m leaving you with a spring crocus photo and a spinning photo. Don’t worry, there will be more on the spinning in a future post…
Have a great weekend everyone!
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I wonder how many blogs post start with “I’ve been such a bad blogger lately…” I’m sure it probably numbers in the millions. I really have been a very bad blogger lately. I guess the first thing that I think of blogging about lately is the weather and how uninspired is that? I will tell you, however, that we had our first real taste of spring yesterday and it was incredible. Real spring days are just the best.
In the last week, we have just been hanging out living regular life. I had quite a few days where there were one or 2 girls home sick from school. They are all back now with today being the last day before April vacation. We don’t have any special plans for vacation. I hope the girls will ride their bikes or draw with chalk in the driveway; maybe practice their sports. Agent K is running track for her 3rd season. Agent J is playing her second season of softball and Agent B is continuing with karate and Junior Audubon. (Birding IS a sport, right?) I’ve been busy doing my normal procrastinating, a little knitting and spinning, but taking a little break from working on Etsy everyday. After redesigning my Etsy Banner and packaging labels, I was a bit tired of being on the computer. IHA has been busy with work as usual. He did take some time off on Wednesday to burn a pile of brush, but that just shifted his hours into later in the day and evening. All regular life stuff, you know?
I have read a couple of good books lately. I just finished reading The Senator’s Wife by Sue Miller. Wow. It leaves you thinking… I haven’t found anyone who has read it yet to discuss it, but it is a book that leaves you feeling like you have a lot to discuss. I hope I remember enough about it for when I finally encounter someone who has read it.
The last book we read for book group was The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri. I didn’t want this book to end. I don’t know what it is about it but it is just special. I have a favorite passage that I marked because I wanted to share it with the book group, but the opportunity never presented itself. I’d love to share it with you and I think it speaks for the book and all it has to offer:
Within three months they have clothes and toothbrushes at each other’s apartments. He sees her for entire weekends without makeup, sees her with gray shadows under her eyes as she types papers at her desk, and when he kisses her head he tastes the oil that accumulates on her scalp between shampoos. He sees the hair that grows on her legs between waxings, the black roots that emerge between appointments at the salon, and in these moments, these glimpses, he believes he has known no greater intimacy.
The prose in this book is so beautiful, sweet, and gracefully simple. The sentence that I love best of all is this one, “He sees her for entire weekends without makeup, sees her with gray shadows under her eyes as she types papers at her desk, and when he kisses her head he tastes the oil that accumulates on her scalp between shampoos.” I know, a whole book of full of sentences, why that one? I don’t know, but it gives me shivers.
Jhumpa Lahiri has a new book of short stories out (Unaccustomed Earth). I don’t usually like short stories as much as novels, but the review was pretty good and the stories are interconnected. Currently, I’m reading a book called Unravelling by Elizabeth Graver, and yes, I did choose it partly because of the name. So far, I like it. As a matter of fact, I may read a bit with my afternoon coffee as this is my last 2 hours of quiet before the storm known as school break with 3 preteen/teen girls begins…
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This is my little Pierre Junior Birdsman.
Do you remember that song? We used to sing it at Girl Scout camp. It is the one where you touch the tips of your thumbs to the tips of your index fingers, then flip both hands upside down and hold them over over your face with your eyes peering through the holes formed like a pair of goggles? I know now that it is really not “Pierre Junior Birdsman,” but “Up in the Air Junior Birdman,” but I still have those childhood lyrics stuck in my head, sort of like my own little alternate reality that I don’t really want to give up. Anyway, in case you are interested, the song goes like this:
Up in the air junior birdman
Up in the air upside down
Up in the air junior birdman
Keep your noses off the ground
When you hear the grand announcement
that your wings are made of tin.
Then you know that Junior Birdman,
has turned his box tops in.*
For it takes: 5 box tops,
4 bottle bottoms,
and one thin dime!)
I do still think of Agent B as “My Little Pierre” when she gets all into her birding like that. I don’t tell her that of course. I don’t think she would like it very much.
She went on a Duck Ramble with Junior Audubon today. IHA sent me this photo from his phone. Apparently it was very very cold outside today. I think that is because we live in Antarctica. Or maybe this is really November all over again and we just skipped spring, summer, and fall. Well, I could ramble on about the weather all day, but my sweet wild cherry red dryer just sang me my love song to let me know that he is done with IHA’s shirts.
BTW, I don’t usually use photos in my blog with other people in the background because I think you should always have someone’s permission before posting their picture online, but don’t you think it was convenient of IHA to take a photo where everyone’s face is covered?
Oh, and also, I started spinning my Freckle Face Fibers BFL in Peaseblossom and it is a total dream to spin! It just flows through my fingers like water and I love it!
Have a great evening and please let the sun come out tomorrow!
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I was going to start this by writing, “A long, long, long time ago when I worked at the lys,” but then I realized it wasn’t so long ago, it was just last spring! So, last spring when I worked at the lys, I had a favorite display garment to wear on chilly days. It was the Debbie Bliss Cathay Shrug that looks like this:
I never made one for myself because I could not get myself to spend the money on the pattern book and the yarn. I can’t remember how much exactly, but at the time with sale prices and/or employee discounts, I think the lowest combined price for both would have been $66.00. Recently, I found that the pattern is free online and some of the yarn colors are deeply discounted. I bought a bag of 10 balls for $35.00 (at Little Knits) in a nice pretty spring green color:
So with pattern and yarn at half the price as last spring, I cast on for the shrug. I knit through a ball and decided that my tension just sucked! The yarn is so soft and smooth, I think I was just knitting too fast and rowing out all over the place. I ripped and cast on again. This time I was going to combine knit (ie, wrap backward on purl rows and knit through the back loop on knit rows). This was better, but I still would not have worn it. I just can’t knit cottony yarn in stockinette stitch! This shrug is not meant to be for me.
I’ve finished a couple of projects recently. As you know, my TYC is done, and I also just finished my Boomerang Socks. All of a sudden, I’m without a knitting project. Not good. After way too much time on Ravelry and a big search through all my knitting books/patterns, I think I have a found a sweater for my Cathay!. I have just started swatching, but I think I am going to make Premeire Butterfly Lace Cropped Cardigan by Classic Elite. Here is the pattern photo:
It is a very simple lace pattern; easily memorized and without large expanses of stockinette to row out on me. I can’t wait to start!
I also purchased a roving on Etsy from Freckle Face Fibers for my next spinning project. It is called Peaseblossom and it is 100% Bluefaced Leicester. It is so soft! It arrived in a braid like this:
Then I unbraided it like this:
And I discovered that it was not variegated like I thought, but it was actually 3 sections of color like this:
I was very surprised that it was just the 3 sections of color, but after adjusting to this 3 section stripy-iness, I think I am going to split the roving into 3 or 4 sections lengthwise and then Navajo ply to end up with a yarn that stripes. I think that will be fun and pretty! And if I change my mind, I can split the roving to make the yarn more variegated. The 3 section dyeing actually gives me more options!
Apparently, when I make rovings into “Braids,” they are actually “Chains.” (I searched on this in the Ravelry forums yesterday and found a lot of posts. Apparently, a lot of people are confused by the difference.) I make roving chains by starting with a loop and pulling other loops through like finger crocheting. Chaining this roving would have shown the 3 distinct color sections. I’m not sure how the braiding starts but I guess I will play around with it as it makes the roving look pretty too. So, lesson learned — be sure to check if roving is braided or chained before assuming what it looks like undone.
Anyway, did I say that this fiber is really, really, really soft though? I bought it because I like the colors and because I want to try spinning some BFL. I hope I have time to start today! Today, where I have to work on 3 class lessons, start my new spring sweater, do laundry, do a little at-home-project for work, pack up some Etsy orders to mail, clean the kitchen, come up with a dinner idea, and take care of 2 sick children? Also, I really want to do some dyeing as I have not had a dyeing day yet this week. Hummm…. I better get moving!
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Posted by: Tamara in life
1.) Most importantly – cooking dinner. See this cold oven? Not a good sign for timely dinner progression.
2.) Organizing my circular needles. This is really shameful. Everytime I go to close my needle case they ooze out the top. No self respecting knitter should be in this kind of situation.
3.) Prepping my fiber for tomorrow’s Etsy photoshoot. The sun is not out now, but it will be tomorrow and I can’t waste that valuable good light!
4.) Doing dishes and cleaning the counter. I’m going to make this photo very tiny because it is truly embarrassing. Seriously though, if I just put my dish gloves and apron on, I could have this sink shined in 3.56 seconds.
5.) Putting away the Easter stuff. Now seriously, we don’t need any extra stuff hanging around, do we?
6.) Working on my Ed2Go PHP and MySQL class. Yeah, I don’t know what that all means either, that’s why I should be working on it!
7.) Delivering the tail end of the Girl Scout cookies. Um, yeah… me? procrastinate much?
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