December 16, 2008

So, the skein in the skein swap was received, and received well (YAY!) so I can post pictures now!

I LOVE this yarn- it was South African Fine in the colorway Burning Bush that I purchased from Spunky Eclectic:

I was sad to see it go, but last NIGHT, I got some of the most beautiful rovings I've ever seen. I am officially a HUGE fan of the Yarn Wench, who is does the most genius color combinations I've ever seen. It's like she knows what I need in my heart and she gives it to me VIA MERINO AND FALKLAND WOOL!

I'll take pics at some point, but one colorway is already on the bobbin. Squeee.

December 13, 2008

Where did the word "meme" come from, anyway. It makes me uncomfortable in a way that I can't really explain.

I've never been one to follow or participate in memes, even when tagged. I always want to, I just never do. But today I'm breaking with tradition due to the spectacularly unique nature of this day (and that's also the excuse I'm using to explain away the fact that I was not actually tagged in this meme, I just stumbled upon it and decided to post it here.)

The reason why this day is so spectacularly unique is because it is the second weekend day in the history of my relationship with Ken (2.5 years) that I have had entirely to myself. Due to the horrible ice storm that appears to have affected every New England town except ours (seriously, we got a bit of rain) Ken's mom and my mom have both experienced horrible trees-falling-down-and-taking-out-their-phones/cable/internet (Ken's mom) -or-the-above-plus-electricity-and-heat (my mom) situations at their houses. As such, dear Ken, the man who I love so much for his sense of duty, honor and responsibility, got up at the ungodly hour of 8 this morning to drive to his mom's house to take care of all the downed branches (and one vacated eagle's nest!) for her. My mother actually hired this kid she knows to come over yesterday and deal with everything before I even knew anything had happened, so now all she has to deal with is just a lack of electricity and heat for several days (oh, is that all!) so she will be coming over later today to take a shower and fill about 30 gallon jugs of water for her horse, and pay some bills online.

Aside from that visit, to which I am certainly looking forward, I have had THIS ENTIRE MORNING TO MYSELF! Now, I work from home half the time, so having the house to myself is no special thing, however I AM NOT WORKING. So I made myself some coffee and toast, put on some really excellent music, and have spent the morning updating some Rav projects, and just in general surfing around on knitterly sites, reading updates and whatnot that I never ever ever get to do.

Which is how I found this little game a blogger named Not An Artist had posted. (I'm sure that's not her real name- I found her because I plan to knit her adorable infant mittens from Knitty, her name is Michelle Hotchin.) Anyway, she posted this and I'm stealing it from her.

The rules of the game get posted at the beginning. Each player answers the questions about themselves. At the end of the post, the player then tags 5-6 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know they’ve been tagged and asking them to read your blog.

Let the person who tagged you know when you’ve posted your answer.

1) What was I doing 10 years ago?

I was 19, midway through my Sophomore year of college at UNH, about to move from the dreaded Stoke Hall into the lovely and wonderful Fairchild where my friends were. I was thinking about running for Musical Director of my a cappella group next year (a position that was one of the greatest things I've ever done and also led to one of the worst nights of my life, but crap happens and I don't regret a minute of it.) I had not quite yet fallen madly in love with The Boy To Whom I Would Give My Precious Flower (and who, as friendly as we are today, seriously makes me wonder what I was thinking!) I was about to, though. Fall in love. That was a good and deliciously dramatic time with a very specific soundtrack (Indigo Girls, Jump Little Children, the Beatles, Kenny Rogers, and Sarah McLaughlin)... I was just about to start smoking (also a good time, GOD I miss smoking!), I had short hair and my friends and I spent a lot of time quoting the Spice Girls movie (in an ironic way, of course- but we still genuinely loved the ridiculousness of it all.) I was 2 months from entering my 20's which would prove to be an extremely difficult decade for me.

College was an amazing time filled with wonder and possibility. I was very, very happy then and haven't been nearly as happy since until recently, and I feel I am on a Happiness UpSwing. Finally.

2) What are 5 things on my to-do list for today (not in any particular order):

  • Go to Trader Joe's and buy a shitload of white and dark chocolate chips
  • Make a shitload of white and dark chocolate peppermint bark for a party and workplace cookie swap
  • Clean the bathroom before my mom gets here
  • Spin and knit (that's two! I'm a cheater!)
  • Turn the music up in the kitchen and dance around, singing at the top of my lungs, totally relishing being alone! As Sark would say, YES!

3) Snacks I enjoy:

  • Crackers & Cheese, in many variations
  • Chips & Salsa (or nachos, which in my mind actually belong to the Crackers & Cheese category)
  • Edamame
  • Veggies & Dip made from Lipton Veggie Soup mix and sour cream, which we only really make on special occasions.

4) Things I would do if I were a billionaire:

I'd give my mom, family, Ken's family and friends LOTS of money. I'd pay off this house and either expand onto it, or buy another one in another town. I'd break Ken down to tell me whatever it was he wanted, and I'd make it happen for him. Even if that meant Thanksgiving every day. I'd get a small apartment in the Back Bay and buy a lakehouse somewhere in NH or Vermont, and I'd get my furniture at Mohr & McPherson, C&B and places I've still never heard of. Just really excellent furniture. With character. I'd have a whole staff of people to clean the homes I'd have and I'd pay them extraordinarily well out of a deep sense of guilt. I'd go on an EXTENSIVE traveling tour through Europe and Asia. I'd do whatever it takes to allow my dear cousin the trip to Italy she so desperately wants to take with her mother. I'd visit that cousin a hell of a lot more often in Seattle, along with my sister in Los Angeles and the Bio-Dad in Ireland. I'd gather a big wishlist of charities and give a lot of money and time to them. Um, I'd totally quit my job (obvi) and get a big isolated, soundproof studio with wheels, dyeing supplies, a pottery wheel and kiln and any crafty supply that struck my fancy. Part of this studio would be a yarn/fiber shop with too many awesome details to go into right now. I'd go back and work at Camp Huckins for another summer or two as the Craft Shop Director. I'd hire a personal trainer and top notch chiropractor to force me to do whatever it takes to make my back better. I'd finally get my big boobies reducted. I'd go back to school and finally get my degree, but probably in something totally frivolous and fun. And I'd get an English Bulldog. And a Boston Terrier. And a Boxer. And an English Mastiff.

5) Places I have lived:

Beverly Hills, CA
Rancho Palos Verdes, CA
Pelham, NH
Durham, NH
Newmarket, NH
Boulder, CO
Missoula, MT
Wakefield, NH
Freedom, NH
Brookline, MA
Wilmington, MA

7) 5 peeps I wanna know more about:

Jenny (the other one)

December 11, 2008

Christmas crafts and skein swaps. Basically just a lot of alliteration.

Have you been to Starbucks lately? Have you seen their awesome yarn wreaths? I'm not going to post a picture of it, because I don't have an original one, but if you Google "Starbucks wreath" you'll find several pictures of it.

So, my friend Crystal and I decided to get together last weekend and do a craft, and I thought it would be fun to recreate the wreaths. I didn't, unfortunately, get a picture of hers which was GORGEOUS, but here's the one I made:

The colors are a lot softer and prettier in real life. I love it. It took longer than I thought it would, but it's a GREAT craft. Smaller ones would be fun to make with kids, as long as they were old enough to handle winding the yarn, which can require a bit of dexterity.

The craft also provides ample opportunity for "balls" jokes. And sometimes opportunity for "ample balls" jokes.

Meanwhile, I'm doing a skein swap on Rav with a wonderful spinner/dyer named Kristin, aka AllSpunUp. The yarn I spun her is drying and will most likely be sent out today. I can't post pictures until she receives it, on the off chance she stumbles onto this blog. However, I CAN post pictures of the gorgeous skein she sent me!

I love, love, love the colors and it is AMAZINGLY soft. I mean, SOFT.

I'm really excited about the skein I'm sending her in return. To be honest, I think it's the best skein I've spun so far, and I'm totally in love with it and frankly, completely bummed to be parting with it. :) However, I really wanted to send something where I really tried my best, so at the same time, I wouldn't send her anything BUT this skein, BECAUSE it's the best one I've done. I REALLY hope she likes it!

I'll post pics once she receives it so I can have a record of my best skein ever, LOL.

Aaaand that's about it on the dafty crafty front.

December 2, 2008

So first I took this:

(that pinkish one on the bottom there- purchased at The Gathering)

And spun it into this:

(spun long draw woolen, then navajo plied!)

And then, over Thanksgiving, I knit it into this:

(colors not so great on this picture, and the pattern gets lost in the yarn, but whatevs 'cause I loves it)

After that, I took this:

(gorgeously soft Alpaca purchased at Rhinebeck)

And spun it, single ply, into this:



Now I'm spinning this:

So that gray Alpaca- the curly, prewashed single. As insane as that looks, I could have swum in a pool of unwashed single like that and drowned in it, and been a happy, happy woman. If I wasn't so eager to begin knitting a manly cowl for KEN, WHO ACTUALLY WANTS SOMETHING I SPUN AND KNIT (will wonders never cease...) I would have just left it all active and curly like that and just loved it up.

A dumping of the bowl

Picture a bowl somewhere in your gut that collects all those little niggling experiences that just kind of keep poking you when something is just not quite right in your life. You inadvertently insult someone and don't get a chance to make it right. You have a fight with your Sig O which doesn't get QUITE resolved enough. You make a little mistake at work and disappoint your boss, without getting that eventual "hey, it's cool" pardon. In these situations you move on with your life, but the contents of the bowl keep rising up, sometimes with such subtlety that you don't recognize it's even the bowl at all, but it's unsettling just the same.

That bowl lately just seems a bit fuller than usual, and I'm not sure if it's Mercury in retrograde or just bad luck, but there's one issue in particular that I simply can't do anything about at this point, and which honestly is not even a big enough issue to warrant such persistence, so I'm using this blog to dump the bowl.

Briefly- I manage projects at work. I am a project manager. As the project manager, I do not do all of the parts of the job- I interface with the client, I plan out how the project is going to go, I work on the financial aspects of it, I write the technical spec, and make any random decisions that need to be made. I also rely on two other people at my office to do their parts as well. One to write the code, one to QA the code. We, as a company, have put certain processes in place to ensure that the client never sees the finished project until it is FINISHED, and has been checked to make sure it works and hasn't broken any other parts of their system.

In one recent project the person who was in charge of writing the code decided suddenly and without explanation on Wednesday to bypass the multiple steps in the process wherein we do all our checks to ensure that the project actually works and is not breaking any other parts of the system, and he just pushed the code live. Right then and there. With the holiday, I didn't notice until Friday. I asked him to remove it and go through the process and he argued with me for a half hour. It was a conversation beyond ridiculous, almost laughable, both because of how he was reacting and also because if this was noticed by the client, it would be MY ass. Which I told said code pusher, who didn't seem to think that would be an issue worthy of his attention or acknowledgement. With much arguing, he finally pulled the code and put it in the right place. My boss was aware of the situation and called me to tell me I handled it well.

Monday morning I noticed that on Friday night he had written some VERY snarky (and NOT in the good way) comments on a private (but visible to all coworkers) part of our system, and was clearly trying to project a sense of guilt and utter incompetency on my part with these comments. I kinda blew up about it and contacted him. And... well, I kinda blew up about it. Seemingly out of nowhere, since it had been 2 days since he'd written his comments, but it was just then that I had seen them.

We all have lessons we need to learn in life. Mine are vast and varied and I'm certainly not aware of them all, but those I am aware of include two things in particular that apply here. The first is that I have a tendency to assume that there's a LOT about a situation I'm not privy to so I will reserve judgment or very strong opinion on it. This can be a good thing in a lot of situations, but in other situations it can be read a bit closer to "lack of backbone." Because of this assumption that I don't have all of the information, I can never stand strong behind something because I can never believe without a doubt that I am right.

There are a few exceptions to this, of course. The issue of gay marriage is one (it's simply a civil rights issue- denying people of a certain classification the same rights as other people), and this issue was another. I have no doubt that I'm right on this, which brings me to the second issue I have historically had, which is standing up for what I believe in. However, because the reason for this is that there is always doubt entwined in my beliefs, in this case that doubt was gone so I felt able to stand up for myself.

I told my coworker that his attitude was totally uncalled for and that he needed to quit bitching about having to do extra work that he created for himself by not doing it right in the first place, and that I was completely within my rights to expect that he'd not put me in the shitty position he put me in, and just do his job. All that is fine, but it was so out of the blue, looking back on it now it just reads like I was baiting him- trying to get him into another argument for the sake of arguing.

Sooo now, my boss who is aware of all of this, is pissed at me for engaging my coworker again on it, and has asked me to leave it until he and my coworker's boss can work it out.

My problem is that I can't shake the crappy feeling I've gotten from starting this back up. I look up to my boss and I don't like that I've pissed him off. I can see I made it worse.

Having said that, I didn't make it THAT much worse, and damn it, this was a big deal and I have every reason to be upset about it, and to convey that to my coworker and ask that he stop being such a bitch in such a public way about it. Honestly, what I did- stepping about three toes out of line (meanwhile everything but those three toes is entirely IN line) comes nowhere close to how my coworker has acted on this (not to mention myriad other situations wherein he has reacted COMPLETELY inappropriately- he can be disturbingly insubordinate and condescending at times.)

So, here's the crux of my situation. Yeah, fine, I was a bit hasty in yesterday's admonishment. And yeah, it irritated my boss. Overall, though, I'm in a perfectly fine place. I need to shed this icky, stereotypically-girly feeling of needing validation from my boss (specifically something along the lines of "hey, we all blow up sometimes, and you're totally in the right anyway, so don't worry about it!") and just buck up and move on. Since yesterday this situation has just kept catching me in the gut, to the point where I'm wondering if there's something else that's bothering me and I'm just assuming it's this. Whatever it is, though, I needed to take this situation here and write it out to get rid of it. Because, seriously, the mistake I made is so minor.

So that's what I'm doing. Emptying the bowl. Fuck it, I really didn't do anything wrong.

Aside from this, I wanted to keep this to myself until I had some good news on it- but I've recently had a medical scare, but I received some test results this morning (actually, while in the process of writing this) and it has shaken out to be fine so far. I don't want to get into it here, suffice it to say things are looking very good and I have a large chance of being perfectly fine. And yeah, it doesn't take a genius to think that perhaps one had to do with the other and vice versa.

Hopefully later today I'll post pictures of the most kickass hat knit from my most kickass handspun yet. It's so pretty you'll want to put on a frilly dress and sit down to an ice cream sundae.

November 23, 2008

I like this picture- it's of a bobbin of singles I spun longdraw, more or less hopefully maybe evenly from some superwash BFL I got at the Gathering from the Woolen Rabbit. I finished it this morning, took a walk, had some lunch, saw a freaky picture on PostSecret which now has me a bit queasy, and soon I'll sit down and try very, very hard not to overply it, since I plan on Navajo plying this bitch into hopefully enough yardage for a pair of socks. I was going to 3ply it from three separate bobbins that I very carefully weighed out on my meth-lab digital scale, but I saw a really pretty pair of socks that had been knit from navajo plied yarn and made it all pretty and stripey and decided I needed to do that, so that's what I'm doing.

Oh yeah, the picture:

I never like the photos I take. I need to take a class or something. But this one I like.

Speaking of bad photos, here are the pictures of the mittens I made from the Spunky Eclectic shetland I navajo plied (and hopelessly OVERplied at the Gathering), which I knit with a couple ounces of MVFF Cormo (we think) I spun up last Sunday. They have made warm, lovely mittens that have made me very, very happy.

The end.

November 9, 2008

PICTURES OF STUFF! (seriously, get ready)

It's Sunday afternoon. I have an entire house to clean.

Okay, let's start!

I've been busy this past month...

But later for that. First things first, here we have pictures from a few weeks ago, when Ken, my mom and I went to go see MY president, Barack Obama, in Londonderry, NH.

I have too many words. Suffice it to say I am proud, proud, proud of my country, and for the first time since I remember I believe in my newly elected leader. A lot. And DAMN is he one fine elected leader!

This is a fiber and crafty-like blog, though, so let's move on.

But YES WE CAN! Okay, for real this time, moving on. :D

Socks for Betsey's birthday!

I knit these from Araucania Ranco Solid, the pattern is Twinkle, Twinkle pattern from Laurie Lee.

Martha's Vineyard Fiber Farm had it's annual Fall Shearing! This is the shearing which will lead to my first spinner's share of cormo and mohair!

Here are a bunch of goats waiting to be separated from their fleeces.

A sheep!

A goat!

Susan with a newly shorn kid. Little guy's like "Aww, come ON, man! I'm COLD now! Lemme go, I'm hungry!"

Here are a few shots from when Ken and I went apple picking at Smolak Farms in Andover. North Andover? Um, yes. North Andover. I think.

A view across the parking lot, across the pond to their tree farm and, more impressively, the 80 solar panels they have. Ken was super excited to see those. He dreams of running our entire lives off of solar panels, and that's one of the many reasons why I love him. :)

Me, literally stuffing my face. :)

We went a bit late in the season, so we walked around for 20 minutes before we finally found a place where there were actual apples on the trees. In the span of that 20 minutes, we saw one.

Discouraging at the time, but makes for a pretty nice picture.

Here's a skein of, um, something? I got the fiber at Webs, it was unmarked and had been dyed by someone there. That's really all of the information I have, but I spun 3 thicker-than-I-thought singles and plied them together to create this, with which I am delighted.

Ooh! Ooh! Okay, now we get to the really good stuff! Rhinebeck and The Gathering!

Rhinebeck is like, the mothership calling us all home. And you know it.

I went with my knitterly friends Ariel and Sarah. We missed Jess very much, who couldn't make it last minute because of a family emergency, but she will without a doubt be there next year, and she will love it.

Sarah, Ariel and I friggety freezing at the Rav party

Here are Logan and Harry, sons to Patrick, beloved of ShepherdSusie of MVFF. The game was, take off your glasses and shake your head as hard as you possibly can while someone takes a picture of you mid mouth-waddle



We had fun. Then later Susan told me that someone asked the boys who they'd been talking to and they said "Some ladies" which somehow made me feel elderly, lol.

And now for the things I spent way too much of my hard earned money on.

SOCKSTHATROCK DAMMIT!!! IT WAS THERE! THIS WHOLE EFFING AREA OF STR! We stood in a 45 minute line and loved every damn second of it. We emerged, battle scarred and exhausted, but with a pretty tidy little haul.

Now, I need to say here that this place was so riotous that I really have no idea what I bought or where, so please forgive the utter absence of details here.

I also got some very autumnal sock yarn, with which I made some Halloween socks. I was wearing them when I was finally taking all these pictures and completely forgot to photograph them. Doh.

In addition to the above, I scored 3 bottles of wine and some yummy cheese, and some maple cotton candy. DUDE. YUM.

The Gathering, is a weekend spinning workshop event hosted by the Northeast Handspinner's Association, of which I am a member. It happens every other year in one of the New England states or New York, depending on whose turn it is. This year it happened to be held in a hotel about 12 minutes from my house. I took two classes, Spinning Sock Yarn with the amazing Abby Franquemont, and Wheel Plying Techniques with the equally wonderful Jenny Bakriges.

My class with Abby was a full day thing on Saturday, and the Plying class was just for 3 hours this morning, so I have much more to show from Abby's class. But boy, did I learn a lot!

Here's some of what I produced, given the LA LA AWESOME fiber Abby provided for us for FREE, as it was donated to her by Louet and Spunky Eclectic. Both of whom, by the way, make some pretty effing amazing fiber.

At the top here, I honestly can't remember what this was. The pink is Louet 80% Merino, 20% silk. I actually have some of this in a gorgeous olive and I can't wait to use it now. It's a DREAM to spin. I spun both using a short forward draw and plied them pretty tightly. The blue and purple are a 2ply yarn and the pink is 3 ply.

The white was Louet's Organic Merino Top. This picture won't do it justice, but I mean this- this is the most wonderful fiber I've ever been in contact with. Apparently, Louet has decided to discontinue it. If it sounds interesting to you (and I promise, it's more than interesting), please talk to your local fiber shop and ask them to request that Louet continue making it. Here I used a long draw, which was the first time I had done that, so it was pretty thick and thin, but oh man it was like... what was it like? Okay, it was like you know how when you're making rice krispies treats and you get to that point where the butter and marshmallows are all melted together, and the color and texture combine to provide just this ridiculously creamy, satisfying experience? That's what long draw with Louet Organic Merino Top is like. So I spun up a couple singles and plied them together and I'm just wishing I had several pounds of it for a big, thick, soft, chunky, butter-and-marshmallow sweater.

We got 2 oz of Shetland from Spunky Eclectic, mine was in the Rocky Mountain High colorway. I spun those singles long draw and then Navajo plied them together, and was literally newly delighted with every inch that came together. It was a very exciting 15 minutes! There really isn't a lot of this, but I want to try to do SOMETHING with it. Maybe I'll have enough for mitts?

Speaking of Spunky Eclectic, I had bought a couple of Corriedale batts from her in a gorgeous Aquamarine colorway, and brought two very full bobbins of singles to the Gathering with me. Last night at the spin in, while we listened to some AMAZING live traditional Irish folk music played by three immensely talented teenagers, I plied it up into this.

This morning I learned some really excellent tips for plying, and was able to ply together some older singles I had, which I thought I'd never be able to find anything good for. I plied them together as practice, but fell in love with the yarn they produced. The color doesn't QUITE show up here, but I have to find something to do with this.

And hey! I went shopping, too!

From A Touch of Twist:

Four ounces of the most brilliantly dyed silk I've ever seen, plus some hankies with which to... do... something?

Two ounces each of the following colors of 100% tencel (colors REALLY did not make it here to this screen)

A bobbin, and some very pretty merino top which, once again, really looks nothing like its picture :)

From Foxfire Fiber and Designs I got some intensely soft Cormo & Silk Roving, 2 oz in Olive and 4 oz in just plain old white, which, I promise, will not always be plain old white:

And finally (FINALLY!) from the Woolen Rabbit, 100% Superwash BFL, 4oz in each colorway