May 27, 2008

An AMAZING four days off...

I took Friday off, it was Ken's birthday and I just needed a day off. I spent the morning spinning and finished this, my favorite handspun that I've made. It's the first handspun that I actually want to knit with.

It started off as plain white merino top roving, which I dyed with food coloring and then spun up into roughly 4 or 5 ounces of sock-weight-ish yarn. I think. I'm not really sure of the "weight." I should figure that out.

Any suggestions on what to knit with it would be greatly appreciated. I am leaning toward socks, however I'm open to anything. It is about as soft as it can be, I may just keep it looped around my neck, to be honest. I'm kind of in love with it. :)

I also went to my second acupuncture appointment. This was with a different acupuncturist than the first appointment. I didn't like him as much, and what he did (staying away from the problem area- my sciatica- and treating me remotely) didn't help me as much as the first one, which is actually REALLY too bad, since that means I'm going to have to go back to being bare-ass-up on that table while the guy who I could have gone to high school with and who knows my boss sticks needles right into my dimple-butt (as it's affectionately known 'round these parts- I embrace my cellulite, people.) I don't know if you've ever seen my ass, but I assure you it's not my greatest feature. Why couldn't the cute acupuncturist decide that my back will get better if he sticks needles into my ample and luscious bosom or much better yet my sparkling sense of humor? Sigh... Must remember to exfoliate...

So Ken came home from work (what? It's okay if I take his birthday off and he doesn't, right?) and we went to Wally World to pick out a patio set

then out to dinner at The Loft in North Andover, which is famous for it's Lobster Mac and Cheese. Rightly so. Excellent corn bread, too (enter: dimple-butt). Then we went to go see Indiana Jones, which was certainly entertaining. For the first 10 minutes I was aware of how old Harrison Ford is, but after that I kind of let that go and bought it. I definitely recommend it, it's a fun two hours in the theater.

Saturday I went with my knittas to WEBS and then to the Mass Sheep and Wool Festival, and despite a VERY annoyed back I had a ridiculously awesome time. I bought entirely too much loot and couldn't be happier about it. My newly acquired fiber and I had a little photo shoot the next morning on the cedar swing in my back yard, which is my new favorite place.

Two hanks of roving and my gorgeous new Kundert spindle

Let's see that spindle again

8oz of astonishingly beautifully dyed merino which spins up in a way that kind of makes me weak in the knees

Merino/Tencel roving. You can practically feel it from this picture. I bought it because I want to be like Lucy

I was drooling over this skein of naturally dyed sock yarn when the woman who dyed it told me it was half price AND pointed Ariel and I to the woman who makes the dyes. I bought the yarn, then Ariel and I bought the dye kit.

Two ounces each of blonde and brunette Alpaca/Tussah silk roving...

...which will be spun and plied on my new gorgeous cedar Kundert spindle!

Yeah, I really love the spindle. Though, I will say that the hook is a bit fragile. I've dropped the thing a few times (why do you think it's called a "drop spindle," heh) because the single slipped off the hook and then the hook got a little bent. I'm not loving that. Everything else, though, I'm loving. It spins beautifully, and I am so in love with the wood he used. It changes and even glows in the light.

After leaving the sheep and wool festival, we continued with our now-tradition of stopping at this ice cream place/nursery on the way back home. I got a delicious (and HUGE) malt sundae, plus two little 6-packs of Alyssum and a small pot of Rosemary.

Sunday we had Ken's family and my mom over to celebrate his birthday. The new patio set held up beautifully and the steaks were delicious. Then Monday Ken and I celebrated our anniversary (which is technically today) by spending the morning drinking coffee on our swing and coming up with baby names for his brother's unborn son and doping out our plan of defense in case of Zombie or Velociraptor attack. Our plan is very good, but must remain top secret, since there is the remote chance it could be considered offensive by pretty much anyone. But hey, you know, when it comes to life and death situations one can't be too careful and must be willing to go the extra mile, no matter how distasteful that may be. I will say, however, that we both decided that we would be able to shoot each other in the face if the other turned into a Zombie. I feel good knowing that Ken will be able to put his feelings for me aside should I ever decide to try to eat his brains.

For the afternoon we decided to take a drive up to Gloucester to see what we could see, and ended up checking out the ocean for a while, then taking a lovely drive around Rt 127 before stopping for dinner at Tom Shea's in Essex. We ate on their back patio which docks out to the channel so that people can drive their boats to the restaurant. I didn't have my camera with me then, which is too bad because it was beautiful. Their Lobster Pie was really, really amazing, as was their Blue Moon.

Here are some shots of Ken and I in Gloucester, sitting by the sea

Smiling for the camera

Smiling big for the camera

Smiling fake for the camera

It was a lovely day

Plus, when we got back home, Ken gave me a present, a Lazy Kate for my wheel with three new bobbins! Now I can make 3 ply yarns. Muahahahaa.....

As dusk fell we decided to make a fire and end the day back out on the swing. Really, really wonderful day.

May 20, 2008


The Central Park Hoodie has been placed officially On Hold for the following reasons: Noro Socks and Portable Spinning. For these are my two most recent obsessions.

First off, I could not be more psyched about how the Noro sock yarn is knitting up, with one exception. I should have either knit them up on US1s (I'm on 0s) OR, added just a few stitches. They are just a TAD bit snug around that undefined part of the foot that no one thinks about but sock knitters. You know, that point of widest circumference from the bend of your ankle around your heel and back. However, I am willing to make the sacrifice and just pray that it stretches out a bit.

I took the ball of Noro, skeined it, then wound it into a center pull ball, and now I am knitting in 5 row stripes from either end of the skein.

Regarding the portable spinning, I got an interesting comment yesterday from the Stalked-by-Comcast Spinnifer. "Pretty funny you being so excited about 'portable spinning'. Centuries worth of peasants would laugh."

True, true, spinning was a chore for those folks. I mean, Columbus's sails were woven from thread spun on a drop spindle, however that is precisely the reason I love it so much. It's something my ancestors did. Well, my ancestors weren't Spanish and surely didn't help with Columbus's sails, but my ancestors surely did this.

Wait, I just found out that Columbus was Italian, and, as easily as I burn in the sun I do have Italian blood, so that right there is irrefutable PROOF that my ancestors helped with the sails.

So, while my ancestors were spinning Columbus's sails and doing all the very hard work that people in that era did simply to survive from day to day, they were NOT working in an overly air conditioned office spending 40+ hours a week creating mock ups in Excel, trying to avoid soda, remember fish oil and increase their intake of dark green leafies, and having argumentative debates about the perfect web based software applications to support the future of the mystery shopping industry. Good for them, really, because while the certainty of food on my table every day, warmth in my house every night and the assurance that I'm not about to be raped and pillaged by evil, corrupt nobles is a luxury I am eternally grateful to have, the software industry and all the rest of it starts to seem a little pointless after a while.

So, I spin because it puts me in touch with a simpler, more meaningful yet much more difficult time, when the hard-won victories and every day drudgeries that people devoted their lives to actually mattered on a very personal, concrete level. Plus, it's fun, it's calming and it centers my mind.

Having said that, I agree with Spinnifer. Though these peasants, upon seeing the ease with which we live our lives and the ridiculously superficial things we fret over on a day to day basis might actually be closer to irritated than amused that I'd be so excited about the ability to do for fun what they had to do for survival, while in a car that goes WAY faster than horses on the way to a movie theater to watch some film in which the very same peasants were grossly misrepresented by Hollywood production companies who simply didn't bother to do enough research.

(Is it obvious that I have several huge projects I need to start on? Really, my name should be Daft Procrastinator).

So I filled up my spindle (or, possibly, I was just so excited to unwind it that I'm just calling it "filled") and wound the single into a ball. I found this awesome suggestion on Rav about taking a paper towel roll and cutting/taping it to fit snugly over my ball winder, then winding the single onto that. So I've done that and have just started spinning the second spindles-worth. Once that's done I guess I'll just spin up as many singles as I can, then ply them together in some way.

This is what I have so far. It takes SOOO much longer to spin on a spindle, but I still really enjoy it.

And here's the second spindle JUST begun

Oh, squee.

May 11, 2008

So, I've been kind of absent lately, even when I'm present. Sorry for those of you who are desperate for me to post (snarf), and apologies as well to those who see me in person and have to put up with my not-really-theredness and constant-bitching.

Life has its ups and downs, and while the love and friendship arenas of my life are aces right now, for which I am incredibly grateful, currently in the health, job and family departments things are a bit stressful (and often downright painful). Back pain, stressful projects that won't end and take up half the weekend, and an uncle in the hospital. Blech.

However.  Today was Mother's Day, and after a nice brunch I took my mom to the New Hampshire Sheep and Wool Festival and, as Sheep and Wool Festivals are wont to do, it made for a pretty awesome stress-free (if not entirely pain-free) day. I'ma gonna take a few moments right now to listen to some chill Indigo Girls and show off a couple fun things.

So, unfortunately I didn't bring the camera with me, which is too bad, for the cute animals were abundant and I could take no M&M pictures of the day (M&M- Mommy & Me. No matter how old I am or how seldom I refer to her as "Mommy," {that would be never} we will always have M&M days.) Still, though, we had a great time. She was so psyched to see the sheep dog demos, which are always really interesting. I was psyched to see all the yummy yummy fiber!

Speaking of yummy, my first purchase of the day is currently a hotly debated item on Rav. I am personally positive through past experience that I will side with the "deliciously awesome" side of the debate, as opposed to the "horrifyingly awful" side. The question, of course, is "What's it like to knit with Noro sock yarn?" Well, now I can find out for myself!

Hohhh man... love it.

I also bought some lovely roving, whose colors aren't necessarily accurately displayed here, but it is four ounces of Merino gorgeousness, and to go with it I bought a drop spindle. The second I had purchased the drop spindle I started spinning with it. While walking, while sitting, on the drive home (wasn't driving, of course). I don't know why I didn't think of this earlier, I've just never been attracted to the idea of the drop spindle, but I spoke to this wonderful woman there who was spinning on one and immediately knew it was the answer to all my problems.


Speaking of spinning, I picked up two more bobbins for my Minstrel (I had planned on 5 but forgot my damn checkbook so only had enough cash for 2) and I found this antique (according to the woman who sold it to me, of course) print of a wood carving. I absolutely love it. I can't read the name of the artist. Harris Fehnersomething perhaps? It's called "A Difficult Decision" and something about it just spoke to me. Ken, of course, took one look and said, "Heh, you just love it 'cause there's a spinning wheel in it!"

That may be partially true. But only partially.

So that was the wonderful day at the NHSW festival. Very nice.

Meanwhile, I'm knitting the Central Park Hoodie by Heather Lodinsky and I've recently finished the back.

Mmmmm, tweedy, cabley goodness! Wow. What an Ariel thing to say...