February 28, 2009

The right side of 30

Well, it happened.

I'm 30. I will never be in my 20s again.

Though, I have to say, while I was feeling slightly panicked in the days leading up to my birthday, when the day actually hit I not only felt relieved, but actually a little empowered. This is probably due to the fact that I've always been at least 13 years younger than ANYONE in my family, and therefore, even in my late 20's, have never truly been taken seriously (Mom, I'm not talking about you- you have taken me seriously since I could walk and for that I am incredibly grateful), but once I hit 30 I guess I felt a bit more valid. I told that to my friend Betsey when we were at the Paradise for a Sara Bareilles concert the night before and she yelled back "What?!? You feel PHALLIC??!?" So, of course realizing that feeling phallic is probably more awesome than feeling valid, I went with that. But inside I really meant "valid."

So, it turns out I am actually incredibly happy to be 30.

Something besides validity and empowerment that comes with being 30 is apparently a massive and very appreciated increase in knit speed! My mother, god bless her newly fiber-loving soul, bought me the absolute HAPPIEST skein of sock yarn on earth and I started knitting with it on Monday. I finished my first sock FRIDAY MORNING. WHAT?!?

Mom also got me a Spindolyn. It is SO COOL! It's a spindle, but not a DROP spindle. It sits in that base there on the bottom and spins freely, and you draft upwards, then wind it on. It's like learning how to spin all over again, but it's just SO COOL!

Speaking of my mom, she's prolly gonna kill me for this, but these are the absolute most adorable pictures of her I've ever seen. Unfortunately, they were taken by me, so they are incredibly blurry because I have NO talent for photography, but she is just SO EXCITED about the hat and scarf she knit with her own handspun.

I told her she should post that second picture on her blog and she said "Well, but, do you think people will think I actually look like that? Or will it be clear that I'm making a face?" So I just want to make it very clear that she was making a face.

Meanwhile, I've been working for a while on the Socks That Rock kit that I got at Rhinebeck. For some reason, I'm spinning this INCREDIBLY slowly, but the other night I was working on it and realized that what was on the bobbin really kind of looked like a sunrise. I tried to capture it, not sure it worked, but you can kind of see what I'm talking about:

I finished that bobbin last night and instead of starting on the 3rd and final bobbin, I decided to do something totally different, so I whipped out some Spunky Eclectic Superwash Corrie in her "Autumn" colorway, and thought I'd try to spin a thick and thin single, then ply it with thread, something I've always wanted to do. What I discovered, to my absolute SHOCK, was that for the first time ever, I was able to spin a consistent, thick single! So I'm not quite sure how I'll ply this up, but I'm just incredibly AMAZED at this newfound ability, and I'm attributing it entirely to my turning 30.

Something else I've been wanting to try is the Andean plying method. I got this amazing Bosworth spindle for Christmas and immediately started spinning up some Merino/Silk blend that I got from A Touch of Twist at the Gathering. I reached a pretty full cop so I decided to try Rosemaryknits' method of winding the single on a book with a popsicle stick to create a loose enough bracelet to ply from. I was scared, envisioning all sorts of evil tangling happening, but was comforted by her statement that this has worked 100% of the time for her, and I was thrilled with how easy it was!

So first you take the single and you wind it, you wind it. Onto a book with a popsicle stick stuck in it. You have to wind it on in the Andean Plying way, which I could never describe but know how to do (there are a million and one tutorials on the web for this, if you're actually interested.)

Then I took it off the book (a somewhat harrowing process, admittedly)...

...threw it on my wrist, plied it up against itself (not with enough twist, I'm afraid), and voila, my first mini skein:

Easy as peanut butter and jelly. :)

That's all the fibery news that's fit to post, however I will briefly recount the adventures of the vacation Ken and I were so looking forward to.

So the plan was to wake up Monday morning, get to the airport, fly to San Francisco, go on a wine tour, rent a car, explore the California coast on the way down to Los Angeles, stay with my sister for a few days, meet up with some old friends, visit some family, then fly back.

We got as far as waking up Monday morning.

Ken contracted some VIOLENT stomach bug that morning, and instead of going to the airport we canceled our trip and went to the hospital, where the poor guy was forced into a flowery hospital gown and made to lie in a bed at least a foot and a half too short for him, with a pink bucket by his side and an IV in his arm which pumped a ridiculous amount of fluids back into his body. He was given some very powerful drugs and felt a LOT better by the next day, but we were unable to go on our vacation.

We WERE, however, able to reschedule the vacation, exactly the same, but staying at one cheaper hotel and one better hotel, we're getting an extra day in San Francisco and the new dates cut down on our car rental price by about $150. We leave tomorrow morning. So help me god, if anything stands in the way of us and this vacation, I will commit murder. I will. Or at least kick something really hard.

I have not been happy with the precedent set regarding vacations and hospitals, what with our accident last August on the way up to our lake house rental, and now Ken's evil 24 hour belly bug. Though, I will say that I am one to try very hard to look on the bright side and I am grateful for several things. 1. He started feeling sick at 3am, and not 10 am, when we'd been on the plane for an hour. 2. This OBVIOUSLY happened because of some horrible accident that would have occurred had we actually made the trip. I don't know, maybe our car would have gone off a cliff to rest forever by that car Kerouac mentions in Big Sur which is apparently still there, resulting in I don't know how much money lost in paying back the rental company, not to mention insurance rate hikes for bad driving, not to mention a horrible, fiery death.

So now, we're out a few more hundred dollars in cancellation fees, but we're alive and healthy. Hopefully we'll be that way tomorrow on the plane, too. :)

February 10, 2009

My mom has a knit blog! Well, actually, it's really more of a spin blog. I gave her a spindle for Christmas and unleashed a MONSTER inside of her. A FIBER-HUNGRY MONSTER. Like daughter, like mother! Anyway, I'm loving her blog because she's a funny writer and says things like "I mean, this may need to be a short scarf. Maybe the first person to ever create a scarf had the same problem, and she said to her equally ancient husband-master, 'Shit, this thing is scarfing up all my yarn!' And so she named it 'Scarf.'"

Anyway, as of yet I'm the only person who comments, and so, in true only-child fashion, I'm taking that to mean that I'm her only reader, and I can treat her comments section like a personal email to her, but check it out if you have some time. The woman is DETAILED, so be warned. :)

Sooo in the life of me, lately I've been wondering if I'm pregnant. Not because I think I might be pregnant, but more because there has been this TOTALLY unprecedented, unexplained need to clean the house. I don't know what is going on, it's kind of ridiculous. I've also been busy on the fiber front too.

What? You say you want to see what I've been up to? WELL, OKAY!

So, this I finished in like, early January. It's been a while. It's a cowl for Ken to wear when he's out shoveling the driveway. Not only does he actually WEAR it, but he LOVES it. That makes me feel special. :) He made it very clear that the only way I was allowed to post pictures of it was by not including his face. Ummm, let's not tell him about the other times I've shown his face... kthanks!

This was knit out of the single that I spun from the gorgeous gray alpaca that Sarah of Sarahland also bought (her first unspun fiber! I WILL CONVERT YOU AAALLLLLLL!) I loved the fiber, loved the yarn, but when it knit up I actually found it to be a teensy bit scratchy. I think there are guard hairs in it. I've only ever heard of these irritating little hairs so I'm not totally sure, but I think that's what it was. Ken doesn't seem to notice it, though. It must be because of his very manly and already roughened-up neck.

For this next skein (see below), I bought the fiber from my new favorite dyer. Seriously, she's FRICKIN' AMAZING. So amazing that I'm not going to tell you who she is so that she doesn't get any more customers so that I can always be assured that there will be enough of her stuff for me. (okayfinehernameisLynnSIGH)

This is Falkland in a colorway called "Unfurl" and it is pure fibery SEX:



So this is what I'm currently knitting with it- a pair of elbow length fingerless mitts with an alternating cable down the middle. I have one completed and one just a few inches in.

Now, these I've already finished and worn and they are currently being washed, so I only have this picture from weeks ago, but ladies and gentlemen, I give you... MALABRIGO SOCK!

The yarn is a duh-ream and I loved knitting with it. Now, I can't tell you why this is, but I have this near-paranoid, um, paranoia when I'm knitting socks that I'm going to run out of yarn. However, I simply like to knit one at a time top down, so I always tend to make the legs of my socks SUPER short. It's really dumb, especially in this case. I wore them and they started all twisting around my foot just a little bit. It's entirely the fault of the knitter, and not the yarn, but it's annoying nonetheless. I don't know what I'm thinking, I have half the ball left over (which will soon be mittens for a friend's girlfriend, actually) and I absolutely would have been able to make them both INCHES AND INCHES longer, but no. It's like I assume that the sock yarn companies are like "let's just give them enough to make not quite long enough socks! Muahahaha!" Come on, Jenny, these people are KNITTERS, and by extension inherently trustable to provide me with enough yarn for a lovely, long pair of socks! Whatever. I think I've finally learned my lesson. I'm sure my next socks will be gloriously longer. Well, but actually, my next socks will be out of handspun yarn, so... hopefully I've made enough!

Speaking of said handspun yarn, this is a second bout of 4 ounces I got from the aforementioned not-to-be-mentioned (okayitsawesomeLynnagain) kick ass dyer, this time Merino in a colorway called Plum Honey:

You know, it's entirely possible, for those who care, that the Unfurl is Merino and the Plum Honey is Falkland. I simply am not sure at this very moment.

So, I do have a bit of really bizarre and exciting-to-me news. In early January, or, actually, late December, my favorite high school English teacher, who was also our drama coach and who I have seen exactly once since 1997, called me up and told me that the school was doing musicals now (oh, how I wanted to do musicals when I was 16! A feeling which has, admittedly, waned some as the years have gone on) and would I like to be the musical director? They were in need of one and he thought I'd just be perfect for it. How this guy even remembered me is totally beyond, but I told him that, as flattered as I was, I couldn't possibly. I work a full time job in Boston (well, I DO work from home a couple days a week) and I have absolutely no experience with anything even remotely like this (well, I WAS a music major in college and I DID direct my college a cappella group for 2 years) but I seriously just am so totally unqualified, I couldn't even play the piano in rehearsals, that thank you so much for thinking of me, but I didn't think so. He said "Well, why don't I get your email address and email you the details. I understand it's a long shot, but there's no harm in it."

I agreed, said goodbye and hung up, and went back to work. When Ken came home I found myself talking about it, and then thought "why am I talking about this like it's a possibility? There's no way I could ever do this," so I stopped talking about it, and then eventually forgot about it.

About a week later Murph emailed me with the details and for whatever reason I COULD NOT GET IT OUT OF MY HEAD! He said they could work with my schedule and provide a piano player, and the band teacher would take care of the band kids. I still had this idea in my head that I was totally under qualified for it, but you know how every so often someone presents you with an opportunity, and you realize that it's the very fact that you're scared of it that means you HAVE to do it? That's what this was like. The best experience of my life came about the same way. Plus, I don't do anything besides work, spin, knit and hang out on the couch with Ken. This would get me back into a school (a place where I've always had a sneaking suspicion I'd end up again anyway), and very excitingly, back in touch with my favorite teacher from high school (I LOVE this guy. He's surly and brash and very, very funny), working with teenagers, and back in a creative capacity that's very different from where I've been focusing my creativity for years. So I talked to my bosses the next day about the possibility of shifting my schedule just a bit for the next 4 months so I could make rehearsals up in NH (their response was "OMG THATISSOCOOL! OF COURSE!") and I committed to it!

At this point we've had auditions and cast the show, though we haven't started rehearsals quite yet. We haven't gotten the materials yet, so I've been going up to meet with the director (a kid who graduated in 2004! He's a FUNNY kid, I like him) and Murph to work out various details, and also to meet with the cast a bit and do some get-to-know-ya stuff.

I am ridiculously excited about it.

Three other things I'm ridiculously excited about:

1. Upcoming Vacation that will be the Awesomest Vacation In The History Of Vacations
2. Turning THIRTY YEARS OLD in LESS THAN TWO WEEKS. (fewer than two weeks? Yeah, I think so)
3. Ken is out for the evening and that means I get takeout from the Thai place down the street. :)