Wednesday, November 14, 2007
When I went to her nine months after the boy child was born and said I needed to quit to home and be with my babies, she said, "I'll miss you, but it's the right thing for you and your babies and I support you wholeheartedly." She was right, of course.
Eventually, her own lovely daughter got married and has now had a baby of her own. After borrowing everyone elses babies for many years, Sharan finally has a grand child of her own. His name is Dylan and he is so beautiful.
I have nearly finished his baby sweater, knitted in Dragonfly Fiber Designs Dragonfly Twist yarn in Bell Bottom Blues.
Nothing left but the second button band. I see Sharan for coffee tomorrow morning. Off to buy buttons now.
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
play with is pretty amzing to me. Particularly after having watched and then coached my nearly ten year old daughter. But she really is a mermaid.
Here is friend of boy, roaring with intensity as he runs after the ball. And boy, striving to be first to the ball.
Here is coach and very dear friend Linda and an older son. Note the beautiful handknit hat he wears. Knit from Malabrigio and hand-dyed handspun by me.
An action shot! Other than taking pictures of yarn and other wooly things; this is why I bought my fancy camera. Nice boot, big boy. But how can you not kick well in those fancy red cleats? Good thing our soccer player's paws are still small enough to wear his sister's cast-offs.
Oh, and for you local people, a shot of the fabulous coaching team. Hard to go wrong with these folks in charge. Thanks, guys!
Jerry, Linda, and Mike (the one looking on at the "happy couple"; he's actually Linda's husband:)
Now, onto Fleece School. To back up a wee bit, ever since I began to knit, I knew I would have to learn to spin. Using a nice yarn is one thing, but to learn to make it, now that's skill. Or so I told myself. And it is more fun than anything to spin. And the softness and character of the yarn one creates is not equaled in mass-produced mill-spun yarn. But an interest in spinning led very quickly to curiousity about the source of all this spinning fiber. What qualities are inherent in what type of fiber? What are the best preparations for them? What plant or animal produces them. And sheep, oh what an adorable, sweet animal.
I can't tell you how badly I want sheep. The variability of woll among types pf sheep, or even different animals in the same breed, or even the same herd are fascinating to me. Did you know that the same sheep can grow a fleece that is different from year to year? Sheep and wool shows are obviously a haven for freaks like me. I love to take my fancy camera to the animal barns and visist witht hte sheep and their owners. At SAFF, I met Dan and Virginia of Dan-Dir Farms and their stunning Cormo's and Corriedales. Did you know that Cormo, one of the most coveted wools around, is a cross between Corriedale and Merino breeds. Of course, Cor-MO!
Their fleeces sold out at SAFF. I decided, as I have a serious fleece problem, that I would practice Harlot's
guidelines for fiber fest survival, and walk away. I would come back later, and I if I still wanted a fleece as bad, I would buy it. Despite the fact that I have 8 at the moment, all but one being hand-processed. I stewed over these Cormo fleeces the whole weekend and on Sunday afternoon, i decided I would never see Cormo at this quality and price again, and went back to buy one. They were all GONE. I just want to say that I do not accept this experience as a sign that I have too much fleece, no matter what the lovely husband says.
Back to the subject at hand, if you are not asleep, yet. I leanrned alot from processing Pinhead, a beautiful Romney fleece that I bought back in January from the Pitchfork Ranch. And lusted for more and finer fleeces. Unfortunately, the finer the fleece, the more frustrating it is to wash and prepare for spinning.
This summer, I washed some fleece and ruined some in various ways. Then, in New Jersey, I met some more sheep growers, and acquired some more fleeces.
I have decided to take myself to Fleece School. It is criminal, after all, to acquire beautiful fleeces and not learn to do them justice. Here is a gorgeous, very fine, for a Romney, fleece that I picked at New Jersy for it's color and relative lack of grease. Oh, and its incredible price of $4 a pound. You will be seeing alot of this guys as it is a ten pound fleece and I plan to use it for a sweater for the usually lovely Jack. This is my fleece to sweater design challenge for myself. Similar to Jessie's Opus 2007 (scroll down to end of post), but maybe a little behind.
I plan to share what I'm learning from taking myself to Fleece School. Some preview pictures, for your enjoyment, because I've rambled on long enough.
Friday, November 9, 2007
Well, it would appear that I'm recovering nicely from SAFF and halloween and other non-wool adventures i haven't even told you about. Did i mention the two day girl scout camping trip? Great knitting opportunity by the way.
And I got way more sleep than did Molly, our fearless leader. I went along as the First Aider and more than one leader looked at me as if i was either nuts or a bad Girl scout leader (or both). I found myself blurting out, "I'm not a girl scout leader, I'm just the first aider, perhaps too frequently. The worst look I got was when I asked 'What's a "bivy"?' Turned out Molly didn't know either. Probably no one else knew either, but they weren't going to admit it. Give up? The camp director's personal word for "potty"; the stinky kind, otherwise known as a latrine.
I went out into the woods with 7 ten year old girls without my camera. I took alot of "pictures in my head", though. Like of my shy, not very adventurous daughter flying through the air on the zip slide. The fabulous leader, Christina, maybe just out of college, who took the girls through the challenge course and who was so nurturing and inspiring and lovely all at the same time. (I seriously considered asking her if she babysits:) The whole troop sitting all over each other like a litter of puppies after a long night and a busy, adventurous day full of team-building activities. And, of course, Molly's wonderful striped wool hat, that she had enough sense to wear to bed.
Did I mention it was cold? I, queen of the knitted wool things, did not think to bring a hat. But I brought shorts and plenty of tee shirts. I suppose I ought to mention that I packed for this camping trip in 15 minutes, after sending my sweet cat off to the land of catnip and tunafish, and flying over to Gryphon's on the eastern Shore and back (to pick up yarn I'd ordered to dye for SAFF but didn't really have time to dye. )
Anway, all of this to say that I've been seriously contemplating changesI can make to my life. So I can feel more sane. The lovely Jack has told me "no more dyeing, no more fiber events, you need to spend some time with us now". Simplifying should be easier; I even quit my tennis team. But my captain, the very wonderful Kathy, responded so sweetly and encouragingly, that I decided I could at least finish out the season.
Meanwhile, I've been knitting. Christmas presents, even. A pattern of my own reckoning in Jessie's Panda sock yarn. Merino, bamboo, and nylon; hand-dyed by Jessie. Gorgeous, yes?
This beautiful piece of knitting is a man sock. I only have one skein and now, that I'm knitting it, I have no idea how far it will go. Somehow I think heels and toes in another yarn will not provide the look I seem to be going for. Stay tuned!
I have also been spinning. This beauty is a Kokovoko spindle purchased at SAFF. The wood has some wonderful name that I can't remember, but it's maple that has aged (begun to rot, actually) giving it those beautiful markings. Tiger maple? Sounds good to me. The fiber is my hand-painted merino top. All turquoise and browns, the colorway is called Robin's Egg.
And I have been knitting some more. This baby sweater is actually a little farther along since a I took this picture, thanks to an exceptionall quiet night at work this week. I know I shall pay for that later, as that is the way these things go.
Before there was knitting, for me, there was sewing. Which I did with the same enthusiasm as knitting, spinning, gardening, tennis, get the idea. I'm not obsessed, I'm enthusiastic. I still pull my sewing machine out, and lately I've been missing sewing. May have something to do with the fact that it was broken in an incident between my lovely husband and my lovely dog. He says it was her fault; she of course blames him. Very suspicious, I say.
Friday, November 2, 2007
Complete with "prison tattoos". His hands gave you a choice of "LOVE" and "PAIN". I believe I've said this before but the best part about my working part-time at night is that he gets to be a very involved parent, more so than most dads who work full-time. He's ben going to craft stores with the kids and planning this extravaganza in our front yard for a month now. They've been making all kinds of decorations together, bats, ghosts, chains. very scary stuff:) Too bad we went to a Halloween party and he didn't get to sit in the front yard scaring people all night.
My own 9 year old vampireholds a victim in her clutches. I think her opportunity to be a patrol this year on her bus is bringing out the nurturer in her:)
You can't tell this but her buddy is a plate. And she's wearing a coat I sewed for her years ago. Anyway, a great time was had by all. The party was lovely and so fun to be with neighbors and friends and let our hair down a bit. Halloween is the best holiday of all, because other than candy, there are no big expectations, and no requirements. We can be with people we enjoy, and when it's time to splinter off and go trick or treating on our own block, we can.
I'll be slowly updating the Etsy shop now that I'm back. Big EtsyFAST sale until November 16th in honor of our Etsy Labs trunk show. Check it out.