Saturday, August 30, 2008

What am I up to?

I apogize for not blogging more often lately. Besides dyeing, rinsing, soaking, hanging, dyeing dyeing, skeining, reskeining, etc  I have made time for a few other items to keep myself from going nuts getting ready for Hemlock.
Just so you have the truth and do not pity me too much, I do have help.  Muchas gracias to Cathy C and Jim for all your skeining and reskeining time.

The EZ Mobius vest is coming along nicely. It is an easy knit with short rows shaping the front sections. I am almost done with one front, maybe another 3 inches as EZ says to make it 2 inches longer on the short row side than the back.  Can you see on the lower right where the color is more violet?  That is where I am now at.

Some dyed cultivated silk is just waiting to be spun to use for the I-cord borders.

My mother's sweater is going v  e  r  y   s  l  o  w  l  y.   I started it when I needed an item that could be done socially. Now there are several of those.   3 more ridges of 5 rows each will bring me to the arms. And then, joy, I get to add a zillion stitches for several inches before separating for the fronts.

Ahhhh. Mystery Shawl 10 is amazing. I am dyeing a lot of yarn for that one. If you haven't checked out the offering from Goddess Knits, please hurry as only orders received by 9/1 will be guaranteed to arrive by 9/13.  The shawl itself is open until 9/20 so if you don't mind starting late I can get to your yarn after Hemlock.
Meet the all out favorite MS10 color ---Black Cherry

and tied for second place are Fern

and Morning Mist.

To add to the stew I made a new colorway--Abalone -- and then started a vest of my own design with it. Here is the swatch. Doesn't show the colorway all that well but the vest is certainly coming along. The goal is to have it ready by Hemlock. Think I am overextending a bit?

And just so you don't think this is all about me.  I was notified that a friend has a rare liver cancer, was asked to knit a square to be included in a comfort afghan for her, then spent an evening and a morning making sure this was ready to be mailed.  It's done in Leaves Panda as a modular square with some silliness in the last square inch and down the diagonal.

Saving the best for last.   I now have a Patrick Green Supercarder!!!!!!  Thank you Bob for pushing me to get one.   So when I have a few spare minutes I have been making Pixie Batts for y'all.   This new toy is seriously cutting into my knitting time.   

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Going for the Gold

Jim and I are children of the 60’s. We sowed our wild oats to some extent and then sort of settled down, each with a spouse and each with a somewhat skewed view of marriage. Neither of those marriages lasted so when we met (at our children’s alternative school) we did not want those trappings again.

For 25 years we have followed Abraham’s advice of “I like you pretty much so let’s see how it goes.” Well, we have decided that we really are OK with each other. Love was never the question, however the piece of paper and ceremony had hang ups for both of us, and we each have plenty of our own as well.   And up until now we have had no overriding reason to get actually married, although we have acted married and considered ourselves as close to married as we could get. When we first started living together NY had a Common Law clause but that has gone by the wayside so we are not considered really married although the significant other clauses will hold.

BUT now we are looking at Social Security and wills (Are we really already at those ages?). Both of those items make it practical to be married in the eyes of the state.

Monday night during dinner Jim said he thought he’d like to wear a wedding band once we were married.   I almost choked.

 "A Ring? You want to wear a wedding band? Why?”  

So after Jim explained his reasons I thought a bit and agreed it sounded like a good idea, at least to explore. Jim used to earn part of his living as a jewelry maker back when he was married the first time. So if Jim had any gold sheet and gold solder he would make them for us but he has only silver and we both wanted gold. Jim has made most of our good pieces.

Up to the mall we went. We were looking, just looking, and playing at what we might want.  Jim knew he wanted a plain gold band. They were kept down one aisle at the end so we played there a while with finding his size and the width that looked best on him. He tried on several styles but always came back to the simplest one.

Meanwhile I walked up and down peering at rings. I looked at some very nice ones with sapphire stones and ruby stones and emeralds. I thought about opals and pearls but Cathy, our sales person, said they are too soft for everyday wear. So are emeralds. Sigh. Then we talked about what style ring would fit my lifestyle. Ya no, one where I have my hands in and out of rubber gloves, soapy water, and rinse water part of every day? A ring that would not get caught on fiber and yarn. Eventually I realized it had to be one that was rather flat. No high profile ring for me. Well that knocked out most of the ones I had noticed. I went back down the aisles and looked at more, walked around more, looked harder and came back to find that Jim was settled and the one he wanted was being sized.    Gulp.

I then allowed myself to start trying on rings with no thought to price. I must say it was fun. And surprising to me was the fact that the ones I liked best had small diamonds around a simple band. I have no diamonds. Diamonds seem like flash to me yet there I was sorting for the plainer diamond rings.  And as you can see we came home with a set of gold.  

Jim is going to speak to his priest, Phil once he gets back from vacation this week. Neither one of us wants anything resembling big.  Small, very low key is our idea of ideal.   We originally thought the beginning of September with our short vacation at the cottage watching the canoes paddle by during the Adirondack Canoe Classic as our honeymoon.

(and those are Kennebec on the left and Lizabet on the right. Most wonderful companions who have returned to Source.)

This worked fine until I started thinking about how to fit in among the dyeing, skeining, reskeining, balling of fiber and other prep for Hemlock and Goddess Knits Mystery Shawl 10 the license, the haircut, a manicure, meetings with Phil, where to plan lunch, who to invite, etc. Then I got short of breath and realized that this little item was larger than I had thought. OK OK so you knew that already. I’m slow on some stuff.

"um Jim, I think we might need to postpone the ceremony." Jim gave me a sideways look. "I am not talking about indefinite postponement, just until we can do this right instead of as an afterthought." We then put our calendars together and have come up with a Saturday morning in late October as THE PLAN.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Hurdles or Obstacles?

This has been one very wet spring and summer here in the northeast US. Our tomatoes are hardly growing and I hear that in some gardens the roots of flowering plants are rotting. One of the things that has always gotten me through the grey winters is the abundant sunshine all spring and summer. Not so this year, so when I saw the weather forecast for Saturday I almost did not go to Farm City Day, as I did not want to be in rain rain rain all day getting my fiber damper than it already is.

Saturday started out sunny as so many days lately do. I was conflicted on going, as I also wanted a quiet day to myself. Jim was agreeable to either although I knew he wanted to go and had agreed to do the driving, which helped. So off we went. I forgot my camera and my cell. (The photos were taken by Erica Thum of the Ithaca Journal.) I guess I was still conflicted and almost turned back when I ran into difficulty getting an iced coffee. There are usually messages from the Universe if one listens but this time I just did not know if they were hurdles or obstacles.  Jim and I agreed that if when we got to the farm that if it was not well put together or started to rain we would leave.

The drive was short as Angel Tree Alpaca Farm is just the other side of Ithaca near Lansing but its address is Groton. As soon as we got there I could see how organized the people who set the day up are. Something like that always relaxes me.  Deb Teeter from Cornell Cooperative Extension coordinates this fun day each year at a different farm in the area.

The sun continued to shine as we unloaded the wheels and fiber from the car, were greeted and set ourselves up under the red and white striped tent set aside especially for the spinning and weaving demos. The large grassy area was full of adults, children, alpaca, tents and color. My mood quickly swung around to positive as I greeted other spinners and knitters from my guild.

Other tents sheltered people sharing samples of cheese from dairy farms, information on 4-H and other activities. Children’s activities included making animals out of vegetables and interactive wildlife exhibits.

The food highlight of the day (for me anyway, as I don't normally eat sugar) was free ice cream made by Dairy Princesses from our area, nummy chocolate and strawberry with chocolate sauce and M&M toppings.

The Festival staff gave us generous chits for the lunch bbq, which few of use used up even though we did eat and drink all day.  Salt potatoes, sausage with peppers and onions, real lemonade, real unsweetened iced tea plus water, hamburgers, hot dogs and grilled half chickens.

I knew that Charlotte S would be bringing some of her French and Giant Angoras so Jim and I had a serious discussion the night before about acquiring another bunny. Jim is definitely not ready and I am sorta not either. I want to have a vacation with Jim before getting another pet. We did not have any away time together for SmokeyBlue’s paraplegic 2 years. Charlotte’s bunnies are well socialized, come in many colors and are beautiful. She knew I needed a bunny fix so allowed me to hold them even though the temps were climbing. I bonded with a sweet 3 month old Agouti whom I knew Charlotte was not selling. I wanted to hold the others but kept myself in check with the agouti.  In the early afternoon, with the sun miraculously still out, the bunnies were getting quite warm so were packed up and taken home to their cooler hutches.

Spinning for most of the day was a treat as well as answering many questions including if the animals were killed for their wool. I started by saying that only the worms were killed (meaning for silk) but got such strange looks I finally gave serious answers. The Fuzzarelly batts were also given their first airing and petting and were greatly admired. Sharon G, of my guild, immediately started spinning a chartreuse one. She loves acidy greens.

Vickie M, whom I taught to spin, brought along a Babe and encouraged children to sit down in front of it and pseudo spin with her help.  I love the way the skill of spinning ( and knitting and crocheting) is passed on to others.

Theresa, who recently moved here with her newly minted PhD, gathered quite a crowd with her spindle. Theresa is an expert spindle spinner. She spun and plied 4 ounces of SW mer/tencel in Anshan’s Biscotti and fooled me good.  When she showed me the ball of yarn I thought it was a commercial product.

Mary, from Knit kNight, brought blank Ravelry Hello pins. Several of us that are on Ravelry wrote our Rav names on them to wear with the regular name tags we were given when we arrived. I don’t see how I am going to remember to wear TWO pins when I have several regular really nice name pins at home that I consistently forget to put on. However, the idea of it is cool.

Angel Tree Alpaca Farm is run by 3 generations of one family. The children pitch in after school and on the weekends, while their parents, Jay and Carol, hold full time day jobs but the grandparents', Malcolm and Ellie, work is now the farm. Ellie knits machine-felted hand dyed hats from the alpaca. I bought me one, as I just could not resist - digression: I did not like the brim pin it came with so while at Bob’s on Tuesday I picked out one I did like. Bob will have lots of dichroic pins and buttons and rings and bracelets at Hemlock in September – end of digression.
The animals look extremely well cared for and happy. It was easy being there even with 750 visitors walking though, stopping, watching and asking questions. We actually stayed later than many people, showing me that the morning had been full of easily jumped over hurdles. 

OH and there was no rain until the nighttime.