Friday, December 19, 2008

Electric Hula-Hoop

So, how cool is this? Meet "Electric Hula-Hoop."

I have long been a fan of Paul Metsa from Minneapolis, and had the pleasure of finally meeting him in person after 20 some-odd years of listening to his excellent album "Paper Tigers." I totally wore out my copy of the record, that was how much I liked it. So, I happened to think of him again last Spring and found him on Rhapsody. I had a lot of catching up to do, too!
So, at the present time, I am preparing for another long weekend in the Twin Cities and thought I would send Paul an e-mail asking about gigs he might be doing when I am in town. Alas, he no longer works at the place where I last saw him, and may not be playing at all over New Year's weekend. I am bummed, but hope all you who like music will check out his fledgling digital folk music website, Maximum Folk. He hasn't got a lot available for sale at the moment, but what's there is QUALITY stuff, at the moment tending towards blues. And "Paper Tigers" is there as well, so you can easily purchase the album I've been raving about, and the other others on the site while you're at it. Terrific stuff!
In a flurry of e-mails this week, I happened to mention to Paul that I had built a lovely pair of socks from some yarn purchased at Bella Lana in Minneapolis. Bella Lana is owned and operated by a friend of Paul's and carries lovely yarns, and has a welcoming committee that can't be beat, namely, the sweetest, most adorable Italian Greyhound you will ever lay eyes on. Anyhow, the mention of knitted socks in my e-mail to Paul inspired a request. The best kind of request. The kind of request that sends me running for my handy-dandy box of dyes and a sock bank.These socks will be a gift for Paul's girlfriend, who is in the process of moving to the VERY COLD Twin Cities, and since I love having opportunities to give something back to musicians for all the music they give to ME...well, I am going that extra mile and making it something totally unique that can never be duplicated. The dyed blank looks cool as is, but the finished socks won't look a thing like it. This is, after all, similar to how "Grateful Undead" looked before I wound it into skeins and knitted it.I was having a hard time thinking of a name for the colorway, because although it approximates "Grateful Undead," it is NOT "Grateful Undead." That colorway, like this new one, can never be recreated exactly. So, considering the person who made the request, and his sense of humor, I came up with "Electric Hula-Hoop."
Paul has a very funny song called "Electric High Heels," and the narrator of the song gets put through some amusing antics by a wild girlfriend. It has one of my favorite, makes-me-laugh-every-time-I hear-it-lines at the end, and I quote:

"Aw, c'mon, baby, I've been on my best behavior! Not the cuffs, sweetie...oh, no, not the hula-hoop...not again!"

So..."Electric Hula-Hoop." A tip of my hat to a helluva nice fella who makes great music and makes me laugh. 'Cause I like to give back if I can and there's no better way to say how hearing "Virginia" live blew me away.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Hip, hip, owOOOOOOOOOOOOO...

The workout thing I began has been temporarily derailed, though I am sticking with the Weight Watchers diet. Seems I fell prey to Fat Old Lady Working Out Too Hard Too Soon syndrome, and have managed to mess up a muscle in my left hip, or some such. I must now lay low throughout the remainder of December, and stay off my feet as much as possible, so whatever is wrong has time to heal.

The good news is, a trip to the local ER for x-rays revealed that there was no fracture, no osteoporosis, and no arthritis. I never took a fall or anything, but my joints have all been bothering me since that first no pain, no gain workout walk on Thanksgiving day, and I aggravated things further by working out intensely at Curves, despite the pain. (I do not blame Curves at all, only my own stupidity...)

Monday morning, after a brutal weekend of choir practices, on my feet the entire time with no respite, I could hardly walk up the stairs to get into my workplace. Since I am asthmatic and have therefore used steroids quite a bit in the last 25 years -- not constantly, but enough to make me anxious about weakened bones and joints -- I decided to take my co-worker's advice and get it checked out. Thank God it's nothing serious, but it does hurt like hell, and only lying down on a heating pad, not moving, seems to help. I have been sitting up way too much today, after returning to work and then visiting with a friend who came by to see me today, and at the moment my usually trusty codeine pills aren't even touching the pain.

Well, I will go to bed in an hour or so, and be sure to rest when I get home from work tomorrow.

So, any of my knitting pals from RI, if you were wondering what happened to me,that caused me to pull a no-show on Tuesday night, now you know. I should be able to drive out next Tuesday, once I can quit taking Codeine.

P.S. -- I have finally resigned from choir. It's been a long time coming. Why do I hear Ritchie Havens singing "Freedom" in my head? Hmmmmm....

Friday, December 05, 2008

Pomegranate Beaded Moebius

Rayon; one thread rich, deep red twisted with olive-greenish gold; self fringed, with gold beads at the ends of each piece of fringe. (Lord, what a PAIN to do all that cutting, knotting, and beading, but soooooo worth it!)

Pattern from Cat Bordhi's first Magical Moebius book.

I will soon be putting skeins of this stuff up for sale in my Etsy store. I have a lot of it! Just love this colorway -- it really does make me think of Pomegranates. The piece is huge and the fashion possibilities are endless!
Looped twice and draped over head.Looped twice and draped Just So.Looped three times.

I need to take this out of its bath now and hang it up to dry so I can wear it to tomorrow night's Christmas Party...

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Points - no knitting

So, after seeing the pics of me circulating on various websites since my trip to meet Alison Hyde in Vermont a few weeks ago, I realized I had to do something about my weight. I honestly don't know how the entire state of Massachusetts glued itself to my arse, but it did. My doctor told me all my recent tests came up "normal" (though he neglected to send the numbers from my TSH test). Then he went on to say that I need not complain further about feeling unwell until I had shed some pounds and begun a workout program. I was VERY depressed for a good solid week, and in that state, last Tuesday in fact, I joined Weight Watchers online and proceeded to Count Points.

Yes, that's right. Two days before Thanksgiving, I joined Weight Watchers and started Counting Points.

O, my friends, can you IMAGINE how difficult it is to fit Thanksgiving Dinner into a 29 points a day allowance? It was pathetic, truly pathetic. You should have seen me, dutifully measuring out a 1/4 cup portion of stuffing. Ditto for the squash and green bean casseroles, and only one slice of turkey, no skin of course, and a wee bit of gravy. Then I made sure my piece of pumpkin pie was ONLY a half, with one scoop of fat free frozen yogurt. For snacks, I grazed on raw veggies and fat free dip. Oh, I was so good. Oh, I worked so hard. And I totally blew my points for the day anyway, but only to the tune of about 38. I spent some cheating points and swapped my activity points. Most other days, I do not even get up to 29 points, so I figure it will all balance out in the end.

I have also joined Curves again. I had good luck with that program in the past, and I do like that it takes up such a small amount of time per day. Also, I find that circuit training keeps me from getting bored. I don't have time for that, hopping from station to station every 30 seconds.

Now, if I want to take a walk, it can be for pleasure rather than -- oh, damn, I have to go walk now or won't get any activity points today.

Seriously -- confession time here -- I need to lose slightly under 100 lbs. I hope this diet/exercise thing works. According to the body mass index, I shouldn't weigh more than 144.5 lbs. The last time I saw that weight was 1980, and I had to starve myself to get there. So, if I can get down under 200, maybe I'll feel encouraged enough to go further.

I really don't want to have a gastric bypass. Ever. I just want to be "normal." Whatever that means.

I do feel a lot better already since I started all this. Sometimes making a decision and saying, enough already! makes one feel more in control. I feel thinner, too, even if it doesn't really show yet. Energy level is much improved. It can only get better, right?

The points system is wonderful. So many different foods to choose from, and great recipes on the website. You can even write you own recipes, program them in, and their tracking system will magically tell you how many points are in each serving. Surprisingly, I have not been hungry, or felt even remotely deprived.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Autumn Test

Yup. works for me.

Your Autumn Test Results

You are a dynamic, vibrant person. You aren't afraid to pursue your passions.

When you are happiest, you are calm. You appreciate tradition and family. You enjoy feeling cozy.

You embrace change. You love change. You see change as a rebirth.

You find solitude to be the most comforting thing in the world. Being alone with your thoughts feels very peaceful.

Your ideal day is active and full. You like to keep busy with your favorite things, and you appreciate a routine.

You tend to live in the moment. You enjoy whatever is going on, and you don't obsess over the past or future.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Doubtful Sound continues

I'm still at it. Just saying. If you feel like taking a peek, follow the link.


Wednesday, October 08, 2008


I've been catching up on my sock projects. These are all washed and blocked and will soon be sent to warm the toes of their intended recipients. First, we have a pair of truly wild socks I made from a "sock blank" I dyed myself. (Scroll down a few entires to see it in "blank" form and skein form.) I did end up unraveling the sock blank into two separate balls, being as I was just not ready to experiment with two socks on one circular needle. Not with these babies. Say hello to Bijoox's Grateful Undead socks. They are one of a kind. I may be able to approximate the dye job again, but it will never be duplicated exactly. I'm rather proud of the way these came out. Unrepentently fraternal, as many of my socks are.

More sedate, but wonderfully cushy are the socks below, made from an unknown wool blend yarn from my stash. This is something I inherited cones of from my former place of employment, and I wanted to see how it would work up. There may be some acrylic in it, but it makes a gorgeous fabric, doesn't it? I've overdyed some skeins, too, and think so far the blue came out best. It has a speckly, denimy look, and I will be selling it on Etsy at some point. The socks below are done with the yarn as is, directly from the cone. Really nice ragg effect, don't you think? complex colors, too, with some white, some gray, and some bluish gray. These are a long overdue present for Larry Kirwan. I'm embarrassed to say it has been almost a year since he asked me when I might make him another pair. I think he'll find they were worth the wait.
Why do I knit for Larry, and not for my husband?

Larry has small feet, the same size as mine, and he likes colorful socks. Also, when I gave him the first pair back in 2001 or thereabouts, he promised to wash them by hand. It's also a way to give back something nice for all the music, literature, and friendship Larry has given me over the years since we first met. (I knew the music long before I made the acquaintance of the man behind it.)

My hubby won't wear anything but black, brown, or navy blue, and he has a 12-inch foot. I made him a navy blue pair once, and it was an interminable knit. When they were done, he wore them once and...threw them in the washer and dryer! Luckily, the yarn must have been superwash, because the socks didn't shrink and he can still wear them.

Ummm...and he lived after I found the socks in the dryer. If they had shrunk, though, after all that knitting...ooh, I don't want to think about it!

Lest anyone think he is neglected in any way, I do feed him. Very well. Bearing that in mind, it doesn't bother him too much that I don't want to knit socks for him anymore.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

One of my Favorite Songs Ever!

Knitters, I'm sure you can relate. I just followed a link to this video, from Ravelry to Your Tube. I always thought the song was brilliant, but never knew there was a video for it, until now. Listen to the words carefully and enjoy!

The Sweater

Saturday, September 20, 2008


You know the stories. You've spent years trotting in and out of antique and consignment shops in search of a working spinning wheel you can afford. You hope to be lucky, like your spinning friend who found a perfect, intact, working-condition Country Craftsman wheel in someone's trash by the roadside and took it home, and now has another gorgeous wheel in her collection. (True story, and I don't begrudge her one bit, but I still wish something like that would happen to me with, say, a Timbertops Chair Wheel, or a Martha?)

OK, so this isn't as good a story as the lady who adopted a Country Craftsman from someone's garbage, but it's ALMOST as good. Look what came home with me today!I had taken Daphne to a local antique shop on a whim, just for a lark, since gas is expensive and we need to have larks closer to home. In the very first booth I found this wheel. I looked it over and it seemed good. I looked at the price tag and it seemed even better. Only $75.00. True, the whorl had some chips in it, there was only one bobbin, and its distaff was missing, but...$75.00? No matter what kind of a wheel it was, I knew I could get it running in a matter of minutes. What to do? Well, for starters, make my twelve-year-old crawl underneath the thing and see if there was a name on the underside.

There was. I was astounded, picked the wheel up, and tilted it to read for myself.

"Country Craftsman."

Holy sh*t! I have wanted one of these for a very long time, and thought I would never find one I could afford, now that the builder has retired.

Near one of the legs is carved a number 2. Could it be that this is one of his earliest wheels? Does anyone know if the maker did indeed number them as they were built? It was an exciting enough find as is, but if it's an early wheel, that would be even more exciting!

And I still can't believe it was only $75.00!!!!!

While googling in search of spare parts, I found ads for used wheels like this, for sale. $450.00 and up!

I shan't complain about not finding this for free in someone's trash. $75.00 vs. $450.00 and up? Well, that's the kind of math I can do VERY quickly.

Jeeze, I have paid more for some of my spindles than I did for this wheel! (Golding...koff...koff...)

Now am on a quest for a replacement whorl (though the chipped one does work) and some extra bobbins. I may have found a source already, but if anyone else knows of others, please give me a holler via the comments.

And for a musical suggestion I really feel I must make, please visit Doveman and listen to his song "Castles," which is on his streaming player. This is my second favorite after a song called "Ghost" which he is not currently streaming. If you know who Nick Drake is and love him, as I do, then you will find that Doveman's voice is even more poignant. His lyrics aren't the easiest to decipher, due to the intentional softness of his vocal presentation, but you get most of them through earbud headphones. And this young man is someone whose voice you WANT to hear that intimately. Trust me. And once he's in your head, he stays there, and you don't want him to go away. I have been starting most of my workdays in the past few weeks with listening to his latest CD, "With My Left Hand I Raise The Dead." It really is a stunning piece of work. Please check it out when in a quiet, reflective mood, and you will love it. I've been thinking for awhile now, of building my own music compilation to use whilst having Reiki, or treating myself, and you can rest assured there will be some Doveman songs in the mix when I finally get around to putting it together. I can't tell you enough, how glad I am to have found this fella.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Mr. Subversive - NOT!

Hubby took a break from rebuilding the deck on our house a couple of weekends ago, to read, and rest his fat capitalist arse on my chaise. Seems our daughter is reading Abbie Hoffman. Hubby couldn't resist picking it up from the dining room table, and he read me excerpts while he relaxed in a way that would not have thrilled Abbie at all, I would venture to guess. I mean, look at the setting! If there were a revolution now, no matter how idealistic and liberal we are, we make a decent living and have a few of the trappings thereof, and are therefore The Enemy. [sigh]
From what hubby read to me, though, it's pretty clear that some of the old tricks Abbie would have employed to Get Free Stuff back in the day would not work at all now, in the computer age. I mean, can you imagine someone trying to sneak on board an airplane nowadays? Just wouldn't happen. So, "Steal This Book" if you like, but don't expect to gain anything from it but a view into a bygone era.
To continue the hippy-trippy theme, remember my Grateful Undead sock blank from a couple of entries ago? Well, I did decide to unravel the thing and wind the yarn into two separate balls, which I then skeined and washed. Here they are. I have finished knitting the socks, but have not washed them yet, so no photos now. They are coming, though, and maybe as soon as this weekend, if I can get my act together.
Some recent spinning now. This is a strand of Terra Bella Spun's "Drifter" plied with a single of commercially-produced dark brown wool/camel. I couldn't bear the thought of getting only enough 2-ply from this one-of-a-kind roving for a hat, so I decided to stretch the yardage by incorporating the brown. I forget exactly how much I ended up with, but if I recall correctly, I think it was over 500 yards. I ought to be able to make something semi-substantial with that. Socks and matching fingerless gloves, maybe? I have enough hats and scarves to sink the Titanic. Oh, well, it will tell me what it wants to be when the time is right. But I must say, the handspun is stacking up, and so far none of it is talking.
So, in the meantime, my daughter has come up with a project for me, which I may regret taking on. She got a gander at the latest Patternworks catalog and left it open on my desk with a note: "Mom, I will pay you to make this for me." A long, tight tunic with stripes in many colors, and a scrunch-neck, all in stockinette stitch, and effin' POM-POMS at the end of the drawstring for that ridiculous neck. Given the way she treats her clothes, I was not seduced into buying the recommended Mission Falls yarn the pattern calls for. Oh, no. It's KnitPicks all the way for this baby. The colors won't be exactly the same but they'll be close.

Och, Jaysus, I wish the kid would learn to knit for herself. This is already starting to feel like an "I want this out of my life" project, but maybe, just maybe it will be more fun than I am anticipating. I can only hope.

As for my chaise, I suppose this was inevitable. Roisin the Queen, aka Cleofatra. She growls at me if try to remove her. I love her. She's such a bitch.
My big exciting news at the moment is on the Doubtful Sound front. I managed to bridge an enormous, troublesome gap this past weekend, and have now got 350 consecutive pages. I'm aiming to wrap it up around 500 pages, give or take a few, so I guess I'm in the home stretch at last. Now, here's hoping the wrap-up doesn't take longer to write than the whole rest of the book! If you've been reading, thank you. And if you have any thoughts on whether or not I should try for publication on this one, I'd appreciate your feedback. I know there would be a lot of work to do, to tighten it up enough to inspire a publisher to take a chance. But I feel like I need to try one more time before I either a) drop dead or b) turn into an old, driveling idiot who can no longer string a sentence together.

I gotta go cook supper now. I don't wanna cook supper now. Waaaaaaaaah!!!

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

What Color is your Freakin' Parachute?

you are darkslategray

Your dominant hues are green and blue. You're smart and you know it, and want to use your power to help people and relate to others. Even though you tend to battle with yourself, you solve other people's conflicts well.

Your saturation level is lower than average - You don't stress out over things and don't understand people who do. Finishing projects may sometimes be a challenge, but you schedule time as you see fit and the important things all happen in the end, even if not everyone sees your grand master plan.

Your outlook on life is dark. You're generally a pessimist and everyone knows it; you're the one the come to when they don't want the sunshine blown around, they just want to straight truth. You can miss good things in life if you make up your mind too early though.
the html color quiz

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Well-deserved Decadence

After years of lusting after one with nearly all my heart and soul, I finally took the plunge. I bought a chaise. It arrived on Thursday, and I have no regrets. It is every bit as wonderful as any chaise I have enjoyed in hotels and the homes of friends. It is mine, mine, MINE, and no arse but mine will come near it, unless the owner of said arse is very, very nice to me. Obsequious, even. I plan to do a great deal of knitting and writing in this locale.I'm working on the Bookworm Vest from Folk Vests, for a friend of the First-born's. So far it's a nice project, though not too exciting stitch-wise. Luckily, the First-born's friend takes the smallest size. I'm using Webs' Valley Yarns Northampton, which I hear was recently recommended by the Yarn Harlot. I didn't know at the time that it was a new fave of hers. It's now one of mine, too. Nice stuff, nice colors, good yardage, and a most pleasing price.
Here's Roisin Dubh in the foreground, wishing she could get her arse on the chaise. Too bad she only gets to rest beside it, on the fringes of my recycled shopping bag faux Oriental rug.

The rug, by the way, is incredibly pretty, if bright, and it suits the room so well. Bit by bit, the space is all coming together. It only took 13 years of living in this house to get my own room, but now I have it, and I'm not looking back. Again, no regrets. And no rug shampoo, 'cause the plastic rug can be laid out on the lawn and hosed off if it gets dirty, or one of the dogs decides to take a revenge piddle. It was a bargain, too, at $89.00 for full room-size. Click here if you're intrigued.

Well, there's a chaise calling my name again, and a vest that needs to be finished. Yeeeeee-haaaaaaa.....

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Playing with Sock Blanks

So, I decided I couldn't resist the lure of the dye-it-yourself sock blanks Knitpicks was offering. I was curious. Were they knit in tubes, or flat? The idea is they are knitted with a double strand of sock yarn, and you start both socks at the same time on one circular. O.K., I'll bite. Haven't started knitting yet, but I just dyed one of the blanks. No idea what the socks will look like knit up, but I like the way the blank looks, anyway. Bijoox, if you happen to stop by here, I think this one will be for you. I call it "Grateful Undead," which seems appropriate, considering where you and I met 11 years ago. I'll need your foot measurement, from heel to tip of longest toe.
I truly do not know if I will do as suggested and try to do two socks on one circ. I might just have my daughter help me separate it into two separate balls. Well, I have time to decide while the durn thang dries, yeah?

The dyeing was a heckuva lotta fun. Me and my Jacquard dyes and my squeeze bottles and my handy-dandy El Cheapo Job Lot rice steamer and a whole lotta Glad Wrap. Woo-hoooo!!!!

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Blue Jay Shawl, etc.

The picture simply cannot do justice to the actual color, but here is my Blue Jay Shawl from Alison Hyde's "Wrapped in Comfort." I did not copy your dyeing adventures for this one, Alison. Instead, I found a perfect color of blue/gray merino/tencel roving that almost exactly matched the photo in the book, and I spindled like mad to make the 2-ply yarn, starting in early May. I knitted a bit, then spun if it looked like I needed more yarn, and thus I multi-tasked until I cast off the last stitch this afternoon. I did all of the spinning on several different Ledbetters, but mainly I used the one Ken made to order for me, which has a gorgeous blue sodalite donut set in a lacewood whorl. The stone matched the fiber! Not that I would go out of my way to match color of fiber to color of spindle, but it was a nice coincidence.
This was just my initial, hasty attempt at blocking. A better job will be done later this week, with t-pins and stuff. I didn't want to wait that long to get a Rough Idea of how the finished version will look. Below is a wee close-up.
The shawl weighs a total of 7 ounces, and I am so pleased that I had the tenacity to get through all the spinning without ever laying hands on a wheel. Not even for plying! Needless to say, spit-splicing abounds...

In my last entry, I posted a link to a friend's Etsy store. She has begun building the most incredible spindles. Below is one of them. It arrived in the mail today, and look at the 2-ply I spun on it! Frog hair!
Pardon my Bad Hair day, but as you see, I had a lot of fun giving this spindle a whirl (whorl?).
When I have re-charged my camera battery, I will take a picture of the other spindle I found in my package -- a complete surprise! -- and so very beautiful, too.
The spindle in these pictures is being used to spin some of Enchanted Knoll Farm's Blue Jay top. (Thanks, Josette!)

The other spindle is being used for a recent splurge from Copper Pot Woolies. There was this glorious batt she called "Night Moves," and I simply HAD to have it. Pics will come, as I said earlier, when I've got the camera battery recharged.

Enchanted Knoll Farm, zebisisdesigns, and Copper Pot Woolies can all be found on Etsy, as well as Terra Bella Spun and Luna Bud Knits. Do a vendor search and check them out!

Anyone else besides me find Etsy is as dangerous as a year-long, round-the-clock wool festival? If this keeps up, I may not have to go to Rhinebeck this year...

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

More spindle temptations!

One of my online friends has just opened a new Etsy shop. She is making really beautiful spindles. I'm waiting for my first one to arrive. Check out what she has for sale by clicking here. Gorgeous!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Projects & Plants

I know, I've been bad about updating again. I went from being laid off for a week, to 12 hours per week, to 20 hours per week, to "how many hours can you give us without losing your mind?" So, in the best of scenarios, that would be 25 hours per week, but as I am in a veritable cable-building crunch, I'm working 30-plus hours per week. I like my work, but am not used to this schedule, plus it's allergy season and I don't know if what I'm struggling with is a cold or not. I'm feeling very compromised in the asthma department, so I'm thinking the nasal funk really was a cold, and I may have to see the doc if things don't clear up by Thursday or thereabouts.

Knitting and spinning continue, however. I've decided it's a good idea to try and meet Judy's challenge of 10 Minutes a Day with wheel and/or spindle. So far, so good. I always have a bit of something to work on during lunch and coffee breaks. Sometimes it's a spindling project, and other times it's knitting. Today I finished a new seaman's scarf design, showcasing one of the Flamborough gansey patterns. This took about 1-2/3 skeins of my hand-dyed stuff, a nice wool that used to be a garish yellow color before it got dumped in the dyepot. I wish it wasn't so darn difficult to get a good detail shot. Perhaps I will try again by daylight. Is there any chance that anyone can actually see the seed stitch diamonds and the cables in this? I hope so, but I'm afraid it's going to take a sharper pair of eyes than mine.

Next we have an attempt at a Cockleshell Lace scarf. I say attempt, because it went straight to the frog pond one motif later, due to a dropped stitch in one of the elongated sections. You'll probably spot it in the top left shell if you look at it closely for a minute.
The yarn is a gorgeous 85% wool/15% cashmere cobweb laceweight I will be selling eventually. Most of it is still on cones, and even unwashed it is incredibly soft and a delight to knit with. A 500 yard skein (yes, I have wound a few) weighs just 1.5 ounces! I can't wait to see how it takes dye. Pics of the finished scarf will appear here once I've got it washed and blocked. At the moment, I'm taking my time knitting it, hoping to avoid the stupid mistakes I make when I try to accomplish something lacy too quickly. (See hole left by dropped stitch above...)

Apart from knitting and spinning, it seems the tide may be turning in a positive direction as regards me, houseplants, and gardening in general. First, though not the most impressive-looking plant in the world, here is my very own Patchouli, which I got on a recent trip to Logee's in Connecticut. It is growing by leaps and bounds already, but since it is native to India, it cannot be exposed to temps below 60 degrees F. So, it lives in my office now, rather than the kitchen, where this picture was taken a couple of weeks ago. It's bigger now that it gets plenty of sun in my office window. At least a couple of times a day, I rub a leaf between my fingers and take a sniff. It's not as pungent as I thought it would be, but it definitely has that distinctive scent I love so much. (Yeah, I know, I'm far too young to have been a REAL hippy...) This next plant was a gift from Judy, years ago. I almost killed it a couple of times, but it rallied with the help of Miracle Gro fertilizer spikes, and I finally bought a nice new pot for it. It is happy on the mantelpiece, where it gets light, but no direct sun.
This is my prize, though, another acquisition from Logee's. The minute I saw it, I fell in love with it and simply HAD to have it. Begonia Rex Escargot. Long live the King!
Honestly, doesn't it have the coolest leaves ever? I've never seen anything quite like this before. Seems that this plant isn't all that common yet, so I'm really glad I bought I when I saw it!

Sunday, June 08, 2008

A Bit of Silly Scottish Fun

If you haven't done it yet, click here. It's a silly game, good for a chuckle or two. I'd quite forgotten about it until a day or so ago. I need to forget it for awhile longer now, and get back to my knitting/spinning!

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Spot the Whimsy

This is some mystery wool I did up on my drum carder. Not content to keep it simple, I got silly and added something fun. Can you see it?
Here's the whole skein spun up. 4 ounces of 2-ply, so close to 200 yards I could say, a la Maxwell Smart, "Missed it by...that much..." Its hand is a bit on the crispy side, partly because the wool is VERY "rustic," and partly because I couldn't get all those blasted North Ronaldsay sheep's guard hairs off the carder completely, and gave up. I'm thinking socks, perhaps.
Now, here's a close-up shot of that skein. Whimsy is fairly obvious here, in the form of purple angelina. Fun, fun, fun!
But not half as fun as this. One batt of Enchanted Knoll Farm's "Vardo." I spun it as a 2-ply and got 210 yards from the 2 ounce batt.
Here's the batt and the bit of sin I spun it on. Yes, another Ledbetter, purchased at MA Sheep & Wool, just minutes before I bought the Vardo batts.I've said it before, and I'll say it again. I am SUCH a sucker for Ken's fabulous spindles. Can't get enough!

Friday, May 30, 2008

Daphne's Moth

No, not the dreaded Clothes Moth. She found this (pictures below) in the yard last weekend and captured it to take some pictures. We have never seen anything like it before. Anyone have any ideas? The closest thing we have been able to turn up on various insect websites is called a Hawk Sphinx moth. But it rather looks and moves like a hummingbird. The girls took a lot of pictures, then let the moth go.

Speaking of hummingbirds, they were all over my feeder early this morning. I think we may have more than one pair lurking about. They are such fun to watch, but I have not been fast enough with the camera yet, so there are no pics.

Monday, April 14, 2008


I know, I know, it's a Ledbetter, but I can't resist calling it a Leadbelly. Incorrigible blues fan blogs here, don'cha know?

I love this spindle! I keep going back to the Ledbetter website and drooling over the latest additions.
I have some Blueberry merino/tencel on it at the moment.

I think it needs a sibling to come live with it, don't you?

I'm working extreme part time right now. I had exactly a week off before they decided they needed me again. Twelve hours a week is better than nothing. Gives me more time to prepare for NH Sheep & Wool.

Anyone attending, please come visit me in the Kimball Dairy Barn. It's a bit out of the way, off the beaten track, but there ARE vendors in that building, including moi.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Glad I bought it when I did...

How quickly things change, is all I can say. I'm glad I bought the Woolee Winder when I did, while I still had some cash on hand.

Why the lack of cash on hand now?

Today I was informed that I have been laid off from my job, for at least two weeks, but probably a lot longer than that. I think they said two weeks to soften the blow.

Last year at this time, I took a leave of absence due to my mother's illness, and thinking back, if it hadn't been for that illness, I probably would have been laid off then, too. Spring and early summer are slow times at our place. The main difference between last year and this year, is that last year I decided when I would go back. This year, the decision is not mine to make.

Being a part-timer, I can't collect unemployment. I'm trying not to be anxious, but economically these are pretty tough times for everyone. I can't help being nervous about it. However...

I am trying to remind myself that all this time on my hands could be very good for my little yarn business. I now have time to build even more of an inventory for NH Sheep & Wool. It is my second year vending there. I hope I'll do better than I did last year, but I'm not counting on it. I will be in the Kimball dairy barn again, which is one of the LAST vendor buildings folks get to on the fairgrounds. Usually they are shopped out by then. I know when I used to attend as a consumer, I didn't even know there WAS stuff in that barn. Oh, well, we shall see what we shall see. And if it doesn't pan out, I have a cunning do the RI festival next year instead. Again, we shall see what we shall see.

I did a bit of spinning today, and am grateful for how calm it makes me, to just feel the wool in my hands and watch it wind on to the bobbin. What will the yarn want to be? It is a pretty blue-gray shade. I only have 8 ounces. Time will tell.

Debussy on the stereo. I had forgotten how much I like his orchestral works. They set a nice mood. It has been well over 20 years since I last paid much attention to them. Too darn long! Perhaps I will bring my bassoon out of retirement and give it a few honks again...

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Daniel's Scarf

This is not an easy thing to photograph. Drat me and my fondness for heathery yarns.

Every inch of this yarn was spindle spun and spindle plied. About 8 ounces worth. I think I had maybe 10 to 15 feet of this yarn left when the scarf was finished. The pattern is, once again, a seaman's scarf variant of the Persephone scarf originally designed by smarieknits. I just love the cables in this pattern.
I think it was August or September when I began spindling. It was how I kept myself busy in the waiting area while my mother was doing her cardiac rehab. This was three days a week, and we would be there, usually, close to an hour and a half. I met some nice people while I was waiting, and enjoyed talking with them, yet never allowed my hands to be idle. At first, the spindle drew a lot of comments and questions, and then people got used to it, and enjoyed watching me as much as I enjoyed the spinning.

The finished skein sat in the stash mellowing for a bit, and I forgot about it for awhile, until my friend Daniel and I started talking more and getting to know each other better. I knew his birthday was coming up in March, and I knew I wanted to make him which blue? Which yarn?

And then I remembered.

He wears a lot of blue. His eyes are blue. I wasn't sure I would have enough yarn. I bought more roving in the same colorway, just in case, and thought MAYBE I would just make it...

Luckily, Daniel is not a terribly tall person. I had enough yarn. He loves the scarf. Pay no attention to the glare from my flash. And happy belated birthday, Daniel. Better late than never.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Interesting Quiz Results

Numerologically speaking, I work out to be a "Chariot" -- number 7. But with the Piscean thread to consider, it appears I have distinct "Hermit" tendencies. Why am I not surprised?

which major arcana of the thoth tarot deck are you? short, with pictures and detailed results

HERMIT"the meditator, philosopher, sage, wise man"You can not and will not compromise your values and have a desire to complete past things before begining the new (you value completion, perfection, and introspection highly). You are a natural way-shower, sage, and seeker. You have an appreciation of the body and the wisdom of the earth and its natural process. You have a deep love for beauty, harmony, and order.
Take this quiz!

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