Monday, November 29, 2004

No moss on this Muse

I feel like a nomad considering I haven't spent more that three days at home in the last eleven days. Two weekends ago, DH surprised the family with tickets to see the Carolina Panthers. We had a great time in Charlotte, NC and stayed at a beautiful Omni Hotel nestled in the heart of downtown. After a whirlwind two and a half days at home, we zipped down to the beach to spend Thanksgiving with family Wednesday night. We'd planned to stay through Friday but the weather and shopping was so nice that we decided to stay through Sunday. DH and I fit in some personal time and left Thing 1 and 2 with MIL one night. DH was on a boot mission for me and wouldn't stop shopping until we found a pair he liked. We also bought some naughty bits at Victoria's Secret - nudge, nudge, wink, wink say no more. The beauty of having a beach house is that we can come and go as we please without inconveniencing anyone. Five days without email, responsibilities, cooking, cleaning, and loads of knitting and spinning - you get the point. So we're back, struggling to get back into a routine and NOT planning on going anywhere any time soon.

I won't be able to blog much for the next couple of days since in addition to going out of town, I'm playing catch up with work and home. However, I have lots to update you on - complete with pictures - when I get back to blogging. I've completed several holiday gifties. Houndstooth has been felted (beautifully, I might add) and needs to be blocked. I finished a tam for Gma and need to felt it. Moon over Blue Ridge (feather and fan pattern)is finished (needs blocking) and will be quite a nice lap blanket/shawl for Gma. And for my nephew, a hat and fingerless gloves out of DB baby cashmerino. It's so nice to finally get some of these projects off my needles. I have plenty left to work on but I'm making progress with my list. Next up, a pair of felted wool and angora mittens and two more felted tams (for Mom and a great aunt). I'm on a roll. Somebody stop me :)

On the spinning front, I've been spinning like a wild woman. I received an order of some colorful fibers from Paradise Fibers as we were literally backing out of the driveway Wednesday. I've been playing with some autumn dyed Merino, maroon merino silk, merino alpaca and yum - silk cashmere blends that I received in my order. I plyed my first yarn with the merino silk that looks like Koigu KPPM - yippie! I've also been able to spin laceweight yarn with some of my Spirit Trail sampler fibers. Thing 2 even asked me to spin up a tiny bit of the autumn yarn for him to knit with. He is the first recipient of some of my hand spun yarn :) And for Bess, I finally named Golding girl the spindle. Her name is BrĂ­ghid (a good Celtic name after the triple threat Goddess known for spinning) and is pronounced Breed. I love her and love spinning with her. I was definitely a spinner in another life.

And finally, the goodie basket winner of the first annual IndigoMuse Fall Foliage Festival Photo contest (try saying that three times fast) is...
SmallHand's Rheinbeck Photo!
Thank you to everyone who entered and to those who stopped by to vote. All of our participants will receive a lovely gift (please email me your snail mail address as soon as possible). I must apologize to H who sent in a last minute entry. I couldn't fit it in due to the fact that the mini poll could only fit 10 entries. I'll send you a consolation prezzie since you're like my favorite knit bud (like a needed an excuse to send you something).

I think I might do something like this for snow pictures next. What do ya think?

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

We interrupt our regularly scheduled blog for a confession...

Thing 2 and Thing 1 Posted by Hello

let me introduce you to Thing 1 and Thing 2. They are 2/3 of my testosterone trio. This is something that you'd commonly find Thing 1 doing...

Thing 1 playing basketball with DH and Thing 2 Posted by Hello

And this is what Thing 2 likes to do...

Thing 2 playing dress up  Posted by Hello

They are as different as night and day not only in the way they look but in everything they do. Thing 1 is the "taskmaster", Thing 2 is easy going, very transcendental; Thing 1 is conservative, Thing 2 is a self proclaimed "hippie'; Thing 1 loves the outdoors and all sports, Thing 2 is a computer geek and loves to painting and arts and crafts; Thing 1's favorite color is pink (the new black, by the way), Thing 2 loves the color "rainbow". They are my greatest joy and at times, greatest heart ache. I can't imagine my world without them in it. I tell you this because I must confess in my 'new to the blogging world" stupidity, I've been referring to them as my DSS' thinking that it meant "Dear Sweet Sons". Well I found out at KR yesterday that it means Dear STEP Son. Oh the horror! So maybe its not the end of the world for most people but I have mondo stretch marks to prove that BOTH of these boys are borne of me and yes, DH is father to both. The challenge of being a bi-racial family with boys who are truly different colors but from the same parents, is answering the question "are they from another marriage? or are they adopted?" I just want to set the record straight - they are mine and ours and I'm proud of them. Have I said enough to absolve myself of the guilt? Just slap a giant "L" on my forehead...

I now return you, my wonderful readers, to our regularly scheduled knitting blog...

Friday, November 19, 2004

Fall Foliage Photo Contest Voting Now Open

You can now cast your ballot for who has the best fall foliage in knit bloggerland :) You are limited to one vote per day but you can come back and vote everyday if you'd like. All of our participants will receive goodies but the winner will receive a basket of goodies that will include some self striping sock yarn, stitch markers made by moi, cute sheepie socks and some other yet to be determined yummies but surely chocolate will be involved. Many thanks to those of you who shared a piece of your world with us. Stay tuned to see who wins on Monday, Nov. 29th.

I also need to take a moment to thank those of you who helped me put things into perspective (I'm referencing my Nov. 12th post). Us Scorpios can be very emotional people from time to time and I think I got overwhelmed with the amount of negative energy that a small number of people generated in the KRSP programs. However, we all know that the squeeky wheels get the grease and I've had some really squeeky wheels that required a great deal of attention. I lost perspective and I apologize if I made anyone feel bad in the process. I did not feel that Kerstin attacked me individually nor am I angry with her. I DO believe that we need to use our power, influence and abilities to make the world a better place instead of wasting it by spewing venom at one another which seems to be what I've seen in the media, on the forums and in our blogs.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my ramblings, leaving bits of encouragement, laughing at my corny jokes and being wonderful virtual friends. My life is richer with you in it :) Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Its so BIG...

Sunday would be the day. Long had desire burned inside my soul to be with him again. I couldn't take the separation anymore and I began to take careful measures to be one with him. Yes today would be the day.

DH decided to make a recyclables run and the kids were happily playing outside. "It would be so easy to arrange a meeting," I thought. And with that, I made it so. I stealthfully sneaked to our special place, checking to make sure that I wasn't followed. "They have no idea where I am," I smirked to myself. I locked the door behind me and with a deep sigh took him all in. Where to begin? My hands tingled with anticipation. There was so much of him to explore. Our eyes met. My heart skipped a beat and my temperature began to rise. I turned to the door, "maybe I shouldn't be here." But he softly beckoned me and I willingly fell under his spell. I ran my fingers through his locks, soft and long. "I could linger here forever," I whispered. But I knew our time together would be short so I didn't squander it with wanton fantasy. Our hearts met in a twinge of heat as I reached in to find his softness. "More," I mumbled, "I want more", knowing that it was mine for taking. How quickly I had forgotten his girth, just how BIG he really is. And the more I touched him, the larger it seemed to grow. I gasped and thought again about racing for the door. No, I should stay, this is what we both wanted, needed. It had been so long, months in fact since they had been together. My hands trembled as I found more of his mounting fullness neatly tucked away waiting for my touch again. Let's not wait so long next time, my love. I can't take the anticipation. "Yes! Yes!" I exclaimed, admiring his fullness now spread out before me. "I want you, I want ALL of you." Suddenly, a sound from the driveway. DH had returned as evidenced by the Vanagon rumbling around the corner. "I must leave, my love, but I'll return later." "Don't go," he beckoned. "Stay with me, you know you truly love ME, want ME." I touched his tousled locks one more time, blew him a kiss and quickly shut the door behind me, heart throbbing in my chest and hands shaking. I quickly gathered myself to return to my family. Soon, my dear sweet yarn stash, I will return again soon...

Now before you feel sorry for me and think that I have no sex life, I want to assure you that DH has the same effect on me that fiber does :) Yes, I explored my stash this weekend. I never had space at the old house to spread it all out and admire it at once. It is truly a sensual experience to be "one" with all of my fiber :) On Sunday, I secretly pulled all of it out while the testosterone trio was busy and played with it. Wanna see how BIG it is? (Tee hee)

I separated it into sections in order to admire it fully. Step into my secret hideaway for a peek...

Can you tell I like Cascade 220?  Posted by Hello

Araucania Nature Wool - the best for felting projects! Posted by Hello

My Manos/Corriedale wool obssession... Posted by Hello

Random yarns Posted by Hello

Novelty or synthetic yarns Posted by Hello

I'll save the knitting tools, books, UFOs and FOs for another post. After this little exercise, I realize that I need to do some serious stash busting this winter. I can't believe my yarn addiction has grown this huge in just seven months!

Knitting notes:

I'm almost finished with the Houndstooth tote. Yea! i'll have a prefelted photo of her tomorrow. I just need to whip up the strap and a few inner pockets and put a fork in this project, its done.

Jen sent me a package of some of her luxurious fibers on Monday. Oh happy day! My Ebony Golding spindle was waiting for me when I come back into town from Richmond on Monday night. I wanted to sleep with it last night. Its so pretty! I'm ready! I've spun up all of the mystery roving that I had laying around. Here's my first "real" spinning with a "real" spindle:

Roving before spinning Posted by Hello

Golding gurl and my first handspun with her (yes its pink AND green mystery roving) Posted by Hello

I carded the roving (well, I used a wire dog brush) before spinning it which helped things go smoother this time. Okay, all you seasoned spinners, I'm ready for a critique. Is this how its supposed to look? You can tell me the truth. I can handle it.

Other random bits of happiness:

My (not so) secret pal, Heather, is officially engaged to her Boyo. Much love to both of them and her sweet Pixie. She also has a birthday coming up next week :)
Ei just celebrated a birthday - happy, happy birthday!

I'm back to work. I have some serious catching up to do since I was out sick most of last week.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Good drugs and Karma

Last night I slept. No hallucinations, no bad dreams, just blissful sleep. Its amazing what a little penicillin can do for ya. My physician - Dr. P - is awfully cute too so I know just visiting my hottie Dr. combined with the drugs he prescribed helped me get on the mend. That being said, I still feel like crap but I'm at least able to breathe again. I have that Kathleen Turner voice thing happening too. DH finds it sexy, I'm just a tad bit annoyed.

No knitting, dearies. I screwed up the houndstooth bag and need to frog five rows. That's what I get for trying to knit whilst running a fever, with dizzingly low blood pressure and talking to the hottie Dr. But he was intrigued with my knitting. He lovingly fondled it. Called it a labor of love. Said my mom is so lucky to have such a talented daughter. I think I swooned a bit when he left the room (or maybe it was the blood pressure thing) and lost count of my rows - (frog courtesy of JenLa - ya gotta love him!). That's okay. Just being lavished with compliments will make the frogging worth it.

Check the Fall Foliage Photo contest links that are newly updated. I'm accepting pictures until next Tuesday and the voting will begin Thursday. Thanks for all of the beautiful entries.

So here's where the karma thing comes in. I've been reading a number of blogs, knit blogs in fact, that are spending a great deal of energy mulling over the election. It seems that a number of people have even abandoned their knitting temporarily. Sure we're entitled to our opinions and would never want to see that taken away. But my heart keeps telling me that we're breeding too much negative energy, bad karma. As a result, I've tried to remain neutral because frankly, life is too short to spend it being angry all of the time. But one blogger issued a challenge that hit home with me. She took a couple of shots at the secret pals and RAOK programs which for one, hit me personally since I've been organizing a couple of rounds of KRSP since this summer. Her quote:

"As you start yet another secret pal program or another non-random acts of basic civility ring, look around. Do you know that there is a woman on the ring who cannot afford to keep a roof over herself and her two children? It's true. Take a good look at yourself. Why don't you know that fact? I know it because she once contacted me and asked for help.

I'm not pointing fingers, I'm just as guilty as you. But at least I have the guts to take a long, hard look at myself and figure out how to become a better person, a more generous citizen.

Maybe you should, too."

At first I was hurt, but then her words ARE quite true. I heard from some of these women when setting up the KRSP programs. They were concerned about dollar limits and access to LYS. I told them to give from their heart and enjoy the gift of friendship that I'd hoped they'd receive from the program. I guess I'm too idealistic because I've heard a bunch of griping, whining and outright ungratefulness during the KRSP programs. One such person was disappointed that her pal gave her acrylic yarn, another didn't think that her pal gave a high enough dollar amount gift. It makes me sad in some ways that I started it. The grub and grab mentality is NOT why I initiated KRSP. I needed a way to meet other knitters and thought that this would be a fun way to do so. I guess we live in a materialistic world and can't function past that fact sometimes. Sure, I know not everyone has had a negative experience. A few have really bonded with their pals and made new long distance friends. But for many, my effort to try to create something positive and fun has only brought sadness and disappointment. I never wanted that and it weighs heavy on my heart. I apologize to them for the insensitivity of others. I won't be hosting anymore KRSPs and I'm not sure how much longer I'll stay in the RAOK ring. There has to be a more positive way for me impact others through my knitting and the world of blogging. I'm not sure where this journey will lead me but I look forward to the challenge and hope that others will join me.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Feelin' blah

My throat is killing me. I could barely sleep last night because I couldn't breathe. And everytime I did fall asleep, I had these freaky fever induced hallucinations that would jolt me awake every twenty minutes. I was finally able to get in to see a doctor this afternoon. I hope that he can either give me some good drugs or a boot to the head. Either would be fine by me right now.

Not much to report in fiber art news. I ordered my Golding spindle (its ebony and just beautiful) in the hopes that I'd get it by Saturday. However, with today being a holiday, I guess that won't happen :( Its all for the best since I don't have any fiber to play with just yet. I have had fun drooling over the luxury fibers on the internet. I can't wait to play with some cashmere and alpaca - yum!

I knit a bit on the houndstooth bag. I have just a few more rows and then I'm finished. I'll borrow a friends camera and take some pictures of pre and post felting. I must admit that I'm nervous about how this tote will turn out. I've spent way too much time on it and if it doesn't felt properly, I think I'll cry.

On the spinning front, my curiosity about knitting with dog hair got the better of me. Since I was a worthless lump yesterday (I called in sick), I did a bit of research on the internet to find tons of info on Chiengora. Needless to say, Mavis was in trouble last night. I bought a slicker brush and went to town brushing her. I must admit that she didn't have nearly as much fur as I thought she would so I ended up with one good handful. It was just enough for me to try my hand at spinning with Corgi hair. Her fur is black and white so the resulting yarn is sort of heathery colored. It has a pretty halo and is incredibly soft. It spun up into sort of a thick and thin yarn. I'm going to keep brushing and spinning her hair until I have enough to knit a swatch with (which might be a while). The only down side is that they recommend that you wash and deodorize it AFTER you spin it and well, your hands smell like dog once you're finished - yuck. I'll post pictures of my first efforts once I borrow someone's camera.

I'm off to the doctor in the hopes that he can help me swallow again.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Nikon, your time here was too short

Oh the humanity. It began so innocently with me taking pictures at a friend's house over the weekend. It ended so suddenly, abruptly, tragically with my dear sweet Nikon falling in slow motion to meet her untimely demise against the unforgiving concrete below. I was helpless, turning around just in time to see my friend stumbling to catch my baby that he'd dropped. Alas, none of us could catch her in time. Her last breath was a feeble electronic whir as the lens retracted into her body. It was an accident but I know that she will never be the same again. "Lens error" is all her screen reads now. I'm not sure that she can be repaired. She was but a babe, only six months old. I'm so, so sad that she's possibly gone forever :(

That being said, there are no pictures of current WIPs so I'll entertain you with some that I took last week.

Mom, GMa and Me Posted by Hello

A very tired DH modeling the Kittyville hat Posted by Hello

Close up of Kittyville hat (using Inspirations yarn) Posted by Hello

Me and my brother circa 1974 - gotta love that hair! Posted by Hello

In spite of the Nikon incident, our visit with friends this weekend was wonderful. DH and the boys went to the Tech/NC game while me and the girls (and DSS#2 who would like to be a girl) went shopping. We visited the famous (and very crowded) A Southern Season and sampled lots of yummy goodness. I was in cooking heaven! I can't wait to go back after the holidays so that I can take more of this wonderful gourmet store in. We also braved South Point mall for a short period of time. We all burnt out after an hour (the lines and crowds were unbelievable) and threw in the towel for the rest of the weekend.

On the spinning front, Jen is putting together a sampler for me with some of her Spirit Trail fibers though I've been given several other recommendations for great fibers in VA. I'm eyeballing the dog right now as she's beginning to go through one of her infamous fall Corgi sheds. I bet that I can get several ounces out of her if I brush her good over the next few weeks. This will take some research on how to prep it, etc. Who knew that I could actually make use of her fabulously annoying fluff?

I got too busy earlier in the week and never got to order my Golding :( Hopefully I'll get the order in today. Spinners are such kind and wonderful people. If you're interested in venturing into this fiber art world, check out these two Yahoo groups - Spindlers and Spin List. You'll be able to gather more information than you ever imagined existed on these two lists. And of course, there's always my fav, Knitters Review forums.

On the knitting front, I'm almost finished with the houndstooth bag. I finished the body and I'm about halfway through the front flap. The bag looks like a messenger bag. DH is quite amazed at how this project is turning out especially when he looks at the inside. I know that Mom will love it! I'm toying with the idea of adding some pockets on the inside for her cell phone, keys, etc., a zipper and a change purse. I think I'll scrap the matching mittens. I've never seen my mom wear mittens and frankly the prospect of more stranded knitting right now seems daunting. I'm ready to move on to another project.

My Threadbear order finally arrived on Monday though I'd already found the natural Cascade 220 at a little shop in NC during my visit. I rescued a skein of grey Cascade Indulgence (yummy fine alpaca and angora) from the 'blah" of the NC store. It will remain nameless to protect the innocent but lets just say that I now know where they send orange, brown and yellow yarns from the 70s to die. Also in my Threadbear order was a white skein of Indulgence and Diakeito Diadomina to play with. Happy birthday to me!

Well, I'm headed back to bed (yes, I called in sick today). I'm nursing a fever and possible strep throat and need more rest. Everytime I'm out in major metro areas, I come back home with the crud. This is getting old :( Have a great day!

Friday, November 05, 2004

You spin me right round baby right round...

Like a record baby round, round and round. Does anybody besides me remember this song from the 80's? The lead singer kinda creeped me out. Anyway, sorry for the tangent but it is related. I did my first spinning last night. I used my craptacular $1.25 handmade spindle so don't laugh at my finished products. I'm lucky that they look anything like yarn. I dug out some fiber that came in a sample needle felting kit and gave it a whirl (I crack myself up).

The fibers that I've been playing with Posted by Hello

My first handspun yarns Posted by Hello

Knitted swatch Posted by Hello

Close up  Posted by Hello

I could tell that I was spinning the fiber too tight but then again, I couldn't get the stupid spindle to turn for long. I think it isn't balanced very well because it wobbles while I'm trying to spin :( How much can I expect from a spindle that I crammed together in less than 10 minutes? I also don't have enough of any fiber to really spin more than a couple of yards worth but at least I'm getting some practice. I wish I knew what the fibers were because the one on the far right is something I don't ever want to touch again. I called it "mutt" wool - it looked ugly, felt ugly and spun ugly. The one in the middle is Bartlett wool. Easy to spin, nice feel, great colors. The one on the left was real loopy, shiny and the fibers were long. It felt really good but when I spun it, it seemed real coarse like a lopi. It kinda looked like lopi too when I knit the swatch. I don't like lopi so I'd rather not play with this wool again either. I'm going to get a sample bag of roving in order to play with the different types until I find my favorites. All in all, it didn't take me but an hour to spin, skein and set the twist on these minis. I can't wait to do more. I'll definitely have to set aside a spinning day now :)

The wonderful spinning ladies over at KR have been great spinning enablers - Amie, Bess, Lissa, Donna and many others. Thanks for your guidance and support!

I shared with my mom what I was going to spend my birthday money on and she told me about a friend who has a farm near them and spins and knits. I put the bug in her ear that I'd eventually love a spinning wheel. MacGuyver (what we call Mom because she can fix anything) and Ebay Man (what we call Dad because he'll spend hours after work sniffing out bargains on Ebay) will surely hook me up with one for Christmas :) Well gotta run. I have a short work day and I need to place my spindle order today - yippie! I'm getting a Golding based on Bess' recommendation. I really want that Celtic Knot but can't rationalize spending the extra $20. I want to save and buy some cashmere (yummy). Have a great weekend everyone...

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Happy November!

I'm still recovering from the weekend. I'd planned to veg on the couch a bit this am before starting work but the leaf elephant came roaring down the street at 7:30 (sheesh!). I'm not awake enough to work yet, so I decided to blog. I will edit this entry later today to include pictures - in case anyone cares.

The tween Halloween party on Friday was just fine. There was one girl of questionable intentions who came and wore a red vinyl devil girl costume complete with plunging neckline and a skirt that was so short that she err, needed an additional hairdo. How does a mom let her daughter out of the house like that? Call me a prude but I thought for a 12 year old, it was highly inappropriate.

Anyhoo, my parents and my GMa made it up to the mountains just fine. The weather was perfect - sunny and warm all weekend! They loved our new house. I cooked like a fiend for "Thanksgiving" and we ate like there was no tomorrow. Gma brought me one of her world famous homemade pineapple cakes for my birthday. I'm her favorite(she says puffing her chest out) and Gma hasn't made one of these cakes for mom, my aunt and uncle, her sisters or anyone else in a couple of years. Needless to say, they've going to put a hit out on me. Gma is 84 so her homemade goodies are more precious than gold. I will be freezing what's left of this cake so that I can nibble on it periodically AND to keep me on WW Core program.

Gma is also the incredible woman who gave me my entre into the world of fiber arts. She came into it for practical reasons, as did most women of her era. But over the years she sewed and created for pleasure and fun and passed that love down to me. What's interesting is she admits that she never learned how to knit and is actually fascinated by my ability to do so. I'm so glad that I've had her in my life as long as I have :)

I'm still savoring my birthday swag. Moola and a hot/cold water cooler (WTF?) from Mom and Dad (they instructed me to "show them" what I bought for myself because I notoriously spend money that they give me on the boys), homemade watermelon rind pickle and pineapple cake from Gma, some goodies from Williams Sonoma from my friend Cheryl, Costa Rican Salsa Lizano from my friend Adri (this stuff is like gold in my house), great fridge magnets from my friend Ellen and a very generous GC to Ann Taylor from DH and DSSS. I also received an overwhelming number of e-cards from fellow bloggers and fiber RAOKers. Thank you to everyone for your good wishes. I hope to spend at least another 35 years on this planet surrounded by caring friends and family.

I did manage to squeeze a couple of hours of knitting in over the weekend. I was able to make significant progress on Houndstooth after my parents left but am running out of yarn - yikes! I didn't knit on "Moon" but I now know that she's going to Gma. Her legs get cold more often than not and "Moon" has lots of mohair to keep her warm. I was able to whip up a quick knit this weekend - the Kittyville hat from Stitch 'N Bitch. I was supposed to be knitting the Mystery Kit from Martheme's Inspirations Yarn but I couldn't resist pairing a couple of yarns together to do something quick and different. I tend to look dorky in hats and have no plans to show you what I look like in it. I was able to get DH to pose in it though. I agree that we both look dorky in hats and this will be a holiday gift :)

So, what can I spend my birthday moola on. I, of course, will blow it all on fiber and knitting related items but there are so many choices. I don't "need" a ton of yarn though I've already ordered a couple of "samples" from the boys at Threadbear when I placed my order yesterday for more Cascade 220. Rob almost talked me into a couple of new Classic Elite cashmere yarns called Forbidden and
Indulge. I'm holding out for now but might get some eventually because I LOVE cashmere! I've decided to invoke the spinning spirits to move me to spin wool. I really want a spinning wheel but realized very quickly that its quite an investment right now especially seeing that I've done very little spinning. I'll start small with a good quality spindle and some yummy roving and see if this is something I'm "meant" to do. I'm relying on all of you spinning godesses to be good enablers and direct me to the yummiest spinning goodies that I can find. My happiness depends on it!

I leave you all with my personality test results courtesy of Wendy. I'm a hippie! Of the 50761 people who have taken this quiz since tracking began (8/17/2004), 10.8 % are this type. Want to test your personality? Check it out here: 20 questions to a better personality quiz