Chitchat and the occasional in-depth analysis about fiber, knitting, spinning, crochet, cooking, feminism, self-image, and a modicum of personal blathering.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Anniversary Weekend

This weekend is the second anniversary of our wedding. It was the best day of my life so far.

My husband has stood with me through a lot of difficult things so far, and I know it's not been easy for him. He's a wonderful man.

Recent knitting completions... Melissa's socks.

Yes that's quill lace again... this time in a hand-dyed destash acquisition. Amy, are you still checking in? If so, here's your yarn!

Melissa is my best friend. She's been fighting brain cancer for a very long time. Three years ago, her tumor went malignant, and she's been under various forms of chemo ever since. I fear greatly for her just now. She's a wonderful person, funny, bright, talented... and very, very sick. I'm trying not to despair but it's not looking very hopeful just now... her most recent MRI is not promising.

Between her and my grandmother fading fast, it's going to be tough to enjoy this weekend away with friends. I am tempted to stay home, but I made a committment to this event and I need to follow through with it.

I also need to deliver this, a gift to our dear friend Mary Lee, the woman who married us.

She has a fondness for black and white stripes, and also for flying pigs. Last year I gave her crocheted flying pigs. This year, it's a scarf.

But there is more to this scarf than meets the eye...

Turn it to the side and....

Voila! Like magic!

I even did a piano key motif in the fringe, you'll notice. The pattern is called Counterpoint, and it's from Magknits online knitting magazine.

Last weekend was rather idyllic, if hot.

The peonies opened.

This is a wild sage that is growing on the back hill in profusion. Go, wild sage!

And the pansies in the basket are doing well.

I'm trying to not be desperately afraid this weekend. I'm trying to enjoy my time off, my precious time with my husband and our friends. Shadows cast themselves over us, though. I will be keeping my telephone close.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

What does it cost?

Lots of things going on.

The yard and gardens are waking up. I've not lost as much as I feared, and some things are coming back even stronger than before. Case in point... sage.

And strangest of all, I seem to have two different colors of flowers from the same seeds I planted two years ago. Last year, there were only purple flowers.

But now there are pink ones as well.

I planted some tomatoes last week. Two "Mr Stripey" heirloom and three cherry bushes.

My brain is not working properly-last year, I saved seeds from heirloom tomatoes that I bought at the farmers market, and I forgot to plant them. It's far too late now. Maybe next year... if I remember.

The irises are coming up very nicely. As is the columbine.

The wegelia bloomed in profusion, it must have really liked getting trimmed.

And I did up some hanging baskets myself. They don't quite look "right" yet, they're not all grown in, but this one isn't too bad.

They'll all look better in a couple of weeks.

Recent spinning includes my very first sock yarn from that Cotswold roving...

And some superwash merino I got from etsy not long ago.

Here they are side by side for "grist comparison".

I actually went to a local spin-in last night, it was pretty amazing. It was incredibly tough for me to actually go meet with these people. Hell, lately it's a huge effort to even go out of the house at all. But I went, and I'm glad. They were so nice, and an old friend showed up too, it was nice to see her as well. The ladies there were pretty impressed that I taught myself to spin "over the internet", but I told them there were lots and lots of us out here with no other spinners to learn from. I guess I didn't embarrass myself too much, even though I felt like I was trying way too hard and as usual I was awkward and loud and clumsy and talked too much.

This is Millie with her "Wee Peggy" wheel and another woman who makes gorgeous jewlery and was spindle-spinning with us. I can't remember her name.. I'm awful with names.

Here's my old friend Shari with her Schacht (the wheel of my dreams, btw), a woman who knits mittens and whose name I can't recall, and our hostess Valerie. Her home was beautiful, and she also had a Schacht wheel which I got to try, and which was amazing.

Anyway, from what I can see, I'm actually spinning correctly, though. I'd still like to get a more versatile wheel with more range, and I'd like to learn some different techniques too. At least now I know some people who also spin and can answer questions, or at least know which way to point me.

I'm almost done with Melissa's socks and should have photos of them soon. Not much knitting getting done this week, the weather's been too hot for what I'm working on now. Our friend Mary Lee is getting a birthday present that I need to finish posthaste.

So that's about it for now. I've probably got a lot more to say but I need to get my feet up, I'm having weather-related edema and the swelling's getting pretty bad.
I also have to get this gift done, less than a week until I have to deliver it!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

fast food for thought

Not much to say. It's been a busy week. My younger daughter was in from school and she had her wisdom teeth out on Friday, then back on Sunday for her summer job with the maintenance department of the school and her internship. I really miss her, I'm used to her being here over the summer.

My husband had some medical tests yesterday that came back fine, so that's a relief.

I'm making socks and still the same shawl (now determined to be for my former supervisor, who is retiring) and the pinwheel sweater. Always the pinwheel sweater.

I wanted to share this remarkable story about a brave mother who was a hero to her child. Seven months pregnant, she nearly lost her own life saving her young son, but they both made it out of a horrific trailer house fire. A good read, guaranteed.

There was a friendly friend in the yard today when I got home.

What a little cutie, huh?

Once I got outside, he ran off, but not before I took this.

Not making any promises, I'm hoping to do a better update later in the week. No time today.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

What a week...

Last week, we discovered an invasion of mice in the garage. We've been slowly cleaning it out, as much as we can manage at a time. I'm extremely grossed out and disgusted with myself for allowing this to happen in our home.

Then, Saturday, Bob's car was leaking transmission fluid. That's where I lost track of all rational thought. We went to the OTB to watch the Derby as we'd planned, and we spent the rest of the weekend panicking and worrying. Transmission + 13 year old car = diminishing returns. Poor Bob was freaked out, I was freaked out, and I came down with a sinus infection just to add to the fun. We got very lucky; it turned out it was only a hose, but notice has been served-we must start saving up and financially preparing for Bob to get a new car, and soon.

Just not from Valley Honda. Their customer service sucks, and apparently people with emergency-type repairs take a lower priority because they "didn't have an appointment". Thanks, next time we'll make sure the car breaks down on schedule, ok?

So we're on to pretty pictures of pretty things.

I finished my quill lace socks. They're not really this short.

I also finished the fulled purse. Just today, in fact. It's kinda cute-not ideal, but a good first purse. The colors are great, the shaping is ok, and the handles slide around. I think I just need to tighten the stitching around them.

I still think it's somewhat a work in progress, but overall it's a cute little bag.

Did some spinning this week, too. I got some lovely roving from Mountain Shadow Ranch on ebay, 8 oz of Cotswold roving and a "mystery batt". The roving is trying to be sock yarn.

The mystery batt became the prettiest yarn I ever spun. It contained a lot of different fibers and a lot of sparkle. Would have been unsuited for anything knitted all by itself, plus I wanted maximum impact from what I had. So, I spun it into a single, then thought about it for a while. Red and royal purple were the two colors that it wanted to be mixed with, but I wasn't completely happy with it only with one or the other. So, I alternated equal size strips of this royal blue with a nice deep red. Then, that single got plied with the mystery batt single.

It's really quite spectacular, I think. It's about 240 yards.

I'll leave you with some flowers from our yard.

(Anyone who knows what this is, I'll send you a bag of bulbs of it. I have TONS.)

The sage is doing well.

Oh, and cat and daughter photos. Here's elder daughter being claimed by Figment.

Younger daughter is in for the week. She'll be getting her wisdom teeth extracted on Friday, then back to school on Sunday to start work on Monday. She'll be staying in a boarding house owned by the college for the summer, with occasional weekends home.

Off to bed-it's been a long couple of days and I'm exhausted.