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

Sunday, September 28, 2008

It's just a heathen town

Yesterday, we went to Penn's Colony, so this is going to be a photo-heavy post. Then, today, something strange happened. And who knows what will happen next.

My latest round of issues is being pissed off at my limited mobility. Yesterday, I said the heck with it, and we went to Penn's Colony. It was nice. It was also way more walking than I've done since the accident. Here's some photos from the event.

This fellow was amazing. His outfit was outlandish, and he sat outside a vendor's tent with a bird whistle, pitching the goods and blowing the whistle.
That brocade coat was gorgeous beyond words.

We spent some time watching a rifle drill at the french encampment.

The commander was barking his orders in loud french. Monty Python moments ensued.

The camps were all set up like actual french and indian wars army camps. if you want to see more photos of the encampments and other stuff that was there.

Some of my other favorite photos from the day include
Santa Claus and his Maker, and the Gallery of Clauses.



You can't help but notice that he's made Santa in his own image.

And the baby on a leash

and the scottish dancing.

It was a beautiful day until it started to rain, but I had a great time. Bob got a new belt from a leather crafstman, and I got a new change purse, some fiber and some yarn (yay!). We also got some snack foods from the candy booth but overall we didn't spend much money there. Afterwards, we went to Pittsburgh Mills and got new shoes, and ice cream at Sonic.

When I got home, my leg was pretty much dead. I dreaded today. I figured it would be stiff and sore and immobile for most of the day. BUT... other than waking up with severe cramps in the bad leg, it's actually been pretty OK. It hurts LESS today than it did yesterday before we went, and I'm actually walking around the house mostly without a limp. I don't expect that to last all day but it's very encouraging. I think I need to really push myself beyond my comfort zone on a regular basis.

Here's the yarn and fiber I got-the yarn is Cashgora, and the fiber is Merino.


Yes, that was ten bucks for 140 yards of aran-weight handspun cashgora. The skeins are 7 ounces. Amazing. And it is gorgeous. It positively glows.


The roving has VM (vegetable matter) in it, but it should fall out during spinning. 8 oz of merino for six dollars is an amazing deal. And it's soft as butter, too.

I teased out a little of it and finger-spun it while we were sitting around resting my leg.

There was a pretty good fiber arts presence there. I met about five spinners at various booths, my purchases were all from the Butler County Spinners and Weavers guild. It was a good sign that literally, the first thing I saw was a woman sitting with her Ashford Joy spinning yarn at a children's activity booth.

In other craft-related news, I finished the Flyaway Free Jacket, SO EASY, and the Tulip Socks. Haven't got a photo of the socks yet, but here's the jacket hanging up to dry.

I'll probably go to Joanne Fabrics tomorrow and find the perfect button for it. I don't want to block it hard, I want it to be flowy and casual looking. It fits perfectly, too.
I really like the look of the material. The handspun yarn was a good match for it.

So other than that, I started socks for one of the girls, Beaded Rib, out of DK Knits Technicolor Dream Toes yarn. Again, no photos yet. My camera battery is charging. The tulip socks look and feel wonderful. Today, I'm spinning some of my cheviot roving, I divided it for three ply instead of two and hoping to get it done today so I can ply and set. I think after last week's three-ply experience I'm pretty much done with two ply yarns for the most part, three ply just looks and feels so much better. But I've got to spin thinner in order to accomplish the same weight yarn. It's a process.

Ok, back to it.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Don't sit under the apple tree.

Seriously, don't. The apples are falling off at a record pace.

I wish I knew how to take care of that tree. I have a feeling we're going to lose it in another two or three years unless we do something, and I really like having it there.

No deep thoughts this time, just some craft updates, some pictures, and then off to finish my crafty, sporty sunday.

Working on socks, of course. The Koi socks are on hold while I finish off a pair of slip-stitch rib socks from Charlene Schurch's "Sensational Knitted Socks". The yarn is handspun, "Tulips", blue faced leicester fiber dyed in the Tulips colorway by Spunky Eclectic. I got the fiber in a Ravelry destash some time ago. The socks are incredibly bouncy, springy, vibrant things. They're going to feel terrific on my feet.


The pattern really is a good match for handspun candystripe type yarn.


Though I did manage to match up the dye job on the roving when I was spinning the yarn in quite a few places as seen here.

Also making a sweater/jacket thing called the "Flyaway Free Jacket" from a website, Just One More Row. Good stuff, I think. She has a lot of plus sized patterns, including the famous Diamond Patch sweater which I really want to make using my Interlacements Kansas yarn. Anyway, the jacket is a very quick knit, I just started it yesterday afternoon, and I'm 1/4 done already, using chunky handspun.


There are two options for gauge on the pattern, one for 2 stitches to the inch and one for 2.5. I went with the 2.5 to give a more solid fabric but it's still a nice texture, and I think it shows off the yarn very well. It should also block out quite a bit larger, although it's already pretty big.


I spun some yarn earlier in the week using a merino braid I got in a destash. It was one of those multicolored combed top preparations and I split it into three even pieces to get a three ply yarn. I am sold.


The yarn is incredibly drapey and smooth, and looks so much more professional than 2 ply.


I'm still very much a beginner to spinning and it was a real eye-opener to see how much rounder and better feeling a real three ply yarn is. Now to spin fine enough to actually create three ply sock yarn!

In other things, Bob got a new car, YAY.


It's a 2009 Scion XB, just as adorable and badass as it could be. He loves it. His car has been on last legs for some time, having progressively more serious issues as time went on (as 14-year old cars are wont to do) and it's just nice to know I don't have to worry about him getting trapped somewhere or breaking down far from home.

I'll close with random flowers and a bug. The Steelers game is about to start!




Thursday, September 18, 2008

Drive-By Video

I have never seen anything like this. Snopes assures that it is true.

It's way too early in the morning for my mind to be this boggled.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

A stern and silent pride

Here’s the thing that’s upsetting me most about where the political discourse is now in this country.

Politics has devolved into a team sport.

It should not be about what team or what side you are on. It should not be about if you’re going to win or lose. It's not US vs THEM because we're ALL US. The country should be coming together and making a thoughtful decision on who is the best person to lead the country, not splitting into violent angry hordes choosing up sides and drawing lines in the sand.

"Games" are played, "races" are run. Tactics are used. Voters are manipulated to grant an advantage to one side or a disadvantage to another. Dirt is dug for, not in the interest of furthering the discourse, but in the interest of gaining some imaginary ground or racking up invisible points. It’s all bullshit, and we all lose.

Partisan politics operates not for the people, but for the lobbyists, the corporations, and the special interest groups. Disinformation is spread far and wide on both sides. Both sides look for “zingers” to use against the other. He said-she said moves out of the elementary school and on to the debate floor. It’s all bullshit, and we all lose.

It makes me sad. People are losing their minds. People brandish McCain or Obama buttons and banners and signs like Steelers or Browns jerseys and flags. Politics is not a team sport, and when it’s played like one, the dialogue is coarsened. Still, people go around flinging insults and giggling behind their hands and engaging in games of “the dozens” like when we were kids. We as a nation should have outgrown pasting someone’s head on someone else’s body and sending it around the office as truth. We as a nation should have outgrown whispering in the corners about the religious affiliations of grownups. We as a nation should have outgrown perpetuating racist, sexist, and ageist stereotypes and flinging them at each other like so much rancid monkey poo. It’s all bullshit, and we all lose.

So now what? Is voting even going to make a difference this time? Can we get out of this international nightmare, this economic nightmare, this environmental nightmare? Can we all stand up and say, “hey, you know what, we have our differences, but let’s find some things to agree on”. Truthfully, I can’t even imagine that happening. Science, history, sociology, archaeology, economics, and human decency are all ignored and twisted and used for nefarious purposes to prove a point on one side or the other. You know the line by now. It’s all bullshit, and we all lose.

I’ll go back to a message that Al Gore delivered in his amazing speech not so long ago. We have an opportunity to become the next great generation. We have the chance to make a difference, to really change the world for the better. We have the means and the ability to have history look back on us and smile, because we gave our children and grandchildren a future, and did it all in spite of the limitations imposed on us by an inflammatory press, by a consumption-driven society, and a poisonously dualistic political process.

At heart, I’m an optimist, but in reality I’m a pragmatist. One of those people who think communism, libertarianism, socialism, democracy, capitalism, even organized religion are all good ideas in one way or another but that human nature leads us to let each other down. At this point, I hope and pray (in my own agnostic fashion) that we can pull ourselves out of all these quagmires at once and lead future generations to a better tomorrow.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

OHAI to those arriving from Knitting Pattern Central

I kinda feel like I hit the big time looking at my sitemeter and finding so many folks popping in from KPC. So welcome, feel free to poke around and check out the blog, the links, the free (and cheap) patterns, and the silly pictures.

OHAI funny picture
Funny Stuff / Myspace layouts

Saturday, September 06, 2008

So where are the strong and who are the trusted?

This past weekend was the Western PA Mensa RG. It was mostly fun but a lot of it wasn't.

It was not fun having people see me this way. It was not fun having people say "why don't you try THIS, or why don't you do THAT, or you should do THIS, or you need to do THAT" like I don't know how to manage my own physical challenges and like I never consulted a doctor or physical therapist. People mean well, I know they do. They say these things out of love, but they don't think. It gets exhausting.

Not to mention, I am generally the life of the party, running all over the place, lifting heavy objects and people, breaking into song and dance at the slightest provocation, running people and things to and fro, and I was pretty much unable to do that. It sucked monkey balls, let me tell you.

That and having freaking McCain staying in our hotel, which was not only a major PITA but led to everyone talking politics the whole time. GAH. Just what I did not need.

On the upside, I had fun talking with some people I dearly love and haven't seen or talked to in way too long. I also got time in the hotel's pool and hot tub which was glorious, absolutely glorious.


This week has been kind of a blur. The impending weather has made the titanium barometer that is mounted in my knee act up constantly. I've also been tired. And all of a sudden, it's Saturday and there's a pile of laundry staring me in the face.

If you're not scared off yet, here's a picture of Bob at the hotel. Heh.


He's so cute. That bed was SO comfortable, too. I wish we had room for a king-sized bed. I slept like a log for the most part.

In crafting, I've been making good progress on the second pair of entrelac socks.


I had to rip out almost the whole entrelac part of the second sock because I missed one rectangle in the first row, and the nature of the beast is that you CAN miss it if you don't count each row carefully before you turn and start building rectangles the other way, so COUNT THEM. It's moving along nicely now, though.

Started a shawl out of the "octarine" yarn. It's actually a stole, which I think will be much more my speed. I'm not much of a shawl person.
The pattern's very simple for lace. The hardest part is remembering to turn the row counter so you remember where you are.

Also working on the Koi socks, almost done with one, and worried about the second.
Why worried, you ask? Because it's snug on my good foot so far. I might make the second one on a size larger needles to make sure it'll fit my puffyfoot.

I love these socks in this yarn though. It's the Silk Garden Sock from Noro and is so wonderfully soft.

Haven't been spinning lately though I did get some silk top to spin. I'm a little nervous about it for no good reason. I'd really like to blend it with the Wensleydale I have to make a nice glossy sock yarn, but carding isn't a good option for silk and I don't have combs or a hackle. Yet. I need to figure out what my next tool will be.
Really, I want a new wheel. I would like to invest in a Fricke wheel, not terribly expensive but from all accounts very good equipment for a decent price and a step up from the Babe. Now that I'm getting paid again (YAY) I can start putting some money away for things like that. The Fricke single treadle (no sense getting DT with my bad foot) is less than $300 right now. So I think that's going to happen around the first of the year barring disaster.

Poor Bob is having such trouble with his allergies this year. He's a regular Mr. McSneezy. He says the weeds are worse than usual. I noticed the apples are certainly worse than usual. We have hundreds of them all over the yard.
They are wormy off the tree, no good to eat, except for dogs
and deer. I wish I could salvage some of them, but they are full of holes even on the tree, and I know nothing about care and feeding of apple trees and have no time/energy/cash to put into it.

I must be off. Deep thoughts are not happening in a cohesive enough form to capture in type just now, though maybe later. I have thoughts but no motivation to record them. Good thoughts, I think, but no desire to waste them casting them upon the winds. So for now I'll keep them to myself. I'm sick of politics anyway.