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

Monday, February 23, 2009

I don't need to be forgiven

This is going to be in the way of a rapid photo dump, as I feel like hammered shit right now and need to go to bed. I've had horrible leg cramps (bad leg only so it isn't a potassium deficiency, thanks) all weekend and also have a recurrence of the allergic rhinitis that has caused my right eardrum to retract again and I'm having excruciating ear pain that goes all the way down the right side of my face to my neck and into my collarbone. I'm way too young for this. So some photos and brief descriptions and that'll have to do for now.

First up is a needle felted heart that I did while watching the oscars.



I'm also working on a needle-felted cat that started off looking like an owl pellet but is now looking like a cat-shape. It's a work in progress.



It's actually further along than this but I didn't take new photos. I'm really liking the needle felting.

My mom got a new dog-her senior Brittany mix, my sister Molly, passed away a couple of weeks ago. Since my mother didn't want Mini, her JRT, to be alone, she adopted Pookie here from a local shelter. She's cute. Bad breath.


The orchids are blooming on one plant.


And here is some yarn I spun over the weekend. A two-ply because of the color sequence. I am curious how it'll knit up, it's a sportweight, about 330 yards.


I haven't done a two ply in a while, it was weird.


Finally, a photo of me and my mom that I took a photo of. This was taken when I was about two and a half. I was a cute baby. My mom was pretty cute, herself.


That's about it. I'm just not feeling up to writing anything right now-too much pain and not enough sleep. So it goes.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Because someone asked...

Yes, those are Corgis.



And Miss Lily.


Such difficult lives they lead.


lily too fast

dogs getting  bath



Such cruelty. Such deprivation. It's a dog's life, for real.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Captive on the carousel of time

It's been an eventful week, nothing drastic but a lot of little stuff.

Bob brought me Ladies of the Canyon to start off my Joni Mitchell kick... the last time I had any of her music in my collection was when I had vinyl and that's been a long time. So I've been enjoying listening to it and planning what else to get. Hence the blog title.

We had a nice time on Friday visiting an old friend and hearing two of his bands play at a local coffeehouse, Your Inner Vagabond. I think Bob and I will be going back there many times-it was so comfortable and just a nice place to hang out. Plus the coffee and tapas were awesome. My friend's name is Nick. We met when we both worked at Barnes and Noble, he was still in high school at the time and I had a child his age but we hit it off like contemporaries. Nick's super-intelligent, a brilliant musician and drummer and a genuinely nice person. It's nice to see that he is doing what he loves with his life. Also, a lot of people have talent. Nick has put in the work and dedication to make his level of skill match his talent.

So anyway, we had a nice time at the concert and I got myself on a mailing list for ney lessons. Saturday, I went to the Pittsburgh Knit and Crochet Festival. I had a budget and stuck to it.

I got this fiber from Rivers Edge Weaving Studio. The top one is Blue-Faced Leicester, one of my favorite spinning fibers. There are almost 8 oz of that, then four ounces of a gorgeous soft merino/silk blend.

From Fire Lizard Studios, I got 4 oz of BFL and 2 oz of merino/tencel blend. I'm thinking a big skein of sock yarn, three ply. The colors don't match, but coordinate nicely.

And from Cosy, I got two braids, one Corriedale,

and one Falkland, which I have not spun before.
I could not pass up the falkland because the colorway is named the same as my Ravelry name, Fennel.

So lots of happy spinning there. I could have spent a lot more on fiber but I got no yarn, and frankly, wasn't even remotely tempted by any yarn. Although that might be because it was really hard to get to many of the booths because of the crowds-there were a LOT of people there and my tolerance for shoving through crowds is low these days. Plus I did not take my crutch in, figured I'd need both hands to carry stuff. So I really missed a lot.


One of the knitting projects I couldn't talk about was Bob's socks. I made them out of one skein of the London Fog sock yarn I'd spun and gotten tangled as referenced in last week's post. I actually knit these socks in five days without him knowing they were for him so I'm pretty proud of them. They're super-squishy and soft and he loves them.
Please ignore the scruddy carpet-that's being remedied today. I also got him a card that amused me to no end.


Sick! I love it. He got a cake from Moio's which we ate all weekend, a very sweet card, and he took me to the Winchester Room for dinner last night. It was awesome.

Another acquisition from the knit expo was a needle-felting kit. Uh-oh. I did not need another fiber hobby, but this is actually pretty awesome and will be a good way to use up little odd bits of fiber. The first thing I made was this.

Then I made this.


Then I watched some videos on youtube and made these.


That is a peach.

And this is an egg.



It's a lot of fun. Pretty easy, too. I can see me having a lot of fun needle-felting and thankfully I have most of the materials already. I'll need to get more needles eventually but they're not expensive. Hey, maybe this is the 3-D art outlet I've been seeking.

I took some interesting photos on the way home from the knit expo.



Last thing in crafting, I finished spinning the yarn for the swap. It's currently in a nice soak to set the twist and soften.


I hope my swap victim likes it! It ended up being 640 yards of sportweight three ply. Nice stuff, I think. I'd be happier if it were a little softer but we'll see how it dries. I have until the 16th to send it off so I can always soak it with conditioner if it's still not soft enough after this. It's not scratchy, but it's not merino either. I guess I'm a little spoiled.

The other big thing we did was some house-related improvements-minor really but impactful. Our TV stand was very rickety, to the point I was seriously worried it was going to collapse. We got a new one last week at Circuit City's closeout sale and Bob put it together while I was off diving into bins of fibery goodness. We got it set up yesterday, and it looks really nice. And it's VERY sturdy.

Our TV is old-school and very heavy.

When deciding what to do with the old one, we came to the conclusion that we could use THAT for storage and shitcan the horrible black shelves of despair that had been our media storage. It worked out okay and it looks nice, I think. Nicer, anyway. We'll never be House Beautiful but at least those dreadful black things are gone.


Well that was a lot to talk about. So I'm outa here. I have more organizing to do, and I'm considering going to the pool before this afternoon's hockey game.

I leave you with my favorite song from Ladies of the Canyon. Ignore the horrible cheesy graphics and just listen to the music. :)

Monday, February 09, 2009

We are billion year old carbon

Last week, Bob mentioned to me that the Steelers victory parade came up 50,000 short of Woodstock in terms of attendance. Being the habitual song-parodist that I am, I immediately started getting ideas for a Steeler-themed parody of Woodstock by CSNY. I learned something about myself and about Joni Mitchell in the process.

(listen here)

I learned that some things are sacred.

Bob and I came up with quite a few clever turns of phrase, changing the words to suit the Steelers Super Bowl victory and the subsequent celebrations. I wanted to keep as much of the tone of the song as possible, because Joni Mitchell's construction of internal rhyme and rhythm is incredible, and very impressive.

Well I came across a child of God, he was walking along the road
and I asked him tell where are you going, this he told me:
Well, I'm going down to Yasgur's farm, going to join in a rock and roll band.
Got to get back to the land, set my soul free.

We are stardust, we are golden, we are billion year old carbon,
And we got to get ourselves back to the garden.

Well, then can I walk beside you? I have come to lose the smog.
And I feel like I'm a cog in something turning.
And maybe it's the time of year, yes, and maybe it's the time of man.
And I don't know who I am but life is for learning.

We are stardust, we are golden, we are billion year old carbon,
And we got to get ourselves back to the garden.

We are stardust, we are golden, we are billion year old carbon,
And we got to get ourselves back to the garden.

By the time we got to Woodstock, we were half a million strong,
And everywhere there was song and celebration.
And I dreamed I saw the bomber jet planes riding shotgun in the sky,
Turning into butterflies above our nation.

We are stardust, we are golden, we are caught in the devil's bargain,
And we got to get ourselves back to the garden.

After an hour and a half or so wrestling with the lyrics, I walked away. Parody fame perhaps abandoned, but what of it? Some things are just too ingenious to deconstruct. It felt sacrilegious, trying to twist Joni's brilliant lyrics to fit a black and gold revelry.

Joni Mitchell remains a musical icon, too often unrecognized now. She is a brillant artist, a songwriter among the very best of our time, a poet, and a pioneer. Yet the top songs on the radio are derivative shit sung through synthesizers by untalented pretty faces. It just shows I'm getting old.

Footnote-I'm now on Twitter as jl_fritz if any of my readers are interested in following. I'm not real sure what I think of Twitter yet but it seems kinda fun and interesting.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

do you promise not to tell?

I have knitting projects I can't talk about yet so just be patient.
I also have a spinning project that is a different kind of secret. It's a secret swap via ravelry, the "rubberneckers not rubbernecking" group and it's the "in like a lamb" swap. The idea is, if you're a spinner, you spin up 8 oz of yarn and send it to a knitter. If you're a knitter, you send 8 oz of fiber to a spinner. I'm spinning this,


which is Corriedale pencil roving from Crown Mountain Farms. Crown mountain farms may be my new favorite fiber supplier. I ordered the fiber last friday, and it arrived Monday. Their prices are awesome, too.

So far, I'm about 3/4 of the way through the first ply.

The deadline for the swap is March 13th for mailing so I have no worries about wrapping it up in plenty of time. And I look forward to getting fiber in the mail!

I also learned an important lesson about putting up hanks of yarn. Tie them up better. Make sure they're actually tied in at least three places, securely. Otherwise, you could end up with this.


That was a two-day fiber related project that I had no intention of doing. It's the London Fog sock yarn,
that ended up in a tragic tangle when I tried to wind it. Two evenings of patiently winding granny balls from either end, passing through and under and over and loosening knots gradually and I ended up with this.


A deep sigh of relief. I put way too much love and work into that yarn to lose an inch of it. So, lesson learned.

There's something I'm allergic to in the world. I don't know what it is, but I think it might be excessive quantities of dog hair in the bedroom. I came down with another bout of allergic rhinitis on Thursday and came home from work early, then called off yesterday. My ears are plugged again so I started the nasonex, because it feels just like last time I had this. Ugh. Except my neck and throat hurts too. I tried to vacuum the dog hair from the bedroom but it was worked too hard into the raggedy carpet in there to use the hand vac, the big vac literally sucks the rug up into it and I don't want to go buy a new vacuum yet, so Bob took a broom to it when he got home and it's a lot better now. We really need to get rid of that carpet though. It's a mess and holds way too much crud. And it's a lovely hardwood floor underneath so why not?

Still halfway over the moon about the Steelers. That was one amazing game. Pittsburgh is basking in a post-victory glow, having won more Super Bowls than any other NFL team. And who knows what the future brings.

I did this merino roving into sock yarn (big surprise, I know)
a week or so ago. It was a joy to spin. It's the roving I got from my swap partner in the last RR swap we did.
It spun up glorious.


That's about it. I'm disjointed and head-foggy but will try to post a more coherent entry on Monday. No guarantees, though.