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

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Sunday, November 27, 2011

Trans-Holiday Express

More crafting, and a holiday update.

Remember last post with the tragic felting accident? I did make somewhat of a replacement, though it's not nearly as nice, not as soft or as long, it does have other advantages, though, like how fast it was to knit, and how gorgeous the colors are.


The pattern can be found on Ravelry as Summer Flies, I did have to do some adaptations due to the amount of yarn I had-not quite enough. I made the final lace section smaller, did a yarn over increase for the ruffle, and made the ruffle shorter, though it was exactly as long as it could be because I only had about 2 yards of yarn left after binding off.


The yarn is handspun BFL from Play At Life fiber arts on Etsy. The colorway is "Twinkle Lights", and it started life as a black alternating with bright splashes of color. The spun result was quite different and not what I expected. I chain-plied the single to preserve the color runs, and I'm glad I did. You can see the roving and the resultant yarn here.

I finished spinning the BFL from Briar Rose Fibers, and got a whopping 867 yards. That may be my highest yardage from BFL ever, I got more yardage from some Corgi Hill Farm batts and also a merino/silk blend, but BFL tends to be more dense and so you tend to get less yardage. I'm quite pleased with it, but I seem to have been on quite the mauve/pink kick lately and that must be rectified, as soon as I finish spinning this pink and etc roving I'm working on now. I have an electric blue/green from CHF queued next. In the meantime, here's this.



Knitting a couple of pair of socks for the holidays but I remain uninspired. I am sure it will return in time. Until then, I will spin. I did do a stash toss today as planned and found that I have room in my storage bins and my cedar chest so I am making a dent in the stash by spinning. It looks like in the past year I have used more than I've bought. Between that and the small destash I did earlier in the year and the class I taught at the RG where I gave away about 3 lbs of fiber, I've definitely decreased my stash.

We had a lovely thanksgiving at my mom's house and somehow I was not a complete wreck, just a partial one. Progress, I guess, or I'm learning to hide it better.

Until next time...

Saturday, November 19, 2011

I still do crafts, by the way

My last several posts have been non-craft related so I guess I need to change that. I'm certainly not knitting at the pace I was last year (or the year before, or the year before that), don't seem to be motivated or have my heart in it, but I am knitting some things and spinning some others.

Bob's nephew and niece had twin boys back at the end of August. (Yes, that makes me a great-aunt. Yikes. ) They were tiny little things and stayed in the hospital a while, but they're home now and doing wonderfully. So I sent them a pair of sweaters made from handspun.


The pattern is Baby Sophisticate from Ravelry. The yarn is handspun worsted weight two ply from Enchanted Knoll superwash lambswool roving. I love the nice bright blue/green for the wee redheaded babies and can't wait to see photos of them wearing the sweaters at some point, if they fit. I hope they fit.


My current spinning project is a fiber I got at Rhinebeck, from Briar Rose fibers, a gorgeous BFL that I am actually almost finished spinning on my Dyakcraft Fibership, so the next photos you see of this will hopefully be a completed skein.


I also did some spinning on the spindle I got at Rhinebeck, it is a lovely little tool and I'm sure I'll get tons of use out of it. It spins a nice fine single with little difficulty.


I'm working on the usual holiday socks, at least. My relatives may get store-bought gifts or photographs this year, and hopefully that will be fine. If not, nothing I can do about it.

I have a cautionary tale too. Remember my Fruit Slice shawl? The one made from handspun BFL/Silk that I loved so much and wore constantly, whenever possible, the one piece of visible hand knitting I chose to take to Rhinebeck to represent me, my very favorite neck thing even more than my giant orange lace shawl, even more than my gradient yellow to purple batwing thing, even more than my Gaga Hair thing? Remember that?


Yeah, the one with the ruffle.

It went through the laundry. I totally missed that it was mixed in with some sweaters I threw downstairs. It is a felted, tiny, mess. I am distraught.

The only thing to do is start a replacement. So I've done so and hopefully will have pictures soon. But the moral of the story is CHECK YOUR LAUNDRY FOR HANDKNITS. Always.

Things are pretty ok otherwise. I'm fighting back the vertigo and working like a machine due to our ridiculous workload, but at least it makes the days go. The darkness is getting me down as usual but only a month until the light starts to come back, so there's that. I continue to get to know the macbook and my biggest frustration is that I can't get to my pictures, which are on the other computer, and I haven't had a chance to take them to the apple store for the big transfer. I tried to get my files transferred from my backup program but I can't seem to make it work. No doubt something I'm doing wrong here. It makes me nervous to think those thousands of photos are all hanging there, where I can't get them. My life in pictures. My photos might not be valuable to anyone else but to me they are my purest artistic expression and mean more to me than any amount of knitting ever will. So while they're not with me, I am ill at ease.

Bob and Anna are both working at the same store tonight at their inventory jobs, I am alone with my thoughts and the macbook and my knitting and the cats and dogs and a bunch of lovely stuffed acorn squash that just came out of the oven, so I'm going to go get dinner. Recipe later if it's good.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Coming to Grips

I had a revelation last night. It might have been a dream that did it, or just the constant drumbeat in my head of what is and isn't in my life and how I want things to be and if that actually matters.

I don't necessarily think it's selfish of me to want my children to be a part of my life. I love them. I love them more than anything or anybody. I would die for either of them, no question.

Sometimes you have to face a reality that really hurts. No matter how much you want to go on holding out hope that everything will be ok, that someday normalcy will return, that the phone is going to ring or there will be an email or a knock on the door and there will be tears and hugging and that the relationship, in some form, will resume. You want to believe that somehow, everything will be better, that there will be healing.

Sometimes, though, you have to realize, and especially as a parent, that what you want is not as important as what is best for your child, and that further, what you think is best is irrelevant. That may be the hardest part about being a parent, knowing that you can be (and often are) wrong. If my daughter has determined that the best thing for her is to not have her family in her life, to not have me in her life, then I have to accept that. Because if I really and truly want what is best for her then she has to decide what that is. Much like the whole "don't you want grandchildren" thing I hear all the time, I am not qualified to tell anyone else how to live their life. No matter how much it hurts.

At some point I'll come out of this shadow I've been living in. This may be an important step in that, it may not be. I will always and eternally love my daughters and I will never close the door on either of them, but I have to accept that a decision they make is none of my business and let it go.


Sunday, November 13, 2011

The apple doesn't fall far

The last few weeks I've been increasingly frustrated with my computer, a Sony Vaio that I purchased the year we got married, 2005. Last year, it had such a major crash that my good friend Dave, who has been working with computers since there were personal computers, in both a professional and fun capacity, had never seen anything like it. I got reformatted, recovered my files from Comcast Secure Backup and Share, and started with a clean slate. But the creeping malaise had started again. Despite multiple virus scans, adware sweeps, invocations, chants, and tearful fits, it kept getting worse. So I did something I never thought in a million years I'd ever do.

I bought a Mac.

A 15 inch Macbook Pro, to be exact. It's very pretty and shiny, and it makes me feel like someone who doesn't quite know what she's doing, like everything is just a bit off, just a bit to the left or something. Since I'm not stupid, I am frustrated. But I will get used to it, in time, and I bought the year subscription to the thing where you can go to the apple store and get help or lessons or anything.

It's not that I dislike the products. I've never had anything to base a like or dislike on. I was not fond of the slightly superior commercials, the expense of the products (for what? a name?) or the smugness of Mac adherents, or as I called them, the iBetterThanYou set. (I also really hated that stupid little lower case i in front of everything)

I won't say I'm an instant devotee, but considering this computer cost me only a bit more than my very first computer (also a Sony Vaio back in the mid to late 90s) that had 8 gigs compared to the 500 in this one, and that it is expected to have a considerably longer life, and that it is purportedly impervious to viruses and has other neat safeguards against a degrading operating system, and that it's shiny and light and small and works, so far, so very very well, it's a good start to what might be a happy ongoing relationship.

Just don't ask me to turn in my Android phone yet.