Saturday, September 26, 2009

Falling Off the Wagon

After knitting through I can't remember how many miles of sock yarn I was determined to not let my stash grow that large again. Then I went to the North Country Fiber Fair last weekend. Have I mentioned my favorite four-letter "s" word is "sale"? It is, and I found one on my favorite weight of yarn - fingering. They were selling it by the pound!!! I couldn't help myself. I bought about two pounds. With the 52 Pair Plunge III and another idea I have swirling around in my head, it will likely be pretty well knitted up by next years North Country Fiber Fair, when I'll probably fall off the wagon again.

It's been a busy week. Part of it was spent recovering from the fiber fair (I don't think I've ever worked as hard or had as much fun at the same time!) and then finding out, to my extreme pleasure, that I was selected for a position I really wanted. Since it appears not all the finalists for the position have been notified, I can't say much yet. Suffice to say the shingle from my day job figuratively went in the wood chipper this week!

Curiously enough, I have been reading Shed Your Stuff, Change Your Life, by Julie Morgenstern. It's for those of us for whom "Organizing Isn't Enough." While I'm organized, I do tend to hang on to things as my life takes different directions. I did fairly well unloading when we moved here a few years ago, because we had to pay for the move ourselves. Nevertheless, as I move on to new things, I am spending a few hours a day in the garage going through boxes and divesting myself of papers I, or anyone else, will ever need. Since there are some limitations as to what I can do with client files, those will remain locked away for some time yet. While I thought I'd be sad about putting part of my life in the recycle bin, it's only making me that much more excited about my new position. Also, it looks like we'll have room for both cars, both bicycles, both lawnmowers and the snowblower. More importantly, we should be able to walk through the garage without hurting ourselves!

Off the Needles: Monkey Socks in Happy Feet by Plymouth Yarns. If you remember, last week I was a bit concerned that I would have enough yarn to complete these. I did have enough. But as you can see in the photo, there is not much yarn left. I enjoyed working with this yarn and would buy it again, but not for something that takes as much yarn as Monkey Socks. The color is rich and has a very nice depth to it. These were a couple of the skeins I purchased a few weeks ago at Athena Fibers, that just seemed to jump out at me. This is great yarn for beginning sock knitters - not "splitty" and very economical, but still a good quality.

On the Needles: Despite all efforts to do one project at a time, I was seduced by a Revontuli-shawl at the North Country Fiber Fair hanging in the South Dakota Natural Colored Wool Booth. It's not from South Dakota wool. Instead, they used Kauni yarn. While I've attempted to obtain a skein from WEBS (long story, not pretty), I was so excited about trying this pattern, I am doing it with Schoppel wolle Zauberball Crazy. When I purchaed this yarn (it was another one from by big dollar day at Athena Fibers), I was a little concerned about using it for socks, because it is a little fuzzy. I've found that sometimes this type of sock yarn felts. I do think it is working up well for the Revontuli/Northern Lights shawl. I hope some day WEBS sends me the ball of Kauni I ordered, because it will look great in that as well.

Sock Pair No. 21/Basket Weave Socks using my Big Foot Merino/Tencel blend, in the Brock's Truck colorway. The merino/tencel blend is a new base yarn I'm using for my Etsy shop. I'm finding it to have a nice sheen to it and it takes the dye well. These socks are coming out at an 8 stitches to the inch with a 0 needle and it's a little firm. I think it probably wants to be more at 7.5 stitches to the inch.

Hans & Greta: Both spent part of the morning in conversation at the lower level window in the family room. I finally went over to see what they were "talking" about and there was a mouse/vole/small rodent stuck in between the bricks of the window well. Apparently, it had eaten too much and it's butt got too big to get back in. All you could see was this mouse butt wiggling and the back legs scrambling, and two amused cats watching.

I hope to finished a number of books for the 52 Books challenge for next time. I do have another trip in my immediate future and since I'm not driving this time, I hope to get quite a bit read.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

North Country Fiber Fair

I've spent a good part of the past week getting ready for the North Country Fiber Fair. I'm not able to vend this year due to the number of classes I'm taking, as well as teaching. Even so, I've been getting two of my spinning wheels oiled and lithium greased as well as polished up for the weekend. My Ashford Traditional Wheel that I've had for almost 30 years now is not making the trip this year. A number of years ago, I demonstrated spinning at an art fair and got caught in the rain. Now the poor wheel sounds like a bullfrog when it's treadled - ree-deep, ree-deep, ree-deep. I do have the replacement leather parts which should help, but I just haven't had time to do anything with it. Also, it is so much bigger than the Ashford Joy and Hitchhiker wheels that it takes up quite a bit of space in my little Civic.

I also sewed a fabric liner for one of baskets I keep "stuff" for spinning. I had some old green rickrack that I think I got in an antique container I purchased on eBay. I hadn't seen that color since I was in junior high, but it was a perfect match for the green in the fabric. This was a fun project. I forgot how much I enjoy sewing. There's just not enough hours in the day for me!

Off the Spindle: I received a couple ounces of this roving in an order from The Sheep Shed Studio in Encampment, WY. As you can see it's no longer roving, but yarn. I plan to make a cap with it. The color is so rich. When I checked the site, it looked like there was some of this roving left.

I'm holding off spinning anything more until this weekend so I have enough empty spools!

On the Needles: I'm knitting a pair of Monkey Socks in Happy Feet. I'll write more about this yarn next time, after I've completed the socks. Granted Monkeys take a bit more yarn than Plain Vanilla Socks, but with my Child's Size 3 feet, I'm not sure I'm going to have enough - film at eleven!

Off the Needles: Cabled Socks - this is Pair No. 19 in the 52 Pair Plunge. I used Regia Sock Yarn with a colorway designed by Kaffe Fassett. Regia and Trekking XXL still remain my two favorite commercial sock yarns.

52 Books in 52 Weeks: Book 39 - China Trade, by S. J. Rozan. This is the first in the Bill Smith/Lydia Chin series set in Chinatown in New York City and it revolves around a porcelain theft. When I started this book, I thought the first 50 pages or so were pretty unremarkable, but before long I discovered I was sucked in and could not put it down.

Book 40 - Naked in Death, by J.D. Robb. I've read some of these later in the series, but I wish I would have read this one first because it revolves around Eve Dallas meeting Rourke and provides some excellent background information for the books later in the series. In this book, licensed companions are murdered by what appears to be one john. I'm not much for science fiction or futuristic books, but I do like these. I think that may be at least in part because the characters are so believable and so human. Most futuristic books I've read and not liked, it's been because the people are like robots.

In closing, I was trying to get an Etsy shop update completed, but of course, one of the cats feels the need to "help". Hans was acting like he really wanted his photo taken - so I took it.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

This is My Story & I'm Sticking to It

On Friday, I drove to Sioux Falls to go to the dentist. As I get older, I resent going to the dentist more and more - probably because more and more needs to be done. Rather than go into details, suffice it to say I thought I'd reward myself after by picking up a couple cards of reinforcement thread for sock toes at Athena Fibers. (The reinforcement thread is the charcoal-colored cards at the bottom of the photo.) I was just at Athena Fibers a couple weeks ago and only one type of sock yarn appealed to me, so I really thought I'd be safe going in to get the reinforcement thread. Well, they must have received a couple shipments in the meantime because there was all kinds of gorgeous sock yarn there and brands I'd only read about on the internet. I decided to reward myself. Afterall, I'd taken a last minute cancellation at the dentist's office, got up an hour earlier than usual to get to Sioux Falls in time to take it and I didn't have any cavities. I deserved it. So instead of just the reinforcment thread (at $2.75 a card) I added Trekking Handpaint, some Happy Feet and the new Nashua Handknits sock yarn designed by Kristin Nichols. Oh, and then there's the ball of Crazy yarn by Schoppenwolle. I'm sure these are all going to be put to use in the 52 Pair Plunge III, so stay tuned!

Speaking of which, I finally charted out my socks and the Trekking Handpainted Broken Rib Socks is/are Pair No. 18 (so I can count, thank you very much!) The unsure kitty below with the sock monolith is Hans.

Also, off the needles this week is the Mr. Greenjeans Sweater and I finally fulled the Knit One Below-style bag. I also finished carding Pokey, the alpaca fleece.

Currently, on the needles is Pair No. 19 in the 52 Pair Plunge III, a pair of Cabled Socks - which are in the blue colorway I've used repeatedly recently, so I didn't photograph the work in progress.

52 Books in 52 Weeks: I've finishing a number of audiobooks and regular books lately.

Book No. 36: The Bone Vault, by Linda Fairstein. I've seen a lot of her books in the stores, but had never read or listened to one. I really liked the main character of this one, Alex Cooper, but unfortunately, the audio version was abridged and left me with more questions than answers. I do know, however, I will try another one of Fairstein's books.

Book No. 37: The Long Fall, by Walter Moseley. Moseley is one of my favorites and this book only reinforced that. He introduces a new character a middle-aged, sort-of retired boxer who works as private eye in New York. One of the aspects of Moseley's work to date is that it takes place in the mid-20th century Los Angeles - an era which has always held a fascination for me. I quickly discovered that aspect was not why I enjoy his books, it's the great characters and the not so idyllic private lives of his main characters. Outstanding.

Book No. 38: Spirit Sickness, by Kirk Mitchell. I just finished the unabridged version within the hour. Unless I'm driving alone, I rarely get through a recorded book this quickly. If I don't get much done this weekend, it's because I've been so wrapped up in this book, I couldn't get to it. Anna Turnipseed and Emmit Parker are searching for Gila Monster on the Navajo reservation. I'm afraid to say anything more because I don't want to ruin it for anyone. Another outstanding book.

Greta & Hans: We're finally getting back to our usual routine around here. We're all catching up on our sleep now that Greta is back to normal. Her illness was particularly hard on Hans, who sat by her without much sleep while she was so ill. Thanks to everyone who wrote to check up on her!

Hans (on the top step) Greta (on the couch)