Two Left Needles

Knitting, spinning and dyeing
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It's been a while and there's been a lot going on. But the reason I'm back today is one of the reasons I've been away.

Gram died. October 31. She was getting worse over the summer, bounced back for a short time, caught pneumonia one day and gone the next. It's been a heart-wrenching 3 year journey with the Alzheimer's, and I'm glad she is now at peace.

Lily met her twice, at 3.5 weeks and then a couple of weeks before Gram passed away. At the last meeting they really hit it off. Lily wanted to jump on Gram and play. They held hands and made faces at each other. The memory still makes me smile.

I was afraid I would totally freak out when I saw her at the wake, but I didn't. I thought I would totally fall apart at the funeral but I didn't. When I cried after the funeral, Lily tried to cheer me up by smiling and reaching for my face. Inside I still feel screaming and writhing agony that comes and goes. I've been mourning her for a couple of years as she's been slowly fading away. I'm glad I knew her before the Alzheimer's.

She has enriched my life, been the grandmother I couldn't have, and I've been able to do for her as I couldn't for my own grandparents. She will be very much missed, and her memory will live on through us.

Me n Gram, Thanksgiving 2006
Thanksgiving 2006

Week 40   Week 40

Week 40

Today is my due date. 9:38 pm, I don't think she's gonna be on time. This, of course, is not only typical of first pregnancies, but also typical of me, especially pre-Scott. (My sense of time is... not so good.)

It's been 3 weeks of false alarms, achiness, cramps, general discomfort. And trying to squeeze in a full night's sleep, even in chunks of 2-3 hours, has been "challenging". Still, I'm torn between wanting her out RIGHT NOW, and being a bit afraid of actual labor and even more scared of becoming (gulp) a MOM. The reality is rather... sobering. The last week I've been thinking, "Uh... what?" and having moments of pause. Pre- and early-pregnancy, I figured that I was smart enough and emotionally capable of figuring things out, y'know, as they came up. Even if I didn't know how to be a mom, back then, I figured I would figure it out. Now that that time is practically upon me, I've forgotten the second half of my logic. Me? A mom? Ridiculous! Or if not ridiculous, crazy! Or if not crazy, then... inconceivable!

I suppose it's all opening night jitters. (And to extend the analogy, does she have stage fright?) I'll figure it out. Right? And it's not like I have to know everything right away. I won't need to know this week how to teach her to be a strong, independent thinking woman who can express herself and her emotions. Not right away. Right?

I'm ready to trade in scattered, awkward, uncomfortable sleep for more comfortable yet almost-nonexistent sleep,

Being able to feel her every move with seeing her every move,

Hours of knitting time without being able to knit sweaters with almost no knitting time and a less round belly,

And the worries and fears of labor and becoming a mom with the worries and fears inherent in being a mom.

I'm ready, little goober. Are you?

I'm trying not to be despondent about the contest guesses that are later than my due date. Actually, I'm trying not to be discouraged about any suggestions that it will be longer than this weekend. ;)

You know the whole nesting thing? Well, I haven't been immune. But strangely (or not so strangely), my form of nesting appears to be yarn and fiber related. Instead of cleaning bathrooms or folding and refolding baby clothes, I've been going through receipts:

Yarn receipts going back 12 years

Receipts that go back to 1995:

Yarn receipts going back 12 years

For practically every yarn and fiber purchase I made since then, every knitting needle and point protector, pattern, book and booklet. And I've been putting it into Excel. Into a very long spreadsheet.

Old Webs receipts don't give details on what yarn was purchased beyond "MILL END", "CLOSEOUT", "CONED YRN", etc. So there's a lot of guessing involved. There are some handwritten receipts from the Classic Elite Mill End store in Lowell, and Shuttles, Needles & Hooks in NC that are equally vague. It's a bit of a conundrum. There's also stuff I bought on eBay that arrived sans receipt. And there's probably plenty in the stash that is somehow not represented in any receipt. Gifts or trades, or pre-1995 yarn.

I've spent hours working on this spreadsheet. Hours. And hours. Over a span of many weeks. There's something comforting about it. Couldn't tell you why. Organization that I can't achieve in the yarn room? Having everything visible and sortable? Filterable? Being able to see what I have so that I have a better chance of using stash? It's a bit insane. Well, a lot. But really, not so surprising, is it?

The Eyelet Dress was moving right along until I got to the neckline. Puckered. Not so pretty:

Eyelet Dress - in progress

I figured I had 3 options:

  • Pick up fewer stitches
  • Use smaller needles
  • Cast off more tightly

I used all 3. The "cast off more tightly" I employed at the center live stitches and on the curves. Worked nicely:

Eyelet Dress - in progress

I did the same on the sleeves:

Eyelet Dress - in progress

Just need buttons and a wash! Not done, but the knitting's done. So I started another project:

Ribbed Cardi - in progress

These baby knits are addictive.

Happy New Year!!!

I don't even know where to start.

What's up with BSG being on break until late January???

Just kidding. (Though, seriously, what up??? I am not as happy with this season as last, but I'm seriously addicted. Seriously.)

I just got back from a weekend of family and good eats and New Year's celebration in NC and DC. It was a darned good time. I mentioned recently that we celebrate New Year's and not Christmas, but what I failed to mention was how Christmas and the weeks leading up to it tend to seriously bum me out. I won't go into the wherefor's now, but I'm sure it had a lot to do with my radio silence. I didn't want to rain on anyone's parade; maybe next year I'll actually talk about it.

For now, I'll share some highlights from New Year's.

My dad is more talkative with Scott around. We learned some things about him growing up in post-war Japan. After the war, much of his hometown was destroyed. They collected a large pile of debris in the field behind his house and set it on fire. The heat from the fire set off a bomb that had fallen but not detonated, probably hidden in the field. If the fire had not set off the bomb, who knows what would have. My dad playing in the field? There was a sobering moment as we all realized how close we had come to not being there together, or at all.

[Edited to add: Scott reminded me I remembered it wrong. The sobering moment was if the bomb had actually detonated on landing. Duh.]

Between eating out in DC and home cooked meals, we ate delicious Japanese, Vietnamese, Chinese, Italian and Middle Eastern meals. It was truly a weekend of gluttony.

Baby girl had been relatively quiet for several days, but managed to kick everyone at one point or another. Bonding pre-birth. My family is so excited about the baby and, between not being allowed to lift heavy things, concern for my physical and stomach state and general belly rubbing, it was impossible for me to forget I was pregnant while I was there. It didn't take long to forget once I got home, however. Business as usual. Then, being startled looking in the mirror! Hey, look at THAT!

I'm so round. I'm almost an outie.

I'm sure I had another growth spurt since last week (I'm sure the gluttony had something to do with it). When I wash my hands at work, my belly touches the counter. I've got the beginnings of a waddle. I nearly fell over trying to fold my pant cuffs in the grocery store.

From the front there's not much to see:

Week 24

But from the side:

Week 24

HELLO!

Between the plane ride and car ride, I finished knitting the second Pink Panther sock and started another pair from Kona superwash I dyed back in August:

Pebble Sea - in progress

I'm realizing I'm not a big sock knitter. When it takes months to finish a pair, this becomes self-evident. However, I wanted to see how the yarn knit up. I think it's nifty.

Pebble Sea - in progress

I also spindled some, but I'll leave that for another day, hopefully soon. :)

Ironically, the winner of the contest voted girl because she was using reverse logic because she really thought it was a boy. I think. :)

TextileJunkie Michelle guessed:

uh boy, but I'm another one that has been 0-3 on my own, so if I'm saying boy that means it will be a girl. So if I say girl, that means it will most likely be a boy allowing me to be correct for once. So I'm going to say girl - which means boy :-)

This was also one of my favorite guesses.

Congratulations, Michelle! Let me know if you want the Sunfires superwash or the mystery yarn prize.

I was surprised by a few things. First, of 92 guesses, they were evenly split, 46-46, for girl and boy.

  • 5 people put a lot of weight on intuition, and 3 on the dream I had.
  • 3 people thought boy because of how I'm carrying.
  • 3 people saw a trend of girls and voted girl; 4 were seeing too many girls and voted boy for balance.
  • 2 people used statistics.
  • 2 people, including Michelle, used reverse logic.
  • And, 1 voted based on a 'best 2 out of 3' coin toss.

Fascinating stuff.

To Karen - thank you for the shawl compliment!

For Kim ("You did however get a blue button, so I am going to say a boy") - the blue buttons were used here:

The Project - buttons

on pink! But, it's a gift.

And for J a r e d ("i guess a boy. preferrably one who knits") - you can be sure that, girl or boy, this kid will be up to their ears in fiber, knitting, spinning, dyeing and whatever else I pick up along the way.

In the works

I'm reknitting Buttercup in a different yarn and with modifications so that I can write up the pattern:

Buttercup in red, in progress

Though I like the yarn (Cascade 220), I'm not sure I like the yarn in this pattern. The pattern worked really well in the original cashmere. Perhaps I'll dig around to find another yarn.

After that, I'll write up a quick pattern for the spin-dye-knit-a-scarf pattern.

Both are easy knits for the holidays.

Movement

The night after the ultrasound, I could really feel her moving around. Scott said he felt her move twice! Last night I felt a definite kick when I was lying in bed.

The first trimester was not so fun, between morning sickness, exhaustion, hormones and dealing with body issues and rapid changes. The latter was hardest.

I've always been about my size, about my weight. From high school to now (20 years), I've stayed within a 10 pound range. Not from dieting or conscious effort, but because... well, I don't have much of a sweet tooth. I'd rather have an extra helping of mashed potatoes than eat dessert. I'll buy sweets or snacks, but have them sit around the house because I don't think to eat them. I can't eat more than a bite or two of milk chocolate before the sweetness overwhelms me. And if I do eat a bunch of sweets, I get painful bumps on my tongue that take days to go away. I guess my body naturally regulates and I try to pay attention.

(And, yes, I choose 12 grain instead of white bread. I have to believe that helps, too.)

Suddenly gaining weight spun my concept of me. Even knowing it was from the pregnancy (or hoping it was), I freaked out.

Do you know, in Japan, when I visit my relatives, one of the first things they will do and say when they see me, is to touch my cheeks and tell me, smiling, futtota. I don't know if something is lost in translation, but futoru means to get fat or to gain weight. Futtota is past tense. You've gained weight. You've gotten fatter. Me. Futtota. Yeah. Right. A tough body image to carry.

And don't get me started on the boobs! I got over my disappointment years ago at having, shall we say, modest boobs. Not only that, but I've enjoyed, over the years, not having to wear a bra or sports bra all the time. Boy, did the new boobs take getting used to. Looking like a woman, and not the girl I've gotten used to seeing. And, having to have some kind of support for them, all the time, cuz damn they're heavy.

And the exhaustion. No fun. Period.

But as the second trimester kicked in, the exhaustion abated; I got used to the new body and mourned the loss of the old one, and began to focus on the reason behind all these changes. The ultimate goal. A little goober. A little girl goober. Perspective. And letting go.

And now, after seeing the ultrasound and seeing her move, and with movement I can feel, both inside and out, it's exciting! And fun! Connection.

In my dream, she was holding my finger. Tiny fingers, reaching through my belly to hold my finger. And I knew she was a girl. That's what it's about, isn't it? A little life, holding on to yours, learning and growing and teaching you something about yourself.

I loved reading your comments when I got home, it was a gift and I thank you.

The weekend was not what I expected, and then it was. There was no reminiscing, as we, as a growing family, have not figured out how to have group adult conversation time when the kids are around (especially during meals). But there was lots of family time, good food, and good memories. I was glad to be there for my mom and to just. be.

The family

The memorial ceremony took me a bit by surprise. I missed the end so I'm not sure if anything was said, but the main part was the offering of incense during morning prayer. After my mom, dad and the rest of the family offered incense, other people offered incense, and before they returned to their seats, bowed to mom to pay their respects. It moved me, and I didn't expect it. It was fitting, and right, and brought a kind of closure I didn't expect. I left the weekend knowing my grandmother was gone. Not forgotten, and definitely missed. But gone.

There were lots of good eats, and I think my belly grew another inch or two:

All grown up
taken by my niece; our heads aren't chopped off!

The photo is shocking, it can't possibly be real. Can I really be that big??

We were walking off an amazing Chinese lunch that I hope we repeat. The little goober is taking up valuable stomach real estate in my belly, but I ate as if I were only 6 weeks pregnant.

Walking - 1

Walking - 2

Walking - 3

Skipping rocks
my dad teaching my niece to skip rocks

Wheeee!
oh, to be little again!

My nephew is adorable, we hit it off right away. Last time I saw him he was just starting to walk. He's a little monkey, a real Curious George; and he's so innocent and good natured that it's impossible to be mad at him. But boy, he has non-stop-on-the-go energy. Non. Stop.

Emerging from under the table  Hi!

My niece and nephew  After a granola bar

Sleeping
uncharacteristically still

At the airport on the way to DC, I spent an hour spindling. I have been a slacker Twisted Knitter, and haven't known what to dye, spin or knit. I found my project:

Chasing Rainbows Cashmere/silk

I love the colors, rich browns, earthy (photo is a little muted, see link below). It's the Chasing Rainbows Dyeworks cashmere/silk I bought at MDSW that I've been waiting to use. I've been trying to get the wheel up to (laceweight) speed and haven't wanted to waste the cashmere/silk until I had it running reasonably smoothly. But now that I've started it on my new Forrester spindle (and my, does she spin),

Forrester lightweight spindle

it seems the right way to go. I only have 2 oz so I'm spinning quite fine. I'm hoping to make a lacy scarf.

I also tried to work on the pink panther socks (remember those?), just to get them DONE and off my list; but I decided the broken striping after the heel just wasn't working for me. I'm usually a "let it be" knitter, and don't worry about such things. But in this case, it seemed strange to interrupt the striping:

Pink Panther socks, in progress

I also brought a few lace pattern books with me so my mom could pick out a pattern for her lace shawl. She wants something in black to cover up her shoulders when she dresses up. After I got over the "knitting with itty bitty black yarn" bit, I bought a cone of ebony Zephyr. My mom picked out a simple rectangular shawl from Folk Shawls and now I have no excuse not to get started! Once The Project is done (dang those buttons), I've promised to give Scott some knitty love. Then, swatching!

Phew, phew and Phew. It's good to be home, I missed my honey.

Do you ever have that feeling, after a prolonged blog break, that feeling of not knowing what you have to say that's so important that you need to write it down and share it with the world? I do. Not that any of this is so important. But lately I've been feeling like, what do I have to say? What do I have to talk about? And it seems easier not to post when I can't answer that question.

I've been knitting and spinning. More knitting than spinning, though I'd prefer to be doing the reverse. On the knitting front, there's The Project, which is almost done. I made it through the long, unpleasant, yet necessary, seaming and end-weaving stage, but I'm at the dreaded find-pick-and-sew-on-buttons stage. I've had projects sit for years at this very stage.

On the spinning front, there's nothing resembling a project. Mostly I'm just trying things here and there, figuring out what I feel like spinning, and working on getting the Schacht to spin laceweight comfortably. Getting closer. I'm not sure if I'm just not in the mood to spin, feeling overwhelmed by my choices or by self-imposed and unrealistic expectations, or feeling intimidated by spinning another project to "match" the Falling Leaves shawl. Maybe I'm just not feeling inspired. Yeah, that's the ticket.

On the life front... mostly I've been dealing with the sadness of my grandmother's death, and trying to make sense of my feelings. They're complicated by pregnancy-induced hormones. Makes it harder to tease out why I'm sad.

It's a strange thing. My grandmother is gone. Somehow I can't believe it. I've lost 3 other grandparents, the first when I was 12. This is not new to me. She was old, she no longer remembered family, and I probably didn't see her more often than twice a decade. She's been slowly failing these last 4-5 years, and her passing has been inevitable, just a matter of time. Yet, despite expectations, she has seemed to live on, and on. 94 is a lot of years. I can't begin to imagine. She was a tough lady, and I'm certain, tough to live with. Yet I am completely attached to her. Who can understand these things? We didn't have long conversations. We barely shared a language. We were generations and a culture apart, yet somehow, connected.

Is it real? Is it imagined? Does it matter which?

Meanwhile, in America, we spent Thansgiving Day with Gram. The assisted living place allows family to join the residents for holiday meals, like Thanksgiving, Christmas and Mother's day. I was apprehensive, not sure what to expect. But it was a good time.

It was reassuring to see other family members visiting their relations; we don't see many visitors when we see Gram. It was inspiring to see how some of them interacted with their relatives: with humor, relaxed. We've been struggling with how to "do this right", how to cheer up Gram while our hearts break, how to sound cheerful, what to talk about, how to let her know she's not forgotten, that we love her. It's gotten easier over time. She's settling into her new place and overall is very comfortable there. She's got people looking out for her, both staff and residents. And she still knows who we are, and remembers there's a baby on the way.

When I first started visiting Gram 5 years ago, she welcomed me, no questions asked. Accepted me, into her home and her heart. In a way, she was the grandmother I couldn't have. One who lived nearby and spoke English, one I could get to know as a person, not just as a grandparent-figure. And, in a way, the little I can do for Gram now, the weekly and now bi-weekly visits, are all the more important because I could not do the same for my own grandmother.

I remember my shock, in the early days, of being able to ask Gram questions and have a conversation. I could never do that with any of my grandparents! Even if I could ask (and I did ask when I was older), I couldn't understand the answers.

This weekend I head to DC for the memorial service for my grandmother. I'll spend time with my family, and hopefully, reminisce about and remember Obaachan. I want to share memories and laugh, smile. Remember how Obaachan never wanted her photo taken and suddenly disappeared when a camera was out? Remember how red her cheeks got when she drank beer? Remember how much she loved amaguri? Remember how she used to wake up at 5 am every morning to water her plants and start the laundry?

Anyway, I guess I did have something to say. Not to the world, but to my blog friends. These things rattle around inside my head, and I struggle to find a balance on the blog, between public and private, fiber-related and Life-related. As do we all. Thanks for listening.

Me n Gram, Thanksgiving 2006
Me n Gram, Thanksgiving 2006

My grandmother passed away.

I heard the news yesterday from my mom. She debated calling me at work to let me know. I'm glad she didn't wait, I wanted to know.

My grandmother, Obaachan, was 94 years old, living in what they call a Group Home, in the countryside of Japan. Some of my family went to see her back in April, but the last time I saw her was in 2002, four and a half years ago, for her 90th birthday:

At my grandmother's 90th birthday, 2002

I wanted to visit for our honeymoon, but when Scott and I found out we were both going to be laid off, we put off the wedding. Then, as Gram got worse (Scott's grandmother), we feared she wouldn't be able to attend, and realized there is no good time. We threw together a wedding in 6 weeks with family and a few friends. Going to Japan at the time was just too much for us, so we chose Canada for our honeymoon, and decided we'd go to Japan once our finances were stable, once we had jobs, once we had time to plan a trip. Too late.

I've been expecting this call for years.

I began mourning in February when Obaachan no longer recognized family. Those thoughts still fit. Only now I know I know her better than I realized. I'm glad I put it into words; that's my grandmother. To me. I'll pass those memories and stories on to my child, so Obaachan is not forgotten.

Obaachan, I'm sorry I couldn't see you one more time. I know you understand and I know it's okay. Thank you for all the good memories and for taking care of me. I'll miss you.

You lookin' at me???

Definitely trick. Tricks of the mind, that is.

I was so sure that today was my blogiversary. Until this afternoon, when I realized, gee, did I really start blogging on Halloween? Surely I woulda remembered that? Yep, I woulda. My blogiversary was actually 10/25, almost a week ago. Hahaha!

A lot has happened in the last year. A year ago, Scott and I were unemployed, just married, and just back from our honeymoon in Atlantic Canada where I learned to spin. (And yes, I did mean to do a spinnaversary post. Maybe tomorrow!). Today, we're employed minutes from home, still married and in love, and expecting:

14 weeks 5 days
14 weeks 5 days

(Woah, nelly, I look so much more pregnant from the outside than when I look down!)

It was easier to blog when I was jobless.

I started blogging to give back to the knitblogging community, to share my projects, and to share the love. I loved seeing what other people were working on, and learning from their tips, successes and mistakes. I found inspiration in their choice of projects and yarns, color combinations, pattern modifications; seeing them make things I never could, never would, never would have thought to, would have wished to. When teaching some coworkers to knit, I enjoyed bringing in my projects to inspire or encourage them, things they could knit with what they knew. I wanted to do the same for other knitters. Give back what I had been getting.

Of course, I didn't realize that spinning would quickly take center stage. I might have picked a different blog name if I did. :)

In the last year most of my fiber arts growth has been on the fiber end. Learning to spin, learning to dye, getting my first wheel, and then second (hehe), buying and processing my first fleece, getting my carder. In the next year I hope to play more with color and fiber blending in spinning. But with a child on the way, I suppose I'll be lucky to have the time and energy to keep doing what I've been doing. Life is changing.

I've met a lot of great people through this blog. And I'm so glad to have become part of a wonderful community. Thank you for reading, and celebrating, commiserating, encouraging and laughing with me.

For the past week or so I haven't felt like spinning, knitting or dyeing. And when I don't feel like spinning, knitting or dyeing, you can bet I don't feel like blogging about not spinning, knitting, or dyeing, either.

Life Chez 2LN is a little weird right now. Well, clearly, given the above.

Scott is taking 2 classes on top of a full time job, and that is changing our schedule and energy levels quite a bit. He's in class two nights a week, and tired tired tired from all that reading, writing, and 'rithmetic. I've been helping with papers and generally trying to be supportive, but I've also been tired tired tired from who knows what. Maybe I've got something. When you'd rather sleep than spin, knit or dye, you MUST be sick, right?

It could be the weather, Fall melancholy, global warming. It's hard to say.

Actually, my Fall funk is not so bad now. Maryse brought up a good point. She lives not far from me and also used to live nearer Boston. She said that Fall hits sooner here, even though we're only 26 miles away. Something about Boston and warming ocean waters. I have noticed that every time I go into Boston, it seems at least 5-10 degrees warmer. As far back as the alpaca spin-in, I remember thinking, wow, it still feels like summer here! Ditto for the Knit Out last week. We've lived here 3 years, but this is our first Fall not commuting into Boston, and therefore not experiencing Fall through Boston. Somehow, just knowing this has helped me accept it.

Okay, let's throw in a picture or two:

Navajo-plied Sunfires

That's what I finished up at the alpaca spin-in. The first bobbin was spun months ago, and I didn't keep a sample to work from, so the second skein is clearly skinnier than the first:

Navajo-plied Sunfires, closeup

Oh well. It's very soft and squishy Navajo-plied superwash merino, dyed and spun to be self-striping, from yellows to deep red and back. I was thinking socks, but I haven't been so good with finishing socks lately. Any suggestions? It's 4 oz of DK to fingering weight.

I also let it soak too long when setting the twist, so the little bit of color that bled warmed up the yellows. Oh well. No big deal.

There have been some fibery activities in the past week. I did go to the BASD meeting last week and had a good time. It was "show and tell" after a summer of not meeting, and it really struck me how much knitting with your own handspun is taken for granted among the members. I mean, sure, that's to be expected, right? They've been spinning for years and years and years, surely they're doing something with that handspun? But seeing just about everyone there making something or other with handspun was just such a breath of fresh air. So encouraging.

Saturday morning I went to the Fabric Place Knitters Breakfast. I was sure my luck would change this time. Third time's the charm. Well, in a way it was true. I had gone up at the beginning to show my handspun shawl-in-progress (they were giving out freebies, I was determined to get something; I got a pattern pamphlet I'll never use). After a long presentation from Berroco, they called out one round of numbers. I didn't get called. I had to leave. BUT. A friend of someone in my monthly Knit Club group won The Magic of Handweaving

and didn't want it, and kindly gave it to me! So, as usual, I didn't win anything; but I did walk away with a nice gift!

I left early to meet up with Pixie, who had flown up for a wedding. We had a really great time! She has a better description on her blog but I have the same picture:

Me n Pixie

As she said, she and I geeked out on fiber talk, and our husbands geeked out on computer and game talk. We're all BSG fans, so we knew we'd get along. ;)

Speaking of BSG, school is getting in the way of watching Season 2 episodes. We're halfway into Season 2.0. We'll just have to TiVo until we catch up. All you BSG-ers who ARE caught up: don't tell me what happens!

I am expecting to shake this funk soon. I've joined Margene and the Twisted Knitters:

and I'll be dyeing, spinning, and knitting something or other over the next several months. Reminds me of the Knitting Olympics, sans stress. I may call on you for opinions on a suitable project.

I also joined up with Carole and the Lonesome Skein folks today:

because I've got skeins, and I need to knit gifts. Do you?

I'll be leaving for Rhinebeck in just over 2 weeks! I can't wait! I will be really bummed if my mojo hasn't returned by then. Then, again, maybe my wallet (and Scott) will thank me?

If you're going, you can find me on Stitchy's Rhinebeck Bingo cards:

I'm so square.

If my mojo doesn't return soon, it may be quiet 'round here. But, my spinnaversary is Sunday, so I'll at least have a contest or something then.

Thanks for all the nice comments on the shawl. I have to say, I had high hopes for the shawl because of the original colors in the fiber. However, how it plied together and is knitting up exceeds my expectations. I'm mesmerized by the play of colors and so far that has helped me keep knitting without hitting that (inevitable?) "going crazy" stage in the shawl. I have many yards to go, so it's early yet.

A few odds and ends, I'm not up for a proper post.

Tomorrow night is the first BASD meeting for the fall. It's open to new members so I hope you can go! I know, I know, such short notice, I suck. :-/  The meeting starts at 7:30 and is in Sudbury, MA (directions). The next meeting is October 25, so mark your calendar.

I'm destashing some yarns. You can see info here and photos here. Let me know if you're interested in anything.

I took photos today of the fiber I carded on the Supercard, so I'll have those tomorrow.

Today, talking to John, the UPS guy outside work (he delivers our packages too), I realized that I'm sad it's Fall. Sad! I love Fall! Fall is my favorite season! What's up with this sadness? And, not only am I sad, I'm expecting it not to last very long. I believe what I said was, "I hope we get at least a few good weeks before it goes."

[insert that funky "record being rewound" sound]

Around here, Fall foliage usually peaks mid-October. We're getting some foliage going now, and I've seen the starts of it since beginning of September. So unless this is an unusually cruel and bitter Winter ahead, we've got at least October for Fall weather, and maybe some November as well. Before it's really Winter. And since Fall usually only lasts, what, a month? this potentially 2 month Fall makes me sad how???

I think it's the short summer. The failing sunlight. I feel like End of Summer was pulled from underneath me like a fancy table cloth trick.

It's gotta be the sunlight. There's so much less of it now. It's dark in the house when I get home and I have to turn lights on right away to see anything.

Maybe the thing to do is mourn the loss now so I can make a quick transition to enjoying my favorite season. 'Cuz what good is an extended favorite season if I can't enjoy it?

A year ago today we were just married:

At the pond
at the Lily Pond, Garden in the Woods, Framingham, MA

in a small intimate ceremony in a lovely garden with a handful of friends and family. A memorable day.

The last year has seen a horde of changes: double layoff and new jobs and all the stress and changes involved; learning to spin, starting a blog; gaining a nephew; spending time with Gram and watching Alzheimer's encroach. In that year we've only grown closer, and, despite everything going on, ever happier.

Today, we returned to Garden in the Woods to celebrate and remember our wedding day.

As it was a year ago, the weather was beautiful, sunny and mild. Unlike a year ago, there were more cars than spots, more people than trees (exaggeration). Perhaps it was because of the ongoing "Rock On!" exhibit. Perhaps it was the beautiful Sunday weather that lured folks out to enjoy this hidden treasure.

With so many families and children exploring the garden and rock sculptures, the feel of the Garden was very different from the peaceful quiet of our ceremony. But then, we experienced it after hours.

Below are a few photos from our walk.

[Sculpture names in quotes; click photo for larger view and artist name. Artist bios available here. I was most drawn to sculptures by Joseph Wheelwright ("Monk", "Fox Face" (not pictured), "Singing Stone", "Yodeling Stone", "Stone with Sores", "Balloon Stone"). His artist bio quotes him: “I am primarily in search of art that is alive, mysterious, tender, and strange, like the natural world.”]

on 'Stone Bench'
on "Stone Bench"

holding up 'Stone Bench'
holding up "Stone Bench"

gazing with 'Monk'
gazing with "Monk"

Reflecting in 'Ode to New Grange'
reflecting in "Ode to New Grange"

Turtles in the Lily Pond
turtles in the Lily Pond (actual turtles, not sculptures)

'Sentient'
"Sentient"

at the Lily Pond
at the Lily Pond

with 'Singing Stone'
singing with "Singing Stone"

'Yodeling Stone'
"Yodeling Stone"

'Stone with Sores'
"Stone with Sores"

picking at 'Stone with Sores'
picking at "Stone with Sores"

'Balloon Stone'
"Balloon Stone"

smiling with 'Balloon Stone'
smiling with "Balloon Stone"

Ever since we got the house just under 3 years ago, we've been bringing in sandwich meat and bread to work and making sandwiches for lunch. At first, it was out of necessity (and felt like punishment). We got used to it. After a couple of years, when we had recovered from mortgage shock, we continued because we:

  • finally knew the cost of eating out and wanted to spend the money on other things
  • realized that making sandwiches meant smaller portions and fewer calories, usually of a healthier nature

Turkey sandwiches get boring after a while, even when interspersed with chicken. So some weeks I get pastrami and heat it up in the toaster oven. Yum!

This week I even brought in some cheddar jack cheese. My tastebuds have been in heaven.

I layer the pastrami on one piece of bread and the cheese on the other:

Pastrami sandwich

then toast for the regular amount of time. Add yellow mustard:

Pastrami sandwich

and mmmmmmm. Tasty.

Last week at the grocery store I picked up a jug of vinegar for dyeing. At the register, my mouth hung open when I saw the price: $2.79. For a jug of vinegar! Hell, no.

I had been thinking about getting citric acid crystals. I heard they were cheaper and allowed brighter colors, but couldn't find any locally the week before (and what a hunt it had been). So, I resorted to the Internet. And picked up a couple of 5 lb bags of citric acid at BulkFoods.com. Plus some spices and snacks. Their flat rate shipping (they call it a $5 "handling fee") made it worthwhile. But dang, we now have enough fajita, taco, and lemon pepper seasoning to last our lifetime.

Ordering was easy and delivery was quick. Wanna know what 5 lbs of citric acid looks like?

Citric Acid

It doesn't look like much, but it's heavy. 5 lbs heavy.

Next up: a better scale for weighing dyes and smaller amounts of yarn and fiber. I'm keen to start dyeing up some triads after my dyeing workshop. Some people like to mix dyes willy nilly to find the right color. I'd rather dye a spectrum beforehand and then pick and choose the ones I want. Potayto, potahto.

I'm glad I'm not alone in thinking some communication is warranted. Heck, I'm easy going, even an automated email would have pleased me. Good thing there are puh-lenty of other vendors who dye amazing stuff.

I'm a cheapskate. Does that surprise you? Well, maybe it's not the best word. I hate buying stuff at full price. It started when I was a kid and bought 20 popsicles when they were on sale for 10 for $1, slowly ate them one or two a day until they ran out. Chocolate. Banana. Mmmm. Savored them all the more because of the bahgain, 15 cent savings. Per popsicle!

The flip side now, I find it VERY hard to resist a sale. If I'm in a yarn store, even if I can't justify spending $20 on Koigu for socks, I'll spend $25 on discounted yarns, even if I don't have a specific project in mind.

That's why going to Webs is VERY bad for me. Especially their sales. Bad. News.

Do I look like I have self control? (don't answer that)

Anyway, that's why I have a hard time buying some of the yarns or fibers I've been drooling over. Like Adrian's, Lisa's and Felicia's. To list a few at the top of my list. :) And I have to admit, the shipping gets to me, too. I have a hard time giving so much away to the post office.

Sigh. Meanwhile, I deprive myself of the joys of these fabulous fibers.

That was one of the weird things about MDSW. No shipping (but sales tax). And though there were some specials (especially at Little Barn), most of my purchases were full price.

There's something about being in that environment, and being able to see and touch what you're buying. There's always the "not paying for shipping" angle, too.

Anyway, I'm realizing that, sometimes, paying full price is okay. It hurts a little, true. So I just have to make sure it's worthwhile.

What's your name?

The rambouillet/silk shawl is a little over 12" long now. Thanks for the suggestions on names! I was leaning towards Diamond in the Rough, but then my niece suggested Raspberry Ice. I loved the Raspberry part. The Ice is a nice play on the diamond idea, as well as hinting at the shine from the silk. Ice makes me think of cold, though, and this shawl will be warm and cozy, so I'm still tossing that one around.

I know, it's just a name, right? :)

Becoming a better blogger

Thanks also for the comments lately, I truly appreciate them. I try to respond individually when I can find an email address, but I haven't been putting responses in the comments or on the blog very much. And sometimes that would be helpful! So I'm working on that, and will try to add a comment or update a post when warranted.

Eg, I've added the info on where the Zephyr was bought on that post, and some additional info on the CVM fleece post.

Sand River

I'm working on a pattern for Sand River. Yay! I'll be including info for both a scarf and a rectangular shawl. Kate will be test knitting (thanks, Kate!). Coolio!

Tomorrow: progress pictures on the shawl and flirty skirt!

And so I don't leave you with a pictureless post:

Sand river
(two wraps)

Thanks for the sympathies and suggestions on Scott's allergy situation. And to be clear, yes, I would be willing to not knit wool for my kids so Scott can be near them until they're old enough that they can manage wool knits carefully (ie, remove them when they get home and learn to use a lint brush, haha). I would still knit with wool for myself and the rest of my family, though. I ain't crazy. And as Carole wisely suggests, we won't worry about future children's wool allergies 'til later.

Can you imagine, though, going to the doctor for a checkup and asking, "So... any way you can tell if the fetus is allergic to wool?" Innocent blink.

Or, being apprehensive about giving birth because it would be the moment of truth: allergic or not??? If the former, a whole 'nother kind of pain and post partum depression...

I was skeptical of suggestions for alpaca or finer fibers like cashmere, buffalo, quiviut, etc. But, I felt like I shouldn't just blow raspberries at you all so I brought a skein of alpaca yarn and a cone of cashmere yarn for Scott's touch test. Both passed! (Though shortly after, he did feel some tinglies in his hands, which he says may or may not have been psychological.)

The next test is to knit a small swatch and have him wear it. He's a good sport and willing to try. Who knows, there may be a lot of alpaca in this household soon.

Gram

On the Gram front, she's being moved to another assisted living place this week so we're all a little confused and agitated. We packed up some of her things before visiting today. 

From the website, the new place seems nice, and it caters to those with memory issues, so hopefully she'll be in good hands. I'm concerned that another move so quickly will throw her off even more; she's not quite settled into the nursing home as it is. Fingers crossed (which seems so inadequate a phrase, but I got nothing).

Going to Montreal was a nice break, but as soon as we got back, we felt guilty for not visiting. And today she was a bit emotional when she saw us. I'm trying to accept that we're doing a lot. Period. Without the niggling "but it's not enough" and "she deserves better" and "we should do more" thoughts that are so quick to follow. We're doing a lot. Period. It's hard.

More stash

I got me some JaggerSpun Zephyr laceweight in white, ebony and cinnabar*:

JaggerSpun Zephyr laceweight in white, ebony and cinnabar

and a cone of white in DK weight as well. You know. For all that dyeing I'm supposedly doing.

Here's a comparison of the laceweight vs DK weight:

JaggerSpun Zephyr DK & Laceweight

The ebony is for a rectangular shawl for my mom. I balked before on knitting a black lace shawl, but after seeing a few in blogland, I realize I am a big wimpering baby. I can do this. Without going blind. Without too much sulking.

Sand River

was blocked

Sand River - blocking

and is done!

Sand River

It blocked to just over 6 feet! I like-y. More pics soon.

Etc

I've got a few other exciting things to show you this week! And maybe some more stash.

What do you think:

  • too much stash = shock and disgust, or
  • woah, I'm jealous and now I gotta wipe my keyboard off but keep 'em coming


* Edited to add: The JaggerSpun Zephyr cones were purchased through a coop from Sarah Siegel, who has
an eBay store and a website. I have heard good things about her promptness and responsiveness.

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