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I wasn't born with wings, so I'm trying to make my own
Tuesday, November 28, 2006  

For some reason, going back to work was extra hard this week. I think subconsciously I expected my long weekend to be... longer. Don't get me wrong, four and a half days was great and very generous of my employer, but I'm having a hard time adjusting my brain to work-mode. I don't know if I just forgot to set it, or if I turned it off in the middle of the night, but my alarm didn't go off this morning. I woke up twenty minutes later than I was supposed to, which isn't catastrophic, but it is a rushed way to start the day. And all day today I just couldn't totally get into that work frame of mind. It made for a long day. But overall work is continuing to get better as I get settled in, and as a matter of fact, Thursday is my one month anniversary there. I am so grateful to have this job, and I have not regretted taking it for even one second. When I first heard about this position, I didn't believe I had even the slimmest chance of getting it, but I had to try anyway. And here I am! I just hope that one day I'm actually good at it!

To break up the monotony of 2x2 rib on sock cuffs, I've been doing a little more sample spinning. I love watching the transformation from fiber to yarn. The fiber goes through so many changes and the end product is almost always a little bit of a surprise to me. A long time ago, I tried my hand at dyeing some of my own fibers (which I hope to be able to do again soon). Besides the yarn in my last post, I haven't spun any other fibers I've dyed, so I decided to check out some of my own work. Most of them are a bit felted, but a bit of tugging alleviated most of that. Here's a picture of the roving I'm sampling, post-tugging:

It was supposed to be equal-sized bands of gray alternating with rainbow colors, but the rainbow colors spread more than the gray and dominate the roving. This becomes even more obvious with predrafting:

Once drafted, the gray, peach and green almost disappear completely, while the red, yellow, teal, blue and purple really pop. The colors become even more evident in the singles, with hardly a trace of gray to be seen:

I plan on making enough singles to make a good sized sample of 2-ply and of Navajo 3-ply. So far, there is a lot less gray showing than I thought there would be and the colors are much richer and darker than I thought they would be. I guess most of the gray got blended into the colors, lending them more depth. I can't wait to ply and knit samples and see what I get. I am very pleased on one front so far, which is the softness. The fiber I used was a blend of mixed wools which didn't seem very soft to me before it was dyed, but it has a great feel to it now. That is very reassuring, because it was a great deal on ebay at $3/lb and I have 15lbs of it!!! When I'm ready to dye again, I know I have good fiber for it, at least.

Saturday, November 25, 2006  

What has two thumbs and loves long holiday weekends? This girl (you have to imagine me pointing back at myself with my thumbs now. I think this may be funnier in person).

Anyway, since I had four and a half days off (yippee!) I decided to Get Some Stuff Done. And I actually did! Believe me, I'm just as surprised as you. Wednesday was pretty much about relaxing. I love to read, but since I've gotten out of school I mostly read popular fiction-type books. Lately I've been wanting something a little more substantial and so I decided to start reading some of the classics. I finished reading Pride and Prejudice on Wednesday and I was surprised to find that I absolutely loved it. I do a lot of my reading while on the treadmill, so it's nice to have fast, exciting reads that you don't need to think about. I thought Pride and Prejudice might be too much for the treadmill, but I really found it to be delightful. It will be added to the stack of books I read over and over again.

On Thursday, between cooking, eating, giving thanks, and enjoying my family, I also managed to do some fiber stuff. I have a stole that I finished knitting about about a year and a half ago, but it needed washing, blocking, and the ends needed to be sewn in. I can't block it at my apartment because the kitten has access to all of the areas that have carpet. The only places we can shut her out of (bedroom, craft/computer room, bathroom) have hardwood or tile floors. So I took it over to my parents' house to block it. Unfortunately, this monster is so huge that there was no untrafficked area large enough to block it, so it just got washed and spread out. I'll have to figure out some other way to block it. Maybe I'll have to invest in some of those foam floor pieces I've seen around on blogs. Washing alone did make a big difference - it's so much softer and it straightened out all the lumpy-bumpiness of the unwashed lace. I still want to give it a good blocking, though.

I'm not really sure I even want to keep it as it is, though. The reason this has sat in purgatory for so long is that this knit has a lot of very sad, painful memories wrapped up in it. I knit this for something that didn't end up happening and I can't look at it without thinking of that. But part of me wants to try to "reclaim" this, to move on. I put a lot of hard work into this and I don't want it to be spoiled by what happened, but right now it still is. But I don't even know that I could really reclaim the yarn, even if I frog this and knit it into something else. It's still going to be a painful reminder. And beyond all of the emotional baggage tied to this stole, I'm not sure I like it for what it is. The fabric is pretty dense - this is knit from koigu on size 4 needles in Feather and Fan. And I just don't know that I'm much of a stole person. I love stoles on other women, they look so fabulous and elegant, but those are two things I'm not and I think it's the woman that makes the stole, not the other way around. So, really, I'm no further than I was on Thursday. I still need to block the sucker and I still need to make decisions about it. Oh well. I tried!

On Friday, there was a lot more relaxing and a little more fiber fun. I washed up some handspun that had also been languishing in the almost-finished-but-not-quite pile. Here is actual proof that I am capable of spinning something other than froghair! This is a very fun lumpy-bumpy thick and thin yarn that I love an unreasonable amount. I dyed the fiber with left over Easter Egg dye in the microwave, and I loveitloveitloveit. It's so soft and it squooshes so nicely. I'm not sure what I'll make with it, but it will be something fun. There's not a lot of it, so something small. I almost want to knit a teddy bear or something with it so I can sqoosh it forever. But maybe a tiny little keyhole scarf/neckwarmer type thing. I'd say a hat, but unfortunately, my curls and hats just don't mix. I'd love any suggestions, but I'm not in any rush. Until I pick a project, I still get to squoosh it, and that's good enough for me.

I've also been sock knitting and froghair spinning. I think once I'm done with the blue/hand-dyed spinning project I have going now, I'll be ready for another big huge giant project. My mom had the shawl this week so she could take it to work and show her coworkers, and when I was reunited with it, it was like "Wow. I can't believe I really made this." Of course, I still have to finish it, so I might change my mind about another big huge giant project after that, but right now I'm feeling inspired. I have some lovely stuff calling my name. For tonight, I'll leave you with my new favorite picture of my spinning. This is the blue wool/silk I'm spinning to go with the hand-dyed sample. I absolutely love this perspective!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006  

When I finished knitting the toe of Mom's sock today, I was briefly tempted to brag that I defeated the knitting goddess. But I'm smart enough to know that if I did that, I'd suffer later. My knitting would probably explode or burst into flames. So, I'm just going to tell you that the knitting goddess had mercy on me and I'll put some cashmere on her altar this weekend. So. I started the second Sock Candy sock. Can you barely contain yourself? I know it's exciting.

You know what is actually exciting though? This:

This is my first bottle of the season of Diet Canada Dry Cranberry Ginger Ale. Oh, I am a happy girl. I stumbled upon this wonderful, splendiferous drink last year and did not understand that it was seasonal. I was so crushed that first grocery shopping trip after Christmas to discover it was no longer on the shelves. But it is back! And I am stockpiling it like it will get me through the Apocolypse. If diet pop didn't have the unfortunate habit of turning into formaldehyde after three months, I truly would buy enough to last me the year. But, I will just have to enjoy it while I can and try to learn some meaningful life lesson from it :-D

And while I'm at it I'll share another addiction with you. This is a new addiction, and THESE had better not be seasonable. If they are, it will get ugly. Have you tried these?

Not only do these taste divine (raspberry? chocolate? biscuit? fugitaboudit) they are not terrible for you. 2 cookies = 100 calories, 3gm fat. These fit the bill when the sweet tooth hits and I don't even feel guilty about them. I've heard rumors of an orchard pear flavor and I fully intend to investigate this matter thoroughly. Just for you, my wonderful readers, of course. It's a sacrifice I'm willing to make.

And now, off for some spinning. I hope the spinning goddess is as merciful as the knitting goddess was today.

Monday, November 20, 2006  

I apologize for ANOTHER grumpy post. I was totally planning on trying to keep this post cheerful and I had all kinds of little bits and pieces to share. But then... well. Maybe bits and pieces tomorrow.


It's official - I have lost all my knitting juju. I left for Rhinebeck a month ago today and things have not been the same since. Since I cast off the shawl, nothing has gone smoothly. I think perhaps the muse is taking a nap. And reason, logic and mathmatical skills have gone with her. I am so completely frustrated right now, I could cry. While I was closing in on Rhinebeck, there were many, many things I wanted to be working on besides the shawl. I wanted to be sampling all my fleeces to decide which ones to keep and which ones to get rid of (either by gift or sale). I wanted to sample the "maybes" in the stash and thin the herd. I wanted to start new projects. I wanted to do just about anything besides knit the shawl. But I wanted the shawl to go to Rhinebeck SO BAD, so I just kept working on it. When I went to Rhinebeck, I brought my Hitchhiker and Mark's sock yarn with me. I've never made socks for Mark and I've never used Trekking, so I just didn't work up the gumption to start on his socks on the trip. New yarn+new project=too much for my very excited brain to work out. And once I had some fibers to play with Saturday night, the Hitchhiker was not being agreeable and my spindling skills were too shabby to do justice to the fussy fibers I bought (buffalo, the neppy polwarth, etc). So, I wasn't very productive at Rhinebeck.

Once I got back, I cast on for the holiday knits, but both have gone wrong. Mark's socks were going so slow because I am only working on them out of his sight, but I have very little knitting time out of his sight. I finally get some progress on them and by the ruler measurements they should have fit, but they just... didn't. So they've been frogged and I haven't had a chance to restart them. Mom's socks seemed to be going smoothly (if slowly) until tonight but then, blammo. The knit goddess smites me. The first sock is done and I cast on tonight for the second and for some reason I have it in my muddled brain that 34+34 will SOMEHOW = 64. WTF? So, I cast on the wrong number and finish the entire short row toe before I realize what I've done. Hello, Earth to Jenni, 34+34=68. Blargh. And again, BLARGH. How did I knit this shawl but mess up a sock? How was I able to keep my stitch count accurate when each row was 1,296 stitches when I apparently think 34+34=64? And what do I have to sacrifice to be able to knit again? I feel like banging my head against a wall! Fibery stuff is supposed to be my enjoyment and relaxation. Instead it is driving me (even more) crazy! And it feels like EVERYTHING is like this right now. I feel like I'm working against the grain lately. There doesn't seem to be any respite. This whole sock thing makes me feel like my whole night was wasted. I literally came home from work, made dinner, and knit the toe. And all the knitting was for nothing. I've torn out the toe and I'll have to do it all again tomorrow night. And I feel STUPID about it. I am unable to say "oh well" right now and just let it go.

Please excuse me while I go sit in a corner and hug myself.

Thursday, November 16, 2006  

I spoke too soon yesterday about my positive fiber progress :-( I made Mark close his eyes tonight while I tried the sock-in-progress on him and it's too big, so I need to start over. Blargh. Also, my friends had to cancel their visit this weekend and I'm very bummed. I was really looking forward to seeing them. They are incredible ladies and I hope we can reschedule soon. Combine these things with the grey, rainy weather and it's been a somewhat poopy day. But, tomorrow's Friday and then the weekend! So hopefully things will cheer up. And I got my first paycheck from the new job. Yea! That helps, too. Now, if only I could spend it on fun stuff instead of bills. One day...

Wednesday, November 15, 2006  

Things are starting to smooth out in my little corner of the world and I'm settling down a bit. I feel like I'm starting to get the hang of my new job and things are going pretty well there. Last week my manager asked me to do some research on the wedding industry and come up with some book ideas for our wedding line. I came up with an idea I really liked, and my manager pitched it to the acquisitions board yesterday. They asked for some more information on it, but they didn't say no, and my manager and director both like the idea, so I'm taking that as a victory. Also, I was feeling like I was moving too slow on the cards book I've been working on, but I touched base with my manager on that and she was actually really happy with my progress, so I'm feeling better in that area. I'm getting to pick up more of the pieces of the whole process and I'm feeling like this is something I will be able to learn and hopefully do well. The first two weeks were so completely overwhelming because I've never worked in publishing and it seemed like a whole other language to me. Now I feel that even though it will be a long process, I will get there someday. I won't be getting any of my own books to work on for at least a month, so I have plenty of time to learn on other projects. I'm hesitant to type this, and I'll knock on wood as soon as I'm done, but I think I've finally found a job that I can be reasonably happy at. I've been out of school and in the job market for four years, and the jobs I've had have not been good matches. As a matter of fact, I've been pretty miserable at every job I've had since college. This job is so much closer to my interests and I still can't believe that they hired me. I know every job has it's bad days and unpleasant tasks, and this job will, too, but I'm being exposed to so many great ideas and talented people and so much inspiration. It's exciting to think that I may actually have a career now instead of a job. It's only been two and half weeks, so time will tell, but things are looking up. The only notable exception to the improvement in my work situation is that I am still sleep walking and having very vivid dreams about work almost every night. So neither Mark nor I are getting enough sleep. When I sleep walk or have very vivid, active dreams, it's not "quality" sleep and poor Mark is having to get up and chase around after me. Apparently I got very belligerent a few nights ago when he tried to convince me to come back to bed. I feel so bad for him, but I don't have any control over it. I'm hoping as I continue to settle in, the sleep walking with taper off. Either that or Mark will give up and handcuff me to the bed so he doesn't have to worry about me wandering off :-P

My fibery pursuits are also starting to go a little more smoothly. I'm almost done with the first of Mom's socks and I'm a few inches into Mark's. At first I wasn't very fond of the masculine colorway of the yarn Mark had picked for his socks, but the more I knit on the sock, the more I am enjoying it. It's making a sock that is very Mark-ish. But after knitting socks only for my mom and myself, his sock does seem freakishly large. I keep checking the measurments against the measurements I took from Mark and they're correct, but compared to the dainty lady-type socks I've been knitting, these seem like monsters! I hope he loves them!

I'm going to close this with a "what would you do?" I've already written about the neppy Polwarth roving I got while I was in Rhinebeck and how I asked for four ounces, but when I got to check out the label on the bag said that I was given six, but I just went ahead and bought it anyway because of how soft it was. Well, I had the scale out today and I have been thinking that the Polwarth didn't really look like six ounce worth of fiber and so I weighed it. And I have FOUR ounces. That's right, I asked for four ounces and I actually got four ounces, but the weigher-lady mislabelled it as six and I paid for six and ONLY GOT FOUR. I'm sure this was all an innocent mistake, so please don't think I'm trying to accuse anyone of trying to cheat me. The fiber was already expensive at $6/ounce, but taking in the kerfuffle, I actually ended up paying $9/ounce for very neppy roving. I'm upset about this. Well, okay, I'm grumpily frustrated about this and kind of pouting. I paid for $12 worth of fiber I didn't receive. This is not going to make or break me, but I could get another shawl's worth of fiber for $12. But then again, it is only $12 and an innocent mistake. Even though I know it was an accident, I feel kind of ripped off. So what would you do? Would you just let it go and try to learn a lesson? Would you contact the vendor just to give them the heads up? Would you contact the vendor for compensation? If you are a vendor, what would you want a customer to do? Please help me out here. I'm hoping having a night to sleep on it will make me feel better about the situation. Grump grump grump

Sunday, November 12, 2006  

Well, it was another unproductive weekend. I just can't seem to get my fiber schwerve on. At work, one of the things I'm working on is a book on handmade cards and I've been feeling a bit inspired by that. The artists we're working with are very talented and use some great materials. So, Saturday I went out to a local scrapbooking store to get some paper to play around with. Their selection wasn't great, but I figured I would get a few things to try it out first before I went on some buying spree online. I thought it would work well if I used my rotary cutter to cut the paper, but when I went to get it, it wasn't where I thought it would be, which caused a major excavation in the craft room. It's official. I own one of everything. I cannot believe the sheer amount of STUFF I own. When I finally do get a house and move, some major destashing and organization will occur. I tried to start on that last night, but I ended up feeling completely overwhelmed. It's going to be a LONG process. Anyway, the rotary cutter was finally unearthed and I did a little playing around. Here are the results:

The holiday paper was the cutest stuff they had, so I figured I could make our holiday cards as my little experiment. The gumdrops are my favorite. The stripes are just for some fun, girly cards. I have three of each of these designs and some more paper cut in different designs, just not glued together yet. These each also have thin strip of the decorative paper running along the inside. I'm really happy with the results. It was a fairly simple process, but I think the finished product looks pretty polished. I think I'm also going to buy more of the holiday paper so that I can line envelopes to match. But, that's about the limit of my craftiness this weekend. A few more rows on each sock and some spinning of the solid blue fiber. Whee! Hopefully I'll be able to get my poop in a group this week and get some actual progress made. If not, I have a couple of fiber artist friends coming into town this weekend and they'll whip me into shape. I'm so excited to see them! Fiber friends are the best!

Thursday, November 09, 2006  

Well, I have been completely useless in the fiber department the past few days. Approximately half an inch of leg done on Mom's sock, four rows on Mark's sock and zero spinning. I have been, as we say in my house, all pants and no trousers.* I'm very full of ideas (and other things, as I'm sure those who know me IRL know) but not so much on production. I think the absence of the shawl as a work-in progress has seriously thrown me for a loop. My mind has been dizzily spinning from one huge project to another and to a zillion little projects as well. All the distractions that flitted across my mind while I was working on the shawl have come knocking at once, and I'm overwhelmed. All I can do right now is visit the stash and pet things and look through books and dream. Starting about five years ago, I began to feel like I had enough inspiration to keep me in projects for the rest of my life, and more just keeps coming. I'm glad I started all of this early in life, so I have time to accomplish 1/1000th of what I dream about. And if all my thoughts of knitting and spinning weren't enough, I'm thinking of new hobbies as well. I'm getting a serious jones to start sewing my own clothes, as I am a funny shape and have a difficult time finding clothes in stores that look and feel good at the same time. And I think learning to sew clothes would help me get over my fear of sweaters, because I would understand better the shapes that would compliment my body. I want to knit sweaters, but I hate the thought of putting all that work into something that ends up looking bad on me. I know it's a learning process, and everyone is supposed to have their three crappy first sweaters, but I am a slow knitter and a sweater is a major time investment for me. To not have it work out would be a huge frustration for me (as I'm sure it is for most people). So, I chicken out and avoid sweaters. So, since I have no progress to show you on ANYTHING, I'll distract you with a picture of the two fleeces I got in Rhinebeck. Oooh, look at the pretty fleeces...

Gorgeous silver Ramboullet and equally gorgeous black Shetland. I'm hoping to get a little sample of each washed up this weekend so I can dream fleecey dreams of my new goodies. But I'm not counting on it because I may still be a whirling dervish. We'll see.

*this came about from a slip of the tongue when one of us (I can't even remember whether it was Mark or I now) was trying to say all mouth and no trousers. We decided we liked all pants and no trousers MUCH better :-D

Wednesday, November 08, 2006  

I know I haven't been back to the blogging world for long, but I really need some help right now, so I'm putting out the call for anyone who's feeling compassionate. I'm in a dire situation and I've tried to take care of it myself, but I'm not having any luck, and I'm getting desparate. Could someone please, please come to Cincinnati and knock me over the head with someone heavy? I'm hoping it will knock the idea of tatting a shawl out of my head. Tatting. A. Shawl. I've clearly gone over the edge. Send reinforcements.

Monday, November 06, 2006  

Well, we had the roasted veggies for dinner tonight, and the world is still turning. I guess they were only dangerous yesterday :-P

Not much is going on around here. I made it through another day at the new job, and I think I'm finally done with all the paperwork. Yea for benefits! It was also another day where I got to mostly do things that will be part of my regular job. On the fiber front, I turned the heel on my mom's sock. Very exciting, no? Mark's sock isn't really getting worked on because I keep forgetting to take it to work with me. Mom and Mark both know I'm making them socks, but I'm still trying to keep them from seeing them until the holidays, so I don't work on Mark's sock at home much, because he's there when I am. I've temporarily settled on a spinning project. I'm going to finish spinning the hand painted roving sample from a couple of posts ago and the solid I've picked to go with it. It's a nice small project to get me back in the spinning saddle again, and it's a small enough project to do along with all the socks. It's not something that will pull my attention away from the socks, it's just a nice counterpoint. Here's a pic of the two rovings laid out together. What do you think of the color combo?

The color in this shot is off a little, the handpainted roving is showing up a little more red than it really is. I think this will be a nice combo. I hope I have enough yarn to make a frilly little decorative scarf. I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that I'll get 225 yards out of what I have. Place your bets, ladies and gentlemen.

Sunday, November 05, 2006  

OK, second half of the weekend not as delightful as the first part. It was still better than having to work, but just not as fabulous as yesterday. But today was one of those days when I feel like the universe is trying to send me a message. Strangley enough, the message seemed to be "don't make papardelle with roasted vegetables and goat cheese for dinner." Awfully specific of the universe, isn't it?

Yesterday Mark and I went grocery shopping and the eggplant at our usual store was foul. Very squishy. So, we meant to hit another store later in the day and forgot. So, this morning I ran to the store and found a gorgeous eggplant. So, I think I'm ready to roll. I go home, start to gather the ingredients for the veggie marinade and... I have maybe a quarter cup of balsalmic vinegar. SO not enough for what I'm making. And I swear I had another bottle. So, I start rummaging in my pantry looking for the second bottle and I get nada... except for the bottle of water that fell over and was slowly leaking onto a piece of cardboard for God knows how long, because the cardboard now looks like a petri dish from all the stuff growing on it. And I though the eggplant was foul! So after a shower (yes, I had to shower just from TOUCHING the cardboard. I should have taken a picture, but I couldn't get that nastiness out of my apartment soon enough) I head for the grocery store AGAIN and get the balsamic. I get home, start working on the marinade and... not enough dijon mustard. I am NOT going back to the store, so I make due with what I have. And make a note to myself about having a serious talk with Mark about remembering to put things on the grocery list when he uses most of it. Veggies are FINALLY in the oven, I set them for their usual baking time, come back and they're burned!!!!! I pull them out of the oven and walk away, knowing right now I am probably not in the best frame of mind to handle the situation. Now, usually on Sundays we go over to my parents' house for dinner, but my mom has been out of town for a conference and only got back today, so we had agreed ahead of time that Mark and I would not come over so that she could have time to relax before work tomorrow. This is the only reason I am even attempting to cook today. So, shortly after pulling my very dark roasted veggies out of the oven, my mom calls and says after being cooped up on a plane, she feels like doing some cooking, so come on over and she'll cook dinner (and she didn't even know about the well-done veggies). So, I surrendered to the universe. No papardelle with roasted veggies and goat cheese today.

But I did go back to the kitchen later after the veggies cooled and they're actually not too bad. They taste a lot better than they look. So, we're having them tomorrow. If the world ends because of my consumption of this forbidden dish, I apologize in advance.

Saturday, November 04, 2006  

Ah, what a lovely weekend so far. Great company, luscious food, lots of knitting, spinning, and sleep. Just what I needed to regroup after my long week.

Speaking of spinning... One of my (many) purchases at Rhinebeck was some buttery soft white Polwarth that I didn't look at closely enough, because when I got it back to the bed and breakfast I discovered it was very (very very) neppy. Seeing as how I almost exclusively spin gossamer and lace weight, this was a bad thing. And it was even more frustrating because I asked for four ounces of it, and when I went to pay, I had actually been given six ounces. I went ahead and bought it all because it was so soft and I figured I could dye some. I wasn't sure if it was salvagable because I only had my Hitchhiker wheel with me, and for some reason the treadling was funky and I couldn't concentrate on drafting well enough to pick out the neps while I spun. So, once I got home, I wanted to check out the roving to see if it could be saved. I did some pre-picking and further smoothed it out as I was spinning. It was a bit labor intensive, but the resulting yarn is oh-so-soft.

I wish you could feel how heavenly this yarn is. It's on my computer desk right now and I keep petting it. Ummm...polwarth.

I've also be exercising Option Two, which is sampling for destashing. As a young and foolish spinner, I was led astray by many a fiber that was a lovely color, but not suited for my style of spinning. Or, in the case of this next fiber, was bought over the internet based on a misleading picture. Now, I know that different monitors show colors differently, but so far the fibers I've gotten haven't varied wildly from what I thought they would be based on pictures, so I believe the fault lay with the picture, not my monitor. I got into a bidding war on ebay over this fiber, which looked very lovely and pastel in the picture. And in real life... not so much. In real life, the fiber turned out to be more... well, neon.

I tried plying it to see if it could be subdued, but it doesn't appear to have worked. I'll still knit up a swatch to make sure it doesn't spontaneously mellow out, but I'm pretty sure this fiber is gonna go. I think it would make a great fun hat for a little girl (or a big girl with a love of neon pink) but I don't really see myself making a shawl out of this. I'm just not a neon shawl kind of gal.

But I am a food addict kind of gal, so I've just got to spread the word about a new-to-me restaurant that I tried today. It is called Honey (it's in Cincinnati), and it is to die for. It is so gorgeous on the inside, very simple and warm. We started with honey fries (yukon, idaho and sweet potato fries) and crispy polenta with mozzerella, dried romas and roasted garlic; entrees were duck breast with a crepe filled with cardamom pastry cream, cherry compote and swiss chard, and diver sea scallops with black truffle risotto (oh my god, bears repeating: black truffle risotto. *swoon*); dessert was a chocolate cake with cayenne pepper and garam masala, buttercream frosting and chocolate ganache. Everything was delicious, and the presentation was beautiful. I will be going back as soon as possible. Yum. Just thinking about it makes me sigh contentedly. Yes, a very good weekend so far.

Friday, November 03, 2006  

Before I go rambling on about anything else, I want to start off by thanking everyone for all the kind words about my shawl. I don't get to hang out with fiber people very often (but I don't think I could ever get enough. Fiber people are the best!), so to get so much positive feedback means a lot to me. So again, thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Also, the shawl pattern will be available eventually. Once I finish knitting it, I will look into getting it out into the world somehow. I have gotten suggestions for both Spin Off and the Knitting Vault, but I'm not sure which direction to go. If you have any advice or experience with publishing a pattern with either, I'd appreciate your thoughts.

Work was much better today. I actually got some more serious tasks today, and they were things that will be part of my regular duties, so I felt somewhat productive. And it was Friday, which is something that usually improves my outlook on life. What makes this Friday even better than usual is that Mark has tomorrow off, so we actually get to have an entire day together! This is quite a big deal for us, because I work Monday through Friday and Mark works Saturday and Sunday (among other days) so we hardly ever have a day together. It is such a luxury for us just to wake up together and have breakfast together and laze around in our pajamas. I've been looking forward to it.

So far I haven't pulled out any more UFO's into the light of day. There is a very precarious balance in my craft room and I just haven't had the energy this week to risk having everything come tumbling down. I keep organizing it, but I also keep getting more STUFF and I'm starting to feel like the girl in that Shel Silverstein poem who wouldn't take the garbage out (although none of my precious fiberies are garbage. No they aren't, precious). So, in lieu of anything interesting, I'll leave you with a picture of my sock in progress. I promise no more pictures of this pair until they're done! These are going to be for my mom for Christmas. She hates the feel of any wool, so I can only make her cotton socks. This pair is made from Sock Candy in the colorway Hurricane. I really love the yarn for knitting, but I'm not sure how much she'll like the pair for wearing. Her favorite yarn for socks (so far) is Cascade Fixation because of the stretch to it. I understand where she's coming from, but after knitting many pairs from Fixation, I'm tired of the squiggly look of the yarn. The stitches in Sock Candy are just so tidy and pretty. And I absolutely adore this colorway. I may have to call Blue Moon and see if I can get spinning fiber in this colorway. But, I'll keep my fingers crossed that these socks are super comfy so I can keep using this yarn, because I'm loving it.

P.S. I'm also loving the song Fidelity by Regina Spektor - kind of bubble gum, but so sweet and happy. I love the lyrics. Happy weekend, all!

Thursday, November 02, 2006  

On a non-fibery note, I just wanted to put in my two cents about new jobs - they're cool in theory, but in practice not so much. There's all the paperwork, all the akwardness and unfamiliar ground. I started my third new job OF THE YEAR this week (more on my checkered employment history later) and I am exhausted and frustrated. This is a job that I was wildly excited about when I first heard about it and I never thought there was any way I'd get it. I wanted it so bad though, so I sent in my resume and was ecstatic when I got a phone interview in response to my email. I was even more ecstatic when I got scheduled for a face-to-face, and nearly had a stroke when I got the call that I got the job. And I really think that this will be a great job for me - it's so much more creative than anything I've ever done for money and a lot closer than I've ever gotten to anything I actually want to do. And I know that it will get better. But this week was... a first week. There's no formal training system, they keep promising me serious tasks to work on, but the work gets pushed back for various reasons and I'm stuck with everyone's menial tasks just to keep me busy. They all know each other and I'm the new girl. Everyone's been very nice to me, but in that new-girl kind of way. Add to the mix the fact that I sleep walk when I've got a lot on my mind, so I've been roaming the halls at night and getting much less sleep than I need. And I might be a wee bit hormonal. So I am very glad tomorrow is Friday. I need my weekend. Things will be better next week, right?

Wednesday, November 01, 2006  

Right now, I'm feeling a bit adrift on the seas of change. With the shawl on hiatus, and starting a new job this week, my world feels a bit tumbly-bumbly. I can't tell you how focused I was on the shawl for the month (or s0) before Rhinebeck. It was constantly on my mind, wondering when I could squeeze in just a few more stitches, would I make "quota" for the day, would it be finished for Rhinebeck. I think this obsession was partially my mind's attempt to distract me from my misery with my last job. And the rest was just because I'm a total nutjob.

Anyway, now I'm back and for better or worse, the shawl was what it was when I was in Rhinebeck. So that huge weight is off my mind. But nothing fibery has truly stepped in to fill the void. I'm working on two pairs of socks for holiday gifties, but they are simple and aren't satisfying my appetite.

At this point, I have several options that I could pursue (along with the holiday knitting). It's getting too close to my bedtime to outline them all here, but I'll start with option one and save the rest for future blog fodder. Option one is one of the more responsible (read: less fun) options. It is to pull out ALL my unfinished projects (oh, the horror) and evaluate them. I can see what I want to scrap, what I want to continue with and what I want to change direction with. And then actually do it (that, unfortunately, is the sticking point) So, in that vein, here is a pic of the first round of UFO's.

The spinning UFO's

In the top row to the left there are some singles I was spinning from a sample of hand dyed fiber I received when I purchased some roving from a destashing sale. I figured if I spun the sample gossamer weight and plied with a gossamer single of a solid coordinating fiber I'd have enough for a decorative lace scarf. I plan on finishing this spinning. The hand dyed singles are nearly done and I think working on the solid singles will be a good way to get my spinning back up to form after my break. In the top row to the right are some cashmere singles I was spinning a bit thicker than my usual weight (but still laceweight). There's not a lot here, I don't want to keep spinning with this weight, and I'm not sure what to do with these singles. I guess I could ply it and knit amulet bags or sachets out of the yarn. Or knit some swatches to attach to some artist trading cards. Or... something. This one will take some thought.

On the bottom left are some singles spun from Crosspatch Creations/Three Bags Full Fiber in the colorway Tammany's Prize. These singles are OLD. You can see the original spinning in my archives! I think I had originally planned to do a three ply yarn and knit a hat for myself (I'll have to double check the archives for that LOL). Now I'm thinking maybe a cabled clutch with bamboo handles. I do plan on spinning the rest of the fiber into singles and I think I'll have to finish the planning at that point. This bobbin holds one of the three batts of fiber totalling four ounces. Bottom middle are laceweight singles of Bountiful's Black Lake fiber blend. I don't really feel like pursuing a project in this fiber at this time, although it is lovely and I enjoy spinning it. I don't know whether to leave the singles on the bobbin until I actually do feel like spinning this, or if this yarn should meet a similar fate to the cashmere. Even if I did want to work on this fiber now, I'd do it with my Woolee Winder and these singles are on an original Ashford bobbin, so these singles are pretty much toast as far as a large project go. Bottom right is some Spinderella's fiber that I don't know the name of. Maybe, possible Grey Mist. This is one of my original attempts at lace spinning and even older than Tammany's Prize. The fiber is a bit overspun and rougher than what I prefer to spin now. I have some more of the fiber, but I don't really enjoy spinning it and at this point my fiber time is too limited to spin stuff I don't enjoy. Another one for the thinking cap. I'm torn between plying it on itself and plying it with a commercial yarn, maybe a silk yarn painted in rainbow colors.

Not pictured is a bobbin full of laceweight singles of Gaywool Merino silk in the Koala colorway. I have more fiber, but I think I have enough singles to ply them and make a scarf for my mom, which was my original plan for the fiber. I think I'll just do that and save the remaining fiber for another project, or destash it sometime.

So there you have it, the spinning UFO's. My little walk down memory lane (aka the walk of shame) will continue. Any ideas/suggestions for any of these fibers, please let me know! I think this will be a long process, and I'll need all the help I can get!

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