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I wasn't born with wings, so I'm trying to make my own
Sunday, November 25, 2007  

Ah, holiday weekends are the BEST. To make it even better, Mark also had a long weekend. His was Tuesday through Friday and mine was Thursday through Sunday, which meant an entire two-day layover between us! We haven't had two days off together since August. It was so wonderful to go to sleep with him, wake up with him, have breakfast and lunch together and see each other at all before 4 p.m. It's pretty rare that that ever happens. At least one of us is working every day of the week, so we hardly ever get one whole day, let alone two, together. It was heaven! I really hope that one day our schedules change so that we can actually have regular time off together. The one benefit of our current schedule is that it makes us truly appreciate the days we do have. And if there is ever a time for appreciation and gratitude, this was it. I really love Thanksgiving. Gratitude is something that I tend to struggle with on a daily basis, but Thanksgiving is a good reminder to stop and count my blessings. I have so many blessings in my life that I take for granted because I'm always working towards the next "thing" instead of appreciating what I have. I concentrate so much on what "should be" or what I hope for that I tend to miss the now. So, I spent a lot of this weekend being mindful and thankful for what is, instead of wasting time on what will be or should be. And it was a wonderful weekend.

One of the best parts of the weekend (I promise, I'm finally getting to some fiber content :-) was a visit to my new friend Susan's shop. Susan is a regular vendor at my local fiber fest, "A Wool Gathering" in Yellow Springs, Ohio, and carries really lovely fibers (Fleece Artist, Crosspatch Creations, Three Bags Full, Peace of Yarn, etc., drool, etc.). I kept meaning to visit her shop, which is not quite two hours away, but I hadn't made it out there yet. This year at Yellow Springs as I was perusing her booth, I also got to find out what a lovely person Susan is. We got to chatting and I found out that she was going to the retreat portion of SOAR. We got to spend some time together at SOAR (not as much as I would have liked) and this weekend she hosted an open house at her shop. I decided to finally get the lead out and head over to see her. And I'm so glad I went because I had such a great time. Here is where I could show you Susan's beautiful home, her llamas and alpacas, her cozy, shopping-spree inducing shop... that is, if I had remembered to take pictures :-( I got so busy with chatting and shopping and eating goodies dipped in her chocolate fountain (Susan REALLY knows how to throw an open house) that my thoughts never even turned to my camera. Duh. But, now that I'm home, I can at least show you what I got:

From top left moving clockwise: a braid of Fleece Artist merino/silk, a Three Bags Full blend called Pearly White (merino blended with lightly dyed tencel in the most gorgeous opal-y, pearly colors--so much prettier in person), some light brown Mongolian cashmere, a Crosspatch Creations blend called Gaelic Garden (Susan had spun sample of this, it is magnificent), and some Fleece Artist seawool (a blend of superwash and seacell in pencil roving form). So many goodies, so little time. I can't wait to dive into all of these. I also got part of the most incredible Cormo lamb fleece. It is beautiful. I actually couldn't wait to dig into that, so I washed some locks today along with locks of other recent fleece acquisitions:


From left to right: super-duper fine (16 micron) Merino from Margaret Stove's class at SOAR that I won at the silent auction, Cormo lamb from Susan, and Polwarth from Rovings that I bought at SOAR.


So far, without spinning, I'd have to say Margaret's is the best, but if that fleece is a 10, the Cormo is a 9.5. It's not quite as soft, but still incredibly soft, the longer staple is nice and it is the cleanest fleece I've ever seen. Overall, all three are dreamy and I can't wait to play with all of them. I think my next lace project may just have to be worked straight from sheep to shawl.

So, as I said and as you can now see, a very nice weekend. And now, on top of everything else, I have new fibers to be thankful for. I'm a very lucky girl :-)

Sunday, November 11, 2007  

Falling behind on blogging sure does give me a lot to type about when I finally do get around to it!

First, work is going pretty well. I've finally pushed my way through a long, busy, stressful period and came out on the other side alive. I went through some very stressful times in the last few months and things go pretty hairy at times. I'm finally feeling like I'm beginning to get the hang of handling multiple book schedules at one time. Right now it's a quiet period for me book-wise, but that's good because it means I finally get to take a deep breath and get caught up on all of my non-book responsibilities. Things got a little crazy there while I got my sea-legs and edited my first knitting book on my own and started my first multiple-book season. I'm certainly not an old pro yet, but I feel much better equipped for next season. I celebrated my one year anniversary at my job a couple of weeks ago, and in a very fortuitous coincidence, the advanced copies of the first book I edited arrived on my anniversary. It was very neat to see my name on the copyright page of the book as Editor. Even more exciting is the thought of seeing my name as author. It's an amazing feeling to see all of my work in action. I've had very few jobs where I could point to something tangible and say "This is what I do." Working on books is so cool, because I'm helping something come into the world that wasn't there before, that people will use and enjoy. As much as I'd love to leave the rat race and not have 9-5 kind of job, I can't do that right now, so since I have to work, it's pretty cool that I get to do this.

And now I have to work even move than I did before: I have a new bill to pay.

And no, it's not for my (apparently much needed) chin reduction surgery. I now am the proud owner of a new-to-me Subaru Forester. Actually, it's not TOO new to me because I'm buying it from my mom. She got a new car, and I figured it was time to upgrade, so I bought hers. I've been driving my faithful little Corolla for nine years now, and at fourteen, she's no spring chicken. I love her and she got me through a lot of miles, but I have a long commute these days and with winter coming, I feel better in a newer, bigger car. I'm going to be selling the Corolla, which I'm nervous about (what if someone takes her for a test drive and never comes back? I am maybe not so trusting), so please cross your fingers for me. I think she'll be a great "starter car" for a new driver.

Goodbye Sammy. You were a good little car. Thanks for all the good times.

In fiber news, I've mostly been working on holiday knitting, specifically the pair of socks for my mom that I mentioned before. I worked both up to the heel, and now I'm working on (my first! ever!) patterned cuff. I got lucky and choice a great stitch pattern the first time around. I had to fudge around a bit to get the right number of stitches, but I love the way it looks and it's going quickly.

I was trying to work on this in secret, but my mom has very plain and simple tastes. I was worried that this would be too fancy for her, so I showed her the first one, because I'd hate to make her something she didn't like. They fit PERFECTLY and she loves them. She was really amazed at how beautiful they were and how different from her usual favorites, the 2x2 rib. I'm just so happy with how they look, tickled that she likes them, and so pleased with myself for coming up with something that I think is really beautiful. Sometimes knitting makes me feel like a total idiot, but every now and then I stumble on something good and feel like The Smartest Woman Ever. I feel like I split the atom here. I feel like Tom Hanks in Castaway: "I... have made a sock."

I also finally blocked the Fleurette scarf and it looks like... total ass. I don't know how I fugged that up. Actually, I think I do. It's about 5.5" on one end and 4.25" on the other, even though the scarf was all blocked out to the same width. I think the scarf dried too much while I was blocking and the now-skinny end was the end I blocked last, and it was too dry when I finally got around to it. I'll try again, this time armed with a spray bottle for a dampening after all the pins are in place. Hopefully I can get a good block on this thing. I worked too hard on the spinning and knitting for it to look this bad.

And for now, I think that may be all the news that is fit to print.

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