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September 2005
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October 2005

weekend update

My weekend was a very full and wonderful despite another bout with the white stuff.  Seems that most of New England has now been tricked or treated to a dose of October snow.  Today, being that we've made it through the season's first, we have a warm and sunny day.   After my usual trip to the diner Friday night for a fish and chip dinner (without the chips) I came home to ply up the mystery wool I'd cleaned, carded and spun during the week.  I wanted to see what it looked like before I finished it up. 

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It was a good way to spend the remainder of the evening.   The rest of the weekend was all penciled in.  Since I type SO SLOWLY and would really like to get this post out today, I'm going to cut to the chase, skip the details, and give you the photo essay in a nutshell kind of thing.  Here goes...

P1000480  Saturday afternoon spin-in at RI Handspun.  This stuff  (yeah, I know, Barbie wants her yarn back), I love it.  I love that sparkle, the alpaca, and the silk.  It's fun.  It may just make some little girl happy, or maybe just me.

Saturday night, in the snow, I headed over to the Vietnamese restaurant for dinner before the all Mozart concert at the Philharmonic.  Best concert in a very long time. 

Sunday morning, Cindy and I head to Portland Maine.  After a four year search, I was rewarded several weeks ago by a phone call from a woman wanting to sell this to me.

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If you can identify it, you know just how hard it was to locate. 

I'll leave you with these.. in between office work there is this..

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and this.. 

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New Englanders

Coincidentally, a friend emailed this to me this morning:

Forget Rednecks...here is what Jeff Foxworthy has to say about New
Englanders:

If you consider it a sport to gather your food by drilling through 36
inches of ice and sitting there all day hoping it will swim by, you
might live in New England.

If you're proud that your region makes the national news 96 nights each
year because Mt. Washington is the coldest spot in the nation, and
Boston gets more snow than any other majority in the US, you live in New
England.

If your local Dairy Queen is closed from September through May, you
live in New England.

If you instinctively walk like a penguin for six months out of the
year, you live in New England.

If someone in a Home Depot store offers you assistance, and they don't
work there, you live in New England.

If you've worn shorts and a parka at the same time, you live in New
England.

If you've had a lengthy telephone conversation with someone who dialed
a wrong number, you live in New England.

YOU KNOW YOU ARE A NEW ENGLANDER WHEN:

"Vacation" means going anywhere south of New York City for the weekend.

You measure distance in hours.

You know several people who have hit a deer more than once.

You have switched from "heat" to "A/C" in the same day, and back again.

You can drive 65 mph through 2 feet of snow during a raging blizzard
without flinching.

You install security lights on your house and garage, but leave both
unlocked.

You carry jumper cables in your car and your girlfriend/wife knows how
to use them.

You design your kid's Halloween costume to fit over a snowsuit.

Driving is better in the winter because the potholes are filled with
snow.

You know all 4 seasons: almost winter, winter, still winter, and road
construction.

Your idea of creative landscaping is a statue of a deer next to your
blue spruce.

"Down South" to you means Philadelphia.

Your neighbor throws a party to celebrate his new shed.

Your 4th of July picnic was moved indoors due to frost.

You have more miles on your snow blower than your car.

You find 10 degrees "a little chilly."

You actually understand these jokes, and forward them to all your New
England friends.

how very apropos

ps.  thanks for your good wishes... the freezers seem to have survived!! (frozen, that is)



blog power

The way I see it is like this... if I hadn't been checking the morning blog posts yesterday, I wouldn't have read Norma and wouldn't know that areas of VT were without power and phone service.  I would have figured that my neighbor that I had been emailing for a weather check had been out of town ( well, he actually was.. but had gotten home Thursday morning) and that all was well and that the phone lines were their usual funky selves.  BUT, that is NOT what happened.  I read Norma's post.  I figured if she got 10" then I'd have a whole lot more.  After calling everyone I could think of in an ever widening circle form my house, I finally got our mechanic on the line.  30" of wet HEAVY snow, he said.. his power and phone just back on in town, nothing outside of town until say... maybe this weekend.  Worse he's ever seen.  Woods are a mess.  Phone poles snapped like tooth picks.  And I'm thinking, I've just spent the last 4 months filling my freezers, no power, better get to the generators as fast as we can.  Next call I got through was to the family that plows us out, all 1/4 mile of it.  Sorry she tells me.  We couldn't plow you, worse we've ever seen, you got at least 10 trees down across the road that we could see.  Yep, I'm flipping.  You get where this is going.   My back is out, I'm no good for this job.  Poor C had to head north.  Damage report is still coming in.  He counted at least 40 trees across the drive.  He's cutting and clearing, alone.  The phone is still out.  Last night the power returned, just in time for the thaw.  I am so relieved.  Before we put the electricity in, we never knew when it was out, no worries, no freezers, no color TV.  This is the price we pay.  We are dependent.   I don't have a great solution.   I've tried the alternatives.  They work, up to a point.  But we are spoiled and we do NOT have good alternatives.  Solar can only go so far in the Northeast.  We simply do not have enough sun to run all the things we depend on.  Freezers run on kerosene work, but one has to be very diligent, and then there is the kerosene.  I've used propane refrigeration, for many years.  My electric fridge is way better,  and I don't have to keep checking my carbon monoxide detectors that were hung around it.  You see where this is headed.  We are addicted to our power consumption.  How much worse it must be for those people in the south, weeks and months without.  The damage report.. we lost trees,  many of our apple trees are uprooted, we'll wait to see how the berry canes make out, they're still under snow.   We were lucky, and once again.. I love the power of blogland.   


signs of the time

The cold that followed all the rain the past weekend, precipated the yearly bring in of Podo and the rest of the plants (read that *trees*).  I gave Podo a good trimming back in preparation, but no matter how much I think I can get away with, when he comes into the house he needs more.  Podo is a major presence in the room.  Major!  The room is dwarfed.  The sane thing would be to send him out on a job.  But Podo has lived here, with me, for many , many years.  C. always treatens to cut a real Christmas tree.  We have.  But most years, Podo is enough.  He looks good decorated and lit up with hundreds of lights.  Two trees and there isn't enough room for us. 

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My back is out, again, big time.  So what do you do when you are way too groggy from muscle relaxents to drive, yet not so bad that you know you need to keep moving?  How about ring a round the rosy spinning.  A little bit of the natural spun seated.   Then, when my back starts screaming "IT", as it has for the past couple days, I'd move to the Fricke elelctric in the back room and keep right on spinning,

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this time standing up and walking backwards from then back again towards the spinner, a couple yards at a time, some stuff I bought from Persimmon Tree at Maryland,  just recently pulled from my stash.  Shopping at home again, between stash and the internet, I hardly need to leave.  Sounds good anyway, especially if you leave out the part about the office work, and the laundry. 
In answer to just what am I thinking of doing to the sweater.. that front cabled sesction I want to change.. well.. I'm looking for a cable to use that works in a space with a mutiple of 5+3.  I'm up to the armhole decreases on the back and the sleeves are knitted onto the sewn together font and back sections.  I've got to think fast.  Any ideas? 


yumm...

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I carded and carded and carded some more.  I  love this stuff.  I'd tell you what it is IF I could remember.  I think I got it at the Orleans County Fair,  I'm almost sure of it.  I know who sold it to me, it's starting to come back, I think.  The problem is, I can't find the post, it was before I used Typepad and I had to archive on my computer.  Some things are here, some not.  It's lovely to spin.  oops.. I remember watching him shear this fleece. Now, if I could only remember....

P1000453  I was surprised at how soft it is, the locks have been bagged over a year and they are a bit hard to pull apart. 

The cats all got presents 'cause they were home alone all weekend.  There is a grocery, call it a bazaar, in Williamsport called Wegman's.  It's unbelievable, almost worth moving just to shop there.  Just saying, I bought the cats toys there.  Sam wouldn't pose, he was having too much fun. 

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( I've been watching to see how long it takes Bloglines to pick up my posts.. let's just say 2-6 hours.  I know, it's free. )


new stuff

The great thing about having a really good stash is that it is there, in arms reach (if you're lucky enough to have your stash in a manageable pile), ready to be fondled, checked against patterns, maybe even swatched, whenever.   Way over a year ago I went to the Webs Tent Sale, twice.. well... three times, but once to just get a couple circular needles, NOT yarn.  The other two times were quite enough.  Two of the yarns I got were the Filatura Di Crosa LUNA, a yummy worsted wt. merino, must be a 16 ply at least, very soft in a Dark Grey and also in Cream.  I pulled the dark grey out Thursday night thinking I could start a new project in the car Friday.  I did.  Three times.  That's right, I frogged it twice.  After the first 4 hrs, and 6 or so inches of cables and ribbing I decided it would be too small.  I cast on again, traffic increased, tempers flared a bit, my concentration went out the window and after an inch or so I divided the stitches to begin the pattern... oops!  Too big! Frogged again and put away for the remainder of that leg of the weekend.  On the way back I changed my mind about the pattern, decided that Mom was right (as she often is, should have listened to her many times, this time I did) when she said that she didn't care for the particular cable that ran up the front.

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I had known all along that I didn't either, it was bugging me but I liked the neckline enough to ignore it.  So rather than make up my mind completely, this time I cast on for the back.  I have time to plan the front and finally got those six or seven inches of 3-2 ribbing back on the needles.  Lovely yarn to work with, very soft.  Unfortunately, I've since read that you should plan on 15 balls for a size medium, long sleeve sweater.  Don't laugh Carol, I bought 12, I'm going for it.  Don't ask, I feel lucky.  Besides, I've got it on 9's.  Of course there is all that ribbing.  Oh crap, I'm still going for it.  I can always rip out the bottom and edge all of it, except the neckline with the cream, or something.  I hope I can find this post when I need a bit of bucking up if it all bites the dust.

Today is as crappy as it gets here in New England.. cold, windy and torrents of rain.  I should clean the house.  I SHOULD have a cleaning lady.  Instead, I've been carding and spinning some really lovely soft stuff I washed a while back.  Ermm.. I washed part of it, the rest waits.  Maybe I should open the bag and see if it's still waiting, by now it could be moth turds. I'm having fun carding it with a bit of bunny that  I picked up at CT S&W last April.  Card a little, spin a little...

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TGIF already

Is it me?
Is it Typepad?
Is it Bloglines?
Wednesday night before I went to bed, I posted and saved for publish on..10/20 at 6am Thursday.  It's now 2:30 pm and Bloglines STILL hasn't picked it up.  Of course, at 8am Thursday, I couldn't find it on Typepad either.  That rarely happens to me on Typepad, but the Bloglines delay is getting worse and worse.  Anyone else out there using another crawler?  Just asking. 

That aside, this has been an absolutely beautiful week.  I've managed a few three mile walks.  I need to after all the carb loading of last weekend. 

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P1000415  inspiration for a cable?? 
I thought so.  Though after a trip to TJmaxx, where I saw fantastic aran sweaters, handknit, (in Europe, that's what it said) in merino, for $49.99.... I began to wonder about the wisdom in my next project.  I was very tempted by one the same color as the Must Have which sits dejected in a bag near my chair.  No, I didn't.  I was tempted.

The new project: well... started is pushing it a bit.  I cast on, did three rows, measured and realized at once that I needed to frog it.  I'll make the next size up.  Tomorrow, hopefully C will drive and I'll get plenty of knitting time.  Hopefully...


The Rhinebeck stuff

This year at Rhinebeck I showed restraint.  I bought NO yarn, not one skein.  I bought silk.

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Dyed silk roving and tussah to dye.  I bought some alpaca, silk, merino and angelina blends. 

P1000387  and 3.5 lbs of beautiful multicolored beige to brown roving.  I bought a pattern that I'll start tomorrow, or the next day.  I had the yarn from a trip to Webs a year or so ago.  One vender made beautiful ceramic tiles with scenes of Belted cows and sheep.  My neighbors raise Belteds and sheep, I had to buy a few of those.   And of course I ate, all the chocolate scones I could stand.  They are the best scones ever.  I'm already wishing for more.  It's good that I can't pick them up whenever, they raise hell on a low carb diet.  Oh, then there were the french artichokes, with garlic and escarole and beans.  Rhinebeck has great food vendors.  Maryland should take note. 

As everyone has already noted, the best thing about this kind of festival is the people who visit them.  There's always another story, another knitted item, another fantasitic animal.  And there are friends; friends you catch up with, friends you come with, and friends you never knew. 

And for Carol.. here's the fleece washing recipe I use:

  • I place my fleece into net bags.  Then I fill my washer with HOT water and a bit of detergent.  If you have Dawn, that's great.   Otherwise, use what you've got.  Remeber NO AGITATION, this is just a soak.  Empty the water, repeat.  Spin out soapy dirty water. 
  • Next: fill tub again with HOT water.  This time add vinegar.. as much as you think you need to clear the soap scum left.  Drain.
  • Last step (hopefuly): Rinse in HOT water.  Rememeber!!!  This is a soak, drain, spin.  NO AGITATION.

The Ribby is STILL waiting for me to get a minute (well... time) to fix up the semi inserted zipper.  It's IN straight, but the hand stitching isn't.  Soon...  

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tradition and traditional shawls

Today, though I should be posting about Rhinebeck, and I may get to that, we'll see.. instead, today is about two shawls. 
The First shawl is the Wool Peddler's Shawl.  I finished it the other night, I am very pleased, it was fun, it was easy, it will be a pleasure to wear.  What more can you ask from a pattern?  It is a Traditional Shawl.  I knitted it from my dyed merino / silk 2 ply yarn on a #7 Bryspun circular needle.  Make this pattern when you need a slightly more than mindless project.  I found I could take this and knit without worry while visiting with others or concentrating on a movie.  That's a great project. 

P1000376 As it turns out, that the areas without pattern (shown here) are not nearly as blatant as I had worried.  Looks fine to me.  Would I change it if I made another? I might try to swatch that area, it would require a single decrease instead of the double decrease as only one yo would fit into the pattern.  After seeing this picture online, I'll take another.. next one, in focus!

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The Second Shawl I want to tell you about is a shawl dealing more with Tradition.  My niece is marrying this weekend, hopefully outdoors.  As it is going to be cool (hopefully sunny) I offered her a very special shawl to wear; my Great Grandmother's, her Great, Great Grandmother's wedding shawl.  WooHoo!!  This morning I gave it a bath.  I know for certain it hasn't been bathed in 40 years, and I bet it hasn't in lots longer than that.  Who would know.  I wasn't sure if it would just melt in the water or what.  I let it sit in lukewarm water with a bit of Eucalon for fifteen minutes or so then rolled it carefully in a couple towels and have just hung it on a drying rack outside.  It is a very fine (not terribly soft) ivory colored wool with silk embroidery.  I can hardly tell you the pleasure it gives me to hold it.

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Tomorrow... Rhinebeck... I promise.