Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

Goodbye 2010, Welcome 2011!!

We spent this year celebrating with family a few miles away, watching Disney movies, playing games, and of course knitting. Here is the last knitting project of 2010. I cast off the last stitch at 11:59.20 according to Dick Clark!

May 2011 bring you health, happiness, peace, and joy.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

I am Thankful For Washing Machines!

Truth be told, I've always been thankful for washing machines since I spent considerable time reading period novels and realizing that washing clothes must have been horrible before the invention of electricity driven machines.

But tonight, while finishing a shawl (pictures coming later) and a big bobbin of BFL/Silk, we watched a show from BBC on Victorian farming. We got 1/4 of the way through the episodes. These 3 people, are living and working on a Victorian Shropshire English farm for a year. They start off getting sheep, having to plow a field, and totally replaster a cottage. It's fascinating, entertaining and educational. Thank goodness for Youtube!

The fact that is still staggering me, is that it takes 4 days to do the laundry! With the women working on it practically all day. Think about that the next time start to whine about having to wash a load of clothes!

So far, they've shown a bit of embroidery but no spinning or even knitting yet. One other interesting thing is they used black fleece to cover up stonework to protect it from the frosts. Fascinating other use of wool.

Here's a link to the first episode on Youtube, there are 36 altogether. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go wash a load of clothes - because I can, and because it won't take me 4 days!!!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Thriller Night!

In October I received yarn for The Painted Tiger fiber club, and I fell in love with. I ordered a bit more, and have been knitting it up. My mom took over some and made this incredibly cute Godric's Hollow hat. It's still damp from blocking in this picture but is warm, and so cute! We made it a bit bigger than the original pattern called for, and on an adult head the poofiness is just right! I still have one fingerless mitt to do, but I decided since it's Michael Jackson yarn, one glove would suffice for pictures. Besides, I had a model here today!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Away in a Manger

No room for a bed.. The little lord Jesus lay down his sweet head...


Over the river and through the woods..

Walkin in a Winter Wonderland...
Silent night...

(Northern Lights - really!)

Twas the Day Before Christmas

And all through the house..

We cooked and we baked
Cuddled on the couch

Ate way, way too much food (barley risotto anyone?)

Had great after dinner conversations

And fudge for dessert!

Learned how to play Hearts

Or hid out waiting for leftovers

Took a nap before singing at midnight mass

Strategized on how to win at Hearts

Sat with friends

Tickled kids
Merry Christmas To All!
And to all, a Good night!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Past Memories

There are a lot of farms like this in the frozen tundra. This one lives down the street from me. When  I first moved here, there was a house there. Even kids. Some cats. The house was torn down a year ago, and this little old barn just keeps sagging.

Whenever I see things like this I wonder if the people who bought the land, built these buildings, and poured blood, sweat and tears into the farm fields, ever envisioned those fields being turned into new homes with swingsets and 4 car garages? Or if they imagined the houses they laughed and cried in would be torn down. The barns would melt away, and the trees would reclaim the land.

Or, maybe the fact that it snows 8 months out of the year finally wore them down, they left the land without a backwards glance and moved to California.. That could be too.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Monday, December 20, 2010

Snow Day

 Yes, again. Another 5 inches, or 8, or something. A lot. In the city, they were playing football outside since the dome collapsed (really, a balloon top for a city that gets this much snow? Not the best idea), and it was snowing. Here, I was off of work and just worked on projects. I got 6 inches of a tube scarf done, it may still turn into a hat. It's not too late to start decreasing really. And I spun and plied, and then cabled a yarn. One strand is merino/cashmere, the other is merino/yak. It's 140 yards of sportweight cable. After I got that washed and hanging, I started a purple mystery batt. That turned into 120 yards of Navajo ply. It's I think destined to be a hat. Someone who shall remain nameless, is starting to set her eyes on my handspun yarn. Probably because I made the mistake of giving her a skein and asking her to make me a Godric's Hollow hat. I can't do it myself since I still am having issues purling. I am under the impression now, that no skein of handspun may be safe. To move from a collector to an actual user of handspun will take some adjustment I believe.
Purply bluey pinky batt. I know it has mohair and wool - and glitz!

Cabled luxury yarn. Still soaking wet and hanging out.
Can't a girl get any beauty sleep?

Common Threads

At work tonight, while wandering around doing my job, I spotted a woman in a beautiful shawl. It was spectacular, and lovely, and light, and warm, and amazing! In hues of reds, purples, and blues blending into knitted loveliness. Drawn like a moth to flame I walked over and while feigning interest in their meal (rather my job as manager) threw out a 'that's a lovely shawl, did you make that yourself?'. She beamed and said yes she had, and with that, we were instant best friends, discussing knitting, yarn, spinning, the merits of triangular vs rectangular shawls, how they were so handy and warm, yet so unused,and how much one could really wear a shawl. Meanwhile her 3, non knitting tablemates simply sat and stared. When she got to her story about a friend who named her sweater after the sheep who contributed the wool they started looking worried. But not she and I. We had formed an immediate bond. The bond between 2 people who 'get it' get that this is art, functional, wearable, beautiful, spectacular art. That making something that keeps you, or another person warm, and is at the same time beautiful is a gift. And together, though we never ever exchanged names, we made each other's evening a little brighter, and spun more threads of friendship together.

Things like this always make me ponder the people who have created fiber art for years. When it was a necessity, did they still meet like this, share in the excitement and pride. Is that why, even when we can but the same knitted garments somewhere else we choose to make them, that knowledge that you're making something good.

I know the night of the Holidazzle parade was the first night that I looked around and thought, 'I have created warm clothing, and it is good'. Really, this is the first year that I have knitted on a consistent basis. While I have spun yarn for over 15 years now, and appreciated the textile world for a long time, I was only an occasional knitter. This year I became if not a great knitter, a passable knitter, and more than that, someone who is loving the craft for it's actual purpose instead of a way to make yarn into something to make way for more yarn.

And the excitement of meeting a fellow knitter, that common thread, is a lovely thing to feel, especially when it comes on a rather dreary stressful night, in an unexpected booth, while wearing the most lovely shawl..

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Christmas Countdown

We have one Christmas decoration up. In our defense, we have 3 cats. 3 cats who when after we lovingly decorated the Christmas tree last year took it upon themselves to dismantle, dismember, and break every item and eventually the tree itself. I'm really not exaggerating. This year, we have not attempted a tree. Instead, we have started a desensitization program for the cats in the form of one small decoration. It is looking rather ragged but it's still together.

Since there is no tree, there are no presents. There were a few presents, but those were taken to Volunteers of America for their Adopt a Family Program. The presents for the kids, are in the mail. Because work schedule eliminated malls from the program. Instead, Amazon was our best friend.

We love wrapping presents though!

Since there is no tree, there are no lights. The potential for a large vet bill prohibits those, along with the poinsettias, and other baubles and bows.

I however did arrange for a White Christmas again, so we're decorated outside anyway.

And I believe the Grinch said it best:

"And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled ’till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more."
- Dr. Seuss

Because, when you think about it, we all get lost in the hustle and bustle, finding the right gifts for people who will never remember what you got them anyway. Finding the perfect Christmas decoration when it's ok not to decorate. Searching always for the real meaning of Christmas instead of realizing that we already have it with us.

I am going to enjoy this week before Christmas, not with panic over what I haven't done (have I mentioned I haven't baked any Christmas candy yet?), but by being thankful for what I have, and what I try to give every day.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Today's Vacation

Cause I totally need one after yesterday! You know work was bad when you get up in the morning and you're sore all over from the tension you've been carrying in your body. Ironically enough, I dreamed of Tequila all night too, and different drinks you can make from it. Strange especially since I don't drink, and I've tasted Tequila once. Whatever.

Anyway, today we are going to...


Where Spaceship Earth Unites Us All
And Roses bloom all year
Palm Trees Wave in the Distance
But around the corner is France
And Morocco!
Where History Comes Alive
And Canada stands Proud
The Orient Beckons
And frames the world
A rat's dream of a restaurant comes true
And English Streets line your path
On second thought, maybe I'll just move to Epcot..