Tuesday, September 16, 2008

First bobbins

Why, what's this????

That is my first two bobbins full of singles spun on my super gorgeous delightful wonderful wish-I-was-spinning-on-it-right-now Majacraft Little Gem!

It is natural colored Finn top, spun rather thickly, on the slowest ratio (4.5:1). And it was a joy to make.

After struggling with a drop spindle for nearly a year, I can't explain how delightful it was to sit down and just have everything click. Plus, it makes yarn so quickly! I am going to ply tonight (first time ever!) and think I may use this to make a winter cap for myself. I have already started spinning something else: silver suffolk top from
Paradise Fibers. I am using the middle ratio and spinning a very fine single that I love. It took SO MUCH willpower to get up off the couch and go to work this morning, as you may imagine.

I can still feel the lanolin on my finger tips...sigh...

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

I just fell in love with Ravelry all over again

Ravelry may or may not be sick of being told how great it is and how much everyone loves it...but I thought I'd save this particular praise train for my blog.

I am going camping soon and need to take a different project than my current wip - The (infamous? notorious?) Vintage sock by the Tsarina of tsocks. Its not that its too difficult for camping knitting, and I will almost certainly knit on it in the car, but the intended recipient will be camping with us!

So I decided to fiinally cast on for a Tomten. And Ravelry let me see what everyone else is using to knit Tomtens, what size needle I'm currently using on the yarn I want to use for the Tomten, and get a rough idea of what size the Tomten will turn out to be! This has saved me all sorts of thinking and rethinking and running around trying to rustle up the goods before I leave on my trip. Backwoods, here I come --- with my knitting.

Ravelry, have I told you lately that I love you? I do!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

It must have been something I read

You know those old 1960s paperback books you've been toting around for all these years and never read? The ones that smell slightly musty and have those weirdly yellowed pages and small type and the words go all the way to the edges of the page?

We almost threw one away - Far From the City of Class, by Bruce Jay Friedman but thank goodness we didn't -

Its brilliant! Really, a pure delight. "The Subversive" is one of the best pieces of writing I've come across in quite some time (okay, I know thats not saying much, since I spend my spare time playing with wool and not reading, but before I knit I used to read A LOT. Seriously).

Oh, if Little Hanky's mudder could see him now...

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Head spinning with wheels

So I have decided to take the plunge and buy a wheel.

This past weekend, I cut my finger making breakfast (and had a minor breakdown about it, but thats neither here nor there) and couldn't knit all day. So I pored over the three issues of Spin Off that I have and Priscilla Gibson Roberts' Spinning in the Old Way then finally picked up my drop spindle (after a loooooong time of not using it) and something really clicked. I spun up lots of yarn pretty quickly - pretty consistently and pretty painlessly (unlike previous attempts). So joy!

I have all but decided on the Majacraft Little Gem. I love the way it looks, its small footprint and Majacraft seems like a cracker-jack company.

But last night I had this weird dream: my husband told me that we had had a Louet all along and that his grandfather left it to him. And I was like, "I could have been spinning all this time, where is it?" and he pointed to under this china cabinet (which we certainly don't have!) and there were all these pairs of shoes on boxes that were clearly marked "Louet" and so I pulled them out - there were three - and they were all empty!

Wonder what it all means?

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


WELCOME to my sweet, darling new nephew, Kellen Douglas!

How exciting to imagine how full of possibility his tiny little life is. I am one proud auntie, and I'd better get knitting!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Joining a CSA

I've been meaning to write about this for some time.

CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. Its a nifty little arrangement wherein you pay a fee and get weekly deliveries of in-season produce all summer long from a farm near you. Usually, CSAs are started within your community/town/city and they require a certain number of people to participate. The delivery point may be a community center, or sometimes its a local farm market.

The reason I'm writing about this now is because enrollment usually happens in late winter/early spring so the farm knows how many people it will be providing food for. The money you paid goes directly to the farm, aside from (normally) a small administration fee to the CSA. The produce is usually organic - not to get into that whole gigantic, messed up issue, but it must be addressed.

For some people, organic produce is a high priority. In my opinion, local produce is more important than organic produce. Before you get super hung-up on "organic", consider that small, family run farms sometimes would rather devote their energies to consciencious farming than to the expensive and grueling process of becoming "certified organic". Let us not forget that "organic" doesn't mean grown without pesticides - it means grown without the use of SYNTHETIC pesticides. And frankly, there are organic pesticides that are far more poisonous than synthetics. Most importantly, in a CSA, the farmer is a member of your community and if he/she can look you in the eye and tell you that the produce you are about to eat is safe, well, thats worht a lot more than the government telling you that the farmer jumped through the right hoops and paid enough money to be "certified organic".

(shudder. I hate the organic debate.)

This will be our second season in the Sunnyside CSA. We end up paying something like $21 a week for our share, with the season running from the week of Memorial Day (weather dependent) to the week of Thanksgiving. Its a little high, to be sure. And you might struggle with the price, so I wanted to share my experience and maybe it will help you decide:

Is joining a CSA right for you?

1. You have to like vegetables. A lot.
2. You have to like cooking.
3. You have to be willing to break out of your cooking comfort zone and try new recipes.
4. if you have a lot of cook books, or like searching for recipes on the internet, you'll be in heaven.
5. you have to want to eat at home most nights of the week.
6. You like to be challenged in your cooking.
7. You want to eat more salad. Lots more salad.
8. You'd spend around $20 a week in fresh produce anyway.

there is no set amount for what you receive, like a weight or something. My CSA provides something like 6-8 different vegetables every week. I love to cook and my husband and I both love vegetables, so between the two of us, we had almost zero wasted produce for the entire six months (but remember, we also have a rabbit who ate his share!). I defintely learned a lot of new recipes. And we definitely ate a LOT more salad. I don't think we got a single delivery that didn't have lettuce, arugula, or some type of salad green in it. I liked being given vegetables I wouldn't normally buy and finding ways to cook and enjoy them, but I know this is something that would freak out some people.

The good people who set up our CSA went the extra mile and have a meat vendor at our pick ups, which was so great. The meat guy isn't affiliated with the farm where the vegetables are grown, but they raise natural meats with minimal processing - and again, local is the key.

My CSA also offers a fruit share for an additional cost. I think this is what we enjoyed most, because getting seriously good, ripe fruit at a grocery store is next to impossible. When we had too many plums, we threw them in a bottle and infused vodka with them - a delicious way to use up a windfall!

Ready to find your CSA? Start by googling "CSA" and your town. Try your local health food shop, community center, or visit your local farmer's market. Visit Local Harvest, which will help you find a CSA in your area. This would be a great place to start looking for a farm if you want to organize a CSA in your community. And do it soon - most CSAs are full before the seeds are even in the ground!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


This is a volcanic vent:

This is my own personal venting:

1. I may be the only knitter in the US that doesn't love the Yarn Harlot. Nope, I don't. I think that her whole ordeal with the Vintage sock showed how her opinions sway other knitters, and I didn't like it at all. I have three kits for Vintage sitting at home right now. Is it a complex pattern? Oh, heck yeah. But is it something that an average knitter can handle? You bet it is. And I think that her melodrama over the whole thing intimidated lots of would-be Vintage knitters. She knows how powerful her opinion is - and in this case, she used it to frighten perfectly capable knitters into believing that Vintage is some kind of insurmountable project and she is some kind of conan-type warrior for doing it.

I think the whole hoo-ha over some people posting that the socks are ugly is - whatever. I think its riduclous that some readers get so defensive about it and feel they need to protect her. What she knits IS NOT sacred. Its just another knitted item. She is just another knitter with a sense of humor and the standard skill set that every genuine knitter acquires over time. She IS NOT EZ. She has not "unvented" anything or made any major contributions to the craft like the BSJ or phoney seams or (insert your favorite EZ pattern or technique here).

I'm not talking smack about the Harlot. I would happily say any of this to her face. I think she has done the craft a disservice, and I especially think she's done the Tsock Tsarina a disservice. And I think that any knitter who thinks he/she can't do something just because the Harlot struggled with it needs an attitude adjustment.

2. I am so sick of people! Argh! Thats what being in the city does to you. I'm sick of people who stop at the top of the subway stairs, sick of people who stop mid-stride on the sidewalk, sick of people who don't dress for the weather, sick of people who can't walk in high heels and wear them anyway, sick of their litter, their pushiness, their lack of awareness...um, I could go on like this. Seriously. But I won't because I already feel a little better.

3. but then there are some specific people that I really, really don't like and who are going to burn in hell one day for all the awful things they say about and do to people that I love and what I especially don't like about them is how they are so full of themselves and never think they do anything wrong even though they are rotten to the core, pathological liars who for some reason are convinced that they are the queen of the world and try to rationalize their enormous, inexplicable egomania by calling it high self esteem even though they lie about every single thing to make it reflect better on them and omit parts of the truth that don't flatter them and worst of all, lie to their children and spread hate and untruths to close and harden their little minds and souls and use them to find personal glory. Whew...that has been a long time in the coming.

4. I am due (over due, if you ask me) for a raise and promotion. My boss has requested it for me but we don't know if I'm going to get it. The company has been wielding the axe for a good two months now - I think its been put away, for the most part - and I think its a load of crap if they try to use the declining economy as an excuse to shortchange those of us who survived the cuts. And if I don't get this raise and promotion, I don't know what I'll have to do and it really has me worried and sad.

I felt like that volcano while I was writing that! Phew! Let's mediate the anger with some really nice chatter about yarn:

I was reading a post on Ravelry about Tilli Thomas yarns and if they are worth it. I've never bought any, but I was curious, so I was reading through the posts and someone said, "I wouldn't buy Tilli Thomas because of what they did to Sarah's Yarns. Google it." So I did and truly, Tilli Thomas treated Sarah's yarns really shabbily. I was pretty unlikely to buy TT anyway (not being much of a bead person), but the important thing is that I found Sarah's Yarns as a result!

Sarah's is not only right here in NYC, but she sells lots and lots of fine, coned yarns for weaving in lots of colors at a tremendous discount. I ordered lots of nice, plain yarns for warping and color play and now instead of getting pangs of guilt whenever I walk by my loom with its ratted mohair warp, I get excited to cut off the rats nest, and use it as weft after I've warped with some beautiful, smooth Jaggerspun Zephyr!

Also: plugging away on the shawl collar, it remains excellent subway and TV knitting. But also, my resistance wore down and I cast on for Serendipity, the pattern for the Rockin' Sock Club. Love the yarn, the way its striping, and how fast the pattern is going.

And if I were at home, happily working away on it, I wouldn't have had to write this rant. But I guess it would have come out eventually anyway. Volcanoes have vents for a very good reason: so they don't explode!