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!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

And knitting, always knitting.

I just looked at my blog and couldn't deal with seeing that politics post at the top so I'm writing another post even though you really *should* read that article I linked.

I finished the BSJ! I will photograph it soon. Loved, loved, loved knitting it. Even with the dye coming off on my fingers. It is so cute and was such fun to knit. EZ was a genius. I would love to have a big enlargement of that photo in The Opinionated Knitter of her, Mary Walker Philips and Barbara Walker. Its like the holy trinity of American knitting!

And those coilless pins from Schoolhouse Press are the bomb, yo! I love them and since, generally speaking, I hate stitch markers, thats saying something. Can't imagine working the BSJ without them.

I also cast on for the Megan Shawl Collar cardigan from Webs. I'm making it in Valley Yarns Florence and I am loving that yarn. Its just....lush. So soft and airy and I love it so much. I wish I was knitting it RIGHT NOW.

I feel like I've just been such a productive knitter lately. Maybe because I've been working a lot of small projects, but I also think my knitting speed may have improved a bit too.

Have I mentioned lately that I LOVE knitting?

Don't you LOVE knitting?*

*=its been a long running joke between me and the man that sometimes when I'm knitting, I turn to him and say "Don't you love knitting?". Hence, the subtitle of the blog. And the question at hand. Because seriously, don't you LOVE knitting????

Monday, February 4, 2008

a word on politics

I won't be voting tomorrow in NY's primary, I refrained from registering with a party. Thank goodness.

I'm not a super political person. I don't know who I'm going to vote for. I'm definitely not going to start blogging politics (unless its to complain about how sick I am of hearing about politics).

But if you found my blog by accident, or you came here on purpose, or whatever, you should read

this excellent article

on the ridiculous, unfair and sexist double standard that is being applied to Hillary Clinton and her presence in the election.

And please, pass it on - no matter what you believe, no matter what your political affiliation, people need this kind of perspective on the name calling, lampooning and hate mongering that is being bandied around so lightly.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Pickin' em up and layin' em down

That about describes my knitting habits lately. Since January 1, I've finished:

2 pair of socks - really big MEN'S socks
1 ipod cozy
1 men's winter hat
(plus warped 3 projects on the loom - finished 2)

And started, last night, finally, a Baby Surprise Jacket! I am loving it so far - after only 8 or so ridges - but this could be because I've been knitting so much in the round lately its kind of nice to have a change.

I'm using On Line Supersocke Walking and the freaking dye is coming off on my fingers! But it makes a lovely fabric, perfect for a baby that will be born in late spring - warm from wool, but a rather loose fabric. And it feels great. Its nice to knit baby things from sock yarn since, of course, sock yarns are generally easy care.

As is so often the case when I start a new project, I don't want to do anything but knit. But here I am at work, with the knitting just inches away in my handbag, just sitting there.

I knitted a few rows at lunch to tide me over.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Oh yeah, I weave too. I forgot.

So why haven't I posted about weaving lately? I mean, weekends have gone by without so much as a word!

In the spirit of being fearless - I will tell you that I might have made a major weaving mistake.

The nice man at School Products sold me on some French mohair. Space dyed, soft, wonderful stuff.

So I got my 8 dent reed and was all excited to warp - a shawl - for me! Hand weaving something wearable for myself!

Warping went fine, the tension seemed good, I was excited.

Then I tried to weave the header.

And I couldn't beat! The mohair was all ratted (and I use that in the old sense, like ratting your hair) together! Argh!

So I placed the loom, warp and all, in its bag. I took a break. I've considered that the first bit of warp didn't get combed through the reed by being wound on, so maybe the other stuff will behave better. I mean, I can actually get a usable shed, I just can't beat.

The loom is still hibernating with its ratty warp. I've been pretty busy trying to plow through these socks for the man (men's socks take sooooooo ridiculously long!) and I don't want to be distracted from reaching that finish line.

Fearless doesn't mean you don't make mistakes. It doesn't mean you don't waste time or yarn. It just means you try it in the first place without too much hemming and hawing about it.

STR RSC spoiler - and other stuff

Okay, remember that post where I ranted about STR?

And remember the post where I admitted my hipocrasy and joined the Rockin' Sock Club?

Well, the first shipment was waiting for me when I got home on Friday night and it is freaking fabulous! Observe (unless you were trying to avoid spoilers - though, by this time, I think everyone will have received theirs):

Is that gorgeous or what? I probably should have photographed it in skein form, but I was too excited and made it into a cake right away. I LOVE IT!

I love fine yarns that are highly twisted, and this fits the bill beautifully. The colors are really, really extraordinary. I mean, really, really. I haven't had much handpainted yarn so I don't know if that accounts for the love or what. But I love it like I've never loved a skein of yarn before. Holy cow.

So, I stand corrected. Although I haven't knit with it yet (in the middle of some dull grey and blue socks for the man in a boring ol' rib - nothing like the RSC included pattern with its lace motifs and glorious reds!), I love just looking at it. I love it just being next to me. And I can't wait to knit it!

Its a few projects away, though. First I finish the socks for the man. Then I do a BSJ which I am totally excited about. Then (or perhaps at the same time), the RSC kit. Then another pair of Blu Baby Jeans (my sister in law and my step sister in law are both expecting!). So looks like I'm queued up for awhile - especially with the UFOs floating around the ol' knitting basket.

If only it weren't for my job taking up so much valuable knitting time...

Friday, January 25, 2008

Thoughts on fearless knitting

Two weeks ago, I was at School Products buying warp yarn for the loom. While I was there, this woman came in and asked the man working there to help her choose yarn and needles because she was going to learn to knit at a free class at her local library that night. We were the only people in the store - she said to me, "I see you smiling over there - do you knit?" and I said, "I'm smiling because when I learned to knit almost 9 years ago, this was the first place I came to buy yarn and needles too. And I've been knitting ever since." She said, "Really? So is it easy? Do you have any advice for me?" and I said, "Well, yes, its easy. And my only advice for you is don't listen to anyone when they say something is hard."

Blogs and knitting sites are a great way to see what other people are doing - but sometimes, I think they can really intimidate. I hate to think of the new knitter from School Products giving up because she read somewhere or someone told her that purling is really hard. Because of course, it isn't - it just takes a little adaptation. Or maybe she learns to purl, but never knits a sweater because someone said its complicated. Personally, I don't think there is anything in knitting that can't be figured out by anyone with a solid, basic understanding of the craft. I taught myself to knit out of a book, and then I taught myself to knit cables and lace and decrease and increase and everything, and never once did it occur to me that I was trying to do something difficult or beyond my skill level.

The reason I'm thinking about this is because I ordered three (yes, three, so maybe I'm a little crazy, maybe just a masochist) Vintage sock kits to make for Christmas gifts for 2008.

I am not normally a regular reader of The Yarn Harlot. I've actually never read any of her books, and when I've stopped by the blog, I always find it amusing but I don't check in regularly.


A few days after the New Year, I stopped by her blog looking for something else, I don't even recall what, but that was the day she mentioned the Vintage sock. I (and probably 500 other knitters) fell instantly in love and immediately went to the website and ordered, without even properly mulling it over, three kits, one in each colorway.

They haven't arrived, and I don't expect them to for a good little while (such is the way when a product is mentioned by SPM). Which is fine. But in the interim, I stopped by her blog again to check in on the progress of her Vintage sock. And what do you suppose happened when I read about her trials and tribulations?

I freaked out.

I started thinking, well, if she's having problems, then I am going to royally screw this up. I mean, if the Yarn Harlot is making mistakes and feeling like its an endless process of knitting leaves and can't get the inlay right, well then, whats this mean for me?

And then I wanted to slap myself. Why would I think that someone else's issues with the sock would be a problem for me too? Why would I even let it cross my mind that the socks might be difficult just because another knitter (albeit a very famous knitter) is blogging about her troubles with them? Why wouldn't I take my own advice, which I had dispensed so authoritatively just a few weeks ago?

I read on Ravelry of people too intimidated to start a Baby Surprise Jacket. Why? Sometimes (to me, anyway) its a lot harder to try to figure out a knitting pattern or technique by reading about it. Sometimes, you just have to dive right in and figure it out as you go, with stitches on the needles and reading one word at a time. With the internet these days, and especially Ravelry, no one knits alone anymore.

But somehow, these same resources that support us can give us more to be scared of.

I really hope that woman enjoyed her knitting class.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

And the weave goes on...

Lets just get this out of the way first:

Those are the finished pillows, all sewn up and in their rightful place on the couch. They look nice and I'm very happy with them. If I had it to do over, I'd be much more cautious of how many rows were thrown in each color, so both sides would turn out exactly even. But what can I say, it was a first project and a learning experience.

Project two has begun. Here is the cast of characters:

From left to right, we have very fine two-ply Shetland wool (bought this when I first started knitting to make a sweater for the man. It was on a cone), Madil KidSeta in variegated orange (so beautiful, so soft!), and the warp which is a super ridiculously strong linen I got on a cone from School Products.

When you knit, its easy to pick up yarn and needles and knit a few rows into a little swatch and see if you are happy with the results. While you can swatch in weaving by making a small warp, warping is still enough work that if you know how wide you want a project its best just to add extra length and experiment for a few inches before deciding how to make your cloth. So thats what we did. I pulled out every brown yarn from my stash and we played around before deciding we really liked the fabric that the Shetland made with tiny bits of the orange here and there. Here is the fabric so far:

and here's another view:

This project is intended for covers for cushions for the rocking chair we found, and I had it all planned out so that all the pieces we'd need could be cut from the one cloth. But this linen (paired with the Shetland) takes in way more than the wool did for the pillows, so I think I will have to repeat this again, although much smaller, to make the side panels for the cushions.

The weaving is going well so far, although I have to confess I haven't done too much of it since Sunday. Monday and Tuesday I was sort of bogged down with knitting, between projects and trying to keep something going to work on the train. The man has been doing a bit though, and I don't think we have much left. That said, I wove nearly all Sunday afternoon.

When this cloth comes off the loom, I am going to zigzag around a small piece and soak it in the bathtub. I am hoping that the Shetland will bloom and fill in the spaces better. I washed two strands of the Shetland and it was so much softer and fluffier. The question is, what might soaking do to the linen? Someone on Ravelry said that linen often "falls out of line" and gets squiggly. She said this is usually the desired effect, but I'm not sure its my desired effect! I am really eager to finish the cloth and see what happens with the washing experiment. In the meantime, the man struggles over whether or not he wants to do a light refinishing on the chair.

Of course, knitting has been happening too - its just been sorta boring. I finished the monkeys a few days after Christmas and gave them to my friend for her January birthday. Then I started a hat for the man, finished it. Ripped it. Started socks for the man in On Your Toes boot sock yarn. Finished them super quickly and he loves them and never takes them off and now they're in a dreadful state and not even photographable until they go through the washer. Then I started the man's hat again and finished it yesterday. Nothing too interesting, just a sort of improvised plain winter stocking cap. Then I tried to make something for myself out of this beautiful orange loop mohair I bought at Rhinebeck, but I didn't like my swatch. So I settled on another pair of socks for the man, these in Austermann Step, but I'm not loving it. He complains about hand knit socks being "quitters", and the Step is so soft and silky, there is very little body there to make them stand up on their own. I barely have a reason to finish them when I know he'll complain about them not staying up like store boughts. But, hey, the yarn was right there and I didn't have to open the stash trunk to get it. Which is why I'm working on them.

After looking at the very few loop mohair projects on Ravelry, I'm thinking of a Moebius scarf out of it. On big needles in a simple garter stitch. Its actually fairly difficult to find something that shows off loop mohair as much as it deserves.

And to all the knitters who hated knitting with loop mohair, go on and send it to me. I love it!

Monday, January 7, 2008

Weaving FO!


Yep, that is my first handwoven project. I warped it on New Years Day and finished it on Saturday, January 5. Those four yards worth of weaving took me probably, in total, a mere 8 hours!

This is actually three pillow covers that need to be cut apart and sewn together. Basically, whereever there are two white squares, that is two sides of one pillow.

Here is a picture of it on the loom that I was going to post, but then I got sick and didn't come to work and ended up finishing it:

I totally love weaving!

Of course, I still l love knitting just as much as ever. I'm currently working on a delightful pair of boot socks for the man (turns out, I didn't get too sick of knitting socks) that is fast and fun and easy. Next up is Dickey von Beethoven (from Knitting Around) for the man's impending trip to the far north of Michigan. A girl has to keep her man warm, even when she isn't with him...

The spinning is going great too. I bought a CD spindle "blank" at Heritage Spinning and Weaving and it's about a thousand times better than my original fancy spindle and I'm enjoying it so much. I also bought a couple ounces of some unlabelled natural wool there that I am spinning to use as weft in my next weaving project, which is covers for the rocking chair we found. Found - as in, sitting in the trash. But it was clean! And nice! And also, not the first thing we've trash-picked. Don't look so smug, people throw out all sorts of wonderful things here. Besides, it doesn't have any upholstery, its just a quality wood frame with really handsome lines and it is old, not some cheap piece of junk. Anyway, the fab thing about spinning for weaving is that I WANT it to be slubby and uneven. So I'm having lots of fun making an uneven, unpredictable yarn.

Now, crafting is like circuit training - an hour of weaving, half an hour of spinning, half an hour of knitting. Wish I had that much enthusiasm for the gym!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Happy new year!

It looks like a fiber-filled one looms ahead for me - and I couldn't be happier about it!

Two days before Christmas, my brother in law and his fiancee brought all their gifts to the parent's house so they wouldn't have to deal with them on Christmas day. When I saw an oblong box, about 32" long, leaning against the wall behind the tree, I checked the tag - it was for me! Could it be? Could it really be? Well, regardless, from then on, every time I passed the tree I whispered, "hello, loom" because I was pretty sure.

On Christmas night, after dinner was consumed and the children had torn through their gifts, all the adults sat their with their respective piles and someone said, "who wants to go first?" Well, by this point, I couldn't stand it anymore and I said:

"I can't stand it anymore! I have to open this one!" So off the paper came.

And even though I had a pretty darn good idea of what the gift was, as soon as I saw the Kromski label on the front, I LOST IT. I mean, really, really lost it. I was screaming and literally jumping up and down hugging the box. The whole party didn't even know what hit them! Most of them didn't even know what it was. Here are some pictures so you can see for yourself just how truly elated I was:

Yeow. And that is basically the aftermath, because not even my husband could have predicted that reaction, so he wasn't ready with the camera.

But I got lots of other delightful fibery gifts too. From my mom, I got two super fabulous buttons that she managed to sneakily buy while we were at a yarn shop together, a subscription to Spin Off, and Spinning In The Old Way (the book). My brother, prompted my mother, got me sweater blocking wires which I am eager to use.

More importantly still, everyone who received a knitted gift loved it. Mom's sweater looks gorgeous on her and she loves it. Claudia was so totally surprised by her tote bag and loved it right away. My husband's aunt from Israel received the Jaywalkers and loved them way more than I would have predicted, and the monkeys went to my good friend Linda for her upcoming birthday.

And now, I am a weaver. Ahhhhhh. I didn't put the loom together til we got back to NY. I warped it New Years Day. The warping went well. It is definitely a long process (my first project is about 19" wide and the warp is 4 yards long so I can do multiple pillows) but not an unpleasant one and once you start to weave, it goes so fast that it more than makes up for the time you invest in warping.

My first project is throw pillows for our couch. I am using Jason Collingwood rug wool in brick, olive, and oatmeal for both warp and weft. Its not actually ideally suited to warp on a 10 dent heddle, but its not too bad once you get used to it. And so far, my weaving looks not too far from fabulous (if I do say so myself! Okay, the selvedges aren't perfect. But I love the colors and the look so, fabulous it is). I'll post a photo soon, but its not easy to get because there actually isn't all that much room to weave before you have to wind the finished work on, and then you don't get a good idea of my design and color changes. Excuses, excuses. Photo coming soon. I promise.