Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Loot

It's one of those days when I would sell most of my children for a not-entirely-unreasonable price, the messy, bickering ingrates.

Since I'm pretty sure this would be the Wrong Thing to do, my Bailey's and I have taken refuge in my office where I can temper my aggravation with a teensy bit of alcohol and a soothing selection of new-to-me fiber and toys.

First up, the pokey stuff.

Below are a flick carder and a brand spankin' new Zoom Loom, both of which, as you can clearly see, I have already been using.


They were the only items on my Reallyreallyreally Want To Find it at Rhinebeck list.  I found them around lunch time at the giant and very crowded Carolina Homespun booth, which is usually a good place to find tools.  I almost didn't see the ZL, even though I thought I was searching very carefully for it.  I found the flick carder at the far end of the booth, after I had (I thought) shopped the rest of the store.  So I got into line and waited.  And waited. And waited.  Did I mention it was crowded?  There were some wireless issues, too.  And only one register. And A LOT of people.  While I was waiting, my view was limited to the other booths, the back of the nice lady in front of me, and a display of little bitty stuff that I wasn't interested in.  It wasn't until I was at the register--25 minutes later-- that I could finally see into the booth again.  Whereupon I beheld the long sought after ZL.  Not that I could reach it from my place in the line.  I nearly passed out at the thought of standing in that line again to pay for the ZL.  And, as nice as they seemed on the surface, I wasn't entirely sure that, if I stepped out of line for a second to grab the loom, the people behind me would not just swarm the register and conveniently forget they had ever seen me.    Just in time, though, my head cleared and my panic subsided enough for me to realize that I could ask the cashier to charge me for the loom and then go get it.  Which is exactly what I did, and just as well. I did not see either of my prizes in any other booth, although that doesn't mean much given the crowds (impossible to see through) and the fact that we skipped almost half of the barns this year.

Next up is a jar of hand lotion, which I did mean to get, and a skein of Shelter, which is well on its way to becoming a cabled hat.


And last, the soft and fluffy fiber.


In spite of my perpetual claim that I have more than enough fiber, in the end it was inconceivable to me that I might leave Rhinebeck without buying more. I came across this naturally dyed Corriedale at Handspun by Stefania and developed a major crush on that particular shade of yellow (dyed in chamomile). I didn't buy it right away, since I have more than enough fiber, but I also didn't see any other shades of yellow quite that appealing, and just before the festival closed I went back for it and two of its friends (madder + indigo and fustic + indigo).

And that, aside from the unusual amount of time we spent waiting in lines (booths, lunch, trying to leave), is my Rhinebeck story.  The Bailey's and the loot have done their job and I think I'm just about ready to try my kids out again, on a strictly probationary basis. Wish me luck.

Friday, October 18, 2013




And my babies (well, not so much anymore, but you know how it is with moms) holding the babies:




They all seem to be enjoying themselves.

We're worried about the one that Isabel is holding.  She is noticeably smaller than the rest and we can't tell if she is growing. Isabel has claimed her and promises that the chick will be just fine now that she has attained the status of "chosen one."  There may be something in this.  The bird claimed by Isabel the last time, Gertie, is the same bird that got separated from the flock a few years ago, escaped whatever animal it was that tore a bunch of her feathers out and scratched up her neck, and  managed to find her way back to us after spending the night out in the wild.

New birds are not the only excitement around here.  Tomorrow is my annual pilgrimage to the Sheep and Wool Festival at Rhinebeck.

I always think I'm going to spend the day there and not spend a lot of money.  This is a laughable idea. You don't go to Rhinebeck for the purpose of not spending money in the same way that you don't go to a restaurant in order to not eat or a bar in order to not drink.  It's just that pointless.

Here's proof:


This is my loot from Hemlock.  Since I really have more fiber than I can reasonably spin in a year and more than I am comfortable living with, I was sure that I could go to the local fiber festival just for the fun of being there, especially with Rhinebeck on the horizon.


I can hear you chuckling over my deluded state.  Will I never learn?

So what happened to make me toss aside my plans with such spectacular results?  Nothing but a lot of rain and a little bit of grumpiness.  You are looking at one hour's worth of retail therapy, the direct result of spending the first part of the day standing in the pouring rain while the homecoming parade drove by us in buses to protect the band from the damp. The fact that I was so late getting to the festival that most of my friends were on their way home by the time I got there only fueled my funk and I am forced to admit that I succumbed to the impulse to purchase at the very first booth I went to and at surprisingly regular intervals thereafter.  Shameless.  Excessive.  Entirely Lacking in Discipline.  I am properly embarrassed by my fiber lapse. I do not, however, regret the buttons.

Anyway, must run.  I was supposed to work today (I'll save you the trouble:  HAHAHAHAHA!  Will she never learn?), but instead I ended up doing a great many things to prepare for the journey: car wash, road trip snacks, early dinner prep so I can get to sleep early in preparation for the 4:40 a.m. departure, etc.  Now we're headed off to riding lessons or--in my world--guaranteed knitting time. Any wagers on how much stuff I'll bring back from Rhinebeck?

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Oh Look . . .


A baby sweater.

Can you see the buttons?


They have little anchors on them, and I might just perish from the cuteness.

I also made a little yarn doll for the baby's older sister, who by now must be weary of  all the attention and all the presents being directed at this squalling interloper.  Can't post a picture of it though, because the cats keep stealing it and running away with it and I have not yet discovered their latest hiding place.

I'm sorry to report that the next knitting project is a sea of unrelenting brown-ness.


To add to the burden, it will continue in its brown-ness for the next 4.5 skeins, about 900 yards. Also, the weight of the project and the nature of the pattern make my hands tired, so, while I would normally not see 900 yards of worsted as an insurmountable obstacle, in this case I feel a little daunted.

Relief is found -- a few precious moments at a time-- in my current bus/waiting room/lessons project:


Do you love it as much as I do? It is the perfect yarn for fall and the promise of a few minutes alone with it encourages me to leave 5 minutes early for the bus each afternoon. Don't tell my husband.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

If you Give a Mom Some Coffee . . .

I had an Unintended Caffeine Incident this morning.  I've been a little tired this week, so when I looked at my work goals and realized just how much I would have to get done today in order to meet them, my first thought was "caffeine."  I don't drink regular coffee regularly, partly because I don't drink coffee every day and can't cope with that squeezy headache you get when you skip your coffee and partly because caffeine makes me very chatty (among other things) and the dog/cats/birds don't approve of excess conversation.  If I were privy to important government secrets, one or two cups of the good stuff would be enough to create an international security crisis.

The benefit of all this is that when I do drink regular coffee, the caffeine kicks in immediately and will not be denied.  I have been known to clean entire kitchens (including the fridge and the dusty nooks in the backs of the drawers) on one oversized cup of Italian Roast.  Basically, I can't sit down until the effect wears off, so I try to use it both sparingly and strategically.

It turns out that I should not self-caffeinate unless I have very specific goals in mind, none of which involve sitting still and focusing.

About half way through my coffee this morning, after editing a mere paragraph-- about one quarter of a page out of the 36 pages remaining to be edited today--I decided that I would be a lot more comfortable if I had a foot rest.  Now. Only the foot rest was  upside down because I was using it (duh) to temporarily store  scrap-booking supplies.  I don't scrap-book, but I was overcome by sentiment around the time of Isabel's Bat Mitzvah.  I got over it, but the rubber stamps and bits of ribbon and fancy paper have  been sitting in the foot rest for  the last six months waiting to be dealt with.  Eventually.  Only it seemed, under the influence of the coffee, that this might be the best possible time to put the scrap book together.  Just a few minutes of work, since I was moving the foot rest anyway.

The scrap book has a cut-out in the cover for a picture and there's no point in doing this kind of a job halfway, so I dug the Bat Mitzvah pictures out of a different office floor pile, where I also found some pictures and albums that needed to be boxed up immediately for  my MIL in Florida and others that should be moved without delay to Isabel's room and more even that belonged in my room, ASAP.  And a framed picture that would go really nicely on the book case in the family room, the overwhelming barrenness of which would surely crowd all other thoughts out of my head until I fixed it.  Now. Since I was making so much important progress, I decided that it was high time to put away all the papers and leftover invitations and bits of ribbon that have been decorating my floor since the Bat Mitzvah. Clearing out all that stuff left some space in one of my "please deal with this stuff soon" crates for my recent magazines (let's combine the floor piles!!!) and revealed some additional papers that needed filing/recycling/shredding and while I was at it, how about dealing with that pile of papers on the corner of the desk? After all the gluing, cutting, filing and boxing, it looked like the floor of my office could use a little vacuuming and since the vacuum was out, the mud room should really be de-furred as well.  Without all the cat/dog fur on the floor to mask it, it became glaringly obvious that the quilt in floor-pile #3, which I pretend to be working on and which the cat really loves to nap on, was also pretty furry, so that had to be vacuumed (and then covered--sorry cat) as well, and wouldn't it be good--since the vacuum was out anyway--to suck up the dusty/crumby/nasty bits lingering at the corners of the furniture. I may also have finished the right front on the baby cardigan, although I did have the good sense not to crank out a few rows on the sleeves of the sweater that I was not supposed to start last week.  And no time like the present for a blog post, too, right?


Here is a picture of the baby cardigan pieces, just so you can take a break from all these words which, by the way, you should have read as fast as possible so you can have some sense of what the inside of my head sounds like right now:


Oooh.  Now that I look at that picture, I can see my desk and that reminds me that I'm supposed to be getting a lot of work done today. The other half of my coffee is stone cold by now and it was kind of bitter to begin with, so maybe a fresh cup would be a good idea.

And where is that damned foot rest?

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Just Stuff.

It is a grey and dismal day here, which I will spend working to make up for my abysmal performance during the week.  If I am even the least bit productive today, I will spend some time setting up the loom and working on either the baby sweater that needs to be finished soon or the totally unauthorized sweater that I started last night when I couldn't take the pressure of the baby sweater any longer.

Shelves are assembled and have been put in place in the hall, which at least looks neater, if still a little weird.


 Extra shelves made their way into my office for yarn/fiber/magazine storage and gave me the chance to sort through the accumulation of yarn and paper debris that has been slowly taking over.  Score 1 for a neater and happier work environment.  Too bad it didn't actually help me work.

To compensate for Mother Nature's bad mood today, I offer this, which I took at the beginning of my walk last week.


In the same way that people like to talk about "eye candy,"  I would categorize this as "eye tea": just a little something to soothe the soul and warm up your day.  Enjoy.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Please Don't Tell My Boss . . .

Well, you can't really tell my boss much about me that she doesn't already know because I'm self-employed and only mildly delusional about my work habits. I am, however, having a little trouble getting back to work after a month of time off and it is only a matter of minutes before I ditch the drudgery of office and desk and yield to the Siren song of these plain brown boxes.


They contain bookcases. I agree that the main hall is an odd place for book cases (and armoires and those funky hide-away desks with the flip down writing surface) but our house (due mostly to a poor choice in hiring an architect with no residential experience and my subsequent interference in architectural matters) has some less than ideal design features.  When these "features" are combined with the size of my family and our unrestrained reading/book buying/library habits,  you can imagine how quickly we run out of storage space.  Also, we part with books only if we (a) hate them or (b) leave them out in such heavy rain that they get moldy. No use suggesting that we try to cull the herd.

Our plans for this hall have gone from grand (fill in the ceiling and make a second floor reading alcove, complete with window seats and book storage, then fill in the downstairs wall with built-in cabinetry to meet all of our dish/book/coat/vacuum storage needs) to manageable (downstairs built-ins only) to absolutely cheap (bookshelves from Target, anyone?) as our first child has gotten closer to college, and the book shelves will hopefully keep us happy until we either move or win the lottery. Plus, they need to be assembled, which gives me an excuse to get out the drill and start bossing my helpers around.

Want some eye-candy before I go?

I finally spun a chunk of Into the Whirled fiber into this bit of chain-plied goodness.


No clue what it should be made into next, but I bought the fiber at Rhinebeck last year, and now that I've spun it I am no longer entirely prohibited from buying more fiber this year.

This chunk of blue is an even more recent purchase.


I bought it last January and somewhere along the way I decided to card it into this heathered grey loveliness,

which spun up into this fluffy yarn

which I'm pretty sure will be perfect for a warm and toasty cabled hat like this or this.

But enough.  I'm off to assemble some shelves.