Wednesday, January 30, 2008
I am in Montreal. The weather is like seeing a myself in the mirror -- it's raining, then five minutes later there's sunshine, and when I turn around we have a snow storm!! The road was all slushy in the morning, and by the lunch time it was frozen solid, making a 100-meter walk to the closest eatery super eventful, in this crazy wind that tried to knock us down, even though we huddled like a bunch of overdressed rugby players.
Yes, my 100-dollar snow parka is again a life saver. I don't know how people survive the winter here -- I would go mental in three days.
At work, I am having such a problem -- actually, a bunch of problems, everywhere I turn to -- and I don't know whether I should try to talk things over, or to just keep my mouth shut. Nothing seems to work for me. Lucky thing, I have a great team and several female peers to relate to (or comiserate with).
I don't have a tactfulness to gracefully skate over the ice. The only way to get out of this may be to just fall on my back and slide across it on all four.
Can't wait to get home.
Sunday, January 27, 2008
Saturday, January 26, 2008
Although it's way better than the first trial, it's still not the shade of pink I was expecting. Charlie says that it's not pink at all. I guess I need rose-colored glasses -- and they may just help brighten the situation with my day job too!
One of my WIP is Elizabeth Zimmermann's Rib Warmer. It's brilliant -- it's done in garter stitches, and I'm a bit tired of them (I love purling!), but the design and all those short rows keep me interested and motivated. And I'm using my handspun yarn. I am close to finishing the first piece -- another to go. Photos next time.I have to go to Montreal again next week. Oh yes. It'll be freakin' cold. I may have to spin some tomorrow, as I always get the urge to do so before a business trip!
Friday, January 18, 2008
They are cute, and they are soft. And they are knitted with my handspun yarn I gave her! I just couldn't stop fondling them.
I'm so in love.
Thank you for knitting them Erin! I hope you'll enjoy them for a long time.
I've been spinning for a year and a half, but these are only second knitted objects with my yarn. The first one was my socks, which I am crazy about. I've been trying to find some good patterns to knit with my yarn, but I usually don't have enough of one kind to do much...
By the way, Novato knitters -- FlourChylde is open late on Friday evenings! It's a great place to knit. Wine, amazing torts and cookies, yarn and friends.... what more can we ask for?
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
Sunday, January 13, 2008
I see pink. Do you? This may be a good sign.
I simmered the water with the bark still in for about ten minutes. You are not supposed to boil it -- too much tannin will get out in the dye and dull the color, my book says.
I didn't weigh the bark before I soaked it, but my guess is about 200 g. I am using about 50 g of corriedale. The dye stuff - fiber ratio is supposed to be 1 - 1, but I'm being conservative. I really want some pink this time.
Here's what the white wool looks like in the dye bath. From my (limited) experience, the dye bath and the wool should look much darker. Not a good sign. It's now simmering on the stove, and I will keep it in the dye bath overnight and see what happens.
One of the reasons I am fascinated by natural dyeing is that with it we can become less dependent on the chemicals. I don't use any harsh or toxic mordant or afterbath; only thing I'd use is alum and vinegar. Using things like chrome and copper, although they might produce beautiful shades, defeats the purpose of natural dyeing, in my opinion.
The more I learn, the more I gravitate towards organics -- fibers included. This gets me more motivated about attending the Summer Intensive at Golden Gate Fiber Institute. Judith McKenzie McCuin are famous as a organic fiber advocate.
Tuesday, January 08, 2008
It reminds me of the cat hairballs! Unfortunate association for the beautiful alpaca.
Lots of carding and picking the second cuts, so the spinning is slow going, but I'm enjoying it. I'm waiting for it to speak to me so I can decide what to knit with it...
I've been contemplating on attending the Summer Intensive at Golden Gate Fiber Institute. It's close, and it's this summer when I should be on sabbatical. I really wanted to attend SOAR in the fall but it's in Pennsylvania this year, and it really isn't very convenient.
I think this is the first such event for the Golden Gate Fiber Institute (which is a fairly new organization), so I don't know what this is going to be like -- how big will a class be? How many attendees? Would I be too much of a newbie for such events? And the biggest question is -- would I really enjoy it?
See, I know that the Designated Knitters and other friends of mine would laugh, but in fact I am an introvert, to the extreme. I am terrible at socializing and making a small talk. I'd hate to end up sitting all by myself.
So, I'm hoping that someone who's also considering would find me through a Google search or something, and contact me -- Anyone?
The teachers for the intensive are amazing. Sara Lamb, Judith Mackenzie McCuin, Nancy Bush, Darlene Hayes, etc -- the only thing that seemed a bit disappointing is the lodging. If I were to take a plunge and enroll in such a course, I'd love to stay at a nice, relaxing retreat-like setting, not at a YMCA camp with bunk beds!
But -- what a treat it would be!
Saturday, January 05, 2008
We've lived in this house for ten years, and we were informed when we moved in that we were on the same power grid as the fire station, so our power should never be out for more than a few minutes. It had been right, until this time.
We thought we were prepared. Sure, we had lots of batteries, flashlights, a radio, food and water. But I never thought keeping ourselves warm and illuminated in the middle of the winter was this difficult. The small fireplace was not enough to warm up the house. We had no lanterns, and it turns out that Charlie's allergic to whatever the burning candles put out in the air, so that didn't help either -- in the process of surviving the storm and the long power outage, I realized how vulnerable we really are, and how totally dependent we are on the electricity. When we lose the power of "there will be light when we flip switches," we are lost.
Another finding was how quickly I switch myself into the "survival mode." I dress in warm layers in the most comfortable and practical way possible, no colors in consideration! I put no makeups (because I may not be able to take them off). We went to the mall today to keep ourselves warm, and I sure didn't want to be seen by our coworkers!
Well into the second night with no power, we were bracing ourselves into another cold night and Sunday, then it came back -- Mitch just went running around all over the house screaming "We have power! We have power!!" for five minutes. As soon as the heater started running, we felt much warmer, although there was no change in the temperature yet. It's all in our heads, I know.
Mitch fared the ordeal much better than we could have ever imagined, and we all found some fun in all this -- Mitch's favorite was called "Aflac," making a duck shadow with hands with the flashlight, with quack-quack of course. I came to appreciate almost two full nights of no TV, sitting by the fireplace, just talking and enjoying each others' company. Charlie and I talked that maybe we should do this once a month -- turn off all the lights and pretend that we had no power. (But, with the heat on)
As soon as our lives return normal, we are going to look into better preparing ourselves for events like this. As much as I am heartbroken, if the only damage is my persimmon tree (that Charlie got for me in September), we should consider ourselves fortunate. There are families that have to survive the whole winter without homes -- imagine how difficult it must be. We only lost power for a day and a half, and it was plenty hard.
I hope that you are OK, and that those who were affected by this storm will recover soon. Well, I'm back to my vacation -- my last day. I am going to knit!!
Tuesday, January 01, 2008
I knew (from various fiber related blogs) that it snowed on the Christmas day in Grass Valley, but of course there's nothing left in town. And being Sunday, the yarn store is closed (bad planning!). Yarn store in Nevada City had been converted to a flower shop, unless we were not reading the address right. Mitch was bouncing off everything so going into antique stores was not very safe. So nothing was accomplished on the shopping side.
The only time the mittens from the last winter get worn this year, I'm sure, with much appreciation.
Mitch just didn't want to leave, and at the end we had to carry him into the car. "Can I bring some snow home?" Now it looks like we need to make another trip to see the real new snow, not this icy leftover from a week ago.
The vest is done, but I'm not sure how much use this is going to get.
The main solid gray part is knitted with a chunky wool 100% yarn I brought from Japan when I moved to the US, and it's at least 22 years old. It's almost an antique. The front panels in white/gray are done with a strand of Rowan Cocoon (white) and a strand of Natural Shetland from Elemental Affects (gray) held together. It's hard to see, but the panels have cable patterns.
For one thing, I thought I sized it so he would wear it for at least two winters. From the rate he's been growing, it'll be too small in three months. And he's not going to wear it unless I force him to; he's always been a cotton shirt boy, and he wears nothing else, no matter how cold. In the worst of our winter, he would wear a short-sleeve T over a long-sleeve T, that's it. I had to use the secret weapon ("I will not take you to Erin's house if you don't wear this for me" tactics) to have him pose in it.
I still have to put the zipper in the front, but at this point I'm wondering if it's worth the effort. Sigh. Okay, this may be the last piece I'd ever knit for you, unappreciative son of mine.
This is pretty much all I did, other than some Alpaca spinning, during this break. I should get ready to go back to my "normal" routine, including some knitting and spinning for myself.
Happy New Year everyone -- I hope the new year is filled with peace, good health, and beautiful fibers!