Friday, April 29, 2011


For the second time this year, we've lost a friend. For the second time this year, that friend was mother to two sons, like me. This time it was a good friend, someone I was close with. I look at my boys, whom I love desperately, and want to hold on tight, smother them with love, so that if the worst happens, they'll be able to hold onto that. They, however, are at an age when that kind of motherly love is eeew, ick, geez Mom, leave me alone. Yeah, yeah, you love me, blah blah blah, get away you crazy old woman. Sigh.

So I took that yarn that I just finished spinning and started a shawl. No pattern, just whatever I want, whenever I want to put it in there.

So far there's an eyelet row, some seed stitch, and some double seed stitch. I don't know what I'll add next. I'm just going to knit until I run out of yarn.

I've been working on the handspun socks, too --

These feel amazing on my feet, so thick and soft. They're my waiting room knitting at the moment, so they're not going too quickly.

I've finished most of the knitting on Mary Jane. The body is done and the neckline finishing is done. I just need to knit the sleeves. I think I'm going to go with 3/4 length sleeves. When I tried the sweater on, it seemed too warm for short sleeves.

Current spinning is really just palate cleansing spinning, nothing major. I sent one of the spinners back for some tinkering. I'd hoped that with the two spinners, I could work on more than one spinning project at a time, but now I'm back to waiting. With spinning, as with knitting, there are so many projects that I want to do that it's hard to limit myself to one.

I have not cast on for Simplicity yet because I want to finish Mary Jane first.

Today, however, I work in the garden. Jr. Jr. is home sick, and I need to get my veggie plants in the ground. The strawberry plant I put in last year has spread and already has little berries growing:

My camera did NOT want to focus on those little pre-berries.

Off to weed and plant and take care of the sick kiddo.

Friday, April 22, 2011


You know the old saying "You couldn't see the forest for the trees." The gist of it is that you get so focused on the little details that you miss the bigger picture.

Like when we get upset when Sr. Jr. seems to have issues handing in his homework, and we forget that he's a good kid, not getting in trouble and still managing to do well in school.

Like when I get cranky about not getting enough spinning and knitting time, when I've got just about the best life possible -- I get to stay home with my kids, we don't struggle with money, everyone's healthy, doing well in school, and enjoying all that childhood has to offer. (Well, I could really do without Mr. T's current state of work overload...)

Spinning is a real forest/trees exercise for me. When I spin, I'm so focused on the little bit of single I'm drafting, or the little span of yarn that I'm plying, that it's hard to step back and visualize what the finished yarn will look like and if it will turn out well.

It started this time with a braid called -- appropriately enough -- "Woodsy." It's a handpainted braid of variegated BFL from the dyer FatCatKnits:

I was a little concerned that all those reds and greens would look a little Christmassy. While I was spinning it, I was so focused on the single -- is it even? Am I being consistent? How is this going to ply up? Will it be clear or muddy?

I finished the two bobbins of singles and started plying. The questions started up again. Do I like how those two colors are barber poling together? Is it muddy? Is my plying even?

I held my breath as I wound the finished yarn into a skein. Just off the bobbin it looked wonderful! I plopped it into a bath for some finishing and hung it to dry.

All those trees, and finally a vision of the forest:

I love it! It's very slinky and pretty damn even. I need to find a good pattern to show it off.

I've been spinning more than knitting, but I'm almost done with the body of my Mary Jane sweater. I have one more patterning row, and then the ribbing. Then I'll do the neck treatment, see how much yarn I have left, assess how much patience I have left, and decide how long to make the sleeves.

I swatched for the next sweater I want to knit, but I haven't cast on yet, because I don't want the new sweater to push Mary Jane off to the side so she doesn't get finished.

Blue! My color trending continues. As you can see, I opted for the more dramatic multi over the safer semi-solid.


We had a lovely first night of Passover. Normally, since my family is so small and far-flung, and Mr. T's family isn't Jewish, we have seders for just the four of us. It's not nearly as fun as when I was a kid and all the cousins got together. But this year we had first night with friends. The evening was hosted by the Susan for whom I knit those Fiddlehead Mittens earlier this year. Her older son is one of Jr. Jr.'s best buddies. There were two other families there with more of Jr. Jr.'s friends, and a family from another school who we'd never met before. They were very nice, and had two girls slightly younger than Jr. Jr. I think there were 10 kids total, including poor Sr. Jr. who was by far the oldest "kid" there. Although he had no one to socialize with, he made the best of it as the littler kids attacked him and climbed all over him.

Everyone brought things, so the burden didn't fall too heavily on the hosts, and it was a really nice time.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

A Nook of my Own

I don't rate a whole room yet ;p

I don't have a dedicated crafting area in the house. Mr. T will tell you that the whole house is a dedicated crafting area, but I really felt like I needed a little area of my own. Most of my knitting is done on the couch in the family room, and that's fine. But I was spinning at the dining room table, and winding yarn on the breakfast bar of the kitchen counter. I wanted to free those areas of clutter and create a place where those activities could have a home.

So, a little re-jiggering and furniture moving, a new table and lamp, and here we are. This is a bump-out area in our bedroom, with a nice big window overlooking a gorgeous plum tree and some evergreens. There's just enough room for the table and another, smaller bedside table, perfect for spinning and winding yarn. All I need now is some pretty stuff on the wall and something like a little iHome or something so I can play music while I spin.

And yes, that's a new addition to my spinning collection on that table. It's a Hansen Mini-Spinner and I am totally in love with it. It's so well-crafted. Such a pleasure to spin with. I spun up an entire strip of my braid yesterday before I even knew it. It's so portable that I'm already planning to bring it with me when we go to Hilton Head this summer. Spinning by the pool!

No spinning today, unfortunately, since I spent the morning doing stuff around the house and waiting for a repairman. Tomorrow! Yes, tomorrow.

And that blue thing on my table? The handspun squooshy sock.

Here she is, all moody and dramatic. She came with me to Westover Woolies on Tuesday, and she'll come with me to piano lessons today.

I'm closing in on the end of the Mary Jane sweater, so naturally I'm thinking of what to knit next. Even though I already have one laceweight sweater on the needles, I think I'm going to start another one. I need something lightweight that I can throw on during the summer, at a cold restaurant or on the beach... who knows? At first I was leaning toward the Featherweight Cardigan, but now I think I'm going to knit Simplicity. Color? Don't know. Part of me wants to use something dark and dramatic, but the sensible part of me thinks I should stick with something that will go with everything, given that it will be a utilitarian sweater.

Sr. Jr. says, "Don't go away!"

Monday, April 11, 2011

Something Blue

Something old, something new, something borrowed...

Yesterday was our anniversary. 17 years. Time flies doesn't it? 17 years seems so long to me. I left for college shortly after I turned 17, so I've been married to Mr. T about as long as I lived full-time with my parents. We've been together for almost 21 years now. That's almost half my life! It seems unreal that we've been together that long. How did this happen? How did I get here? (This is not my beautiful house...)

I have no complaints. Well, very few. Well, no dealbreakers, anyway. Happy anniversary, love :)

What my life lacks at the moment (ok, always) is balance. Some aspect of my life is always suffering for the sake of something else. If I do A and B, then C suffers, and if I try to catch up on C, then A suffers. And so on. So I always feel like I'm failing in some aspect of what I want/need to do. I feel guilty about things I'm not accomplishing. This isn't a temporary thing, like when getting sick throws me off schedule. It's an ongoing issue. Maybe someday I'll figure out how to get all the parts moving at the same time, all the balls balanced effortlessly in the air.


I've clearly entered my blue period. Knitting with blue, spinning blue. But no blue skies. Just how much rain and grey can Washington have, anyway?

Cute, huh? I like it, but I haven't been knitting on it as much as I could. I've been spinning more.

I had this:

which turned into this:

which I'm now knitting up into socks:

The fiber is an 70-20-10 MCN blend, the first installment of The Sanguine Gryphon fiber club. It was nice to spin, even with all the spinner trouble I have while doing it. I'm amazed the yarn came out as well as it did, given that I spent more of my energy fighting the spinner than I did making sure the yarn was turning out ok. It's very soft and squishy.

I wanted to get the socks started so I could knit on them tomorrow at our Westover Wooly meetup (Tracey - when school's out, you should join us! Sharon - I don't know if your schedule would permit, but you should see if you could come by, too.) It's very nice to have knitters and spinners to hang with in real life, too. I love meeting up with Rav folks when we can, but a regular get-together is nice to have.

I've been working on a little project for meeeeee, and it's almost done. Pictures to come.

In parental news, Sr. Jr. got a Gold Medal for his performance on the National Latin Exam. He was one of only two kids in Latin 1 in his school to get a GM. And Jr. Jr. got straight As yet again. Very proud!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Monochrome (but not Green)

I don't know how it has happened that I've managed to keep my projects all in one color range. I'm not usually the type of person who cares about matchiness, nor am I the type of person to obsess over a particular color to the extent that I will only wear or work with it. I thought the green thing was a happenstance.

Perhaps I was wrong.

After finishing the green sweater and the pair of green socks, I cast on for another sweater. I even posted a teaser last time -- blue! I like blue. I don't love blue. Other than my jeans, I don't even wear too much blue. So a blue sweater might be a good thing. Fill a hole in the wardrobe. So I took the beautiful blue Squoosh yarn and cast on:

I'm a good four inches farther along now than when I took these photos. The pattern is Mary Jane, from Twist Collective. The yarn is Squoosh's Merino Cashmere Sport, in Oil Slick. This is another nice and quick pattern, although I'm making some modifications as I go (e.g., NO puff sleeves, please). The pattern calls for short sleeves, but I think how long my sleeves end up will be determined by 1) how much yarn I have; and 2) how ready I am to move on to another pattern.

Until recently, I didn't really see the point of short sleeved sweaters. If I'm cold enough to wear a sweater, then I'm cold enough to want sleeves. But I'm trying to be open-minded and try new things. Be fashion-forward, as they say. (If you knew me in real life, you'd laugh at the idea of me being fashion-anything.)

And after my frustrated spinning interlude last weekend, the interlude that produced the cute pink and green singles, I've gone back to the spinning project I was working on:

(One with flash, one without.) The return of the blue Bugga fiber. I love this fiber. And look, it's blue! I'm spinning three bobbins of singles, which I will then ply together, hopefully getting a nice, squooshy three-ply yarn that I can use for socks. I didn't do anything organized or scientific to get this ready or to spin it. I just took the length of fiber and divided it as evenly as I could into three pieces. I split each piece in half and then grab off chunks and spin as is, or sometimes, depending on my mood, I split those chunks in half again. There's no color progression that I'm trying to maintain or follow, so randomness is ok.

The fiber reminds me of a sky-study. It has bright blues for spring skies, deep dark summer blues, white for clouds and greys to grey-purples for rainy and stormy skies.

The spinner is still irking me. When I finish the third bobbin and get this plied up, the spinner is going back to the manufacturer for a check-up.

Soon the newest installment of the Cookie A sock club should arrive, and I'll laugh if it's blue.


I can't believe it's April already. Spring is really sneaking up on me.

(blossom from my plum tree)

Soon I'll blink and the school year will be over. They're going faster and faster as the boys get older. I'm sure there will be a lot of angst and depression this summer as Sr. Jr. gets ready for high school. I'm not ready to have him be so close to leaving the house! I suspect he's anxious about what high school holds in store for him. The gang from middle school is splitting up and there will be a whole new bunch of kids for him to meet and get to know. Some of them will be friends from elementary school, some will be entirely new.

He's definitely pulling away, adolescent-style. It makes me sad, even though I know it's necessary.

Ugh, if I'm this bad now, imagine how I'll be four years from now, when I'm crying about how my baby is going off to college?