Sunday, December 30, 2007

Holiday Hangover

The New Year has yet to arrive and already the itch to purge my house of Christmas has begun. It came. It went. Stick a fork in it; it's done. So yesterday the Santa collection flew back to the North Pole. The Snowmen will remain for a bit, but I have a feeling they will miss the old guy and ask to leave within the next week or so. The "Charlie Brown" tree with the colored lights and tinsel - "Mom, that is sooooo cheesey!" is already in the basement.

Once I saw my oldest packing her suitcase to go "home" (HOME? Home is here! What does she mean home?) I felt it was time to call the holiday quits.

But have you checked out Mary Ellen's craftiness? Looks like she is getting ready for next Christmas already. Her awesome ideas come from this crazy ass talented woman. My green eyes are glowing...

Yesterday was a good day. Smarty Mags, P, and I hit Daft Dames to score some goodies for our looms. Mags being the talented freak she is, went from a rigid heddle to an 8 harness loom in less than two months! Me? Not so good. Hubbie gifted me the Kromski rigid heddle last Christmas. I have yet to complete one project. I did take a class at EGLFC in the fall, and was devastated when I realized I did NOT love it. So, I hope that some of Mags' enthusiasm is contagious and that she will push me to get something done. So I have the makings of some red and navy blue placemats for the lake house. May the weaver's force be with me.

Friday, December 21, 2007

The Home Stretch

We are now at the home stretch of Christmas frenzy. It is time to take stock, check the list, and check it again. The gifts have been purchased, wrapped, and placed under the tree. The grocery list is done, the stockings are hung.

I believe I can relax.

I am so relaxed I have faith that two hats can be knit between now and the big day. That I can make a few "unscheduled" social calls.

I believe that I shall be able to follow the little Christmas tot's advice and spread some 'cheerful looks and words'.

And the reason for the change? I have taken Christmas "off" this year. For at least the last TEN years I was under the impression that it was my job to make merry for both sides of the family for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Each year I decorated, shopped, cooked, and cleaned.

And last year as I watched everyone else laughing and drinking after walking into my home empty handed, fully expecting me to make it happen, I had an epiphany. I was invisible. I was being taken for granted. And so this year it is not my turn. It is not my responsibility. Holidays will happend with or without me. I am not indispensible. And if taking a year or two off makes others appreciate my past efforts, then I must say this is a good thing.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

23 Days and Counting or Still Not Time to Panic

Where is this guy when I need him? Each and every year this slacker of a man forces me to do his dirty work. And he gets all the credit. Typical man. The eternal optimist in me keeps thinking, "This year will be different." So I wait. And wait. And wait. Then I PANIC.

Let it never be said you cannot teach an old dog new tricks. I am making a public announcement that I began my Christmas shopping more than two weeks prior to the actual event. I mean real presents. The big ones that family members actually requested. And despite the fact that today is a Saturday, I found parking spots close to the door. That all my sought after items were in stock AND found for me by nice, not yet stressed out sales people. Huh. Do you think it's like this every year?

Now, I am by no means finished. But after having lunch with my brother and wonderful wife (yes, I even went out for lunch:), we knocked off all our ideas for the rest of the family.

You know, I may even enjoy Christmas this year. But don't tell Smarty Mags ;)

Monday, November 12, 2007

Having Fun, eh?

Have you noticed that little "eh?" at the end of questions is slowly disappearing when you head north of the border? Do you think it has something to do with the fact that their dollar is now tromping ours?
Yesterday was so fun!
First we met at ME's house to get treat #1. And because I was driving, I could not figure out how to pin it on, and never seemed to remember when I stopped. If you check out ME's tutorial on the poppy, you will realize I will be a tradition breaker. I plan on pinning it to my dark gray wool flannel coat. It shall be a lovely addition.

Next, drive the car:) First stop: Whole Foods. As this was my first visit, you know I was like a wonderstruck child looking from one case to another. It was the first time in my life when I actually thought the meat case even looked good!

Next...a place I have been trying to get family to visit each time we go to Toronto. The indigo exhibit at the Textile Museum of Canada was wonderful. Dye is one area where science and art truly meet.
Have you ever had a sticky rice ball? Well, eating them fresh from the bakery shelf was not the experience I thought it would be. But picking through every shelf of every (ok, not every, but after two of get the idea) one maybe nothing tastes as it should. China Town is fun. It has a bustle all its own. And the smells from the outdoor stands are nothing like a trip to your local grocery store!

The last stop of the day was Little India on the east end of the city. Yesterday was the last night of Dwali. We so wished we had our camera! On of the store windows was ful of red saris that were stunning! My nose was in heaven between the spices and incense. And would you believe it did not start to rain until we hit downtown area on our way home.

All in all - a great success! Good friends, a few laughs, and one or two secrets :) What more can a girl ask for?

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Things Daughters Should Not Do Again, and Again, and Again...

  1. Spend your entire allowance on things like getting your nails done? When you are 14! And then asking your mom for money two days later.
  2. Stay after school without telling your mother, and then DEMAND a ride immediately and get angry because your mother cannot as she is still at work so that you can receive an allowance so that you can get your nails done.
  3. Promise you will do the load of towels "in a minute".
  4. Invite five of your friends over for a dinner they will cook and then not clean the kitchen.
  5. Invite five of your friends over for dinner and have them all show up with overnight bags.
  6. Invite five of your friends over for dinner and then have five BOYS ring the doorbell.
  7. Tell your now 10 friends you have it "covered" and then assume your mother is going to let the boys in the house.
  8. Go outside to tell the boys that your mother is some kind of moron and then hold a 15 minute conversation in the street.
  9. Drive your brother and his friend out of the family room because you and your five friends are obviously more important than his one friend.
  10. Send your sick father to the other end of the house because his stuffy nose is embarrassing.

Monday, November 05, 2007

And After That...

I got on to the more serious work of the weekend.

Washing some fleece. Am I the only one who is not thrilled with the act? Hey, they are just one ounce samples. What the heck! How long can it take? The whole afternoon, that's how long!

The cheviot sample was dark. It contained bits from two clearly different sections of the fleece. The staple length was short in the section that had any lock integrity. And the vegetable matter was horrid! I felt I should have pulled and picked prior to washing, but the staple length was so short, there was no way I could prevent a gummy ball from forming. The other bits had no lock definition whatsover and appeared to be longer, much lighter, and coarser.

The North Country sample had lovely longer staples. I was fearful that the grease may have caused permanent staining, but no fear. It washed to a soft, creamy white after a very short soak.
The dorsets were the next to hit the tub. I expected the short staple length of the horned dorset . However, I am a bit concerned with how to prep this for spinning. As it is drying in its little bag, it is looking a bit too much like cotton balls. The polled dorset has a staple length of over 2.5 inches and the tips were disgusting. After the first soak, I targeted them with extra hot water. It helped some, but I may need to take drastic measures before spinning.
This group is going to force me to change my scouring method. I have been placing the fleece in little "bags" of netting and soaking them in a small wash basin. The other girls have been trying a contraption of household window screening material. Take the rectangle/square - layer the fleece - staple together. This allows for a much tighter package and does not allow the fleece to move around. My netting allows for far too much movement and requires a great deal of re-alignment on my part before moving to the carder or flicker.
Now off to the wheel!

How Was Your Weekend?

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween

For the first time in my life there are NO pumpkins on my front porch! How did this happen? How can a person you have been married to for 20 Halloweens, the man who has always selected one pumpkin per person come home empty handed? And on top of it all, seem surprised the entire household was sad, shocked, incredulous? What's next? No Christmas gifts?

Thursday, October 25, 2007


Am I the only person in the world who did not attend Rhinebeck this year? Or more specifically, am I the only knitter who has never attended Rhinebeck?

Each year I read the posts and wonder, what am I missing? The yarn and fiber? I can order from almost any vendor on line or via snail mail. Or from one of the six local yarn shops all less than 30 minutes from my house.

The people? I really get a touch anxious around crowds - and hells bells - if they are bussing them in from Boston...

The festival buzz? I have my two little fun fests within an hours' drive.

Aw crap, you caught me! I feel just like the little kid with her nose pressed up against the candy store window, and not a cent in her pocket!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Frogitis or Knit It Again, Sam?

This is a classic example of why nothing is ever finished. Over the summer I knit this. Cute little top town sweater done in the round with Cotton Fleece. Easy. You see that it is a 3/4 length sleeve. I decided that it would make a great short sleeved sweater - maybe because it was the middle of July and 80 plus degrees? I did wear it once. And I hated it. It needs longer sleeves.
I have another sweater started two summers ago. I spent an entire season picking and choosing the exact same shade of 5 different white yarns. I was thinking stripes. The back is finished. I hate it. Why? Because it suddenly dawned on me it would look so much better done in small mitered squares.
Is there a name for this knitting disease?

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Odds and Ends

Last night I finished a very interesting book. The Boy Who Loved Anne Frank by Ellen Feldman was based on Peter van Pels, the boy who was in hiding with Anne Frank. Feldman's book is based on the premise that Peter survives the camps. The novel follows Peter after his arrival in the United States. He becomes a successful businessman who settles in New Jersey. He loves his wife, worships his children, and is haunted by his past. van Pels turns his back on his religion, vowing that his family will never be taken - that he will be prepared.
My only criticism of the book was one of tone. Peter's voice did not ring true. The words, the concerns, his relationships seemed "off" in a way that I cannot label. But truly, a book worth reading.
The Yarn Harlot just had some kind of fun. How I envy her trip to SOAR. But let it not be said that McPhee is the only one who has fiber filled weekends. I, too, had a weekend of spinning and weaving. Want to see what I was up to? Since Margaret and MaryEllen (October 8)have done all the work, I will not duplicate their efforts. Thanks for taking pix while we all have tootsie pops in our mouths Mags! After spending two days with Patsy Zawistoski, I no longer feel as though I am posing as a spinner. Long draw, double draft, worsted/woolen spin and prep. I got the power! We may not have been catching drop spindles in our teeth, but we had a great time in a beautiful setting with wonderful friends and teachers.