Saturday, May 31, 2008

What I've Learned (So Far)

**Malabrigo folks could use some prayer**

Six hours on an airplane is a long time, even with knitting. I have short legs. They dangle. Dangling is probably not the most comfortable thing ever. There was an empty seat between myself and my seating partner. We used the center seat as a holding area and were quite content. This was not a full flight at all, which surprised me. A direct flight from Connecticut to LA and it wasn't stuffed? I was surprised.
We got in a tiny bit late. Once on the ground I grabbed my bag and found my shuttle and headed for the Omni Hotel. Now, I was supposed to have dinner at 7:45pm With People from Storey, meeting them in the lobby at 7:30. I glanced at the shuttle clock - in spite of my mad dashing through LAX, shoving children and old ladies out of my way, it still was not looking good. As the shuttle clock got closer and closer to 7:30 I realized that the window of Fancy Dining Opportunity was closing. This is bad. I had gone online and read the menu and I wanted the beets.
At 7:25 I presented myself for check-in. At 7:28 I was on the elevator. At 7:35, I was back in the lobby changed and ready. I think it was the years of mothering. "JUST LET'S GO NOW!"
I have not a single picture from the day, until I returned to the hotel where I discovered (now that I had time to look) bow-tied toilet paper:Because nothing says "welcome home" like a pink bow around something I am going to use to wipe my. . .you know.
Pretty Green Themed Shampoo:Not as cool as where Mr. W and I are staying in NY (they have Aveda products in their bathrooms) but cunning nonetheless.
Mental Torture:
Let me see if I get this...I am alone, 2,500 miles from home, 3 hours ahead of time, in a hotel room that has a big tray of chocolate? That's just mean. There's also potato chips. And mints, and a magnifier, and something called "pillow spray". Which for $6.50 should smell pretty damn good, I think. A bottle of Evian will set you back $5.00 (plus tax and service charge) or, for the low, low price of $21.00 you can have a 375 ml bottle of cheap red wine (Kendall Jackson Cab).
Someone named Lawrence was here in May and had a chocolate bar. I know this because his bill is still in the dresser. Which goes to show you how often people take from this thing, or at least how often they actually report that they took something from it. He smeared chocolate on the little pick-slip thing. Kinda ick. Too bad I am so cheap. The mini Zen garden and Coca-Cola playing cards are tempting. One could theoretically come to LA, stay in this hotel, and never leave the room. Snacks, food 24 hours a day, wireless, and television.
On the plane I knitted up EZ Mitered mittens, they need only thumbs and I failed to pack my small red bag containing, oh, scissors...darning needles...that sort of thing. Since this is an afterthought thumb, scissors are a must. I worked on socks for Mr.W.
Today (my brain says it's 9 but really it's only 6...) I am torn. Do I take knitting, which would require my backpack. Or do I leave the knitting here and suffer like a caged animal all day without any, but look a tad more grown-up with just a small purse? Go ahead. Guess.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Cork Nuts and Chicken Butts

My crazy small project obsession continues. I have EZ mitered mittens on needles. My flight for LA leaves at 3, and I can't decide when to head down to the airport. Somehow these issues are connected. I am not a fan of air travel. I need to refill my Starbucks card. I've packed not enough clothing, but five knitting projects. Priorities.
I made Korknisse, and they are adorable. The yarn is Valley Yarns Superwash handdyed by The Kangaroo Dyer. I need more of these guys, which means I need to drink more wine. Bummer, eh? I could start now. A pre-flight load.
Great. My Starbucks card will not reload. I shall die of latte-deprivation. Or, perhaps, I will just use cash? Annoying.
Katy just stopped by to pick up eggs for her weekend in Vermont. I have four more dozen that I am taking to Webs on my way to the airport. Maybe they'll make me late, and I will miss my flight, and then not have to fly at all. (recurring theme? melissaknits no like the flying game.)
I did a fridge clean-out this morning in the chickens' direction. All the things I know will be gross by the time I get home and I know no one else will cook while I am away. Depressing, sad, but not wasteful, or at least they don't think so.
OK. I need to get in the car and drive to the place with the large flying machines that make about as much aerodynamic sense as a bumble bee. Blogging right now is not responsible. It's avoidance.
Mr. Wonderful says how if I am flying now for work, I should therefore be willing to fly for vacation. He even has a few picked out. I say, if he loved me? WE'D DRIVE.

Find me if you're there:
Book Expo America
Los Angeles Convention Center, Los Angeles, California
2-3pm Saturday in the Author's Signing Area, right between Jamie Lee Curtis and Ray Bradbury - who thinks this stuff up? Is this a humor blog? Is there not some significant irony that they've put a chicken farming knitting author from the backwoods who cannot dress and does not read fiction (with a few small exceptions) in between Jamie Lee Curtis and Ray-Freaking-Bradbury? Is the irony of this not lost? Or am I the only one profoundly amused by it??

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

You Tell Me

I have been musing of late on creativity and flow and ebb of same. I am about to head full-force into writing and designing and knitting. In the interim I am unable to concentrate or focus on any large project and have become obsessed with EZ small items, like Ganomy (Sheep One, US9, pithy directions). Mittens (Amherst, US6, winged 'em). Tri-Cornered Tam (Berkshire, US6, winging it). I also knitted a super simple top-down pullover and mittens. I feel internally driven to seek comfort in these items that I could do with my eyes shut really. Is this prep work, or avoidance? Is this like playing Mine Sweeper for days and hours straight before my nursing boards, only to finish that exam in 50 minutes (55 questions in 50 minutes. Five test questions, 50 needed to pass the boards. I am just guessing that I got 50 questions right)? It feels like it did then. This knitting has the same obsessive pull, I can't stop, I keep going on mindless, or painfully mindful, I am not sure which. Stuff churns in my brain all day and all night. Nothing gets written down but a lot percolates and brews and stews in my brain endlessly. It's almost painful. Writing, when it commences in earnest, will be a break from the relentless hammering in my head.
This weekend was stellar. First, Cummington was Saturday. I was thrilled to meet up with Leslie Wind and trade her books for a shawl pin. I own two already, and two of her beautiful, amazing cable needles, but more is always good.
I love her stuff. All of it. I attended Cummington wearing earrings my kid made me from stuff I (mostly) obtained from Webs Beads. I am not a beader, but I know where to find one (most often on my computer or in my refrigerator rooting for snacks). I love my roosters.
I signed for Barb Parry again, at Foxfire Fiber. It was awesome once again! I saw a bunch of knitters and Ravelers, made some new converts, and signed every book she had on hand. This always makes me happy. In all honesty, I generally assume no one will show up and I will be a disappointment to whoever my host is. When they all sell, I am very, very happy. Small sellers, be they yarn or book, reaping benefit always makes me smile.
I bought nothing. I had no money. When we arrived at the gate I realized I had not more than $3.50 in my wallet. Luckily I had Girl and Gerbil and Jules in tow, and announced as we approached the gate that everyone needed to contribute to the $8 parking fee in equal shares. This left me with $1.50 for coffee, and no lunch or water which became an issue when I stood up at 1:30 to leave and realized I was starving and dehydrated. Mr. Wonderful was pleased upon my return, when I entered with not so much as a whiff of fleece or yarn, or even soap (my sheep show weakness). Someday I am coming home with one of these moebius shawls from Moonshine Design at Keldaby Farm. I have wanted one forever, like since back before Webs, back when I entered the Cummington fairgrounds as a Red Heart/Lion Brand user and left with a Turkish spindle and a bag of Romney, forever changed. Wool. I found wool.
But I digress. We were discussing Cummington! Yes, after signing, I headed home to prep for a gathering of friends that I have been trying to make happen for six months. The official Sample Knitters Party was on.
I had a fabulous time. This is a helluva group of women and knitters. And Dena? She has a Margarita recipe that makes your hair stand on end. Mary Alice makes an amazing pineapple salsa. Katy and Tammy and Cindy bring flowers, which I never get (Mr. W. is not so much the flowers kind of guy, although he certainly knows how to impress women by feeding them on demand). Kristen seems to enjoy Mojitos a great deal. She also got stopped on her way up, but kept coming anyway in spite of my living "in the middle of nowhere". Luckily it was just a warning. Rue made yummy sachets for everyone (I shall not repeat what I did with mine. There was tequila involved. Ans what happens at Melissa's house stays at Melissa's house, man.), and brought wine. We got so loud we scared not only Mr. W, but also another on-looker, who's still not fully recovered. I've decided it's good for him (character building), so I am planning a repeat event later in the summer with more fiber this time.
Now, the question. You tell me. Is the obsessive knitting healthy, or not healthy? Is it cleaning out my head, or making more clutter? Is it preparation, or avoidance?
Uh oh. Mr. Wonderful just left for a ride. And he didn't check the radar. And I hear thunder again. This ought to be fun...he'd better come back in one piece. Otherwise who's going to man the grill?

Monday, May 19, 2008

What a Weekend

First and foremost I met Cat Bordhi and neither slobbered nor wet my pants. I was very proud of myself. I found her to be a really, truly, genuinely lovely person, a brilliant intellect, a giving teacher and just an all around wonderful woman. When I grow up, I wanna be Cat Bordhi. This is one of those people who's brain I covet.

Although she wasn't teaching Moebius this weekend, she brought some along to show and tell. Sunday's class focused on creativity and was, at times, a bit mentally intense. So breaks were taken in which she amused us by, for example, knitting behind her backShe did this both days. I need to add this skill to my ever-growing box of knitter's parlor tricks. Impressive. She's a huge fan of Judy's Magic Cast-on created by the brilliant Judy Becker (now there's a woman who should write a book). Cat does things with it that astound me. It's gone in all new directions for me now, that cast-on has. It is possibly the best cast on ever for SO many things; almost EVERYthing. It's a skill every knitter should have in their arsenal.
On Saturday morning the Ready, Set, Knit podcast was taped live in the parking lot just before the official beginning of the tent sale. This does not mean that people were not arriving and shopping. It was someone's birthday, so her employees took advantage of the moment and celebrated with a cake and singing.
I have actually never been to the tent sale on a Saturday. Saturday is the Fleece Market, where local growers bring their wares and display and sell them. Barb Parry from Foxfier Fiber and Diane Roeder from Sojourner Sheep where both there, among others. The tents were set up outside of the warehouse, and good shopping was had by all. I personally scored three bags of Cascade 220 mis-spun to a dk weight in a nice dark charcoal color. Yum.
Lots of shopping happened. In fact, there were 5 registers...or six? set up. Two outside, four inside I think. I snapped this during a quiet moment. There were moments during the day when i was reminded of a very recent event held at Webs in which 1,000 knitters packed into the store.
Mary Alice sat and spun with a friend who's name I rudely failed to ask - but I was cheating at this point and really should have been back in class with Cat, so it was a brief hello, click, and I was gone again. I wonder why we didn't spin at Rhinebeck. I am pretty sure there was a plan to do so...
Sharlene made a new friend, Diane's new rescue Border Collie. Adorable dogs, if insane unless employed. Luckily Diane has the perfect job for a Border Collie - she has sheep. Work woolies, work woolies, work woolies...and get some lovin' from the locals.

Now, if you're at Cummington this weekend, be sure to stop by the Foxfire Fiber booth between 11am and 1pm and say hello! I so love this time of year. I love festivals. I may have to buy a batt this time. . . . or maybe a whole fleece . . .

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

A meme. If you're interested.

Blame Yarnhog. She started it.

The rules of the game get posted at the beginning. Each player answers the questions about themselves. At the end of the post, the player then tags 5-6 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know they’ve been tagged and asking them to read your blog.(Maybe I'll do that part in the morning. I mean, it's 10 now, and I did just post the post below for the first time in like 3 weeks, so maybe commenting on six blogs is too much bloggishness for me. Remind me to do it in the morning, somebody)

Let the person who tagged you know when you’ve posted your answer. (I did this part, so no wake up call required.)

1) What was I doing 10 years ago?
I was living across the river in a three bedroom, one bath, one closet former chicken coop (no, seriously) with 4 kids and a husband. Wait. Live-in boyfriend? Cohabitator in sin? No. Wait again. 1998. We were legal by then. I was working as a Registered Nurse, 32 hours a week and homeschooling my kids while not killing them.

2) What are 5 things on my to-do list for today (not in any particular order):
Get top-down raglan past the sleeve division, get the sock for Barb moving along faster, make more blessed granola, get to the PO, wash my hair. (I got three of five. The granola and the PO didn't happen. But it's Wednesday; there's always tomorrow.)

3) Snacks I enjoy:
Pineapple and lattes, especially the mocha variety, but skim and decaf.

4) Things I would do if I were a billionaire:
Buy a farm and a couple of million acres of anything I can get my hands on land-wise, go off the grid, and give away a lot of money. And. Um. OK. I'd buy myself something from Tiffany's and hire someone to clean (I so suck at it), and build a yarn-house. Which is exactly what it sounds like.

5) Places I have lived:
Here. Also there, there, there, there, there, there, there. And there. That's about it. And there too, I forgot, sorry.

7) 6 peeps I wanna know more about:
Chix Betty
43 Skeins
Crimson Purl

No pressure, if you don't play I will assume you despise me and I can take you off my Christmas Card list ('cause I so send those little environmental nightmares in envelopes). Anybody else who wants to play along, feel free, and post a comment so I can read all about you on your blog.


And not a lot to make it better. I have a ton of things I want to talk about, and not time to organize it into proper sentences. Short version?
I went to Shelburne again, to Foxfire. I saw sheep. I especially saw Stella who is my favorite sheep and I wish I could adopt her and one of the ram-lambs who could be made into a wether (err..look it up.) and be my new best buddies.

Two black lambs:
Butter, a good but aging parent, a bit like the "75 year old woman gives birth to twins" thing:

Calvin, whom I love:
It's their baby faces. Love babies.

On a post-Harlot day, I don't remember which, I was at Webs and staving so I committed veggie larceny and stole The Harlot's leftovers. So arrest me. I considered selling the containers on eBay with the little "SPM" stickies still attached. I do have a kid to put through college you know, and every bit helps. I ate all the fruit and some of the veg, then brought the rest home and made breakfast. I hate waste. Look - my eggs from my chickens combined with leftover veg from Whole Foods? What could be better? Wait, don't answer. My OWN veg, but it's a bit early for that.It is a well known fact that I will personally remove all post-event leftovers. What we don't eat, the birds do. I consider it my duty. I also recycle tin foil, and do not throw away those "disposable" plastic dishes from the ZipLoc and Glad folks. I reuse them until they are cracked and falling apart. Oh, and I hand wash plastic forks and spoons and knives after parties, too.

We put out a lot of the garden, and planted asparagus. The crowns are already producing the teeniest spears that we cannot touch, but they give me hope for next year. Last House had an established bed, beautiful thing. Also fruit trees. And berries. Moving here and starting over has been arduous and often depressing. This place is all delightfully overgrown with flowers; lovely, but my idea of "garden" involves FOOD. If it cannot be eaten, it can leave. I overheard a woman at Agway refer to leaving her old garden as a divorce. I totally can relate. It's taken me three years to feel inspired enough to plant again.

I started and finished a Tomten and a pair of socks.
Also started but did not yet finish a top-down raglan. I figure if I am teaching it I should at least have done it. I don't know how I feel about this sweater, and I sense it may become a steeked cardigan before the end of class. More pictures when they're more-done-er.

I am EZ Obsessed. I bought the Knitting Around DVD's; my contribution to stimulating the economy. Also some yarn and needles and such, which have not arrived yet. I've watched EZ will I've memorized it, I swear. I could watch forever.

The NH Sheep and Wool was last weekend. I signed book at the Foxfire Fiber booth, which was a total blast. I hope to repeat the experience at the Mass Sheep and Wool in two weeks. Come by and say hi! In NH I got to meet new people, and say "Hi" to some old people. I wish I had more pictures. I can't seem to manage "Sit at table, knit, sign books and take pictures while carrying on coherent conversations with visitors". Jules got some pictures, and I'll post them when she passes them on. Guido stopped by - I'd love to do his podcast because it might mean a trip to Boston - YAY!! Katy invited me to stay with she and Traci at her cousin's house. There was wine, and creamy tequila (seriously.) and good company. The Cousins have Berners. Two of them, Gryffon and Kismet. Not BARC babies, but I always link to BARC since Owen has brought so much joy to my life and he's a BARC baby - I think anyone who wants a Berner should consider BARC. I adored them, although upon my arrival I was treated a bit coldly by my own, who sniffed me from end to end and looked very wounded for a while. I was relieved to know that I am not the only person on earth who has a Puppy Album. Kioshi and Kintaro have them in hard copy, although Owen does not. He's more a digital dog. I saw more sheep, I have a thing for black lambs.
And I saw what can only be defined as Alpaca Abuse. Seriously. If this were a human kid?? This would totally be abuse. "Momma, lookit that weird kid over there with the crazy haircut. Is he sick or something?" See a resemblance?
I met, finally, Leslie Wind, and I hope to very soon blog about her amazing wearable art cable needles which I adore. I traded her a shawl pin for a book, which I must remember to bring to Cummington, AND Girl got me one for Mother's Day, so I am happy as a clam. I love the cable needles, and love the shawl pins. They're just lovely lovely lovely. I may have to have another on from Cummington.
Well, that's it for now - horrible, right? But since it's been, oh, weeks, it's better n' nothing!! More soon, promise. Real life is getting in the way right now, with nothing good and much that's stressful, and once that cloud clears I can get back to the business of being amusing and somewhat entertaining. Promise.