Yes, it’s yarn

This is the yarn I’ve managed to spin in stolen moments at lunch. It’s the cashmere/silk blend I bought in Maryland and spun on my gorgeous Grafton Fibership. One cop, Andean plied created approximately 6 yarns of yarn. The picture is weird (strange camera), but it’s quite fine and a few slubs of silk really give it some great character. Aside from the silk sticking to my hands, it was fun to spin – and there’s lots more in the bag!

I hung it up on the bulletin board over my desk to see if there would be a reaction. {crickets} Because I’m not the sort to sit by and let lovely yarn be ignored, I mentioned it to anyone who happened by my office. Lots of “wow” and “it’s so soft!” Then, of course, I had to haul out the spindle and show them how it’s done. Lots of fun.

In other news, I finished reading Angels and Demons last night. It’s by Dan Brown (of The Da Vinci Code fame) and it was good! I’m usually a little leary about reading anything my sister or my mom recommend to me. It’s not that they read bad stuff, it’s just that our tastes don’t always mesh. A quick read, lots of action and enough of a mystery to keep me reading to the last page (and keep me awake late into the night). I’ve been neglecting the reading lately – mostly because I can’t read and knit at the same time. I think it’s time for some more books on tape. Suggestions?

Favorite Blogs

Because I’m still overwhelmed at trying to fit back into my life, you get a lame post about my favorite blogs. Each of these people inspires me to be more creative and more accepting of my own creations. Here are my favorites:

I’m lucky enough not only to be able to read about her knitting and spinning, but to actually witness it in person – Knittingfrau inspires me most. She’s always supportive and suggests additions or subtractions or substitutions.

It’s been some time, but Curlypurl is back. I’ve always loved reading her creation stories interspersed with her family stories. She tells great tales about creating and the eventual mishaps that happen along the way.

Lately, I’ve been obsessively reading Franklin’s tales of Dolores and laughing out loud at my desk. If you haven’t seen his blog – really, go take a look.

You’re going to have to trust that I’m knitting and spinning – really I am. I’ll have pictures next week, maybe.

Um, that’s mine …

Hub is getting ready to make his annual fishing pilgrimmage to Alaska, so he’s tying flies. I came home to this the other day. See those beauties in the lower right corner? He happened across some roving I’ve been spinning from Hand Painted Yarn. The balls of yarn you see in the photo? Mine too. Every now and again he’ll ask, “do you have {fill in a color here} yarn? I scoff, “Of course, what do you want?” Then we walk back to the yarn stash and he feels up whatever color he wants and makes a choice.

On this particular day, he snatched the roving from its place near my wheel. “I hope you don’t mind,” he explained, “it’s a great blend of colors and it really does look like salmon eggs, doesn’t it? This is him in action. Apparently, he’s unfamiliar with the click of a camera lens and couldn’t stand being still for one more second. And before you can say it Jillian, I don’t wonder where Little Big Man gets his metrosexuality from anymore.

On another note, I finished something. This is Sassy modeling a scarf made from Great Adirondack Texas Bighorn yarn. It’s 60% mohair and 40% wool and lusciously soft. The best part is that it comes in a 325 yard skein! I don’t remember how much it cost (and can’t find a price online anywhere) but I assure you, it’s a great value. I knit on this thing for months and never once had to splice it. Plus, the colors are amazing. If you find it, buy it!

Lunchtime Spinning

What’s this? Why it’s my fiber stash at work. I got tired of hearing about how people spin on their downtime or their lunch hours and I wanted some of that. After Jillian picked what she wanted from the booty, this lovely Grafton Fibership was officially mine. The fiber is some yummy cashmere and silk that I picked up from Liberty Ridge. It’s absolutely dreamy to spin.

Here’s a close up of the spindle whorl. Isn’t it gorgeous? Sorry about the flash – the spindle is so shiny, there’s no way to take a photo without it being overexposed. The photo is pretty true to color – it really is almost pink.

Maryland Photo Essay

The first time I went to Maryland in 1999, everyone said, “Get in line for a t-shirt before you do anything else. Nancy and I got to the fairgrounds at a little after 8:00 am (offically the place opens at 9:00). We got a great parking space and moseyed on in. These are the people who lined up behind us – the line in front of us is just about as long. They aren’t kidding – get in line for a t-shirt first thing!

I will show a picture of all the stuff I bought, but I wanted to let Jillian see it first. That way, she gets the thrill of the market. I do have other pictures for you though.

The parking lot is actually a farmer’s field. We saw him cutting the last of his hay on Friday in order to get out of the way of all the cars. It looks impossibly big and I thought, “please, do we really need this much space?” Yes, yes we do. This was the parking lot when Nancy and I went to drop stuff at the car at approximately noon. There were still cars streaming in at that point.

My skills as an enabler are world renown. I can talk almost anyone into buying just about anything. When my friend Lynne was wavering about buying a Journey Wheel, I told her how wonderful they are to travel with, how easy they are to spin on, and how beautiful they are (she didn’t need me to tell her that – she’d already seen them). She went to the Bosworths’ booth and sat to spin and she really fell in love. She called me on my cell phone about an hour later and said, “Do you want to see it?” Here she is all loaded up to walk back to her car. That giant bump of fiber is for her Hands on Color Workshop at the Taos Wool Festival this October. If you’re going to be in the area, I’d suggest you take her class. She’s an amazing teacher. I’d be going if it weren’t for this cursed graduate school!

These lovely women are Lynne, Dynese, and Ann. They also drove out to experience Maryland and doesn’t it look like they had a good time? They had so much stuff in their car that they couldn’t see out of the back window (that’s stuff they bought – not their clothes and things they brought with them!). They asked Nancy and me to take some of their stuff back – they only gave us fleece. I don’t think they trusted us with their combed fiber.

We drove past this sign for 3 days before I asked Nancy to stop so I could take a picture. Do the people of Maryland know how to name their roads or what? Right after I got out of the car, I heard giant “woofs” from across the road. There were 2 huge dogs eyeing me, so I snapped the picture quick and got back in the car.

Last, but certainly not least – here’s the gem I brought home yesterday. This is my Sassy this morning giving it a go. I left the room to get the camera and I could hear the wheel going faster and faster. I said, “Hey! Slow it down in there!” She laughed and said, “Sorry, I just wanted to see how fast it would go.” Fast, it goes very fast.

Cross Your Fingers

On Saturday at the Sheep and Wool Festival, I saw this:

This, my friends, is a 30″ Schacht-Reeves double treadle, cherry wheel. It is beyond gorgeous. It is also approximately $1,500. While fondling this lovely wheel, a woman who worked in the booth said, “I need to get rid of that wheel. Make me an offer.” I told her I’d think about it. What sort of offer do you make on a $1,500 wheel? Nancy and I discussed it on Saturday night and I decided to offer her $800 for it on Sunday. All she could do was say no, right?

When we got back to the booth on Sunday, it was gone. No big deal – it’s huge and I wasn’t sure where I’d put it anyway. Last night, my phone rang with Nancy shouting into it “Go read your e-mail!!” A local is moving to Europe next month and is getting rid of all his stuff. He’s offering his 30″ Schacht-Reeves single treadle wheel at an obscenely low price. I immediately called and made an appointment to look at it this afternoon. Anyone want to lay odds on how long it will take me to wrestle it into my car?

Oy

Feet hurt. Back hurts. Best. Day. Ever.

Will provide pictures of the haul when we get it unpacked from the car.

Think
spindles (5 – though not all for me)
Woolee Winder with 2 extra bobbins
Cashmere
Silk
Angora

…and more.

Must swallow pain killers and drink a gallon of water.

T minus 1 and counting

Today we took it easy and wandered around Maryland’s antique shops. We stopped in a little town called Mt. Airy and while we didn’t actually go into any antique shops, we did find this:

I spotted the sign from the road and screeched, “Yarn Shoooop.” We made a bee-line for the parking lot. Inside was a tiny 2-room shop, but what this woman had in there!!

Of course I bought yarn – I dare you not to. I know, I made a point of saying, “I really don’t need this, but….” So here’s the rundown starting at the 9:00 position in the photo. This single ball of lushness is Knit One Crochet Two’s Paintbox in the Thistle colorway. It’s 100% wool. What you can’t see in the photo is the incredibly subtle colors – it’s sort of a periwinkle/lavender/sage green. Dahlia (yes, we’re on a first name basis) assures me it is self striping in the most wonderful way. Two balls will make an adult sized hat. I just wanted to play with it, but Nancy bought 2 balls of a different colorway for the hat.

Next up (going clockwise) is Elsebeth Lavold’s Chunky Al. It is 50% alpaca/50% wool. Long time readers know that I feel the love for Elsebeth’s yarns. This is softer than soft with a light alpaca halo. These 4 balls will be a scarf – I’m thinking yellow cable up the middle surrounded by the sage. Fabulous!

At 3:00 is Louisa Harding’s Sari Ribbon – 90% nylon/10% metallic (that’s what the label says). It’s a gorgeous 3/4 inch wide ribbon that doesn’t feel like it will be too hard on the hands. J – you up for some of this?

The last of the batch is what I blogged about the other day. It’s Nashua’s Creative Focus Chunky. Isn’t it the most lovely shade of blue? It’s 75% wool/25% alpaca (notice a trend here?). Again, I’m going for a scarf – can’t resist that softness against the neck. The shop is called Eleganza and is in Frederick, Maryland – just up the road from where we’re staying. The owner was very friendly and gave us a tip on how to get into the Howard County Fairgrounds to avoid the traffic.

One more thing, please say hello to my newest friend, Lily June. She was born on Wednesday around 7:00 am. Isn’t she gorgeous?

What did we see today?

Amazing things:

We started the day off at the Textile Museum. It’s the most amazing place!! You can’t take pictures of the textiles, so you’ll have to take my word for it that it was way cool. If you haven’t been – go.

Then we went over to the National Zoo. Here are my new friends, the baby turtles.

and their neighbors, the prairie dogs.

This young giraffe was desperately trying to reach the leaves on the tree above it. It wandered around and stretched its neck, then stuck out its incredibly long tongue – and the leaves were that far out of reach. Giraffe hell?

One of the crown jewels of the National Zoo – the mama panda. She was coming out to dine on bamboo for lunch. We could hear the crack of the bamboo stalks as she chomped into each one. Way cool. The baby was hanging out in the tree next to her, but declined to show his face.

What’s this? The National Cathedral – and yes, Jillian, it is still standing even though we went in and had a tour. Even though I’m a heathen, it was an amazing, peaceful place. It’s built in the style of a gothic cathedral (shape of a cross) and while it’s officially the seat of the DC Episcopalian diocese, it’s a non-denominational house of worship.

This is the largest of 4 rose windows in the cathedral (another cornerstone of the European gothic cathedral). I’m not sure if you can see it or not, but in the center is a 6′ tall Jesus.

In the crypt, there is a small prayer room completely done in mosaics. This is the only one that was bright enough to photograph. They were so beautiful, that when we walked in, both of us caught our breath.

We have arrived!

We’re in Frederick, Maryland tonight. Just came back from a fabulous Italian dinner. The cabrese salad was so good, I just knew the tiramisu would be out of this world. It was. A crime to leave even a bite on the plate. I thought about taking a picture of it, but realized I had left my camera in the hotel room. What a blogging lame ass I’ve become!

Found a teeny, tiny yarn shop that I’ll tell you about tomorrow. Left the bag in the car – sorry. I will tell you about the yarn I picked up. It’s called Nashua – a chunky yarn that’s 75% wool and 25% alpaca (100% soft). I picked up 3 balls of it and will whip it into a quick scarf. Yummy stuff.

Here’s one picture for you, but back story first. Every year the Hub goes to a fishing tournament. They have a drawing with raffle prizes and every so often I knit him a pair of giant socks to take for the raffle prize table. This year, I realized I was getting low on my favorite yarn for this project (Bryspun Kid-n-Ewe) and went out hunting for it. It’s been discontinued! Put out a call to see if anyone had some and this bag is what I found. This will keep them in socks for years!