Saturday, September 30, 2006

the girl's got it bad

Oh yes, the Goobergirl is a confirmed fiber junkie. She flits about happily from project to project, usually listening to a good book-on-cd while she works. She's definitely getting more comfortable with weaving on the loom, so I guess someday soon we'll need to learn how to warp it ourselves and set up a "real" project of her choosing.
She's also pretty nuts about sewing right now. Having made lots of doll clothes, she has now decided to refine her seaming skills, so she's working on better alignment of her fabrics and nice, neat seam lines.
Luckily, besides the stash that I've built up over the years, she has also had strips and squares received as awesome gifts from the stash of Grammy, Quilter Extraordinaire. The strips kept her busy for a long time and now she's mesmerized by the options afforded by patchwork squares. She didn't want any help from me or anybody else, so she discovered that a 9-patch gets a little bumpy and bulky if you don't press the seam allowances flat and in sew them in opposing directions.

You should have heard the squeal when I pulled a flannel sheet out of the closet, thumbtacked it to the wall, and showed her how the squares and strips will stick to the flannel and can be moved about in any configuration -- instant design wall! Made me laugh because she was just about as ready to burst with glee as I used to be when I'd come home from Murphy Mart in Cheswick, PA, on a Sunday when Red Heart yarn was on sale for $0.99 a skein and I'd buy a whopping $30 worth to make the crocheted clowns that I used to sell, and I'd arrange all the yarn by color in the toy box that became a yarn box (and then became a toy box again when Jesse and Leah were little), and all was right and good in the world and nothing could go wrong because I had all that glorious yarn, yarn, YARN and the Steelers were on later in the afternoon and my whole family would watch the game and have a blast and everything was GOOD. Squee !

Ahem. So, yeah, that's how Leah was with the quilt stuff the other day.
She's also doing a fair bit of spinning. This is some of the Fleece Artist roving we bought in Nova Scotia earlier this summer. In the background you can also see some bobbins of a blue-purple blend from Grafton Fibers.
She's also in the process of turning a heel on a sock she's knitting, but I don't know where she has that stashed (possibly with her at friend's house for a sleepover), so pics will have to wait until another day.

And she's ga-ga over morphing t-shirts into other articles of clothing, with little to no sewing, a la Generation T. We've been doing our own version of this for various costumes through the years and have seen some similar ideas elsewhere, but she got really jazzed about it last weekend, when a friend offered to loan her the Gen-T book the next time we get together. I better clear the calendar when that time comes because I have a feeling there will be a wild flurry of t-shirt deconstruction!

Her #1 request for our upcoming vacation is to learn how to make Belgian lace while we're in Belgium. I haven't made the arrangements yet, but I think I've found the perfect fit: a private lesson in a lacemaker's home in Brugge. My mom already told us how beautiful Brugge is, and Rick Steves confirmed this, so I think we'll have to go there ourselves and see! Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

and now for something completely different

We spent last Saturday in beautiful Kent, CT, at the Connecticut Antique Machinery Association's Fall Festival. My tinkerer boychild was atwitter as he bounced from display to display, chatting with other machine hobbyists, listening intently to explanations, discovering new options, and explaining the inner workings of these machines, in great detail, to those of us who are not so familiar with them. From the steam-powered motorcycle, to the metal casting in sand, to the tractor parade, to the steam train ride and antique steamrollers and whistles and steam-powered organ and chugga-chugga-puffing all over the place, my boy was clearly among his people. Oh yes, he gathered leads and ideas galore, gears turning in that brain of his...and I think I even saw steam coming out of his ears. ;-)
The Antique Machinery Association's fair was on the grounds of the Sloane-Stanley Museum. Among the unexpected a-ha! moments were discovery of a portion of the exhibit dedicated to antique fiber/yarn/knitting/weaving tools, wood burl bowls (like I intend to learn how to make), and connections galore to other places we've visited, including Old Sturbridge Village, Saugus Iron Works, and mines in Pennsylvania (coal), Connecticut (copper), and Austria (salt). A quick stop at Kent Falls on the way home netted us some fantastic pics too. Meanwhile, I had a finished object blocking and drying! I knit this sweater for Leah from Scott's handspun yarn. The pattern was cobbled together with help from Jackie Fee's Sweater Workshop book.
The pattern panel would have shown up better with a solid yarn, but I'm still pleased with how it turned out overall. It'll be roomy for Leah this winter and hopefully will still fit her next winter.

While some of us were among motors and engines this weekend, Scott was in Massachusetts at a Glass Jam. This is a gathering of glasswork artists to play and share and sell/swap and generally have a darn good time. The dichroic pendants were snatched up in a heartbeat by enthusiastic customers and Scott even managed to do a little Cape Cod fishing before heading home again.

Also mixed into the past few days: a football game, romp with Grandma at the Big E, weaving, a 5-mile bike ride, milling two new window sills, reservations in Paris, fun with friends, beads that look like sheep and bobbins/balls of yarn, getting familiar with a new client, making halloween costumes, and assorted swatching for upcoming projects. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, September 24, 2006

not a bed

:::tap, tap on fuzzy head:::

Excuse me, Kodi? See this thing here? This is NOT A BED. This is a lovingly handspun, handknit sweater, blocking peacefully on the floor. Its periphery is punctuated by T-pins, which I would think might suggest to you that it's not meant for lounging on. In case this left any doubt in your mind, I have clarified the issue by surrounding it with laundry baskets in an effort to make clear that this is NOT A BED. It's not a doggy bed. It's not a human bed. It is NOT A BED.

Do not wag your adorable corkscrew tail at me like that. We are not playing games here. Do you hear me? This is NOT A BED. Yes, I still love you. No, I have not knit you a bed. See that floor there? That's your bed. Now go chase some flies or something. I have been swatching and am a bit crazed with a flurry of ideas, but one thing is crystal clear: THIS IS NOT A BED. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, September 21, 2006

holding pattern

I have three sweaters in progress, two of which are thiiis close to being finished, but they all need my undivided attention to get them to the next stage. Soon, soon, but for now they're in a holding pattern.

Meanwhile, we put together a few new pendants the other night and I just put some up on Glastonbury Glassworks. I sure do wish I could capture the sparkle of Glinda, the one on the left above. Really gorgeous, but in a subtle way that's difficult to show in a photograph.

There have been some super duper cool things going on here in the past few days:

- Red Sox-Yankees game shown at a movie theater, free tix from friends

- Atlatl Day at the Museum of Natural History

- picnic/party/fishing at a state park

- beginning of a new dance class with old friends

- foraging hike with Wildman Steve Brill

- and just generally enjoying the perfect weather that this week has offered.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have a sweater neckline to knit in an effort to launch out of this holding pattern and on to new fun. :-)

 Posted by Picasa

Saturday, September 16, 2006

wouldn't that be uncomfortable?!

See this sweet fuzzyface? Her name is Kodi. She's a Great Pyrenees and collie cross who came to us from a rescue place. It was a nice rescue place, but certainly not the kind of home you'd expect for a princess. Oh, yes, Kodi fancies herself a princess, for sure. Evidence of this would include the way she daintily plucks one morsel of food out of her bowl at a time and carries it to the middle of the living room to eat it, and then returns to pluck another morsel to eat in the living room, and so on. This would be after she waits patiently for us to add nibblins from our own meal to her regular food and then sighs pathetically when we don't. And how when it's raining outside and we open the door to let her out before bed, she stands in the doorway and looks up at us with those big beautiful brown eyes and bats her white eyelashes at us as if to say, "You want me to pee out there? But it's raining!" And then she trots back inside for the night.

Well, apparently the princess also thinks herself well suited for a doggy bed. Nope, no fleece or flannel for this special girl. She chose a lace doggy bed. A burgundy silk/wool handknit lace doggy bed...

One might think that the pins around Bella's circumference would dissuade a princess from choosing this bed of nails during the night, but no. The allure of silk and wool belonging to the humans was just too much for her to resist. And after a restful night, a nice doggy wake-up stretch was just too much for the lace to handle. See those criss-crossy pins? That's where I'll be repairing the lace later today.

Did I mention that this was a WHITE furball princess sleeping on BURGUNDY lace? So, yeah, there will also be lint brushing and rewashing and reblocking soon.

:::sigh::: Good thing she's so darn sweet. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, September 13, 2006


Q: Which foot belongs to the 11-year-old?
Which foot belongs to the 42-year-old?

A: The one on the left belongs to my baby moose boy,
who showed me today that his size 10 sneakers are too tight.

Yup, that puppy has mighty big paws, and an imagination to match.
p.s. Another description of the past few days' fiber-full and 1830s fun can be found at our friends' blog here.
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Sunday, September 10, 2006

Busy hands are never in want.

These are the hands of the knitters and stitchers with whom we spent this fantastic weekend, when the conversations flowed as freely as the yarn. There were projects in motion at the beach, yarn shops, backyards, poolside, art show, fiber farm, living rooms, apple orchard, and restaurant patio. And everywhere we found busy hands, there were also countless smiles. Posted by Picasa

sumpin' fishy 'round here

This is a break in your regularly scheduled knitterly programming to introduce you to two VERY psyched fishermen.

Here you see Fisherman the Younger on his very first fishing excursion on the Blackhawk. This is a Very Big Deal in Fisherman the Elder's household and tribe, as fishing boats are sacred ground and there are extremely high standards of fishing etiquette to be upheld. This is very serious business. The females of the tribe are insufficiently aware of these standards and way too prone to motion sickness, foregoing a day with stinky fish and the men who love them, choosing instead to spend the day with pristine :::cough, cough::: sheep and the women who love them.

When informed of the imminence of this rite of passage, Fisherman the Younger performed the traditional happy fisherman dance and then set to work, sharpening hooks, loading his tackle box, and outfitting himself with all the Elder's best equipment, including the sacred fishing belt, in which to rest the base of the pole when reeling in the really big ones. The Elder, as always, equipped himself with the red and white striped, filthy, threadbare, and treasured Lucky Fishing Hat .

When the women of the tribe emerge from their fiber binge-induced stupor, they will be treated to a tasty campfire dinner and fish tales galore. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Urgent A.P.B.

A giggling gaggle of fiber fanatics have broken free from their Knitaholics Anonymous meetings this weekend. They have shown some restraint by staying away from the fairgrounds hosting the VT Sheep and Wool Festival, but are suspected to be prowling Connecticut. All non-knitters visiting the beach, fiber farms, yarn stores, and knitter-friendly backyards should approach this bunch with caution. They are armed with colorful thin ropes and pointy sticks, and are recognizable by the gleam in their eyes when they realize they can just pay by check later on. Be especially on the lookout for anyone who may try to lure non-knitters into their group, as their powers of persuasion can be quite convincing. ("Come on, Heather, come to knit nite. You don't knit? That's okay. We'll show you how. You can do it. Just look at this pretty yarn!") The public is asked to remain vigilant at all times and report any suspicious knitting activity, and especially any observations about the innocent small people in their care, who may be assimilated into their culture and are in grave danger of becoming addicted as well. Posted by Picasa

Monday, September 04, 2006

friends and family mittens

This is 3/4 of a pair of mittens made for Bitchin' Mittens Summer Knitting. Even though they're not turning out quite like we hoped, enough time and effort (and learning!) has gone into them that we decided to submit them anyway.

The friends part of their name is derived from the fact that the wool was given to Leah by Carolyn Holt at a Nutmeg Spinners Guild meeting, and the dye was given to us as a tie-dye kit from a friend of my mom's. I blogged about the tie-dye kit twice in the archives, but for some reason I can't link directly to those entries.

The family part of the name comes from the fact that Leah, age 8, spun the yarn; Jesse, age 11, dyed it; Scott plied it, and I knit it! Unfortunately, our newness at dyeing is really obvious here, as some of the yarn is cheerful and bright, but some became very muddy. We were hoping to have enough of the bright stuff to finish both mittens, but no such luck. I'm not sure if these will ever get finished, but the process sure was fun nonetheless. Thanks to Dave Daniels for coming up with the Bitchin' Mittens idea and the impetus for Leah and me to each knit our first pair of mittens prior to these! Posted by Picasa

electrified and acoustic

I've been wanting to see Pilobolus for y-e-a-r-s. I don't know why it hasn't happened until now, but for months I've been looking forward to the free show scheduled by Riverfront Recapture. But the weather forecast was very rainy and they changed the show to indoors at the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts. We were lucky enough to get a set of tickets -- and this is really lucky because they ran out of tix in less than 45 minutes -- and wow, what a show! Pilobolus defies being pigeonholed into one category. It's art, dance, human sculpture, comedy, drama, acrobatics, ballet -- modern performance art. The music spanned genres including Yo la Tengo, Debussy, and Primus. The individual performances flowed from tender to raucous to jaw-dropping to elegant to electrified. I found a video clip that gives you a glimpse into a show, but it barely scratches the surface of what a live performance holds for its audience.

If Saturday was electrified, then Sunday was the acoustic version of a supremely soul-satisfying weekend. The entire afternoon and evening were spent at the 23rd annual end-of-summer party at my mom's and sister's house, where we were surrounded by nearly 100 good folks, neighbors and friends, most of whom we've known for all of those 23 years and some just a little bit longer. It's seriously cool to have been a part of the original flock of adolescents at these parties and still see many of the same people show up year after year, many of us now with our own munchkins there to have a similar blast. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Fall Spindlicity

The new issue of Spindlicity is out, with Leah's alpaca article!
 Posted by Picasa