Sunday, August 31, 2008

mermaid and merman on the Cape

My mom had a timeshare place at the Cape for the week, so Scott and the kids joined her for the beginning of the week and I went for the last few days. The weather was almost entirely sunny, not too hot, just right.

Fun times included swimming, mini golf, beach, factory tours, swimming, SkipBo, lighthouses, fishing,
swimming, glassblowing, marinas, swimming, a classic car collection, beautiful gardens, swimming, foosball, trampolining (yup, even for me and mom!),

fantastic food, swimming, historic sites, Cosmic Wimpout, delightful cottages, swimming, knitting,

and swimming!

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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

when left to my own devices

My plans for yesterday evening fell through, but with too short notice for me to invite somebody else over :-(, so it ended up being a good time to dive into a project that had been percolating in my head for the day :-). Sure do wish the camera was here, instead of at the Cape, so I could show you guys the results, although the project is not finished yet, so I guess that's just as well. I made a cover for my water bottle, so it'll stay cold longer and the condensation won't drip all over the place. I used the leftover piece of handmade felt that remains after this wall hanging was turned into two dog coats, the first of which is here. The comets and shooting stars of the top right portion of the wall hanging are now my water bottle cover. It fits snugly and will have a drawstring top. I still need to decide what sort of strap to make for it, but I'm leaning toward making felted beads in many colors and stringing them all together.

Otherwise, it appears that I'm learning to spin better. By the time the family (and camera) arrive home from the Cape, I should have three 4-oz. handspun skeins to show you and, whoa, what a clear illustration of my progress! I'm working on a merino/tencel blend now. It's spinning up beautifully, quite fine and fairly consistent, considering I'm still a newbie at the wheel.

When flipping through a local magazine yesterday, I saw an ultra simple nuno felted scarf that's being sold for an ultra inflated price. I've been itching to do some more feltmaking lately, so I dug through my fabrics and pulled out the chiffons and silks. Need to not spin all the rovings up so there's some available for felting! There's a definite chill in the air lately, so it seems a good time to make some nuno felted scarves and a few new rounds of soap for the upcoming season, since some of my orders have started to come in. Can't wait to see what comes of it all...

Monday, August 25, 2008

ruh ro, Shaggy

or maybe it's "Danger, Will Robinson! She's got that crazed look in her eyes! Somebody hide the spinning wheel!!"

I woke up this morning and practically jumped out of bed so I could go and admire my pretty new skein of handspun yarn.

I am now wearing it around my neck like a big, soft, fuzzy, slightly damp but oh so pretty necklace. (Have I mentioned that it's teal, burgundy, and gold? Yum!) Plenty of room for improvement, but not half bad either.

I'm working for much of today, but my mind has already browsed the roving stash and locked onto the roving that's likely to get some spinning action later this afternoon.

I'm having fleeting thoughts about how it's a mighty good thing that fiber festival season is coming up because there will certainly be lots of great roving up for grabs. As if, within the next few weeks, I'm going to plow through the 20+ lbs. of roving currently in my stash. Ha!

Sunday, August 24, 2008


Imagine that I have the house to myself because the rest of my family headed to the Cape for a few days. :-)

Imagine a nice supply of Magic Hat in the fridge, a tolerable workload that goes smoothly without familial interruptions, and a steady stream of friends coming to hang out each evening.

Imagine that, for some reason, Leah's spinning wheel jumped up and grabbed me yesterday. I have no idea why, all of a sudden, I just had to give spinning a try, but I just plied my second ever skein of handspun yarn -- some yummy roving from Fleece Artist, bought when we were in Nova Scotia -- and it's a balanced skein!

Imagine that I started yet another scarf, this time a deep burgundy alpaca yarn in a lacy pattern.

Imagine that Leah finished knitting a commissioned hat of her own design, coincidentally called the Imagine hat. It was commissioned by a guy who saw Leah's hat entered at the Creative Fibers customers' favorites trunk show and his hat is blocking now.

And you have to imagine it all because the camera's at the Cape w/ the family, and a visitor just pulled into the driveway. Yahoo!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Gram rocks the 'burgh

When you think of somebody's 89th birthday party, there may be a rocking chair in the imaginary scene, but for my Gram's 89th birthday party, the entire city of Pittsburgh was rocking! Family and friends came in from three states for a surprise celebration that included a baseball game overlooking the fantastic city of my childhood...

followed by a concert and fireworks (with full moon!)...

and gifts of homemade peach chutney from Jesse and a cross stitched and beaded pin made by Leah.

Next day, food and festivities and a visit to the zoo, complete with a live band and baby elephants and, as always, lots of love for my supercool Gram!

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Saturday, August 16, 2008

the scarf fest rolls on

I did play my cards right and now have two scarves blocking!

Must get blocking wires.

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Friday, August 15, 2008

even better

What's better than an evening of spirited performance of Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew, on a pier, with the moon rising over the water, and my two favorites munchkins psyched to see it (thank you, Jim Weiss)?
Meeting another knitter at the show and discovering that her kids were homeschooled too.

And realizing by the end of the evening that, if I play my cards right, I could have TWO scarves blocking today!

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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

yo mama

Saturday was the International Yo-Yo Open and New York State Yo-Yo Contest, so kids and I were up bright and early to head into the city. The event was held at the South Street Seaport, which was a perfect place to spend this beautiful summer day, on the waterfront with skyscrapers behind us and tall ships all around.
Yo-yo competitors were there from around the world, doing some of the most amazing tricks. If you haven't seen what yoyoing is lately and still think it's either up-and-down or walking the dog, take a look at this video for an example of the kinds of tricks we saw. Radical!

It was kind of crowded with a few hundred spectators to the front of the stage area, so I parked myself in a good spot off to the side, where I could still see the performances, and took advantage of some knitting time in the sunshine. Between the train rides and the yo-yo time, I'm now 1/3 of the way through my lace ribbon scarf -- yay! I was joined by Cindy, the dyer of Apple Laine yarns and mother of Devon, Canadian yo-yo champion, while waiting for his turn to compete.
We walked along the waterfront, checking out the Brooklyn Bridge and two of the New York City Waterfalls.

Eventually made our way to Playing The Building at the Battery Maritime Building, where David Byrne from the Talking Heads has rigged up an old organ so each key actually plays a part of the big empty building -- tinking a radiator, vibrating a metal beam, blowing air through a plumbing pipe.

Back to Connecticut on the train in time for yet another Shakespeare performance. This time, it was Much Ado About Nothing, with a Flower Power twist. Leonardo daVinci from Kathleen Krull's Giants of Science series, book on CD borrowed from the library, provided entertainment during the car rides. I saw a rainbow while on the way home on Friday afternoon and a shooting star on the way home on Saturday night, perfect bookends to an awesome day.

Met up with some friends at the farmers' market on Sunday morning for a corn roast and contra dancing. By Sunday evening, we were all toast and the threat of rain would likely cancel the performance we were hoping to see that night, so we settled in for a movie and some mitten knitting. I was happy to get back to work on Monday so I could rest. :-) Who knew those first yo-yos from the kids' Grammy last Christmas would lead us to such fun?!
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Wednesday, August 06, 2008

could be the start of something good

In the beginning: Surprise vegs, pickles, and pesto dropped off by thoughtful friends.
In the end: Fresh dinners of locally grown produce, canning session resulting in pickles and beans for winter.

In the beginning: Old wool given to me by my Gram when she was cleaning out her house to move to an apartment.
In the end: Edelweiss mittens for Leah.

In the beginning: A few bags of the 30 colors of Peace Fleece stashed in my dining room closet.
In the end: My psyched sister and her friend, off to roll a zillion felted balls to make into a supercool rug. (This is only the beginning. They'll be back for more colors later.)

I had to laugh last night when I looked around and realized that projects actively in motion in my house at that moment included:
- renovating a porch
- canning pickles and beans
- felt ball-making
- soapmaking to fill some orders
- knitting a hat on commission
- prep for dinner of Thai food
- glass buttons annealing in the kiln

Just another evening in an average American household. ha!
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Monday, August 04, 2008

see what happens...

...when a buttonmaker and a weaver are friends?

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Sunday, August 03, 2008

the annual report from the battlefield

Again it's time for the Redcoats to Rebels military history weekend at Old Sturbridge Village. As you may remember from blog posts about this event in 2006 and 2007, this one of our favorite events of the summer because there are aspects of it that appeal to the interests of every member of my family.

I'm always smitten by the hues attained through the combination of natural dyestuffs and wool, especially in a setting that includes a campfire, beautiful location, and fascinating people.

We roamed the encampment areas, stopping to chat with various craftspeople, some of whom were practicing skills we're interested in and/or practicing on a regular basis ourselves, including buttonmaking (pewter, not glass), spinning, weaving, embroidery, knitting, carving, and the gentleman above, making soap. Here he's telling us about the lye he's making in the pots to the right. He was especially fun to talk to because he couldn't seem to wrap his head around the fact that we make soap now, for the fun of it, and that it's gentle enough to actually use on human skin, and even beneficial to skin, and smells good too! I think he had more questions for us than we had for him. :-)

New to the Redcoats to Rebels experience this year was a historical miniature gaming group from Boston. Jesse spent most of the day with these guys and, in the picture above, is contemplating a move during a game with about eight players. We previously knew nothing about this type of gaming, but it seems to be a perfect next step in Jesse's passion for military history and he says it was the best day he's ever had at Old Sturbridge Village. If you know even a teensy bit about our history with OSV, you'll realize that this speaks volumes. Luckily, there's a gaming group that meets closer to home, so he'll be exploring that soon.

The majority of the time was spent meandering the encampment sites, stopping for visits, demos, answers to questions, big laughs, old-time entertainment. Leah was in full costume, so she joined in with groups/people enjoying fiber arts and especially enjoyed the tavern puzzles and wooden games. She also got a verbal pattern for a knitted shawl that she cast on while relaxing at home yesterday evening.

During the big battle, there were rumbles from the sky as well as from the cannons. We all got caught (by choice!) in a rainstorm and ended the day somewhat soggy, but the passing storm sure didn't appear to put a damper on anyone's enthusiasm for this great event.
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Friday, August 01, 2008

a colorful life

So, I was lamenting how my scarf still looks the same, just longer, and thinking about how Leah's devouring more books than yarn of late (not that I mind), and Scott's cooking up baked goods more than beads/buttons, and Jesse...well, Jesse's still building assorted launcher/projectile combinations, but those don't go with the focus of this blog quite so well. In short, I was beginning to wonder if I'd run out of things to blog about. But then I uploaded recent pics and noticed this colorful collection of Wednesday-ness. :-)

A necklace Leah and I strung from Scott's beads to spiff up her outfit and complement her orange bandana.

A lace ribbon scarf of Jojoland yarn, knit among a couple thousand(?) people at a town concert.

Schweeet hot rods among the 100+ classic cars gathered for the same summer concert.

A pin that Leah stitched and beaded from a Mill Hill kit. Shiny!

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