Thursday, March 27, 2003

Yes, I guess that is what you'd call a loom with a view! There are four north-facing windows (of which you see two here) looking out on my blueberry fields, woods, and pond (that flat white frozen thing in the distance). All it needs are a few happy little grazing sheep.

The pattern is my first solo design attempt. Fortunately weaving patterns are much easier to figure out than knitting ones. No elaborate sizing with increases and decreases, no fitting together of multiple pieces, just lots of basic math and some imagination, with a dose of symmetry tossed in for good measure.

Weaving is much more physical than knitting, and I'm enjoying the change. When you knit, your body is basically very still. Most of the time I love this, but sometimes I start to feel too much like a sedentary blob whose only movement is from wriggling fingers. But with weaving, so many of the steps involve broad, sweeping gestures, from measuring your warp to the actual weaving process. And that, too, can be very therapeutic.

My only problem has been the lack of an appropriate seating surface. Loom benches need to be higher than normal chairs. Last weekend I ended up sitting on the arm of a chair, but as you can imagine, this had its limitations. Until I have $350 to foot a solid cherry loom bench, I've ordered a stool from Sturbridge Yankee Workshop that I hope will do the trick.

This weekend's plans include starting my seeds and painting a bay window that I've been scraping for... oh... the past 14 months (what can I say, scraping windows isn't my forté). But I also hope to get in several hours of uninterrupted weaving time, in which case I'll post more pics soon!

Tuesday, March 25, 2003

Guess what Clara did all weekend?
a loom with a viewclose-up of Cottolin dishcloth in progress
I'll never take another dishcloth for granted again.

Thursday, March 20, 2003

This little piggy went to Halcyon...
Julie and I took a little road trip yesterday up to Halcyon Yarn in Bath, Maine. Ahhh, what a lovely place to lose oneself in fiberly dreams.

Julie picked some succulent Gedifra New Age for a woven baby blanket, and then I picked out some basic Cottolin yarn for, oh I don't know, six dozen woven dishtowels that may or may not ever come to fruition. But with colors like these, who cares?

Halcyon has these yarns neatly displayed across an entire wall, like a giant candy shop with jar after jar of brightly colored sweets. They were impossible to resist.

When I got them home, I was so impatient to play with these that I created a makeshift loom out of a pad of Knit Notes, using a darning needle to weave a small and pitiful swatch just for the heck of it.

Tomorrow I head back home to Stella (my loom) for some serious warping action. It may all sound trivial, but it keeps me grounded when the bigger world gets scary, as it is right now.

Tuesday, March 18, 2003

two orphans

One little socky... Two little sockies...
That's right, now I have two mismatched Toasty Toes orphans, one for me and one for my soon-to-be-seven-years-old niece. I got a little more fancy with her sock, using a k2/p2 x 2 rows / K x 2 rows repeat with a stockinette foot bottom. Right now it looks a bit lumpy but it'll smooth out in the wash. The sibling is on the needles and in the home stretch. And this makes me happy.

In other news, my Abandoned Fiberarts Bloggers list has a new and highly esteemed member: Dangerous Chunky. That's right, one of the first and finest crafty blogs on the planet has come to its end. A good blog such as Dangerous Chunky requires extensive care and feeding, often at the expense of ... what's it called again? ... "personal time."

Just as Carolyn - the talented woman behind Dangerous Chunky - led the pack when she started her blog, I wonder if she is also leading the pack with her decision to pull the plug? How do you feel, those of you who maintain blogs? Do you feel burdened by your blog, or is it still a joy to maintain?

Monday, March 10, 2003

I'm sorry for the silence. I overdosed on technology last week and have been trying to return my life to a more grounded state. Over the past week, thanks to my partial unemployment and PFSD (post-forum stress disorder), I've been able to indulge in more fiber play than usual.

I've spun up a bunch of odd collections of fibers from The Bellwether, including a totally wild mix from Crosspatch Creations and a Three Bags Full merino/silk/silk noil blend that looked like it'd been rolled around on the barn floor but spun up into total perfection.

Then there was the knitting. In all honestly, I initially hated the yarn I profiled this week, Interlacements Toasty Toes. The color was a noisy clash of orange, red, pink, and purple, with uneven spots where the dye didn't even soak all the way through. The yarn was your standard superwash merino.

But what a joy to knit, so fast and succulent and soft. I decided to swatch a tube to see how the colors knit up. The tube became a sock, and by Friday morning I was done. I washed it (why wait for the second sock, I say?) and the yarn worked its magic, relaxing and softening into a state of buttery (although slightly ill-colored) bliss.

Why is this newsworthy? Because, as a charter member of the Slow Knitters Society, I'm more accustomed to at least one year passing between the time I cast on and finally cast off a project. Of course the next problem is that I'm expected to make two socks, not just one.


Am I the only one with a collection of sad and lonely only-child socks awaiting their siblings?

Monday, March 3, 2003

handspun angora scarfcashmere and a Hatchtown spindle, heaven!
And what have you accomplished since the forums came down?

Sunday, March 2, 2003

It began on Friday afternoon when I tried to access KR and got the following message:

No Web site configured at this address

Whaaa??? So I contacted my Web host to see what was going on. And I got the following message back:

We would have liked to give you prior warning to this sort of thing, but
we had to shut your site off, after restarting it several times to see
if the problem was a random occurrence. It was using so much CPU time
on the server, it was bringing all services to a standstill.

That's right, with the click of a finger KR was off. After quite a bit of pleading and cajoling with Trent, a calm-voiced fellow in Phoenix, the site was turned back on, but with one condition. The forums were causing too many problems. I had to upgrade them from Access to SQL Server or I'd never see them again alive.

This upgrade is comparable to trading in a Toyota for a BMW, so it's a good thing to do. Only there's one problem: I didn't know for sure how to do it.

Almost 21 hours of uploading and downloading later, pleas on two bulletin boards (and a follow-up post scolding an odious individual for complaining about me), and two laptops later, I've found the answer and am on my way. I've set up a tag board and will upload it to KR shortly so that people can get at least some sort of fix.

In the midst of it all, my letter carrier arrived at the door with a package from Wales. Marie, the kindest blogger friend on the planet, had heard of my layoff and sent me a bafflingly thoughtful care package. It contained two gorgeous skeins of Phildar yarn, an adorable Paris keychain (Marie knows I lived over there and long to return), a bar of delicious soap, and an entire bag of my very favorite tea on the planet, Marks & Spencer Extra Strong Tea.

What can I say... sometimes people do things that knock me off my feet. Marie, if you're reading this, I thank you for warming my heart. Your kindness leaves me speechless.

And on that note, I return to my email correspondence with Rui, my Portugese savior, who will migrate all our precious postings to their new and powerful home.