Wednesday, December 31, 2003

A little while ago I received a gorgeous packet of handspun silk from Bess. It said, "Make me into a scarf, please please!"

So I did. And although the rest of my knitting projects have come to a screeching halt lately, this project flew through my fingers with a reassuring "ah, so I'm not losing it after all" speed.

Bess' beautiful scarf

Bess, this was a joy to knit, and I shall think of you every time I wear it (which is often, since I'm an avid scarf-wearer). Thank you, thank you, so very much.

Meanwhile, Casey is extremely happy to have my lap free again. This is his favorite spot, and he was getting mighty frustrated with all that scarf work I was doing...
Casey takes a nap

For those curious about the prospective building for Knitter's Review International Incorporated (and possibly Clara's Window, down the line), here's a shot. Keep in mind it's full of someone else's stuff and we're in the midst of winter, so no greenery to be found. But this is the general idea.

Tuesday, December 30, 2003

For those of you who celebrated it, merry Christmas. And for all of us, I wish you a healthy, love-filled and prosperous 2004.

I've been enjoying an unusually long period of time at home, no trips to Portland to mar my sleep habits. This area is beautiful and extremely quiet during the holidays. There was no snow for Christmas, so I celebrated the day by installing weatherstripping on the front door of Clara's Window to prepare for the Monday night knit-ins that begin in January.

And today I did another exciting, possibly crazy thing: I looked at a house that would serve as KR headquarters for wholesale and retail order fulfillment as well as a storage area for the growing mass of merchandise that is inching me out of my home.

It's a lovely old farmhouse just up the road, currently serving as a seasonal shop and originally a general store. It has very little land, it needs new roof shingles, it has no central heat, and it has no basement nor insulation under the ground floor.

But it's charming and adorable and holds good energy. There's an adjacent greenhouse and spacious sunny upstairs room that would be perfect for my loom, yarn, fiber, and wheels. And the fact that it actually has three mini kitchens, one of which would perform quite well as a dye workshop, well that's pretty nice too.

So I sit and ponder this latest event. If only so much else weren't up in the air. At the end of January I'll be taking the KR show on the road to TNNA, the National Needlework Association's major annual trade show where shops go to buy for the year. And then there's Clara's Window, closed for the season but due to reopen on May 1st. The shop location is charming, but the space is rented and thus subject to the whims of its owner.

Any thoughts, advice, or wisdom, dear readers?

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

Bumper sticker spotted today:

Honk if you love peace and quiet.

Monday, December 15, 2003

Picture this: Early monday morning, you've been kept awake all night by a loud, windy snowstorm raging outside. You wonder whether you'll be able to dig the car out before the (now) rain freezes the snow in place. You wonder if the snowblower will actually work in this wet snow. You remember that the snowblower is currently out of gas. You wonder just how wet and dreary you'll get in the process. Sitting in bed, you try to make your tea last as long as possible so you can avoid this inevitable task.

Suddenly you hear a truck. It stops. Ka-thunk... vrooooooooom... screech... ka-thunk... vroooooooom... screech... and off it goes.

You look outside to discover that your neighbor plowed out your driveway on his way to work.

I can't say that this kind of friendliness is exclusive to Maine. But on this still-stormy day, I'm truly grateful for it.

Sunday, December 14, 2003

More snow, not nearly enough fiber play, tons of wrapping, trip after trip to the post office, even more cups of tea, and late nights in front of the computer playing reluctant referee for several spats that have erupted in the KR forums. Busy, tired, frustrated, disheartened, yet somehow cautiously optimistic through it all. That's life in Downeast Maine on this snowy Sunday evening.

Monday, December 8, 2003

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

And snow, and snow, and snow...

The skies finally cleared today (hey, what's that blue doing up there?) and the snow stopped, but the wind is still howling. I spent the weekend wrapping wholesale and retail orders, and it's almost time to tackle Mt. Passat, the five-foot-high drift of snow that surrounds the car. The post office and UPS dropoff await.

While the snow fell, I stayed indoors and sank deep into the realm of geekdom upgrading the KR forums to a new, much more stable software version. I'm glad it's done now, because my eyes were truly beginning to dissolve into little pools of mush. You wouldn't believe how much havoc one misplaced apostrophe or quotation mark can wreak on a program.

In other news, drum carders are brilliant! I got a Fricke Finest at the retreat and have spent the last few weeks carding every fiber I could get my hands on. Nothing is safe. Even Casey looks at me nervously these days.

How revolutionary to be able to create your exact, precise fiber blend and color combination. I'm realizing just how obsessive-compulsive one could get with this. For example, you could create the precise colors for a fabric that gradually moves from one hue of a color to the next, with, say, 30 subtle color blends as you go. It makes most commercial yarns pale in comparison were it not for the insane amount of time and effort involved.