Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Come knit with me!

The evil deed has been done. I have committed to the quiviut knit-along. Here's the official page, kindly created and maintained by someone else (thankyouthankyouthankyou). Anybody else wanna join me? It doesn't start until September, so you have plenty of time to stalk your musk ox prey.

I'd originally planned on spinning my own yarn—and I still may. But then I found Caryll Designs and noticed that she had a limited supply of MOCO Yarns qiviut, which comes from Montana. And once she sells out, she's not getting any more.

If you've read your At Knit's End you'll know that knitters are powerless over anything labeled "limited supply." So I whipped out the credit card and snagged two skeins of her hand-dyed fingering-weight 100% qiviut. Just in case the whole "spinning it myself" thing doesn't work out.

What color? Friends will easily predict this one: I chose a deep earthy orange called Rust.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Thanks one and all for your kind words of encouragement about the crown. I've been a big baby about the whole thing. (And thanks one and all for not mentioning this.)

The tooth gets ground off on June 1, which still gives me several weeks of gum-chewing, sticky candy-eating, ice cream-swilling pleasure. And dreaded fear.

But in the meantime, I have a confession to make. For years I've sworn I'd never, ever, EVER participate in a knitalong. Not because I think they're stupid or because I dislike people who participate in them or anything like that. I'm just a bit guarded about my personal, non-KR knitting. And I'm a nonconformist.

(Talking of nonconformists reminds me of when Steve Martin got an entire stadium of people to repeat his nonconformist oath, ending with, "I promise not to repeat things other people say." Only one of the finest comedy moments. But I digress.)

But recently in the forums someone asked if quiviut was really worth it. (You see where this is headed?)

Swoonful enthusiastic replies ensued. And before I could even add my resounding yes, someone uttered the fateful words, "Maybe we need a qiviut knit-along someday."


A few posts later, it was decided: The quiviut knitalong would begin on Labor Day. We're thinking it'll involve some 200 yards of fingering-weight quiviut. Either store-bought or handspun. Most likely knit up into some tiny form of a scarf.

Since quiviut is only $24,950 per ounce, I think 200 yards is a reasonable compromise. We're pondering whether or not to allow cashmere or yak down, for those who can only spend $18,460 on fiber.

Anyone else want to join in the madness?

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Very cool! Thanks to Agnes at Knitting in the Valley for the link...

CLAmsterdam, The NetherlandsrA

Now try yours!
Well it's official. I'm middle aged

I just came back from the dentist, who kindly informed me that...

...I need a crown.

I could weep. I am absolutely terrified of any dental procedure, much less one that requires two hours of head-jarring drilling. Crowns have always happened to other people. Usually friends of my parents. But the time has come. I'm turning 36 in May, and the ol' body is decaying right on target. Mortality has been on my mind a lot lately.

So I comfort myself by spinning silk. I don't know about you, but I find silk requires me to be in a certain mood. Extra patient. Process-focused. Not at all minding the fact that you've spun for four hours and only have 15 yards to show for it.

Spring definitely is on its way. Bright sunlight wakes me up in the morning now (and not at an hour I'd like), and it stays light until 6pm. There are still car-high snow drifts everywhere, but there's also bare ground. Bare muddy ground.

More birds are showing up at the feeders every day. Hearing their songs after this long winter is like being stranded on an island and suddenly smelling fresh bread baking in an oven. I often wonder where they go when they aren't at my feeders, and this weekend I found out.

There's a surprising little spot in my woods where an underground stream brings up warm water from deep in the earth. It sits in a little pool with what looks like miniature water lilies before slowly snaking its way to the lake. On Saturday morning I made my way down toward the lake on our trail, an old overgrown logging road now used by me and random snowmobilers.

The woods were completely silent as only snowy woods can be. Coming around a bend, I reached a little clearing with sunlight streaming down onto the perfectly melted spring-fed pool, with its green growth and rippling surface showing no chill from the deep frozen snow all around it. This in itself was an amazing sight - in the dead of winter, you forget how beautiful water looks, rippling and flowing and reflecting light.

But I wasn't alone down there. The birds all knew about this magical source of water and they were everywhere, darting from tree to tree, limb to snowdrift to water's edge. It was just me and the birds down there, and it was pure heaven.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Hannah's bagMy niece's girly-girl birthday bag is done, wrapped, and on its way to her! The pattern came from Emma King's 25 Bags to Knit. It was a fun distraction from my larger projects—and I especially loved doing the flower details.

My only peeve was that the handle (arching from one end of the top to the other) is totally inappropriate for a bag that has no reinforcement. You lift the bag by the handle and the entire center pooches wide open. I couldn't find any of those cute little sew-on snaps in the house, so I improvised and ran elastic around the top seam. It helped.

I know my niece probably would've preferred something new and store-bought. But, as the only knitter in my family, I've had to abandon Preferred Auntie status in favor of That Aunt Who Always Gives Knitted Gifts. You know, those knitted gifts you joke about now but remember fondly after I'm gone.

Hopefully you remember them fondly.

Or they end up in a landfill somewhere.

Speaking of yarn ending up in landfills, there's an interesting discussion in the forums right now about yarn estate planning. If you're lucky, you passed on the knitting bug to another generation, and they will gratefully accept your cherished belongings. But what if you have no direct heirs who knit? What's the most responsible way to dispose of your stash?

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

March: In Like a Steamroller, Out Like a ... ?

And the snow continues, as shown in this photo after Saturday's storm. But I refuse to let it get me down, because spring is coming. All the signs are there.

During the day, my poor crocuses now are under three inches of water from melting snow (may they rest in peace). Casey is starting to shed. And the bird feeders are positively swarming with wonderful new creatures, including—spotted just yesterday—a mourning dove.

Casey doesn't mind, especially since the bird feeders are all within his view. I call this his "Here birdie birdie!" pose. Poor guy never gives up hope.

Back home, my little town looks lovely in the snow. Here's a shot of Condon's Garage (featured in Robert McCloskey's One Morning in Maine) taken after the latest snow storm. I do love this charmed little corner of the world.

On the knitting front, I'm almost done with the body of my Meadow Flowers shawl. Just a few more repeats and I'll be ready for the edging.

Then... blocking time! This is the part I'm most excited about, since the whole shawl will magically grow by at least 30 percent and flatten into a truly fluid piece of gossamer fabric.

Until then, I patiently knit, comforting myself with thoughts of warm balmy evenings with this shawl draped around my shoulders.

Wednesday, March 9, 2005

Snow day in the big city!

another day in the tropics

I'm down in Portland, a city that makes an art out of eliminating all sidewalks after snow storms. Here's the scene from this morning. The wind was howling and the temps hovered around 9 degrees. Some two inches of ice fell as sleet and froze overnight, making the roads extra fun to navigate. Ahhhh, life in Maine.

bliss on a tabletopWhat's a gal to do on a day like this? Stay in bed with a hot cuppa tea? No sir. This was a morning to brave the cold, don the jacket and boots, and head to my beloved coffee shop with my knitting.

My niece is turning 9 this month, so I'm making her a girly-girl purse out of some old Annabel Fox cotton I bought at Stitches back in... 1995?

I figured braving the frozen tundra was worth at least one butter-laden croissant, yes?

In case you're worried about ol' Casey back up at the farmhouse, there's no need. Not only does he have two charming people visit him every day, but he has his newest fiber conquest: a gorgeous Romney fleece I got at the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival last year. I sent it to Ohio Valley for processing, and the box was open for less than 10 minutes before Casey discovered it.

Here's a reenactment of Casey's conquest, starring a most willing Casey himself:

What ho?Well let's just take a look at this...And he's in!

A box full of freshly carded fibers, below a sunny window and in front of a radiator. It's cat paradise. So I regretfully sacrificed this one to Casey.

And this, of course, means I must attend Maryland this year to get a replacement fleece.

Or maybe two fleeces. You know, just in case.