Friday, August 31, 2007

What a week. I'm finally getting around to updating here, which I've been meaning to do since we got home from Boise last Wednesday. I didn't have to go back to work until Monday this week, so I continued on in full vacation mode with very little time spent on the computer. No blogs, no messageboards, only brief checking of email and Ravelry, and that was it. It was actually really nice! The girlie and I took lots of walks, made a lot of pancakes (her favorite thing to help me make), hung out at the library and the used bookstore, and read Raindrop, Plop about a million times. She always points at the "shiny red coat," the green alligator galoshes, and the cup of hot cocoa. When I explained for the first time what hot cocoa was ("kind of like coffee, but it's chocolate!"), she got up and took my hand, led me to the kitchen, and pointed at the corner of the counter where I usually leave a bar or two of dark chocolate near the coffee maker. Smart girl. ;)

The visit with family was nice, although Mina was insecure and clingy the entire time and demanded that I hold her from the time she woke up until bed around 9pm. No breaks for naps even - she wouldn't take them. I was exhausted and very ready to come home. We did make it to Fuzz one afternoon, where I picked out my birthday gift from Mom - some Lorna's Laces Shepherd Worsted - and a skein of Mountain Colors Bearfoot in rosehip (love it!) that I bought myself. I have to admit I was a little disappointed. For a small space carrying knitting yarn, weaving yarn, spinning supplies and embroidery and needlepoint supplies, the store seemed curiously empty. There wasn't anything I hadn't seen in person before other than a few Habu kits, but as J was visiting Habu in NYC for me, I didn't spend much time on those. The staff was very nice though - talkative without getting in the way. They were charmed by the grouchy head-standing Mina, and wound my yarn with a smile.

I did end up with some lovely items from Habu as well, and combined with my haul from the LYS that just went out of business, I've had an almost indecent amount of stash enhancement. Witness:

Click over to Flickr to find out what each one is. Crazy, isn't it? And it doesn't include a sweater's worth of Cascade Pima Tencel or the Wool in the Woods Helix I just used to make this:

This was one of the projects I took on vacation with me, but by the time we got home I'd only done about three inches of the body. I didn't follow a pattern or even knit a swatch (ha!). I just guessed what needle size I'd like to use with that yarn and took a stab at how many stitches to cast on to make a Mina-sized body tube. I'd say it worked out rather well. I did have to rip out my first attempt at the yoke and go down a needle size because the garter stitch was way too loose and floppy the first time. I love how it came out, although I wish it was a little bigger. She'll grow out of it by next spring, which is too bad because it's a perfect spring sweater. The cotton is so soft, light and stretchy. I have a lot of it left, probably half a skein (around 100 yards maybe), and I'm thinking it would combine well with a semi-solid Manos Cotton Stria for another sweater, using the multi-colored Helix for trim. We'll see.

For the first few days we were home, I was marveling over how quickly autumn is coming. Not even September, and the leaves already changing so much! I kept pointing out trees to J as we drove around town - look at that! Look how yellow and orange! After a few days of this he started ignoring me. We went for a walk by the bay, and I was silently sort of freaking out over how early autumn was coming, when I decided to take off my newish (purchased the night before leaving town for vacation) sunglasses to see how bright the early evening sun was. Oh... the tree in front of us wasn't yellow and brown after all, it was mostly green with just a hint of yellow starting! The silly sunglasses I've been wearing have yellow-brown lenses that bring out those colors and intensify them. It's like I've been wearing fast-forward glasses and seeing the trees as they'll look a month from now. So I can stop freaking out a little bit. But even so, autumn is coming, and that makes me happy!

I was hoping to finish two other projects this week, but external forces conspired against me (that is my excuse for everything). I was determined to finish Hedera before starting another sock project - and I have a good one in mind! - until the girlie decided she'd help:

I know the photo isn't the clearest, but you do see the two needles not attached any longer to the sock, yes? Yes. I have to salvage about half the stitches that hopefully haven't dropped too far, especially in the lace portion. Ugh. I've been hating this sock anyway (bored with the pattern, not liking the yarn at all), but the first one is done already so I need to just finish the thing and move on! The other thing I need to finish is this top from the Spring/Summer 2005 VK. I have all the pieces knit, I just need to seam it and add the crochet edging. I hate hate hate seaming. The crochet doesn't scare me. But, I don't have enough yarn. I'm trying to decide whether I should spend the $10 on an entire 200 yard skein when I probably only need 25 yards, or forgo the edging. I don't know. In the meantime, it's kind of nice just folded up on the chair here. I really think my worst character trait is lack of follow-through. I'm like this in absolutely every aspect of my life. Oh, I love to plan! Love it! And in the end, I have an unfinished sweater.

Friday, August 17, 2007

happy birthday to me

...well, a day late, anyway. But, with the two and a half hours spent waiting at the DMV, three hours in traffic around Seattle, dinner with the in-laws and the free hotel reservation falling through, it didn't feel much like a birthday. I was happy to crash on an air mattress at my sister's late last night, and wake up to a better day today. Mina and I drove J to the airport at 7:30 this morning to make his flight to New York. He was given a free ticket and took the opportunity to have a solo weekend exploring. He offered to make one knitting-related stop while he is there to get me a birthday present, so I am sending him to Habu Textiles. I'm jealous! At least I get surprise yarn out of it - I told him to pick out whatever he wanted, I'd be happy with any of it.

So far today, I've had an amazingly easy drive through rush hour (non)traffic, good songs on the radio, brunch and a pedicure with my sister, and some quiet knitting time while Mina sleeps. Sangria and lemon chiffon cake are being prepared in the kitchen as I type, and good friends are coming for dinner. Tomorrow my sis and I and our two kids head back to the airport to fly to Boise to spend several days with the other half of our immediate family. (One sister is en route from here to there already; the other sister and the parents live there. It will be good.)

I'm working on a little t-shirt style sweater for Mina using Wool in the Woods Helix in the Napa Valley colorway - nice rich pinks, purples and greens. I also brought the first of the Jitterbug knee socks, which I made a lot of progress on while waiting to renew my driver's license, and the Luna Moth. That should be enough vacation knitting I think. I'm hoping to visit at least one yarn store in Boise. When we were planning our wedding, we bought luscious colors of dupioni silk for my sisters' dresses at a small boutique fabric shop. That shop has since added yarn, and called the yarn portion Fuzz. I can't wait to check it out. Maybe I'll find some yarn for this must-knit pair of socks!

Today is day two of my eleven day vacation. Here's to time moving slowly for once.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Vegan Pal 2 Questionnaire

1. What is/are your craft(s), & how long have you been doing it/them?
Knitting is my primary craft. I've been knitting about 2.5 years. I also know basic crochet and I'm slowly learning embroidery and want to do a lot more with it. I have a drop spindle that I hate but I really want a spinning wheel (I used to spin as a child but haven't in about 20 years). I'm making my first quilt in more than 20 years. I also do art journals, ATC's and small collages, play with watercolor and acrylic paints, a little bit of beaded jewelry, bookmaking, stamp carving, some sewing, and whatever else strikes my fancy.

2. Are you a vegan, vegetarian, veg-curious, veg-friendly or other?
I've been fully vegetarian for 14 years, but stopped eating most meat 20 years ago at age 12. (I was as close to vegetarian as my mom would let me get away with before moving out.) I'm not vegan - I love cheese!

3. Is this your first swap, or have you done previous swaps before? What makes a swap enjoyable for you?
I have done two swaps prior to this one. I think the most fun part is figuring out what my partner would like and putting the package together. Good communication between pals, secret or not, is really important.

4. What is/are your favorite color(s)? Do you particularly dislike any color(s)?
Teal, aqua, seafoam, plum, "vintagey" lavender and rose, pale beige-y pinks, magenta, gray, ivory, taupe, black...those are probably my favorites. I'm not very fond of yellow and orange.

5. Do you have any allergies (such as pets, foods, fibers or cigarette smoke)?
Um, just grass and locust tree pollen. I don't think you really need to worry about that. ;)

6. Do you have any companion animals? If so, name(s) and type(s)?*
I have one 11-year-old fat kitty named Tasha.

7. Do you collect anything?
Besides yarn? Prismacolor pencils, blank journals, pretty rocks, small Japanese teacups and dishes, though I don't really have a true "collection" of anything.

8. Do you have a favorite vegan food, snack or dish? If no fav that's vegan (for those who aren't vegan), what's your favorite food? (Hopefully your pal can find a vegan version!)
This is always such a hard question. I'm going to combine it with the one below.

9. What are some of your favorite/least favorite tastes/flavors? (e.g. sweet, salty, chocolate, crunchy, smooth, tart, sour, spicy, thai, whatever - Help your pal get a feel for what kind of recipes you might like and/or never ever make.)
I am a chocoholic (dark "fancy" stuff only though). At home I tend to cook my own versions of Italian, Mediterranean, and Asian foods. I like to make meals up as I go along using whatever is on hand (whole/fresh ingredients, no pre-packaged things). The girlie and I make lots of pancakes. When I go out to eat it's usually for breakfast, or else Thai food or wood-fired pizza, oooh or the yam ale-chiladas at the brewery, yum. I love fresh Italian or French bread. I like almost every fruit and vegetable. I can't think of any food that I truly dislike (other than the obvious meat).

10. What tools/supplies/accessories for your craft(s) are you wishing you had but don't? Also, what do you have TOO many of? (basically a wish and anti-wish list)
Well, I always want yarn of course. (Doesn't everyone?) I can't think of anything in particular that I need, but I don't think I could ever have too much of anything art and craft related either, so I don't have an anti-wish list. Heh, I guess that isn't very helpful.

11. Are you on Ravelry? What's your handle?
everydayautumn on Ravelry

12. Is there anything else you would like your pal to know about you?
I have an almost-two-year-old girlie. I love coffee. I walk a lot. Um...

13. What scents do you like/dislike?
I like warm, spicy, citrusy scents. Nothing too floral, sweet or overpowering or too artificial. My current favorite thing is the Sensual Amber body cream from Bath and Body Works.

14. Do you prefer fall or Halloween or some other Autumn theme?
Any fall/autumn theme is fine, other than cutesy Halloween stuff. I'm not really into that.

15. Just for fun - tell your favorite Halloween or Autumn related memory.
I love autumn! (Check the blog name!) I don't have a specific memory, but I love the feeling of possibility I have every fall. In the autumn I feel more inspired to make things, study things, cook and bake, make tea, light candles, create a warm and beautiful home, read, write, and experience the world. That's where the blog name comes from - I want to capture that autumn feeling every day.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

It's a sign

Not just one, but two amazing knitbloggers are showing off their new spinning wheels this morning. And just before I checked my feeds in Google Reader, I checked my local Craigslist. Someone has an Ashford wheel for $50. I have no idea which wheel or what condition it is in, and they aren't answering their phone. But I will try again tonight.

I learned to spin on two Ashford wheels over 20 years ago. A friend of our family's, my youngest sister's godmother, lived with her husband in a log cabin in the woods of northern Idaho where they raised sheep, among various other things. I can remember walking through the rooms in their house as a young girl to see the spinning wheels, the giant loom that had a room all to itself, the pot of natural plant dye on the stove, and the baskets of knitting. I can remember sitting at the Ashford Traditional, which seemed gigantic at the time, after we decided I was too short and impatient for the drop spindles. I loved spinning on that wheel. We bought Helen's second wheel, an Ashford Traveler, and I can remember sitting in front of it, across the room from Helen and her Traditional, both of us spinning. We took the little Traveler home with us, along with hand cards and washed fleece. I used to spin at home, and I can still remember the calming rhythm of it. I stopped though, once I got to middle school age and became more concerned with perfecting my curling iron technique than with the spinning, knitting, and quilting I had just barely begun learning. Those things were definitely not cool for a pre-teen in 1987! (Or so I thought.) When I asked my mom about my wheel two years ago (during the summer I was pregnant - pregnancy somehow catalyzed my desire to make things), she told me she had donated it to a monastery. So, I bought a spindle and quickly remembered why I hated them. And I feel like I've told this story here before....

Anyway, fast forward to right now. My birthday is in two weeks, and I was going to ask for a spinning class at the downtown LYS as a birthday present. I'd planned to borrow a store wheel, and just see if it felt right to spin again. (If? Who am I kidding?) I've been looking at the Ashford Kiwi wheel for some time now because I know I used Ashfords in the past and the price is less frightening than other wheels. And then I find this ad today! My fingers are crossed.