Sunday, October 30, 2011

Fuck Cancer

My step-brother has been diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. He will be medi-vaced for brain surgery to either Edmonton or Calgary tonight for emergency surgery. I expect he'll be dead before too much longer. We don't really know anything at this point.

Seven years ago, he had a stroke brought about by overuse of an inhaler. He used the inhaler too much because he is asthmatic and a heavy smoker. Since that time he has been in a bad way, unable to work, and recently he has degraded into not being able to care for himself.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

School update

I like my history class, even though it's not what I expected. English - bleah. Same old stuff I took in high school. The math is kicking my ass.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The first Knit-From-Stash

Yesterday I knit a footlet. I did my math homework first, though.

The pattern is "Toe Warmers - Footlets" from here. It took very little yarn, about 3/4 of an ounce of fingering weight Patons Kroy Jacquards. It was leftover from socks I had made for my bonus mother-in-law, Janie. I used a US size 1/2.5 mm needle, which is my go-to for socks.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Knitting from Stash

My friend Knits In Public has embarked on a year-long yarn diet, and I've decided to join her. It might be crazy, but I'm in. Today she posted her very first podcast, which is very exciting and I loved to watch her. She showed what's on her needles, what she'd just bought in her last hurrah, and about her rules a little bit.

I'll be amending her rules. I'll buy if I feel like it at Maryland Sheep and Wool, and at Homespun Yarn Party. I will also not fuss if I need to buy specific yarn to make a gift for someone.

Hooray Theresa! I guess I should figure out what day this all began.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Rhinebeck Weekend 2011

Jess and I left around 9:30 on Friday night to drive to her grandma's in Walden, NY. It's a beautiful old home on the hill overlooking Orange Lake. We arrived at 1:30 and I immediately fell into bed.

Saturday morning we were up and out and at the fairgrounds by 11. We shopped and met up with people who we see once or twice a year; played Rhinebeck Bingo (we were both squares but I didn't play my card, she did); ate delicious fair food and soaked up the atmosphere. Saturday night we met up with a big group at a brewpub in Kingston. I say 'met up' but really we took over the place.

Sunday was more of the same. We both added to the Rhinebeck 2011 scarves; me on the knitted one, Jess on the crocheted. We left the fairgrounds around 3:00 and got home at 9.

Purchases were a Golding ring spindle, a Gnomespun spindle, tons of fiber, a sweater worth of bulky-weight in a sort of Loden green, apples, maple cotton candy, fresh pears, and jalapeno cheese bread.

Now, it's back to life. I have to organize and take pictures of my stash, as the knit-from-stash challenge has already begun. I won't buy yarn for myself (aside from gifts) until Homespun Yarn Party in March.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Change is a good thing.

Hi. I always forget that I have this blog. For years, I was a Live Journaller, and I made a lot of friends through that and as such would remember to update. Having a blog is something completely different than the very social way LJ works. I'll try to remember.

This coming weekend is Rhinebeck! Jess and I will drive up Friday evening, stay with her grandmother in Walden in a fabulous Arts and Crafts era house on the lake. Beautiful, beautiful old home, with wood panelling on the walls and ceiling, gorgeous craftsmanship all through the house. It's about an hour from Rhinebeck, which is a little inconvenient but I don't mind. She's a lovely woman, Grandma, and the setting is stunning. Coming from the Prairies as I do, the violently coloured leaves in the fall here are really something astounding to me. I hope I never get used to just how beautiful Autumn in the Northeast really is.

We'll drive back Sunday, likely not getting home until very late. I'll take Monday to rest and catch up on laundry and housekeeping.

Wednesday, school starts for me. Forty years old, and I'm about to start college! It's frightening and exciting and anxiety-inducing and fantastic and dreadful all at once. I'm hoping to ultimately go to Pharmacy school, but we will see how things go. I'm taking the first two years at the community college, and then I'll seek transfer to Towson University or University of Maryland. The only Pharmacy school in the state is at UMD, so it might be best to go there to complete my undergrad degree, but again we'll see what happens in the first little while.

I am taking US History, English 101, and a remedial math class. Apparently, when you don't do Algebra and Geometry for 23 years, you forget a few things. I tested 100% on my English placements, but the math, uh... well. So yay, I get to pay for 6 credit hours of math which don't give credits. BOO.

I'll have less time to knit. Which is ok, since I sort of think I have enough yarn and really shouldn't buy more. A friend of mine is thinking of doing a knit-from-stash year, and I might just join her. I'll have to think it over a little more, giving myself some rules. I think a self-imposed sock club might be a good idea as well. Everyone likes handknit socks, you know. They're like hugs for your feet.

I've been spinning as well. I sold my Fricke in January or February, and bought a Lendrum DT. I love this thing like nothing else, and I got a sweetheart of a deal on it. I've spun more this year than any year since learning how to spin. I got a little carried away with the Tour de Fleece* and injured myself, so there hasn't been any spinning since July. The knee is on the mend (bursitis requires rest, which I haven't had a lot of) and I'm hoping to be able to spin double-treadle again soon.

That's what's new with me, and what's coming up in the near future. I hope to update more, but who are we kidding. I might remember sometime next year.

*Tour de Fleece: Basically, just spinning each day during the Tour de France. Resting on the cyclists' rest days. I spun three miles of yarn. That's a lot.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Rhinebeck Weekend

If you're a knitter, you know that there are many sheep and wool festivals each year. The two big ones on the East coast are Maryland Sheep and Wool (in May) and Dutchess County Sheep and Wool Festival in Rhinebeck, NY. That is in October. I attended Rhinebeck this weekend, for the second year.

My intention was to attend with a good friend and two other local women. One by one, they all had other things pop up that needed their attention more than a weekend away. I sadly accepted that I would not be going, until an online friend mentioned that they had room in their hotel, and would I like to join them? I jumped at the chance.

I drove to the two hours to Phoenixville, Pennsylvania to meet up with three of the other travellers. It was a married couple (Missy and Doug) and Liz, who lives near to them. Missy and Doug have two dogs which needed to be dropped at Missy's parents' house in NJ for the weekend, so we loaded them up and headed up there. Doug and I in Doug's car, Missy and Liz and the dogs in Missy's car. I'm allergic to animals, and the dog hair already in the car would have probably caused me to die a little bit. Not a good way to start a weekend.

We dropped the dogs, after about two hours' drive, in I-don't-know-where, NJ. I met Missy's mom and after only about three minutes managed to surprise her by using the word 'penis'.* We then headed back out and drove to Poughkeepsie, NY. Our hotel was ok, a Holiday Inn Express, which was ridiculously overpriced. $250 per night for our rooms. They had a breakfast bar, which is always nice while travelling. There were several other knitters staying there, and we met up with a few in the lobby after getting dinner and making a beer store run. Doug is a big beer fan. I bought cider.

After dinner, the rest of our party arrived by train from Newark. Abbie lives in NY, on Long Island. Jen is from Toronto, and flew in to Newark. Missy went to pick them up from the train station. The rest of the evening was spent chatting and knitting in the lobby, getting to know one another and some of the other knitters. There was Tammy, a fifth grade teacher from Connecticut, and Alice, a former ski instructor from Idaho. Bill and Toni of The Fold (a well-known yarn/weaving/spinning store in Marengo, IL) arrived. Bill is a delightful fellow, about 6'6" tall, broad, blonde, very Viking looking. Toni is a good friend of my friend Lauren, and I passed along greetings. Sometime around midnight we all headed up to our rooms, after making plans for the morning.

We were up around 6:30 and left for the festival grounds at about 8:30. The Festival opens at 9 am on Saturdays. We had a lovely drive along Rt 9. The leaves in upstate NY are absolutely gorgeous. Very different from what I grew up seeing. The Vanderbilt Mansion is along there as well as the Hudson River valley. I enjoyed not driving at all, and just watching the scenery go by. After about a half-hour, we arrived, parked, and stood in line for our tickets.

While waiting, Abbie spotted Anne Hanson, a knitting designer. As Abbie was wearing one of Anne's designs, I took her over to meet her. Abbie was sort of reticent to go but I said "what's the worst that she can say?" and forced her. We introduced ourselves and had a short chat. Anne was gracious, and actually adjusted Abbie's scarf to better show it off. Missy, who is a photographer, had her camera out in a hot second and Anne kindly posed for a picture. I'm not sure if I managed to get out of the way or not.

We went in and headed directly to The Fold's booth. I picked out a 'rare gem' skein of Socks That Rock. The booth was mobbed, and we waited about fifteen minutes in line. Afterward we wandered for a few hours, stopping by The Sanguine Gryphon's booth to say hello to Sarah and Gryphon. They had been given the opportunity for a booth only a couple of days before, and they jumped at the chance. I worked for them and I know their immense popularity, but I wasn't really prepared to see the line. One woman mentioned she had waited an hour in line. I'm so pleased for them both, they have been working at it for years and they have really hit it big. It's really lovely to see people do what they love for a living, and be able to not only make a living, but be successful. The girls I was with didn't want to stand in line, and decided to return on Sunday.

We spent the day wandering the festival, occasionally running into people we know and visiting with them. We noticed a neat sweater we had seen on Twist Collective, and as the woman wearing it walked by, we engaged her in conversation. Her companion commented on my sweater (Clasica Coat from IK Fall 2009) and we began to chat. I was carrying a bag from Homespun Yarn Party and she asked what it was. I described it a bit, she asked me to email her information about it, and handed me her card. She asked me to not give out her phone number. At that moment I looked at the card and realized that she was Kate Gilbert, a well-known designer. As my only Rhinebeck goal had been to buy yarn for one of her designs (I did not accomplish it) I was sort of tickled. Her friend gave me a Twist Collective pin for my collection and we parted ways.

We met up with the rest of our went to have lunch. For lunch I had red beans and rice with chicken, from the New Orleans Cafe. After we sat down, we realized that we were next to Vicki Howell. I told her how much I had enjoyed working with Craft (a yarn with her name on it) and she apologized that it had been discontinued.

Around 3:00 we left for the day. We sat in the car trying to get out of the parking lot for nearly two hours. That's insane! Missy and Liz picked up pizzas on the way back to the hotel, so we didn't have to go out to find dinner. I showered and changed and we headed to the Ravelry party in Red Hook, just past the fairgrounds (a half-hour drive from our hotel). Jen was tired and elected to stay back at the hotel.

When we arrived at the party site, we were directed to a parking lot about a mile from the party, from which we would catch a bus to the party. We saw several people walking toward the party. When we arrived at the parking lot, we understood why. The wait looked to be obscene. There was likely to be a wait of an hour, so we chose to walk. We arrived too late for a goodie bag, they had only 550 to give out. The woman at the door told me that there had been 400 people RSVP, and there were already more than 550 there; people kept arriving, too. We found seats, and settled in for the night. We spent the evening knitting and chatting and wandering, eating and drinking, all the things that one generally does at a party. We made it back to the hotel around 11:30 and crashed hard, having been walking all day.

Sunday morning was more of the same. We packed and checked out before heading to the fairgrounds. Again we wandered and shopped and visited. I ran into Gail, who I have known for about ten years, but never see. We went to the Sanguine Gryphon booth again and I stood in line while the girls shopped. Only about ten minutes wait that time. In fact, Jen went back later in the day and there was no wait at all. We left around 2:00 and headed for home after leaving Jen and Abbie at the Poughkeepsie train station.

After driving for a few hours, we picked up the dogs and headed back to Pennsylvania. The trip to their place seemed to take forever. I unloaded my things from Doug's car and into mine, and after saying my good-byes, hit the road. Two hours later I made it home to my lovely husband and my own bed and my real life.

I bought three skeins of 50/50 merino tencel from Ellen's Half-Pint farm, 8 ounces of roving from Potosi Farms (who are Yarn Party participants. Went all the way to NY to buy locally!), and some Socks That Rock. I also brought home some apples, Maple cotton candy, biscotti, and a few assorted small things. I spent way less than I had expected to, or budgeted for. Notice how I completely failed in my prime objective of 850 yards of lovely hand-painted worsted weight for Clapotis. Oh well, I'll dye it myself.

Perhaps next year, we'll rent a house. Some of my local girls did that and it worked out well for them.

Really? The woman has been married for 30+ years and has two children. The look of shock she gave me was priceless. I hadn't meant to be vulgar in the least, I was referring to the note my husband had left on a sweater while I was blocking it. It has a weird construction and part of the hood sticks up from the body of the sweater's back. The note said 'is this a sweater penis?' I assured him that it was not.