Friday, October 29, 2021

Not-So-Fun Fiber Friday; or, A Cautionary Tale

We've made it to Friday, the last one this month. And this weekend is Halloween, so I have a slightly scary story to share today -- a story behind this mess:

Ignoring all shoes below the bench, what you see here is the contents of our winter accessory boxes -- the storage containers we keep on the shelf in our coat closet to hold the hats, gloves, mittens, cowls, and scarves we wear throughout the winter. Because they're up on that shelf and there's no light in the closet, we don't often look in those boxes, and that's a big mistake.

But I'm getting a little ahead of myself here. First, I have to come clean about a dirty secret, one that will strike fear into the heart of any fiber enthusiast: I have been battling a moth infestation. The source of it was a fleece that I bought several years ago. It was one I bought sight unseen, from the mother of a friend, and I made the mistake of not washing right away or even really inspecting when it arrived. I don't know if the moths were there when it arrived or not, but at some point I discovered that it was full of moths. Not wanting to waste the wool or the money I'd spent on it, I attempted to salvage it. After I washed it, I'd put it into a plastic bin and stored the bin in the basement -- far enough away from my handknits, or so I thought. After seeing quite a few moths flying around, I examined it again and found that the problem hadn't been solved, so the entire fleece went into the compost.

Late last week, when the temperature dropped and I wanted a pair of mittens, I pulled out one of my favorite pairs -- only to discover the telltale signs of moth damage, including a hole. That prompted me to pull out both bins to examine the contents, and sure enough, those blasted beasts had gotten to quite a few things. So now I'm in the process of washing everything. If there's any upside, it's that a lot of what was in Rainbow's bin was old and too small, and much of that was superwash or synthetic and easy to throw into the washing machine. The hole on my mittens was small and near the top of the hand, so I may just needle felt that spot so that it doesn't unravel further. One item that will require some more significant repair is a cowl that Rainbow knit herself (it's the yellow/pink blob near the far right in the photo) -- it was knit loosely in bulky yarn, and it looks like a strand was completely chewed through, causing some unraveling.

I'm posting about this so that my bad experience can be a lesson for all of you. Moths can happen to anyone, but you can take steps to prevent damage from them. First of all, if you are a spinner who likes to work from fleece, wash your fleece when you get it! Inspect the fleece outside and don't be afraid to toss any bit that looks suspect. But there are other ways for moths to get in, so you can do plenty to dissuade them from munching on your woolies. There are plenty of moth traps you can buy that use pheromones to attract the moths to land on a sticky substance from which they can't escape -- and you want to trap the moths, because what does the real damage is when they lay eggs on your yarn or projects and the larvae munch through it as they emerge. What attracts the moths more than anything is dirty wool, and in a knit/crocheted/woven project, that means the dirt and body oils that get on your wool items when you wear them. So an easy way to prevent the moths from getting to them is to wash them frequently! I typically wash my sweaters at least once a season (because I rarely wear them directly against my skin), but things like hats and mittens really should get washed more often. Most importantly, take your hand-made items out frequently and inspect them -- and remember that if you do find damage, it often can be fixed, and if not, the sheep will keep growing more wool!

I hope you have a great Halloween weekend without any moth-related scares!

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Unraveled, Week 43/2021

It's Wednesday again, so time to link up with Kat and the Unravelers and talk about what I've been knitting and what I've been reading.

I've put my Shifty aside for a few days in favor of some smaller projects. First, I started a new design sample, one I've had bouncing around in my head since I bought that mini skein set at Indie Untangled. It doesn't look like much just yet, but I have a feeling that now that I've figured out a few things, it will move much faster.

These aren't colors I'd normally pick, but the set just screamed at me to buy it, and naturally I had to find a way to use them together. It's hard to see in the photo (we're on day 5, I think, of gloom here, so the light is pretty terrible), but there's some 1x1 ribbing leading into brioche stitch here. This will be a cowl when it's done.

I also started a pair of socks for my brother on Sunday morning while Rainbow and I were in our family Hebrew class, and that meant I was winding yarn at some time after 10 p.m. on Saturday, while the Mister was passed out with the lights on (he can fall asleep anywhere, anytime, including in a fully lit room, with me typing on the computer and then winding yarn across the hall).

The yarn is a precious skein, the one and only skein I ever bought from Marigoldjen. I met Jenny at SSK in 2017, though she was there as an attendee (with her daughter, Liz, who you might know better as the fiber artist behind Hobbledehoy) rather than as a vendor. Both women have since closed their businesses. I bought this skein at MDSW several years ago, and I think it may have been Jenny's last time vending there. The colorway is called Sherlock, but it reminds me of the aurora borealis in the night sky.

I have finished only one book in the past week, and it was a good one, or at least I thought so.

The Push had been on my radar for a few months after hearing it mentioned on one of the book podcasts I listen to. It was mentioned again in an episode last week that I listened to on my walk, and when I got back, I looked it up in Libby and saw that it was available, so I borrowed it on the spot. This is a book I'd describe as a psychological thriller, a bit creepy but not especially scary. The main character, whose mother and grandmother were both difficult mothers (to put it mildly), is eager to become a mother herself, but when her daughter is born, she struggles to connect with her, and as the child grows up, the narrator can't help but feel that there's something sinister behind her child's action. When her son is born, she finally feels that maternal instinct, but the new child in the family creates a new complication in her already troubled relationship with her daughter. This book reminded me a lot of those early days of motherhood, when you're sore and exhausted and questioning every decision. But it takes those feelings to the extreme. It's not a book for everyone (definitely NOT new parents), and it does include the death of a young child, so bear that in mind. I enjoyed it and could have easily read it in one sitting if I'd had the time. I gave it 4 stars.

I am currently reading The Sweetness of Water, which I hope to finish shortly after posting this, and The Madness of Crowds, which I'm savoring a chapter or two at a time before bed.

What are you working on and reading this week?

Monday, October 25, 2021

Balance in 2021: October

Amazingly, we find ourselves starting the final week of October today. I've always found that time seems to speed up as we get further into the year, though that trend seemed to be suspended last year. This year, though, it's business as usual, and as they reminded us on the Today show this morning, Christmas is two months from today. Chanukah is even sooner, which means I need to do some serious shopping very soon, but either way it's a reminder that 2021 will soon be in the rear-view mirror.

Today is the last Monday of the month, which means it's time to check in on my One Little Word. Many thanks to Carolyn for hosting our monthly link-up!

Balance has been very present in my mind this month. There have been a lot of demands on my time, and that has meant a lot of juggling and prioritizing. Going to Rhinebeck was wonderful, but taking that time off and being away meant a lot of planning beforehand and a lot of catching up afterwards. In addition, I've had to put a lot of time this month into my synagogue board and committee activities. The latter has been particularly stressful. Many of the people I work with on the board and the committee are retired or don't work, and I think they often forget that I have a full-time job and a child to care for and don't have the time that they do to devote to our activities. One of the reasons I didn't get much reading or crafting done last week was that I had to spend about half a day after I got back getting caught up on business related to the committee. I realize that I volunteered for this position, so in a way I signed up for the extra work, but that doesn't mean it's not stressful when I sign off from work for the day only to still have to deal with another half dozen emails and more Zoom meetings.

I had an interesting discussion with a designer friend, Lisa Ross, when we met up at Rhinebeck. She's been really prolific this year with her patterns, and I expressed my amazement that she was able to get so much work done along with raising her four boys. We were discussing how challenging it can be to balance design work with the rest of our life responsibilities, and she told me that she didn't realize I had a full-time job. While last year I blamed pandemic brain for not getting much published, this year the main challenge has been finding the time. Balancing my design work with my work work has always been an issue, but this year it seems to have gotten worse.

As life in general has gotten more and more busy, I've gotten more and more grateful to be working from home. The ability to do things like throw in a load of laundry whenever it needs to be done has been a huge help, as has gaining a little extra time (including to sleep). I know it won't last forever, but I'm cherishing it while it lasts. My other coping mechanism has been to-do lists. For a while I was doing them daily, but now it seems to be more realistic to do a weekly list. Early in the week, I make a physical list of things I need to get done over the course of the week, and I add to it as needed. It's less stressful to have a longer time period to get it done, and I don't feel like a failure if a day goes by and I haven't crossed something off the list.

Here's hoping November brings more balance and less stress!

Sunday, October 24, 2021

Make Like a Tortoise

It feels a little silly to be putting together a spinning post after a week with very little spinning, but I've been missing my Sunday posts and at least have some photos to share, so Spinning Sunday is happening this week. I've added just a few little fiber bundles to my second bobbin of singles for my combo spin this week; although work wasn't too busy this week, I had a bunch of non-work administrative-type stuff to take care of, and my hands were busy typing much of the time. I am just about halfway through the fiber for this bobbin -- I have my next bundle ready to add and 10 more in the bag.

One of the fun things about this project is that although the bags of fiber I pulled for it are all green to some extent, I am noticing some pretty big differences in the fiber bases and how long it takes me to spin them. The Rambouillet, for instance, can last a good long time because the wool is so fine and springy, whereas the Corriedale goes pretty fast. I'm trying to be better about mixing up the colorways on this bobbin after finding multiple bundles from the same shipment all hanging out in the bottom of the first bag, so that means the bases will be well mixed, too. I'd hoped to have all the singles done by the end of the month, but given that there's only a week of it left, I'll settle for finishing up this bobbin.

In the meantime, my September Southern Cross shipment showed up the day before I left for Rhinebeck, and it looks like it'll be a real treat to spin:

David generally ships his club at the end of the month, which means that those of us outside Australia usually get it the following month. I think he planned for a Halloween-ish colorway for precisely that reason -- the colorway is even called Boo! The base this time is Comeback wool, which I was thrilled to see because it's been several years since he last used it for club. Comeback sheep are distinct to Australia, the result of breeding British long wool sheep and Merinos. The wool itself is soft but doesn't feel particularly delicate like a fine Merino would; there's a bit of yummy toothiness to it. I won't be spinning this fiber until I'm at least done with my combo spin, but I'm already contemplating how I might spin it. Do a random three ply? Pull the shades apart and try to spin it as a gradient? Do a two-ply fractal? The nice thing about waiting a bit to spin it is that other members of the club are likely to spin it first and I can see what they do with it.

It's been a very fall-like weekend here, with lots of gloom and some rain and that damp chill. Rainbow and I got a bit frozen yesterday afternoon at a Girl Scouts gathering at a local Audubon Society nature preserve, so this afternoon we're going to curl up with our crafting to watch some TV and then bake some snickerdoodles. Perhaps later there will be some spinning as well!

Friday, October 22, 2021

Good Stuff

Phew, Friday at last! Any time I'm away and off on a Monday, it inevitably leads to my confusion about what day it is and a feeling that I'm constantly catching up. It hasn't been a particularly busy week at work, but my time has been taken up with other stuff (I feel like I spent hours on Tuesday morning dealing with synagogue board-related email, for instance). I'm hoping today I can finally get the last couple of things crossed off my to-do list.

As someone who is somewhat addicted to the news, I feel like I almost always have a negative outlook because the news always seems to be so dire. Part of my (almost) daily journaling practice is to make a list of five small sources of joy, and I've found that coming up with five things every day is a great way to shift my outlook and cultivate gratitude. Most of the time they are small things -- that the weather was beautiful, that I saw a group of adorable chipmunks or cute dogs on my walk, that I got a library book that I'd been waiting for a while -- but occasionally there are some bigger things. And there have been some bigger things that I thought I'd share with you here, because who doesn't need some reasons to be happy?

First, I came back from my walk on Wednesday to find that, after years of wanting one, I was finally the owner of a Japanese maple:

It's pretty tiny right now, but we'll have plenty of time to watch it grow!

My knitting has been making me happy the last couple of days, too. First I added that bit of duplicate stitch to that one sock that was annoying me, and I'm completely satisfied with it now -- it's amazing how much of a difference one row of stitches can make!

Can you even see it?

And on my Shifty, I've joined in my second contrast color and am enjoying the more subtle look:

In case you can't tell, the light is terrible here today.

Yesterday, though, was undoubtedly the most exciting. When I got out of the shower yesterday, I picked up my phone and saw that there was an email from Rainbow's school. This email was letting parents know that because the FDA would soon be meeting about approving Pfizer's COVID for children 5-12 and it was expected that it would be granted emergency use authorization, the school has decided to host a vaccination clinic in early November (obviously pending approval) and was offering up appointments. I wasted no time in getting Rainbow signed up, so assuming all goes according to plan, by the time she turns 12 in mid-December, she will be fully vaccinated! What's more, that means that we feel safer about traveling, so last night we booked flights to go to Florida in December! We will still plan to stay put once we get there, but it will be so nice to have a little taste of the Before Times and to get some sunshine in winter.

I hope this week has brought some good news to your life and that you have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Unraveled, Week 42/2021

I double checked and it is Wednesday today, so that means it's time to link up with Kat and the Unravelers to talk about knitting and reading!

Though I had big plans for getting a lot of knitting done while I was away, I had apparently forgotten just how much work it is to work a show and how tired I would be at the end of the day. I think I got about a round and a half done on my Shifty in the five days I was gone. The good news is that I did get some knitting done, just not what I expected. I usually take a sock project with me to work on while I'm in the booth (there's a lot of standing around, and it keeps my hands busy), so I figured I'd get a start on socks for my mother-in-law with the Fibernymph Dye Works yarn I just got. In reality, I made more than a start:

Yep, I cast on the first sock on the drive up to New York and grafted the toe of the second as the Mister and I were in car line to pick Rainbow up at school on Monday afternoon! These are a combination of my generic sock recipe and my Piccoletti pattern (Ravelry link) worked over 68 stitches on size 0/2.0 mm needles. I opted for mismatched stripes, and though I cast on by starting at the point where one color changed to another on both socks, they don't quite coordinate -- you can see that thin red stripe across the instep of the sock on the right. That bugs me a bit, so I'm going to take a scrap of yarn in the red color and duplicate stitch another row or two so that they look like they match a bit better. Otherwise, I am happy with them, and it feels good to have two holiday projects done before the end of October.

This week I'm focusing on my Shifty pullover, which has passed a major milestone: Last night I split the sleeve stitches from the body stitches!

I mentioned that I was ignoring the color change instructions a bit in order to maximize the colors I like in my handspun. I am going to use up the first of my main color skeins as much as possible (I weighed it after I split off the sleeves so that I could be sure to have some to use on the sleeves as well as the body), and last night I pulled off the rest of the bright purple on the first contrast skein. The remainder of that skein is pretty dark and I don't think has enough contrast, so I'm setting it aside. I'm hoping now that I've made the split and have fewer stitches on the needle, I'll be able to make some real progress.

I have only finished one book in the past week, which isn't surprising given that I didn't have much time to read over the weekend. Unfortunately, it wasn't a great finish.

I have been wanting to read Klara and the Sun for a while, and I know many of you have already read it. Naturally when I decided I was ready for it, there was a long wait at the library. I have to give Ishiguro credit for an interesting idea, but ultimately there were too many questions that were unanswered for me, even given that, in a story told by a non-human, there are things that the reader expects will be unexplained. I just felt completely unsatisfied when I finished. I'm sure this would make for a good group discussion, but it felt flat for me reading it on my own. I gave it 2 stars.

On the ride home from Rhinebeck, Amy and I started listening to the audiobook of Daisy Jones & the Six. She does not seem to like to listen at faster-than-normal speed like I do, so we only made it through about two-thirds of the book, and now I'm on the hold list at the library to finish it. Yesterday I listened to the most recent episode of the What Should I Read Next podcast on my walk, and the book The Push was mentioned, which reminded me that I'd wanted to read it, and as luck would have it, there was no wait for it at the library. So now I'm about 40% through it, and if work cooperates today, I will finish it. I'm also hoping to finally start The Madness of Crowds today.

How about you -- what are you working on and reading this hump day?

Monday, October 18, 2021

Recapping Rhinebeck

Y'all, I am tired! (So tired that I've apparently become Southern!) I got back from my weekend away late this afternoon, but when I got home, I had bathrooms to clean, laundry to do, and dinner to make -- no rest for the weary! I have a lot of catching up to do in reading blogs and responding to comments, and I expect that will take me a few days, but I didn't want to go to bed without posting a bit of a recap of my weekend.

Let me preface this by saying that my experience of Rhinebeck is not typical, largely because while I'm not a vendor myself, for this weekend, I'm working like one. I had very little time outside the booth this time around, in part because for most of the festival it was just me and Amy working and in part because I didn't really feel a need to shop (see, my resolve is strong!). So if you're expecting lots of photos of people in beautiful hand-knit sweaters and colorful fall foliage, I am sorry to disappoint you. Okay, well I do have one sweater photo to share -- this customer came into our booth and I loved his sweater so much that I asked to take a photo of it:

If this isn't familiar to you, click here to see the inspiration.

The weekend was a real whirlwind. I got picked up my Uber at 9 on Thursday morning and met Amy at a Panera not far from the PA Turnpike. It was the two of us and the two puppies in the car; we met Amy's three friends who were coming to help at our AirBnB -- they'd flown in from Nashville and Chicago. We set up the booth Friday morning, and then went to Indie Untangled in the afternoon, where I saw a few friends and made a couple of small purchases. Saturday and Sunday were a blur, but I did find time for one very important Rhinebeck tradition:

This counts as lunch when you're working a festival.

I'd say that in addition to seeing friends and getting hugs for the first time in two years, the highlight of the weekend for me was meeting, live and in person, the Knitmore Girls! I've been listening to their podcast for at least a decade, so I was so excited to talk to them. And they are just as lovely in person as they are on their podcast.

In case you're wondering, Jasmin's sash says "Stash Dash Champion."

Amy and I got on the road before 7 a.m. this morning, with quick stops for bagels and caffeine, and we were back at the Panera (where the Mister was waiting for me) by about 2:30. The puppies had the right idea for the ride home:


My acquisitions on the trip were very modest and almost exclusively made at Indie Untangled on Friday afternoon:

I got the mini skein set (which I'm planning to use for a design sample) and "Knitting Jedi" pin from McMullin Fiber Co. and the greenish speckled fingering weight skein from AT Haynes House Yarns, both new-to-me dyers. I bought Clara Parkes' latest book from Amy (I even rang myself up and checked myself out) because I've been wanting to read it, she had a stack of copies, and I figured one less copy meant less for her to have to take home. The only other thing that came home with me that's not shown here is the festival t-shirt I preordered.

I'm sure I'll have some more details to share in the week ahead, but that's it from me for now. I'm off to go tuck my kid in to bed and then tuck myself in!

Friday, October 15, 2021

Fiber Friday Fun, Rhinebeck Edition

By the time you read this post, I'll be somewhere in the Rhinebeck, New York, area. I'm setting this post up ahead of time so there's not a long absence from the blog, but I'll likely wait to catch up with all of you until I'm home.

I mentioned sometime last week that I was thinking about taking another sweater project with me, and I even wound up the yarn and swatched for that sweater. But I realized that if I had two fingering weight sweaters on the needles, I wasn't likely to make a lot of progress on either one, so I have only taken my Shifty on the trip (with a sock project for when we're out and about) and I'll wait to cast on for my May(be) Queen. With any luck, I will make some decent progress on Shifty while I'm away and I won't feel quite so ridiculous about having two sweaters in tiny yarn going at once.

The "fun" in this post is all about how working with hand-dyed yarn can require some extra steps and awareness. When I finished winding my yarn for my next sweater -- Fibernymph Dye Works Bounce in a variegated and speckled colorway -- I noticed this:

Notice how two of the four skeins are a little lighter than the other two? Lisa doesn't really do dyelots, but she generally dyes multiple skeins of the same colorway at the same time. I don't know if all four of these skeins were dyed at the same time, but I did purchase them together. I was going to alternate skeins anyway because the yarn is hand dyed (that's always a good idea with hand-dyed yarn), but now that I've seen the difference in the skeins, I will be sure to pay attention to make sure that I'm alternating a lighter skein with a darker one. The variation doesn't bother me in the least, but it's a good reminder to look at my yarn and be mindful of what I'm doing with it.

I hope that whatever you have in store this weekend, it brings you joy! See you back here next week for a recap.

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Unraveled, Week 41/2021

Wednesday already? I guess a short work week makes it go by quickly! Time for my weekly link-up with Kat and the Unravelers to talk knitting and reading.

After I finished my sister-in-law's socks, I wanted a bit of a palate cleanser before I started the next pair (the ones for my mother-in-law), so I pulled out some scraps in autumnal colors and knit up another marled charity hat. This one used two colors of Malabrigo Sock, two colors of Knit Picks Stroll, some Twist Fiber Studio yarn leftover from my Wonder Woman Wrap, and some Knitologie sock yarn that was leftover from the two patterns I designed for KnitCrate. I started with the darkest colors and moved into the lightest as I got nearer to the crown.

I didn't use a pattern for this, really. I cast on 120 stitches, worked two inches of 2x2 ribbing, and then did stockinette for the rest. When it felt tall enough, I divided the stitches in half and grafted them, and then I folded the corners down flat to the center and tacked them in place. In all, I used 447 yards, which is a good amount out of the giant bag 'o scraps.

Reading has been extremely good this week. I've finished four books and rated them all highly.

The Guncle -- funny name, great book! The Guncle (gay uncle) in question, is Patrick, a semi-retired actor who was in a very popular sitcom a number of years ago who hasn't fully processed his grief over the loss of his partner in a car accident several years ago when he learns that his sister-in-law -- and best friend -- has died, his brother is addicted to pain pills and needs to do a stint in rehab, and his brother has decided that while he's away his kids will live with Patrick in Palm Springs. There is other family drama to deal with as Patrick and his niblings try to negotiate their new situation and address their grief. There are funny moments, infuriating moments, and extremely touching moments. I could not put it down and recommend it to everyone -- 5 stars!

If The Guncle was my fun reading, then The Sum of Us was my serious reading. I'd been wanting to read this book since it came out and had a hard copy on loan from my brother. It took me about a week to get through not because it's that long (it's less than 300 pages) or that hard to make sense of but because I was taking it slowly so that I could fully appreciate it. This book looks at just how pervasive systemic racism is -- in criminal justice, personal wealth, health, housing,  politics, etc. -- and how efforts to address it have been thwarted by those who wrongly believe that "more for you = less for me." Her writing is clear and easy to understand, backed up by solid research, and includes examples from real people -- in many cases white people -- who are hurt by policies that perpetuate systemic racism. Her message is simple: providing more resources for those who have the least benefits all of us. If you're committed to anti-racism, I'd say this is a must read. I gave it 5 stars.

I can't remember exactly where I first heard about the memoir Somebody's Daughter, but I had put it on hold at the library when I did and read it in less than two days when I got it. In her memoir, Ashley Ford reflects on her life growing up with an incarcerated father and a mother who was demanding, often distant, and frequently emotionally and physically abusive. It's an often difficult read -- Ford struggles with crippling anxiety and an overwhelming desire to be loved and accepted for who she is -- but it's a very powerful one. I gave it 4 stars.

I had had The River on hold for longer than I expected at the library given that it's an extremely propulsive and relatively short (~250 pages) book -- what was taking the people ahead of me so long? I basically read it in a day (I started it Sunday night but only got through about 10 pages before bed, and then I stayed up a little late to finish it on Monday night). This book takes place over the course of several days and follows two young men, Jack and Wynn, who are on a canoe trip in Canada when they spy a massive forest fire heading their way. In addition to contending with nature, they're also pulled into a strange and potentially lethal domestic situation. While most of the details about camping and canoeing and fishing were lost on me, I loved and cared about the characters and had to find out how it would end. No spoilers from me other than to say that I did shed some tears. I gave it 4 stars.

Currently I'm reading Klara and the Sun -- yes, I know I'm probably the last person to read it, but I was busy with other things when it was easily available from the library and once I was ready to get to it, there was a long wait! I don't expect to get much reading done while I'm away this weekend, but I plan to dig into the newest Gamache when I get back. How about you -- what are you working on and reading this week?

Monday, October 11, 2021

That's More Like It

Ah, now that was the weekend I needed! It was a busy one with a lot of activity crammed into it, but I got everything done that I wanted to -- and no one was sick in bed!

The weekend kicked off slightly strangely in that we did not have our usual Friday night dinner at my parents'; they are in Florida for the month, so we're left to fend for ourselves for the next several weeks. I did, however, finish my sister-in-law's socks:

They are perfectly matched (I know the green on the toes looks a little off, but I think that's just because they weren't arranged precisely the same on the sock blockers). Despite the extra yarn I wound off, I had plenty of yarn to finish -- it's very helpful to be knitting for someone with small feet! I more or less used my typical stockinette recipe, worked over 68 stitches on size 0/2.0 mm needles. I still need to wash and block these (if you look closely, you might see my magic loop ridges), but it feels good to have a holiday gift done in October.

The next socks on the needles will probably be for my mother-in-law, with this yarn that arrived about a week or so:

Yes, we all know that I don't need more sock yarn, but I couldn't resist signing up for the Fibernymph Dye Works Encore club. I'd previously been in three of Lisa's clubs -- Happy Hour, Tea for Two, and Just Desserts -- and this club promised one more colorway for each of the three themes. I justified the purchase by deciding that I'd likely use the shipments as gifts for others, so they won't really be going into the stash. This shipment falls under the Just Desserts theme, and the colorway is called Apple Turnovers (and came with the recipe for them). This colorway looks like an apple orchard to me, and I think it'll be perfect for my mother-in-law, who wears a lot of reds and browns.

I mentioned on Friday that we were planning on going to a local fiber event here on Saturday. And we did, and was ... weird. We didn't get there until mid-afternoon, so I don't know if it was as empty as it was at the beginning of the event, but there were very few people there other than the vendors when we got there, and we overheard one of the organizers talking to a vendor who was saying that sales were lower than in the past. I felt bad about that and would have liked to have bought from every vendor to support them, but I am trying to be strong in my resolve not to add to my stash needlessly, so I kept my purchases to just two items: a project bag for Rainbow and this braid of fiber for me:


This is a new and unusual blend from HipStrings, a blend of Southdown and Dorset Horn wools and bio-nylon, an ecologically created nylon that creates no waste and is biodegradable. I've been wanting to try this blend for sock yarn for a while, so I figured this event was a good excuse to pick some up. It won't be going on the wheel just yet, though, because I am still working on my combo spin. Bobbin number two is under way:

I haven't given this spin a ton of attention in the past week or so because I've been trying to focus on finishing up the socks and getting my Shifty to move forward before the trip (I want to split for the body and the sleeves before I leave), but it's moving along. I'm hoping I can at least finish the singles, if not the plying, by the end of the month.

Rainbow is home with me today due to a teacher in-service day, so I need to go see if she's awake yet. I hope you had a good weekend and are feeling like the new week is off to a good start!

Friday, October 08, 2021

Bring on the Weekend

Happy Friday, friends! It's been a long week, and I am happy the weekend is almost here. It's also a long weekend for Rainbow (it's an in-service day for teachers on Monday), so she is extra excited for the week to be over.

I've got some actual work to do today, but it shouldn't take too long, and then my main goal is to finish these socks:

I worked on these yesterday during my (online) team meeting and then while reading a book, and there's not much left to go, so I figure if I can focus on this second sock for a couple of hours, it'll be done.

I also spent some time with my Shifty pullover yesterday, and I have now accepted that it's going to be a Rhinebeck sweater only insofar as it will come with me to Rhinebeck. After all, there's less than a week until I leave for the trip! That means it's time to start planning what projects to take with me. My Shifty will be coming, of course, and likely some plain socks to work on while out and about, but I'm tempted to start and take another sweater that I bought on impulse recently:

This is May(be) Queen (Ravelry link) from La Maison Rililie, and I think it would be perfect for a sweater's quantity of Fibernymph Dye Works Bounce that I bought several years ago. It's a variegated colorway that I'd originally intended for another Boxy pullover, but I'm not sure I want to knit that much plain stockinette again. this sweater has enough of that but with a little twisted ribbing to spice things up and not quite as much positive ease. It calls for sportweight yarn, but I think fingering will work just fine with the gauge (23 stitches and 34 rounds over 4 inches). I might change the sleeve to omit the stitch pattern on the lower arm and just do a plain stockinette sleeve with a twisted rib cuff.

This weekend we plan to attend a local fiber event that hasn't been held in two years (and I'll try not to spend too much considering I need to leave room in the budget for Rhinebeck next weekend), and we're also going to make some baked apple cider donuts -- I bought cider last weekend to boil into syrup for this express purpose! It still doesn't feel much like fall here yet (we even had dinner outside yesterday), but we are definitely getting into the fall mood. I hope you have some equally seasonal plans for the weekend!

Wednesday, October 06, 2021

Unraveled, Week 40/2021

It's Wednesday -- we've made it to the middle of the week! I am once again in the house alone, as the Mister has gone back to the office after working from home the past two days (he's feeling much better -- thank you to all of you who sent your good wishes). It's been a bit of a crazy morning, as Rainbow had a dentist appointment before school and I've only gotten one cup of coffee so far today, so I'm hoping the day settles down. Right now the sun is shining and it's very pleasant out, so once I've posted, I'll be headed out to get my walk in before the rain moves in.

Kat is on vacation this week and so is not hosting our usual weekly link-up, but I'm not about to let that ruin my streak of posting every Wednesday this year, so here is my weekly check-in on my crafting and my reading.

I am on the home stretch on my sister-in-law's socks, having just turned the heel of the second sock this morning:

The more astute among you will notice that the stripes appear to be matching, even though I said I wasn't going to do that. The truth is that it wasn't intentional, but when I was winding off yarn to start the second sock (because I cast on by placing the slip knit at the point where the colors change), I realized I'd done it in the wrong spot for the stripes to line up if not actually match -- i.e., I was about to start a wide stripe rather than a narrow one. And I'd already broken off the extra yarn when I realized this, so that meant I had to wind off more yarn to get to the start of the next narrow stripe. As luck would have it, the next narrow stripe was a green one, so matching socks it is! Given that snafu, I am thankful that these are for the person in the family with the smallest feet (other than Rainbow) so that I don't have to worry about using those bits that I wound off and dealing with extra ends.

While it hasn't seen as much attention lately, I am still working on my handspun Shifty:

I've gotten through the last increase round and done the section that comes after it, and I've just gotten to where I'm supposed to switch to my second contrast color, but I've decided to keep going with the first one because (a) there's still quite a lot of it and (b) the second contrast skein is closer in color to my first "main" color skein in parts, so there wouldn't be as much contrast. I plan to switch over to the second contrast color when I run out of the first background color.

Reading has been good this past week -- I've finished three books since last Wednesday! The first was Jane Eyre, which I was so determined to finish that I was reading every minute I could last Wednesday. I found that I didn't like it quite as much on this reread as I have in the past, but I think that's due to my getting older and having different perspectives.

My next read was Parable of the Sower, which has been on my radar for the past year or so. It was originally published in the early '90s and set in a future that today is not so far away, the mid- to late 2020s. I suppose you could call this a dystopian novel; in California in this world, people have to contend with drought, water and food shortages, terrible crime, few jobs, and terrible drug addiction. It's also clear that there's been a big breakdown in society in that self-interest has become a guiding principle. It's clear that Butler wants us to take from the novel that the only way we will survive is by trusting and caring for one another, but there's a religious element that got a little too preachy for me, and I also found the second half of the book to be a bit of a slog. I gave it 3 stars.

My next read was certainly lighter. Mary had mentioned The Souvenir Museum, a collection of short stories, in one of our recent Zooms, and I was pleasantly surprised the there wasn't too long of a wait for it from the library. I can't say I loved all the stories in this collection, but I really enjoyed most of them (I'd say my favorite was "Robinson Crusoe at the Waterpark"), and I especially enjoyed that two characters, Jack and Sadie, popped up in several stories throughout -- my biggest beef with short stories is that I often feel robbed of the rest of the story when I come across one that I like. This was a quick read and an enjoyable one. I gave it 4 stars.

I am currently reading two books. The first is The Sum of Us, which I've had sitting on my shelf for a while on loan for my brother. It's nonfiction and I've been reading it before bed, so it's going slowly, but it's well worth the read from what I've gotten through so far. I also started (and likely will finish later today) The Guncle, which is just delightful. Do yourself a favor and put it on hold at the library now!

I hope your Wednesday has started off well and that you've been doing some good knitting and reading this week!

Monday, October 04, 2021

A Weekend Derailed

I didn't intend to skip my usual Sunday spinning post, but things kind of went off the rails here this weekend. On Friday afternoon, we all got our flu shots. Later that evening, the Mister was feeling a little worn out, but that's his usual reaction to his annual vaccination. He still went for his usual 20+-mile bike ride on Saturday. Yesterday, though, it was clear that he was not just having a robust immune response to his flu shot. No, my friends, he has a dreaded Man Cold. And because of this, he had to take to his bed for the whole day yesterday. So I spent the day doing all the things -- ferrying Rainbow to and from Sunday School, doing the grocery shopping, changing the bed sheets (though I didn't manage to get ours changed until late afternoon, when he finally got out of bed for a bit). I didn't get my walk in yesterday, mainly because I spent the entire afternoon in the kitchen/family room babysitting two big pots of chicken soup.

Though it wasn't how I was planning on spending the day, it wasn't a total loss. I brought my wheel downstairs to the family room, where Rainbow and I spent the afternoon, and by the end of the day, I had finished up the first bobbin of my combo spin singles -- and they all fit on the bobbin with room to spare!

A peek at the end of the bobbin shows all the shades and colors that are hidden when you look from the side:

Today will be a bit of catch-up, but I'm thinking that as far as the blog goes, maybe skipping yesterday wasn't such a bad thing. I've been contemplating switching up my blogging schedule for a while, so this week I'm going to try a Monday/Wednesday/Friday schedule and see how it goes!