Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Pacing myself.

Boy, I almost wanted to post this yesterday too, but then where would we be today?  I think I'll like this "save as draft" option.  When I have ideas, I've got to get them down, because heaven knows there are other days when the well is dry.

More pictures!

There's nothing like the last minute to keep a promise to one's self.  This blog started out with much grander plans...it began as its very own domain, which was going to be the beginning of my World Fiber Domination Project.  I paid for the domain name for a year, and not only never posted a blog entry, I did nothing along the lines of world domination.  Well, I take that back:  my art teacher buddy drew up some wicked cool logos (one of which you see in the sidebar), and my media specialist buddy scanned them into the computer and burned them to disc for me.  Beyond that...not so much.  But the idea that I could make my own small mark on the fiber world didn't leave my head.  Custom knitting?  Nope.  Too many hours for decent compensation.  Pattern design?  Not likely.  I can whack together my own socks and such, and even do a good basic sweater or vest, but I'm not nimble enough mathematically to resize patters.  (Nor am I patient enough, really.)  Handspinning?  That still has possibilities; when I first started ruminating on this, my spinning was w-a-a-a-y too...um....shall we say, inconsistent for me to feel confident selling it.  And I had a kitten who liked to chew up the drive band on my wheel.  Dyeing?  Hmmm, that sounded good.  But really, I know I don't have the eye for color combinations that you see in the best dyers out there.  So if I were to dye, it would be solids and/or semisolids, not only because it's probably safest for my talents, but also because I don't think there's a lot of solids out there.  The run has definitely been on handpaints and multicolors for a while, and there's a lot of good ones available.   But I like plain socks too, and I've read pleas from other knitters for some less adventurous hand-dyes.

But why would I pull out the ol' Country Classics if all I was going to get was yarn that looked like any other commercial stuff?  Bo-ring.   I thought back to a class I didn't take at the John C. Campbell Folk School a couple years ago, but was able to observe a wee bit...natural dyeing.  (I was learning how to play the banjo instead.  What a trade-off.)  I had the chance to see the indigo-dyed yarn come out of the pot.  It was magic, and I vowed to try it somehow, some day. Two years later I said oh hell, and ordered a beginner's kit from Earth Guild.  I had just enough white yarn in my stash to try the cochineal first.  That's all it took.  Well, it took a little more than that because of some *ahem* situations in the spring, but for all intents and purposes, I knew that THAT was what I wanted to play with.

Natural dyeing, while generally predictable (indigo is going to give you blue, not orange), is by and large, a crapshoot.  Onion skins won't give you blue, but will you ever get the same yellow from different batches of onion skins?  Not likely.  And that's what I love about it.  I love the little surprise in every pot, and I love that if I don't love the surprise, I can overdye it and probably make it all better.   I haven't done any dyeing since summer, partly because of work, and partly because it's, like, WINTER up here and the yarn would freeze before it dried on the back porch.  There's also the question of space:  my apartment is small.  VERY small.  I've sold or given away much of the furniture I brought with me when my marriage ended.  I've even drastically reduced Le Stashe.  There isn't space for unnecessary or unused things here, and that includes yarn that I don't have time to knit.  Besides, I can dye yarn a hell of a lot faster than I can knit or even weave it.

So the obvious next step in World Fiber Domination would be, then, to sell the stuff.  Etsy?  Meh...my photography skillz aren't that mad.   Farmer's market?  Still a possibility for next summer.  Try to sell it on Ravelry?  Didn't appeal.  It's only taken me another six months to ask the owner of my delightful local yarn store, Wooly Minded, if she would possibly give me some space to sell my yarn on consignment.  And she said yes.

Today, a dear friend and I walked those two baskets down to the shop, and Jean (the owner) oohed and ahhed over the colors and made me blush by saying she might just take it all home herself and knit it up.  I am very pleased with the colors I have.  I'm looking forward to trying more.   I need to source more undyed yarn, and think my next step is to get a wholesaler's license (or whatever that piece of paper is called that will let me buy from wholesalers).  I suppose I should consider something with taxes too, though I certainly won't be making bucketsful of money for a while.

But, as a wiser mind than I said once, a promise made is a debt unpaid, and I sure do feel like I've started to repay myself today.

Does three days make this a habit?

It comes as no surprise to me that I feel more inclined to write when I'm well-rested.  Somehow, we ended up with two full weeks off for Winter Recess (fka Christmas Vacation) again this year, plus we had a snow day on the final Friday before its official beginning.  Last week, as loyal readers (all three of you) will remember, I was anxious and upset, but I was sleeping better.  I've been sleeping better and better, but my work days are pushing the 12-hour mark.  There's my regular school day, then three days a week I teach private studio lessons for another two hours or so.  Mondays and Fridays are then for all the other weekday errands that may need to be done.   So creativity takes a serious backburner during the week, and I often end up using Saturday and Sunday to recover.  Don't get me wrong; I love teaching.  It's been a good place for me.  But as time goes on, I realize that it takes a lot out of me, and uses a lot of my creative mojo.  That wasn't a problem until a few years ago, when I realized there was an alternative.  (I should have started blogging then; now I have a lot of catching up to do.  Oh well, more blog fodder.)  How I manage to balance (or not) this quandry remains to be seen.

So, good sleep and restful days allow my brain to expand, I think.  I'm not the first one to understand that creativity can be linked to mental quiet, I'm quite sure.  I'm also quite sure that the opposite is true for many other people.  Perhaps for others, creativity leads to mental quiet.  But for me, after ten months of serious mental disquiet, well...I'll choose this path.  Now if only I can get someone to pay my rent while I get all nice and quiet.

And now for something completely different:  I'm going to attempt to not only add photos to this post, but to put them where I want.  Bear with me...


Hey, not bad! This is, of course, the mountain dulcimer I mentioned in the other day's post, the one Dad gave me for Christmas. Isn't she beautiful? She doesn't have a name yet, but she is definitely a "she." "Stella" is a possibility. Suggestions are happily accepted.  

Monday, December 29, 2008

Here's a crazy thought.

So, what if I blogged more than once every three months?  Would it be productive, useful, entertaining?  There is a constant story line running through my head, and being an elementary school music teacher, I get plenty of material there in addition to the existential blather in constant rotation upstairs.  Does it matter if anyone else reads it, as long as I enjoy doing it?  Will it lead to a book contract?  (C'mon, admit it, fellow bloggers...you read the big ones too, you've seen the trajectory...don't tell me it hasn't crossed your mind at least once.)

I know one thing I need to let go of, both on the blog and in life on the outside, is the outcome.  For someone who is dedicated to process in her classroom, and how it leads to satisfying product, I am not nearly as patient with myself in that regard.  Perhaps that will be the lesson here: to just do something for the discipline of doing it (well, and the enjoyment of it, too...see my header, after all) and not be worried about what it leads to.  Unless it seems to lead to axe murderers arriving on my doorstep, really.

Let's see what happens.  If I can dedicate myself to reducing the number of plastic shopping bags I use by remembering my cloth ones, and to buying free-trade sugar more often,  then I can dedicate myself to this.  I think.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas in a nutshell.

Christmas is not an easy time of year for me, and I'm not sure I've actually enjoyed it for several years.  My family is spread out and different parts of it choose not to speak to other parts of it, while I still speak to all parts of it.  It was even more exciting when I had in-laws to figure in as well.  Also, after two years of hopping on a Boxing Day plane to go to a winter contradance festival, I did not do that this year.  The jury is still out (in my brain, at least) if it would have been better to go and face the asshole there who turned my life upside-down, or if it was better that I stay away until I feel like I can visit there without turning into Mount Vesuvius when I lay eyes upon him again (which is bound to happen, it's a small town).  I figure that at least I'm pretty sure I wouldn't start bawling when I see him (which is good), but I can not guarantee that I would remain civil.  And that's important to me.  I mean, I wouldn't search him out to give him a piece of my mind, but like I said, it's a small town and many people know what happened.  They already know he's a jerk.  I'd like to remain the one who isn't a jerk.

Anyway.  Yeah, Christmas.  So the week leading up to the Big Day has been especially anxiety-ridden this year, but the actual Big Day was very pleasant.  Gifts were received with honest gratitude; I helped Middlest Nephew assemble a light saber (a first for both of us), and the weather relaxed so that driving back and forth to my sister's was uneventful.  I was supposed to go up to my dad's the night before Christmas Eve and stay over, but the weather hadn't relaxed yet.  So we put it off til Friday, which didn't work either.  And that's how we arrived at today's trip.

My dad loves to give gifts, and is always on the lookout for things he finds interesting.  So sometimes his gifts are...well...a bit of a hodge-podge.  Always meant-well, never offensive, just sorta weird sometimes.  

So today, after a two-hour drive where, halfway through, the temperature dropped twenty degrees and the wind picked up to the point that it nearly blew me off my feet (no kidding) and Dad had texted to say, "Don't come, it really isn't safe" (which I didn't get, as I was driving with my hands clamped to the wheel), I arrived at the farm where I grew up, and we exchanged our gifts.

There was, indeed, the interesting assortment of little things, but this year, Dad also decided to give me my birthday present (as my birthday is in February, and he gets excited about presents and didn't want to wait).  So he handed me a long corduroy bag...with a beautiful new mountain dulcimer in it.  There is a fellow in the next town over that makes them.  We saw him at a country-fair type event earlier this fall, so I knew how lovely they were to look at, and how sweet they sounded too.

Dad picked out a lovely hourglass-shaped body of mostly curly maple, with stars for soundholes.  It matches the endrails on my hammered dulcimer.  It is the most personal gift I think I've ever received from him.

*happy sigh*  Dad really does pay attention.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Well, whaddya know.

It's been almost four months to the day since I blogged.  Why I suddenly chose tonight to start again, I don't know.  Perhaps I'll figure it out before this post is over.

Let me give you the condensed version:  school ended, and I was able to go to Dallas to some contract work with fellow teachers.  It's part of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards national certification process, so I honestly can't talk much about it for security and ethical reasons; suffice to say it's a very intense few days, but the people I work with and for are delightful, and some of us have been working together for six or seven years.  This year, our work was scheduled during the last week of school, so I had to get permission from both my principal and the superintendent to go.  Considering how my spring had gone, I think they were both a little relieved to get me out early.  I sure was.

At the end of that week, I made a detour on the way home to visit friends in North Carolina.  I did not have any contact with the one who made my spring such a festival of angst, drama, and bad physical and mental health.  I was disappointed and relieved at the same time, but had a great time with my true friends there.

Then I got home and crashed for several days, physically and emotionally.  I got myself together (mostly) and started teaching private lessons again.  I have 10 students currently, which is plenty when you remember that I also teach full-time.  They range in age from four to late 40's, and on instruments from piano to horn (my personal I studied-this-for-a-long-time instrument, and what I earned a Performer's Certificate in at the Crane School of Music) to mountain dulcimer.  But I digress (you'll get used to it).  

Other than teaching what amounted to two days a week, I otherwise did nothing but play with yarn, unspun fiber, and undyed yarn.  I spun about three pounds of fiber, finished a couple of knitting projects that were hanging around and pouting for not being finished, and dyed a bunch more.  The dyeing has been on hold lately, because I need to try and sell a bunch of what I dyed to fund more dyeing experiments.  I used natural dyestuffs; indigo and cochineal are my favorites, though onion skins are mighty cool too.

I made it to two quilt auctions with my dad, and while I came home quiltless, I did get an excellent bargain on the hugest folding wooden clothes-drying rack and its baby brother.  I'll take a picture of it fully loaded one of these days.  When open, it's taller than me, and as wide as the backseat of my four-door car.

Spent a night up on Lake Ontario, not far from home, with my mom, sister, and my sister's family.  I  love the lake, and yet I am ever-so-glad to have moved away from my hometown.

I bought myself a bike.  That's Genevieve at the beginning of this post. ( Consider this a test..I wanted the picture at the end, but don't feel like futzing around with that little detail tonight.)  Getting a ride in has been hard since school got started, but since we have a three-day weekend right now, odds are shaping up for a ride tomorrow, even if it's just to the grocery store.  Genevieve has two awesome saddlebags, which are not in the picture.

School started.  It's been pretty good; last year's fifth graders have moved along, which is a great burden off of everyone's shoulders.  Of course, there were a few perfectly wonderful kids in that bunch, but overall it was just one of those classes.  Dreadful.  But so far, so good in the last six weeks.  Have I ever mentioned that I'm a public-school general and instrumental musci teacher?  That means I see every class, including three self-contained special ed classes, once a week and try to undo all the programming that our test-crazed educational system wreacks on these poor kids.  I also conduct the chorus, teach small-group instrumental lessons, and conduct band rehearsals.  (And three days a week, do it for an additional two hours or so after school.)

And that brings us to here, October 11.  There's a lot of personal stuff that's happened too, which I think I will write about some more here.  But I said this was the condensed version, and it's already too long.  More later.  Oh, and maybe even some fiber-related content.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Sorry about that.

So I end the last post with a teaser about bats under my couch (we won't talk about the ones in my belfry) and then leave you hanging.  That wasn't very nice of me.  Let me make amends.

The evening began with a retirement party for two colleagues.  Devoted readers (all five of you) will remember that I'm a teacher, and you may think that there's nothing less exciting than a teacher's retirement party, unless it's TWO teachers' retirement party.  Well, you would be SO, SO wrong.  We have our issues, oh yes we do, but retirement parties we can do, and do quite well.

There are the requisite tearful moments; after all, we're talking about people who have spent well over twenty years in one career, and one of the afternoon's honorees was my mom's college roomie.  She's been teaching nearly as long as I've been alive.  But there's also plenty of silliness.  This is where I wish I knew how to upload pictures.  Then again, maybe not.  Our parties could be described as location jokes: you have to be there.  One tradition we maintain is our band, "Johnny (insert appropriate last name) and the (insert another name)."  This time we were "Johnny Mod and the Hipsters."  We have also been "Johnny Pepperoni and the Anchovies," and one day will be "Johnny Flip-Flop and His Bermuda Shorties."  I play bass, two friends play guitar, and we can usually rope someone into shaking a tambourine or something.  We rewrite classic rock songs for any occasion, working in details of our victim's life/career as we do.  Like I said, we may amuse ourselves more than anyone else, but I think you would laugh too.  Mostly because, as any good showman knows, the Look is an essential part of the Act.  We rely heavily on the local Salvation Army, and this year discovered that our male guitarist wears a lady's size 13 capri pants.  Location joke, remember?

A very dear friend who relocated with her husband was able to return for the shindig, and we went out afterwards too.  We were always very close when she lived here, and it's been tricky to maintain the closeness.  But we realized that it's essential for both of us.  She's one of the few people I know who thinks like I do.  I don't mean that we agree on everything (although we often do); I mean that her brain works like mine and I don't feel like I have to explain or apologize for myself with her.  She just knows.   I hope everyone has at least one friend like this.  

She almost ended up staying the night at my place, but decided to head for home even though it was midnight before we stopped talking.  Turns out it was a good thing she did.  When I got back to La Petite Maison du Cat Hair, there was blood on the living room floor.  Mitize (contributor of cat hair) was languidly staking out the loveseat.  I could hear chirping, but couldn't track it down.  I decided to ignore all of this (chalking it up to the excellent Metropolitan I had enjoyed earlier) and put my nightgown on.  When I returned from the loo, the blood was still there, as were the cat and the chirping.  Damn.  Shut the cat in the loo.  Damn damn.  Get out the flashlight.  Damn damn damn.  Look under the loveseat.

*****SCREAM****** quietly, because it's after midnight, and I live in an apartment.

There's a bat under the loveseat.  I think bats are incredible creatures when they are outside and eating mosquitoes.  I am unreasonably afraid of them when they are in my house.  What the hell am I going to do?  I can't move the loveseat, as I'm quite certain the critter would take flight (and then I would have to find another place to sleep.  I'm serious.).  There's no way on god's green earth that I would reach under the loveseat and grab it, even with leather work gloves.  I have no one to call, especially because it's after midnight.

Think think think.  Assemble Official Bat-Under-the-Loveseat Kit:  broom, hammer, empty lidded plastic olive container from the grocery store, latex gloves.  (I think next time I will add some sort of alcoholic beverage as well.)  Take a deep breath.  Pin bat down with broom handle and press down with all my might.  Whisper repeatedly, "I'm sorry I'm sorry I'm sorry" as the poor thing chirps and squeals.  Release pressure momentarily and nearly wet myself when the poor thing manages to SPREAD ITS WINGS.  Press harder.  Repeat apology until poor thing stops chirping.  Maintain pressure, and pull broom handle out from under loveseat.  Grasp hammer.  Apply to poor thing's cranium.  Repeat apology.  Seal poor thing in empty lidded plastic olive container.  Cry a little, partly from relief, and partly because I really try to avoid killing things.  Clean up the blood, release Mitzie from the loo.  IM The Mason Friend (henceforth known as TMF, so remember that) and freak out just a little.  Attempt to sleep.

Was it Roseanne Roseannadanna who said, "If it's not one thing, it's another"?  I think I may make her the patron saint of my life.*

*I would be happy to make Gilda Radner my patron saint, actually.  How many sixth graders you know would dress up as Lisa Loopner for Halloween?  I looked good, too.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Instant Summer

Here in NY, we go to school until the Fourth of July.  At least that's what it feels like (in all seriousness, our last day of work is June 27, with the kiddos finishing on the 25th).  

Also here in NY, we have an extremely limited "spring."  What we tend to get instead, starting in April, is a combination of snow, rain, hard frosts, and the occasional tantalizing warm day, until June, when we get Instant August.  It's been in the upper 80's to mid-90's since Thursday, and humid.  Now combine that with three more weeks of school in an un-airconditioned brick building, and you will understand the unstable gleam in my eyes these days.

Knitting?  Spinning?  Not until the portable air conditioner I ordered yesterday morning shows up on my doorstep.  Talk about an impulse purchase.  I have a window unit that I will beg the guys who work on my building to install when they get a minute (and they like me, so I know they will), but I need something for the front room too.  It gets the afternoon sun, and by about 4:00 is like an indoor reflecting oven.  The property manager is going to get some insulating blinds for the windows in there, too.  But when I got up yesterday and it was already well above 80 degrees, I did a ten-second Google search, said, "THAT ONE," (no shipping charge!  no sales tax!) and whipped out the Visa.  If only all problems were that easy to solve.

I did manage to warp the loom, though.  I had to laugh at myself...I plan to hem this next piece, so I'll need to start with some waste warn for the leading edge.  I HAVE NO WASTE YARN.  My whole stash is either queued up for another project, or is just plain too good to use as scrap.  Off to JoAnn Fabrics for a skein of good ol' Red Heart.  It has its uses after all.

Next post: retirement parties done right, chocolate martinis, and friendships that never cease to amaze me.  Oh, and the bat under my love seat.  If that doesn't bring you back to read some more, I don't know what will. :-)

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Second chance.

Not long after the NYS Sheep and Wool Festival in Rhinebeck, my family gathered at my sister's in-laws for Thanksgiving.  Sister's MIL and I discussed what a good time my mom and I had, and my relative restraint in purchasing.  I mentioned that I'd purchased more spinning fiber than anything, and had come home with only one ball of sock yarn.  My niece chimed in, "You can knit socks?"

Now, this is a child who has happily received (and even requested) several hand-knit garments in her fourteen years on earth.  I was surprised that she didn't twig that socks fall in that category, but then again, I'd never knit her any socks.  So for Christmas, she received a ball of Schaefer...umm...I believe it's Nancy, I didn't save the ball band, in a lovely dusty lavender/green combination.  (I'm a fast knitter, but was too bogged down under other Christmas knitting to get hers going.)

Luckily she wears the same size shoe as me (6) so I knew they would go quickly if I ever freakin' started them.  I finally did, around February break, and I was right.  The first one went like the wind.  I used Priscilla Gibson-Roberts' "Simple Socks Plain and Fancy" formula, as I do for most of the socks I knit anymore, and a simple repeated four-stitch twist cable with two purls in between.  I love Schaefer colors...Cheryl's eye is like no other's...but I find it can be challenging to use them and not lose either the beauty of the colors themselves, or any pattern stitch within the coloring.  I gotta say, this hit the nail on the head.  It really like the end result.

Then my life fell apart.  No, I probably won't ever give you all the sticky details on that, but suffice to say it really and truly was the worst three months I've ever experienced, including my divorce.  I knit (or wove, spun, ate, or slept) very little during this time, and my niece's half-finished second sock languished along with everything else.

I finally began carrying it with me, and slowly but surely got past the heel.  Somehow the foot always goes fastest for me, and having such a small foot doesn't hurt matters either.  Just last week I popped them in the mail to her, along with a note apologizing that the socks were getting to her just in time for sandal weather.

I was out to visit my sister and family yesterday for my niece and middle nephew's birthday party.  I hadn't heard anything from my niece about the socks, which isn't unusual, but did find them still in the envelope.  I teasingly accused her of not liking them but not telling me, and she blushed hugely, stammering, "No, I like them, it's just...." as I pulled them out of the envelope.  It took about ten seconds to figure out what the problem was.

When she cut the envelope open, she caught one of the socks in the front, just about where the heel turn begins, and snipped a good-sized hole in it.  My sister said she was just devastated, and cried and cried when it happened.  She must have been just a little afraid to tell me too.

Well.  I assured her that accidents happen, and that knitting is endlessly forgiving (as is her aunt).  And luckily, that I still had the leftover yarn and would absolutely fix them for her.  There's no darning the hole, really, so I pulled out the whole foot and heel and have them back on the needles.  It won't take long to redo them, as my knitting mojo is slowly returning.

And now for the corny finish.  I can't help but see this as a little metaphor for life:  bad things happen, but we can fix them and keep going.  It might take some time, but very few things can never be repaired.  Did I mention the sock she clipped was the one where I messed up the heel anyway?  Second chances, friends, in life and in knitting.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Stride? What stride?

Last post, I mentioned that I thought I would be getting my groove back shortly (or words to that effect).

Yeah?  Well, NO.  No groove for me.  As a matter of fact, things came more to a screeching halt than anything.  Shan't go into gory details.  Still recovering from the aftershocks.  Hopefully to post more soon.


Thursday, April 24, 2008

And for my next trick...

Two posts in one week.  Then I will probably disappear for a month, but who knows?

I live in an apartment in a sort of historic building.  There's been a ton of work on the place, as it had fallen into serious disrepair over the years.  The last two HUGE projects involve recreating three porches: the main front porch, with a nice little porch on top of it for me (if I want to climb out the window), and a fairly large side porch, again with a second-level porch that attaches to my apartment.  I decided today I'm really looking forward to the side porch.  I access it through French doors, much easier, and I think I'll be able to sit on it in my nightgown.  I like to be outside, but I don't always want to interact with the other seven apartment dwellers on the backyard patios.  I like alternatives.

I mentioned in my previous post that I really need a small, mindless project to work on, and I think I found it.  I had started the Tuxedo Top from a last-year's IK last fall, and didn't get too far.  Right now it's just back-and-forth stockinette and the occasional decrease.  I think I can do it.  By the time I have to do the front plackets and some lacy bits, I should be back on my stride. Though I must admit, the bright orange Trekking XXL is calling my name, for its color alone.  Socks now?  Hmm.  Not sure.  I usually do have a pair going, since they're so easy to transport.  Maybe if I leave the yarn on the table tonight, it will speak to me by morning.

(I'm lucky to have a cat mostly uninterested in yarn, believe it or not.  Mitzie doesn't like tuna water or other people food either, and best of all, doesn't like wet cat food!)

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Uh oh, I've been spotted!

FiberFollies said she was going to come on over and check out zee blog, so perhaps I should put up a new post.

Not that I have anything to say that anyone else wants to hear.  It has been a little less than jocular around here lately, with not an awful lot of fiber-related activity going on.  I think if I tried knitting or weaving it would be SO VERY TIGHT I'd end up frogging it anyway.  So tonight I watched a Hammy Hamster DVD instead.  That's the complexity level I can handle right now. Never heard of Hammy?  I believe it's a Canadian production; we used to watch it as kids, since we could pick up the CBC from Toronto, even in my dinky little hometown.  Think small rodents and RC vehicles.  And very simple plot lines.  Very simple.

Hopefully in the next few days, things will perk up some.  I do feel the need to start a new project, but it needs to be just right.  Thought it was going to be a Debbie Bliss lacy cardigan thing, but it's taking way more mental prowess than I can give it.  Spinning might be the trick instead.  Productive, yet less taxing.  Perhaps even meditative, and I could sure use some of that.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Have you seen me anywhere?

Hmmm, must be I can only blog in the wee small hours of the morning? Maybe I should try when I'm more awake. I'm sure I would be more irresistible that way.

Obligatory Why I'm Doing This Statement: I knit. I spin. I weave. I teach. But what seems to turn my crank is writing. It comes in fits and starts. I couldn't tell you right now if there will be an overwhelming fiber theme here. It's likely. But I like to ruminate on other stuff too. So don't be surprised by anything that comes out my virtual mouth. It'll be mostly clean, at least.

Just so you know, if you're a fibery kind of person: I am unabashedly a natural-animal-fibers gal (I count silk in here, though I know the structure is different). Nylon and acrylic and lycra have their places. Cottons, linens, and the newer plant fibers are good, but not always my favorite (though I think Wick is tres cool). If I knit with all-acrylic, it had better be GOOD acrylic.

And to get it out of the way: I prefer wood and bamboo to metal needles (in many, but not all situations), circs to straights (usually), and am most likely to knit sweaters, socks, hats, mittens. Not a dishcloth kind of gal. Not much into novelty knitting, though some of those cupcakes knocking around are awful cute. Prefer texture knitting to colourwork. Can knit left-handed and right-handed for stranded work, but usually throw with the right hand. And I'm pretty fast for a thrower.

My wheel is a Jensen Tina II I bought used from a friend. People looking for a wheel for the first time, get the best one you can afford. I will never tire of Tina, and she is rock-solid and easy to spin on.

I weave on an Ashford 20" (I think) Knitter's Loom. It's the newest addition. I'd love to have a floor loom, like a Baby Wolf, but then I would have to sell the sofa. Don't think for a moment that I haven't considered it! My apartment is too small to have much company over anyway, so why not?

I've dabbled in natural dyeing too. I quite enjoyed it...I love the element of surprise. But I need to work out a better yarn supply system, and I think when it warms up, my attic will become the drying room instead of my too-tiny kitchen. More to come there.

And yeah, I crochet. Learned it long before I knit.

Don't hold it against me. :-)