Like The Queen
Whatever happens to strike my fancy, but surely some sort of fiber content.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Saturday, January 31, 2004  

I know I’m in deep trouble when BD starts using Transactional Analysis techniques on me. And he’s been doing it big time for 24 hours - both in dealing with the sister in law and with my parents. I’m ... getting ready to leave it all, but not through the door yet. I suspect it will take several more sessions with DoctorBD.

The crummiest part about all this is that when I step outside of self and look at self I see self abandoning all the healthy good things to do. I’m eating wrong - forgetting to drink water during the day, getting little or no exercise. I’m not thinking through the next steps I should be taking so that suddenly it’s time to do something and I’m not prepared. I’m scared all the time and for god’s sake, scared of what? Scared of failing yet again with those people! This really sucks. BD will say “it’s time your parent starts taking care of your child.” He’s right. So if that is so, why am I going to my folks with LD today? Oh . Yes. To try yet again to convince them to at least move closer into town, where there is public, or even private transportation. Am I wasting my time? Have I failed to gather enough information? Probably. Damn.

I will have to change the name of this blog to Likethementalpatient. Likethewimp. Likethefool.

Just you remember when you’re out there driving today - half the people driving the other cars are my father - and the other half are my mother!

posted by Bess | 7:52 AM


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Friday, January 30, 2004  

The heat is down a bit today - guess this cold weather consumes some of it, sucking fire right out of the most outraged hearts - but it takes only a flick of memory for the intensity to pick up again, fingers curling in fury - licking flames flashing out of my mouth. I’m still really, really angry.

The anger is at my sister in law, Jane, a bitter vicious woman, who made my life hell during the years her aged and senile mother lived at my house. She has been jealous of BelovedH‘s mother for 66 years and took her jealousy out on BelovedH, usually in some sickly “for your own good“ sort of way. She is, after all, Southern, and Southern Ladies learn to do their damage behind sweet smiles, with the look of utter surprise and denial on their faces when they are called to account for some particularly mean act. (Think; YaYa Sisters) Sadly, this Whipping Boy process is very popular in BD‘s family. Each generation has one. Well. Every family is sick in its own way.

Suffice it to say, the “for your own good“ sort of way never cut it for BelovedH. That woman does very well for herself, thank you very much, is a success on dozens of fronts, and as such, triggers the jealous rages from Jane. Like some vulture hovering over the desert, Jane came swooping into the courtroom on Wednesday, all brisk efficiency, hugging the arm of the X‘s mother and begging to testify that BelovedH was unstable and a danger to her children. Not that Jane has seen BelovedH alone with her children ever in their entire lives, nor has she really seen any of this family at all, outside of very big family gatherings. But her own daughter will never marry and have children, so it is a sure thing that Jane isn’t about to let BelovedH have any children, if she can find some way to take them away from her. Besides, in 1983, BelovedH did something to piss her off and she has been harping about it for 21 years. Wednesday she had a chance to say nasty things about BelovedH and she practically insisted she be allowed to do so. What a joke on her that she wasn’t called - and thank goodness, for had I heard her testify, it is very likely I would have expressed my anger physically.

Funny - I, who have grave misgivings about divorce when there are small children, who know both partners in this divorce and have pretty decided opinions, was so reluctant to speak at all in this situation. How awful to have to comment on someone else’s marriage - how impossible - and in fact, my only testimony was to have been what a good mother BelovedH is. And this wicked woman, who has no knowledge of anything at all, can’t wait to say nasty things dredged up from 20 years ago, merely to blacken the daughter of a woman she was jealous of.

There really are stinkers out there in this world. And by golly - I really hate being kin to one.

Even fiber couldn’t soothe this ferocious beast-filled breast yesterday. I think a heavy duty workout at the gym is about the only thing that will help and I’ll see to it I get that today. And of course I have to go, yet again, this weekend, to try to convince my own folk to move into safer and functional living quarters. I am so bloomin’ tired of this family stress crap. What is going on with the stars that I can’t settle down to a nice cozy winter weekend with knitting and spinning? Sheesh! I can’t remember when I last felt relaxed about things. Oh. Yes. I can. Driving home from Stony Mountain Fibers 2 weeks ago. Sigh. Yes. There is hope.

Grouse grouse grouse. Complain complain complain. Rats.

I guess I ought not to post this today - it’s so awfully personal. And the Internet was down at work - something wrong with the main server in the school board building - so if I post this, I can’t erase it till tonight.

Of course, I want to say nasty things about Jane - nasty true things - so, maybe I'll just indulge for 24 hours. Or even only 12. Hmmm. At least I'll have a look at how the post appears in blog format.

posted by Bess | 7:05 AM


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Thursday, January 29, 2004  

Have you ever seen evil walk? I have. And all the sailors, in all the navies, of all the nations, in all the world, do not have enough evil words to describe what I witnessed yesterday. I am beyond being shocked, furious, appalled, disgusted, and repulsed. I am in some other realm of mad emotion. If I can talk about it here some time, I shall - but it may be that I can never do so. I am utterly beyond words of fury and anger. I'm barely able to exist without bursting into a pillar of fire. I am slow to rise - but when I ignite - I tend to become an inferno. It may be that extinction is all I can leave behind -- the extinction of language.

And yet I yearn to spit it out.

Suffice it to say that the custody hearing went somewhat as to be expected, with neither parent able to prove the other is dangerously unfit - though the judge's order to the soon-to-be-X; “get a job”, is unlikely to be fulfilled and the issue will then resolve itself. Beloved H was gracious, calm, and coherent. And she made an important point the judge took, though he was not prepared to act upon it now. He as much as said so - that till psychological evaluations of the parents are in, he would not make a final decision.

But rips in the family fabric were torn yesterday, that were so great, so enormous, so foul - they will never be repaired.

Some things get broken that can't ever be fixed.

posted by Bess | 8:01 AM


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Tuesday, January 27, 2004  

Second post of the day


Another day off. Freezing drizzle is so bad even the county administrator is opening late and encourages department heads to use discretion. Since I don't want any more octogenarians smashing up their cars, I closed the library. Knitting class is also canceled but I'll call around and see if we can make up the class on Thursday.

The Stars sweater is done, but for the weaving in and underarm grafting. That is one of my favorite parts of knitting a sweater. It feels like dressing your little child in the morning, a little pat here, a tender tucking in there and it's ready to be launched into the world.

And the sweater really is cute. It's very TexasChic and frou-frou. It looks like a big puff of red when worn over slim black stretch velvet pants. Yeah I know, I'm a bit old for this look, but it's sooooo cute. If the sweater doesn't meet with EscortApproval well - well, just see. If I really feel silly in it, I'll give it to one of my 20-something neices or cousins.

Photos once I can get to a scanner.

posted by Bess | 7:28 AM


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]


Either it is getting warmer or I am getting used to this cold snap. Probably a bit of both. I actually went into the den and watched a video yesterday - haven't been tempted to do that in weeks! Yesterday's pretty little snow gave everybody a day off and yours truly spent it working on the Stars sweater. It's almost done and it is ... um ... er ... different.

If I get in to work I'll post some graphics that elucidate the situation.

If I get in to work today, and if more weather doesn’t happen, I'll also be teaching a class tonight. 1 felt hatter, 2 sock knitters, 1 sweater and one beginner. Hmmm. A challenge - but interesting. I've been thinking through a schedule - who gets help first. I believe the beginner will have to be last since she’ll need the most hand-holding. I'll be working along with the sock knitter and the beginner - and I have a ready-to-be-felted hat to show the felt hatter. Of course, all this planning may be for naught, since we could get freezing rain instead.

I am going to knit another sample hat from my beginner class pattern as well as a pair of fair isle socks using a solid and a patterned sock yarn. I want to use one of the sinuous patterns from Lisa Kolstad's More Sweaters: a Riot of Color, Pattern and Form (sadly out of print) in the cuff, but make the foot plain. I'm finally digging into my stash of sock yarn - none too soon. It's falling out onto the floor by my bed.

I'm thinking also of some fair isle mittens. I only have one pair of gloves and they're too nice for inclement weather. (think snow) I'm also in the mood to feel like I've actually gotten something done around here. Imagine - a knitter who has no mittens and no gloves. Sheesh! Worse than the cobbler's kids. I'm still not ready to actually set KnittingGoals but I am certainly in the mood to empty out some of these everlasting bins of stuff!

Tomorrow I will be a witness in a custody battle and I am really twisted up inside about having to do something like this. It is one thing when you voice an opinion, and it is another altogether, when you are pinioned on the spot by lawyers. Even though I am only supposed to be saying good things about one parent - the implication has to be that the other parent is not good. Well, the other parent isn't anyone I’d choose to live with as a kid or an adult, but that doesn't mean the other parent has fangs and a forked tail. I am utterly and completely and totally dreading this day. Not 10 minutes go by that I don't say to myself "Thursday it will be all over - 5 o'clock on Wednesday it will be behind you - hang in there Bess, it's almost over."

Those who know me well, know that controversy is abhorrent to me and this is controversy with a capital C. It has loomed over me for months - the knowledge that I will have to do this, and it has colored every aspect of my life. This, coupled with my parents health, safety and home situation, has made the past 5 months some of the toughest months I've ever had to live through. (Yes, I have been a complete failure in getting these two crippled old people to move into a safe, convenient and comfortable situation and instead must hear that I am not a loving daughter for not spending more time with them, while knowing they are wrecking cars, falling down and sinking into depression.)

So. Well. If I have to cope with this junk right now, by golly - something good surely must be waiting up ahead, right?

posted by Bess | 6:30 AM


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Monday, January 26, 2004  

Obviously I didn't get back to write more - and it's still so dang cold in the office I'm not inclined to linger. It's been so cold these past days the river has frozen and you can now skate on it. I live on what I like to call Upper Tidewater - for while the water is not really salty anymore, we are still in the tidal area. That makes getting from the pier to the ice an interesting project - when the tide comes in. It seeps up around the pilings, freezes, then withdraws, leaving a thin crust of ice with a foot or so of air beneath.

The dogs turn into clowns on the ice, but we don't encourage them to go out onto it. It's too easy for them to get in the habit and then drown once the ice begins to melt. Priss, the little brown girl, went wild, though, dashing up and down the pier at full speed. With everything frozen, even the boards are solid, minus their usual spring and sway.

The Stars sweater got all the attention yesterday. I'm 4 inches into the shoulders, with one more inch before the first decrease. After that it ought to finish up quickly. There is certainly enough yarn left to make a big cowl, and if, as I always worry when making cropped sweaters, it's too short, I will have enough to pick up stitches along the cast on edge and knit it a little longer. With this yarn you'll never be able to tell.

This means that if I want (and I still do want) I can make the lace collar effect out of the gold lurex yarn - if I can figure out a nice pattern. Best of all, we got enough snow, and sleet is falling now, to close the library. A freebie holiday with time to knit!

Stay warm. Knit long.

posted by Bess | 7:11 AM


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Sunday, January 25, 2004  

Brrrrr. It's so cold today and I've answered so many letters I am about wrote out. The quick update is that I've attached the first sleeve to the body of the Stars sweater and am almost done with the second sleeve. Today's goal is to get past the first decrease in the yoke. And to spin a bit of the merino. And to needlefelt a little. I bought a foam pillow to felt on.

If I get warmer, and the time frees up I'll be back to write a bit about a triumphant funeral I attended yesterday. A life of great beauty achieved completion and a community celebrated it. Powerful stuff.

posted by Bess | 7:14 AM


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Saturday, January 24, 2004  

Dang it is cold. I can't remember a January where the deep freeze lasted so long. Weather-dot-com says it will continue through the month! Maybe even drop some big time snow tomorrow. Great fiber weather.

I spent yesterday on the phone, spreading the new garnered in Richmond on Thursday. It doesn't pay to be too gleeful, but I did indulge some wry smiles and enjoyed a few whoops from some far flung colleagues. My own library board was strung on the information loop, like beads on a necklace. Furious letter writing ought to be taking place about now - nice to know there is something constructive we can all do. But goodness gracious, I will be so utterly glad if this issue can be put to bed for another decade. With good luck and hard work, I shan't be around when the wheel turns again.

I didn't get in any knitting yesterday but there's a little more merino on HeyBaby's bobbins. I don't expect to get much done today, either. Beloved H has been promised the entire day. We'll gather and do some wardrobe surveying, hit the gym, attend a funeral, and drive on into the city from there, for a wee bit of shopping. I don't really like traveling when it’s so cold, but this is important bonding time and she is an important person. Important to my heart.

Watched Freaky Friday last night. It's very cute. I loved all three of Mary Rodgers' books, although Summer Switch is my favorite. But I never was a screaming, foot stamping, temper-tantrum throwing sort of teenager and my mama was really easy to get along with. I rooted a lot harder for Ben as he defeated the bullies, both parental and contemporary, threatening his happiness.

But movies made from books always puzzle me. Why do film makers change the plots so arbitrarily, when converting from one medium to another? Perfect example - Rodgers created a family where daughter fights with mother and son fails to impress father. Perfect opportunity for a sequel. In the books she does a first rate job. Things segue smoothly, make sense, and the tension can be hinted at early on in book one, ripe to be plucked at the end to create story number 2. So - obviously this movie begs to be sequelized. Why did they bring us a brand new, suck-up of a step-dad, for the brother to resist, while creating only a batty old grand-dad to hint at some future opportunity for switching?

Eh. While I enjoyed the movie, it's not worthy of deep reflection. It's a cute laugh. The lines, while expected, were not sickeningly trite. Altogether, a well done bit of family entertainment.

Hmmm. Not much a.m. time left if I'm to be at H‘s by 8. While I am out today I'll pick up a square of foam. I'm ready to add some serious needlefelting to my snowy day activities. I'm also in need of some nervous energy activity and knitting or spinning may not do the trick here. The idea of poking something repeatedly with a sharp object offers a more tempting release. While the work related Stuff seems to be pointed in a more pleasing direction, there is still OtherStuff on the plate. Some of it will be behind me this week, and MyFavoriteAstrologer warns me that this is the week when I should remember that:

If you speak before you think, you may end up rendering someone else speechless and giving yourself an awful lot more to think about. Try then, to pass the week with your mouth shut and your ears as open as they can be. Listen carefully to the clues and cues you are being given. Consider, at length, the best comment to make. If at all possible now, you want to extract as much information as possible from someone whilst revealing, in return, no more than you have to. Probably, eventually, you will have to say something. Meanwhile, if in doubt... say nowt.

So if my posts seem reticent or lack sparkle this week - that is why. This time I know it’s important for me to speak carefully.

posted by Bess | 7:08 AM


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Friday, January 23, 2004  

So yesterday my favorite astrologer said "Strike while the iron is lukewarm!".

Reader: Do you really believe that stuff?

Moi: (shrugs) I dunno

Reader: Oh come on Moi. You've got to be kidding!

Moi: (lifts eyebrows)

Reader: Yeah, right. So on any given day one twelfth of the population is going to be striking while the iron is hot?

Moi: No. I never said that. Do you take all the advice you are given?

Reader: Not usually from astrologers

Moi: Advice is advice and if it sounds like it might work, you probably ought to take it.

Which, my dears, I did. I took it to mean that, even though that which I felt obliged to do yesterday seemed futile, and I contemplated every strategy I could devise for ducking it, in the end I must gird loins, don armour, pull sword from sheath and venture forth across the line which reads "Here be dragons".

The armour, of course, was BD by my side. Nothing like having a GreatBigMan as a companion, to give you confidence. The sword was my sharp ears and ready tongue. Who would ever have believed that a certain political situation could suddenly turn in my favor? What if I had decided to go shopping instead of doing my dooty? What useful things I learned! What a fabulous joke, if the past 3 years of really nasty political maneuvering would suddenly turn on the maneuverors and grant me what I've wanted for so long? What a wicked grin I'm biting behind my placid face.

The only loss I suffered yesterday was one of my good leather gloves, dropped somewhere in the General Assembly Building, but I felt so much evil glee, I stopped by a big department store on the way home and bought another pair; this one lined with cashmere. Gloves in late January are a lot cheaper than gloves in November.

We spent lunchtime with Mama who celebrated her xxth birthday, somewhat subdued, for Daddy's recovery from last fall's surgery is very slow and she had a bump this week too. Chocolate Mousse Cake did some good, and, because the boys ate double portions, and the cake was small, we got the delicious treat but not the danger of overeating.

With BD doing all the driving I was able to knit, what looks to me, like the whole sleeve. I'll measure today but it's not quite so easy measuring a sleeve made of Stars. It's so slippery and furry it's a tad difficult to decide. Trying to measure in a car is not much different from trying to put your makeup on in a car. You can do it, but will you like the results?

Anyway - it's nigh on to being done. I plan to attach it to the body rather than try to put all the stitches on a thread holder. The fewer times I have to move those stitches from needle to holder to needle, the better. Then I'll start sleeve #2. They go mighty quickly. I am sure I started sleeve #1 after the weekend. Might just finish this baby before February.

The evening was spent with beloved friends P and D, full of company, conversation, and food of paradisiacal splendor. It is not often this WW graduate eats two deserts in a day, but then, it is even more rare to be offered Orange Angelica Cheese Cake with Shortbread Crust.

Now that I have made your mouth water you may go get breakfast - or lunch - as the case may be. I am going to go spin.

posted by Bess | 6:34 AM


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Thursday, January 22, 2004  

While not actually admitting to any specific, structured, goal-oriented, time-driven needlework at the moment, I am consciously trying to spend more time on my projects than in the recent past. (Cavil, cavil, cavil) This is good. Everyone needs evidence of productivity, but this ENFP ditherer needs it more than usual. Stuff is again happening in my life. Right now, my need for proof that I am a good girl is enormous.

Evidence on the spinning wheel is the second bobbin of lovely merino top, spinning up (Gad - I've never even measured it!) into a medium brown full of green and red glints. If you were to look at the bump you'd say "oh, a red yarn blended with some other colors." But those other colors combine to make said brown. I feel silly that I don't have the WPI, but I did make a control yarn. It's tied to a wheel spoke. I bet it will knit up at 4 st. to the inch. It's soft but defined and I am really tempted to copy the vest that Jen knit out of her handspun, made from the same fiber, but in a different color. She used some thickly spun angora to trim the vest and the fibers popped out of the yarn making the trim look like fur. Tres Chic et En Vogue. Besides, she wouldn't care if I copied her. We often laugh at how our tastes march together.

On the needles is the completed body of the Stars sweater and about 6 inches of sleeve one. Since the sleeves are 3/4 length, I shall knit only 12 inches before I join them to the body. It's going very fast and using very little yarn. I am positive there'll be enough for the detachable cowl, so I am more sure than ever that the gold lace trim at the last neckline decrease will work. No promises, now, not till I get there, but a real possibility.

This sweater will certainly be a ball of fire, er.. ball of fur ... um ... cloud of red fuz. I don't know what it is about wearing such a mountain of fluff that I find so attractive - the sensualist in me, I suppose. I really do strip down and roll in my Ab Fab fibers. A scarf may be more tasteful, certainly more adult, but the idea of wrapping myself in glitter/fluff/shine/sparkle/magic truly feeds something. I don't imagine wearing this garment much - only to parties during any of the Cold Red Holidays. (Valentines Day. Christmas. New Years. Chinese New Year.) And I can imagine it with jeans as a sort of in-your-face funky look.

I made something similar out of Dune. I bought a skein for a scarf. Went back for a second one thinking it wasn't enough. Bought more later. Realized I wanted to wrap myself in this glittery, fuzzy stuff, finally knit a cap-sleeved sweater with an enormous cowl and I do love to wear it except:

It is too bulky to fit beneath any jacket
The cap sleeves aren't warm in cold weather
The sweater body is too hot to wear in cap-sleeve-wearing weather
It's way too big on me now

I will eventually rip that sweater out and make something else with it - but that is for tomorrow - at Tara.

The final Proof-of-Alrightedness today will be BD's company as I trek to Richmond. There is nothing so wonderful as a BIG MAN to:

drive your car for you,
get it out of your hair while you do Stuff,
pick you up when you’re done,
add his BIG presence when you face Other Stuff,
take you away when it is all over,
poke fun at life
arrange a play-date with friends
take you home

I am so utterly grateful that I don't have to face rush-hour traffic and car parking at 8:30 in the a.m. in downtown Richmond during the legislative session. That, alone, is worth about fortylevendyhundredthousand dollars.

I haven't been able to get much exercise this week and I think it's affecting my spirits. Last night's new moon ought to have opened doors for me - and it actually may have, who knows? It just doesn't feel like it yet.

Hmm. But just think, I get to knit all the way to Richmond.

posted by Bess | 5:46 AM


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Wednesday, January 21, 2004  

Okay - no hard and fast goals yet - waiting till the new moon, tonight. But I got some knitting and some spinning in yesterday. I've filled one bobbin with the merino blend J gave me for my birthday. I'll start bobbin #2 today. And I'm in the first short row for the bust darts in the Stars sweater. Alas, I've already dug out some of the neatly put-away magazines, but that was only to take them to my Choose-Your-Project class' opening session last night.

I have 5 students, 4 of whom are intermediate to experienced knitters. The experienced one hasn't knit in ages and has never felted. She wants to make the BaaBaaJo’s felt hat to jump back into knitting. A perfect choice since it is fast and easy, and chic. 3 of the students want to do socks. This shall be fun and they'll be surprised at how quickly they go. If they like I'll suggest a second pair of socks with beaded cuffs. I encouraged them to try the 2 circular method but also assured them double points are not only fine, they are a fun skill to have, useful for showing off in front of non-knitters.

The 4th student wants to knit a Lopi-style sweater and ordered the yarn from Carodan Farms last night. That was fun. She has knit sweaters before and “none of them ever fit!!” It'll be fun to help her knit one that does fit. The 5th student is a beginner and she said she wanted to knit the basic stranded colorwork hat - she liked my sample, which, alas, is sadly tired looking to me. I really ought to make another one and retire this one to BD's closet.

This is very good. If I get 4 students in my beginner knitter class next month I'll have earned enough money for a Fricke Drum Carder! Woo hoo for me!

Best of all was being reminded of how much I love to teach knitting. I love to see the dawning wonder in the eyes of others. I love to watch fingers flex and then touch the fibers. I love seeing people realize they can do it.

Good soul stuff here.

Tuesday, being WW night, brought another good feeling. Ever since I hit my goal weight, before Christmas, I've been inching my way back up the scales. Last week I began trying to put a reign on the eating habits, but 2 days away and eating in restaurants, while not exercising, put me in a state of doubt. Not to worry, though. I dropped back to my goal weight last week. I also got in a good half/body workout. Maybe I can get in the other half today, but maybe it'll have to wait till Friday. I have a library board meeting this afternoon and it is, after all, Wednesday, and Wednesday means story hour. It's only 4 times a year, but on board meeting day I have to switch from kiddy-brain-mode to successful-adult-brain-mode, somewhere between noon and 4 o'clock. You mothers of toddlers will know what a feat that is.

Still, I have learned, after years of misery and frantic effort, to completely organize myself when it comes to board activities. If a committee accomplishes something between meetings, all minutes, notes and reports are done immediately. I keep the minutes of the board too (Creepy, I know, but it is a useful power structure for me, so I do it anyway. She who keeps the memory of the past, directs the future.) and they are always written immediately after the meeting too. This way, on board meeting day, I am not desperately trying to figure out my notes from 3 months ago. It is one of the very few ISTJ sorts of things I do.

Tomorrow is BegTheLegislatureForMoney day in Richmond. I’ll have to leave at Crack-O-Dawn. I've been doing this for years and, frankly, wish I could skip it this year. Only I promised to join a colleague, and it is a paid-for trip to the city. Also, it's my mama's birthday so I'll do my dooty in the a.m. and visit with her in the afternoon, then take her out to dinner. Thank goodness the cold is supposed to moderate. I dread the thought of walking around down town in sub-freezing windy weather.

I simply must learn to distinguish what the dial is saying on my clock. I think I'll shop for one with glow in the dark numbers as well as hands. (Bess hates digital clocks.) I popped awake this a.m. It looked like the hands were at 5. Instead of meditating myself back to sleep I just got up. Once downstairs, the kitchen clock told me it was 4 a.m. Sheesh!

Ahh - but- maybe an extra hour of spinning? Yes. Ta.

posted by Bess | 6:02 AM


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Tuesday, January 20, 2004  

I remember as a very little girl, my dad trying to talk his mother into coming for a visit. She wouldn't come. She hardly ever traveled outside her 10 mile circle of influence and if you wanted to see her you had better be prepared for a road trip. She lived in D.C., just up Wisconsin Ave from her Georgetown birthplace, in a comfortable Chevy Chase neighborhood. That day, when Dad disgustedly hung up the phone he muttered something about “that stick-in-the-mud. She won't even come visit her own son.”

Years later, while talking to Mama on the phone I invited them down for lunch. She had barely repeated the invitation before I heard Dad howling in the background about how he couldn't go anywhere; he had chores; he had responsibilities; what did I think I was doing asking him to drive 2 hours in the middle of the day, just for lunch?

The big joke is, I completely understood. There is a thread in our family that nests so utterly, so completely, that we can barely open our doors. I love my home. I love the light of afternoon streaming in through the windows. I love the snug way it holds us inside; so strong, so secure we didn't even feel Isabelle when she was knocking down trees, not 50 feet from the house. I love the brick walk that takes you out to the maple tree, surrounded by periwinkle I dug up from Rose Hill when LD was a freshman in college. I love my praying place, where sometimes the connection with the source is so strong I can feel my spine being stretched as I walk through it and my arms are lifted heavenward. I love seeing a light on, far across the field, when I drive home in the dark.

And I hate to go back to work after a long weekend.


But other than that, I'm doing just fine. Still slightly high from 2 days with fiber buddies. I have a heavy schedule this week, with a board meeting, schlepping around the legislature day on Thursday, and Mama's birthday dinner out and the first of my winter knitting classes. I'm hoping to have a class of students doing self-chosen projects, with me as the mentor; for intermediate knitters. I have 2 students for sure and the offer of several more if I can move the class to the local private girls high school. Seems more teachers want to take the class than are allowed off-campus on a week night. I'm perfectly fine with this and can't imagine any one else caring where we meet. Tonight is the general session where students can select projects and make plans for purchases. It's possible we'll head up to Fredericksburg on Saturday and do some major shopping. That's an easier trip than the one to Richmond, although if we go to R'nd we can also hit Ben Franklin which carries lovely Patons Classic Wool.

I got almost all of my knitting books, and darn near all my books, period, organized and shelved yesterday. I'm embarrassed by just how many books I have. Especially when you consider they were scattered everwhere, mostly in heaps on the floor. I didn't cull much, a few cook books and gardening books I really don't need or want, duplicate stuff, mostly. I had only 2 Family Circle Easy Knitting mags and I dumped one of them. I don't really need easy knitting instructions any more and I was uninspired by anything in the one issue I dumped. I didn't get to the 20 inch stack of all the other magazines. I'll go through them all slowly and see if I can, or want, to cull any of them and if so, they'll go into the back-issue boxes at the library. There are enough knitters in my community now, to justify the storage space.

The most interesting thing about this process was seeing how my tastes changed over the years.

I am so impressed by KnitDad and Martheme and their knitting goals I’m toying with making some of my own. I have so much stuff I want to do I almost don't do anything at all. I think setting up a schedule, with blank amount of time spinning each day and X amount of time knitting, would help me move through some of this stuff. I'm not yet ready to commit, but one thing I'm seriously considering is scaling back my computer time. I do spend an awful lot of hours here and my projects languish as a result. Besides, there is the garden looming - either I tidy it up or plow it under. It's beyond neglect, right now. It's a wreck. And I would like to draw more and even paint some.

No doubt about it. I need a second body to live the life I really want.

And there, my sweets, is the real motivating thought flowing beneath this steam of consciousness.

posted by Bess | 7:15 AM


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Monday, January 19, 2004  

Well. Falkland Island Polwarth is the best kept secret I've come across in a long time. What a fiber! It's long. Spinning it thin is extremely easy. In fact, it wants to be spun thin. The Spinners Notebook even recommends spinning it worsted weight - smooth and sleek. In many ways it spins like silk without the static electricity and fly-away fibers. If you have spun silk top or a blend with silk mixed in, you will recognize the similarity of Polwarth with it’s long stretchy fibers that will spin down to threads if you aren't careful with your drafting triangle.

It has tremendous crimp, though, so knitting with it is not like knitting with silk, which has no crimp or stretchiness at all. It's like your favorite merino. Or .. hmmm I am trying to think of the crimpiest fiber I've spun with - but I am drawing a blank. Just take my word for it, it’' very springy to knit with. BUT I suspect it won't pill at all, with those long fibers. Pills are the price you pay for the softness of cashmere or merino. Short fibers pop out of the yarn and get little tangles in them and the next thing you know, your garment is dotted with pills. I can't imagine this happening with Polwarth. In fact, I don't understand why Polwarth isn't the wool of choice for fine commercially made garments.

Not enough good things can be said about this fiber. It's a glowing white when washed. It is soft enough to make underwear out of it. It is fantastic wool. Just in case I didn't say enough good things about the fleece - let me at least tell you where it came from:

Susie Hansen of Main Point Farm in the Falkland Islands was my source. I found her in the Spinners Notebook.

It rained yesterday - all day long. LD came over and began sorting through his youth, which had been left, pretty much untouched, in his bedroom, back in 1994 when he went off to college. We're giving him the small set of shelves for his new place and keeping the large shelves along the west wall. BD tried to sneak those shelves away for me to keep his library of James Joyce but I wrestled him to the ground and, in the end, prevailed. All my knitting and gardening books get the upstairs shelves and the empty cabinet downstairs can hold my growing stash of beading, and now, felting, tools. We sacrificed Braudell for Joyce. Neither of us ever liked him anyway.

And today I get one more lavish luxurious day at home to spin and knit and rearrange my possessions and just be at home. What could be nicer?

posted by Bess | 7:39 AM


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Sunday, January 18, 2004  

I got this from Marg, who knits on the bus.

Pholph's Scrabble Generator

My Scrabble© Score is: 28.
What is your score? Get it here.


posted by Bess | 11:40 AM


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]



Really Really Long - Possibly more than you want to know

Some moments are so ripe with sentiment, sensuality and spirituality you find yourself waiting for them to burst with a physical manifestation, like a birthing. On Friday afternoon, as I stood looking through the doorway from Barbara's dye-room into the showroom of her studio, seeing the rhythmic motions of the spinners' hands, hearing the slight whirrrr of the wheels, the low, calming voices of the women, with the arching swing of N working the picker as J's graceful hands scooped up the flying fiber being tossed off its wicked teeth, my heart knew I was experiencing one of those moments. To try to describe such a supreme moment is a display of hubris on my part that tempts retribution. It is far more truly the right of the poet or bard, but the moment itself is too big for my soul to contain it. It must pour forth or I shall be immobilized by the wonder of it.

Of course there were many beautiful notes in the prelude to that glorious climactic moment. Friday dawned quite cold. As I sped away from home I saw LD warming up his truck - with naughty Socks, our yellow dog, skipping around his legs. He often walks over in the night and the dogs accompany him home across the fields. Priss never lingers, but lately, Socks has taken to staying at his house all night. He's good about not letting her in or feeding her, but she's smitten and love knows no bonds. Besides, she knows the way home and eventually, she'll get hungry. She was at the house yesterday when I drove up.

I'm always a tad frustrated on the trip to Charlottesville. It always seems to take longer than it should. Of course there is no direct road to C'ville from my house. One must either drive south then west then northwest or north then west then southwest to get there. BD has devised a straight shot, but it's down back roads and, while beautiful, must be driven slowly. It was hard enough, on Friday, to pay the debt of time to get there on fast roads. This was a day to sacrifice beauty for speed. I monitored the clock and from town to the moment I walked through the door of The Needlewoman into the loving arms of J and L, was 2 hours 20 minutes.

I am noticing that when I am with a group of like-minded women in a fiber environment, I have a hard time making my brain work. I'm so enmeshed in the sensuality of fiber, color, pleasure, friendship, love and delight, I have almost no judgment, no ability to act, think or decide. I can't really even knit if I let myself be a part of the experience, nor can I work on anything else, as I found out Friday afternoon. I have always thought I was a group worker - a committee person - not I, some Jack Horner, sitting in a corner, pulling out plums. I need People to get moving.

Well, that may be so, but I need solitude - no - no, I need to be apart, to get on with working, as I had to acknowledge yet again, later that day. Not even shopping can be done well, when I'm with delightful friends in an Aladdin's cave of desirable goods. It's fortunate for me that I ventured into this new place on a scouting foray, to just look. I would have been too excited and happy to make serious choices.

Anyway, there were hugs and smiles and loving words and huge grins and laughing voices when we three met and then coats were tossed onto a chair and we began the delightful process of touching, and ooing and ahhing.

When I assess a shop I'm looking for three things. First and foremost is a friendly atmosphere. This is not essential, mind - I shop to buy, not to be loved, but it is often a factor in whether I go back frequently or only when I am in need. The second thing I want is a good stock of quality wool in an array of colors. By wool I do not mean yarn. I mean the stuff off the sheep's back. I really truly love wool fiber. I love the way it takes colors. I love its elasticity. I love its springy tactile liveliness that invites touching. I love its scent, wet or dry. I love to sculpt it with needles and fingers. I like to wear cotton and silk and linen. I will wear synthetics. But when it comes to time spent with yarn - I want wool. The bigger the choice a shop offers me, the happier I am.

The last thing I am looking for is something unusual. Something nobody else has. Or at least, something unique to my experience; the shop's own line of wool; rare hand dyed yarns by a local artist; something different.

The Needlewoman has all three of my A-list requirements and it's certainly a shop I'll return to. It's large, airy and packed full of lovely yarns. The owner is present, friendly, helpful without hovering. Her assistant is a courtly looking gentleman who can talk fiber and knows the stock. The shop had the expected wall of novelty scarf yarns and I picked up two different glittery color-bits yarns to use with my dark peach Stars scarf. One is Eros with black tracks and color bits in oranges and golds and the other is Rialto, also with black string but more colorful flags. I'm not sure which one I'll use but the other will be given a home in some future happy project. Plenty of Cascade - a yarn I haven't used, but intend to. Brown Sheep, thank you, always glad to see that. And some Australian yarns in ice cream parlor colors full of the bright light of that very brightly lit country. It took monumental discipline not to buy a basket full of those colors, because a fair isle design for a hat began dancing across my inner eye the moment I saw them. I may yet have to return sometime soon - but the results of my November inventory were still standing sentinel on my pocketbook - and my inner peace. I resisted, but with real regret. The most difficult act of all was not buying that alpaca put up in 600+ yard hanks and priced at $25 a hank. $50 for an alpaca sweater was mighty hard to resist. But I also knew I had a trunk full of Falkland Island Polwarth, pounds and pounds of fiber and yarn at home, a sweater on the needles, two on the UFO list ... you get the picture. No yarn for me till I finish 2 sweaters. Period.

I did, though, buy XRX's new book Arans & Celtics: The Best of Knitters Magazine. Woo Woo. It really does have my favorite of Knitters arans and celtics. Especially the sweaters in the Fall 99 issue which I bought and have now lost. I am absolutely going to make an aran sweater in the next 18 months. I love cables. I love to look at them, touch them and wear them. But I don't own one. What is wrong with this picture? I also bought the Winter Vogue knitting magazine - because I like eye candy and I thought there were a few things I found inspiring inside. I haven't enjoyed VK in a long long time. It still has a bunch of soporific stuff in it, but the adds are better than ever. I applaud them, too, on the article on preventing stress injuries with healthful stretching exercises - particularly good were the explanations of injuries like trigger fingers. Good for them.

We lingered at the shop about an hour, chattering excitedly but I had an agenda - and L & J let me push them on. J knew how wonderful Stony Mt. Fibers was going to be and L was game for anything. Lunch was in one of those restaurants you find in a university town. Mr. Jefferson was nothing if not a connoisseur, and good food abounds. Cute waiter with a French accent didn't hurt either.

I have driven about in C'ville a bit but I wouldn't say I was familiar with it. Fortunately it was an easy shot out to Rt. 20 and a 15 minute drive up to Hammock's Gap Road. It's always further down that road than I remembered, when I go to Barbara's, but perhaps that's because I'm so excited about getting there. I will never forget the tight knot in my stomach the first time I drove up there - on the quest for a spinning wheel. Down the stony dirt road, then up and round and up and then, more up, to the green mail box and there is Stony Mountain Fibers.

Allow me to pause here and sigh.

I want to live in Barbara Gentry's studio. I want to pack a sleeping bag and when darkness comes, to lie on the floor surrounded by fibers and looms, wheels and needles, yarns and fleece, colors and books. I want the arms of a happy day to cradle me to sleep. I want the baa of sheep to waken me in the morning. I love this place. I love Barbara too. She is so calm and so peaceful. Her hands are graceful, as a weaver's ought to be. Her eyes are brimming with joy, for she is a woman who has followed her path with courage and love. I'm so glad to have found her and I'm so glad to have introduced other beloved women to her. How fitting that when I arrived, R and the girls were already there.

R is my oldest friend. Even older than BD for I met her about a day before I met him. When two chatter boxes meet, the first thing that happens is that conversation spills about in a froth of generosity all around them. It is a veritable bubblebath of sharing. That is how it was with L and me. But when you meet a QuietOne, the meeting is with the eyes. Even if you are a chatter box - when your eyes connect with a QuietOne, you know. That is how it was with J and that is how it was with R. We met at school, assigned to the same top floor in a high rise dormitory. I walked into one of the school cafeterias and there she sat, across the room and our eyes met and the thread of our lives spun together in that instant.

In the early years we were inseparable. There is nobody I have ever been as silly with as with R. We were silly and noisy and naughty as only 18 year old girls, fresh from our parent's supervision, can be. We pushed a number of limits, but only limits of absurdity, not of illegality, drugs, ethics or any of the other evil temptations. We were children of the '60's but we were both on personal quests and the radical movements fluttered around us, but never touched us. Art was our goddess, and the earth. Time has passed - thirty two years, in fact. Eventually we each landed on Rt. 631, albeit in different counties, married to land surveyors, who actually turned out to be distant kin, with a single child to delight our old age and more dogs than anybody needs. We heat our houses with wood stoves, live next door to intimate family members and shiver with delight when our hands plunge deep into bales of fiber. R is a better gardener than I; is more disciplined with all that she attempts; does not have mountains of stash and her house is tidier than mine. But those are merely differences of degree.

What delight it is to be in a place you love, with people you love. More than that, though, is a particular femininity that is brought out when women sit and spin. I really hate the term Stitch and Bitch. It makes me sad to hear it used, to see it in print, I was offended by the use of it as a book title, and just .. well. I just hate it. I hate the term bitch when it is applied to women unless they really are being bitchy. To call a gathering of women with fiber a Stitch&Bitch seems to condemn them to bitching about stuff. More to the point, I have seldom found women turning bitchy when they are gathered together around their wheels and with their fibers. Any two people may not like each other and be unkind or hostile or mean. But that's a personal thing, not a feminine trait.

Nothing could be further from the reality of Friday afternoon than the term bitch. These were beautiful women whose faces had blossomed with delight at the colors, textures and scents in Barbara's studio, and then relaxed into peaceful contemplation as they settled into their craft. They were there to experiment - to connect - to share. It was so pretty to see them, and it was extremely feminine.

And I was there to work.

I really did have a monumental job before me. My 3 or so lbs of F I Polwarth filled two trash can bags, but when we'd finished running half of it through the picker I still had two bags full, only they were now the lawn 'n leaf sized bags. The picker is a scary looking machine and we were all extremely careful with it. It has a curved bed studded with 3 inch sharp spikes and a pendulum curved to fit the bed, also studded with 3 inch sharp spikes. The pendulum swings back and forth in the bed. You feed the locks between bed and pendulum and it opens up the locks, tossing little fluffy bits of it onto the table in front of you. R's daughter J and her friend N spent almost all of the afternoon with me floofing (their own word for it) the fibers while I fed them into the electric carder. It took approximately 20 minutes to card a 3 foot batt on that big machine.

In my haste to have all the wool washed, I had not picked out the second cuts on some of the sections of fleece. STUPID. Once washed, those cuts were distributed throughout the fibers and there was no picking them out. What the carder removed I accepted with gratitude, and what is left I shall have to accept with grace. It changes utterly what I had in mind for this yarn - since it can be spun as fine as silk, with its long fibers and strong crimp. I shall just have to design something that displays the texture of the yarn I spin with it - and remember, next time I have a fleece, to pick out those second cuts before I do anything else.

I really had a choice Friday - to work with the fleece, or to linger with the BeauteousOnes. I chose to work, though I took breaks to join the circle often. It was enough to be able to hear the spinners in the other room. Besides, we realized almost instantly that this could not be our only gathering. We were going to have to do this on a regular basis. Monthly, perhaps? However we arrange it, we will cluster again in Barbara's wonderful studio. By 4:30 R had to leave, taking the girls with her. I was nowhere near done with my pickin' and a cardin'. In fact, I had made it through less than 25% of the stuff I'd brought. Since I was spending the night at R's house, it was decided that I would return with her and the girls on Saturday and see if I could at least card up another big chunk. Barbara took J and L with her to feed the sheep while I finished up one last batt and then we all went out to dinner. The same tenor of grace laced our conversation through the dark night, at the restaurant, along the ride home. We teased L with the most outre of our spiritual experiences, learned more about Barbara's life as a fiber artist, pumped J for news about Spirit Trail Fibers , ate copious amounts of food, and were impressed with J's ability to navigate at night through an unknown town, complete with blocked traffic and broken water mains, in freezing weather. All of us heaved blissful sighs as we drove back to Barbara's. Sighs that told the tale of repletion, fulfilledness, utter, complete satisfaction.

I peeled off after dinner, for I didn't want to be too late getting to R's house. It was a short enough drive, but I was surprised at how much traffic filled Hwy. 29 at 7 p.m. on a Friday night in January. I guess all of Virginia is filling up, but I do wonder where these people are coming from! It took less than an hour and I was soon in R's cozy house, with her Ds and her dogs and talk and laughter and that poking and prodding you can do in a beloved friend's house when you haven't visited for a while. They are renovating the whole bedroom area and both J and I spent the night next door in the house where EJ grew up. It's like all those wonderful old 18th and 19th century Virginia houses - with staircases that surprise and bathrooms in strange places and that wonderful smell of timelessness. Mrs.B was warm and gracious and with such a twinkle in her eye, and my bed was snowy fresh and cozy.

Saturday dawned with pink clouds dappling the sky over the blue tips of mountain tops. After a hearty breakfast, that pretty much lasted me till 3, the girls and I headed back to SMF. Friday's joy was still lingering in the studio. Barbara had already unlocked the door and we could hop right to it. There was so much fiber still to process, I decided to finish only the first bag full. I had to keep reminding myself that this truly is not the last trip I'll ever make to SMF, and I couldn't possibly spin all the batts I'd made over the next month or so.

It transpired that the girls ended up helping Barbara package felting needles - and I bought each of them a set, (Barbara contributed colored wool) - while R worked with me in the carding room. Once again there was gentle soft loving conversation, sharing with fingers and words and the tingle of two people who have loved each other a long time. And I did get that big bag done, and a little of the corriedale, which J and I bought last May. Just one big batt of it, to see what it is like. It carded so differently from the Polwarth!

But I will send that out to the professionals. I don't want to card for hours and hours. I want to spin and knit.

R&thegirls left about 2 and I lingered maybe another hour. Picked up some felting needles for myself, along with the most delightful little book about making needle felted creatures and Interweave Press's Tops with a Twist. First really different hat book I've seen in ages - it ranks up there with Zilboorg's hat book - but with more techniques that I have never tried. Barbara also had pretty much the complete line of Interlacements fibers. She had several yarns, including Little Toes, a mohair and I believe a boucle, as well as silk and merino roving in all the handpaint designs they offer. She also had their fiber card so you could order any of their yarns or fibers in their dye patterns. I picked up two hanks of the silk roving in vivid blue, green, purple, gold and orange. Yum for me. More blue than I usually wear but I am thinking summer tank top and I'm thinking about spinning and knitting it so that the golds and oranges are closest to my face. Ahh plans and plots and dreams.

The weather forecast was for wet falling stuff - an icy mix - and I was on the road by 3 p.m. The traffic was not bad driving home. Nothing tempted me to stop except for one comfort stop along I64. The only wet spot I encountered was in King and Queen county and that shower had already passed. A fine sleet was just beginning as I drove up to the door of home to find golden light pouring out of the windows, smoke curling out of the chimney and all the hugs this hug-hungry body needed, waiting there for me.

It had been a perfect two days that ended in a perfect homecoming. Yes. Sometimes, perfect is the perfect word.

posted by Bess | 8:57 AM


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Friday, January 16, 2004  

Off to Charlottesville. I'll take the corriedale as well as the polwarth. Be back tomorow with a complete report.

posted by Bess | 6:53 AM


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Thursday, January 15, 2004  

More body stuff, but not much

Still getting used to fitting additional protein into the diet, but already feeling the effects. The addition means something has to be subtracted and, boo hoo, it is the mid-afternoon sugar treat. Usually that's been the WW snack bar. Now it will be a piece of fruit, which I know, I know, is better for me anyway. And I'm a grown up - I don't have to indulge the half-hearted temper tantrum thrown by my inner-child. In fact, it can be fruit + cottage cheese which is somewhat tempting. Okay - another trip to the grocery store. Thank goodness we have a fridge at the library.

I've been swimming through molasses with a major project at work and was still behind time with my responsibilities and homework as of yesterday, when the committee was scheduled to meet. Instead of doing weights, I did a little aerobic stuff on the treadmill. I can read while walking by propping the book on the handlebar in front of me. I seldom do so, because neither exercise nor reading comprehension is pleasurable when I try to multi-task that way. I'd far rather daydream than try to wrap my brain around someone else's ideas, when I'm exercising. What I wish is that they'd put real book racks on a couple of those machines, because it puts a strain on my fingers holding things steady. In a perfect world, huh? hmmm. They do have a suggestion box - hmmm.

Anyway, the mistake was that I'd decided on no 3 p.m. candy bar (it is a candy bar, even if it is "fortified") but had not put something in its place. By the time I got out of the meeting, helped LD access something he needed on-line, joked with a couple of board members, helped a patron with a knitting pattern problem, and gone to the grocery store it was nigh on to 7 and I was famished! Dinner was lean pork barbecue - delicious and cooked by someone else to boot, but I ate a ton of it. Easily more than strictly equaling the 2 portions I had planned. So. Learn something new everyday - that 3 p.m. snack is an essential, not an indulgence.

But the good thing is I don't feel the threat of spiraling out of control looming any more. If you don't have a food/body/weight issue, it may be difficult to understand how this can overwhelm a person's life, till he begins to ignore the body altogether - after all there really is more to life than my body. Just that - without the body I don't get to live the rest of that life. I don't mean to obsess all the time about it - only some of the time.

Speaking of TheBod, it experienced its first real hot flash yesterday. It is amazing how really pink a sallow face can become when hormones wig out. Not at all unpleasant, though a bit surprising, my first thought was "Am I coming down with something?" But then, my first labor contractions, 28 years ago, felt good too. Boy was I in for a surprise.

As for the molasses swimming - we broke through that yesterday at last. Just like my horoscope said "useful dialogue". And ThankGoodness too 'cause I was beginning to worry about my effectiveness as a librarian. It's been a tough year to care about my job, much of which I can do on auto-pilot - but only for limited stretches of time. I don’t really do well in states of ennui, boredom, and limpidity. All my life I have engaged with passion or walked away. With my job I've been lucky that something has always come along to stimulate that excitement and energy, just in time to keep me from throwing in the towel. Yesterday seemed to be a watershed day and I hope it means a nice long flow downstream before we hit another containment pond.

Didn't get a stitch knit yesterday. I was so hungry and then so sleepy, I was worthless. As I crept up to bed, through my sleepy haze I heard poor BD mummer "But I’ve missed you so much". This is ominous, since I'm going to be up and out early today and tomorrow, when I'll be gone all day and maybe even overnight. Special attention is called for tonight - and then - it'll be the weekend, and a long one at that.

So. In addition to the HFs I am up at crack-o-3 a.m. wandering around downstairs. I believe I will take my Stars sweater and watch Patsy Z spin wool.

posted by Bess | 5:05 AM


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Wednesday, January 14, 2004  

"Here today, comes something rare and delightful. Useful dialogue."

All About the Body

With a little knitting

First the little bit about knitting - I've done 7 inches on the Stars sweater. I'm making a very light fabric with a lot of drape to it. It's a good red for me and it's very furry, glittery and youthful. As I work with this yarn I'm made so aware that it's prime use is to be knit into scarves. It'd be cute in lots of things where eyelash is cute, but it's utterly perfect for scarves. In the stash is one skein of a dark peachy pink and I'm going to make a very open mesh scarf from it, knitting it along with something else that has little color bits - either something with sequins, or something with beads strung on it. This yarn begs to be extravagant.

Now on to the bod stuff.

Okay guys - I hit my weight goal before Christmas, really in early December. At WW they give you 2 lbs of wiggle room and I was 1 lb. below goal. Well, since the holidays I have crept up, mincingly, but up nonetheless, till I am almost at the limit of my wiggle room. I expected excess over the holidays and I indulged in them. But the holidays have been over for nigh on to 2 weeks now and it's time the excess gets reigned in.

About the same time I officially hit goal, I began my weight training, in a burst of confidence about pushing myself more. This is a real Bessish thing to do. As a child, whenever I did something well and was praised for it, I'd always answer to the effect that “just you wait till you see what I do next time.” I wonder now, if that is the first inkling of my ENFP-idness. Unable to face completion, I'd set my sights on the next rung. It is true, I have a terribly hard time enjoying either completion or success. I am learning to do so - but I have no skill at it. Mind you, now, I was glad to reach my weight goal, but I was a little depressed about it too. What do I do next?

Well, I jumped right into weight training - and am thrilled with it. At the very first session, though, TthePT told me I would need to add some protein to my diet. Ha! I was not about to add anything to my diet. I already knew muscle weighs more than fat, suddenly working forgotten muscles would probably make me retain water, and yeah, yeah, yeah, muscle needs protein. Uh Huh. I know lots of things. Just don't always act upon that knowledge.

Anyway - the first 2 weeks on the WT regimen I was still learning the exercises and only did half the workout twice a week. It wasn't till last week that I had been taught how to use all the machines and had the time to really devote to doing the whole routine. By Saturday, when I had a nice block of time, and could do the entire workout, I was feeling really pumped. There is a sensation of having POWER when you work your muscles. Now - I haven't ever been very power mad. This doesn't mean I don't want autonomy. Woe unto him who treads on my turf. But I'm a Virgo. We like to do our stuff behind the scenes. If we are anything, we're more likely to be Machiavellian, though we're usually too kind and too interested in our own stuff to want to rule others. In power situations, we make super vice-presidents if the president is merely a figure-head (political appointee?) but it's true, we do have to be the president if that's where the decision making rests. Otherwise we turn into nags.

Okay - so - what about this POWER stuff. This desire for power? Ho! I didn't know you could get it from your body!! I didn't know that really strong muscles could make your brain think it could take on anything. I am suddenly wondering about gender issues and muscle/fat ratios. Who is looking for a master's thesis topic? I grew up in the Land-O-Gals and never did give much thought to how men ticked. I really like the female stuff and am most comfortable with it. I like the male too but more as an appreciative audience, and as such, am glad to have insight into what I'm seeing, but it's probably not something I'd ever do. Anyway - suddenly I have these stronger muscles - even if only 1 month stronger - and I'm feeling different. I'm feeling macho. More take-charge-ish (even if no guy on earth would say something like that).

I am also hungrier and hungry for protein. And I have discovered if you are hungry for protein, carbs won't satisfy you. Oh. Well. Darn. I'm normally a carb eater. No - I am normally a fairly balanced diner, grazing the whole length of the table. But I've always said if I had to be stranded on a desert island, the one food I'd want would be bread - or any wheat product. And if I'm hungry with an AICH, I'm likely to eat bread. Good bread. Whole wheat bread. Homemade stuff with oat flakes in it - but ... a grain product. And sugar. Yeah, I look for that sugar upper every day. Like 90% of the women in this world - but only maybe 30% of the guys I know.

So I come home from 90 minutes of the most fabulous workout I've ever had, starving, and begin chewing my way through the cracker box - only to surface, crumbs still on my chin, and still hungry. Only I've consumed the maximum caloric amount to stay within my weight. And I'm dying for meat which, no matter how lean, is always a high calorie food. Well. Rats.

Worse than that, I know I'm eating over the daily limit and don't like it, so I don't admit it. Don't write it down. Wing it. Pretend I’ll keep the numbers in my head - which, of course, is impossible, because the numbers make me feel bad, so I forget them as quickly as I can, so I'll stop feeling bad. Only now, of course, I feel bad for not writing and for not being able to remember and because guilt likes to linger in the brain of the malfeasant.

Do you see what is happening here? What an idiot I am.

And I am being a little silly. I know what to do. I do have a plan.

First of all I will blame TthePT. I mean, why should I bear the burden?

Man I wish I had a laughing smiley face to insert here.

Actually, I already did blame her, accusing her of giving me a post-hypnotic suggestion that I was going to be hungrier and want MEAT. She just laughed at me.

The real plan goes something like this:

Re-design my eating habits and patterns to include more protein. WW has lots of tips and suggestions about how to do this - I even have an entire little booklet to guide me.

Tale advantage of that momentary pause, when the urge to nosh hits. No matter how much it feels like I didn't have any choice, I always do. Always will. Indiscriminate eating is the result of running away from myself and letting an absurdly fast pace of existence make me think I had succumbed to a greater will. (The Dorito bag's will) What I really did was skip over the part where I listen to myself. Fast living is a farce. I believe I will call it that - after all, identifying the enemy is an important first step. So. No more farcical living for me.

S L O W D O W N , B E S S

For the first time I will have to invoke the WW saying "If you bite it, write it." It's a cute catchy phrase, but it's not something I've needed so far, on this journey. I need it now. Remember, I like to journal - that is, I've always liked it so far, but that was when I was eating familiar stuff. When I first began WW, I just ate much more controlled portions of what I already was eating. Now I am actually changing the balance of what I eat. This will take some getting used to. I wouldn't do it if my body weren't telling me I had to. Minute record keeping is the rule for the near future.

Most of all, enjoy myself. I'm really having a good time getting to know this old body. It's like rediscovering the reasons you fell in love with your mate. All those really nice familiar things, those special things you loved at first, but forgot about later, and even the new things that have been developing while you were looking elsewhere.

Yes. I need to remember to embrace the new. It's a criticism I often level at others - that they would rather continue to fail at something they can no longer do than succeed at something new. Well, it is time I follow my own advice.

Sounds like fun to me.

posted by Bess | 8:18 AM


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Tuesday, January 13, 2004  

The Christmas Socks are finished! Nothing left to do but present them, which I’ll do on the way home tonight, since it'll be late and he's likely to be at home. That's one of the sweet things about having a D living next door. Even when next door is a mile and a half away, it’s possible to just "drop by" after work.

Yesterday's Fiber Guild topic was needle felting. Oh No another fascinating addiction. I'd seen the speaker, a woman named Julie, at last February's quilt show in Williamsburg at the W'lbrg. Fiber Guild booth. She had darling felted bunnies and some beautiful shawls and scarves she had woven. She is where I think I long to be - retired - with time to devote to all her pleasures.

I've noticed and peeked and then quickly looked away from the needle felting stuff because the needles are so tiny and the projects are so intricate they looked like endless hours of utterly boring repetitive jiggling would be required to create anything.


Guess what? The wool felts very fast. Well, duh Bess, do you think people would enjoy it if it were endlessly boring? (yes. look at cross stitch)

Okay - enough conversation with myself. I found the process not only fun, but also fast enough to produce results. I got to try some needle felting on a little ball. You could use that needle to scuplt the felt into all sorts of shapes. I quickly punched the semblence of a little gnomish face in that ball. Now, woven through my secret sugar-coated soul, where the puffed sleeve girl in patent leather mary-janes lives, is a deep delight in little elfin creatures and other miniature diorama furnishings. I don’t have a doll house because I don’t have a flat surface in my house big enough to hold one. (That's my excuse and it's sufficient if not entirely true.) Now that my middle age eyesight makes focusing on tiny things irritating and frustrating, even with glasses on, I probably never will have one. But I can see myself making little felted creatures, if not for display, at least for gifts. And I can see myself embellishing with felting needles in a way I would not bother to do with embroidery or duplicate stitch.

The meeting was a real upper and worth the slightly guilty feeling induced by sneaking off from work on a short-week that has an Important Meeting smack in the middle of it.

New Knitting Fact learned:

When knitting with a rayon eyelash yarn, be sure to use some sort of needle cap on the tips - picking up dropped stitches knit in Stars is a b___!

Man - that took me by surprise. In the main I am a sloppy sort of person with my possessions. My house is cluttered and my desk at work is a wreck. I periodically tidy things up, but never seem to develop the system of keeping it that way. But this Stars yarn just may teach me new habits. Whew.

I really want this sweater. It'll be fun, funky, cute, different, fast and easy to make. But man-oh-man - this is not going to be true if I don't carefully stopper those needle tips each time I set the knitting down. BTW, those little red mesh bags that hold cherry tomatoes, still on their stems, make the best yarn bras. The mesh is fine, it’s just the right width to hug the yarn close without compressing the fibers. And they are also the only half way decent tasting tomatoes in the winter. And they are "free" vegetables on most diets! Some things really are just about perfect.

I have 90 stitches cast on at 2.5 st. to the inch. The ball band ought to have said, but didn't - I confirmed my gauge swatch on the web site for the yarn company. I've knit 6 rnds. in garter stitch and about 3 or 4 rnds in st. st. There is still some left in the ball - I'm not at all sure how many inches of 40 inch sweater tube can be knit from 100 yards of this stuff. I have 10 or 11 skeins, though. I plan to knit 11 inches of body, do the bust dart, then start the sleeves, which will be 3/4 sleeves.

It's been a long time since I've posted any photos or sketches or whatever. I shall try to do better. How about a red Stars sweater in time for Valentines day?

TA now. Today is Tuesday. Tuesday means Weight Watchers.

posted by Bess | 8:09 AM


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Monday, January 12, 2004  

A very brief entry today as I must dash out early. I want to attend the fiber guild meeting , which I attend only rarely, because it meets on a work day morning and is an hour and a half away. It's a very nice and creative bunch of women and a fellow library director is a member. She's doing a demonstration of steeks next month and I offered to help. I'm pushing it, to take off so much time right now, but I'm in the mood to push.

So - some important resonses:

First - to you SusanKS: - the Falkland Island Polwarth which is, btw, in huge snowy heaps piled on any flat surface I can find - came from the shepherdess Susan Hansen of Main Point Farm in the FI’s. I found her info in the Spinner's Notebook. She had provided the sample. When I contacted her it was DeadOfWinter down below, so I had to wait for springtime, and after her real spring work was done. She's not a retail establishment and ships her fleece to England every year. She warned me that the shipping is likely to cost more than the price of the wool but I insisted. I wanted something really special. I got it.

Necia and Jahara - thank you so much for the encouragement and advice about the hunger issue. TthePT actually suggested I add protein to my diet - at least one serving. Well - the whole thing is a fun journey and I'm sure I'll find that place of balance. I have another session with TthePT today and one more next week and then I'll probably settle into monthly sessions with her.

Finished the toe of Second Sock yesterday, ripped out toe of First Sock and got it back on the needles - and then started the Stars sweater. Yeah - I know. That's so typical of me, to get to the finish line and then wander off onto something else. Sigh. I swear I will take that darned sock with me to Fiber Guild and finish it. Enough is enough.

The Friday Event is ON and I am so looking forward to it. J, L, R and I will rendezvous in Charlottesville, dine, shop at the yarn shop, then head out to Stony Mountain Fibers and our darling Barbara Gentry. She's offered to let me use her picker and electric carder to card up all my F I Polwarth. I can stay till it's done! What a way to start a 4-day weekend! And it's only 4 days away!!

posted by Bess | 7:19 AM


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Sunday, January 11, 2004  


Alas. That's where I am right now. Surfeited with food first, and wondering just how much more I am going to eat if I continue to ramp up my workout. I was supremely hungry yesterday after the 90 minute session at the gym. I noticed this last Wednesday too - when I did a circuit with a tad of aerobics plus the larger muscle groups. Saturday's workout, though, was the longest I've ever done. Most of it was the weight stuff and I'm such a beginner with them I suspect it'll take less time as I gain mastery. There's an initial mental set-up I have to do with each muscle group. Each time I sit down at a machine, after I've set the thing at the right height and weight, I have to identify what I'm working on, doing a mental inventory of my body, then make a quick internal check of what I'm supposed to be achieving with each exercise. I am sure there will be a time when I don't have to do that - when I'll just settle down at the machine or with the weight, and work that muscle group. I just ain't there yet and it makes the workout take longer. Nevertheless, I am working harder and longer than ever before ... well, harder sounds like it's unpleasant. I suppose I should say I'm attempting to do more with the old bod than ever before and I find I'm hungrier than usual as well. One thing I have yet to learn to do is carry water with me - and there's a chance that some of this hunger is really thirst, but I've packed in more food this week than I did through the holidays.

This is the first morning I've had guests for breakfast, too - a sure pitfall for this weight watcher. House-of- guys, from teens to seniors, men who do things in a big way - men whose ways I really like and enjoy catering to. Especially when the teen likes to mess about in the kitchen with me. But plates of Smithfield bacon, eggs and pancakes later there is a decided misery in the belly that only adds to the bloat supplied last night at the Mexican restaurant. A very long walk in this very cold weather is very much in order.

There is also a surfeit of wet fleece stacked about the house. I should have - lawsee this weekend is full of should-haves but this one is another quantity issue. I should have washed that fleece a packet at a time, instead of filling the washing machine with hot water and fitting it all in. I enjoy working with wet wool, be it garments, yarn, fiber or fleece. I have a very modest textile plant in the house that includes a large window screen for drying, but it won't hold 4 lbs of wet wool. Though I want to have all this done by Friday, I ought to have washed a pound a day. Now there is a heap of the stuff that didn?t get thoroughly clean. If it were summer it?d be dry so fast it would hardly matter, but when it's 10* outside in the a.m. .... There's nothing for it, but to spend the next few days turning the locks and teasing them open.


Still, all this is but a prelude to some thoughts I've been having about the plethora of knitting verbiage out there. Thoughts may be too strong a word, since this ENFP is a feeler, not a thinker. But I suspect I'm reaching critical mass when it comes to knitting books, magazines, testimonials and perhaps even designs.

I'm not surprised. I have a maximum amount of yarn I can enjoy in my stash. Beyond that, I feel crummy instead of inspired. This is such a personal assessment I hope nobody who reads this thinks it's an actionable commentary on LiveAsItIsInTheKnittingUniverse. I'm talkin' 'bout me here and that's all the qualifying I'm gonna' do.

Friday's trip to Boarders was fun and productive, but I was disappointed in the new KnitIt mag, which was the initial reason for going at all. My local WalMart hadn't gotten its copies in yet and I was tired of waiting. I thoroughly enjoyed the first issue and liked the second enough to buy it. So - what was wrong with this issue?

Well - there was nothing new in it. Eyelash trim? Everywhere. A sock primmer? Man what I wouldn't have given for that 3 years ago, but there have been so many sock articles and books published lately, I can't figure out why they bothered? Easy Knitting For Beginners? Yet again? It's enormously tempting to utter my most despised snappy teen comeback "Been there done that...." Boxy sweaters for kids in bright colors. I don't begrudge them in the magazines, but I don't need patterns for them, nor do I really need a pattern for a plain felted tote with eyelash knit into it.

I have heard magazine editors say they like to include easy projects so that beginners won't be discouraged by the projects and will actually buy the magazine. But how will a beginner know if a project is easy or not, unless it's labeled - something I doubt I'd do if I were a magazine editor, because what's hard for me is not necessarily hard for you. My first project ever was a Norwegian ski sweater and though I did a wretched job of it, I certainly made it - and the wretched job was because it was a HUGE job, not because it was a difficult one. I?m attracted to stylish projects, not easy/hard/or in-between ones. Stylish and different and unique. That's where I spend my money.

I thought this issue of KnitIt was sadly lacking in any of those qualities and since it's an annual - something folk are beginning to look forward to getting, they ought to put a little more emphasis on projects for experienced knitters.

That's why I bought the INKnit winter issue, instead. It has an article on knitting roving into your garments for added warmth and another on knitting shapes to fit a paper pattern, like a sewing pattern. It also had an article on sizing up or down someone else's design, which I have yet to read. In fact, there weren't all that many actual sweater designs I wanted to make ... maybe none, but I felt that after reading this issue I would know more than I did before. With KnitIt, there was no opportunity for growth. And since the $ I was spending was my own - and for me - it's easy to see where it was going to go.

Towards the bigger picture of knitting publishing, alas, I am feeling pretty much the same. There are so many new knitting books out there these days. Time was, and not all that long ago, a visit to the craft shelf offered about 10 different titles, with three of them being different publications of Elizabeth Zimmermann's Knitting Without Tears. I?m glad there are so many gorgeous, colorful knitting books, with stories, recipes, meditations and philosophies woven among the patterns. Or perhaps, with more honesty, I can say I don't mind that there are and would certainly rather have too many than not enough. But at $40 a pop, I can't really see my way to buying all that many.

Again, just how many eyelash and glitter scarf patterns do you want - if you really want any at all? Again, the easy projects - I am not ever going to knit a holder for my cell phone - if I ever do get a cell phone. I don't even keep my glasses in their darn case half the time.
MyEasyFirstSweaterKnitOnNeedlesAsBigAsFencePosts designs are, not only ubiquitous, but at this point, not really very flattering to a busty, shortwaisted, even if slimmer, 51 year old.

I don't mean to dump on these books. Well. Maybe I do. Maybe what I'm looking for is SoYouThinkYouKnowHowToKnit,Huh?JustTryThis designs.
Still on my list of books I want to buy:

Barbara Walker's 1st and 3rd Treasuries
Anna Zilboorg's Knitting for Anarchists
One of those northern European twisted stitch pattern books - maybe
Something printed about two end knitting - another northern European technique I'd like to get under my belt.

And then, I have deeply personal responses to certain colors and shapes. The Niki Epstein embroidered jacket in one of last fall's issues of Knit 'N Style made me drool. It didn't look really hard. In fact, it looked like something I could do fairly swiftly. No teensy needles using thread. No complicated structure. It just thoroughly pleased me and I wanted it in my life - if only in 2 dimensions. I may never knit it, but I want to own the possibility to knit it and you can be sure, I put my money down for that issue.

But even when I like something, I may not buy it. It's awfully tempting to buy things rather than to do them. I have 2 shelves of knitting books. I have enough yarn, roving and fleece to knit 20+ sweaters. I have only X number of hours to play each week. I spend a rather substantial chunk here on-line. I have LovedOnes who want my participation in their lives (as soon I finish this row). Adding one more book to my life can feel like I've interrupted the feng shui or short circuited the karmic currents. Whatever, I did not buy Melanie Falick's Weekend Knitting, although I really liked it. I suspect it just came out at the wrong time in my life. I can imagine settling into a deep bubble bath in a scented room, my head pillowed and the tea steaming by my side as I leisurely flip through the pages.

Just not yet.

posted by Bess | 11:18 AM


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]


Delightful, but unexpeced guests are here, surprisingly early risers. All guys, so they're sure to be out of the house as soon as it's high noon and the night owls among them creep out of bed. It's cold as blue blazes - that must mean they'l put one of the boats in the water and risk life and limb on the river. Hey, why not? Who's gonna let a little thing like hypotermia stop you? Or perhaps a walk to up to Rose Hill.

Anyway, I'll be back later with my collected thoughts about increased appetite as a result of ramped up activity, critical mass in the world of knitting literature, and the folly of trying to wash all the F I Polwarth at once, in the washing machine.

posted by Bess | 6:27 AM


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Saturday, January 10, 2004  

I spent the yesterday pacing, nibbling, and being altogether antsy, waiting for the tax lady, talking to the tax lady, and being relieved when the tax lady was gone. This is the IRS tax lady, my dears and we are being audited, which seems such a waste of time, since it is obvious that the error was mine, it was in their favor, I would never have discovered it, and now we are due to get a rather substantial refund. I believe I shall stake a claim for it, for fiber spending, since I am the one who has always borne the brunt of ThatSortOfThing. (paperwork).

Anyway, she left about 1. And though she was as pleasant as an IRS auditor can be, and she has to come back again in a few weeks, (lawsee I hope not on the 16th!) we felt like naughty kids let out of school. BD had some work to do in the early afternoon but once done, we fled to F'burg and had a delightful celebratory meal + shopping at Boarders. Not the least of the pleasures of going somewhere with BD is that it gives me a chance to knit and since this trip is an hour long over deeply memorized countryside, he doesn't complain that "I'm missing all the scenery". I am 10 rows from the toe of LD's second sock!! It will be finished this weekend for sure and the toe of the first sock shall be kitchenered and I will be released to creative freedom!

After way over-eating at the Hard Times Cafe, Texas Chili for Himself and the one with cinnamon in it for me, we meandered the back way out to the most gaudy, ugly, crowded shopping village you could imagine. It's been under construction for years now and it is, without a doubt, the supreme monument to bad taste. And somehow I find it fascinating. One of these days I'm going to take a day and just explore the whole thing. But believe me, it is Ugly with a skyrocketingly high U.

It is also where the Boarders is and we were on a quest. Two quests, actually, for I wanted to see the new KnitIt magazine and we both wanted to get another opera DVD.

We’re relative newbies to the world of opera. When I was wallowing in the depths of EmptyNestSyndrome after LD went off to college, BD tried in all sorts of ways to help me and one of them was to buy a CD of Rigoleto, call me up at work, request steaks for dinner (it was still warm enough to eat out on the porch) and urge me to not linger a moment longer than necessary in town. I hustled of course, and we had the most glorious evening, sitting in the dark, replete, after a delicious meal, slightly glowing from the wine, and being swept up in the mysterious intrigue of murder, rape, sorrow and death that is Verdi. When the duke sings Bella fillia del amore, I simply wept. Chill bumps traveled up and down my arms when Rigoleto hires Scarafuccio to murder the duke. The scariest of haunting melody carries them along, but it is so secretive that neither singer sings the tune - only the cellos! Lawsee it is thrilling.

When we started buying operas on CD they were expensive and you can still drop a bundle on them, but I have noticed they’re coming down as more of them are produced. We have a fairly nice collection - growing big enough that we now have to find space to store them. And now, we have begun another category of musical bliss - opera DVDs! BD gave me a copy of Aida for Christmas. It took us a while to get around to watching it due to all the emotional swings of the holiday, but we did see it this past week and were enthralled. It stars Pavarotti - who is, I’ll confess, my favorite of the tenors - delighting me with his oboe-like, reedy voice and thrilling me with his ability to take it anywhere. It is also the first opera I ever saw, fortylevendyhudred years ago when I was a music student in Italy. I didn't enjoy it half as much then, as I did last Wednesday night.

This time we picked up Turando.

I see I am very short of time, I have to leave for work at 7:30 and it’s already after 7. If I can I'll get back to this post or maybe continue it tomorrow.

Suffice it to say, I did not buy KnitIt and I looked at a ton (3 shelves, anyway) of knitting books. I did buy the INKnit winter issue - and I have opinions about it all.

posted by Bess | 7:13 AM


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Friday, January 09, 2004  

I am not feeling very inspired today. We're waiting for the tax lady to show up and I really haven't any idea where it will go from there. Crumbs.

Oh. Well. Really. I am the only one waiting, since I am the only one awake!

But since I really do know that all things end, and nothing is sure but death and taxes and, oh, a bunch of other platitudes, I am doing what I always do when I have a TASK looming.

I think about Tomorrow-at-Tara, of course.

Or even This Afternoon at Tara - when I will be able to spin up the beautiful rolags of F I Polwarth (gosh, I wonder if I am spelling that right. I really ought to check). There is another box of the stuff waiting at the PO - too big to fit into my mailbox. Woo
woo. NewSweaterIdea - here I come. But this much fleece means I really do need access to a drum card. I am thinking of sending up a begging plea to dear sweet Barbara Gentry. I am sure she has a drum card and possibly I could drive to C'ville and "rent" it for an afternoon. I need more bobbins for HeyBaby anyway. Maybe that could be turned into the January 16 event. I hear there is a new yarn shop downtown.

Not that I need any more, new, or other stuff, beyond the afore mentioned bobbins - and I'm even a little nervous about them. Start-itis in knitting is bad enough - what will I do with more bobbins of singles, unplied and yearning, with SecondSockSyndrome, for their partners. I am abundantly endowed with more toys than I can use in a half dozen years, what with the amount of time I have to play. I suppose it is January-itis - but several of my favorite fiberbloggers are having the same issues - too much stuff, not enough time to enjoy it. Here’s Clara’s hilarious solution to the TooMuchStuff. And here is fiber-twin Martha, singing a duet with me about NotEnoughTime.

Okay, I haven't anything else worth saying, so I'm going to go pace the livingroom floor ... or knit ... or spin ... or day dream.

posted by Bess | 7:25 AM


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Thursday, January 08, 2004  

Falkland Island Polwarth

Oh lordy - it's even better than I thought! First - it's the cleanest wool in the grease I've ever seen - barring Barbara Gentry's Cormo fleeces. There is virtually no trash. I put it in very hot water with Euclan and let it soak while I was in the shower, gave it only one very hot rinse, then spread it out on a towel to dry. It was so pretty - so exactly the creamy white color that makes you dream of lace shawls or fabulous Aran sweaters. When I got home last night it was mostly dry and looked like an angel cloud had settled down on the top of the washing machine. I took a few locks that were surely dry and carded them into rolags. There are a few second cuts but not many and I carded them into the rolag - what the heck - I'll see how it looks slightly textured.

The yarn it makes.


Be still my heart.

It has a frizz to it because rolags spin up into a woolen texture. It glows on the bobbin! It's a long fiber - 4 inches easily - so you can spin it soft. The ply was simply beautiful.

I'm not all that expert a spinner and I quickly lose my technique when I stop spinning - something I must do if I'm knitting seriously (read here "Christmas Gifts") so it's been a while since I've sat at the wheel. (She was grumpy about it too) Even with rusty technique, though, this wool makes a beautiful yarn.

That wooshing sound you hear is my happy sigh.

But I couldn't give as much attention to the beautiful Polwarth - a 4th bag of which awaited me in the mailbox last night - as I'd like to have, because I had dreaded IncomeTaxCrap to do. Thank heavens it went swiftly. We both hope that stuff will be finished on Friday. I've taken the day off, to work on it, and hope it's all over early enough to give me the afternoon to play, especially since I have to go into work on Saturday to aid and assist the network repair guy. Again - that ought to be a half day expedition - but it's certainly a spinning interruption.

Got in another weight session yesterday and continue to be utterly thrilled with them. This time only lower body. I can already feel a new definition to my legs. Can't wait till I can see it in my spaghetti arms. I also made the decision to take 5 more lbs off. There are three dresses and two suits left over from my youth that I would like to get into. Mind now, I may never actually wear any but one of them. While all styles return, (Ack! Look at hip-hugging bell bottoms!! My gawd! They are sooo ugly!) they usually do so slightly altered. I may never want to wear those Dynesty-esque shoulder pads in public. Nevertheless, I want it to be a fashion decision, not a body decision. Having that option will require a wee bit more effort. I'm at a point where losing more weight actually means eating less - just a teesny bit less - say - 8 pretzels less or 2 apples less - or one Skinny Cow ice cream sandwich less - but still less. I make no vows on this issue. I'm just experimenting now.

I keep thinking I ought to get the sketchbook out....

And have you noticed? It's still light out at 5. Can daffodils be far off?

posted by Bess | 7:22 AM


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Wednesday, January 07, 2004  


How much can Bess get in before she has to dress for work?

Here goes:

Jahara, grand to hear from you. I am always wondering how you’re doing and miss your pithy comments a lot - on whatever, mind, not just on knitting. Catherine, good on you, as the Aussies say, you and offspring, for shaking your booties. I, too, think exercise is an essential - like food, shelter, water and clothing.


In fact, if I were in charge, no one could have elective orthopedic surgery without 6 weeks or 6 months of regular sessions with a personal trainer first. After watching my mother go from being something of a cripple to a real cripple, beneath the hands of auto-mechanic egomaniac orthopedic quacks, who never once looked at the person they were performing their fancy-shmancy acts upon - I think they should all be locked up.

Anyone in such bad shape she needs to have her knee replaced has not walked in years; has instead sat, depressed and in pain, often doing nothing much of anything. It will have been ages since she carried in a 20 lb. bag of groceries - upper body muscles, always the first to go, are about as useful as cooked spaghetti. So now some jerk with MD behind his name, a yacht payment to make, and blinders on his head, comes in with knives and drugs and smashes what's left of the rotten leg, and then tells her to hop on the other foot and while supporting herself with those spaghetti-arms and using a walker!

What is wrong with this picture?

And what if he has 2 yacht payments to make? So he does this twice in 12 months! And what if he has never asked this woman if she has a history of vigorous exercise? What if he doesn’t give a ____? What if he tells her "My patients don’t need scooters. My patients all get well." And what if her idea of exercising is to lift a paintbrush - with grace, skill and artistic magic - but by golly, not with free weights attached? I think it is criminal!

And just think for a moment - what if he had told her no surgery unless she spent 3 hours a week for 3 months - with a personal trainer, to be sure she was really building muscle, not just using momentum to swing weight around. What if her back, abdomen, arms, chest, and shoulders had gotten some vigor back to them - what if, huh? How much less pain she would have suffered. How much more quickly she would have been mobile again. How much faster the blood would circulate, even when she's sleeping!! - carrying health-building oxygen to healing muscle? Heck! How much less would it have cost the frickin' insurance company if they had paid for a whole-body, whole-person approach, instead of the auto-mechanic’s approach?

There otta be a law!


I got home yesterday to find 3 packages in the mailbox. Oh happy day! It's Falkland Island Polwarth fleece from Susan Hansen of Main Point Farm, Falkland Islands FIQQIZZ. How cool is that? It's gorgeous. no... it is


I am soooo excited. I discovered her in the Spinner's Notebook, the source of which I haven't time to track down, but which I bought at Stony Mt. Fibers (see link to the right) last May.

This is a soft, fine, crimped wool with a beautiful color even still in the grease. I'm shivering at the thought of it - and will wash some this morning and lay it out to dry while I'm at work. I’ve just got to spin a tad of it tonight, even if I am dooty bound to do income tax stuff too. I'll have paid a fortune for it - Susan gave me an estimate up front, but is billing me after she receives notice that I've gotten the shipment. Paying more for shipping than for the wool, I suspect. After all, it came from an island off the coast of Argentina! But it's something I've drooled over for a long time. In the end, the yarn I spin from this will cost as much as a high end commercial wool yarn - but I will have that little delighted secret knowledge that it's not a h-e-c-wool, but uniquely mine.

I'll have more to share about this gorgeous stuff after the weekend.


Looks like a yarn crawl outing is in the offing. Who's up for lunch in Middleburg and a day at HCY? Jen? Lissa? Miss Poo? I know Robyn wants to go. What do you think? I have January 16 off, and it’s a Friday....

Still on target with WW, btw. 3 more weeks and I'll be considered "lifetime". I've actually put on just under a lb. but I haven't tried to loose anything during the holidays. I am thinking, though, that I'd like to go down about 5 more lbs so today I begin anew with the actual weight loss part of things.

Okay - still have 20 minutes to eat breakfast and chat with BD. Today is Wednesday. Wednesday means Story Hour.

posted by Bess | 8:23 AM