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

2 Comments:

What a wonderful story! On my walk through woodsy southern Oregon tomorrow morning, I'll think of you and count my own blessings.

Thank you, Bess...

Carol

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:46 AM  

I am trying to find national roofing contractor association people and found your blog while searching. I totally agree with that...

By Blogger jon, at 10:44 PM  

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Sunday, October 31, 2004  

We call it Indian Summer. When I was a girl I thought it was because the Indians invented Thanksgiving and it wasn’t till after their summer that they put on the feast. I also always looked forward to those few more days of going coatless and hatless to school. Those pieces of clothing are nothing but a burden to children - you have to put them on, take them off, remember to bring them home, remember to not leave them on the bus, stuff them into lockers and, ugh, hang them up when you get home. When it gets really cold, you’re glad enough to have a coat and, till they get wet, mittens or gloves. But mostly you have to get old enough to care about fashion before a coat is anything but a burden. So when the leaves turned to burnished gold, these warm days of Indian Summer are a sweet reminder of the taste of freedom one little schoolgirl used to savor.

Yesterday, BD woke me from a luxurious afternoon nap and invited me on a cypress hunt. The coastal south east used to be awash with cypress trees - huge deciduous conifers that like to grow in swampy areas or even in water, thrusting up pointed root nodules called “knees” out of the surrounding landscape. They were extremely popular as roofing shingles in colonial times and now there are very few cypress swamps left. We, of course, live along a marsh with swampy fingers thrusting up into the high ground and own a part of White Oak Swamp, across the tar road from us. When we cut the timber on it, back in the 1980’s BD planted the whole thing with ash and cypress. He would remember the exact year he planted them, but I will say only that it’s been a good 15 years or more and they are getting big now, thrusting their October bronze colors up through the gum and poplar and oak and holly that sprung up as well, after the sawyers had been through. He planted more cypress all along our marsh front and in the fall we like to go see how many of them we can find.

If you have never seen a forest re-seeded, you might wonder how anything as tiny as those little wisps of twig and leaf could ever become a tree. Oh - you would know it - you know from a tiny acorn the mighty oak will grow - but who really believes it? And those baby cypress are prey to deer-nibbling and antler-rubbing and being crushed by deadfall or storm damage. Still, life is tenacious, especially tree life, and eventually the strong prevail.

The cypress is a very straight tree with limbs that thrust out at nature’s right angle in every direction. It’s leaves form a fern-like green fringe, delicate green in the spring, darkening in the summer and becoming the richest bronze in autumn. It is in the early spring and autumn that you really notice them. Since ours were planted in an already luxuriant swampy landscape they have had to struggle to find their way to sunlight. Some survived - a good many did not - or so we have thought for years and years. What is exciting, though, is that every year we find another survivor, broken free at last from it’s leafy mature forest cover, and stoutly proclaiming it’s dominion as it begins it’s visible climb to the sky.

The walk through the woods takes off from the north east corner of our yard, down a pretty little path that BD built nearly 30 years ago. It runs along the bank a while, with a fairly open understory, the swamp to the left, and the high ground rising to shoulder height on your right. Eventually it slopes down to the middle swamp, where there is a plank bridge across the little islets to the other side. Yesterday it was dotted with freshly fallen leaves in yellow and that meloney pink of the sweet gum. Here is where we begin to count the cypress trees. All of these are familiar and most of them are in the 15 foot range, though there is one little sprig of a tree, not yet 3 feet tall, at the very far end of the bridge, that will have to work hard to find it’s place.

From here one can turn left and wander around the whole of Mossy Point, or go straight, taking the shortcut through the woods out to the mailbox. We took the path to Mossy Point. It’s called TheSecretPath because once ,when LD was a biggish sort of toddler, we played all afternoon out on Mossy Point and on the way home we lost our way. I knew we could find our way back if I got to the edge of the dry land and went along it till we were back to familiar ground. But walking west along the banks of the middle swamp the path rose up a little hill and disappeared into a tangle of mountain laurel. Logic told me it would continue, but even as we reached the top of the hill it still appeared to have just stopped. The crooked branches of the laurel looked like witches twisted arms, reaching out to grab little Hansel and Gretel. The two of us pondered and wondered and talked about how spooky it looked, but once we reached the very summit of the hill we could see the path winding down and to the right, beneath the canopy of shiny green laurel leaves. We dubbed it TheSecretPath and so it has remained to this day.

In the late afternoon sun, the middle swamp was ablaze with color. Walking along TheSecretPath going eastwards, we stopped and pointed out our discoveries, several standing strong out in William’s Island - the little bit of high ground mounding out of the swamp, where BD planted a cluster of saplings. At some time during his childhood LD built a bridge out to that island - perhaps burying pirate’s treasure, perhaps escaping pursuit. We discovered two big trees that we had either never seen before or had forgotten that we had. As the path nears Mossy Point you can view the marsh and even see the pier and the boats. Every year the marsh grows thinner and this fall we are having extremely high tides. Water is lapping the shore now, where once it wore a thick skirt of cattails.

From Mossy Point the path rises high above the wetlands affording a magnificent view across the Rappahannock to Westmoreland County. You can see the swimming beach from here and sometimes I think I can see a hint of the cliffs on the far side of the river. This point is wider than the point where we built our house. It’s high too, and open, for the forest is old here. It also has some gaping holes, for Isabel did plenty of damage throughout the entire east woods last year. There used to be the most magnificent beech tree on this point - so big you could see it from the river. It died not long after we moved to the farm and has been shedding it’s lifeless limbs for years now. Halfway across the point is a path that takes you to an intersection, BD calls it Downtown East Woods, that will take you back to the Middle Swamp or out to the edge of Jacob’s Gut, the little stream that forms the south boundary of the farm.

That stream, too, is dotted with cypress, though far fewer of them survived the first planting, since long about ‘96 a colony of beaver moved in and dammed up the stream. The resultant flooding killed off many a maple and oak tree, whose stark gray skeletons lean this way and that, like so many ghosts. It was sad at first, but we come to remember that this is nature’s way and their death flooded the whole swamp with sunlight. The beaver moved off in ‘02, during a drought of centurion proportions, and their dam is slowly eroding. Last spring, the D’s planted another hundred cypress trees and it won’t be many years before we are discovering them as the earth tilts our little plot of land away from the sun and their baby green leaves burnish beneath the autumnal light.

All through the forest we found golden pools where a tree had dropped it’s leaves. The gum trees, our most glorious for color variety, are all fairly yellow this year. There was so much rain this summer that most of the deciduous trees have a heavy does of mold - a sort of arboreal black spot. Hundreds of beautiful white mushrooms had sprouted everywhere, filling the air with their earthy scent. They are so smooth and glistening and white they ought to be food - but I have never felt confident enough to try them. We discovered another fascinating fungus, blooming on the ground like an enormous golden flower. It was easily a foot across and unfolded in fungal petals. Little forest bugs were crawling all across it and landing on it, seeking it’s riches for food or shelter.

We spent an hour or so out in our little forested wonderland, traversing the paths, remembering those early days, recalling happy memories. At one point it suddenly hit me, that every yearning hunger I had in those early days has been fulfilled. Oh, mind you, now, I am sure there are going to be many longings and wantings and yearnings that I will have in the future. Man does not stop wanting just because his wish is granted. But I could honestly say that those things I ached for the most, throughout my girlhood and adolescence and even young womanhood, were mine now. Love. Good work. A place to come from. A place to go back to. Joy.

The richness of the autumn woods was a fitting backdrop for the richness of my own life. It was a moment to stop and just savor. To give thanks. And as we returned home, the last golden sunshine flooded across the sky, not glittering, but transforming everything with it’s deep vivid color. Arms flung wide, I could only spin a slow revolution in some ancient pagan dance, dredged up from the very DNA of my soul, bathing myself in this honeyed starlight. And I leave you with this wish: May you all remember to welcome this gift from the Indians, this pause before winter, this memory of easier days, with a walk through the woods.

posted by Bess | 7:47 AM

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Saturday, October 30, 2004  

I thought I’d posted that I had to be off to a convention for a few days. I certainly wrote to somebody that I’d be out of town. I know it is in the blog somewhere, but probably in some early October post about “What the future holds for me.”

Anyway, I’ve been in Colonial Williamsburg ... well, in a hotel on the fringe of it, for the past 3 days, at the annual VA library assoc. convention. It’s held every October, but I haven’t been too active about participating in statewide library stuff for a while. Last year I skipped it altogether because it was held at the Homestead, in faux luxury, entirely too far away for me to feel like making the trek, and smack in the middle of Daddy’s surgeries. Besides, I’ve been pretty bitter about the library community as a whole as they pitched a 4 year collective hissy fit over TheCertificationIssue and then got the rug pulled out from under them in a legislative action that could have been so easily side stepped by making a simple, administrative decision with a long precedent. They still are flogging that poor dead horse in the most pathetic manner, letting the far greater issue of state funding for library initiatives idle on the sidelines, starved of the collective energy and passion. Eh. Fools them. “Lose gracefully” is my advice. Thank god I only had to listen to an hour of it. Greater thanks that they aren’t instituting some sort of toe blasting action.

The convention itself was pretty good - this year’s president is the sort who would pull off a convention with style, panache, and even a hint of wicked spoofing glamour. We had an Elvis impersonator at the grand opening of the exhibits ceremony. What a hoot. The guy was very good, too. The real thing in both voice and perfectly coifed black hair. Actually he had a lovely voice - though most of the Elvis songs are silly. I never was much of an Elvis fan; too young, but once on a trip through Mississippi, we stopped at the Elvis Birthplace Shrine.

One of the disappointing things about these conventions is that frequently the sessions I really want to attend are booked for the same time slot. In my case, as a director of a small library, where I wear all the hats, it’s tempting to try to attend sessions on as many different topics as possible. Trouble is, much of what goes into the ear never even lodges in the brain - just slips out the other ear, because the brain just can’t leap from The Value Of Graphic Novels In Your YA Collection to Inspiring Leadership in Your Friends Group to New Technologies in Your Library with ease. Certainly not in the 10 minutes between 1:50 and 2:00. This year there was a 6 part presentation on alternative funding and I just stayed there the whole time. Came away with just what I was needing, too, as we start to implement the glorious 5YearPlan.

Best of all, though, was the hour and a half spent with friends, ooing, ahhing and fondling the offerings at The Knitting Sisters. Now - I couldn’t possibly need any yarn, but J had never been there and R was quite willing to play hooky a while. It’s true, I missed the session on wireless networks, put on by the only geeky guy I know who could make this topic riveting. But then - he didn’t have any of this to offer in ice-cream colors! One of the shop employees had knit that marvelous ruffled scarf from Scarf Style out of this - using the vanilla color - and it was gorgeous. Is it any wonder several skeins hopped into a bag and came home with me?

It was interesting to note how many new faces were in the librarian throng, and how many old faces are gone. It was sad to hear the bad professional news about the only library director I have ever known for whom I would have given up my own position of head honcho. Lib. Dirs. come in all flavors, but they all have one thing in common - they like to be the boss. Those who don't crave the responsibility quickly find a boss to work for. This woman was an indefatigable, innovative, energetic worker with a very wry manner and expectations that tended to soar. She never asked for more than she gave - nobody could give more than she did in the work environment. I worked with her on several projects when she was in VA. I can see how she might be a terror to work for if you were lazy or unable to wrap your brain around change and unwilling to give it a try. But that woman could make you try and succeed at things you never dreamed were possible. I often regreat that I she wasn't my boss. Well, she has left the profession and I would say that the world is worse off for it.

There is less than a week to finish up preparations for the KRRetreat and thrown into this time frame will be today’s installation of a new/repaired main server at the library and tomorrow’s jaunt with GD to the wedding gown fabric shop. Yikes! The days ahead look mighty busy. Where does the time go? A collective thanks and hug goes out to all who emailed me this week. I promise individual answers to each of you.

posted by Bess | 5:41 AM

1 Comments:

Bess, there's now a G Street F in Chantilly - no I95, and much closer than rockville. I'd love to see you when you come....

Love,
LWLY

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:11 PM  

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Tuesday, October 26, 2004  

For all that I’m a blabber mouth, I don’t always write about everything that’s going on in my life. That’s what makes a blog different from a diary. Even a diary one might write for publication is still a private thing until the presses roll. There’s always time to expunge something one might later wish to gloss over. With the blog, one writes knowing that, with the click of the mouse, everything is immediately available to the public - and the public is a mighty mixed bag - the public can even be a binary code looking for tags - not really a person wanting to hear about my knitting. This preamble is leading up to telling the happy news that BD is home again after an 8 day jaunt to Canada with one of his close friends. Not that I am afraid to be alone for over a week, at the end of half a mile of dirt road, in the dark dark woods, out of sight and sound of anyone, in the foggy misty autumn, beneath night black skies. Oh No. Not Me.

Well, I’m laughing here, because I am not afraid to be alone. I love my cozy nest deep in the forest. But this is the internet, after all. No point in asking for trouble. Anyway, BD got in at midnight Sunday and I was wide awake, waiting. We talked for hours and spent all morning yesterday talking and all last night talking and sipping wine from the Finger Lakes and nibbling cheese from Quebec. We still have lots more talking to do, along with all the fun touchy feely stuff, but I have to go to Williamsburg tomorrow in the a.m. and won’t be back till Friday night. Something had to give - some things had to give - so knitting and blogging went by the board.

I’m only working on KRRetreat samples anyway, since the retreat is a scant 10.5 days away. BriccaTheAran languishes and the Anny Blatt sweater still hasn’t had the shoulders reknit. I may take that with me to work on in the car tomorrow - it would be nice to have that as a FinishedObject next week. BtA is a long term project that just thinking about gives me the feeing that I am knitting on it. Still, I ought to promise to knit one round a week or something - just to keep her in the 2BF0 category instead of the HasBN4GotN category. I don’t have any real desire for her to be a “free sweater”.

After the retreat, though, every creative molecule in the brain is going to focus on The Wedding Dress. Wicked Naughty Amie - for teasing me, but it’s true, sewing was my first love. Sewing is like Honorable Chinese wife #1. Been there so long it’s a fixture. There are still two hand tailored suits in my attic - very Joan Collinsy 80’s looking with ShoulderPads&NippedWaist - too silly looking now, but maybe a granddaughter will like them. I actually don’t sew much any more because
A. clothing has become so cheap and
B. I got fat when I turned 40 and I didn’t want to get to know that body well enough to sew for it. and
C. as yarn shops proliferated, fabric shops disappeared. and D. the sewing machine is sort of wearing out.

I still make a slip cover for my living room couch every 3 years or so - seems that’s as long as they last in my rough’n’tumble household. And it’s such a hated sewing project I don’t feel like sewing again for another 3 years. But I can and do love to work with beautiful stuffs and I am really looking forward to playing with gorgeous silken lengths. This is the book we’ll be using to create the bodice - think vanilla bean silk organza over satin foundation sewn into free form pleating and tucking with beads. I’m going to encourage GD (girl darling) to do some of the hand sewing herself. I think it will make her happy to think she actually worked on her own wedding dress and she is a Virgo and at least an _NFP. If we are having fun we’ll do a shrug in this technique too - if it is too fiddly and tedious, we’ll just go with something smooth.

We head off to G Street Fabric Shop sometime this weekend. If you don’t live on the east coast, or if you live close enough to New York to shop there, you may not know about G Street Fabric Shop. Anyone within a 200 mile circle of D.C. though, is well acquainted with it. I actually went there a few times when it was on G Street, when there was a faint ghost of a downtown shopping district. It used to be about 3 blocks from the flagship department stores of Garfinkles and Lord&Taylor. Oh I sigh just remembering that 19th century experience of whisking downtown to shop. Gad. who’d be caught dead down town any more? But it was such a glamorous experience, still viable, in my youth. There were still ornate movie theaters back then too - where one might pay extra to go see a premier of some really big show. I remember Dad once treated a girlfriend and me to the showing of My Fair Lady at some fabulous theater in downtown D.C.

Okay - well - now there are GSFS’s sprinkled about VA and MD, so we don’t have to drive into the city any more. I’ve been to the one in Shady Grove, MD twice and you have never seen so many chauffeur driven Rolls Royces and mink coats at a fabric shop. I never bothered to look at wedding fabrics, though. I’m expecting a true Aladdin’s Cave. Only thing is - it requires driving on that hideous I95. I wonder - can I get BD to take us? Hmmmm. Well. I’m sure GD will laugh at me, but I will have to ask her to do the driving.

Anyway, it’s exciting times ‘round here. I realized, too, that I have half a travel log of my trip to Niagara Falls with photos that I’ve never posted. What did I do with my time all those 8 days that BD was gone? I promise - one of these days it’ll be here. Just not today.

posted by Bess | 7:47 AM

2 Comments:

What?! You're not knitting said wedding gown? ;-)

By Blogger Margaret, at 11:29 PM  

Tee hee - when I first read she was making the dress I thought "oh, lawsee, even Bess can't finish that much by January!!!" and then I remembered she was a seemstress as well... I'm sure it will be breathtaking (how could it not, with a bride like that and a seemstress like that!)

By Blogger Amie, at 5:25 PM  

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Saturday, October 23, 2004  

Before I knew how much fun having sons was, I wanted only daughters. I had such a grand time with my mama, I couldn’t wait to have my very own girl to play with. I missed out on that part - but it was not an inconsolable loss since I still had my mom and now also had some cool boys too. Nevertheless, getting some pink back into my life is pure pleasure.

I’ve been at my folks all today - dashed over to Richmond after work yesterday and spent the night. We cooed and giggled all evening, even Dad, who would like to be gruff and tough, but has been too pink-a-fied by those years of living with 4 daughters, and instead, told everybody who called all about the happy news.

My original plan was to visit Friday night and Sat morning but be home in the afternoon so I could visit with L’s sister M. Instead I stayed with the folks till about 2, and didn’t get home till late, so I shall be up and out of here tomorrow for a workout at the gym and breakfast with L&M. L is a knitting bud and her sister is a visiting knitter - and I have the library’s copy of Scarf Style.

When I pulled all my winter clothes out, a few weeks ago, a glaring hole appeared in the blouse category. There are plenty of jackets, skirts and pants, but bridging the gap between waistband and shoulder pad are only a skimpy few, though beloved, items. There is a store bought, but perfect, cashmere sweater - it’s my armor outfit -because nothing can touch me when I’m wearing that - but I can’t wear it every day. So, topping the shopping list for today was Blouses. I also had to get some makeup since I had to toss all my contaminated stuff out last weekend. I was running low on the important camouflage, so I was planning on digging down into the old bank account anyway. And of course I completely indulged myself in looking at MotherOfTheGroom type dresses - or at least, I fell in love with a plum brown silk skirt by Jones of New York with hip stitched pleats that bell out in the most elegant bell and thought it would make a magnificent half a MoG outfit.

I wasn’t ready to pop for anything in the formal wear category, though. I’ll do my shopping in consultation with the bride and her mom. Thank goodness I’m good friends with the mom and I have, after some serious thought, consented to make the wedding gown - so I’ll have plenty of time to select something just right for me as time goes on. Best of all, they’re both blondes. I stopped by the W’s (that’s LD&DF) on my way home tonight and she had some sketches and some cut&paste ideas. This is going to be tremendous fun. And she has a nice easy figure to fit - one of the main reasons I consented to pull out the old sewing machine. At one time I was a pretty skilled tailor - but it’s been a while since I’ve tackled couture stitching. Thank goodness she doesn’t want wired stuff - though I suspect I could find it already made up. We are off to G Street Fabric Shop next weekend to look at our options.

I did get a tad of knitting done on the Christmas Sock #2, and I will certainly be dutiful about my KRRetreat obligations - but I am not putting any other stress on my fiberly creativity from now till the wedding day, which, btw, is sometime in January, since there is a good chance LD will be called to active duty in February.

My - how the wind can whirl. It’s an exciting time for me - and tremendous fun. And what a treat that I get to be such a part of it all. I have my girl - and a boy too. Pretty cool, huh?

Probably won’t post tomorrow a.m., but maybe I’ll have interesting thoughts in the afternoon.

posted by Bess | 10:12 PM

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Friday, October 22, 2004  

I have a hideously busy morning but a comfortably slow afternoon. If I can I'll be back with a real post. Off to Mama's after work to spend the night.

posted by Bess | 7:15 AM

3 Comments:

Mazel tov, Bess, BD, LD and LF (Lovely Fiance)!! Blessings to all!

By Blogger Margaret, at 9:53 AM  

You little vixen for keeping this quiet for two weeks - you have turned a very blah week full of downness after Rhinebeck into JOY JOY JOY JOY JOY!!!! My heart is full for you!

By Blogger Amie, at 10:27 AM  

Oh, what lovely, happy news! Blessings to all of you!

By Blogger Catherine, at 7:53 AM  

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Thursday, October 21, 2004  

An awful lot of librarians, particularly library directors, it seems, have no children. They do tend to be married but their world is all full of travel and art and music. Once, sitting around a table at some library function, one of my colleagues turned to me and asked “do you have any children?” and I answered “Yes. I have One Precious Angel Baby Darling Only Son”

That just slipped out - it wasn’t premeditated humor nor was it as sick as it sounds. He’s not my Norman Bates. He just turned out to be the only child out of four I could carry full term. And, as a girlfriend once said “he’s the most emotionally healthy person I’ve ever met”. He really is a darling and has made the past 29 years not just rich, but enormously fun. It would be my wish that every set of parents in the world could have such a fun person in their lives. He is a decided improvement upon the parents, both in temperament and in probably every other aspect in life - short of music or dancing. Child of two musicians, he has neither tone nor rhythm. He needed neither.

What he does have, now is a beautiful fiancee. The past two weeks, since they told us about their engagement, I have had to write all sorts of uninteresting, unimportant things in this blog when I’ve wanted to shout

YIPPEE YIPPEE YAYYYY



So - now they are ready to make the news public, there’s no need to send announcements or put it in the paper. I can spread it all over the world.

posted by Bess | 7:31 AM

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Wednesday, October 20, 2004  

My my - after months and months of black and white, I offer you PHOTOS!!!
Two days in a row.

Blue photos. At least, the teenager at Wal-mart’s 1 hour photo booth made them as blue as possible. Here is the Christmas sock. It is purple - but you wouldn’t know it to look at this shot. Still - it does display the pattern, a simple slip stitch pattern over 6 stitches and 6 rows. For some reason this is just enough predictable repetition to fool my brain into thinking that it knits quickly, unlike 62 rows of stockinette, even using self-striping yarn. A candidate for Bess’ Whip That Thing UP Knitting Award.



Here is the Anny Blatt sweater, not quite finished, because I dread completion so and we haven’t yet had a frost. It’s a very warm sweater. We will have plenty of cold evenings in the Frozen Northwest of my house. Just not in October.



When I was finished I had this much of the angora blend left. Whatever made me think this would make a sweater to fit me 35 pounds ago. I hate it when my natural tendency to deny what I look like is so blatantly revealed. Where is blissful ignorance, hmm?



And here is

TA DAAAAA

Bricca The Aran






She too languishes on the needles, but honest and true, really! I am working on obligatory knitting. I am always impressed by cables. I like how this design looks knit up in wool much better than in the cotton blend of the designer's choosing. And fondling this much Cashmerino Aran is a delicious tactile experience.

No musing thoughts today. I’m running behind on my real (read here "earns me money") work and plan on dashing off a Director’s Report for the board sometime between now and 4 o’clock.

posted by Bess | 6:22 AM

2 Comments:

Such a gorgeous couple!

I'm having severe Rhinebeck Envy, and I don't spin. (Don't you even start with me - I can't keep up with my hobbies NOW!) But the KR Retreat is enough of a trek for me, I think I must just envy from afar.

By Blogger Catherine, at 7:15 PM  

Happy Anniversary!

I am still practicing on my "beginner" (read: cheap) spindle and some rough Romney. I am hoping to finish off the quarter-pound then move on to the Bosworth and oh-so-soft Merino top I scored.

I have already been checking out your spinning resources... thank you for posting them.

By Blogger chelsea, at 10:27 AM  

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Tuesday, October 19, 2004  

A look back at the teenage violinist and her flute playing guy.




A less formal shot. Here is BoatMan and his BoatBimbo

posted by Bess | 9:56 AM

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Today we try GoingBackToWork da capa. It will be interesting to see how well I do. Things start out with a 9 o'clock meeting and chug along through WW tonight. I desperately need to pay attention to the latter and the former is probably a mistake, but hey, it'll do me good to be in the office early.

I have (I hope) one more swatch to knit up for the KRRetreat. There is some manipulating I must do on them, and then write up the handouts and I shall get back to my wearable knitting.

News from the Rhinebeckers is trickling in, thrilling us stuck-at-homes with tales of fiberista bonding and classes and treasures. Now that it's over I feel as much relief as envy, because I don't have to figure out when I'll ever knit/spin up all this new stuff!

So - heigh ho for me.

posted by Bess | 7:41 AM

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Monday, October 18, 2004  

Old adages become so because they illuminate universal and distinct facets of the human condition. Be careful what you wish for, you might get it is one that surely applies to me, for while I would never want to return to my youth, recently I have lamented the exterior evidence of 52 years of living and have oft’ wished for a younger body. In answer to my prayers, my body decided to not only go out and catch the juvenile disease, strep throat, but also that bane of the fourth grade, conjunctivitis. Yes. I have the evil sounding, teen-horror-movie looking pink eye.

Like any good disease, it cropped up on the weekend, making wise health decisions much harder to make. Do I stick it out in gritty misery till Monday or spend hours spreading my germs at the hospital’s emergency room while exposing myself to god knows what other microscopic enemies? Fortunately I live in the quaint and old fashioned sort of community where your family doctor is also your friend and neighbor. A few phone calls and a trip to town and I was on my way to better health, if not a younger appearance. And so I am home again one more day while chemistry has it’s way with me.

Speaking of bodies and chemistry - in particular, the science of food, there is a wonderful article in the NYT today, about the American way of eating, with it’s Graham and Kellogg inspired scientific, reductionist approach to nutrition. We are compared, tragically unfavorably, to those FamousFrenchFeasters, who, every body knows, eat cheese and butter and heavy cream and croissants and are slimmer then we are, with fewer heart attacks. Some interesting thoughts are expressed about the social mores of eating in the two cultures. Author Michael Pollan brings up a point I had not thought of before: the American melting pot of ethnicity, combined with mass marketing, has stripped away not just regional cuisines, but local dining customs as well, leaving us with too much time and too many choices. Not mentioned, but surely just as important, is a prodigality of production that wipes out the chance of famine, nature’s way of limiting our options. The author even poses the idea that our larger brains evolved so that we could distinguish between foods good for us and foods dangerous.

The trouble with these big brains, evidently, is that they are power mad. Once they figure out what is safe food and how to make lots of it, they begin to fear loss of employment through redundancy, so they continue to seek out ever more points of distinction in the name of health and nutrition: low carb, high fiber, low fat, high omega7 fatty acids - good grief there is even something called an anti-oxidant, enemy of free radicals. (Hmmm. As opposed to radicals safely locked up in prison? Sorta makes you think of lots of Simbianese Liberation Army or Bader-Minehoff -types, running around around loose, doesn't it?). This organ’s quest for all the power, particularly in Americans, has pretty nearly usurped tongue and nose when it comes to distinguishing the good from the bad, the fun from the fatal. It is even possible that the brain needs to think about food or it begins to shrink. Koala’s brains, once they discovered the perfect nutrition in eucalyptus leaves, did just that. They spend long hours in trees now, nibbling on their high fiber, low fat, total nutrition salad. Perhaps our French brothers' brains have already begun to shrivel, limiting their choices to brie and chocolate and pate de fois gras. In return, they get to spend long hours over crisp white tablecloths, beneath shady grape vines, overlooking blue Mediterranean seas, sampling chevre and crusty fragrant bread and tiny bits of ganache, which, if the NYT photography captions are true, they abandon long before they see the whites of their plates.

Anyway, read for yourself. It’s the New York Times at it’s best.

Another interesting entry, under, of all things, their Fashion and Style section, is David Colman’s commentary on Dare Wright’s recently re-issued Lonely Doll books. Did you ever read them, you children of the baby boom? Mr. Coleman, and evidently lots of moms, even among the nostalgic, are upset about the spanking pictures, calling them sadistic and hinting at their prurient nature. Causing even more discomfort, though, is the theme of abandonment, which, we are not surprised to learn, was the theme of Ms. Wright’s life. Child of divorce in an era when it was rare, in the end, she even abandoned herself to death by alcoholism. What I find amazing about those books is the photographic magic Ms Wright produced in a pre-Velcro world. I read them again and again to my little sisters, fascinated with the assemblage, the lay-outs, the eye for detail spread across every page. We kept an ancient copy of the original Lonely Doll in the library for years and once Houghton Mifflin re-issued them, I snapped up all three titles.

Well, you would be surprised at the things one can find in a book, if one happens to be looking for them. I found the Christian metaphor in Stephen King’s The Dead Zone, so I am sure one can find sexual deviancy in The Lonely Doll. And lest you wonder if this is a knitting blog or just a platform for my musings, there is a Christmas book in the series, A Gift from the Lonely Doll. It is a knitted gift, so rest assured, we are still on topic here.

And don’t you believe what Amazon dot com says. The book is still available, but you will have to go to a book store to get it. Or a library, of course.

In more verbiage about knitting, I am working on lots and lots of swatches to use at the KRRetreat, so there is little progress on either BriccaTheAran or the Christmas Socks. I did finish sock #1, but you know how socks are - they are only half done when you finish one. Since I am home today and it isn’t raining yet and I have a roll of film, I’ll be a good blogger and perhaps in a day or two you will get PHOTOGRAPHS!

posted by Bess | 10:07 AM

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Friday, October 15, 2004  

Today I get another shot at ThePerfectHaircut. Wish me well. I need something, because, although I am well enough to go back to work, and actually feel okay, if a little slow moving, I definitely look like I’ve been sick - hag faced and pale. Alas. At 20 that look can be interesting, in a turn-of-the-last-century way. At the mid-century mark it is decidedly unflattering.

I’m glad to be going back on a Friday. It is a gentle way to slide back into the work routine. We don’t open to the public till 1, so I have several hours to clean up the desk, return phone calls, become reacquainted with what it is I do for a living. And then it’s the weekend again with rest and knitting and naps. Ha! I talk a lot about naps, but I rarely take them, even when I can. But in my perfect world we would all follow the Mediterranean siesta lifestyle. I am definitely a morning person, but with a nap I can at least participate in evening activities.

A good knitting buddy is also a volunteer at the library. She comes on Friday mornings and does behind the scenes chores. (she’s a Virgo, of course) I’ll take all my projects in to show her today, since she didn’t get to see them last Tuesday. I’m rather proud of the past few week's productivity. I have the Anny Blatt sweater, finished, but for the re-done shoulders & neckband. Then there’s most of the Christmas sock. I’m into pattern round 2 of BriccaTheAran. But what she’s going to be most impressed with are the zipper swatches. I’m making several, so folk at the KRRetreat can see how a zipper can be put into any edge of a piece of knitting. I’m also thinking of the class I will suggest to Clara for next year. Oooo a cool one.

That happy event is sliding ever closer. This year I’m looking forward to it more than ever before. For some reason I feel a sublime relaxed anticipation, unlike the previous 2 years. The first year was all “getting to know you” nervousness. Everyone felt that. The second year was clouded with worry about my parents. This year I don’t see any... ahh. well. Best not jinx things. Suffice it to say that I’m looking forward to the retreat this year.

But I see the clock ticking and Brenda the scissors lady goes at my hair at 8 o’clock. Time to get going. Ta.

posted by Bess | 6:29 AM

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Thursday, October 14, 2004  

I’m heaps better. Even my energy is coming back - I actually took a walk yesterday, between the cold gray clouds of early afternoon and the bright blue sky of sunset. BTW, it’s back to rain again now. Other symptoms are fading as well. Thank goodness for antibiotics when you really need them.

It is strange, though, to spend so much time at home. Since Sept. 21, I have been at work only 4 days. BD went off with a colleague yesterday so I had the house to myself all afternoon. I am beginning to feel a kind of mental restoration. For a very long time I’ve had this ache in my spirit. It involved both yearning and resentment, combining a longing for home and a distaste for, not just work, though that was the big part, but also any other obligations to others. The worst thing about suffering this sort of malaise is that you tend to procrastinate, thus increasing the resentment and doubling whatever was the burden of your responsibilities. Nothing new here - anybody can fall into this stupid pattern. Alas. I had.

I’m a good organizer and a hell of a multi-tasker. Most mothers learn to be good multi-taskers, but I have a particular talent for it. I used to juggle a baby, a bb gun and a goat, now it’s telephones, toddlers and county administrators. I have a life that insists I have both the strength and the flexibility needed to “serve others” - the sort of life those Miss America contestants say they want, though, with out the glamour. I’m also aware that I need to make time for my own pleasures, and I have a wardrobe full of yarn, a blanket chest full of fiber, and shelves full of knitting books to ensure I get in my shots of pleasure.

The trouble is - little snips and dribs and drabs of pleasure just haven’t been enough for me. I’ve been hungry for time. Long stretches of time. For do-nothing time at home. For sleep late and hang the housework time. Weekends are usually fun, but frequently they're packed full of activity and never long enough to truly restore me. Besides, they are also the time when other chores make themselves apparent - things like laundry or windowsills or cobwebs have a way of looming to the front of your vision when you sit in the autumn sunshine and try to look out the window. And then, there are precious Darlings who what to share their lives with me. This is good. This is essential, actually. But equally essential is a bit of unhindered, unshared, mememe, alone time.

A vacation ought to be when one grabs a little alone time, but when one has good health, one doesn’t really think it’s a good idea to just lounge on the bed till 10 a.m. and then take a bath and then get back in bed. Ahhh. But when one is sick one does that naturally. Trouble is, when one is sick one is usually feeling so crummy one doesn’t get to actually enjoy the bed, bath and beyond.

This little bout of illness, cum contagion, has turned out to be an enormous blessing. I don’t really feel that bad. A little listless, but not miserable, painful, or so stopped up I can’t breathe. It’s given me just enough ennui to make it easy for me to lie abed flipping through SpinOff without any nagging guilt. And just yesterday afternoon it began to feel as if I were actually rested! As if going to work would be fun. As if finishing things would be easy. As if life was full of do-able possibilities and achievable goals.

Most of the time I’m glad I am the boss at work. I’m glad that I have such a hand in determining, not just what I’m going to do any given day, but what my staff will do, where the library is going and what we’ll be offering the community. I love it that I can say “let’s do this” or “let’s go there”. But having that freedom, and even that power, means that I actually have to do it all, keep it all in my head, on some sort of Gannt chart, filed in some cabinet for easy retrieval. Sometimes I wish I just had a job where I just went in and did some simple task that someone else thought up; the kind of work where, at 5 o’clock you not only just went home, you forgot about altogether.

I know that I’d only be satisfied with that for about, oh, say, 1 day. I just don’t have the right sort of personality to really only have simple repetitive tasks, chosen by others, to do. Before I knew it I’d be offering suggestions to my boss and coming up with things to add to my day to make it more ... multiple .. and interesting. I like to do things. I like to plan things. I like to plan things I don’t plan to ever actually do! I like to plan possibilities just in case opportunities come along. I like to be mama. To take care of it. To see that everybody else can do what he needs to do. If I don’t have any responsibilities, I’ll go find some. I know this about myself.

But there are times when that having no responsibilities looks mighty good. And if those times last too long or come too close together, a combination of exhaustion and resentment settles over me that casts a bit of shadow over my life. This past week has presented me with a seed of understanding. Oh - I’ve always known that I need down time. I’ve grabbed a little bit of it here and there. But evidently not enough to recover my innate Mom-ness - that energy, vitality, and joy that makes each day feel like a surprise is just around the corner.

The past few days have pointed out to me that I simply must use part of each year’s vacation to do ab-so-lute-ly nothing. And do it with nobody! To pull into myself. To let the dust bunnies proliferate beneath the couch. To sleep in the afternoon and read late into the night. A bit of that will do more for me, that important inner me, than all the excitement of a trip or a festival or any other busy productivity.

I’m now knitting on three projects. BriccaTheAran, of course, who actually languished all day yesterday, the Christmas sock - on which I am knitting down the straightway of the foot part of sock #1, and some swatches for the KR Retreat. It’s rather fun to go from one project to the next. I’m also spinning some lace weight, naturally blue mohair I bought at Montpelier. I have another lovely day of time ahead - somewhere between baths and naps I’m sure I’ll dabble with one of another of these projects.

posted by Bess | 8:34 AM

3 Comments:

I know exactly what you mean about stores and having to drive for shopping. And I look forward to conferences in "interesting" areas, too. (I hate it when they set them in remote, boring-to-me places like ski resorts on the off season).

When I hear people complaining about their LYS, I find myself WISHING I had an LYS to complain about. And it's a drag having to drive a half-hour for shopping more complex than Wal-Mart or The Dollar Shop.

By Blogger fillyjonk, at 10:41 AM  

Ain't it the truth?! And I have to drive 30 minutes just to shop at Wal-mart!!

But then, I get to walk miles and miles through forest and field and I never had to worry where my kids were. So it's a trade off where I get the big half. Still, I really prefer to go to big shopping meccas when these conferences pop up.

By Blogger Bess, at 11:28 AM  

I live surrounded by stores, but the "good" stores are still a half hour or so away. I rarely go to the Good Mall, it's not quite an expedition but it's also not something one can drop into after work in Orlando traffic. City life doesn't improve the shopping issues much. The Not-So-LYS is 40 minutes in lousy traffic, my local haunts are Target and Costco. I'd trade my suburbia for rural with good roads to a decent sized town.

By Blogger Catherine, at 7:30 PM  

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Wednesday, October 13, 2004  

It’s strep. Man, I haven’t had that since I was a kid. Not that I think of strep as a children’s disease, though the smattering of investigating I’ve done shows me that it is pretty much a kid’s illness. Just that I haven’t suffered from it in moltodecades. Anyway, I’m contagious for the next 48 hours and confined to home. Isn’t that just a shame?

How ever will I fill my time. Oh. Look. Here are some lovely knitting needles. Addi Turbos, they look like. And what is this? Cashmerino Aran in a beautiful brick red? And my, my, it looks like a sweater is hanging from those needles. Perhaps I will knit a few rows.

If I had smilies for this blog I’d put that laughing one in right here.

Really, for an illness serious enough to keep you home from work, this is a fairly benign one. I don’t feel horrible, just dragging and sleepy and a little achy in the throat. Not blazing sick - not sick enough to sleep the day away, which is probably what I ought to be doing. Anyway, I’m home till Friday and I will spend that time knitting. The marvelous Sheryl will come tomorrow and make everything sparkling clean. Best of all - I can keep my chatter box mouth shut - because, talking does strain my throat and if I’m around people, I promise you, I’ll talk.

Of course, I had to miss both Tuesday Night Knitters and the WW meeting. Don't want to spread this thing to my friends, for goodness sake! After my Dr. visit yesterday I did swing by the office and swiftly dealt with the Stuff-Of-Deadlines - keeping well clear of my staff. There was very little of the S-0-D anyway, although, alas, I’d put off reserving my hotel room for the VLA convention so long the hotel booked up. Fortunately, Mariott has another hotel next door to the big convention hotel, at $20 less a night too. An additional piece of good luck is that my roomie is a flexible and forgiving woman. Next time, I’ll let her book the room, though. All that takes place the last full week of October and good heavens! that’s the week after next! Autumn always flies bye, but it’s going at warp speed this year.

The convention is in Williamsburg this year. I’m always glad when it’s there because if I get a little time I can slip away to interesting shops for an afternoon. This year it’s even better because across Rt. 60 from all the hotels is The Knitting Sisters. Not that I have any need for more yarn, oh no. But ... Well. Well, walking distance from a yarn shop? Who could resist? Who should? Besides, it’s just a nice shop to go into.

What I hate is when they hold the convention in some out of the way rural place. Heck, what’s the fun in that? I already spend my life in an out of the way rural place. I’m looking for stores!

And even as I typed the above I know it’s not true. Or at least, not wholly so. Truth is, when I go to this convention, I really do participate in all the workshops, lectures, etc. I do visit the vendors with an eye to what will fit in the library. I do find out what other libraries are doing to keep teen interest up or lure in that elusive 25-60 year old male reader. I am no good at playing hooky. Never was. Guilt alone would keep me in the meetings and if they aren’t interesting enough to keep me awake, I’m more likely to just go home.

It’s the idea of stores that’s so thrilling. You who live in urban or suburban areas will never know the thrill of shopping as an excursion. The mall as a destination. The idea that, without spending hours getting to some unfamiliar place, you can wander through tables and shelves and racks of things you didn’t now existed and might want to own - if you knew about them and had the cash. This fondness for looking at things that aren’t mine, but might be, is an old familiar pleasure dating from the days when I was beginning to think about furnishing my own home - maybe age 17 or so. In fact, I’m not much of a purchaser - I have been known to fill a cart with merchandise, merely to wander one last time through a store and put it all back. I had owned it long enough. I’ve been married 33 years and have bought only 2 pieces of furniture. Three if you count the wine rack in the kitchen, which I suppose one ought to count.

I do buy too many clothes. Well, there. They always seem ephemeral and even slightly disposable. Perhaps I should work on limiting those - come up with some sort of database wardrobe of a few perfectly matching items that can be interchanged to create endless fashion presentations. Perhaps I ought not care so much about clothes. The late Geoffrey Beane said though, that Virgo’s care the most about their clothes and I’ve found this to be true most of the time. It certainly is true about me. Perhaps it is a little late for me to change.

Well, when I get to musing about the theory of wardrobes I know my store of wise thoughts has run out. I will add only that I’m feeling just slightly and wistfully envious of all my buddies who will be in Rhinebeck. Not that I need another fiber frenzy. Not that I even have the energy to be of help. Not that I should be talking into the wee hours with girlfriends. Just, wishing I could be part of it all.

And I will mention here that in addition to being on the second repeat of the major patterns in BriccaTheAran, I am on the heel flap of the Christmas socks. When I get tired of knitting with a #8 needle I can slip down to a #3. Lots of knitting getting done in the H Household.


posted by Bess | 6:59 AM

2 Comments:

So no more for the arm-warmers? Ah, well, I'm sure she'll love the socks....

Take care of yourself - at least sick days mean more fiber time!

By Blogger Amie, at 1:07 PM  

Nah - she can have both. She's not just any GF, she's LD's GF.

By Blogger Bess, at 4:26 PM  

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Tuesday, October 12, 2004  

Lawsey! I had no idea I had this many clothes. When will I ever get to go shopping again!?! It looks like my knitting stash. Oh lord. What if all that were spun and knit up. Then think of how many clothes I’d have. It took all my energy to just get them out of the attic. Now they’re lying on the bed in LD’s old room, a mountain of brown cream and rust and tan and orange with a little red thrown in here and there. Mostly wool but some corduroy and some sort of rayon/polyester/acrylic/wool blends - though very little of that. And a pile of turtlenecks. Looks like there’s plenty of shoes too.

I didn’t try anything on - too tired. I did get lots of laundry washed and about half of it folded and put away. So, over the next few weeks I’ll sort through the heaps and winnow out what I don’t want any more. There’s already a pile on the floor that goes to goodwill - including LD’s high school winter coat. I certainly am a pack rat.

My horoscope kept promising me that there was $$ in my future but I suppose it was talking about in-kind wealth, since neither of my knitting classes made up, the only source I have for extra play money. Anyway, I’ve got some treasure hunting to do in the spare bedroom.

I got in some nice knitting on BriccaTheAran and started a little slip-stitch design on GF’s Christmas socks. They are being knit from the stash - happy thought - part of the sock of the every other month collection. I had planned on knitting her some arm warmers, since she said she wanted some (no accounting for the taste of youth - I think their weird - but she has the panache to pull it off) and I found a pattern for a pair with a little cable design on the back of the hands. I am thinking pink cashmere, since she’s one of those white blondes and she’s definitely a cashmere sort of girl. Ha! She is also a September baby AND an ENFP! Hmmm. Maybe pink cashmerino with crystal beads in the cable twists.

Tonight is Tuesday Night Knitters. It will be good to see my knitting buds and L promised to bring back Scarf Style - she had checked it out while I was on vacation. In return, I’m taking her my copy of Sweaters from Camp, with the written instructions for the crocheted steek in it.

My throat is still not doing what it should - getting well, that is - and I will talk to my dr. today. Maybe go see him, maybe he can just advise over the phone. Otherwise, this is a busy, rather pleasant, but predictable week, even if the stars tell me it’s going to be full of surprises.

posted by Bess | 8:21 AM

1 Comments:

Just saw you signed up for the Spinning Wheel! YAY! Once you get the code in your side bar you'll be put through... I even designed a button for spindlers with you in mind, though of course you're welcome to use the wheel or not use a button at all....

By Blogger Amie, at 3:36 PM  

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Monday, October 11, 2004  

We're having splendid weather right now - cool crisp golden sunshine days that sparkle and energize even the most sluggish among us. Alas, when I tried to take a walk, the brisk northerly breeze just shoved pollen&mold down my already miserable throat. No amount of water would wash it away. I had to turn around at the mile point and go back indoors. This is not a happy thing. When you live in the land of the tour guide photo you want to be outdoors. Bummer.

So I lounged around the house yesterday, knitting more on BriccaTheAran and casting on for a pair of Christmas socks. Yep, all you dear friends who were witness to my foolish brag that I was not knitting any Christmas gifts this year are free to mock me now. Make it "not knitting many Christmas gifts".

Today is one of those sweet autumn treats - a bank (legal, federal) holiday. From time to time I struggle with myself about closing the library on those days. After all, they're days when people who otherwise have to work all day, could come to the library. Perhaps it is my duty to open the library when they have a day off. These are the folk whose tax dollars pay my salary. These are the very people for whom we exist. We could close some other day, when 48% of the people are back at work.

But. I want my 3 day weekend too. And today I feel crummy enough to take a sick day even if we were open. Well, the struggle continues. It is not a serious nor life-shaking argument. I can always think about it tomorrow, at Tara.

In the mean time, what I shall do today is bring down the winter clothes. The days are crisp enough and some mornings have already been down right chilly. I certainly don't need any linen skirts nor most of the sleeveless tops any more. Some short sleeved t-shirts still get a little wearing, but half of them could be packed away. This is a big project, dragging everything out of the attic and spreading it out, checking for any needed repairs or revamps. Also, some stuff, though put away clean in the springtime, will still need to be cleaned again, especially after the 40 days and 40 nights of rain summer we just had. It's supposed to be sunny, so I may be doing laundry all day.

I also like to try everything on. It's a little like shopping, only free. And it keeps me from doing any real shopping and buying a 39th rust colored sweater. Odd, how last year I was so clothes happy, as I slimmed down on WW. I'm still actually the exact weight I was last October (meaning 5 lbs over goal) but I have no fashion thrill whipping me to a spending frenzy or nudging me towards the malls. Partly, of course, it's because I spent big bucks last year. I know I have enough. Partly, though it's a dissatisfaction with those very same 5 lbs.

There is no way I can keep the goal without both watching what I eat and regular, vigorous exercise. I haven't been able to get the two to march in tandem all summer. Just before I left for vacation it looked like I had things back on track - feeling good, eating right, exercising in that way that left me feeling pumped, happy and ready to dance. The trip threw me off some, a weekend of fair food mocked me, and this allergy attack has laid me low.

The funny thing is, in my deep chest of ThingsIBelieveAboutMyself, I figure I'll always have this struggle for balance, for "right living", for weight maintenance. And if I believe it to be so, I promise you, it is so. Guess what I need to work on is changing that belief from I will always have to struggle to I will set it up so I don't have to struggle any more.

Now, that's a real challenge.

posted by Bess | 9:07 AM

2 Comments:

Dear Heart...

Soul Sisters yet again! I took the quiz and came up "Progressive/Academic". I wonder if the order makes any difference?

Hope you are having a lovely weekend. It's Thanksgiving here, and a spectacular blue sky sets off our golden maple leaves...we are blessed!

By Blogger Margaret, at 1:29 PM  

Well, after all, we ARE virgos, right?

By Blogger Bess, at 8:55 AM  

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Sunday, October 10, 2004  

Oh. Thank you all for your warm wishes. If I am not getting better, I am certainly feeling loved. And I am not getting worse, either. It is allergies, I am sure. A cold becomes a cold. This just sits in my throat making me feel sorry for myself.

Not too sorry, though, for I got to spend almost all of yesterday in my pajamas. Precious BD read the last of the Santha Rama Rau novel to me - a rather light-weight, slowly moving book that had entirely too much conversation in it, but was compelling enough to keep us at it to the end. Very 1940’s. We had discovered this author in a marvelous short story in an old Readers Digest collection of stories that the library had put on the sale table. BD remembered her as a well known author, but it turns out she mostly wrote travel books. Her father was the ambassador from India during the Truman administration (before my time, thank you) so that’s possibly when he heard her name, for though he’s an Essex County Boy, he went to school in DC.

I had to borrow the book, The Adventurous, from another library. It’s about a girl from the Philippines who was caught in Japan on Pearl Harbor Day, was put in a prison camp, used her feminine wiles to be released, was branded a collaborator and shuffled about the far east trying to find a man who would get her out of her situation. An adventuress. The only other novel I remember reading, whose entire focus was a heroine “using her wits ‘n wiles in a man’s world” is Edna Ferber’s Saratoga Trunk and all through this book I kept expecting the ending would be the same. I wasn’t disappointed.

The problem with the book was that the characters were not particularly interesting and the author didn’t give us enough of a picture of who the heroine really was to make me care if she landed on her feet in the end. In fact, had she (the heroine) not, it could have been a pretty good moral play. As it was, it ended up... oh. well.

Hmmm

You see, I always read the last chapter of a book immediately after the first. Once introduced to the characters, I like to know how they’ll end up. Life itself has enough suspense for me. I’m not looking to borrow more. I know this drives some people mad, to even think someone (and a librarian at that!!) would not read the book exactly as the author wrote it. My answer is - don’t, then. Don’t think about it and don’t give a hoot. It’s my way and it suits me. I may not mind taking a ramble with BD across the countryside on an empty Sunday afternoon, but when it comes to pleasure reading, if I don’t like where I’m going, I’d just as soon not go there.

Once in a while, secretly, when BD is reading a novel out loud to me, I peek ahead, but this time I didn’t. Perhaps because the story itself was so very conventional I felt as if I already knew the ending. Perhaps I was just too lazy. Also, unless we really hate a book, we’ll finish what we start together - when we may not finish what we’re reading on our own. I am a great one for not finishing novels, though - for now that I’m no longer in school, I read to please myself.

Anyway, I'm always glad when someone tells me the ending of a book, play or movie. But most folk aren't and I try never to spoil their fun by telling them. Knowing the end won't keep me from reading a book and not knowing just might. But there it is - it's just my way.

And yesterday, while BD was entertaining me with the final romance of Kay/Katerina/Katherine, I knit away on BriccaTheAran. She is 15 rounds up the pattern now and looking very lovely. The Cashmerino Aran continues to delight my fingers as the springy stuff glides across them, caressing the skin and snapping back with great energy, when I create those tight cables with the complicated stitch line-up. There is only one complicated one. It has you purl 2, slip 4 to cable needle and hold to the front, knit 2, return 2 to the left needle, hold other 2 to the back, purl 2 on left needle, knit 2 on cable needle, purl 2.

This is the only cable in the whole sweater where I need to use a cable needle. It’s such a simple looking cable, too, like a long length of chain, linked by little rings. The other cables are all easy to do without any extra tools.

Though I’m following a pattern I will have to put in short row bust darts. The sweater is very short - only 9 inches from cast on to underarm. The shorter a sweater is, the more essential the bust darts are. But putting in extra rows is going to throw off the cables as they get to the shoulder seams. I think I’ll do a 3 needle i-cord bind-off there to make a definite break. Also, the cable that goes all the way to the shoulders is a large diamond with a twisted rope running up the center. It reaches the shoulder seam with the diamond open to it’s widest point. I am thinking that I can knit the whole sweater a half pattern longer and end with the diamonds closed. Then, I can let the twisted rope in the center continue up the shoulder area on the front without any diamonds around it. Those ropes in the front will just make the diamonds look like they are suspended from the shoulder seams and they'll meet the diamonds in back right where the diamond closes.

Well, I am not there yet and shan’t be for a while, though before me lies another Day Of Knitting. But one way or the other I will put in those bust darts. If I’m going to spend this much time and money, by golly, this sweater will fit.

And thanks to Fillyjonk and the folks at Cooking to Hook-up:




Never would have pictured me as a Progressive type, but I guess I could be at home in the city even if I am a country girl. Trouble is - there really were no women, or shoes or drinks or dates, I could identify with in their line-up. What about Fey Ghost-Talker Magic-Woman Keeping Her Secrets Behind Ordinary Exterior? A kind of Clark-anna Kent?

posted by Bess | 9:58 AM

3 Comments:

Feel better swiftly, and thoroughly enjoy your weekend, dear one.

Love,
LWLY

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:18 AM  

Best wishes to you for a speedy departure of the nasty sore throat. BTW, you would absolutely love a digital camera.

By Blogger Carolyn, at 4:17 PM  

Feel better soon, sweetie! We read it without pictures because you write so beautifully we can see images through your words... those of us who aren't as gifted must overload our blogs with photos in the hopes no one else will notice our non-Bess-ness...

By Blogger Amie, at 8:46 AM  

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Saturday, October 09, 2004  

I am so ready for this nice sweet long weekend. I’m just going to loaf around today and knit. Whatever is giving me the sore throat is, at least, not winning any other parts of my body. I have a spaghetti pot’s worth of pine needle tea, courtesy of BD, a new juicer on the counter, bags of carrots and apples in the kitchen, and the house is not particularly dirty. There’s an enormous pile of laundry but I need only push the stuff into the machine and hang it on the line to dry. I can fold it next week or next month or whenever. I haven’t even any promises to fulfill nor obligations to meet.

This is because neither of my two knitting classes made up - only one student for the sock class and I’ll just give her private lessons at a time of mutual convenience. Not the weekend I have a nasty sore throat. I’m sorry about that, because I love to teach, and I’m glad about it because teaching really ties up my weekends. So - I’ll just look at the glad part and figure on luring in some new students some other month.

On the knitting front, I’ve completed the ribbing on the body of BriccaTheAran. I was too sick and cruddy feeling yesterday, when I left work, to remember to buy film. Not that looking at a photo of an inch and a half or k2p2 ribbing is particularly rewarding. Still, it would be nice to have photographic progress charts. Well - ‘tis early days yet. By next week the sweater ought to be more worthy of a picture. ‘Specially since I have Monday off!

Yes. That glow in the east was the morning sun reflecting off my huge grin. For all that October will be busy - there are lots of nice days off in it.

I’m constantly wondering if I ought to buy a digital camera. I wonder if it is easier to erase .jpg files than it is to throw away paper pictures. I have a drawer full of the latter upstairs. An entire dresser drawer full of them along with about 5 photo albums. Many of them are not particularly special, but each time I sort through them, I never throw any away. Certainly I throw out ugly photos of me but what about all those other tedious shots? Besides, I could post photos on the blog from home if I had a digital camera. This blog is so non-graphical it’s a wonder anybody looks at it. But there again - the blog is as much a repository for my memories as it is a destination for others. Isn’t it amazing how many roles any single thing is called upon to play?

Dragging myself back to knitting I want to close with a final recommendation. If you haven’t knit with Debbie Bliss's Cashmerino Aran yarn, do give yourself a treat. This is the sweetest yarn to knit with. It’s springy, it’s soft, it’s lush, it shows texture beautifully, you can tug your uneven knitting a little and the stitches even back out again, pre-blocking!! It comes in great colors; lots of ‘em, and it’s priced the same as any fine knitting worsted yarn. Ram Wools sells it for the best price, but they’re slow to deliver to the US and you’d do well to call to make sure they have the color you want. It took 15 days to get from Canada to my house via truck delivery (UPS I’m guessing, but not sure). I’m not savvy about all things deliverable, but I got my shipment from Ozeyarn, (Australia) in one week, so it ought not to take 2 weeks to get something from Free Trade Canada. But as long as you know it’s going to take 2 weeks, you can plan for that - especially when the price break is $1.30 a ball off what is usually $7.50, US.

Okay - the first load of laundry is done and my knitting is calling. Be back tomorrow.

posted by Bess | 8:54 AM

3 Comments:

Dearest, you have done the library, and the community, a GREAT service. I am proud to know you...

By Blogger Amie, at 3:58 PM  

It's very rewarding to help ESL students. You might want to try to contact the Literacy Volunteers in your area they are usually part of United Way. I am a tutor for them and we help ESL students. Right now, I have a group of students that are Ukranian, Polish, Greek, Mexican and Brazilian. I'm helping to learn computer skills. It's funny too how they are all those different nationalities and yet they all get along.--Annie

By Blogger Annie Newton, at 5:55 AM  

We will be working with the adult ed folk, but we don't actually have a literacy volunteer program in our county and since there are no large businesses either, we can't participate in United Way. But we do have a wonderful adult ed program and there is a great program at the Catholic church. We'll be working with them both. It's all really exciting and my staff is almost as pumped as if they'd gotten a raise. (of course, not quite, but almost)

By Blogger Bess, at 8:33 AM  

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Friday, October 08, 2004  

I overslept this morning and am dragging a bit right now. About the middle of the afternoon yesterday that slight tightening of my throat whispered BEWARE - and I knew that either I’d been exposed to one of those autumnal alergens that can lay me low or to someone’s nasty cold virus. I’m on Claritin and aspirin and the throat tightening isn’t going away - that’s a suspicious cold alert. Rats.

But my body sometimes likes to throw me a curve, especially when I’m keyed up about something that both scares me and tempts me and thrills me and last night we had just such an event. The library’s first, ever, family night for English as a second language families.

Bit o background here. I live in a little community of only 10,000 people, settled in the 17th century by mostly Englishmen, with a sprinkling of other European types, Africans, and the native Rappahannock tribe. With a little variation here and there, the population has stayed the same for nigh on to 400 years. About a dozen years ago Spanish speaking men, mostly single men, started showing up, mostly working on the large truck farms and vinyards across the river. Over time, though, families began to appear, the Spanish food section in Walmart has grown to an entire isle, even a Spanish grocery store has opened up in town. It was always my intention that the moment there were families with children in the school system, the library would find ways of making itself part of their lives. There is nothing, in my opinion, so important for an immigrant family, than to learn the language of their community. It’s our mission to gather, make available, spread and share, the ideas, the knowledge and the language of this community. I can rise pretty high in my flights of ambition and mission, but I do take my work seriously. I believe we come second after food, clothing, shelter and perhaps spirituality and we are hand in hand with all of them. Libraries really are the teach-a-man-to-fish center. Or - if we aren’t - we durn well should be.

There is also a little personal confession here. As a young girl, perhaps more than anyone else, I admired Jane Addams, of Hull House fame. I do think it’s important for immigrants to learn how to live in their new home, but I also think it’s important for those of us who are already here to do things to help them learn. So a little bit of me is full of youthful zeal and enthusiasm about following, in my own way, in my heroine’s footsteps.

In preparation, I’ve hired a tutor to teach all library staff how to say some basic phrases, particularly library type phrases such as “your books are due back in three weeks” or “the bathroom is through those doors, by the water fountain”. This seemed more valuable than sending one person to a Spanish class - although as I’ve started studying our handouts, I’m thinking of doing that myself. What a beautiful language! We had about 30 tape recorders bought for a project years ago and never used. Those have been cataloged so that if someone takes out our LearnToSpeakEnglish tapes they’ll have something to play them on. We also bought a good selection of bi-lingual children’s books for parents to read to their small children, and by the way, practice their own English.

Six fathers and one mom, with about half a dozen children showed up, along with the ESL teacher from the schools. All my staff were there and one board member, a wonderful happy woman who speaks a little Spanish and runs one of the employment agencies in town. Thursday nights are slow here anyway so we had an opportunity to spread all over the library. Our program last night was all about the library and what we offered, but we plan other programs throughout the winter about other community services. Everybody had a fantastic time, all the families got cards, including the school aged children - beautiful girls named Perla and Vanessa with big brown eyes and shy, yet confident, smiles.

I was as nervous as a witch about it all week. Partly because it was a new step into the unknown. Partly it was because I’m not sure we’ll really have anything they can use - or that we can convince them that what we have will be valuable to them. We’ll see how things develop as the year rolls on. Everyone had fun last night, but the test will be if any of these families start using the library on their own, not as a response to an invitation.

Twenty six years ago, when I began working at the library, it was part of the Woman’s Club of Essex. It was used almost exclusively by middle aged white women and the few white children who lived in town. It’s not that way now - because we have made the effort to invite in African Americans, teens, middle schoolers, businessmen, retirees. I’m mighty proud of the progress we’ve made. I’m pretty excited about the opportunity we have now, to include a new, vibrant, hard-working, family oriented group of folk in all the fun. I’m pretty excited about the opportunity I have now, to learn a new language and meet some new people. I’m not sure which is the most exciting.

But that’s what I had waiting for me when I went back to work this week and I have to confess - it was too scary to write about till today. Whew. Yea! Thank Goodness It’s Friday!

posted by Bess | 8:08 AM

3 Comments:

I wish I could have done the KR retreat this year, but between my work schedule and my finances it was not an option. :-( Next year should be better, I hope!

By Blogger Catherine, at 7:39 AM  

Well - I sure hope you can make it next year.

By Blogger Bess, at 2:28 PM  

I hope so - we had FIVE trials on the calendar for October/November when reservations were being taken, and four have cratered and were postponed, and the fifth is a joke and won't happen either. Next year I think I'll make a reservation and cancel if I really have to.

By Blogger Catherine, at 7:37 PM  

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Thursday, October 07, 2004  

Just about done.

I can’t quite say “done”, onna’ counta’ I don’t really like how the shoulders look on the Anny Blatt sweater. I added an extra set of short rows on the front shoulders - making 2 pair - but they still seem a little skimpy. This may be due to using a smaller needle to do the 3-needle bind-off, not, mind you, because I thought I needed to knit tightly, but because I was too lazy to go upstairs and get that other #10.5 needle. The shoulders aren't too low, they're too narrow. If I do nothing else, I’ll rip back to those seams and re-knit them using the same size needle I knit the sweater with. But I also think I’d have done better to make the sleeve cap just a little taller. I may rip back to about an inch below the seams and re-knit those caps about half an inch longer. It would lengthen the space between front neck and underarm seam, but I don’t think that would upset the line of the sweater and it would be easy to do. What I shall do right now is to set it aside for the next 2 weekends and then if I still don’t like how it looks on me, I’ll rip. It’s angora and mohair - waaaaay too hot to wear till the temperature drops to the 30’s.

In many ways it’s a darling sweater though - I’m very pleased with the length and width, with the short row bust darts, and with how the colors of the two yarns softened each other when knit together. The orange was not too loud and the pink toned it own a little more. I’ll get a photo of it up as soon as possible.

But, this means I’ll cast on Bricca the Aran this morning. I’m well enough satisfied with the gauge I got on the swatch hat, using a #8 needle, to get started. Gauge is so tricky. Knitting a swatch can only give you an idea of how your actual project will knit up. So many other things can affect the final product - and yet - it is just a sweater - a loose stretchy garment with lots of wiggle room. It’s a good thing I don’t mind knitting swatches, though, because I really don’t like knitting 5 inches worth of 200+ stitches on trust.

BD built our first fire last night - just big enough to take the chill off the house. How toasty. All the dogs came inside and watched dog TV (flickering flames through the stove window). We have one head baker dog - Socks - who likes to lie with her head on the little brick platform beneath the stove and get the top of her head good and hot. Topsy used to do this, but now when she’s in the house she tends to hover about hoping you’ll get up and go into the kitchen to drop tidbits on the floor. Priss, who has much thicker fur, is content to lie across the room from any heat sources - or even by the front door where cold air streams in through the cracks. We’ve always had a leaky house - purposefully - since we heat with wood, prefer the constant fresh air source, and don’t really have what one might call severe winters.

(Hope I didn’t just jinx myself with that statement.)

The thrum of anticipation is building out in Knitting Land as the Knitters Review Retreat nears. I got my info packet on Tuesday. It’s only 4 weeks and a day away. There’s chatter on the forum and some of the blogs as well. I’m looking forward to this one more than either of the previous two - I suppose because I know I’ll be hooking up with people I really like, some of whom I haven’t seen in a long time, some of whom I've never met face2face.

Hmmm - been just sitting idly for 10 minutes - so I’ll log off and cast on.

TA.

posted by Bess | 7:12 AM

1 Comments:

Oh! Is she all done then? YAY! She's GORGEOUS and I can't wait to see her with all those fall leaves at Graves Mtn...

And now you get to start on BRCA!

By Blogger Amie, at 2:24 PM  

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Wednesday, October 06, 2004  

For a first day back at work it wasn’t so bad. Some stupid issues that will be irritating to straighten out and some lovely surprises that make things interesting. Guess I can’t ask for more than that.

ALL KNITTING CONTENT (possibly tedious to read, but necessary for me to put into words)



I’m down to the last bits of knitting on the Anny Blatt sweater. It’s going to be very very warm. It will be my winter video watching sweater. The machine is in the den which is the furthest away from the wood stove and snugs into the northeast corner of the house. That room is cold with a C in winter. All that angora will be toasty warm. It's very furry.

I’m knitting this sweater in the round with set in sleeves and short row shoulders - the same structural technique as Flidas - and while the math of this technique is not quite as nerve wracking figure out as it was in March of ‘03, it’s still a mental challenge. At the point where I wanted the front neck opening to begin I put 6 inches worth of stitches on a holder and began knitting back and forth on the shoulders, continuing to decrease stitches in the sleeve cap. I’ve finished the shoulders up to the point of putting in the short rows, which raise the neck opening about one inch over the shoulder edge. There are 2 stitches left in each sleeve cap.

Here’s how it goes:

I’m at the left neck opening ready to turn and purl back.

* Purl to 2 stitches from the shoulder

* wrap & turn

* Knit to neck opening

* Purl back, picking up the wrap, purl across sleeve cap, decreasing final 2 stitches and across back to within 2 stitches of sleeve cap

* wrap & turn

* Knit back to within 2 stitches of last stitch on back shoulders (3 stitches of decreased sleeve cap stitch)

* wrap & turn

* Purl back, picking up wrap and continue purl across sleeve cap, decreasing final
2 stitches, continuing across right front shoulder to neck edge

* Knit back to within 2 stitches of last stitch on right front shoulder

* wrap & turn

* Purl back to neck edge

* Knit back to sleeve cap

* Put single sleeve cap stitch and right front shoulder stitches on one needle, right back shoulder stitches on another and do 3 needle bind off ending with yarn at neck opening.

* Knit across back, picking up last wrap and continuing across to neck opening
arrange stitches on 2 needles as for right shoulder and perform 3 needle bind off.

* Pick up stitches for the neck band and knit 1.5 inches in seed stitch.

* Bind off

* Weave in ends.

My, it felt good to type those last three words.

Full report tomorrow.

posted by Bess | 7:37 AM

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Tuesday, October 05, 2004  

Can you believe it? I’m supposed to be at work in 3 hours! Taking a Spanish lesson! Yikes! And in about 10 minutes I’m waking up a special guest who’s upstairs, spending the night with us before going to an 8:30 job interview. Not too much time to chatter this morning.

My last day of vacation was a sweet one. We lounged around in bed for hours - then I helped BD put the boat in the water. It’d been up in Maryland at the boat doctor while we were on vacation and he brought it home while I was at the FFF. After lunch we took a ride down stream and a very brief stroll along the beach across the river from Tappahannock. Brief, because the tide was coming up fast, with a south east wind helping it along. Socks came with us, because she’s a good little dog who comes when she’s called. Priss gets left at home on these jaunts, because she won’t come when she’s called and runs off the moment she thinks she can swim to shore. She came to us as a grown dog and we’ve never been able to break her of that bad habit. But she was waiting on the pier when we got back.

While dinner cooked I knit a few rounds on the Anny Blatt sweater. I have 6 rounds plus the short row shoulder shaping, a collar band and the weaving in stuff and it’s done, so it’s photo op time. I’ll get some film today.

Tonight is Weight Watchers and I really ought to go - but I believe I’ll play hooky. I’ve got another late night coming up on Thursday and I’m just not ready to leave my nest twice in the same week. That can come later, when I’m back in the groove of being away from home so much.

Well - 7 o’clock. Best get breakfast started.

posted by Bess | 7:02 AM

3 Comments:

We have a restaurant here that serves the fried pickles. I just have never been there with anyone who wanted to share them. I always thought they sounded pretty yummy.
A big, huge congratulations on you win at the fiber festival! 1 1b. of Finn is a great prize!

By Blogger Carolyn, at 3:13 PM  

Congratulations Bess, I'd love to see what you entered.

I thought about the festival all weekend...sure missed coming this year. Glad that the weather held up for you even if the crowds didn't come.

By Blogger Elayne, at 10:22 PM  

I didn't realize that the spectacular purple cloud was yours, darlin'! Thank you for the wonderful hugs..

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:14 PM  

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Monday, October 04, 2004  

Back again from the Montpelier Fall Fiber Festival. How can my vacation be so close to the end! I have got to find one of those jobs that offers 52 weeks of paid vacation a year. I just love being home and free to indulge every whim. At least I have today to stroke my new treasures and maybe, just maybe, finish that Anny Blatt sweater.

I’d arranged to be at the fair an hour before opening, and figured I had best leave home at 6, since the drive west from Fredericksburg, along rout 3, is always a nightmare of traffic. Only, guess what - at 7 a.m. on a Saturday it’s not a nightmare - it’s a wide open road. Of course, on a week day it probably is bumper to bumper all the way to Chancelorsville, but I had a quick drive west and was at the fairgrounds, on the wide pastures of Montpelier, the lovely home of James and Dolly Madison, by 8 o’clock. Folk were there already, but just some of the fair organizers - and dog owners there for the sheep dog trials. A pen of sheep was already set up and dogs were already working the fields. I didn’t ask if they were just practicing - it was enough fun to just watch. Lord those little animals are precious. The one in the field was so alert and attentive. The ones waiting by their masters were full of that concentrated passion that seems to be begging “Please, is it my turn? Can I help? Please”. Little ear tips cocked, eyes riveted, bodies poised to dash on the instant, just waiting for a command.

The weather was warm but the sky was cloudy. Before 9 Jen was there and we began unwrapping her booth - shrouded in plastic and sheets to protect from dew. It didn’t take long to put the finishing touch on things and by 10 we were ready for customers. I’ll say up front, here, I was disappointed in the attendance. I’d been watching the weather forecasts too; all week in fact. Hoping for cool sunshine or cool gray skies, even, or, at worst, warm gray skies - but the forecast, especially on the hourly weather dot com page, was for rain the live long day. In fact, the weather was not all that bad, but by golly, the weather men were rats and dogs to ... hmm - ought not to insult rats and dogs - they were stinkers to shriek about RAIN and THUNDERSTORMS and WEATHER ALERTS for days and days. It was hot, the way early fall in VA often is, and it did sprinkle, for maybe 5 minutes, about 3 o'clock. But I suspect an awful lot of people stayed home because of those false predictions. The fair was far less well attended than even the year it was 95 degrees and so bloomin’ hot I had to leave the large tents because I couldn’t breathe. Sunday, with the tin god weatherman's blessing, the normal Sunday crowd showed up, but Sunday is not usually the busy day.

Last year it was packed - bright sunny weather, though still warm enough to wear shorts - but this year it was poky on Saturday and only a little better attended on Sunday. This is fun for those who came to look and touch and shop - not so fantastic for those who came to sell. It is very interesting to see a show from the vendor’s perspective. I rather like it more as a vendor (vendor‘s helper, that is) than as a shopper. For one thing, your focus is different. You’re concentrating on your own wares instead of trying to be sure you see everything offered. You notice booth arrangements, display structures, and packaging far more than actual contents. You might look around to compare colors being offered or prices being charged, but not with purchase in mind. So, for all that you are taking in new things, you’re less likely to do any impulse purchasing. (Less likely, mind, not immune to)
So I feel extraordinarily fortunate that I get to come along as a helper with Spirit Trail Fiberworks. I love what Jen offers, I love to show it off, to talk the talk with other fiber lovers, I love to spin little samples of it and I love to dream up projects when people ask “what would you do with this?” People loved Jen’s colors but this (scroll down to kit #3) was the thing most people had to stop and fondle. Yum. Thank you so much Jen!

It was so much fun to meet - and meet up with - all of my buddies, including so many KRForumites. First to arrive were A&K&D - early because A had pieces to enter in the Skein & Garment competition. I’ve prosed on enough about why I think it’s good to enter these competitions - I’ll only add that I’m glad A heard me, ‘cause she won a ribbon (nice) and a prize (even nicer!) Next came L with hugs for everyone. This naughty girl does not enter and I ought to scold her into it. She knits beautifully. More and more smiling faces showed up throughout the whole weekend. Some people were new friends, some were old, but it was always wonderful when people would introduce themselves as Knitters Review folk, or blog readers.

Something else that was really fun was to hear comments about the purple lace mohair sweater. Yes. That lovely project that I dithered and lingered and dragged my needles over was for Jen. The design is hers and she wanted to be sure the pattern was correct - which it is - and to know how much yarn it took to knit. So - it was super fun to hear people talk about my knitting. Nothing like having your ego stroked.

Now - low attendance is bad for the vendors, but it's not all that bad for shoppers. It was easier to get to the booths than usual. I got to spend some free time with Cecil of Cecilsfolie - this is the guy who sells naturally colored angora (mohair) goats. I have been in love with his blue goats for years and usually he's swamped with fascinated folk, so I usually only get to compliment him on his goats before someone else is clamoring for attention. He's not a vendor - though, of course, his mohair is for sale - he's part of the demonstration and exhibits. But after the show he did sell me some of the gorgeous blue mohair roving. I'm thinking lace shawl. He has naturally chocolate too - though at the show it was only on the hoof. You can email him at cecilsfolie@aol.com if you're interested.

One thing I love about entering in the skein and garment competition is that you win PRIZES, not just ribbons. I came home with a pound of Finn roving. Of course, it always depends upon what else is entered and there was a lot of felting in this show - including the most whimsical and adorable project - the best in show and deservedly so - felted sheep heads coming out of a fleece that had been needle felted onto a felt foundation. The winner's prizes were gift certificates from Spirit Trail Fiberworks, so I got to talk to the winner. She was so modest and surprised that she'd won - but nobody who saw it could have been surprised. The skill was flawless, and it was, as I said, whimsical, not cutsie. She said she had more fun making it. It was obvious.

We worked up till a tad past 5 o’clock and then headed back to the hotel. Dinner that night was at the Pig and Steak in Madison where we sampled their specialty - Deep Fat Fried Dill Pickles.

You heard me. Pickles.

Yep. Sounds like a bet, doesn’t it? As in “I bet you you can’t find anything that isn’t better deep fat fried.”

“Oh yeah? What about dill pickles”

“Try these!”

I swear, they are good. Batter dipped, deep fat fried. Probably fortylevendyhundred calories per serving, but hey, just one won’t hurt you. You eat them with ranch dressing.

The rest of the meal was good too, though not so outré. Back at the hotel we got into pj’s fast, popped the cork on a gift bottle of wine, and got down to serious girlfriend talk. But we were tired and asleep by 9:30 or 10, with the alarm set for 7. The Holiday Inn’s continental breakfast was substantial enough to last us through about 2 o’clock, when the smell of spit turned lamb proved to be irresistible.

Sales were brisker on Sunday, though the crowd never grew really packed. Also, it stayed cool enough for me to keep my long sleeves - I had brought a t-shirt and shorts just in case. Along with more internet knitting pals, R and the girls showed up. We’d been looking for them Saturday but I’m glad they came on Sunday instead. They were so helpful, since R has years of retail experience and the girls are just plain fun to see. I’m proud to say I successfully resisted buying Scarf Style - a simply gorgeous book that I have already purchased for the library, on KnitDad’s advice. It is a drool-producing book, but I don’t have to own it and I can check it out. Must resist - must resist - must resist - unnecessary purchases. I did buy a book on knitting Christmas stockings because I hope to begin teaching a sock class this Saturday.

Packing up was a lot more tiring than it was at Creative Strands. No college boys to do the heavy lifting. But we got it done with time to have an impromptu picnic of leftover lamb sandwiches, drinks and chocolate candy with Barbara and RunningDog of Stony Mountain Fibers, Caroline and Dan of Carodan Yarns and several other lovely friendly fiber folk. We were in cars and driving off by 6:30 and with only one short stop at Hard Times Restaurant for some Texas Chili for BD, I was in Champlain by 8:20, tired, a little wistful, but oh so glad to be home.

All in all, grand fun. I wisely took the day off today so I can rest up. Tomorrow I become a library director again. I wonder if I remember how?

posted by Bess | 8:44 AM

1 Comments:

Traveling mercies, Dear Bess, and have fun in Vt!

By Blogger Margaret, at 9:09 AM  

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Friday, October 01, 2004  

It's setteled. The swatch knit on size 8 needles measures right on gauge so I'll cast on the real sweater just as soon as I finish up the mohair/angora - sometime today I am sure. Only 16 more rounds on that to go plus a neckline treatment and weaving in the ends.

Happily, I can report that I found a 24" size 8 Addi turbo while reorganizing my stash yesterday. How does this stuff get so cluttery!? I also did a little tidying up with my knitting library - which is extensive. In fact, it's so big I'm tempted to catalog it. I'm actually a little amazed at how remarkably vast it's gotten - not outlandish, mind you, but very very big and I still don't have all the Barbara Walker stitch books. After I own them, I wonder, can I ever need another knitting book?

Anyway, I can keep myself entertained with my collection for many a year.

Tomorrow, at Crack-0-Dawn I head off to the Montpelier Fall Fiber Festival and shan't have time to post. I have to be on the road at 6. I won't be back till late on Sunday, so this is probably my last post till Monday a.m. But - and it's a big but - I am writing up the travel log and if I get a chance I'll sneak into the library before it opens, scan some photos and post at least the first entry. If not - you'll get to see them next week.

Happy weekend to all.

posted by Bess | 8:06 AM
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