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

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Sunday, October 30, 2005  

Ok. Naughty Queen here. Diddling around at the keyboard but NOT writing up the Uhhh. Yeah. Wells.

Baaad Queen. Baad.

Banashed from the office till you've finished your work!

posted by Bess | 7:06 AM

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Saturday, October 29, 2005  

Betcha can’t guess what I’m going to [try] to do this weekend. Uhhh, yeah, well. But first I have to go to town and log into the gym, before logging in to work. Work - that place where the Internet connection is fast enough to load and play this link.

Warning - sound: Llamas

Thankyou H. I hummed this idiotic tune the rest of the day - I even tried to learn the words.

And as a reward for completing the above Uhhh, yeah, well, I will paw through my stash and see if there isn’t some New Project I might want to start Fresh at the retreat next weekend. I will also have to paw through my clothes to find something chic but casual and Important Looking because the day the retreat begins, I’ll be gazing worshipfully at BD, an Important Guest at the Launch of the John Smith Shallop. As Mr. Jamestown, he has been a consultant on a number of projects planned for the 2007 celebration, including this one. I’ve missed out on a lot of these interesting gatherings, particularly the consultations that took place in my house, since we live midway between Stuff In Maryland and Stuff in Virginia. But I am not missing this event. So, while knitters are gathering and gossiping and preparing to Shop - I will be wearing wool and classic pumps, and being so durn proud of That Man.

At Crack-0-Dawn Saturday I’ll hop into the car and zoom on up to Graves in time for breakfast.

The Halloween costume is utterly darling. Gauzy scalloped wings are stitched all down the sleeve seams and halfway down the side seams of a black knit top. They hang freely from that point to about mid-calf, fanning out a little, even when the arms are unspread. GD sketched in a design then followed the lines with glitter glue. The entire surface was then sprayed with spray glitter - which is much finer than the sprinkle on kind and doesn’t stiffen up the fabric quite so much. It’s absolutely gorgeous, but best of all, since the wings aren’t attached to the back, they don’t have to have a stiff frame and they won’t get in the way if someone wants to come up and talk to you or if, heaven forbid, you were invited to take a turn on the dance floor.

Of course, a butterfly needs an entomologist, But he's just a science guy in khaki geek clothes. All that’s needed for his costume is a big enough net! And possibly, a pocket protector and field notebook.

I swear, having a girl in this family is so much fun!

But now - I must finish out today. The Saturday that is a Friday.

posted by Bess | 6:13 AM

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Friday, October 28, 2005  

So. It’s the Friday that’s a Thursday. And the day-off-that-wasn’t turned out to be a fairly successful Saturday. I didn’t get all the laundry done but I got those musty winter sweaters cleaned and of course, the M-but +$$+-S made the house sparkle. Later in the evening, GD and I made it glitter too, as we worked away on a ReallyCuteHalloweenCostume. I read additional chunks of the book we’re reviewing at Brown Bag Books today ( oh lawsee - that reminds me, I have to pack my lunch!) but I still haven’t finished it. Odd, too, because normally I am a quick reader, with scanning capabilities, but I can’t seem to scan this one. Still. I have a general picture of what happened and I am merely a facilitator/hostess for this group, not necessarily the one with all the ideas. When that part of the day is over, I will have only one thing more to do - and we all know what that is. Yes. KRR handouts.

I am trying to think what else I have to do this coming week besides get ready to play all next weekend. I am not trying very hard, because I haven’t made a list, which would be quite easy to do and would provide me with some means of gauging how to spend my time. I suppose this is a round-about way of talking myself into making a list. Going public with my shame might help, you know. Hmmm. So. What are the ImportantThings2Do between now and, say, January 1. (You do realize that Christmas is only 8 weeks [and one paycheck] away, don’t you?)

Trouble is - I have never been so disorganized in my entire life! I’m skimming along on vague feelings and a sort of detachment about Life. Ahh. Well. Perhaps this afternoon is the one when I’ll write it all down and plan my escape - to that grand and glorious day in the future when I will have ... Time.

posted by Bess | 7:44 AM

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Thursday, October 27, 2005  

Not working on a Thursday is not the same as not working on a weekend day. Just like working on a Saturday is not the same as working a real workday. I worked Saturdays for 9 years and never felt like I was really working. I talked to people who came to the library. Made suggestions of great books to read. I looked at the interesting books that had arrived on Friday (my normal day off). I puttered and muttered and sort of was present and helped kids with assignments. But it wasn’t real work because it wasn’t a real work day and besides, we close early on Saturday. Back then it was at 1 o’clock, which meant I could actually go do stuff afterwards, but even now, when we close at 4 there’s still daylight - even after we go off that hideous daylight savings time - to take a walk or go to the store. Nobody is in the grocery store at 4 p.m. on a Saturday. Did you know that? Besides, if you work on a Saturday, nobody who could scold you for NotDoingSomething is at work, since nobody works on Saturday, right? State Library folk? Your board chairman? County Administrator? Whatever. They are all home because it’s the weekend. They’ll think about you on Monday. When you might call in sick.

Part of the reason being off on a Thursday doesn’t really count, is because BD works at home and he will think this is a Day Off and want me to play with him. He won’t understand that if we are to go on living Life As Normal, I will have to do all those Saturday things on a Thursday! Laundry is a Saturday thing. Floor mopping is too, though the Magnificent-ButMoreExpensiveNow-Sheryl will be here today. And I absolutely have to finish a novel for tomorrow - or at least, get through a couple of what I know are important parts ( because I’ve read the ending, you see - I just have to find out how everybody got there). And I promised to help with a Halloween costume. and I haven’t yet (blush) written down the handouts for the KRRetreat that will be here Next Weekend!!!

The other reason Thursday doesn’t count as a day off is that you have to go back to work on Friday. Even if you were going to go to work on the Saturday after a Friday off, Friday would have been a Real Day Off, since we’ve already agreed that working Saturday (in a library, at least) isn’t really working. But, after a Thursday off, when you go back on Friday, it won’t be Friday, because you have to come in on Saturday too. So Friday will really be Thursday, which, while it is usually my favorite day of the week, because it means you’re almost at the weekend, but if you still have SomethingImportant2Do - you still have Friday to work on it, too - well, when it is a Friday that is really a Thursday - well - it doesn’t feel so celebratory.

So. There you have it. Bess’ Theory of Days. Next time: Bess’ Color Theory of Days. (Did you know that Tuesdays are yellow?)

posted by Bess | 8:46 AM

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Wednesday, October 26, 2005  

Oh. My. I have time. I have a computer. I even have some ideas. But I just don’t want to write today. Oh. Hmmm.

(My inner author is stamping her little Mary Jane shod foot and saying "so there! Nya!")

I have a slightly off kilter schedule this week since I have to work on Saturday. I’d go in anyway, because we have the most delightful story teller coming to the library to tell spoooooky stories. And I have to work Friday because we will finally have everyone together for a staff meeting and we will also have our book group lunch. I can’t take off Wednesdays - because we all know that Wednesday means story hour - so I’m taking tomorrow off - so this means Wednesday means Friday.

And on Fridays I go grocery shopping. But on Wed. I teach knitting to the worlds cutest knitting students. Only it’s tax time and they both work in the tax assessor’s office and they asked to postpone their class till next week. So I could go shopping, but I don’t think I shall. I ought to balance the check book, only I haven’t finished the book group novel. And what I really want is to spend 4 rainy days in bed, napping. Only we won't get rain again till next week.

Huh. Just a week in the life of an anywoman who knits. The only reasons I’m nattering on like this is because the real thing I’m thinking about is being ignored and, being the Virgo I am, I need to Plan and Schedule my Scarce&Precious Time, and I need to let a stream of subconscious thought pour out all the Things2Do that are clamoring for attention in the brain that is thinking of SomethingElse. Otherwise, whatever is the MostImportantThing2Do can pretty much be guaranteed - it won’t get done.


I think I’ll pull out HeyBaby.

Ta.

posted by Bess | 7:19 AM

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Tuesday, October 25, 2005  

Woke in the night. Read a while. Fell back to sleep. Yikes! it's late!

No fiber news anyway and really not much else. I spent the day yesterday writing press for the library, which meant holing up in the office. Have to do the same this a.m. but after that I can come up for air. We've gotten in all the new knitting books ordered after the TNNA report last summer. I'll list them later. It's like kid in a candy shop around here.

Off to make breakfast.

posted by Bess | 7:58 AM

3 Comments:

Oh my word, I just have to have that sweater vest on the right! Love the color,style, everything about it!! OK...who do you know that would want to knit that for me?? Got to have it!

By the way, Bess darling, I think Taurean's have that same "I'm a bad girl, it has to be perfect" thing, too!!
Miss you and love you!
Patti

By Anonymous Patti, at 8:27 AM  

I suspect it's a general "woman thing" - not just virgoan (or taurean, or saggittarian...) characteristic... how like a discussion I'm having elsewhere.

Can't wait to hear more about the class, and I'm off to look at Bill's site for myself!
XOX

By Blogger Amie, at 1:00 PM  

Like Amie, I look forward to hearing more about your class - sounds fascinating to say the least.
Ah, the "perfect" thing & women - been there, doing that, still doing that too many minutes of too many days & am getting better w/it...I think ^..^
XOXO
Martha

By Blogger Martha, at 5:46 PM  

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Monday, October 24, 2005  

What? It’s Monday already? The 24th!!?

That’s how I feel, anyway. Like time is whizzing by and I can’t remember what I’m supposed to do next in order to do what I’m supposed to do next. I dreamed all last night about retiring - and worrying that there wouldn’t be enough money to live on (there wouldn’t) and also about my parents deciding to come for a visit and then not being able to drive up to the house so they got our neighbors to bring them over by boat, only just as they got to The Point which, in my dream was a rocky coast, not a marshy one, they decided to go skinny dipping. In front of everyone. And the best thing about it was nobody was embarrassed or repulsed - and afterwards mama could walk without any pain. So - obviously the first dream is all about not having enough time to stay home and play with the spinning wheel and the second is about not worrying about stuff. Right?

I did get in some good spinning this weekend. The first 2 bobbins of the brown tweedy stuff are plied, skeined, set and dry. No point in showing a photo of them since they look just like the sample pictures. Though I used up all the mohair/merino I didn’t use up all the springy brown wool. Altogether I got about 130 yards, which suggests to me that this yarn is going to knit up at 4 st. to the inch. The pattern I’m toying with is the blue cabled jacket with shirt collar in the fall '05 Family Circle knitting magazine - the one with 4 cables up the front and 5 up the back and garter stitch button band. That pattern calls for 5 st. to the inch so I’ll be doing some fiddling around with it. I would anyway because, especially with short sweaters and jackets, I must must must put in short rows along the bust.


Anyway, at the rate of only 130 yards a week this project will take some time before I can start knitting. I’m pretty well determined to not start till I have enough to finish the whole garment. I don’t want any big surprises at the end. I did fill another bobbin, this time packed to overflowing, with mohair/merino and started in on bobbin #2 of the wool. Though I have some time off this week, I also have some Obligations, none of which are spinning.

So. I didn’t post yesterday because I am still very deeply pondering my experience at the dowsing class. I’m not sure I’m ready yet, to post about it. It dives quite deeply into my other life - the one where I explore things that not many physicists can explain - things like past life regression and prayer and such. I don’t particularly feel I must explain to others what these things are or what their meaning is, but till I can explain it to myself, I can’t describe my experiences to others.

Dowsing of course, is most frequently known for finding underground streams for digging wells. My dad dowsed for his well and loves to chortle about his neighbor deliberately ignoring Dad’s suggested spot and digging 3 dry wells. He finally dug a well where Dad told him to and guess what. Yep. Water. Lots of kids like to play around with dowsing sticks and pretend with them. I did when I was little. But we live along the river. There’s always going to be water around here. We just dug down. Later, we put in an artesian well which doesn’t involve underground streams but burrows below the rock subsurface to an aquifer. So it never occurred to me to dowse.

Bill, the class teacher, was the guest speaker at our spring Friends of the Library dinner meeting and we were seated together. As we talked, as I questioned him about dowsing, I realized that what he really does is tap into that same spirit world that yogi’s seek, that contemplative cloistered orders seek, that past life hypnotists seek. It is also very likely the same source people who have uncanny success find - stock brokers who always pick the right stocks, ball players who become extraordinarily good, even gamblers who just seem to have the knack. I believe it’s that same world that fiction writers go into, where the characters sort of introduce themselves to the author’s consciousness, and then - go about telling her the story, which she is incapable of changing even if she wanted to. And I know it’s the place the fabulous musicians go when they stand on stage and move your very heart with indescribable beauty.

I’ve felt in touch with my spiritual side all my life and for the past 10 years I’ve been actively exploring it; first with meditation - something I had to be middle aged to be ready to even try - and later with other tools. Alas. I am still in the naval gazing stage of my development - entirely too self absorbed. So what I will do with what I learned at the dowsing class is still shrouded in smoky veils. I am, after all, a Virgo and live in constant dread that I am a Bad Girl and it is All My FAULT! So much of the work I’ve done has been to seek ways to Do It BETTER! and also to not be so hard on myself.

The fun thing is that you must practice if you want to be skillful at dowsing. The practice is not physical, except in so far as you are to calm your mind, not think and not try to control things by thinking. It is all about shutting up and listening - another area I am in great need of exploring. But for a former little musician, the concept of practice is very comforting and reassuring. I know that practice really does make you better. And since being BETTER is so obviously my [not so] hidden goal, I’m likely to keep practicing and perhaps I’ll find out what it is I want to do with this skill.

What’s also reassuring is that I have a lot of talent for this sort of thing. And I had a tremendously good time on Saturday with the 3 other students. And I still got in some good spinning this weekend. So. I guess it isn’t so bad it’s after 8 and I must fly.

posted by Bess | 7:59 AM

2 Comments:

Yes, yes, the Life o'the Queen should be regal and relaxed indeed! Glad you're back, sorry it wasn't a royal ball... and I love that bowl, too, just haven't gotten around to playing with the techniques (and you and I seem to have the exact same feelings - I keep meaning to send Cat an e-mail politely asking "what on earth were you thinking with that contortion?" though I do think the concepts she presents are brilliant)

By Blogger Amie, at 4:33 PM  

Hi, Bess-- If you were naval gazing, were you looking at sailors? hehe.

I have dowsed, though have never had a class. It's like fishing with one's eyes closed-- but that same feeling of electrical excitement when you get a "hit."

We just had our state library conference, too. I narrowly missed being tapped to be the next conference chair, which for a Pisces is a great blessing (to have missed it, that is). Hope all is well with you and yours.

By Anonymous Necia, at 8:08 AM  

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Saturday, October 22, 2005  

Whew! What a week! Packed, cranky, fractious, stupid, and just when I thought I had the weekend to veg out - I am reminded that I’d signed up for a class in dowsing waaaaaay last summer and guess what. Yeah. 10 a.m. And not only is it pre-paid, but I do want to take the class. But there goes my loaf about the house in p.j.’s plan. On a delicious rainy Saturday too. ahh well.

I’m back from the annual library conference, held this year in one of my favorite towns - Williamsburg. Somehow this year seemed duller than other years. Too bad, too, since it was the 100 year birthday of the organization. It fell flat though - or perhaps I was flat - which could easily be the case. Some good enough programs. Some really dull chicken at each meal - both of which were pricey and both of which were served after it could be guaranteed that the food would be lukewarm. The anniversary dinner didn’t include desert (as if I need it) because there was a cake, which wasn’t going to be cut till 30 minutes after the 2 hour dinner was over. So I passed, and went back to my room. Truth? I wish I’d not paid for the dinner ticket. I wish I’d ordered room service instead.

One thing really obvious at the convention was that this was the year that all of us got fat. Oh, not the naturally slender. Or the ektomorphs. Or those who are always more disciplined. Just those of us who are prone to bulk up. I’ve noticed that there are some years when people seem to DoSomethingAboutTheirWeight in unplanned hoards so that when you show up at events you see NewClothes and FreshOutfits and Color and sometimes even DifferentHair. Then there are other years when everybody seems to give up the effort (self included) and let the lbs. pack on and wear monochromatic black. It made me feel part of the group, but also reminded me that the temperature is dropping and I have very few clothes that will meet in the front anymore. And no disposable cash.

I did get by the Knitting Sisters - well, I’m not going to hit W’burg and skip one of the nicest shops I know. I had intended to do a real review of the shop but I didn’t have enough time to get into a conversation with the owners and this shop is good enough to deserve the effort. I believe I shall just take myself down there some slow day, like a Tuesday morning, and chat. They’re still in the same little shopping center on the way from the colonial part of W’burg to the theme park stuff but they’ve moved into a bigger shop. They seem to have all the Noro that’s made and plenty of other yarn lines too: lots of Rowan, the obligatory novelty stuff, Hanne Falkenburg kits, Collinette .... you get the picture. The classroom is big, bright, full of natural light. The needle selection is still the best I’ve seen in any store. All the staff was happy, as they’ve been every time I’ve visited and teen age sons sleep in cozy chairs in the window.

I really really really really really don’t need any more yarn. And I didn’t buy any either, thank goodness. But I fell under the spell of this.



To be specific - I was utterly captivated by the felted knitted bowl at the end of the book. The sample on display, tucked full of yarn skeins, with it’s secret pockets, perfect for storing knitting gadgets, tape measures, stitch markers, all around the belly, tempted me, for the first time ever, to steal in a yarn shop. Instead, I bought the book.

I love and use Bordhi’s 2 circular method for knitting narrow tubes. It’s a brilliant knitting idea. Her explanation of it was a little difficult to read and the crazy way she insisted (at least in the first edition of her first book) you knit the gussets on socks was almost enough to drive me crazy. It is enough to turn off loads of otherwise interested 2 circ. knitters. When I knit socks I put all the back half of the stitches - the heel flap, heel, gusset - onto one needle and just knit the instep stitches on the other needle. It mimics the traditional division of stitches for socks and puts your decreases at either end of the knitting on a single needle, with no need for stitch markers. But be that as it may - if you read her instructions and just do what she says, you’ll discover a useful new knitting technique.

I suspected it would be the same with this mobius technique and as I've read the instructions I've found them a little confusing. But then, I haven't had a needle in my hand yet. I’ve never been particularly lured to the mobius circle. It’s clever. It’s interesting. I get it. Yep Yep. Clever knitting math, but I never felt the need to knit one. These bowls, though, oh my. Yes. I must make one. So I’ll just follow her directions as written and see what she reveals to me this time. One way or another, I will have that knitted felted bowl. And talk about a stash buster!

I also liked her funny jester hats, though I doubt I would ever wear one.

So I am back home now. Last week was All The Stuff That Demands Attention till after Christmas. Not that I don’t have as much to do as anybody else has in her life, but nothing to do with my job will be weighted with shoulds or musts or pointing fingers. At least, that’s what it looks like from this side of the calendar. Let us hope the vision is true. Let us hope that the Life-0-Queen is easy and relaxing and full of fiber joys for a while.

posted by Bess | 6:46 AM

1 Comments:

Have I mentioned lately that I love you with every fiber (!) of my being???

Can't wait to see you!

love,
LWLY

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:50 PM  

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Monday, October 17, 2005  

Thank you all for the kind comments on the yarn. Yes LWLY, I promise to teach you how to make this. I'll talk to the Boss Lady and see about making it official, so we can have some quiet space. I don't want to try to teach it in a big room full of other people wanting to talk about other things. And you know, most folk will be wanting to learn to use their drop spindles. But we can put in a little time with boucle techniques. I'm going to bring HeyBaby after all.


Here’s what you need to bring:

Singles, spun to a medium twist, on a bobbin. Silk, alpaca, merino, mohair, blends - whatever you have or really like.
Spool of thread - black or white will be fine
Spool of glittery thread - optional
Tall plastic cup OR small, but deep card board box - at least 7 inches deep
Plastic sandwich bag and large rubber band - optional
Wheel
Empty bobbin

I have way early morning meetings tomorrow, library board meeting on Wed. and an out of town convention on Thurs. & Fri. so this may be it for blog posts this week. Depends, of course, on how busy I really get.
Be glad to know that I’ve almost filled that bobbin of brown wool - so this weekend I’ll ply the two fibers up.

posted by Bess | 8:58 PM

4 Comments:

*swoon*

By Blogger Amie, at 12:50 PM  

If I hugyouandloveyouandofferyouchocolate(ornot,asyouwish), will you PLEASE, PLEASE teach me how to do this at the retreat???

And if so (hoping,hoping,hoping), can you tell me what materials to bring?

Lovelovelovelovelovelove,
LWLY

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:04 PM  

Oh my! The boucle makes me drool! Ever thought of coming to the Canadian Rockies so you could give a certain VirgoSoulSister lessons on her little Ashford 'Joy'?... ;-)

By Blogger Margaret, at 2:24 PM  

Wherever do you get the patience to do all that beautiful boucle work? I just cannot seem to make myself tackle it long enough to master.

By Blogger Carolyn, at 7:42 PM  

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Here are some pictures of the spinning I've been doing. Below is the control card showing the brown wool as a 2-ply and as singles, then the merino&wool blend as same:





These two singles spun into a yarn that looks like this:






Here is a very loopy boucle I made out of mohair locks. I like the look but working with the locks is very tedious. You have to comb them out and the fibers become wisps that float all around your house. It was while spinning this particular mohair single that I decided I'd rather try hand painted mohair top. You could still get the wonderful color variations, but the single would spin up quickly from that smoothly combed top.

I plied this onto a silk binder thread and then added a sparkly gold machine embroidery thread with the second silk binder to lock everything down. I like this a lot but I have a long way to go before I'm actually confident in my ability to put those loops where I want them, when I want them.





This is the merino/tencil boucle, with matching sewing thread as the binders. I have some more of this fiber and will spin the boucle again with a lavender colored sewing thread. It's a very different look with almost no loops but lots of bunchy puffs.

posted by Bess | 11:47 AM

1 Comments:

that purple "thread?" is awesome!!! did you make that? can i have some ha ha <3 me

By Blogger knitnic, at 10:13 AM  

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We dashed out early (for us) on our lovely ramble through northern Gloucester County, partly looking over some terrain covered by Capt. John Smith when he was captured by Powhatan, but mostly just enjoying the glorious autumn world; a world of blue blue blue skies and crystal clear air, ducks on the move and the bobbing heads of sumac and devil’s walking sticks. We had a picnic lunch on a slender public pier on Poropotank Creek and stopped for a snack at Gum Fork. We meandered down a gravel rode till we found Rosewell - an ancient ruin of palace-like proportions. At Belroi we passed the teensy shack where the famous doctor Walter Reed was born and then drove down the peninsula to probe the shores of Mobjack Bay.

And every other mile or so we dug up a memory, an incident, a thought, and talked all the time about us and other happy thoughts. A perfect anniversary drive. We even ate Kentucky Fried Chicken for dinner - surely wiping out any gains I’d made (or losses) on WW this week. Eh. Thus it is with celebrations.

When I got home last night I filled up the rest of the bobbin of wool&mohair blend and began on a bobbin of the brown wool. Lawsee! Am I glad I made the control card because I spun a good 20 yards of crap before I got my hands and foot adjusted to this wool. I hope every bobbin of this brown stuff I’ll be spinning doesn’t have such a long and wasteful leader. Thank goodness I have lots of it. I will try to get some pictures of the control card and the newest boucles loaded, later today.

posted by Bess | 7:49 AM

3 Comments:

Really, this is about yesterday's post...

If you ever want to run to Colonial Williamsburg, let me know! I finally tracked down the sheep pen. Poor sad dirty sheep...someone needs to love them and spin them!

Any excuse to dig myself out from under the law books is a good thing!

By Blogger Heidi, at 9:21 AM  

Wow! 34 Years! You must've been a babe in arms (pun intended!;-) )...

Congratulations, B&BD, and many, many more!

P.S. RE: Tag...I'll try next time.

Hugs,

Marg

By Blogger Margaret, at 1:32 PM  

I went back and read last year's post about your first date...what a great story! It made my day. Congratulations! jane

By Blogger jane, at 6:31 PM  

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Sunday, October 16, 2005  

It's anniversary time and we plan to take a ramble - something we nearly always do on October 16. I wrote all about how BD and I met in last year's October 16 post so I shan't repeat myself today. The only plan is to head west in the morning and east in the afternoon.

Yesterday was a very hands active day. There were loads and loads of laundry since it's rained the past 2 weekends. I also wanted to make some bread. I used to bake all our bread. But that was back in the days when it didn't really hurt if I ate a whole loaf of bread. Those days called Slender Youth Days. Long gone now. But I was in such a baking mood I had to satisfy the urge with 2 very VERY crusty loaves of oat bran bread and a pumpkin bread baked in one of those rubbery elaborately shaped molds/pans. Very Victorian looking desert - it was a cake mix blended with eggs and water and a can of pumpkin. The high fiber content ratchets down the WW points, but I still only ate one small slice.

And in between hanging up clothes and punching down bread dough I spun. Spun & spun & spun. I plied the bobbin full of mohair locks, spun almost 2 years ago, into a loopy boucle, using silk and sparkly gold embroidery threads as binder threads. Then I began experimenting with grist and twist for a sweater's worth of that tweedy brown and gold wool/wool&mohair blend 2 ply. Check out the image posted earlier this month.

First I spun a single of the wool&mohair blend, varying the ammount of fiber and twist till I had a control yarn I liked. This is an easy yarn to spin - I use about 1/2 an inch of fiber coming off the drafting triangle (ha! that is, the wad of fiber in my hand). There is a lot of mohair in this blend so I don't need too much twist, maybe 2 rotations per inch. I wrapped a length of the control yarn and several lengths of singles around an index card for future reference.

Then came the hard part. I have 2 huge bags of brown wool that I know I bought from 2 different places and that I assume are 2 different breeds. I am not sure they are, since they feel alike, look alike and are stored in the exact same type of plastic bag. But they are supposed to be different and they actually do spin slightly differently. So I picked the one stored on the right side of the chest, thinking maybe it was ever so slightly softer than the one on the left. I fiddled and fiddled with that wool, spinning thick (ugh! clumpy) and thin ( okay, but not what I want).

I plied that with the mohair and got ... a very amateurish looking sloppy yarn that would still probably knit up into the fabric I want well enough. But I wasn't happy with it. I tried again. Same unhappy results. The problem was in the spinning. I couldn't figure out how thick a wad of fiber I wanted to draft nor how tightly I wanted to spin it. I just didn't like what I was making.

So

I pulled out a length of The Other brown wool from the bag in the left corner of the chest. And I spun it fast, and thin and with a light twist. And I plied it with the wool&mohair. And I wet set it. And it was good.

So again I made a control yarn and put that and some singles on the same index card. The control yarns help you spin the same yarn each time you come back to your wheel. Nobody I know has the time to spin a sweater's worth of yarn in one straight stretch. In my case I have a little time here and a little time there and maybe no time for a long period and then ... you see how it is. The control yarn is made by spinning a length, folding it back onto itself and letting it fall into it's natural balance. It's shocking how that skinny little thread, when allowed to find it's balance point, will puff up into a lovely fat yarn. Or not. I often have to spin all sorts of different singles, singles that look nearly identical when stretched against the winding bobbin, but aren't the same at all. Once in a balanced ply state, though, you will know what the yarn is going to look like and how it will behave. And you can check your spinning now and then by letting a length ply on itself and comparing it to your control yarn. If the plied yarns look the same, the singles are pretty much consistent.

I made a fairly large sample of the final yarn and wet set it, just to be sure I would really be spinning what I want. It was a warm windy day yesterday so the little skein dried swiftly. And I do like my final yarn, so now there's nothing for it but to whirr away on the wheel. I nearly filled a bobbin full of the wool&mohair. I suspect the plain wool bobbins will take longer to fill, but I plan to always ply from 2 bobbins with this project.

And when I am done I may just knit that lovely tweedy sweater. But in the mean time, my left hand is feeling a little pins and needley so I shan't take any fiber toys in the car with me while we go on our ranble. Instead I'll give that hand a gigantic rest.

But tomorrow - yarn images!

posted by Bess | 7:45 AM

2 Comments:

???Huh??? Got yer message, but what now???

-- Marg (Bewildered)in Calgary

By Blogger Margaret, at 12:22 PM  

HAPPY FIRST THIRTY_FOURTH ANNIVERSARY!!!!

Big hugs to you and that Big Darling man you live with.

Love ya - mean it!

XOXOXOX

By Blogger Amie, at 8:35 AM  

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Saturday, October 15, 2005  

Well duh! I ought to have realized how tagging worked. Tag was one of my favorite games as a kid - regular tag, freeze tag, and even statues, which I always thought of as a sort of tag. This one came from A. So. Let’s see.

10 years ago:

Grandma (BD’s mom) came to live with us. I was still deep in the slough of despair (worse than Bunyon’s slough of despond) over retiring into the Mom Reserves as my job of Active Duty Mother came to an end. LD was in his second year at college and I wanted a baby so badly I thought I’d die. A baby, or a 5 year old or anything. At a different stage of life, Grandma was so badly needing a mother - someone who took care of her in the most intimate ways. So - when you really need things, look how they can be provided. I simply adored having this darling woman living with us. It was a lot of work, mind, but I needed someone to care for in such a minute way. Desperately. And she needed a gentle glide into the twilight of dementia. We had 2 wonderful years with her before she became bed ridden and I developed a health problem that made it impossible for me to lift her. It was one of the most beautiful of life’s balances. Don’t you believe that crap about “not wanting to be a burden.” Sometimes, there is nothing so sweet as a burden.

5 years ago:

Ha! We had just opened up the New Library - and believe it or not - I was weeping all the time. This had been a project of monumental proportions for this little community. The population is only 10,000 and they raised $1,000,000 in donations to build this building. We’d put on parties for almost a year - culminating in a HUGE party for the opening in July. And for months afterwards, people kept coming in and asking “What are you going to do next?” (!!???!!!???) It got to the point where I always had tears rolling down my cheeks, so one day I sat down with my 1.2 staff and said “We will do nothing for the next 6 months except check books in and check books out. Nothing. Got that? We’ll come to work, smell the nice sweet new building smell, (Our architect made sure there were no weird “new” chemical scents in the building - wrote it into the blueprints and contract) and smile nice sweet smiles while we put books back on the nice roomy shelves.”

And we waited for Submarine Officer LD to get home from his 6 month deployment in the Med.

1 year ago:

We heard about TheWedding2B! And I got pink-eye! And BD drove off to Canada with M the evening of our first 33 anniversary. "First?" you ask. Yes, well. We always celebrate 2 anniversaries. Mine, which is the first and falls on October 16 when he and I went on our first date, then His, which is in April and is the day we got legal about things. And we’ll celebrate this weekend to, for I don’t cook on my anniversaries.

5 snacks:

Walmart brand of white cheddar cheese baked snack crackers.
Weight Watcher’s fudge ice cream bars
Red apples - either Delicious or Fuji
Red seedless grapes
Lite Velveeta on Nabisco soda crackers

This is all because when I eat real cheese - it’s not a snack, it’s Nirvana.

5 songs I know all the words to:

Oh. Well. That’s unfair. I was a music major and besides, my mama taught me one thousand songs.

I Have A Little Pony
Bella figlia dell’amore
Hey Jude ( oh. well. That’s a story)
Christmas time’s a’comin’
I’m a Rebel Soldier (yes that’s just what I am)

5 Things I’d do with $100 million:

Endow my library with a big chunk.
Start a scholarship in both my Dad’s and FiL’s names at their alma maters.
Start a fiber co-op retreat studio sort of thing where people could come to learn it all from all the great teachers, where they could have studio space, where there could be a little shop for selling things fiberish - with a business license so we could purchase at wholesale. hey! I want to start the John C Campbell Folk Art School - but here, not in North Carolina.
Buy Rose Hill for my kids.
Get some landscape guys in here and put down expensive turf grass.

5 places to run away to:

Ocrakoke back in the 1960’s.
Bedford VA
Italy
Colonial Williamsburg
Home

(Well. There. I have a great home and Virginia really is for lovers!!)

5 things I would never wear:

Baby blue or Candy pink
Puffed Sleeves (any more, not that I don’t want to)
Barbie shoes - except, maybe in bed, or something
Empire waists
A bikini

5 favorite TV shows:

Alas - I don’t have a TV - haven’t for 30+ years but back when I had one

Cannon
Mission Impossible
Soul Train
Mary Tyler Moore Show
Barnaby Jones

5 (among my) biggest joys:

Wheat dolphins - or dogs anytime
Autumn’s blue skies
Really good cheese
Reading aloud with BD
Anticipating - waiting - I love to wait for good things

5 favorite toys:

Spinning wheels and spindles
Swift and ball winder
Those ebony circular knitting needles - mmmmmm
Garden weasel
My house - full of stash and books and a bed to lounge in all day if I want

5 people to pass this on to:

L
J
M
S
M



Well - that took so long I don’t have time to write more - but it’s a Boucle Weekend so there’ll be lots of things to show on Monday. And it’s the Anniversary Weekend too. Wonder what we’ll do to celebrate. Besides eat out, that is.

posted by Bess | 8:19 AM

1 Comments:

Tag - you're it! You can make up for a teeny post today by checking out my blog!

XOXOX

By Blogger Amie, at 11:59 PM  

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Friday, October 14, 2005  

8 a.m. hair cut is a 20 minute drive away so there's not much time this morning. Only enough to tell you that there is 70 yards of merino/tencil boucle yarn drying in the downstairs bathroom. It's Bee You Tee Ful!! Alas, thread takes ForEver to dry so I shan't have a picture of it till Monday.

Thank you Oh Great Spirit of the Universe, for Friday.

posted by Bess | 7:15 AM

1 Comments:

Oh my. Oh mymymymy. That is indeed some sweater! That sort of thing is why I have bought books by Edith Lavold and Meg Swansen...all those rich colours and/or intertwined cable-y things...Much Too Much!!

Good on ya for keeping it to a Day Dream...for now... ;-)

By Blogger Margaret, at 11:38 AM  

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Thursday, October 13, 2005  

Baaaad Bess BAAAAAD. Noooo Noooo NOOOO. You will not lure others into your Dale of Norway Madness. You will not encourage people to spend $100+ on the world’s longest running UFO.

Lawsee I want one of those gorgeous sweaters. I wonder just what sort of psychological tricks&triggers I’d have to set up so that I would really finish one of them. I do finish some large projects. I raised a complete and fully functioning child. Actually, a PerfectAngelBabyDarlingOnlySon. I have been known to actually complete big jobs. I was the Library Director as a whole library - with no little bits undone or tails unwoven in - got built, 5 short years ago. But in 53 years of inner gazing I have yet to pluck the successful circumstances from the morass of flailing activity that is TheQueen at work, isolating the steps needed to be taken to ensure triumph. (Don’t you love the idea of a morass of flailing activity? Makes me think of the La Brea Tar Pits.)

But I am being good. I am not whipping out check book or credit card. I am not really doing much of anything but daydreaming, spinning a little and procrastinating. Well. Lots of procrastinating. What I think I shall do is make a deal with Self. If Self knits one whole adult sized sweater with stash yarn, she may then pop the big bucks for a Dale kit. I did that when I took up knitting again after decades of abandonment. It turned out to be pretty effective, too. Hmmmm. What do you know - an isolated successful circumstance already!

Okay - there’s really no news to post here, other than my vague stranded colorwork in fine wool longings. One of my students lost her dad this week and we postponed last night's class a week. That meant I got home early, which is good, since one of my headlights is out and BD won’t be able to replace it till the weekend. The only other fiberish thing I did yesterday was to realize, completely and anew, that I have still not written my handouts for the KRRetreat yet. I accepted my inner sloth, allowing myself to know the full extent of the task ahead.

Ahh well. ‘Tis Thursday. My favorite day of the week. I always feel rich on Thursdays. I think I shall wander off and tidy up for the Magnificent Sheryl. Don’t want her to know how much of a slob I am.

posted by Bess | 6:37 AM

3 Comments:

I LOVE that sweater, too! But I'm just dreaming as I'm on a yarn diet and don't have yarn for that in my stash! Have a good day, Jane

By Blogger jane, at 7:53 AM  

Lawsee that's a gorgeous sweater.

Make one for me, too, wouldya?

XOX

By Blogger Amie, at 7:57 AM  

I've been lusting after one myself.. but it is a secret lust.. and I feel so much better saying it on here :)

By Blogger purlewe, at 11:13 AM  

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Wednesday, October 12, 2005  

It worked! Thank you Amie and Sheila.

There were only 3 for Knitters Night last night - it’s been rainy, gloomy, cozy stay at homey for a few days so that didn’t surprise me. The diehards were there and since we’d canceled the September meeting due to tons-o-ill health, we just couldn’t stand to be away from each other another moment. K had been making small projects; small but oh so elegant. A gorgeous cabled hat, fingerless mittens in Classic Elite’s Lush, and a ribbed cashmere tube that she, delicate slender thing she is, could wear as a cowl, a hat, or a ski mask if she ever took up bank robbing. I like that idea as a murder title: "The Cashmere Cashier" "The Ribbed Robber"

Okay, okay.

B had been almost completely wrapped up in Other Things for the past two months. In August she had the two cashmere scarves she’d knit from kits she bought at MS&W. This time she brought in carded batts. She’d bought the most absolutely delicious merino fleece at MS&W also, and was finding that merino is a fiber quick to pill even in the preparation stage. We pulled those little balls apart and could see that they really were not second cuts, just pills. The sad thing is that I’m the "expert" around here for all things fleece and I can’t really tell her how to prevent those things. But it’s a great research question, so we’ll do lots of studying, discovering and questioning. And in the mean time, she plans to spend all today at the wheel.

Since I’ve knit almost nothing in months, I was at least glad I could take in some skeins of handspun. Imagine - blog readers had seen it all before my (almost) next door neighbors. Looking at everything I’d done laid out on the table, it didn’t seem like such a meager effort. I’ve been somewhat under the weather for a long time and it helped to see that there was still something to show for the months of chatter I’ve put up on this blog. Alas, I didn’t have the taupe boucle yet - though I did have that little swatch. I’m working more carefully with this yarn and taking longer to adjust all the loops and swirls. In fact, I’ll do a bit of spinning on it this morning when I’m through here.

In the mean time, I’m lusting over BigProjects. This is what I’m spending idle moments daydreaming about.

posted by Bess | 7:26 AM

3 Comments:

In your dashboard, click "Change Settings" then click "Comments". You want to click "YES" for word verification (that's the funky letters at the bottom that computers can't read, so it slows or stops spam)

You can delete your comments if you're logged in - there should be an option to delete at the bottom of the comments.

Let me know if you need more help!

By Blogger Amie, at 8:18 AM  

Thank you sweetie! It's done.

By Blogger Bess, at 10:37 AM  

Okay, I'll be your test commenter, let's see if the comment verification works!

By Blogger Shelia, at 12:24 PM  

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Tuesday, October 11, 2005  

Rats! How do I get advertising posts out of my comment section? Does this mean I have to have people subscribe in order to comment or what. I really don’t want to have to study blog code instructions right now - there isn’t time in my life and I’m sadly not that interested. If anyone out there has figured out a cheat sheet for preventing this sort of thing (see last comment in yesterday’s blog) please drop me a line and tell me how it’s done.

The book discussion group was fun yesterday. This is an interesting group of mostly women that has been meeting for about 10 years. It started out as an alumni club and has morphed into something more connected with the community college in that county. We had a great discussion about the book, All of us pretty much agreed: The class distinctions weren’t well enough drawn, the dialogue was to vague, Freddy was the only one we’d like to have as a neighbor and let’s all go to Florence.

Now I have to hurry and finish the book my library’s book group will be discussing at the end of the month. I haven’t really been in the mood to read it (It’s Wish You Well, by David Baldacci) and I must, since there's a waiting list for the library copies. I have been in the mood to finally read Harry Potter V, which I only skimmed, and the details of which are quite unknown to me - only the beginning and the smarmy ending. Not sure where this lust to know came from but there it is - I’m just ready for it.

Along with my usual fall reading, which is mostly re-reading my favorite children’s books, I have bunches of meetings and activities to prepare for. Yikes! October is suddenly collapsing into primal core material. My library board meets in October. The Virginia Library Association meets in October. I have a fall knitting class and handouts to prepare for the KRRetreat. Who stole all my time!?

Worse than all that - when I look back over the year I can’t see that I’ve actually made anything except one Christmas stocking, one felted bag, one sock, and one baby sweater. The Waves of Hearts sweater sits in a bag by my bed, untouched. Christmas approaches with it’s pointing finger of "Not a Real Gift Unless You Make It". Everyone I know is knitting up a storm and I have nothing to show for a year of talking about fiber. (this looks bad - I am starting to beat myself up - gotta get aholt uh myself - after all, I’m not in the business of fiber - but the pleasure of it)

Hmmm. Well, there is some spinning completed - but my aim had been to start knitting up the Wall of Color fibers sometime around November. Not gonna make that one.

Okay - I’m stopping this right now. No more scolding fingers.

Tonight is Knitters Night, and yeah, I was trying to think of what to take, so no wonder I was feeling so bad about my lack of productivity. Also - I am feeling a tremendous urge to (gasp) Start A New Knitting Project!!! Yup. I want to pull out of my stash, some large quantity of yarn that has languished in hidden storage, and cast on a sweater. Something big and time consuming and new and different - and also - something that would free up a drawer or corner or box. I’m really taken with the poncho/skirt (I would wear it as a skirt, dearies) in the new Holiday Knits book. I’m thinking of using all those odd lots of Aurora8 to make a striped sweater. I’m thinking of the Dream Catcher sweater in Loop-d-loop made out of one of the Brown Sheep Handpaint yarns I bought years ago.


So - hmmm. Here’s the deal I’ll offer myself. The moment I finish the handouts for the KRRetreat I may paw through the stash and select a Brand New Big Project and Cast On. So there, oh nagging conscience of mine. Just suck it up.

posted by Bess | 7:52 AM

3 Comments:

Of course, Dear Bess, you'll get this post after you've lead the book group...but I was thinking your blog commentary would make for great discussion!

-- Marg

P.S. I too, long ago, met such a young man in Italy...tall, swarthy, he'd biked down from Holland...we met in the Vatican Museum, the only 2 there at the time that could speak English...

By Blogger Margaret, at 12:53 PM  

Ah, yes, Bess, it was all too simple. The violets, the betrayals, the tidy ending. I had fun, though.
I've moved on to Louise Erdrich...

By Blogger Jane, at 8:08 PM  

Cool blog you have going here, I will check in often! I have a similar site about restaurant kansas city. It pretty much covers restaurant kansas city related stuff.

By Blogger tom naka, at 5:14 AM  

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Monday, October 10, 2005  

All of a sudden I realized I never finished A Room with a View and I have to lead a discussion group through it today! Yikes! And why do I always get these gigs on Monday holidays? I haven’t finished it because I don’t really care for it. I got the main message (because I read the ending) and find it a worthy enough one - but all the trappings - the dialogue, the values, and the very sloppy and unbelievable plot - are most dissatisfying. Of course, the minute distinctions between one level of Fin de Ciecle British middle class and another are beyond my comprehension. Why the Emersons are considered below the salt when someone as crass and idiotic as Rev. Eager is acceptable, even though boring, narrow and mean, escapes me. And alas, I fear I am both too old, and yet not old enough, to find pleasure in a young man’s passion being stirred by a young woman’s beauty - and almost nothing else, mind, for their conversations are practically non existent - he can’t have much more than a clue who she really is - yes - I find I am too old to be either delighted or interested in witnessing that.

Perhaps if it were my own child, or a niece or oh, pretty much anybody I was at all aquatinted with, I could be moved to at least a little sigh of sweetness. I’m trying to think back to my own tender youth - when I could be swept by the passion of a youth’s beauty. Yes - long, long ago, in the very, very dim past, I made my own sojourn to Italy, even to a room with a view, out across the clay topped houses of Siena, with the clear blue of a Mediterranean sky nudging its way into stone floored chambers. And I remember a stunningly beautiful boy. A Botticelli Angel of a boy. I remember looking at him and past his shoulders out through that window with a view of a Sienese landscape and freezing with dumb, ox-like immobility. I remember that my eyes watered and my mouth went dry. And I can recall the flutter of my heart, the sweet longing to touch something that pretty - to hold it close, to kiss cheeks that were still a little round, to tousle curls that circled tightly enough to wrap around my fingers.

It was a sweet passion. It was a heart quaking time. My body crackled with energy that coursed through my veins and made it hard to sleep at night, made me toss and sigh and squirm in bed as I tried to come to terms with a longing whose fulfillment I not only doubted, but in fact, wouldn’t have wanted had it been granted.

Perhaps that’s what leaves me cold with this story. Perhaps it’s the fact that Lucy’s first stirrings of passion for anything at all, instead of helping her slough off both childishness and stuffy Victorian mores, leads straight to the altar. Not that giving a character such a wish is unrealistic. It’s that - it’s a wish of a child. It’s puppy love; a necessary ingredient for growth, but not the fulfillment of a life. It’s not the destination, only the bridge. It’s a passage. It’s .. A Passage to Adultia. As such, its fulfillment is a lie. The journey may be as much fun than the destination, but it is not the destination.

And always always always I keep seeing the film version, with all those gay fellows who will never convince me they want to make love to a woman, playing the role of suitors. With that famous double positive, my brain keeps condemning with the words "Yeah. Right."

Ahh well. I have a few hours before I do my thing. I suspect the ladies and gentleman I will be speaking with all will have enjoyed the book. I suspect they are all now, at last, way ahead of me, old enough to grow tender over any young love again, and will sigh with nostalgia and sweet memories. There you have it. I too, will one day be 80.

In the mean time, I had best scrabble through the naked swimming scene and the tennis court scene and brush up on the details.

There is about 1/3 a bobbin of very carefully plied boucle on the wheel - I’m taking my time with this yarn - not necessarily essential to a good boucle, but desirable, at my level of experience.

What was that boy’s name? It will niggle at me all day. And to think I had such a crush on him.

posted by Bess | 7:35 AM

1 Comments:

Ah, yes.... it was torrential here for nearly 48 solid hours and I was SO grateful (though likely not as grateful as you, since the drought didn't cost me money)! Perfect timing, too, cuz it stopped just in time for me to have a lovely day to put my bulbs in....

But oh, the rain was lovely and loud and long this weekend...

By Blogger Amie, at 4:33 PM  

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Saturday, October 08, 2005  

If you were to click on WeatherDotCom and type in 22560 you would see that it is raining in town. It’s also raining outside my window - and on the river - and up the county. To the casual internet surfer this might not be particularly interesting news but to anyone living south of Pennsylvania and east of the major east coast mountain ranges, this is not just news, but Blessed Relief. For we haven’t had rain for 2 months. Not a drop. Nada. Niente. Zero. We’ve lost the bean crop (that pays the other half of our property taxes in December) after losing 20% of the corn crop. There is no hay to feed cattle anywhere west of 95. Half of the trees have already dropped their leaves. My beloved forest, which took such a beating 2 years ago, was in grave danger of dying off even more, during what I believe will be a hard, cold winter. Dried out trees just quit trying if they have to make it through a long freeze.
It’s also hot, muggy, clammy and sticky, but being able to endure, and even prosper, in Weather always feels somewhat virtuous to me - like the feeling I get when I have extra money in the bank. I feel like I can survive not just hard economic times, but hard physical times. I delude myself into believing I’m Tough and I live On the Earth. In a RealEnvironment, not climate control. Whether it’s true or not isn’t really important. The only important thing is that it is raining and now my precious forest has a sporting chance.
As for the rest of my life, the rest of my weekend, well. I plan to clean the house - something I’ve left to the MagnificentSheryl since the beginning of September. Time for my hands to caress my intimate world. And then I’m going to finish up that boucle yarn. Pictures next week.

posted by Bess | 10:18 AM

2 Comments:

Well, I am grateful this year that I don't have to go to Annapolis today - the Friday of the Boat Show makes traffic unbearable. So yay for teaching days! (though Monday likely won't be any fun either.)

Enjoy your day playing!

By Blogger Amie, at 9:39 AM  

Can't wait to see that boucle! Make sure you bring it along to the Retreat to show off!

And I'm totally with you, too, about Clara. Sorry I missed seeing that post yesterday, but glad I got to see it today. (I'm still jealous about her Taos trip ... thinking next year I'm going to try to hide in her suitcase and tag along. hee).

Hugs, Jen

By Blogger Jennifer, at 5:31 PM  

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Friday, October 07, 2005  

You’re welcome, Missy Clara. I’ll take that in twenties.

No. All joking aside, I meant every word and in fact, hadn’t intended to gush but I was so swept with that warm feeling yesterday a.m. that I thought I’d write to you, and then decided instead, to post it to the world. And you can see I spoke for many.

And all of us want to go to Taos!

At least it’s Friday and this particular weekend I will be home, almost alone. M is coming from C’ville to spend Saturday night and P, of TheWedding, is visiting me on Sunday. BD and M will be off to the boat show Sunday morning. "The boat show?" you ask. Well, yes. If you live on the east coast, there is only one boat show and it’s a sailboat show and it’s in Maryland - sort of The Show State, isn’t it? It’s held every October, in Annapolis, a pretty colonial port that echoes with iron shod hooves on cobble stone streets and the memory of fiery speeches denouncing the King and Unfair Taxation. It’s an extremely expensive town crammed with tiny houses in minuscule yards - or no yard at all, along the streets of federal row houses. There is a large dock rimmed with shops, hotels and punctuated on one side by the U. S. Naval Academy. On any given weekend you’ll see handsome young cadets, spick and span in natty uniforms, proudly escorting their parents or girlfriends around town.

If you have $ to spend you will find lots of places to do so, picking up tailored casual clothing or antique maritime souvenirs at premium prices. That was the first place I ever saw a Banana Republic Store - back when I could actually wear trendy, but before I could afford it. In fact - I believe there’s a photo somewhere of stylish me against silvery masts and clanking rigging. Maybe I can find it before I leave for work.

I have been to many and many a boat show for BD is a sailor. We’ve had 4 sailboats over the years and he has lusted for many more. Beginning over 20 years ago we began haunting the Annapolis Boat Show, looking and wandering and scampering about fore decks and afterdecks and hatches. If you have ever wanted to see what it is like on one of those Loveboat Luxury Yachts, here’s your chance. Beneteau, Catalina, Dolphin Catamarans, Hallberg-Rassy, Jeanneau - they’re all there. And true to form, I’m sure BD will spend the entire day looking for an 18 foot day sailer and muttering that there’s nothing at the show. I don’t mean to sound the least bit gender biased, oh no, not me, but I will say that none of my girlfriends ever goes to, say, the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival and complain that there is nothing there but wool for cryin’ out loud? And why are there no tatting booths?

And what this has to do with anything I can’t remember. Early morning seems to be my meandering mind time.

Oh yeah.

It means that I'll have some alone time this weekend and can spend it spinning up that merino/tencil boucle. I’ve unloaded about half the bobbin’s worth of spun single onto a matching thread. I’ve been very careful about applying the effect yarn to the thread. I’m trying to gauge the impact different feeding angles have on the resulting puffs and squiggles. I also would like to learn to spin a boucle yarn without ever creating one of those tight dead spots. Not that they show up in your knitting, but they would show up in the skein and maybe someday I’d like to enter a boucle yarn into a contest.

I’m also being very careful because I want to put lots of twist into this ply. I think that if the first thread gets lots of twist in it you can ply the second thread onto it tightly enough to give the yarn some spring. Otherwise, these thread boucles have no elasticity at all and create a lovely drapey fabric that will not hold a shape. Great for collars, but not so great for turned back cuffs.

When I was buying thread for this fiber I bought both a matching color and a spool of lavender thread that simply danced with the taupey colored m/t. Often one might want the thread to blend into the puffy part of the boucle, but a well coordinated contrast can be very exciting. I will save the last of the singl on the bobbin to experiment with this colorful thread. I have in mind some mittens in a lavender color wool with the cuffs done up in boucle.

Ooops! Nearly 9 o'clock! My dears - thank you all for your comments - they’re always such fun to read.

posted by Bess | 7:29 AM

6 Comments:

How many great things can any of us say about Clara - you've done better than I could in describing how special she is. But, Miss Like-the-Queen, you've certainly been around KR from the beginning, and I can't imagine what it would be like without you, either!

By Blogger Shelia, at 8:24 AM  

Thanks for the tribute to Clara. KRF is a special place and I can't imagine life without it now.

I'm also coming out of the closet about how much I enjoy reading about the life of the Queen every day.

By Anonymous Mary Lou, at 9:08 AM  

What a terrific class you have!

And yes, Clara boggles my mind regularly, and I am honored to know her as I do.

I am equally honored to know you - Shelia was right - you are KR to me as well, and were a HUGE part in why I am the knitter I am now.

By Blogger Amie, at 9:35 AM  

My dear Miss Bess, you've made me one extremely teary bee. You've been there since almost the beginning, and the fact that I haven't managed to bore you (YET) or send you screaming to a quilting guild (YET) or crochet group (YET) or remedial auto repair and metalworking class (YET) is quite an honor. Thank you for this most heart-warming surprise, and for your continued friendship.

By Anonymous Clara, at 3:19 PM  

Thank you for saying it so beautifully, Bess. Will you be my official spokesperson (when I find myself speechless upon meeting Clara and all the rest of you) at the Retreat?

By Blogger Jane, at 7:51 PM  

Right on, Bess, w/your loving tribute to Clara! Who knew that the Queen Bee would help to change our lives? And in a good way, of course.
Thanks for the reminders of why we A-D-O-R-E her ^..^
XOXO
Martha

By Blogger Martha, at 8:03 PM  

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Thursday, October 06, 2005  

My new students and a song of praise for someone special



I have a genuine Latvian knitting student. I’m so excited. L was born in Latvia, escaped the Soviets to make it to Germany, met her Illinois husband there and moved to the U.S. Her accent is just courtly American, ever so slightly southern, but if you listen carefully, a tiny pause will presage an utterance that has a whiff of the foreign to it. She owns real Latvian mittens and when I muttered Elizabeth Upitis, she laughed and said "OOOpeeeteees!"


She already knits, continental, taught by German schoolteachers, who failed to convince her to complete the requisite knee sock, but she holds the yarn like a crocheter and so her stitches are way too loose. I’ve shown her how to snug her fingers closer to the tips of her needles and I believe she is flexible enough to make the change. I know she’ll like her product better, and she admits to being a product crafter, so I believe she’ll make the effort. And she is thrilled with our beginner project - the stranded colorwork knit cap.

My other student is a process crafter and admitted that she was as happy making swatches as she was making a garment. She’s as cute as a button with blue eyes so vivid you could set them into jewelry. She has "knitted those scarves" and is ready for more. She also wants to learn how to spin.

Both of them were thrilled with the knitted on cast-on - which is my cast-on of choice for the first class. As time permits I introduce them to others, but neither of these women had ever heard of the KoCo. Both were delighted to eliminate that wretched loop that forms between the stitches of the backwards loop cast on. I’ve no doubt at all that they’ll be ready to start the cool part of the hat - the colorwork - next week.

And now a paean, to a special person, who performs a special benediction on my life every week.


Every Thursday I open up my e-mail box and there is one of the most precious treats: my Knitters Review Newsletter. If I wasn’t one of the very first subscribers, I have been so from the early days, back before Clara Parkes started the forum. Over 200 newsletters ago I was just discovering that I was more than a woman who knew how to knit, but was a real knitter - someone who could justify spending $100+ on the yarn for a sweater because I really would finish it and then wear it once it was done. And I was avid for information, for knitting news. At the time there were only two knitting stores in Richmond: an old shop that hadn't realized they were about to burst into chic fashionability and one that was only a year old. There still wasn’t one in Williamsburg or Fredericksburg. I still had the innocent ambition to visit every yarn shop in Virginia; all 12 of them. But most of all I wanted to learn about yarn, knitting, designs, places to go - the whole 9 yards.

And suddenly I discovered Knitters Review. Independent reviews of those expensive yarns I could only read about in Patternworks catalog. Does it hold up? Does it fade? What about pilling? Will it split, when I’m knitting, so badly I’ll scream? Clara did the homework, wrote the paper, and took the pictures. Always gracious, always honest, almost southern in her ability to say it kindly but never mislead, she laid out the facts about eyelash, cashmere blends, workhorse wools, glitter, ribbon, whatever a knitter might be curious about.

And she had more. She told me about shops I might uncover on a vacation. She was the first to apprise me of that Mecca of fiber fiends - Maryland Sheep and Wool. She had funny little polls about different preferences knitters have. She just brought that whole knitter’s world to me - at the end of my dirt lane, in the back of beyond, 40 miles back and plum outta sight. And then she started the Forums. I’m not sure if she had any idea it would grow to the tens of thousands of users it now has, nor if she could imagine the responsibility of keeping up with a class of 40,000 knitters. From spam to spats, she keeps the Knitters Review Forums calm and smooth. In spite of the occasional fracas that bubbles over, KRF is one of the most courteous on-line environments I’ve ever experienced. Only the heavily monitored, severely limited professional forums can equal what Clara does with Knitters Review. I admire and respect her skill and tact. No. I am in awe of it.

But still it’s the joy of each Thursday’s mini-Christmas morning, when I open up the e-mail and find the newsletter, that truly warms my heart. It’s another hello from Ms. Clause. It’s that sweet blessing that comes just before the weekend. It comes in time to remind me that I really want to get my work done so I can play on Saturday. It gives me a heads up about a book I may want to read, about a yarn I might want to try, about a place I always wanted to visit.

So. Hats off to you Missy Clara. Thank you 52 times a year for writing to me, sending me a newsletter that is always fresh, always interesting, and always eagerly awaited. You are truly the Queen Bee.

posted by Bess | 8:10 AM

3 Comments:

I have a book on spinning novelty yarns - if you like, I'll bring it to the retreat...

By Blogger Amie, at 8:08 AM  

Oh, and I clicked publish before asking if you were participating in the Qiviut-Along? We'd love to have you play!

By Blogger Amie, at 8:09 AM  

I will audit the qiviut knit along onacounta - I don't want any pressure on me to produce anything.

but I'll probably be doing everything y'all are doing. so I suppose i am a fringe participant.

By Blogger Bess, at 9:52 AM  

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Wednesday, October 05, 2005  

I start my beginner class to night. Only two students because I haven't gotten around to doing any publicity - but these are two women I am excited about teaching. We've been pleasant aquaintence for some time and I'd like to get to know both of them better. Also - I am trying to de-stress my world and teaching two people will allow me to have a very gentle frazzlefree time.

I love teaching the beginner class because there's always the possibility that a new student will really get the bug. Lots of folk just want to "knit those scarves, you know?" It's fun to see their faces when they realize they can do a whole lot more than "those scarves, you know".

I haven't had time to really pour over the new Melanie Falick book - but I will make time over the next few days and get a post up by the weekend. It is very exciting. The same day that book was delivered, our library copy of Loop-d-loop was returned. I have been chomping at the bit, waiting for it to come back, because ever since I saw Janie's Dream Catcher sweater I've been wanting to see how it's made - and if I have enough stash yarn to make one. I had only glanced though that book when it first came in and had forgotten whch designs I'd liked best.

So now I have 2 books to study and dream about.

Mostly, though, I've been concentrating on spinning. I'm on the second ply of the merino/tencil boucle, concentrating on the technique of applying the yarn to the thread. I'm trying for a lush full effect with minimal tangles. The main thing I'm working on is the angle of the effect yarn to the thread as it is applied. It seems as if (all emperical surmising at this point) that a 90 degree angle gives you a looser softer application with big squiggles. A 45 degree angle, or even more accute, would give you smaller more delicate squiggles. Easier to knit but not as lush looking - not so much like astrikhan fur.

Of course - I might go buy a book about spinning novelty yarns and not try to reinvent the knitting needle.

Well - must be off - today is Wednesday, you know.

posted by Bess | 7:17 AM

3 Comments:

None of the librarians in this area are anywhere near as cute!

By Blogger Amie, at 1:19 PM  

Oh, what a cutie pie you are & such a babe to boot!
Am catching up on emails & blog entries - what a joy to take in your take on life, the world, people, love & the power of the heart.
XOXO
Martha
P.S. Will write you back soon!

By Blogger Martha, at 7:44 PM  

Why, you were almost as cute then as you are now!!!

Love,
LWLY

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:42 PM  

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Tuesday, October 04, 2005  


Woah!! Here's a blast from the past. The extension agent just dropped by with these pictures she'd found in a storage box - who doesn't have a storage box? I couldn't resist posting them. What a cute librarian!













And I've just glanced through this addition to the library's knitting collection. I really like it and I'll write more about it soon.

posted by Bess | 10:45 AM

1 Comments:

The grand poobah prize winner (Best in Show) at VAFFF was a qiviut hand processed/spun/knit scarf... it was GORGEOUS!

By Blogger Amie, at 11:11 AM  

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Monday, October 03, 2005  

Slept late this a.m. so have only a moment to put up this picture of the teeny tiny qiviut yarn swatch I spun over the weekend. This is a 2-ply yarn. I didn't measure the wraps but the penny gives an idea of the scale. Those are #3 Bryspun needles. The fiber is pure joy to spin but I'm so inexperienced at spinning such a fine single I get very tense after a little while at the wheel. I kept expecting the thread to snap but it never did. I'm not sure I would want to spin anything thicker than a fine lace weight with this fiber.

I didn't get around to blocking the swatch so the knit stitches are still scrunching up on themselves. If I stretch out the fabric, though, the stitches are pleasing to me. I don't think I'd knit on anything larger than #3's. That limits the size of garment I'd likely knit myself even if the amount of fiber I have didn't already put me within scarf parameters. A pretty lacy scarf - yes. Looks like we have a vision dawning.

posted by Bess | 10:24 AM

2 Comments:

I love you AND that "special person" very very much and want you both to be very healthy and happy. So you take all the time you need getting that way.

We would rather miss you at a few small events than from now on....

By Blogger Amie, at 10:08 PM  

I have been trying to adopt the role of non cotrolling mother of three and remember that my children are on their own and I really don't have to live their lives and make thier decsions. Not too easy for me and the harder it is the more I see what a controlling mother I am. I'm trying to knit instead (notice all the FOs?). We missed you but I'm sure we'll see you soon.

By Blogger jane, at 9:16 AM  

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Sunday, October 02, 2005  

Glad to meet you KathyR. And of course I wasn’t implying that folk who drop in are nobodies. Just that - mostly they don’t drop in unless they want to. And digging through those old posts and reading things I wrote 2 years ago got the nostalgia juices flowing. Got me to thinking about why I started a blog, what I wanted to do with it, where my head and heart were at the time.

That glimpse into yesterday was also a much needed reminder of a life pre-crisis. I’ve been getting a lot of them lately and they’re proving most valuable, for, in August of the year I started the blog Saturn really crashed into my House-0-Mercury onacounta' beginning August 19 (see? I even remember the day) my world was caught in a meteor shower of body blows and psyche blows and I began to live life in the stress lane.

If I were to list the issues I’ve faced over the past 2 years you would think I was screen writing a role for General Hospital. With one or two exceptions, in fact, I have done so, since they’re all on the blog. But spread over the archives, it’s hard to take them in as a single collection - to assess their combined impact. Not all the stress starters have been bad stress things. Some have been things of enormous joy and love. But my reaction to them has been to be switched on. I’ve had to thread my steps through new material. And 2 years of this has taken a toll on my energy and even, to some extent, my health.

Stress is such a trendy word, so over blown and over used. It is also pointless to imagine a life without stress. In fact, stress is not the problem anyway. The issue at hand is a person’s response to stressful situations. Hell, people are going to age and get brain tumors. Beloved friends are going to leap into vicious, nasty, expensive divorces. Punks are going to break into your office at work. Precious children are going to get married. I am going to think I should be wise, kind, gentle, perfect and must fix it.

Ooops! where did that come from!?!

You see? That last one was the nub of the matter. All the other stuff could not be avoided. It belonged to other people; people I love, people I want to be always happy and never sad and have every perfect thing. Just like I want to be always happy and never sad and have every perfect thing for myself. Alas, the only two paths I’ve ever heard of that offer the above are Buddha’s, which seems to involve not caring about anything, and Paradise, which involves death. Neither option appeals to me - at least, not right now.

The past two months I’ve felt really under the weather. I’ve also slid into one or two truly bizarre emotional scenes where I created satanical monsters with dripping claws and drooling fangs out of activities as simple as selling a musical instrument I no longer play. With the help of a special friend I’ve come to realize that I needed to: first - rest and second - eat less processed food and third - learn new techniques for responding to stressful situations.

You wouldn’t believe how hard it has been for me to rest. This, in spite of the fact that I have fortylevendyhundred hours of sick leave and enough staff to run the library for a month without me. Even when I took a week off, under doctor’s orders, mind you - I still went in twice to respond to Issues. Issues, mind you, upon which my response had zero impact. But you see, the Library Director is supposed to be there, see, right? What would it look like if the Library Director wasn’t there? Right? Geezoflip! Who do I think I am? God? (mmm. well. no. just TheQueen)

Ahh well.

I have never thought of myself as a work-a-holic and I rather disdain work-a-holics anyway. I think they’re creepy and obsessive and mostly ineffective. Besides, they ruin it for the rest of us. What I did not think was that I might be one. Hmmmm. Time for some serious reassessment.

Even fun things sometimes have to be given the go-by when rest is what is called for. Even such sweet delights as working the Spirit Trail Fiberworks booth at the Montpelier Fall Fiber Festival, where lord knows how many people I reeeeeeeeally want to see are going to be picnicking on the lawn.

It’s time to embrace rest. To see rest as a recreational activity; as actually doing something. To watch movies without trying to multi-task with crafts or housework. To sleep in the afternoon and to sit on the porch looking at the autumnal colors while listening to the Canada geese search out mild winter homes among the bays and inlets of Occupacia Creek. Time to read whole novels in a weekend and then eat soup for dinner.

This same willingness to embrace new habits applies to nutrition. I’ve always secretly and not so secretly, approached nutrition as a look fashionable issue, not as a health one. Oh - I know lots of leafy green vegetables are good for me and, in fact, I like them and eat them too. But I’ve got to readjust my diet, and my time management as well, to deal with the whole processed food, empty calories, busy schedule, fast food, American lifestyle. Oh - yes - it is true. Even on something as healthy as Weight Watchers diet you can fill your plate with too durn much processed food. Lunch, for the person with an outside job, is the real killer. Lunch and afternoon snacks. I’ve resisted the truth of this for a long time, but I can’t do so any longer. Time to put down my armor and admit that I have to give part of my life to creating simpler more nutritious meals.

As for rewiring my brain to respond in healthy loving ways to the trials and tribulations that come my way - ahh - perhaps that will be the most difficult task of all. Most of the time, tough things happen singly, or at worst, only a few at a time. We can sort of muddle through, worrying too much or obsessing a bit, but mostly doing the right thing, and then the storm is over and we can regather and restore out there on life’s calm waters. It’s really pretty rare for an emotional Katrina and Rita to hit in the same month. But sometimes they do. And sometimes they keep on coming even after that. And when that happens, a person had better know how to separate the important from the unimportant, the possible from the im__. I can love my daddy when he has a brain tumor but I can’t operate on it. That’s between him and the doctor. And if his doctor says “get up when you feel like it” and Dad claims he “feels like it” the day after surgery then, by golly - that’s his business. It’s definitely not mine - to advise or deny or any other thing.

Along with work-a-holics, I also can’t stand control freaks. I surely don’t want to be one. But over the past few weeks I’ve gained an insight into certain control freak behaviors which I have embraced. I suspect such rigidity is not something a person is born with - though, like music or athletic talent - a body can be more or less inclined to develop its attributes. No. I think that people with the imagination to conceive of perfection and the creativity to come up with solutions, when suddenly washed over by a wave of stressful events, forget to stop and see that it just may not be their job to fix everything. (See how nicely I can compliment myself and find excuses that flatter instead of condemn?)

I’ve always prided myself on being pretty easy going and pretty accepting of other people, pretty philosophic about the things life sends me. I wont go so far as to say that pride has been misplaced, but I admit that in trying to always do exactly the right thing in each eventful situation I’ve found myself in over the past 2 years, I’ve gotten out of the habit of following my laise faire policies. I’ve twisted myself into all sorts of panic driven actions that are ineffective, that exhaust, that actually hurt.

In response, my body has just shut down with fatigue. I’ve been dragging around for weeks. I’ve suffered from mysterious aches and pains. I’ve had shockingly low blood pressure. I’ve spent more $$ and hours on doctors than I like to admit. And in the end, I suspect it’s an attitude adjustment I need more than anything else.

And so, as I wallow in my p.j.’s this weekend, napping and sitting and daydreaming, I will give a little thought to letting people find their own way out of their own boxes, to letting that chick peck her own way out of the shell. To finding a way to be at peace and happy even if other people I love are not. To remembering that the only life I’m supposed to fix is mine. To having the respect and honor for others that allows them to stumble all on their own and then get back up all on their own as well.

This does not preclude charity on my part. I am happy to give of that. What I am not going to do any more, is to don the emotional state of others. I plan to remember that I do no good making someone else’s emotions my own. I may even do harm. Certainly to myself, if not also to her. I suspect it will still be easy to slip into a borrowed emotional response. To empathize to the point that I give up my own emotions and thoughts. But wherever my mind can exert a guiding influence, as often as possible, I intend to practice true charity - giving from a whole and happy heart, not from a panicked imagination.

Well. My goodness. Once again I’m a little surprised at what gushed out as I sat here at the keyboard. My intention had been to not post at all today and here is a looooooong stream of consciousness gushing out all over the place. Ahh well. It feels good to put it all down on paper. It feels even better that nobody has to read it who doesn’t want to. Cool.

posted by Bess | 9:29 AM

8 Comments:

If I am nobody then, yes, nobody reads your blog! I may not usually comment but my day would not be complete without my "breakfast" of The Queen's comments! I realise that I must have been with you from almost the start. Some blogs have good pictures but yours has excellent prose. Thank you, Bess! Your sketches brought back such sweet memories - I remember them all.
KathyR

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:48 PM  

Sweetheart, lots of us read your blog; most just don't comment. I was terribly afraid that the last paragraph would say that you've decided to stop blogging. Please don't!

Sorry you didn't make it today - missed you bunches! Jen's booth looked great, especially full of customers!

Love-
LWLY

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:40 PM  

Missed you, missed you, missed you bunches!

By Blogger Carolyn, at 8:49 PM  

Bess we SURE missed your smiling face on Saturday. Hope that you are felling better soon.

By Blogger Angel Girl, at 8:03 AM  

When I read your blog in the mornings, I feel as if I'm having breakfast with a dear friend who shares my love of fibery goodness, but also has many other lovely stories to tell of her life. You are loved by many, Queen!

By Anonymous Carol, at 9:52 AM  

Bess, I am one of your absolutely faithful readers and have been right from the beginning. You are as much a part of my mornings as Irish Breakfast tea and e-mail, and if I miss reading your blog my day feels incomplete.

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By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:37 AM  

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Saturday, October 01, 2005  

I haven’t a clue what the procedure for tagging someone is and I have never been tagged, but I do understand the concept. Suddenly follow some random instructions and see where it leads you. Cute. And this “tag” came from Donna

Rules:
1. Go into your archive.
2. Find your 23rd post.
3. Find the fifth sentence (or closest to).
4. Post the text of the sentence in your blog along with these instructions.
5. Tag five other people to do the same.

Okay - here it is:

Bess gets intimately involved with her knitting.

Whew! It’s a reference to a cartoon. From my early days of blogging when I wasted spent more time on it than I ought to have done. Not that I don’t spend hours on it now, but back then I stayed late at work to use the good computer so I could put such classic pictures up as “Bess as BoatBimbo”.

When I started the blog I was still a-whirl with the idea that I was actually knowledgeable about knitting - that I knew things other people wanted to know. I had just pried off the lid of the box that held my long surpressed inner school marm. I wanted to share with everybody (who might be interested) all the things that I knew, was learning, or wanted to learn.

At the time my only outlet was the Knitters Review Forums and I often hogged Mbs of their computer space with my lengthy detailed posts about the joys of knitting with circular needles or the trials of the Level I of TKGA’s Master Knitter program. The forums are a wonderful place to get cozy with fellow knitters, but I began to feel as if I were sort of too present - too ... hmmm ... what? ... full of myself? Arrogant? Egotistical? I’m struggling for the word that really expresses the sudden shyness that swept over me. The consequences of the emotions, though, was to put together my own forum - or soap box, rather, since the blog is not just mine, but all about me too.

Here I do feel as if I can pour it all out. I can gush or rant or ramble. I will not be gainsaid. I don’t have to worry about just how carefully I couch an opinion in soft apologies. I’m not likely to get involved in a flame war because I used the term "yarn snob". Nobody is forced to read my opinions. Nobody is even tricked into reading them by a false or misleading subject heading. Here, I am the queen. Here I am TheQueen. And I can laugh about it all I want.

At the time, I hoped very much that I would develop a readership. I hoped there would be folk who really were curious about what I had to say and would be reminded, entertained, informed. But nobody reads colorless web pages. Or, rather, a colorless web page is unlikely to grab someone's attention. I was also very lighthearted about the craft of knitting - for I came to it through some extraordinarily ambitious and disastrous projects. My first was a Norwegian ski sweater and my second was an incredible Norwegian ski dress! One is lost to history and the other is a hotel for mice up in my attic.

I didn’t have a lot of projects to display. I’m a dyed in the wool process knitter and am almost as happy knitting swatches as I am knitting sweaters. Also, I didn’t have a digital camera. But I had access to a scanner and simply hundreds of felt tip pens. I’m the daughter of an artist, from whom I learned the habit of sketching. Mama never moved without a sketchbook in her purse and there is an entire family history recorded in the hundreds of sketchbooks on her shelves. Whence the cartoons.

They are cute enough - and true as well - and I have some favorites among them, especially the Math Magic and the Stash Justification (a.k.a. SAILBOAT). I also loved the illustrated battle scenes between self and the beautiful golden sweater named Flidas. (You can read about that in the March 03 archives.) How I struggled with that sweater. How I’ve wept since I lost it. I hope to goodness, someone, somewhere, out there in FindersKeepers Land, appreciates what a special garment it is.

The blog has changed over time - as any creative effort must - and now it’s far less colorful and illustrative. I still don't have the camera and my fund of cartoon antics seems to have gone dormant. I also have learned that, even here, one must be thoughtful about what one says and remember that just because I know something doesn’t necessarily mean I ought to write about it here. People can still misinterpret, misunderstand, be hurt, or angered, by harmlessly meant, but carelessly scattered words. So I try to be wise in my posts and always apologize if the occasion requires.

What’s cool about the blog, though, is that I have kept it up so long, with such regularity. I’ve often joked that I have records of the Januarys of my life going back for decades. What I can’t pull up is any information about what was happening in, say, April, or July, or even Christmas time of any given year. For some reason, having an audience makes the blog less of a monologue. Knowing that others are reading it makes me want to speak to them. To you, dear friends, who pop in of a morning and read about TheQueen. To let you know what’s going on: in my mind, in my life, on my knitting needles.

So thank you all for joining me in this ether[net]eal space and prompting me to share the pixels. As for the cartoon - here it is - followed by a few other favorites from those early days.



Bess gets intimately involved with her knitting.




Bess puts her stash into perspective.



Bess' first knitting project comes back to haunt her.



Bess' creativity is imprisoned by her UFO.

posted by Bess | 9:25 AM
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