Friday, September 29, 2006


I am looking for a ball of yarn.

Really? In your whole house you can't find a ball of yarn?

Well, I'm looking for a specific ball of yarn, in an only passably fine microfiber, most of which will have been knit into a doomed sleeve on a doomed sweater back when I began knitting five years ago. I found another roaming skein of the same color, picked it up and began the Rosalind project (for a present, so no pictures) with the great confidence that comes from knowing that you have most of another ball, along with eight more skeins tied up in a sweater that you could frog if need be. I was so, so proud: I was stashbusting! Now I have picked up and put down almost every type of yarn in my collection, which means:

1) I dug through the yarn island (it used to be a kitchen island until I appropriated it) and pulled the yarn off both shelves inside the island. They are now repacked.
2) I dug through the three large plastic storage bins hanging out in my closet, along with the smaller clear shoe bins which hold my tiny percentage of yarn which is actually earmarked for a project.
3) I went into the storage closet and pawed through the super old, crunchy, Red Heart acrylic that I'm saving in case there is ever a planetwide yarn shortage and I have no other choice.
4) Then I got more creative: linen closet? Christmas paper bin? Bottom of closet? Behind desk? Pantry? (Hey, I lost my scrapbook* in there for the better part of a year.) Behind my books? C's office? C's closet?** All no, absolutely no.

It's just vanished. The better part of a sweater is gone. Unless I find it, I will have to go out and by more yarn (and no, I know I'll never match the dye lot) for this "stashbuster" project.

It's time to get on the road and get out of town. Ohio, here I come! See you Monday or Tuesday.

*Yes, I have too many hobbies.*** Shaddup.

** May I just mention again how much I love this man? Not once did he make the joke, "Hey, I found some yarn right over here!" and not once did he grumble when I approached him, wild-eyed, wanting him to look through HIS banker's boxes. He is a kind man. Or possibly he understood the dangers of taunting a woman in yarn withdrawal.

*** I'm still spinning like a madwoman, with no idea what I'll use this fiber for. It just feels. so. good.

Monday, September 25, 2006


(Warning: no knitting content here. I'm spinning something entirely different today.)

"Birth control or abortion: which one do you support?"
--one of my colleagues put it that way today, and I thought it was a fairly succinct way to put the current challenge in our culture. (For those of you playing along on the LJ blog, this was the Nemesis. She's actually pretty smart, when she's not fussing over her wardrobe.)

But not everyone has gotten her memo yet. Just this weekend, in the 'burbs of my fair city, we had a fairly major anti-contraception conference. The Chicago Tribune covered it on the front page of the Sunday paper. Please read the article, as it makes the main points pretty accurately. (Bonus points: find the dig against sex education!) It also points out, correctly, that a full-scale assault on contraception isn't feasible at this point, but that activists might begin by stripping government funding for contraceptive services (in progress) or expanding "conscience" clauses to allow pharmacists and doctors to refuse contraceptives to patients (also in progress). The article's only weakness is that it presents both those strategies as hypothetical, when they're actually going on as we speak.

I was really pleased to read lots of quotes from the anti-contraception activists, which seem to make a sturdy case against their own arguments. Let's recap...

* Contraception devalues children? No, but having kids that you don't want and can't feed would definitely do so.
* Contraception harms relationships between men and women and causes divorce? No, the patriarchy and consumer culture do that just fine.
* Contraception promotes sexual promiscuity? If promiscuity wasn't a problem before reliable contraceptives existed, then how did sexually transmitted diseases ever get spread? They're actually speaking here of female promiscuity, since boys will be boys, you know. And saying women should be responsible for curbing men's promiscuity is pretty ludicrous.
* Contraception leads to falling birth rates? Check. But since I'm all about responsible population growth, I fail to see that as a social ill. Again, this argument is somewhat in code; it's not that there are not enough people in the world, but some groups tend to feel that there aren't enough white people in the world.

While "a stunning 98 percent of women 15 to 44 who have had sex report using at least one method of contraception," affluent women are more likely to use birth control successfully. Not surprisingly, we have fewer kids. We're more likely to have the free time to rail against the patriarchy and blog about it. Something really must be done. (/snark)

By the way? When I ask students about birth control without artificial means, I'm hoping to elicit the responses "abstinence" and "natural family planning". However, they generally come up with "oral sex" and "gay relationships" in the same conversation. Contraception foes should be warned: even if they do get their way, middle schoolers can come up with contraception hacks without batting an eye.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


Finally! I won't keep you waiting. Photo-heavy post.

Sock repair. I'm very proud of this.

Beginnings of the Rosalind scarf. I'm running at exactly 30 inches for a pattern repeat--whee! I won't post more pics until it goes to the home it's meant for. It's a gift.

I got a feedbag's worth of wool from a meat sheep, and set about cleaning it last weekend. It was very exciting.

Exciting enough that I had to take lots of pictures of the muck and grime.

Exciting enough that I almost fell over from exhaustion. This came out of the first batch. (The other two batches got picked over considerably harder before the first wash. It was not a clean sheep.)

At last, it was finished and the yarn had a little party on the patio while drying.

The wool, once it's finally clean and dry, spins up beautifully on a spindle (I ran out of picture space, so no pics on the spindle just yet) but it's far too short for me to use it in the spinning wheel just yet. I suppose I'll stick with my long-staple commercial fiber when using that for the moment.

What's that, you say? My spinning wheel? You haven't met Babe yet? Check her out:

The cats, of course, like the box better than the present.

Good night, all.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

the midwest edition

I've been away from the computer for quite a while, and currently I'm in Ohio with my mom, who just had some foot surgery. She's well, and I'm finally able to write.

My biggest problem with this blog has been the photos; I should be posting them, and I'm not. These are my placeholders for the "someday" photos. I have, waiting for release from my camera:

photos of the beginning and end of the Noro Aurora scarf (Katherine, I went with the feather and fan pattern, made it thinner, and got not quite 60 inches out of two skeins).

photos of the beginning of the Rosalind scarf from Magknits, but it's a gift so I don't want to show off the shadow knitting too much. (Thus, the photos are extremely boring stripes.)

photos of the ever-lengthening scarf.

Waiting for release from my mother's camera:

photos of the free wool, and hopeless-feeling photos of the free wool being washed.

self-portraits of exhausted me, taken in the bathroom mirror while waiting for the wool to soak.

more hopeful (read: cleaner) photos of wool washing.

a wool party, with mounds of wool reclining amongst flowers in lawn chairs in the patio.

Many, many photos of the charming, articulate, and hammy 21-mo-old daughter of my high school friend. So many photos that I filled up the card, and must unload before the photos to come, being:

carders and roving.

singles of clean carded wool.

And when/if the wheel ever arrives, you'll get wheel photos too. Possibly hopeless photos of wheels being put together, and then more singles.

Because really, don't you come here for the photos?


A word on spinning: I finally, really love it. A week ago I went with Mimazu and Alyse to visit The Fold. There were spinning lessons, both spindled and wheel, and some wheel shopping and purchase (Alyse) and carder purchasing (me) and spindle purchasing (Mimazu). But the very best part was spending time with Toni, who was friendly, talented, and the most serene person I've met in quite a while. I arrived entirely spun up (no pun intended), and she still managed to help me spin a decent thread of wool. Then we tried out the wheel, for which I had to take off my shoes, and we ended up running around the store for the next couple hours in my socks like a giddy little kid. This was extremely good for business.

Spinning, when it's working right, makes me euphoric. I can make fluffy clouds of wool! I can make string! (I haven't plyed anything yet. This isn't a problem for me, because all I want to do with it so far is sit there and look at it.) I feel like one of the Fates. I've still got a hideous time spinning wool out of a bag, but the wool I card spins smoothly for me. Perhaps I'll re-card some of the stuff I bought from the Fold until I get the hang of it.

My grandmother came over this afternoon to visit my convalescent mother, and during the lulls in conversation I entertained them with carding and spinning. She started out unimpressed by the lumpy wool, and asked if it wouldn't just be quicker to buy the sweater. (Don't you wish you had a skein of cashmere for every time someone asked you that question?) I told her I wanted to have some sort of skill when the revolution came. An hour later, we sent her home with a little roving and a tiny skein of single ply yarn. I think she was coming around to the idea.