Sunday, October 29, 2006

fall sucks, but at least they give you an extra hour

(Jess Klein, ladies and gentlemen. She'll be here, on the CD player, all week.)

We awoke this morning after going to bed at a reasonable hour (for the first time ALL YEAR) to hear Speaking of Faith instead of Weekend Edition. That's odd, I thought. Pledge drive strangeness? Audio misfeed? Or, wait... maybe it's EARLIER THAN I THINK!

For some reason* we got no reminders about daylight savings time ending this fall. It was a happy little surprise. So now I have time to post and eat some oatmeal with my coffee before heading off to the gym, and that just makes me thrilled.

Around here? Our basement and bedroom are mostly all in one piece. I still haven't cleaned the construction gunk out of my shower, but there are no longer workmen tromping through the house at day and night, so that's something. My parents found themselves in the same city and got to go out to dinner last week. I did get to go see Inga Muscio along with thistles and had a great time. I'm not knitting.** I'm barely spinning. And no, I'm not keeping up with LJ or any other blogs. I even started deleting some blogs off my RSS feed, thinking, "When will I ever have time or inclination to read these?" Unfortunately, the first ones to go were the folks I read in the name of "broad viewpoint": the anti-abortion activist. The former priest. The older woman. My list of knitting blogs, on the other hand, keeps growing. The struggling male writer. Perhaps I'm just crawling back into the echo chamber, or perhaps I like to read what I know.

Yes, I'm a little embarrassed to admit all that. But it's fall, and time to draw inwards a little. Or a lot.

*because we're hermits now and we no longer even bother to read the news.
**I am, however, picking up a lace pattern occasionally, counting it, swearing at it, and throwing it back down every 48 hours or so. Does that count?

Cross-posted to LJ because I'm lazy.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Wheels for dummies, or Why yes, it is an impressive skill! Thank you!

Our landlord has been spending a lot of time around our place, what with the destruction of the basement and hazmat exploration and all. He was in the kitchen telling us of his grand plans for the new drywall, already impressed that we had
(a) grown basil in his yard, and
(b) made pesto of said basil*, all by ourselves,
and then he spied my Babe spinning wheel.

Is that like some kind of 19th century relic?

No, dude, it's PVC. See? And see the wheelchair wheel? And the plastic drive band? (He's a mechanically minded guy, and he gets a kick out of examining these things.)

What is it? Does it work? What's it do?

It's a spinning wheel; I make yarn on it. (I luckily have finished plying the white Brown Sheep fiber, but haven't yet wound it into a skein. I pull out a length of yarn and let him hold it.)

What do you start with?

Wool, fiber, roving, top... I show him the merino silk blend from the Fold, and say, "Like that! But obviously this fiber was white." (I decide to go really basic, and it also distracts him from asking what specifically is the fiber he's holding, since I'm embarrassed to admit I still can't get straight the difference between top and roving. I have to go look it up again someday.)

Wow, you start with this fluff and you make yarn?

Yep! I pull open the pillowcase of washed meat-sheep wool, and hand him a few locks. "I'll spin this next, probably." (This is a lie. I really want to spin the merino silk next, and while the short meat-sheep fiber works great on the spindle after carding, it's far too short for me to spin it on the wheel in my current non-expert state.)

So you card it, you spin it, then you can knit with it?

Yup. (He looks a little awed.) I've gotta have a skill when the revolution comes, you know?

When's that going to be?

Well, I don't know yet. That's why I have to get started.

*We beat the frost! Yeah! We have more than six cups of pesto! Thanks, Stephanie, for reassuring me that we will not get botulism and die if we store the pesto in the fridge for a couple days. The bulk of it will get frozen, but tomorrow we're having pasta with pesto sauce. Yum.

Monday, October 09, 2006

silk purses and sow's ears

Hanne Blank explains -beautifully- that we should all play to our strengths.
Perhaps you can learn silk pursery, perhaps not. There’s no reason you shouldn’t try. With talent and application maybe one day you will be able to do silk purses as beautifully and gracefully as you can do sow’s ears right now. But if you can do sow’s ears wonderfully right this very minute, then do them, by God, and if you can do them with a glad heart, so much the better for you and for them.

I haven't decided whether I'm currently making a silk purse or a sow's ear. More updates on that in good time.

(Please go read the rest of the essay, by the way; it's short, and lovely, and besides being apropos of everything, it's also entirely right for my not-quite-craft blog. I would copy the whole thing and paste it on my banner if not for copyright and length.)

Around here? Still a mess. If you haven't been reading the LJ, you may not know the carpet saga: the carpet in our bedroom got wet from underneath during the big storm last week. There's also water in the wet wall, leaking either from outside or a pipe or possibly both, and there's Mold Which Shall Not Be Named or Thought Of in the bedroom/office/storage space. Thank all, it's not our house, so we don't have to pony up on all this. But my dear spouse has been coughing and snuffling due to a combination of mold and cold, so we've been sleeping in the living room (upstairs). And the LL wants to put down tile, which (combined with the ONE basement radiator) will plunge the downstairs to meat locker temperatures. We're moving everything out of that room tonight. Anyone know a good cheap place in the far north? Rent or buy, we're flexible, but we HAVE to move. Don't worry, I'll still come down to Humboldt to knit. Must keep my five readers happy, after all.

Spinning proceeds apace, along with some black-and-white knitting projects, and my silk purse/sow's ear thingy. Also, cups and cups of pesto before the basil takes the hard freeze this week. Pics later.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

radio silence

*tap tap tap, tap tap tap* Is this thing on??