Monday, October 27, 2008

When Typing Hurts

For the past couple months, I've been dealing with a painful wrist and tingly fingers. I finally bit the bullet today and went to the doctor. She's thinking it's my carpal tunnel. Not surprising. I've talked to a couple people who have also dealt with this and my symptoms are similar. Tingling finger tips, pain up the wrist up to my elbow, feels better if I don't type as much. I go in for a nerve test in the next few days. I'll keep you posted.

Oddly enough, knitting and spinning don't hurt. And I'm not just saying that (because I have been known to knit until it does hurt. Like the wee hours before Christmas.) I think it's because my wrists are in a pretty ergonomic position when knitting/spinning. Typing, on the other hand (oh look, a pun!), hurts like a h-e-l-l. So, I'm going to keep this and future blogs rather short.

The Harvest Days and Fiber Festival was last Saturday in Murfreesboro. I took my camera but didn't have charged no photos. But it was great! I did a bit of Christmas shopping also and bought some lovely ________, a couple ________, wonderful handmade _______, and several ounces of ________ in lovely shade of ________. I ran into a lot of people from Ravelry. I love it when people stop me and say, "don't I know you from Ravelry?" or "hey, you're Knittybits!" Too fun!

For those of you who are keeping me honest, I didn't buy any yarn. I did buy fiber but that doesn't count because it's not yarn...yet.

Speaking of Ravelry, a long lost friend from college dropped me a line tonight. I joined an "Upper Peninsula" group and she recognized my photo online. So I've had a hilarious blast from the past tonight. Good grief I feel old now!

This whole internet thing is so cool! Thanks, Al Gore! (snork)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Happy Yarn

Did anyone hear me on the radio this morning? Yes, that was me! I correctly guessed today's TV theme song. "Charlie's Angels". I'm mortified and can't believe I'm telling on myself, but we're friends right? And you say I'm a trivia geek like it's a bad thing.

On to the big news...and the real reason why I'm blogging tonight even though the carpal tunnel in my right hand has compelled me to consume a 1/2 glass of "flying monkey wine." (Long story, but can anyone guess the real name of the wine?)

I have had a huge yarn epiphany that has been building over the past couple weeks. Here it is:

Just because I loved the yarn at one time doesn't mean I still have to love it...but there's someone out there who might.

Folks, this is huge.

The surge started at the yard sale a couple weeks ago. A teenage girl squealed as she pulled out all the Sugar-n-Cream cotton yarn from the "yarn for sale", clutching it like it was the holy grail. She was truly excited and even used her own money (mom was with her) to buy every ball I had. That was a good feeling. I was happy because I got rid of yarn I no longer loved, the girl was happy because she got a lot of great colors really cheap, and the yarn was happy because it found new love!

The surge built last weekend when Fran and I went to a Prayer Shawl Ministry Workshop at Glendale Methodist Church. The workshop was put on by the women who founded the prayer shalw ministry years ago. I've been part of the prayer shawl ministry at my church for a couple years now and have knit 3.5 shawls (one in progress) out of Lion Brand Homespun yarn. While the shawls were lovely, they paled in comparison to the shawls presented at the workshop. I don't want to turn this into a sales pitch for the book but if you're involved in a prayer shawl ministry, buy the Prayer Shawl Companion. (If you knit with me on Wednesdays, I'll bring it next week.) The most stunning shawls were knit out of various scraps from other shawls. You know those oddballs that are intermingled with your stash? Think shawls. So the individual balls of yarn I was trying to get rid of at the yard sale are back in with the stash. However, now I'm looking at my stash in a whole new way. What was once a box of single, mismatched partial balls and skeins of yarn is now an artist's palette. I got so excited about the first scrap shawl that I cast on Tuesday night and started painting. (Knitting and spinning doesn't hurt as much as typing and mousing.

To bring the epiphany full circle, tonight when I got home there was a package waiting for me. It contained yarn! And NO, I did not buy any yarn. I swapped. Can you say loophole!?!? This little gem may be the lifeline I needed to keep me from buying yarn prior to Stitches South. How does it work? Well, did you know that you can go out on Ravelry and search other people's online stashes? I got an e-mail from YarnDoc the other day asking if I'd be willing to sell or swap my Socks that Rock. I checked out her online stash and told her I'd swap for Miss Babbs Yummy Superwash. YarnDoc and I are both happy because we got rid of unloved yarn and got "new" yarn in the mail. The yarn is happy because the minute I pulled it out of the package, I loved it! I petted it. I introduced it to the stash. (There might have even been some drooling.) Happy yarn!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Can I have a do-over?

Me and my big mouth. It sounded like a good idea at the time, but when the words actually came out of my mouth, I realized the enormity of my mistake. Let's rewind a bit.

A couple weeks ago LeAnn and I received a brief yet momentus e-mail from Liana announcing that Stitches South is going to be held in Atlanta in April next year. (For the non-knitter, "Stitches" is a gi-normous yarn event held by the lovely people at Knitters Universe magazine. I believe it's normally held in Chicago, Baltimore and somewhere on the far side of the Rockies. Basically, not within reasonable driving distance from my fair city.) It didn't take long for the three of us to make plans. Bottom line, this is big, like Daytona is to Nascar. No, it's bigger.

Fast forward to last weekend. Becky and I had a yard sale for the main reason of getting rid of stuff, making money was just a bonus. I culled through my stash and selected oddballs, yarn that had no project attached to it and stuff that I don't love anymore. I put it in the yard sale (sold about $40-50 worth). Parting with yarn is unheard of around here, which is why Zack seemed genuinely worried about his mom's sanity. He's probably wondering if he's next...either that or he's thinking it's time to call the home.

That brings us to today. I've been thinking about the expenses involved in attending Stitches South. Actually, I've been thinking about how much fiber I'm going to buy. I'll go without food (or bring a loaf of bread and a jar of peanut butter) if it means being able to by more yarn at Stitches. From what I've heard from others who have attended, we're talking about yarn/fiber in epic proportions. I love a challenge!

Now here's where I got into huge trouble. On the way to church tonight, I was telling Zack about Stitches, who I'm going with, who he'll stay with, that he'll probably go to Talladega that weekend anyway, etc. Then I dropped the bomb. I said, "In order to help save up for the trip I'm not going to buy any yarn until I get there." The look on his face clearly spoke "are you out of your ever loving mind?" and "who are you and what have you done with my mother" and "YES! no more covert trips to the yarn shop!"

My next word was a timid, somewhat questioning, "Well..." and he quickly stopped me and said, "oh no, it's too late. You said it and I'm going to make sure you mean it."

Crap. Crap. Crap.


Do you think I can do this? I looked at a calendar. I feel sick, my vision is blurring, the walls are closing in around me. I. Can't. Breathe.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Have You Ever Wondered...

...if what you're knitting will actually fit? The Cabaret Raglan has just entered that phase. I've literally got 7 more rows to knit on the sleeves and that sick feeling has set in. At least I have enough yarn this time! (A long story involving an overseas phone call to the Rowan mill in the UK and the subsequent emptying of my checkbook. Fortunately my math has improved somewhat.) What do I do if the Cabaret Raglan doesn't fit? That's all I'm thinking about as I'm nearing the end. I'm not sure if I'm more worried about it being too big or too small. How screwed up is that?

The blue hand-dyed/spun dorset wool is finished. I gave the skeins a good soak to set the twist and now they're hanging in the bathroom. Luckily yarn soaking in the sink and hanging from the shower rod doesn't phase Zack anymore. At least it's not pantyhose and undies! Speaking of the teenager, tomorrow is PSAT day and it wants a big I need to get some sleep.

And a long-awaited WW update! 6.5 pounds so far. Not as much as I'd like, but heck, I didn't put it on all at once, I can't expect to lose it all at once. But here's an issue to ponder. My scale varys by as much as 3 pounds so I'm not at all sure about the accuracy of my weigh-ins. I can step on then off, wait 20 seconds and do it again...several times...and each time it's different. I take the lowest and go with it. Maybe it's time for a new scale?

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Soaring, Selling and a Bit of Knitting

"Best Weekend Ever" was how Randy classified last weekend. We went to Benton, Tennessee and visted the Chilhowee Gliderport for his birthday. (If you get Southern Living Magazine, there's an article on Sarah, her brother Ike, and the gliderport in the issue with the pumpkins on the cover.) We stayed at the Cherokee Inn and both experiences were FABULOUS! The people were wonderful and we felt welcome right from the start. Our hosts at Cherokee Inn even called us late Friday night to make sure we hadn't gotten lost. We're already planning our next trip!

Flying gliders, or soaring, is pretty amazing. You climb in this plane that's resting on its belly and one wing. The plane has no motor. No prop. No parachute. The seats are small, only room for two (and a small dog). A couple teenage boys run across the grassy field to retrieve the "tow rope" from the back of the retired crop-duster airplane and connect it to a ring on the nose of the glider. As the tow plane heads down the runway, one of the boys runs along with the glider, holding a wing so the glider is level with the ground. In a few seconds the glider is off the grass, but the airplane still hasn't lifted off. Now that's an "oh shit crap" feeling! The plane lifts up and pretty soon it's just the tow plane, a length of yellow nylon rope and the glider...and a very big mountain ridge. After the glider disconnects with the tow plane, you're free. Literally. It's incredible!

Ike was our pilot for the weekend. I'm sure this kid was born sometime after I graduated high school, but he was super! His dog, Spike, even likes to fly. They really were the nicest people and I hope we can spend more time with them. I heard a rumor that Randy is pricing used gliders...

I'm glad our glider experience was so great, because the weekend before that wasn't. The last weekend in September is National Alpaca Farm Days, and farms around the country open their doors (or fences) to visitors. I had made up my mind earlier in the month to not visit any farms, mainly because I dropped a lot of cash at the spinning workshop...not to mention the fact that I've heard rumblings among the family that I have enough fiber. (As if...) So, with my mind made up not to go, I went happily about my business that weekend. I had to pick Zack up from a camping trip at Meriwether Lewis Campground off the Natchez Trace Parkway on Saturday afternoon. I plotted my route on the map and it hit me that there was an alpaca farm just off the Trace. And they were participating in farm days. Lord, I'm weak. So I figured if I left about 20 minutes earlier than planned, I'd have enough time to swing by the farm, meet a few alpacas, take some pictures, check out the fiber and get back on the road.

As I rounded a corner, I nearly drove off the road for there were about 30 alpacas lined up along the fence humming a little tune while watching the cars go by. How exciting! Could it be any more picturesque? Could I get any weaker? I pulled into the designated parking area, got out of the car, and walked into the open air tent where they had all things alpaca for sale. A cashier's table was set up at the entrance and a couple women were sitting around the table talking to one another. No one looked up. I entered unnoticed. I wandered out of the tent to the gate and man let me in. He was busy talking to someone else and only opened the gate, no greeting. I spent a couple minutes with the alpacas and then went back to the tent (remember, I had only given myself a 20 minute pad). I found some lovely charcoal gray roving and had to interrupt the conversation at the table to inquire about the price. "I think it's $4.50 an ounce..." and went back to her conversation. To which I responded, "do you think, or do you know?" I really should have walked out at that point. She pointed me in the direction of someone who would know for sure. I asked about the price, tried to make small talk about her Louet wheel, weaving, the drum carder, wool versus alpaca, but was unable to make a dent. I purchased some of the roving, although I had to weigh it myself...and had to tell them what it was. As the lady handed me the bag of roving she turned back to the conversation I interupted. I didn't take the bag and she turned back to look at me. I said "thank you?" as I reached for the bag and she said, somewhat puzzled with my inflection, "oh, you're welcome." I think I snorted as I walked off. I should have asked for my money back.

If you own this alpaca farm please know that I won't be back, and I have told my friends. If you own an alpaca farm (or place of business) please greet your customers and thank them for visiting whether they purchase anything or not. Oh well, at least the alpacas seemed happy to meet me.

I also promised photos of the yarn I spun at Appalachian Center for Craft. Here's my proof! I wouldn't normally spin with toxic orange or neon pink, but it was a workshop and workshops are meant for experimentation. I think the prettiest of the batch is the second from the left. It's the neon pink carded with teal. It's a nice heathery mulberry/mauve. Interesting things happen when you mix colors. Try it. You may be surprised!

This was the annual yard sale weekend. We did ok and on a scale of 1 to 10 this year was about a 6. We didn't have hardly any traffic and sales were sporadic. I got rid of a bunch of stuff, but we ended up taking about 12 boxes to Goodwill. Could it be that the economy has everyone scared to spend? Or maybe there were too many yard sales this weekend. I don't know. But I did get rid of a bit of my stash. Oh, didn't I mention that I was selling some stash? The good Brown Sheep went first and some oddballs sold, but I still have quite a bit left. I'm going to post in Ravelry in the "sell/trade" category in the coming days (or as soon as my camera charges up again.)

I didn't knit on the Cabaret Raglan as much as I thought I would. I had hoped it would be done by now, but I was in the mood to knit with wool, not cotton. It really is about being in the mood. However, I'm nearly done with my drop stitch scarf. It's gorgeous!

Here's the yarn I've spun up for the next Big Project. I can't tell you what it is because I just can't. Not until I'm finished. I can tell you that the wool is dorset and I dyed it before spinning. It's a two-ply about worsted/aran weight and has a good spring to it. Yum!

Thursday, October 2, 2008


Do you know where your stash is? I mean, do you really know? Or do you just think you know? I thought I knew until I spent the past 45 minutes looking for something.

Yes folks, this is my closet and the XL plastic ziploc bag nestled between the tan wool blazer and raw silk jacket is full of yarn for Zack's afghan.

The question of the day: Who (or what) came into my house and moved my stash? I'm not saying that this is a bad place for yarn, (actually, it's inspired) I'm just a bit befuddled as to how it got there. C'mon 'fess up. Ya'll are messing with me, aren't you?

Seriously, if I did it, do you think I'd actually post a photo of it?

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Low Carb Dumplings

Friends, I present the "Dumpling Bag."The pattern is by She-Knits and is published in the Fall 2008 issue of Interweave Knits.

I knit the bag with malabrigo. The pink flower buds are some leftover Galway and the green vine is the yarn I spun at the State Fair. I covered jump rings with the State Fair yarn and hand felted them under running water. I filled in the thin spots with some careful needle felting.

The pattern calls for the straps and rings to be sewn in place prior to felting, but I sewed the loops afterwards. They're needle felted in place. I wondered if the needle felting would be strong enough, it seems to be holding quite well.

As far as the practicality of the's a bit small. I should have taken it out of the washing machine a little sooner. (Must remember to set timer when felting...multi-tasking bites me every time.) However, it is pretty darn cute, and SO soft! It may end up hanging on a door knob to hold stuff. It would also make a cute small project knitting bag. For socks perhaps?

Next on KnittyBits:

  • My trip to an alpaca farm last weekend and how not to treat your guests
  • Upcoming adventure trip to Cleveland (and we're not talking Ohio) for Randy's b-day
  • Photos of yarn spun at Appalachian Center for Craft (proof that I did spin something)
  • The annual yard sale (from hell) is slated for Oct 10th
  • Update on the Cabaret Raglan...folks, we're getting close!!
  • The next Big Project