Wednesday, May 31, 2006

See You in a Few Weeks

I am off for a 2-week vacation with my boys to our favorite place as of Friday. No TV, no internet, no work, no stress. Just the water and the sun and good family time. I'm hoping to get my knitting groove back, and am remembering fondly a time when I actually read books. I am tempted to bring the wheel, but I just don't think it will fit with all the other stuff I need packed. We'll see. See you mid-June.

Monday, May 22, 2006


I've completed my dyeing for the Dye-O-Rama swap. My giftee likes deep, saturated colors, and one of her preferred favorites were the blues, so this is what I came up with. It is handpainted with Jaquard dyes, using about 5 different blends that were either turquoise and black, or brilliant blue and black. I painted pretty randomly, with some sections being pretty broad, and some small and some just squrted here and there to fill in blank spots. If I had to name this colorway, I think I'd call it "The Deep".

I must say, I think this is the best dyeing I've done to date. I am really sorely tempted to keep it to myself, but I have no more time to make the June 15th deadline with much travel coming in the next few weeks, so I will have to say goodbye to it and try my hand at repeating it for myself later. I couldn't resist knitting up a little swatch though, just to see what it looks like:

It will be on its way in the mail sometime this week, and frankly, it doesn't have very far to travel to find its home.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

The Payoff

This time last week, I was already soaked to the bone, and had just started exploring NHSW with Cheryl. I had a moderate budget, and like many there, brought the cash I could spend and when it was gone it was gone. I had some goals - 1. Do not purchase another fleece. 2. Get some non-wool fiber to spin and 3. Get a teeny niddy-noddy. Despite having visited the fleece barn first (danger! danger) I managed to achieve all three of my goals. I am very pleased with what I came home with:Clockwise starting with big white bag `o fiber: Cormo/Silk from Foxfire, Silk/Cashmere also from Foxfire (I have urges to stuff this in my bra it is so soft), a mini Ashford Niddy Noddy, 2 silk hankies from The Spinners Hill Shop, a ball of Trekking which I'm pretty sure came from The Elegant Ewe, 2 hanks of merino 2-ply from Nick's Meadow Farm, a neon-blue silk cap and red Tussah silk top from The Spinning Studio, and finally, a 3 oz bump of "black magic" polwarth/mohair/silk from The Spinning Bunny. I am a happy girl. Now I just need more spinning time!

Thursday, May 18, 2006

J is for

Jumbo Shrimp.

According to babycenter.com, that is about the size of the newest addition to the Pumpkin Family due to arrive right around Thanksgiving. Why on earth do the baby books/sites always liken the stages of fetal development to food? We're past the sesame seed, the grape, the kiwi and on to the seafood stage now - is next week mackerel? I should peek ahead and see how far until I reach the "I've got a yellow-fin tuna in there" stage.

I hope the above goes a long way towards explaining my doing barely anything knitting or spinning related lately. For those who have gestated before, you will be well aware that the first trimester can be a bit of a marathon of fatigue, and for me this time around a good amount of "morning" sickness. Add all my existing duties as mother and worker, and that leaves one exhausted PumpkinMama at the end of the day - I've not been able to muster the energy needed to do anything but sit on my ass in front of the TV at the end of the day.

However, all of that seems to be receding of late, and the much lauded 2nd trimester energy burst should be close at hand, so I hope you will see more blog-worthy content from me very soon.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Exciting Weekend

A very event-full weekend, as those of you reading some other New Englander's blogs have read. Saturday was a drenching but really, really fun day at NH Sheep and Wool with Cheryl and various and sundry other bloggers. This was my first woolfest of any kind, and despite the cold and the wet, the company was so good it didn't even phase me, and cold and wet usually make me whine and whimper like a little cry baby. Highlights included:

Julia, sucumbing to the lure of a her wheel:

The blogger lunch huddle:

Faces and names I enjoyed meeting are Laurie, Kathy, Cate, Carole, Kellee, Wendy and spousal unit, Sandy (met her later, not at lunch, but, whatever), SueGene, and many many more - my brain is toast with that list already. If I missed you, please chalk it up to social ineptutude and brain freeze.

Sheep Shearing:

Two Icelandic sheepies (who knew that flash gives sheep blue-eye instead of red-eye?)

I'll post some loot photos later - I was a good girl and stuck to my budget, hitting the ATM only at the end of the day so I could drive home with some cash in my pocket and not be arrested for truancy ;-). Theme for the day was silk. I arrived home at dinner time, wet and tired from a draining drive, and Dan marched right out of the house to start dealing with this:

We actually have it pretty good, based on what I see on the news. The garage we can't do anything about other than back the car out so its not submerged, and the basement, which is ALWAYS leaky (150yo fieldstone foundations do that) has freaked Dan out enough over the years so that we had a backup sump pump on hand, which was jerry-rigged in place today. The two pumps (plus a small backup-backup pump that my brother and sister-in-law hand delivered from Plymouth today - we owe you guys big time!) have managed to keep barely ahead of the incoming flow. We've set up a baby monitior down there so Dan can wake up and check to hear it running all night instead of going downstairs every few hours.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006


I am excited to have joined the Dye-O-Rama swap. I've been plotting and planning my swapee's yarn, and I am greatly looking forward to using the mad dyeing skills I picked up at the recent dye workshop with Linda Whiting.

And, even though I've had some communication with the (not idiotic at all) person who is dyeing yarn for me, I figured more information certainly cannot hurt the process.

Questions specific to this swap:

Your favorite colors?
Blues, greens and reds.

Preferred yarn weight (Fingering, Sport, DK, maybe even Worsted)?
Fingering or Sport for socks

Do you prefer solid or multicolored yarn?
Multicolored is good.

If your buddy is able to do so, would you like a variegated, self-striping, or self-patterning yarn? Whatever you're in the mood to try out.

Would you be interested in a wool blend sock yarn (nylon, tencel, silk, acrylic, alpaca, etc.)? S
Sure, but plain old wool is just fine too.

Imagine the perfect colorway. What would you name it?
Summer Storms

What was the biggest appeal to you for joining this dye-along?
An excuse to do a more structured dyeing project, as well as perhaps use some colors I don't tend to choose when dyeing for myself.

General yarn/fiber questions:

Have you dyed yarn/fiber before?

If so, what’s your favorite dye and method?
I like the randomness I get with oven dyeing in a big roasting pan. I use Jaquard acid dyes.

Do you spin?

Have you knit socks before?

Do you use sock yarn for just socks or in other patterns too?
Mostly socks, but given the right colors and yardage would happily knit a shawl with some as well.

What are some of your favorite yarns?
For socks, I am smitten with my first Koigu currently, and adore the short bursts of colors. I also like almost any "home-made" hand dyed multicolor sock yarn.

What yarn do you totally covet?
I'd love to try out the much-heralded Socks that Rock.

Favorite patterns?
This is too hard to answer.

Any pattern you would love to make if money and time were no object?
I'd love to do another kit from one of the Starmores. The yarn is incredible, and I'm lately in love with the idea of Fern.

Favorite kind of needles (brand, materials, straights or circs, etc)?
I use my Denise's for anything that needs "big" needles. Have been enjoying Magic Looping socks on my #1 Addis.

If you were a specific kind of yarn, which brand and kind of yarn would you be?
I would probably be something not-too-fancy but useful and practical. Perhaps Cascade 220?

Nothing to do with knitting/yarn/fiber in any way but seemed kinda fun:

Do you have a favorite candy or mail-able snack?
I love Smarties (keep a bag in my desk at work) , dark chocolate and sweet-tarts.

What’s your favorite animal?

Do you have pets? What are their species/names/ages?
A handful of fish in a freshwater aquarium, but I wouldn't call them pets.

If you were a color what color would you be?
A nice barn-red color.

Describe your favorite shirt (yours or someone else’s)..
Any comfy T-shirt.

What is your most inspiring image, flower, or object in nature?
I am always drawn to the sight of bright green summer trees standing out against a steel-gray-blue sky after a storm has passed and the sun has returned (see name for a colorway question above). Something about the colors and feel of this happening resonates deeply with me.

Tell me the best quote you’ve ever heard or read.
I don't know about the best, but one axiom that has helped me greatly over the years (and I have no idea where it comes from) is "the only way out is through". Saying this helped me through my labor with my child, helped me get through a serious illness my husband had a few years ago, and comes in handy when you're feeling not strong enough to do something.

Do you have a wishlist?
Peace, happiness, health, and a new president.

Anything else you’d like to share with the group today?
Isn't this enough? I'm feeling silly now.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

I is for...

IMPRESSED. I got my Sockapaloooza package yesterday. By chance, I was at home, enjoying a planned "Mama's day off" having taken a day off work, and sending PumpkinBoy in to daycare for the day with dear husband taking chauffer duty. How fortuitous! Check it:
You will note, in the package above, some lovely tea (and bags), a postcard from a very cool Indianapolis music store, and a custom made CD from said store, a wine-tasting journal, and TWO small sock-size tissue paper bundles. Two.

I flashed back to reading the following on Alison's last Sockapalooza update:

"Cindy K made a pair of practical hiking socks for her outdoor-loving pal, but then decided they were TOO practical and whipped out a second pair of cushy Malabrigo house socks. Two pairs--Cindy, you're making the rest of us look bad. ;)"

Guess who lucked out? C`est Moi.

Both pairs fit so wonderfully and are perfect for me. Can I just say that Malabrigio on the toes is quite decadent. I think I know what's happening to my leftover skein. Needless to say I am over the moon about my socks - thank you a thousand times over Cindy, you really outdid yourself.

In a very odd twist of fate, when I emailed Cindy with my gushing thanks yesterday, I learned that she too, was having a day to herself, taking a break from some work-related training she was taking in sunny Florida. I just think the coincidence in that is very cosmic and I liked to think of her (another mom to young kids) enjoying the sunshine, while I cozied up on a dreary New England day with cushy socks and some tea, both of us enjoying our "me time".

I also have word from Kate, my Sockapaloooza recipient, and she is very pleased with her socks! Phew. Hooray for socks and strangers gifting socks. Socks made my week this week - I'm ready to sign up for the next one.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

A New Look

I wish I could say that my long gaps in posting lately is due to me scrambling to work out this new blog look, but alas, other than asking the amazingly talented Diana to give me a makeover and then ooh-ing and ahh-ing over her design, I didn't really do anything. She did all the hard work, and it certainly is beautiful, thank you so much Diana! If you're reading via Bloglines or some other feeder, click through and come check out Diana's hard work. The woman is the Stacy London of blog-makeovers.

Life continues to get in the way of me having much to blog about here. Knitting and spinning and dyeing have been getting hardly and attention these days, sadly. I hope to be able to share why this is the case very soon, but for now I must sit tight and hope more time and energy are forthcoming.