On the road

Just a quick blog entry from Asheville, NC so you know I haven't forgotten you. There will be no photos just yet, but I'll add some eventually.

Asheville is lovely - cool mountain air, misty views, great architecture, and to my sons' delight, a TUNNEL in the middle of town. I checked out Earth Guild and even tried out a couple wheels (A Schacht and a Louet) while the boys explored The Chocolate Fetish. I also checked out Yarn Paradise while Evan took a nap in the car. Afterward we visited the Western North Carolina Nature Center (baby red wolf pups! otters! black bears!) and met up with friends and former Ann Arborites Jen, Rich, and their two girls. Although I am very happy for them, I must admit I am a tad jealous over the seemingly idyllic life they have carved out for themselves at the base of Beacatcher Mountain.

En route to here we visited horsey Aiken, SC to see my good friend Machelle. Before that it was Charleston, SC where we ate great fish and saw lovely antebellum homes.

Our new favorite food is shrimp and grits - we had it three times in about three days. Jen is going to send me a recipe for the version she served at her wedding. I'll try it out back in Ann Arbor and then share it here, with Jen's permission, of course.

Tomorrow we will mosey on up the Blue Ridge Parkway, but first, a stop at a llama farm near Mars Hill. It was a bit of a hard sell, but when I found out that the segment of the parkway just north of Asheville was closed due to flood damage, and that we'd need to detour anyway, I knew it was a done deal.

Back soon, with photos, I hope. Knit on.


Are those socks food?

Meet my newest friend from Huntington State Park. He's eyeing my small boys with great interest -

Yum! I spot dinner!

I think the gator approved of my latest sock project:

Alligator, meet sock. Sock, meet alligator.

So how does the Harlot get both her sock and and the subject of her photo both in focus?

I must say, blogging from this biker bar is growing on me. Today's price for two hours of internet connectivity? A pint of Bass.

Photo credit - Stella Beale, my vacation photographer


This is a Test of the Remote Blogging System

This is a test of the Remote Blogging System. This is only a test. Do not adjust your set.

I am blogging at you from the sandy beaches of Pawley Island, South Carolina. For the price of a Newcastle Brown, at a biker bar with Wi-Fi, I can blog till I pass out. But I have better things to do, namely:

Knitting in paradise, sans-cheeseburgers

Brian and Evan are having fun, too, though the photos below are somewhat ambiguous:

Brian in a pensive moment

Evan feeling apprehensive about something

The trip down was without incident. I knit a scarf (broken rib, out of my first three skeins of homespun) and slept. The kids talked. And talked. For Two Days. Dave drove. That about sums it up, really.

The scarf (sorry, not photo yet) was supposed to be for my dad, for Father's Day. But when he saw it in progress when he was visiting last week, he asked if it was supposed to be so uneven and bumpy. I suppose it is rustic, but I like it, and would hate for it to languish in a closet somewhere when some appreciative person could be wearing it lovingly. Who to gift it to?

And speaking of using words like languish inappropriately, I recently started reading Everything is Illuminated, by Jonathan Safran Foer. It's unlike anything I have ever read - insightful, amusing, delightful.

I would give a large amount of money for a tape recorder right now. There is a blowhard at the bar, pontificating about the chemistry of chili and venus flytraps and Francis Marion and his first wife and the wonders of southern hospitality. It's like an unbelieveable scene from a sitcom, of the sort that you would react to with a "no one could possibly be that tediously pompous in real life!"

Later in the week I will report back about alligators and Charleston and more beach knitting. In the meantime, behold the generousity of my favorite blogger, Rabbitch:

gifties from Rabbitch

The dishcloth is more a punishment than a gift, actually. It will be included in a large box of dishcloths to Project Scrubbie. The lovely roving is for me, me, me. My only regret is I won't be able to do anything with it until July, when I return from my trip.


Happy anniversary, baby

The happiest 9 years of my life began 9 years ago today.

Yes, we are this happy.


Maybe I did something right

So maybe he has the messiest room on the planet, but he managed to finish something:

Marching across the stage

Although all you ever hear from me are complaints about the room (and the car he ran out of oil, and the time he forgot he was babysitting....) this is a great kid, with an amazing mind and a huge heart. In a few days he'll no longer be a permanent resident here, as he's heading off for a summer as a YMCA camp counsellor, and then off to college in the fall. I will miss you, Geoffrey! Who will be left to argue with?

Other good stuff is happening - I got a box today from Rabbitch, with a lovely roving and a dishcloth in the most hideous, baby turd shade of green you could possibly imagine. I would share a photo with you but I don't want to be blamed for the vomit all over your keyboard.

If you haven't already figured it out, she's nicer than she lets on.

Also, our new, flexible (read, unemployed) schedule means that when we leave on vacation Friday, we may just never come back.

More on that tomorrow. My husband is twiddling his thumbs again.


Mariah Educates the Sensitive

Here's the poem that Suzanne read to me while I was spinning at her store in Bloomington over Memorial Day. I hope you like it as much as I do. I was delighted to discover, after she had read it to me, that I had actually met the author, and that she reads my blog!

Mariah Educates the Sensitive

In the first place,
you are not allergic to wool.
That lie is the bastard brat
of ignorance, overheating and vanity.
You may be allergic to cats,
angora rabbits,
dust, mold, pollen, the stings of bees,
bad dreams, the semen
of Rh negative men,
or, if you were an axe murderer
in a former existence,
strawberries. You could be reacting
to chemical dyes, the sulfuric acid
they soak wool in to carbonize the hay,
sheep dip so deeply lethal
it kills on contact, bad vibes
from an old cryptorchid ram, hysteria
or bad karma. But not wool.
Never wool.

Has it ever crossed your mind
that there are breeds,
that each breed extrudes
a different wool? You buy
a crappy, scratchy,
certainly Suffolk
sweater because you like
the pretty color,
then brag that you're too sensitive
to wear wool. What do you know
of Merino, Spanish wool so fine
it makes a grandmother's love
seem cold and harsh?
Men were beheaded
for smuggling these sheep.
You could spend a life
exploring the differences
between Icelandic and Churro,
Black Welsh Mountain,
Finn, Romney, Jacob, Corriedale,
Karakul, Cheviot, Shetland, Lincoln, Leister--
both Border and Blue Faced--
Coopworth, Cormo, Targhee, Wenslydale,
Herdwick, Swaledale,
Cotswold, God forbid,
Dorset, Tunis, Polworth, Rambouillet.
Then you could start on rare breeds.
Don't get me started.

Wool is the perfect fiber,
the only one
which insulates when wet.
Wet cotton, silk,
are out to save themselves, leaching
your body heat away.
Like us, wool breathes.
Unlike us, it's blessed with memory,
returns to its original shape when washed.

Wool is proof of a benign, personal God,
is grace, divine intervention at its best.
It's why sheep are mentioned in the Bible
more than any other animal.
I made that up,
but you believed me, proving
you've had your own suspicions
all along.

When mercury freezes,
hang your quilts on the wall.
Curl under wool.
Wool knows you're a mammal.
It's sympathetic, doesn't just conserve
body heat--it radiates it,
melting your bunched muscles
into something capable of sleep,
making sure your dreams
fill with green fields.

-- Susan Blackwell Ramsey

Poem first published in KnitLit (too). Susan (rams in blogland) gave me permission to post this to my blog. Thanks rams!


I am still a functional human being

Just to prove that if nothing else, my obsessions are still intact, here's another pair of completed socks for you.

Super soft socks, Knitpicks Sock Landscape

My mother is visiting for His Slothfulnesses graduation tomorrow (can you believe she is sleeping in his room? Horrors!), and in my foolishness I offered her a pair of socks. She may either have these or the last pair I made. She refuses to pick ("loves them both"), so now I have a Sophie's Choice to make. OK, bad analogy. My mothers feet are hardly a concentration camp. But I think you get the idea. Anyway, which of my lovelies am I willing to part with? It doesn't seem to bother her in the least that both pair have been on my stinky feet. Help me out here!

I've also been spinning, this time with Kings Ransom from Yarns Unlimited in Bloomington. 80% Coopworth, 20% silk, spins like a dream. I want more.

King's Ransom singles

Kings Ransom, all plied and sitting pretty

Next post I will share a poem with you that Suzanne shared with me at Yarns Unlimited while I was spinning. You have to love a shop owner that reads you poetry while you spin. Anyway, the poem is most excellent and deserves its own special post, so stand by. Just a little teaser.

I am now off to Spinner's Flock in Chelsea to return my rental wheel AND the lovely wheel I was trying out but have decided I can't afford at the moment. Violin music, please. I am hoping to return from the Flock with another $10 rental. Wish me luck.


The digital Vermeer project

I haven't blogged in an entire week. Fibery things have been happening, but blogging about them has taken a back seat to a Major Life Event, a negative one, that occurred in my family this week. With all that has been going on I just haven't had the emotional wherewithal to blog, for fear that I would dump all my woes and angst on unsuspecting strangers out there in the blogosphere and immediately regret it.

To cheer myself up, I instead share with you some photos I took at Greenfield Village earlier this week.

Plying on the Great Wheel, Daggett Farmhouse

Basket with Plant-dyed Homespun, Daggett Farmhouse

I have never been much of a photographer, and my digital camera has me especially mystified. But the lighting and overall effect of these photos pleases me, and reminds me of Vermeer paintings.

These next two photos are of old machinery. Not quite as lovely, but equally fascinating, and also fiber-related:

Old Wool Carding Machine, Gunsolly Carding Mill

Unwinding Silk Cocoons, Hanks Silk Mill

A former colleague, Bill Hope, was giving the demonstration at the Silk Mill. According to Bill, it is a great retirement job. I want to retire now. I think they need me, anyway - there weren't nearly enough women in colonial garb spinning, weaving, and dying.


Potty Party!

My friend Kate had the brilliant idea to host a potty party in her back yard. The participants:

Potty Party!

Though it wasn't intended to be a competitive event, the girls beat the boys, hands down. Team Fiona and Gemma scored at least five pee-pees in the potty. (Fiona also went through five pairs of princess underpants, but who's counting?) She's highly motivated by M&Ms. Nicholas and Evan didn't manage any pee-pee in the potty, but Evan did pee standing next to his potty. Not a shabby performance, I say.

As you can see, Fiona and Evan found this all especially amusing:

As for obligatory knitting content, head on over to the knitin-aa group blog to see Alecia taking a bite out of a delicious knitted confection. Also, I continue to spin. Are you getting tired of these shots yet?

I couldn't resist one more spool shot.
It finally fits!
another baby sweater...
Not trafficking in baby animals, really
Some days are like that
Restraining Order
American Beauty
weaving class
yarn fairies
Coveting the scarves of friends
December 2004
January 2005
February 2005
March 2005
April 2005
May 2005
June 2005
July 2005
August 2005
September 2005
November 2005
December 2005
January 2006
February 2006
April 2006
May 2006
June 2006
December 2006
January 2007
February 2007
October 2007
November 2007
March 2008
April 2008
January 2009
My Local Yarn Store
Crack for Knitters