Wednesday, October 31, 2012

My Pre-Sandy Halloween Post

Even though it looks like this inside the house... still looks like this outside. Fall is slow to arrive around here. This is the view up my long driveway. You can see why we don't get many trick or treaters. Only the bravest will venture down this spooky path in the pitch dark.

Those few who do make it down are amply rewarded. We give out tons of candy just to be rid of it.

Tonight I will be carving jack o'lanterns and making myself sick on the roasted seeds. I also intend to knock back a Bloody Mary or two while waiting patiently for any costumed visitors that dare to come my way. Have a happy Halloween. I certainly intend to!

*We made it through the storm without any major damage other than the loss of electricity for a day. I will have a post about our rather dull adventure tomorrow. I hope everyone was as lucky as we were and are safe, warm and dry. Thanks for all your kind comments!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Halloween Eve

 If all you see are photos of batteries and candles, than you can take for granted things are not good here.

 I did put up a Halloween post before the storm hit for tomorrow and moved a few preempted posts but after that-who knows?

Monday, October 29, 2012

No Longer an Exit Strategy

At the last minute, we decided to once again ride the storm out here at home. Before we resign ourselves to the downstairs closet, my most valuable possessions have to be put in a secure place in case my house takes a direct hit from one or more of my tree buddies. Trying to decide what to save is a bit like Sophie's Choice.

The one thing I can't get out of here is my beloved Mini. She is having an ignition problem and I put off getting her fixed in order to go to Rhinebeck. Now it is too late. I can't move her. She has had more than her share of damages due to falling limbs and such and I have a bad feeling about leaving her in the tree lined driveway.

 My personal survival strategy is to fill all my electronic do-dads with podcasts and audiobooks and fill my ears with sounds other than the storm while knitting furiously on my box of sox. Now all I need is the batteries and my sanity to hold out until the electricity comes back on.
Kitty lovers, at the moment I am writing this, we do have all the outside kitties safe inside the house. I hope we can keep them in for the duration as they are working very hard trying to figure out how to get back outside. They are certainly going to be mad at me for a while.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Fear Factor

My normal level of anxiety is usually through the roof but for the past few days it has been off the charts.

It wasn't that long ago that we spent an unholy night huddled in the basement closet with a menagerie of animals waiting out Hurricane Irene. We were fortunate to only suffer superficial damages to the yard but many of our neighbors had houses completely squashed flat.

We live in a valley near the Chesapeake Bay that is a forest of very tall and very old trees. Why, I'm not sure and with each passing storm, I wonder all over again, why we didn't see the danger years ago.

We love the trees in the summer but in the 20 years we have been here, they have grown past the point where we are comfortable living in their shade. That is our 10 foot shed behind them looking like a dog house. That is how big they are.

They are so thick, I can no longer get my arms around them. They are huge.

Yesterday we went to Pet Smart and bought a cat carrier for each house kitty and we are packing up and heading out. Exactly where I'm not sure. We are trying to figure out the best way to protect the outside kitties and it is breaking my heart to have to leave them behind. They weathered Irene without a problem but for some reason I have a bad feeling about Sandy.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Fractal Smactal Part Three

The big experiment is over and I can now say it wasn't as big of a fail as I thought.

I am disappointed with the amount of gold that ended up in the final skein as I have never been a fan but I can live with it because damn, this stuff is fine.

I suppose the reason I am so head over heels with this 85/15 BFL/Silk from Misty Mountain Farm in the English Garden colorway is because I rarely work with such luxurious stuff. The difference between the fiber from my own washed fleeces and this professionally processed wool is vast. I am not complaining about my rustic fuzz, it has its place but damn, I can't say it enough, this stuff is fine.

It is tonic for the soul. The Ladybug is now completely dedicated to fine fiber.

Friday, October 26, 2012

V Y Z?

 I was working away on the zebra when I realized that I was a bit out of order on my alphabet sampler. With the Z, I should be celebrating the finish but instead I still have a rabbit and a whale to do.

Let's see: Q, R, S, T, W and  X  are still missing as well as the outside border but I should be done by December.

Thursday, October 25, 2012


A small handful of that Corrie/Cormo/BL X fleece that I bought at the Shenandoah Valley Fiber Fest in September has been washed and spun for a sample. I wound the singles off with my ball winder and then plied it from the inside and out.

I would never do this with a substantial amount of precious singles but for this little bit it worked fine right up to the loopy end.

 It turned out to be a very pretty 2 ply with a lot of fuzz to it. It is so pretty that I really want it to be a sweater but it is on the scratchy side as I feared. The Cormo baby mama or baby daddy must have had some pretty recessive genes. Too bad.

Now I'll have to decide what it will become.

 I do know for sure that it won't end up as socks, rugs or mittens.

I also know for sure I will be heading for the Merino fleeces come next May at the MDSW. I have yet to make a really large wearable garment out of anything I have ever washed and spun. 2013 will be the year.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Fractal Smactal Part Two

I had what was close to a religious experience spinning these BFL/Silk singles. I have never turned out anything so lovely.

So thin. So consistent. Such pretty colors.

The 2 ply, however looks so um, er...yucky? The gold, which was so pretty in the fiber, is muddying up the lavender and teal. There is still a long way to go so I am not going to write this off as a complete fail but from now on I will be looking more carefully at fiber colors and really thinking about what they are going to do once plied together. What looks good in a braid might not look so good in a skein.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Wedding Gifts

Daughter has a friend who recently had the good sense to celebrate her destination wedding in of all places, Cape Cod. Daughter and Hubby had a great time jaunting around the islands on the wedding weekend- which also happened to be their first anniversary.

Daughter came home bearing gifts. Although I have yet to turn her into a knitter, she does have an appreciation for all things wooly so she drug her better half through an alpaca farm and a yarn store.

Yes, it does especially when you don't know that you are supposed to make a reservation for the return ferry in Martha's Vineyard. They were stuck waiting over there for four hours. This is the back of the tee and in case you don't already know it-alpacas can be dangerous if you get too close to them for the reason above.

She must have spent a lot of time in the gift shop because she came home with some butter soft mittens for herself along with the tee shirt.

 She also brought me back this lovely skein of yarn.

When she went up to the counter to pay, she asked if this was enough to make something out of. The lady behind the counter replied by confessing she had no idea as she was not a knitter. Imagine that. I assured Daughter that you can make something out of any amount. I am going to confess here I have never been fond of alpaca but this stuff is quite lovely. I'll be pattern shopping for it soon.

She also visited this shop and brought me back...

 ...this lovely stuff. I had never heard of it before so I had to look up what kind of yarn it is. The nylon should have been a clue that it is sock yarn. Since it is in Daughter's favorite colors, I suppose it is a not too subtle hint that she wants a new pair of socks.

I really need to thank those newlyweds for choosing such a great location for their wedding.

Monday, October 22, 2012


 Saturday morning I was up by 6 and worrying myself sick over what to wear. For the occasion, I had bought myself a new pair of jeans in a comfortable size up from what I normally wear and last week I was horrified to discover I could not get them on. Thanks to the recent tummy bug, this morning, I happily discovered I could once again zip them up. Now the problem was what to put on up top.

 It was warm-too warm for the sweaters I had slaved over all summer. All the sweaters I had packed never made it out of the bag-not even at night. Ditto for the scarves and shawls I had brought along.

 The next big dilemma was what color Crocs to wear.

I thought the brown ones looked the best with my fancy socks so brown it was. They would also match the mud I was anticipating so they seemed the most practical.

 By this time The Mister was sick of my primping and ready to hit the road. At 8:30 we checked out of the hotel and drove a few miles up the road in a dense fog to the fairgrounds. There was no traffic. None. Anywhere. I was wondering if we had the right weekend. We sailed right in and parked only a few rows from the entrance.

The gate opens at 9 so we stood in line to get in but once they started taking tickets it all moved very quickly. By the time we got in, the fog had burned off and the sun was shining. It was a gorgeous day after all.

For the first half hour, this is how the main halls looked. Empty.

I could take my time picking out the BFL/Silk braid I came to get at Misty Mountain Farm.

I even visited the nearly empty fleece sale-twice but I came home without a fleece. I really didn't need any and to tell the truth I didn't see anything that tempted me. I also thought the prices were high compared to what I am used to paying at MDSW.

There were a lot of knitting superstars at the festival but my most exciting moment was when I got to meet Nancy Shaw, the author of the Sheep in a Jeep series of books. Her books were held in very high regard by my first graders, back in my teaching days. I just had to get her to sign a few copies for some babies-to-be I will soon be getting acquainted with.

She even drew in an extra little guy behind the counter in each one. She was very sweet and I was beyond tickled.

 By this time things were starting to get very crowded in the exhibition halls, so The Mister and I took a break and went out to watch show dogs do amazing tricks with frisbees.

As a Marylander, it pains me to say this but Rhinebeck beats the pants off Maryland Sheep and Wool in terms of having places to stretch out and get away from the crowds. You'd never know there were a zillion and half people right behind me.

While we were outside, we went up the hill to get a cider doughnut. People were raving about them on Ravelry and rightly so. As the sign says, they are delicious.

There is always something I come home wishing I had bought and on this trip it was of all things, pickles. Everywhere we went we saw people carrying around containers of them so since Daughter was home doing critter duty, we stood in line to get her a pint of half sours. If I ever go back to Rhinebeck, I will be bringing myself home the largest container they have. Goodness gracious, they are good.

I did buy myself an apple for lunch. I wasn't going to stand in those famously long lines for lunch or waste any money on food when there was fuzzy stuff to buy.

I walked through all the barns and exhibit halls several times in search of treasures. I don't have any photos to prove it because I discovered the hard way that vendors are snippy about taking pictures. The exhibit halls are also very dark so even my sneaky attempts were all failures. After several hours of my undercover photo-journalism, The Mister was getting a little frustrated. He also began to feel ill. By the time we left he was coughing and sneezing up a storm. By the time we got home he had a full blown miserable head cold. In spite of the pressure, I did manage to find a few goodies to bring home. I took a moment before we left to sit and relax under a tree and take stock of the day's haul.

 I had a BFL/Silk braid from Misty Mountain Farm in the Elven Woods colorway....

  ...a layered gradient braid from Fiber Optic...

...and two adorable 2 ounce braids of Polwarth/Silk from Bitsy Knits Fiber Arts in the Tantrum colorway. I am very excited about these mini braids. Instead of splitting a 4 ounce braid onto two bobbins, I can spin each braid onto a bobbin for a fairly even 2 ply. I am hoping once festival season is over their Etsy shop is full again because, of course, now I really wish I had bought more of these.They had some lovely colorways.

Last but not least my books which are destined to be two baby shower gifts in the very near future. You would notice there is no yarn in the haul this time around. I really looked. I really tried-but the lines were always too long to pay for things that I wanted when I had an increasingly antsy Mister lurking in the background.

 Here is my final parting shot as we whizzed by on our way out of town. It looks deceptively calm here but I assure you the place was rocking. I could never get a decent crowd shot without getting some strangers face front and center. We left escaped at about 2:30 in order to get out of the mountains by dark. I have a intense fear of kamikaze deer and since I was going to do a lot of the driving home I wanted to be on the New Jersey Turnpike before dusk. The Mister and I both agree that if we do this again next year, we will be taking the train up and just making a day of it. We spent a fortune in gas ($4.22 a gallon up there!) and and an unbelievable amount on tolls (more than $50!)-not to mention the hotel room ($196)-all to walk around a festival for a few hours and stand in extremely long lines to buy things I can get pretty much get online. Rhinebeck is certainly a magical wooly wonderland and I highly recommend it for the awe factor-but one day is plenty. There is a such thing as too much of a good thing especially when it is surrounded by a crowd of thousands.
Having said all that, I am already looking forward to going back next year.