One Crazy Fiber Lady

Monday, December 06, 2004

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New Home

I'm in the process of moving to typepad. Please update your links to

I've got a link in the sidebar to "My Current Blog" which will take you there as well.

Content here will eventually be migrated to Typepad.

Thank you.

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Little progress

While I had high hopes for the weekend and grand dreams of finishing the glovens (my new name for those funky hunter's gloves wannabee mittens), I barely managed to finish off the fingers of the first one. I was stricken with a stomach virus yesterday that had me napping while the monkeys napped and not knitting. I feel much better today, thank goodness. I felt horrid yesterday. A plus note, I managed to lose the remaining pregnancy weight AND the weight I gained thanks to the fertility drugs. As a weight loss method, I would not recommend it. The twins had it starting Friday and I consider myself fortunate that I seem to have gotten only a 24 hour version.

I also had to cancel out of a get together on Saturday with a very, very long term friend. Erin and I met in summer camp when we were 8. We were best buddies from Junior High onwards. College had us drifting apart though we did attend each other's weddings. We've been in contact with each other on and off, mostly off, since then. Well two summers ago, I did a spinning demonstration at the Putnam County fair. There was a photographer from a local paper taking pictures and he got one of me. I didn't think much of it other than to smile and look cute in my monstrous maternity jumper and continue spinning. I was 24 weeks with the twins at that point and already huge. I'm not a large person to begin with and normally weigh in at @100lbs and 5'0". So my twin pregnancy made me rather big, rather fast. Any I digress. Two weeks later, I get a phone call from Erin. He hubby had been reading the newspaper and there was an article about the fair. They recognized my picture, even though I had last seen her in '97 when we had lunch at the WTC. Long story short, she too had had twins, two girls, after years of fertility issues as well. Amazing. Unfortunately, further contact was limited as the next day I entered the hospital for my 8.5 weeks of bedrest. We did get together last February and her girls are beautiful, friendly and wonderful girls. They are going to be 3 this January I believe. We'll reschedule for after the holidays. But I'm disappointed that we had to cancel for this weekend. I had been looking forward to seeing them.

So there you have my weekend in a nutshell. A little knitting on Saturday while taking care of two little cranky soon-to-be-toddlers, followed by a very long day yesterday. To further add to my misery, because of my highly upset stomach, I didn't have any coffee. So add a wicked caffeine withdrawal headache to the list of discomforts.

As I have no pictures of any progress, being as there was none, I'll leave you with the "family" group shot of my booga bags.

I'm toying with moving this blog to typepad. I've even started my free 30 days there. I'm just not sure if its worth it. Any opinions?

Friday, December 03, 2004

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Warm feelings

I want to thank all those who commented about my post regarding Bill. I'm very glad that I was able to convey a bit of his essence to you. He was indeed a fine man and he will be missed. A memorial service will be held next week and I shall be attending. Thank you again for all your kind words.

On the knitting front, I've started yet again another project. This time it is the hunter's gloves that I pined about a couple of days ago. I started with the pattern from Knitty Wednesday night in some alpaca that came out of stash (purchase in '99 at a flea market in Manhattan, Green Flea if I remember correctly, pretty dirt cheap too IIRC). YEA Stash Reduction! I plunked myself down on the couch Wednesday night for some yarn therapy and dutifully followed the pattern. I got managed to make it to a few rows short of the end of the thumb gusset. At lunch on Thursday, I put the glove on and it was Shrek sized compared to my wee little hand. I'm a whopping 5'0" with tiny little hands. My ring finger is a size 3, which the jeweler did not believe when I asked to have my engagement ring cut to that size oh so many years ago. As such, standard adult gloves are massive on me. This thing was never going to fit and I pulled the needles out right then and there. While I've seen quite a few hunter's mitten patterns on the 'net, none were small. I figured that I might just be forced to figure them out myself. How hard could they be. I would need a standard glove pattern, just didn't need to knit the fingers all the way to the top and add a couple of rows of ribbing to keep the fingers put. Easy. Peasy. The flip top part is nothing more than a mitten half either sewn to or picked up from the back of the glove and lose in the front. Easy too. I could use a standard mitten top half pattern. Okay. Now to find the patterns. Conveniently Bridget had Ann Budd's book at lunch and she saved me hours of anticipation before I could make it home to my copy! I started working on the modified mitt on the train home. Thanks Bridget! I've now completed the ring finger section on the first one. I can't believe it, but I had the forethought to make notes as I go so I can match the second one to the first. I guess vitamins are a good thing ;) The glove fits, well, like a glove for a change. I have a 7" hand. Budd's book puts that with the Child 8 size. Nice.

The irish hiking scarf has made some progress. No pictures of it yet and its been tossed aside since the 'paca gloves entered the picture. I need the gloves far more than I need another scarf. It did get some attention Wednesday on my way home. I left the office early as I could not concentrate after the bad news was relayed. Unfortunately, the train schedule was not friendly to me and I wound up with a 45 min layover in Secaucus. Ordinary mortals might consider this unfortunate. I, a knitter, always carry something to keep me entertained. I have at least one knitting project and most often a drop spindle with me for those occasions when I have to wait. I hate waiting. I hate it much less when I have something to do. I love waiting when I have knitting. I got a cup of hideously overpriced coffee and parked myself with my knitting for the long wait.
If the scarf hasn't seen much light of day, the koigu socks haven't even come out of their zip-loc baggy. Its a nice clear baggy so I can look at the pretty colors. Someday they'll get done.

I wonder how many of us get through those hard times in life by turning to our hobbies. I know knitting played an integral role in my dealing with Bill's death. I also know that I spent a great deal of time during September 2001 spinning while watching endless tv news reports. I also did an amazing amount of spinning and knitting during those hard times each month during my attempts to conceive. It seems that when things are at their bleakest the feeling or the yarn in my hands and the motion of the needles, or the turn of the wheel while feeling the fiber flow through is greatly comforting. Is it because these are all muscle memory activities and no thought is really required? Is it just the repetitious nature of the two activities? I'm not sure, but whatever it is, it works and works very well for me. I know some of the reasons why I spin/knit, and it is related to what I do for a living. Programming computers, while very rewarding doesn't leave me much to point at when I'm done. There's nothing to hold, to smell, to touch. It's ephemeral. The fiber crafts give me some outlet to the creative urge that allows me to hold something at the end of the task. This was also extremely important to me while I was battling infertility, this need to be able to create something, anything. I'm interested to see what others feel this way too.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

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A sad loss

My boss died today.

His name was Bill.

While I didn't always like him as a manager, I always respected him and more importantly, I called him friend. He was a good man. Prior to a career in computer programming he had a full career as a professional musician playing the french horn in the Philharmonic. He was kind and giving with a warm smile and a twinkle in his eyes.

Unfortunately he had health issues that I never fully understood but serious enough that he was on the transplant list for new lungs. He had a portable oxygen tank at all times. One Monday morning last month, our director came to tell me that Bill was on the table right then. We all tried to work, keeping Bill in our thoughts and prayers while we waited for word. It came that afternoon, he was off the table, in recovery, the double lung transplant surgery having gone well. Within a few days he was resting comfortably out of Surgical Intensive Care and in his own room. While several co-workers went to visit one afternoon, I unfortunately could not as I had a cold. I know he was on many drugs and that hospitals are very germy places, but I thought it best to keep my germs to myself. Within two weeks of the surgery, he was home. I even got an email from him no more than two weeks after his surgery as he commented on my status report for the week. The man enjoyed his work. Last week came more emails from Bill. He was feeling good, walking without breathing issues for the first time in a very long time and just feeling very good. He had much to be thankful for this year.

While his death was not entirely unexpected, I know I had high hopes considering how very well he had been doing, it is very sad. I'll miss his stories at lunch. I'll miss his cheerful wave down the cubicle aisle as he spotted me in the morning. I'll miss the twinkle in his eye as he told a particularly goofy joke. He was a good man and a kind man. I'll miss him.

Goodbye Bill.

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Spinning wheel got to go 'round

Tuesday is spinning day at my house, as well as a few others. While I did manage to get the monkeys and myself home at a decent hour last night, we did watch Ken Jennings final appearance on Jeopardy (hadn't missed one), I didn't get the spinning time I really wanted. I opted for the more responsible task of balancing my much neglected checkbook before I bounced something like the monthly tuition for the daycare center <ouch>. Soooo. An hour and a half of manually entering each check, automatic withdrawal/account transfer, online payment, paypal and far fewer deposits into Microsoft Money, I no longer live in fear of envelopes from Commerce Bank. Tonight I get the even yuckier task of paying bills. Blech.

Anyway, I got my spinning time. I pulled out the CVM* roving from Little Barn, who btw is having a sale on bamboo Knitting Needles that I'm trying to ignore, that I picked up at Rhinebeck. It is the dark roving in this picture. It wants to spin fine but then puffs nicely when plied. There is some VM in the roving, but it is spinning out. The single has shades of variegation as the breed does and ranges from almost white to the darker brown that is evident in the picture of the roving. CVM is an interesting breed and the fiber is so soft. I have a lb of roving so I'm not quite sure what I'll be making. I'm initially leaning towards the much popular in blogdom, mittens! I don't have a pair currently and as I grip the getting colder steering wheel in the morning, I think again about gloves.

What I would really like be those hunter gloves with the half finger things and the flip top mitten part. I'm seriously considering thrumming the fliptop bit as I really want to do the thrummed mittens. But should I deprive myself of all the mittenly fun that others are having and switch from socks to mittens and make scores of them? I do have a history of losing a couple of gloves every year... I wonder if I can get mitts on the monkeys. Kat might be seriously resistant to the concept of mittens as she's a thumbsucker and their hands disappear in their coat sleeves on a regular basis. Anyone have or can direct to a pattern for mittens for a 18mos size? Maybe I should put all the other projects on hold and do some mitts before the weather gets really cold and my fingers freeze rendering me incapable of knitting!

*CVM is California Variegated Mutant. A funny name for a very nice sheep with a lovely fleece! I bought a CVM fleece off eBay earlier this year and ashamedly haven't done a single thing with it yet. It is beautiful:

Zeus - CVM

If you're curious about the breed, here's a link for more information. The fleece is wonderful as I expect the resulting yarn to be. It is on the fine side and I'm seriously thinking about putting aside about a pound of the softest part of the fleece for spinning laceweight. A very longterm project. The newest issue of SpinOff inspired me to try again at the long term lace project. A feature woman spent a year spinning, designing and knitting a shetland shawl. I would love to give it a try myself. I might have to start with something smaller and quicker, especially with my attention span.

Off to find some mitten patterns.....