Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween

from the Blue Ballerina

the Wizard

and Parrot Boy.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Catching up

This week will be a week for catching up, while trying very hard not to get further behind. N. did indeed have pneumonia (we had the pleasure of a chest X-ray early last week), in both lungs, and Tuesday night we came ominously close to a hospital admission. The docs gave him another night on the second oral antibiotic and thankfully he turned the corner that night. Now, less than a week later, his cough is nearly all gone and he's fine. The amazing resilience of kids.

I'm glad N. is better in time for Halloween. I've always loved Halloween -- even before those creepy big-box costume stores appeared, trying to turn every eight-year-old girl into corporate America's collective Lolita fantasy -- and I always enjoy making costumes for my kids. My piece de resistance thus far was 2005's Fish Costume

but I have high hopes for Elvis's choice this year: The Parrot. His sister G. wanted to be a ballerina (cool, I thought, I can buy a tutu!) except she insisted on being a BLUE ballerina. Do you know how hard it is to find a blue tutu? N. decided to be a wizard. Even though he doesn't really know anything about Harry Potter. Go figure. As long as there aren't pupiks hanging out or a real excess of bad taste (Tom wistfully mentioned a Lisa Nowak costume, complete with a jar of Tang, a roll of duct tape and a pair of Depends), I'm flexible.


is a skein of Black Bunny DK-weight merino, along with a card of glass buttons I got at Stitches East. It's for a baby shower gift, for someone who loves orange. I'm going to be dyeing up some more BBF DK-weight in the coming weeks, which is machine washable and perfect for little baby sweaters, so look for it.

But first, I'll be posting a Black Bunny Fibers roving update tomorrow morning. I've got 6 batches of roving, including a lovely border leicester/mohair blend.

Inspired by Rhinebeck, I blew the dust off my wheel and produced this:

(from a Blue-Faced Leicester roving from Black Bunny). I'm definitely getting more consistent; I just need to work on spinning a bit thinner. Everything I produce seems to be aran-weight or heavier.

Last, I would be remiss if I did not mention that today is my mom's birthday. I can't believe she's seventy-seven. She's in great shape and excellent health, but it still scares the bejeesus out of me that her age sounds so, well, old. She doesn't read my blog (she doesn't know what a blog is) -- which probably explains why her heart is still in such good shape -- but Happy Birthday, Mom. You're the best.*

*Also happy birthday to Owen....

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Last Rhinebeck Post (maybe)

On Sunday, after the crowds moderated, I wandered around the show and took photos of whatever appealed to my aesthetic sense. So today's Rhinebeck reminiscence takes the artistic approach (with the emphasis on, of course, the fibrous).

First up, a close-up of some ribbon-winning lace:

Section of a colorful woven piece:

Nice sock, nice legs, nice kilt. (sigh)

I really liked this crocheted shawl, which used striking swirl motifs:

I was impressed by the landscaping at the fairgrounds; there were plenty of perennials and foliage plants that were well-tended and provided lots of color, even this late in the season.

Another beautiful lace shawl:

Pepperman (get out those Crest White-Strips, dude):

Woven fabric from prizewinners' display:

Section of prize-winning sweater, made from handspun:

Traffic-stopping chapeau:

Love those eyelashes.

Ah, to be four years old and dressed like a pumpkin...(stay away from the chuckin', my little friend)...

Close-up of The Harlot's Kauni sweater, which is absolutely gorgeous:

Gratuitous foliage shot.

Ribbon-winning lace display; I tried to get the judge's comments (on the white tag) in the shot. If you can zoom in close enough to read them, you will get a flavor for the judging process.

Skein of handspun boucle from the prizewinner's display. Now that I've been spinning, I can appreciate the difficulty of getting the boucle to look even and consistent like that.

Close-up of my Black Bunny socks, which performed admirably, notwithstanding my hairy shins.

The yoke from a knitter's rendition of Eunny's recent design from IK:

And with this last butt shot for Lars, it appears I have reached the end of my Rhinebeck tail...

See you next year.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Rhinebeck Redux (or how to chuck a punkin')

Rhinebeck is, above all other things, a sheep show. That means plenty of sheep shots:

This year's featured breed was the Blue-Faced Leicester, one of the first breeds I become familiar with when I first became obsessed with knitting. I think it was Berroco that used to make a 100% Blue-Faced Leicester wool yarn, back in the day... But I must confess that I took indiscriminate sheep shots and can't remember which particular breeds I was photographing at any given time.

There. Dolores, eat your heart out, hon!

If you think that Rhinebeck is just about fried food or gorging on yarn, remember that this is an important place for farmers and breeders to visit. They purchase stock for breeding, sell fleece and other products they produce, and I'm sure there's a lot of networking and learning about new stuff in the agricultural industry. We tend to forget that this is a livelihood for farmers and breeders, and not just a nice weekend in the country.

In keeping with the serious nature of the event, I felt a burning desire to attend the Llama Leaping event. I was not disappointed. It was like the game of limbo, only in reverse: they set up a pole and the llamas jumped it, each round raising the pole a little higher.

The llamas, being no dummies, quickly got irritated, so as their handlers led them up to the ever-higher pole, they started balking. Which led to all sorts of hijinks as the handlers tried to entice them to jump and the emcee cajoled them over the loudspeaker with cries of "Pretty please!"

This llama dressed up for the occasion

and I must say, it was the most attractive use of fun fur that I've ever seen.

After the Leapin' Llamas, I made a beeline for the piece de resistance of sheep show events: Punkin' Chuckin'.

Or is it Punkin' Chunkin'?

This cracked me up. Basically, a bunch of folks spend the year figuring out ways to build contraptions, like this catapult-ish structure,

to hurl pumpkins as far in the air as they can. Our favorite was called "Lord Gourd." You can see the devastation this wrought on the poor pumpkins

when the hurling went well. (Do you think they have a chaplain to give the pumpkins Last Rites?) I heard that they also do a human-powered version similar to the shotput, where people throw the pumpkins, but alas, I wasn't able to stay for the whole event. Plus I forgot to bring my gourd hard hat:

As if this senseless slaughter of innocent, peace-loving squash was not enough, there was also the sacrificial mutilation of the pumpkins.

Equally distressing was this bizarre fox, who, inexplicably, had 9-1-1 on his belt buckle.

Next post: the artistic side of the show...

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

We interrupt these warm-n-fuzzy Rhinebeck reflections

to bring to your attention something that the always-insightful, ever-clever Girl from Auntie found: this group of T-shirts being sold on CafePress by the folks litigating with Debbie Stoller over who owns the name Stitch'N'Bitch.

You may recall that there is a lawsuit pending in which a New York sewing store claims that it owns the trademark, while Debbie Stoller says "nuh-uh." A lot of knitters who attend groups that called themselves SnB were ticked off when Yahoo made them remove that portion of their group's name at the sewing store's demand.

Do you think the women's names on these T-shirts are a huge, odds-defying coincidence? (I.e., There is "Debbie" and of course we all know Debbie Stoller, "Jenna" which also happens to be the first name of the Girl from Auntie who has blogged about this vigorously, "Vicky" and there just so happens to be Vicky Howell who blogged about irritating she found the sewing store's attempts ....)

And once again, if you were the lawyer(s) representing the sewing store, wouldn't you tell your clients to knock it off? I sure would on the theory that this is only going to infuriate a large segment of the crafting community (thus adversely affecting their target market, because isn't this really about selling shit to crafters?) while possibly throwing a large wrench into any settlement negotiations.

But hey, what do I know?

Thanks to The Girl from Auntie for tipping me off to this via her blog.

Monday, October 22, 2007

More on Rhinebeck: The people I lerve

I never quite know how to describe spending time at a fiber festival. I come home with my brain humming from all I've experienced. It seemed to me that this year's festival may have been slightly less crowded than last year, but there were more male knitters (a very good thing) and definitely a developing sense of community among knitters that showed itself at the festival. In addition to Blogger Bingo, which as I said last year, is a brilliant way for people to break the ice with each other and form real-world connections derived from internet ones, there were tons of people walking around with Ravelry buttons, which provided another way for people to connect. For me, this year was definitely about the people -- seeing many of the knitters with whom I've developed friendships (and meeting some in person for the first time) and getting to spend some time with them surrounded by the accoutrements of the craft we so love.

So today's virtual Rhinebeck tour is devoted to the people.

I left Saturday morning, and picked up Jim (Traveling Companion No. 1 -- an amazing knitter with an encyclopaedic knowledge of film, and he's single, fellas....) at 5 a.m. sharp, then Laura (Traveling Companion No. 2 -- she's also coauthor on the book and an incredibly talented designer/knitter/photographer) by 5:15 a.m. This is what it looked like when we stopped for gas about 45 minutes later, somewhere in New Jersey:

We made great time (isn't there a Seinfeld about that?) although the paparazzi managed to grab this incriminating photo of Laura and Jim leaving a Dunkin' Donuts in the wee hours:

We were able to check into our hotel and leave our bags (i.e., more room for fiber in car) and still make it to the festival just about when it opened.

Jim and Laura are about the best traveling companions one could ask for. They are extremely well-mannered and do all sorts of considerate things like navigate, open cans of diet soda for the driver so she doesn't crash the car, chip in for gas, bring tasty snacks, and provide interesting and frequently hilarious conversation so the driver doesn't fall asleep. Plus, they have great dirt provide acerbic running social commentary on the nature of the human condition as reflected by people of our common acquaintance.

First stop was seeing Dr. Mel and David.

If you Mel's blog, you'll know he made this kilt for himself

and if you read the comments to Mel's blog, you'll know that I threatened to bring along one of those supermarket grabbers so's I could confirm once and for all what, if anything, he was wearing (or not) under the kilt. (It's a matter of journalistic integrity, you see.) (Plus Rabbitch made me do it.)

Boxers. Damn. I have to say that after seeing Mel, and another really attractive man with killer socks, wearing kilts, I have a renewed admiration for men who have good legs, know they have good legs, and aren't afraid to show the world their legs. Such men are hot indeed.

Also at Mel's booth was Mar, and she was wearing her famed Campanula sweater, which was perfect for the warm weather with its short sleeves and lacy pattern. (Sadly, it was a bit too warm for anything wool.)

I really like this photograph of her, because to me, it captures both her crusty exterior (note mischievous twinkle in eyes) and her soft interior. She's a big cream puff, that Mar.

I also saw Fredda, who was knitting this lovely scarf in Black Bunny Fibers sock yarn:

This is Joe's Koigu Cross-Stitch pattern, which is available for download at Fredda's cool site, The Knitting Vault. It looks wonderful in a single colorway of Black Bunny (the sample in the pattern itself calls for two colors of Koigu, I think, but one colorway of BBF does just fine, IMHO).

I also got hugs from several of my favorite male knitters, like Joe and Ted, in this photo, along with Ted's lovely (and adorable) friend David (far left)

and Lars showed up, although sadly I did not manage to get a photo of his handsome Canadian visage. For Lars, who used his periscope-like sneaky camera to take pictures of hairy males and their asses, I took this photo:

An ass trifecta. (I'm always thinking of you, my friend.)

I was thrilled to see VĂ©ronik again, and apparently, I haven't frightened her into a restraining order yet, for she seemed quite happy to pal around with me at the festival. We had a mini-Stitches reunion with lovely Mindy

and I got to see Kathy and Selma all too briefly. I somehow missed my pal hyphenated Carol, which made me sad. I know I met a lot of other folks (like Blogless Former Antitrust Lawyer Democrat Lady from Texas, who made my day by telling me she reads my blog) and I don't want to bore you all by just listing the names. I'm too lazy to link everyone, but most of the folks I just mentioned are in my sidebar.

Okay, I've got to go for now, but I've got plenty more photos to share this week. Suffice it to say that a good time was had by all. (Except poor Kristin Nicholas, who had to listen to some crazy lady complain about errors in a pattern KRISTEN DIDN'T EVEN DESIGN!)