Sunday, June 28, 2009

What A Card (er)

So, over the past 10 days I've confirmed a few things. First, knowing I lost my job is a lot easier on me than wondering if I was going to lose it or not. I definitely handle adversity better than the unknown - I learned that when I was dealing with Cancer - chemo and radiation weren't as hard on me emotionally as the first few weeks spent figuring out exactly what I had and what to do about it. I have little patience for analysis - I just want to do.

Second - it's a good thing I haven't retained my childhood shyness (shut up. I was). It seem I know a ton of people and I have become a networking machine. Jobs aren't exactly plentiful but there are definitely some options available in my field as well as people willing to put in a good word for me, so I'm hopeful I can make something happen soon.

Third, the silly, pesky issues of finances/mortgage/food aside, life without a job - for at least the short-term - isn't too shabby. I'm putting a lot of energy and time into hunting down new employment but I'm also making sure I set aside time to work out, get more sleep, and of course play with fiber.

The knitting mojo disappeared last week - and I'm blaming it all on those fuzzy little Alpaca back in Vermont - I seem to be much more interested in fluff than yarn. Last week I borrowed Jasmin's drum carder and played around a bit with some of my stash.

When I first learned to spin on a spindle, I bought this, planning to make striped socks:

Perfectly decent fiber, but....borrrrinnnngg!

So I put it on the carder:

added a little bling:

And after a few passes, turned it into this:


If you embiggen this shot you can see the touch of sparkle. I think I'm in lurve.

I was so inspired I took a few hanks of my hand-dyed fibers that had felted a teeny bit and fluffed them up:

I think this is a merino-tussah blend. I turned it into this:

Some hand-dyed Bombyx:

Became this:

Look! Cruella DeVille's wig!

Actually, that was a bit of black Alpaca which I carded with some Bombyx, which I'll dye some time - maybe a dark blue? If you have any ideas, speak up!

Carding all this stuff was a ton of fun. It's a good thing I had to return the carder though - if it were still here, I'd probably carded every bit of my fiber stash into one giant pile. It's hard to know when to stop.

I've also been spinning. While I was in Vermont in March, Norma gave me a fabulous gift of some Vermont Llama down. It's lovely stuff - and I'm spinning it into some lovely laceweight (if I say so myself, and I do). This picture was taken a little earlier in the week - I'm now exactly half-way done and that bobbin is completely full. I'm dying to finish this up so I can see the finished yarn - I had no idea Llama was so soft.

I know my knitting mojo will come back soon - I've started obsessing about lace and even picked some Dream In Color Baby which was on sale this weekend at Purlescence (again, yay for birthday money).

This is the November Muse colorway. It's a heavy lace/light fingering weight and I have 1400 yards of it. It needs to become something fab, but I'm taking my time to figure that out, and waiting for the mojo to return.

In the meantime, with this face, who can blame me for focusing on fluff right now?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

I Totally Saw That Coming

So a few weeks ago, my boss announced that he would be leaving the company. This wasn't good news, mostly because I think he's great and I really enjoyed working with and for him. It also meant that my job (I'm a Corporate Bitch-slapper Executive Assistant) would probably fall by the wayside. I've spent the last few weeks in limbo, but found out this morning (upon my return from vacation) that I was right. So as of this afternoon, I am without a job.


Whaddarya gonna do?

Well, I'm going to spend the rest of this week regrouping, decompressing, and recovering from my vacation (more on that in a bit). I'll do a little networking but that's it. Monday, however, I'll jump into job-hunt mode and make that my job. Depending on how that goes, we've got some decisions to make about how we want to handle the future, but I'm hoping for positive things so we don't have to take any drastic measures. In case you're concerned, bank robbery and the like aren't on the list of potential 'drastic measures'.

On A Happier Note...

My last full day at work (last Wednesday) was a fun one - it was my birthday! I can't freakin' believe I'm 50. I was gifted with two of my favorite things - yarn and champagne. Here's the yarn:

It's Blue Moon Fiber Arts Silkie - I can't remember the color way, but it's beautiful and soft. I started swatching right away but I don't know yet if I'm going to use it for socks or a scarf. Whatever I choose to make, it's going to be fab.


The day after my birthday, I flew across the country to Vermont to spend time with old friends at my high school reunion. Before I went there though, I spent the morning here. My best friend from grade school and her husband raise Alpaca, and I got to hang out, play with fiber, and pet Alpaca noses. It was awesome.

Meet Tika. Cute, huh? (She's not the first Tika I've met but she is the first whose nose I've wanted to kiss - no offense, Tika #1!)

The whole crowd:

Someone looking kind of dorky:

Two new friends:

Who clearly don't understand the concept of personal space:

I could have played with them all day.

If you're interested in hand-spun Alpaca yarn, or unspun (but carded) Alpaca fiber, check out the website or shoot them an email at They have beautiful stuff and can do custom work too. You'll not only be supporting a small business, you can rest assured that your purchase came from Alpaca that are treated well and generally lead one cushy, happy life.

From there I headed over to my high school for my weekend-long reunion. It was awesome. It was fab. It was amazing. And SO much fun! I'm not going to post the any of the 100+ pictures I took of the festivities (who knew that a bunch of people my age could have so much party energy?!) but here's a shot from our climb up Putney Mountain to give you an idea of where I grew up:

Yeah, poor me.

I also managed to join some grade school friends for a pot-luck brunch, visit with family members at my cousin's house near Boston, and took an impromptu trip to Maine to have lunch with my brother's widow before catching my flight back home on Monday night.

I'd originally planned to visit Webs and some Vermont fibery businesses (to check out Grafton fiber or another Golding spindle), but all the socializing didn't allow time for those side trips. I did however, manage to drop by the Green Mountain Spinnery (in the same town as my schools), where I picked up a skein of one of their sock yarns. This is a wool/Tencel blend that I've been dying to try out. Yay for birthday money.

I was super-busy the whole weekend but managed to get some knitting done on the plane. I started my Monkeys using my Crown Mountain Farms Aqualung hand-spun:

I love how this is turning out - a little color variation but not so much as to obliterate the pattern.

I also started a Lace Ribbon Scarf - I'm using Handmaiden Sea Silk, and it is amazing stuff.

Meanwhile, Back At The Ranch...

I'm not the only one who has been busy making stuff. Brian just harvested these:

And these:

And made this sourdough bread:

See why I married him?

Monday, June 8, 2009

Upon Which I Am Revealed To Be The Long Lost Twin Sister Of Phil Spector

Frightening resemblance, isn't it? It's what happens when I actually apply a brush to my hair instead of just scrunching it.

Lots has been happening around Chez No-Blog lately:

The garden grows. It looks like another good year for bok choi:

This is my favorite cucumber support - an old ladder. Who needs to buy a trellis? Works like a charm.

A recent harvest made a great stir-fry. Onions, bok choi and broccoli. Yum.

I've been busy at the sewing machine too.

One of the pains-in-the-butt about being short is you have to hem practically everything. These came in regular length rather than my usual petite, but given the discount:

I felt it was worth the extra effort. That's what I refer to as a Shopping Conquest. Score!

I got creative in the kitchen too. This is Khoresh Gheimeh - Persian beef and split pea stew. I picked some up for dinner while I was at Purlescence on Thursday - and liked it so much I had to make a giant batch for us.

And there haz been knitting. Hey Teach is done.

It was a super quick, fairly easy knit. I went for 3/4 length sleeves rather than short - partly because I think they're more flattering, but mainly because if I'm going to wear a sweater, it's because I want to be a little warmer and don't want to leave my arms bare.

I used Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece - which is an 80/20 cotton/wool blend. It's pretty nice and has a little more memory than pure cotton, which I like. I pulled this from stash - always a plus. This is a size small - and if I'd stuck with the short sleeves I could have made it with just 3 skeins. The sleeves made me break into skein #4.

I think it I were to make it again (which I might) I'd be inclined to make it a little less of a scoop neck. I'm also still considering lining the back of the button bands to add a little strength.

Now that I'm done with Hey Teach, I'm going to finish up a couple of projects suffering from Single Sock Syndrome, and then start a pair of Monkeys, using this:

Why the sudden concentration on socks? Well because they're so portable - and I'm going on a trip! My birthday is Wednesday and my present is a trip to Vermont to hang out with my friends at my high school reunion, and also to see some family. It's going to be quite the packed weekend. See you when I get back!