Tuesday, October 20, 2009

On Vacation...

...with no internet access. Can you believe it? Well, right at this moment we have internet access because we're in a Krystals restaurant using their free wifi connection. It's better than nothing, and after the hassle we've gone through trying to find a connection, we're happy. Unfortunately, the lodge we're staying in has no wifi, but we're not complaining too much because the lodge is owned by the hubby's employer, so we're staying for free. Free is good. More money for fabric and yarn.

It's a perfect autumn day. The sky is crystal clear, it's about 65 degrees, and I can look to my left and see the mountains in sparkling detail. We're hoping to get into the Smoky Mountain National Park sometime this week, but traffic is a little heavy, so we'll have to try to figure out some back roads.

We went into Gatlinburg on the trolley yesterday and walked around for a bit. We went to a craft show at the convention center, and I found my way to the Smoky Mountain Spinnery. It's a beautiful shop absolutely crammed with fiber, wheels, and yarn. I managed to escape with only a few ounces of black alpaca/silk fiber, but it was extremely tempting. In fact, I would have spent a lot more cash there, but I was restraining myself because of the upcoming trip to SAFF.

This will be a short entry, because we can't spend all day inside a fast-food place. I will have plenty of pictures to post next week, but we forgot the cord for the camera so I can't upload anything. Let's see, have I forgotten anything? Oh, yeah--we're having a lovely time. Wish you were here!

PS--Melissa, stay out of my yarn room. And my fabric room!!

Saturday, October 17, 2009


The blog will be on hiatus for about a week (so what else is new, you ask.) We're leaving for Gatlinburg this morning, and won't be home until next Sunday. I might be able to pop in and post something during the week, but it depends on whether we can get an internet connection. That's the husband's task--I know nothing about it.

And next Friday I'll be at SAFF and at the meet-up in the airport Holiday Inn, so if you're going, maybe we'll get to meet!

Off to finish packing! TTYL.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Where Did the Time Go?

Well, so much for blogging every day for Blogtober. I thought I was doing pretty well there, but the days have a way of slipping by before I realize it. I'm trying a new schedule (again!) and this time I hope I can squeeze in most of the things I want to do.

"Yarn Tails" was the winner of the fiber from my last giveaway, so I'll be getting that out to her ASAP. Thanks to everyone who left comments on that post.

This week promises to be crazy busy because we are getting ready to go to Gatlinburg for a week. I'm looking forward to it so much, and I hope it's not crowded. I have a feeling that it will be, though. I suspect that it stays crowded all through October.

Besides the lure of the Smoky Mountains and a spinning shop, Gatlinburg is also hosting an arts & crafts fair throughout the month. I suspect and hope it's the same one that we went to a few years ago. The entire convention center was filled with all kinds of terrific craftspeople and musicians. One day was really not enough to take it all in.

AND, on top of that, we're planning to go to the Southeastern Animal Fiber Fair in Asheville, NC! I'm REALLY looking forward to that, especially as there is a Ravelry meet-up on Friday night, the 23rd, at the Airport Holiday Inn (I believe this is very near the entrance to SAFF.) Oh, yeah--and on the way down there this Saturday, I plan to force my husband to take me to the Quilt Box, a terrific quilt shop in Dry Ridge, KY. I haven't been there for years, and I think I'm as excited about that almost as much as the rest of the trip!

So lots of stuff to plan for, and plenty of time, I hope, to do some serious knitting. I'm glad I don't get carsick anymore. Almost six hours each way of blissful knitting time--it doesn't get better than that!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Some of My Pretties

As I've been hopping from craft to craft lately, I've not only rediscovered quilting and cross-stitching, but spinning as well. Specifically, spinning with a drop spindle. A couple of new spindles have found their way home (goodness, I just don't know how that happens!) This little beauty came to me via Etsy, from Butterfly Girl Designs:

It's a laceweight spindle, with a millefiori whorl, and I absolutely love it.

This one followed me home from the Wool Gathering a couple of weekends ago:

It's a "Mjolinor" from Greensleeves Spindles--again a lightweight, made of yellowheart and bird's eye maple. (Neither photo is very good, but you can click on them to see them a little closer.)

Both of these are lying on the table next to the bed, loaded with merino/silk blends in blues and purples. I usually take a few moments before bed to spin a little. I don't expect to finish a huge quantity of yarn in the near future, but this is one time when it's all about quality, not quantity! If I count the takhli support spindle I'm spinning cotton on, I have five spindles and two wheels going right now. Like I said before, I'm never bored!!

As promised, I have a giveaway! No particular reason, except I had this little leftover bit of top after a day of dyeing. It's about an ounce of merino/bamboo 50/50 blend, and it goes to a randomly chosen commenter. Just leave your thought before midnight ET on Thursday, October 8, and you go in the drawing.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

A Little Cheat

Well, it technically counts as a post. Not much of one, but give me a break, okay? Coming up with a decent post every day is not easy.

Here's a terrific giveaway for stitchers. Pop over there and check it out.

And to make up for the lameness of this post, I'll be doing a giveaway for spinners tomorrow, so check back!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Facebook Fail

You may remember that I tried Twitter, since it's all the rage, but decamped quickly back to Plurk. It's much more conversational. Why, then, did I join Facebook? I really have no idea, except for a rather nebulous idea that it might be good for my Etsy shop.

So I have a page with my name on it, and I have some "friends". I have not posted my picture, nor have I posted to anyone's "wall". Not even my own. I haven't even logged on in days. Clearly, I'm not grasping the near-universal appeal of Facebook, and I haven't quite figured out how this is supposed to be benefiting my business.

I hate to think the problem is that I'm too old, but it's a distinct possibility. While I can cope with email, the blog, Plurk, my iPod, and a few other newfangled things, I can't seem to get on board with certain concepts. Like texting. I just don't get it. Yeah, I'm sure it's convenient, but really--for every essential text message sent, I'm positive there are about a thousand sent that say nothing more important than, "OMG that guy is 2 hawt!!" or "wat r u doing?"

Yep, those last few sentences confirm it. I've become an old fart. My kids will agree, I'm sure. They're probably posting on their walls at this very moment: "OMG, my mom is soooo lame!!" I would go look, but I have to go take my teeth out and clean them.

Sunday, October 4, 2009


The past few days have seen me pulling out old projects to work on, and rediscovering my love of quilting and cross-stitching (as I've already mentioned.) I have no trouble understanding why I love needlework and most fiberarts (except felting--no sparks for that.) I don't even wonder why I love them, I just do. Kinda like why most men love football and most women love shoes. It it what it is.

What stumps me, though, is why I feel the need to make every darn thing I admire. Why can't I oooh and ahhh over a beautiful quilt or two (or twenty) without wanting to make it or them? Even if I were wealthy, I can't imagine buying a quilt that I loved and being satisfied with that. Oh, don't get me wrong. I'd be buying antique quilts by the dozens, but I'd be spending an equal amount of money on fabric to reproduce them all. Why must I buy yarn to weave dishtowels when (yeah, you know what's coming) I can buy them for a buck at Walmart? Or take those gorgeous Navajo rugs I saw in a trading post in Arizona a few years back. The proprietor kindly let me take pictures, since I didn't have the $10,000 readily available to buy one of them, but it's not enough to look at the photos and sigh over their beauty. I want to make one. Or two, or a dozen.

The same thing is true of music. It's not enough to listen to Itzhak Perlman's recording of the Bach Violin Partitas & Sonatas. I want to play them. In fact, I bought the music for them just a month or two after beginning violin lessons--an exercise in complete and total self-delusion, because those pieces are the summit of virtuoso violin playing. Let me say now that I know in my heart that I will never in my natural lifetime be able to play any of them, but that doesn't keep me from dreaming about it. And I've taken only a few months of piano lessons, but I still long to learn to play Debussy's "Claire de Lune." Or what about the fabulous virtuoso guitar riffs of Stevie Ray Vaughn in "Little Wing." Listening is just not enough.

I guess I shouldn't complain, and I'm not. I'll never be bored, just mildly frustrated. What I'm really wondering, though, is why I don't have that same longing to cook fantastic meals after I've eaten one in a nice restaurant. But then again, I don't really love shoes either.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Lust, Serious Lust

Heh. Got your attention? It's not what you think, trust me.

If anyone were paying attention to my blog list, they might have noticed an increase in non-knitting blogs. I seem to have come full circle and am back to my original love, quilting--with a bit of cross-stitch thrown in. This is dangerous, because it means that not only am I reading about gorgeous quilts that I yearn to make, I'm also seeing lots and lots of fabric that I suddenly must have. Because, you know, just like my yarn stash, my quilt fabric stash is low. (Excuse me a moment while I pause to laugh hysterically.)

It's not enough that I live within walking distance of one of the state's biggest quilt fabric shops, either. Oh no. Now that we have internet shopping, the world is our oyster. Ok, not oyster. I hate oysters. The world is our, um, oh heck. I don't know what metaphor to use, but you get the idea.

This is what I'm lusting after:

That is Moda's French General fabric, and I waaaaaaannnnntttt it! Unfortunately I cannot afford it, so it will have to go on my wish list. I don't need it. I have shelves and shelves of quilt fabric that I've been collecting since 1982. I used to work in a quilt shop, and as you can imagine I made the most of the employee discount. And I have at least a dozen or so quilt tops waiting to be quilted, as well as tops that I've begun hand-piecing, machine-piecing, and appliqueing. But that doesn't keep me from looking and lusting. What's worse is that I'm just showing you one of my objects of desire. There are also the madder red fabrics, and the shirting fabrics, and the William Morris fabrics...

The only antidote is to go upstairs and fall in love all over again with the old familiar fabric that I so carefully and passionately acquired over the past quarter-century. It's been a while since I pulled the dust covers off the fabric shelves, so I'm going to spend some time getting reacquainted with my old loves. It promises to be fun!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Call Me Crazy (If You Haven't Already)

I just signed up for Blogtoberfest. That means I'm supposed to post every day in October, which will be a real incentive to post more than my usual once-a-week (and that's only if I really force myself!) It's kind of odd, because I do love to write. I guess part of the problem is making the time to sit down and write something coherent and relatively interesting. Another part is that I have so much trouble doing pictures, and I know that blogs are more enjoyable when there are good pictures to go with coherent posts. So I have two things to work on!

I finished the BSP yesterday--only one day later than I was trying for, so I'm pleased with that. I restrained myself from starting a whole new BSP, and instead pulled out the baby quilt BSP for the Incubating Grandson. (Jess & Jessica, if you're reading this, put your hands over your eyes and say, "Lalalalalalala" so you don't see the rest.) It's supposed to be a Stealth Project, but since I need blog fodder I'll talk about it. I'll wait to show pictures until after I've surprised-cough cough-my sweet daughter-in-law with it. (Slick, huh? Promise of blog fodder while having a good excuse to escape pesky pictures for at least another day.)

As I mentioned a post or two back, I'm amazed at how quickly these BSPs are moving now that I'm focusing on them. It also helps to have audio books loaded on my iPod. I've listened to almost 7 hours of "Emma" while quilting today, and I didn't even notice the time passing! Not every day can be like that--I've had a horrible headache today that's prevented me from doing much besides sitting still in my chair, therefore the major quilting time. Never mind that the house is a wreck.

So that's the post for Day 2. Just in time, too--it's 11:37 PM. Nothing like waiting until almost the last minute!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

What to Do, What to Do??

I almost have the cross-stitch BSP finished. The parts left to stitch are small areas--a lot of "make three stitches, change floss color, make three more stitches." It takes longer than big areas because of all the stopping and starting. It feels really good to be very close to the end of a project that seemed like it would never be done. And honestly, it didn't take that long once I sat down and focused on that project alone. I need to do more of that.

So now I have the happy prospect of deciding what to work on next. It's complicated by a couple of facts: I have a granddaughter who will be too big for the knitting projects I have planned for her if I don't get busy and make them soon, and we're expecting a grandson in late December or early January. I have a knitting project started for him and would like to make a quilt for him as well. Oh yeah, and I have the fabric for a quilt for the granddaughter that I haven't started yet. You see where this is going. That's at least four BSPs that need to be done immediately. And I just remembered that I joined a fingerless mitt KAL (knit along) on Ravelry, and that's supposed to be done by the end of October. Oh, dear.

Add to that another fact: I need to keep dyeing and posting things to the Etsy shop. (BTW, I did a big update last Saturday--fiber, sock yarn, and laceweight yarn.) I want to have a really big selection by the time the Phat Fiber boxes with my samples in them ship sometime around mid-October. I have a over pound of silk caps to seperate and dye, merino and silk to dye and blend for batts, and laceweight yarn that needs to be wound off the cone and dyed also. Hoo boy.

I'm off to make lists and start checking items off one by one. It's the only way to stay sane!