The best thing about someone with a spinning wheel, aside from the fiber and the yarn and the colors and the sheer wonderfulness of it all, is watching the magic as the spinner plies her craft. Pun intended.
And it is always better with an audience.
* * * * *
Ever since I moved here I have felt that in some ways one must set one's watch back 25 years when she steps into this county. Good in some ways, not so good in others.
However, the fiber love that has surged across the country in the past few years has arrived here. Along with the cow and horse barns, there was... a llama tent.Ahhh. And woot!
I heard a little girl exclaim, "They look like poodles!" I knew what she meant.
I was too late for the shearing.
When I first glimpsed this guy/gal, I thought his/her locks had been painstakingly cornrowed. Then I realized that the texture is the remnant of the shearing. (The tent roof was red. It makes the llamas look pink in the photos. It was the roof, honest.)
It was a warm day and many of the llamas still had lots of insulating fleece, so there were fans everywhere. Guess what? Llama fleece is intriguing when it blows in the breeze! Who knew?
I spotted this woman spinning her llama's fleece.
I introduced myself as a knitter, and we were instant soulmates. She and her husband had both grown up on farms, moved to the city, met, married, and moved back to the country, whereupon they got some sheep and a llama or three. She doesn't sell her yarn -- yet. I'm not a spinner, but I could tell her yarn isn't quite there -- yet. Nevertheless, I loved watching her and the love she showed the fiber, the animals, and her life.
There is absolutely no threat of my getting a llama or a sheep or a goat or any other farm animal. We live on a lake; the county shoreland ordinance quite rightly forbids maintaining farm animals on lakeshore property. Whew. Temptation removed.
Dignity pants were in evidence. I shared that term with several of the llama's humans. They seemed amused.
Here is one style:
If you click to embiggen the picture you can read [Fun] Facts about LLamas.
And now, some more pretties. Note: I think the soft brown one is an alpaca, but I just don't remember. You have been warned.
Shhh! I'm pretending to be asleep!
Shhh! I'm eating!
Don't try anything funny with that camera, lady. I am watching you.
We always put the dogs outside through the front door, which is on the lower level. Bear always comes up onto the deck to be let back in, usually about 90 seconds after I let her out. But she always, always, always grins at me as she trots towards the door. I love that.
ETA: I uploaded photos of all the warshcloths and bibs to the 2007 FO folder. Not the most exciting knitting, to be sure, but if you are looking for some color and/or design ideas some of them may interest you.
I have been making stuff to sell at the Friends of the Polk County Libraries booth at the county fair, which starts on Thursday. The Friends are raising money to buy an LCD projector to be shared by the ten municipal libraries.
These are facecloths, $5 each. Any that don't sell, plus any more that I make between now and September, will go to Rabbitch's project (scroll down to the July 8 entry to read about it). Many thanks to Ann for the heart pattern -- isn't it sweet? I wish I had time to knit a bunch more of these. I know they would sell.
Remember all this?
I got at least one ball of every color that *my* Wal*Mart doesn't sell. That's a lot, people.
I made some warshcloths*. $5 each.
I made some bibs. $8 each. Actually, these are less work than the
warshcloths, but I figured people would pay more for a cute bib than a
Many thanks to Ann 'n' Kay for giving me their blessing to make a nonprofit *profit* using their patterns.
We are selling other stuff, too.
Felted mittens, $10, and kits, $7, to make more felted mittens.
Library t-shirts and aprons and baby onesies.
We planned to make many more of these purses -- Goodwill
sweaters, felted, cut up, lined, with felted I-cord handles -- but they turned out to take more
time than we expected. We have another sale in November; by then we
will have more purses ($25 and up). These two are pretty plain. We got fancier as we went. Too bad the fancy ones only got cut out, not sewn. (Guess who was in charge of the sewing? Given the choice I would rather knit than sew, plus there is nowhere to plug in the machine in the car.)
Library tote bags. Aprons, long and short. All emblazoned with "Check it out @your library." Notecards, too.
Of course we are selling books as well, but they are a LOT of work to pack up and transport and set up and pack up afterwards and bring back. Every year we take fewer of them.
Hooray for the fair! and hooray for knitters!
* Warshcloth knitters may notice that the slipped stitches on a couple of these are lined up in columns rather than offset as the pattern puts them. I had been making them that way for months before I noticed that my warshcloths were... different than everyone else's. Clearly pattern-reading is not my strongest suit.
Y'know the sci-fi plot about the person who wakes up one day to discover that about a gazillion years have passed since s/he went to sleep? I had a moment like that on Friday when I opened Bloglines. I had something upwards of 500 unread posts. WTF? After I worked up the courage to start clicking on some of them I found that Bloglines had decided to pick up random numbers of posts dating back to January. Whew. I'm still working my way through. Down to 9581 83 at this moment.
* * * * *
My favorite part of the parade yesterday was when an alert parent would spot me in my Shrek getup, nudge the 3-yo kidlet in front of her (it was almost always a mom doing the nudging; I guess the dads were more interested in the beer), and say, "Look, honey! It's Shrek!" And the kidlet would look and his or her little eyes would get big as saucers. Sweet.
Although I soon discovered that I should only go about one step toward the kidlet to wave. Any closer and said kidlet would be overcome with terror at the weird smiling lady in the box who was clearly intent on eating him/her.
* * * * *
We had a bit of fun making the books, too.
* * * * *
I took advantage of KnitPick's 40% off all books sale. Three books came to live at my house.
I don't knit lace. I have to intention to knit lace. Why I bought two books on lace knitting is beyond me. Clearly something is at work. Although I have to say that Victorian Lace Today is chock full of patterns, as many as one would normally find in two or three books.
"I don't understand why you did it, either."
* * * * *
Back when I was a sophomore in college in the late 60s (yeah, I'm older than dirt) I discovered Leonard Cohen. Had one album of his and played it to death. Then I got into harder rock and sort of forgot about him. When Closing Time hit the charts circa 1992 I smiled in remembrance but that was all. Ditto Hallelujah.
Next thing I knew I was in iTunes downloading The Essential Leonard Cohen, apparently the equivalent of a 2-CD set. I've been listening to it constantly ever since because:
I have always been a sucker for a gravelly bass voice. I also happen to love the singing of Leo "Goose Farts on a Foggy Day" Kottke.
Cohen's lyrics are so wonderfully poetic and obscure...
...that the occasional [satirically?] trite song totally cracks me up. Ain't No Cure for Love starts out with a sax riff that would have been happy in 1962, although the 1962 version probably would not have contained the line, "I need to see you naked / In your body and your thoughts."
This YouTube of LC singing Hallelujah is pretty good, too, if you ignore the fact that he looks like a half-dead cross between Jeff Goldblum and Dustin Hoffman. And how the chorus can't quite manage to keep hidden behind the set.
* * * * *
Time to change the litter box.
* * * * *
Also time to shut down the 'puter. It's all fire and brimstone outside, dark as 4 pm on a November afternoon, except for all the, like, green. Thunderstorms a'comin'...
I walked in two (!) parades today. (You'd think the people who run these small town festivals would talk to each other. Wannigan Days in St. Croix Falls (above) and Lucky Days in Luck are both this weekend; at least the parades weren't at the same time.) We had a great time!
ETA: I didn't get any good photos of the first parade, in Luck, but my friend Jeff did. Click here and scroll down to the third photo in the right-hand column.
I upgraded the memory in my Mac Mini from 256MB to 1GB. Now I can listen to iTunes while prepping a blog post in Firefox and uploading the photos to iPhoto and editing them in ImageWell. I could do it before, but I spent an inordinate amount of time gazing at the little spinning rainbow hamsters-are-pedaling-as-fast-as-they-can icon. The upgrade to Firefox 2 seems to have been the straw that broke the hamsters' backs.
If anyone wants a used but perfectly functional 184-pin DIMM thingy, let me know. I'd be happy to mail it to you gratis.
From what I can tell on the net, the same memory modules are used with Mac Mini G4 / 1.25 / 1.42 / 1.5 GHz processors, plus others. Modules like this one go for 99¢ to $9.99 US on eBay, so it's not like I giving away anything really valuable.
* * * * *
Today's Funny Foto.
"Mmmmm! This disguise is so good they'll never guess who ate that steak that was defrosting on the counter."
Quoting from Rennie's post: Do you know somebody who knows somebody....? Let's put our six degrees of separation to work,
and convince all of Lapeer's voters that this needs to happen. Spread
the word...votes for libraries... tell all your friends... have them
tell all their friends....
I think I have mentioned that our a/c is on the fritz. What I may not have leaked is that without it I am enjoying real summer, the kind that starts out clean and fresh in the morning and creeps over the house during the day and perhaps forces me into the lake for relief and comes through the bedroom window at night. The scent of some unseen flowers borne on the nighttime breeze. Fragrance of mown grass that blows in and out of the open windows of the car.*
Although all those things are there every summer, I am unaware of them if the house is closed up to keep its ambiance at 72˚ and 50% relative humidity. All I feel is the unpleasant shock of walking out the door into the real world and the overwhelming desire to keep myself wrapped in that artificial cocoon of a/c.
I'll admit, there have been a couple days when it was so hot and airless and humid that I found myself flopping onto the bed in the late afternoon simply because it was too hot to move. All my energy had been sapped by the heat. But a nap is hardly a punishment, even at 90˚. It is more a rite of summer leisure and something to celebrate. I thank my fate that I am able to relax in this way without having to struggle to work every day as I did the past two summers.
My Mediterranean herbs are loving the heat.
The fuschias, not so much...
My poor husband, whose body temperature seems to run just slightly under 212˚F, is not enjoying the traditional summery house. But there are cool places here to which he escapes and other tasks more important than the a/c. And I have not urged him to get it working.
We are too lazy fuel-efficient to get into the car and drive to a Fourth of July fireworks display in one of the little towns
around here, so we generally have our own smaller one in the front yard. The assortment
Smokey bought this year was outstanding -- only one item was
primarily noise, and all the rest were beautiful fountains that seemed
to last about twice as long as they usually do.
Smokey used to be the pyrotechnic crew while the kids and I watched from the deck. Then #2 joined him. This year #2 and a couple of his buddies did all the work.
No fingers were lost nor eyes put out during this display. Whew.
We discovered an unexpected benefit of Bear having gone deaf in the past year. She has always been terrified of thunderstorms, gunshots, and fireworks. Needless to say the Fourth of July -- actually the week before and after; seems there are always people somewhere within earshot setting off firecrackers -- was always a traumatic time for her. This year she wagged her tail and looked happy the whole time, bless her little doggie heart.
Sometimes she didn't even bother with the tail wagging and looking happy.
* * * * *
It has been horrifically hot (for northern Wisconsin) lately; temps around 90˚ and high humidity and not cooling off much at night. Our a/c has been on the fritz for a while and until the latest heat wave I really hadn't missed it. Luckily, today thunderstorms rolled through and it is now a pleasant 76.6˚F in my office (love that digital thermometer!) with a delightful breeze off the lake. The loons are calling, too...
And if so, do you happen to have a blog on Typepad? If both answers are yes, I have a question: what browser and version do you use?
or or or ?
I use Firefox 22.214.171.124. It is the only one in any version that, when I'm working on a post, gives me the
option of whether I want to be in a "Create post" window or an "Edit HTML" window. Opera and Safari (both updated today to the most current version) open only the HTML window. I know just
enough HTML to be dangerous, but not nearly enough to create an entire post. IE
for Mac (5.2; MS stopped supporting it last year, so I'll probably delete it soon) won't even display Typepad screens correctly.
Any of those shortcomings are a deal
killer for a browser, in my opinion. Otherwise, I'm happy with Firefox (except for one thing: it
doesn't play well with my Mac keyboard -- PageUp, PageDown, End, and
Home don't work. Boo, hiss.) Hello? I'd like to find a browser that works
with everything. Is that too much to ask? Apparently.
Oh, and one other nasty little browser issue: neither Opera nor Safari display the editing icons above the Compose window in Yahoo! mail, so I can't use italics or bold or color or any other of the handy features there in my e-mail. Firefox in all versions works fine with Yahoo.
While I have you Mac users on the line, another question: how do you insert special characters into your typing, in particular into a Typepad post you are creating in Firefox? I just spent 10-15 minutes trying to put an "n" with a tilde over it into "San Manuel" without success. Trial and error allowed me to put in just the tilde without the "n"; Help didn't help me much. Never did get the tilde-d "n" in there. #2 son, my Mac adviser, was no help when I asked him months ago if there was a Mac equivalent to Windows's Character Map function. I found Character Palette but Help's instructions on how to use it were less than helpful.
Any Mac + Typepad users out there? A Kat needs your help.
I had seen it before, but just came across a link to it again. The message bears repeating, especially if you are a young woman. Or the mother of a young woman. Or the mother of a young man.
I think the thing that amazed me the most was the PhotoShopping at the end where, among other things, they extended her eyebrows to make them more dramatic (not shown above) and lengthened her neck significantly (compare the last two photos, above).
I found the link here. It's the blog of an author who has decided to do one thing different, a scary thing, a thing she has never done before... every day. She's fun to read. And she's up to day 100-something already.
Knitters are cool. Librarians and libraries are cool. Putting them together is the coolest thing on earth.
Last Saturday afternoon I attended a presentation by Betty Christiansen, author of Knitting for Peace. It was fun and inspirational and fun and interesting and fun and educational... did I mention fun?
It turns out that this author lives in LaCrosse, Wisconsin, and her mother lives in this area, so it was kind of a natural for our librarian (a very cool male-type muggle) to invite her.
Spread across the tables were the knitted items pictured in her books.
Above, left, you can see a pink and gold Orphans for Orphans sweater lying on a prayer shawl; center, a blue Care Wear preemie jester hat; and right, a Mama Bear Project teddy bear. At the right edge you can just see a two-toned green Caps for Kids swirled ski cap.
As I have mentioned before, I live in a very small, rural community. This was a very good turnout.
The author's mother is in the red shirt at right, her sister is standing by the window. That's me in the green t-shirt at left. The woman on one side of me was knitting blanket for her nephew; the woman on the other side was knitting a chemo cap for a friend with ovarian cancer.
The book has patterns for 14 different items suitable for charity knitting -- blankets, caps, mittens, vests, a sweater, etc. -- plus a felted messenger bag and instructions and pattern for adding the Knitting for Peace logo to it. There are also the stories behind a number of charity knitting projects, many of which I am sure you are already familiar with: Peace Fleece, Afghans for Afghans, the Shawl Ministry, Project Linus, and a number of others. My personal favorite, the Dulaan Project, was just getting started when Ms. Christiansen wrote her book, so it isn't included, but she was familiar with it as well.
As opposed to what, the dirtying shampoo? the gossiping shampoo? the shampoo that boots up your computer and surfs the porn sites?
ETA: I have been corrected and educated. "Shampooing" is the French word for shampoo. Who knew? (Clearly, not I.) Once again I have displayed my utter ignorance of something I should have known. Thanks to miss ewe for the correction.
* * * * * Actually, the above was a free sample when I bought this stuff.
I wouldn't have necessarily thought that olive tree and coriander was the scent that would capture my fancy, but it was. Lovely clean herbal scent, trendy and expensive smelling. I found it at the Deerfield espresso shop and boutique in Buffalo, Wyoming (have I mentioned how much I loved that place?), but all they had left were the tester bottle and some gift sets. Google to the rescue when I got home: here. They also sent along a tiny sample of room spray in the same scentway (is that a word? like colorway?). I might even buy some. It's bound to be an improvement over the eau de litterbox that is the usual scent du jour'round these parts.