Sunday, October 28, 2007

Where I've been, where I haven't been and why

Gosh it feels like forever since I've posted. I know I had the little 'hi' in there last week with the pictures of my niece but other than that I've been kind of out of it. And even though I've been around doing stuff I'm now looking through my computer realizing I really don't have many pictures to show for it. But either way I guess here goes.

I went to Baltimore for Stitches East with the girls and had a great time. I have to admit I really, really love Stitches. Well the Marketplace at least, I have never taken classes actually, just buying the yarn along seems to get me in enough trouble. I love Stitches because I love buying yarn and I also think Baltimore is just a fun city. It's always easy to plan a trip around because it's easy to get a hotel nearby and there's always stuff to do in walking distance once the yarn haze has worn off at night. Truth is I always have fun with these girls you know. We just have fun sitting in our knitting group chatting and knitting every week-send us on the road and you know it's going to be a good time.

The weekend after that (and after the niece babysitting) we went to Rhinebeck. I have a strong urge to just admit it and say "I just don't get Rhinebeck" but I really know the truth is I probably went into it with the wrong mindset. People always say such great things about Rhinebeck, it seems to always be what everyone wants it to be. I guess I was looking for something else. After having fun buying yarn at Stitches in Baltimore I was kind of hoping Rhinebeck would be somewhat more of the same-another yarn buying extravaganza but with animals and some other stuff. And well, it's just much more of a variety than that. The emphasis at Rhinebeck is not on yarn, it' s on everything. Rather than viewing it as a yarn extravaganza it would be better to think of it as a fall festival with an emphasis on wool and fiber and some yarn. (BTW they had some neato food at Rhinebeck-fried artichokes, lamb burgers, fudge covered brownies, who knew?) I think one main factor that caused me to not get some of Rhinebeck-I don't spin. I think for spinners Rhinebeck is probably like what Stitches is like for me with yarn. And I think that's great. There's not a lot of places out there selling fiber and wheels and spinning stuff. So for spinners Rhinebeck must be mecca, and I think that's wonderful. Also I think Rhinebeck is also a big social meet up place and I can see the appeal of that also. I get the impression that many of the people who attend go year after year and have formed friendships from getting to see each other over and over. Believe it or not, even though there are times I just open up and mouth off on this blog, in person I tend to keep more to myself, or at least to our little group who I know won't laugh when I start babbling about nothing for no reason. (It just happens) We did go to the Ravelry party on Saturday night in Rhinebeck. And I thought it was a real treat, it was a really cool event Jess and Casey planned, and it was fun, but sometimes I have a tendency to be more of an observer than a partaker and that just happened to be one of those times. And of course I still had fun with our little group, food, drink, yarn, very happy.

Believe it or not this is the stash I have to show for it. Two big bags of Queensland Kathmandu Aran in a pretty tweedy green which I adore. I'm big into the tweeds these days. A lovely shade called Highway 30 of Socks that Rock, 2 skeins of Shetland Heather from Shelridge Farms, brown Regia sock yarn and a new case for my circulars from Crippenworks. I love the Crippenworks cases and recommend them highly if you're in the market for one. But that's about it. And that is my lame pictureless recap. Sorry I haven't been more attentive, writing, updating, picture taking. You'll have to excuse me, it's been a really tough last couple of weeks.

This past Wednesday we finally made the decision to have our little cat Allister put to sleep. He had been very sick and very much not himself for a long, long time. We tried to make him comfortable the best that we could but at the very end it was very clear that there was simply no quality of life left for Allister. And it sucks. And we miss him. Every day brings a new thing that you remember doing with him there and now he's just not there. And you always know the end will come, you know they're not going to live forever but it just doesn't prepare you for it any better. And in the end we know it's worth it. It's worth it to go through this lousy sad time, for all the good times you had with your happy pet, when he would greet you at the door, or jump on your lap or just be there when you couldn't sleep at 3 in the morning when no one else was. Of course it's worth it. It's just going to take time to get some perspective back. Time and yarn and friends and family help. And I'm a very lucky person I have all those things in spades. And we'll always be lucky we had such an awesome little friendin our lives with us as long as we did.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Insert yarn photo here

So last weekend was Stitches and tomorrow I leave for my very first Rhinebeck, you'd think there would be some stash photos here. Well, I did buy in Baltimore and I plan to buy more in Rhinebeck but being away 2 entire weekends in a row has left little time for blogging. Well, that and also a visit in between from the world's cutest niece! My sister was thrilled to win tickets to hear J.K. Rowling read and sign books at Carnegie Hall this evening. She's a huge Harry Potter fan so she didn't think twice about booking a flight to come up for the event. But who would babysit? Me of course! Well, ok, with help from my mom I guess. I knit the soakers, that is the extent of my diapering knowledge and I'm content to leave it at that level. In the meantime we've had a great couple of days eating crayons, playing with Mr. Potato Head and licking Playdoh. (Hey, I sniff yarn, I see the point of connecting with the essence of your medium.) If you need knitting content, well those socks she has on in these pictures are the ones I made a couple of months ago. There will be stash photos in the near future I promise. In the meantime, proof that the niece is not only still cute-but still fast!!!

Friday, October 05, 2007

Dr. Strangelook, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love My Knitting in Public

I knit at work on my lunch breaks now. This might not seem like a big deal to some but it's a very new thing for me. Before my surgery I was very much a closet knitter. Outside of my knitting group and my immediate family people knew I knit and saw some finished objects here and there but very few actually got to witness me in the act. Not being able to drive for 2 months changed all that. Always relying on others for transportation means a lot of waiting. Not that I ever minded, I was always grateful to get rides from anyone even if it meant waiting for a cab to take me to the train station to take the train home from work. I was grateful to have the option to have a cab to take me where I needed to go. But there was a good solid month before I was even coordinated enough to take the train. Before that I would have to wait for my husband to pick me up. He works later than me, so once I finished work I usually had a good hour before he could make it to my office to pick me up. Those hours started to add up. Those plus the fact that no driving (or walking that much for that matter) also meant no lunch hours out. I sat at my desk everyday. Now spending that much time waiting is not really that bad, but if you're a knitter without your knitting, well, it's going to put you over the edge a little.

So now I knit at work and it's not so bad. My co-workers are intrigued. I have yet to do it in front of my main boss, he's not around a lot and I still worry about what he would think of it. But for the most part each day I either bring my lunch and sit at my desk and knit for an hour or go out and eat and knit somewhere else for an hour. My work is part of real estate, and the real estate market is frightfully dead right now so things are slow. I never skip lunches like I tend to do when it's busy.

And this knitting in public is not limited to work anymore. I knit at the vet waiting for the cat's appointment. While waiting for my hairdresser. On car trips where I'm not driving. I always knit on the long car trips before sure, but if I pick up the needles on a trip here or there, the extra 2-3 rows still put me 2-3 rows ahead.

It's made me super-productive, I think. On these soakers the legs sometimes seem like take me forever. They're 70 rows of 50 stitches, it kind of reminds me of knitting a pair of socks. I can usually do about 15 rows in a lunch hour. Add that to what I normally do at night and the finished objects are just flying off the needles. Before I start I usually set little goals for myself, like doing a certain number of rows or finishing the i-cord drawstring. I usually meet them and surpass them, I finish the lunch hour feeling very accomplished!

And this is how it should be. Knitting is so important to me really, why should I always hide it? Leave it for when I only have blocks of time in private to devote to it? It's funny how many people know so little about such a big part of me. While I'm not yet one of those people looking to spread the word necessarily (I'd rather sit and knit myself than teach someone new, I'm selfish I'll admit it) I'm definitely more comfortable with this than I've been in the past. And so what if someone thinks it's strange or silly? Really would I rather be concerned with what they think or be on my way to finishing up another project or using up more stash? Like I said I'm selfish...