Saturday, July 28, 2007

I have to very carefully rip Pomotamus back about half a repeat and see if I can salvage it. The reason for this is, it is a very bad idea to bring charted *anything* to an Eddie Izzard performance. Frankly, it's a bad idea to bring knitting to an Eddie Izzard performance period, because you'll probably laugh so hard you drop half your stitches even if you're just doing boring old st st. Just sayin.

OMG the funny.

Before we went off to see Mr. Izzard (who is really funny and did a 5 minute mime of a giraffe playing charades) I finally finished spinning and plying up the last ounce or so of Dandy Lion. It's all off the spindle now and waiting for a nice bath in some woolwash. It's still not my own personal favorite color scheme but damn is it some pretty yarn. I'm delighted with how it came out.

Dandy Lion, DONE

This came in the mail today
Spunky Morning Glory + Delphinium = spring garden
and I am thinking now that I want to ply the delphinium against the morning glory and make spring garden sock yarn.

The oldest is up in PDX for a few days, visiting family, while the youngest and I cool our heels in LA and try to find something to occupy our time. It seems like the summer is just whizzing by. We just got registration packets for back to school, camp is over, and I'm just now sinking into the idea of summer!!
I am so getting a ton of knitting done this weekend.

Except, not.

sock kitten ii

Friday, July 27, 2007

Everybody loves kittens, right?

kitten smoosh

Everyone also loves roving and I likes me some rovings from Sock Pr0n.

glass eurydice

This is really pretty and the colorway is called "Glass Eurydice". Subtle greys and pinks blend together. I think this will make a beautiful yarn. I'm going to see if I can't get something resembling a 2 ply sock yarn from it. This is the same artist who made my "Blake's Lamb" roving and I just adore her stuff.

I have been indulging myself with softer colors lately, though I normally am drawn towards the brighter end of the spectrum (with sock yarns at least.)

STR-rose quartz

I so need to chill out with the acquisition of new stash. It's really been ridiculous. I don't have the money. But there is just something about fiber that is hard to resist. I'm putting myself on restriction here though, there's still my Pigeonroof order coming, and Fiber Fest in August, and I think maybe I need to give my savings account a little time to cool off.

I think I've figured out the allure of sock yarn for me though. When I was a new knitter, I went through the standard "buy random yarn in amounts that were insufficient, just on a squeeful whim" thing and ended up with a lot of yarn that I have to find single skein projects for, or combine, or whatever. Or just hide in shame. Sock yarn is sort of the same thing, but with guaranteed satisfaction at the end. No matter if you buy ONE skein on a whim because the colorway makes you go splodey, you will get a project's worth from it. Anklets or a pair of full on socks, you will have something wearable. It's not a sweater's worth of investment. It is whimsy, in wool and color. I love it so.

The one nice thing I have to say about Ravelry is that the patterns and queue functions are really nice. I've earmarked a large amount of my sock yarn stash for specific projects and that makes me feel like I might be a little more productive on the actual finishing front. It is also nice to look at a skein of yarn and not just see "random stash" but actually be able to say "This will be a Bellatrix sock." or whatever.

Speaking of. OMG. Bellatrix, y'all. OMGdeatheaters. I am so making a pair of these in Lorna's Laces Purple Iris. How witchy and awesome. I think they might be fantastic in Jungle Stripe, too.

I had a fantastic tea at Jin Patisserie today, with a friend from one of my online tea forums. If you live in So Cal, you really should check out Jin's afternoon tea. They also just have great cakes or sandwiches. The tea is well done and the garden is nifty. It always makes me happy to go there.

pear william

Stash Weasel adoption

A lot of people want to adopt a stash weasel! For lots of reasons mostly having to do with not wanting the young person in question to be deluged with spam for Viagra and Nigerian bank accounts, I am not posting her email on my blog. Comment here with your email address or email me directly at rainwood (at) gmail (dot) com and I will send you the weasel maker's contact information.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

World's slowest knitter.

pomotamus plant

Cookie's patterns are really smart, but sometimes the knitters making them are not so smart. Case in point, me, last night, having forgotten the pattern pages and gone out to eat with sock in purse. I got to the end of my little card with chart A and spent a good ten minutes while we were waiting in the restaurant to be seated, trying to figure out how to repeat the darn thing and make it work. I got home a few hours later, after disgustedly shoving the sock in my purse and realized that... hey... reading the directions can help. It was revealed that the designer did, in fact, know that chart A cannot be knitted twice without rearranging stitches. It was revealed that she WANTED me to rearrange some stitches before plunging headlong into "repeat from *".

Everything is going so much better now. Sorry for all those bad things I thought in the restaurant, Cookie. It's such a clever, fantastic pattern. Mental note. Always, always, ALWAYS bring the pattern, not just an index card with the chart.

I think I just need to realize that my stash is larger than I will knit in my lifetime, not because it is so large? But because I am so slow. That is okay with me. I have taken steps to be all good with this situation. I have adopted a stash weasel to help protect and care for it.

Nigel certificate

His name is Nigel Stoatly-on-Trent and he is a felty, fabulous little addition to the yarny insanity around here. I believe the maker of these is donating some of the proceeds to TSF, and then also some towards her college career. These both being things I support, I had to pony up for a stash weasel of my very own.

I was moving him around the yarn areas today, trying to figure out where he could best be displayed (and safe from kittens) and the youngest asked me, "Mom, what are you doing?" and I said, "I'm only making plans for Nigel."

I don't think she got it.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

all DK, all the time (Daily Kitten)

Honey toes
Honey toes

And in knitting news, Lime and Violet have a raiding group on Chore Wars. The Lime and Violet Yarn Raiders. It is utterly silly and great fun. Finally, a place that awards XP for housework and finishing UFOs over a year old.

Monday, July 23, 2007

My dad has made me a nostepinne!


I'm not sure how to wind off to get a center pull ball with this, but I think there must be a tutorial somewhere online and Google is my friend.

The STR is there for scale and also because it arrived in the mail at the same time. Grandma's Flower Garden, Tidepool and Undertoe. I'm not sure I'm nutty about Undertoe. I may trade it. I may not. I'm going to live with it for a while and see how I feel. I am absoschmutely in LOVE with Tidepool, though.

also, your daily kittens.
rocking chair iv

"This is a horrible house for kittens." they seemed to say. "We are forced to eat organic chicken livers for dinner, sleep upon cushions and choke down dry Alaskan salmon treats. It's awful. Save us."

Sunday, July 22, 2007


pomotamus ii

Cookie A's sock patterns are just... elegant.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

frugality? Not so much with that.

Yarn diet? What yarn diet? I was on a yarn diet, right? I think I remember that. Except, not so much with sticking to the yarn diet.

I was balancing my checkbook tonight and realized that somehow, I've spent the grocery budget on fiber.

In the last two weeks I've bought 3 skeins of Socks That Rock, 10 skeins of sock yarn and 32 ounces of roving from Pigeonroof Studios, 4 oz of roving from Sachi's Purls, 8 oz. of roving in Delphinium and my roving of the month club offering from Spunky Eclectic.

What demon fiber junkie impulses possessed me? What happened?

I mean, don't get me wrong, I am really looking forward to the socks and yarn I will make from these things, and wowie is it gorgeous fiber! but I also like eating. Dipping into savings to cover that is *painful*. Good thing I just got a raise at work this week, I guess.

I'm so back on my yarn diet.

But I'm gonna be knitting up some dandy socks while I'm on it.

In all seriousness though, it is probably not a bad idea to do some self examination about why I have no concept of "moderation" when it comes to this kind of thing.
I have not been getting very much knitting done, because OMGKITTENS.

i can haz laptop pls?

We drove up to the Bay Area after work on Wednesday night, got kittens on Thursday morning and drove straight back to LA. "What? LA kittens are not good enough for you?" Well, no, it's not that, it's just that they weren't those particular kittens and they were the ones we wanted. :-D

The only other exciting part about the trip was having to rip my Pomotamus sock back from about midway through repeat 1 of Chart A, to the ribbing. Ah well. I don't know *what* I did wrong, but it was well and truly wrong, so ripped it got. Therefore, there are no pictures, only bitter, bitter tears.

Did I mention, OMG kittens?

naptime perch iii

Monday, July 16, 2007

Oh My God, Becky... look at that roving.

Enough With The Girly
Sachi's Purls, kids. Sachi's Purls.

This here roving is called "Enough With The Girly" and it is SO beautiful. The picture is pretty good, but there's so much more depth to the colors that I just can't capture. I can't wait to spin it up. It is NOT girly at all, but it's subtle and pretty all the same. This is definitely going to be done in a navajo ply and I'm going to try to preserve the colors in the same progression she did them in. I pulled it out of the box and though, "Oh yeah. SO going to be the yarn I make the Harlot's handspun scarf out of. Whee!" Thanks, Sachi!

Odd Ball Sock (2 of 2)
Odd Ball Sock done, enough said, ugh, bad idea. Will be wearable, but I hated knitting it and I'm glad it's done.

I just cast on for Cookie A's Pomatamus socks in STR "Lapis" and WOW is that ever fabu. The perfect colorway for an amazing pattern. I love it when stuff just comes together so well. I will take pics when I have more than just ribbing to show you.

Otherwise I am spending far too much of my time on Ravelry. Danger, Will Robinson, Danger.

My garden is not dying. I am encouraged. See, it's been a rough year and all my plants died. SO recently I got a new batch of, er, hardier plants. Okay, okay, they're cactii, but whatever. I haven't killed them yet. My plants are a good indicator of how my moods are going. Call them my DepressOMeter. Right now, all systems are ok. I've been better, but I've been worse, too.

I taught myself to knit during a very bad depressive episode and I really think it saved my life. So when I found this collection of links and stories and what this one knitter is doing to raise awareness, I thought, "nifty!" and took the button. Check it out.

And now... it's payday. I am going to surf the Spunky Eclectic site and spend the grocery money on fiber to feed my habit. Stand back kiddies, Mama needs a new set of rovings!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Mittens and Honey

are finally old enough to come and live with us! We are probably going to be getting them next week sometime. I have to drive up north a ways to get the. The children return from camp this weekend and I will be very happy to have them home. The house has been really empty and sad the last couple of days. I'm really happy the girl went back to camp after the funeral, but it was hard to have her here and then gone again. I figure we'll go get kittens when they are home, it'll be easier to have someone along to help with kitten tending on the long drive.

Last night I went off to the WeHo Stitch N Bitch at the Farmer's Market. I'd never been and when I met another local knitter on Ravelry who hadn't gone either, we decided to carpool up and check it out. Fun! We'll be heading back. If you're on Ravelry, look me up, I'm "rainwood" on the site!

I am thinking I need to attach a disclaimer to this blog that reads "not THAT Yarnpirate. The other one." When I set this blog up, there was not a yarnpirate out there that I could find and believe me, I googled. I know that there's lots of room for pirates on the high seas of yarn, but everytime someone confuses us, I feel bad.

I got a few more repeats done on That Damn Painter's Scarf. Yes, it is officially out of hibernation and I am trying to get the damn thing done once and for all.
that damn painter's scarf again

Also been doing a bit more spinning. Merino/tencel blend from Chameleon Colorworks, acquired via A Mano Yarn Center months and months ago. They have the nicest spinning stuff over there and they are so nifty. I'm doing this one up as a 2 ply.

merino tencel 2ply detail

and so it goes...

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

And they're off.... the girl and her friends are on the bus back to camp.

Yesterday we attended a funeral. It was indescribably sad. I have so many impressions and so many thoughts, but the primary one is that we are not supposed to bury our children. There is a feeling of disbelief, of being torn out of time, of what is "supposed to be", of being thrust into some alternate, horrible and inescapable reality. A child is dead and his community has to come to terms with that.

There were hundreds of people there, spilling out of the chapel onto the grass and into the street - they had the services miked so the people outside could hear. I watched the kids hold each other and cry, and I thought to myself that their little bodies were not made to bear such grief. Not yet. Some of them were grieving so hard, it sat so heavily upon them and there was a terrible look in their eyes. Nothing can ever really make it okay for them. Only time will give them some room.

He sounds like he was a remarkable and compassionate young man. The picture they chose for the program had such an infectious smile. That seems to be what everyone remarked upon the most. His smile and how he was always laughing. Perhaps some of the young folks who were there at the services, who knew him, will carry some of that light and compassion away with them and pay it forward. Maybe we all will.

The cantor sang beautifully, the Rabbi's words were profound and he reminded us that we are burying only the house of Dillon's spirit while we say goodbye this way. He does not live there anymore, and his spirit goes on. Put here, it seems trite, but there standing in the grass as they lowered the casket and recited the Kaddish, it seemed like the Rabbi got it right.

My heart broke for his family all over again. They love him so much. They are so heartbroken. They miss him so much. I cannot imagine being his mother.

During the service the cantor sang a lullaby in Hebrew that the boy's mother used to sing to him when he was a baby. A lullaby that her mom used to sing to her, that her grandmother sang to her mother and so on. It had been so hot and humid, the air lay on us all like a wet blanket (I was outside on the grass) and then suddenly a cool little breeze picked up and it began to rain, just the tiniest bit. Like tears. Or maybe comfort, or a hug. Just while the lullaby was being sung. The sun was still shining and I know somewhere there was a rainbow. There just had to be. A promise that it'll all be okay.

I'm so grateful that I was able to be there with the girl, that the camp parents came together to make it possible for the kids to come home long enough to go say goodbye. I'm glad I could give her that. I'm glad she's still here with me, on this earth. It is so very... precious.

The house is very empty now. It's only 3 days till the kids come home for good, but I think these 3 days will be the hardest of the whole month.

I came home from the service and spun yesterday. I think I will do some more of that today.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Dandy Lion
Spunky Eclectic's "Dandy Lion" superwash merino

All spinning, all the time around here. I'm incredibly pleased with this batch, though the color is a bit neon for my taste. The mechanics seem to be coming together between getting an even single and an even, balanced ply. I won't say practice makes perfect because I've got an awfully long way to go, but practice sure makes it better. I am excited about actually making some gifts out of all this yarn I'm producing.

Of course this means that I'm getting nothing done on Clapotis or any other knitting, but that's ok. I'm such a slow knitter that I hardly ever finish anything and that's just frustrating. I'm feeling like I'm actually *producing* something here on the spindle, with these little 4 oz bags of brightly colored rovings. I can actually come to the end of a bag, ply, wash and set, and feel like I finished something of worth.

Finishing feels good.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

I have been busy spinning and spinning and spinning all week. On Friday I washed and soaked and hung and set some twist.

hanging detail
zero "Blake's Lamb" and Spunky unknown

I have started into my stash of Spunky roving of the month selections. People are getting handspun garter stitch scarves or hats for Christmas this year. Nothing fancy, but loverly handspun.

nightshade roving
nightshade singles

nightshade 2 ply

nightshade macro
nightshade 2 ply

This came as the "Nightshade" colorway from Spunky Eclectic a few months back. It is going to become the "Tea In The Woods Scarf" for one of my tea friends. It has the amber of tea, the green and browns of the forest, the blues of a lake in summer and the black of the night sky. Tonight I'll ply the last spindleful and tomorrow I'll set the twist. I love the idea of giving away my handspun for Christmas this year.

We drove to Yosemite yesterday to get the girl.
highway 41 bus from hell
The view was pretty consistent all the way up highway 41 into the mountains. Bus butt.

Bass Lake Yosemite
It got a lot better once we got off the main road.

We split the driving and I brought along some knitting for the long stretches.
clapotis on the road

It was 13 hours of driving. We got to Yosemite, then we turned right around and came home. I'm glad we went though, I'd never seen that country and it was beautiful. I feel blessed to have experienced it.

Later this week we are going to a funeral. I'm trying not to think about it much because every time I do, my heart breaks all over again for the family.

In the meantime, I will keep spinning and spinning the sorrow away.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

When you see the news reports about "Local teen dies in car accident" usually you spare a brief thought for that anonymous family, but you don't think about it very hard. You don't think hard about the family that is left in pieces because it is not anyone you know. It is "local teen" and it does not affect you. It is not a hole in the fabric of your life. Then one day, you find out that "local teen" was someone known to you, the child of a friend, a classmate, something. God forbid, family. And it affects you. It becomes a tangible hole, a tragedy that is unfolding in front of you and you can't avoid it.

One of my daughter's good friends died last night in a car accident. He was more than just a local teen. He was somebody's son, brother, grandson, cousin, friend. He mattered to a lot of people, he was loved and cherished and wanted. He had his whole life ahead of him, a bright shiny future. It is too big. The hole left behind is too big. It is senseless and a waste and it is too big for words. That family is altered, forever and nothing will ever mend it. We are not supposed to bury our children. This is forever and there's no going back.

His poor family. I can't imagine. I feel so bad for them.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Three more repeats on Miss Clapotis down tonight. I swear, I am starting to hate looking at this thing. Started ball #2, so that is something at least. It really is knitting up beautifully. But I'm at the "could do the repeats in my sleep" stage, and maybe that's a cue to pick up the painter's scarf for a while.

The children continue at camp and I periodically find pictures of them on the website. Mostly of the oldest, as the youngest is rather camera shy. It makes me laugh.

There's my kid showing up in all the camp pictures, a solitary island in a sea of Abercrombie and Fitch summerwear. An island wearing a ratty thrifted tee shirt sporting an overly made up drag queen on it, bleached blond mullet, armful of bracelets, ripped up thrifted jeans - making the "power fist". My kid, who shows up in the "Toga party" pictures wrapped in a bedsheet that she's strategically shortened with scissors and paired with black cowboy boots and Siouxie Sioux eyeliner and hair. My kid is nominally the assistant counselor-in-training and so partially responsible for a cabin full of little girls this summer. I think to myself that if she'd been the co-counselor when I was a kid at camp, I'd have thought she was the coolest. thing. ever. and gone home and tried to emulate her. Then I think to myself... "well. Cool. There are far worse things to emulate. Maybe she'll teach them to think off the map."

We are THAT family and we are viral. This is not a bad thing.

I had a real doozy of a rant prepared for this space earlier but I am trying to chill the hell out with the unkind ranty evil wordage. I am trying hard not to gossip, say mean things about people or perpetuate that kind of thinking. It's *hard*. I didn't realize how often I think unkindly or uncharitably about things. I didn't realize how many snap judgements I make and how readily I voice them, until I started this as a sort of spiritual practice and also to get my stress levels down. I guess that not *speaking* is a good place to start. I can work on the thoughts as I go.

I will endeavor to think only good things about The Painter's Scarf tomorrow when I pull it out of the knitting gulag.

Have a safe and happy 4th, whatever you may do.