Thursday, February 22, 2007

First yarn!

It's not pretty...but it's my own. However I completely used the niddy noddy incorrectly -- I could tell from people's faces at Bella Vita last night when I showed off my new creation. But I'll learn. And I really think I'm getting better at the spinning part. By the way, ignore the various colors in there -- everything besides the navy blue are bits that were already on the bobbins when I got the wheel from New Zealand, and I just plied everything together without regard for color or nature of the fiber. It looks pretty, though!

When I started knitting, I was kind of overwhelmed at all there was to learn, or rather at all I perceived that there was to learn. But it's really just knitting and purling, with a little bit of a twist now and then. I didn't believe that at the time though. It took 4 or 5 tries and a large winter storm to get knitting to "take". But with spinning, I do not find myself looking ahead to all the other things there are to know...I'm just enjoying the process of sitting in front of the wheel and spinning fiber into yarn. It's just so nice. And I don't really care if I'm not doing it right yet...I'll get there.

That all being said, I can't wait until Tuesday night's Frog Pond meeting, so I can get some tips from experts like E!, Jess, Vicki and Elizabeth. And from anyone else who wants to throw me some advice! These ladies have all been mega supportive of my spinning efforts. And they are all somewhat addicted to beautiful, complex lace projects. I hope that's not contagious!

Monday, February 19, 2007

The Cabin!

This weekend was spent on a fabulous get-away filled with knitting, good friends and Little House on the Prairie. David & I went up to Lake Ann, MI, to a cabin that my friends B & D go to every year. We had tons of snow and a fireplace...very conducive to knitting. I finished the Avocado Fever Socks (thanks to Yarnmonster for the great dye job!) and started knitting a baby blanket as a gift. I'm using beautifully soft organic green cotton that I bought at MDS&W -- but I might rip it out. I've been doing a simple basket weave pattern (idea came from Kimberly Chapman's Knitting Gallery), and it's quite nice and soft, but I seem to remember Claudine knitting (or talking about knitting) a baby blanket all in one color that had the letters of the alphabet on it, made by just knitting/purling. I can't find the pattern anywhere -- Claudine, can you help? I think that's what this yarn really wants to be.

So, besides sitting around and knitting (a lot) this weekend, we spent hours watching Little House on the Prairie. Our new friend Suz, who is a prolific knitter and makes really great felted bags that she sells on her Etsy shop -- check it out! -- well, Suz also is the proud owner of every single LHOTP episode on DVD. We were way into Season 6, when Laura meets Manly. If they did a re-make today, who do you think would play Pa? We have some ideas for the cast, but my favorite is Clay Aiken as Willie Oleson.

On the way home, David and I stopped in Glen Haven to check out Lake Michigan -- frozen around the edges, snowy on the dunes...and very beautiful.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Spinderella cut it up one time...

I've been so busy, but now I finally feel like I've got my life back -- at least for a while. I did have some time to play with my new wheel and fiber tonight, and you're getting treated to the first ever action shot of me spinning! It's rough going, but I feel like I'm figuring it out little by little, a bit more each time I use it. I was spinning the mixed navy blue wool that Vicki gave me last week. I know this is something I can eventually do well, I just have to keep at it -- and it's really not a chore, it's very relaxing, and I can see how much I'll love it once I get to point where I don't have to stop and start so much.

Also, even though I have previously proclaimed to hate socks, I decided to give them another go...and I'm liking it! I'm just doing a very very standard sock pattern, and turning the heel with the help of the Yarn Harlot's advice in her new book, Knitting Rules! (it has an EXCELLENT description of socks on page 136 -- kind of changed my sock-knitting life, as a matter of fact. Another good move on the guru's part -- she gave me the book!) But one of the most wonderful things about this particular pair of socks that I'm knitting, besides that they are being done with a new appreciation and understanding, is that I am using yarn hand dyed by my good friend the Yarnmonster, in her Avocado Fever colorway (is it uncool to link your own blog in your post? Ha!)!

Last thing -- and this is a pure rave -- I went to Columbus, OH last weekend (home of Susi's OSU Buckeyes, may they rest in peace for 2007) to see my friend Laura in the opera The Merry Widow. She played Valencienne, and was AWESOME, as expected. Beyond the opera, the highlight of our trip was dinner at Dragonfly with A Second Breakfast and her roommate, and our friends Emily & Brian. Dragonfly is a vegan restaurant, but I think you wouldn't know that if no one told you. The food was...was...orgasmic? No, no, that's not a strong enough word for the pleasure I felt when the first bite of braised trumpets SNAPPED in my mouth -- and no mushroom has ever done that to me before. The texture...taste...smell...oh my God, it was sensation heaven! The restaurant is very local, very natural, very unbelievable, and all the carnies with me left full and swore they'd be back. If you're ever in the general area of Columbus, like say in the same hemisphere, go here!!!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Fibrous Ecstasy!

Look, just LOOK, what the wonderful Frog Ponders Jess, E and Vicki gave me tonight! They presented me with a little spinning shower! I was so surprised, and touched, and happy...they are THE BEST! The perfectly rustic basket was from hand spinners Jess and E, and was stuffed full of fibery magic, including some beautiful blue Fleece Artist roving that Jess brought back from Nova Scotia, its mother land. (Mango tried to eat this, and as a result it's hiding on a high shelf in the closet, for it's own protection, until I can gain some proficiency with the wheel). Also inside were a niddy noddy and some spinning books. And Vicki made up a beginner's spinning package of the fibers of various beasts, a magazine, another niddy noddy and some really cute hand-made labels for when I get good enough to skein my own yarn. These ladies really know how to make a girl feel special. I really almost cried when they gave me these gifts. Now all I need is a spinning get-together to get me rolling!

Tonight's meet-up at Bella Vita was so much fun. The group has gotten really large, and I met some new friends, including Strung Out. Knitting really is the universal language...oh, sorry, I meant LOVE of knitting...

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Lamma Lamma Ding Dong

Work had been CRAZY this week in Hong Kong, and my head is spinning from working through 2 time zones, here and NYC. So today I decided to head out for a little sunshine...because I just checked the weather forecast for my homecoming this weekend, and saw a high temperature of 8. A HIGH of 8. WTF???

I hopped on the ferry to Yung Shue Wan, on Lamma Island. This place is so different that the hustle and bustle of the city. There are absolutely no cars on the island, just some tiny little lorries used for transport only that look more like lego trucks than anything else. I strolled up and down tiny streets, through a tamed jungle, down to a beach (with a scarily close power plant in the background). Before heading back I stopped for Chinese food and a big bottle of Tsing Tao by the sea.

There was a tiny little cafe (and I use that term in the loosest possible way -- think plastic chairs and tables on a little slap of concrete with a plastic tarp overhead) by the path, where a little old man was doling out tofu gelatin -- kind of like hot yogurt soup with honey. I was skeptical, but went for it anyway and it was so good! This place is supposed to be semi-famous for the gelatin dessert, and is run by a little old lady called the tofu grandma.

Is it just me, or do these banana bunches look awfully phallic?

I did try to go to a knitting store in Admiralty last night with one of my HKG friends. She wants to learn how to crochet. But by the time we finished our Thai feast with mango and sticky rice, the shop was closed. So we had to go get beer instead!

PS No, there were no lhamas on Lamma...damn!