Friday, August 29, 2008

MIddle school, lots of yarn, new smalls

The first week of middle school was kind of rough. Granted, we had an experience (as a family) a few years ago that rocked us to the core of our being and transition continues to bring it to the surface. One of the boys has been terrified every day of school while the other has been nervous, but dealing in a very brave way (this is EXACTLY the opposite of kindergarten, just for the record). There have been tears every morning, nightmares each night, a boy in my bed around five literally shaking with fear, and the horrid realities of motherhood: the ones where you are the hard ass. It's a hard one to balance, the mom of kindness and support and the mom of you-just-have-to-suck-it-up-cause-it's-life. I hate it.

For the past five years I've had a week off at work and my children have been in school. While that means I've made 140 mile round trip drives for each of those five weeks, it also means I've had time to myself while my kids are in school. This year the boys had their last week of vacation while I was off. I still had to drive 140 miles that week for school trips (Chicky's been back in school since mid-July), and since I hurt my ankle we couldn't do anything really fun, but it was nice spending time with the boys alone. I haven't gotten to do that since Chicky was born!

After a really crappy day at work and the middle school transition sadness I came home to find a box on my front stoop from my very dear friend Sarah. She and I have NEVER met in person, but we met through Ravelry and send messages as often as we can. We send boxes to each other every so often and when I opened mine, here's what I found:

Theytoldmesew lovelies

Let me just say that it is almost scary how well this woman knows me! Favorite colors, favorite weaknesses, and humor right up my alley! Her box absolutely made my day! The rovings are stunning as usual, and that is no small compliment. I've bought rovings that look good on-line but are dull and a mere shadow of their pictured selves when seen up-close and in person. The superwash Blue-Faced Leicester looks like fun to spin and the brilliant colors will shine through - I can't wait!

Before back-to-school week I dyed a lot of yarn and am still re-skeining it - I don't like buying skeins and having them tangled and I would hate someone cussing me while they try and make a center-pull ball. I have 22 done and ten more to go! All the yarn is headed for Cozy on September 7. Here's a sneak peak at some of the yarn.

we're headed to Cozy

At work we've begun a new session with new children and getting to know them is a great joy and emotional sacrifice. In order to get to know small children you need to build trust with them, which typically means letting them be sad for as long as they need to and comforting them so they realize that you are able/willing to do that for them. The good part is that when they are not sad getting to know them it is incredibly fun. Emotionally it can take a toll and my children know from being in my class while it was happening, as well as talking about it with me during each new session, that it can be physically exhausting as well. Since I haven't gotten much sleep this week from my own boys' anxiety, I'm hoping the next three nights will give me some time/space to rejuvenate and be have some fun on Monday with my children and be ready for other people's again on Tuesday.

I'm barely awake and would love to go read The Sotry of Edgar Sawtelle but I think If I did manage to keep my eyes open, I'd never remember what I had "read"!

Here's to good sleep and better dreams!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Hip in Hemp

The skirt is finished! I love the Hempathy yarn and will knit another! Lovely hand and drape, holds it's shape nicely and has lots of ventilation! Perfection!!!

hemp skirt finished

Better pictures will follow soon. This one was taken balancing on my hurt foot while standing in front of a mirror propped on the sofa. Way too much going on at one time. If I trusted one of my children to hold the camera I'd let them take a picture. Notice the if.

The boys and I went to the Open House for their middle school, which starts next week and I have yet another list of school supplies to buy. I can't believe the list! I guess I should be pleased that they even need colored pencils, scissors, and a glue stick in sixth grade. The specific binders, composition books, calculators, etc. are wearing on me. They get to start band this year, too - very exciting. On Friday they go all day for orientation, we'll see how that goes!

I'm overwhelmed and it hasn't even started!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

You never know until you try

I have found my dyeing muse! I feel like illustrator Stephen Gammel before he found "his" way of painting. I was happy with the dyeing, but now that I've found a technique that looks like I've been imagining it all this time I don't think I'll ever go back to dyeing in any of my "old" ways again! (As an aside, I love Stephen Gammel's illustrations - particularly his "own" style. Monster Mama is one of my favorites.)

Today was a very successful dyeing day! I have three new rovings up at Etsy and am busy dyeing yarn to sell at Cozy's Annual Yarn Sale on Sept 7. Deb and Margaret are allowing me to bring my wheel and spin in the shop and sell rovings and yarn on that day! I'm trying to remain calm about the whole thing, but I'm nervous.

Ok, the rovings. All are in superwash merino and are a combination of techniques. What I like best are the blending of colors and the sudden surprises of other colors. My favorite is called Too Blue because there's a lot of purple in it and purple is my all time favorite. For like the last twenty years or so.

too blue side

Then comes the green with other colors peeping through. This is Salad (I have run out of name ideas).


And the next - Heart - has the brown overtones.


The yarns are still drying or in process. The boys are amazed/horrified at how I can make this take all day. There are kettles on the stove right now and one of them came into the kitchen and said, "How long are you going to keep doing this?" Huh. Hadn't really given it much thought. Until I'm done?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

What do you mean, "it's not broken"?

Hmmm. As you can tell my orthopedist visit was annoying. All this pain is apparently a strained tendon. There's still swelling and bruising and now I have thereputic exercises (with pain) and the boot for another 13 DAYS. FUCK! Sigh. I am a horrible patient, this is during my "vacation" when two of my three children are home and expect something FUN to happen, and I would like a little fun myself. Also, about three weeks before this accident I had been very much into exercising again and I feel myself melting back into blobness.

Despite foot pain I have been dyeing... and dyeing... and dyeing. I'm doing some over-dyeing which takes longer, but the results seem worth it. I've used up all my merino/tencel roving and have moved on to superwash corriedale and merino. The merino/tencel is so soft and silky, but frustrating to photograph because of it's lovely sheen. My favorite of the batch is Plums.


The superwash corriedale (the only dry one) is called Wild Side.

wild side

I've been spinning from the stash and found some blue-faced leicester from funky carolina. Yep, more bulky! The first skein is 81 yards with nine wraps-per-inch. Skein two is on the Turkish spindle as I type.

Purple/Green skein 1

Tonight I hope to finish the last twelve rows of the hemp skirt and begin weaving in the 300 ends. In addition to knitting, I'm cooking Jamie Oliver's Tomato and Sausage Bake. I got some beautiful heirloom tomatoes, local sausage, and crusty rustic bread. YUM!!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Hurt foot, well foot

I've been pretty quiet in blog-land, but in real life I've been doing stuff while I heal. It's tough, I tell you. I didn't succeed in meeting my goal for Le Tour de Fleece. I did not spin everyday. I did, however, rekindle my flame for spinning and have been having a very good time.

Two weeks ago tomorrow, the kids and I had just finished our library trip and were enjoying Loco Pops in town. When I went to step off the curb my Rainbow flip-flop slipped, my ankle twisted and I went down like a dead bug. After almost crying and NOT saying any of the words I wanted to, the kids helped me up and we went home. Luckily it was my left foot and Hazel is an automatic so I could still drive. When we got home and I was propped up on the sofa with pillows and ice I said to Chicky, "I don't think I even cussed ONCE when it happened." She said, "No mama, you didn't! I was impressed, if it had been Daddy he would've said all kinds of stuff!" The kids were fabulous and took good care of me.

Having some hideous experiences with emergency rooms in the past, I decided to live with the pain for the night and go to the orthopedist the next day. I did and the doctor said it was a Type 2 sprain. I guess they decide that by gently pulling on the ankle/leg and seeing how far apart the joint will go. Anyway, three x-rays, a prescription, and a boot later and we were out the door. Drugs, did I mention drugs were given too? I didn't go to work for the rest of the week, stayed well-iced and drugged and marveled at how long it takes a sprain to heal.

Two weeks later, it's still swollen and bruised (my toes look scary!) and it hurts to wear the boot, but since I work with small children and the idea of someone accidentally bumping it makes me cringe, I'm wearing the damned thing. Wednesday I go back to have another x-ray and see how it's healing.

The good news: while I was drugged and healing I got a new Turkish drop spindle from Jenkins. It's a purpleheart and I LOVE IT. I can sit on the sofa and spin forever!

jenkins purple-heart spindle

I spun some of my fiber from Sarah - Mountainscape. It was a dream to spin - I'm doing a whole bunch of bulky right now for a Danish shawl.

mountainscape bulky

I also spun one of my rovings, Spring Fling superfine merino and got enough fingering weight for a pair of socks.

spring fling spun

Then I went back to bulky happiness and spun up Frances Farmer superwash corriedale that I had left over.

frances farmer close-up

Right now there's some Blue-faced Leicester on the spindle, and my hemp skirt is about 50 rows shy of finished! Maybe I'll get to wear it before winter comes after all!