Monday, May 24, 2010

It’s Official—I’m a Bag Lady

The weather finally warmed up weekend and I decided that my dirty windows were interfering with my view of the sunlight on the flowering trees. So, I spent yesterday washing windows—all 24 of them—inside and out (each with 2 panes, I might add), as well as screens. I have the aching muscles to prove it.

While washing windows may not be notable (unless you’re like my sister who has never washed the windows in her house of 30 years—I’m not making this up, either), I made a startling discovery when I moved various piles and baskets of yarn and projects in order to get to the windows. I unearthed an embarrassing number of knitting bags and baskets.

I counted 17 knitting bags and 5 notions bags. When I sat down to unload the digital photo onto my computer, I realized that there were 3 more bags under my desk! Then I realized that I hadn’t included the handmade bag a friend made that I left in the living room. That’s a lot of bags. I certainly don’t need all these bags, but when I looked at them critically to decide which to donate to charity, I found myself loath to part with any one—each holds memories of a project or an event or a shop that I visited.
And here’s the best surprise—I found a half-knitted sock (along with yarn and needles) in one of the bags. I estimate that the sock has been in this state for two or three years, which brings me to a philosophical question—when does a work-in-progress, otherwise know as a WIP, become an unfinished object (UFO)?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Why I’m a Spoiled Brat—#10

Shortly after I posted a blog about learning to spin (New Tricks, posted April 2, 2010), I got an email from a reader named Anne in Reading, Pennsylvania. Anne complemented me on my spinning and asked how I went about starting my blog—she’s considering starting one of her own. Of course I replied, but I had to be honest and say that it was all mumbo jumbo to me without the help of a couple of very smart (read that computer-savvy) friends. I could never have figured it out by myself and I was not at all clever enough to help someone else. In response, Anne thanked me for my sparse information. Then she sent me a box of fiber treats to encourage me to keep spinning—five different kinds of prepared fleece, a pile of silk hankies, a dyeing kit, some beads, and even a twisted glass pendant that Anne made herself!

What Anne doesn’t know is that last week I had to return the wheel and spindle that I had on loan during the 5-week spinning class. What she also doesn’t know is that my husband said quite clearly that he hoped I would not take up spinning because, from his perspective, I can’t keep up with everything else and something important like the laundry or cooking dinner would slip. And he’s got a point—there have been many times when both have suffered as I was absorbed in my knitting, writing, editing, or reading. We both know that I don’t have time to knit all the yarn that I already have (but that’s beside the point).

But, now that I have unspun fleece in the house—and a gift no less—I feel a moral obligation to spin it. I figure that through Anne, the universe is telling me not to give up on spinning. Thank you Anne! The Estes Park Wool Festival is in a couple of weeks and I’m sure that there will be a spindle with my name on it.

Ever since the box arrived, I’ve been humming a line from a song Julie Andrews sang in The Sound of Music—“somewhere in my youth or childhood, I must have done something good.”

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Can This Be May?

I had planned to write about my handspinning endeavors today, but look what was out my window when I woke up. It’s May 12 for heaven’s sake! I fear that we’ve gone straight from early spring to fall and I’ll never have a chance to complain about the heat.

I’ll take this opportunity to show off my handspun anyway. My 5-week class is over and I’ve produced some yarn that I might actually knit with. The white yarn is from the fleece that we washed, carded, and spun. I’m not sure I can bear to take this yarn out of the skeins (I’m so proud!). The purple yarn is from some prepared fleece that I bought at the yarn store (what a treat to circumvent the whole washing and carding process). This may become a shawl. The beautiful mud-colored yarns are singles that I spun then dyed in a variety of natural dyes—walnut hulls, cutch, onion skins, and cochineal. I plan to keep these as reference because I really do love the colors.

Will I continue to spin? My husband thinks I’m nuts (he points out that I don’t have time to knit the yarn that I already have—but since when has that been an excuse?), but I think it’s likely that I’ll spend more time at a wheel or with a spindle. I just can’t get over how clever I feel when I make yarn out of a pile of fluff. The proof will be when I actually knit with the stuff. If it feels better than store-bought, I’m a goner.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Desperately Seeking Becky

I imagine that at least some of you know that sick hollow feeling that comes from planning a party that nobody attends. I have to admit that I’m having similar feelings now that it’s been a week since I announced that Becky McKnight is the winner of the drawing for Knitting Green and she hasn’t contacted me with her mailing address. Imagine the explanations that I’ve come up with—Becky really doesn’t want the book; Becky is on an extended cruise to some remote south sea islands; Becky passed out in a fit of delight when she learned that she won the drawing and no amount of wool fumes can revive her; Becky lost interest in reading my blog; etc., etc.

If any of you dear readers knows Miss Becky, please, please beg her to respond to me at so that I can stop imagining the worst. Her copy of Knitting Green is all packed up but has nowhere to go.