Thursday, June 30, 2005
Black Sheep Report Part 1
Our little place had a small kitchen with a refrigerator, two burner stove, microwave and coffee machine. When you travel with four small children, this is a necessity. The kids were exhausted, so we settled them in and I took the car to pick up breakfast and lunch foods and get some Wendy's for dinner (nobody felt like making dinner that night).
We ate dinner rather late, and just got the kids ready for bed right away. Rich and I took some chairs from the hotel and sat in the corridor with our books, my knitting and some oreos and milk, for him, coffee, for me. We took an early bedtime ourselves, though, because the next morning was the opening of Black Sheep and the Sheep to Shawl!
We got there in time to watch the Sheep to Shawl teams spinning and plying the wool (I have photos of some of this, and the finished work, for those who are interested). The shawls were woven, not knit, and the warp was already threaded on the looms. They had five teams of five, and they had five hours to complete the shawl. The shawls were judged on appearance and quality of workmanship, and if there were a tie, the winner would be the one who finished first. We checked back on this periodically as we browsed the market.
Here are some examples of the wonders awaiting people at the market:
This last shot is of some yarns that were spun and handpainted out of fiber from my high school American History teacher's sheep, alpaca and angora goats. He and his wife raise the animals, and she spins and dyes the yarn. I bought about 475 yards of handpainted suri alpaca laceweight from them. I will get a photo of that up soon. Fox Hollow Farm and Fiber should show you a little more of their stuff.
We had a nice time visiting with him, and looking back on the old days. They seemed older to him, I think, as I showed up married and with four children.
The boys were especially interested in the spinning, spinning wheels, drum carders, swifts, skein hang ups, basically the tools. This spinning wheel in particular caught our eyes.
They were all interested in the sheep and the goats and the angora rabbits, but I didn't think to take pictures of those, so you'll have to take my word that they were lovely and wonderful. We watched several shearings, and some of the demonstrations. But, that was in building four and we are still in building one.
At the place with the rainbow of roving balls in the above photos, we saw a fellow plying a beaded strand onto a single of wool. I forgot to ask if they sold it and don't have the name of the place! I would so buy beaded yarn. But, I have a picture of the yarn on the bobbin and of the plying itself.
We took a break for lunch out front, and after eating, we let the kids run around a bit.
They were being real troopers, but the day was wearing on them.
Then it was back to the market. I didn't take any classes this year, and I regret not buying any raffle tickets, but there is always next year. I sat and spun at some of the wheels that Woodland Woolworks brought. I left them reluctantly, because this year was not the year to purchase a wheel for me.
There was plenty else to tempt me while we shopped. I came largely in search of lace yarn and lace patterns and found them. I bought a pattern for an Autumn Breeze Shawl from Hokulani Farms that I saw last year, and Fiber Trends' Seascape Shawl pattern.
I very nearly bought some of this lady's yarn, at Hand Jive Knits, the purple to the lower right of the shawl. However, I waited and was rewarded by an amazing silk-camel blend at Skaska Designs. 1600 yards of it. This is an example of their shawl patterns.
There were, of course many offerings of handpainted yarns in many colorways to please the eye.
These, along with many others, are made by Blue Moon Fiber Arts. There were several of their yarns that I coveted.
At one point, I ran into a woman with whom I went to high school. It turns out that she now works at a local yarn shop in Eugene, Soft Horizons. It was fun to watch her surprise at discovering I was the mother of four, and I got to show Rich and the kids off to her.
By about 2:30, though, the kids really had had enough. They went to bed late, woke up early, had no nap or quiet time and had spent all day walking around Black Sheep (or being pushed around in the stroller, which is also quite nice for holding your knitting bag, purchases, etc). So, we headed back toward the hotel, stopping to pick up some sandals for Alexander and Amira (they had a 60% off sale at Payless). Alexander picked out some particularly hideous sandals, that I knew he would love, because the sales lady described them as water socks. I wish she had just pointed out the sandals and kept her mouth shut, but there you go. Amira was asleep in the car with Rich and the other boys, and she makes no complaints or requests about how we dress her yet, so I brought sandals out to her to measure against her sleeping feet, and picked out some adorable white leather sandals with bows.
That night, we had our dinner with Fr. Bryce and Deanna, who also had their daughter in law and New Baby Grandson visiting them from England. I think we overwhelmed this only child, first time mother, but she seemed to like us anyway. We had a nice little barbecue in their backyard and ate s'mores. We missed out on getting the picture of Amira covered from head to toe in toasted marshmallow and chocolate. She's so lucky, we never let the boys eat stuff like that at her age.
The kids, feeling no reserve or shyness, immediately grabbed the box of toys that were out and loudly played trucks and whatever else was there. Amira really took off on her walking this past weekend. She was doing alright walking from one wall to another, or a piece of furniture to another one, but she finally really got going this weekend. So, I will leave you with a parting shot from our last day there. And you can take a look at those sandals!
Labels: Black Sheep
Wednesday, June 29, 2005
My Best Friend Has Left Me
A few months ago her company said that she had been on the West Coast too long and that sometime this summer they'd want her to move back to FL. Then a month or two ago, it was sometime in July. By the time we returned from Eugene, it was July 1. She is the woman I call when we need to make 1:00 am trips to the ER. She is the woman who watched each of our older children during the births of the subsequent children. I told Rich that we couldn't have any more children if Lisa moved away.
She said so long as we let her know early enough in any given pregnancy, she will be back to watch the kids for us.
I'm trying to get my sadness out now, so I can cheer her up when she arrives. I made banana bread for her, and for dinner some sausage cooked with potatoes, onions and cabbage and some egg noodles. We have oreos and cinnamon graham crackers and milk to dunk our sorrows away. She is pretty sad about this move, too, though, so I can't be sad around her. She feels unsure enough as it is.
So, now I need a new local best friend. It is so hard to break a new one in, too. We have lots of close friends, but none that we could call at 2:00 am. She was one of my friends who could call me on my bad behavior, or tell me where my thinking was wrong, and she prayed for me in all circumstances. We were both pretty lousy about calling each other, so we'd go weeks at a time without talking and then catch up just like that. It is never the same after someone moves.
It is now the time for me to start dropping hints about my birthday. It is coming up, you know, and there's that handy Amazon wishlist link in my sidebar. Yarn is also always good, and magazine subscriptions, like to Rowan. I already get IK. What else? Hmmm...Gift certificates to KnitPicks or Elann. Or a skein of Vanilla Cotton Ease. I'll get back to you.
Tuesday, June 28, 2005
Some Details About the Flower Basket Shawl
In this case, it is to open up and show off the lace. If you look at the first shot, the lace was kind of bunched up and compressed. After you block the lace (wash, pin out and let dry), you can see the pattern and it makes it appear "lacy," the fabric becomes light and drapey. Until it is washed again, it will hold its shape.
In other garments, the blocking is used to even out the stitches and make the fabric lie flat. Stockinette stitch, for instance, which is what a plain knit sweater is made out of, has a tendency to roll in and up. This makes sloppy edges, and also makes it difficult to sew up. Blocking is also used to shape the garment to the dimensions required.
To give you an idea of the difference in dimensions in lace, the FBS was about 45" across and 23" deep before blocking and finished at 68" across and 31" deep after blocking. The difference is not so great in non-openwork patterns.
As for the Mystery Stole, I am not alonging very well. I would have needed four hours of knitting time on this project alone, daily, to finish clue three before this Friday's clue. It takes me about an hour to do six rows. I am doing 84 rows fewer than the pattern suggested, and that shorter length will take me about 56 hours of work. I have done 28 rows out of the 336 of the main panel. I'm assuming that this Friday's clue will simply be a repeat of the beginning trellis lace pattern, for symmetry, and that the following week's clue will be the lace edging on either end. I will not be finished by July 15, I can tell you that.
Monday, June 27, 2005
Quick Photo Post
After I took the pictures, Fr. Bryce had her show me her needlework project which she had been working on for nine years! Rich says I was a fool not to take a picture of it, but I was too much in awe. It was a tapestry style needlepoint work that was a good three feet wide, at least, and about two feet tall. It looked like medieval art depicting saints and such. All hand worked, she just had it returned from the finishers. Amazing.
Anyway, I count this as my official finish of the FBS Redux Knit Along. It has been knit, blocked, finished, wrapped, given and photographed.
Wednesday, June 22, 2005
Last Post Before Black Sheep
This is the first trip down that we aren't planning on visiting with tons of people in town in a long time. Except for Fr. Bryce, and my mom, there aren't really any people we were friends with who still live in the area. Rich asked if there was anyone in particular I wanted to catch up with, but I couldn't think of anyone who still lived there. If we run into someone, I guess we could visit, but they would be on a visit home, too.
I will take lots of pictures at Black Sheep, and of Deanna in her shawl. Rich said it took a lot for him not to blurt it out that a gift was coming for her when Fr. Bryce called to confirm dinner plans. If they have seen this blog, they already know, but I don't know that they spend a lot of time on knitting blogs.
See you when we return!
Labels: Black Sheep
Monday, June 20, 2005
Flower Basket Shawl Blocking
This is a photo of the whole shawl pinned out. I have my handy Zonta wires threaded through the top edge. I pinned them into place and pinned out the points on the shawl. It is blocked pretty hard, tight as a drum is what Rich said when he felt it.
Just for kicks, I'll post a couple more pictures of work in progress. Here is the back of Dominic's Zig Zag sweater:
And this is Amira's dress back.
I will thread black ribbon through the eyelets and make a black bolero to match. I am really enjoying knitting with this yarn. This is a surprise because I normally loathe cotton on my hands. Perhaps because it isn't so heavy, it is sport weight, it is easier to work with than most.
When I return from Black Sheep, I will post photos again.
Flower Basket Shawl
I'm always amazed at what blocking does to lace. It grew and opened up so nicely. I took one picture of it blocking, but it is on a floral comforter, so the pattern is a bit difficult to see. I will take a picture of it somewhere else soon, and maybe even on Deanna. Rich was quite impressed, as were the boys, to see what it looked like finished. Although it was pretty just knit up, lace doesn't really look like much before it is blocked. What a joy it was to finish it, this is a pattern I might even make again for myself. I have a lovely alpaca that could work nicely.
Off to Black Sheep
I don't know whether or not I'll bring Dominic's sweater, I am almost finished with the back, and may cast on for the front before we leave. We'll see, as his birthday party is tomorrow evening, and we have lots of work on the house and yard to do still. Not to mention the packing up, another birthday party to attend and the travelling.
Our families are providing lots of our favorite foods on our trip, that will be a treat, and we are visiting with a friend who is back in the US from Israel for a few weeks. She's one of the few friends from college with which we still keep in touch, her husband is still in Israel at yeshiva, but she is bringing her son to visit with their families.
I cannot wait to visit with Fr. Bryce and Deanna, and we are looking forward to seeing them and visiting St. Matthew's. I hope she likes the shawl.
Well, back to work here. I will try to post once more before we leave.
Labels: Black Sheep
Friday, June 10, 2005
I need to get back to housework. Our home is still in recovery from our camp out last weekend, and there is laundry on every surface right now.
Cruelty at the Zoo
Get this! They refuse to give any away! We tried to buy it, but they said they couldn't make gain from the animals (then how can they sell the Zoo Doo, I ask you?), so we said, fine just give it away. No go. I told all the kindergarten folks about this lovely fiber and how expensive it is, and how the zoo is just wasting it letting it rot and float away. Mrs. Debby was slightly concerned that I was going to hoist one of the kids over the railing to have them get some for me. The musk ox was sleeping elsewhere, it wouldn't have been that dangerous. However, I wasn't going to do that to my kids. If I could have gotten one of the other kids to do it, though. There is one who is quite lithe and adventurous, she would have done it in a heartbeat.
So, after I stopped gazing longingly at the wretched, wasted qiviut, we walked on to the owls. Because I always bring my knitting, I had been knitting the entire zoo trip. At the owls was a woman who was a new knitter! She came over and asked about my provisional cast on and my lace. I told her about the Mystery Stole Along, and I hope she joins up.
Also, on admiring the peacocks there, I was telling one of the moms about my shimmer yarn and how it is almost the perfect color for the peacock shawl. It has the silk for the shimmer, the blues, greens and turquoise, but is missing the yellow and oranges. It is my peacock yarn until I find the absolute perfect peacock colors. So, I was describing the shawl and the yarn and how much I want the perfect peacock shawl, and she said: Who wouldn't want a peacock shawl? She also asked a fair bit about my knitting, and I am thinking I could teach her to knit and hang out with her some more. One of the other moms is a beginner knitter, and I am trying to encourage her along.
Rich thinks it is because I don't want to
Thursday, June 09, 2005
Day After School Zoo Trip
When I left for CA, I was frantically searching for pictures of Rich and the kids taken in the last, oh, I don't know, decade so I could show them off and look at them when I was missing them. I found stuff for everyone but Elijah. I told Rich that we don't take pictures of him. This isn't entirely true, we do, but only when he is covered from the crown of his head to the soles of his feet with food. We're working on this.
Anyway, the zoo. We met up at 10:00 am. Evidently a bulletin was passed out to the schools within a 100 mile radius (I'm not exaggerating) that TODAY was the day to bus all of their kids to our zoo. They kind of crowded the six (out of a class of eight) kindergarteners, their siblings and parents and lone teacher. We knew we could wait them out, though, and we did. They were zoo wimps. We stayed until 4:30.
The day began nicely enough, everyone woke up late except for the most troublesome child who informed us he was "poopy" and then proceeded to get us (read: Rich) out of bed to change him. Then, he wanted breakfast, if you can imagine, at 7:30 am. Didn't he know this wasn't a school day? So he ate alone while we got up and showered, and he interupted our shower to ask if he could be excused from breakfast. Yes, he got out of his seat, put his dishes in the sink and came to the bathroom to ask if he could do what he already had done. That's okay, though, the training is starting to work.
Elijah was one of the two children who got breakfast this morning, in a stunning display of poor parenting. Dominic was the next to wake. He also got to eat breakfast. Alexander got up about half an hour before we had to leave, and Amira got up around the same time. While Alexander showered, I got Amira dressed and gave her a bottle of milk. Went back to getting Dominic and Elijah appropriate clothes, (no a heavy long sleeved red turtleneck shirt and thick corduroy pants are not the best things to wear on a hot day to the zoo, why do you ask?), and nagging them to put them on, go to the bathroom, brush their teeth, get shoes on and get in the car. By the time Alexander finished the arduous task of drying himself off and putting on clothes we needed to have left five minutes before. So, he also got some milk, but in the car.
So, we get to the zoo. See the busloads of children and tremble a bit. Run into a parent I know who is from class. Find Mrs. Debby, all is well so far. We waited a bit for all the kids to show up, and went in. There is a new kid zone. There is one way in and one way out and there are
Alexander and Dominic ran off to play, they are the ones I know will hop when I call them and stay where I can see them. I love these boys dearly and our early training has paid off with them in magnitudes. I contemplated briefly leaving Elijah in the stroller and not allowing him to play in the kid zone, because I knew he would give me a heart attack, but I decided that was too mean, even for me.
I should be meaner.
He was having a grand time playing in the water sprays when Amira started to whine a little (she's very demanding, and she was upset about not having eaten breakfast and being tired, so I gave her Elijah's milk when he wasn't looking). She was reclining and sucking her thumb, so I bent down for literally four seconds, tops, to put the back seat down so she could try to nap. I looked up and Elijah was gone.
Gone, like yesterday is gone. I knew he couldn't have left on his own, because one of the zoo people would have caught him and kicked him back into play. But, but, but, but, he could have been mixed in with the hordes of other children and gone out in a group and just be lost to me. I haven't been this scared in a long time. I lost my figure forever for this boy, gained more grey hairs and wrinkles and grew up in ways I never realized I could just to bring him into this world and he was gone.
I started calling him, I called Alexander and Dominic to look for him, I called the other moms into duty and Mrs. Debby (bless her heart) was feeling bad for organizing the trip and she was looking all over. We were all looking, and I was yelling his name, getting more and more terrified and trying to hide the hysteria in my voice. After a few minutes, we decided to enlist the fellow from the entrance. He wanted to look around the play area one more time before we really freaked out (that wasn't the phrase he used), so we told him Elijah's name, what he was wearing (remember the red turtleneck which was too warm, but nice and bright that I made him change out of?), a camoflage of drab grey shirt and tan pant, he looked like the zoo for crying out loud, and how old he was. We all looked. Everywhere. Three times.
Something that disturbed me a little bit, was how the parents who were not part of our group did not seem to care that we were scared and looking for my son. They just smiled benignly and went on doing whatever they were doing. I've never stood by when someone has misplaced their child in my presence, I help them look. So, anyway, this is why I am always counting kids' heads everywhere we go and consider Odyssey One and Chuck E Cheese two of the lower levels of hell.
I forgot to mention the lower inflatable, geodesic dome type thing below in this area with the goats and some other creatures. We checked there twice. No Elijah. We checked one more time, and this time he managed not to blend in with the walls and was standing in the middle looking at stuff all by himself. No, he didn't hear all that yelling of his name, why do you ask? He thought we were seeking the Old Testament prophet.
I gave him a huge hug, carried him out of there, and immediately put him in time out. I scolded him for going off without telling me, for not staying where he could see and hear me and pretty well scared him. He started to cry, mostly because he had no idea why we were all so upset with him. He reminds me of Grace Kelly in High Society talking about how she can't dance because George is frowning at her. Except he wasn't drunk.
Anyway, when his incarceration was over, I called over Alexander and Dominic (remember how obedient and quick they are?) and told them that I was sorry, but they would have to stay together and with Elijah the whole rest of the time. If any one of them wanted to play in another section, they all had to agree and go. Alexander immediately grabbed part of Elijah's shirt and didn't let go for the rest of the time we were in the kid zone. Elijah went back into the stroller for the rest of the zoo trip and didn't ever come out again. He even ate lunch in it.
Let this be a warning to all of you parents who are being lenient with one of your little children because you feel sorry for them. Elijah was our poor little baby, he had to have surgery, so we were way softer with him than we ever were with his brothers. You know, the ones who come at the first call, obey, are aware of their surroundings and are quick about responding? We have had far more work with Elijah than with them, and it is our own fault for being easy on him when he was younger. We never had to do the kind of discipline and control with Alexander and Dominic at this age that we do with him.
The rest of the trip was relatively uneventful and fun. We still have four children and they are all in bed now.
APB: 8/8/95 Family Circle
Mystery Stole Along:
I am halfway through clue #1 and am hoping to finish tonight. That way I can be ready for clue #2 tomorrow morning, bright and early. Since I have no more school driving to do, I may actually have less knitting time, but we'll see. I can always resort to sending the kids outside to play and ignoring the housework so I can knit more.
Wednesday, June 08, 2005
Don't Leave Home Without It!
A long time. This is not the fault of the school, the kindergarten class or their teachers. It was the fault of unruly teenage older siblings and parents who aided and abetted them in their bad behavior. Right at the end of the program, when the kids were going to graduate, they went back to their room to get their caps and gowns on (I know). These ill mannered people (who evidently also cannot read, since the program clearly said they were coming back to get their diplomas after the butterfly song), got up, started eating all the good cookies at the back of the room and went into the kindergarten room to harass and annoy the already nervous kids. They distracted them from their final practice of the song and recitations they were going to do and delayed the finish by...Guess how long? 45 minutes! Then, when the kids processed out in their cute little outfits, some of these same poorly bred people walked IN FRONT of the graduates to get to their seats. We could barely hear the teacher and the kids, mostly because these same people were being so noisy.
At the end of graduation last night, we had someone come up and thank us for being such good parents. We laughed and told her that we sure had her fooled, but she insisted. Well, I found out this morning why. We saw the brazen grazing, we heard the talking and rudeness, but we did not know that these people were what held up graduation last night. I guess by remaining in our seats, telling our kids they couldn't run around and that they needed to be quiet and wait, we were being revolutionary.
So, the moral of this story is sit down and be quiet, read your stinking program and bring that extra ball of yarn. Next time, I'm bringing the whole bag.
Getting Back Online
I did receive my lovely blocking wires from Zonta, and will be blocking the FBS this weekend. I have also added a new KAL, because I will be finished with two here this weekend. I joined the Mystery Stole Along and am excited about knitting this up.
I also cast on for a little dress for Amira, not the Kitchen Cotton, Patons Grace. I was so beguiled by the beautiful colors of the kitchen cotton, that I forgot how much I hate working with it, and how it feels on my hands. Does anyone want three balls of pretty cotton candy colored Lion Brand Kitchen Cotton? The Grace does not have any of these problems. It is a lovely apricot color, and is knitting up relatively quickly. I bought seven balls of this and seven balls of black about a year ago, and have been waiting to use it on this project for that long. I will make a little baby bolero for her out of the black and some Mary Janes with the apricot as the sock and the black as the shoe. I'm making these all large enough for a two year old, so she has a chance of wearing them next year if I don't finish this summer. I'm also using Russian joins rather than weaving in ends. I may get this finished yet!
I've stalled a little on Dominic's Zig Zag, because I am hoping that Amira will be able to wear this dress by the end of the summer. However, since I now need to wind another ball of the Grace (I used the first all up last night at Alexander's graduation), I will likely return to his Zig Zag at least for a while. I'd like it to be finished by the time school pictures roll around in the fall.
He will not be in Mrs. Debby's class next year, because she is retiring to Arizona. She decided this without first consulting us, and I am slightly put out. We also didn't find out until last night, which made us really sad. She has been an amazing teacher, and although I'm sure her replacement will be fine, she has some work set out for her in trying to meet up to people's expectations.
Alexander did his performances in the pageant and songs quite well. He was able to use his butterfly costume from Halloween again, since they sang a butterfly song. Very cute. Mrs. Debby had them do recitations of poems, sing songs, answer questions about things they had learned that year, do math problems and counting, by 1s, 2s, 5s, 10s and 100s. She also had them read a story in parts. They also recited the Pledge of Allegiance, the Lord's Prayer, the 23rd Psalm and all the parents favorite verse Ephesians 6:1. The kids did so well! We were proud of all they have done this year.
I am also a bit weepy, because our time with Alexander as a little child is already slipping away. I know that one day we will see him graduate from high school and get ready to go to college or work and it will be about two minutes from the time I gave birth to him.
Today is bittersweet for me.