Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Back to School Shopping

Got my supply list for school yesterday. School shopping is going to be...interesting. First time I've had a shopping list that included a hard hat and steel-toed boots rather than a lab coat and notebooks. Happily, it looks like only three textbooks are listed, and most of the equipment will be a one-time purchase. Now to go see where in Ottawa one finds some of these things...

Along with the list came the Code of Conduct, which says classes are mandatory. I'll have to talk with the teachers to see if they'll mind me missing one or two days - 'cause I really want to go to Rhinebeck this year! (After all, I missed last year, and this year's been booked since before I decided to go back to school.) And there's a dentist appointment scheduled for a Monday, which I might try to move to Christmas vacation, and the OVWSG Ex and Sale, which I have to set up for on a Friday afternoon...

Up late last night mordanting the new batch of yarn and fiber, so I can start dyeing it tonight. (It's evening work because that's when power's cheaper.) My bathtub has a rack of damp skeins and smells of wet wool and a touch of iron - perfume to my nose. I could take the rack outside to dry things, but I don't know how larcenous the squirrels here are... I've just signed myself up for the OKG Vendors' Night October 15th, so some of this week's work will probably be going there. (Come out and support a poor student! Preview pictures coming later this week!)

Monday, 27 August 2012


Wonderful weekend at Twist. May take a few days to recover, though. It's very different going to a show as a participant than just attending to shop!

We took the ferry across to Quebec, just for the fun of it, on the way there. Deb and Julie are at the railing during the very short ride.

St-Andre-Avellin is a cute little town, with quite a bit in it for its size. And it looked like the town was getting in the spirit of the festival. On the walk between the arena which was the show venue and the auberge we were staying at, we found several houses and businesses with yarn-bombing in some form. There was a house with a bush trimmed in stockings and scarves, the Caisse-Populaire had a swagged railing and a row of knitted flags, and the railing at the auberge had color-block decorations in fabric swatches.

Staying at the auberge was a great idea. It was cheap (28$/night for a dorm room) and had a full kitchen we could use. Pretty much everyone else staying there were fiber types also, friendly and outgoing. It made for lively conversation at meals, and rendered it completely normal to have handspun yarn drying on the table outside, and a couple project bags mixed with the glasses and plates on the table after dinner. The only minor drawback was that dorm meant 4 bunk beds in a room, metal-framed and vinyl-mattressed - exceedingly noisy every time someone turned over in bed. Fortunately there was enough excitement in the air to compensate for the lack of sleep, and keep me awake during the day.

Friday night was booth set-up - drive into the arena, haul stuff out into our space and start setting up.

Deb took the camera while Julie and I were arranging things and wandered around to document other booths in various stages of completion.

And Saturday and Sunday we were either too busy talking to people (customers or friends - seems like half of Ottawa was down visiting, not to mention my mother and some friends, who came bearing veggies and eggs and dried coreopsis heads for me) or enjoying sitting to take many more pictures. Except I had to get one of what had to be the most unusual outfit I saw there. Pink. Ruffled. Leggings. No-one would believe me, I expect, without proof.

And we collected a few new words. Deb's title has been altered from 'support staff' to 'booth babe'. The terminology is apparently derived from gaming conventions, and the male equivalent is a 'booth bison'. And one of the teachers noted that since she is creative enough that she can sit down and knit just about anything but can't write a pattern to correspond, her daughter has dubbed the condition 'artism'.

All in all, lovely show, but happy to be home again. The cat is happy to have me back also, (and expressed her opinion in many vocal requests for treats and attention). And the last package of blank yarn I had ordered arrived today, so I can start planning dyepots for this week, preparing for the next show...

Friday, 24 August 2012

Zero Hour

Well, this is it, practically. In an hour or so I will be off to Twist. There is a heap of bags in my entry, containing tagged yarns and rovings, all the little essentials like clothes and a toothbrush, and my contribution to our food supply - bread and cranberry muffins I baked last night, and some essentials like tea and sugar - catch me spending 2 days anywhere without a decent supply of tea! And I remembered my camera and fresh batteries, so this may actually be a show I have pictures of.

I've decided not to take the laptop, despite the fact the Auberge does have free Wifi. E-mail has been checked, and there shouldn't be anything urgent (knock wood!) coming up in the next couple days. However, I have packed up a book to read (Dickens' 'Our Mutual Friend') and no less than 4 knitting projects. I know it sounds like a lot but a) they're mostly small things and b) two are already half done. One of which is a pair of my Natalie fingerless mitts, which I started yesterday, on realizing I had kits and patterns to bring, but my knit sample had been sold last month. Normally it's a 2-color pattern, but this is what happens when I've been perusing my Latvian Mitten book.

Mom called to let me know she and her friends would be up Saturday morning, and did I want her to bring anything up? So some garden veg and fresh eggs will be arriving with them... And my cat-sitter will be there Sunday morning, so I can reassure myself as to how the cat is taking my defection.
So all right, here goes. Check mail. Walk cat. And off to the races.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Considering Details and DIP Day

I can't believe how fast the weekend is coming up. I haven't started packing yet for Twist, but I'm getting details taken care of. I've got my float money - the stock of change you start with. Today I pick up the sign I had printed with my booth name. Since there are several other shows I will want a sign at this year, I figured it was worth the 15$ to get it done nicely.

I hadn't really thought about knitting to bring until yesterday. I know the spinning wheel won't fit. So I need a project or two, easy enough that I can pay attention to both it and the booth - no complicated graphs. The mittens I started might be an option - they're coming along nicely.

And I could also bring the yarn for the cushion cover I had in mind.

Then someone pointed out the other day that it's about time to start thinking of Christmas knitting (sad, but true). Plus three babies to knit gifts for coming up. So I could bring something of that sort, if I get organized and do a little stash-diving.

Plan for today is to tackle and hopefully finish the two patterns-in-progress, get the one submitted and the other posted this week. Tomorrow I start packing and labelling, Thursday is baking for the trip, and Friday afternoon we're on our way...

One of my friends found a post on someone's blog, announcing that Sept 2 is DIP day - dye-in-public day. Well, and why not? We already have WWKIP for knitting, and a SIP day for spinning (which I think is in September sometime). The only thing is, it's a bit harder to set up for dyeing in public than spinning or knitting. Whether we actually end up organizing something here or not, if my yarn arrives, I plan to be playing along.

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Entrelac Mitts and Grumbles

Pretty stuff first. Then anyone who's not interested in language-related grumbles can skip the boring bit.

I had an idea a while ago for a pair of mitts with a vertical band of entrelac down the back of the hand, and finally got around to trying it. The final product right now doesn't look quite as I envisioned, but they are, I think, pretty cute.

I've another project I haven't shown off yet, but I'm only posting a little wee spoiler picture, as I want to submit the pattern somewhere, and can't have pictures up elsewhere.

That project is the source of one of my little grumbles today. I had enough yarn left over that I figured I could knit a pair of stranded mittens with it. Twice have I started and twice ripped out in the last couple days - the first time because I thought they were coming out too wide and I didn't like the cuff, and the second time (oh, horror) because it became clear halfway up the mitten that I would not have enough of the contrast color. I've got some other yarn I can use as a contrast, but now I'm just taking a break and rethinking how I'll do it - not wanting to rip out a third time!

 My second little grumble is language related. I read Lynne Truss' book (Eats, Shoots and Leaves) on the case for proper punctuation, and the misunderstandings it can cause. And oh, do I sympathize with her, and with Higgin's query, "Why can't the English teach their children how to speak?". But what's making me go all Lynne Truss right now is the number of people who use the wrong homonym. I know a lot of them have a good education, so why? Sometimes the effect is unintentionally funny, but usually I just get annoyed, and find it rather hard to take them seriously, if the error is in a memo or something.

Take, for example, the flyer I got from the Student Association at the college, letting me know, among other things, that there are "...quiet rooms with study carols..." available. I presume they meant carrells, since carols are songs, and singing while one studies would rather negate the quiet of the rooms, even if the mental image of a bunch of students singing special study songs is rather amusing.

Worse was the unfortunate e-mail I received, in which the sender expressed a wish to "...illicit a response." I sincerely hope the word was meant to be 'elicit', otherwise the sentence is both ungrammatical and raises questions as to the legality and propriety of the response desired.  

Then there is the fact that for years the prize list for the local fair has listed bee balm (monarda, a flower) as Bea Balm. (Who was Bea, I wonder?) And I have lost count of the times I have seen someone write that something 'peaked' their interest rather than 'piqued' it, or mix up 'discrete' and 'discreet'...

Well, it's my own little pet peeve, and enough of a rant for today on it. Have to decide what I'm doing about those mittens before I go out knitting later.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Fall Planning

Now that fair number 1 is over, the next big thing is Twist Fiber Festival. Just over a week until D-Day, and the girls I'm going with are coming over today for lunch and a dry run - we're going to see how much stuff we can fit in the back of the car, since two of the three of us are vendors. The hope, of course, is that there will be much more space on the return trip!

In the same hope, I ordered another lot of blank yarn yesterday. Because two weeks after Twist (and just after I start back to school) is the Wool Gathering at Roxham Corners, near Lacolle, Quebec. I can't give you a link for the Wool Gathering, since I can't find a website for it, but if you google "Roxham Wool Gathering", there are links to artisan sites and contact info. For anyone inclined to a road trip, it's 332 Roxham Road, open 10-4 Sat and Sun (Sept 8-9 this year). Parking wherever you can find space along the road. Local artisans ranging from baskets to jams to photography - and this year, our group also. Chantal and Jo with alpaca stuff from Jo's farm, my dyed yarns and things, and my mother's rugs.

I haven't showed off her rugs yet, have I? She's got an incredible sense of color and balance, which explains why her flower gardens look like a magazine, her arrangements win firsts at the fair, and the house is a feast for the eye.

And, yes, that's part of her upstairs landing/hallway in the last picture, and it really looks like that.

Monday, 13 August 2012

Fair Time

So I meant to post last Thursday, but somehow I managed to save as a draft rather than posting. It was really just an explanation for why I was lax about posting...I wrote:

"Today and tomorrow are busy, busy. No time to take pictures. I'm out at the parents', and Mom and I are running around like the proverbial headless chicken. Must be time for the Fair. Entries to prepare and label, flowers and veggies and baking and handwork...
So far today I've baked bread and rolls, squares and cookies, and filled almost 20 vases with flowers, sewed the buttons on the baby sweater, and tagged everything but the jam and and the veggies."

Now here it is Monday evening, and I've just gotten back to the apartment and unpacked, on the road to recovery from a whirlwind few days.

Fair time was always one of THE excitements of the summer for us as kids. We waited eagerly for the prize-list book to come out so we could see what categories we could enter things in this year. The excited flipping-through and fighting over it came second only to that of the Sears Wishbook before Christmas. Then there was the decision-making - What do I want to enter? What do I have time to make? Followed by a few weeks when we were immersed in getting our entries produced. A friendship bracelet. A Lego display. A creature made of vegetables. And the fair itself - the petting zoo, the demolition derby, a treat of cotton candy, the spending of our small monies on trinkets, the finding out if our hard work had garnered a prize, and the (mostly good-natured) competition as to who had the most prizes.

I've been bringing things to the fair as long as I can remember, and in some ways, nothing's changed. I still like the petting zoo and the demolition derby. The treat of the day is usually ice cream rather than cotton candy, and the buying of trinkets is past. But the preparation is still quite a job, mostly because while you can make things like jam and handcrafts ahead of time, the baking, vegetables, and flowers kind of have to be done in the 24h preceding the Friday 10am deadline, when entries have to be at the fair. And so choosing how much to enter in those categories really boils down to two things: "What do I have time to do?" and "How much will fit in the car?" And Mom and I usually manage to get everything in, barely, and arrive with a few minutes to spare. After 20+ years, it's practically down to an art.

Sunday afternoon we pick up everything and bring it home. There is the sorting out of vases, consolidating what's still good into a minimum of bouquets - there are only so many places one can put a bouquet in the house. The sorting out and storing of vegetables, and the putting away of the paper plates we keep for the purpose and re-use yearly. Finding places for baking and opened jams and relishes in the fridge. Detagging and restoring to their places all the handcrafts. And finally, when we are both ready for a cup of tea and a sit-down, Mom and I count our ribbons to see who did better (Kind of ironic we were doing it on the last day of the Olympics this year). She won this year for total number and number of firsts. She usually does. But I got a Best of Show for one of my flower arrangements and she didn't, so we've both got something to boast!

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Lambs and Llama

The baby sweater is done! Or at least as done as it can be for now. I went looking for buttons while it was blocking, and found (aargh!) that I don't have enough of any one type of button in stash that would work. So they get postponed until I can check my mother's button boxes as well. But I think I like the way blue buttons would look:

It seemed like it took the sweater forever to dry, presumably because I was waiting until after it was blocked to embroider the sheep's faces. So I started on my second Ravellenics project while I was waiting.

More handspun from the Tour de Fleece. Fiber from Bertha's llama, and it's going to turn into the Arcadia shawl - or at least a modified version. I know there's not enough spun to knit the shawl as written, but the original is quite long, so I'm making a shorter version. At the rate it's going, I should be on the edging by tonight...