Monday, August 28, 2006

Giving up already?

Not quite yet...I'm speaking of course about the spindling. So far I've tried it three times, devoting about 4 or 5 hours of practice over three nights. My first attempt went fairly well and despite a lot of 'first-try' mistakes I was pleased with the almost immediate results. I was actually able to spin some yarn...lumpy and uneven yarn, but near the end there appeared to be hope. The second try (see pic) was more of the same except for the last 5 to 10 minutes when things seemed like they were starting to click...the drafting was feeling smooth and natural and the single I was working on looked pretty uniform. This had me excited for the third session which I was sure would go as well or even better, but didn't. In fact that only lasted about 15 minutes before I got too frustrated. It was like everything that had started to come together at the end of the second session was nowhere to be found for the third. At that point I decided to lay it all aside and work on some knitting instead. So I think it's time for me to seek some outside help! I was in touch with Cityside Yarn and they gave me the number of a local woman who gives lessons in spinning on a drop spindle. I'll give her a call soon and see if I can set something up. Until then I'm just going to concentrate on the knitting.

In fact that leads me to my plans for Labor Day. My big goal is to finish the bear skin rug. I've been dragging this project out forever and it's time for some closure. I'll have three days to do it which is much more than enough. And if I have some extra time, I'd also like to finish the last clog. That would then allow me to pick up the yarn I got a while ago and start the lace shawl! But I'm getting ahead of myself... if nothing else, I will finish the rug... I will finish the rug... I will finish the rug...

So Ruth-Anne has left me. Some of you may recognize that name as one belonging to my co-worker, friend and knitting accomplice. She has always said that after both of her kids were graduated from high school she'd do something for herself. And that apparently has to involve her moving to Colorado! Not that I blame her. She has the freedom to make the move and the help of a friend who already lives there. He's even invited her to stay with him while she settles in and and looks for work. Hell, I'd do the same thing if I were single and in her situation. Though I'll really miss her, I know that she's going to have a great time out there. And of course we'll keep in touch. After all she did promise to buy me stuff at Lush and mail it to me to save on their own super high shipping costs!

LISTENING TO: GENE LOVES JEZEBEL - "Immigrant" This is GLJ's second album which was in my opinion largely underrated. Granted, it was hard to top "Promise" but there were plenty of great songs here..."Stephen," "Shame," and "The Rhino Plasty" are all GLJ classics. If only the brothers Aston could have kept the momentum going and the group together!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Socks and Spindles

As you can see by the progress bars on the right, I am now finished with the Alpaca socks! It took me forever, not because they were hard, just because I was being bad and neglecting them. But they're done, they're on and they're keeping my toes toasty as I type. I ended doing them both using only continental knitting. This is the first project I've felt good enough about my continental knitting skills to do so and I'm quite pleased with the results. I ended up really liking the fluid nature of it and will likely continue on with it.

I've also gotten a head start on the second clog. If I'm lucky and can sneak in a bit of knitting here and there, maybe I'll get them done this weekend. They really don't take too awful long, they just require quite a bit of concentration, especially for the soles.

Over the last weekend I was reading through Sean's blog and about how he's taking spindling classes and learning to spin yarn using a drop spindle. The whole idea of that sounded really interesting and fun, so I did some research online about the process, the many variations of spindles and kinds of yarn you can spin on them. It was then then I got that all too familiar feeling, that feeling of no turning back, the tiny pangs of pre-obsession building in my belly before I'd even held a spindle in my hand. My curiosity has been piqued and I knew I'd have to give it a try myself (I'm guessing a few of you are probably wired similarly...).

The first thing I did was contact Sean to get some advice on how to begin. Let me tell you, he is the nicest guy and offered all kinds of helpful tips to start me on my way. While at work I called the LYS (Cityside Yarn Co. here in Bangor) to see if they had any inexpensive wool roving I could experiment with. They did and I headed over after work to buy some. Though I had planned on making my own spindle to play with before investing in one (thanks for the suggestion, Sean!), they ended up having a kit that had an inexpensive bottom whorl Ashford spindle, an 8 oz bag of wool roving and instructions. After talking for a bit with Cheryl at the shop about spinning and the possibility of getting hooked up with a spinner there for some lessons, that's what I ended up getting. So after wrapping things up here, I'm headed off to play with my new spindle! I hope to have some pictures to share with you soon of my first attempt. It will most likely be laughably bad, but that's part of the fun of learning something new, right? Anyway, wish me luck!

LISTENING TO: ECHO AND THE BUNNYMEN - "Ocean Rain" Arguably their finest album, it serves as a kind of bridge between their early and later styles, while leaning a bit heavily on Ian McCulloch's overly dramatic vocals. This was the Bunnymen at their creative best. Full of great playing and unusual instrumentation, it's a cohesive, daring record with nary a clucker on it.

Monday, August 14, 2006


I'm feeling like I never have time to knit anymore. Maybe it's just a summer thing. We've had some guests and visitors which take a lot of time away from such personal pursuits. Plus outdoor projects... gardening, resealing the driveway, painting the back deck, etc... I know that I'll have more time in the fall and winter. And being in Maine, that's a l-o-n-g winter, so that's a plus for knitting, if no other reason. But for now I feel like I'm lucky if I get one night a week to knit at all. And when I do, I feel guilty, like I should be doing some other household chore. Arghhhh!

Here's a picture of our other dog, Tully. Though many find it hard to believe, she isn't a black lab. She is part Golden Retriever and part Bull Mastiff. She's a real beauty with a personality to match and we love her to pieces!

Hope you're all doing well and I hope to return soon with a post that's actually about knitting! Til then...

LISTENING TO: ULTRA VIVID SCENE - "Joy 1967-1990" A highly underrated band on the 4AD label, UVS features great songwriting from one man band Kurt Ralske. UVS's style is probably most easily lumped into the "shoegazer" category and though there is an element of that style, it's not really a fair assessment. This CD has "Special One,"a really fun duet with Kim Deal of Pixies and The Breeders.

Friday, August 11, 2006

The Visit

The visit with Royce has been lots of fun...we're doing our usual things...movies, card playing, eating and lots of laughter! Last night we went with Diane to a nice new Greek restaurant in Brewer called Kosta's. Everything was wonderful (especially the spanakopita!) and we'll definitely be going back.

On Wednesday we went to see The Descent. For those of you who haven't seen this and are fans of the thriller/horror have to go see it! I would absolutely rank it up there as one of the scariest and smartest horror movies I've ever seen. The story follows a group of thrill seeking women who go caving and the majority of the action takes place underground. From the moment the group enters the cave there is a feeling of dread, the tension starts building from there and it doesn't let up until the final moments of the movie. Oh, and it's worth mentioning that there are moments of truly panic-inducing claustrophobia which could be an issue for some! That being said, I must also say that this movie is really well done and has as much (if not more) psychological horror as it does blood/gore which was nice for a I'm getting older, I am appreciating that more! All in all, highly recommended! If you see it, let me know what you think!

LISTENING TO: THE AUTUMNS - "In The Russet Gold Of This Vain Hour" A great CD that I found in the cut-out bin. And boy am I glad I did. This band has traces of Cocteau Twins-like beauty, but with a darker edge and a great male singer. Not quite goth...a pretty, dark album.

Friday, August 4, 2006


My friend Royce is coming in tonight and staying with us through next weekend. I probably won't get much knitting done nor do I think I'll have much time to post during that time. But I did want to give a quick post here so no one thought I went AWOL. And I'll still be checking in from time to time through the week too, so I won't be totally absent. To keep you company, here's a picture of one of our pooches, Parkyr! Hope you all have a great week.

LISTENING TO: THE LONDON SUEDE - "Coming Up" A great record from this British band. Combines the best stylistic elements from their previous two records and melds them into what might just be their best outing. Brett Anderson has a distinctively cool voice, lots of character and a fine falsetto. Plus lots of gender-bending lyrics thrown in for good measure.