Archive for August, 2008

Fair Enough

Wednesday, August 27th, 2008

Good lord, I am a big fan of the State Fair. I didn’t truly realize till just the last couple of days how much I really really love going to the State Fair. I love going opening day to check out whether I won any prizes on the years when I enter. I love taking my girls to the fair and doing all the fun activities for kids with them (and I truly feel blessed to have young children with whom to share these activities. They are so fun to watch.) I love going to the fair in the evening with a knitter friend and getting way too technical and nerdy over the knitting displays. I love the food, I love the animals, I love the people and the crowds and the crazy smells and the sun and the dirt and the getting to go home tired at the end of the day. Ahhh…

But after three trips to the fair now in six days, I can say with a “fair” (haha) amount of confidence that I am rilly rilly done with the fair for this year. I’ve eaten my share of junk food. I’ve seen pretty much all of my favorite sights. Some of them several times. I’ve spent way too much money on all the over-priced food and attractions, and I’ve pushed that damned DuoGlider full of 80 pounds of kids over several miles of varied terrain while trying to balance a cup of lemonade, a corn dog and a basket or two of other fried things before they get cold. Whew!

Backing up, on Friday night, my friend Laura and I trekked over to the Fair, spent an hour tracking down all our favorite yummy foods, as well as a bag of Minnesota-grown wool roving, and then another hour or so geeking out in the Creative Activities building. I brought along my premium book and my print-out of the winners, and we perused the cases discussing the various objects, trying to spot the competition in the categories we’d entered, trying to put names to other items that we particularly liked.

And while we were there, we noticed a couple of things. One thing was that although there are only three categories for socks listed in the premium book and in the winners’ list, there were four pairs of socks with blue ribbons on them. There were my rainbow ones, which we assumed had won the plain socks category, there was a pair of Fair Isle ones, which we assumed had won the colorwork category, and then there were two more that looked like they both belonged in the texture category.

These orange ones are gorgeous, and I am in love with them. Anyone know what the stitch pattern is, or who knit them?

Sorry for the blurry picture, but these socks had a diagonal ribbing thing going on, all knit in one handpainted yarn. Also lovely.

Laura and I just couldn’t figure it out. We ended up chatting with the guy in the building’s office about it, and he was clueless, but I did find out later from a reputable source that the judges decided to add a fourth category for socks, which will show up in the premium book next year. Apparently socks were so competitive and have been for so long that they decided they must just go ahead and split out a category. I think my source said something about splitting up the plain socks category into plain stockinette and ribbing categories. I’m not sure how that will work, but I look forward to reading the lot descriptions in the book next summer. I’m also pretty sure the source also mentioned possibly getting rid of the “slippers” category and adding another category to shawls, since they are also incredibly popular.

We also noticed that we thought my blanket had too many ribbons on it, and we spent quite a bit of time trying to figure out where they really belonged. In the end, after much discussion with Dan the office guy, I ended up getting a call the next day from someone in charge of Creative Activities, who explained that we were right, and how the two ribbons in question had been re-arranged. Blankie now has “just” three ribbons attached to it – the blue ribbon for its lot, the purple ribbon for the afghan sweepstakes prize, and the green ribbon for the Needlework Unlimited award.

I had questioned whether the green ribbon really belonged to the blankie, but apparently it does, and also the socks got one just like it. Needlework Unlimited sponsors three special prize ribbons, including best original sock design. While I think it is a bit of a stretch to say that these socks are truly my own design, I suppose they are. I did not claim original design on my entry form, but by the nature of having spun the yarn, by having used my own toes and heels, and by modifying the structure of the coriolis around the ankle by a tad, I suppose I could have.

Most importantly, though, the big blue rosette sponsored by the Thursdays at Four group was put in its rightful place on this beautiful stole by Carolyn Vance. They had gotten the label on it right, but for some reason pinned the ribbon to mine. I really wanted Carolyn to get the recognition for her incredibly intricate work.

Look how each of the little diamonds contains a different lace pattern.

I happened to run into Carolyn in front of the case yesterday morning when the girls and I stopped by to say hello to the blankie – such a happy coincidence! We had a nice little chat, and I think she mentioned that this pattern is in A Gathering of Lace. I’ll have to go take a look eventually. Amazing work, Carolyn – congratulations!

But yes, in case you didn’t catch that -the girls and I went to the fair *again* on Wednesday. It just didn’t seem fair that we had to cut our visit short last week without making it to the rides and the animals that I’d promised them. So we kept our visit to the knitting very very short (just long enough for them to each eat another breakfast of mini-donuts. I know – I’m going to hell.) And then we went and had some real fun…

Sophie was technically tall enough to ride this flying bumblebee without an adult, but I figured the humiliation on my part of riding a giant bumblebee was worth the peace of mind knowing that my baby was a little less likely to tumble out of the bumble.

Somehow I felt a little more comfortable letting them ride solo in the slightly tamer giant crocodiles. Especially considering the big sign declaring that this ride was for children only.

The butterfly house is always a big hit – Julie did great letting the little bugs land on her and tickle her fingers.

Sophie, on the other hand, loved watching the butterflies, but freaked out a bit when they landed on her. She almost squashed one beautiful creature in an attempt to wave it off.

The carousel ride is always my favorite, and I have to point out that the pictures of me and the girls together on these rides are courtesy of complete strangers who I very bravely asked to help us out with the camera. I love helping tourists out with group photos, so hopefully the people I asked felt the same way.

Oh, yeah – and we brought some little house guests home with us. These little guys are supposedly going to turn into Painted Lady butterflies.

Who knows what that yellow muck is on the bottom of the container, but they do seem to enjoy eating it.

And this one is some giant moth that likes to eat Ash tree leaves. Luckily, we have an ash tree in our front yard. Hopefully, this time nobody will die of starvation the way one of the Monarch caterpillars did last year.

The girls like checking these critters out almost as much as I do.

Oh, hey, look – the office room is incredibly messy again. I heard a noise coming from the bed, and found Daisy cat enjoying an empty box.

Oh, people – so much going on. So much I could share with you. Pretty much all of it is very good. I’m looking back at this summer and recognizing that I’ve been slack with the blogging. But I’ve really been focusing on enjoying my girls and living with them in the moment. It’s been good.

Now we are transitioning into fall, and I hope we can hold on to the golden moments of this summer. Last week, Julie said goodbye to her teachers and friends at the wonderful pre-school she attended this summer. Today we went to the open house for her fall classroom – the same room and teacher she was with last year – and next week she’ll be heading back to school.

Next week we’ll also make one more trip back to the fairgrounds to pick up my knitting, my ribbons, and the judge’s comment cards. I can’t wait to read what they had to say, although I’m a little leery of heading over to St. Paul during the Republican convention. I’ll probably share that with y’all, as well as some spinning that’s been going on around here. Lots of spinning!

Floored.

Thursday, August 21st, 2008

People, it was a red-letter day for me at the State Fair today. I have to admit that I snuck a peek at the results (PDF) online while the girls were eating breakfast at home, so I knew what to expect, but that is nothing to arriving in the Creative Activities building and getting a glimpse of this:

Blankie won the blue ribbon for its lot (I’d entered it in the modular-knit afghan lot, but it looks like the judges moved it to the bedspread category – fine by me!) It also won the Sweepstakes prize for all the afghan categories, and a couple of other awards given by local yarn shops to the winner of that prize. Yulp! I’ll tell you what, winning the Sweepstakes at the Fair has been on my “someday” dream list for a long time, but I never thought it would really happen. Blankie looks so happy hanging there, and she is getting lots and lots of attention from the passers by.

I also won a blue ribbon for these beauties. These are the socks I was working on and didn’t want to share with the world till they’d been to the Fair. I still don’t know why. I knit these with my spindle-spun Blue Moon Fiber Arts merino, and they also won the award for best handknit item knit with yarn spun by the entrant. I used Cat Bordhi’s Coriolis swirl pattern, but my own toe and heels.

And one final blue ribbon for the snowflake scarf. I’m a little disappointed with how they displayed it, though. The winning scarves from the other scarf categories are all nicely hung up a few feet away. I can’t complain really though because it is all volunteers who put the displays together, and I know they are crunched for time.

My final entry was the lace-cuffed socks. They were hanging up in a case in the back, no ribbon. It’s a competitive category, and it’s part of what one expects when they enter the fair.

I was at the Fair with my girls and my mother-in-law, so I didn’t have much time to hang out and look at all the other knitting. I’ve been promised a night off to go back to the Fair with a friend, and we will eat ourselves silly and walk through the building taking our sweet time maybe tomorrow night.

Once the boring mommy stuff was out of the way, I made good on my promise to take the girls on the gondola ride – Julie and I in the front, Sophie and Harmony in the car behind us.

I think they enjoyed themselves – it was almost worth the $20 in tickets it cost the four of us for a round trip.

After that we visited the “Little Farmhands” exhibit, where the girls put on aprons and did a little pretend farming.

They fed corn to the fake animals and picked fake produce from the trees. We even milked a fake cow!

Time flies when you’re at the fair, and by then we were hungry and ready for lunch, which included fried green tomatoes (yum!), french fries, hot dogs and lemonade. My corn dog was cold by the time I finished running around collecting all the food and taking Julie to the bathroom, so I’ll have to make up for it with a hot one when I go back.

Unfortunately, we were on our way to the Kidway so Julie and Sophie could ride a kid-sized carnival ride before the parade when Harmony got lightheaded and kind of passed out. I kept my cool and got her some medical attention at the first aid building, which was luckily close by. After several glasses of water, several blood pressure checks and a little lie-down, she was just fine. The girls and I hung out in the waiting area and ended up having a great view of the parade, but once Harmony was released, we headed on out the gate to our van.

On the way out, we spotted Al Franken at his booth (he’s running for Senate here).

We missed out on a couple of important activities today, including the Butterfly House and all of the animal barns, plus that fairway ride that I’d promised them. I think I will find a day next week to take the girls back over and cover the parts that we missed.

Well. Quite the day, both amazingly good and not-so-great. I still can’t believe I won the freakin’ sweepstakes! Woot! Thanks again to all of you who sent yarn to feed the blankie. I really feel like we’ve completed the journey now.

Anticipation

Monday, August 18th, 2008

I’m sitting here watching the Olympics after a nice day hanging out with my girls. It was a pretty lazy Sunday, and Joe was off golfing for much of the day, so the three of us just hung out, ate blueberry pancakes (again! I’m loving the blueberries!) and eventually made a trip down to our neighborhood park on this hot, sunny afternoon.

I’m enjoying these waning days of true summer, but I also feel the beginning of the holding pattern before the shift into fall. The State Fair starts on Thursday, and I can’t stop anticipating all the things that wait there – my entries that I dropped off last week of course – I love walking through the Creative Activities building and searching out my things while admiring all the works of others. I think my in-laws are going to go with the girls and I on Thursday morning, and I will probably only get a chance for a quick sweep through then, but I also think I’ve got plans to go with my knitting-neighbor some evening when we can take our time and really look at all the things there.

But it’s not just about the knitting – not by a long shot. It’s about the food. Oh, the glory of the corn dogs, the fried green tomatoes, the roasted ears of corn, the fresh lemonade and maybe a few other crazy fried things on sticks and of course a sno cone to savor on the way out. It’s about watching the girls enjoy their day – taking them on the carousel, letting them get their faces painted, visiting the petting zoo and the butterfly house, and sitting down to watch the parade in the afternoon. It’s about the crowds and the (hopefully) sunshine.

And, um, yeah, I am excited to visit my knitting at the Fair. It is hard dropping my things off, saying goodbye to them while they take a little vacation to the knitted-artifacts-convention. (And I’m imagining them sitting there saying something like “Hey, buddy – nice seams. Were you knit on circulars or straights? Is that a little mohair I see in your blend?”) I’m trying very hard not to think about the ribbons. I don’t want to jinx anything, and honestly I’ve been surprised more than once in the past by winning a blue for something I thought humble and a lesser or no ribbon at all for something for which I’d carried high hopes. It really does have to be about the learning experience, the joy of seeing my things on display with all the others going in, and anything else will be icing on the cake. Right? Right.

Ahem.

But back to the anticipation. We have only a few more weeks till we say goodbye to the pre-school where Julie has spent so many happy mornings this summer, and till we head back to our community pre-school that my girls are already so familiar with. Part of me is really looking forward to these next steps in my girls’ stories. Sophie will be going to drop-off pre-school for the first time this year – just one morning a week, but still. This will be Julie’s last year of pre-school.

Just as much, I am trying to really hold on to how well this summer has turned out. This spring, I was, to be honest, overwhelmed with worry over how we would get through all the long, unscheduled days. But we added in some structure with planned ahead activities and we kept it laid back and fluid on many of the free days. It worked out. I relaxed, and the girls did too. We mostly enjoyed each other, and our neighbors and friends. Yay, us!

Okay, and on to the fiber goodness. I finished up spinning the bag of Louet Northern Lights roving last week. I made a three-ply out of it – sort of a light worsted weight, but honestly I can’t remember if I counted the yardage yet or not. I suppose I should check the rpi as well and record this stuff, but I was too busy thinking about the next knitting project already.

The important part is that this yarn is super-soft. It is smooth and kind of shiny, and even though my singles were not totally smooth and uniform, it averaged out to pretty straight with the three plies twisted together.

I don’t have any plans for this lovely stuff yet – it’ll speak to me eventually, though.

Oh! and I didn’t load up a photo, but I want to give a shout-out to Lindsey who commented that my Mountain Colors stuff needed more spin in the plying. You were so right! I ran it back through the wheel and gave it another wash. It looked so much better. And then I managed to convince a good friend that she should take it and knit something with it. Hopefully a follow-up on that later.

I’ve decided to put a little motivation on the diamond sweater. I want to be able to anticipate eventually finishing this sucker, and as I proved to myself with the blankie, if you just keep plugging slowly away at a thing eventually it might get done. So – two rows per night minimum. That’s not so much, really. But if I force myself to pick it up and knit a minimum of two rows per night, at least I will be working on it. If I’m in the mood, I can keep working. If I’m not, I can move on to the spinning or something else.

I’m totally loving my new knitting spot on my new couch. This couch is so much more comfy than our old furniture. I’ve got my Ott light right behind me, tons of room to spread out, and the TV straight in front of me. Sweet.

I spent the other night weaving in ends and got to trim off a whole pile of mess.

Here’s what the back looked like at it’s cleanest. Not too intimidating when it’s on good behavior.

And here’s the front. The sleeves are just past my elbows at this point – maybe five or six more inches to go before I can join the underarms to the body of the sweater.

I think I can, I think I can….

Alright, and as a final anticipatory treat, I let myself do a little swatch in the sky-blue merino. The pictures are a little sideways. I used a lace pattern from a Japanese stitch dictionary that I bought at the Yarnery a couple weeks ago. They just got in a nice selection of Japanese knit and crochet books, and I couldn’t help myself.

I’m thinking of a cardigan something like the February Lady sweater, only with this lace substituted and slightly more fitted full-length sleeves.

And that’s it for tonight.

Painting

Friday, August 15th, 2008

Finger Puppets

Wednesday, August 13th, 2008

The weather this afternoon turned out a little wet and stormy. Actually,
we had our second hail storm of the summer – how freaky is that?
Luckily, this was a much less severe than the earlier one – much smaller
stones and far fewer of them.

Still, we ended up inside, and the girls wanted to come down and play in
the basement playroom. Julie unearthed our finger puppet collection, and
much hilarity ensued. I don't know how we ended up with so very many
finger puppets, but there are at least enough for both girls to have one
on each finger at the same time.

New Socks – and Stuff

Tuesday, August 12th, 2008

Not that I didn't already have enough socks on the needles already, but
I was in the mood to start a new simple pair after finishing my state
fair project. I grabbed a random ball from my cotton-wool blend stash,
and so far I'm loving the colors.

By the way, I'm typing this post on my new Sidekick 2008 phone, and the
attached pictures are from its camera. While still not the quality I'd
get on my Canon Powershot, they should be improved over the lower-res
camera that was in my old Sidekick 3. I've mentioned my love for these
phones before, and the new model is more of the same goodness, only a
little better. By the way, if anyone is interested in trying out a
Sidekick 3, I've got one for sale cheap – if you use T-Mobile and are
willing to sign up for the data plan, then it's pretty slick.

I'm including two more photos – one the scene from this morning when I
came out of the shower – the girls cuddled together in Julie's bed. The
other is Sophie petting the neighborhood cat Pip, who she claims is her
own. Truthfully, he was once a stray and one of the neighbors (not one
of the regular cast of characters, but a good one just the same) took
him in, so he roams the neighborhood in good weather but is well fed and
cared for and has a loving home when he wants to be in. He's a very
friendly animal, and generally well-loved except when he brings over a
dead bunny to show off or gets himself trapped in a garage and makes a
mess.

I apologize for what I'm sure is going to be another poorly-formatted
post. Something happens in the translation when I use Blogger's e-mail
interface. Still, I figure this has to be better than no update at
all…

An Interview

Sunday, August 10th, 2008

Me: What is your favorite thing about my knitting?
Joe: Hm…Um…It’s very intricate?

Me: What is your least favorite thing about my knitting?
Joe: It’s all-consuming (laughs).

Me: What is something I have knitted that you recall as being good?
Joe: I don’t know, that blanket I guess – that was pretty good.

Me: Do you think knitters have an expensive hobby?
Joe: It can be.

Me: Do you have any hobbies?
Joe: Yes.

Me: What are your hobbies?
Joe: Uh…Playing video games. [he was clicking away at one on the computer the whole time we talked]

Me:what else?
Joe: Golfing? Sitting around doing nothing?

Me: What about brewing beer?
Joe: Sure, I guess that’s a hobby. Why, do I not have enough hobbies?

[At this point there was an aside in the conversation]
Joe: I’m hungry.
Me: Do you want a chocolate chip cookie? [there are some baking in the oven as I type]
Joe: No, I think I might make some ramen. [Joe eats a lot of ramen - the spicy Korean kind]

Me: If we compared money spent on hobbies, who would win?
Joe: You? I don’t know, that’s a good one.

Me: Has my knitting in public ever embarrassed you?
Joe: No.

Me: Do you know my favorite kind of yarn?
Joe: Pomfret?
Me: Yes! You got it!
Joe: I pay attention – sometimes.

Me: Can you name another knit blog?
Joe: Yarn Harlot. huh. That’s hard to say.

Me: Do you mind that I want to check out yarn stores everywhere we go?
Joe: No.

Me: Do you understand the importance of a swatch?
Joe: Yes.
Me: What is it?
Joe: So you can figure out -um- how many stitches are in a certain amount of space or something like that. Is that close?
Me: [Laughing] Yes.

Me: Do you read The Heathen Housewife?
Joe: Yes..

Me: Have you ever left a comment?
Joe: Yes, I believe so.

Me: Do you think the house would be cleaner if I didn’t knit?
Joe: Yes. [pause] Maybe.

Me: Is there anything you would like to add in closing?
Joe: You people are crazy.

Catching Up Again

Friday, August 8th, 2008

Hi, still here, still having a busy-fun summer. I’ve downloaded pictures again, and I have lots to share.

First, though, I wanted to thank everyone who commented on the spinning video post. I’m glad you liked it. I didn’t even think twice about showing Daisy-cat laying there on the bed. She does occasionally play with the roving as I spin, and she does love to lay on squishy yarn and knitted items. But she is also fifteen years old, so she is no longer the frisky kitten she once was.

And Doug, you do keep asking the good questions. It is sort of possible to coast – but the treadles would keep moving as long as the wheel keeps moving. Really, the treadling is not at all difficult, at least not on my wheel. It is made with sealed bearings that are quite smooth, and it has – um – gears? in the back – different-sized tracks for both the circumference the drive band travels around the wheel and also for the distance it travels around the cog that drives the flyers. So you can adjust the ratio of turns of the wheel to turns of the flyers anywhere from 6:1 to 19:1. My wheel is a pretty good size, but the Schacht-Reeves model that I tried out when I was test-driving wheels has a bigger wheel, which does allow for higher ratios. Blah, blah, blah…technical details. But you hit the nail on the head when you said that if I wanted to do less work, I could just buy the yarn pre-made. Or, for that matter, I would just go buy my socks and sweaters at the store. But where’s the fun in that? And the treadling is part of the soothing meditative rhythm that one gets into as they spin.

Moving on, I have lots of cute-kid pictures to share. Jason was over at our house watching Sophie last week, and as he was getting ready to leave, we were sitting in the living room chatting for a few minutes. Sophie spontaneously climbed up in his lap for a hug. I think he was a little freaked out by the affection, but he rolled with it just fine. He was also quite relieved that I didn’t make him change the wet diaper she was wearing before he left.

Also last week, the girls were playing together while I took my shower. When I came out, I found this little scene. Sophie and a bunch of stuffed animals lined up on the bed, playing the students to Julie’s teacher.

Julie was sitting there asking the cutest little questions like “Where do eggs come from?” and “What color are strawberries?” and then either Sophie would answer the questions, or Julie would answer on behalf of one of the stuffed animals.

Later, I found a couple other scenes – the animals were taking their nap…

And this is a fairly typical Lego sculpture. I love how intricate and detailed they can get.

We’ve still been following a no-enforced-nap policy for Sophie, which is working out great on the days when she actually makes it through dinner time without falling asleep. On the other hand, we find ourselves with situations like this many days, leading to continued late nights more often than I would like.

On to the knitting front – last week I finished a series of my Toe-Up Socks class, which was pretty successful. I had several barely-more-than-beginners in the class, and the technique for the toe involves a somewhat steep learning curve. Here are a few of their results…

My own knitting continues as well. I’ve been cranking away on a project I’ll share with you after the State Fair is over – I don’t know why I don’t want to show it off on the blog just yet, but for whatever reason, I seem to need to keep it to myself for now. In the mean time – let’s pause for a little freak-out – State Fair entry time already? That’s my really milestone for the beginning of the end of Summer. So sad!

I will just note again that while Cat Bordhi has some awesome ideas for knitting, the way her most recent book is organized and written makes absolutely no sense to me. I mean, I’m a pretty smart cookie. I used to program computers for a living. But I simply could not puzzle out a good chunk of the directions for one of her socks even after mooching alphabet stitch markers off my awesome knitting neighbor and spending a couple of hours boggling over it as I flipped back and forth through pages all over the book. Argh! I’m really sorry that I can’t recommend this book.

I am also still working on the purple diamonds sweater, but it is still quite slow going. I came really close to signing up for the Ravelympics on the Minnesota team in the WIPs Wrestling event, but I don’t want to pressure myself to finish the damned thing in the next two weeks and I know I don’t have time to participate in the forums and keep pictures posted and stuff. But I think I will try to focus on that sweater once the State Fair project is done. I’ve got to drop my submissions off by next Wednesday, so that will free me up.

On to spinning!

For a brief moment last week, the wheel was empty. It’s a bit surprising that the thing wasn’t smoking, really. I’ve had it awfully busy since it came home with me.

I started with 8 ounces of Mountain Colors Targhee roving in the Lupine colorway. That link is to the Loopy Ewe’s listing for it, but I bought mine locally at Needlework Unlimited. It’s pretty sticky wool, and while I’ve seen reviews online saying that it drafts like a dream, I found it to be pretty tough. I think I prefer the smoothness of merino so far. I ended up doing a two-ply with this stuff, and it came out to an average of worsted weight or so – some a bit thinner, chunks of it pretty chunky.

It’s pretty (pretty uneven), but I have no idea what I might knit with it. I have almost 500 yards of the stuff if I counted correctly. Any ideas?

After I finished that off, I was certainly ready for something a little softer. I had a giant pile (16 ounces) of Ashland Bay merino in the Primrose colorway that I’d picked up at The Fiber Studio. It’s the cotton-candy-soft stuff I was working with in my video, and I am in love with it.


I turned it into about 1450 yards of sport-to-worsted weight two-ply. It is so lovely, I can hardly wait to knit it up. I want to make a lace sweater for myself out of it. I’ve been flipping through stitch dictionaries dreaming about it, and as soon as I finish the diamonds sweater I’ll start swatching for it.

And I was SO going to leave the wheel alone for a while and focus on the sweater. But then this happened. It’s eight ounces of Louet Northern Lights roving in the Grape Jelly colorway. There is no information either on the packaging or their web site as to the breed specifics of this wool, but it feels a lot like the Targhee from Mountain Colors. I bought this locally as well – at Knitter’s Pallette in Lakeville. It was pretty much an impulse buy, but it is pretty and since it came as pencil roving, I’m struggling a little less with getting it to draft than I did with the Mountain Colors stuff.

And back to the kids’ antics…

We’ve been spending quite a bit of quality time at the parks, since the weather has been mostly pleasant lately. It is so fun for me to watch my girls playing *together*. They love to chase each other around.

Julie chased Sophie to the top of this hill, and Sophie was afraid to climb down it by herself – it is a little steep – so Julie went back up and held her hand while they walked down together.

Our block celebrated National Night Out on Tuesday with a street party. I wasn’t there because I was off teaching a class, but Joe took some pictures…

A big city truck stopped by for the kids to climb on and explore.

There were hot dogs and chips, and the kids rode around on their bikes.

McGruff the Crime Dog stopped by on a motorcycle with a side car. Lots of neighbors took turns climbing in. I think Sophie sat in the sidecar, but Julie refused. Typical.

I wish I’d been there, and I will try to remember to schedule myself free for next year.

And today we were back at a different park. The girls shared a horsie ride.

Julie has discovered the joy of twisting the swing chains and spinning round and round…

And also continuing to play Big Sister by giving Sophie lots of pushes on the swing. Sophie ate it up.

Lots more I could share, but it is well past my bed time. Night-night!

Perfect

Friday, August 1st, 2008

It's a perfect summer evening. The air is dry, and the temperature is in
the high 70s. We've had our dinner, and are relaxing with popsicles by
the back steps before we head in for bath and bed.

Spin Vid

Friday, August 1st, 2008

This is a little embarrassing. What I’m about to share with y’all. Doug wanted to see the spinning wheel in action, so I decided to put together a little video showing how it works. Only, it’s me doing the showing – me a beginning spinner who can hardly remember the names for all the parts. Me, with the high-pitched nasally voice and the fat gut displayed prominently at the side of the screen. And it’s not exactly high entertainment. In fact, I bored Joe practically to tears in the five minutes it took for me to record the video. But anyway, in case anyone is interested…

See? I told you.

I have lots of other pictures and stuff to share, but am honestly still too mesmerized by the wheel to give up my free time to decent blogging. I will say that I am in love with the yarn that I’m making right now. It’s crazy-soft merino, in subtle heathers of mostly blue with some green, yellow, and pink flecked in. I bought twelve ounces of this wool, and have finished spinning about two thirds of it as of very late last night. I have two huge squishy skeins that I just can’t stop cuddling. It’s a two-ply somewhere around sport-weight, and so far I have about a thousand yards of it. I’m meditating on what it might become knit up, and thinking I might be able to stretch the finished yardage into a lacy sweater for myself. I’ve been wanting to knit up a lacy sweater. We’ll see.