Where's my welcome wagon


Here I am, 14 hours after I left the house this morning, in the Frankfurt Lufthansa lounge. I don't know how many of you remember my last layover in Frankfurt, but I'm hoping this one is far less exciting. So far so good.

I haven't slept yet, so there has been knitting, there has been reading and there has been a bit of bad movie viewing. I'll probably grant myself a nap once the sleep deprivation hallucinations set in. Weeeee! Better than the free booze for entertainment. All this in hopes of getting close to the 12.5 hour time difference in India. I realize this may be an ill conceived plan as my work schedule these next two weeks is not yet finalized. I may end up actually needing to work a 9-5 PDT which is overnight in Pune.

In the mean time, Leo is taunting me with pictures and audio from home.

Nothing like a little puppy face to make you homesick.

Crappy segues brought to you by Jetlag® (A wholly owned subsidiary of Wonky Moods Inc.)

Last post before I leave


I'm in a bit of a fog with all I have to do before I leave tomorrow, so this post will be a bit haphazard. That said, let's get to it.

I stopped by OFFF on Sunday for just a little while. Leo and Panda drove down with me but when we found out dogs weren't allowed even to the outdoor sections, Leo and Panda went off to check out the town and I wandered the booths.

My first and favorite stop was Janel's of Chameleon Colorworks and Spindlicity.

Hey Julia, see that big bag on the left, that's all BFL, baby!"

More about what I got there, below.

I walked around all the other booths and showed surprising strength of will, even when passing the Wooly Winder stand. Mmmmm, Wooly Winder.

But what would a flock and fiber festival be without some flock?

I'm not crazy about livestock but I can't help but appreciate these guys.
I didn't take a ton of pictures of the festival, knowing they'd be a dime a dozen online. But let me tell you, there was much to be seen. I'll have my calendar marked for this event again next year.

After the festival, Leo, Panda and I were thirsty and ready to find some lunch. Leo spotted this place on his way back to pick me up.

It seemed serendipitous, I had to go in.
There was a bar and a restaurant and I went into the bar portion.

I enjoy a beer as much as the next person but Bud?

Lunch was every bit as spectacular as the decor. The "Coke" I ordered for Leo was a grocery store brand and the bags she packed our lunch in came from the 99¢ store. Now that is one classy establishment.
When I asked about the history, the bartender said it'd be around for many many years, and had gone through several incarnations. She didn't seem to know much more than that. When I told her there was a spinning festival going on down the road, she seemed politely half interested.

On the way home, I fondled my new rovings. 4 ounces each of 4 different colorways from Janel's booth.

Here, from left to right, Optim in colorway "Pearl," Merino/Viscose in colorway "Autumn" and a one-off colorway that I simply think of as "Peach" in the same Merino/Viscose blend.

Also, on the wheel and nearly completely spun up, some alpaca in colorway "Iris."

It's spun at a pretty fine weight and has a range of shades from nearly yellow green to blue to purple and all sorts of in-betweens.

I don't know about you, but when I spin these beautifully dyed colorways, there's always one color that makes a minor cameo amongst all the more dominant shades. Usually, it's a color that on its own, may not impress me, but mixed in with all the colors, it just sings. With this colorway, the shade is a soft dusty blue, more subtle than the dominant blue shade you see in the pictures. When I see that special blue coming up to my fingers, I always get a little excited. I felt the same way about the pink shade in my Autumn Spice roving. I hope to finish spinning and maybe even plying this fiber before I leave, but if not, I know I’ll be coming home to a relaxing treat.

Great, now I have even more to miss


Well, it looks like I'm headed back to India for a couple weeks, starting on Wednesday or Thursday. So now, I will be away from Leo and Panda, my two little rays of sunshine AND El Matchador, my new constant companion (is it just me or does "constant companion" sound like a personal hygiene product?). I expect this trip to be much more intensive and less fun all around, but I still hope to make the best of it. I'm a touch nervous about going without anyone I know and as the sole representative for my company. But let's not talk about work, let's talk about freshly spun yarn.

The Red Maple roving worked up quickly at a nice thick and thin, mostly worsted weight yarn, once plied. Do you want to see something amazing? Here are the two bobbins after I finished plying them.

Please excuse the lighting, it was evening when I did the plying.

I had all of maybe 12-18 inches of singles on one bobbin when the other emptied. There was no planning, no trying, just magic. *sigh* It'll never happen again.

I thought the red purple would look nice against the cement of the back patio.

It's a thick and lofty yarn, with out too much spin, and the results are every bit as squoochy and sproingly as you'd want it to be. I already have plans for some of this.

Panda gives it a due air of elegance.

After the merino, I pulled out some more roving dyed by Chasing Rainbows Dyeworks (alas, still no website) that I bought from Carolina Homespun. The colorway is "Purple Haze" and it's a heavenly mix of purples and steel grays. The blend is Merino/Bombyx and I had 2 ounces worth.

I spun it up pretty finely because I wanted to try to use the Navajo Plying technique. For those who haven't tried it before, Navajo plying is a means of achieving a three ply yarn off a single bobbin by, in essence, working very long crochet chain stitches. It takes a touch of coordination, but with a little practice, it's actually quite fun. I started with some scrap yarn I had and got the motion down, before trying it with my new singles.

The results are nice; a nearly balanced 3 ply with lots of sheen and a soft hand.

There's a lot I'm going to miss while I'm away.

A lot indeed.

Went to OFFF today, will post about that soon.

After seeing MK Carroll's Knitty Gritty episode, I popped off a little comment to her and we started conversing. Turns out, she was going to be in my area, right about...well…now. So she invited me to a local Knitting Guild which offers two free visits for non-members. I went last night and had a great time. I met some lovely people, MK included, who made me feel incredibly welcome to my new town and who didn't act the least bit put off by my rather clumsy conversation and non sequiturs.

First, there was Amanda, who kindly welcomed me to her table when I showed up late and popped down in a corner. She was gracious enough to forgive me when I, in my infinite social nervousness, didn't recognize her name. Sorry! She just happened to be sitting next to MK and then introduced me to the rest of the table; Katrina, Chrissy and Donna one other woman whose name has escaped me but who should not take that as any reflection of my opinion of her. I'm still trying to find someone in Portland who is mean, but I'm not having any luck. To paraphrase Leo, who is paraphrasing someone else, "If you can't find the jerk in the group, chances are, it's you." I'm kidding of course, no need to fill my comments with reassurances.

Since I didn't take any pictures while there, I'll have to leave you with some Panda goodness instead.

Here's my little girl all curled up and sleeping on the couch, one chilly morning this week.

When she hangs out by the computer, Leo calls her our little firewall.

And here she is, realizing that she can see Leo on the other side of the window. He's taunting her and she's barking.

I spy, with my little eye, something beginning with "L."

Every time I pull a new skein of wheel spun off my niddy noddy, I'm inspired anew to crack open my stash of roving and see how the next fiber will work up. This time, I pulled out my supply of Red Maple Merino, one of the Almost Solid Series fibers that Amy offers. It took me a few yards before I really started to get the feel for the merino. It's a more challenging fiber for me to control than some of the others I've spun lately, but I think the practice paid off. This stuff is sproingy, soft and airy. I'm spinning it a little thick and not too tightly (I hope) in an attempt to maintain it's great innate qualities.

During my lunch break, I often eat a quick bite before sitting down to spin a bit. Monday was no exception. As I did so, Spongebob playing on the tube and Panda sitting beside me (try to top THAT for a lunch break), Leo stopped and watched me for a moment. I look up and our eyes meet. He smiles and says "Can I try?"

Well, short of offering to do all the housework forever onward, there are few things he could have said that would have filled me with more joy. So hurtling over pre-drafted yarn, a sleeping pup, and nearly crashing into the coffee table in my excitement, I ushered him over to El Matchador. We practiced starting up and maintaining the speed of the wheel with the treadle and then I reattached the unspun fiber to the yarn on the bobbin and held his hands while we drafted together. After a bit, I left him to try it on his own, offering advice when he asked.

Let’s be honest, though, I am probably not the person to be teaching anyone to wheel spin right now. After a few minutes, Leo gave up in frustration. I removed his yarn from the bobbin and piled it carefully next to El Matchador and started back to my own spinning.

Later, he picks the small pile of yarn up off the table and begins to straighten it out and untwisting it. "How will you salvage this?" He asks innocently.

"I don't plan to salvage it, I love it," I say as I snatch it from his hands before the fibers are completely set loose. "It's sentimental now."

He smiles and walks off and I go into the kitchen to do the dishes. And then he realizes the implications of what I've said. From behind me, I hear "You're going to BLOG about this aren't you?"

I don't meet his gaze.

"I won't if you don't want me to."


He kisses my neck, gives me a little hug and says, “go ahead.”

He's a keeper.

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