May 2009


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From last Saturday.

Today’s big excitement: I really can spin while walking at my normal pace. If I actually do spin on my way to work (as I did today) every not-raining day this summer, I’ll have a lot of laceweight to weave with by the time I start to weave.

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• I finished reading the 20 Aubrey/Maturin novels, in only about a month. I highly recommend them. (I do read quickly, but not usually quite so quickly for so long.)

• I started knitting a sock with my superwash BFL sock yarn, and I spun some superwash merino for the baby hat that I’m going to knit instead of socks:

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The yarn is from Boogie’s heather batts, in Golden Banana, but I’ve been thinking of the yarn as chocolate-mint.

• There are ducklings in the biopond!

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(Turtles are out, too.)

• There are columbines in the garden around the biopond:

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• I’ve been listening to a less-focused playlist recently, including a lot of music I haven’t played in the last couple of years.  I continue to be impressed by how much I associate certain songs with certain time periods.

At Maryland, I was looking around for a new spindle. I wanted one that was not rim-weighted and neither too expensive nor too light. I didn’t see anything like that, so I ordered one from Butterfly Girl Designs last week. It showed up last night, and it’s very zippy.

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It seems to want to spin fine (no arguments here), so I’m spinning my Spunky merino/bamboo in Sumac. (I figure lace is a good use for 2oz of something really pretty…)

I did a bit of wheel-spinning-finishing over the weekend:

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I took one of the three batts of my Cabaret Hooves and used it to try to remind myself of how to do one-handed long-draw. It worked better with a modified/supported long-draw, but it was fun to spin. It has become a graduation present for my new-Ph.D. neighbor, so she gets to decide what to do with the 160yds.

I continue to knit on my chai shawl while reading Aubrey/Maturin novels. I’m a little more than halfway through book 19, so I should be back to getting enough sleep only science and cooking and fibers keeping me up late pretty soon.

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I’ve added the bud lace pattern from Swallowtail. I think I’m going to switch to something else as an edging pattern, and I’m debating about adding a black-with-sparkles bit so the shawl can be bigger. (I’ve only got the 4oz of chai, so I’m thinking maybe an ounce of black.)

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These are from the gardens at the Cloisters, taken last month.

I camped at Patapsco again, with my friend Sarah.  We were both really amused by the size of the tent we stayed in–it’s officially a ten-person tent, and there were just the two of us this year, but it’s hard to argue with a free tent.

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This photo is from last year, when there were three of us in the huge tent.  It’s a very different experience, camping in a tent that’s tall enough to stand up in, that has a porch, and that has room to spare even after all of everyone’s stuff is inside, instead of using a backpacking-type tent.  The only drawback, really, is that it takes up all the space in the trunk of the small rental car when you shove it in without folding because it’s raining out.  (It was a good thing there were only two of us in the car on the way back.)

I didn’t take a lot of pictures during the festival.  On Saturday, I thought, “Oh, I’ll just look at stuff today and take pictures tomorrow, when it’s less crowded and I’m done with shopping,” and then Sunday was rainy enough that I left my camera in the car.  (So there’s one photo of Sarah spinning on a charkha at the Journey Wheel booth, but that’s it.)

The bulk of my festival purchases were things I saw in the first half-hour or so, in the first row of tents.  (That is, the middle row of tents, but the first row we looked into.)

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This is a ceramic turtle that I picked up for my mom for Mother’s Day.

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And this is 8oz of wool/seasilk (I think the wool is merino, but it doesn’t say) from Creatively Dyed, which I think I’m going to spin as singles.
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This is 4oz of cormo/bamboo in a gorgeous Tiger Eye colorway that looks even nicer in real life than in this photo.
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And this (fiber, the Kundert I already had) is a green Shetland from Spirit-Trail, which I started spinning on Saturday evening.  Spinning in front of a campfire is fun, but it’s a lot harder to spin evenly without proper light.
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I didn’t buy any fiber on Sunday, just a felted cat toy with a faint rattle inside–Mel likes it more than his expression in that photo would suggest–and a shawl pin that may occasionally act as a hairstick, plus some dye and some amazing honey.  I continued to try out spindles, but I didn’t find any that had to follow me home.  The one piece of equipment I tried that I really wanted was a right-hand-orifice 30″ Schacht-Reeves.  It spun sooooo smoothly.  I still want to try a single-treadle CPW-type at some point, but I figure there’s plenty of time before I have the space and cash for a big saxony.

The other big excitement was seeing a grey treefrog–that more than made up for having to walk through the rain at 4:30am to get to the bathroom.  I was slightly disappointed that I didn’t get to hang out with anyone outside my usual fibery circle, but I had a lovely, relaxed time, even with having to pack the car (and disassemble the tent) in the rain.  I need to pretend more often that I don’t have electricity–it’s not such a bad thing to go to bed early.

And, now that I’ve finally finished this post, I’m going to read for a bit and then go to bed.

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I found this in an old photo album of my grandmother’s.

Happy May, whether as labor day, à JoCo, or by Morris dancing. I’m off to MDSW this afternoon–should be fun, even if it’s wetter than the last couple of years. (Say hi if you see me there!)