music & dance

Today’s eye candy (from Wednesday afternoon)


…is up late because I went out last night:

Stars, at the Unitarian Church. It was the first time I’d been to a concert in the sanctuary rather than the basement–I was happy about the acoustics, and the height of the stage, and the general attractiveness of the space, but it was just as unairconditioned as the basement. Extra bonus non-optional sauna with concert ticket…

But, since I was hanging out near the back, where there was an occasional breeze from the doorway, I got some spinning done:

This is about half of last night’s concert-spinning. The first half was the last bit of the first ply of this yarn; this is the beginning of the 2nd (of an eventual 3ply).

Today’s translation of “random” post: “Hey, look! Pictures!”

Mel, wondering why I kept shining lights in his face. (Mostly the autofocus thingy.)

Oscar, one of the cats I’m co-catsitting for Min.

Oscar again.

Felix, Min’s other cat.

Felix “pretending to be cute”, as Min put it.

Mel, far enough away from the camera that it’s not disturbing him. (This was a couple of weeks ago, when it was cooler.)

Knitting! I’m making good progress on my sunflower shawl, thanks to the knitters’ housewarming I attended on Saturday and the Momix show I attended on Sunday. (Yes, it’s tricky to knit lace in a dark theater, but I only made one mistake. And I was exhausted, so the fidgeting helped counteract the darkness-with-soothing-music. It helped that I was on the aisle, so I could use the emergency lights in the stairs to read my (backlit) stitches.)  Please pretend I vacuumed before taking that photo.  I meant to, but I couldn’t bear to disturb Mel, who was napping peacefully a couple feet away.


And on my way to Min’s yesterday evening, I stopped at the pet-supply store, mostly to ask about the cat-for-adoption (from a local rescue org) whom I hadn’t seen recently (he’s been adopted, and seems to have taken to his new family quite nicely).  I wound up chatting with the storekeeper, though, because she asked about my Mirah shirt, and whether it meant I was going to Mirah’s show at the Unitarian Church next month.  I’ve now checked the R5 show listings, and I’ve found two I want to attend: Mirah, even though she’ll be here the Monday after I move, and Stars.  I’m sorta happy and sorta frustrated, since I haven’t had lots of spare energy lately even without concerts…  (Also, I wish they were at World Cafe Live instead of the Church.  I like being able to sit at shows–it means I can see better, and it means I can knit more easily.  And WCL has better (i.e., palpable) air conditioning.)

Not that I often do think of clever titles…

Part I: Spinning Update (with mention of knitting)

I spent a fair chunk of yesterday afternoon plying smallish bits, and I’ve spent much of my at-home spinning time on plying, so I have a good-sized pile of yarn to wash tonight:


I’ve also got a lot more plying to do–silk, merino/silk blends, merino/silk with cashmere/silk unless I change my mind soon, all those orangey AbbyBatts (hmm, still have to wind those, too), and some oatmeal BFL:


I’m also nearly done with the first half of the Blaze batts (Southern Cross Fibre) that a very nice person gave away at the spinning retreat last month; they’ve been my wandering-around spindle project. Knitting-wise, I’m substantially closer to finishing the sample knitting project I’ve been working on since I finished Springtime Bandit. And I think I’ve picked a project for my Good Fortune yarn. Hey, I don’t think I put a good picture of it here, so maybe I should do that now.


Part II: Friday evening

Friday evening was great. Also highly unusual for me. (I tend to be tired on Fridays and just want to chill with Mel and maybe some knitting or spinning.) Instead, I used my postponed ticket from February to see Sweet Honey in the Rock. They were, as always, amazing–they’re on my fairly short list of Performers To See Whenever Possible, along with Bobby McFerrin, Anonymous 4, Pilobilus, and Momix. And many thanks to the sound-engineer types at the Kimmel Center on Friday, whether it was the guy with Sweet Honey or local staff–I didn’t need my earplugs. It got a little close during a couple of songs, but it is so nice to be able to hear the occasional (excellent) concert without earplugs…and without pain, too.

And then I went off to a book-swap-and-games party that wound up also including some shape-note singing, so I got to sing, and I came home with a few books, and I got to see several people I hadn’t hung out with in months. (I even called a West Coast friend on my way home, so I got to talk with her for the first time in months, too. Very good evening, even though I wound up staying up freakishly late for not being stuck in a book.)

Part III: Maryland Sheep & Wool

I just went for Sunday this year, since I have too much stuff going on in Philly (both work and housework and prep for moving next month–gah!) to spend more time away, but I had a lovely day of it. K. picked me up at 7:45, with her daughters; I got to knit in the car while she drove, which worked out nicely for me. I have a lot of fiber, and this whole moving thing means I’m in a trying to get rid of stuff phase. So…I bought 6 ounces of fiber (one of which is in that picture at the top), got my travelling Bossie fixed, bought a spindle for Min, and took a bunch of pictures of sheep. (And hung out with excellent fiber people, which is always fun.)

romney lambs & mom


scottish blackface

That poor Scottish Blackface sheep was really, really not enjoying the weather. (I wasn’t, either, and I wasn’t wearing wool…)

All righty! Mostly caught up! This is nice.

Sunset on Tuesday.

From Madison Square Park last Wednesday (the 25th)–this was intended for last Friday’s eye candy, but I didn’t have my computer with me and thus never quite managed to borrow enough computer time to post. I got a “look, someone’s taking a picture!” comment while I was stopped to take this. I was amused.

Also from my Thanksgiving trip to New York:
We went to see the Mapping the Hudson exhibit at the public library, and stopped first in the children’s room to see the original stuffed animals that were the basis of the Winnie the Pooh stories. They’re clearly well-loved… And Piglet is a lot smaller than I’d’ve guessed!

I haven’t done all that much fibery stuff lately, but I knit half a sock heel at the Paul and Storm/Jonathan Coulton show last night. They turned the (rest of the) lights off after the intermission, and I couldn’t see well enough to pick up the wraps as well as the stitches, so I’ll have to finish it either at lunch or this evening. (The concert was great, though.)

if I keep these, you won't leave!

“If I hold onto the noisemaker, she won’t leave!”

I’ve been working a lot and running around like a crazy lady recently, neglecting my poor, dear cat. I’ve even had the nerve to come home after work and then go out again!

Except for the weather, I had a pretty great weekend–I went to a party on Friday (going-away party, alas, for two awesome people) and a wedding dance (contra, English, and Scottish) on Saturday, which convinced me that I need to actually learn Scottish dancing at some point. My feet are slow learners.

The weather, however, meant that I had to pull the air conditioner out of the hall closet and rearrange the living room so I could set it up. I had been so hoping to not need it until I move next month… (I’m moving a whole five blocks this time. Same zip code, though, unlike after my last (four-block) move.)

Gotta run now, but there should be a Tour de Fleece wrap-up post soon.


I ducked out of lab for a few hours this evening to go to a show at World Café Live: Jonathan Coulton with Paul and Storm as the opening band. I spent so much of the show either laughing or smiling that my face is sore. I want to go home now, so I’ll leave more detail ’til later*, but that was an awesome show. (Best opening band ever! Ohmygoodness, I love when there are multiple singers who all enunciate!  Having the superb luck to have bought a seat next to three of my friends was an extra bonus.)

*I walk home. I live in a city. I try not to carry my computer late at night.

• What is the big deal with 30-minute meals?  It’s a 5-minute meal that’s actually a challenge.  If I’m okay with spending half an hour making dinner, it’s not that hard to wash, chop, & sauté some veggies and make some rice or some rice noodles (or whatever).  (If I’m not, it’s time to break out the frozen veggies, and maybe an egg.)

• The snow this afternoon was lovely, until it turned to rain.  The sidewalks had just better be easily walkable in the morning, if there’s not going to be pretty snow.

Mirah‘s new album, with Spectratone International, is awesome.  Go listen to it, especially if you’re a bio geek.  I especially love “Community”, the song about ants.

• Y’know where I forget to look, when I’m digging through my needle roll and the pile of circs on the bookshelf, trying to find a 4mm bamboo needle?  In my existing projects.  (*eye-roll*)

• I joined the Runagogo group on Ravelry.  I haven’t been following the forum much, but I’ve been tracking my walking (no actual running yet) on…and I’m not doing too badly.  I think 40 miles is pretty good for a little under two weeks…

As promised, I finished something over the weekend.  It just wasn’t a fibery object.  And, as it turns out, the deadline got pushed back ’til tomorrow, so I may spiff it up a bit. 

Anyway, this is my FO of the weekend, a coffee-walnut torte adapted from this recipe on epicurious:


(It currently has a coffee glaze dribbled over the top; I think I’m going to do something buttercream-like when I get home.)  It’s not incredibly pretty, but it smells wonderful, and the bit of cake that was stuck to the side of the springform pan was quite tasty.  (But it did inspire me to have tea (green with rose and lavender) this morning instead of coffee, just for a change.  It was interesting to walk to work carrying both the torte and my tea, so I smelled both tea and coffee the whole way.)

I didn’t finish anything fibery this weekend, but I did do some knitting:


This block of sparkly cabled yarn will be incorporated into the green blanket.


This garter-stitch rectangle of kool-aid dyed wool was originally intended as a sideways hat for Dulaan (really, it was intended as concert knitting a couple of weeks ago) but may end up as a scarf for next year’s Dulaan, since I’m not sure I have anything to go with it as a hat, and it should be easier to fudge for a scarf.


The Tess’s yarn sock that I’ve been working on for a couple of months has been stalled for a while, as I’m both bored with 3×3 ribbing and afraid of running out of yarn while away from the rest of my knitting.  I should be able to finish it sometime soon, though.

I also knit a few rows on the Peacock Feather Shawl, but it doesn’t look all that different from last time.  I spent more of my aware-time this weekend either baking (as seen above) or singing–a couple of friends of mine organized a big group of people to get together and sing madrigals and Bach chorales and Other Stuff, and it was incredibly fun.  I hadn’t sung "real" alto parts in a couple of years, so my voice got pretty tired, but it was wonderful all the same.

Where I was last night:


That is, I was sitting behind the camera, watching the Rosebuds from the bar, because I am lazy, my knee was bothering me, and my earplugs were losing their effectiveness.  Still, it was a very good show.  The Rosebuds are awesome.  (The first band, the Greyhounds, were okay; the second band, the Bowerbirds, sounded like it was quite good for an opening band but still not extremely exciting.)  The venue, Johnny Brenda’s, was a new one for me; except for the fact that it’s kind of far away, it would be my new favorite–it was clean (including the restroom), lit well enough that one could see that it was clean, there was a good selection of beer, the decor was great, the temperature was adequately regulated….  Next time, I will explore the balcony.  Last night, though, well, part of the reason we sat at the bar so long was so I could drink my beer and my water and still have hands free for knitting.   I started something that I think will become a Dulaan something, but I probably won’t take a picture of it until it’s decided what it wants to be.

And this morning:



Mel likes looking out the window.  I have to agree with him that the best weather is that which is conducive to open windows…at least, when I don’t also want to have a fan pointed at me in a pale echo of an air conditioner. 


This is just because I can’t bring myself to post without including a picture.

I picked up a copy of Stephanie‘s new book last Friday, and I also spent a pleasant twenty minutes looking at other books I’ve been thinking of buying.  Victorian Lace Today has moved up on my list, as has No Sheep For You.  I’m wondering, though–would it be awful in some way for me to buy No Sheep For You and knit some of the designs in wool?  Is there a compelling reason not to do so?  (I really like Morrigan, Jenna Wilson’s fine-ish gauge aran-style sweater.)

I also want to share two of my recent music discoveries:

1.  The Rosebuds:  my Crafty Lab-Neighbor handed me their album Birds Make Good Neighbors and told me to listen to it.  As she predicted, I really like it.  It’s on the poppy side of my taste in indie rock (but definitely within the range of stuff that I like), possibly comparable to Death Cab for Cutie or recent Magnetic Fields.

2.  Let’s Go Sailing: posted about their then-upcoming show, included a link to an mp3, and advertised a shirt/totebag/cd/ticket giveaway.  I listened to the mp3, entered the giveaway, and won.  I was, alas, unable to attend the concert (last-minute work stuff plus exhaustion), but the cd, The Chaos in Order, is quite good.  It will soon find its way into my indie playlists.


March was my Month Of Many Concerts.  I attended five shows in four weeks: those represented above, plus Anonymous 4 on the 1st (the ticket stub for which has disappeared).  A lot of my month has been about running around like a madwoman but doing more fun stuff than in the running-around-like-a-madwoman of January and February.  Four of the shows (everything except the organ recital, which was by far my least favorite of that series)  were great, and I am content.

And here’s a picture from the Decemberists show (the only one at which I took out my camera):



Mel, staring intently at the catnip mouse that Sarah gave him.  I love his expression in this picture.


March is turning into a month of concerts for me, beginning last night with Anonymous 4.  I was thrilled to hear (on Monday, I think) that not only were they performing in Philly, but they were singing on campus (convenient!).  So I went, and they were excellent (as expected).  They sang some songs from American Angels, and some that I think are from their newest album, Gloryland–a mix of shape-note tunes and other American folk music.  I am now eagerly anticipating the shape-note sing on Sunday.  (Even more eagerly than I had been, that is.) 

The other fun thing about last night was that, after the concert, I headed off to a new and different craft night, hosted by one of my labmates.  Although there were about three of us knitting, there were also people drawing, painting, and doing other non-yarn things.  It was odd, being in that kind of minority at a craft night.  Fun, though, and I’m really close to having super-exciting knitting news.  With any luck, it (perhaps along with the swatch I mentioned last week) will be photo-ready for Monday.

…but in yarn this time.

I’m in the middle of the heel on my sock, and I wanted something on bamboo for quieter concert knitting…so I present the beginnings of a hat.


This was the first concert in the Organ Recital Series. It was quite good. I was not really fond of the Liszt piece, but the Bach was good, the Mozart was excellent. There was a piece by someone named Mader called “Afternoon of a Toad”, which was great. There was also something by a man with a Spanish-sounding name (also 20th-Century) that I liked almost as much as the Mozart. And then there was the encore of a really, really short piece by Haydn that was fun. So it was worth missing the gorgeous and sunny afternoon.

I also finished some spinning last night, and finally set the twist on the smidgen of alpaca-wool I’d spun a couple of weeks ago.



The orangey stuff is more of the wool-mohair from Three Waters Farm (MD & summer ’05), spindle-spun and wheel-plied; the brown stuff is alpaca-wool from Delly’s Delights Farm (MDSW ’06), spun and plied on the wheel.

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