27 December 2009

Done Like Turkey

I'm happy to say that, after years of suffering from a terrible case of startitis, I have finally begun a trend of actually finishing my knitting projects. As a result, I have lots of pics. As always, click to embiggen.

Remember the LemonEgg shawl that I started something like two and a half years ago? Well, it's finally finished!



It's warm and cozy and... yellow. What else can I say?

I also made two Christmas stockings, both decorated with needle felting. One was for Erik:


...and one was for Sassafrass, my greyhound:


Sassy is usually seen with her tongue hanging out these days, so, at Erik's suggestion, I added a tongue to her stocking.


The Open Knotwork Lace scarf I started in April of last year is finished!


The pooling is wonky, but it's KnitPicks, so I'm not surprised.

I made a Malabrigo hat...


...with a hole for my ponytail!


And I crocheted a snowflake that I then starched and used as a tree topper.


I'm trying to pull out something from the UFO box every time I finish a project and work at least a few rows on whatever it is, so maybe you'll see some other long-neglected projects pop up here as FOs.

I hope y'all had a wonderful Christmas, Solstice, Festivus, or other holiday of your choice, and have a fantastic new year!

20 November 2009

Better Late Than Never

Wow, it's been a month since I last posted. I'm sorry! I know y'all are sick of reading about how busy my life is, so I'll just make with a post, okay?


FO! These are CanCans from Twisted Loops, and they're one of the fastest projects I've ever done. I had some issues with the twisted stitches... one direction wouldn't twist properly, and I couldn't figure out whether it was me or the pattern. After two failed attempts I gave up and worked them as cables, and everything came out fine.

I'd love to tell you about my other FO, one that I've been working on since April of last year, but my shared connection is being commandeered for a game download, so I can't upload the pictures to Flickr. I'll try to remember to get them up later tonight and post about it tomorrow.

Dinner time! Remind me to gush about my new slow cooker in the next few weeks.

18 October 2009

The Rhinebeck Report

I have loved Rhinebeck every year I've gone... until this one. Maybe it was the weather, maybe it was the fact that I went by myself and didn't see any of my friends, maybe it was that I only went on Sunday this time, maybe it was the feeling that none of the vendors had The Perfect Item that called out to me from across the fairgrounds, but whatever it was, Rhinebeck was just no fun for me this year.

The weather was crap. It was overcast when I left Vermont, drizzled through most of Massachusetts, flurried a little on the Western side of the Berkshires, and was a light, steady, dreary sprinkle the rest of the day. The only highlight was on my return trip when I crossed Hogback Mountain and found that at the highest elevations it had snowed just enough to stick to the trees but not the ground... a beautiful frosting on autumn foliage. The temperature was in the high 30s, the breeze at the fairgrounds was just strong enough to be annoying, and the amount and type of clothing that had been more than sufficient in years past proved less than adequate today.

Every year I have found at least one person to hang out with, whether it was my partner or an SnB buddy, and even though I experience the festival in a different way when I'm not alone, it's usually been a good thing that I had someone to interact with. This year, when the RV plans fell through and my partner caught a nasty cold, I decided to go by myself. I figured I'd run into a friend or two at the festival, which turned out to be a silly assumption. I saw two faces I recognized, both tangential friends I wasn't comfortable glomming onto for the day, and that was it. I was looking out for a bunch of folks, but didn't find them, and was very sad that I, who usually consider myself something of a loner in a positive way, was... lonely.

I don't know if the vendors didn't bring as much of the good stuff this year, or that my Sunday-only trip meant all the good stuff was already gone, but nothing really jumped out at me this year. This doesn't mean I didn't buy a few things, of course. It is, after all, Rhinebeck, and even with my crappy financial situation I managed to budget a little bit for a fibery splurge that will get me through to next summer.


On the left are two Merino braids from Stony Mountain Fibers, one peach, one violet (my mother loves this blend of colors, saying it reminds her of asters, and that's now what I think of every time I see it). On the right are an evergreen Corriedale hank and an autumn-colored Merino-Tencel mini-hank from Mountain View Farm, whose Corriedale has jumped off the rack at me before. (And speaking of that two-year-old Corriedale, it's still in Jenny's studio waiting to be spun. Hmm.)

I spent only three hours at the festival. I walked the barns twice, got an artichoke without having to spend more than five minutes in line, burned my tongue on some exceptionally tasty hot chocolate, watched the Punkin Chuckers warm up, and couldn't quite find the motivation to stick around any longer, so I was off the grounds and on my way back to Vermont a little after 1pm, which has to be a record.

So has this soured me against Rhinebeck? No, of course not. One mediocre experience is not enough to make me stop attending one of the best fiber events in the Northeast. I will be back next year with the same excitement and anticipation that I've had in years past, and I trust the festival to maintain its reputation.

But it had better be sunny next year. Just sayin'.

17 October 2009

Third Time's The Charm?

I didn't even come close to getting enough sleep to make the drive to Rhinebeck today, so it looks like I'll be going on Sunday after all. See y'all there!

13 October 2009

Plans Adjusted

So... that RV trip to Rhinebeck that I was so excited about? Not happening. Between last-minute schedule conflicts and illnesses, it was down to just two of us, which wasn't cost-effective. So instead of the fantastic multi-day extravaganza I was planning, I am only going to be going to the festival on Saturday (sorry, SFF!!!) and then resting on Sunday. I've been doing a lot of multi-hour car trips lately, and between the cost of gas and the stress on my back and legs, I need to cut back.

For those of you going to the festival on Saturday, keep an eye out for my neon pink vest and come say hi.

Pics of recent knitting to come soon!

25 September 2009

Cables and Can Cans

Believe it or not, I've actually found some time to knit lately! Granted, one moderately simple scarf took me six months to complete, but the project I cast on as soon as I finished it is going to be finished by Rhinebeck, so I think that makes up for my sloth.

The FO:


This is the Reversible Cable Scarf from Nettie Knits, done on US#9 needles with a worsted-ish acrylic-cotton blend that had its first life as an Old Navy sweater.

On the needles now are Can Cans, a pair of cute mitts from Twisted Loops. This picture was taken as I started the first mitt... eventually I'll get around to pulling out the camera and showing you the finished first mitt and nearly-finished second one.


I tried doing the twisted stitches as written, but had issues (one of the twists wouldn't twist, and it's a critical feature of the design), so I ripped back and tried again treating them as cables. End result: happiness without headaches! I'm planning on wearing these at Rhinebeck, since I need something to show off, and the sweater I'd planned for last year is sitting in my WIP basket waiting for me to fall back in love with it enough to give it a second sleeve.

For those of you going to Rhinebeck, I would be thrilled if you said hi to me instead of waiting for me to notice you, because I have a terrible memory for faces and tend to be in OMGWTFFIBER mode as soon as I hit the fairgrounds. I will be wearing various shades of brown under a neon pink vest. I will be around all weekend, and instead of going through the stress of driving out and back both days by myself, I'm hooking up with a fellow Raveler from Maine who's bringing an RV for the weekend.

Tomorrow I'm off to New York for a great-uncle's funeral, Sunday is a visit to a friend in Burlington, and Monday I have to call managers at various stores and beg them to hire me so I don't have to move back to Connecticut. Why is life always so busy?

09 September 2009


It's so late it's early, and I can't seem to be able to sleep, so what do I do? Blog, of course! It's been almost a month since I told y'all what I've been up to, which means yet another apology for not posting as often as I should. Sorry, folks.

I've got a good excuse, though: I was busy breaking up with Erik, trying to stay on good terms, realizing he was just going to keep taking his unhappiness out on me, and finally being forced to threaten him with a restraining order if he didn't leave me alone. It seems like every time I break up with someone in an especially painful way, fate has a way of nudging other people into my path who will make me feel appreciated and healthy again, and this time is no exception. An old flame has reappeared, offering proof of his changed ways and asking for a second chance, and I'm inclined to let him have it... but I'm taking things very slowly, since I'm in rebound territory and don't want to screw up my life by running to the next available bed. I have learned a thing or two in the last year, and I'm not going to repeat past mistakes. My therapist is mighty proud of me.

On the fiber front, there's... not much to talk about. I now have two fledgling knitting groups in these parts: Mondays from 6:30 to 8 at the Townshend Dam Diner, and Thursdays from 7 to 9 at Boccelli's on the Canal in Bellows Falls. I've been lazy about promoting these groups, so membership is minimal, but I'm hoping to whip up some flyers just as soon as I get a handle on all this free time I'm supposed to have.

My not-job learning woodturning is splendid, and some of the skills I've learned are going to be applied to a business I'm thinking of starting. I'm hoping to create a variety of wooden doodads (pendants, coasters, etc.) decorated with pyrography to sell at renaissance faires. I'll let y'all know when I have some products to offer... there might even be some fiber-related stuff! I haven't found another welding job yet, and I'm into the extension of my unemployment benefits, which means I have just a few months left before I get desperate and submit an application at the video store.

I'm going to try to go back to bed (if I can evict the dog from my spot), but I'll leave you with some pictures I took this afternoon.

number1 sassdriveway

(This one has notes that you can see if you click through to Flickr!)


14 August 2009

Trimmed Brunette and Oiled Redhead

I know my Flickr stalkers and Facebook peeps have already seen these, but for the rest of you, here's what I look like now that my hair is a whopping twenty inches shorter:



Cute, eh? The shirt was designed by my SnB buddy Aaron, and is a reference to a reference (yes, a reference to a reference, that's not a typo) to a video game that I've never played. I just like pie.

...I'm sure there's something else I wanted to tell y'all about, but I have Candide on the turntable, and it's distracting me. Wherefore and hence, therefore and ergo...


Oh, right! I was poking around in my storage unit the other day, and was dismayed to discover a thin-to-moderate layer of mold coating quite a few of my possessions, including Brigid, my beloved walking wheel. I pulled her out and brought her to Erik's, where I cleaned her up and have been giving her a new coat of linseed oil every few days. The wood is beginning to look a little less old, and much more colorful... turns out this wheel is more of a redhead than I thought she was.




The oil is showing me that her various parts may be different types of wood, which fits with the evidence I saw when I first got her that she'd been re-spoked. The spokes have a definite redness, while the hoop seems to be much more yellow, and the table and legs seem to be somewhere in the middle.

Any woodworking folks out there want to guess what the various bits are made of? I can spot walnut most of the time, but most other local woods all look the same to me. Keep in mind that Brigid may have been made in Virginia or thereabouts, but she was in Massachusetts when I met her, and I'm not sure at what point during her journey she picked up new parts.

And while I'm soliciting information, are any of you familiar enough with bird species to tell me what this is? (Click to embiggen.)


It looks like a peregrine falcon to me, but I'm no ornithologist, and everything I've heard about peregrines in the last decade relates to them living in cities, not rural Vermont.

24 June 2009


Hi, there. Been a while, huh? There hasn't been much knitting here at the Lair of Lunacy, but there has been some spinning, some moving, lots of drama, and even a little chopping. Let me give you the photo tour of the last few months.

I went to the Massachusetts Sheep and Woolcraft Fair in Cummington and hung out with Jenny and Debbie. We saw a Llama Bus:


And while I didn't intend to walk away with fiber, I ended up with two braids:


That's some BFL from Spunky Eclectic and some alpaca/superwash merino from Abi's Web. The Spunky BFL almost immediately turned into this:


I also went to the New Hampshire Sheep and Wool Festival, and didn't buy any fiber. However, I had an amazing dinner afterwards with Jenny and Matt at a restaurant you need a treasure map to find, but is totally worth the effort. (That's Concord Grille at Eagle Square.)

Then, the drama. Things with Erik got to the point where I couldn't live with him anymore, so I mustered the troops and moved into my own place:


A caboose! On tracks and everything! My greyhound loves it.


I'm getting used to living on my own, discovering the joys and pains of paying bills, doing dishes by hand, and visiting the laundromat every week.


Despite living apart, Erik and I are trying to maintain a relationship, and that means going to events together. We set up Erik's merchant tent at Sommer Draw:


And I made a gambeson (the red jacket) to protect him when he competed in the second annual Traditional Chinese Sword League's full-contact tournament:


And finally, something I've been thinking of doing for months and months: I've been growing my hair out for several years, and have grown tired of the upkeep involved in having yard-long tresses, so...


I'll try to get some good shots of the new 'do soon. I'll also try to make time for more knitting and spinning so y'all have something to look at.

26 April 2009

Sunny, Soapy Saturday

Saturday saw more activity around here than there's been in a while. The day before, I'd stopped at the hardware store to pick up an inflatable pool so Erik could soak a bunch of tatami mats for the cutting portion of Saturday's sword seminar. This is what they looked like shortly before we drained the pool and loaded the mats into his truck:


Up close:


Once he was out the door, I took a quick shower and headed out to meet up with my friend Alix so we could go down to Connecticut for its sheep and wool festival. I saw most of my SnB peeps, ate a lamb-burger that didn't quite agree with me, and... bought no fober at all. But I did buy soap. Lots of it. See?


There was actually one more bar, but I gave it to my mother as a thank-you for stopping by. The three on top are from Sleepy Moon Soaps, and the bottom one is from Hampden Hills Alpacas.

On the way home, Alix and I decided to pop into Webs, partly to enjoy the yarn and partly to enjoy the air conditioning. I picked up two balls of super-cheap sock yarn, both by Plymouth.


I'm fighting the urge to rip out something else (like the long-hibernating Clessidra) to cast on with the brown Sockin' Sox. I realized as I was standing in line that this colorway is one I would have turned up my nose at a few years ago. My taste in color has changed quite a bit lately.

Off to enjoy the warm weather. And not get sunburned more than I did yesterday. Owwie.

16 April 2009

Spring Spinning

Life hasn't been giving me much crafting time this month, but I haven managed to squeeze in some spinning. Remember that grey alpaca-silk fiber I got at Rhinebeck? I spun that up, forcing myself to go a little thicker with the single than I usually do, and I plied it last week. Here's the result:

click to embiggen

It's delightfully soft, though not as consistent as I'd like in terms of diameter, and I ended up with a little under 100 yards of it (from just under 4 ounces of fiber). I think it's going to be given to a friend at the next SnB.

That's about it, I'm afraid. A few projects are slowly coming along, but nothing is terribly exciting or photogenic. The peepers are making noise in the woods, the salamanders are mating in the pond, and the frogs are laying globs of eggs in the cattails. The last plow pile has just about melted, it's getting into the 60s during the day while dropping to below freezing at night, and the grass is idly considering springing to life in a few select patches.

Oh, and my car's check engine light came on this afternoon. Bugger.

30 March 2009

Lambs Are White And Fluffy, Right?

Spring arrived on Friday, and with the temperatures getting up into the 40s and 50s and the snow melting, I actually thought we were done with winter for a while. Then on Sunday, Mother Nature decided to remind us that this is Vermont, and winter isn't over until she says so.

click to embiggen

That's snow. And blue skies. And temperatures above freezing. It was just a 20-minute flurry, but it was enough to improve my day dramatically.

In other news, I have new knitting needles!


One of the new members of that SnB I started is Linda of Grafton Fibers. We got to talking about knitting and spinning and such, and she invited me over to the workshop where she cards batts and her husband Tom turns wood. While I was there, I drooled over their knitting needles, and Tom pulled a set out of the reject pile and put them in my hands. The reason they didn't pass quality control is that a little chip came out of the side of one of the needles, so when it was sanded smooth the needle was no longer the correct diameter in that spot. It's far enough back that it doesn't affect the gauge, so... free needles! They already have a project on them: a grey acrylic-cotton reversible cabled scarf that's coming out beautifully.

Off to get some work done before SnB tonight.

10 March 2009

Camel Cowl


I'm in love with this yarn. Erik rolls his eyes every time I hold it up to show him how pretty it is, but he obligingly pets it and agrees with me. There's a certain amount of pride in it for him, too, since he was the one who picked up the braid of roving and said, "you should get this."

I flipped through some lace patterns and settled on one from Interweave/Harmony's Lace & Eyelets. Unlike the last stitch pattern I tried from that book, this one actually worked without editing, and the gauge looks beautiful when worked on my US#7 ebony circs, so in no time I was off and running with this cowl.


I even got the opportunity to show it off to someone other than Erik! The closest SnBs are half an hour from me, and both in yarn stores that will tempt my budget to a painful degree, so I decided to start one a little closer and in a less tempting environment. We had our first gathering last night! Granted, it was just me and one other person (salut, Alix!), but we're going to see what we can do to attract more folks. We're thinking of calling ourselves the Dam Knitters, since we meet at the Townshend Dam Diner (Monday evenings from 6:30 to 8). If you're in the area, feel free to stop by.

04 March 2009

Chocolate Caramel

Over the weekend I broke out some of the yummiest fiber I had on hand to help cheer myself up. What with me both being unemployed and getting older, the fiber to break me out of this funk needed to be something pretty special: the brown camel-tussah blend I got from Spirit Trail Fiberworks at Rhinebeck. After two and a half days of spinning and plying on Babette, and a quick wash and long dry, I ended up with this.



It's about 400 yards of 3-ply sport or DK weight (which seems to be my standard now), and it is so soft. Soooooo soft. I've decided to name it Chocolate Caramel, because that's what it made me crave while I was spinning it. Now I need to figure out what to do with it. I'm thinking lace armwarmers or a scarf... I'd like it to be lace to show off the halo, but I can't wear it directly on my skin because camels are mammals (say that a few times and see if you're not giggling) and mammal fiber irritates my skin. Any other ideas? (No socks or hats please.)

In knitting news, I'm still plugging away on Erik's scarf (serious black hole action there), I finished the first Trekking sock (which makes three single socks waiting for mates now), and I've been doing a row here and there on the two-at-once clown socks I started a while back. They're getting close to heel-turning time, and I'm a little scared of attempting two short-row heels on one set of DPNs.

Time to go get some non-knitting work done so I can justify plopping myself in front of the DVD player to knit this evening.

03 March 2009

It's In The Bag

Yesterday was my birthday, and Erik got me the one thing I asked for: a 1000 Knitters Project tote bag.


I decided I had to have it when I was browsing through Franklin's shop and noticed the pictures on the back of it (version two, for those of you browsing over there now).


See that? No? Okay, look closer...

(click to embiggen)

It's me! There are a few other famous faces on this one, too, which makes it even cooler.

I've already loaded the tote up with enough knitting and spinning projects to keep me busy for a few hours while I experience for the first time the quaint Vermont tradition called Town Meeting. Sure, we had town meetings in Connecticut, but most folks didn't much care, and I don't think I ever went. In Vermont, though, people care, so I'm off to see what all the fuss is about. And maybe finish the scarf I intended to give Erik for Christmas.


19 February 2009

Take My Locks... Please!

Note to self: rave about the wonders of hand-stitched eyelets on garb all you like... you still hate actually sewing the bloody things, especially on an arming pourpoint, where there are something like three dozen of the little buggers.

And now, on with our not-so-regularly-scheduled blog post.

I've been knitting a little. Very little. I've also been spinning a little. Very little. Erik's green scarf is probably 2/3 finished, the first Trekking sock is into the ankle ribbing (toe-up, so almost finished), the second delft mitten has gone dormant a few rows into the hand, and there's been a little bit of both wheel (charcoal alpaca-silk) and spindle (green finn-cross) spinning here and there.

My focus for the last week has been on not being depressed (not going so well), trying to figure out the unemployment system (I'm getting benefits from Connecticut even though I was laid off in New Hampshire), and making as much space as possible in my itty bitty room so I can empty everything out of the storage unit that's costing me $40 a month that I really can't spare anymore.

In the course of my cleaning I came across a bag of dyed locks that I will probably never use, and I've decided to give it away. It was part of the estate stash that included Brigid, and there's a fair amount of VM in it, but there's plenty of good fiber in there. It's six or seven pounds (yes, pounds) of maroon, purple, blue, and green mohair locks that I'm sure will make someone out there very happy.

click to embiggen

If you'd like it, in whole or in part, drop me an email (lilithparker at gmail dot com) and/or meet me at Webs between 1 and 3 this Saturday, the 21st. If you'd only like a little, bring your own bag.

I'm off to write cover letters, which are my least favorite part of the job-hunting experience. Grumblefish.

Edit: The locks have gone to good homes, so are no longer available. Thank you for the interest!

12 February 2009

Another One Bites The Dust

I got some bad news today. Things have been really (really) slow at work lately, so much so that they put all of the production staff (including us welders) on a four-day week late last month. Today my boss took the next step in cost-cutting and laid someone off. Unfortunately, that someone was me.

I think it's time to kick a dormant self-employment plan into action while I look for another welding job. Wish me luck.

01 February 2009

Market Day at Birka

The lack of blogging in the last few weeks has been due in part to being busy preparing for Birka, my first SCA event ever. Erik is a merchant at such events, selling his armor and leather goods, and he invited me along to be his assistant. So Saturday morning we got up even earlier than usual and drove off to New Hampshire to see if we could make some money.

The good news is that our cash box was heavier than we expected by the time we packed up. The bad news (for my personal wallet, anyway), was that I found a few things at other tables that I just had to bring home. Beautiful things. Fibery things. Things that I think y'all might want to see.

First, I found a fellow who, though he lacks a website, makes up for it by having the delightfully unwieldy SCA name of Thelonius Hieronymous Erasmus Eostrebunni, and by selling some really neat turned wood items, including hand spindles. Feast your eyes upon the pretty:



It's walnut, one piece, and he has no idea how he managed to do the pretty swirly thing around the center of the whorl. It's surprisingly lightweight for its size, and spins very, very nicely.

Now, I'd brought one of my other spindles and some silk to work on during the day, but ran out of fiber mid-afternoon. Take a quick peek at that before I tell you what else I bought.


The color is a little more blue than the last batch of silk I worked with, but I think it might coordinate well if I work the two in stripes. Anywho, back to Birka. I'd run out of silk, and didn't feel like plying it (I had major stickiness issues with the last batch when I tried to wind it around my hand for plying, so I need to find a better way to deal with it), but I had this brand new spindle... I just needed fiber. Enter Kris Krafts with her Finn-cross roving:


I'm usually more of a merino fan because I'm sensitive to scratchy wool, but the Finn-cross is just soft enough that it tempted me more than the merino and the soysilk she had on the table. It helped that this wool was from her own sheep... I love supporting small farms. As you can see, I started spinning right away, and came home with a small cop of laceweight single.

As I was on my way back from buying the roving, I stopped by The Merry Little Lamb, where two hanks of their natural-dyed handspun called out to me.


They're begging to be made into a pair of striped socks, I think. The purple is a little richer than my camera wants to show, but I think this picture comes close:


While I was talking to the wood-turner, he told me about an event next month in Millbrook, NY: Hrim Schola. It's specifically for fiber people, and by the look of last year's classes, I'd really enjoy it. The only problem is that it's a three-hour drive from here, and I have no idea if it's going to be big enough to be worth the trip. If any of you are SCAdians or know SCAdians who are familiar with this event, please let me know what the turnout and merchants are like.

I'm going to go back to relaxing now... yesterday was really long, and my brain needs a wee vacation before I go back to work tomorrow.