24 October 2012

It's almost November, already!

So there was this big sheep and wool festival last weekend...

I didn't buy any fiber. I didn't buy any yarn. I didn't buy any sheep (though there were a pair of Soay sheep that would totally have fit in my car). I did buy soap and a mug (which I can't show you right now because I'm not at home), had some fantastic falafel, scarfed down samples of all the amazing cheeses, watched gourds being hurled through the air by siege weapons, and had a marvelous time with excellent people.

Rhinebeck has ceased to be a huge deal to me, but it's still a lot of fun. I know when I want to get there, who I want to walk around with, what I want to buy, and how exhausted I'm going to be by the end of the day (and, thus, how big a milkshake I need to order at the Eveready Diner to recharge myself enough to drive home). I skip things I know will be too draining (like the Ravelry meetup) and make time for the things that make me happy (like Punkin' Chuckin').

It also helped that the weather was absolutely perfect this year: just chilly enough for displaying lots of knitwear, but not so cold that sweaters had to be covered by coats, and lots of sunshine to keep the brains happy.

The next post will have pictures of the things I bought/made at/for Rhinebeck, and maybe some of my other projects, as well. Hopefully this will happen sometime before Thanksgiving.

20 September 2012


Holy carp, busy girl is busy. I'd forgotten how much there is to do down here in the flatlands. I've been hanging out with Jenny a lot, doing spinning demonstrations and being a booth babe, and completely forgetting about this little blog. Let me fix that by telling you about a project that I finished a while back but haven't really shared yet.

Back when I was working at Green Mountain Spinnery, I spun some Simply Fine (fine wool and mohair) that was too heavy or light to pass quality control, so it was put in the reject bin and eventually found its way into my stash. I didn't have much, so I looked for a pattern that had a lot of visual interest in a small amount of yardage, but without being too complicated. I found Bias (Ravelry link) and fell in love with it, so I knit it up.


I loved the shape, the length, the stitch pattern... but the color? Not so much. As beautiful as undyed wool is, it just didn't work for me for this project. So I grabbed a gallon zip-top bag, some vinegar, a little bottle of green food coloring, and had some fun.


Now it's a lovely mottled green, and just long enough to be pinned around my neck, which is what I did yesterday...

...when I did a spinning demo with Jenny at the Big E! Look, it even matches my mug! (Thank you, Jenny, for taking the picture!)

I have a few days to relax, and then I'm going to be crazy busy again for the next week and a bit. Saturday is another spinning demo, but this time it's at the Northwest Park Country Fair, which is inexpensive and easy to get to, so all of you Connecticut and Western Mass folks should come. Then I have a few days of visiting friends before I'm off to Vermont for a roller derby tournament, and by the time I get back from that it'll be next month, which leaves me with just one question...

Who all's going to Rhinebeck? ;-D (I'll only be there on Saturday, and my phone doesn't get reliable service on site, so if you want to meet up, tell me beforehand.)

26 June 2012


You know it's going to be an interesting day when your horoscope begins with, "don't panic."

Now, where did I put my towel?

10 June 2012


Well, folks, the great Vermont experiment is at an end. I have returned to the land of jobs (and I know those of you here are saying, "what jobs?!?" but trust me, there are more here than there) and stuff-within-walking-distance to put my life back on track. I'm busy unpacking, trying to get used to having roommates, and spending time with friends and family again.

I've learned some lessons in the last three years, and I hope they'll make the sailing a bit smoother. Some are fiber lessons, some are relationship lessons, and some are life-in-general lessons.

1. Do background checks on potential partners. If someone is known for being a liar, cheat, and womanizer, don't think you can fix him, no matter how different he seems when he's with you. Also, allow partners' exes to get in touch with you, because while they may be whackadoos, they may also have sound warnings that, if acted upon, could save you from heartbreak.

2. Swatches lie, especially in cotton. Expect to re-knit that one stupid hat four times before you finally get the cast-on count correct.

3. Trust your instincts. They're usually right. Don't mistake hope for gut feeling, though... they're decidedly different. (This applies to everything from knitting to cooking, from relationships to jobs.)

4. Unless you're a self-sufficient artist, a teacher, you live in Burlington, or you know the right people, there are no decent jobs in Vermont.

5. Online job applications are stupid.

6. As Marilyn said, if you can't handle me at my worst, you don't deserve me at my best. That's your problem, not mine.

7. People don't run out of compassion or sympathy, they run out of maturity. Big difference.

8. If the situation is life-threatening, move out quickly. If it's just uncomfortable, take your time, and have the yard sale before you pack the truck!

9. Don't live a certain way just because other people think you should. It's your life. If they have a problem with it, then they shouldn't be part of it, because they're clearly not your friends.

10. Blocking is magic. Seriously.

PS. I'm having a yard sale on the 16th. Email lilithparker at gmail for more info. There will be furniture, kitchenware, and some random bits and pieces.

18 May 2012

Up To Speed

I live! Apologies for the long lull. I've been entertaining the drama llama who has become a frequent visitor in my life, and I'm just now waving it off so I can get some work done. It'll return, I'm sure, but I'll make good use of the break and positively spam y'all with fiber-related pics. Here we go!

I've spent most of the chilly season wrapped up in my favorite scarf, the reversible Irish hiking scarf that I made a few years ago. When I went to visit a friend last month, though, I left it behind by accident. This was all the excuse I needed to knit a new scarf! I flipped through a stitch dictionary, found a pretty cable, swatched, cast on, knit a few rows, frogged back, started over, made tons of progress, and... then I hit the black hole section. I go long enough between knitting scarves that I somehow forget that there's this chunk between the first foot and the last few rows on a scarf that takes forever but feels like it's going nowhere. The scarf still isn't finished, and I've got the old one back now, but I want these needles for other things, so it's going to be finished soon, whether it likes it or not.


At least it's pretty! The yarn is a former sweater (100% cotton) that my wonderful mother unraveled for me. I make my daily-wear scarves out of cotton because I'm sensitive to mammal fiber, and for something I'm going to be wearing all day, it needs to not irritate my skin.


Remember these needles? These are the Suzanne ebony needles I got at Webs ages and ages ago, and even though they're showing some wear, I still love them. I do need to re-point them, though... this scarf has shown me how dull they've become, so they'll meet some super-fine sandpaper very soon.


If you saw me at NH S&W last year, you may remember this cute little slouchy beret. It's also made of recycled cotton, and the flowers are some scraps of Green Mountain Spinnery's Mountain Mohair in Edelweiss and Pink Pink. The whole thing is crocheted, and the pattern (minus the flowers) is Brooke's Slouchy Hat (Ravelry link). To get the unusual texture, DCs are worked under all the bars, instead of just through the top two.

Let's see, what else... oh! One of the nice ladies at the knit night I've been going to lately gave me a mini batt of some fiber she's been dyeing and carding. It's a little crunchier than what I usually spin, but the color is gorgeous.


I think it's a wool-mohair blend, and I've turned it into less than a hundred yards of 3-ply DK. I have no idea yet what I'll do with it, but it sure is pretty.


Speaking of yarn I didn't know what to do with, I finally found a use for Red Heart Super Saver! I had this green kicking around from a vest I'd made for a friend who wanted to dress up as Wallace from Wallace & Gromit, so when I decided to knit something to express my love of the Green Mountain Derby Dames, it was handy. Add some white acrylic for the star and some scraps of white wool for the felted mohawk (able to be easily re-felted without ruining the rest of the hat), and boom, I'm a superfan.

Remember when I was musing that one knows one's a knitter when one pulls unnaturally-colored hairs out of one's tea?


I wasn't kidding about how bright the blue was. And, by the way, this is what a reticule looks like. I made it to go with the runway outfit I wore for a fashion show back in February, and while it may not get any more use, it's still very cute and was a fun, quick knit.

And now, for the pièce de résistance: Rose of England is finally finished! Darned thing only took me two years.


There's one huge, glaring mistake that I'm doing my best to ignore, and it's a little smaller than I expected (about 38" diameter), but I'm quite happy with it. Remind me never to do a complicated shawl on #2 needles again, though. I'm so thrilled to be finished with the bloody thing.

Okay, I think that catches things up for a bit. I'll try not to leave it so long next time!

08 March 2012

Jobbage: I Has It!

I'm almost done with my first week at the new job, and I found myself thinking today that almost every aspect of this job counters every bad thing about my last regular job, and makes my decision to leave that position completely justified.

Every day, I give the same stock answer to the same stock question, and nobody accuses me of being grumpy. Every day, I work my little butt off, and every day, the plant manager leaves his office to tell me that he's hearing very good things about the quality and quantity of my work, and he thanks me. Every day, I have a supervisor who tells me what I'm going to be doing, doesn't talk down to me if I don't understand something, quickly corrects me if I'm doing something wrong, and appreciates my input if I think there might be a better way of completing a task. Every day, no matter what mood I'm in when I start my shift, one or another of my coworkers makes me laugh.

I don't worry about whether or not I'm going to get a paycheck on time. I don't worry about whether my boss is going to yell at me, because my boss is professional and never takes out his personal issues on anyone at work. I don't have to be cheerful or pretend that I love coming in every day, I just have to put in a solid day's labor. I don't worry about my health and safety, because the company has it covered. I don't worry about whether or not there will be something for me to do, because the management plans ahead and always has work for everyone. In short, I don't worry. There's nothing to worry about.

There is one downside to this job, aside from the exhaustion and soreness at the end of the day: I'm not knitting anymore. I'm too greasy at work and too tired when I get home to even think about picking up sticks and string.

I guess that's what weekends are for. Hurry up, Saturday, I have a sock I want to work on!

02 March 2012

Happy Birthday To Me

I woke up this morning trying to figure out how to write a post that would cover life over the last month or two without sounding whiny or depressed, which is how I've been feeling. My birthday, as I've probably said before, is usually not something I feel like celebrating, so being positive on this day is a tall order even when things are going well, and things have been going decidedly not well lately.

But then I got a phone call.

I start my new job on Monday, and have to go in this afternoon for orientation.

What a birthday present, eh? :)

11 February 2012

May You Live In Interesting Times


The noise pulls me out of half-sleep, and I look at the clock. It's a few minutes after 11pm, I've been in bed for maybe fifteen minutes, and I have a super-long day coming up, so I need my sleep. Whoever's knocking on the door can just stuff it...



Okay, if they're that insistent, it's got to be important. Must get up and see what's going on. Dislodge cat who had been happily settled on my hip, inadvertently wake up boyfriend as another cat reacts to being jostled, remember that my robe is already packed and don't think I have time to hunt around in the dark for the hoodie I dropped on the floor, so dash downstairs in tank top and satin jammies. Open the door to find an agitated man who tells me, "your chimney's on fire!"

So, naturally, I run outside, barefoot, to verify this fact. Yup, that's fire alright. Landord's awake, 911 has been dialed, creosote buildup has already been accepted as the cause, and I go back inside to put on something warmer and wait for the firemen to arrive.

Nobody was hurt, and there was no damage, but it certainly made the night... interesting.

07 February 2012

You know you're a knitter when...

You make yourself a cup of tea.

You notice a hair floating on the surface.

You think, "figures, with four cats, there's bound to be fur in everything."

Then you remove the hair from the tea and get a closer look at it. It's blue.

You glance to your right, where sits the blue alpaca reticule you're knitting.


Bloody yarn sheds more than four cats.

But the bag will look awesome!

22 January 2012

Warning! Warning! Danger, Will Robinson!

I try to keep this little knitting blog on topic most of the time, but every now and then something happens to make me break from the formula and rant about something else.

I have just returned from seeing Red Tails. If you have any inclination to see this movie, let me offer one word of advice: DON'T.

George Lucas keeps getting worse at writing dialogue as he ages. I had hoped, seeing as he's the executive producer, not the screenwriter, that it wouldn't be so bad, but within three lines it was obvious that he got his mitts on the script and completely ruined it. And not only that, but he tried to shoehorn an awkward love story into what is otherwise an action film. At least this time he didn't have the guy snogging a sibling, but it was still pretty contrived.

In an interview on The Daily Show, Lucas said he meant for Red Tails to be B-movie cheesy. I think what actually happened is that he tried to make it spectacular, failed utterly, and then realized he needed to lower everybody's expectations. Bruce Campbell is B-movie cheesy. Red Tails is just bad.

If you have any interest whatsoever in historical accuracy or even scene-to-scene continuity, don't even bother renting this one. The markings on the planes are wrong, the radios are wrong, the guns are wrong, machine gun rounds somehow cause massive explosions on the deck of a destroyer, it's apparently summer in Italy at the same time it's winter in Germany... almost every scene has something seriously wrong with it, and it's painful.

So do yourselves a favor and avoid this movie. Meanwhile, I'm going to drive out to Skywalker Ranch and smack George Lucas upside the head with several history books, a thesaurus, and a restraining order to keep him from making any more movies.

09 January 2012


The confluence of cloudy days, a lull in the job search, and the depressive phase of my Bi-Polar symptoms means I've been struggling to pull myself out of bed for the last week or so. Despite my inability to do much else, though, I've been remarkably devoted to one new knitting project. It doesn't look like much right now, so I won't take a picture, but it's going to be a cute little top-down, raglan 3/4-sleeved, cropped cardigan.

The only trouble is that I'm using the Cascade 220 that I bought years and years ago with the intention of making a cabled hoodie (never got beyond the first sleeve), and at the time I was more concerned about my budget than about dye lots, so I only bought a skein or two... and this pattern requires closer to three.

So now, with the body nearly finished and not quite enough yarn to do even one sleeve, I'm realizing that yet another sweater is going to be set aside to hibernate. The last one was intended for Rhinebeck a few years back and was stuffed away at the bottom of the WIP basket out of boredom. Maybe this will be an excuse to finish the old one while the new one waits for me to have a yarn budget again.