In the frog of where
Saturday April 27th 2013, 10:32 pm
Filed under: Family
So we had several paper bags’ worth of old documents that needed to be shredded, a task we’d been avoiding for awhile. Time to get to it.
I googled… (Not open on Saturday, not open on Saturday, well so who *is* open on Saturday.)
Okay, backtrack. A number of years ago a local woman wanted to set up a yarn shop, and as she later told me, she and her husband went to check out a spot that sounded like it had potential. It was in San Jose.
They walked in the doors, looked at the cavernous size in that old building and told the rep in disbelief, We can’t afford THIS!
No, no, let me tell you what the rent is going to be. Turns out the owner had an eye towards gentrification and a yarn store was exactly the kind of image he thought would up the value of the neighboring spots in his building.
She made the place gorgeous, with a welcoming front that would pull anyone inside. One of my knitting groups met there for awhile.Â I once quietly pointed out to another knitter the bullet holes through some of the squares of glass near the high ceiling and wondered how long those had been there.
I guess the place did its job too well; the owner decided to bring the rent closer to the newly-perceived market value about the same time the downturn hit. And that was the end of that shop. It has been missed.
So here I was today, four years later, looking up shredding services, and was stunned to see the picture as well as the address of one place pop up on my screen.
I looked again.Â Yup, that’s it, that’s the spot. And thought, what a comedown! I mentioned it to Richard.
“Well, it is kind of the same.”
He put his hands together over his imaginary goofed-up knitting and then pulled them forcefully apart: “You know. Rip it, rip it.”
If you need to ask, you need to do it.
I’d done the hot water scouring to get the mill oils out of the silk baby afghan and the rinse water still had blue. Should be fine, thought I a few days ago, and laid it out to dry.
It bugged me. I finally said something to somebody, more to out myself than anything.
If you need to ask, you need to do it.
And so yesterday it was hot water rinse after hot water rinse and when I say hot water, I mean my husband left the setting on the new water heater higher than we’ve ever had it: I was putting that afghan in and then pushing it down into the water with something else so I wouldn’t burn my hands.
Finally, on the fifth time soaking (making seven in all), it came out clear enough to wonder if any blue effect left was just reflections across the water from the afghan itself. It felt okay, finally, so, done.
The afghan and its matching hat are a lighter blue than they were. And that’s fine.
Meantime, I called my mom today and it was not that much different really from the usual in terms of hearing her. Huh. A letdown.
Richard came home: “Oh good, you’re wearing the blue tooth.” (Second glance.) “But why don’t you have it turned on?”
Oh. Riiiiiight. Forgot that you don’t just take it off the charger in the morning like a cellphone, you have to turn it ON. Duhhhh.
And then I went off to knit night, where I heard one woman’s voice–and from across the noisy room–for the first time. Ever. Hadn’t realized I actually didn’t know what she sounded like.
Another woman, after I explained I had new hearing aids, went, “So that’s why you don’t sound deaf anymore.”
“I sounded deaf? I try really hard not to.”
And then she added, “I’m going to have to be careful what I say now,” and laughed a good one.
No replacement cars yet.
Drove Richard to work for an early meeting. Drove home. Drove Michelle to work (a goodly commute). Drove home, a lot of stop-and-go. Answered email, a quick lunch, just enough time to get a load into the dryer. Drove to get Richard, then while he worked from his Ipad along the way, drove to the audiologist to discuss the newest-technology hearing aids that came out in the last few weeks, drove to Los Gatos Birdwatcher because it was right nearby and I was low on birdseed, drove home for long enough to grab a quick bite, drove to San Jose to pick up Michelle in go-but-mostly-stop traffic, put some gas in the car, drove home long enough to swig a glass of milk and dash back out, drove to Purlescence for the last hour of knit night–
–all of this in the rain–
–and man, did it feel good to stop. Sit. Knit and talk with old friends and get a hug from Juanita and a laugh with Rachel and actually get something done, yarnwise, the hat a portable project that made no demands on my attention, just slowly turned beautiful almost of its own (while unfolding to me what the next two iterations of it are going to be.Â Cool. I can’t wait.)
Yesterday, re the baby blanket, I weighed and calculated yardage used so far and realized I was hosed. I emailed Colourmart:Â they didn’t have another cone of that blue silk…? Thinking, of course not, I bought all they had and took the risk of it not being enough, and it wasn’t enough.
With the time zone difference to England, I didn’t hear back all day but wasn’t really expecting to; I checked my email one last time before bed. Nothing.
Woke up this morning to two messages: Yes we do. It’s on its way. Oh, and, (an hour later) here’s the invoice.
*deep sigh of grateful relief*
And tomorrow I will knit.
It tried to put a damper on things. And then we got soaked.
Sam saved the day and picked me up again this morning. Go Sam!
Usually, when I go to Stitches, I zip around the whole place, chat, see who’s got what, avoid temptation for the first day and figure there’s less around to buy the second day so I’m safer that way, right?
I’m torn between guilt, minor innocence, and being really glad I bought the yarns I did my first day this time, which were not a lot but which I really love and can’t wait to knit–because I didn’t know and the car transmission was bad enough, but today…!
We woke up to no hot water. None.
Richard was wondering whether the pilot (is there a pilot on that thing?) had gone out and was about to get to it to check at the time Sam came.
I had a grand day at Stitches all over again. It was Saturday, lots of people were there, friends I’d been looking forward to seeing. Got a few texts from Richard–we’re working hard here. Hot water heater blew. Plumber wants $1400–and I bought not one single ball of yarn.
And all the while I was reassuring myself that the last time this happened, it flooded out the master closet and the laundry room that it sits between, so the whoever-he-was plumber had charged us extra to set it up so that should it go out again, it would drain to outside. Far easier to deal with.
Towards closing time, I was chatting with Rod and Lisa Souza again and a friend of theirs they introduced me to, Heatherly Walker. Heatherly got to asking me about my pattern writing; did I use any software?
No, I just hash it out on my own.
Was I interested?
Did she know of any good ones?
Sure! and she told me about how she and her husband had come up with what she’d wished were out there so that now it was, and she told me a bit about it as she reached for a copy in her backpack.
I had visions of transmission and plumber estimates dancing in my head as I asked her how much I owed her.
A direct quote: “Nothing! I LOVE your book!”
(Jaw. On. Ground.) Wow. Thank you!!!
I talked to Melinda and Tess at Tess’ Designer Yarns, and I apologized for my lack of buying this year; I so love their yarns. Next year, as I explained why.
They offered me to just have a skein of yarn, whatever yarn. Everybody at some point has a week like mine had been; they wanted to make it easier. I thanked them but told them hey, they have to make a living. (And there will be more customers who might want it tomorrow, so.) But I very much appreciated their generosity, and I love the softness and the colors in their yarns and I wanted to give them a shout-out here. Good folks.
Time to go. Richard was stuck with the plumber. Sam had something else going on but still offered to come get me, good man that he is. I told some of my Purlescence friends and they conferred: when Dannette’s husband arrived, Kevin and other-Richard lifted the scooter into her minivan. Dannette had been about to go out to dinner with the others but they all decided to work around taking care of me (they invited me too but I was just too tired and too broke) and Dannette, her husband, and adorable baby drove me the ten miles home.
The plumber who had set the water heater in a pan with tall sides and an overflow pipe to outside? Balderdash. That pipe was spraying all over the inside of the heater enclosure nonstop as more water pumped in, which is why Richard sloshed through standing water going past the closet after I left. Michelle helped him try to rescue our things.
At some moment of stupidity in my life I had put some of our older family photos back in there. He thinks they’re dryable.
There was a zipped cotton bag on the floor full of handknit sweaters: the infamous 86″ wingspan Aran I made him when I was newly back into knitting 23 years ago, the cabled Kaffe Fassett in llama where every half of every cable is a different color against a background of navy (wet, and next to that white aran, and I haven’t been able to bring myself to inspect the aran quite closely quite yet), the handspun handknit baby alpaca/silk cardigan with the wooden buttons, five other handknit ones…
A pound of 90/10 cashmere/nylon cobweb weight that I’d bought at $15/lb years ago, pounds and pounds, and had plied a lot of it up into thicker yarns; nope, still had a cone back there. The bag was wet but the yarn seems okay.
And on and on. We are running the washer nonstop. If it was near the floor, it’s wet.
I wonder if homeowners will replace that wall?
(Edited to add in the morning: the white aran seems to be okay. Phew.)
Correction, Monday morning: I got the details wrong. It was the *top* of the water heater, somehow, that rusted out and was spewing at the wall. The plumber’s setup was good for your much more typical failure, and the new guy made good use of it.
Richard worked from home today, still under the weather; it was clear we weren’t going out tonight. He encouraged me to go to knit night, get me some Purlescence time in.
I took the Manos Allegria project with me, made from the new yarn the shop had just gotten in the last time I went four weeks ago, and time after time it got a sharp intake of breath and “Oh, that’s GORGEOUS!” Two knitters asked, “Is the pattern out yet?”
Did my little ego great good, I tell ya. (Thank you, guys, I needed that–I frogged today’s new project five, count’em five times trying to get it just so, killed my whole afternoon.)
“You’ve been missing awhile, haven’t you?” asked Juanita.
The funeral, the cold from the guy on the plane, yes…
And I won’t be there next Thursday either because neither will any of them: one more week till Stitches!
Can’t keep a good project down
Saturday February 09th 2013, 11:14 pm
Filed under: Knit
Some things you just have to take on faith. The back side of unblocked lace always amuses me by how it seems to have no possible relation to what the thing will be.
The pattern is a mishmash of doodle and old notes finally coming together. I thought I’d be out of yarn by now (Manos Allegria from Purlescence) but I’ve got 40 more grams out of the 100. So I’m knitting more and writing more and finding out more and I’m liking it more and more. (And this time it will be repeatable.)
It was the most colors I could think of to pack on the plane in one skein last week. It’s hard to put down.
Called my sweetie adorable, and he says he’s not a-door-able, since he has to duck to go through them.
Meantime, same pharmacy, different clerk, again, this one looks at the total and is staggered. I try to explain that $468 is so much better than last time. Now I think we’re at least where we’re only having to pay 20%.
This doesn’t seem to make her feel much better.
(Yeah, me neither.)
But while I was sitting waiting for it, another knitter watched my first few stitches for my new project and promptly plunked down next to me and we had one of those wonderful conversations that a shared love of yarn helps happen so easily.Â I told her all about knit night at Purlescence, a store she didn’t know about, and that it was tonight…
…And then, my apologies, I just didn’t make it there. Things got done that needed to get done but I simply ran out of time to make the trip.
But I do hope I get to see her there next week. *waving hi*
Milk Pail‘s fresh almond paste has a higher almond and lower sugar content than the stuff in tubes elsewhere; amount will be random, but aim for the .5 to .7 lb range slab. Cut it up a bit and Cuisinart it with 2/3, or, if you like it sweeter, 3/4 c sugar, 3 eggs, 1 tsp almond extract, long and hard, then add in 1/4 c flour (of the type of your choice, I imagine, though with Sam gone home I just used plain old plain old) mixed with a tsp of baking powder. 8″ springform pan 35 min at 350. A near-instant recipe.
Michelle wheedled and threw Bambi eyes at me when I got home from Purlescence tonight and then pounced the moment it was cool enough to unlock the pan. No added fats, unlike the original Fanny Farmer version. Eggs and almonds and no allergic reactions, hey, guys, save some for breakfast.
And while I was at knit night…
Nathania got everybody’s attention: Pamela had had an idea and they’d thought it was a great one. Since the shop had moved into its bigger space (in the same shopping center), they’d had this big white bare wall. Purlescence has always tried to offer a sense of community to all who love to work with yarn as they do; Pamela’s idea was that we could all pitch in and create a community wall of–knitting, weaving, crocheting, tatting, you name it. Square, round, funky, big, little, Nathania asked, whatever appealed to you: like some of the get-well afghans out there (boy did I feel proud and happy and blessed by so many friends and lucky all over again as she said that) and then they would move the furniture out of the way of our knitting-group area and sit and piece together whatever comes in the door with this idea. Put a piece of yourself up on display with everybody else’s. Let’s make ourselves a giant wallhanging, a permanent display of who we are in our community.
My one request, she continued, is that it be purple. Your purple, or your purple (gesturing to one person, then another) or yours, or mine, whatever appeals to you and whatever you define as purple.
And it needs to be done by Stitches.
There are several celiacs in that knitting group. Maybe I could make some almond cakes with Bob’s Red Mill safely non-wheat flour to help celebrate when this big project is done. Pass the purple blackberry/raspberry sauce and dig in!
Thursday December 06th 2012, 9:05 pm
Filed under: Friends
My friend Lynn used to live in Ft Worth and knows my in-laws–and me, through knitting. Typing this into my phone, I’ll link later to the post of when we met in person last year the day after she got engaged, a very happy day then and since for her.
She picked me up tonight and took me to her old knitting group. I grinned that yes of course, knitting groups are always on Thursdays!
Earlier in the day, Richard and I had run an errand with his dad and I had googled for the Madeline Tosh retail shop; I knew it was around here somewhere, but I didn’t find it. Huh.
Guess where Lynn’s knitting group met? My stars, how perfect was that! You should have seen me grinning when we pulled up!
I got to meet Amy, the dyer behind it all; like my friend Lisa Souza, she has a degree in art and a love for yarn and put it all together.
I bought one skein, all I could do for now, and I am very much looking forward to it. But I love that this lovely woman who dyes this yarn got to see me swooning over her work as it so well deserves.
It was great to see Lynn, too.
She took me on a brief tour of the local sights. I got her into her first- ever Trader Joe’s store.
And a wonderful time was had by all.
Now all is a oh-Kaye!
Kaye at Purlescence messaged me: my spinning wheel was done! My Ashford Traditional, the one that has been broken so many times, so many ways, the one that was the better wheel I always used, even after it fell out of the back of my minivan and broke the flyer and maiden (always seatbelt them in), even after a kid tripped over it and broke the replacement flyer (and I had to buy the whole maiden assembly again for $120 from somewhere else, just before Purlescence came to be.)
It never did work well after that last time: it wobbled so hard that at times the thing simply fell apart, the maiden twisting with the vibrations and the bobbin simply falling to the floor.Â I had to clean dirty sewing machine oil out of silk. Kinda put a damper on the spinning thing.
This is the third wheel she and Sandi have repaired for me. One, bought at an auction, had never worked at all; they got it going and I sent it happily off to a great home, gratified that after fifteen years it had finally been made to work and it had gone to exactly where it needed to be. That’s why I’d still had it: so they could get it. So worth it now.
The second wheel, an Ashford Traveller, the Purl Girls did a great job on, too.
And once I had that one back I pulled out some merino/silk in a beautiful blue that I’d bought half a dozen years ago from a place that was closing down. Finally I had a wheel that would do it justice again.
The bag was mismarked. Clearly. It was Romney wool or its equivalent: good for making a rug or perhaps felting into a birdhouse, maybe knit straight from the roving, quick and bulky and for baby birds to poop in, but by no means was it worth hours upon hours upon hours.
Did I never put my hand in the ziploc bag before and actually touch the stuff? Boggles the mind.
And it kinda took the wind out of my sails on spinning for the moment.
But then today there was that message. My favorite wheel was repaired, the flyer replaced, the wrong metal part finally gone so that the spindle can lift up, not out, and other than the cup of Welch’s grape juice a then-teenager of mine once tried to balance on the sidebar, graffiti-ing it permanently (hey, Kaye, no need to apologize for not being able to get it out, it’s a bit of family history anyway), the thing is as good as new. At last.
My folks gave me some super-super-fine 90s merino for Christmas one year. Lots of it. After two afghans, there’s still a little more if it around somewhere–and I have my Trad back. Let’s finally put the spin back into that spindyeknit. Been too long.
Ava and Donna
I was knitting away at Purlescence tonight, chatting with friends, and about a half hour into it Ava was standing behind me and got my attention.
She lives in Colorado. I’d totally forgotten she was going to be teaching a class here tomorrow; she’s shop-owner Sandi’s former mother-in-law and still Mom and friend forever. And she was to be teaching the class with–I mentioned as she and I talked that I would *so* love to meet–
–She’s in the back, Ava told me.
I exclaimed loudly, jumping: DONNA DRUCHUNAS was my TECH EDITOR for my BOOK!!! as I leaped to my feet to go back there along with one very happy Ava.
They’d been neighbors and knitting friends together where they live. (Donna just moved away last month, though.)
Donna greeted me with the hug I had so much for so long wanted to give her. We had long promised someday we would meet. We worked so much together via email on Wrapped; I told Ava, as we all chuckled, that at one point on the write-up of the how-to-knit-lace section at the front of the book, she’d emailed, puzzled, Do you really *do* that?
Me: Wait. Do you really do it that way?
Yes, we did. And her way and mine both work just fine. We had quite a laugh over that, six years ago and then tonight, all three of us.
Donna did a ton of work on that section. Those visuals? Hers. The charts that I cannot write nor work from due to a brain injury? She wrote them. There was a listserv for designers pre-Ravelry and she went on that list and proclaimed to the world of professionals in the knitting industry that she had never before tech-edited a book with zero errors in the instructions. Mine was the first. And then she told everybody they had to have that book.
I cannot begin to tell you how much I owe her. And I finally got to meet her. I am in awe of her, and I finally got to tell her thank you in person!
And to see Ava Coleman again, after her health struggles and mine since the last time we saw each other in person. She’s a generous, gentle woman I aspire to be more like.
Wow. What an incredible day. And it’s my mother-in-law’s birthday: celebrations all around!
What Pamela and Sandi did
I missed it the last two weeks with that flare going on. I got my blood test results back yesterday–1.9 on the neutrophils is what it was like when I was on chemo for six and a half years, what’s up with that? Going and being in a crowd was just not the wisest thing to do; things are settling down and the bleeding seems to have stopped and the cardiac cough that was bugging me is almost gone too, so, why would I want to risk revving up my autoimmunity by being exposed to anything?
Because it was knit night. And I missed my friends. And Pamela’s moving away soon.
Coming onto the main drag on my way out, there it was. A Cooper’s hawk, quite possibly my male Cooper’s hawk. On the phone wires running just this side of the train tracks, looking down on the road I was on.
And at that moment I felt like everything would somehow be okay.
It was a very good evening to be at Purlescence. (Hey, and if you want a really good lace shawls book *cough* they’ve got it.) I was so caught up in the drama of go/not go that I’d utterly forgotten that Pamela and Sandi had been working on repairing my spinning wheels. Pamela had wanted to learn how for the sake of when she will be far from the expertise of the shop.
One turned out to be ready for me to take home.
Years ago I found a friend-of-a-four-times-removed friend who had bought an Ashford Traveler spinning wheel. Cute little thing. As far as I could piece together, she put the drive band on too tight and couldn’t get the darn thing to spin worth beans. (She also had her roving separated not in lengthwise strips but short fat wads.) Maybe someone told her she couldn’t get a high enough ratio on so small a wheel to make those linen curtains she was dreaming of spinning and weaving?
So. She bought a second wheel, an Ashford Traditional. Uses the same bobbins. Got a distaff for the flax.
They sat in her garage for years till the day we found each other. She sold me everything: her wheels, a goodly stack of books, all her fiber, getitouttahere, $150.
Eighteen years later, my Trad has had a hard life. One kid tried to balance her Welch’s grape juice on it andÂ stained it a permanent purple puddle; another kid tripped over it and his teenage foot smashed the flyer. That was after the wheel had fallen out of the car and smashed the original flyer and maiden. I bought new parts, again, but after the second blow it was wobbly and a pain to to use–the uprights had a tendency to wiggle apart as I spun and the flyer would simply fall out.
The Trav fared a little better but it was always stiff and arthritic, whatever the drive band. If you pumped the treadle just as hard as you could and then let go, it would turn maybe seven cycles before stopping. I read an article in Spinoff years ago that said it should be closer to 100. As if!
And now the Trav is glorious. It’s scrubbed, repaired, lovely, it works and looks fabulous. They’re not quite done with the Trad, but give them a few days. (Don’t worry about that purple, guys, it’s part of its charm now.)
I can spin again. Do you hear me, life? I can spin my own yarn on my own working wheel again! Thank you Pamela and Sandi!
Begin: the rest is easy
Today I had to return some Lands End dress shirts because they quit selling 38 sleeves, and hoping didn’t do a thing to make a 37 length do the job. I told Richard before I left that the nearest Sears store was 25 miles away and it just happened to be near Cottage Yarns in South San Francisco.
I kinda wonder if that’s why I’d chanced it.
And so a little extra Malabrigo filled a gap in my stash–I’d needed a skein of superwash Rios in guy-friendly colors. The little bit of Finito added in will be justifiable only when I see someone’s happy face when it’s done. I’ll have to get to it, and soon.
Coming home down 280, the self-proclaimed “most beautiful freeway in America,” the coastal mountains and reservoir to one side and hills to the other giving intermittent glimpses of the San Francisco Bay and valley, what was probably the peregrine who lives near the Flintstone house soared overhead, coasting on the thermals. Glorious.
Back home to real life. That new yarn staring at me did it. I had been dithering over my new niece’s gift, unable to pick just one pattern and just one idea. Enough. I grabbed my needles, cast on, ribbed, doublechecked the stitch count, debated, and dove in for Eden Alison. Pink sheared mink.
Somehow it turned out like this. I didn’t see till I took the picture that the lace echoed the wings there.
And somehow I didn’t see till I was well into it that what I was knitting was a crown for our sweet little princess.
Holly was not only in the States but San Francisco today. Hey!
And so she drove down and we spent the day sitting, knitting, and chatting along with Michelle–who does not quite yet see why what we love is so enticing, not just for us but for her. But the yarn, it calls. She knows what sweater she wants. She knows what fibers she does and does not want it to be. She knows I will not knit argyle. Holly (thank you Holly!) told her how much she was going to love making it herself. (I once did not only argyle, but argyle Kaffe Fassett style. In cotton. Eighty-one, count’em, 81 strands of laceweight cotton *per row* some rows. It was nuts and it never quite got finished.)
Richard got home and joined us. Dinner was eaten. Holly and I went off to Purlescence.
I had cast on shortly after she’d gotten here; I was a third of the way through my 440 yards by the time she left and she was close to done with her own. It is amazing how much you can get finished when there’s an interesting reason to keep the fingers going while you listen–the best part of course being the time together. Thank you, Holly! And Michelle for joining us.
Meantime, for anybody local: Cascade‘s reps are coming to Purlescence tomorrow, 5-8 pm. There will be new yarns to see. Holly and I are hoping to go, if her schedule works out that way.
I’m wearing it as I type
Parker in the hotel crib last weekend after he let me snuggle him to sleep…
We took the freezer apart again. The resident small person who could squeeze into it got, well, drafted. This time, we knew that hairdryering the coils wasn’t going to keep the job done past a week even after all the vacuuming at the back last time, and after some fussing with a meter–after I got a connection apart and then put tips to tips while Richard behind me read the readoff–he was able to narrow down the cause to one, and a $70 part is on its way.
The two-day-56F milk has been tossed and replaced; things are cold again for now. I wonder if the mailman will deliver the defroster control box over next door.
The doorbell rang just after we finished up. Oh hello, come on in!
And then it rang again, only this time I was expecting it and helped Jocelyn puzzle out her sweater pattern.
Got to Purlescence, and… Got headed off at the pass. Just inside the door, Kaye and the visiting Anne warned me: someone was sick.
So I signed a book for Monica and then Anne and I walked back outside to catch up a bit. It had been too long.
What I didn’t know is that she had stopped by to drop something off for me: “You’re always making things for other people, so I wanted to make something for you!”
I was speechless. She loved it. I loved it. Thank you, Anne, and I hope you get your crabapple tree (from the comments there).
I wore it proudly to Trader Joe’s to get that new gallon of milk. I showed it off when I got home.Â And when Anne, while we were chatting, shivered a bit in the foggy air outside the shop, I told her I had this really pretty shawlette I could loan her for a moment… She laughed.