Saturday, September 29, 2007

Blogiversary Reflections and Contest

Anniversaries are a time to take a walk down memory lane; to re-trace the steps of your path. My path with knitting began 2 years ago when I innocently went into a yarn store and touched some blue Frog Tree Alpaca. That alpaca became part of my first scarf. That scarf became the beginning of an obsession that would lead to hours of fiber fondling and needle clicking until I learned to turn yarn into hats, sweaters, socks, etc. essentially using sticks to make a series of knots. A true miracle! I joined a knitting group. I am an extremely social person so I figured if I was going to spend hours upon hours doing this hobby, I better find some other people who liked to knit, too. I loved watching other knitters' projects develops, seeing their yarn and pattern choices, and generally having a couple of hours a week where my primary concern was whether or not I had dropped a stitch when I was laughing at a fellow knitters joke.
My knitting obsession grew and I learned that sometimes I wanted those knit night connections when there was no knit night. That's when I discovered knitters in blogland. Oh, the joy! At any hour of day, I could look at and read about the knitting and non-knitting escapades of my fellow fiber fiends. I think one of the first blogs I stumbled on was Pippikneesocks, who also happens to live about 10 miles from me in the real world. Pippi's blog quickly led me to Amy's (aka Spunky Eclectic) blog, and then the snowball just kept rolling, picking up the voices of talented and often hilarious blogging knitters along the way. Before I knew it, some of my blogging buddies became non-virtual buddies as we met up at fiber festivals and other common feeding grounds for our species. Pictured above are Pippikneesocks (aka Symeon North) and Amy (aka Spunky Eclectic) at the Vermont Sheep and Wool Festival. That's Pippi watching over her booth and Amy doing the bunny fingers. I also met up with blogger Jessie Raymond (aka A Piece of Vermont), another Vermont fiber enthusiast and also a really great humor writer.
The list goes on and some of the other blogs I now read regularly include Pam's Flint Knits, Lolly's Lolly Knitting Around, Knit My Dog, Now Norma Knits, and Wool Girl. Of course, that is just the tip of the iceberg because knitters love putting links in their blogs that I can't resist. Knitting bloggers are also stash encouragers and sometimes enhancers. Finally, the work of others inspires me to try new things. I don't know if I would be learning to spin if I hadn't spent all that time reading about and looking at other knitters who expanded their horizons through spinning. The spindle to the left is some fiber given to me by known other than the lovely PippiKneesocks when she heard I acquired a wheel...a very generous and welcome enabler of my growing obsession with fiber in every state.
OK, now for the prizes. Let's see, first of all I am about to get the best prize I could wish for on or near by blogiversary. Yesterday, on my actual blogiversary, I received my RAVELRY INVITE! Yeehow! Woopee! More time to putz around in cyber fiber land.

And now, a contest and prizes for the readers. Rhinebeck, aka NYS Sheep and Wool Festival, is coming up in just a few weeks. I know many of you out there in blogland are getting exciting and making your list of booths to hit. So, in a shameless effort to promote Vermont's local artisans, here is how you can win 2 skeins of Green Mountain Spinnery Sylvan Spirit or 1 skein of beautiful Vermont handspun (don't worry, not mine yet).

List 2 Vermont vendors who will be at Rhinebeck, what they are selling, and why you like their "stuff." You can still join the contest even if you are not going to Rhinebeck. It's a good way to find out about some talented fiber artists from the Green Mountain State.

Rules: You must list the full name of the Vendor's business. You need to be specific about what they are selling. For example, a description such , "merino-alpaca hand-dyed roving and yarn" is preferable to "yarn and roving". It is obviously up to you why you like their "stuff"-color, texture, organic, etc. The deadline for entries is Thurday, October 4th at 11:59 P.M. EST

Oh yeah, you wanted pictures. Here is a picture of the 2 skeins of Green Mountain Spinnery Sylvan Spirit and the handspun.

That's it. I will enter all correct answers into a drawing and choose two. Oh yeah, and here's a picture of the prizes.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Surrender to September

Despite the unseasonably high temperatures here in Vermont, the autumnal equinox has passed and there is plenty of evidence that the seasons are changing- the leaves are starting to turn color and drop from their summer residences, the days are becoming noticeably shorter, and my favorite crossing guard is back at work.

At the beginning of September, I always feel a tinge of sadness and panic. Even though I no longer work as a classroom teacher, I still have that feeling that I need to get my but in gear and start thinking a little less about the water temperature and a little more about work. At the same time, there is something about September that feels like a relief. During the dog days of July and August, particularly here in Vermont, I always feel this need to be outside accomplishing things while there's still plenty of warmth and daylight. I'm sure that when people really had to store enough food to make it through the long New England winters, this feeling of limited time to accomplish summer chores was much more profound. I did do a little bit of canning and freezing this summer, but I certainly did not spend the majority of August in the kitchen ensuring that we would have enough food to make it through the winter. Still, the feeling must be embedded in my psyche from generations past. In September, there is enough daylight to still get out and play, but a sense that it is also okay to take things a little slower. It reminds me a little bit of how I feel about being in my 30's. There is still plenty of time to play, but I don't feel like I have to burn the candle at both ends just because I can.

This past Saturday, we went up to a friend's cabin on Caspian Lake. The temperature was in the 70's, but there had already been a frost. The water was still swimmable and the warm air made a bathing suit seem like appropriate attire, but it also seemed like a good time to pull out an almost finished knitting project. Those are Robb's socks, an overdue birthday present. So, there I am lapping up the September sun with a pile of wool on my lap. It seems like a perfect activity to celebrate the autumnal equinox. Ella enjoyed the water, too.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

An Important Message From Bob Dylan

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Peace, No excuses.

"The world is too dangerous for anything but truth
and too small for anything but love."
- William Sloan Coffin

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Why am I dancing (and knitting) on a sinking ship?

Many of you may have already hear the bad the bad news that the "ship" we all live on known as planet is sinking even faster than we thought. In an article printed in the Guardian last Wednesday, environmental correspondent David Adam, explains the grim situation .

The Arctic ice cap has collapsed at an unprecedented rate this summer and levels of sea ice in the region now stand at a record low, scientists said last night. Experts said they were "stunned" by the loss of ice, with an area almost twice as big as Britain disappearing in the last week alone. So much ice has melted this summer that the north-west passage across the top of Canada is fully navigable, and observers say the north-east passage along Russia's Arctic coast could open later this month. If the increased rate of melting continues, the summertime Arctic could be totally free of ice by 2030.

Oh, shit. That's pretty soon. That means I have a decent chance of being around when the earth's sensitive climate that makes it habitable for us humans begins to become a little less comfortable. Despite these grim predictions, I am really an optimist and still believe that if we get our buts in gear as a species and start treating the planet as a non-renewable resource to bet protected, there might just be some land around for our great-grandchildren to live on.

So, you may wonder if I spend all my waking hours trying to save our struggling planet. I am activist, but I am not a martyr. Despite my concern for our struggling planet, I still manage to enjoy the simple human pleasures of dancing, chocolate, knitting, etc. Even in the darkest of moments, I have been known to crack a joke to lighten up the mood or crank up the music and boogie to get those endorphins going. Sometimes you just have to raise your cup and say, "This world is fucking crazy, but we might as well have a little fun." That's exactly what I'm doing in the picture to the left, where I am swilling down a beer as part of interactive tour at the Alexander Keith's brewery in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Speaking of having a good time, I got a chance this past Thursday to see one of my favorite bands, Railroad Earth, this past weekend at Higher Ground. Railroad Earth is kind of raucous bluegrass with twist of Jersey. If you don't know what that means, you should listen here. I spent most of the 3 hour long concert jumping around, stomping feet, and shaking my tushy as though I didn't have a care in the world. For that time, I didn't. That's what music can do...remind us to be just where we are.

After that rocking Thursday night, how could my week get any better. I'll tell you. This weekend was the Vermont Sheep and Wool Festival. Fibery fun less than an hour from my house. So, I spent Saturday afternoon at the Champlain Valley fairgrounds petting swooning over the beautiful yarn and fiber and hanging out with Pippi, Amy, Norma, Brigette, Lee (blogless). It was good fun and I didn't come home empty handed. Below are the additions made to my stash during this summery September day.

Shine sock yarn by Spunky Eclectic in burning bush colorway. It looked like the perfect summer into fall color scheme and, it is indeed shiny and soft, too.
That there is a big ol' 1 bound ball of beautiful fiber from Copper Moose. The colorway is Mountain Meadow, which is just what it looks like.

Then, I purchased some lovely merino/mohair roving from Fantom Farm. Oooh, Aaah...look at those Autumn colors.

Now, why would a knitter buy all that fiber. Well, guess what, I have a new hobby...spinning. I purchased a used Louet S10 about a month ago and this is a little bit of what I've done. I am still a real fledging spinner, but I'm enjoying the process, which is pretty much how I feel about life in general.