Mumble mumble some yarn mumble a meme something mumble yarn!

I was memed by Jennifer of The Spirit Trail. So, today, I have that, plus some yarn. I’ll put most of the yarn at the end, forcing you to read through the meme to get to it. Such a dastardly ploy! I’d apologize, but… I’ve been totally insanely busy with production, the manchild down to 5 days of school left, and a bit of freelance work.

“The rules of the game get posted at the beginning. Each player answers the questions about themselves. At the end of the post, the player then tags 5-6 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know they’ve been tagged and asking them to read your blog.

Let the person who tagged you know when you’ve posted your answer.”

1. What was I doing 10 years ago?

I was about a month into my first software development job after switching away from system administration on the grounds that pager duty didn’t go that wonderfully with “new baby,” since “new baby” is much like pager duty anyway, only more important, because someone’s life depends on it (whereas with pager duty, what depends on you solving this problem RIGHT NOW is usually someone’s ability to view porn, forward a chain letter, or print something they’re only going to throw away in an hour).

At the time, I had tons of hope for that job. I was telecommuting, my boss seemed incredible, my co-workers were all smart and focused people with a work ethic, and the work itself wasn’t that bad. I would work, baby at my side or in my lap, from dawn until late at night, often typing one-handed while holding the boy. I didn’t get more than 8 hours worth of work done most days — it just took that long to do what I felt needed to get done in an average day of work. I struggled to catch my balance, make it all fit together. I raged against the new mom ideals prevalent in white-collar Silicon Valley, and took some solace from the latina moms I could find at the parks the non-latinos were scared of… but sadly none of them lived nearby, and were instead all working as nannies.

By the start of the next year, we moved to a mostly latino blue-collar neighborhood where we lived the rest of our time in Silicon Valley. The job… well, that’s 8 years and the last half of a career that are over now, and while some of the lessons learned still sting (they may always) I don’t think there’s anything I could have done different about it that would have made it work out better for me. Ultimately it broke my spirit almost entirely, but provided the means to escape it in the end, and now it’s been two years. I don’t harbor any resentment. There may be lingering bile in places. Lots of people would have thought it was a great situation. That’s part of what made it all hard. It was, in some respects, but it was killing me.

2. What are 5 things on my to-do list for today (not in any particular order):

It’s Sunday. I’m trying to take it easy. But there’s an enormous mountain of laundry (when isn’t there?) There is work to be done in the yard and the kitchen needs cleaning. Well, okay, the whole house does, but the kitchen’s critical. There is “Post something to the blog, which hasn’t been possible lately due to freelance commitments,” (and speaking of freelance commitments, there’s work to do there as well) and I’d really like to finally finish the Foggy Foggy Dew shawl, which is just in the high-maintenance last few rows with tons of beads. I have a sock yarn half spun and two others I’d love to do soonish as well. How many things am I up to now? This is the problem with my to-do list, and this is a WEEKEND, so there’s basically no work in it.

And you wanna know what really sucks, and is on my list, and has to get done at some point, but I can’t commit to it on any given day… is that I have to go buy shorts. Fat shorts. They’re like fat pants, only they’re shorts. It’s clear I’m not going to lose my winter’s excessive weight gain by summer shorts weather… because it’s now shorts weather often and I haven’t lost it. This fills me with rage, as does anything that leads to pants shopping (which shorts shopping really is, even if they’re shorts instead of pants). I hate pants shopping almost as much as going to the dentist or getting a call from my kid’s school to notify me he’s in trouble. And dude, both of those things take less time than pants shopping, and they’re even usually cheaper. Clothes shopping at large is awful but I only ever do it if I need pants, so therefore, pants shopping is the evil one.

And for those of you on other sides of ponds and whatnot… by pants I mean trousers, and not knickers.

LATER: So, now it’s no longer Sunday (but, the manchild’s registered for summer camp and even synced up with his buddy so they’ll be in the same camps at the same time, he’s signed up to play trombone in band next year, I got a box of batts out to Beth, and the folks I’m freelancing for having killed me yet), and it’s Wednesday evening, I’ll tell you what remains on my list for Wednesday evening at 8PM: keep checking email, spin bobbin number 2 of some batts Amy sent me, have another beer, and possibly ply said yarn.

Oh… what batts would these be? They’re from Enchanted Knoll, and Amy said she thought I’d like them.

I do! I’m usually not a fan of sari silk, which these contain… but she does a nice job with these, and they spin beautifully, and I am finding the batts a compelling and relaxing spin.

I think it’s going to be a really neat 2-ply yarn. It’s always nice to discover a new producer of batts I like; it doesn’t happen often.

(See how I threw in some pictures there in the middle? Maybe that’ll keep you interested till you get to the yarn pictures at the end.)

3. Snacks I enjoy:

Well, the wasabi almonds, of course. I’m still not out from the supply everyone gave me in Michigan at the end of March. Such luxury!

Berries. I love berries.

Chocolate. Especially with nuts and fresh berries. All the more if it’s ice cream or mousse or something and there’s also whipped cream. So, fine, maybe that’s not exactly a snack.

Tortilla chips and fresh salsa.

Crackers and fancy cheese. And pate. Maybe with small cute bread instead of crackers.

Really good beef jerky.

4. Things I would do if I were a billionaire:

1. Build a hospital in Chinchero, Peru, which would be dedicated to my late friend Angelica, who died of typhoid when we were teenagers. That’s my oldest and longest standing “if I were a billionaire” resolution.

2. Fund something major for the Center for Traditional Textiles of Cusco… which in some respects, you know, is just as huge a thing as a hospital. Maybe huger.

3. Buy a historic building to turn into a studio, school, and maybe shop. Hire someone else to work the retail hours.

4. Endow a university to create a textile science program which in turn causes other universities to need them, and thus cause the world at large to finally respect (and seek to understand and preserve) textile technologies.

5. I want a balcony. It would go outside of my office and yarn room. I could walk out onto it, and it would be a great place for coffee in the morning and a beer once the sun’s over the yardarm. Note to self: install yardarm on balcony, plus sundial that reads “Beer o’clock.” Alternatively, the historic building that is my shop can have it, and it can overlook the street, and I can use it for a soapbox while masses of people gather to be swayed by my textile ethos. Totally. It could happen.

6. Take the amazing trips I’ve always wanted to take — Panama Canal, Trans-Siberian Railway, ocean liner to Europe, drive what’s left of Route 66, see Spain, that kind of thing.

7. Custom Corvette.

5. Places I have lived:

I made a list here, once:

Places I’ve Lived

To that, add southern Ohio.

6. Peeps I want to know more about:

Amelia!

Elizabeth!

Beth!

Ellen!

Phiala!

Hope!

Diane!

Okay, right — so I promised you pictures of yarn, and pictures of yarn you shall have! Once again, huge thanks to Amy for sending me fiber and saving me from eating my own cooking all the time. It’s not that I don’t like my fibers, it’s just that, well, you know. Sometimes a girl needs some variety.

Amy actually sent me this fiber last year — like, possibly more than a year ago. Around when I picked up the Majacraft Saxonie, which I got at the Upper Valley Fiber Fest, so… ah, more than a year ago. I’ve been hoarding it, because I really liked it, a lot a lot a lot. Look at it again:

It’s merino/silk in “Rocky Mountain High.” And it turns out it was even more droolworthy than I thought it was. It was first up when I put the new treadle assembly on the Suzie Pro and by the time I’d spun a little, I realized I wished I was spinning it even finer. Except… then who knows if I’d ever get around to knitting anything with it. But still. I realized I was going to run out of it, and that was kinda traumatic. That’s why I’d been stashing it, you know?

And if the sun would just come out without high winds, then maybe someday I could take some good finished skein pictures. Here’s the tragic moment when I finished up the 1006 yards I got from this 4-ounce braid… and called Amy up all sad to plead for more fiber.

So, next… well, so there’s a story here. Amy sent me this, too — merino/mohair dyed by Adrian in a lovely series of greens and yellows with some gray and… man, so pretty, and so totally colours I’m weak for. And behind the scenes… well, you crazy sock knitters ALMOST HAD ME. This yarn is the proof.

You might not be able to tell from looking at those bobbins, but the singles are spun so the yarn will stripe neatly when plied. Also, if you happen to notice my Will Taylor lazy kate is missing a spoke, please don’t mention it. It has not been a good May for my equipment and I’m trying denial this time. Shush, Ellen. I can’t hear you.

See? Now that it’s getting plied, you can tell it’ll stripe.

Anyway, so the capacity of a Majacraft baby bobbin seems to be about exactly 4 ounces. Which, spun to this thickness? Is about the right yardage for someone to, say, fall prey to the exhortations of the sock knitting conspiracy, and knit a pair of socks.

But just when I got this yarn finished, I found out Juno, long my compatriot in Not Knitting Socks, was apparently faltering in her resolve. And then… and then it turns out she FELL OFF THE WAGON.

Therefore, despite this 510 yards of absolutely stellar sock yarn in a colourway I absolutely adore, I’m afraid I have to just regroup, and stay strong, and hold the line. Someone has to. And again I say, et tu, Juno? Et tu? Am I now the only one left?

Anyway. I showed you guys these yarns, right?

I swear I can’t remember if I did or not. No matter, though — they’re actually destined for a good cause, and I’ll tell you more about that tomorrow (no really, Thursday, I swear!)

Lastly, you wanna know what’s really twisted about the past week or so?

Just look at that. It’s way too small. Two of them don’t even make a short pint. It’s like a two-sip beer. What is the point of tiny beer? It’s just not right.

30 thoughts on “Mumble mumble some yarn mumble a meme something mumble yarn!

  1. I am so boring- especially compared to um, some people :-P, but I’ll give it a go. (and I read your blog anyway, silly).

  2. Dear Abby,

    Apparently one is supposed to comment when one reads blogs.

    I’m fascinated by your 10 years ago response. Also, I can totally relate to your rage at Pants shopping.

    My answer is to shop online, knowing that I can return anything that doesn’t fit. Also, that way I can sneak in some fiber to keep me a little bit saner.

    Lauren

  3. You will be assimilated.

    (Also, amen to little pointless beers and I join you in you noble loathing of pants shopping. Pants shopping sucks. I don’t think I have a commercial arse.)

  4. Anybody else notice that the sock yarn and the Corona totally go?

    In fact, those are beer bottle colors. Green, brown, lime…

    That Rocky Mountain stuff is to die for.

  5. Your first answer sums up my life in Network Security to a T. It’s draining and I’m glad I’m not in it anymore.

    As for the rest, I wish I was as interesting! *wants to be Abby when grown up*

    Love the spun batt, it’s gorgeous and the sock yarn is great! Knit socks, you know you want to.. go on, go on.. 😀

  6. Rocky Mountain High! * drools *

    I second (third?) the pants thing (and I still haven’t learnt not to say ‘pants’ here and regularly make all the poms titter). It’s not so much the buying as the shortening afterwards. Somehow I feel it’s a bit of a rip-off to pay for an extra 6 inches (3 on each leg) of material that will be thrown away!

    Off to meme now…

  7. It’s a sawed-off beer!

    For jeans-type pants and shorts, my strategy is to go to the men’s department, grab everything they have in relaxed fit, and accept that they will be loose in the waist if they’re to fit on the arse and thighs, and that most of the legs will have to go.

    And then try not to cry.

    And then go and have a beer and some Yugoslavian Grilled Food with my husband, who always says in these situations “Well, if you were skinny then you wouldn’t be able to drink beer and eat Yugoslavian Grilled Food with me, so it’s much better this way”.

  8. …..wear a skirt already. It’s like a “sock knitting” shield. Wear a skirt and you don’t have to wear socks just saying, From your fellow non-sock knitting pal. I can even get people to knit socks for me. Got another free pair last night.

  9. If you want company driving Route 66… I’ve been wanting to drive it for quite a while now. Road trip! The total sucking of pants shopping must be universal: I’m with the rest of you.

  10. Absolutely love & agree with billionaire idea #4. How can we do it???

  11. Eeep, that’s me! I got most of it done, and will have to finish up later. The Tyrannosaurus needs me.

  12. I don’t get tiny beer either. It’s like tiny diet cola; yeah, they made non-diet cola that was in 100-kcal cans, and I sort of got my head round that, but the diet soda has no calorie constraint! If you can’t drink the aspartame, what are you doing here?

    It’s a generalized you, mind. It’s no one specific you.

    Also, you are not alone. The socks are not my happening, and they still freak me out.

    Also also, how does one tell the moving boxes that one is Happily In New Hampshire Now, and one would like to unpack them, except knitting?

  13. I hate wearing shorts, they never seem to be the right length. I am never sure how I should go on this. Below the knee? Above the knee seems kind of dorky. But below the knee shorts are so heavy. So even though I live in southern california, I just refuse to wear shorts at all. And no khaki, either. Jeans all summer.

  14. The tiny beer is to real beer as shorts are to pants … but you have to give it some credit: Surely it is more fun to shop for beer, short or long, than pants, short or long.

    Beautiful yarn.

  15. My university has a textiles department, it was acutally founded as a textile college before it became a university.

    Do they respect the textile department in any way? No.
    Are they abandoning tradional subjects in favour of fashion? Yes

    We used to have weaving sheds, and now the university archivist doesn’t even know that weaving sheds are always called ‘sheds’

    ::cries::

  16. Wowzer. Abby wants to know about little old boring *me*. I am forever telling people about *your* fascinating life … growing up in Peru. Spinning since 5. How can I top that? sheesh. I’m so American (albeit naturalized) that my naturalization interview was about the best local restaurants more than it was about the US government. But at least my daughter can say she’s been spinning since she was 2 (grin).

    Answers are up … and thanks for asking!!

  17. Grumble. How come people give Denny free socks, and not me? Life is so unfair sometimes.

    I thought Juno was never weak.

    You all are shattering my image of the Knitting Goddesses. Sigh. I’ll just have to keep admiring myself in the mirror instead. [not]

    Abby, don’t you just love it when your commenters start talking among themselves and say nothing about your post? That merino/silk is extraordinary. And what’s this about a custom Corvette? Do you, too, have a flaw? Of, the shock!

  18. I love the Rocky Mountain stuff. Those are my colors! I’m with you on the pants shopping. I probably have 10 shirts or more to every one pair of pants.

  19. Listen carefully…you WILL reach for the size 2 needles…you WILL cast on socks…you WILL love it…

    You know it’s only a matter of time, so you might as well jump in with the rest of us freaks!

    I’d be grateful for the tiny beer. But after the faux heart attack last month (really bad acid reflux–so humiliating to go to the ER and go through all the tests only to be told you have heartburn when you really thought you were dying) I can’t drink alcohol. Or eat chocolate. I’ve been buying a lot of yarn, oh yes I have.

  20. By the way–I tried on last summer’s fat shorts and they’re too small. 🙁

    Am beginning to agree with Denny on the skirts–except I need to wear them with shorts underneath to prevent my thighs from bursting into flames.

  21. Be strong- just say No to socks. Instead say, Hey Col, wanna knit some socks for me? Tradsies for handspun? 😉

  22. I don’t do shorts… PERIOD. Clothing shopping is so awful. Most of my clothes are 10 years old… when I have to buy things, I buy lots. Like who wants to have to go do the bra thing, etc. so, buy 6 at a time, then put 3 back for “new” later when I need to shop again. But I am so in agreement about skirts. And if you do the “broomstick” type skirts, you can buy them cheap, and they cover all. I get away with it, to an extent, by living in a cool climate… but when I have to do ‘hot’, I go for those nice baggy Indian pants; they fit a wide range of weight gain/loss.

    About the sock thing… we’ve discussed this, Abby. But your personally spun sock yarn will never work with size 2’s… and you already know about that. If you are going to take it up, then think size 1’s, or maybe 0’s. I’ve already agreed to knit you some socks… I can’t stand it anymore; I am about THERE: the point of knitting you “charity socks”. I know your size! And we like the same colors… I have some of Janel’s sock yarn in some kewl greens. Of course, I bought it for ME. Then again, you could send the stuff you just spun up?

    MINI beer? I mean, we have tons of micro-breweries here in the Pacific NW, as Amelia can confirm. I’m not sure how many are over by Port Angeles… but here in the island, we have ’em. But what is the point of tiny bottles???

    Okay, I have to go throw together something for dinner. I can’t get away with not cooking all weekend. With fuel prices what they are, we are staying home and actually working all weekend. Sigh. I haven’t touched fiber for at least 24 hours. MUST. GET. TO. FIBER. TONIGHT.

  23. What if you put together a fund (sort of like Knitters w/out Borders) to help the Center, or accepted donations and created a fund for a hospital? Knitters are a generous bunch – I’d give some to help that out. You maybe don’t need to do all of it on your own, you know?

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