Wavy

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Now I completely understand why it took me years to figure out that my hair is actually curly.

Usually, I comb my conditioner through my hair in the shower, and then towel-dry it ever so slightly afterwards, and scrunch in some gel. And that’s it. No other combing or brushing all day, just that one time in the shower. Anything else is going to pull the curl out and break up the curl “clumps.”

The other night, just to be different, I combed my hair out after the shower–like I did in the old days–and, wow, what a difference! All those years of combing the tangles out after the shower, who knew it was pulling so much of the curl out of my hair?

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Because, usually, my hair has more curl …

Not only that, but it’s getting really long. The picture just above is from right after my last haircut in January. That’s five months ago, and when I combed out the dripping wet hair the other night? It came down well past my bra strap. I can’t remember the last time (ever?) that it was this long yet, surprisingly, it hasn’t been driving me nuts … yet.

If I’m really smart, though, I’ll pick up the phone tomorrow to make a haircut appointment because if I wait until it IS driving me nuts, then you know it’ll take weeks before I can get one.

I know, you’re all fascinated about my hair, right?

So, how about this–check out my afghan mentioned on the Twist Collective blog!

Because tonight’s post is obviously all about ME (grin).

Well, with a mention of my grandmother. It was 33 years ago today that my mother lost her mother, and I am grateful every day that MY mother is still here. She was 34 when her mother died, and I’ve had mine for 42 (and counting). I’ve been thinking about you a lot today, Grandma! I truly regret that, since I was only 9 when you died, that I never got a chance to really get to know you. I know, though, that you were the one person Mom used to get really silly with, like she does with me; and that you were the one person she regularly squabbled with, like she does with me. I think that you and I would have gotten along just wonderfully.

Too Early for Harvesting

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First, I apologize for the blurry final picture–it was the best of the first batch I took, where my camera mysteriously chose to focus on the wall behind me, but which I didn’t notice until the tripod was away, the sweater back on the bed, and all the pictures copied off the camera, and I was finally sitting DOWN. So … well, at least the others came out okay. It’s just that I only had it buttoned all the way in the first group, but, well, you folks have imaginations, right?

The sweater, you’ll remember, is the Harvest Cardigan from Pam Allen and Ann Budd’s Color Style. (Which was a book I was really impressed with.) For reasons beyond comprehension, there are only 3 of these being made on Ravelry, since it’s such a beautiful pattern.

I made mine out of Elsebeth Lavold’s Silky Wool rather than the Shetland called for in the book, and naturally I had gauge issues, so mine came out longer than it should have but … it fits well, looks great, and the only problem I had was that a 3-stitch steek really just is NOT wide enough for Silky Wool yarn. If I were doing it over, I’d do at least 7 stitches across for the steeks. The only modification I DID make? I made the button bands wider than in the pattern … just in case I had picked a larger button.

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Yes. I chose button #2. As torn as I was between it and button #1, it ultimately came down to no contest at all. Because while both of them would have been more or less perfect for this sweater …

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Button #1 is EQUALLY perfect for my upcoming Briar Rose sweater. Don’t those buttons look fabulous with its orangey goodness?

So, with one button that was perfect for this sweater and only this sweater, and one that was perfect for two, well … no contest.

011209_0027 And, can you believe how long my hair is getting? Good thing I have a haircut appointment for Saturday. Would you believe it’s been since August that I stretched this last cut? I took this picture last night, incidentally. For whatever reason, my hair was badly tangled from skimming over my shoulders all day, so I pulled out my hairbrush before I took my shower … You know, it always amazes me how smooth and silky my hair feels after I brush it. I’m so used to the clumps of curls. And, it looked so pretty, pulled over my head, I figured I’d take its picture before I got it wet.

And, the reason I don’t usually brush my hair? Look how full it looks right now, with the clumps broken up and each hair doing its own thing … if I left it like that and went about my day, it would be about twice that volume in about 30 minutes and would make me look like a crazy person. The curls keep everything under control, but the trick to that (and to avoiding frizz, if you’ve got curly hair) is NOT TO TOUCH it. Not ever. Never, ever break up a curl clump if you don’t have to … that just frees each individual strand to curl on its own and is the start of chaos.

Oh … I just realized something. The sweater in the book had some embroidery on it … maybe I’m not 100% finished after all!

Hot

071008_0002 Well, who knew that I was so darn stylish? One of the “hot” items of the summer (according to Vineyard Style Magazine) just happens to be in my closet! A MV Fiber Farm t-shirt. Susan really IS taking over the world. That’s two magazines this week.

071008_0012 Good thing I put my hair in a braid today, then, huh?

Though, really, it wasn’t hot today. It was about 85-88 and, for a wonder, no humidity. Summer’s still not my favorite season, but this weather I can handle.

I’ve gotten distracted by watching old episodes of Fame over on Hulu. That site, I tell you, is addictive! So many good (and some not so good) tv shows that I haven’t seen in ages. Fame stands up pretty well, too–I remember loving it when I was in high school–but I gave the pilot of “One Day at a Time” a shot the other day and all of Julie’s yelling about “poor, misunderstood, teenage me” got on my nerves. “Mary Tyler Moore” is always good, though. And “Firefly.” And…

Speaking of television, did you know, Burn Notice is back for its second season tonight?

Cutting

IMG_6767copy Back to the center of town for Mom and me today. It was a beautiful day but a little chilly–about 40 degrees and breezy. The sky was blue-blue-blue, though.

Just like last weekend, we went in for some coffee. (Oh, and that big hole in the shopping plaza they’re renovating? I didn’t get a picture, but they’ve put up a cinder-block wall, so now there’s basically an alley through what was the center of the building–which is an improvement over a big hole, but I’m still dying to know why.)

Anyway, after coffee, I went for a haircut. It’s only been two months since my last one and I really prefer to stretch them longer than that, but it was starting to get to the point of needing a cut and since I want to look my best next month when I get to meet all those sheep, lambs, goats, and kids (not to mention Susan and any other fellow bloggers who might be at the MV Fiber Festival), well, I figured it was better to get it trimmed now. As usual, I won’t know until tomorrow how good the cut actually is, but since I haven’t been screaming in front of the mirror like I was after that awful cut in November, the signs are propitious.

IMG_6764 Speaking of signs … Spring is definitely coming!

Oh, and take a look at this amazing cake–decorated with frosting roses to look like map of the world.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go back to watching this Bewitched episode where Samantha and Darrin go back to determine whether he would still have married her if he knew she was a witch … Hulu.com is addictive!

Sticks

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You know, knitting isn’t the only thing you can do with a pair of sticks.

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Sometimes, they’re more fun to just put into your hair.

(It’s just a pity that my hair never stays up. I think the record–even with excellent twisting, great hair sticks, and firm closure–was about four hours. Still, pretty!)

Brought to you by:

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Vanity

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Okay, so maybe I’m a little vain about my curls. As I go through my old archives, I keep coming across posts where I talk about my hair or show pictures of my hair, and really, well . . . what can I say? I like my curly hair!

Not to mention relieved to finally have a decent haircut.

Brought to you by:

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Dirty Socks

IMG_6529 So, after a day of wearing your wonderful, handknit socks . . . what do you do with them?

Sock-washing is one of the topics that came up on Saturday. Kim lets them pile up and then does a big wash of bunches of them. Risa uses the Harlot’s method of wearing them into the shower, thereby avoiding “laundry” altogether.

IMG_6538 I still like my method best. When I get ready for my shower at night and take my socks off, I fill up the sink with a some woolwash like Soak, a drop of shampoo, or a squirt of conditioner.

IMG_6539 Then, while I’m in the shower, the socks soak. It’s that simple.

IMG_6537 By the time I’m done with my shower, the socks are clean. I gently wring out the water and hang them in the shower to dry. I used to lay them flat on a towel on the counter, but Chappy enjoyed trying to steal that (grin). The hang-to-dry method is safer for the socks.

And, that’s it. I can’t really imagine an easier method, not really. Soaking them while I’m in the shower takes care of the hard part, and they dry themselves with no additional effort from me. All I have to do is fill up the sink in the first place, and then remember to drain it and take the socks out. Not really that much of a strain on my mental resources, you know? And my socks are always clean, since I wash them the day I wear them, and there’s never a pile of dirty socks waiting to be cleaned. AND it is so simple, I don’t consider this “laundry,” either.

Now, did you catch that I use conditioner to wash them? This is another thing I’ve been meaning to mention. A couple weeks ago, Mom, Dad and I were chatting about hair (don’t ask me why Dad was chatting about hair–he’s had a crewcut since high school), and Mom said, “One time, I accidentally used conditioner to wash my hair [shudder].” I said, “I use conditioner all the time.” “But I used it instead of shampoo. [shudder again].” “Yes, that’s what I mean.”

This isn’t completely new news, even in the knit-blogging world. In fact, Wendy posted about it just last month. I’ve even mentioned it myself, though not recently, and it bears repeating. Shampoo, even the ones touted as “moisturizing” usually have harsh cleansing agents–usually sulfates–that are bad for your hair, so that your hair then requires conditioner to add the stripped-moisture back, like putting on hand lotion after washing the dishes. Except, it’s healthier to avoid the stripping in the first place. Conditioners often have plenty of cleansing agents in them to begin with–they just need a little extra time to loosen the dirt. (You can read more about conditioner washing here. And here.) It’s true that not every conditioner is eligible–the ones that have non-water-soluble silicones, for example, would just build-up on your hair, but there’s a large number that work, and they’re not always the expensive ones, either.

It does make a certain amount of sense, if you think about it. I learned in high school chemistry that oils dissolve oils. The ancient Romans used oil for their own bathing, after all, and you can clean your own skin with oil even now (Either with purchased products, or by mixing your own out of 50/50 castor oil and extra virgin olive oil, with maybe a drop or two of aromatic oil for scent.) So, really, why wouldn’t conditioner work to clean your hair? And, for that matter, your wool? I’ve been cleaning handknits in conditioner for years . . . and since it’s conditioner, it doesn’t have to be rinsed out, which leaves my knits extra soft and smelling nice. V05 Kiwi Lime is still my favorite, though their new Tea Therapy Vanilla Mint, both available at the local drugstore for a couple dollars,works really well. And they cost a lot less than the Wen products. (Though I’ll admit that I’ve tried that and like it, too. On my hair. It’s a little pricey for washing socks.)

Now, a couple other links for you:

Did you hear that Jody is launching her very own online magazine, Knotions? Good luck, Jody!

I have to say that I love Ysolda’s newest pattern, Verity, a lovely, slouchy beretlook how fabulous it looks–and with her curls, too.

And, you DID know that today is a Sentence, right? I posted about it over at Punctuality Rules.

After

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One of these things is not like the other….

Stylin’ Saturday

IMG_6094 Yes, I got my hair cut today. No, you’re not going to see a picture just yet. Right now, frankly, my hair looks terrible, but that’s because of the styling–I think the cut is going to be fine. My hair never looks good the day of a cut, and by the time the stylist has finished cutting and adds some gel or whatever kind of styling product, it’s really far too late for it to absorb properly into my hair, and just weighs it down. I won’t really know until tomorrow, or even Monday, how good a cut this is, but I think it’s going to be fine. Meanwhile, I took a picture from the chair while she was over rinsing out some highlights on another client. I must say, this is the first salon I’ve ever been to that had crystal chandeliers. Very nice “feel” to this salon–stylish without being too “edgy,” like that salon in August that I really didn’t like.

IMG_6101 After the haircut, Mom and I stopped at Nonna’s to look at their button collection. They don’t have a large collection, but since we were parked right across the street, it seemed silly not to at least stop in and look. I’m glad we did, too, because I like this one. It’s mostly gray, but with a hint of blue, and it looks great on the sweater. Since this pattern only uses one, big button, it needs to be a good one, and I like this one! That doesn’t mean I couldn’t possibly find something better, but at least it’s here and ready to go and what more do you need from a button?

IMG_6108 I am concerned about one thing, though. The pattern states, for the “ribbing” (which is actually garter stitch and would usually be called front bands or button bands) to cast on 79 stitches and knit 6 rows. Which I did. Except . . . the picture of the actual sweater shows that front band being a lot wider . . . it looks like there are at least 8 garter ridges there, under the button. So, I’m wondering if it was a typo and should have read 16 rows rather than 6. And, anyway, I think that’s what I’m going to do, any how–I like that wide front band.

But then, also, the pattern has you knit the band, ending with a few rows in a contrasting color that will be removed after the band has been sewn on . . . but what if I just picked up the stitches along the front? Instead of doing it separately? Although, part of the point would be that the transition from front to band would be seamless, and picking up the stitches clearly would make a seam. I’m not sure…. I’m also not sure I love the idea of a snap, either. The pattern calls for the sweater to be closed by a single snap, with the button sewn on just for show … I’m playing with the idea of making it a real button band instead … There are only a couple of these completed on Ravelry (link here, if you belong to Ravelry), so it’s hard to get other opinions on this. What do you folks think?

Edited to add: I just heard back from Yarnholic on Ravelry (one of the two other people to finish this) and she worked off of the French pattern and it said “19 rows / 6 cm” . . . so obviously my translation took the “6″ from the width and the word “rows” and made up something new (grin). She also picked up her band stitches along the fronts AND did button holes rather than a snap. (I say holes-plural because she decided she didn’t like the original placement and moved it, having to redo the entire band in the process.) Meanwhile, tonight, I finished the collar, sewed the shoulder seams and set in the sleeves, leaving the sleeve seams and side seams still to go . . . and, obviously, reknitting the button bands…. Okay–back to the original post…

IMG_6095 My last Spunky Eclectic fiber of the month package arrived today. “Snow Squall,” in Icelandic Wool. I love the blue/green/gray combination and, I must say, it coordinated beautifully with the blue/gray outfit I’m wearing. As did the couch and throw pillows in the waiting area at the Salon. You know, it’s SO important to be color-coordinated.

Now, of course, I’ve mentioned the Martha’s Vineyard Fiber Farm CSA a number of times, but today there’s a new twist. Mom belongs to a group of die-hard Carly Simon fans (Carly, of course, lives on MV), and she mentioned the MVFF on her blog the other day, and one of her fellow Carly fans was so moved by the idea of something special from Marthas Vineyard that he bought one of the Fall shares. Even though he doesn’t spin. Or knit. That’s devotion for you! He said in the e-mail he sent Mom, ” I’m a nut. And no, I haven’t a clue what I am going to do with my share (LOL)… any suggestions??” What do you think, folks? Got any ideas for him? He lives out in California somewhere, so it’s not like we’re exactly neighbors to be able to help him out. He has a couple of friends who knit, though, so that’s something, but . . . what would you suggest?

Thanks for all the compliments on yesterday’s Eye-Candy Friday. It really IS a gorgeous quilt, isn’t it? I just wish I could claim it as my own work, but that’s just not practical (or honest). I CAN make a quilt, though. Several, even, see?

Balance

WW bobbins It’s a nice little Karmic twist, actually. So, you know how I ended up with four skeins of extra yarn that I didn’t really need? Well, they cost just about the same amount as a WooLee Winder bobbin. Like the ones you see here.

There are two because I had ordered an extra bobbin for my Majacraft back in July, but it didn’t come and it didn’t come. I sent a couple e-mails to Nathan, but didn’t hear anything, but still, I was patient. For six months. Then, last week, I sent him another e-mail basically begging just to hear from him–if he was truly that backed-up making bobbins, fine, but tell me! He apparently felt so badly for me that he not only got my bobbin out in the mail to me pronto, but it brought along a friend. Wasn’t that nice?

Needless to say, my Little Gem is very excited about this. I know I am! And, that’s two nice things that have come in the mail this week, which is even better. And the fact that the money kind of balances out between the unneeded yarn and the bonus bobbin makes my checkbook feel a little happier, too.

Pre-haircut 1-24-08 And, here–a pre-haircut look at my hair. To give that girl from November what little credit she deserves, she at least didn’t butcher it. She added so LITTLE shape to it, that they layers are nice and long, which will give the (hopefully competent) stylist on Saturday room to maneuver. The shortest layer (if you can call them layers) that I’ve got comes past my chin, so it’s not like she’s going to be trying to salvage some sort of style from a couple inches of hair. Really, she’ll basically get to start from scratch.

And, jeez, my hair looks so DARK!

Now, today’s old-time reminiscing from the early-blog-days? The arrival of my Lendrum. My Brooks Farm shawl. And my tribute to Katy and to our two Dachshunds.

Oh, Well!

Almost Phildar So, my Phildar Cardigan is just zooming along now. Here are the two front bands, completely done. No, really. I know they look a little odd, but each one is ended with a few rows of knitting in a contrasting color. They’ll be sewn directly to the fronts of the sweater and then the waste yarn unravelled, leaving it essentially seamless. And that’s the collar, just cast onto the needles, too.

Um. So, it turns out I over-reacted a little when I was so sure I was going to run out of yarn. Which means I now have four skeins too many.

Oh, well! The collar should be done tomorrow night, the sleeves are blocking right now. I’m afraid that they’ve stretched … except that I had the same fear about my Olympic Sweater when it appeared to have grown dramatically when I blocked it and it turned out to be fine, so I’m trying not to worry. If they’re too long when it’s done, I’ll put a hem at the cuffs, and that will be that. All that’s left, really, is to assemble the pieces. And, oh yes, I need a magnetic snap and a snazzy button, too. Because it doesn’t really button. Unless, of course, I decide that the snap is too much work and just make it button anyway (grin). I think it would look good either way, right?

Still, though, I’m kicking myself for panicking and ordering that extra yarn. That’s almost $40 that I would rather have kept in my pocket!

Beautiful Chappy Chappy’s being very supportive and understanding, though. Doesn’t he look wise and caring? Not to mention particularly handsome. I had just taken that yarn picture and he was over by his crate, chewing on his nylabone. I walked around and told him “Come on, let me take your picture. I haven’t taken your picture in ages.” Because usually, you know, he turns his head away from the flash, just to make it challenging for me. And not only did he not turn his head, he posed beautifully. I know I’m biased, of course but I just think I have the handsomest dog…. (grin) It’s a GOOD picture! Even if he does need a haircut. Well, you can’t really tell in that picture, but, trust me.

Speaking of which, I made an appointment for a haircut on Saturday. I really can’t wait to get this cut, that haircut in November was so bad. I’ve told you my hair woes before, and don’t think I need to go into it again. I opted to try a salon a little closer than Fair Lawn . . . because while that would be handy for coordinating visits with Risa and Jessica, with my luck, every time I’d schedule a haircut would be a day when they’d have family things to do, or be sick, or out of town, or busy doing something, in which case that’s quite a trek for a haircut. Anyway, I’m going to try the Lounge, which is where Kim goes. I grilled the receptionist about the skill of the “level 1″ stylist because I really don’t want to pay for the owner to cut my hair (grin). Although one of the owners DOES have curly hair herself, so it was seriously tempting to try her, but that’s an extra $25, and, well, I have all this extra Karabella Aurora 8 yarn now….

And, hey–Becca was nice enough to nominate my reading-meme blog, Booking Through Thursday, for a Blogger’s Choice Award. Any chance you’d like to go over and vote for me?


Lace Update

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So, I haven’t shown a picture of my shawl in a while, but I’ve been making progress.

Of course, I’m well aware that the picture is a pretty lousy one. We’re at that awkward stage where it’s too bulky to spread the stitches out along the length of the needle . . . or, you know, even half the stitches.

I left out two of the pattern repeats because I didn’t want the shawl to be too huge to wear and at this point, I have 26 rows to go, which assuming I were to work on this every night without being distracted (or tired), means there’s about two weeks to go. I’m only getting through two rows a night–one pattern row and the purl-back row.

It’s looking pretty, though. Even if it is Zephyr. Because still, no, not really loving working with Zephyr.

In other news? Our “new” dishwasher that we got in January and that Mom and I have always hated? Well, the little “wand” on the top broke off last week. Fridgidare sent a repair person who popped it back on, went on his way and . . . two days later . . . yep. Off again. Another repair person came on Monday said he’d have to order a part, but that the problems we were having closing the door was because of the installation. So, Mom called PC Richards and their repair person came today and very helpfully told Mom that he couldn’t help her. When she started to get upset, “What am I going to do?” he kind of leaned in and quietly said, “I’m trying to help you get a new dishwasher.” Oh, she blinked. ‘Well, then, whatever shall I do?” He said to call PC Richards, ask for H. and tell them that F. said he couldn’t fix it. She did and when she told H, he asked, “Which Frank?” So Mom described him and said that the man’s voice immediately changed–”Oh, that’s the good Frank. How can I help you?”

So . . . we went to PC Richards tonight and picked out a new G.E. dishwasher which will be installed on Friday. It was only an extra $21, too, so . . . our fingers are crossed. It can’t be worse than the one we’ve hated for the last 11 months, right? Although, to be fair, it has done a decent job washing . . . it’s just all the other stuff that’s been annoying (grin).

Chappy just wants all the chaos in his house to settle down . . . all these dishwasher people, then there was the Cablevision guy yesterday, and the leaf-cleaners . . . he’s just exhausted.

Can I just say how much I dislike the haircut I got a couple weeks ago? If I had mostly-straight hair, it would be a perfectly adequate cut. I mean, the girl wasn’t completely incompetent. However, I had specifically asked for a stylist with curly-hair skills and when I got there, she told me, “I had a class on curly hair once.” Which inspired great confidence, as you can imagine. She gave me what’s basically a bob with almost no shaping at all–which means the curl is pulled straight down, flat on the top, and slightly pyramidal at the bottom. It’s not, to be fair, an awful haircut, but it’s only been, what, two weeks? And it’s already looking over-grown. It’s not so bad that I’m hiding under hats and feeling mortified to be seen in public–as I said, if my hair were straighter, it would be a fine cut, but since my hair is NOT, it’s completely not suited to my hair which, you know, I believe was her job?

I so miss my old stylist! And the one I tried in August who gave me what was a much better cut than this one was still $15 more than the stylist I was going to, and that’s just such a huge jump, especially when we’re having such money troubles these days. But this cut, which cost me $45 is lousy for my hair. Would it have been worth the extra $15 to go back to the salon I tried in August? I don’t know. All I DO know, though, is that this haircut is not going to last past January without looking awful, so instead of 4 months between haircuts, it’ll only be two. Which isn’t exactly economical, either. Stupid, stupid girl–I TOLD her I like my haircuts to last as long as possible. Sigh.

Oh, and I have a toothache which I’m hoping will go away overnight.

Nope. 41 really hasn’t been fun so far…. I keep telling myself that things are going to turn around so spectacularly that, in years to come, I’m going to look back at 41 as one of the best years of my life. Thinking positive is a good thing, right?

Wild Side

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So, the other day when I offered a sweater’s worth of Felted Tweed to a good home, Valerie was the first to claim it, and offered some sock yarn in its place–awfully nice of her, since I did offer it without strings.

This is what arrived today. A skein of Socks That Rock Silkie in “Walking on the Wild Side,” and a handful of pretty yarn greeting cards. Thanks, Valerie!

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Incidentally, to sidetrack a little, I just have to mention… One of my favorite things about sitting where I do with my computer? The view. Look at that cute little sleeping face . . .

You know, I meant to take a picture of my hair today, but I forgot. The 24-hour verdict is that it’s a perfectly nice haircut. My hair looked good today, it’s not too short, which means this is fine. The big question will be whether it grows out well. I’ve said many times that I stretch my cuts for as long as I reasonably can. Usually 3-4 months . . . and, what with a $13 jump in what I was paying for haircuts and what this cut cost . . . I really want this to last four months, you know? There’s a big difference between $180 in a year and $240 . . . like, a sweater’s worth of yarn. So . . . we’ll have to see how this cut is doing in October/November.


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One book at a time? Or more than one? If more, are they different types/genres? Or similar?

(We’re talking recreational reading, here—books for work or school don’t really count since they’re not optional.)

I absolutely, positively read more than one book at a time. Usually, though, they’re each different genres–a novel, a history book, a book on writing, or dogs, a biography . . . whatever. There’s almost never fewer than two books going at a time, and not usually more than five. (I think 9 was the most ever.)

For the record? Right now, there are four….

Ironic

Well, that was ironic. I made such a point of making sure that I had a pair of socks on my needles for when I went to today’s hair-cut appointment, and then, when I got there (15 minutes before my appt.), the stylist was ready anyway and took me right away. No waiting at ALL.

As I say. Ironic.

It seems like a perfectly nice haircut, but I won’t know at least until tomorrow, after I’ve slept on it. Or possibly the next day. My hair’s usually in shock for a day or so after a big shock like coloring or cutting, and takes a little time to settle in. I can say that it doesn’t appear to be a bad haircut, which is very important, but whether it’s worth $60? Um, well, we’ll have to see.

One thing that did surprise me, though–I told you I’d gotten her name off the NaturallyCurly.com Salon page. She asked me where I was from, and sounded surprised when I told her. “That’s close!” Because, apparently, she’s had people come from miles around to get their hair cut by her. As in, for example, Long Island, which isn’t exactly around the corner. (And, of course, means that that person went past all the fabulous New York City salons to get here to Morris County, New Jersey.) What some people will do for a haircut!

Afterwards, I called my parents and arranged to meet at the local diner for supper. The timing was perfect–we pulled into side-by-side parking spots at just about exactly the same moment.

I’m waiting for my Autumn Rose kit to come. I got an email today–I need three skeins of Old Gold yarn, and they only have two left in the dyelot, so I need to wait until they get their next order. Well, that, or risk the different dyelots acting differently, but since they should get their next order in Friday or Monday . . . I’ll wait. Even though I’m kind of excited–and it’s not helping that Pixie has hers already.

Here’s a person after my own heart . . . he’s decided for the sake of space that he’s not going to buy any more books . . . with just a few exceptions….

Carbon

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First, an update of my spinning.

These singles are coming along just beautifully, if slowly. At this rate, and at this grist, it’s going to take quite a while to get through all 9.25 ounces, but . . . well, it’s a pleasure to spin, so who really cares?

Is it ridiculous that I’m so proud of how evenly I’m getting the singles to wind onto the bobbin, without the aid of my Woollee Winder? Don’t get me wrong, I love my WW, but there’s something satisfying about seeing each color as it comes along, and it’s not really such a hardship while spinning singles to stop to adjust the yarn guide every now and again. (Though, when plying, I’d really rather not.)

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Really, it’s just a little thing to feel quietly pleased about while I watch the yarn winding onto the bobbin.

Now, about that plying. I said the other day that all this yarn isn’t going to fit on a normal-sized bobbin. I sent an email to the nice people at Woolee Winder to ask why they don’t have a plying size available for the Majacraft, but I haven’t heard back.

In the meantime, I decided I’d order a plying head–I figured it wouldn’t hurt to have one, anyway, right? Except, I goofed. I looked at the Woolery’s page and saw that they had both the “Wild Fiber” flyer as well as the Plying Set, but that the Wild Fiber version came with a special brake knob for the Little Gem, because the standard one that comes with the wheel sometimes gets in the way of the larger flyer. However, I didn’t read the fine print–I just assume that the Wild Fiber and the Plying Set both came with a large-size bobbin. They don’t. The Wild Fiber flyer is just that–the flyer. No bobbin. So it’s not going to do me any good–not unless I spring another $39 out of my wallet to buy the bobbin. Which is pretty ridiculous. I sent them an email earlier asking to exchange the Wild Fiber flyer for the Plying Set (which comes with a bobbin), but also asked if I could keep the special brake knob, just in case. Because, I told them, I opted to buy from them in the first place because of that knob, and I could get the Plying Set cheaper from Crown Mountain Farms. It seems a reasonable thing to ask, don’t you think?

Okay, about my hair-dresser woes of yesterday? I took the risk of calling that salon I found on their Salon list–the one nearby that had nine favorable reviews for this one particular stylist. And now, I have an appointment for next Wednesday. Wish me luck! I couldn’t wait any longer for the hair color, though, so I did that tonight. Pah. Now my hair reeks of chemicals, and likely will for at least another day or two. Mom actually colored hers today also, and was complaining about the smell, but–she’s got short hair, I’ve got long hair. I get a fresh whiff every time I move my head. And my lungs don’t appreciate the fumes, either. (One of the two worst asthma attacks I’ve had since I developed asthma 18 months ago was triggered by hair-dye. Sigh.)

Incidentally, the line of hair products Wendy was talking about today? Wen? They sell that over at NaturallyCurly.com’s shop, CurlMart, which I mention because they carry a great line of hair-care even for people without curls–all very moisturizing, hair-friendly stuff–and their customer service is great. It’s run by two friends down in Texas, and, well, we knitters usually try to support the little guy when we can, so . . . Gretchen and Michelle are nice and helpful and good people. I thought I’d just mention that!

Have you voted for Ryan yet?? I have!

Incidentally, I just have to say, this is one of the cutest commercials I’ve ever seen. It makes me smile every, single time.

Hair-Raising

I don’t have anything fun and fibery to show you tonight. I figured I should tell you that up-front.

In fact, I don’t really have that much to say at all. The biggest news today? I called my hair salon to get an appointment for a haircut and found out that my stylist is no longer there. No idea where she went, so now I’m stuck trying to find another hair-dresser. Preferably one who knows how to handle curly hair. Too many of them don’t, you know, which is why I was so pleased to find Jen a few years ago. Sigh.

The only “lead” I have for a good, local, curly-friendly stylist? The NaturallyCurly.com salon board. There’s one salon in Randolph–just a few miles from here–that has a stylist with nine separate recommendations. I’m thinking I’ll give them a call in the morning.

The worst part is that my hair badly needs coloring–the roots are about an inch long and looking rather . . . silvery. I had figured I’d wait until after I got my haircut because working the dye through long hair is challenging enough–an inch or two can really make a difference–but now? Well, I guess it will depend on how long it takes to get an appointment.

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It’s a shame we can’t all look as naturally gorgeous as this fellow, huh?

Although, hair-wise, I guess I can’t really complain, huh?

Hey–any Ravelry users out there who are Scorpios? I was thinking it would be fun to have a Scorpio Group (since there are groups for just about every thing else), but I need three people who are interested before I can set one up.

Fiber Festival for One

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Well, while so many of the rest of you are off gallivanting to the MDSW festival, I threw myself my own little festival.

A small pot of tea, a good book, a hat of fiber, a spinning wheel, a comfy chair, and my adoring Chappy, all out on the deck on a lovely Spring afternoon.

No crowds. Beautiful fiber. Good refreshments . . . as alternatives go, it wasn’t awful.

Quiet, well, yes. And did I spare a thought or two for all you fibery-friends out fondling the fiber, spending your money on woolly goodness without me? Well, also yes.

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But still, look at that beautiful blue Saturday sky, seen though the lacy puffs of new green leaves on the trees. (Not to mention Chappy doing his best Vanna White impression, to show it off.) How can you complain about that?

And, for the rest of you who are NOT in Maryland today? I hope your day is going as well as mine!

In other “news,” I started the day with my haircut at 9:30–which I really can’t comment on until tomorrow, after I’ve washed it myself and slept on it so that it looks like “me.” It seems like a decent cut . . . although, really, clearly she needs a ruler, because there’s a lot more gone that one inch. Not that I’m complaining. I knew when I said “one inch” that she’d take off more than that–and that the lighter weight would also let my hair curl up a little tighter so that it looks even shorter. It’s just that should I really need to be that circuitous about instructions to get the haircut I want? Because, again, she definitely took off more than an inch…. But then, since I like to stretch my haircuts as long as possible, it’s okay–just so long as it looks good in the morning.

We also took Chappy into town today. We got refreshments and then sat outside of Starbucks while Chappy did his best to charm passersby into stopping to pet him. He even did all his tricks for one little girl named Cynthia who just adored him . . . So, you know, he’s gotten his quota of adoration for the day. He even got to see his favorite mail-carrier, and everything. (Luckily, I think this means he’s forgiven me for having gone out without him this morning.)

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Oh yes, and after my haircut, I stopped at the bookstore and bought a stack. It occured to me the other day that I didn’t have anything “new” to bring on vacation next week, and well, that won’t do. Browsing on Amazon wasn’t helping . . . sometimes, you’ve just GOT to go to a bookstore in person. So I browsed the “new releases” table and around the stacks and came home with a pretty nice assortment–fiction and fantasy, a history book, a couple travel books, and two books about reading/spelling.

Hey, a girl’s got to keep herself entertained, you know. Especially when so many friends are off having fun without her . . .

Whee!

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A little blurry, but a look at my haircut. Definitely shorter than 2″, but still a nice haircut. No complaints, really . . . it just means it will take that much longer before I need to get another haircut. I like to stretch them out as much as possible, you know!

Speaking of hair, I posted about Weffriddles on the Naturallycurly.com forum a couple days ago and there are about four pages of entries from people pulling their curly hair out . . . hey, why should I be the only one to suffer??

We took a rare, Sunday outing today, too. Usually, Sundays are the days I stay home, do housework, laundry, bake–all that stuff–but since I’m taking tomorrow off from work AND it was a beautiful day, we took Chappy to the park.

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When we got there, the playground was completely empty of kids, so we took advantage and climbed up there ourselves. (Dogs are officially not allowed, so don’t tell anyone, okay?) And yes, we DID go down the slide after Mom snapped the picture. I pulled Chappy into my lap and . . . whoosh! . . . suddenly he was on the ground and looking at me, like, “How did we get down HERE? Human kids do this for FUN?”

Anyway, it was nice. About 50 degrees and sunny, and we saw a few other dogs for Chappy to introduce himself to . . . a visit to the park is incomplete without seeing other dogs, you know. We even saw someone who recognized Chappy for a Boykin Spaniel. That almost NEVER happens, but it always makes me happy when it does.

Afterward, we came home and Mom and I spent much of the afternoon sitting in the living room with our cross-stitch (Mom), reading, knitting, and spinning (me), and spending time with the Christmas tree, which Chappy seems to enjoy as much as we do.

Gotta love dogs with Christmas spirit, huh?

Saturday Recap

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So, when I left the house this morning, my hair looked like this. I can’t tell you at the moment how good the haircut is because I won’t know until I’ve washed and slept on it. My hair NEVER looks good on the day of the haircut. I can tell you, though, that it’s a good deal shorter. I asked for 2″ and while I didn’t see her take off more than that . . . and I was watching . . . it still looks a lot shorter. Even when it was wet from my shower earlier. And of course, the curl springs up the “visual” length, too, so my hair will look shorter anyway just from having less weight on the ends . . . I think it’s a good haircut (if “short”) and that it will look fine . . . but I’ll be happier in another month or so when it’s grown in some more….

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After, we went to the neighborhood LYS, Nonna’s Yarn Cafe. I always feel guilty about this store, because I like it, and I like the sisters who run it, quite a bit and yet I seldom buy any “real” yarn there. I’ve never bought a sweater’s worth of yarn. My purchases are almost always limited to one or two skeins . . . which is a shame, because this is a store I WANT to encourage. (Unlike the other shop in town, which is small, crowded, and unfriendly–or at least, that’s what I think.) And their selection is pretty decent–more varied than it was when they opened a year ago. I even saw a small selection of Cascade 220 today.

Anyway, I went in to get some Cashmerino Aran in a different color. I decided that I’d never seen our mail carrier–for whom I’m making a pair of Fetching–wear the color I was making that pair in, but since I like it (of course, it was leftover yarn from one of my sweaters), that I would keep that pair for myself, and make hers in this purpley-blue color, which I think she’ll like better. And, um, while I was there I bought three skeins of Debbie Bliss Pure Silk in white, silver, and black. The plan is that they’ll become as big a shawl (or, if too small, a scarf) in some kind of lace as possible–starting with white and shading outward to black.

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Then, Mom and I stopped at this gift shop we’ve been meaning to visit for years now, the Urban Muse, which was opened several years ago by two women who decided to follow their dream after living through 9/11 in New York. (Yes, it took us this long to get around to visiting the shop.) Anyway, we walked around, looking at some very interesting jewelry, cards, photo frames . . . nice stuff. I bought a magnet for the refrigerator (not much, but hey, something to support them, right?) When I heard Mom say, “Hi Denise!”

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Because there was a woman who’d worked at our company for years, until she decided to quit and go into massage therapy a while ago. Well–now she works at their spa. Who knew?? She even gave us a tour of the facilities, introduced us around . . . I took these two pictures of the display in the upstairs (empty) “relaxation room” . . . the sun streaming through the crystal on the tree . . . pretty!

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Eventually we tore ourselves away–Denise is a sweetie and it was great to see her, but she’s a talker (in a good way)–and made it home to this little sweetie, who we promptly took for a walk–which he said he’d been longing for. All. Day.

Oh yeah, almost forgot–I wore my Christmas Tree Hat and got lots of compliments on it today. Woohoo! That never gets old.  Which is good because….

I worked on Weffriddles for a while this afternoon–I finally made it past level 26, but am now stuck on 27. Swell. Just what I needed . . . something else to feel clueless about. This is SO good for my self-esteem. (Added: Finally got that one!)

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In tonight’s knitting, not only did I work on my Fetching, (MINE, now), but I wove in all the lose ends on everything in my knitting bag, AND I finally finished my socks.

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MY socks. In MY handspun, out of lovely roving that I bought last summer. I only started knitting these in October, you know, and was starting to think I’d never get them done. (A shame, really, since up until then, I was averaging a pair of socks a month, which is darn impressive for me.)

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I’m just tickled pink about these. I adore the coppery-blue color. I am so very proud of the yarn (3-ply sock yarn is an accomplishment, you know).

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It knitted up beautifully, too. Nice texture/evenness to the stitches. The knitted fabric has a very dense feel to it, too. (Perhaps because I spun worsted rather than woolen?) But because it’s merino/mohair, I expect these to be very warm to wear. Nice and thick, these socks. The only potential problem will be finding a pair of shoes that the socks will fit into….

Gosh, such a dilemma.

Uneasy

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Unveiling. Here you go, a look at my modelled Peacock Stole.

img_1940 img_1944 Up-do. (And no, I don’t usually put this many different things in my hair on the rare occasion I try to put it up, but I thought it would be fun to be extravagant with the accessoris for a change.

img_1948  Unusual Lunch. A Honeycrisp apple with peanut butter. It’s one of those combinations that sound strange–and I normally don’t even like peanut butter very much–but I’m telling you, this, you have to try. The crisp, juiciness of the apple against the sticky, nut flavor of the peanut butter . . . such a great combination.

img_1950 img_1953_1  Uncharted Territory. Yes, well, some adventures work out better than others. I felted my bag today, and while it went mostly well . . . um . . . as you can see, the two sides did NOT felt evenly. Granted, I deliberately made one side a few rows bigger than the other, so they would overlap when they were closed, but, um . . . the handles WERE the same size when we started…. I have absolutely no idea what to do about this! It’s possble that, once dry, the uneven SIDES will actually be fine and the difference in felting not particularly noticeable . . . but the handle is going to be a problem (grin). Maybe I can fold the long one to match and put a buckle on it, like I’d meant it to look that way all along? (Suggestions welcome–and I DID try hand-felting it to get it smaller, but I just don’t have the serious hand-strength to accomplish that. Even the original swatch for the bag . . . hand-felting and I do NOT get along.)

img_3649 img_3655 Underwear (well, sort of). Jane wanted to see creative pictures of my handknitted socks, so . . . here you go. Sock Art.

img_1954  Unheard of! Yes, here’s my knitting bag. Completely empty, at least for the moment. Although, I do have a pair of socks panting to be knitted, so . . . I won’t have empty needles for long!