Tuesday, June 22, 2010

So, I don't know if there's anyone out there who still has this defunct blog in their feed, but if there are, I'm trying to start blogging again, but not here.

I'll be over at No Grand Plan from now on, not just knitting, but all kinds of things, and I'm hoping you will all come over and join me.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Not going well

I finally got the the triangle part of the Forest Path Stole.

Worked the first triangle, thought to myself "this isn't so hard" and then counted the stitches, to find I had 19 instead of the required 20.

Guess who's ripping tonight?


Monday, July 28, 2008

Heartsick tonight

I'd imagine that most of you have already seen or heard this story today.

I am just sick. We go to a UU church in Quincy, and if the church in Tennessee is anything like ours, you will not meet a more loving and welcoming group of people anywhere.

They're saying now that the shooter wanted to kill "the" liberals and gays.

Is this really what we've come to? Killing people because they are too loving and tolerant?

I am just sick.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Is this a knitting or a cooking blog?

It seems like all I do these days is cook. There is no knitting, and that's just fine.

Today was a marathon day. Widget has been asking for months if we could make cheesecake. With the cooler weather, we decided today would be the day. But I also needed to make dinner for tonight, wanted to put together the casserole for dinner tomorrow night, had cheese draining and decided that, since I didn't want to just throw away the whey, that I would also try making the whey bread in my cheese cookbook. It's still rising, waiting to go in the oven now.

I think I used everything in my kitchen at least twice in trying to get all of this accomplished. But, we had a lovely dinner (lettuce soup again - I'll post the recipe tomorrow when I have it at hand if anyone wants it, zucchini fritters (finally, zucchini widget will eat!) and grilled sausages), I have dinner for tomorrow 90% of the way done, there's a gorgeous (if badly cracked) cheesecake cooling on my table, and four little loaves of bread waiting to go in the oven.

And somehow Ms. Widget and I still found time to have a great picnic lunch and some time at the playground this afternoon, too.

Friday, July 25, 2008

In lieu of actual content

  • Do y'all read Super Guppy? If you don't, check out her post over here. I already think she's a pretty cool chick, but dude, riding from Sturbridge to Provincetown? That's damn impressive. I'll be donating, both money and a prize or two if she needs them.
  • Work continues to be rough, with no relief in sight anytime soon.
  • I am going to try to make cheese tomorrow! Wish me luck and cheesey goodness!
  • It is insanely late. Thank goodness there's to 7:45 bus tomorrow morning.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Ready to drop

More work insanity this week, including a 12 hour day yesterday due to a bad upgrade.

Today, full day of work, took Widget to the library, came home and made a giant batch of lettuce soup, a batch of basil pesto and a batch of arugula pesto all before the nice leafy plants went bad. I think the beets may have been too far gone, but I threw 'em in the over to roast anyway. I'll peel 'em tomorrow and see if they're salvagable. If they are, they'll get sliced up and frozen too.

That leaves me with some cukes (lunches for the week) and some zucchini left from farmshare this week. If the zukes last, they'll get turned into zucchini bread on Saturday.

I swear, it's like I have two full time jobs most days.

Monday, July 21, 2008


Had a meeting tonight with the owner and the other two women who teach classes at my local shop. We talked about class ideas and started to divide up the class load.

Should be more interesting and better organized than previous attempts, which has to be a good thing.

I'm looking forward to it, even if I'm feeling a little overwhelmed at the thought of what I'm talking on.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

So tired

Wiley is off racing today, so I was on Widget duty all day. Now that she's older and more fun, I mind it a lot less than I used to.

Yesterday, I thought it might be fun to go to Nantasket for the day, or part of it. the trick to Nantasket though, is going at the low end of tide - at high tide, there's places where there's a teeny narrow strip of beach, or no beach at all. I checked the tide charts, and low tide was at 6:45 AM. Now, a smarter person might have scrapped the beach plan, but for some reason I told Widget that if she woke up early enough, we could get out of the house early and hit the beach when the tides were in our favor.

Three guesses who was knocking on my bedroom door at 6:45 (the earliest I'd allowed she could), ready and raring to go? We were on the road by 7:15.

So we beached until 11 or so, then did a whirlwind grocery shopping because I'd ALSO promised somebody that we could go see Kit Kittridge in the afternoon. Cute movie, with lots of cool fashion, especially at the beginning.

After that, we headed over to a friend's house to take advantage of her "open pool" offer, and we swam in her pool for over an hour before Widget couldn't control her chattering teeth any longer and I insisted we get out of the pool.

We had a great wonderful day, and now I am so tired, I don't even think I have the energy to knit.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

So hot

Now we've hit the part of the summer where it doesn't really cool off at night, and the heat has almost made me cry uncle. Stupid heat.

This morning, we realized we had a bunch of errands to run (retrieving the husband's hat, going to the brewing store north of the city, picking up our farmshare meat). We decided we'd all go out on the errands, enjoying the comfort of our rolling air conditioning. Worked pretty well, even if the husband's car is sprung a little too tightly to be good for knitting in the car.

Made it almost through the Monkey sock, and more excitingly, I got some of the stuff I need to try making cheese at home! This is going to be a fun adventure.

After the wandering, we lazed around the house a lot, and I don't know about the rest of them, but I just tried to move as little as I could. First corn of the season for dinner with my favorite summer treat, tuna-mac salad.

After the kidlet went to bed, we camped out and watched three episodes of Mad Med from last season. We're coming to it late, just trying to get caught up. I'm still not quite sure what I think of it.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Dear lord in heaven

Work has been beyond insane this week, and all signs point to it getting MUCH worse before it gets better.

Came home from Detroit, landed RIGHT in project #3 and have been drinking from the fire hose yesterday and today trying to get caught up.

This might just be the end of me.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Home again, safe and sound

As always, business trip was much better than I had expected. People were nice, we solved their problems, and helped them learn about the system.

I realized something about my interactions with our customers today. Not something I can likely do anything about, but something to think about.

East flight home, with elbow room. No knitting, as I was far too wrapped up in my current book to pick up the knitting.

I've only got about 20 pages left, I should go finish it off.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Greetings from lovely downtown Detroit!

Delightfully uneventful flight, lots of good knitting time.

If you ignore the fact that I realized I somehow picked up a different number of stitches on each side of the damn flap on this cursed Monkey sock, I'd say that I was doing A-OK. Even with that, and with a seriously mediocre dinner in the hotel restaurant, I'm doing pretty well.

All day meeting with the client tomorrow, after which, hopefully I will still be doing pretty well. Flying home tomorrow night - if I'm lucky, it will be on a similarly lightly passengered flight as coming out was.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

More thoughts on food and how it compares to knitting

Some further thoughts on food and women's work

This came to me last night as I was thinking some more about the comments on Norma's post that I linked to yesterday.

As knitters, we've all encountered the skeptic, the scoffer, the snarker who mocks us for spending hours knitting up something that we could just go out and buy at Walmart for pennies on the dollar, compared to what our yarn cost, never mind adding in the cost of our labor.

As knitters, we've all endlessly discussed this conversation, too. That yes, in purely pragmatic terms, those doubting thomases are right. It does seem insane that we would choose to spend both more money and time producing something readily available to us.

But also that there are an endless number of reasons to knit that have nothing to do with the cost There is the pleasure of the act itself. There is the joy of seeing an actual physical object created by our actions (particularly appealing to those of us who work primarily in the abstract world of computers). There is the feeling that we can imbue the objects we create with our feelings as we work on them - love, concern, warmth. There is also the true cost factor - that $15 sweater from Target is NOT the same as a sweater handknit our of fine merino, custom fit to our own body, and that I could NOT buy that handknit custom work from Target for $15.

I think the discussion can be the same for gardening, or even for making the effort to buy from farmers and preserve local food for the rest of the year. It might cost more. It certainly takes more effort. But just as with knitting, there are so many intangible benefits of partaking in the process that it is impossible to describe them all to someone already inclined to think that you're insane for spending so much time on something they don't understand.

And just like the sweater at the end of the knitting process, the vegetables you raise yourself, getting exactly the varieties you want, from soil treated exactly the way you think it should be are NOT the same as the industrial raised vegetables of the supermarket. They look different, they absolutely taste different, and science seems to be supporting the idea that they are healthier, because they (hopefully) came out of healthy soil, and they carry that with them.

There is, of course, a world of difference between having to do all this work and choosing to do all this work. I don't know that I would love knitting the same way if I feared my family would go without socks if I didn't knit them. I certainly get tired of the drudgery of cooking dinner each and every night. It isn't a stretch to think I would enjoying cooking even less if there were never an option for easy takeout or a quick run over to the supermarket.

At the same time, it makes me frustrated when I feel like people put me down for wanting to do either one. Just because I choose to do those things my mother's generation fought for the right to not do does not make me less of a feminist. It doesn't make me cute or "quaint" or less intelligent. I am *choosing* to do things that make me happy. If it makes me a throw-back, well, so be it.

I'll be the one over here in the great sweater with the delicious pie.

The blahs

Am in a funk.

Knitting group, game night and finally turning the heel on my second Monkey sock have NOT done the trick for lifting it.

Handling overflow veggies and a good dinner on Friday helped a bit, but it didn't really last.

I *really* don't want to make my business trip tomorrow.

Friday, July 11, 2008


I'm so excited!

I donated a little (far too little, really) to Claudia's ride for MS. Imagine my amazed surprise when I got an e-mail from her that I had won something in her monster raffle! Seriously - she raised over $32,000. My few chances in the hat didn't have much of a chance.

Even better is WHAT I won! Theresa of Keyboard Biologist donated a choice of her two gorgeous sock patterns (I picked the Dragon Socks) and a skein of Socks that Rock in my choice of color (I picked Amber).

The yarny goodness arrived today, and it is even more gorgeous than I expected.

StR Prize
Check it out!

I'm so pleased. I love winning things! And I'm so glad there are people out there like Claudia doing stuff like this. After watching Wiley's Uncle Tink struggle with and finally die from MS (I only knew him for about 6 years, but he had been ill nearly his entire adult life), I don't know that I can imagine many worse ways to suffer. I hope that the money Claudia encouraged so many people to donate makes a differnce.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Fiber knowledge for the win

Went out tonight to play trivia with some of the other mom's from Widget's school.

One of the questions was "This animal, a relative of the llama is found in the mountains of Peru. It's coat is prized for it's fiber, which is often woven into garments."

The other moms were amazed that I knew the answer (and so did Wiley, along for the evening, and my friend Carrie, also a knitter).

Score one for the knitters!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Thoughts, a rambling edition

Have you read this post over at Norma's blog?

It's a coincidence for me, because these questions are just some of many that have been on my mind for quite a while.

They're mostly stemming from the books I've been reading as well as some of the food blogs, and the growing cultural fad of localism. It's all so complex, but at the same time, the "right" path seems so clear. Clear, that is, until real life pops up and throws you into the McDonalds drive through because you just didn't have time to pack a lunch this morning (or worse, dinner, and you're feeding your own kid that crappy kiddo-crack that they just love).

One thing that I have figured out,and this gets partly to Norma's point, is that it all costs. Time, money, labor, the intangible "global debt" of worker exploitation, pollution and oil consumption are all a part of the equation. When you add meat to the equation, add in animal cruelty, antibiotics, hormones to your math.

If you grow and preserve your own food, you pay in labor and time. It is hard work to keep a garden large enough to feed a family, and it takes a good amount of knowledge or practice to do it. You pay less cash (excepting seeds and equipment) and you incur little to no global debt.

If you buy local food, you probably pay less money than you might at the grocery for your goods and you save the time of growing and harvesting, but if you live in New England and you want to get through the winter, you pay again with time to preserve it when the picking is good for the lean months ahead. You again incur little to no global debt, at least not in theory. You support people who live in and giveback to your own community or those nearby.

If you buy supermarket organic, you pay premium cash. You pay little to no time, considering how much of that stuff comes to us pre-washed, measured and baggied up for us. If you try your best to avoid the most well-traveled fruit and vegetables, you incur some "global debt" but less than if you buy conventional produce - at least, in theory, you are not adding fertilizer runoff into the world. Corporate organic is blurring the lines as much as they can, so you need to know your stuff to have the most effect.

If you buy regular supermarket produce, you pay little cash and little time or labor. You, by my reading of things, incur an incredible amount of global debt. Those veggies and fruit come to you so cheaply at the cost of poorly paid, badly treated farmworkers, chemical fertilizers and pesticides that are "believed" to be safe (but we believed DDT and lots of other things were safe, only to be proven wrong down the line) and transportation costs that are enormous.

Like most things, I think that the balance point on this scale is going to be different for everyone. It will depend on your income level, your job, your commute, your other hobbies, your tolerance for dirt and hot kitchens. I'm slowly coming to know what my right answer is, but there's little choice but to accept that other people are going to have a different right answer.

For me, food and groceries and yarn share remarkable parallels for me. I care a lot about both knitting and cooking, and place a high value on quality ingredients and tools to do my work. I'm lucky enough to have enough disposable income that I can afford to put my money where my mouth is and vote with my dollars. They are both priorities for me, things I will give up other luxuries for to be able to get what I want.

And in the end, I prefer to put my money where it is supporting people and not corporations. For yarn, that means buying a lot of yarn from small producers, spinners and dyers - always skipping the red heart and often the mass-produced better yarns as well. It also means making an effort to shop at my local stores at least as much as online, and I'd like to think I'd keep doing that, even if finances meant that I had to do less knitting and stashing.

For food, that means being a part of a CSA both for meat and for vegetables and buying as much local food as I can without going nuts or bankrupt. This year I've started canning and am going to try and put up as much summer produce as I can for the winter. I'm investing my own time in the endeavor partly just to see if I can, and to test out how much of a sea change I'm willing to make in my way of life. I've also been practicing making a lot more from scratch - once again, to test my limits and to see how much of a change I can make in my life. I keep wibbling about having a garden next year - I'm not a fan of manual labor, but I'm so in love with the idea of growing my OWN stuff - whatever varieties I want. I'll wibble on that one for a while longer for now.

This is all endlessly fascinating to me, and I can't wait to see where we, as a culture go with it.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Turns out, it's not that hot

Knitting, no problem. Sleeping, no problem. Didn't try cooking tonight either, since I'm not crazy.

Clams at the beach, pretty cool with the nice sea breeze. Widget and Daddy played on the beach while I sat on the seawall and enjoyed my book.

I'm reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle right now, and am really enjoying it. A good companion to Omnivore's Dilemma which I read a few months back.

Reading has really been cutting into my knitting time lately - it seems I only really have time for one or the other. Do you find that to be true?

Monday, July 07, 2008

Too hot to knit.

Too hot to move, really.

Thank goodness my darling husband is almost always willing to grill outside, even on the hottest day of the year.

Dinner with chef
Here's my darling Mr. Chef, wondering why exactly I'm taking his picture

I'm trying to see if we can go the whole summer without the AC. The jury is still out as to whether I'm insane or not. Considering how much I hate the heat (and that's a LOT) it seems an odd place to plant my flag on energy usage, but on the other hand, it is easy in that it doesn't require any actual work - just the inconvenience of being a little uncomfortable.

And the lack of knitting, because eeewww, sweaty sticky yarn.

Of course, this is only the second heat wave of the summer, too.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

The third time's the charm

When I st down with my Monkey sock on Friday at the office, I had to accept that once again, I had somehow managed to knit the darn thing too tight.

This is seriously odd for me, because I am normally a very consistent knitter - if I didn't know better, I'd swear I had knit sock one on a size bigger needle, which I'm about 95% sure I didn't do.

Since I know that sock 1 fits perfectly, I knew I needed to rip the darn thing out again, which I did, with a very large and loud sigh.

Since I had most of the day Friday and a long car ride yesterday to work on them, I'm now once again, about ready to start the heel flap. This time I'm sure they're the same size.

The rest of my 4th

After working all day, we headed up into Boston with some friends to watch the fireworks.

William works in Kendall Sq - right abouve the T station, on the tenth floor. Since they have a little one (she's 23 months) who is scared by the noise, we agreed we would watch from his office windows - we had a great view, and the noise was lessened by the glass, good for everyone.

They were beautiful, even if they were somewhat obscured by the enormous cloud of smoke that didn't dissipate because there wasn't nearly enough wind.

The big advantage to our spot was that we were close enough to the train to get on one of the first trains heading south, and it was so lightly populated that there were still a few free seats. A very different train experience than anything I've ever had leaving a major event like that, and a wonderful thing, since I really don't like enormous packed in crowds.

It was an excellent plan, and I'm so glad we went.

Widget even slept in until 8:45 or so, which is unheard of for her.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Happy 4th!


This is pretty much what my holiday looks like - covering the phones in the office, getting some work done on my Monkey socks and watching movies on my laptop. Given the bleah weather outside my window, I don't think I've got too bad of a deal.

Hope you're all having a great holiday!

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Beginnings of the Forest Path Stole

I've spent the past two nights working on a swatch for the Forest Path Stole. The yarn I am using is a cone of laceweight rayon that I bought at Rhinebeck two years ago. It's beautiful, but also unlabeled - the woman at the booth said it was rayon, it looks like rayon, but I decided I wanted a good lace swatch so I could make sure it was going to block out the way I wanted before I committed to the entire project.

Washed and blocked it last night, and so far it seems to be lovely. I've learned it's a good idea to let a blocked lace swatch rest overnight before concluding that it's going keep its fully blocked shape, but I think I'll be casting on for this one tonight while I zone out with some tv.

I think it's going to be awfully pretty when it's finished. Here's a picture of Mr. Swatch lounging around on my pillow.

Forest Path Swatch

You can see the gorgeous sheen of the yarn, and I am just in love with the delightful springy color.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

So, what have I been doing?

Well, since I last checked in, I have been knitting.

Socks - one whole pair of cute purple and blue goodness (pics below). A monkey and half of a second monkey, ripped out when I tragically realized that it was somehow an inch smaller than the first - monkey number two is now nearly back to the heel flap. Some other socks.

Purple Striped Socks

I designed and knit a sweater for Widget. I've managed to not get any finished pictures of it, but I'm quite pleased with myself. Here's a picture, nearly complete - imagine it with a purple roll collar, and that's it finished. Ravelry details are here, if you're interested.


I've been cooking a LOT. Our farmshare started back up two weeks ago, and we've been buried in greens and other goodness. We went strawberry picking two Saturdays ago, and came home with 33 pounds of strawberries. In less than a week I made jam for the first time (tastes good, set badly, I knew I shouldn't have believed the no-pectin recipes) and made my first ever pie with homemade crust. All tasters reviewed it as delicious, but I made sure I had some easy judges for the first go round. Now that I've seen how manageable both feats of cooking prowess are, I anticipate much more of both in my future.

Widget turned 7. I turned 35, and Wiley and I passed the 10 year mark. I started a new group blog with some friends and my mom.

That's about it, I think. I'm sure there's other stuff that'll come to me eventually, but I wanna get this one in under the wire for today.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Still alive, I swear!

Not knitting much, as I've been rocking the kitchen goddess thing, and finishing off the most overdue wedding gift ever. But alive, and tonight, swatching for the Forest Path Stole, which is my uber project for the summer.

I have grand intentions for this poor little neglected blog, including a move to digs where I can actually respond properly to comments, but am not fully committed to the idea yet.

We'll see. Am also debating trying to do the post for a whole month thing, see if I can get in the habit of showing up more frequently.

I guess you'll know if I show up on your bloglines tomorrow too, eh?

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

I've been *tagged*! That never happens!

1. Ten years ago I was...

Newly married, just starting at the job I still have, and had just turned 25.

2. Five things on today's to do list:
  • Cook Dinner (yummy Basil Shrimp with feta and orzo)
  • Get Widget to dance on time
  • Clean out my work inbox
  • Finish laundry
  • Beat one of my work tools that hates me into submission. Ha!

3. Things I'd do if I were a billionaire:

Let's see... I'd setup a scholarship fund for Widget's school, so they could truly be accessible to people of all degrees of wealth, and similarly endow a scholarship to mine and my husband's alma mater. I would hire a personal trainer and whip my fat lazy butt into shape for once and for all. I'd buy a (small) house on a quiet lake in New Hampshire - winterized and close enough to the mountains that we could use it for skiing too. I would travel all over the world, staying long enough in the places I went to really get to know them. I'd move to a neighborhood that made me happier - I don't need or want a palace, but I want to be able to walk places instead of having to drive.

4. Three bad habits:
  • I bite my nails to little nubs
  • I'm a terrible procrastinator
  • I'm a perfectionist to the point of doing nothing.
5. Five places I've lived (You'll sense a trend here, I'm sure. And this list is complete, btw):
  • Manchester, CT
  • Worcester, MA
  • Malden, MA
  • Dorchester, MA
  • Weymouth, MA
So, I think almost everyone else has done this already, so I can't think of anyone to tag. Just one more way I'm a bad slacky blogger, right?

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

As if regular old Daylights Savings wasn't enough

I'm travelling this week, three cities in four days.

Sunday, time change, lost an hour. BUT, flew to Denver, gained the lost hour, plus an extra back.

This morning, flew from Denver to Tucson. Arizona doesn't *do* DST, so now I gained yet another hour.

Tomorrow I fly to CA, where I don't gain any more hours.

So tired. My poor body has no idea what to do with itself. NO concept of what time it might possibly be.

It could be worse, though. I could be in Newark!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


Someone (I don't know who, but if I find out, there will be issues) decided to turn off the freaking heat on my floor of my office building last night. My office is always one of the coldest rooms in the building (as it seems we do not have a working radiator, and do have a giant picture window), and this morning, it is SO COLD.

Picture me, huddled at my desk wearing my warmest sweater, my hat, and my scarf wrapped around my neck as many times as it will wrap, and I am STILL cold.

And very cranky.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

A little like potato chips

When I saw people posting about Brooklyn Tweed's gorgeous striped Noro scarf, I just knew that this might be the pattern to finally get me to try some Noro.

When I was in Alexandria in December for a wedding, and wandered into Knit Happens to kill a little time before the wedding, I was happy to see that they had the Silk Garden I needed. Wiley helped me pick out two colors - he picked a pair that were a bit on the matchy side, but that has turned out to not matter very much.

Noro Striped Scarf

This has been my mindless knitting for the past few weeks, and they are as delightfully fun as Sandy says they are. Definitely boring knitting (that's what mindless knitting is for) but the color shifts are endlessly entertaining. I keep stopping knitting to admire the colors. Productive, it is not, but definitely enjoyable. It keeps pulling me back, despite having plenty of other projects I could be working on instead.

This pic is a little over exposed, but shows the colors much more nicely. Someday, I'll get better at this photography thing.

Noro Striped Scarf

Saturday, February 16, 2008

C is for...

C is for Cheese

C was a tough one, because there are many choices I could use for C. Cotton, cats, Cosmo (one of the three cats), corriedale (the fiber I learned to spin with) are just a few. But cheese. Cheese and I go way back. When I was a kid, my mother used to laugh at me and my Dad, calling us a pair or rats, because we both loved cheese - and not just the kid friendly American and cheddar, either. I loved pretty much every one I ever tried.

Today is little different. When dining out, I'll nearly always eschew dessert in favor of the cheese plate (unless that was my appetizer). I own a cookbook that is entirely Grilled Cheese recipes. I have encountered one cheese in my life so far that I didn't like (and even that one, I could have developed a taste for it, I bet, but I wasn't in a headspace to force it that day.), and I've gone out of my way to find cheeses that are hard to love.

I'm blessed (though my waistline is not) to have a little wine and cheese shop right down the street from my office. It's no Formaggio Kitchen, but it's close, the owner knows and loves cheese as much as I do, and they can always be counted on to have something delicious. They know me by name.

Someday, I will learn to make my own. Until then, I'll have to content myself with enjoying the fruits of other's labor, and with lunches like these.

C is for Cheese
Grilled Cheddar and ham with fresh thyme
and mustard on whole wheat bread.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

An entirely non-knitting question

So, was talking to one of my co-workers yesterday, complaining about it was so cold on Monday night that even wearing extra layers and bundled under my normally entirely warm enough down throw, I was *still* cold (and too damn cheap to turn up the heat, I added).

He told me that he and his wife had added a humidifier onto their furnace, and that it gently humidifies the entire house in the winter - his point was that it makes the same heat setting feel warmer, but I'm thinking it sounds awesome for a million reasons, since the cold dry air in the winter is murder.

We did some looking today on the vast intarwebs, found that they're not super expensive (in the $200-300 range), relatively easily installable (may need a plumber), have a significantly lower cost of operation, and should work with our furnace (sadly, for many, it only works with forced hot air heating systems).

I'm wondering if anyone out there in Blog-land has used one and has anything to share, good or bad, about them.

Part of me is thinking that if they were as wonderful as they seem, they'd be a lot more common. Part of me is really hoping they ARE all that and a bag of chips.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

The new wheel

Last spring, my husband came home from an outing with Widget one Saturday morning all excited, and with a surprise for me, that he'd found at a tag sale. His surprises are sometimes, well, surprising, so I was a little nervous as I waited in the living room while he brought his treasure in from the car.

Imagine my surprise when he walked in with a spinning wheel! Imagine my even greater surprise when it was an actual working wheel, with all the parts that it needed to work correctly.

It was clearly in sad shape, having been stored in someone's garage for goodness only knows how long, but it did clearly have all the parts that it needed, except a drive band. It even had its original manual, so I knew that it was a Country Craftsman wheel, so only a replica of an antique and not an actual one. Even better, although the wheels are no longer made, I could still buy bobbins and such for it.

But, I've been slow to really get into the spinning thing (even though I love it when I do it) and I've been working, slowly, on getting to know my Louet, so the new wheel sat and looked (kind of) pretty in the living room. I was a little scared of it - especially after being completely unable to work any kind of wheel at Yarn School other than the same Louet I had at home - and I didn't want to waste my limited spinning time fighting with a wheel I wasn't even sure worked.

I was struck this week that it was a little silly having this big old wheel sitting unused in the living room. I decided it was time to try it out - see if I could get it to work at all, see if I liked spinning on it if I could, evaluate how much work it might need if I could get it to work. Because if I hated it, or it was hopeless, I'd try to find it a new home with someone who would love it or could fix it. If I loved it, then I should work on actually getting it into shape.

New Spinning Wheel

It turns out that I love it.

This evening, I fixed up a drive band for it, oiled it up and actually spun a little. It definitely needs some work - the bar that holds the wheel on is warped, so the whole thing is a little wobbly. Wiley thinks he can fix that. Even wobbly, though, it spins really nicely.

I spun up a little of the wool that I dyed at Yarn school, and the finished product is not great, but when the wheel and I hit our groove, I was very pleased with what I was getting out of it.

New Spinning Wheel

I think I need to have Wiley try and straighten out the bar for holding the wheel, because I think the wobble that it is introducing is stressing some of the other wood parts. If he can fix that, then I think that it may be just fine without any further intervention - and I need to go buy some spare parts before they all get sold, and maybe think about trying to refinish her this summer. Maybe.