Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Happy Birthday

Happy birthday to Tina !

May the fiber fairies bestow gifts upon you!!!

Moths and Spinning Wheels

For reasons I don't understand, we are being beset by moths. I feel like an Egyptian during the reign of Ramses, experiencing one of the ten plagues. Of course, being a fiber junkie, moths are public enemy #1. We hatses them!!! Hiss.

The cats, being 10 and 12 years old, are virtually useless when it comes to moths. Oh, back in the day, Kali would have been leaping into the air to catch the buggers. Morgan would have been working ground patrol. But now, my middle-aged ladies sit on the couch being ornamental. Oh, once in a while, one of them will spot a deadly creature and stare fixedly at it, but that's the extent of their help.

On the other hand, Tim, my husband, is as obsessed with killing them as me. He will leap off the couch at the mere suggestion of fluttery wings. He has progressed beyond smashing them when they land, and now goes for degree of difficulty points, grabbing them out of the air. Go Tim!!!

The good news is that we have organized the stash. Oh yes! Everything that is wool is now hermetically sealed in its own zip-lok bag. The Yarn Harlot recently mentioned that knitters use more zip-lok bags than any other demographic. I concur.

But on to other things.

I spent Saturday at the Massachusetts Sheep and Woolcraft Fair (hereafter known as Cummington). What a delightful fair that is. This was my first year, and I found it much more manageable than Rhinebeck which is enormous and overwhelming (and I still won't miss if I can possibly help it).

At Cummington we hooked up with Tina, 'Chelle, Carolyn and Becky. (If Becky has a blog I don't know it yet) to flash stash and gather for dinner. A wondrous time was had by all, even if I only bought 10 oz of undyed Shetland roving and 12 oz. of blue/green Merino roving. Pics will follow later or tomorrow. A wonderful time was had by all.

The other thing I did at Cumminton was try to fall in love with a new spinning wheel. I currently own, a gift from T., an antique Ashford Traditional, Phaedre. I love her. She spins her heart out, and I can spin lace weight on her (even if I do feel like I'm treadling hard enough to take flight), but she doesn't travel well. She's a homebody. So, deciding I needed (need is such a more urgent word than want, isn't it?) a travel wheel. I checked out many online, and decided that I wanted a Hitchhiker . First of all, I can't say enough nice things about the man who makes them. I spent an hour of his time, trying to fall in love with this wheel. I tried and tried and tried, and eventually, decided that I was trying to hard. Kind of meeting a guy who has all the right qualities, but there's just no spark.

To say that I was really bummed out would be to be understating the obvious.

On Sunday, we decided to look at a Kromski Sonata at The Spinning Room in Altamont, NY, just a half hour from here. we went. I sat down at this wheel and fell head over heels in love. Madly in love. I hesitated (it's a lot of money). I hemmed (really, do you think we can afford it?). I hawed (Maybe September...for my birthday). He said, "You know you want it."

I did. I wanted it. I wanted it badly.

So, with a racing heart, I handed over the credit card.


And she spins like a dream. Beyond a dream. Her name is Asherah, which she shares with the Hebrew Mother Goddess, and consort to Yahweh.

On the needles:
1. The current time sink is the project that I can't talk about. Let's just say it is one that I'm very excited about. It will be a birthday present to someone who (I hope) will be reading this blog, and will be discussed (and yes, there will be pictures) after the weekend.

2. Traveling Vine wrap which I am knitting with hand-dyed raw silk. It is about halfway done, and I wish to get it finished by Sirius Rising in July.

On the bobbins:
1. On Phaedre, 100% Merino hand dyed by SeeKay

2. On Asherah:

100% Merino hand dyed, bought at Cummington

And that, dear readers, is this week's installment of Writing and Knitting and Spinning, Oh My!!

Monday, May 26, 2008


Hi, I’m Harriet, and I’m a fiberholic. I wasn’t always a fiberholic. I used to be able to knit socially, and spinning wasn’t even an option for me. Then, something happened. Somewhere I crossed that invisible line, and then, well…there was no going back.

Like many people, it started at home. When I was five or so, I would watch my grandmother knit and crochet. Then, one day, she put a crochet hook in my hand and taught me to chain. I chained, it was fun. Then, a few months later, she gave me knitting needles. That was okay, but since I didn’t know how to cast on, I was able to keep it under control…there always had to be a more experienced knitter around to get me started.

Then, I put the stuff down for a long time. I knit in college, on and off, strictly on weekends. I made a couple of scarves, nothing serious…nothing dangerous. I picked up crochet again, when I was in my 20’s and a lot of people around me starting having babies. I began crocheting baby afghans. Then…I got off the stuff for a decade or more.

Then, in 2001 I moved back to the northeast (from Florida). It was cold. We were both unemployed. I figured a little acrylic yarn and a crochet hok…and I could crochet a throw for the living room. A scarf and hat for my husband and the same for myself. It was acrylic! It was cheap. What harm could it do?


If I had known then what I know now, would I have ever picked the needles up again? I can’t honestly say. But I do know that my friends started to change. I started hanging around with fiber people. Slowly, I was convinced to put down the hook and pick up the needles. I moved from acrylic to wool blends…then to 100% wool, then to more exotic fibers and better quality wool.

I don’t have to tell you how it goes. We All know how where it goes from there

But honestly, I was holding it together. I was knitting up a storm, but I still felt like I could handle it. I wasn’t missing work, or important social engagements. I didn’t need to knit first thing in the morning. I was okay.

But, as it happens for a lot of us, a friend gave me a spinning wheel and some fiber. That was it, I knew the fight was over. From the first time I felt the buttery soft, slightly sheepy scent of freshly scoured fleece, I knew I was hooked. There was no going back for me.

I’ve progressed. No longer am I content to spin various grade, undyed blended roving on a rickety Ashford Traditional.

The first real indication that I was out of my depth was when I needed to upgrade the Traddy to a 3 speed flyer. I was content with that for a short time, but the progression was exponential at that point. In a few short weeks, I had to have a new Kromski Sonata. I went to a sheep and wool show and had to have hand dyed merino fiber.

Now, I almost only associate with fellow fiberholics. My family doesn’t understand me. They know something is different, but they can’t put a finger on it. If I let them into my house, and they could see the yarn and fiber stacked in the corners, the knitting needles on every flat surface, a spinning wheel upstairs and one downstairs….well, then they’d know…and I can’t let them know.

My husband is an enabler. Last week, at the Local Yarn Store, when I sat down at the Kromski and started spinning…I almost had enough self control to walk away..but..he looked at me with that special look and said, “Babe, you know you want it.”

What could I do???? How could I say no???

So, it’s true…I’m a fiberholic. I can’t control my fiberlust. For me, one skein is too many, and a thousand is never enough.