Archive for June, 2006

Finding Larry*

*or, “Cashing In and Dropping Out”

Is it just me?, or do we all have fleeting fantasies of just cashing it all in and dropping out of society – getting out of the rat race. Okay, actually, my life isn’t all THAT hectic, maybe more of a mouse jog than a rat race, but you get my drift.

Just cashing it all in and living a simple life somewhere, just the few necessities, whatever we each deem those to be, and sitting around, in my case, knitting, camping, hanging with the hubby.

We have friends who actually did this about 15 years ago. They were both in their early 20’s, married 3 or 4 years, both on the way up the corporate ladder, had just bought their first condo, new cars… the whole enchilada. He and his wife were mountain bike riding buddies of the hubby.

They cashed in and dropped out. They figured they were young, had money, could cash out without any debt, were never going to have kids, and just decided to live their dream. They moved to Durango, Colorado to ride mountain bikes whenever they wanted in “mountain bike heaven.” They live simply in a trailer park, he works part time at the ski lifts in the winter, and part time during the summer when they use the ski trails for mountain bike downhill races, and she substitute teaches when they need the money. And they ride their bikes. Still, after 15 years. We still get a Christmas card every year.

Soooo, the other day I’m working on the First Class shawl – and just can’t get over how soft this yarn is. Prime Alpaca. They’re not kidding. Prime stuff. It is so seriously soft.

Now, those who are more fiber-savvy than I will probably say “so what”, but I didn’t realize until I was buying it and the shop owner informed me, that this stuff isn’t even dyed. This is the actual color of the alpaca.

For some reason, I’m pretty sure his name is Larry. Larry the alpaca. He’s got to be the star of the herd, the envy of all other alpaci (plural of alpaca, maybe?) – because this is easily the softest alpaca I’ve ever felt. All those alpaci are suffering some major fleece envy, I’m quite sure.

So here’s my plan, we get together a group of like-minded knitters/spinners and hire a detective to find Larry, then we cash in and drop out, start our own little knitting/spinning commune – you know, live in yurts and let the babies run around naked… kum ba yah and all that stuff. Maybe we could get a couple of sheep to keep Larry company, and start spinning and selling Larry yarn. At our own pace, of course, and only what we don’t want to knit with ourselves.

Larry and the Fleece Mamas” yarn – hand dyed, hand spun. I’d buy it, wouldn’t you?

Slight problem, though…. I’m slightly attached to the hubby, oh yeah, and the kids – and I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t go for it. Well, maybe if there was good mountain bike riding for the hubby… and Kaity wouldn’t be too hard a sell. We need a spinner, anyway.

oh, well, a girl can dream.


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Isn’t she cute! Graduation last night was a great time. The weather was beautiful, the kids were excited – and the graduation went off without a hitch. No problems or “spectacles.” (when I graduated, someone streaked across the top of the library in the quad during the middle of the ceremony!)

I only cried a couple of times…

I think the best part for Kaity was that her grandparents from Texas were able to make it. They didn’t think they were going to be able to come, then they called me Monday and said they would be here… and asked me to keep it a surprise. I was watching for them out the front window all afternoon, and when they pulled up and rang the bell I told Kaity, “I think there’s a package for you…! (she was probably thinking yarn!) – and she was VERY surprised to see her “Pa and Leone” standing there! Fun, fun….

It was fun to watch her down on the field, scanning a football stadium PACKED with people trying to find us (as we’re waving crazily) – and then see her big smile when she finally found us…

Kaity is the happiest, sunniest, fun, smart, perfect daughter – I’m very blessed, and we are always so proud of her. WE LOVE YOU KAITY – congratulations….. you “grajitated!”

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Yes….. that’s Kaity, and yes…. she’s spinning.

She’s been wanting to spin for awhile now. And, I keep saying, absolutely not – NOT in my house. Seriously, people – you have no idea how her knitting alone has taken over the entire house. It’s everywhere, in some form or another. Two or three WIPs lying around, and that’s just in the family room – my office has a few other WIPs, and then…. there’s all the “stuff.” The little cut pieces of yarn that never seem to make it to the trash, the patterns and parts of patterns everywhere…. DPNs, circulars, aluminum needles – on the couch, in the couch, under the couch…

Gotta love her – but, man, that girl does spread it around.

So, NO, I was not giving in to spinning, and roving fluff adding to the mix. Not.Giving.In.

Then, we heard rumor of a new yarn store. Modern Gypsy Studios. Exotic fiber-handspun yarn. Well – I mean, really, we had to at least check it out.

It’s a small place, but 95% of the yarn in there the owner, Deb, has spun herself! LOTs of it- mostly wool, but some silk and other stuff too.

Deb – she’s quite engaging…. and very friendly. She just started telling us all about the store, the yarn, her plans. She showed us a new shipment that had just come in (darnit! I wish I’d actually taken my camera INTO the store, duh….). It was a box of 100’s of silk worm cocoons. Little white balls of silk with the worm still inside. She showed us how they opened them, got the little guy out, then dyed them and spun yarn right from the cocoon. Well, I never…

Then, it happened – she saw the twinkle in Kaity’s eye and glommed onto her, and that was it. “Here, hold the spindle like this… try it… it’s easy… it’s fun.” Kaity’s beside herself now – eyes twinkling all over the place. And, me – I’m right along side her…. “ooooh Kaity – you can spin the yarn and I’ll knit it! Ooooh, look! – you’re doing it!”

And Deb, the owner, she knows we’re sucked in…. now she’s talking classes and rovings and dyeing, who knows what else…. we’re still in super-novice mode – a little green on the lingo.

The clincher was when she handed Kaity a spindle made from a dowel and a CD. “Look, if you just want to practice and see if you like it, this works just fine! Here, I’ll even give you this one.”

She knows a sucker or two when she sees them. Like the hubby would say – “she’s a-cutting, and you’re a-bleeding”

Yeah – so, I caved….. I bought the daughter a $5 bag of roving…. I’m such a sucker. Really, one of us ought to exercise a little self control.

Kaity spun all the way home (not an easy feat in a VW bug), and I could barely tear her away to go to graduation practice. I’ve created a monster, I’m sure. Let the fluffing begin…. fluff everywhere…. fluff, fluff, fluff.

Sadly, I’m as excited as she is – you should see the beautiful rovings in this place – and such pretty colors…. oooooooh (can you hear the sucking noise?)

All in all, we got out pretty cheap for our first trip – a free spindle, $5 of roving, and I bought three $5 skeins of wool sock yarn (Alice Strathmore Scottish Campion) – one of the few yarns Deb didn’t spin herself.

What have I learned this week – Never, never, never say never.

Oh, yeah, before we left – she demonstrated her spinning wheel ;o) No, absolutely not.

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She Can’t Wait

Here’s where I found Kaity last night, sitting in front of the computer (nothing new), in her PJ’s (nothing new) – wearing her mortarboard!!

Think she’s a little excited about graduating Thursday!?

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“Knitting Polygamy – No sir, not me. I’m a one-project-at-a-time kind of girl, that’s all I‘m comfortable with at once. I see the side bars on some of the knitting blogs with all the WIP’s, seven or eight of them – I can’t even fathom that! It would drive me crazy.”

Oh please – what kind of loser wrote that…. oh wait, that was me. Sept 21, 2005.

Wait…. it gets better: “Now, someday if you look over to the right and see a long list of WIP’s, you’ll know I’ve fallen off the wagon, had a major shift in my time-space continuum…. gone to the DARK SIDE!”

Huh – Me again…. dork.

Ok – it’s right there on the side bar. Check it out – The Dark Side.

Go ahead, laugh, ridicule, slap me upside the head, say “I told you so.” I don’t even care.

I present: above….. my Spring Fling (back only, so far), my current First Class shawl, and the pitiful beginnings of my Flower Basket shawl, which I totally want to dump and restart as the Adamas Shawl.

and…. here’s the sock graveyard on my desk: Yarntopia socks – pattern yet to be determined, but probably footies; Claudia’s Handpainted in “Turquoise Jeans” in a kind of made up rib pattern; and more Claudia’s, “Passion Fruit” in the More Fun Than Cables pattern.

So what. Doesn’t bother me a bit. I’ve seen worse. I can stop anytime I want.

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… and actually, I’ll spare you a picture. But, get this…. yesterday I killed a lizard with my air conditioner. Now, how often do you figure the big ol’ outside part of the air conditioner with the big fan thingy (technical terms, but stay with me) actually takes it out on the yard fauna.

Poor little guy, he musta fell in or something. I turn on the air conditioner for the first time this year, because it’s 98 degrees this week, and first the soft whir of the fan, then a quiet “thump, thump, thump”…. Hmmm… what the heck? Well, actually, my first thought was “Dangit- how much is THIS going to cost to fix!” (you know how I love spending yarn $ on appliances) – so I go out to look, and there he was…. poor little guy. Must have been some kind of blunt force lizard trauma, because besides a missing tail he looked okay, laying up there where he got flinged out. Okay – he may have been twitching just a little…

I bet you’re getting a little afraid to read this blog every day now, aren’t ya? First it’s plucking pheasant stories – and now lizard death. Ok – I promise, no more gross stuff…. only happiness and light from now on. But, really, you gotta admit that’s weird.

So, the knitting – it does continue, slowly. This First Class shawl is going to be blog death. It’s a fun knit, but a slow one. I have about 18″ done, out of 90″ well, yeah

– and now that I can’t write about gory stuff anymore… well I just don’t know what to tell y’all.

Ok – here’s a gem from Lilly the other morning in the car on the way to school:

“Hmmmm (looking at her iPod) – I must have fallen asleep with my podulator on last night. Check it out! I listened to 40 songs!! Hmm, I wonder why it finally turned off? – It must have known I was asleep.”

I love her.

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