October 30, 2009
lovely additions to the collection
posted by soe 11:50 pm
As I mentioned in Wednesday’s post, Mia had cajoled me to come out to Berryville earlier this fall. Unfortunately, it looked like there would be conflicts (an out-of-town friend in town for the marathon and a bike weekend away for Rudi), so I told her I probably wouldn’t be able to make it. Clearly, those two situations ultimately did not prove to be a sticking point, and when she heard I thought I’d be coming, Mia offered to give — yes, give — me a skein of her handspun yarn.
I’ve been watching Mia’s evolution as a spinner with interest for the last two years because we share a fondness for similar colors. So when she asked if I wanted some of the yarn she’d spun from Karida’s Neighborhood Fibers dyeing or something else, I told her that I trusted her implicitly and left it up to the will of the dyer.
And this — this! — is what she thought I’d like:
Does the girl know what colors I might like or what?!
The yarn is 144 yards of worsted weight yarn spun of merino and tencel. The tencel is what gives it that gorgeous sheen. It is eminently pettable, as both Sarah and Mia can attest to, since I walked around holding it like a cat so I could keep stroking it. I am nearly positive that it will become a cowl, because I’d like to keep it close to my skin, and because I think it will go fantastically with my pink corduroy jacket. If you have a favorite cowl pattern, please feel free to leave a note in the comments, as I haven’t yet decided on a design…
Check it out! Mia even was so sweet as to name the yarn for me!
Soft handspun yarn in greens and pinks and purples (and blues and yellows and whites) named Sprite. I just don’t think it gets better than that.
If you, too, think you might like the sorts of things Mia spins, she has an Etsy shop where, I believe, you can also buy her photos and hand-sewn aprons.
Thank you, Mia! I’ll be sure to share what your lovely yarn becomes!
These would be the yarns I bought. The Christmassy skeins are Stripey Sock from Beyond Basic Knits. The top one is the Vintage Holiday colorway. I can’t remember what the bottom colorway is and mine isn’t labeled because they were short skeins that she was selling at a discount. If I figure it out (or decide to bug Bette and ask her), I’ll let you know. But suffice it to say, I see some striped socks (or mitts or mittens) in my future.
The middle skein is from Crabapple Yarns, a merino-silk blend in the colorway Virginia Greening. (Crabapple names many of their colors after Virginia apples — and this was a new one to me. Apparently, though, it’s an old apple dating back to the 18th century.) The girls who run the company were very sweet and put up with Sarah’s and my indecision about which skeins needed to come home with us, even after the four o’clock bell tolled the end of the festival. In the end, this skein just cried out to come home with me, surprising all of us, since I’d been leaning toward the brighter colors all along. I’m not sure of how the silk will affect the longevity and fit of socks, so these may be destined for handwear.
(It didn’t occur to me until after Sarah and I were driving home that every skein I came home with had green in it. Different shades, but, still, green.
Remember how I said I’d donated hats to charity at the drive at the Beyond Basic Knits booth? There was also a drawing associated with that to win a skein of her yarn. I swear I wasn’t thinking of that when I entered Jenny’s hats, but merely of how nice it would be for someone to finally get to wear them. Yet I was excited to hear Monday night that I’d won a skein and doubly excited when it arrived on my doorstep Wednesday! (Great job, Post Office!)
This is her superwash merino/nylon blend in the colorway Bees in My Garden, which was a colorway she dyed up specially for her sock club.
Thank you, Bette. I love it!
1, 81, and 60
posted by soe 12:13 am
It’s Thursday night in Connecticut and the living is easy. Plus, it’s time for three beautiful things:
1. My friend Laura was honored tonight as a finalist for Connecticut’s State Teacher of the Year award. The committee ultimately may have picked some kindergarten teacher to honor, but I know who’s number one in my book (and in those of all the students whose lives she’s touched in the past 13 years).
2. At the hearing on the bill for marriage equality in D.C., 81 of 96 people who provided testimony spoke out in favor of extending civil marriage to same sex couples. That’s more than four-fifths. When I first started attending hearings on making domestic partnerships legal in Connecticut the crowds (and the speakers) were probably equal in number. What a wonderful change in the last decade!
3. Mum turned 60 today and I was able to come home to help her celebrate. Mum, really you’re all three beautiful things this week and every week. I love you!
What beautiful things have been happening around your world?
October 29, 2009
fall fiber fest fun
posted by soe 2:56 am
After several days of grey skies and rainy weather, Sunday dawned clear and crisp — perfect autumn weather for a road trip. Sarah and I hopped in the car and pointed it westward to the border between Virginia and West Virginia, to a little town called Berryville, population 3,000. Our destination? The Shenandoah Valley Fiber Festival.
October 26, 2009
posted by soe 11:22 pm
I just want to let everyone know that I haven’t disappeared and I’ll be back with posts tomorrow. But it’s after midnight, Rudi and I just got home, and we haven’t had supper, so I’d prefer to eat than type.
I will say that the initial hearing for the civil marriage law was, in fact, quite civil for such a thing. Of course, when it’s sponsored by 10 of 13 council members and the mayor has promised to sign it, maybe the crazy, bigoted folk opt to stay home and get in touch with members of Congress who might be persuaded to overturn District laws instead…
October 23, 2009
my d.c.: riverby books
posted by soe 11:43 pm
My dentist lives and works on the other side of town in the Capitol Hill neighborhood. After my appointments, I like to stop in the shops I don’t visit terribly often. Sometimes it’s Eastern Market, but other times, like this week, it’s Riverby Books.
Riverby might be the nicest bookstore in town these days. I mean, sure, Capitol Hill Books is a book lover’s dream with its piles of books everywhere, including the tiny bathroom, and Second Story and Idle Times are both perfectly lovely shops. But when you walk into Riverby, you feel like people are glad you’ve come in and are excited you want to buy these books, some of which they’ve loved, too.
First, they lure you to their gate with the colorful balloons.
Then they invite you to walk into the yard with their tables of $1 charity books.
And, then, once you’re inside, snap! You’re theirs. You are going to give them your money because they have books you want, books you need. Even if you’ve never heard of the titles, you’ll find yourself with an armful of books after just a few minutes waving around a pile of money, pleading with someone to take it so you can stop finding more.
Not that that happened to me this week. No, not at all…
October 22, 2009
relaxation, sneaky veg, and funny faces
posted by soe 11:39 pm
It’s Thursday! Time for three beautiful things from the last week:
1. A rainy Saturday means pajama time on the couch, hot tea, books, and knitting.
2. Warm zucchini bread spread with butter. (And Rudi pointing out that grating zucchini is a lot faster with the food processor than with the cheese grater…)
3. A bulldog stares out the window, standing on top of what I hope is a ceramic jack o’lantern.
What’s been beautiful in your neck of the woods recently?
October 21, 2009
into the stacks: sabriel
posted by soe 3:28 am
Karen and Grey Kitten have suggested that I ought to just start writing up my book reviews. I figure if I start with the most recent and work my way backwards, I at least have a shot at offering insights into what I’ve just read, rather than not remembering details of any of this year’s books…
Sabriel, by Garth Nix
From the jacket: “Sent to a boarding school in Ancelstierre as a young child, Sabriel has had little experience with the random power of Free Magic or the Dead who refuse to stay dead in the Old Kingdom. But during her final semester, her father, the Abhorsen, goes missing, and Sabriel knows she must enter the Old Kingdom to find him. She soon finds companions in Mogget, a cat whose aloof manner barely conceals its malevolent spirit, and Touchstone, a young Charter Mage long imprisoned by magic, now free in body but still trapped by painful memories. As the three travel deep into the Old Kingdom, threats mount on all sides. And every step brings them closer to a battle that will pit them against the true forces of life and death — and bring Sabriel face-to-face with her own destiny.”
My take: Dark fantasy is generally not a realm of fiction I choose to pursue. But I was in need of something to read at work one lunch hour, and Sabriel was sitting on the discard cart at the office. It looked promising, but I wasn’t wowed by the prologue. Later, though, I saw it mentioned as a young adult fantasy novel with a particularly strong female character and decided to give it another shot. I’m glad I did.
Sabriel is the teenage daughter of the Abhorsen, the necromancer in charge of protecting the Old Kingdom from the Dead (who sometimes refuse to stay dead). Sent to school in Ancelstierre (a land much like an early 20th-century England) on the other side of the border from the Old Kingdom), she doesn’t see much of her father. When he does visit her, though, he shares with her his knowledge of Charter Magic, the strong force which keeps the dead at bay, and of walking in Death. As she ages, her father increases his visits but appears to her mostly in a less corporeal way.
Until one night, when he fails to appear when expected. Instead, a golem materializes in the school, bearing her father’s sword and the bells of Death to her. Realizing that the Abhorsen would never part willingly with those items, she sets out to the Old Kingdom to rescue her father from whatever has trapped him somewhere between Life and Death.
Pursued by the Dead, their zombie-like minions, and their slaves, she arrives at the family homestead only to find that the supernatural servants there, including Mogget, a cat who isn’t really a cat, believe her father dead and greet her as the new Abhorsen. Mogget reminds her that her sworn familial duty is to protect the kingdom and to vanquish the Dead, not to mount rescue missions. With these two obligations vying for her loyalty and with the Dead dismantling the kingdom, Sabriel must figure out how to save the world — and her father — before it’s too late.
Carl is once again hosting his annual Halloween-themed read-along, the R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril Challenge IV. Sabriel qualifies under the dark fantasy category and puts me halfway toward my Peril the Second quest.
October 16, 2009
speedy, warming, and stripey
posted by soe 1:23 am
Another week gone… And with it, three beautiful things:
1. A construction-free ride home from Connecticut. We accomplish the ride in a record-setting six hours…
2. Warm soup and baguette on a chilly, rainy night.
3. New kneesocks — black and white stripes with orange accents — for the Halloween season.
What’s been beautiful in your world this week?
October 8, 2009
familiar, hopeful, and surprising
posted by soe 3:06 pm
Thanks for the outpouring of concern earlier this week. I am feeling better and expect this weekend’s trip to Connecticut will put me firmly back into good spirits.
And along that train of thought, here are three beautiful things from the past week that have helped make my soul sing:
1. I have downloaded every picture I’ve taken since 2006 onto my computer (and the few kid photos people have emailed me, hint, hint) and set up my screen saver to cycle through them. Because Rudi and I have been watching more of our tv over the internet (thank you PBS!), I spend more time in my rocking chair while my computer sits idle. As familiar faces flash past me — weddings, holidays, sporting events, just hanging out, big events and small — I feel like you’re all in my living room with me.
2. Have you seen The Berlin Reunion yet, which commemorated last week the 19th anniversary of German reunification and the upcoming 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall? The Boston Globe has pictures of the political theater, and you just can’t help but be moved.
3. As I sat in Rock Creek Park Sunday afternoon, two large dogs walking by with their people suddenly looked intently over my shoulder. I turned, expecting to see another dog, but instead discovered a doe, probably 50 feet from the picnic bench where I sat talking to Erik on the phone. A rustling in the brush on the hillside behind the bike path alerted all of us in the vicinity that this deer was not on her own. A cyclist stopped and sat down, hoping to lure the companion into the open, and the dog owners held firmly to leashes. Soon, an adolescent doe picked her way out to follow her friend and then both bounded down the bike path, tails erect, until they veered off toward the creek far away from the rest of us.
Also, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that today’s TBT is dedicated to my dad and my great-aunt Maude, who both celebrate birthdays today.
What’s been beautiful in your world lately? Feel free to share in the comments.
October 6, 2009
i’m still here…
posted by soe 1:13 am
I am here and am hoping that regular blogging will return sometime this week. The trip to Salt Lake just took a lot out of me and I’ve been in a funk since our return.
It even got so bad last week that I took my brother’s advice and went out for drinks with friends. I ordered an alcoholic beverage — my first ever. But it was nasty, so my consumption was limited to three sips. (In defense of the drink, no one else seemed to be under the impression that it reeked of liquor. In fact, they kept telling me how sweet it was!)
But I’ve been occupying my time productively when not trying to acquire a new bad habit. I’ve done a bit of housecleaning and some laundry. I am running low on handknit socks, though, so a load of sink washing must move up on my priority list…
I’ve done a bit of cooking recently. We made a batch of Jenn’s tomato sauce last month and I followed it up with Mum’s recipe for baking tomatoes. Well, not so much baking, as preserving. Sort of… Tonight I baked an apple crisp as a follow-up to the delicious turnip soup Rudi made for supper. (Of course, I started it too late for it to be done before Rudi toddled off to bed, but I promised him he could eat it for breakfast if he wanted…) While in Salt Lake, we had a delicious pear coffee cake one morning at a cafe, and Rudi’s mom sent us home with a handful of pears (and plums and quinces and apples and herbs), so I may give that a shot sometime soon unless Rudi decides he’s going to start eating them.
The garden continues to give us petite tomatoes and the pepper plants all have flowers covering them. I planted a rather late crop of squash, so although the plants have come up, I’m not convinced they’ll make it to vegetable stage. Although our frosts come pretty late in the year, so who knows. A volunteer lettuce popped up from the spring’s harvest going to seed, and our chard remains ever faithful.
I’ve been knitting quite a bit, but not finishing an awful lot. I have one mitt and one sock done, so either half of me will be nice and toasty or I’ll have to switch it up and go the right sock/left mitt route and hope that keeps either side from too much shivering.
Reading has been more successful, although I think I failed to finish any of the three challenges I took on over the summer. Plus, I have gotten so behind on book reviews that I need to figure out a new way to handle them. Or just suck it up and crank them out and inundate you with reviews. Any thoughts on that? And I missed the National Book Festival while I was in Salt Lake, which just makes me crabby to think about…
I try to get out on the bike each weekend, but my progress is slow when I go on my own (and Julia and I have not been coordinating our schedules well lately…) Bike D.C. is coming up in two weeks, so maybe I’ll see if any of our friends are interested in signing up with me. I also should sign up for that yoga class I keep telling Elspeth and Julia I’m going to take. Maybe when I get back from our long Connecticut weekend. I have done more commuting on the bike this year than ever before, helped by the delays caused by the Red Line crash earlier this year. (They were completely necessary and understandable, but I had a way around them, so why not take advantage of my two wheels?)
Anyway, that’s my version of a catch-all catch-up. Maybe tomorrow I’ll offer you my reflections on the baseball season…