Monday, January 19, 2009

The Winter Woolfest in Wamego

Last weekend, a bunch of KIPers piled into cars and drove north to the Winter Woolfest in Wamego, KS. Seeing so many people drive from Hutchinson, Wichita, Topeka and Kansas City to talk about knitting, spinning and crocheting really warmed my heart. I love to see people who are as excited about yarn and roving as I am. This is the Woolfest's first year, and I hope that this festival grows and grows. It has so much potential.

Of course I couldn't resist the alpaca roving from Rivendell Meadows Alpacas. The cream, camel, and mocha colors were evenly distributed down the length of the roving and it was incredibly soft. I like to pet it. That didn't stop me from purchasing a  mossy green merino and silk batt with subtle streaks of deep red. 

The wild ones in the knitting pack weren't even close to exhausted when we finished with the festival. After all of the driving, we decided to drop in at the Yarn Barn in Lawrence where we were able to test drive spinning wheels. (The Lendrum saxony rubbed up against my leg and tried to make me take it home. I resisted.) I settled for a Sacht drop spindle, some silk hankies to spin, and Priscilla Gibson-Roberts' book High Whorling: A Spinners Guide to an Old World Skill. 

Finally we were exhausted and a little dizzy with all of the fiber beauty. We all piled back into our vehicles and drove home. At home while I arranged my prizes on the table for photographs, my assistants sampled the goodies. Norah has perfected the innocent look. Oscar needs practice. Innocence is implausibe with alpaca tufts stuck between one's teeth.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Chez Sleepy

Since the "no knitting" until my hands recover pledge, I've settled into a pleasant routine of reading in the evening. The cats appreciate that I'm not dangling yarn in their whiskers and they often join me. Then I fall asleep. That's right. I'm asleep by 8 in the evening some days. I never realized that knitting was a stimulant, that it kept me awake and engaged. I do know that I sometimes cannot fall asleep because I'm thinking about a pattern or a yarn or what I'll knit next. 

The paint color scheme for the living areas in my house has been troubling me too since I'm nearly finished with wall paper removal in the dining room. I fussed and made a half-hearted attempt to find a color-wheel so I could examine colors and see which ones would be most companionable. I got a decorating book instead, which makes basic suggestions, and has a small picture of color wheel in the introduction. I also realized that compared to getting the layers of paint and wallpaper off of the walls, having the dry wall contractor make repairs, and prepping the trim, the actual painting will be very easy and inexpensive. If I really don't like a color, I can paint it again.

The eureka moment arrived with the Pottery Barn catalog. One of the rugs has reds, blues, yellows, and greens. Those were the colors I wanted and finding the right shades was the challenge. So now, I'm going to use that rug as my palette. I probably won't buy the rug, but I am certainly happy to have picture of it.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Too much knitting?

Is there such a thing as too much knitting? I'm not inclined to think so. The Brooklyn Tweed scarf in Noro Silk Garden practically knitted itself. (More pictures are over on Ravelry.) Watching the colors unfold kept me knitting and knitting to see what would happen next. The glee of watching this scarf grow out of a very simple pattern still astonishes me, and I've been unable to fully describe it. People who have knitted the scarf seem to understand, and those who haven't humor me. I'm fortunate to have lots of people who humor me -- scarf or otherwise.

One of the things this scarf taught me is that I need to do things that don't involve my hands as much. My tendinitis flares up periodically. My wrists and hands hurt and swell. The typical solution is to take ibuprofen until I break down and go to the doctor. He prescribes steroids and the typical stretching exercises and lifestyle recommendations. Everything is good for a stretch, and then it comes back. It got really bad while I was knitting this scarf.

I have a lifestyle that fosters tendinitis. Here is what I like to do: knit, crochet, spin, type at the keyboard, surf the web, and garden. They all involve small movements of the hands. Most recently, all of the wallpaper scraping combined with the others has triggered the flare up. I haven't been to the doctor yet. I'm still in the whiny, ibuprofen stage. 

New hobbies are on the horizon because I need to rest those easily inflamed hands and wrists. I've been brainstorming about what I will do. I'm not a huge fan of exercise, but I do like to fidget. Fidgeting and tinkering is done best with hands. Some of that nervous energy can be dealt with through actual physical movement like walking and biking and yoga. I might spend more time dreaming, thinking and contemplating this year. Maybe meditating. Maybe sitting quietly with the cats or reading. I have a terrible time watching tv without doing something else (see fidgeting above). There might not be as much tv this year. 

At work, I'm going to think before I type or click. This could have some benefits. Hasty emails are prone to poor grammar and misunderstandings. I may start talking to people in person rather than typing. I may read a chapter about the best way to write a stored procedure rather than jumping straight to the code. Much like emails, planned coding is often better than the fly-by-the-seat-of-the-pants variety.

I hope that in a few weeks I will be able to ration out some precious fiber arts time. Everything in moderation, right? I still cannot get my head around the idea that there is such a thing as too much knitting. In the meantime, I'm going to admire the way the colors in the yarn change in the scarf and dream about what I will plant this spring.