on attachment, clearing out, and hey, who wants yarn?

I thought this was going to a lot harder than it has been, to be frank. As I’ve been shipping things out, I’ve been feeling really good about creating space, and it just gets easier and easier to put things in the “destash” pile. I’d originally suspected I’d struggle with relinquishing CY yarns, especially tests, out of sentimentality: this is quite literally the very last of this stuff, and I can actually remember the days some of these skeins were dyed. It stings a little at times; I need to remind myself that we were always making items of use and beauty, that it’s a disservice not to see them being utilized. Archival just doesn’t sit right with me, though; it isn’t my style.

There are a few things I just can’t let go, and I’ll make a post about those later, once I’m absolutely sure of what those are. I know a few off the top of my head: a bag of Sochi Pride in Traveller, the last few skeins I dyed in the studio, four braids of BFL/ silk fiber in a perfect oxidized copper.

Mostly, though, I want to keep a few things dyed by members of the studio, yarn made by my friends, a few things with clear intended projects, and my fiber stash; everything else is on its way out, and that feels like a relief. Next, I’m going to take on my comic book collection. Oh, gutting. 

So: the winner of last week’s Great Yarn Giveaway is Ela— please, drop me a line with your address and I will send you a shipping estimate & get your yarn out to you! Next up for Giveaway purposes: one skein of Irregular Skinny Bugga in Gregor Samsa. This skein has two small smudges of lilac on one strand; imperfect but utterly knittable.

Gregor Samsa this time!

Gregor Samsa this time!

By the way- for the folks who’ve asked, I got the yarn bowl above from Skeletal Dropkick, and I swear that the name only pushed me into purchasing from them a teeny, tiny bit. They’re really great and I love the pieces I have from them- solid, one custom, and relatively affordable (at least when I was buying- it’s been a while). Also ADORABLE, obviously.

Want to give that skein of Gregor Samsa a proper home? TOTALLY EASY, you folks. Tell me your current favorite indie yarn company and why you love them. That’s it! I’ll RNG the answer, but I’m seriously paying attention to this one. Bonus points for telling me which of their yarns makes you the happiest, but just the company name/ link does the trick. I’ll pull a name next Tuesday— good luck, everybody!

in which kiddo is with the times

I came home after a doozy of a day and went immediately for my pajamas. While I was changing, Kiddo knocked on my bedroom door and asked to come in. “Did you hear?” she enthused, bouncing on her heels. We talked about the SCOTUS decision, about the dissents, about our reactions and the reactions of our friends. How we’d both thought that this might happen eventually, but not so early into our lifetimes, not even halfway in, honestly. That so much progress had been made but that we thought things had been slipping lately.

In the hallway, she said, “Now Hugo and Barrett can get married!” which struck me as immediately taking steps toward Pat Robertson’s inter- species marriage fantasies, although his always involved a human contingent, if I remember correctly. It seemed timely, if slightly off center.

We’re in for the evening, going through the list of suggestions everybody sent us— and holy cats, thank you guys, there’s some seriously good stuff in there— joy- binging on supermarket cookies, because while I don’t bake there was a sale, and any time there is a sale I make up for my not- baking self as best I can. Hugo is draped across the back of my couch like a living scarf, and I’m letting him do it; it’s actually nice enough in Baltimore tonight to let it happen. I have some Neighborhood Fiber Co. yarn at my feet waiting to be knit into something new, and Sam should be home any minute now. It’s a good day, you guys. Today was a really good day.

in which I’m still on about this yarn thing, and also drugs

Hey there, Word Lilydrop me an email when you get a second!  You’ve got yarn coming your way; the Random Number Generator chose you this week! Send me your mailing address and a good Paypal address for shipping costs and we will be in business.

I’ve shipped out the first two waves of Destash, and added some more things to the Etsy Destash shop. I’m surprised at how much I’ve managed to get out of the house already, and how little of a dent I’ve managed to make in the overall mass. The real issue is how non- intuitive the Etsy Seller’s format is; there’s no ability to create a template, which really slows things down. Not the end of the world, but boof, these updates. Luckily, I have a healthy Netflix queue to help me along (I’m looking at you, Sense8), but I’d be lost without a little enhancement.

Stash talk aside, I had a minor bit of housekeeping I wanted to do: some folks had asked me for a Gilenya update now that it’s been almost two years since I started the drug. I’m still a little surprised that it’s actually been that long— time flies, right?— but sure enough it was July of ’13.  So for my MS/ Gilenya folks: I’d said I wasn’t going to pass judgement until 6 months had passed, and here it is, two years later. What do I think?

It’s a lot better (for me) than Copaxone was. Zero relapses in two years vs an annual spring relapse on C. Some symptom progression and the addition of side meds, but I’ve adjusted with lifestyle changes (some of which were far overdue) and PT. I did notice a low/ dull headache, fatigue, and some nausea in the beginning but moved my dose to bedtime and after that, zero side effects after the first two weeks. My heart rate did get lower but I’m naturally bradycardiac (healthily) so no big. No dizzy spells, and blood pressure is cool.

Yeah, I heard about the PML cases and I’m not worried about it; lots of folks have been on different treatments before taking Gilenya, we still don’t know if the Gilenya PML cases took Tsyabri or Techfidera (or if they had been tested for JC). Also, we now know that PML isn’t always the death sentence we’ve been told it was, and while I’m definitely not looking to take any chances, I’m also not leaving the disease- modifying therapy that’s working best for my body at the moment over a .001% not- always- lethal chance.

There’s the obvious plus of it being a pill, as well; after years of self- administering shots I’m not injection- averse, but transporting meds is so compact & easy now, and hugging people is a lot less painful, too.

All the standard disclaimers: I am not a doctor or any other medical professional, your body is completely different from my body and your disease is not my disease, either, etc, etc. Still, it’s working out for me. I’m into it. I have a weird- looking, birth control looking pack of pills that don’t make me feel any kind of way and supposedly keep my disease in some kind of check. They don’t make me feel like I can’t breathe and like my chest might be caving in every six weeks, like Copaxone did. I don’t have relapses, or at least, I haven’t in a while, and that’s pretty rad. My disease is definitely progressing, but it’s very, very slow, and I’m as okay with that as I can be.

Last piece of housekeeping: the next giveaway! This time around I have a very slightly spotted skein of Skinny Bugga in Blue- Ringed Octopus. It’s marked Irregular, and I’m giving it away because the spot is so, so obvious- it’s red, against that pale Tiffany blue, so you’d almost positively have to cut it out. That said: it’s just the one spot as far as I can see, so hey, give this little guy a home, would ya?

When it comes down it it, we are all a little irregular, aren't we?

When it comes down it it, aren’t we all a little irregular?

Today it’s easy: I need something free to watch while I’m packing orders or listing yarn on Etsy. If it’s on Amazon Prime, Hulu, Netflix or any of the standard free channels on Roku and it’s awesome, recommend it in the comments! I’ll Random Number Generator it on Tuesday for a winner. Good luck, everybody!

about that giveaway, though…

Shoshana, you recommended Ardent, by Janina Kallio— and you were also selected by the Random Number Generator! Would you send me your address, please, as well as a good paypal email address so I can hit you up for shipping?

Sorry it took me an extra day to make the announcement!

I spent a bit of this afternoon visiting Kate & Nancye at Dragonfly Fibers— they were having an Open House, so I took advantage of an opportunity to see their studio when the air conditioning would be on and actually making a difference. I’m completely unashamed to say I fell down and picked up a few skeins; it’s mostly work, a reknit of Theodosia and a colorwork cowl idea I’ve been kicking around.

At the Dragonfly Fibers studio open house this afternoon.

At the Dragonfly Fibers studio open house this afternoon.

Of course, it isn’t like I didn’t pick out colors I love, and I’ll be keeping my samples, so yeah, it’s a kind of cheating, but it’s the sort of cheating I can write off at the end of the year.

A new giveaway, before I leave you: I have a slightly light (3.8 oz), caked skein of Oleander Nymph in Skinny Bugga waiting for the person who helps us find our next dinner in the comments. We aren’t picky eaters, but there are a few things that make it a little tricky: Sam can’t eat corn in any form, Kiddo is a vegetarian, and we’re trying to keep dinners as quick/ simple as possible in the evenings, because Baltimore is swiftly turning into a humid sweaty summer mess. Random Number Generator will make the final decision; leave a comment with a link or a recipe below to enter and I’ll run the RNG this coming Tuesday! Oh, and there’s more stuff in the shop, but I’ve been updating steadily as the week has been moving along.

Look, it's so lonely. Don't you want to bring this skein home with you?

Look, it’s so lonely. Don’t you want to bring it home with you?

so let’s do this thing, then

I forgot how nice it can be to photograph things that stay still.

I forgot how nice it can be to photograph things that stay still.

I’d been holding off on starting my Epic Destash, thinking Oh, I’ll just wait until I have a big block of time and can blast through a chunk of it. The fact of the matter is, there really IS no big block of time to be had, so I’m doing the brighter thing and going at this piecemeal so the thing is done already. I came home from Weird Day Job this afternoon and just got going on getting the destash online. (Hey, we should talk about that some time; it is both weird to have a Day Job again, and said Day Job is also weird.)

So there’s a little bit of yarn up on my Etsy right now; it’s just a bit of caked- up Skinny Bugga from waaaaaaay back in the day, ZOMG. I was surprised at the level of attachment I had going on here; I had a hard time letting go to a few of these not because I wanted to do anything with them, but because I could remember how and when they were made, and with whom. I miss my team, and how we were. Who we were, ooof. But we’re still us, and these things are still here, and it’s just too awful if these things aren’t used. That’d be the biggest disservice of all, I think, so. So- take these off my hands, loves. We made these things so that they would be used. Let’s make some use of them.

I’ll be adding steadily to my silly little Etsy shop throughout the month. There is a bunch of stuff— fiber, yarn, tools; SG, CY, mill samples, samples from other dyers. If you’re looking for anything in particular, feel free to drop a comment and ask, but the chances of my having it are slim— it’s a smorgasbord, but a very random one, KWIM?

There are two skeins of each color, approx 795 yards total.

There are two skeins of each color, approx 795 yards total.

In the meantime, I have a random half- pound of Skinny sitting at my feet, sort of Easter- themed, I think. It’s free to whoever wins the Random Number Generator lottery—you’ll only have to pay shipping from Baltimore, MD.  Leave me a comment with your current favorite simple shawl pattern, because I really need something new to knit and I just can’t do another pair of mitts, I’m so over hands right now and cowls are great but kind of boring after the long winter. I’ll hit up the RNG on Thursday! Good luck, all.

in which we talk about stashes and creating space

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Let’s talk about this stash thing, okay?

I don’t have a stash, exactly. I mean I do: I have yarn and fiber that I’ve purchased/ collected just for myself. There isn’t very much of that, actually; I’m really, really selective and I don’t like to have very much stuff. Owning things makes me feel twitchy, weighed down, and obligated: when you own things you need to keep track of them, take care of them, and in this case, use them, eventually. So when I started making yarn and fiber— years and years ago— well, things sort of got out of hand.

I started selling on Etsy over a decade ago specifically to avoid that issue of collecting— I liked making more than I enjoyed having. Much like spinning, once I’ve dyed something I frequently feel finished with a thing: There. That is complete. It should go to someone else now. (I love knitting handspun, just not my own- it always seems just a little boring, sort of “I’ve seen every inch of THIS already.”) And while I did knit with my own yarn, because it was free, and hey, that was awesome, I’ve always been more of a process person than a product one.

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Part of the entire process of dyeing and designing is making tests, though, and we don’t sell tests on the whole. I’ve also got a bunch of leftovers from closing the studio— just weird, random bits and bobs, odd little things. And balls of yarn with only 20- 30 yards used from when we used to make SG swatches— man, I still have old SG stock, it’s obscene.

Also: for the non- fiber types, there is this thing that seems to happen when people learn that you are a knitter and a spinner. Someone in their family will move into assisted living or pass on and they’ll show up to your doorstep with a couple of boxes of yarn, fiber, fleeces, or tools- or just yes, all four. Sometimes it’s a treasure trove, sometimes it’s just a transfer to Goodwill/ the dump, it’s always a crapshoot. You can try to tell people the value of what they have, show them Ravelry, tell them how it sells on EBay/ Etsy, but most don’t want the bother. I get it. I’m intimidated already by the task at hand.

So I’ve got a fair bit of that going on too, because I am a sucker and can’t say no to folks who are sad and have boxes or bags of their elderly relatives’ belongings. The good stuff I’ve kept, but at this point it’s just ridiculous. I’m looking at SABLE (Stash Acquisition Beyond Life Expectancy) beyond all measure, and I have no intention of winding up on Buzzfeed for that, please and thank you.

What else? Oh, also a few tools from teaching, and some bits and bobs from when I was first dyeing— bases that we just don’t do, that sort of thing. All things that just weren’t marketable via CY. All things that are eating up space in my house & life. Sam and I are looking at downsizing (I want to move deeper into the city, we both want to have even less stuff) but even outside of that, this is just… an occupational hazard, sure, but too much for me.

So: I’m going to do a couple of things to lighten the load. Some of this stuff just isn’t sellable in good conscience: it’s early dye work, or skeins that are a little weird, stuff along those lines— I’m not comfortable asking for $$ for them, so I’m going back to my roots and doing some Great Yarn Giveaways again. I’ll put up posts on the blog, ask folks to do something silly in comments, pick a winner and ask for shipping only.

For the rest of it, I’m thinking… Etsy? That’s probably the easiest way to go about it. I don’t want to clog up my personal Instagram doing this, although that might be a simpler/ cheaper way to go about things. I’m not crazy about Etsy these days, though. (Anyone out there sell via Instagram? Might be worthwhile to open a second account.) I know I don’t want to do EBay- the idea of bidding brings back that awful SG- update- rush feel; hated that then, hate it now. I’m looking to begin the actual selling off of stash next week, so if you have information, please send it my way— I’m taking photos this week.

on road trips, rejuvenation, and a review

It’s a busy month. I was up in Boston earlier this week- Cambridge, actually: my step- sister Bianca received her second master’s from Harvard this Wednesday. (Hot damn, right?) Outside of the absolute joy of Boston in the spring- a pleasure I haven’t experienced for about two years- I was thrilled to be headed up to see my dad, stepmother Lily, Bianca and her husband Pete, as well as my absolutely precious brand- new niece, Alyssa. A badly- timed jury duty summons kept me from attending the actual graduation ceremonies, which was a bummer, but with the family gathering on the same coast, neither hell nor high water could keep me. It was really good to see my dad again- we don’t get to do that nearly enough.

Me and my dad.

Me and my dad.

(Hey, in case you ever need to know this: if you’ve deferred jury duty once due to illness, obligation, or work, there’s a strong chance you will not be allowed to do so again within an 18- month period, even if you’ve gone to jury duty once within that period and not been selected. I’m not bitter, just really surprised. They never want the Buddhist vet who is pro- marijuana legalization, has had addicts & convicts in her family, and has been the subject of a violent crime. I’m still surprised there isn’t a thick black line drawn through my name, they reject me from jury panels so fast, which is disappointing as I love 12 Angry Men and I’ve always wanted to see how that process works. It’s just that in this particular case I would have really liked to see Bianca graduate. Man, why didn’t the summons come one week later? Boof.)

It was a really good road trip, though, and gave me the chance to spend some serious time with both of my families: my family of choice, and my family of kin. I had an entire afternoon with Chion eating Nepalese and hanging out at Get Baked, and an abundance of time with Teresa and Derek (we went to Mystic Aquarium, I haven’t been there since I was a girl, I can’t even, you guys). It was good and happy and all of the things I remember about late Connecticut springs, plus goats. (There are goats on Teresa’s street now. It’s a plus.) Oh, and plus puppy, too! T & D have added Dexter to their life, a tiny white mutt who looks more than a little like Falkor from The Neverending Story.

Mostly he only looks like a luck dragon when he sleeps, but he wants to sleep a lot lately.

Mostly he only looks like a luck dragon when he sleeps, but he wants to sleep a lot lately.


Today, we’re off to a coop- raising, which I expect will be a bit like a barn- raising but more adorable and will likely involve less competence and more booze. The chickens involved aren’t fully grown, the adults involved aren’t all that skilled, and it’s happening in the middle of Baltimore city, so really, it’s bound to be interesting. More news on this as it develops, but keep an eye my Instagram; you know I’ll be photographing this.

Some admin: a product review, which I’d mentioned earlier last week. A rep from Dose Of Nature contacted me a few weeks back and asked if I would try their CBD oil and write a review. I thought it was spam at first, but she wrote a second time, and I thought, What the hell, I’ve always wanted to try!

The bottle hit my PO box in mid- April, but I couldn’t get over to pick it up until the beginning of May. The company asked for a two- week trial period, so this isn’t the most in- depth review possible, but it’s definitely better than “yeah, tried it once, didn’t kill me.”

Here’s the gist: some cannabidiol products have been shown to be useful in managing the symptoms of inflammatory conditions, chronic pain, epilepsy, things like that. MS is on that list, too. There are some issues with the actual products on the market, though- quality control, dosage/ intensity of product, sourcing, etc. There are also questions as to whether CBD is really efficient solo or if it works best in tandem with small portions of its partner in nature, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Eh- it’s all a new market. People are still figuring it out. You can acquire CBD products legally in all 50 states, though, so if you’re living in a prohibition state and wish you could be a patient, products like these- if/ when they’re good- can be really great.

Redstrap CBD

They sent me a bottle of their Redstrap CBD in Apricot Oil. The directions on the bottle read to take 20 drops (8ml) daily, and I’ve been doing that directly for about 20 days now. I came into this skeptical and honestly, I’m still pretty meh on this. It could have something to do with the intensity of the product, or the short period in which I’ve been using it, but the effects I noticed were mild at best. There were a couple of things I noticed, though, and that’s interesting.

You can take this straight- it tastes fine. A little lighter than olive oil, slightly grassy. (Pun totally not intended, but I’m letting it stand because I think Pam would be so proud.) The instructions said I could mix it into food, smoothies, etc, as long as I didn’t heat it, but I didn’t want to muddle things. I didn’t ever feel intoxicated- there’s no THC in this product- so no worries there.

I was hoping for a decrease in a few symptoms I’ve had with the recent heat, but I haven’t had much traction with that. Maybe it helped with the neuropathy in my hands and feet, which- hey, I appreciate that. I might have slept a little better too, but again, I can’t really tell. So: a solid meh all around with this. I’m going to stick with it until the bottle is done; it’s not quite at the halfway point yet, and I’d like to see if it gets any better, or if it’s doing anything at all, really. (Let’s be realistic— it’s also VERY possible I’m just having a good lead- in to summer. Most possible. The possible-est.)

As it stands? At $79.95 a bottle and a consumption rate that looks to be maybe a bottle every 6-8 weeks, this isn’t for me unless I see some huge change in results over the next few weeks. It might not have been a complete wash, so if you have some extra dosh there are worse things to blow it on because again- legal in all 50 states- but I just didn’t experience enough of a punch to justify paying that or to recommend anybody else pay that for it, especially when I look at the expenses that most chronic pain/ major illness patients already carry. If you’re looking to buy supplements for MS— fish oil, vitamin D, and B- complex make more sense to me, have tons of studies to back them up, and cost a ton less.

I feel a little like a traitor telling folks that I don’t recommend a MMJ product, but in truth I just don’t really recommend this particular one: still a medical supporter, it’s just that this preparation didn’t work for my particular body.

All right, it’s time for me to feed cats and get back to pushing other people’s words around. You guys know we’re putting out another Knit Edge soonish, right? We are. I know, I know: we just did that. AND YET. More about that, and oh yeah, my epic- and epically intimidating- destash, in the next post. Be well, have adventures, tell me all about them?

on MDS&W 2015 and friends who do good things

Yet another Cotswold who is NOT HAVING IT.

Yet another Cotswold who is NOT HAVING IT.

Maryland Sheep & Wool was a joy this year, and not just because I got time in with Shannon, Andi and Anna- although hey, also THAT, you know? Maryland turned it out in a serious way, though— anywhere from 75- 85 degrees and sunshine all weekend. I spent it in the CP booth, hoping for a rerun of the runaway sheep from last year (no luck, but most of the fun is in the wishing and waiting anyway). Sam, Beck & Zeke joined us on Sunday and we spent a good amount of time just looking at animals and stuffing our faces.

I mean, I really felt like I might have been intruding on a moment, or something.

I mean, I really felt like I might have been intruding on a moment, or something.

Nothing much to report on the buying front; I don’t need any more yarn or fiber (I’m actually looking at a very large de-stash in the near future, more on that in a later post), so all that came home with us was some honey and a little embroidery cloth. We went out to Ethiopian in the District with Shannon, Andi & Anna on Saturday. I visited all of my people, ate artichokes and pit lamb, drank fresh lemonade, and hugged more folks than my MS doctors would approve of EVER. It was MDS&W weekend- what can I say? It was glorious

Let’s see- what else is going on? Oh- VERY important stuff, and not because you have all of one hot second to get on this- Neighborhood Fiber Company is doing something very good and wonderful and I want people to know about it. I hope that folks understand that the majority of the demonstrations that happened here in Baltimore were peaceful, but everybody knows that there was property damage, too. Karida has created a gorgeous, limited edition Sandtown-Windchester colorway to help raise money for the rebuilding of affected areas of the city.

It's even PURPLE.

It’s even PURPLE.

Named for the neighborhood where Freddie Gray was arrested, all proceeds will be donated to the Baltimore Community Foundation’s Fund for Rebuilding Baltimore. It’s only available until this weekend, and then, any leftover skeins will be sold in their shop— but somehow, I don’t think there’s going to be much left. This colorway is available in any of their bases, so if you want to make something, it can be made in this color. Get on it, folks.

That’s all the news I have for today— later on I have a completely off- yarn- topic product review, and more news about that destash, but I think I’ve taken up enough space already, and I need to go do some day- job like stuff. Be good, have fun, do stuff.

on my city and this horrible week, already

Oh, Baltimore.

There aren’t words for what has happened here over the last week, most especially in the last 24 hours. I’m not really going to try, at least not right now. To everyone who has checked in with us, thank you so much. That was really sweet and we feel very loved for it. We’re safe; things are quiet where we are so far. It isn’t great down by where I work, but it isn’t awful, either: the news is only showing the worst of it, but the entire city isn’t a smoking rubble, I promise.

I am heartbroken and scared to pieces for my friends. That’s all, really. Very angry, too, but working on that, because there are many more productive things to be/ do. And speaking of productive, if you’re in the area and you’re Feeling All Of The Feelings like I am and want to do something with all of that excess energy, here are a few things you can do. There are some clean- up efforts going on in the city today, all over: no matter which neighborhood you’re in, you can help.

Clean Up Baltimore!

Baltimore Clean- Up Effort

Reddit Updates on Baltimore 

To anyone who might be sharing this particular space of dirt with me right now, I’m thinking of you right now. Stay safe.

in which we catch up: Homespun, head scans, and secrets revealed

If there’s anything nicer than a Maryland spring, I’m having a hard time thinking of it right now. Of course, I’m awfully distracted by Maryland & spring at the moment, so.

It’s been a good few weeks. I’ve been getting the garden ready, planting seedlings, opening windows, spring cleaning. There’s an overall feeling of goodness and forward momentum, and I’m already dreaming about eating what I’m planting.

March was busy, busy, busy. My secret is out: now that it’s been announced, I can talk about it here, too, finally. The whole Editor- In- Chief thing is pretty big and intimidating, but most of all it’s just exciting. Of course, as soon as we made the announcement two people went on leave and another two quit at my day job, so I pulled a full- time week at my part- time the moment we told everyone. AGH. Maybe I didn’t need that moment of reverse- serendipity, but otherwise? Thrilled, you guys. If you sent me a note or left a message on my FB and I didn’t get a chance to thank you in person, I’m so sorry- it’s been really frantic, but thank you, thank you, thank you. The reception and enthusiasm has been really awesome, and I’m super- stoked to get to work.

I’m almost a month behind on telling you all about Homespun Yarn Party, that’s how busy the end of March became. HYP is my favorite smaller show; it’s just right, situated in this old textile mill in Savage, Maryland. Can we take a quick break to talk about how much fun it is to say “Savage, Maryland”, too? It gives me images of just tearing the place to pieces, folks just foaming at the mouth and getting all rabid over yarn (or antiques and french pastries, which is mostly what is sold in the place when it isn’t full of yarn people). I’m into it. I know it is just some dead guy’s last name or something equally boring, but it gives me a smile.

Kate and Nancye of Dragonfly Fibers were there, but almost never both in the same place at the same time, which seems to be true almost 65% of the time.

Those gradient kits, though. Unhf.

Those gradient kits, though. Unhf.

Christiane from Three Ravens was there, with her giant needles, of course— yeah, I have a picture, that’s a must- take.

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I also met Scott Manko and Amy Ross Manko of Ross Farm Fibers, a rare & heritage breed farm/ yarn & fiber supplier in Pennsylvania. I’d heard about them before, but I hadn’t had a chance to meet them (or see their stuff) in real life until last month. You guys.  Anyone who has spent more than half an hour with me in the last two years knows my feelings on heritage breeds, right? Yeah. My favorite place of the entire show, no offense intended to anyone else most especially my friends: I’m just a sucker for sheep, I guess.

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Simple, pure, sheepy goodness.

Karida of Neighborhood Fibers is the devil and convinced me that I want to knit a sweater right before the weather turned warm, so we aren’t speaking right now, although she doesn’t know that and wasn’t even really trying so it’s really not her fault and I’ll probably be over it in a minute anyway. It’s a really good sweater, though, and I take for- goddamned- ever to finish anything, so it isn’t a thing. It’ll be cold outside again by the time I have the thing blocked.

You can see a little of the sweater in question (Jennifer Beaumont's Pixelated Pullover) on the right-hand side of this photo. I'd do it in a different color scheme, but yeah, I'm into it.

You can see a little of the sweater in question (Jennifer Beaumont’s Pixelated Pullover) on the right-hand side of this photo. I’d do it in a different color scheme, but yeah, I’m into it.

I didn’t pick up much- I don’t need much, so most of what I do buy is either work research, used for gifts, or purchased under oh god, I think I must own this lest I die levels of desire. Here’s what came home with me.

Duck Duck Wool's Silky Singleton (70% SW Merino/ 30% Silk, 438 yrds) in Night Bokeh.

Duck Duck Wool’s Silky Singleton (70% SW Merino/ 30% Silk, 438 yds) in Night Bokeh.

This is gorgeous, right? Really, really amazing stuff. I’m not certain what it’s going to be yet- there was only the one skein, so I’ll have to be creative, but I’m looking forward to it.

Neighborhood Fibers' Studio Sock (100% merino, 400 yds) in Logan Circle.

Neighborhood Fibers’ Studio Sock (100% merino, 400 yds) in Logan Circle.

This is one of my favorite colors- and my dad’s, too, actually. It’s hard to find a good, gorgeous mossy green, so this came with me, too.

These necklaces from little teapot designs are too cute.

These necklaces from little teapot designs are too cute.

These handspun necklaces from a little teapot designs are adorable and a great idea. I haven’t decided if these are just for review or if they’re also a gift or what yet- they’re kind of mesmerizing and I’m wobbling. There’s three of them in this pack and I’m still on the fence.

They're just so stinking cute is all. I JUST WANT TO PINCH THEM.

They’re so stinking cute, is all. I JUST WANT TO PINCH THEM.

This skein of Fiber Rescue Falkland didn’t even make it out of HYP intact— I started turning it into a ball at one of the tables and cast on for a simple shawl that evening.

Fiber Rescue's Falkland Fingering Multi Gradient (100% Falkland, 410 yds) in Spice Rack

Fiber Rescue’s Falkland Fingering Multi Gradient (100% Falkland, 410 yds) in Spice Rack

Oh, but my real darlings:

Ross Farms' Leicester Longwool 2- Ply, (approx 250 yds, 100% Leicester Longwool), in Flynn and Ambrosia. (Those are the sheep's individual names, BTW. Because awesome.)

Ross Farms’ Leicester Longwool 2- Ply, (approx 250 yds, 100% Leicester Longwool), in Flynn and Ambrosia. (Those are the sheep’s individual names, BTW. Because awesome.)

These definitely fall into that latter category, the “oh god, I think I must own this lest I die” list. Everything I picked up is wonderful, but Leicester Longwool is just so hard to find, and this is just brilliant: beautifully prepared, simply put up, perfectly spun and left to speak for itself. YUP. I’ll be making a classic piece of lace out of this, with the dark grey as my background and the light grey as edging. I’ve been pulling out charts for the last few weeks trying to find things that I like enough.

More happened in March than just Homespun Yarn Party, obviously. I decided to quit one of my day jobs- the easiest one, unfortunately, but it was also the one that was the least reliable, so there’s also that. There’s something very scary about dropping a “real- world” gig so soon to head back into the creative world, but I don’t really fit in the cubicle world any more (I never really did), and it’s a terrible fit with appointments, tests, etc. I needed to make more room for the CP job— doing four different things is fine, but five at the same time is too much to juggle, and Sam is working these wicked 12- hour shifts lately, so I’m not asking him to pick up much of the slack.

It was MRI month, too, which is always weird. How are you supposed to feel about an MRI, exactly? While sometimes they’ll show something that’s actively happening, whatever we see in one, it’s a done deal. It’s useful, but only to a degree for me. There’s always the worry in the back of my mind that we’ll unearth a T1 black hole or six, but I’m pretty certain we’d see that coming, and I’m yet to see one of those. I went in on a Saturday last month, and felt pretty good about it overall; we did a brain & cervical spine with & without contrast, my first time doing cervical spine, and I was really excited to see the cervical spine images. Yoga teacher training left me with a real love for anatomy, and I was looking forward to having my own set of vertebra images to study. (They’re incredible.)

Braaaaaaiiiiiiiinnnnsssss.

Braaaaaaiiiiiiiinnnnsssss.

My radiology department has a Pandora subscription and they let you choose the station you’ll listen to during your scans; I asked for the Delta Blues station, and as they rolled me into the giant white tube, I Got A Woman came on over the headphones and I just had a good feeling about things.

Superstitious, sure, but we’re all apes and it’s hard- wired into us. I did my best not to tap my fingers and toes through the test and in the end, my hunch didn’t let me down: diffuse small lesions in the brain, nothing to worry about, a few noticeable older lesions exactly where we expected to find them on the cervical spine, C5 & C6.

Maybe this is where the MRI is helpful after all, although not in any clinical way; it is comforting to have this very technical, Medical Thing confirm what I’ve known for years about my disease & body. My disease is presenting primarily in my spine (I have mixed feelings about this, but that is a different subject for a different post). I’ve known that for a long time, but I’ve never had proof in any firm, science-y sort of way, just “well, this symptom + this symptom along this timeline seem indicative of a primarily spinal course of attack, at least in this moment.” Not that there’s anything to be done about that, or with it; it just helps me address and manage, that’s all. Having this MRI, this affirmation, is solidly nice: hey, I have a pretty solid handle on what’s happening in there. Cool. That makes me feel safe, and while it’s utterly out of my control, at least I am in touch with my body again. There was a time when we weren’t really speaking; that was rough.

Oh, and finally: I am an aunt again! My step- sister Bianca gave birth last month: welcome to the world, baby Alyssa! No photos as they aren’t mine to put out into the world, but suffice to say she is absolute perfection and I’m not just saying that because babies are delicious, she actually is a really pretty baby. Time to commence with ridiculous amounts of tiny, tiny knitting! Recommendations for your favorite quick baby patterns very, very welcome. What’s your go- to baby knit?

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