Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Knitting and a Cozy

Notice that the above topic does not say "knitting a cozy," which would have entirely different implications. This kind of cozy does not fit on a teapot, but can best be defined here. Those of us who cut our mystery teeth on Agatha Christie are quite comfy with cozies. Scots on the Rocks by Mary Daheim was an interesting book. However, by my count, this book is number twenty-something in the "Bed-and-Breakfast Mystery" series. I found it to be long on plot but rather weak on characterization. The fact is, though, that if I had read the other books in the series, I would probably not be feeling the same way. It was good enough that I will check to see if I can find some old paperbacks of some of the early books in the series. This book made excellent hotel lobby reading.

On Monday, I drove to Amarillo, listening to back episodes of Sticks and String on my MP3. If you have never listened to this podcast, you should give it a try. I think I like it so much because it is not giggly or silly or full of innuendoes. Sometimes it is more about life in Australia than strictly about knitting, but I think the overall mood of the episodes fits more closely with what knitting represents to me. David Reidy is easy listening--I like his music choices, his essays and guest essays, his choices for interviews, and the glimpses of life in another country and another knitting community. Frankly, I even like the sound of his voice. Listening to his broadcasts there and back was a real treat. I have updated my podcatcher on this new computer so that I will not get behind on my favorite podcasts again, but it was kind of neat to have hours of listening to catch up on while driving. Reidy's sound is also professional. Some podcasters have vast differences in volume, from below my auditory level to blasting through the earphones, that force me to constantly adjust the tiny volumes on my MP3 while driving. I don't like that distraction. Reidy's podcast us usually consistently listenable.

I went first to my DD's home and spent the morning and afternoon with her and the DGDs. Our project was to modify the cover of the youngest DGD's car seat so that it could be removed for washing without having to unthread all the straps every time. We did this successfully with the careful use of Aplix, which is sort of a super heavy duty kind of Velcro. It is readily available on line and is very popular with the cloth diaper sewers.

I went to town for a knitting meeting--something that is in short supply in my world. The area group of what used to be known as Home Demonstration Agents, now Family and Consumer Sciences ?????, was having their summer meeting at a hotel, and they were having a meeting that they had told area knitters about. I decided to make it an event and spend a night at a hotel instead of driving home afterward. It turns out that was a good choice, since the opportunity lasted until the next morning.

At about 4:30, DGD #1, who is 5, and I headed out so that I could check into the hotel and meet the entire family for supper before my meeting. I attempted to take some residential streets into the back of the hotel parking area rather than fight heavy traffic at that time of day. I tried twice, and both times I ran into blocked streets that were closed for resurfacing crews. I finally decided to go the long way around and through the rush hour traffic. The conversation:

DGD: Grandma?

Me: Yes, dear?

DGD: I love you, Grandma. I love you even if you keep going the wrong way!

My little helper assisted with check in, got to ride in the glass elevator, which went through the roof of the atrium into the open air before stopping at the 8th floor, checked out the bridge and pools in the lobby, and got the pillow mints in the room, of course.

The evening meeting was very small--the organizer, the "expert" and her son, and three knitters. One of the other knitters, however, was Soonerbeknitting ! I was so excited to finally get to meet her in person after reading her blog for a long time. We had sort of a cozy little evening meeting in a hotel room, looking at yarn and talking about teaching and knitting.

The next morning, I sneaked in to the knitting presentation at the convention and listened to the presentation by Three Stitchers. I took a day of spinning lessons from Sharon last summer, but it was good listening to her talk and show some of the new yarns and new ideas for different knitting techniques. I went to her on-site shop after the meeting and bought this:

The yarn is Maizy, a corn product. Where we live, corn is a big crop, grown for food for Frito-Lay, cattle feed for the feedlots and dairies, and alcohol for the two nearby ethanol plants. Knitting something made from a corn by-product is very appealing.

I also bought some drum carder product. This has not been pulled into roving, but it is not a batt either. I have a drum carder, which I have barely used, and I wanted to check out someone else's work to see if the product I was getting was about right. I had been worried about some of the little lumps in mine. I know that her fleece is probably similar to mine because I got my Rambouillet from her, so I thought this would be a good purchase. She has the little lumps also, but her handspun looks great. I also got to squeeze some lovely handspun alpaca she has spun from a nearby producer and some handspun wool that she spun from a fleece from the wool festival at Estes Park.

Between spending time with my family, reading in a lovely atrium, learning more about fiber, and meeting new friends, I had a lovely time.

I came home last night and knit a training swatch for the ribwarmer I am going to knit for the Ravelympics. It is going to be heavier than I originally intended. I swatched with 9s at first, but I think I've decided on 10.5s, which will give me a gauge of about 3 1/2 stitches per inch. The 9s looked lovely and even but had the consistency of armor, so I've decided on the larger needles. The garter does not look quite so even, but this is handspun after all, and I rather like the rustic look. I notice that Jared used that size on his ribwarmer.

All in all, it was a delightful 36-hour vacation in which I learned some new things, got to meet an Internet friend in person, and renewed old acquaintances.
Thanks, Dawn, for arranging the meeting!


Soonerbeknitting said...

I surely enjoyed meeting you. Ann and I also bought some of the Maizey, but I also succumbed to the Panda Silk and some of the roving. I have a drop spindle that my husband made for me and some roving from Taos in Indigo, so I bought some burgundy; I thought that might look good plied with blue. I just have to learn to spin and then to ply!

I've read all the Daheim books, and I enjoyed the earlier ones more.

Sherie said...

Wow, I sure wish I had known about the meeting and I would have been there for sure! Someone on Ravelry had PM'd me about it and never got back to me with dates/times. Too bad, a missed opportunity! Some day when you are in Amarillo, we must meet for lunch or coffee or Cokes.

LizzieK8 said...

Sounds like you had great fun. Envy.

Knittinreed said...

Aaaah. What a wonderful 36 hours! I will be interested to know what you think of Maizy - I have some sitting in my stash...

Deb said...

It sounds like you had a wonderful time! I am in awe of how much you accomplish with your spinning, knitting, and reading.