Sunday, August 30, 2009

5 years of fun

To celebrate 5 rolicking years of marriage, Matt & I went north to an adorable isolated B&B with a hot tub and a fascinating assortment of wildlife.
Knoebel's, established 1926, is an old-fashioned amusement park with wooden roller coasters. Friday there was was cool and rainy. Absolutely perfect, although a dino chased Matt for his chocolate mint fudge. Click on that skyride pic.

On Saturday we visited the Pioneer Tunnels, a hokey but informative tour of a coal mine, including a ride on old mine cars and a steam train. I always knew in a vague sort of way that coalmining was a rotten job, but wow... Let's just say that I'm even more grateful to be an acupuncturist now. We didn't actually get to ride the steam train, since it threw a seal just minutes before we were supposed to get on and they substituted an electric engine.

Centralia is a nearby town that no longer exists, because there's been an underground coal fire burning since 1962. The government offered relocation packages and even rescinded their zipcode. There are still 6 people living there who refused to move. Video here of steam rising from the ground.

Today we took the long way home along the Susquehanna River and hit a few antique dealers. I found a terrific milk bottle, just starting to turn purple, for $5. It'll look great in my art room holding the few straight knitting needles I keep for teaching.

We had lots of yummy food, Matt saved a baby bunny from a semi-feral cat, and we stumbled on a friendly gay bar out in the middle of nowhere. Northern Central PA turns out to be beautifully lush and green. The people are sweet. The roads are smooth. Everyone takes excellent care of their lawns and cars. It was much more civilized than the Main Line, in some ways, and certainly prettier. :)

Monday, August 24, 2009


Part two of the PacNW Tour: On Sunday I rode up to Seattle with Emma (Dragonfibers), Shannon (Sobeknofret), and Christi (Turtlegirl). That was fun although we were all a little loopy from exhaustion and wool fumes.

The next few days involved some attempted purse making (pics if it ever gets finished), but mostly aggressive lying around at Heather's place. We had a beautiful picnic at Gasworks park (more pics here) and were joined by a surprise guest - Shawn, who was a classmate at OCOM and a witness at our wedding.

I spent one night with Holly (orange hair) which meant taking the ferry to Poulsbo. Click to embiggen - you can see one of the seagulls that love to follow the boats. She and her sweetheart have a little farm out there. Llamas and ducks and cats, oh my! We made megachunky cookies for her shop, Monster Art and Clothing, which is chock-full of locally made, well, art and clothing. Really fun unique stuff. In the pic of the two of us, I'm wearing a prototype "wolf" hat she made on custom request.

Through the whole trip (starting on the flight out to Portland, actually) I worked on my witchy socks. Here they are so far... You can see just the hint of a lace pattern starting on the back. I'll publish the pattern when done.

In other leg news, Matt collided with a bench in the EMP's Jim Henson exhibit. At first we thought it was just surface damage but now it looks like separated the periosteum or even fractured the tibia. He gets an x-ray tomorrow.

Sock Summit & Portland

Portland, Portland... how I love thee... let me count the ways...

It was so great to see the kids again. I forgot my camera was working again (thank you Camera Fairy!) until after we parted ways so no new pics of them, but they are gorgeous and scarily grown-up (13 and 16)! :)

We ate at Burgerville. We looked at houses (Craftsman!!). We reveled in ambient temperatures compatible with human life. We saw our friends Stephen and Nicole, and they introduced us to Rock Band.

This is a game I did not want to play. I thought it would be stupid and auditorally painful. Instead, it was an awesome adrenaline rush and really really really fun! It actually made me think about taking up the guitar again, until reality resurfaced and I remembered I was "playing" a guitar-shaped Simon Says, not an actual instrument. The funny thing is that I screwed up on the easy parts but kicked butt on the trickier high-speed bits (well, on the Easy setting). I loved doing vocals on "Spiderwebs," too, but afterwards Stephen handed me the guitar back and told Nae "You should keep singing. It's really hard to find good singers." Hmm. Message received.

I had to check out Yarnia! They have racks of cones - you pick the combination you want, and they wind them together for you into a custom yarn. I made "Money," something Rach and I were thinking about dying but we couldn't find bare sock yarn with glitz in it. I blended sage, forest, and black wool, with just a hint of green glittery nylon. 450 yards for $8! It's pictured here along with some delightfully squishy Madelinetosh yarn. 2008 was all about the autumn shades - 2009 seems to be the Year of Green. I've been trying to upload a video but Blogger is being cranky, so it's here on Flickr instead.

at the Sock Summit, I continued my calling as Bodyworker to the Knitting Stars. Hanging out with Amy, Heather, Charlene, Tess, Jasmin, Gigi, and tons more wonderful people was just the cat's meow. I took a class on vertically stranded colorwork (design ideas are exploding in my skull) and learned more about what Knitty wants. I am submitting at least one pattern: Lips sealed and fingers crossed for now...

Other snapshots of the hectic fun: Brian knitting 7 pairs of socks at one time on one ginormous needle. Rachel and AJ at the Ravelry party (AJ is a skater chick and has a superawesome new tattoo, but I didn't get to spend enough time with her). Rachel and me at the Rav party, after dark, taken by Wondermike. Replica of a 1500 year old Egyptian sock. I'm not going to bore you with tons of pics from the Sock Museum but looking at how things like heel construction changed through time was really cool.

First, a word about our sponsors...

This was the Woodstock of knitting.

It may be hard for non-fiber addicts to understand, but it was massive (see the Tsock Tsarina's blog for a great representation of the nutter hilarity that imbued the long weekend). We took over the Oregon Convention Center and multiple hotels. We had the Grand Dames of knitting - major celebs, each one - teaching us classes. We had a museum of sock history stretching back 2000 years. We had a marketplace filled with hundreds - yes, hundreds - of vendors, many of them independent business owners. Oh, the handpaints! Four days of shared knowledge. Thousands of attendees. Literally tons of yarn. *swoon*

Ok, here's what's cool about the Luminary Panel. These are not women famous for looking hot, or mouthing someone else's lines. These are women who rescued creative, intelligent designs and skilled handwork. For millenia, people had to make their own clothes. Most were too short on time and resources to do much beyond the basics. Generally, only nobility and the very wealthy had decorative garments, but everyone knew how to produce the basics. After the industrial revolution, everything changed. Machines did it all. In the ever-increasingly technological age, people lost the ability to make something with their hands.

Our heroines - Barbara Walker, Elizabeth Zimmermann, etc - they brought back the ancient techniques, improved them, and turned them into therapy, into intellectual challenges, into personal expression. And they did this in a time when women were not supposed to run their own businesses, and they did it with a wicked sense of humor (Yes, Lucy Neatby is carrying a chicken purse).

Thanks, gals. Thank you from the bottom of my heart, brain, and fingers.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

I still miss her

It's been a year since Blackberry left us. I still miss her terribly. Our lousy landlord won't let us get another rabbit... just another reason to be excited to go home in March.

Sometimes one of Matt's giant black shoes will be lurking under the glass coffee table and just for a second it looks like Blackberry is meatloafing there. It breaks my heart. Figgy is obnoxiously bored and pesters the other cattle. She's left a huge hole here for such a small rabbit.