None of us were around when men worked in the gas lamplighting profession. Men would light the gaslamps on the city streets each evening, and extinguish them in the morning. When electricity was invented, gaslamps went away. So did the lamplighters.
New professions spring forth. Think about all the new jobs that computers spawned.
I saw this machine in Colorado. One stops. Stares. Tilts one's head, puzzled, but only briefly. New sports birth new tools.
It was parked on a slope above the resort's snowboarders' terrain park. Got it yet?
It's a half-pipe groomer.
It took several days to get a good picture. Most of the other attempts were on grey, cloudy, flat-light days. The Etherknitter, after solving the ABC-Along "Z" problem, was giddy. A big smile lit her face, and she pointed her skis into the half-pipe.
Yeah. The flat light made the sky, the snow, and the half-pipe walls all meld into each other visually. I couldn't see where the walls sloped up. Too late, I realized why I was the only one in the pipe.
Picture a gerbil trying to climb the glass walls of its aquarium enclosure. The half-pipe had been groomed and ridden until the surfaces were a sheet of ice. My skis were not the right tool for the job. Terrain park skis are much shorter. Half-pipe riders are much younger. I couldn't tell when up was up, and when down was coming.
While there wasn't frank carnage going on, it wasn't a pretty sight. Humiliation isn't understating my exit from the bottom of the half-pipe, as I desperately scrabbled to stay on my feet.
There is a considerable backlog of stuff to be done in the Etherknitter household. Stuff. I alternate between Scarlett O'Hara coping styles ("Oh fiddle-dee DEE! I'll just do that tomorrow!") and grasshopper logic ("What?? Winter? Helllllooooo? That'll NEVER happen!")
That's why I love my Mr. Fix-It.
A balmy day in November, Etherknitter roaming the yard for fall pictures, and a busy guy caught in the act:
The spinning class at Webs was great good fun. Half of us were knitbloggers. Jenny Bakridges is a talented spinner and teacher: positive, warm, encouraging, personable, knowledgeable, nonjudgemental and energetic.
What did I learn? Certainly, there were the tricks and tips that we depend on our more experienced spinning peers to tell us. Examples:
1. A more secure way to fasten a leader to a bobbin 2. A better way to join string for a driveband 3. Demonstration of different drafting techniques 4. Discussion of ratios/wheel circumference/treadling habits/drafting 5. Sampling techniques to avoid generating 400 yards of yarn that needs to be beaten into sullen submission
I discovered that there is no desirable progression through drafting techniques or use of whorls that mark one's advancement in the craft. The only criterion that marks a spinner as a "good" spinner, is whether you come close to achieving what you want from what you produce. And even that is relative. The good spinner learns from just TRYING to achieve a certain yarn. That means even if the yarn isn't what you intended, you can still be a good spinner if you have learned from the process. (Yes, Margene, I know.)
One of the pieces of learning to spin that constantly surprises me is this: how much of drafting, getting a reasonably consistent amount of fiber into your point of contact (the pinching hand), and figuring out speed of takeup (which affects how much twist ends up in the yarn) CANNOT be easily taught. Someone can look at your yarn, and say, "Yeah, too much twist." Then you have to remember how you spun it, and change what you did the next time around. The same thing is true of plying. That is not easy, despite my obviously analytical learning style.
I was one step removed from camnesia. I left it home.
The murmurings of holiday anxiety are beginning to crescendo through blogland. I can hear read it in the stress of descriptions of gift knitting and holiday preparation. I found an article in Food & Wine magazine that offers a thoughtful perspective. The author writes with clean and sympathetic precision. The link can be found here.
In the desperate need to knit something other than socks, I have promised my MIL a 30" lace scarf. The yarn is Sundara's laceweight silk, color 001. I'm going to modify this shawl pattern into scarf mode, approximately 7" in width. I will have lots of yarn left over. Quelle domage.
The winds of change howled through the evening yesterday. They brought newly-born winter with no compromise possible. Knitigator and I have a day trip planned to Webs tomorrow. Our fingers will freeze as we load up the car.
The more astute and knowledgeable will point out that Webs isn't open on Sundays. We are going for a spinning class with Jenny Bakridges. My spinning is stagnant. I need a large push in the two half-moons, and this will do it.
I'm knitting Mr. Etherknitter's hat from handspun. It's thin, unlofty and spare, despite a solid DK gauge. Several possibilities:
a. overspun and/or overplyed yarn b. too much worsted structure rather than woolen c. two ply (flat) structure of the yarn rather than three ply
I'll throw up a picture (that's, indeed, what it feels like for this WIP) when I get farther along. It's Susan's No-Gauge Lazy Sucker hat. (I probably got the title twisted a bit.)
I was seduced several weeks ago. While you pick yourself up and off the floor after the laughter is finished, let me rush to point out that spindles RARELY seduce me. I bought one at Cummington, a Bosworth, when I first started investigating the spinning thing. Mr. E had to have one, too. When he tired of the sport, he handed it to me. And that's all. I've been to five fiber festivals since then. I've watched my confreres buying spindle after drop spindle. "No, I'm a wheel-girl, thanks, no." Sadly blogless Manise of the comments showed me her new spindle last month.
Steve of SpindlewoodCo had one blank left in this wood. Spalted birch. Spalted maple shaft. It is beautiful. I "needed" a laceweight spindle, and this is it, at 5/8 ounce. It spins like a dream, and I suddenly have my travel "wheel".
Lots of WIPs here in the Knitting Universe, and a FO. Technically, it is half an FO. The ubiquitous Feather and Fan pattern from SocksSocksSocks, in Lisa Souza's yarn Sock!, Pacific colourway. I had three socks at the kitchener stage. While I don't particularly love grafting, I can do it now without whining, and I love the look. One down, two more to go, and then warm fuzzies on my feet. This particular sock may suffer SSS, as I want to start other stuff too.
(In the medical world, SSS stands for a heart condition where the heart speeds up and slows down unpredictably. Most of the time, it's the slowing down part that hurts. People pass out. So they get pacemakers. This seems uniquely fitting, as when one suffers SSS in knitting, the project, by definition, S L O W S down. Whenever knitters talk about SSS, I laugh inappropriately. There currently is no knitting pacemaker. Alas.)
The latest thing on my bobbin, the second of four ounces of Chasing Rainbows 50% merino/50% bombyx silk, Crocus colorway. I'm going to wait to ply until after my class. Maybe I'll learn something that won't suck the life out of the yarn.