Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Dunn Family Reunion 2008!

The reunion was a little crazy, a bit fraught with accidents and trips to the ER and doctors' offices, quite loud with 12 people all talking at the tops of their voices at the same time ... but I am quite glad we have this as a priority every year, so we all get to see each other at least once a year. It's the only time I can be certain I'll see my sister and her family, in particular, and I miss them a lot when I can't be around them. So we do it even though it's nutso because it's also wonderful and fun.

This photo captures the best of the weekend. All the kids getting along, eating ice cream and making messes on themselves and having fun.

Thanks so much to my terrific parents for hosting the event, putting me and Adam up in a hotel (not everybody fits in their house anymore, due to the extended family's procreational success); to my bro and his wife for driving over with their kids from CT; to my sister and her husband for flying up from AL with theirs; to Adam for using miles to fly us there and also just for making the schlep with me to this crazy loud event. I'm really happy and lucky that I have family I love and like so much.

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My fabric from Spoonflower came!

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One more thing that I didn't post earlier (I was a little overwhelmed before): Here is my lovely birthday present from Adam:

Isn't it beautiful?

He also threw me a terrific birthday party in the back yard and lots of wonderful friends came and ate shrimp and burgers and pie and sang H.B.D.(tm) to me. It was great.

Isn't he a sweetie and a true keeper?

Thursday, July 17, 2008

And another one! actually, two!

I received another uplifting message from a fellow etsy crafter and shop-owner, everlasting, who emailed me that she had a brooch for sale in her shop made partly from yarn she bought from me!

I love to see what other crafters do with my stuff after they buy it. This is a really great use for the yarn!

Secondly, I received a note that another etsy'er, washmycloth, has a Treasury of images on etsy that she likes, and she included one of my roving in there. I felt delighted and quite flattered to be included!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Girl with a Hook

I always hope to see what people do with my hand-dyed roving or handspun yarns that I sell on Etsy. GirlWithAHook sent me pictures of the yarn she spun from roving she bought from me, and said I could show them on here:

I really like how she spins. Very different from how I spin - I would like to work on being more freeform and less buttoned-down...

She crochets absolutely spectacular hats - check them out!

I got my Spoonflower invite!

From their about page: "Spoonflower gives individuals the power to print their own designs on fabric" which thrills me beyond belief. I'm mostly a yarn and fiber girl but I grew up sewing all kinds of things and the ability to design my own fabric is incredibly exciting to me. Here's a Flickr photo set of ways people have already been using the service.

Now I have to get cracking on designing some textiles! Whoo!

Friday, July 4, 2008

I'm so OVER knitting.

So here's the negative crusty cranky truth: I don't want to knit anything these days.

I tried knitting a sock and frogged it twice over its short life; I even started to make it into a sock monkey but ripped that back out after less than two inches on a leg. I have no enthusiasm for anything at all that I could be knitting. Reading about it in the knitting blogosphere (sorry, Adam) makes me even less enthused. It feels as if, the more people get into the knitting craze, the less excitement there is to go around and a little more gets sapped from me.

I've been knitting for, what, 31 years? Maybe more, since Gammy taught me and I struggled with ugly first knits that I no longer remember. I've gone through phases of scarves, hats (those were lots of fun), sweaters and more sweaters - some of them fabulous and complicated and beautiful, some failures but worthy experiments; some gifts for unappreciative recipients, which taught me whom not to bestow my gifts upon in future. I have knitted for money, which was better than I expected but not something I felt like keeping up with, and occasionally repaired knits for people too. I had a toy phase, a sock phase. I have designed several cool garments over the years for myself and others.

Last year I submitted two ideas to magazines: one to Knitty, my "dinocerouses," and one to Interweave Knits, a sweater that I really thought would be cool and hip. Both were rejected and this really pissed me off. I started noticing that IWK publishes a lot of designs by friends of editor Eunny Jang, and that annoyed the hell out of me. It probably happened all the time with the previous editor in chief but I wasn't reading blogs of enough people to make the personal connections then so I wasn't hip to it.

Several months ago, I was IMing with my friend "DS" about knitting projects and knitters in general. I had at the time finally started a Clapotis, the ubiquitous and much-lauded famous pattern from Knitty. It appears to be the most common project in all of Ravelry. I actually felt sort of out of the loop for not having made one when everybody else seemed to be in on some big trend. And DS exposed it for the Emperor's New Clothes that it really is - a rather silly, simple, big rectangle with the sexy imprimatur of a French name and the frisson of horrified excitement in dropping a column of stitches every X sts across. The wind went out of my sails after this conversation. I halfheartedly knit on it for about three more rows, I think, and then just gave up on it and ripped it out. It was a turning point for me, and not a happy one. I realized it's like there is this gigantic knitting club out there that I feel kind of disgusted by. I'm not a joiner! I don't want to go to SNB every Thursday night and I am not impressed by the dozens of socks that everybody is making. Socks are the snack food of the knit world. They are glorified swatches. They seem hard because they are on smaller needles but they are actually kind of ridiculously easy, portable, quick, instant gratification. Give me a sweater coat, or a sweater on size 3s with a traveling cable, an Aran that you designed yourself, something that took some love!

I've sat in thousands of meetings over the years knitting sweaters that I showed up wearing, later, and got kudos for. I wish I felt like doing anything like those sweaters now. Maybe it's the summer heat. I don't know. When I go to meetings these days I'm working on a lace scarf (Juno, a pattern that I actually did get from Knitty, even though I hate them since they rejected my lovely dinos), but it holds no satisfaction for me. It's too lightweight, and I don't feel like I'm accomplishing anything. Also, and I do adore Sundara yarns, but this one I'm using for the lace is a very unsatisfactory yarn for me (one which she actually refunded me my money for because she didn't have a replacement skein). It's from her Seasons club (which itself felt a little unfulfilling, like a small plate of hors d'oeuvres when you are famished for a big steak); I saw on Ravelry that other people's skeins of this yarn were shot through with a more intentional-seeming color variety than mine, which looks like it was a mistake skein. Why I keep going with it I don't know. It's something to knit in meetings, which keeps me from picking my cuticles during the hour.

I've had times in the past when I didn't feel like knitting, and things picked up again, so I'm not ready to throw in the towel entirely on this. I adore knitting, and I love yarn. I've been spinning a fair amount, not enough to put up much on my Etsy store, but still a decent amount. And clearly (from my last post) I'm still excited about fiber. But this feeling of being on the outside of a big excited dumb club that I don't really want to join but still feel excluded from, has been bothering me for a long time now, and I've never written about it because I don't want to seem negative. But I finally have to say something. The more people get excited about knitting, the more it drives me away!

Oooh, the Loopy Ewe...

... is now selling roving, I just discovered. I don't know when but they started selling roving by Lorna's Laces and a bunch of other hand-dyers. Check it out. I actually have a lot of fiber queued up to spin right now, because I ran out and bought a whole bunch all at one time, so I am not going to get anything from them for the moment. But I am very excited. I like the Loopy Ewe, for their clean yet very easy navigation; they have a cool feature where if you mouseover the photos you see a little spyglass, which when you click pops up a larger photo. So you stay on the main list of whatever line you are looking at but can see more detail. Anytime I don't have to navigate away from the main list I like it. I've bought sock yarn from them in the past (Claudia's hand dyed, which I especially like) and they were very good to deal with.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

My New Mac!!!

I got my new MacBook!!! It was waiting for me when I arrived home, having been delivered during the day. I took it out of the box and turned it on and that was pretty much that. The hardest part was connecting to our network, trying to decipher Adam's handwriting to read the WEP passwords.

Adam foolishly bet me $100 that I could not set up the network with it sufficient to be able to see other machines on the network, within a week. Within the hour I was able to see my other box and access files in shared directories on that machine. I have to go turn on his machine and make sure I can see it from the Mac, but I feel pretty sure that I have won the bet. I knew they had made it pretty damned easy. It's not like setting up Samba or AppleTalk anymore - it's pretty much a cakewalk.

I decided to go back to a Mac after a couple years of wanting to, after Spencer at Mvsn had one and other programmers were swearing by working on them, and what finally convinced me to do it was using one myself at my job for the past few months, and dealing with switching back and forth between the Apple keyboard and the PC one. It's kind of a PITA remembering which system you are on and whether to use the "flower" (command) key or the control key. For me it's always the broken shoelace that finally makes the decision for me. What a seemingly small detail to base the choice on. But Macs are really quite awesome to use.

I need a new mouse - I actually do not have an extra USB mouse. How is that possible? I only have one old serial port one. I did buy the beautiful aluminum keyboard because it's so pretty and I'm not crazy about typing on a laptop keyboard - too squashed-in.

It's been so long since I posted in here - I've been working hard and not taking the time to post - that I figured this was as good an occasion as any for resuming the practice. Hurrah!