Saturday, March 29, 2008

Home From Spring Break

Well, we're home again from our spring break in Williamsburg, Va., which was surprisingly un-fiber-filled. I asked one of the interpreters where the spinning and weaving went on and they indicated a small shop that was only open some days and was closed the day I was there. When I reviewed the history, it stated that Williamsburg in 1774 was a properous town and they mostly imported their cloth. Some weaving and spinning was done on outlying plantations, but the city folk, in general, didn't do it themselves. RATS!

During the long drive, I worked on the final panel for the interminable Sample Stitch Kimono. Somehow, this one panel just seems to get shorter and shorter. I also played around with a little surprise I'm making for someone. I'll show pictures later.

While in Williamsburg, we stayed at the King's Creek condos and were pleasantly surprised. For about $140/night, we got essentially a three bedroom/2 full bath condo with a whirlpool tub and lots of space. The third "bedroom" was what they called a sunroom with lots of windows and a pull out couch, but it was separated from the living room by french doors and Kate preferred it to sharing a room with her sister. It was new and clean and we thought it was great. We didn't even have to attend a sales talk (although we would have been reimbursed over $100 if we had).

We didn't really push ourselves to see the sights. We mostly enjoyed the evening programs like the plays and the "trials" and the revolutionary war debates. I'm always impressed with the knowledge of the interpreters.

One day we went to Jamestown. I was very impressed with one of the guides, whose name was Jay. I later learned that he has a degree in history with a minor in archaeology. It showed. He told me that hemp and flax were introduced fibers and that, prior to their introduction, Indians spun cord out of a plant called dogbane. It was very strong and used for bowstrings in wet weather when sinew bowstrings would stretch.

On the way home, we stopped to see Monticello. Jeff really enjoyed seeing the architecture in person again. He designed his new office space based on Monticello and it was fun to recognize how elements of the building have been incorporated in his office. It was also interesting to note that the Jeffersonian historians seem to accept, now, that Jefferson fathered several children with Sally Hemmings, who -- although a slave -- was 3/4 white herself. Their children moved north and passed for white for the rest of their lives.

I developed a cold --thanks, Ally -- somewhere along the way and got home feeling sort of under the weather. I've been washing clothes today and resting and taking cold meds. My Spin-Off was waiting for me when I got here, so I've been reading that and re-reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (which I hadn't re-read since the second book came out).

I think I may join a spinning challenge on the Lime and Violet ravelry site. Violet has put forth the challenge to spin something you've been putting off because it intimidates you. I have two candidates to choose between: an ounce of cashmere that has me terrified and a sampler of vegetable "silks" that I'm bound to mess up. I can't decide which one to do. I think that's a problem for another day. I'm sick.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The flesh is weak ...

I can't believe I'm posting and not doing all the work I SHOULD be doing. I'm so irresponsible.

I've been working a little on the Wool and Bull studio. I bought two scratch and dent file cabinets and a door to lay over them to be a work surface/desk. I'm trying to paint the door and a small bookcase "navy blue" but after four coats of paint, they refuse to turn navy. They're sort of a vibrant blue -- my mom would say U.K. blue. I was really hoping for something a little more dignified. So, I guess I'll keep painting until I run out of paint.

This weekend was "Sound of Music" weekend and my whole family was represented in the audience on Saturday night. Ally was great as the Mother Superior and Kate was a lovely nun and also a party guest at the Von Trapp's party. I have more pictures posted on my flickr site: . I really enjoyed having everyone together on Saturday.

I also went to Bee School with Kathryn on Saturday. It was great to see her and fun to learn about the bees. I can't think of a good place to put a hive, so I guess I'll just enjoy her bees vicariously.

I'm not really accomplishing much knitting or spinning. I'm getting the panels of the Sample Stitch Kimono ready to sew together. It turned out that I had to rip back nearly every panel once they were blocked and one panel was about half the length it should have been, so I'm even-ing them up. I hope to get the thing done before I see Gwen Bortner (the designer) in June! It would be fun to wear it to Knitter's Connection.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Snowed In

We're pretty much snowed in today. All the sane people stayed off the road and enjoyed a day of uselessness. We couldn't go anywhere, so naturally we couldn't do anything. There was nothing constructive inside the house that we could be doing ... no ... nothing at all. So we all snuggled up and watched T.V. for most of the day.
A couple of days ago I finished knitting these socks for my niece and I'll send them off to her as a late birthday present. She requested wool socks because it's cold in Amherst, where she's at school.
The one semi-constructive thing that I did today was ply the Llama that I got through "Fondle This." I think it turned out great. I usually like yarn better when, as this is, it's three-ply rather than two. I ended up with 54 yards. I hope that's enough to do something with it. I love the colors -- it's green and teal and purple. Somehow it reminds me of the sea shore.