Sunday, July 29, 2007

We're all winners here

Sally would like you to know that we think you're all winners here. Every one of you...such nice comments! Thank you, thank you! That said, we picked the yarn winners this afternoon. There were 14 comments, and I didn't count Sonya twice, even though she said wonderful things both times. (fair's fair and all that.) I also carefully excluded the 7 of you who have: (choose one)
1. impressive stashes of your own
2. better taste or yarn buying judgement than I do (why did I buy extra in the first place?)
3.perfected the guidelines of the "simplistic life"--you know, the lifestyle that means you don't collect anything extra.
4. incredible restraint.
The professor kindly helped me do the drawing amongst the 6 of you who wanted to "compete." Winners are....DRUMROLL,PLEASE:
Deb and Jan. Please email me your snail mail addresses! Also let me know if you want one bundle over another? (or a trade for some carpet warp? see below...)
Lisa K., you are a runner up! If Deb or Jan change their minds, you're first in line.
Despite perusing my own stash yesterday, I continue to lack yarn buying judgement, mastery of the simplistic lifestyle, or even restraint. Yesterday the professor took me out for lunch. On the walk home, we stopped by a junk store. I came out with three novels, (two by Carol Shields and one by Vikram Seth that was 1,476 pages) and several thousand yards of Maysville carpet warp...made in Maysville, KY and traditionally used for weaving rag rugs. Maysville Carpet Warp comes in 800 yard cones, it's 100% cotton, colorfast, and perhaps fingering to sport weight...but easy to double when knitting. I found white, green, and gold. The cost was hard to beat. $3.25. That includes the three books.
I also seem to want about half the clothes at this place. The catalog came yesterday and well, advertising marketers out there? it worked. I am hiding the credit card until I stop swooning. Even sweater designers want other people's sweaters sometimes...yes, it is irrational. Yes, I can knit those sweaters myself, simply by looking the photos. I am thinking of that, too.
In other news, I canned 7 pints of dill pickles (6 pints of mixture of cuke varieties for color) and 1 jar of okra pickles, cause I had room in the canner. Tomorrow I head on to dilly beans, more okra pickles, and possible grand finale of tomato/tomatillo salsa later in the week.
All this fun stuff -like your comments,pickles, and reading the last HP book, which was great-has made me remarkably cheery. That, and one other thing. I'm getting better at rejection. When I first started freelancing, oy, I got rejections all the time, and they upset me so much...yet most of the time, the rejection has nothing to do with me. It has to do with that burrito the editor ate for lunch. It caused so much indigestion. The publication had no room for my piece...and DING! that editor burps and rejects me. OK. It happens! (damn burrito) Or, maybe it's me, it's my journalistic values or the angle of my article or whatever.
I still get rejections a lot. Mostly, this is now an opportunity to get a better option elsewhere. I get upset about rejection if I mope about it, if I sit around and think it over too much. If I fix any problems and start making more submissions right away? I become positively hopeful. At present, hope prevails. It's a lot better than any of the alternatives.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Ummm, OK?

"Ummm, is everything OK over there?" A kind cyber friend of mine noticed I hadn't been posting much this week on the blog, hadn't posted to a list or two, that kind of thing. She must have been psychic.

I'm having a rough work week, but I'm feeling very upbeat about it. Relieved, as a matter of fact. Like when you've been running with the cool crowd at school, and then they kick you out of the club all of a sudden. It's a let down, sure, but it's also a relief. You don't have to keep getting up early to do ridiculous hairdos or some other fad. You can sleep in a little, and then hang out with the folks who are actually nice. You know, your friends.

I'm sure this sounds cryptic but it's about all I can say right now. Have to maintain a sort of privacy about work stuff, as I'm sure you'll understand. In the meanwhile, I've been exhausted each evening and I crash about 9 PM. Then I have weird dreams.

I haven't even started Harry Potter yet, so please keep it a secret a little longer for me! Thank you!

My best friend and I used to joke with each other when we were adolescents. "You know, your mother hasn't paid me this month. I don't know if I can keep sitting next to you on the band bus..." Or "I'm going to have to raise the rates! Tell your mom to pay up. Being your friend has been hard work this month!" It was all a joke, of course, and she's still my best friend!

Yup, this is my form of paying you. I've got these two little odd bunches of perfectly nice yarn. The red and gray bunch? Full balls of Ribbon yarns...the Katia Denim red is leftover from a kid's cardigan, and the Online Vision gray from a vest I made myself. Fun stuff. The pink? Heirloom Breeze --Wool, Cotton blend with a touch of lycra, DK weight, I think--good for cushy socks if you like such things. Leave me a cheery note in the comments, and this weekend I'll have a drawing for two lucky folk. Wherever you live, if you win, I'll mail you a treat. (Assuming mail service goes from my country to yours!) Of course, you'll always be welcome to leave a note without pay--just tell me you don't want to enter the drawing!

Monday, July 23, 2007

summer gifts

There are some who might get upset, say, if their air conditioning broke on a Friday afternoon. I might have been one of those people, but somehow, I was so lucky. We had a cold front come through last week, and for the last few days, the temperatures have been, well, temperate. Lows in the upper 50's (Fahrenheit) and highs in the 80's. Almost like summertime in upstate New York instead of Kentucky. So, once it was determined that we couldn't fix things on our own, I opened some windows.

An old house with good cross ventilation is a joy. We lack screens for some of the windows, and some don't easily open--the weight system in the window frame broke, or it was painted shut long ago. No matter. I set up some fans. Within hours, things were deliciously cool, even upstairs.

It's hard to catch the pleasure of sunny, low humidity summer days, so these photos will have to do. Imagine the cool breezes, please...and contrast this with the heat and humidity indexes of 97-102 (40 Celsius) we had last week. Ahhh. The relief.

Today, the problem with the fan motor was fixed by some wonderful repair folk. These are my favorite repairmen. They come early, they work until the problem is fixed, the bills are reasonable and they're kind. We tested the fan and air conditioning--but in the end, I left the windows open. You have to catch these amazing days while you can.

To pass along some treats to you, no matter what your weather:
Have you seen this article about Prince Charles and his gift for Camilla's birthday?
I've linked to this sheepy photo for a hint:

While spinning and knitting, I've been listening to a free audio book from Librivox. It's a British mystery called "Whose Body?" and it's by Dorothy Sayers. You can download it here for a little summer time entertainment.

I'm waiting in line for my chance to read the latest Harry Potter...the professor has first dibs. I'm struck by something--there were lots of complaints about reviews and spoilers, yet every review I've heard or read has been so careful to keep from spoiling all the surprises for millions of excited readers. So, instead of focusing on who DID leak the book early, I'd like to turn that notion on its head. Think about how many people, in media, in your houses, or on the street, are carefully keeping Harry Potter's secrets for the rest of us. Thanks for helping us preserve our innocence for just a little while longer, until we've all had a chance to read and it enjoy it for ourselves.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

the secret sheep pajamas

I'm not doing a spin-along, as I'm a "nonconformist" and not a joiner, right? (whatever, the last post's quiz was fun fluff!) Lately I've been spinning a lot. Spinning, especially if it's a well-processed fiber, spun long draw, can be meditative and therapeutic. It calms me down while I that I'm having a break from book travel, I can worry at home! When I'm doing this kind of spinning, I don't need bright colors or fancy textures. In the last week, I've averaged a bobbin every day or two. Each ball here is probably about 3-4 oz of wool...destined to be a 2 ply worsted weight. This is a fine, mixed breed fleece I got last fall at the Tennessee State Fleece Auction. I love this fleece and I'll be sad to see it finished, but some day, it will make a lovely sweater. I'm designing a sweater for the book out of some luscious organic cotton and I can imagine this wool would be an interesting substitute if I were to make this again someday.

The professor is finally home again...after nearly 3 weeks of travel to conferences. His plane landed after midnight and he didn't arrive back home until 2:30 AM. Of course, the dogs and I got up and say hello. We were tired the next day. So tired that when I got up from the office futon, sample knitting in hand, I discovered this when I came back. My dogs suffer so, don't they?

The professor celebrated his return by offering me this gift...he bought it while at his conference. Doesn't everyone need another piece of clothing with sheep on it? I do, for sure. Almost all my pajamas have sheep on them. The other pairs? dogs. I can't help myself. I suspect this trend towards matching animal pajamas is encouraged by the professor because of my old habit. Before we were married, I slept in horribly clashing bright t-shirts, shorts, or sweatclothes. I thought it was fun--and the thing is-- No One Can See You in the dark!! Also, when you live by yourself? And you go to sleep? You can't see either! 'cause your eyes are CLOSED! Purple, RED and Pink? Neon Green, anyone? I think the professor sleeps with his eyes open, because shortly after we were married, he started buying me matching sheep pajamas. hint hint.

Last night we went out to a new town attraction, Anna's Greek Restaurant. It tasted just like being in Greece, except it was air conditioned! The professor knows I'm beginning to long for a vacation...and we can't take one while I'm working on the book. (you know, we lack time and money at the moment.) So instead, we had fabulous Greek food and talked about our trip to Crete last year. Remember Crete? (click there and you can replay an amazing vacation. hmmm.)

Other excitements include buying our very own ram lamb. That is, after he's visited the butcher for a while. We're buying a friend's lamb and stocking the freezer. It's hard to buy lamb at the grocery store here, and this is a local animal. It's our chance to eat meat sustainably. I just hope I don't get any upsetting nightmares while wearing the sheep pajamas... or while making kofte.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

the news from here

We knew this already, right?

More on spinning, the professor's homecoming, and other adventures in a day or two....

You Are 76% Non Conformist

You are a pretty serious non conformist. You live a life hardly anyone understands.

And while some may call you a freak, you're happy with who you are.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Reuse, Recycle

Hello blog readers!
My mom gave me a pile of old Cast On magazines (published by TKGA, The Knitting Guild Association) because she was going to get rid of them...and my office is full as it is! There are 10 issues from 1997 to 1999, and one odd ball from Fall 1991. They've all been read but are in ok condition. Many have designs by Lucy Neatby, Dawn Brocco, NickyEpstein, Janet Szabo, Jill Wolcott, Nancie Wiseman, etc. Some big names and articles, if a little out of date. I don't know whether they are "worth" anything but I thought I'd ask here before trying to post them elsewhere. Anyone interested? I imagine I could mail them media rate in the USA for a reasonable amount of money--they are heavy! What do you think? (even if you don't want them, you would be doing me a huge favor if you could let me know what they might be worth? I have no idea!)

Advice? (in the comments, please...) If you're interested, please email me: Joanne AT
EDIT: (July 16) I haven't heard from anyone at all! Does anyone have interest in these for the price of postage? Should I just recycle them?

Friday, July 13, 2007

Doing the right thing

Lately I've been thinking about activism. In some circles, it's applauded. In others, it's a dirty word. Yet, I keep finding important stands to take and things to do. I'm also wondering if I'm being self-righteous, or if others are that clueless about what matters... but I'm a writer, so I'm lucky to able to communicate my concerns. We can talk about the issues, and make a difference, one person and one issue at a time.
Here's what's on my mind:

I applaud
the Yarn Harlot for speaking out about this appalling miscarriage of justice in Nebraska. (this is a rape case in which the judge forbid them to use the words "rape," "victim," "sexual assault," etc.) I took the time to submit a complaint to the Nebraska court system about this judge. If you haven't done something already, wander over there, read all the comments, and take a stand. It's high time women's rights were defended in cases of sexual violence.

I'm incredibly pleased to see European fashion shows and designers taking a stand for women's health:

Report: Designer Bars 15 Models From Rome Fashion Show Saying They Were Too Skinny
Yes, it is possible to be model-skinny and healthy, but it isn't usual...and it isn't recommended as a norm. Anorexia, bulima, and other horrible health threats stem from this sort of fashion insanity...and who among us doesn't know a woman (or a man) who has suffered from one of these illnesses? We can choose to support (knitting?) publications that feature healthy, normal sized women. We can choose not to buy fashions or magazines that celebrate the impossibly skinny. Most importantly, we can date or marry, encourage and celebrate people whose bodies are healthy, and help those who are suffering from poor self-image because of the media and societal pressures.

Our society is also creating a media frenzy around younger women and girls. Sexualizing very young girls creates a very dangerous precedent in terms of children's safety and well-being. It also creates a false illusion that women (of all ages and sizes) are not as sexy as young girls. That's just WRONG...and you know why!

These aren't just women's issues. They are people issues. If we create a society in which men aren't equally responsible for this kind of madness, we'll never create a better society.

Yesterday I attended a start up meeting for a local chapter of the
League of Women Voters. How exciting!--it seems like another chance to help do the right thing, democracy, and educate others in the US about it.

Morals and ethics are funny things. Like
Raskolnikov in Dostoevsky's book, Crime and Punishment, sometimes people convince themselves that they are smart enough, clever enough or important enough to be above punishment or above harming others. Nobody's above that...we all should behave in upright ways, kind and careful ways, to help and take care of those around us. It's something I think about often.

My story, "The Prayer for Swift and University," the one I won the award for, is now online!

Jerry Jazz Musician Fiction Contest

(You'll know why I show my dogs, Sally and Harry, after you read it. It's sort of about, well, what this post is about, in an abstract way.)

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Celebrating reading!

I've always loved a good book. J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series gives many people (not just kids) a first chance to get lost in an amazing narrative, reading it again and again. For that, she should be really celebrated! The newest HP book and movie are coming out in July. Lucky for us!

These photos look like magic, just like the talking portraits in Harry Potter, but weren't manipulated in any way. The professor shot these images as I stood and chatted in front of a mirror at Janel's and Una's booth at Black Sheep Gathering in Oregon. It wasn't staged. (Isn't this neat!?)

The professor was home for a couple of days, and he's off to another conference with his research students. I'm again talking to my poochies, and my whining communications have gotten expert, but I'll leave that for you to imagine on your own!

For folks who aren't fiction fanatics, I have a foodie reading recommendation. Julie and Julia, by Julie Powell, tracks her year of cooking her way through Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Oddly, it isn't so much about recipes, but about how a big project, especially one imbued with cooking and eating metaphors, can shape and give meaning to one's life. I understand that, and I value those big ideas. I have to keep dreaming up new big projects, changing the goal posts, learning and finding something special in order to keep stimulated, hopeful and positive...and to avoid despairing about life's frustrations. For this reason alone, Julie Powell's book, with its celebrations and all the concerns in it that I recognize, is definitely worth reading.

Sunday, July 08, 2007


I dreamt that when I wrote a book, it would be all about the writing and the editing. On further reflection, it might be nice to throw in some knitting designs...for when I got too tired to write? I'd knit. Then, travelling became part of the package. What I didn't know was how much time I'd spend wrangling. Negotiating, organizing, struggling, doing business, trying to reach compromise--with publishers, designers, photographers and worst, asking why (Oh why??) some things were going off track in scary ways. I spend whole days asking for feedback, guidance, and offering explanation. I've felt all alone, a cowgrrl with way too many steer to round up, and mighty hungry steakhouse diners waiting, napkin tucked in, fork in hand. Ready to eat that steak--or me, whatever happens first. This causes me no end of constant heartburn, nightmares, and anxiety...must be how the steer feels, in my imagination. I am trying so hard to make all this book stuff work!

As an antidote to angst, I offer you things that bring me pleasure. First knitting and spinning, and then "the other stuff." Here's the professor's sweater, with one of the finished "travelling socks" for scale and reference. Big sweater, huh? The sock (women's, to fit medium sized feet) is knit out of a Herrschner's long gone special called "Hot Socks"-a cotton/wool springy blend that I loved to knit. Good for wearing with hiking shoes, if say, you live in a place cool enough to wear socks in the summer.

Here's a closeup, for those who want to see black, gray and white socks in more detail. What are those weird fruits?

Ahh, these are a pleasure of the senses, a pervasive floral melon smell that just won't quit. The local name for these is "Plum Granny." Read about them here. Also called Queen Anne Pocket Melons, these lovelies fit in the pockets of Victorian ladies who, ahem, might have needed to bathe more often. At this time of year, when even air conditioned southern spaces smell a bit dank and humid, plum grannies are just the thing to perfume one's life for a few days. They taste terrible, slimy and bland, but the smell. Oh, the divine smell...

Next, the photos of the new spindle in use. Gotland Gray, Black Alpaca and bits of green Mohair, 70 yards, 3.5 oz, 2 ply, and 3.5 sts to the inch on a size #8 needle. Soft cushy balls of pleasure. When I learned to spin, I met a middle aged woman (I was 12, mind you, no idea how old she actually was!) who spun luxurious Lopi-weight singles on an enormous Turkish Spindle. I was in love with her huge ball of soft squishy yarn. I wanted it. I own the exact spindle she used, but these skeins and this new spindle are the closest I've come to reproducing her yarns on a spindle. Whoosh. The yarns of our memory are very hard to replicate.

Non-fibery pleasures, too:

On Friday, I caught up with an old student of mine, now a friend. Maybe I'm alone with the dogs too much, because it just gave me enormous pleasure to talk to him again! Next, I opened my email, and POOF! His call was good luck. I won a short story contest! My story will be published next week on the Jerry Jazz Musician site. I'm so excited about this! It's another step towards a lifegoal of mine--writing fiction. I'd love to do it for a living, but first, alas, someone has to buy the's a lot easier to sell non-fiction. This award is a good sign!

This AM I took the dogs to our town's dog park for the first time. The running! The playing! Sally's pent up nervous and defensive agression (UH-OH.) Nobody got hurt and now we're exhausted, relaxed, and resting. I'm afraid the dogs have absorbed some of my wrangling angst, but we'll be going to that park again. It's freeing in an entirely different way...watching my bird dogs run like that. a weekend without any book wrangling, maybe? Almost like flying?

Someday, we'll all get along well with others, I hope...Sally and me included. Oh, and did anyone catch the clip of Crowded House from the Live Earth Concert in Sydney? Swoon. Brings back my days as a sweet young thing dating an Australian, before I married the professor...who should be home from his travels today! At last, a human conversation. I may have been reduced to discussing squeaky toys and kibble here...

Thursday, July 05, 2007

reading treat!

First, I'd like to announce the July/August issue of the Chick Lit's available here. Not only does it have a few good reads for summer, but one of them happens to be my story! Reflection in a Glass was first printed in 2005 online in Dragonfire, a magazine produced by Drexel U, which has since gone under. I'm pleased to announce that my story is still available, now in another venue!

The photo here shows me trying out a Baynes Spinning Wheel at Black Sheep Gathering. I'd never gotten to try one of these little New Zealand wheels before in person, and I loved it. Smooth silent action without any wiggles or noises and a small footprint without the possibility of tipping it over--these all seemed very appealing, especially as my Little Gem, my "office" and travel wheel, is really showing signs of hard wear after five years of use. Also the Baynes' price is reasonable. Check them out in the USA at Rowan Tree Woolery. These kind folks let me try out both a double and single treadle wheel just for fun. In the end, I preferred the single treadle, by the way, but that's just because of how my particular knees creak....

Anybody out there own a Baynes? How do you feel about it? Curious minds want to know.

Coming up soon---the professor took some very funny photos in preparation for the big new Harry Potter release...the photos are both fiber and fiction related. Perfect for a yarn spinner like me!

Monday, July 02, 2007


As you know, when things get rough (or I have a lot of produce), I start canning. I think this is because the process keeps me completely focused from beginning to end. I also end up with a product when I'm done...a local and/or organic product that has only a few ingredients in it, and it's good for you. There's a satisfying sense of accomplishment and completion to the whole thing. Since it's blackberry time, and I've had requests, here is the story on the flavored jams.
My great-grandmother had a chicken farm and a huge garden and canned enough every season to fill a room--a special canning pantry in her basement. It made a big impression on me as a kid. My mom made jam when I was small, but after I helped hull the berries, the kitchen was offlimits while she dealt with hot liquids. I learned to make strawberry jam on my own, as an adult, during May of 2000. I remember this time in detail because my mother-in-law was diagnosed with brain tumors. She and my father-in-law stayed with us in North Carolina while she had surgery at Duke U. My mother-in-law died in November 2000, in her early 50's. It was horrible.

I learned to make jam that May, and I picked strawberries and made 20+ jars of strawberry jam. Sometimes you need something productive to do when in reality, there's nothing else to do. On Saturday and Sunday, while I stressed about book issues, I did 16 jars of jam. 8 of Blackberry Brandy, and 8 of Plum Port. Here's roughly how I do it. If you are already a canning person, this will make sense!

I'm skipping the pictures...imagine the blackberry or plum version of this jar, please!:
I start with the Sure-Jell pectin for less sugar. In my part of the country, it's a little pink box. I've found it works best for me. Technically, you don't need pectin for some fruits, but I like to reduce the amount of sugar I use this way so that more fruit flavor and less "sweet" comes through. I use organic sugar though, never splenda or some other chemical. (I know what sugar does, the studies are conclusive, and I brush my teeth!) I make cooked fruit jam. This means that, unlike freezer jam, if the electricity goes out, my jam is still fine, sitting patiently on the basement pantry shelf for me. It's lots less messy than cleaning out my freezer...I've tried it both ways.
I do everything the Ball canning folks recommend: I boil the jars and lids, I pour boiling water over the tops. I mention all this because I don't want anyone to die of weird canning heebeegeebees...follow the rules for safe canning, please!
I make the fruit jam by following the exact recipe mentioned inside of the Sure-Jell cartoon, but here's the trick:
if you want to add an additional flavor, like lemon or brandy or port or whatever...
just before you finish making the jam, add this flavor at the very last minute. This is last thing you stir in before putting the jam into jars. For the 8 cup blackberry brandy or plum port jams, I use 1/3 cup of brandy/port, etc. and I stir it in right at the end. Most of the alcohol will evaporate right away, but since you're done cooking the jam, some of the flavor will remain.
There's nothing wrong with a plain fruit jam, but the alcohol makes it seem a bit more sophisticated. Other combos: peach bourbon, raspberry chambord, pear port or brandy....have fun! (do bear in mind that only one shot of the stuff, for tasting only, is advisable while canning. More than that can be dangerous for you with all that boiling water!)
If you want to use lemon or vanilla or some extracty thing like that, use less flavor but add it right at the end as well. If you cook these sorts of subtle flavors too much, you lose them, they can't stand up to boiling too long.
Once the jars are done, I pop them back in the canner for another 10 minute sealing boil. I almost never have a jar that doesn't seal with this process, and it makes the professor (a biologist, whose mother, may she rest in peace, used to work at the NYC department of health) feel reassured about our food safety.
I read a lot of cookbooks--I buy used and new books on canning, preserving, pickling, etc. whenever I see one that looks good. Once you really know how a canning recipe ticks and what is safe, you can alter it. (yup, I feel the same way about knitting patterns!) I also do pickles: dilly beans, dill pickles, cornichons, tomatoes and okra pickles. I make salsa, chutney, duck and plum sauce. Yes, it can get out of hand sometimes, but if it has enough sugar or vinegar in it and it doesn't smell bad? You should be ok...but boil the heck out of it all anyway!
Professor's sweater update: I am knitting the collar. Everything else is done. Professor himself is out of town at the moment, and it is July, so we'll have to wait a bit longer to know if this knit-a-thon is flattering on him.
Do let me know how your jam comes out!

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Rockin' Girls

I've been nominated as a:

by Terri and I was so moved that I got a tear or two going. Yup. Wow. Thank you. I am not exactly sure what the creed is for this group, but I'm going to claim it as being a feminist, rockin' cool gyrrl who works to create community and promote positive change with others. That's what I'd like to be, when I'm not losing my mind in work frustration and chopping down weeds like this. That's what I spent part of the morning doing today. It helps!

I've got an enormous pile of brush at the edge of my curb and a feeling of calm. I've also got a big back yard, so tomorrow, I may be at it again! Yes, this is why I turned down a trip to Italy with the professor--so I can stay home for a bit and work on the book...and chop. (professor is giving a talk at a conference and left yesterday. Let's hope there aren't anymore terrorists near airports, shall we?)

I am nominating these folks for their very own Rockin' Girl Blogger awards:

Who are they? Well, the cool kids at Estes Park: Deb, Tara, Jamie (cool but don't know her blog!) and then on the other side of me, Donna, and Catherine Hollingsworth, the famous Alaskan Yarn Council President.

Now, the cool folks at Black Sheep Gathering: (Or should I say cool ewes? In the best possible way, of course?!) Skip me there, and you have Angela,Denise and Holly. I nominate you too. Since I don't know the rules, I can nominate any cool person I want, right?

By the way, if you commented, or if you didn't comment but are thinking cheering thoughts for me regarding the book, you are rockin' too. Thank you so much. I am still worrying, but the 8 jars of blackberry brandy jam, the brush pile, and the almost finished professor's sweater are keeping me breathing smoothly for now. Oh, and that lovely spindle I mentioned has already produced 70 yards of double ply worsted weight yarn, 3 oz, knits at 3.5 sts to the inch on an #8. It's a gray Gotland, black alpaca, and green mohair blend, but more on that another time, right?

You are stars. Now, since the professor came through with the above photos, here's another one of his gifts. I made this one large for you to appreciate this color in all its glory. I hope you can see the locks on your screen. We think this one was a Lincoln and of course, it won a first at Black Sheep. Wouldn't you give this a first?