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Archive for July, 2006

I have been dying to make this post, and I think I’m finally ready to. By some bizarre confulence of events, I have internet access, a free few minutes, and a big story to tell.

Let me explain.

(If you don’t want to read all this, skip down to the good part, ok? Please?)

Friday, we decided that we’d leave on our weekend trip Saturday morning, instead. I had homework to do to be able to feel good about getting away, and there was the small matter of Mr. Cyknit not thinking it important remembering to book us a room for the weekend. No big deal, right? Lots of rooms available in the Berkshires in the height of Summer…

During all this discussing, a big storm rolled through with lots of thunder and lightning. It seemed a good night to stay in so I stopped rolling my eyes. I was working on the laptop(unplugged!) when BOOM! A great flash of light and we lost everything. And then smelled smoke. Much running about in circles ensued, until we finally realized that the smoke was coming from the TV. Not great, but the house wasn’t on fire. A really good thing, you know?

I need to make this story shorter to get to the good stuff.

Ok, so 18 hours with no power, but we took off after about 14 for our adventure. We hit WEBS on the way to nowhere, and I got to try out a few wheels. Because I am (really!) trying to stay short to get to the good stuff I will say one two things: 1. I sat down at the first wheel, and I didn’t forget how to spin. Huge, I tell you. Huge. I just started spinning, and I DID it. 2. I found that I didn’t like the Louet wheels they had out. (This is important. You’ll see).

We ended up wandering about Mass until Mr. C realized that he knew where a yarn shop in Brattleboro, VT was. I do love this man, just so you know. After lunch in the (very) crunchy downtown area, we kept on wandering until we nearly passed a farm. A farm with fiber. Now is the time I wish I had internet at home so I could show pictures of alllllllll the fiber I bought (Did I mention our DSL box blew, also? I forget). I bought ingeo, soy silk…and the most beauteous dyed mohair locks. Do I have the foggiest idea of what to do with locks of fiber? Ummmm, no. But that’s not important, is it?

Fast forward again: That night, we went to a bonfire at the farm, complete with a wagon ride to a bear cave, and Mr. Cygknit as the voice of “the bear.” (If you know him, you’re giggling right now, aren’t you?). We stayed in a hotel at the foot of Mt. Snow, right around the corner from where Mr. C spent his formative high school years. Then, the hike.

We drove to Mt. Greylock park and, due to a really stupid move on our part, started our hike having no idea where on the trail we were. Quite possibly the stupidest thing I’ve done in a good long while. We ended up hiking Mt. Williams (a 1,000′ vertical climb in less than a half a mile, thankyouverymuch), hiking Mt. Fitch (the ridge between Williams and Greylock) and then Mt. Greylock. (Enlarge map here if you want to laugh at us. We started and ended at Wilbur’s Clearing & followed the AT). Do I need to tell you that I thought I would die in this forest?

So, sweaty, muddy and exhausted beyond belief we headed home. The long way, of course, down Rt. 8 the whole way. I was a zombie girl most of the ride, to exhausted to move. My fear the whole time? That there would still be no power at the house, but there’d be an awfully nasty fridge.

There was power (YAY!) and a birthday dinner of hot dogs, tater tots and ice cream cake. Yeah, there’s some white trash in my genes.

(THE GOOD PART)
Now, here’s the unbelievable part, the part that I hope you’ve made it down to and haven’t been bored to tears. Please read this, and share the love that I am feeling:

I got to work on Monday and was swamped. With no internet, I still had two homework assignments to do, plus extra work work from leaving early Friday. It was 2 o’clock before I checked my email, and after I saw 87 in my inbox (not my junk mail, even), it was another 30 before I was brave enough to open it. Click. Click. Click. I thought I’d clear out junk that made it past the filter…”GIFT CERTIFICATE.” Naww, that’s junk. As I was about to trash it, it occurs to me that I know the name Janet Lynn.

I’m going to stop now, before I go on, and tell you that opening this email made me cry. Not in that awful bad-news kind of way, but the kind of crying where you’re not sure how such good things actually happen to you. I just want you to know this now, before I tell you what it was, so you know what it means to me.

Four of my friends bought be a $100 gift certificate to The Wheel Thing. Led (apparently) by the Ringleader Dragon, Jess, Kelly, the Gabby Knitter, and NeedleTart got together and put 100 bucks on a wheel. For me.

It took me several hours to get to the point where I could send out some thank yous. I have never. Ever. Ever. in my life received exactly what I wanted for my birthday, deep down in my soul of souls. And to know that this deepest desire of my silly little heart was given to me by my bloggy friends makes me feel incredible in ways I’m just not eloquent to say. There is Family, and there is Tribe. You people are my Tribe, and I wouldn’t change that for all the yarn in the world. Thank you for making it the Best Birthday Ever.

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Guess what I’m doing right now?

Nuthin’. And it is so sweet. I’m burning comp time on a Friday afternoon, I have a Coke in the freezer cooling off (50 minutes, no more, no less), I’ve the door open, the breeze wafting in, and happy kitties coming and going as they please.

And I am not doing homework.

I haven’t been blogging much, and haven’t been emailing much because of this stinkin’ class. I’m not sure you’d believe me if I told you. Last week, it was 7 assignments assigned and due within 7 days, (some with 2 due on one day & 1 whose due date was moved 4 times). Yeah, yeah, I should suck it up, but dude. It was about 170 pages single spaced. I’m beat.

I’m in a good spot right now, and have my feet up to prove it.

Pictures: I haven’t posted pictures here in a while. Wanna see what I’ve been up to?

I went to a giant rummage sale on my lunch break recently:

I couldn’t resist, they were 25 cents each! There was a woman who asked if I was going to be buying all of them (I had more than this). Duh. Then I snatched the box away indicated I was still looking at this box over here, and I’ll let you know when I’m done, Thank You. I shouldn’t have been that mean to an old lady.

Darn it. It is finally sinking in that I have to do some homework today to have a blissful weekend away with no guilt. We’re planning a hike in the Berkshires on Sunday, and hitting some yarn stores on Saturday. I am so excited every metaphor I’ve tried here sounds cheesy. That excited. I’m going to go be good, now.

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Last week, I was asked the sort of question that makes folks like us weep with joy.

“Cygknit, will you teach me to knit?”

When I was done drying the tears from my face, I asked her if I truly heard her right.

“You want me to teach you to knit?”

“Uh-huh.”

“You sure?”

“Yep”

I made plans to go to the yarn store before she changed her mind.

After an overwhelming experience at a store I’d not been to before–so much wool piled everywhere I had to take care not to trip–we headed over to her place for Lesson 1: Stockinette.

She didn’t want to learn to knit a garter stitch scarf a mile long. No, she wants her first project to be a cardigan. You heard me–a cardi. Button band, and all. And I wasn’t going to tell her she couldn’t.

The swatch above is her first try at kit and purl, and done in about 30 minutes. The girl is a natural. She emailed this to me a little later, the productive little wench.

She asked for homework, and I gave it to her: a 4″ swatch for gauge. Extra credit? K1P1 for another 2″. I almost hated her for being so darned clever. (I’ll not mention how pleased I was when she called asking about a “hole” she had made, and a mysterious extra stitch. I’m sure she’s human, now. I wasn’t before.)

I think she’s hooked on this knitting thing. How do I know? She sent me a pic of a “scenic knitting place” in her yard:

My work here is done.

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Hurray!

Congratulations to Netter, the winner (by random number generator) of my first-ever contest. This is what she gets:

Some Austermann Step and a pack vintage dpns I picked up recently. Although they’re not compatible with each other, I thought the needles were fun. I picked the sock yarn up at the Yarn Harlot book signing at WEBS, while completely overwhelmed with wool fumes and a stupid comment I made that day. I met this woman there, Dawn, (shown with the felt stars), who completely enabled me to buy Way Too Much Yarn. I like Dawn. The point, though, is that these future socks will have the benefit of having been one step (no pun intended) away from super-coolness. I am really curious to find out if the Aloe and Jojoba oil really do make the yarn fun to work with.

In other news, I really *have* been knitting. No, really! Some days, with all the craziness of my summer class, I only get to knit on my lunch break (when I refuse to do homework). I present: Lunch Break Slippers

Yarn: Bernat Cottontots (for softness)
Needles: size 6 (!) DPNs
Started: Sock 1: 6/18-6/24 (2 actual knitting days) — Sock 2: 6/25-7/23
Finished: 23 July 2006
Pattern: Trial and Error

I found out recently that my very dear and looooong time friend (and newly blogging!) gets so cold at night that she sleeps with two pairs of socks? Now, what would You do if the girl who has 1) known your deepest darkest secrets for the past 14 years, and 2) still talks to you, has cold feet? Knit her some foot cozies? You’re darn tootin’! Since she’s allergic to wool and most synthetics, I had to run with cotton. The large gauge was a huge help, but since I hadn’t ever made anklets and had no pattern, there was a bit of a learning curve.

Ugh, I’m off to lock myself in the local university library for the rest of the day.

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I don’t have to lose the whole nip.

Can you believe it??

As I said yesterday (muddled in everything else I said) I had been too nervous? frightened? chicken? to write down any questions until sat down with a glass of wine. Terry (soon to be a fellow blogger) offered for the umteenth time to go with me to today’s appointment, and I immediately said yes. She showed up this morning with a typed list of my questions. How cool is that?

In the appointment, the doctor seriously sidelined me with a new option: Not take the whole thing just yet. Just take as much tissue (about half the nip) as she thinks will get all of the _______ (insert medical term I can’t spell), test every last cell of it to make sure that everything left is clean, and only lop off the whole thing in case of dire need.

I like the idea.

(It does mean that the going away party for the nipple is canceled.)

The best question asked today was Terry’s response to the partial (instead of full) removal: “So, does that mean if she walks into a cold room…?”

I did get a very generous offer that I (hope) I won’t be able to accept: Thank you dear Knitter Bunny, but I won’t be needing the knit nip, after all. And Mr. CygKnit was so looking forward to it, too.

Oh, and I shall draw for the contest on Sunday, so there’s still a little time. I have received some great comments, both on the blog and via email. More to come on that, later. And maybe some pictures, finally.

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Confession

Have you ever read something that has humbled you?

I did today, which has prompted me to interrupt my (almost negligible) pictures of the (lack of) knitting I’ve been doing lately.

I was sent from here to this, about the horrifying process of this blogger finding out if the unidentifiable masses in her breast are cancer or not.

Why am I humbled about this? These women have written about personal information about their families (Keyboard Biologist) and about their bodies (My Only Sunshine). Amanda is talking about her breast on her blog, is getting comfort and peace (through writing about it) and yet I haven’t felt like you guys would want to know about me.

That’s sad. I view all of you regular readers as my friends, and many of you are not just blog friends, but real ones, too (this includes you lurkers–you know who you are J.M.). Keeping such a huge part of my life these past few months from you guys has started to feel more like a lie as more time passes. Why? It is taking up such a huge part of my thoughts and actions, and coloring my attitude and what I do chose to write about. I feel like writing about my breast is, well, Way Too Much Information. It involves words like nipple, even. Eeek. Who wants to hear about that?

It is just that as the whole testing process was going on, I couldn’t bear to have people worrying. Then, once I got the diagnosis, I couldn’t bear to think about it. It wasn’t until last night when Terry (seen here (a little surprised) with her boy @ the CT S&W festival) sat me down and made a list for me of questions to ask tomorrow about surgery, reconstruction and such that I stopped hiding from what’s going on. Then, today, I see others brave enough to face it, and I feel humbled.

The situation is this: (do, please, stop reading if you don’t want to know, and skip down to the contest part)

I have a small growth on my right nipple (not too icky looking). After the biopsy in June (hence the painkillers, as it was in a very tricky spot) and many horrible tests and comments from specialts that it must be cancer, it was found to not be cancer. Thank GOD. But, the nipple still has to be removed. The type of thingie it is will cause cancer in about 85% of patients, if it is left to hang around.

Please, tell me how you draw the line about what to post in your blog and what not to. I have been struggling with this for months, and haven’t know what other people do–how other people choose. I have been meaning to post a contest about this, but have been avoiding it.

CONTEST:
Tell me in the comments or send me an email how you choose what to post in your blog, how much personal information you decide to share, and if you’ve had any repercussions if you have shared too much. If you don’t have a blog, tell me what you would do if you DID have one.

The winner of a random number draw gets a lovely prize of yummy Sock Yarn, or Pretty Roving 🙂

Thanks for the help, guys. <

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Baby

Not for me, thankyouverymuch, but a visiting baby.

This is Walter (a description of why she’s called Walter is here)

Isn’t she cute? She was busy eating my Mac’s mouse all afternoon while her Mommy was up for a visit from Florida. She happily perched on our floor cushions for something like three hours, and never once made a pouty face. So long as we fed her pita and let her eat the mouse, she was Happy. Happy babies are Such a Good Thing.

Her Mommy, an old friend of mine, gave me this:


(needles pulled out for effect)

Happy early birthday to me! See the cute notions bag, chock full ‘o goodies? And the long-coveted pack ‘o sock needles? I’m giddy as we speak.

I have been knitting. Not much, mind you, but some. Pictures to follow tomorrow (I hope)

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Crankypants

I am so relieved to find that I am not the only one that (apparently) gets cranky without my daily dose of fiber.

(I am not going there with that joke, just so you know.)

I feel, well, vindicated. If it was just me, I might laugh nervously, change the subject to something else, and dash off as soon as I thought I might not be noticed. But that it is you guys, too? Dude. I’m normal. (Immediatly followed by: So that’s what its like. Who knew normal would have fiber?)

So, being the budding Librarian (note the capital L) that I am, I took it upon myself to do a little research. (Yes, I was supposed to be doing homework instead. What of it?)

A quote from here, which seems like a reasonable enough source for our purposes.

One of the papers presented to the Psychology Postgraduate Affairs Group annual conference in Derby this week argued that there is a tendency to describe relatively harmless hobbies as obsessions or even addictions. The researchers, Michael Larkin and Richard Wood of Nottingham University, suggested that the word has become “a scapegoat for the nineties,” a moral label for what society feels isn’t acceptable. Lots of people are being called addicts when they’re just engaging in unusual behaviour.

Hmmmm…we’re quite post-nineties, now, aren’t we? And frankly, we need to define what’s “harmless” and what isn’t. I do have the pointy sticks, you know.

Oh, and could you be a little more specific on the unusual behavio(u)r for me?

The English word addict to start with had the sense of being obligated or formally bound to someone else.

I would say that those doing the Amazing Lace might agree.

He continues:

Pretty soon, though, it took on a reflected meaning of being attached to something through one’s own inclination, or of being devoted to some practice. Examples in the OED down to 1790 refer to gluttony, lust, and “superstitious ceremonies”.

Oh, that’s rich. “Superstitious ceremonies!”

I was going to create a quiz, a sort of modified “Are you addicted to…” type, and have the best results or a random result number get a prize. (I even have the prize all picked out) I thought, perhaps, that you would laugh just as much as I did to questions like:

  • Do you spend more time than you think you should knitting (spinning)?”
  • Have any of your friends or family members complained about the time you spend knitting (spinning)”
  • Do you have troubling controlling your impulses to purchase items, products, or services related to knitting? (spinning)
  • Do you derive much of your pleasure and satisfaction in life from knitting (spinning)?

Yeah, I knew the answers without having to quiz ya. (Really, I just didn’t want to take all that time. I have knitting (spinning) to do, you know.)

Now, I just need to address my addiction to parenthesis.

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I feel a bit nervous here, now. Like I’ve gone back to my old high school, and things have changed (though not nearly so much time has passed as that). Time off from the blog–a no guilt, no plans to come back soon kind of time off–has been, well, different than I expected.

I think it has been good.

So what has the Cygknit been up to? Knitting? Spinning? Maybe a little, but not nearly as much as I’d like. Pics to come soon, though. I was going to take some last night, but the light was so wretched. I got sucked into my frustrating pointles mind-numbingly dull homework, too, which has effectivly killed my free time this last week. Not that I’m bitter about it, mind you.

When I wasn’t doing the *expletive deleted* homework last night, I was dithering about a third class in the fall semester. I did three in the spring but was just working part-time. Would full-time work and school drive me nuts? Listen in on the conversation in the CygKnit household:

Me: Should I take another class?
Him: harrrph
Me: Seriously. Financial implications are your department.
Him: It is up to you.
(note the excitement in his tone)
Me:I wouldn’t have time to knit.
Him: (Raises head) Do you know what you’re like without caffiene?
Me: Not pretty, I know. But I’m not like that with knitting, am I?
Him: No, no, no. You need fiber interaction each day. You’re cranky without it.
Me: I’m not that cranky without knitting.
Him: Not just knitting. Fiber. Fiber of any kind. You need it.

There you go, folks. Fiber: The next drug. What will the Surgeon General have to say about this?

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Right

So yesterday I got a bit sidetracked. Lost it all over the slippery sweet goodnesss of angora fiber. I’m so easy. I decided to split the posts up, angora yesterday, and spinning today, and at least get something out.

This is what I did Sunday and Monday:

That’s of about 80 yards of some wool (two-ply) I picked up at Cummington (lost the label somewhere!). It had been languishing on the spindle for a while, unmotivated to become any particular thing. I came home Saturday night from my Mystical Spinning Experience and filled the spindle. Then, I filled it again. Fire, I tell you, fire. I think I’ve been hit by the spinning sickness bad. I can’t seem to stop. (Not that this is a bad thing, mind you.)


This is it, skeined up. I think it wants to be a shawl, at least when the rest is spun up, too. When I’m able to talk about the horror of a project that my mother volunteered me for, and the dumb, dumb parts I added to it, I will post of it. This wool is begging to be part of it, simply because it has brought me so much peace and happiness. There’s another full single on the spindle now. I heart wool.

Speaking of wool! This, below, is what I also picked up this weekend. I assure you that it is purple and all kinds of Project Spectrum-y. What is so freakin’ cool about it is all the pretty colors (blues, purples and black) that were carded into it. As I spin, it makes pretty little swirly stripes. I worry about plying it, though, because I don’t want that stripe definiton to get lost. I’m sure there’s something clever to do to prevent that, but I haven’t put down the spindle enough to look it up.

I’m using the Louet spindle (bigger one) with it, mostly because I wanted the Bosworth for the Cummington wool. The thing is, the Louet one is so freakin’ heavy compared to the Bosworth! It kinda hurts my hands some to carry the weight. (Don’t tell it though, I don’t want it to feel bad.) Of course, I’m spinning a bit too thin on the Bosworth and a bit too thick on the Louet. I am (at least) getting a bit more consistency on both. Which is good, because I was going to give up, delete the blog and never spin again.

Tomorrow, more fiber.

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