Monday, September 6, 2010

Finishing my vacation

Okay, I started this blog post last month. Now it's the official end of summer in the US, Labor Day, and I realized that the post still isn't done!

The summer was full of projects and, I think overall, that a lot got done. It just went by really, really quickly!

There has been cleaning and decluttering, and there is more yet to be done. But I'm feeling better about the lower amount of stuff in this house. Some people say there is a feeling of lightness that occurs, and I think I'd have to agree.

However, does that mean I've gotten rid of yarn stash? Not entirely! I am, though, using some stash.


The Fall Twist Collective came out, and I immediately fell in love with the Hawthorne shawl. I have some alpaca yarn that I bought several years ago up in the Medford area, from Alpacas at Lone Ranch, and it's knitting up beautifully. It's done, and I just need to get a modelled shot of it.

I've started the Bryony tank by Amy Herzog and am knitting it in BabyBoo, a bamboo/nylon blend. We (Sandi and I) did some customizing of the pattern because the row gauge of the original yarn is very compressed compared to the row gauge I'm getting. And, I'm combining two sizes for the front to accomodate my hips, decreasing down to the appropriate bust size. Back is done and I'm halfway through the front. Love the cable detail on this!

I have about 3000 yards of this beautiful Artfibers Alfabeto (silk/mohair) that Sandi so kindly gifted to me. I started a mindless project to take on vacation up to Ashland for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, so I came up with the Point Edge Wrap. Show knitting was supposed to be garter stitch with a beautiful edging. However, I failed entirely to manage an 8-stitch lace pattern in the dark.

Hence, a stop at Web*sters in Ashland for yarn for a simple mindless scarf - no yarn overs! I got some Colinette Cadenza in the colorway Marble, 2 skeins became another Scrunchable Scarf. Even better, I had a gift certificate to use!

While in Web*sters, I was in the sale room when I turned around to see this gorgeous braid on the table. They had just gotten this beautiful tri-color BFL in "stained glass" from Frabjous Fibers in Vermont. MUST.HAVE.NOW. So I did.

But I had also bought 8 oz. of gorgeous Mendenhall Merino black fleece from Purlescence. Much of the fiber I buy has to sit and marinate for a while until I decide what it wants to grow up to be. However, this stuff --- yummy! Must. Spin. Now! The locks are almost 3 inches long and the crimp is beautiful and tight. So I washed it, and now it's completely dry, and I want to just spin it right off the locks as is. But I should be good and flick card it first...

And now, I'm taking the SpinU class at Purlescence, so there is a lot more spinning in my future.

That led up to this past Saturday. Rachel and I decided we needed a day to dye. So she brought over some supplies and fiber and yarn and I ransacked my stash, and we spent over 4 hours playing with color in my backyard.

I dyed some light grey colonial top with a mixture of violet & lavender, and another braid with blues, experimented with some tussah silk, and overdyed some Malabrigo worsted. "What!?" I can hear you saying, "But Malabrigo comes in such gorgeous colors!"

"Yes" is my reply, but the ones I bought weren't quite my colors, so now they are! See the Mineral Red skeins in the top left corner? The big picture on the right is the "after" shot, with the addition of mahogany and royal blue.

One very different project occurred before school started when I took a break from my fiber obsession and took a little trip up to San Francisco. Last year when my parents came up this direction, they went to the National Archives in San Bruno and found / copied some documents about my mother's grandfather and his family. Supposedly, he was born in San Francisco in 1878 at 531 Jackson St., the brick building on the corner. Now it's a Chinese restaurant. Some of these documents were transcripts of interviews with him to prove his identity as a native-born citizen. There are addresses of the places where he lived as a child and adult, his work as a laundryman and merchant. So I went up to SF's Chinatown and walked around, trying not to completely look like a tourist, but pulling out my camera at each address I found. He was about 18 years old at the time of the 1906 earthquake, and of course, many of the addresses are newer buildings.

However, I've since found out that not one address in those documents was connected to my great-grandfather at all. Sigh! According to a written history that my grandmother created about the family (that I did not have a few weeks ago), her father-in-law came to this country through Mexico. Since a lot of documents were destroyed during the 1906 earthquake, many Chinese men created stories about their early lives that could not be verified. They had to have every detail in place to "prove" that they were "citizens" and eligible to stay in California. These "Paper Sons" made it difficult to discern what is factual and what is false about their lives. I guess I'm having a hard time reconciling these other documents because I don't want to believe that someone in my family lied, even if it ultimately led to all the other truths that I know about my family.

So, some of my summer projects have been more productive than others, but all in all, I'm pretty pleased with how much got done.

Now, on to the new school year!