Monday, November 15, 2010

Friendsgiving

Thanksgiving is 9 days away?! When did that happen? The calendar on my wall still says October... which reminds me, I have to ask the big man in the red suit for an appropriately pithy 2011 wall calendar.

One of the best holiday traditions came and went last weekend in a blur. Friendsgiving is probably my favorite non-Jewish holiday of the year, which makes it 4th overall. It's a time to celebrate the fact that distance nor time apart will wither the roots of friendships that have withstood the tests of harsh harsh passive aggression.

The Story of Friendsgiving
A long, long time ago, circa 2008, a few college students at a small, public, liberal arts institution decided that the November social calendar, which already included events such as SeacoThanksgiving, ThanksGAYving, and YWLP Thanksgiving, not to mention actual Thanksgiving, needed one more pilgrim-style meal. Friendsgiving was born. It's a time for mashed potatoes, photoshoots, mashed potatoes, wine, mashed potatoes, Love Actually, and the more recent tradition: skyping in those overseas friends.

Friendsgiving this year took place in Philadelphia, what better place than where Freedom was born. Fun Fact: Freedom was actually born in upstate New York, but it came to Philly and slept around with many of its buxom women in the days of yore. The increase in Freedom's love children lead the Chamber of Commerce in the 70's, right before the bicentennial, to change the cities image through the "Birthplace of Freedom" campaign. Nice try, Philly, nobody is fooled by Betsy "Double D" Ross.

There were all the fixins of a great Friendsgiving and the added novelty of a new city to explore, to which I plan on returning real soon.


Sunday, October 24, 2010

Autumnal Enthusiasm

What a season we are in. Apples. Squashes. Colors. Leaves. Knitwear.

I have been eating my bodyweight in apples over the past few weeks, as the last of nature's honest bounty ebbs and we enter a long couple of months of grocery shelves stocked with finger-sized zucchini, cardboard melons, and sawdusty apples. The breakout stars of my Fall have been gingergold and honeycrisp apples. There was an instance of foraged crabapple crisp on Cliff Island, which also turned out splendidly.

The temperatures have dropped and the cranberry bogs are flooded. That means we are entering the season of hardcore gratuitous knitting. I know you are all still on the edges of your respective seats (or laying in bed and not really caring, but still reading because nobody has updated facebook in the last 7 minutes) but the sweater is still a WIP. I do however have a picture of my progress thus far!

I still have to finish the sleeves and the shawl collar, but i could totally wear it as a sweater vest with arm cuffs right now. Right?

This has been one of the most picturesque falls of my life. Mostly because last weekend, Dave and I ventured to Dutchess County, New York for the Dutchess County Sheep and Wool Festival, AKA RHINEBECK. A two-day freakfest of fiber. We only attended Saturday and that was plenty enough to send us both into sensory overload. The people, the colors, the food, the sounds, and yes... the smells. I drove us out there starting at 5:30AM in Providence and we arrived just before the opening bell at 9. We were completely underdressed. Not that we didn't have enough layers on, but people were covered in knitwear. 80% of it was beautiful. 10% was a good attempt. The other 10%? Well, let's just say I pointed out something I called "urinal hat."

We first went to the fleece sale, and I picked up a 7lb natural-colored Romney fleece. I have spent the last week picking out all of the hay, dingles, and second cuts. I started scouring it yesterday. It's going to be a long process, but hopefully very educational.

Then we went to see some animals. We walked around the sheep, and the angora goats (which produce mohair, for those non-fiber friends). There were goats for sale!!! But I found the angora goats too fearful of people (could have been stress from the anticipation of the Goat Show) to be considered to take home to Nanny right then. However, look how majestic:

It's looking at me! I think... or not. I think it's just looking at its hair. Also- Dave is creeping in the background. He was a trooper that day.

There were mohair fleeces for sale. Angora goats have hair, not fleece, but the table full of bags of hair were at the Fleece Sale... so just roll with it. I always found mohair a bit too fancy for me, but I wanted to sample goat fibers, so I was able to purchase 4 oz. of mohair roving from the Fiber Kingdom booth. I spun this fingering weight yarn this weekend. It's my most consistent, finest yard to date! I can't wait to knit with it.

2 oz. 160yards 2 ply. I used a 5 euro cent to show diameter, because it's bigger than a penny, creating the illusion of finer workmanship. Fiber arts is 10% what you do and 90% how you photograph it for the interwebs. I just don't know what I'll knit, because again, I'm weary of the aura that mohair has in a finished product.

We'll see what else comes of my Rhinebeck fiber purchases. Preview: 7lbs of Romney Fleece, 2 oz. chasmere roving, 1 oz. pygora roving, and 2 more oz. mohair roving.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Fall back in love with me for Fall

To my half dozens of readers, I apologize for the harsh harsh spring and summer without any updates from me. Things in my employed life became too real too fast and after work, spinning, and triathloning- I just didn't have it in me to Bequeath Longings Of Glory, or more vulgarly, "blog."

Let me just let you know that I'm so jazzed about year 2 out of college. I'm still rocking my job as a childrens programmer and the health benefits are about to kick in. I'm putting more loops in yarn than the Republican party is putting loops in legislation. I'm days away from investing in my first spinning wheel. I've made it through 2 triathlons, and have one more to finish my inaugural season in three weeks. I'm still dating that guy who laughs at 80% of my jokes, which is 30% more than required for my own enjoyment of company.

To catch you up, I'm knitting a sweater. I know I promised a photojournal, but let's be honest about the immediate gratification standards of our society. I could have posted teaser pics with close-ups of cables or seams. I know that each and every one of you just wants finished product and you want it now. In order to teach you a lesson, I'm not giving you either. You'll have to suffer through what I hope will be no more than a fortnight and a half until knitting is completed on it (we'll see how blocking and construction goes... as well as the eternal search for the perfect buttons.)

In the meantime, we all need to sit down and have a serious discussion about The Worsted Shire before the year ends. I have enough people interested to get this project off the ground. I have our resident quilter, wine-maker, vegetable-grower, bog-swimmer, welder, and goat-cheese-herber all lined up. I have started researching NEA grants for getting big-name fiber artists to do residencies. I'm committed to Cashmere, Pygora, and Nubian goats, alpacas, a couple sheep, chickens, and of course a guard llama. I have the plans (from a book of 1970's farm buildings) for goat barns.

I'm only missing two things from the plan: a location and money. This is where I can use you. Well... not "use you" in the manipulative sense... rather employ (without benefits or pay) your gifts and talents. I need you to start being nice to your rich great-aunts and great-uncles that never had kids of their own. If they have what the real estate world would call "acreage"- please introduce us so that I can dazzle them with my smile and baby blues.

I leave you with a photo to light the fire of fiberfarming under your tuchas (Happy Rosh Hoshannah! See: my love of Jewish holidays)

*Photo taken on camp field trip to Southwicks Zoo in Mendon, MA... I was in charge of the camera and of all the scores of animal exhibits, not one picture was taken outside of the goat petting zoo*

Friday, February 19, 2010

New things keep rolling...

If I learned anything in college, it was to not jump at every single opportunity that presents itself.

Clearly I did not learn anything in college.

I have a lot of balls in the air (still- not one of them is a full-time job) but I'm slowly finding my place in the real world (socially... obviously not vocationally.) I have my knitting which I'm loving and can't get enough of. Shout out to the ladies at In the Loop in Norfolk (since I know they are reading!) I just finished what I'm calling the "hoping for spring hat"



I could never get the hang of any colorwork pattern that I tried, and decided to spice up this one with some carries of acai yarn through the purl sections. I feel more confident in working with color, and plan to pick a fair-isle project soon to really test out my skills. BUT, I have my first sweater to complete! I ordered the yarn yesterday and could not be more jazzed to get cracking. It's a cabled cardigan designed by Josh Bennett that appeared in the current issue of VogueKnitting. I chose the same yarn/colorway as the pattern, which I usually don't do because I like to make things with my own touch, but the pattern and the yarn are both beautiful. If it ain't broke... am I right?

So I am excited to do the play-by-play photojournal of my sweater and hope that you all are equally excited to see it.

Enter the next ball in the air- spinning. Technically spinning is two balls and here's why:

Spinning (part a): Spinning my own yarn. I am enrolled in a yarn spinning class at Slater Mill in Pawtucket, RI- Home of the American Industrial Revolution. I love love love the class and spinning my own yard. It is extremely rewarding to create something that gets me one step closer to owning my own fiber-producers (see: any post about goats). I've been spinning for two weeks now and almost have my very first plied hank of yarn. I was frustrated at first with the difficulty of getting into drafting the wool from roving, but spinning is all about being gentle, which I had trouble with, being as intense as I am. Once I lost the death grip on the roving and the sprint-speed on the treadle I began making yarn of which any sheep would be proud to be a part. The people in the class are awesome, too! I realized just how well we were clicking when we were all watching the instructor ply yarn and one lady asked, "I love your socks, did you make them" and the remaining three of us all pointed to our feet and said a collective "Uh-huh!" I died inside from the beauty of the moment.
With this class I am also renting a Kromski Sonata wheel, and it is AMAZING. I am sad that I will have to give it back soon. Hence the "Wheel Fund" change jar on my nightstand.
I should also remention what a wonderful Christmas gift this class was from Dave!!!! <3

Spinning (part b): Cycling classes are going well. I am on track to becoming an instructor at the Adirondack Club (hello easy yarn money!) I was also recruited for Team P.R.I.D.E. for Spin for Hope- a spinning benefit for the American Cancer Society. I am in the process of raising money for the team, and without going into the sobering details of how cancer has affected all of our lives, I will leave you all with a link to help me reach my goal.

The last ball I have in the air is triathlon training. What?!?! Yes! I have started training for (sprint-length) triathlons. I got in the pool for the first time two weeks ago and haven't looked back. I start formal training the first week of March and am looking at triathlons to do in the summer. What's the real impetus? There are many weddings to go to this summer, and I need a cool talking point. I think, "None for me thanks, I have a triathlon tomorrow" sounds way better than "Fill it up! I've been graduated for a year and have been 50% employed since then, excuse me while I crawl into this bottle"

Awesome... keep rocking out, everyone!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Life's Plan

I apologize for leaving you all hanging for so long, but had I updated last week, it would have been an incoherent political tirade over the outcome of the Massachusetts election for Ted Kennedy's Senate seat.

With that said, I have a plan to use Scott Brown's new position to my advantage. Stay with me.

My new love is the Norfolk Public Library. I love not paying for books. It's the perfect set-up. You leave without paying, and the Catholic guilt that you haven't been able to beat out of your body doesn't interfere because you haven't stolen anything!

I have most recently been reading Michael Pollan's works as well as Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle and I am inspired to rethink my own feelings and attitudes of food. I now am non-stop planning my first vegetable garden and am preparing myself to grow produce for the first time. Sure, I killed a solo-cup herb garden last year, but if the Author of The Poisonwood Bible can do it, how hard can it be?

But the gardening dream doesn't stop there. I think the only vocation that will make me truly happy in life is farming. The farm down the street from me will probably go up for sale in a few years. The town of Norfolk was a hotbed for residential development for the past 15 years. We all know that farmland lost is farmland lost forever. I refuse to see this beautiful piece of land go to families that take on 50 year mortgages and then cannot afford to furnish their extravagant homes. I have every intention of writing to Scott Brown for a farm subsidy (usually only given to farms that produce cheap corn and soy) to purchase this farm and begin operation to feed my community from our land. Norfolk Community Farms (our name-to-be) will not only produce food for the community, but provide a place for the members of the community to, well, commune.

Ok... I said it... I want to live on a commune. But I don't want to weave my own clothes out of wheat, or make my own variety of tofu. We'll leave those tasks up to internet suitors that appear to just be sending messages to everyone in a 25-mile radius while listening to the music of ThunderPussy.

I've forgotten what I was talking about...

Ah, yes. Farming. I'm also assuming with the popularity of FarmVille on Facebook, I can garner support from the townfolk. It will be like FarmVille in real life! If we simply have a few, full-time employees, everyone else can stop in for 10 minutes after work... JUST LIKE FARMVILLE!

If I can't get the subsidy, I will then commence plan B.

Plan B:

Run for Norfolk Town Council on the platform that this town is out of control with spending money on new building. "Vote DiRenzo. A School is not a building, it's a community of people." Slowly embezzle the non-school money into my own pocket, and then buy the farm. If I use the land to give back to the community, I won't feel bad about it.

Anyone know where I can get organic soil wholesale?