Spinning, Knitting, Crocheting, Organic Gardening, Living off-grid, and chasing sheep - because- I'm, like, NOT SANE!

Friday, July 11, 2008

I've been keeping a secret......

About now, ya’ll are shaking your heads, going, “right, you keeping a secret – ain’t happening!” and you’re right in doing so. Everyone who knows me for five minutes knows that I suck at keeping secrets. In fact, in my twisted logic, keeping a secret is kind of a form of lying. I mean, there are good secrets and bad secrets but, either way of intent, the aim in coveting a secret is to deceive others into not noticing your devious secret keeping. It so goes against the nature of a slightly neurotic blabbermouth who likes to squeal and laugh out loud and tell you just what you want to know and how wonderful you are, etc. etc. Keeping a secret is a weight I don’t usually opt to bear because I know it’s just a matter of time before it eats away at me and I end up feeling like a slug.

Recently, in a effort to get things back on track in the form of peaceful times between Mr. and Mrs. Enchanted Knoll, we’ve been trying this strange but pleasant thing commonly referred to as ‘talking’. I know, sounds so simple, right? Only, the homestead is hopping and buzzing like a beehive from March to September and it is all too easy to get swept up in that momentum and FORGET to take care of the people you love. We’re slow – but learning. You’d think that after 16 yrs. Of marriage, we’d have stumbled on this ‘taking time to talk’ concept before now. The truth is that we have but, uh…., then we got really busy and forgot it again (rolls eyes at self and shakes head). So, hubster says to me the other day, ‘Is there something you want to talk to me about – because you seem kind of distant and I don’t know what to do’. The weird thing? Someone else that I adore said the same thing just days before….and they’re connected. From these two people, I have been keeping my big ole secret. So, I decided to come clean. I told him the whole story (which, yes, I’m about to share with you) and when I was done confessing my high crimes of liardom, sneaky and secretive behavior – he laughed at me! Yes, he did! He mutter something about not believing how gullible I am and that I worry too much. This may have strained these new tightropes of peacemaking a bit but, fortunately, I’m also one to forget about such things and I have to admit, I laughed at myself a little hearing it.

Herein lies, my big ole secret I’ve been keeping for some 7 months:

Many of you know that my good buddy, Lisa, was disrupted from her happy country living last December when a fire destroyed her home. I still remember the day I read her message. It started out something like a friend would think to say – like ‘we are okay (cuz they don’t want you to worry) but ……(insert whatever words you might think to say to describe such a nightmare)." I had to read it three times to assure myself that, though the fire was at night, it specifically said they were all okay. Then, I started thinking. Thinking what I’d say, or maybe I’d just listen and let her talk a while, when I called. Thinking about the Christmas box that had arrived two days before the fire chock full of goodies for me, for things, 1, 2, and 3, and for hubster from her family, and how their Christmas would be so totally different than she’d anticipated when she lovingly knit away on gifts for everyone that burned under the tree. I may have cried a whole lot because I knew myself and knew that if I didn’t cry first, I might cry whilst on the phone with her which would have been selfish and not the sort of friend I was hoping to be for her at the moment. Finally, I called. No answer. Staying with family during the holidays is crazy enough but when it’s because you’ve just lost your home, your pets, everything except yourselves, that’s a whole other thing so I waited. And, while I waited, I started to do what neurotic people do – which was to figure out a way to fix it all.
Only, I knew I couldn’t do that. In fact, I felt totally helpless to do anything. That’s where ya’ll came in. Realizing that my spinning/knitter friend would not even have string and hair to keep her company, I set about asking ya’ll for help. And help we did – we rocked! We sent her some stash rebuilding love that blew her mind and got her back on the knitting wagon STAT! I should have stopped there – at those two big, stuffed boxes of fibery love stuffs…..but I hatched another, more devious plan and kept this secret even from hubster (which I can honestly say is the longest time I’ve ever kept anything from him in these many years). I crossed the line into secret keeping, yarn hoarding frenzy. It was all due to this thinking: I was pondering all of the ‘things’ and pets and work that Lisa and her OH had put into making their home a good and well-loved place and started asking myself, “what would you miss? What would you need? What would you long for if everything you had had just gone up in smoke?” And, then I talked to Lisa – and after so long of us just chatting, she revealed to me that she’d grabbed one thing on her way out with kid in tow – her purse – which had her keys, her tam that I crocheted from handspun yarn, and a sock knitting project. Doncha love her? Me too.

the yarn that started it allA couple weeks later, I was thinking about that while packing up her stash rebuilding stuffs. And, it came to me that all that knitting she’d done – the shawls, the socks, the sweaters, all of it – was gone. Oh, I cried so hard to think that someone who has knit so much wouldn’t even have a shawl to wrap around herself and keep her safe at heart while she had to trudge through a bold transition from country home to urban living and rebuilding a home. There were four balls of purple yarn in front of me, and as I reached to put them in the box, they spoke to me. I swear they did! They said, ‘make it’. Now, ya’ll know I’m a southerner who attended 7 years of Catholic Academy and was raised by a police officer. So, I had angst about keeping the purple balls of yarn right away. Of course it wasn’t stealing – I was going to use them to make her a shawl already. But, still, it felt…..weird. I tried to entertain the idea of making her a shawl out of my own yarn but that seemed kind of arrogant and I like the sentimentality of using something that someone else lovingly parted with for her to make her something virtually infused with love from her fiber friends. I decided that it was one of those things that seemed uncomfortable but would be remedied when I sent her a beautiful shawl and made her oh so happy. I thought maybe by her birthday.

Only, just before that she contacted me and said that she was really missing her shawl and thought she might make another one. I had a very paranoid moment right then, I admit. Did she know? GASP! She couldn’t have – she wanted to make a shawl of a totally different color. So, I should have just bluffed and moved right along but, ya’ll, this is me we’re talking about – of course I ruminated this over and over and decided that purple was just the wrong color because she hadn’t even mentioned purple as a color she wanted to use. Back to square 1.

So, I thought, maybe by Mother’s Day. Only, by then I was back to thinking that a link to the beauty of the whole idea would be lost if I didn’t use the yarn that came from someone who wanted her to have it. Also, if I didn’t use the purple, what would I do with it? My conscience couldn’t bear the idea of deviating from what was initially a sweet gesture between friends to the kid returning the candy they swiped from the candy store. Dangit all, it was most definitely going to be the purple. I cast on for the second time. Fortunately, I got only as far as I had the first time, which would have been the casting on, before I changed my mind – again. I don’t know, it just seemed to keep bothering me and I started to think I’d never knit the thing if I insisted on staying with the purple. So, a full 6 months after starting this journey – I radically changed EVERYTHING. I put down the knitting needles, picked up the crochet hook, and grabbed the colorway that I knew was one of her faves (Queen Mermaid) and started making her some Mermaid Wings. Days later, I got an email from her stating that she’d decided to ‘spice things up’ a little (which is something we both have in common – seemingly harmless people who just appreciate the value of keeping the heart joyful) and had chosen a totally new hair color – mermaid! She also went on to say that she’d wondered if I was okay because I seemed sort of ‘distant’. I almost cracked right here and told her everything! But, that would have totally ruined the surprise and I just never get to surprise anyone and if I was going to come all this way to do it – I really wanted it to be her.

This is why I don’t lie. It is why I don’t keep secrets. I’m just not bred for it – it is not within the capabilities of my genetic makeup. I kept mum on it and told hubster instead. He laughed at me and instead of stewing, I went to work on finishing the Mermaid Wings. Okay, I may have stewed a little, too. But, mostly I kept hooking along making this shawl for the mermaid lady in Missouri.

mermaid wings shalwl 2Whew! The shawl went out last week, has met its new and loving owner, and I am finally free of the immense strain of all of that secretive yarn swiping. For the record, I sent the purple balls on to their intended home and they will, no doubt, be knit into something awesome (cuz Lisa is an awesome knitter). Now, wanna laugh real hard and then be surprised that I actually DID post the pattern?

pwesentsI guess, by now, I've pretty much consistently screamed that I love all of you so much – my internet knit & spin friends are so dear to me. My surprise pulled off, my secret out, I was feeling good but that was about to change. That ‘feeling good’ was about to become a euphoric state of ‘wee, I’m so happy, I’m so happy…’ that continue on into the night when the Spindling Scot’s package arrived. And, to ice that yummy cake, a birthday surprise from Loribird! I don’t have a pic of Loribird’s package (ripped that one open before I thought of taking a pic – greedy fiber woman!) and almost didn’t have a pic of JudyMac’s but managed to stop myself squealing long enough to put down the one package I’d torn open greedily to take this ‘before’ thingie.

diz made by JudyMacJudy made me a beautiful diz – and burned a soooo pretty mermaid into it. Seriously, is that not the most beautiful thing you've seen? I used it right away to diz the ‘Peacock’ batts from Happy Hooves this month. Peacock batts made into rovingThey are very nice, non? The diz did make a huge difference – I can’t wait to spin these! There was some gorgeous mermaid colored handwoven silk (cuz this woman is pure magic!) as well as a totally awesome crochet hook, and some roving she’d dyed with Ivy berries, and some CTH alpaca laceweight in, get this, ‘Peacock’ – so you know I instantly loved it .OMG - a birthday surprise! I’m always crazy about things that come from my fellow fiber friend’s hands, though, and the roving is beautiful! Knowing that Judy dyed it made it even more special. It shimmied right up next to this luscious merino/alpaca/silk roving that Loribird dyed for me and said, “you know, now all you need is something dyed by you and then spin us up and make a trio shawl from the hands of those you cherish”. So, that’s what will happen. roving dyed by JudyMac and LoribirdThe mullein is blooming (you see it behind Ms. Lisa’s shawl) so I’m thinking of dyeing with that……of course, a little indigo never hurt anyone, and there are berries to come as well.

And all I can think is, Gawd I’m lucky! Good friends, good spinning, good knitting, and the good life. If it’s so Pollyanna you need to kick me, I’ll one up you and say that, I understand. Go ahead, if it will make you feel better, just kick me – I’ve got enough smile today to endure that and more!

cotswolds 007There's been some spinning going on through all this excitement. The yarns here are (from left to right) some rainbow roving that will be appearing at TLE soon, some 'tie dye' bfl roving from Spunky Eclectic, some bright white Cotswold from the sheep, and some purple cotswold with a 'spill' of angelina plied with a jester batt and, lastly, said jester batt navajo plied. Now, I'm off to spin that luxurious roving I made with my new diz - only I leave you with a cute babysitting photo. On summer solstice, one of our two remaining shetland ewes lambed. I knew she was going to but I was very worried, on account of the fact that we have no shetland rams. That meant that Rufus had, well, you know with Adora sometime in the late fall. URgh. I thought cotswold X's would be too big for her to bear healthily. I was wrong. cotswolds 005 Her little 'shotwolds' were very healthy and she had them and was back grazing in no time. They are too cute. Only, they are very energetic. This is the time of year when every spare minute is to be spent grazing for the ewes to grow round and healthy for the coming winter. Poor Adora, her lambs are too young to play with the big, spring Cotswold lambs....and though Rufus is a good dad and will babysit, they try his patience jumping onto his back and running all over him while he's trying to nap in the sun. So, being the good mom that she is, Adora takes them everywhere. On occasion, though, things 1,2 and 3 will take them off her hands and play with them for a while. You can see her, here, looking at them for a minute like a mom giving a sitter instructions. Within minutes of directing them in how to properly care for her perfect babes, she was off foraging and I swear I heard her breath a sigh of relief. Just goes to show you, even sheepie moms need a little help with the kids now and then!