Archive for July, 2016

I’m growing old

Yesterday, Dottie and I went to a bridal shower for one of Abby’s best friends1. I’ve known Molly since she and Abby were in High School together2 (I’ve known Bryan, her fiance, for longer than that), so, yeah, that’s definitely a mark of aging. That’s not what motivated me to post this.

On Thursday I accompanied Dottie to the mall while she shopped for her and Abby’s gift, her money, her choices, I was there for company more than feedback.  She was putting together a ‘spa basket’. So when the man selling creams and scrubs from a kiosk>3 hailed us we were pleased.  He was slick, certainly.  He greeted us as sisters (corny but effective) and was otherwise quite charming.  Then, while demoing his products he was rather less complimentary, with subtle (occasionally less subtle) digs at my appearance and habits, designed to sell his overpriced wrinkle cream, all delivered in a friendly manner designed to cloak him in the halo effect. It was pretty egregious.  It did not make him any sales (despite his proffered ‘special deal’), but he avoided being dressed down in front of everyone who walked by.

Dottie and I discussed it afterwards.  I said the pitch was calculated to take advantage of women’s insecurity about aging (at the same time being an example of cultural pressures which reinforce the insecurities).  Her feeling (as a Fashion and Marketing minor) was that all cosmetics marketing basically does the same thing (minus the reference to aging).  She has a point, but I don’t think it makes mine less valid.

The thing is

I walked into the situation with a level of acceptance of my own aging.  If I seriously thought someone mistook me for my daughter’s sister, I’d be horrified.  I’m pleased that my hair is turning silver (as opposed to gray).  I’m not happy with all the changes my body is going through, because of health implications, but there are some aspects of aging which I look forward to.  Peri-menopause does have some downsides, but I’m looking forward to the end of it, not bemoaning the fact that it began.

At the same time, this encounter is still bothering me three days later.  Not enough to ruin my day, but enough that I want to blog about it.  So I’m making an effort to took for positive and empowering images of aging in America.  Starting with aging playboy bunnies, and following up with a song:

All The Wrinkled Ladies from nicole carpenter on Vimeo.

Blog Contests and Giveaways

This isn’t really a knitting post, but I wanted to slip this one in before closing.  Slipped Stitch Studios is giving away a $50 gift card.  Enter today, drawing tomorrow (1 August).  I really want to get a Go Crafty Needle Case, but it’s not in budget until the job situation gets better.

Footnotes (because I’m just that geeky)

1 For those playing without a scorecard, Abby and Dottie are both my daughters. Dottie is a Junior in college, and Abby is serving overseas in the Peace Corps. Which is another way to mark the fact that I’m growing old.

2Why, yes, since you ask (and I know you’re asking) I did give her a handmade gift. It’s a merino/alpaca/silk lace infinity scarf. Everyone else gave gifts from the registry, which just goes to show that I’m out of touch with the current customs as well as just being old, but I believe she was pleased with it and will get joy from it.

3No, I’m not going to identify the brand. Instead, I’ll recommend Lush.  They are genuinely nice people (who don’t insult their customers) selling quality, ethically sourced products that you should check out.


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Tour de France Fleece

The 2016 Tour de France just ended.  Apparently André Greipel won. I really don’t know anything about competitive cycling and normally wouldn’t mention it on my blog, except that Ravelry has a simultaneous annual event in honor of the Tour.  Its called “Tour de Fleece” and it’s a celebration of spinning.

It’s very simple. Every day during the Tour de France, participants spin, and share pictures of their progress.  On rest days we don’t have to spin.  Certain days we’re supposed to go for more challenging spins.  I’m still inexperienced enough that it’s all challenging to me.

My Personal Tour, a Learning Experience

I completed two projects.  The first one used “Purple Haze”, a selection of hand dyed purple wool from the Fuzzy Farmer’s Market in Leonardtown.  I used my Ladekh Phang from Tinas Angoras.

5 July spun

I think I’ve finally gotten the hang of supported spinning.  The key seems to be to use the right bowl.  I initially had some really nice results using an old malachite paperweight, but then I noticed that the tip of the phang was literally wearing away.  I switched to a plastic one, which was acceptable, but I’ll be looking for a wooden bowl in the future.

You will notice that I slipped the cop directly to the dowel on the lazy kate.  I ended up with huge, hateful snarls during the plying process.  It’s definitely worth the time to wind the singles onto spools before plying.

Purple Haze

The finished skein has an almost boucle look.  I think that’s because I didn’t spin the singles as hard as I usually do with a drop spindle.  Whenever I tried to spin the elasticity out, the single broke, so I decided not to do that any more.  I don’t know if that’s a characteristic of the wool, of the spindle, or of my inexperience as a spinner (spinster?)

In any case this project took so long that I chose not to start a full braid to finish up.  Instead I tried an experiment I’ve been thinking about for a while – spinning polyfill on a turkish spindle from TurtleMade.  It was wonky, and left me with singles so weak that I gave up on plying them.  I expect that the issue was the (really) short staple length.  Still, the result is almost 40 yards of interesting.

Poly Fluff Experiment

Yes, the single is a bit thick (that’s deliberate) and irregular (that’s not).

It was a fun event, and I’ll probably do it again next year.



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So I’ve been neglecting this blog badly, and I’m sorry.  Here are some lovely pictures in way of apology. Back in May I went to the Renwick with my daughter, Dottie, my sister, Alice, and my mother.  It was pretty amazing.

There was a gorgeous string rainbow sculpture:

A string and light sculpture based on maps of a tsunami. The colors shifted to show how ocean depth changed over time:

A construction of twigs (willow?)

and an amazing marble installationIMG_1754

I’m so sorry I don’t have better notes.  There was also an installation of huge mounds made from file cards (which was my daughter’s favorite).

I’ll try to post more regularly going forward.  Hope you all had a great spring, and will have an excellent summer.

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