Long time, no post. Sorry 'bout that. I'm in new hobby heaven and have not yet come up for air. A couple of weeks before the Indiana trip the Monkey found my old knitting needles. Many years ago I'd attempted to dive in to this most ancient of domestic arts and made several washclothes. Then promptly lost interest in the knitting and the pearling and whatnot. Until I was faced with the prospect of 8 days of awkward 'introvert visits the in-laws' time and knew I wasn't going to get away with the old coping mechanism of hiding in a corner reading a book. Which, by the way is always an acceptable substitute for meaningful conversation in my family (well maybe just the introverted side.)
Since getting married and growing up, etc. I've been informed that this is in fact considered rude behavior in other families. So the old coping mechanism wasn't going to cut it. It's not that my in-laws are not lovely people and I don't enjoy spending time with them. Quite the contrary. But like most introverts, I get exhausted having to be social for any long period of time and need to have some kind of mental escape to take the pressure off the small talk. Otherwise, I tend to fill the void with really boring Cliff Clavenesque trivia facts in a pathetic attempt to impress with my vast store of totally useless knowledge.
Besides which, for some reason Mr. Stang and the Monkey feel particularly shut out when I settle into the trance-like state of devouring a good book. But they don't seem to mind knitting as much. So my little free time has been taken up with knitting and crocheting and checking out this great little local yarn shop in downtown : http://www.stitchcraft.us/ . And surfing for free patterns on ravelry.com.
And drooling over all the yummy hand dyed, hand spun yarns and fascinating twists on the craft that are now available on the 'Net. Like yarn made from plastic bags (Plarn). Yes, it may seem like one step above recycling cardboard for that home improvement project but as a grocery bag? Or beach or laundry bag? Perfect. And recycled silk. From Indian Sari fabrics! Made by women's co-ops in Nepal and India. When you think about all those poor little baby silkworms that had to die to make millenia's worth of luxurious silk fabrics, recycling existing work out or scrap fabrics is the only humane thing to do (besides which, silk scarves are infinitely less itchy than wool. Sustainable as sheep may be....)
And that's just the tip of the iceberg. There's yarn made from hemp, banana fiber, yak, and all kinds of sheeps and bunnies and other cute little furries. And something called "qiviut". What the hell is "qiviut" you might ask? This:
That's right. The underwool of the ARCTIC MUSK OX. And according to the official qiviut coop webpage, it's supposedly eight times warmer than wool, extraordinarily lightweight, NOT scratchy and won't shrink in hot water. But at about $40 a ball I won't be playing with it any time soon.