Monday, December 31, 2007

The Eagle has Landed

G'day all!

We are now in sunny San Jose!

Gosh it is good to be here. It was even better to see the sun - does a pall of cloud sit over eastern North America for all of late fall and winter? We only saw the sun once in Waterloo (a brilliant day with hoar frost! Beautiful!) unless you count the times we could see it through the clouds without hurting our eyes one bit.... Anyway sun is grand! Blue skies are wonderful!

Even more wonderful are the gum trees around the place. As an Aussie, I am attached to gum trees (eucalypts and their kin). I had only seen a couple in six months but here? Oz plants all over the place! I haven't crushed a gum leaf in my hands yet but it will happen and all those wonderful eucalyptus scents will carry me home for a little while.

We can't wait to explore, though after weeks of sitting on our butts and being inactive, our feetsies are sore after only walking about 3 miles today.... LOL. We are right near the light rail, most convenient as the closest Whole Foods is miles away, literally, and it is near the light rail too. Anyone know what Campbell area is like to live in?

Anyway, wishing you all a Happy New Year! Even those of you who are not living in the past but are ahead of the times!


Saturday, December 29, 2007

Do you know the way to San Jose


Canada has been real but it is time for us to Get Real. Hope the planes know the way to San Jose cos I am not flying one!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Christmas socks 1

G'day all!

I promised pictures of socks. Well I have pics of one set of socks!

Made for my MiL in Hand Maiden "Casbah," a blend of wool with cashmere and nylon (10% of each). I chose a colour that reminded me of ice whilst being still in the realm of our favourite colour, aquamarine/turquoise. Yep I share the same favourite colour! When he discovered this DH was mildly concerned that he was marrying his mother....

The pattern is based on Rainy Day socks from Magknits.

MiL says the yarn is very soft. The socks seem to fit quite well too :-)

All round a win! See, I can make a matching pair of socks. Hooray!


Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Another White Christmas!

G'day all!

We had another White Christmas! This one was a *REAL* white Christmas! Snow! It even snowed a little today!

(Love the glowing butt on that reindeer....)

I hope each and every one of my reader friends spent their day with family and/or friends in fellowship and waaay too much to eat.

You will be proud of me - I managed to get two pairs of socks done for Christmas, a scarf mostly in handspun (and knitted combination-style) all whilst dragging the pair of us all over Canada. I even have pictures (and will get some more). I have a pair of birthday socks to complete within a week and apart from that? Time to relax! Hooray!

Less than a week until we are in San Jose. I think by then snow, slush and ice will be Old and I will be ready for some solid ground that isn't white and slippery. And COLD! And I'll also be ready for some sun! Oh please give me some sun! We haven't had real sun since we left Edmonton nearly a week ago!


Monday, December 24, 2007

Internet at last!

G'day all!

We are in Waterloo, an hour out of Toronto, Canada. It is snowing. It is white outside. With any luck we will have a white Christmas! Hooray! Plus we have an internet connection. Even bigger hooray!

I have been knitting lots, though you would not know it from my output. Three socks and a half, with that half needed for tomorrow. Plus I need to get some more stuff made/bought as presents for Christmas. Ack. I only have 12 hours. I'd better get cracking!

Have a Merry Christmas! I have lots of trip reports to make on Coloradoan Dreaming. And some knitting to show. And yarn crawl results. Did Toronto yesterday. If I remember the pictures. Ooops.


Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Signing off for a while

G'day all!

Today they come to pack all our stuff up. I don't know when I'll be able to blog again - Nathan's laptop's wireless card has given up the ghost and internet cafes seem to be a thing of the past.

If I don't get online between now and Christmas, which I think is unlikely, have a good one! Make it merry and safe and do all the things I wouldn't do ;-)


Monday, December 03, 2007

I am going to die

G'day all!

The madness continues here. The place is in a total state of disruption. I have half sorted stuff out and we've gotten rid of a heap of stuff. The packers come tomorrow and take our stuff.

But why am I going to die?

We land in Calgary on Wednesday evening. That night Calgary is expecting MINUS THIRTY-TWO DEGREES CELSIUS. Yep, -32C. OK that is including windchill but I am going to die! I won't be able to breathe. I'll have to muffle myself in about 5 gazillion scarves. My fingers and toes will go numb in seconds and I shall probably set a new world record for frostbite setting in. I don't deal with cold very well....

O holy cow, why did Calgary have to be the place with the available visa appointments? Why did it have to be the coldest large city in Canada (mebbe with exception of Edmonton or Winnipeg)? Why not Vancouver, where I would have a chance of surviving?

I am so getting me on a bus or plane to Vancouver once those visas are issued, assuming they are issued. Of course we could go to Toronto and harrass the friends there but we may as well do some sightseeing whilst we are in the area.

Thank goodness I bought thermal underwear yesterday, along with ear muffs and thinsulate gloves. I am afraid that my lovely knitted woollies just can't keep out the cold. I need to double layer them, but then they get really bulky and bulky mittens are hard to deal with. I think I'll be double layering the thermals too. Eeeek!

Time to go look in the fridge and sigh. I have Too Much Food left, especially considering we won't have anything to cook with tomorrow night. I am seriously contemplating packing a saucepan in my luggage (along with my spinning wheel) just so that when we stay at any youth hostels I have one "safe" pot to cook in. Plus I'll ahve a saucepan to cook in tomorrow night, if not any utensils... (precut stuff is the go!). It sounds like a fine plan to me!


Friday, November 30, 2007

We're back

G'day all!

We are back, for a few days. Ack. In less than a week we will be cleared out of here.

We left and the temps were still getting into the 60s F, what high teens C? OK, some days were only in the noughties C. Today it is -6C or about 18F. There is SNOW on the ground out the back of our place. I guess the kids from the local not-Steiner pre-school won't be rolling down it much any more. At least the dog doo-doo will be obvious now.

Anyway, we had a lovely time visiting Chicago overnight then Minnesota for a few days, then Chicago for two nights, then Washington DC, then Chicago.... I think you get the picture. Basically Chicago is a major hub for Amtrak. Frigging cold it was too. Waaaay too cold for me, but I get home and it is waaaay too cold for me here too!

Plus I caught a cold and it has headed straight to my sinuses and my throat. I sound like a frog, have the worst smoker's cough you've heard in a non-smoker and often can make very interesting bubbling noises. Too much info, eh?

I knitted a LOT of stuff - one pair of kid's gloves, ladies' sized fingerless mitts, a hat, three scarves and one bag. I got a good third of the way into my FiL's socks before the needles fell apart at the join between the bamboo and the metal/cable. I knitted 5" of sock to match the most recent STR offering. And did I take a single picture of any of my knitting?


Silly me. I have the bag though cos I forgot to hand it to the recipient, or at least the recipients' dad. I shall take a pic of it.

I took a fair whack of pics but not as many as I could've or would've if the weather had been nicer. Chicago decided that we should experience nice winter in Melbourne weather (ie lots of low grey clouds and drizzle), only it dropped the temps about 15 degrees C, from positive to negative (ie below freezing). I don't think I've ever been so cold in my life!

I will blog the trip at Coloradoan Dreaming, assuming I get time. We have to get this place ready for packing this weekend, have a house cooling tomorrow, figure out some way to get Nathan's pay - can you believe they made his last pay by CHEQUE and apparently sent it to his WORK address? The work that he is not allowed to go to? What on earth was wrong with sending it to his home address or paying by electronic means?

Cross your fingers for us - we are almost out of cash!


Wednesday, November 21, 2007

I'm dreaming of a white thanksgiving....

G'day all!

We are in Minnesota. So far we have seen lots of grey and drab brown, and some really funky old houses. It is SNOWING! It is only 24F outside. Brrrr! It is night time though... but it is SNOWING! And we have all of our luggage now which is sorta nice - some of it decided to stay an extra night in Chicagy.

Did I mention it is SNOWING?

Am I excited?

Happy Thanksgiving to those who celebrate it! And a happy Thursday to the rest of the world....


Friday, November 16, 2007

Train itinerary, I hope

G'day again all!

Here is our itinerary:

Saturday 17 November: Denver to Chicago, arrive Sunday arvo.
Sunday 18 November: Chicago
Monday 19 November: Chicago to Milwaukee
Tuesday 20 November: Milwaukee to Minneapolis
Wednesday 21 November: Friday 23 November: New Ulm
Saturday 24 November: Minneapolis - Chicago - Washington
Sunday 25 November: Washington, arvo
Monday 26 November: Washington - Philadelphia
Wednesday 28 November: Philadelphia - Chicago
Thursday 29 November: Chicago - Denver
30 November - home! But only for 5 days as we leave for Calgary on 5th December.

If you live around those areas or know of something good to do *and* we have not already arranged to meet up with you, let us know!


hey! No fair!

G'day all!

Yesterday I went to the Bad Place. I was told the Bad Place has cheap laptops. Yep! Found a laptop for less than the secondhand place we went to (like why on earth would anyone pay $380 for a secondhand laptop? A three year old secondhand laptop? $150 or so, maybe). OK, so it isn't the best built laptop in the world but if we look after it it should be fine, and did anyone say CHEAP?

Whilst I was at the Bad Place, I thought I would try on some pants. And some bras.

Can anyone tell me how it is possible for me to drop two dress sizes by coming to the USA and go up a bra size even though I've lost an inch or so off all my measurements?

The dress size thing? Easy. You guys have resized your dress sizes. Half the manufacturers in Oz have done the same thing - if you want to be a 12 instead of a 14 you pick out certain labels. Of course everyone wants to be smaller! (This is a warning for American women out there - prepare to increase your dress size if you go to Australia. If you go to Asia, if you are any size above minute, prepare to have to have all your clothes tailored cos they don't make stuff big enough for an American size 10.)

But the bra size? How come I have gone up? I am *smaller* than I was! My measurements are smaller. Are American women so worried about the size of their boosage that instead of resizing smaller, the manufacturers have resized larger? So what was a 36B, for example, is now a 38C? DH suggests lower air pressure since we are almost a mile high here, but we all know that Mythbusters ahem blew that myth apart.

Your thoughts are as always welcome!


Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Half done

G'day for the umpteenth time!

I bring news, my lord (s and ladies!). We have a place to stay in Calgary (the youth hostel which is 400m from the consulate), tickets are booked for the trip up there and our Amtrak stuff on its way. I hope. Thank you all again for your good wishes.

I think you need a little something other than my stress flaring at you.

How about a little sock action? An actual finished sock! Yes I still do knit.

(Lenore pattern in the Raven series from Blue Moon Fiber Arts - you don't know how hard it is to type fiber, center, etc, instead of fibre, centre, etc. Plus the second one is on the needles! Me making a pair of socks! Unthinkable! Inconceivable!)

Interesting how the plying on the yarn makes those columns - I've seen that on Zarina and a few other yarns with a high twist angle.

Some more yarn pr0n?

Oh yes indeed you better believe that the yarn I've been showing you was not all of what I bought for me for my birthday. *blush* (But I did buy some as presents, honest! OK, two skeins.) This lot is the last, really. It all came from Brown Sheep.

Some white Lamb's Pride, only when I look now I can quite clearly see one is white and one is actually labelled "creme." Oops. I though I got a matched pair - must've put the wrong one down in my excitement!

A vaguely indicative picture of some Lamb's Pride in a yummy purple blue colourway. My camera hates these colours and won't take good pics of them. I thought this might make a great felted bag, cos you all know how much I love bags right? How many have I shown off? Umm, well yeah, I admit to not using handbags. I've been dragging around a calico bag from a yarn shop in Melbourne for weeks. It is getting a bit grubby and ragged now but I love it. It is from Home. Home is in my thoughts a lot at present, prolly due to stress and wanting something familiar.

So why did I get myself a new pussy cat? 99c (plus tax!) in the thrift store. She will be a great cushion once we are set up in the next place. She's all the cat I can have currently (hey, unless I find a GOOD soft toy cat. Most suck cos they look like uncats.)

Of course the bright yarn came home with me. I will probably knit some Christmas presents out of it. I am contemplating a pair of thrummed mittens, only if they are Too Nice I will want to keep them. You can see quite clearly why it is a seconds - it was not plied properly.

Then this is where it goes a bit mad. OK, quite quite mad.

Have a look at the label.


Here is one in all its glory - not so keen on the orangey yellow with the pink but it had to come with me.

And this one socked me in the eye so much I had to bring it home! They had a shawl on display made from I think the same colourway. I don't usually go for the shop model colour but it is so lurid! The closeup shot gives a much better idea of the colours.

Finally for my mate craftyscience, cashmere dyed and plied up (in my eyes unfortunately and totally accidentally) to look like a tissue sample dyed with haematoxylin and eosin. (BTW, go and say hi to Crafty Science and admire her new Venezia yarn - so pretty! She's new on the blogisphere.)

Is it my imagination or does it look sorta like a collapsed artery? Layers of muscle and collagen. Anyway it has put me off knitting with it even though it is soft soft soft. I might have to overdye it with some blue to tone down the H&E overtones. I'd best get off my butt and hurry up with that since we leave here on Saturday for our trip. I am still in denial that something that looked so pretty in the skein could come up so terribly when plied.

Holy cow, it is about -4C here now. Brrr! And there is a cold draft blowing in. And it is late enough that the heating has gone off. Whose dumb idea was it that I wanted to experience winter? Even a slight touch of winter has me reaching for the blankies and the mittens and the hats and the scarves, and that is indoors! I'll be the Michellin man if I want to go outside!


argh, kill me now!

G'day all!

Well the saga goes on. Today I realised the content of an email yesterday says "organise your own visa trip to Canada and we will repay you."

Poo, bottom and crap as I like to say in the vernacular.

Umm, with what money? OK, we are blowing money on a trip on the train. Maybe we shouldn't do that but it is our only known chance to go see Nathan's friends. The Calgary trip is going to cost at least $1200 in airfares (I think I have to book flights in and out to please the Canadian officials), plus another thousand at a hotel unless I can find us somewhere cheap but decent like a hostel or something... Are Canadian hostels as disgusting as those in the USA? Australian hostels are usually quite nice, especially the newer ones and ones not attached to caravan (RV) parks.

Anyone know anyone in Calgary?

I have to go book a plane ticket or two.


Is it wrong

Is it wrong to be up at 3:15am cataloguing and photographing your sock yarns?

Y'see the sleeplessness continues so I decided maybe playing with pretties would help me some, or at least distract me. It is not normal for me to have insomnia, but I ate something yesterday, oops two days ago, that is having ongoing repercussions and one of those is racing brain that will not sleep.

Now I have to choose what yarns to keep out of the removalists' mitts so I can make me and others socks and stuff whilst we travel around Canada. And the USA.

I have an *awful* lot of sock yarn. And I mean that in the sense of awe, not aw shucks. And I left a lot of sock yarn at home too. Hmm. I guess you'll want to see the pictures, but not quite yet - I think my brain is finally slowing down. Hooray! Maybe I will get some sleep by 4am! Or mebbe not.

My name is Lynne and I am addicted to sock yarn.


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Scheduling is no fun

G'day all!

Thank you everyone for your kind wishes after my last post.

(Gosh it is another day! I started this post on the 13th I thought but now it is well and truly the 14th.)

DH is chucking wobblies left right and centre. I am trying to figure out how on earth we can schedule in the people we want to see on our train trip. We need a laptop - DH won't survive a week without a computer and since we are going to be travelling for the next six or so weeks.... Plus his PhD is not finished and he is extremely unhappy about that cos he wanted to finish it this week before we left. If it is not finished we realllly need a laptop. The cheapest we've found locally is $380 for a secondhand laptop of unknown provenance. Seems awful dear considering we can get a bottom of the range brand new Dell for $500 (plus tax).

Anyways, I think I have developed a plan, to be ratified by he who must be gruntled. We go to Chicago and arrive Sunday 18th November. Then we go to Niagara Falls, arriving Monday 20th and stay for a night. Why? Cos I've never been there and we may well go whilst we are in TO and see them from the Other Side. Anyone know of any good but cheap places to stay in Niagara Falls or Buffalo? Or anything else to do there? Then we come back to Chicago, arriving at 9:45am on Tuesday 20th and immediately (ok at 2pm) go to Minneapolis and places yon. Then we come back to Chicago on Saturday 25th November. Then we go to either Philadelphia or Washington. I favour Washington first arriving on Sunday at 1:30pm. Then we go to Philadelphia. Then we come back to Chicago. Then we go home via Denver. I am still trying to wedge Omaha into the trip but I am not sure if I can. Since we are on an extreme budget (see no job, need for laptop, train trip involving about a gazillion meals on the train, 3 weeks in Canada coming up - lovely place but our budget didn't include paying both rent for next month and accommodation...) I have managed to get us six nights sleeping on the train. Uncomfortable? Yep! But it won't cost more than the train fare....

My poor brain is so done in by this that I can't sleep. I lay in bed for an hour vaguely dozing on occasion but at 1:30am crawled out again to work on the schedule and fix up some of my stash - I have SOOOO much sock yarn! OMG, it is small, portable and cheap compared to a sweater's worth of yarn, so I buy it. And I still need more! Christmas presents - I don't have the right colours of everything, but I am most of the way there.

It will be a whirlwind trip but as long as we get a couple of days here and there to recover I think we'll be ok.


Monday, November 12, 2007

Can't see the forest for the trees

G'day all!

At the moment I am totally surrounded by decisions. Completely hemmed in.

I don't "do" decisions.

I am having to plan everything, work out what fits in with what and work out what is best. This doesn't come easily to me either.

Funny, isn't it that whilst I am rather laissez faire and prefer to take things as they come, the fact that we are in visa limbo AGAIN, for the second time in a year, is crippling me.

Y'see we have to fly to Calgary to get our visas. We don't know how long it will take to get the visas after the interview. It might take a day for processing and a day for delivery (but there is a weekend in the way) or it might take a week or longer. Now I am sure Calgary is a nice place but it is going to be winter and we are going to be a long way from home with absolutely no friends or people we know nearby. We have limited funds (people have offered us loans if we need them but y'know I am really loath to ask for money) so it isn't like we are going to book a week of skiing at Banff or anything.

Heh. What is new? I don't have anyone to help me out here anyway - I need someone to talk to and work things out with but Nathan is busy doing his thesis and grumps at me if I interrupt him (but he is quite happy to chat with friends) and there is noone else here. Plus he has been going to a friend's house to set up a greenhouse and solar experiment. He gets some social outlet there. I sit at home and slowly dissolve. I am sad and lonely and crumbling under trying to take the responsibility for the move and trying to second guess what is going on and what will happen and trying to please people.

I should just let go and let it all happen but it won't happen at all if I do that. Take it one step at a time but I've gotten so worry-worted that I am totally conflicted. I don't know what to do - pack up the house and go to Canada, go to Canada and then pack up the house, what on earth will we do in Calgary for up to a week?, how will we afford it, etc. Instead of getting things done I sit in the corner and bibble.

Here's another thing that is pathetic. According to my stat counter I get about 160 hits a day on this blog. Now I am sure that most of those hits are from web-crawling bots that plug stuff into google and other search engines. They have to be. I have to believe that they are cos if I get 9 comments (one was a double comment of the 10) for my birthday out of 370-odd hits over the next couple of days, well, all I can say is how scabby are people for not even being able to drop a happy birthday comment! I don't think I am going OTT to day it is blasted rude not to say happy birthday particularly if you are a regular reader. I know I am guilty of not commenting on blogs as often as I could but I try to comment on the blogs with fewer commenters. It is nice to get comments! It is nice to think people wish you well for your birthday.

OK, grump out of the way. Actually it isn't, but I've expressed myself and I can't do more than that. I guess I'll go back to flicking fleece in preparation for our upcoming trip. We only have two, maybe three stops so far and they are all for Nathan's friends. Just outside Minneapolis, Philadelphia and Washington DC, though the latter is pretty wobbly cos our host is only available on this weekend and we won't get to Washington until Sunday afternoon unless I can figure out a way to get us from Fort Collins, where I have a knitting class on Thursday 6-7, to Denver by 8pm to get our luggage checked on board. It takes two days to get to Washington DC from here. I have no idea how we will occupy our time between Washington and Minnesota, where we have a Thanksgiving invite. We will have a week after Minnesota to wind our way home - maybe we go back to Chicago and then up through Buffalo and places to Boston, NYC, Philadelphia, back to Chicago, possibly Omaha and home. Maybe not. Even this sort of decision is killing me. The Amtrak site is about as useful as a slap in the face with a wet fish. As soon as you say you want to go from one place to another without listing the intermediate steps (eg Minneapolis to NYC) it says "no such route" cos you have to say Mn to Chicago, Chicago to NYC, etc. Plus I can see we are going to spend a lot of time on the train and I will be very hungry and dirty cos unless you cough up for a sleeper you don't seem to get bathing facilities. Ick. I'll have my spinning wheel in my carry on luggage - if I only have knitting and looking out the window to entertain me I'll go mad. Nathan will find a new friend or two onboard - he is talented like that.

Oh plus I need to get rid of some stash but I am terrified that if I sell stuff it could be construed as working and that is a breach of my visa, which means being chucked out of the US and not being allowed to return. That would put the kybosh on Nathan's new job and we'd be totally screwed.

The worst? Someone who is not so totally enmeshed will be able to see straight through all this and say do this, this and this. It will be blatantly obvious to them but I'm stuck in the middle of the trees and I can't see the big picture.


Sunday, November 11, 2007

Even More Birthday Stuff

G'day all!

I thought I should abuse your eyeballs with some birthday presents. Presents-wot-I-didn't-organise-myself. Surprise presents!

The lovely mrspao sent me some goodies all the way from England:

yummy choc-rice things and some Hipknits sock yarn in a colourway that is very me. Nathan says "too pale" but those pale colours look good on me.

And my blogless friends M and M in Oz got a bunch o' people to contribute to rectifying a Great Problem - can you tell what it is from this pic?

Oh and it was not just one block of chocolate - the big pic shows that I have a 14 week supply! However, under stress it will probably last about 10 weeks. My *Very favourite* chocolate cos I have never poisoned myself with it, though with that many blocks I probably could if I tried to eat it all at once 8-)

Lovely prezzies! I really appreciate the thought you guys put into the things you sent me :-)

Now for a pic taken last night at a friend's house. He has two lovely grey tabbies, but the girl is extra-special. She loves being held and patted and purrs like a mad thing. Makes us miss our pusses back in Oz.

Ain't they sweet? She is even kneading away whilst posing for the camera.


More birthday yarn pr0n

G'day all!

I said I went a bit ballistic last weekend, and here's the rest of the proof.

Two skeins of Claudia's Handpainted, the same two skeins that I eyeballed way back in March. They waited for me. Isn't that sweet?

Two skeins of Shibui Knits in an eyewatering bright colourway. The lady at Woolen Treasures joked with me about how bright they are - we agreed that they would be visible from half a mile away on a dark night. She likes them too.

I can't get a representative colour of the Crystal Palace Yarns Merino 5, but the lovely Sheri at Loopy Ewe has a BONZA pic! The colours look about right on my screen - it is a lovely two tone violet colour with leafy green in it. The yarn is squishy and very soft. Mmmmm. It is a new release, which would be why I've never seen it before. I had to bring two skeins of it home with me, even if they are not enough for decent size socks, they will still make great handwarmers or gloves or mittens or something.

One lonesome skein of Karaoke, just cos I want to play with it. I guess it is enough to make a teensy bag out of.

So much yarn so little time!

I must download more pics - I have more prezzies! These are real prezzies, ones that someone else sent me without my knowledge. :-) Much more fun than stuff I buy myself...

In other news, Nathan's job disappeared on Thursday. He had to give back the laptop he had been told was his - it wasn't. On Wednesday we had to do an emergency run to Best Buy and Circuit City to find a new computer. We spent more on the monitor than we did on the computer, which isn't saying that much cos the computer was old stock and cheap. Hopefully the monitor will last longer than the computer. So it means I have a Nathan underfoot. He has to finish his thesis ASAP too because of all the new lot of stuffing around with visas and travel and stuff.

BTW, we are going to buy Amtrak passes for the east. We have to be just outside the Twin Cities, MN, for Thanksgiving, and Washington DC for next weekend. We have to return to Denver by the 30th as our tickets expire that day. So if you happen to be within coo-ee of those areas and we can get to you/near you by Amtrak, let me know.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Calling those in USA

G'day all!

This is a particular message for those of you in the USA. Sorry to those who read this post without knowing it doesn't have much for you, unless you want us to pester someone as our train rumbles by.

If we can wrangle our finances into some sort of order, we may end up doing a Grand Tour (thanks to cheap Amtrak passes) of the USA this month and early next month.

So far we've been offered a place to stay near the Twin Cities MN for Thanksgiving, Philadelphia, Phoenix AZ, San Diego CA and a couple of other places that don't seem to have Amtrak anywhere near them.

Anyone else got a spot or want to meet up in between trains somewhere? We are loud and brash Australians :-) On short stays we are relatively neat and try to keep things clean. Admittedly I am a PITA cos I can't eat dairy or gluten or various flavour enhancers and detest HFCS (everything with it in it tastes like tropical bubblegum, not my fave flavour! Plus it is just plain icky ;-). Oh and I am too old to sleep on the floor without a mattress... I ain't 20 any longer. LOL

Email me (email addy should be on the top right corner of the blog) or leave a comment if you are not shy and would like to meet up.

Plus Torontoans, we are still hoping to get there for Christmas now. We still haven't gotten a visa appointment - I missed out on one in Halifax (of all places) by 10 minutes. Dang! We figure if we are already in Canada and can't come back here until Christmas anyway....


Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Birthday pr0n

G'day all!

I thought I should blitz you with some sock yarn pr0n. After all I won't be buying much yarn soon!

Hmm, let's start with the yarn I bought at a recent sale and hid (most cunningly under a pile of clean washing and mending) for a couple of weeks.

A new Online sock yarn. There were a whole range of colours that I thought very pretty - grassy green, pink, turquoise, and look what I walked away with:

Yep, GREY! ME! Choosing a yarn with a grey background. I just thought the the colours poppedreally well out of it.

Then there was some (new to me) Araucania sock yarn called Ranco Multy. Anyway, it looks very pretty, 75% wool, 25% nylon so it should be tough. It isn't machinewash though.

Do you see that colour? Brown! OK, brown with some green and blue and golds and reds in it but brown. Me? I must be mad!

This one might be a little more what you expect...

Yep, safe territory there - blues, reds, greens, purples, all sorts of colours in between. Much more what you expect of me, eh?

There is more. A bit more. Actually quite a bit more. 8-)

I should show some knitting I've been doing but that requires photos of it. Admittedly it has just become a thousand times easier to download photos. In the recent relatively disastrous upgrade of my computer, one thing that did start working again is that it now recognises the camera and actually will download photos! Before it would say, "oh there is a camera there," and I'd be like "well download the photos" and it would be like "what camera? It doesn't speak my language so I'll just ignore it." But now? Plug it in and let it rip! Hooray! Now I can put more photos online rather than having to download them via DH's laptop and upload them onto my computer and yadda yadda yadda....


Saturday, November 03, 2007

Happy Birthday to Me!

G'day all!

(Argh, not posted for a whole day cos apparently I didn't close a link in my html, not that blogger kindly tells me where I didn't close the link)

Happy birthday to me!
Happy birthday to me!
Happy birthday dear me-ee,
Happy birthday to me!

(I have to sing it to myself cos I haven't got anyone to sing it to me - DH doesn't do that sort of thing plus he hasn't organised a cake or made one or anything - if he has, he's been very sneaky cos none of my cake mixes are missing.)

Thank you to those who have sent birthday wishes, and bigger thanks to those who have sent cards and even presents! I must say the post is very slow at the moment, well I hope it is very slow - Nathan has received more parcels than me this week! Humph!

Yesterday, after I picked up our hire car, I drove up to Wyoming, took a right and ended up in Nebraska (mrspao, I have to do a little piece on western Nebraska for you). After a left and a loooong wait in some roadworks, I ended up at the Brown Sheep Mill. They don't allow pics in the mill - not sure why as I would've thunk that well a woollen mill looks like a woollen mill the world over but apparently not. The shop had a range of yarns that I did get tempted by, but no pics yet, haven't had time. I left home at 12:30pm and got home just before 8pm. It is technically a 2.5 hour drive each way, but I like to stop and look at stuff along the way, in particular Scott's Bluff National Monument in this case. I figure if you drive all that way you may as well look around the area. I walked a teensy bit of the Oregon Trail. They were nuts, you know. 2000 miles of trail, across prairies and mountains... At least I could do in a car in half a day what they took a week to do. (Pics and info to be blogged on Colorado Dreaming.)

Today we stuffed around in the morning and eventually got moving. Nathan got to drive the Suburban we were lent by a friend for a few days. It is not new, but really I would expect something about 10 years old would have held up better. Anyway, it is a MONSTROUS vehicle (as I drove it I sang to nearly every other "car" on the road "I'm bigger than you!" but the seat didn't go back far enough for Nathan to be comfortable behind the wheel. How silly, eh? Something half as big as a London double decker bus but with hardly any more va-voom (though plenty of V8 roar) and less room! Anyway the little-ish Nissan (that is knee-san, not niss'n as Aussies say it) we rented is much nicer, easier to steer, good on petrol, Nathan found a comfortable driving position, much more get up and go, and better whoa too. I much prefer small cars to enormous houseboat like tanks.

We drove to Loveland, where I ended up buying Too Much Yarn from Woolen Treasures (they have different sock yarn there, verra nice). Pics later cos again we got home well after dark tonight. Then we drove up into the Rockies and into the actual park. It has changed a bit since we were last there! The Trail Ridge Road is now closed until April or May. Pity cos it is a fun drive (I must blog our last experience, ack) and there is not that much snow where they closed the road. The aspens have all lost their leaves. There is snow on the ground here and there. Plus it was a leetle bit colder (ie my fingers went numb if I left them in the wind for long).

Now Nathan is cooking me dinner. I hope it is yummy cos the meat cost $11 - that is a lot more than I usually have in one dinner's food. If I am lucky he might even write on the card I reminded him to buy me (he bought me two secondhand books and I also saved some of "my" money and bought me some more sock yarn and Cat Bordhi's New Pathways for socks book, so he "gave" me them too!).

(For those wondering how we can afford this after me crying poor? Apparently we will only have a month without pay - still hard but we should be able to survive it. Nathan's boss pulled a swifty on his boss and in the best tradition of Yes Minister/Yes Prime Minister, outmanoeuvered him.)

Tomorrow we drive to Denver via the mountains and meet up with someone from Back 'Ome. Gosh it will be nice to talk to another Aussie, and a brainy one too! I'll catch up on pics eventually.

Birthday contest

In honour of my birthday, I am going to have a little contest. Leave a comment describing your biggest birthday surprise. I have up for grabs a hank of handspun Shetland wool in a sport to light DH weight. The yarn is off-white with a little ginger to it - it looks like white pepper. There's about 180m of three ply yarn that could be yours! Should be enough to make mittens or a hat and short scarf or wristwarmers. It should be easy to dye too. Oh and yes, I spun it. I was going to make a sweater from the Shetland fleece I bought at Taos but I realised that I didn't have enough of it. My loss could be someone else's gain!


Thursday, November 01, 2007

Ripped off bad!

G'day all!

So busy at present, and rather introspective too. An upcoming birthday, getting older (one day makes all the difference!), Mum would've been 77 (!!!) the other day (in a way I am glad I watched her get old in a few months rather than over the years). I have a project or 10 that are totally out of control and taking over the house....

Anyways, I get on Amazon today cos it is my birthday on Saturday and I wantses me some stuff, money be hanged. Nathan asked me to get a couple of compact flash cards for a project he is working on. It says all my stuff is in stock and will ship shortly, whilst the flash cards will be two or three days before they ship.

So what do I get this evening, six hours after ordering? An email saying my order is in TWO shipments, and Nathan's has already been sent. The one that would not be sent until after the weekend. Mine is still waiting to be picked and packed.

Spewin'. (That's Strine, classic Strine. It means that I am moderately upset, only in less delicate terms.)

I am mighty tempted to drive on up to Scotts Bluff in Nebraska tomorrow arvo and go to Brown Sheep. It is a long drive for a short afternoon but dangit, if I don't go, I might not get the chance to go again. We can't afford to hire a car more than once a month and borrowing cars is mostly harder than one might think. I could see if any local Ravelers want to go up, then they could drive me but they might not want to stop and look at stuff. Hmm, a conundrum! saturday? I think maybe the Swetsville Zoo and a little drive into the mountains, unless I decide I want to check out Boulder and other yummies there like Shuttles, Spindles and Skeins or whatever they are. Also Woolen Treasures cos I haven't been there since umm, early August?

And someones on Ravelry have put me onto Anthropologie again. I looked at that site a LOT about two years ago and fell in lust with about half the clothes and shoes on it. Gosh I would like to be able to afford something from that site, and even better be able to wear it! LOL - I'm in exercise gear most of the time these days cos a) it is warm, well my stuff is, and b) I can ride the bike whilst wearing it. I don't have much call for pretty clothes or shoes these days, which is probably why I like pretty socks instead. This leads to more introspection - what is my role now? Housewife? I am pretty darned bad at that! I am not allowed to work for pay here, and was going to do voluntary work when I found a place I liked but I'll only have one more month I can do that sort of stuff here and the weather is starting to cool down. It makes it hard to get to (since I can't breathe when it is cold and I am riding the bike) and I don't want anyone expecting me to stay around either...

For putting up with me whinging away, I give you:

Pretty! This technically belongs on Coloradoan Dreaming but you need some sort of reward. I *love* Spring Creek. It is so pretty. This pic was only about 300m from our place. I have so many pretty pictures of the creek that I have to get together.


Sunday, October 28, 2007

Evil BMFA!

G'day all!

I got my latest Socks That Rock club installment yesterday. Can I just say this is the only one this year that I've gone OMG, I MUST knit these socks! Others are nice but these? Already on the needles...

Can I also say that they are evil evil b@stards too?

In the bag with the yarn, I saw a spider. A plastic spider. Yeah yeah, whatever. After all Halloween is coming up and spiders (fake and real) and booglies are everywhere here. (They are trying to find warm places for winter. As long as the spider is not a black widow/katipo/red back, I mostly let them live, or shove them outside.) So I put my hand into the bag to grab the most droolsome yarn, a different spider wriggled in a most life-like way. I nearly hit the roof! LOL

I would show you a picture but I most foolishly upgraded my computer last weekend. I didn't realise that the new version had only been released that day. What a STUPID idea! Whose dumb idea was that? I had hoped it would fix some problems that I have been working around for months now (eg the system recognises the camera but won't download from it for love nor money nor a whole lotta prodding). Anyway, along with my web access being whacky (it looks up a DNS server that doesn't exist and then of course won't crawl the web so ever three hours I have to go change a file under the administrator access) I've now discovered that I am not allowed to write files to my own disk! Files of course include pictures. Now maybe I could go use admin access to write jpegs but really! DH is going to have a fun time fixing my computer when he gets home.

Man, I am soooo underimpressed with this latest release of Ubuntu. Others reckon it is great but I obviously have a whack system and it does not work for me at all.

Anyway, to distract you from the lack of pictures, I give you


Woo hoo!

Keep this link until Tuesday. I think it expresses a thought common to anyone working Monday-Friday.

T. rex and other large dinosaurs were teen mums. It's not just humans that have babies young!

Algae may not only be able to produce biodiesel but a different strain makes hydrogen - fuel cells anyone?

Britain's chief scientist in conversation. He's been pushing the climate change barrow and a code for scientists.

Neanderthals had red-heads too. Alas, the mutation is different to the one seen in H sapiens sapiens, so dangit I don't necessarily have neanderthal blood (my old man was a carrot top).

I am finding some of these jumpers interesting, particularly the snow shadows one.... It is a pity that picture sweaters are not fashionable at present and also that I am not at that age where you don't care any longer if something is fashionable or not. Of course if you saw me dagging around town in a pair of baggy trakky dax (tracksuit pants) with one leg tucked into my handknitted sock (for cycling), an overly large by current standards t-shirt (ie not skin tight), a sloppy top and/or windbreaker you would wonder if I notice fashion at all. I do, vaguely. It isn't that important to me, but I do notice if I am not wearing clothes even remotely like those of the people around me.

Holy guacamole. We have our neighbours demonstrating the massive power of their subwoofer (doof doof doof doof) and across the road the boys with their Subarus are testing them out - they put a new muffler on one yesterday. I think it may be a little quieter - it was just a drainpipe before and the noise! Nope, they've started up the one with the new drainpipe. Ick. Anyway, it is going to drive me mad. I think I shall go for a walk along the creek where it is pretty still. I would show pics but well see the above discussion.


Thursday, October 25, 2007

List mode

G'day all!

Beautiful weather these last three days. I've been out and about a bit. But that is not what I want to talk about! Actually I don't know what I want to talk about. I have no plan at all.

I've been spinning so much that I could hardly walk up or down the stairs today - I have a double treadle wheel but one leg obviously was taking the strain. I have stuff to destash - even though we've only been here for a little while I have already managed to accumulate stuff I know I won't use in the short or even medium term, so it should move on (eg all the recycled angora yarn that I won't need to use now that we are moving to San Jose, assuming the visas come through). I have an FO I still need to have a photoshoot of. I have an almost FO that I need to frog back to make longer. The Mystery Object is continuing and looks totally bizarre at present. I have to show of my new slipper too - there's only one yet, but the second one will have pics taken of the whole process so you too can make easy warm slippers!

I am making me a couple of lists or three, just so I remember stuff I need/want/don't need. I figure I will put it on the blog cos then I cannot lose the list! So excuse me whilst I put them here.

    Things to buy:
  • electronic kitchen scales
  • hair-dryer
  • crock pot/turkey roaster (for dyeing)
  • crock pot (for making food!)
  • more landscapes dyes (particularly galah, I'm out, and Opal, I'm nearly out)
  • two more bobbins for my little gem wheel
  • a new mattress (husbandly legs literally stick out of end of bed from about mid calf with current mattress, not an issue when it was warm but now an issue)
  • a base for the futon we are currently sleeping on (for the parental units when they visit)
  • more pots (I won't buy them from a thrift or op shop cos they are evil and glutened)
  • another cast iron frying pan/skillet (for the Boy's pancakes)
  • a pie tin (I threw the old cake/pie tin out cos the non-stick coating was coming off on the food - I noticed some stuff was oddly silvery a week ago. Hmmm....)

    Things I want to buy:
  • those really pretty harmony wood needles from KnitPicks
  • lots of yarn and fleece to roll around in and be happy with
  • lots of yarn to dye
  • another fleece from Black Pines Sheep
  • a gazillion knitting books, particularly Joan thingo McGowan's lingerie knits, Fitted Knits, lots of Elizabeth Zimmerman, Annie Modesitt's latest one, oh so many!
  • heaps of magazines
  • heaps of CDs
  • heaps of DVDs

(due to budgetary constraints, want to buys are on the wait until we have money list!)

    Things I don't need to buy for my birthday:
  1. Cat Bordhi's new sock book
  2. two skeins of new to me sock yarn (Araucania and a umm, erp, OnLine supersocke)
I have put those aside so DH can wrap them for me and pretend he was very thoughtful :-)

Oh dear. Time to cook dinner. I am totally out of steam - I've ridden to (or from) HP twice this week and then done the tour around the Other End of town. Will my poor tired overworked leggies manage to hold me up long enough to chop vegies and throw everything into a pot to make some sort of elk-based tomato spag bog sauce?


Sunday, October 21, 2007

What is it?

G'day all!

What on earth is this weird thing?

And what could this be the start of?

A hint on the latter. It has two strands held together, one of sock yarn and one of in my version a recycled angora yarn:

It is cold here today. We had a humdinger of a change come through - yesterday got to about 28C, today it reached six degrees Celsius, and is heading rapidly for 0C and below. Our first proper freeze!

What is it?

As it is cold, I am glad I am really getting moving on the cold weather gear. This picture helps out a bit with working out what the grey thing in the first photo is.

Yep, it is a face mask/neck warmer/whatever for wearing whilst riding the bike. This one is for Nathan and is too big for me cos it has to go over his beard. I've tried it out and it really made a difference. It is made out of cashmere. How on earth can someone with my budget afford cashmere? Recycled cashmere from a thrift shop sweater (or in Oz parlance an op shop jumper) costs say $5 for the sweater, a bunch of my time and a way to ply up the yarn into something handknittable (eg my spinning wheel).

I started with 120 stitches on a 4mm needle, the yarn is about DK to worsted weight. Working in the round, I did about six rounds of garter stitch (pita when working in the round). Then I did 6 rows of stocking stitch. Next round I decreased every 10 stitches. Then I worked another 4-5 rounds of stocking stitch. Then lots of rounds of 3X1 rib. When the ribbing was about 5cm long, I started doing short rows across about 2/3 of the stitches, working in one set of ribbing each time (ie doing the wrap and turn on the purl stitch on one repeat earlier each time). This made it longer on the front than the back. I had to do a second set of short rows to make it long enough in the face/front neck to get over Nathan's beard. Then when it was 4cm from being long enough, I made a little nose dimple with short rows and finished off with about an inch/2.5cm of 1X1 rib. In other words, I fudged it.

The thing that amazed me most with that pic above is I saw it and realised that I really do look like my brother. And my next up sister. (My next next up sister has a squarer face.) It could be almost any of us being amused behind the mask. Various of our cousins on our father's side look like us too.


How about a dalek pumpkin for Halloween? Their website is generally amusing. I found this pic on their website very disturbing. I'll never see lego in quite the same light.

Who else remembers ED-209? (Read the comments. Some are hilarious, if disturbing...)

Anyone know if the Dinosaur Diamond in northern Utah is any good? It looks pretty....

A knitty link - how come I only just heard of the Mobtown Review?

So Aussies (OK, me at least) thought Magnums (the icecream, not the Dirty Harry gun) were Australian? Have a look at this Italian icecream sign!

For the Lovecraftian Mythbusters out there. I know you are out there.

An article about composting toilets that amused me. I feel sorry for (?the unclean caste of?) people who have to "carry human excreta on their heads." I reallllllly hope they do so in containers and don't just dollop it on.

On that charming note, I bid you


Friday, October 19, 2007

Some Taos, since everyone is at Rhinebeck

G'day all!

Feeling very jealous of all those off to have fun at Rhinebeck. I'm not amongst them! Mebbe next year....

So I shall enthrall you with pics from the fibre festival at Taos.

Taos is host to a festival with probably about 60 vendors. Not all of them deal in fleece and yarn - some are weavers, some have ready made knitted or felted articles or sheepskins and so on. IMO there are too many alpaca and llama shepherds, but that is because I am jealous! I am allergic to those camelids, yep the ones that are hypoallergenic! (It isn't the first time I've come out in a rash to hypoallergenic stuff - I can't use Neutrogena for example.)

So whilst various bloggers are pushing their way through the crowds at Rhinebeck, I give you pictures to reflect upon at Taos:

(The tent on the left is the one where I did the most damage...)

I actually had to say, "Excuse me!" to someone at one point when I had to shove past them to get into a tent! The worst traffic was outside the fibre festival - Taos is NOT meant for lots of cars. The centre of town is a rabbit warren and there is not enough parking, whether or not you have to pay for it. And I wrote to three of the council department heads suggesting better toilet facilities are vastly needed....


Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Kauni question

G'day all!

Here's a question for all those who have got Kauni yarn and/or made a cardi from it.

How soft is the yarn? Y'see with my hoped for tax return, I want to buy me some Kauni yarn for my birthday. However, I am one of these people who has difficulty wearing the softest, finest merino next to my skin. Anything the slightest bit prickly has to be worn over two layers, not just one.

Anyone got a little bit (of Kauni) they could send me? Just offcuts/scraps? I am one of those people who gets an idea of how wearable a yarn is by rubbing it against my neck. My neck will prickle to most wools, especially if I am sweaty. Too much information?

I have a small FO to show off, when I get organised and get pics of it. It is nice and warm. Mmmmm. Warm.

I've spend the last two afternoons riding around Fort Collins with the bike trailer hitched up, buying LOTS of groceries. I sorta went berserk yesterday at Vitamin Cottage cos they have a big range of different gluten free stuff. Then there are so many different sorts of pumpkins here, well Americans call them winter squash, but squash to us are the UFO shaped green or yellow tasteless things, and things like butternuts are called pumpkins in Australia. Pumpkins here are mostly inedible it seems and only used for Halloween decorations (ie carving). Anyway, we will be having LOTS of pumpkin risotto since I keep making chicken stock from the roast chook we have once a week and we have about 5 different pumpkins to try.

Which reminds me. I buy the roasting chicken from Wholefoods cos they say their "frier" chickens are not quite certified organic. I figure the less crap put into the chook the better for us (and the environment and the chook, though it doesn't have much say being dead and all). So I look at one of the chooks in the cold cabinet, and holy cow, it says it costs THIRTY-ONE DOLLARS! 31 bucks for a chook? I know Wholefoods is usually called WholePayCheque but really! Then I read the label again and realised that is how much nearly four pounds of a very nice cut of beef would cost. Except this beef is a chicken. And the chicken is $1.99 a pound, not $6.99. Three chooks were mislabelled and any of them were the size I wanted, unlike the correctly labelled ones in the cabinet. I took them to the meat counter and showed the butcher there, who was rather surprised by the cost. "You'd want them to be gold for that price, maybe wear it around your neck!"

I have some projects that I am not quite ready to reveal yet. All very mysterious, all in the fullness of time. Several projects involve sweaters from the goodwill shop and lots of washing. One involves spinning massive amounts (a sweater worth) of shetland yarn. Hopefully the projects will work out as I want them to. If they don't, we'll forget I ever mentioned it.

The shop update is going slowly mainly cos I could not find the pics of the yarns and tops I left Back 'Ome. Turns out they were on Nathan's boss's old laptop which we used for the first month we were here. That would explain why I couldn't find any of our early pictures either. We now have copies of all our pictures. Since I am hoping to stay home tomorrow, being exhausted from riding around at top speed with a heavily laden bike trailer, I might get some pics edited and online. Note that my lovely assistants Back 'ome have to consult with each other to find all the yarn as it is split between two households, so it might take a while to get sent out.

Y'know it is a pity that we only have a bit over two more months here in Fort Collins. I am just starting to lay down some connections and bingo, we'll be moving! However we might be happy to be moving to a warmer climate - SJ is a bit warmer in summer than Melbourne and a bit drier (though not with the drought Melbourne has been suffering). It will be an adventure!


Thursday, October 11, 2007

Taos goodies

G'day all!

The stress continues here in Fort Collins. The other job offer is proceeding and they are trying to get us into a visa interview ASAP. To do the visa interview, we have to leave the US. This means Mexico or Canada. Much as I would like to go to Canada, the wait is 43 days for an interview whilst in Mexico it is 2 days. DH has been inspiring me with stories of this particular town in Mexico, so looks like we will be going to Toronto instead. We know people who live just outside To, and I "know" some bloggers who live in To. If we go to Toronto, we are unlikely to leave until after Christmas as Nathan's parents are coming here and then to Toronto around Christmas, so maybe their plans change again.... If all goes well, the new job wants Nathan to start early in the New Year.

So to distract ourselves from fussing, let's look at goodies. The goodies I got at Taos.

An ounce of polypay top. We don't have polypay in Oz.

And some cormo (*American* cormo, no less, LOL cos the New Zealand stuff must be lacking somehow, but then again Americans believe all their stuff is The Best) roving. We don't have sheep called cormos either.

Some really pretty Crayon roving from Fiber Fanatic in Texas - no website alas but I do have her email if you want it. She uses fleece from Tx, NM and Co sheep.

(can you tell I like this one?)

The local coloured fleece sheep breeders had a tent of absolutely luscious fleeces. I could've walked away with about $300 of them but alas, I had forgotten the cheque book and they didn't take visa so I had to make do with the cash on hand. Probably just as well given Monday's news....

Some luscious CVM fleece. I was looking at a number of fleeces from this dealer. All of them were coated and the coats had not been changed often enough so the tips were a bit matted/sticky. Plus a few of the fleeces had scurf in them - large chunks of scurf obvious enough to be seen in the raw fleece. In my experience that is not very common. So I showed one of the scurfy fleeces to Nathan so he knows what to look out for if he ever is looking at a fleece for me. "Look at this! You don't often see this in a raw fleece. See this funny stuff? That is scurf, sheep dandruff. It means that a mite or something got into the sheep and made it itchy." Thank heavens that is all I said, and not that that amount of scurf indicates poor husbandry, cos the shepherd of that particular flock was standing right next to me! Quelle horreur! How embarrassment! Still, I don't expect to find scurf in a spinner's fleece, not much of it. If the sheep are lawnmowers well I don't expect much of the fleece, but if a sheep is raised for its fleece for handspinning, I expect a much better fleece.

Anyway, my fleece is *verra* nice. You can see the silver and moorit colours in the dirty locks. I've washed it now and it is all soft and puffy and wonderful. It is very silvery with a little beigey colour in it, not that dissimilar to the dirty fleece! Can't wait to spin some up!

This lovely Australian Bond fleece from Gleason's Fine Woolies. Mmmmmmmmmmmmm..... It has been a pita to get dry - it is very fine but doesn't have a fine crimp and likes to clump onto itself. I've been fluffing locks out for two days now. I wish I could've bought another fleece that was a lovely chocolate brown. This one is a sort of grey/silvery brown. It is another coated fleece and has very little VM in it.

Plus a yummy "Kev's Korner" Shetland fleece from a sheep called Ginger. It has a few gingery coloured hairs in it. Now that I have washed the fleece, some of the locks pull out to about 20cm - from my fingertips to the base of my hand. I can't wait to get into this one either!

I will be fluffing some of this fleece up and selling some as I have lots of fleece now and will need $$$ more than I need this much fleece! I will see if I can get some of it to Oz quarantine standards - no VM whatsoever. It should be pretty easy with some of the fleece....

Yarn? What is this thing you call yarn? There was lots of lovely yarn there but given a small budget and the choice of processing fleece from scratch or buying yarn pre-made, I seem to go for fleece. I can make LOTS of stuff from a fleece but not much from a skein of yarn.

(Whilst I am excited about my acquisitions at Taos, I'm feeling blasted peeved cos I've realised that for the second year in a row, my birthday is going to be pathetic, present-wise. This year we will be on such a budget that I will be lucky to get a card, let alone the little spending spree I wanted on Amazon and say the Loopy Ewe and (yet another fleece from Black Pines Sheep). Whinge, grizzle moan. Wail. Sniffle.)

Next time, I hope, some pics of the festival and talk about Taos itself.