Monday, November 30, 2009

Alpacafest, Thanksgiving and A Day with Grandaughter

Alpacafest West

I had a chance to stop by Alpacafest West a few weeks ago. Over 100 beautiful alpacas were being shown. I could not resist taking a few pictures. There were a few more interesting vendors to visit this year. I bought 4 oz of chocolate colored alpaca fiber. At $4 an ounce, which I thought a little pricey, I had to get some to spin. I also could not resist 4 oz of handdyed bluefaed Leicester roving and skein of Bambino (supewash merino, bamboo and nylon) from Chamelion Color Works. I can’t wait to try the pink and yellow dyed silk “ bells” to spin. These are made from silk cocoons and stretched into a bell shaped layer.

Thanksgiving Holidays.

I have a lot to be thankful. One of them are my family. We met at by brother’s house this year to celebrate Thanksgiving, my Dad’s 83rd birthday and my parent’s “60th wedding anniversary. My husband managed to come with us, but needed to be heavily medicated for his comfort. It was a nice time. My son sang a song, my brother and sister-in-law sang a duet. Unfortunately, my camera stopped and ran out of memory before the first song ended. We shared cake and took a family picture. All of my family were there, except W, who was too sleepy to participate.

A Special Day with Granddaughter.

I love being a grandmother. I had a chance to spend a special day with my granddaughter just before Thanksgiving. We went shopping and bought some toys. We played an Elefun game catching butterflies. For a 3 yr old, she has great eye hand coordination. We went to McDonalds for a happymeal, and played on the playland. Then we went to the park with my youngest son, S, and had a great time. To my personal list on 100 beautiful Things about this world, I added #40 Grandchildren: They are so full of curiosity and joy. I wish I can bottle it up in a jar and keep it forever. I really needed this emotionally. Thank you, God, for such a gift.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Mongolian Knitting

I’ve been knitting like a mad woman. Why? I’ve been following a blog of one of my former high school friend’s, son and daughter-in-law, “A Couple of Sojourners”. They are Peace Corps Volunteers assigned to Mongolia. Their cold winter get as low as –50 below. They have been assigned a very modest house and warm it with coal, but surviving the cold is quite an ordeal. Can you imagine young people from sunny California, having to experience this? Talk about culture shock! Therefore, what better use of my yarn, but to knit them up “ wooley warmy” things for their survival. If they can’t use the items, I’m sure they can find someone there in Mongolia who can. It’s my own little “Dulaan Project”.

I have no idea how long their winter is, but I feel the pressure of getting it done soon, before it gets too cold to deliver mail. Can that happen? I have been imagining that perhaps its like Antartica, where if you don’t get your supplies shipped early, you won’t be able to get them through. The blog indicated that some mail has been affected by the H1N1 situation, possibly limited contact with a lot of people and shutting down services. However, I am encouraged that they are still receiving some care packages from their families.

I have been knitting some Helmet warmers. I finished one from the handspun yarn I made from the Cormo-Romney fleece I purchased at Black Sheep Gathering this summer. It came out nice but a little big. I am making another one with some handspun grey Merino/Alpaca.

I’m also knitting up a rug, using my Red Heart acrylic yarn. What a great stash buster! I am knitting it with Size 35 needles. These are gigantic needles. Brenda Dane from “Cast On” podcast inspired me from her Knitting in Trafalgar Square with the same kind of needles. It is really using up the yarn fast, but handling these needles make my hands hurt after and hour so I switch to other knitting to give a break and go back when I can.

I am also planning on packing some knitting wool and needles with a How to Knit Book included. Perhaps when our Mongolian volunteers are confined to the inside, they might have some time to learn to knit. One never knows how experiencing the hardship of “cold”, may motivate a person to be resourceful and make something that is warm: perhaps a scarf or hat?

Thinking about someone else’s situation is very therapeutic for me. It keeps me from being depressed about my own situation with W’s cancer. His emotional reserves are practically non-existent and I believe it is starting to affect me, as well. Work is also my salvation as it provides some respite in terms of distraction from home. Work never seems to slow down. I just don’t have much time to think until I get home. Thinking too far ahead is too overwhelming right now. The holidays are coming, and I am trying to sort out how to enjoy them this year. It’s getting harder to find that “joy” one needs in a life.