Friday, May 2, 2008

Long Lost Spring Break Post Pt 2: Petoskey-ish!


So I got in yesterday afternoon, bought more groceries than I could ever hope to consume, and settled in. The condo (a recent addition to our family) is much nicer than I had guessed- and on top of that, the previous occupants left EVERYTHING. Everything from silverware to electronics to linens to ugly knick knacks.


There are also some pretty amazing old bikes in the basement that I'm thinking of kidnapping/adopting. Rocky, my ever-faithful, ever-moronic canine companion has been having a blast eating old dead bugs and invisible specks of who-knows-what off the floor (despite this description, it actually is pretty clean. Less dusty than I expected, too.)

The goals of this week are two fold:
1: Make a dent in processing several garbage bags full of alpaca fleece that my boyfriend's father gave me (he got it from some alpaca-farming friend, apparently) so that I can spin it up and take the yarn back to school with me, some of which will eventually be gratitude-hats for my boyfriend's parents and the aforementioned farmer.
2: Get a job lined up for the summer.

And I guess maybe “3: Do a butt-ton of reading for school”...oh, and “4: Photograph things for etsy.”

Anyway, I got a start on the first two today. I went through one bag of alpaca, pulling out all the bits that were too short or too dirty and tossing them, as well as trying to get some of the bigger hunks of VM out. This stuff is really pretty dusty... it drops dirt everywhere. When I learned that you can spin it dirty and wash it afterwards, I decided that would be easier and therefore my plan, but I'm sort of afraid that spinning this stuff is going to make a huge mess. Maybe I'll do it in the basement.

In any case, I realized I needed a comb to flick out the ends, so after my interview I stopped at the grocery store.

Check out lady: What kind of dog do you have?
Me (startled slightly and not thinking): A pomeranian*

Then I realized that maybe she was going to tell me that I had the wrong kind of comb for a pomeranian (I'd picked out a really small fine tooth flea comb thing). I don't know why I thought a grocery store clerk was going to be a dog comb expert, but I panicked and thought I should explain...

Me:...but this is actually for wool.**
Lady (eyes widen): Oh really? How old is it?
Me (I assume she means the dog, after all, who would ask about wool's age?): Um...about 12.
Lady (gives me a slightly confused look): Does it have real fine hair? Like finer than the pomeranian's?
Me (WTF?): Umm.....yes.
Grocery-bagging girl: My grandparents used to have a pomeranian.
Lady: But she says this here is for a WOLF.

(Me: Ohhhhhhhh! I get it now.) I didn't say anything. She looked confused but at least she was excited that I was combing a wolf with a flea comb. Apparently that's more feasible than combing wool with it.

*Lie. It's a mutt that sort of looks like it had at least one pomeranian parent. It just seems easier to tell people this.

** Also a lie. It's for alpaca.

As for the job interview, it was at a really cute boutique hotel (well, an old mansion's supposed to be haunted. Hooray!) The owners and staff seemed really nice, though I'm sure I blathered and fidgeted and made a fool of myself as I tend to when I get nervous (why do I get so nervous about these things? Consciously I'm all, “Whatever, it's not a big deal, there's not really anything riding on this” but apparently subconsciously I'm in fight or flight mode.) I think it would probably be a cool place to work this summer. The male owner/manager/interviewer (I'm not sure his official title though I think owner is appropriate) was this kind of gruff ex-military guy, so imagine my surprise when I learn that in his previous marriage, he used to knit, did sheep-to-shawl competitions, was into natural dying, started a weaver's guild, and BUILT HIS OWN SPINNING WHEEL. (The current wife/female owner hooks rugs, as well.)

For once, the fact that I'm a big fiber nerd may have worked in my favor. Anyway, I think it went well. I guess we'll see.

This kid came too, eventually. I totally made those pants. And that wristband.

Wednesday, March 12

Well, I never did get much spinning done. I finished one skein, using up all the white I had in the gray and white bag, and washed it up. I was hoping it would soften with washing, but it didn't, really. It's pretty itchy stuff. I don't know if this has to do with the way I prepared it or with the quality of fleece it was to begin with (I don't think the alpaca it came from was meant for fiber... more of just a pet.) However, it's kind of pretty and I'm sure I'll find a use for it. Maybe a bag or something. I combed out some of the gray, and it seems softer. I think I'm doing a better job blending it all together as I draft so the ends don't stick out, as well. Something in me just doesn't like spinning dirty fleece, though. I guess I'm a compulsive hand washer, at heart... I don't like it when my hands feel too dirty to brush my hair back or scratch my nose or rub my eye. That's always been the one thing that bugged me about camping... in any case, I'm leaving the spinning wheel and the rest of the fleece here til summer since I can't really have it in the dorm I'm living in at the moment and it makes more sense this way. In the meantime I'll try and round up the necessary implements to wash it before spinning with it so I don't have to deal with the icky-hands feeling...even if it does mean it'll be a little harder to spin. What I have spun up still feels a bit coarse, but not as bad as the white. I was hoping to make hats for the people who gave me the fleece out of this stuff (like I said), so I hope some of the other bags are softer.

Ugh, blurry.

P.S. Also, I got the job. Woot.

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