great fiber no buy

the second of the 3 spirits

you would have thought that with this whole long, drawn-out fiber diet thing, i would have at least blogged for the end of it. but i missed it.

in my own defense, this weekend i was out of state. i had to make an appearance in rhode island for our family christmas gathering. i have gone in something like four years, i really had to go this year. it was the normal too much food, too many loud family members in too small a space, and too many awkward moments of not knowing what to say. but with my past history, this means i have another 4 years before i have to reappear…

so how did i actually do?


-i used something like 7 balls of yarn over the course of the month, including holiday wishes and 3 1/2 pairs of socks.

-i spun roughly 4 skeins of wool before my spinning mojo left me and i got sucked into the epic sock challenge.

-i didn’t finish any rolags, bumps, or braids, and i received 2 bags of alpaca fiber. my mom replaced my broken spindle.

-i bought several balls of yarn for socks and christmas presents. i didn’t buy any yarn for myself, or at least, any yarn that was intended for myself on the outset.

-mid’s mom dropped off a massive box of yarn while i was gone. while it was very nice and it will get used it does defeat the purpose of a fiber diet? BUT. the rules did state that gifts don’t count!

great fiber no buy: day 27-white christmas

i say this with the full understanding that with the way my life works, we will be back into the 70’s with no snow for christmas this year.

however, with temps about 10 degrees under where they should be and wind chills driving even lower, and an estimated 16 inches of lake effect forecast by tomorrow morning, we’re probably going to be seeing a white christmas this year.

one of the strangest things about the city of buffalo is how…weird the general attitude towards snow is. when i was growing up, everyone would say, it’s not so bad here. it could be buffalo. buffalo’s the place that gets all the snow.

for some backstory that may or may not be relevant, i was actually born in newfoundland and my mom says that snow is in my blood. my parents were both stationed on a lend-lease base and i was born in a blizzard at the end of march (a snow bound fire sign. i think it explains a lot). i was raised at the halfway point between utica and cooperstown (think baseball hall of fame), which is something like the third worst area of the state for snow. i then did my bachelor’s at oswego- as in, the colbert report’s prime example in 2007 as to why global warming DOESN’T exist. (that’s a joke, by the way. apparently i’m no good at humor.)

what i’m driving at is that i’m fairly familar with snow. buffalo in fact has let me done for the past two winters for what people around here seem to consider ‘bad weather’. the past two winters have been fairly mild, with the notable exception of the day that the University at Buffalo decided it was unnecessary to plow and left me snowed in my apartment all day. now that we’re getting what is starting to reach snowfall levels that i would consider ‘bad’ the entire city is in a panic. it leaves me bewildered, because this is the type of stuff that oswego deals with all winter…but buffalo is the snow capital of the state?


the major issue facing me on a day to day basis right now is the fact that the bus stop that i use to get to work every day is roughly a mile, uphill, in a suburb that seems to think of sidewalks as being a luxury item and shoveling is a gift to society, not something that is mandated by the town. i actually do fairly well temperature-wise when mid lets me walk instead of dropping me off. i do actually wear layers now, including my boot socks (these poor socks get washed on an almost daily basis now) and tights.

my boot socks do have a flaw though, in that they’re not nearly tall enough. i have really heavy, thick calves which means that ‘normal’ knee high/mid calf patterns aren’t going to cut it (see: the whole issue with the boot socks and my self esteem).

which all boils down to me using all the orphaned skeins of sock yarn and drafting out a proto-pattern for tall socks for my winter commute.

great fiber no buy-days 23, 24, and 25- the first of the three spirits

this is going to be an insanely long weekend.

today was a dentist appointment, the first of what will amount to five visits between now and the end of the year.

later this afternoon i leave for the first of three christmases/holiday celebrations for this year. we’re heading out to my parents’ place near cooperstown. fingers crossed, we’ll leave after mid gets out of work and then be back sometime sunday. i’m hoping to get a good amount of knitting done on his socks.

great fiber no buy: day 23-the glow of electric…

i know that you know the end of the quote, and if you don’t know the end of the quote, then your christmas movie watching experiences need to be broadened.

this is going to be an offtopic entry, but hey, you probably don’t want to know all of my boring thoughts on sock knitting either.

mid has a new goal in life. or rather, two goals in life, but they sort of dovetail. mid’s great plan is to become the king of the crazy christmas house ™.

example a: a crazy christmas lights house

he’s become enamored with this idea for the past 2 months or so.

a short description of the dynamic of our house, involving christmas: while i don’t actually practice a belief set that has christmas as a primary holiday, i was raised christian and there’s a lot of stuff about it that i do still follow. our winter holiday falls really close to christmas, and i’ve never really given up my love for all things christmas. i’m the type of person that has no problem listening to christmas music the middle of august and i want to decorate as soon as possible.

mid, on the other hand, really doesn’t like christmas. there’s not much about it he can really get behind. this is why i was so suprised about the whole tree issue. the christmas tree wasn’t my idea- that was all him.

mid’s grand plan for the years to come is to make one of these crazy christmas houses. he’s been talking about routers and breakers and controllers for months now. at one point he was talking about turning where we’re living now into one of these lit monstrousities until i convinced him that would probably be a very bad idea.

the second leg of his great plan is to have at least part of this light show relate to the hogfather. i bought the book for him as a way of keeping him occupied (and it’s my favorite book currently). and now he wants a sleigh pulled by pigs.

example b: a clip from hogfather. i wanted a clip where death’s dressed up like the hogfather but i couldn’t find one.


christmas gets a little…weird around here.

great fiber no buy: day 22- a rather heated debate

i found a post this morning on ravelry while i was looking for inspiration on what to blog about for today.

the post amounted to, don’t you dare knit with acrylic for gifts because oh gods what will pepole think of you!!!?!!!

sigh…the man-made versus natural fiber debate.

i think that if you knit with a group or are relatively active on ravelry you’re going to come across this at some point. you’ll be knitting along happily and someone will come along and tell you that your fiber choice is shamefully wrong, and HERE’S WHY.

personally, i have no idea what making statements like ‘acrylic is a bad fiber to work with and here’s ten reasons why you should never touch the stuff’ is supposed to accomplish. it doesn’t matter what the fiber in discussion actually is- if you don’t like red heart, then don’t use red heart. if you hate cashmere, don’t knit with it. if you don’t like x then just. don’t. knit. with. it.

i’m not sure what commenting on the materials choice of others does other than make the person who’s knitting with it feel bad. there was a moment fairly recently at my knitting group where i just wanted to crawl under the table because the only retort i could come up with was, ‘why yes i would love to work with madeline tosh or some of the other indie dyers, but you know what, most of the time the only thing i can afford is red heart.’

that’s right people. i’m broke. i would rather keep knitting with red heart (and quite happily at that) than only knit every few months when i can get the money together for ‘better’ yarns. (and i have no interest in taking apart other people’s sweaters for yarn).

my personal stance is, the only time you should be commenting on another’s fiber choice is when it’s blatantly a bad idea for the project, and even then proceed with caution. maybe they’re aiming for something to felt, or they just like acrylic socks.


great fiber no buy: day 21-doing it wrong

i’m doing it wrong.

i’ve got to be.

i know that i’m not doing all that well with the whole no yarn thing. however, i really do think that if i don’t buy the yarn for the chili boy challenge, i’m just not going to get anywhere fast, and it’ll be this time next year and i’ll be talking about how mid’s angry with me for not having the socks knit.

a.c. moore had a special today where if you had the special coupon, you’d get 25% off your entire order. i had gotten a coupon saturday when we went in for something else. mid’s company had their christmas/holiday party at a local resturant last night and we got out early enough that i convinced myself to use that coupon. i thought that i did well. i got one ball of sock yarn for free, essentially. in fact, you could say that i was proud of myself. i’ll take a pair of men’s socks for $5.

until i came across a post on another blog that mentioned saving something insane like 80% off of a grocery bill using coupons. i do use coupons- that is, if i can find coupons that work for things that i actually buy (this is harder for me to do than it sounds, considering mid can’t eat a lot of things due to having a wonky tummy) or that don’t require buying more food than what i have storage room for, or room in the budget for. saving a dollar off of frozen chicken is probably a good thing if you have need and/or freezer space for 3 boxes of the stuff.

however, for the sake of honesty, i do cut corners in a lot of places in order to make room in my budget for things like sock yarn. i do most of my grocery shopping at aldi’s or other low cost grocery chains (though i avoid buying produce there, it’s just subpar in quality). even on heavy weeks i’m $10 to $20 under what a normal week would be at wegmans or another chain. we’re trying to eat out a lot less. i take the bus a lot, or walk. a lot of my current money issues are due more to the amazing imploding station wagon of 2010 and my graduate education than anything else.

we now return you to our regularly scheduled programming.

great fiber no buy: day 20: the future’s so bright…

…i have to wear socks.

i have a thing for ugly things. i’m a fan of the ugliest finished object thread on ravelry. i’m the one that’s attracted to really horrific colorways. i like clown barf yarn. i like to seek out really ugly things. extra points if it’s really bright ugliness.

i’m not a really big fan of wearing bright, warm colors, except in small projects (i really love my rainbow poo mittens– named for the prize that you get in neopets). it’s not something that i try to push on anyone else, either.

so when mid announced his 11 pairs of sock challenge, i realized that i was going to have start buying sock yarn at every paycheck, essentially.

i had to work black friday, but mid had it off. i work a modified second shift, so we had time to do some shopping. after we discovered that michael’s had no yarn on sale (who came up with that bright idea?) we went to have ewe any wool? on main street near harlem. mid likes the tobacco store next door (he’s given up cigarrettes but i think i’m going to have to pry his pipe out of his cold dead hands), and i like the sock yarn selection there.

anyway, i was trying to pick out men-approved sock yarn and stuck on more navy blue or going with brown.

when he came up with this:

trust me...the camera pics aren't doing this thing any justice.

i’ve started refering to them as the starburst socks, because that’s all that i think of when i look at them. they’re literally wince inducing under florescent lights. they were driving my eyes nuts while i was working on them at work on friday.

and yes that would be signs that i had the wonder that is mighty taco on saturday:

it's a buffalo thing. but it should be an everywhere thing.