Random thoughts of a fiber enthusiast - mostly fiber related, sometimes coherent

Best Laid Plans … or … Mother Knows Best

Best laid plans and all that. It’s been a week and I still can’t decide if I should laugh or cry when I retell the story … I might as well tell it here since so many people have heard, winced, and laughed over this story — before it becomes an urban legend.

As I mentioned before, I was supposed to fly down to California for a job interview. One day down and back. Easy. Easier than a lot of business trips that I’ve taken in the past. No big deal.

During the in-flight beverage service, I ordered my usual hot tea. Well, if any of you have had tea on an airplane before, you know that the adjective “hot” is subjective. Most of the time, it’s generous to call it “tepid.” Unfortunately, this was the outlyer … it was hot, HOT, HOT! During one of those smooth moves you make on a plane, trying to get yourself comfortable, or as comfortable as you can in the middle seat of a standing room only airplane, opening The Wall Street Journal to the page that talked about your current company’s quarterly earnings call when the fellow in front of you has his seat back — all the way back. You guess it. That there cup of tea landed in my lap.

I think the entire plane heard me yell. Then there’s the fumbling trying to find my seat belt and get everyone around me to stand up. Before I know it, I was up in the 1st class closet that they call a bathroom, watching my leg blister up in 2nd degree burns.

I won’t bore you with the details, but here are some of the highlights …

  • When we landed in San Jose, I was greeted by 1 female flight ops personnel, 1 female Emergency Medical Tech, 1 male EMT, 2 male fire fighters … the police officers stayed on the ground.
  • The bubbly 1st class flight attendant asked me if I didn’t feel lucky to have all these gorgeous young men waiting for me …
  • Then they asked me to take my pants off so they can decide what to do next, or would I prefer that they cut it off of me?
  • Then I proceeded to spend the next 3 hours in the Emergency Room, waiting for someone to take a look at my leg.

Needless to say, I never got to my interview. Once they got codeine down me at the ER (I turned the morphine down because I somehow still thought that I could salvage the interview), I asked for a taxi to take me back to the airport so I can catch the next flight home.

So, what’s the pithy moral of the story? Mother knows best … always wear clean, fresh underwear. And throw the old stuff out. You never know what’s going to happen and who’s going to see those holey underwear. The entire first class cabin, for example, when the flight attendant keeps opening the door to the ‘loo to see if you need anything else. (Yes, I had on fairly new underwear so I wasn’t too embarrassed … actually, the embarrassment faded rather quickly when the pain set in.)

As a friend told me, I beat all the best interview horror stories hands down — or is it “pants down?” You tell me.

On to fibery talk …

In any case, I didn’t get to spend any time knitting the Pi Shawl. It’s been sitting neglected for the past week.

Instead, I’ve knitted these instead … dressing covers that are a bit more comfortable than ace bandages over the dressing. I wear these now at night to keep the dressing from falling off while I twist and turn to find a comfortable position.

Norman Kennedy Natural Dye Workshop

Despite how much it hurt, I still went to the Norman Kennedy workshop on Saturday and Sunday … along with my pain pills and lots of bandages in case I needed to re-dress. Are you kidding? Of course I went. I figured I can take a pain pill and sit/lay down if I had to, but I was not going to miss meeting the legend.

Eye candy … the dye samples:


Yellows: left to right
– fustic on wool
– cutch on wool
– cutch on cotton


Blues: left to right
– fustic overdyed with indigo (resulted in a heathered forest green)
– indigo on wool
– indigo on cotton (short/single dip — don’t know, Eva did these for me while I rested my leg)
– indigo on cotton (longer/multiple dips)


Reds: left to right
– cochineal with oxalic acid and tin, some fustic as brightener, on wool
– same, second bath with more fustic, on wool
– cochineal with alum and cream of tartar, on wool
– cochineal with alum and cream of tartar, on wool/silk blend
– cochineal with alum and cream of tartar, on silk
– cochineal with alum and cream of tartar, on mohair

In addition to dyeing, Norman gave us demos on the long draw, the supported spindle, carding, and the walking wheel — not to mention a ballad or two. What fun. It was definitely worth the pain.

Yesterday afternoon, I started to spin a bit with my wheel. The excuse is that Martin wanted me to start stretching the healing skin a bit as it heals to make sure that it doesn’t lose its suppleness. I thought that treadling moves the skin without stressing it and would be a good idea. Would you believe that he agreed with me?

By the way, just in case you are curious. He’s been taking great care of me. Thank goodness for all those years of skin regeneration research he did for a living, huh? How lucky can a girl get?

Okay, I don’t want to hear it, I know … if I had been really lucky, that cup of tea would have been tepid.

Oh, and the company that I was to interview at? They’ve been great. They called me at the ER to make sure that I was okay. Cancelled my appointments for the day. Offered me a hotel room for the night if I didn’t feel like traveling home that day. And will be rescheduling my interviews once I feel up to traveling again.


Pi Shawl


Itchin’ to Spin


  1. mouse

    Wow. Sorry bout your bad trip; i’ve never gotten anything above lukewarm on a plane, so I can see where the burning must have been a suprise. Hope you feel better… Nice colors from the dye workshop. I got to see a walking wheel this weekend too; cool, but those women must have been tired after walking all that way!

  2. Capt. Bear

    Oh. Well, when you do come sailing next, there’ll be a really really cold beer suitable for antidote duty, and I’ll arrange for the boat to lurch in a timely fashion. OK?

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