May 23, 2012
The walk to the Post Office was a lovely walk for the senses.
A profusion of greens dazzle the eyes: bright tufts of new growth at the tips of the deeper hunter green and Phthalo green of various firs and cedars. I look at a chart of green shade and there’s still not enough to name the wide range of green shades of the leaves cloaking maple, oak, birch, walnut, catalpa and poplar; the hawthorn, dogwood, sumac, alder and ash; fruit trees of apple, cherry, pear and plum (there are also many ornamental plum trees around town with burnished burgundy leaves) as well as the multitude of bushes and plants all vying for attention, so much green that if the air hadn’t felt sharp and cold I would have felt suffocated shades of green.
Shifting fragrances fill the air: a sharp, clear whiff of fir, and the heavier fragrance of lilac and irises. Passing a pile of green clippings a lingering scent of a warm sunny Saturday seeps upward. The uplifting, clean scent of rain and the creek rushing just beyond the glossy blackberry brambles flows in ribbon drafts. Roses. The house where a retriever lives has a row of neatly pruned rose bushes pushing out their fragrant blooms of reds and peaches catching me by surprise until I realize June is just around the corner. Leaning closer to red buds I close my eyes and draw in a deep breath of the nose-clogging perfume.
Further along the alley a faint pungent smell takes me by surprise. Even after all the years of living here it’s a smell I associate with ancient towering cottonwood trees doffing their fuzzy cotton, filling the air of a far away canyon in Northern Arizona. Shaking the scene of red sandstone cliffs from my head I enter the side door of the post office and walk into a world of orange scented cleaning solution and paper.
Though I’m walking with a gimp I’m in a hurry and am relieved to see that it’s the part-time worker who is friendly but reserved. I’m not eager to encounter anyone today and wish to avoid small talk and pleasantries.
The aging golden retriever rushes to the wire fence just beyond the weathered greying boards shielding his house from preying eyes. Almost daily for the past umpteen years he barks furiously at me while passing along the alley past his yard. Past the two birch trees planted twenty-something years ago, there are a number of white barked birch trees with their scattered around town. Birch saplings were a fund-raiser for some long past eighth grade graduation. A friendly man normally sits on the wide porch of the rambling old white house sheltered under a towering black walnut tree keeping an eye on his grandchildren and numerous town kids who tend to gather to jump on the trampoline and play in the yard, or street. We always exchange hellos but today neither he nor any kids nor dogs are hanging around the place.
A stiff wind whips at my skirt. Overhead an ominous black cloud drips small unstable pillow clumps. The leaves on the trees turn underside up to the skies, the lighter greens throwing back the filtered light edging around the blue shards of sky. Hurrying home before the clouds release their weight of rain I stopped just long enough to gather white lilacs and bring the last of this year’s sweet lilac scent into our house, my hands pleased by the tiny velvety blossoms. The door shuts behind me, the clouds darkly rumble and rain pounds the ground.
Lilacs with a Butan Collar knit with handspun tencel. While it’s fun to use Laura Nelkin’s kits, it’s also great to use handspun yarns with her pattern. This yarn along with more roving was gifted to me by Valerie of Fiberewetopia — isn’t that a great blog name — when she found that she didn’t care for the feel of the tencel. By the stiffer hand I suspect that it’s an earlier form of tencel unlike the soft, shimmery tencel of these days. Despite the somewhat “plastic” feel I love the bright raspberry color and it did soften considerably in the wash making it a great candidate for necklace knitting.
May 21, 2012
Posted by Wanda J under Spindles  Comments
Life is hurtling head-fast these days. I dream of finding a quiet cabin far away from the internet, phones, etc and recoup for a few day.
Once the website is finally finished there will be some breathing space. The past two weeks I’d intended to take a couple days where I completely ignored emails, the phone, all orders, the work Ed brings in for me to weigh, sign or finish… and spend the days focusing on pushing through to the end. I’ve spent the bulk of two Saturdays working only on the website. It’s so difficult to get used to a whole new way of building one, my brain keeps baulking at not being able to format it in exactly the way I’d like. The looms and hook pages are finished but the spindle pages are very daunting since each one is unique. I’m most productive when left alone with long swathes of uninterrupted chunks of time.
Meanwhile, Ed’s been having fun with making new designs on his Aegean spindles. I’m so eager to get them out to the public! Here’s a few pictures of some of his latest:
He’s also been sneaking a bit of creativity underneath an arm here and there:
Exciting news! I’ve connected with a young man who has studied film making at the Oregon College of Art and Craft and he’s ageed to work with me on making a completely new instructional spinning video. He’ll be coming here later this week to spend the day. I must pull all my scattered ideas and thoughts together, gather the various bits of material needed, tighten up my outline and work up step-outs so everything is as ready as possible for when he comes. Unlike the first filming when the girl and I spent several hours on a number of days off and on during the better part of a month we’re going to try to capture as much as possible in this one day since he works full time in Portland and finding the time to get here has been tricky.
In the meantime, there will be portions of two different days when I’m having a medical procedure and follow-up sonogram. I hope to write about it in full one of these days.
On top of the already busy schedule the Abiqua Strings ensemble I play with is gearing up for our year end concert on June 3rd. We’ll be rehearsing the next two Fridays. At the last practice we were told that now that the pieces are coming together we need to seriously pick up the tempo. One of our violists is thrilled. The faster a piece the better he likes it. We’ve been working on a Holberg suite, Holst’s St. Paul’s Suite, a Telemann Sonata as well as a number of Americana music. Fun stuff but my fingers tend to tangle up the notes when attempting to play faster.
Yesterday I had the privilege of playing duets with the pianist before and after a the memorial service for a wonderful woman who had a part in my life since I was two years old. What a joy to play the many uplifting hymns she’d chosen before she died after having lived a very full and rich life. Indeed a life well lived. She will certainly be missed by many, and the hole she leaves is huge, but she was ready to go Home and be with her beloved Saviour as well as her beloved husband of sixty-plus years.
Apple blossoms for Lois.
May 9, 2012
Almost a month has flown past! A month filled with happenings, growth, sadness, walks, marveling at the blossoming of a small baby as well as fruit fruits and plants.
The Columbia Gorge Fiber Festival in mid-April was good. This much smaller venue was more relaxing with time to interact more with other vendors and attendees. Once again I taught a drop-spindling workshop – which turned out to be very enjoyable for me, and I believe for the 8 women who took the class. (Yikes, I still need to send a follow-up email to them.)
I had thought I’d gotten a picture of everyone but when I uploaded to the computer at home one of the pictures with the two other ladies was too blurry. What a fun, delightful group of women!
Saturday, during a lull in the Market, Ed walked around to see what other vendors had to offer. He came back all excited about a wheel that one vendor was selling. Urging me to go check it out (meaning, buy it!) I raced to the booth and saw it standing, the distaff wrapped with shocking bright fiber. The vendor’s mother had been home to Germany and came across an old man who wanted it to go to a good home. He had loving memories of his wife spinning with it.
It’s a pretty wheel and works fairly decently considering that the wheel itself is a bit warped. I’ve spun up some of the pink & green mohair that came with it. Ed has been intrigued by this style of wheel for some time and dreams of making one along these lines so he’d been on the lookout for one he could use for a model. It may be a long time before he can work one up, most of his free time these days has been devoted to tearing down an old shed he’d quickly put up years ago when he desperately needed a place to store lumber. He’ll be bringing in an old truck box which will be much more weather and animal proof. Perhaps not pretty but that’s the way of it these days. Then there’s yard work and soon a garden to tend.
The festival is a wonderful small show but my favorite part is the drive through the Gorge. Friday while driving east to the Festival we stopped about noon at Cascade Locks, a town 10 miles from Hood River, where the festival was held. This shot looking westward where we’d just driven through this incredible scenery. was taken from under The Bridge of the Gods (the modern bridge really has nothing to do with the Native American history and legend of this old name place).
How can I post after almost a month’s absence without any pictures of sweet Violet?She was full of smiles when she came to visit last week, and modeling the Sweet Norwegian Baby Cap and Baby Yours sweater I knit for her (I bought the pattern several years ago but I’m sure it’s on Ravelry!).
Bapa Ed giving her a bottle, he loves holding and feeding his little Violet.The hospital where Aurora gave birth has a wonderful counseling service for nursing mothers; initially after birth she took Violet in twice a week and they helped her and baby get off to a success start with nursing. One sound advice was to pump milk to periodically bottle feed Violet (after she was two weeks old), not only does this ensure her milk was coming in adequately and that Violet was getting plenty but to have handy for daddy and grandparents to be able to feed Violet when necessary.