Uncategorized


June. All is well here. When watching the weather reports I can’t help but feel grateful for the weather we’ve been having, even though May was a wet month and June has gotten off to a cool start we have nothing to complain about given that so many people have lost their homes and are dealing with ongoing tornadoes and flooding. My heart and prayers go out for them.

Our daughter-in-law’s beloved grandfather passed away on Friday. He’d been battling cancer but had wanted to live long enough for a huge family reunion that’s to take place in four weeks. (He and his wife had 13 kids – all but one still living.) Even now our son and family are driving straight through from Idaho to Kansas to be with the family and attend the funeral on Wednesday, then straight home so he can be at work on Saturday. It’s an 18 hour drive over the Rocky Mountains and across a portion of the prairies. I’m praying that the weather will be good.

Overall we’ve seen God’s hand in clearing the way for them to go. A week ago they thought they’d be moving this weekend but at the last minute the timing was pushed back by the buyer’s mortgage company; son hadn’t used any vacation time yet this year and was able to take off  Tuesday – Fri on a day’s notice without any problem. Faith graduated from kindergarten on Friday and Wesley was able to celebrate his 5th birthday yesterday as planned.

Most of our garden is planted. We still need to put in the green beans, beets, and squash but have been waiting for the ground to warm up more. I planted corn a week ago but no shoots have come through the ground yet. The potatoes, peas, carrots, greens, asparagus and tomatoes are doing well, except some animal nipped the top shoots of two tomato plants. Probably deer. Ed bought some liquid deer fence and sprayed around the garden yesterday so hopefully they’ll keep a distance.Paisley & Grandpa
Ed developed a new spindle size, a variation on the Aegean spindle. The Egret.
002
A picture of it (left) with an Aegean (middle) and Swan (right)Three Spindles

He worked on the design off and on for several months until he was happy the way it handled and spun. We’ve put pictures of the first ones he made on the website.  Right now Ed is concentrating on making spindles for Black Sheep Gathering, June 21 – 23, so there won’t be any updates on the website until after BSG, Instead, we will take spindle orders, to be made after Ed catches his breath from the show.

Yes, I’ve been spinning. And knitting. And weaving. Not actually weaving, I’m still in the warping process. Spent a few hours each day for the past 3 days calculating, weighing, measuring and warping.

Rather than make this an impossibly long post I’ve set a goal of posting every two to three days for awhile.

Meanwhile, a photo of  my Egret put to good use and a sampling of one of my latest projects:Egret Silk

I couldn’t let such a great date pass without a post giving a nod to the wonder of the Fibonacci sequence which is the mathematical make-up seen throughout nature.

The spiral found in shells, ram’s horns and the cochlea in our ears;
Roses, sunflowers and the scales of the pineapple;
Arrangements of stems, leaves and petals.
Fibonaccispiral.jpg

Fibonacci, of Pisa Italy, wrote about the number sequence 0,1,2,3,5,8,13,21,34,55,89… (each number is the sum of the two previous numbers) in his book Liber Abbaci in 1202 after studying the Hindu-Arabic number system with its use of the 10 digit numbering system rather than the Roman Numeral method which had been used for centuries.
gotland-sheep-horn
The sequence is closely related to the Golden Ratio also know as the Greek Phi.

Several years ago I read a blog post by a woman who’d painstakingly dyed and spun small bits of wool in order to weave a tapestry with all the intricate shadings of a ram’s horn. The picture of her finished tapestry was stunning in its accuracy and beauty.  It’s a shame I can’t find that post, or even remember who the amazing fiber artist is. If anyone who reads this knows please give a shout-out so I can properly acknowledge her. Her post and seeing the meticulous work she did just to achieve that one tapestry left a deep impression.

Seeing how this Golden Ratio, Sphere, Spiral turn up everywhere in nature throughout the seas, land, the heavens, even our human bodies, I can’t help but marvel at our Creator who designed and spoke it all into being.

***

When last I posted I’d planned to write within the following week but some extra, unexpected work demands came in that needed immediate attention, suddenly work soared to a busier level than anticipated and once again work took most of my energy. Last Friday I woke up with a sore throat which quickly grew into a raging cold that I’m still trying to shake. I’ve still be working but with very slow motion and by evening I’ve been too tired to try to engage my brain at the computer. I’m hoping to mail out the last of the spindles that were bought last week tomorrow so I can fully rest for a couple days and kick this bug.  It’s been very discouraging to be sick again. I suspect the stress of the previous two week with  didn’t help. It’s time to turn off the computer and get some sleep but I’ll be back within a few days with that finished project I mentioned last time.

The Columbia Gorge Fiber Festival in Hood River was good fun. Met lots of people, talked with people who are beginning to feel like old friends. I’m chagrined that names are so elusive in my memory. These smaller venues are more laid-back and relaxing, providing a bit more time to chat. But there’s still the need to always try to be “on” which an introvert is exhausting.

We pulled our Little Red T@B, in Ed’s little 4 cylinder Toyota pickup. The poor truck put in a valiant effort in pulling the rig up the hills leading to the county park where we set up camp.

We practically stumbled on Lit’l Red in January when we set out to find some sort of camping unit to use at shows. It was waiting for us at the very second RV place we visited.
The T@B is European but much more reasonable than the more common Teardrop. Even better, having been pre-owned it was a great price. Except we definitely need to find a bigger rig to pull it. We’re at the point where we want to have one vehicle instead of two so we’ll be on the lookout for a decent 6 cylinder rig that’s big enough for our needs but not a huge gas hog.

T@BTRU

When we pulled into the campground early Friday afternoon not another soul was in sight. Finding a space with an electrical box we set up camp. Only to find the electricity was still disconnected from the winter season – even though the park ranger had assured me there would be power when I called at the beginning of April.

T@B
By the time we returned Friday evening, after the first couple hours of open market, there was a pickup camper and a group of high schoolers in a ring of tents near their bus with two huge rafts tied on top. They were finishing up a week of river rafting with their teacher/mentor. Without electricity we turned in by 8pm both nights and sweetly slept in our little unit alongside the rushing river.

There’s much I wanted to write but I’m still very tired from the weekend. We’ll be moving at a somewhat slower pace this week. I spent a glorious hour weeding around the blueberry bushes and doing a bit of work getting the ground ready to garden. Ed built and planted an asparagus bed this afternoon. We’d like to plant as much as the early produce this week.
Please stay tuned for pictures of a finished product that I designed that I hope to eventually write out, update on progress with spinning on the Great Wheel, the different fiber I’ve been spinning on it, and my newest acquisition – thanks to Ed who insisted I needed one.

Wind is whipping and howling against the house, driving the rain hard against the windows. Gusts are forecast to top 65mph. The south ridge often protects us from hard winds but tonight the wind races down the basin leading southeastward up into the Cascade mountains. A pause then an onslaught from the southwest.

The weatherman said that swirling winds cause the most damage. He mentioned that many people were in the stores stocking up on flashlights, food and water for the almost certainty of losing electricity tonight.

Seriously, except for situations where someone’s been ill or away from home an extended time, lives in a dorm, etc, who doesn’t have at least a few days’ supply of food and water on hand that they should need to dash to the store as the outskirts of a storm begin to strike?

For my part, if our house plunges into darkness, I’ll pick up the flashlight next to my chair and head for bed. I’m tired enough to sleep for a good 10 hours. (Ha, I haven’t soundly slept a night through in ages. More than likely I’ll spend some time listening to the wind rocking the house.)

After an exhausting weekend I’m looking forward to climbing between the sheets. Climb. Literally. Ed built our bed frame high enough to store boxes under, which given our lack of storage space is a good thing. Rather, it was until the old mattress wore out and we bought one that would be helpful for Ed’s back. That thing is Mt Everest thick! I’m short. I practically need to execute a high jump maneuver to get on top of the bed. Great for putting little Violet down for her naps and no bending over to left her chunky little body.

Back to the weekend…
Friday’s tragic news was hard to comprehend, hard to bear. Hard to move forward from. I was thankful for a packed day that provided mind-numbing action. Creekside Strings met late afternoon for our routine every other week practice, a crucial one that we couldn’t postpone as we’re scheduled to play at a retirement home next Friday. We gathered solemnly expressing that it felt hard to even want to play music at such a time. Especially hard hit was the music teacher of the local middle school. But play we did. As the 90 minutes came to a close he expressed how helpful playing music together had been.

I had wondered how our little church would be able to have the acoustic Christmas music evening that was planned for the 15th. How could we sing and play cheerful, hopeful music in the midst of overwhelming sadness? Driving back home from practice Friday evening, along the quiet, dark gravel road leading over the ridge I thought of those little children (Oh! The little children. My heart bleeds.) and suddenly I knew without a shadow of doubt that they wouldn’t want others not to go on with their lives, to celebrate Christmas.

I could envision little chins quivering, eyes filling with tears at being told that “we’re too sad, we can’t sing the songs, we can’t play the tunes that I know you love. It doesn’t matter that you were looking forward to lots of yummy finger foods and hot chocolate. This is a sad time.”  The now is everything to a child, treasured events eagerly anticipated. We must hold out hope to them. Hope, steadfast courage and faith that we will get through these sad times.

Saturday morning I baked Christmas breads for friends, wound up a skein of handspun that I’d finished and washed the day before, and wrapped it in a box then went to an early lunch to celebrate a friend’s birthday.
Dec 15, 12 009Early afternoon Ed & I joined our in-law’s 50th wedding anniversary party held at the vineyard where our daughter and their son were married. It was the second huge anniversary gathering two weeks apart each with a couple hundred guests mingling. These huge celebrations of family, friends and neighbors really brings home the advantage and continuity of living an entire life in one small community! Having moved so much as children both Ed and I were never able to first hand experience what it means to sink deep roots.
Dec 15, 12 012-001(Always surrounded by family and friends, I had a hard time getting a clear shot of the couple. There’s no doubt these two are still very much in love fifty years, seven children and twenty grandchildren later.)

Ed and I parted ways for a couple hours, he off to a Christmas party for the the weekly workers at the community supper, I to gather all my gear and head up to the church to get ready for the evening of music.
Dec 15, 12 021Music stands, mics and chairs in place we’re ready to make a joyful noise in honor of the birth of our Saviour, God stepping down into this dark world, that we might know the reality of His everlasting love, even in the middle of anguishing hard times when there are no pat answers. Apparently many who came also felt the need to turn their minds and hearts to Christmas as they kept requesting songs for four hours, until voices and fingers were too weary to continue. Dec 15, 12 026-001
A quiet calm, the absence of wind and rain lashing at the house prevailed throughout much of the writing of this post.  The respite is over, the wind and rains are back and increasing in strength. It is a good time to go to bed.

Oh the irony. Just as the last picture was loading on a very long post late last night, the internet connection was lost, not to be restored, so I went to bed. Can’t turn back the clock so the title is changed from the oh so entrancing 12.12.12. But the worst is that the normally faithful WordPress draft saver was also on the blink and only the first two paragraphs were saved. The first was now irrelevant.

Thanksgiving seems like it was eons ago. We had a good time with lots of family and lots of food. Hanging out with the grandkids once again was the bonus. Some knitting was accomplished but since I’m the only knitter of the bunch and with three little children around, especially two who like sliding down the carpeted stairs on grammie’s lap as well as having books read to them, finding moments to sit still with needles and yarn in hand were few and far in between.

nov 22 173-1

Our neighbor had her baby daughter on the 25th. Little Mina gets to share her birthday with her grandfather. She’s a cutie and seems to be a content baby. No picture yet of her with the little hat I made, maybe next time – I’d love to see how it looks on her.

Squeezed in between watching Violet Tuesdays and Thursdays, trying to stay on top of orders – especially those destined for gifts (I think we’ll have the last of them in the mail by Tuesday) spinning yarn for a gift and knitting I’ve tried to dedicate enough time to music practice.

Part of our Scotts Mills Friends/Crooked Finger group played Christmas songs for the Community Christmas tree lighting, the next day we went to the funeral mass for the mother of our banjo player, the following day we played for a 60th wedding anniversary party, which was a blast. The couple have lived in the community their entire lives and are a huge part of getting things done.

Next up is the Christmas Sing-Along with a slight bluegrass flavor and over 60 songs for the people to chose from. If you’re in the area Saturday evening the 15th please stop in at the Scotts Mills Friends Church where there will be finger foods, hot drinks and lots of music. People are welcome to come and go as they need and everyone seems to enjoy this tradition which will be the 11th or 12th year.

Remember the Baby Surprise Jacket (BSJ) I had to frog after finishing about 3/4th of it and realizing it was too small. I managed to get about half of the new one knitted, on size 4mm needles this time, when my attention was drawn to the Spirograph Headband/hat and suddenly needed to make one for my very active daughter-in-law who has thick, long red hair. I knew exactly what yarn to use: Two years before she’d gifted me with the lovely skein of camel colored Austermann Natura. There was only 100 meters which I hoped would be plenty. Half way through it looked dicey so modifications were in order. I’d not been crazy about the way the hat pooched in the back so I started the decrease rounds seven rounds early and added extra decrease rounds before the final k1p1 band rounds. Her best friend modeled it for me before our Christmas sing-along practice on Sunday.
035Spirograph

Picking up Violet last Thursday I was struck by how big she’s getting and had an “oh no!” moment realizing the BSJ might once again be too small. By the time she arrived Tuesday I was onto the hood and so tried it on her for size.
003
A bit on the small size so yesterday I picked up stitches along the left front edge and knit several ridges for a button band. More length needs to added to the sleeves and sew on the buttons, give it a bath and it will be ready for wearing.

Life is full, we feel very thankful and blessed. Blessings on all for contentment and joy during this oft too crazy season!

A knock at the door a week ago Wednesday; a neighbor girl handing me an invitation to her mother’s baby shower happening Sunday afternoon. Stash diving brought up the remaining ball of  handspun Picperfic Twinkle left from knitting Aurora’s Kensington Wristwarmers (Jane Austen Knits). Twinkle  (70% superwash Merino 30% Trilobal Nylon) has been such a joy to spin, knit and now crochet. The deep raspberry colors set off by the sparkle of the nylon shout  jubilation.Casting on for another Norweigan Baby cap – the tried and true fast baby gift, I blissfully knit the first seven rows. Oh no! Those rows were supposed to alternate between knit and purl for a more elastic edge. I went to bed.

While ravelling the knitted rows the next morning I remembered how quickly the Crochet Beret I’d made for Feather had worked up so switched tools to crochet a wee hat for the new baby girl. Three days to crochet a baby hat in an otherwise busy schedule? Piece of cake. But, which pattern?

I love the look of Lene’s Pikku-Lilli and enjoyed knitting it for a friend’s granddaughter in September so decided to crochet something along those lines, except without the piping and starting at the back of the head then working forward. It was a quick little project that turned out great. I even managed to write down the steps before wrapping it in tissue with the idea of crocheting a couple more and making the pattern available. When the little one is born I hope to get a decent picture of her modeling the hat. She’s due within the next couple of weeks. I encountered mommy, daddy and two young daughters last night out for a walk. She was having a few contractions though nothing serious or regular. Mostly she was craving a peppermint latte. I think she caved. It wasn’t long before they were driving away in their van, returning about half an hour later.

Until then, here’s a sneak preview.


Immediately after the baby shower Sunday afternoon I headed up Crooked Finger Road to practice for an upcoming 60th anniversary. The slanting sunshine shimmered on this tree next to my friend’s house. Burgundy colors surprisingly similar to the deeper raspberry of the baby hat.
When Aurora came to pick up Violet Tuesday afternoon she causally mentioned that Haymaker would love a hat for his birthday coming up the following Friday. No time to dither over what to make or what yarn to use! The perfect fiber was in my stash. Almost half of it was knitting into a partial gigantic sock knit directly from the roving using #19 / 15.75mm needles. Diving into the fiber stash for the sock and the remainder of the 8oz hank of pencil roving I pulled it into the light of day and gently dismantled the sock into a squiggly heap of pencil roving.

The roving was skeined then gently placed into warm water to help erase the memory of the knitted kinks. Using my hands I pressed out as much water as possible then rolled it up in a thick bath towel and stepped on it several times. After that I stood on the back porch and whirled the skein round my arm encouraging the last drops to fly away before hanging it up to dry while spinning commenced on the remaining 4+ ounces of the roving.

Violet thought the container of roving waiting to be spun was great entertainment.

By the end of Thursday the first bobbin was spun.

By the end of Tuesday Haymaker’s hat was finished with plenty of yarn left over… enough to make a matching hat for Violet.

This yarn reflects the autumn colors abounding in the natural world outside my door.

What ‘s an option when a thick handspun, crocheted hat needs to dry quickly? Place it on the warm wood stove and rotate frequently.

It’s quite aggravating that my family just doesn’t understand my need to photograph evidence of my projects, especially the people who are supposed to be modeling them.
His daughter wasn’t any better at cooperating, and at that tired point in the evening she only wanted mommy to hold her.

I hope to get a picture of the two of them together. Sitting still!

Selling spindles makes for quick setting up time. We store the spindles in bins that ride on a trolly and sit under the cloth covered table. Assemble the display shelves hang our sign and we’re ready in less than half an hour. Which gave us time to look through the market to see others setting up without the pressure to scurry back to the booth.

The pleasant slanting evening light drew people out of their RVs to sit in scattered circles chatting to friends and acquaintances.  The ladies of Abstract Fiber had set up their RV across the way from us and soon we found ourselves sitting down to pies that Susan had made the night before. Yummy! A huge marionberry as well as a huge apricot pie. Enjoyed every morsel of a sliver of each,  and their delightful company, which included an engaging African whose booth was right behind Abstract Fibers, selling baskets, bags and jewelry. Sadly, his name is gone from my memory.
It was still light when Ed and I crawled into our sleeping bags. All night it was light. The nearby parking lot light was so bright I literally could have read my book.

Pitter-pattering against the tent woke us up. Rain. What started out gentle turned into a cold, day-long deluge.
Diehard fiber and fiber animal enthusiasts braved the rain.

Sights and goods like these were well worth it. Such tempting vibrant colors and beautiful skeins.I was quite taken with the young lady who was elegantly dressed as though for high tea. She and her friend sat there for some time as he knitted away. Our booth was right beside the main door and when I caught a glimpse of them leaving I couldn’t resist a picture of contrasts.

The rain hadn’t let up at all during the day, and at times it poured hard. About 4 that afternoon Ed decided to check on our tent and soon return with a gloomy face. The rain had managed to seep through one spot  where we hadn’t been able to completely pull the rain fly taut. Being on asphalt we used the car to tie down two sides and water jugs for the other two corners. His sleeping bag was seriously soaked.

In January when I’d tried booking a motel room for BSG all the reasonable rooms were already reserved. Any motels/hotels with a room were asking close to $200 and up per night. The Olympic Track & Field Trials were beginning the same weekend as BSG, and Eugene as Track Town USA draws the running fans. We were prepared to pack it in and drive home if absolutely necessary but hoped to find a cancellation. Having a smart phone turned out to be a huge blessing! (We’d not owned one before but knowing there was no wi-fi in the barns we bit the bullet and bought one to use our card reader. Almost the very first thing after setting up and trying to run a card we discovered that the signal wasn’t strong enough and the call was dropped. The customer happened to be the very person who’d talked with us at Sock Summit about a new contraption he carried around to connect to the internet. Next thing we knew, he was back at our booth, mi-fi modem in hand with accompanying power cord. God bless him! He gave us his Mi-Fi to keep! )

Wow, the info one can access with a smart phone. Typing in motels, Eugene OR, a list popped up of all the motels with vacancies, and the number of rooms available, plus rates. Even as I scrolled through the list rooms were filling up so I frantically called one with decent rates (just over $100/night!) and secured a room for two nights. Apparently enough people who’d made reservations last January had last minute change of plans. (High gas/bad economy)

Shortly before 6pm the skies lightened a bit and the rain stopped. At six we were closing shop and rushing out to gather all of our camping gear, stuffing it in the car, wetness and all. About five blocks from the fairgrounds is a Five Guys. We were starving so pulled in for the first decent meal of the day. Just as we sat down with our hamburgers and fries the sky grew black and the rain drummed down.

Saturday brought a number of previous customers who stopped by to buy another spindle and/or show us what they’ve been spinning.
John, a friend of several years now, had just taken a workshop and one of the things they did was grab random bits of fibery fluff and spin it all together. His yarn is from various silk bits.

Ilisha, whom we’ve had the pleasure of getting to know since last year’s Sock Summit, had a bunch of yarn turtles she’d recently spun.And what does she do with these relatively small batches of yarn?
She’s the Jazz Knitter! Look at what her creative mind does with yarn! There’s no end to the scope of her imagination for using colorful yarn.

Lauri stopped by not only with her spinning but with a tool that are over a hundred years old: Turkish distaff! How exciting it was to see her putting one to use.

There were a number of weekender kids who gravitated to our spindles (and probably all the other spindle makers!) Their enthusiasm is contagious. These two were in an RV next to our tent the first night. They were at BSG to show their sheep. The girl took home at least one blue ribbon, and they both took home a Delight. :)

Hope everyone had a great Independence Day! I made good headway on the new website and hope that by this time next week it will be finished. I keep getting badly sidetracked by needing to maintain the ongoing regular office work.

This afternoon Ed and I headed in to town to help with the weekly community dinner (served 187 people tonight, down from the usual 450+). The core team had finished most of the prep work by the time we got there at 2:30 so we headed to the street fair happening downtown.

We saw a sweet, old spinning wheel that was in good condition for a terrific price, but alas, she didn’t take credit cards and we hadn’t taken the check book. My Tour de Fleece spinning was quite happy not to have the extra competition.

« Previous PageNext Page »

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 56 other followers