TdF & Black Sheep pt 1

Tour de Fleece began today!  I don’t think it’s too late if you’d like to join Team Jenkins Spindlers, just reply to the very first post so Blumzie knows you want to join. Today was the Time Trials for the Tour de France so I chose to pedal the exercise bike for 20 minutes while spinning.

Digging through my fiber stash yesterday the natural selection pointed to the fiber Ed brought back to our booth at BSG: BlarneyYarn Merino/Silk Top, 2.2 ounces of each colorway
Apparently he saw a couple of shawls at Blarney Yarns booth that stopped him in his tracks and thought I’d like to spin some of the beautiful fiber.

A walnut Aegean seemed the right spindle to show off the fibers.

As usual Black Sheep Gathering was a lot of fun, and very exhausting. An apt description of an introvert is someone whose energy is drained by people, whereas an extrovert is energized by people. So true! While I do enjoy the interactions and meeting people by the end of a show I want to disappear into the woods and hide for a week.

Once again all the visual stimulus, activity, people… put my brain on overload and other than a couple of quick dashes around to see booths I pretty much stayed at our booth. With the exception of drooling over an 8 shaft Baby Wolf that Eugene Textiles had marked down. Ed first alerted me to the loom and suggested I check it out. Very tempting. Except. We drove our Ford Focus. It was packed to the roof top with display materials, spindle boxes and camping gear.

Yep, we decided to camp this year and save motel costs.
Upon arrival the young man in charge of camping reservations gestured the huge parking lot with a broad sweep of his arm, “set up where ever you want.” Really? There was one nice grassy verge under a large fir tree that looked perfect. He phoned the supervisor, “is it okay if they put up a tent on the grass?” “Um, sure, if you don’t mind automatic sprinklers going on.”

We picked a likely spot not too far from the barns, between friendly people in RVs who come from CA every year for Black Sheep. (Rats! I can’t remember their names.)

Oops, bedtime! It’ll be an early, and long day for us tomorrow. More on BSG to come…

Groan, not that I’m likely to fall asleep soon, a bunch of fireworks (illegal) are blasting through the air with accompanying shouts of cheer. Ha! It’s begun raining. If we’re fortunate it’ll pour hard/long enough to put a damper on their early festivities. 😀

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Blessed by Friends

First, the spindles are almost all ready for Black Sheep. The new spinning dvd was delivered Sunday evening by the film-maker/editor. Overall he did a beautiful job and we’re quite pleased with it. I spent yesterday making copies to include in the book. There are several people who’ve pre-ordered/pre-paid and I’ll get those out early next week.

Team Jenkins Turkish Spindlers 2012 for the Tour de Fleece (at Ravelry) is coming together. Two people came up with two great designs, first Spindledreams using my spindle picture, then Michelle of Boulderneigh (who isa graphic artist) used our logo to make one and Spindledreams jumped on board, without any need for competition, instead she embraced Michelle’s work with gusto and put the finishing touch of the black borderon the design. It makes me smile and my heart sing to see two people who don’t know each other being supportive of each other and collaborating with good cheer for a common goal.

It’s not officially be recognized by the Team mod , and the other Team members, but isn’t it a great logo?

The last rays of sunshine are slanting across the treetops and the distant ridge.

*****

My eyelids indicate it’s bedtime. It’s been a very good day!

Twice in the past four days we’ve been blessed by visits from friends harkening back to younger days. Saturday a college / camp friend and her husband stopped by on their way from California to Montana. Temperance had lived a couple doors down the hall in my dorm, then we both worked at a summer camp in the Cascade Foothills where Ed also signed up for the summer. I was the assistant wrangler, Temperance a counselor, Ed the crew leader. Funny thing is, Ed took her out to see Star Wars before he took me. He ended up seeing it three times that summer of ’77 – the final time he took me. 🙂

We kept in touch for a few years, then lost track of her and her husband.  Then five years ago Ed and I both started thinking about them. A lot. We  tracked them down by looking her up via her last name, stumbled across a brothers who gave us her contact info. Amazingly, (it had to be God’s timing) they had just returned to California after living a number of years in Europe. We were soon in touch once again. And, the connection brought another new friend into my life: the wife of elder brother is also an avid knitter and spinner with whom I had the great pleasure of hanging out at Black Sheep four years ago. Waving to GrannyLinda!  I still haven’t done anything with those silk cocoons we bought together.

Around the lunch table on Saturday time fell away as we caught up with each other and discussed how God has sustained and remained faithful, even through some painful events. People of the heart. They’re headed back to Europe for a visit but this time, with the internet we’ll be able to stay in touch. And perhaps sometime we’ll be able to spend a long lazy day with the guys casting their flies onto a river. (I completely spaced on getting a picture.)

The friends who came today have had a presence in our lives since early in our marriage. They live in another state and spend part of the year working in S America (where the husband was raised) so we don’t see each other very often any more. When we both lived in Portland Serenity was a wonderful support and mentor when the kids were small as well as my running partner. Daily we’d meet early in the morning to run up and around Mt Tabor and through different neighborhoods. We share memories of running on the same Hood to Coast Relay Team in ’85, praying and studying the Bible together. A kindred spirit friend.

What a relaxing afternoon we had! We feel so blessed to have wonderful friends of the heart with whom we can pick up long dormant threads hardly miss a beat. I wish we’d had more time together – it seems we barely scratched the surface of where our lives and thoughts have lead over the years apart. Aurora brought delicious homemade soup with her, along with a salad, and Violet. Serenity was one of the first friends to stop in when Aurora was born all those years ago.

Serenity and Violet aka SweetPea

At 3 months Violet is keen on trying to make speech. She intently watches our mouths and tries to make sounds. Saying “hi” to her she works hard to activate those vocal chords and mouth to imitate us. A couple times it sounded very close to “hi”. (claims the doting grammie)

Bedtime for this sleepyhead – tomorrow will be a very full day pushing through the last of the organizing and rounding up of everything we need for a busy weekend.

Weekend Getaway

We’re almost ready for Black Sheep Gathering! Ed’s been cranking out the spindles left and right. If you’re in the area please stop by our booth, just inside the main doors and say hi. It’s fun to meet readers and Jenkins spindle fans. Please forgive me when I seem to be in a fog. I’m terrible about remembering names and faces, a problem made worse when my brain feels swamped by all the stimuli, noise and senses overload.

Exciting news for all you spinners out there who love spinning with your Jenkins spindles! There’s a Team Jenkins group on the Tour de Fleece forum at Ravelry this year. If you don’t have a Ravelry account, and you’re hesitant about yet another social network … hesitate no longer! This year I have spent very little time at Raverly except to swoop in to scope out patterns. When I’m in search for  a certain type I almost always check in Ravelry first – their patterns are practically limitless. And now, you can join the Team Jenkins and spin during every day of the official bicycle race known as Tour de France. The days they race, we spin. Your spinning efforts will be cheered on by all your teammates and there will be some prizes at the finish. The TdF begins on June 30th – just enough time to dust off your spindle, check your fiber stash and decide what challenge you want to take on. The main guideline of TdF is that the spinning project can not be started before June 30th. Just like the bike racers you may prepare ahead of time and get all set for that wild dash at the start of the race on June 30th. Take pictures and post them in the TeamJenkins page of your spinning progress.

Hope to see you there!

The weekend away was just what I needed to restore a sense of balance and positive outlook on life. By noon on Friday I had packed up the last of the orders that were ready to mail, threw my gear into the car and took off for Sisters, OR stopping to pick up Hope and Grace on the way out of town. Despite the forecast for showers and cold the sun was shining between scattered clouds. We weren’t about to let the cold, stiff wind dampen our spirits. Constance had obligations on Friday but drove over the mountains to join us Saturday afternoon where we bumped into her as we were leaving a store. Sisters is known for its scenery, small town charm and clusters of interesting stores. We rented a condo on the outskirts of town where it’s a pleasant walk to downtown. The others spent time browsing through quilt stores, dime stores, used bookstores, clothing boutiques, etc.

I took my spindle and sat on a bench in the Village Green and thoroughly enjoyed spinning whilst people watching.  A family with four kids were happily playing on the playground structure while the mom and dad sat on the grass next to the barkdust covered space watching over their children and quietly talking. The two older kids played tagged round and round, climbing the structure, slipping down the slide, a pole, swinging along the rings rarely vocalizing except to claim, “Tag!”. So much non-stop energy while their younger siblings also energetically climbing, scooted and descended in earnestness occasionally calling out, “Mom! Watch me!” Almost an hour pleasantly passed when it occurred to me how quietly and industriously they played. No shouting, screaming or yelling. They spoke nicely to one another in regular tones of voices, laughing briefly, joyously.

A mom brought a toddler over to play on the structure and though they continued their energetic game of tag they were mindful around the little girl. The parents announce lunchtime and the kids melted away from the structure following their parents’ wake to the waiting car. Mulling over how happily they had played together I marveled at their quietness and thought back to when our kids were grade school age a friend once remarked to me that we were a “quiet family”. I was surprised at the notion but soon realized what she meant. Watching and being near this quiet family and obviously happy family was very refreshing and soothing. Soon afterwards three boys came running and shouting to the playground where they immediately began climbing, jostling to be the first, the fastest, the best. Their voices carried to the far corners of the green, including their obnoxious name calling of each other.  Two polar families. Parent can teach their children to play and engage in wholesome activities without the need to be loud and pushy, they do it by example and setting the tone for quiet interaction within the family as the children are growing.

I took lots of pictures: my time in the park; the rodeo we attended on Saturday evening; small delights and pleasures. Tuesday morning I discovered that I’d lost the transfer cable somewhere along the way.  I ordered a new cable online, it should be here within a couple more days. Until then I’ll leave you with a picture taken last year in Redmond, a town about 20 miles from Sisters that knows how to celebrate and honor Flag Day.

Tailspin

After feeling like I’ve been in a tail spin for the past couple of weeks trying to figure out how to make the new website do what we need it to do, I have crashed.

It’s been insanely impossible to try working on the website while juggling orders. I’m at my wits end. If I ignore emails to concentrate completely on figuring out where to go with the site design then emails and orders get back-logged, bringing in some multiple emails wondering if the others were lost in cyberspace. I get that with emails have gone missing but it doesn’t help with my logjam of work. My stomach has been in knots for the past two weeks over the situation. I’m extremely grateful for all the orders and work but it’s just me in the office and Ed in the shop and there’s only so much the two of us can accomplish in a day.

With Black Sheep Gathering two weeks away we must concentrate on building up stock, recording and organizing the inventory and tending to the myriad of small details that goes into being adequately prepared for a 3 day show.  (Ed has just turned out the bedroom light. Another early night for him – 8:30pm as I write this- these days have been exhausting, and discouraging. )

Tomorrow I’ll try to coax the ancient computer beast back to life long enough to see if I can clear more memory and give it a bit extra life so I can post on the existing website that we won’t be working on orders until the end of June. I truly hope that the extra time will be the ticket to stop the nightmare of a partially functioning website and give Ed the focus he needs to be ready for BSG.

It’s scary to “take off” this time (we’ll still be working, though we hope not the endlessly long hours) since Jenkins Woodworking – spindles, hooks, needles, hairpin looms – provides our entire income. On the other hand Ed can’t afford to have a shop accident and I don’t want to lose my sanity.

Compounding things was having a venous ablation done on one of my legs to take care of the insufficient saphenous vein on the 22nd. (I’d like to post about this at length in the future.) From what I’d read it sounded like it wasn’t a big deal. For the most part it hasn’t been, it’s just one more thing to deal with during any already stressful time. The first two days I alternated between resting with my leg elevated above my heart and an ice pack on it for about 30 minutes and working in the office  for 20 – 30 more minutes, but it’s been very hard to take the time away to elevate my leg and ice it.

Wore the tight wrappings for 48 hours. I was amazed at how much it swelled even with the bandaging, tape and compression sock. (This will be the only picture of this.)

The 25th had previously been booked for filming of the spinning video. Jesse and his film partner, Shannon, had only that one day available to come down here from Portland. It was a very intense day that flew by way too quickly as we tried to cover everything in one session. I was so impressed with their professionalism and knowledge. Figuring out lighting and placement, working through the sections was a blast. We worked solidly with only a 15 minute break to eat some cheese and crackers for lunch. Then again as we neared the ending when the camera’s hard drive reached max capacity and we had to stop to transfer recordings to Jesse’s laptop. Bad timing, I’d been on a roll but with the interruption my train of thought evaporated; tiredness set in; I was concerned about my leg (no chance to rest or ice it at all). After that it was hard to pick up the pieces and get back in the groove.

Jesse setting up camera gear:
Shannon in charge of the sound system and lighting:

We began with the outdoor scene after this we moved into the house where I was too absorbed to think about getting anymore picture.
What a fun experience to work with Jesse and Shannon!

 

I thought my leg was doing extremely well since there was minimal pain. Apparently, so much lidocaine was injected all along the blood vessel that it took over a week for the numbness to wear off and the pain to really hit.  The following Tuesday, the 29th, I was absentmindedly carrying a 7 gallon container of water down some steps when I felt a burning in my leg and realized how stupid it was to carry that much weight (56lbs) so soon. It’s been burning ever since, always worse after sitting for more than 15 minutes.  Talked to a nurse about it a couple days ago and was reassured that it’s normal and that it could take a couple more weeks before the pain completely goes away.

Life feels very crazy right now. Remember the Girls’ Getaway I mentioned in the previous post?  It feels completely insane to be taking four days away from the office. My stomach somersaults just thinking about load of work that will greet me when I return. But, as I’d mentioned, it will be good to get away for a short time. Stressing about all the work won’t do me any good so I may as well enjoy the good change of pace and come back renewed in mind and spirit.

Some days trying to focus on the good is so hard!

On the Home Front

Rain is bucketing down and the temperatures never climbed above low 60s today. A good day to stick a roast in the oven and let it take the chill off the house. My mom cooked the best roast dinners when I was growing up. Every year we raised a locker steer that filled our freezer with good meat for the following year. With four hungry kids growing up on a small farm this was an affordable way to have good meat. Growing up I never considered that we might be considered poor by many standards but looking back I know that money must have been tight at times.

On days like today, with a roast in the oven, potatoes boiling to be mashed, home grown and preserved green beans simmering on the back burner a sense of well-being and contentment filtered through the house. For the most part Ed and I like eating simply; a one dish meal is often the most satisfying for both of us. I’m fortunate – Ed’s an easy keeper! That man can get by on one meal a day with a handful of nuts to sustain him while working all day in the shop. But sometimes a full dinner is satisfying physically and emotionally.

We’re gearing up for Black Sheep Gathering. It almost makes me dizzy to think that it’s just around the corner. This next weekend is the annual Sister’s getaway that my three friends and I have taken the past half dozen years, or so.  While I’m very much looking forward to getting away for a long weekend and spending time with dear friends it’s rather daunting to contemplate being gone when there’s much that I’d like to accomplish in the next few weeks.

I’ll try to put all those tasks from my mind and take this opportunity to rest and try to do some much needed recuperating, and some spinning, and enjoy the companionship. I hope to start a new sweater for Violet, or perhaps some red socks for myself.

After three attempts at knitting socks for Violet and designing my own baby sock pattern, I gave up with the fancy stitches and knit a 2×2 ribbing that fits her feet with a bit of room to grow. This girl will not keep socks on her feet. Awake she’s in constant motion waving her legs and arms and stretching, her socks haven’t stayed on during those vigorous motions. I was hoping the 2×2 ribbing would help but it wasn’t long before they were flung from her little feet. Don’t be alarmed, she can snuggle quietly too.

One sock is peeking from under Aurora’s arm.
Next, it was impossible to get a picture without some blurring.

Though June has come in cold and rainy we had a very pleasant May which got the strawberries off to a good start. mmmm

Musical interlude

My heart is satisfied, music dances through my head. The strings ensemble I play violin with had our year end concert this afternoon. Over all it went quite well, and Ed captured most of the pieces on video. His favorite piece is being uploaded to YouTube as I write this. (It’s taking about 75 minutes to upload.)

Previous years Abiqua Strings was primarily made up of the students of a local violin teacher, Ann.  Last fall Ann decided to completely retire from teaching violin lessons but she continued with the Abiqua Strings.  She invited several of her students to continue with the group as well as several adults. We ended up being a group of 7 adults, all had been playing strings since they were kids. Except for me – I took up the violin in my mid-late thirties.

What a good challenge it has been. The other second violinist is the music teacher at the middle school with violin having been his major. I feel very anchored playing next to him with his solid, confident bow strokes.  With two first violins, two seconds, two violas and a cello we have a nicely balanced sound. We practiced for 90 minutes every other week, really not enough time to work out that tight, everyone-playing-as-one sound that comes mostly from hours and hours of playing together, honing the music as one unit. Still, I’m so grateful for this wonderful opportunity to make music with others!

What a fun program we played today! I know a number of my readers are musicians so here’s the playlist:

Telemann’s Sonata for 2 Violins – IV movement: Allegro, Andante, Presto
Greig’s Holberg Suite: Allegro, Sarabanda, Rigadaun
Medley of 3 Scandinavian folk tunes: Ark Varmland, Walking Tune, Ringnessen
Simple Gifts  – Ed’s favorite one
Medley of 3 folk tunes: Red River Valley, Red Wing, Red Haired Boy

I don’t have the video upgrade for this blog , please click on the Simple Gifts link to listen.

After a time of playing with other good musicians it makes me want to concentrate even more on the violin. I hope that this group continues together next year. As adults with busy lives there are times it’s very hard to make the commitment to this type of group.

Much has been happening here the past couple of weeks that I’d like to post. Guess I need to post more often!

Meantime, one hour in the evenings have been devoted to reading “Distant Hours” by Kate Morton, which I finished yesterday. I’ve been listening to Silas Marner on Librivox whilst spinning some scrumptious PicPerFic roving and now I’ve hit a dilemma: to ply together or order more of hree colourway/fibers so I can keep each of these lovely colours as a unit rather blending them into a 3-ply yarn which is what I originally set out to make. As I finished the last bobbin the idea of weaving a shirt with these slowly took root in my mind. Almost clinching the thought was when my daughter stopped by with Violet and saw the three bobbins laying together. Immediately smitten she grabbed them up and asked what I planned to make with them. She thinks they should be kept separate. It was hard to capture the true colours of each of these so here’s another view, different lighting, different arrangement which shows the true color of the lightest pink (middle below) the bobbin with the purple/blue is more like in the picture above.Left to Right: Polwarth and Silk, Polwarth and Baby Alpaca, Polwarth. I’ll 3-ply a few yards of them together in the morning to see how they look co-mingled.

Enjoy the music!