Fiber Friday

The Aurora Colony Handspinners Guild invited Sarah Anderson, the author of Book of Yarn Design (and others) to be the guest speaker in September as well as teach several workshops the next two days.

If you ever have the opportunity to take a class with Sarah, do so! She’s not only very knowledgeable about spinning, she’s humorous, a story teller and down to earth, but she’s an excellent teacher.

Sarah had us spinning big fat yarn – way out of my comfort zone!
Which we plyed with twice as much twist as we’d normally add so that it would cable neatly back on itself. It takes a great deal of practice, feel and eye to achieve the balance of beautifully cabled yarn.

Testing for balanced cables: The left one was slightly over twisted, the two middle weren’t plyed with enough twist, the far right is the most balanced. Sarah showing us to test the ply for balance.
Unbalanced cable: the bumps should be in straight lines.After many attempts I finally achieved a section of cabled yarn that was balanced. Sarah passed out bright blue and neon green Corriedale for us to spin, one thick & thin, the other thin which were then plyed together for art yarn.
ETA: She deliberately spun the blue yarn thick and thin then showed us how the ply twist reacts differently with different thicknesses.
Here she’s showing us how the twist collects in thin areas while resisting the thicker parts.Cabled thick & thin.
Pictured below are three cabled yarns I spun during the workshop. It was hard for me to let go of spinning for even thickness to make a thick and thin yarn with the blue and green.
Spinning the two contrasting colors is an excellent way to quickly see whether or not your ply is adequate for a balanced yarn. If the cables had been balanced the green would be a straight line, as would the blue. You can see areas where I came close to it.
Grateful for:
Opportunities to expand my spinning knowledge.
Being able to spin all sorts of fibers.
The continuity of spinning through time and people.
Spinning which produces useful yarns as well as the opportunity to slow down, to be quiet and think.
Grateful for my enabler husband, Ed!

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Practicing Gratitude

Thursday mornings I meet others at the church to pray. Sometimes there are a handful of us, today it was just I.
Quiet time alone in the warm sanctuary, no voices. No noise.
The perfect opportunity to be still, to sit with God.

That sentence astonishes me. How can this be, but for the mercy and redemption of the God who loves.
I’ve been trying to be mindfully grateful.
To choose gratitude instead of grumbling.
To be aware of the good.

Counting my blessings. Name them one by one, out loud.
To give voice to each good thing: Validating the reality of all the goodness that surrounds me.

Even when things don’t go as planned.
The phone rings… there’s a gathering storm between people to be calmed.
(Choking back resentment at the inopportune interruptions, asking God for a good measure of understanding.
For help! “I’m not good at this stuff God,  I need Your wisdom.”
And patience. “Lots of patience, please Lord!)

Attentive listening.
Troubleshooting resulting in ruffled feathers smoothed.
Misunderstandings sorted out. Peace restored.
As the week counts down to Thanksgiving it’s the perfect time to take note and record things, incidents, sights, words, feelings, people for which I am grateful.

Duck Walk Wednesday

Rains have been falling all day. Shortly after eight this morning I looked out the window to the thick clouds still dropping their load with no let-up in sight. Contemplating how nice it would be to stay inside all day I almost called JG to beg off walking.

Winter is still a month away and here I am already wanting to wimp out of walking because of rain? No way.

Meeting up with JG, first thing out of her mouth was that she’d almost called me to tell me it was too wet to walk.

We walked through rain that seeps everywhere drenching everything; the chickens scratching for food, scurrying squirrels, the Springer Spaniel that came out to greet us, birds at feeders.

Oregonians don’t use an umbrella when walking in the rain as attested by one of the regular fellows who we usually meet coming or going on the hill.
Just give us a good jacket with a hood!

Coming down C St we spied a flock (a brace, a plump) of Mallards meandering across the road.
Apparently there was something delicious in the mud puddle on the other side that attracted them to bow their heads and feast.
It wasn’t until we were within 15 feet of them that they grew nervous of the dog, Seana, and reluctantly moved away. I was intrigued to see that they were almost all drakes, only three or four females in the group of a dozen or so.

The final three that didn’t spook and fly off as we walked behind them down the road.

Grateful for the rains that contribute to western Oregon beauty and abundance.
Grateful for the colorful Mallards.
Grateful for the warmth of a wood stove.

The Beauty Around Us

Snowflake, the new kitty I wrote about on Nov 2  is somewhere around 7 months, today was his appointment with the vet.

We borrowed a cozy cloth kitty carrier a couple days ago and placed it where he could access it at will. When it came time to take him to town this morning he didn’t make a fuss, or a noise.

We’ve had two days of blustery weather, winds and pelting rains then the winds would part the clouds, sweep them into intriguing formations in an ever changing sky full of reflecting light and shadows.

Driving home this afternoon, after retrieving Snowflake, the clarity of the distant mountains captured my attention. I turned onto a lesser used farm road in search of a good place to pull over and gaze at them.
Can you make out the ridges, folds, and basins, the snow on the highest levels? The picture doesn’t do justice to the grandeur of the sharp details of the mountains that I gazed at this afternoon.

I only wish had taken my trusty old Sony camera with its excellent distant zoom feature. The cell phone camera doesn’t have nearly the zoom feature needed, nor the clarity when zooming. Perhaps Thursday or Friday, after this next round of heavy rains and winds I’ll drive out that way again, this time with the Sony.

I am grateful to have seen the mountains this afternoon, and so very grateful to live in a place that has so much beauty!

Pictures below taken two weeks ago when visiting an elderly friend.

Back to the Beginning

Four more rounds were knit.
The gusset was well started when I knew…Still too big.

The generous positive ease doesn’t show up in the picture but it was there. My daughter likes her fingerless gloves snug.

The other factor was how the straight stockinette showed off the colors which were muted in the waves.

They’ve been frogged. I’ll use lace weight yarn with less color changes to make her some gloves to use at work.

I really like this yarn and am keen to make something before November is over. I better figure out what hat to knit.

Strong winds and rains have been blowing about since last night with numerous short breaks. My neighbor JG and I were thrilled when to have calmer weather at our regular walking time. We didn’t get quite to the top of the hill before the gusts came back whipping the firs, oaks and maples lining the road. Some smaller branches flew through the air causing us to rethink continuing up through those trees as the wind is always stronger up there.

I was astonished that all day long the helicopter assisting in the Christmas tree harvesting continued its circling round and round gathering bundles of trees then dropping them off at the staging lot next to the road.  A very skilled, and fearless pilot must have been at the controls.

Here’s a better picture of the wolfhound, Seana, taken today.

A little knitting

Made a bit of headway on the mitts today. Yesterday I decided to start the second mitt when I reached the gusset increases while at the party. I didn’t think I’d get as much knitting done and hadn’t taken the pattern. Grabbing a round, straight handled spatula from my daughter’s counter I rewound the ball to free up the yarn end that was trapped in the middle.

I was too tired this afternoon / evening to accomplish much knitting. Only managed to complete the seven round chart of the pattern on the new one plus a couple of rounds of the gusset increases on the first one. It’s far enough along that once again it appears they still might be too big for my slender daughter’s arms.
(That mess of loose yarn going up the center? Keeping track of chart repeats.)
The yarn is my handspun from the Sept/Oct Yarn Tools Ravelry forum challenge.
Fiber: Picperfic  Wylie: 60% Polwarth, 20% Yak, 20% Mulberry Silk. Colourway: Doris 107 grams, approx. 150 yards

These colors have been speaking to my heart since I first saw the picture of the fibre on Picperfic’s website. If the fingerless mitts do end up too sloppy for my daughter I just might frog them and make a hat for myself.

Here’s a shot from last night’s birthday party. The three best friends were having a blast playing dress up. Little brothers wanted to be included.
The girl with the purple sweater is our granddaughter. 🙂 Such a cutie!