I have the suspicion December will pass in a blur. Already the calendar is a-wash with notes.

  • Music practices for the town’s Christmas Tree lighting ceremony this Thursday evening and the Friends church’s annual Bluegrass Christmas Sing-a-long the evening of the 16th.
  • Decorating the church on Saturday morning.
  • Celebration of Daniel’s life in the evening.
  • School winter programs are scheduled.
  • Helping pack Christmas boxes for those in need here in the community.
  • Extra events weaving in and out of regular weekly meetings and tasks.
    We’ll mark them off one at a time.

I’m very thankful that the majority of evenings  we’ll be home.

December is off to a good start with the spindles. Ed’s made some Larks, today he worked on Finches.  I’ve spun 20 grams: 10 grams of maroon were spun as fine laceweight with a 14 grams spindle made from a neighbor’s magnolia branch.

The Mulberry Egret is being used to spin the grey fiber.
Yesterday I started spinning the grey fiber which my daughter, Aurora, gave me for my 60th birthday last December. She bought it at OFFF last year but doesn’t remember exactly who she bought it from, nor did she keep anything that indicates the dyer or what the fiber is. It’s soft and there seems to be some fibers that are quite short. My guess is either baby camel down or yak blended with a long staple wool. There are 98 grams. Right now I’m planning to do some accent color work with the maroon with the grey. I may add another  colored fiber to the mix.

As the days turned to December I’m still choosing to practice gratitude each day. The hard news, the sad news, the grief we’ve dealt with these past two+ weeks has brought home the fact that gratitude is not just an emotion. Sometimes it’s not a feeling.

To choose to be grateful means sometimes checking those feelings that press negatives thoughts onto the heart. To rise above emotions and simply say, “thank you”.

As I have meaningfully practiced gratitude the hard emotions take a back seat. I’ve been grateful that I’ve been able to be far more calm and rational than expected. In cultivating gratitude perspectives have shifted.

It’s hard to explain. Concerns are there but not the worry. One huge difference is when I’ve been awake during the night. (Sunday night it seemed I was awake far more than asleep.)  My mind doesn’t race, anxiety or dread doesn’t take hold, instead I rather enjoyed the time to lie still knowing my body is at rest, the blankets and quiet dark enveloping me. It’s a good time to pray and think about spiritual things.

Grateful for
–  A quiet neighborhood with only an occasional sound.
–  The comfort of the Lord.
–  An unexpected word Sunday morning that was the thread which tied my sermon together. Though close to completion it seemed there was something more. Upon opening my personal email at 6am the Advent word for the day  was “Awaken”: “Awake my soul, awake harp and lyre, I will awaken the dawn…!” Psalm 56:8
– Hope, the first Sunday of Advent is Hope. Because I hope in the Lord my soul is awake. And grateful!


A Satisfying Spin

Made it: The third November in a row to post every single day.

November will go out with spinning.

Waiting for the Picperfic fibre to cross the ocean for the September/October Challenge in the Revelry Jenkins Yarn Tools forum I remembered a long term project that I should finish for spinning autumn colors. (If you have a Jenkins spindle, please join the December Challenge fun, it’s not too late! )

This is the fiber and spindle I used to in the video Ply-on-the-Fly with a Turkish Spindle.

Three years later and it still wasn’t all spun. It’d been used at shows and classes to demonstrate the POF method. I dug it out of the workshop tub, took a picture to document how many grams were already spun. Time to finish spinning it so it could be worn.

The last push to finish.My little buddy during morning walks
Only a few grams left to spin and ply.
It’s a wrap!Soaked and skeined.
50 grams of 50 / 50 baby camel / silk gifted to me in 2012 became
150 yards of cushy soft yarn.

It’s going to be a wonderful neck warmer or small scarf.

Grateful for:
– finishing a very satisfying spin which produced lovely yarn.
– a good, brisk walk
– the rain holding off until we rounded the last corner for home
– a decent work-through of several pieces of music for upcomingChristmas events
– meaningful prayer time at the church

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!

Spinning Autumn Colors

The beautiful autumn days have given way to the typical rains and cold of November.
(Yesterday’s sudden squall while the sun was still shining.)
Once again we’re burning wood for heat; Ed put plastic over the large living room window. (The size is relative, some of you would probably spit coffee on your computer if you saw it compared to your front room window).

The windows are the original, dating to ’78. Even though they’re double-paned enough years have passed and the Spring Break Quake of ’93 didn’t help with their having a strong wind-proof seal. One of these years we must replace them.

As the year winds down these final two months I’m aware that if I want to get any gifts made for Christmas I’d better get cracking! The monthly spinning challenges on the YarnTools forum in Revelry have been a great help in producing yarns for special gifts. (It’s not too late to take part in November’s challenge!)
Here’s my most recent completed yarn from the Sept/Oct challenge
I love the vibrant depth of these autumn colors! Fiber: Picperfic  Wylie: 60% Polwarth, 20% Yak, 20% Mulberry Silk. Colourway: Doris
Chain-plyed to keep the colors.
Go ahead, click on the link and check out the lovelies Marianne has to offer right now. Oh my goodness, there are a number that grab my attention…

I loved spinning this fiber, these colors. Not wanting to risk having them barber-pole or look muddy if the two singles didn’t match up well, I spun  two turtles (the name we call the resulting ball / cake of yarn spun by a Turkish spindle) then chain-plyed them into one long length.
Since I wanted to keep the same alignment and order of the roving and colors, I hand wound the singles of the second turtle into a ball. That put the the beginning part, which ends up inside the turtle, on the outside which was then spun/joined to the outside end of the yarn still on the first spindle.
I could have used a heavier Egret or a Swan which would have enabled me to spin all 107 grams of the singles with one spindle. I’ve spun that much on a spindle before but that much weight significantly slows down the spindle.
I’m so pleased to have achieved my goal of spinning singles that chain-plyed to a light worsted weight. 107 grams, ca 144 yards
The small neck scarf sample I knit up yesterday has been frogged. The pattern and colors fought for attention. Tomorrow afternoon I’ll peruse my patterns, and perhaps Revelry to see what would show off this yarn.

January spinning and knitting

A short post tonight. I’m determined to post every month this year. Here it is almost 10 pm the last day of January and only the first post of 2017.

Life is full. Life is good. Fiber stuff keeps happening, as does sending out spindles, preaching, and sundry miscellaneous stuff. December was filled with unexpected happenings and January started off that way. I’m grateful that it’s settling back into a more typical rhythm.

Fiber recap of January
A four ounce braid from Mosaic Moon, colorway “The 4th Doctor” turned into approximately 176 yards of 2-ply squishiness. Not sure yet what it will become.dsc05200Wool fiber and yarns tend to call out the hunter in Ebo. He can’t seem to help but want to attack good fiber. I have to guard it like a sheepdog when Ebo’s around.

Another braid of Alpaca/Silk from Upstream Alpaca has been spun into 750+ yards of singles. This skein has gone into the bin with the other skeins of alpaca singles that will eventually be woven into material.

dsc05206Last weekend I had to attend some church related meetings for several hours Friday evening and all day Saturday. It was a perfect time to start a new knitting project that would be fairly mindless with its rows of garter stitch. A Surprise Jacket for my grandson who sweetly asked me to make him a new one as he’d outgrown the one I made for him two years ago.
He asked it to be made with green and yellow because “I like the Oregon Ducks.”
“But don’t you like the Boise Broncos anymore, Wesley?” I asked since last year they were his favorite team.
“Yes, I like the Broncos, but I like the Ducks too. So you can make it with blue and orange too.”

Spinning Alpaca

The fifth skein of the alpaca project has been spun, soaked and dried. This latest one is the colorway is called Midnight; it’s the second from from the right.dsc04589April ’15 I bought some alpaca/silk roving from Upstream Alpacas at a daylong, local spin-in where Christine had a table. As soon as the roving began slipping through my hands I feel in love and ordered another 4 ounces. It didn’t take long before I knew I wanted to spin enough to weave material for a skirt, perhaps a matching short jacket ensemble.  So far there are over 3200 yards. I’m not sure about the skein on the right. That roving was ordered online and turned out brighter than I’d anticipated. Yet, it might be interesting to have a pop of color in the cloth.

At times my plan is to use a black alpaca yarn (yet to be spun) for the weft, but that idea gets shoved aside in favor of a plaid scheme. It’ll be good to weave samples of various colors layouts and design. There’s still the 4 ounce braid of black  roving to be spun up. I might get another final braid before I call it enough, probably another Midnight so the dark will be dominant. These have all been spun using my Louet Victoria.

A different color sequence. This layout seems more pleasing to my eye. I’m open to thoughts and opinions.
dsc04591Ed and I had read about drinking a banana blended with hot water and cinnamon for a good night’s sleep. Not crazy about the weak taste of the hot banana water I’ve been adding hot milk to the blender, as well as some vanilla, ginger, turmeric and a bit of black pepper for an all around healthy bedtime drink. Rather tasty and it does seem to help. 
dsc04521Today I’m thankful for the blessing and comforts of home.