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, the other thin which were then plyed for art yarn.
Here she’s showing us how to vary the plying by adding more or less twist to produce art yarn.
Cabled thick & thin.

The 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.
That spinning produces yarns for use and the opportunity to slow down, to be quiet and think.

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A Busy Saturday

I try to not schedule anything out of the ordinary on Saturdays for I need the day to finish preparing for Sunday service and rest.

Today was an anomaly.

Sure, a basic house cleaning is normal. I did get in a couple hours of studying this afternoon and a couple more this evening but I’m not nearly as settled with the lesson and sermon as I like. I have confidence that it will all work out, after all, I have the best Teacher/Guide possible!

Today was fun!

Baked a couple pies this morning then a spinning / knitting friend drove down from Portland to deliver chunks of crabapple trunk and limbs that her neighbor had cut down this week. Afterwards we went to Silverton to hang out awhile at Apples to Oranges, the fabulous yarn store, where we met up with another fiber friend, and bought goodies. I resisted fiber, bought a set of needed dpns and caved on some stitch markers. Afterward we trooped up the street to a restaurant to have lunch and chat.

Suddenly it was almost 2pm, time to scurry back home before leaving again, at 4, with pie, for a birthday barbecue with family and friends.  We got there early so I could help set up. While waiting for everyone to arrive I was able to get several more rows knitted on the hand warmers that will be a Christmas gift. The fun part? Knitting them in front of her and she has no idea. 🙂

This first go-round on Wednesday turned out too big.
That one, above, was frogged. Size US5 / 3.75mm  needles were exchanged for US3 / 3.25mm. The first mitt is now to the point of starting the gusset. Perhaps tomorrow I’ll take a picture to post here.

What have I gotten myself in to?

On a whim this past May I attended a Toastmaster’s open-house event. Years ago we had a friend who encouraged us to join as he thought it was the best experience for helping people not only with talking but in listening. A friend’s name was on the list of the current Toastmaster, knowing someone there made it easier to take that deep breath and walk in the door where I was immediately and warmly greeted.

I loved the vibe, the people, the enthusiasm and the positive feedback people gave to those who gave speeches. After the second week I became a member.

Every week I dream of quitting, to drop this weekly obligation of being in town before 7:30 on Friday mornings. It doesn’t take long after the meeting begins to remember why I continue.

Someone put my name in one of the googledoc slots as a speaker tomorrow. I’d noticed it over two weeks ago. I’ve had plenty of time to prepare. In fact, I was scheduled to speak in August but cancelled the night before due to not feeling confident and prepared. I’ve given two other speeches, the introductory “Ice Breaker” and one I called “The Original Intentional Spinner”.  But the topic that’s been bumping around in my thoughts for a number of months is personal, and controversial. I do not feel prepared
with a passionate, informed, well reasoned speech.

This is short. I need to get a good night’s sleep, wake up early in the morning to finalize the last bits into place.

Michelle asked to see a picture of my neighbor’s wolfhound, Shayna.
Here’s a picture that I posted a year ago, she was not quite 3 years old:I’ll try to get a better, updated picture of her next time we walk.

A Day of Rest

This week God has been impressing on me the need to “cease striving and know that I am God.” Ps 46:10

He longs to communicate with us but He doesn’t use loud winds, earthquakes or fires – we hear Him best when we’re quiet.

Following church service on Sunday mornings I like to rest. To be quiet, to think, read, and listen. I often knit or spin as those activities can clear space in my head enabling me to listen better.
Sometimes Ed and I will go for a leisurely bike ride, or I join my neighbor for a walk but usually it’s an afternoon of relaxing, of stepping away from work and expectations.

It’s not easy with the frenetic pace that so easily entangles us! I have to intentionally make space. To slow down, be still, see the beauty of God’s creation, to know Him.

I want to cultivate peace. In my inner life, in my home and with others.

I hope you’ve taken the day to rest, to be recharged, renewed.

Pictures taken during a morning walk in late October.
Scotts Mills Friends Church

Hiking at Silver Falls

DSC05523-001Throughout April thoughts of blogging would cross my mind but by evening either I was knitting or spinning (usually some of each) with little desire to be staring at a screen. I even started working on some photos shortly after hiking at Silver Falls State Park; editing them and uploading them in readiness to blog before getting sidetracked and forgetting all about them until this evening.

Looking back I’m struck by all the goodness that April held, despite the exceedingly many days of rain. Towards the end of March a friend, Rose, who works in Slovakia emailed to let me know she was coming to Oregon, would I be able to walk the loop at Silver Falls  April 3rd. Knowing how wet some of the sections of those trails can be, especially going behind the falls I told her I’d pray for clear weather.

While there were downpours the week leading up to the hike we had two days of no rain and the morning dawned sunny. What a blessing! A Slovak friend, Ren,  accompanied Rose in order to practice English and see this part of America. Two other friends of Rose who live relatively close by, joined the hiking party.DSC05523-001
Can you make out the specks in the center of the picture on the backside of the falls? They are people on the trail that passes behind South Falls.

I was surprised at this chunky, sturdy fence. For many decades there had only been a small metal handrail between the trail and edge, a thin barrier that made parents fervently grasp their children’s hands. DSC05529
The path is now narrower but significantly safer.
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Looking back from the other side.
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Looking back up the trail.
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Instead of walking the big loop we ended up taking one of the shorter loops of just under three miles. Wildflowers, moss draped branches and the rushing creek caused us to stop numerous times to marvel at all the beauty we were walking through.
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I should return mid-summer to snack on the fruit of this blossom,
salmon berries.
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Down, down switchback steps to Lower South Falls.
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We’ve had 148 days of rain since Oct 1st, which was evident in the thick moss and fast flowing water. This past February was the wettest on record for Salem, dating back into the 1800’s, with March close behind, and it looks like April will also finish in a top position for rainfall amounts. Crazy wet!

The sun shining through the trees felt like grace.
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Looking across the canyon at the steps we’d just descended.
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Going down meant going back up, and up the other side.
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Near the top Rose took a break to hug a tree, after all, she is a native Oregonian!
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Crossing the tiny Frenchie Creek Falls plummeting 48 feet — which only runs during wet seasons — presented a perfect photo-op for the bit of spinning I managed while on the trail.
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Back at the top of South Falls for one last look.
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What a wonderful, refreshing day! I hadn’t realized how much I’d needed to take a walk in the woods, along a creek, with friends.

By the end of the day, this is how I felt:
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Ebo didn’t seem to mind dangling off the chair.

Challenges

Sourdough bread is baking in the oven. This time I hope it’s a success. I tried making sourdough a year ago. It baked into a tasty failure. I’d used a powdered sourdough starter with a recipe that looked promising. Sadly, the bread did not rise in the oven. Instead it stayed a low lump becoming an extremely dense, chewy bread.

This time around I’m trying a recipe from a bread book that’s supposedly an authentic San Francisco sourdough recipe. It calls for making the starter the old fashioned way by putting some milk, water and flour into a bowl which sat at the back of the stove for 2 days  “capturing” the wild yeast in the air. The adventure started it last Wednesday morning with periodic additions of water and flour. The dough smelled wonderfully fragrant by yesterday morning and the scent of the baking bread right now is tantalizing.

February has been the wettest month on record in this area of Oregon. Perfect weather for soups and homemade bread. Other places have had record snowfall, fortunately we’re only about 300 feet above sea level so we only dealt with snow off and on from mid-December until the 2nd week of January. More days of snow than normal, which Ed and I enjoyed. We’re fortunate to work from home. Church was canceled on January 8th after I checked the hill to the church assessing the situation. Frozen rain early that morning on top of the layer of snow still on the ground and roads coated everything with ice.

The Surprise Jacket isn’t much larger than in the last post. It was bigger until I saw a major error way down about 4 inches from the cast on row. It sat in time-out for a couple weeks and now sees only sporadic action as spinning has taken precedence.

I joined the Jenkins YarnTools Ravelry group in the February Challenge. What a great challenge for it forced me out of my comfort zone for spinning.
The challenge was to select a mixture of 10 or more colors and/or fibers totaling 50 grams, blend & spin. Stash busting opportunity! The ten colors were from various rovings plus light grey angora, dark grey alpaca, a light brown/grey romney/cotton blend, and white BFL/silk. Working with so many colors was definitely not a direction I’d normally choose.

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Hoping to avoid a muddy looking yarn each of the above segments of colors/roving/wools were divided into 4 equal piles which were then arranged into two groups destined for the 2 singles.

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I started off using hand carders during the monthly spinning group,
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but it didn’t take long to realize a more time efficient method was required.

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Off and on through the years I’ve tackled batts and rolags but always return to spinning from combed top. I love how smooth fibers slip through my fingers. Dealing with slubs and odd bits doesn’t feel right, no matter how I try drawing the fibers into the twist.

Despite not enjoying the feel of the fibers or the way I needed to be more careful to spin such variety as smoothly and evenly as possible, I was happily surprised with the colors of the singles.
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In the end I’m very pleased with the yarn and am glad that I took on the challenge.
50 grams, approximately 82 yards.
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The bread is out of the oven and has cooled off enough to eat. It’s still more dense and chewy than I’d hoped, though not as bad as last year’s attempt, and it is delicious. I need to figure out what needs to be done to make it lighter, more airy.