Uncategorized


In the time since I last wrote the spinach and peas which we planted in early March are thriving. This picture of the pea vines was taken April 12th, they’re almost twice as high now.

030The last two nights we’ve had a handful of spinach leaves in our juice, as well as some watercress that Ed planted several weeks ago. Their tender succulent leaves are a delicious addition to our nightly ritual of juiced lemon, ginger root, powered tumeric, almond milk and whatever is on hand that sounds good.

Ed’s blood pressure was 160/134 at his check-up in early February. He declined the doctor’s recommended statins taking matters into his own hands. Those high numbers and our seemingly endless rounds of colds and sinus problem made him serious about cutting out all soft drinks replacing them with lots of fruits and juicing.

His blood pressure at his check-up this past Thursday was 130/85.

The apple tree had lots of blossoms again this year. One warm day as I walked home from the Post Office towards the end of MarchI was stopped by a loud humming emanating from the tree. Honey Bees and Bumble Bees, Butterflies and Wasps were swarming from blossom to blossom sharing in the heady feast of the spring pollen and nectar.035-001
DSC04570-001
The stretch of fine warm weather continued into the first couple of weeks of April. (It’s been quite cold since with lots of rain, some hail and thunderstorms.) Our little Violet was delighted by all the little daisies and bright dandelions growing in our yard but she wasn’t too sure about the daisy .
009-001

Slippers were crocheted for the new son of a dear friend of my daughter, Aurora, using some of my handspun wool which was dyed by Aurora last year. (My own fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants booties)

DSC_0112
The soles of Ed’s beloved felted slippers that we’d bought at OFFF four or five years ago were wearing out.  One hole was already under the heel with other very thin areas threatening to give way. Casting about for a solution to extending the life of these slippers I thought of the leather that I’d tucked away for a special purpose. A customer had traded one of her husband’s wonderfully soft, beautiful hand-tanned deer hides for a couple of spindles several years ago.
Yesterday afternoon I sat at the kitchen table with the slippers, a block of wood, an awl and hammer, sharp sturdy needle and linen thread.

DSC_0120

Ed declared them as better than new, liking the moccasin look.DSC_0124

Quick, successful projects are the best!

String rows of foggy days between foggy nights and you get a seemingly unending monochromatic rope of undulating grays and murky black threatening to subdue even the most optimistic person.

There was a brief moment early this morning when the sun broke through and the fog and clouds looked to be thinning, scattering. Spirits rose at the enticement of even a partially sunny day only to be dashed minutes later as the fog rolled thickly back down the ridges.

For the majority of this month the firs and oaks beyond our back yard have stood as silent ghostly sentinels.
050

If the weather forecast hadn’t been for a week of sunshine and temps in the high 50’s we could be handling it better. With all the fog we’ve had this month the tantalizing promise or warmth and sun made our spirits soar, only to be doused. Compared to what people are enduring in the mid-west and back east, weeks of unending fog really aren’t a hardship. Just depressing. Cold damp. Gloomy.

Gray days steeped in deep bone-chilling moisture aren’t exactly cheery.

Yesterday Ed saw an ad on Craigs List for some sawn maple for a decent price. Calling the number we discovered that he lived east of Portland  high in the Cascade foothills, a scant mile from the summer camp where Ed and I had met almost 37 years ago when he was the maintenance crew leader and I the assistant wrangler. The good price for the wood, the prospect of a beautiful drive along roads we used to traverse,  and the very real possibility that the drive would take us above the fog, soon had us headed to the land of blue sky and sunshine.

About 40 miles from home the road climbed out of the fog and we had a stunning glimpse of Mt Hood shining in majestic whiteness. (But no place to pull over before trees or hills obscured it.)

Past the town of Sandy the narrow county road stitched back and forth, down, down plunging back into the fog. Across the Sandy River foaming icy green from the mountain snow run-off, then hairpining up the other side onto a higher ridge, over the bench in glorious sun then plunging down into another river canyon also steeped in fog, white frost lining the road at high noon. Across an old bridge spanning smaller Bull Run river and the ancient power plant huddling in the gloom of the narrow fir crusted canyon, again winding, winding higher and higher, back into the sunshine..

One never knows quite what to expect on these types of jaunts to buy wood. Sometimes it’s a total bust, except for perhaps a pleasant drive. We spied the boards propped up against a car and our hearts soared at the sight, even if they weren’t quite as thick as mentioned in the listing. Ed had hopes the maple might be suitable for another Walking Wheel.

036
The warmth, bright colors and sun were balm to our souls. We wanted to just stand, chatting to the amiable fellows and soak in the sun. Breathing deeply the rich scents of the soil, trees and moisture. To listen beyond the chatter and hear the vast silence that this area can produce. To the west the fog clouds hovered.

The fellow and his son have some very impressive bigleaf maple logs that they’ve been milling with an Alaskan chain saw.037

Ferns take root almost anywhere in this damp place, even on the sides of trees.
041

Looking down a ravine beyond their pasture.

047

We spied the log cabin tree house which they’d built that summer. There are two beds that fold down from the wall, a table and benches, a propane burner, lamp and shelves – quite cozy!

044

Getting a good workout loading all the boards into our rig we were finally winding back down the hills to Sandy where I spied this sign. Of course we stopped and did a bit of shopping. :) I wish I’d been thinking and had gotten a picture of the proprietress, a very pleasant woman who’s run this yarn store for 10 years. If you’re ever driving through Sandy stop by and say hi to her and support her little business. It’s just off the main street heading West.

048

The warmth and sunshine almost made us forget the conditions back home. Until we dipped further down the Cascades and back into the fog.

The shrouded museum at the end of our block.
049

On a cheery note! The second take of the sweater for my grandson is nearing completion. I have high hopes of finishing it this week.

A hard wall was hit last night. I’ve been knitting a Child’s Surprise Jacket for our grandson off and on since visiting them in September. Last night I’d finished the last row of the bottom and turned the whole to start picking up stitches along the side. Less than a dozen rows then one to lengthening the sleeves and knitting a hood and it’d be under the tree in time for Christmas. As I turned the body of the sweater the light caught it and my heart dropped. I’d had to order a couple more skeins of the wood part way through the sweater.

I know well enough to order enough at the same time but I didn’t read the fine print. While looking at Cascade 200 Superwash Sport I spied the green that made my heart sing and having knit with a number of Cascade 220 in the past it never dawned on me that these would be tiny 50 gram skeins. I though all Cascade 220 was put up in 100 gram skeins. I thought I was well covered in ordering four balls plus four more of different colors for the stripes.

Not. Even. Close.

The suppliment skeins arrived in a couple weeks. Same color number. Different lot numbers from the first group. Eyeballing them side by side they looked like they matched so I wound one into a ball and inspected it next to an original lot number ball with the plan that if they didn’t exactly match I could alternate the rows between the two. Deciding the dyers had done a great job of measuring the dyes I carried on with knitting the original until I ran out then began the 1st ball of the different lot.

It is not the same. Ed couldn’t see the difference when I showed it to him this morning but in the right light the new, duller green yarn is quite obvious. I’ve ripped back the knitting to the original dye lot and now am in a quandary. Where am I going to find more of the old dye lot??? I’ll make some calls to yarn places in the morning hoping that someone might still have some in stock.

Cascade 220 Superwash Merino Wool Sport Col. N° 801 , Lot. N° 3732  If anyone has some I’ll buy it! I need about 150 grams.

The tapestry is in time out for awhile. The second attempt fizzled as I got to the dog’s head and didn’t like the way it was coming along. The best solution seemed to be to start all over. Except this time I couldn’t stomach all the waste that happens when setting up the loom as instructed. Seriously, I want an 8 x 10″ tapestry but the shortest the loom goes is 16″ and then the way it’s supposed to be warped has the warp going down the back and up the front. That’s fine for long pieces but all that warp length wasn’t necessary. So I stretched my mind back to learning how to set up and dress the Navajo loom in eight grade home ec. mandatory for all of us girls. After some trial and error the loom was set up like a Navajo loom and I was happily weaving the dog, again.016But for one problem. I’d marked out 8″ on the warping sticks with 1/4″ marks all the way between. But somehow as I manuvered the warp figure eight up around and down I lost an inch. I didn’t think it was a big deal, until I’d woven up to just under where the sword batten is placed in the picture. It’s looking like the head proportions will be wrong. The loom is sitting on the table where I can look at it from different angles trying to figure out how best to proceed. I cringe at the thought of starting all over, again.

Weaving is happening on my 40″ Norwood loom! I sat at the loom for two and a half hours today and wove for the first time since last Spring. It felt so good to be back into the weaving rhythm!

The day has been off-balanced. Disjointed.
Yesterday was no better.
Tomorrow does not bode well either.

I’ll make it through tomorrow and heave a sigh of relief when Thursday arrives with a normal schedule – no places to go, no babies to mind. A normal work day with a huge work load to catch up with after these first three days of the week.

I’m looking forward to a normal day in the office on Thursday. Ticking off orders and parcels in an orderly manner, without interruptions until it’s time to deliver packages at the PO shortly after 3 then prepare for  young Jes’ violin lesson.

Perhaps Thursday evening I’ll even have the energy, and brain, to write a proper post, with pictures and maybe even a project in progress. Or two.

A new post was about half-done last night when we began having a sporadic internet connection so I saved it as a draft and went to bed. Now it is gone, except for the title. :(

Arriving home in a pouring rain Sunday evening we grabbed only the essentials and dashed into the house, leaving everything else locked in the car and camper to be unloaded in what we hoped would be a drier morning. While traipsing multiple times from camper to house while unloading we noticed the pie cherries were ripe and at that stage that needed immediate attention. So much for resting the day following a very successful, very tiring show. When the rain let up about noon Ed hauled out the 6′ ladder, I found the picking pails and twine then climbed the ladder while Ed picked the cherries he could reach while standing.

Six hours later 20 pounds of cherries were picked and pitted. Half were in the food dehydrator, the other half gleaming inside quart jars; canned and waiting for the lids to ping.

This regal Rambouillet ram seems a fitting mascot for this year’s BSG. He was one grand fellow!
Black Sheep Gathering 13 002
Black Sheep surpassed our expectations, especially with the Great Wheel. We knew there would be lots of interest so we hired Allison to help in the booth in order that I’d be freed up for demonstrating and helping people give it a spin, and to enable Ed to have time to talk with people about his products. Ha! For the first three hours Friday morning all three of us were behind the sales table almost the entire time trying to process purchases as quickly as possible. After that initial rush things did slow down a bit though we continued to stay busy for most of the show. As we headed to our camper shortly after closing at 6pm I suddenly realized a handful of nuts was the only thing I’d eaten since having a toasted English muffin with peanut butter for breakfast.

I loved having the opportunity to finally meet some people who’d been customers for a number of years. Gail first started using our spindles around 2006 or ’07. She and a friend rode Amtrak from Iowa to attend BSG and visit other friends.
Black Sheep Gathering 13 010

Jude came down from British Columbia while Lillian hopped over from a town just south of Eugene. Lillian came bearing a jade plant potted with a cute ladybug for our booth. So nice to have a green plant gracing the table along with the spindles! It now seems to be enjoying the east window in our living room.

Black Sheep Gathering 13 016

I’m hopelessly horrible with remembering names and faces, especially when we see so many over the course of a few days. It’s wonderful to have a few more entrenched in my memory. I was dismayed to realize that I didn’t get a picture of Susan, another customer from San Diego who I would have loved to have spent more time with. Or … oh dear, what is her name? The woman from Los Cruces, New Mexico who represented their active spinning group. I think almost every member of that group has at least one Jenkins spindles. They were so sweet to gift me with my treasured Bristlecone nostepinne back in 2010. We are so blessed by such an abundance of wonderful customers!

On the backside of our booth was the delightful Michele of Toots LeBlanc yarns. Someday I will buy some of her yarn to make myself a vest from a pattern I bought years ago. I’m exercising restraint only because there are four, no five projects in various stages that I’m determined to complete before buying any more yarn. Sunday morning she handed Ed a spindle she’d decided it was time to destash. A wonderful, unique spindle! Just look at this big baby!
Black Sheep Gathering 13 038Michele will send us the name of maker when she tracks it down, until then it’s a mystery spindle. If any reader recognizes it please leave a comment. It is exquisitely made, the workmanship superb.

Evanita was another person whom I was happy to finally meet! She’s EWM on Ravelry, head captain of this year’s Tour de Fleece. What! You haven’t joined yet? Click on over and sign on with Team Jenkins! The fun begins this Saturday and continues throughout the Tour de France bicycle race.

Black Sheep Gathering 13 036Evanita is not only a terrific moderator, captain and photographer but she’s a great spindler! She started spinning with her new Egret only the evening before. Look at her beautiful, laceweight spinning.
Black Sheep Gathering 13 026
I think his name is Tom. He is a master with the Great Wheel, not only in handling it but knowledgeable and he built one for his wife. Out of yew wood. (Be still my heart!) He made spinning with the GW look so effortless that some of the people watching him wanted to give it a try and were shocked to find it wasn’t as intuitively easy as he made it look. Watching Tom, as well as another woman whose name I didn’t get, I now understand why many refer to it as a dance. There is a lovely effortless choreography to the back and forth rhythm of the long-draw stepping back and forward walk as the wheel winds the newly spun yarn onto the spindle.

Black Sheep Gathering 13 020

Ed’s second wheel was such a dream to spin on! What a difference the double-drive Miner’s Head makes compared to the direct drive of the Maiden Head that is on GR#1, which resides in our living room. Saturday afternoon two women stood outside the booth watching the action and talking together. One then the other gave it a try. And fell in love.

Sunday afternoon Ed showed them how to dismantle and put it back together then helped them load it into a truck headed for its new home far away. They are business partners raising fiber animals. It will be put to great use!
Black Sheep Gathering 13 042

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.

« Previous PageNext Page »

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 64 other followers