Shuffling Along

The slough of depression has flowed early this winter and I’ve had a hard time shuffling forward through the grey. Twin feelings of being overwhelmed and inadequate ride heavy on my shoulders. Tuesday was my lowest day: Only the presence of four dozen Tunisian Flex hooks needing to be buffed and written on pulled me out of bed. Why is it that a person can be exhausted and yet lie awake during the long wee hours of the morning?

We weren’t able to get away for a couple days to the coast as we’d hoped, too many orders coming in needing to be made, no time to close shop. Hooks, spindles, needles and hairpin lace looms continue to be churned out by Ed. Unfortunately I don’t seem to have the head for keeping things straight so make countless notes and lists. End of the year bookkeeping is glaring at me waiting to be tackled. One thing then the other turn my attention just as I’m organizing papers and pulling up figures.

Two things have been remotely interesting: reading and spinning. Spinning is soothing and satisfyingly tangible. Reading is pure escapism. I forced myself to start knitting a pair of socks using the Monkey pattern, but wouldn’t you know it, one needle strayed the day I started. I was babysitting at Faith’s house. She was napping when a salesman came to the door. In my rush to get rid of him before he woke her unwittingly dropped a #2 dpn and didn’t realize it until that evening when I picked up the ball of yarn. (And yes, she was woken by the loud doorbell which put an end to a peaceful afternoon.)

I am so thankful for the Tuesday women’s fellowship. We had a long, focused prayer time that I believe has started a healing process. While there’s still a heaviness I’ve able to work on have a bit of a more positive outlook, focusing outward more, and making myself do one chore then the next. I even have a desire to play the violin again. (I’d gotten to the point of thinking I should sell it as well as all my music and fiber stuff.) I also keep looking at the loom and cones of yarn wanting to weave but wondering what to weave.

Thursday I’d heard my cousin has been placed on hospice care. Don is eighty and has been dealing with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. I went to visit him and his dear wife, Z, who spends every afternoon with him at the care center. I took the violin to play for them and sing hymns together. I’m grateful for this small gift I could offer for music does have a way of lifting a person’s spirit. Z is so faithful and loving, remaining cheerful in the face of these daily visits of more than a year as her husband slips further and further away from her.

Ed bought me a video/still shot camera since our digital is almost 10 tens old and starting to have some problems. Trying to wrap my brain around more new technology had me practically shunning the thing but I’m slowly figuring out how to use it and upload to the computer. I’m still not adept at editing the photos with the new software so here’s a couple basic shots. The Spring Lace Prayer Shawl is shown being blocked. I’m very pleased with how it turned out.
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It’s my tradition to make cinnamon rolls, with a splash of orange oil in both the dough and the icing, the day before Christmas letting them rise once before forming the rolls then putting them in the refrigerator for the next day. I took them out at 4am and turned on the heater so they’d have plenty of time to warm up and finish rising for breakfast. Warm, decadent, gooey goodness.

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Don’t you think these grey days of winter call for more sweet rolls and other comforting homemade breads?

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Going Places

The colored states are ones I have been to:
Growing up in Oregon we often drove to California, Idaho or Montana to visit relatives. At thirteen we moved to Northern Arizona. When I was 17 my folks and I took a six week trip in a huge lopsided loop to the upper Midwest then on to the east coast visiting friends and relatives the entire way. It was a wonderful trip. I have driven from my home to each of these states with the exception of Louisiana, I flew to Dallas then drove over the border to visit my friend.About ten years ago we drove from Oregon to Iowa/Minnesota/WI to visit Ed’s grandparents, relatives, and friends. Aurora had just gotten her permit and she got to log in some major driving time. She was keen on driving in as many states as possible so we detoured from Nebraska and dipped down to Kansas just to add another state to her list. We stopped along the way to swim, hike, eat ice cream and see sights/sites. A great family trip.I love long journeys cruising secondary roads seeing the land and small towns. I’d love to hit the road for another trip. It’s about time I get to the southern states, don’t you think? 🙂
Where have you been? http://www.epgsoft.com/VisitedStatesMap

Sorry, I haven’t found a map of the entire world. Now that would be great!

Books and A Birthday

This was the first Christmas, to my recollection,, that no books were wrapped and waiting under the tree. Ed scored with six books and I went to bed slightly disappointed for I always look forward to having some new books to savor. Not to worry. The first present I opened on the 26th revealed:wildhorses.jpg
A wonderful book about the various wild horse refuges. The friend who gifted me with the book went to school with the daughter of the author, Charles J Summers, Jr who had a working ranch.. It’s truly a fascinating book that has stirred up a bit of horse dreaming.

Last year I saw this book while visiting a library during a trip to the coast and marked it down in my book wish list. I was delighted to find in it hidden in birthday wrapping paper. 3cupstea.jpg_Three Cups of Tea_ is the story of a man who after attempting to climb K2 took a wrong turn and ended up in a remote village that had no school. Determined to help these people Greg Mortenson set out to build them a school with sheer determination and perseverance. It’s a pleasure to be vicariously. back in the Baltistan mountains, a place I first discovered through Dervla Murphy’s, _Where the Indus is Young_. I’m trying to read it slowly, in small portions. A book filled with the tallest mountains in the world and deep gorges shouldn’t be galloped swiftly through, I don’t want to miss any of the rich details.

Ed also gave me a book I’d recently read about and had high hopes of receiving:musicophilia.jpg

I’m looking forward to engaging my brain in, _Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain_. Oliver Sacks, a neurologist and the author of _Awakenings_, explores the power of music.

Two other books round out this feast of books:
_Tales of Persia_ William Miller, a missionary who’d worked in Iran for 43 years. He wrote the book for his grandchildren hoping that his stories would help them to see past the media and political image and instead see the regular everyday people.
_Home to Holly Springs_ Jan Karon, one of my favorite contemporary fiction authors. Her stories are peopled by characters strikingly reminiscent of people in your own community, especially if you live in a small country village. I look forward to peering back into the story of Father Tim who Jan Karon brought to vivid life some ten years ago. Jan is not an author who churns one book out after the other but lets them develop and mature slowly. As a result it’s been a couple of years since I read her last adult book and I’m looking forward to a slow blustery weekend when I can wrap up in a soft cuddly throw with a cup of hot tea and time to lose myself in Holly Springs.

*****
Though it’s a pain in some ways to have a birthday on the heels of Christmas there are benefits. A few friends of my heart were able to meet me for birthday coffee at the local coffee shop. The times of getting together to chat and catch up with each other is precious.

I love having my birthday so close to the beginning of a new year. The week from my birthday is often a time for looking back and making decisions on how I can also move forward in my life. I want to be able to have more balance in my life this year. Somehow I need to find the time to balance our business and fibery pursuits with other important areas: personal relationships, walking, music. And even within the fiber world I want to sort out projects and goals. I’m not sure how that’s going to look, yet. I know that I want to spend more time at the loom, and the other night I dreamed I was making bobbin lace again. It’s such a slow process I’m not sure I should take up the pillows, bobbins and thread again but Sarah has been longing for me to make a bobbin lace bookmark to replace the one that was stolen from her Bible years ago.

*****

This past week I finished the first prayer shawl (Yes!), spun a couple ounces of corriedale roving and made a hairpin scarf. Ed gave me a camcorder for Christmas (I am so spoiled fortunate to have two days in a row opening gifts!) I’m still learning my way around with it this new camera that also takes still photos. Soon I’ll figure out how to load the still photos to this computer. And then on to making some tutorials of hairpin lace and spinning. : -)

Wednesday, January 2nd Ed and I will be celebrating 30 years of matrimony! Whew, where did those years go?

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! May it be filled with Peace.

Blessed

Clouds hung low over the Cascades blocking them from sight as Ed and I drove up into the mountains to visit friends today. It’s been snowing one to two feet almost every day up there this past week and we’d hoped for some spectacular scenes. Glimpses of snow covered trees and ridges lightly frosted with clouds in a monochromatic world was beauty enough.

Our friends live on the bank of the Salmon River at the edge of the snow line. Floor to ceiling windows and glass doors took the place of walls on the south side of the living room and kitchen, framing the river. What must it be like to wake up everyday with such a view of the mountain river and a forest ascending a mountain across the way?
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Red relief on the back patio.

downriver.jpg  Looking down river. This picture doesn’t do justice to the serene beauty and thinking we might get another good glimpse of the mountains as we drove home I didn’t take one of the mountain across the river. By the time we left the clouds had closed in and the rain steadily tapped against the windshield.

We had not taken time for a day trip together since Black Sheep Gathering in June so this day felt very special: a gift in our busy lives.

Look what came in the mail!
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A package from my Knitter’s Review Exchange pal! These goodies are so delightful I’m thrilled to my toes. The sock yarn has subtle shades of reds blending from dark bing cherry to light strawberry sorbet. It’s 100 g of handgefarbte Sockerwalle, Merino superwash.

Those shiny, foil wrapped balls?  Lindt Lindor chocolates – with soft, melt in your mouth decadence buried inside. Ymmm Yes, I’ve been sharing them with Ed. I’m so glad that he’s not a huge chocolate fan. 🙂

And you see the packet of Soak? Perfect timing to try this for my Red Sweater. I used it yesterday and love the result on the handknit sweater made from Briar Rose handdyed yarn.  A huge thank you to Beth! I feel thoroughly spoiled. 🙂

Silk Bookmarks

Rain is pounding against the house with gust of wind occasionally giving it a good shake. I’m behind in all preparations for Christmas, but before any more time slides past I wanted to show you what I’ve been spending bits of spare time making.

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Spinning silk for bookmarks.
After it’s spun and plyed the fine yarn is crocheted into bookmarks.

silk-bookmark.jpgIt takes about 5 yards per bookmark and a couple of seed beads. Not counting the spinning it takes less than 30 minutes to make one. I first saw one of these bookmarks at PoMoGo‘s blog in September, which linked to the pattern at Crochet Me, and thought what a great stocking stuffer they would make.
A small collection has now gathered, with some already in the mail to family. For a few brief days I entertained the idea of decorating the trees with a dozen or so but haven’t managed to get in enough spinning time. Instead, it’d be fun to make felted ornaments using Lene’s Dec 18th directions for her bookmarks.

Faith is napping down the hall. She’s an unexpected gift today. When she wakes up we’ll try making some goodies. Having her here today has reminded me why I loved those precious years when my kids were between 14 months and 30months.
Days filled with wonder and joy.

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Hairpin Lace Wrap

The hairpin lace wrap is finished for K.

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Yarn: Brown Sheep Co – Prairie Silks: 72% Wool; 18% Mohair; 10% Silk
Used three  50 gr skeins – approx 176yds Bought in 2004 at the Weaving Convergence for $5.60/skein!

Method: Hairpin Lace Loom, Size F Crochet hook
180 loops per strip, total of 11 strips joined together.

I’ve been asked to put a hairpin lace tutorial on the blog. I’d like to, once the December rush is over. lace-cat.jpg
It’s very soft and warm and comfortingly cuddly.

This was a yarn with purpose. When I fell in love with it three years ago I had no idea what it’d be used for though I had vague thoughts of combining it with other wools in weft for a woven vest or jacket. On Saturday, the 17th, K came over to learn how to crochet. During the lesson I showed her various skeins in my stash and talked a bit about the different uses. When one of these skeins was brought to light she immediately grabbed it and held it to her face commenting that she loved the feel and colors.
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