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.

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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.

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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.

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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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Storms and Loss

A wind storm with torrential rains has been battering the Pacific Northwest since the winds began picking up Saturday. Though the winds howl and we have to slosh through water once we leave the porch steps we are fortunate to be in an area that is somewhat sheltered from the worst winds. As the wind lashes and shakes the house and whip the trees I am grateful for the wind storm of November 12th :

We were ripped wide awake shortly after five that morning of the 12th as a huge part of one of our willow trees split away, shortly followed by the sound of our closest neighbor’s shingles flying off the roof, some hitting the side of our house by our bedroom. Next a long grinding shriek as part of their metal roof peeled off and winged into the backyard. At that we decided our bedroom was not a safe place.

broken-willow.jpgThe blackness of predawn cloaked all the damage until morning light showed our very tattered willows, with a section of the corner willow flattening two neighbors’ fences. (The neighbor behind us had wanted us to leave them alone when Ed had planned to remove them last summer; their family loved having them hang over the cedar fence and shading their yard.) The result of that windy morning is four willow trees no longer shedding and hurling branches in strong winds. Sad as it was to watch them cut down we rest much better for they’d grown too quickly and had never been strong trees.

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A bit over a week ago Hillbilly Dave brought his years of know-how to dropping the willows safely. Every tree was trimmed then cut and dropped precisely where he planned. One tree needed some extra intervention to coax it into place.coming-down.jpg
We will miss the willows. But the garden will love the extra space and sunshine. A cedar and a fir tree had also struggled in the shadow of the willows and they’d been planted several years before the willow shoots had been thrust into the ground some 25 years ago. Now they should be able to grow and expand.

Our neighbor’s chickens are happy with the open access to our yard and compost pile.p1012550.jpg

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The hairpin wrap is almost done. There are ends to weave in before blocking and drying.

A friend has been through one of the most difficult times a mother may face: the loss of a child. The wrap is insignificant in the face of her sorrow yet I hope it will bring a small measure of consolation. Much did I seek the ears of God as I worked on it asking that He wrap K in an enveloping comfort of His very real presence. At first I wanted to make it as quickly as possible but there wasn’t the time to let responsibilities slide. And I had the sense of a need to wait. Then I received a phone call; she wanted me and another friend of hers to play violins, along with two other co-workers from the library where we’d worked. The Service of Consolation took place Friday evening. The place was packed; people stood two deep along the walls in an effort to show the family they cared and that they too grieved the life of a bright, friendly young man who was plagued by endless rounds of deep depression. He reached the point where he felt he could no longer handle the mental fight and the lack of a normal life for a twenty year old.

He is in heaven: he leaned heavily on Jesus through the long teen years of mental illness. When he was able to he took deep comfort in reading his Bible and memorizing verses; in knowing that God was real and that God loved him just as he was. God was his anchor. Still, we can’t deny the heartbreaking tragedy (nor should we). We grieve that meds and intervention didn’t help. There are no easy answers in this fallen world. The grief is real. A life was cut short because of mental anguish that became unbearable.

Oregon Coast Retreat

We’ve been waking up to jewel covered grass which the sun slowly dries after it clears the horizon these freezing mornings. The woodstove has been burning through wood like it’s deep winter but it’s still officially autumn for another three weeks. This is a good time for looking back at the restful, renewing weekend the end of September.

The Northwest Yearly Meeting of Friends held a woman’s retreat at Twin Rocks Camp starting on Thursday evening. I’m usually not a big fan of large gatherings and retreats but sorely felt the need to get away from home/business. After packing up and mailing the last order for the day I drove for two hours heading west and north across Willamette Valley and along the windy road cutting up across the coast range. The narrow road following the small winding creek didn’t have much traffic; just lots of beauty. Arriving at the camp shortly before dinner I checked in and was told that my cabin mates weren’t arriving until the next day. A whole cabin to myself: time alone!

The rain during the night had left tattered early morning clouds. A double rainbow arched across the path on the way to breakfast Friday morning. Double Rainbow

Being served three meals a day without a thought of grocery shopping, menu planning, cleanup is pure luxury. Top that with delicious, wholesome food prepared by a gourmet chef, mmm. That alone made the weekend special.

The meetings were heart-stirring and soul renewing. We had some amazing prayer times and each day an hour was scheduled for silent solitude with participants encouraged to spend the time climbing the mountain east of the camp, or beach walking.

Twin Rocks at Rockaway, Oregon
Twin Rocks

Sand Prints

By the time I turned back a storm was brewing, slowly moving in bringing drenching rains and howling winds that evening.Twin Rocks Storm

Last Friday a neighbor friend had surgery so I’ve been knitting a prayer shawl for her. This is the first shawl I’ve knit, and it’s my first experience with lace – other than a nine stitch lace pattern I used on my silk fingerless gloves last year. Now I know why people get into lace knitting. The patterns and rhythm have a way of getting into the brain. Though I have to pay strict attention, I find that it is also conducive to praying. The past two weeks I’ve been rather absent from the internet for the most part, but the time spent knitting and in prayer has been very good.

Spring Lace Shawl
Spring Lace Shawl

(I can hardly wait to dive into one of Knitspot‘s shawls, now that I’m not so terrified of lace knitting.)

I have started another prayer shawl; this one a simple wrap made with hairpin lace for a friend in need of lots of prayer and comfort.

The violin has been taken out of its summer hiatus and is preparing for a Four Violin gig for the Silverton Zenith women’s Christmas gathering on Dec 13th with pieces by Telemann and Vivaldi, followed by the Friends’ community Acoustic Christmas gathering on the 15th comprising of over 50 different Christmas songs of all types.