Showing Support

The bumpy landscape of the chocolate cake didn’t put off the Wednesday dinner crew. The report was that they devoured it in record time.

Shortly before 8am the phone rang: the police contact for one of the families who considered themselves as Daniel’s parent had called to let them know he’d be canvasing the neighborhood today, passing out flyers, and talking to people. Could Daniel’s friends come help and be visible representatives that his life mattered.

Wednesday is normally a slower day. A day for contemplating, thinking, praying and being more than doing. I like to take an extra long walk with my neighbor before settling into any “must-do” work tasks followed by reading and preparing for Sunday, and taking time to be quiet all evening while Ed is away.  When the call came I immediately knew I needed to go. I called one of Daniel’s good friends and we headed up to Portland.

Arriving in the unfamiliar area of North Portland, there was already a number of people including the very kind, knowledgeable policeman who gave us an update on what they’ve determined so far, including that evidence showed the driver was traveling over 60 miles an hour when he swerved out of his lane, into the bike path hitting Daniel then continuing at high speed along the 35mph, 2-lane road.

Taking flyers to all the businesses of this mixed neighborhood full of mom-pop businesses and residential houses we encountered caring and kind people everywhere. One woman even rushed out of her house to ask for flyers to pass out too. She’d recognized Daniel’s girlfriend, Daria, from an interview she’d given on the news yesterday.

We were all thankful for a sunny day with no wind! Yesterday it poured a cold rain most of the day. Tomorrow another storm is moving in. Today was one of those jewels of an autumn day.

Thanks for reading these non-cheerful posts that I’ve been writing lately.
Tomorrow I plan to post some of the spinning I’ve been doing.

I had enough of the handspun yarn left to knit a headband/earwarmers to go with the fingerless mitts. I’m tempted to keep the set for morning walks. If the temps aren’t below 45F I like ear warmers rather than a hat which can get too hot.
Grateful for:
– a smooth trip to N Portland and back without any traffic delays
– warmth of the sun while walking the streets for almost 3 hours
– the cup of comforting cinnamon/vanilla tea beside me
– strangers who are kind and caring
-a time of serene spinning this evening


Home Stretch

Ed’s sweater is off the needles and ready to be grafted and seamed.

This afternoon the ironing board and iron were set up in the kitchen, a white cotton dish towel dampened and I tackled the task of steaming the individual pieces. Anne Hanson of Knitspot blog about steam blocking a sweater early in February convinced me that it would be worth the extra step.

Except, I don’t have a large surface to fully lay out a sweater for steaming so I wasn’t able to properly block it. Still, it seemed worth the effort to steaming the edges so they’d lie flatter during the seaming process.

The two sleeves, the one on the left looked just like the one on the right before steaming it.


All the sweater pieces steamed and folded into a pile.


The grafting and seaming will be tackled when there’s a good chunk of time to sit by the window during daylight hours. It’s not a job I want to feel rushed doing.

This coming Thursday I’ll be demonstrating spinning from 9am – 1pm at Wool ‘n Wares Yarn Shop in West Lynn during the annual Rose City Yarn Crawl. It is the oldest Yarn Crawl in the country! If you’re in the greater Portland area come by to say hi.

This morning we decided to take advantage of the lovely March 1st day by riding our bikes in a new area. Looking through our Road Biking Oregon guide book we decided to do the 10 mile Hagg Lake loop. Neither of us had been there though we’d occasionally mention it over the years. The guide book rated it as easy, and since it went around the lake we figured we’d be riding on level land surrounded by farms and rolling hills.


The road turned up into the base of the coastal range where the county owned park is located. This was the scene from the first parking lot. Later we realized that there are many parks and swimming areas scattered around the lake. Hagg Lake is very popular in the summer for swimmers, boaters (the lake is zone motorized/ski boats at the eastern end, non-wake on the western end) and triathlons.

Crossing the earthen dam.


The view looking west from the dam.



Shortly after crossing the dam the road started climbing.

And climbing. We kept thinking around the next bend the road would dip back down to the lake.
DSC07776It didn’t.
By then Ed’s leg was threatening to give out on him. We also had the very real suspicion that the road was going to continue skirting the lake higher up along the flank of the hills surrounding the lake than behaving gently by going back down to stay level with the lake.

We practically flew that mile back down the hill. We loaded into the car and drove around the lake, clocking that uphill mile which once we realized we’d pushed that far on our 3 (Ed’s ) & 7 speed (mine) bikes were very proud for having accomplished that climb.



Our speculation proved true. The road rolled up and down all the way around the lake, much of it in the fir trees. It’s understandable why this is considered a great triathlon course.

This early in the year there were very few vehicles on the road. We did pass a number of cyclists and several runners.

On the north side looking south across the lake. One lone boater enjoying the calm day.



We’re glad we went to such a lovely place on this beautiful day!

The New Year Beckons

All day I’ve had the niggling feeling that a cold is trying to take up residence in my head.

Not wanting to deal with a cold I decided to stay home this evening rather than join the games and music up at the church. It would have been fun; friends, table games, puzzles, jamming with other musicians, food and hot drinks until midnight but a quiet evening in our woodstove toasty home is more sensible.

I took the spindle for a walk for the first time in what seems like months early yesterday morning. The spinning and exercise felt so good and natural! Here’s to having more sunny days ahead than the extra rainy autumn and December which were not conducive to spinning wool in the rain.  A neighbor and I walked out to the cemetery and back before church time. I ended up not going. We were deep in one of those conversations about life stuff that sometimes need to be shared and it was more important to listen over a cup of coffee when we returned to the house. We plan to walk again in the morning before I head over to spend time hanging out with Aurora.

2013 is a good year to get back into weaving on a more regular basis! I miss sitting at the loom and getting into the rhythm of watching the cloth grow.

Yesterday afternoon I began the process of measuring out warp and sleying the reed for my next weaving project. Super time and darkness fell before the last bout was sleyed and today there was no time. I want to get the loom completely warped tomorrow afternoon while there’s still good daylight. My eyes feel the strain of the close work of sleying the reed and threading the heddles with artificial light. This will be a small project but using a technique that’s new to me: 3 shaft weaving . I’ve had the pattern and materials for months but haven’t been able to hurdle the idea of manipulating only 3 shafts on a 4 shaft counter-balance loom. Sometimes a person just has to take the plunge and hope that the muddy surface was just an illusion and that once in everything makes sense! It’s a short enough warp that if it doesn’t work out as intended then it’s a small loss that will have been worth the trying and learning.

A Pretty Thing cowl seemed the perfect way to close out 2012. Except. I’m slow. It’s only 1/4th of the way. But there’s no rush, it’s not for any particular birthday or occasion.  We’ve been watching Tripods almost every evening and I couldn’t keep track of the pattern while watching the show.  Ed ordered dvds of Tripods from England a few weeks ago and they arrived just in time for Christmas. He decreed we’d watch only three episodes a day. Sometime back in the 80s or 90s we stumbled across the weekly BBC show but on our local station it was always hit or miss and then suddenly it was off the air leaving us hanging. It’s one of those low budget shows which wormed its way into our hearts.

A new blog was started today at our Yarntools website!!! It’s been at the back of my mind to have one at that site, mostly for those times that Ed’s up to something new or information needs to be available. The past couple of weeks so many people were expressing concern for Ed’s back that rather than try to answer via email it was easier to put it out in one place where customers could easily find it.

Fiberjoy will continue to be my main outlet. 🙂

One spinning project that’s been in the works off and on for too long only needs one more braid (maybe 2) to spin for the final color. I just might get spinning on it tomorrow evening. A good way to begin the New Year: an early morning walk followed by girl time with my daughter, some loom work, and finishing the day off in the evening with spinning. Wednesday, the 2nd, is our 35th anniversary. Another day of celebrating!
Here’s the skeins of yarn spun up so far, the 2nd and 3rd from the right are each about 270 yards, the others are about 140 yards each

DSC02790All from various braids of Picperfic Polwarth, Polwarth blend braids. (oh! I must not look at her shop! There are more colors that would be great with this blend of yarns!)

Blessings on the New Year! May it be filled with Peace,  Industrious use of time, hands and mind,  Contentment and Joy

Life encapsulated

Oh the irony. Just as the last picture was loading on a very long post late last night, the internet connection was lost, not to be restored, so I went to bed. Can’t turn back the clock so the title is changed from the oh so entrancing 12.12.12. But the worst is that the normally faithful WordPress draft saver was also on the blink and only the first two paragraphs were saved. The first was now irrelevant.

Thanksgiving seems like it was eons ago. We had a good time with lots of family and lots of food. Hanging out with the grandkids once again was the bonus. Some knitting was accomplished but since I’m the only knitter of the bunch and with three little children around, especially two who like sliding down the carpeted stairs on grammie’s lap as well as having books read to them, finding moments to sit still with needles and yarn in hand were few and far in between.

nov 22 173-1

Our neighbor had her baby daughter on the 25th. Little Mina gets to share her birthday with her grandfather. She’s a cutie and seems to be a content baby. No picture yet of her with the little hat I made, maybe next time – I’d love to see how it looks on her.

Squeezed in between watching Violet Tuesdays and Thursdays, trying to stay on top of orders – especially those destined for gifts (I think we’ll have the last of them in the mail by Tuesday) spinning yarn for a gift and knitting I’ve tried to dedicate enough time to music practice.

Part of our Scotts Mills Friends/Crooked Finger group played Christmas songs for the Community Christmas tree lighting, the next day we went to the funeral mass for the mother of our banjo player, the following day we played for a 60th wedding anniversary party, which was a blast. The couple have lived in the community their entire lives and are a huge part of getting things done.

Next up is the Christmas Sing-Along with a slight bluegrass flavor and over 60 songs for the people to chose from. If you’re in the area Saturday evening the 15th please stop in at the Scotts Mills Friends Church where there will be finger foods, hot drinks and lots of music. People are welcome to come and go as they need and everyone seems to enjoy this tradition which will be the 11th or 12th year.

Remember the Baby Surprise Jacket (BSJ) I had to frog after finishing about 3/4th of it and realizing it was too small. I managed to get about half of the new one knitted, on size 4mm needles this time, when my attention was drawn to the Spirograph Headband/hat and suddenly needed to make one for my very active daughter-in-law who has thick, long red hair. I knew exactly what yarn to use: Two years before she’d gifted me with the lovely skein of camel colored Austermann Natura. There was only 100 meters which I hoped would be plenty. Half way through it looked dicey so modifications were in order. I’d not been crazy about the way the hat pooched in the back so I started the decrease rounds seven rounds early and added extra decrease rounds before the final k1p1 band rounds. Her best friend modeled it for me before our Christmas sing-along practice on Sunday.

Picking up Violet last Thursday I was struck by how big she’s getting and had an “oh no!” moment realizing the BSJ might once again be too small. By the time she arrived Tuesday I was onto the hood and so tried it on her for size.
A bit on the small size so yesterday I picked up stitches along the left front edge and knit several ridges for a button band. More length needs to added to the sleeves and sew on the buttons, give it a bath and it will be ready for wearing.

Life is full, we feel very thankful and blessed. Blessings on all for contentment and joy during this oft too crazy season!

Birthday crocheting.

Six years have passed since our first grandchild was born on this day. (Blog posts of the occasion on my old blog.)

It seems like overnight that she’s gone from being a wee baby, to a toddler, to a little girl and now a young girl who’s growing up so quickly. I managed to crochet a beret for her in time to wrap up with a few other gifts and send it in time to be opened today.

Last autumn during email exchanges with Scarlet of Huckleberry Yarns (“Where Colors Sing”), I’d mentioned having a hard time finding purple yarn with deep saturated colors to make something for my granddaughter, Faith, (usually blogged as Feather) who loves purples and violets.  Within no time at all Scarlett made up a brand new colorway just for her. The colorway? Faith  🙂 Oh look, Scarlet has some in stock right now on etsy!

Stitch Diva Studios has a crochet beret pattern which looked like it’d be adorable on Feather. Crocheting this beret was a breeze! So quick and fun. Casting on last Sunday afternoon it was wrapped in Happy Birthday paper and mailed by Wednesday.
Pattern: Slouchy Lace Beret
Hooks: Size D 3.25mm for the main part, C 2.75mm for the brim edge. These are one size down from the pattern recommendation due to using a sock yarn instead of the recommended DK weight yarn. After all, the beret is for a child, not an adult for whom the pattern is written.

It was blocked on a dessert plate balanced on top of a mason jar overnight Tuesday. (This is closer to the true color though more purple than blue.)
Lacking a suitable model to test the size, her 7 month old cousin, Violet, was a willing tester when the beret was about 2/3rd finished.

The Baby Surprise Jacket I was zipping right along on in the previous post…


I tried it on Violet when I baby sat her a week ago Tuesday. It fit, barely. Better to start over than to complete something that will quickly be outgrown within weeks.

The problem was caused by using size #2 / 2.75mm needles with the sock yarn. Or, perhaps better to admit the problem was in swatching but not taking the time to figure the math. The swatch looked great.

After finishing Feather’s beret I cast on the BSJ again, this time with size #4 / 3.5mm needles and it’s making quite the difference.
It still remains a fun knit.

I had a blast at the hands-on Turkish spinning demonstration I was asked to do at the Hallie Ford Museum of Art at the Willamette University in Salem last Saturday. There is currently a Turkish Flat Weave exhibition at the museum. I’ll blog about this in my next post.

And now to close with a picture Feather’s mom took of the birthday girl this morning as they were about to take part in a Harvest Celebration and costume party. Introducing six year old Faith, aka Feather, aka Cindy Loo Who:

Food, Knitting and A trip to the Zoo

That nasty flu bug was far more stubborn than I’d realized. There are still days when I don’t feel very well. I certainly have not yet come up to speed, as much as I desperately wish to be.

Originally I’d planned to spend most of the weekend hanging out at the Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival (OFFF) spinning and chatting with people but I’m so far behind that I’ll only be going over there for a few hours Saturday and Sunday afternoons. I’ll be delivering spindles to Carolina Homespun and Herndon Creek Farms tomorrow afternoon and maybe look around a bit but the festival doesn’t officially open until Saturday (except for workshops). Ed and Aurora want to go with me on Sunday so that should be fun.

There are still some gravenstein apples from our tree to make a last batch of applesauce. The tree produced the best and biggest crop this year. So tasty! I made numerous pies – mmm, gravensteins make delicious apple pie! (Pictured, one huge apple with a 1 cup measure.)

The last of the corn needs to be picked and preserved, and all the green tomatoes to be picked to let ripen indoors. It’s crazy but I never transferred the knowledge that tomatoes shouldn’t be refrigerated (they lose flavor) to picking them before the temperatures dip into the forties. Makes sense! The temps have been in the low forties several nights though we’ve had wonderfully sunny warm days, until today when it only reached about 70 after morning clouds burned off. The beets, squash and potatoes will stay in the garden for now.

Our poor garden. It was shaping up to be a bumper year but we were gone during the peak harvest time for the green beans. If I hadn’t gotten sick I still could have put up a decent amount of beans but by the time I had enough energy to deal with canning them (with the help of Aurora) lots of the beans were too big and woody so we only got 8 pints. We’ve had several more small pickings for supper and there are still a few young ones coming on. The corn also went beyond their peak so we’ve been letting them dry on the stalk, picking an occasional cob and using the kernels in soups. (Lots of homemade soup the past three weeks, plus juicing fruits and vegetables to consume every evening.) We are determined to never take a lengthy trip again during the end of August into the first few weeks of September, not after putting all that time and water into a garden.

A picture of the Pikku-Lilli making the piping at the back, knitting the two rows together around the back circle. This took four sets of 16″ circulars since the circle was smaller than 16″.

I love the cute back details.

Sadly I didn’t get a picture of it on the tiny recipient – a wee granddaughter of a neighbor who was born late August.

The day after it was off the needles and blocked I weighed it, 25 grams, and determined that the 31 grams of left over Cherry Tree Hill yarn would be enough to make one for Violet so I cast on with #3 / 3.25mm needles instead of the 2.5mm needles I’d used for the yellow one.

There were a number of days that the needles didn’t see much action but the bonnet is now only 8 rows short of working the piping for the back. At about the eighth set of the four row pattern repeat I started to get a sinking feeling. Weighing the ball of yarn and figuring the amount left to be knit I was optimistic so kept knitting. Last night after finishing the 11th repeat set I looked at the tiny ball of yarn. The sinking feeling settled into the depths of my gut. The remaining yarn hit the scale. Only 10 grams. Instead of making I-chord ties I could use matching ribbons. Even so it’s going to be very close. The bigger needles are using up more than I’d anticipated. This morning I knit a couple more rows in grim determination that there will be enough. Ha, not likely. Sadly it’s destined for the frog pond. argh So much wasted time. It wouldn’t be so bad if three weeks hadn’t elapsed.

Spinning has been fun and cumulative. Two more bobbins are filled and plying commenced today. We’re now watching Violet on Tuesdays and Thursdays each week. After her mid-day bottle I’ve been putting her on a blanket under the tree and spinning alongside her. She loves watching the action and tries to grab the yarn. Sometimes she sits on my lap and watches the spinning from that vantage point. Maybe she’ll be the one who loves playing with string. She turned 6 months on Monday and is almost able to hold her sitting position alone but topples over after a few moments of a swaying balance.


We took Feathers and Gus to the zoo while in Idaho and had a great time there with them watching the tigers playing in their water pit.


Spending time in the butterfly hothouse having thousands of them flutter all around us, and hitch rides on us. Feathers said the little feet hurt her skin! She had a number of them attached to her at different times.


Lunch time while waiting our turn to go into the butterfly hothouse.



Before we’d left for Idaho Ed bought us some shirts at an Arts Festival.   

The words don’t show up but Feathers’ and my shirt have the words, “Never trust a sheep in wolves clothing.”  Gus’s reads, “Just hanging around”


Last, but not least, the sunset our first evening in Idaho.

Thanks to all who’ve left comments. I do love getting them!