Thanksgiving ’16

I’m thankful:

to have enjoyed a rather ordinary day instead of the normal Thanksgiving hustle and bustle of cleaning the house, preparing rolls and pies  a turkey and all the trimmings. We’d decided that the Thanksgiving potluck after church Sunday followed by another delicious Thanksgiving dinner at the community dinner last night where 461 were served an abundance of food –  for which Ed helped to peel 150 pounds of potatoes,  was sufficient and we didn’t need to stuff ourselves with another big meal.

for a husband who is constant, steadfast, intelligent, hardworking, kind, supportive, giving, a man of integrity, and a kindred spirit in many ways.
I am so deeply grateful for Ed!

for tonight’s simple soup and bread supper with a ramekin of pumpkin pie filling for dessert.

that we didn’t need to travel anywhere on this very blustery, pouring-down-hard, rainy day.

for peace and quiet. Ed’s not into sports so we don’t subscribe to any channels. When it rains hard our tv doesn’t pick up reception. We started to watch a movie but after a bit we both realized that we’d rather read.

for time to spin on the great wheel today as well as finishing up the last portion of another braid of alpaca/silk roving, getting it skeined, bathed and now it’s hanging to dry. This 4 ounce skein has approximately 562 yards. Finally closing in to having enough alpaca spun to weave material.

for more leisure time to ply some more of the turtles of walking yarn destined to be knit into a sweater, once enough yardage has been spun.

These turtles were all spun during morning walks (spell corrector changed morning to boring, ha!)


Two turtles were wound into a plying ball to facilitate the plying with my wheel.

A second bobbin is needed to finish plying the giant ball.

for so many good books to read! Currently reading Madeleine L’Engle’s “Bright Evening Star”, Timothy Keller’s “Hidden Christmas” and David Brainerd’s journal from 1740’s. Normally there’s also a fiction book in the reading stack one was finished a few days ago. I’ve been wanting to reread some of Elizabeth Goudge’s books which means a trip to the public library.

for relatively good health, especially when I consider how many people struggle with their body every single day.

for a year of growth, challenges, and new experiences which are leading me into a deeper relationship with God.

most of all for the love of Jesus Christ, the solid rock of the foundation of my being.

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving! And if you don’t live in the States, that you had a wonderful day anyway!


Day Seven

November writing is off to a solid start with a post has been written every day the first week.

Yesterday I posted a picture of the almost finished boots on my personal Facebook page and had three people want to make some. My enthusiasm took the upper road as I replied to them and started planning on a several hour workshop in my head.

This morning as I was fine-tuning the fit of the boots it struck me: the workshop I took cost $300 plus over $40 in material fees. Granted, it was a 12 hour workshop. Still, I can’t justify teaching even an abbreviated workshop of 4 – 5 hours without charging a basic cost for the class, plus I’d need to buy enough roving for the participants, another cost I can’t afford to absorb right now when our business already taking a major cut in the transition from direct sales to wholesale. I took the class with the long-term goal of not only making felted foot gear for our family but with the idea of eventually recouping the huge cost of the workshop.

Neither Ed nor I are good business people as far as watching the bottom line and drawing firm boundaries. I agreed to teach a one-hour beginning class this Saturday at the terrific local yarn shop, for free, to help the store drum up local enthusiasm for our spindles. As anyone who has taught knows, the teaching hour is just the tip of the iceberg. There’s the prep work, arriving early to set up and staying long enough to answer questions and pack up. While I’m very happy to do this quick intro to spinning it’s easy to get overextended, something I need to guard against when the compensation isn’t worth the time and effort as I already struggle to have the energy to accomplish my responsibilities. We’ll see how the clammer to learn to felt boots/slippers turns out in the months to come.

Today I started Chained three-ply using the Corriedale roving left over from the felted boots to make cord for the boot fasteners.


Small Pleasures

Small things bringing pleasure:

Lucet necklaces. The one on the left is made from handspun hemp; the right one – with left over sock yarn.

They take only a small amount of yardage and time, and are quite addictive to make.  dsc04221Interested in learning? Sign-up for a 7 Day Lucet Challenge, is a great tutorial put out by Stitch Diva Studios.

40 grams of Picperfic fibre spun into approximately 60 yards.

These colors speak to my heart. The yarn might be used with a solid handspun yarn to make the most of it. No hurry, there are Christmas projects to be made first.
The braided wheat friendship loop was gifted to me by a dear friend a dozen or so years ago. While we live far apart, seldom seeing each other this loop hangs where I see it every day and feel blessed by her friendship, and all the other friendships I’ve been blessed with through the years.

Small things that fill my heart with joy.

Tuesday spinning

While the only spinning I did today was while walking with my spindle I’m happy to report that the second skein of Greenwood Fibers roving turned out great. I love chain-plying as I spin singles on a spindle but it’d been ages since I’d chain-plyed with a wheel with it taking some time to get the hang of smoother, less bumpy joins.

All in all, I’m very pleased with this skein.

The skein soaked in very hot water with some Dawn dish soap for about 10 minutes to set the twist then rinsed twice in cold water. A big thirsty towel was used to press out all the water then the skein hung to dry. Having worried that I was adding too much twist while plying, I was delighted that it hung almost straight down with barely a twist. Sometimes it pays to go with the gut instinct.

This yarn is soft with a firm hand. It will have excellent stitch definition and should be great for cosily wrapping around a neck to ward off winter weather.

Fiber: Greenwood Fiberworks 50% Merino / 50% Silk combed roving
Colorway: Mallard
Yardage: ca 400+



Can it really be almost four months since the last post here? Perhaps if I post each day during November some memories, events and projects that happened during those months will get recorded. Rather than trying to write a novel in November, as many people attempt by writing so many words per day, posting here daily will be my goal.

Morning walks were resumed in August with my neighbor and her young Irish Wolfhound. The spindle has been filled a couple of times during those walks. 100 grams on this spindle.
DSC00278My Victoria wheel has been seeing almost daily action spinning about 6 ounces that are now in the process of chain-plying to preserve the color.

The yarn is my second attempt for a friend. The first time I split the roving in half to spin the singles For some mysterious reason the yarn didn’t take to plying properly. Even after being respun onto another bobbin it’s still inconsistent with some very loosely spun areas. DSC00270 DSC00272Any ideas what I did wrong? It’s disheartening to have this happen after all these years of spinning and not know a solution?

I was able to buy more of the same Mallard color way from sweet Carolyn of Greenwood Fiberworks at Oregon Flock & Fiber Fest in September this time buying extra with the intent to chain-ply to better preserve the color blends and yet have plenty of yardage.
Almost 1/2 of it is now plyed. I’m not thrilled with the joining/loop areas but I’m hoping that they’ll smooth out in the wash. I really want to do justice to this beautiful fiber!

Time to get back to plying this evening…

Alpaca memories

A week before the spinning and Walking Wheel demo at the Alpaca Ranch, I finished spinning the three ounces of alpaca fiber into three cops of singles. Having spun them on Walking Wheel #1 (WW1) I initially tried plying directly from the cops which I had slid onto a lazy kate, but they kept getting hung up. Finally I wound each one at a time into a plying ball, caged each under an overturned flower pot then plyed them quickly using WW3.


After skeining, soaking and drying it measures 156 yards of smooshy skin-soft yarn. This was spun for the experience of spinning 100% alpaca with a Walking Wheel and to have as a sample at the demonstration. not for a project in mind.DSC04175
The day of the demo is as much a blur in memory as it was that day. For almost two weeks I’d been suffering colossal cluster headaches. By the weekend of the demo and OFFF if was almost impossible for me to focus or think clearly. I’m so thankful that they finally tapered off this week with only an occasional one of lower intensity and much shorter duration.

A few intrepid fiber lovers braved the horrid winds and rains to make the journey from OFFF to the demo. Ed had a blast talking with customers and spinning enthusiasts. The small numbers made it  a very relaxing afternoon chatting with friends old and new.

I can’t recall the names of the couple standing on this side of the loom though they informed us they live only a few miles from us and that she’s an avid spinner.  We hadn’t met before. I hope we run into each other again.
Ilisha, the Jazzknitter, was up to her masterful and whimsical spinning. If you’re unfamiliar with her work check out her Chroma Hat pattern which uses dozens of different yarns. She often uses yarns she spun on her Larks and Aegeans.011
Ivy came all the way from Moscow, Idaho! She’s holding Yeti made with alpaca hair.
018Ivy drove to OFFF with Shelley, co-owner and fiber dyer of The Yarn Underground, bringing yarns, fiber, classes and joy to the people of Moscow and surrounding areas.

Shelley is a pro with long-draw spinning. This was her first time with a Walking Wheel but she sure put it through its paces.

Kathy and her husband John also braved the weather to come play with the Walking Wheel. Kathy’s favorite go-to fiber is cotton. She’s a whiz at spinning short fibers into fine yarn with just about any tool that spins. Delights around 23 grams and Larks about 18 grams are her favorites for spinning cotton.
030A few other people stopped by to say hi, buy a spindle or watch the wheel in action. One was an older woman whose dad had been the weaving designer and technician for the Thomas Kay Woolen Mills of Salem (Now a part of the Mission Mill) during the early decades of the 1900’s. She reminisced of riding the street cars to the Mill to watch her dad designing new patterns, setting the looms with the patterns. Another woman told me of an elderly Benedictine nun whose passion had been flax and linen. She encouraged me to try to make an appointment to glean some of her vast knowledge of the Willamette Valley flax industry also in the early to mid-1900s. She thought there were still a great wheel or two stored in the Benedictine Sisters Monastery that Sr Alberta had used in her younger days.

The rain storms dumping on the Pacific Northwest made for high humidity which wrecked havoc with the handspun linen drive-band. Even though it had been stretched taut when drying it, the autumn dampness didn’t do the trick in setting it as had the summer sun. It kept stretching as the wheel was being worked causing all kinds of problems and needs to tweak. We bought proper made-for-drive-band 12 ply cotton cordage at OFFF on Sunday. The wheel is once again in good working order and now wants to find its new home.  Pictures of it and details will be on our Yarn Tools website within a few days.

I almost left the alpaca ranch without remembering to take a picture of any alpacas! This mama and two babies were in the middle of the barn to greet the visitors. It was the end of the afternoon, they were tired of being sociable and only wanted to be turned loose in their field.