Dec 11
I’m on Twitter!
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Follow me at @basicallybenita.

Yes, I know – I’ve finally joined the rest of the world.  Sill fighting the whole Facebook thing, though.

Nov 17
Interview with Comic Related
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Chuck Moore, a really good friend of Scott’s and mine in the comic book world contacted us and asked to interview us on the Comic Related podcast that he does each week.  Mind you, this is about Johnny Saturn and that side of our business, but if you are interested in hearing what we have to say, click here to hear it.

And please ignore the picture of Scott and I.  I think that was when we were both at our heaviest weight.  Sheesh were we pudges!!

Oct 10
Dye Day is done
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Today went wonderfully well.  I am one tired lady, though, and will download pictures and let you know how it went…tomorrow.

Oct 1


Aug 16

My second and last day at the Indiana State Fair was Saturday.  I picked Sandy up at her house at 8:00 and we headed out for a fun day. 

The first place we stopped was the Poultry building.  I wanted to show her the “bad hair” chicken I had seen the day before, and she wanted to see the bunnies and chickens for herself.  As soon as you walk in, there are the bunnies.

This little fellow was so cute!!!  He’s a Dwarf Netherland and he weighed about 2 pounds if memory serves me correctly.

Sandy and I decided this guy had a rather “sheepy” look to his face.  I do like lops.

Then we went around to check out the chickens. 

These two fellows had taken a violent dislike to one another and were trying to get at each other through their cages. 

From there we went on to the Family Art building, the Exposition Hall, through the cattle and horse barns (no horses at all, so disappointing) then to the sheep.

This ewe wanted to check out my camera and after I took this shot, I found myself nose to nose with her.  She was so friendly and sweet!

Did I ever mention how much I love Shetlands and their fiber?  I would have lived to dig my fingers into her fleece.

This ewe was getting groomed for the show ring, and her face over the stand just looked so funny.  She was totally nonchalant about the whole thing, too.

One building I did not have time to go to on Friday was the Swine barn to see the pigs.  The World’s largest Boar was this fellow:

His name was Reggie and he weighed in at 1305 pounds.  He was a huge guy, and completely oblivious to the crowds of people staring at him.

This sow had 14 piglets in the pen with her.  She was a very busy mama.

At 2:00, we went into the Pioneer Our Land Pavilion to begin our 4-hour stint at demonstrating spinning.  Two other ladies were with us, and we had a great time showing people what we did and what was done with the yarns.  We talked fiber quality to those who thought all wool is itchy – all wool has its use, and not all wool is meant to be sweaters.  Some is meant to be coats and others to be rugs and carpets.  The “itchy” sweaters were because clothing manufacturers bought rug wool and made sweaters out of it because it is cheaper for them to buy than really nice wool like merino.  I let people place a sample of the merino I was spinning against their necks to show them how soft and unitchy it was.  If I teach people at the fair nothing else, I want to make them understand that not all wool is created equally.

Jul 19

Saturday, Sandy and I got together for a tie-dye day and dyed up over 60 items, only three of which were shirts and no socks included.  Those will be dyed in a couple of weeks.  Instead, we branched out and dyed up a bunch of stuff that people have been asking us about, plus refilled inventory on things we had sold way down on.

Once thing people have been asking for have been baby onesies.  As tiny as these things are, it was interesting trying to do some of our traditional folds on them (like the double swirl), but we did it, as well as a few others.  I think they turned out so cute!!!  Can’t you just see a wee baby in these?

Another thing people have been asking for is aprons.  So we did three sample ones to see how well people like them.  I think all of them came out beautifully, and Sandy and I, each, have our favorites.  What do you think?

Another thing we experimented with was hats.  These have been requested by several people, so we did five of them.  The brims have plastic in them so they can be washed over and over again and retain their shape.  Perfect for lots of wearing since washing them is a cinch. 

One other item that has been requested is scrunchies, so we ordered half a dozen blanks and dyed them.  I really miss having long enough hair for pony-tails because I am in love with all of them.  Once my hair finally reaches shoulder length again, I will be dyeing up several for my own use.

Other than those items, we dyed up several more tote bags, this time adding in some extra nice ones that can double as purses.  Tote bags have been one of our best sellers and we were down to just a few of them left in stock. 

Also, we dyed more shoe laces since we had only one pair left in stock and people have really loved them to spice up their shoes.  These shoe laces are longer than the last batch, so can be used for men’s shoes as well.  I like to double bow mine so they don’t come untied while at the gym, and the 45” ones weren’t quite long enough to do this.  With these new ones being 54”, I’ll be able to double bow them with no troubles.

Book covers are always cool and with school coming up we experimented with a couple.  They came out great!

And finally, we decided that with all the hot weather, we’d see how tank tops would work.  I think one of these is destines to be worn to the gym.

And last, but not least, Sandy and I have been having fun with our dye clothes.  Seeing how colorful we can get is half the fun, and we’re trying to break ourselves from wiping our hands on towels and using our clothes instead.

At the end of the day, we realized our shirt backs were way too pristine for our tastes, so I slapped some on Sandy’s T-shirt back, and we each slapped some on our own butts.  Unfortunately, we slapped too much on our butts because we ended up dyeing our underwear and butt cheeks at the same time.  Never let two tired-to-the-point-of-being-silly women have free access to left over dyes. 

And we’ll get to do this again in two weeks.  The next time, though is more shirts (adding in tank tops, too!) as well as more socks. 

Is there anything you’d like to see tie-dyed that we haven’t already covered?  The more variety of stuff we have available, the happier everyone will be, so if you have a suggestion that sounds like fun, we’ll do it!

Jun 28

The last part of our time at the Indiana Fiddler’s Gathering was spent watching a large group of people learning how to square dance.  And when I say a large group of people, I mean there had to  be at least 50 couples out there do-si-doing and swinging their partners.  If God had granted me coordination and an ability to tell my lefts from my rights, I might have been tempted to join, but I contented myself with wandering around the outside of them getting pictures.  Below is a very small sampling of what I took.  As you can tell, everyone was having the best time dancing.

There were folks of every age group involved and lots of laughter as people mis-stepped or turned the wrong way.  But, all-in-all, they caught on pretty quickly.

I dearly hope and pray that we get to go next year.

Also, this is a reminder that the Addi T-shirt has not been claimed yet.  If you wear a size large and love Addi knitting needles, let me know and I will mail it to you.

May 22
Kentucky Sheep & Wool Festival
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Yesterday, Sandy, her 87-year-old mom, Jane, and I drove down to the Kentucky Sheep & Wool Festival in Lexington.  It was a perfect day to go to a fiber fair.  It was sunny, warm (mid 80’s) with a slight breeze to keep things from getting too stifling.

This is the second year for the fiber portion of the fair and those who were there last year said it was at least double the size, so it is growing.  The nicest thing about this show was the quality of the vendors.  There was none of that “flea market” feel (as quoted by Sandy) where people set up booths to sell things that don’t even remotely have to do with fiber or fiber animals.  There was one guy who was in a booth promoting soybeans.  I told him if he wanted to really get people’s attention at a fiber fair, he should have soysilk samples to give away, not BBQ spices.  His was the one booth there that had nothing to do with fiber.

There was one main building, one main mongo tent (pictured above), plus a few other smaller tents.  There were lambs, sheep, bunnies, llamas and alpacas for sale.  There was a sheep herding trial associated with this fair, and there were the most beautiful Border Collies all over the place.

One observation I made was the sheer quantity of alpaca fiber available.  I’d almost say that alpaca made up half of what you saw there.  I had never seen anything like it.

I ended up buying a handwoven rug to go under my Harrisville loom so it wouldn’t scratch up my hardwood floor, some shuttles for students, some yarn, a quart of raw honey (for the morning oatmeal I make for a co-worker – I serve only the best ingredients I can get) and a couple cones of 5/2 cotton.  And a fleece.  You really didn’t think Sandy and I would get away from a fiber fair without at least one fleece.  It is the most beautiful Romney fleece – lots of luster and a sweet crimp structure that I can’t wait to get onto my wheel.  I think it will end up as July’s Fiber Binder Club selection.

Sometimes the best things, though, happen by accident.  I was taking some pictures of a small group of lambs, but being lambs, they were very active and most of the pictures came out blurry.  I hate it that most digital camera have that moment of hesitation between you pressing the button and the picture actually taking.  By the time the shutter “clicks” the special moment is gone.  It’s one of the reasons I miss my 35 mm camera so much.

Well.  I got in one lucky shot yesterday.  Check this one out.

I will be saving this one for something special.  Maybe a calendar or something.  But I do know I will be printing it out and framing it for my studio as well.  Look at that sweet face and that smile.  I’d loved to have brought this little fellow home with me, but…  oh well…  He moved into position not when I pressed the button on my camera, but when the shutter actually did its thing.  Luck, luck, luck, luck, LUCK!  No skill on the photographer’s part at all.

And a friend of mine, who we ran into quite by accident, had three skeins in the skein competition and she won two firsts and a second on them.  There was much hugging and congratulations going on there.  The really special thing about this is that I taught her how to spin.  She bought my Kromski wheel from me and I went to her apartment a couple of times a month for several months for tea, cookies and spinning lessons.  She picked it up very quickly, and now she has her own business selling her handspun yarns.  I am very proud of her.

We had a great day there, and Sandy and I have this one on our list of ones we want to vend at next year.  Wish us luck that we can create enough product to make this dream a reality.

Apr 4
Weekend Highlights
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First, I want to congratulate the Butler Bulldogs for making it, once again, to the final NCAA championship game.  Tonight, they play UConn.  I was really hoping it would be Kentucky because Scott’s brother, Todd, and his family are rabid Wildcats fans and it would have been fun to torment them (and be tormented in return by them) for the final game.

Sharon and I had a friendly bet with the VCU vs Butler game, her backing VCU and I backing Butler (of course).  The loser had to send the winner 4 ounces of something, either yarn or fiber, from their stash.  Well, Butler won.  Sharon said it was a very good game and she really enjoyed knowing there was something fun riding on it.  Since I can’t watch TV at my place, I had to see the final score on the internet.  I can hardly wait to see what Sharon is sending me.  I had something fun ready to send her just in case, but we’ll save that for another wager later on.

Yesterday, Scott and I attended the Gem City Comic Con in Dayton, Ohio.  We had to leave home at 5:00 AM in order to get there and set up our table in time for the opening at 9:00.  We were well into Ohio before the sun began to lighten the sky, but it turned out to be a pretty and very warm day (75 degrees when we left at about 5:15 that afternoon).

Here is what our set up was like for the day.  One thing I really liked about the place was the very comfy chairs.  Usually you get metal or plastic folding chairs and they kill my lower back.  These chairs were sturdy and well padded both in the seat and on the back rest. 

After I Navajo plied some left over singles from a former project, I worked more on the alpaca that I started last year.  I still have about an ounce left to spin, before I can start on the tussah silk that will be plied with the alpaca.  All said and done, there will be about 16 ounces of lace-weight 50% alpaca/50% Tussah silk yarn in this skein.  What am I going to do with it?  I have no idea.  I’ll probably put it into the store at this point unless I find the perfect pattern for it for myself. 

As usual, there were lots of people stopping by and watching the lady spin yarn.  Some people asked questions, and some just stood back, arms crossed and stared mesmerized at the sight.  The movement of the spinning flyer caught the attention of passersby and brought them to the table.  I’d smile at them and most would smile back and ask me what I was doing.  Scott said lots of people stood at the side of the table and watched over my shoulder (we were on the end of the row).  I even ran into a couple of fellow spinners and they were thrilled that I had a wheel there.  It was quite a fun day.  And Scott sold several books as well, so we were both very happy at the end of the day.

We have had a series of very strong storms pass through here so far today.  It was 72 degrees when I left for work, and was down to 63 by the time I got there.  It’s supposed to be about 34 degrees tonight.  While the lower temperatures will make sleeping better, I was really enjoying the warmer temps and sunnier skies of the weekend.

Mar 25

Wednesday, we had 76 degrees and sunshine.  That night we had dropping temperatures, strong winds and tornado sirens going off.  Yesterday we had 35 degrees and it spat little iceballs all day – Ahhh…  Spring in Indiana!

So, here you go – Week 25’s picture.  March is going to go out like a lion, but that’s fitting since we had such a mild beginning to the month.  But if you will look to the left of the second tree on the left you will see a spot of yellow.  That’s forsythia blooming.  So, be as nastly as you want, Old Man Winter.  You ain’t fooling Mother Nature one bit!

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