Nov 7

There are several changes going on in the Story household – past, present and future. Let’s start with the past.

Back in July, Scott interviewed with General Truck Sales who was putting in a new showroom and repair center at our exit. I mean, this place is 5 minutes from our house. He passed the interview and drug tests for a position in the parts department, so he gave his 2-week notice to Menards and was set to begin his new job on the 29th. He was to report in to the Muncie branch for training with the promise that he’d move to the new center once it opened.

His first day was a disaster. They had him take test after test with no studying and no warning. They told him that he would be permanently at the Muncie branch (a 45-minute drive, each way). They told him that rather be in the parts department, he’d be working with hazardous materials and that any barrel or box that he labeled as hazardous waste would be his responsibility for the remaining existence of that container. If, months down the line, a semi with that container had an accident and that container was damage and the hazardous materials were spilled, Scott would be fined up to $50,000 and could spend 5 years in prison. All because he slapped a label on the container.

After 6 hours of dealing with the lies told to him in the interview process, Scott decided this job was not for him, and he quit. He immediately called Menards, since he had left on good terms, and reapplied for a position there. In order to do so, he had to go through the whole hire process just as someone who had never worked there before had. This included a drug test. Since he had passed the drug test at GTS, we had no worries about him passing one at Menards. He was rehired, worked a day and a half when he was called into the office and told that THC had been found in his urine and that he was not rehirable.

THC. He had been taking CBD oil to deal with the pain in his left foot from when a shelving unit fell on it while working at Menards. The foot never really healed properly and caused him a lot of pain and issues with swelling since he walked on concrete all day at work. He was taking 4 ibuprofen several times a day, which had us worried about the side effects of so much of it. I had heard of CBD oil and how well it managed pain. It was available at our grocery store, bought him the 10 mg capsules and had him start on it. Within a couple of weeks, his foot was no longer swelling up and he was able to walk all day with very little pain. Yay! Or so we thought.

I had read several reports on CBD oil online and all had said the CBD didn’t contain enough THC to show up on drug tests. Those reports were wrong. It does. And Scott lost his job because of trying to have a healthier way of dealing with pain management for an injury he sustained while at his job.

So, I took this as a sign that, maybe, just maybe, God wanted him to stay home and work on the house. I make enough money that we can survive on my income alone. We have to watch every penny, but we can survive. So, Scott became my “estate agent.”

We had money in savings, and have been using some of it judiciously to do home repairs. The front deck (4′ X 8′) was 25 years old and rotten enough to be dangerous. Scott tore it out, we sprayed the grass to kill it (1 gallon vinegar, 1 cup salt, 2T dish soap), laid the landscape fabric, and ordered pea gravel. Scott has spent the past month shoveling nearly 15 tons of stone; first into the area for the new deck (12′ X 10′), then in an area 3′ out from the house across the front of the house, around the deck and with an area to extend the downspout and move any rain water away from the foundation. We are using 1″ X 6″ boards as edging for this, but need to use 2″ X 6″ for the rest as the stone pushing against it is too much for the 1″ width.

And we have a new front deck. He interviewed contractors, he and I designed the deck and had the materials delivered, and he supervised the building of the new deck, although the man he hired really needed no supervision, just a couple of questions answered now and again.

Scott has cleaned out the garage (okay after I removed 120+ fleeces) and is in the process of organizing the many tools and supplies. I can park in the garage, now, which is something that hasn’t happened in years.

Scott has repainted the front door, inside and out, repaired the door frame, repaired the service door to the garage, replaced trim in the living room, sealed every entry point that a mouse might be able to use to gain entry into the house, patched holes in the 25-year-old vinyl siding, worked on the attic, reorganized his studio and the music equipment in the living room. He has kept the kitchen cleaned (and with all of the from-scratch cooking I am doing, that’s no mean feat). The myriad of things around the house that had gone for a long time neglected due to both of us having day jobs, my having Dyed in the Wool, his doing free-lance art (book covers mostly) and us being so busy on other things, are being done. He even lets me leave him a honey-do list each morning.

On top of this, he has been working on two written creative projects (one is nearly ready for the e-book publication), two art projects for long-term customers, and has been editing on my novel, which at nearly 130,000 words is a daunting task.

Now to the present. I love having him home. It has meant so many changes in our home, but all of them have been for the good. Funds, like I said, are tight. The savings we had has dwindled due to unforeseen things coming up (new dishwasher is to be delivered and set up today), as well as us way under budgeting another necessary repair to the house, but I am still happy with the situation. As long as we are wise with our spending, we should be just fine. My cooking everything and doing no eating out has helped. One meal eaten out can cost 20%-25% of our entire weekly food budget, so we just don’t eat out anymore. But that’s okay. It’s easier to stick with a healthy eating plan this way.

And, on top of all of this, Scott has dropped 24 pounds to date. He is healthier, has more energy, and is happier than I have seen him in many, many years. He is loving doing all of the work on our home. The skills he learned while working at Menards have come in very handy, and his confidence level at being able to tackle most jobs has grown. Just seeing him tired, but happy, at the end of the day is a blessing. I love coming home to a happy Scott.

And to the future. And there will be more changes coming. We have so much more to do on the house, and with the outside work 95% complete, we can now concentrate on the inside. We have a hardwood floor to finish installing (started years ago, but never completed), we have cabinets to redo to make them more useful, we have rooms to clean out and reorganize, we have so much that has just not been done. But he’s home and his “job” is seeing that they are checked off the list.

We already know what we want to accomplish next summer.

Change can be scary, especially when it comes to losing a job and having a reduced income. But change can be good if you are willing to see it as such and work within the parameters of that change. And sometimes change can be freeing. This one is all three – scary because our income has been reduced by a third, good because Scott is able to work on the house, and freeing for Scott to make our house a lovely, safe, and easier home in which to live.

I’m loving this change.

Jan 11

During 2017, I am hosting a breed/fiber study on my Fiber Pusher Podcast Ravelry group, but I want to discuss what I am learning as I am going.  In the Rav group, there will be one post for the entire fiber type study which will summarize the breed/fiber.

I decided I wanted to start 2017’s study out with the nicest fiber I own, which is the Paco-Vicuna that I picked up at The Woolery on Dec 26th.  Sandy and I bought an ounce at $39, which we split.  So, the sample I am working with is 1/2 an ounce or about 14 grams.  There was a bit of veg in this fiber, which you have to pick out every bit you can find.  This fiber is so fine and so soft that any extra bits feel like boulders.

img_20170108_161416159Spinning it was a joy.  It drafted easily and made for a consistently fine single.  Because I only have 1/2 an ounce, I am going to ply this back on itself to create a 2-ply so I can have enough yarn to knit and weave samples to test it.  Due to its dark color, I still am undecided on whether to dye a sample or not.

img_20170108_170239055

Here you can see the fineness of the singles.  I wish I had more of it, at least enough to make wristies to test wear. After the study has been completed, I will see how much is remaining and go from there.

Jul 10
Short catching up
icon1 basicallybenita | icon2 Work-in-progress | icon4 07 10th, 2015| icon32 Comments »

I just wanted to show you a couple of things today.  One is where Sandy is on the shawl she is knitting out of my hand-spun merino/silk yarn.  She is using this pattern for it.

shawl1

It’s going to block out beautifully!!

Also, I got this in the mail today.  Guess what I am dying to cast on?

Morgan

This is from Susan B Anderson.  I love dolls, I can’t help it.  I can’t wait to make me a new, small-enough-friend to sit on my desk at work and make me happy.

May 30
Done and About to Begin
icon1 basicallybenita | icon2 Work-in-progress | icon4 05 30th, 2015| icon31 Comment »

I wanted to get these socks done by the end of the month so I can be ready for 90% Knitting’s Alphabet KAL that is starting June 1st.  This will be my first KAL.

Anyway, here are the socks.

Colette's socks

Remember when I finished spinning this 80% Merino/20% Silk Raspberry Ice handspun yarn?

Rasp Ice HS

Well, I finally measured it and it is about 760 yards total between the two balls.  They are going to become this shawl  (http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/pretty-triangle-shawl).  Sandy is going to knit it up because I really am not fond (at all) of knitting lace and Sandy is.  We’ll take pictures of it as it progresses.

I’ll have the new podcast up Monday morning.

 

Apr 14

I sincerely believe that this past Saturday was the last extra work day I will need to make until next January.  At least I certainly hope so.  I have worked at least one day each weekend (except Easter weekend and one other) since mid-January and to say I am tired, is an understatement.  From here on out, if I am busy on a weekend, it will be my doing and not for the office.

Sunday, I had intended to clean up the yard and mow.  Mentally, I just couldn’t, so I did something that I have been wanting to do for weeks, now – I spent some quality time with one of my looms.

On my 4-harness, 22″ Harrisville Design loom, I have a 10-yard warp for waffle weave dish towels and dish cloths.  Before Sunday, I had one towel done using the same weft as warp, but it was full of mistakes because I had insisted on weaving when I was exhausted and not able to focus.  This towel will be for my bathroom where no one but me will ever see it.  Since then, I have woven a towel in a dark blue weft and most of the matching dish cloth.  Sunday, I had a blast!

After putting in a Jacob fleece to wash after its cold soak all week, I wove the rest of the navy-wefted cloth, wove an entire set with a green weft and started the next set with a magenta weft.

withnavyandgreen

This picture shows the transition from the navy weft to the green.  I love how the different weft colors change the tone of the warp threads.  That red line is my cutting line after they are washed and are ready to hem.

color change

Going to the magenta weft really changed it.

red

I love how the floats versus tabby areas make hills and valleys.  This is going to be so much fun once they are washed and finished.

waffle

And underneath!  Looks like a fancy ceiling in an old building.

Once I have this all woven off (Still have to finish the magenta weft, then do a set with light blue weft and the last set in the same weft as warp), I will be ready to move on to something different.  I’m torn between overshot and double weave.

By the way, this will be the last thing I weave on this loom.  I am in the process of selling off all my looms except my 8-harness Baby Wolf.  I’ve already sold my 15″ LeClerc table-top loom, and I may have a buyer for the 18″, 4-harness Dorset (although if anyone is interested in this and you live within a couple of hours from Indianapolis, please let me know).  This Harrisville loom has been sold to a current student of mine and as soon as I can gather together everything that came with my 40″, 8-harness Herald loom, it, too, will be up for sale.  Then I have an old, ca. 1940, X-frame, 4 harness loom that needs the beater-bar rebuilt that will be up for sale once it has been fixed.

I’m not quitting weaving, only no longer teaching weaving classes.  So, I am going to get my equipment down to only one loom and the equipment I use myself.  I will keep a couple of wooden boat shuttles and my end-feed shuttles, but the rest will be sold.  I’ll let you all know when I am ready to place them out to new homes.  Sometime this summer.

 

 

Apr 9
I Think She Likes Them
icon1 basicallybenita | icon2 Work-in-progress | icon4 04 9th, 2015| icon31 Comment »

My SIL, Missy, stopped by and got her World’s End Fingerless Gloves that I knitted up for her.

missywithmitts

Yes, I think she’s pretty happy with them.  Definitely a knit-worthy person!

Mar 20

Some of these pictures have been languishing in my camera for a couple of weeks, but I want to show you what’s been going on around here.  First my Beginning Spinning class at the Thorntown (Indiana) Public Library.  This class is the 1st Thursday of every month from 6-8PM.

beginning spinners

Four students and all doing very well.  The two in the back are a week ahead of the two in front and are working on plying the singles they spun as homework.  The two in front are learning the ropes (yarns?) and were doing quite well at it.  I look forward to showing them how to ply on April 2nd.  The two in back have homework to spin a colorful single so they can Navajo ply it.  Fun!!

pat's first cable pattern

At this past Tuesday night’s Advance Spinning Class at Starstruck Cat Studio, Pat showed off her very first cable project – Bonnie’s Wish shawl.  Yes, that shawl with the cables all over it?  How she learned how to do cables.  I should mention that Pat is very ambitious!!

Bonnie's Wish upclose

This is a close-up of the center segment of Pat’s shawl.  She has every right to be proud of this.

Pat's purple cowl

Another show-&-Tell from Pat is this cowl that she spun the yarn for.  The fiber is from Ohio Valley Natural Fibers and it has some sparkle in it, even though you can’t tell in the picture.  It’s for her daughter’s birthday.  Lucky daughter!!!

Brenda and Pat had two lessons that night.  Brenda had cable-plied before, but it had been a long time.  Pat had never made a cabled yarn, so their homework for this class was to bring two 2-plied yarns with each of the singles being a different color.

pat's 1st cable ply1

Pat’s on the bobbin.

pat's 1st cable ply2

Pat’s in a skein.  Lovely!!

Brenda's cable ply

Brenda’s in a skein.  Love the colors!!

Brenda's beaded yarn swatch

Brenda’s swatch with the beaded yarn.  Sweet little green beads add some sparkle to this lacy swatch.

And I have been doing a little spinning before going to bed.  The three spindles I have going are:

spindle1

This is a mixed-fiber single from a dizzed-off batt created by my class back in November’s “How to Buy a Fleece and What to Do with It When You Get It Home.”  I’m actually done with this, now and just need to wind it into a center-pull ball and ply it together.  I love the colors in this and think I’d like to recreate it for something bigger.

spindle2

Some Kool-Ade dyed BFL being spun on one of the consignment spindles from Dyed in the Wool.  Man, this thing spins like a dream and I am loving the yarn this is making.  There is enough here to make something when I get it all spun up – something like wristies or something.

spindle3

And this is some of the Double-Coated Shetland that Dyed in the Wool sells.  I am so in love with this stuff.  I think I will spin up enough for some fingerless mitts for myself.  Definitely ones with a lacy pattern on the back of the hand.

Whew!  All caught up, now!

Feb 26
New on the needles
icon1 basicallybenita | icon2 Work-in-progress | icon4 02 26th, 2015| icon32 Comments »

Well, I am stuck on the sweater until I get a shorter cable for my circular needles, so I started a new project – World’s End Fingerless Gloves by Deborah Gall.  When I say started, I mean just that.

missymitts

I am using Cascade Heritage Silk Paints in 9801 – Fall Foliage.  My sister-in-law, for whom these are being knitted, loves orange.  I thought the addition of the silk would both keep her warm and make them extra soft.

Jan 19

Waffle Weave!!!

dips&valleys

Jan 6
One Done and One Begun
icon1 basicallybenita | icon2 Work-in-progress | icon4 01 6th, 2015| icon32 Comments »

I finished Sandy’s socks!  They are Hermione’s Everyday socks.  Fun to knit, too.

sheds

I brought them to her at work yesterday and she immediately put them on and they stayed on the rest of the day.  I think she liked them.

And I started my sweater, too.

sweateryarn

This shows the yarn colors pretty much spot on.  I am about half-way through the first sleeve already, and I am really loving how this Mountain Colors yarn is knitting up.  This is going to be the Sweatshirt Sweater without the front pocket, which is a free pattern on Ravelry.

We received about 5-6″ of snow (depending on how far north you were), but it was all light and powdery, which made cleaning off the car pretty easy.  Unfortunately, the wind is really supposed to pick up tonight, so all that fluffy stuff will get blown about and create large drifts.  My niece, Kim, had never seen 5″ of snow before.  I can’t wait to see her reaction when we get a foot or more dumped on us at one time.

Stay warm!

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