Jul 16

Sandy and I drove down to Evansville on Friday evening after work.  That is a long drive, even with the new extension of I-69 South.  The long and steep hills didn’t help, and if we hadn’t removed the tables and fixtures from the trailer, I’m not sure how well we would have fared with the drag on my engine.  Still, we made it, although we had to make a quick stop when we were nearly there to get gasoline.  It used as much gas as we did going to Lexington!

I got to sleep by myself in a camper that night.  I cranked down the AC, fought and killed a couple of mosquitoes, and slept like a baby.  Debi Hassler, our hostess, made a delicious breakfast casserole (gluten free!!) and there was fruit to eat as well.  I heated up water for a cup of tea, and while I was drinking it, I noticed this sweet little spinning wheel with a mother-of-all set up like I had never before seen.


Look at that bar between the maidens.  At first, I thought it was a quick fix on something that was loose, but then I took a closer look.


See that string running from it and under the bobbin whorl?


It goes to a peg.  This is a scotch tension system!  It’s really different.  So, what kind of wheel is this?


Debi and her husband found it in an antique shop while in Scotland, took it apart and brought it home in their backpacks – except for the actual wheel, which she had to carry on the plane.  And, yes, she said she did get some odd looks from other passengers.  Still, cool!!!!

So, Saturday morning, I gave my Fiber to Fabric talk with the hopes of sparking interest in people who would have never considered creating their own yarn.

From the audience

This is from the audience view.


A close-up of the table on the left, and…


a close-up of the table on the right.  I started with the raw fleece (a lovely and clean Romeldale in this case), and worked my way over to some finished items through washing, prepping for spinning, spinning, dyeing (silk, acid and natural) on to knitting and weaving, finishing up with some ready to wear/use items.  I really hope what I said helped people learn something new, and gain the new Tri-State Fiber Guild some new members.


Post from an attendant on Facebook.  I think it worked.  😉

Afterwards, we packed up (thank you Hasslers for helping!!) and went to the local yarn shop SheepSkeins.


What a cool shop!!!!  And yes, I might have bought a few things.  I’ll show them off in the next podcast.

Other than that, I did finish washing the rest of Felvet.  Now I need to start hot washing the two white Corriedales, Cloudy and Hannah.  I’ll begin them tomorrow tonight.  I have the four BFL fleeces all boxed and ready to go to UPS, which I will do tomorrow after work.

Tonight, I have to do the cooking, so I need to get home asap after work.  Meals this week for Scott include power oatmeal for breakfast, Chicken Marsala with asparagus, carrots and onions sauteed in butter, and Philly Steak & Cheese with green beans and scallions.  My meals for the week include oatmeal, a home-made chicken vegetable soup, and Greek yogurt with fresh cherries.  Yum!!  But all this means some cooking.  Luckily, the Philly Steak and Cheese goes into the crockpot, so that will be an overnight thing, but the rest needs to be cooked.

There’s more, but I need to get to work, so I’ll talk about them later.

Jul 13

The alarm went off this morning at 5AM and I spent the next 2 hours currying about and gathering everything needed to take with me for the Fiber to Fabric talk I will be giving in the morning.

Truck Show Ad

I can’t tell you how much I am looking forward to this event.  I have far more than I should bring, but if there is any one thing that I have with me that sparks some creative thing in one person, then it would have been a shame to not bring it.  I am not the Fiber Pusher for nothing.  So, the back of the car is full, and we have all of the fiber, yarn, and other such goodies loaded into the trailer for the “Pop Up Shop” portion.  I have been working diligently on the new sample cards, but they all won’t be done.  I wish there were more hours in the day away from the office that I could work on these, but I will have them done by Michigan Fiber Festival and that’s really what we want, anyway.

I’m still washing fleeces and have Marley completely done and ready to go to Ohio Valley Natural Fibers.  I have all of the brown Corriedale done and ready to go to Stonehedge with the BFL.  I am getting really excited about this.  All that lovely wool finally becoming something someone can use.

Scott’s still getting used to his new schedule.  He’s still coming home, taking a shower, then a short nap before going up to his studio to work.  Getting to work at 5:30AM is not easy, but he loves having a second “day” out of every day to work on his art jobs.

I’m trying to get up earlier each day.  Eventually, I’d like to have at least an hour each morning to clean house before going to work, then focusing on fleeces and creative stuff at night and weekends.  This is the first morning getting up at 5AM and I’m feeling good.  Let’s hope I can keep this up.

Next week, I am taking a few days off work (20 – 24) to work on my room.  Also, Sandy and I are going up to northern Ohio to a farm with Merinos and Rambouillets.  Having them so local to us is wonderful!


Jul 9

What’s this?  A blog update?  Yes, I am announcing a new podcast episode, but I have decided to get back to blogging.  I didn’t realize how much I had come to rely on this blog to keep track of events and how much I have missed being here.

I had a really good weekend.  On Saturday, Scott and I picked up my Clun Forest sheep, Kaala Hiraka, from Brenda’s farm (she’s moving to CT, so has dispersed her flock and I bought her half of Kaala from her) and drove her to Sara Dunham’s Equinox Farm in Cynthiana, KY.

Kaala on her way web sizeIt was easier to get her into the car than I thought it would be.  Yes, she fought it, but once in there, she curiously looked around, munched hay, and with the boring interstate, she laid down and relaxed.

When we got to Sara’s, we opened the gate, carefully took the halter off her, and let her jump out of back of the car on her own.  She stamped her feet a couple of times at the Corgi, but once she was in her stall, she settled down.  Sara gave her a hoof trim and soaked her feet with some anti-fungal, then we removed her collar and tag, and Kaala was given some hay to munch.

Kaala’s first sighting of a chicken was interesting, too.  She has so much to learn in her new home, but she’s in paradise, and she will have a fantastic life of making wool.

Kaala lying down web sizeYesterday, I got up at 7 and went out of weed the garden and wash fleeces.  The garden is a 19 X 30  and is cut into 6 8X8 sections with a 3 foot walkway separating them.  At the first of June, I planted 6 different types of sunflowers, Coreopsis Tinctoria, Coreopsis Mardi Gra, a couple different types of marigolds, peppermint, and purple cone flower.  Then the rains came and the crabgrass tried to take over.  A couple of weekends ago I weeded two sections (the coreopsis and one of the marigolds) and yesterday, I reweeded the coreopsis (only a few weeds had worked their back in there) and the peppermint bed.

I am really disappointed in the peppermint.  Out of 5,000 seeds, only about a dozen germinated.  So, I might see if I can get some catmint plants and plant them in that bed.

Speaking of catmint, I  bought some new catnip at the pet store.  Well, it must be strong enough that Dylan can smell it, because this is the first batch ever that he has gone nuts over.  Then, bless his snotty heart, he sneezed his head off for about 5 minutes.  So, I am going to get out the toy mouse with the pouch for catnip in it and fill it with the good stuff for him to play with without sneezing.  And when we give some to Annie, we will shut him up in the bedroom with his mouse while she can have fun, then vacuum the rug so Dylan doesn’t have another sneezing fit from it.

While weeding, I also was re-cold soaking Marley’s latest fleece (natural colored Horned Dorset) and a fleece from a Corriedale named Felvet – they had been cold soaking for about a week, and needed to be taken out for hot washing.  Once they were done, I started the cold soak of two white Corriedale fleeces, Cloudy and Hannah.

At about noon, I came in, took a shower and rested a bit before taking my podcasting equipment and projects back outside for the recording session you see above.  It was 80 degrees at 1:30 and there was just the very gentle breeze – Perfect!!!

Once that was done and edited, Scott and I went to Red Robin for supper (I got the Avo-Cobb-O salad (550 calories)), then we went to Noblesville.  I bought a new stainless steel saucepan from Meijer ($34.99!!! Yikes!) while Scott went to Barnes & Noble for his Imagine FX magazine.  He also “rescued” a little, stuffed dragon.

When we got home, I went back to washing fleece, but this time hot washing.  I started hot washing 2/3 of Marley’s fleece.  I’ll finish it tonight, then begin hot washing the last third of Marley’s and 1/3 of Felvet.

Scott started his new position at Menard’s this morning, which means he now starts work at 5:30 every morning and gets off work at 2:00.  No evenings and NO WEEKENDS!!!!  We are so beyond thrilled.  It’s going to be an adjustment to get his circadian rhythms realigned, but it will be worth it.  He can have a regular writing and art schedule, and we can do things and work on the house every weekend – well, those that I’m home.  I still have my own schedule to contend with, but it will be so lovely having him him more when we can be together.

I think that catches you up with what is going on.  Goodness, it feels good to be typing out my thoughts and events once again.

Jul 5

Clinton Crowder Obituary

May 8

My friend and former college roomie, Sandy Sullivan, and I took advantage of the sunny day yesterday and headed to the park with our cameras.  Today I’ll show you the shots we took of one another (well the best of them) and tomorrow I will share the photos of White River and all of the flooding as well as some lovely items in nature.  We went to a local to her park and the day was so much fun.  We ended up walking nearly 4.5 miles, which we both needed.  She’s an accountant, so we both just came out of tax season and the sunshine, fresh breezes and outdoors was sorely needed for our souls.


This is me and Sandy.  We’ve known each other for 35 years this coming September.  Hard to believe 35 years has come and gone since I first entered college, but there you have it.  Equally hard to believe is that her son is going to be 22 and a senior in college this coming August.  Yikes!!  Wasn’t it just last month we were that age?

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While Sandy was setting up the camera for the 10 second timer, I was sitting on the bench in the first picture so she could get a focus.  Then, just as she accidentally touched the shutter button, I did this…


Good timing, Sandy!  🙂  Why no, I don’t take myself too serious, why do you ask?


I am every tour guide’s nightmare.  No, you aren’t supposed to be where I am in this shot, and it took some climbing to get there, but I have never been know to let an inaccessible place get in the way of a good photo.


The day couldn’t be lovelier.  The river was so far out of its banks that the trail we were on was actually closed due to high water, but… well…  we had to go and see.  I’ll show you more pictures of the river and water tomorrow.

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Sandy wanted some good, updated, pictures of herself, and what better place to take them than in the woods.  While this one isn’t bad,…

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This one is fantastic!!  It is so genuinely her with that great smile.  I know I am going to make a copy of this to go into my journal.

Since this was a perfect little area to take a picture, she returned the favor.


This is a good photo of me (even though it shows the 16 pounds I have gained over the past couple of months),…


But my favorite one of me is this one.  I think this is going to be my new bio photo for all of the Johnny Saturn sites and books.  At least until I can lose the weight I’ve gained.  Still, this is a good one of me at this place in time. 


So, tomorrow, I’ll show you the rest of the photos.  There are a couple of great, short videos that I took as well that I will add to the next podcast.  Goodness, it was a lovely day!  I want to do this again, soon!

Jan 17


The ties are worsted weight yarn.  This fiber is so wonderful to touch.  I’ll be interested to see how it works knitted, woven, felted and dyed.  I am hoping to have enough left over to make a small wristie because I’d love to see how it wears, too.  I bought the fiber at the Woolery.

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.


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.

Dec 14
It snowed!!
icon1 basicallybenita | icon2 A Little of This, A Little of That | icon4 12 14th, 2016| icon31 Comment »

Yesterday, Indianapolis was blessed with about 4″ of snow.  I don’t think we received as much where I live, but there was no wind and it was lovely.


I love this shot – mostly a black, white and gray image with the pop of reddish brown from this maple tree that thinks it’s an oak.  It never sheds its old leaves until the new spring leaves push them off the branches.  This is the Wall of China line along the south line of our property.


This is on the other side of that line above.  This wee bit of property is a bit of a wilderness, but I love it.  There is always something new popping up – asparagus in the spring, and now there are several yucca plants that appeared over the summer that I am going to transplant into my yard next spring.


And there is this cedar tree.  I remember my mom seeing it and telling me to get rid of it because – well because she hated cedar trees.  I love them, though.  I love how they look both in the summer and covered with snow in the winter.  I love how they smell.  This tree is a friend and she’s a good listener.

I love snow falls like this one.  Soft, gentle, wet and just lovely.

Nov 1

Sandy and I have two very different personalities in several respects even while we are a lot alike in others.  But today’s Nancy comic strip sums us up pretty well.  In this, Sandy is Sluggo and I am Nancy.


I hope you had a great Halloween.  Mine was sans sugar, and no trick-or-treaters, but I knitted, watched podcasts and enjoyed my quiet evening.

Sep 15

Sandy’s and my co-worker’s (Colette VanMatre) horse, Defining Hope, won her second race yesterday at Indiana Grand Racetrack.


She crossed the finish line, defeating the race favorite by one and three-quarters lengths!

And here is a fantastic article on this loves-to-run two-year-old filly.  Go Colette and go Defining Hope!!!

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