Nov 30
Weaving Surprises!
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Yesterday and today have been very restful. I’ve cleaned a little on the house, I’ve read a lot, I’ve knitted on the gradation shawl while listening to A Prairie Home Companion, and I’ve let my thoughts wander as they will and dreamed.

And I have been thinking about weaving. Things have worked against me, time-wise, and I’ve been so busy that a little spinning and knitting is all I have managed to do with fiber. I have three projects I want to do on the looms, but I do not have time to set them up – yet!

While thinking about weaving, I remembered that, while taking the advanced weaving class this past summer, I had a little bit of warp left over from the woven shibori project. The warp was a robin’s egg blue and I had some old, variegated crochet cotton that was left over from a project my grandmother made over 30 years ago. So, I thought I would use up the warp and the remaining cotton thread at the same time. I believe this was woven as a straight twill. Looking at it from straight above, it is a pretty fabric. You can start to see the totally random, but magical thing that happened.

The width of the cloth and the sequence in the variegation created a very cool optical illusion when viewed, especially from the side.

This is something I probably will never be able to repeat. I have showed this little piece of cloth to several people, all who have had a blast looking at it from straight alove, then from the side. In the photograph, the pattern shows up a bit in the straight-on shot, but in real life, it doesn’t at all.

I’d love to show you the gradation shawl, but the sublety of the color shift to date isn’t enough to see in a photo, yet, so I’ll have to make you wait a little longer. I have 10 more balls to knit (these are very small balls of Shetland – about 4 hours of knitting per ball) and the gradation shift should start getting more dramatic.

Also, I started putting together some of my naturally dyed yarns for a sweater vest that I want to knit. I need to do a swatch, then design it on the knitting pattern program I have.

All these wonderful ideas, and so little time…

Nov 28
Thing-a-ma-bob thingy
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Wednesday at work while I was desperately trying to get to the point we were supposed to be by Thanksgiving in our schedule, I received a call from Scott saying his mom wanted me to bring my “thing-a-ma-bob thingy” to her house for Thanksgiving. She meant my spinning wheel. Scott had told her that if I had something to keep my hands busy, I would relax and stay longer, which she loves. So, I took my spinning wheel and got to spin for about 4 heavenly hours on a superwash BFL roving from Spunky Eclectic in a colorway called “Lame Duck Mallard” This title is partly to poke fun at the lame duck president we have and because it is in a yellow, orange, green and dark brown color. What you see on the bobbin is roughly between 1/3 and 1/2 of the 4 ounce supply I had received.

This is the first time I have spun anything superwashed and, at first, I found it very slick going. The beginning to this bobbin will not be saleable because it is wildly uneven – looks like what I did when I first learned to spin. I finally caught onto this fiber’s particular rhythm yesterday and what I spun at my MIL’s is not bad at all. I still have to slow down on the treadling and concentrate while spinning, but I believe I have gotten the hang of it.

Yesterday was a very lovely day. We ate, talked, ate some more and talked some more, all the time watching the antics of three VERY sweet little girls between the ages of 19 months and 6 years. These children belong to Scott’s brother, Todd, and Todd’s wife, Kim. I am proud of Todd and Kim and how they are raising the girls. Not a brat among them and sweet, trusting and very loving they are. We had lots of fun!

I hope that those of you who live in the US had a wonderful Thanksgiving Day.

Nov 26
Things for which I am thankful
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I know it’s cliché-ish to have a list of “thankfuls” at Thanksgiving, but isn’t that why we have Thanksgiving? A time to reflect on things for which we are thankful?

I don’t normally hold with clichés (you just have to read my writing to know that – oh, yeah! I haven’t added any of my short stories to this site, yet, have I? I’ll have to remedy that soon). But there are many things for which I am truly thankful.

1. I am thankful that I live in a country that allows me to worship God in my own way with no pressures to conform to a “national” religion.

2. I am very thankful that I married the right person for me the first time around. I lucked out there. Honestly, Scott and I knew we were right for each other within the second week of knowing one another. For us, it was always “When we get married,” never “If we get married.” Twenty-three and a half years later, it is the one thing that has always been right in my life.

3. I am thankful I live in the country versus in town. I am thankful that I don’t have to hear every argument my neighbors get into. I am thank for the peace and quiet when I go home and for having space around me.

4. I am thankful that I have an over-active imagination. Without it working overtime while I’m at less than fulfilling tasks is sometimes the only way I can get through my days. I love telling stories and if some of them stay in my head and are never shared, that’s okay, too. At least I have had my life’s riches expanded by the experience of them.

5. I am thankful for all my quirky friends who don’t look at me as an eccentric oddity because I like to play with yarn, fiber, fabric and the tools and toys that make my play all that more fun. Bless them for they are as eccentric and odd as I am from the view of the majority of the rest of the world.

6. I am thankful for being a nerd. Being a nerd means I don’t have to conform to what is considered “normal” and it allows me to be who I really am and thumb my nose at all those people who try so hard to be “normal” and are miserable for it. I am happy in my nerdiness and never plan to change to suit anyone else.

7. I am thankful for being a liberal. It allows me to think with my heart and brain and not with my wallet only. Being a liberal means I can think of others and put their needs before my own and remember that the well-being of the world and planet is more than Wall Street. Being a liberal means that money is not the means to my happiness, but rather doing things that make the world a better place for everyone.

These are things for which I am thankful. Thank you for being there and I wish you a VERY HAPPY THANKSGIVING! With love, Benita

Nov 23
Acadia done!
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When you are working many hours of overtime like I have been lately, you need something to come home to do in order to relax before going to bed. I have been spinning and plying while watching such exciting documentaries as “The History of the London Underground” and “How to Draw Comic Books” (like Scott REALLY needs this last one, but he enjoys seeing how other artists do things and he always picks up a tip or two).

So, I would like to present to you my latest gem of handspun yarn. It hasn’t been weighed or measured, yet, but it is absolutely gorgeous!

To remind you of what the roving looked like, here is the picture I uploaded on November 2nd.

This was so sweet to spin. It is truly a weight lace yarn and is so soft and lovely. I love spinning merino, but I really LOVE spinning Finn – that is if all Finn is as nice as this was.

You ought to check out Spunky Eclectic’s roving of the month club. It’s such a handy service and at the end of each month you get a new selection of roving to spin. The colors vary as does the fiber content, but it is something to look forward to and her colors have all been wonderful. And, the bst part, there has been no bleed at all when I wash the yarn – at least not with the ones I have sun so far.

I have a few choices of what to spin next, but I think it’s going to be a camel-merino blend that I have. It’s incredibly soft and is calling my name. Yes, I can hear it now – the seductress!

Nov 20
Status update on projects
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I thought I would show you where I am on the Faux-Cable Library Shawl. This is at the end of the first ball of yarn and there are four more to do. This shawl will have 46 cable repeats in it in total (unless I think I have enough to do one or two more – it’s going to a tall person) and I am on cable repeat 15, so I am roughly 1/3 of the way through the body of the shawl. It will have pockets, which still have to be knit, too. I am tempted to go ahead and knit on the first pocket at this point and have it done and out of the way.

Also, I managed to sit down and ply on the Finn yarn for a while last night and it looks like I am about 2/3rds of the way through with the plying. If all runs smoothly, I can finish plying this Saturday morning before a friend and I go Christmas shopping and the twist can be setting while I am gone. Keep your fingers crossed that I get to show you what it looks like on Sunday. You are in for a surprise with it. As nice and bright as the colors were in roving form (See my November 2nd post for a picture of the roving and one spun bobbin full), the plied yarn is becoming a soft, heatherly blending of these brighter shades. The more I ply and the more I see of this yarn, the more in love with it I am becoming. It is going to be hard to part with this yarn, and the person who buys it will be one to be envied. It is lovely!

Things are still pretty busy at work and if the old say of “It’s darkest before the dawn” is true, then dawn has to be around the corner. Sandy and I are swamped right now finalizing the transition of all of the companies’ book over to a new accounting system. Not a task for the weak-of-heart (nor for the weak-of-brain!).

Nov 17

This weekend was very busy. I have the SWIFT newsletter formatted and ready to scan in, add page numbers, and do the cover. Those things will get done tonight. Then I can take it to the printer tomorrow night after work, pick it up Wednesday night and get it assembled and out in Thursday’s mail. In this issue are the live woven samples I did of the Bronson lace I showed you a few months ago.

Also, I cooked enough food for 18 meals. I have 12 more meals worth of food to cook tomorrow night and I won’t have to cook again until Saturday. Woohoo!!!

Which brings us down to the spinning I managed to accomplish. I finish spinning the Finn top dyed in the Acadia colorway by Spunky Eclectic and now I need to ply the two 2 ounce singles together into one yarn. The singles are rather fine, so I am curious what the final, finished, two-ply yarn is going to look like. I really love the colors in it – supposed to be reminiscent of mountains, sky, lake and fields if I remember right. The colors in it are purples, lots of blues and yellowy-browny greens. I think she nailed the feel of it. As much as I want to get stock spun up for an Etsy store, I am going to be hard pressed to sell this one. The Finn top is very soft and nice against your skin.

I finished the Acadia spinning at the Indianapolis Art Center yesterday while Scott drew, and started back on the Copper King batt. With any luck, I’ll get to begin plying Thursday night after work and laundry and my goal is to have it done before the weekend is out. Now, do I want to continue spinning the Copper King at the art center on Sunday, or start spinning some camel-merino blend I have? Tough decision there. Let me think about it.

Nov 14
Spinneritis and Weaveritis
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I am not ignoring everyone. This past week or two have been extremely busy at work, plus the daylight savings time change leaves me with an hour less time in the evenings. By the time I get home and cook, it’s time to go to bed.

Unfortunately, with the business at work, I have been going in that extra hour early (one morning I sat at my spinning wheel instead, and it was glorious!) just to get what I need to do done. With this being the case, I have been doing practically no creative projects and I’m not happy about it. I do wish the government would keep their hands off the clocks!

Tomorrow, I will be putting together the SWIFT newsletter from beginning to end so I can get it to the printers on Sunday on the way to the Indianapolis Art Center. Then, at the art center, I will sit and spin for three lovely hours. When I get home, I will continue to spin and see how close I can get to finishing the Finn top. I have other top, batts and roving I want to spin and I have spinneritis.

On top of having spinneritis, I have weaveritis and it’s a worse case than the spinneritis is. I have two projects all ready to go, and no time to warp the looms (or overhaul the Harrisville loom like I’ve been planning).

Well, Thanksgiving weekend is coming up and I may rebel and take one day out to play with my toys. I envy WeaveGeek and Yarn Harlot. Yarn Harlot has set aside every Tuesday (that she isn’t out promoting her books) spinning, and WeaveGeek uses her new big loom as part of her workout routine. If I can get the looms warped, then that extra hour in the mornings will not be spent at work!

Keep your fingers crossed for me that I can finish this Finn top I am spinning this weekend. I have some luscious camel-merino blend top that has been trying to seduce me and I’d like to give in to it.

Nov 11
Starting my day off right
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Well, I did it. I actually took time out this morning and sat at the spinning wheel for about 45 minutes before going to work. It has been hard getting out of the habit of just going to work when I’m dressed and ready, but it makes for a very long day when you get to work two hours before you absolutely have to be there. An hour early is normal for me because I get all sorts of things done before people arrive and the phones start ringing. But two hours is a bit much.

And I must say, the quiet of the house, the whir of the wheel, and the easy drafting of the Finn top I am currently spinning gave me that time to think and reflect that I normally do not get. Time to myself. Uninterrupted. Sheer Heaven!

For those of you who know me, know that I cannot just sit still and meditate. I get fidgety and antsy if I’m still for more than a few minutes. Therefore, the only time I get to truly relax is when my hands are busy. Knitting something mindless like a garter stitch dishcloth works well, but you still have to pause and turn the thing. Spinning, especially with a Woolie-Winder, has no breaks and can induce a meditative state. I was amazed how quickly the time went. I just sat, treadled and drafted and watched the colors I was spinning shift and meld into one another. The next thing I knew 40 minutes had flown by and it was like waking up from a dream. I was so relaxed. And I was productive as well, which was just an added bonus.

I look forward to spinning again in the morning!

Nov 10
BASK in your community
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Every second and fourth Wednesday night of the month is BASK night at the Trading Post for Fiber Artists in Pendleton, Indiana. BASK stands for Beautiful and Aspiring Spinners and Knitters to the majority of the world. If you belong to the group (belonging is a loose term here, it means you show up on a regular basis to talk, partake of Susan’s scrumptious homemade chocolate-mint cookies, and knit, spin, crochet or felt), you then know it really stands for Big-Ass Spinners and Knitters.

Mostly these get-togethers are attended by women, but we, occasionally, get a male participant, which just adds interest to the mix – I wish more men would attend, or, at least, the ones who have been there before would attend more often. The regulars range in age from 12 to 60 something, we cover just about every religion you can think of, politics tend to be more toward the liberal end, but there a couple of die-hard conservatives, too, and farmers as well as city folk. And the best part? We all just accept each other, laugh, tell stories, solve problems, help one another, help our communities, and create gorgeous things from yarn, the stuff that becomes yarn, or the things that yarn becomes.

I look forward to these nights and almost wish they occurred more often. I love these people, I love the atmosphere of warmth and friendship, I love the community spirit and I love BASK night.

How many of you have a group like BASK? What do you like best about your group?

Nov 6
Time Change – An opportunity!
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Today’s blog on Pasta Queen talks about not having anough time. With the switching back of Daylight Savings Time, my time has gotten all caligiwhompered (don’t ask me the correct spelling of this word – I heard it first from Scott’s grandfather and it is a part of our family’s vocabulary). I gained an hour of time each morning (because my internal clock still wakes me up at the same time – even if the external clock says it’s an hour too early), and I lose an hour of time each evening (because my internal clock wants to go to bed at the same time, even if the external clock says it’s an hour too early – see a theme here?). Unfortunately, the hour lost of the evening is my relaxation time – the time I spin, weave and do my other fibery things.

What is a lady to do? Well, I considered using this hour of the mornings to work out…HA! That aside, I am considering using this extra hour of the mornings to spin. Spinning is such a relaxing, meditative activity, and, while I don’t do meditation (I’m sorry, I’ve tried, but I just can’t sit still that long and be inactive), I might find spinning in the morning before work to be just the thing I need to start my day off right.

Besides, can you imagine how much spinning I can get through with an hour each morning at it? So, guess what I’ll be doing in the morning? I’ll let you know how it works!

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