Dec 30
2009 – Year of my Mid-life Crises?
icon1 basicallybenita | icon2 News | icon4 12 30th, 2008| icon3No Comments »

I think I am going through a mid-life crises. But this one may not be all that bad.

I am getting to the point where clutter and disorder really bugs me. Worse, it depresses me. I think this is why I spent the past two days getting an early start on my 2009 goal of getting rid of things I don’t use. The past two days have completely reorganized and decluttered my kitchen (as well as cleaned it from top to bottom and inside out). I took 5 large shopping bags of things that had been shoved into the backs of cabinets and overflowed to the counters to Goodwill yesterday and I feel such a weight being removed because of it.

Now, when you look at my kitchen, the countertops are nearly empty. Even the toaster and can opener have been placed inside a cabinet. All that sit on top are my radio/CD player, the microwave, a bread box and Scott’s coffee maker. Everything else has a home in my neatly organized cabinets and drawers. Of course, the hard part about keeping it this way is the fact that Scott works at home and I do not. I read that husbands create seven extra hours of housework for their wives each week. I believe it.

I found out this morning that my boss is closing the office tomorrow at noon and we are off until next Monday, the 6th. I am almost giddy at the opportunity this presents to me. Since I didn’t get to overhaul the Harrisville loom this past holiday, I am taking my half-day off tomorrow and doing just that. I even already know what test warp I am going to put on it to make sure she’s back in working order. I have missed my loom very much!

Then Thursday through Sunday… I am going to clean and reorganize Studio A, including getting Scott’s painting studio moved into it and out of Studio B. I’ve given Scott the chance to clean up his own studio, and he has made attempts at it, but now it is MY turn. I have the nickname of Freight-Train Benita because once I get going on a track, it’s hard to stop me. Well, this Freight-Train wants Studio A done so I can get the move on for the rest of the house. Remember, Studio B is my studio and part of getting it all revamped includes getting the treadmill and other exercise equipment out of it and replacing the carpet with hardwood flooring. I can’t get the exercise equipment out until the library has been dismantled and removed to the media room and the media room can’t be done until Studio A is done. You get the idea.

So, that is how I am spending my New Year holiday. I’d love to hear from others what are their plans for 2009.

And, last but not least, here is an update on the madder gradation shawl with all the knitting I got to do this Christmas holiday.

Unfortunately, there is an area where it gets lighter, then back to darker in the bottom section. I think I must have accidently mixed up two balls. Oh well. At this point I will not be frogging it back to fix it, so it is a design element.

I am currently on the “3 hour” ball (as in having been in the dye vat for three hours). I still have the 2 hour, 1 hour, 30 minutes and 15 minutes balls to do, so I am getting closer. The last time I showed you a picture, I still had ten balls plus the partial current ball to do. Now it is four and the partial current ball.

With any luck, I’ll get some time to knit on it over this next weekend. I’d really like to finish it in the next couple of weeks so I can move on to my next project.

Dec 28
Working toward the New Year
icon1 basicallybenita | icon2 News | icon4 12 28th, 2008| icon3No Comments »

Remember how I said my goal for 2009 was to get rid of things I don’t use, and clean and organize at the same time? Well, I started a bit earlier than 2009 and spent 6 hours in my kitchen today. I have cleaned out nearly every drawer and cabinet, washed the fridge inside and out, washed the stove completely (except for the oven, but that has to wait until I go to the grocery store for oven cleaner), and I have four mongo bags of items to take to Goodwill tomorrow on the way to the grocery store. The cabinets and drawers that are clean and organized look soooo good! All I lack cabinet and drawer-wise are the tea cabinet, the cabinet under the sink, the silverware drawer and putting everything away in the storage container cabinet. Then sweeping and scrubbing the floor and the kitchen is done!!! Woohooo!!!!

Yesterday, we went to Scott’s mom’s to celebrate Christmas with Scott’s brother, Todd, and his family. They have three of the most adorable little girls (aged 20 months to 6 years) and we had a blast! I have one complaint, though. Toy manufactures shouldn’t make it so hard to get toys out of the packaging that it takes the adults nearly half an hour to free up a toy horsie. I am not joking, here. If our penitentary system needs a way to hold in prisoners to keep them from escaping, they just need to look to toy packaging for ideas. Sheeessh!!!

Tomorrow is my last day of Christmas holiday. On New Year’s Day, The Trading Post for Fiber Arts in Pendleton, Indiana, is having an open house with sales, sweets and fun! I am looking forward to checking it all out!!!

Dec 26
Thinking about 2009
icon1 basicallybenita | icon2 News | icon4 12 26th, 2008| icon3No Comments »

I had the merriest of Christmases that I could ask for. Did I get tons of gifts? No. Did I visit with friends and/or family? No. So, what did I do that made Christmas so wonderful?

I stayed home, sat in Studio A, knitted, listened to BBC productions of Sherlock Holmes and relaxed while Scott scanned in nearly 200 sketches for an upcoming project on the Johnny Saturn website. I did not cook. I did not clean. And I did not feel guilty. I did get through two balls and then some on the madder gradation shawl. In fact, I have seven more balls to knit up and just a wee bit left on the current one, which I plan to finish tonight. Both Scott and I had a fun day in our own quiet way. Days like this are very rare in our household, so we tend to savor them when they do come.

The last two months at work have been spent working to meet one horribly tight deadline after another. I have gotten to work at 6:00 (or before) each morning and worked most nights until 8:00 or after. I have worked weekends, as well. Last week, I worked over 70 hours and worked the 11 days before Christmas to make sure that Sandy and I got Christmas off of work (Sandy worked nearly as many hours as I did, so we were both exhausted).

My house looks like it, too. It’s such a nasty mess that I hardly know where to start. Sunday, though, is the designated day for starting on it. I needed a couple of days of rest, but I feel my energy coming back, and after celebrating Christmas at Scott’s mom’s tomorrow, I plan to get up and dig into the kitchen. For me, the kitchen is the key to having a clean house. Once it is clean, the rest of the house begins to follow suit.

In this week leading up to the New Year, we all begin to think about our goals for the next year. I have one goal. That is to get rid of things we no longer want or need. Some items we will sell, some we will donate, and some will find new homes with worthy people or institutions. I want a house that has nothing in it that isn’t used regularly or has immediate plans for. It will make the house easier to keep clean, not having to deal with stuff we don’t use anymore. Of course, a by-product of going through everything, sorting and weeding out the unwanteds, and making them go bye-bye, is that when you are finished, the things you do have are organized and ready to be used.

So, there you have it. Not exactly a New Year’s resolution, but just a goal that begins with the New Year.

Dec 23
Glorious TSO and Icy Roads
icon1 basicallybenita | icon2 News | icon4 12 23rd, 2008| icon3No Comments »

Scott and I went with friends Sandy, Eran and Eran’s husband, Scott (yes, two men named Scott – actually made it easy to get both their attention when necessary) to see Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s Christmas concert last night.

This is Scott’s (my Scott not Eran’s Scott) and my third time seeing TSO. It was in Conseco Fieldhouse in downtown Indianapolis and it was a very full audience. Unlike the past two years, where we were sitting to one side or the other, this year we were in the dead center in the back, on the club level and saw a light show like we ain’t never seen before! Seriously, folks, this was way better than any ol’ sugarplum visions dancing through your head. This was a mind-blowing, psychedelic, three-dimensional laser light show, and seeing it from the most advantageous spot was just too frikin’ cool! Squeeee!

Ahem… Sorry. Now, where was I? Oh, yes…

If you don’t know who TSO is or you have never heard their music, just imagine 80’s heavy-metal combined with classical music, opera and Christmas carols. These are top musicians from all around the world – classical, rock, jazz, opera. Whoda’ thought you could head-bang to Hall of the Mountain King, The Flight of the Bumblebees, Beethoven’s 5th, or Joy to the World. Yes-siree-bob, a guy playing a flying-V electric guitar and wearing a tux isn’t something you see every night of the year.

And they played for nearly three hours straight. Everyone one of the performers must have lost 25 pounds doing the show.

Well, this is my last blog before Christmas. I have lots of fun plans for the 5 and a half days I have off from work, the least of which is finishing Studio A so I can get the exercise equipment out of Studio B and into their own space (Studio A is the lynch-pin in these plans of room rearranging). The second item on my to do list is overhauling the Harrisville loom. I’ve talked about doing this for months, planned to do it, dreamed about doing it and now it’s time to make my dream come true.

Getting home from work tonight was a slow and tiresome business. What normally takes 45 minutes in full, rush-hour traffic, took 2.25 hours tonight. On Allisonville Road, a four-lane, divided street, I watched the car next to me slowly spin sideways (away from me, thank heavens!), drive up onto the grassy median and come to a halt facing the wrong direction. It was almost like a ballet dance in that it was so slow and oddly graceful. After it came to a halt, it sat for a moment while the driver swallowed his heart back down to where it belonged, then carefully drove off the median, did a slow U-turn (no traffic to get in the way for a wonder) and ended up back in its proper lane and going in the proper direction. It had a surreal, dream-like quality, and if I hadn’t been talking to Scott on my cell phone letting him know my progress (and, therefore, relating to him what had just happened), I almost would have thought I imagined the whole thing.

I wish all of you a very Merry Christmas. If you are traveling, stay safe. If you are staying home, stay warm. I can hardly wait to read what everyone gets from Santa!

Dec 18
Is it Friday, yet?
icon1 basicallybenita | icon2 News | icon4 12 18th, 2008| icon3No Comments »

How do you know when Benita has had a rough day?

It’s a good thing it is alcohol removed wine or else I’d not be going to work tomorrow.

The hours at work are getting longer and longer. Today, I worked from 5:35 AM (yes, that is WAY before the sun comes up) and I finally finished and was on my way home at 6:45 tonight. And this was a short day.

I finished the first pocket on the library shawl, but I am not happy with it. The wrong side edge purl stitches look very loose from the front and the border isn’t all it could be. The instructions were rather vague in this part, and I felt like I was winging it. I think I’m going to do some pre-planning before I get to the second pocket and see if I can come up with something that looks nicer. If I do, I will be ripping out the first pocket and trying it again.

On the good side, though. I am home early enough to knit on the madder gradation shawl for about half an hour! Woohoo!!!

Dec 17
The Knitter
icon1 basicallybenita | icon2 News | icon4 12 17th, 2008| icon3No Comments »

Scott is in between sessions at the Indianapolis Art Center, but I wanted to help him keep from getting rusty in his figure drawing. Now, it is cold in our house, and, while models in figure drawing studios are nude, I decided that Scott would have to study cloth folds. Standing around naked in 55-60 degrees is not my idea of fun.

After five two-minute warmups and a 15 minute pose, Scott was ready for a longer pose. So I sat on my ottoman, grabbed my knitting and a cuppa and gave him a half-hour pose to work on. I really like what he did. I look so comfortable and peaceful. In actuality, it was hard to hold my knitting only a few stitches into a row and not work on it. As soon as he gave me a break (he was done with the upper part of me and was working on my legs), I quickly finished the row I had started. Stopping in the middle of a row and holding it is like holding your breath. I finally was able to breathe again once I completed the row.

And here is what he drew today. The rest of what he drew can be found in Scott’s Art Talk blog this past Monday. The ones on tan paper are me. I haven’t had the figure of the others in a loooooooooooong time.

Dec 16
Madder Gradation Shawl
icon1 basicallybenita | icon2 News | icon4 12 16th, 2008| icon3No Comments »

I’ve mentioned my madder gradation shawl in previous posts. I’ve even shown you samples of the Shetland yarn I dyed for it, but I have yet to show it to you. Here I will rememdy that.

The pattern for this is the Prairie Shawl pattern out of Folk Shawls by Cherly Oberle. It’s a very simple pattern, but I wanted to showcase the subtle gradation in the color of the shawl rather than a particular knitted pattern. Also, it’s a great project to work on when I’m tired and don’t feel like concentrating very hard.

I’m about half-way through the current ball of yarn, and have 10 more to knit before it is finished. I am really enjoying this project just watching the color shift as I go from one ball of yarn to the next.

Once I get this and the library shawl projects done, I am going to sit down and knit a swatch for a sweater vest I want to do out of some of my other naturally dyed Shetland yarns. I’m thinking randomly knitted stripes at this point, but, we’ll see what it ends up looking like once I go through some pattern books.

Dec 14
icon1 basicallybenita | icon2 News | icon4 12 14th, 2008| icon3No Comments »

The past Wednesday night, my favorite LYS, The Trading Post for Fiber Arts, had its Christmas party for the BASK members. Of course, there was food to be eaten.

While we were not eating we were knitting,…

…, showing off what we had created (I LOVE this sock monkey hat crocheted by Shawna, …

…used various tools so we can complete projects aready started, (That’s Sandy and I getting the rest of the yarn for my gradation shawl ready so I can continue knitting on it)…

…winning prizes (Oooo! What did Sandy get?),…

…or, just stand around looking sexy (Eran’s husband thinks these reindeer antlers are a real turn on!).

The Trading Post for Fiber Arts is owned by Susan Markle and the shop specializes in very nice, natural fiber yarns and spinning fibers. Her selection of spinning fibers alone is worth the trip to her shop. And, she is expanding! The current shop has gotten very crowded with all the wonderful things she has for sale and her husband is building her a new shop in part of their huge, historic bank barn (it’s gonna be two levels tall (the top level is the classroom), have a kitchenette, a large storage room and a fireplace – all with windows overlooking their beautiful farm, llamas, alpacas, horse and pastures). Also, Susan is a dealer for Majacraft and Schacht, so she has lovely spinning wheels and looms for sale as well. This is the place I teach at, and a better place could not be found anywhere!

I know everyone thinks their LYS is the best, but if you haven’t been to The Trading Post for Fiber Arts, you are missing something special.

Dec 9
I’m teaching again
icon1 basicallybenita | icon2 News | icon4 12 9th, 2008| icon3No Comments »

If you have been reading my blogs for a while (even when I was blogging on myspace), then you know that I enjoy teaching very much.

The first weekend in February, 2009, I will be teaching a three-day basic weaving workshop in Pendleton, Indiana. Following is the information for the class.

If you or someone you know would be interested in taking this class, please contact me

Dec 6
I have a new (old) loom!!!
icon1 basicallybenita | icon2 News | icon4 12 6th, 2008| icon31 Comment »

Last night, my sister-in-law, Missy, called me from Midland Art and Antique Mall in downtown Indianapolis (where she has at least one very productive and interesting booth) saying that they were having an open house and that there was a loom for sale. She read the particulars out to me, and Scott and I (or rather I) decided that it was worth looking over.

It is not a new loom by any stretch of the imagination and it needs some work (like a new beater bar), but for the price it was worth getting and adding to my looms for teaching workshops. I didn’t get to bring it home last night, either, because it wouldn’t fit in my car, but Missy’s Honda Elment held it very well and she will bring it out sometime this next week (and consequently take back a few things for the shop).

So what is this loom? Good question! For starters, it is a 36″ wide, X-frame jack-type loom, with four harnesses, and six treadles. Also, it has a tall castle with a lidded box along the top of the castle for shuttles, hooks and other paraphrenalia. It is old enough that the hardware on it is iron, so my guess it is at least 60 years old. It is stained walnut, but I suspect it is maple. The harnesses are raised via pulleys and these ropes need replaced. It came with a 15-dent reed, but it is rusty enough that I’ll not be using it. I’d much rather purchase some stainless steel reeds in the proper width than spend the hours it would take to clean the old one up.

It was suggested that it might be an early LeClerc, and it does have certain characteristics that would lead me to agree, but there are enough differences from the LeClercs that I have seen to make me want to do my research. Actually, the pulley system for raising the harnesses reminds me more of Harrisville looms, but I am very unfamiliar with older looms to know more at this time. Doing the research on this loom is going to be as much fun as refurbishing it – and I seriously am looking forward to refurbishing this old loom. There is something about restoring something that is in an unusable state to a fully functional and useful piece of equipment, that satisfies my sense of romanticism. Like I told Scott last night, if I never own a new loom, that will be okay by me.

Also, for some reason, it has a definite male sense to is, so with that in mind, I am trying to come up with a name for it. On the inside of the box at the top of the castle is “Property of Paula Something (I can’t remember the last name at this time), so I am considering naming it Paul. Let me get him cleaned up and back into working condistion and maybe he will let me know what he wants to be called.

As soon as I get him home, I’ll take “before” pictures before I dive into cleaning him up, which is the first step to getting him back into working condition. Now I have TWO looms to refurbish.

« Previous Entries