Apr 29

Apr 28
Free Comic Book Day – Saturday May 2
icon1 basicallybenita | icon2 News | icon4 04 28th, 2009| icon3No Comments »

If you are in Florence, Kentucky, this Saturday, stop by Comics 2 Games and say hello!

We will be giving away free calendars, sketch books, comics, sketch cards, and anything else we can think to shove at people.

Apr 25

This morning, I drove to Noblesville and picked up two gallons of my paint of choice for my studio. It’s called Blanched Thyme, and it reminds me of cool, spring mornings.

It took me less time to get everything taped off than I thought it would. I really didn’t think I’d be painting until noon (considering I didn’t get home until about quarter til 10), but by noon, I had one large wall done and one half wall. Specifically these walls.

Old paint:

And with one coat of paint:

The first coat of paint is still very wet in these next pictures, but it gives you an idea of what this room is going to look like, color-scheme-wise.

I am very pleased with how this is turning out. The bright yellow was more “awake” than I wanted, and the soft grayed-green tones it down nicely. Now the room is more restful on the eyes. I think the chestnut hardwood flooring is going to look awesome against the green! I’m still toying with what to paint the front door – green or a brown that closely matches the floor and woodwork.

I have the second coat on the large walls all done, now, but need to wait for them to dry before finishing the half-walls due to the way I am painting the corners. I’ll get to them tomorrow morning before breakfast.

And keep an eye on the yellow portions of the walls – there’s more to come!

After breakfast, I’ll head to my LYS for the final day of the Nancy Bush/Judith MacKenzie-McCuin spinning lace weight yarn and knitting Estonian lace workshop. I need to get going on the next issue of SWFT News and I want to get pictures and talk to people about how the workshop went.

Last night, I went over there after work to hear Judith talk about how to tell whether a fleece is a good one or not. I missed hearing her speak two years ago, and I have truly regretted it, so this was a wonderful treat for me – especially since I wasn’t able to take the workshop this year.

While I was there, the lady whom I purchased a Corriedale fleece from last year approached me with first dibs on the fleece from the same sheep this year. Ule is a very handsome, silver-gray ram and I jumped at the chance to get another fleece from his wooly back. She coats her sheep and this one is 7 pounds of goodness – and this weight is after being thoroughly skirted!

Another fleece from her flock, from a ewe named Ashley, was there and when Judith opened the bag with it in it, she gasped and said, “You really don’t want to see this one!” But we could tell she was very happy with what she saw. When she pulled part of the fleece out of the bag, and I said “It’s blue!” Judith said, “Yes, it is blue!” And what a gorgeous blue-gray fleece this was, too! We all ahhed and oohed over it, and Judith sent around a piece of it for all of us to examine. She pronounced this fleece as a “spectacular Corriedale fleece.”

Judith talked like she was definitely wanting to take that fleece home with her, and there were several others who said they’d like it, but the first person to ask, “How much?” was my friend, Sandy, and it was Sandy who bought it! It is currently in my car, Bettie, along with Ule’s fleece and another fleece that Sandy bought, a charcoal gray from a ewe named Ukulele, which is the second fleece that Sandy has purchased from this animal. We are planning a weekend in June as a fleece washing weekend, and I am truly looking forward to seeing how Ashley’s fleece turns out.

Apr 24

If you aren’t familiar with David Taylor Daniels at Handweaving Today, then you need to be.

His blog post for today is very interesting, and I think it would be fun to get more people involved in this. Basically, see how much of your fiber stash can you spin before Labor Day. Check out what Dave is planning to spin!

He even has supplied us a badge for this event!

I’m taking up the challenge and invite you to join us! Just think of the cool yarn you will have by Labor Day!

Apr 22
Happy Earth Day!!!
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She’s the only Earth we have. Let’s take care of her.

Apr 18
Look Ma! No….
icon1 basicallybenita | icon2 News | icon4 04 18th, 2009| icon32 Comments »

This morning, I got back to work on my Studio B remodel. Here are some before pictures just to give you an idea of the color and such. (okay, I had started ripping up the carpet, but then realized I needed pictures.)

First thing, I ripped up the carpet. I have a new sense of appreciation for carpet layers. Carpets are heavy!

Then the pad. This guy who stapled these pieces to the subfloor either had a wicked sense of humor or was mad at his boss.

Then I had some work to do with the linoleum at the front door and the 5 mm overlay under it. The installer had installed all of this before the door frame was installed, so I got Scott’s help to remove the door and frame. The guy who installed the overlay must have been mad at his boss AND his wife, because he not only stapled this thing down, he glued it just to make sure it wasn’t going anywhere.

Finally, I removed the baseboard, carpet tack strips, and door and window trim.

Next on the list is getting the painting supplies and taping off the ceiling and getting areas for different colors all marked off and ready to go. I’ll stop and get them on the way home from the art center tomorrow and spend the rainy evenings this next week prepping the walls for the paint.

This afternoon, my new Husqvarna riding lawn mower (23 hp, twin engine with a 48″ deck) arrived, and we filled it up with gas and I mowed our 1.41 acre yard. With my old Murray with its 42″ deck and rather pokey speed, it took 4 to 4.5 hours to mow my yard. Today, with my new tractor (which went so fast it frightened me at first!), I got the whole thing done in slightly less then 2 hours. Needless to say, I have a new best friend! Her name is Helen Husqvarna!

Apr 17

I found this in this morning’s Dear Abby, and I wanted to pass it along to you. If you really care about the planet on which you live, think about the following information. It tells you the decomposition rate of different items in landfills.

Paper ………………. 2 to 5 months

Orange peels ………… 6 months

Milk cartons ………… 5 years

Filter-tip cigarettes … 10 to 12 years

Plastic bags ………… 10 to 20 years

Leather shoes ……….. 24 to 40 years

Plastic containers …… 50 to 80 years

Disposable diapers …… 75 years

Tin cans ……………. 100 years

Aluminum cans ……….. 200 to 500 years

Styrofoam …………… Never

Please use environmental-friendly items, and recycle what you can. What we throw away today really does affect the future of our world.

Apr 15
Steps are being made!
icon1 basicallybenita | icon2 News, Work-in-progress | icon4 04 15th, 2009| icon3No Comments »

Each night when I get home from work, I have been spending some time working on my current project.

Monday night, I wound the skeins into balls, measuring each one as they were coming off the swift. The mostly cochineal ball was 777 yards (give or take a few) and the mostly indigo ball is about 714 yards. The wpi for this yarn is 18, so I am opting for a sett of 10 epi on the loom.

Last night I measured about half of the warp and tonight I finished it.

This project is 224 ends in width to be woven with a 10 dent reed for 22.4 inch width on the loom. I had enough warp yarn for a 3.5 yard warp. I am guessing I’ll get about 15% shrinkage once it has been fulled (this is purely a guess here), so I am hoping for a finished piece of fabric of about 18.5″ X 2.5 yards. (I am planning to lash the warp on giving myself the opportunity for as little loom waste as I can possibly get by with.) With any luck, and some careful weaving, I hope to be able to finish this project closer to 20 inch loom waste compared to the nearly 30 inches I usually get with this loom.

And here is how much warp yarn I have left.

This will go into the project book along with samples of each of the singles.

I believe I will be able to make a vest out of this fabric, which is fine with me since vests are my favorite fall and spring layering clothes. Also, I’m thinking this will look great with jeans or my navy Dockers. Really, it’s too bad the rest of the yarn is spun wrong for knitting, because the more I think about it, I’d love some matching socks for this. I will be keeping that in mind for the next experiment for sure!

With this part done, I need to go back to working on Studio B for a few nights. Scott still needs to get the remaining art supplies out of it, and then I can take my energy out on ripping up the rest of the carpet. I’ve been toying with several designs for the repainting of the walls. Whatever it ends up being, I can promise it will be uniquely Benita.

Apr 12
The Next 7 Sundays
icon1 basicallybenita | icon2 News, Support Your Local... | icon4 04 12th, 2009| icon31 Comment »

I have heard my entire life the old-wives tale that if it rains on Easter Sunday, then it will rain the next seven Sundays. Well, I am happy to report that today has been gloriously sunny! So, does that mean seven Sundays of nice weather? Not really, but I’m hoping that not all of them will be rainy.

Friday and Saturday was the annual Fiber Event in Greencastle, Indiana. This used to be known as Fleece Fair, but the management changed, the name changed, but the rason d’etre is still the same – everything about the fiber arts that you can think of – plus a few!

I helped Susan, my LYS owner, the Trading Post for Fiber Arts, on Friday. Together we hauled in two cars full and a trailer full of yarn, books, fiber, spinning wheels, racks, display stands, and what have you. It took us 3 hours from arrival to finish set up. Susan specializes in the most luxurious spinning fibers – camel/silk, camel/merino, merino/silk, yak/silk, cashmere/angora/merino, etc., etc., as well as Schacht and Majacraft spinning wheels, Peace of Yarn fiber, Paca-Paints yarn, Three-Bags Full roving, Crosspatch Creations batts, as well as many more wonderful and luscious things with which to touch and play. Doesn’t this look like a fun place to shop?

Yesterday, I managed to find the time to finish the skein of indigo/cochineal yarn and here are the two skeins together – each one the negative of the other.

It’s interesting to note that the mostly indigo skein looks to be about 2/3 cochineal when it is really only 1/4 cochineal. The red really stands out. Next thing is to weigh the mostly indigo yarn (I’m betting it is about the same as the mostly cochineal), then measure the yardage of each when I wind them onto cones. With any luck, next week I’ll find time to measure the warp and get the 22″ Harrisville loom ready for weaving. I am very anxious to see what the resulting fabric will look like.

Here is what I have left of the indigo and cochineal singles. I’ll get these plied together in the near future, but I am still undecided what to do with the resulting yarn. If you take into account that the middle of the red ball is gone, I believe there is nearly the same amount of each color left. We’ll see.

While the mostly indigo skein was soaking last night, I began spinning some alpaca roving I purchased from Frontier Fiber Mill. This has a white, tan and black striped blend of alpaca that is incredibly soft. I purchased a 5 ounce batch and a 4.6 ounce batch that I’ll spin separately, the ply together.

As you can see, it is spinning up very nicely, and will be about dk weight when it is done, I think.

I had intended to work on Studio B yesterday, but I didn’t. After spending the majority of the day, Friday, standing on a concrete floor while weighing fibers and helping customers, I was “knackered” and decided to give my feet a break. Otherwise, the spinning that I finished wouldn’t have been done. So, this next week, of the evenings, I’ll get the old carpet and pad up and the walls taped off for the painting I intend to do next weekend.

Oh, yes! If the weather cooperates (i.e. it’s not freeze-your-bum-off-cold), I’ll be at Conner Prairie participating in Sheep-to-Blanket next Saturday from 10 until 4. I’ll have my spinning wheel, my madder gradation shawl, the giant sock of many colors, and will be helping with the waulking of the freshly woven wool cloth from the loom house. Stop by, bring the kids to watch the sheep shearing and pet the baby animals, ask lots of questions and enjoy the hands-on experience of from where part of your clothes come and how it is made.

Apr 9
Hello? Hello?
icon1 basicallybenita | icon2 News | icon4 04 9th, 2009| icon3No Comments »

Just in case you are wondering if I have fallen off the face of the earth or not, don’t worry. I have managed to find time to respin the second (and last) of the cochineal/indigo variegated singles, but not more.

What I have been doing, though, is the next step on the 2009 clean-up and clean-out project.

Saturday, we took everything out (well, nearly – Scott still have some of his painting supplies in there that need to be removed), and I began ripping up the carpet. We worked so hard Saturday, that I am just now feeling rested from it.

This Saturday will see the rest of the carpet and pad removed, as well as the woodwork. I had wanted to replace the doors as well during this renovation, but that will have to wait until another time. Bettie Blueflame, my PT Cruiser, ended up with $2500 worth of work needing to be done (for a car with 140,000 miles, this is the first major work she’s had), and that killed the remaining of the budget for the renovation work.

Still, paint is cheap, and I will tape off the areas to be painted Saturday night, and put the first coat on before heading to my MIL for Easter dinner. Then, when we get home, I plan to put on the second (and, with luck, final) coat of paint. I want to give the paint a few days to cure before removing the paint. You’ll see why later.

I will be working at the Fiber Event in Greencastle, Indiana, tomorrow, at the Trading Post for Fiber Arts booth in the main building. Stop by and say hi!

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