Oct 31
I’m Home!
icon1 basicallybenita | icon2 A Little of This, A Little of That | icon4 10 31st, 2010| icon32 Comments »

SOAR was awesome.  I am completely tuckered out.  I’ll tell you about it tomorrow – with pictures.

Oct 26

Tonight is my last night to finalize and pack all I want to take to SOAR.  Obviously, the spinning wheel HAS to go.  I mean – this is Spin Off Autumn Retreat we are talking about here, and to not show up with some sort of spinning apparatus probably would get me black-balled and banned from the Spin-In or something.  I’m taking the New Denim roving I bought in Wisconsin in September – and yes, it is not lost on me that I bought roving in Wisconsin, and brought it home to Indiana just to take it back to Wisconsin to spin.

And then there are clothes, small fan (I sleep very hot), pillow, knitting (yes, the indigo feater and fan vest), journal book, camera and all that stuff.  My goal is to fit everything except the spinning wheel and accessories into one large roll-on case.  I think I’m going to make it.

We had some very severe storms roll through Indiana this morning bringing hail, 60-70 mph winds, between half and inch and a full inch of rain, which we sorely needed, and a couple of funnel clouds were seen south of Indianapolis.  It could have been much worse and we are very grateful that we got through it all so well.  Addition:  The weather service said that the barometric pressure system that came through here yesterday was equivalent to a Category 3 hurricane and that if this had been over water where the winds get whipped up faster, it would have been a major hurricane.  There was a wind gust measured at 80 mph in Greenfield, Indiana, which is about 20 miles from my place.  No damage at our place, so we were very lucky, indeed.

I won’t be back here until Monday, so enjoy the rest of your week and weekend, and if you are going to SOAR, I’d love to meet you.  And yes, I’ll take lots and lots of pictures.

Oct 25

Normally, Mondays are good days for me.  I usually need the rest from my weekend, I have lots to keep me busy at work, and I get to catch up with all my co-workers.

Today, though, was an extra good day.  The UPS man delivered two boxes this morning to my office.  One was my husband’s new Wacom tablet because his old one isn’t compatible with his new computer.  The second box was for Sandy and me.  What was in it?

A Patrick Green Big Batt Carder!!!  Part of my tax return went to pay for my half of this baby.  Where Sandy has been a bit jealous that I’m going to SOAR this week, we both agreed we are even because she got to take the drum carder home and be the first one to play with it.  It was very hard for me to carry it out to her car.  She was already teasing me with what she is planning to do with it while I’m in Wisconsin.

Let’s see, what else great happened today?  Sandy was this week’s winner of two tickets to the Dave Letterman Show in New York.  I’m sure the building next to us could hear her squeal when she found out.  She and her 86-year-old mother are going to go and see Dave Letterman live.  Okay, even though I don’t watch TV, I have to admit that is a cool thing to have happen to her.  She and her mom are both huge fans of Letterman and she has been dreaming of this for several years now.  The only thing that would have been greater for Sandy would be if someone were to give her two tickets to the 2012 Superbowl here in Indianapolis.  Sorry, Dave, but that just might be more exciting that seeing your show live – although it would be close.

Let’s see, is that all?  Nope, we got our October fiber from Spunky Eclectic and it is Targhee, a fiber I love to spin.

What a wonderful way to start this week.  And tomorrow night, I’ll pack up everything and get my bags and spinning wheel into my car because on Wednesday at 1 PM, three friends and I leave for SOAR!

Oct 22

I’ve added a new page under my Gallery section on the side bar to where I am adding each weekly picture showing a full year of seaon changes at the cemetery down the road from my office.  Each week, I’ll add a new picture to this gallery so you can keep an eye on what it looks like around here as the year progresses.  At the end of the year, I’ll link all the pictures together into a progressional video. 

My challenge to you?  Do the same!  Choose one place that you like and start taking a picture of it at least once a week.  Show your picture each week on your blog, but also have a place where people can go to see all of them so far.  If at the end of the year you do not know how to link them into a video, I can help with that using Photoshop.  CS5 makes it rather easy.

Here’s my picture for this week.

So, who’s gonna join me?

Oct 21

It has been so busy around here lately on so many different fronts, that it’s hard to keep track of where I am and where I’m going.

I don’t think I’ve shown you my latest sock knitting project.

Real snoozers, aren’t they?  I need more socks for wearing with dress pants to work, so these are for that.  I allow myself a fun pair of socks in wild colors every other pair and then I have to do a more sedate pair to even things up.  These are the sedate pair.  These are so boring to knit, that I decided to go back and forth between the two socks with each section so that when I’m done with the first sock, all I’ll lack with the second sock is the toe.

Remember when Sandy and I spent a day dyeing shirts for my LYS?  On that day we also dyed some cotton draw-string bags that double as light back-packs. 

Here’s how mine turned out and it is now my sock knitting bag.  These were fun to do and we will be dyeing up a bunch for the store soon.

Here is the bag closed and do you see how the drawstrings attach to the bottom corners of the bag?  Well that’s how you can wear it as a back pack.  Cool, huh?

After I got Sandy’s Tunis fleece all washed, she is now flicking open each lock in preparation for spinning.  This fiber is incredibly soft and fluffy and I can hardly wait to see how it spins up.

I wanted to remind those of you who are spinners of The Fiber Binder Club that Sandy and I are starting.  This is a limited member club and I wanted to give you guys the chance to be involved before I advertise it on Ravelry.  If you have any questions, please email me at basicallybenita at yahoo dot com.

Oct 20

Autumn has hit here, finally, and the last three weeks we’ve gone from green, to hints of color, to full color to browns.


Remember, this picture I took on October 1st at the little cemetery down the road from where I work?  See how lush and green everything was?

This was exactly one week later and as you can see there are definitely some hints of what is coming.


And then last Friday!  What a huge difference a couple of weeks can make! 

It is my goal that once a week, I hope on Fridays, that I take a picture of this view and at the end of a one-year cycle, hook them all together into a seasonal progression video.  I think it would be very interesting to see how this one particular spot changes with the seasons for one full year, from October 1st until the last week in September.

So, what does October look like at your part of the planet?

Oct 18

A week from this Wednesday, three of my friends and I will be driving up to SOAR in Wisconsin.  We’ll stop for the night on the northwest side of Chicago, then finish the trip on Thursday morning.

I have been thinking about what I want to take to do while there.  I know I’ll be taking the spinning wheel, but it’s the knitting I looking at.  It’s several hours up there and back in the car, and for once I am not driving, so I have time to work.  So, Cindy, do you think it’s time to finally finish that indigo Feather and Fan sweater vest?  I think so, too. 

Now, how many of you guys are going to be at SOAR?  I’d love to meet you in person and sit and chat for a bit.  Is there some way we could recognize one another?  I admit I am horrible with faces, so seeing your picture on the web and seeing you in person doesn’t mean I’ll put two and two together. 

I’m not planning to take any classes, but if you are teaching one on any of the days I’m there and need a grunt to help set things up and be a helping hand, I’m available.  I mean, there is only so much shopping my purse will be able to handle, so I have time to be of service to someone.  Being a teacher myself, I know how useful an extra pair of hands can be.  And I take orders very well.

So, hold up your hands if you are going to be at SOAR?

Oct 17

I am not a hoarder in the strictest sense that people think today, but I do tend to keep things that might have a future use, and I will proudly claim to being a scavenger – in fact, I’m a chip off my dad’s shoulder when it comes to scavenging items that may be of use later.  You should see the cabinets in the garage or the counter tops we are using as work bench surfaces for example.  And just wait until we build the new studio building!  I have two brand new windows, mirrors to hang to redirect light, and reinforced glass to use as cabinet doors just waiting for their time.

Yesterday was one of those days when I got to put into use something I’ve had in my attic for about 12 years.  Long ago, we had a day bed, that finally became rickety enough to dismantle.  Rather than throw it all away, I kept the parts I could see as having a future use, although I had no idea what that future use would be.  One part I had kept was the spring frame. 

When Sandy and I discussed building a skirting table, I remembered that daybed spring frame in my attic.  Scott and I brought it down, set it up on the saw horses and…

Voila!  A skirting table for free!  It even has a handy lip to keep the fleeces from falling off the edges as we worked.

So we dumped bag after bag of fleeces onto it and began sorting and skirting and pitching and saving.  How do you like Sandy’s shirt?  When she got out of her car and I saw her shirt, I answered, “Not yet, but we are working on it!”  We both laughed.

We cleaned a sorted from about 10:30 until about 3:30 when we both tuckered out from standing so long.  We got through 4 and a half bags of fleece, and one bag that we just stuffed the fleece back in and are pitching the entire thing.  I swear that sheep must have just wallowed in the poop, because it was the crappiest fleece I have ever seen.  Nothing to save about it.

The hardest part of some of the fleeces (the ones that we are pretty sure are the Cormo ones) to clean was the burrs!  Lots and lots of burrs to carefully pull out.  By the way, do you notice that we are wearing vinyl gloves?  I am pretty allergic to poison ivy and I have no idea what these sheep could have gotten into, so we decided to play it careful.  Besides, well…  We were pulling fleece full of poop off the good parts and who really wants to handle sheep poop with their bare hands?

One of the fleeces looks to be a Corriedale lamb fleece and it has been kept separate from the rest, and we are keeping separate what we are pretty sure are the Corriedale adult fleeces (the picture above is one of those fleeces).  These were rather clean and much easier to sort through.  In fact, today, I began washing the Corriedale fleeces that we cleaned yesterday.  They are so white!

As you can see, we had a lovely day to work.  The sky was clear and blue, there was just enough breeze to cool us while we stood in the sun and worked, and the temps were perfect – in the upper 60’s.

And what a mess we made.  I gathered up all the yukky stuff and dumped it onto the corn field.  There it can fertilize next year’s soybean crop.

We got through about a third of the bags of fleeces we bought a few months ago, and we figure two-three more days are going to be required to get through the rest of it.  In the meantime, I have 5 tubs of sorted and skirted fleeces to wash.  But you, know, I really like taking yellowy, lanolin and dirt filled fleeces and turning them into clean, ready to spin fluffs of wonderfulness.  I cannot wait to dye these and see what pretty things can be made from them.

Today, Scott and I continued working on the garage reorganization.  We moved all the good cabinet bases into place, resorted through the lumber and stored away those that are still good (and took to the burn pile those that aren’t), placed the new counter tops onto the bases and began sorting through the tools.  I love productive weekends like this.

Oct 15

On Wednesday it rained.

We have had no rain, really (a short sprinkle one day) since sometime in July.  It has been scary bad here as far as dust and soil being blown about by the slightest breeze.  Wednesday’s rain was more than welcomed, and what we really need is about three or four days of solid rain.  Everything here is so parched.

This weekend is supposed to be sunny and cooler, and we do have a chance of rain next Tuesday.  Please add this part of the country to your prayer list.  We.  Need.  Rain.

Oct 13

This past Saturday, October 9th, there was a fund-raising walk for juvenile diabetes research.  Scott and I were asked to create the T-shirts for one of the teams and they chose (and provided) black T-shirts for their team.

Scott drew the walking girl on for the shirt, colored her, then turned the rest over to me.  I created the text and prepared everything for the heat-transfer setting onto the T-shirts – both front and back.  Here is how I did it.

Let’s start with the shirt by putting it onto the press, making sure you know where the center is for lining up the image.  I prepress the shirt for a few seconds to make sure the surface was completely smooth.

Then you place the image(s) to be sealed onto the fabric being careful to center it (them) onto the T-shirt.

Place tissue paper over the top so that the image doesn’t adhere to the hot surface of the press…

…and carefully lower the lid of the press and wait for the beeper to go off, which mine does in 10 seconds. 

Then I carefully, while keeping the tissue paper in place over the image, lift the shirt and turn it over onto the press exposing the back of the shirt. 

I repeat the placement procedures with the images for the back of the shirt…

…place the next piece of tissue paper over them,…

…and lower the lid of the press.  After that 10 seconds is up, I lift the lid, let it cool for about 30 seconds, then lower the lid into place once again and repeat this two more times for a total of 40 seconds for the back (which makes it 50 seconds for the front) in order to make sure the image is securely attached to the cloth.

Then I carefully (notice how many times I mention the words carefully?) move the shirt to a flat area to cool.  The shirt and image must be completely cooled off before removing the tissue paper.  If you get impatient, you will have to replace it all back into the heat press, replace the tissue paper over it and reheat it. Ask me how I know about this.

And voila!  It took me an entire evening to heat transfer all the images onto the shirts, but it was so worth it.  The customer was very pleased with them, which made Scott and I very happy.

And since we had the heat press all heated up, I went ahead and made Sandy and I shirts with Scott’s and my newest funny knitting cartoon (you can see me wearing one in the picture of me from Monday).

I put this one on a little too low, but will know better for the next time.  I think I was too tired with I got to these shirts. 

Let me know what you think of the cartoon.

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