Apr 29

Well, I did it!  What did I do?

Here’s a hint

This is what my hair looked like prior to 5:15 yesterday evening.  This was taken last week, when I was wearing something black so my hair would show up best.

And here is what my hair looked like at 6:00 last night.

And here is my harvest. They weigh 2.2 ounces total.  I really thought they’d weigh more than that.  Having that long hair was hot and it felt heavy while on my head.

These braids are being donated to Locks of Love and are boxed up and ready for the PO.

What do you think? 

I really like it.  I will let it grow out to about shoulder length beginning next fall, but I think I may keep it short like this over the summer.  It will be much cooler and easier to take care of while I have the chance to work outside.

Apr 28

Sorry I’ve been so quiet this past week.  I’ve been busy and there has been nothing happening that is interesting enough to share.

I did finish Scott’s mittens, though, which is one more thing off my project list.  I still have two more items to finish, but I’ve been thinking about a sweater I want to start and need to get the preliminary swatching and design-work out of the way.  But I have a quandary about it. 

As you know, I am losing weight.  Nothing from last winter is going to go forward into this next one due to my changing sizes.  If I were to stay the size I am now, I’d say knit a loose-ish medium, but I don’t intend to stay the same size.  I intend to lose at least 15, if not 20, more pounds by the time it is cold enough to pull out the woolies again.  This would make me either square in the mediums, or, maybe, even into the small size range.  If I knit something for next winter, what size do I knit it?  This is going to be a simple, stockingnet with ribbing bottom and cuffs sweater, but if I do all the work on this, I want to be able to wear it for a few years.

As it is, I am not going to be able to wear the naturally dyed sweater vests I have already knitted.  I’ll keep them as examples for the natural dye workshops and lectures I give, but I am rather sad that I’ll not be able to wear them anymore – unless I purposefully try to shrink them, which would be chancy.

So, I am coming to all of you out there because I value your opinions.  What size should I design my new sweater?

Apr 20

Now this is getting frustrating.  For the 4th week in a row, I weigh 157.4.  I have upped my workouts this week, and am being extra diligent with the ol’ eating plan, so we’ll see.

One thing I am considering though, is trying a week of vegetarian meals just to see how it goes.  I don’t eat that much meat, now, so doing this won’t represent much of a hardship.  And I might learn something, who knows.

Apr 18

I know this past weekend at The Fiber Event in Greencastle, Indiana, isn’t the first fiber fair of the season, but it is for me. 

Sandy and I drove down to The Fiber Event on Saturday, the second and final day of the fair.  Our main goal was to look at fleeces, buy fleeces and talk to breeders about looking at and buying fleeces.  We had a lot of fun and came home with a beautiful alpaca fleece (Sandy bought this for herself) and a stunningly beautiful Coopworth fleece for the Fiber Binder Club.  My, oh, my…  I cannot wait to get this fleece washed up and ready to send out to the members of the club. 

I apologize for not having any pictures of the fair.  I took my camera, but absolutely forgot to take it out.  I can be such a dunce at times.

Let’s just suffice it to say that Sandy and I met some wonderful people, caught up with old friends, and touched our way through three hours of fibery goodness. 

Once we left there, we drove to Bloomington, Indiana, to visit Oliver Winery (where Sandy got a slight buzz from taste-testing wines) and Worm’s Way.  And from there, we drove on to Sheep Street in Morgantown, Indiana, to visit that wonderful shop.  All said and done, just under 250 miles were added to my PT Cruiser.  It rained off and on, the wind was being malicious, but it was so much fun.

And, in two weeks, depending on the weather, we’ll either be attending a shearing of Shetland and Fresian sheep in southern Indiana, or attending the shearing of suri alpaca in north central Indiana.  If it is nice, the sheep, and if it rains, the suri alpacas.  Either way, it promises to be a very fun day.

Sandy and I have been accused of starting the Fiber Binder Club just so we can travel around and buy up the nicest fleeces.  I’m not going to say yes, but I’m not going to deny that this has been a very good side effect of running this fiber club.  Fiber animal owners and breeders are fascinating people, love what they do and are more than ready to impart information on their animals.  The education Sandy and I have received has gone so much deeper than just the wool, fur and hair that will be sent out for the club members.  It’s a whole way of life that we are leaning about, and, you know, we are enjoying every minute of it.

Apr 15

The weather has been lovely here all week and we are seeing more and more color because of it.

It was very hard to go back into the building after lunch.

Apr 14

With the NCAA Final Four approaching, Sharon and I decided we’d make a friendly bet on the game between VCU and Butler.  Since Butler is here in Indianapolis, I took them and Sharon backed VCU.  The loser had to send to the winner 4 ounces of either fiber or yarn from their stash.

Well, Butler won that game and you should see what Sharon sent me!

These are from two of her Shetlands.  Meet Mickey Mouth and Oliver Twist.  Mickey earned his name because he is a talker and Oliver because of his twisted horns.  Mickey is a reserve grand champion winner from the “now defunct” Navada State Fair and Oliver is a ribbon winner in his own right.  They feel incredible!

As per Sharon’s suggestion, I’ll spin them and ply them together.  Then comes the fun part – do I dunk them into dye pots for stripes or knit them as is?  I’m thinking these will make great gloves for me next winter.  My new coat that I will weave the fabric for will be medium gray with blue, pink and purple stripes in it, all done with natural dyes.  Getting the stripes in the gloves to match the colors in the coat wouldn’t be hard.  Hmmm…  The more I think of this idea, the better I like it.

Something tells me that alpaca that I have been spinning is about to hit the back burner once again.  I think I have some Shetland to spin up first.

Apr 13

Hello, my name is Benita Story, and I have a sweet tooth.

My love for something sweet has gotten me into trouble time and time again, but I have finally found a way to make it work for me.  Two words – Frozen Fruit.

For some reason, unsweetened frozen fruit tastes sweeter than does its unfrozen counterpart.  Frozen grapes, dark cherries, blueberries, strawberries, peach slices, and pineapple chunks are my go-to snacks, with dark cherries and grapes topping the list.  Also, due to their rather solid nature, it takes longer to eat each piece, therefore allowing your tummy to tell your brain that it is no longer hungry before you’d eat as many usual.

Let’s take frozen cherries as an example.  One whole, 12 ounce bag (2 servings) is only 130 calories (at least the ones I buy are), but it has 25% of your RDA of Vitamin A per serving and no fat.  I tend to make 3 servings out of each bag, so I get a great, sweet snack that costs me only 40 calories.  This equals about 1.6 pieces of Hershey’s kisses and they are 60% fat.  So, which would you rather have – 1.6 Hershey’s kisses or about a dozen and a half of frozen cherries?  Give me the cherries!!!

Can you stand one more progress picture of me as I lose weight? 

Back when I was gaining all the weight and was cleaning out my closet of all the clothes I could no longer wear, I came to a turtleneck sweater that I had worn about every week from November through last spring for several years.  To say I loved that sweater would be like saying volcanoes suffer from mild indigestion.  I could not give it up.  So, I put it back on the shelf and there it has remained for the past 13 or 14 years. 

Last Friday morning, I was staring at the clothes in my closet.  It wasn’t warm enough for a T-shirt, but I was so sick of my winter clothes, that I didn’t just grab the first thing I saw as per usual.  Then I saw, on the bottom of a stack of turtlenecks, that old purple and gray striped one from long ago.  Wondering if it would fit me now, I pulled it out, unfolded it and held it up.  Then I tried it on and went to my mirror for a look-see. 

As you can tell by the photo above (this was taken in my office’s restroom), the sweater fit me just fine.  I think I weighed about 10 pounds lighter than I am right now the last time I wore it, but when I was gaining the weight, I was a lot less toned than I am as I’m going back down.  In fact, when I had gained into the 140’s all those years ago, I was wearing 14’s and now I am wearing 12’s.

I think the reason I am plateaued at this moment is the fact that I am gaining muscle as well as burning fat, and since muscle weighs more than fat, I’m making a healthy body trade while the weight is staying balanced.  That’s okay with me for now.  I’ll figure out how to get the weight to continue its downward path soon.

Apr 11

Yesterday morning, I invited Scott to walk around the 3-mile block with me.  It was raining Saturday morning, so no walk then, but Sunday dawned bright and beautiful.

I was a bit concerned about Scott going with me because he isn’t used to walking like I am, but he was sure he could do it, so off we went.  We took our cameras, mostly taking pictures of “textures” for his library, but I did get a couple of photos along the way of things that I found inspiring.

There are several small streams that we passed over on the walk, but this one really made me stop for a second look.  It’s dry in the summer, but this time of year, with all the rain we have had, it was alive and singing.  The birds answered the song and the trees swayed to the music around them and it was a place of magic.  I could have stood there for hours just taking it all in.

On the back side of our block is a small, old cemetery that is well maintained by our township.  Scott wanted to get pictures of the lichen on the tombstones, so I walked to the back fence line and saw this.

Through the small copse of trees was this verdant valley with more trees and more open space beyond.  Wouldn’t this be a lovely place to have a small home?  I could wake up to that view every morning and never tire of it.  Taking the Year of Seasons pictures has really taught be that even when things look the same, they are always changing and there is continually new things to see.

By the time our walk was done, we basically completed a 5K.  I am so proud of Scott for making it all the way around with me and proving to himself that walking three miles won’t kill him.  This is a huge step for him.  I don’t think he has made this walk with me in over 15 years, when he was a much thinner and younger lad of about 30.

I hope your weekend was good to you, and here’s to a great week!  The last full week of tax season – that’s gotta be good, right?

Apr 8


Do you see the green in some of the trees?

Just in case you can’t…

…here’s a closer look.

I was happy dancing all over that gravel road.  Even though we are having rain here and there, spring feels like it is (finally!) here to stay.  Temps yesterday were in the upper 60’s, and it should be nearly 80 on Sunday.  We are supposed to have isolated thunderstorms all weekend, but I certainly hope they isolate them somewhere other that at my place.  I want to clean up the yard from all the fallen limbs and mow the grass for the first time this year.  It needs it and I am really looking forward to it.

What does spring look like at your place?

Apr 6

Well the first quarter of 2011 is over with and where do we stand?

Benita in January at 168 pounds.

Benita in March at 157 pounds.

Can you see a difference?

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