Jun 30

Oooo!  Look at that!  I wonder what is in there?  Hint: It’s from Zeilinger’s Woolen Mill and part of it is the July Fiber Binder Club selection (yes, we were beginning to sweat here wondering if it would arrive in time or if we were going to have to go with something else).  If you want to see a sneak preview, go to Dyed in the Wool.

Also, in this huge box are three other fleeces processed into combed top and they are heavenly!!!  One will be a future Fiber Binder Club selection and the other two are all ours!  Okay, we might be willing to share some of it with you, we’ll see.

Jun 29
Happy Shirts!
icon1 basicallybenita | icon2 News, Support Your Local... | icon4 06 29th, 2011| icon31 Comment »

Go and check out the newest photos on Dyed in the Wool!  We have a photo of the llama club wearing the shirts from the workshop a couple of weeks ago.  Also, there is a portrait of a family who ordered matching, custom-dyed shirts from us just for this event.  Don’t they look great?

Jun 28

The last part of our time at the Indiana Fiddler’s Gathering was spent watching a large group of people learning how to square dance.  And when I say a large group of people, I mean there had to  be at least 50 couples out there do-si-doing and swinging their partners.  If God had granted me coordination and an ability to tell my lefts from my rights, I might have been tempted to join, but I contented myself with wandering around the outside of them getting pictures.  Below is a very small sampling of what I took.  As you can tell, everyone was having the best time dancing.

There were folks of every age group involved and lots of laughter as people mis-stepped or turned the wrong way.  But, all-in-all, they caught on pretty quickly.

I dearly hope and pray that we get to go next year.

Also, this is a reminder that the Addi T-shirt has not been claimed yet.  If you wear a size large and love Addi knitting needles, let me know and I will mail it to you.

Jun 27

Saturday, Scott and I took off and headed to Battleground, Indiana, to attend the 39th Annual Indiana Fiddler’s Gathering.  We had been there before, but it had been a few years due to conflicts of schedule and too hot temperatures to be comfortable for us to go.  This year, though, God gave us absolutely perfect weather and off we went for the day.

One of the things I love most about this gathering is the wide-spread in the age group who attends and enjoys the show.  There were people there who were old and feeble enough to be in wheelchairs, and there were little-bitty children dancing to the wonderful music.

A first for me was seeing a group on stage where the lead singer was a puppet.  They were pretty good, too!

And the crowd was really good for the afternoon’s performances.  The group on stage is Le Vent Du Nord out of Quebec, and let me tell you, that band was awesome.  In fact, we ended up getting two of their CD’s.  One of them is going to get put onto my Sansa so I can listen to it while I work out.  If you check out their website, please notice that one of the instruments played is a hurdy-gurdy.

One of the backers of this festival is the local quilting guild.  I remember a few years ago when they had filled the chapel near the stage with quilts that made my jaw drop.  The quilt they are quilting here is a hand-pieced Grandmother’s Flower Garden.

And I purchased three raffle tickets to try to win this Bow Tie quilt – also hand pieced and quilted.  I didn’t win, but that’s okay.  My $3 will help support next year’s gathering.

There are artisans from all over there with their wares, and I bought this handy diz made of cocobola wood.   With four different size holes, this will help make a wide range of combed top for spinning.  I’m going to get some tung oil and make it all pretty and shiny.

I took my spinning wheel for the day, and got in about 5 hours of spinning.  The two girls next to me and their two younger brothers were absolutely fascinated with the wheel and what I was doing.  In fact, most of the afternoon was spent with them sitting and standing and watching me, asking questions, and helping me pick out the next color to spin as I was working on a random color yarn out of merino.  I had been spinning on alpaca earlier and they just loved the softness of it, but I could tell they really loved the colorful wool once I brought it out.  They were a joy to be with and so cute!

Good news, though, I have the alpaca spun and am ready to begin the tussah silk to be plied with it.  I’ll get this merino done first before I head on to the silk.  The colors I have picked out will match the tie-dye bag I carry as a purse.  It’ll be fun to make something to match it.  I may just knit it up into a big bag and felt it.  I have about a pound and a quarter to spin up.

After the last afternoon show was over at 5:00, Scott and I walked around and caught some shots of one of the reasons most people come here and spend three days camping.

Around every corner came music and tucked here and there were little impromptu music groups playing together.

Most of what you heard was either old-time, bluegrass or old gospel songs, and as I grew up in a family that played these types of music for every family gathering imaginable, you can see why I enjoyed them all so much.

Sometimes there were only a few people playing together,…

… sometimes a whole big group of them (and yes, that 5-string banjo player in the center is a girl of about 10 years of age and she was good, too!)…

…And sometimes there’d be just one, lost in a world of music.  This young lady was playing Eleanor Rigby.

And then there was the square dancing!  But that will have to wait for the next post.  I still have to get all the pictures together for that.  What fun it all was!

It was very hard to come home when we did, but Scott still had work to do, and it was time to go.  God was so good to us all day and we enjoyed ourselves very much.

Jun 26

I have spent the majority of today going through my wardrobe and purging it of items I can no longer wear.  Most of the things are either going to a friend who can wear them, or to Goodwill, but there are two items that need to go to someone who will appreciate them.

Back in 1998, Schacht produced a T-shirt with a wonderful image of a lady weaving on it.  I fell in love with the shirt and bought it, even though it was too big for me at the time.  I wore it all of three times before I sadly realized it was just too big.  So I am going to give this shirt away to someone who loves weaving and can wear a size XXL.

Here is a close-up of the image on the shirt:

And here is a picture of the shirt itself:

If you wear an XXL and want this shirt, please let me know in the comments.  I will mail it to you and even pay the postage.  I just want to see it go into the hands of someone who weaves and will love this shirt.  Update:  This shirt has been claimed.

The second thing I want to give away is a shirt I was given by Karin Skacel, herself, at Stitches Midwest in 2009.  I have never worn this shirt.  Why?  I could never bring myself to write on it knowing that I would not be able to wear it long.  I knew I would lose enough weight to make this shirt too big for me, and that day has come.  This shirt was never for sale and could only be gotten by being given it by Skacel either through a contest or drawing, or if you were lucky enough to be given it just because.

Here is the front of the shirt:

See, there is a place to put your name on the front.

And a place on the back to put a name to your “Addiction.”  I could have marked the Natura needles, but, again, I just could not write on it.  This is such a cool shirt, and it really needs to be in the hands of someone who loves Addi and wears a size large.  Again, if you want this shirt, let me know in the comments and I’ll mail it to you.

The first people to claim each of these shirts will get it.  This is no contest or drawing, just a give away.

These shirts will go to the post office on July 5th, when the July Fiber Binder Club packages go.

Thanks for helping me clean out my closet.

Jun 24

Remember, the Philosopher’s Wool sweater I mentioned earlier?  I have it started and, even though my only knitting time on it so far has been lunch hours, I’m pleased with the progress so far. 

What you see here are the cuffs and cuff lining for the sleeves.  The colors in this picture are pretty true to the real thing.  I’d have more done on them except that the smallest circular needles I had were 16″, and that’s a tad too long, still, for these, even after increasing 24 stitches in the first row of the sleeve above the cuff.  I called Sandy last night, to see if she either had a shorter cable needle in size 8 or a set of size 8 double points.  She’s going to bring in her set of Knit Picks’ interchangeable needles for me to use.  She’s pretty sure there’s a shorter cable in there.  Don’t you just love your fiber friends?  Now keep your fingers crossed that what she has will work.  If not, it’s a trip to JoAnn’s for me.

Here is what the cuff will look like with the lining tucked up into place.  I think this is going to be a very lovely sweater once it is done.  I’m hoping that I get a chance to work on it a bit this weekend, but that all depends on what else is planned.

We are finally supposed to get a day with no chance of rain tomorrow, and the highs are to be only in the upper 70’s.  Considering we are to be in the 90’s again next week, and it has been off and on stormy all week, a clear and sunny day will be welcomed, indeed.

Jun 22
And Then There Were Two
icon1 basicallybenita | icon2 Diet and Fitness | icon4 06 22nd, 2011| icon34 Comments »

This week’s Wednesday Weigh-in is very important.  This week, Scott joined me at the gym.

Back, many, many years ago, Scott’s dad (of whom the less said the better) took Scott to one of those macho, all male types of gyms, worked Scott so hard that he got sick, and made it so Scott could hardly move the next day due to sore muscles.  No wonder the poor guy was terrified of joining another gym.  With that as his only experience, who could blame him?

Well, he finally agreed to join the gym a couple of weeks ago, but then he had a major deadline to beat on a project and he spent the past two weeks working 18+ hour days to get it done in time.  It wasn’t until this past Monday that he was able to go with me.

Being obese is not easy.  It makes you very conscious of how you look to others, how you feel, how you move, and everything bad you can think of.  It also makes you afraid to do too much because you are afraid of getting hurt or sick.  So, for an obese person to join a gym, and actually go to it, is a major, life-changing event.  Our local gym is not a place with muscle-bound men show off their strength to other muscle-bound men (why do I think of gorillas pounding their chests?).  It is a place where people work hard to get healthy and fit.  From the first moment I walked in, I felt nothing but support and encouragement.

Scott was afraid of being sore and getting sick.  He is very heat-sensitive and passes out when he gets overheated, and, yes, that would be embarrassing.  So, we started off slowly.  He tried 6 different upper body weight machines, and 7 lower body weight machines, and I think he really enjoyed them.  We started him off with not much weight on them and pushing himself only until he couldn’t do another rep.  Then he went to a recumbent bike and rode on it for 15 minutes.  His total time at the gym was about 45 minutes, and about 15 minutes of that was being shown how a machine works, so 30 minutes of actual working out.

I am so very proud of him and he is proud of himself.  He now feels a bit more comfortable with the idea of working out in plain view of other people working out.  In fact, while he was doing leg presses, he was facing the area with the free weights, and his only comment was that he wished he had a sketch book.  That’s my hubby!

So, now I have a gym partner.  We’ll be doing different things from one another, and there is no competition involved, but we will be there at the same time, and getting fit together.  We can build up our strength, support each other, and be together in this.  Here’s to the beginning of the rest of our long, healthy lives together.

Jun 20

This past weekend was extremely busy.  Let’s start with Saturday.

I got up at 5 in the morning to load the car and prepare all the different solutions, like the dye solution and the soda ash solutions.  These need to be made with hot or warm water, and where we were going to be teaching the class had access to cold water only.  Also, there were 46 shirts to be washed and partially spun out so they would stay wet for the entire day.  The class started at 10:00, so I met Sandy at the location at 9:00 to start the setting up process.  Eran, the 4-H llama group leader, had the tables already set up and the three of us got the car unloaded and everything ready to go.  Poor Eran was not able to stay for the class, though, because she had a wedding to go to.  I think she was more than a bit bummed by this because she was looking forward to dyeing her own shirt.

By 10:30, most of the students had arrived, so we got started.  The first thing to do was to label and pass out the shirts to the students there.  Sandy marked the labels with a letter code so that the students could be sure of getting their own shorts back once they were washed out and the logos screen-printed into the front.  Eran had provided a list of the members, with the shirt sizes next to their names, which helped a lot, and we quickly got a system worked out. 

Not all of those getting shirts were able to attend the class, so each of the students there got to dye at least two shirts, dyeing those for the ones not there.  These shirts are their uniforms for this year’s fair and llama show season.  Also, several of the adults wanted shirts dyed, too, which was fun to get the adults involved with the kids.

Once we got the first round of shirts passed out, I showed everyone example shirts of the four patterns we were going to be teaching so they could make their shirts as they wanted.  The choices were: Double pinwheel, single pinwheel, V fold and scrunch.  As you will be able to tell from the pictures below, the double pinwheel was the most popular choice.

I taught them an example of each pattern fold, and then let them have at it. 

Once each shirt was folded and tied, I had them put the shirts into one of the trays so I could get them soaking in the soda ash solution.  Sandy kept busy going around and helping students with folding questions.

Once they got both rounds of shirts folded, tied and into the soaking box, the first batch was ready to dye. 

Sandy and I set up the trays with the grills on them, and then mixed the actual dyed to be used.  By request, we mixed: lemon yellow, turquoise, cobalt blue, bright green, Kelly green, forest green, bright orange, red, fuchsia, and purple.  A couple of people went through our box of already dyed bags, shirts and socks, and held up a bag saying they wanted to dye their shirt the same colors as in the bag, so I told them what colors to use. 

I was really surprised at how much the kids enjoyed shaking up the dye bottles to dissolve the dye powder.  They loved it!  Which was great for Sandy and I because we would have had very tired arms had we had to do them all ourselves.

We showed them how to dye each type of fold, and then watched them go to town with the colors. 

It was barely organized chaos, but everyone, from the adults down to the youngest members had a blast! 

When they were done with the first round, and the shirts were in the storage trays, we rinsed off the grills and they went to town on the second round.  Once we had all the dyed shirts stored, everyone pitched in and helped clean up everything.  I have to say a special thanks to Mike Hoopengardner for getting everyone organized for the cleanup and for taking all the photos (and then some) that you see here.  He took some great “step-by-step” shots that I want to put together into little movies to show you later.

At 3:30, everything was cleaned and loaded and it was time to leave.  Sandy and I were pretty hungry by this time, because there was absolutely no pause in the activity from 10:30 until then.  So we stopped at Wendy’s to get something to eat, and we didn’t care if we walked in with clothes covered in dye splotches.  We did get some funny looks, but we really could not have cared less. 

When I got home, I washed our dye clothes (Sandy had changed at Wendy’s), took a shower, some Advil and relaxed for the rest of the night.  Scott had a comic book show that day in Ft. Wayne, which is an hour and a half north of us, so I had the house to myself for the first time in months.  It was nice!!  I found three Poirot DVDs that I had not watched before and watched two of them before Scott got home. 

Yesterday (Sunday), after going out for groceries, I began the task of washing the shirts.  There were 6 loads of dyed shirts (I did them by colors and amount of dyes on them) that had to be washed twice (the first time with hot water, agitated slightly and spun out, the second time with hot water and synthropol), dried, then washed again in cold water with vinegar and dried again. 

After the six original loads, I was able to do the vinegar in two loads, lighter shirts and darker shirts.  Once they were all washed and dried, I folded and organized them, checking off each shirt on the list to make sure all were marked correctly and were accounted for.  I have to give Sandy the highest kudos as she did the majority of the marking and passing out of the shirts, while I showed people the samples and talked about patterns and colors.

I delivered the finished shirts at 9:30 last night – after 9 hours of untying, washing and drying.  Eran is taking them to the screen printer today to have their llama club logo put onto them.  She is hoping to have them done in time for them to be worn at next weekend’s llama show.  She said she would get group shots of all the kids in their shirts.

Also, Eran said she had been reading Facebook entries about the day, since she had had to miss out on all the fun, and she said everyone talked about how much fun they had.  I do know that people asked where they could get supplies, and I told them about United Art and Education in Indianapolis, if they wanted to do a small number of shirts, and Dharma Trading Co if they wanted to do a lot of them.  I have the feeling UA&E is going to have a run this week on tie-dye kits and supplies. 

Now, here are some thumbnails of a few of the shirts that they dyed this weekend.  You can click on any of them to biggify them to see them better.  There are some really cool shirts in here.  I did not include them all, but a good sampling of them.

Jun 17

Another horribly busy week is about done.  Sandy and I are teaching a tie-dye class to a 4-H group tomorrow, so that pretty much takes care of my weekend.  I’ll have 46 shirts to wash out Sunday and deliver to the 4-H leader so she can have their logo screeen-printed on them.  Whew!

The weather the past couple of weeks has been delightful, although we are supposed to start seeing higher temps and humidity starting this weekend.

Jun 15

Well, I have really loved going to the gym.  I love working out with the different pieces of equipment and feeling my muscles work.  It makes me feel stronger, even after I am done and feeling a bit shaky from it all. 

But.  Yes, there is a “but” in all of this.  I hate the music the gym plays.  Really, it is the stuff teenaged boys loved in the 1980’s, and I was not a teenaged boy then, so I didn’t even like it in the 1980’s when it first came out.  In fact, the entire time I’ve been going, I’ve heard only one song I like and that was Queen’s “Crazy Little Thing Called Love.” 

I can tune the music out while working on the weight machines because I am concentrating really hard on counting and making the movements count.  When you are doing a long set of Back Extensions, you don’t want to lose your spot and have to begin again, nor do you want to push it too hard and end up with a twitchy back the next day.

But, when that part of the work out is done and it’s time to hit a cardio machine, then my brain gets bored and starts hearing the music coming from the speakers.  Sorry, folks, I know I was in my late teens and early 20’s during the 80’s, but I really don’t like Bon Jovi or Guns ‘n Roses or AC/DC or any of that stuff.  My music tastes really came into being with the Altnerative Music scene of the 1990’s, although I love bluesmen like BB King and Buddy Guy, and I love U2, Trans-Siberian Orchestra, John Fogerty, Loreena McKennitt, REM and Eric Clapton.  But I also love bluegress, Yanni, Celtic, and some soundtracks like The Prince of Egypt.

So, I did myself a favor.  I bought a little MP3 player.

This one, to be specific.  It’s an early birthday gift to myself.  Notice it’s purple?  Yesssss!!!!!!!!!! And it’s only about 2″ tall by 1-1/4″ wide and it has a clip to attach it to the neck of my shirt so I don’t lose it.  And, did I mention, it is purple?

Scott has helped me download quite a bit of music to it (he has had one for a couple of years now, so already knew how to work it), and I plan to download some podcasts as well.  This has been a blessing while I’m huffing and puffing my way through the cardio part of my workout.  God bless it’s wee purple skin.

Roxie suggested I measure myself, so I did this past weekend.  I have it loaded into a spreadsheet, which I will update monthly, although I’ll wait until August 1st to do it again, then the 1st of each month thereafter. 

So, there you have it.  I am set and ready to go.  I can’t wait for tonight’s workout.

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