Nov 30

Well, Sandy and I are packaging up the Fiber Binder Club shipments for the 12th month of the club.  We have been doing this for a whole year, now, and it gets more fun and exciting each month we do it.  With this, the 12th month, we have something very special in store for the members – Organic, naturally colored cotton from FoxFibre! 

We contacted Sally Fox nearly a year ago telling her about the Fiber Binder Club and what we needed, and she more than helped us.  Members will be getting actual seed bolls, both in the raw sample bag and a few extra to try to spin straight from the boll itself.  On top of that, members will get half an ounce of sliver to spin.  Sally was gracious enough to let us take pictures and information from her website, so the history of colored cotton is longer and more thorough than anything we have sent out yet.

Now, can you see why Sandy and I could hardly wait for month 12 to get here? 

If you aren’t a member, yet, or know of someone who whould love this as a Christmas gift, the cost is either $10 per month or $110 per year in the US.  If you pay for the year in advance, you get the 12th month’s selection for free.  Monthly payment plans are billed through Paypal and are easy to do.  In the UK, the monthly fee is $15 or $165 for the year in advance, giving you the 12th month’s free as well.  For those of you living elsewhere in the world, the price will be calculated based on the cost of shipping the package to your country.  These are the same prices as 2011.  For more information, or to join the Fiber Binder Club, please contact Sandy and I at dyedinthewoolbiz@yahoo.com.

Sandy and I have traveled all over the midwest – and have contacted breeders from all over the US –  looking for and purchasing top quality fleeces (most are award winners) for the club members to study, spin, dye, swatch and from which to learn.  Each month’s package contains a two-sided information sheet printed on card stock for longevity, an unprocessed (raw) sample, a processed (washed and sometimes carded or combed) and enough processed fiber to test out.  And it’s not only sheep fleeces this club contains, but any natural fiber that we can get our hands on.  The Fiber Binder Club is truly a fiber and textile enthusiast’s dream come true.  Reading about and looking at pictures of the fiber is one thing, but having the real stuff in your hands to feel, study and experiment with is another thing altogether.

Also, if you are a fiber animal breeder, we are still looking for more top quality fleeces for future month’s selections.  Please contact Sandy and I at dyedinthewoolbiz@yahoo.com.  For more information on the Fiber Binder Club, please go to Dyed in the Wool’s website.

Nov 29
Shawl pattern update
icon1 basicallybenita | icon2 Work-in-progress | icon4 11 29th, 2011| icon32 Comments »

Sandy and I both have had hickups with the shawls we are working on and writing the pattern for.  I was nearly done with mine when I noticed a couple of major boo-boos and frogged out about 12″ of knitting to fix them.  Since they were in the pattern area, I couldn’t see an easy way to drop down to the errors and fix them.  Slowly I am working my way along the wide rows to get it up to where I was.

Sandy, on the other hand, noticed a major boo-boo only about 3″ back and frogged back to that point.  Of course, hers is the beaded version and, while it might not have been as much knitting ripped out as mine was, hers included carefully taking out  the beads as she went.   That’s a lot of beads.

We are both working diligently trying to get these shawls done so we can show you and get a test knitter to knit it from the pattern – with beads.  We know who we want to ask, but figured that waiting until after Christmas might be a good idea.  Besides, we need to finish ours first just to make sure it is what we want it to be.

And I’m already working on the pattern for a new rectangular shawl/scarf pattern.  This new one will be charted out because of the complexity of the pattern, but if it works like I see it in my mind, it’s going to be interesting and pretty.  Charts are not my favorite ways to read patterns, but there are times that following written instructions would make people rip out their hair, so I’ll chart this one.

And those who knit it will keep their hair.

Nov 28

Well, I met all my goals on Thanksgiving.  It was hard to squeeze in that nap, but I did it.

Whew!

The rest of the weekend was spent kicking some serious house-cleaning butt and I have another huge box of stuff ready to leave the house, as well as four smaller boxes of fabric to be shipped out to various friends who use it.

I am really enjoying getting rid of stuff and getting the house organized.  There is still a long ways to go, but I have three vacation days still to get in during December, and all three days are going to be spent cleaning and marking things off my to-do list.

I never thought I’d enjoy house-cleaning chores.  I must be growing up.  😉

Nov 26

I made it through Thanksgiving and lost .2 pound.  Woohoo!!!!!

Nov 24

I have so many things to be thankful for, and more things show up every day.

My goals for today:

1.  Eat within my caloric limit.
2.  Play with my nieces.
3.  Tease my Kentucky sister-in-law for:
      a.  Being from Kentucky
      b.  That I have always been and still am the favorite daughter-in-law.
4.  Knit
5.  Take a nap
6.  Play with kittens.

Yes, that pretty much covers my plans for the day.

Have a Happy one, folkes!

Nov 23
Pete
icon1 basicallybenita | icon2 A Little of This, A Little of That | icon4 11 23rd, 2011| icon35 Comments »

I find myself calling Pete “Peanut” more often than not, but as he grows he’ll grow out of the nickname, too.  It’s just that he’s so small.

Here is Scott being silly with the little guy on his shoulder.  This gives you a much better look at Pete.  See how he spreads his wee toes?  Isn’t that just too cute?

Right now Pete isn’t feeling very well.  He has caught Dylan’s cold, but a trip to the vet Monday got him some medicine and he’ll soon be back to his rambunctious self.  As it is, he slept on my lap Monday night for about an hour until he felt good enough to go and play with Dylan.

And, poor Dylan.  he kept looking at his little buddy, playing with his mouse or string a bit, then looking back at Pete.  You could tell he was wanting Pete to come and play with him.  And when Pete did join him, Dylan played gently with Pete.  Dylan is turning out to be a very special cat.

Nov 22

A couple of weeks ago, Scott and I ended up at a huge antique mall (I talked about it here) in Edinburgh, Indiana.  We love antique malls, and we always have our eyes peeled for deals on things we can use, or to add to certain collections we have going (Scott collects vintage Tootsie Toy cars, for example).  Me?  I usually look for things I can use in the studio.

And I found something!

A large pair of Wiss scissors, in excellent condition, for $12.50.  To buy a new pair online is about $50 (not counting shipping), so to get these for a quarter of the price made me really happy.  These will be perfect to cut into the handwoven wool fabrics in which to make clothes for me.  I included a pencil in the picture to show you how big these scissors are.  I clutched them to my heart for several aisles until I took them to the desk to be held until Scott and I were ready to leave.

I remember my grandmother having a small pair of Wiss scissors while I was growing up, and I remember how they felt when I got to use them to cut out doll clothes and quilt pieces.  I never could justify the cost of getting my own pair, especially the size I wanted, and now I have a pair for my very own.

Just because they have the initials JB etched into them only makes them more special.  At least I know the initials of the person who used them before me, and it gives me a name to call the scissors.  I hope JB’s former owner enjoyed many years of use from them as I intend to carry on the tradition.

Nov 21

I’ve been introduced to a new blog by another blog I read, and I like this new blog very much.

This new blog has a list of questions that I think are very interesting, so I decided that I’m going to answer them.  Here goes!

  1. Where would you take the blogger group for a chat, if they came to your house?  I’d take them to the Trading Post for Fiber Arts (aka my LYS).  Why?  Because Susan has a comfortable place to sit, you are surrounded by lots of fiber, yarn and toys, there are alpacas and llamas, and because Susan is one of my favorite people in the whole world.
  2. How do you handle “toxic people”? They’re the ones  that are very difficult to be around and generally don’t bring out the best in us. Luckily, there aren’t any toxic people in my life right now, but when I do have to deal with someone like that, I tend to ignore them and move to get them out of my life.  Life is too short to deal with people who aren’t healthy to be around.
  3. In high school, were you the athlete, the cheerleader (actual or just your personality), the geek, the social butterfly, or lost?  I was one of the lost ones.  I came into my own in college.  I think I had to get away from my family, and their preconceived notions of how I was (or should be), before I could be myself.
  4. What’s your favorite thing made from apples? Dutch Apple Pie.
  5. Do you do most of your shopping in stores or online? In stores.  By supporting my community businesses, I help them stay in business, which just helps the community.  Only when I cannot find something locally do I shop on-line.

That was fun.  Now, I wish I was at my LYS, spinning on my wheel, surrounded by people I love – and eating Dutch Apple Pie.

Nov 20
A shameful confession
icon1 basicallybenita | icon2 Diet and Fitness | icon4 11 20th, 2011| icon35 Comments »

I haven’t talked about my weight lately, mainly because I gained back part of what I had worked so hard to lose.  Too many excuses not to go to the gym, then the gym abruptly closing down, then trips out of state, then, then, then…  Too many excuses period.

So I came up with a plan – a reward system – that looks like is going to work.  Rather than saying, “I’ve lost a couple of pounds, I deserve that cookie (or Snickers bar)” I’ve decided to reward myself with something more tangible.  Money!

Starting last Monday (starting weight 162.3), I am paying myself $1 per day for every day I keep my caloric intake at less than 1000 calories.  For every 10 calories I go over, I lose 1 penny.  Also, for every pound I lose, I pay myself $5.  This money is put into a special jar, and I cannot touch a penny of it until I reach my goal of 120 pounds, then I can spend it on whatever I want, and I can guarantee it won’t be food.  I earned $6.86 from the calorie part (yes I was a little over 1000 a couple of days) and I have earned $15 for weight lost (I weighed 158.6 this morning making it 3.7 pounds for the week).  I know not all weeks will be that much with the weight loss, because I’m pretty sure that most of this week’s was water, but it is a good start and I’ll take it.

I am being very careful at recording every calorie that goes into my mouth.  I am measuring everything and am being precise (a heaping tablespoon is not one tablespoon’s worth of calories) and I’ve really upped my veggie intake (lots of food for very little calories).

I like money, and this little bit each week won’t kill my budget, and, when I reach my goal, I’ll have some funds to play with.  I have no idea what I want to buy with it, but we’ll see when the time comes what catches my fancy.  With 38.6 pounds until I reach my goal, there are several weeks of earning power in there, but the sooner I reach that goal, the sooner I can have the money I have earned.

And I love dropping that cash into that jar each day.  I’m like Lucy when someone drops a nickel into her can – I almost want to pick it up and shake it and crow about that sound of cold hard cash.

And speaking of nickels, Scott came up with his own reward system.  He hates counting calories, and for some reason he isn’t interested in being paid to lose weight (with him needing to lose about 90 more pounds, you’d think that $5 reward for each pound lost would appeal to him – I mean, that is some serious cash he could be earning!).  Instead, as an incentive to work out now that the gym is closed, he suggested getting paid for working out.  So I offered him a nickel for every minute he works out each day.  If he works out for 30 minutes a day, that’s a dollar and a half in his jar.  It will add up quickly and when he reaches his goal of 170 pounds, he ought to be healthy and rich, too.

And, for those of you who know me, yes I have some fancy-dancy Excel spreadsheets to keep track and calculate everything for me.  Goodness I love embedded IF statements.  I know, once a nerd, always a nerd, so I’ll just embrace it and move on.

My next goal is to lose 10 pounds (from yesterday’s weight) in three months.  That’s an average of 1.6 pounds a week to lost, but I can look at that as at least $5 a week in the kitty and $50 total just for the weight lost.  Yes, cash may be the best incentive I have ever had to lose weight.  It’s like doing extra book reports or something for extra credit at school, and I always did those, even if I was getting a good grade anyway.  You can always use extra credit points.

And it sure beats rewarding myself with the very thing that has gotten me fat – bad-for-you-but-oh-so-good-tasting-food!

Nov 19
I’m baaaaack!
icon1 basicallybenita | icon2 Support Your Local... | icon4 11 19th, 2011| icon35 Comments »

I’m back to teaching that is!  I stole this off of Starstruck Cat Studio’s website:

BEGINNING SPINNING

Starstruck Cat Studio is pleased to announce that Benita Story will be teaching spinning on the second Tuesday of every month, starting on Tuesday, December 13, 6-8 pm.  Benita has been a spinner for nearly ten years and has taught spinning, knitting and weaving for about five years.  She is a past Vice President of the Indianapolis Knitting Guild and has been a member of Weaving Indiana and Indy Spinners, Weavers and Dyers.  She is currently a member of SWIFT (Spinners and Weavers of Indiana – Fibers and Textiles) where she was the newsletter editor for four years before the format switched over to the web.  Since then, Benita has been responsible for the maintenance of the SWIFT website.  Benita’s other passion is natural dyeing and each year she hosts a Natural Dye Day event in Pendleton, Indiana, on Columbus Day, which is free to the public.  Lately, she and business partner, Sandy Ferguson, have opened their own business called Dyed in the Wool where they specialize in The Fiber Binder Club, tie-dyed apparel and accessories, spinning fibers, blended batts, and naturally dyed yarns.

Whether you want to learn how to spin on a drop spindle or on a spinning wheel, Benita will be able to show you everything you need to know.   The class fee of $30 per session includes different fibers with which to experiment as you learn the ins and outs of spinning your own yarn.

***********

I am so exited and happy to be back doing something I love so much – getting others hooked on the joys of creating stuff with wool.

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