May 31
Still knitting
icon1 basicallybenita | icon2 Work-in-progress | icon4 05 31st, 2012| icon33 Comments »

With as busy as life has been lately, getting the chance to knit on Mom’s chemo treatment socks has been taking longer than I had planned.

But we have reached second sockedness at last.  With luck, I should have a lot more done on this by the end of the weekend and would love to get them out to her in the next couple of weeks.  Finding time, other than lunch hours, to knit has not been easy, though.  With Sandy not at work this week, I have had to work late to get everything done, but she will be back on Monday and I can hardly wait.  Not only have I missed her, but trying to do her job on top of mine has been a bit much.

May 30

Sunday, Scott helped me fold 29 T-shirts in sizes from child’s size small to Adult 4XL for a custom order for a local 4-H group.  With Sandy recovering from surgery, it was up to me to get this order done in time and I have the best support with Scott helping out when he can.  Once they were all folded and in to soak in the soda ash solution, I took over and got them dyed while Scott worked on his art commitments.

The 4-H group chose kelly green, yellow and light blue for their colors and this is what I gave them.

According to the 4-H leader, it is exactly what she imagined, so everyone is happy.

Monday, though, was a different type of day.  I surprised Scott at his place of employment when he got off work and treated him to breakfast out (lunch for him).  Then he went home to start the day’s scheduled activity while I bought groceries.

When I got home, we each dug in and began cleaning.  I started in my studio (Whew!) and he in his bedroom.  We ended up pretty-much spring cleaning his room, moving furniture out and cleaning behind it all.  Then we tackled the box hall (where he had stacked comic long boxes in anticipation of selling some) and the media room (also the Wii room for exercising).  Boy, does it all look awesome!  We still need to do some work on the media room, but for now, it looks a lot better than it did when we started.  We were very tired and dusty by the time we were finished, but so content with it, too.

We have plans to continue the spring cleaning thing as we get the chance.  In the meantime, it’s nice to get my studio cleaned up from the massive dye-sessions of the past couple of months.  Wouldn’t it be nice to have a three-day weekend each week?  A day to play, a day to work and a day to clean.

Showcasing Dylan this time:

Isn’t he a handsome boy?  He and Pete race each other up and down the stairs a hundred times a day – and that really isn’t much of an exaggeration.  Also, Dilly-Boy loves to lie at the top of the stairs and roll over on his back to get a good belly-rubbing.  Rather than the troll who guards the bridge, Dylan is the kitten who guards the stairs and he prefers tummy rubs over riddles.

May 29

Scott and I had the best weekend together.  After Scott got home from work Saturday morning, he and I headed out for a day of play.  Neither of us have had a day just to do what we want in many weeks, so we played hookey and went to the Indianapolis Museum of Art.  Scott needed an art fix and to study “the Rockwell” (IMA has one Norman Rockwell painting and Scott loves to study it and refers to it as “the Rockwell”) and I headed upstairs to the textile department to see what the exhibit is currently.

This exhibit was on the designers Norell, Blass, Halston and Sprouse.  I have to admit, as wild as the Sprouse items were I loved them.  That one in the center said it was influenced by Andy Warhol and you can tell it.

I always appreciate this little exhibit.  they have cotton, flax, silk and wool with several examples of dyes from indigo, weld and cochineal to coal based dyes.  It’s just too bad that is stuck way back in a corner behind the African and Textile departments and, unless you know where it is and look for it, it isn’t easy to find.

Speaking of the African exhibit, I fell in love with the above cloth sewn together from woven strips – Kente cloth.  I loved the colors and the patterns that made up the cloth.  I believe the different patterns have different symbolic meanings behind them and I’d love to know what these mean.

This was in an exhibit from Indiana Artists and it is a collage made from fabric with some painting over it.  It grabbed my attention because it had a very good 3-D effect to it that was better to see person than the camera could capture.

This is part of the area that was painted over the cloth and you see some of the really nice work the artist did with it.

And here is a closeup of part of the foliage in the lower left side.  This would be a great way to use up scraps of fabric.

This exhibit was in the lobby of the museum and the first thing you saw when you came it.  It is called “Fluid State” and it would look really cool if you had sunlight coming in through it just right.  I can just imagine the million rainbows it might create.

Another very interesting exhibit, and one that Scott and I watched for quite a long time, was this one.  A man took a mirror and a sheet of glass on a specially built cart into the Mojave Desert and focused sunlight into a beam that reached 1600 degrees Fahrenheit.  There it actually melted the sand into glass.  He followed the path of the sun all day long and created an arched line in the desert.  It was mesmerizing to watch.  The screen on the left shows a close-up shot of the focal point sparking as it melts the sand and the right hand screen shows  the line that has been created in the desert.  Scott said that this will be something for future archeologists to speculate on.

This is another painting by an Indiana artist and I can easily see made into something woven, whether it be a tapestry or other cloth.  Food for thought.

By the time we got home, we were both tired and content.

Just to give you something to laugh at for the day, Pete and Dylan take in their morning exercise after breakfast by attacking moths that flutter outside the sliding glass door.  Here is Pete in full motion:

Kill da moth!!!!  These two cats crack me up!

May 26

She came through the surgery just fine.  Now she just needs to heal for a week before coming back to work and a month before she can lift anything heavier than 10 pounds.

May 24

Tomorrow morning, Sandy is going into surgery for her hernia.  She will miss work all next week, too.  It’s going to be soooo quiet around here.

In the mean time, I am getting my part of next Month’s Fiber Binder Club ready.  We are planning for it to go out the first week in June.  And we’d like to welcome all the new members who joined while we were at Kentucky Sheep & Fiber.

Scott and I are looking forward to the three-day weekend.  I have 29 shirts to tie-dye for a local 4-H club on Saturday, but I intend to spend the rest of my weekend cleaning house.  This being gone most weekends is hard on my house-cleaning schedule – if you could ever call it a schedule.  Still, I figure a day and a half work on it should at least get the downstairs in a presentable order.

As soon as I know how Sandy came through her surgery, I’ll let you know.

May 23

The second day of the Kentucky Sheep & Fiber Festival was different in some ways and the same in others.  The crowd was different for one – more people who had never been to a fiber fair showed up after church let out.  On Saturday, most of our sales were spinning fibers and Fiber Binder Club subscriptions.  On Sunday, it was mostly the tie-dye.

One cool thing that happened on Saturday, though, was one gentleman came into our booth and he and I discussed fiber and spinning for quite a while.  His wife knits and he got into spinning because of her.  Later in the day, he came back and asked me if I would sell him the entire bag of the light gray Corriedale I had (from Ulf the sheep) and I said yes.  A price was swiftly calculated in my head and he accepted the offer.

This is that man.

And this is him spinning Ulf.  I wonder if he is planning to dye it or if his wife will knit it up as is.  There is enough there for a couple of sweaters.

This lady was weaving a lovely rug sample on her custom-built rug loom.  This is the first thing she has ever woven.  I was stunned because it was so even and straight.  She naturally dyes her yarns and since black is rather difficult to get with natural dyes, she bought some of our black Fresian roving to spin up for her rugs.

Next door to us was Mary Ann with A Good Yarn from Greenwood, Indiana, who was demonstrating an Erlbacher Gearhart circular sock-knitting machine.  This machine is new and is made in Cape Girardeau, Missouri.

Sandy wanted to give it a go, so she sat down and began cranking.

I think she liked it!

Like I said, Sunday was the day for tie-dye and we had some pretty cute customers.

This little cutie needed a hat to shade her face and isn’t she adorable in it?

These three youngsters were the sons of a friend of my BIL & SIL who live near Lexington.  The boys wanted their shirts put on immediately and then they struck a pose for the camera.  The younger one is supposed to be Ironman, the middle one is another Avenger (Hulk?  Captain America?) and the older one was too old to pose like his brothers, so he just looked cool.

This young lady really impressed Sandy and I.  She wanted a bag.  She said that she didn’t like pink all that much, but when she found out that we are donating 10% of the proceeds of the sales of all the pink dyed items for breast cancer research, she wanted this bag.  Her reason is that her friend’s mother is a breast cancer survivor and she wanted to help support the research to find a cure.  Now that is a young lady to be proud of!

Of course, there were animals, but I was too busy looking at fleeces to snap any pictures of them.  I really regret this because they were so pretty.

The only animal shot I got besides the cria with Sandy on Saturday was this killdeer defending her nest.  She had her nest in one of the stone dividers between two fields and the parks department had put up folding chair & rope barriers so people wouldn’t accidentally invade her territory.  I had to really zoom the camera in to get this shot, but you can see how “fluffed up” she was in agitation and she was chittering like mad at all of us.  By Sunday, she had calmed down a bit, but she would not leave her nest unattended.  I’ll bet she was so happy to see the bunch of us leave.  I’m sure the dogs most of all.

Sandy and I are already planning next year.  We are going to get a booth twice the size we had this year and we are going to rent a van to get us and everything we want to take with us down there.  And we will probably load it to the point of exploding, too.

Oh, yes!  How to load a PT Cruiser for a fiber show.  Check these out.

And now you see why we need a van next time.

May 22

Words to describe our reaction to the weekend at the Kentucky Sheep & Fiber Festival: Wonderful, terrific, incredible, better than we dreamed.  Let’s start with Friday night and talk about Saturday.

Sandy and I arrived at about 5:00 Friday night to set up our booth.  There was a bit of confusion as to where we were because we could not find who we were supposed to check in with.  But we found our booth, which was marked with our name, and we began our set up.  The best part was as soon as we walked into the tent, we saw fellow SWIFT members Thelma and Patti and got big hugs from them.  Talk about a great welcoming gift!

By 7:00, we were about 90% complete, plus we were hot, tired and ready for supper.  It was check-out time anyway, so we checked in to our hotel (I recommend the Holiday Inn Express at 4 and Leestown Road (officially with a Sharkey Road address)  in Lexington – clean, comfy beds, good breakfasts and really nice staff), and walked to a nearby Mexican restaurant to eat.  The food was good and soon we were back in our rooms, showers taken and snugged in for the night.  I know I slept like the dead and Sandy said she slept well, too.

We arrived back at Masterson Station at 7:00 the next morning and had everything to our liking well in time for the 9:00 opening of the festival.  And that was when the fun started.

One thing we learned was our booth was really too small.  Not knowing what to expect, we were afraid we’d not have enough inventory to fill a small booth, and we were really crowded.  Next year we are getting a booth twice the size and it will be easier to get around and see everything.  Also, next year we are renting a van because we couldn’t bring everything.  Bettie the PT Cruiser was so full that Scott told Sandy and I not to sneeze in the car because it would explode.

Sandy and I had a great day.  Our Cormo fiber flew out of the booth and was completely gone within a few hours, and one man bought the entire bag of our silver-gray Corriedale, Ulf.  Tie-dye was bought up and we had lots and lots of people sign up for the Fiber Binder Club.  And we made several contacts with breeders for fleeces for future Fiber Binder Club months.  Kid mohair, Southdown Babydolls, and Pygora just to name a few.  And talk about nice people!!  Everyone was laughing, joking, talking fiber and comparing notes.

One breeder brought a llama (corrected by Sharon – alpaca) cria through the tent and we all fell in love.  This was Keebler’s first day with halter and leading rope and she worked it like a pro.  I swear she knew what those cameras were for because when one was pointed in her direction, she’d stop and pose.  She was the star and she knew it.

I’m not sure which was the greater hit on Saturday, the ten bags of processed fiber we brought or the Fiber Binder Club.  Saturday definitely was the “fiber people” day.  There were spinning demonstrations, basket weaving classes, sheep dog trials, fleece and skein judging, and a silent auction among the other action.

By the end of the day, both Sandy and I were very happy with the results of our work, and we were tired and hot.  We went to a small Chinese restaurant just in time to watch I’ll Have Another win the Preakness.

What a great day!

May 21

Kentucky Sheep & Fiber Festival was fantastic!  I have tons of pictures and lots to tell you.  Give me a day to get it all together and I’ll tell you all about it.

Also, give me through next weekend to get everything inventoried and up into the store.  Lots of changes coming there.


May 18
Be on the Lookout!
icon1 basicallybenita | icon2 Support Your Local... | icon4 05 18th, 2012| icon37 Comments »

The new Dyed in the Wool banner finally was finished this week.  Getting the silly thing designed was the easy part – getting it installed into a banner base with a broken internal part was not so easy.  Still, here it is!

At 86″ tall, it ought to be seen easily above the shelves and clothes racks – At least Dye-Anna should be.

Also, Sandy and I have 10 processed fleeces to sell to spinners.

If this doesn’t encourage people to touch and feel, I don’t know what will.  I can hardly keep my hands off of it and I made it!

I am so psyched about this weekend!  It is going to be lots of fun.

May 17

On the way home from work last night, I noticed the license plate on the car in front of me.

TBL – Through the Back Loop!!!  With the road trip this weekend, Sandy and I are going to keep our eyes peeled for other knitting or fiber themed plates.  I doubt if this person even has a clue to what a cool plate they have.  With most of Indiana plated, there are three numbers and three letters.  Let’s see…  I wonder if I can find an SSK?

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