Nov 27

Saturday and Sunday, I was definitely feeling like myself again.  Besides lots of house cleaning and lots of laundry, I got most of the fiber for the 24th month of the Fiber Binder Club washed.  I’ll not say what it is, but I will say that it is very special and is going to make a wonderful Christmas present for the charter members and those others who are ready for the 24th month’s selection.

Here it is in the dirty state.  It doesn’t look too bad, really, does it?

Well, it was dirtier that it looked.  It took three washings to get it clean.  The first two washing waters looked like this when I removed the bags of fiber to drain out.

But, my oh my, how nice it looks clean.  I got two batches washed on Sunday, which is about half of the entire lot.  I’ll get the rest washed up this weekend.  I can hardly wait to get my hands on it and see how it spins up.

 

 

Nov 25

Last Thursday was Thanksgiving, I know, but I am just now getting around to telling you about my two days of celebration.

Day one – Thanksgiving Day itself – was spent with Scott’s family.  Scott’s brother, Todd, and his family were up from Kentucky, and we celebrate our Christmas with them now so they can spend Christmas at home.  Their three little girls, Maddie 11, Sarah 8 and Mimi 5, made out very well with gifts.  Maddie got her first Kindle, Sarah an American Girl doll (whom she immediately named Angela), and Mimi got lots of toys.  They were all very happy.

My gift to the two oldest and their mom, Kim, was to teach them how to spin.  Both the older girls, but especially Sarah, have intently watched me spin over the past few years and have mentioned wanting to learn how.  So, this year, I bought some Bare Bones spindles for them and a big bag of multi-colored BFL.  In the afternoon, after all of the other gifts were opened and enjoyed, I sat down with Kim, Maddie and Sarah and gave them their first spinning lesson.  By the time we were ready to take a break, all three had caught on to how it works, and Maddie and Kim were going to town with it.  Sarah was struggling a bit, but I have no doubt she’ll catch on without reminders.

Kim fell in love with it.  She said she found it fascinating and relaxing.  I told them that each time they filled a spindle (and showed them what a full spindle should look like) to wind them off onto toilet paper spools and when I saw them next, I’d show them how to ply and set the twist.  Both Maddie and Kim knit, and Sarah got a crochet kit for Christmas.  I can hardly wait to see them next so we can continue their lessons.

Day Two – Black Friday – The first day I felt 100% myself again.  Poor Scott had to be at his job at 4:30 that morning.  He described the customers coming into Menards as a “tsunami” when the doors opened at 5 AM.  When he got home, we took off for town, ate breakfast out and went to the Midland Market Antique Mall in downtown Indianapolis.  Ding, ding, ding!  I hit the jackpot!

I have been looking for a wool jacket to wear to work.  There was a rack of wool jackets, and I began to look them over looking for something specific.

This, for instance.  There are several woolen companies whose items I look for when I can afford them.  Harris Tweed is one of them.  I own one other Harris Tweed jacket, but it is too small for me right now and I do hope that I’ll be able to wear it next winter, but this winter, I’ll be wearing this one.  From what I can tell, I paid about 10th of the price of a new one, so I feel very lucky.  And it fits me perfectly – even the sleeve length is just right.  Needless to say, I was pretty thrilled when I tried it on.

We kept looking around, and I was keeping my eye out for a couple of items.  I am looking for a couple of newspaper or magazine printers blocks, preferably of some really interesting ads (not tobacco or alcohol ads, though).  They are getting very hard to find, and back when I had no use for them, I could find them all over the place pretty cheaply.  I didn’t find any this trip, either, but I did find something else pretty wonderful.

This beautiful Voss sweater.  I have only a couple of sweaters I can wear to work because of all the weight I have lost.  I refuse to buy just any old sweater – they must be made of natural fibers, preferably wool, so you can imagine my thoughts when I saw this hanging in a booth.

Look at the lovely details on this sweater!  Those bands around the collar and down the front are woven and I love the clasps it has on it.

And how do you tell that it really was made in Norway?

Steeks!!!

This sweater has never been worn.  Someone must have gotten it as a gift and didn’t want it.  It is lovely, lovely, lovely and it is all mine!!!!  This will be one of those sweaters I will wear for years to come.  It is a medium, so, even if I do lose more weight, it will still fit for a long time.

The last find I got was a third head for my collection.

Now Casey, Heady have a friend, Sam.  And Sam has hair, so he doesn’t need to wear a hat to keep his head warm.  Okay, I think Sam is a “he”, but Scott says Sam is a “she.”  What do you think?  I think Sam is a teenaged boy head.  Scott says Sam is a teenaged girl head.  I’d like your opinion.  The name Sam works either way.  I had been wanting a third head for a display that I want Scott to build for Dyed in the Wool, and I like how Sam looks.  Poor Heady still looks drugged out.  Those eyes don’t track right at all.

 

Nov 24

I don’t know which I am more, appalled or amazed.  I mean, let the wife get sick for a couple of weeks and the house looks like you let a pack of hyenas and large family of chimpanzees have wild parties 24/7 the entire time.  Good heavens, we could easily lose the cats in the kitchen and not see them for weeks at this point.

The wife is feeling 100% herself once again.  Now the wife becomes the restoration crew.  I highly suggest a certain husband to hide out in his studio today.  Benita, the cleaning tornado, is coming through the next two days.

I’ll give you an updated list of casualties later.

2:07 PM – 4 loads of laundry done, 3 bags of trash removed, I have found the floor to the room at the top of the stairs, all of the dirty dishes are out of Scott studio, the cats toys have been gathered up and put way, and I have the bathroom all clean.  Next, vacuuming the upstairs, vacuuming the staircase, more laundry, and the first of many loads of dishes.  Eventually will culminate in a much needed shower.  It’s a good thing I still have tomorrow to work on this place.

Nov 22

Remember how I said I was feeling better in my last post?  Well, it was the last day I felt well.  By the end of work on Friday, I was feeling pretty rough and the next day I found myself unable to get out of bed at all.  Saturday and Sunday were spent very quietly, except for lots of nose blowing and coughing.  Monday, I had Scott drive me to the grocery store because eating around here was getting interesting.  Tuesday, I was back in bed for part of the day.

Yesterday, I had to get out once again, but that was okay.  I was beginning to feel human once again – a rather light-headed, shaky human, but human none-the-less.  Scott had some minor surgery done yesterday morning (a cyst removed), so, while he was waking up from the anesthesia, I drove around doing errands and laughing at how silly he was acting while half asleep.  He “helped” me drive out of the parking lot (his hands up and gripping an imaginary steering wheel) and once we hit the interstate he played imaginary drums off and on all the way to the bank, which was the first stop.  I laughed so hard at him and his silly faces that I had tears rolling down my cheeks at one point.  He’s such a funny man when he’s half-loopy.  Those were some good drugs.

After the errands and a long nap.  I was feeling pretty good last night.  Today, I feel 90% better.  Now that’s something to be Thankful for!!!

Nov 15

I am feeling much better, today.  Even though I still need the cold meds, I can breathe easier and don’t feel like I am a walking contamination field.

Like I said yesterday, I did not waste my day in bed.  I ended up transcribing 4 months in total (February and March in both 1954 and 1955) of my maternal grandmother’s diaries.

Mammaw was a truly amazing lady.  She read everything she could get her hands on, she sewed for her family and friends, she crocheted, she raised a huge garden and preserved 90% of what her family ate each year (in 1954 119 pints just of peas for example).  She and Pappy did not have a lot of money because work was sporadic and he was getting laid off work every few weeks.  He, also, worked for neighboring farmers, plowing, bailing hay, fixing fences, fixing hogs and bulls, anything in order to make enough money to pay the light bill, keep coal in the house, pay the house rent ($18 per month in 1954) and buy the few groceries they did buy.

One thing that did set Mammaw apart from the majority of her neighbors was her love of learning and her love of poetry.  Every once in a while, one of her diary entries would be written in poem format, telling of the day’s activities with rhythm and rhyme.  For example – December 31, 1954’s entry:

The year has ended, I’ve ironed today,
The children were busy with work & play.
The dishes & housework they helped to do
and one game of monopoly, I played, too.
Clarence had worked all X-mas week
and now, in the morning, we late can sleep.
“How interesting to know you Old Man Year
with your Joys and Sorrows, hopes and tears.
And so, with sadness, we say “Farewell”
Listening to the toll of your funeral knell.”

She’s been gone for a little over a year, now, and dementia took the essence of her away years before that.  I still miss that lady.  She was the best teacher for me.  She taught me to sew, embroider, quilt, raise flowers and plants.  I believe my strength of character and creativity all come from her.  Transcribing her diaries for future generations has brought me closer to her than ever.  As I read through them, I am learning more about her, my Mom, Pappy and my Uncle Norman.  And about all of the people that surrounded their lives.  I would love to talk with her about those times and I have lots of questions I’d love to ask her and Mom.

Nov 14

I woke up yesterday morning, with my right sinus totally clogged and that “I’m coming down with a cold feeling.”  By the end of work, I felt pretty rough.  This morning, my entire head feels stuffed up.  What a way to spend an extra vacation day.

I’m not wasting it though.  In between drinking lots of water and hot tea and blowing my nose, I have been working on the transcriptions of my maternal grandmother’s diaries.  I got two months typed in this morning using the laptop while sitting in bed.  Not what I had planned for the day, but it’ll do.

Actually, as far as colds go, this one is pretty light.  I could have gone to work today, and I will go tomorrow. It’s just a real inconvenience right now.  I do want to apologize to my spinning students for cancelling the class last night.  I didn’t think you’d want me to share this with you.

It’s funny, though, how cold medicine knows when 4 hours are up.  I’m just doing my thing when CLOG!  Yep!  4 hours are up to the minute.  Take more medicine and 4 hours later CLOG!  It’s like a curtain drops in my sinuses blocking any air movement.  Strange.  I should take out stock in Puffs, though.  Right now, I am a very good customer.

Nov 12

This past weekend at The Trading Post for Fiber Arts, John Mullarkey taught three days of tablet weaving.  Because Sandy and I cannot take off work on the same days, She attended Friday’s class and I attended Saturday and Sunday with her and several other people.

Let me start by saying that John is an excellent teacher and a thoroughly nice guy.  When we got there on Saturday, he barely had any voice, but a steady supply of hot tea actually helped him to the point where his voice sounded more like a human’s than a frog’s by the afternoon.  I mentioned that I was going to the grocery store that night and asked Sandy if I could bring anything.  John raised his hand and asked if I would be willing to bring some peppermint tea for his throat and, of course, I was glad to.  Sunday, he could talk once again, so he was much better.

Because I missed Friday’s lesson, I was a bit behind hand when it came to working on Saturday’s lesson.  It took several false starts and a personal demonstration from John before the light bulb went off and I understood how to keep track of which threads were to go forward and which were to go backwards to come up with the design or letters I wanted.

The Greek key and diamond designs are shown with both sides to see which one you thought looked best.  I really like the darker designs on the lighter background and I really like that hollow diamond best.  That night, after class, to practice letters, I did Scott’s name, but realized I messed up the Y at the end when I was most of the way done with the letter.  By that time, it was bed time, so it is as it is.  I was too tired to backweave it and fix it.  The diamonds are next to Scott name on the strap, and I am going to cut it and hem it for him to use as a bookmark in his sketchbook.  It will end up being about 15” long, I think.

Sunday was a whole different ball of wax.  I tried and I tried to get the lesson down, and would get so far into it, then something would go wrong and a wrong colored thread would show up where it wasn’t supposed to be.  At the end of the day, John showed us some different things were could do with the threading we had, and I ended up going home and doing the above.  Each design is long enough for a friendship bracelet.  There are a couple of others, but they are just wavy lines and not all that interesting to look at.  I think, all said and done, I have enough here for 5 bracelets, though.

John, of course, made things look so easy, but that is fine.  I will learn this because I can see so many uses for tablet woven straps coupled with some of my other woven projects.  And, as you might guess, I have ideas running through my head like crazy.

Mary Alice was doing a strap with her husband’s airplane letters on it.  He is going to be impressed with this gift.

Sue Payne and Sandi Butler both worked hard at their designs on Saturday.  Both ladies work for Conner Prairie and I hadn’t seen Sue for quite a while.  It was so good to catch up with her.  She is such a special lady and she means a lot to me.

 

Brian Doggett brought his dulcimer and played for us at lunch on Sunday.  We all tapped our feet and listened to him play for about 45 minutes.  What a wonderful treat!

Some dumped off a sweet little Siamese mix kitten off at Susan’s farm, and she is the most adorable kitten on the planet!  She reminded me very much of Pete at that age, and I soon had her wound up and fighting with me in that kitten way.  We all fell in love with her.  Look at those bright blue eyes.  She didn’t have an enemy in the world and went from one person to the next with equal joy.  She purred loudly, chewed on fingers, and generally had a blast.

Especially Sandy, I think.  She lost her Sam on the 4th of July, and she has been missing having a cat in her life very much.  I think this kitten could have found many loving homes, but Susan refused to part with her.  I can well understand why.

 

Nov 9

Almost 2 years ago, I signed up to take a class on Tablet Weaving by John Mullarkey.  I ended up with the flu and spent that entire weekend (and a few more days) in bed mourning the fact I was home sick and not at that class.

He’s back at The Trading Post for Fiber Arts this weekend (starting today), and I am feeling very well, thank you very much.  Sandy is taking today off of work to attend all three days, but I get to be there tomorrow and Sunday, and I am looking forward to it very much.

Life has been very busy lately.  Between my normal, day job, The Fiber Binder Club prep, all the stuff I do for Dyed in the Wool, script writing for Johnny Saturn, cooking, cleaning and, now, eBay selling in order to rid ourselves of unneeded stuff and earn some much needed extra money, I have very little time to do much of any fiber activities anymore.  Even the poor sock I am designing is being done at lunch hours at work.

The opportunity to spend an entire weekend with like-minded people, learning new skills and not worrying about outside things will be a blessing for me.  I can hardly wait to show you what I learn this weekend.

 

Nov 7

I am working on a Fair Isle sock pattern that will morph into a hat, scarf, and mittens/gloves for a full, matching set once all of this is done.

I am so excited how this is going together.  As I am knitting the test sock, I am correcting design issues to make it even prettier than my original ideas.

And now for a little teaser picture just to give you a hint of what is coming.

There is a theme behind the pattern, but I can’t tell you what it is, yet.  I am really enjoying this pattern and tinkering with it to make it better and better.

The idea of having a full matching set makes this even more fun.  Once I get the socks worked out, I’ll head on to the scarf.  I have some interesting ideas on it that I want to test out.

Have a fun day!!

Nov 5

Well, another week has quickly passed.  Between working on the eBay sales, cooking, cleaning, working, etc., very little has been accomplished.  But some things have.

At the end of October, one of my co-worker’s, Colette, took her daughter and mother to Frankenmuth, Michigan, for a long weekend.  While they were there, they went to one of the woolen mill shops and brought Sandy and I back about an ounce of fiber to spin.

It’s a pretty coarse wool, and it spun up pretty quickly.  Once I get it plied this week, I am going to turn it into knitted stars and gift the stars back to Colette as a thank you.  They will look great on her Christmas tree.  I am hoping I can get two double-sided and slightly stuffed stars done for her.

Yesterday, Scott and I went down to Paoli to visit my Dad.  He is planning to head to Texas (and to warmer territory) once Thanksgiving is past.  He had mentioned eating out a lot and running into trouble with his celiac disease and eating things he shouldn’t be eating, so I spent part of Saturday and Sunday morning before heading out cooking for him.  I took down a gluten-free pot of chili, some meatloaf burgers with fried potatoes, and some gluten-free pancakes to heat up when he wanted them.  Also, I took down some gluten-free breads since finding them in Paoli is very hard.  He loved the chili and said he hadn’t had chili for a couple of years because Mom had not felt well enough to make it.  I was both shocked and please at how big a bowl he ate of that chili.

Then, while I spun on my spinning wheel (a dark brown merino), Dad and Scott got out some of Dad’s musical instruments and began playing together.

I could not stop grinning.  Dad began playing music when he was a teenager, and Mom told me stories about Dad sitting me in my car seat on the floor in front of him and he’d play his guitar and sing to me.  No wonder I have such a deep love of Bluegrass and old gospel music.  I literally heard it from the time I was born.  Dad also copied a CD for me of he and his cousins playing gospel music together.  Goodness, it was good!!

I used my camera to record several tunes that I will copy onto a CD and send to my brother.  It was so good listening to them and hearing my dad play and sing.  Mind you, Dad’s voice isn’t the best in the west, but no one really cared.

In the past, whenever we’d all get together to play music, whether it would be Scott, my brother, cousins or any of the various music groups that would gather around Dad, Mom would be there, tapping her foot and softly singing along.  I did feel her spirit there with us for a while yesterday, and I am sure she was smiling and tapping her foot.  It was a very good visit.