Dec 31

Looking back over 2012, I realize that it was a horrible year.  The only really good things that came out of it for me was Dyed in the Wool, The Fiber Binder Club and all of my fiber friends all over the world.  My relationship with Scott remains the highlight of my life, so that is good, too.

Money has been tighter than ever, cars have broken down and cost lots of money to fix, there have been health issues, friends have lost jobs, I lost my Mom and a beloved sister-in-law,…  And these are just a few of the things that has been left in 2012’s wake.

And not just for me, either.  The world has suffered much during 2012.  All sorts of wars, senseless killings of multitudes of innocents, natural disasters…  2012 has much to answer for.  In fact, in all of my life, I cannot remember a worse year.

So, good-bye 2012 and good riddance.  I certainly hope that 2013 is much better for seeing the tail-end of you.  If we all work together for the good of us all, then 2013 has a chance.  At midnight (or the last waking minute if you aren’t staying up to see the new year in), please pray for 2013 that it is a much better year for everyone.

Dec 29
Blessings
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Yesterday, my brother, his 4 kids and the daughter of Lori’s youngest sister came up with a box trailer to get furniture out of our attic for oldest niece’s (Kim) first apartment.  It was really good to see my brother and everyone.  The snow we had gotten had melted enough for him to back the end of the trailer to just beyond of the back of the house (my driveway is very long (about 200 feet) and curves around in front of a building we call the barn, then curves more and ends up at our garage door.)  Any snow we get, accompanied by any wind whatsoever, drifts in front of the barn and all along the driveway making it impossible to get out if we were not foresighted enough to park out by the road when we know snow is coming.

With all of that muscle power, it took a bare hour and a half to dig everything out of the attic and load up a bird’s eye maple bedroom suite that is over 110 years old (4 poster bed, dresser and chest of drawers), a recliner, coffee table, end table, desk, desk chair, antique walnut china cabinet, a round dining room table and four chairs.  She also got the bedside table lamp from my grandparent’s house – antique, four oil lamps, and the cow creamer that used to always sit on my grandparent’s kitchen table.  Lots of history loaded up in that trailer and enough furniture to set the young lady up nicely.

And it is amazing at how much it opened up our attic.  We can now get in there much more easily and get it organized.  We still have more things we want to get rid of, but knowing that these family pieces (some from Scott’s family, some from mine) are going to get used and appreciated by a new generation makes us feel so good.

The only bittersweet moment was when they were getting all loaded up into the truck to leave.  The kids, except Kim, all piled into the back seats, and Kim got into the front passenger seat.  It was then that it hit me that she was climbing into Lori’s seat.  Lori should have been there.  She should have been a part of getting furniture for her oldest daughter’s first apartment.  She should have been there laughing and shouting with the rest of us when a short snow-ball fight broke out.  I still do not understand why she had to leave all of us so soon, why my brother had to be deprived of his life’s mate and why the kids had to become motherless so early in life.  I have to accept that there is a reason, but I sure do not understand what it is right now.

I knew there was more snow coming, but I didn’t think it was going to start in the middle of the night.  At 1:30, something woke me, and I saw that it was snowing hard outside.  We had pulled our cars in up to nearly the barn and if the wind decided to start blowing, our cars would have been snowed in, and that would not do at all.  So, I got up, got dressed, and moved the cars back down to the road.  At that time, there was 6″ of freshly fallen snow.  As I was walking back toward the house, the fallen snow on the trees caught me as beautiful, so I pulled my camera out of my coat pocket (What?  You don’t keep a camera in your coat pocket?) and took some quick shots as I walked.

The snow laying on the trees looked beautiful.

Like a “winter wonderland of snow.”

This crab apple is between the house and the drive.  That lighted window is my bedroom.

It even turned the barn into a thing of beauty.  Sort of.  🙂

I’ll bet the birds are happy to be in Florida right now, though.

It was so peaceful outside at going on 2 in the morning with the snow gently falling all around me.  No sounds, no wind, the temps not too cold, and the beauty of the snow piled on everything.  God blessed me with this extra time to myself, to savor the experience of snow falling in the middle of the night.

And He gave me the chance to rescue the cars from being snowed in while I could still move them.  Blessings indeed!!!

 

Dec 20

Last night was the annual Christmas party at The Trading Post for Fiber Arts with my BASK group (Beautiful & Aspiring Knitters and Spinners).  It was lovely.  Great food, wonderful company, and I got to start a new knitter on the path toward her first sock.  Ain’t nuthin’ makes me happier than teachin’ sumpthin.

We are supposed to get real snow here, today.  We’ve had flurries before, but this time it will be more than a light frosting on the grass.  This time we are supposed to get 2″ by morning, and, while this does not sound like a lot, it’s enough for me.

I’ll talk with you again after Christmas.  For all of you who are traveling, please be safe.  I’ll just be here, listening to my Christmas music (David Ackerman, Charlie Brown Christmas, and Trans-Siberian Orchestra) and playing in the snow.

Happy Birthday, Jesus!!

P.S.  Scott drew the wreath.

Dec 17

Saturday, Sandy and I went over to a friend and a former spinning and weaving student of mine, Carol’s, house to help her with the finishing of her first major project and to help her build her new Baby Wolf loom.  She had been using mine to get these Christmas presents done and was ready to finish them just in time to be gifted.

When we got there, there was enough warp left for one more towel, so I asked if I could weave it off and Carol said, yes.

Carol decided this towel would be for Sandy, so we got out the 4-harness pattern book and let Sandy look through it while I wove the hem and a bit of twill.

Then Sandy would show me the next pattern she’d like, and off I’d go with a different color for a couple of inches.  By the time we were done, we had quite a few different patterns in the towel and Sandy loved what she was getting.

When we cut the warp and pulled all of the towels off of the loom Carol had 13 towels from a 15 yard warp, and they are really nice towels, too.  After zig-zagging the ends, Carol stuck them in the washer and dryer while Sandy and I got started on Carol’s cherry Baby Wolf, Miss Cherry.

Lots of laughing, goofiness and work ensued as we read the instructions and worked our magic.  Slowly, Miss Cherry became a loom.

Isn’t she beautiful?  Carol is already thinking of the first project she’d like to weave on it, but she is going to have to do some spinning for it first.  You can barely see her Lendrum spinning wheel peeking  between the warp beam and the top of the castle through the harnesses.  From what we discussed, it’s going to be a lovely project.

And don’t think we did all of this without supervision.

Louie, Carol’s 6 month-old long haired Chihuahua kept an eye on all of the proceedings.  Isn’t he the cutest little thing?

Dec 14

Scott and I drove down to Louisville, Kentucky, on Wednesday to celebrate his birthday in the style he likes best.  Visiting a military history museum and getting to drool over all of the weapons.  The Frazier History Museum is one we have been wanting to visit for quite a while and I decided that now was a good time to do so.

Scott’s degree is in Medieval History, and the third floor of this museum was right down his alley.  One of the things I liked most was the life size vignettes that were there.  The costumes on the mannequins were really well done and they were so realistic.

I’ll bet this guy wished for some knitted socks. Can you imagine trying to fight and knowing your socks (stockings, leg coverings, or whatever they called them) are falling down?  In a comedy, the guy would call a halt to the fight, bend down, yank his leggings back up and say, “Okay!” and the fight would continue.

The faces on the models were amazing!

I kept waving my hand in front of this one’s face to see if he would blink.  Not once.

There were several hands-on things you could try, including this one for the long bow.

The goal was to pretend you were firing into the air and you wanted the arrow to get to the enemy line in front of you.  How far back should you pull it?  Scott and I had to give it a try.

In case you can’t read it, it says Dead on Target.  I really need to get into archery.  Poor Scott keep getting the Almost Too Far line.  I did once, and hit Yeoman Archer once, but hit the Dead on Target twice.

Of course there were lots and lots of swords and knives on display.  I liked this one because it looks like it has a bobbin as the handle.

If you are in the Louisville area, you need to check out this museum.  Even with his Medieval History degree, Scott sais he learned things he never knew before.

 

Dec 13
As the World Spins
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Tuesday night was the spinning class I teach in Greenwood at Starstruck Cat Studio.  I had 4 students this time and, boy, did we have a great time!!

Brenda, who has been in this class since early summer, worked on cable plying and I gave her a binder with sample sheets and homework to do.  She is to come back with samples of singles, 2-ply, Navajo plied (3-ply), 4-ply and cabled yarns all with swatches knitted from them.  It is time to begin studying how each yarn behaves in fabric to determine which would be best in a given project.  Brenda is doing all of her work on a drop spindle and she is coming along very well.  I can hardly wait to see what her yarn looks like made up into something.

Caeli has been with me nearly a year and is working on a spinning wheel after beginning on a drop spindle.  She worked on Navajo plying Tuesday night and she has the same homework and binder that Brenda has, except for the cable plying.  She will work on that next month.  Again, Caeli is ready to begin thinking about spinning for a specific project and we need to get to work in that direction.

Debbie is a drop spindler who had two bobbins of singles, one white and one gray, and was ready to learn how to ply them together.  She did a great job and we got it skeined off with a niddy-noddy and wet-set the twist.  She was practically dancing she was so thrilled with her work.  I think Debbie is getting a spinning wheel for a Christmas present.  I hope she does because she really loves spinning.

Lori came for her second lesson and we made a center-pull ball out of her beginning spinning and I showed her how to ply it together.  We skeined it off and wet-set it as well, and got her going on her second round of spinning, this time her homework is to come with a bobbin each of white and gray for plying together like Debbie just did.

Everyone went home with new skills and homework for the next class next month.  The two-hour lessons go by so fast and there were lots of smiles at the end.  They gave me the best Christmas present ever!  I love watching them learn and seeing their skills get better and better.  And there is nothing like the pride of seeing one’s own first plied yarn.

And, yes, I did forget to take my camera again.  Why do I keep doing that?!?

Dec 12
13 Days until Christmas
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What better way to celebrate 13 days until Christmas except by promoting Gynx Yarns!  If you like hand-dyed yarns in lots and lots of different colors, then you need to check out these yarns.  Page after page after page of eye (and hand) candy.  If you have knitters or crocheters on your list, you can get all of them something here and they will love you for it.

Think of socks, scarves, cowls, mittens, gloves, hats, baby things and even shawls knit with these – unique and beautiful!

And if you want some suggestions of what I would like to get…  :p

Dec 11

The next craftman/artisan I want to promote is Dave Daniels’ Cabin Cove.

There is nothing this man doesn’t do well.  I have a couple of his hand-crafted leather items, and the workmanship in them just keep me caressing them and I love using them.  Each stitch is sewn in by hand with an eye for the details.

Also, I own one of his hand-woven bags and I use with with my drop spindle.  It catches everyone eyes wherever I take it and people ooh and ahh over it.  Actually all of his hand woven items are lovely to touch, to see and to wear or use.  A lot of the yarns used are hand-spun and hand-dyed by Dave and the colors are always just perfect.

And then, there are the quilts, Poppets (I have one of these, too!), spices (yummy!),  yarns, and everything else you could want.

Just think what looks of of astonishment and squeals of delight your gifts will bring if they open up one of Cabin Cove’s creations on Christmas morning!!

 

Dec 10

Right now, it is budgeting time at the office, and I worked far more overtime the last couple of weeks than I have in several months.  Because of that, I have no time to be creative at the moment.  That doesn’t mean others haven’t been creative, though.

Since it is nearing Christmas, I want to help everyone with their Christmas shopping.  And why buy something made in a factory, when you can buy something made by hand from a deserving, American craftsman or artisan.  So, I am going to showcase a different shop or person each day for the next couple of weeks – time allowing.

The first artisan I want to promote is Sharon Campbell.  Her shop, Sage Creek Farm, can be found on Etsy.  Please go there, look over what she has and consider giving a hand-spun, hand-knit hat, or a hand woven towel or hand made soap to loved ones for Christmas.  I can vouch for them all as I own at least one of each already.  Her soap is awesome, and her towels are thick and soft and just get softer with washing.

I believe she, also, has hand-woven rag rugs that aren’t in the shop, so if you are interested in them, please ask her about them.

And if you have something special in her line in mind – like towels in a different colorway, I am sure she will be most happy to work with you.  You will be helping out a wonderful person and your Christmas gift-giving will be much appreciated by all who receive from Sharon’s shop.

Dec 3

Saturday dawn clear and lovely here – lovely for November in central Indiana that is.  Actually, it was warm enough outside to just need a sweater, which made it the perfect day to get in a bit of sheep therapy.

Kris LaMar and her family live about 40 minutes east of me and they own a beautiful Shetland flock.  Sandy and I had met her husband, Nate, and her two daughters at the state fair, where we were introduced to Tootsie Roll.  Tootsie Roll had just won a 1st place ribbon, and I immediately put my dibs on her fleece.

Kris came to Dye Day, bringing other Shetland fleeces, two of which came home with me.  Needless to say, I wanted to take a gander at her fall shearing to see what other fleeces Sandy and I would want.  So, I headed out to LaMar Springs Farm early, and together Kris and I skirted and weighed several fleeces, three of which I bought and another of which I’ve regretted not getting and have put my dibs on it.  Sandy and I will have to drive out there to get it soon.

Her lambs all know their name and will come running when called.  They were all so sweet and loved having their noggins scratched on.

This is Tootsie Roll.  What we thought was going to be a brown fleece, ended up being a lovely silvery gray.  I am absolutely thrilled with it.  It is soft and silky and will make something lovely once it has been washed and processed.  Doesn’t she have the nicest face?

This is Nerds (sense a naming theme for this year’s lambs?).

And this is Nerds’ fleece.  It is a nice, charcoal color and, while not quite as soft as Tootsie Roll’s fleece, it has wonderful potential.  I am thinking mittens and something woven with this one – although it would make a great sweater, too.  Hmmm….

This is Semi-Sweet.  Her fleece is black, black, black and is wonderfully fine with a great crimp structure.  This is the one I regretted not getting and am going back to get.  Why I talked myself out of it, I don’t know.

Another fleece I got was from Skittles.  It is bright white, lustrous and crimpy beyond belief.  I fell in love with it as soon as the sheet covering it was untied.

Kris just had the fall shearing done about a week ago, so, right now, they have several wonderful fleeces for sale.  Also, these fleeces are clean of vegetation, and she doesn’t sell them until they have been fully skirted and gleaned over for any stray vegetation or second cuts.  I have never met someone so conscientious of making sure the buyer gets their money’s worth.  If you are interested in purchasing any of her fleeces, let me know, and I’ll send you her email address.  She doesn’t have a website, yet, but she wants to get one set up.  Until then, email is the best way to get in touch with her.

Also, her family has some horses, including this lovely curly-coated one.  I forget her name, but she is 25 years old and has the sweetest personality.  She loved getting patted on.  I had never had the chance to touch a curly-coated horse before, and it was softer than I thought it would be – almost wooly.

What a lovely morning.  I really hated to leave.  Kris is the nicest person you’d ever want to meet, and her animals are obviously well-loved.  Watching the lambs perk their heads up and come running when their names were called was wonderful.  I could use more sheep therapy like that.  Maybe Kris could use more help skirting fleeces…