Jul 19

Let’s start with the least important item first.  Tomorrow ends the Tour de Fleece and I am going to be done on time.


I am ready to start the toe of the second sock.  Between lunch today and my before bed knitting tonight, I will have this complete and should be able to show them off tomorrow.  This Tour has told me that I can participate in some of these events.  Next year, I want to work on something else new to me, but I have a year to decide on what it is going to be.

Now, to the Happy Anniversary part.  Today is the 50th anniversary of my parents marriage. If Mom and Lori were alive today, we’d be getting ready to celebrate it.  What a difference a year can make.  Yes, today my heart feels a bit heavy. I miss Mom, and Lori and I would have had lots of fun planning the anniversary party.  Still, Mom and Dad had 49 years of a very loving marriage and I am so glad they had that much time together.

Jul 18

Let’s check in with other blogs and see how their G shots have come out this week.

Cheryl thought of several I didn’t, so kudos to her.

Cindie came up with some good ones – I love the glass floats and the ginko leaves.

Sandy’s Grandmother’s Fan wall hanging is simply stunning!

Roxie’s Gateway and Garden shots are lovely.  I really like that gateway.

Judy took her “G” shots in a different direction, which I think shows some ingenuity on her part.  And she came up with some very interesting pictures.

If I missed anyone, let me know and I’ll update this post.


Jul 16

I am not especially happy with the pictures I took this week for the letter “G”, but here goes!


We had a cold front come through last week, dropping the temps and humidity to a lovely level for my day off on Friday.  This is one of the dark gray clouds that I thought was interesting.


And this is another one. Gray clouds can be very hard to capture just right and I am sure that if I had a better camera, these would have come out with the depth and color variation of the real things.


Green yarn – this is from A Good Yarn and it screamed out my name when I saw it.


And last, and my personal favorite – Grimace!  I am so glad I am married to someone who has no problem “playing along” with me and he did a great job giving me exactly what I was looking for.  In fact, don’t be surprised if this becomes his Facebook avatar.

So, how did you do this week?


Jul 15

Yes, I know I am supposed to be showing you my “G” pictures today, but my week and weekend filled up passed the full level, and I ended up with only 1 picture for the week.  So, I am giving myself a one-day extension for this deadline and will post the pictures tomorrow.

In the meantime, I don’t do book reviews very often, but I really want to tell you about this adorable book I stumbled across.  It’s called Phoebe’s Sweater by Joanna Johnson and illustrated by Eric Johnson.

phoebe cover

I will admit that I love children’s books.  Usually the art in them is incredible and in this book, the art is something that even Scott wanted to look at and study.

phoebe art

See?  It looks like it is colored pencil over water color and the subject matter is as sweet as can be.  The story is simple and compelling to both a child and the adult reading it aloud.  I fell in love with all of the characters in it.

phoebe title page

The writer and illustrator even signed it, which I love.  I know Scott and I always sign the books we sell, and it’s a nice, personal touch that makes the book seem more real somehow – created by real people.  Since Scott and I are a husband & wife team as well, I can well appreciate the work that went into the production of this.

But what made me actually buy the book is this:

phoebe doll

There are knitting patterns in it!  And what really caught my attention was Phoebe’s mouse doll.  For those people who know me, know that I love dolls and stuffed people.  This book contains the pattern for the doll and a dress with a matching sweater to the one for a child.  The child-sized sweater is from 2-6, although the author said she made it for her 8-year-old daughter by just lengthening the sweater and sleeves.

This hard-cover book is the first book for both the writer and illustrator, but I see there are others since this one has been done.  I may have to look into them as well if they are all this well done.

I am going to knit the mouse doll, her dress and sweater.  Right now, I don’t know the child they are going to, but they will find the right home some day.  Also, I want to knit the sweater for Lizzie, and maybe the dress, too.  We’ll see.

If you have a young girl in your life, I think she would love not only the story, but the mousie doll and the matching sweaters for them.  And if you just love to make dollies like I do, Phoebe’s doll is adorable!!!

Jul 14

Yesterday was such a fun day.  For starters, Starstruck Cat Studio in Greenwood, Indiana, is such a lovely shop and the people are very friendly.  There are always smiles, laughter, assistance and encouragement to be found.

Sandy and I got there right at 10 when the store opened, and soon afterwards Cheryl arrived with her Great-Grandmother’s wheel. (Remember her from Tuesday’s class? She had the wheel that reminded of me of old crank-start engine until we oiled her wheel.)  Marta came by later with the old wheel that we worked on at Hoosier Hills when I taught her to spin and she bought her Ladybug.  The wheel had had some repair work done on it, she and I tweaked on it some more, and we decided that the wheel bars were loose and needed to be tightened/glued.  Once that is done, it should spin very well for her.  She is planning to bring it to the next spinning class next month on the 13th.  The group ended up settling down with 5 of us spinning away together.


With all of the people who stopped by, there were no two wheels alike.  Sandy should have been spinning on her Lendrum like mine, but if you don’t bring all of the parts, you get to spin on the shop wheel.  Which was fine with Sandy because she had been wanting to try out a Ladybug, anyway.

See the lady in the purple?  That is Sherry.  She brought a very special wheel, but until I came home and did some research on it, I don’t think any of us knew how special it is.  I can’t wait to tell her what I found out about it.


For one, it is a beautiful wheel and she said it was from New Zealand, but not an Ashford.  I took a picture of the plaque on it, but didn’t read it until I got home and downloaded from my camera.


I. Nagy.  Now, that sounded very familiar to me and I knew I had seen that someplace before.  So, I did a search on it and came up with this.  Yes, Sherry has a VERY special wheel, indeed.  I know she is very careful with it and is particular with it, and for good reason.  I don’t remember where I had heard of these wheels, but I do know my memory says that is was in a good way.  I just need to see if I can find out where I had seen or heard of this wheel maker before.


Maryann of A Good Yarn was spinning three colors together into heavy singles to knit hats from.


Isn’t it neat that her singles look like they have been plied with the way she spins them?  These are going to make some nice hats for someone.

susan's tease

And Susan, one of the shop owners, kept hauling out bin after bin of Maryann’s sock yarn.  Just look at all of those yummy colors!!  I have spent my allotment of yarn, so I could not partake today, but I sure did go over and drool over them.


I really like the white one with the spots on it and think it would knit up into some cool socks.  Susan now has a layaway plan, and I might just have to put this skein back if it is still there when I’m teaching next.

I think this Spin-In is going to be a monthly event at the shop, although with my schedule it might be October before I can get there again on a Saturday.  But stop in when they are happening and sit and spin a while with the others.  Oh yes! Susan made the best no-bake cookies for the day.  She might make them again if you ask her.

Jul 13

Today is the Saturday Spin-In at Starstruck Cat Studio in Greenwood, Indiana.  Bring your wheel or your spindle or your interest in seeing what spinning is all about and join us.  It’s from 10-4, but you can stop by any time you want and stay for as long or short a time as you desire.

Also, Sandy and I will have our tie-dye collection with us, so if you want any shirts, baby items, bags, socks, scrunchies, shoe laces, etc., stop by and we can take care of that as well.

Jul 12

Good morning fellow Tour de Fleecers!!  It’s not quite 2/3rds of the way through the Tour, but I am 2/3rds of the way done.  So, I am ahead of schedule, which is far better than I thought I’d be able to do.  Remember, this is my first attempt at the Tour de Fleece and my schedule has been ultra busy, so my getting through the spinning part alone was more than I thought would happen.  So, here is where I am so far.


Sock one is complete.  I am very happy with how this is turning out.


I took a class from Judith McKenzie on how to spin for socks, and I remember her pushing the point that the yarn had to be smooth and consistent or your feet will feel it.  So, I concentrated very hard, pulled out anything in the fiber that would not make it smooth and I think I succeeded.  Of course, the proof will be in the wearing, but just trying this sock on felt wonderful!

And speaking of the Tour de Fleece, I finally have the Team FBC badge created.  Feel free to copy it and place it on your blog if you are part of the Team FBC.

2013 Team FBC

Didn’t Scott do a great job drawing this?  Also, would any of you like this image (without the blue background) on a T-shirt?  If so, I’ll upload it to Zazzle.

The second part of my post today I am calling “This is Scott’s fault.”  Scott is an organizer extraordinaire and he makes use the best use of containers for organizing his tools and supplies.  Well, one day this past week, I emptied my box of staples…


It is a sturdy plastic, has a  good hinge and closes tightly.  Surely there had to be a use for this.  So, I went back to Sandy and asked her what I could do with it.  Here is the idea she came up with.


These items were just wandering around by their little lonesome in the bottom of my knitting bag because they were too big to fit in the little tin I carry everything else but my needles in.


And they all fit nicely and there is still a little room left over if I need to add something.  Waste not, want not, eh?

The weather is glorious up here in central Indiana today and I took the day off work to work on my yard.  There are parts of it that have not been mowed this year and today I am getting it all caught up.  Like I said, my schedule has been ultra busy this year.

Jul 11

It has been one busy week!  The last several days have been hot and muggy – it was 79 degrees F at 7:00 yesterday morning.  Then, yesterday, a cold front came through, we got some rain and this morning was a blessed 63 degrees.  It is amazing what 16 degrees will do for you.

It’s time to update you on what everyone else has been doing with the Alphabet Photography Challenge.  Last week was the letter “F” and I received links from several people who are participating in this.  Let’s get started.

Cheryl from Acorn to Oak starts us out with some sweet fuzzy faces.

Cindy from Delighted Hands gave us several good photos – doesn’t she have a lovely family?

Roxie from Sanna’s Bag delivered some wonderful shots – love the Flirt one.

Judy from Ordinary but Interesting “fenced” us in with her shots.

Sandy O’Brien has a new blog and her first post is her photographs for the week.

And there is Eweniquely Ewe’s part.

Did I miss anyone?




Jul 10

There are a lot of things that make me happy – kittens, a clear sunny day, fresh fleece, antique shopping, museums… The list goes on.  But there is one thing makes me happier than all the rest and that is teaching.  The joy I receive from helping people learn new skills is far greater than the joy of earning a little extra income.  Watching the faces of students as they get past the struggle part of the new skill and to the “I got this” stage.  We had several of those last night.


For instance, Marta was struggling with drafting.  I thought about her all month and how I could help her with this, and decided that taking my own wheel in, setting it up and having her (and another student with the same issues) watch me as I spun and explained what I was doing at each step.  I showed them the difference in speed between what my feet were doing and what my hands were doing and how much fiber I was allowing into the draft and how much twist I was allowing before letting the wheel have it.

It didn’t take long before they were both spinning more even and consistent singles.


This old, old wheel (I believe she said it had belonged to either her grandmother or her great-grandmother) needed a little TLC to get it going.  Watching her trying to start the wheel going around with the treadle was like watching someone start an old crank-start engine.  It took a couple of cranks to get it to “catch.”  So I asked her, “When is the last time you oiled your wheel?”  She looked up at me and said, “Maybe a year a go.”  So I got my oil out and showed her all of the places she needed to oil it.  I even showed her the beginning of a groove of the outside of the orifice because of no lubrication.  And you know what?  That “engine” started right up at the next crank and off she went.  She is the other student having drafting issues and was doing much better by the end of the evening.


Debbie (in the foreground) is still spinning her Pomeranian fur, but she learned how to card it (and some Jacob she brought) into soft, fluffy rolags that made it much easier for her to spin.  She is doing a lovely job.

Brenda, in the bright yellow blouse, learned how to spin top last night by spinning across the tip.  It took some concentration, but by the time class was over, she was getting it down pat just fine.  Except when I told her so, then it slubbed.  🙂 I guess I broke her concentration.

Lynn (in the pink) was working on her second cop of singles on her drop spindle and should be ready to begin plying next time.

Caeli is working on her long draw BLF for a sweater.  She had Navajo plied her first skein of it and it is a wonderfully soft, worsted weight yarn.  it’s going to make a great sweater.


Brenda also had something for show and tell.  This felted bag was knitted using all of her “newbie” and sample yarns as well as some yarn she had dyed at Dye Day and on her own.  There were even pockets inside for her spindle and other supplies.  It was wonderfully thick and she should be able to pass that bag down a couple of generations it is so well-made.


My 7th student was plying on her spindle for the first time using singles of different colors (cream and dk brown).  It’s going to be wonderful yarn for a hat or scarf and I think it would be great if she dyed it.

The really fun part about teaching this class is that each student is at a different place in their path of learning.  Some are getting more advanced (Caeli and Brenda), some are adding to what they already know and others are just beginning their own paths.  This keeps me hopping as a teacher, but it gives me the variety and challenge to keep them all going forward.  No wonder I come home so keyed up that I have to knit in order to relax enough to sleep.  How fun this all is!

Saturday, there is a Spin-In happening at Starstruck Cat Studio from 10-4.  Come and join us whether you are a spinner or someone who is interesting in spinning.  You can come for as long or short a time as you want, but do come.  We’ll have lots of fun.

Jul 9

Last night, after teaching the final sock knitting class in this series, Heather hollered my name and told me I wanted to see something.  So, I went to see what that something was.

Oh. My. Goodness!

A yarn rep was visiting Starstruck Cat Studio and look at what she brought!


Look at that hand-painted sock yarn!!  It is from Aurora Yarns.  It is 75% wool and 25% nylon with 436 yards per skein and is imported from England.


And then there was this silk – 900 yards per skein, hand dyed in the most wonderful colors!


And more silk!

alpaca silk

And an Alpaca/silk blend (the one on the left is another 100% silk).

This was much better than any candy store.  Yarn doesn’t make you fat – just poorer in wallet and richer in joy.

That silk will be perfect for weaving.  I calculated in my head what I could get out of it if I wove some on my 8-harness Baby Wolf 24″ wide at 12 epi.  900 yards would give me a three and a eighth yard warp.  If I lash on, I can get really close to the 3 yards if I squeeze in the last few picks.  I’m thinking that two skeins are enough to weave fabric for a vest. {*whimper*}  I just may have to give it a try.

If you are in the Greenwood area on Saturday, join us for the Spin-In.  It starts at 10 and goes until 4 and you can drop in whenever you want and stay as short or as long as you desire.

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