Aug 29

8/31/13 There are still a few items remaining below.  Anything left tomorrow morning will get donated to someplace.  Tomorrow morning, I will do the random drawing for the extra special prizes I mentioned, so if you want in on something extra sweet, you need to leave a comment and claim something.

This is my 1,000th post.  It has taken me a little over 6 years (August 4th is my bloggiversary).  And what a wonderfully full 6 years it has been.

1,000… Just think of that number.  1,000 pennies would get you $10.  1,000 dimes would be $100 and 1,000 quarters would get you a quarter of $1,000!  1,000 hugs and kisses is a lot of lovin’ and I am sending those 1,000 hugs and kisses out to each of you who have been on this ride with me.  You have become my friends and comrades in fiber.  Lordy, the things I have learned from you!!!

I look back to my first posts and how unsure I was that I would have anything to say that anyone would find interesting to read.  The posts were sporadic at best and there were no comments at all.  I doubt if anyone has ever read them except me.  I wasn’t teaching, like I am now.  My only real extra-curricular business was writing comic book scripts for Johnny Saturn.  I still do that, but my life has become so much fuller and more fulfilling than I ever thought it would be.

As a thank you (and in celebration), I want to give away some gifts to you.  You all know that I have been working to move and resort my studio and, as I have been going through everything, I have set aside lots of yarn and other items that I either no longer need or just know I will not use.  I want to share with wealth with you.

All I need from you is this: make a comment and say what you would like from the list below.  Give me what your first, second and third choices would be, and I will send you something in the order they are claimed.  For example, if someone wants a particular yarn I show below, if you are the first person to claim it, it is yours, but if someone beats you and you have listed it as your first choice, then I’ll go to your second choice and see if it is still available. And so on.  I’ll do my best to update this page as items are claimed so you won’t waste a choice on something already claimed.  Also, read through the other comments to make sure what you want is still available, too.  The numbers on the pictures below are not going to be in any order, just the way WordPress uploaded them.

As a bonus, I have special items held back to send to some randomly chosen people and I will announce these in a couple of days.

So, here is what I have to gift to new owners.  I will ship them all out at the same time (on September 6th) so I can have time to get everything packed up and the special gifts doled out.  I will confirm what you are getting via email and will get your mailing address from you at that time, so please don’t put your address in the comments unless you want the whole world to see it.


No. 17 – This is a miscellaneous allotment of yarn.  The dark semi-solid green on the upper left is a full skein (caked up already) and a partial.  It is worsted weight wool, but I have no idea what brand or the yardage.  The middle top is a full skein of some black worsted-weight wool, the upper right is a full skein of a black 100% Merino from Muskoka Yarn Company out of Canada, and the bottom skein is a 100 gr (220 yards) cream alpaca.


No 3 – This allotment contains 11 skeins of Noro Lily Yarn which is 30% silk and 70% cotton.  Each skein is 40 grams or 108 meters.  The color No. is 8 with a Dyelot of A. Next is a close up of this yarn. This has been claimed by Tamara.


As you can see, No 3 is either a knitted yarn or a braided yarn.


No 4 is three skeins of recycled sari silk yarn.  The two on the right look to be the same colors, but the one on the right is lighter.  I have no idea how much yarn is on these skeins.  This has been claimed by Sandy O of My Yellow Swing


No 5 is 1 skein of Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool in a sort of dark tealish color.  It is 65% wool and 35% silk, is 50 grams and 175 meters.  The gauge is recommends is 22 st X 30Rows = 10 cm on US 6 needles.


No 6 is two skeins of I Love This Cotton yarn in Color 64 – Aqua Ombre with a dyelot of either 2945 or 2045.  Each skein is 3 ounces and has 153 yards.  It is 100% cotton and is similar to Sugar & Cream cotton, only feels softer.  I wove the fabric for the fabric exchange a few years back from this yarn.  This has been claimed by Jennifer W of Jennifer Wiles.


No 7 – There are 6 skeins of this pink monochromatic yarn from Plymouth Yarn Company.  It is 100% worsted-weight wool, 100 grams, 210 yards.  The color no is 604 and dyelot is 64963.  This is the same type of wool I knitted my felted bag out of recently and what I am currently knitting the Cia’s Striped Vest from.  It knits up very nicely. This has been claimed by Roxie of Sanna’s Bag.


No 8 – There are 10 skins of this Berroco Softwist yarn in 41% wool and 50% Rayon.  Very shiny.  Each skein in 50 grams and 100 yards.  The recommended gauge is 20 st X 28 rows = 4 inches on US 8 needles.  The color # is 9443 with a dyelot of 73627.  This has been claimed by Shelley B of My Journey to Fit.


No 9 is exactly the same as No 8, except the color is 9446 with a dyelot of 72475.  Both 8 and 9 are in unopened bags. This has been claimed by Laurie D. Laurie, you need to email me your mailing address.  My return email bounced back as undeliverable.


No 10 is 13 skeins of Artful Yarns Serenade which is 70% Pima Cotton and 30% Angora.  Each skein is 50 grams and 100 yards.  The color is 6007 with a dyelot 0442.  The suggested gauge is18 st X 24 rows = 4 inches on US 7 needles. Claimed by Judy S of Ordinary but Interesting.


No 11 is the same as No 10, except there are 8 skeins and the color is 6011 with a dyelot of 0904. This has been claimed by Cindy M of Delighted Hands.


No 12 is the same type of yarn as No 7, except the color is 602, dyelot is 64963 and there are 9 skeins.


No 13 is the same as 7 and 12 except the color is 91, dyelot 94214 and there are 10 skeins (unopened bag).


No 14 is Debbie Bliss Cotton Cashmere (85% cotton and 15% cashmere).  There are 6 50 gram, 95 meter skeins.  The suggested gauge is 22 st X 30 rows = 10 cm using US 5 needles.  The color # is 15005 and dyelot is 1. This has been claimed by Sue O.


No 15 is a skein of Lorna Laces Color No 3ns – Grapevine Lot 9228 and a partial skein of a Lornas Laces yarn with a matching color in it.  I have no idea how much is in the partial skein, but the full one has 225 yards (worsted weight).


No 16 is two Skeins of Paton’s Rustic Woods yarns, one in Col 1003, Lot 1, and one in Col 1007, Lot 1. Both are worsted wight, 100 grams and 187 meters.

No. 18 is one set (of 5) of 6″ US size 0 Clover bamboo double-point needles.

No. 19 is one set (of 5) of 6″ US size 1 Clover Bamboo double-point needles.

No 20 is one set (of 5) of 6″ US size 6 Clover bamboo double-point needles.


Thank you for listening to me ramble on and on (and on) for all this time.  You guys simply are the best!!!!

Aug 28

The letter “M” proved to be rather fun, and I have a good start on N as well, already.  So, let’s go:


Magnets – Scott and I have a fridge full of them.  Guess which one I like best.


Mailboxes lining a residential street.


Map – This is an AD&D world map that Scott created when he was in high school.  His mom liked it so much that she had it framed for him.  This map qualifies as an antique at this point.


Megamind – If you haven’t seen this movie, do so!


Melatonin – By the way, if you have troubles sleeping, this is the best stuff on the market as far as I am concerned.  And no, they did not pay me to say this.  It just is.




Good stuff, but the Menthol in it is pretty strong.


Metal container.  Scott and I hoard these things.  This one usually houses my stitch markers.


Money!!!!!  Notice it is change and mostly pennies at that?  All the money I could find in my purse.  Payday cannot come soon enough.  🙂




Mouse – okay, that was an easy one.  I could have taken a picture of the mouse we caught in a trap the other night, but that wouldn’t have been very pretty.


Mugs – a few of my faves.


Sugar Maple – see the hint of autumn on the upper left side?  This tree will be glowing oranges and reds in a few weeks.


I took this one to put in the “What’s wrong with this picture” category, but I guess it can go for Maternity, too, even if the manufacturers did get it wrong.  Sheesh!  And this is supposed to teach children what? That sheep have litters and nurse them like a cat does?

Delighted Hands

My Yellow Swing

Acorn to Oak

Eweniquely Ewe

Ordinary But Interesting



1………………………………………………………………  Almost there!!!

Aug 26

So, everything I had intended to do this past weekend did not get done.  In fact, besides groceries, bank, post office and playing with Sandy’s kittens while she was out of town, about the only thing I accomplished was knitting and sleeping.  I forget that I am not only not a machine, but am an aging human and I cannot run full tilt for weeks at a time without consequences.  The consequences of not taking a day off to rest in over a month is two days of rest.  I was so exhausted at the end of last week, that I’d be in that too-painful-to-think phase before I even got home from work and still had things to do.

With two days of more rest than not, I should have my second wind to start this next week.  And it’s a good thing, too.  While I don’t have any classes until September 10th, I need to catch up lots of things at home and I want to get back to the fitness center on a more regular basis.

Knitting-wise, I finished the right half of the Cia’s Striped Vest and have started the left half.  Really, get the Autumn 2013 Creative Knitting magazine!  This vest is super simple, fun and it is going to be so cute when it is done.  In fact, I have a insecure knitter friend (she’s just getting comfortable with yarn overs and knitting stitches together) whom I think is going to be knitting this vest.  Seriously, it is 99% knit and purl.  And there are at least three other projects in this issue that I want to do.

As for the Letter “M”, I’ll have it up Wednesday*.  I have most of the shots I want to take, but I thought of some more that I want to add to it.

Update on Scott’s Mom.  She is home from the rehab center and is doing rather well, considering what she has been through.  Scott spent most of Thursday with her and she is trying to catch up with her own lost time – a month for her.  I’ll say this for her – she’s happy to be back with her little dog, Itsy.  Everyone else could visit her while she was gone except Itsy, and they both missed one another.

I just realized that this time last year I was giving you updates on my mom.  I am so grateful that Leslie is going to be okay.

I hope you had a great weekend.

2………………………………………………………………………………….. (If you guess what I am about to do, there will be something extra special for you.)

* I got home too late to download the pictures, so I’ll do my best to get them up for Wednesday’s post.

Aug 23
A WIP Update
icon1 basicallybenita | icon2 Work-in-progress | icon4 08 23rd, 2013| icon34 Comments »

Part 2 of 3 of the busiest summer is complete and I actually have two free weekends ahead of me to work on the house.  The next busy time begins September 7th and ends in time for Thanksgiving – I think.  Basically, that means there won’t be a weekend without something planned as well as a few evening classes thrown in here and there just to keep me on my toes.

This weekend means more work on my studio and actually getting the living room cleaned and reset up.  This will be soooo nice, let me tell you.  Also, it contains some dyeing and mowing and more knitting.

Speak of knitting, here is where I am with the Cia’s Striped Sweater Vest.


Just a couple more rows, and I get to start the right back, which should go pretty quickly.  By next week, I’ll be starting the left sleeve and getting that second half done, then joining and knitting the collar/facing part.  I’d really like to have this done before it gets busy again.

And, please note that I swapped out the wine color for rust.  The wine was too close to the purple, and I just wasn’t happy with it.  The rust, on the other hand, pops beautifully and I love it.  Yes, I know.  I’m in a rut with colors again.  The Purple, Orange and Green color triad is my favorite and I slip into it so easily or any combination of two of the colors.  But I love those colors!!  And the light gray goes very well, don’t you think?

And, I get to knit another one, only slight smaller.  A co-worker really wants one, and she had intended to knit it herself, but finding the time (she has a teenager – need I say more?) isn’t happening for her and the three of us (including Sandy) want to be able to wear them to work together.  So, I volunteered to do the knitting.  Really, with this vest, it’s all fun knitting, so I’m looking forward to it.  Her colorway is similar to mine with one different color and in a different order.


Are you getting curious, yet?

Aug 22

Wildflower Acres, the farm where Sandy and I get the lovely Corriedale fleeces we sell, came through Indiana last night from Missouri (they used to live near us in Indiana, which is how we met) on their way to Ohio and they brought the fleeces we had chosen with them.  We met up with them at my LYS, The Trading Post for Fiber Arts, got to meet our new fleeces and bring them home with us.

We purchased four fleeces altogether.  The first one was Ukulele, which we have been getting since her lamb fleece.  Her lamb fleece was judged by Judith McKenzie to be an exquisite Corriedale fleece.  It still is.


Just checkout that amazingly fine crimp structure.  Ukulele started out as a dark grayish brown and each year she has gotten lighter and lighter until she is now a nice medium gray.


I guess she had something to say about having her picture taken.

The other three fleeces we received were Alpha,


who has a nice white fleece, although it is not as fine as Ukulele’s.


And then there is Dolly, a light gray.

Darcy somehow managed to escape getting his picture taken, but his is a nice light gray as well, and we will be combining Darcy’s and Dolly’s into one batch.

It looks like a trip to Ohio Valley Fiber Mill is in the near future.  We still have the State Fair fleeces to pick up, but that won’t be until next week.  Since there are two Grand Champion and one Reserve Champion fleeces in that batch, I cannot wait to show them to you!

Oh, yes, to continue the countdown from yesterday – 4………………………………….

Aug 21

I’ve taken a glance at some of the other “L” posts and you guys are brilliant.  Lots of things I hadn’t thought of.  So, here’s mine.


Loom at Michigan Fiber Festival.


Lamb Security Service.


Long Ladder Lying on the Lawn. (I’m mowing Saturday – it’s been busy around here.)


Locust tree.  These tree grow like weeds around here. but they have the prettiest and nicest smelling flowers in the spring.


Linden tree…err…bush.  This is supposed to be a tree, but a strong storm broke it off and I just let it become a bush.


Legs – Scott’s.


Lego people.


Layers of old comic books.


My Laptop.


Land – specifically the field and woods across the road from us that is owned by Scott’s family.


Lamp or Light fixture – whichever you want to call it.


Scott’s camera Lucida.


And the greatest of these is Love!

Believe it or not, I did take this picture.  I have a camera with a timer on it and got it all lined up, pushed the button and ran to Scott.  It’s the first time I have purposefully used the timer.  It won’t be the last.

Acorn to Oak

Delighted Hands – Odd that we thought of the same post title.

Eweniquely Ewe

My Yellow Swing

Sanna’s Bag

Ordinary But Interesting

Awesome job!!

There is something special coming up on BasicallyBenita.  It starts in 5…………………….






Aug 20

This year, we had four youth teams – one was all boys, too.

I will start by saying that every year these kids impress the heck out of me with their ideas, work ethic, stick-to-it-iveness and finished product.  This year, they raised the bar and I didn’t think that was possible.

Since I mentioned the all-boys’ team, let’s start with them

Pirates of the Treadle poster

Once again, the Pirates of the Treadle came forward with a great display – I love the photos of the guys on the team and their step-by-step explanation of what goes into preparing the wool for dyeing and spinning.


Their sense of humor always cracks me up.  The rat is a nice touch.


As you can tell, the boys love their costumes and take their theme and work very seriously.  Their spinning was much improved over last year and their scarf was beautiful.


Here’s a close up of their warp dyed with indigo, walnuts and onion skins.  Their warp was Super Corriedale and their weft was white Texel.  By the way, not too many people are familiar with Texel wool, but let me tell you, it spins up like a dream and is so soft!  It was perfect with the Corriedale warp.

70's Spinners

The next team I’ll discuss is the 70’s Spinners.  I love their theme and they did all they could to bring out the free-style element of the early 70’s.


Just look at their costumes!  I love them!


And their tie-dyed warp was a perfect match.  Remember, all of the dyes used have to be natural, so let me mention that this warp was time consuming to dye.  It has a semi-ikat (in color) feel to it and they were so proud of it because it is exactly what they had envisioned.  The warp was a blend of Super Corriedale and Shetland and the weft was Shetland.


This is their practice scarf, and I am so glad they went with the colorful tie-dye warp.

Their spinning was the only thing that really knocked their points down, but if they can work on that and improve it for next year, they are going to be a team to watch.


The third team were the Witches of the Wheel, and each member took on the personification of a different witch from fiction – from Sleeping Beauty, to The Little Mermaid to Narnia, to Harry Potter.  Their presentation poster and table were absolutely the best.  They had lights and sound effects and I love that caldron with the scarf spilling out of it.


Aren’t their costumes great?


And here is their warp.  It was black, green and purple dyed with indigo, yellow onion skins and cochineal.  The black is natural colored.  I believe both the warp and weft were Shetland.


The fourth team was the Lassies of the Loom.  They really took the whole Scotland theme to heart.


Here are their practice scarves.


They had a bit of a problem right off the bat with their loom as they had a cord break and basically had no tension on their warp.

judgemindy to the rescue

So, in came my fellow judge, Mindy McCain, who is a professional weaver (and has been for several decades) with an idea to fix the issue.  Look at that poor weaver’s face.  She just looks miserable, doesn’t she?


It wasn’t pretty, but the water bottles gave them enough tension to continue working.


Don’t they look adorable in their tartan skirts?  I wish I had gotten a clear picture of their warp.  It was from the weaver’s own Shetland sheep dyed with cochineal, indigo and yellow onion skins with the natural colored black weft.  They were pretty ambitious, too, as they needed to card, spin and weave more then one color in order to complete the tartan pattern.


This was taken from up in the bleachers and shows the whole field of six teams.

So, how did the youth teams fare?


The Lassies of the Loom came in first place, and their scarf sold for $300 in the auction. The Pirates of the Treadle came in second and sold for $200 in the auction.  The 70’s Spinner’s came in 3rd and sold for $200 in the auction.  The Witches of the Wheel came in 4th and sold for $225.

The proceeds from the auction goes right back into the youth program for next year’s competition.  Needless to say the sad looking Lassie weaver because a happy and skipping Lassie weaver when they won.

The reason the Witches of the Wheel came in fourth was points knocked off for being 1.5″ too narrow and an inch too long.  If the width had been within the correct parameters, they’d have come in 3rd place.  They all did great jobs and I look forward to seeing what they all come up with next year.  Really, if they can top this year with their ideas and themes, they should awards just for that.


Aug 19

Yesterday was the 2013 Indiana State Fair Sheep to Shawl and I was blessed again to be one of the two judges.  This time, we had a surprise waiting for us, though.  There were two adult teams as well as four youth teams.  I was so happy to see them!!!!

And we’ll start with the two adult teams.  Tomorrow, I’ll talk about the youth teams.  Otherwise, this blog post would be very long and with lots and lots of pictures.

First was the national anthem…


…and then it was start spinning!


Serendipity used a BFL fleeces for the warp dyed with several natural dyes randomly placed.  Personally, I loved this warp.  The texture was nice and I adored the colors.  The weft was from a Romney ewe.  Both sheep are owned by the weaver, Donna Jo Copeland.   Donna Jo also dyed the weft yarn.


And the rest of their table was nice and colorful with hand spun yarns created by some of the team members.


Here is their warp on the loom all ready to go as soon as the spinners had yarn ready for the weaver.

seredipity team

The rest of the team did their part and soon the weaving started.  I’ve known most of these ladies for years and it was great to have them there.

The second team was the Warped Weavers.

warped weavers1

Isn’t their motto a hoot?


The Shetland for this shawl was very nice.  Shetland is a personal favorite of mine, so I was interested to see how this would turn out.


Nancy the Weaver is doing some last minute tweaking on the warp.


And soon she was weaving.  Isn’t the undulating twill interesting?  And I love how the black weft pops against the gray warp.  Very nice!!


They even had a hand spun and hand knitted sweater made by team member Tim Ackerman.  It felt lovely!

The Warped Weavers was the first adult team to turn in their shawl with Serendipity coming in later.  Both shawls were finished very well.


But in the end, it was The Warped Weavers who came in first by a slight margin.  Their spinning was awesome, especially the warp, and their pattern choice was visually interesting.  Also, the feel and drape of the shawl was very nice as was the feel of the Shetland wool.  They did have some treadling issues, though, which meant their points weren’t as high as they could have been.

Serendipity narrowly came in second, mostly because the warp colors could have been more random and the Romney weft made it a bit itchy.  Also, it was denser and not as drapey as the all Shetland shawl.  It was so hard to judge these, because my personal favorite is Serendipity’s.  And I wasn’t the only one who thought that because it came in first for the Team Choice Awards for the adult teams.  I can’t wait to see what these teams do next year.

The Warped Weaver’s shawl brought in $350 in the auction and Serendipity brought in $175.  It was all I could do not to bid on Serendipity’s shawl.

Tomorrow, I’ll talk about the youth teams and show you what they did.

Wednesday, I’ll post the “L” photos for the week.

Aug 18

Sandy’s and my trip to Michigan started out by stopping to get gasoline and seeing this!


I am an absolute sucker for vintage cars and this custom restored 1941 Ford caught my attention, so I asked the owner if I could take its picture.

Apparently there was a vintage car show at the Glass Festival in Elwood, Indiana.  I am going to have to look that up because it sounds down Scott’s and my alley.


The next thing we see are all of these bug butts.  Actually, this parking lot had lots and lots of restored Beetles, and they were all so cool!

Then, the looooong drive North.  When we got to the Michigan Fiber Festival, the place was crowded.  How crowded?


This crowded.  There were multiple buildings of everything fibers, as well as tents, and barns full of animals.


There was a shearing demonstration going on.  The sheep in the center is letting me know exactly what she thinks of all of this.


And check out the luster on this Pygora goat’s coat.  Beautiful!!


And not every fiber festival can boast a camel in the barn.  His name is Humphrey.


I fell in love with this felted dragon!

Sandy and I dropped off several fleeces for processing as well as bought more.  We are gearing up to next year’s fiber festival season and need to replenish our fleece inventory.  I think looking and and choosing fleeces is one of my favorite thing to do.  And, my-oh-my, did we get some beauties – including the Reserve Champion CVM fleece from the St. Louis Fair.

I was a long drive up there and back, but Michigan Fiber Festival is more than worth the trip.  We are already looking forward to next year.

If you are going to be at the Indiana State Fair today, please stop by the Sheep barn between 10 and 2 for the Sheep to Shawl competition.  I am one of two judges for this event and it is always fascinating watching the teams work to card, spin, ply and weave a scarf in 4 hours.

Aug 17

Okay, so I got up at 4:30 on a Saturday morning.  This morning. Today.  Why?

Because Sandy and I are on a fleece buying spree at Michigan Fiber Festival today, that’s why, and is is a 4 hour drive north of here.  Sandy will be here at 6:00, but in the mean-time, I have to load the car with fleeces to be delivered for processing, pack my lunch, eat breakfast, shower, brush my teeth and get dressed.  Oh yes, and the most important part of my day – my extra-large cup of Irish Breakfast.

I may need a second cup.

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