Jan 15
As the World Spins
icon1 basicallybenita | icon2 Support Your Local... | icon4 01 15th, 2014| icon31 Comment »

Last night, there were 6 students in my beginning spinning class – three of whom had never spun before.  And, surprisingly, everyone had wheels!  Three of the wheels needed some minor tweaking, but we got them all running and everyone on their way to becoming spinners.

Then, we played with blending fibers and colors and I showed them the hand cards, my hackle with combing (I forgot to bring my combs, worst luck) and then we went to the drum carder.

One of the students in the class was a nine-year-old named Christy and she went nuts over the drum carder.  I had brought bits and blobs of several different fibers and colors and she went to town.  By the end, she had created three small batts that were split up between her and two other spinners to test spin and play with.  I can hardly wait until next month to see how they turned out.  Kids have no inhibitions when it comes to mixing colors and textures, and I may have learned something from her in this area.  Sometimes it’s nice to go wild and see what you end up with.  If I can be more like her, then there’s going to be some very interesting looking batts coming out soon.

Don’t forget to make a comment on the contest post for a chance to win a Trip Up The Nile Sock Kit.  The deadline is midnight January 21st and I will make draw the name on Wednesday and announce it then.

Jan 14

This morning, while pulling the rest of the items together for tonight’s beginning spinning class that I teach at Starstruck Cat Studio in Greenwood, Indiana, I came across something I didn’t recognize.  It was a small package – maybe 2″ X 3″ X 3/4″ – wrapped in Christmas paper and tied with a ribbon to a sealed envelope.  It was way at the bottom of the case of tools I take to each class.

So, I sat down and looked it over.  Then, I opened it.  And look at what I found inside!

spinning wheel necklace

The card had a note from this student thanking me for teaching her how to spin saying it was a dream come true for her.  I just sat with my jaw dropped open for a couple of seconds, then I put the necklace on.

Folks, I have to tell you something.  I love teaching.  I love the people I meet and I love how each and every one of them has touched and added to my life.  And it’s good to find out that, maybe, I have added something to theirs as well.

I am so blessed!

Jan 13

In celebration of my new foray into designing knitwear, I would like to give away one Trip Up The Nile Sock Kit.

Kit photo

This kit includes the pattern (both charts and written instructions), yarn and reinforcement yarn to knit a pair of Trip Up The Nile socks for your very own.

If you would like the chance to win a kit to knit your own pair of Trip Up The Nile Socks, then leave a comment on this post and let me know what your favorite period in history is and why by midnight, January 21st.  Then, on Wednesday, January 22nd, I’ll put everyone who has commented on this post (sorry, only one comment per person will count) into the random number generator and select a winner.

If you don’t win this kit, you can still purchase one, or you can just purchase the pattern and use your own yarn to knit the socks.

Let the contest begin!

Jan 12

I did it!  I have been working for months and months on designing several new color work sock patterns.  Cindy has been test knitting my patterns and I finally have the first pattern complete and ready to show you.

Trip Up The Nile Socks by Benita Story

Trip Up the Nile photo web

So, what do you think of them?

I have them available both as a pattern and as a full kit with yarn, pattern and reinforcement yarn on Dyed in the Wool.  They were really fun to design, and these are the simplest I have designed so far.  Each one ( and I am working on the 6th design right now out of 10)  gets a little more detailed and intricate than the last.

And as a bonus, each design has a story to go along with it.  Why? Well, you know I write scripts for comic books, right?  I decided that, since I can’t draw my own sequential art comic, I can turn my little stories into a sequential art socks, of which Trip Up The Nile is the very first.

So, if you have never taken a Trip Up The Nile, here’s your chance.  If you have, then here’s a reminder of your trip.  Either way, I hope you enjoy knitting them as much as I have enjoyed putting it all together for you.

Gee, what country will I take you to, next?


Jan 11

Now that I have had the chance to think about it, there are a few goals I’d like to set for 2014:

1. Weave something – anything!  I have had a loom 90% warped for over a year now.  I’d just like to finish warping it and weave it off.  Just get my hands on a shuttle and make cloth.

2. Get my studio completely organized and up and running.

3. Get a couple of books finished and published – one fiction and one non-fiction.  Since I self-publish, getting them out there is the easy part.  Getting them done to go out there is another story.

4.  Finish everything that has been started on the house.  Clean out the garage, attic and barn and get rid of things we no longer want or need.  I don’t care if I make any money off of them, I just want them gone.

5. Make my goal weight.  I need to lose 30.5 more pounds.  Actually, this is probably the easiest thing on my list.  I’ve already been losing weight and am getting into the habit of going to the fitness center when I leave work (except for the nights I teach), so this is completely doable.

That about does it.  If I can get these 5 things accomplished, on top of teaching 30+ classes and going to nearly a dozen fiber and comic book shows, I will be one happy camper.  And getting this list done will really open up 2015.

It’s going to be a very productive year.  I feel it in my bones!

Jan 10

As you all have probably guessed, I love history.  Before I married Scott, it was all about American history, especially the time period around the American Revolution.  Also, I loved studying how pioneers traveled and made their own stuff (hmmm…  Maybe this is why I love creating textiles so much).  Then I fell in love with the 1890’s, then with the Civil War, then…  You get the idea.

Scott has a degree in Medieval History, specializing in England and France and the “church,” meaning the history of the Catholic church.  We are not Catholics (I was raised Baptist, Scott was raised Church of Christ), but you really cannot study the medieval time period without a good understanding of how the Catholic church worked because they had their fingers into every pie they could and then some.

When Scott earned his degree, his maternal grandmother sent us to England and Scotland for 11 days (in 1992) and I was awakened to the same history he loves so much.  I became quite an Anglophile, in fact.  Which is why the BBS series of Tales from the Green Valley, Victorian Farm, Edwardian Farm, War Time Farm, and Tudor Monastery Farm have thrilled me so much.  The education from these shows are worth their watching alone, but the archeologists and historian made the shows fun, too.  I really hope they do more.  I think one done during the Georgian times would be fun – Think Jane Austin’s time period.

Well, I turned my sister-in-law (Scott’s sister) on to these shows, and she, in turn, has turned Scott and me on to the Discovery Channel’s Time Team shows.  Holy mackerel, these are fascinating!  So, if you want to mix up mystery solving with archeology with history, you really need to check these out.  They are only 45 minutes long each, so really good for relaxing before bedtime while you work on the latest knitting project (so I’ve been told *;) winking).  So, just for grins, here is the link to the very first episode.  I think they’ve been doing this for something like 20 years, so there is a lot to learn here.  And if you enjoy them as much as we have, send a thought of thanks to Scott’s sister.  She’s one in a million!


Jan 9
Bragging Rights!
icon1 basicallybenita | icon2 Diet and Fitness | icon4 01 9th, 2014| icon35 Comments »

I did a happy dance all over the bathroom this morning.  When I stepped on the scales, I lost more weight.  That makes 9.5 pounds since Thanksgiving – 24% of my goal.  As far as I can tell, I’ve lost it all from my face.  I heard that you lose weight from top down, but this is getting ridiculous!  I’d like to be able to tell it in my clothes, but the only thing to reduce so far has been the double chin.

The only exercising I’ve been doing so far has been walking, but I soon want to add in some weight training to tone up as I lose – maybe carry light dumb bells and swing my arms while I walk to start with.  I have increased my daily steps goal from 10,000 to 12,000.  All I know is that when I see my cardiologist in March, I want him to be pleasantly surprised with my progress.

That, and this summer, when I want to work outside, I won’t be so sensitive to the heat.  All this additional insulation makes being outside even harder when it’s 90+ degrees.  It’d be nice to take bike rides or long walks without the heart spasms the next day.  Also, I want to do some of my dye pots outside.

Besides, I have 3 new pairs of size 10 pants that I’d love to fit into.  At this rate, maybe I’ll be wearing one of those new pairs to the doctor’s office in March.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed!

Jan 8
I made it!
icon1 basicallybenita | icon2 A Little of This, A Little of That | icon4 01 8th, 2014| icon31 Comment »

Well, the ride to work was rough, to say the least, but I made it.  My back road was plowed one lane wide and is solid ice.  The next one is 2 lanes and solid ice.  The highway, interstate and other roads are icy and very pitted.  There’s going to be a rush for front-end alignments once this has all melted.  It took me nearly 2 hours to get to work, but that included a short stop by the grocery store on the way.

But it was 7 degrees when I left home and 11 degrees once I got here, so I am happy and content.  I have a lot of work to catch up on, and I am looking forward to seeing the fitness center again after work.  It’s time for some normalcy in our lives once again.

Jan 7

1 sheet, 1 queen size cotton blanket folded in half, 1 queen sized quilt folded in half, a wool woven blanket, another  quilt, a freshly knitted wool blanket, and two comforters – in that order.  Plus a heated bed-buddy by one’s feet.  I was pretty snug, actually.

Today is supposed to be warmer – up to 9 degrees F.  We are still under a Travel Warning, meaning it is illegal to travel except in emergency situations.  Our office is closed again today.

This afternoon, when it is the warmest it is going to get for the day, Scott and I will head out to dig out our cars.  The wind is calm, so the drifting part is done and we can now begin to restore our lives to normal.

In the mean time, we’ll stay warm and get some things done here at home.

Jan 6

According the to weather service, we received right at 13″ of snow yesterday and it was -11 degrees F when I woke up.  It’s supposed to continue falling until it gets about -14, then stay there all night.  With the winds blowing, the wind chill is about -40.

But the sun is out, and the world is pretty in its wintery fashion.  We are safe, warmish (it’s hard to heat a house sitting on the prairie with nothing to block the winds) and have the day ahead of us.

I hope the rest of you experiencing this frigid weather stays safe and warm, too.

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