Jun 11
icon1 basicallybenita | icon2 Support Your Local... | icon4 06 11th, 2014| icon32 Comments »

There were lots and lots of wonderful things available to purchase at the Hoosier Hills Fiber Festival, and I did come home with a few items.  First, my early birthday present from Sandy (as in about 6 weeks early, but she knew I could make use of it now):


This bag was purchased at Lunabud Knits and it is large and has many, many interior pockets.  It holds not only my little purse, but my knitting, paperwork, and other day-to-day supplies.  I am calling it my portable office.  Sandy is such an awesome friend!

marsupial mugs

I purchased these two tea mugs with little pockets for your used tea bag from Paw Paw Pottery in Beech Grove, Indiana.  I wish I could find a better link on the web for them because they had lots of lovely items.  John Todd is the potter.  Scott calls these our “marsupial mugs” because they have pouches.

And lastly, while I didn’t get this at Hoosier Hills, I saw it there and told myself that if it didn’t sell by the time I got to class Tuesday night, that I would get it.


Guess what?  It didn’t sell!  I am showing it next to a water bottle so you can see how big it is.  I bought it at Starstruck Cat Studio, where I teach, in Greenwood, Indiana.  It is from a pottery in Kentucky and they make beautiful and useful items.  This is going to be my hot tea mug for work and retire my Longaberger one to home use.  It’s nice to have beautiful, hand-crafted items to use.

That’s what I got, but there was so much more I wanted.

Jun 10

Last night, when I got home from work and running several errands, I decided I deserved a bit of time to rest until Scott got home from work at 8:30.  I began perusing YouTube looking for the kind of documentaries I like best when I stumbled across a British documentary series called The Victorian Kitchen. Each Episode is only 1/2 an hour in length, but they are a real eye opener.  So, I decided to share them with you.

Episode 1 – Introduction

Episode 2 – Breakfast

Episode 3 – Luncheon

Episode 4 – Afternoon Tea

Episode 5 – Not on YouTube

Episode 6 – Dinner

Episode 7 – Not on YouTube

Episode 8 – The Dinner Party

Talking about the making of The Victorian Kitchen

If anyone knows where I can watch episodes 5 and 7, I’d really appreciate knowing.

Jun 9

I was asked by Cindie Kitchin of Eweniquely Ewe to participate in a blog hop to answer certain questions the on creative/art/writing practices of my blog. She is third in line of this (from what I can tell) and I will be the forth.

Question One: “What am I working on?” Currently, I am working on the last four patterns for the series of sequential art socks I have slowly been releasing. Each pattern includes a story that develops as you knit the socks. Two have been released, two more are supposed to be released sometime in June and the last four as they are done.


Also, I am working on getting the math worked out for mittens, gloves, scarves and hats to go with each of the eight sock patterns. I have the scarf pattern for Trip Up The Nile already written, but I need to test knit it to make sure it looks as good in real life as it does on paper. At this time, the thought is that only the sock patterns will be released prior to them all being complied into a book. I’m still thinking on that though.

Question Two: “How does my work differ from others of its genre?” I have written stories and books since I was a kid and am currently a script writer for the long-running superhero series “Johnny Saturn.” Seeing my story come to life get turned into art by my husband, Scott Story, has been really interesting, but I wanted to give it a go myself. The problem is that I am no artist as far as what Scott does. So, I was playing around in Excel one day and realized how easy it was to create images using the “fill color” tool. I started messing around in it until I came up with the pattern that eventually became Trip Up The Nile. I have been a sock knitter for several years, so I did some math and test knit a sock using the pattern I came up with.

The first sock I did was way too tight, so I redid the math and tried again and BINGO! I had it. Then I came up with the idea of creating stories with my sock patterns. The one for Trip Up The Nile was pretty simplistic, so when it came to do a second pattern, I actually sat down and wrote a story before designing the sock pattern. That became Walking Through China.


So how does my work differ? Each sock is a bit of story art – sequential art like in comics but with no word balloons. All of the rest of the patterns are based on stories I have written specifically for this series and using historical designs for a particular country or ethnic group. Doing the research into the historical images and patterns has been very interesting and has taught me a lot about different cultures through-out time.

Question Three: “Why do I write/create what I do?” Part of this was answered in question two, but I will add that I love telling stories and I love how history and people and art have come down to us through time. I guess putting together different elements of what I love into something as unique as these patterns is just fulfilling on so many levels. My day-job is working as a bookkeeper in a commercial real estate management company, which entertains the left half of my brain pretty well, but the right side gets pretty bored with it all. I am lucky enough to be one of those people who is well-balanced between the left and right sides of my brain, so I get to explore each side’s strengths. I do know that if I do not let the right side of my brain get any exercise that it really affects what the left side of my brain is doing. I can’t type, I transpose numbers, reports don’t balance, etc. As long as both sides get sufficient challenges, then my entire life is more productive and fun.

I supposed I could do just about anything creative (and I have tried lots and lots of areas), but right now the story-art patterns are giving me plenty of scope for my creativity. Never have I had the chance to combine so many disciplines into one effort before (writing, art, color, texture, designs based on real history, etc.) and I am having a blast doing them. And it is giving the right side of my brain lots and lots of exercise to balance up with what the left side of my brain does the rest of the time.

Question Four: “How does my writing/creative process work?” That is a hard one. Something creative is going on in my head all of the time, whether it be comic book stories, knitting or weaving patterns, color blends, designs, or anything else that pops in there. I am always creating something even while using Excel spreadsheets for their intended purpose. I do spend a lot of evenings and weekends putting ideas to paper (or computer) and I have notes, scribbles and such on wee pieces of paper all over the place. And I get feedback from friends when I do come up with something, just depending on what area it is. I sure don’t approach fiber friends with comic book ideas, but then my writing friends really don’t get my love for knitting and spinning either.

Basically, it is rare that I am not thinking about my creative interests. Even when I am reading novels, ideas will pop into my head. I am always seeing something, hearing something, reading or watching something that will give me an idea. 75% of those ideas are horrid. 15% start off as something but peter out. 9% develop into something interesting but keep changing as they go, and about 1% actually becomes something I can show off. That other 99% isn’t wasted because I have to get through all of it in order to find that 1% that is worth keeping. Like the sequential art patterns I am doing. I have thrown out more ideas than I have kept (doing a sock based on the Bayou Tapestry and limiting yourself to two colors per row was not the best idea I’ve ever had, but it still rears its head once in a while and I may come up with something yet). And even if I throw an idea out for one project, it stays in my ideas bank to be used on something else. “Nothing learned is ever wasted” is one of my favorite quotes from the Brother Cadfael series by Ellis Peters. Boy! Is that true!

Jun 8

Sandy and I did a full inventory today so I could update the Dyed in the Wool shop for everything that sold tonight.  All I can say is, “WOW!”  It is amazing at how many items I had to remove from inventory and how much I had to change the amounts of the spinning fiber left.

I still have all of the new inventory items to add to the shop, but the pictures have been taken and I just need to process them and get everything added.  This may take a few days because there are a lot of items across several categories.

Thank you everyone who came to the Kentucky Sheep & Fiber Festival and to the Hoosier Hills Fiber Festival.  You made a bunch of fiber vendors very happy indeed!

Jun 8

First, I want to say how great the weather was Friday and Saturday – sunny, in the upper 70’s to low 80’s – just what late spring days should be.  And perfect for being at a fiber festival.


This was our booth this year.  Notice we aren’t in one of the barns?  Actually, as nice as the weather was, being in the barn would not have been a hardship this year, but getting into Scott Hall is a nice boost for us.  The food is here (the Girl Scouts were serving some of the best BBQ Pork and vegetable soup I have had in a while), the rest rooms are here and there is entertainment to listen to as we talked, shopped and measured out wool.


These ladies playing music were wonderful!  I love dulcimers.  Scott was with me on Friday and he went over to ask them questions before they got started and they invited him to sit in with them with one of the guitars.  He was hesitant at first, but with enough encouragement, he sat down, played and sang House of the Rising Sun to their accompaniment, and they all enjoyed themselves very much.  They made Scott’s day.

Friday was very busy and at several points of the day, we had a line for the fiber with me weighing it out and Scott writing up tickets and taking money as fast as we could.  We sold out of three more fibers and several are down to just a few ounces left.  Sandy and I will be doing our inventory today and I’ll have Dyed in the Wool updated in a couple of days.

Saturday started out slowly and it was a completely different crowd.  Friday was a fiber buying crowd and Saturday was a tie-dye buying crowd for us.  Once again, I am so happy that we have something for both fiber people and for non fiber people in our booth.

Friday, I did not get the chance to walk around at all (and only one trip to the restroom),but Saturday morning, while it was still slow, Sandy and I took turns seeing what others had and who all was there.


Mary Ann Habeeb was there with her A Good Yarn.

trading post

Susan Markle’s Trading Post for Fiber Arts was there.


Lovely Stephanie from Lunabud Knits was there.  (See that bright orange bag above the lady in white?  Sandy is now the proud owner of it.)

robin edmondson

Robin Edmundson was there with her lovely hand-dyed yarns and fibers.  Robin taught me to spin on a drop spindle what seems like a donkey’s age ago.  She doesn’t look any older, but I sure do.


Starstruck Cat Studio was there and it looks like I will be teaching a sock knitting class there in September – Yay!!

And there were many, many others there as well.






And there was at least one demonstration going on as well.

sistermaid russian

Sistermaide was making a Russian Spindle on a lathe and one lucky person watching won it, too!


And one of my students, Paula, won 1st place with her newbie yarn.  That made me feel so happy!  Paula has taken to spinning on her wheel like a duck to water.

In fact, so many of my students (past, present and future – several signed up for classes while there) were there that I was running into them everywhere.  I love knowing that I have helped them get hooked on fiber.

After Sandy and I get inventory done, I’ll take a picture of my swag and show it to you tomorrow.


I’ll leave you with a cloud-watching sheep.  This one has been on my right-hand ring finger all weekend and is my favorite of the sheep I painted on my nails for this weekend.  Not bad for having been painted with my left hand, eh?


Jun 4

Sandy and I will be at Hoosier Hills Fiber Festival this Friday and Saturday with Dyed in the Wool.  We are in Scott Hall this year (the air conditioned one!) and will have all of our wonderful spinning fiber as well as tons of tie-dye for sale.



This was our booth last year – it will look much the same except the fiber department is much larger with about twice as much as last year – different breeds of spinning wool available, too!

So, if you are in the Franklin, Indiana, area Friday or Saturday, stop by and check out what we have for sale.  We’d love to see you.


Jun 2
2014 Indy PopCon
icon1 basicallybenita | icon2 Support Your Local... | icon4 06 2nd, 2014| icon33 Comments »

This weekend was the 1st IndyPopCon and I have tons of pictures to share with you as well as some stories.


First, our booth.  A couple of up-front things that the organizers did right were having black table covers and shirts for the show.  We didn’t have to get out our table cloth this way.  Also, 8 foot tables!  Some shows have gone down to 6 foot tables to fit more people in, but they make for a very cramped surface.  And they had plenty of room behind the tables for banners and people to move around without disturbing other artists.  Again, some shows barely have 4 feet behind the tables and I have been at many shows where artists have had to scoot past in order to get out – rather like being in the middle of a full row at the movie theater.  This was much better.


And here is what I got to do most of the weekend.  I now have a bobbin and a half of this reddish merino/silk blend.  There are 8 ounces total to spin and I am about 3/4 of the way done.  See that young lady sitting next to me?  Her name is Bekah Crowmer and she was at a talk that Scott and I gave to a group of high schoolers at the Noblesville library several years ago.  Well, she took what Scott had said to heart and went to Heron School of Art and is now a very talented artist in her own right.  She made me very proud on Saturday.  A 13 year old girl came by and wanted Bekah to give her a review on her art and I sat and listened as she went over the art with the girl and gave her some very sound advice.  What Scott has done for the past 20 years is now being done by those he mentored.  It was very moving for me.

Erica booth

And this is Erica Cunningham and her booth – her first show.  She did very well and both Scott and I ended up getting something from her.  She is another young lady we have known for several years watching her grow as a artist.  Since I am not a mom, I love getting to watch these kids grow into adults and I am just so proud of them.


And there was some music – a ukulele player going around and taking requests…


…and a bagpiper – although he looks more like a hillbilly than a Scotsman.

But the best pictures were of the people dressed up.  There was a costume contest Saturday night and while I never did find out who won, these were some of my favorites.


Big Boy all grown up and with tattoos and an earring.  He was very funny and really was enjoying posing for pictures.

nazgul king

The King of the Nazgul from The Lord of the Rings.  He made everything in his costume and showed us how he did it.  The detailing on it was absolutely spot-on from the movie, too.  My favorite adult costume of the weekend, hands-down!


This young lady made her costume, too, and she said it weighed 16 pounds, including the crenoline and petticoats.


Two tables down from us was a company who made costumes and they had one of Deadpool on a mannequin.  I loved this guy in the Deadpool costume checking out the costume on the mannequin.


And my favorite kid’s costume.  This little miss (about 6 or 7 years old) was wearing a costume that her parents had made.  She couldn’t walk 3 feet without someone wanting to get her picture.  A friend of mine, Amanda Gilliam who was working at the Super Mom booth (owned by the wonderful Scott Bachmann) is a huge Godzilla nut (okay, she’s just a nut, but she really loves Godzilla, too), so I told the child’s parents to make sure they go past the Super Mom booth so Amanda could see her.  They did and Amanda went nuts.  She was so thrilled that she got to hug Godzilla. (By the way, Scott B and Amanda went to see Godzilla after the show on Saturday, and they both hated it.  They said it was boring and Godzilla was in it for all of 5 minutes – and then they cut off the fight scene between it and another monster.  So, it sounds like a “Don’t bother.”)


There was a booth selling knitted and crocheted afghans – this knitted one of Spiderman’s web,…


…and this crocheted one of Captain America’s shield.  If you are interested in these, let me know as I have the contact information of the lady who makes these.


How is that for a sweet ride to a pop culture con?  Yes, it’s one of the replica Batmobiles.  This was after the show on Sunday as we were all leaving.

And I saved the best picture for last.  When I saw this, I had to get a picture because the irony of it cracked me (and a lot of others) up.


I have never seen Darth Vader look so patient.

We had a fun weekend, to say the least.

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