Sunday, November 29, 2009

Looking back Sunday

Nov. 28, 2006

Nov. 27, 2007
Nov 28, 2008

No snow yet this year - so far it's all come down in liquid form - must be global warming....

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving -

Pumpkin went in the freezer this past week - some to share with the church ladies who are making pumpkin pies for the Blaine Thanksgiving food baskets and some to share with co-workers and a bunch to keep. When the Libby pumpkin disappears from the stores because of their crop failure, I'll still be able to make pumpkin pie for my sweetie.

Actually The Shepherd did all the baking of the pumpkins this year because his work has been pretty slow. Actually, today was his last day of work until ??? - hopefully February. He has worked for the same company for twenty years this week, so it's pretty bitter/sweet. He will be able to collect unemployment benefits and because he is technically on "Stand-by" he won't have to go through the "Job Search" hassle.

We had almost hurricane force winds over the past weeks. It sounded like a freight train was going right through our yard! There are very few leaves left on the trees and The Shepherd will spend tomorrow morning putting his bonsai collection to bed in the greenhouse (if it's not pouring down rain)

Meanwhile, Sinda continues to rule as Queen. She spends her days snuggled on a little nest I have built for her up where she can see out the window and nights sleeping right in the middle of our bed, under the covers, if you please.

I'll get up tomorrow and bake pumpkin pies to take to our friend Nancy's for Thanksgiving dinner. Friday I have to work so there won't be any traipsing around in stores spending the money that I don't have - and Saturday I get to stay home - maybe I'll even do some cleaning. I'm sure The Shepherd would appreciate that!

Saturday I'm cooking our own turkey dinner (that way WE get som leftovers!) and we will watch "The Apple Cup" - the big game between UW & WSU - We'll root for both teams this year - a local kid is the quarterback for UW and my sister's husband and boys are all WSU alumni. So, may "the best team" win!

Hope you all have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Just one more yarn thing (well, maybe 2?)

Here are the sample skeins that I made in my class.

The darkest on the left is Navajo/Churo

The brown (moorit, of course) is Shetland

The Light grey is CVM

I can't remember what the dark grey is...

The creamy white on the left is Rambouillet and kid mohair (oooh soft)

The center white is mill spun singles that I triple plied

The next one is the Leicester Longwool

The singles are the Corriedale that we were to spin as many different sizes that we could. These are my thinner ones.

This is the first yarn that I spun from the class that I took a couple of years ago - Yvonne gave us each a big bump (maybe 8 ounces) of roving and this is how it turned out.

Not so good - - just a little underplied -

Judith just happened to mention about "re-plying" yarn - hmm I thought - maybe I could do that with this

So when we had our spinner guild meeting last week, I questioned someone about how to accomplish the task and ta-da - here you have the new re-plied yarn -

It's now a little bit "over-plied" but I'm pretty sure it will come out when I wash it.

I shall make my self a pair of slippers!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Fleece in Our Hands

All too often, an “anticipated event” fails to live up to any internal or external hype that may have been built around it. Not so with “Fleece in Your Hands”, the three day workshop that I took two weeks ago from Judith Mckenzie McCuin. (for this essay, I’ll refer as JM)

We were greeted with piles of different fleeces – the first day we worked with some primitive fleeces, such as Icelandic and Shetland.

Over the weekend there were lots of little “ah-ha” moments, like finally understanding the difference between “woolen” and worsted (at least I think I understand)

There was a group of about 20 taking the class - from all over the area - our farthest student came over from Spokane and there were a couple of people from Port Townsend. It was a lively bunch with lots of good questions -

Most fun was that my friend Nancy G. in the class - (well, after all, we were at her house) - We did Potluck lunches (I brought my favorite Farmgirl Spicy Pumpkin Muffins the first morning and Cream scones the second morning - It was fun to have them to snack on before spinning.)

My doubts about the Icelandic fleece that we recently took down to Gretchen’s Wool mill were somewhat “quieted” as JM showed us the five different layers of these amazing fleeces – and how they can be separated out from the long, somewhat “wirery” outer coats down to the almost down-like layer that is against the skin. Look how easily she has separated these layers to spin into different types of yarn. I can also see how having all the different layers/lengths blended into carded roving or batts would contribute to the "itchy" feeling that some people get about wool - the different lengths would tend to poke out and cause the scratchys... hmmm

Lots more things to think about now when I buy fiber - like, "What am I going to use it for?" or how was it prepared - combed top? carded roving, batts, etc. I have always kind of let the fiber tell me how it wanted to be spun up - now maybe I can "talk back" and put in my own ideas of how I want to have the yarn look.

Even Nancy's horse was curious about what was going on -

There were many different wheels represented. One of the things that JM does is work with you to realize the potential that your wheel has - using the different drive bands or making use of a lace flyer to make ultra fine yarns.

Now I have new things I want, like a jumbo flyer unit for plying and maybe a McMorran Yarn Balance, and possibly a little Niddy Noddy for making sample skeins. I can see now that I'm going to have to clean off the shelves in the guest room to put my stash and my toys on.

I think one of the more surprising samples that I worked with was the CVM - I was amazed at how "springy" it was almost elastic. I have 8 sample skeins that I spun up - I finally got pictures taken tonight and will put them on here in a couple of days.

There was lots of show and tell - and lots of "tell" JM is a very good story teller and after the many years of experience that she has, she was able to answer most all of our questions.

Here she was showing us some plying techniques. On the last day she passed out little bobbins of mill spun singles so those who had never tried it could try triple ply (mine looked like "REAL" yarn!!) or even 4 or 5 ply.

Did I mention that we had a catered supper on Saturday night - Chicken Piccata, with salad, roasted fall vegies and rice. Very tasty and a fun time to get to know one another.

This is one of the biggest Shetland fleeces that I've ever seen. We didn't work with this one, but a lot of the spinning that we did was with fiber that we prepared ourselves with our hand cards or drum carder or combs.

She showed us a nifty way to get the batts off of a drum carder by wrapping them onto a paper sack.

I didn't have enough courage to try this comb set-up. But it looked like it could do a serious amount of damage if used incorrectly. Sounds like a plot for a good spinner mystery...

Click on this picture to biggify it - check out the crimp in the creamier colored fleece on the far right. I think she said it is from a domestic Corriedale bred with imported Australian semen. JM demonstrated how to wash the locks individually by wrapping single layers in cotton material (like an old sheet) and pouring boiling hot water into the pan. (Ok, so you kind of had to be there - but I think she showed how to do this in a Spin Off article sometime in the past two years)

Lots of time spent "fingering" the different fleeces that she brought - some to share and prepare, some just to look at. I'll definitely shop differently the next time I go to a fiber fair.

It is good to know how to prepare my own fiber, but you know what? It's even better if someone (like Gretchen) has washed it and picked and carded it for me... maybe I'm just a lazy spinner.

One exercise we did with some corriedale roving was to spin as many different widths of yarn that we could. I should have put something along with these samples so you'd have a perspective. The skinniest is about pencil lead skinny.

I have 8 sample skeins that I finally go pictures of tonight, so they'll be on in a few days. I've been reminded that I'm "neglecting" some of the other aspects of my blog and some of my readers are getting a little bored with the spinning stuff... Well, there certainly isn't anything to take pictures of out in the garden right now unless I could figure out how to do wind and weather. Bud I have read some good books lately and as soon as it stops raining (it will stop sometime, won't it?) I'll get out to take some pictures of the sheepies.

There is much made about JM and her classes are, I'm sure, always filled, with a list waiting. It's not so much that she is a fabulous teacher - which she is, but it is that she makes one feel competent with their skills, which in turn, makes you feel really good about yourself - rather than being "The Goddess", I'd say that she brings out "The Goddess"(or God, as gender may be) in each one of us.

Will I take another class from her - You bet, at the drop of a hat! I would hazard a guess that I could even take this particular class over and still learn LOTS - Thanks to our LYS for sponsoring this event. It was fun.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

More yarn for church auction

Eeek - what a week!

First off - the class from Judith McKenzie McCuin was fantastic - the three days just sped by and I took a lot of pictures and we did a LOT of spinning - so I have lots to tell you, but haven't had the time to down load the pics & edit them. (picture a little frowny face here...)

Next time I take one of her classes, (and there will be a next time for sure, - I swear to god, the woman must be related to the pied I understand why some people would follow her anywhere - but that's another blog subject) anyhow, the next time I take one of her classes, I will take off a day before the class - to get ready and to do all the things that I would normally do on Saturday - like laundry, etc - then I would definitely take the day after the class off - to absorb all the stuff I learned, finish all the projects I didn't get finished during class and to rest - I couldn't believe how tired I was after three days of spinning!

Got back to work and the reality of it all . We're still dealing with the "train wreck" that the new accounting system has caused in our office. If anyone ever tells you that "Total Office Manager" by Aptora is a great idea for new software for your office - jump off a cliff first - It will hurt less - trust me... Oh, it does have some good points - new things always do, but, phew - parts of it really stink! And that's all I'm going to say about it for now, anyhow...

Our church auction is tomorrow night. I promised them I would bring three things - 8 ounces of handspun yarn - this is what you see drying in our bathroom (luckily we have two and don't use this shower) - it is "potluck roving" from Kathy Green in Ferndale, in a colorway called "Wild Iris". I didn't like how it spun up at first - It is REALLY green - I mean GREEN - and you couldn't really see the blue, white and yellow bits - but once I washed it, it seemed better somehow. I think it will make a cute hat or pair of slippers.

Speaking of hats, the second thing I said I'd bring is made from the targhee that I talked about last week. It spun up so beautifully - I promised a hat and a pair of wrist warmers. The wrist warmers are done and I just finished the hat tonight - I used one of the patterns that I used last year for my Christmas hats - it has "bobbles" all over it - really cute, I thought. I'll take pictures tomorrow in the daylight.

The third thing is a man's hat made from yarn I had left over from last year's hat projects - pretty easy pattern - but it seemed like it was going to be really heavy, so I have added some rows of double crochet - hopefully that will lighten it up - I'll have to wait and see.

Hopefully I'll get that hat done tomorrow, but there is a lot of competition for my time. The Skagit fleece and wool sale is tomorrow a.m. and our spinner guild meeting is tomorrow as well - with a stroke of luck, they are only a couple of miles apart and the wool sale starts first - I even sold some of my handspun yarn to one of the guys that I work with - he paid me today, so I have some "seed money", no?

So, it's off to bed for me - the candle that I've been burning at both ends is getting shorter and shorter -

P.S. I forgot to tell you - I also took in a Whatcom Weaver's Guild meeting on Wednesday night - Kim Werker, the woman who started the Crochet Me web site was speaking - she is a great story teller and brought up some very interesting points about the disparity between the fiber arts. More later..........

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Spinning Class

Way last summer I got a flier from my LYS, NW Handspun Yarns. It advertised a THREE DAY spinning class called "Fleece in Your Hands" given by JUDITH MACKENZIE McCUIN, who is a "nationally known master weaver, spinner, and fiber artist. She teaches hand- spinning, weaving, knitting, and dyeing around the country, and has led textile tours in Europe and Asia. Her articles are regularly featured in Spin-Off magazine."

The class description included: "We will spin and explore a group of different fleeces each day, coarse, medium, and fine wools, including: Shetland, CVM/Rommedale, Blue Faced Leicester, Romney, Border Leicester, Karakul, Merino."

Doesn't that sound like fun?

Well, Judith actually lives here in Washington State and is good friends with Nancy B, the owner of NW Handspun Yarns. So she teaches regularly in this area, but I have never been able to take any of her classes. I decided I was going to take this class and signed up. At that time - November seemed like such a LONG time away. But time flies when you're havin' fun and the weekend kept getting closer and closer - then I got my new wheel - wow, now I really need this class -

Tuesday I got a phone call from Deb at NWHY - "I'm calling to let you know what you need to bring for the class on Saturday" she said.

"Oh, I am so excited - I can't believe that it is almost here", I answered.

She gave me the list -
  • Wheel - check
  • Lots of bobbins - check
  • Lazy Kate - check
  • Knitty Noddy - check
  • Hand cards if you have them - check

Did she want me to bring my ball winder and my new swift (hmmm - sounds like a great idea. ) - check

I added:

My new "Fiber Journal" (so I'd have something to make notes in) - check

An Apron (so I don't tear my pants apart when I'm using my Hand cards) - check

Some Earl Grey tea and a nice travel mug (cause I don't know what they'll have for beverages.)

And, of course, my camera - check

So, I'm all ready to go!

I have been feeling a little bit guilty at leaving The Shepherd behind for the weekend - as the Saturday class includes a catered dinner and is scheduled to go until about 9 PM, but today I found out today that one of this favorite bands PEARL DJANGO is playing in town Saturday night.

I called him at noon - "Hi Honey - guess what - Pearl Django is playing Saturday night at the NW Jazz Project - do you want to go?" Didn't take much convincing - and the ticket made a perfect "early birthday present" for him.

Problem solved. He's happy and I don't feel guilty.

There are about 20 people signed up for the class. I think it's going to be a really fun weekend.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Yarn for Church?

Our Church's annual fundraiser auction is next Saturday. I am going to make another pair of
wrist warmers like the ones I just made for my friend Kay from work - She really loves hers and wears them all the time.

Here is the yarn I'm going to use - It is spun from the targhee that I got at the Weaver's Guild sale a couple of weeks ago. The colorway is called Winesap - by Huckleberry Knits. It is really a little bit "brighter" than this, but it always seems when I take flash pictures of things (flowers, fabric, etc.) with reds and greens in them my digital camera just doesn't pick up the colors very well.

I think I'll have enough to make a hat too.

I was really pleased at how it spun up and it is soooooo soft and cushy.

I've got a class this weekend (more about that tomorrow) but I'll leave a couple of more things for you to look at while I'm gone.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Blog Blast For Peace

What if, just for one day
mothers didn't need to worry about their sons
and daughters?
Children didn't need to worry
about their mom or dad coming home from war?

What if, just for one day
the shepherds could walk their fields, without
worry of hidden mines -
the soldiers could walk the streets without
fear of being ambushed -

What if, just for one day
God said
"Turn your swords into plowshares
and your spears into pruning hooks and
nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
neither shall they learn war any more"

What if just for one day,
Dona Nobis Pacem

Blog Blast for Peace 2009

Three years ago a lady named Mimi Lenox had a dream - a dream that she could get all bloggers to focus on Peace for one day - maybe it might make a difference. This is the third year I have participated. This is the blog is used in 2007 - I like the message I wrote and I still hope that someday we will know Peace in the world.