Friday, December 28, 2007

Christmas 2007

Christmas is always a lovely time for my family. If we are in Pennsylvania and Delaware there is plenty of running around and visiting and joy. If we stay in Michigan it is much more relaxed. No running around but still plenty of joy. In Michigan Christmas Eve is always a nice dinner. This year we had ham. It was quite beautiful and also delicious.

Before bedtime we open our Christmas Eve gift. It is always pajamas and everyone knows it.

Christmas morning is generally a wake up early day. There are some gifts and a good breakfast. Then the Christmas movies begin and we watch them all day while we eat some yummy hors d'oeuvres all day until it's time for bed.
So Maggie got her Ladybug and some Louet Northern Lights to spin. She is a happy girl and has almost filled a bobbin already with a single that plies into a DK weight yarn.
Ryan didn't stop moving all day. As you can see in the photo there are hockey supplies galore.
Chelsea liked (I think) her new sweater.
This is what Brittney and Chelsea looked like most of the day.
I got this.

And this. There was lots of spinning. I will probably take one with me to Disney World. (only 3 days to go!)
Ryan in his new net. It is a full size hockey net and the boy couldn't be happier. It took up most of the living room. Now it's in the garage.

Yes those are pink skates. They are Maggies and we are mean and haven't gotten him new ones so he wears the pink.

Check out how she gets the wheel going with her foot. Cute as a button she is.

And now she's evidently planning to make yarn and sell it in my shop.

O.K. I'm off in a couple of days to the Magic of the Mouse but there may be some remote blogging.

Sunday, December 23, 2007


Things are looking up! Well halfway at least. I wonder how long it takes for all of it to be in the upswing at the same time. Looks like I'll be tired and dumb at Disney World. But at least I'll be happy!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Originally the first Tuesday of the month was when some people came by and spun or knitted or whatever and we just had a nice time and the rest of the Tuesdays I just hoped to see a smiling face. Well, now every Tuesday is buckets of fun. Michelle comes almost every Tuesday Shannah comes too and so does the other Michelle (that's her in the middle of the photo). And of course Maggie's day at the shop is always Tuesday. Fantastic Fun. Michelle and Shannah keep me in line and the other Michelle... Just buckets of fun every week now.

This picure has a lot going on. Maggie has just learned to use a niddy noddy and it skeining off some yarn she just plyed on the ladybug wheel. Michelle is plying something she just finished spinning and everything is everywhere in the shop - like always.
I do straighten up in there. I do. So does Shannah. It just gets messy really fast. Don't know what to do about it. But look at little Maggie go with that niddy.
Here's the never ending sweater finally knitted into submission. I'll give you all the gory details. The yarn is Katia Surf 100% acrylic. I bought this yarn more than 6 years ago at a little yarn store in Phoenixville PA. I loved the feel of it and loved the shine of it so every ball they had came home with me - 12 I think.
I had this yarn in my stash for at least a year and then decided to make a sweater for Chelsea out of it. I began the search for an appropriate pattern which took a couple of months and then set out to knit the thing.
The pattern is from Vintage Knits by Sarah Dallas. It is the Ribbed sweater done on 3.0 mm needles.
k2p2k2p2k2p2k2p2 until you want to scream!!!!
Last October I decided I would finish it for Chelsea and give it to her for Christmas. The back was already done and the front was about at the halfway point. I knitted like crazy and got the front finished and the sleeves about halfway. Then it was Christmas...
I put it in a box and wrapped it and promised to finish it.
Then 3 weeks ago I remembered the box and started knitting again. Hours and hours and hours.
I don't like knitting with this yarn. There's no give, flexibility. It is 6 ply yarn that splits like crazy.
Never Ending.
Until tonight.
I had Brittney model it - cause Chelsea hasn't seen it yet. Wouldn't be fair to count it at a Christmas present again, I guess....

Some skating for the grandparents...

Sunday, December 16, 2007

To My Grammy

Dear Grammy,
I made you these fingerless mitts for Christmas. I got the very easy pattern from They are called Voodoo Wrist Warmers. I knitted them from a Merino Wool and Silk blend yarn that I made on my spinning wheel. I love the color and I think they will be warm for you. I used US size 3 double pointed needles to knit them. I like this pattern because of the button hole thumb (my friend Shannah told me about it). I have also enclosed the remaining yarn in case you want to use it for something.

Now before you start saying all of the things I know you'll say, please let me answer your questions.

Yes, your fingers are hanging out the ends. I have a pair of these - also from Knitty - called Fetching and I wear them all of the time. I can dig in my purse and knit and dial the phone and everything with them on. I wear mine to almost every hockey game. I thought they might come in handy for you when you are at the flea market on Sundays. If someone wants to buy something you can give them change and never take your mitts off.

The magical thing is that if you keep your wrists warm your hands feel warmer. I think you will be happy with these. Please try them out.

And Merry Christmas.
Love Bethy

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

How I Felt...and also knit....and also spin

I've been a little light on the fiber stuff lately. Not that I haven't been doing it. Really. I'm finishing Chelsea's sweater (which always takes longer than I think, which is why after 4 years it's still not finished), I'm working on a sweater for me, I've got about 3 different fibers I'm spinning, and an idea for a sweater design from handspun which is a new territory for me. Not the spinning, the designing. I'm just never sure about posting about things in various stages of unfinished so I don't do it much.


Here's what Maggie spun in the shop tonight from Louet Northern Lights. I think it's Icy something colorway.
I took a little and plied it back on itself so you can see what it will look like when she plies it. Six years old. I hope Santa brings her a Ladybug because the girl is good.
Here's what I did tonight. I had a class with only one student called Last Minute Felted Gifts. I made a couple other things too but I actually came up with this little gem in my own tiny brain. Cute as a button I think.

I started with a Styrofoam cone - because they are supposed to be quick things - and covered it with a layer of dark green roving. I then took little wisps of fiber - different shades of green - and folded them in half and needle felted them into place where the ends came together. I started at the bottom and worked to the top. I made the little balls and felted them in up under the folds and the star was just a flat felted piece that I cut out and poked in the feet to make it stand up.

I think it's kind of cute. Don't get carried away with my felting skills though. The whole time I was poking and prodding I was thinking that I'd rather be spinning so I don't think I have a bright future in the needle felting like some people I know. But it's good to branch out.

It's also good to go back to the lovely, quite, rhythmic beauty that is spinning.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Sneakers and Santa and Shooting and Spindles

It's been quite a week so I've got some picture highlights.

On Thursday afternoon we went to visit Santa and give him our Christmas list. Well, half of us did anyway because I think Santa has a lap weight limit. More on that in a minute.

On the way home from Santa and the mall we stopped at Marshall's because Maggie needed new sneakers - again.

She is a girl after my own heart.
Oooooohhh, shiny.
Here's a closeup of the toe.

And the high top. We were in Nordstrom at the mall and saw other shoes from this maker for almost 3 times what we paid. I was quite surprised to find them and once Maggie saw them it was all over.So here they are with Santa. Maggie asked for a Hannah Montana CD and a spinning wheel! She narrowed it down to two items because she didn't want Santa to think she was greedy. I asked her, "What if Santa doesn't bring you a spinning wheel?" Maggie replied, "That's o.k., Mom, I'll just get one from your shop." She wants a Ladybug to be specific. We shall see.

Ryan asked for Hockey Gloves, a Hannah Montana CD, and an ice mat. I have a question. What is an ice mat? Ryan said it's a mat you put down that looks like hockey ice so he can play in the kitchen - which he already does without the ice mat. I've never seen anything like it. I've never heard of it. My son is an inventor. Of course I think it's too close to Christmas for the prototype.

Friday night I went shopping to TJ Maxx and Target and finished off the last of the shopping. It's a smaller Christmas this year for many reasons. A big one is that we have enough. Also, in only 22 more days, we are going to Disney World. Two good reasons to cut back.
Saturday night we went to the Michigan Hockey game. it was Teddy bear Toss night. They collected more than 750 teddy bears to benefit Mott Children's hospital. We look forward to this night every year and the kids got to go along this year.

And to top off an already great week Ryan was chosen to play Score-O. He went down on the ice and got to shoot at the goal for a chance to win prizes.
He was a little unsure at first but as soon as that stick was in his hand he was ready.

And he made his goal with no problem. Another example of the benefits of kitchen hockey.

Now the next problem. When I got to the shop on Saturday there was a box of new spindles from Greensleeves. I believe I got 26 new spindles and I want to keep at least half for myself. I have no pictures because I don't want to tease you all if I decide to keep them. I already own at least 13 spindles. I love them. I love the wood grains. I love spinning with them. But...if I want to continue paying the rent and having a shop I will have to give them up. I will narrow it down to one to keep and sell the rest. Seriously, I've already spun on many of them. LOVE!

O.K. off to knit. There's a little thing I promised to finish for Chelsea last Christmas and now a year has passed... Pictures when it's done.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007


So the home wireless is back and all is right with the world. I'm in my warm comfy bed with something trashy on TV and writing and new blog post. It's almost perfect. The thing that's not perfect is that the wrong by is sleeping next to me.

Stop thinking those things you people!

Ryan is the sleeping boy and Lou is downstairs watching Hockey as usual. Did you ever notice that it's hockey season for like 11 months out of the year?

So the Anniversary/Grand re-opening/excuse-to-have-a-party-for-myself went very well. Lots of my favorite people, traffic jams, hugs and plenty of eating as well as a couple of new people who will soon join the ranks of the favorite people. As usual the blogging thing didn't enter my mind until too late. All of the people were gone and then I thought I should get the camera out.
So here's a picture of the door prizes. The winner's have been contacted and all are very happy I think.
Here's Shannah at the end of the day still working hard.
This is an idea of how most of the shelves looked after everyone left.
And this is how much food was left from the files and stacks which were on the table at the start.
All in all it was fantabulous. We're thinking about another party in late January. A Pajama party I think. A sleepover. A Spin-In. A fibery night of fun. You bring the sleeping bag I'll bring the snacks. I'm not sure how it will work yet but let me know if you are interested in this.

So that night we went to the Michigan Hockey game and my darling was chosen to play the Northwest Airlines Shoot Around the World. There he is on the ice waiting for his turn to play.
Here he is facing his goals. The object is to shoot the pucks into the five nets to win frequent flyer points. He made three out of the five goals for a win of 6500 points. He's the current lead scorer for the season! Kitchen hockey has paid off.
I just had to include this picture. I think Shannah took it. That's my little Maggie girl spinning away on the LadyBug that she's dreaming of for a Christmas present. She's becoming a pretty good little spinner.
And the mohair. The colors are great.

Don't forget to tell me what you think of the sleepover night!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Happy Anniversary to Me.

So I'm having some internet connection issues at my home. That's why there's been this long stretch between entries. I usually do posts late at night in my bed with the television on. I don't like sitting at the desk to do it. Well, here I am at the shop doing this update from my desk since we probably won't have the wireless back up for days and days. Bummer.

Well, tomorrow is my Grand Reopening / One Year Anniversary and I've been working hard to get ready and I still feel like there's hours of work and tonight is a Michigan Hockey Game for crying out loud!
But here's the door Prize list:

Enter to win

Two Sets of Swallow Needles in Sizes 3.25 mm to 5.5 mm with knitting Gauges

Each is a $35.00 Value

Shannon Okey’s Spin to Knit along with a Notebook for your own designs

$30.00 Value

Christmas Classics DVD Set with 7 Holiday Features

$22.00 Value

Ashford Tote Bag with an Assortment of Spinning Fibers

$75.00 Value

Triangle Loom and Stand

$180.00 Value

Pretty good right? So here is the list of specials for the day:

Purchase a Spinning Wheel and Receive 16 Ounces of Select Wool Roving as well as 15% off any spinning accessories such as additional whorls, lazy kate, niddy noddy, flyers, etc.

Triangle Looms and Stands – 50% off the Retail Price

Great way to put those stray handspun bits to use.

Ashford Tekapo Worsted WeightYarn – 50% off

Navajo Singles Yarn – Regularly 21.00 per 4oz skein

Now $10.00 per skein

Great for Weaving and Felted Knits

Louet Gems Merino – All in stock cones Regularly $4.00 per ounce

Now $2.00 per ounce when you buy the remainder of a color.

Buy 5 or more colors and pay only $1.50 per ounce.

Great for Sock Knitters and Weavers

Mercerized Cotton Cones – Reg $2.95 per ounce

Buy the remainder of a color and pay only $1.50 per ounce

All In Stock Gaywool Dyes Any Size $5.00 each.

Regularly $10.95 to $14.95 each

Check out the center of the main room for great prices on the remaining Ready Spin as well as select Merino and Merino/Silk Top.

Braided Shetland Rovings Regularly $2.00 per ounce.

Buy the Whole Braid and pay only $1.00 per ounce.

Still good right? Well, there's more. There are mini cheesecakes and little tiny desserts and cheese balls and sparkling grape juice and hot chocolate and as always - Peanut M&M's

On top of all that I got some new Spinning Loft Totes. They are clear vinyl with the sheep on them. There's a large 19" Tote and a small accessories case. Cute as heck. They will be for sale for $18.50 and $8.50 each. I love them.

If you are near by please come and say hi.

Pictures in a couple of days I promise.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The Things I Think About.

Plenty to talk about but first -

The Spinning Loft is going to be open on Friday from 10 to 4 and Saturday from 10 to 4. So, if you want to come and spin with me, come on over.

Saturday from 10Am to 12 noon is the 4th Saturday spinning clinic where you can bring your problems and questions and leave a better spinner.

Ok. now you all know and I expect there to be a crowd. Please don't make me regret missing out on door buster sales at Kohl's. (hee, hee)

O.K. on to the fun stuff. When Jenny was here she told us that Ingeo has a low melting point of 170 degrees. I googled it and came up with several websites corroborating her information. I was curious and decided to do some experimentation.
Here is the original sample which I spun in the New Wave Fibers class last Thursday.

So I first got some boiling water (at least 212 degrees) and poured it over the sample in a bowl. Then I poked at it a little with a spoon. Nothing happened except it puffed up a little.
Here it is right out of the boiling water.
So I dumped out most of the water and microwaved the sample - first for 1 minute and then for two minutes. Some dye came out.
But the sample is still intact. Now I need to do some dry melting experiments. Maybe with an iron or a curling iron. The best I can find for curling iron operating temperatures is between 100 and 200 degrees. (I'm hesitant to use my Rowenta Iron on it.) More to come.

We went out to Red Robing for dinner on Monday night to celebrate Ryan's 4th birthday. Shannah came along and we had a great time. Here are the two of them looking for our dinner delivery. Shannah is food aggressive and so I try to stay clear when she is eating.
Then came the sundae and the singing wait staff. He got a little shy. After the ice cream and the singing we went to the Hockey store and he got a new helmet complete with a cage and a hockey stick too big for him. He and dad cut it down last night and now all is well. He's destined to be a hockey player.

Spinning Wheels
Look what came today.
We had twins.
Each has it's own little ladybug birthmark. This one on the back support.
This one on the flyer holdy part. (That's the real technical name. Call Schacht and ask them.)
Look how cute they are.
The one on the left is set up for Scotch Tension. The one on the right is set up in double drive. Both work equally well. I love these wheels. Simple. Easy to use. Smooth to treadle. Good price point. Schacht engineering and quality. Come in a try them out. I will definitely be stocking these on a regular basis.

Other New Stuff
Last time I was at Ikea was over 10 years ago. I still haven't been back. Not really by choice. Mostly has to do with proximity. My darlin' went there today to pick up this table which I found on the website. Gate legs. This photo is showing only one leaf set up. It also has 6 drawers. I was pleasantly surprised at the Ikea quality for the price. I will definitely be shopping there again. I hope I actually get to visit the store next time.

This warp was wound and I began warping back in May. Hmm. I decided I'd better get to work. So I got to work. I was unsure of what condition the warp chains would be in. Couldn't;t remember. Sometimes when I make them I do a pretty bad job of it so I was a little nervous. Also, unmercerized 8/2 cotton likes to stick with it's neighbor so it's not the easiest thing to straighten out.

I got all of the heddles threaded after about 2 hours. 1,2,3,2,1,4,3,4. Over and over and over....and over. Lou stopped by to pick up the car seats so he could go get the kids. He asked my favorite question. What's for dinner? My answer? 12321434, 12321434, 12321434.

Then while I was winding it on this song came into my head. Strummin' my pain with his fingers, Singin' my life with his words, Killin' me softly with his song...

What!!!!??? Where did that come from? I haven't heard that song in ages. I don't even like it. Maybe I'm going crazy.

Here I am with the freshly warped loom. I still need to tie it onto the front beam. 3 cotton towels coming right up.
Look how red my cheeks are. I have a cold. I'm fighting it as hard as I can. I can't get sick until mid January. Crazy. Now I'm scheduling the germs.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

The Spider Made Me Do It!

I know I haven't been blogging very often lately but there's stuff and things and stuff and I'm so busy but I'm going to rectify the non blogging I promise - for all 4 of you who read this bloggy thing on a regular basis.

So, Spinning Spider Jenny just left. She arrived on Wednesday afternoon and her plane left this afternoon. It was fantastic. The classes were top notch. Full of information. And also fun. Jenny was a great sport for many reasons. First of which she was willing to stay in my unorganized mess of a house. Sleep in my 3 year old's bed sight unseen. Can anyone say potty training? And second because she was up for any adventure short of camping outside.

Camping inside was another story though.

I have a Ravelry group called "wool shop sleepover". Currently there are only 3 members because when Galina was in town Erica, Kate and I slept in the shop and made this little group. Not a lot of action in the group but it is pretty tiny and we email each other usually. I think this is going to slowly change though. The group is open to those who have slept overnight in a wool shop. Now Jenny and Shannah are part of the group. We all slept on the floor. Lee (Baabins on Ravelry) stayed pretty late but she was afraid she would wake us all up with her horrific night noises.
This is a picture of Jenny's friend Noreen in the green sleeping bag, Jenny in the middle and Shannah on the right. Jenny's friend Jofran is over in the lace room sleeping away at this point. She was in the class and there's a photo of her coming up. Noreen is not a spinner. I have a feeling she may be one soon though. I was able to get her to do some woolhuffing.

Woolhuffing is my version of recreational drugs. You take a nice amount of grease fleece in your hands, put your face right into it and breath in deeply. There's nothing like that smell. Many breeds smell different from one another too. I expect to be able to - in the future - identify a sheep's breed by it's smell as well as I can identify it by it's look and feel.

So, Noreen was game and so I gave her a free sniff of several of my favorite fleeces. You know, like a drug dealer would to get you hooked:-) Here are Shannah and Jenny at the beginning of Thursday - New Wave Fibers. I think Shannah is giving Jenny her blog address. They hit it off immediately.
Here is just one picture of the samples Jenny brought. Amazingly spun skeins and beautifully knitted pieces. Under the table were notebooks and notebooks of samples and swatches and notes for us to look at. I didn't take full advantage of this opportunity and regret it already.
This is Shannah showing and telling about her first knitted item from her own handspun. I let her tell you the story but I love the scarf.
Here are some samples from the plying class - Saturday. In the front is Cindy, Shannah behind her, and behind Shannah is Kathy who you may not be able to see very well. Kathy is great fun. If you have a class get her to come. She'll certainly liven it up!
I just like this picture of the wall of fleece.
This is Jenny telling us to not listen to anybody and be as disobedient as possible and question everyone. Hee, hee.
Actually, she told us to question things and if anyone ever says you MUST do something in one particular way then just smile and say thank you and continue with what works for you. I will definitely be questioning conventional wisdom from now on, and have pages and pages of notes on spinning experiments I want to do.
More plying. That's Lisa in the front, then Michelle, Roberta, Mary, Lee, Jofran, and Jenny (holding up nothing). And here we are this morning before Jenny headed off to the airport. I had a great time with her. She's like a spinning genius, funnyfunnyfunny, and a wonderful teacher where all of the students feel wonderful and welcome and talented. I'm hoping she'll be willing to come back to teach again.

ETA I can't forget that Maple was there on Friday and also Sylvia ( who I think has a blog but can't remember it and hopefully she'll come by and remind me what it is.)