Sunday, April 29, 2007

Phoenix Rising

This is Josh. I've known Josh for almost 8 years now. He is graduating from high school this year. Last night was his prom. There is some kind of tradition that kids wear their prom clothes to church the next day. When I saw Josh at church this morning he told me that he was all dressed up for me. we have a prom picture. That's me with no shoes after church. Josh stopped by to borrow some soy sauce for his mom and so I grabbed the opportunity to get a prom picture with the coolest kid in school.
Yesterday at the shop several people came for a lesson including Blogless Sarah, my favorite black cat and also Becky who has So Many Hobbies. All of them made some big progress in their respective spinning. They all came wanting different things and I think that together we were able to get them closer to their goals.
Before they came and also after the lessons I worked on the yarn that is above and below. I bought the fiber last year at Rhinebeck from Shadeyside Farm. I looked at the bin of fiber first because it was very intriguing - especially the name - Phoenix Blend. But when I asked about it I just loved the story and had to buy some.

Now I wish I had bought some more because I LOVE the novelty yarn I'm getting from this stuff.
The story goes like this. The couple that own Shadeyside Farms was getting ready to go to Rhinebeck and had a lot of their fibers gathered in one room. They left to do some other things and when they got back their dog - Phoenix had been into the fibers and blended them up. Hee.
In the mix is alpaca, silk, plenty of wool top, wool rovings, nylon shimmer, dyed mohair locks, and even some unprocessed wool locks. I love it and I've never spun novelty yarn on purpose before and this stuff is great.
I'm not sure I can get this effect myself. You know. Without the help of Phoenix. Maybe they'll let him make me some more.
And finally, this is for Maggie. Maggie is quite the little math wiz (takes after her mom ; ) These are pattern blocks that we use with our Saxon Math curriculum. But both kids like to play with them outside of math. Here's what she made on Saturday. I can't wait to see what she comes up with next.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Chelsea is 20

Here is my second in the line up. Her birthday is today. 20 years old. Finding her path. Working things out.

We love you Chelsea.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Wool, Wool, Wool

I have a huge list of things to talk about tonight. I'll start with all of the enjoyable stuff. Last night we went with the kids to see Meet the Robinsons. Seriously, I was not that excited. The previews didn't look that interesting to me. My head was all stuffed up and the thought of 3-D glasses sitting on my pressure filled nose was not attractive.
Here comes the But.
This was the best family movie I've seen in a long time. The messages were positive. Things I WANT to teach my kids. Things like "You can choose how you react to situations." and "Your actions have an impact on those around you, whether you are aware of it or not." This was all wrapped up in a very nice story which Maggie watched with interest and even Ryan, in the midst of the threes, made an effort to watch. I will definitely be purchasing this movie to sit next to the classics on our shelf.
Of course there is fiber going on all around me. This picture is of the white Wensleydale I'm working with right now. The Handweavers Guild of America has learning exchanges 2 times per year. When you sign up you get a list of names of others who are also participating - usually 6-10 people in each group. For the spinning exchanges you spin enough 5 yard samples for the people in your group plus the evaluator. You keep records of your study and send the samples with your records to the evaluator who critiques your work as well as everyone elses in your group. In the end you get one of your samples back with the evaluations well as a skein from everyone else and their evaluations. It is a great way to obtain a lot of knowledge from a group of people in a short time.

Wensleydale Sheep

There are two reasons I am doing this. One is that I am the new Michigan Rep. for the Handweavers Guild of America and thought it might be a great idea to take advantage of as many of their programs as possible so that I can speak intelligently about them. The second reason is that I LOVE Wensleydale wool. I love the luster of it. I love the weight of it. I love the drape of it. I love how it gets a little halo when you spin it. Love it.

Cotswold Sheep

This week I got 3 Cotswold Fleeces from 2 different farms. It's really hit or miss when you don;t get to touch the fleeces before buying but I really hit the jackpot here. This first one is a lamb fleece and it is soooooo fine. Probably a 4 or 5 inch staple.

Holy Crap!!!! Look at that! Beautiful and wavy. Staple length on this one is like 7 or 8 inches and it is white as snow. The individual fibers on this adult ewe fleece are, of course, courser than the lamb but the luster and the crimp...

This is another adult ewe. The color ranges from white to black and every shade in between. This fleece is finer than the white and has beautiful curly locks.

This is the place where I get into trouble in this business because I don't want to sell anything. I want to keep it all and spin it. Last week I decided I couldn't sell the Jacob fleece so i washed it all up and it is in line for spinning. It will be a white cardigan with a black stripe around the bust.

Jacob Sheep

I got some Optim Fiber from Conjoined Creations and just had to spin some up. It is merino that is somehow stretched. Well, it was a little difficult to spin and needed plenty of predrafting but the product is just beautiful. It has a very silk -like look. The finished yarn is very nice. I plyed it and wet it on my plastic niddy. When it was wet it got very stretched out but it dried right back to its original length. Weird. It's also not cheap. $28.00 for 4 ounces. The finished product is very lovely though and if you are looking for a little luxury item this could be the ticket and the colorways are very wonderful.

This is the next skein I'm working on for the COE. I have this little Ann Grout Acorn support spindle. It spins like a dream The fiber is a combination of Qiviut and silk. I'm spinning this very fine which I think is fitting for a fine fiber such as this. Most of the skeins for the COE are turned in a singles but I would like to see this plyed with a single of silk and knitted into something lacy. I need a one ounce skein and so far I think I've gotten about 1/10th of an ounce spun. This will be a few more weeks.

Now, I was over at Deb's earlier and she was showing her work on her bedroom today. I need to work on my bedroom but I have issues. I do a lot of work in my bed. I'm talking about working, reading, studying. So here is a bad picture of my side of the bed. On the floor there are scriptures, books about and by church leaders, my work bag, about 20 books about spinning, my bag of qiviut, Michigan quarterly sales tax stuff, a sweater I'm knitting, another bag full of back issues of Shuttle, Spindle and Dyepot and a lot of used tissues - stuffy nose, remember?
In the table is Vitamin E cream, a cute box from Dana with jewelry in it, my acorn spindle and a whole bunch of other things I need to put away.
The problem is this. I don't have convenient places for this stuff. I do have a craft room but I use the stuff mainly in my bedroom. I need to come up with a better way to have the stuff near me - or be less lazy.
O.k. I'm going to sleep. Busy day at the shop tomorrow.

Friday, April 20, 2007


Today is my oldest's birthday. She is now 21.
Weird feeling having a daughter that old. I don't feel much older than 21 myself.
We have become more like friends over these past 3 years when she's been gone for long stretches of time at school. Don't get me wrong, I'm still full of unwanted advice like any good mother but she now chooses to talk to me about stuff rather than my trying to pull it all out of her and wondering what's being left out.
It is weird. I want her to be home and be 15 again and at the same time I can't wait to see what happens next in her life. It's all so out in front of her and nothing is set in stone.
Happy Birthday Brittney
You seem to be doing alright despite sharing a birthday with Hitler.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

I Don't Get It

I haven't been keeping up with the blogs very well lately - my own or the others on my favorites list. (I never did figure out an easy way to work with Bloglines.) So last night I though I'd do some catching up and was over at Queer Joe's. Now Joe and I don't often agree on a lot of things but I enjoy the discussion over there and so I read it.

Joe had a post the other day where the title was "Mormons...What's the deal?" He went on to repeat myths and out of context things which everyone who doesn't know any better always repeats. Not helpful.

In his follow up post he seemed to have really listened to the comments and came out with an understanding that faith in God doesn't always look rational to those around you. So my argument here isn't with Joe. I was bothered all night about the comments. Some took this opportunity to bash Mormons. Why? I ask this question a lot. Yes, a lot of the stuff in the religion, taken out of context, looks a little strange. But really isn't it like that in all religions?
Just because the stuff happened only less than 150 years ago does it seem more weird than talking donkeys, sticks turning into snakes, lamb's blood over doorways? (I believe all that stuff) Why is it harder to believe that God talked to somebody a month ago than it is to believe that He spoke from a burning bush?

I'm not saying that I expect everybody to turn around and join up, but really, do we have to be so mean? As in every religion there are those who will give you the shirt off their back and those who still haven't figured out how to be nice. There are those who follow the teachings as well as they can and those who go on Sunday and return to life without religion on Monday.
There is a lot of political talk on the Internet and I don't agree with a lot of it but it isn't personal. Religion IS personal. If there are questions then by all means ask them but to just say "Mormons are weird" ...

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has close to 13 million members world wide and it the fourth largest church in the US. Really. There are a lot of them around. Trying their best and believing in God. And for every story of somebody growing up in an abusive Mormon house there are 100 stories of children growing up with loving parents, just like all of those houses which aren't Mormon.

We are all alike no matter where we live or what church we go to or don't go to. Doing our best to get through life and help each other and raise our kids.
Yes, I'm Mormon. I don't talk about it much here. It is a very sacred and important thing to me. I work at it. I study it. I am trying my best.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Did you ever try to decide which is your favorite movie? Remember when you were young and it was easy to have a favorite everything? I'm not sure I have a favorite anything anymore. I think I only have top ten lists. But then I have trouble deciding which number to put titles next to.
Point is The Philadelphia Story is in the top ten.

"South Bend, It sounds like dancing, doesn't it?"

Monday, April 09, 2007

Look at This Stuff

We left for St Louis on Wednesday evening. We stopped in Okemos for Mongolian Barbecue. Then back on the road to head to Illinois for a hotel stay. The roads were quite icy and I can't believe how many accidents we saw. Every overpass was solid ice and it was slow going. After about an hour and a half we were back to normal speeds and got to our hotel around 11:30 I think. Next morning we were up and going on to the Gateway to the West.
Thursday there were two hockey games. Notice how high we are. We were located in the very last row of Scottrade Center. I got a little dizzy from it. But I did bring my knitting. Unfortunately I didn't knit at the arena because Ryan was making me very nervous with his jumping around and leaning and moving. I was sure he would fall - he didn't.
Michigan State won the CCHA championship. BOO! All of the games were very good and the Michigan State Goalie is great. It's just that you can't be a true Wolverine fan if you can ever be happy that State wins anything.
It was freezing cold the whole time and a lot of the activities were outside but we did it anyway and the weekend was really a lot of fun.
I did finish the Broadripple socks finally. And they fit. And I like them. And my mom isn't getting them.
Also, check out the ghostly white legs. Yup, that is my normal color four seasons of the year.

Love them. I need to start another pair right away. I started knitting these last August. 8 months. The reason I should start knitting right away is because at this rate I will wear this pair out before I get the next ones finished.

And now for something completely different. Here are some pictures we downloaded from Lou's camera today. This one looks like the top pf the roll top desk and some chapstick and the printer.

Here is the desktop computer on the desk from a top view.

A view of Lou's office. This looks a bit high doesn't it?

Hey, a little hand.

Looks like pajamas and an object I can't make out.

Are those footie pajamas standing on Lou's laptop?
Somebody was trying out the camera when we weren't looking.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Miss Me?

That is a picture of Ryan last Monday. We went out to eat and when we were leaving the restaurant there was this motorcycle. He loves them. No, we didn't just stick him on some one's motorcycle. They were there and asked him if he wanted to try it out. It is a nice bike.

I actually didn't realize that I had posted so long ago. Time flies when...well, not so much.
Lou took the kids to see the Phillies home opener and so I had this past 5 days on my own. I thought I'd relax and maybe clean the house - yeah, right. Instead I was at the ACCOUNTANT for almost a whole day! and just a bunch of stuff was going on so I was on the run the whole time.

Fun thing is I went to Frankenmuth to take two Wensleydale fleeces for processing. I kept the best two to wash myself. I have a black on and a white one. The current HGA learning exchange is a Wensleydale study and since I love the fleece I thought I'd join in.

I also have a most beautiful Jacob fleece that I've basically hidden. Can't decide whether or not I want to sell it.
In addition to the washing of fleeces and paperwork and other nonsense, I've been spinning my first skein for the HGA COE in Handspinning. This skein was done on my Golding 1.3 ounce spindle. It has 50 WPI and 7654 YPP. I use Blue Faced Leicester Top. I love this skein.

Next skein will be using a support spindle. I haven't yet decided on a spindle to use. I think I'll spin some Qiviut I have - I think I have about 3 ounces of the stuff. Maybe on my Russian spindles. And in the mean time I've been practicing the Navajo Spindle because in May I need a 1 ounce skein using a large support spindle.

Here's the beauty shot. I'm actually pretty proud.
Tonight we're off to St Louis for the Frozen Four this weekend and back to work on Monday. The shop will be open on Saturday. I have my trusty friend stepping in to help.
Now I just need to figure out who will be in the shop while I'm a SOAR in October or if I should just be closed for the week. ????
Off to do some organizing of this shop so Saturday won't be overwhelming for the girl.