Sunday, May 25, 2008

A meme and everything else.

So I've been memed by Abby and so here I am answering these questions and then there are some pictures to look at after you get through.

“The rules of the game get posted at the beginning. Each player answers the questions about themselves. At the end of the post, the player then tags 5-6 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know they’ve been tagged and asking them to read your blog.

Let the person who tagged you know when you’ve posted your answer.”

1. What was I doing 10 years ago?

Well, I'm never good at remembering what happened in what year so I'm winging this one. It is now 2008 so I need to think about 1998...I know we moved to Michigan in 1999 so that means I was working for my mother at her bed and breakfast in 1998.

My mom and dad bought their house in 1983 when it was a falling down heap. I am not exaggerating. There was a foot of sewage in the basement, bad plumbing, a coal furnace which heated the house, the roof was off of a portion of the house and there were pigeons living in the attic and a couple of third floor rooms.

They bought the house for $50,000. It has 22 rooms and just under 10,000 square feet. It is beautiful now with 7 guest rooms all with private baths as well as a private area for my parents.

In addition to renting the rooms my mom also does private parties, weddings, showers, etc. I think I started working there in 1996...or 95. I did the desk work and the phones and the scheduling. I also did tours where I dressed in period clothing, I cleaned bathrooms and changed sheets. If someone called and asked for the person in charge of the phone service it was me. Looking for the business manager, me. Looking for the person in charge of advertising, me. Anything else people wanted I did it and I changed my job title at least twice a day. My mom thought it was hilarious but it kept her from having to handle everything.

At Christmas there is a huge display. The decorating begins in the 2nd week of November and the stuff stays up until mid January. There are a minimum of 35 trees between 6 feet and 10 feet tall INSIDE the house as well trimming in every nook.

It's fab. But there are also at least 2 parties per day - 7 days a week - for which my mom does the cooking and I would waitress and then change clothes and do an hour long guided tour. Tiring.

12 years ago I was working in a lab growing cells and doing research.

19 years ago I was working at a company that duplicated video tapes and I was in quality control - I watched movies for a living. That's where I met Lou.

Before that I was a waitress in a diner.

Before that I worked in quality control for a company that made glass parts for military airplanes and other government projects.

Before that I worked for a company that made interocular lenses.
Before that I was in high school.

There's some other stuff in between like when I was making custom wedding dresses and other stuff...

2. What are 5 things on my to-do list for today (not in any particular order):

It's about 2:30. So far today I've answered plenty of emails, ordered my surprise goody bag gift for all SOAR participants as well as any staff that might be present (I've been assured by Karen Brock that EVERYBODY will want one), bossed Lisa around - she was taking pictures of the fantastic hand dyed silk I got from Amy and now she's meditating on how to move things in the equipment room so it doesn't look like a storage shed:-) - helped a few people take some things home with them that they didn't know they needed, cleaned the shop bathroom (sort of).

So now here I am updating the blog and then...
Chelsea will be here and I will show her how to update the website, AND fix the mess I made of the inventory in Quickbooks.

While she does that I will work on the June newsletter to include upcoming classes and festivities and maybe even a sale or two.

Then I will begin to spin yarn for a spinning kit I want to put together.

When I get home I will kiss the kids and maybe even my husband, and then update the webstore with the beautiful silk and add some more things that I have photos for but haven't put in yet.

There's lots more to do but I have run out of day and so...tomorrow.

Well I'm home now and I've done everything from Chelsea down to update the webstore - that's up next.

3. Snacks I enjoy:

Chocolate Milk
chips and fresh salsa
cheese and crackers - I don't care what kind
Ben and Jerry's Cherry Garcia ice cream

4. Things I would do if I were a billionaire:

This is something I don't think about much so it's been hard to come up with ideas. So here are the first things I thought of.
1. Get out of debt

2. Take this trip.

3. Pay every one's way to SOAR this year.

That's all I can think of. I'm sure if I thought about it more I could come up with some things which are more beneficial to the world but...hhhmmmmm.

5. Places I have lived:

Limerick, Pennsylvania from the time I was born until I was 18.
Glendora, California
Covina, California
Azusa, California
Ontario, California
San Bernardino, California (All of those Californias were in a 5 year period.)
Back to Linfield, Pennsylvania where I met and dated and married my darling.
Howell, Michigan

6. Peeps I want to know more about:

1. Kate
2. Ted
3. Janel
4. Heidi Kim
5. Kathy
6. Jessie

There are more than this but...I'm stopping at six.

So now for the photos.Here is the continuation of that impossible circle/triangle/square shawl thing that Sharon is knitting. Unbelievable.

Spinning the camel. On a suspended spindle. Not even supported. She amazes me.
Last Friday there was a trip to the hospital with Ryan. Got his hand caught in the Mach 1 while he was treadling it with his hands. His hand blew up like a balloon and got blue immediately. There was lots of crying. I thought it was broken. Nope just bruised.
Progress on my Abby Batts shawl. All of the spinning is now done but I don't have pictures of the last yarns right now. It's going very well. I'm using that out of focus book called Knitting Lace Triangles by Evelyn Clark. It's published by Fiber Trends. I don't currently carry the Fiber Trends patterns so I called up the Threadbear and they shipped it pronto.
And a scarf for the scarf exchange I did. I don't think I'm supposed to be posting this right now cause my recipient hasn't gotten it yet. It's in the mail. Maybe she won't look.
It was organized by Ted. We sent him fiber, he sent it to somebody else. They spun it and knitted it into a scarf and we get it back as a finished object.

This is the yarn before it was knitted. I did it thick and thin. It was a handcarded blend of cotton, hemp, wool and silk. Lovely to the touch.

This fiber came from Lorraine Smith of Toronto. She is the editor of Spinner's Quarterly. A lovely little magazine. If you love spinning then you should really get yourself a subscription. I had a subscription and then let it lapse and then renewed. Go sign up. She takes Paypal. Here's the link.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Still More Pinks and Oranges and Buster Boys

Update on the Godiva Valentine's chocolate. I ate the last piece yesterday. You guys thought I finished it a long time ago, didn't you. Nope. I was hoping for the Mother's Day chocolate chest. Didn't happen:-(

Not that my butt needs it.

On to happier news.Here is the finished yarn I spun on my Forrester spindle. It's about 18 wpi. 4 ounces. 512 yards of drapey loveliness. This is made from Abby's Batts and it is her standard sock blend I believe. I'm not making socks from it. It may be a small shawl...or I may just carry it around and pet it.
This is the next skein for the color shifting shawl and it's laying on a matching batt - which at this point is almost spun. These are actually a lot pinker than shows in the picture. I really am enjoying this process but am still not completely settled on what pattern I will use. Maybe I should just try to do a design of my own and stop being a weenie.

A portion of the first batt in this color is on the Matchless. I was having trouble matching the grist (too thick and over twisted) of the first skein using the 15.5:1 ratio and so I switched to the Majacraft Suzie Pro at 11.8:1 and everything is going swimmingly now. Don't ask me why. But if you have any ideas you could tell me why. If it helps the Matchless was set up for DD and of course the Pro is Scotch Tension. Hhhhmmmm.
And here are the benefits of being a boy in a house where your mom gets lots of deliveries. I got a restock of plenty of fiber on Wednesday and so I brought the box home. There have been meals and naps and hide and seek and TV watching in this box. He's a happy little man.

Monday, May 12, 2008

To Toronto and Back

Last week was crazy busy. Lou left for Toronto on Monday and I had stuff to do everyday until I left on Thursday to meet him - well, to get together with Denny. Lucky for me Lou was there too. So there are lots of pictures and a little bit of description to follow.Lets start with some spindles. I happened to mention to Abby about my lack of a Bosworth spindle. Never even had spun on one. So she bullied me into ordering a couple. She suggested and mini and featherweight. I, being a girl with little self control where spindles are concerned, ordered 3 - Mini, Featherweight, and Midi. It's research, right? Waiting for the day when they have another opening for a new retailer to carry their spindles.
Also, and changing the subject, here is my new shawl. I have a goal to get it spun and knitted by SOAR - whether I get in or not. I'm still choosing a pattern but I'm leaning toward this one. If you have any other ides I'm open to them.
Last Monday was laceknitter's group. We are now meeting at the Traverse City Pie Company since Yarn For Ewe closed. Yummy. Anyway, Sharon Winsauer was there with her newest design project. The woman is a genius. She showed me the computer picture of this before she started and I said No Way. Well...Yes Way. There are more triangles and circles and squares to follow. I'll show you updates when I can.

Tuesday night was a fun Fiber Free For All and I took no pictures but it was a really fun day. Liz came all the way from Kentucky. I acquired Spinsanity Spindles for the shop. The free for all was a goodbye party for Mary who is moving to Arizona and it was a great turnout with plenty of talk about ... a word I can't remember now but I'm sure somebody will refresh my memory.

Thursday we all got up early and hit the road for Toronto. The kids were not excited about our 5:30 AM wake up call but I was trying to miss the traffic.

We got to our hotel about 10:30AM and I called my tour guide Denny and we met her downtown where she promptly took me to one of my favorite places.
Don't worry. I didn't only buy this one piece but I don't like to be a tease.
We went to see some beautiful buildings and Denny entertained the kids in a maze. She was a fantastic tour guide. Buses and streetcars and subways and we saw the city in a way we never would have just on our own.

It's a beautiful city with a diverse population and lovely architecture. It reminded me of the old cities on the east coast which I love with the old buildings and history blended with the new and modern things of a living city.

Plus...there is yarn.

First we visited Romni Wools. The oldest yarn store in the city. It's huge and I think there may be yarn there from when the store opened. My favorite part was in the basement where the coned yarns and spinning fibers are. I'll show you what I got later.

We walked around some more and saw more things and went to a park for a while where Denny lectured about how I should be building my business and she was just the girl to boss me into it, and then my darling took the kids back to the hotel so Denny and I could go to In the Loop Cafe.
It's a lovely an friendly shop - with DELICIOUS scones with cream and jam.
Denny's checking out my feather and fan shawl - which has made almost no progress in about 2 months.
This is the cafe/yarn shop. Very nice selection and very helpful staff. I bought some stuff.
Here's a look at how my bag looks inside. It doesn't really belong in this spot of the post but here it is anyway. Really, this is not how my bag looks only on vacation. This is every day. Fiber, my latest spun skein, a couple of spindles. Down a little further is some knitting which may not be obvious - and some shop bills.
We walked past this building on Friday. It's the Art Institute. Crazy building.
Right next to that building in the park was this guy making a commercial or something. I couldn't listen to what he was saying. Legs. That's all I have to say about that.

We stopped into Americo yarns. The yarns were nice. The store was perfectly perfect. Here's the thing. I don't need any yarn. If I buy yarn it's usually because somebody tells me something great about the yarn or the shop is very friendly and I like to buy something from shops where I feel good. This was a store that sold yarn. It's beautiful and if I needed yarn it may be a good place to go. I didn't get anything.
We went next to Lettuce Knit where Denny works. It's got a huge amount of stuff packed into a tiny space. I felt better about my square footage:-) Plus fiber dyed by Denny. I got some stuff - show ya later.

After a good lunch at a little dinery type place we went to....
The Purple Purl. Fab.
This is another shop with a little cafe inside. Yummy tea and desserts and coffees and great owners and happy customers. This is the shop that felt like I want my shop to feel like. Comfortable and easy. Like - welcome to my living room where I just happen to also sell some stuff. We were there for hours and I hated to leave but it was Denny's darling's birthday and she had to do her wifely birthday dinner cooking duty so off we went but I will be back.
Saturday Denny had to work and so it was time for the family visit to the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Maggie chose a notebook at the gift shop. She's really a scholarly type girl.
Ryan's favorite part was the interactive games.

Afterward we went to lunch at Richtree Market Restaurant which is in the same center - Brookfield I think.
It's a big market place filled with stations of food. Anything you could want to eat. It was the day-before-mother's-day so I thought I could eat whatever I wanted for lunch. Ryan had noodles, Maggie had a salad and Lou had a burger. I had strawberry crepes with berry sauce and whipped cream.

Then I had bread pudding for dessert:-)
Someday I will stay at this hotel. The Fairmont Royal York. Just look at that lobby. Someday. Someday.
While we were there I got my picture take with the Queen and Prince of Wales.

After that we went back to the hotel. The kids had a swim and then we went to the movies to see Speed Racer. Wait for the video.
So there was spinning over the weekend. I got this fiber from Romni Wools - it's merino and silk from Fleece Artist. Spinning it on my new Mini Bosworth.
I also finished off the last of the Abby Batts in this color. Now I will wind the two spindles full together and ply the yarn and see what I've got as far as yardage. This spindle is packed as full as it would go. This much was actually a stretch. The spindle is a Forrester Bi-Wing that I got last year at SOAR.

So you wanna know what I got?
The Purple Purl sent me home with this stuff. The purple is 70% Mohair and 30% Wool from Auldcroft Angoras. It's a 3 Ply lace yarn. The orange is from SWTC - Yang. Bamboo, wool and silk. I think it's a cable scarf with stripes of the plain yarn and stripes of the sparkley stuff.
Also there are two spindles and a teeny tiny niddy from Houndesigns. I have emailed that company to see if they would allow me to carry their spindles cause they are fantastic. I mean it.
This is the loot from Romni Wools. An 80% Mohair and 20% Merino blend and some braids of Fleece Artist top. Also at Romni Wools I got a copy of the Classic Elite booklet with Jillian Moreno's designs - a very good acquisition.
Here's what I got from Lettuce Knit. The green stuff is 100% silk from Alchemy Yarns called Silken Straw. fantastic. I'm very curious about how it will knit. The rest of the fiber is lovely and soft and dyed by Denny. Did you guys know she does dyeing for that shop? She's good.
From In the Loop. The solid yarn is 100% Mohair - anybody seeing a pattern here? - and the sock yarn is 50% Mohair and 50% wool. Both from Lindenhof Wool Mill. Beautiful stuff. Yep. Started another sock. I'm back to the double points. Don't hate.
Got this cute hammer from soem cute little shop we were walking by. There are 4 screw drivers in the handle. I need it for when I am putting all of this wheels together and that ugly man hammer isn't what I love.
And finally, Denny made me a cute little gift bag with fantastic stuff. Fleece Artist Lace yarn and yarn spun by Denny from Abby Batts and Merino from Australia and BFL lamb locks washed by Denny's own hands.

It really was wonderful. Can't wait to go back and visit again. But first Denny will be making a visit to the States when Janel Laidman is in town in July. She only has one request. The Brighton store. I need to email the Brighton tell them those ads in the Martha Stewart magazines are working.

Friday, May 02, 2008

I'm Open!

The new website is up - Kate helped me a lot - well she did most of it. ( don't think she has a blog but she's katiebird on Ravelry) It's very lovely. I love the new logo and the new font and now I need to get to work on the content and reformatting the pages.

In addition, the webstore is up and running. Now everything in the physical shop isn't in there...yet. Give me a little more time and I'll get most of it up. The main things right now are the natural wools and luxury fibers and some of the wheels.

The focus right now is to get the rest of the wheels in there including all options and also show what fleece in the grease I have for your spinning pleasure.

I'm really excited and nervous about this thing. Nervous because what if nobody decides to shop there...or what if everybody decides to shop there. I know, split personality.

Anyhoo, go take a look and tell me what you think so far.