Sunday, June 28, 2009

What can I say? It's been a busy week as usual. There was planning, organizing, giving Chelsea a hard time, giving Ryan a hard time, giving Maggie a hard time. Lousmith was out of town and so I didn't give him much of a hard time because we were both busy and didn't talk much.
There were lots of new deliveries this week including some fabulous Alpaca/Wool blend from Louet, some newly processed Dorste Horn roving from a Pennsylvania farm near my parents and processed at Zeilingers, some fantastic Targhee top that I bought from a local farm and had processed at Zeilingers.
This is a new Bond fleece that was flown in from Colorado. The color is fantastic, the crimp is lovely and it is strong and clean. I may be having an affair with this fleece.
I can't remember some stuff...these are the support spindles from Houndesign and I just like them in that tiny vase.
The wall of spindles is looking sparse. I'm still waiting on a couple of spindle makers. Hope, hope, hope.
Friday Lousmith came home and off we went to the annual Michigan Cahllenge Balloon Festival that happens right here in Howell. We went to watch the launch and then went to the carnival. The kids each won a prize for their dart throwing talents and there was the bumper cars and then a snack of snow cones and back home.

Saturday we went again for the glow. When we were driving up to park, this is what we saw. So many balloons.
What happens on Sazturday night every year if the weather is good is there is a lauch and the balloons are then gathered up and brought back to the launch field to be inflated again before dark.
As night comes there is the glow. The ballons all stay on the field and light their fires at the same time that makes the balloons glow. it is so beautiful adn we try to make it every year.
Just lovely.
And then some photos just because. masham love. I have rigpped this project once and will begin again as soon as I am done with this post.
And the Tabacheck low whorls and Tibetan Spindles. I love what he is doing with the colorplay. That's new. No high whorls in this shipment. I'll pay the bill and see if he'll send them quick!

If you are reading this and aren't on my email list, the shop will be closing at 5PM on Thursday the 2nd, and will be closed on Friday and Saturday the 3rd and 4th of July. have a happy weekend and I will have photos of my upcoming fun weekend in Ohio.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Solstice Celebration Breakdown

Yes, Jillian was here for the party. See the wet spot on her skirt. Still not sure what happened there.
The lovely Carla and poetic Erica were spinning and plying away. (By the way, Carla is selling her single treadle Matchless. It's been impeccably cared for and is a lovely golden color. Contact me directly if you've been looking for a used Matchless)
Evil Michelle was practicing her longdraw from the fold.
Erica and Jofran made the long trek to soak up some pleasant summer weather on the Spinning Loft porch.
Maggie graced us with her presence and pretty smile.
There were discussions about the benefits of one wheel or another for a new spinner.
And I made this. Even with how busy we were that day I still found time to spin up some stuff I found in the closet. Some kind of wool/silk blend. 164 yards. About worsted weight. 3-ish ounces. Spun supported long draw on the Little Gem. I like this yarn. I finished the skein by a hot water soak with the Sola scent of SOAK and I can't stop sniffing the skein!
(I love Soak because of the no rinsing. And for those of you who are not loving scents there is a scent free version. Out of stock on the Sola now but it's in transit and should be here by the end of the week.)

It was a lovely day. So many people came and I didn't get a photo of everyone because I forgot my camera and Chelsea filled in like a champ.

Our next big party is in August with a sleepover and sale and all kinds of fun.

Now I'm off to do some hooping so I can gat the next 20 pounds off and get me one of these.

Thursday, June 18, 2009


Last Wednesday I set off for TNNA which is the big trade show for owners of needlework and yarn shops. Now I am the first to say that I do not own a yarn shop but there were several things to be accomplished.

First- I was teaching two classes. One was a class on how to teach beginning spinning. this calss was targeting yarn shops who are adding spinning. there is plenty of teaching going on and I wanted to spread my calm and laid back way of teaching to leave students feeling happy and comfortable.

Second - I wanted to see if there were any companies adding spinning fibers or weaving yarns to their lines.

Third - The SWA (Spinning and Weaving Association) meeting was on Sunday morning.

Well, I did all that and more! Amy King came to stay with me for two nights. Though we've been talking on the phone plenty we've never actually met in person. Well, all I can say is, she's more in person. Fabulousness and naughtiness and fun. We had a great time - o.k. I'll let her tell whether she had a good time but I had a great time.

My classes were successful I think. Nobody cried, nobody swore at me, nobody told me outright they didn't like it. So I'm going to take that as a positive.
I got to use the new Schacht Niddy Noddy while I was in Ohio and I love it. It comes in Maple and Cherry. It telescopes to be either 1.5 or 2 yardake it shorter and your skein comes. It lays flat or comes completely apart. Wonderful. Plus since it telescopes then when your skein is wound you undo the screw and make it smaller and your skein comes off like magic. No pulling on the tight skein to try to get it off. Love the thing.

I was in Ohio all the way until Monday evening. I had to stay to bring home wheels and bits from the Schacht booth. One thing I brought home that I hadn't had in the shop before is the winding station and I really like it. a place for your bobbin winder, a place for your ball winder and a place to put your yarn cones so they don't flip all over the floor while winding.

The other thing is a bench for the Schacht looms. I did a tiny bit of weaving to try it out and I like it a lot better than the chair I've been using.

When I got back into the shop on Tuesday I was happy to see lots of new goodies for me (and for you) Three colors of dyed Shetland pin drafted roving from Judith McKenzie McCuin's flock. It is soft and lovely.

My Cherry Matchless was there as well as some loom reeds and the new Niddies I had ordered. I love the new Matchless and have big plans for spinning miles on it.

Houndesign finally came. Spindles, Niddies, support spindles and Navajo spindles. All so beautiful. All of them are on the webstore if you haven't seen them yet and you can't make it in. Should I keep one?
And!!!!!!!! More Yarn Hollow with a new fiber. A blernd of Angora/Merino/Silk. I love it but I saved a Wensleydale braid for myself. The fiber in the above photo is Alpace/Merino/Silk. OOOOOOOooooooo.

Saturday is the big Summer Solstice Celebration with sales and spinning and touching and fiber love. If you don't get the newsletter, here are the details:

This is just a really quick reminder of the Summer Solstice Celebration happening this coming Saturday at the Spinning Loft.

Spin on the porch. Sip some lemonade. Have a snack Relax and have fun.

Take a look at our
new Custom Bat Bar. Choose from a wide range of fibers we'll weight them out and I'll make a carded batt or two for you while you wait. Price for this service is $6 per ounce.

Summer Specials will be all around. Discounts on certain floor models such as a 15 inch
Flip Rigid Heddle loom with stand, stick shuttles, warping peg, heddle hook, instructions and 2 half pound cones of Louet Gems Merino in the colors of your choice. Regular price for this package would be $453 but take the whole package home on Saturday for just $339.

All Offhand Designs Spindle Bags on sale for 30% off the marked price.

There will be
specials on several fibers. Check them out in the shop.

All VHS technique videos will be marked at $1. If you've got a VCR take advantage of this deal. These videos regularly sell for $39.95

Take your time, bring your current project and join us for a lovely day beginning the lazy days of summer.

Saturday June 20th 10AM to 7PM
No charge for this fun day

What I forgot to say was there are a couple of C. Cactus Flower looms which are great for beading or Miniature Navajo weaving on sale for 20% off.
Also, a Fancy Kitty Cherry Wool picker which is regularly $650 marked down to $495.

Come on in and see what's special and just hang out with a fun group. I've got plenty of chairs and the porch is very inviting.

So off I go now to get ready for Saturday. I hope I'll see lots of you and if you can't make it i hope you'll plan on making a road trip soon.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Moving Again!

First, an ode to my chocolates. Just last week I ate the last piece of my Valentine's candy.

Oh how I miss you Godive Chocolate which used to live inside the big red heart shaped box! I am so sad whenever I think that I will have to wait 8 more months to see you again.

Next, I know how all 5 of you who look at this blog are always waiting for photos of my adventures in moving things from place to place in the shop. Well, your current wait is about to end. Last time I went to Ikea wew could only do one wall in the Room O'Fleece but the wire cubey shelvesd kept falling on poor Chelsea and so I had to make another trip to Ikea to get something more sturdy to hold the many pounds of fleece which were acquired over this spring.

While I was at Ikea i met the Billy Shelves. I purchased one to see how I liked it and we moved the books to the main room of the shop. (Those roses on the right are from my darling Lousmith for our 14th anniversary)

Another angle of the main room with the looms in their new position in the middle of the room.
Here is a photo of the original shelving unit. it also shows the sadness which is the spindle wall. Where O Where are the spindles I've ordered and why must I wait so long?
Again with the old wall with fleeces even perched on top.
And the new wall. The baskets will be purchased at t alater date but for now this is much safer and even cleaner looking. The shelves which used to hold books now have all the wool washes and the flickers and the combs and the hand cards and the dyes. It makes sense in here among the fleece.
And the corner where the carders and combs and flicks used to live. Nothing has moved here yet. We are still in the consideration stages. Right now all that's left there are flyers and shuttles and bobbins.

I hope you've enjoyed this short tour. If it's all unclear please come in and I'll be happy to show you around and help you touch thinkgs:-)

Also, another exciting thing happened this week. I got my copies of Amy King's New Book, Spin Control. Here's a review of it. I also think there may be something fun with it in the upcoming Knittyspin...maybe...possibly. And don't forget that Amy will be at the Spinning Loft teaching in September if you are interested in learning her magical spinning techniques in person.

Monday, June 01, 2009


The loom is almost finished being warped for my scarf/sample. I should finish that up and start weaving tomorrow. Pictures will follow.

But today I want to make a post about motherhood. Sometimes I have doubts about what kind of mother I am. Am I ruining my children? Am I scarring them in ways that will take plenty of therapy?

At my church the members give the talks and sermons every week and so we have the opportunity to hear from each other. Some talks are more engaging than others and lots of times, for me, that has to do with how well behaved Ryan is being at the time. But this past mother's day Melissa Lynch was one of the speakers and her talk was very inspirational to me and gave me hope. I asked her if she would send me her written talk and she has. It differs from her spoken words in that her time was short and she cut some things.

I'm posting the talk in its entirety. mostly for myself so I can easily refer to it now and then but I also hope that those of you who are mothers can read it and find some reassurance in Melissa's words.

Of course you know that I don't post much about my religious feelings here but this talk I am giving an exception. Take what you want from it, and bypass those things which may not blend with your personal feelings.

It is an honor and privilege to speak to you today. I hope to convey a spirit of inspiration through my words and hope that by the end of this talk, you mothers or soon-to-be mothers will have a renewed conviction to press forward in your most sacred roles in your families.

As a member of the church my entire life, I have been blessed to have the constant reassurance of my church leaders that being a mother is one of the most sacred and noble callings. Yet even with this constant reassurance, I had constant doubt thrown at me by outside influences.

Approximately one year ago, my sweet husband gave me a book called, “I Am a Mother” by Jane Clayson Johnson. Sister Johnson is a member of the church and tells her story of how she left behind a prestigious career to be a stay-at-home mom. In the first chapter of her book, Sister Johnson states:

“When we trust in the arm of the Lord rather than the voices of the world, everything changes.”

And then she goes on to quote Elder Neal A. Maxwell:

“When the real history of mankind is fully disclosed, will it feature the echoes of gunfire or the shaping sound of lullabies? The great armistices made by military men or the peacemaking of women in homes and in neighborhoods? Will what happened in cradles and kitchens prove to be more controlling than what happened in congresses?”

In preparing my talk, I felt compelled to research the definition of “mother” and these were my favorites:




a female parent.


a term of familiar address for an old or elderly woman.


someone that gives rise to or exercises protecting care over something else.

From these definitions, I gathered that you have to be female but do not necessarily have to give birth in order to be a mother. Yet these definitions still did not satisfy my hunger for a definition on the word mother. So I turned to the definitions of female, woman, womanly, lady, maternal, and feminine. Yet the deeper I dug, and the more worldly definitions I came across, the emptier I felt. The spirit then prompted me to turn to the Proclamation on the Family where it so beautifully and clearly defines who a mother is. So with the help of the Proclamation, I came up with the following definitions:


1. Daughter of God with a divine nature and destiny.

2. A woman who follows the Lord’s commandment to multiply and replenish the earth within the sacred bonds of matrimony.

3. Woman who fulfills her sacred duty to rear her children in love and righteousness, provides for their physical and spiritual needs, and teaches them to love and serve one another, observe the commandments of God, and be law-abiding citizens wherever they live.

4. A woman who establishes and maintains her family on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities.

Not only does this satisfy my desire to properly define mother, it also helps me make the point clear that I am also speaking to the young women, daughters, sisters, and those of you who have yet to bring life into this world every time I use the word “mother.”

With that clarified, I would like to quote Barbara Bush, as found in Sister Johnson’s book:

“Your success as a family…our success as a nation…depends not on what happens inside the White House, but on what happens inside your house.”

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland had this to say concerning mothers:

“Mothers go longer on less sleep and give more to others with less personal renewal for themselves than any other group I know at any other time in life. It is not surprising when the shadows under their eyes sometimes vaguely resemble the state of Rhode Island.”

How true is that, brothers and sisters?? It seems at times for me that the daunting task of motherhood is more like a cruel game of Survivor than a blessing full of joy and fulfillent.

As stated by Anna Quindlen:

“If any of us engaged in the work of mothering thought much about it as the task of fashioning the fine points of civilization, we would be frozen into immobility by the enormity of the task.”

Sister Johnson’s reaction to this quote is as follows, “Frozen is right! Some days I look around and feel so overwhelmed by the day ahead of me I don’t know where to start. And other times, when I least expect it, I am stopped in my tracks by society’s slights to motherhood or by a slew of expert advice on how to become Supermom.

It is, in part, experiencing those moments that has led to this book. Because, at other times, when quiet is allowed to seep into my heart and leads me to prayer and reflection, I have learned for myself that mothers matter. I matter. And so do you.

In her phenomenal book, Sister Johnson goes on to recount her story of the birth of her second child:

We were sitting in church on the Sunday after Thanksgiving, when my water broke. Three days later, our little baby William was born – more than three months early, at only 27 weeks’ gestation. At his tiniest, he weighed just over 2 ½ pounds. I remember the nurses wheeling me on a bed into the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston to see him for the first time. It was four-o’clock in the morning, and I had just awakened from undergoing a difficult and complicated 2 ½ hour caesarean section operation. I saw all those little incubators – with blankets covering them to keep the light out of the babies’ eyes – and thought they looked like little coffins lined up. How could these babies survive? Of course, some of them didn’t. William was in the NICU for eleven weeks. Almost every day, I would travel back and forth to that hospital to deliver breast milk and to hold him. Some days the doctors would not allow him to come out of the Isolette. And so I would sit and look at him through the glass, with all the tape and tubes and wires hanging from his frail little body. There was barely a place to touch his bare skin. On the good days, I would hold William while he received his fortified feedings through a tube in his nose. I had read medical research that showed that premature babies who were consistently held and nurtured by their mothers were healthier than those who were not. The hospital recommended “kangaroo care” – putting babies skin-to-skin with their mothers. It was supposed to help with bonding. The doctors said it actually made the babies stronger. For weeks, I did this. But for weeks it seemed that William still did not know I was there. He didn’t respond to me in any way. He didn’t open his eyes. He would hardly move. I remember so distinctly thinking: Am I really making a difference? A very perceptive neonatologist nurse must have sensed my sadness. One afternoon, she came over to our little corner of the unit, put her arm around me, and with such kindness said, “William can’t express it right now, but in his behalf, let me say Thank You for being here. These babies know their mothers. And even though it doesn’t feel as though you’re making a difference…you are.”

That night, after my husband had given William a beautiful priesthood blessing, I remember standing with both arms through the portals of his incubator. The feeling came over me so strongly that as a mother, the Lord needed me. And that, as my Savior, I needed Him to make this baby whole. In that moment, in a very tangible way, I realized that mothers matter. Even when our children cannot – or will not – express it, even when the voices of the world tell us that mothering isn’t as important as anything else we could be doing, we are making a difference. I keep this quote from Elder Jeffrey R. Holland taped to my nightstand: “You are doing God’s work. You are doing it wonderfully well. He is blessing you, and He will bless you, even – no, especially – when your days and your nights may be most challenging. Like the woman who anonymously, meekly, perhaps even with hesitation and some embarrassment, fought her way through the crowd just to touch the hem of the Master’s garment, so Christ will say to the women who worry and wonder and weep over their responsibility as mothers, ‘Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole.’ And it will make your children whole as well.”

As I’m sure all mothers can relate a story of similar experience, I have felt like unto Sister Johnson at times in my dealings with my son, Tanner. Being at his bed-side or holding him in my arms after swiftly scooping him up after an epileptic attack, watching helplessly as his small body convulses while running my fingers through his strawberry blonde hair wondering, “Am I really making a difference?” I hope to remember Elder Holland’s words the next time I am feeling discouraged as a mother, “You are doing God’s work. You are doing it wonderfully well. He is blessing you, and He will bless you, especially, when your days and your nights may be most challenging.” I hope to remember too that even though my little Tanner can’t express it, he appreciates me and his spirit recognizes I am there even when his mind cannot.

I again quote Anna Quindlen from Sister Johnson’s book, “If we stop to think about what we do, really do, we are building for the centuries. We are building character, and tradition, and values, which meander like a river into the distance and out of our sight, but on and on and on.”

Quote from pic in house….”

I would like to close with an excerpt from Sister Johnson’s book under the sub-heading “A mother’s influence”:

Like my mother and her mother and all the others who came before me, my actions and choices will affect generations of mothers to come. Mothers are the single most powerful influence in a child’s life, starting even before birth.

Author, obstetrician/gynecologist, and women’s health expert Christiane Northrup, M.D., says, “Our mother provides us with our first experience of nurturing. She is our first and most powerful female role model. It is from her that we learn what it is to be a woman…Our cells divided and grew to the beat of her heart. Our skin, hair, heart, lungs, and bones were nourished by her blood, blood that was awash with the neurochemicals formed in response to her thoughts, beliefs, and emotions. If she was fearful or anxious, our bodies knew it. If she felt safe, happy and fulfilled, we felt that too…

“Every daughter contains her mother and all the women who came before her. The unrealized dreams of our maternal ancestors are part of our heritage.”

But it is not only descendants who benefit from a mother’s love and influence. Elder Bruce C. Hafen said, “Women have always lifted entire cultures. Their influence begins in each society’s very core – the home. Here women have taught and modeled what social historian Alexis de Tocqueville called ‘the habits of the heart’, civilizing ‘mores’ or attitudes that create a sense of personal virtue and duty to the community, without which free societies can’t exist.”

How empowering! How true! It is mothers who teach future businessmen to be honest in their dealings. It is mothers who coach (and sometimes coax) future scientists, doctors, and mathematicians through worksheets and multiplication tables. It is mothers who show future politicians how to be compassionate – even in the face of opposition.

President Harold B. Lee taught that “a mother’s heart is a child’s schoolroom. The instructions received at the mother’s knee…are never effaced entirely from the soul…Family life is God’s own method of training the young, and homes are largely what mothers make them.”

President N. Eldon Tanner said, “A mother has far greater influence on her children than anyone else has, and she must realize that every word she speaks, every act, every response, her attitude, even her appearance and manner of dress, affect the lives of her children and the whole family. It is while the child is in the home that he gains from his mother the attitudes, hopes, and beliefs that will determine the kind of life he will live, and the contribution he will make to society.”

Every word. Every act. Every response. Every attitude. That might make you want to pull the covers right back over your head! But it can also be comforting. When a mother teaches her child a truth, she adds a layer of insulation against Satan’s influence – even as she struggles to hold that child’s attention through a 15-minute family home evening lesson or insists that her little one says a simple bedside prayer.

Author Ann Crittenden writes, “The more skillful the caregiver, the more invisible her efforts become. Ideally, the recipients themselves don’t even notice that they are being cared for, other than to accept caring as part of the natural order of things…Like the work of a fine seamstress, the tiny stitches that build character and confidence are invisible to the eye.”

The stitches that build testimony and teach truth are also tiny, but they are often the very things that hold a soul together: family prayer, scripture study, family home evening, a shared testimony, a sympathetic hug, a smile. And it’s the consistency of providing those things, day in and day out, that makes a difference and leaves a lasting impression.

We usually read D&C 18:15 in the context of doing missionary work; but think how applicable the verse is to the work of mothers as well: “If it so be that you should labor all your days…and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy.”

“Laboring all your days” is difficult – often unseen – work, but its rewards are immeasurable. It would serve us well, as mothers, to remember this more often. It would also help to remember that there are many ways to “labor,” each as appropriate as the other, and each necessary at different times and different stages of life. What really matters is that we labor with love and, as President Hinckley says, simply “do the very best we can.”

I leave these words with you to comfort, uplift, and inspire in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.