Friday, March 25, 2011

Storms, new spinning fiber and teaching venue

What a lovely spring surprise we had this week! Wednesday evening we had some severe storms pass through and a tornado touched down about 50 miles away, destroying/damaging about 90 homes and the local high school. Twice, the storms brought hail to my house and rain puddles in the lawn where they shouldn't be because the rain came so fast and hard that the ground couldn't absorb it all. Photos of the front yard and outside my kitchen porch:

Just before the storms hit, the mailman delivered my Phatfiber contributors box. (If you're not familiar with Phatfiber sample boxes, click here.) The theme this month was Sweet Shop and it looks like all the contributors are definitely sweets lovers! These are my contributions (clockwise starting in the upper left)--Cherry Divinity, Peppermint Twist, Licorice Cherry Swirl and Lollipop Lollipop

And last, but by far not the least important news, I'm teaching at the Great Lakes Fiber Festival this year! Spinning a Consistent Singles is scheduled for Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning we'll be working on Plying a Balanced Yarn. I love this show and have allowed myself time on Saturday morning to shop. Great vendors, lovely town, nice festival location, and really good lamb sandwiches! See you there?

Friday, March 18, 2011

Is it spring yet? And a hat-naming contest!

We've had warmer weather this week, with lots of rain in midweek. But the temperatures seem to be steadily inching up and the spring bulbs are pushing their first bits through the soil, so I'm wondering if we can really really declare that it's spring?

Yesterday was a truly lovely day, even if it was a bit breezy. I'd been trying to set up a date to photograph some small pieces I've been working on with the intention of writing up patterns if I liked them. Our younger son's girlfriend, who is a fantastic lady BTW, volunteered to stand outside in the shadow of our trees and model for me. It was challenging, especially with the neckwarmers, because the breeze would come along just as the shutter clicked. Meaning that either the edge of the neckwarmer would lift up in an unnatural way or her hair would stand on end--some otherwise nice photos ended up in the trash because of this! Here's a few that I've managed to edit and touch up this morning.

Hat-Naming Contest:
As far as names for the patterns, sometimes they come easy and sometimes I need a dictionary/thesaurus to find something I like. This hat pattern has completely eluded me though, and I could use some help with an appropriate name. Keep in mind that other knitters and spinners will come up with differently colored yarn for this pattern so it can't be based solely on my color selection. I'll take suggestions via blog comments until the end of March (midnight EDT March 31). All names will be given consideration and I'll choose the one I feel best fits the pattern. The winner will receive a credit line on the finished pattern AND 20% off their purchase in my Etsy shop (not including items already in the Sale category). Here's the hat in question:

Thanks in advance for your help with this problem hat. Let the contest begin!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Snow! In mid-March!

Along with the warmer weather we've had some rather weird weather too. Yesterday it started to rain, really heavy rain, and when the temperature dropped it turned to snow. There's a light coating of heavy wet snow on everything this morning and it's still coming down. I DO prefer new snow to the dirty older stuff but at least it's not enough for me to shovel myself out of the looong driveway, nor is it windy or very cold. So it's just pretty.......

The view from my bedroom at the front of the house. Typically you can see pretty far into the distance but it's all foggy with snow right now.

Taken from the window on the second floor landing. This is where the deer roam and cross into our yard to raid the corn on the squirrel feeders. It was an open field when I was little, and our mom sent us out there with a pot to gather berries for jelly and jam. We weren't allowed to return home until our pot was full!

This is part of the back yard, with the new deer and groundhog-proof fencing. The woods behind the old chicken coop (where we now store the lawn tractor and garden equipment) is where we kids built tree houses, played in the creek at the bottom of the hill and rode sleds in the winter. More than once I went so fast down the hill that I ended up in the creek!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Weaving in the near future?

I suppose you could call me a ‘lapsed’ weaver. Once upon a time I did a lot of weaving. In fact, I did it for a living, hiring myself out to local and not-so-local designers to weave yardage for their creations, and weaving items for sale and a few creations of my own to enter in shows. Along came a hefty dose of Real Life, and I had to get a job with medical and educational benefits for the boys. I sold the loom and all the accessories and left the weaving world for 20+ years.

One of my spinning students bought a loom years ago and asked me to teach her to set it up and weave. And I was bitten by the weaving bug again, found an old loom, bought it and brought it home back in 2005. This loom was built under Osma Todd Gallinger’s brand and somehow ended up stored in a hen house! It was rescued sometime later, used to weave rugs and passed on to a studio in eastern Pennsylvania. They sold it to help finance their troubled youth program and it came to live with me, all in pieces, with lots of notes, diagrams and photos to help in it’s re-assembly.

I finally found the time last week to clean it up (yep, found hen house straw in the oddest places!) with Murphy’s oil soap, give it a good coating of orange oil, and put it together. After Sunday’s marathon re-assembly, it really is surprising that hubby is still speaking to me!

So, here she is–42" weaving width, 8 harnesses, 14 treadles.

I still need to give the castle, warp drum and harnesses a good cleaning/oiling, figure out how the brake chain goes on, and buy Texsolv heddles and reeds. But I’m hoping to be weaving with my handspun yarn by some time this summer. I'm looking forward to re-acquainting myself with those complex twills! Yay!