Friday, December 23, 2005

finally fiber!!...

While i was in Crete, i did do some knitting (very little spinning). I took with me some Falkland Islands wool yarn which i had dyed in bright primary colors. Finished 3 kids' hats... sent one to Zylie for her birthday, gave one to Socrates, the 3 year old son of a friend in Vamos, and one for Laura, the 1 year old daughter of our Danish semi-son, Soren. I still need to finish off the loose ends inside the hat and wash and block it, but here it is in its current state:

(modeling the hat is a bear which is a xmas gift for one of the dogs)

this is another shot of it which shows the top better:

and here's the shawl/stole i started way back when and thought would be finished by now -

the color looks crappy on here. i'll try again later sometime and see if i can get truer color.

Monday, December 19, 2005

weather alert... and we made it home!!

we had a weather event yesterday!! it's been tres cold for a week, with below freezing at night, and yesterday was the turning back to warmer point, which often means that ugly transition when moisture coming down is warmer, then hits the surface temperature which is freezing and becomes freezing rain and slick roads. anyway, we picked up my dad at noon and went to
lunch at mcmenamins grand lodge in forest grove, and then to the matinee of Music Man at theater in the grove. the sky had been getting steadily grayer and the air smelled like snow... guess what, flurries started as we went into the theater and by intermission, snow was coming down like a sommonabeech and cars were sliding up to the stop light in front of the theater!! when i made the announcement to pop and jim that i wanted to go home, i was not met with any resistance! we had to slide to hillsboro first to take pop home (tried to get him a taxi, but none of 'em answered their phone!!), then slid out the sunset highway and made it home!! yippee and bravo!!! our little Ruby2 Prius did a marvelous job on slick streets and going up hills!

and now it is time to get serious about preparing for the holiday celebrating. as always, i've been waiting for cinderella
to show up and clean house for me, and she just never does, the bitch. so, today i'll finish unpacking my duffle and huge suitcase and finish putting away the recently washed contents. some of the stuff in the suitcase still smells like the cretan sun from hanging on the clothes line on the balcony. must say, i dont miss washing all my dirty clothes in the sink (Jim used the bathtub for his because he saved up til there was a bunch of 'em). then will bring the gift wrapping stuff up here
and set up a card table and get goin' on wrapping. Jim will get us a tree in the next day or so, and i'll do some minimal festivus decorating. must have candles and greens out before solstice!!! and so, this week i plan to just dink around my queendom, get organized maybe, do a little bit of cleaning up, wrap gifts, figure out what all i'm fixing for xmas dinner and the tribe. for sure, i'm going to try Charleen's cranberry relish with walnuts in it!! C&K and kids will come down in time for dinner on the 25th and stay for a few days. it will be lovely to spend some time with them and play with the kids. Jen and Maggie and their little girls will be here on christmas day, too, and that will add to the festivities!!

Saturday, December 17, 2005

We're home again....

and i'm happy to be here, and trying to get settled back in. after the very simple and quiet village life in Crete, it's been almost culture shock going back to my "normal" life here... especially when i braved the cold and crowds, and went shopping at Nordstrom's Rack. .. eeeeekk. If it weren't for the grandkids and other relatives i'd be most tempted to let the holiday season just pass on by while i sit and spin and get back to dyeing some fiber. Other than xmas day dinner for the whole tribe here, i'll try to keep things pretty simple (no cookie baking, minimal decorating, no more shopping!!! I did some in Crete and most of the rest of it online)

I took a supply of yarn with me and made a couple of kid's hats, a treasure bag, and got the shawl/stole about half finished.

I am eternally grateful that i was able to live in Vamos for 3 months, and for the friendships there, and i miss them and know that we will go back.

a picture from Crete

This is the remains of an olive oil factory at the old monastery at Karides, Crete. You can see the huge round stones used for pressing the olives. This was a lovely place to visit, and is quiet and deserted except for the 2 or 3 monks who still live there and take care of the place.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

home soon

Our 3 months of living in Crete is a week away from over and it's been a wonderful adventure! Will move back from the travel blog to this one after December 6. Leave me a message if you'd like to have the URL to the other blog and i'll email it to you.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

more cuteness

last friday was zoo day for part of the tribe..... and here's the smallest members

Max (held by Jen), Alex, Zylie, Jordan and Maisy. it was rather a comedy watching 5 adults chasing in 5 different directions after energized kids. at least there were enough adults to divide up the responsibilities. i especially like the butterfly exhibit which will be here for a couple of more months. polar bears and sea lions were the biggest hits. it was really interesting to watch the sea lions playing and chasing underwater. a lot of their playing reminded me of the way Meika and Tasha play together.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

countdown = 13 days

and i'm wishing we could just leave right now! well,no, i'm not packed yet... stuff is piling up in a heap on top of my duffel bag and i can really start getting organized after this weekend. maybe tomorrow i can spend some time with my new camera and figure out how to get the photos downloaded on the dell, then i can take a pic of the stole/wrap in its latest incarnation. also, need to spend more time with dell and hope i dont end up banging my head against it. i WILL conquer the alien windows!!

the garden is giving us an abundance of little tomatoes..... not cherry, it's the grape tomato, but they sure do look and taste like cherry. and there's been enough basil to freeze 2 batches of pesto!! ahhhh..

Saturday, August 20, 2005

catching up

Have i said that i really like the new Prius?

actually, i love how it drives, how comfortable it is, how much room there is for all our "stuff" AND the fact that we got 51 mpg the last 2 tanks full of pricey gas. that mileage was with a combination of 70mph on the highway and stop and go city type driving. i had heard that the car sacrifices pep and power to the economy, but i havent found that to be true at all. have had no problem with getting plenty of power for passing etc!! love it! and it is kind of cute, too... not in the category of Mazda Miata, but cute nonetheless!

and then there is the current knitting project... the stole! once again my "casual" approach and lack of planning has risen up to bite me in the ass! you'd think i'd have learned by now to be sure i have enough fiber dyed for the project i want to do, even tho i dont have all the yarn spun.... but no! took a critical look at the accumulated yarn and decided i'd better do some figuring as to how much i'd used so far and how much the stole would require to make it 60 inches long. it would have been SO much easier to do this calculating while i was dyeing the fiber... but did i? no! of course, i now need at least 6 more ounces and i know damn well i cant dye fiber to match closely enough for it to work, and of course, all the original fiber is spun up, so i cant do the old trick of mixing first dyed and second dyed fiber as i spin it and work that into a "design element" (and i DO love "design elements"). so, plan B developed: use same Iris and Turquoise diluted, then alternate the more intense and the softer shades. Last night i ripped out the 14 or so inches i'd knitted, decided to eliminate the olive-y yarn completely. now just need to get this new batch spun up, which should go quickly as i love spinning the alpaca/merino/silk, and i'll have a bag full of yarn and a travel project. pictures later, maybe.

last month when i went to the beach, i visited my friend, Gail, who i hadnt seen in way too long. our kids went to school together in Banks, are now in their 30s and both of us are now grammas! Gail's grandson, Sam, is precious and sweet, and let me give him lots of hugs!

have been keeping busy with working thru the list of things to get done before we leave (in 18 days). got some audible books downloaded and on my iPod (John Irving's _Until I Find You_, Ann Cameron's _Colibri_, Sue Monk Kidd _The Mermaid Chair_, Mark Haddon _The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime_, Patricia Storace _Dinner with Persephone_) plus lots of music including Helen Reddy's Greatest Hits (1987) which hearing again has turned into a huge blast from the past experience... oh, my! it amazes me how much i've put on the iPod and barely dented its capacity. have been trying to get used to the dell laptop and windows. what an alien experience that is. am beginning to wish i'd been able to find the $500 or $600 more it would have cost to have a mac laptop. i did get a wireless mouse which eliminated the frustration of the damn touchpad. well, "they" say that by learning new things one can keep the brain cells and synapses firing and stave off the onset of oldtimers brain..... this dell challenge should fill that bill!

had lunch with brother Curbhead on wednesday at Maggie's Buns in FG, which was fun and we agreed to do that again. what i had to eat was a wrap with eggplant, feta, tomato, hummus... and i plan to make that for supper one of these days. will add basil leaves and sliced kalamata olives plus a bit of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. yum. Last weekend my dear friend Anne came out for dinner.... first time she's been out since she helped me choose the tile for my new kitchen and also, the first i've seen her since her dear Dave died in Jan. Anyway, she's planning a 3-month trip to SE Asia in december, and since Pam is moving there in october, they had lots to talk about and will get together when Anne is in Chung Mai. on sunday, Ryan and Sonia came out to help Jim with wine bottling and to get more pointers on grape harvest since they will be in charge of it this year while we are picking grapes and olives in Crete. Also, Marge (DSIL) and Loren came for dinner as we wanted to be sure we see them before we leave. Today Pop is coming out for dinner. Judy's bringing him. she and i had wanted to have dinner at a steak place before i leave, but that just prob. wont happen, so we'll have to settle for Jim bbq-ing some fish and we'll share a bottle of Retsina. tomorrow is a twisted sisters spinning get together here at dome central... havent seen anyone but Linda since BSG, so it'll be great to see them. hoping that Rachael will get back from her weekend up by Port Angeles in time to see everyone. ive been needing some chocolate in a big way, so will make some super-chocolate brownies for tomorrow and an orzo salad.

and next weekend, C&K and the kids and puppy will be here for a wedding on sat. night (Jim's niece Brittany is getting married). on friday night we'll have dinner with Pop - the monthly Candlelight Dinner at Avamere, which was quite good the last time we went. grandkids and wedding saturday. then Chris will leave early sunday to drive back to Duvall and fly out on another microsoft trip to London. Pop and (Curbhead) Bud have planned a family dinner at Bud's as a going away for us and BD for celebration for Bud. Then with 9 days til departure, i'll do my best to avoid any social getting together, going anywhere etc, and try to figure out what's essential to take with me for a 3 month stay... and get it packed. i keep reminding myself that there are stores and plenty of opportunities to buy anything essential that i forget. it doesnt totally sink in. but since i cant count on finding yarn and fiber and knitting books, i am definitely packing lots of those things. have gotten a big bunch of Falkland wool yarn dyed up in bright colors to make some kid things for xessmass as there wont be much time for that when we get back.

i dont know if anyone has read this far ... it's been pretty long and blabby, but this is the end for today!

Wednesday, August 10, 2005


after time spent with the grandkids, there's always additions to the cuteness files.
Alex and Z looking at the video Jim just took of them

On monday we took the kids to Remlinger Farm which in addition to the farm store, has fun and rides for the kids, including some farm animals they can pet, a train ride, canoe ride, roller coaster plus plus plus....
Zylie riding the pony and very pleased about it

Alex loved the canoe ride!

there was an old school bus the kids could climb around in. while Alex was "driving", Z was enjoying the view... probably the closest either of them will get to a school bus...

the train ride gave them a chance to rest for a few minutes from the heat and activity of the day.

there's lots more photos, but that enough for now. Kate and i did some trading that seemed to make both of us happy. she is now the owner of the Louet spinning wheel which has been living at her house for awhile... and i am the new ower of a Canon digital camera which Kate wasn't using since she upgraded. I'm delighted and hope to learn more about its features this week, so my next photos will be better quality than these!! I'm afraid that half the weight in my luggage will be gadgets and the wires to connect them... and of course, the instruction manuals!

Less than a month now til we leave for Crete and i'm putting a moratorium on putting any more commitments on my calendar between now and then. We have something going on every weekend between now and sept. 7.

we had a great time with the grandkids and their parents, and their puppy, Tiki, too! there's nothing to warm a gramma's heart like a little girl running toward you, arms outstretched, big smile on her face, saying "it's grammmmaa"!!

The "usual" is going on in the fiber department.... a dye pot going with BFL top steaming away and lots of dyed and dried rovings/tops waiting to be bundled up and taken in to Northwest Wools. will take a photo of the progress on my shawl.

Friday, August 05, 2005

on the road again...

Tomorrow Jim and i are driving to Duvall for the weekend plus. today is Chris and Kate's 10th wedding anniversary.. and they will celebrate tomorrow with an adult's date night out and about in seattle... and we will stay with the grandies. then on monday night Chris and Jim have tickets to a baseball game (yawn...) and we'll come back tuesday a.m. I'm gathering up all my techie stuff to get their help on making dell work with my iPod, the spyeye webcam thing, etc. also, taking some of my orchids to live with Kate while we are gone. the others, i'm hoping my neighbor will come in and care for them. did some shopping at AAA today. got my international driver's license and some plug converters so we can use our electical things there. i'm trying to train my hair to get along ok without a hair dryer and curling iron, and hope that works out. the less baggage like that that i have to take along, the happier i'll be. just need the basics, like: coffee pot, reading light, fiber, spinning wheel, yarn, knitting needles, fiber.....

Thursday, August 04, 2005


Pam and I picked Rachael up at the airport last night. it's so wonderful to see her again... it seems like more than the 2 years she has been gone. she looks wonderful and seems happy to be home. it will probably be something of a culture shock for her after spending all that time in a small village in the outbacks of Tanzania..... and i know she has lots of stories to tell!! i hope she'll make it to our twisted sister gathering in a couple of weeks. pictures soon.

going to be another day in the 90s, so no dyeing going on here. more fibers and yarn to go thru and de-stash... and that will be inside in the ac.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

fiber content!!

The Beginning of a PROJECT. so, do you suppose that by documenting the beginning of it i will actually finish this? that's the plan right now. i've been wanting to do a lace something-or-other and had decided the fiber would be alpaca/merino/silk blend, of which i had 2 pounds in the stash. i dyed up about 1 1/2pounds of it in WF Turquoise, Lanaset purple and blue mainly, and with what i thought was a small amount of greens - olive, dilute olive, dilute gold with a dash of brown and a drop of green. then when i spun a sample, discovered there was too much green and it looked awful plyed with the turq/purples, so pulled the sections with the greens out of the roving and spun that separately. so, with the pattern i finally found that is a rectangular stole, not a triangular shawl with the long pointy back and could be done on #5 US needles (not the itty bitty #2 or #3), i actually did a swatch! it looked good, so i started on The Project. i think it will be a good travel project, and maybe i'll finish it while in Crete and it will be cool enough in november to wear it! here's the fiber, yarn and a couple of inches of stole with a pic from the book - _Naturally Noro_ by Jane Ellison, "Silver" chevron lace wrap.

and then a more "artsy" shot. just couldnt help myself!

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

hah! now i know...

the lovely flower is on a bush/small tree called Leycesteria Formosa. (photo friday, july 22) there are little black edible fruits (berries?) that form after the flower, which are sweet and some people make jelly from them. i cut a couple of small branches with the flower on the end and put them with other flowers in a vase. everything else in the vase faded away after 4 or 5 days, and this one is still alive and perky. gotta love it! i know i do.

and here's a photo of the fruits forming -

Monday, July 25, 2005

Hania, Crete harbor

a photo i took last October of the harbor at Hania, Crete, which is about 1/2 hour drive from where we will be staying in Vamos.

we leave in 6 weeks (and 2 days)

Friday, July 22, 2005

flower du jour

one of my favorites and i dont know its name...

a laugh

well, I needed a laugh this morning and received this in an email from a friend. read on if you, too, need a laugh:

The couple had been debating the purchase of a new auto for weeks.
He wanted a new truck.  She wanted a fast little sports-like car so she
could zip through traffic around town.

He would probably have settled on any beat up old truck, but everything she seemed to like was way out of their price range.

"Look !" she said. I want something that goes from 0 to 200 in 4 seconds or  less.   "And my birthday is coming up.  You could surprise me."

For her birthday, he bought her a brand new bathroom scale.

Services are pending.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005


Twisted Pam asked what dyes i used on these rovings, so i'll do the best i can in describing them. Mostly, i use Lanaset dyes, and a few Pro WashFast. In the reds, pinks etc merino/tencel roving i layed the wet fiber out on plastic wrap, snaked back and forth in about a 2 1/2 foot length. starting with copper (L scarlet, brown and gold),
then L scarlet,
polar red,
scarlet with small amount of either polar red or L magenta,
L magenta with sml amt polar red,
then WF violet
*(L=lanaset and WF=Pro Washfast)
smoosh the dyes in to be sure they go all the way thru, add vinegar, wrap up the plastic wrap and steam (~45 min)


same procedure... this time the dyes were:
olive (add tiniest amount of L brown to lime)
lime ( L yellow = small amt. L green)
L yellow and L gold mixed about 1/2 / 1/2
L brown w/L gold
?L magenta +WF violet (not really sure what this is)
WF turquoise
magenta (same as above)
L yellow w/a few drops of brown
Lyellow + gold

I cant give you any exact formula as i dont keep records. i just add dyes to each other in a plastic cup or a jar and swirl it around ... when it looks right, i pour it on the fiber. let me know if you have any questions... maybe i can answer them :-]

turq, purple etc

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Tuesday already

Pam and I went to Lincoln City Friday a.m. and stayed at her friend's house which is right across the street from the beach. it was a really nice home, with a front deck which was perfect for spinning and looking at the ocean. i spent a couple of hours in Depot Bay visiting a dear long-time friend and got to see her daughter and grandson (and if they send me any photos of Sam, i'll put them up here) He is 2 and is just darlin'... and was very generous with tickles, hugs and kisses!!

I think i want to knit a lace shawl! ok, i've taken the first steps in that direction... searched the internet and my books and pattern stash for something suitable, dyed up some alpaca, merino, tussah in purple, turquoise and some soft olive-y greens and have spun and swatched a bit. I really dont like the olives plied with the turq or purple, so have Navajo-plied enough to do a swatch and will do that tomorrow. actually, it's a stole that i'm thinking of as i dont like how a triangular shawl looks and feels on me. will prob. pick a lace pattern that's simple and maybe even in garter stitch, figure out a border and how wide i want the thing to be, get going on it. it should be a good travel project. just hope this is a more successful project than the cardigan of which i do not speak as it is now hidden in a corner to age and wait for me to figure out what the hell i'm going to do with it! quite of bit a store-bought yarn involved there, so i cant just permanently ditch it.....

I promised twisted Pam that i'd describe how i dyed a couple of those merino/tencel rovings that i put up on the woolgatheringsfibers blog.... however, i'm just too damn tired tonight and need to go to bed. it was a hot day again and i was out and about taking Pop for acupuncture to fix his neck and shoulder spasms, then out for lunch, followed by a stop at Good Will to find a gallon glass jar for making "bounce" with black cherries and vodka (mmmmmm). and while there i found the jacket i've been looking for to take to Crete..... and what a deal that one is!! it's a REI goretex, mauve-y pink, has a hood, looks totally brand new and cost $9 ohmy!! probably by mid-november the weather will be turning cooler and rainy, and i've been wanting a light-weight jacket with a hood... and yay, i found it! can cross that one off the list.

Monday, July 11, 2005


check on to see these new superwash Merino/Tencel fibers for sale:

Saturday, July 09, 2005


here's the most recent edition of our sibling photo, taken july 3 at the gathering of the tribe -

Robin, Dinah, me, Bud (aka Curbhead)

Friday, July 08, 2005

drying fibers

here's photos of what i've been dyeing lately. they are still hanging on the drying rack, still a little bit damp
superwash merino/tencel 50/50 (i just love how all shimmery and shiny it looks!!)

and another one....


We got our new Prius on tuesday and hoo boy, it is a sweet thang..... Salsa red (metallic) & drives so smoothly! and has so many displays to look at, i need a co pilot just to watch all the displays. with buttons on the steering wheel, i can turn on the radio and search for stations i want and turn on/off the ac and adjust the temp. it does many cool things and i expect it to start a conversation with me any time now. we have about 200 miles on it and average mpg is 47 and that's some highway and some city driving. funny how attached i've become to driving a pickup truck tho. it was really hard to leave Ruby sitting alone on that lot and i do miss driving her. my brother, Curbhead, has already offered several times to take care of the car for us for the 3 months we're gone..... dunno about that.
here's Ruby: (photo of Ruby2 to come later)

we have been having perfect dyeing weather... cool and rainy.. and it should continue for another day or so. so i spent most of yesterday dyeing some superwash merino/tencel which i'll take photos of and post for sale on in the next few days. one of 'em is especially inyourface with attitude!! also, dyeing some yarn for Linda for the shop. got about 25% of it done so far..... hope the coolness lasts a few more days! back to the studio i go.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

4th of July

and i spent the day recovering from the family tribe gathering yesterday here at dome central. a lot of the day was spent looking for the title to my pick-up (Ruby) which i never found. tomorrow she gets traded in on our new red Prius and as much as i want this new car (the first brand new car we've bought in 27 years of being married), it's sad to give up Ruby. I've had pick-ups for the past 20 years. a new car!!! wow...

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Saturday Night at the World...

hhmmm - i do remember when"Saturday night" used to mean something. that was a LONG time ago, and now it just means that it's Jim's one night of the week to cook (yippee!!) and i might be able to find a British comedy on tv or satellite that i havent seen already. rarely even stay up for SNL anymore. it's that age thang, i guess.

we're just about ready for the clan gathering tomorrow. Jim has been working like a madman getting caught up on all sorts of outside chores and Pam and I have been doing a bit in the flower beds, so it's looking pretty spiffy here in my queendom. Pam will make a trifle tomorrow by special request... mine! Jim has the chick and salmon ready to bbq and i have a salad still to make. Robin and kids are in town somewhere but i havent seen them yet. Dinah, Jonica, Anna and Tyler probably arrived today and are staying with Jen and Maggie. sad to say that Chris, Kate and kids arent able to be here... Chris is really swamped doing some last minute work stuff to get ready for his 10-day MS trip to London, the dog is in heat AND this is one crappy weekend to be on the highway... and that all added up to it being better for them not to make the trip! sigh. will miss them!!

got started on yarn dyeing for Linda, doing alpaca first and it takes the dye so beautifully it would be difficult to mess it up. the first one is blues with a bit of eggplant and turquoise and looks great. must remember to put that combination on some BFL roving... mmmmm...! some of the folks from the Shakerag workshop have emailed and it does seem that we did a right fine job of enabling and inspiring, for which i'm proud and happy! and i'm sure Lynne and Lori are, too.

seems like there is an over-abundance of spiders about this year... both inside and outside. got my first spider bite of the summer today while wading around in the weeds in my garden. i wonder if i got a spider tattoo would it act as a mojo against spiders, or just attract them to me?????? it's been 11 years since my feather tattoo, so it must be time to get another one and get the feather touched up a bit. and 11 years since my crone ritual.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Black Sheep Gathering

Had a wonderful time at BSG, and didn't even really miss the vending part of it. i felt so liberated to be able to sit through most of the Fiber Arts judging (cant remember the last time i did that.... years ago, i guess) and was happy to see Lori get 3 blue ribbons. i especially loved the child's sweater she entered... wonderful colors and design. there were not many yarn entries and the judge kept wondering aloud what all the spinners had been doing this past year. i treated myself to a new Swan spindle from Grafton Fibers. it's tulipwood and spins like a dream and for a long, long time. also, bought a lovely bundle of handdyed silk from Lisa at Dicentra. i like to treat myself to someone else's handdyed fiber occasionally, and it's usually Lisa's cause i love her colors. also, bought some alpaca/shetland blend and alpaca fleece from McKensie Alpacas. and got a rug hooking hook and linen backing to go with Judy Taylor's book so i can try something new. some days my hands and shoulders hurt so much from the spinning and knitting that it's probably a good idea to have another fiber pursuit ready in case the day comes that it hurts too much to spin and knit. the thought of not being able to do those 2 fibery things is grim, to say the least. dont even want to really think about it. i guess as long as i can stand up i'll be able to dye fiber...
Anyway, the 3 days of BSG went flying by way too quickly. lots of shopping, looking at animals, spinning, eating, visiting with friends, laughing, shopping, a couple of hours at Eugene's Saturday Market, shopping, eating.... etc.

Now i'm getting ready for a gathering of our tribe this weekend. all of my sibs and their progeny will be here, and C&K&A&Z.
am sure Pop will be delighted (and teary) to have all of us together for the first time in a few years. If DeDe were still here, it would be perfect. not sure what came over me today, but i actually washed some windows... it's been a LONG time. I'd been going with the "dirty windows help to filter out the harmful rays of the sun and it's actually a healthy thing"... but now i want to be able to see the sunlight since we finally have it, and the flowers blooming are too lovely to miss, hence the drastic cleaning action of today. Jim will barbeque something for dinner on sunday and he even said he'd be in charge of making the decision as to what it will be and shopping for it! excellent plan!! Pam is going to make trifle, my favorite dessert next to tiramisu.

it's 2 months and 1 week til we leave for Crete and i'm starting to feel that panicky churning in my gut. there is a lot to do before then.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

an AWESOME week...

Got back home from TN last night, totally exhausted and still on a lovely high! there is just nothin' like spending a week immersed in fiber with like-minded people. the Shakerag Workshops were at the St Andrews at Sewanee campus. (a private prep school in a lush setting with old stone buildings, lots of trees etc.) the workshop facilities were fantastic, with classes going on at the same time in watercolor, felt, clay, digital art. lots of happy people there! we had the school science room for Lynne's dyeing, spinning and knitting class and it was just the perfect setting!! counters with small sinks along 3 sides of the room. there were 10 students who were there the whole week, and 2 other participants who weren't there the whole time. i just loved seeing this group of people get so wholeheartedly and creatively into dyeing the fibers, then spin and knit them... putting their unique touch on it all. it was great to be in that group of joyous energy, and by the end of the week, we'd become a community... awesome!

the faculty presented slides of their work and talks in the evenings, which was very interesting. the food was good.... lots of different kinds of salads of all types. (grains, beans, pasta, some chicken or tuna in some of them) and homemade-type desserts and lots of fresh fruit....yum! Lynne had fixed up Lori's and my dorm rooms with all kinds of homey touches... coffee and coffee pot, a special ceramic mug, sheets and coverlet from her home, a reading lamp, a fan, a cooler, a lovely scented candle (honeysuckle!). it made a perfect spot to be for my slow wake-up time... as i could sit with a fresh cup o' coffee, knit and listen to Hitchhiker's Guide on my iPod ... ahhh, bliss!!

Loved seeing Lynne's studio, out in the woods on the edge of the top of a mountain and looking out onto the valley. a truly perfect setting, with a wide porch along one side of the house. she can dye out there or inside in the kitchen.

and now some photos:
Class watching Lynne doing a demo

some of the fibers dyed by the new dyers...... lovely, huh??

and fibers drying outside the classroom

Lynne and Monk at SAS (a very dog-friendly place!)

the porch at Lynne's studio

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

leaving the rain - going to humidity!

and I'm not sure it's a comfortable trade off, but am looking forward to a wonderful week in Sewanee, TN helping Lynne with a 5-day workshop at the university there. it's part of summer art workshop sessions called Shakerag ( and what could be more fun than immersion in dyeing, spinning and knitting with like-minded folk?? Lori Lawson from LA will also be there helping with the workshops and havin' fun!! Lynne says it's really humid there, so i'm dithering around trying to decide what will the most comfortable clothes to pack and still be socially acceptable. (not something i usually worry about, but in this case i will bend the usual) Will take my Journey Wheel, a couple of spindles, at least 2 or 3 knitting projects, lots of different fibers..... i always take way more than i can possibly spin, but it's nice to have a selection to choose from. yep, i do indulge myself. one of the projects is the cardigan that i talked about earlier and which i havent mentioned since i screwed it up so badly that i'm spending a lot of time now ripping out, rethinking it, trying something else etc. And now i think i'm on the right track and will post more photos when i get a bit further along. essentially, i picked up the stitches along an edge of the bottom panel, knit the back and the 2 fronts..... and THEN found that it was too small. I do think it will be ok and that i will love it again... someday. i still do love the way the back and fronts worked out. stay tuned. the downside of this trip is that i'm flying in and out of Nashville, and being whisked from the airport to Sewanee and back to the airport 8 days later. Neither Nashville nor Sewanee is close enough to Knoxville to be able to get there for some visiting with my sister, Robin, or with the sheepthrillers there. so, will just have to plan another trip to TN soon.

will spend the next 2 days getting those fibers dyed that have been soaking for 3 days & get the guest room closet cleaned out for Pam to move in on 6/15 or 16. no, she's moving into the guest room and will put her stuff in the closet. we moved a bunch of her stuff to storage in our basement last night, and lots of things Rachael had left stored at home. Pam's house sale is closing a bit sooner than she thought it would... ooops... she has lots to do in the next few days. she's still planning to leave september 1 for her move to Chaing Mai, Thailand. also, i need to pack, get my hair cut tomorrow etc.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005


as of yesterday, we have no spinning fiber animals here in my queendom. i dont count the dogs as i dont spin dog hair, even tho it is plentiful. i suppose i would consider it if there were a fiber famine.... not likely with my stash. so, Brian who bought the 2 alpacas (Tiki and Chaco) and the llama (Bandit) found a friend with an almost semi sized horse trailer, who has also wrangled llamas and horses, and they came and got them loaded fairly easily considering none of them are really halter-trained. it was WAY easier than when brought the 'pacas home in the back of my pickup. Bandit was born here and is 20 years old. so ends the chapter on raising fiber animals..... sigh....
Bandit taking a juicy piece of melon peel from Jordan, my gr.niece

Tiki also happy to be fed pieces of fruit

Jim and Bandit saying good-bye

another big change for me is making the decision to not be a vendor at fiber shows anymore... after doing it for at least 15 years, maybe 17, or 20?? On one hand it is a blessed relief to notice it is June 1 and then notice that i am not in a frenzy of fiber dyeing, packaging etc, trying to amass enough to fill a sales booth at BSG. On the other hand, there is a certain excitement connected with it and pride when i'd see the booth filled to over-flowing with lots of color and people admiring it and feeding my ego. On the other hand, it will be great fun to spend the BSG weekend shopping at the vendors and at the Sat. Mkt in Eugene, and watching the sheep show and fleece judging, and hanging out with my friends, and spinning and just doing what regular people do. On the other hand, (that's the 4th hand now, i think) i'll miss the income that the fibers shows bring in. so, it's a big change and a good one. and i miss it, too.

and spending days going thru various stashes and purging. there are some days when i just cant do it. i love having lots of fiber and lots of books and lots of beads... and fabric and the collection of pretty paper that i just might someday use with all those rubber stamps to make cards and things... and of course, the boxes of photos which i havent even touched yet. i do hope the kids realize the HUGE favor i'm doing them in at least totally getting rid of boxes of receipts and cancelled checks that are getting yellowed and crisp... the oldest i've found so far dated 1983. i realize it is the kind thing to do after going thru Mom's stuff when she passed on 11 years ago and then a few months ago, DeDe's boxes of collections including every greeting card she had ever received in her whole life.

Friday, May 27, 2005

new fibers

I have put some newly handdyed fibers for sale at

Friday, May 13, 2005

about Tasha and Project Pooch

We think Tasha is about 2 years old, but one never knows with adopted street dawgs. After Dave-the-Dawg passed away from us in Jan. '04, Meika the Siberian Husky was so depressed and lonely we thought she would waste away. She would come to us to get pets and love, but soon would go back to lie by the kitchen door, facing the door with her chin on the floor. After about 3 weeks of this, Jim started looking on line for another siberian husky, tho i wasnt really ready to get another dog. i missed sweet ole Dave so much i couldnt even think about having another dog. then Jim found "Project Pooch" operated thru the juvenile detention home. they take street dogs, homeless dogs and match them up with a youth at the home. the boy is then in charge of training the dog til it is housebroken, can follow a certain number of commands and is "adoptable". there is a kennel and a dog trainer person at the home and a vet who works with them. so the dog gets any necessary care, shots, neutering and general supervision. anyway, there was a photo of Tasha and description of her which called her siberian husky mix.... well, turns out there's a lot of mix and very little husky. so Jim and Meika went to visit with Tasha and they liked her. Then a week later, the trainer brought Tasha to visit us and to check us out as prospective adoptive family. we passed!! there was an adoption fee of about $200, which we thought was more than reasonable. there was even a money back guarantee! Tasha came to live with us last Feb. and she and Meika seem to love each other, tho Meika does occasionally feel the need to assert her alpha bitchiness. our TV room got a bit cramped when we put a second dog crate in there. Tasha has some funny "little ways" about her.... she has her morning talk-and-howl when she first gets let out of her crate... perhaps telling about her dreams and how happy she is about a new day! both of the dogs love stuffed toys, and seem to take it as their sacred mission to unstuff these things as soon as possible.... so i quickly knew there was no way i'd spend $10 at the pet store to buy them toys and have the limp and empty pelts lying around and stuffing all over the kitchen floor. and then i found the $1 stuffed animals at Good Will... bonanza! Meika seems to choose her "puppy-of-the-day" from among the 6 or 7 lying around, then licks/cleans it well and spends the day lying with it. Tasha watches this carefully and when Meika isnt looking, will steal it away and stash it in her crate. this little scenario can repeat several times during the day, til there is hardly any room left in Tasha's crate! so, that's about Tasha... she is an affectionate, funny dog, gets along ok with the grandkids, has been slow to learn that my fibers are MINE and my knitting needles ARE NOT chew sticks, but hasnt tried to take down the barricade i've built around my spinning wheel and fiber stash nest. she seems happy with us and has probably put about 10 pounds on what was a very skinny frame when she came here. and i am happy we did adopt Tasha!
and here they are: Tasha on the left and Meika on the right

and my most favorite photo of these 2. it looks like they are "singing" but in fact, are playing one of their favorite games which seems to have the goal of "who can open her mouth the widest?".

Monday, May 09, 2005


enhance your spinning/felting stash.... go to
(here's a little sample of what's there)

Saturday, May 07, 2005

sweet dog Tasha (aka Batdog)

just look at those ears! isnt she cute???
when i have time to write again, will tell Tasha's story.

Monday, May 02, 2005

twisted beach retreat

Had a lovely fibery weekend at Rockaway with 5 of my twisted sisters. we were able to rent the house we like the best... one block walk to "downtown" main street, next door to a restaurant that has truly wonderful clam chowder, walk across the dune to be on the beach, huge open living room, 2 bathrooms..... like what more could we ask for. AND they let us go in at noon on friday AND it cost each of us $48 for friday noon to sunday noon!! as usual, there were piles of fiber everywhere once we got settled in. Laurie had a bag of alpaca/shetland blend which i quickly developed severe envy over. it was so soft and clean and just plain lovely. i didnt get many pics, but will post some when i get them off my camera. actually, i'm not very pleased with any of the photos i took, but here's a few of them.


for some reason, my photos are not loading. i know they arent wonderful pics, but didnt expect them to be rejected by a blog editor. will try again later.
here's a touch of "class". Martha would approve, i'm sure! (this one is especially for Anna!!)

Crystal and Lynn

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

stash reduction

i'm on a roll now with stash reduction! moved lots of stuff to new homes yesterday.... beads, rubber stamps, quillting fabric, and of course, yarn. i just love it that Kate and my dear niece, Jen and her dear wife Maggie, are all very creatively inclined, and 2 of the 3 knit! Kate is doing some spinning and has my Louet at her house, and one of these days i'm sure Maggie will get interested in spinning! after the big giveaway, i still have enough to last me a couple of lifetimes and probably need to go back through everything again for more reduction. but first, i need to go through a ton of books and purge there, too, and finish going through that closet that yielded this first round.

Kate and the kids came down from Duvall on friday while i was at the opening night of the play Jim is in, Much Ado About Nothing, at the local community theater. Kate went to play in a LaCrosse tournament on saturday and the kids stayed with us. sadly, it was raining so we didnt get any outside time. we had fun playing with them and Alex has taught/showed me everything i ever want to know about transformer robot things. he loves them and is really good at manipulating all their little parts and pieces. and Zylie, little Sweetness, is a delight! she always "helps" my pantry by stacking up the cat food cans with all the kitty faces looking out and the different colors lined up together.... scorpio trait? Kate had more games on sunday and the kids went to the other grandparents' for the major part of the day. we had a bd dinner for Pop at his new place, (he's 89 now!)and Sweetness and The Boy had a marvelous time running in the hall and chasing their cousin. and then monday a.m. Jen, Maggie and their 2 girls came for lunch and the stash reduction. chaos reined and i think fun was had by all. and let me tell ya, i am tired as a ole wooden dawg!

Little Sweetness and The Boy

the great grandpa, Sweetness, The Boy and their uncle Bud

did a bit of dyeing today and carded a few batts, but am not real interested in doing anything but taking a nap.... zzzzzzz

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Moja Monda

Lynne has received her moja monda, so i can put a photo here. (yes,i know it's mojO and mondO, but this being feminine power i just used "a" instead.... it seemed to fit.)

(it's not clear from the photo, moja monda is about 2 inches long)
and the reason for the gift is that Lynne needs some heavy duty mojo to keep the rattle snake in line. it is said to live on the property where Lynne's studio is. over the past few years i've collected Zuni fetishes, some of them i was able to find in New Mexico. this little snake was the first fetish i bought (got her in San Francisco) and the time seemed right for her to be with Lynne. i knitted the wee little bag with handspun silk, wool and sari silk waste threads.

finally, the rains have stopped and spring is here again... and it feels so glorious. i spent most of the day digging around in the dirt trying to reclaim some flower beds from the rampant weed invasion... not so easy when some of them are 2 feet tall and have roots that go half way to hell. out of "roundup", but a new supply is on the way. it's starting to look good out there by the gazebo. i planted some of the goodies i got at Hardy Plant sale: a flowering quice bush (will be2 to 3 ft. high) that will have a pale salmon colored flower, a heleborus with red stems which will have pale green blooms, orange scented thyme, moved greek oregano from the pot in the green house and planted it in the holes of a cinder block in hopes of curbing its tendency to become a wandering thug, did more weeding, spread around some compost, tripped on a stake and fell on my butt into a flower bed. the fall was followed closely by an hour lie-down on the ice pack, which seems to have helped cause i can still walk! will do more ice tonight as i do not want or have time for an achey back (oh dear goddess, i just remembered Billy Ray Cyrus and Achey Breaky Heart..... i loved that song. no accounting for some people's taste!

gotta stop now and watch Jon Stewart.

Monday, April 18, 2005

progress on back of cardi

update: got the upper part of the back started and like it so far. about 6 or so inches to go and not sure yet what it will be like. this photo isnt the best so will be replaced later (camera ran out of juice)

Sunday, April 17, 2005

a week later

I did survive the Hardy Plant sale, tho was only able to tolerate the mayhem and noise level for about 45 minutes. kept feeling like i was swimming upstream no matter which aisle i tried. there were many wonderful plants there and i probably
would have done more serious damage to my bank account if the shopping hadnt been so painful. havent had a chance to
plant any of the new goodies yet due to too wet ground on sunday, then leaving monday a.m. on amtrak to visit the kids in
Duvall. Kate's plantings from last year are looking great and survived the winter well. I got Alex a snapdragon plant last
summer and the bloody thing looks like a small shrub now. We played at home on tuesday. and had a fine time spreading playdoh and finger paints all over the place in the 2 hour time period between Kate leaving for la crosse practice and Chris getting home from work. On wednesday, we went to the Children's Science Museum, after a marathon struggle to "convince"
Zylie that she really couldnt go nekkid, this not being a clothing optional event... plus, it was a chilly and breezy day. it is really a grand museum and i know we all would have enjoyed it even more if we'd gone on a day when all kids in the metro seattle area werent also there. it was spring break, we discovered! hope to go again when it is not so mobbed. (there seems to be a theme here about my dislike of big crowds of people!!) Came home thursday, Pam met my train and then we had a wonderful Greek dinner at Dimitri's. we're talking about Pam staying here with us for possibly 2 or 3 months before she moves to Thailand, depending on when her house sells. she cant leave before sept. because she needs to come to Crete to
visit us before going to Thailand, and we wont be there til sept. 7. On saturday, Beckie and Monty came to take away the Pat
Green carder, which wasnt the ordeal i thought it would be... moving a 400 pound machine with the power of 2 men, 2 women and a wheelie thing to roll it on. they backed their pickup up to the basement door, Jim built a ramp from the doorway to the truck bed, which made an *almost* level runway for the machine. so ends that phase of my fiber life. Goddess knows i put in my time standing on the concrete in front of that thing, shoving fiber into it. i did enhance my fiber
stash by carding several pounds of BLF and some other wools into some lovely blends of roving. got a whole bunch stashed of my favorite white wool with many bright colors of cut silk and silk noil!! sigh. and now it is sunday, my dad's 89th birthday. we had planned a party, but he's having neck and shoulder muscle spasms and is flat in bed trying to make it feel
better. so, we'll postpone to next weekend. Kate and the kids will be here, so they can join in on the partying, too. and now
i need to go do some dyeing, so i can put some dyed rovings up for sale. the only knitting i've done in a week has been on the current in progress fluffy-top socks and a wee little bag to hold the "moja monda" for Lynne, which will help keep the snakes away from her studio!! it's a surprise, or i'd put up a photo... dont want her to see it!!

and just because they are SO cute, here are photos of Zylie, Tiki (the 5 month old Chinook puppy with broken toe and headgear), and Alex!

Saturday, April 09, 2005

perennial plants

I'm off this morning for my spring plant expedition... the plant sale of Hardy Plant Society... hooboy! must make a list before
i go in there or i'll just wander around in an overwhelmed, dazed and stupefied trance. this is a huge event, with a wonderful
variety from tiny herb plant seedlings to exotic (and exotically priced) trees. it always looks like it must have taken the vendors a week to get everything moved in and set up... what a pig show it must be in that parking lot with all those people
trying to get trucks unloaded and moved into the building. this sale ranks higher with me than the amazing orchid society
sale a month ago. now to get that second cup of coffee, make list and go!

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

more sweater

Have finished the bottom panel and picked up stitches along one edge (180), did 4 rows of garter st., then 3/4 inch of
stockinette and put the 2 fronts on holders. now to figure out what design will go on the back. I bet i'll have this done
before BSG. that's what i'm aiming for anyway. maybe even have it done before i go to Tennessee June 10 to be Lynne's
assistant for her 5-day workshop. i'm so excited i'm going to do that! and it would be fun to have a new sweater to wear!!

We (bro. Bud and I... and 2 big burly rental guys to move the heavy stuff) got Pop moved back into assisted living at
Avamere yesterday.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

to steek or not to steek....

I am still pondering how i will knit the rest of this sweater. one approach is to pick up stitches around one edge of the bottom panel and knit up, with decreases for a square neckline, then cut steeks for the armholes. I like to pick up stitches for the sleeves and knit down to the cuff. Lynne's question, tho, was could i pick up stitches from a steeked edge. i wonder
if i did 2 rows of machine stitching at the cutting place, would that be stable enough for picking up stitches? on the other
hand, would it be any less strain on the fabric to attach sleeves to those armholes after they are knitted? Lynne is helping me
ponder this question and here's what she emailed me:

+++ for your armhole can carry a pattern around the entire top of your sweater uninterrupted. This is a great advantage with handspun variegateds because when you knit back and forth the color goes back and forth and the colors that end up on the front two halves and the back half of the bodice are never the same. With your steek idea the colors would flow. In fact, it would look very flowy if you did steeks for the armholes AND the other words did the whole thing in the round. The colors will still shift around as they always do, but there would be a natural flow.
Now I'm looking at your yarns again and they are more solid than usual because they are from carded blends, not variegated the above is not totally necessary.

===the will have an end to deal with for every single row. Some people just put tape over gross grain. This works for the front of a cardi, but would be bulky for an armhole seam. you can have all the ends just waving around in there...after all,who's going to look? If you wash the sweater to block it the yarns will barely felt and stay put a bit better...but if it's superwash , there they be. I think that needle felting would be a great way to get them to stay would have to poke each thread a couple of times...not too much as that would show on the front. I would do a test swatch...sound like a lot of trouble?

So, still pondering. what i think i want to do is use the Jo Sharp "Berry" as a background color and do something in fairisle and/or intarsia in 2 or 3 of the other colors. i have a LOT of the "Berry", so it could be the predominant color in the sleeves,
too. i have a few designs that i've graphed... a spiral, some flowers, a stylized hand, etc, and i love the spindle that Sarah
Swett did for the Spin-Off sweater a while back. (it's legal to use that, isnt it?)

i'd love to have any comments or ponderings that anyone has...... meanwhile, i have about 1 inch left to do on the bottom,
and will get that done tonight.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Cardi update

The bottom panel is coming along well and i really like how it's looking! decided i'd better measure it, so pressed and
measured, and while i was at it took a couple of photos -

the front of the bottom panel

and the back...
still a couple more inches to go....

later, i'll post some comments from Lynne on the question "to steek or not to steek" at the armholes and the front.

Thursday, March 31, 2005

just rambling

here it is almost Friday again and i'm still knitting on the bottom panel of the cardi, and still trying to get the damn tax stuff
finished, and still doing my daily Greek lessons. sadly, i dont feel like i'm making a lot of progress on any of those things!
yesterday was a strange day..... the smallest things annoyed and frustrated me. i suppose it's at least partly due to Mercury in retrograde. got a bit of an attitude adjustment in the evening knitting/tv time when i found a couple of good programs on
PBS. i tuned in to the 2nd half of a program on Afganistan as they were talking about the destruction of so much of the old
culture and art of the country by the Taliban. there was a Russian archeologist who had excavated some ancient sites during
the 1970's and uncovered lots of gold, some of it as jewelry decorating the body in tombs. it had been placed in safes and
hidden from the Taliban, and they opened the safes as the Russian man watched. he was able to account for all the treasures
he had unearthed 30 to 35 years ago. as the excavating season was coming to an end he had finally (after many years)found
the buried Sleeping Buddha and had uncovered the toe of the statue, but had to close the site and wait til next season. what
an exciting thing for him to look forward to and how agonizing it must be to wait after finally making the discovery!! it was
appalling how much of the art and history of Afganistan was destroyed. it made me think of all the Tibetan Buddhist
art and treasures and religious history which was destroyed and looted by the Chinese government. and the next program on PBS last night was an Andrea Bocelli and figure skating program, which i totally loved. loved his music so much that i am
right now downloading his "Andrea" album from iTunes!!

Here's a recent photo of Rachael -

She has been in the Peace Corps in Tanzania almost 1 1/2 years and has signed on for more time... about 6 extra months, i
think. For anyone who doesnt know, Rachael is the youngest of the Twisted Sisters, is the daughter of my dear friend, Pam,
is an extraordinary young woman and is a "daughter of my heart" and good friend. i love her and miss her so much!! and am
so proud of her!