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.