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Bring it!

Friend L, who first inspired my blog writing, has re-vamped herself and her blogging.  She can now be found at On Pens & Needles.  I have updated my sidebar to reflect this.  You may wonder at my posting on a Tuesday.  I do not normally do so, as this is the day Poopie and I set aside as date night.  However… I’m making an exception tonight. And let me tell you why…

Last week, L asked if I would like to start walking with her in the mornings.  I agreed (I must hate myself).  She makes me get up at the butt crack of dawn…5:30, and I proceed to hike over hill and dale to the tune of almost 3 miles.  This is after spending all weekend working in the yard.  And…to be honest, I’ve done very little excercise-wise in several months.  I only bring this up to point out that L has kicked my ass.

Does she feel bad about this? Who knows.  What I do know, though, is that I found out last night…along with the rest of the world…that my DEAR FRIEND has thrown down a gauntlet.  I have to wonder about the timing.  I am weak from lack of sleep.  All my muscles are screaming at me.  And this is when my supposed friend decides to throw a mental challenge my way?

I tell you, with friends like these…

So, in future walks, L and I will be hashing out the details.  In the meantime, please enjoy the pattern, and Franklin Habit’s words: Lady’s Travelling Cap.  The featured image was stolen from Knitty.com.

Wednesday In Progress

Still alive!

I am back after an unexpected hiatus. There are many reasons for this hiatus. I had vacation, which was a mixed bag, and I’ll probably talk about it later, once enough time has passed to make it funny. We came back from vacation to find that the furnace has died. As my Gpa would say: D-E-D, dead. Our April has been colder than usual. And I had no furnace.

Those of you who have chosen to follow me on Facebook (La Tejedora Crafts) or Instagram (La Tejedora Crafts) may have seen a picture of the fire in our fireplace.20180417_090754.jpg  So, I did have *some* heat. However, one of the things I love about my house is that when we had four human sized people in the house before Things 1 and 2 moved out, the acoustics were such that it didn’t really *feel* like we were all on top of each other. Funny thing about air, whether it’s transporting heat, or transporting sound, it reacts pretty much the same. So, my house was mostly an icebox.

It wasn’t helpful that Poopie’s job is now 5 days a week from home, and I had 14 days straight working from home during this time (yes, including weekends).  Despite me waking up to the shopping list in the featured image from Poopie last month, we are both still alive. Honestly, the biggest kerfuffle we had was over fire building.

When we go camping (most often with my MIL and FIL), there are two camps (lolol puntastic!) when it comes to the philosophy of fire. It so happens, in this case, to run down gender lines, but I am unaware of it being necessary to be gendered. My FIL and Poopie like refined, restrained fires. They are very good cooking fires. What they are not, however, are good heating fires. When camping, either FIL or Poopie will get up and make some anemic little fire, and cook us yummy food, which we have to eat bundled up in 17 layers of clothes because the sun has barely made it over the horizon (I may have taken some poetic license with the imagery, but seriously, it’s freaking cold in the mornings). The rest of the day is spent with the two camps vying for control of the fire. Every time FIL and Poopie leave the camp on some adventure, MIL and I, who have stayed behind to read and relax (because—vacation!) load the fire with a bunch of wood and get warm. When FIL and Poopie return, they stifle our glorious fire and tame it. I told Poopie that it’s like they are afraid the posse will find us. Spoiler alert…there is no posse. Imagine all this playing out at home, with just Poopie and I.

The most hilarious part about these differing views of fire is that they are in direct opposition to how we tend to feel about almost everything else in life. MIL and I tend to be the more practical ones, while FIL and Poopie tend to be the wild, untamed, unrestrained ones.

So, work and dealing with furnace quotes, and deciding which furnace, and whether to add AC, and, and, and all conspired to make blogging much lower on the prioritization scale.

HOWEVER, I still took some pix, I tried to make the pages easily searchable in both Facebook and Instagram. Both are La Tejedora Crafts. So, even if I wasn’t blogging, I was still thinking of you Dear Reader. Please do check out one or both of those pages and follow me there.  You get more pictures than just the blogs.

20180417_181227.jpgToday is Wednesday. Which means Works in Progress. I have been working on three, count them, three memory quilts for forever. I finally got them done, and the recipients have them in their hot little hands.

They are my first foray into T shirt quilting, which was quite satisfying.20180417_180431.jpg I learned a whole lot about quilting doing these, so expect to see pictures in the future as I need to demonstrate future thoughts. The loved one who passed was clearly an Oregon Ducks fan, so I chose the colors accordingly. The backs are yummy minky in colors which align with the recipients. I am absolutely sure that when I was asked to do these quilts, the expectation was that I would have a simple blocked quilt with everything the same size.

I try to have my work be individual, and fabulous…one could say Santabulous. So, of course, I went overboard. It was a lot of work, and took a lot more time than I would have ideally liked, but I’m very pleased. My MIL told me they were ugly. I’m going to assume she meant the colors, and not my workmanship (she’s an Oregon Beavers fan).

Lots of little changes have been happening for me and my household during my hiatus, which will need to be accounted for. May involved another vacation, and other work related garbage. Somewhere in this hiatus, there is also Other News. Which I will get to in a later post.

I’m still working on being gentle with myself.  I think it will be a life long endeavor.  WIP’s are things that I tend to beat myself up about.  Things that I don’t get finished for whatever reason.  Falling down on the blogging “job” is also something I’m working at not beating myself up over.  This is all a learning process for me. You might say that blogging is also a WIP 🙂

Thank you for your patience. I hope it was worth it.

This Must Be Thursday

On felting

Taking a vacation to warmer climes is an almost universal goal during winter.  Until you are on said vacation, and your body rebels.  20180326_074959.jpgHere we are in 85+ degree weather, and my brother caught something awful and has been making equally awful noises all vacation.  I have caught something similar, which I’m unfairly blaming on him, and making similar, yet distinctly different sounds.  Not only did we go from 45 ish degree weather to 85 ish degrees.  We went to about 200 feet in elevation to about 3000 feet.  To top all that off, it is *still* cane burning season where we are at, so ash is falling like rain.  OK, the ash isn’t *that* bad, but it’s not that good, either.  We also went to the coast, back to normal elevation, but still super hot.  All this means is that our bodies are shocked, and feeling abused.  I’m willing to take the trade off, though for the time and experience.

Last week, I talked about stretching our work (or ourselves, for those of you who like analogies).  I’d like to continue on that theme a bit by talking about shrinking.  Or, better said, felting!  Actually, fulling (yes, please, hear that in the most supercilious voice you can muster).  Felting and Fulling are both the same process.  Felting is with fiber, while fulling is with fabric.  It’s a small difference, but could be important…I’m sure…I just don’t know off the top of my head when.  I’m just going to call the process felting for ease of understanding, as the message is the same, regardless.

When one shocks fibers, they curl up into a fetal position, and grab on to all the friends they can.  This process is enhanced if you agitate and beat the fiber.  When done unintentionally, or without a plan, this creates a mess.  But, when done with intention, beautiful things result.  Even better (worse), they aren’t always predictable.  This, I believe, is the inspiration for all hazing-type organizations.

We have probably all had the experience of the sweater that shrunk in the wash, and been devastated.  The fibers have been subjected to hot temperatures with agitation, and shrunk up, they have also clumped together with the other fibers in the piece and joined together into something completely different from the original work. You, Dear Reader, are probably trying to figure out why on God’s green earth anyone would *want* to do that on purpose.  Especially with my less than elegant explanation of the process. It sounds violent, doesn’t it?

In the right hands, intentional felting can create beautiful art. In fact, needle felting has come back in the fiber world.  Go to any fiber show, and there will likely be a booth displaying this type of art.  In fact, a high school friend of mine needle felts zombies.  She also does more mainstream stuff. In case there was any doubt…mine are not the right hands.  I have every confidence that I would create an unholy mess.

Felted (fulled) fabric is thicker, which makes it more air and water tight than un-felted fabric.  20180328_155810.jpgIt does lose elasticity in this process; as well as stitch definition.  But, because of this, we can have felt hats (think Stetsons).  Once again, whether or not something is desirable depends on your purpose.  I know I drive people crazy when they ask me what the “best” yarn is.  I don’t know, what do you want to do with it?  So, a blanket which has felted may be something awesome–if you lived in the Arctic.  Or something  awful, if you lived here, in El Grullo.  That being said…the warmest blankets *EVER* come from here.  Ask Things 1 and 2, if you don’t believe me.

When Poopie forgets, and throws actual wool articles into the laundry, and they felt up, he no longer is able to use those items as he wanted.  But, they don’t have to be lost causes.  The hat that no longer fits him is now a smaller, warmer hat for someone else.  Even his socks that he somehow manages to felt (even though literally no one else in the world can get those brands of yarn to felt) get a second life.  If nothing else, I cut them up into squares to keep my needles on in my tool kits.

While there are patterns out there for fitted things which need to be felted in the process, I haven’t generally used them.  Felting is not a science, so much as an art.  While science is involved, there are so very many variables, that I don’t know that someone can actually, honestly make exactly what they set out to make. I know for sure I cannot.  So, I keep my felting for things where it doesn’t matter so much–like bags.

For those who don’t know, I love second hand shopping.  Even with my yarn.  Yes, you should take precautions for moths, but the trade off is usually worth it to me.  Anyhoo, many, many years ago, I purchased a particular bag of yarn.  In the bag were several partial skeins.  The problem with partial skeins is that they do not always come with ball bands, so you never know what they are actually made of.  I made a classic blunder.  No, not getting into a land war in Asia, but close.

There was a group of yarns that was just different colors of the same yarn…and one of the partial balls still had the ball band.  It looked like it should be a good felting yarn, so I went about making a simple bag.  I would do the body of the bag in the blue, which there was the most of, until it was done, and keep using the partials up in stripes.  I would make horizontal slits by casting on/off to make the handles.  Finally, I would felt up the whole thing to make a sturdy handbag.  The felting would have the added benefit of “hiding” the jogs in the colors

I brought my bag with me to my knitting group for however long the actual knitting took up.  Each time, DeAnna would sigh over it.  She all but pee’d on the thing to claim it.  I can’t say for certain she didn’t.  Once the knitting portion was done, I threw it in the wash.  I pulled it out, and saw what my carelessness had wrought.  The top part of the bag turned out exactly as I had hoped.  The bottom….not so much.  Apparently, while many of the colors were the same yarn, the blue was not.  I had not tested it to see if it was wool.  It felt and looked the same as the other yarns, but it was not.  Well, DeAnna wanted it so badly, she could have it.

DeAnna LOVES the bag in the featured image.  The felted portion is sturdy, and the unfelted portion grows, so she can carry a little, or a lot in the bag.  I’m not going to lie, when I pulled the bag out of the wash, I was super disappointed.  However, DeAnna was not. This bag is felted where it counts, and elastic where *that* counts.

There are pro’s and con’s to everything.  It’s what you do with the characteristics that matter.  There are also trade offs for everything. 20180325_151235.jpgThis ash that is aggravating my sinuses is the same ash that clears the fields for more cane which sweetens the coffee I’m drinking right now.  The elasticity of knitting gives way to the sturdiness of felting.  Try not to be too afraid of a little hot water and agitation.  While there’s security in knowing exactly what you’ve got, you may find there’s a different security in the hardiness of having made it through the hot water and agitation.  Like so many things in life, it’s about finding the right balance for you.  Maybe the balance is more felt, maybe it’s no felt, only you can decide.  I can’t say what the “best” balance is for you.  I don’t know…what do you want to do with it?

Uncategorized

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!

The lovely (as well as irritating) thing about the written word is that you don’t get tone of voice.  So…is that “ah” a scream of frustration? rage? or a sigh of contentment? Yes–all of the above. Vacations are wonderful things–once I get there.  However, the getting there can be a bit…much.  I committed to writing once a week, but I didn’t commit to which day.  I’ve been super good about getting something out on Mondays, but as you can tell, I missed this Monday.  Because I was getting ready for our annual jaunt to Mexico.  Which leads me to today’s post.

The topic will likely elicit a similar scream from you, Dear Reader.  We are going to be talking about (dun dun duuuun) blocking.  Blocking is the act of wetting a piece of fabric (knit, crocheted, woven, etc…), pinning it into shape and letting it dry.  There are many different schools of thought on blocking.  My position on blocking is an ever evolving one.

20180320_173823.jpgMonday night, instead of writing to you, I was blocking a present for one of my many (many) aunts.  I love that my shawls look like birds.  You may or may not be able to tell that I just do this on my living room carpet.  I use thin rods and a whole bunch of T-pins.  A. Whole. Bunch.  Seriously, there is no such thing as too many T-pins.  If you ask yourself “should I put a pin here?” the answer is yes.  20180315_190916-e1521830751162.jpg

The left side of the shawl is showing the beginnings of blocking.  See how far I stretched out the top? You can also see the lack of definition on the scallops of the lace.  20180315_191659.jpgThen, I pull the lace out.  I make sure to pull the yarn as far as it will go.  I catch each of the points in the rod to make strong, consistent points for the finish.

Some people block pieces of projects to help make them consistent in size.  A myriad of flaws can be hidden in the blocking.  The problem with this, though, is that if there is a lot of difference to make up, it will come out in the wash.  After washing, they’ll return to their original sizes.  And then, you will have a mess.  So, blocking only goes so far in this manner.

Shawls are, so far, my only approved use of blocking.  As you can see, the side that isn’t blocked is kind of a mess. 20180315_191650.jpgYou can’t see any of the definition that makes the piece beautiful.  You may not even be able to see the full potential.  It takes stretching the piece beyond what you think is possible to bring out its full glory, like the featured image.  20171015_092732.jpgThere is, however, always the possibility of going too far.  But, I maintain it was going to break anyway, and it’s best to know now than when I’ve come to depend on it.  Besides, if it’s never blocked, it never has a chance of being what it’s supposed to be.

Many things have to go through a similar process. We temper steel to make it stronger.  Similarly, the delicate lace is only truly able to shine once it has shown how very, very strong it had to be.  Even the “failed” shawl will shine.  Maybe in a different form (definitely in a different form–I REALLY hated that pattern), but it WILL shine.

Blocking can teach us so many things:  True beauty often comes after testing.  We can often handle more than we think.  We need to be aware that while we can try to fit with something not meant for us, eventually, we will come back to ourselves.  Finally, we have to remember just because we weren’t meant for something doesn’t mean we aren’t meant for something else.  So, don’t be afraid to stretch!

Monday Musings

Unexpected Treasure

This blog thing is hilarious to me.  I usually have an idea of what I want my next blog post to be about.  Often times, it involves me texting/calling folks and asking them for pictures of stuff I’ve given away to show you.  But, my non-existent ADD comes out to play, and something else invariably pops up right before posting, so I end up with a bunch of 1/2 done blog posts, which I’m sure I’ll get out later.  This does NOT AT ALL reflect my normal creative process.  Pay no mind to Poopie’s frantic gesticulating.  He has no idea what he’s talking about.

In my defense, I have finished some of the previous blogs.  For example, Recuerdos was hanging out for a month or so, until the PERFECT opportunity to update and post arrived.  This also happens in my normal, day to day life.  I just have way more space to spread out IRL vs. on the inet.  So, the newest shiny subject is gardening.  I have a half done post about something else I was going to do tonight, but this weekend was faboo for the gardening aspect.

I chopped up my fruit trees.  20180310_114005.jpgI have no idea what I’m doing.  That’s a bit of a stretch…I have SOME idea.  I’ve taken a couple classes from the Master Gardeners.  But, ideally, someone would come to my house.  Blindfolded, of course…I don’t want anyone knowing where I live.  They would tell me: cut here, because this.  And: cut there, because that. It’s hard for me to do spring cutting.  I feel bad about curbing growth.  Logically, I know I’m directing growth, rather than curbing..but still.  Last year, I didn’t trim back far enough based on conversations I’ve had with others who espalier their trees as well.  Fun fact, that is not the same thing as espadrille.  This year, we’ll see if I have let the pendulum swing too far the other direction.

Roses, I’m good with.  Contrary to popular belief, they are hardy suckers.  My mom showed me how to chop them up but good.  They keep coming back just as strong as ever.  As does the hydrangea.  Poopie doesn’t seem as concerned with the roses when I chop them up, but the hydrangea usually makes him worry I’ve gotten too exuberant.

This year, I won’t be able to participate in either of the seed exchanges I know about in my area.  Seed exchanges are soooo cool.  You show up, maybe with seeds, maybe empty handed, and you go home with seeds that you can turn into plants.  Or…sometimes, you get bulbs, or starts for different plants.  This year, even if I were able to have attended one or the other, I wouldn’t be able to really do seeds, as I’m going to be gone for almost two weeks in the middle of seedling time.  Which is fine, I end up starting way too many plants, and overwhelming myself.  I’ll just buy seedlings this year. Meanwhile, I’ll send a bunch of seeds (see featured image) to one of the exchanges.

But, I still need to get my plots ready.  20180310_114029.jpgI came out early enough that the weeds aren’t too crazy.  Plus, I got to see my volunteer kale.  I do a pretty poor job of fall cleaning.  I can tell you it’s because I am letting the nutrients go back into the soil.  And that may be true, but I justify it by seeing my volunteers the next spring.  If I had done a better job of clean up, the kale and the chard would be gone.

Let me tell you my favorite volunteer story.  I periodically try to grow potatoes.  My success is…questionable at best.  So one year, I *DID* do a good job of fall clean up.  I pulled the last of the potatoes out of the bin, and put the tops in my home composter. My outside composter only gets garden stuff. No weeds.  It doesn’t get hot enough to kill seeds.  The next spring, I’m be-bopping around the yard, just puttering, and notice what looks like potato leaves coming out.  I don’t think much about that.  20180312_191048.jpgIn the warmth, and the nutrient rich environment, some clippings get what appears to be a surge of growth, but nothing happens with them.  Fast forward to the end of the season.  I open up the bottom section to pull out the composted stuff, and out spills a bunch of potatoes.  So…I go to the kitchen, get a bowl, and gather them up.  I decide to try out a new potato recipe with those potatoes.

Apparently, Thing 2 had been watching.  When I served the dish, I told Poopie how it was made, and Thing 2 asks “are those the potatoes from the garbage?”.  (She was such a pleasant teen)  Yes.  Yes they are.  To this day, that dish is called “garbage potatoes”.

This goes to show you that the difference between serendipity and adversity is often a matter of perspective.  Her garbage was my treasure.  My father in law grows blackberries….on purpose. I am forever cutting back blackberries.  20180312_190903.jpgLast year, this whole area was blackberries.  The poor lilac has been overrun. Even weeds express this dichotemy…Did you know that dandelion roots can make a dye for yarn? The leaves make a different color; and the flowers, still another.  Poopie spent a lot of time pulling out scotch broom as a weed (it IS in invasive species).  But a couple of years ago, I made him bring me home a bunch to dye yarn with.  I gave that yarn to L.  She’s on vacation, so I’m not going to make her send me a picture of it for you.

Monday Musings

Recuerdos

In Spanish, souvenirs, are called recuerdos.  Which literally translates to “memories”.  I have most of my loved ones pretty well trained to bring me yarn and/or textiles as souvenirs.

So, I end up with beautifully interesting yarn from (I think) Brussels from Thing 1’s graduation trip.  She was with her mom, so they just made a side jaunt to grab me something. As you can see, it’s a blue cabled yarn that’s also rainbow…so glad for pictures because this doesn’t make sense otherwise.  20180212_202325.jpgI wasn’t sure what I was going to do with it for the longest time.  I only ask for a skein of yarn because I never know what I’m going to get, and I want it to be something of reasonable cost.  20180212_202316.jpgMy MIL asked for a rainbow runner for her table.  Finally, I knew what to use the yarn for!  I wove this runner.  There wasn’t enough of the yarn for either a full warp, or to use as weft.  Generally speaking, warp is the long strands of fiber, whereas weft is what goes back and forth side to side.  The lovely thing about weaving is that you are not constrained to use the same yarn for the whole project.  Which is why knitters/crocheters often expand out into weaving.

When we get to playing with scraps, I’ll explore all sorts of different warps.  I can’t wait…but I must buckle down and finish some things before I move on to new things.  This responsibility crud is garbage.  Back to the runner.  I used the souvenir yarn for the center of the warp, and played with the color outside of that.  We won’t tell her, but there’s actually a bit of…shall we call it asymmetry..to the piece.  The weft, as you can see, is just the warm colors of the rainbow.  Some of the reasoning is that that’s what I had left over from other projects to use for this one.  Some of the reasoning is that the rest of her house is blue, so this color scheme would make the runner “pop” in her house.  Most of the reason is that it is how I wanted to make it.  I like how it turned out, and she does as well. This is the joy of crafting! I can do what I want (yes, I did say that with attitude)

Thing 2 went to Germany in high school, and knew I’d appreciate yarn.  Keep in mind, she was a teenager with a bunch of other teenagers, and had to ask to stop by yarn stores.  Poor thing.  She got me various yarns in bright colors which got turned into Christmas tuques (I’m forever going to use that terminology now) this year.  Slightly hilarious because Thing 2 gets grumbly about the folks who received the tuques.  But…one of the yarns was actually for a kit for a scarf of some sort.  It came with needles and a pattern.  Written in German. If you can’t read German, it’s in Italian as well. Or French.  I speak Spanish. The poor kid couldn’t even translate the German for me because conversational German is *vastly* different than knitting German.  Don’t believe me? Look up a knitting pattern in English and tell me what it means. So, I stared at the photo, and thought it looked sort of like a 1×1 rib.  I tried that.  It didn’t really work. So, I tried to see if I could stare cross eyed at the Italian, and somehow figure out what it said. I mean, Italian is a romance language, and Spanish is a romance language… It wasn’t working that well.  French is also a romance language…  I stared, and stared, and stared.  And then I saw the magic word–Brioche.  Guess what, Dear Reader? I know what Brioche is.  I didn’t know how to do it, mind you, but I can YouTube with the best of them.  So I made the scarf.  And gave it to Thing 2. I have asked her to send me a picture of it, so I can share it with you.  She has forgotten.  You will just have to believe me that it’s awesome.

On my honeymoon20180305_201349.jpg (I have SOOOO many stories of my honeymoon adventures, which I’m sure I’ll share), we went to Whitefish, MT.  I stopped by a yarn store, and purchased a skein there, and then I made this lovely cowl.

Several years ago, we went to Hawaii.  I purchased souvenir yarn then, as well.  As you can expect, there aren’t many fiber animals in Hawaii.  However, in Hanalei (I’m singing “Puff, the Magic Dragon”, and now you are too!), they have a store called Strings and Things.  20180305_201244.jpgIt’s half yarn store, and half guitar store.  In that store, they have locally dyed yarn.  By the smell and the colors, I believe that they are Kool Aid dyed.  I turned that yarn into this cute little wrist bag for projects.  As a side note, they also sell yarn at the Ace Hardware in Lihue, but that’s just generic yarn.

The lovely thing about these stories is how much use and memory will come with these yarns.  Grandma has a runner that was made for her by me, with yarn supplied by her granddaughter from Europe.  Thing 2 has a scarf made by me from her trip to Germany. The recipients of the tuques were told their yarn was German, but I’m sure they’ve forgotten. When I wear my cowl, I remember the adventures I had.  While I can no longer smell the fruity smell of the dye on the project bag, I do think of Hawaii when I use it.  For me, these make better souvenirs than tchochkes.

I share these stories with you today because Poopie and I went to Pendleton this weekend.  The Pendleton.  Home of the Woolen Mills.  While Poopie made sure to book us a tour of the Underground, neither of us thought to make sure the Woolen Mills tour runs on the weekends.  Spoiler alert…it doesn’t.  That’s OK, we went to the store.  It was…a store…but, in the back was a neat mini-museum.  I was initially confused because the artifacts weren’t confined to Plateau Indians work.  I’m impressed with myself to be able to recognize the difference between some of the First Nation’s works.

While I am sad that I went to the home of the Pendleton Woolen Mills, in the middle of historic sheep country, and didn’t get *any* fiber, I did bring home a recuerdo anyway.  The featured image is the locally distilled coffee vodka that came home with me.  It packs quite the wollop, let me tell you.  Even when I can’t get fiber, I try to get something unique.  I blame it on never finding my name on those racks of souvenirs.  The benefit though, is that when people see *my* souvenirs, and tell me they are lovely, I get to tell them the story.  Whereas, when they see me wearing a shirt that says “Lincoln Beach”, they usually don’t give me the chance to expound on my various adventures. I’m not saying it stops me…it’s just not as organic.  I mean, I never turn down a chance to tell a story.

 

 

Monday Musings

Showing up

I tell people that Poopie and I are ineptly supportive of each other. This is because we do support each other. We are just terrible at it.

In the early part of our relationship, I had said that I thought I wanted to learn how to spin yarn. I mean, I already knew how to knit and crochet, so the next logical step was to learn to spin, right?  However, in looking for a wheel, I discovered that there is very little depreciation in the cost of a spinning wheel.  This meant spinning wasn’t going to be a low cost experiment.  Knitting and crocheting can be done on the cheap, and someday I’ll tell you about my introduction to weaving, but spinning…  I couldn’t justify that big of a purchase if I didn’t *know* I was going to pursue it.  So, I decided that was that. It would need to wait until I got rich.

Except for Christmas. My Poopie had found a spinning wheel in an antique shop, and purchased it for me!  (no, there are no pictures, Dear Reader…what is your deal with pictures??) I was so excited!  I would learn to spin!  And I diligently tried.  I really, really did.  I even found out about a poly drive band, and made Poopie help me figure that out.  Nothing.

However, I am lucky enough to live close to the Aurora Colony Spinners. And they have classes.  See, I had been trying on my own, and failing.  I don’t know if YouTube existed, if it was in it’s infancy, or if I just never thought of it, but regardless, I didn’t play on the YouTubes.  I decided, instead, to take a class on spinning.  The Aurora Colony even let me rent a spinning wheel.  With the patient help of Barbara Quinn, I was able to learn to spin (and ply) in just one day.  Seriously.  Just one day. All that time on my own, and one little class fixed it.  Le Sigh.

So, I called Poopie and ask him to please bring my wheel. He did.  I am informed this is called a chair wheel.  It’s a re-creation of a wheel that was made using the bottom of a chair as the frame.  I told everyone the story of Poopie buying me the wheel, and how supportive he is.  Appropriate oohs and aaahs.  I sat down to try out my new-found prowess…and nothing. One by one, several ladies tried.  No one could get the blasted thing to work.

So, I found out that it wasn’t me!!! It was my equipment. 20180226_213919.jpg Armed with this new knowledge, I went out (eventually) and bought myself a wheel.  Or 2. Or 3. Then I sold #2. Then bought #4. And later, #5.  Trust me, Poopie tells me about my wheel collection (which is only 4).  I ask about his guitars, and he finds somewhere else to be, and his hearing has suddenly deteriorated. I would also like to point out his wall of lp’s behind spinning wheel #1.

I, too, am inept at being supportive.  A couple of years later, I found a reel to reel for Poopie.  He had been wanting to start recording his music.  Being a Luddite, he was wanting analog.  So, I was in our local record store and noticed a reel to reel for sale.  Huzzah!  I bought it for him.  If you are a crafter, Dear Reader, you know that equipment has lots of variables that mean nothing to the lay person, but can make or break your project.  20180226_213943.jpgApparently, the same is true with music.  It would be very helpful, however, if Poopie didn’t sound like a trombone when he talks about his music equipment.  I’m not one of the Peanuts kids, I don’t understand “Wa waa wa waa wawa waa”.  So, even had the reel to reel I bought him actually worked, it was a 2 track instead of a 4 track.  Our local record store took back the defunct reel to reel.  Two machines later, he now has the one he wanted. Also, please note the 2 guitars and mandolin, in addition to the guitars and basses in the music room.

This post started out to be a post about equipment.  I was going to end that the lesson I learned from this is that if something doesn’t work, don’t necessarily assume it’s you.  MjAxMy1iMGFkZjZkM2M4OTI0MWNj

But then, yesterday, Poopie sent me a picture of this real, true to life CD (featured image).  That’s me being thanked on a CD.  Do you know what I did to deserve that? Me neither.  Except…I showed up.  I sat in the audience at most of their shows, and crafted.  When there were side projects, they knew they’d have at least one friendly face in the audience. Even my party foul story is about us showing up.  While Poopie and I were bumbling around like idiots, our friend was texting to make sure we were going to be there.  He was going to go up in front of a room full of strangers, and wanted just a couple familiar faces.  Never underestimate the value of showing up.

Poopie and I gave each other objectively terrible gifts that we had to return.  But, the true gift is that we showed up for each other.  So, take your crafting and show up somewhere and support someone or something you love.