Monday Musings

Re-acclimation

Whatever your feelings on the matter, the economy is trying to reopen, and legal restrictions are loosening. This means my halcyonic quarantine is coming to an end. My volunteer gigs are starting to reopen. Which has meant I’m starting to have to have a schedule outside of work that does not include just going out and digging in my yard.

This transition has been harder on me than the lockdown. Monday, I missed a VERY important meeting I had with the Council where I was to have appeared as the Chair of another committee. There goes my hopes of public service (yeah right). Literally the next day, I got an IM from my supervisor asking if I was going to show for the all office training? Oops. I did manage to be on time for an interview for a new podcast later that night, though the host was late. Here’s the interview, by the way: https://anchor.fm/gary-fox2/episodes/Garland-Pepper-presents-Daisy-Santana-Hickman–Fiber-queen-knitting-spinning-etc-ef04a7?fbclid=IwAR16c1Mgsc19yskKoxvkmh0BZH0fvXaVJ5yjPIYNhb786RVnSNcqxp0bsdY

Wednesday, I had 2 work meetings. I only remembered one, and then I had to take a late lunch because of meeting 1. By some weird quirk of fate, I clocked back in just minutes before my second meeting (which was the one I forgot). Thank goodness for that, since it was a skip level meeting with my boss’ boss’ boss’ boss (yeah, 4 levels up). Thursday’s after work meeting went off without a hitch. Thankfully, no meetings for me to screw up Friday. However, Saturday, as I was going through my emails, I found not one, but two emails from someone trying to interview me about some board work. We’ll see if my response is too late. I haven’t missed feeling like a failure.

And no, putting these things on my phone calendar hasn’t been working, I’ve gotten out of the habit of having my phone with me all the time. Clearly, emails are not currently effective. I’m just going to have to go back to being used to being tethered to my phone and being pulled in a lot of directions. I foresee knitting making a comeback for me. It is a wonderful stress relief.

As I’m personally struggling with this dumbness, the world at large continues to struggle with larger issues, and I find myself expending more mental and emotional resources outside of my home. Gardening, as well as knitting helps with that. While I pull weeds, or move tons (probably not literally) of rock, woodchip, and dirt, I listen to podcasts and alternately learn and think Great Thoughts. As I have to start engaging more outside my home, that time will go away, and I will miss it. But enjoy photos of what I’ve done (mostly) by my lonesome. However, I still have my fiber arts, and they are often portable

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One thing I’ve realized during my down time, and solidified in my conversation with Garland, is that knitting gives me the space to respond, rather than react. This was a concept I learned from my first Molly (yoga teacher). Yoga/meditation helps you build your proverbial moat so you have time to respond to stimulus, rather than react. Knitting does that for me. When smoking was a thing, cigarettes did that for the world at large. Think about the old movies/shows. Some groundbreaking thing was said or done, and the person took a drag off the cigarette, buying a few moments, before they responded. We don’t have that anymore. I think a lot of people don’t want that anyway–we are so in need of immediacy. Knitting gives me that, though. I can finish up this row before I respond. Or, I can be so involved I completely missed whatever asinine thing came out of your face.

I haven’t needed that for these last few months.

Please be patient with me as I re-acclimate to “reality”. And thank you, Dear Readers, for your words of encouragement. They really do mean a lot.

Monday Musings

That sucks, have a blanket

The last several weeks have involved loss. Not my personal loss, but loss for those one or two degrees of separation from me.  We all suffer loss throughout our lives.  We all struggle with that loss.  And those of us still here have figured ways to live with that loss.

Sometimes, not gracefully.  But we keep moving forward.  Because that is our only option.  Until we master time travel, we can only move forward.  However, grief doesn’t seem to need to follow the laws of physics.  You can go on for days and days, months even, and out of the blue it will sucker punch you in the nads.  That perfect color of blue the sky has that makes you think of your loved one will have been a welcome, happy memory the last 8600 times you saw it.  This time, though, it just rips out your soul. Next time, it may be happy again.  Who knows why?

So, why does a crafting blog talk about something so heavy?  Well, it started with someone in my outer circle losing her partner.  This made me think of when a friend lost her partner relatively recently.  I kind of started putting together a post in my head that involved the blanket I gave back then.  It was kind of vague, though, and felt a bit self-serving.  But, my TEDtalk podcast had a talk on grief.  And then my friend mentioned the anniversary of her loss had arrived.  Whatever you do or don’t believe in, it felt as if something was…lets say encouraging me to put my thoughts out there.

Those who know me know that I am always crafting.  ALWAYS.  I will frequently get asked “what are you making?”  Usually, I have an answer for that.  The next logical question “who’s it for?” is tougher.  Sometimes, I know. Often, I don’t.  I have found that, much like Ray from Field of Dreams, if I make it, it will find a home.  For as often as I make things, and as many 1/2 finished items I have hanging around, I have very few finished items that take up residence at my home.

Such was the way of the blanket in the featured image. It was, in all honesty, a scrap blanket.  I love, love, love Lion Brand Homespun.  Accordingly, I had a bunch of bits and bobs of it hanging out.  I found a blanket pattern that was an interesting construction, and I thought it would look interesting with varied colors of differing amounts.  So, I went about making it.  I didn’t have anyone in mind while I was making it.  I just made it.

I knew my friend’s partner was not doing well.  Truth be told, my entire relationship with her, he wasn’t doing well.  However, as I was nearing the end of the blanket, I found out that things were so poorly off, that he had set a date for his death.  I knew then that the blanket was intended for her.  There is not much more cuddly than a blanket made out of Homespun.  This blanket is both soft and durable, it is both broken and whole.  It just screamed at me that it was hers.  We don’t really have a gift-giving relationship, but I gave it to her anyway. Later, she told me it was nice to have in her grief. This is one way we, as crafters, can help someone on their journey.

Now, to last month.  How do I help this person on her journey? We aren’t close.  D and I have really only been around each other a handful of times.  For like 1/2 those times, she didn’t even like me, I drove her up a wall, and she only put up with me for the sake of our mutual friends.  I’d never met her partner.  I don’t know her well, so I honestly wouldn’t know if any of my attempts at comfort would be doing more harm than good.  However, I could lessen the outside burdens on our mutual friends so they could more fully be there for her.  This is like the showing up post I wrote so long ago.  While it’s not a direct support to her, I hope that I indirectly helped her on her journey.

Our mutual friend G was supposed to demo at Sheep to Shawl, but it coincided with the memorial service for D’s partner.  She was going to the memorial service no matter what, but she may have been distracted by the missed obligation.  So, I hijacked someone else into demo-ing.  I hope this helped make the day smoother for those involved.  But even if it didn’t, it certainly didn’t hurt.

I am really quite socially awkward, I never seem to have the right words at the right time.  In fact, I’m super good at shoving my foot into my mouth, and I generally don’t stop talking until I reach my hip. Envision Walter Matthau in anything he’s ever done trying to be earnest…that’s me.  Foisting my awkwardness on someone isn’t really making them feel better…unless it’s by comparison.  (IE “my life is falling apart, but at least I’m not her!”) But, I can do crafting and works of service. I can also sit and knit/spin/weave/crochet while you tell me all about how your heart was ripped out by the stupid sky for no apparent reason.

And if I say “that sucks” and thrust the pair of socks I just finished at you, just know that’s me trying to say all those encouraging and inspiring words that would make everything feel a little better for a little while…it’s just I don’t know what they are.

Monday Musings

Finally! Knitting

We will now get to which yarn I *did* choose for the shawl.  Surprisingly, it didn’t come from my yarn wall.  I don’t keep cones on the wall! That’s just crazy talk!!  It came from a yarn bin.

These are vintage wool yarns in what would probably be a 2 on the ball band in today’s times.  Because they are vintage, I have no idea anything about the provenance of them.  If I run out (I won’t), I won’t be able to get more.  I am not positive of the care and feeding of these particular yarns, so a shawl is good because most people should assume you must be very delicate in the cleaning of those. As opposed to say…a hat.

I especially like the rustic look of these yarns, and think they will add a little something to the pattern. I am a big fan of dichotomy.  It’s one of the things that I appreciate about the pattern.  It mixes the simpleness of garter with lace inserts.

I am finding with the vintage yarns there’s some old wearing and the green keeps having weak spots that I choose to break and rejoin rather than have a weak spot in my work.  I have looked carefully, and I don’t believe those spots are because of insects.  Honestly, they may be from critters chewing (I think the yarns were stored in a barn).  There is also a possibility that something in the dye is weakening the yarn.  It’s not quite a poison green…but who knows what those dyes did to the yarn??

A less…stubborn (?) person would have scrapped it all and went with some other yarn.  I am telling you, it is a pain to have to keep breaking and reattaching yarn.  As I get further along in this cone, it’s having to happen less and less.  I’m quite pleased with where I’m at with it now.

Would i do it the same knowing what I know now, though? I honestly don’t know.  I can tell you that I wouldn’t recommend it for anyone else.  Knitting isn’t supposed to be this much work.  In every project, there is some aspect that’s not my favorite.  But I don’t want it to be work.  And like Judith McKenzie kept saying in our spinning class at Madrona “Life’s too short”.

My plan for next post is to discuss a bit about following directions. Where will I land on that one?

P.S. did you notice last week’s featured picture was the yarn I chose?

Monday Musings

Back to the shawl…

You probably thought you were done having to hear about yarn structure from me.  You are almost right.  This will be the last of that for a bit…but I do have a little bit more to add.  I’ll be referring back to information from previous posts on Waiting for Rain, so check those out again if I lose you here.

Even considering gauge, as well as fiber content, there’s still the actual structure of the yarn which needs to be considered.  This is a bit of a potpourri of a topic.  Lots can affect what I’m referring to as structure.  Both gauge and fiber type have a role of course, but mostly it’s the construction style I’m talking about now.  For typical yarn, that means spinning style. However, a chenille, or a ribbon yarn would also apply to this section.

20190225_193505.jpgOne of my favorite, relatively inexpensive yarns is Lion Brand’s Homespun.  It has such beautiful colors (yes, while I can be an ass about using color as the defining consideration, I do recognize it can be *a* consideration), it feels so soft.  However, as you can see, it’s all bumply.  What this means is that it doesn’t show stitch definition.  The good of that: you can screw up a whole bunch and no one can see.  The bad of that: you can work your ass off with a beautiful stitch pattern, and no one will be able to see it.  This yarn makes wonderful garter stitch blankets.  They look super cozy (and actually are), and they are super easy to make.  If you are not one to like a concert hat, perhaps this would make a good concert knitting project for you. So, this probably won’t be my first choice for Waiting for Rain.  Unless I only did the garter in this, and found something to go with it for the lace panels.

20190225_193518.jpgThis is a singles spun yarn, which means that it is not plied like many other yarns.  It is also a warm yarn, but it is smoother than the Homespun, so it would show definition.  I made a wonderful cabled blanket out of it.  With the leftovers, I’ve made several twined knitted hats for Poopie.  Which he loves.  However, because it is only spun in one direction (rather than spun, and then plied in the opposite direction), the twisting of the knitting, and twisting of the yarns for the twining technique means that it frequently untwists enough to fall apart, so I have to do a lot of splicing in the hats.  This is why I try really, really hard not to tell people they can’t or shouldn’t do something.  Conventional wisdom is that you “shouldn’t” use singles for twined knitting.  However, these are truly Poopie’s favorite hats. They are a giant PITA to make, though.  So while I won’t say you “shouldn’t” use singles for twined knitting, I will say you “should” make sure the project/recipient is worth the extra effort you are sure to need to put in. This yarn would be a perfectly reasonable choice for the shawl, the color repeats are long enough to not be super busy and detract from the lacework.

20190225_193527.jpgThis yarn is an interesting yarn to discuss. If you look at the “core” of it, it is a laceweight. However, it has a wide halo around it.  The ball band calls it a bulky.  I think this is because you should probably use larger needles to give that halo enough freedom to “bloom”.  While this is an acrylic yarn, this type of construction is similar to what you would see with rabbit (which, yes, I know, I didn’t talk about last yarn structure post).  Yarns with this construction seem to me to most often be the super warm yarns.  They look so delicate, but they are soooooo cozy.  If you spin a more robust yarn with rabbit, you could go to the North Pole.  For me, this construction of yarn works best with a simple lace design.  I think you need the holes of the lace to let the halo really shine, but that halo will make it difficult to really see the lace.  If I’m going to be working charts and tearing out rows, I want the casual observer to *know* I busted my ass to do that, and I want them to be totally jealous of my skills.  Fuzzy yarn just doesn’t do that.  However, it makes a super easy lace chart look like you *did* do all that hard work.  Better than having everyone ooh and aah over a complicated pattern is to have everyone ooh and aah over something super easy.  I’m a big proponent of making my yarn work harder than me.  You may think that’s lazy.  I choose to say it’s smart.  Tomayto/Tomahto.

 

 

Monday Musings

Final Madrona

Another Madrona has been completed.  Sadly, it is the last one.  Happily, a new event will take it’s place.  Same bat time, same bat channel.  Different name, and different people running it.

This year I took a dye class, tablet weaving, spinning, and knitted lace.  All three of my teachers are superstars in their field, so I left Madrona on a high note.  The dye class I ended up in wasn’t a practicum class.  I gave that one up for the greater good.  So, I don’t have any pictures from dyeing.  However, my tablet weaving was a huge success!!! I love my space invaders…and their creepy eyes.  20190216_154338.jpgMy favorite John story from that day was one of the ladies had warped her loom funky.  I didn’t see/hear exactly what she did. But, that meant her piece wasn’t doing what she wanted it to do.  John went over to her, and figured out it was the warp, and not her weaving.  He said something to the effect of he didn’t want her to feel bad about her weaving, she was doing great.  She did need to feel bad about her warping, though.  Keep in mind, she comes to many of his classes, and he develops wonderful rapport with all of his students.  So, in the moment, we all laughed (she included).  The warp was fixed, and she carried on.  Auntie Pam bought me a loom, and John signed it for me.

20190217_113901.jpgSpinning with Judith is  always a joy.  She had me putting random things in with my fiber, which is how I ended up with this lichen yarn.  She’s just so matter of fact about spinning, I love her so much.  There’s never anything that we shouldn’t try.  She tells us what the potential pitfalls may be, but never says “don’t do that”.  Granted, it’s spinning, not anything that’s going to blow up.  The worst thing that will happen is the yarn will fall apart.  Oh well.  I did see these totally awesome spinning wheels that are in little pseudo briefcases…The Device. Seriously, that’s what it’s called.  I really need one.  Poopie’s eyes just got really big when I showed him what they look like.  I’m working on justifying it.  I just can’t quite yet.

And, finally, Franklin’s class.  He had me too busy to take pictures.  Auntie Pam took bunches.  And, honestly, his classes are technique, so we were futzing on swatches.  Not very photogenic.  But the information from Franklin!  The most important take away from his class was after a few inches, put the work down and conduct a “frank assessment” of the work to make sure it is what you want.  If it’s not, take it out, and fix it.  Friend L apparently had the same grandmother give her this advice, based on the number of times she restarts things.  It is often hard for me to just pull out a bunch of work.  I will do a lot of contortions to make something work that really shouldn’t.

The trip home was much less eventful than the trip up was…which was good.  Remember how I said on Thursday that some times, I’m all about the destination? That was yesterday.  Madrona always takes it out of me.  I was tired, and just wanted to be home.  Thankfully, the gods that oversee Madrona allowed for that to happen.  Please enjoy this tablet woven police box.  It is, unfortunately, not how I got home.

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While I really enjoy my time at Madrona, and all the stimulation and all the wonderful people, I am always so eager to come home.  Which is awesome–to have a home I’m grateful to come home to.

I’ve missed writing, and I’m working on trying to get scheduling worked out to where I can more consistently write.  For now, though, I’m signing off.

Monday Musings

I won at knitting chicken!!

Remember how Friend L had challenged me to a knitting duel? She totally caved.  She groveled and bowed to my awesomeness, and withdrew her challenge.

No, what actually happened was that she looked at her personal WIP, crafting, and life and made decisions.  She decided that, while playing with me is fun, and the project and experience would be fun, the product wouldn’t be something she needed/wanted.  This isn’t to say that we won’t do something else in the future.  But this wasn’t the time nor project.

All I can say is “Thank the Baby Jesus”.  Past Me is a mouthy thing that doesn’t tend to back down (yes, yes, Present Me is like this, and Future Me will likely be the same).  We were in a class, I was high on excitement, my friend came up with a terribly hilarious idea (or I did…did I mention I wasn’t thinking straight?). We played a short round of chicken, and then agreed to make a traveling cap neither one of us was likely to ever wear.

The silence on the subject afterwards was welcome to me.  I took it to mean that it was forgotten like any drunken bet should be.  The fact that it was fiber, not alcohol that fed our drunkenness didn’t matter.  And then she just had to throw down the gauntlet.  I could say I didn’t want to embarrass her in front of the internet, but we’d all know I’d be lying.  A: I have embarrassed many people on the internet (usually myself, but I’m people!!) and B: I’m not that nice.

I picked up the gauntlet.  I didn’t have drunkenness to blame for still thinking it was a hilariously awful idea.  As I have gotten older, I have found that an idiotic teenager still lives inside of me.  And sometimes, I hope she never dies.  But seriously, what was I going to do with a traveling cap??? *And* I couldn’t find a selection of colors I could knit into an ombre effect, so I was going to have dye the colors myself.  I mean, if I’m going to do something idiotic, I might as well do it right…right?

Did I act all mature and tell my friend that while the idea is great, this execution may not be the best one? Do you know me at all??? Of course I did no such thing.  I just kept playing chicken.  Now, in my defense, there are a lot of positives that still would have come out of that experiment. For one, I’ve never tried dying an ombre, so that would be interesting. I still haven’t done a Franklin Habit pattern, and I’m dying to try one.  His is not my usual style, so it would take something this ridiculous to try one out.  And if the downside is a traveling hat I won’t use, well, I could sell it, or give it away, or…worst case, unravel it, and do something else with it.  So, it wasn’t *hugely* idiotic.  I’m telling you, as I teen, I was pretty boring.

What really happened is this: My friend felt terrible about having to back out of something we had agreed to.  I did not, however, feel terrible.  Again, I was super grateful.  July, in our household, is the month of Never Ending Things To Do.  They are (mostly) enjoyable, but they are legion.  Since we have numerous birthdays, we also have out of state, and out of country visitors.  We need to be available whenever possible for hijinx.  What that means, though, is that now that July is over, I have to wade through the half assery that Past Me left.  As stressful as all that is, I wouldn’t have been able to enjoy this project at all. I still wouldn’t have backed down. I’d have stressed and fretted trying to figure timing out with this and mundane things like laundry.

I am so proud of my friend for honestly looking at things and making tough choices about what to cut out.  I need to be better about that myself.

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.

Monday Musings

Madrona day 4 (belated)

The last day of Madrona is like the last hour of a night out partying. Everyone is exhausted, but no one is quite done. We know it’s time to go home, and we are ready to go home, but… there is still so much party left to be had.

As I said Saturday, Sunday’s class was John Mullarkey. I saved the best for last! But honestly, how do you pick a favorite class? I really can’t. I joke about my mad crush on John, but really, all the classes were excellent, as expected.

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Franklin Habit’s sheep

John and Franklin are BFF’s, so I got a bonus Franklin visit when he came in to draw a sheep for John! John has many other talents.

Remember the story of how Pam and I met? Well, the other lady from that story was in this class. This time, we were on opposite sides of the room, and Pam didn’t attend. Did that stop the shenanigans? Don’t be silly, Dear Reader, of course it didn’t!

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John Mullarkey’s sheep

John was gracious as always. Especially when I compared his drawing of a sheep to Franklin’s drawing. I think he only threatened to kick me out of class a couple of times throughout the day. For a Sunday class, that’s pretty good for me.

You may think with John’s drawing skills, I should look elsewhere for a design class.  You may be wrong.  Like I said, he has other talents.  One of which is teaching.  His medium for art is in fiber and weaving, not in pen and ink.  He made the belt he was wearing, which he called “Robot Factory”.  Which looked like little R2D2’s, but, are NOT.  I really wanted the pattern, but it involved hexagonal cards, and I am not there yet. I couldn’t take a picture without being extra creepy. I think this showed remarkable restraint on my part.  20180218_091331.jpg

Here’s what I started off with to begin my design journey.  I generally try to bring colors I wouldn’t normally use, or wouldn’t normally pair together, for classes.  My thought is that I’m experimenting anyway, so I might as well go whole hog in my playtime.  Those colors are very “Easter” to me, and not ones people would generally associate with me.  So I played.  20180218_100404.jpg

The featured photo is the band I came up with.  I originally wanted to do a lollipop, but clearly did not grock the whole “S” and “Z” threading properly.  So it ended up being a Truffula Tree.  However, as people were coming along, some thought with different colors, it could be a poppy, and I tend to agree.  That’s the fun of design class, you just play and play.  With most of my samples from classes, I’m able to find things to do with them later. I’m sure the same will hold true for the Truffula Trees.

As I said, the class was great, and I was pleased that John remembered me from last year.  We will just conveniently forget it was probably because I am such a pill to have in class…or that I may have been creepily following him around last year (Hey, I didn’t take a picture of his belt!).  Hopefully, he’ll come to Oregon again next year, since I missed him last time he was in Eugene a couple of years ago.

After class, we were ready to go straight to the train station.  Pam and I had packed the night before.  My packing is on the left, and Pam’s packing is on the right.

As you can see, we have different styles of packing.  However, I’d like to point out that I knew where my brush was Sunday morning.

Today has been a day of recovery for me.  This wasn’t just a night out, after all. It was a VERY LONG weekend out.  My brain is still mostly mush, but I can possibly be of some value tomorrow in my day job, and that’s all they can ask of me, right?

Madrona was clearly a success for me.  It’s so much fun to try new things, and see how other’s approach the same things.  Isn’t it wonderful we aren’t all the same?