Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas time is here by golly

The holiday season's fast coming to a close and this time around has been more tolerable. Usually by Christmas I'm exhausted with all the hoopla but I discontinued my cable service back in November so I haven't been assaulted with all the commercials. Downtown Portland's very pretty at this time of year with all the lights and festive decorations in the stores. I always enjoy going there to do my shopping for that reason. It's also less insane there with people.

The new year is looking like it will be more austere. The unexpected expenses have been piling on to what's already been noted and an application for refinancing was turned down because of my situation. It won't be a case of living on ramen and frozen vegetables but there will have to be fewer splurges. If nothing else the hobby splurges will have to pay for themselves because the money has to go to getting the debt down. But I've made do before and I'm comfortable enough that I shouldn't feel deprived. The state of my stash room indicates I will have more than enough to play with in the coming year.

I'm being told off by one of my cats. Don't tell me cats can't communicate to humans.

Anyhoo, my Christmas will be a quiet one. I'll most likely put on the classical station which will play Christmas music from classical composers. I may dig up a jigsaw puzzle to work on or read "The Lord of the Rings" (for some reason the wintertime is the best time for reading Tolkien). I have a few days off which I will use for visiting with friends who have time off too. It will be a nice way to prepare for the year ahead.

To one and all, have a very merry Christmas.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Peeping in

Not much is going on lately to write about. Winter weather has made its way in. The furries have their own spots for snoozing in but on particularly cold nights I'm surrounded with lumps trying to suck some of my heat for themselves.

I got a love note from the city on needing to have my sidewalk repaired. The inspectors had come through the neighborhood last year and were now requiring us to make repairs on sections they deemed not up to code. I've been able to come up with some of the funds to have the repairs done but some of my fellow neighbors are having to scramble to find a way to pay for them, including the one I share a driveway with. The city has earmarked our driveway skirt to the street as requiring replacement. It's best done as one piece so I'm waiting for them to be able to put together the funds to help pay for having the work done.

On the knitting front, I am working on a commission that I hope to have finished by next weekend. It's another Harry Potteresque type striped scarf, only done in cream and dove gray. It's coming out very nicely. When that is done, the knitting will be set aside. Work will require me to do a lot of data entry over the next month and a half so care will have to be taken on my arms to make certain I don't get tendonitis.

Onward and upward!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Fallen

Well, I'm betting some of you are looking for the next installment of "The Memoir". I have to admit I've run out of gas on it. Unfortunately I couldn't figure out what sort of sordid event would make Mr Snitterton be in hiding, and there were already a couple of flaws with it. But it was an interesting experiment. I hope you enjoyed what there was. With the failure of the story there was also the failure of my keeping up with the blog on a daily basis. Some things distracted me and others required my attention. So it goes.

I came home to a "love note" from the city saying I need to repair my sidewalk. A more formal request will come from them later. It's not a good time for me to have this happen but it just means that what monies I can pull together from commissions and such will have to be earmarked for that. In the meantime I'm going to be looking at options. I have one option cooking right now with the credit union which I'm hoping comes through. It will make settling things easier.

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Memoir, continued

The day of the airship demonstration was clear and brisk but not too windy. Mr Sandhurst had speaking mirrors set up so that he could convey his orders to the crew in the hangar and in the airship itself. We had started preparations before sunrise. By the time Mr Sandhurst had arrived with the others we had been at it for several hours. The vehicle hovered over us, its gondola and engines gleaming beneath the creamy gasbag.

Penderking came up to me as the crew was preparing to bring out the airship and drew me aside. "I need you to go onboard the ship and make sure everything is running smoothly," he said. "The Duke of Moonrose is here and I want you up there to make sure nothing goes wrong."

I nodded but felt my stomach go into a knot. The Duke of Moonrose was a very powerful man in the ruling halls of Ashkaroth. We had heard he had had some interest in Mr Sandhurst's company but his presence meant something more. The Duke held the ear of the King and decided who and what the King's money would buy. That he was here to view the airship made me wonder for what purpose he wanted it. A contract from the Duke meant good fortune for all of us.

Even more it meant that I would fly for the first time. I had never gone up in the airship for any of the tests. It would be a challenge for me to keep my head and pay attention to what needed to be done.

I geared up for the flight, donning a canvas airsuit, leather helmet, and gloves before trotting out with the crew as they guided the airship to its launching platform. As I climbed into the gondola, I glanced back at Penderking. He gave me a smile but I could tell it wasn't fully heartfelt. I nodded and climbed in.

Greenfeldt, the pilot, and Hendon, the navigator, climbed in soon after and began the pre-flight. I strapped myself in the mechanic's seat set behind Hendon. When I looked out the window I could see one of the great engines overhead. The murmuring of Greenfeldt and Hendon as they went down the checklist served to make my blood thrill with excitement as we prepared the ship for takeoff. I heard Greenfeldt call out, "Engine 1 start up," followed with Hendon's reply, "Engine 1 start up aye," then the growl of the first engine at our front left as it began. It followed with the engine by me coming to life, its propeller whizzing around at first reluctantly then enthusiastically. The third and fourth engines came to life behind us and the whole ship hummed.

"Chrysanthe to Tower, permission for lift off," called out Greenfeldt.

"Tower to Chrysanthe, permission granted. You're clear," came the reply from the radio speaker.

Greenfeldt pushed the throttle and effortlessly the airship Chrysanthe rose from the ground.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Altogether ooky

This past week I've been playing with a story idea that starts with the finding of a partial manuscript. I'm not sure what direction it's going to go. I'm going to let it play itself out. Unlike some writers, I don't have a plan written out on what happens in the end. It's a rough draft, so if there are inconsistencies and unexplained things (which can happen in a story written this way) please bear with me. My intention was to write on it every day but this weekend I've had to focus on other things and I can't write and crochet at the same time. So the next entry should come in tomorrow.

The extra strain I had put on my right knee over my vacation caused me to rely on driving again to work for a while, but I will be putting in the attempt again this week. You may think I'm crazy to get back to walking when it's getting to be stormy season in the Pacific Northwest. But the rain and wind doesn't faze me. I'd rather walk in that kind of weather than in the heat of summer. There's nothing so soothing as the patter of rain on the umbrella. One thing I won't have though is my favorite folding umbrella. Somehow over time the wires that held the gasket over the handle to the spokes came undone and during my trip to the dentist last Wednesday the umbrella imploded as I was trying to fold it closed. It was a good umbrella, a folding one that could open up to almost as large as a golf umbrella but close small enough to be tucked into a backpack or totebag. I have umbrellas on hand -- a true Oregonian never fails to have one or two for emergencies -- but I'll have to be on the hunt for a replacement for that one.

There hasn't been much else going on this week. I'm finishing up the crocheted washcloths I'm going to sell at the employee craft fair on Tuesday. The holidays will be quiet -- mostly breaks from the year end duties at work -- so I don't have plans for those. I sent off a package yesterday to the recipient of a yarn swap we're participating so I'm waiting for her to receive her package and hoping she likes what she receives. The gal who hired me last year to knit a couple of Harry Potteresque scarves for her has hired me to knit another.

Over the weekend I've been revisiting an old TV series I used to watch when I was a little kid. The Addams Family, the lovely ghoulish tribe of various characters, originated in cartoons drawn by Charles Addams and appeared in various publications like The New Yorker. In 1964 they were brought to life in a tv series that lasted 2 years. The reruns ran in the afternoon and I would watch it religiously. For being a family of macabre characters, they were good-natured, kind, and considerate. Guests are always welcome with open hospitality and they seemed oblivious to the discomfort of their more "normal" houseguests at the sight of boiling tea, a swordfish with a leg sticking out of its mouth, and a pet lion. Everyone had their favorite character. Mine was Thing, the hand that appeared in various locations around the house to assist in whatever needed to be done, such as dialing a telephone, pouring tea, or lighting a cigar. It's been delightful watching it over Netflix Instant while working on my washcloths. Gomez may have been the master of the house, but Morticia was definitely the moderating voice, suggesting in many instances more reasonable solutions to whatever problem they were dealing with in that episode.

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Memoir, continued

I won't dwell on my 3 years at the Academy. Suffice it is to say that what education I failed to get at home I obtained there in addition to the training I would need for my future position with Mr Sandhurst's company. If I am able at a later time, I'll tell about those exciting and soul-pushing days, but I want to make sure I had my story out before it was lost.

After my time in the Academy, I was sent to work under an engineer named Charles Penderking in Mr Sandhurst's West Highborough division. He set me to work on various problems he was working on to help me get a feel for real work as opposed to projects at the Academy. "You'll find, Snitterton," said Penderking, "that the forces of nature cannot be predicted accurately, no matter how precise you are. Always prepare for the unexpected." I learned quickly and worked well with him, feeling with him a natural flow of things. Pieces fell together easily when we worked together, as if the forces that we were dealing with realized that with the two of us there was no point in fighting us. I wasn't sure if he felt it like I did, but one day he asked me to help him on the project he was busy with. It was an engine for a new kind of airship, and he had been working on it with two other engineers, Thorpe and Duncastle. They had done a prototype but it kept failing. "The engine will run for seven minutes then fail," he told me. "We've made adjustments and tried different formulas, but once it gets warm it quits on us. I want you to take a look at this."

Thorpe and Duncastle, two fellows who were relatively amiable but a little cold, weren't too happy with this apprentice looking at the plans then observing the engine. It took me some time to figure it out. It was a subtle change and I could see and sense it, but it took about a dozen tries before I was able to really nail it and confirm it on the plans. "See here?" I said, pointing out the offending valve. "When this gets warm, this valve seats properly and holds a seal. But when the heat makes it expands it creates a leak. That's what's shutting it down." When we made adjustments to that valve and nearby cams the seal held and the engine growled contentedly.

That was what it was like in those days I spent at West Highborough. Most of the time I'd be working on small projects that helped me learn but occasionally I'd be called in to help out on the engine or another portion of the airship. Duncastle warmed to me but Thorpe stayed relatively cool. He was a little older than me and I could sense his resentment of my presence. But as long as I was Penderking's man, I encountered no difficulties.

The days when the airship was to come together and go through the flight tests were nerve-wracking. The airship was a beauty of design and power, driven by 4 engines and clad with a tough but flexible skin over its frame. After the final test, we received word that Mr Sandhurst was anxious to know if the airship was ready for demonstration. Penderking, Thorpe, and Duncastle conferred with the other technicians, mechanics, and pilots. There were some who felt we needed to do more testing, but others felt we were ready and could work out the minor problems later in production. Penderking was the most anxious and Thorpe the most insistent on moving ahead. Finally after wrangling over an hour, it was agreed to notify Mr Sandhurst that the airship was ready for demonstration.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Memoir, continued

I left the town I had grown up in on the Great Valley train. Mr Sandhurst gave me instructions, tickets, and some pocket money for meals for the trip. I had never traveled on the train and I saw all sorts of people on board. There were some like my mother and father -- somewhat poor and worn with having to struggle to live -- but there were more like the men who traveled with Mr Sandhurst. Their clothes were immaculate and their auras murmuring of power. They could see I was poor and would pass me like I was a clod of dirt on the ground. But it didn't matter to me. I was more fascinated by the places we were passing and the things I saw.

The most fascinating thing though to me was the engine. When we stopped at a station where we would be sitting for a while, I was curious to see the engine. I could sense the power that ran the train for it flowed the whole length of it. But when I got close to the engine, its power nearly knocked me over. It took all I had to approach it.

"Beauty, ain't she?" said a man to me.

I looked over and saw a man in a stained coverall with a patch bearing the railroad's emblem over his heart. He looked as old as my father, his short stringy hair streaked with gray. He was wiping his hands of grease. I looked back at the engine. It gleamed with the polish of hours of care enhanced with the power it could generate. I wanted to touch it but didn't dare.

"She's a Carmichael 32-H400," said the man. "Weren't many of these built. Shame, really. It was the best engine Carmichael made."

"How fast can she go?" I asked.

"Under full steam she can fly as fast as the River Runner if not faster."

I had heard of the River Runner. It was the express train that crossed the country in a day. At top speed it could do 185. I stared in awe.

"Yep. Great machine." His ears perked and he walked away.

My final destination was to be the town of Clearwater but in order to get there we had to pass through the largest city of the country: Ashkaroth. It was called the City of Lights and that evening as the train curved around the great bay it rested by one could see why. The buildings were ablaze in magnificent colors and shimmering rays of luminescence. I stared at it until I couldn't see it for the train's bulk in the way. The few buildings we passed soon multiplied in number until we were flying down a canyon of structures. The train dove into a tunnel to get to the station where we stopped for an hour.

By the time we reached Clearwater, it was late and I was tired from the long ride. I fetched my trunk but when I left the station I wasn't sure how I was to get to my next destination. I looked at the directions Mr Sandhurst had given me. When you reach Clearwater, send the enclosed message ball to Mr Arrhenius Pond. Then wait.

In the office of the shop, Mr Sandhurst had given me an envelope that had all the things I needed for my journey. I pulled it out of my jacket pocket and rifled through it. My fingers fell upon a hard round object and pulled it out: a message ball. Inside the gumball-sized plain container would be a paper that bore the message. I tucked the envelope back in my jacket, then I rubbed the ball between my hands and breathed on it. "Go to Mr Arrhenius Pond," I commanded, then I threw it up in the air. The ball fell a foot, then flew upward quickly out of the light of the lamps.

It was all a matter of waiting then. I put my trunk so that I could sit on it but had no idea how long it would take for something or someone to appear. Mr Sandhurst had been vague about where I was to be going. The Clearwater station emptied and with the train and people gone the place was lonely and growing cold. There was nothing to do but play with the light a little and wait.

It seemed after a while that I was pretty much left there to spend the night when I heard a rushing from a distance. A wind gust threw my hair all over and cast dust everywhere, making me cough. "Sorry," I heard a youngish voice say some feet away. "Still trying to get a handle of this one."

I wiped my face and looked at the speaker. It was a fellow my age dressed in a green brocade jacket and purple trousers getting up from a Turkish carpet that hovered a foot from the ground. His chestnut brown curly hair was a terrible mess but his eyes had a gleam of fun. "Are you Arrhenius Pond?"

"Me?" said the fellow. "Oh, no, I'm not old Pond. I'm John. Pondy sent me to fetch you. Hand with your trunk?"

"Um, sure." I lifted one end and John picked up the other. Together we placed it on the carpet, causing it to dip a little then even out. I climbed aboard the carpet and sat with my back to the trunk.

"Old Pond's the housemaster," said John, settling in next to me and gripping the carpet's tufts. I did the same as the carpet suddenly rose into the air and flew over the treetops. "He'd rather be in bed at this time of night. But he was expecting you and had me out when the ball arrived."

"Where are we going?"

"Seven Oaks Academy. On the outside looks like a stodgy old place where they send peers and such to study all sorts of awful things."

"What is it then?"

"You don't know?"

"No."

John grinned. "It's only the best school for engineers. You can't get into it without invitation. Who sent you? Mr Sandhurst?"

"Yes," I said.

"You must be good then. The best ones have been the ones Mr Sandhurst sends."

We went over a rise and in the light of lamps set along paths stood a group of stone and plaster buildings. It looked intimidating and I shrank a little, wondering if I would be able to pass muster. I glanced at John, who was blithely grinning as he steered the carpet to the lawn near a set of arched wood doors on one of the side buildings. I clambered off the carpet and ran my hands through my windblown hair as I looked up at the place. "Go on in," said John. "I'll take care of your trunk."

I opened a door and stepped into an arched hall of polished wood and worn carpets. I walked further, seeing paintings of men and women in various robes and gowns. I heard John bring in my trunk then say, "Good evening, Mr Pond."

I turned and saw an old man in a plain shirt and trousers stepping up to me. "Edmund Snitterton?" he said in a voice that reminded me of my father when he was annoyed at me.

"Yes, sir," I replied nervously.

He smiled warmly. "Welcome to Seven Oaks, Mr Snitterton. Your new life begins now."

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Memoir, continued

When I went to the office, Mr Sandhurst told me he had intentions for me. He needed people to train for a project, one that would be even more incredible than any he had already devised. If I was studious and persistent, I would be greatly rewarded. He would have me schooled in the skills I needed to do the job.

I thought about it. I had never heard of anyone doing such a thing for just a worker. But the look on the foreman's face told me that this opportunity was even more of an amazing thing and I would be very foolish to turn it down. I thought of my mother and father and my siblings. What would my absence mean to the rest of the family? I asked Mr Sandhurst and he assured me they would be taken care of. I would have to leave them though so if I decided to go, I would have to go home and pack and leave right away. He would not have any relatives get in the way of who he wanted on this project.

I said yes.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

The Memoir

I have a blank page before me and don't know how to begin. I know I need to tell someone about some of the things that happened but I have to be reasonably careful, because I don't want others to get hurt. The people who have taken me in have been very kind, but I dare not tell them anything of what happened. Fortunately they have accepted my story as an actor who is down on his luck. I've also been helping around the house at repairing things and earning my keep, so they're not likely to notice anything.

For starters, I'm in my late thirties. I grew up in a household where you fixed things and made do with what you had. My father was quite adroit at mechanical objects so while we didn't have much he made it work so that my mother didn't have to work so hard.

Of the four of us siblings I took to doing things like my father did very readily, so often he had me as his assistant. Later, when I was old enough, he had me at the shop he worked at. The other mechanics weren't sure of having a kid hanging around where there was heavy machinery that could easily take off an arm or leg. But I proved to be sensible and alert, not prone to fooling around. I knew that when I had my cap and work overall on that I was to be serious and pay attention because one never knew for certain what Dad needed. Soon the other mechanics grew fond of my being there and I was soon running errands and helping them out when they needed an extra hand.

You probably wonder why a kid like me was allowed in such a place. At the time, it wasn't unusual for a kid or two to be there. They did the grunt work: fetching coffee or rags; carrying parts; holding tools ready for mechanics. But it was tough to be there. The shop was hot in the summer and cold in the winter. Grease and dirt was everywhere and the place stank of old oil, sweat, and metal shavings. When I showed up there was a kid there who was nearly apprentice age that later on was thrown out because he had been caught stealing cast off metal to sell at the scrap yard. It was awful to see him being dragged out, beaten, then left out on the street to make his way. I never knew what happened to him, but I suspected that he found his way somewhere else to steal, because times were hard and we knew he had no family.

I worked at the shop diligently though the work was hard. I was earning a few extra kuleks for the family, which meant that we could have better food. When I was made an apprentice, we celebrated with a feast of roast chicken, potatoes, greens, and fresh milk. Milk! It was so good. I saved some to go with the dessert I had chosen: apple pie. It was a rare meal for us. I remember my brother and sisters wolfing theirs down and my mother being so proud of me.

My years as apprentice were not long. The shop foreman saw how well I did and how quickly I learned. When there was a call for a new job, he made sure I was with the crew. I did not always work beside my father, but he was proud of how well I did because he knew that I could go further than he. One night on the walk home he said, "Son, someday you will find your ship and it will take you to your dreams. Stay true to what you have learned from your mother and me, trust your heart, and you will go far."

I had little idea of where it would take me. One day the owner, Rupert H. D. Sandhurst, came through the shop. We had no idea he was coming. He was well known to the world as a man of adventure but very shrewd. When he spoke to others his ideas, often they would respond that they were impossible. But he would make them possible and it made him very rich. Our shop was but one of many he owned, but he felt it was important to meet the people who worked for him. "It is easy to lose sight of the world," he once said, "when you don't walk beyond the halls of your office." Mr Sandhurst walked through the shop and all work came to a standstill until he said, "Don't stop on account of me." "Get back at it!" shouted the foreman, and we bent to our jobs.

While I worked at grinding a part, Mr Sandhurst and the foreman came by. It made me nervous having him there and I fumbled the piece a little. "It's okay, boy," said Mr Sandhurst. "Don't mind my watching. I want to see how you do it."

"Sorry," I murmured, noticing the foreman looking anxious.

"If you like, sir," said the foreman, "there's a fella who can show ya how it's done."

"No," said Mr Sandhurst. "I've heard of this one. I want to see his work."

I gulped and nodded a little, turning back to grind the piece. It was a gear for the mainshaft of the ship we were building and my job was to clean up the piece before it went to the next man. It didn't take long when I forgot that Mr Sandhurst and the foreman were there. I took off the rough edges and polished the surface to the right consistency. I was about to pick up the next piece when the clean hand of Mr Sandhurst stopped me. I looked at him.

"You're Edmund Snitterton," asked Mr Sandhurst.

"Yes, sir," I said.

"Um hmm. How old are you, Snitterton?"

"Seventeen next Rose Day, sir."

"How long have you been prenticed here?"

I tried to think but the foreman blurted out the answer before I could speak. "Two and a half years, Mr Sandhurst."

"Really?" Mr Sandhurst smiled. "You started quite early, Snitterton. Remarkable."

"He's been quite the hand, sir," said the foreman. "You can thank his dad for that."

"Really? And who is his dad? Does he work here?"

"Yes, sir," said the foreman. "Roger Snitterton's his name."

Mr Sandhurst looked thoughful, then he shook my hand. "We will be talking soon, Snitterton. I have a few things I must take care of first. Borling, where is this other Snitterton?"

I watched as Mr Sandhurst and the foreman went to talk with my father. I had no idea what to think. What did Mr Sandhurst want with me? As I watched them talk, my father's grease-smudged face went from wary to pride to surprise. He looked at me then back at Mr Sandhurst, then he slowly nodded. When Mr Sandhurst and the foreman walked away, my father didn't look up at me. One of the mechanics went up to him, but he said nothing.

"Snitterton!" shouted the foreman. "Clean up and come to the office."

Monday, November 08, 2010

The box

During some cleaning I was doing in the attic I came across a small wooden box. It didn't look familiar so I pulled it out. A simple hook held it closed so I opened it. Inside was a sheaf of papers covered in writing. Further investigation revealed them to be the remnants of a memoir someone had intended on writing but never finished. The papers were fairly old, maybe from the sixties, but the tone of the writing made me think that the writer was well educated and somewhat well-to-do. I made some inquiries but nothing turned up any indication as to who the writer was. I can only speculate on the identity being a relative that had stayed at the house for some time but suddenly became too ill to continue the memoir.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

The week as we know it

The glorious days of October have shifted to the changing weather of November. We were teased here this week with a couple of days of unusually warm temperatures then a storm came through with the usual fall rain and chill. The walks through the city are punctuated with the rustle of fallen leaves and the streets have a golden cast under the changing canopy. When I crossed the highest bridge in the city into downtown I could see the brilliant trees peeping through the concrete and steel. It makes me love this city even more.

On the knitting front, the Haruni shawl made the rounds and is on display at Cindy's shop window to help promote Sharon's yarn. A few people asked if it was for sale. When I quoted the price, the askers blanched. It was all dependent upon my getting the yarn again in the color I got for the original and I was not going to shortchange myself for the labor I put into the shawl.

With that project completed my focus is now on getting more things done for the upcoming employee craft fair being held in two weeks. My focus this year is on washcloths out of kitchen cotton and cat sock toys. The cloths are popular and cheap to make. The toys are fun and easy. It won't be a big money maker but it will give me some extra cash that I need to take care of some things around the house.

I have other things planned when the craft show is done. Christmas projects are nearly completed. The carder is waiting to be used for good. Stay tuned.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Pretty Kitty Saturday

Sunny days are fewer. The chance to revel in its warmth is lesser. So the sunbath is more treasured.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Fey Friday

1. Only because at the end of the day my brain is not functioning well. It's particularly more difficult at the beginning of the month because work's more intense.

2. I want to knit another sweater.

3. The Kauni sweater still languishes in my UFO pile. I'm working on the body and it's a hell of a lot of work. After a session on that sweater my hands are falling asleep because of the amount of tension I need to put on the yarns to do the color work. I know I should relax but the yarn is fingering weight and my continental knitting gauge has fewer stitches per inch than my English knitting gauge which would throw off the math.

6. I'm a big woman. The Kauni has lots of stitches. Throwing off the math is not an option.

7. I could be working on the Kauni but I have a craft fair in two weeks and more washcloths to crochet. My weekend will be devoted to crocheting and laundry.

8. It's supposed to rain this weekend. That's perfect weather for crafting. The radio will be on, I'll be crocheting away on washcloths. Or sewing up cat toys.

9. At least I won't be tempted to work on the Haruni shawl because it's done. It's beautiful, knit in StitchJones' Titanium Sock. I don't have other projects to lure me away from the washcloths. Maybe. I do have some fiber for making batts for Cindy's shop. Maybe when my hands need a break from the crocheting all the cotton.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

FO!

I'm involved in a project with several of the PDX Knitbloggers where we all knit the Haruni shawl out of StitchJones Titanium Sock yarn. I finished mine last night and released it from its blocking wires and pins.

This could easily be set up to be a square tablecloth. I can see this done up in white yarn and draped over the tea table for afternoon tea.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

November

The sentinels of the street have been touched by the coming chill

They dress in yellow, in gold, in copper
Never the same dress as the year before.
They wait, knowing as in years past, that soon the time to sleep will come.
The day has given them a chance to show their glory in the light of the afternoon sun.

In a brief moment, they flash themselves in a symphony of radiance.
The young, bearing only a few shreds of fabric, vie for
attention but are swallowed by the giants in their vast ensembles.
The wind pulls at the hems. Patches open and seams burst.
Soon the colors will fade, their memory burned only in the eyes of those who saw them.
All drop their raiment, building a carpet of fringe and sequins and embellishments tarnished by rain.

A walk under the skirts shuffles the tufts and shreds along the pavement.
The pageant comes to a close.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Rhinebeck Day 2

(warning: heavy photo content) Sunday I didn't set an alarm to go off so I slept in. Considering how tired I was the previous night it was good to get the rest. As it was I was up by 9 am and on my way back to the Dutchess County fairgrounds. I expected to be parking some ways from the entrance, but Asphalta, the goddess of parking, was very generous and gave me a place right next to the path that led to the entrance. The day before I had had a good spot but finding my vehicle when I was done was awful. Thank goodness for the horn button on the remote, else I would have been there for over an hour looking for it.

My focus on Sunday was taking pictures. I had no obligations so I was free to wander about and see what people had to offer. There were fewer people so it was much easier to see things and get around. Breakfast was one of the yummy chicken pot pies and coffee at the 4H booth. The wind wasn't as fierce as the day before but while I ate I still needed to wear my shawl. And there was plenty of people to watch walk by in their knits.

My first stop was at the farm implement museum. In a fenced off section stood a number of steam powered machines all fired up and running. There was a conveyor belt, a couple of water pumps, a planing saw, and a finishing saw. One man was taking logs of wood and running them through the planer then finishing off the edges to make planks. I was able to take one as a souvenir for Rod aka ToolMan to see if he could make some shawl pins out of it. The place was noisy with popping, farting, and hissing as the machines chugged away.

I worked my way through several buildings, fondling fiber, asking questions, and observing. I found a vendor who was selling custom made wheels using a Majacraft-type flyer. I found another vendor who was needlefelting fiber inside a cookie cutter. The range of colors available of fiber was dazzling. I snagged business cards from those vendors and others I wanted to follow up with later when I was more flush with cash and because the crowds were smaller I was able to talk with vendors about their products.

I made a stop at the livestock arena to see the sheep that were waiting their turn at the judging. Another building had been set aside to display different breeds of sheep. I took photos of the different breeds and most I can identify now but foolish me didn't take notes. There were certainly more breeds than I've seen here in the NW but there were also a few missing. Considering how many breeds of sheep there are there's a limit in how many you can show. The breed of the show was the Oxford, a breed I'm not familiar with, and the sheep there were quite nice.

After all the wandering around I decided to take a break. I found a bench set at a crossing of several paths and sat down to spin for a while on my new handspindle, the music of the Peruvian band wafting from nearby. It was a great fit for the fiber I had brought to play with, so I was churning out my single without any effort at all. Occasionally someone would slow down to watch and little kids were fascinated. A few people came up to me and asked me questions about spinning which I did my best to answer. The most interesting person was a woman who came to me and had me feel some white fiber in a baggie. It turned out to be Samoyed fur. I can see why people would spin it – it's so soft and has no smell at all.

I ended my day with a nice dinner and an early bedtime. The following day I wasn't going to leave until late in the afternoon, giving me time to visit my friend Sadelle and drive through the countryside to enjoy the fall colors. It was an exhausting but very enjoyable weekend. Would I go back? Not likely what with the crowds. If I do I'd most likely visit one of the other fiber festivals in the area and focus on meeting up with my friends. But Rhinebeck is still an experience I'll remember and say, "Yep, I've done it."

Monday, November 01, 2010

An exercise in interesting persistence

There's an event that occurs during November called National Novel Writing Month aka NaNoWriMo. The goal of the endeavor is to write a 50,000 word novel in a month's time. Last year I thought about it but when the month came I was still too caught up in the details of my story to be able to begin it, so I quit. This year I'm not doing it but will try my hand at a similar exercise called National Blog Posting Month (NaBloPoMo). The goal is to write a blog post every day, which is easy. Writing a blog post every day and have the blog remain interesting is more difficult. So how does one try to do this?

Planning. Like any writing exercise, planning is vital to the success of the exercise. Like taking a trip you are making for the first time, you need to have some sort of map available to make sure you don't make a wrong turn somewhere or end up at a dead end. With blog writing, the tendency is for some folks to compose a diary of daily routines which for blog reading gets to be quite dull rather quickly. I want to push myself to 1) come up with an interesting set of subjects, 2) add variety to the postings (serious one day, silly another, interesting a third, etc.), and 3) explore deeper into areas that are part of my life.

I know I'm behind in my blog posting about Rhinebeck (I still have Day 2 to post) and that will be done soon. There will be days when my schedule dictates that I put in a short entry. I will have a picture day and a day of randomness. Sunday will still be my weekly roundup day. I will have some postings of my own musings on various subjects--nothing horribly controversial. I only hope that by the end of the month I will still have interesting things to say and share.

A blog is a personal thing. It's a public platform for a writer to share information. When you post something you take the risk of getting a response that you may not like. For some people that's not a risk they like to take and after a while the blog becomes staid or not updated for periods of time. But a blog doesn't have to arouse debate to be interesting. Fresh ideas and experiences lead readers to areas they were not aware of. A blog can be a window to a person's spirit but it can also be an ego-stroking device if carried too far. It's the challenge I have, and I hope I succeed in keeping it from being that.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Rhinebeck Day 1

Over the course of my exploration of textile arts I've learned about various events that occur over the year. Some events are local, some regional, and some have a national flavor. Some events have a cachet that attracts folks from all over the world. In my discussions with people from the diverse communities, some of the events have grown from quiet gatherings known by word of mouth to extravaganzas that are advertised in the various media focused on textile arts people. The New York State Sheep and Wool Festival, known to the fiber community as Rhinebeck (for its location at Rhinebeck NY), has become one such event.

Rhinebeck, held at the Dutchess County Fairgrounds, attracts hundreds if not thousands of people to it. When the prospect of being able to visit the booths of 267 vendors from all over the US is available for only the price of admission, people seize the opportunity. And who wouldn't when you have the chance to find something that is not easily found at your local shop? For others it's the opportunity to meet up with friends who share your passion. That was one of my reasons for my going to Rhinebeck this year. People I know online meet up there every year. There was also the chance to finally experience Rhinebeck, an event I had been warned would potentially overwhelm the senses with all of its treasures, and visit vendors that don't come to my neck of the woods with their wares.

My preparations prior to going to Rhinebeck paid off. I did my research, talked with friends who had been there before, and printed out the necessary things I knew would be needed for the event: a map and the list of vendors. The vendor list helped immensely because it not only told you who was going to be there but also where they were located amidst all the buildings of the fairgrounds. I planned to leave early to avoid the traffic as best as I could and get a decent parking spot that wasn't far from the gate. Getting there was easy from where I was staying, Saugerties, and the drive there was beautiful with the fall foliage in full display.

Once at the fairgrounds it was a case of looking for the vendors I wanted to visit early to get the best choice of items. Gnomespun and the Tsock Tsarina were going to be at Holiday Yarns and I knew that one would be popular. On the way I passed by Briar Rose Fibers and saw their booth overrun. When I arrived at Holiday Yarns it was empty of customers so I snagged up a beautiful teal braid of Dorset wool from Gnomespun and a claret colorway kit of the Tsock Tsarina's Vintage socks.

The next stop was to Golding Fiber Tools. If you've been reading this blog for a while you may remember on a previous trip to Vermont I visited Tom Golding's workshop at Saxtons River. The handspindle I came away with is a favorite of mine for heavier yarns and plying, but I was looking for one of lighter weight for spinning thinner singles. Sure enough by the time I got there his booth was crowded with people looking at his wares. It took patience for me to be able to see what he had, and he had some real beauties ranging from his simple RingSpindles of finished exotic woods to worked pieces done in antique metals and stones or painted discs set in wood. He's a true crafter and his spindles are known for their speed and precision. At first I thought I would have to settle for one that was close to the weight of my favorite Spindlewood, 1.5 oz., but then I saw after someone moved spindles done with laser etched wood whorls ringed in brass. They were done in a Celtic cross design that I'd seen on his website and considered getting. Three were left, two in somewhat darker woods and one in a golden brownish wood. I seized the golden one for it really stood out to me and found it was made of butternut with a walnut shaft. Here is the beauty that came home with me and have been spinning on since.

After that it was a case of trying to find my friends. I was to meet up with them around 9:30 but by the time I had made my purchases and went to where we would potentially meet up there was no sign of them. The crowds were getting thicker and thicker as time went on. I took a place on one of the benches in the concessions area, sitting next to a lady who was taking a break from making the rounds. She was knitting on a sock. I took out my knitting and worked on the shawl I had taken on the trip. We chatted a while, watched people with their beautiful and in some cases outlandish knits, and kept warm for while the sun was shining the wind was pretty fierce and cold.

By the time it was around 1 pm I decided I'd make my way to the place, Red Maple Sportswear, where I was to meet up with someone else. As a favor, I had brought with me a stitch counting bracelet that MonicaPDX had made for someone in one of the groups we are in on Ravelry. She had conveniently put the Ravelry name of the person. Foolish me had forgotten to bring my Ravelry pin so it was going to be a challenge to meet up with this person. I wasn't going to be meeting up with her until 2 but who knew when that person would show up, so I found a place where I wasn't in the way of the booth's patrons or in the aisle.

While I was there, I ran into a fellow knitter, Jeri, who wasn't in her customary blue but wearing her lovely creation Ingrid. She told me she saw the people I was looking for heading toward the booth slowly. At last I would see them! Sure enough, the crowd parted enough for me to be able to recognize Joe, Marilyn, and Carol, all making their way slowly through the madness to get to David and Mel's booth. I waited as they looked at the goods and watched as Marilyn slowly made her way through. As she started to leave the booth, I said, "You can't leave without talking to me." She looked at me blankly. When I told her who I was she let out a squeal of delight and hugged me. It was like two friends who hadn't seen each other in ages. Joe and Carol saw the commotion and came over to find out what was going on. Carol didn't know me but Joe did from our years of online correspondence. I suggested meeting outside the building where there was a place to sit and talk (I still had time to wait for my other meetup) and they agreed because it was truly insanely crowded in there.

Outside, I was able to give to Marilyn and Joe the swag I was carrying for them: dyed fiber and Tillamook cheese, as well as a package I was delivering for StitchJones. Unfortunately, Marilyn found that the Golding spindle she had purchased earlier had vanished. She was heartsick because it was a beautiful spindle, one of a kind, and when she went back to Mel and David's booth to see if it had fallen there there was no sign of it. The swag took the edge off the loss, but I felt for her. Chances of it turning up amidst that crowd were small. I talked with Marilyn and Joe for a short while, then Joe had to leave for a meeting with his Men's Knitting Retreat peeps. I needed to go back in to meet up with my Ravelry person. I got information for the diner where Marilyn and Carol were going to meet up with others for dinner, then headed back.

Back at Mel and David's booth, I resumed my post, holding up the bag with the Ravelry name displayed like a sign held by an airport driver. In that mayhem it was necessary. It worked because a young gal came by, looked at the bag, and said, "That's me!" The bracelet reached its recipient, I met a fellow Raveler, and my deeds were done. Tired from the crowds and the effort of getting around, I decided to head for my car and drive back to the motel. It was a good decision because the traffic was starting to build up with people leaving the event. I managed to make it back and get in a short nap before going out to dinner.

Finding the diner was interesting. I had taken my notebook computer with me so I was able to look up directions to the place. Before going back to the motel I had done a dry run to see if I could find the place. No luck. So armed with instructions I went on my merry way. I saw a sign saying "Diner" but it didn't have the name of the place I was looking for. I went in, hoping that perhaps I had been mistaken and had found the place. While I was looking around to see if my group was there, the proprietor came up and invited me to sit down and eat. I told him I was looking for the Olympic Diner. "This isn't the Olympic Diner but you want to eat here." I told him I was meeting people there. "Tell them to come here." I asked him if he knew where the Olympic Diner was. "No," and the attitude from him I was getting was more like forget your friends come and eat at my place, not helping out someone who looks lost and is trying to find a place. I left, feeling annoyed at the guy. I commend him for trying to drum up business because the place was pretty empty, but if someone's trying to get directions it's a lost cause.

I did find the diner at last and got to meet folks from the Knitting Retreat group as well as friends of Marilyn. As the evening progressed, we got sillier and sillier. Marilyn had gotten a call from someone who had found her spindle and wanted to get it back to her. By the end of the evening we were exhausted but happy and fed. A fun night with new friends.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Easy breathing

If you're a regular reader you know that I have asthma and have been going through treatments for a while. My allergist identified my triggers and started me on treatment including allergy shots a couple of years ago. However as time has gone by it seemed I'd improve to a certain extent then hit a plateau I couldn't get past. The treatments would be more intense and still no improvement. "There's something else going on," she said finally at the end of August. "I want you to see an ear, nose, and throat specialist to see if there's an obstruction in your airway."

So early last month, I went and saw an ENT to see if he could see anything. I was scoped down to my vocal cords and let me tell you having your sinuses numbed up feels weird. "There's nothing there I can see, " he said. "But there's definitely something going on because I can hear you very clearly and what I hear is wrong." So the next step was a CT scan. Bingo. There was an obstruction in my trachea, a web of tissue, that was narrowing my airway and making me sound like Darth Vader on a bad day. "Let's get you to the pulmonologist and see what we can do to take care of that." One visit to the pulmonologist later and I'm scheduled for a bronchoscopy and procedure to dilate my trachea.

The procedure was yesterday and I came home with a sore throat. But I can breathe!. I went to breakfast at my favorite neighborhood hangout and was able to talk to people as I walked through the door instead of waiting 5 minutes to get my breath. I walked home and the only things protesting were my legs from having to walk so far so fast. The pulmonologist said after the procedure was done that he was amazed I wasn't blue from lack of air because the hole I was breathing through was smaller than what was shown on the CT scan. I can only think that the muscles I built up from singing and used for breathing kept me oxygenated.

I am very thankful for my doctors, especially my allergist, for finding this and helping me. I don't feel old now.

OFFF

This last weekend I spent both days at the Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival at the Clackamas County Fairgrounds in Canby. Being ListMom for the Portland Spinnerati, I was there to promote the group and answer questions. I did some demo'ing of carding and combing fiber and spinning on a handspindle. Since I was going to be there both days I was careful not to wander around too much and conserve my energy but it was lots of fun being there. There were times when I was the only one in the booth as my friends went wandering about looking at the wares available but there were also times when the booth was packed with people as we were visited by various folks from the Portland Spinnerati and PDX Knitblogger groups. Stephen aka HizKnits was working at the Blue Moon Fiber Arts booth this weekend so he'd stop by to take a break. Joan Schrouder stopped by on Saturday as well as Marta McCall. MonicaPDX and I giggled over fun things seen on the Completely Pointless and Arbitrary Group on Ravelry. Quiet moments were nice to share with Judy. Saturday turned out hot with the shade on the lawn covered with spinners. Sunday had rain in the morning (memories of camping!) but it stopped long enough in the afternoon to allow people to wander about the grounds. All in all a very good weekend.

This boy was very proud of himself as his owner led him around the grounds.
Hair o'the Mo. Stephen brought his own lunch but some of us indulged in lamb.
Pretties!
Captain Lambert meets a celebrity.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Winding

I like to share my love for my hobby with people at work. They marvel at the things I do with colored string and animal fuzz and wormspit. I share the yarn I get from my dyer friends because I love the stuff they make and others should see it. The colors are far from bland and delicious.

Today I brought a skein of StitchJones' Titanium Sock done up in Shock Treatment in a nummy rich purple. I got it last night at knit night at Whole Foods for the Conspiracy KAL the PDX Knitbloggers are doing. I wasn't sure about the color when I selected it because the picture of the dyejob made it very violety purple, which is fine. This is more on the reddish side of purple. If you had the Crayola 64 count crayons it's between violet-red and mulberry. Gawrjuss stuff.

So why is there no pic of it? I didn't have my camera with me. But I had this skein of yarn wanting to be touched. "Unwind me," it murmured to me. Because my left shoulder's been cranky lately from overuse, I thought, OK I'll start wind it up into a ball instead of knit during break.

I don't have a ball winder at the office or a skeinholder. It was going to be all by hand. No problem. I opened up the skein, gave it a few good snaps to straighten out the yarn, and laid it open on the table at break. The first tangle hit about 1/3 of the way through. No problem, I thought, I'll just carefully work the ball through the tangle, give the skein another snap, then continue. Nope. It tangled further. Then it was the end of break. I carefully folded up the remaining skein, tangle and all, and put it away.

I worked on it during second break but didn't finish. There was too much of a tangle to be handled in 15 minutes. But I didn't want to take it home still unwound. I don't have much surface space for unwinding yarn or good light. The good light was at the office.

At the end of the day, I took out the skein and laid it on my desk. Plenty of space there and good light. I untangled patiently. It's really pretty purple. I read a little of blogs when I had a tangle worked out and could slowly unwind from the skein. Those were the keys: slow speed and patient untangling. I finally finished winding up the ball....

....two hours later.

No regrets. It truly is a pretty purple.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The weather has been slowly changing for the cooler days of fall. I've already noticed some trees changing color, which is early for here. The unseasonably cooler year I'm sure had something to do with it. It'll be interesting to see what happens over the next few months. Will there be snow in November? We'll see. The furries are enjoying the sunshine today. It's going to be a nice Sunday for loafing and crafting.

I've been getting ready for events coming up this month. On Sept 18th I'll be at the Hillsboro Civic Center with my peeps to observe Worldwide Spin In Public Day (WWSIP). I'll have my carder there to demo the use of a carder for blending fiber. I've been busy making things for the event and will come with precarded batts and handspindles for kids. The bags for goodies have been completed and will be delivered on Wednesday. If you're a spinner looking for a fun time, come on down to 150 Main St in Hillsboro. The Farmers Market is also going on that day so there'll be fresh food and goodies.

Yesterday I and several from my office went to the Oregon Humane Society to help out with socializing with the animals who are waiting to be adopted. There are many cats and dogs waiting to come home with someone. We played with some of the dogs and cuddled and stroked some of the cats. Not every cat was wanting to be cuddled and one in particular was brought in, terrified at the changes. I made sure that little girl had a good hiding place to let her calm down. If you're looking for a new addition to your household, please contact me. I have a discount coupon good for the next 90 days that can be used toward the adoption fees. I know there's one old gray furry I wanted to take home but it's not possible for me to take on any more furries here in Chez Runamuck.

Monday, August 30, 2010

String

String's an amazing thing. Take a bunch of it, throw it on a loom, dye it and you have fabric.
Make it a little fatter and you have yarn from which you can create garments.
String has infinite possibilities. The only limit is what one places on one's creativity.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Hawt

It's been a hot weekend here in the Rose City. It's been a while since our last really hot period and this one isn't supposed to last very long. I'm not going to complain about the heat because I know there are people here who are delighted by this. They can have their moment of indolence in the heat. I'll stay comfy in my air conditioned house and sip frosty beverages while I knit my lace.

Speaking of lace, I'm working on the Miralda's Triangular Shawl from Nancy Bush's Knitted Lace of Estonia. It requires more concentration than most projects I've worked on recently. But one thing about lace is the immense satisfaction after working on what looks like a hurled hunk of string. I'm not quite halfway done but it's so pretty.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Blasts from the past

This last weekend I went to my 30th high school reunion. I had missed the previous two reunions -- I didn't want to go to the 10th and I was out of town the weekend of the 20th. This time around I wanted to be there. It would determine if I would attend future reunions and I was also curious. I knew people in high school but I wasn't chummy with many people. Some folks and I didn't get along (that whole girl clique thing). So there was a little bit of anxiety.

One thing that made it fun was that the event was organized through Facebook. It made it easier for people to hook up with each other and see the changes that have happened over time. People change, some a lot, over time, so being able to see pictures of people before seeing them in person made such a difference.

The gatherings were enjoyable. Functions like these are best when they're simple and people can have a space where they can sit and gab. At the Sunday BBQ, I brought my wheel for people to see as several had asked me about my fiber hobbies. It made for interesting conversations and pictures. During the gathering Friday night I hooked up with a couple of gals I had known in classes and found out they too enjoyed playing with string. Conversations ranged from families and careers to memories of various events. Very relaxed, a lot of fun.

Last weekend I was able to pick up the Reeves wheel. It was much lighter than I expected so taking it into the house and posing it for its picture was not a problem. I've been playing on it, getting a feel for its workings, and making string. I can see making laceweight on this thing with not a problem at all. And fine fibers will be a piece of cake.

Hm. Apparently in all the flurry and fuss of preparing for the reunion and playing with my new toy I missed my blog's 5th anniversary. Has it really been that long? This calls for cake.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Finis

Today's the last day of the Tour de Fleece 2010 and I'm very pleased with the outcome. All the spinning I did ended up with a nice 3 ply sock yarn of over 500 yards. The hot weather we're experiencing this weekend made finishing up the yarn quick. What I like to do to finish my yarn is boil some water, take it off the burner so it's not moving, dunk the yarn, then drain. When it's finished dripping, I hang it up on the back porch. A few minutes later I check to make sure it's not hot to touch and squeeze the last of the water out. When it's 90 degrees it only takes a few hours to dry.

Yesterday, I went out to Islay Hill Alpaca Ranch to help them with a fundraising party for Farmington View Elementary School. They needed a couple of handspinners to show that process. Several families came with their kids and I came with my wheel, fiber, and a bunch of handspindles including some for the kids to keep. The kids were fascinated by the process and all wanted handspindles. Gail came too with her wheel. She brought a silk hanky she was spinning on and shared what it looked like and where silk comes from. At one point we went out to visit the alpaca herd and feed them carrots. As thanks for our participation, Jan and Jim gave us alpaca fiber shorn from a couple of their herd. Mine's a pretty chocolate brown that will make for a pretty shawl.

So now that Tour de Fleece is done, my focus is finishing up plying up singles made of the Briar Rose BFL. They're laceweight to fingering so the plying is taking some time to do. I have one Louet bobbin nearly full and no sign that I'm coming to the end of the singles.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Summer fortunes

The summer time around here usually is bathed with temps in the mid to high 80's and endless heat. In other areas of the country they're socked in with awful heat but here in the NW we've been cooler than usual. For someone who doesn't tolerate heat well like me it's been blissful. The only problem we've run into is we've been bombarded with mosquitoes from the unusually wet late spring so being outdoors has been challenging. Thank goodness for insect repellant.

I'm coming down the back side of the Tour de Fleece 2010 with my challenge of spinning up 8 oz of Crown Mountain Farms polwarth on my Spindlewood handspindle. I've been able to keep up with my daily quota and am producing nice singles that I see being made into a 3 ply sock yarn. It's been a great challenge for me for honing my spindling skills and making me love my Spindlewood even more as a workhorse.

Last weekend I went to the monthly Northwest Regional Spinners Association (NWRSA) meeting at Shelia January's invitation and had a great time with the gals there. By that time I was getting cabin fever from being at home recovering from the crud so was grateful for the chance to get out and socialize. While I was there, I introduced myself and told them about me and my background. When the subject of spinning wheels came up, Shelia mentioned that a mutual friend Susan had her 30" Reeves Saxony up for sale and had offered it to Shelia. Shelia in turn said that if I was interested and could buy it she would pass her chance off to me.

For those of you who are not familiar with Rick Reeves, he is a wheelmaker who with his wife Marge made spinning wheels and tools from 1964 to 2001. Schacht currently manufactures a wheel that uses the Reeves design that I was looking at but the Reeves themselves no longer make wheels. There are a variety of wheels from traditional saxony styles to frame wheels and castle styles. They're beautiful wheels, loved by their owners.

When Shelia told me about the wheel, I was first amazed that Susan was selling it and second amazed Shelia was willing to give up her dibs on it. Shelia has a beautiful collection of wheels, including three Reeves wheels, so her generosity in giving me the chance to purchase the wheel was incredible. She told me the price she was offered and was floored. What I needed to know then was whether Susan was willing to accept terms. I drove home, flabbergasted at my sudden good fortune and hoped all would work out.

When I got home, I called Susan and told her what Shelia had told me. Yes, the wheel was for sale. Susan's got an order in for a Lendrum Saxony 30" so she was selling her Reeves. I asked her would she accept payments and she said yes. Easy as that. I screamed when I hung up the phone.

So in the near future, there will be a 30" Reeves red oak Saxony residing in my house.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Tour de Fleece 2010

Fiber? Check.

Spindle and quills? Check.

For the next 3 weeks I'll be spinning like a mad thing as part of Team Suck Less. My goal? To see how much I can spin on a handspindle. I'm a fairly fast spinner on the wheel but I've not done a full project on the handspindle.

Stay tuned.