Sunday, July 30, 2006

Spindles, Hank, and Meeting socks

So much for updating at least once weekly.

No one remarked in the previous post that Ed is spinning the Ladakhi spindle left handed. He's one of those people who do some things right handed and others things left. No rhyme or reason, just what feels correct. He also has no sense of right, left, or direction. It does no good to quickly blurt, "Turn left!" for by the time he figures out which is left the turning point is long past. Instead say, "Turn fork side."

He completed four Ladakhi spindles; two Bolivian Rosewood and two apple. He thought apple may be in keeping since apple trees are in so many parts of the Northern hemisphere and we have no access to proper Ladakh wood. I'll be test spinning them this afternoon.

Hank the Kitty is still with us and thriving. No question he's an entrenched member of this family. With the exception of Silky our cats have chosen to abide with us. It is not our place to choose. How can cats that appear faithfully on our porch not be feed? Most are Porch Cats - thankfully there are only two who currently claim that title - they prefer to remain outside. Silky and Old Cat were the only housecats until Hank who has, without question or permission, declared he is a beloved house cat.

How he loves to play and then curl up on our laps purring loudly. When not playing he wants to be wherever we are.Our one concern is his attraction to the chickens. Cruel slashing sharp beaks could shred him in seconds.

It was a long week of daily meetings as a representative of our small Friends Meeting at the NW Yearly Meeting which took place about 30 miles away at George Fox University. Mornings began early in the attempt to do some office work before leaving the house shortly after 7. The drive is beautiful, even on the first days when the temperature hoovered around 100 degrees. All the green of various crops, and grass seed fields being harvested. and the multicolored flower fields.

Eye candy.

Looking east to the Cascades, we live at the edge of the foothills somewhat in the left center of the picture.

Just to the right of the previous picture is Mt. Angel with the Benedictine monastary at the top with its unique Alvar Aalto library where I use to work.

Jury Socks went to meetings with me. As long as some of the sessions lasted you'd think it would have been completed. But there is the matter of giving one's full attention at times. The last session lasted over four hours, without a break!! But we resolved an issue that had been weighing heavily on our hearts. I felt so blessed to be part of a large group of Friends who talked, prayed, and listened with great love, compassion, and a deep feel for unity. Wow, how many times is a polarizing dilema ironed out without anger, heated words, and ultimately division. Instead there were many tears and expressions of desire for understanding. When the approval was finally voiced those who'd disagreed seemed at peace.

Aurora's bag should have been done a week ago. You'd think the shoulder strap would behave and quickly fall in place, but no, it had to be contrary. Three times it's been frogged! I was within six inches of being finished when the rovings gave out. First frogging back to the beginning of the strap. I switched to a smaller needle size and lightly thinned the rovings. Half way along the strap and it slowly dawns that there is still not enough! Frogged again and this time the roving has been thinned by half. Maybe today the strap will cooperate. There're two more projects that really need attention to say nothing of the next ones pleading to be started.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006


Berry season is here. DD picked these Marion berries up last Saturday morning from a local berry farm. This is the first year I haven't gotten out to pick, except for a quick foray Sunday afternoon in a neighbor's raspberry patch and grazing on the ripening blackberries during early morning walks with Aurora, dog Kobie in tow. He's not fond of berries. The horse and donkey pastured next to a prime blackberry patch love them, I always have to stop and give them a rub and a handfull of berries.
While Aurora was getting the Marion berries Ed brought in several dozen knitting needles to be buffed, sized and lettered.

A few days ago Ed petted a small kitty lingering on the porch of the local store. Crossing the road as he walked home he heard a tiny mew. There was the raggedy kitten at his heels like a loyal dog. He's so tiny, he can't be much more than a month old. But he's a fiesty little guy! Hank made himself right at home. To the chagrin of the other cats. Old Cat hates him. Unfortunately in trying to avoid him she runs which delights Hank who thinks she's wanting to play. When he followed Ed into the house - no protesting from Ed - I was taking pictures for an ad. Hank thought it was his playground. Hee hee. Hank just squeezed under the door to the office! He loves being where the people are.

Jo posted a picture of a Ladahk monk spinning. Ed was intrigued by the spindle knowing it most likely was hand made with crude tools. Jo kindly emailed us a larger picture. Yesterday Ed tried to duplicate it. Turning a slender 15" shaft proved a challenge but even more is getting the balance. With the whorl arms in the middle of the shaft it tends to wobble. Last night I had a blast spinning with it. Something about it seems to make spinning go even quicker. Ed's still working on trying to figure out how to eliminate more of the wobble. I think that many of us spinners have gotten spoiled with our well balanced and weighted spindles! :-) Just think of all the third world people who successfully spin with crude spindles.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006


The draw of my name and a low number meant my presence was required at the county courthouse Monday.

Over one hundred people waited like sheep in a corral. Most people didn't have anything to occupy themselves with while we waited. The Turkish Spindle kept me content until everyone was accounted for and the inquisition of jurors began. An hour later my name was one of the selected thirteen.

Almost a year ago a disgruntled person drove his four-wheeler up the marble steps into the front of the marble county courthouse. The courthouse which is still being repaired and remodeled is close to completion. We were told we were the first jury to use the new rooms. It showed. Apparently they expected us to drink the water from the faucet with our hands, then dry our hands on our shirts for there were no cups, paper towels or even a trash can. And the room was freezing.

Tuesday coffee and cups were brought into the jury room for us. And the room was stuffy and warm.

Yesterday morning I realized it was the perfect time to start a pair of socks I'd been itching to make with Blue Moon cotton sock yarn I'd bought over a month ago. The newborn sock on the roof of the parking lot ready to head for jury duty.

During the long lunch break I walked a few blocks to a well known local stationery store to look for a pen to write on our dark wood products. I have a pen that is excellent for writing the sizes and our name on the maple knitting needles and crochet hooks, but I haven't found anything that works well on the exotic woods or on the walnut hairpin lace frames. I need something that has a very fine tip, doesn't bleed into the grain and dries very quickly. I bought several calligraphy nibs hoping I can get the hang of using one dipped in gold ink.

After a second very long day of listening to witnesses and lawyers, of trudging back and forth between the courtroom and jury room too frequently here's the first sock ready for the heel to be turned.

The courtroom wasn't available today which meant trying to get caught up on orders and shipping. I was hoping to get a batch of the spinning tutorial printed for the several dozen ordered. Maybe Friday. Tomorrow the jury hears the closing arguments then deliberates. I suspect the sock will be finished by the end of the day.

Here's the bag that Aurora asked me to make for her. It's about 1/3 done. I thought about taking this to the jury duty but the socks won.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Summer busyness

Sixteen years ago we planted a two foot tall slender branch of a tree in our front yard. Neighbors and friends laughed for the first few years at the scrawny little tree. But in a few years we were enjoy picnics under its shade. Its canopy provides cooling shade for our house and woodshop. The Catalpa tree is the last to unfurl leaves in the spring, display its blossoms for a couple brief weeks. The scent and beauty of the masses of jasmine/honey blossoms and the shade she provides is worth the long ugly pods! She is the only tree in bloom right now.

Fourth of July is over and maybe we can get to sleep before midnight. For the past week neighbors have been celebrating nightly. We fall asleep only to be jolted awake by rockets bursting in air. I'm exhausted and on edge! Doesn't help that my body's been having hormonal hassles and I wake up repeatedly through the night. Mind wide awake early in the morning, body tired. Desperately want to sleep in but not able to fall back asleep.

The neighbor's young rooster is discovering his crow and tries to herald in the first light. After four days the sliding ur-uur-u-u-h has settled into a half decent ur-ur-ur-ur-urrrr, properly winding up and dying away. I keep telling him he'd better stuff a sock in it or he'll be stuffed. When his owners come back from vacation and hear him crowing it'll be the oven for him. Only hens are allowed to live in their yard.

Last Friday we helped our son and his wife moved into a small rental near a huge farmhouse surrounded by hop fields. It's a cute yellow "grandmother's house". They invited all the church folk, friends and relatives over for a Fourth of July barbecue potluck. We set up under the sprawling oak tree and a couple well groomed apple trees in their front yard. The weather was warm with a hint of a cool breeze and occasional fluffy clouds scudding across the sky. Morning which began with waves of thunder rolling across the sky were soon blown further north.

Tons of salads, meat, casseroles and desserts lined the tables and grills. Guitars, a bass and my fiddle were brought out as the sun sunk lower. People gathered round and joined in the singing. Day ended with the sun diving through feathered lavender and apricot clouds. Brilliant!

Aurora loved the Spinner's Walking Pouch and wanted a modified version of her own. (Picured in previous blog.) Sitting under the oak visiting with friends and relatives I knitted away on a new one for her. Knitting roving is a great conversation starter. People are used to seeing yarn being knit but not roving. The pouch will be a bit narrower and taller. She loves the shoulder strap feature; it's so much more convenient to have both hands free. My Spinner's Walking Pouch pattern can be purchased. $3USD will get you the pattern in a clear cover, with shipping included. Just email me. :-)

Saturday we finally had the opportunity to work in the yard. Ed moved, split and stacked oak firewood.

While he worked at that I climbed the ladder and picked the ripe pie cherries from our tree, pitted them and placed them in the dryer. It's a bit discouraging to work four hours and a couple days later have only a few bags of dried cherries to show for it. But it's worth it. They're delicious in hot cereal, cookies, cakes...