Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Website Woes

Our website host server was hit and wiped clean yesterday. What a headache not being able to retrieve emails, and orders, and knowing our website isn't available. I can't imagine how the host people are scrambling to retrieve all the data stored on their 16 servers that were wiped out. They've contacted the FBI but it doesn't do us any good. I should think they had all data on backup tapes but at 24 hours plus they're still unaccessible.

Meanwhile I'm looking into other afforable website hosts.

I can still be contacted through wjjenkins1 AT yahoo DOT com

We finally got some rain during the night! :-)

Back to work.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Camping & silk

This blog needs some serious updating and is way overdue.

I'm tired. A good tired, the kind that brings about a sound sleep. It's tempting to climb into bed right now but first the blog.

A week ago Friday Ed took off for the men's fishing camping trip at a lake on the east flank Mt. Hood. I'd been longing for solitude and quiet. I need a certain amount of alone time and it hasn't happened in ages. (Don't get me wrong! Ed's a wonderful guy to be around.) I planned to take my sleeping bag a few miles up to some friends large property where there is a pond, woods and a stream. But, Aurora wasn't keen about me sleeping out all alone in the woods. Okay, I'll wait until Sunday night when Ed gets back, he won't mind. Wrong! He said the same thing, "I'll worry about you all by yourself." Well, I know what it's like to worry about a loved one's safety and I'm not willfully going to subject them to worry. They do have a point. There have been mountain lions sighted in the area, and when I'm out walking I occasionally see black bear sign.

So I stayed close to home knitting on the two projects, catching up on some neglicted office work and taking care of a few orders. It struck me on Saturday exactly how opposite the two projects are. A shrimp and a whale. One is using 3mm needles to make a black chenille bais for edging the woven jacket. Six yards long by 14 stitches wide. Back and forth, the monotany broken by the middle crossed stitch. Do you see it snaking across the lighter blue project?The other project was a bath towel for Ed. Insane! Knit a towel? I became enamoured with the idea when a friend was knitting one. Love the idea of an air cotton towel that would dry quickly. And Ed just isn't fond on handknit socks. I used #15 -10mm needles (Pattern called for #19s but the work seemed too open) in blue cotton chenille. I'm very disappointed in the outcome, especially considering all the knitting hours.

This week is the week to finish Aurora's jacket/bolero. The raglan sleeves need adjusting, the bais put around the front, neck, and wrists and a proper button sewn on top.

During my last trip to the LYS (It's great to write that after not having one nearby for quite some time!) a beautiful book of baby patterns gently called me. Every item wants to be knitted. How unusual is that in a book? simple knits for cherished babies by erika knight Even better is that they are patterns that don't look intimidating to the knitter who's barely waded past k&p. I've already started on the cotton shirt.

The pattern & picture of adorable set of silk booties made me dig out a hank of green silk that Ed had seized at the Tacoma Spinning fair last Spring. Spinning silk. I'd forgotten how much I love spinning silk. I hadn't spun from a hank before (rovings only) and I need to do some internet searching on just what to do with the thick border on each wispy hank.

We finally went camping this summer! The annual church campout took place this weekend. The bummer was that once again Ed & I were in charge of the food. I don't know why we allow ourselves to get sucked into doing it summer after summer. The first few years were fun but dealing with the food the past couple years took the fun out of the experience. We weren't going to volunteer. hmphf. Thursday Ed gave up precious shop time to go in to Salem to shop with me. We stuck to the list I'd created during the week, then loaded the bags and bags of food into the trunk. Back home Ed went back to work in the shop and I got to work in the kitchen. Browning pounds of hamburger, chopping onions and garlic, making spagetti sauce.

Worn out by a busy week we hit the sack early Friday evening while some sang and played guitars by the campfire, and others played in the woods. The place we camped on our friend's property is at the bottom end of a gently widening hollow. Sound carries down from the woods and pond like it's an ampitheater. Laying in sleeping bags listening to the kids playing Capture the Flag followed by a midnight swim in the lake was not conducive to sleep. So we drifted in and out of sleep waking to look through the tent's mesh roof at the myriad of bright stars.

An afternoon game of darts followed by swimming and diving and zipping along the zipline into the water, and swimming some more followed by a couple sets of badmitton wore me out. Question. How many people -old & young - can fit on a surf board? Eight At one point we had three adults and 5 kids paddling away, when I steathily stood up on the back end of the board effectively sinking that end. How do you surf on a pond? Two ways: take a smooth running leap from the grassy bank (you are spared the details my clumsy attempt.); Get the teen girl with killer stroke to propel the board through the water while you "surf". :-) (She has the swimmer's powerful upper body build.)

When Ed turned in early again last night I was sorely tempted but the guys were tuning their guitars again and my violin begged to join them. It was good to play music and sing by a campfire. We just don't take the time to stop and get together and do stuff like that. The kids again played in the woods and splashed into the pond at midnight.

This morning I was the first to wake up. (Okay, I admit nature was necessitating a trip to the jilljohn.) I started the coffee and the campfire then took my spinning up the short distance to the pond rim. Spinning silk as the sun rose above the firs with steam rising off the pond was the best. (Picture was taken Thursday, lots more fine yardage on the spindle now.)

I want to return to the site to camp, look at the stars, spin, and perhaps swim if the water's not too cold. This time in the silence of the land without the backdrop of Capture the Flag. :-)

Friday, August 11, 2006

Postings and Ramblings

Maybe third time is charm.

Twice this week I've started blogging, both times my ramblings were close to the finish line when something interrupted and I lost both. For some reason the saved drafts can't be found. I'm determined to post this tonight. Ed is on the MAC, the preferred computer with both of us, so I'm using the HP with the browser Foxfire. Lo and Behold, there're more options in blogger on this pc, things not found with Mac's Safire. Huge pet peeve: the lack of respect shown to the Mac World by designers!

News on the knitting front: Jury Sox are finished. They are cotton and feel so nice. I knew you'd ask what they're made from but my mind is drawing a total blank, and no, I'm not about to leave this computer and go rooting through the yarn bag by my chair, the way blogging has gone this week I must perservere until finished. I bought the yarn at KnitPurl in Portland if that's any help. LOL

Progress is being made on the two items for upcoming birthdays. Every free moment when certain people aren't around I'm knitting. Pictures will be posted after birthdays, in just a couple weeks. Yikes! Birthday shopping to be done. (I hate shopping.)

Meanwhile Aurora and I are trying to be more faithful about exercising. Once a routine is established it's easy to roll out of bed by six and hit the roads but we keep sleeping until just after six which means a short quick walk five blocks up the hill, around and back home. Tuesday there wasn't even time for that so after dd left for work I loaded Kobie in the car and drove to the top of the hill (only a mile) to the field of oats and the woods beyond.

It'd been over a year since I last walked through the woods down into the small bowl of a valley with its field and a small murky pond heavily guarded by trees. When the kids were young we often packed a picnic lunch and hiked down there. A sweeping maple tree near the field had a level limb welcoming us to climb aboard, eat lunch and read aloud from what ever book we were lost in. (The kids loved to have me read to them until high school busyness interfered.)

Walking through the trees a sense of rightness and peace slowly seeped through my skin and settled deep. Hiking, or riding my horse, alone for hours at a time used to be such an intregal part of my life. The past few years have sidetracked me with a soulsucking busyness and I've forgotten how to take time to ramble. I need to. I need to be outside soaking up the earth, sky, scents and sounds, being alone with my thoughts and God. Restoring my soul.

I was grazing on luscious blackberries when my eye caught a glimpse of red near my feet. A perfect red maple leaf. Along with the tint of fall in the air and a sadness to some trees now there is this visible sign.

Aurora called just a bit ago. She suggested we get up at 6 and do another Polar bear swim in the creek tomorrow. Sure, we'll see how that goes.

I'm so not looking forward to tomorrow. It's Summerfest day in Scotts Mills. The Friends Church will be serving pancake breakfast. Aurora & I need to be at the grange at 7am (and when are we going to swim?) to help set up. We'll be there until around noon. (Breakfast 8 - 11 if anyone wants to stop in! Homemade oatmeal pancakes hot off the griddles, Octoberfest sausage, scrambled eggs, and applesauce for donations.) The parade is at 10am. Ed helped at VBS every morning this week. They built a float for tomorrow's parade. He came home soaking wet today. The theme was Noah's Ark so of course they had a water fight at the end. :-)This town is filled with boys, they outnumbered the girls about 5-1 at VBS. Ed's good with kids, they like his gruff humor. From 1-3p.m. Crooked Finger Strings Band will be playing. We play an ecletic assortment: Beatles, Dylan, Clapton, Lightfoot, along with traditional bluegrass and celtic stuff. I've hardly touched the fiddle all summer. That's what I should be doing right now.

(Break while dil and her mom stopped by to pick up our huge pot and quick shade for tomorrow.) DIL is doing a cake walk for SMF in the afternoon. It was a hit last year. This morning I baked cookies and a couple of apple cakes for it.

Interest in the Turkish Spindle has picked up thank to Jo and Ann! You should take a look at the pictures they each posted. Incredible photography.

I wish everyone who's interested could actually handle them. It's hard to describe how good they look and feel. Of course I'm partial but Ed works hard to get them well balanced so each one has a long, fast, consistent spin.

Urgh!I've been having so much difficulty getting pictures to load this week. I'd forgotten that was the reason the first blog of the week didn't get finished. It's taking forever for them to load. I've managed in over an hour to load just one! I'm giving up for tonight, perhaps tomorrow.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Summer Days

After the blazing heat of early last week temperatures in the mid-seventies feel chilly. Monday morning dawned bright, clear and breath-in-the-air cool. Perfect for making an apple pie. Gathering fruit from under the Gravenstein tree I had more than enough to make a pie and a batch of applesauce, with apples left over for the neighbor kids. That's one reason to plant an apple tree near the front of the property. :-)

Last week Ed was busy making more Turkish spindles. He was finally able to get his hands on some blocks of hard to find woods he'd been dreaming of using. I spent most of Monday testing and weighing spindles. If we didn't need to sell them I'd soon have an amazing collection of spindles! Now this week he's had several orders for weaving shuttles, and a custom order for a circular crochet hook: two hooks connected with a 24" cord for a shawl that requires 193 stitches. We plan to add the circular hook to our product line after realizing that there are patterns that support these. The pattern that our customer is using comes from Kim Designs

Tuesday morning Aurora and I decided to swim instead of our customary walk before she heads to work. We hadn't been swimming after finding the warm water rather unrefreshing during the hot days. We dashed shivering around the block and down into the creek's ravine to plunge into the water. BRrrr. A week of cool nights combined with water coming off the mountains had significantly cooled the waters. About ten minutes later as we dragged our blue goose bumped flesh out of the water we were amazed to realize the air was the same temperature as the water. Think around 60 degrees! We haven't gotten our courage up to do another polar bear swim. Walking in the brisk air has suited us just fine. Besides Kobie prefers to walk )he hates swimming), blackberries are waiting to be snacked on, and I can spin while walking. This picture was taken yesterday morning. Kobie's not thrilled about blackberries either. See the sun peeking through the trees? Our little village is snugged at the bottom of these surrounding hills.

The quick change in weather has produced the feeling of early autumn in the air. I don't recall sensing the changing season quite this early, usually not until about the last week of August does the feel of autumn subtly creep in with still, chilled breath.

Finally another project is finished. The shoulder strap on Aurora's pouch finally behaved, until I grafted it onto the other side without thinking to make sure it wasn't twisted - guess I was too anxious to start the felting process. I didn't even notice it while I squeezed and massaged it in hot water and soap. It wasn't until I laid it out to shape that I saw the twists. Not such a problem, just twist the entire strap. I kind of like it that way. Aurora is happy with the pouch - she didn't want it thoroughly felted, she likes the knitting to show.

And you thought I'd forgotten to include Hank in this post!

Aurora Pouch
8 ouncesCrown Mtn Farms Corriedale roving - Rhumba Teyani's colorway (This really bled when I washed & soaked it)
#15 Maple Circular Needles 24" (For the bottom)
#15 Maple Circular Needles 16"
#9 Straight needles (I'd use maple but Ed has to make me a set first - he normally doesn't make needles this small)
1 small stray kitten

I appreciate all who've made comments!


I replied on the previous blog though it took me far more days to respond than it should have.