Sunday, February 25, 2007

Yarn In

On the way north to Vancouver. See the fresh snow in the Cascades. (Some of us haven't seen much snow this winter. The rest of you can gaze at the green pasture.)
Twelve hours of knitting and spinning companionship flew by yesterday.

While a bit apprehensive, the idea of setting aside an entire day for working on projects seemed like an excellent opportunity, thoughI don't normally enjoy group/crowd situations.

Over eighty people showed up throughout the day. Knitters as well as crocheters, a quilter and two of us spinners gathered around tables chatting and working away. One of the reasons for the Yarn In was to make and donate warm items for people who are on kidney dialysis.

Did you know that once a person needs dialysis they will have to continue the rest of their lives.
Three days a week, every week of the year. Four hour sessions each of those days. The blood is cycled through a machine which removes the excees liquids that the kidneys are no longer able to handle. If the excess isn't removed it will go to the lungs filling the lungs with fluid. The room needs to be cool, and the blood is cooled during the process which means the people get very cold during the four hours of sitting while hooked to the machine. They're not allowed a hot beverage because introducing more liquids when you're trying to remove liquids rather defeats the purpose.

Because of the demands on their time and energy it's hard for these people to hold down a regular job, and money is often very in short supply between the special diets they have to adhere to and medications. To be given a soft, lightweight, warm blanket, hat or slippers for use during each session can be a real, tangible blessing. The item becomes their personal property which they always have at each session.

I took some various spur of the moment "must have" skeins of yarns purchased during the past couple years. You know the kind your hand grabs even though you have no plans for a project. While I didn't make anything for the cause yesterday it was a thrill to see two different skeins snatched up almost immediately and by the end of the day see them as hats and scarves. I'd like to make something each quarter to donate to the local kidney dialysis center in my area. This project touches my heart; one of my co-workers at the public library was on dialysis. She very rarely talked about it but I watched as she continued to lose weight, had constant large bruises on her thin arms, and slowly cut back her work hours as her energy levels depleted.

StephanieJo is the engine behind the Vancouver, WA Yarn-Ins. (Unfortunately I manage to take lousy pictures yesterday. There were only a few half-decent ones worth posting.) StephanieJo is wearing the pink shirt. The lady in blue, Karen Thompson crocheted the huge flag. She'll be adding felted stars.StephanieJo is such an organized, hard working, gentle woman I came away totally in awe of her. Warm, intelligent, and deeply compassionate, she's one of those quiet women that you immediately want to get to know.

The woman standing is Carol. "Hi Carol!" Another warmhearted person who loves helping people. She's been knitting since she was little and has the knack with fibers. We had a great time together. One of those people you immediately feel like you've known for ages. We meet the last weekend of September at OFFF sitting outside in a knitting/spinning circle. StephanieJo and Marque were also there. (Picture with Marque did not turn out.) Carol was interested in my spindle and I showed her the basics. The next day an email was waiting in our business inbox, she wanted a spindle and the instruction book. Just look at her spindled yarns:
This is a small sample of what she's spun. She's starting to make socks with them. She pulled out some beautiful cuddly soft fiber. (Carol, I'm sleep deprived and not remembering well, it was Angora, wasn't it??) She spun beautiful fingering with her Ambonya spindle. In the afternoon another woman, Linda, wanted to learn. I'm in awe of these people who just naturally start spinning smooth yarns almost from the get-go. It didn't take her more than five minutes to catch on. Unfortunately no picture of Linda and her yarn. By that time it was 3:30 and Carol, Marque and Norene were headed out for lunch so I joined them - that breakfast scone had long disappeared - planing to capture a picture of Linda afterwards. When we returned she was gone.

Look at one of the edible bouquet that StephanieJo treated us with:
When I arrived home last night it was 10:30 but there were a dozen knitting needles and hooks that Ed was hoping I'd write on so he could put the first coat of finish on the first thing this morning. Sometimes it's not possible to totally get away from work for an entire day. :-)

Thanks for all the requests for the scone recipe!
Here's my favorite:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Just before popping the scones in toss a bit of water onto the floor of the oven. The steam will help the scones rise.

4 cups flour
3 Tablespoons sugar
1 teas salt
4 teas baking powder
1/4 teas cream of tarter
Mix all of these ingredients then cut in
1/2 Cup (1 cube) Butter (Yes! It needs to be the real stuff)

In a large measuring container beat one egg (reserving part of the egg white for the wash)
Add 1 1/2 Cup Milk (Half & Half is best) to the egg.
Pour the egg/milk mixture into the flour mix and gently, barely, stir together.

Blend as little as possible then turn onto a floured pastry cloth. Let it rest while you whip the egg white with a bit of water. Then gently knead the mass just a few times. Form into a round, and brush the whites over the round. Sprinkle with another tablespoon, or so, of sugar. Cut into wedges and place on baking stone (or cookie sheet). My well seasoned stone doesn't need greasing for these buttery scones.

Pop in the hot oven for 15 - 18 minutes until golden brown. Scones with frozen berries may take
18 - 20 minutes.
Option: For breakfast I will usually add 1 Cup of frozen blueberries to the dry mix just before adding the milk.

These are so buttery I normally don't add butter but Ed loves to slather on more along with jam. :-)

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Blogger Marianne said...

Wanda, I completely understand the 'crowd' of people thing, being introverted...but what a marvelous time you had! I think when you're hanging with the fibre-folks it has such a different feel, and it is, no doubt about it, a very GOOD feel.
I hope you had a very good and sound sleep after finishing up with the needles and hooks.
Thank you so much for the scone recipe! I will be using it to make scones very soon!

(do you have any idea how much I would love to be able to just pop over and have you 'show' me how with the spindling?) ;^)

5:57 AM  
Blogger Teyani said...

what a lovely idea, to knit for those people. It looks like you had a fabulous time.

9:38 AM  
Anonymous Carol said...

I had such a wonderful time at the Yarn-In Wanda. I'm so glad you got to come. Thanks for your kind words. I feel like I've known you for years also. No, it wasn't angora. It was corredale, mohair, and something else. After watching you spindle, you're making me think I'm going to have to order some silk and merino/tencel now to try. I have spun up about 2 ozs of shetland already. I'm planning on being in Salem on Sunday for knitting at Border's at 1 p.m. Hope to see you there. 8-)

4:18 PM  
Anonymous tiennie said...

Looks like a very great time! Fun.

10:26 PM  
Blogger Karen said...

Wanda, I never knew about the 'coldness' aspect of dialysis - thankyou for explaining it. What a good cause to be working for.

5:08 AM  
Blogger Jo at Celtic Memory Yarns said...

Loved the whole mix of your day, Wanda, and felt almost as though I was there.

Like your scone recipe too - we tend to have them afternoons rather than mornings, but they're always a great quick pick-up when life is trying, aren't they?

I am NOT one of those who spins smoothly and evenly from day one. Not even from day 'leventy-one! Lucky those who do!

1:01 PM  
Anonymous marjorie said...

I didn't know that people having dialysis undergo treatment in cold rooms. A warm blanket or slippers would be a real blessing.
I can't wait to try the scone recipe--thank you! Saturday morning is my time to putter in the kitchen, so I'll try them then. Yes, there is nothing like the subtle, sweet flavour of butter. Margarine just isn't the same.

4:54 PM  

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