Monday, June 25, 2007

Projects simmering

Thanks for all the comments on the why of blue and my apologies to all whom I owe emails. One of these days I'll shock you.

About 9 pm on Solistic. While our yard was mostly in shadows, sunlight still played in our neighbor's yard as the sun bid farewell to a long pleasant day.
Lately my life has been feeling kind of like this: Too many heddles on the loom in seeming disarray with multitudes of attached lines pulling for my attention. My interest zooms from one project to the next, half starting something only to careen to another fiber, a different craft. (No, this isn't my loom, but another dream.)

A few weeks ago I purchased some striking merino roving from Matahari Spinnery. (While you're at it stop by Arianie's blog to see some beautiful wheels.) I had a specific project in mind when I ordered this roving. A project calling for almost 1200 yards of DK, plied. That's 2400 yards of singles spun on a drop spindle. As a person who naturally spins on the thinner end of the spectrum it's a challenge to try to consistently spin thicker. My heavy Turkish spindles are excellent for spinning finer weight yarns but I was having a hard time getting a loftier, thicker yarn so transferred to a bamboo spindle.

Not having any experience with spinning multicolored roving I was surprised at the colors. Originally I debated splitting the rovings into the seperate colors but didn't want a stripey finish. So far I've finish spinning 2 ounces and have about 20 more to go. I've worked up the first bits of the item and am delighted how quickly that stage comes together. More details on this mystery item to come. :-) (Which reminds me, I'm so tempted to sign up for MS3. What craziness when I've never really knitted lace, let alone set my eyes on yet another project!)
As June zips past I've been wondering if I need to stop looking at new patterns and fibers, instead to discipline myself to focus on only four projects. Even that seems too many. How can I narrow it down to only a couple? Or should I? See what comes when a yarn calls out your name and whispers what it wants to be. I've been drooling over Deb's Fearless Fibers for quite some time and a trade with Deb for some of our lace needles was the perfect opportunity. So far I've been good and have only fondled and dreamed, it's soft, lucious wool that I'm eager to work with. A feeling akin to despair overwhelms me when I think of: the stash of yarn patiently waiting; weaving to finish and get off of the loom; charollais wool lanquishing near the spindle; chocolate sock yarn barely on the needles; a Red Sweater that only needs the last cuff finished (the sight of a short bit of yarn left has thwarted me); a cotton summer sweater one third done that I'd really like to wear while it's still summer; let alone the aforementioned mystery project.

The feeling of being a "jack of all trades, master of none" is slightly haunting. It'd be good to really master one particular area.

Early edges of dawn light showed two neighbor dogs one of our cats who'd perhaps had strayed a bit too close to them. They gave happy chase as it zipped under the skirting of our mobile home. Not deterred in the least they ripped their way through with a horrendous noise, startling us out of the last shreds of slumber, bursting out into our backyard. Where they were happily trapped. They dashed around following their noses through the garden and up onto the back porch at which point I decided it was time to get up and open the gate for them. The dogs were delighted to see me and even more joyful at the sight of the open gate. I followed them out to make sure they returned safely home across the road. Heading back past the weed bed I noticed a small bud on our miniature rose plant.

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Monday, June 18, 2007

The Why of Blue

So many have asked me to tell the why of blue hair.

Early one spring morning morning ten years ago, near the date marking the first year of my mom's death - when a quiet grief sheltered in my heart, the dozens of birds around the bird feeder near the kitchen drew my attention. Gold finches, Grosbeaks, and House finches gobbling sunflower and thistle seeds. Streamers of colors weaving through the air.

"Why didn't God give humans bright multi-colored hair?" As soon as the question popped into my mind the answer jumped up, "He gave us the ability to color our hair." Astonished, my mind zoomed with possibilities. And negatives: There's no way! I do not like making waves or standing out; Sitting at the Reference desk feeling vulnerable and exposed is bad enough, I don't want to draw more attention to myself; I'm too old; Too shy; Too Crazy!

The next morning while reading in Ezekiel 16 a passage jumped out. God's discribing how he rescued Israel, likening her to a young woman. He adorns her with fine linen, jewels, and a crown. I was struck that our Creator has adorned this world for us with unfathomable beauty - painting bold colors, dazzling mountains, jade depths; dabbing great gobs of humor, quieting the effect with mists and fog. I look at the wonders of creation and am filled with joy.

Joyfulness bubbled up, flooding out the grief. The overwhelming love of God for me, the reality of my relationship with Him flung aside the barriers. Coloring my hair became a sign of joy, a witness to the wonder of our God who created us in His image - to be creative like Him.

The morning after strands were bleached white then painted with Punky blue hair dye, I woke up and looked in the mirror. Spontaneously I thought, "Mom would have loved this hair!" (She really would have gotten a kick out of it. At one time maybe she would have dyed hers too!)

Scanned picture taken ten years ago. The blue which was interwoven throughout my hair doesn't show too well but it was certainly noticable in real life. (My, what big glasses you have!)(While it's not good to take scripture out of context sometime God does use a small portion of the whole to get His message across. He knew just what I needed at that time. In rereading this passage last week I am reaffirmed that He desires the best for me yet the warnings are very clear not to abuse or disregard His love. On the other hand, His love is a fantastic thing to experience!)

Next post will have new fibery wonders. :-)

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Monday, June 11, 2007

Spinning Out

It was a perfect day for a drive across the Willamette Valley to last Wednesday's spinning guild. The day was full grey clouds and small showers mingled with patches of sunlight and blue skies. The interplay of light and shadow in the rainwashed air maginified details and colors.

The home where the spining guild met is situated near the Coast Range. About a mile from the farm this view caused me to stop the car, get out and gaze northwards. If there hadn't been fences lining the road I might have taken off across the fields and forgotten all about the meeting. (You should be able to click on pictures to get the bigger picture.)

This picture was taken from the side yard looking west at the Coast Range. It'd be grand to spend a day walking across fields and through the trees. Being a teen in N. Arizona spoiled me forever with its lack of fences to hinder ones roaming the vast plateau and canyon land. I could hike or ride my horse all day without encountering one fence.
The women were very friendly and welcoming, quickly absorbing me into their group. They all had wheels and at first I felt quite shy but their chatter soon had me laughing. One thing that helped to put me at ease was the lack of usual questions fired at a visitor.

The couple who own the farm, Celia and Ken Erion, took us on a tour of their well organized farm. Male llamas and goats in a series of pastures on one side, the females on the other, divided by Pigturd Alley and various outbuildings. Their potbellied pig, Marvin, has free run of the farm. Strategically place pig doors allow him access just about everywhere. He believes he is king.

The animals are all loved and very well cared for. Ken and Celia take their role as animal keepers seriously. The llamas are friendly and seemed to enjoy looking at us as much as we looked at them.

The Erions have dedicated part of one building to their llama co-op. Participants deliver bags full of llama fiber which are weighed then sorted into types and colors. There was over 1100 pounds waiting to be sorted. Ken said they'd be able to go through most of that in one long day with a bit of concentrated effort. The fiber is taken to a mill where it's processed and made into beautiful blankets and socks. At the back of that building is a door leading to:
Celia's ample weaving studio. We were dumbstruck with the number of looms, fibers, and books. Think of having such a spacious dedicated space for fibery pursuits!

No pictures of us actually spinning though we did in lots of spinning and chattering. I finished an ounce of sample singles and plyed it. A future post will have details. The next post I've promised several inquirers to tell the story of my blue hair.

Until then.

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Wednesday, June 06, 2007

No more tangles

One of these days I'll tell the story of how I came to love dyeing my hair with blue streaks from time to time.

Did you see the tangled chocolate sock yarn from last post? There came a point when the snarls were greater than my patience. A bit over an ounce had been plyed when reason prevailed; it was ridiculous to keep spending inordinate amounts of time, to say nothing of strained eyesight and nerves, on a bit of spun fluff. The twist was set and the wet yarn wrapped around pegs on the warping board.

I'm delighted with this sock yarn that I'd spun with every intention of gifting to a friend. But now I'm torn. This is my first batch of spun sock yarn. How well does it knit up? Does it feel good on the feet and in shoes? Will socks hold up to lots of wear and washing?
#1 ball: 1.5 ounces - now 1.1 oz, 144 yards, app 17 wpi
#2 ball 1 ounce, 129 yds, app 17wpi. (wound tighter on the ball winder)With only 273 yards they will be short socks for smaller feet.

Today is the area spinning guild meeting. I'm both excited and apprehensive about meeting this group. I'm really hoping my introverted side doesn't kick in big time. Except for sitting with other spinners during Sunday morning at Oregon Flock & Fiber Festival last October I haven't spun much at all with other experienced spinners. I can feel awkward and dumb in these kinds of situations. But I'm looking forward to expanding my knowledge. This month's meeting is across the Willamette Valley about 45 miles away near the coast range. I've always loved driving through that area of the valley and now I get to walk the earth, breath deep the air and experience a llama/sheep farm there.

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