Saturday, July 14, 2007

Change of Scenery

I'm shifting over to WordPress. The lack of the ability to reply directly to non-reply comments without causing people to return to my blog to see my answer has driven me to move to WordPress. I've read that pictures don't make the transfer so will leave this blog here.

For the most part I will be posting here. Please don't forget to bookmark my new blog, or change your bookmarks. Thanks!

If this works smoothly enough I'd like to move The Weekend Whirls over there also to facilitate better interaction between posters/commentators. Please let me know what you think.


Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Tour de Fleece Day 5

So far I'm spinning away on Tour de Fleece 2007. The weekend of demonstrating/teaching at the Park got me off to a great start. Though I must admit, I flagged a bit Monday and yesterday, just a bit of spindling was accomplished.

Today was the spinning guild's day at the Mission Mills Museum. In spite of temps reaching almost 100 degrees, our spot under a huge spreading oak next to the Jason Lee House, built in 1841 - the oldest frame house still standing in the Northwest, stayed relatively cool with a breeze keeping us comfortable. The 5 hours + flew past. I took some pictures but need to wait until we get our broadband connection working again. I'm using a turtle paced dial-up.

It's been a frustrating bone of contention for the past 30 hours with no help from the provider until he returns home on Friday. Until we get our connection reestablished I will be on very limited internet time so please bear with my lack of personal emails.

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Monday, July 09, 2007

Spinning at the Falls

I spent a wonderful weekend at the Silver Falls State Park showing and teaching spinning. The two days flew by with people streaming in and out of the log cabin.
Path to the Log Cabin. Umm, the Salmon berries are ripe.A peek at South Falls
South Falls - 177ft. Click for a bigger picture, do you see the people?

Here are just a few of the many people who spun some yarn. After about the third person I developed a pretty comprehensive method to where a person was able to spin their yard of roving in just a few minutes.

I set up the Louet Victoria to the side of the huge fireplace where the dutch oven biscuits were constantly cooking. The two women must have made almost 500 biscuits on Saturday. Each batch devoured as soon it was served. Hand-shaken butter and fresh strawberry/raspberry jam completed the goodness.

Though I didn't have time for much personal spinning, I was able to spinning the second ounce of the corriedale green roving. I'd been spinning fine and quite evenly until spinning at the cabin where my concentration was what it needed to be. This picture was before I began spinning the second ounce at the cabin. Unfortunately that ounce turned out thicker and more uneven. For the first time I tried chain plying. I wish I hadn't. If I'd plyed it back on itself it would have been much better. Now I'm not sure what to do with the 117 yards of the 3ply. (It's still drying.)

The mystery project: Thanks for the guesses so far. It's not a baby blanket, shawl or a scarf, but it will be worn. I'll post another hint next post.

For those of you who asked about the Marion berries, they are a type of blackberry developed at Oregon State University. From Wiki: "Marion (marketed as marionberry) is the most important cultivar and is from a cross between Chehalem and Olallie (commonly called olallieberry) berries. It is said to "capture the best attributes of both berries and yields an aromatic bouquet and an intense blackberry flavor" [1]. Olallie in turn is a cross between loganberry and youngberry. "Marion", "Chehalem" and "Olallie" are just three of the many trailing blackberry cultivars developed by the United States Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS) blackberry breeding program at Oregon State University in Corvallis, Oregon. Trailing blackberries are vigorous, crown forming, require a trellis for support, and are less cold hardy than the erect or semi-erect blackberries. In addition to the Pacific Northwest of the USA, these types do well in similar climates such as the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Chile, and the Mediterranean countries."

They are big and juicy with a delicious tart sweetness perfect for eating out of hand, pies, or jam. They are a huge commercial crop in this area.

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Saturday, July 07, 2007

Minding the Yarn Shop

We're off on the Tour de Fleece 2007which begins today. I got in good shape yesterday by spinning half an hour last evening. (sadly I can't get the button to load properly on the sidebar)

Arriving at The Purl District yarn store yesterday the long knit scarf was still draped across the entrance. No one was around. The store is one of four spacing the huge open space of one of the older buildings in Silverton. The main doors were open and lights on. Other stores were bustling with activity but not the yarn shop. Another spinner had already gotten an iced latte from Not Yo Mama's Coffee shop upstairs so I headed up for mine. The flower shop keeper took down the scarf barrier and told us to go ahead and sit at the table. A group of four eventually gathered knitting and spinning. Still no shop keeper. Shortly after 10 a buyer came in with some questions. She wanted to make her first pair of socks. I talked with her, showed her the sock yarns, talked about her knitting experience then got out the sock pattern notebook and found a basic pattern for her. I accepted a check. First sale of the day. After she left I looked around the cash register for a worker/phone list then called the person scheduled for the morning. No answer. Called the owner. No answer, left a message. Called the worker scheduled for the afternoon. She'd was busy showing a buyer her angora rabbits but she'd try to be in by noon!

I didn't get a lot of spinning or knitting done with the occasional interruptions by shoppers. One traveling family came in. The daughter wanted to buy a kit. The ones we found didn't have the right color combinations. A lost sale. Another woman wanted to know what pattern and material a display sweater was made from. I could guess a cashmere blend but had no idea of pattern. Another lost sale. :-(

Another picture of the mystery project being made from my handspun multicolored merino. Guesses are welcome. There might even be a prize for the person who guesses correctly both questions: what will it be? what's the process?

I'm off for a day of demonstrating spinning at the Silver Falls State Park. I'm excited about this new experience.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Cherry Haiku

Alarmed chirps fill air
Sticky hands grasp cherries
Domain intrusion.

Ladybug dotting
Seventies orange countertop.
Harvest escapee.
Jewel-red tart globes
Dried to withered chewiness
Cheers winter muesli.

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Thursday, July 05, 2007

4th of July

Homemade ice cream with fresh marionberries.

Grandma's hat.
Hey there!

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Sunday, July 01, 2007

Blue moon wedding

How do you occupy time during the hour between setting up and waiting for a wedding to begin? Knit socks!

The most unusual wedding we've played a reception for took place outside yesterday at seven pm. Seven out of eight members of our band were sick: Tight chest with coughs and fever kind of sick. Our leader/mandolin player's bug had morphed into pneumonia by Friday. The only person not affected was our banjo player.

It always takes about two hours to get set up and the sound balanced. We were to be set up and ready by the six o'clock photo session.
People who don't play music usually have no idea what heat does to to hide glued instruments. It doesn't take much heat to loosen the glue. The platform was in the baking sun. While not playing for the sound check we tucked our instruments in their cases resting in the bit of shade on the east end of the platform. Still they were exposed to the full force of the afternoon sun. In my west facing position it didn't take long for my violin to get hot and the strings loosen in the heat.

As is typical, communication wasn't the best. We'd been told that we'd play the recessional kicking immediately into the reception. We'd just been chilling out in the shade of a small tree near the platform when a trio bustled up to the stage saying they needed to set up in front of our gear. And, "Oh, by the way, can we use one of your mics?" When you've just spent two hours in the blazing sun arranging chairs, mics, monitors, speakers, music stands for eight people it's a bit disconcerting to find that a keyboard and three players need a portion of that occupied space. As for the mics /sound system, well, one just doesn't turn on the amp and it's all set. Not. The fine tuning to get all the vocalists and instruments balanced takes a great deal of time. But we're nice people so our leader, who is also our sound expert, carefully noted which level his mic was at on the mixer and then spent time with the flutists and keyboard getting them at right level. Meanwhile, the sound system was on, which our bassist didn't stop to think about as he went behind the platform to relieve his congested nose. The mic near him picked it up mingling his blowing along with the flutes the entertainment of arriving guests.

We'd planned to set up then go into town to eat and rest before our time to play but the number of arriving guests and lack of parking, let along lack of energy to climb the small hill once again, made us decide to hang out at one of the back tables. Knitting and people watching time. I'm just starting a pair of socks for a birthday. Since I spun only 240 yds I'm doing the double-trouble toe up socks. This will be my second pair from that pattern. So far it's going much better than the first time I attempted them.

The couple who were married participate in tribal dancing; he is a drummer, she dances with her mother, sister and several other women. The crowd was a mixed group wearing clothes from formal wedding type clothing appropriate to outdoor weddings to the tribal attired /bohemian/gypsy clothes of dancers and drummers. A very colorful assortment.The temperatures had cooled down nicely by the time we started playing at 7:30. It was a perfect evening for playing outside. We had an enjoyable time, the people seemed to like our music and except for a few glitches all went well. My worry about the strings holding their tune came true. The mishap took place during the mandolin/fiddle duet. Just as we launched into the second piece of an Irish medley my E string took a nose dive way south ending up near an A. When one string dramatically loosens it usually affects the tuning of the other strings so T finished the piece as a solo. We managed to cover our coughs and sickness pretty well. One piece was higher than our singers' vocal cords could handle last night so it became instrumental after the first verse. The photographer who often used the platform for key shots, and kept his gear near ours, was the only person who seemed to notice that we were not feeling well. As we were packing up he made a comment about our playing well despite being sick.

Instead of playing the scheduled hour we ended up playing ninety minutes. We were just planning to start with the beginning pieces again when the drummers set up (we'd been told to play until they were ready). The tribal dancers performed a wedding dance for the couple as we tried to unobtrusively pack our gear. This picture was taken a little after nine pm. They were fun to watch as they twirled and danced in their fine array. By then we were starving and tired but the high rush that comes after a decent performance gave us energy to make the numerous journeys up the hill to stow our gear in our vehicles. Finally we were able to help ourselves to the leftover wedding food of hummus, diced lamb/pecans/rice stuffed in grape leafs (very tasty!), olives, and sandwich makings.

On the drive home I noticed a huge glow over the mountains and remembered it was a blue moon (that occurrence of two full moons in one month). At home I waited as the moon slowly rose above the trees.

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