Saturday, December 31, 2011

Finishing the Year

Thanks to my lovely cousin, Kara and her husband, Mustapha I had wonderful Christmas holiday in LA. On my first day, Kara was excited to take me to this place she found, called the Peace Awareness Labyrinth Gardens. I took lots of pictures of this estate that was like stepping into an Italian villa for the afternoon. The weather was perfect, with a high of 72!

(I'm gonna be short on the commentary here and post some images from the day.)

And then we have sunset, Christmas Day at the beach and Venice Canals:

I was traveling light and actually took these all with my 2 year old iPhone. Still enjoying the miracle of digital images...Happy New Year, everyone.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Mending my...

I trundled into the bathroom yesterday morning and felt the cold linoleum on my left heel. I had on my only Wollmiese socks. OH NO!!! Just the day before, my old standby socks (on the right) fell to the same fate. It's pair already saw some re-knitting on the heel. When it comes to this level of repair, the only thing that will do is knitting a patch on the heel...because I don't even have anymore of the yarn to do something like re-knit the entire heel. In general, I'm going to have to be careful about always wearing my Berks in the apartment because the floors are a rather rough textured industrial carpet.

On the subject of knitwear maintenance, I did some "re-fashioning" on a second hand cashmere sweater that I've had for years. It's a man's sweater with a high v-neck and it's just never been all that becoming on me. Yesterday took my sharp little scissors to the neck line and changed it to a lower v-neck. I had to do the whole thing by hand because there are certain types of sewing projects I simply do not trust to the
machine. My default sewing method is always by hand. did.

In the late Fall and Winter, I have a uniform: Silk longjohn top or cotton knit topped with one of my old cashmere sweaters and a soft scarf. Add a hat, fingerless gloves and a waterproof jacket and I'm good to go. It used to be a bit easier to find the cashmere sweaters but it's time I started looking again. The oldest one that I bought new is now 20 years old. I'm looking at a little skein of yarn that I got from unraveling a man's cashmere sweater a few years ago. The common issue with a man's sweater is that the sleeves are very wide. I think that's probably why I frogged that sweater instead of just wearing it...oh and I think it was XL! Wow, I actually found a picture of that...
Someone who is not a knitter and who doesn't make stuff was asking me about the stuff I make. She had this crazed look as I was telling her how much I make and that I may or may not wear it after I'm done. She said that thing that non-knitters say all the time: "Can't you sell your stuff?" If you are reading this blog, you most likely know just where that conversation went. You know, about the way our economy in this country is set up. How we couldn't possibly make a living wage of any kind, knitting lace shawls.There are people who do knit for pay, and I have done it but I did it for the experience, not the actual pay.

There are days when I wonder if I should  keep knitting. Especially on days like yesterday when I wanted to start 3 new projects (as I do at this time of the year) or just finish one of the sweaters I know I will actually wear when I'm done. I saw myself from the outside for a minute, asked myself WHY am I doing this?  There are so many other things I could be doing! And then, just after my existential meltdown, I pulled out some fiber and started spinning.

The End.

Sunday, November 13, 2011


I can't believe it's been so long since I posted here. Not for lack of the fibery stuff though. Can you tell I'm not working? In my last post you can see the great stuff I got at OFFF and since then I've spun some of it up and also tried my hand at a little dying.

This is the merino/angora fiber that I spun into a single above and then plied with a strand of silk from some hankies I had on hand. The competed yarn is a fingering weight and came out to 270 yds and 2 ounces.

I am having a love affair with the angora right now. Paula said that she's planning on sheering Zsa Zsa soon so I'm waiting for a big haul of the fluffo stuff before I do more angora spinning. What I learned with this fiber (to the left) that I just spun, is that blending it with darker colors and then dying it can be just amazing.

So, yeah. The dying. I just wanted to try one solid color for a change. I'm not a big dyer, but I did buy some dye and white wool yarns last year that I've been wanting to work with. What I learned in this exercise is that I have to be really careful with silk. So, I kind of blew through a couple of ounces of silk but I'm trying to spin it anyway. It is a bit more true gold with more brown that it shows, but you get the idea.  I did get some great intensity with this merino/cashmere that I spun a couple of years ago.

Then, onto some knitting. I knit this beret with some polwarth/silk hand spun, just a little lighter than fingering. I'm wearing it all the time because it weighs hardly anything.

Then, two pairs of gloves for gifts, a pair of socks (no pics). More angora, knitting with the absolutely amazing, Lush, this deeply cabled scarf.

Hmmm. started a pair of basic socks yesterday in some yarn that was buried in my stash for a LONG time.

There is the sweater that I've been working on this Fall that's going fast but not fast enough, Girl Friday. I'm actually going to block out the back so that I can have the inspiration of knowing it's going to fit! I'm halfway through the fronts now and I'm quite eager to wear this because of the amazing color. Interesting though, I have just looked through some of the things I'm planning on knitting and I see that 2009 was a good year for design.

In non-knitting news, there are two main things going on: NEED WORK and really really miss Brahms and Suki. It's been an interesting exercise of sorts to move into such a small place. It's easy to clean, it's forcing me to get rid of more and more and more stuff. So many folks in this building have pets but I cannot imagine being with a cat in this small of a space. Oh, I've done it before, like in San Francisco, but it was temporary.

Those micro homes are cool but they are not designed for people who make stuff. It's that simple. One can cull down to the bare bones of life and still live well, but artisans need room to create and store supplies. Even if one had a separate studio, it would be an existence "lacking" to not have some space to work at home. Even still, I know I'm not the only one who's drawn to the Tiny House trend. Here's a great blog I found with examples of what folks are doing with this concept.

So, this has been a rambling entry. I should probably blog more often, huh? Will do.

Sunday, September 25, 2011


Oh, my favorite weekend of the year. This year, just one day: Saturday. But, the weather's turned a bit stormy so I clearly picked the right day. OFFF was my motivation the entire time I was working my way back to Portland and it did not disappoint. It did however, exhaust.

It seems that every time I buy new fiber or yarn, I have a color theme in mind. Only, I don't notice until I get home! These days I am very aware that my usual autumnal palette needs to change for wearables (for me). The hair has now grown out to gray and my colors are now cooler. (another post all together).

Speaking of color, I spotted my friend Michele and she had on this wonderful plum colored top and she was talking to a friend of hers (Sarah) who was spinning the same color. And, this struck me because I had just bought a pile of merino/angora overdyed roving (bottom left in photo above).
It was hot (and humid) and such a crowd!. Serious spinning going on. It there is a place to become completely entranced with the spin, this is it. And, the training starts early as we can see with this young lady learning to use the thigh spinning method with a supported spindle.
I spotted my new friend Ilisha with whom I just took her JazzKnitting class. She was preparing for her book signing and wearing an incredible piece from her book. It's a peacock piece that's just crazy beautiful. (She looks like she just spotted a faerie, no?)

Ah, and then I spotted this lovely lady spinning directly from her Bunny. So still was the bunny!
And, of course I have to have a couple of sheep pictures. These multicolored Jacob really caught my eye. If you want to see them yourself, the folks at Drumcliffe Farm would love to see you!
And the lamby faces that I love so:
Today I am taking the day off from anything work or house related to just feel the fiber love.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Week 2

This is one of my many moving boxes from the pull-tab company that I worked for.

The furious activity has slowed down and more internal work is happening, I think. It's hard to gauge what is exhaustion from dust and allergens and what is just plain catching up on the "me-ness" of life.

For 5 months I was renting a room and was never really alone. For an introvert like me, it was slow torture. My situation was really a great one in so many ways, but at this point in my life it was very, very stressful to not have my own place. I like living alone.

The part that is so hard is being without Brahms and Suki. It gives my life a bit of a feeling of hotel living. I've just got to get used to it. So, it's stepping into my "old life" but not really. It's just me and the yarn and a couple hundred fiber-friends and acquaintances! Being back, I have no doubts that this is the place I'm supposed to be. This weekend is WWSIP day (World Wide Spin In Public Day) and next weekend is the Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival. Then, the rains come and hopefully not before.

I miss working! Looking for some part time Small Biz consulting and Bookkeeping gigs to pay Le Bills. My job experience in Kennewick was just awesome. Hard act to follow, but it's put me a good mindset for a new job, actually.

Tomorrow the bed finally comes and I shall be off the couch (that I just moved to it's new location in the living room. Ooooh. Two whole rooms to live in. Less to get into a mess! Famous last words...

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Reunited and it Feels so Good

 Reunited with my STASH that is!
 The Magazines and notions are at home again.

And, just a little more stash over here and one big box o' spinning fiber not shown here.
Right now it doesn't matter that I don't have any shelving for the yarn. It's enough that it's all in one place.

As you may recall...or not... back in April I got rid of pretty much everything that is not yarn or clothes that I'm really wearing. I knew that I wanted to simplify, It was time to admit to myself that trying to move all this crap was no fun when I appear to have a much more nomadic life that I expected. Life is like that, unexpected. At least for me.

This apartment has one big closet in the bed room and that's it. 550 sq feet is a wee bit small for me. No hallways though and pretty much every inch of this place can be put to work for storage if I were to spend a chunk of change at Ikea. I did get curtains and stuff there the other day. I'm not used to having an open kitchen situation. Fortunately there's a dishwasher so I don't have to look at my always dirty dishes. Yeah, I'm like that too.

I realized yesterday that the fumes from the new carpet are making me feel sleepy and so I planned to spend most of the day outdoors today. Except, I'm really really

Post 2 on this subject of moving will include my fabulous new views and city life. Soon, I promise!

Thursday, August 18, 2011


Summer 2010

It's hard to believe that now both of my kittens are gone, but Brahms passed away on August 4th. She had been sick for so very long, and until her last few days her quality of life seemed quite good. Then, not.

I'm still numb and am having a hard time grieving the loss of my companion of 19 years. She took care of me. She was truly better than any person I've known. How can one compare cats and humans? I don't know, but the kind of communication and connection we had transverses genetic differences.

I'm moving back to Portland in 2 weeks and I knew in my heart that she would not be joining me, I just didn't know when exactly she would depart. There was so very little of her on that last day, it's amazing that she stayed as long as she did.

This new chapter is just about me.
The Day Brahms Died

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


Yes, I'm still blogging.
Facebook ate my blog? Not gonna let it happen!
Get away, Google+!
I'm not giving up the ship yet, people.

I was taking the train from Portland to Pasco, Washington this past Sunday and had a chance to snap some photos of the changing landscape heading north east.If you've never done the trip, it's the Empire Builder that goes to Chicago and this short leg of the trip is a mere 4 hours.

And, when I was in Portland I took some pictures in and around MAX stops, thankful for pretty scenery as I was waiting for a train. I was waiting for a lot of trains. And buses. And walking!

Bucolic Beaverton...
 Downtown bus stop with update screen (I love that part)

 Cascades MAX stop in some lovely Summer light.
 Trip up the Columbia River, misty in the Gorge.
 Just coming out of the Gorge and you see some sandy hills...
 Now we've got a bit of green left but the landscape is really changing now.

Here as the sun has made it's departure, the flat desert awaits...