By now, mosty all of the New England woods have melted out. Here, our winter coats are headed to the laundry room. No more snow shoes, winter boots or long underwear, I'm hiking light. Sneakers, aahhh... sweet release, such freedom of movement. The past few weeks have been full of season's firsts. First skunk cabbage, first peepers, first crocus andf daffs, first ticks and as of this weekend, first hummingbirds!
I know how my cats feel. Like them, I want to bolt from the house and go outdoors. Spring needs exploration. There are so many places to see. During the work week, I stick to my home ground. It is in the familiar that I can best see the season's changes. Over the past year, I have found something else to fascinates me in the woods. Rocks. Piles of rocks, stacked rocks, stone walls, foundations.. evidence of past occupation. Some of them have traceable history, others not. This quote I found online from Jan Brennan from the New Maine Times a few years ago, says it well.
There's some weird stuff hidden in the forests of New England.
And no, we don't mean Bigfoot, or some backwoods entrepreneur's marijuana field.
We mean things — ancient things — made of stone: cairns, underground chambers, walls that go nowhere, pictographs, stone circles with astronomical alignments, and other constructions whose origins and purposes are unknown.
And so there are.
I've been hiking where there are hundreds of these scattered throughout the woods. So much history. If only the woods could talk.
“How terribly sad it was that people are made in such a way that they get used to something as extraordinary as living.” —Jostein Gaarder
A friend put this on her Facebook page today. I was so happy to see it. It is one of my favorites and something that I try to remind myself everyday.
Over the weekend Chris and I managed to take a little bit of time out of our schedule to have, what I like to call, 'a little adventure'. We go somewhere and walk, bushwack, poke around.. whatever. We look and we see. If I'm particularly organized, we take a picnic. And so, during a time when we should have had our noses to the grindstone getting ready for the spring show season, we did. Here are a few pictures..
Last winter, when I was packing up my booth at the NETA SPA, I found a beautiful mini batt sitting brightly on my work table. It was a sweet gift from Josette of Enchanted Knoll Farm. I can't tell you how happy that thoughtful little gift made me. I carried the batt around in my project bag for a few weeks before deciding how I would spin it.
I decided to use my Modular Spindle (Ledbetter, of course) and make a single, spinning the colors in sequence. As it was a very little batt, under an ounce, I spun two more cops of a beautifil soft BFL / Silk blend from my stash.
That spindle is very special to me. Ken made it from my own spauted maple, cut and milled at home. I've had that wood drying for over ten years.
The three singles were wound together into a plying ball to keep the tension equal.
I love the way a plying ball looks..all the singles so orderly.
It was a cold day. The idea of sitting at my wheel in the sunny window was too good to pass up. Wheel plied.. on my Dixon!
It ended up to be 180 yds. of a 3 ply dk wt yarn. Now, what to do with it?
The past week and a half have been filled with wonderful fibery adventures. The morning after our return flight from Tucson, we jumped right into preparation for last weekend's Knit Weekend at the Slater Mill. It was the first time that Ball and Skein vended at Slater. Friday night's festivities started with at the 'Fireside Ordinary' at the Sylvanus Brown House, a beautiful restored mill house on the site. There was music, storytelling, food and drink. The house was lit with candles and warmed by three open fireplaces. It was a fun. I did see a couple spinners and knitters in the crowd.
Afterwards, we headed over to the cocktail party. It was so much more than cocktails, beginning with a lecture on the Shetland Isles by Gudrun Johnston and trunk shows, featuring the work of Thea Colman and Ellen Mason.
The vendors set up in the mill (museum) amongst the old machinery. It took a bit of imagination but the results were worth it. Visitors strolled through the museum to shop. As a vendor, it was magical. Outside, light reflects off the river as it races to the falls. The windows in the mill are still glazed with old wavy glass. Looking out at Saturday's snowfall was beautiful, a step back in time. Inside the mill, it was dark. I can not imagine how anyone, children or adults, could manage to do the fine mill work in those conditions. Even with today's modern track lighting, it wasn't enough for me to have worked by.
Thanks Polly Hopkins for taking this picture.
You can check out the weekend itself on Slater Mill's event site.
Tomorrow, Chris and I will finally leave for that trip to Tucson that we had to cancel last February when Chris landed unexpectedly in the hospital. After the past couple weeks of bone chilling cold and snow, I am really looking forward to a bit of sun (and the warmer temperatures). Before I go, I thought I'd leave you with this little teaser of a photo that Thea Colman sent me yesterday.
I'm pretty excited about this. It is knitted in Ball and Skein's Lyra. Its so soft. I can't wait to start one for myself. It'll have to wait until next week when we return. This is a carry on trip, so a one skein project is more in order. The yarn will be available for pre-order later this month. The pattern should be out the beginning of February. More on it when I return.
Long before I became a dyer, I was a photographer and printer. I worked exclusively in black and white, monochromatic. Learning to see the world in monochrome is to rewire the way you look at things. Texture, form, light, dark, contrast, the positive and the negative spaces paint the way you perceive what you see. Like a light switch that you learn to turn on and off, color steps back and away. Try it. Playing with the way you see things is fun. It is one more of things I enjoy about winter. Ice and reflection are less about color, and more the abstract, my comfort zone.