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March 2009

January 2009

winter days

After the snow there was freezing rain.  It continued into the third part of a winter trifecta, hours of hard rain that froze onto every surface that had been cleared of snow.  By morning the walks and drive were thick with ice, an impenetrable, slippery menace.  Getting the car UP the drive was impossible.   The ten feet I managed were given back as the car slid back down from its stalled position.  Scary.  Nothing to do but wait to see where it would stop.   I'm not a wimp when it comes to weather, but I really hate moving around on ice.  Good that there were so many indoor things to do.  Laundry.  Dyeing.  Office catch up.  Phone calls. 

Hello, this is xxx market.

me: Hi, Can you connect me to the butcher, please.
Just a minute.

Meat department.
me: Hi, I'd like to order some pork livers.
Oh, you must be the pork liver lady.
me: I guess I am.  Yep, I'm the pork liver lady.
Where's the pork liver guy?

me: The pork liver guy,  uummmm..... he's busy.  Can I order the pork livers?
Sure, but he usually calls, and you come by and get them.

Nothing like a reputation, is there? 

Looks like today will be more of yesterday.  Cold icy days moving from one to the next.  Good thing that the dyeing part is fun.  It gets squeezed into the in between, the cracks of time, making everything else feel a little brighter.


goes to show you

Need a little inspiration?

This link was forwarded to me from a spinning guild friend.  It's fascinating.  Bet you hadn't thought about spinning Spanish moss, now had you?  Or weaving with the yarn..  BTW, Dawn Klug, the woman in the video, is in a wheel chair.  She's paralyzed from the waist down.  The St. Petersburg Times ran a wonderful article about her.  Never say never. 

walk with me wednesday

On the other side of the door, there is a curtain of ice.  It grows longer and more tangled everyday.   Venture a bit further and there is a strange and wonderful fairytale thicket, dagger sharp and impenetrable.




On sunny days, the sound of falling ice crashing down from the eaves, keeps the cats and I from stepping out.  Death by icicle. 


Crystal bars on our fortress.

There's something else that's happening.  Something in the air.  The robins have gathered.  A flock came through a few days ago.  A few dozen.  I couldn't believe my eyes.  What does it mean?  Will the backbone of winter break early this year?


grrrrls just wanna have fun

P1050837 Sunday was cold, -6 at one point.  After weeks of frigid temperatures in a nearly monochromatic landscape, it was time for a change of pace.  How about a dyeing class.. at WEBS.  By itself, WEBS is good for a day out.  Now add in seven other like minded women, fiber and color and what do you have, a perfect Sunday. 

What could be better for a gaggle of fiber fanatics than spending the day warming themselves around a simmering dyepot. Kim and Jean were there, and my (ahem) co pilot, Cindy.  We managed a detour or two, lol.


If you ever get a chance to take one of Barb Parry's classes, do.  She's a wonderful teacher.  I was impressed with all she managed to fit into a one day class.  In the morning she covered the basics of color theory, ratios, mixing dyes, prewetting, and the handling of the fiber.  Then the fun started.  


Like campers around a fire, we gathered around colorful dyebaths and a cooking crockpot of roving.  We painted and dipped dyed.  Barb demonstrated several other techniques.  In one corner of the room a kettle steamed away, in another the steam tray set tray after tray of jelly rolled rovings. 


Garter Yoke Cardigan

Most of you'd have finished this by now.  I plug away a bit at a time, taking care not to aggravate my wrist, practicing a nearly stationary hold on my left needle.  Slow and mindless.  I've worked the decreases for the waist shaping, changing the pattern to only two decrease rows spaced six rows apart.  With a short waist, I need to increase again sooner than the pattern reads.  In between the spurts of knitting, I play with color for an accessory for the cardi.  It won't need one for coverage or warmth.  The neck line is higher than written. 


The color changes in the sweater are subtle, just enough to keep it interesting and far from being olive drab.  A splash of color can change everything. 

walk with me wednesday

There was a little discussion taking place inside my head all morning.   It was, more accurately, an argument, a rationalization.  I wanted a walk.  Outside, little clouds of blowing snow crystals swirled up the hill.  They distracted me from my work.  I really needed to get outside.  It had been since last Thursday that I'd been cooped up with a bug.  The first couple days hardly out of bed.  But, 20F was hardly balmy.  There wasn't enough snow for snow shoes and my boots weren't as high as the foot of snow that was on the ground.  Walking on the roads wasn't going to do it for me.  It wasn't just the exercise that I was after.   I'd have to go to a trail where the snow would be packed down, broken by others like minded.  It was.  As I approached the trail, I could see the only other person there was packing up his X-country skis to leave.  I'd have the woods to myself.  Perfect.

Someone once pointed out to me that New England is special when it comes to rocks.  We have ledge popping out everywhere.  Backbone, bedrock, spine.


Perfect backdrops for shadows and shelter from the wind.


We have transient rock.  Glaciers rolled them along, dropping them here and there, chips in a cookie.


Several times I passed puffs of fur.  Only fur, no signs of a hunt.   Dog, I think. 


Snow obscures the familiar and provides a canvas for the new.   I can see tracks going up, vertical climbers.  Squirrels.


The walk was only a mile and a half.  I got my exercise.

The Slater Mill Guild Studios

There's a new kid in town and it could make a difference to the fiber folk in New England. 

Jencks outside

Over the past year or so, there has been a recurring thread through our conversations regarding teaching and workshops.  Specifically, WHERE to hold them.  Now, there is a very good WHERE.  The Slater Mill, in Pawtucket RI, has refurbished an incredibly beautiful space in their Jencks Education Center.  Housed on the second floor  (all of the second floor) in a beautifully restored building within the Slater Mill complex, the studio is full of light and history and the sound of the Blackstone River rushing over the falls below. 

Sounds interesting, huh?  The Community Guild Studio is open for business.  Open to dreamers and open to the fiber community.  We've been offered a fabulous blank slate.  Want a world class teacher to come teach?  Dream it.  There is space.  All day, part day, no problem.  There is a kitchen. (Last weekend a dyeing workshop was held there.)  There is a co-coordinator.  Let her know what you want and she can put it together for you.  Or, do it yourself and rent the space.  They have spinning wheels and looms, available if you need them.  Best of all, they have the enthusiasm that it takes to make this space work.  I'm excited. 

On January 28th, the first meeting of the Slater Mill Knitting Guild will be held there from 7-9 pm.  In February, another new Guild, one that will encompass most any technique used in creating textile projects, including but not limited to spinning, weaving, knitting, crochet, quilting, light metals, will meet for the first time.  There is a unique opportunity here to create a community from the ground up, the way we want it to be.  Let's make this an exciting place, a melting pot for fiber related disciplines. 

If you're interested and want to be involved or maybe just lurk awhile, there's a Ravelry group: Slater Mill Guild Studios.  Better yet, come and see for yourself. 

* photo from the Slater Mill website

walk with me wednesday

P1050781 Maybe it was the Blizzard of 1978.  That was the storm that closed Interstate 95 through Rhode Island for one week.  Maybe not.  Thing is, that in southern New England, the forecast of a winter storm sends the population into a frenzy and into the grocery stores to prepare, stripping the shelves of bread and milk.  It has become a local joke, much like Boston's French Toast alert.  I prepare in other ways.  Like getting a walk in and putting aside jugs of water.  My own necessities. 

The forecast for today was for ice, thick and slippery. 


Yesterday the snow was crunchy, the air snappy.  Perfect for a trek through the woods. 
 The stream had thawed with the warmer days. 

010608 007

Do you know the sound that water makes when it flows around and under ice?  Beautiful music. 

ten minutes (for Tuesday)

Again, all those ten minutes picked from here and there are mounting up.  I've got another cop of blue silk on a spindle.


and two bobbins of alpaca that I'm beginning to ply.


Even my knitting is getting done in small spurts.  My wrist has really been acting up and a bit at a time is all I can manage.  Here's a shot of the Garter Yoke Cardi.  After dyeing the yarn, I went through my button box and found these.  I liked them enough to increase the size of the button holes from a one stitch decrease to two in order to accommodate them.  Maybe it's the time of year, but they tickle me now with thoughts of a greener season.  There'll be plenty of time to make up my mind.