2 hrs. of snow removal equals one good appetite. **

Apparently, walking behind a snow blower, no matter the miles, does not constitute exercise.  If it did, I would have lost at least one pound by now.  I figure a pound a storm would be a fair trade.  But no, not one.  Nada.  Zip. Zilch.  I weigh as much (and maybe a bit more) than I did when January began.  When I emailed this sentiment to a Cyndy over at Riverrim, she responded with '2 hrs. of snow removal equals one good appetite.' **  There's a thought.




Between the storms, and work, and if I don't fall asleep (because at least part of me thinks it has exercised), I've been carding and spinning batts of Shetland and silk that I dyed last fall.  Each batt delights me.  The variations in the hand dyed fibers, each a bit different, all part of the same, fascinate. So much fun.



At Rhinebeck, I treated myself to one special purchase, a Woolee Winder.  I'd always told myself that I didn't need it.  Maybe not.  The gain in time and the extra yardage that fit onto the bobbin makes it more valuable than I'd thought.   



I'm hooked. 

the way we think

This is not the post I had planned for today.  BUT.. when I saw this little video this morning, everything changed.  It says so much to me about the way we think and our creative process. 

Years ago, there was a show at MOMA in NYC called "Primitivism" in 20th Century Art.  The video reminded me of it.  The show compared primitive art with contemporary and in particular, displayed primitive art objects that were collected by contemporary masters.  Interesting for most, mind blowing for me.  If ever I had needed an affirmation of my belief in the collective consciousness, this was it.  

when you think merino, do you think Vermont?

Did you know that the first merino sheep imported to America, were brought to Vermont?  I didn't.

In 1811, William Jarvis brought 3500 merino sheep to Weathersfield, VT.  By 1837 their numbers had soared to more than one million.  This boom became known as  "merino mania".

Shpcrd merino sheep

As is still the case today, the high cost of farming in the northeast and a glutted market, soon put Vermont farmers into financial jeopardy.  There is a short and interesting article about this at the Vermont Historical Society site.

what surrounds us

Yesterday, I took my lunch on the deck.  It was a beautiful warm sunny day.  Overhead I heard the call of a hawk.  He'd been flying over, circling for most of the morning.  I could make him out as he passed through the opening in the tree canopy.  The warm days last week set the leaves to popping.  Everyday, it is harder to see through the green forest curtain that will soon surround me.   Not more than a week ago, I could watch the birds wing through the branches on their way to the feeder.   Today, I hear the woodpeckers before I see them.  A bird zips down from overhead.  The repeating buzz of this swooping hummer tells me that he has begun his courting dance.  I know that the crows have offended or stolen from another bird by raucous cries.    If the orioles don't break through the green and cross the yard, I will have missed them this year.   Winter to spring, I know the woods and its creatures in different ways, each season having its own sights and sounds.

There hasn't been much knitting.  Preparing for the Sheep & Wool festivals has taken all my free and not so free time these past few weeks.  It is a good kind of work, this work / play with fiber and color.  Thanks to all of you that stop by and chat, the days spent at my booth are fun and full.  The fairs invigorate and inspire me.  You too.  I know that there has been a lot of chatter about the disappointing behavior that has taken place at Maryland and now New Hampshire.  You can read about it elsewhere.  Please keep in mind, that for what was bad, there was a mountain more that was good.  Like a small town grown into a city,  it has become harder to know everyone.  It is up to us to keep the heart of the fiber community at the center.  Remember, it is WE who made it.  It is OUR TOWN.

my week, in review

It has been such a cock-eyed summer. Everything is out of whack.

I've been on the computer so much in the past week or so that I had forgotten that I hadn't posted until my Dad wrote and asked if I'd dropped off the face of the earth.  It has become increasingly apparent to me that I need to have a better online store.  Using Typepad together with the ballandskein website works well enough but has limitations when it come to inventory control.  Now, when orders come in, I must manually remove them from the number of skeins available.  It works fine until two people want the same item and I'm not on the spot to update the count.  I've searched around looking for an affordable shopping cart program.  Zencart looked like a choice I might be able to manage.  Yeah, right. Not so far.  I've set about trying to learn a bit about CSS.  I didn't even know that CSS existed until last week.  If I learn enough of it to get Zencart up and running I'll be happy.  So far, I'm pulling my hair out. 

The temps and the rain have kept the garden from doing anything.  Look at the temperature swings during the last 10 days. 

P1030849 P1030848

The only thing growing is the squash.  The animals are taking what little manages to grow.  We're hopeless when it comes to vermin control.  The not so little ground hog, and maybe his / her family is so unafraid that we were charmed when we should have been wary.  The broccoli is disappearing nightly.  In spite of 5 lines of solar electric, which due to the total lack of sun until yesterday (when I found I could grab it comfortably), has had no effect.  Apparently the ground hog understands photovoltaics and the effect of the sun.   I think  we've had 8-9 inches of rain.  The field is squishy, like it is in May after the snow melt and the fire pit has over a foot of water in it.  I have terracotta planters that have a green "patina", the kind that sometimes take years to establish.  If we depended on what we grew to survive, I'd already be too weak to post.

Sammy, in a sweet cat / bad cat effort , brought me a present.  A gift of something I cherish.  A hummingbird, left dead on the floor.  I cried.  I tried to explain it to him, again.. no birds, never NEVER, and especially NOT a hummer.  Bad Sammy, I love Sammy, BAD.   

The MS3 continues.  Clue 3 is nearly finished.  I'm already slipping behind.  It could have been done by Friday.  It wasn't a hard clue. Evenings were so busy.  Tuesday Night Knitting group, Wednesday night, the new Harry Potter movie, Thursday night traveling.... Friday.. Doctor WHO. Time and the summer are flying by.


I've got a new item on the menu.  I'm working on a spindle plying box.  Here's the first prototype.  It will take two spindles or sleeve holders to slip my spindle sleeves onto if I don't want to keep tying my spindles up waiting to ply.  The more I play with the spindle sleeves, the more I like them.


BTW.. Today is just right!


lost and found

Last Saturday I flew out to western PA for a family visit.  I packed the usual, plus three spindles, roving and some knitting (a shawl in progress and the Embossed Leaves socks).  Just to be safe, I checked everything but the socks.  There wasn't a problem, I knitted as usual.  A friend of the family went to Maryland this year for the first time and bought herself a lovely Golding Tsunami spindle.  She needed a lesson.  I packed mine. I took the olive wood Hardy that is spinning the llama & silk and I took Ed Jensen's Osage Orange Turkish spindle, just to show off.  The Friday night before I left, I threaded 600 beads onto the next skein of my own Alpaca & Silk hand-dyed yarn that I am using for the Spring Things Shawl.  These were the things that were in my checked bag, the important things.  Things I did not want airport security, the TSA people, to take away from me.  Things to keep safe.  When, at 2:30 am on my return trip, I reported my bag missing, these were the things I pictured my head.  I sweated it out for two days.  Early in the morning, first cup of coffee in hand,  I saw the bag sitting just outside my back door   Things I hold dear.  You can't knit with crossed fingers.  600 beads.  A shawl half finished.  A spindle full of singles but most importantly a spindle out of several already completed for a project.  Hours.  Dreams.  But the thought that kept coming back was that really, in spite of how very much I wanted them returned, I was home.  Safely.  I would have more dreams, and projects, and that what was lost were things.  Easy to say now that they are home again too.  Easy to say on a bright sunny day.  Easy to say, hard to remember. 

Have a beautiful day.  Remember what you have.  Pictures tomorrow.

the resolution

My New Year's resolution is simple.  I shall knit what I love, and what I want.  I shall strive to make it as unique as I feel is appropriate, with or without a pattern, from my stash or from new yarn that I design.  More and more I am knitting from my own yarn; yarns made from the combinations of other "commercially" produced yarns, yarns that I alter, dye, or blend, or yarns that I spin.  I shall continue to spin for specific projects, and for my stash.  I shall continue to learn about new techniques and improve on ones that are in my repertoire. 

In an effort to clean off a few bobbins for the new year,  I finished spinning and plying the  green /multi wool from Spinners Hill that I picked up in November at the Gathering.  To frog projects that are in the works, simply to clear things up for the New Year, would be counter productive for me.  I am not fast.  After reading the lists of things so many of you have knitted in the past year, I have become (painfully) aware of how slow I am.
Ah well.... that's me.  Perhaps that is the way I work.   Even now, I am already thinking about the next project.  I have made a small deal with myself.  I will sew up, finish, the sweaters that I have waiting before I begin another.  Imagine, if I can just do that one not so simple process, I will have three new sweaters to wear this winter.

That's it.  Simple.  No frogging, no numbers, no promises, just the dream of creation.   

Happy New Year.   Here's to looking forward to sharing mine with you, and yours.

Rhinebeck (as I see it)

Forecast for Rhinebeck, Saturday & Sunday:  (as if you haven't been checking ALL week)

Low: 38    High: 58   
Partly cloudy. Highs in the upper 50s. Lows in the upper 30s.

My mechanic always tells me that "there's an ass for every seat".  He's right.  We all see things a bit differently, we can be at the same place, at the same time, and have a completely unique experience.  Keeps things exciting.  So, the other day, when I read Norma's post on Rhinebeck, I had a chuckle.  She's right, she was there.  So was I, here's my take. 

On Food:  The best fair food I've ever tasted.  Period. If you like lamb, its a shoe in.  Get the lamb chops and spinach. It's LOADED with cloves of garlic.  YUMMMMM!!! Or there are the lamb burgers, sausage, kabobs...loads of lamb.  For the carnivores that don't do lamb, there's the usual, hot dog and hamburg.  For the vegetarian, OMG, try the artichoke wagon.  I can NOT stay away from this guy.  The cooked one with garlic, and some sort of cheesy sauce.....  If you crave fruit, there is an apple pie, apple crisp apple on a stick, candied apple guy.  And there are the CHOCOLATE wagons....
chocolate scones with lattes for breakfast
chocolate cookies or cookie bars for snacks
chocolate creme brulee for whenever
chocolate truffles for...
get the picture?? 

My problem is trying NOT to eat everything in sight.

On Cell Service:  Mine work.  I have used Verizon, Sprint & Cingular.  All worked fine for me.  The biggest problem I've had is hearing my cell ring over the screaming and squealing noise of the crowd.  Use the vibrate function.  If you choose  walkie talkies, find an obscure channel.  Remember, there may be close to 70,000 people there.  Many, trying to locate one and other.

On strollers... you guys are brave.  I wish you luck. 

On planning:  It's never worked for me.  I get there with great intentions.  As soon as I pass the first booth, it is all over.  Color, texture, smell.... good intentions fly.

On Money:  Bring it in all forms, be prepared. Or, if you can't trust yourself, and trust me on this, when you get there you probably won't be able to trust yourself, don't bring any.  right....  By bringing all forms you may get through the lines a bit faster.  Lots of vendors that take credit cards are hooked into the credit companies through their cell phones.  That takes time.

On clothing: see the forecast above. Remember, if you don't like the weather, wait a minute.  Be prepared.

That's it.  Rhinebeck is fun, more than fun.  There's something for everyone.  Hey, Norma?