Friday, June 27, 2003

Whew...what a week I've had. My boss has been on call for the last 2 weeks and that means that he's been at the hospital and I've been free to direct my own time at our other office. This week, he's back in my office and making lots of demands. I love working with him, but it's difficult to drop something immediately to take care of him. Oh well, I just got finished telling my husband that I never think of leaving this job, because I know I'll never have a better boss. How's that for golden handcuffs?!

I took the day off today and sat with my spinning wheel. I haven't spun anything in quite some time, but I've been fondling the 1/2 pound of shetland roving I bought from Betty at The Spinning Loft. Today was the day. My wheel came out and got all oiled up and running beautifully. The roving spun like a dream. It's a lovely gray/natural shade. Jillian and I already have a date with the dye pots sometime later this summer. (She bought 1/2 pound too.) I can't decide whether I want to dye and then ply for a "barberpole" effect or ply first and go all out. I have some cochineal that I've been dying to play with. I'm pretty sure I'll be calling Betty soon for more of this lovely fiber.

Yesterday the aran bug bit hard. Jillian and I had a fiber lunch not long ago where we spread out her color cards and aran pattern books and went to town. I think I wrote down 17 different colors that I HAD to have. I decided to order a couple of skeins and try out some patterns before jumping in whole hog. I called Woodland Woolworks (their website is awful, but the woman on the phone was fabulous) to get some Jamieson's aran weight to get started. I think I ended up with 4 skeins in different colors and the color card for the whole line. I can't wait to get started!!

It must be time to go through the yarn stash and be ruthless in paring down. I have a need to lighten up my load of stuff. I'm resisting the urge to compile a list of UFOs - I don't really want to know that I have more than 20 things started (do beaded bags count?).

Monday, June 23, 2003

BURP!!! Scuse me. That was the sound of me chewing through 870 pages of the new Harry Potter book. My husband and son ran out on Saturday morning and brought 2 copies back. (I knew we wouldn't be able to share, so I went ahead and pre-ordered 2.) Hubby came in Saturday night about midnight and said, "What's a good place to stop?" I laughed and said, "Why do you think I'm still reading?" I won't spoil the story, but I will say it's much darker than the others - Harry is definitely a teenager.

I have officially returned to work on the Kandinsky Kimono. Jillian came over on Saturday and kicked me in the butt. No, actually, she came over (with chocolate croissants and coffee) to check out my knitting machine and see a Navajo weaving demo. I really tried to get her to take the knitting machine home with her, but no deal. She did, however, help me realize that I need to get it out of my studio. It's taking up a bunch of space, and I'm sure I'll never get around to mastering the darn thing. Anyone want a used knitting machine?

Since I have no knitting images, I'll leave you with this one.

I love my peonies. They smell so wonderful and they're such beautiful flowers. Everone should have some.

Friday, June 20, 2003

We now interrupt your regularly scheduled program for this:

Weight Watchers Recipe Cards

You have to go take a look at this. My office mate, Sandy, and I laughed ourselves sick. Selma in Woodstock posted the link on KnitFlame. Thank you Selma!!
Are you sick of seeing these yet?

I only have one more pair to do. Then Jillian says I have to make a pair for myself. I've had my eye on the smokey purple colorway (yes, colorway - why can't we use funky words to describe what we do?). I just may have to go back to Knit Around and pick up that skein. I have to say, I'm building up quite a collection of usable balls of Mountain Colors. Maybe my daughter's Kit doll will get a small Aran blanket made up up this yarn. Killing 2 birds with one stone - I get to try out some interesting stitches and she gets a blanket for the treasured doll.

I stayed up way too late last night. My guilty pleasure to watch on TV is anything to do with the European theater of World War II. I don't know why, but if it has Hitler in the title, I'm a goner. TNN was showing a rerun of their mini series . Alec Baldwin and Jill Hennessy star as the chief American prosecutor and his secretary at the war crimes trials. I'm not sure how historically accurate it is, but it sure sucked me in and held me until 1:00 am. I don't think they got Goering quite right, in the movie he was a little too sympathetic - he wasn't quite so in real life. Just my take. And I don't care what anyone says, Alec Baldwin is still hot.

Enough out of me on a Friday. It's a gorgeous day and I'm hoping I can get stuff done and get out of here!! Have a good weekend!

Thursday, June 19, 2003

So I realized that I didn't take many pictures on Saturday - I was too busy weaving. Here's one...

This is Marilou creating the pull shed on her piece. I learned that even though things don't have to be perfect, it's important to pay attention so that things are at least equal. The loops she's pulling through the warp should be all the same length (so when you pull open the warp, it's even and you're not pulling harder on one side than the other). When I started to weave, it was really apparent that my left sided loops were longer than my right sided loops. It just made it a little harder to pull open the shed.

This is Marilou's sampler rug. Basically, you can make stripes, vertical lines, and diagonals with Navajo weaving. This piece shows how you can then combine these techniques to create some really cool looking art. After I looked at this piece, I decided that my first piece could be a sampler too. That way I don't have to worry about making it all the same (mirror image) on both ends. It was freeing.

This is my rug after all day on Sunday. There are things I would have done differently, but right now, it's a lot of fun and I had a blast with the women in the workshop. Betty (proprietor of The Spinning Loft) is planning on having Marilou come back every year to give us refresher courses. I'm really looking forward to next year!

I bought myself a Navajo spindle in Seattle while there on a business trip (several years ago). I'd never seen anyone use it - I taught myself out of a book (Navajo Weaving Way). Marilou graciously demonstrated the technique for me. It's unbelievable how fast she can spin the thing!

I am so grateful that Jillian pushed me to sign up for this course. Can I get a witness?!? AMEN SISTER! Big smooches out to Jillian once again!

Saw this on another blog (Anna Knits - and had to give it a try
Fun and spunky, you link, there for you are! This
is all fun and games, and you do what you
damned well please!

What kind of blogger am I?
brought to you by Quizilla

Love that groovy record player...anyone in for a chorus of the Archies? " honey, are my candy girllllll"

Wednesday, June 18, 2003

Here's the picture of the fully loaded van at Estes Park.

I'd also like to call your attention to the fabulously blue sky and white fluffy clouds. [sigh] Colorado is the promised land.

On to the Navajo Weaving Workshop. It was a 3 day workshop (8 hours/day) that ran on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. The morning on Friday was all demonstration by Marilou. We watched her warp and dress her loom all morning and then had a go at it ourselves in the afternoon. One cool thing about the Navajo loom is that it's made from 2x4s, so even though it's a tool, it didn't feel like I could do anything to hurt it. Here's a shot of Marilou preparing the warp.

We flipped the looms on their sides and pounded nails into the loom. The dowels show how long the warp will be and you just wind the warp on until it's as wide as you want it to be.

The feeling I got was that the Navajo aren't too stuck on measurements and "perfection." Marilou knows that her hand is about 7 inches long, so she uses it to measure how wide the warp is getting...

After the warp is as wide as you want it to be. You need to put in edge cord. [I didn't understand the significance of this until we talked about taking the piece off the loom. Once you remove a Navajo weaving from the loom it is, for all intents and purposes, finished. You don't have any ends to secure, or any backstitching to do - how cool is that?] So here's Marilou putting on the edge cord.

This is what the warp looks like when you've removed it from the back of the loom. You can warp what ever length/width you need. Once you put the edge cord on and preserve the cross you can put this in a safe place and it keeps for any length of time. Marilou says as long as it's not disturbed, you can keep it like this for months if you need to.

The next step is lashing the warp to the dowels. This involves twisted cord (usually cotton) and you tie the edge cord to the dowel. You need to be very careful and make sure the edge cords aren't twisted. This isn't a terribly difficult step, but it is a little tedious. There are a lot of things you need to pay attention to and a lot of ways to screw this up.

Finally, you lash the warp to the loom. At this point, you also have to add edge strings (the brown lines on the loom next to the warp). These are woven into the piece and provide it with a nice firm edging as well as a road map of sorts. The edge strings represent the edges of your piece so you measure and remeasure the distance between these as you are weaving to make sure you're not drawing in and shrinking the size of your piece.

Okay, that was Friday's work. I know I left feeling like I had accomplished something, but I was exhausted! There was so much thinking going on - we had to turn fans on to keep the room cool! Tomorrow...some actual weaving.

Monday, June 16, 2003

A very public THANK YOU goes out to Jillian today. I had a great time at my Navajo Weaving Workshop this weekend. I thought that 3 days wasn't long enough for a workshop. Believe me after 3 - 8 hour days, I was ready to go home. I did learn some pretty cool stuff and I loved the woman who taught the workshop. I'll have pictures up tomorrow. Do check out Marilou's website, she's done some amazing work! (I just added her to the side there under "Cool Things to See.")

Here's the problem (well, it's really more of a dilemma) I now have exceeded the acceptable hobby level. I knit, spin, weave (floor loom), scrapbook and now have a cool new Navajo loom. All this in addition to a full-time job. How can I work all this stuff in? It's all important - how do I choose?

I also found the picture of the loaded up van Jillian and I saw at the Estes Park Wool Festival back in 1996. However, Blogger is doing weird things right now and I can't upload the file. Look for it later.

Thursday, June 12, 2003

So, after my co-workers saw how bitchy I was yesterday, they allowed me to have a beer with my lunch. There's nothing like a big, juicy burger and a beer in the middle of the day. I felt immediately better (and I'm sure it had something to do with the good conversation at lunch too - I have extremely cool co-workers).

I also tripped down to the local bead shop. It's been a while since I shopped for beads. I love those little bead knitting amulet bags. I made some for my nieces a couple of Christmases ago and thought it was time to do another. Here's what I bought.

The bags I've made before never had a clasp, so I figured it was time to give it a shot. Here's a picture of the bag I'll be making.

Now I just have to pick up some complimentary perle cotton and go to town. These little bags are so portable - all the stuff fits in a little plastic box that can go in my briefcase. And they're so small, they're instant gratification.

Oh yeah, I feel better now.

Wednesday, June 11, 2003

This is who I want to be when I grow up:

It's the Butoni Pasta Lady and I'm working on making her "disgusted noise." I don't have I quite right yet, but I figure in another 20 years I'll have it figured out (either that or I'll take up smoking and it will take 6 months).

I'm too crabby today to do more than show you that and this...

It's Martin's sock and since he won't be here to model it for me - he doesn't achieve immortality.

To hell with crabby...I slid straight into bitchiness a moment ago - it's time to go home.

Tuesday, June 10, 2003

It's the story of my life (sometimes) that I'm a day late and a dollar short. I brought the Garden Party Hats in to work today to give to the expectant mother.

When I walked into her office, an office mate said, "Oh, you can leave it here, but her last official day was yesterday." ... ! ... Oh well, she'll get them eventually. It may be a nice surprise to have a gift on her desk when she comes back after maternity leave.

I'm dreaming of an aran sweater. It's all Jillian's fault (or at least that's my story). I think I'll dive into the stash and see what I can come up with. I have Alice Starmore's Aran book (actually I have a couple of her books that have arans in them). I guess that's what's on tap tonight. I find that once I start having dreams about something, it's time to do something about it.

Monday, June 09, 2003

A new week! I'm actually happy to be back at work, besides it's a short week anyway. My Navajo Weaving workshop starts on Friday. I don't really know what to expect, but it should be a good time. Anytime I can hang out with fiber people for 3 days straight is a good time.

I also received my SOAR packet. I got into my first choice for workshops (Spinning 201)!!! Jillian told me it wouldn't be a problem, but I have to worry about something. I now have a whole week of fiber activity planned and it's far enough in advance that I get to look forward to it for a while. (For some reason, that's the best part for me - looking forward to an event.)

Got some knitting done this weekend. My daughter decided that she wanted me to knit a pair of socks for her teacher. She's in a charter school and has had the same teacher for the last 2 years. As I'll use any event as an excuse to go to the yarn shop - I tripped over to Knit Around and bought a skein of (what else) Mountain Colors in Bitterroot Rainbow. So, Laureen has a new pair of socks today. I also finished Martin's other sock on Saturday. Two pairs of socks finished!

It's time to stop building bookcases and finish the sweaters that have been languishing. Kimono and Applegate shirt - I want to wear them!

Thursday, June 05, 2003

Is it ever going to get warm here? It's been gray, cold, and rainy for a while now. One of the things I hate about Michigan winters is the low cloud ceiling and the fact that it's gray from October to March. Well, the gray hasn't gone away yet and it's June. Normally, I would be happy and knit away on my couch on a rainy day, but I have to brave the weather and go to work. I want to ride my bike! I want to spin on my deck! I want my husband to leave and go fishing! When, oh when, will the sun shine?!?

On the knitting front, I felt well enough to knit last night. Pair #4 of the Mountain Colors socks is 1/2 finished. I was at my aunt's surprise 60th birthday party on Saturday and impressed everyone with my sock knitting. How do you explain to people that it's just what you do? Knitting isn't something I think a lot about doing (when I'm doing it) - I just do it. Does that make sense? I'm always surprised when people ask what I'm doing and are very impressed with it. It actually embarrasses me when they ask if I knit the sweater I'm wearing and when I tell them yes, they make a big deal of it. Then I spend the next few minutes telling them 'it's no big deal - anyone can knit....' Somebody want to give me a pop-psychology reason why I down play my knitting (and hey, my job too)?

The Garden Party Hats are fini. I wanted to give them to the mom-to-be on Tuesday, but didn't make it into work. So, they'll be on her desk next Tuesday. They're pretty cute, if I can say that myself.

Now, I must force myself to finish the kimono. It's been languishing in pieces. There's 1/2 a sleeve left to do and then the seaming. I'll be at my sister's garage sale this weekend - it might be a good time to get it done. Is that a stated goal?

Wednesday, June 04, 2003

I'm sick!! Okay, so I'm (almost) over being sick. I swear my kids are carriers for every germ that comes down the pike. I have spent the last 2 days shuttling between the couch and my bed. In case you weren't aware, daytime TV sucks!!

As a result of being sick, I missed Common Threads at the local Borders. I missed seeing Jillian and meeting Lynne (of Colorjoy! fame). I suppose there's always next time, but really.

So here I am at work and this is where I'd rather be...
(that's Woven Arts in East Lansing). It's the perfect rainy day to sit and knit with a good cup of coffee.