Tuesday, June 03, 2008


I admit to being something of a voyeur, a Peeping Tom, if you will, about other lives and other places. When I travel, I try to imagine what it would be like to live elsewhere. One of my favorite books is this one:


Maine Farm, written by the people who bought Scott and Helen Nearing's old farm in Maine. It has lots of photos of their farm, their activities, their life and the area near the farm.

My family is from this area, although many generations ago. This book is also the last birthday gift I received from my mother, before she died. I spent hours and hours looking at the photos, in my grieving stupor many years ago. It was solace, and still is, when I take it down to page through.

I also like this book:


The Private Life of Tasha Tudor. Beautiful photos, some of which are weaving and spinning related, but mostly views of gardens and rooms. It is an idealized version of life, not as honest as Maine Farm, but no less beautiful. A peek into another life.

When I read some of the house-farm-decorating magazines, I spend hours looking at the photos, at the details in the photos, at the rooms and the kitchens, the dishes and the furniture, the vases of flowers and the tablecloths. Peeping tom-ism.

So when I heard about this book:


Shear Spirit, I had high hopes. I was not disappointed. Lots of stories and pictures of farmers and their animals, spinners and dyers, a few weavers, patterns and did I mention the photos? These are mostly people I think I would like, living in beautiful places. Small farmers who followed their passion, and are trying to make a living selling us what we need: fleece and yarn, the stuff of my life.

There is one anomaly: an absentee-jet-set-owner-alpaca-mega farm of the worst Ponzi-scheme kind: where they seem to just want to make money, and are not of the small-farm-knitter-spinner-caresabouttheanimals, but rather the ihavetoomanyanimalstoname type of alpaca farm that doesn't fit with the general theme of the other profiles in the book.

That aside, the rest of the stories, photos and patterns are lovely. Worth the investment: eye candy and dreams, all bound up and presented beautifully.

The book reminded me of another favorite:


Knitting in America, a look at knitters, their process and their product: a peek into their lives. I haven't taken this off the shelf in ages, perhaps it's time for a cup of tea and some daydreams. Inspiration.

All of this brings me to Marie, damn-her-hide, and her Meme, for which I was tagged. I tried to resist answering, but I know there would be payback. I will be in Marie's backyard next Fall for SOAR. Marie is small, but mighty. I am afraid of Marie. So I am complying!

The rules: Posted here at the beginning. The player answers all questions. The player then chooses six people you want to know more about and tags those people by listing their names at the end of the post and going to their blog and leaving a comment, letting them know they've been tagged and asking them to read your blog. Also, you let the person who tagged you know when you've posted your answer.

Since I Know Voyuerism I thought photos might be better than words:

1. What was I doing 10 years ago?
I was doing much the same thing: weaving, spinning and dyeing. My two boys were in college, I was working in my favorite studio:

I can tell I am moving here, there is a table missing, and a few boxes packed. The date is more recent than 10 years ago, the small upright loom did not come into my life until 1999. But you get the general idea: here is my studio, from about that time.

And while I'm at it, some of the rest of the house:
The living room, the first room you see coming into the house. Loved that little wood stove.

The kitchen, straight off the living room. I totally gutted and remodeled this space, it had been a dark 70's kitchen. The view out the window is the Sierras. I can tell I'm totally moving here: too clean! The top shelves were once full of stuff: bowls and baskets, tea pots and pitchers.

The family room, around the corner from the kitchen. Where are all the magazines piled on the coffee table?

The back deck, outside the kitchen window.

It was a nice place to live, I worked hard to make it the place I could comfortably live for the rest of my life. Whoops!, not to happen.

2. What were five things on my to-do list today (not in any particular order)?
Try out my new flyer:
blog 003 (2)
notice the wood is not even finished yet? oops:

blog 005 (2)
Polwarth roving: red. (Surprise!)

Set up some cardweaving with this yarn:
blog 011
nice colors, eh?

Maybe set up this warp:
blog 002 (2)
Oooh silk! and a color digression.

Spin up some of this:
blog 014
more Polwarth.

Get some work done on this:
blog 013
love that screensaver: trees in my backyard.

3. What snacks do I enjoy?
Salty. Crackers, chips. Guacamole. Salsa and chips. Cashews. Lindsey once brought a bag of Cool Ranch Chips to SOAR, and I think I sat down and ate the whole thing. I know I did. yum.

4. Where are some places I've lived?
um, California.
San Mateo, Sacramento, Oakland, Santa Barbara, San Francisco, Auburn, Weimar, Colfax, Grass Valley.

5. What things would I do if I were a billionaire?
Buy a Big Farm somewhere with room for all of my friends to have their own houses, where we'd raise sheep and goats, have a garden, an orchard and the biggest damn barn-studio where we all can spin, laugh and drink tea, isolated from the world, politics and the current election cycle. Rose-colored-glasses anyone?

oh. and give most of the rest of it away. A Billion is a Big Amount. My sons would benefit.

I am not tagging anyone. I'm exhausted thinking about all of this. I rest, safe, in the hope that Marie is satisfied.


Blogger Deanna said...

Happy sigh.... this post had all my favorite things..... books.... fiber in luscious colors.... pictures of beautiful spaces .... deep thought. Loveliness. Thank you!

10:01 AM  
Blogger Marie said...

Yes, I am satisfied! What a great idea to do it with photos, though I failed to see one of the Cool Ranch Doritos!
You'll have to drive up to see me because I won't be at SOAR due to the "new" LOOM! Charleen will be there and she knows how to find me.

1:19 PM  
Blogger Ruth S. said...

Oh, now there's a thought... a SOAR Thriller road trip to see Marie!!

2:03 PM  
Blogger Charleen said...

I hope I'll be there. I think we find out next week.

I see you don't mess with Marie either! I like the illustrated responses too. What a beautiful, bright studio.

7:25 PM  
Blogger Marie said...

Hey! I'm no one to be afraid of! I'm short. Ok, I have an opinion or ten, but I'm still short. And loveable. Sob! I'm grasping my heart like loveable Fred Sanford.

7:34 PM  
Blogger Leigh said...

Oh, I like your pictures accompanying this! Good idea. Adds interest to the already interesting!

7:36 PM  
Blogger Sharon said...

You lived in Weimar and I lived in Applegate. Allison lived somewhere close to there too. I wondered if you'd answer Marie's tag - thanks, I'm glad you did. I enjoyed your answers. It is exhausting and takes a ton of time.

BTW, I had and have read a couple of times the Knitting in America. Amy brought Shear Spirit to the Memorial Day breakfast, and I'm thinking the jury is still out on whether or not that will land in my Amazon basket.

Just today I found Rit dye remover so am ready for the indigo dye pot that I have no idea what I'm doing, but am bringing anyway. Good or bad results, it will be a learning experience.

10:03 PM  
Blogger Kimberly said...

You surely are not alone in your voyeurism - isn't that why we love to read blogs? :-)

Thanks for the list of books. I'll have to search some of them out. DH got one about a family in Ireland who started a farm. I really enjoyed that one. Can't find it right now - he cleaned up his side of the bed before my mom came last month. Isn't this why we don't clean up? So we can find things when we want them. LOL

9:13 AM  
Blogger bspinner said...

Adding pictures to your bio was a great idea.
I'm also a Tasha Tudor fan,have one of her prints above my computer desk, read her books and watch her video. She's certainly a role model for women. Or maybe that's just me.

3:51 PM  
Blogger woolydaisy said...

what a beautiful post. the maine farm book looks intriguing i've always been drawn to maine and i've never even been there. that roving for spinning looks delicious!

7:23 AM  
Blogger Cathy said...

Hmmm. About 10 yrs ago we both moved on. Funny how all that happens. I think we remarried about the same time too. I didn't want to do this meme because I didn't want to deal with memories or splanations... you did great!

7:43 AM  
Blogger claudia said...

Just for today, I'd like to switch to-do lists.


8:17 AM  
Blogger Julie said...

Just found your blog! Love your studio and thanks for the book review. I'll be back!

8:40 AM  
Blogger Jane said...

Love Tasha Tudor. I wanted to be her when I grew up -- except for the Corgies -- I'm an Afghan Hound and Rhodesian Ridgeback servant.

Afghan fur spins into absolutely beautiful chiengora -- feels like cashmere. As close as I've come to having fiber animals.

I'm always torn between the simple life of Tasha (although it is filled with hard work), and loving the modern cutting edge technology at my fingertips.

A place filled with friends, animals, fiber, and rose colored glasses sounds heavenly . . . oh and a great cook would be nice. :)

Weave on!

7:21 AM  
Blogger Beth said...

Your books reminded me of a book I'd like to reread - Sylvia's Farm. I got it about 3 years ago at Rhinebeck and I met the author.
It's a beautiful book that helped me to be more satisfied and content with my life. The farm stories are lovely and inspiring.
If you don't have it, I would recommend it.

6:41 PM  
Blogger Birdsong said...

I just got Shear Spirit and am loving it (though I probably haven't gotten to the megafarm section yet). Gale Zucker, the photographer, blogs at She Shoots Sheep Shots, and I had been eagerly awaiting its publication. I agree about Sylvia's Farm, and am also reading and enjoying A Pig in Provence, written by a Sacramento cooking instructor. Can I come live with you if you get that Big Farm? I have good animal skills:)

1:19 PM  

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