Friday, January 31, 2014


Whoops! Friday already! Where does the time go? I have been traveling: to Southern CA and back again, much driving was involved. It was very dry, heading downstate, but thankfully, we've had some rain since then (some, not enough, but some!).

I did manage to get some spinning done:


These are the colors of tussah mentioned in the last post. I buy it from Opulent Fibers, and I very much recommend her fibers: it's silk, but dyed before it is prepared, which means that it drafts smoothly, like...well, silk! I totally recommend this! (and there are 80! colors!....) <<< Sometimes I feel like a pusher, but really: this is crack! for spinners. I first wrote that as "spinner's crack", but that does not sound like something I should write on a family-friendly blog... and now? I've gone and done it).

Anyway! These skeins will add to the growing pile, soon to be fabric. This is brown, and wine, each plied on itself, and the middle skein has both colors plied together. Perfect!

There is more spinning, back again on spindles:


because I am headed out once again, this time flying, so the spinning wheel stays home (::sniff!::). More tussah: the red is my own dyed and the purple is Opulent Fibers again. What does not show in the photo is that one strand is multi-colored (red to purple to red to purple...I guess that would actually be duo-colored?). Easy to do, on spindles, just grabbing one handful at a time, and exchanging colors. No need to buy multi-colored or variegated top! The second strand is solid-ish red, so the color should drift in and out of red and purple-red....I think it will look grand in the fabric (unless, alas, I over-dye things, which is always a possibility...).

I did get home in time to attend the guild meeting here in town. Our speaker was Lisa Souza, knitter and dyer-extraordinaire, and much fun. I was very! good at the end of her presentation and let all the other guild members buy what fiber they wanted, and then I went up to help her pack up:


These were left, honestly, sitting right next to each other on the table as if they were waiting for me. How could I not? :) The orange/red/gold is a color I have purchased from her before called Earth Birth. I totally recommend it (and all her colors...I know some people are not as orange/blue fanatical as I am). This is a merino-silk blend, so not for the current project, but enough, if I get them spun up, for a nice travel knit: scarf? mitts? hat? We shall see.

Signing off, and taking off...soon, there will be more photos of grandchildren!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Winter, Dormancy, and Stocking up

After several years of constant deadlines and pushing on, keeping up and just-keep-going-ness, I find myself resting.

I have not been inactive, per se, and not purposeless, but slower, without the sense of urgency and lists. This is a familiar phase: like winter dormancy; the inactivity after the storms, so to speak. It has always been easy to fill this time with spinning.


These are small skeins of silk, done on spindles while traveling or waiting or even on purpose at a demo or festival. Spindles are so easy to take along, but they do cause a bit of commentary, unlike, say, knitting, which only seems to pigeonhole one as some old grandma (that would be me!).

The other evening I was waiting for a meeting to begin, and the woman next to me asked what I was doing. Spinning silk, I told her. What for, she asked. For weaving, I replied. I happened to be wearing a handspun silk jacket, so I showed her: "like this". Looks awfully slow, she replied. Yes, I said, it will take about a year to spin enough for a garment. But one a year is plenty, for me.

As I spin, I think of what to weave. I usually start out with "scarf" then "shawl" then maybe kimono, or shirt. We are to the "shirt" phase of imagining now, and I just might maybe perhaps perchance have a good place to wear a handspun silk shirt this summer. So now we have a deadline, of sorts. Or at least a time frame. No urgency, because if this does not get done, I have other clothing. Even other handspun silk clothing.

But yesterday, this thought process involved pulling out some silk fiber that would, when spun up, pull all these skeins together:


I like the wine color (this is a Tussah, for those following along at home). I also liked the brown:


Today I will weigh and measure, calculate and figure out how much yardage I will need, and how much I have on hand. And I will keep spinning.

The good news:


More travel is on the horizon. Have spindles, will travel. Although this week I will be traveling by car, so I could actually toss in the wheel....or both! Think of the production level! Whoa. Just the thought makes me dizzy.

Monday, January 06, 2014

Turn Your Face To The Sun


This year, I made gift bags:

Way cute! I bought the fabric last year in the after-Christmas sales, and it sat in a stack un-made until December 23rd. Of course. The intention was there! I have several other fabrics for next year, and I might (might!) go troll the shops for some new fabrics. This was way fun, eco-responsible (well, compared to throw-away paper. I have no idea how eco-responsible the cotton manufacturers are and cotton itself is one of the biggest carbon-footprint fabrics so yes, there is that. Yikes! it is hard to keep up.) Anyway, I think worth doing. Eventually, I'll have all sorts and sizes of bag wraps.

There were gifts! Two grandchildren got sweaters:

They also got books and a toy: I maintain my position as the grandma who pushes books. I can live with that! We had lots of time to visit, family meals, some pleasant walks while the weather was good, and then... it was time to go home.

So yes, all this Christmas gallivanting means I was one of those people caught in the Great Cancelled Flight Debacle of New Year 2014. First my flight was delayed for 6 hours. Fine! Check in, pass through security and go straight to the lounge, where there is food, tea, a bathroom, big chairs and a plug for the tablet. I spun, snacked, drank tea, and chatted with the ladies and families who were nearby. We did not suffer, in any sense of the word. I spun two spindles of silk:

See? marble top tables. How tough is this life :)?

Then, my flight was canceled. Drat! Well, in the lounge, there are ticket agents. I stood in a 6 person line to have my new flight booked. Done! My son picked me up, and I went back to their house for one more night/morning with the grandchildren:

Sure, no luggage (it was checked). But I carry emergency back ups of small necessaries, I can use hand creme for face creme one day, and wear the same clothes (changing the small necessaries) for two days running. I am grandma, hear me roar.

Checking in the second day I could breeze by huge crowds at the kiosks, because hey: no luggage to check, boarding pass in hand. Security was a breeze (everyone was up at the ticket counters) and my second flight took off on time and arrived home with my luggage from the day previous. Piece O' Cake.

I spun and plied on the plane, while listening to my book.

I had plenty of time to watch people all day Friday and part of the day Saturday. Some people don't do well in these situations, they argue, become rude and fight about everything with everyone: their travel partners, the ticket agents, the gate agents, hell, even the person who just happens to be standing next to them. I don't understand this anger. Frustration? yes, but why get angry at someone who is trying to help you? Do you think yelling at the ticket agent will get you a better seat? More likely it will get your party seats arrayed all over the cabin, and someone will be by the lavatory and someone else will be in a bulkhead seat that does not recline. Get a clue. Be nice to the people trying to help you. Enjoy the moment, in any way you can, because anger will not improve the experience.

My return flight was populated by other refugees from the flight the day before, and we had stories. One lady was traveling with her dog-in-a-bag. I am soooo glad I did not have a little dog with me for 5 hours waiting in the airport! One young man had his flight delayed until midnight, and then canceled at 1 AM. Glad I was not him! One woman spoke no English, and had several people translating or miming for her, whenever an announcement was made. Everyone had stories, all were more onerous than mine, but these were still cheerful people, telling stories that will go down as "remember when" anecdotes in their lives, not as angry diatribes blaming everyone but climate change.

We deal with things in different ways, but being cheerful, or at least polite and pleasant, makes these experiences a blip, not the cause of high blood pressure or apoplexy. As for me: things ran as smoothly as I could hope under trying conditions. Luck was with me. I had an easy time, and I made the best of any bumps in the road. Let's hope this sets a theme for the new year: Overcome Obstacles Cheerfully.

It could be a saying in a fortune cookie!