Friday, September 30, 2005

Next week is National Spinning & Weaving Week

This has been going on for years (about 25, perhaps more), and I've always thought I should do something and never did. So, this year, the women's organization for our church is hosting an area conference titled "In the Hands of the Master Weaver" at our church. A series of events, including overhearing a snarky comment from someone from the East Side to an older woman from our church (in a snippy tone:"If you would have asked me in time I could've gotten an actual weaver to come demonstrate").

Later I pulled Laura aside and said, "Laura, you've got yourself an actual weaver right here. Do you want me to bring a loom on Saturday?"

So, tomorrow I will be loading the Mountain Loom into the van, hauling it into the church and demonstrating "actual weaving". HA! I get to demonstrate close to National Spinning & Weaving Week and politely rub someone's nose in it at the same time. ( I going at this with the right attitude?)

Meanwhile....the weather is cold and I need clothes. I'm tempted to run up to Novi for the American Sewing Expo. But the truth is, I have everything I need right here in the house. Just need to get at it and sew. I leave you with some jacket fabric to go with a little black dress:

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

What's all pink, wrinkly and lying on the floor?

It is the previously alluded to Flower Basket Shawl from the Fall 2004 issue of Interweave Knits, designed by Evelyn Clark. I think Fiber Trends also sells this as a separate pattern. A number of other bloggers have knit this.

However, true to my nature, I'm knitting it with a single strand of laceweight yarn on #5 needles. The pattern calls for the yarn to be doubled using #7 needles and 10 repeats of the main pattern. I'm going for more pattern repeats as well. What the heck, it's my shawl! The yarn is Alpaca With A Twist Fino, 70% baby alpaca and 30% silk in a mulberry color. So I haven't strayed very far from this blue - purple flower thing I've had going for the past while.

The Peace Shawl and the Estonian Gardens scarf are going up for silent auction at a church function to raise money for a needy family project. Since I'm not inclined to do much of the usual sorts of charity knitting, and since most homeless people really aren't looking for knitted lace made of silk & wool, the charity auction thing is a good fit for me and the kind of knitting that I like to do. But the Flower Basket shawl will be staying with me.

Yes, I know: Still no helmet liner, Valerie? Blame Fly Lady. I've been dutifully attacking my hotspots and now all of my regular knitting spots are COLD!!! Can't find my Beth Brown-Reinsel Gansey Book to finish the child's Gansey. Can't find the helmet liner pattern that was with the designated yarn. They were all caught up in a decluttering maelstrom and have yet to resurface. The Flower basket was spared because I've been carrying it around in the car.

To the non-fiber person, my house looks pretty good right now...except for those "machines" (aka looms and spinning wheels) in the dining room, which are BTW dust free. But to me, things are looking rather stark, spare, and cold. So, I'll be dragging out some knitting to warm up some of those cold spots!

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Forever Autumn....

Yes...I am a child of the 60's. This track came up on my MP3 shuffle during this morning's walk. Talk about being transported back 35 years (yikes!)..

Forever Autumn
The summer sun is fading as the year grows old
And darker days are drawing near.
The winter winds will be much colder
Now you're not here.

I watch the birds fly south across the autumn sky
And one by one they disappear.
I wish that I was flying with them
Now you're not here.

Like the sun through the trees you came to love me.
Like a leaf on a breeze you blew away.

Through autumn's golden gown we used to kick our way,
You always loved this time of year.
Those fallen leaves lie undisturbed now
'Cause you're not here.
'Cause you're not here.
'Cause you're not here.

Like the sun through the trees you came to love me,
Like a leaf on a breeze you blew away.

A gentle rain falls softly on my weary eyes
As if to hide a lonely tear,
My life will be forever autumn
'Cause you're not here.
'Cause you're not here.
'Cause you're not here.

Jeff Wayne, Paul Vigrass, Jerry Osborne. Released as a single in the UK. Performed by Justin Hayward.

The song fit the day perfectly and it keeps playing in my head...(oh wait, maybe I forgot to take out the earphones!)

Also on my play list are Van Morrison; Crosby, Stills, & Nash; Fleetwood Mac; The Who; & Boston. Oh yeah....let's not forget James Taylor & Judy Collins. There's newer stuff too....but the old stuff is the soundtrack of my life.

One of the things that has bumped me back to the early 70's. My dh has become the engineering recruiter from his company (which will remain nameless..but think big 3 auto) to our Alma Mater: The University of Pittsburgh. Friday evening he brought home a big Hershey bar in a Pitt wrapper with the words to the Alma Mater printed on the wrapper. This prompted a sing through of the tune. Wow, it's been a long time.

We donate and get the newsletters, magazines, and all that. Somehow we kid ourselves into thinking we've never left. Then we sent ds to a completely different school (however, it does have the same intials: U P, P U...what's the diff..right?) We visit ds at school and note that observations from our senior year hold true: freshmen get younger every year.

Suddenly, there's no more hiding from the truth. We are fast heading toward the end of the careers and professions that we launched after completing that college education back in the '70's. We are indeed facing "Forever Autumn".

And you know what...I am so thankful we don't have to do all that over again!

So there...I'm old. Get over it! (I have!)

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Completion of the Four Seasons....

This photo of a wild aster completes my mission. I want to put together a "Four Seasons on Beck Rd." photo display of flowers in the powder room that we painted this summer. When I pulled out my photo's there were plenty of spring and summer flowers and one great winter picture of a milkweed pod covered w/ snow. But there were no autumn flowers. My criteria for this display is that they must be wildflowers. So I've been waiting for the asters to come forward. Now here she is!

Judith in her blog yesterday mentioned finding dead bumble bees in the arms of a flower as a sign of autumn approaching. I must thank her for calling that to my attention or I wouldn't have noticed this:

I'm not sure if you can tell from the photo, but it almost looked like the aster had folded it's petals over the bumble bee in an embrace. I know I anthromorphize a lot...but, sometimes one just can't help it.

Obligatory Fiber Content: Spinner's Flock sale was this past Sunday. I wasn't going to go because I don't need a thing in the realm of fiber. However, after a trying few days of working with the church council, I left an ad hoc meeting after church at 1:30 PM Sunday and headed straight for Chelsea.

These are two 6 oz. balls of combed top. It contains Border Liecester Lamb, Alpaca, Yearling Mohair, and Silk. I haven't been spinning much lately. Thought maybe having a ready to spin preparation might help me get back to the wheels. What will I do w/ 12 oz.? I'm not sure. I haven't sampled yet. Love the color...I must be in my "Blue Period".

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Completed Estonian Lace Scarf:

Ha! You thought I was lying about this last week, didn't you? Well here it is, cast off and blocked. I ended up buying myself a Rowenta Professional steam iron to finish the blocking job. I had a coupon plus gift cards that we purchased at 20% discount, so I didn't pay the obscene price they ask for those things. The super shot of steam worked just fine for blocking this thing.

This past weekend was also family weekend at Purdue. Nothing like a college football game on a 91 degree Saturday afternoon! We were lucky enough to be in the third row from the top of the stadium which provided a nice breeze along with convection currents. We felt almost cool watching the band in their wool uniforms and the team in full football gear!

Since I waited too long to make motel reservations, we stayed at a dive of a place on Saturday night. You know it's bad when your kid looks at the place and says he's glad he has the dorm to go back to. It was just a notch above a flophouse, IMO. Note to self...if we have to go next year we will make reservations earlier.

Not only have I been experiencing blogger's malaise, but also have a case of blog reading malaise. After the weekend, I'd click on my Bloglines feeds and see that everybody and their uncle had posted at least 2-3 times while I was away. That was enough to make me close the tab and go hide. Today I bit the bullet and clicked that little "mark all read" button at the top of my feeds list. Whew! Instant relief. Wish I could click away the rest of the unfinished business in my life. Imagine....walk into your studio and flick the switch that disposes of all the unfinished projects and ill-conceived ideas. What a concept!

A new knitting project got underway in the 10 hour round trip to W. Lafayette, IN. You'll have to wait to see what it is. A hint: more lace....and not a helmet liner. Give me some rain and temps. below 80 degrees and I'll start that helmet liner...promise!

Friday, September 09, 2005

Helmet liners.....(a little blogger antidepressant)

Here we are at the end of a busy week and the beginning of a very busy weekend. For starters, my engineer dh tends to take things very literally. A perfect example of this is Labor Day. Where most of us understand that this day was set aside to rest from our labors, not dh. We spent most of the long weekend working on outdoor projects including construction of the east and south walls of our basement walkout. This project has been going on for the past 3 summers and looks like it will continue into next year. It will henceforth be known as "The Big Dig"....Boston has nothing on us!

Once Labor Day was over, every activity that was suspended for the summer is back into full swing. This generated a week of meetings, planning, construction of roster bulletin boards, writing newsletter articles, and so on and so forth. It's fair to say that every weekday for the rest of September has something pencilled in.

However there has been a little knitting time left in the evenings. The Estonian Garden scarf is done and half blocked. Yes, literally half blocked. It's +60" long and beyond my patience to do the whole long, skinny thing at one time without blocking wires. I'll block the other half and post a picture next week. Not saying what day...just next week.

Fortunately, my sister and her guild have saved the day (blog) by giving permission to post their picture with completed helmet liners

These are members of the Roof Garden Knitting Guild in Somerset, Pa. They were the inspiration for my Aug. 17 post about the helmet liners. At the time of this photo, they had 25 completed helmet liners to ship to troops in Afghanistan. My sister is the one in green. I don't know most of the other ladies, and those I do know, I'm not sure if it's okay for me to name them. So I will shout out to them to comment if they want to be named. (Hint...don't make the comment anonymous if you want to be named!)

Thank you Roof Garden Knitters for giving me something to blog about. You've inspired more than me. Marilyn had an almost completed helmet liner at book group today.

I'm embarrassed. Time for me to go cast on a helmet liner.....

Saturday, September 03, 2005

There IS help!

I can so relate to THIS right now.

Maria kindly had the link on her blog.

Not much knitting going on. Much gardening to catch up with now that plants are no longer cooking in the soil. Much sewing to be done if I am not to run around naked this fall. More fiber later....

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Not about me or what I think.....

Yesterday was World Blog Day. I missed it...but surfing through the other fiber blogs that I read, I was not alone. Of course, Katrina was a part of that. But enough about our own personal emotional responses. Let's take a look outside the box that we usually live in and look around the world.

Start with Rebecca MacKinnnon's Blog for some international flavor.

Then go to Katrina Aftermath to read and participate in a public forum.

For a "geek's" perspective on providing help go read Tech pros ask: how can we help with Katrina's recovery? There are also satellite pictures of the storm if you go to later entries on Boing Boing.

Another place to poke around is Global Voices Online. If you look in the bar on the righthand side, there's a link to a bloglines account with feeds from all over the world.

For the past two decades, we've been watching the increasing social stratification of the US. For thoughts on this as it relates to Katrina, go read David Brooks' op ed piece in today's New York Times.

If nothing else, I hope this entry urges you to think. Think deeply. Think not just about yourself, but your relationship to community, state, country, and the world. And once your thoughts begin to form....ACT.