Friday, March 27, 2009

Complex Abundance

Yesterday I led a meeting at church which meant that I got to choose the opening devotion. The item that I chose reflects my thinking on the previous post dealing with the issues of abundance and sharing. There are two specific warnings to myself which I've been contemplating:
  • Too much of anything is really not good for you.
  • Be careful of your attitude when passing things along. Just because you are donating something to someone in need does not raise you a notch on the hierarchy. Never assume that they don't have something you need. It may not be a can be an attitude, attribute, or some other intangible.
One of our pastors spent 18 months serving on a Navajo reservation in the southwest before he went to seminary. In the discussion about abundance, Pr. K. shared that during the time on the reservation he had exactly $6 per month left after his housing and food expenses were met. Being a remote location, there was no television reception and no money for satellite tv. He had exactly 10 videos to watch. When evening came as time to unwind, he would select one of the 10 videos and no matter how many times he had seen it before, it was just as enjoyable as the first time he'd seen it. He would laugh in anticipation of the punch lines and wait for the sight gags to appear.

During this time, he confessed that he also imagined and looked forward to the time when he was off the reservation and earning a real income. What videos he would purchase and enjoy then!

Fast forward through his time in seminary, his first call as a pastor, and life with an income that allowed more than $6 at the end of the month........He accumulated a library of 700 videos! One Sunday evening he realized that it had taken him 40 minutes (!?) to decide which video he would watch. At the same time he realized that not one of these 690 additional videos brought him the same amount of pleasure as those 10 videos during those 18 months on the reservation. Clearly the abundance of videos was not the pleasure he had dreamed of those many years before. Time to cull. He carted 60% of his video collection to the church rummage sale last fall.

Aside from learning that Pastor K. is as OCD as I thought he might be, I learned a little about myself.

Two days before the meeting at church, I had lunch with N. who was clearing out her weaving yarn stash. This is what I came home with:
That is my full set of dining room furniture behind the yarn. Those cones are really as big as they look. Now this stash enhancement is added to the 2 lbs. of very fine yarn from the previous all of the other stash accumulated upstairs.

As I selected these cones from N.'s stash, there was a vision for what each yarn could become, either combined with one another or some existing yarns in my stash. Look again....that is a lot of ideas.

Meanwhile, last weekend I took Robyn Spady's Pictures, Piles, Potpourri, and Perplexing Curiosities workshop. The 11 samples below are from that workshop:

Now who doesn't come home from a workshop full of ideas of what they want to try next?

In true Pastor K. fashion, I have spent hours dithering over which warp to wind next. And since there are three looms...which warp for which loom? Sometimes such dreams are productive planning times. But this really has been dithering rather than planning and has been much more than Pr. K's 40 minutes!

In the process of making idea lists and writing down inventory, I've decided to return to the path I was on before all of this yarn arrived:
I've wanted to experiment with differential shrinkage since coming home from Penland last summer. Several warps were planned with materials at hand. Above is the first one. The warp is Noro silk sock yarn and 2/8's merino wool. The weft is a raw silk Henry's Attic yarn (which came from N's stash). These are the samples. Before washing is on the left, after washing is on the right....40% shrinkage in length. There was only about 10% loss of width, but that might be small due to the small sample size. Notice that I tried twill treadling at the bottom of the samples.

Plain weave gives me the effect I was looking for and that 5 yd. warp has just one more yard to be woven.

So the challenge for me right now is to just focus on what's in front of me and not let the abundance get the best of me.

But I have to admit while weaving that boring plain weave last night, I spent more than a little time wondering just what 10 videos Pr. K had on that reservation.

Once again, Monkey Mind gets the upper hand.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Pay it Forward Stash Exchange

Tim over at Hawthorne Works has decided to do some creative destashing. He is offering selected items out of his yarn stash for the simple cost of postage plus a donation to the charity of your choice for whatever value you place on the yarn.

I received this silk/rayon blend weaving yarn at 6800 ypp.

These are ~ 8 oz tubes, totaling about 2.5 lbs. of yarn. I have been looking for something similar to this for some weaving experimentation. This yarn represents many (near) future hours of weaving and dyeing entertainment.

I mailed Tim postage reimbursement over the weekend. Today I went shopping for the charity donation:
So in my own strange calculus, 2.5 lbs. yarn equals:
  • 55 single servings of oatmeal
  • 30 single servings of cold cereal
  • (8) 7 oz. cans of tuna
  • (8) 18 oz. cans of soup
  • 15 washcloths
  • 6 pr. of women's socks
  • 12 pr. of men's socks.
These items are on their way to St. Christine's Soup Kitchen in the Brightmoor of Detroit.

Usually we talk about transactions being a win-win situation. I would call this a win-win-win situation. Tim is relieved of yarn he will not be using. I have gained yarn that I have been looking for. The soup kitchen patrons get items that they need in the tight economy.

Tim has more stuff up for destashing. Click on the link above and look around his blog.

Meanwhile, I have some sampling to do!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

St. Patrick's Day '09

It appears the Leprechaun got into my knitting bag and turned my sock needles square! Take a look:
Well then again, maybe I picked those square needles up at Heritage Spinning & Weaving while taking the weaving workshops over the past four days.

If you like to knit socks from the toe up, the square needles make it much easier to do a closed cast on for the toe. These are size 1's, 2.25 mm's....I'm getting the gauge I usually get with size 2's when knitting socks. They're from Kollage Yarns.

In keeping with the St. Paddy's Day theme, here's a little Celtic braid for you on the inkle loom:

Sorry no green, but you can't have everything!

I started this on Friday in the inkle weaving workshop with Robyn Spady. Saturday through Monday we did another workshop on the harness looms. More about that later.

I have to catch up on housework and get some groceries.

Erin go braugh!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Do you have an inkling?

I do. Here's my little inkling bag made from the warp of the previous post:
I sewed four 9" long inkling strips together, using a very close zigzag stitch, while abutting the selvedges of the strips.

Next I installed a 7-9" invisible zipper. Then sewed one edge flat with the zipper and the opposite edge with the zipper at one edge. The last step was to line it with a matching fabric. Lining involved machine stitching at both ends, then handstitching along the zipper edges.

Here it is, all zipped up!

The result a cute little ditty bag to gather knitting/stitching accessories inside the larger knitting bag.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Those Colors?

This is what has become of them:

An inkle band
It's kind of hard to distinguish the red from the orange in this photo. The solid stripes to each side are orange. The red is dotted with the yellow. Perhaps that's why it reads more as orange in the photo.

I had a plan for the inkle band, but the first cone of black yarn was very tender and that is the black in the warp. I returned that bad cone to the vendor today and got another cone from a different dye lot which is much stronger. I'll wait and see how the fabric actually comes out before I risk using the zipper. The zipper was $15 before the 40% off coupon (gasp!)

You have to watch black yarns, especially cotton. If not dyed properly the yarn becomes tender, shedding fuzz everywhere, and breaking under the slightest tension. I knew that, yet still neglected to check the yarn before carting it home. My bad. no one commented on the earworm from yesterday. I took out the embedded form, but you can click on the link if you long to hear it again.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Take a trip and never leave town

We all know that saying about March coming in like a lion or lamb and the consequences thereof.

However will someone please explain to me what to expect when March comes in like a friggin' Polar Bear!! 8 degrees Farenheit the past 3 mornings!! What's up with that?

In response to this long, exasperating winter, I've been trying new things:

  • I've been going to a new to me yoga studio to supplement the offerings at the gym.
  • I've been listening to new music.... CBC Radio 3 is Canada's Indie Music channel and you can listen online if you click on the link. The player is over on the right hand side of the screen.
  • If you and your partner have been struggling over 'down comforter ownership' and you've considered foreclosing on mattress real estate this winter, you might relate to this song as I do:
    Do You Know Karate?
  • And I've returned to one of my favorite colorways to explore a new project:
    Not the best photograph in the world, but I wanted to show that we at least have sunshine in these frigid temperatures.
So, what are you doing to take personal mini-vacations? I'm up for any ideas.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Order....or lack there of:

I wound this ball of freshly washed handspun singles yesterday. No, it's not the purple stuff in bad color, it's the very last of this stuff:

It was wound on my Fricke ball winder, the one that makes huge, orderly eggs of yarn.

I can't stop staring at that perfect geometric order which is so unlike any part of my life right now. Wish I could morph into such a ball of yarn.

PS: I put this post up very early in the morning because (predictably) I had an asthma attack after the stupid dinner at the tavern. Turns out they have a smoking section....grrrr. Smoking sections in any open spaced building are just like having a "peeing section" in a swimming pool. So, up all night with the albuteral and wondering if it's worth the trip to urgent care.

However, Deb Robson had a link to a new blog by a respiratory therapist in training at: Pranamama. We need more healthcare people like this. Lord knows I couldn't take the indifference of the routine healthcare delivery system anymore, and that was 11 years ago!