Since last I was heard from in this forum, lo these many months, I busted all out of my comfort zone and entered handspun in the Estes Park Wool Market and the local county fair. Yes, I set myself up for the judgey-ness of others.
It was worth it. I received reinforcement and accolades for my mad spinning skilz. I also received valuable comments, insight, and...well...confidence. Not to mention some of the big ribbons! Yeah, that part was pretty sweet. There were some nice awards/prizes that came with some of those big ribbons, too, but really, the former 4-H-er in me was all about the ribbons!
In addition, a fellow knitter, who also spins, bought some of my handspun, even after seeing it up close, offering to pay the going rate.
Add to that, a fellow weaver's/spinner's guild member asked me to be part of the Sheep to Shawl team at Estes Park next year. Now while I am not sure about being able to spin as fast as that requires, I said yes anyway because I think it sounds like a whole lot of fun to be in the mountains among like minded people, and furry creatures, spinning the day away.
My point is, and I do have one, I have the confidence that I spin a decent yarn than can be knit into decent garments. (Some of my entries were items knitted from my handspun.) I am considering offering some skeins for sale again.
(I installed the app so I might blog from my smarty pants phone. Who knows where it might lead? Bear with me while I figure out the formatting issues and auto-correct eccentricities. And the photo thing...there is, of course, photo capabilities with the phone but gah! Not the fancy smancy camera kind.)
am overwhelmed by the events of this past Friday. I can't wrap my mind around
the idea of sending a child to elementary school, and having that happen. Six
and seven year olds. My God. My oldest granddaughter will be six in April. My
heart goes out to the parents, and my total and honest repect and highest regard
for those teachers and administrators that kept the toll from being any higher, even at the cost of their own lives. I don't know the answer to the all the questions, but I do know something somewhere needs to be fixed. This is crazy...continuing on as we are believing something is going to be different while more and more people buy more and more guns that can kill more and more people. I know we have a fundamental right to bear arms. And I know the reasoning behind that...we don't want only the government to be the one with the guns, herding us out in the streets at night because of our religion...or because we printed a broadside opposing the current leader...or perhaps helped the 'wrong' people. Examples abound. I have heard the argument, from people in my town frankly, that if someone had a concealed weapon in Aurora, things would have gone differently that night. And I was reminded of the Saturday Live skit years past (I have searched and searched for it) where neighbors were 'protecting' themselves by ever increasing their armament. It was first pistols, then rifles, then bigger things, like you know...bazookas, and in the nature of SNL comedy they were eventually carrying around bombs. Because that would protect them from what the bad guys had...until the bad guys had them too. I am positive that is not the answer. It has been bandied about that if we do not give press to the crazies, they will die alone in their basements. Well, maybe or maybe not. We are the ones that crave the answers to who and why and how. The press fills our needs. I have also heard those that cry 'don't take away my guns' also say 'we need to identify and help these people before hand'. Mmm-hmmm...as long as it doesn't take any of the tax payers money. Mental health issues are damned expensive and very long term to deal with. Like a life time's worth. And those against any additional gun control by and large I have found are those wishing to cut back on programs that would help those with these problems. It's a conundrum. The most recent discussions included blips about 'we don't need gun control, we need more law enforcement in these places'. I don't think so. After Columbine, school security was ramped way up. How much more like prisons do our schools have to be? And I get pissed off every time I have to go through security at the airport. We pay extra for the TSA and I have to leave early for the airport just to stand in line. And when we went to Mexico and Canada this past year, we needed passports. I feel the terrorists won. We were eating Friday evening at a local semi-fast food place, and I thought out loud to the Guy, someone could bust into this relatively crowded establishment with a couple of semi-automatic handguns, and do some serious damage. Do we have to have law enforcement at Every. Single. Place. people gather? Surely not. I cannot let them win that way. And in the meantime. People are out stocking up. Just in case. And there are probably presents under Christmas trees in Connecticut that will go unopened this Christmas.
Here's hoping your holidays are being kind to you. For myself, I am feeling remarkably chipper, having just shut the back door on the second cold of the season. Amazing how good I can feel when I have been feeling so lousy.
I am in the midst of holiday things. The usual suspects...shopping (almost done), wrapping (not started), creating gifts (getting close), cards (procrastinating by writing this) (and since it's been 8 months since I have done 'this', that says much about the Christmas cards...). Not baking much, not much partying, really looking forward to seeing some of the kiddos for the holiday. We are fortunate indeed.
I have been a busy little camper, working, knitting and spinning, traveling...but apparently not blogging. Here's to new starts and catching up and keeping up. (Maybe!)
See that header photo? That's a tulip tree. Here where I live in northern Colorado. Where I have never ever ever in my long legged life seen a tulip tree in bloom in these parts.
Ever. And when I saw this one, I drove around the block to make sure of what I was seeing.
Then went back the next afternoon with the fancy smancy camera to get a photo. Because it will probably be another 15 years before I see it bloom again.
Seriously, all the flowering trees are bursting into bloom. Not budding, but blooming. It was mid-May a couple years ago when I made the Guy drive me around on a Saturday morning taking photos of the lovely trees in our fair burg.
Sprout (rav linky), by Amy King, out of Andes Wool,
buttons from the stash.
Interesting tidbit: The 3/4 sleeves ended
up being 7/8 sleeves, and the cuffs not tight enough to hold them up, so out
they came.With enough yarn left, I
lengthened the sleeves to full, and re-knit the cuffs with smaller
needles.Yea!Also, the first button bands were all
stretched out looking, so out they came as well.I picked up more stitches with smaller
needles, and also, second time around…remembered to add the buttonholes.I have worn this several times already.I am really very please with myself for
‘fixing’ it.There was a time in my life
when I would not have done that.So good
Interesting tidbit: Adapted this into not so
much a tunic, no waist shaping, a little widening at the hips (hey, don’t
judge!)I cast on for the smallest size
but increased to the medium size…something to do with my gauge and
size….anyway, being knit in the round, top down, I tried it on as I went, and
it seemed to fit as it grew…and grew….and grew…this is one big sweater out of
aran weight. And then after blocking, I decided the hip increases just increased the look of my hips. NOT necessary, thank you very much. And also...made it a tunic. If I hadn't abbreviated this thing, I would have had a dress at this point. Anyhoo...I unpicked and frogged back to the increases, knit in the pattern another inch and a half, then added the ribbing. Done and done. And much better in my opinion. Unless we have one last
cold snap, I probably won’t have a chance to wear this puppy until next fall. The joke among my knitter peeps is this might stop bullets...
Of late Wonderful Guy and I travelled to
the State of the Utes to see the Grandbebes that live there.And also their parents.Of course their parents too!
It had been way too long on both
accounts.This trip was a road trip, and
whether it happened or not depended on the weather.We lucked out, and had fine a fine travel
experience. Of course we had a fine travel experience!Because we had a great visit with the bebes
and their parents.
See…the thing is...I learned stuff.I learned that some of I-80 runs at 7500
feet.And also, that checking weather is
good and well.But not complete.One should also check road conditions when
travelling….there.Yep.We spent some down time in Rawlins, but yea!
They opened the road back up after 2 1/2 hours!
Only to have Hiway 287 closed 4 minutes before we
reached Laramie.So we spent an extra night there, before
heading north and east an extra 120 miles to go south on I-25 to get home.
Under blue skies the whole way!It was sideways snow…blowing snow was
the issue.Our direct routes home didn’t
open up until way after we reach our fair burg, had lunch, and were
It was excellent to have a chance to catch
up with Middle Daughter and have a chance to get acquainted with the grandbebe
girls.They are cutie-pies.How could they not be though?I say they could not!
And then we travelled to DesertCrazyTown in which to see Only
Step Son marry the Lovely Fiancee.The
wedding was downsized from a big planned affair in June, to a intimate
engagement in March.They chose simple
and less complex and less stress as the big plans started snowballing.
And I got a brief visit, once again, with
Dearest Sister.She and Car Guy
celebrated Wonderful Guy’s birthday together with Lovely Step Daughter.We took in the Shelby Museum, did a drive by
of the Gold & Silver Pawn (home of Pawn Stars), and dropped some quarters
at the Pin Ball Hall of Fame, where we all got a big kick out of the South Park
game.After walking Molly, the
grand-pup, we finished of the day with the whole wedding gang at dinner.I think the Guy had a good day of
(as seen on TV!)
We were up the next morning early for the flight
home, and while it was not the best travel experience I have had, we made it
safely.And it was good to go somewhere
warmish, though, and break out of wintry weather for a bit.
Talking to Youngest Daughter the other
day…telling her something I heard on NPR.It was something awesome and inspiring and deeply moving and no doubt
humorous and full of truth, all at the same time.
She listened attentively.
And she responded, “you listen to NPR?!?”
Hmph. Yes.Yes, I do, and it doesn’t take away from my kewlness.
In other news, we have been totally
enjoying a blissful March, with the middle of the month free of wind, and with
temps in the high 60’s and low 70’s.
Last fall, with Wonderful Guy’s initiative
and motivation, we hied ourselves to the local hardware store and bought a bag
‘o tulip bulbs.Fifty of ‘em, then we
went around the yard and stuck them in the ground.
Well, ‘we’ did until the guy ended up with
blisters from the bulb digger thingie. I finished while he was in doctoring his
wounds, so he didn’t know where the last several ended up.
Last week he asked me if some of those
tulips ended up over by the blah blah blah because something was coming up…and
I was all ‘Ohmigah!I forgot about the
TULIPS!!!Lemme see lemme SEE!!!’
We have tulips sprouting all over, and
hopefully soon we will have some blooming.Oh, I am not fooling myself.I
know its just mid-March.We are due
chilly weather yet.Maybe even more
snow.This is Colorado after all!But still…we planted tulips last fall!
What Would I Do…if I didn’t have to go to
work tomorrow…or the next day…or the day after…
With Dearest Sister’s impending retirement,
I will be the last sibling standing, more or less, and it’s giving me the
opportunity to ponder the question, how would I spend my time, if it were my
One of my first goals would be to clean and
reorganize the house.Cleaning Gina
would be a thing of the past, obviously, and I would inventory everything.Recently a couple of my knitter peeps lost
their home to fire, and the only thing they had a good inventory of was their
yarn/fiber on Ravelry.And there I sit,
being able to amaze with how organized I have been with my stash, and little
happen so healthy eating and less eating out would follow.
Probably there are certain financial/bill
paying chores that Wonderful Guy does now that I would do, having more time.
Gifts and cards would almost all be homemade.
That is how I see saving money that I wouldn't be earning.This is what I see doing for growing and
I long to have the time to challenge myself
with my camera and photo-editing software.I would set goals and finds lessons and read and meet challenges with
both.Har har!My family thinks they get hand knits
now!They will be receiving artsy photos
My yard would so less hit and miss, and I
would try new stuff to make it better.I
read about interesting ideas, but just don’t have the time to figure out how to
implement them.Also…I would build a
cold frame to extend my growing season!
I will teach Grandbebe Girl #1 how to knit,
and the others, too, in their turn, if they want.And continue to expand my horizons in the
fibery fields, of course.Maybe I could
parley those skills into an income stream, who knows.I will join the local knitting guild and
perhaps work on becoming a master knitter.
The baby quilts would be caught up for sure,
and maybe there is a quilter’s guild, too, that suits.And I will sew up all those good ideas I have
seen and have cached for ‘when I have time…’I really love to sew.
I will walk most days, and I will have that
second (or third) cup of coffee in the morning…sitting down.
Last December, something odd started with
my heartbeats.I didn’t feel faint or
weak or put out in anyway, except for the odd out-of-order thumping and
follow-up fluttering.I waited for a
week or so, but when it didn’t go away, and when it seemed to be all I could
pay attention to (heart thingies are like that), I called my doc.
Well, that wasn’t the thing to do…because
the gate keeper/phone answer-er said ‘what do you need to see the doc for?’ and
when I answered ‘well see it’s like this, the heart does this thing and then this sort of happens and then I sort of feel this way…’ she said to me, hmmm...just a minute and let me
check with the doc, and I am thinking oh good I am going to get right in to see
him, but then she comes back and says I should go to the emergency room.
That is not what I wanted to hear.I just wanted to get in to see the doc.I was pretty sure this wasn’t bit deal
because mostly I don’t have big health deals, and also…really?The ER…so inconvenient!And so expensive…and omg…the insurance
rigamarole.Somebody just shoot me…
Except…oh…see there it was again.Thump thump fluttery…and since it was coming
up on Christmas, and the doc appt wasn’t going to happen for a week, the ER it
So I finished up work, and went home, and
waited for The Guy to get home.After he
had a chance to catch his breath, I said, ‘so anyway, there’s been this thing
going on…blah blah blah, and I called the doc…blah blah blah, and we are
suppose to go the ER.’
Blank look…’and why did I wait until he got
home from work???’Well, it seemed the
thing to do at the time.
No wait at the ER when one has ‘heart
palpitations’. Funny that they don't call it by thump thump fluttery. Which I think is a much more fun technical term. We have a modern facility
in my little burg, that isn’t overly large, but with all the conveniences. But
everyone who works there is so young. Really young.How did that happen?
So what it is that I have is nothing
much.PAC’s…not political action
committees, but pre-mature atrial contractions that many people have all the
time and as to why now for me all of the sudden, who knows.I got to go home that night from the ER 5
days before Christmas with only a innocuous thump in my chest, and a couple of
itchy places on my sides where the monitors were stuck to me, which is a whole
lot better than being admitted over the holidays with something seriously
wrong.So all to the good really,
follow-up visits, tests, and insurance hoop-jumping aside.
And since, those annoying PACs would
drift away for a few, and just when I think things were getting back to normal,
I got to live with them again for three or four days.Keeps me humble and not taking anything for
granted.Also keeps me exercising
because I think there might be a correlation, but who knows.Certainly not anyone I paid money to talk to
and stick thing-a-mabobs on my chest.
Lately, now three months later, there seems to me more time in between without them than with them, which is a gift, and I am grateful. Seems it was a passing mysterious episode, come out of the blue, for who knows why.
But there are questions in my mind about docs and insurance and hospitals and sensibilities of how we do things and why we do the things we do. But all in retrospect...now that I know I am okay.
PS Lately I have seen that my posts in Google reader all amiss with words running together and crazy formatting. If one reads my posts only in Google reader, let this serve as a disclaimer, that while I do misspell on occasion, and my punctuation is not perfect, my posts are better in person of late than they have been represented in Google reader.
Over the holidays, Eldest showed me the ins
and outs of Pinterest.While I had been
hearing the pinning buzz of late, I was not sure what it was all about, and I
am not one to just jump on any old bandwagon.
Just some old bandwagons.Like Ravelry.I jumped that one right off.But
Harry Potter?Didn’t read those until
after the fifth book was out.
So now I am watching Pinterest.With interest.And fascination.And feeling a little old, to the amusement (I
am sure) of my offspring.
Pinterest is an on-line place to ‘pin’
stuff I like, be it cool photography ideas, gardening ideas, homemaking hints,
organizational ideas, crafty things…well, those are sort of pins that I sort of
focus on.And humor…I like the humor,
There are those who like fashion and style
ideas, and inspirational thoughts, and travel photos, and pictures of cutey-pie
animals…etc, etc, etc…
I am amused by those who pin luscious
photos of foods….and inspirational quotes about getting of the couch to
exercise….or style photos with skinny (sz 2) jeans…because no one ever ate a
pan of those buttery rolls and fit in those puppies, lookin’ like that model!
And then…the photos of the hair styles…with
no how-tos.Too bad, because I am
thinking my grey hair needs to be all done up in those fairy tale braids!
The recipes are interesting.Everything old is new again.I have seen my Make-A-Mix taco seasoning
(more or less) straight out of recipe book I received as a hostess gift for a
Tupperware party more than 30 years ago lauded as ‘Awesome!’ and ‘So
easy!’.Ha!I am all ‘LESS SALT!’ and ‘Cheap!’And also?Straight out of the Perry Family Cook Book, my sister’s chocolate sheet
cake. Of course, these are accompanied by dynamic photography using excellent
Now I am thinking when I run short of blog
posts, I am going to talk about how I do…I don’t know…anything…or make Mom’s
Orange Salad Recipe…because I know I have to be doing something around my house
without thinking about it or using some recipe that someone is pinning on
Pinterest, and thinking that it is the best thing since sliced bread!
That’s the thing with being old…I just do
I have had some fun snooping around, and I
have some fun ideas collected to try next spring in the yard, and some
photography hints and helps pinned as well.It hasn’t proven to be a huge time suck for me, but I am fairly
disciplined and industrious. I almost always see something, though, that opens
my eyes to the wide disparity of my world.
I would like to see an option to ‘view
without comments’, but no one has asked me.Really would save a lot of screen room for the meat…
My smarty pants phone (Droid X2) has proven
to be so very fun.And useful, to
boot!Which is good.The phone itself didn’t cost me all that
much, but the monthly data charge certainly needs to be justified. In my mind,
Of course, part of the pleasure right at
first was hunting for apps to download. Some have remained and some have
not.Some have proven ever so useful and
entertaining, and some ever so lame.
I have discovered the FAOTD (Free App Of
The Day) that Amazon offers.I have even
become discerning in what of those I choose to download. I am not all just oooh free!
I have even bought some.Three, to be exact.One was on sale for 10 cents.I know.The Guy was perplexed to see that charge…
The other two?Knitting apps.Go figure.
The one I would like
to talk about (and I am not being paid for this) is called CountyPlus.It is a row counter for knitting, and while
it took me a bit get intuited with the app, I do believe now that it is the
It allows me to list my projects and keep
track of what it is I want to track on each one, with certain limitations.Am I tracking increase rows on a raglan
sweater, or lace repeats?I can use the
settings to count up or down, and mark the row I am on, or the next row.And I move to the next row with just a screen
I am just putting the word out there for
something I have found to be worth what I paid for it, but there is a free
version for trying before buying, too. I have linked to both through the Droid Marketplace, but both are available through Amazon, too, I think.
I do not know about you iPhoners. You are a breed apart and hard to understand...
Also lucky for me?Loopy is located right out by Lowe’s!And also Designer Shoe Warehouse, but Lowe’s
is what attracts The Guy.So now I am
all ‘heck to the yeah, I'll go to Lowe’s with you!’
Heh heh heh…
My first visit, a scant two days after she
opened her doors, I went for a look-see, and also needing something.Yes…I needed a pair of 16” size 6 circular
needles.Mine disappeared, and I do not
know how.I do not loan them, and I keep
my stuff pretty organized, really.
Those of you who know me in real life may or may not be surprised at that. Perhaps the animals are learning to knit in the round on the sly…hats for
the house elves, maybe.
I thought it was humorous, but in a good way, that I was greeted at the door by the store help with 'is this your first time in?' They had been open two days!! Now I am a devoted knitter, but really...
So there I was looking atThe Wall of Circulars, and there were exactly
only one brand of sz 6 16” circulars in stock.I am not the only one missing these needles, I am thinking.Whatever…I sprung for the Addis, my only
choice.I needed them.
I also bought some wooden sock blockers, in
a small size, with little lamby-kins.Pretty cutey pie, and also useful!
My second visit was on The Grand Opening,
upon which I discovered the sale shelf.Seriously, though…like I need more yarn.And seriously again…that did not stop me from buying a skein of sock
yarn.It was The Grand Opening, after
In my little city, we have no dearth of
bike shops, and we are very fortunate to have plenty of choices in our yarn
shops, each offering their own specialty.
Since last spring/summer, I have scoured 3
partial fleeces I bought at local markets that were from coated sheep, and one
full fleece that I tracked down from a rancher south of here that raises for
market.That one I had heard about the
breed and wanted to try it.Not a
shepherd that practices raising for the spinner, and not a covered fleece.
I completed the carding of these four
fleeces the end of January, and just recently weighed the finished batts. And
interestingly, I have practiced some record-keeping with these fleeces that allowed
me to calculate the percentage of weight loss from pre-wash to post-carding.
Now, a shepherd that raises with spinners
in mind will sell, as I mentioned, a fleece from an sheep that has been coated,
which means that once sheared, the critter gets a blanket belted on that
prevents all sorts of hay, seeds, and debris (common verbage labels this as
vegetable matter, or VM) from becoming embedded in the wool and glued to it by
the lanolin.As the wool grows, the
blanket is adjusted to accommodate the longer growth.So there is an investment in both equipment
and time with coating sheep.In
addition, the shepherd will sell the sheared fleece skirted, which means all
the undesirable portions are already removed…the doodly bits from the behind,
the dirty, stringy leg wool, all that isn’t covered and isn’t prime wool.
This all makes for a difference in cost,
don’t you know.Such as this, I paid
$25.00 for 10 pounds of the uncoated, unskirted fleece from the rancher, and $46.00
for 2.6 pounds of coated, skirted fleece from a well-reputed shepherdess from
the Estes Park Wool Market.Seems like a
huge difference and that for some extra work on my part, a dirty fleece might
be a bargain.
Not so much.
My before and after calculations show, that
after my own skirting, and the additional loss due to veggie matter, I lost 66%
of the weight of the dirty fleece resulting in a price/oz of$2.20.The other in the above example, which is typical of the three coated
fleeces, resulted in a weight loss of 23% and a price/oz. of $1.43.With a LOT less work, and a much better
result…I still have debris in the batts from the dirty fleece.
For further consideration, the fleeces
considered here were all fairly comparable, and none out of line with the
others in quality in manner of luxury or fineness.
I love it when I can put pen to paper and
come up with hard facts.And also
justification for paying the price for quality.
Heh heh heh…like I need to buy more wool…I am
not saying how many pounds I have waiting to be spun.
I like to think of it as preparing for retirement.