Friday, December 31, 2010

Watch This Space

You often see that sign as a placekeeper; a promise of things to come.

Yesterday, I retired from my job of 24 years. I'll be 50 in February - I worked there for nearly half my life. Today I have felt a bit disconnected... a little like I had something amputated, or like I've experienced a broken relationship. A good friend counseled me to "stop looking back - this is not a time for reflection, but a time to move FORWARD and make plans."

So here's the thing. I'm FREE now. Free from the stress and depression that filled my days. Free from the battered-woman-syndrome that had become my coping mechanism. Free from the inability to take time off for anyone or anything. Free from the bully who ruled my life. Free from the toxic atmosphere I breathed for 8 hours a day.

I can feel a fresh breeze blowing through my spirit, and the desire to take charge of my time and my creativity.

Watch this space. Look for much more frequent glimpses of what I'm weaving, spinning, knitting, and creating.

And watch for a woman who sees joy in the distance, not so far off as she'd supposed.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

I love October.

October means the sweltering heat of our 5-month summer is behind us. The humidity drops a bit, the high temperatures dip down into the 80's, and we actually get temps in the upper 60's at night. We celebrate by throwing our doors and windows open to air out the house and relish the DRY. :)

I've been on vacation from work this week, recharging my batteries and reorganizing my space. My "studio" (that means my corner of our large living room) had become cluttered and was stifling my creative breath. With things put away and neatly stored, I have room to move and play and dream. :)

Weaving-wise, I've finished (finally!) the Huck Lace dishtowels - I love them, with their earthy organic cotton colors and thirsty texture. Now to hem and wash (finishing is my weakest link).

I've also been weaving some cool cotton openwork scarves on the rigid heddle looms. It's leno with a 'twist' - the entire scarf is twisted while weaving, creating a lovely fishnet effect. I'm working on a variation this weekend that includes bands of plainweave - I'll post pictures of that one when I'm done.

Spin, spin, spin - you know I always have yarn in progress, since my wheel brings me balance and sanity. Its treadles are my footrest in the evening, and the repetitive motion is so very soothing. I've finished lots of yarns, some for the Etsy shop, some for custom spinning requests (yes, I take them - I can spin fiber you've purchased elsewhere... just drop me a line for details) and some for ME.

(as always, click for big)

Oh, and I attended a cotton-spinning workshop with the guild - had fun sharpening my skills on spinning cotton yarn. I chain-plied my samples into one yarn - fun! I'll have to weave a little something with it as a memento.

And knit: I'm knitting along with the Camping Shawl KAL in the Southern Cross Fibre group on Ravelry. I'm using commercial yarn for this one, a lovely heathered brown in Knitpicks Shadow called "Redwood Forest".

My lace skills are beginner, definitely, but I'm excited to be knitting my first circular shawl. It's nice to have knitting in my lap again, now that the weather is cooling - did I mention that???

Love you, October!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Summer Went By In The Blink Of An Eye

...and before I knew it, it was gone.

When last I posted here, I was gearing up for the Tour de Fleece and very excited about the prospects of challenging myself to spin, spin, spin a LOT of yarn.

Yeah, not so much.

You see, my daughter was diagnosed with a very large ovarian cyst (the size of a grapefruit) and she needed open surgery to remove it and determine whether it was benign or... well, you know. So we had the surgery, the biopsy (benign!! Hooray!!!), and the convalescence (made much more difficult by complications.)

So I set my spinning plans aside, and went through all the necessary motions to get her healthy again. She's doing well - back at work and feeling much better - though she will now be dealing with PCOS and the lifestyle changes necessary with that.

And here we are at the end of the summer, with precious little yarn spun and few plans/dreams realized.

BUT! Today is a new day. I'm ready to sink my teeth into some new projects. I have some spinning and some weaving to show you, and I've acquired some wonderful new tools since last we chatted. So here's a shot of my newest baby, the gift of a precious dear friend:

She's a Schacht-Reeves 24" double treadle saxony, in ash, with right flyer. Heaven, I tell you.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Tour de Fleece

For the past two years, I've participated in the Tour de Fleece on Ravelry. It's great fun and great motivation to spin more and document one's spinning escapades. I don't need much motivation to spin more :) but I could do a better job of documenting (yes, Blog, I hear you) so I look forward to participating again this year.

I haven't done much in the way of goal-setting yet, other than deciding that I'll be spinning from my favorite four dye artists (Enchanted Knoll, Southern Cross Fibre, Spunky Eclectic, Hello Yarn). As the time grows closer, I'll narrow down some specific goals (which fiber, which challenges, etc.) and post them here.

I've joined two 'Wildcard' teams - Enchanted Elves (for Enchanted Knoll) and Monkey Farts (for Spunky Eclectic).

In case anyone wants to join up too, here are the (non) rules:

This year the Tour de Fleece starts Saturday July 3rd and runs until Sunday July 25th, 2010.

Guidelines (NOT RULES):

  1. Spin every day the Tour rides, if possible. Saturday July 3rd through Sunday July 25th. Days of rest: Monday July 12th, Wednesday July 21st. (Just like the actual tour)

  2. Spin something challenging Thursday July 22nd. (The Tour’s toughest mountain stage from Pau up the legendary Col du Tourmalet)

  3. Take a button if you want one. Then we can use the button on our blogs in show of solidarity. Take it from here or grab a clean one from the flickr pool. Come join the flickr pool!

  4. Wear yellow on Sunday July 25th to announce victory. Why not wear yellow on any day you feel particularly successful? (Yellow is the color of the race leader in the Tour - but here we are all ‘race leaders’)

  5. Other colors if desired: Green (sprinter - think FAST), Polka-dot (climber - as in uphill), and white (rookie)

Sunday, May 23, 2010

...And we're back again...

Dragonfly mind, that's me. Always flitting here and there, forgetting where I set down my coffee cup - and when I last updated my blog. February? Really?

OK, let's just jump in where we are...

I've been knitting, mostly handspun socks. Finished 2 pair in the past month, both from yarn I spun from David's Southern Cross Fibre Club:

The first is BFL in the 'Spring Forward' colourway - I love the subtle shading in this 3-ply yarn. Knit on size 1.5 (2.5mm) needles, using 280 yds of yarn.

Cuff is a mixed rib:

Round 1: (K3, P1), repeat.
Round 2: (K1, P1), repeat.
Repeat 1 and 2.

Used Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretch Bindoff. Love it.

The second pair is falkland wool in the 'Homeward' colourway. I navajo-plied the yarn to preserve the long color bands, because I loved the idea of wide stripes in this lovely colors. This pair was knit with size 1 (2.25mm) needles. The cuff is a simple k2,p2 rib. Used the same Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretch Bindoff. 250 yds gave me shortie cuffs - love 'em.

I love knitting with handspun - the texture and color is incomparable to regular old boring millspun yarn. :)

Of course I've been spinning and spinning and spinning, as usual. I finish on average a skein every 3-4 days. Some of it goes into my own personal knitting/weaving stash, and some goes into the Etsy shop (see sidebar for link). Lately I've been spinning a great fiber base from Enchanted Knoll Farm called "Bliss". It's 65% superwash merino wool 35% silk, and has fabulous drape and shine. Very soft.

This one is navajo-plied to preserve the lovely pastel rainbow progression that Josette dyed into the fiber. 145 yds of 14wpi fingering weight from 2 ounces. The colourway is 'Sunshine' but I've called it "Sidewalk Chalk" because it reminded me of the drawings my girls used to do in the summertime:

I finished this one last night - it's "Queen Mermaid" and has the lovely blues and greens of the ocean depths. 395 yds of 2-ply 24wpi laceweight from 2 ounces.

I've been spinning far more than weaving lately. I still have the huck lace dishtowels on the big loom - I want to get back to them this week! On the Rigid Heddle I completed a handspun handwoven scarf, but it's not fringed or wet-finished, so pictures will have to wait.

All for now...

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Handspun Lacy Baktus Scarf

I'm back from a wonderfully refreshing trip to the mountains of Montana and Wyoming. My heart lives there, and I like to go visit it occasionally. :) Another few years, and we'll be there for good!

While on our trip, I knit this Lacy Baktus scarf from my handspun polwarth/bamboo yarn in the "Budgie" colorway, fiber from Southern Cross Fibre on Etsy. It was an enjoyable and easy knit, finished quickly because the yarn is heavy worsted weight.

Monday, February 8, 2010


It's a dream come true. We've waited 43 years for this moment.

Superbowl Champions!

Sunday, February 7, 2010


My Saints are in the Superbowl today. It's surreal - we've waited and cheered and agonized for 43 years, and now the dream has come true. Whatever the outcome (GO SAINTS!!!) we are so very proud of our team and our players, class acts every one.

What does that have to do with fiber? I'll be spinning throughout the game to keep the butterflies away. :)


*The title of this post comes from a chant that's been around for years and years in the dialect of the Cajuns in this area (my grandmother and cousins, for example) - "Who Dat? Who Dat? Who Dat say dey gonna beat dem Saints? Who Dat?"

Friday, February 5, 2010


I spun this yarn last weekend at a Fiber Friend retreat (a small group of guild-friends had a slumber party over the weekend - spinning, knitting, watching weaving dvds) and I absolutely love it. It's soft, it glistens, and the color depth is amazing. The fiber comes from my friend David, the dye artist behind Southern Cross Fibre on Etsy. It's a luscious polwarth/bamboo blend, in his 'Budgie' colorway. I've been wanting this particular fiber for a long time, and was thrilled to nab some in his latest update.

I navajo/chain-plied it to preserve the wonderful color changes. It's 220 yards, 8wpi. I'm thinking of knitting a Lacy Baktus scarf with it. Most of the yarns that I spin end up in my Etsy shop, because the joy was in the spinning for me and I don't desire to knit them. But this one? Mine, all mine! :)

Thursday, January 7, 2010

New Day Socks

I knit these socks way back in June, but lost them in a knitting bag in the closet. Dug them out tonight, and discovered that they were finished except for the bind-off. A few short minutes with a tapestry needle, and voila!

These are knit from my handspun yarn - the fiber is corriedale wool in the "New Day" colorway, from Spunky Eclectic's monthly fiber Club. I love these orange-reds! Nice to have warm wool socks on a cold night - it's dropping below 30F tonight, which is really cold for us in the Deep South.

Alke asked me if the Huck Lace will close when I wash the towels. Yes, the fabric will draw together more when washed, though it will not be completely closed and dense. It will also 'poof' a little, giving texture which is good for drying hands and dishes.

Jolene asked about the Russian Spindle - I haven't tried it yet. I'm going to bring it with me to our guild's Roc Day celebration this Saturday. There will be ~100 spinners in attendance... I'm hoping someone can give me some hands-on instruction. From what I've read, you DO spin with it supported in a little bowl.

Adrienne says she has the same Tibetan Spindle, and the shaft is hickory. Thanks, Adrienne, for the wood identification!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

First Towel Done

The first Huck Lace towel is done. This first towel has just the plain natural colored cotton for weft - the next 3 towels will have colored striping. I really like this pattern, and foresee many towels woven in this manner. I have lots of 8/2 cotton. :)

I acquired several lovely tools in the mail today. I am enamoured of spinning/weaving tools handmade by artisans, and I like to support small businesses. First let me show you the Bosworth (Journey Wheel) boat shuttle, in Bird's Eye Maple:

And here are two supported spindles, made by Edward Tabachek - the first is a Russian spindle, in walnut:

The second is a Tibetan spindle, in purpleheart and an unknown wood in the shaft:

I look forward to getting to know how to use these lovely spindles - they are supposed to be wonderful for spinning lace.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Huck Lace Towels

I started warping the loom with these towels on New Year's Eve. It is my intention ("resolution" sounds so formal) to weave more this year and learn more about my craft. So I started this project in a structure I haven't used before - Huck Lace.

These towels are from a kit I bought from Cotton Clouds. I own the magazine that contains the project instructions, so I just got the yarns.

I've warped 4.5 yards for 4 towels (32" each, should be 24" hemmed after washing).

After some problems getting the warp complete (learning opportunities!) I started weaving last night:

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!

Hello, my poor neglected blog.

Let's try again, shall we? I'd like to keep you updated on a regular basis, with photos and descriptions and details of projects begun and completed. 2009 has been a difficult year - but the calendar has brought us a brand new one, filled with promise and possibilities.

So let's "start as we mean to go on" - and I'll come back and feed you more often.

Happy Twenty-Ten!