Rest after much Activity

Yesterday was a jam packed day. I wonder where that expression comes from? I don’t recall jam being packed – but perhaps it is a different kind of jam. One of the highlights of yesterday was getting a video in the mail – SPINNING WOOL – BASICS & BEYOND Wheels, Fiber Preparation and Spinning Techniques with Patsy Zawistoski.

Before I had a chance to check out the video it was time for DH’s birthday celebration. We went out for a very nice dinner at Carousel Restaurant. It is on top of the Radisson in downtown St. Paul. It has a fantastic view and if you are seated in the inner, raised section (like we were) the floor rotates so that you can see the view all the way around. Cool.

When we got home he listened to his new CD with headphones and I watched my video. There sure is a lot of info in it, and I am glad I got it. It also helped make me sleepy. I kept waking up – focusing, then fell back to sleep several times. I don’t think it was because the video was boring, but Patsy does have a very soft and soothing voice. She would make a great hypnotherapist!

Today I felt the urge to spin as soon as I got up. Hmmmm, I wonder why? I slowed my spinning down to try some of the techniques I picked up (either in my waking state or my sleep state). The fiber I am spinning is a mohair blend – very fuzzy, and of course I was sitting there in my black nightie. Now it is a black and fuzzy white/turquoise nightie.

I brought one of my more recent book purchases to the computer so I would be sure tell you about it. It is: Lace from the Attic, A Victorian Notebook of Knitted Lace Patterns, by Nancie Wiseman

A Victorian Notebook of Knitted Lace Patterns

It is a fabulous book, especially for shawl makers who are looking for good knitted edgings. Good, clear photos and with both written out and charted designs. I am subscribed to a couple of email and web based shawl and lace groups, one of which doesn’t seem to let me post. I am probably on probation/monitored until I can prove I am not a spammer. Isn’t that sad?

K and I are getting together for spinning/knitting tonight. Tomorrow I am teaching all day so probably not much knitting or spinning time, and I am really hoping to be able to go to the Minnesota Renaissance Festival on Sunday. My favorite themes are the Highland Fling/Scottish and the Mid-East Mirage, but those are already past. This weekend it is the Irish Heritage Festival which is cool too. Keep your fingers crossed for me – for cool, sunny weather.

World’s Largest Pink Ribbon

A friend sent me a link about 3M building the largest pink ribbon (breast cancer awareness) in New York’s Time Square. With each quick online registration on the page, 3M will donate $1 per entry. Click the link and register NOW!
Breast Cancer Awareness

More later….

Spinning Dreams

I received 2 full years of Spin-Off back issues in the mail the other day, the result of an eBay conquest. I have been reading and dreaming, dreaming and planning. Hoping and wishing. But no spinning and no knitting.

I also did a lot of eBay work for my brother, and website work for an Astrology group too. Also lots of emails back and forth with prospective students and such.

I should be getting ready for my Wednesday coffee and beads/knitting (whatever) get-together but I may blow that off. I may not. It depends on whether I can find something to wear. Isn’t that sad? It is really sad because I do have to get dressed eventually because I have a client at 2:00 pm.

Hey, want to do some public knitting? Judy, another AKer in MN was talking about a gathering. Here is the info:
Sunday, October 3, 1-5 pm, at Ridgedale Shopping Center in Minnetonka.

If I remember correctly this may be connected to doing charitable knitting. I will find out more and let people know here.

Have you done any charitable knitting? It is very satisfying. One of my favorites was the bunch of hats that I knit up for homeless people. I had a great time picking out yarn.

Winter in MN is very cold. The idea of being homeless in a MN winter… I also did up some angel earrings for the ladies too.

On the subject of winter in MN – I really should be starting up Yule gifts for my family and friends. I need to start making a list of projects. I should at least make something for my Mom and Dad.

And now, because I know blogs without pictures are boring, I give you my cat Guinevere.

Pssst! Want to see my skein?

It is kind of a grey day outside and the lighting in my home makes colors go weird so I decided to scan my first skein of yarn that I spun on my own wheel and another spool.

My first yarn that I made! It is like magic, except I know how hard it was for me to do. I am proud of them, even though I know 100% that they are not perfect – the yarn is NOT soft, squishy or stretchy. I am hoping that it will soften up when I set the twist.

I know as I gain experience my yarn will become squishier and softer and more even (or more crazy ala designer yarn).

I showed my yarn around and I got one of those helpful people telling me things that I should be doing. She didn’t even say it with a smile either. What is up with that? I did not ask for advice, I was just showing my stuff around. If I was a student of that person, that would be different (maybe) but I wasn’t asking for advice.

A lot of people are "out there" that think criticism = helpful. No it isn’t. If someone shows you something and you can see that they are proud and they tell you this is my first…. Don’t give them "helpful" tips. Don’t. Tell them that it is pretty, or colorful or wonderful, or say, "good for you", or something equally nice.

Maybe after a while you can say things like… would you like some xyz tips? Or, I am a xyzer too and I have found…

Minnesota (Twin Cities) Ample Knitters

I went to yesterday’s gathering at the Borders on Hamline in St. Paul, MN. It was a small gathering this month. I guess we are going to try to keep it going every 3rd Saturday of the month.

This time I remembered to bring my camera, so here are some pics:
Alex
Alex
Alex, Kerry, Barbara, Renee
Alex, Kerry, Barbara and Renee’s back
Kerry, Barbara and Traudi
Kerry, Barbara and Traudi
Renee and Alex
Renee and Alex
Kerry, Barbara, Traudi
Kerry, Barbara and Traudi
Renee and Alex
Renee and Alex
Judy
Judy

Kerry kept wanting to get a real group photo, and I guess I should have let her make me. I just wasn’t in a group photo mood.

If you are interested in joining the Ample Knitters group, go to the Ample Knitters website and join the e-mail list.

Kerry and I took off from the meeting for a quick drive to Hudson, WI in search of a store called Carolyn’s Needle Arts. We didn’t have the address, so I was going on my memory. Couldn’t find the place. Finally, after we were sure that even if we found the place, it would be closed we stopped over to another shop. That store owner/clerk showed me through her back door where Carolyn’s was. She pointed to the place we had been to. Weird.

After I got home I finished plying all of my fiber tribble and tried to start on some Merino and other wool roving. No go. I think I was too tired. I had figured out how to ply easier though. I guess my drive band was just way too tight.

Thursday

No knitting today. I just took some time tucking in the ends of my finished square for Carol’s afghan. It felt good to send it out. But now in reading Renee’s blog I see her beautiful square and it reminds me that I did not take a picture or scan it before sending it out.

I tried to ply 2 full spools of my first tribble of fiber. Plying isn’t one of my skills – yet. I ended up having to cut off before the new spool (for the plyed yarn) was totally full. I just couldn’t keep the wheel spinning. Sigh.

I don’t know what if anything I am doing wrong. Does anybody else have a hard time plying on their Ashford Traditional wheel? Mine is a double drive, but I am using it as a single drive with Scotch tension.

What I bought at Detta’s

Warning: reading this may either quiet some of your fiber addiction tendencies or get them ramped up.

I went to Detta’s Spindle in Maple Plain, MN yesterday. It took me about 45 minutes to get there – not too bad. I got a chance to look at her room of spinning wheels. We talked about the different wheels but I didn’t take any for a trial spin. I figured I needed the time to shop for fiber and books. Maybe after I get back from the Wisconsin Fiber Spin-In.

Anyway she took me to her "extra room" where she keeps some of the smaller tools and the big box of fiber seconds. I guess these were from Brown Sheep and just what I was looking for. Because I am a beginning spinner I don’t want to waste really spendy fiber while I am trying to get my technique down. There was some 100% wool blend – feltable stuff and also some super wash fiber. I bought 61 ounces all together. Also a niddy-noddy… one that can be used as a one or a two-yard.

Then it was time to go to the basement where she has all of her books, yarn and magazines. I had come prepared with a list of the back issues of Spin Off and Knitters I wanted. Those kind of increased the $ amount at 6.99 each, but made me very happy. I also bought a book that had knitting edges… one of those old timey ones from Interweave Press.

I decided to get a bit of dog hair to try, and because of that she gave me some extra dog hair (Samoyed) for free.

I will post pictures just as soon as I get my camera back.

Appointment Set!

In getting together with Kerry she has mentioned Detta’s Spindles, a somewhat local fiber and spinning/knitting place. I guess this women has a house full of great stuff, lots of spinning wheels to try and is very helpful. I checked in with Detta and made an appointment to visit her home/shop tomorrow at 10:30 ish. I hope I don’t get lost – I have been doing that lately, and it is weird because I have been getting turned around going to places I have been before. Must be hormones. (I need to blame something).

Anyway, I am pumped about tomorrow’s trip. I have a list of Spin-Off magazine back issues I want to find and I want to try out some more portable spinning wheels. Mine can go along for a ride in my car but isn’t really meant to be portable. I would like to try something smaller. Will I buy something? It is kind of hard to tell. When I took my spinning class I was really focused and determined to learn drop spindle. Most of the class focused on the wheel, and although I rented a wheel and got to take one home each week after class, I kept telling myself that the wheel wasn’t where I would be doing my spinning – the drop spindle was "it".

So, for the first week of the wheel I told the other gals that I would take whatever wheel was left because it didn’t matter to me I wouldn’t be buying a wheel. That week I ended up with the most expensive wheel, a Schacht. It was beautiful and heavy and it scared the crap out of me. I was so afraid I would do something to it – drop it in carrying it back and forth, break it somehow. Anyway, it didn’t like me. I couldn’t spin on it. It made me mad, and I am a pretty calm person.

The next class I announced that there was no way in heaven or hell that I would be taking that beast wheel for another week. Gimme something cheaper and useable! I ended up with an Ashford Traditional that had some issues – it was taped up on one of the parts (don’t know what to call it). It made a very hypnotic clicking sound when spinning. During the class, one of the other spinning students remarked that hearing my spinning helped her. She wished her wheel would make a clicking sound too! – perhaps a playing card taped onto her wheel like kids did on their bike wheels?

I took that useable wheel home and fell in love. I because obsessed with getting a good deal on an Ashford Traditional. I found one and bought it, then waited impatiently for it to arrive. It came and it took some doing to figure out how to get it together, but now I have a wonderful wheel and love spinning on it.

I am trying to learn how to do better – just bought a spinning video on ebay – Spinning Wool – Basics & Beyond: Wheels, Fiber Preparation & Spinning Techniques, Patsy Zawistoski. I have read some very wonderful reviews on this video. Can’t wait! I also bid on 2 full years of backissues of Spin-Off magazine. I am going to subscribe too.

Back to knitting. I knit up a square for Carol’s afghan but even after blocking it is too small, so back to upsize and try again. I need to get it out asap so it’s time to stop typing and get back to knitting.

Visiting a friend

Last night…oops, I guess it is tomorrow (Sunday) already so I should say Friday night… I visited another MN Ample Knitter person. She wanted some tips on how to do beaded knitted amulet bags, and because I have done *ahem* several ( I have lost count) I offered to help out.

I suggested that we meet at her house because she is a fabulous spinner and I wanted to check out her "stuff". I am a new spinner. I haven’t even finished my first tribble of roving yet. Pretty close though. I have some of my first "yarn" to dunk and dry. It is hard to call it yarn because it looks pretty bad.

Anyway, Kerry has 3 wheels and a house full of fiber and yarn. Really. Yarn and fiber and pets all over the place. 2 very sweet dogs, 3 cats, and 2 birds. I didn’t get to meet one cat but I don’t think she was fibbing about having 3 cats. Would anybody lie about 7 animals in a fiber filled house?

We had fun. I got to share some tips and show off my cool beading knitting tool, my beadspinner. She commented about the price of beads and I realized that she was getting good beads but at too high prices. I steered her to a better retail place for fabulous seed beads, that being, Beadstorm / Stormcloud Trading. I don’t think anyone can beat Sandi’s retail prices and selection.

I lent Kerry my beadspinner and some free patterns from the internet, and also one of my books. She is pretty motivated because today (ooops, yesterday) she called and had another amulet bag done already! She came over to pick up some needles I offered to loan, and to show me her bag. Very nice! I can’t wait to see what she does with the neckpiece.

I got a chance to knit on my blue landscape shawl. Tried to keep off the computer so that I wouldn’t be sucked in and left without any time to do anything else. But now here I sit typing. It’s way too late to be noodling around but I am 100% awake.

I also knit a square for an afghan for a friend on the AK list. By the way, AK stands for Ample Knitters and ample means large sized.

The AK email list is great. We share tips about upsizing patterns, yarn sales, ask for and get great advice. Not too much weirdness on this list, just a lot of really kind people.

Getting back to the afghan square. One of the AKers suggested that we knit 8×8 squares for Carol, who is experiencing some health problems. We are making an afghan in "our" colors of pansy-like purples, yellows and golds. I knit a purple square and it is being blocked/dried. I can’t wait to see the final afghan. I hope it is as lovely and full of energy as Carol seems to be.

That is what is the nicest things about the internet – the ability to find friends through sharing our thoughts and through our photos.

Zen

Found on an online dictionary:

Zen: A school of Mahayana Buddhism that asserts that enlightenment can be attained through meditation, self-contemplation, and intuition rather than through faith and devotion and that is practiced mainly in China, Japan, Korea, and Vietnam. Also called Zen Buddhism.

I guess they left out the part about knitting trance. Meditation is another word for that though. I really believe that if your are doing knitting "right" you achieve Zen or meditative trance.

Is it the counting, the repetitive movements, the posture, activation of meridians in the fingers? Is it the sound of the needles (even plastic makes a slight sound). Is it the feel of the yarn through the fingers? I don’t really know, but I do know that it works for me.

As much as I have loved beading (still do), it doesn’t get close to the experience of knitting (or spinning, but I am going to stay on knitting for now). Beading has counting, probably much more than knitting does, it has the passing of beads across the fingers, which is much more like the motions of a rosary or a mala.

Maybe it is just me……. nah!