Tuesday, October 28, 2003

WOW! What a week! Alisha (my step daughter) arrived from Belgium (Europe) for a too-short visit and we all just returned from a weekend at Running Moon Farm. Our "primary" purpose in driving the 7 1/2 hours to western Louisiana was to pick up my Christmas present.

A new Running Moon Farm Tri-Loom! We decided Alisha would get the first shawl from the loom. Too tired to do much, we did manage to run out and pick up some Lion Brand Homespun in a marbled black color for Alisha. It is weaving up much nicer than I ever expected! We are using the 5 foot insert here.

The whole family had fun this weekend. We got to see the baby goats and lambs.

Ever since we planned this trip Gabrielle only talked about petting the babies. The animals had other ideas however about my energetic youngsters. The children had fun anyway.

I can't say that the animals had as much fun as the human children. They were definitely wary of the children. The children were oblivious to it however.

We also made a trip down the road to Nightsong Farm. We got to see goat milking and a variety of other farm animals as well.

The geese were less wary of the children and in fact Gabrielle got nipped through the fence.

You can see the goose eyeing its target. . .

Running Moon Farm is a spinner's paradise!

Margrett didn't have too much wool left when we arrived and I managed to further lighten her load.

I had fun poking through the dyed mohair.

And the new bunny fiber too!

But the hardest fiber to resist was the freshly sheared and dyed mohair!

This reminded me of an artist's palette and I had a tendency to wander over to blend pinches of different colors. I did end up with a combination I liked enough to bring home!

The Strettons are wonderful people with kind and generous natures. Margrett is a riot and kept us laughing the entire weekend! She also shared her vast knowledge of fiber arts with me throughout the weekend and more than once I wished I'd brought a tape recorder!

Margrett spins the loveliest yarns! She is especially good at putting together great designer yarns which weave so well on the tri-looms. She showed me that even a broken fleece could produce a lovely designer yarn with the right spinning technique.

Margrett opened my mind to a vast world of weaving possibilities on the tri-loom. She is an awesome weaver!

She taught me how to weave with a "regular" warp and weft technique on the tri-loom for a denser shawl. Since I love to spin lace weight yarn, this will be perfect! She also showed me her collection of floor looms and planted another seed in my fertile mind. I think I might see if I can trade one of my Husqvarna Viking sergers for a floor loom. Can't hurt to try, right?

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

I finished my first new outfit this week! Boy did I need it too.

This is the top and pants. I also made a skirt to go with it for a change of pace when I need one.

The shirt is embellished with squares of "anchor" fabric I will soon use to make another pair of pants. These squares are outlined with gold braid. Finally, they are backed with a larger square of the material I used for the pants and skirt. The portion of this material extending beyond the gold braid was unraveled to create a fringe. I like the way this dresses up what would have otherwise been a plain tee-shirt. I love to make comfortable clothes that look nice enough to wear out and about.

I FINALLY finished my skein of MacKenzie lace weight yarn.

This is a really nice teal color with depth created from the gentle play of maroon, blue and white as well. I intend to use this for the Peacock Shawl. Unfortunately, our digital camera did not capture the beauty of the color here.

I received a nice surprise in the mail yesterday from the Spindlers' (Yahoo Group) Fiber Fairies! A while back I spontaneously demonstrated/taught spindling to visitors during a local spin and weave day at Everman's Natural Food store. I was a visitor to the event sponsored by or local Spinning and Weaving Guild myself. Many things were being demonstrated, but no one had spindles. For furthering the art of Spindling I received this:

It is so beautiful I mentally put "weaving bookmarks" on my "to do/ to learn" list!

I thought I'd take a picture of some of the school materials we are planning to send to Geeta in India.

This is about one-third of the total we have accumulated so far. I also have bags of workbooks and other "kits" of materials based on different themes. I think I even saw a box of costumes in a set called "Promise Keepers for Kids" or something like that. I want to thank those of you who sent postage funds! We will be sending the first boxes out in the near future!

Monday, October 13, 2003

I received the most beautiful gift from Geeta, a cyber friend in India.

Naturally, the colors are much more exquisite in "real life."

Geeta told me, "It is a wraparound skirt woven in the North eastern part of the country. . . . We in the north sometimes use it as a stole/shawl/a special table cover too. . . . No embroidery, it is ALL woven, done by women who have been abused and are now staying at a home."

Geeta is a wonderful woman and a dear Christian sister! What a gift the internet can give. Through it the Lord can bring us friends from around the world!

Geeta is in the process of starting a Christian school for autistic children in India. She has no money, only a huge burden for this neglected part of society. Please keep her in prayer! AND, if you are inclined to do something more practical to help, please email me: dlofink@hotmail.com. Because my husband works for a thrift store, he has been able to get a great deal of curriculum materials for Geeta. Unfortunately, the postage rate to India is outrageous! To send it the slowest, cheapest possible way is still about $2.00 per pound and we have probably a good 50 pounds to send so far! We are taking postage donations from anyone who would like to help this worthwhile grass roots school.

You know, when I was little and didn't want to eat my dinner, my Mom always told me about "starving kids in India". I always wanted to send THEM the food (we won't go into my Mom's cooking in those early years - let's just say I wouldn't recommend boiling hamburger, no matter how much fat you can get out of it that way). I kind of like sending kids in India SOMETHING after all these years of talking about it.

I did complete some more repeats of charts A and B of my LotSS stole.

I probably could have done quite a bit more, but I got worried about the stole being knit too loose and too big. I just stopped working on it at all for about three days. I barely picked it up last night and did a few more rows. I think I'll just keep going even if I end up with a lovely lace, long, skinny blanket.

I did finally finish up the front of Gabrielle's bobble sweater.

Now I am ready to cast on the first sleeve. MAYBE, just maybe, it will be ready for this winter.

I got to "face the music" on all of the stress eating I've been doing over the last several months. Not only I'm I nowhere near a size 6 any longer, but I have now eaten myself out of most of the fat clothes I'd saved from when I lost weight after Gabrielle. Sunday, I went to my closet for clothes for church, and had nothing to wear that fit. I think I'm down to 3 outfits that can be worn in public. RATS!

I combed through my fabric stash, which is filled by the way mainly with children's prints, and cut out an outfit for me. It will be a medium, still, but I better get control of myself or this won't fit for long! I am right on the upper limit for squeezing into the medium.

I found this fabric as well and would like to do something with it. I like anything that reminds me of sailing and boats and the sea. But what??? Perhaps pants and a pull-over shell of some sorts? Any ideas? I like tunic lenth tops since they fool the eye into thinking the wearer is leaner than reality - or so I tell myself.

Gregory learned to knit! I taught him a couple of days ago.

I've been working with Gabrielle over the last couple of weeks, holding her hands while we knit together. Last time we practiced, Gregory asked me to teach him.

To be honest, I didn't think he'd be able to do it without me holding his hands. But boy did he learn!

Two days later he is still knitting! Sometimes I think Gregory's autism will limit what he can do and so I won't try to teach him something. This is a good example of why I need to forget about the autism and not limit my son!

Gabrielle, on the other hand, is not really that interested in knitting except when she is bored with more mundane pursuits. She is my little bookworm and would rather practice her reading and writing.

At just 4 years old, she loves books! Last night I found her with a "Little Golden Book" and a flashlight in her bed after bedtime. She is such a cute little thing!

Sunday, October 05, 2003

I FINALLY started my Legends of the Shetland Seas (LotSS) shawl! I gave battle to the mind monster created by the pattern's printed warning: "For ADVANCED lace knitters" and conquered my trepidation!

I've done three repeats of chart A and two repeats of chart B. Unfortunately, I've noticed my design is growing. The first repeats went slower than the latter. As my knitting speed increased, my stitches loosened up. I sure hope blocking will resolve my knitting inconsistencies!

I also started a new Incredible Sweater Machine (ISM) sweater for Gregory.

Kurt brought some more yarn home from work (Thrift Store) in colors he liked and I designed this sweater based on pattern recommendations for yarn quantities. (I'm so excited Kurt has jumped on the yarn scavenging "band wagon" and keeps his eyes open now for good finds at work!) Unfortunately, it looks like I won't have enough blue to finish. I've stalled out waiting for a solution to present itself to my troubled brain.

Gregory drew a robot picture that I scanned and overlayed with graph paper. My thought was to knit his robot in intarsia on the front panel of the sweater. But before I try this feat, I need to figure out what to do about the blue issue. I'm not likely to find more of this color yarn in the Fall.

I threw my two COTR shawls over some branches on my magnolia tree to take pictures.

The rose colored one is the shawl I made for my Grandmother. I love the way the beads cause this one to drape. The grayer shawl is my COTR.

My COTR is a little bit heavier than my grandmothers. Both are made from homespun Ashland Bay merino and silk. My shawl contains about 5 ounces of fiber whereas my grandmother's contains about 4 ounces.

Hung on the tree they look ghostly. I also realized after pulling the shawls done that I am allergic to magnolia, but there is no way I am rewashing and reblocking my shawl yet!