Black Sheep Gathering is Just Around the Corner

Greetings and Salutations (as Charlotte would say)

I am getting ready for Black sheep Gathering and i am soooo excited and for several reasons. first as always BSG falls at the same time of year as Summer Solstice and my anniversary. This year Lann and i celebrate our 30th anniversary. It really falls while we are packing and getting ready to go but we will celebrate at one of our favorite campgrounds on our way north. I have many fond memories of sitting at a campfire in Salt Point State Park along the coast in Northern California watching the wildlife in what we called wildlife theater (a big old live oak that had a long arching branch under which we watched foxes, rabbits, raccoon, deer, birds and mice all wander thru our campsite over a long lazy weekend.) We would sit up late sipping champagne and telling our story to each other, recalling memories and making new ones. We have not been back to Salt Point in a few years – there was a big fire in the campground and surrounding area and it has changed so dramatically it is hard to return, but we have new favorite places and we plan to spend out night under the stars telling our story to each other and the night.

I am excited because i will be able to share the driving again. I have been unable to drive until this past week and i doubt i can do the long hours i have done in the past but i have begun to practice and each day my ankle gets stronger and so i will at least be able to help. Hooray!!!! (And a good thing as i have decided to add Stitches Midwest to my show schedule this year and i am doing the drive with my delightful non-driving cat – Maggie!)

I have at least 2 more reasons for excitement – new spindles from TexasJeans and Fiber Optic!!!!  I first saw Fiber Optic hand dyed fiber 3 or 4 years ago and have wanted it since that time. Kimber is an amazing dyer and her hand dyed fibers are just to die for! I will have a limited quantity so don’t delay. The fiber is meeting me in Eugene so i won’t have any here for pictures but i do have 1 of her gradient braids in the YarnV- so when i pick it up from Half Moon Bay on Friday i will grab it and get a picture.

Texas Jeans spindles are also new to me – saw them for the first time at Maryland. They will be here tomorrow also and i will take pictures as soon as they arrive. I think you will love them!

See you at BSG!

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Memorial Day Spin for Peace Sale

Good Morning and a Peaceful Memorial Day to all

Lann and i were talking over brunch – and decided that the greeting Happy Memorial Day just didn’t sound right……

In honor of Memorial Day and to help you all spin for peace ~ i am putting 3 Bags Full on sale for the week. I am trying to figure out how to do a coupon on the shopping cart but for now – buy 2 and i will add a third to your order. They do not have to be the same color, but they do have to be 3 Bags Full.

I was looking at the pictures online – and the pictures don’t do the colors justice. Plus there are several colors available that we just have not managed to get pictures of – will try to do that this week.

this offer is good until Sunday June 3

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Spin For Peace

It is Memorial Day Weekend – and i have been thinking a lot about war and peace. Partly it started because i am listening to a new mystery series by Jacqueline Winspear – the Maisie Dobbs series. The series is set in England before, during and right after the Great War (World War I) and i have found myself learning far more about that war than i remember learning in high school.

As i read/listen to the stories i become curious about the history and have searched out additional information. I have learned that the Great War is considered the 6th deadliest war ever with over 9 million men and women killed. (One page on wiki lists the low estimate of deaths and 15 million and the high as 65 million – including combatants and civilians) Numbers which beg the question – what were the top 5 deadliest wars?  but more on that later….In one campaign (innocent sounding word for a lengthy series of battles centered on one objective) the Battle of the Somme – there were more than 1 million deaths including more than 60,000 casualties (read deaths or serious injuries) the first day alone. The numbers are mind boggling and the descriptions of the battles and battlefields are devastating. If you have seen War Horse – the no man’s land depicted was the Western Front.  No man or woman who was there and survived ~ walked away unscathed.

Memorial Day – the last Monday in May – originated in the nineteenth century as a day to remember the men who died during the civil war.  Since that time is has become a time to remember all men and women who have died in the service of their country. Sometimes i like to forget i am a veteran – it seems so long ago and far away, like another person’s life.  I was fortunate for someone who was in the service (army) during the Viet Nam “Conflict” (another polite word for what in reality was a ferocious and deadly war). At that time in our history only women officers were allowed “in country” and i was an enlisted soldier and medic, so i served at home in a major army medical center. Much of my time there i worked convalescent orthopedics – so i worked with injured men returning from Viet Nam. I will never forget their nightmares and they vivid images of friends injured and dyeing that they could not forget.

Today i am spinning for Peace ~ i am still one footed (for one more week) so it is a spindle for me. As i spin i will repeat my metta prayer for peace and let the motion of the spindle send my prayers into the cosmos.

May i live in peace and harmony
May my friends and family live in peace and harmony
May all people live in peace and harmony

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Book Signing and Party at OFFF

This year is our 10th year at Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival and it seems like just a blink since the first year when we were back in the corner next to the kitchen across from Blue Moon Fiber Arts. I am always up for a party and to celebrate our “anniversary” Lann and i wanted to do something to give back to the community we love and that has been so good to us.

One conversation at Sock Summit led to another – Judy Becker has a new book coming out (Beyond Toes), Larissa Brown has a new book (My Grandmother’s Knitting), Deb Accuardi’s 2012 Knitter’s Datebook is just released and Ilisha Helfman’s book (Jazz Knitting) is hot off the press – what better reason for a celebration than this! So Saturday afternoon and early evening we are having a book signing and party. Starting in our booth in the 4H building we’ll have books and authors and contributor’s and photographers and garments! Once the market closes we will move out to the camp area and gather to see the work of all these great designers and celebrate their success and get our books and patterns signed!
Bring your books, bring snacks and drinks to share, bring your projects from any of these great books and join us in celebration!

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long time gone

This blog has done nothing but generate spam for a very long time. I am trying to figure it out and get current. I am going to take a picture of our campsite and try to figure out how to change the lead photo and add pictures (something i have never been able to figure out.)  I am working on a recaptcha thing to slow the march of spam. Ahhhh the things i will do to avoid paperwork!

Right now i am on my way to Stringtopia in Lebanon, Ohio where i am teaching with Abby Franquemont and Jacey Boggs. I am so looking forweard toto just being there.  Maggie and i have been camped in various place thru out Tennessee and Kentucky and have been working (some), weaving (more) just sitting and watching the wildlife (mostly).  Every time i try to do a little work Maggie decides it is time to sit on the computer – at home she sits in the printer but when she is sitting on the laptop keyboard she definitely gets in the way (or manages to turn the thing off or upside down!)

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friday morning goes around

i don’t know about other cities but in San Francisco the city cleans each street once a week – more accurately it cleans one side of the street on one day and the other side of the street on another day.  There are signs on every street posting the time and day of street cleaning and if you are parked there you will get a ticket. for us street cleaning is Friday morning – posted as between 9 and 11am, but in reality the street cleaner comes between 9:15 and 9:30 most Fridays.  Many of my neighbors just get up and go to work but about a dozen of us gather to do an elaborate dance of moving cars and trucks and 1 YarnV. We all go out and sweep our sidewalks and chat about what is going on in the neighborhood and drive onto the sidewalks or across the street or in my case around the block to pull back into the parking space in front of the house after the meter maid and the sweeper have gone by – the Friday morning goes around is a weekly ritual when i am at home.

This morning as i usually do – i swept the sidewalk and drove around the block and then came in to finish moving things around in the shop for the weekend sale. It looks like the weather will co-operate and give us a lovely wekend so we can spill out onto the sidewalk with all the colorful fiber and books and yarn.

New things added to the sale list

  • silk top
  • cotton roving
  • a single treadle Fricke spinning wheel with a woolee winder (not BOGO but a really good discount – currently they are going for $572 – i am selling this one for $300
  • a Hitchhiker spinning wheel – $250
  • back issues of Knitters and Cast On magazines
  • 2006 Crosspatch Creations
  • Romney Color Fancies and Bunny Balls
  • the last of the worsted weight shetland
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Passion Flower

Who knew that planting passion flower in San Francisco was a mistake? When Lann and i moved into our house in 1999 we decided to plant our tiny garden for the butterflies, bees and hummingbirds. So we cleaned out all the trash and weeds and put in lots of fertilizer and food and clean dirt and then busily planted jasmine, butterfly bush, fuschia, lavender, a few roses and 2 small passion flower vines – 1 red and 1 purple.

Then our lives changed. I bought Carolina Homespun and eventually Lann went to work for San Francisco General Hospital. We both lead very busy lives and the garden began to get neglected a bit. The good news is that we had created a little micro climate that seemed to require no care or watering on our part. The bad news is that passion flower left unchecked will take over the entire neighborhood.  Like jasmine i think it is an annual in some parts of the world – not San Francisco. The passion flower grew until it covered every thing – the butterfly bushes, the bee balm, the lavender, the roses, even the big mallow bush in the corner. If we did not whack it back at least once in a while it would cover the second floor porch and probably the back wall of the house!

Starting earlier this spring we have been making a concerted effort to reclaim the back yard. (the Jasmine was working its way inside the basement and the passion flower had once more reached the back deck – strong enough that the cats – even Cate at 20 pounds- could walk on it to get from fence up to the back deck railing.  So every time there is a reasonably warm, dry day and we are both home – something that really does not happen very often for so many reasons ;-) we go out and spend a few hours trying to tame the passion flower beast.

We did this again on Sunday.  We are now far enough in to get to the center of our little yard. Lann actually uncovered or reclaimed our little brick patio that is up close to the house and i got to wrangle the passion flower in the yard proper (remember it is still a little yard but even a little yard shoulder deep in passion flower is a rather daunting task. We now have a patch of dirt that the cats are truly enjoying – they played queen of the hole the whole time we sat out and watched the light change and admired our work at the end of the day on Monday – a ritual we refer to as porch time.

I say all this not because you really need to know the struggles we are having with our passion flower but because today i discovered that inventory is somewhat like that wild and crazy passion flower.  If left unchecked it expands beyond your capacity to contain it! So here i begin the list of things we will have on SALE for Memorial Day weekend.

  • Soy Felt Kits
  • Single Point Lighted Knitting Needles- Knit Lights
  • 2010 Spindle Calendars
  • Cotton mill ends for weaving
  • Dyed Bamboo and Ingeo
  • undyed Soy Silk
  • Harrisville Dyed Fleece for felting
  • Gaywool dyes
  • Country Classic dyes
  • Baby Llama, Baby Camel and Baby Alpaca Top
  • Taupe nylon spinning fiber
  • assorted natural color coned yarns – like rayon chenille, cotton chenille and some wools

Be sure to check the website – for times and all that kind of stuff!

I will add to the list tomorrow.

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BOGO – Buy One Get One Free I have always just thought of it as a really cool sale. Something to pay attention to with the possibility of getting a really good deal- that is until last week. I was at the grocery store buying food for my first night at home. The store was having a BOGO sale on a carton of 18 eggs. The woman ahead of me in  line was talking to the man behind her – someone from out of town on a camping trip with a big family and a tight budget. She was saying that she didn’t herself need the extra eggs but she was sure that someone would.  He said he could really use the eggs for his kids and so she gave him the “free” eggs.

What a fabulous thing to do! I really wish more people could and would give away free eggs at the grocery store. Too bad it is not something you could buy and leave in the food donation box at the front of the store.

We have been cleaning and rearranging the shop and thinking about having a clearance sale over Memorial Day weekend. In honor of the eggs we are going to make it a BOGO sale. We have loads of fiber, books, videos, magazines, yarn and even some equipment that we will be marking down and clearing out! Save the dates – Friday, May 28, Saturday, May 29 and Monday , May 31 will be very good days to go shopping for fiber!

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A Brilliant Blue Good Morning

I woke up early this morning (well early for me) i usually do the first morning in a new time zone going west. This is the first day in 30 days that i have woken up in the same time zone as my family in San Francisco! Also the first day in what seems like forever that the sky is brilliant blue and the sun is that amazing high desert sunshine that tears thru everything and wakes you in a blaze of brightness. I will try to take a picture today but i know my skills as a photographer just won’t do it justice ;-)

We – Maggie, Merlin and i have been driving thru the craziest weather- windy, rain and hail in Nebraska, wind, snow and hail thru Wyoming and Utah and snow in Eastern Nevada. The Ruby Mountains (a range in Eastern Nevada that is generally rugged and very dry) was snow covered almost down to the highway in places. Quite spectacular! According to Lann who watches the weather from home – we should have clear sailing for the rest of our trip and thank goodness for that – my arms are tired from holding the YarnV on the road.

My card for today is the Princess of Swords. In the Wheel of Change deck the princess is a brown skinned woman kneeling in her camp. Her horse and her tent are behind her and before her is a knife she is using to tan a hide. There is small garden filled with flowers and a brilliant sun in the sky above her. Alexandra Genetti (the author of the deck) says the princes of swords represents “the ability to learn from nature, the past and the future and to weave these threads into a new and unique life.”  mmmm interesting ……….

I have been reading the 100 most influential people of 2010 issue of Time magazine and thinking about the directions we are going and how that is reflected in the fiber community and whether or not to open a Facebook account at long last. (One’s mind wanders while driving the long miles between West Friendship and San Francisco.) I am not sure how Time magazine decided who are the 100 most influential people of the year. I would be curious to know. They did figure out a matrix of connectedness based on social networking connections online – Twitter and Facebook scores.  Did you know that from their list the most connected people are Barack Obama, Lady Gaga, and Ashton Kutcher?

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from the road

just a quick note to let you all know that i have reconnected the blog – had to move it to our new website. So check the link at Carolina Homespun for the new address.

Seems like i have been on the road forever. This trip started with CNCH in Santa Clara way back in mid April. At the end – we packed up the YarnV or the Yarnabago as Abby calls it and i headed south on my way to Stitches South in Atlanta. Made a couple of stops along the way – want to write more about exploring old Route 66… but will have to wait a bit for that. Visited my Mom in Arizona and stopped at Cecil Miskin’s Buffalo Ranch in Texas.

Stitches South was wonderful and has really grown. I loved getting to see the people we taught to spin last year coming in and showing off their handspun projects – but i have to say i really need your help – i am terrible at remembering to take photos for the blog. So it would help if you remind me or just send me pictures! Got to catch up with our friend Nada while she helped us in the booth and had Rachael Herron signing her fab new book “How to Knit a Love Song” all weekend.

Next up was Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival – more people than ever before and HOT – over 90.  After Maryland Lann headed for home and so did Maggie, Merlin and i – although our trip has certainly been much longer than Lann’s. We headed east and a bit south to stop and visit Abby Franquemont and talk about her upcoming spindle class at GGFI. It sounds really exciting – makes me wish i could take it as well.

We left Abby’s and drove like crazy to get ahead of the incoming storms- so we just had wind and rain – but not really any thunderstorms or tornados! Stopped near Kansas City to see Jacey Boggs and check in about her GGFI class and just visit – we mostly only she each other at festivals or events and there is never much time to actually visit. It was fabulous to sit and have a real conversation!

Now i am seriously homeward bound- i am ready to be home and still have about 1200 miles to go. The driving would be pleasant with all the spring greenery and flowers and wildlife – except for the wind which blows you sideways off the road if you are not careful!

more soonest and don’t forget to Spin For Peace

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