Monday, March 16, 2009

The Current List

The current list of things to do is so long that I really don't know where to start. I can't seem to prioritize anything. Stuff comes to the top in crisis and more is added to the list every day. Because of this situation, I tend to ignor everything until it becomes a crisis. This is not pro-active behavior.
Awhile back, we moved a piano and spent a couple of weeks recovering. That was just our bodies. The house is still recovering. Most of the wooly room is usable, which means I can find things and get to them- but I would not say it is pretty. And bit by bit the dining room has gotten usable. We have stereo, and speakers, and most of the table, and a little piece of the counter top. I moved Cabinet 1 a couple of weeks ago and sorted through it, tossed some stuff, and re-organized. Today- Cabinet 2! Yes, I did. I sorted out old jars of jam, tossed shelf expired items, reorganized the jar boxes, and made the ultimate sacrifice- threw away empty glass jars.
Not all jars are created equal. Jars for home canning have heavier glass bottoms and uniform threads and opening sizes for clean lids and rims. But I had saved many jars of various sizes and makes for other types of storage- like dried beans. As I collected the proper canning jars from thrift stores or relatives, I neglected to get rid of those unequal jars. Some of the jars I saved were because they had interesting shapes, or a picture of Italy embossed in the glass. But today, I cleaned out many of the old, interesting jars and recycled them for the last time. I found some canned produce from 2004- gone. Old jam that no one really liked- gone. What about that tomato pickle that only I eat, sometimes- mostly gone.
So now, my cabinet is moved and reorganized. My jars are nearly organized and clean for the next season, and I realize that once again I have canned far more food than we really eat. We are awash in apple sauce. We have peaches aplenty. And there is tomato sauce for gallons of spaghetti.
Guess what you are having for dinner, honey. Bean soup, spaghetti, peach cobbler, apple spice cake, a variety of jams on toast. But not all at once- I still have three months before it is time to make more applesause.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Black Friday the 13th

There were many things on the list to do. Once was to mail the clean wool to Zeilinger's to be made into roving. But the more I thought about it, the less I wanted to mail it off. I have a drum carder and carding tools. I should, say it again- should- , do this work myself. So I rearranged the priority list again.
I got out the drum carder and started on the Red dyed Shetland, then did the purple, and finally finished the green. About 1 1/2 pounds. Then I opened the box of "not sent to Zeilinger's" wool.
It is white-ish in an oatmeal sort of way, and it did look inviting, but part of me wanted to play a bit before working again, so my thoughts went black.
Dyed black wool.
Dyed black on Friday the 13th. Bwaahaha. And a couple of black silk hankies to go with it.
I have used some of the other colors, but I have never dyed black. It is kinda redish purpleish grayish so I added a little greenish. Oh, maybe a bit too much color for the amount of wool, but I can always dye a bit more to soak up the color.
After about 20 minutes in the hot bath- I took some out to test the color run qualities. Awful- ran like a demon. So back into the bath for about 1 hour. Finally, color steady- no running. Black takes longer than other colors.
But the black silk is really pretty and took up the color in a snap. Next time- more black silk. That stuff is really going to be a hit with my other fibers.
Everything is hanging out to dry now- the pot is in the sink waiting its turn.
And the box, well it is not empty- imagine that. There is still about 2 pounds of wool to card. And I am tired. So I will card another day and take a nap today. My creative juice has used up all my energy. But when I get up- there will be black and it will be good.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Field Trip

Sometimes, when I am not playing, I am a spinning teacher. Well, that is like playing with other people, but sometimes I also make money. Not much, but a little. And when my students "graduate" from my beginning class, they often become my spin buddies. We get together for spin days, show off our newest projects, chat about fibers and techniques, explore other machines.
Last week, my spin buddies and I went on a field trip. We went to the Riverside Convention Center to a spinners and weavers conference. We just went for the day, to shop and explore. It only costs $10 for a day pass and we got to go to the Gallery, try out every machine there, be in a spinning contest, fondle and drool over lovely fibers, and shop. Parking was free, we took our lunch and ate at the tables in the center.
At the spinning competition area, you could sit at the wheels and try all kinds of different fibers they had in a basket. Some were long wools or silk blends, they even had dog hair roving. Ok, stop laughing. It's true. Dog hair roving.
Because this was geared toward weavers, there was plenty of yarn for sale in very large quantities. There were some of the most beautiful woven shawls, all kinds of hand made wooden parts and tools, dyes, rovings, and specialty items.
So, I was bad. I shopped. The group bought some items with the idea that we would share some between us, but I also bought just for me. I bought 8oz of prime Cashmere roving-$35. I bought a package of Ashford merino/silk just because I wanted to try their stuff- $15. There was the cotton/linen stuff -$6 and three little bags of Fox- not real fox, it is cotton like Linen tow. Very fun looking. A bobbin, always need another bobbin, and Silk. We were getting the silk to split up. 1 pound of Bombyx for $60, 1 of Honey Tussah, $48. I ended up with 5oz of each and the others split up the rest.
After all the money changed hands, products were sorted, gas estimated, dinner finished...I had a $125 Saturday, and a lifetime of fun memories.
I love my spin buddies. And I am really interested in playing with my new toys.
Later, when we meet again, Maggi will be partway (or maybe done) with her beaded shawl, and Juli will have done some blending with the silk, and Jan will have spun some of the Alpaca she won in the contest. We will have show and tell, while we spin and chat and remember our fun field trip.
I don't remember school field trips being this much fun when I was a kid.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Letting It Go

Ok, I said it out loud. Now I have to follow through. I am letting somethings go. Oh, you don't know how difficult this is. A couple of weeks past, my sweetie and I moved a piano, a giant potted plant, and a bunch of bedroom furniture (daybed, trundle, bedding, etc). In return, I collected my full bed frame and Stef's full bed and linens. It didn't end there though. All the mass of stuff in the guest/wool room had to come out and all the stuff on the piano had to be moved around. And then all the spaces needed to be cleaned. And all the stuff needed to be reorganized. Yes, that word organized is buried in there and cleaning.
So this is where things stand. That very night I got the corner for the bed cleaned and the bed frame oiled and set up, the bed installed on it, and the bed made. I put away bedding and threw all the wooly stuff on the bed. Day two- I died from the pain of moving furniture- repeat for several days.
After about a week, I started working on the dining room chaos. I cleaned and moved 1 cabinet. I took all cooking related items from the guest room closet and moved them to the dining room (consolidation). I threw away a bag full of stuff. And then she rested, again.
After about a week, I started on the wooly room again. I have sorted and arranged. I have calculated and designed. And what I have is a bed full of bags of wool that need to be carded and spun. I have several projects in stages of completion. And I have stuff that is on the edge- not in a good way. So a great bag of stuff went to Amvets last week. And today, I am making a very hard decision. One of my very first fleeces, Big Mama, the dirtiest sheep in the world, has already been skirted, washed, and 1/2 thrown away. I kept 2 pounds to continue picking and carding. But I have lots of lovely Merino I would rather spin. Some is already roving. Big Mama keeps moving down the list, never getting closer to the top, never getting done. I think I would rather shear a new sheep than work on that stuff.
So I have decided to let her go. And I promise I will never do another sheep like that again.
Getting rid of fleece, fuzzy, soft, comforting fleece, the most lovely addiction in the world, that is so comforting and sensual, uh, where was I? Oh, yes! getting rid of fleece, that I have spent so much time on, skirting and washing, sorting and fretting over, touching lovingly, stroking, uh, fleece, uh. Well, you can see that it is very difficult to let it go.
If I post it on Ravelry, someone will want me to mail it to them and I would have to box it, and handle it and fondle it, and it just wouldn't happen. So I am going to stuff it in a plastic bag and send it to the dumpster. And then I will be one bag lighter, but a world of work will be gone.
It is not a complete loss, because a couple of pounds of Big Mama has been used and spun. But there is a part of me that abhors tossing fleece. Even free fleece. So if I am a bit moody for a couple of days, bear with me. It is a hard thing to do.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Things old and nearly forgotten

Time it was and what a time it was, I have a photo graph. Preserve your memories. They're all that's left you.
There are things that we do in this world that are unexplainable. Why would some people put so much effort into a project for their posterity, with no guarantee that posterity will even know about it, let alone about the effort? The hope of a better future? A wish that all children will have a better world. A time when hopes and dreams require so much energy that thought is pushed aside by the brute force of it.
Many came to a new world for a better life. Many came to a new town for better jobs and opportunities. Many came to a new University to make a statement and a place for it. Many chose one opportunity over family, friends, and history.
It is not good to look back and wonder what would be different had I taken another path, or withheld the energy at the time for something else. There are choices and consequences and rewards.
My children had wonderful rewards. I had wonderful rewards. And for 25 years, others had wonderful rewards. I don't regret the energy spent, the time committed, the sweat and stress endured. In that moment, I made decisions for my life and the lives of many others and I am still proud of them.
I won't cry for yesterday, there's an ordinary world, somewhere, I have to find. And as I try to find my way, to the ordinary world, somehow I will survive.