Thursday, June 25, 2009


Fluffys Garden, fluffy... garden... fluffy, fluffy. Hmmm.
For the last two years, Fluffysgarden has been more about fluffy and less about garden. Part of this is because the the Wool Addiction and part is because of the chicken affliction. Well, chickens are fluffy in places, but they are mostly garden destroyers. I have not focused as much on the growing things because the little birds would terrorize the sprouts, roto-till the seeds up, and in general re-distribute the soil and mulch.
I had managed to scratch a bit out of the beds- tall things mostly and things they chickens didn't like. But this year, there are no more chickens. I am restoring the beds and planting great yummy stuff. We had lettuces, celery, carrots, peas, onions, cabbage, brocolli and fava bean already. Now I am planting the summer garden and hoping for some squash and long beans. It has been more rewarding to do this work knowing that the chickens are not going to dig it up. I had forgotten how much I love the soil and eating the fresh veggies.
The Wool Addiction is still going strong, though. It takes up lots of time- washing, carding, dying, spinning, knitting..and..weaving almost. This year, we drove to Oregon to the Black Sheep Gathering at Eugene. I spent two days in Wooly bliss- fondling fleeces, stroking roving, investigating blends and tools. I left with a car full of fleece, roving, honey and people.
Honey? that is not fluffy you say. Well, I have to admit that fluffy has a sweet tooth. I say I bought it for my husbear, but really does he need 60 pounds of honey? I also bought 60 pounds for my friends and re-distributed between Oregon and So.Cal. Most of them bought a 5 lb jug or two, but I buy in cases and get good prices for them. Thus, we have a year supply of sticky sweet stuff- a by product of fluffyness.
So for the fleeces, wools, blends, batts, fluff balls- I am re-energized in my Wool Addiction. I have been spinning up older projects to get them done so that I can wash and spin the new and exciting stuff. I am cleaning my drum carder and getting ready to address the last of last year so that I can get on with the new and knit with the old. I am passionate and inspired.
I am not yet ready to balance the Fluffy with the Garden. I think it will take the rest of this year to settle back into the garden cycles and get the beds re-organized. But I am up for the job and looking forward to a chicken free environent full of fluff and good eats.
Now, for a bit of greasy wool and some thoughtful spinning.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Jonesin' for the wheel

I don't often have this feeling. Tense, distracted, anxious, calculating, restless. I am aching to get a chance to spin. I don't often have this feeling because I would normally just sit and spin for awhile each week. But, it has been several weeks since I last spun. Too many things to do. Too much work, planning, packing, sorting, building, sewing, knitting, writing, cooking, calling, digging, washing, just too much stuff to do. Part of the planning was to get stuff on the sticks so that I had something to knit while we travel. I started three projects. In the process, I had to clean out some stuff in the wooly room and dig my way to the storage bed.
After I made a narrow path to the bed, the bags of fleece started whispering to me- "Spin me." " No! Spin me!" I took the Kiwi out and all my partially full bobbins. I plied until the bobbins were clear and put the Kiwi away. But the whispering didn't stop. Everytime I went into the room, the fleeces were rustling restlessly expecting to be taken out. One of them fell over and spilled a bit of fluff at my feet. As I gathered it back to itself, it called to me. "Touch me, feel me, spin me."
I gathered up the bobbins, the Joy and the fabric to make a bag. I got the sewing machine out and some sewing tools. I noticed that I was becoming tense and nervous in the room. But as I sewed the bag, I was not nervous at all. It was creative and useful and cheap- I was very happy with it. I started to fill it with the Joy, some bobbins, some tools, and some rovings. That is when the Jones started. Touching the roving made me very excited and anxious. I wanted to spin it right now. I wanted to unload the whole bag and spend the rest of the day spinning. Maybe into the night. Maybe all the next day too. Then I realized that the last time I actually spun anything was at the end of May. 2 1/2 weeks with no real wheel contact. The plying took but a moment and was only to clear off the bobbins. But real spinning, the feel of fiber slipping gently through my fingers, the soft smell of sheepyness, the gental whir of the wheel- it had been a long time and there was no time now to do it. I was packing for the trip. I would not spin for many more days. The anxiety was building and I started trying to find ways to sneak in some spinning- any spinning, even on a drop spindle.
That is when I realized I was Jonesin' for the wheel. I was in withdrawal. The fiber addiction had me down and writhing in discomfort as I calculted when I would next get a chance to spin. Friday night? Saturday at the meeting? Drop spindle in the car instead of knitting?
And the wooly room wasn't helping me at all. The color bottles and the white roving tried to convince me that there was time to dye a bunch for the road. The black fleece was saying, "Finish me, I am almost done. There is a sweater trying to get to you." My silk was making soft breezy sounds and the soy was reminding me that It was New and Exciting. What would I spin if I had the chance? I had packed about a pound of stuff, but I wanted to pack another pound- but why. I would not get enough time to spin 2 pounds of stuff. The Alpaca was saying, "Let me just touch you for a moment. You know you want to."
Yes, I want to. Yes, yes. No. I need to mow, and water, and do laundry. I need to cook dinner and pack the coffee supplies. I need to empty the car and wash the windows. I closed the door to the wooly room hoping that the phrase "Out of sight, out of mind" would help.
I am resting gently now. I am closer to being done packing and have most of the errands done. I am breathing softly and evenly and have clear thoughts. I will spin tomorrow on a drop spindle at the meeting- some white merino should be nice. Something thin and satisfying, and soft. Yes, I know. I gave in. But I just love the feel of the fiber.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Hobbies or Nightmares

Sometimes it is hard to tell.
I love to try new things but I very seldom continue with the intense interest that is the hallmark of a new project or hobby. That high level of energy and time can just suck the life out of you and take over your whole world. And there are just too many things I want to do to invest all of me in a single, hobby black hole. Multiple black holes? Stop sniggering.
So, I love to spin and because I spin, I have great volumes of yarn. I wash the fleeces and spin, I buy rovings and spin, and I blend fibers and spin. I have a folder of beautiful shawl and sweater patterns. I am developing my own pattern for a leafy thing. I have books and tools and way more stuff than I can finish in a lifetime. I have a lathe that sits forlornly in the garage, covered with raw wool fleeces. Fleeces waiting to be washed, tools waiting to me used, yarn waiting to be useful, a garden waiting to be harvested. And what am I doing while all this is waiting- spinning? Well wouldn't that be nice.
Actually I have been obsessed with making a pair of socks to enter in a judged show in Oregon. The socks were too small for Eduard, so they will be for Max. A calculation error that made me quite annoyed. I lovingly spun a tiny, tiny thread to three ply for socks knit on size one needles. I have given myself a stiff neck, punctured my finger, and nearly gone blind. Did I mention this was a black wool? Yes, spinning and knitting black is very hard to see. I can only do it during the daylight hours. And there were cables. Just slap me. Big chunks of days have been spent on these socks- from spinning to knitting to filling out forms and documenting- so that I can give them to a 5 year old.
I want you to know that I actually love knitting socks, but not all socks are created equal. I did not love these socks. Now they are done and I am writing up the forms for the entry. I look at the socks and they don't look so wonderful or special. They don't seem like award winning socks, high quality yarn, or such a lovely design. They are well executed and sized for Max, but I am disappointed. They are not for Eduard. They didn't use up lots of yarn and fleece. They are not so wonderful that I can look at my waiting tools and other hobbies and justify the time spent.
This has been a nightmare pair and I need a break for a bit. I have some large yarn for making a felted pumpkin bag on big needles. I have some lovely hand spun lace weight for a beaded shawl. I have three bags of soil amendment and a waiting garden. I have a wooly room in a state of chaos and the house is in serious need of cleaning. I have 5 looms waiting for reconstuctive surgery. And, I am having dinner guests tomorrow.
I need to push my hobbies aside and struggle out of the gravitational pull so that I can get my house in order. Last night I dreamed I was walking through a park in Solvang with Eduard and I had forgotten to get dressed in the morning. I was strolling through town naked with my drop spindle, spinning. Usually, when you get the "naked in public" dream you feel embarrassed about your naked body. Not me. I was annoyed that I had forgotten my clothes, but talked to people about the spinning anyway.
So, today is a new day, the socks are off the sticks, and I am going to start cleaning the house. Laundry, kitchen, garden, bathrooms, living room. I am going to fight the urge to bring out the wheel, start another project, lounge in the wooly room stroking my stash. Really. I promise.
Edited update- Blue Ribbon, Max has the socks now.