Wednesday, June 30, 2010


I learned at Spindle Camp that you can slide the cop onto a drinking straw for plying. That is "if" the spindle shaft isn't too thick and doesn't have a lot of embellishments. It's not exactly a "piece of cake" but does work with slow sliding and twisting.
The Green-
sleeves spindle on top has too thick a shaft and a couple of bobble whoopies, but the Ledbetter spindle worked just fine. I filled the Greensleeves spindle at Camp and the Ledbetter at Black Sheep. It was time to do what I've never done before - ply on a spindle.
I would have liked two straws on my Lazy Kate for both cops, but impro-
vised with this instead. I think it's hard on the hook to spin around on its head so will use that Greensleeves spindle in the future for plying and use two Ledbetter to get cops on straws. That's only three spindles, and yes I do need at least the five I already own. In case of emergencies. I might even need a 6th spindle - for emergencies that were unexpected emergencies, or something.

I eyed the spindles when I decided that they were full. Look at that straw and tell me that I don't have a good eye. I got lucky, is more like it! There's my full plied cop. It was falling off my spindle at Camp, when Sara explained that I need to wind in an exaggerated figure eight. Yes. I do.
The yarn is gorgeous. This is the fiber I got in trade from Mim. I think it's Merino, bamboo and silk - not sure. It's shiny and this skein is 1.75 ounces. I'm well on my way to a pair of socks. The ties stay on for now, until I decide if my socks are going to stay white or get color.

I know that using a drop spindle has made me a better wheel spinner. I think they both have their place. They both have their place in my heart.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Thunderstorm in June

I made a quick trip across the valley this morning to Mim's for eggs. I called to see if she was home and Bob said she was shopping, but that he'd be glad to sell me eggs. The clouds had just started forming as I left the house.
I wouldn't have given them a second thought, but right after breakfast, Eddie began hiding behind the toilet. That means there's going to be some electrical activity. Thunderstorms weren't in the NOAA forecast, just Eddie's.
I almost drove by these wild-
flowers on the road bank, thinking they were just weeds. I've never seen them before and can't identify them in my Wildflowers of the Eastern Sierra book.
It was quite showy, once I got out of the car and looked more closely. I think it looks like a flower from a Victorian magazine, kinda lacy and sweet.
The wildflower cycle is seriously disrupted with the coolness this year so I was happy to see one my favorites, Prickly Poppy. Their end of the valley is high but also has a more shallow water table.
Breaking yet again and sprinting from the car in my rubber flip-flops - I just have to get a picture of this field of Yampah. It's delicate like Queen Annes lace and is so pastoral. Well, yeah. It is a pasture.
I took so much time getting photos that the storm almost beat me home. The squall was upon us in no time, so I decided to knit on the front porch and enjoy the sounds and smells that some with huge raindrops of a summer storm. The songbirds and crickets sang along. I'm knitting with the silk that I plied with brown Merino. It reminds me of M & Ms.

After the thunder and lightening had passed and the wind died down, I realized I could see a reflection of the storm in the still waters of our garden fountain.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Colors of June from the High Desert

I knew Sue was going to post her colors-of-the-
month blog soon, so right after we got back from vacation, I did a ride about the valley and took pictures. On a USGS 15 minute map, this feature is labeled Renners Artisan Well.

In the reeds I can see a black-headed yellow bird. They are so, so pretty, but their cry sounds just like a chain saw and I seem to have missed their season. In June the reeds should be filled with their obnoxious song.
I didn't fool with the photo. Okay, I did, but then decided to go with the raw version. June has been so strange this year and normally the reeds would be filled with these loud opinionated birds - this at least represents two of a gillion that were here last year.
I had to pull over to catch this picture in the upper canyon the other day. The Composite has gone wild this year. We shouldn't have any wildflowers in June at all, but this year is in a strange cool cycle. We've only had three days above 80 degrees since we got back from Oregon.
If you've ever heard of "The Riders of the Purple Sage" - this is the real deal. It's pretty raw and I have to wonder how this plant caused Zane Gray to write a book, then moguls make a movie that inspired a band. Oh well. It grows in the sandy bank at the north end of the valley.
We are so water poor here that I love every bit of it, anywhere. I stopped at the University the other day to see DD Chris and was captivated by the swans in Manzanita Lake.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Black Sheep, Final Chapter

Friday night a group of 11 from our Reno guild had dinner at Taco Loco in Eugene. This is a significant restaurant for Ian and me. Eight years ago we ate dinner here with Amy and Laura. It was Saturday and our house in Reno had gone on the market that day. Our Realtor held an open house and it sold about noon. After we ate, we went to Kinkos where we received the paperwork by fax, signed it and faxed it back. Another chapter closing.
Every year since we've gone, Susie and Dan Wilson from SuDan Ranch roast lamb for a Saturday night potluck. It's a tradition that is followed by the Shepherd's Lead, a parade of sheep being led by their shepherds, wearing something they have created from their sheep, an event that is always SRO at the arena.

My favorite event of the weekend is the wool show, but my pictures were terrible. You can see the pictures that Tina took here - she did a good job showing Judith MacKenzie work her magic, and I do mean magic.
The rain stopped long enough for dinner and we were serenaded by this wonderful, all-girls bluegrass band. A step dancer moved from the grass to behind them, where you can't see her. It was a wonderful touch and I've decided I simply have to learn how to step dance though I don't know where to start.

Valerie's right. I did purchase more than just spindles. I emailed Carolina Homespun and asked them to bring a Lendrum fast flier. My friend Allison who teaches spinning here said that this groove, deeper than the yarn, is producing drag on my fiber and since I had already worn through one wire guide, I ordered an entire replacement. It's not a fun item, but Oregon doesn't have state tax and I didn't have to pay shipping.
These aren't exactly fun, but closer. The three buttery yellow cones of 8/2 cotton were $6 each at the Russell Groeff estate sale booth. A local weaving shop also had a booth so I got more rug warp and also some copper and iron mordants - hope to use the mordants soon.
I picked up this Merino/
bamboo roving for Amy who was attending a library conference at the same time. She and Heidi share a love of purple, and I'll admit they have influenced me.
This was my splurge. I said I wasn't going to buy anything that I could make myself, and while I could certainly make this roving, I lost control when Mim showed me the four braids she had just bought from them. She's a dyeing fool, so I rationalized. I could buy four too. One day these will be two pair of socks.
I finished the baby blanket yesterday and Baby Boy Briggs was delivered this morning at 4:33. I'm delivering the blanket today, pun intended.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Black Sheep, Part 2

It's been about six years since I've been to a fiber event with vendors. Since I have sheep at my house and I'm not the shepherd, I decided to spend my time on the fiber end. This is inside the entrance of the main gallery, with two galleries flanking it on either side.

I had two things on my agenda - visit and shop. I did both very well. This is the west gallery and the area behind the right edge of the photo is where the fiber arts judging was taking place - very slowly, I might add. I elected not to watch since it was cutting into the time for my two stated goals.
Most of my budget was spent in this booth. This is Ken Ledbetter of KCL Woods. I asked him to pose with the spindle I just bought. They are all pretty so I tested until I found one that seemed to spin the best for me. I also tested a purpleheart spindle and decided to come back the next day and see if I still liked it.
And this is Heidi. She is an advanced spindler and also a lover of purple. She came into Ken's booth the next day, just as I was trying the purple-heart spindle again. I really liked it and she said it had attracted her attention as well, but when she tried it, she got a vicious wobble. She tried it again, with the same result. She gave it back to me and it behaved brilliantly so she tried it again - same thing. Ken said he sees that all the time. Who would have thought that spindles could be so individualized?!
These are my two major purchases. I went with the intention of buying a spindle. I just didn't expect to buy two and from the same wood turner. There were plenty to choose from. I now own five spindles. I think that's enough. I'm spinning a blend that I traded Mim for of Merino, bamboo and tencel.
What I traded her for was also my trip knitting. I finished a pair of Noro socks for me (left) and knit a pair for her (right). The yarn was hers. I supplied the labor. It was a great trade!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Black Sheep, Part I

Our trip was tripped up when we lost our site to online reserva-
tions. We either needed to leave and find a motel - hah! or move to another nearby site. After having dinner with friends who retired here from Reno, we elected to move the campsite. It was 9:00 when we started, but being north, it's light later. We were able to pull up the tent and walk it to the new, less desirable site in under an hour. Uncomfortably close to the showers, it seemed okay. I wonder what it looked like for the other campers when when we did the campsite shuffle with a fully-loaded 11'x12' tent. Great tent, BTW - thanks Coleman.

We drove into Eugene and the Lane County Fair-
grounds the next morning. It's been six years since Ian and I were here last and we were astonished at how much bigger the event has become, to the point that vendors are in Easy-Ups outside the main venue.
I can tell you that one of the thrills of this event is old friends. Caught here - Mike, Linda and Marianne. Linda is my friend who stepped away from her corporate life, sold her house and moved to Washington to be with her love - a guy that Ian and I both like a lot. Marianne is our guild friend from Burney in the mountains, who is working with the lady who bought Russell Groff's inventory and is one of the booths. I bought a brass sley hook embossed with Robin and Russ, because I've always worried that I'd lose the only one I have.
Okay - this is my favorite picture of all. I was shooting the picture when they said, let's get a stranger to shoot it so you can be in it. A woman overheard, and became our stranger camera angel. It's me, Becky, Laura, Michelle and Mim, pronounced Meem, long story. I don't know what to say, because our blogger roots are much deeper than this picture. Only Michelle had the presence of mind to wear her own work.

I have stalled at what to say next for at least ten minutes, typing and erasing. I guess I would say that the down side of blogging is making friends that you care about so deeply and who live so far away that you ache to say goodbye to them. Okay, I cried when we drove away. What can I say.
The is my last image for this post, but it's an important one for me. Ian and Mike are chatting, my purple purse is present on the table, Linda is evaluating a hat that Laura made - her hats are insanely brilliant - next to Becky whose high school daughter made her an unexpected and also doting grandmother this year, to Robin in the dark shirt and her sister Toni. Doris is in the foreground with a white shirt.

Robin and Toni's parents have been our neighbors for the past eight years. Their mother, Mandy, has fought cancer ever since we moved out here and lost the battle just last week. We cried together in a surprised vendors' booth. While Mim isn't in the picture, she too lost her mother this past year, right before Christmas following a short illness.

And in the recent past, Doris lost her mother during a terrible fire season and had to fly East, leaving neighbors, friends and firefighters in charge of her farm and sheep. It was an emotional time for us daughters. It's never easy, is it. I tried to figure a tag for this post, but you know, there's not one for us daughters, is there.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Eugene Oregon

We are in Eugene and have taken our laptops to the public library for a couple hours this afternoon. We are limited to one hour of WiFi so this will be quick. This evening, we're having dinner with library friends who retired here from Reno. I think I'm a bit like - you can take the girl from the country, but you can't take the country from the girl.

Don't think I missed a photo of the Deschutes Public Library in Bend - here it is right here. I might have retired from the library, but the library is still in me.
We are camped at Richard-
son Park, and I absolutely love how our tent nestles under the cedar trees. No mosquitoes for us. We had reservations for the new county campground, but when we got there, discovered they had neglected to mention on the website that there are no showers - yet to be constructed. They switched our reservations over to Richardson, where we have stayed before and are staying again!
We are sur-
rounded by birds, fall asleep to them, wake up to them. It's wonderful and just what I expect from vacation camping. I looked up from my book to this robin hopping around our campsite, successfully nabbing worms. The ground is wet from the rain showers, so I get to watch his strange hopping, stopping and then nose into the grass, back up with a worm, head toss - and down the hatch. Good entertainment - keeping me from my book.
I take full respon-
sibility for the unsummer this year. I bit the bullet and purchased expensive dark glasses. I've never done it before, always gotten by on drug store dark glasses. Do you know that ever since I bought these last month, I have not needed to use them!

Black Sheep starts tomorrow morning and I cannot wait to meet my blog friends in the flesh, many for the first time - wow!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

So Long Bend

Lava flows are a distinctive feature in the city of Bend and form the path of the Deschutes River. Missy took us for a 3-mile walk on a river path. The people here are very environmentally aware and love the outdoors, note the kayakers.
These flows in some cases dammed up the river and caused diversions which have created the rapids and white water for which the river is famous. Many homeowners use the rocks present in their yards in landscaping. Josh is building a rock wall in the backyard with theirs.
Below the rapids the river meanders lazily through the city. Years ago we ate our first meal in Bend, sitting outside at the Red Robin, watching kayaks and inner tubes float by. One guy even called out a greeting and waved to us.

This was the turn around for our walk, a wooden bridge across the river, more white water and rapids upstream. The trail was crazy busy with runners, walkers and elementary school children with their teachers and parents, spending their last day of school on a field trip. Ya gotta like this place.
This is the other side of the trail - love the bench and wild flax. The temper-
atures have been below normal all week, 36 degrees this morning with a high of 64 expected and a chance of rain showers. We were lucky to get a sunny day for our walk!

The last day of school was just half day, so Josh met us for lunch, then we went to the library to get library cards and check out books. The boys signed up for summer reading club. Evan settled in to read while Mommy looked for her own books.

The library is absolutely gorgeous, with a huge childrens department. One whole corner reading area is filled with huge, very over-sized stuff bears and clearly beloved by children burrowed beneath them, buried in their own books. You can imagine how much I loved being part of that!

Group photo on our last day.