Monday, May 30, 2011

Craft Fair Prep

I tied another warp onto the 8/4 cotton warp, but this time I used these wooden clips that Melissa gave me. You slide two dowels through the cross into the holes on the clips which are lashed onto the front beam.
Here's another view. Last time I tied on the front, I used lease sticks for the cross. This was so much faster and easier to see the next thread - I was done in no time.
Not to belabor the point, but here's the total view, in case you know a wood-
worker friend who could make a set of these for you. They are the hot ticket for warping from the front.
These are the colors I've chosen for my first set of hit-and-
miss place mats. I thought I'd keep the palette a little soft and see if they strike anyone's fancy.
This is the color pathway I chose for the second set of mats. In for a penny, in for a pound. The strips are wound and ready to weave. There's nothing to do but weave them and not do this again!
I went over to Mim's for a couple hours this morning and visited with Laura, who is visiting over the Memorial Day weekend from Oregon. It's always fun to catch up with old friends. I cut these strips and sewed them after lunch, and then checked my phone for messages. I forgot that I had invited my neighbor Gere to come over at 3:00 and I'd show her how to knit.

Actually Gere was just refreshing what her grandmother taught her. I introduced her to Elizabeth Zimmerman and showed her the first knitting book I ever bought - Knitting without Tears, which Diane Soucy said I needed to own, and she was right. I loaned Gere needles, stitch markers and Diane's baby sweater pattern - she already had the baby yarn. We talked about gauge and she understands her sweater will be smaller than the pattern. She learned long-tail cast on and knitted on circular needles for the first time. It was fun getting better acquainted and she was thrilled with her project when she left a couple hours later. We plan to make this a regular Neighbor Knits event and are recruiting other neighbors.
I should have been winding my pinwheels while Gere knitted, but instead I knitted along with her. I ended up watching TV tonight and winding them. These are pseudo hit-and-miss as the order is not random but the colors are completely unrelated. I need to weave as much as I can tomorrow but we have company coming in the afternoon for a couple of days and I'll be in town Wednesday all day again.

I was able to assemble a dozen hat kits last Friday. Surprisingly, it takes about a half hour to select yarns, wind the yardage and put a kit together. My spun Shetland wool bin is very empty right now. I haven't been under this much pressure since I was in college! Now I know what Julie was talking about as she got ready for craft fairs last year. I'm still looking forward to Saturday.

Nothing new to report on the weather front.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Sheep Shearing

Today was shearing day. Our poor boys need to be shed of these coats, and the weather has been so cool that I'm confident that none of them has molted. It's supposed to be a high of 42 tomorrow with a chance of snow. Good grief.
The thing with Devon is that you know the date, but you never know the time. He called about 2:30 to say he was just leaving Yreka so he would be here later in the day. That's at least a five hour drive and he was shearing Neighbor Nancy after us!
Ollie and Mickey look on anxiously as Robby gets his turn. Devon is also a farrier so was shoeing horses all morning. He and his girlfriend also have a Corriedale sheep ranch. I admire him.
Mickey would watch and watch and then run back to me and have me chuckle his chin. Being last is hard.

And then he'd run back and look to see what Devon was doing. It's the not knowing that made him a nervous wreck. Devon charges $6 a sheep and $40 to come out.
Economically it makes no sense to have these guys, but they have become part of the rhythm of our lives. They're so happy when their coats are off and as Devon says, they're pets.
They're pets who make pretty fluff. I really would like to process the fleeces myself this year. We'll see.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Going Home

I love the Yuba River. They tell me that deep Persian blue color is because of a natural occurring mineral. I say "natural" since there were so many chemicals introduced during the mining years. I put on a sweater and drove home with my windows down so I could hear it.

Even the road cuts are inter-
esting. If you click for big, you can see all the wild flowers that have found purchase in rock crevices.

Highway 49 follows the river and so is equally windy. There are plenty of warning signs and when the curve is really tight, you get an extra warning sign. Watch out for prancing deer is what we call this sign.
I came around a corner and found the road otherwise occupied, so slowed and stopped. I've never hit a deer but I've heard enough stories from those who have. I waited until they cleared the road and one obliged my camera with a cameo on the bank.
I got to the summit of Yuba Pass, elevation 6,701 feet, and thought this was too ironic to pass up. There is still a snow pack, and in some places especially along the stream beds, it's 4 feet. And here are bicyclists clamoring to enjoy a weekend without rain and with dry roads.
After the pass, I crossed into the Eastern Sierras, and I have never not once in all the years I've lived here, stopped at the vista point. I had stopped so many times already, and so I stopped again. This is Sierra Valley, and the mountain in the right distance is Peterson. It's the view from our living room, but looking at the east side of it. It's a pretty ginormous view.
And since I had already pulled Eleanor over more times than I'm willing to let on, I stopped to catch this. It's on the corner of 49, where I turn left for 89 and Sattley. . This defunct sawdust mill has been just like this since I first came in 1968 and it's a memory - don't know why. I guess because it's always been there.
A number of years ago I was at a local water color show and found this piece by Larry Jacox. I never have spending money but I showed the painting to Ian, and we now have it hanging in the hall. It was just titled Yuba River and I think he nailed it. It means a lot to me to have this little piece of the place I love right here in our house.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Spindle Camp and Done

The early birds welcomed sunset and so those who were feeling the spirit, or spirits as it were, came down to our cabin to visit, and we did this three nights in a row until 11:30. Grrls camp! Note the Pringle can on the table to the right of Kate. It has my Greensleeves Fox spindle in it. I take it in its can/case to guild meetings.
And while we were sitting there, Jan showed me how to slide my cop (the spun single) off of the spindle shaft onto a drinking straw. She had an extra special step. She has cut circles from drink lids, cut small crosses in the centers, and then slides one of the disks onto each end of the cop to keep it in place until it's time to ply the single. Snazzy!

I was on the Golding website this morning. A couple of you commented on how much you love your Golding spindles. I've sold some soap and so have a PayPal balance, but I have no idea what to order- there are lots of weights and whorls. I'm visually attracted to a 3" whorl but perhaps it's because that's what my KCL spindles are. I see that Goldings can get heavy pretty quickly, and I favor a lighter spindle. Feedback from Golding aficionados - please!!
I packed up my car and went down to say goodbye. All the Easy-Ups and screened food tents break down into such small containers. It's hard to believe we were a city just the night before. It was a privilege and honor to spend three days with such talented, intelligent, artistic, energetic, interested and motivated women who support and love one another. They make the world a better place.

Ian does all the car stuff when we camp and packed for me before I left. I think I did a pretty good job getting it all in - sleeping bag, food, clothes, wheel, chair. Check. Room for two, not so much.

I said goodbye to Birdsong who told me about a flea market and plant sale just before I the Hwy 49 junction. I really needed to just drive and get home, but I couldn't resist the sale.
Ian planted our tomatoes in walls-of-water last Friday. I bought just one more. I am really excited about this heirloom tomato - it's a green zebra and the growing season is only 75 days long - we have a 90-day growing season. They recommended we grow this in a pot so we can move it in case of frost. These plants are for sale by nouveau-hippies who are seed savers and selling starts from their own seeds - I got some basil too. I thought is was the perfect finish to a perfect weekend. Jan, my co-planner in this foolishness, emailed me the next day to say that it was raining and it's raining here right now. The fiber gods were smiling on us. We were blessed, pronounced bless. ed.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Spindle Camp III

Susan Prince used to be a fund raiser for KVIE, a PBS affiliate in Sacra-
mento, and so took it upon herself to see what freebies she could roust up for we campers, and it turns out - a lot! We drew for winners and there was something for everyone.
This was the crowning jewel in the SWAG, which I learned stands for "stuff we all get." In all the years I participated in 10K fun runs and got SWAG bags, I never knew why we called it that. Susan knew!
Golding sent this gorgeous spindle, which is worth more than $100. There were at least a dozen Golding spindles present and I know of one ordered by phone from the campsite. I tested it and it does spin better than mine. I didn't win this and I am still thinking about ordering one.
My BFF Barbara Sue got this goodie bag, which was the next coolest prize after the spindle. It was filled with goodies.
This is my lucky ticket - BFL and tussah silk top from Miss Babs. I've never heard of her - none of us but Susan Prince had. She's from Mountain City, TN and was crazy in her generosity. I hope she's safe in the tornadoes. The ticket was drawn for me, but I love these colors!
Melissa and I had been planning this trip since last year and then she got sick - too late for a refund. However, I am bringing back her SWAG from Lisa Souza in Placerville, CA, also crazy generous. This is merino, tussah silk and bamboo and I just couldn't get my camera catch the opalescent colors of this roving. It's going to make beautiful lace weight yarn.

Potluck dinner was followed by roasting peeps for s'mores. I was a spectator.

It's camp. Did you really think we'd go to bed when it got dark. Someone got Lindsey to tell Sven and Ole jokes (from Prairie Home Companion). I Googled them so in between the ones people remember read a couple from my phone like this one:

Sven was going for his morning walk one day when he
walked past Ole's house and saw a sign that said
"Boat For Sale." This confused Sven because he knew
that Ole didn't own a boat, so he finally decided to go
in and ask Ole about it.

"Hey Ole," said Sven, "I noticed da sign in your yard
dat says 'Boat For Sale,' but ya don't even have a boat.
All ya have is your old John Deere tractor and

Ole replied, "Yup, and they're boat for sale."

I thought I'd be able to wind this up tonight, but just reading about night and stories and going to bed makes me realize how early I have to get up in the morning to get into Reno for my oil change. I'm so sorry. I shall torment you with one more episode and then you will be spared.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Spindle Camp II

Because of the tremen-
dous rains last year, we set up two large EasyUps and lashed them together. In the morning, it appeared to be overkill but the circle grew to take in the entire area and into overflow.
This is the fiber I chose to spin for the weekend and because it's merino, bamboo and silk, I'm spinning lace weight. It's going slow. Sara back there is plying on her drop spindle. She spun more on her spindles this weekend than I did on my wheel and hers is also lace weight. I may have to look into a Golding spindle. I tried one and there's no question that they spin faster and longer.
Are you wondering if anyone brought a non-
Lendrum wheel? It was a heavy favorite. A magazine article is in the making so Susan Prince is making notes, and she's reading something back to Sue Flynn.
Susan took hundreds of photos, some for the article but most for us. After she's gleaned through them, she's going to upload them so we can enjoy them online. The center area is silk hankies for sale and prelunch nosh.

It was such a treat to have uninter-
rupted time to visit with Birdsong. Our last visit was last year at the fair and because we were demonstrating at the same time, we mostly demonstrated. The Foothills is still heavily influenced by the hippies movement of the 60s. The general public are interested and full of questions. It's why I drive the five-hour round trip to participate. The experience feeds me.
After I had left for Spindle Camp, I saw a message on my phone from Birdsong that I had won her the drawing on her blog and she would deliver it in person on Friday. This is what I won! Birdsong has studied and teaches permaculture. She took it a step further and created a natural dye business in the form of a CSA (community supported agriculture) called Nature's Cauldron. My loot is this astounding book, 8 ounces of BFL roving and two skeins of alpaca/merino yarn.

Here's the irony. The yarn is from Eva at Juniper Creeks Alpaca fibers, the very same Eva you saw sitting on the deck drinking coffee in my last post and my cabin mate for the weekend. More irony. We were the only ones in the cabin on Thursday, an optional early day, and in getting to know each other discovered that we are both practicing Roman Catholics who also both went to Nazarene colleges. Find another one of us, and you will win a prize!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

On My Way Going

The most direct route over the Sierras to Spindle Camp was on Highway 49, as in the 49er gold rush and all that history. It's crazy windy and so not well traveled, but it was a perfect day on Thursday with almost no traffic. The northern terminus of Hwy 49 is just West of us.
I'd say click for big, but instead I'll do it for you. Those aretes are indications of the glacial age that also occurred here. The Great Lakes weren't the only ones to have one, you know.
I got caught in road construc-
tion delays three times so that I didn't get to Downieville until 2:30. This is a gold rush era town that is quaintly preserved thanks to its remote location. It also has no eating establishments opened on week days until the summer.

I ended up buying a dry packaged sandwich at the gas station store with packets of mayo and mustard. I adopted a picnic table on the bank of the confluence of the Yuba and Downie Rivers, spread the dressings on the bread with my finger, and listened to the river and songbirds while I ate. I could have done worse I realized.
How small is Downieville you might ask. This single lane bridge that spans the Downie River is Highway 49. If it were to go out, "none shall pass." Quick - what movie is that from???

I'm disappointed to realize that I didn't take a single picture of Thursday night. We were a small group of eight for dinner. I realized Thursday morning while I was packing that I didn't have anything for dinner and that I wasn't going to be passing any stores. I decided to throw together a quiche using the baby asparagus and oyster mushrooms.from our CSA basket from the day before. I almost think quiche is cheating because it's so easy and people are so impressed. We tossed all our foods together Thursday evening and I got raves. It's the best say to cheat. Sue brought lamb chops from her own lambs. She sat in the circle with us while they cooked in her camper, when suddenly the pan and chops flew out the door as if she had a poltergeist. I guess that happens when the camper isn't quite leveled. It's am image I won't soon forget.

Eva and I were the only ones in our cabin that evening. We sat up and talked until 11:30 that night and then more enjoyed more conversation on the deck with coffee the next morning. It turns out she's an alpaca breeder and a friend of our neighbors Jeanette and Kaye. And I think I'm going to be one of their alpaca fleece judges this year. I'm not sure. Mim handles it and gives me my samples at some point. It's a small world and we called Jeanette to let her laugh about it with us.