Sunday, April 27, 2008

Etsy shop

A few days ago, I opened an Etsy shop featuring a mixture of finished items, patterns and handspun yarns. Hopefully, this will become an outlet for those who are always inquiring about purchasing my work. In the past, my finished pieces including hats were sold through many up-scale boutiques and department stores throughout the United States and overseas. I have posted a few small samples here.

At this point, teaching has become more important as my creative life has evolved and it gives me great joy to see the fruit of my teaching expressed in the works of my students. In addition, I enjoy designing new pieces and writing patterns and articles for fiber and art to wear magazines. It is a new chapter in a life filled with many challenges, opportunities, mistakes, successes and friends. I consider myself very fortunate to have been able to do the things I love in life and with grace from above, have many more years of sharing and creating ahead.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Spinning wheel test pilot

This morning, I went on a little excursion to try some fiber experimentation with the new Mach1 wheel (see photos of wheel in progress.) It is being modified to my specifications for spinning art yarns and we were trying some different options to see how they worked. Without the limitation of an orifice, it certainly allows for some interesting yarns. I have posted one yarn that I made and plied. In terms of spinning bulky yarns with locks and adding things such as flowers, pompoms, scraps, fabric, lace, etc this wheel is easy to use. I found the toe brakes particularly useful when I wanted to stop the wheel and place the flowers at a certain angle or spot in the yarn. I also spun up some silk and wool from rovings in a DK weight and plied them (unfortunately my photos were blurry.) I got to see my own wheel in the process of being made in the workshop. Pretty exciting stuff. I am toying with different ideas for finishes including possibly doing a combo of paint and stained wood after sanding everything and prepping it. I just can't wait to bring her home.

Additionally, I have opened an Etsy shop and am selling some finished items as well as patterns and handspun yarns. Check it out at as well as on Ravelry where my user name is janro. Hope you find something you like.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Good things do happen to fiber people

The last couple of days have been interesting. I have been sending out homing pigeon vibes to my vanished piece of knitting and it worked! The modular sample mysteriously returned to the shop. Amazing! All I can say is that I am really happy about this. In some ways, it affirms my belief in the inherent good of people, even when they make a wrong choice. It is never too late to make things right. So, to the one who returned it, thank you.

Today, I went to check out the spinning wheel I mentioned in the previous post. It is called the Mach1 and is made by a small company called SpinOlution. The wheel is very unusual and works like a dream. It has some interesting features in that there are no hooks or orifice. The treadling mechanism is very precise and they have even built-in a feature to help new spinners slow the wheel down enough so they don't have some of the over-treadling problems usually experienced. I must say that I really liked the wheel and decided to have one built for me. I can pick it up in a couple of weeks. This wheel was originally made with more traditional spinning in mind but because of the features I have mentioned is perfect for a lot of the new art yarn spinning that has become so popular. I can't wait to see what I can do with this wheel.

This Saturday, I will be teaching a class on modular knitting at Unraveled in Monrovia, CA and am looking forward to introducing more knitters to this very satisfying approach to creating wonderful projects. If you are in the area, drop by and check it out.

As you can probably tell, I am feeling better today and have a bit more energy than I have had recently. It is a gloriously beautiful day with gorgeous blue skies, comfortable temperatures and a nice breeze. Who could ask for more?

Monday, April 14, 2008

new projects

Well, it seems that I am slowly crawling out of the pit of no fiber projects and have been doing some little things. As a little preview, I have posted some bracelets and cuffs that I've made using fiber-wrapping techniques and felting as well as beads and handspun yarns. I also did a little crocheting using copper wire which is something new for me. I think it might have possibilities for more things but I think that can wait a bit. As I still get tired easily and my brain is still a bit foggy, I am trying to keep things simple and still do something.

Over the past week, I've been helping two new Pirtle spinning wheel owners with the tweaking of their wheels. I've discovered that it is hard to do this over the internet but we seem to be succeeding slowly. Closeup photos do seem to help with some things. Also, my friend Velma told me about a new spinning wheel called the Mach 1 which is produced here in Hemet, CA. I am going to call and find out if I can take it for a test spin and will report back to you. It is an unusual looking wheel and has no hooks only pegs and no orifice. So, needless to say, this intrigues me from an art yarn spinning point of view. I can't wait to try it. The company making it is called SpinOlution if you are interested.

Back to doing mundane household things including laundry and maybe even a bit of baking for the hubby today. After all, he did save me and has certainly earned a chocolate cake at least!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Limping along slowly

Just a little update, I am slowly on the mend and have been able to get around the house in the last few days with my walking stick instead of having to use the wheelchair. My husband has a new game called "spot the bruises" and it is amazing how many and where he has found them on my poor aching body. My bruises range in color from deep purples and dark putties to varying shades of lavender, greens (my particular favorite) and yellows. I am really quite colorful. My brain is still a bit addled and all I want to do is sleep. Some knitting has been attempted and so far, so good. Crocheting still hurts too much. Harley (my cat) and I have been spending a lot of "quality" time together as he is watching me very carefully. As for the bathtub, I feel ambivalent about it, much as I did when the movie "Jaws" came out and am a bit leary still. There is a new nonslip mat, new grab bar, seat and a new policy of NO BATHS WHEN HOME ALONE.

As for other news, apparently, the fiber-wrapped accessories article in Belle Armoire had a very favorable reception by the readers. Subsequently, I was contacted by the editor of Belle Armoire Jewelry and have been asked to do some fiber-wrapped bracelets for the Autumn issue. I am pleased with how these have turned out and plan on more experimentation in this area of creativity.

This week brought some other news too. I had submitted some pieces for possible inclusion in the Led by Thread exhibit at the Torpedo Factory in Alexandria, Virginia. Unfortunately, I was not chosen as they decided on a more "conceptual" approach to thread. It should be interesting to see what that means in terms of the exhibit. Oh well, you win some and you lose some but trying is what actually counts in the long run.

Attached is a close-up photo of a piece of modular knitting which had been on display at a local yarn shop as a sample for an upcoming class. Sadly, someone stole this piece out of the store. It is always unpleasant when this kind of thing happens but a piece of unfinished work? Just odd to my way of thinking. Not only was it Koigu but on size 3 needles. As fellow knitters, I know you will understand my dismay. The poor shop owner was so upset but I don't blame them at all as if someone wants to take something they will do it no matter what! So, if you see it out there, tell it hello for me and whoever took it can return it with no questions asked. So there we go, the good, the bad and the ugly for the week. Happy knitting and crocheting!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Help, I've fallen and I can't get up!

Well, my plans for Saturday got turned upside down and backwards. My husband had irritated me the day before and I felt that I needed some "space" and thus he left before me planning to be gone all day. In the meantime, I decided to take a bath before I went out anywhere. Everything went well until it was time to get out of the tub. Even though I was holding onto the bar, I slipped and fell backwards into the tub, knocking myself out and injuring my whole right side. You can imagine how graceful it all was with ancient body parts flying in all directions. When I came to, I tried getting up but couldn't because of the pain and the fact that I couldn't get any traction.

To keep the story short, I spent the whole day trapped in the tub and struggling with innovative ideas on how to get out. I went through all the stages - "why me?" as well as "please God I'll do anything if you get me out of here" and finally resignation to my fate. I did manage to grab my nightgown and put it on myself. I had visions of being found naked and dead in the tub, you know, and trust me it would not have been pretty! At any rate, I was never so happy to see my husband come home in our entire marriage, any feelings of irritation with him vanished when he helped me out of the tub. He managed to help me hobble to the bed and cover myself up and whimper in pain. It was truly pathetic.

Here is what I have learned: No baths when home alone, always put non-skid decals in the bottom of the tub, bring the phone into the bathroom and for goodness sake have something to cover the aging body. As I looked at myself laying there, I looked like an Origami-style sculpture against the tub and it was no graceful swan either!

This morning, I am bruised and sore and, worst of all, having trouble knitting! Oh my God! So, I intend to lay in bed, nurse my wounds and nap all day. The cat is being very lovey and cuddly now but when I was in the tub all he did was stand at the bathroom door and meow loudly (no comfort from him - he just chewed me out for disturbing his routine!)

Wednesday, April 2, 2008


This has been a productive week in a few different arenas. First, my workroom is reorganized again, whew, it was scary in there and it was getting difficult even for me to find the things I wanted. Now, that is all tidy and I feel pretty smug about it. Next, the spinning corner has been rearranged and is again functional. Additionally, I added a new shelf to my living room workplace and have more space for reference books. Love it! Besides all of this, my little knitters are doing good and I get knocks on the door at intervals to help them sort out a dropped stitch or two (we've all been there)and they are having great fun together, knitting on the grass after school is out. Very cute!

Even with all the above activities, I have been designing new patterns and have a bunch ready for sale online and to shops. The new entrelac hat is shown above and available as a pattern.

On Saturday, April 5th, I will be teaching a class at Unraveled in Monrovia, CA based on the recent article in Belle Armoire on fiber-wrapped accessories. It will be from 11A-4P. I will supply some materials and students need to bring a variety of yarns and other things they wish to incorporate into their pieces. It will be a relaxed and fun day so, if you can, come join us and explore the possibilities. Just contact the store at (626) 256-6777 to reserve a spot in the class. Hope to see you on Saturday. (see photos above for an idea of what we will be making)