Sunday, September 23, 2012

Extreme long locks hand spun yarns

The yarns shown here are a group of extreme long locks spinning created from glorious fleeces from Namaste Farms (Natalie Redding) in Temecula California.  There are several skeins of Wensleydale wool which run from 7 inches and a few that are 12 inches long.  Additionally, the Teeswater wool skeins are 12-14 inches in length and look spectacular.  They are all very soft to the touch and yardages range from 2 yards up to 15 yards.

It seems like when I am spinning I get into a groove and just go along making as much of one kind of yarn as I can for a while.  Right now, this is it.  I have about five pounds of Teeswater and Wensleydale fleeces.  These are very rare breeds and additionally, it takes a lot of special attention to grow them to these kinds of lengths.  So, as you can tell, they are very special to me and will make incredible additions to your work.

If you are interested in purchasing some of this wonderful yarn, just contact me.

Monday, September 17, 2012

More yarns and Wonderful Waldorf Dolls

It always gives me a thrill to see what people do with the yarns they purchase from me.  A lot goes for knitting, crocheting, weaving and other handcrafts.  One of my favorite uses are using it for doll hair.  Here are some outstanding examples of  Waldorf dolls made with my textured cores pun yarn.  Aren't they just darling?!  They are created by Jean Wagner who sells her dolls on Etsy and is also on Facebook as Tigerlilys.  

Recently, it has been super hot in the Southern California area where I live so it has been perfect for washing and drying fleeces as well as dyeing and prepping fiber for spinning.  I feel like a squirrel storing up for the winter and look at my piles of glorious colors and textures and am inspired to get to spinning.  So, there will be lots of new stuff showing up.

Also, I've got to take photos for the new patterns so I can get them up on line for Fall and get people trying some new projects.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

More fiber dyeing and spinning and birthdays

The weather has been sweltering in Southern California in recent weeks.  This is definitely great weather for fleece washing as well as dyeing.  I am like a squirrel stocking up my supplies for the winter season so that I will have lots to spin and create with when it is cold and rainy and things won't dry outside.

Trying some new dyeing experiments to create mixed colorways in one batch - see if you like some of the results below:

Additionally, flower yarns are still calling to me and I've been making felted flowers, insects, fruits, etc to add to some fun new yarns.  Here are a couple of examples of these as well as a few long locks hand spun yarns (the locks are 14 inches long - just amazing!)

Please be warned, below is a sharing of my personal sadness about a part of my life that I would like to have be otherwise.  So, hang on and bear with me, I need to get this off my chest, wipe my tears and appreciate the ones who love, nurture and care about me.

Well, yesterday was my only child's 41st birthday.  I hope he is well and happy, wherever he may be.  The day he was born I was so in awe of this little fellow in my arms with his big dark eyes and serious expression.  I never knew how it was possible to love anything in this world more.  He was a sweet and loving child who, when he was four, told me he had "wandered around the cosmos and chosen me for his mother again..." We had some rough financial times when he was little and I essentially raised him as a single mom.  There were lots of challenges and I know I made lots of mistakes but no one could have loved a child more.  As he became more influenced by outside voices and the material aspects of life, he seemed to find me sadly lacking.  I was not beautiful, rich, thin or influential enough for him.  After he graduated from Berkeley, he moved to New York City. At that point, he began to change in ways I still cannot comprehend.  Eventually, he told me "I had done nothing of any value for him in his life" and stopped talking to me.  This has been about 8-9 years ago.

During the interim, my health has seriously gone downhill and I find myself in a wheelchair most of the time and also have kidney disease which is definitely not fun. Despite all of this, I still am able to do things that I love which include spinning, knitting, crocheting, dyeing as well a little garden dabbling. These things have been major blessings which fill my life.  I also have a husband who loves me dearly and tries so hard to take good care of me even though he has his own challenges (having had a major motorcycle accident which has left him brain injured.)   I have come to terms (most days) with the prospect of never hearing from my son again in my lifetime.  It does not make me happy but that is where things stand.

How can someone who has been my greatest joy in life also be my deepest sorrow?  I guess no matter what we do as parents is wrong but I did try.  May all of you who have loving children rejoice in them..  Sorry for my sadness about this today but I just could not let this go unsaid as it has been weighing on my heart.  I do miss my son.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Gypsy Wagons to Dream About

When I was attending nursing school many years ago in Colorado Springs, Colorado, I remember a neighbor having a gypsy wagon in amongst the pine trees on their property.  It always looked so inviting and led my imagination to want to run away and hit the open road in my horse drawn home on wheels.

Recently, I have come across some especially wonderful examples of gypsy wagons to gladden the heart and  delight the eye.  I hope you enjoy the whimsical magic of these conveyances.

The colors in this one are so lively, I just adore this one.

                                                    Another beauty

The imagination involved in creating these lovely examples of a by-gone era are just the place to snuggle into with a good book or take my spinning wheel and create magical yarns.

Monday, July 30, 2012

New Hand Spun Yarns

Lately, I've been doing a bunch of fleece washing and dyeing and finally got down to spinning some yarns.  I have been on a bit of a flower kick lately so have been trying a lot of different approaches to creating different versions of flower yarns.  I've got more drying outside so will post again soon.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

A pause for total cuteness

These photos are just too cute not to share.  I am not usually into this kind of thing but these are too hard to resist.

Enjoy this Aw-w-w-w moment!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Yarn Bombing

There is a new phenomenon that seems to be circulating throughout the knitting and crocheting world.  Some examples are incredibly creative and just plain fun.  It seems as though, trees, vehicles (both two wheel and four wheel kinds), chairs and even a few porta-potties.  I absolutely love the results of  these acts of "civil disobedience" which lend a whimsical touch to our surroundings.

This bicycle just makes me smile.  Could you imagine riding down the street on this work of art?

I've seen many a Volkswagen, motorcycle and even an army tank or two decorated with knitting and crocheting.  What fun!

Here are the ultimate yarn bombed Porta-Potties.  I must admit that these make me laugh out loud.  Who would think to do this?  So much more interesting than the usual plastic pod.

Okay, on the more serious side, here are some artistic installations that delight my eyes.  Hope you enjoy.  Here is the link for more information:

This is a major art installation that certainly dominates the environment with an amazing modern presence.
This installation has a certain subtlety to it that is so lovely.  Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama always uses polka dots - she saw the world covered with polka dots when she was a child . She has a retrospective at The Whitney Museum until Sept 2012 but before that she made these trees . Work big and use red !
Singapore Biennale 2006.

Periodically, I am going to be sharing some of the wonderful things I find on line and hope that you all enjoy them as much as I do.  Now, I am off to my dye pots and to do some needle felted flowers, etc to put in a new series of yarns.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Tour de Fleece 20012

Before the event began on Ravelry, my goal was to spin up 50 skeins of yarns (mostly my textured bulky yarns) so the dye pots were bubbling and wool and mohair were dyed up in a rainbow of colors.  I also decided to do a group of natural fleeces for yarns too.  When the event began, I was ready and got to work using my SpinOlution Mach III wheel with the oversize bobbin  set-up.

The first day, I spun up 10 skeins so I was feeling pretty good about being able to finish my task.  As time went on, my goal was to do at least five a day.  Karma (my cat) decided to help me by being my cheering squad and she sat nearby most days for encouragement.  What a trooper!

Well, the event ended yesterday at midnight and I reached my goal!  I'm really proud of myself and have some photos to share.  Hope you like all the colors and textures.

Now, I'm ready for my next challenge and have been making felted flowers to include in these yarns.  Once, I get a few more done will put them up to see what you all think.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Happy Birthday to me!

Well, I am officially an old person and even had a surprise party to prove it!  It was such fun, my husband took me to my friend Natalie Redding's farm (Namaste Farms) and I was greeted by her kids, my friends, a gaggle of geese, dogs (big and little), sheep, goats and a passel of other critters!  He and my friend Manon had conspired to set up this party for me. They even got my friend Kristine Haddock (Storybook Fibers) down the mountain to join the festivities.  I was really touched.  There was even a birthday cake and presents!  Wahoo!

We spent the afternoon laughing, hanging out, playing with the dogs, being entertained by the kids who were definitely ready for cake but were very patient about waiting until all the grown-ups were in one place.  They all sang happy birthday to me, which brought tears to my eyes.  I feel so surrounded with love and happiness that it made my heart glad.

I consider myself so very fortunate in my darling and loving friends.  Thanks to all of you for a wonderful day!

Natalie's five-year-old Roanie decided he could use the 6 next year, so we cleaned it off and put it in the pantry so he is ready.  Her son Dane and I came up with some fun science experiments for the kitchen using baking soda and vinegar and I introduced him to the fun of "spark in the dark" with wintergreen Life Savers.  This is such fun. I was first introduced to this one after hours at the Renaissance Faire while being told stories in the dark while sitting on haybales and drinking tequila.  Ah-h-h, my misbegotten youth!  It is a good thing I still have a good memory so I can remember my past!  LOL

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Hermitting for past few months!

Well, it looks like I have been neglecting my posting pretty badly these days.  Life has been a bit challenging from a health point of view lately and I have been giving that more attention than usual.  Gradually, I have been feeling better and have even begun spinning, dyeing and designing again.  Wahoo!  That alone is making me feel better!

One thing I have come to realize is that getting old is not for sissies.  Not only does gravity work very well and things are sagging in places I never know I had.  Have you ever looked at yourself with a hand mirror held under your chin?  Frightening!  It seems like the only good spot I have left anymore is my right elbow - really quite remarkable - soft, supple and unwrinkled!  I remember when I used to be cute back in the olden days.  Then, to add insult to injury, I knocked out one of my bottom front teeth!  Guess what, the tooth fairy doesn't come when you are 64!  So, now I have to figure out how to pay the dental bill to fix this newest challenge to any hope of glamour.  LOL!  I am definitely looking the part of an old crone these days and this morning woke up with a whopper of an allergic shiner in my right eye.  Oh well, I have come to the conclusion that God has a sense of humor and wants to see if I do too!   Meanwhile, I am not going out much until I can get this tooth fixed.  So, at least I will get a lot of spinning and dyeing done!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Lots of stuff happening!

Since I lasted posted, things around here have been going in lots of directions at one time. In early January 2012, I spent a weekend at a Pluckyfluff workshop held in a wonderful shop called Urban Craft Center in Santa Monica, CA. I met some remarkably talented spinners and knitters. One of the projects was to create a self-portrait in handspun. mine ended up like strawberry jello with some sparkly grey matter to signify that there were some synapses firing. One of my favs was an interpretation using a pair of Groucho glasses. There was a lot of laughter, sharing and creativity. Additionally, I got to hang out with one of favorite people Lexi!

         Fiber brain with Groucho glasses by Michelle of Fickle Knitter
           Lexi in a handspun vest I created for her using Todd's fleece

Then, the new book arrived - Handspun, New Spins on Traditional Techniques by Lexi Boeger. Inside, were all kinds of delights including featured spots on friends and other artists I greatly admire. Additionally, Lexi was kind enough to include my work in the book as an artist profile showing what can be done with hand spun yarn as well as felted wool fleeces. It made me feel really special to be recognized by someone that I respect for her creativity. My friend Natalie Redding of Namaste Farms was also featured for her incredible fleeces and beautiful farm - she is also an amazing spinner and a few of her spinning techniques were also shared in the book.

In between all this fun, my doctor diagnosed me with Stage 3 kidney disease which was kind of a surprise and certainly has provided me with a challenge. Currently, making changes in some areas of my life to hopefully hold off the progression of the disease for as long as possible. It has definitely added another level of pain to chronic arthritis pain but that is the way things go. My plan is to stay busy doing all the things I love and behave myself concerning the things that I can.

Additionally, just finished being part of a documentary for Japanese Public Television on Natalie's farm and fiber production as well as spinning and what becomes of all the hand spun fiber afterwards. My garment designs were featured and also the beautiful yarns of friends of mine including Kristine Haddock (Storybook Fibers) as well as Cathy Conti, Nanci Sutton (LaLlama Farms), Paul Lee (raises Angora rabbits and spins up their fiber.) Rhea of Urban Craft Center was gracious enough to allow the filming at the store and it was just a wonderful day. This documentary is airing today in Japan and there will be a big fiber festival taking place in Kyoto this weekend - so it is great timing! It is interesting how much spinning is becoming more mainstream in the fiber world and seeing all of the variations from traditional to contemporary really thrills me.

Will be adding some pictures here to illustrate more of what has been happening so check back. On my way back to my dye pots and drying racks with lots of gorgeous Namaste Farms mohair and Wensleydale, Teeswater and Gotland wool fleeces. Wahoo! Happy creating!