Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Lions or lambs?

If I recall the expression about spring winds, it's something like "March comes in like a lion, and goes out like a lamb"...(feel free to correct me on this, please).  It would seem that this year the lambs came first and April brought the lions.  The winds in Taos the last two days have been brutal...yesterday clocked at 39 mph, and while these last two days have been sunny and beautiful, these winds are like ice and feel like they'll cut right through you.  It seems those warm days we had last month were just teasers...tomorrow and Friday we are supposed to be getting rain and/or snow.  So much for thinking it was OK to turn off the radiant heat.

My trip last week was wonderful.  I was able to spend one day with my friend Loraine Powell, who has a sheep ranch.  It was from Loraine that I purchased my first
fleece, somewhere around 1987 or 88.  I remember it fondly.  It was a white Columbia fleece.  I lovingly washed globs of it in the bathroom sink, waited impatiently while it dried in our humid climate, and then carded it by hand to spin on my Ashford Traditional wheel.  I managed to preoccupy myself with this same fleece for several months, which is kind of odd to me now, but I think it was good for me to give it so much attention.  The last of it was carded as I sat by the hospital bedside of my son; those were anxious hours, and the carding soothed my soul as I waited to find out he'd be OK.

And the yarn from that fleece?  I remember it well, also.  Some of it was around for years.  I would periodically find the skeins hanging on the wall, only to discover them stiff as sticks.  I'd wash them and rehang them.  Months later they'd be stiff again.  I finally got thoroughly annoyed and dyed them in various shades of warm colors and wove them into two Rio Grande style blankets.  Only years later did I figure out that I'd never really washed the wool well enough, and that my tightly spun beginner yarn had trapped all that lanolin in there for eternity.

Last week's visit to Loraine's ranch ended with me selecting another fleece...freshly shorn only days before...a gorgeous multicolor Lincoln fleece, shading from the lightest silver to dark greys.  I'm debating whether I'll dye it or not before spinning it...and one thing's for sure...I'll wash it well first.

Just as the sun was setting on the last day of our drive home, I finished a fourth pair of socks (not pictured above).  I am hoping these socks will find their way to warm the feet of those orphan girls who live on the streets of Mongolia, and they can feel the love I've knitted into each stitch.  ---Martie

Monday, April 2, 2007

On the road again


I am back in San Diego this week, visiting friends and family.  I just had a great lunch visit with my friend Barbara, who tried to get me to go buy more yardage for my stash.  We worked together many years ago at a local (rather cheesy) fabric store, and to this day, whether she's with me or not, if I buy fabric, I blame it on her.  She has gone on to be a great maker of art quilts, while my path diverged to weaving, spinning and New Mexico...and the rest, as they say, is history. 

Here's the view from where I'm sitting right now.Cimg0012_2
Once upon a time, you could even hear the ocean from here.  Now the prevailing noise is Interstate 5, which is about four blocks away.  When I was a teenager and the interstate got completed, my friend and I would sit on the overpass near my house and hoot and holler when a car would come through (every 15 minutes or so).  Nowadays it is almost always bumper to bumper, no matter the time of day.  Progress, I think they once called it.

Anyway.  Not to be a downer with all my urban woes...being away from the shop and Taos has been a good time to gather my thoughts on how the business is growing, what's been popular, and what hasn't been.  Monte and I are planning to attend the wholesale show in early June, and I'm thinking about what it is we'll want to buy to continue to grow in the direction I'm aiming for. 

Here's another snapshot from my past.   Regretfully,  I still haven't figured out how to upright these photos so you can see them properly, so you'll have to tip your head a little bit.  This is a sample of the
weaving I was doing when I moved to New Mexico (before I got side tracked with a shop).  My loom is still waiting for me to return to it, and while I have hopes of at least weaving all the rug yarns I have stashed, some days it feels like I'll never weave again. 

Road trips like this one usually bring me great joy in planning a new project.  Somehow it got too busy before I left at the last minute I grabbed my stash of Mountain Colors 8/4 yarns and am knitting up socks for the Dulaan Project.  Quite a change from my usual trip projects that generally involve at least one suitcase full of yarn and countless patterns, books and needles.  Maybe this is my version of spring cleaning...both in terms of using my stash and clearing my head...for a new season.  --Martie