Sunday, July 27, 2008

Take a hike

This past week, my friend Margaret dragged my behind out of the house long enough to go for a hike.Aspengrove
My favorite trail is one that branches off the road to the ski valley, just a few miles up from our shop in Seco.  It is called Italianos.  Chuck
I've never made it to the top, but hope some day I will.  There is a trail system that starts from the ski valley.  It is a long trail that runs along the mountain ridge, beginning at one end in the ski valley and ending somewhere up above my house.  There are many trails that connect to it...Italianos being one of maybe four or five that start from the paved road.  Butterfly
I once had a fantasy of hiking up from the ski valley and following the ridge to my home.  Once.Smmushrooms

Chuck the wonder man (my IT guru and guardian angel) was here late this week.  Yesterday I dragged him away from his computer long enough to go hike part of Italianos with me.  One of the fun things about this trail is the number of times you get to cross the river.  We crossed it approximately 5-6 times yesterday (going up), and we only climbed about 1.5 miles in.  It was glorious.  Here are some treats from yesterday to share with you.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Three good days

It's amazing what you can get done if you don't have lots of interruptions and keep focused (something I've long struggled with).  I've gotten some great things done since I last wrote.

First, I did, indeed, have my way with the roving I called Ancient Circle.  Ancientcircleyarn
It was ever so luscious to spin.  I decided to spin it in a singles, so the colors will knit up in stripes.  I'm thinking it will make a nice hat...there are approximately 160 yards on the skein, so there's plenty to work with.  I found another roving that is dyed in colors that will maybe I'll spin it up and put them on the web store together at the same time.  For now, I'm just loving looking at it.

I spent lots of the day Saturday dyeing up wool fabrics for hooking mats.  Some of it from stash that I've had for about 20 years (She Who Hoards) and other pieces from clothing I've found at the only thrift store in town that seems to sell wool things at less than Macy's prices.  This was lots of fun; I did two kettles at a time, so I got a good assortment of reds, greens, blues, purples, and some colors in between.  Woolfabdyed
I have dried them all and rolled them into tidy bundles with little ties of jute.  It makes me feel so organized, I am waiting to sprout wings.

Then on Sunday I decided to cruise the internet for rug hooking blogs.  Yay!  I've found a couple of great ones.  One is from a woman who is (gasp) hooking a 7' x 9' rug of her own, wonderful, design.  I was so stricken by her work, I raced upstairs and measured off a huge piece of linen.  As of about 4:00 p.m. this afternoon, I have drawn my own pattern on the linen for a 4' x 6' rug, to be hooked with yarns instead of fabrics.  Soon as I finish this posting, I'm headed to my chair to start.  Maybe it's a good idea for me to get back to work keep me out of trouble?

P.S.  It has been raining for almost two hours...most of our summer afternoon thunderstorms have swept past us and gone to the valley, instead.  This is great for our cisterns and our wildflowers...sunflowers, and our baby aspens that popped up this spring.  I just is 56F.  Good sleeping weather, as Garrison says.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

A play day

Not much excites me more these days more than a day at home to play with my stuff. 

In between other things this week, I've been spinning up some Teeswater locks.  Here's a photo Teeswaterskein
of one skein.  I'm having a hard time deciding if I should dye them or sell them in their natural white.  I haven't weighed this particular skein, but I'm guessing it's at least half a pound.  It is very soft and compels you to squish and hug it.  I've decided to wait until I have a bunch more spun up before deciding whether or not to dye them.  I guess I wonder if it would be more fun for someone to buy these and play with dyeing them themselves?

First on the wheel today:  this bad boy.  At the end of each dye day, we dye up a couple or three rovings with the assorted left over colors.  All Ancientcircle
bets are worrying whether things will look good together or not.  This is proving to be a valuable lesson for me on letting go...I'm starting to see a pattern of these being my favorite rovings.  (Control issues abound in my world.)  I've named this one Ancient Circle...I love how it looked as I photographed it on this piece of ancient stone .

I'm listening to a book on CD this week:  The Social History of Knitting.  I'm rather enjoying it.  I've found some others about knitting a little dry or not to my liking, but this one is keeping my interest.  It is one of a series published by Interweave Press...check their website for more information, or perhaps your local yarn shop has them in stock, as we do.

Well, I'm off now to put some new rovings in the web store and then head upstairs for a day of play...I hope you're having a fun weekend, whatever you're doing.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Mohair love

I've been feeling pretty guilty about not posting more often.  I think of things to talk about, then decide maybe you'd be bored.  I really don't have a clue what part of this blog interests you...things about the business, things about my life, or ???  I'd sure love some help here.  Bob thinks it's all about him.  While I don't mind sharing, please tell me this isn't true...

While I was pondering this, I decided to answer some e-mails this morning.  First one:  Lisa Shell of Kai Ranch MohairCallebval04
We've been talking about the next Taos Wool Festival.  This year, she's going to have a double booth, which sounds like heaven to me.  Last year I remember trying to be polite while I was happily loading up bags of her beautiful dyed kid mohair wasn't a pretty picture, I'm afraid.  I remember the woman I was reaching over saying "are you going to buy ALL of it?"  Well hey.  It's going to sell some time today, why not to me?  I never said I play well on the playground...and hand dyed locks like Lisa's don't happen too often.  She who snoozes, loses!

Exciting news for Lisa this year:  she is profiled in the amazing new book Shear Spirit: Ten Fiber Farms, by Joan Tapper and Gale Zucker.  It is a beautiful book, and even if you're not a spinner, you'll love it.  The author and photographer traveled this country to bring us all this inspiration.  There will be a book signing in Lisa's booth this year, so if you're planning to come to Taos for the Wool Festival (Oct. 4 & 5), be sure to put this on your To Do list.  You won't be sorry!

And now, I'm off to spend the rest of today at my own spinning wheel.  ---Martie

(Photo courtesy of Kai Ranch Mohair:  Calleb & Valentino 2004)

Friday, July 11, 2008

Hooray! We're back on line...

After a week (or more) of lots of behind the scenes machinations, this blog is finally sucessfully tied to our new web store.  There are apparently some photos that have yet to be reinstalled, but Lisa is going to take care of that soon.  In the meantime, I'm just thrilled to be back in touch.  It's been a long couple of weeks.

This will be a bit of a cross post, as I'll be doing a mailing today also...but I want to thank all of you who've hung with us through this transition...and to those of you who've visited our new on-line store.  We've had a great first week and I'm proud to announce that we've already had our first repeat customer.  We're excited and looking forward to watching this new business grow and getting to know more of you than we might otherwise not have met here in Arroyo Seco.

Also I'll be announcing that I've already decided to restructure our shipping costs on the web store.  From here on, all orders will be $5.95 no matter how much you buy.  We were trying to understand the volume of fibers (easily squishable, although we'd rather not) and the flat rate priority mail boxes (nicer for shipping than Tyvek bags in many cases), but it's just too hard to ask you to pay more than one flat rate.  I am not willing to compromise and use first class or (worse) parcel post...when I order on line, I want my stuff yesterday and get bummed out if it takes more than a few days to get here...

For a final treat (well, to some of us, anyway)...Bob got his hair done this week and when I picked him up, I took along his hat (generously sent to him by his pal Margo Nickel, milliner extraordinare).  Bobinhat
When I arrived, he was already sporting his bandana neck kerchief, and within moments the paparazzi's cameras were flashing wildly.  His humor was only good for a few shots, though, and after refusing autographs, we packed it up and came home.  Here he is...handsome dude!