Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Brown goes green

I hate the mail.  Let's just start there.  Now let me tell you how good I am at ignoring stuff that looks like it requires reading for more than 30 seconds. In fact, I have a sad history of doing this with holiday cards.  Last year I was cleaning piles of papers long ignored and found (gulp) a pile of Christmas cards covering the last 5 years...some opened, some not.  My bad.

So this past weekend, when Mr. Sunflower cheerfully dumped a pile of mail on my desk, I groaned and decided to suck it up and just take care of it.  Low and behold, there was something worthwhile, in the form of a newsletter from the Brown Sheep Company.

I'm going to take the liberty of quoting their newsletter directly:

"Dye waste water, which in the past has been just that, waste...will
now be treated by two different processes--micro filtration followed by
reverse osmosis.  What is the result of this treatment?  Almost zero
discharge of chemicals into the environment.  At the same time, more
than 90% of the water used in the dyeing process will be used again. 
Brown Sheep uses approximately 20 thousand gallons of water per day for
the dye process.  By saving over 18,000 gallons of water, we are
certainly joining the fight against needless waste.  By retaining the
heat energy in the water, less energy will be needed to continually
bring the water to the appropriate temperature, thus saving both energy
and water in the process.

The final phase of this project is currently being implemented and we
hope to have the new system fully functional by spring '09."


A couple of years ago, Lorna's Laces announced a new line of yarns dyed with natural dyes...only to discover how much more water the natural dye process uses.  I congratulated Beth, the owner, for recognizing this and changing her plan to save that extra water.  While I know it must have been a terribly disappointing decision for her to make, she did the right thing.  Awesome.

After my own experiences with natural dyes, I made the decision not to use them for the very same reason.  Now, my water comes from the sky, and gets used over and over because I work hard to make sure there is little, if ever, excess dye left when I do decide to kettle dye something.  It just feels good, being careful...especially living here in the high desert.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Spinning sisters

When I moved to NM in 1993, I knew only a couple of people and suddenly found myself quite alone.  One of the first things I did was attend a weaving guild meeting in Santa Fe, so I could connect with others in the fiber world.  I am not a big group person, and I didn't get active in the guild...but because of that guild, I made a couple of great life time friends.

During the shop's last week of business (last fall's Taos Wool Festival), I started chatting up one of our customers who looked like someone I wanted to know.  She turned out to be Lori Lawson, of The Twisted Sisters Sweater Workbook fame, among others.  I mentioned to her I was toying with the idea of dropping our own web store and moving our merchandise over to Etsy.  She was extremely supportive.  Her own Etsy shop is Capistrano Fiber Arts, where she sells her own gorgeous hand dyed rovings and hand spun yarns (if you're lucky enough to get them before they sell out!). 

When I was in Encinitas recently, Lori invited me to join her monthly spinning group at the Common Threads yarn shop.  I showed up, wheel in hand, and felt immediately at home.  It reminded me of that day, long ago, when I was so terrified to walk into that guild meeting alone...and also how the common bonds fiber people share make us welcomed, strangers or not.  I loved my time with these interesting women...and hope that I'm able to spin with them again someday.   

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Need a big smile?

My friend Debra sent this to me today.  I sat here and rocked out and can't stop smiling.  Thanks, Debra!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Back in the day...

There wasn't a fancy sign.  There was a dirt parking lot full of beat up cars and maybe, just maybe, a woody or two.  On a busy day on the weekend, there might be 20 or so people there.  I remember going there in my first (very scandalous) yellow bikini, the sides of which measured probably 3".   On some lazy days, Russell, my lifeguard hero, would ask me to run up (approximately 125 stairs to the street)  to the grocery store for his lunch.  He was a god to me...I willingly complied.

Now I drive by there and see the paved parking lot full of things like Range Rovers and other fancy SUVs or trucks.  Parking overflows to the streets nearby on some days.  I don't know if anyone in bikinis (or most likely, thongs) goes there anymore...mostly I see old guys in wet suits.  The Safeway grocery store has been gone for decades...and the last time I saw Russell (also many decades ago), I had come out of my teenage coma and he was, frankly, kind of creepy.

Maybe getting older isn't so bad after all.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Love at first sight...again

When I was hanging out in Dallas last month, my friend Maryann showed up with a Kromski Sonata spinning wheel.  I had heard of them, read about their history in Poland, and had no further curiosity.

Then, it came out of its carrying bag.  Sigh.  It was love at first sight. 

First, it was stained with a walnut colored stain...very appealing after years and years of blond wheels (see how fickle I am).  Then, I watched her spin on it...it was dreamy to watch.  I came home with a bad case of wheel lust.

Weeks later, guess what's in my house?  My other wheels are used to sharing my attentions, and they know in time, they'll fall back into favor...but for now...one walnut colored wheel has my heart.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Friends...near and far

 Last summer I was poking around on the internet, looking for someone who might be blogging about rug hooking.  There I found Island Sweet and Shawn O'Hagan.  I loved the simplicity and sensitivivity of her  daily posts, and before long, I had gone back to the beginning and read her entire blog history. 

Then I started wishing we could be friends.  I just new we should be.  I finally screwed up my courage and wrote her an introduction, sending a photo.  Before long, she answered.  We've been building our friendship since.  When I opened our little Etsy shop, she was right there, helping me with all sorts of things it might have taken me a long time to figure out (if ever).

That was the beginning and now we are building our friendship, long distance, a little at a time.  I hope one day I can visit her in her home of Newfoundland.  I hope one day she can visit me in New Mexico.  Things sometime happen if you dream about them long enough.

I recently did a trade with Shawn, and in return, two of the most wonderful, hand knitted, shawls came my way.  One of them went to another loving home before I could take a photo...and this is the one I kept, just my colors, knitted with yarns made from her hands, and so soft it's like a child's security blanket. 


I am truly blessed to have made such great friends through the internet.