Friday, April 29, 2011

Shop sitting

While I've been busy ignoring my own Etsy shop this last week, I've been having fun shop sitting for Michelle at Widdershin Woolworks. It's great fun, diving through her wonderful fiber stash, filling orders, and knowing how many people will be so happy to get their fibers in a few days. Talk about having all the fun without the work.

I think I've told you about Michelle before, so at the risk of repeating myself...she is a long time dear friend who went to India, was ordained (by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, no less) as a Tibetan Buddhist nun, and continued living there for around five years to continue her studies. Last spring we were lucky enough to be able to convince her to come live with us here on our little piece of the mountain, so I now have the joy of her being in my life on a daily basis. We get to spin together, knit together, watch movies, swap books...and she is the loving nanny to our dogs and cats, not to mention a great gardener with no fears about planting at 8,000 ft. Life is good!

Here's a photo of her harvesting a rogue beet that grew, unexpectedly, in our greenhouse last year. The other photo was taken this morning as I was filling an order for her shop. SIGH. It's hard to keep my hands off the goods!

Monday, April 25, 2011


Today I finally gave myself permission to sit down and start hooking on the mat I started last winter, before leaving for California for so many months. It is fabric that my friend and I bought that is a wool/synthetic blend of some sort, so when we dyed it, we didn't get very dark colors. In fact, most of what I ended up dyeing looks remarkably like Easter eggs. They're pretty, but not necessarily colors I'd have picked if I had purchased them.

I decided that since I'd made the investment (both financial and in dyeing time), I should suck it up and make something with it. I drove myself crazy, figuring out square footage of fabric and trying to calculate what size rug I could hook with it. I eventually decided on something much smaller than I had fabric for, and drew it up myself. I think I even showed you the photos of it after I started it last spring (too lazy to go back to find that blog post, sorry).

Anyway...while happily spinning yesterday afternoon, I finally opened and watched the video I purchased from Deanne Fitzpatrick last winter. It was, as I expected, just wonderful. It was like having a visit with Deanne in her studio (only I didn't get to chat with her and eat some of those delicious oat cakes she baked for us when I was there a couple of years ago, sigh). Her use of colors and textures just makes my heart soar. I love how free she is.

Meanwhile, back to my little mat...after watching the video, I decided I pretty much couldn't stand what I started and wished I had the courage to take it off the frame and give it up. I slept on it, and decided this morning that what it needed was something that I found some 100% wool in a lovely teal color and started outlining. I think I helps...what do you think?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

If it's green, love it

Depending on where you live, you may or may not know we are in a state of severe drought here in NM. In fact, I heard that AZ, NM, TX and FL are all off the charts for fire danger. It's no secret that Texas is under assault with wildfires right now, and we have a few of our own here in our fair state.

My heart goes out to all of you living near or in the path of a fire. I've been close, and I know what it feels like. Living here in the forest, we're always just one idiot or lightning strike away from the same fate. I say idiot because there are, unbelievably, still folks who think it's OK to burn their brush and/or trash in this area. Never mind that our local fire department trucks say "Learn not to burn". I fear this is yet another sign that my fellow citizens may not always read .

Anyhow. As I was coming in from the dog yard today, I found this little dandelion plant. I raced back into the house for my camera. What's so great about a dandelion, you ask? Well...for's a sign of life that is persisting despite the dry ground (see photo I took in our yard this week...we seem to have skipped mud season). The flowers alone brought me pure joy. There are few signs of new life up here except for the lilac and rose bushes, which seem to carry on despite the worst of situations. To find these bright little flowers was like someone sending me a sweet bouquet of smiles. Never do I recall being so happy to see a dandelion.

As a kid, I grew up with my father nurturing a front yard full of dichondra "grass". Only today, after searching the internet, did I learn this pesky stuff was not even a true grass, but rather a perennial herbaceous plant of which there appear to be several species. He babied that "lawn" like it was solid gold. Heaven help you if you fouled and set foot on it, and this wasn't always easy for a kid to manage. I grew up with great disdain for the idea of a lawn, or worrying about being so fussy about Bermuda grass (his arch enemy). My attitude: if it's growing, and it's green, and it's not it.

In thinking back about dad and that "lawn", I can picture him still, standing in the middle of it, hand watering with the hose and sprayer, and a transistor radio plugged into his ear as he listened to Vin Scully and the L.A. Dodgers. I get it now...he needed a place of his own, somewhere to go to get away from the rest of us, a sanctuary. That's a lesson, right there, to learn to find your peace where you can.

Dad, if you happen to be editing my writing from wherever your next life has taken you, I hope you read this post and accept my apology.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Remember Me

Not to repeat myself too often, but one of the wonderful things that has come from all the sadness of these last months has been the opportunity to reconnect with family. Some of those hours have been spent discussing what each of us knows about our family's history...much of which has passed on with my father, and now, my sister.

I was digging through my bookshelf this week and found this book, purchased long ago. I opened it, and to my delight, found carefully reconstructed histories of seven women, and the stories surrounding their friendship quilts. I knew nothing of the history of these quilts, and am now inspired to create one of my own; not a swap with friends, but one to remember each of our family members, living or not. I think it's a rather ambitious project (my tendency), but it will be a gift to leave one day for future generations. If you are a lover of quilts and their histories, I highly recommend this book.

When I read stories like theirs (mostly surrounding the Civil War period), I feel so close to those women and their hard lives, I often wonder if that was something I did in another lifetime. When I started spinning years ago, my hands knew immediately that it was exactly what they were supposed to be doing, like some sort of muscle memory. My many other fiber pursuits have fallen into place in much the same way, but not with that same feeling of familiarity.

Once, many years ago, someone told me I must be an old soul. At the time, I had no sensitivity to things of these matters, and filed it away for future consideration. Then this summer, while walking the tide pools with my niece Laurie, I was telling her that I think my grandson is an old soul...and a few feet later, look what we found in a tide pool. How's that for timing???

PS Photo obviously snagged from photos of the cover weren't as good!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Getting back in the groove

It's Monday morning, and after a few days of seriously hibernating, I've decided that today is the day I must restart this great life I have. If I've learned nothing else these last months, I've once again been reminded that each day we have truly is a gift and not to be wasted in any way.

Last week, before things went down the dark tunnel with Meika, I was able to get out in the dye room and start dyeing some roving again. It was great fun! I have found that dyeing while listening to audio books is the perfect combination of activities. I listened to Anne Dillard's last book, The Maytrees, and happily painted Polwarth and BFL wool.

The feast of colors after the wool has been rinsed and dried is always the best part. While I know I need to start photographing and reopen my little Etsy shop, I couldn't pass up the chance to pick a couple of 4 oz. hanks of BFL and see what they'd look like spun up. The one on the bobbin wasn't quite as bright as the photograph (blurry, sorry) of the one I haven't spun yet. Because I'm spinning it so fine, the second one will most likely mute out quite a bit, as well. It's great to be back at the wheel after all these months; spinning is truly one of my favorite things to do.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Saying goodbye

Meika Sue Von Rottenweiler
Nov. 13, 1999-April 6, 2011

A true friend who graced us with 11 years of unconditional love, friendship, and protection. While we love our other dogs and cats, I doubt she can ever be replaced. May she play in heaven with all the big dogs.

And now I'd like to take a moment to thank all of you for hanging with me these last few months. I plan to resume posting on a more regular basis, focusing on things of a much happier nature. It is time to start enjoying spring and the season of renewal!