Stitching Again

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A want-to-do for August happened with a little help from my girlie.

She said something about embroidering before we went on vacation and I jumped online and bought us each a kit from Embroidery and Sage. Her kits are straight forward,well explained, use only a few stitches, and have everything you need including a display hoop and backing felt. You do need your own scissors. She got the cactus kit and I got the forest kit.

Of course, we had no time to stitch on our vacation, but when we got home all the stitching happened. My daughter was a woman on a mission. I set her up with books, videos, a practice hoop and a stitch sampler, which she tore through until she felt she had enough stitches under her belt to tackle her kit. She certainly got the hang of it faster than I did.

I haven’t really stitched for about a year, but I remember that have-to-stitch feeling, and how relaxing it is to stitch. I sat beside her as much as I could answering questions, tying, and untying knots, and stitching.

I even revealed to her all of the preprinted samplers and kits I have in my embroidery stash, and let her rummage through all of my floss. I’m so excited that she’s stitching I let her pick one of my Fat Squirrel bags to keep her projects in.

I bought her the Dropcloth starter kit with two samplers. We took a tour through just a few online shops, Dropcloth, Cozyblue, and Embroidery and Sage. She didn’t really want to look, she wanted to keep stitching.

I was hoping to get back to stitching, but wouldn’t allow myself the time to relax into it. I’m thankful to my girl for leading me back.

I’m teaching at WEBS the weekend after Rhinebeck, October 26/27. They have just posted my classes on their site. Come spin with me!

Electric Eel Wheel Nano - First Thoughts

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I’ve spun on my Nano for only a couple of hours, but I know lots of folks are wondering about how it spins.

I didn’t buy the Nano to replace my Hanson (in fact having the Nano may have cemented my desire to upgrade to the Hansen Pro), they are very different machines. I am certainly not comparing them when I spin.

The Nano is tiny, it fits in my small-handed palm. It really likes to spin fine. I spun Merino/silk and some Falkland in several different sizes. Fine was my sweet spot.

It’s very light for good and not so good. It will be lovely to find the perfect carrying box, and be able just to toss it in my bag. But, I was constantly pulling it around while I spun. I’ll be shopping for tiny bungee cords today. There are holes built into the base to help attach the spinner to something heavier.

It only has so much power. Of course, I turned it up as hight as it will go. This is not the machine for spinner who want super fast high twist yarns or giant heavy yarns. I could get high twist and fat yarns on the Nano, but it took more time.

It is so clever and so quiet. The motor is close to silent, it hums. The bit noise from the spinner comes from bobbins rattling slightly on the bobbin shaft. The controls are intuitive for me, and it has magnets to keep the tiny orifice hook in place. I am always losing my orifice hooks.

I bought the Nano for a couple of reasons, to demonstrate how yarn is made when I teach knitters about yarn construction, and to spin yarns to stitch with. Right out of the box I knew the Nano fit the bill perfectly. I’m looking forward to getting to know her a little better, and will write more then.

Also it’s SO CUTE! Even my husband and son who are immune to the siren song of any new fiber tools, were drawn to the Nano’s adorableness.

Here’s a short video of me spinning on it. I’m holding my phone with one hand, so I’m doing a little long draw. You can hear that it’s quiet, I like the little chugging sound it makes. You can see see that when I wind on and try to pull back, the spinner wants to come along. Plus you can see how adorable it is.

Adventuring

As I write this the kids are still sleeping. We are on a family adventure in the southwest. We’ve explored Mesa Verde and now we are in Santa Fe. This trip is showing me how hard I’ve been working, and how much I will enjoy my August slow down.

I may post here every so often in August, but I’ll be back in full weekly swing in September.

I hope you find a way to recharge this summer!

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Taking a Little Break to Recharge and 2020 Teaching

Neighborhood Fiber Co, Alice Gadzinski on Polwarth, left and BFL/silk, right

Neighborhood Fiber Co, Alice Gadzinski on Polwarth, left and BFL/silk, right

I’m doing something new this year; I am intentionally taking time off to recharge. Our whole family is going on vacation after I teach at the Intermountain Weavers Conference in Durango, Colorado. We’re headed to Mesa Verde and Santa Fe, suggestions for food and fun are welcome.

When I get home I’ll be putting plan Recharge into effect. I’ve worked ahead as much as I can; I’m not organized enough to get a whole month ahead, but I will be reducing my work week. I’ll work two or three days right in the middle, so I can have a stretch of three or four days to make and meander.

Here are the things I want to do, spin four of the braids I’ve bought recently that keep waving at me from their basket, knit a whole something (finishing something counts), weave a scarf, wash my fleeces. I plan on spending several hours every day making something. I’ve been head-down working, and teaching non stop for almost two years. I love the work I do so much I frequently forget to fill my bucket back up.

Non-making things include exploring Detroit, reading at least 4 books, working on our yard (it’s a mess!), clearing out closets and corners, making a lot of lists, and taking a break from social media.

I am excited.

My 2020 teaching calendar is full. Unless someone cancels, I’m not taking any more gigs. If you are interested in me coming your way in 2021, shoot me an email. I’ll keep it in my teaching queue until I open my books for 2021 in February. I will update my teaching calendar as soon as I can officially announce things.

Hospitals Are a Great Place to Knit, Unless You're Me

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Everyone always says hospitals are a great place to knit, what they don’t tell you is that you probably won’t want to. My husband was in the hospital for three days last week and I brought my knitting ( and some spinning, and embroidery) but I barely touched any of it. I can’t stress craft. I couldn’t do much more than just stare at him, just in case.

He is fine. He developed an infection that required IV antibiotics. He almost never gets sick and had a weird pain. He went quickly from Urgent Care, to the ER to being admitted. We are lucky he caught it really early.

Now I’m catching up on work, getting ready for a teaching trip, and a family vacation to the southwest. But I’m still watching him out of the corner of my eye, just in case.

Hug your people, and if you have a weird pain, go to the doctor.

DM Fibers - Meet Sasha and David

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If you’ve taken a class with me in the past year or so you will have spun fiber from DM Fibers. All of the solid colored Corriedale that we spin into gorgeous marls and draft together with variegated fibers comes from DM Fibers.

You’ll have heard me talk about what wonderful people Sasha and David are, how easy they are to work with, and how they make my teaching life so much easier by always getting my order right and delivering on time . Plus all the fibers they have are :chef’s kiss: fabulous!

When I was at TNNA (The National Needlework Association convention), I managed to get a picture of Sasha and David, so you can see their smiling faces. They love making spinners (and teachers and shops) happy.

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They gave me a sneak peek of new colors of Corriedale. Deb Robson and I have been asking for awhile to get some brighter colors, and Sasha and David came through!

The photo is close with the colors, but what looks like red in the photo is actually magenta.

Starting this July, these colors will start showing up in my classroom ‘s rolling stash.

Wee Woven Patches

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Sometimes I want a patch instead of a visible mend on a garment, I like the look. Sometimes I just want a cute little patch because it's cute.

I have a set of Minute Weavers from Purl and Loop that make 2"-ish woven squares. They are great for making tiny patches. The set comes with three weavers that use fingering to worsted weight yarns.

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They are a spectacular take-along project, or I-just-need-to-finish-something-real-quick project, or maybe you need a coaster for your shot glass.

The patch in the photos is woven from a Merino single (I think it's Hedgehog Fibres), the color is so magnificent that I will put up with the inevitable pilling.

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This little patch was destined to cover a little hole in a sweater, but since I’ve made it, I’ve been carrying it with me and just petting it. I guess sometimes a wee patch is all I need for some fiber comfort.

Sit at the Table, Jump Off the Rock

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One of my strongest memories of teaching at the Mason Dixon Knitting Getaway is of tables. Think about it, at any retreat or class tables are important. You learn at them, eat at them, gather around them.

The tables at the MDK Getaway were especially welcoming. Sure friends sat with friends, but no one was ever turned away because a spot was saved for someone else, chairs were drawn up, buns were scootched down a bench, there was always room.

The tables where we ate were long and communal. There were tables in the library for after hours knitting and crafting, and people moved around greeting old friends and settling in with new ones.

The tables in my classroom, had to be moved between for supplies, and there was all kinds of encouragement and all the answers to any curiosity as people bopped from table to table.

I was lucky to sit at a special early morning table. The east coast early birds, met every morning at 6 for coffee. Ann Weaver and I roomed in an apartment in one of the dorms. We had a kitchen with a big table, and Nell, who was next door, had the holy AeroPress.

Folks would show up in jammies or already dressed with their knitting or stitching and we would get ready for our day with craft, chatter and caffeine. No one was ever in a hurry. It was a perfect way to start a day, slowly connecting over craft.

I am grateful to have been invited to sit at the tables at the Getaway.

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There was a reservoir a five minute walk from campus and I was determined to go swimming. It rained a lot over the weekend, but there was a magical two hours one afternoon, when both the weather and my schedule was clear.

One of the young women who worked with us took me down to the res and asked, did I want to go down the ladder or jump off of the rock?'

The rock was about 10 feet from the water, and just a little slippery. I stepped up and jumped, no hesitation, just reaction born of a lot of summer memories.

In that airborne moment I was 8 not 56. It was bliss, the combination of freedom and terror.

The weekend at the MDK Getaway was a great reminder to me that when the opportunity presents itself, sit at the table and jump off the rock.