Four hand-me-downs

I finally have photos to post of the spindles most recently acquired from friend moving to Denver.  A nice range of weights.  All “unknowns” except the Kundert, which has gone already to a new home–a friend to whom I gave her first spinning lesson this last week and is already thoroughly hooked!

In order of size, a tiny polymer clay (green), a slightly larger polymer clay (blue), both made by Mercedes of Kitchen Sink Dyeworks (previously owner of Knit Nouveau).  Then the mystery black one made of plastic–a midweight.  And the Kundert, only slightly larger than the black.





AND, might as well include my beloved first spindle from way, way back (more than 20 years) made by good friend and fellow Mount Horeb Spindrifter Carol Watkins.


That’s not all, by any means.  Have caught the spindle bug.  Ordered three “bossies” from Jouney Wheel.  And should receive two spindles (a Greensleeves and a Houndesign) early next week–maybe, maybe tomorrow!!!

Happy Mothers Day!



Filed under Fiber, Spinning

Spindles and more…

I have been on tenterhooks all week and thought this might be the time to get back to the blog.  Tonight–TONIGHT a friend is bringing her 4 or so (more, more!) spindles to knit night.  T is moving to Denver, into an apartment, and is aiming to concentrate on her (most excellent) knitting and weaving.  Spinning goes.  To me, I hope!  I’ve been spinning for years, mostly on wheels (Ashford to start, then Louet for production work, and finally a sweet, smooth Schacht).  We raised sheep for wool in Wisconsin until moving to Alabama and suburban life.  Then worked at UAB for 10 years. No time nor energy for spinning.  Now, retired, the urge is back.  Still have 2 wheels which are getting plenty of use, but when we travel to fiber paradise (Oakland, CA) to stay with the grandkid I NEED to spin the fiber I drool over and NEED the portability of spindles.  So, tonight is the night.  Have no idea what she has.  Have spent hours and hours and hours on ravelry looking at folks’ spindles.  Know what I want.  Know I’ll settle for a variety of anything.  Yay 1,000,000.


Filed under Fiber, Knitting, Spinning

Back in Oakland

I’m back in Oakland (California) for a relaxed visit with my grandson. He started school this week but doesn’t have after school care for two weeks yet. The good news is, he was accepted into the one at his school, which is HANDY and, best of all, a good one. His school moved this summer from downtown Oakland to near the airport. They have much more room and playground space onsite. It’s a bit of a challenge still for the drop-off and pick-up strategy, but will even out soon, I’m sure. There’s no parking other than pretty sketchy on-street parking, or using the store lot across Hegenberger (which is very wide and very busy). He was ready for school EARLY the first two days–half an hour and three quarters of an hour. By Wednesday, though, the norm of stall tactics set in. Ah well, two days isn’t bad at all.

I love visiting my Oakland family. Well, that goes for any of my family since they are all pretty darn nice to be around. But Oakland’s a real city with all the choices and noises. Am trying hard to stay away from all my favorite places–need to keep the spending to a minimum so I’ll have a little for the trip to Shanghai coming up. I do have one thing I’m SUPPOSED to get on this trip: the green-patterned, jungly-looking shopping bag from Trader Joe’s. A friend brought one back from CA this summer and our knitting group has been oohing and aahing over it with the lustful looks usually reserved for yarn. So I volunteered to bring some back. No great expenditure ($1-$2 each and I want to get 8) but they are turning out to be a little difficult to find. Apparently they rotate the designs around some. The nearest store didn’t have them. I’ll need to check a couple more. And if there aren’t any, then the knitters will just have to wait for the next trip!

Have been working on the Victorian Lace Today 3-cornered shawl for my son’s girlfriend in Claudia Hand Painted Yarns–silk lace 20/2. Moving right along, until getting to Chart E going from row 23 to 24. Stitch numbers work fine, but the left and right sides seem to be reversed. No big problem. While I pondered what to do, I brought it with me to show my daughter and she pointed out that I ought to take out all of the knitting in Chart E because I’d changed colors on the wrong row (I’m doing it in two colors) and the color bumps are showing on the front rather than on the back. I picked up the last row of the first color before taking anything out–helped to keep me from dropping stitches. Am ready to go again. This has been one rip-out that I don’t feel badly about. It’s been a complete pleasure to knit and it’s going faster as I go (shorter rows). Now I can knit it for longer!!!

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Tax adventure

I never talk about financial stuff in public. People seldom do. But … (in the most general terms and only because we had yesterday some wide-eyed, blood pressure-raising, are we angry or are we scared moments)…

We own some undeveloped land in a state in which we do not live (and at the other end of the country). Every year or so we receive the latest revaluation notice–sometimes just a little less or more, sometimes a larger difference, but nothing to worry about. This year the assessment shows a huge difference, one might call it outrageous. One 40-acre parcel has increased 16 times. Another has increased 49 times. What’s that about? I’ve been in our old files, on the assessor’s website, on the phone with some neighbors in that far-off state (thank you CW), and am now armed with some questions that might not sound too ignorant when the assessor folks get around to calling me back (since we live way, way too far away to make an appointment to meet them). I am not a money person and this is a bit of a challenge, but I’m beginning to see some possible reasons for this craziness. Makes me nervous, though, until I get to talk to a real person. I hope that person makes sense to a person like me, one with little or no experience!

Meanwhile, I’m ready for some cool! Weather, that is.

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In shock

It’s been awhile since my last post. Oops. Had to recover from the very enjoyable trip out to Oakland to visit daughter, sil, and grandson. Was supposed to be there to help with transportation during an off-kilter end-of-school-year week but wasn’t needed until the last day. That one was special because I got to go to the park (middle of downtown, about 3 blocks from the school) with the kid’s class for games and ice cream. Was fun to see his classmates and talk to his teacher. Been a long time since I’ve been on a class outing. His class has a LOT of parental participation–much appreciated by the teacher. Even got to pack up a few posters for the teacher–the school is moving this summer; what a job that must be.

Have been spending time at home, reading mostly (Robin McKinley, Georgette Heyer, whenever possible). Checked out a trilogy from the library–thought I was getting McKinley but got the Lighthouse Trilogy by Adrian McKinty. It’s for young adults and reads that way. Am still deciding if I like it. (McKinley is for YA also, but is SOOOO good!) Some quilting (must dig out a picture) and a fair bit of knitting–all on one project. I’ve started a triangular shawl for my son’s girlfriend in silk. More details and a picture later. Guess I should get it on Ravelry, too. Oh my.

The “shock” part of this post is about our trip to Shanghai. Won’t happen until October, but meanwhile I’ve been getting used to the idea. Long flight, language issues, money issues, weather issues, etc. But the more I read (of course!) the more I’m looking forward to the trip. We’ll stick close to the city which will be fine with the amount of time we’ll have–about 10 days. My husband has been invited to give a keynote address for a conference–and a half-day workshop. There will be translators. And a certain degree of wining and dining. Oh heavens–that’s not my thing. I figure it will be good for me and the folks who take us around will be gracious and interesting. And we’ll be eating wonderful food. I’m hoping that walking around the city during the day will be acceptable and safe. Shanghai is supposed to be one of the safe places. It’s also the fashion center of the far east. And casual. I like the combination. This is when I’m pleased to be “of a certain age” because I won’t feel so self-conscious about my very-much-not-high-fashion wardrobe.

Once the shock passes, it’s kinda fun to get ready. Been gathering together some slash-proof items, making sure I have some quick-dry clothing (a bit tough for a cotton freak who will NOT wear polyester or nylon)–or at least light weight, reading up a bit on things to see and do in Shanghai. There’s some pretty fascinating history, too–both relatively recent and going way back. And how could I forget? I’m not a big shopper, but there will be FABRIC: blue indigo wax-resist-dyed cotton, known as nankeen and very popular now. Hope I can find some I can afford. Want to add a bit to the bluesy quilt I’m making for my daughter.

All for now. I feel much better just writing some of this down.

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Filed under Fabrics, Knitting, Quilting, Reading, Travel

Heading out and some favorite places

Will be leaving tomorrow for a visit in Oakland CA with my grandson. Can’t wait. Will be such a treat to see him and have the energy in the cooler weather to do things with him.

Might even get a quick visit with my friend Jane whose visit to the Bay Area overlaps mine by, I believe, one day. Pretty crazy to be travelling across the country to see each other! She’s on a cross-country drive with her husband in their EuroVan and has been keeping us more or less up-to-date by way of her travel blog. Love seeing where she’s been and her impressions, plus she’s put in some great pictures.

Am taking some pieces of blue to work on a quilt for my grandson’s parents. Have just put together the first 3 blocks, and I’m not so sure about it. Problem may be the center square which is just a bit dull. Will be looking for something else at my favorite fabric shop ever, Stonemountain & Daughter Fabrics on Shattuck Ave in Berkeley. What a great excuse!

Some (nowhere near all) of my other favorite places (restaurants/shops) to visit in the Bay Area:
Bluebird Yarn & Fiber Crafts in Sausalito
Sartaj India in Sausalito
The Papery in Sausalito
Black Mountain Artisans in Point Reyes Station
Laurel Book Store in Oakland (always a delight to see owner, Luan)
K2TOG in Albany
Bakesale Betty on Telegraph Ave in Oakland
Article Pract (yarn store) on Telegraph Ave in Oakland
Five Little Monkeys (toy store) in Albany–a few doors down from K2TOG

…and most important of all, Bittersweet, the best chocolate place you could dream of–I’m hooked on their Classic. It’s on College Ave in Oakland.

Oh man, I can’t wait! Now I just have to iron some fabric, freeze some blueberries, vacuum the rugs, fold and put away clothes (then get them out again), and PACK! Be back late next week.

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a good thing

I just came across the site for The Alzheimers Art Quilt Initiative . They auction off small — tiny — quilts to raise money for research. Seems like the size (9″x12″) might be good for working on while traveling. Am always looking for ideas for portable projects. And they’ll take anything from anyone as long as the rules are followed. Thank you Karen Combs for mentioning this admirable endeavor in your blog.

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