Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Weaving Weekend XIII

Candy and I headed up to our annual weekend in Aberdeen, SD. This is (let me think) our 4th weekend, I believe. Yes, has to be! When Marie and daughter Kelly started the weekend event, it was a “Help one another weave” weekend but morphed into spinning, knitting and crocheting for the most part, although Marie would bring her triangle loom and someone would do something on that every year.Two years ago they asked me why I didn’t bring a loom; last year I took Cherry (Norm made her for me) and everyone drooled over her. Marie even ordered a loom of her own because of Cherry’s beauty. 

Marie's loom, in progress

This year I took Little Sister (for some reason, Candy seemed to object to that name!).  By the end of Saturday morning, we had 7 (count them!  SEVEN!) looms of one sort or another.  That was a thrill for me - I wandered around looking (and, yes, drooling) at all of them.

So, let’s see, we got there about 4:00 on Friday and got set up.  We took our bedding into the dorm and found beds, then went back in to visit and visit and set up more completely.  We had a potluck supper (with wine for those inclined) and worked on our projects, caught up with news from friends we only see once or twice a year, and then went to bed at optional times.  Some of the gals went for a lovely walk - it WAS beautiful night and others sat and visited (or went to bed, like Candy and I).

Saturday was the same - breakfast was an egg bake with my eggs and lots of fruit and breads of all kinds.

Lunch was a lot of cold meats and buns and salads and fruit.  Dinner was catered in - a shepherd’s pie, salads and fruit and breads.  Candy had never even heard of a shepherd’s pie .... so I will tell all of you in case you fit in Candy’s category.

Shepherd’s pie is a filling, homey meal of cooked meat – this time was cooked ground beef, vegetables (peas and carrots this time), a little bit of liquid to make it not-dry, and mashed potatoes on top ... lots of mashed potatoes on top!  It is then baked in the oven until hot and the potatoes browned some.  A very simple meal.  I believe it’s called “shepherd’s pie” because it was originated by shepherds who would start the meal of leftover meat and vegetables and bake it in a SLOW oven all day while they were outside working with the sheep.  A fitting meal for we fiber-addicted women.

We had a speaker that was to speak on the history of women in fiber but spoke mostly on what she, personally, had made.  Yes, she does remarkable cross-stitch and yes, she is an independent women’s-rights woman, but she did NOT speak enough on the history of women struggling to make the fiber “crafts” accepted as “art.”  Nice gal, though.  Just saying what *I* would have preferred to hear her talk about.

Sunday was left-over egg-bake and commercial rolls and donuts and stuff.  We ate leftovers for lunch before heading home.

Candy and I left at noon and got home about 4½ hours later (give or take).  It was a beautiful sunny day that gradually built into over-cast and dampish, but there was not much wind so the trip was great.

Okay, so more details: Connie H brought an 8-harness loom (36 inches wide) that she was threading up for some hand towels.  She had a sample of a towel she had made before - it has little white lambs running around on an edge.  Julie does re-cycled weaving; her project was a cashmere/mohair scarf made from old sweaters torn apart (“frogged”) and plied together.  Kelly was working on the triangle loom with some fine handspun yarn for a scarf.  Marie wanted me to help her thread her new rigid heddle loom; she got it ready for weaving and had actually gotten several inches done.

Annikki is a weaver, spinner, knitter, crocheter and was doing potholders for her family in Finland, where she will go visit this summer.  Shay did spinning; Jill wove on an inkle loom.  Kathy learned to warp her new rigid heddle and started a handspun cotton scarf.  Candy worked on a purple fleece ... beautiful in the fleece AND in the yarn.  Others (many others) spun, knit, crocheted.  

We all learned new techniques and taught to those who needed to know what we knew.  I finished my warp with cotton chenille and showed Marie how to warp a four-harness loom, then started some “mug rugs.”

This is an annual affair and it seems to be growing by leaps and bounds.  We stayed, for the 3rd year, at a youth camp near Aberdeen.  It has a large hall with fireplaces on both ends.  The one on the end where we were set up was gas.  Kelly and Jill fought with the mechanics of it until it lit (with Kelly’s head in the fireplace .. we thought she might put her hair on fire, but she didn’t).  The heat of the gas fireplace warmed up the chilly hall.  There IS heat but it’s forced air and it tends to get chilly with cement floors and stone walls.  There are dormitories; we stayed in one, but might have to extend to a second one if we get much larger.  Some come from local areas and don’t spend the night.  Others come for the whole weekend. 

We had good food, good laughter, great fiber-related work.  We missed some (yes, you, especially, Ann - we talked about you a lot!) and hope that they can come next year.

While getting ready for this event, being there and coming home, I have missed some important dates that didn’t get mentioned.

Last week on the 19th was Holocaust Remembrance Day; there were many events going on but I didn’t see much in the news (sigh).  Sunday the 22nd was Earth Day .. Did you do anything to honor Mother Earth?  I was traveling so didn’t do much, but Candy and I car-pooled to the weekend, so does that count?  And I am hanging out laundry on the line today - late but still ......  And Shakespeare’s birthday was the 23rd.  A lot of people don’t like to read Shakespeare but watching plays or movies are easier to understand. 

So, on to pictures of this wonderful weekend.

PS .. forgot to send links ... sorry!
    Kelly and Marie
    Kathleen Taylor
   Julie    Sorry to see that your car got hit by a deer on the way home!
There should be others but I forgot to get links for websites or emails.  Both Kathy and Julie have more pictures on their blogs - and Kathy has a picture of Connie's lovely sheep towel.

Look closely behind Connie - you can see her mint green towel with lambs!  Woven on this lovely loom.

Kelly did some natural dyeing.

It is a beautiful day today, you have a beautiful day.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Goings on this week

Well, I didn't talk about the Titanic on Sunday to you children.  Not because I wasn't aware of it, but I was in a little bit of a "snit" because not many people seemed to remember Abraham Lincoln.  His death was a world changing event!

Not that the Titanic's sinking wasn't life and world changing, but EVERYONE seemed to be remembering it.

On a side note, did you know that many young people (and I'm talking young adults) thought the sinking was just a movie, not a real event?

Any-who, on Sunday night I was going to watch the 1958 movie "A Night to Remember," which is considered the most realist of all the movies.  However, as it got closer to the time of hitting the ice berg, I had to shut it off.  My heart was beating fast and I was getting nervous.  I told Norm that I knew what was going to happen and didn't need to watch it.  

For the rest of the week, now, I've been playing with my new toy!  I purchased a Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus and it arrived on Friday!  This is replacing my Kindle as well as giving me web access.  I had looked at the Fire but it wasn't as powerful as I wanted.  This machine was given great reviews and my son-in-law, Eric, recommended it.

On Friday, Candy and I are heading up to Aberdeen for the annual weaving weekend.  I will be sure to take pictures.

Until then, I need to pack, get some wool organized to have Kelly process and make some goodies to eat.  It's a beautiful sunny day.  You have a beautiful day.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

April 14, 1865

Where were you then?  Yes, a long time ago; not even I was there.  But I remember (well, nearly every year).

And what happened then?

Yes, John Wilkes Booth walked into the Presidential Box at Ford Theater and shot Abraham Lincoln in the back of the head.  Lincoln died the next day, the 15th of April.

Booth's desire was to assassinate the top three leaders (President Lincoln, Secretary of State Seward and Vice President Johnson) in order to give bargaining power and more strength to the already defeated South.  He was also angry about the plan to give the slaves citizenship.

Only Lincoln was shot - the men in charge of the other assassinations either lost courage or lost the chance to kill.

This was the first Presidential assassination and it was devastating to the Union.  It was also devastating to the South, as well; Lincoln planned a much gentler acceptance of the Confederates back into the Union.  Johnson had a harsher plan that brought the already wounded South to it's knees; it took years for the southern states to recover.

Was there anything on the news today?  Will there be on, tonight?  People, we must NOT forget our history.  That history can come back and bite it (well, it already has, with three others killed after Lincoln).

Keep this day in your memories!

Friday, April 13, 2012

My friend, Jody

When we lived / worked at Historic Murphy’s Landing, I gave spinning lessons to “outlanders” on a semi-regular basis.  My boss, Deanna, forced encouraged me to share my “talents” with those who wanted to learn.  During one of these sessions, a young woman joined and had difficulties in learning, so she spent most of her time learning how to card.

At a later date, I took my Sheltie, Meggie, to a groomer in Shakopee and discovered that the owner was this same young woman, named Jody.  I had Jody groom Meggie on a regular basis until she sold the shop (and continued with the new owner).                               

Then we moved to Ash Lane Farm and settled in.  One Sunday several years after we moved here, Norm came home from church announcing “You’ll never guess who I found in church!” - and behind him came Jody!  She and her fiancé had purchased a homestead just 2 ½ miles from us and had gone to the church which is just across the road from their new home.

It was very exciting to renew my friendship with Jody.  She has such enthusiasm and such energy that she inspires me to do my best and to do more than I want, just to keep up with her.

Jody was down in this area for too brief a time until she moved back up to the cities to be with her Mom where they rented a house together.

Jody’s health went downhill with a brain tumor very like son-in-law Ken’s.  Then the day before she was scheduled for surgery, her Mom died.  Jody has been struggling with recovery and with the loss of her mother, but has been wanting to move back down here.

Things are now turning around for my dear friend.  She became a grandmother in January; then she sold some land in the Black Hills and had the finances to purchase a place of her own - her VERY own.

Now that Jody is moving down here, again, we will be able to do more things together.  Jody is my “PIC” - “Partner in Crime” - and we can get into all kinds of trouble together.  We already have plans for her to make a Prairie Dress so she can be at Walnut Grove with me during Laura Ingalls Wilder days there.  We have plans for sharing chickens and sheep (and maybe goats?).  She will probably join Candy and I for our monthly trips to Mankato for shopping; she might even join us for some of our fiber weekends.  Since Jody is down here most of the time, getting her house fixed up, she has started to re-join us at our “Stitches” day in Storden.

I am so excited that she is moving down!  It will be great to have her back “home.”  Jody had to make a decision when she bought her place.  She wanted to be close to her granddaughter, but she also wanted to be down here.  I told her to chose the place that called to her heart, not the people.  Now that she has chosen here, she has gotten a web cam so she can Skype with her daughter and granddaughter - after she gets her computer moved down and her new Internet service hooked up.

Welcome, Jody!  I’m glad you are here!  Your “big brother,” Norm, is glad, as well!

 Jody with granddaughter and proud papa!

Jody's new home

It's a windy, rainy spring day, but beautiful, none-the-less.  You have a beautiful day!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Wistful Wednesday

Do you remember these?  I don't, either!  

I know I'm dating myself, but I was born at Tyndall Field during WWII and Dad was a training pilot in Florida.  He then went overseas and Mom and I moved up to North Dakota while he was gone. 

We have all heard, I am sure, of rationing in England and Europe, but not much is mentioned of rationing in the United States.

I remember even during the Korean War that we saved tin cans.  I don't remember the waste fats, but that would be something that Mom did in the kitchen.  We kids would take the cans down in the basement of our house (this was when I was about six or seven) and would take the paper off the washed cans and smash them.  At least I THINK we took paper off ... they may have been just printed on ... Mom would know!

I looks like I didn't use many coupons ... at least not for coffee!

I don't remember much but I know that those times were tough for everyone, military and civilian.  I hope our country - well, the whole world, actually - never has to go through that again.

Although I know that many parts of the world are going through very tough times; and these people not only don't have ration coupons, they don't have food to get if they DID have the coupons!  I hope and pray that these people will soon get over the tough times.  There is food enough for everyone in the world; we should be able to distribute it so no one goes hungry or starves to death.

(My lecture for the day - I'm done, now!)

It's a beautifully chilly day - got down to 18º this morning.  You have a beautiful day.

Sunday, April 08, 2012

New Friends, old friends

... and a great fiber-filled day!

The first Saturday of the month, as most of you know, is our "Stitches" day in Storden.  We have decided to not hold Stitches in the winter because of weather - although this year would have been "do-able." So we have April as our first session of the year.

The weather was great (even if it WAS windy) and we had a great time.

Candy was there, I was there, Betty was there.  Lois didn't come (family there for Easter).  But we had Jody, who is moving back down here, Brenda (who had been once a year ago) and Peg, brand new.

Candy was spinning some lovely purple Rambouillet mixed with Corriedale and some silk (I think).  Betty was spinning green-dyed Mohair from her own goats.  Jody was just knitting and talking - soaking in companionship, as she's been gone so long.  Brenda mentioned she wanted to learn to spin so I took a spinning wheel for her to try (she thought I was joking) and she learned enough to know she wants to spin.  Peg brought her brand-new (to her) wheel and I gave her LuLu's fleece (Corriedale cross) for spinning.

Brenda has a new-to-her loom that her husband surprised her with, so she's going to try to learn on her own but will call me if she runs into problems.  She did a great job with her learning and is thinking about getting a wheel, maybe.

Peg has three looms and is learning four-harness weaving on her new one.  

So we have new weavers as well as new spinners.  Fantastic!
I had met Peg at New Ulm in March and found that she lives only about forty miles away; she purchased a wheel off of Etsy (which she had me approve of, first), named her "MaryB" after her husband's grandmother and showed up early in the day.

I forgot my camera (shame on me) but Peg had hers, so I took pictures ... they are on her brand new blog, Weaving Dandelion Dreams, so head over there to see some pictures of some lovely spinners.  (Didn't get Jody - she wasn't there at picture-taking time.)  And, Peg?  Tell your story of Mary and Ben!

Peg is going to make a great spinner - problems, of course, but she is learning and quickly.  We ran into tension problems and it took three of us to figure out that the previous owner had put the tension springs on wrong (I don't use "Scotch" tension, so it was a leaning experience for me); we got it fixed and MaryB spun beautifully.  We needed oil for the wheel and none of us had any spinning oil, so I dug in the kitchen of the Center and found some Pam ... a paper towel to catch drips and I sprayed all moving parts ... worked great in a pinch!

After everyone left, I sat weaving on "Little Sister" ... still working on a project.  Norm had dropped me off and helped unload my stuff, so he came back at five and loaded me back up.  Went home, unloaded again and I fell into the recliner and slept through most of Prairie Home Companion!

I am so pleased with having more people show up for "A Stitch in Time;"  it's been Candy's and my dream to have our little group grow and to teach others our passions.  

It's a beautiful day this morning - I hope everyone has a wonderful Easter.

Friday, April 06, 2012

“Write if you find work!”

Every time I go somewhere without Norm, he always says that!  He thinks he’s clever.

Last week when we girls went to Swan Lake, Norm told us that - so Bitty got a piece of paper and wrote him a letter.  He got the biggest kick out of it!  So did I and so did Bitty!
She is such a clever girl!  I am so proud of her and so proud of Bubba, too!

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

A busy weekend

This past Friday, Norm and I headed up to the Cities.  We knew we wouldn’t be seeing any of the kids for Easter, so decided to go up to visit now.

It’s been way too long, as usual, since we saw them last.  I got such goooood hugs from the girls - nearly knocked off my feet by the hugs!     

Joy and Ken are getting their house re-sided and Norm was there to help where he could.  It was cold and wet and not very comfortable outside!

Saturday was filled with working outside.  The girls were raking leaves and I trundled them up the compost pile in the wheel barrel.   We had to quit rather early to get ready for a ballet.  

Two of the girls’ friends are ballet students in a company that was putting on Swan Lake.  Joy made arrangement for her and the girls to usher; I was included, so we all were able to go and watch (for free) for the simple act of taking tickets, handing out programs and showing people where to sit.  This was my first live Swan Lake and the girls’ first live ballet.  They loved it (well, so did I!)!!

Sunday was April Fools’ Day but we didn’t do anything foolish (well, not right at first!).  Norm and I met Jill and Eric at a dog park; Peanut’s first trip to one, and she did very well.  A dog park is a park made particularly for dogs and owners; the park is well fenced and safe; all dogs that go are required to be well-behaved around other dogs and around people.  The dogs are off lead and can go anywhere they want.  Peanut followed me quite closely at first, but then got braver and led me along the path for awhile.  She would hide behind me when a big dog came by but seemed pretty “cool” with it all.  Remy and Hank love the dog park.  Hank loves swimming so was in the water a lot.  The park is set up with about a mile of walking trail and lots of bush and grass and water around and in the middle.  There is a picnic shelter in the middle to sit down at to rest.  You can’t eat in the park but there are picnic tables outside of the park for that.  So we walked once around, went out and had lunch and a break and then walked around again.  Lots of time to visit with Eric and Jill and enjoy all the neat dogs - purebred, mixed, big, little, slow, fast, wet, dry.  The weather started out cold and humid, but the sun came out and it warmed up nicely.

 Norm and I went back to Joy’s where we had hamburgers and hot dogs on the grill and watched a movie while eating.

Monday, Norm took the girls to Menards for some wood shopping; Joy and I went to Best Buy.  I have decided that I would like to get a tablet instead of up-grading my Kindle to the Kindle Fire.  So we went to allow me to get “hands on” experience and talk to a tech about the tablet I have chosen.  It’s an Acer Iconia TAB A100. I am also looking at a Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus .  I will have to save up some money to pay for it, but I am pretty sure that I will get one or the other.

Coming home, then, there was more siding to be done, more work around outside; then packing up the used siding to deliver to my friend, Jody, who is moving back down into our area.   The weather man had predicted rain but it never came, thank goodness, and we were able to stay outside and work most of the day.

Bitty and Joy went to a local College for Bitty to take her college exams.  She is only in tenth grade, but qualifies for that special high school / college thingie where she will go to high school part time and college part time.  She will then graduate from high school with two years of college under her belt.  The test was given on computers, so she had her score before she left the college.  Next she will be going to see a counselor to see what classes she will be taking on campus next year!  I am overwhelmed with pride; my sweet grandbaby is not only old enough to be doing this but is smart enough to be considered an honors English student in the first year of college!

 April Fools

Yep, crazy things were done on the first - two teens made all kinds of fun jokes.  We had green milk.  We had rocks in beds, masking tape across a doorway, soapy door handles, ice blocks in pillows.  The rocks were in Bitty’s bed, which I sleep in when we are there; I took them out for sleeping, put them back in and made the bed the next morning without commenting about the rocks.  I asked Joy if Bitty had noticed the rocks and was told “it’s not April Fool’s anymore.”  I told her it was “payback.”

We got home late Monday night, checked on chickens, brought in only perishable things to go into the freezer or fridge and fell into bed.  As much as I like going up to visit, being in my own bed is great (especially if there are no rocks in it).

It was a beautiful weekend.  You have a beautiful day.