Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Small Things Exchange

I belong to a wonderful list filled with fiber folk who have been talking online for simply years. This year I got brave (cause I really can finish the odd thing) ;), and I signed up for the 'Small Things Exchange'. At the time it was January so I made a small pair of mitts with bright colors to encourage spring to peek out and arrive. (So many of our members live on mountaintops, cold areas of this and other countries. Spring is a visitor they wait for and welcome). The first photo is 'in progress'. The second and third are finished, YEA!!! I am waiting to see what might come my way, when we are finally mailed our exchange items. (I should say that, YES, I did do two mitts, not just the one in the picture. The other hand held the camera!).

A small Things Exchange is not as daunting as say 'lace shawl' or other crazy intense item exchange. It is just right for me or anyone else wanting to participate, but overwhelmed by the idea of a giant item to be made. It is a good way to participate in a creativity exchange. Always a good thing to try out.

Saying merely "Yarn" is not enough

The idea of blogging has intrigued me for some time.  At first I thought... too much time.  I should take that time and use it to make things, but I have this little problem with >finishing things<, if I have a nemesis that one would be high on my list.  Eventually, I got a bit curious and started reading blogs here and there, noticing what people did with their blogs, and actually asking one or two... why do you do that.  My initial thought was to use my blog as therapy for my own grieving process and to not forget after my father died.  Then I added to that the idea of Keeping track of projects and recording finished items.  It really does help.

But then As I read more and more I discovered that people are eloquent. People are out there making a difference. People are inspiring others to act, to create, to participate in the conversation that is life.

I have much to learn on the technical side, but I have decided that these things are all important to me.

I think one of the most inspiring people whose blog I visit regularly... just to hang out, because she doesn't live anywhere close to getting together for coffee or lunch; is Abby. Her blog is 'Abby's Yarns'. She makes yarns and she tells yarns. But saying merely 'Yarn' is not enough. Here is one of my favorites or her yarns. It tells much about her, where she comes from, and why what she does gifts all of us in some fashion.

'A first Look at Something Huge':

So to say that the Yarns she tells are merely yarns by the fire is lyrical, but does not give them the warmth and eloquence they deserve. She engages and brings us all into the circle. She helps us all join the dance. Abby spins out to us flowing as the Andean Women dance and spin in the same moment. I missed spending time with her at SOAR and I won't do that again.

Now I did not speak about the physical manifestations of Abby's yarn. Again to say merely 'yarn' is a misnomer. I was so inspired by some of her posts that I had to visit her so I went and bought some of her yarn. Well, it hasn't arrived yet since I bought it yesterday online, but her colors are brilliant. Color is seductive and one has to know how to use it. Abby doesn't need lessons. She has color and she uses it. The combination of her spun-a-licious yarn and her seductive use of color can be too much even for the experienced spinner-knitter-weaver. It was too much, I was overcome and well, I a little less cash, but I am rich rich RICH... for I have more than merely yarn coming soon to a mailbox near me.

Of course except for the orange bit... I don't have anything close to a plan to use it.

Wound Upon a Rock

When my daughter had just turned 2 I was given a sudanese drop spindle, mighty heavy, but it had a hook and I bought fiber to play with and I spun, and spun, and spun, a n d s p u n.... until at last I had no more fiber, but a big GIANT cone of yellow singles on a stick. So I wound it onto something and got some more fiber from somewhere. Spinning with no direction, I just kept doing it, and not plying.
One of my closest Bosom buddies widened my world in a single fell swoop. She noticed my second spun yarn at an arts display (before she really knew me). I had spun it, but I didn't even know how to ply so I wound it on a rock to show what I had been up too. A lovely little bit of roving (a very little bit) spun and wound upon a nice rock I found. At this point I had no more fiber, but I REALLY wanted to spin. She took me under her wing, loaned me a wheel, never once in these 13 years denigrated my yarn on a rock, and then one day she suggested we pop up to SOAR and room together. What in the world is SOAR?

So we packed up and off we went and WOW. I thought I died and gone to heaven. Guess what!? There were other fiber geeky (except we are all now really fiber fiends) people. Other people who liked sheep and didn't think I was wierd. People who were MUUUCH farther gone than I. At that point I ah, didn't have a fiber stash to speak of. Anyway, my Bosom Bud sheperded me around told me cool things to do like volunteer to help. And I volunteered to man the welcome desk on Thursday (during market time. (don't be worried friends, I managed to buy enough to fill an additional suitcase. ;) ) I welcomed everyone ever so enthusiastically including Linda Ligon, who took this newbie's jubilence with a smile. I was just overwhelmed with SOAR. I took notes and cried at Karen Selk's presentation. (At that time I was raising my own silkworms and had almost no one to share it with... that is who understood that form of my insanity). I did EVERYTHING I could and by the last workshop session, I could no longer spin on my wheel and could hardly form a question with my mouth. This little sponge was fairly dripping with the week and could no longer absorb anything more than, 'I'm a warm body in the room'.

Quite frankly that week in uncountable ways changed the very fiber of my being. (Yes, there is a pun there, but the allusion is unresistable) (please stop throwing tomatoes now). I was changed. I taken some toddler steps into the big giant world.

Did I mention the marketplace? Well, the marketplace has to be experienced to be truly appreciated. Fiber vendors of every ilk, from all corners of the globe, descend to display their wares. Uh, not only display... but to let us touch, fondle, and of course buy... Karen Selk's husband just laughed at me with my arms full of ... incredible toys, there were books from Yarn Barn, Wooden fiber implements from Woody at Woodchuck's, Sheila and Jonathon Bosworth and their toys, and of course Francine's 'Rovings'.

As I said I was virginal in my visit to the marketplace and I could not understand why all these people were lined up the length of the marketplace to get into her booth. So being ever curious I grabbed a big garbage bag from her booth like everyone else and got into line. (You see my sheperd and Bosom Buddy could not protect me from the seduction of THE MARKETPLACE and although she was equally overcome, she had experience, wisdom, and restraint on her side. She also recognized there was nothing that could be done for me once I walked through those doors). At any rate eventually, I arrived in the booth to pay for my very large lawn size garbage bag of what turned out to be space dyed Polworth roving. Absolutely, amazing stuff. The thing is every year I am compelled by the spirits of the Polworth sheep to buy more roving (my own weakness has absolutely NOTHING whatsoever to do with it). But I noticed,,, or you know, my husband noticed that I was accumulating fleeces dyed, undyed, just shorn; that well (if the truth be told), I wasn't getting spun up, used up, given away... in short whereas once I had no stash... now I did. So this past year I restrained myself and did NOT buy a garbage bag of roving or fleece. I resolved to spin up at least one of my bags from Francine (but don't worry, I did buy polworth, silk and polworth cashmere blends of YARN, because Yarn isn't fleece or a bag of roving.

So here a a few photos (above) of what's left of my bag of roving. I would say I have an eighth of a bag left (which gives you an idea of what I've spun up already). I must think of a project for it. One of my friends said she volunteered to be a recipient and I could give it to her if I couldn't think of a use. It's good to have friends. :)

I would not now have so much fun or be who I am, were it not for the gift of a drop spindle, my rock, and my bosom buddy suggesting we pop off to spend a week at SOAR. Fiber is such an intrinsic part of my being that who knows what would have become of me... I still have my yarn wound on a rock.

Monday, February 25, 2008

An entry about Dad

This entry is copied from a series of other things written by me about my father. It is important for me personally to keep these memories however difficult, alive somewhere. They might help someone else know they are not alone and it is theraputic to me in some odd way.

Written March 2007

This is Dad with the kids in August of 2004. We didn't know that this would be our last vacation together, that this would be the last time for so many things I cannot say. He died March 12 of 2005. At the time this photo was taken he was sick, but didn't know it.

When he died I was there. I had been there through the night. I sat by him and wandered in and out of waking and sleeping with my hand holding his and a tibetan rosary wrapping us together. In the morning a doctor came by with a load of interns all looking up at me from eyes with heads partially bent. They knew that he was dying. They were there to see what death looked like as it came closer. They asked me if he needed more pain meds, because they knew if they upped the dosage he would go faster. He was comfortable and I couldn't bear to hasten my father's death. I said no. I called my sister. I told her to get there. I knew he was going to leave soon. He waited for my Aunt to get there. They turned off the monitoring devices so we wouldn't focus on the breathing in and breathing out of lines on a graph. I was holding his hands and I could see the gradual leaving of his spirit. His body changed ever so slightly and then slightly again. I had my hand on his heart. I could feel it beating. I had my other hand holding his. The awful nurse said, "I'll call the doctor", and thankfully left and I said "I can still feel his heartbeating" and then it stopped and he didn't breathe anymore and he was gone. Gone, gone, gone, gone, gone, gone, gone I cannot evoke the goneness. He was gone and he is gone and I will never ever have a heart that is whole again.

I am adding these to this entry many months later. This is an entry from my other blog (trying to consolidate things and not lose them). As sad as things have been or are at times, these things remembered, oddly sometimes keep us whole. I wrote this one last year, which was 2 yrs after his death.