Saturday, December 29, 2012

Hope your holidays are bright!

A welcome sight for a warp-challenged weaver!
Not to sound all gushy and Hallmarky, but I think I'm having just about the best holiday season ever.  And it's not all the parties I'm attending (though I will be hosting a get-together in a couple of days) as we live kind of far from family and this is a family time--so no parties until the New Year.

Befana was very good to me this year!  As you know, I no longer subscribe to the Santa myth, but have gone back to my ethnic roots in favor of Befana, the little old Italian lady who brings toys to good girls and boys AND sweeps your house.  No soot, no reindeer droppings, no cookie crumbs all over, just a nice stack of presents and a swept floor.  In case you decide to switch, just remember that Befana isn't a milk and cookies kind of gal.  Leave her a glass of decent red wine and maybe some good cheese in case she's feeling a little peckish.

The warp from the back.

My Holiday Surprise was a new-to-me loom under my tree.  Well, actually, a giant box on my doorstep.  I was just coming home for lunch when the Fed-Ex Lady pulled in my driveway and was wrangling this massive box out of her truck. "What's in it?" she asked me.  My jaw had dropped and I looked at the return address and knew just what it was!  My LOOM!  I had been drooling all over my computer looking at this four harness cutie and I guess my husband and Befana must have gotten together to get this to me in time for the holiday!

Just finished this skein of yarn. It is Targhee, Tencel and Angeline
I know I should be showing pictures of her, but Hermione is a little shy and doesn't want her picture taken until she's been dressed.  So that might take a week or two.  I actually got this a few weeks ago, so what was really under the tree on the big day were some new heddles, a 12 dent stainless steel reed and my favorite cottolin yarn to weave with.  Yes, this has been a very nice holiday.
Did I mention warp-challenged?  This is where I messed up the second cross.
All told it was a lot of fun.  I still have a Target gift card to spend and I'm thinking of heading over there to get something weaver friendly or checking online at   They have a reasonably priced adjustable height barstool that might be just the thing for me and my looms.  And they are having a furniture sale to start off the New Year plus, if I find it online I can save the trip, and may qualify for free shipping which is a good thing as it will give me more time to weave.  I've eyed this stool in the store and not only is it adjustable height--a must for a loom--but it is padded, a must for my tush. Their furniture tends to be the put-it-together yourself kind--like my new-to-me loom.  We purchased our new kitchen bistro set there over the summer and really like it.  I suppose putting together furniture is a fact of modern life if you want something inexpensive but nice looking.
The green is header yarn to get the warp ready for the real stuff. I'll remove it after I take the project off the loom. This will be cheery curtains for my studio.

Tomorrow, I have a whole day of weaving fun ahead of me!  I really may stay up late tonight weaving because I don't think I'll be able to sleep knowing I can finally weave on Bella again.  I will intermingle weaving with winding the warp for Hermione, and of course normal stuff like going for a walk, eating lunch and maybe doing some reading. 

So that's it from the Craftstead!  I hope you are all enjoying this holiday season!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Keep twist in the right things

Rambouillet singles spun up
"I'm glad the Mayan apocalypse is before the holiday...I'm not at all ready."  This is what my friend Ginny said during yoga class between breaths.  I was having a heck of a time holding Half Moon Pose without toppling over --okay, it was more like quarter moon pose on me, if you know what I mean.  I had met Ginny some years ago when I was a free woman able to walk my dog in a local nature reserve every morning. Now that I have a full-time job my social life is zip unless I have the energy to venture out evenings or weekends.  So I was glad to run into her at a weekend class at a local yoga studio.  I'd signed up for a class as part of my overall quest for a healthier me.
Voila! Yarn!

"I haven't done any shopping."  We had sunk down into Warrior variations and I was sucking wind, sweat pouring down my face--not a pretty sight at all.  I mumbled something about shopping online. I purchased all my gifts by cyber-Monday, except for odds and ends I pick up at Trader Joe's or the stuff I spin and knit myself.  However, I think it came out more like "muffle wumpy" as I tried to breathe into the twist.

"I don't even have a tree up." By this time I'd collapsed into Child Pose and she was twisting into limberasana.  But it did get me to thinking.  Why exactly do we get ourselves into such a twist this time of year?
I started spinning some merino.

For me, the only twist worth anything is that found in yarn, and possibly a Yoga pose or two.  But, I primarily like my twist in yarn.  I really don't like a lot of twists in life--that just makes knots and anxiety.  So I try not to kink and fold all over myself about things.  Not that it always works, but I do try.

The most twist I'm getting from this year's holiday season is some yarn I'm spinning up as a gift.  Yep, I'm going with the flow and as you can see, I've been fairly productive!
Making progress
So everyone, unless you are doing Yoga, don't get in a twist. Have a Happy Holiday!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Mad stasher diets

786 yards of purple alpaca
Stash seems to multiply if it isn't watched carefully -- or that's what I tell myself.  It is a lot like gaining weight, a cookie here, a chocolate there and before you know it--yep, the same old story.  I take wooly comfort in knowing that I'm not the only spinner with eyes bigger than her stash bucket.

So we have the Ravelry Group Spin You Stash where I join handspinners to make our Stash-O-Lutions for 2013 and plan to take a good whack at our stash. We do a monthly thread where we show each other how much we've spun and this has been a big help in keeping focused.  I am actually making a small dent in my stockpile! If you spin and have too much stash, come join us on Ravelry!

I plan to spin this Merino braid in December
As you may guess from my imagery, I'm also on a diet--or what we now call a change to a healthy-eating lifestyle because diet is now a bad word. And they are right because I do have to change the way I eat, right down to conquering my love affair with chocolate.  Three weeks into this I can say that fruit really does taste good and this realization has taken 8 pounds off my personal stash. So maybe I'm onto something, not sure yet as all this is in the early learning stage.