Sunday, July 22, 2012

Dance of the Stash Fairy


The Stash Fairy paid a visit to my studio.

The Stash Fairy has visited me big time, waving her magic wand as she leaped, tipsy-toes pointing, across my studio in yellow satin shoes and crystal encrusted aqua silk. She did a few twirls, hands gracefully spreading something that sparkled. Voila! Stash appeared on the back beam of my loom.

Or perhaps I found it in a box at my doorstep, poor little discarded mill end cones of yarn seeking someone who will love them and weave with them.

I discovered the Cotton Clouds Mill End Club. Beth told me about it and was surprised I hadn't ordered from them before. I took a chance and ordered without samples. I made the call and asked for 10 pounds of Fiesta Blend, but Irene, who answered the phone, said she had a great selection of autumn colors so I decided to get 10 pounds of that as well.
She waved her magic wand big time.
Now, it may seem imprudent to buy 20 pounds of mystery yarn, which is what I did. I could have waited for their samples, and sent them back with my order, but I decided to jump in blind and let the Stash Fairy do her best. I wasn't disappointed. Getting 20 pounds of surprise stash is a great way to get the ol' creativity in high gear, because the first question is “What can I do with all this?”

I already have plans for curtains, another throw (or two) and so much more. To round out what I purchased, I bought a few things from the latest Yarn Barn of Kansas mill end mailing. They had a similar weight rayon/cotton blend as I had received from Cotton Clouds in a nice creamy white which will go nicely with those autumn colors. I can see a table runner or two as well as a throw. I'm expecting some amazing things coming off my loom in the next year.

And so the Stash Fairy is always welcome to pirouette her way into my life, leaping gracefully through the air as she fills my shelves with lovely cones of yarn.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Rain!

Rain drops on the pavement, a welcome sight in a drought.
After a promising spring, summer turned brutal, with record high temperatures and a drought. The rain we had Friday was welcome, but far from enough. I wouldn't mind some more passing over.  Right now, we have to irrigate our garden, and the rest of our plants and trees are having a hard time of it.  We use a lawn sprinkler for that.  We haven't been watering our lawn though, figuring it has been around a long enough time to hold out.  Plus we don't cut it real short, so it's holding up well considering.  It is all part of that sustainability thing.

Fortunately some of our favorite farmers market growers are also watering so I have a supply of green beans for the week and some really tasty cauliflower.  I'm not a fan of cauliflower but when it is really fresh, it is really good.  We got one dinner's worth of beans from the garden this week, and I don't expect more for a bit.  Zuchinni is coming along too and we should have a bumper crop of tomatoes.
Coneflower enjoying a shower.
With all the dry, hot weather, I've been enjoying the great indoors and, of course weaving.  I finished up the throw I was weaving and now I'm starting on my next project, which will be Chocolate Cinnamon Dishtowels from 8/2 cottolin I bought at the Yarn Barn of Kansas last December.
Yarn for Chocolate Cinnamon dishtowels.
Food themed names seem appropriate for dishtowels, especially ones to be used in my kitchen.  It is a very good chance these towels will be wiping up both chocolate and cinnamon.


Saturday, July 7, 2012

I'm melting

If I am what I eat, them I'm a chocolate bar and with 100+ temperatures all week, I'm in trouble. I can't believe we are enduring yet another day of this heat wave.  A cool front is supposed to arrive tomorrow. I hope so.
Singles waiting to be plied into weft.
The worst part is my weaving studio is like an oven.  Yes, you've read me brag about the lovely afternoon light up there--and yes, it is lovely. On a Saturday afternoon in February nothing quite beats a southern exposure.  But during a July Heat Wave?  The room is on the second floor and the air conditioning just can't keep up with it.

Normally, I would just abandon my big loom and experiment with 8 harness weaves on the Schacht table loom residing in my workshop, which is in a very cool, lower level of my house. But no, I have a big project on the upstairs loom, which I can't show you right away as it is a gift. And this project has to be done in the next couple of weekends to give me time to finish it properly.

A welcome bout of insomnia allowed me to weave a foot in the cool of the middle of the night.  If I can manage to nap all afternoon I can be up again at midnight and weave another foot or two.  I plied the yarn above with another bobbin, and I'd like to use up the resulting yarn in the weft.  I call it "power ply" as it is amazing how fast one can ply yarn if motivated.  My Lendrum was going like crazy, but the yarn is ready for the wee ours of the morning when my studio is cool.

I should mention the lack of sleep and icky weather have made me crabby, so please don't leave a comment about the virtue of singles.  I hate singles.  My pet peeve is Spin-Off articles about making them, and people extolling the virtues of saving time.  If I wanted to save time, I certainly wouldn't be weaving with handspun.  Okay, better not alienate anyone in this sleep deprived state--I need all the readers I can get.

To all of you in North America enduring the heat, stay safe.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Dry, hot daze


Native plants start to bloom.

Native prairie plants in my front yard are delivering on their bonus in these hot and dry conditions. They are flourishing and now starting to bloom.  We finally received some rain, for which I am glad.  The storms weren't severe around here, but some places lost power. These are probably the early warnings of global climate change.  I find it odd that people just don't believe humans could have such a big impact on our environment. Considering what we've done to our environment historically just on this continent alone--the decimation of the buffalo, the extinction of the passenger pigeon, primeval forests from the east coast to the border of Illinois mowed down all in a few hundred years. 

Our present day consumption of natural resources has outpaced any of these historical ones as we sprawl into ever-expanding suburbs eating up land and habitat for homes.  Besides homes, furniture, remodeling, air-conditioning and cars, we also need the big farms to feed us cheaply--because we like our food plentiful and cheap.  The science of climate change is sound, but I think our own inherent human arrogance makes us blind to the reality.  We are a "let the good times roll" kind of species who will continue to party and deny what evolution has made us smart enough to comprehend. There are billions of us, and our planet is a closed system. The catering bill for the party will be paid for by our grandchildren.

I do a small part in mitigating the impact of my suburban lifestyle, though I admit it is only a drop in a leaky bucket. Environmental scientists, including the Cornell Ornithological Lab suggest the inclusion of native plants in our yards to provide little oasis for native species to thrive. So I will try, but in all my attempts at sustainable living my carbon foot print is still large as I enjoy my car, my air-conditioning, and a nice house filled with plenty of stuff.