Friday, January 25, 2008

Fun with Beads

It's been a few years since I made earrings, but that does not stop me from thinking about beads, admiring beads, even visiting bead shops. I have a nice stash, but when I am tempted to buy more, a little voice says, 'Don't buy more beads until you use the ones you already have.' Well, I guess I can buy more now.

I made stitch markers!!! Since I had not handled pliers in some time, I had to get my chops back. But I did and I had fun and I made a number of very cute little markers. My plan is to give these first ones away with skeins of yarn in my Etsy shop, but to start making sets to sell both in the online store and at the Farmers Market shop. I've ordered supplies (from Etsy, of course!) and can't wait till they come in. Fun!!

On the knitting front, I finished knitting the glitter socks. Just a few Kitchener stitches away from having them on my feet. I am also finishing the stretchy socks. I knit these from KnitPicks 'Dancing,' a cotton-Lycra blend. They have been languishing for too darn long - I think I don't love this yarn, though if I like wearing the socks, I may knit another pair. If not, the additional yarn will go to a new home on Ravelry. Just the toes left!

In the work world, teaching my undergraduate courses is exciting and fun, but a lot of work. Besides prep time and grading, I'm having trouble staying ahead. I just signed up for a Saturday workshop in February. Although I have my courses on the course management system, I need a day set aside to work on it with facilitators who can show me the shorter ways to do things. I don't have to figure out EVERYTHING myself!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Notorious plays the Grey Eagle

Last night the Asheville contradance community was treated to an evening of extremely fine music by Notorious. The duo of Eden MacAdam-Somer and Larry Unger played very hot fiddle with excellent guitar and banjo. The Grey Eagle Tavern and Music Hall was full to the bursting with happy dancers.

I was lucky enough to call the dance. In my calling career (not to put to heavy a spin on it), I have called with a number of big names and hot bands. But I had not called with Larry and Eden before, so it was a real treat to share the stage. When I used to run the Winston-Salem dance, I always tried to book a better caller than me when Larry played with any of his bands. But this time it was my turn and I really enjoyed it.

A Destashing Surprise

I think my destashing is nearly complete. I have had a number of sales for the washed fleece and excess roving that I have placed in my Etsy shop. The yarn has been a little more difficult to deal with. but there is less of it than I thought. I am also spinning up a good bit of my roving and playing with felt - both wet and needle felting

During the basement cleanup/destashing activities, I came upon some Merino fleece, that was so greasy that I intended to throw it away. This bag was dyed, but still really sticky. But I thought - - well, if I try to wash it again, what is the worst that could happen? It would be a mess and I would throw it out. Why not try? So I put VERY HOT water in the washer, added the dyed fleece and let it soak for about 15 minutes. When I spun it out, I was amazed - it was beautiful! After a HOT rinse, I put it on screens to dry. Still felting, rather than spinning quality, but that's okay. I am happy to put it to work.

I think my earlier problem was that I was treating it like Romney or Shetland and let the fleece sit in the water until it cooled off. Now I know!

I do need to do a bit of dyeing again. Last weekend was so full, that I did not have the time to devote to much dyeing. I did make this Fire roving - perfect for the EtsyFAST January Challenge.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Etsy Teasury Fun

Today I got very lucky and snagged an Etsy Treasury. I named it "We all Scream for Ice Cream" then had a very hard time finding ice creamy things that were well photographed. I played around with it and it ended up looking very nice. Pinks and browns and greens - some fiber, some finished goods - would have put in jewelry, but I couldn't find a piece that fit thematically and visually. It's getting lots of views and comments. Unfortunately, I forgot to snag a picture of it.

Last night was the SAFF board meeting -I ended up on a couple of committees, but nothing I can't handle. I finished the first pink glitter sock!! Later at home I have most of my Sweetie's fingerless mitts done; just the thumbs and finishing left. Must add to Ravelry!

Back in the working world, I played with the schedule of the class I'm teaching this semester, putting things in different order, working out the grading system, and planning how I'n going to put it on the course management system. I think I've got it!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Congratulations MAY be in Order

Last year when everybody asked me what I was going to do once I finished grad school, I just told people I was going to read what ever I wanted to, spin lots of yarn, knit, ramp up the fiber business and go to a lot more dances. So far, so good.

I never said that I wanted to be a member of the board of directors for the Southeast Animal Fiber Festival (SAFF). But when I was asked a couple of months ago, I said, yeah that might be cool. I love the festival, always volunteer and consider myself very lucky that it's just down the road.

But I got busy, never sent in my bio, basically forgot about it. Surprise! When the ballot came my name was on it with a no-longer-accurate bio (probably one that I did when I taught a class at SAFF a few years ago) . But there were several very qualified people on the ballot, so I felt like it was kind of a non-issue. I put the ballot on the toxic waste dump I call a desk and again, forgot about it. Never sent it in. Didn't even vote for my favorite person in the whole wide world. Thought about it on vacation - maybe once - but generally put it out of my mind.

Surprise again! This evening I will be attending a board meeting where noone will think that you are odd for knitting in a meeting. I'm taking the pink socks.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Happy 2008

My first New Years Resolution: Be a good blogger. That means write well and post regularly. I'll certainly try!

After the fun of holiday travel and visiting family and friends, it's good to be back in Asheville. My Sweetie and I visitied his parents in Columbus Ohio, then on to my sister's home in Pittsburgh. I I love my sister very much, have the world's best brother in law and the coolest ever nephews. The guys are 12 and 10, still wonderful guys, even on the brink of adolescence. I love my sister and spending Christmas there has become our tradition. We eat and cook and talk, play with the kids, even work out. They have put in a great exercise room in their basement and she has totally inspired me to get fit. Now no one has any sympathy for a person who wants to lose 7 pounds, but the love handles have got to go! Second New Years Resolution: Lose the pesky 7 pounds!

After family visitation, my sweetie and I went to the ContraDancers Delight Holiday in Morgantown, WV. This event is put on by Warren and Terry Doyle, featured Crowfoot and the Elftones with Nils Fredland and Beth Molaro calling. Although I can no longer dance 12 hours a day, I had lots of fun. I treated it as a mini spa vacation with added fiber and bonus music and dancing! The Lakeview Resort has a very nice fitness center, I brought my wheel and fiber for spinning and feltmaking. I even took my wheel to the dance hall, where I answered lots of questions and had a fine time spinning to the music.

Back at home, I began the annual DeStashing project, aka res #3. Last year, I sent quite a bit of fiber to new homes. It was so much fun, I did it again! I went through a number of boxes, sorted and weighed fiber, posted it in my Etsy store and shipped it out! I know I may have gotten a bit carried away, but it is very heartening and cleansing to redistribute the fiber to other 'holics. I need to hit the yarn next, but it is less interesting.

I came across some stuff I did not know that I had and some stuff I 'rediscovered.' A few years ago, I purchased a merino fleece, but it seemed so greasy that I could never stand it. I know where the white fleece is and fully intended to throw it away later, but decided that hot soapy water might make the dyed stuff want to come to a felting party. So 2 passes through the washer seems like we now have felting fiber. It was still damp this morning, so I'll check it when I get home to see if it has come back to life.

Living in the mountain, we expect to see a bit of snow. On January 2nd, we woke up to genuine snow! Now WNC snow is not Wyoming snow, but it came down throughout the day and there are few if any snow plows. Though just a few inches at my house, there was a good bit at the college so I got a bonus day. I worked from home, but in my pjs! Happily the elderly furnace sprang to life after being MIA for several days. Nothing like that 5 am rumble to let you know that all is not lost.

Photo credit: Stephen Loftis, Special to the Citizen-Times