Wednesday, July 29, 2009

All Scrubbed Up

I spent last weekend with friends in North Georgia. There was a party involved with live music and contra dancing, wonderful food and great conversation. The much anticipated Monday event (after most of the guests went home) was the trip to the north Atlanta Korean Spa, JeJu. With wet and dry saunas, Korean bathing facilities and massage services, much of the facility in separated by gender. Americans can be a bit weird about nudity, but hanging out with a good friend and any number of naked strangers was actually quite relaxing and very much a part of the experience. I used the saunas & steam, the hot tub & cold tub; the wonderful massage services.

I had the exfoliating salt scrub followed by an aromatherapy massage and cucumber facial. The massage therapists spoke almost no English, just enough words to make you understand what to do: 'Face down,' 'Go shower; come back,' 'Cucumber.' My skin has not been this soft since I was a baby. I'm surprised I still have freckles!

After this, we met up with the fellows in the common areas for more sauna (this time in comfy pajama- like uniforms) and had a traditional Korean lunch in the cafe. They also have a pool and many other sauna rooms that we did not explore.

A trip to the nearby international supermarket completed what felt like a visit to another country. Not just Asian foods, the market had Mexican, Indian, Jamaican and many other ethnic foods. On the drive home, I could not stop stroking my arms and legs. My friends commented that I need to come up with a better opening line than 'Feel my thigh!" It was a truly delightful day.

Monday, July 20, 2009

I Skipped the ChooChoo

I went to Chattanooga last week and I can tell you what I did not do. I took a workshop that should make me a more effective teacher.

I did not ride, look at or sleep in the Chattanooga ChooChoo.

I did visit both Genuine Purl and R&M Yarns. Genuine Purl (located near the Bluff View Arts district) is a lovely yarn store with a great mark down bin and an excellent selection of lovely yarns. Did my part for the economy there & purchased several skeins of Needful Yarns Joy - a cool self striping yarn that makes interesting hats, as I know for a fact. R&M, located in nearby Cleveland, TN is mostly an online store for weavers, but they have a nice retail area, classroom area and another nice markdown bin. I was a bit more restrained there, but since I'm on their mailing list, I will take advantage of other opportunities!

I ate neither a Moon Pie nor a Krystal burger.

I ate dull Thai food in a downtown restaurant & excellent Chinese food in a neighborhood dive where I wouldn't have walked alone at night. The fact that I was the only 'round-eyes' in the place was a good giveaway.

I did not tour the Tennessee Aquarium nor take a riverboat cruise.

I did walk along the riverfront park, including the area that was a gathering place for the Native American people during the Trail of Tears.

I didn't even see Rock City.

I did see a very cool city with a rich and varied history that I would like to visit again when I am not focused on learning what I was there to learn. The natural beauty of the river and cliffs along it was interesting as well as the human history of the city. I promise I'll be back.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

I Won!

I won a lovely prize on the PhatFiber blog! This was a while back, but my worklife has been getting in the way of my fun, so I have been a bit late blogging about it.

I am a contributor to the Phat Fiber Sampler box, a monthly box of samples from independent spinners & dyers, shepherds & fiber animal folks of many stripes & other artisans who work in the fiber arts. This helps shoppers try out different fibers, interesting colors, patterns and all kinds of fiber-related goodies before they buy. Many contributors (including SmokyMountainFibers) also give away full size items to generate interest in their Etsy shops and other websites.

I recently won a lovely handmade book from Becky's Paper Creations. It is a small (3" X 4") knitting journal - just the right size to slip into my knitting bag - assuming that it is not too lovely to actually write in. That is one of the problems with lovely paper - particularly handmade books. And this tiny book is quite lovely with it's hand stitched binding and lovely covers. Becky blogs here. Are my thoughts, projects, notes to self 'good enough' to write in such a lovely book. Somehow I feel I must be smarter, more reflective, more knitterly, a better designer to deserve such a lovely book to record my thoughts.

Perhaps this is why my most successful journaling has been recorded in spiral notebooks from the campus bookstore, although I do decorate them. I made a felted cover that fits nicely around a 5X8 notebook that has been my journal for a few years , though I have probably not written in it for about a year. Does this blog (written for semi-public consumption) take the place of private journaling? Hmmmm....I think it is quite different as we discussed in my class last week (How are the pioneer journals kept during the westward expansion era different than today's blogs?).

I worked Sunday at Locally Grown, the crafts gallery at the WNC Farmer's Market and had a fine day of decent sales and very good spinning. I often spin natural color roving - no brainer spinning that I can stop and start at any time, watch the booth while I spin and talk to the people who come by. But this week I carded a good bit of dyed fleece to make some rather colorful yarns. I spun most of the day, until the belt gave way on my Louet S-10. Afterward I knitted a lovely hat out of some sweet blue merino that I had dyed and spun for the Yarn Everyday challenge. Pictures to follow.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Busy is the New Relaxed

It's a lovely, cool, relaxing weekend. I'm working in the garden, going to lunch with a friend, dyeing my new bump of wonderful, natural roving in shades of reds and oranges. I visited my biggest customer and got an order ready and planned my next spinning 'production run.'

Weekends without too much to do are truly delightful. But with plans for the next 6 - 8 weekends, good thing I like to stay busy. So the rest of this weekend is all about dyeing, carding and spinning; working in the garden (though the grass has been cut!) and reading whatever I please! Tomorrow I'll be at the WNC Farmers Market tending Locally Grown, the crafts gallery and spinning dark brown roving overdyed loden.

In the meantime, a bit of housework and laundry, delivering to the Grove Arcade store, Saturday public radio shows and some quality time with the drum carder. I love my life!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Chaos Theory

Of late I have been prepping for and then teaching a nearly week-long Professional Development workshop. We concluded today. My office is full of tote boxes that do not contain fiber (except paper), stacks of books, a couple of color printers, leftover snacks & serving dishes and various and sundry supplies that are the detritus of post-workshop stuff. File folders & construction paper in colors nobody liked, extension cords, printer cartridges to be recycled, etc. Lots of etc.

Happily there is also a handy stack of evaluations, all of which came in positive - some over the top!

So I am staying at the office an extra hour or so to tidy up, put the stuff in a bit of order, make a list for Monday and get out of here to go home and relax. For now, I'm going to make a cup of tea, put on music (the Dixie Chicks, I think) , and put this chaos in some kind of order.

Tomorrow: Dye fiber, card fiber, go to lunch with a colleague, read for fun!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Phat Fiber Giveaway!

I have really enjoyed being involved with the PhatFiber Sampler Box. I contribute samples of my hand dyed fiber that are redistributed with other samples in boxes that sell out in minutes in the PhatFiber Etsy shop. Last month I sent a roving to be given away on the PhatFiber blog to people who go to my shop and comment on what they like. Early returns are good, judging by the comments posted on the blog.

I'm so glad that people like my work! I just looked at my shop and I clearly need to dye some Andromeda Shades roving. I got way ahead and have stopped dyeing for a few weeks. I think I need to dye, photograph and list roving before I am wiped out!

In other day job news, the Professional Development workshop that I am facilitating is going very well, thank you!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Slammed: Pesky Day Job!

Several interesting things that are very likely blog fodder have been happening lately. Unfortunately my actual workload has been getting in the way of my updating this blog. I am facilitating a workshop next week for area teachers. It's all about the contributions of children in history, including Child Labor, Hence the lewis Hine photo of the young spinner. I'm just slammed getting ready for it and loving every minute. Reading, researching, writing, building the online part of the course, but it does not leave any time for the SmokyMountainFibers blog. I've thought about it, done a wee bit of interesting knitting, even taken pictures, but it just doesn't put itself up.

In a nutshell...

  • I got my totally cool Phat Fiber box - great fibers!
  • I won a contest and got a very cool prize.
  • I'm spinning nifty yarn
  • I'm knitting LOTS of hats (works well with the reading).
  • Last night was Fiber Group night.
  • The Etsy shop is Hoppin'
  • I got featured in 2 Treasuries.
  • The garden is growing every single day!
  • I called a way fun dance with one of my favorite bands, House Red.
Wait, no wonder I don't have time to write about it!