Monday, November 28, 2011

And a Rainbow Too!

Rainbow  - a fine view from the office
It was a lovely and quiet Thanksgiving at the world headquarters of Smoky Mountain Fibers.  I went to a potluck dinner with friends - good food, fine company and decent conversation.  Best thing about a potluck at someone else's house is that you do not have any leftovers that you don't want.  I took home the remainder of my broccoli vinaigrette and a dollop of cranberry compote and that pretty much hit the spot.  I got a bit of exercise every day and contributed to the great pile of hats that is growing and then shrinking as they find their way to stores.  In the first 27 days of November, I have knit 35 hats, with another on the needles.  Sally at the Locally Grown Gallery also sold 2 pair of fingerless mitts and is clamoring more, so I shall shift my focus from hats to mitts.  But since I made the rules, I get to break them.  So a pair of mitts counts as one hat in the 50 Hats in 50 Days Hat-A-Thon.  At least so far.  Seems reasonable.

The best part of the Thanksgiving break was just that - a break.  As much as I love my work, a break is nice to, particularly when it is spent in creative work and goofing off a bit.  I've recently gotten interested in Monarch of the Glen, a BBC series that ended in 2005 but is still available on Netflix. With lovely scenery, charming characters, occasional country dances, sheep and hunky guys in kilts, it's an easy watch while knitting or spinning.

The rainbow that you see here was our reward for coming back to work.  Just a few week before the semester ends, so it's all over but the grading.  Grant work is all planning for next term and taking care of the financial reporting.  Looking forward to the next break!

Monday, November 7, 2011

A Saturday Hike
Western North Carolina is a leaf lookers paradise.  I have a 20 minute commute  - both ways every weekday - to look at the leaves, the flowers, the clouds, the snow - whatever.  I love my drive - it gives me a chance to admire the beauty that I see around me every day.  But I really like to get out of the car to see my environment with out a windshield between us.

On Saturday my sweetie and I took a little walk through Gorges State Park and onto Forest Service land to bag a lovely waterfall.  Rainbow Falls is a 150 foot waterfall on the Horsepasture River in Jackson County, NC.  It's about a 3 mile roundtrip hike and although rated strenuous, we rather disagreed.  The trial to the base of the falls is not too well defined, so footing was a bit tricky.  Both the bottom and the top of the Falls are quite lovely.  The water was cold, but the sun was warm and only a bit breezy.

Always the negotiator, we took my car, but my sweetie drove so I could knit.  Hats of course. 1.7 hats, bringing the November total to 8.  A fine hike!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Hat Season Returns

Last year at about this time, I realized that hat season was back and with it the need to have lots of hats available to my gallery customers.  At that time I challenged myself to knit 30 hats in 30 days.  I did - plus kept knitting untill I knit about 50 hats between early November and Christmas.  I'm hoping to do the same this year.

I spent a bit of time last weekend making up hat kits.  Matching yarns to patterns of my own design, I can now grab a bag and knit a hat. I got a headstart, having knit about 6 hats already this week.  So this weekend, I'll start a spreadsheet to log my production.  I brought a kit to work today - a pink & teal 'Show Off' hat.

If you are short on things to do, keep an eye on this site to track Hat-a-Thon 2011. I'l be posting my progress toward my new lofty goal - 50 Hats in 50 Days!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

October Was So Busy I Forgot to Blog

Yes, it's been a long time since last I blogged.  I haven't given up, life has just gotten in the way.  So a few random bits...

SAFF has come and gone in the loveliest way.  With a zillion changes that all kicked in a few weeks before our regional fiber festival, the Southeastern Animal Fiber Fair has been put to bed for another year.  While everything wasn't perfect, it was really quite lovely.  The animals were there in full fleece - lots of sheep and llamas, a few angora goats, the charming alpacas.  The people were there too, most friendly, a few crazies, but pretty much everybody smiling and glowing to be with like-minded people and lots of yarn and fiber.  Thanks to everyone who came by my booth - I got to know a few people who I only 'knew' online before. 

I've been spinning and knitting regularly.  Yarn and hats have becoming and I have the trashed studio to prove it.  This morning I needed to find something to wear that did not require ironing as the ironging board is covered with yarn.  I had a booth at the Madison County (NC) Heritage Festival on a very chilly Saturday.

High on last weekend's agenda was to kit up yarn for hats - a very messy process that apparently involves pulling every skein of yarn out of the tub or drawer or basket that it resides in and grouping it with any possible related color, texture or weight, looking at it in several different light sources and then putting 2 or 3 or 4 yarns in a bag to be knit up at a later date.  Then I can just grab a bag and knit at hat.  I take a few to work for lunch hour knitting, so I can not work about thinking too much.

I really can only blame the blog silence on my day job.  Love my day job - I am very lucky to have a job that I like, but both halves of my work-self have been running on overdrive lately.  My grant work has been very busy as I have been working with a school district who has been selected to be a pilot school implementing the new Social Studies standards (for non-educators, I know this sounds like gibberish) in addition to the regular stuff I do.  My undergrad classes have also been kicking my bum.  As everyone who does grant-based work knows, your job is only as secure as your current funding.  Although it hasn't happened yet, I took on an additional class as a bit of job security in case this grant funding is reduced.  I love the classes and my students, but it's a struggle to keep all the balls in the air.  The main balls that have dropped are this blog and the garden.  I did plant some salad greens, but I've let nature take care of the rest.

But as midterm is behind us and most of my workshops are completed, so I can put a bit more energy into the fiber-y part of my life. Back to dyeing, back to the Etsy shop, back to the blog.  And I'm happy to be back!