My house is silent at the moment. Quiet and peaceful and I only had to wake at 5:30 to find it this way. Instead of sitting at the wheel and getting right to work, I’m enjoying the solitude.
The farm looks lovely right now. We’ve had this weird weather pattern…we had about 50 days without rain, one afternoon of rainfall, and now it’s been another 25 days without rain. This is totally not typical western Washington weather and I think it’s throwing me a bit. For one thing, I am really behind on my spinning. How can I sit inside during gorgeous weather when I can (and should) be doing all manner of farmish things? I have a backlog of dyed fiber waiting to be spun and I can’t really put it off any longer. We’ll be at the Okanogan Family Faire-a barter faire in eastern Washington in early October, I’ve got KnitFit in Seattle in November, a holiday faire in Bellevue at the end of November, and I’ve applied for winter shows at Urban Craft Uprising and Crafty Wonderland. And I’ll still be vending at the Bellingham Farmer’s Market each week through the end of November and there’s always my beloved Etsy. So I really need to get on it. The weather is supposed to finally rain today, so I won’t be distracted.
Often when I’m working, I direct my household from my spinning throne-a pink velveteen wingback armchair which belonged to my great grandmother. When the house is empty though, I listen to audio books. I am an audiobook fiend, just like my daughters. One of my favorites is “Gods Behaving Badly” by Marie Philips. I initially downloaded this from a friend’s computer along with a bunch of young adult fiction and thought it was in the same vein. The premise was something about “if Greek gods were among us in modern day London,” and since the little girl is a Greek mythology nut, I thought we could give it a listen. She happened to be out one day and I decided to try it. Perhaps there was some sort of divine intervention that caused me to be alone when I clicked play on track one….let me just say that it is definitely not a kid book. There is quite a bit of sex, but it’s British so you know…not actually sexual or erotic, just graphic and hilarious. I highly recommend it.
I’m currently listening to a series by Laurie King. This book isn’t my typical style (other than the British thing) but has turned out to be quite good. A friend recommended it to my sweetie who’s a diehard Sherlock Holmes fan. The premise is that Sherlock Holmes has moved to Sussex as a hobby beekeeper in his golden years and meets Mary Russell. She’s a neighbor, brilliant, and fifteen. They form an unlikely partnership and by the end of the second or third book, they’re a bit more than partners. Again with the British thing—this time the romantic encounters are very spare, the barest hint of detail, and yet highly erotic for the briefest of moments before moving on to more practical scenes. Anyway, I’ve become addicted to this series and since I’ve clocked about 40 hours of listening time, it’s getting to the point that each time I sit at the wheel I daydream of Sherlock Holmes even if I’m miles away from the audiobook. Postscript: I had to go back and edit…Sherlock doesn’t hook up with Russell when she’s 15. Still a scandalous age difference but not creepy.
Recently I’ve received a few requests on how to best deal with skeined yarn without winding up (ha! yarn pun!) with a tangled mess. I highly recommend that all knitters/crocheters own a ball winder. You can get them on Ebay for $10-$25 if you don’t have a local yarn store. This is a pretty small investment and you’ll end up using the ball winder to organize your yarn in general, not just skeined yarn. I think Knitpicks has them for $20.
If you’re going to be working a lot with skeined yarn, you’ll also need a swift. These range from $15-$100 and the materials vary. I haven’t used one of the less expensive metal and plastic ones, but they probably work just fine. I have a giant birch one that I think I’ve finally worn out and may have to replace soon.
If you have skeined yarn and need to wind it now, or if you don’t have cash to spare at the moment…here’s an easyish way to keep the tangles at bay. Turn a round laundry basket upside down and place the skein around it. This should hold the yarn in place as you wind off. You can use the back of a chair if you don’t have the laundry basket but the basket works better. Grab a fat marker, thick dowel, mascara tube, whatever- and use it as a nostepinne to make a center pull ball. Here’s a link to a video showing how to use a one www.youtube.com/watch?v=DNovkZdRl7M
On totally different topic…I can’t believe that I don’t sell more yarn club memberships. I have them in 3, 6, and 12 month increments for both handspun and sock yarn–and aside from being a great savings, they’re also super duper fun. Each month a new skein arrives in the mail, ready to play with. Sometimes customers will place requests like “no yellow please.” A customer who requested only jewel tones used her monthly installments to make a sweater for herself. I had a blast selecting skeins from my inventory with her project in mind. I should probably promote the memberships a bit more-they make great gifts. I once had a gift subscription sent to a newly widowed woman instead of the more traditional flower arrangement. I thought this was wonderful and again…had a great time picking out her skeins, considering which colorways might bring a bit of brightness and gladness into her life.
Next post is coming soon! Another free pattern…this time a super easy mobius cowl!