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Close Up

First, I’d like to give a huge thanks to all who commented both on and off the blog. I really appreciate your kind words and encouragement – it means a lot to me!

A few people asked for some close up photos. Well, I’ve been waiting all week for a sunny day to take some pictures, so of course it’s been cloudy and drizzly (except for the one day I was not home). But I did find one shot that I took earlier:
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I am hoping that the next pictures I’ll have to share with you will be in an Etsy shop!

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95 Rovings Later……..

Ninety-five rovings, twenty-four pounds, and one month later, here’s what I had……..

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This was the debut of Fibermorphosis ™ Artisan Dyed Fiber, and I am pleased to say that it was a success! Attendance at the event was down from prior years, but I still had good sales, and lots of encouraging comments from the shoppers. The past six weeks have been a whirlwind – huge fiber purchases, designing labels and marketing materials, creating a display, figuring out how to price and track inventory, spinning samples, and coming up with colorways and unique methods of dyeing fiber. Me being me, I couldn’t just dye it in the traditional color block method. Instead, I decided to play with the white space, leaving undyed portions that create highlights in the spun yarn, giving it depth and light. I could write a book on what I learned, and there is still lots more to come!

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Sometime soon, there will be a Fibermorphosis ™ blog and Etsy shop, with a website in the more distant future. In the meantime, there are a couple of product ideas that have to get out of my head and onto fiber, my gallery debut on May 1, and the Whidbey Island Fabulous Fall Fiber Sale in September. Stay tuned!

Last Friday I took a day off from dyeing to go to the Nordic Heritage Museum, in the Ballard section of Seattle, to see the Elsebeth Lavold Viking Trail knitting exhibit. I can’t come up with words to describe her work, so I’ll just let these photos do the talking.
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The afghan is made from her swatches for the Viking Patterns for Knitting book, which just happens to be sitting in my bookcase. I really enjoy knitting cables – once! A whole sweater’s worth doesn’t interest me, but I do like to try them out, so………I think I will borrow her idea and make my own afghan. I just happen to have at least 8 balls of Aran yarn in my stash, so this will be a project I can pick up as the mood strikes, trying out different patterns but not getting bored from having to repeat them ad nauseum!

To continue the knitting theme, the museum was also showing pieces from their collection, which gave me an idea for another project. I love the Nordic mittens and sweaters, but I know I would never wear either. But then I saw these:
My creation

Socks! Now that is something that I will wear! Inspiration #2!

There’s no photo for Inspiration #3, but there were some lovely Icelandic wool shawls on display, so I’ve decided that I would like to spin some laceweight Icelandic roving and knit a shawl.

In addition to all the knitted wonders, there was also a whole room devoted to looms, spinning wheels and textile arts. Here’s an overview of the display, showing a gigantic barn loom:

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Here’s something I’ve never seen before – it’s kind of like a cobbler’s bench, but for carding wool:
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Looks like a good idea that would make hand carding quite a bit easier!

And check out the bed on this spinning wheel!
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There were quite a few wheels on display with extremely slanted beds, so that must have been typical for the region, but not something I had ever seen before.

I’ll leave you with this image:

Should you ever run short on project ideas, you can always knit insoles for your slippers!

Inventory, Not Stash!

Ever wonder what 50 pounds of fiber would look like?

50 pounds of fiber

The bag in the upper right corner holds a 22 pound bale. It came tied down into a tight little pod that kind of exploded up out of the bag when I cut the cords. It kept expanding upward for a day or so, finally reaching DH’s knee height. It is superwash merino, and the others are BFL, white alpaca/silk, and fawn alpaca/silk/merino. I’ll be busy all month waving my magic dye wand, creating colorful braids of fiber to sell at the Whidbey Island Spin-In, which is April 4 & 5. Make sure to stop by and say hi if you are there!

Reality Steps In

So, how many of you really thought I would post every day? Anyone? LOL – I figured it was pretty unlikely, myself. I have a nice life, I do fun things – but not much of it seems very blog worthy and I really don’t want to bore everyone to death! I really give credit to people like the Yarn Harlot who consistently post almost every day. It really is hard work!

I’ll try to do a little recap of what’s been going on in my corner of the world.

Not much spinning lately, though I am finishing up some inherited mohair roving that I have been spinning on and off for years. The darn stuff is starting to felt, and half a dozen times I’ve come close to chucking the stuff. But I end up soldiering on, for who knows what reason? One more Monday night spinning group and I think it will be done! Once that happens, the Golding spindle I’ve been using will find a new home with a friend who has been admiring it for quite a while now. I don’t know what it is about that spindle, but we’ve just never bonded. I have two Kundert spindles that I absolutely adore, so I will never notice that it is gone.

I have a warp on the loom – all I have to do is tension it and I can start weaving. It will be another hand dyed, hand spun scarf – 10 inches wide this time (the others have been skinnier). After that is done, I think I am going to try some rag place mats just for a change of pace.

I placed a HUGE wholesale fiber order (almost 50 pounds of roving) which should arrive tomorrow. Although that may sound like the world’s largest stash enhancement, it is really just inventory, as I have a vendor spot at the Whidbey Weavers’ Guild Spin-In in April! I am excited, but I kind of feel like a little bird that fell out of the nest and has to learn how to flap her wings really fast! I will also be a vendor at the Whidbey Island Fabulous Fall Fiber Sale in September. These are great opportunities as they are both close to home. Well, the spin-in isn’t all that close (about 45 miles away, two days in a row) but the fall show is literally around the corner from my house. So I will be busy playing with the pretty dye colors in March!

I’m at a bit of a crossroads with knitting. I like to knit, but all I am doing is creating more stuff that I can’t use and don’t need. My sock drawers are full. My shawl drawers are full. I have more scarves than I can possibly wear in 20 lifetimes. I have little use for warm sweaters where I live. I have no one to give the stuff to. So I’m not sure, but I think my needles may fall silent for quite some time to come. I do have a pair of mitts to finish up, but after that?????? Time will tell.

In non-fiber matters, I think DH & I may have finally found a decent dentist. I won’t entertain you with all the horror stories about the local (and highly recommended) guy we were going to – but I will say that he froze my optic nerve with anesthetic, drilled a hole in the bottom of my mouth (both on the same day) and gave DH a cap that doesn’t fit right and is shades lighter than the rest of his teeth (and that’s just the tip of the iceberg!) I got a professional recommendation for a female dentist on the mainland who we saw on Wednesday. She seems extremely intelligent and insightful, and we both have high hopes that she will be able to fix some oddball dental issues that we each seem to have.

Last but not least, we have been hunting for a new refrigerator. Ours is ten years old and is soooooo noisy! It drives both of us up a wall. Since the living area of our house is essentially one big room, a quiet refrigerator is a must. However, choosing a new one is about as straightforward as choosing which bread to buy amongst the 45 different offerings. And the manufacturers are not good about rating how noisy the thing is! To make matters worse, we do not want an ice maker or water dispenser, which evidently is almost as strange as our not having paid television! We found a Maytag unit that may fit the bill, but I need to do some (more) internet research first.

So that’s the update! Aren’t you glad I’m not doing this every day?

Magpie Goes to the Beach!

It was beautiful here yesterday – temp in the 50s, sunny, no wind, clear sky. So I drove down to the beach (all of two miles away) for a stroll, and to take pictures of the Olympic Mountains which were making an appearance after hiding in the clouds and fog for weeks. By the time I got to the beach, the mountains were going into hiding, but since it was low tide, I went for a long walk. We have extreme tides in the Puget Sound, so the best time to go for a walk is at low tide.

I’ve always loved walking on the beach. When I was little, my father and I would go to Sandy Hook on Sundays, and walk for hours (and miles). Sandy Hook is a sandy beach on the Atlantic Ocean, quite different from the rocky beaches we have here along the Saratoga Passage and Puget Sound. We would carry a couple of pails and fill them with seashells – mostly the nondescript, huge clam shells that are so abundant on the east coast beaches. Every once in a while, in the dead of winter, we would find a prize, such as an intact scallop shell or sand dollar.

Back to the present………….off I went on my walk, not expecting to find anything since our beaches are so rocky. But I discovered that things change a bit at extreme low tide. I found pretty spotted and striped rocks, some broken sand dollars, shells with a beautiful purple interior, and a huge mother-of-pearl lined shell! Happily, my coat has big pockets and I was able to bring my treasures home. Before we moved, I returned my east coast shell collection to the ocean. My west coast shell collection has now been started!

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New Toy Numero Tres

Lest you think that I am just a huge spoiled brat who gets all the goodies………..

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The black guitar on the right is DH’s latest acquisition. Evidently guitars multiply like spinning wheels! LOL! But seriously, it is a Fender Stratocaster 2004 and it has an amazing sound! Much nicer that the red one on the left. I wouldn’t be surprised if he decides to find a new home for that one someday.