Wool Gathering 2011

So I’m going to see what happens if I try to do some blogging. It’s been so many weeks that I almost feel like a stranger here, and, of course, I’ve not been around simply because so very much has been happening.

Today, I thought I’d share Wool Gathering 2011 (Yellow Springs, Ohio) with you. It was such a joy to be able to do something that is a special annual treat despite the strain and pressure of my current real life. It sure was hard to believe it had been an entire year since the last event! I also couldn’t believe I walked out of the house without my camera for the first time ever. I knew I was forgetting something, but for it to be my camera tells you that my brain just isn’t all here! Anyway, that means that all the pix are after the fact, with the exception of the one I shot with my phone, which turned out much better than I’d expected. Now I wish I’d have done a bit more of that. 😦 Ah, well…

In addition to the hours I enjoy chatting with vendor friends I see just once a year, time exploring new ideas and gaining knowledge about fiber and using it, and just enjoying the general atmosphere (and when I have it, keeping my camera busy…), cruising through the vendor’s area is always a huge part of the fun. 😉 I really think I did well this year in thinking through my purchases. I saw every booth at least briefly, found virtually everything on my wishlist (except for a particular skein of commercial yarn that I was planning to buy online), and shopping carefully even came home with a few dollars (note “few”) in my purse. 24 hours later, I still love everything I bought, am enjoying the diversity of my choices, and don’t think I made any mistakes, so I’m happy. 🙂 So, what did I bring home? With apologies for the pix, as WordPress seems to be rationing how many large photos I can post at once:

A carved bone shawl pin from Gita Marie. Believe it or not, I didn’t have a white shawl pin!

Paco, a new alpaca for the Hitty crew, which pleases them greatly. He’s ready to shear, and they are ready to spin! Hitty D was out in the pasture with him today, and reports he’s settling in quite nicely.

I picked up a lovely lucet made from Honduran Leopard wood from Margaret Ledrich. She had dozens of beauties from which to choose, so I finally decided to narrow my choices down to just those made from Honduran wood. That at least helped. 😉

Wolle was a new vendor this year, and I was captivated with her yarn, which is gradient cotton thread, 4-strand, untwisted. Sadly enough, she didn’t have the colorway I was desperate to own in the size ball needed for my first choice pattern, but I’m quite fond of my Plan B, and I look forward to knitting it. 🙂 I’m going to keep an eye on her etsy shop in hopes of snagging my first love sometime soon.

I needed two sets of knitting needles for immediate projects. How weird it is that I “need” needles with all those I have here! However, knitting a scarf on needles with 40″ cables isn’t a lot of fun, and since they won’t fit in my needle tote, I’d never gotten around to purchasing 35’s… The size 3 needles are Addi Lace, far from being my favorite needles, but since the only 3’s I had free when I started on the project last week were the Addis I never use, I was afraid to change brands now, so now I have another pair of last resort needles. 😉 The 35’s, which look a LOT bigger in person than they do in this picture, are designed and sold by HPKY, another vendor who got my business for the first time this year – in a big way, as you will see later…

I didn’t have bunny fur on my shopping list this year, but when I saw this angora roving, I just couldn’t walk away from it! I love the teensy specks of color, and I think it’s going to make beautiful yarn. I meant to go back to her booth to buy some plain white at the end of the day, but I got sidetracked then ran out of time.

I barely managed to avoid buying any more alpaca fleece or fiber, which is tough, because Wool Gathering is particularly blessed with awesome alpaca offerings. However, I did finally buy my first llama fleece. Pia was the donor, and she lives at Agape Lland Llamas. I know this looks gray in the pix, but it’s really an intense black, and it’s also one of the softest llama fleeces I’ve touched. Took me a lot of years to get llama, but I think it was worth the wait. 🙂

Since I’m on the topic of fleeces and waits, it’s a good time for me to confess I brought home a sheep fleece, too… BUT just one! I was deadset determined not to bring home any fleece unless it was a new to me fleece. There are usually a lot of really nice fleeces at Wool Gathering, but they tend to be from the same vendors, hence the same breeds. I figured I was going to be coming home fleece free. HAH! Lunabud Knits surprised the socks right off of me by having a yummy, even though unskirted, Texel fleece, and Texel has been on my priority list for a long time! Happiness is…

Thinking ahead, I was pretty sure my anti-alpaca pact was going to keep me safe at Tri-Valley Alpacas, vendors who have sent me home with a “few” pounds of gorgeous alpaca fleece in past years. What I didn’t successfully predict was the new assortment of other goods that were at their booth this year, nor did I anticipate the reaction I had when I put this really great little duffle tote on my shoulder. I’m a pushover for Latin American weaving anyway, and turning into a tote addict, too, it seems. It came in handy yesterday. 😉

The first booth where I caved and made a purchase was also the first booth I came to after entering the gate. Basically, my reserve didn’t last as long as I’d planned for it to hold out. What I can say in my defense is that I could have very happily filled my car in the Wooly Knob tent, but managed to walk out with just one kitchen trash bag of roving dangling from my arm, so… I was affectionately calling this purchase my junk food. After spending so much time this past year washing fleeces, carding, dyeing, combing, blending, etc., buying this enticing stuff felt guiltily wonderful – fast, easy, and (stash)fattening – and I love it! 😀 This is my first Wooly Knob fiber, but what I found interesting is how many people seeing my bag grinned at me and said it looked like I’d been to Wooly Knob. I’m eager to see what I’ve been missing! I got a sweater’s worth (I hope) of the denim blue, and I’m thinking that the white with sari silk will be employed with something else – probably solid – in the end. Beyond loving it, I’m not sure what I’m going to do with the black/blue/purple/green striped roving yet.

This might be my most unexpected purchase. It also might be the item that drew the most comments from others the entire day, though I carried it around during only the last 45 minutes. I spotted this Bonnet Basket, woven by Margaret Lou Bickenheuser (contact – mylittlebasketshop at yahoo dot com) well before noon, did my drooling over it, then walked away quite certain I’d seen it for the last time. When I walked back past the booth a little after 6:00, it was still sitting there… waiting… and although I spent a good bit of time trying to convince myself that I didn’t need to take it home, as you can see, I didn’t succeed. I love the walnut inserts and the overall solidity of the basket, and it’s plenty big to hide a multitude of fiber indiscretions. 😉

This is a bit “cart before the horse,” but it was just so perfect… In the HPKY (Hand Painted Knitting Yarns) booth, one of the very first things I saw in the entire show, but the very last purchase I made, I saw a simple garterstitch sweater that I just loved. I’m not making sweaters for myself until I can wear the size I want stay, so I’ve walked away from a lot of sweater opportunities. I’ve also favorited a lot of sweaters on Ravelry! This was my downfall. The yarn and pattern to make the sweater came home with me as a reward – my dangling carrot. When the day comes that I start knitting this, there will be a glow from my grin lighting the skies over Ohio and probably visible 3 states away. 🙂 I adore the colorway, and the featherlight baby alpaca yarn (Rome) is incredibly soft! The yarn presentation is interesting. Somehow all the skeins are braided together into this big megaskein, which will definitely keep everything in one spot. 🙂 I looked on Ravelry, hoping to post a link to the sweater pattern, Ilaria, but there isn’t one up there, so you’ll have to wait a while. It’s going to be so fun using this incredible yarn to do this quick knitting project. I can’t wait! (Have I said that before?)

One of the best places to spend time, IMO, is in the Benjamin Green Studio booth. If you’ve been reading my blog very long, you know I have an impressive collection of his work, including a few “rare” pieces. This year I went with the intention of adding a hackle to my line up of tools and let him know in advance. He went prepared, but ended up selling my hackle before I found his booth. Imagine my shock when he offered to sell me his own personalized hackle instead! I was very honored, and I love my new acquisition. 🙂 The fun didn’t stop there, though. Having seen my wool comb photo from last year, he was horrified that I’d managed to buy the one comb that walked out of his booth with some bent teeth. I was duly provided with a comb tooth straightener, and we all had a good laugh over the whole thing. 😀 The surprises weren’t over yet, though. I’d been bugging him for several years to build a drop spindle lazy kate, and this year he came through for me with a beautifully simple design that works wonderfully and folds flat for storage. I love it! I only have one spindle loaded in the picture, but it does hold two. He also has made adapter pieces that will convert it to hold two bobbins or quills. I added an itty bitty niddy noddy to my pile off booty. I couldn’t resist its 24″ skein size. Like I said, I love shopping Ben’s booth! His only problem now is that he is going to have to come up with something new for me to buy next year! 😉 I have an idea or two for him…

So that’s the end of what I bought at Wool Gathering – except for the typically delicious supper at Young’s Jersey Dairy, which provides the grounds where WG is held each year. What I haven’t shared is the other item that jumped into my car yesterday…

No I have no idea where I’m going to put it at this point! I’ve only been to 4 yard sales all year long, but let’s face it, if 25% of yard sales I went to always netted me things like this, I’d spend more time on the road during the summer!

Having a great wheel is a dream I’ve held for nearly 30 years, and I’m still trying to believe that it has really come true! To find one in working order and with a weasel to boot unexpectedly at a yard sale feels truly miraculous. Yesterday was one fantastic day for this fiber lover!!! 😀


A Rescue

So, we’ve been making regular trips to my in-law’s home, sorting through an amazing amount of chattel, in preparation to sell the house. I will say straight off that much of this has been extremely challenging and difficult work. I can’t imagine they ever threw away much of anything, and when my mother-in-law’s mother died, they brought home half of her things to add to the already jam packed house. Since my husband is an only child, that makes for a whole lot of work for the two of us to do.

The last few weeks, we’ve been working in the upstairs. Although it was a finished room, it’s served as an attic for quite a long while. Once we thought we had sorted through pretty much everything, we discovered that there were four doors leading to large storage areas in the eaves. I wanted to cry when I saw them, heaped as they were with unidentifiable clutter. However, we’ve persevered, and so far, it’s turned out to be some of the best digging we’ve done. 🙂 A good 80% of what we are pulling out of those areas are just plain trash – old drop cloths, empty boxes, sacks and sacks of used Christmas ribbon and more. We really need a dumpster with as much as we’ve found.

However, the bit by bit sorting has paid off every so often. The last time we’d been up, I discovered a very old and worn handbag jammed full of doll clothes. My mother-in-law had given me her doll years ago, but looking at these items I started having some questions. There were several sizes of clothing, and none of it would fit Phyllis. Had there been another doll or two at some point? She’d acted as if Phyllis was her one and only, but… well… there was no one who would be able to give me any answers. How depressing!

Today my husband was pulling out one brittle paper shopping bag after another, and I was checking and chucking boxes by the dozen, bag after bag of Easter grass, and wads of yellowed, used tissue paper, stacking all sorts of very vintage Christmas lights and unused wedding gifts from the early 1950’s  in the sell pile, and pretending like my nose wasn’t clogging shut from who knows what I was breathing. Reaching into the next bag for the next wad of tissue, I felt something of substance. Pulling back the paper a bit, I had a bit of a start. There were two eyes peering back at me! I’m laughing now, but at the moment, I froze! Looking a second time, I finally decided it was safe, as it hadn’t moved, and much to my delight, this is what came out of the paper. 🙂

He’s Teddy Kuddles, a Knickerbocker toy. Based on where he was found and what was with him, he dates from the late 1920’s. He’s 13″ tall, plush, and has been well loved, but he’s still a sweetie. There’s a short zipper in his back which opens to a fully lined pocket. My guess is that he may have had a growler or music box, but that’s definitely just a guess. It’s much too little for him to have been a pajama bear. I’d love to hear from you if you know more about him. I enjoy teddy bears, but I’m not educated about them. Nor am I sure how to clean him or if I safely can. Seems he’s had some of the stuffing loved out of him, too. I’m really hoping that when I look throw the mounds of family photos we’ve salvaged, I can find a picture of my mother-in-law cuddling him when she was little. That would just make my day!

So, there was another bundle of disintegrating tissue paper under Teddy Kuddles, and now I was excited to see what else I might find. Sure enough, the next bundle felt like it also held a body, and I didn’t hesitate this time. Out of the shreds came a chubby dolly, painted cloth face, 14″ tall. Ah HAH! Certainly the owner of some of the clothes in the handbag!

I wish I knew more about comic strips of the 1920’s and 1930’s. She almost has to be a comic strip character with that face and the starfish style, four finger hands. Does anyone recognize her?

So then I noticed that the bag still has some weight to it, and there’s still more tissue paper. I’d gone from “happy surprise” state to making wishes, which I suppose is always a bad idea. I didn’t get my wish (want to guess what it was?), but on the other hand, I didn’t do too badly, either. 🙂 As found, here is the last treasure in the bag…

She’s unmarked, 15″ tall, and she is in simply amazing condition, particularly when you consider that she’s been wrapped in tissue paper and stored in a non-climate-controlled eaves storage area for decades. Based on my mother-in-law having been born in 1926, I’m going to say this little gal is from the mid 1930’s, which meshes well with her style. I’m very glad she has the painted tin eyes, as they hold up better than the plastic ones. I’m equally pleased that they are brown with her blonde hair – a combination one doesn’t see so often on dolls.

She has what looks to be an original hair ribbon, though her mohair wig was flattened by spending many years under a baby doll bonnet. The wig is also shedding, so it’s questionable how much styling I could actually do safely. She’s wearing her original socks and oilcloth shoes. And she obviously needs a bath and restringing.

I knew without a doubt that some of the clothes in the bag were hers, and she was happy to be reunited with them!This is just part of the clothing stash I found – mostly her things, with the other sizes stacked in the front.This is the biggest trial to me, though.

Quite a few of the clothes I found have this green gunk on them. It’s hard, and it’s tightly adhered to the fabric, some places looking almost melted into it. Several of the pieces are stuck together. I wish I could figure out what it is and how to safely remove it. I’m sort of nervous about messing with it, but I’d love to be able to put her back into her own clothes. If I wash this little dress and the green doesn’t come out, I’ll have no way to iron it. Looking for suggestions from people with more experience with this sort of thing!

And there was one knitted wool outfit for her, plus a pair of baby booties also of wool. Some little critters found these garments at some point in the last 60 years and reduced them to swiss cheese. I’m thinking that perhaps when things slow down a bit for me, there might be enough of the fabric left for me to copy the outfit for her. For now, I’m thinking it might be best to stick it in a bag in the freezer, though, just to be on the safe side…

So, that was my big excitement of the day. Not one of these fits into the category of my normal collections, but I’ve always fantasized about being one of those people who finds a doll in the attic of an old house. Now, I suppose I’ve actually done that, even if it wasn’t a doll of my dreams sort of find. Besides, it’s pretty cool that these aren’t just anybody’s childhood friends; they were part of the family many years before I joined it, so they have history. I’m just the caretaker, and I’m honored to have that privilege!

Buried Treasure

Surprise! No, this isn’t what I thought my next blog post would be either! 😉 I’ve been so busy the past few days that I’ve not done any “real” carding yet, just practicing with my “junk” wool, if there is such a thing. I’ve learned some things I needed to know, and am looking forward to some clear time to do something for keeps soon!

Meanwhile, as I said, I’ve been really busy. As my mobility is increasing, I’m gradually getting into some of the projects and cleaning that has been rather neglected lately. Now at this point, I’m going to start a story that has two ends coming together in the middle, so bear with me here!

A few years ago, I was working on restoring an antique doll. In addition to the work she needed, she made a very intriguing rattle when she moved, and with some effort, I was finally able to extricate a small brown object from her insides. I was disappointed to see that it was a small metal button, totally corroded, and identifiable only by the two holes in the shallow shank on the back. Now a logical person would have tossed it in the trash can, but it was the first treasure I’d ever found in a doll, and I’m not always logical. 😉 That button has laid on my bathroom counter for several years now.

Skipping to the other end of this tale, I decided if I was going to clean up several months worth of ick in the bathroom, I may as well do it as a fall cleaning sort of project. Despite our water softener, the water in this town is so hard that we still have lime deposits to deal with, so I got out the vinegar to soak them off. What I didn’t notice was that I splashed a puddle of it on that silly button. If I’d seen it, I’d have quickly rinsed it off… and if I’d done that, I wouldn’t be writing this post!

Going back to check on the progress of the soaking an hour or so later, I saw the button, laying in a now brown puddle. “Great,” I’m thinking. “I just ruined it even worse.” But when I picked it up and turned it over, I was startled to find the vinegar had only ruined the corrosion, and I was left with a sparkly button! I sure wish I knew what metal this was and why the vinegar didn’t hurt the button – and for that matter, how it is that the button was so bright under the rust.

I can’t seem to get a photo that shows the glimmer, but this one came close. Needless to say, I’m very pleased with the result of this happy accident, and one of these days, this tiny treasure will have to grace an  outfit on one of my dolls. It’s a diminutive 3/8″ and sits very flat, despite the shallow shank on the back, so it’s perfect for dolly clothes, and I have to wonder if it may have come off an outfit the doll I was working on once owned. I really wish I knew the vintage. Isn’t it fun how something so tiny can just make the day sparkle? 🙂

Published in: on September 25, 2010 at 7:32 pm  Leave a Comment  
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It’s June 28!

And that means it’s my birthday… again… already… It sure happened fast this year!

Back when I was a child, I despised my end of June birthday. While all the other children had a special day when they were everyone’s favorite person, because they brought a big box of homemade cookies or cupcakes to school, I felt left out and forgotten. Occasionally a well-meaning teacher would have an end-of-year, group party for us poor summer-born children, but it simply wasn’t the same. Even at home, with my birthday being just 12 days after my younger sister’s and less than a week before the Independence Day holiday, I was more likely to spend the day picking strawberries than celebrating my own special day. Instead, I had a joint party with my sister, or an afterthought birthday cake on the Fourth of July. Trust me… this is a VERY good recipe for feeling anything but special and wanted!

Now that I’ve passed the half century mark (GULP!), I actually enjoy having my birthday almost precisely halfway through the year. It gives me two new years to celebrate with six months in between, and I like that. It’s good motivation, and semi-annual retrospection can be a great way to help keep me a bit more on track with my life. I get two evenly spaced fresh starts each year – pretty good deal!

Today I’m looking back across my 53rd year of life with the expected mixed emotions. I’ve been SO busy, and there is so much I haven’t done that I’d hoped to do this past year… and some things I have done that I’ve not wanted to do. On the other hand, I certainly can’t look at is as a failure, either! This year has brought age related changes to my hairstyle, and I’m now daily using some of those mysterious creams on my face – you know… the ones that always made me roll my eyes when I saw the ads as a teen? On the up side, though, I’ve taken 4 items off my life list… or… I guess “Bucket List” is the current cool term for it, I’ve had a life fantasy trip to Alaska become a reality, learned to spin on a wheel, make socks on my CSM, have taught for pay, have published knitting patterns that are selling… So, despite the insane busyness of this year, it has not been a bad one at that!

Added bonus is that age has added some special friends to my life, and good friends don’t lump birthdays together with your sister’s or other holidays. They also tend to know you well and share at least a few special interests, making for some pretty cool gifts! The only two gifts I’ve received so far this year have been from friends, and they’ve been very thoughtful offerings. I love them both! The fiber is a healthy serving each of Musket Shetland, Salish, and Churro – wonderful stuff that should give me lots of great playtime! The Salish is rare enough that I’d never even heard of it before!

And this little treasure is from another friend. Isn’t it gorgeous? It’s an antique clasp, and I’ve never seen anything like it in an antique, either, so I’m thrilled with it, as well! It’s quite delicate and the details are exquisite! I think they will show up beautifully if you click on the picture to enlarge it.

I know there is more coming, but I’m rather enjoying this leisurely, spread out birthday. If I have to keep aging, I may as well celebrate each year as long as possible! Next stop? Dinner out at Frisch’s – just because that’s what sounds good tonight!

Christmas 2009 – Part 3

Before I start, the kitchen ceiling is still hanging in there – literally! Newest update is that DH claims to have caulked several days ago, but since the worst of the damage and the leak appeared after he says he did it, I’d say that there was definitely something lacking in his technique. 😉 The dripping stopped briefly this morning, but a couple hours after his shower it started up again, so obviously, it’s not cured…


How do I know I’m too busy? I’m just now starting to put away my Christmas gifts – a month after Christmas Eve! It’s hard to believe that as I’m writing this, a month ago at this moment, we were just starting on the final leg of our “adventure” trying to get to our daughter’s house for Christmas… The reason I’m squeezing this task of putting gifts away in right now, is that I need the box in which I toted my gifts home. It’s the perfect size to gather the parcels coming in for the 2010 Bleuette Stash Swap. (There’s still time to join!) Otherwise I fear it would have continued the way it has up until now with me grabbing something from the box when I want/need it for something, and I might have still been putting things away at my birthday in June!

I thought I’d take a few quick pictures and share what everybody got for me, because I think I received some neat stuff, even if it is somewhat lacking in fiber… 😉

For paper crafting, hubby bought me a Bind It All (neglecting to get me any accessories whatsoever, so I’ve not been able to try it yet) and a new design card for my Slice machine. He didn’t understand that there were different cards and just bought one off ebay. Thankfully he got one I didn’t have already – and now I don’t need to re-prioritize when I make my birthday list. 😉 If you don’t know, the Slice is a compact design cutter with hundreds of shapes and fonts in a multitude of sizes. The design cards are very well priced and contain clever and useful designs and a themed font. I’m not sure where those folks at Making Memories get their ideas, but they think like I do – and it’s an affordable system if you shop smart. 🙂 The Bind It All is a Zutter creation – again a compact machine. It slots pages and covers, then installs wire bindings, turning anything you wish into a book. In addition to the paper crafting applications, I’m thinking it will be nice to be able to bind such things as my Queen Susan Shawl print outs and other ebook downloads, so I can easily put them on my bookshelf with my other knitting books.

I received a nice assortment of doll related items this year, including a lovely Bleuette dress, china paints, and the complete Re-ment Bread and Butter set, which thrilled the Hitty gang. I wish I knew who had made the dress, but he bought it on ebay, and it didn’t come with a tag or sewn in label. It’s very nicely made, and I’m sorry I don’t know who to praise for the workmanship. We haven’t decided who gets to wear it yet (After all, it IS short sleeved and not seasonable right now.), but there is going to be a clamor among the early girls when they see it!

My younger daughter condescended to walk through the door of an antique shop and found an adorable baby tintype for me, which contrasted amusingly with the “purrfect” pet cat mannequin she picked up for me elsewhere. I love both of these surprise gifts, which just goes to show what an eclectic nut I am!

And last, but very certainly not least, is this wonderful mobile! When I was in Honduras the last time, I fell in love with it, but I’d spent my money by the time I saw it, so I had to leave it behind. My older daughter told DH how fond I was of it, so he had her bring it home when she was up on furlough. What a surprise it was to find it among my gifts! Other than just being an attractive sculpture, when the ball at the bottom is tugged and released, the bird begins a slow, graceful flapping that is utterly enchanting – very peaceful and rather addictive! I’m trying to figure out where he will be best hung now. The wingspan is rather wide, and he really argues with my somewhat Victorian decor. That’s not going to stop me from having him somewhere that I see him often, though. I just need to work on finding the perfect long term location – and that is NOT hanging from the ceiling fan chain! :))

Goals Post – Forward to 2010!

Perhaps this post should be titled “Living in Dreamland.” 😉 It’s unquestionably the most ambitious list of goals I’ve ever set out at the beginning of the year, and I’ve not ever completed my shorter lists, but my philosophy of goals remains that having a higher target means I hit more, even if I don’t complete them all. The most important factor for me is to remain realistic in that I remember it IS an overly ambitious list, and that anything I do accomplish is a victory; it’s not a defeat to not do all of it. These are goals to help me stay on track, not requirements that identify whether I’m a worthwhile person!

That said, here are my goals for 2010:

My online miniatures group is doing a goals based project, and we were asked to spell out five mini goals, so I will start with those:

  1. Finish the interior and/or exterior of Friendship Cabin, a Real Good Toys Adirondack Cabin that we started several years ago, but which has languished untouched since sometime before the beginning of 2009. Here’s the album where I chronicled our first days working on the project.
  2. Finish my Gail Wilson Hitty, which was started with enthusiasm during the online class, worked on for three nights, and now has the rest of the girls giving me “the look” for not getting their sister done. I have a little glitch in the painting, and since this is a challenging project for me anyway, the moment I encountered a problem, I put her away for a time when I could really feel relaxed. ‘Nuff said? :S
  3. Finish my Teresa Layman Cottage By the Sea project – actually barely started, and a massive project for someone who really doesn’t like embroidery or French knots. This will be a rug for Friendship Cabin.
  4. Finish my Boat Sampler – stitched on silk gauze – lots to go on it, but most of the hardest part is completed. Like the Layman project, I started this on our last cruise. Unlike the Layman project, I loved working on this one, so I did quite a bit more of it. Also belongs in Friendship Cabin, and perhaps will be finished on another cruise…
  5. Knit something tiny – size 4/0 needles or smaller – probably something for my future miniature yarn shop

Fiber Goals:

  1. See #5 in the miniatures
  2. Publish at least 4 knitting patterns – should actually be more than this, as I have 3 projects that just need the paperwork part of this goal in order to be ready. The paperwork is the hard part of course… I’m knitting my next shawl design right now, and I’ve promised another KAL for the spring, so I’m going to be busy with this!
  3. Finish my spinning wheel – I can’t believe this sat untouched for an entire year. Where on earth did the time go??? The staining is about half done, but it’s an involved project. Once that’s done, I need to finish and assemble it.
  4. Learn to use said wheel
  5. Knit a project from wool I’ve cleaned and spun, using a pattern I’ve designed – I have a bit of a jumpstart on this, as I’ve cleaned a goodly pile and picked some of it already.
  6. Stash all my yarn on Ravelry – yes, maybe I’ll get it completed this year… – Starting with 550
  7. Get competent purling continental. I think I need to have a dedicated project for this… maybe a washcloth. 🙂
  8. Make another 2 pairs of socks for myself (maybe I’ll get the next done before I wear holes in what I have?) This was one pair until a friend twisted my arm and said I should try for two – and one pair has to be top down, to boot! Bad thing here is that I also promised a pair to my daughter, so this means three pair this year, when I’ve never done more than one. Gulp!
  9. Finish at least 3 of the projects currently languishing in my WIP/UFO tubs – items started before July 1, 2009. This one will also be a challenge. I love the stuff in my UFO tub, even though it’s all pretty good at inducing guilt. I’ve found that designing really slows down the knitting, though, especially on other people’s patterns!

Other Creative Goals:

  1. Finish at least one of the remodeling projects… sigh… Acceptable candidates are the kitchen (which is in the impossible dream category), painting the door to my future studio (easy), or finishing the nook, laundry room, or my sewing room. Nook and laundry room both depend on hubby – most especially the nook – though I have a load of work to do in those two areas, too.
  2. Organize my computer photos, then print and label as I think necessary. I’m rereading this and laughing at the thought of actually getting it done, but…
  3. Spend at least a few minutes every week making music – LOVE doing this, but I’ve really ignored this part of my life for the last few years. Looking for a flute – like I need more instruments around here?
  4. Learn my new camera – for starters, needing to know why I can’t take a decent close up with a camera that cost this much!
  5. Make up a Gail Wilson kit – see mini goal #2
  6. Finish Reba – poor thing! Her sisters were finished in 2006 (pix in this album) but my teacher suddenly stopped classes with Reba just one firing away from being done. Every attempt I’ve made to get her fired since then has ended in failure. Need to get a kiln up and going here so I don’t have to depend on anyone else.
  7. Make a pair of socks on my CSM – This could be anything from amazingly easy to a terrible headache, based on things I’ve heard. First task is getting the new needles and such that I need.
  8. Probably crazy, but I joined a Navajo style weaving Yahoo group, and now I have the bug to weave something, even if it’s small. I’m torn between tri-loom and Navajo style, but would adore trying both. One item is enough to qualify.
  9. Move one of my dolls from hospital patient status to display status – maybe Aaron, so he can show off his adorable knitted romper? He is on this page.

Personal Goals – and these tend to have a very familiar ring to them:

  1. End the year 25 pounds lighter than I started it. Why is this so hard?!
  2. Read 100 books
  3. End the year debt free – both money and promises made
  4. Go somewhere new – state or country. I have a life goal of visiting all 50 states and all 7 continents, and I need to keep at it if I’m going to succeed!
  5. Clean out one of my email accounts – frighteningly big project, but I’ve made a lot of progress already in the first two days of the year. It’s amazing how quickly this can fall behind again, though.
  6. I have a challenge with a friend to blog at least once each week
  7. Solidly memorize the scripture verses on my calendar
  8. Get the treadmill inside – Sounds like no big deal, but it’s going to need cleaned up, and the area where it belongs is packed solid with things that don’t belong where they are – which aren’t where they belong because their spots are filled with stuff that doesn’t belong where it is, which… well… you get the idea!

It’s About Time!

I think I’m back in business here… There I was happily floating on a little cloud, enjoying my perfectly fantastic month, and all the sudden I got kicked hard in the backs of my knees… but more on that later. Today I want to share my fun and somewhat naughty excursion to a new-to-me antique shop last week while I was having my car serviced. (Whereas it’s fine for people to have hiccups, it’s not such a good thing in a car…) I drive 90 minutes to get to a mechanic I trust, then borrow a car for the day and try to find something interesting to do. This time my sister suggested an antique store in a town I’d never visited. I had TOO much fun, but after the past couple of weeks, I sort of felt like I deserved it.

Like most antique stores with a collection of vendors, some things were priced far too high, many just right, and with a little bit of time, there were some lovely deals to be found. My “bestest” stuff came from a booth offering an additional 10% off of everything – a quick way for me to get into trouble, but at least it’s fun trouble! In that booth, I adopted a clock that is unlike anything else I had to this point. I don’t NEED another clock, but with this one being so different and priced nicely, it sort of had to come home with me. It has some lightly dinged corners, and the pendulum needs to see a jeweler to have the hook repaired, but it has a lovely cathedral gong and runs fine, so it’s mine. 🙂 A little bit of quick sleuthing tells me it’s a Junghan’s clock, and that, too, is new to me, so I’m very happy with it.

The other thing I found in that booth was something else I desperately don’t need, but he was just irresistible. From working on my family tree, I suspect I have more than a few ancestors who looked very much like this guy, and truth be told, because of where I bought it, he could actually be one of them! Isn’t this great?

In another booth, I found this little sweetheart. She is simply wonderful, but she’s not the sort of doll I collect, so I told her I’d bring her home and play adoption agent. I have her listed in my doll store (link in sidebar). She’s a Nancy Ann Storybook Doll #184 Friday’s Child. She’s exquisitely perfect, and her box is nearly perfect (slight stain on the bottom). The neat thing is that I borrowed a Nancy Ann book from the library, and the brochure in her box isn’t pictured in the book. It falls between the single one listed 1946 and the “early 1947” version, so I guess she has the late 1946 brochure. Wonder if it’s rare, perhaps? Just a bit surprising to see such a thick and well researched book not have the one Nancy Ann brochure I’ve ever seen in my life!

Isn’t she a sweetheart?

I got a few other odds and ends – a few bells, a couple photos, and a sewing box stocked with crochet stuff and some odd lace pieces I’ll have to share one of these days. I was just especially excited to share these three things. They really perked up my day quite nicely – and I needed some perking!

Running Away From Home

(As always, please excuse these stupid out of focus pictures. I’ve still not managed to get my camera problems resolved – too much going on! Also, at least as of this moment, I’m finding the photos to be showing up somewhat sporadically. If you see a big blank spot with the word “Atlanta” and a number, it means a picture is supposed to be there. Try clicking on the title of this post. For some reason, I’m seeing different photos when I do that.)

So, last week, on rather short notice, I ran away from home. A friend wrote in the middle of June, asking if I’d like to go to Atlanta for the UFDC Convention. I had next to no money, but I couldn’t resist the draw of some time away from home, so as crazy as the idea was, I said yes. 🙂 I knew I could scratch together enough for my flight and my share of the room (which wasn’t inexpensive!), but past that, I would have to depend on peanut butter crackers, potential birthday money, and whatever sales I could stimulate in the few weeks before the trip. Happily, I came up with enough that I could eat one cheap meal out each day and have something to spend in the sales rooms, and a last minute addition of another roommate made it even a bit better. Still, I have to say that it was really tough being in such a fantastic sea of awesome dolls and accessories with so very little money, and there were a couple of wonderful dolls I lost out on because they were just a little beyond what I had in my pocket. But I didn’t come home empty handed –  and now that it’s a week after the event, I don’t even mind having eaten so much peanut butter. 😉

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Hotels that look like this inside don’t come with cheap rooms…

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View out our window – see the capitol building?

Martine and Hitty Darlene went along with me, so they did a bit of looking around for treasures. Hitty D. found little in her price range that she liked, but she was quite pleased with the pretzel, which reminded her very much of the huge German pretzels one can purchase at Englischer Gartens in Munich.

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She really wished she had money to purchase the great bobbin lace pillow, but it was definitely out of her price range,

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and the horse was fun to ride, but she couldn’t imagine paying $200 for it!

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Martine, with some judicious bargaining and her sweet smile, brought home all sorts of goodies for her brothers and sisters, and a pair of Joyce Nicholsen’s espadrilles for herself. The little doll in the trunk is one of Alison Harwood’s fantastic creations. Jean-Paul apparently already ran off with his little wooden floor puzzle. Martine has promised to teach Gayelle to knit with the dress kit she bought for her. The purse is “so Malloree” that I chipped in a little bit of my money when Martine found herself a bit short at the end of the day.

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We also picked out a few pieces of fabric.

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And I bought a little something for my sewing room…

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I really had a strong desire to bring home a new doll this year, but on my budget, the only things I was finding I could afford were the mundane – which I really don’t need. I’m definitely sufficiently stocked with those. If money were no object (That will be the day!), this is the one doll I’d have had to have owned. She wasn’t the most expensive doll there by a long shot, but she’s the one who stole my heart most completely.

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This beautiful Kestner pink tint, covered wagon, china I thought was going to be mine. She wasn’t priced too badly, but still out of my range, but since it was the end of the last day of the show when I found her, I took the info and intended to contact the seller in a few weeks. However, I went back a half hour later and she was gone – sold. I embarrassed myself by crying. I’d so wanted her! However, she was $25 more than every penny I’d brought along, so…

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I did find someone to come home with me, though, and she’s a pretty little gal who is unlike anyone else I have, so a nice addition to the family. And I could actually afford to adopt her, which was a big plus. 😉 She’s an ABG Dolly Madison china doll, from the early 1870’s, about 25″ tall. Clothes are not original, nor do they come remotely close to fitting her. In fact, they are so small that it’s going to be a trick getting the dress off of her. Her seller was a bit of a sourpuss, too, so she was more than happy to come home with me. I’m looking forward to having some time to dress her more appropriately, and I’m hoping I happen to have at least some underthings to fit her – though I’m not holding my breath on that count.

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On Friday, we went to the Atlanta History Center. We saw some wonderful stuff there, but sadly weren’t allowed to bring any of it home in pictures, making it hard to retain what we saw and learned during our visit. These are two of the period homes which we toured – the Swan House and the Tulley Smith Plantation, two totally different types of homes, and each utterly charming in its own way.

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And our trip through town netted me one of my favorite styles of city pix. 🙂

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And in addition to the touring and shopping, there was all sorts of great fun, meeting a number of people I’d only known online until now, room parties, aching feet, and the pride of conquering the public transit system in Atlanta… All in all a very nice week!

There Wasn’t A Parade…

So, it rained where I was on Independence Day, but at least there wasn’t a parade scheduled. I guess it could have been worse, right? 🙂 The traditional picnic moved indoors and bore a distinctly different flavor, but the silver lining was that there weren’t any flies or mosquitos to swat, and the food was as good as ever, if not better. However, one tradition that was upheld would make me just as  happy to not continue. Even though my order was taken for a hamburger on the grill, by the time I got through the foodline, there wasn’t a single burger left, and only two hotdogs. I seriously dislike hotdogs, and there were two people behind me of a different opinion, so after I made a few bitter complaints, I resignedly grabbed a burger bun (there were LOTS of those left…) and heaped it with sauteed onions and pickle relish. I’d never had an onion sandwich before, but it actually wasn’t half bad so long as I didn’t think a lot about the burger I’d been eagerly anticipating. Besides, not wanting to risk a further shut out, I went through the dessert line without waiting to politely eat first, so I was looking at a double helping of Aunt Joyce’s Black Raspberry Cobbler. That little delicacy made it tough to keep pouting. 😉

My sister and I both have June birthdays, and we live far enough apart now that we’ve begun waiting to exchange gifts on the Fourth. I’ve been bothered in recent years by the fact that no matter what I get her, it seems as if I end up with the better present. This year I was sure I’d done well – until I saw what she’d found for me!

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Is this special or what?! I was nearly speechless! I don’t know how she finds things like this – or lets me have them instead of keeping them for herself – but she’s good at it! I was so overwhelmed, though, that I was suddenly very much afraid that she wouldn’t like her own gift. All that assurance blew right out the door!

So what did I get for her?

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I’ve gone from avid ebayer investing hours searching for special deals to checking in once a week or so for literally a couple of minutes. They’ve so managed to ruin everything that was good about that site… but that’s beside the point. A couple months ago, I DID check in for a minute, and someone had listed this little doll for sale on a BIN just minutes earlier. Now my sister collects Victorian and Edwardian wedding memorabilia and has a definite soft spot for dolls. This is the first time I’d ever seen one of the older German all-bisques dressed as a bride, and I didn’t even hesitate. That doll was bought and paid for in moments. Never mind the fact she came bald… or rather, never mind that fact until I was faced with the fact that she still needed hair the day before she was to go to her new home. I’d just not been sure how I was going to managed such a delicate operation. She’s only about 3.5″ tall (forgot to measure!), and her veil and crepe paper gown are most definitely fragile – not to mention her headpiece was still firmly glued in place. Finally, my spinning experience proved the solution. After I cleaned her (which was also not so easy to do without damaging her finery),  I took a tiny tuft of merino that  matched her eyebrows to perfection… and stopped dead. I couldn’t just glue a hunk of merino on her head. She needed some sort of a part or something to create a tiny bit of style, but I had no matching thread. Hmmm… go knit for a while… VOILA! Thread! It’s a spun substance! 🙂 I fingerspun enough of the merino to tie around the tuft, and I was back in business! I found my sewing up needle to be far better than a toothpick for placing the hair, as it didn’t stick and pull, so all in all, it was my spinning and knitting that were the basis for restoring this little sweetie. I loved the irony of that!

And – if you are actually holding your breath in suspense, my sister absolutely loved her doll, and like me, despite the many hours she’s perused the antique wedding stuff, she’d also never seen a doll of her type, so as the saying goes, I done good! We were both very happy people. 🙂 I’m trying hard not to worry about what I’m going to find for next year, though…

One other happening of note on the Fourth… My little niece had eyed my knitting on several occasions, but she also lives at a distance from me, so I’d not had the opportunity to sneak knitting needles into her hands yet. Having seen the weather forecast, though, I’d slyly slipped my beginner kits into my basket when I was packing Saturday morning. Sure enough, the weather cooperated with me, and shortly after supper, I had a six-year-old on my lap, intently wrangling knitting needles and lavender wool, cheerfully announcing and displaying every single completed stitch. Now THAT is what I call fun – and a super end to the evening!

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Oh… and she dropped some very  strong hints that perhaps someday I might make her something… GRIN! 🙂

On Being Eclectic

For many years now, “eclectic” has been the first adjective to come out of my mouth when I’m describing myself. Never more than yesterday have I seen such a compact proof of it being the single most perfect word there is for my personality, though. It was one of those frustrating days when the majority of things I’ve been waiting to receive in the mail all arrive at once. I had a huge stack of packages to open – a real Christmas type moment. Personally, I like it better when things dribble in an item at a time, but the postal service never asked me…

Anyway, when I took an accounting of what had arrived, I laughed out loud. It was me to a “T” – and if properly employed, enough stuff to keep me busy for an entire year! No wonder I always have more to do that time to do it – but I digress…

I like being me, and I love being eclectic. I’d never be able to function in a world where everything was always the same – where I didn’t have oodles of options dancing about me at every moment teasing me to go this way or that. I’ve fantasized at times about only having one thing with which to deal at a given moment, but it takes me about 10 seconds in that line of thought to know I’d go nuts by the end of day one. Besides, I’d never be able to choose the one single interest that I’d want to keep as an only child.

Now, if you are curious, here’s my ever so eclectic packages from the day’s mail.

First off, this is a fantastic new cloth doll book by Antonette Cely. Actually, I’m not sure just how new it is for the rest of the world, but I just discovered it recently. Titled Cloth Dollmaking, it’s jammed with enough information, details, and tips to keep me busy for months – and I’d still not have mastered everything she has to offer in this book, which clearly demonstrates her expertise. Even just to study, it would keep me engrossed for hours, but beyond that, I know I will have dozens of dolls flitting around in my mind, begging for life long before I’ll come to the last page

Next I opened a package containing two back issues of the ever so incredible Gildebrief. If I could only keep one doll magazine in my house, this would undoubtedly be the one. Eye-candy, porcelain doll painting, and incredible, detailed costuming… this is the Cadillac of magazines for the doll artists – particularly those with a strong leaning toward bisque dolls and historic costuming. I’ve seldom seen anything in Gildebrief that I didn’t want to make – now!

Already feeling rich, I opened package three – another flat package, though in appearances only. Due to the cost and timing of the Circular Sock Machine convention this year, even with it being just a short drive away, I had to skip it. Since I don’t have my machine working yet, I had truly longed for the opportunity to go – the perfect chance to put this little beauty to work. As a consolation prize for those of us who had to stay home, extra copies of the convention book were printed and sold, and I’m thrilled! It’s got more info between the covers than I’d have ever dreamed, and even if my CSM were my only toy, I don’t think I’d be lacking for things to try for a very long time. I’m so glad I bought this!

By this point, I was almost of a mind to leave the rest of the packages for another day! However, they were blocking access to the kitchen, so I opened the fourth one – and smiled as my love of reading was blessed with a new treasure, a volume of new old children’s book series for me. One of the many reasons my handle is “Face From the Past” is because of books – and especially these old ones with pictorial covers. I have but few, but I’m terribly partial to them. I just recently discovered Honey Bunch, and I’m quite enamored with her at the moment, and eager to see how much of the series I can find in this edition – without breaking the bank.

Now I had but three packages remaining – though really just two items – or a hundred or so, depending upon how one counts these things. The fifth was two boxes holding enough of my beloved Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool to keep me knitting for months! I got a total of 53 skeins in five different colors and at bargain prices. I also refuse to confess to anyone who isn’t snooping around on Ravelry just how many skeins of Silky Wool I now own. I do so love this stuff…

Having fed my knitting, dollmaking, costuming, reading, and CSM inner people, it was time to come back to reality – though not as painful as some versions of same. I last opened a box jammed full of work – pretty work, I’ll admit, but definitely work. I now have somewhere over 100 antique fireplace tiles, which will eventually be doing duty in my Chocolate and Roses sewing room with something else that arrived recently… I’m going to save that for another post, though. For now, I will just say that I’m going to have something wonderful, but I’m going to have a lot of hours cleaning up and setting tiles before I can enjoy the end result. Stay tuned!

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