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Today is World AIDS Day.  To quote from WorldAIDSDay.org, “World AIDS Day is held on 1 December each year and is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show their support for people living with HIV and to commemorate people who have died. World AIDS Day was the first ever global health day and the first one was held in 1988.”

My knitting pal,  Steven Ambrose,  has organized a fundraiser today to benefit the Lansing Area Aids Network, which provides a full range of services to HIV-positive people, and also works on AIDS prevention issues.   I’m donating $50 worth of yarn and/or fiber as a prize for his amazing drawing, and all you have to do is make a donation –today!– to be eligible to win a piece of this great stuff.

We all know someone who has been affected by HIV/AIDS.  My dear friend Jerry Jacks died from AIDS in 1986, and I still miss him. With prevention, testing, and treatment, it’s not the death sentence it was then, but no one can be complacent.  I hope you are able to help.

 

Edit:  To clarify, Jerry died because of AIDS, but perhaps not from it.  He had been very ill, but feared getting a diagnosis of AIDS, so his illness went untreated.  Thank you to my friend Andi Schecter for confirming that.

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Here at last is the knitted up sample of the Watermelon Man colorway.

Watermelon_sample_small_medium

I’m really pleased with how this turned out! It  was a challenging dye project, but worthwhile.

In other news, I’m very happy to be part of  Steven Ambrose’s World Aids Day fundraiser, which is tomorrow, December 1.  Here are the details.  Basically, make a donation to the Lansing, Michigan Aids Network tomorrow, send Steven an email with  the details, and you’ll get entered into the drawing for some amazing prizes, including #9, a $50 gift certificate for my yarns and/or spinning fiber.  I’m honored to be in the company of the other great donors.  Last year, Steven raised $4,765 for the Pittsburgh Aids Taskforce, not bad for a first-time, last-minute effort!  This year, he started earlier, got a whole boatload of amazing  prizes, and has momentum built up from last year.  Can we double that this year?

I’ve now passed my 4th blogiversary — Happy Blog Day!  This prompts a bit of looking back at what I was doing that first month of blogging.  In some ways, things are much the same.

I still love and wear my handspun alpaca mitts.

I still love and make the NYT No-Knead bread.  This post, by way, is my most-viewed post. Lotta bread lovers out there.

I’m still spinning and dyeing.  Spinning much better now, thanks to a couple of classes with the  justly-revered Judith MacKenzie.

The dyeing has turned into a business, with actual profits!  Not huge, not a living wage, but it’s a self-sustaining hobby that pays for cool equipment and classes, lets me meet great folks, and play with color as much as I want.  I’m currently winding off yarn for a commission for Syne Mitchell, who will make it available to her students when she teaches a rigid-heddle weaving class  at the John C. Campbell Folk School. (The blurry look of the winder and swift in motion in this photo is my attempt at an arty action shot.)

But, although we’ve had our share of wintery weather, there haven’t been any more visits from the river otters.

What’s different? Mostly the kids, who don’t show up here too much. My son Erik has graduated college and is navigating the chilly job market while also doing some free-lance writing.  Fingers crossed for two projects being printed and available to the public this year (I’ll keep you posted). He’s also part of the writing team on The Mongoliad, a cool on-line serial novel.  My daughter Alex continues her studies at Savannah College of Art and Design. She’s a Dramatic Writing major, which means scripts, although her writing teacher this quarter is fine with her working on a novel.  These kids, they think one make a living  writing! Fools . . .

I’m busily making carded batts to take to the Whidbey Spin-In.  The ever-generous Mary B. (also known as The Other Mary Black) has lent me her drum carder again, so I’m happily blending color and texture. I acquired some carbonized bamboo that is pretty nifty, and am blending it with silk and Merino wool.

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From left, carbonized bamboo, tussah silk, Merino.

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After carding on a base of BFL, here I’m applying the bamboo directly to the main drum. I find that this works well with these very fine fibers that are already in a parallel alignment. I also do this with the silk.  After building up about three layers, each composed of  Merino, bamboo, and silk, I top it off with a little more Merino, then take it off the drum.

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Mmm, fiber!

Here’s my batt inventory so far:

Going batty
Going batty

Most of them are BFL/silk blends.  The carbonized bamboo is so dark that it can’t be used in brighter colors.  These batts aren’t going into my Etsy shop, but if any interest you, let me know and we’ll make it happen.  They are $5. per ounce and run about 2 ounces each, with the price prorated to actual weight.

Evidently yes. A combination of time on their Welsh shepherding hands, too many sheep and dogs, and support from Samsung LED Technology, gives us this brilliant gift to the world. Enjoy!

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