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Today is World AIDS Day.  To quote from, “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.

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 went to the St. Distaff’s Day Spin-In again, and had a pretty good sales day.  Interestingly, this year it was the merino/tencel rovings that were selling well, not the blended batts.  Mysterious are the ways of buyers.  Also, the Sterling yarn was popular. 

I bought 3 raffle tickets for $5, and put all the tickets in the cup for one basket — which I won! What caught my eye was the great greeny-bluey merino/tencel roving from Lavender Sheep, colorway “Columbia River”, paired with a very silly and fun commercial novelty yarn.

Isn’t that great?  I think they’ll be very fun plyed together, or knitted as one.

But wait!  There was more  . . . When I unpacked the basket, there was a bounty of other stuff.

Pale green Colonial superwash roving from Great Balls of Fiber,  a pattern for a neat purse to make from quilting fabric, cool fiber and wood purse handles from the Philippines, a needle gauge, a magnetic purse clasp, bottle of body wash in the scent Snickerdoodle, and a fabulous carded batt from Crystal Creek Fibers. This baby is HUGE!

I was thinking it was merino/tencel, but looking at her shop, I see she does silk blends also, which it could well be.  I’ll write and ask.

Thank you to everyone who contributed to this amazing raffle prize!  I am astounded at the wonderfulness of it.  Even  the basket is nice.

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.


From left, carbonized bamboo, tussah silk, Merino.


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.


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.

I do some dyed rovings that slowly graduate from one end to the other, either in color or intensity of hue.  To show this off to customers, I form them into circles, but then need something to support the floppy roving.  I was using these cardboard circles,


which do the job very nicely, but are expensive, as they are Wilton’s cake base cardboard. Fifty cents each.  Adds up. Then I had a vision of another type round cardboard, inexpensive, already on hand:


Paper plates.  They are smaller in diameter and don’t make such a perfectly round display with all the roving coiled up on it —


but it’ll do nicely.  And being smaller they fit into my tiered plate stand.


Looks good enough to eat, eh?  Especially if you are on a high fiber diet 🙂