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Another Snow Event here in the Puget Sound Area, and I really don’t  want to schlep out to get more suet cakes, yet worry about the birds finding enough to eat.  My jar o’grease that I keep in the freezer has very little in it, so I decided to make a nutritious goo of peanut butter, rolled oats, and Crisco.

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I stuffed this into the bird feeder and put it out in cherry tree in the front yard.

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I hope they like it!

Meanwhile, I’m inside busily dyeing Blue Faced Leicester roving to get ready for the Whidbey Spin-In,  April 4 and 5.  I’ll have a table on the 5th only.

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rovings-002-small

Got wool?  Oh, yeah.

I recently had the sad duty of  cleaning out the stash of a long-time weaver, spinner, and knitter, Jane Garrett.   Jane was 89 years old, and had seemingly done everything in the fiber arts, from turning fleeces into sweaters of hand-dyed, handspun yarn, to weaving fabric for a reversible, double weave coat, making clever animals out of yarn, knitting beautiful lace shawlsand  practical slippers, weaving miles of hand-woven dish towels, etc., etc. She left all her fiber related stuff to Seaview Weavers Guild, and  after her death, her daughter  Sally called me to come pick it up.  We were glad that Sally decided to keep the loom her father had made for Jane, and that she hopes to learn to weave. 

As Sally and I sorted through boxes and sacks and piles and mounds of (mostly) neatly labeled yarns, fiber, buttons, tools, scraps of handwoven, binders of weaving samples,  and so on, I came to a couple of conclusions. One, don’t keep everything.  Scrappy stuff will just get tossed when you are not there to hang onto it.  Two, don’t leave the best for later, because later might not arrive in time for you. We found two ounces of quiviut fiber, a couple of pounds of silk, about half a pound of angora, a sack of alpaca, several pounds of merino, etc., etc.,  all ready to be spun.  Massive amounts of handspun, waiting to be knitted.  Cones and cones of cotton, waiting to be woven. By ruthlessly tossing, we managed to  get the usable stuff  and the spinning wheel into my Volvo stationwagon and have enough room left for me.

The spinning wheel is being kept by the guild to have available for long-term loan.  It still had Jane’s last work on it, a lovely merino/tencel blend.  There were two bobbins done and one on the wheel, with a little fiber yet to spin.  I spun that off, and decided that Jane had intended to make 3-ply.  The top yarn here is the three-ply, about 85 yards.  The lower yarn is 25 yards of two-ply that  I made with what remained on two bobbins after one ran out.

Jane's yarn

Jane's yarn

Probably the worst of the lumpy bits in the top yarn are my spinning — that tencel blend is very slippery, and took some getting used to! But the bottom yarn is all Jane-spun, and I’m relieved to see that it’s not perfect, either. The plying is all mine — like the curate’s egg, parts of it are excellent. I think I’ll make it into a lacy neck-warmer type thing, and use the two-ply to have an extra lacy edge. Pattern suggestions are welcome!

The wheel, a Lendrum single-treadle, is one of the ones I learned to spin on and has seen a lot of use. The flyer has grooves worn in it by the passage of miles of yarn.

Jane's wheel

Jane's wheel

Who knew that spinning wheels could get crow’s feet, or maybe laugh lines?

At our meeting, as the guild members chose items from Jane’s legacy to us to incorporate into our stashes, we decided to make note of where these things came from, and include that fact when we bring the finished items back to guild Show and Tell.  So Jane will still be part of our meetings, as long as her stash lasts.

Today is my second blogiversary.  Everything I wrote last year at this time holds true, only more so.  More online friends met in person, more yarn dyed and sold, a new product line started successfully,  more items knitted, and, yes, more time spent online!

My gift to you today is a recent sunrise, a thank you for stopping by here.

Winter sunrise

Winter sunrise

I went to the St. Distaff’s Spin-In last weekend, and had my best sales day ever. After the overcrowding of last year, the organizers found a new location in the cafeteria of the lovely Cavelero Mid High. The room is terraced, with stairs and ramps leading Escher-like to the many levels. It seems as if there were more vendors and fewer attendees this year, but in fact the opposite was true. I guess the layout confused the eye.

Spin-In vista

Spin-In vista

This is looking from my table up towards the top of the room. As usual, there were superior snacks, the remnants of my plate of which you can see.  Not only  Chukar Cherries, but homemade fried Rosettes.  Mmmm!

The blended batts sold out, so clearly I have to make more of them. 
Vendors are asked to donate  items for door prizes, and I managed to win one! It was near the end of the day, so the table was rather picked over (I was happy to see that my donated roving had been taken earlier), but investigating a lumpy bag with a scarf pattern visible on top revealed this treasure:
Door prize bounty

Door prize bounty

 Four skeins of Shetland 2000, in two natural wool colors, donated by the distributor, Yarns International.  This is genuine Shetland, from purebred sheep raised on those windy islands.  It’s the yarn called for in the included pattern, Vertical Stripe Scarf by Linda Lawrence.  That project didn’t quite set my fingers twitching, as I have just made a long scarf, but the idea of a traditional shawl appealed, and I remembered the Danish Tie-Shawl from the spring 2008 issue of Spin-Off. So that is cast on and growing.  I’m off to Washington, DC tomorrow to visit family, and it’ll be a great semi-mindless yet rewarding traveling project.

I delivered the Baby Surprise Jacket in between snow alerts this afternoon.  This one is for Mary, cousin to the other adorable toddler I made a sweater for .

Too cute to be still

Too cute to be still

It fits quite well, and with room to grow.  I could even add more to the sleeves to make it last through next winter, I think.

Cute AND in focus

Cute AND in focus

Here’s the back view, and a better look at Mary, with her mom, my talented cousin Janet Anderson.

Final pictures!  I took lots more, but don’t want to make you suffer from travelogue fatigue.

Look!

Look!

Look!  It’s the Eiffel Tower!

And finally, some fiber arts content:

Sock knitting is not so new

Circular knitting is not so new

The Musée d’Orsay very kindly lets you take pictures as long as you don’t use flash. This and the painting below are both by Millet, who painted quite a few scenes of women at work in the fiber arts.  I love her air of quiet concentration.

Multi-tasking

Multi-tasking

This shepherdess is giving her feet a break, yet still at work. Note the curious goat to the left.  Is it going to come over and butt her in the back, or nibble the fiber? Is she spinning wool, or goat hair? Does she know the knitter above?  So many questions  . . .

And finally, one last shop window.

Helpful sheep

Helpful sheep

This was a maternity shop, although none of the mannequins seemed to be knitting baby things.