Aug 29, 2009

The Shadow Knows

It took me two years to get here but, I'm finally tired of being out of shape. Turns out, spinning yarn on a treadle wheel ain't that great of a work out after all. The Treadler has settled most officially into sloth mode. I haven't always been the sedentary being that sits here typing at you now with my resting heart rate twittering away at 72 beats per minute. (Yes, I know, I know.) Back in the olden days I started nearly every morning with a four-mile run. Back then I had energy and endurance that would last throughout the day and, if memory serves, oxygen used to make it all the way up to my brain!

Alas, these old running shoes are the final vestiges of my long-ago-lost fitness. And, so far this weekend the only exercise I've gotten was creating the above shoe collage. (It was kind of tricky though as it is rather windy outside.)


If fitness running was so great why did I quit in the first place? Well, maybe it interfered with my knitting and spinning addiction. After all, in the time it takes to go on a nice long, slow distance run I could be knitting up a lovely wash cloth:

If you click on the washcloth you'll be transported to the free pattern courtesy of A Knitting Mountain
A tall glass of beer with a hearty handful of Fruit flavored Skittles: Maybe I stopped running when I realized I was only fooling myself believing that this unique food combination was rocket fuel for athletes in training. I remember I truly enjoyed the "carb-beer loading" portion of my old exercise regimen. (Seems that all serious training died shortly after that bubble was burst.) Or, perhaps I simply needed a sabbatical from good health and vitality and the opportunity to explore how it might feel to have been in a coma or a full body cast for an extended period of time.
Well, I've enjoyed atrophy and lethargy long enough. I ordered myself a new pair of Saucony Shadow 6000's with the roomy toe box, curve lasted sole, polyurethane construction... (my all-time personal favorite footwear for the supinator on-the-go.)
Yes! It is time to get crackin'... but not today, after all my new running shoes won't be here until next week. Why not just use one of the pairs of old Saucony Shadows in the picture? Well, they are worn out you see. If they're so worn out why did I keep them? Well, if we're going to start making those kinds of inquiries I will be here all day explaining all sorts of worn out and carefully stored objects around me and I don't have time for that! I need to use this training time I've set aside to create my own washcloth or dishcloth pattern and then I shall post it here later.

Aug 26, 2009

Ongoing Magic Wand and Pouch Project (Part 3)

I think the magic is wearing off. This is one obnoxious project! Above is the wand work-in-progress sculpted out of Aves two part apoxie. That stuff is fantastically strong! And, the wand is not my problem. But, it does measure 12.75 inches and, as you can see I've got a long way to go on the little holster pouch for it. Therein lies all of my frustration: Along with the fact I can't seem to take a bright, clear picture to save my life, I'm tired of crocheting 'round and 'round! And, I'm not halfway done yet. Also, I cannot get past the fact that once I'm finished noodling with this little bag on and on and on... what exactly will I have accomplished? Yep, a wand pouch. Yay.
Ugh, guess I'll twist in another row of beaded fringe on there and then I'm throwing down this tiny size 6 crochet hook (what was I thinking?) and switching on over to bity size 1 or 2 knitting needles for a change of pace. (Like that will speed things up.) Knitting 'round and 'round does sound like a delightful respite. And, I can bask in the pleasures of being a pattern-free sort of person. You're supposed to do whatever the heck you want. Whatever happens I'll take a poorly lit picture of it and post it here.

Aug 25, 2009

I Love Snail Mail!

I greatly value email for staying in regular contact with family. It offers me the opportunity to convey and receive information quickly without disturbing folks on the telephone. One of my very best email buddies is my sister, Laura in Montana. She sends me fun messages on a regular basis and always has an adventure up her sleeve.
But, Laura has taken a trip to Washington D.C. and hasn't been able to email for a little while. Yesterday I found a communication from her in the darndest place, the mail box. She sent me this fibery post card from The Textile Museum showcasing Jon Thompson in a traditional felt burka. On the back is written, "Felt this!" I love snail mail.

Aug 20, 2009

Magic Wand Pouch of Wool (Part 2)

As per yesterday's post I'm a middle-aged spinster woman (the kind of spinster that spins wool, not to be confused with spinsters of the olden days: 19 and still unmarried) who's in the middle of making a wand pouch. Good thing I'm capturing all of this in a web log eh? Anyway, dilemmas abound. From what research I was able to conjure up a wand's length can vary and may or may not be relevant to the height of the wand wielder.
Now, I'm referring to myself as 'wielder' here because I'm just noodling around with a small crochet project for fun and the last thing I need is a new nickname. What I don't want is to somehow take on the title of 'middle-aged spinster-witch'. That's the kind of cruel label that can stick to a person and cause all kinds of inner turmoil leading to the development of a nervous cackle or worse, a large and unruly cat collection.
With that said I am thinking that my wand pouch should be about a foot in length. Why? I need the pouch to hold a 13" wand. Why? because if I make the wand any longer I'll have to make the pouch bigger and it only measures 4 inches now. I am willing to continue to crochet 'round and 'round if I can say that I'm officially 1/3 of the way done at this moment. Anything less and I shall grow despondent. More updates to follow. (Yahoo!)

Aug 19, 2009

Woolen Wand Pouch (Part 1)

Nothing will give your imagination a jubilant kick in the pants like witnessing the perfect combination of nieces and nephews at play. Our most recent family gathering was just that. It was deja-vu all over again as the kids got together and created an assortment of imaginary worlds in the very woods where I used to frolic with my siblings.
There were a great many "wands" and "swords" wielded as tremendous chase and battle scenes erupted both out in the woods and occasionally across my father's living room. In the aftermath I found over 15 sticks that had been carefully harvested from the ends of old, dry branches here and there throughout the indoor battlegrounds. (Strange how all these years later "wands" and "swords" are still made from the same materials, same trees even.)
Ah, but the battles have ended for the Summer.
Now that I'm back at home I find the fiber studio to be comparatively quiet, a bit too quiet actually. I guess I want to continue the great adventures in some vicarious kind of way. So, I've decided to make a stick pouch, excuse me wand pouch. And, when that's done I might just make a wand as well.
Above: Starting out with a strand of beads that were left over from Family Gourd Day. I've carded wool in a variety of colors together with a tiny bit of silvery blending glitz trying to pick up on the beads a little bit in the yarn.
Here I've spun up a small ball of yarn from some of the blended fibers. The beads have been strung onto this 2 ply. They will become the bottom fringe of the pouch. I'll have just enough beads to create a 2nd fringe somewhere else along the length of the project.
More pictures soon to follow as the magical, magical wand pouch progresses. (How exciting!)

Aug 15, 2009

Gourd Day

I remember a few summers back I tried to raise 500 silk worms. My attempt was fueled by the vision of the many lustrous cocoons I would eventually unwind and spin into pure silken thread. Mission failed. I have also attempted to grow my own cotton here in Northern Wisconsin. Mission failed (duh). These and a few other similarly fated experiments were pursued in the name of furthering my hand spinning prowess. But, I did learn from these mishaps. For example: I definitely know better than to even try to grow my own woodeny gourds for crafting.

Dad, called into yarn-winding action.

Much like cotton, gourd plants demand a long growing season so, last Spring I sent my Dad an envelope full of the large, flat seeds for him to play around with in his garden. He lives about 500 miles due south and has been a landscape designer by trade for most of his life. Suffice it to say mission accomplished. He tossed a few of seeds in the garden and voila, 24 gourds.

It would be fair to say that my father is not a householdy sort of fellow in his retirement years. He has several fishing poles leaning in the corner near the front door. He has a large container of assorted chisels, shovels, and picks conveniently at-the-ready near his bedroom dresser. This makes sense as he's an 82 year old man who enjoys intensive landscaping as a hobby. He likes to use large slabs of stone to build assorted raised garden beds. This Spring he worked on a railroad tie staircase that he'd set into a sloping path on the south side of his property. (I don't know too many people his age who drag railroad ties around.)

But, even a less-than-householdy person can eventually grow weary of having 24 gourds drying on the dining room table for a year. So, Dad declared it was time for the family to, "Get crafting" and Gourd Day was scheduled. My sister and her son flew in from Montana, my other sister flew in from Seattle, I drove down from Wisconsin and the rest of the family was already on hand in Kansas City. In fact some family members wrote their names on chosen gourds in advance of Gourd Day (that's the kind of fervor and excitement visions of a special, special Gourd Day event can bring about).

Let's pause the story for a moment: How do you know if you are in a weird family? Well, if your family is truly weird you won't know. In order to be genuinely weird there must be a total lack of insight into the facts of the situation. We really have no idea if our Gourd Day is similar to all the other family Gourd Day celebrations around the globe. For our event there was no dress code and we ordered pizza rather than cook traditional Gourd Day dishes. Our version may have been a bit laid-back but, perfectly normal I assure you.

My daughter, Teal chose to enjoy Gourd Day outside and away from the crafting fray going on in the house. She used a magnifying glass to direct the sun's rays and burn a design into her gourd. In the below picture an arrow points out the smoke rising from her work.

While Teal harnessed the sun's rays to create a more natural gourd my sisters and I decided to bring modern technology into play. It was off to the local craft shop for beads, felt, pipe cleaners and a glue gun! Sadly, I have no pictures of our efforts but here are a few of the good ones.

Front, center: Teal's Sun Burnt Gourd Bowl. Left back: Dad's Cozy Bird Home (work in progress) Right back: Aunt Julie's Adventurous Bowl with Lid. Not pictured: Hogwort's Castle, Zoo Diorama, The Witch's Lair, Anniversary Vase, Twisty Basket and Waves of Wonderment.