Sunday, December 18, 2011

Cheese Surprise Biscuits

If you love those cheesy biscuits that they serve at Red Lobster and you like olives and jalapenos, you will love these biscuits. I combined a favorite snack recipe with my favorite biscuit recipe to bring you this new goodie.  So far, everyone who has tasted them gives them the thumbs up.  The jalapeno stuffed olives add that special little something to the taste but will not overpower the cheesy, buttery flavor of the biscuits.  They are very easy to make and only take 10 minutes to bake.  If you make them, please let me know what you think of them.

Kathleen's Cheese Surprise Biscuits


2 and one-fourth cups Bisquick
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 stick very cold butter
1 jar Lindsay Jalapeno Stuffed Olives
two thirds cup milk
about half a teaspoon Garlic Powder

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Drain olives and cut or chop into small pieces (about the size of a small pea) and set aside.  Measure the Bisquick into a medium bowl.  Cut stick of butter into half and set half of the butter aside to be used later.  Take half the stick of butter and cut it into the Bisquick with a pastry cutter (or sharp knives if you don't have a pastry cutter).  Part of the key to the recipe is making sure the butter is quite cold when you cut it into the Bisquick.  The butter will end up the size of small peas after being cut into the Bisquick.  Add the chopped olives and the cheese to the Bisquick mixture.  Stir in the milk until the mixture is moistened.  The dough will be sticky.  Drop by large  spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet.    Bake the biscuits for about 10 minutes or until they start to brown on the outside.  While the biscuits are baking, melt the other half stick butter and add the garlic powder to the melted butter.  When you take the biscuits out of the oven, brush the top of each biscuit with the melted butter and garlic powder mixture.  Serve warm.

I usually end up with about 10 biscuits although you could make them a little smaller and make a dozen.  If making large biscuits, I suggest flattening the spoonful of dough slightly so they are completely baked in the middle.  Although they are best just out of the oven, you can put the leftover biscuits in the refrigerator and warm up later in a microwave.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Giffordables Goodies

I've been a little remiss lately and have taken way too much time to take this photo write about Susan's shop in my blog.  This beautiful batt came from  Susan Gifford and her wonderful shop, Giffordables Folk Art & Fiber.  She carded it up from her beautiful hand dyed fleece.  The photo does not even come close to showing the beauty and softness of this glorious batt.  Spinning it is going to be a real pleasure.

Make sure you visit her etsy shop and ogle all the beautiful batts.  You should also visit her blog, Giffordables, to see all the beautiful photos!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Beautiful Locks!     

Aren't these beautiful?   They are hand-dyed locks from Karen at Avalon Springs FarmThey are young Angora goat girls/mohair courtesy of Duchess, Hope, and a little bit from Glen May.  Karen says that these colors were based on a roving she did called Excalibur.  She also said that they brought her good luck because a friend of hers, Melissa Hicks (Wild Hare Fiber Studio) core spun some and entered them in a hand spinning contest at Maryland Sheep and Wool festival and she got a ribbon.

I was originally going to try to thrum them on the outside of a toy sheep that I was knitting.  It was my first time to try thrumming and I did not have much success.  For those of you who are unfamiliar with thrumming it is a way of attaching loose fibers while knitting.  It was usually used to line mittens and give them a very soft  fleece like lining.

Be sure to check out Karen's and Melissa's etsy shops.  You can do so by clicking on the above links.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Real People, Real Needs

This has been the year of disasters.  There are many people who are wondering how they will make it through the coming winter now that they have lost all their winter clothing and blankets.  There also many people who want to know how they can help those in need.  If you are like me, you would like to be able to help these real people with real needs.  When I looked for ways to help I found that all the big relief agencies just wanted money.  They are not set up for people to help people on an individual basis. I also found many smaller groups who collect handmade items and distribute them, but they seemed very impersonal.  These are all very worthy causes but I would like to know a little more about the people who will be receiving my gifts and feel that I am making a difference in individual lives. After talking with other people who feel the same way I do, I decided to do something about it.  Therefore you are witnessing the birth of a new effort - Real People, Real Needs.

Real People, Real Needs is an effort to provide handmade knit, crochet, and quilted hats, scarves, mittens, shawls, afghans, blankets, lap robes, quilts, and comforters to those people who really need them. If you would like to help do this you can fill out the Volunteer Questionnaire farther down on this blog page.  We only ask that you take the time to carefully consider what your involvement in this effort will require in time and materials.  If you do have the time and talent to commit to this effort, but cannot afford the materials, we will try to provide them. We also welcome donations of yarn, fabric, hooks, needles and monetary donations to pay shipping costs and buy supplies when needed.  When you fill out the Volunteer Questionnaire, please make sure  you use the questionnaire slider button to the right in order to complete the form then click on the Submit button to complete it. 

For those of you who have lost your homes or belongings to the storms, fires, earthquakes or other catastrophes that have ravaged our world in the last few months, we hope that we can assist you in the search for winter clothing and coverings.  You can also fill out the Real People, Real Needs Request Form  lower down on this blog page.  If you do not need these things for yourself but know someone else who does need them, please forward the blog URL or give them a hard copy.  Please be aware that this is a new group and we do not yet know how many responses and requests that we are going to receive.  We cannot guarantee that we will be able to fill all requests for help. When you fill out the Request Form, please make sure  you use the questionnaire slider button to the right in order to complete the form then click on the Submit button to complete it.

How will this work?   The questionnaires are linked to spreadsheets in Google documents.  As requests for winter wear come in they will be matched up with volunteers on our database.  Volunteers will turn in finished projects which will then be carefully cleaned and sent to the recipient.  All personal contact information will be kept confidential.  We would like to be able to share the first names of the volunteers and the recipients and the circumstances behind the requests, but only with your permission.

Thank you for taking the time to read about this new effort to help others.We hope that you will spread the word to all your friends, neighbors and relative both online and IRL.

You can also download the forms below if you wish to copy them for distribution:
Needs Request Form
Volunteer Form

If you have any questions, you can contact us at


Friday, August 26, 2011

Tropical Beauty

I 'm finally home again from a fantastic vacation.  We started out with a one week cruise around the Hawaiian Island on NCL's Pride of America. I hope to be able to finish editing the photos sometime soon so that I can share this wonderful adventure with you.  After the cruise we spent another 5 nights in Waikiki.  After a long flight back to West Palm my husband drove home and I turned around and got on another airplane heading for my nephew's wedding in Columbus, Ohio.  I got to spend two wonderful days there visiting with lots of far flung relatives.  On the day following the wedding I rode with my nephew and my daugter to Des Moines, Iowa.  I spent 3 days in Des Moines before boarding a bus to go back home.  Whew!  I do know after all of this that my two favorite ways of traveling are by ship and by train.  Airplanes are probably the most uncomfortable way to travel unless you can afford a first class seat.

I'm glad to get back to my spinning wheel and my fibers.  Beautiful, beautiful fibers.  In the spotlight today are some very lovely fibers from Tina of The Knittery at Herman Hills Farm.  Tina sent me some beautiful fibers that are spinning up into absolutely glorious yarn.

Aren't these curls delightfull!  I hope to use them in a small knitted sheep toy that I've designed.  It's going to be so cute!

Tina has a lot of beautiful fibers available and you don't want to miss them!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

I Want A Watch!

That's Right!

I want a watch.
                 I don't use one.
                                  And I hate to wear one. 
                                                          But I want one. 
                                                                                A very, very special one.

This watch would do Dr. Who proud.

This watch would have that wibbly, wobbly, timey, wimey feel to it.

It would not show the local time.

It would not show minutes, or hours, or days.

It would not have an alarm.

It would however show moments.
But not just any moments.
These are frozen moments.
Moments of your happiest times.
Moments of peace.
Moments of excitement.
Moments full of love.
Moments of life lived to the fullest.
The moment when you first held someone you love.
The moment when your first saw your sons and daughters.
Only the most special moments of your life.
Yes, that's the watch I want.
The Moments Watch..

Thursday, July 7, 2011

More Celebrations!

Aaacck!  It's already Thursday!  It has been an eventful and celebrationful week.  Monday was Independence Day and a wonderful day it is!  In addition to being the day we celebrate the birth of our nation it has several more personal aspects.  Our son Daniel was born on June 17 so when we were deciding on a day to have him baptized July 4th seemed very natural.  After all, it is a day to celebrate your freedom from sin and becoming a member of God's family.  Twenty seven years after his baptism, Daniel decided to turn July 4 into another major celebration in his life when he took Melissa as his wife.  And now they have just celebrated their first wedding anniversary.

We spent Tuesday in a continued wedding anniversary celebration by going to Harry Potter World with the family.  First thing on my agenda was to get some Butterbeer.  After exploring Hogsmeade for a while we went on to lunch at the fabulous Mythos.  Fabulous!  You get to eat a delightful meal in an almost mystical setting.

 It was a long day at the park and then a long drive home.  Fortunately I arrived home with just barely enough time to get in a little spinning for the Tour de Fleece.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Celebrate Sunday, Silver Sun Alpacas and TDF

My second day to celebrate life and all things in it.  Today is Sunday which is a celebration in itself.  After all this is the day the Lord gave us to pray, praise and give thanks for our lives and all things in them.

I also want to celebrate having the opportunity to start spinning the 2011 Tour De Fleece with some absolutely gorgeous fiber from Silver Sun Alpacas.  You have to touch this fabulous batt and see the depth of the color to believe it.

I didn't get started spinning until late in the day, but I did get started and this is a spectacular yarn:

Have a wonderful Independence Day, Everyone!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Celebrating Electric Carnation and TDF

I made a decision today!  Life should be a celebration and I am going to try and celebrate it every day.  The hard part is going to be remembering to do this every day.

Today is a triple celebration!  First part of the celebration will be making a trip to the airport to pick up my daughter who is coming to visit for a week.  We only get to see her a couple of times each year so this makes today a great day to celebrate.

The next thing to celebrate is some more beautiful fibers from Electric Carnation.  Not long ago I received some glorious fiber batts that came in the mail all the way from South Africa.  They were made with some of the softest merino wool that I have ever touched.  The first batt was Nebulae which was a very rich looking black with touches of brown and accented with the most glorious magenta and lots of silver sparkle hologram Angelina.  It was so beautiful and so soft that I had to order some more of it.  You know it has to be good when I am willing to pay the shipping all the way from South Africa.

The other batt was Sunrise on Titan, a luxurious creation running from a tangerine orange on one edge to a beautiful deep lime green on the other edge.I can hardly wait to spin these.  I am hoping te rest of the fiber is waiting at the post office for me to pick up this morning.  I wasn't home yesterday when our mailwoman came by and left me a note that said that a package was awaiting my signature.

The third thing to celebrate is the chance to spin all this beautiful fiber for the 2011 Tour De Fleece which starts today.  For those of you who do not know what the Tour De Fleece is:  for the last few years during the Tour De France bicycle race, hand spinners all around the world spin the wheels and twirl their spindles while the bicyclists spin the wheels of their bicycles.  What better way to start out a life celebration!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Hippie Penguin Fibers

Aren't these batts glorious! Hippie Penguin Fibers sent these two totally awesome batts. They are incredibly soft and spinning them is a lot of fun. (Yes, I could not resist, and decided no to wait until Tour De Fleece to play with these babies.) I wish I had some extra money at the moment for more fibers I would love too buy some of her luxurious hand dyed rovings. They are not to be missed. Can you just imagine spinning a cashmere silk top! And be sure to take a look at her hand dyed DK weight yarns and sock yarns. Her colorways are vibrant and out of the norm. Well, as I said, I have spun up these two batts and am currently spinning some roving in similar colorways so that I will have enough to weave another one of my shawls. I hope to post photos of it soon.

Sunday, June 12, 2011


It's Here! WWKIP 2011 week has finally arrived! Although knitting seems to be a superfluous hobby in Florida where you usually don't need all those beautifully warm items made with sticks, it is a popular and fulfilling pastime. And those of us who live here know how to have a good time playing with out sticks and fibers.

For the uninitiated, WWKIP stands for World Wide Knitting In Public. You will see knitters everywhere with their needles clicking all week long. I've joined the Ravelry group The Great Gold Coast KIP Hunt for events to celebrate this week. We started out with a small gathering of kindred souls at Yarn It! a fiber, knitting, weaving, spinning, crochet shop in Fort Pierce, Florida. At shop we received our list of places that we are challenged to knit at during this week. Photos are to be taken and published on Ravelry. We will receive points for the photos showing all the places where we knitted throughout the week and prizes will be awarded.

For my first KIP adventure this week, I grabbed my knitting bag, made sure my camera was in my handbag and left our LYS to go to lunch with my son. After we placed our orders for lunch at Archie’s Seabreeze I got out my kip bag and camera only to find out that one of my knitting needles was missing. I went back out to the van and looked all over for the missing needle with no luck. But I did find a new pair of chopsticks on the floor between the seats. Well knitting is just manipulating yarn with two sticks so I thought “why not"? So I started knitting with the chopsticks and looked for the best photo location for this event. I could not resist the opportunity to have my photo taken with Archie’s famous pirate and even let him hold my ball of yarn on his hook.

Other places I plan on knitting this week include my local auto repair shop, at the movie theater when I go to see "Super 8", and at the beach. I'll try to post photos from the other spots at the end of the week. Meanwhile - Happy WWKIP Everyone!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Beesybee Fibers

It's time to take a look at Beesybee Fibers. Patricia carries many beautiful fibers in her shop. She has glorious rovings of BFL, Corriedale, Merino and Polwarth as well as milk protein and recycled Sari fibers from Nepal. You will also love her batts, so soft and lustrous.

I received two gorgeous batt from Patricia and just have to show them to you. I love the way the luminosity of some fibers just bring out the character of the others. And the batts are so soft. They will make a beautiful addition to my art yarns when finished.

Have fun looking around Beesybee Fibers, a spinners candy shop.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Fabulous Fibers from KnitSpin

I received one of the prettiest most colorful rovings from KnitSpin. It is super soft and I can tell that it is going to spin like a dream.

She also sent some gorgeous
Angora Lambswool and a
beautiful pack of silk all of it
ready to dye or spin or both.

Her KnitSpin Etsy shop is full of beautiful Merino rovings as well as other fibers. She also has some wonderful hand spun yarns that would crown any knitter's basket. Among these is a beautiful solid purple alpaca handspun that is very hard to resist and needs a thoughtful knitter to bring it into its full glory. I strongly suggest that every spinner and knitter I know pay a visit to KnitSpin's store.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Feistywoman Designs

I have more fibery goodness to show everyone. Today the spotlight is on Feistywoman Designs. She sent me two beautiful batts very soft and very colorful. Her shop is a real treasure trove, full of he most delightful fibers. The rovings and batts are beautiful and the yarns are to die for. I have also decided to purchase the Ladies Simply Warm Hat pattern which sports a lovely texturized pattern near the edge.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Dreaming Fiber with Dawning Dreams

I received a wondrous scrap batt from Dawn of Dawning Dreams. It is very soft and beautifully blended. Dawn's shop has many other wonderful items for the spinner, knitter, fiber artist, and anyone who enjoys beautiful fiber products and supplies. Dawn also has some lovely wood spindles in her artfire shop as well as some handsomely woven shawls and scarves. She has also designed some great tags and cards for those of you who are better at organizing their fibers than I am. A visit to Dawning Dreams Artfire shop is well worth it

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Charmed by Fiber Charmer

After receiving some beautifully hand dyed fibers from Fiber Charmer, I had to visit her Etsy shop. The shop is full of vibrantly colored hand dyed yarns. Her sock yarns made of include such wondrous colors as Beach Glass Mosaic and Red Grapes and my personal favorite is the Butterfly Bush Pooling yarn. You will have too hurry though if you want to get hold of either of the Bulky yarns which are currently on sale. Be sure to visit the page with all of her spinning fibers. There are a number of beautifully dyed silk caps. One of the items she sent me was a gorgeous blue silk cap that I can hardly wait to use. She also sent some lusciously dyed curls that are fust begging to be gently teased apart and spun into an art yarn. Visit Fiber Charmer today, you won't regret it.

Monday, May 9, 2011

The Benefits of Parkinson's Disease.

It's less than a month until my 60th birthday and I am finding the benefits of having Parkingson's Disease and getting older. Parkinson's Disease has benefits? It all depends upon how you look at things.

I was first diagnosed about 18 years ago when I was 42 years old and my daughter was still in elementary school. Eighteen years ago most people did not believe that you could have Parkinson's Disease. This was before Michael J. Fox made the news as a Parkinson's patient. I was fortunate that the neurologist I went to was not afraid to make the diagnosis for someone my age. He started me on medications and my life changed.

I was also fortunate that I had a quad amputee as a brother-in-law. Rod's attitude was a great inspiration for me. His outlook was simple. Nothing could change the fact that he was a quad amputee. That would never change. All the whining and feeling sorry for yourself would never alter the facts. That famous bumper sticker in Forrest Gump says it all - shit happens. Its a fact of life. The only thing that can hold you back is yourself and your outlook on life. With that in mind I decided to just live with the problem and work around it. With time it became easier and there were often days that I would forget that I even had a problem. (I have always been good at being able to put unpleasant things out of my mind, which is not always a good thing and is probably the root of procrastination.)

I continued working for another 15 years. The biggest problem I seemed to have was getting tired. I think that my body just used up my energy reserves in my efforts to overcome the tremors and carry on as normal. The symptoms only became really noticeable when I was tired. Over the years the neurologist would occasionally change and adjust the the energy levels waned and the tremors increased. It gradually started affect me at my job. One of the better medications was Mirapex (pramiprexole). The side effects of the drug started causing different problems and I occasionally had diifculties with sudden sleep onset. I would become unbearably sleepy at work in the afternoons. At this time I decided to make a big change in my life. Our children had all finished school (except our daughter who still planned on going to medical school now that college was over) and I had been doing fairly well with my small weekend handmade jewelry business. I talked it over with my husband and decided to take a year's leave of absence from my job and work on my jewelry designs and setting up an internet storefront. In this business I could work at any hour of the day or night depending on my energy levels. The best thing about this decision was the freedom it gave me to work at my own pace and available energy levels. After a couple of months, on the advice of friends and aquaintances, I applied for Social Security Disability. Every one told me that no one received it right away without having to apply several times and getting the help of a lawyer. To my surprise I received approval and my first check a month and half later. With that check came a newfound sense of peace and freedom. I was finally able to do things again without having to push my body to the point that I had no energy to enjoy life and the world around me.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Yummy Fiber at Giffordables

I just have to show you this fabulous batt from Giffordables. The colors are so vivid and the fibers really are luscious. You will also want to take a look at the Cotton Candy Batts in her shop. I don't know if I wished they were real enough to eat. They are so beautiful I think I'd rather have them as spinning fibers. I hope to have enough time to spin some of them this week. I was planning to spend all week spinning, but just learned about an upcoming baby shower so now I will be spending half my time knitting some booties and a cap. The mother to be knows how to crochet so I think I will also give her some of my handspun to make something for herself.

Friday, April 22, 2011

How to Attract Men

We were having an interesting discussion on men and what attracts them at the LYS yesterday. I was telling them how I always had a large crowd of men around me on Saturday mornings at the market. Now, I want to let you know I am not some young slender beautiful woman. This happened when I was 57 years old, overweight, with glasses and long hair pulled back in a limp ponytail.

So how did I do it? This happened every Saturday morning for about a year. I had a booth at our local Arts & Crafts Market for about 8 years. For this first 7 years I demonstrated beadweaving and sold my handcrafted jewelry and never had a crowd of people. I did pretty well with the chandelier earrings and the OOAK peyote stitch bracelets of my own design. In my 8th year at the market I made a huge change in my product line and quit selling jewelry. This was the year of the crowds.

What happened? I've always been interested in various needle fiber arts. Well to make a long story short our local Joann Fabrics closed their doors and I needed a new source for my yarn. At least this was the excuse I used to try something totally new (for me) and fascinating. I decided to learn how to spin my own yarns. Like most of the spinners I have met in Florida, this is a self teaching proposition. I got on the internet and found a drop spindle and some roving from Walmart On Line and spent time watching a lot of UTube videos. From there it quickly became obvious that I needed a real spinning wheel. More research on the internet led me to purchasing my first spinning wheel, a Kromski Prelude. From there it was a short trip to a new obsession and an interesting new business. This first year of spinning I still sold jewelry at the market until I felt my yarns were good enough to market. During this time I discovered Ravelry and lots of online sources for fibers and information.

Year 8 at the market I changed my business name and started demonstrating spinning and selling my handspun yarns. There is something about a spinning wheel actually being used that acts as a magnet for men (an women) of all ages. The guys would stand around me and talk while the wives and girlfriends explored the other vendor booths. I thinks its the engineering aspect that fascinates them. A simple machine with a wheel that goes round and round.

So how do you attract men in three easy steps:
1. Buy a spinning wheel.
2. Learn to use your spinning wheel.
3. Spin in public.

By the way we also discussed how men can attract women: Get a frou-frou dog and take it for walks in an area with lots of women.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Fiber Excitement from Wild Hare Fiber Studio

I just have to share the goodies I just received from Wild Hare Fiber Studio. I am so excited about these fibers. When the envelope arrived (the first one to come from our Angelina buying group) I immediately tore it open and saw this beautiful specialty batt, Flame. the colors are so vibrant and the fibers are some of the softest I've ever had in an art batt. I'm going to have to find something very special to make with this one.

She also included a fabulous Polwarth Top Roving in "Lavender Breeze". This one has already found a spot in my spinning queue. It is so soft with a very high loft and will make lovely shawl on my tri-loom.

You will definitely want to check out her etsy shop. She has lots of beautiful hand dyed fibers and handpainted yarns, some handspun yarns and even Spinolution spinning wheels as well as her handpainted drop spindles.

Love That Sparkle!

(Singing) "Angelina, angelina, angelina". Even after sorting, weighing and packing 150 pounds of Angelina, I still love it. It just adds the WOW factor to my hand spun yarns. I also took some new photos of small bits of it for my etsy shop. They are the best photos I've ever managed to get of Angelina. I am especially proud of the photo of the Silver Sparkle Hologram. It actually managed to catch all the fiery colors sparkling under my Ott lamp. It is so beautiful and brings my yarns alive when they hit the sunlight. They should have used it to make the vampires sparkle in the sunlight for the Twilight movies.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Creative Lighting

Last night our minister spoke about all the different effects that light has on our lives, from the physical effects of light (vitamin D, photosynthesis, sunburns, etc.) to the spiritual effects. As I mused on this later last night, it started another train of thought concerning the effects of light on my artistic fiber endeavors.

I think most of us have learned to look at colors under natural lighting and sunlight if possible. I know photos of my yarns and finished projects are always better when taken outside in the sunlight. Fortunately I live in Florida's sunshine city, Fort Pierce, and we generally have the sun shining at some time almost every day. Colors can look very different under different lights and it always helps to look at variegated yarns in natural sunlight, especially when you want to pair them up with solid colors. Unfortunately light can also have an adverse effects on colors over the course of time and bleach them out to a pale shadow of their former glory.

I also love the differences in color perception caused by texture under strong lighting. Sometimes, when playing with my dye kettle, its fun to see the differences in color when you dye different fibers and yarn textures in the same pot full of dye. A silk ribbon dyed in Periwinkle will look quite different from the bulky wool yarn from the same pot.

Another effect of light is seen in the slight variations of color you get when hand dyeing. Those of us who dye know that one of the beautiful effects from the process is that a solid color is not really a solid color. I love the slight variations in color that give character to my yarns. This effect can change greatly depending upon the available lighting. Last fall I had dyed 3 skeins of yarn in Spruce for a shawl. The lighting in my house showed some little variation in the color. Later in the month, while in rehab for my knee replacement, the color variation hardly showed up at all in the flourescent lights of the hospital room.

I also love the play of light that I get when I spin Angelina into my fibers. I recently used my drum carder to blend turquoise wool with small amounts of Silver Sparkle Hologram Angelina and black and white mohair and alpaca. Then I spun up all the batts to make a lovely yarn for use on a triangle loom. The finished shawl was a treat for myself. It is beautiful under normal indoor lighting. When you take it outdoors into the sunshine it becomes spectacular with little bits of colored fire sparking off the Angelina. I am adding photos of the shawl and have tried to get the pictures to show the effects of the Angelina but the camera's eye just cannot do the same job as the human eye. P.S. The model in the photo is an acquaintance from our LYS.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Spinning in Public

I recently spent a whole week demonstrating spinning at our county fair. This is my second year to do this. It's a great experience. People love to watch. For most people its the first time they've seen a spinning wheel in use. A lot of parents use it as a learning experience for their children. Unfortunately many people don't really know what you are doing. Some people think you are weaving and call your wheel a loom. It's important not to embarrass them and just use the correct terms for what you are doing with out noticeably correcting them.

The hardest part of demonstrating is finding a way of letting people be involved in your spinning without messing up the work-in-progress. I think I have finally found an easy way for the children to be involved. I let them put their foot next to mine on the treadle while I pump it up and down. For other requests I now bring two wheels with me. I mainly use my Ashford Joy for my current work-in-progress. I also brought along my Kromski Prelude which was my first wheel. I had a lot of fun with using this wheel at the fair for a special magical purpose. One of the questions I am usually asked is if I can spin gold. This year I prepared some special batts before the fair. Each of these batts had two layers of fawn colored alpaca with a layer of gold angelina in the center. When I spin from these batts it almost looks like I am spinning gold. I also used this wheel for the two or three adults who really wanted to try spinning.

This year we also had a gathering of spinners on the first Sunday of the fair. There were eight of us. Fortunately there was enough room for us to all sit in a large circle with extra chairs for bystanders to sit and watch and learn. Both the observers and the spinners had a wonderful time and this will now be an annual event.

Friday, February 25, 2011

The End of an Era

I was downtown yesterday afternoon when the space shuttle Discovery was launched for the last time. Even though we had partially cloudy skies, we were able to see the vapor trail and the last burn of the expendable booster tank before it dropped off. It was a very beautiful moment. Everyone in the nearby shops had walked out into the street and cheered as we all watched and shared this historical event.

My grown children and the newest generation probably won't quite understand the impact all of this has had on my generation. The space program began during my lifetime and the world was changed forever.

Why is this a post in a fiber artist's blog?

As I said before, the world changed forever in almost unimaginable ways that affected all areas of life. Spinning may be one of the oldest art forms but it has been greatly affected by the space age. Many of the new fibers that we use were able to be developed because of the technology developed during the space race. And they are beautiful! The softness and silkiness of Latte (a beautiful fiber made from milk protein), the loveliness of yarns made with bamboo and seaweed. There are many more fibers waiting to come into being. I still prefer natural fibers like wool and cotton and alpaca, but I like to blend these with the glitter of Angelina (a polyester metallic).