Stasia's Place Of Grace


Saturday, September 28, 2002

Something New

I have a very small house and I have very cheap furniture (and not a lot of it). I think the only furniture we purchased, rather than receiving it as hand-me-downs from our parents, was our futon! I am not a very confident decorator, and of course with our pets all over everything, we didn't want to buy expensive things.

I spend a lot of time here, as Jeff travels often and I'm unable to go with him. Well, it must be something in the air - a sense of preparing to cozy up indoors during the coming months - and I decided that after almost ten years of marriage, and because I'm here so much, it was time we had a coffee table; someplace to put my feet up while knitting, lay my knitting and my Sister Wendy's "1000 Masterpieces" coffeetable book, and keep a cup of tea handy.

So I went to Fleet Farm - the local farmer and fisherman supply warehouse - and found three really inexpensive pine tables!

Jeff assembled the first two, and after watching him, I did the third while he was at work (patience is not one of my virtues!) I learned to use a ratchet (which is a good thing for a girl to know how to do) and also how to put in a screw shaft which doesn't have a top or bolt on it; you put two nuts on, tighten them against each other so they can't move at all, and then use that as a "handle" to screw the screw in with the ratchet. Pretty neat, huh? Handyman Stasia!

Then I finished them all with non-toxic and sweet-smelling Wood Beams. What else would I trust? You can breathe it in and it will only make your head feel clearer and won't poison your brain; the dogs can lick it and it won't do a bit of harm to them; and you can finish your furniture right on the carpet of the room where it will be used. Fantastic stuff!

I also did my Tabachek pierogi paddles while I was waiting for it to sink into the tables - Wood Beams is safe for food utensils and prep surfaces.

Wood Beams, a/k/a Mrs. Bindle's Spindle Balm, brought out the graining of the wood and it looks glossy and lovely now. I'm not a big fan of wood finished in a way that isn't natural, so I really like what the it did for the new tables. They are now protected from doggie drool and are moisturized so they won't warp. I expect them to darken naturally with exposure to the air and light.

And here they are! Finally, a "grown-up" living room! A hard day's work, but it feels good.

Fiona on sofa with new tables.

Fi again; the lamp is new, too.

Tori inspects a new end table.

I also broke down and got the lamps you see - a great deal at Target. They are wood, which keeps this northern room feeling warm and cozy, and if the dogs knock them over (they like to walk across the low shelf in the bay window behind the sofa), they will not break.

Yes, those are Green Bay Packers vinyl clings on my window - they prevent bird crashes and keep Jeff inspired for the games!

Aside from being grateful for finding the new, inexpensive tables and lamps, and learning to use a ratchet, I am grateful for credit cards!

My Fibery World...

I did it. The little voice of reason spoke, and I ripped out the Meilenweit (color 617) Halloween Socks.

But not before I used them to swatch some new ideas (something I never do - I hate swatching in sock knitting!)

"A" is what happens if I do the following:

    Every row, *K4, K2tog, K4, K2 into next stitch*, repeat from * to * around. This might be neat to make some kind of "false entrelac" if you switched the direction of the decreases and increases after a few rounds.

"B" is what happens if I do:

    Modified feather and fan/old shale stitch in threes. Round 1: *K2tog 3x; K2 in next stitch 3x**, repeat around. Round 2 and 3, knit plain. Repeat. It is really bunchy. It might look neater if I did the YOs the real feather and fan/old shale stitch called for.

"C" is what happens with:

    On the second full round of an individual color... Round 1: *K2, K2tog, K2, K2 in next st.*, repeat around. Then knit plain rounds until you're on on the second full round of the next color band.

I wanted to make little "waves" in the stripes, but without making weird dashes of color by using purls. I had to keep futzing with this last version until it came out right for the 60 stitches I'm doing in a round - that means I *K7, K2tog, K7, K2 in next st.* and repeat around. The "waves" or "ripples" are still noticeable while the increases and decreases are not as visible as they are in example "C" above.

This took me two days to figure out! I do not think well in terms of math or geometry, apparently!

Thanks to Amy Mielke whose Old Shale Mohair Scarf pattern helped me to figure out how to make little waves in the self-striping yarn. I couldn't have figured it out on my own! So I'm doing version "C" but in multiples of 7 stitches now and hope to have something to show you soon.

Changing My Mind On Twisted Rib In Stripes...

Previously, I'd mentioned that with the twisted rib stripe running up the center of the instep (which you can sort of see in the lower portion of the photo above), I'd wished I'd put purl stitches before and after to set it off.

In retrospect, I would not do this, as the purl stitches would make little dashes of color in the striped bands. This is also the reason I chose not to do these socks in ribbing, even though I would have preferred that construction. Live and learn...

Now I am off to enjoy my new knitting room! You have a wonderful weekend!

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Thursday, September 26, 2002

To Quote...

    "Great oaks from little acorns grow."
    "Fables", Jean de la Fontaine ("Aesop"), 1621-1695

But also remember this parable, by the same author:

    The Oak and the Reed

    The Oak spoke one day to the Reed
    "You have good reason to complain;
    A Wren for you is a load indeed;
    The smallest wind bends you in twain.
    You are forced to bend your head;
    While my crown faces the plains
    And not content to block the sun
    Braves the efforts of the rains.
    What for you is a North Wind is for me but a zephyr.
    Were you to grow within my shade
    Which covers the whole neighbourhood
    You'd have no reason to be afraid
    For I would keep you from the storm.
    Instead you usually grow
    In places humid, where the winds doth blow.
    Nature to thee hath been unkind."
    "Your compassion", replied the Reed
    "Shows a noble character indeed;
    But do not worry: the winds for me
    Are much less dangerous than for thee;
    I bend, not break. You have 'til now
    Resisted their great force unbowed,
    But beware."
    As he said these very words
    A violent angry storm arose.
    The tree held strong; the Reed he bent.
    The wind redoubled and did not relent,
    Until finally it uprooted the poor Oak
    Whose head had been in the heavens
    And roots among the dead folk.

And finally...

    The Acorn and the Pumpkin

    What God does he does well. Proof comes straightway to mind.
    Without our having to search through creation:
    In pumpkins it�s right there to find.
    A Countryman, in contemplation
    Of this plant, with stem so tiny on such bulky fruit,
    Said, "What thought could the Maker of all this have had?
    He�s put this pumpkin in a place that�s oh so bad!
    I�d have hung it, it�s more astute,
    From one of these oaks here, begad!
    It would have been the proper way:
    Like fruit, like tree is what I always say.
    It�s too bad, Garo, that you did not participate.
    In plans of Him preached about by your curate.
    All would have been better off: for example, why not serve
    The Acorn, which is smaller than my little finger, by a lot,
    By hanging it down in this spot?
    God was mistaken: the more I do observe
    Such fruits placed thus, the more to Garo it�s clear:
    Things have been mixed up right here."
    These thoughts were quite a burden for our chap.
    "One�s kept awake," he said, "by such a brilliant mind, I know."
    Under an oak he settled down at once to take a little nap.
    An Acorn fell; the sleeper�s nose stung from the blow
    And he woke up. Lifting his hand to his face at this boon,
    He found the Acorn, still trapped in the hair on his chin.
    The bruise on his nose obliged him to change his tune.
    "Oh, oh, I�m bleeding!" he said. "And what a mess I�d be in
    If what has dropped from this tree had had a heavier mass,
    And this Acorn had been of the pumpkin class!
    God didn�t will it so. No doubt at all, He�s not a dunce;
    The reason why I�ve fully figured out."
    Praising God for all things about,
    Garo rushed back home at once.

Ceramic whorl support spindle and lap bowl from Woodland Woolworks.
Fiber is cashmere from Rovings.

Animal Breed Zip Code

Wednesday, September 25, 2002

Thankful for...

Sandwiches cut in triangles. They taste better that way.

A growth which appeared on Valentine's gum isn't anything to worry about, according to his doctor.

The trees in the tiny orchard we planted have yielded their first apples. One may even be edible!

Today In My Fibery World...

Today I took Fiona and Valentine (dogs) to the vet. Tomorrow I will take Dill and Abby (cats). I am not strong enough to take them all at once, nor to do much else on vet appointment weeks. The cleaning day I wrote about a few days back took a lot out of me, too... that's more cleaning than I typically can get done in three weeks!

So I'm trying not to push myself in other areas of my life, and instead have been resting up a bit and thinking about where I'm going with my works in progress:

  • I un-did the neck of the gray cable "Welcome Back, Old Friend" sweater a second time. I decided that if this was to be the sweater of a lifetime (it will probably be the last one I'll be able to knit), I wanted to be able to wear it without regretting not taking the time to correct something that bothered me. It will only take a few days to fix it up, and I'll have the sweater for the rest of my life, so... why not?

    The neck was bugging me because it was too wide. So I decided to do the back section in a K1, p1 rib to tighten it up a bit, while still allowing it to be stretchy enough to fit over my head.

    I knew there was a reason I wasn't going ahead with the seaming - it was this nagging feeling of not being satisfied with the neck that was preventing me. I'm glad I'm re-doing it now. It pays to listen to that little voice inside!

  • I turned both heels of both Meilenweit "Halloween" socks. (They are color number 617, for those who have asked!) They are light purple, dark purple, orange, and khaki colored.

    I did a twisted rib up the center of the top of the socks, just for interest. I goofed in that I did not offset this patterning with a couple of purl stitches before and after it, but I'm not re-doing these as I'm already past the heels. A couple of washings and they'll fluff up and it'll just look like a vertical stripe. The little voice is silent on this one, thank goodness.

  • I finally plied the qiviut, bison, and Navajo-Churro wool for Jeff's "North American Hunting Socks" (North American animal fiber, North Amerian hunter.) As I mentioned before, he will not hunt this year so they're not necessary, but I still would just like to get them out of the way.

    I have left this yarn on nosties and on a bobbin for months and months. It was difficult to ply because of that.

    Also, I think my cat had used the yarn on the bobbin for dental floss - it wasn't pulled off the bobbin, but there were a couple of areas where strands kept running out in short sections - I think he gnawed through a section, as I kept getting these annoying three-foot long segments that would just end as I was plying, causing me to make a big tangled mess out of the other singles as I set them down to find another loose end on the bobbin.

    I learned my lesson about leaving projects sit for a long period of time, and hope to stick more closely to a "one project at a time" rule from now on. I see that I'm currently working on four things, but hopefully two will be complete rather soon.

    I ran out of Navajo-Churro singles so it looks like I will have to spin more (on my Ashford Traveller with lace flyer at the 40:1 ratio). I dislike the fiber, which I processed myself; it is very kempy and short-stapled, it spins a very woolen-type yarn with big bumps, and it completely covers up the beautiful, soft bison and qiviut plies. But it's what Jeff wanted - traditional, North American animal fiber. I'm lucky he didn't decide to have me spin muskrat fur!

    Hopefully I will have enough plied yarn to complete the socks after spinning just a bobbin-full more of the NC wool singles and then plying that with the qiviut and bison I have left. It is a lot of very fine, very bland yarn to have to spin, and it isn't particularly fun as I have to concentrate on the downy fibers more than if I were spinning some kind of prepared blend.

    If I had it to do over, I surely would card all three of these fibers together at one time. I think I didn't do it that way as I wasn't sure how much I'd need, and I didn't want to waste the bison and qiviut. It still feels like a waste to use it with this Navajo-Churro.

    Anyway, the resulting three-ply yarn has sort of a dark brown and gray ragg-type look, is fairly soft but still quite strong, and will of course be incredibly warm.

  • I am hooked on support spindling now and have another porcupine spindle (this time with a white ceramic whorl instead of a black one), and a new wooden-shafted support spindle with a green and cream spiral on the ceramic whorl. It looks "spiral-y" when it spins, too, and is really neat. They are all by the same maker, whom I've tried to contact to see if they make anything else!

    I have been support-spindling spinning cashmere that I've been hoarding for a year or so... why wait any longer? I mean, I don't have a project in mind for it (maybe a lace scarf?) but it is too nice not to use with these fun little spindles. Although the process is very slow, it is a lot of fun and the resulting yarn is very fine and soft. I hope it will hold together when I ply it. The cashmere is from Rovings in Canada.

    I am now able to either spin a bunch and then "use up my twist" by holding the spindle still as I draft, or, occasionally, to draft at the same time the spindle is spinning - but this causes the spindle to lose its momentum much more quickly so I don't do that often. It also makes a poofier yarn, not a smooth one like the stop-and-draft method.

  • I am considering getting wood bits to make a little stand to ply the cops from my support spindles, and also to get supplies to make a cone holder for my weaving yarns. I am getting interested in weaving again, now that the weather is cooling down and the sun is setting earlier... makes evenings in my wool room more attractive when there aren't long evenings to sit outside...

So I guess what I'm doing is just sort of hoarding away my fibery thoughts like acorns, to see me through the coming cold months. We have had frost on the ground here in Wisconsin already. Local farmers now have their pumpkins for sale. And last night, we had a harvest dinner of a roast organic chicken, fresh soybeans, and squash with maple syrup. Yum! And I cooked it all myself! Wow!

Fall is definitely in the air. I hope you are storing up your acorns of hopes and dreams for the coming months, too!

Animal Breed Zip Code

Tuesday, September 24, 2002

A Special Day

Today I have something really special to be grateful for.

Once upon a time there was a little angel flying around in the sky, looking to make the world a better place. She saw two people below, and she sprinkled some angel dust to put a twinkle in their eyes and make them fall in love.

Not long after, a very special baby was born.

This baby grew up to be a beautiful woman, whose heart contained the angel dust that had been sprinkled on her parents.

She makes the world a better place, with everything she does, every day, spreading that angel dust to everyone she meets.

She is kind, warmhearted, unbelievably generous, creative, inspiring, talented, funny, caring, and gorgeous. She is the creator of the world-famous Klaudette The Knotty Sheep, the Head Elf of the Spindlers Yahoo! Group, and the creator of the Spindlers Fiber Fairies team. She does more, for so many people, than is imaginable, and she amazes me all the time.

She is my dear friend, Kary, and today is her birthday, and I am so grateful that the angel sprinkled dust on those two people, so that Kary would end up being born one day in September.

Today I honor her and her birthday!

Happy Birthday, Kary!

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Sunday, September 22, 2002

Surprise Packages

Today I am grateful for a box o'surprises I received yesterday!

Linda Diak of Grafton Fibers sent me a box of wonderful fibers and a fantastic Tulipwood Tom'N'Linda spindle from her and Tom, and a gorgeous Ziricote Swan spindle from our friend Theresa, for my birthday!

I'm in fiber heaven today!

Tulipwood Tom'N'Linda, Ziricote Swan, on wool/mohair shawl with glass beads from Tall Grass Mohair Farm

Today I'm also grateful that after taking good care of myself this week, I finally had enough energy to clean the bathroom, do the dishes, throw in a load of laundry, and even work on some new spindles!

On top of that, Jeff took me to Panera for lunch and coffee and I got in a little knitting time on the Meilenweit Halloween socks.

And besides that, it is a crisp, sunny, blue-skies over pumpkin farms fall day!

It doesn't get any better than this! (Unless I brave sewing up that gray cable sweater...) Hope yours is just as grand!

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Welcome To Stasia's Blog

Stasia is a knitter, spinner, weaver, writer, reader, and musician from Wisconsin, USA.

Join her here as she journals about beauty in nature, the joys of fibery pursuits, special people and pets, and great places to shop. It's her hope you'll leave spiritually inspired and creatively motivated. Thanks for visiting!

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