Stasia's Place Of Grace


Thursday, October 17, 2002


I mentioned the Cottage Creations Rambling Rows patterns I'd gotten. It's really hard to tell from the illustrations on the patterns what the items will look like when finished. Here are a couple of photos which inspired me to order the patterns:

Rambling Rows Jacket photo from Joslyn's Fiber Farm.

Rambling Rows Afghan created by Darilyn Page of Maui, HI.

Theresa and Kary turned me on to this. If you visit this site and click a button, they'll make donations to provide food for animals. The advertisers on the page support it. It's free to you: Click To Feed Animals

I hope to stop by and click every day.

They also have a shop with nifty things. Good place to do some holiday shopping, as a percentage of your purchase prices are donated! Shop to Benefit Animal Rescue Site

Another online place which donates percentages of purchases to your favorite charity is I always go through them when shopping at Amazon, and for no additional costs, 15% of my purchase price is donated to our local humane society!

Jeff asked me to help him practice some music last night. He has to demonstrate it to the sales staff of his office on Monday. What a fun job, huh? Anyway, if you have QuickTime and would like to hear us practicing, please click below:

Hear us play.

I am playing a Kung Classica recorder of Bubinga wood, and Jeff is playing his turn-of-the-century, Eastern European cello. He's reffing hockey now so I can't ask him what kind of wood that's made of.

We're pretty bad (and we know it), but we had a fun time. That's what counts!

I finished some things today!

Here is the rainbow ruana:

Rainbow Ruana Front

Rainbow Ruana Back, Dill Kitty

I think it needs some kind of knit-on, short-rowed to form a shawl, collar - what do you think? Any suggestions on a collar, or how to go about doing it? Please type them in the TAG box to the right, or e-mail me!

Here are my finished BIG slipper socks for The Ships Project:

Really Big He-Man Socks

Jeff can get them on comfortably and he is a size 12 double wide. Hopefully there will be a six-foot, five-inch guy with big feet on one of the ships...

I just used my no-gauge pattern for socks in any size: Stasia's Free Sock Pattern

I saw a couple of cute things in the catalog, which you crafty folk could make as holiday gifts!

The first is this kind of sleeve with two ends, that is used as a handwarming muff. It has a little zippered pocket for goodies on the outside and a string to hang it around your neck.

The second thing is a Christmas stocking - only it is a sweater! I thought that was cute, and a neat way to work on a multi-color or textured pattern without a huge sweater commitment.

So, where am I at today? I felt horrible - no energy. But I forced myself to do my exercises because I know I will feel better tomorrow. I felt better for doing that.

I put on my rain jacket and warm boots and walked the dogs around the yard - one time each, except for Fiona who didn't want to brave the damp. I enjoyed seeing how the rain made the colors of the fallen leaves, and the textures of the dead flowers, more intense. I felt better for doing that.

I didn't want to, but I hand-seamed my ruana together, and then I machine-hemmed all the edges. It wasn't as bad as I thought it'd be. I felt better for doing that.

All I had to do for the socks was just tie off the yarn and weave in the ends. They're now in the laundry, waiting to be washed (no fabric softener, as the coordinator of the project is allergic. Hi, Ellen!) I felt better for doing that.

I scheduled the installation of our water softener, to replace the one that rusted out last year. The man came to do the estimate yesterday, and he was so nice. He showed me photos of the log cabin up north that he had built himself. We talked and talked about honebees, the deer population in Wisconsin, living like the old timers did... a very nice fellow. I would have bought the softener from him even if it wasn't cheaper than other estimates we'd gotten - but it was, and the warranty is better, and they're a reputable company, so I went ahead and set it up. I felt better for doing that... especially as Jeff just got a bonus that'll cover it! Woo hoo, Jeff! Thank goodness! Remember what I said about always having what you really need? Just in time...

I updated my Blog so I could say hi to you. I felt better for doing that.

You have a good weekend! I'm going to try to knit a hat starting with a curly i-cord, if I can remember how to do it... I need a mindless project after making myself do so many dutiful things today!

Animal Breed Zip Code

Wednesday, October 16, 2002

Lots Today

I have so many things to be happy about today!

My friend Kary is so talented. Look at this photo of her latest spinning/knitting tote bag, now up for auction at e-Bay:

Aren't they cute? The fiber critters are all dressed up for Halloween. Nellie the Angora goat looks like Zorro! And this is the only edition of this bag.

I am grateful to have such a talented and inspired/inspiring friend!

This is my John Berglund vase, a gift from his wife, Karen. It is carved from a wood burl and I adore it. It is such a lovely, organic piece of art.

John also makes gorgeous bowls, and fun little spinning tops. While those of us who spin fiber know of the health benefits of spindling, I think that people who don't spin fiber might learn that spinning a little top would be relaxing, fun, and meditative.

I plan on getting some of the spinning tops with their dishes, and some of the vases, as holiday gifts for my family. Check out the Berglunds' website and your holiday shopping may go easier, too!

Here is my progress on my socks for The Ships Project. I'm just waiting to hear from them exactly what they mean when they say "it must have a cuff." I don't know if that means a foldover cuff, or just a ribbed cuff.

I think these will fit a rather huge military man! They are about 11.5" long, unstretched.

These are the roses from my climbing "Peace" rosebush which we clipped before the frost the other night. They are opening! Aren't they lovely? These are the first roses that bush has ever produced. Hopefully next year it'll choose to bloom a bit earlier than mid-October!

You all know I'm not the world's greatest gardener. My theory on roses is, stick it in the ground, let it go. The only thing I did this year was tie this one's vines to the garage wall. I have one other rose (besides our native, hardy roses) - a Jackson and Perkins - which I have planted in the shade and with a northern exposure, and which actually does all right every year! I wish I could remember the name of it... some man named it for his wife, and it looks just like a "Peace" rose, except perhaps a bit more cream than yellow. If I remember, I'll tell you what it is, because if it can survive my black thumb, you know it's hardy!

Today as I was out in the field with Chester, a V of Canada geese flew overhead, the leader honking occasionally to keep his followers in line. They barely skimmed the treetops, and flew directly over my head - so close that I could hear the actual whistling of their feathers in the air and see their webbed, black feet tucked into their tummies. Chester and I just stood silently and stared up above us as they passed. (Sometimes even the Wild Dog Of Borneo can have a reflective moment!)

Suddenly, the flying geese all began honking, and those honks were echoed by choruses of other hidden geese, floating in the pond at the horse farm behind us. They called to their passing friends, who did indeed float down to join the congregation. Have you ever seen how a goose "parachutes" down to land? It is really neat to watch!

I truly love fall out here in the country. I miss working, and I miss being in good health, but oh, what I would miss in Nature if my life wasn't as slowed-down as it is now!

Speaking of migrating birds, we sponsor Whooping Cranes which are raised at the Necedah Wildlife Refuge here in Wisconsin. As I write, they are being led by a human in an ultralight aircraft on their first migration down to Florida! It is very exciting and we get updates on all the TV news programs around here. To follow their progress, click here!

We were invited to attend their first test-flight, but as it is located three hours away from us, the event took place at 6 a.m., and it was a work day for Jeff, we opted out of the opportunity this year. Maybe next time! The people all have to wear crane suits when they interact with the baby birds - it's pretty humorous!

We watched PBS again tonight. The Siberian Ice Maiden episode of NOVA was re-run. I was fascinated by it all over again, and learned that the anthropologists determined that the silk in her gown was Tussah (wild) and not Bombyx (cultivated) - which led the scientists to new theories about the migration routes of her nomadic tribe, linking them to India rather than China. Just think, a whole new theory about trade routes, just from looking at some spun and woven fibers under a microscope! Amazing!

See how important fibers and textiles are to history? When people ask why you knit or spin, tell them it is to preserve our culture for the future, too!

On another happy note, Crystal Palace, the distributor for Ashford products, notified me that my held-up loom addition should be here in about three weeks... long enough for me to finish up my current projects and get ready to weave something with an eight-shaft pattern (maybe!) Good news.

So many wonderful, beautiful and interesting things today! I hope your day was as blessed!

Animal Breed Zip Code

Tuesday, October 15, 2002

Today's Gratitude

Today I am grateful that...

  • Kary inspired me to stop being so fiberarts-selfish,and I cast on some worsted-weight acrylic slipper socks for The Ships Project. They are going quickly at about 5 sts./in. on size 3 needles. I turned one heel tonight and hope to have a photo for you tomorrow.

    I learned from their website that all slippers or socks need to have cuffs because of military regulations... there are other guidelines there as well, and if you join the news-only Yahoo! Group, there are links to patterns and photos and other info, too.

    Jeff and I were speaking recently about how Freedom is not free, but comes at a cost, and how thankful we are that some members of our society are willing to pay that price. No matter what we believe politically, I think it is still important to let the members of the military - those willing to fight for our Freedoms - know that we appreciate their dedication. So I knit away...

  • I figured out how to "subscribe" to my pals' Blogs, using the Internet Explorer browser, so that I'll be notified automatically when their pages have been updated, and I don't have to check every single one manually each day!

  • Scientific American Frontiers was on tonight, and it was about how the hemispheres of the brain work. (There's an interactive tour of the human brain at the site.) I love PBS and am really grateful for it, especially since we don't have cable! I will have to send them a donation, now that I think of it...

  • The heater man has come and gone, the heater filter is changed, and the humidifier is (hopefully) fixed. I dislike waiting for servicemen to come to the house - I get all antsy, wondering what time I should put the dogs in the bedroom, whether the house smells too "doggy", wondering if I should vacuum, wondering if I have time to go to the Post Office or use the bathroom. You'd think the Queen Mother was coming for a visit. I am hopelessly shy and get nervous, that's the real problem... but all was fine.

  • Jeff has the virus I had. I'm not thankful for that, but I am thankful that it didn't happen last week, when he had a hockey referee certification test, and that it will be over in time for his next sales trip to Canada. Sometimes I'm amazed at how Providence makes the bad events in our lives better than they could have been... there's always enough sick time for Jeff to take when I have an accident, or enough money if something breaks in a car or in the house. Things could be a LOT worse! If Jeff had to get the virus, this is the best time for him to get it - and he's recovering quickly thanks to copious amounts of tea and FruitWater, my Artful Afghan keeping him warm (it made it into the latest Lion Brand Yarn catalog again - yay!), and a positive attitude.

  • I am grateful that I ordered the extra four shafts for my Ashford Table Loom, but not grateful that the kit is being held up in California by the shipping problems! Well, it will give me some time to plan some eight-shaft weavings, right? And time to finish my works in progress: Gray cable sweater yet to be seamed, Rainbow Ruana to be assembled, Jeff's hunting socks yarn spinning to be finished, and these Ships Project slipper/socks. Maybe by the time it arrives, I'll have made some more progress!

  • My Cottage Creations patterns came today from I See Spots Farm (no affiliation, great service). I'm looking forward to doing the Rambling Rows afghan and using up a pile of stash. I intend to do it in "crazy quilt" format with nothing matching.

I hope you have something to be grateful for today!

Animal Breed Zip Code

Sunday, October 13, 2002

Finished Objects

I finished the scarf for my sister, which Valentine cheerfully modeled:

It was made of one skein of Red Heart Super Saver Multicolor acrylic yarn in #0315 Artist Print. I cast on 50 stitches and worked in a K2, P2 ribbing until I ran out of yarn, on size 10 needles at a gauge of about 5 sts. per inch in pattern. It is about 10" wide, and maybe 50-60" long (it's wrapped once completely around Val's neck.)

It was an extremely relaxing and meditative project and went very quickly. If you try it, do a swatch with needles a little larger than what I use, as I knit really loosely and always have to go down a couple of sizes to get things to gauge. (As this was just made-up, I didn't pay attention to a gauge.)

I took the Rainbow Ruana fabric off of the loom, and machine stitched the ends and the center (where I will be cutting it in half for assembly):

It is about 124" long, and 24" wide, and is made of the same yarn mentioned above. Yes, I am a handspinner, and yes, I like high-quality commercial yarns, but this colorway was just too fun to resist.

I learned that my loom waste is actually about 40" rather than the 24" I'd calculated for... oops! What with hemming and all, this is going to be a short ruana - and it was already running short in the initial measurements. But at least I'm learning a lot... I made the modifications to my loom after removing the fabric, and I hope to throw another warp on there within the week (before I forget, again, how to do it!)

The Packers won again today, and thought I'm not a big football fan, I watched part of the game knowing Kary was watching, too.

I ordered the new Ashford book on rigid heddle weaving, along with some weaving supplies for future projects. It's much less intimidating - weaving, that is - now that I've completed my fourth project.

It is 29 degrees F outside now, so rather than letting them freeze, Jeff and I cut off the four rosebuds which haven't yet opened and brought them inside to see if they will.

It was a nice, mostly lazy Sunday, and very restful. Hope yours was, too!

Animal Breed Zip Code

Today I am grateful that over the past few days, I've had the mental and physical dexterity to do the things I wanted.

Last evening, I was able to hold a knife to carve my pumpkin. He was getting mushy, so I thought I'd better hurry things up a bit. Here he is:

Jacky Lantern, approx. 4" tall; note the eyebrows!

I got the funky tablecloth at Wal-Mart for $2.50. I have never seen a ukulele-playing ghost before (let alone a doggie ghost) and, as we both play the ukulele, I had to pick it up. It is utterly obnoxious and a lot of fun.

I was able to work quickly yesterday and today, my hands and brain operating in tandem, and was able to finish the weaving of the Rainbow Ruana!

I also had the mental dexterity to learn a couple of new things about my loom's setup, which should help me with future projects. As soon as I cut this project off, I'll make some adjustments which I think will make my next item go more smoothly.

I really like my loom a lot (it is a four-shaft Ashford table model, with a stand and floor treadles added. I also have an Ashford rigid heddle loom.) But there are a couple of things that would now affect my decision in purchasing my next loom.

I'm grateful to have this loom, and I think it's great for what it is (you can fold it up and put it in a suitcase!) but now that I've worked on it and learned more about weaving, I know that I would like:

  • a loom on which you can advance your weaving while seated (instead of having to stand up to do it after weaving five inches or so), and
  • one that does not have direct tie-up (so that I can do more complicated patterns with an easier treadling repeat), and
  • one that has a removeable breast beam and beater for threading.

So I'm grateful for experience and the mental clarity that comes with it... and that Ashford makes a jack floor loom with these options, to which I can aspire in the future! (Wish I'd gotten it last year, before the price increases! Argh!)

I did not have the mental dexterity to figure out whether I could do the Log Cabin pattern on my rigid heddle loom, but the lovely Linda tells me I can.

I also had the dexterity to continue the dangerous (for me) act of wielding a knife, and I made a wonderful Hungarian goulash with an all-natural, free-range beef roast that had to be cut up. Jeff had a busy day of hockey seminars and then had to rush to the symphony tonight, so he was grateful for the filling fall dinner. Normally, I don't mess with a) sharp knives or b) wine glasses, but I did ok with the Ginsu and the roast, with no mishaps.

Sometimes the mind and body come together and work as one and everything happens as if filled with grace. It is only when things become hard for us that we long for them to be easy... when things go as planned, we sometimes forget to be grateful for the use of our brains and bodies. We don't miss the sunny days until the rain starts to fall.

It reminds me of the shoulder injury I had from my cycle accident. For months, it was all I could feel, and I wished that it would just go away. Then, many months later, one day I noticed the pain... and realized that was the first time I'd felt it in days. When it left, I didn't notice... I only focused on it while it was still there, and didn't even have the chance to be grateful that it had gone!

Well, I'm grateful that it (mostly) has, and grateful for days that my brain and body agree to work together, and I'm able to accomplish good things - like pumpkin carving, weaving, and making a nice dinner!

Today, I hope you'll notice something you take for granted... the absence of pain, ease of movement or thought, good health, or peace of mind! And I hope you have them all! Be well!

Animal Breed Zip Code

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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