Stasia's Place Of Grace

     

Saturday, March 08, 2003

 
Grateful For...

  • My friend Kathy sending me a set of Cherry Hatchtown Russian support spindles that she picked up for me at the Portland Spa Day fiber retreat... what an incredibly generous gift!

    Last night I spun my first yarn on them - purple silk. It's shown here with a Hyacinth bulb that I've forced (that funny looking thing behind it is a little greenhouse in which I'm trying to sprout cotton seeds!) I rarely succeed at seed-sprouting, but I always get the urge to try it at this time of year.

    At least forcing bulbs is easy, and it brightens up these last, dark days of winter as it drags on and on and on...

  • Snow boots. We've made up, in the last two weeks, for not having had any snow all winter. I am grateful for having super-warm Lands' End snow boots (with easy Velcro closures) for taking my dogs out. It's the little things, you know... a little bit of comfort goes a long way. You could go out barefoot in these and not get cold!

  • Not being old or in a nursing home. The other morning I woke up and realized I had the use of my body and my eyes and my mind, and I could pretty much do anything, or go anywhere, I wanted. It's good to be thankful for the things we have when we have them rather than remembering them wistfully later on in life.

  • Seeing deer runs. Here in Wisconsin, when there is snow on the ground, you can see deer runs (trails) in the farm fields and woods as you drive past them on the highway. Normally hidden, these narrow trails through the trees become visible as white paths as soon as a little snow has fallen. It amazes me how much wildlife activity goes on without us humans ever noticing it. Imagine these little trails being used so often that nothing grows on them!

    We just received a book titled Winter World: The Ingenuity of Animal Survival, in which author "...discusses the survival strategies-such as hibernation and nest building-of mammals, birds and reptiles." Should be interesting!

  • Not being Martha Stewart. I remember once reading in an ad for her magazine something about learning the best way to fold fitted sheets. Why do people have to create problems like that, where a problem doesn't really exist? Does it really matter how you fold your fitted sheets?

    I refuse to get caught up in being worried about the unnecessary - the "fake life" of magazines which only exist in order to sell advertising space. I roll my sheets up in semi-neat balls and stuff them in my overflowing linen closet, and then I go create something fun. Life's just too short to worry about your sheets. Mine are clean. That's what matters.


Something I've Noticed

As I work on enhancing my creativity through the use of motivational cards, recordings, and books (see previous entry), I find that I am much less drawn to reading fiction or watching movies. I therefore have much more time in which to be creativly productive. It seems to be a regenerating, self-fulfilling circle of creativity - once you start expressing yours, you have less of a need to be stimulated by others'.

This is not to say that I will not go to art museums and galleries, or see really good movies or concerts... but rather that I can filter out those that are merely entertaining and not substantive, because I'm providing my own entertainment and creative release.

I also find I am much more calm without the overstimulation of various media.


Current Projects

  • Treenway Silks scarf kit still on the Ashford table loom. Six inches to go to finish the first one on the warp.

  • Rambling Rows afghan and Sockatta socks still on the needles. Am only getting to knit at my Wednesday Knit Nights lately.

  • I've been spinning up brown cotton on a support spindle. I recently was able to try Aubrey's charkha, and ended up purchasing one for myself, though it hasn't arrived yet.

    I have tested out weaving direclty from a charkha spindle using a Bluster Bay damask shuttle available exclusively at New World Textiles. Eileen is incredibly helpful and offers fantastic customer service and great cotton fibers. She has a view toward environmentally-sound practices, and I'd encourage anyone interested in spinning cotton to get in touch with her. (See the "Solar Flare" cotton roving and her spin-to-weave kits! They're awesome!)

    When I sent the charkha on to another friend of Aubrey's (hi Amy!), I had to put all of my cotton singles samples onto weaving bobbins, so I've a few of those ready for some weaving experimentation.

    I recently ordered some 10/2 and 20/2 cotton warp for impromptu weaving projects, and I hope to eventually weave enough fabric from handspun cotton weft to make some kind of garment.

  • I ordered some cottons and cottolin from Halcyon Yarns to make some kitchen towels and table runners, and possibly some spring scarves. Have a good supply on hand now for practice projects, to really get myself comfortable with the weaving process. Also have some wool from Treetops Colour Harmonies in Australia on the way, to blend with some of their handpainted tussah silk I've had in my stash for quite some time. Am determined to finally make something with it, and the wool will help "extend" the expensive silk.

  • We purchased a drill press and a scrollsaw (both very much on sale!) so that I can more easily make my wooden tools (inkle shuttles, weaving sett gauges, lucets, and possibly some dizzes.) I hope to have them ready for sale at the Grafton Fibers Spin-In later this month!

    I assembled the drill press and a support table myself (it was hard, but it felt good to do it without help), and now I just have to get the scrollsaw up and running. I was hoping to work down in the "shop" today, but Jeff has the flu so I'm playing nurse instead. But I have my wood, I have all the tools I could ever need, and I'm all set to go as soon as he's better.

  • Practiced making a lucet cord with beads. The thread is a very fine, cream perle cotton.

  • Continue to spin bison down for Jeff's socks, and mohair/wool/silk in fall colors for a tapestry. Am un-spinning some yarn I made from my deceased Sheltie's wool. It was very poor yarn, as I was a new spinner when I made it. I would like to combine it with wool to make the "Dog's Paw" shawl featured in a past issue of Spin-Off.

    Un-spinning Navajo-plied yarn is quite difficult; I now have some 2-ply to undo. Of course, when you're un-spinning it, you have to be very careful that it doesn't fall apart before you wind on. Annoying. Using the Ashford Scholar which is working very well.

  • Made several bookmarks and keychains on the inkle looms, which I enjoyed. Attempted some work on small tapestry looms, which I did not enjoy. Now have some reference books to peruse (along with woodworking books from the library) so hopefully I'll improve.

  • Finished a custom spindle, and have two of my limited editions almost finished. Hope to do a few more, and to send them to Grafton Fibers after the Spin-In.

  • Sold, traded, and gave away all the spindles I don't use regularly. Sorted all the others and hung them from hooks in the wool room ceiling, so that the shafts won't get warped. That created some extra table space. Felt good.


Funny

When I was little, I collected the full-size Breyer model horses. A couple of years ago, I gave them all away to someone online, because some were damaged, and I had no room to display the others.

Ever since Christmastime, I've been looking at some of the tiny Breyer Stablemates in a local shop. I kept taking them off their hooks, and then putting them back, every time I was in the store. Well, this week, they were all on sale, and I couldn't resist them any longer. I had two Stablemates left from my earlier collection, and all the little horses are now set up in a little barn:

I know it's silly, but they bring back such nice memories (I used to love playing with my horse collection!) and I think they're cute. The only thing that worries me is that I've started perusing eBay for discontinued ones that I've missed... ;-)

Do you know that people actually show these little model horses? (Makes splurging on fiber not sound so strange, doesn't it?) And that the person I gave my old ones to was most likely able to repair many of the damaged ones and perhaps sell them at exhorbitant prices? Only in America would adults be so into little plastic models! We are perpetual children, aren't we? But, then, maintaining a childlike outlook is supposed to keep us healthy and young...

I don't care if it's foolish - the child in me really wanted these, and I'm a firm believer that if you want to buy something for longer than a month, you are supposed to have it in your life. There is a reason. For me, the reason is that these just bring me joy.


To Quote...

    "To be content with small means,
    to seek elegance rather than luxury,
    and refinement rather than fashion,
    to be worthy, not respectable, and wealthy, not rich,
    to study hard, think quietly, talk gently, act frankly,
    to listen to stars and birds, to babies and sages with open heart,
    to bear all cheerfully, do all bravely, await occasions, hurry never.
    In a word, to let the spiritual, unbidden and unconscious, grow up through the common, this is to be my symphony."

      ~ W. H. Channing


Praying For Peace

Although I support our President and our military forces, that doesn't mean that I don't wish for, hope for, and pray for world peace. I have taken to doing it at night, while I spin cotton. While I do it I think of Mahatma ("Great Soul") Gandhi and of his hopes for peace.

I also pray to The Creator for the care of my friends and family, and for creative guidance.

Please take a little time each day and join me in offering positive thoughts and prayers for peace (you can spin along too if you like!) There's too much talk going on about what's right and what's wrong... let's just create some good energy and send it on out into the universe, shall we?

As always, I wish you creativity, joy, and peace!


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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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A Few Of My Favorite Things... Hugs For Homeles...
Finished Objects I made some keychains from bands...
Little Looms You haven't heard much from me recen...
So Much! I have so much to be thankful for today....
Something Neat Click To Go To Southwest Indian Fo...
A Silly Mistake What's wrong with this picture? ...
What I've Been Up To... I actually got some thing...
KnitPicks has a free pattern for a hot water bottl...
Catherine Wingate's great essay on sock heel optio...
About The Socks... I've had several requests for ...

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