Archive for January, 2009

must have instant gratification!

January 30, 2009

So, I decided yesterday when we were out sledding (I only went down the hill one time, but the kids were having a ball) that I wanted a new hat.  A cabled hat like I made for my MIL.  Jenny had one that she made on her blog recently, too.

But, I only had the leftover bulky yarn in black and I wanted cream.  So, I spun up some fat singles (superwash from The Sheep Shed Studio) and navajo-plied it (that left a bit to be desired, as I was out of practice and got all tangled up in the plies and over-twisted it, but I just kept going) and started knitting the hat.

I am using the Chunky Cabled Button Toque pattern from Make 1 Yarn studio that I found on Ravelry.  It is about half done.  We have a 1 pm date for more sledding, so hopefully I can get it finished in time.

They have other free patterns, too


Cinquain & cowl on another snow day

January 29, 2009

The kids are on their FOURTH snow day in a row.  Ugh.  And I’ve been spending WAY too much time on Facebook.  Crazy time suck, there.

I also have been spinning–finished a skein of hazelnut superwash, some Coopworth–some of the Coopworth I dyed blues.  I will try to get a photo later–it is still damp.  I finished the optim cowl!


I wrote up the pattern for the cowl.

Here is my cinquain that I wrote when trying to get the kids to do something creative during snow day #3:

sheep wool
soft, warm and clean
spinning, drafting, winding
creative color and texture
new yarn

Michael Pollan and Mark Bittman

January 22, 2009

Two cool writers who talk about food and health in a way I can stand!

Mark Bittman was just on NPR

Mark Bittman: Eating Right Can Save The Planet


I liked the interview, and since I am in some sort of posting frenzy (I think it has been brought on by Facebook, as I was “forced” to join over the weekend by my old high school friend Julie), I thought I would link to his book here.  I guess I also ought to go READ it and also Michael Pollan’s book, In Defense of Food.  I LOVE his becoming-famous “Eat Food.  Not too much.  Mostly Plants.” and other common sense type “rules” about not eating things that your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food.  He spoke at Bates College and also on NPR’s Talk of the Nation.

While I’m at it, I want to encourage YOU to use GoodSearch to donate teeny amounts of money to charity when you use it as  your search engine.  I  have mine set to benefit “Christian Associates in Huntington, WV”, which is a food & clothing bank from the Episcopal Church across the street from my own church, where we make lots of donations and send teenagers and others to help out.

This is cool…Felted dryer balls?

January 22, 2009

So, I am just reading Lime & Violet (which I have on one of those news feed thingies that I really don’t understand very well) and I am just going to pass along their recommendation of another link for Felted Dryer Balls.  I don’t  usually use any sort of fabric softener sheets, but these look interesting and fun.  Maybe a GIFT item for the future?  Am I going to have to BUY pantyhose just to use in felting projects?  I don’t wear those things…

Still knitting …

January 22, 2009

Yesterday during my Mayberry Bible study I worked on my feather & fan cowl knit  from Optim handspun. Over the last few days I mostly knit a pair of socks on the CSM with Heart & Sole Spring Stripes and am hand-knitting the heels and toes with black. I also cast on a Simple But Effective Shawl, but haven’t worked much on it.
It has been pretty cold (for here). Yesterday I wore my down parka. Probably not quite necessary–it was 10 degrees F–but I was cozy. Anyhow, it has been so cold (and the kids have been home so much) that I have missed my regular walks. I bought a “mini-stepper” yesterday. Not, I’m sure, as good as a gym membership and swimming or treadmilling or stairclimbing, but quite inexpensive and SMALL.
We have Guild meeting next Monday and afterschool bookclub today (stories about animals). Oh, and the Cabell County library’s Chinese New Year celebration is this Saturday at 11 am!

Did you listen/watch the inauguration of Barack Obama?

January 20, 2009


Transcript: Barack Obama’s Inaugural Address, January 20, 2009 · The following is Barack Obama’s Inaugural Address, as prepared for delivery.

My fellow citizens:

I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you have bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors. I thank President Bush for his service to our nation, as well as the generosity and cooperation he has shown throughout this transition.

Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath. The words have been spoken during rising tides of prosperity and the still waters of peace. Yet, every so often the oath is taken amidst gathering clouds and raging storms. At these moments, America has carried on not simply because of the skill or vision of those in high office, but because We the People have remained faithful to the ideals of our forbearers, and true to our founding documents.

So it has been. So it must be with this generation of Americans.

That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood. Our nation is at war, against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred. Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age. Homes have been lost; jobs shed; businesses shuttered. Our health care is too costly; our schools fail too many; and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet.

These are the indicators of crisis, subject to data and statistics. Less measurable but no less profound is a sapping of confidence across our land — a nagging fear that America’s decline is inevitable, and that the next generation must lower its sights.

Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America — they will be met.

On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.

On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics.

We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.

In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of short-cuts or settling for less. It has not been the path for the faint-hearted — for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame. Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things — some celebrated but more often men and women obscure in their labor, who have carried us up the long, rugged path toward prosperity and freedom.

For us, they packed up their few worldly possessions and traveled across oceans in search of a new life.

For us, they toiled in sweatshops and settled the West; endured the lash of the whip and plowed the hard earth.

For us, they fought and died, in places like Concord and Gettysburg; Normandy and Khe Sahn.

Time and again these men and women struggled and sacrificed and worked till their hands were raw so that we might live a better life. They saw America as bigger than the sum of our individual ambitions; greater than all the differences of birth or wealth or faction.

This is the journey we continue today. We remain the most prosperous, powerful nation on Earth. Our workers are no less productive than when this crisis began. Our minds are no less inventive, our goods and services no less needed than they were last week or last month or last year. Our capacity remains undiminished. But our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions — that time has surely passed. Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.

For everywhere we look, there is work to be done. The state of the economy calls for action, bold and swift, and we will act — not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth. We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together. We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology’s wonders to raise health care’s quality and lower its cost. We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories. And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age. All this we can do. And all this we will do.

Now, there are some who question the scale of our ambitions — who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans. Their memories are short. For they have forgotten what this country has already done; what free men and women can achieve when imagination is joined to common purpose, and necessity to courage.

What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them — that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply. The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works — whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified. Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end. And those of us who manage the public’s dollars will be held to account — to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day — because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government.

Nor is the question before us whether the market is a force for good or ill. Its power to generate wealth and expand freedom is unmatched, but this crisis has reminded us that without a watchful eye, the market can spin out of control – and that a nation cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous. The success of our economy has always depended not just on the size of our gross domestic product, but on the reach of our prosperity; on our ability to extend opportunity to every willing heart — not out of charity, but because it is the surest route to our common good.

As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our Founding Fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience’s sake. And so to all other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born: Know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and that we are ready to lead once more.

Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

We are the keepers of this legacy. Guided by these principles once more, we can meet those new threats that demand even greater effort — even greater cooperation and understanding between nations. We will begin to responsibly leave Iraq to its people and forge a hard-earned peace in Afghanistan. With old friends and former foes, we will work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat and roll back the specter of a warming planet. We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defense, and for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you.

For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus — and non-believers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.

To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect. To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict or blame their society’s ills on the West — know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy. To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.

To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow; to nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds. And to those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty, we say we can no longer afford indifference to suffering outside our borders; nor can we consume the world’s resources without regard to effect. For the world has changed, and we must change with it.

As we consider the road that unfolds before us, we remember with humble gratitude those brave Americans who, at this very hour, patrol far-off deserts and distant mountains. They have something to tell us today, just as the fallen heroes who lie in Arlington whisper through the ages. We honor them not only because they are guardians of our liberty, but because they embody the spirit of service; a willingness to find meaning in something greater than themselves. And yet, at this moment — a moment that will define a generation — it is precisely this spirit that must inhabit us all.

For as much as government can do and must do, it is ultimately the faith and determination of the American people upon which this nation relies. It is the kindness to take in a stranger when the levees break, the selflessness of workers who would rather cut their hours than see a friend lose their job which sees us through our darkest hours. It is the firefighter’s courage to storm a stairway filled with smoke, but also a parent’s willingness to nurture a child, that finally decides our fate.

Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends — hard work and honesty, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism — these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history. What is demanded then is a return to these truths. What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility — a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.

This is the price and the promise of citizenship.

This is the source of our confidence — the knowledge that God calls on us to shape an uncertain destiny.

This is the meaning of our liberty and our creed — why men and women and children of every race and every faith can join in celebration across this magnificent mall, and why a man whose father less than 60 years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath.

So let us mark this day with remembrance, of who we are and how far we have traveled. In the year of America’s birth, in the coldest of months, a small band of patriots huddled by dying campfires on the shores of an icy river. The capital was abandoned. The enemy was advancing. The snow was stained with blood. At a moment when the outcome of our revolution was most in doubt, the father of our nation ordered these words be read to the people:

“Let it be told to the future world … that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive … that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet [it].”

America. In the face of our common dangers, in this winter of our hardship, let us remember these timeless words. With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents and endure what storms may come. Let it be said by our children’s children that when we were tested we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God’s grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations.

MLK and Gandhi

January 15, 2009

Since Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, jr.’s birthday is today and the holiday is coming up, I always think a lot about him, his words…and often this leads me to thinking about M.K. Gandhi, as well.  Gandhi’s methods influenced King and Gandhi is fascinating.  Plus, he had the additional “draw” of being a spinner, too.  lol

Go check out and  and


Aside from the spinning stories, this one is my favorite so far:


Children loved visiting Gandhi. A little boy who was there one day, was greatly distressed to see the way Gandhiji was dressed. Such a great man yet he doesn’t even wear a shirt, he wondered.
“Why don’t you wear a kurta, Gandhi?” the little boy couldn’t help asking finally.
“Where’s the money, son?” Gandhi asked gently. “I am very poor. I can’t afford a kurta.”
The boy’s heart was filled with pity.
“My mother sews well”, he said. “She makes all my clothes. I’ll ask her to sew a Kurta for you.”
“How many Kurtas can your mother make?” Gandhiji asked.
“How many do you need?” asked the boy. “One, two, three…. she’ll make as many as you want.”
Gandhi thought for a moment. Then he said, “But I am not alone, son. It wouldn’t be right for me to be the only one to wear a kurta.”
“How many Kurtas do you need?” the boy persisted. “I’ll ask my mother to make as many as you want. Just tell me how many you need.”
“I have a very large family, son. I have forty crore brothers and sisters,” Gandhiji explained.
“Till every one of them has a kurta, how can I wear one? Tell me, can your mother make kurtas for all of them?

At this question the boy became very thoughtful. Forty crore brothers and sisters! Gandhiji was right.

Till every one of them had a kurta to wear how could he wear one himself? After all the whole nation was Gandhi’s family, and he was the head of that family. He was their friend, their companion. What use would one kurta be to him?

Go watch, listen to, read, and think about Dr. King’s speech in honor of his birthday and your day off.  🙂


Currently on Etsy from me

January 15, 2009
handspun superwash wool MARMALADE CAT yarn over 6 oz and 200 yards
sheep batik t-shirt youth medium light blue
batik sheep infant onesie hot pink SMALL
GOT FIBER unisex L magenta batik llama tshirt
GOT FIBER chartreuse green 4T child tshirt with llama
GOT WOOL unisex M pink batik tshirt
Spring Tulips handspun hand-dyed wool yarn
GOT WOOL kids xs orange sheep batik
GOT WOOL ladies' L vneck batik sheep tshirt
Spring Tulips handspun hand-dyed bulky Navajo-ply wool yarn
Sheep Batik t-shirt Unisex L pink
Batik Sheep t-shirt -got wool
youth batik sheep t-shirt
Sheep Batik t-shirt Unisex L blue
Buy Handmade

Catching up on photos

January 14, 2009

The crocheted hat made from handspun (processed from raw by me, wool from “Leah” at the Heritage Farm) Jacob yarn.


Some yarn spun since Christmas


on the left–shetland blended with angora, one ply from the natural grey-brown and the other strand dyed before spinning with cherry kool aid

on the right–white/caramel/brown spun from roving from thesheepshedstudio

This is rambo/cormo that I got raw from Handsandnotions on Etsy and dyed with lemon-lime kool aid and carded and spun this summer:


Some I did a few months ago–superwash roving dyed with brown Wilton’s icing dye.  I think it looks like our Marmalade cat.


Help Sudanese children by knitting pencil cases

January 13, 2009

I found this on Lime & Violet and followed her link to Wendy Knits to learn more about it. Sounds like a good, worthwhile thing to do.

Also was reading in Heifer’s World Ark magazine today about how it only costs a few hundred dollars to CURE a case of leprosy (big problem in India and some places in Africa still).

I think that charity knitting (afghan squares or socks or more socks or teddies or prayer shawls, Knitting for Peace, or preemie hats or anything else that strikes a chord with you) is always worthwhile, as is donating to Knitters Without Borders via the Yarn Harlot.