Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Stay Foolish, Stay Hungry

Today I'm sharing a link that Mister sent to me.  As I get my school legs under me, Mister (and Steve Jobs) give a little pep talk.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Finding a New Beat

As you may have noticed, school has still thrown off my blog posting.  I'm enjoying school immensely!  But.. wow does it cut into my spinning, knitting, weaving and breathing time.   This morning I hit the ground running.  I managed to soak and block some finished yarn and a shawl!  They are not happily drying and I feel oh so productive.

CPW Repair News

This morning I also began packaging up my parts for my antique wheel to mail off for repair and replacement. I was then reminded that I need to do a cleaning of the old girl.  Yikes - look at the rust!

I am getting three bobbins made, new leathers (this hold the flyer and bobbin), a new whorl, a footman and the wire thread guides replaced.  I have no idea how long this will take, but I'm filled with gratitude there are folks that can do this work.

Crochet News

I'm working on a project that is unblogable at the moment.  A friend commissioned me to make her a belly dance hip scarf.  I'm busy sampling and waiting for some parts to come in the mail.  Should be a lot of fun!

Art of School

So the other night I had some reading to do for Art History.  I have two art history classes A (prehistory through Renaissance) and B (Mannerism though Modern).  The reading was for B and I just didn't understand the difference between Mannerism and Renaissance art.  Mannerism emerged during  high Italian Renaissance about 1520.  In many ways, it is rejection of all the assertions of the Renaissance.  At first my eyes didn't see, but then I did.  We did some review in B of Renaissance work aspects and finally my brain kicked in.

Renaissance art emphasised balance, symmetry, order, clarity, and naturalism.  It was a period of science and gave birth to our modern humanities.  Classical culture (Ancient Greek and Roman) was also enjoyed revival.

Take a look at this:

Pietro Perugino
Christ Handing the Keys to St. Peter
Fresco, 335 x 550 cm
Cappella Sistina, Vatican

In this classic example, notice the order of the figures, the lines of the three which serve to give depth to the work, the architecture (classic elements of Greek and Rome) and the sky which goes from dark blue to white - also giving depth.  Artist during this period wanted their work to not look 2D and I think Perugino achieved his goal.

Now consider this work from the Mannerism style:
The Madonna of the Long Neck 
85 in × 52 in
Uffizi, Florence

This work when compared to Renaissance work looks bizarre.  What is going on in this picture?  Who is that little figure on the right side?  Why is Christ child look so long and un-baby like?  Why does the woman on the left hold a vase?

Notice anything else that doesn't look realistic of natural?

Mannerism is known for its ambiguity, elongated  figures, and elegant lines and in some cases erotic works.    

While this work leaves a lot of questions, I find it compelling.  I have to look at it longer to try to make sense of what I'm seeing.

Mister and I were up half the night looking and talking about the different works that we found in the book.  We then went online and did more looking.  

It was hard to sleep that night.  I kept seeing the different paintings, sculptures and architecture flashing in my head.

Art is often mysterious and flat.  I have appreciated it for its beauty in the past, but I never really understood what was really going on.  Now I have been given the tools to unlock the secrets and I'm pretty damn excited about it.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

School Days

Here I am turning in a tardy blog post.  I tried yesterday, but I was done in by sleep deprivation and packed schedule.  Returning to school isn't all sunshine and roses.  I'm happy, but having a hard time adjusting to an alien schedule.  Being sleep deprived at eighteen is very different than thirty something.  My body just doesn't handle it like it used to.  Being a non-traditional student is great for making one realize they aren't so young anymore.  Still, I'm enjoying my classes and excited to tell you all about them.  But first....

Weekend News

Mister and I look forward each year to the YMCA's Annual Bookfair.  It is a treat and most books aren't over a dollar.  Now Mister and I recently donated thirteen boxes to the fair....you would think that we wouldn't need any more book.  Apparently we did.  We came home with approximately fifty books.  Here are some of the treasures.

Just the perfect thing to jump start my art school itch.

Speaking of weaving...I have something to report in that area.

On the Loom

I finally warped (length threads)  my new to me old Schacht Rigid Heddle Loom.  I used a commercial white yarn and a few strands of my winona fleece yarn.  For the weft (width threads) I'm using all winona fleece.  It is soothing work and very repetitive.  Raise one set of warp - creative a shed, toss the shuttle through (storage for the weft threads), beat down.  Raise the other set of warp, toss the shuttle through, beat down.  Repeat.

Lost in all the weaving terms?  Hmm, sounds like a blog post is in order.

Spinning News

In other news, I've been plying my little fingers away.  Turning this:

Into this:

I've finished the above bobbin, and need to skein off the yarn, wash it and see just how much yardage I've got.  This is the yarn that I'm planning for the Daybreak shawl, but we'll see.  It was a wild experiment in color and I'm not quite sure yet how it worked.  I still have two bobbins to ply as well.

The Art of School

Monday morning, I packed up my backpack.  First I had to find my backpack, but it was located and filled with various things: folders, notebooks, art history text (HEAVY - thank gosh I don't need to bring it to class), and knitting.  Yep, knitting - don't all student pack knitting?  Yeah, so I've gotten some interesting looks from the kids as I sit on campus and knit.  The other bag you see in the picture is a camera bag.  A dear friend lent me her 35 mm film camera for my photography class.

Mister and I are doing some back to school shopping at the camera store tonight to make sure I have all my supplies for photography class.  My professor for that class is a working photographer and got me really excited about the class.  The end goal of the class it to produce ten pieces that can go into our portfolio.  Since I'm planning on applying to the BFA program, I'll need a portfolio.

My other two classes currently are art history classes.  One class covered prehistory through Renaissance and the other is post Renaissance through modern works.  I'm enjoying them both immensely and look forward to learning all I can.

I have two classes that haven't started yet - Drawing and Design.  Due to late enrollment at my school, I am having to take these classes through the community college.  The sections I was going to take are full and not excepting wait-listed students.  A minor kerfuffle, but I found a plan B.  These classes will start mid-September and give me a bit of time to adjust.

Coming up on Thursday...

School news continued, a crochet project and hopefully some finished yarn.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Big Day

Remember when I said I applied for art school?  Well, the latest news is I have been accepted into the program and I begin next Monday.  This means that I've been running around like a mad thing getting paperwork in, meeting with this office and that, getting ID, textbooks and a parking pass.  I never imagined that I would return to school like this, but her I am.  Mister ventured out with me to partake in the experience.  I think it finally hit me after I left the art building.  I'm going back to school.

I'm exhausted from the day, but I have a pleasant buzz about what is ahead.  I have a few kinks to work out yet with my advisor.  Two classes that I need are full, but there is a way to compensate for that.  So far I have two art history classes and I'm very much looking forward to them.  In keeping with my New Year's intention, I am taking a photography class as well.  The other two classes are intro to drawing and visual design.  I have some basics to get out of the way and then I can venture off to textile work.  I'm very much looking forward to being exposed to other media as well.

I'm hoping to get some time to finish spinning up some projects that are ready to ply.  Hopefully, I can share them with you soon.

Thursday, August 11, 2011


Mister and I are running away for a few nights.  Right now I'm busy packing, sorting pets and figuring our how many knitting projects I should take with me.  Do you think three is enough?

I'll leave you with this gem of a video.  I had to watch it twice....okay perhaps more, until I had tears streaming from laughing.  Have a great weekend everyone.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Wooly News

Wool in the News

I found a link to an article from a British online magazine for a unique wedding dress.  The Bride raises a rare sheep breed, Lincoln Longwool (At Risk on the UK's Rare Breed Survival Trust list), and decided to make them part of her wedding.  Check out her gown and sheep pictures here: Shepherdess Bride

Camp KIP

Last April, knitters and spinners journeyed for a retreat a lovey wine region of Missouri.  After hearing from many podcasts that I listen to of the fun that was had, I had the urge to go.  Registration opened up and Mister told me to go very enthusiastically.  I'm all registered and will be attending the first session of camp in late April.  I'll have four days of relaxing, wandering walk trails, eating and hanging out with my tribe.  I don't know anyone that is going as of yet, and I'm very excited to meet other knitters and spinners.  Want to learn more, visit the Camp KIP website


Davy Jones Locker 
I have a lot going on right now and I'm excited about each of them - wish I had more hours in the day.  Currently on my bobbin is yarn for a shawl called Daybreak by Steven West.  It is a really neat graphic shawl worked with two colors.  My vision is to spin up two bobbins of Dyeabolical's Davy Jones Locker colorway  and one bobbin of a turquoise color and one of a blue and then ply each color with Davy Jones.  I should be a neat color trick.  Hopefully it will work out the way I envision.  With spinning there is always an element of surprise.

I'm also taking the remaining part of my Winona fleece and combing it out to spin for a hat.  This project is unblogable because it is a gift for a friend.  Rest assured I'll share it after it has been gifted.  Here is a sneak peak of some locks of wool on the combs.  And, yes, the combs look like torture devices.  Combs are sold in pairs and can be used as handheld or one can be clamped for stationary use.  They do a beautiful job of cleaning dirty fleece and produce a soft worsted prep (smoother with all fibers lined up) for spinning.  Having carded, drum carded and now combed wool, I can say combing is my preferred method.  I find myself using the mini-combs (left).  They are lighter and I like the results I get with them.  The combs on the right are heavier and my clamp isn't really suited to them.  I may sell them and try to find a pair that is lighter and easier to clamp.

My other spinning project is using one of my Jacob fleece to make a pair of mittens.  Not any mittens but sheep mittens.   Aren't they sweet?  The Jacob fleece that I'm using is primarily black and white with some grey.  I can blend more grey so my thinking is to use white for the sheep outline and a grey for the background.
The colors of Jacob


I've been knitting up a mini storm of late.  Currently I have three projects on the needles:

Live Oak Shawlette from Knitscene Fall 2011
I'm knitting it out of Dream in Color - Baby in Cloud Jungle colorway.  It is smooshy, soft and lovely to knit on.  I have approx 700 yards, so I'll be adding in repeats in the lace.  Gotta use up yarn.

Summer Love Socks - free pattern on Ravelry
Knitting it out of Trekking sock yarn colorway 105.  Seems ironic to knit summer socks out of fall colored yarn.

Harris Tweed Socks for Mister - free pattern on Ravelry
The yarn is Jwrayco hand painted sock yarn.  This is a "local" Missouri dyer.  Supper stretch and soft.

I hope everyone is having a good start to their week.  Looks like we have finally had a break in the oppressive heat in the middle west.

Friday, August 5, 2011


As you may have noticed, I've done a bit of redecorating.  In the coming weeks, other things will be added.  I'm excited to unveil my new name, logo and shop.  Mister is working on designing and building a website for me.

Dog of my Soul

I missed posting yesterday.  One of our dogs, Trinket, is having some good days and not so good days.

Trinket came into my life as a rescue.  She was a year and half and exactly what I was looking for in a dog.  When I heard about her, I had goose bumps.  When I held her for the first time, I knew she was mine and that I was hers.  We've been a pair ever since that day in February of 1999.  She changed my life.  From a shy youngish girl, to training dogs and talking to large groups of people - Trinket was there with me.  She changed the way that I trained dogs and we spent hours perfecting exercises and tricks.  She adores working and loves to show what she knows.  When my mom died, and I brought home her Shih Tzu puppy, Sophie, Trinket was so patient.  Sophie was wild and I did nothing to squash her enthusiasm for life.  Trinket taught Sophie manners and shared the attention beautifully.  They became the perfect pair, both eager to work and to love everyone.

When Sophie developed a brain tumor and her life began to slip away, Trinket was just as confused and shocked as I was.  We've been through a lot together.  Meeting Mister for the first time, meeting Mister's dog, Sadie, marriage, the death of my father, school, jobs and day to day life.  Trinket has been there.

Trinket is almost fifteen years old, so it shouldn't be surprising that her good days and bad days would be out of balance.  Still it is and I'm finding myself doing pre-grieving.  Her eye sight is fading, her hearing isn't so good and her senility is causing her herding genes (she is a sheltie mix) to go a little haywire.

Mister and I are constantly tripping over her as she is underfoot.  The fact that she really can't see where we are makes her underfootness even more problematic.  Her appetite took a nose dive yesterday and that was very alarming.  Trinks has always been a committed eater and gradually she has tapered off.  She gets detracted easily and wanders away.

Trinket has lived with seizures and has been managed with medication for years.  A few months ago, we had to tweak her dosage as she was having break through small seizures.  Her seizures are under control once more.  Getting old isn't for sissies.  Trinket's life still has quality and she still has a sparkle.  Today she is much better, so I'm trying to live in the now with her.  I don't want to think about letting her go.

On a happier note, I'll share this video with you.  Warning, it has an extremely high cute factor.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Value of Age

Mister and I went on a wanderabout this weekend.  We didn't have a set destination, and we ended up in a small historic town settled on the bank of the Missouri river.  Mister and I have quite a love affair with rivers and other bodies of water.  We even married on the bluffs of the Mississippi River.  History runs as deep as the currents and perhaps it is that history that draws us back again and again.

While we wandered from town to town, we slipped into to a little antique shop and of course, I heard the siren song of an old wheel.  Among the junk and the clutter we found this primitive little wheel and she was really sweet.  It was hard to assess her age, condition and the account for all necessary parts with all the stuff around her.  I was able to reach her price tag and that put full stop on all inquiry.  She was priced far too much.

The problem with "antique" wheels is the market is really specialized.  People are either selling to the decorative market or the functional market.  The decorative market seems to be on the down turn.  Folks just aren't decorating the way they used to.  The rustic look has given way to a more streamlined modern  sensibility.  That being said, there are many many wheels on Craig's List and Ebay and it is a buyers market.  I can set my price point just about anywhere and go looking for a decorative wheel and find one quickly.  Want an ornate wheel, a simple one, a large one, a small one and after a couple of clicks - there is your perfect wheel.

When I look at a wheel, I'm looking at it from a functional, historical and aesthetic angle.  If parts are damaged or missing - I can get them made or fixed, but it will cost me.  The cost varies, but it can never be far from my mind.  These wheels were made to be used and it just seems a same to let them gather dust.  So what is the right price for a wheel?  That all depends.

The wheel above was too much.  It was well over the hundred mark and that too me is too high.  A simple search online can give one a good idea of ballpark figures.  Personally, I probably wouldn't look hard at a wheel over three hundred.  Especially if I know I'll need to get replacement parts.  Unfortunately, some sellers believe that because a wheel is old, it is certainly worth the cash.  A wheel is a tricky thing to sell.  The seller is waiting for the right buyer and that wait can take sometime.  Just because it is old doesn't mean high value.  The surprise thousands dollar items of Antiques Roadshow just doesn't happen often - especially with wheels.  It also bears mentioning that the market has sustained a large number of wheels of various types so they aren't rare.  Before commercially made yarn and clothing, most households had a spinning wheel and a female member that spun to make the family's clothing (a.k.a. a spinster).

I'll close with a little vignette about spinning flax.  Many of the old wheels available in the U.S. are flax wheels.  Flax was used to make clothing and it wasn't an easy undertaking.