Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Wensleydale Experiment

I am the first to admit that I'm not a very proficient spinner.  I bought a wheel off of Craigslist, and had to drive 200 miles to pick it up.  I didn't know the first thing about it.  I wasn't even sure how big the wheel was going to be and hoped it would fit into my car.

I had nothing to worry about.  When I first laid eyes on my "baby"  I was slightly shocked at how small it was.  

And how cute it was!  The lady I purchased it from told me it was handmade by a Mennonite man who made one for each of his daughters.  He didn't want the art of spinning to die out so did his bit to encourage it. 

I love my wheel!  We had about a year of getting acquainted and with me learning her little quirks and nuances, but she and I are really pretty good friends now.  A big thanks goes to my niece who has been spinning much longer than I, for showing me a thing or 2 about the whole process. (Thanks SpinninAGoodYarn!)

Back to my Wensleydale......

Wensleydale wool has a pretty long staple (length of the fiber) and is kind of wiry and coarse.  When I attended a fiber fair I was entranced with all the billowing clouds of fluffy fiber.  I was drawn to a table that had this wool, all combed and carded and ready to spin. I really had no clue what kind of wool it was, but  I loved the beautiful grey color and the spongy soft feeling of it. I bought a bagful of the stuff. 

That was back while I was still getting to know my wheel, so the bag lay mostly undisturbed for over a year. 

A couple of months back I decided it was time to spin the beautiful grey cloud of fluff. 

It was a joy to work with.  I think the perfect wool for a beginner spinner like me.  It seemed to hang on to the other fiber as I was drafting it out, and didn't let me pull it apart like some of the other slicker wools.  As I started spinning I decided to add a little element to my yarn. 

I had previously dyed some Alpaca fiber, using Kool Aid, and wanted to introduce some of that.  I would spin some wool for a while and then switch to colored Alpaca for a while, then back to the grey wool, and back and forth. 

I wasn't sure how I was going to be able to ply this with another strand and have the colors match up, but soon solved my problem by determining to ply with a solid strand of grey. 

I really loved how it turned out!  Kind of heathery and muted.

With the plying done, I set the twist by washing the wool gently (as I could tell it would felt if I was vigorous), and hung it to dry.

After drying I used a bit to knit up a swatch.  I love how it knits, how it feels and how it looks.  It will make a great pair of socks.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015


A coincidence?  I think not.

About 4 days ago I  all of a sudden started thinking about a doctor that we used to go to.  I thought about how I really liked him, how he cared for my kids when I took them in and how comfortable I felt there (not a normal feeling when going to the doctor), and how he had done a small surgical procedure on Mike back when I was about 4 months pregnant with Andy.  A procedure that virtually assured that Andy would be the last of our children. *wink* I knew there was some issue with him.  Something he was struggling with, but I didn't care.  I liked him!

I like him so much that I remember I painted a cookie jar lid for him to use in the office.  It was cut from wood and was painted to look like a bear wearing a lab coat with a stethoscope around his neck.  I also painted his name badge on it.  Dr. Spaulding.  

Today I saw this.

I think Dr. Spaulding must have died about the same time I started thinking about him.

Synchronicity in action.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Cross Patch


This kept going through my mind this morning.  It looks and feels nasty and cold outside.  I was putting on my shoes for work and kept looking at my spinning wheel just sitting there looking all cozy and warm with it's woolen homespun wound around the bobbin. 

I just looked up what Cross Patch was.  Apparently its a grumpy person.  Fitting somehow, because I didn't want to go to work.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Big Woops!

Saturday night.

The Girl's View:
A young teen-age girl is home by herself as her mother makes a quick trip to pick up her older sister. She is lifting weights in her bedroom.  She hears someone open the front door. She hears an unfamiliar man's voice call out.  She is momentarily frozen with fear.  She hears the man noisily walking through the house. Gripping her 12 pound weight in one hand she quickly calls her mother with the other. Whispering frantically into the phone she says, "there's someone in the house!" Just then she hears her parent's bedroom door open and shut.  Her bedroom is next. Then she hears her own bedroom doorknob rattle and the man say, "hello, hello hello".  She suddenly realizes that she knows the voice.  "It's Mr. Mitchell!", she whispers to her mother.

Mr. Mitchell's View:
Just arriving back from a quick camping trip he finds the house empty.  He remembers that Linda is babysitting for Lisa and decides to go over.  Driving up Maple street he pulls into the familiar looking house and gives Linda quick call on the phone to make sure she's there and then  heads inside.  As he enters the house he notices that Lisa and Tyler must have gone shopping as there were a lot of new items of furniture and decorations around.  He takes a quick look around and not seeing Linda anywhere thinks maybe she is upstairs with the babies.  Checking Lisa and Tyler's room first (as that is where he understood Hunter to be sleeping) he still doesn't find anyone. He then goes to check Isaac's room, but finding it locked he heads back downstairs.  He was standing in the living room when the mother walks through the front door.  The police are right behind her.

Linda's View:
With both babies asleep for the night, she pulls up a video on Netflix and sits in the kitchen watching it and crocheting.  Mike calls her on the phone. 
"Where are you?" he asks.
"I'm at Lisa's babysitting."
"What did you do with the car?"
"What? It's outside.  I'm here babysitting at Lisa's. Where are you?"

"I'm right outside."
"Well, Come on in!"

She looked at the front door for a minute to greet Mike when he walked in, but when he failed to show up she shrugged and went back to her movie.

Explanatory Notes:
The young girl had Mr. Mitchell as a teacher a year or two before.
Lisa and Tyler's house is an exact copy of the house 3 doors down from them, the house Mr. Mitchell actually entered.
Lisa and Linda both have had a lot of giggles over this incident.
Mr. Mitchell is not amused.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Guardian Angels

We had something happen in our family this week that once again made me very thankful for guardian angels.

These are the words of my daughter about her 2 kids (my grandkids) who are ages 2 and almost 1.

"Ledger, London, and I were playing in London's room. Ledger opened all the dresser draws and the next thing I know the whole dresser (which is 5 1/2 feet tall and pretty heavy) is falling forward. I lunged at it to catch it, but I couldn't get there in time. Ledger was a couple inches to the left of it and London was a couple inches to the right. If either of them had been a few inches toward the middle they would have been crushed by the dresser. Immediately after it fell I couldn't see or hear London, and I was afraid to look over the dresser. But she was standing there, smiling. It was the scariest thing I have ever seen. It makes me sick to think about what could have happened. frown emoticon I will post a picture when Ledger is done playing with my phone."

"London was standing holding on to the blue tub at the corner closest to the dresser."

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

A Small Mouse Brew-Ha-Ha

Mice rank up in the top 3 of things I really really hate the most.  I've written about mice before in my blog, memories of why I'm so traumatized by them, some of the ridiculous mouse catching episodes that have happened in our household, and  nightmares I've had of them.

This little episode that I'm about to share made me laugh.  I've never had a mouse encounter that brought on the giggles before, but I guess there's a first time for everything.

Last night about 10:30 or so Mike and I were in the living room and we heard Little Kitty (yes that's his name, don't judge) scurrying around the dining room.  I looked over in time to see him chasing a VERY fast and jumpy little mouse. 

I immediately get a tense sick knot in my stomach and Mike goes into hunter mode.  He puts Oscar out on the deck so that he doesn't cause more problems and goes out to get my little clamper tool.  This is the kind of tool they use to pick up trash in the park. I use it to get eggs out of the nests.

Meanwhile Little Kitty is having a great time watching the mouse run and jump before he catches it and lets it go.  I am standing on a chair under instructions from Mike to "watch the mouse". (Not my favorite job.)

Mike comes back in and starts building a barricade around the mouse with boxes.  I'm thinking the whole time that I've seen that mouse jump and those boxes aren't nearly high enough, but I wisely keep my silence as Mike is kind of throwing chairs and stuff out of his way.  I can tell he is in no mood for my helpful observations.

Suddenly the mouse darts down the wall and past the "not quite complete" wall of boxes and tries to hide in the other corner.  Mike very politely :) asks me to get him a large towel.  I grab one and toss it to him which he immediately throws over the mouse and proceeds to squeeze down on it.  I can't watch but look the other way while visions of mouse innards soiling my towel which I've determined will go straight into the trash.

That wily mouse manages to escape and runs back into the original corner where he is now corralled by not very tall boxes.

This is the point where, I believe, Mike loses his mind.

"Get me some spray."

I'm not sure I heard him right, but hand him the water bottle that we use to punish Oscar for barking.

"Not water, something that will kill the mouse."

What?  I really don't think that will work and try to voice my concerns about that method of annhialation, but am immediately reminded that Mike is not in a mood to hear it.

He goes into the laundry room and comes out with a can of Raid.  I can't help myself.  I say, "that's not for mice, that's for insects.  And I don't want my whole house to smell like Raid. (because I know Mike, and I know he would have emptied the entire can onto the mouse.)  He looks at the can briefly and tells me to go get a can of starch.  WHAT?  I'm thinking to myself I have corn starch, but that doesn't come in a can. I don't use spray starch anymore, is that what he wants?  And WHY?????? Is he going to starch the mouse?  I say that I really don't think that will work, and he says "it works on bees and wasps. I retort "bees and wasps have WINGS that the starch stiffens making them immobile.  MICE DON'T HAVE WINGS!!"

I'm starting to get the giggles.  Mike looks so exasperated at me and says "I'M JUST TRYING TO DO SOMETHING!" (I don't think he appreciated the eyebrow raising or half smile I was giving him.)

I stayed in the kitchen keeping my eye on the mouse while Mike went into the bedroom.
He came back with ............. wait for it..............................hairspray.

I can't help it and snort out a little guffaw.  Mike whips his head around to give me a glare.  I immediately sober right up.

Then he hairsprays the mouse, uses my little gripper tool to pick it up and calmly carries it out the back door.


Who knew.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

A Blast from the Past

I just found this letter I wrote to my parents.