Wednesday, May 31, 2006

NwRSA Spinning Conference!

Tomorrow is the day I've been waiting for for months. Tomorrow, we leave for Northwest Regional Spinners Association Conference. It's an annual event, and this year it will be in Tacoma, Washington, at University of Puget Sound. I've been to conference once there before. It's a lovely campus.

NwRSA has close to 700 members. There are *lots* more people out there who spin, I've discovered, that just haven't gotten around to joining. Anyway, usually about 300 of us show up for Conference. Classes are awesome. And I mean that in the true meaning of the word. The first year I attended, I signed up for what I thought would be the best choices for a newbie spinner. And they were exactly what I needed at the time. Lots of information. . . my head swam for days afterward. But then, when I saw some of the projects coming out of the other classes, I was blown away. Well, not literally this time, but truly, in awe. So I made mental note of what I'd like to take the next time, as some of the classes repeat.

Each year, I have come home with exactly the same feeling. What classes should I take next year? What will be new? Oh, my, only two days for classes? How can I possibly fit everything I *want* to take into two days? But this year's choices have been made, and I know that they'll be, again, awesome. I'm taking a color class with Jill Laski, and Silk Fusion. Both are full day classes, and I've diligently packed all the supplies I will need. The next question is whether it'll all fit into the car. (I'm taking a Subaru Forester station wagon, with two friends & all their stuff. I hope we don't have car trouble *this* year.)

Vendors? Did I mention the Vendors? I have decided, this year, to limit the amount of space that I plan to fill with stuff to bring home. I have two suitcases. If it doesn't fit in there, it doesn't get to come home. My Mantra: I don't need more fleece. I don't need more fleece. (I'm thinking back to a previous trip in which we managed to bring home 14. I think there were five of us that time.) So, wish me luck! Maybe if I cut down on my packing a bit. . . say, to a toothbrush & pj's. . .

Just because I thought there should be a photo in today's post, this fleece is from Colin, a sweet little lamb from Oregon. I've been trimming & picking out the bits of straw, and spinning into a three-ply with another Shetland & a roving from Fantasy Fibers. It'll be a variegated which will probably become a sweater for moi.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Memorial Day

If we learned anything following the Vietnam War, it was that we must support our troops. These are the people who put their lives, health, and well-being on the line to support our country. Their commitment is nothing short of heroic and noble. This commitment is further multiplied in its impact on the families of our soldiers, the wives, husbands, children and parents left to wait on our shores for safe return of their loved ones. On this Memorial Day weekend, it is time that we reflect on these matters.

If, as I said, we must support our troops, it is most imperative that we take a very close look at the leadership of our country, and hold it completely and ultimately accountable for the choice in sending our military into action. Any discussion, questioning, or dissent *must* be aimed toward the leadership, the decision-making bodies of government, The Decider.

Whether you voted for George W. Bush or not is irrelevant at this point. George W. Bush is President. He is Commander in Chief of our military forces. Given that fact, this portrait should be offensive to nobody. Each and every life that has been lost has been so at the decision of our President. This is the reality.

I will spare you my personal opinions on the Iraq War. Today, this weekend, think of all those who are serving, who have served, and their families.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Weekend Away at Snoqualmie WA

We had an impromptu getaway this weekend. Doug had a three-day weekend & got off work early on Friday, so we packed up our little trailer & went to Snoqualmie, WA, where we stayed at Cascade RV park, just north of I-90 at exit #25. What a delightful spot! The rhododendrons were in full bloom (rhodies are our Washington State Flower), as were azaleas. Weather was forecasted to be "scattered showers" and fortunately, most of the scattering occurred at night. Our days were mostly delightful, with temperatures in the 60's.

Here are a few photos from our getaway. Snoqualmie Falls is always spectacular. But with the melting snowpeaks and "scattered showers" the view was amazing at the Falls. The Inn at the top is the Salish Lodge, just in case you're curious. A lovely place to stay or have brunch.

The town of Snoqualmie reminds me a lot of Skagway, Alaska, but without all the jewelry stores. There is a train that runs from Snoqualmie to North Bend, then down to the Falls & back to Snoqualmie. All together, it was about 75 minutes on the train, & was a most delightful trip.

The lake with all the stumps in it is Rattlesnake Lake, on the Cedar River. The watershed is definitely worth a visit, with its fabulous gardens with drums which are played by raindrops and spouts of water.

Over the weekend, I had a little time to knit, and worked on the Tina shawl, a KAL from our local knitting/spinning/weaving shop, Northwest Handspun Yarns in Bellingham. I made great progress and am now on the beginning of the third chart of lace patterns. The Tina Shawl (Fiddlesticks Knitting) is a wonderful pattern. There is just enough detail to keep the knitting from becoming boring (snore). Some rows are challenging, but many are pretty quick knitting with minimal patterning. The design is simply gorgeous. I'll definitely be making this one again.

As for spinning, well, it just didn't happen. We spent enough of our time going from one spectacular vista to another that we didn't spend all that much time at the trailer. I do look forward to the days when we actually just sit & relax there a bit . . . maybe next time, I'll go buy a book for Doug to read so I can have some spinning time. :-)

Saturday, May 13, 2006

A Better Day

Today has been a better day. Better, by far, than just a couple of days ago when I last posted, frustrated with the perpetual popping-off of the sidebar on my loom. I am happy to say that (although the sidebar is still wedged in place with cardboard & velcro) I have been able to warp the loom and successfully weave on it, without the large cloud of blue verbiage that was emanating from my mouth. The shop owner from where I bought my loom is making a house call on Monday, to see what adjustments can be made to improve the situation. One *huge* advantage of buying locally.

Also, I think I have the best daughter in the world. Today, she brought to me, as part of my Mother's Day gift, a bar of "Emergency Chocolate". Now that's one very perceptive and compassionate young woman. I am so proud of her. The chocolate is now placed where I think it is most likely to be required.

Then, to top off the day, my Dear Friend, Janice invited me to Alger Alpacas for shearing day. These are the friendliest, most outgoing alpacas I've ever been around. (I won't tell Janice's hubby that she got a nice smooch from one very tall, dark & handsome [alpaca] stud muffin.) We spent over an hour, I'm sure, in the company of these sweet beasties, and enjoyed every minute. And I think we exercised admirable restraint in coming home with each just over a pound of gray fiber, rather than new "housepets".

Friday, May 12, 2006

The Scream Heard Nowhere

Last night, I put another warp on my Louet Delta loom. It's my first experience warping back to front & it's a big change for me. I am still having difficulty with the side bar that connects the back beam to the loom. It has kept popping off, ever since I got it. I have tried various things to get the bar to stay in place, and this is my hubby's most recent attempt - cardboard & velcro jammed in to provide some extra friction & pressure, to keep the side bar in place.

I've had this loom for nearly a year (the loom arrived last summer - I ordered it in the spring & waited a few months before it finally arrived from Holland, Hell, or wherever it came from). Then, of course, it took awhile to get the pieces put together. So, for this being only my second warp, well, there simply is no excuse. But here we are. The side bar, amazingly, has not healed itself. And every time I look at it, I think to myself that if I had seen this loom on a showroom floor, as it stands, with cardboard & velcro holding the pieces together, there is no freaking way that I would have bought it. What's next? Duct tape?

I have asked our local shop owner to come take a look at it. Perhaps she will have some insight as to what the problem is. Is it assembled correctly? I *think* so, but the instruction book has a significant paucity of photos. And yes, I have emailed Louet with photos.

The saga continues. . .

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

The Long and Winding Road

We’re home now, and I can say that I packed *way too much stuff* to work on during the trip. We had a wonderful time beachcombing, sightseeing in Southwest Washington State and along the Oregon Coast, visiting wineries, lighthouses, restaurants & Woodland Woolworks (you’ve just gotta go there). We spend a lot of time in our truck getting to all these interesting places, and riding in a truck is not a great place to knit, especially if the road is like washboard or has as many turns as the Oregon Coast does. Fairisle and lace knitting were out of the question. I even managed to mess up the garter stitch vest I was working on.

So what I will post today are a few photos that I took along the way, for your viewing pleasure. And in between laundry loads, I will put away the two pounds of roving, spinning wheel, and four knitting projects that I had packed to work on.

We did some beachcombing in Birch Bay, Washington

Visited lighthouses in Washington - the lens is particularly amazing. I believe this lens was part of the North Head lighthouse at Cape Disappointment

Astoria bridge, which crosses the Columbia River dividing Washington from Oregon State

Pacific Ocean along the Oregon Coast