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And making it.

This was a combined sport, spinning and knitting. I’m extremely proud to have completed it. It’s the first anything of substance I made with my own handspun, and it wasn’t easy. I taught myself how to spin with the Russian Spindle and do long draw and woolen, rather than my default worsted.

I’m going to rest now.

I sent this from my phone! Ain’t technology grand? It also explains the spelling errors and terse grammar.

I left work completely exhausted, yet revved up for Madrona Fiber Arts Fest and it’s no accident that this link takes you to the marketplace. While in no way the most important part of the festival, it totally rocked.

I spent last Thursday, Friday and Saturday in the company of my knitting friends. JustJen and I roomed together, which was a perfect match.

Here is a picture of the Gang of 4 (or 6 or 8 or 10 depending on class time).
Madrona Chain Gang 1

Madrona Gang 2

One day we arrived before everyone else and had a good time laughing at the fact that it appeared as though Jen and I had spent the night at the table. That’s Jen, KT, Nicole, Lisa and Judy Becker, Judy Becker (it sounds so good when you say it twice).

Spent a fair amount of time in the Blue Moon booth, visiting Etta Mae and Cockeyed. Always a a lot of fun going on there!

Here are my purchases. First off let me say I had no idea what a good spindle can do for you. The Bosworth I purchased from Ask the Bellwether was quite the revelation as it spun and spun and spun long past the other spindles (does that sound like a 70s commercial or what). It’s the ridge on the outside of the whorl that gives it the weight it needs to be productive.

Bosworth Spindle + Yummy

Neat huh? The fiber is some cashmere and silk I made a three ply from on the spindle. That is Abstract Fibers Mossy Rock. Rounding out the group are two balls of Fat, Fun and Fulled yarns from Judith’s class. They haven’t had their soak yet. Just plied and rolled into a ball, but fatter than anything I’ve ever spun, and using a new technique.

And the icing on the cake?
Macomber Loom

What shall I cook up next?

We all have a favorite garment which we choose over and over again because it makes us feel good to be in it. Usually those garments combine the best of fit, fabric and minimal need for coddling. The essential design of it means it won’t require adjusting or tugging or fluffing.

A good friendship is much like that. They fit you just right, they don’t require non-stop tugging or coddling. Self sufficient, possessed of a graciousness as the ignore your flaws (as a good garment does) and play to your strengths. Supportive and flexible in spades.

Having spent 4 days up close and personal with my dear friend JustJen, she is metaphorically a cashmere shawl. A light layer which gives warmth and a feeling of shelter. Someone who is thoughtful, helpful, rational, and one of the smartest yarn enablers around. A helpful pocket book guardian when the yarn fumes have taken over and all sense is gone. Having a friend like Jen is a true luxury, yet it wears like iron. Just like cashmere.

I think it helps that Jen and I lived in the Bay Area, fully immersed in computers and the strange brew of Mediterranean sunlight and Hollywierd vibe that was California in the 70s and 80s. It’s an odd fence we straddle as products of wives and mothers who gave way to career women raising their children and keeping their sanity, but just barely.

I am so thankful that we met and that I we had the opportunity to travel together. More about the wonders of Madrona later. When I’ve had a chance to absorb it all.

And while I am at it, a shout out to Wonder Sweetie for holding down the fort in my absence. The dog poop was scooped, the laundry done, the smiling face that welcomed me home. He still has no idea what an aphrodisiac that is 😉

I’m sitting in a coffee shop whose name rhymes with Farclucks typing on my computer, while the Madrona Fiber Arts festival spins merrily along at The Hotel Murano 3 blocks away. I drove up last night and I am exhausted. 4 weeks of steadily escalating work has taken a toll on me. Still the best part is that the project is across the finish line. I’m not done, but I liken it to giving birth. That part of the work is done. Now the rest of the work starts. It’s work of the steady and consistent kind. The team I have worked with has been great.

Class this afternoon is the long awaited learning how to spin fatter yarns. A departure from my usual lace weight. Tomorrow I have off. Tacoma is proving to be a lovely place to be.

17 years ago today I gave birth to Ellie, also a project that is nearly over the finish line. I am so proud of my girl.

So I’ll pack up my computer and re-integrate with the crowd at Madrona. Take my time and move slow.

Yesterday I said good bye to an old friend. We had many good conversations this friend and I. The friend greeted me several months after moving to Portland 15 years ago. The friend was a tiny plant someone gave me, in hopes that my new life would be better than my old. The 15 ensuing years have been better in many ways, although there we several so hard I’m not sure I could manage it again if it happened today. The tiny plant had grown, albeit sideways, to be a rather large plant. Almost as tall as me, except it grew 90 degrees to the side. No amount of attempts at straightening the plant had any effect.

Then yesterday Plantzilla rebelled. First it broke the plastic tray that held it’s water from leaking onto the floor ( Yes, it did, I checked it two weeks ago, not a crack on it). When I realized there was a brown stain on the hardwood I tried to move the plant from it’s corner. It promptly leapt out of the pot and pitched forward onto the floor.

Stunned I carried my friend to the sink, pot and all, and cleaned up the wet mess on the floor. Then I placed a Vornado fan over the wet area, praying that the floor wouldn’t lift. My prayers appear to have worked. The floor is smooth and unbroken as ever.

The same cannot be said for the plant. After calling my very dear friend Kristin (who was with me when I received the plant, and was the impetus behind the move to Portland, but that’s another story) and having a conversation, where I cried actual, real tears, ABOUT – A – PLANT, my youngest daughter and I said goodbye and walked the plant to the yard debris can. I can’t call the dumping of a plant into a yard debris can unceremonious with a straight face, but truly it was graceless.

Reflecting on it, I realize my superstitious self feels this is a slap in the face to what I have wrought out of an untenable situtation when I arrived here. Shouldn’t it be kept as a symbol of what strides I’ve made?

Pish Tosh, apparently not. I did the work, not the damn house plant. That’s my story and I’m sticking with it.

In other news I have completed preparations for the Madrona Fiber Arts Fest. It’s all over but the packing and the fun. I’ve got a MAJOR project launch to get through first, but that, again, is story for another day.