Like The Queen
Whatever happens to strike my fancy, but surely some sort of fiber content.


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Sunday, July 27, 2003  

Back again from PA - and I’ve just finished up my second spinning class with my 2 4H girls. Now I’m ready for a nap.

The trip was a wonderful experience for mother and daughter. It was Mama’s nursing school reunion but it was a chance for both of us to spend good long hours talking, admiring scenery, thinking out loud. We’ve always been able to bounce ideas off each other’s brains but we haven’t had enough opportunities in the past few years. Her health has been indifferent at best and quite precarious at times.

The east coast is gloriously beautiful this summer. After several years of dusty humid dry weather, we’ve had perfect weather all summer. I hardly can remember a day that hit the high nineties and we have yet to have a 100 degree day. Rain at least once a week means the growth is luxuriant and there’s no dust on the trees, keeping them glossy green instead of dusty olive. I’ve never seen so many wildflowers in the fields as we did along our drive.

We took Rt. 522 - which pretty much goes from her house to PA - where we hopped onto 70, then 99, then 56 and that took us straight to the restaurant where the gathering was. The reunion was of all students from the former Windber Hospital nursing school - with graduates ranging from 63 to 91. Three of Mama’s classmates were there and she had the yearbook from their graduating year. I remember that book as being something extraordinarily special. I would sit and gaze at it for hours as a wee child, as a young girl, and as a teen. It’s as old a friend to me as it could be for any graduate. Of course, I thought my mama was the most beautiful of all the students - and she sure was mighty pretty - and she had done all the sketches and artwork for the book so I recognized, even as a child, that special style she had of making cartoons that were fun and kind.

With the exception of not being able to find a room in Winchester on the way home, everything was absolutely perfect and since we’re not supposed to have perfection in this world, we at least had earth-perfection.

No trip to Mama’s is complete without a stop at GotYarn where I was able to pick up 4 balls of Aurora8 in a deep purple, to knit the ribbing, arm & neck-bands and do the slip-stitching for a vest I’m planning out of my handpainted yarn from Stony Mt. Fibers fiber dyeing workshop. I had originally thought to use a deep forest green, but Mama suggested purple and she was so right. I tried Hershey’s chocolate brown and it was okay - nice, but punchless - but the purple - ooooo lala. I am a high contrast sort of person and this vest is for me, but if I were a pastel sort of woman, I would be able to tone down this bright yarn with a lavender purple. Interesting what you can do with color.

Tomorrow I’ll post the gauge swatch I’m working on.

I also hit the sale wall at GY and did not buy the baby cashmerino in dark brown only because I have enough goodies in my stash right now, but I did pick up some oddball ribbon yarns and something to make a quick crazy scarf for my god-daughter, Emma, whose birthday is Thursday.

Back home, LittleDarling was out on the river with BD and the talk was all boats, boats, boats through dinner on till this morning, when he and I took a lovely ramble out to Robert’s Landing and just talked about the future and the changes that we are all looking forward to. LD will be out of the navy in September and plans to move back to this area. Is there a happy mother somewhere in upper Tidewater Virginia?

The BoatBoys took off around 10 and I began swatching my handspun/purple combo while I waited for my students. At noon they showed up. They had full spindles! They also had big bags full of washed Dorset locks.

The first thing we did was to wind their singles into 2 center pull balls. I then had them tie the two balls together and we began plying. One had spun some quite thick singles and quickly filled her spindle. One had a thinner yarn, more like an aran weight. I had them examine their yarns, noting how they softened as they untwisted the singles into a balanced 2-ply yarn. They skeined them up, tied them in several places, dipped them in water, and snapped the yarn before hanging it on the clothesline to set the twist. I lent them ancient enormous straight needles to experiment with over the next few weeks.

Then we began combing out locks, pre-drafting them into lengths as long as we could make them and begin spinning them up. When the girls had gotten the hang of working with these locks, I had them each try spinning from the fold. Neither could get this technique and I didn’t push at all. I let them spin about a half hour and then taught them how to use my cards. I provided each student with a wide toothed dog comb and deliberately got them combing first, before letting them experiment with cards. Carded rolags don’t produce quite as uniform a yarn, but they can plow through a lot of wool pretty fast.

They made up large plastic bags full of woolen birdsnests just in time for their mothers to come get them. By the time they were ready to go, their yarn had mostly dried and it was a thrill for us all to see how those tight, hard singles had softened into such pretty yarn. We won’t meet again for 3 weeks. Their homework is to spin up as much yarn as they possibly can. The more they spin, the more they will have to dye, for that will be the class on August 17. I asked their favorite colors and they both like blue and purple. I hope I can get my hands on that blue punch koolaid....

It’s been a wonderful couple of days. I couldn’t keep on top of my weight watchers stuff while I was gone, but it’s easy to get back on it today. I hope the coming week is just as easy. Board meeting, committee meetings, climax of the summer reading club at work - hmmmm - When will things be just plain ordinary slow’neasy? and whose the nut who set up this schedule for me anyway?

posted by Bess | 4:52 PM