Saturday, October 31, 2009


So. Happy Halloween.
Yeah, I know. Can't get too excited about it.
I think it is the 23 years of classroom Halloween parties and parades. About all I can say about being a teacher and the whole Halloween experience is--well--there's just not enough Xanax in the world to take the edge off of a classroom full of over-excited, sugar-filled, crazed children.
Anyway, thought I'd share the one and only Halloween decoration I managed to put out this year.
It's a wool stitchery that my sister made for me several years ago. I'm not sure what Jasperkitty is looking at.
A ghost????
Scary goblins????
Or the dust bunnies in the light fixture???
And have you noticed that Mr. Jasper seems to worm his big bad self into any picture I take?
Enjoy the little goblins, black cats, and ghosties that come trick or treating your way tonight!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Done and Hung!

While not quite the accomplishment of six stair risers that Gayle posted on her blog The Middle Sister (which if you haven't seen, you must go over there right now, because they are fabulous), my one little stair riser is finally finished and hung. No, not on a stair, because the only stairs we have go down into the basement, but in the little hallway that leads to the bedrooms.
Although I didn't make it for that spot, it seems to fit just perfectly. Now off to finish the 137,399,764 other projects laying around in their unfinished splendor!
Edited to add: This is a Cindi Gay pattern. She has a seris of stair risers--all beautiful! You can read her blog here.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Dying Without A Net

Because I was such a Miss Cranky McCrankypants week before last, I decided to make some changes and make sure I did something joyful each night this past week. Of course, joyful could mean anything from a mystic spiritual experience to a night of wild abandon. For me, however, it meant getting out the dye pots!
I love to dye. Before I started to rug hook, I really wanted to get into dying fabric for quilts, but everything I read looked as if you need enough room to handle yards and yards of fabric. And since I live in a tiny 50's ranch and having a studio built is not an option, I put the whole idea to rest.
Then when I started rug hooking, I was so happy to learn that I could learn to dye. In my kitchen. With minimal materials.
And so with a firm belief that something worth doing is worth doing badly (for how else do we learn unless we allow ourselves to make mistakes?), I set forth. I bought seven colors of ProChem dye, the book Beautiful Wool by Laurice Heath and a porcelain dye pot. (I just went to link to a site where you could buy this book, but Amazon says that it is out of print)
I picked this book because I read it had a section that showed how you could make any color with just the seven colors of dye. Since I really didn't want to spend a major amount of money on dye, which it seemed you could do with Cushing dyes, I decided this was they way to go.
So I have been fooling around with it. Dying a little here and there. Trying this and that. And pretty much completely enjoying myself with a few major disasters thrown in here and there just to liven things up a bit.
This week, I thought I would try dying different values, 1/8 yard each, using canning jars. Since I don't have any wool swatches from the book I thought maybe I would start making my own.
What fun! I did one color each night. By using the smaller amounts of wool and the canning jars, the mess wasn't too bad. And since Rog was up north, I didn't feel the need to completely clean up and put everything away each night. This is what I end up with:

I'm sure you will see some of this wool showing up in my Crazy Horse Quilt rug--especially the reds and browns (actually the golds on the left are really more of a brown). And that little bit of black fluff in the background on the left? Mr. Jasperkitty trying to get into the act. He truly feels that each piece of wool isn't ready for use unless it has a good coating of cat hair!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

I Heart You

Yesterday, out of the blue, one of my students came up to me, gave me a big hug and said, "Good job, Mrs. Lloyd."
So I figured I had either just passed my yearly performance review or he was really happy it was time for lunch!
Hope your day has a least one hug.....

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Just One Thing After Another

Oh Lordy, what a week.
It started off with two power outages at work.....continued with our special ed. director telling us she wanted to make a few changes to our program. You know, just some minor ones. Changes that mean all three teachers moving classrooms and changing up students after the school year has been in session for SIX WEEKS.
Sorry, didn't mean to shout. It's just that most of the time I feel like I am caught working in Superman's Bizarre-o world. You know, the one where everything is just the opposite of what it should be.
Oh well.....cleansing breath.....I know just what I need......take a drive up north to the cottage, spend some time with my husband and see all the beautiful fall foliage. So off I went to see this:

And instead I saw this:
And even this!

Yikes......snow in the beginning of October! I can only imagine what this winter will be like.
However, on our Saturday afternoon drive to see the fall foliage, we stopped in Bear Lake at the Two Sisters Quilt Shop. I love, love, love this shop! I bought some fabric for a bag. No pictures right now, but hope to finish the bag by next week and will post them then.
And while we were there.....guess what?
We found out that there was a quilt show in town! Of course, Rog was just giddy with joy at this news, but being the good guy that he is, he drove me right over and even went in and looked at the quilts with me.
That night we turned on the heat, popped a movie in the DVD player and I started whipping the edges on this:
It's a Cindi Gay pattern that I made at rug hooking camp in Manistee two summers ago. It is supposed to be used on a stair riser. However, since we live in a ranch I think this will end up going over a doorway. Here's a closeup of the center rose:

Amazing how a little fiber, color and time with a really good guy can make the rain, snow and that craziness I call work just fade into the background!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Fiber Festival--Second Time Around

Last Sunday, my sister and I went to a fiber festival in Romeo at Mount Bruce Station. This one was held on a working farm and if you would like to read more about it, their web site is here. It was a beautiful fall day and while it wasn't a big festival, it was fun just to spend the time enjoying the cool fall day and sunshine. This is the farm house that was built, I believe in the 1920s:
One of the vendors had this really neat gourd tree which I would love to have in my backyard!
Anyway, after walking around and visiting all the vendors, we took a class in wet wool felting. Let me tell you people, this is not for the faint of heart. You really work up a sweat doing this! In fact, had it been any warmer I think we could have called the class "Naked Wet Wool Felting." It starts of looking like no big deal. In fact it seems kind of easy. You lay out our nice soft, fluffy roving...

You sandwich the roving between two pieces of plastic, first spraying it with a mixture of water and dish detergent. You have to really wet the roving all the way through. Then the fun part begins.
First you rub the roving with the palms of your hands. You start on one side and just when you break out in a sweat, you turn the roving and do the other side. You have to turn the roving so you work at it from all four sides. And then just when your arms are starting to give out--you turn the roving over and begin again on the other side!
(By the way, our lovely and charming hand model for this post is my sister, Karen.)
At this point just when you are beginning to think you shouldn't have let your gym membership lapse, you find out that you now must roll the roving in a towel, squeeze out as much water as you can and begin rolling it back and forth between your hands. I guess, "rolling" would be a nice way of saying slap it around because that is exactly what you do!

Once you've "rolled" it this way and that--unrolled it, rolled it from the other side and started all over again--you end up with a piece of beautiful felted wool:

While it is hard to tell from this picture, this is a beautiful piece of wool made of angora and merino wool with some blue silk threads running through it.

Now what to make with such a lovely piece of fabric. I would make you wait, but as you may know I have this slight finishing problem, so I thought I would share the instructor's finished project-- wool mittens!
Aren't they beautiful? The instructor also gave us some angora yarn so we can make the lace cuffs. And this wool is just so soft; they will be just the thing on a cold Michigan day. I may just have to put my rug hook aside for a week or so and pick up my knitting and embroidery needles so I can finish these before the snow begins to fly. And seeing that I had my heat turned on before the first of October, I don't think that day will be too far away!