Sunday, May 29, 2011

Something Fishy

On June 20, I am off to the Manistee Rug Camp. I've gone for the last several years and, since it always begins the Monday after the last day of school, it is always a wonderful and creative way to begin the summer.
This year I am taking a class from Susan Feller, who is known for her Fraktur designs. The purpose of the class is to design a folk art rug based on Fraktur images. Up until now I've only hooked the designs of others, but am interested in designing my own rugs.
I've had one in mind that I would like to make for my husband. He is a avid fisherman and collects fish decoys.
Don't worry if you've never heard of fish decoys because unless you live somewhere like Michigan or Minnesota where ice fishing is a popular winter sport, you would probably have never heard of fish decoys.
Actually, I've lived in Michigan all my life and never heard of fish decoys until I met myhusband. But I have to say since that time that I've become quite an expert on them.
For the uninitiated, fish decoys are used to attract fish while ice fishing. They are hung from a length of fishing line, dropped in the water where curious fish come up and to investigate and then--BLAMO--they are speared with an ice fishing spear.
Sadly I am not making this up.
Anyhoo, as I said, we have quite a collection of fish decoys which, all kidding aside, are a really neat form of American Folk art. I've been wanting to make a rug for him with his decoys as a model.
This is what I've come up with:

The border will be a planned hit or miss--kind of wavy like the water. I wanted it bright and I wanted it fun. So, I'm not sure, in fact I'm pretty positive, that fish are not among the fraktur designs that Susan will be showing us--but hey, gotta start somewhere!

Sunday, May 22, 2011


Well, the world did not end last night. At least I'm still here and am assuming others are also. Perhaps I should take Lucy out for her walk and check to make sure.

Anyway, the mad packing continues. Another few weeks of this madness and then we will be back to normal. Or I guess I should say, our new normal as I will be retired. It is a little strange as I have been looking forward to this for a long time, but as of yet I just can't get a feel of what this new stage of life is going to look like. Guess we will have to make it up as we go along. We're pretty good at that.

In the midst of all this moving chaos, I've had to pack away my rug hooking and in its place I picked up a different kind of hook--crochet! I haven't crocheted in at least 30 years and here it is coming back in vogue again. We won't even discuss what that says about my age.
I made these two pretty scarves. Don't they look like pretty roses all rolled up like this?

Here they are unrolled. I think the stitch is "Queen Anne's Lace."

Monday, May 16, 2011

Fiesta Time!

Like many of you, I think nothing of a five hour round trip to look at wool. Last Saturday I did just that. Rog and I drove to Greenville to the Fiber Fiesta.

Oh--so much to see and touch. And although we are moving in just a few weeks and I really should be busy packing and NOT buying stuff for new projects, I just couldn't resist. I had to have these two batts:
They are so beautiful, it will almost be a shame to spin them. Perhaps I should just frame them and hang them on the wall. And everytime I walk by, I could just reach out and touch them.

I also meet the nicest young people--two brothers and their sister--who have their own etsy shop. I got the softest alpace/angora roving from them:

This is so soft I can hardly stand it. I can't wait to spin it--perhaps for a cozy winter scarf?

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Busy Hands

Since the house has been up for sale, I've had to put my rug hooking and quilting away. I just can't seem to do either without taking over the whole house! And taking something out and then putting it all away each evening just wasn't doing it for me. I know there are those of you out there who actually live that way--putting away your messes as you finish them--and I admire the heck out of all of you. I however, don't seem to be able to work unless I am surrounded by everything I own out where I can see it.

Anyway, not having anything to create was not an option either. I had to figure out some new things to try. Little things. Things I could do that did not take a bizillion supplies/pieces and that could easily transported and put away.

A few summers ago, I took (read dragged) my husband to a fiber festival. I know it sounds as if I am regressing here, but stay with me--it all comes together in the end. As we walked through all the booths with their roving and spinning wheels, I mentioned to him that some day I would love to learn to spin. Perhaps in retirement

Several weeks later he called me at work. He was at a garage sale and the lady was selling a spinning wheel for $15.00. Did I want it?

Really--$15.00? Did he know how much spinning wheels cost? There is no way he could find a working wheel for that price.

But he insisted and I figured that no matter what we would only be out $15.00 and could probably resell it on Craigslist if it didn't work out. Let's just say I didn't have high hopes. This is what he brought home:Yep--an Ashland Traditional spinning wheel. Now you have to understand. We are not the kind of people who make wonderful finds at a really great price. We are full-price people. I have friends who shop completely at Cosco and rummage sales and look like they stepped out of a fashion magazine--me....not so much.

So for us, the was like the moment on Antiques Roadshow where the lady brings in some dirt-encrusted item from her cellar and is told it is worth thousands of dollars. Even better, we didn't take advantage of someone who didn't know the worth of something like this. According to my husband, she had been spinning for thirty years and was retiring, hoping she could pass on the craft to someone else.

I took two classes at my local yarn shop and made yar that my teacher rather optimistically said had "lots of energy" and would "make good art yarn." Since that time, with practice I've been able to get things a little more under control and can make yarn that can actually be knit!

As you can see Moses enjoys spinning also: