Thursday, September 2, 2010

Lots of catching up to do

Tucked in with my mail yesterday was a flyer for the Tall Grass Farm Fall Fiber Jubilee. I've been a shopper there before, but this time is going to be special for me. Ambrosia and Bliss is listed for the first time ever as a vendor. I'm working on my stock and trying to figure out how I'll set up a table with my yarn and fiber. It's exciting and a bit nerve-wracking. This has been such a hot summer and I don't have air conditioning, so I haven't dyed much lately. When I'm already a melted puddle, cooking a big pan of steaming water at 185 degrees for hours is counter-intuitive.

I spent most of my summer looking like this:

Now that the weather is cooling off a bit, I've been dyeing again and slowly making progress. I have a few things I'm excited about. I'll be bringing batts, dyed locks, lots of roving and some hand-dyed yarn. One of my yarns has real silver in it and sparkles - hopefully it'll be a hit at the Jubilee.

I won't have any to sell, but I've been weaving more blankets with my Hazel Rose looms. This one was made with a variety of "pink" Phat Fiber samples spun together and then plied back to make a two-ply. The skein gradually changed colors, which was perfect for the weaving. Although all of the diamonds came from the same skein, each one looks distinct. I wove the pale pink areas with Cascade 220 so the handspun could stand out. These are so easy to make and a nice change from knitting.

Another reason I haven't been dyeing much this summer is I've been busy with other non-fiber things. Hard to believe, but it's true!

Since I moved, I haven't had a yard that I can fill with gardens. I've been very lucky to have a few small gardens to play in at the EAA Seaplane Base. I started planting them several years ago and they are finally coming into maturity. The EAA Fly-in happens every year at the end of July. The rest of the year, the Seaplane Base is private land. I designed gardens that would hopefully peak for that week and need very little maintenance or watering. Because of these restrictions, I chose mainly prairie plants with deep root systems. I was thrilled to see this hot weather was good for them and they were full of flowers this year. Even better, the swamp milkweed was covered with Monarch caterpillars. Each plant had 20-30 caterpillars in a range of sizes and I saw an adult laying more eggs during the week. Little things like that make me happy.

A friend of mine keeps alpacas and had two crias born earlier this summer. I actually had my hands on one of them during delivery (very warm and slimy) and got there right after the other one was born. Due to some post-natal excitement, one of them had to go to the veterinary hospital, so I also got to play chauffer. There are few things in life funnier than driving an alpaca around in a mini-van. I've been spending a lot of time hanging out with my friend and her alpacas. I need to live vicariously through her because I definitely can't hide an alpaca in my back yard. The two babies are growing so fast and they are fun to watch when they play together.

I also made a much-anticipated trip to Portland, OR last month. I used to live there and hadn't been back in about seven years. I planned a trip with my two sisters and we had an action-packed six days to see as many sights as possible. High points were Voodoo Donut (where I had a bacon maple bar - yes, a donut with bacon on it), driving up the Columbia River Gorge and visiting the coast near Newport. I had forgotten how beautiful it is out there. I really need to go back. All those mountains are good for my soul.

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