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Homespun Living in a New England

On the bobbins...

Wednesday, September 26, 2012
In progress: some carded singles for what will be, one hopes, a truly epic bulky, four ply yarn.  I purchased a jumbo flyer/bobbin, so I'm attempting to justify it. I really like how carding/blending natural wool with brightly dyed roving turns out--rustic and handmade, but with a florescent pop.

First up, natural llama, lincoln locks and chocolate alpaca are plied with BFL, dyed in various shades of green.


On the lazy kate, left: lincoln locks in bright blue, un-dyed llama, BFL in pinks and red; middle: recycled, re-dyed and re-twisted angora/wool; right: orange BFL blended with purple mohair and bright blue lincoln locks.


And, a bonus! Around 200 yards of bulky thick n' thin handspun--llama, alpaca, and BFL.


To the source! Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival

Tuesday, September 25, 2012
This past weekend I went to my very first fiber festival, which is kind of shocking, really. It's just never worked out, in the past. It was in lovely Canby, Oregon, a mere twenty miles or so from my home.

I had been missing out.

Llamas! are remarkably cute, no?
Unwashed fleeces like you wouldn't believe 

I went alone, which did mean that I missed out on some of the communal nature of being around so many folks who share a passion. On the other hand, I was able to wander and chat and shop (mostly shop) at exactly my own pace, which is an absolutely wonderful treat. There was an abundance of wool, all kinds; there was exotic stuff, like llama and yak; there was a very nice focus on local fibers; there were rovings, hand-dyed yarn, equipment demos. I saw that there were classes, but I did not partake. 

As I said, I was there to shop. And shop I did. I left the festival with several bags full of mohair, some natural chocolate alpaca, some llama, and about a pound of lincoln locks. 


And! A huge ass, ten pound bag of unwashed border leicester lamb's wool. It came from SuDan Farms, in Yoder, OR. We will surely discuss it more, soon. 





Dye-athon (Superwash BFL roving)

Thursday, September 20, 2012




Inspirations (Robert Ebendorf)

Wednesday, September 19, 2012
From top left 1. source 2. source 3. source 4. source 5. source 6. source 7. source 8. source (collaboration with Elizabeth Turrell) 9. source 

If you do any research on found objects in art jewelry (and of course I do), then Robert Ebendorf's name comes up with some frequency. He's considered a major pioneer in jewelry that elevates random bits to another level--bits of packaging and tin, costume jewelry, newspaper, driftwood...

I'm really drawn to the playfulness of much of Ebendorf's work, in addition to the way he sometimes combines these inexpensive objects with traditional fine jewelry materials. For example, check out the I Love My Mother brooch above, with it's mix of junk jewelry, sea glass, and opal. It's jewelry as three dimensional collage, and it's quite exciting to see what Ebendorf has come up with over his long career.

Found object jewelry is a popular and fascinating genre, and while not nearly as out there as it once was to combine the precious and the discarded, it is still a wonderful and inspiring way to look at metalwork.

Check out an in-depth interview/oral history with the artist here.

Seen, in San Francisco (and environs)

The 500 Club, Mission District
Mission Dolores Park
Pacific Coast Highway, outside of Santa Cruz



Our recent family trip to San Francisco was, as mentioned, really quite lovely. And here is some photographic proof of that fact!

I'm happy to back back in Portland, happy to be working in the studio (huge dye project is underway)...but this trip has definitely awakened a desire in me to do more driving along this (new to me) west coast.

A Pre-flight Ritual

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

I had the lovely opportunity to travel to San Francisco this past weekend, where I visited with my mom and my brother, Matt. It was a great trip--we've all been there before, but not for quite a long time.

I've been on a few planes, more often than not traveling by myself. So, I've worked out a system that works for me, getting through the not-my-favorite process. As soon as I'm through security, and usually with quite a lot of time to spare, I settle at the gate. I put on headphones, and I knit. Not original, but very satisfying. This time, in about an hour, I got a pretty good portion of a hat done, and most of a podcast listened to. And then, on the flight? I slept.

Perfect.

Homemade oreos

Sunday, September 09, 2012

I made these from scratch oreo-y cookies last night, and they were quite nice. Next time, I might try a higher quality cocoa powder (I used Hershey's, 'cause it's what I had without needing to leave the house, but the chocolate flavor might've been stronger with a different choice).

Recipe over here: http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2007/05/my-kingdom-for-a-glass-of-milk/

My new studio space!

Way back in June, I bemoaned my lack of reliable studio access, and described how I've been pining away for a space of my own in which to create--to make messes, to hold the myriad supplies and tools my process requires, to be alone with whatever it is I feel like making.

I've been in Portland for a bit over six months now, so I'm feeling much more settled than I was even a few weeks ago. So, I began the search for a small office/workspace I could rent. I couldn't be happier with where I ended up (I took over the keys to this space on September 1st). It's located in a warehouse building in inner southeast Portland, only about thirty blocks from our apartment. I share the building with around ten other artists, musicians, and a with gallery space in front. I look forward to meeting more of those folks, but in the meantime, I am absurdly grateful to have my private spot.


 I just got this dress form on craigslist a few days ago, in anticipation of improving some of my knitting and jewelry photo backgrounds. I quite like the way it looks against the sweet glitter painted walls.  


These shelves will get me started on keeping the space in some kinda order. Check out my sweet, vintage toolbox. Love that thing. 
Some details shots, featuring a major portion of my spinning and metalwork books. 
The building, interior/exterior
Favorite aspects of this space, so far?
1. Skylight directly above me.
2. Tricked out walls/flooring courtesy of the previous tenant, a painter.
3. Industrial fan and utility sink, right ouside my door.
4. Lockable, close-able door (this space is all mine!)

I spent a lot of time last week running to Ikea (place-holder desk/table), hardware stores (pegboard, metal shelving), and thrift stores (two sweet rolling chairs for three bucks each). 

I still have a fair amount of work planned to get the space up and running; the next big thing is going to be setting up my jewelry-making tools, most especially shipping my torch and some other tools from Philly and getting a new set of tanks. But, for the first week? Major progress. And I absolutely don't want to dwell on what yet needs doing, because in all honesty I am super, crazy happy right now. 

Buy Handmade Feature


Hey, guess what? I was featured over on the lovely crafty blog, veranellies.com.

Trisha does a regular etsy shop owner interview, and so I represent volume 21 of the Buy Handmade Series. I was very flattered to be asked, and Trisha was absolutely lovely to be in touch with.

Check out her blog, and my interview, here: http://veranellies.blogspot.com/2012/09/buy-handmade-vol-21.html!

A bit of (scrap-tacular) spinning-Psychedelic Sheep

Saturday, September 08, 2012

It's been a while since I've posted a new handspun yarn, but rest assured they've been happening. In fact, I just finished up my stock of wool and batts, and made a massive reorder of fiber--several pounds of super wash BFL roving, undyed, are headed my way as we speak. So I will be having a substantial dyeing session in the very near future.

In the meantime, I wanted to find a nice use for the last few ounces of art batts from my most recent carding project. I had a mix of mystery wool I dyed in blues, orange and green, plus some natural brown, a bit of silver sparkle, and the smallest amount of forest green firestar. I spun up a pretty wild thick 'n thin single from all o' that. Then, I used some of my hand-dyed recycled yarn to ply (yellow/green in cashmere and wool, and pink and orange in angora/wool).

I'm really happy with the yarn I ended up with, here. It's slightly shaggy, very bright, and nicely dramatic. I shall call it Psychedelic Sheep.



This is also the first yarn I've spun start to finish in my new studio! So, hooray for that, right? 

I didn't know that I had a dream car...

Friday, September 07, 2012
but, I totally do! Check out this beauty, care of the auto-body place across the street from my new studio.


I am overtaken with wanting to drive this truck. 

On beer, and the brewing there of

One of the things that Peter and I missed, while abroad, was American craft-brewed beer. China doesn't really seem to have an interest in micro brew, at present--certainly, nothing like the obsession with such that you'll see in, say, Asheville NC or Portland, OR (though, side note: the town's respective slogans on this are equally, embarrassingly silly--Asheville went with "Beer City USA" and Portland likes to call itself "Beervana." We couldn't do any better, Chambers of Commerce?). After a summer of multiple outdoor beer festivals, and a lot of microbrew evaluation, I'm feeling that craft beer itch well and truly scratched.

Oregon Brewer's Festival 
Zoo Brew! at the Oregon Zoo

And yet...Peter has been quite interested, for some time, in trying his hand at brewing his own (the darker and smokier and richer the better).

So, look what we (mostly Peter) finally did!

A raspberry vanilla stout is, at present, conditioning in the bottles in the lower reaches of our kitchen cupboards. We tried a bottle yesterday, and while it is assuredly not ready yet (not enough head), it is well on its way to being really delicious. Awesome.

I'm pretty damned proud of us (mostly Peter).  The beer, for which we're still perfecting naming and labeling choices, should be ready to drink within a week.


A little bit of what's been up

Thursday, September 06, 2012
So, August has been busy, and a little blog-less.

But! Big things are happening. Studio-setting-up things. I am more excited about this than I have been about anything else, in some time. Stay tuned!

Studio sneak-preview

Also: 
I went, last week, to visit Peter's family in Seattle and, as part of that lovely event, we went to the music festival Bumbershoot. We spent a nice, long day wondering around and seeing music in the park what where the Space Needle resides. Plus, free Starbucks! So, very Seattle-y, from my outsider perspective. And it's a family tradition--thanks, folks, for including me! 

Gotye, M. Ward and Awolnation were all really great.

It was a really fun time--though, Jane's Addiction? Hasn't aged super-well.