Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Taking My Show on the Road

This was the scene last week in the room that I grandiosely refer to as my studio... I prepared and packed for the next three weeks of my life. I am about to embark upon Spinny Tour 09, a spinning road show of epic proportions. I will be teaching 5 different workshops in two different cities within a week, then flying to North Carolina to teach Level 3 of the Master Spinners Program to the fabulous group of spinners out there. A total of 19 days of spinny goodness, all across North America. Wahoo!

(You will note the open notebook and the plate in the foreground. Yes, I am so dedicated to preparing thouroughly that I did not even stop for meals. I ate as I worked. Or maybe I just had a piece of cake to keep my energy up.)

I'm pretty excited about getting out there among Fibre Folk. It's been a long, lonely winter of spinning by myself, and I'm looking forward to the company of those who speak my arcane language. I always come back from conferences and gatherings with a renewed sense of the rightness of what I do, and full of ideas that I will never have time to execute. There is joy and inspiration (and plenty of wine!) around every corner, because people with a common passion have gathered. I have many good friends in the fibre community, and I'm always happy to make more.

So, if you happen to be at the HWSDA Conference in Olds, Alberta May 22/23 or the ANWG Conference in Spokane on May 28-30, come on over and say hi. I'm looking forward to seeing you--or meeting you for the first time!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

Yes, it's that one day a year that we are allowed to be Moms, openly love our Moms, or praise Motherhood in general. Happy Mother's Day!

Motherhood is damned hard. Pregnancy, childbirth, the Terrible Twos, the Terrible Teens, wondering where the hell they are at 3 a.m., knowing exactly where they are at 3 a.m. (just follow the incessant crying!). They all take a toll on a body. Not to mention the day to day dealing with everything from sibling rivalry to broken hearts, bad grades, awards days, messy bedrooms, perfect teeth, sniffles and boo-boos, and big hugs. And ALL THAT DRIVING! (I swear that I had a couple of years that I wanted to change my permanent address to my car.)

I have, like every mother, made mistakes, and will continue to do so. But I love my kids. And I love my Mom and am grateful for all the lessons she has taught me. I don't always see eye to eye with my children or my Mom, but in the end, my love and respect for all of them far outweigh the petty disagreements and occasional hurt feelings.

Happy Mother's Day, Mom. Thank you for letting me become who I am today.

And thank you to my kids, Brendan, Lexi and Julia, for helping me become who I am today.

I came across this snippet of poetry the other day, and it seemed right to me. So in the spirit of Mother's Day, I would like to pass it on:

And a woman who held a babe against her bosom said, "Speak to us of Children."

And he said:

Your children are not your children.

They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.

They come through you, but not from you.

And though they are with you, they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,

For they have thoughts of their own.

You may house their bodies but not their souls,

For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,

Which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.

You may strive to be like them,

But seek not to make them like you.

For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.

The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite;

And He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.

Let your bending in the archer's had be for gladness;

For even as he loves the arrow that flies, so he also loves the bow that is stable.

- Khalil Gibran

The Prophet

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Around and Around

I had a little dizzy spell last week, and it made me realize that my whole world was going around in circles.

Of course, as a spinner, I'm pretty used to things that go around and around. I find the whirl of spokes and whorls soothing. And I've been watching those soothing discs spin quite a bit lately, between filling in gaps in workshop samples and working on yarns for the ongoing shawl series. So circles are my friends.

Then I noticed that my knitting was all going in circles. The Fire Shawl is a variation of EZ's Pi Shawl, knitted in concentric rounds, increasing stitches as the circumference increases (or vice versa), from 36 to 72 to 144 to 288 to 576. Around and around in circles, until it looks like this:

The shawl is a little smaller than I had hoped, but, apparently almost a mile of yarn doesn't go as far as it seems it should when you are knitting around and around. There is yarn left over, but not enough of any of the colors to do another set of rounds. I'm still pretty happy with the effect, though.

The sexy close-up, showing all the different yarns.

I am planning to knit a pair of stripey gloves with the leftovers. More knitting in circles.

I'm not entirely certain how one actually wears a circular shawl, but I appear to be thinking about it.

When I was resting from the around and around of the Fire Shawl, I was working on the around and around of a linen doily. I will be presenting a workshop on flax at the ANWG conference in a couple of weeks, and I'm feeling utterly under-prepared, so I'm adding samples and examples on a daily basis. Thus a red linen doily. I did not have enough yarn spun to do the full pattern, but I did crochet around and around for 10 rounds. (No pic yet--it's just having it's blocking bath.)

Of course, there is a sock going around and around on dpns, as well. Paton's Kroy in a rather interesting self-striping pattern.

Then there is the garden cycle, which began again last week.

The little heads of baby rhubarb and the first new strawberry leaves have started to peek out. This means that the digging and planting and tending has begun. It's getting harder to kneel with my bad knee, but I am plugging away in small chunks. Our growing season is notoriously short up here in the North, so I'm getting as much started as early as I can, though the bulk of the work will have to wait until June, when I get home from the teaching tour.

Which brings me to another circle. I was originally scheduled to go to Olds for the HWSDA conference, then to Spokane for ANWG, pretty much a straight up and down trip. But now I have added Greensboro, North Carolina to the trip, which means travelling almost all the way across the US, then back to Canada. In a big circle.

No wonder I get dizzy!

So, just to keep myself on the straight and narrow, I cast on a scarf last night. That should do it!

(You'll notice, however, that I am knitting with circular needles!)