Dec 17, 2012

First Snowy Day

Do more of what makes you feel good and less of what doesn't. Keeping this as mind as I navigate my life and times.

Still, I cry for a world abounding in damaged souls from Syria to CT and for the lives lost, esp the little children and the brave ones who try to protect them. I wish with all my heart it weren't so.

Walked with Marj and Bailer in the Smith Preserve on Saturday afternoon, good to get in a long walk before the snow, give the dogs a chance to re-establish their bond and the adults a chance to catch up.

Went to the Southern Maine Spinners and Weavers Guild Christmas meeting Saturday morning. We tossed around ideas for expanding interest in the group, programs we might have, etc. Shared potluck and projects. It was a nice, warm time.

I warped the loom for Paula's long cowl... 
The weft will be soft beats, long (2 ft) color blocks using the white, peach, and brown-black. and perhaps a thread or two of the multicolored silk ribbon you can just see here and there in the warp. My peculiar brand of whimsy!! She can"t tolerate wool, so this is nubby cotton and a bit of silk and will be long enough to wrap twice and still be loose and drapey.

I finished knitting my Wingspan scarf--it's posted in Ravelry here
It's quite attractive worn offset over a t-neck with a stickpin... I'm liking the slit in the band.

My new favorite thing is my m-wave egg cooker from t. b Pots

The handle on the cover, and the steam hole in it, make it heavy enough that the cover doesn't blow off in the microwave. The stoneware satisfies my need for handmade stuff, and it's an awesome thing for a foolproof soft-cooked egg.  I bought it locally at the Christmas Prelude Craft Fair at Consolidated School in the port, but he has an Etsy shop (see link above).

A tip. if you like a fast way to make an egg salad sandwich, hard-cook the egg in this (1.5 minutes in my microwave, which is old and slow) and mix with mayo, etc., spread on a pita, english muffin or crispbread. 

Four Days til the Light begins to return!!!!!

Dec 14, 2012

The intent is always evident in the results...

Because nearly everything we do has an effect, it's important to do things mindfully.
Firsts this week - used dried fish to make chowder, made a hammered copper pin, spun a bit of 60 dollar an ounce fiber.

1st  try, some less than perfect spots, but fun!

The chowder; the brown tone is from roasted vegetables; this tastes awesome!

I don't have a picture of the quiviut as I sat at Jenny's wheel to spin it but soooo soft!

I finished my ornament for the swap at the Christmas guild meeting tomorrow; felted and Border Leicester locks from a lamb fleece. It's stuffed slightly... adorable, no?

Eggs from Jenny's special chickens... lovely shades of green!

Speaking of green... we walked in the Smith Preserve today and I took multiple pictures of things that are still green!

The range of greens is really amazing, esp in the ubiquitous moss. 

The brook was also beautiful as usual with just a skim of ice forming little geometric shapes.

I still didn't warp the loom for Paula's cowl, but I will do that soon, maybe tomorrow afternoon after the guild meeting.

Dec 12, 2012

Awesome Day Blessings

Sun, sun, sun. How I love spinning, knitting or weaving with bright sun on my hands, esp when it's cold outside and I'm warm inside!

Jackson, my dear heart and best bud
Some of the pile of finished woven pieces--

Afternoon coffee and cookie in Lower Village--

Early fog--winter morning at Gooch's Beach

Some homespun, calling out to the loom/needles, "I'm here!"

Cascade Brook, so unexpected--

Evening light doesn't quite hide the wrinkles does it?

Here it comes, the season.

I admit it, I'll be happy when the 'season' is past and the days begin to lengthen. 
Who could resist such a face?
Today we walked in the woods for 2 and half hours, way in toward the Trolley museum. The day was cold, in the 20's but I peeled down to just my aran sweater, tied my jacket, mittens and hat, took some videos and emailed them hither and thither. Such pure joy!

Nov 28, 2012

OMG Almost Christmas!!??

Another attempt to get beyond blog ennui. No ennui in my life, I've now lost 63 lbs!! and have time to knit, spin, weave and/or sew every day. Sometimes all four if it's a good day. And bicycling, and reading. 

New things - Weaving. 
First project

Began by taking a class from Melodi at the Portland Fiber Gallery and Weaving Studio then rented one of her rigid heddle looms, a Schacht Flip 15", and loved the whole process. It's really easy, not intimidating at all.

Shortly after that I bought my own 20" Ashford Knitter's Loom, made a stand and a couple of stick shuttles for it, and was off and running. I've made several pieces, each trying out something new.

Uist Hebridean warp with my BFL homespun

Kimono Silk Ribbon

Mixed cotton, four weights

Leno in Alpaca Silk

Homemade Stand

Long Warp!

So the whole process of learning a new craft has been amazing. It's a terrific way to use the homespun I make... spinning every week and most days does pile it up...

I went to the New England Fiber show in Springfield MA this Fall and saw some gorgeous Saori work, and the special Saori looms, which seem awfully cool. I met Mihoko Wakabayashi from Worcester, who has an awesome studio, I may go down there this winter to take some classes in the studio there. The wood folding loom is very appealing.

Lately I've been felting open work wool scarves, loving the techniques and variability of the finished products. I'm wearing a cowl I made this morning... I twisted it before seaming it up so it's a moebius. 

November Something

It's snowing, so imperceptibly it's almost invisible. Since arriving back from the dog-walk on the beach, I've raked, put away pots, hoses and tools, taken recycling to the dump... just getting around to coming indoors to have breakfast and feed the most patient of dogs. And myself.

Weight loss update, 65 lbs. Awesome. I feel almost springy, with that much weight off my knee joints it's no wonder. About 20 pounds to go to get to my goal.

Weaving is my newest passion to the stable of fiber arts I'm enjoying. I'm pretty sure I've saved my life with knitting, spinning and weaving.

I bought a rigid heddle loom, the 20" Ashford Knitter's Loom, after trying out a Schacht Flip for a month. I've done about 10 projects, and each seems more beautiful (to me) than the last. I learn so much from each thing I try, and the bonus is that I have a ready made pile of Christmas presents, a sort of bonus for my bliss.

Nov 25, 2012

mobieus2grunge _Snapseed

mobieus2grunge _Snapseed
Originally uploaded by jaxie2011

Grunge Picture

Aug 14, 2012

Summer 2012

Have I been busy?  This girl thought she'd have oodles of time to blog, like, in a daily basis....

So, been riding my new bike A LOT. Reason? Job 1 is losing many lbs. and regaining fitness.  Since April 26th I'm happy to say I've lost nearly 40 lbs. Yes! It is Job 1, it does take focus, but it's been lovely. Riding my bike almost every day... at first 6-8 miles, then 10, then 14, now between 16 - 20. Easily. Knees no longer hurt. Love riding so it's a treat. Living in Maine near the coast doesn't hurt either. See pics below, from some of my daily rides--

The first is Casco Bay from the bike path, eastern end, Portland. The second is a farm over in Cape Porpoise - looks like the British Isles to me - third is Parson's Beach marsh in my town. Sigh, gotta love it.

So, bike riding. Then there's spinning. Went to Sugarloaf, to the Maine Spinner's Registry Retreat. Lovely.

Gorgeous place, Sugarloaf! The Bigelow range is right across the valley.  We had a lovely time! 

My first weaving lesson is this afternoon, had better get a move on...

May 21, 2012

New Bike!

My new bike came--it's a Bianchi Milano Parc... 

Nothing like coming full circle, back to 10 years old with my first "english" bike. That had fenders, three gears, an internal hub, chain guard, and rack. And a comfortable seat.  Ditto this one. That one was a black Raleigh, this is a white Bianchi. The Brooks seat on the old bike was far superior to the seat on this one, but Brooks saddles now cost over 100 bucks... I'm tempted but we'll see about that. I love the curved top tube on this bike, the responsiveness, everything about it.

So no more charity rides no more long treks, because the bike is now about daily lifestyle, errands, etc. And I love it! Plus it's awesome exercise and it's good for my knees to spin easily for long rides, which I now have time to do!! The chronically swollen left knee is already looking and feeling better. Have also lost 9.2 #, hurray!!

Saturday I rode to the next town on the Eastern Trail --6.2 miles, all off-road and very nice. I really enjoyed it. Did about 14 or 15 miles that day.

Started knitting the Wingspan Shawl, using a variegated sock yarn from AslanTrends called Santa Fe. If I like it, I'll make it again from homespun - will try to spin a yarn with long color changes for it.

I'm currently spinning with a group at the Portland Fiber Gallery and loving it. Thery make beautiful batts and braids, wonderful stuff!! Spinners meet every Thursday afternoon and every other Sunday afternoon. They have an Etsy shop as well as a nice space in Portland ME. And classes!

May 2, 2012


OK, I have to say it, this retirement thing is sweeeeet! I wake around 4:30 AM, stretch and contemplate the loveliness of the post-sunrise choices. Leave for the beach at 6 with Jackson, walk with friends. Then.... Knit? Spin? Clean closets? Ride my bike? Time. Bless you.

Day after tomorrow I leave for Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival ! Another sweet thing, I can go when and where I want. If I knew how terrific this would feel, would I have resenting working and saving $ for YEARS and YEARS any less?

Speaking of cleaning closets, yes, the under-stairs closet is now cleaned out. Before and after! Actually, the before is everything that was in it, spread out all over.

Amazing, huh? 

Next, I finished the CEY Starboard neck thing, only I joined it in a big loop that wraps around my neck three times. No ends to fiddle with!

Not a normally pink girl, nor a picot girl, what is old age doing to my brain?? That reminds me of something one of my fellow beach dog walkers told me when I asked the names of his dogs... "Wyatt and Riley," he said, "or Riot and Wily sometimes!"

And~ a linen neck thing or possibly head thing, from Quince & Co Sparrow ~ a lovely Belgian linen. I'm going to love this! It's going to be a Cabled Necklace and is from olgajazzzy, who has various other wonderful things on her blogs, check it out. This is a free pattern on Ravelry.

OK, I'm off for some preventative car maintenance thing, to stave off the possibililty of an annoying car issue on the long drive from Maine to Maryland in a few days!

Apr 24, 2012

Jester's Folly

I started this scarf I'm calling Jester's Folly a few days ago... in honor of May Day! The gal at Hub Mill Store said the cast on of 135 picots over 405 sts was "a bit tiresome"--yes, I'd agree, but I'm rather enjoying it, then the rest will be a quick knit, ribs with with short rows. I suddenly wanted a quick, soft cotton scarf for the warmer weather. It's Starboard, by Susan Mills, from the Harbor CEY pamphlet.

Picots, yes, in my dotage, I'm most fond of them, they're so unpredictable and thus full of joy in my book. I wouldn't have been caught dead with a picot on my clothing as a kid (and they were in then!). Go figure.

I may make one of these for Morgan, but perhaps substitute twirlies~instead of picots~like those on Cat Bordhi's Anemone Hat . Just to see if it works that way. Morg's my only relative who would consider wearing something like that.  Over the metal dog collar.  Though to do her justice, the dog collar has been swapped for a sterling silver look-alike. Meanwhile, I'd like to finish it soon to wear it to Maryland Sheep and Wool the week after next.

Yes, I'm going! My first post-retirement trip~(did I say I was retired? Finally?) Planning to pack up the car with some knitting, my wheel and a bike, and go! For as long as I like, three or four days. If I'm lucky, when I come back through Western MA on May 7th or 8th I'll stop at WEBS, hang about and try to meet Brenda Dayne, of the Cast On podcast, perhaps between classes? She's fast becoming a hero of mine, I so envy her life in Wales. 

Yesterday's venture to the local welding shop netted a tube of 1/16th gauge stainless steel wires, 36 in in length, probably 20 in all for 9 bucks. Welding shop stuff is great, smooth, inexpensive. They have copper wire, and I'm plotting about what can be made from it. This was to supplement my 3/32 gauge wires, but are more flexible, for blocking curves. Then I stumbled upon some interlocking foam mats at Goodwill. How cool is it that I can now block my shawls and such on the mats instead of the carpet?

I blocked this~

Which I then decided to give to my neighbor Laura... it's her palette, she has the most gorgeous white hair and looks stunning in neutrals with her silver jewelry. 

Lastly, some progress on the Hickory Socks, from Clara Parkes Book of Socks. The yarn is a dead ringer for some Zauerball I saw at the Freeport get-together this winter, but it's not, it's Kroy FX and I believe cost 3 or 4 $ a ball. It's tough and will wear well. The pattern, when spread out,  really does look like the bark of a shagbark hickory tree. I modified the heel, as my new go-to heel is Cat Bordhi's Sweet Tomato Heel ~brilliant in construction, easy to remember, fits like a dream!

That's about it, except for an interesting naturey thing I noticed yesterday at the beach. It was stormy, very windy and foggy. A large flock of terns occupied a portion of the beach, a few hundred of them. Ringing them were 20 or so black-back gulls, the largest of the gulls around here. It was a definite standoff. Once in awhile a gull would take flight over the flock, to be chased away immediately by several angry-sounding terns, who would circle the gull, screaming and dive-bombing, until the gull veered off. This continued until rain began running down the back of my neck~well, I'm sure it continued after that, but they lost their audience of two, Jackson and I, at that point.

Off for a bike ride. Grins.

Apr 22, 2012


I'm so excited, I retired on Friday! As a single woman who's worked, most all her life to date, this is a big deal.  I'm amazed that the $ is there in savings and SS to do this, that I can retire and still be in excellent  health, that I may have years to enjoy my passions. Trite, but another chapter, another door opening. I'm lucky, lucky, lucky.

Things I love - this shot of a ewe watching to fairgoers quietly from her enclosure... me too, I relate. It's me, getting my feet wet exploring a new passion. I love it so much that I use it as my ravatar on Ravelry for Jaxie985.

At Hub Mills store in No. Billerica, MA yesterday I bought (among other things) a few skeins of Seedling, CEY's organic cotton from their Verde Collection, color 4564... will make Starboard Wrap from the Classic Elite Yarns Harbor 2012 pamphlet.  It's soft and has picots along the edge, and I, un-girliest of girls, have a soft spot for picots! Colors more muted than this photo shows...

Have been trying hard to learn how to knit Continental style, the better to do stranded knitting, and the one of the women at the store showed me method of purling that looked fabulous, if I could just get it. Practice.

Off my needles - my second Prairie Piper Shawl - from and knit in their fingering wt yarn, Finch... Kittywake colorway.  The first Prairie Piper I made from Chickadee in the Q & Co Leek colorway. Both are gorgeous, soft, springy and lovely to knit with. The Finch version here isn't blocked yet, and curled up reminds me of the caterpillar in Alice and Wonderland, minus the hookah...
And... the finished Leeks of Spring Piper I made mostly while sitting in a waiting room waiting last month so I naturally gave it to my cancer buddy at work. The designer is Paula Emons-Fuessle, whose podcast Knitting Pipeline is brilliant! She submitted her shawl design when Quince & Co. put out a call for shawl designs, and she has a winner with this one.

That's it. A "real" blog episode that has the pictures and text... now that I have time, I'll be working on how to format this blog, it's on my to-do list!!