Thursday, March 23, 2006

One More Memory...

This I believe was taken the summer of 1970. I would be 4 and my brother Danny 2.5 years old. This was taken by our babysitters, twin sisters (the twin thing seems to always have been a factor in my life!). We lived in "the little red house" which was a rental on their property. What a fun summer it was for us. I remember our kittens "Boots" and "Tiger" who were found on the property, running through the sprinkler and eating lunch outside in our lawn chairs using overturned cardboard boxes and old wooden wire spools for our "table". My Mom did such an awesome job taking care of us, making fun for us, even though our family was strugging with my Dad's alcoholism and we were poor...we never knew we were poor. We just knew we were loved. I hope that is something that I can also pass on to my children. We don't have a lot of worldly wealth to pass on to them, but we do have lots of love and I try to pass on to them a sense of fun and adventure that both my Mom and my Grandma Hopkins did for my brother, my cousins and I. Danny and I were 17.5 months apart, just like my son and his twin sisters. It made us very close. I honestly don't remember fighting with him much or feeling in competition with him. I remember loving to play with him and wanting him to stay awake during nap time to play with me (that has since come back to haunt me! LOL). Some people have told me that it couldn't be like I remembered, that I glorified it because my brother is no longer living, but my Mom has verified that we really did get along famously and loved each other "whole bunches". Danny was very affectionate. I remember his giggle, sometimes echoed in my son. Another thing my son does that his Uncle did, was walk on his tip toes like a ballerina. It was eery to see him do it the first time, a deja vu type of feeling. It is like when ballerinas go 'en pointe' and I have not see other children do this, although I'm sure they do. My Mother has given me most of his photographs and I really do need to make it a priority to put them together in a Creative Memories album to preserve them. I also want to make an album for my son with pictures of his Uncle and Grandpa and cousin, all deceased, that he was named pass the memories on. My "to do" list is long, sigh...but the death of Shelley's Mom has reminded me how important it is to do some things like that that you don't have to say, "but I never asked her this..." and "I never told him that." I have learned the importance of the verse in Ephesians that says to never let the sun go down on your anger and Mom and I learned the hard way, more than once, the value of always saying "I love you". I never regret that those were the last words I said to my brother, my dear step father and my Daddy shortly before they were all taken unexpectedly. I don't want to wax morose or maudlin, it's just that sometimes there needs to be an outlet for one's grief. For me, I always feel that words physically take a painful emotion outside of my body. And so I am using this format to extricate pieces of my grief. Please remember to hug someone you love today and tell them how much they mean to you. If you got this far in your reading...thanks! God bless you! Don't worry, I'll be back to knitting, spinning, quilting or more likely flower photos, soon! :o)

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Daniel Albin Johnson

I know, it's not knitting. My friend Amy has been posting on her blog about the loss of her precious little boy. I weep with her when I read. Loss is loss, you do not "get over it", you adjust, you learn to live, you go through many changes, but the loss is still there. Like a small hole in your clothing. You forget about it, until something catches it and it tears. and sometimes we feel we walk alone in our grief. Only one other person in the world (Mom) truly shares memories with me of my brother, Daniel Albin Johnson 1967-1973. I rejoice in my belief that he is in a better place and that we will see each other one day again! But I miss him here on earth. I wonder if he would be a Daddy today, if our children would play and fight and celebrate together, if I would have liked his wife, if he would be a godly man, what his career would be and a million other things. It is not that I dwell on him. I don't dwell on loss. But recently several things have caught on that hole, ripping it open, making the wound tender. Today I am sharing his picture with you because I don't want his memory to die. This photo was taken in 1972, the year before he died. I believe he was 4.5 in this photo, the same age as my son, who is so like and yet so different than the namesake Uncle he will have to wait and meet in Heaven. Thank you Amy for your vulnerability and for the opportunity to continue to heal. Thanks Mom. I love you. Because He lives I can face tomorrow (thank you Gloria Gaither for your healing words)!Posted by Picasa

Monday, March 20, 2006

This weekend was the Capitol City Air Show, which took place at the former Mather Air Force Base which is about a mile from us. We had 5 days of show because of all the practicing. I should have been out photographing during practice because ALL the planes were out and it sounded like an air raid. My ear drums vibrated, our little tin shack vibrated and car alarms were continually going off because the vibration was that strong. Saturday I took these pictures. I missed the best one because of the delay with the digital camera. Four planes flew directly over our street and were so close that it felt like you could reach up and touch them. The hair stood up all over my arms and neck. It was pretty neat to see them. My shots aren't great. They move SOOOO fast, maybe my cousin Wendy can tell me exactly how fast as she is from a flying family, works in the aviation field and goes to many air shows and races...all I can say is FAST. It is hard to get a focus lock on them quick enough to take a picture...they've flown out of your viewfinder before you snap! LOL Anyway, here are a few shots and I'm sharing them even though they are not the sharpest or greatest. This one is directly over our house, that's our neighbor's tree. Sorry, no knitting content today! :o) Posted by Picasa

Blue Angels diving. Posted by Picasa

Closer picture of the planes. Posted by Picasa

Blue Angels in formation. Posted by Picasa

Why Am I Homesick?! Take a look at this photo taken by my guest photographer, Ruth, aka Mom! This is Mt. Baker abover Wiser Lake in Washington State and this is a couple miles from my Mom's house on her way to work. I loved seeing Mt. Baker from many different angles when I lived in Whatcom County and I did a lot of hiking and photographing on and near the mountain and the surrounding area. It's breathtakingly beautiful there. Doesn't she look gorgeous with a fresh coat of snow? When you live in Whatcom County Mt. Baker is usually referred to as "The Mountain". There is a ski area up there which is popular with the snowboarders and also Mt. Shuksan and Picture Lake which is one of the most photographed places in the world...I even saw postcards and calendars of it when I was in Europe and its on puzzles and placemats and framed prints. Some day I'll have to put up one of my pictures from there so you can see how beautiful it is...then you'll say, "Oh yeah, I've seen a pictures of that before!" :o) Posted by Picasa

The Sisters viewed from Wiser Lake in Whatcom County, Washington State. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Someone asked me where my "garden" was...well, I have to mostly container garden as our place is very small and has hard, hard, hard clay for soil. This is the path out to the mail box at the front of our house. Posted by Picasa

I have so few pictures of my 3 children together...this was just a fluke. They are sitting L to R in order of birth. For those of you who are new to the blog, the girls are identical twins and will be 3 in about 9 days! My boy is 4.5 years old. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

What I Do Instead of Housework...

Well, for starters I watch my tulips through the window, in the rain. The picture below was taken on a sunny day. I'm not complaining about the rain though, it will be 105* before I know it! LOL And the leak in the roof is fixed, praise God!

Besides photographing the tulips and referreeing the rugrats, I've been spinning. I really should have waited for my fast flyer to did today...but I couldn't wait! I have been spinning this Merino top and it has been heaven. It is sooo SOFT! However, I had difficulties getting the right amount of twist in it. If I treadled too quickly, it over spun in spots, but if I didn't treadle quickly enough, it was just whispy air. And even with quick treadly there were areas that were unspun which made it frustrating when I went to Navajo ply, because it kept breaking. Then when I plied, I think I treadled too quickly. I had it on the second whorl, maybe I should have put it on the largest. I don't know these things yet so I am learning by trial and error. Each project I work on, I learn from however, and for me that is the point. I feel like I am getting closer and closer to doing something consistently in order to make the right yarn to knit with. I have 4 more ounces to play with, which will hopefully do another 150 yards of 3 ply yarn for socks. I need to wash and hang this skein, weighted. Then I am going to make some slipper socks for my son. He loves the colors and he loves it when I make him things.

I have to get busy on the friend Shelley is coming next week. AND, my daughters will be turning 3 next weekend so family is coming too. It's amazing what does or does not happen in the house after being sick for a month!

I am sure that I will be distracted by that fast flyer and you will soon be seeing some more spinning pics. And I better get back to the COTR shawl.

Oh, I guess I did get something accomplished. I organized my stash. I have 5 Banker's Boxes of stuff including a beautifully dyed silk cap and some other interesting goodies.

I owe some of you some email regarding comments you have left. I'm really behind on that and I am sorry! Thank you for commenting and I am working on getting caught's just that answering email cuts into my spinning time! :o)

I told you there would be more flower pics. So far just the daffodils, narcissus and two tulips have bloomed. I love the coloring on this one, how it is feathery soft at the edge and deeper pink further in. Posted by Picasa

Handpainted merino top from eBay user wooltreasures. I call it "parrot" because that's what it reminds me of! Posted by Picasa

In the process... Posted by Picasa

The final product...150 yards of fingering/sport weight, very soft yarn! Posted by Picasa

Monday, March 13, 2006

LuVerne Elizabeth Skroch Troyer

Sad news this weekend, my best friend Shelley's Mom died unexpectedly. Most likely she had a heart attack or her heart stopped in her sleep as she had had heart surgery and problems the last couple years. Shelley said she looked peaceful when she found her so most likely she did not suffer. This photo shows LuVerne at her 80th birthday party which Shelley gave her in January. LuVerne was born in January 1926 in or near Jamestown, North Dakota and died March 2006 near Tacoma, Washington.

Please pray for Shelley and her family as they grieve the loss of their Mom. And please pray for Shelley as she has lots of details to sort out, including finding a new place to live, as she had lived with her Mom and helped take care of her. If the details work out okay, Shelley will still be coming down to visit for her previously planned trip. It will be good to hug on her then!

Goodbye LuVerne! We love you! Thanks for having such a great kid!

Friday, March 10, 2006

I had a sample of some really lovely wool from my friend Cary at I am not sure what it was, but probably Corriedale as that is the kind of sheep she has. I spun this somewhat fine on my Ashford Traditional a couple weeks ago. However, I was not able to get enough twist into most of you can see in the upper right hand corner. I wanted to see what I will do for socks and shawls so I Navajo plied it. I was very pleased with the results, other than the areas without enough spin that were also unbalanced when plied. I think this will easily correct itself with some experience. I did not think I would need the fast flyer on my Lendrum, so unfortunately I did not get it when I was in San Francisco at Carolina Homespun. I ordered it from their website and I hope the order went in before Morgaine hit the road for Arizona for ten days for a show! I really am going to need it to do nice laceweight singles. I am excited about all the possibilities and have a mental line up of projects already. :o) Posted by Picasa

Here is a picture of my Lendrum with the large plying flyer on it. I am holding up a regular bobbin to give you some scale. I had two bobbins about 90% full that I plied onto the big plying bobbin. I am not totally comfortable using the plying flyer yet. Part of the time I found I had to treadle hard, like riding a bicycle up hill...I don't know if it should feel like that or not. It was the first time I have used a tensioned lazy kate as well. The drive band slipped off the whorl a couple times too. I'm going to have to talk to some other Lendrum users and see what they have to say. I also need to look up some more information on plying and it may just take time for me to get comfotable and build up some confidence!  Posted by Picasa

Here is the first skein totally spun and plied on my new Lendrum. 160 yards of imperfect but lovely yarn! :o) While I am not content with it as a final product...I am excited because I learned a lot in making this skein and I'm beginning to learn what works for me, what I'm comfortable with and what things I might do differently. Now I need more hours in the day because I'm very excited to be trying some different things! Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

My first tulip, in between rain showers...a shot for all my friends who are still cold or snowy...spring is on the way! :o) Posted by Picasa

A little dark but close to color. These are the first two of the four fibers I got free with my wheel. The one on the left is Merino/kid and is in olives with a hint of navy. The one on the right is Colonia Top (Corriedale) and is blue with reds, greens etc in it. Posted by Picasa

Well, it was near impossible to get the right color here, the one on the left should look more purple than blue, a light purple/light burgandy rosy mix without any blue in it! The one on the right is dark purple, blues and burgandies but not quite as dark as that shows. They are labeled Depot Bay Wensleydale. Posted by Picasa

Today I tried out my spindle (gift from secret pal!) for the first time and it was fun...this was my first time EVER on a spindle...quality not good enough to photograh but I was having fun. I need to read some more on how to do it. I also spent some time spinning up some of Cary's Joseph (corriedale)/black alpaca...ha's too dark for you to tell if I know what I am doing or not! LOL I can say that I started out on the largest whorl and have progressed to the smallest to get the size yarn I am attempting. I want to spin three bobbins and then ply them together for socks. In person, this is not totally black, but it's not gray or brown either. I really love it. And I'm enjoying my Lendrum. I just wish that I could connect with an experienced Lendrum user to have them critique what I'm doing and give me some pointers. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, March 05, 2006

We began our morning adventure with a stop at the Farmer's Market on Allemany. It was full of colors and interesting things and we taste tested quite a few things too! After we purchased a few things at the market we headed to Carolina Homespun where I had the joy of purchasing a new spinning wheel! While I was there trying wheels, Hubby took the kids around the corner to a neighborhood park and they had fun playing and making new friends while I had the luxury of time! :o) It was an all around gorgeous day. Read on to see more of our adventure! Posted by Picasa

I thought these potatoes looked stunning in the morning sun. Posted by Picasa

There were many beautiful flowers in the market. Posted by Picasa

This is Morgaine Wilder, proprietess of and the very kind woman who helped me find a wheel that "made my heart sing"! She was quite patient and answered a lot of questions. I highly recommend her services. They do have an Internet store front. Posted by Picasa