Wednesday, February 22, 2012

I'm back!

Well, I have decided to give this another go.

Since I last posted, I have purchased a breeding pair of Englsih Angora Rabitts. We have bred two successful litters last year and have our first for 2012 due at the end of this month.

I have reopened my Etsy store and will post more on that once I get things listed.

So, it seems I am opening a new door in my life and hope you will join me. I'm hoping to do a give-a-way in March, so stay tuned.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

They're Here!!!

Just a quick post today. I want to introduce you all to my two new babies! Well, they are just over 1 year old, but still, my babies. They are two Shetland ewes in need of names. Currently they are Abigail and Ruth, but my horse, who resides with them, is also names Abby and has had the name much longer then the sheep. I am also not found of Ruth. So...any suggestions? I am looking for Scottish names, only appropriate. Please post any suggestions as a comment. Thanks for the help!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Busy August

I am not sure where this month has gone! My children start school on monday already and it seems summer has just arrived!!! Oh well, guess that just means we had a fun, busy, good summer! After all, time flies when you are having fun, right? Ok, since my last post, I have gone to Missouri for the Missouri Basketweavers Annual Basketweaving Convention held in Independence this year. These are two of the little baskets I made. The one on the left is named "Tiger Twill" and the right is "Purple Heart" Both were designed and taught by Linda Fabian and were a total pleasure to weave.

This is "Aunt Hallie's Lunch Pail" designed and taught by Charles Crenshaw. This basket is made entirely of leather! There is a wooden hoop at the top and bottom and a wooden handle, but all are wrapped in leather. Even the bottom is leather!! being the horse person that I am, I LOVED weaving this one, it smells so good! A nice change in texture from the wet, scratchy reed, to work with soft, supple leather. If I ever get the chance to work with this man again, I will do it in a heartbeat. A truly unique individual with truly unique baskets.

This is Dona Nazerenko's design, "Rectangle Colors".
This little basket is made entirely of birch bark she has harvested, pressed and cut herself. Another treat to work with for me! Aren't the colors just beautiful? The reds are achieved by simply turning the bark over and using the inside. If you peel the layers of the bark you get a different shade as well. Apply mink oil once your done and it really brings the colors out and gives the basket a beautiful sheen without being glossy. Another great class.

And then there was the shopping! Oh my, did I shop! But, I keep reminding myself, I sell these baskets so this is money well spent. If I can just find the time to complete them all!!!! Three of these kits are done, but the patterns! I think I bought about 20 from Laura Lee Zangler. Beautiful twills!!!

And best of all, I found my legs while at the convention!! Arrived in a wheel chair but was able to walk through the airport and off the plane when I got home, best treat of the trip!!! Thank you for all the thoughts and prayers. I should be good for another 3 years now! Let's at least hope so anyway.

I have also been BUSY with demonstrations with my guild, Susquehanna Valley Spinning and Weaving Guild. This month alone we were at the Union County West End Fair, Montour De-Long Fair and the 90th Lithuanian Heritage Festival. All within 8 days!!! Thank you to all who showed up to help, I think we had a great time and had a lot of interest in our craft!

We also started up a sister guild here in Columbia County Pennsylvania open to crafters of all kinds. Our name is Spins and Needles Fiber Arts Guild. Anyone interested in joining us please shoot me an E-mail. We are still working out the details of when and where to meet, but looks like we will be doing a weeknight at one of the local church's community rooms the first week of the month. Dues are $15 month.

Oh, I also found out from one of my guild "sisters" that my spinning wheel, mentioned in the last post, is a Country Craftsman. These wheels apparently are highly sought after and are no longer made. Sounds like I made a good investment!!!! Next weekend it gets dropped off with Fred Hutton to have the treadle replaced and then I am going to refinish it I think. It's not and antique, so refinishing would not affect the value.

Oh, Oh, Oh..I almost forgot!!!! If I can convince my husband, I have already purchased two Shetland sheep!!!! We have the pasture, stall and hay, just need to reinforce our fencing a little bit and we are ready to go. One has a lamb at her side yet, so I have about 2 more weeks until she is ready to go. It may take that long to convince my husband, but I am not backing off of this one. I WANT MY SHEEP!!!!

Monday, August 3, 2009

"New" toys

Hope everyone is enjoying their summer. We, here is Northeastern/Central Pennsylvania, seem to have finally found the summer weather this week. At least that is what the weatherman says, we will have to wait and see. Honestly, I am perfectly content with the cooler temperatures. But anyway, I went shopping the other day!!! Look what I "older", not antique, spinning wheel with matching bench, for a low price of $115!!!!! It was put together all wrong, things facing all the wrong directions, backwards, etc. I still think the legs are wrong as it still does not look "right" to me and it needs to have the treadle replaced,'s in great shape and for that price, who could blame me!. It's a double drive, traditional wheel and that is all I know about it. I also bought this really neat skein winder. This is something I'm sure a wife told her husband to make for her. It is not as finished as a piece of furniture would have been, or like other antique winders I have seen. But it is a piece of engineering!

If you can see in this picture, as you wind the skein a threaded arm turns a gear. On this gear is a marker (right now a broken piece of a colored pencil) As this marker passes under the arm holding the gear it passes another small, thin strip of wood and clicks. This marks the end of the skein. After measuring it out, this nifty contraption measures 80 yard skeins. I hope that all makes sense, I am NOT an engineer and lack the technical vocabulary.
These items were the result of a needed day out with a good friend as company. I am in the middle (at least I hope I have made it to the middle) of a full on MS flare. My legs currently have decided to go on a vacation without the rest of my body. They have sent out an invitation to my left arm and it has now apparently decided to join them. I am lugging around dead weight, unable to drive and need to do some serious pacing of myself to get the simplest of daily tasks completed. But I really cannot complain. I have been diagnosed with MS for 9 years now and this is only the third, although maybe the worst, flare I have had. So I have an excuse to sit and put my vacationing legs up and let people do things for me for a little while. Spinning has been put on hold, basket weaving front and center.
I leave for Kansas City, Missouri on Wend for a basket weaving retreat sponsored by one of the guilds in Missouri. Once I get to the hotel, it should be a great, relaxing weekend with some good friends I have met over the past few years. I'll post again when I get home to show the wonderful baskets created while there.

Friday, July 17, 2009


My FIRST completed sweater made out of my FIRST handspun yarn!!! I am thrilled with the outcome! The pattern is called "off the hook" and is from the book "Total Crochet Fashions" by Gayle Bunn, A Leisure Arts Publication. I have to say, I was really surprised with the emotion I felt while working on this sweater. I have made things before with store bought yarn and it was fun, but this was more of an emotional journey. The roving I spun is called Silver Sparks and was produced by a fellow guild member, Phylleri Ball, from Steam Valley Fiber. It is a wool and kid mohair blend that Phylleri dyes herself. The wool comes from her own livestock. (I am so jealous)

On the basket front...these are a few I completed this week. The tote is a pattern from fellow Pennsylvanian Valerie Poirier, called Patterned Tote.

This is another small antler basket I completed. I has some dyed round reed, then my handspun Icelandic yarn, then seagrass and finally flat reed. Simple, yet cute.

This is my own design and is meant to hold straight knitting needles. It is woven over a hard shipping tube for stability. And yes, I am working on some for circular needles and crochet hooks.

I am also working on setting up and Etsy store. Hopefully it will be completed in August, if I can find the time to do it.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Views of Country Living

I just took a very quick walk around my farm and thought I would share my views on country living...
These lilies come up all over our farm. in the woods, on the banks, in the lawn. By best assumption is that at one time ground was moved by past owners of the farm and these were taken for a ride and unknowingly relocated. Fine with me. I love seeing them everywhere.

I'm sure there are many land owners of old properties out there that share in the beauty of these. Wild roses. This bush is completely overrun with weeds, but the little thorns are so abusive that I just let the weeds go and be happy. This bush is growing along the side of our springhouse and is visible as you leave our house via the kitchen. So pretty!

Wild Phlox! These are literally EVERYWHERE!!! This is the first one I have seen this summer, but many are to follow. I LOVE when they all bloom, it smells so sweet outside. Surprisingly, and happily, they do not bother my allergies. We have these purple ones, also white and a light pink. The purple will bloom first, then the white and pink and then another round of purple. They pretty much keep going from now until September!

I guess these are blackberries? They are just starting to ripen. I was hoping to bring a basket full to a picnic this afternoon, but was out of luck, guess it has not been warm enough for an early harvest. Promise of things to come.

Golden wheat fields, just about ready for harvest. I would not be surprised to see the combines out this week harvesting the wheat, then baling the straw. One of these days I am going to teach myself how to weave wheat. Surely they would not miss a little bit! (oh, we rent most of out land out to family farming friends) It's their wheat!

Country kids! My two little gems hunting for the first of the peas. This is the first year we planted a garden and I left it completely up to them. We have peas (3 varieties), beans, sweet corn, green peppers, potatoes, radishes and brussel sprouts. Yes, they chose all of this. My kids love vegetables. Glad to know I did something right with them!

And lastly, my Bantams. These are my pretty chickens. Their sole purpose is to look pretty and make me smile! (oh, and hatch out new laying chicks when needed) They were released from their confinement three days ago and are quickly making friends with Abby, my horse. I have been trying to get pictures of them together, but keep missing the shot. They are eating her food, she is eating theirs, they have been "bathing" in the sawdust in her stall and settling down for a quick nap. I can sit and watch my chicks all day, they are just hysterical! I am waiting for them to be nested in Abby's stall and have her come running in from her pasture only to startle them. I'm not sure who will be more upset, but I can just see and hear the commotion that will follow.

Hope everyone has had a wonderful 4th of July. Let's remember all of those past and present who have fought and are still fighting for this country's freedom! And thank you to all those who fought!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Back to Weaving...

OK, finally gotten back to weaving. A friend of mine was able to make it to Country Seat, our "local" weaving supply shop, a few weekends ago to take a class with Ann Bowers. They were making all kinds of ribbed baskets including antler baskets. This is something I have wanted to try for years!

So we got together yesterday and got to work. Jenn shared all the tips she had learned and we both tackled our own individual baskets. See, people write all kinds of patterns for antler baskets, but I have found that patterns are really a joke. Since each antler is it's own shape, the patterns are really only guidelines. I am not saying anything negative about antler patterns, trust me, I have a dozen at least! They are merely just guidelines of rib placement. The antlers truly determine the size and basic shape of the basket. It's very fun and creative to sit and study the antler, how is sits, and determine where to start drilling. A little scary too!!!

I'm not sure if I am going to chance selling these as the laws here in Pennsylvania are really strict about the collecting and selling of antlers. But, I will be doing commission work. If you have an antler, send it to me, and I would be more than happy to make you one on your own antler!