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.