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So, i wended up in the ER about 3 weeks ago for a gallbladder attach.  I know.  So very romantic.  It kinda sucked, actually.  but anyway...

I was referred to a surgeon to talk about having it out - and he did, indeed, recommend this.  It's not just gallstones, I learned.  It's my whole stinkin' gallbladder that just wasn't working right.  No wonder I felt the way I did! 

Fast forward to last Friday and I had a laparoscopic cholecystectomy - outpatient - which means I got to go home by 3pm.  on drugs. tired. Sore. SO sore.  The last week has made me realize how non-routine "routine surgery" really is.  I'm a fan of keeping my other parts, thank you. BUT I am starting to feel better and more like I can do things - and eat ALL the things.  I was starting to go mad cause I was too tired to DO anything and too awake to sleep.  

Whine Whine - and now I'm doing much better.  Ah me, I don't do patient well.  

On other fronts, I've been prepping to collect natural dyes and may have found a couple of resources for fiber and yarn (yippy!) for my natural dye lots - or at least mentally prepping. 

Also, I've managed to get a shrug pattern done and am having it tested - tiny bit anxious about this one cause I don't usually publish patterns....so here we go. 


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Well, it appears that I've been away from here for several months...

In that time, I lost all all my flax to crop failure and will have to redo next year.  This really bummed me out for quite a while until a lovely woman at an ISLAND (See http://www.artmeetsearth.org/) field trip to Stonehenge Fiber Mill last month looked at me and said "Don't think of it as pushing back the experiment a year.  This IS the experiment.  It's already in the works."   So, now I'm going to try and change the focus of my "life lens" and see this as my planning year - the year where I set up the exact guidelines of this exercise and go for it.

As of right now:

- I have no flax to spin.
- I have a LOT of wool to spin.
- I don't need to replace most items in my wardrobe (see t-shirt yoga pants).
- I have a perfect "mind space" to plan this journey.
- I have LOTS of support from family (hubby) and friends.

Looking at those facts, who can be down?   I've got it really, REALLY good, and I can rock this thing.

In addition to all of that, I've also had the fantastic opportunity to be a farmhand/workshare member at Birch Point Farm as well as make music (for money and for fun!) and sell my wares at some fantastic craft/art fairs.  
And, just in case I was getting bored, I'm also now the "Girl Friday" in our church office - AND putting together a handmade craft market for November this year (Bayview Wesleyan Church on November 8th).

 It's keeping me busy (oh, thank goodness, cause I was getting weighed down with the extra time) and happy (hurrah!) and making me feel like an active part of my community (finally!). 

So, here's to next year and this year and all the time between...  

Now, just to replace my current yoga pants....I'll be posting pictures soon (probably Monday) of my new pants.





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This month has been busy with spinning demonstrations and music, not to mention my seeds came.
HUZZAH!


But one thing that made me stop in my tracks was a sweet and lovely 3-year-old boy last week.


I was demonstrating spinning at a small Waldorf school here in TC and was working with the kiddos showing them how a drop spindle works...This little guy picked it up incredibly fast!  He was spinning nearly on his own!  It made me stop and think about how we over complicate things.  I mean, really,  It's yarn.  It's not brain surgery (thank goodness!).

On other fronts, I changed the strings on my lovely guitars and made some cast-off string craft.

 

New slogan maybe? "STRINGS!  They're not just for instruments anymore."  

On more serious thoughts...Finding that of "light" or God in ourselves as well as those around us... This may seem a little heavy for here, but It's been following me around most insistently in the past week or more. 


I strive to see the things that are good and bright in people around me.  I search out the light in a being.  BUT I find myself falling into that all too common trap of dimming my own light. Where is my sense of the sacred in myself?  How can I call the spark in another holy and refuse to see it mirrored in my own life?  I think that perhaps it's easier to push down what we ourselves are as a means of lifting others instead of celebrating that same difference as the light.  Phew. 



So, here I am trying to undo that weight.  I want to appreciate my talents as they are and not as they have been or might someday be, but just as I stand now in THIS moment.  I want to realize I am imperfect and lovely.  That vulnerability is beautiful when we embrace it.  It's all kinds of freeing.   And I plan on jumping in.



Why not, right?

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I'm feeling important today. Important to myself, and a little bit celebrity - even if only in my mind.

A couple of weeks ago I was contacted by Paula, a reporter from MI26 News, which a channel that broadcasts on our local cable network (12) and does mini local interest stories. They were interested in doing a story on Why Knot Fibers and my spinning.

So, I'm all "AH! Cool! AH! on camera?!?" And then cleaned the house and invited them to come tape me spinning....

Here's what they got:

www.minews26.com/content/

I'm pretty darn happy with the result and am feeling very excited about future endeavors!

Between that and playing at our local Traverse City Chocolate Festival on 4/27, thinks are pretty busy (and so FUN!).

Check out the link below for more info...



To top all that off, I'm working in our church office this week - so, total star status. Office star that is! I've been able to get some knitting done on the side and a little spindle spinning due to all my work being done. Good times.

Now, if I can just get this efficient in my "real" life, I'll be all set!
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I've been feeling the knitting this year. There are times when I really just want to make the yarn and let someone else work with it. However, I intend to create beyond the initial stages this year. Hats, mittens, scarves, cowls...

So far, several pairs of mittens and several hats, about 5 cowls, and a small scarf. What has really hit home this month is that I'm looking with longing at the yarn I dyed myself... This is a breakthrough for me as I have a tendency to try to make my creations "less" in my eyes, and I"m kicking that to the curb along with perpetual "sorry" (see last post). I'm putting on my big girl panties and proclaiming that I can create beautiful things..for ME as well as everyone around me. I can appreciate that what I have made is beautiful, useful, and just as lovely as anything else I've seen.

I've expanded that creation process to go as close to the sources as I can while still living within the city limits. I've gone officially from soiled wool to finished hat this year. Washing, (washing, washing, washing, also, see washing), dyeing, spinning, plying, and then, finally, knitting. It's lovely, and I love it. It was a combined effort with a visiting friend with an interest in learning more about spinning. What light! What beauty! What FUN!

You see? THERE it is. I forgot that it's FUN as well as necessary. I love this "job."

I also have been exploring my curious side again with trying some new things. First off: A friend of mine mentioned to me that she read somewhere that you could use pantyhose as a belt for a car, and why wouldn't that work for my treadle sewing machine.. (last night...there may have been wine)

Well.....we made it work!





Notice the white stitching? Yeah, that's where we sewed it together with the "modern" sewing maching...

                               Treadle sewing machine

So, that's what happens when knitters get together.  Thanks Lee!

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I've felt like I need to get back at this here blog thing for the past several weeks.  However, this pesky life stuff keeps happening.  Okay, not actually pesky, just a lot.  Children and dog and kitties and house and work and knitting and music and craft show, oh my!  Hm.  When I write it all down like that, it makes me feel like I got a lot done, unlike how I felt about it BEFORE I typed it up.

Another thing that has been really on my mind is our self-deprecation as people, as women, as mothers, as humans.   I had a wake-up call last weekend when I apologized for about 7 different things in 1 afternoon.....that weren't actually my fault in any way.  The real shocker was that, when this was pointed out by my dear friend, I nearly apologized for apologizing.  Geez!  Guess it's time to bring out the 'ol pep talk again.  

I personally think that people are awesome.  We have the ability to create and encourage.  We can build each other up instead of cutting each other down.  Although, we do seem to forget that we need our OWN energy building us up as well.  

Okay, enough ranting.  I want to get down and dirty with some type-talk:

I'm still planning on beginning my fibershed experiment for the next year or 2 - replacing items of clothing with ones upcycled/made from local materials from within about 200 miles of my home.  I've been spending some of that brain power trying to work out the steps I need to take for this.  First up is planting flax this early spring.  I already have some local wool that I've been spinning, so I guess maybe THAT has been first.  My thought process is that I won't want to wear wool in the summer, and it's mighty hard to grow cotton up here, so linen is the perfect option.  And by perfect, I mean slightly less of a pain in the tuccus.   I'm hoping to make myself some wool leggings this winter for the spring, and to make a couple of new upcycled skirts.  My jeans (both pair) are wearing out, and I want to be able to replace them without going far afield.  I guess we'll see how it goes! 

Step 1:  start.  

Feel free to pass on any suggestions/ideas/thoughts to nudge me along...
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The last few months (May, June, July) have been invigorating, infuriating, intriguing, and good (ran out of "I" words).   We had friends visit, a friend pass away, births of 2 lovely babes, new steps taken in my fiber arts, in my music, and trying to learn the art of contentment once more. 

The first 8 weeks of being home were very much a roller coaster.   I felt not at all at home here in our house - because it didn't feel like HOME.  It's starting to get that way now, it'll just take time.  I've now baked, sewn, spun, and knit here.  It helps to create in this space.



Now, I'm feeling ready for a new challenge.  DUM DUM DUM!  (enter crazy dancing poodles..okay maybe not)

 Do you remember that "6-items challenge" I did just over a year ago? Well, I'm thinking of undertaking it once again, and making it even MORE challenging...but I also need to define a few things first; new versus recycled/upcycled goods.  I think these should both count as "local fiber" when speaking of getting local clothing.  I feel this way because the items are already here, they weren't transported here new.  If they've been up/recycled then they're not going to a trash bin near you.

Okay, so my 'rules" as I see them for the next year are:

Wearables replaced (as they wear out) with only locally made/sourced wearables (i.e. upcycled from non-local fibers or made from locally raised/grown fibers).  
Exceptions are underclothes and swimwear, and the clothes I already own.

I would like to change over to ONLY locally made types...but it makes no sense to do so by getting rid of all I have and producing more waste in the process.  I have a feeling this is going to be tricky, but I still really want to do it.

Now, what other ideas for "guidelines" do YOU have?  Thoughts? Ideas? comments?  Share!




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I may have fallen off of the face of the web-world for a while, but at least I had a good reason...

WE'RE HOME!!!!

We moved in and I feel like we are actually starting to reclaim this space.  I've managed to make ridiculous amounts of coffee and bake and cook and even spin and weave (loom!!, but that's another story).

We also have a new addition to our family - of the fuzzy variety - named Charlie.  He is a mutt of a canine, and we are very much in love with him. He is about 70 pounds of love and fur.  Perfect.  He has been running with me and has proven to be MORE than equal to the task!  

Things are (kind of) starting to settle down, so now I can center down.  I've got the itch to create, to make new, the FEEL this spring coming up. I have a need to have my hands in the dirt and seeds in the ground.  I want to walk, hike, run, and just be in the outdoors.  Sadie and Liam and I planted some peas a couple of days ago, just before massive showers to give them a big ol' drink.  I love this time of year!  

My glass overflows.  



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This year, my husband really nailed Valentine's Day.  He didn't get me flowers, no sir.  He did not buy me jewelry, uh uh.   He found something much shinier and lovely....the classical guitar I have been drooling over.  Ohhh, she's a honey too.  I'm pretty much head over heals for my Steve anyway, but the fact that he knows that I really, really, really, really, REALLY wanted this enough to get it for me (after I had refused to buy it for myself for some time) and encourage me to practice on it (seeing as I feel like I need practice to do her justice) just puts it right forefront again.  WOW.  What a great man!

We named her Rosa, and she has a sweet and cheerful voice, not to bright and not too low.  I've been picking and practicing scales for a couple days...(got her as an early gift)...and hope to introduce her next week at my Oryana gig (2/24).  We'll see how this week goes. 

Here she is folks....


          

Lovely, no?   I'll have to bring her out to play - VERY- soon.


In other news:  I've been spending a lot of time trying to locate an "in-town base" while we wait for our house to be finished so we can move home...and I find myself at a local coffee shop called "Cuppa Joe" quite a bit in recent weeks.  The particular one I head to is in the old State Hospital Building 50 - The Mercato.  It's a great place to meet friends for a lovely chat or just chill and have a very super tasty vegerito (veggie breakfast burrito) with my very yummy coffee.....





I'm off for now then...preparing for another yarn contest (bulky this time!), getting applications in for art fairs, regular "job," house planning and all the other stuff to be done.  

What are you up to?  What crafty thing has got you caught up?

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For the first time in 6 months, I baked bread.   This made me want to laugh and cry.  I'm not entirely sure why that is, other than that it was a very healing feeling.  I created again.  I have now done something I haven't been physically (or maybe emotionally) able to do for 6 months.  The last time I baked bread, I was in my kitchen at home.  That kitchen is gone, but I can still make lovely yummy healthy food with my own hands.  

The feel of the dough and the smell of the dough rising (that yeasty smell), not to mention the smell of it baking really took me back.  I am overjoyed to be able to do this again.  I am so happy that I still can.  I am so enthused to make more!


         

First rising                                                         Second Rising

 




Yum.  Therapy baking?  Yes, please!




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 Yes, I'm still alive.  Not THAT kind of dying - dyeing - with more lovelies coming out of the dye pot and off the wheel this past month.  It's been super busy lately and full of singing, running, spinning, dying, and construction madness.

We just passed the 6-month mark since our house fire last July, and may possibly have an end in site for the rebuild of our home.  Maybe.  I'm cautiously optimistic that we'll be home before May this year.  I hope that's enough wiggle room to have it actually happen - heehee. 

In the midst of all of this, Steve has continued with me in my "restart running" campaign, and we have successfully made it into week 4 of the 5k101 training program.  That's week 4 of 8!  HA!  I'm so ridiculously proud of us.  Here we are freezing our Ahem....I mean enjoying the winter scenery and getting energized.  In all seriousness, it's actually been really cool.  We've had a couple of night runs where the stars have all been out and we've been on a side dirt road where we could turn off our headlamps (since there's no traffic there....pretty much ever) and enjoy our amazing galaxy.  SO invigorating!  This is my kick-off for half-marathon training that starts in March.  I'm signed up for the Bayshore Half in May and am STOKED!  Maybe this sounds crazy, but I love running.  It makes me feel awesome and helps me not go GRRRR at everyone around me when the world seems to be falling down. 

Okay - enough on running. Really.  For now.

In terms of other stuff (DUM DUM DUM), we've been on an emotional roller coaster with our house with the finish line dipping out of site every other day and then popping up again just as suddenly.  It's been a...ahem...trip.  At least we have a fantastic place to be in the interim (My in-laws are awesome) and their puppy to give us doggy slobbers when we need them most.

Overall, we're just hanging in there and trying to remember that everything will come right in the end, and we'll be home again. 

It's quite possible that I'll be starting all over with my crazy antics at that point..possibly even English muffins...maybe.

 
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Oh, my goodness!!!  I received my sock yarn for dyeing and am loving the feel and twist!  I've managed to get 2/3 of it dyed up and am itching for it to be dry so I can play - I mean put it in the shop...  I'll be honest that it will be hard for me to part with a few of these.
I mean really, who could resist this?          
   Or this....

I'm terribly excited because I've been able to work up some new colors, and reproduce one that I love:  Louis Armstrong (sky's of blue) that I also have a lace yarn of.  SOOOOO Yummy and squishy and soft and lovely.  It makes me want to sing when I see it!  Am I getting silly?  I hope so!  We need some silly, right?  Especially when it involves crafting.

On other fronts, my daughter now knows the macarina (thanks Aunt Tia), my son is about to turn 6 (SIX!!!) and has learned to play a board game intended for 8-year-olds called Ticket To Ride (thanks Uncle Brendan and Aunt Megan - he loves it!), and Steve has joined me in hitting the pavement as I start training for my half-marathon in May (basically from scratch).  



Our house is being rebuilt inside, albeit slowly, and we officially have 4 new windows that have been installed and another 2 framed in.  This is HUGE because it's so important to get the house sealed up as much as possible, you know, so the contractors don't freeze while trying to rebuild it for us.  We've also been able to do things like pick out kitchen and bath fixtures, which makes me feel like it'll really be ours again. We're still looking at April as the earliest move-in date, but I'm doing my best to be realistic and think May-June. 

So - Here's to a New Years Celebrations  and a brand new year!

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 Well, packages have been torn open, toys scattered EVERYWHERE, and way too much food passed around.  Very satisfying.  Spent Christmas with nearly my whole family - minus my big sister and her 3 kids out in California.  

Today has been an extravaganza of legos, baby dolls, light sabers, and my new teapot.  I have a new teapot!!!! My husband really does know me.  I love tea and have already enjoyed 2 pots of tea so far :)  It's so cute!  




I mean, isn't it?  I love it. 



I also managed to build this:

 
Dude.  I've still got it!



So, busy with post-Christmas "stuff" and thinking about the 30 skeins of sock yarn waiting to take on the colors of my imagination.  They'll be in my etsy store next week...ohhh the lovely merino goodness!!! I'm terribly excited to get the dye pot a-going, the wheel a-spinning, and the loom a'weaving.  It's going to be a GREAT New Year weekend and a fabulous New Year.

For now, though, I'm contenting myself with knitting needles clacking, legos flying (flying!?!!!) and cuddling my kids.  Tell me about your holidays....did you get any crafting/baking/singing/general random ridiculous fun accomplished? 

www.etsy.com/shop/whyknotfibers

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WOW!  It's been over a month!  I've been a bad mama, but a very busy mama.

In the last month I've had 4 gigs, a craft show, was in a musical (Bayview Players at our church), spun, knit, practiced with Betty Lou (Ukulele), and generally ran around like a chicken with my head cut off.  I think I need to establish a specific day a week to update this here blogsphere and then I should be able to stick to it more regularly!

In the yarn front - I'll have some awesome merino sock yarn available starting New Years Day and new yarns going up in the shop all the time!  It's been a busy couple of weeks with yarn heading to new homes (whyknotfibers.com).   I'm getting really excited about this whole endeavor because I LOVE LOVE LOVE it so much. 

In case you couldn't tell, Kat is back.  No more Mrs. Sad pants.  I need happiness, sunshine, and flippin' bunny rabbits!  Not that I've forgotten in any what the last 5 months has brought...Just that I'm getting back to myself - humor and all.  Look out!
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I've done it now!  Yup.  Really.  I did.  I posted my first YouTube video.  It's not perfect.  It's not professional.  But it's mine, all mine.  Well, Betty's to.  Check it out.

I decided that I want to be able to share new songs with my big sisters, who are now BOTH far away, as well as my other family and friends..  About time I guess.  Just missing English muffins.  Um, or yeah.  

Enjoy!  

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s9rUabW34JI&feature=channel&list=UL
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 Wow!  What a welcome for Betty today!  I had a gig at Oryana, and my sister and some friends took it upon themselves to clap/stop and shout "BET-TY!  BET-TY! BET-TY!"  Until I got her out and played a little Uke.  It was hilarious and uplifting at the same time.  

I should probably enlighten you to the mixed up wanderings of my mind at about 1:00 am this morning at my sisters (I'll admit, there may have been wine).  You see, there was a joke that I couldn't spin and play the ukulele at the same time.  Ahem.  Well, I may have actually thought about how one would do that.  Can you picture it?  Left foot treadling the wheel, right hand drafting fiber (pulling it apart as it's spun), and the right foot strumming the Uke while the left hand does chords.  Phew.  Makes me tired just thinking on it.  I think I'll pass for now...but who knows...




If you have not yet met Betty Lou, see the previous post.  
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 Well....I have been contemplating the virtues of the webcam for a while, and think I might actually attempt the video blog, or at least some amusing antics with my new ukulele.  Yes.  That's right.  I have a new tool in my arsenal (which just sounds silly coming from me), and it has a name.  Behold: Betty Lou!   








Why a uke, you may ask?  Why not!  I've wanted one for years, and she's just so darn pretty.....sounding and looking.  Hang on to your hats kids, you'll be seeing more of this little lady, and probably hearing her too....see above webcam comment.

DUM DUM DUM  Stay tuned!

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Well, this morning I am unable to work on my "real" job since the program is down.  I'm sure you can imagine my initial frustration that I can't work on the numerous files that need to be typed.  Then it occurred to me that I could work on MY stuff while waiting to get back to the grindstone, and "poof" there's the silver lining.  

So, YOU get me this morning.  Aren't you special?  Don't worry, I've already passed the decaffeinated mumbling and bumping into things of 6 am and the discombobulated prep for school and transport of children to said school.

Now, on to the fun stuff......

I have 2 more skeins to add to the mountain and a ball of lovely roving (that stuff I spin) and part of a skein spun on my wheel (though not plied yet), AND an additional bobbin with a partial skein spun,  as well as about 40 more skeins of yarn I'll be dyeing in the next few days.  WOW!  I've just thrown down the gauntlet!  Let's see what I can get done by Monday shall we?  I'm going to be a spinning dyeing fool this weekend.  I'll keep checking in (time allowing) to keep myself motivated.  

Go back - Did I mention that I finally received my new spinning wheel?  No?  Oops!  Yup.  She arrived about a week ago and has yet to be christened with a name.  I can't think of it as a "he" or an "it."  Definitely a "she."  There are a few ideas bouncing around for names, and I'm looking for more.  SO - if you have an idea, write it in a comment.  I LOVE hearing from you!

Well, it looks like work is back "up," so I'd better get to it!  Stay tuned for more antics from my dangerous mind.
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 Alrighty -  I'm back "on the wagon" again and hoping to pick this here blog back up on a daily (or at least weekly) basis.  

And just to keep things interesting...I decided that family and work and insurance companies and the house reconstruction weren't enough going on.  Nope.  Even getting out and making music isn't enough.  Not even close.  I decided that it was time to really start building my business and create more of the lovely squishy yarns I love so much.  I came to the conclusion that my life is better spent making the things that make me happy and really concentrating on that passion and "that" side of the brain than doing something that works "okay" and I "can handle."  I mean, really, weren't we meant to make what we love?  Do what we love?    

I had a very serious conversation with myself.  It went something like this "Why not? HAHAHHAHA!  Of course!  Why not do it?  Why not make 'Why Knot' into something more?"  Yeah.  It was really that corny - and continues to be.  I so much enjoy dyeing yarn and fiber and spinning and weaving and sewing and felting....and all things connected with it.  No, I don't have sheep/llamas/alpacas/cashmere goats yet.  Yet... For now, I'm contenting myself with spinning and dyeing the amazing fiber and yarn that come from them.

AND SO - Without further ado - I am starting to peddle my wares again.  This time, a craft show in 2 weeks (November 10).  I'm terribly excited and can't wait to show off the growing mountain of yarn that has been slowly taking over space in our room...I mean really.....



 


Who couldn't love THAT!?!?!?  It's so touchable, squishable, and begging to be fondled.  And that's not even all of it!!!!  I'll admit it.  I'm going to have a twinge when I let these babies go.  They make me happy, but it's time they made their way in the world and have the chance to be transformed into something truly stupendous.  


Here we go folks.  Why not, right?  You can't say I didn't warn you! 

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In July, we had a house fire.  It claimed the lives of our pets and destroyed nearly all of our possessions.   After more than 2 months, many phone calls, crying jags, laughs, and memories, and we're still not started on rebuilding the inside of the house.  The structure was deemed "sound," mostly because the fire department didn't have to cut any holes in the roof.  We've been getting a lot of practice at waiting, and many lessons in patience.  Hopefully, construction will start by the first of November, and then the wait while they rebuild the interior of our home. There's really not much left inside now after gutting it.  It'll be interesting to see it come together.  We're hoping to be back home sometime between March and May, 2013.  We're doing pretty well, but miss being home.   

In the interim, I've been keeping busy with work, carting everyone everywhere, as well as spinning, knitting, and writing songs.  I now have a weekly gig set up at Oryana Food Co-op and am playing pretty regularly at Horizon Books.  I'm working on getting a new demo CD together and trying to set up a few more gigs.  I'm excited to be doing more things using my "artistic side" and am really feeling good about the new songs that have grown out of all this upheaval.  

So, I guess you really CAN'T keep me down.  I bounce too much.  I had my thirtieth birthday last week, which was so much fun complete with a "big girl" slumber party.  I did not act my age.  I am proud of this fact.  I don't ever intend to grow up ALL the way...I like me too much. 

So, back to life and everything that brings.  Maybe, one of these days, I actually WILL get those English muffins done...
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