Wow, it has been quite a while since I last blogged. Well, in writing. I have written many blog posts in my head. They were all brilliant and poignant and fascinating.
I do have a reason for my silence. Life has been all about changes lately. I started working for my father two days a week. Has has a business in Oakland that makes furniture and houses out of trees from the urban forest. These are trees that need to come out for a construction project or have fallen and need to be removed. Instead of them being chipped into mulch, he makes gorgeous works of functional art. My job is administrative. I manage accounts, write proposals, create invoices, streamlining processes . . . You know, all the glamorous stuff.
What this job lacks in glamor it makes up for in satisfaction. It is such a joy to see so much of my father and it is immensely satisfying to be able to help him. I am trying to take the mundane tasks off his plate so he can be the fabulous creative leader he doesn't get enough time to be. I look forward to my work days.
On the Tactile side of life there are big changes too. I am now the sole owner of Tactile. It is exciting and a bit scary. There is safety in knowing you have someone else to rely on and help shoulder the load. I feel confident that I can do it and I am looking forward to the new challenges that await me.
Speaking of Tactile, Fiber Club is open for new (and returning) members. It is always a fun process to dye the club fiber. It is one of the things that keeps dyeing fresh and challenging for me. Often, I don't know exactly what I am going to do until I get in there and start playing.
In more Tactile news, I have a show right around the corner. SOAR aka Spin-Off Autumn Retreat. I am so thrilled to be vending there. SOAR is like spinning camp with all the people you like best in the spinning world. This year it is n Bend, Oregon.
I am getting there in a new (to me) ride. There is a camper in my husband's family that has been sitting in the back pasture at my father-in-law's house. It had been so long since I'd seen it, that I had completely forgotten about it.
Stylish isn't it? Looks aside, it is in amazingly good shape. All it needed was to have the goat dimple popped out of the hood (goats LOVE the high ground!) and a thorough cleaning. My husband Roger spent a whole day cleaning out and setting up the camper. Why? Because it was something he could do for me at a crazy busy moment in my life. Awwww! Love that man! He has been so supportive and helpful through all the recent changes. He is my rock.
We decided to take the camper on a test trip before I head out for SOAR. What could be more fun than camping in the redwoods with your favorite 7 (almost 8) year old? She had never been camping. Can you imagine that?
We headed north a couple of hours to Austin Creek SRA, outside of Guerneville, California and camped by Bull Frog Pond. It was just a quick overnight trip and we got in just before sunset. In the morning we awoke to a gorgeous foggy morning. Just the thing for a northern California girl! Love me some fog!
I am so very excited about this book! The author, Novella Carpenter, is a friend of mine and a very talented story teller. This book is about her adventures creating an urban farm in a vacant lot in a ghetto neighborhood of Oakland, California.
From the back cover: <snip> "By turns edgy, moving, and hilarious, Farm City marks the debut of a striking new voice in American writing." -- Michael Pollan, author of The Omnivore's Dilemma and In Defense of Food (yes, THAT Michael Pollan!).
I started the first chapter and it was all I could do to put it down and get back to work. Like her blog, Ghost Town Farm, I expect this to be a great read.
I'm home and caught up on sleep. I may even have recovered from the wool fumes. Wanna see my loot?
From left to right: s skeins of Blue Faced Leicester/Pygora lace weight yarn from the wonderful folks at Toots LeBlanc (a can't miss booth for me at any event!), 2 skeins of singles ply lace weight and one skein of charcoal worsted weight from Sweet Grass Wool (Montana grown Targhee wool!), and a spindle from Asciano in cocobolo, her signature wood.
I also bought a circular needle from Asciano, seen here with a new project. It is fingering weight cormo-silk I bought at Lambtown last year. I dyed it in the new Tactile colorway, Dew. I am making up the pattern as I go, with the help of a bit of frogging.
We were quite busy in the Tactile booth. Thank you to all that stopped by. What a good time! I have zero pictures of our booth. It looked a lot like the Madrona booth except that they provided black backdrops at Stitches.
On Saturday night I snuck out of the hotel for a few minutes at Purlescence in Sunnyvale. The poor shop was decimated as most of the stock was at Stitches. It
didn't stop a small army of folks from stopping by and shopping. Nice
The lovely Nathania. Always charming and beautiful.
Speaking of beautiful, the moon was out and gorgeous on Thursday night. I love twilight; it is my favorite time of day.
Well, that's all I've got. I think I'm not quite over the wool fumes after all. Must be nap time.
My daughter is now a registered nurse. She is settling into her first job and loving it!
My dog is happy, healthy, and so sweet! Darn cute too!
My husband is a wonderful, sweet, and patient man. He needs to be, to be married to me, especially when I am in full tilt production mode. Madrona Fiber Arts AND Stitches West are right around the corner.
I LOVE my job! I go to bed at night thinking about work and looking forward to the next day. I love dyeing yarn and fiber so much that, for the first time in my life, I want to work on my birthday.
Yup, I turn another year older today. In between working at the best job I have ever had, I had a great picnic lunch with Roger and Sammie at Live Oak Park in Berkeley.
In the shade of redwood trees by a creek.
Sammie saw a squirrel. He is in full Must-Get-Squirrel mode.
It feels so warm. Again my condolences to those of you having extreme cold weather while we have 70 degree F days.
Violas growing out of a crack in the wall.
A tree in full bloom.
Sammie napping after all the excitement of lunch.
Tonight Roger and Kay will take me out for a nice dinner. Italian? Tomorrow I'll have lunch with my father. I am a lucky woman!
Last, and certainly not least, I want to wish you all a Happy Dr. Martin Luther King Day! It is an important day to remember our nation's history and reflect on the journey that still lies in front of us. And, tomorrow, we swear in a man as president, who was judged on the content of his character. It is a good day.
You know how you can get busy and neglect to do things? Important things. Yes, that is me raising my hand. I don't mean blogging (as much as I love you all). I am neglecting to tell you about Tactile events.
Tactile will be there with A Verb for Keeping Warm, Pigeonroof Studios, and Girl on the Rocks. We will have drop spindle classes, fiber tastings, and lots of space to hang out and spin or knit with a view. The weather is promising to be nice. Bring your wheel or spindle, or knitting, bring a friend, we look forward to seeing you there.
On Friday afternoon we went to Bolinas. Bolinas is a quirky, hippy, friendly, mellow, rural Marin County kinda place. If you go, take a map. There are no signs to guide you (the locals take them down). Sometimes there aren't street signs. The good thing is that if you find your way there, everyone is very nice. It is the kind of place that plasters a tussahfluffing smile on your face that doesn't go away until you leave.
Our friends, Rick & Heidi, of 5 Cent Coffee, had a gig (do people still say that? or have I just horribly dated myself?) at the local bar, Smileys. Smileys is also a dog friendly hotel (yay!) so we booked a room.
We got into town early enough to take a nice walk on the beach. This place is freaking gorgeous! It was late afternoon and the sky was overcast. I love the light in these conditions. So I took a few pictures. Okay, I took a lot of pictures. Here are a few, more at my Flickr page.
The sky and the water are barely differentiated and everything has a monochromatic groove.
The shadows enhance the textures.
Aw,my sweet guys.
I was bewitched by all the fabulous textures. A very low tide exposed the sand, tidepools, and rocks. So I took a few pictures. Okay, I took a lot of pictures (not funny the second time?). More on ze Flickr.
I love the mixture of sand and polished rocks.
A bit of seaweed art.
The 5 Cent Coffee show was fabulous! Love them! They are a self-described "Neo Skiffle Junkyard Blues" band. Whatever that is. I'm not smart enough in the ways of music to understand. What I do understand is that they are awesome and play all sorts of fun and funky junk and music springs forth. So I took a few pictures. Okay, I took a lot of pictures (funny now that I am obviously abusing the idea?). Here are a few, more at my Flickr page.
For the record, we got a complete costume change from Heidi for each of their three sets.
Megaphone AND precussion! That Rick is multi-talented.
So much earnest cuteness!
They have a fabulous new CD out called Bourbon & Beans. Don't be the last kids on the block to get it.
Afterwards, we went to their room and partied until 3 am! I am getting waaaaay to old for this!
We did come prepared though. Roger has a great travel cocktail kit that doesn't get out nearly enough.
The following morning we had a late breakfast and another stroll on the beach. Surely you are expecting me to mention something about all the pictures I took? I would, only my camera died after just a few shots. (sad for me, lucky for you!)
High tide and sunshine!
Note to self: when you take a bazillion pictures, you need to charge the camera battery or the camera will not work. Sigh. I really wanted to show you a picture of the local filling station, Bo Gas (say it fast).
I have not fallen into the abyss. Thanks for asking. ;-)
I have been very busy hemming Roger's dress pants, cleaning the house, doing laundry, walking the dog, and spinning and knitting up a storm.
Oh, wait. I haven't done any of that. That is my To Do list. Drat!
What have I done? (drums fingers)
I made an iphone cozy for Roger. That was exciting. Not! (how badly did I just date myself?) Just a bit of fleece stitched together to make a pocket. I don't even have a photo of it.
Okay, the truth is that I've been helping my friend Brooke get ready for the fiber festival season. Her business, Sincere Sheep, was at Lambtown. I helped her pull together the product and then sell it on Saturday.
Sincere Sheep sources and processes all of its wool in Northern California. It is then dyed using natural dyes. The goal is to be local and as environmentally friendly as possible. Green and beautiful, how can you beat that?
Tactile is naturally dyed roving and yarn. Unfortunately, it is not sourced locally. We don't have enough fine fiber in California (yet!). A grrl can dream.
We had a good time despite the heat. Lambtown is in Dixon and very hot. The reported temperature on Saturday was 96. My fog-belt-grrl self is designed for 76, not 96. Fortunately, we were placed under a tree and had shade and a breeze all day.
I met lots of new people, including a couple of Ravelers, and saw some old friends from spinning groups gone by. It was wonderful.
Check out Adrienne, she is growing natural dye plants! And, Kristine, who has lots of fibery goodness of her own.
Oh yeah, and Sally Fox. Sustainable, innovative, organic, and she farms with biodiesel. Be still my heart.
It has been a great day so far. The weather is gorgeous! I am out and about in slacks, a T-shirt, and flip-flops and quite comfortable. Roger and I are puttering in the back yard. We also went to Annie's Annuals, a local nursery with a great native plant selection. Those are for the front yard.
When we got home, I learned that my Yarn Recipe is in the April edition of Yarnival! Yippee! It is hosted at Mega(K)nits this month. It looks like a good edition. I am so excited, I am telling you before I read it myself.
Two Surf or Not Two Surf My apologies to William Shakespeare for the bad pun. Here is all of the Surf roving spun up. The second skein (at the top of the pile artfully displayed yarn) is slightly lighter weight than the original, but not enough to be an issue. I am satisfied. And, I have over 500 yards! Whoot!
Swatching begins tonight. I am thinking about a surf themed pattern. We shall see what the yarn has to say.
When I finished spinning Surf, the pink and yellow roving called to me. There is only 4 ounces of this colorway, so I am spinning it finer than Surf. Wensleydale is a very heavy wool an it never seems to have the kind of yardage that finer wools have for the same amount of wool. I am aiming for a true fingering weight.
And, as Lauren pointed out, it is in Project Spectrum colors for April and May (as is Surf). Thank you Lauren. Since I am always behind on these things; I really appreciate the reminder.
Here is half of it spun up (as always, you can click for a bigger picture). Posing the bobbin on the roving is inspired by a recent post by Margene. It is really nice to see the before and after together.
I am calling it Peach for now. Yes, I do suck at naming things. Please feel free to suggest a better name.
I hope you aren't tired of garden pictures. I love the new growth this time of year.
These are Baby Blue Eyes (Nemophilia menziesii) that volunteered. They are a sweet little native annual. I planted some last year and it is great to see that they like my yard. Such cheerful little faces.
Last month I showed you my Red Monkey Flower (Mimulus puniceus) and mentioned that the flower color is quite different between the two plants. The one on the left is in part sun and the one on the right is in bright shade, maybe 15 feet apart. Both colors are beautiful. I am not complaining. It is just curious.
Dudlea farinosa "Point Molate". I got this succulent last year. It is very local. Point Molate is in Richmond next to the Richmond-San Rafael bridge.
Point Molate had a rich and interesting history. In 1908 it was a central point for processing wine in California. The WinehavenWinery was once the largest winery in the U.S. is reported to have made 12 million gallons of wine a year at its peak of production. Prohibition ended Winehaven even though they tried to stay afloat by making sacramental wine. During World War II it became a naval fuel depot. In 1998, the depot was decommissioned. The land is now controlled by the city of Richmond and there is talk of a casino being built there. Very controversial stuff around here.