Monthly Archives: August, 2013

Studio T’s New Resident

Meet Revy the RV cat:

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First glimpse of the little ping pong ball

Not a bit shy, the little girl (we had been told) came right up to be petted and played with. She appeared in the wee hours of the morning at my son’s apartment door, demanding to be let in and fed. Being his Mother’s son, he went out and bought supplies, fell in love and started calling her Revy after a character in an anime show he watches.

His apartment complex does not allow pets, so it was Mom to the rescue. The house has been very quiet the past two years, no feline paws kneading me in the middle of the night, no purring pillow warmer to lull me to sleep, no demands for food at unreasonable hours. Life had become, in a word, dull, but I was unwilling to go in search of a new kitty, waiting instead for the Universe to drop a worthy companion into my lap.

Awana, Sabu and I drove North to The Big City to pick up the new bundle of joy early Saturday morning. A was worried that Sabu would be too rowdy and rough for a kitten, but five minutes with Revy convinced me that she would be able to hold her own against Crazy Helper Dog.

The trip home was uneventful, Revy flopping around inside the carrier like a fish, playing with her tail, totally unconcerned about being confined for the better part of two hours.

Upon arriving home, Revy was let loose while Sabu was tied outside under her bushes until everyone could be fed and worn down with a bit of play. Revy proved to be the most self-assured, easy-going, confident kitten that I have ever met. There was no slinking around on her belly, cautiously sniffing every corner, jumping at the slightest sound moving-in routine that I have usually observed in a cat being moved to a new house that reeks of dog. It was a bit startling to say the least. She was immediately at home.

Even the first introduction to The Dog went well –

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“Neener-neener, I’m on the couch and you’re not allowed!”

It appeared that Revy had never seen a dog before, but her disdain was obvious. Sabu wanted to get up close and personal, but we were afraid of what she might do, so she was kept at arms length. Sabu knows the difference between Her Kitty and Other Cats and has never been violent towards Her Kitties, but ya never know, and caution seemed to be a good idea.

We needn’t have worried. Within minutes Revy was off the couch and playing with Sabu’s ball (SABU’S ball, much to Sabu’s amazement and consternation) and romping up within inches of the big dog. Okie-dokie then.

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“All balls are belong to ME!”

Sabu was released and they spent the remaining time before bedtime getting to know each other. Awana slept with kitty in the back room while I kept Sabu in the front with me, just in case there was an Incident that we were too slow to respond to. Revy showed absolutely no fear, or even trepidation, about her new, very large playmate, not even when Sabu snapped her teeth closed an inch from Revy’s face. Have no fear – it was Sabu’s way of continuing their game and she was smiling the whole time. Revy was unimpressed, but I was freaked out a bit until I saw it happen several more times. Sabu could easily bite little Revy in half, but she’s being very gentle.

Color me surprised when Awana said the next morning, “I’m not positive, but I don’t think this is a Girl Kitty. You should take a look…” Yep. Seems little Revy grew a pair overnight! Ahem.

Sunday was a whole new ball game, with Revy racing up to Sabu, throwing herhimself down and pawing at Sabu’s face (claws politely in, thankyouverymuch) and running away, Sabu in hot pursuit. This game is played strictly by Revy’s rules and it appears Sabu is willing to be trained. I confess that I’m just a little worried about what those two will get up to in future.

Thank goodness Revy slept Sunday night –

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He kept Awana up all night on Saturday exploring the room from floor to ceiling before crashing at dawn, curled up in Awana’s blankets

Revy is alone for the day in Towanda and god alone knows what he’s getting up to while we’re gone. Hopefully he hasn’t learned to start the stove today and burned the trailer down. Updates soon…

Wednesday: Fiber Night

Every Wednesday evening from 6:00 – 8:00 (or even later) you can find me over at Knitty Gritty, the local shop for all things fiber, knitting or spinning with a fabulous group of ladies. This was last week –

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Everyone but Shelly was spinning. From left to right: Shelly, Elizabeth, Tracey and Maurine, the owner of the shop.

I plan to take the new wheel and spin the alpaca/angora/merino blend I picked up at the Midsummer Spin-In a couple of weeks ago.

If you’re in the area, do stop by – there’s plenty of room to bring a spinning wheel and you’ll find yarn, fiber and accessories for sale. We’re a very friendly group who welcome all fiber enthusiasts.

Epic Fiber Haul

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A chilly walk above the beach near Yachats. Down below was a woman throwing sticks for a very happy Doberman. Sabu wanted to join in, but we had no way to get down to them.

Sigh. It’s becoming a Regular Thing, this stash acquisition. I don’t set out to make it happen, really I don’t, but it does, every time.

You see, I left for the Coast on Friday, car filled with stuff to give to other people, including the spinning wheel for Rebeccca, and somehow came back with even more stuff! I drove away from Towanda with the very best of intentions, I swear!

What was the haul?

  • Food. The Saturday Market in Newport was overflowing with lovely veggies that just begged to go home with me.
  • One gallon of Pomace for soap making.
  • A huge bag of large-ish wool fabric remnants from Elise that will be made into cute tote bags and maybe a vest or tunic or two.
  • One unwashed but quite clean Romney/Corridale fleece in a lovely shade of gray/brown, also from Elise. It’s old, so it may not be salvageable, but I’m gonna give it a try.
  • One unwashed, old and fairly dirty “medium wool” fleece, also from Elise. It has yellowed a bit with age so I plan to dye it as is, washing as I go to save a step. Tutorial coming right up!
  • One small bag of unwashed, older Romney fleece in a light gray with sunburnt tips (my personal Kryptonite) also from Elise.
  • Various bits of fabric from Awana, one of which is a lovely Art Deco inspired piece of coarse linen for crewel embroidery, wool yarn included! I plan to work an outline stitch on the piece and use it as a curtain if it will fit.
  • Four balls of fine wool top that are actually mine but were being stored at Awana’s because I didn’t think I would be spinning any fine stuff for awhile, but now that I have a wheel that prefers to spin fine I find myself needing more fiber to fondle. You know how it is, I’m sure 🙂
  • A super-cool wool drying rack that Awana spied at a local Goodwill that works a treat – pics of it in use to follow.
  • The last fabric bin (Cordura and heavy fabrics) left in storage at Awana’s. Needed for bags very soon.
  • Two boxes with lids, one box with no lid and a decorative tin that I found at Jo-Ann’s and simply had to have for photo props.
  • Two yards of fusible fleece for bag projects, four yards of sticky-back velcro for Stuff Curtains and a yard and a half of double-wide bleached muslin for dish towels. The first two items were what I was actually walking into Jo-Ann’s for in the first place. Thank goodness they were closing or who knows what I might have bought!

All of this in addition to the typical Stuff I take with me whenever I go visiting over night. And the dog, of course, who was not at all happy to have to share the back seat with my Stuff.

But we made it home safe and sound and got most of the stuff unloaded from the car. It looks like I’m becoming that Crazy Lady with garbage stacked under her trailer because of the bags of wool – need to remedy that in a hurry or someone will be sayin’ something about it.

Whew! What a busy, wild weekend, but so much fun!

There’s never enough!

Time, that is.

The upcoming weekend promises to be very busy. Crazy Helper Dog, Sabu, and I will be traveling to the Coast to take photos, update websites, drop off a spinning wheel and replace a vanity sink.

In order to update the websites, pictures must be taken, edited, filed, uploaded, etc. etc. etc.

About a dozen bobbins must be emptied, the spinning wheel cleaned and oiled, accessories gathered together and packed into a travel container of some sort and the whole kit readied for travel.

The sink replacement will be done on the fly because you can never really predict what parts you need or what complications may arise – travel trailers are notorious for not being built “to spec.”

Seventeen errands must be run before, during and after all of these other trips and of course there is always laundry, vacuuming and dishes to be washed. Plants must be watered and tended before being abandoned for two days (harvested the first ripe tomato just the other day!) and Towanda has her little quirks and shut-down procedures to attend to.

The dog should have a bath, too.

Whew! No time for sock knitting unless I can figure out how to do it while I sleep. No time to play with the new wheel, either 😦

I was lamenting my lack of time this morning as Sabu was barking (yet again! What is it with that dog?) at the neighborhood beagle during our morning walk, trying to decide what to do after work (it’s Knit Night and I will be going, schedule be damned!) wondering how  many things can be dropped off the list with no consequences, irritated that my Real Job takes up so much of my time. But not complaining, really, I love my job and know how blessed I am to have it.

The Boss was in his office when I stopped in to get today’s assignment.

“I don’t have anything for you at the moment…” he started, looking around at the paper stacked high upon his desk.

“It’s okay – I have some work from The Other Boss that I can do,” I replied.

“How much work? A day, a couple of days?”

“Today for sure. I don’t know what else he has for me; he left for a hunting trip and I think he’s gone for a couple of weeks,” I said.

“Good! I’ll be out of the office tomorrow and Friday…” he’s not finishing his sentences, so I know this is my cue to ease his mind.

“Does that mean I have tomorrow off?” I asked gleefully. “I would love to come in and use the internet if that’s okay, and finish up the work for The Other Boss.”

He is visibly relieved. “That sounds good!”

Okie-dokie! I knew when I took the job that it might not be full time. The Boss and The Other Boss (it’s a long story) verbally promised to keep me busy full time between the two of them if I would move back to The Valley. At the time, they were expecting a couple of big jobs to come in that would have kept me busy for a year or more, but those jobs have not materialized and I know The Boss is worried that I will jump ship.

Anyway. The upshot is that I have whatever is left of today after I get the work done for The Other Boss, all day tomorrow and half of Friday to get the stuff done that I really want to do 🙂 How’s that for a great start to the weekend!?!?

Midsummer’s Spin In & Fiber Fair

Midsummer Spin-In 08-03-13Today was the first annual Midsummer’s Spin In & Fiber Festival held at the Community Hall in Wren, Oregon, and what an event it was! I hope the organizers were pleasantly surprised at how many Wooly Bears showed up to spin, chat and spend their hard-earned Fiber Budgets.

DSCN0032Rebecca (left in yellow) and Awana (right in yellow) came over from the Coast for the day. Myrna (facing away in blue,) still a Muggle but very close to assimilation, hung out, getting her head filled with fiber information and fondling the fleece selections available on every hand.

The usual suspects were there, including Connie with Spindlewood

DSCN0016And Janice who’s picture turned out too blurry to post (sorry, Janice!) Linda and Paul were there with a pair of alpacas and a pair of Shetland sheep, representing Goat Knoll in Dallas –

DSCN0026The Bellweather Wool Company, Mountain Shadow Ranch, and some new-to-me vendors including Kings Valley View Farm, Karl Smiley and his lovely yarn bowls, StitchJones, Creekside Fiber Mill and Three Fates Yarns and many others, but I got distracted.

There wasn’t time enough to talk to everyone and take pictures of every booth because near the entry door was Bonnie Albright and her Irish spinning wheels. I passed right by, giving them only an admiring glance because they are always way over my budget and there’s no sense drooling on something you just can’t have, right?

Myrna asked for some advice about spinning wheels and fiber and I took her on a tour of the vendors outside, stopping to point out the little Irish wheels. One look at the price tag and I said offhandedly, “at this price it must be a reproduction,” and we were walking on by when a voice behind me said, “No! Those aren’t reproductions! They came from Ireland and that’s the real price. The wife is de-stashing!”

Well, huh. We stopped and took a closer look. One of the wheels had a lovely black patina to it, intricate turnings, a distaff and some bright red yarn on the bobbin. Pretty soon Bonnie was at my side telling me that she bought the wheel in an antique store in Dublin, packed it in a box and carried it home on the plane. She asked if I wanted to give it a spin and there was her husband with a chair and I was lost.

Not only is she beautiful to look at, but she’s also fully functional, spinning smooth, with nary a wobble, churning out the lace -weight singles with no more effort than a leisurely stroll down the beach on a sunny day.

I walked away because, although the price was a steal, I live in very small quarters and already have a wheel that does its job very well and has been my Only Wheel for nigh on twenty years now. We’re good friends, we know what we can create together and we are quite comfortable.

I went back inside to finish turning the heel on my latest sock project and found Rebecca telling Awana that she was dying to get a wheel but didn’t know what kind to get and…I tuned her out about then because a Plan appeared in my head, full-blown and demanding to be put into action.

“Hey! I have an idea!” I declared.

Heads swiveled in my direction. “How about I loan Rebecca my Ashford Traditional to learn on and I go out and buy that little Irish wheel out there? I don’t have room for two wheels, so it’s a win-win, right?”

“I could justify wheel-sitting!” Rebecca declared. “It’s only a loan so my sons couldn’t say anything about me getting yet another Hobby Accessory!”

We made plans to meet up next weekend for the hand off and the lovely Irish wheel came home with me –

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Crazy Helper Dog is not amused. She had to stay home while I was off fondling wool and spinning and getting all the cookies.

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Forgot to put the distaff back in!

 

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How can I NOT spin for awhile? Just look at her!

I should be doing something more productive, but instead I’m getting to know the new wheel, spinning up some angora/alpaca/merino fiber as the sun goes down. Curtains will have to wait. The blinds will do for another day. Or week…

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Alpacas in the shade

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Cashmere goats very interested in something off in the brush

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“If I just close my eyes they’ll go away…”

New day, new ideas!

The weather here in the Willamette Valley of Oregon has been cooler the last few days, the smell of Summer filling the air, the tomatoes ripening on the vine as if finally able to breathe after so many hot days in a row. The Calendula are in bloom and ready to harvest, their happy yellow petals to be steeped in a jar of sunflower oil for soap making in a few weeks and yours truly has been furiously writing ideas down in a little spiral bound notebook just as fast as the pen can fly over the page.

Work has been busy enough that the new website has not gotten any attention. I can hear her little voice deep in the night, “Please put some pictures up. Maybe a few words here and there? I am longing for pages to tell my story…” but sleep must take priority, paying work must be finished first and there is always a dog to walk.

My friend Awana spent last weekend here with Sabu and I, enjoying Towanda’s peaceful vibe while spinning wool into yarn on the patio; it always makes the neighbors stare. We batted ideas back and forth, the sweet smell of wool making us a bit silly as usual, and now there is a new list: Things to Get Right On To.

The speed at which we just throw things away in our Disposable Society is shocking and against my basic philosophical beliefs; it has led to a passion for (and rather large collection of) vintage linen. Not bedsheets, but linen and cotton towels, the really thick and absorbent kind* that the Grannies received as gifts and kept in a drawer “for special” and never (or lightly) used. Today’s linens just don’t compare unless you pay Big Money for them, but the Good Old Stuff can still be found at estate sales and thrift stores.

My idea is to use these treasures to create modern kitchen wipes that actually do their job, last for years and are wonderful to look at. This line of Useful and Beautiful Things will be called “Use it Again” and will feature original embroidery and trimmings on vintage linens and also designs and kits for you to use to create your own treasures. First installments will be RV themed – vintage inspired images that relate to the RV lifestyle, in jokes, popular sayings and scenes from the road. Each will be one-of-a-kind, or nearly so. Announcement soon.

It might be evident from previous posts (and do look at the pages near the top of the blog – categories have been set up to separate the many and varied interests into some semblance of order) that I have many, many interests and most of them lead to a stash of some sort. I live in a 30-foot travel trailer; space is at a premium and The Stash must go.

The next project on the list for my little Bat Cave is curtains. Travel trailers generally come with those annoying metal blinds that never work right and they rattle with every little breeze or step, making for a very irritated Sofia! The awful window surrounds have been removed, curtain rods hung, a lovely charcoal black wool twill procured from The Stash, fun lining fabric purchased and The Great Curtain Project is set to begin this evening after work.

Because the fabric was on sale and I have a little problem leaving less than a yard on the bolt for someone else to purchase at a reduced price as a remnant, I may have over-bought** and will have left-over fabric. Tossing said hypothetical left-over fabric back into the stash to age for an indeterminate amount of time is not an option because there simply isn’t room for it, so I will be making bags of many sizes, pillow covers and pincushions until every inch is used up. Charm packs, strips and perhaps kits will be offered, too, depending on the size of the remnants. These will be offered under the “Use it Up” label – announcement to follow.

Pictures and a curtain tutorial next post.

That is all. Carry on.

* What’s the deal with modern fabrics? Have they been designed to fall apart after three washes? Why aren’t so-called “dish” or “kitchen” towels absorbent? It’s so frustrating to buy a pretty new towel only to find that it won’t actually dry anything and it leaves bits of lint all over everything.

** Oh, come on! You know you do it, too. Don’t you? Or is it just me?