Life Keeps Happening

Good and bad, life keeps moving on.

Yesterday, just two days after Christmas, I found when checking my bank balance before beginning to pay another round of monthly bills, that some scumbucket had stolen my debit card numbers and charged $424.14 to my bank account for a goatload of makeup from a company called Too Faced Cosmetics in Irvine California. I caught the charge as pending. Due to that mess, my water this icy cold winter had been turned off since I had no money left to pay my bills.

Yes, I have already talked to my bank so the card is now defunct. I have been checking my credit to keep my identity from being stolen as well. My particular bank happens to be very protective of their customers and will be fighting the payment for me. But until it goes through, the fraud department cannot begin its dispute. And it will take about 10 days before the bank can give me provisional credit so I can pay my bills. In the meantime, I have been draining all my pipes to hopefully help keep them from bursting without water moving through them. To my dismay, that didn’t work and I have been without water for about a week. I find out today if indeed I will have running water again.

I suspect that the person using my debit card numbers was a woman who obviously must have needed some serious help in the beauty department. Personally, I would never have even thought to purchase anything from a company with a name like that when it makes them sound untrustworthy. I cried a lot last night and this morning; then today, I thought I had better come to the library and have some quiet in a corner with my hardly used laptop. At least my stress headache is better.

A dear friend of mine gave me a 3 gallon container of water with a spigot on it and insists I should come over any time she is home to take a shower. That’s pretty awesome! How comforting to know I have a friend who is concerned for my personal well being. Its also encouraging to know I am not facing this all alone.

I explained the entire situation to my church and they helped me. However the people in charge of the church finances were not around what with the holidays. So help from my church with my water bill has been covered people who got together and pooled some money for me to use to pay the bill to have my water turned back on. But then it froze anyway.

My best friend of over 30 years passed away suddenly and unexpectedly in October. I keep thinking I should call her and tell about what I am spinning or knitting or weaving, but I can’t. I miss her, but I know she and my dear sweetheart Jim are up in heaven, kicking back laughing and talking about old times. ;/ I still miss my dear sweetheart Jim so much. I can’t help but feel that way. ;(

I know God has a plan for me. But I am in the dark concerning it. This long dark hallway of not knowing God’s plans for me really sucks. I hope to see the light soon. I know I must have faith, but it can sure be scary.

Ok, my whining is all done! I want to get on with the good things happening in my life.

Little Hats Big Hearts
I have been knitting cute little baby hats for the American Heart Association. Did you know that the most common congenital birth defect that babies have are heart related problems? Often due to poor cardiac performance, they are often born underweight or prematurely. Since they have difficulties controlling their temperatures and keeping warm, much of their heat is lost through their heads.

The hats cannot be made from yarns that are wool or wool blends due to flammability (those struggling youngsters are on a lot of oxygen!) and skin allergies or irritability. The hats can be made out of cotton or acrylic red yarns.

After completing one hat and starting another, I met a lady who had an 8 month old child who had been born with cardiac difficulties. His lips were tinged blue one evening and she and her husband raced him over to Children’s Mercy in Kansas City. She told me that it was a wonderful blessing to her as a parent to one of these little red hats that somebody had made was put on her sweet little baby’s head in the ER. She was greatly comforted by that small simple thing.

I hadn’t thought of the parents of these children, but if it blesses worried stressed out parents as much as the baby, then I need to knit a whole lot more of these hats! I am such a slow knitter; weaving goes so fast by comparison for me. Its taken me weeks to make 6 hats. It didn’t make me more productive making baby hats when I caught a nasty head cold the week of Christmas.

I have a picture of the five sweet little hats that I have spent 45 minutes trying to download to my blog here from my cell phone. So far I have not been very successful.

Sonia’s Shrug
The shrug that I first posted on my triloom has long been woven. Again, I am having difficulties in posting a picture. Sonia has been too busy with school, the holidays and finals to help me fit it to her. But we will get the final touches put on it soon.

Blending Dyed Romney Wool in my Combs
I have been inspired by one of my other blogging friends, Jennifer of JenJoyce Designs, to play with and blend dyed locks of white and naturally colored Romney. Again, I am having trouble downloading the pictures of the wonderful colors I have been creating when making my combed top in the sharp tines of my Indigo Hound double pitch combs.

The Iris, together with the Magenta, and just a small bit of Bright Blue is making a stunning lavender purple blend. I also made a combination of the orangey Mustard yellow, Bright Red, overdyed natural brown Romney with Bright Red. It was just like fire!

Though I feel that knitting the little red baby hats is important, I want to do more weaving. I have ideas cooking around inside my head. So today I started weaving on the grain instead of on the bias on my smaller 14 inch continuous weave square loom with some variegated purple and white cotton from Sugar and Cream. I want to spin and/or weave things that I can wear so bad, I can almost taste it!


Aftermath of Spinzilla 2017


Spinzilla ended last night at midnight Sunday October 8. I think I did a credible job. Just look at all that Romney yarn! 🙂 I  finally getting my spinning mojo back on my Ashford Traditional Wheel. Halelujah! Jim would be so proud.

So here is the yardage in order of its creation.

Blue and purple skein: Spun from 3 color combined batts for 246 yards and 3.9 oz

Pink skein: Spun up from handcarding dyed wool for 122 yards and 1.7 oz

Large green skein: Spun up from 9 batts for 536 yards and 7.2 oz

Smaller green skein: Spun from 3 batts for 260 yards and 3.7 oz

Large brown and gray natural skein: Spun from 7 batts for 710 yards and 7.6 oz

Smaller brown and gray natural skein: Spun from 6 and 1/4 batts for 254 yards and 3.2 oz

My totals: 2,128 yards of 2lbs and 11.04 oz Romney wool.

I was so tired last night that I kept falling asleep. I had such a long day of singing that once I got home and started spinning, I couldn’t stay awake! Thank goodness I got some spinning done in between both the services I had to attend to sing with the choir earlier in the day. But I needed to spin to deal with my panic attacks that I kept having about the rehearsal for the huge Reformation Festival Choir in Kansas City. If I hadn’t had the calming effect of spinning, I would have lost my breakfast and that would have been very counterproductive for the rest of the day.

Although I didn’t spin all 27 batts, (I had 2 and 3/4 batts left of the brown and gray) I did manage to spin more than the expected quota of 1 mile, but did not achieve my personal goal of 2500 yards. However, I still think I did pretty well.

I didn’t bother with plying since I wanted to do 3 and 4 ply yarns out of these singles. They count plying as part of your yardage credit with Spinzilla, but I want to do lots more batts and ply later.

I wonder if I could do 5 miles of yardage if I participated in Tour de Fleece next year? Things that make ya go “Hmmmm!”



Spinzilla: Same day Oct 3, 2017

I counted up my first skein for Spinzilla. It’s yardage is 246 yards. Purple and blue is very pretty together.


I started spinning up the first batt of green carded Romney wool. What a bright strong green!20171003_152651

I hope I can get at least half of this bobbin filled with about 4 batts today.

Spinzilla 2017 with Team Sue’s Stupendous Spinners


Yesterday, Oct 2, started off with a bang for Spinzilla, a world wide fund raiser for the National Needle Arts Association in the United States. This group teaches embroidery, knitting, crocheting and other related yarny things for free to people across the country.

Spinners pay a low fee to be on a team that can have up to 25 spinners, and the resulting funds go to the Association for thier teaching supplies. Our stated goal is to have each spinner work up a mile or more of unplied handspun yarn to create the yardage during the week that Spinzilla runs. It ends Sunday Oct 8th.

To get ready for this event, I have been scouring wool fleeces, mostly from Romney sheep, all summer, and dyeing up 1 pound batches, and then carding it into sheets or batts for spinning. I was able to prepare 27 batts in time for Spinzilla by the end of Oct 1st.

So I spun up all 3 of the bright blue and Iris (purple) batts. It should make some wonderful weaving this fall and winter. I hope to whip up at least 12 more batts after Spinzilla to add in order to make 3 ply yarn for weaving on my continuous weaving triangle loom.

Our wonderfully talented and esteemed Captain, Sue Olson, is a spinner, weaver, knitter and crocheter. She coordinates the team through a forum on Sue has a store in historic Jamesport Missouri called Sue’s Soft Stuff. She uses a contact page on Facebook so people can speak with her directly.

We have some folks like me (13 in all) who are local to Missouri on our team and may or may not know each other, which is just great. I find it amazing how people who have never met us in Missouri have jumped on our bandwagon to be on our team. How cool is that?! Besides spinners from New Jersey, Massachusetts and Arkansas, we have 3 Canadian spinners and 6 of our spinners hail from Sweden. This has truly become an international worldwide endeavor!

I better get back to spinning. Gonna do the green batts next. Whoo hoo! Go team, go!



1504800418289-1759583634I have been weaving a shrug (a shawl with armholes to insert your hands and wrists) on my adjustable triangle loom at the 6 foot setting. This is an item for my friend Sonia who took care of my house and kitties while I had to be in Kentucky dealing with some issues of my father who has dementia.

I hope to finish it soon. I was so occupied with helping her to find a colorway she liked in something that would work and weave up well on my loom that I did not realize until I started weaving that it would look like a bath mat. Imagine my surprise!

Right now, I am at the shuttle stage where instead of continuous weave, I switch over to weaving on the horizontal warp threads using weft on two shuttles.

With this thicker chenille-like stuff, it’s a battle. What a mess! Every time I put a shuttle through that teeny shed, it rolls and twists and sticks like glue. Ugh yuck!

I need a thinner skinnier shuttle. Then it wouldn’t be so crazy difficult to squeeze the shuttle loaded with the bulk of weft wrapped around it through a tiny small shed. My head hurts with fighting this uphill battle.

So while I figure out how to deal with my weaving, I have been washing and rinsing all these fleeces that I have been storing. All summer, every chance when it’s not been raining, I scour up another big kettle full of Romney wool. Yes, it’s true; I admit it. I am so addicted to spinning and weaving. What a high fiber diet!

If I ever want to accomplish anything, I’d better get moving, right?! It’s not bad strength training. It can definitely improve those core muscles, hefting around a big hot kettle full of wool and dirty scour water.

Thank God I can take a lot of breaks while I wait for wool to either heat up on the stove or cool down in my bathtub in big buckets so I don’t scald myself. But that’s what a washing machine is for; I get laundry washed up and hung out to dry on my front porch along with the clean drying wool. This is my version of multi-tasking.

Jim would want me to do things I enjoy so here I am preparing lots of wool for the big yearly fundraiser sponsored by the National Needle Arts Association to teach children textile crafts. World wide Spinzilla 2017 is almost upon us! It runs for a week, Oct 2-8. This year, I hope I can spin much more than a few skeins. I am shooting for that mile of just over 1700 yards.

I am washing and scouring wool to prepare it for drum carding many batts (or sheets) of ready to spin fiber. My goal is 25 to 35 batts total.  Most of it will be Romney wool this year since I want to weave it. I am now on fleece #8 of brownish gray (grayish brown?) to begin scouring today. It’s only 4 pounds of raw smelly fleece.

I have got to get my day started. Time to feed the kitties, get some eye drops in my eyeballs, eat breakfast, and start scouring. Jim would be proud of me. I miss him so much.


The Spinning is Good, but the Rest of my Life has a lot of Challenges

Jim has developed some more serious prostate issues. His benign enlarged prostate is now squeezing his urethra shut. He can occasionally pee a little, but its not enough so he has a lot of frequency. Since the stroke robbed him of his finer dexterity, I have to straight catheterize him myself 4 or more times as needed each day. He has recently developed a UTI so after an ER run to KU Med Center a few weeks ago for some bleeding issues, I must now catheterize him at least every 2 to 2.5 hours as much as possible. He needs a lot of care and we are washing him morning and evening since his lack of dexterity seems to keep him from doing a more thorough job himself.

Spinning  So I am staying sane by spinning. I have some spinning assignments that I started from Facebook that are 50/50 arrangements. I am to keep half of the fiber that is sent to me.I have 3 assignments. I have been spinning up two bobbins on my modified Ashford Traditional wheel and then plying on my larger bobbin on my Louet S17 wheel.

  1. I have already finished the white Huacaya from Idge, owned by Sharon Weiss at Hummin’ Haven Alpacas up in Wisconsin. She wanted about a pound of very clean alpaca to be spun up as 100 yard skeins. I was able to produce 8 skeins with a few small leftovers that was on one bobbin. That was my quick kill to encourage myself to do the more difficult fiber assignments.

2. While spinning on Idge, I was washing and rewashing the other two batches of alpaca fiber from Sandi Smith in Ohio. The bay black Huacaya alpaca that she got from her friend was pretty dirty and had a lot of mildew from, I suspect, improper storage. Every time I washed it, the water would just be horridly dark, even on the rinses. This would not  be a spinning job for a beginner as the fiber lengths are so drastically different. I think I got a lot of the neck wool from the animal mixed with longer blanket fiber which makes it much harder to spin. It also had a lot more trashy bits and second cuts than Sandi may have understood. I spun and plyed up two bobbin each for the first two skeins just under 200 yards each. Then to give Sandi something a little softer, I spun and plyed up a skein using some blue alpaca roving that I had along with the bay black. The resulting skein is much softer. It worked so well, I’ll just do it again. I think Sandi will be pleased.

3. Sandi Smith also sent me some white Suri alpaca that I have been washing. The locks were 5 to 8 inches long. It had smelled very strong, even after its first wash and after I struggled to spin a small test skein. When trying to prepare the fibers on my Indigo hound combs, the fibers were so thick with static cling that they wrapped around my hand, the teeth of the combs and the comb handles. So I ordered some Unicorn Fiber Wash from thier website. Its now my new best friend after using it on some older yellowed Romney fleece. i washed the Suri locks in it and will work on combing that up soon.

These spinning projects are a great doorway to bigger and better things. Yay! I wish I had known that Jim would require so much care, but I will finish these as I promised I would. I will pick and choose more carefully next time on FB.