Friday, December 11, 2009

Red Delicious

It had been a particularly packed summer. During those long months of swimming, gardening, and travel, I had understandably fallen out of touch with some of my blogging pals. So just before the school year started again, I decided to visit an old friend's blog to touch base and, hopefully, reconnect.

I really should back up. I originally met Maya at her blog Springtree Road a little over a year ago. I instantly found delight in her personality and flare. Timidly, I participated in her 2008 November in Black and White photography project and learned so much through that experience. Her eye for detail was fantastic. Alluring, really. I appreciated her private emails that patiently answered my endless stream of questions and she had a way of making me feel like part of her inner circle, even though I was obviously an amateur.

On this particular end-of-summer visit, though, I discovered that Maya had started a new business creating hand spun yarn. You know, the real stuff where you gather wool from an animal (sheep, llama, etc.), dye it yourself, and tenderly hand spin it into silky skeins. Is that cool, or what?!

I think it was her post on "Tink" that first piqued my interest about the whole start-to-finish process. Her Etsy shop, now lined with beautiful skeins, kept me hopping from photo to photo imagining all of the potential projects that 'someone' might create with each one.

Quality hand spun yarn is a little pricey, but for obvious reasons. Having claimed to be a supporter of hand made, I figured I should really give this stuff a try before balking at the cost. Besides, this is about the most 'hand made' purchase I could make. I finally settled on a skein of 140 yards named 'Red Delicious.' It was 100% Bluefaced Leicester wool which honestly meant nothing to me at the time. But my daughter looks so lovely in red, and I knew that somehow, and some way, it would be used to create something special for her this winter.

Using this yarn was nothing like the many experiences I've had with the usual $3 to $4 acrylic (synthetic) skeins of yarn I've frequently purchased from places like Walmart, Michael's, Hobby Lobby or elsewhere which always make my hands sweat and sometimes even itchy after prolonged exposure. Nope. This hand spun yarn was soft, yet hefty...thick, yet not overly fluffy. There's something almost magical about working with yarn that's been carefully hand crafted. I'm convinced that it's got all of its creator's love and affection embedded deeply within its delicate fibers. And when crocheted, it had a natural luster that only further showcased its intricate detail.

I figured I should stop to take a photo of my "in the beginning..." portion.

But a little while later, things were really cookin'. And I was enjoying the feel of this yarn so much that it seemed to be moving along a little TOO quickly.

So, can you tell what it is, yet?

Yep, it's a cozy tassel hat!! (my first, actually)

And boy oh BOY...look what Maya just listed this last week. I noticed this blue mix (on sale) for the first time TODAY and it's exactly what I was looking for to start a similar hat for one of the little guys. I've already spent my budgeted December play money, but if it's still there on December 31st (pay day), this baby's mine! Can't you just see another tassle hat of this dark blue and gray? Next, I'll probably be looking for a dark green and grayish mix for my one remaining child. And I know that if anyone can do it, Maya can! :)

What about you? Have you ever knitted or crocheted with authentic hand spun yarn? Would you ever consider trying it? Just once? If you have any interest, whatsoever, in high-quality yarn for a very special (smallish) project, do be sure to check out her Springtree Road Etsy shop when you have a moment.

And, believe me when I say that this experience had me looking at several of these to help support a developing new habit:

Yeah, it's really that great!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Hellooooo (tap-tap-tap) Is this thing on???

Yep, we're looking a little different these days. I'm just trying on a new layout that I've been eying since last summer. If you're confused, our old header is pictured to the right. I may still be doing a little shifting here and there as I have a few add-ons lined up (if you remember our previous discussion about Disqus, that's still a serious consideration), but things should look relatively the same over the next few months.

So...where do I begin? I'm (apparently) still blogging without obligation. Life has been extremely busy. And that's a good thing, right?

In recent days:
*I'm taking my very last course for my second master's degree and preparing for my oral comprehensives where I get to sit in front of a room of smarties and get drilled with questions. Oooooh, don't you wish you were me right now?!?!

*If you keep up with me on Facebook then you already know about our Thanksgiving cabin experience with my parents, from Texas. That was sure fun! I've put those pictures up HERE (you have to keep clicking "next" in the upper right part of the picture). If you have a (free) Facebook account, then you should be able to see them just fine (for this week, I've set my profile to allow everyone in).

*As of October, I'm the new Education Chair of Nebraska Friends of Midwives. This wasn't planned at all, but last year I declined because I was "too busy." And when I was asked again this year, I felt a stirring in my heart. Yeah, the stirring was probably just gas, but the deed is done. So here's my shameless plug: If you live in Nebraska and aren't already part of NFOM, I encourage you to join NOW! It's only $10 a year for individuals and you'll be welcomed to our discussion forum and our Yahoo e-list with open arms! Or you can also keep up with us on Facebook or Twitter (NFOM is still new to Twitter, so it's not really active yet)!

*I've been working on a couple small projects. I'm looking forward to sharing them on here when I have time (hopefully later this week). I burned my right hand in boiling oil back in September and it took quite a while for the blisters to heal. I'm so glad to be back to working with my hands again.

Look at YOU! You're still here!! And you've graced my blog today. That makes me a happy camper...happy to know you and to have (I'm guessing) built some sort of cyber-friendship with you, happy that you care enough to drop by today even if I haven't been to your place in a while, and happy to know that this blog (and its feed) really does still work after all this time.

I'm really looking forward to catching up with everyone this month.

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